The Builder Magazine
August 1927 - Volume XIII - Number
Frederick and the Facts
BRO. CYRUS FIELD WILLARD, California
recent reply of Bro. A. L. Kress, of Pennsylvania, in THE BUILDER for February
to my setting forth of the facts that showed that Frederick the Great, King of
Prussia, was the head of what is now the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite,
seems to me to be decidedly weak.
fact that three of the subordinate bodies of this organization officially
recognized that the official headquarters of their Order was in Berlin,
Prussia, and that the Master of one of these Lodges of Perfection addressed
Frederick as its head, by name, on official business of the Order to which his
lodge belonged, does not seem to convince him.
makes one think that people believe only what they want to believe, no matter
what the evidence may be.
does not deny these facts. He cannot. He does not try to do so, but seeks to
minimize the weight of the evidence. He says that he does not know if
Frederick was its head, but he suspects he was not.
this, his suspicions are contrary to what Colonel Solomon Bush, the Master of
Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection, knew when he said that Frederick was the
head of the Order of which that Lodge of Perfection was a part.
Kress became unduly exercised because I said it made no difference whether
there was a reply. Quite evidently he, like many others who seek to tear down
traditions, did not consider the matter in all its bearings.
letter which Col. Bush signed was not a personal letter, but one prepared by a
committee of that lodge in 1785, about a year before Frederick died. It was
made part of the official business of the lodge and was copied into the
records and made a part of the official records of Philadelphia Lodge of
Therein it is different from a personal letter which would seem to require an
answer to show that it had been sent and received. These official records of
the Lodge of Perfection are generally accepted as genuine by all Masonic
writers, but Bro. Kress does not consider them evidence, although the lodge at
the time was transmitting to its official head, Frederick II, King of Prussia,
a list of its members, as the letter says, and as the rules require, as stated
in the letter copied into the record-book, which is now in the possession of
the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
rules are referred to? It is evident to anyone acquainted with lodge work that
it was the rules of the Order to which this Lodge of Perfection belonged, and
the head of which was the one to whom the letter was addressed, that is,
Frederick the Great.
not only Colonel Bush, who signed the letter, but the whole lodge itself
asserted that Frederick II, King of Prussia, was the head of the Order to
which the Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection belonged when it made this
assertion a part of the official records of the lodge.
written assertion on the part of the Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection, now in
its records, that Frederick the Great was the head of the Order to which the
lodge belonged, requires equally definite and positive evidence in writing to
the contrary, to contradict it. Such are the rules of evidence. The negative
evidence must be equally strong.
OPINION OF ALBERT PIKE
would hardly seem that Bro. Kress is better qualified to judge as to the value
of the evidence that Frederick was the head of the Order and signed the
Constitutions of 1786 than Albert Pike, who was a great lawyer, admitted to
practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, where he won a big lawsuit
with a $5,000,000 verdict in favor of his clients. In his "Historical Inquiry"
Pike said, on page 127:
now believe that they were made at Berlin, under the auspices of Frederic in
May, 1786, and that he was the Patron and Protector of the high degrees, and
did approve these Grand Constitutions.
Preface, Pike also said:
authenticity of the Grand Constitutions of 1786 continues to be denied, upon
the same old, untenable and exploded grounds, it is deemed advisable to print
and publish this Inquiry for more general circulation.
because Lantoine denied the authenticity of these Constitutions in his recent
history, on the "same old, untenable and exploded grounds," that this
discussion started. Had this pamphlet, Pike's "Historical Inquiry," been
reprinted and placed in the library of every Lodge of Perfection in the land,
these attacks would not be made now, as the members of the Order would know
this official written evidence in the records of the Philadelphia Lodge of
Perfection is not considered proof by Bro. Kress, who will, however, accept
that written assertion of Elias Ashmole, an individual, in his diary, that he
was made a Mason in 1646. Yet no doubt he would not accept a similar entry in
the diary of the Baron von Hund that he was given the higher degrees, now
called Scottish, by the Earl of Kilmarnock, Grand Master of Scotland, about
1742, and which Scottish degrees he afterwards introduced into Germany as the
Rite of Strict Observance.
kind of research I object to is outlined in the above statement. Because one
statement in a private diary is accepted by Gould and a few others who set
themselves up as the last word in Masonic research, they are blindly accepted
in America by those who, on the other hand, take delight in tearing down all
traditions, instead of examining them with care to see if there is a
reasonable possibility of their being true.
(like Frederick's connection with this Order) was regarded as a fable by
writers who admitted they knew it all (like some of the authorities of Bro.
Kress) until Dr. Schliemann dug down into it and not only found one, but five
other cities, one superimposed on the other, the same as we find successive
deposits of thought and myth in our Blue Lodge ritual.
this, I have taken no exception to Bro. Kress' "brand of research," as he
termed it, only poked a little fun at it, as not presenting any.
SHEEPWALKING SCHOOL OF RESEARCH
T. Carson, in the American edition of Gould's History of Freemasonry, wrote a
chapter on the history of the Scottish Rite in which he calls some alleged
Masonic historians "sheepwalkers," because they are like sheep, following
their leader and repeating the same incorrect statements others have made. It
is the fad nowadays to write a history with a number of figures referring to
foot-notes which merely repeat statements made by others that sometimes have
no foundation in fact. A celebrated English historian said his pages were
unmarred by footnotes.
Kress has been prone to follow what Gould and others of his school have said,
and thinks because they said it, that it must necessarily be true. That was
the distinction that he seemed unable to get from my former articles.
am pleased to see that he is reforming in this respect, and even dares to
question his authority, as witness the letter from him and reply of Lantoine
in "Le Symbolisme" for February. But if the latter is no more accurate in his
facts than he is in spelling the name of the writer, which he took from the
printed page, too, and made it Vuillard for Willard, then Bro. Kress should
seek some more confirmatory evidence.
Bro. Kress' own line of argument as regards Frederick being the head of the
Order, that was turned into the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite by the
Constitutions of 1786, I might say that I do not know that Bro. Kress is a
Mason. Until facts are presented to show that he is, the story must be
rejected. Just as he says about Frederick: "It is clear that he must be held
not to be unless positive proof is shown that he is." This is a reductio ad
absurdain and shows up the fallacy of his argument.
I am willing to joke and give and take in a discussion, always trying to
conduct it in the pleasantest spirit possible, yet I would submit to Bro.
Kress that it is not Masonic to put words in my mouth which I did not use,
neither is it accurate.
FREDERICK'S PHYSICAL CONDITION IN 1786
page 42 of THE BUILDER of February, he says: "Suppose we accept Bro. Willard's
data that Frederick so far as his physical condition (sic) could have presided
over a convention to prepare the 1786 Constitutions," etc. Will Bro. Kress
kindly give page and line where I have ever said anything about Frederick
presiding over a convention ?
page 8, Vol. I, of Mirabeau's Histoire secrete de la cour de Berlin, under
date of July 14, or about a month before Frederick's death, Mirabeau said:
partis sont tres en activite a Berlin-mais tout se tait devant le Roi; il est
encore Roi, il le sera jusqu 'au bout.
in English, is:
Parties are very much in activity at Berlin--but all keep silent before the
King: he is still King, he will be such until the end.
is the best characterization of Frederick that could be made. He was the King
at Berlin at all times, and when the lodges of America were ordered to send
the list of their members to Berlin, he knew who they were. While he lived, he
was the whole thing at Berlin.
seems curious to see Bro. Kress calmly ignoring the facts of Masonic life by
attempting to rule out competent and corroborative evidence on the ground that
it is hearsay evidence when they are broad and definite statements, made by
careful Masonic historians, of their own knowledge.
refer to the statements made by Mackey and particularly those made of his own
knowledge by Rev. John Dove who wrote a history of Masonry in Virginia and
knew personally some of the Deputy Inspector Generals like Joseph Myers and
Isaac Da Costa. Bro. Dove said they were educated men who were sent by
Frederick of Prussia to spread the doctrines of the higher degrees, of which
Dove was a member. If Bro. Kress will look again into the Proceedings of the
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts he will see that he was inaccurate in his
quotation, for Isaac Da Costa was quoted long before the date he alleged
(1760), as he will see on Oct. 13, 1759, on pages 439 and 440. Also he was the
first named on the petition for the warrant of St. Andrew's Lodge, of Boston,
in 1756. I only mention these things in the interest of accuracy.
Lantoine's History of French Freemasonry and have read it carefully. To my
mind he is like Carlyle, a word-painter and not an historian. My assertion is
that Lantoine is not impartial, and my assertion is as good as that of Bro.
Kress to the contrary.
assertion of Bro. Kress that I have presented no new facts and shown no
personal research, seems to be negatived by the hours I have spent examining
charters, fac-similes, etc., and the fact that I have given more research to
the early history of the Scottish Rite than he has ever done. But I will agree
with him that my article shows no research, if he will point out anywhere in
Masonic literature where these three official statements, each corroborating
the other, that the headquarters of the Rite was at Berlin, Prussia, have been
fact that the Nine Commissioners are stated officially, by Stephen Morin, in
the charter of the Kingston, Jamaica, Chapter of Princes of the Royal Secret,
to be in charge in Prussia, does not seem to affect Bro. Kress. What are
official documents compared to one's cherished beliefs? Like some attorneys
who object to all evidence against them as "immaterial, irrelevant and
incompetent," this does not seem to faze him.
reading Mirabeau's Secret History of the Court of Berlin, in the original
French, published in 1789, I am wondering how anyone could quote Mirabeau as
Lantoine did in his history, the review of which started the original
discussion. It is beyond me how Lantoine would dare to do so, and I can only
think it was because he was "sleepwalking" and quoting what someone else had
said. He probably never went to the original sources. It shows that all the
statements of Lantoine need verifying, and I am glad to see that Bro. Kress is
beginning to see the need of this, as his letter in "Le Symbolisme" tends to
volumes of Mirabeau also show that up to 15 days before Frederick died, he
could have signed these Constitutions had he not done so three months before.
On page 75, Vol. I, Mirabeau said, on Aug. 2, 1786, "The king is sensibly
better" (Le roi ist sensiblement mieux). At the end of the same letter he
says: "For the rest the head is perfectly clear and he even works a great
deal." Au reste, la tete est parfaitement libre, & l'on travaille meme
day before he died Mirabeau says (page 91, Vol. I):
that the day before he had not spoken until midday to the secretaries who had
been waiting since five o'clock in the morning, but nevertheless the
despatches have been clear and precise; that he had again eaten excessively
that day and notably a lobster! (Je savois--que la veille--qu'on n'avoit parle
qu'a midi aux secretaires qui attendoient depuis cinq heures de matin, que
cependant les depeches avoient ete nettes & precies; que l'on avoit encore
excessivement mange ce jour-la & notamment un homard. )
shows that he could even have signed these Constitutions of 1786 on Aug. 16,
the day before he died, as he did the despatches which he dictated and which
were "clear and precise." Pike gives many others who said practically the same
apparent that, despite the assertion of Lantoine to the contrary, Frederick
could have signed the Constitutions of 1786 on May 1.
charter of the Kingston Chapter, P. R. S., says that the Nine Commissioners
did prepare the Constitutions of 1762, although Gould makes the downright
charge that they were forged in America. But this charter of the Kingston
body, signed on April 30, 1770, only eight years later, by Stephen Morin
himself, says that the Constitutions of 1762 were ratified in Prussia at a
different date than that given by any Masonic historian. It says, in English:
Consequently by the deliberation dated the 7th of December, 1762, to be
ratified and observed by the aforesaid Grand Chapter of Prussia and France,
Kingston charter is quoted as being in his collection by Enoch T. Carson. [See
Gould, Vol. IV, page 634.] This collection was bought by Gen. Samuel Lawrence
and by him presented to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
Efforts are being made by the writer to get a photostatic copy of this
charter, bearing the signature of "S. Morin," because it is all in English and
would thus show that "S. Morin" understood English and French, as would an
American born in New York of a French Protestant family settled there since
Constitutions of 1762, also in English, that Henry Andrew Francken gave to the
Albany Lodge of Perfection, are also said to be in this collection and it is
hoped that these treasures will be photographed before long.
QUESTION OF METHOD
all it seems that Bro. Kress and I are not so far apart. We agree in principle
but not in methods. We both want to see an American school of research
established, and we want the facts. I cannot agree with him when he says:
"Until facts are presented to prove Frederick's headship, the story must be
would seem to me that the fact that the Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection,
making returns on its membership, did, through its Master, address a letter to
Frederick as the head of the Order to which it belonged, must be accepted as
positive evidence that Frederick was its head. If it had been an English
lodge, whose records said he was the head of the Order to which it belonged,
the assertion would be accepted without question.
Lodge of Perfection should address a letter, enclosing its list of members, to
Captain John H. Cowles, head of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, it
would seem to me that this would be accepted as evidence that Captain Cowles
was the head of that Order, especially if the lodge went to the trouble of
making it a part of its official records.
Masons would naturally accept it as such, unless they had some preconceived
opinions, as they would reason that the lodge would know better than any
outsider who their superior officers were.
this is the point that Bro. Kress does not want to concede. He thinks he knows
better than the Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection who their superior officers
were, although they were contemporary with Frederick and Bro. Kress is 150
years behind time. They know definitely that Frederick was the head of their
Order and Bro. Kress now "suspects" that he was not. Guess again.
STEUBE A LINK
Furthermore, Baron von Steuben was in Philadelphia at the time the letter was
written, settling his accounts with the Congress, as his life will show. He
knew Frederick intimately, having been his Adjutant General, who sent him to
Washington as the best present one Masonic general could make to another. von
Steuben was a Mason, and Bro. Kress and Lantoine have not yet denied that
Frederick and Washington were likewise.
there had been the slightest doubt on the part of any Mason that Frederick was
the head of the Order to which the Lodge of Perfection belonged, Colonel Bush,
as a companion-in-arms of Baron von Steuben, would have known and the letter
would never have been written. Certainly it would not have been made a part of
the official records of the Lodge.
Kress made the statement that I quoted Gould in part "for my own purpose,"
which is rather an unkind way of putting it. The reason I did not continue
quoting Gould was because I did not want to bring into the discussion the
unreliability and prejudice of Gould in matters concerning the Scottish Rite.
Notably where he says, "The Constitutions of 1786 were undoubtedly forged in
America and probably those of 1762." I should be happy to take up this matter
at some future time, but I think I have said enough now.
my opinion and belief that Frederick had the Constitutions of 1786 drawn up to
prevent the troubles that arose when the Duke of Sudermania, later King of
Sweden, was elected head of the Strict Observance. It was a political reason
that made Frederick put himself at the head of the Rite in Germany, that he
afterwards turned into the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite by these same
Constitutions of 1786, just as Albert Pike shrewdly asserted in his Historical
Inquiry, which every Scottish Rite Mason should read.
confirmed in this belief by seeing a similar jealous political feeling on the
part of the authorities in Denmark, as shown in a recent number of the Ars
Quatuoi Coronatorum on "Lodges in the Danish West Indies," Vol. 37, page 147,
part 2. After stating that the work was conducted in German, as the rituals
were in German and were those of the Order of Strict Observance, of which the
Baron von Hund was Grand Master until he died in 1776, it goes on to say:
April 29th, King Christian VII signed a rescript to the leaders of the
Freemasons in Denmark directing that never and nowhere in any Danish land or
possession should the Freemasons recognize a foreign Prince of royal blood as
Grand Master or give any such authority or influence over the Order. It was a
known fact that Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick had a certain influence over
lodges in the Danish lands and possessions (Duke Ferdinand succeeded von Hund
as Grand Master in the System of the strict Observance) but when he retired no
lodge was to be permitted to allow any foreigner to have an authority over any
lodge without first having petitioned therefor and obtained royal permission.
Ferdinand, of Brunswick, was one of Frederick's generals who won for him the
great victory of the battle of Minden during the Seven Years' War. In fact, in
view of all the circumstances, it might not be such a wild guess to hazard the
belief that Frederick might have been the head of the Unknown Superiors to
whom the Strict Observance members had to pledge themselves. Especially when
we realize that the Three Globes Grand Lodge, which Frederick organized at
Berlin, was for 20 years a member of the Strict Observance. At any rate, Duke
Ferdinand became the real ruler of the Strict Observance after the Convention
was held at Kohlo in 1772.
1778 the Duke of Sudermania, then G. M. of Sweden, was elected as its head and
Gould says that it was probable that political motives were connected with his
candidacy. The Danish Lodges opposed him as they feared the political
influence of Sweden, which also had possessions in Germany. At that time Baron
von Steuben had just come to America (1777) and as a Mason knew what was going
on in Masonic circles in Germany.
FERDINAND, OF BRUNSWICK, GRAND MASTER
April, 1781, the Duke of Sudermania resigned and Ferdinand of Brunswick was
elected Grand Master in 1782, which office he held until his death, in 1792,
at the age of 71, after which the Order disappeared. On Jan. 30, 1784, the
Grand Lodge of the "Three Globes," of which Frederick had been Grand Master,
after a membership of 20 years, withdrew from the Strict Observance "with its
superstructure of hermeticism and Rosicrucianism," so Gould says (Vol. III,
page 367), leaving that Order "moribund." A little more than two years after
the withdrawal of the "Three Globes" and about six years after the rescript of
King Christian, the proponents of the Constitutions of 1786 assert that
Frederick II, King of Prussia, whose subordinate was the head of the Strict
Observance, signed these Constitutions which gave to each country, after his
death, a Supreme Council of nine members supreme in that country, with the
exception of America, which was to have two such Councils. All this was done,
as it states in these Constitutions, for the purpose of preventing discords
(such as the election of the Duke of Sudermania had caused) and the spread of
innovations such as had been going on in neighboring kingdoms.
Constitutions also describe the manner in which the Rite of Perfection of 25
degrees, the Primitive Rite, the Ancient Rite and some others were combined by
Frederick to form the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of 33 degrees. From
that time the Strict Observance was indeed "moribund." (See Gould's History,
Vol. III, page 367.)
validity of the Constitutions of 1786 has been fiercely attacked, generally by
those who had some motive for so doing. It would be well for Bro. Kress, and
all others who have any doubts as to its validity, to read Pike's Historical
Inquiry, in which that great lawyer analyzes the evidence and states his
reason for believing them genuine.
CHARACTER OF THE FIRST SUPREME COUNCIL
founders of the first Supreme Council in America have been proven to be men of
the highest standing in the military and professional circles of South
Carolina and real Southern gentlemen.
were contemporary with the adoption of these Constitutions, and under them the
first Supreme Council was formed in 1801, only fifteen years after they had
been adopted. It is a fair presumption that Frederic Dalcho, then a doctor of
medicine, 31 years old, and afterwards an Episcopal clergyman of the highest
standing in Charleston, knew what he was talking about when he asserted that
they were signed by Frederick II of Prussia and provided for Supreme Councils
of nine members for each country. It is certain he would not lie about it, as
he has openly or covertly been charged with doing. (See Lantoine's statement.)
Furthermore he was the son of a Prussian, who had been before von Steuben, the
Adjutant General of Frederick the Great and on account of wounds received in
the Seven Years' War was allowed to retire to London, England, where Frederick
Dalcho was born and named after the King.
information about the father of Frederick Dalcho I obtained from a pamphlet,
The Lost Key, by Edwin A. Sherman, a California Masonic historian, who also
asserts that Baron von Steuben was the agent of Frederick, King of Prussia, in
introducing the new organization of 33 degrees into America. Bro. Sherman goes
into this matter at great length, which I cannot go into now save to say that
he asserts that Col. John Mitchell, the first Grand Commander, was a member of
the same regiment with Baron von Steuben, which, of course, can be verified or
meantime I trust that Bro. Kress will realize that although I may write at
times rather brusquely, there is still the same underlying thought in my mind
that he has, and that is to go to the original records and let the
word-painters alone. Our only difference is that I do not intend to discard
all traditions until I have found them to be without palpable foundation.
BRO. A. L. KRESS, Pennsylvania
reading Bro. Willard's reply, I cannot see that he has produced any further
facts or strengthened his previous case sufficiently to justify further
discussion, on my part at least. So far as Von Hund's diary goes, who has ever
seen it? When Von Hund or anyone else implies that he received, in 1742, any
"Scottish" degrees, or "Scottish Rite" degrees, or anything even remotely
resembling them, they are wrong. I did not mean to imply Bro. Willard ever has
said Frederick presided over the convention. This has been asserted by others.
My point was that I was ready to accept his data that Frederick could have
done anything he is supposed to have done about the Constitutions so far as
his physical condition was concerned. Which proves nothing. I doubt if John
Dove could have known Da Costa personally, though I have no facts as to dates.
I might add also that I had read Pike's Historical Inquiry. Some years ago we
had the pious myth going around about the sword Frederick was supposed to have
sent Washington. Did Bro. Willard ever hear of that ? Now it seems he sent
Baron von Steuben to Washington also.
facts in the case we are agreed upon it seems. We differ in their
interpretation. Until new facts are produced continued discussion will get us
LIGHT ON RAMSAY'S FAMOUS ORATION
article FREDERICK AND THE FACTS Bro. Willard refers to the correspondence
between Bro. Kress and Bro. Lantoine which was published in a recent number of
LE SYMBOLISME. As the facts brought to light by Bro. Lantoine are interesting
and important, Bro. Kress has translated the reply to his inquiries. It may
also be of interest to members of the N.M.R.S. to learn that Bro. Lantoine is
a member of the Supreme Council A.&A.S.R. for France. His position at least
shows that he is hardly actuated by any prejudice or hostility against the
Scottish Rite, even if he does attack what he regards as unfounded in its
read your History of French Freemasonry with a great deal of pleasure. I
consider it a great work.
you do me the kindness of answering a few questions? On page 120 you reprint
the two letters Ramsay wrote the Cardinal de Fleury.
Have you personally examined these original letters in the archives of the
Minister of Foreign Affairs?
the first letter if as you say "the date March 20, 1737, is not in the
handwriting of Ramsay" how can the date of the oration be established from
do you think did write the date on this letter?
Daruty says the Cardinal de Fleury wrote on the margin "The King does not wish
them to assemble." Is this correct?
Have you personally examined the work you cite on page 116 "Dans les Lettres
de M. de V. etc." 1738 so that you know the oration appeared in this work?
have personally examined the letters addressed to Cardinal de Fleury by the
All State papers bear a date marked by the archivist charged with their
classification. I must admit that this date was not necessarily added in
Ramsay's first letter immediately after its receipt, and that the file to
which this letter belongs has perhaps been classified later. I do not
believe-this, though, because, in the last case, the archivist would not have
indicated the day of the month with so much precision. But even if I
understand your doubts, I cannot admit it in the case of the second letter,
which corroborates the first and in which the date 1737 seems to me not to be
doubted--and here is the reason: This second letter in fact bears this date
not only at the top (in the hand of the archivist) but below and so placed
Paris, ce 22 Mars. [Ramsay's hand-writing] 1737.
Abel Rigault, Under Secretary of the service of archives for Foreign Affairs,
who has kindly aided me with his expert knowledge of handwriting (he actually
is an expert) inclines to believe that this 1737 which is placed below the day
of the month is also in Ramsay's writing. He bases his opinion on these
that the figures do not in the least resemble those of the date written at the
top by the archivist.
that this period placed after 1737 is a peculiarity not to be attributed to an
archivist and one which Ramsay used.
comment is of value. Let us note, in fact that neither of us for example would
put a period following the date in a manuscript letter while Ramsay puts one
after the 22nd of March. I will even say that it was this last period which
made me believe that the 1737 placed below (in the first letter) did not
belong to it, and that is why I did not add this date in the reproduction on
page 120 of my Histoire de la Freemasonry Francaise.
even at that have we the right to doubt the date of a letter which has this
date recorded on it by two different hands? I add that the handwriting of both
these dates is incontestably of the 18th century.
Daruty, after Lemontey's work Histoire de la Regence et de la Mirnorite de
Louis XV . . ." (Paris 1832) makes us believe that "Cardinal de Fleury had
written on the margin 'the King does not wish them to assemble'." Is this
correct, you ask me?
think if Daruty had taken the trouble to consult the document, he would not so
readily have reported Lemontey's version. The seven lines in pencil which are
found not on the margin but at the head of the letter are illegible. After
tedious attempts, here is what I have been able to decipher with the kind aid
of M. Rigault:
. . Iira . . . deja parle' . . . bien des gens . . . croit . . . le roy meme
s'en est moque . . . mardy dine . . . ne veux college. (Reply read . . .
already spoken . . . many persons . . . believed . . . The king himself makes
fun of them . . . Monday dinner . . .)
again I do not guarantee the correctness of this incoherent writing. The only
line which seems clear to me is "the king himself makes fun of them." Can we
render these sybilline words as "the king does not wish them to assemble?" It
is an interpretation ventured which my mind eager for facts, cannot accept . .
. The fact is that this pencilling has become illegible.
Another observation: what proof have we that these lines were written by
Cardinal de Fleury? They might be his, evidently since his writing might be
shakier (by reason of his age) but it could also have been made by one of his
clerks charged with opening his correspondence or a note dictated by him. This
note in my opinion is the scheme for the reply that a secretary has drawn up
to Ramsay's petition. What a pity that this last may not be found among the
Chevalier's papers . . . Who knows?
have personally examined the work I cite on p. 116 "Lettres de M. de V....
avec plusieurs pieces de differens auteurs." The Hague, Pierre Popy, 1738. The
oration of Ramsay is thus presented Discouse pronounced at the Reception of
Freemasons by M. de Ramsay; Grand Orator of the Order. It is between pages 47
and 70. [M. Lantoine goes on to say this work is extremely licentious and that
following the Oration are some so-called statutes which he gives in full.]
this occasion to thank you warmly for your appreciation in THE BUILDER of my
Histoire de la Franc Maconnerie. My book has been made the subject of rather
warm controversy in this excellent American journal. Bro. Willard in numerous
pages has literally loaded me with abuse for having denied the part taken by
Frederic II in the establishment of the 1786 Grand Constitutions. I see no
need for pursuing the discussion. With him, it is a matter of belief or
opinion and I can as a historian only argue from the texts. Without reason, I
am accused of lack of respect for Albert Pike. I believe I am misunderstood. I
do not ignore the great worth of your compatriot and I appreciate the fervent
admiration with which the American brethren have consecrated him. But if from
the ritualistic point of view his competency seems to me undoubted, I cannot
blindly follow him in his historical ideas. His imagination which served him
so well in the interpretation of symbols deserted him in his interpretation of
facts. He depends on testimony [of others] while I, like Saint Thomas, believe
only that which I see. I have read his Historical Inquiry and that has not in
the least convinced me of Frederick the Second's participation. So far as Bro.
Willard goes, Albert Pike has refuted my allegations beforehand. That is a
point of view. I rest on my position: why does some one not show us the text
signed by Frederick? Albert Pike saw it. That does not suffice for me. In
history as in law the evidence of the most honest man in the world requires
confirmation. Albert Pike invokes also the evidence of Baron de Marguerittes,
saying on page 127: "The Baron de Marguerittes said . . . Know, M. Ill.
Brethren, that a Scottish Knight has in his possession the original charter of
1786 signed with his own hand by the late Frederic the Great, King of
has not the Baron de Marguerittes given us the name of this "Scottish Knight"?
And if in 1818 the thing was even then argued to the point where it was
necessary in order to fortify the belief of the brothers to promise to show
them the Constitutions, why did not this Scottish Knight bequeath this so
precious document to his brothers so that today we should be able to verify
famous Gerbier patent in France also has been thought a fact, and the Morin
patent, and the patent of the Arras Chapter founded by Charles-Edward of which
so many copies have been certified correct by personages of high rank. But
when we ask to see the originals--as is our right and duty--these originals,
of such leading importance for the History of Freemasonry, are not to be
found. All these people who have examined them, and examined them to the point
of guaranteeing their contents, have been so clumsy as not to keep them out of
harm's way. Is it not perplexing?
desire to be correctly documented, Bro. Kress, fits in so well with my own
method of work as not to leave me indifferent. I think that these interchanges
are not useless and constitute a good Masonic work. If anyone proves to me I
am wrong I shall be the first to thank my critic and to acknowledge my
error--putting love of truth above a mean and absurd self-love as an author.
Sincerely yours, Albert Lantoine.
Bro. Willard in his article (page 226) refers to the term "sleepwalkers,"
ascribing it to the late Bro. Enoch T. Carson. Bro. Carson in the chapter
mentioned of the addenda to Gould's History of Freemasonry that is included in
the American edition, speaks of "the 'sleepwalking' paths" followed by many
Masonic writers in dealing with the so-called higher degrees. Actually it was
Gould himself who hit upon this apt description, or at any rate gave it
currency in Masonic circles, for he uses it in the History and elsewhere, and
since then it has been frequently quoted and used by others.
is one point that should be made in summing up this discussion, for as so
often happens the arguments and counter arguments do not always meet fairly.
The parties do not always properly understand the meaning of what their
opponents have said. It does not seem that either Bro. Kress or Bro. Lantoine
intended to imply that Frederick was not physically able to put his signature
to a document during the last months of his life, not yet that he was mentally
incapable of considering or even originating such a project as the
organization of the Scottish Rite out of the various rites orders, and
scattered ne plus ultra degrees of which the preceding fifty years had been so
prolific, especially in France. The argument is apparently cumulative and
psychological. Frederick had for years shown an indifference to the Craft;
more than that he had expressed a positive antipathy to the high grades. Was
it likely that at the end of his life, while ill and burdened with important
affairs of state, he should have troubled to give time and attention to an
organization he had come to regard as at the best trivial and puerile?
right way to meet this argument, it would seem, would be to examine the
evidence offered to show that Frederick had become indifferent to Masonry, and
was antipathetic to the high degrees. This anyone interested may do by
referring to Bro. Lantoine's work, or to the translation of the chapter on
Frederick in THE BUILDER for June last year.
subject has now had quite full discussion, the disputants seem to be largely
in agreement as to the facts, and until new evidence is discovered there does
not seem much chance of settling the question absolutely and beyond doubt. Let
us hope Bro. Willard's efforts to this end may meet with success. [Ed.]
FREEMASONRY OF NORTHERN EUROPE
Paul Duvignan (Translated from L'Acacia)
article will have a double interest for those readers of The Builder
interested in the ideal of Masonic universality. In the first place it gives
some fresh and we believe trustworthy account of Scandinavia and Germany, and
secondly it indirectly gives glimpses of the attitude and ideals of the
Institution in France. From an esteemed correspondent in Denmark, Bro. P. A.
Fenger, we learn that the recently deceased Master of his lodge, Dr. C. N.
Starcke, assisted the author of the following article with information and
connection with the rapprochement between France and Germany, a problem
proposed last year by the Council of the Order for study by the individual
lodges it has devolved upon us to arrange reports on the subject, some of
which are insufficient while some are vitiated by mistakes; and this in spite
of the evident good will of the reporters and even of their ability. It seems
that we French limit our attention too much, contenting ourselves, or very
nearly, with knowing only what happens in our own country. Exterior
occurrences most often escape us, as we do not travel and we do not know
foreign languages. So I am happy to be able to give the readers of L'Acacia
the following information on the Masonry of Northern Europe, which is of a
nature, I believe, to dissipate certain clouds, and to fix ideas that are
hesitant and undecided.
DENMARK The most ancient lodge existing in Denmark, "Zorobabel," was founded
in 1744 and received its letters patent [warrant] from Hamburg. The first
lodge was founded in 1743 by a member of the lodge at Berlin. "Zorobabel" was
formed by a number of dissident brethren who left this. A year and some months
later it received another warrant from London. At the same time the Grand
Lodge, "Les Trois Globes," of Berlin, also founded several new lodges in
the period of splendor of the Strict Observance, about the year 1755, Danish
Masonry came under the influence of this rite. But a rivalry soon arose
between the Danish lodges and the Grand Lodge of the Strict Observance, owing
to the fact that the Swedish duke, Karl of Sudermania had been given the
highest rank in the latter. From this moment the King of Denmark placed the
lodges of his country under his own authority in order to withdraw them from
Duke of Brunswick, and later Karl of Hesse, ruled as Provincial Grand Masters
the lodges of the rite of the "Knight of the Holy City." Thus these lodges had
a tranquil existence during the reign of Christian VIII and in the first years
of that of Frederick VII. But in 1852 Frederick was initiated in the Swedish
rite. In spite of numerous protests made by the Danish lodges the Swedish rite
was introduced into Denmark by a royal ordinance, which named this country as
the eighth Province that drew its origin from the "Strict Observance."
Following this the Grand Lodge of Denmark, under Frederick VIII and Christian
X, kept the privilege of founding new lodges in their own territory. But, by
reason of the special character--very Christian, exclusively Christian, in
fact-of the Swedish rite, and of the particular philosophical tendencies which
differentiated it sharply from the true Masonic ideal--the humanitarian
ideal--a number of Danes, who were not Masons, united themselves in 1900 to
found a separate lodge. They procured their initiation, not into the Swedish
rite, but into the humanitarian Masonry of the Grand Lodge of Hamburg; and
with letters patent from this Grand Lodge, which recognizes only the first
three degrees, they formed an independent lodge. Later, that is, since 1900,
two others were formed of the same rite and under the same obedience
[Hamburg]. But between these three lodges and the Grand Lodge of Denmark,
which follows the Swedish rite, there are no relations.
Norway we do not find any independent development of Freemasonry until 1814.
Up to this date Norway followed Denmark, being under the same king.
1814 Norway was reunited to Sweden and the Norwegian lodges accepted the
Swedish rite. But the same causes which had operated in Denmark raised up
opposition to the latter, and several brothers founded an independent lodge
under the obedience of the Grand Lodge "of the Sun" at Bayreuth, in 1882. In
the following year several other lodges were created under the same obedience
[this is not quite exactly equivalent to our term jurisdiction. Tr.]: In 1893
they were united and recognized as a Provincial Grand Lodge under the name
Polar Star, and, as before, under the Grand Lodge "Zur Sonne" of Bayreuth.
Norwegian lodges of the Swedish rite broke away from the Grand Lodge of Sweden
in 1891 and formed an independent Grand Lodge for the country of Norway, which
became the tenth province, in the same way that Denmark formed the eighth and
Sweden the ninth, but still following the Swedish rite.
Between the Provincial Grand Lodge "Polar Star" (of the Humanitarian rite of
Bayreuth) and the Grand Lodge of Norway (Swedish rite) there existed friendly
relations up till 1920. In this year the P. G. L. Polar Star was recognized as
an independent Grand Lodge by the Grand Lodge of Bayreuth. From this time the
Grand Lodge of Norway of the Swedish rite has broken off all relations with
the new Grand Lodge of the Humanitarian rite (1).
Sweden the first lodge was founded in 1737 by letters patent from Lord
Derwentwater. [In his capacity as Grand Master of France. Tr.] The formation
of lodges was arbitrary and without any definite organization till the year
1756. At this time Karl Frederick Eckleff, Councillor of State, founded a
"Scottish" lodge, which three years later organized itself into a "Grand
Chapter." [Not in any way connected with the Royal Arch, of course. Tr.] The
formation of lodges which constituted themselves after this was of the same
nature as that of many other "rites" of "high" and mystical degrees, which
emerged at this epoch (around 1759) all through Europe.
most characteristic and most important of these rites during a considerable
period was that of the Strict Observance, in Germany. The Swedish lodges
attached themselves to this system and entered into communication with it,
particularly when the King of Sweden, Gustave III, who was Grand Master of the
Swedish Grand Lodge, gave, one year after he ascended the throne, the gavel of
the Order into the hands of his brother, the Duke of Sudermania. The latter
sought to collect and unite various Masonic materials drawn from the whole
world. According to tradition most of these materials came from Florence,
Geneva and Bohemia.
Duke charged a commission with the task of studying the different rituals, and
in the year 1800 the Swedish rite received its definitive form as an organized
expression of the idea of absolute royalty. During this time the Strict
Observance and the other more mystical rites of the "High Degrees" disappeared
little by little on account of their having no coherent organization and their
lack of any real philosophic foundation.
the Swedish rite maintains itself by force of its organization and by the
support of ideas which serve as a base for absolute monarchy; but these ideas
are not specifically Masonic, rather they are a drag on Masonic thought by
their inflexible forms. The Swedish rite has cultivated friendly relations
very little with the rest of the Masonic world. Nevertheless, in 1770,
Zinnendorf founded the National Grand Lodge of Berlin, taking as a foundation
the MSS. and other works of Eckleff; and in 1819, Nettelblad brought this
Grand Lodge into accord with the rite that in the interval had been evolved in
follows from what has been said that the Swedish rite is followed in Sweden,
Denmark, Norway and Prussia. It numbers about 50,000 members.
head of all the Grand Lodges of the different provinces is "the unknown
Chief," a mythical successor to Solomon the Wise. Each of these Grand Lodges
is governed by a "Deputy of Solomon the Wise" (who, in Denmark and Sweden,
respectively, is the king of the country). The Deputy is elected for life by a
Superior Council, and he governs the lodges with an absolute authority. At his
side is placed the Council, which however has only a consultative voice in
affairs, composed of nine civilian brethren and two ecclesiastical, all of
whom must be Commanders of the Rose Croix (the highest degree).
rite has five degrees of the Chapter, beneath which are three degrees of St.
Andrew and below that again the three degrees of St. John's Masonry, which
corresponds to our Apprentice, Companion and Master. [The E. A., F. C. and M.
M. of English speaking Masonry. Tr.] In all there are eleven degrees. In
Prussia there are only ten, as there are only two degrees of St. Andrew's
brethren of all the degrees owe implicit obedience to their superiors and
obligate themselves expressly by oath never to propose any modification in the
rite, and never to make any Masonic connections outside the rite.
St. John's lodges (working the first three degrees) constitute in this rite
merely a kind of antechamber to the high grades. In order to constitute a St.
John's lodge it is necessary to have at least nine brethren who belong to the
chapter. [The degrees of the Chapter in this rite are, 7d, Knights of the East
or Prince of Jerusalem, equivalent to the 15d of the A.& A.S.R.; 8d, Confidant
of King Solomon, or Knight of the West, a Templar degree; 9d, Knight of the
South, or Confidant of St. Andrew or Perfect Templar; 10d, Knight Companion of
the Red Cross. The 11d is Deputy of Solomon the Wise and is held only by the
King. Whether the 10d is really a Rose Croix degree or not is not certain with
the information at hand. The last three degrees are said to be purely
honorary. Tr.] It is necessary that the Master should have attained at least
the 8d [i.e., he too must belong to the Chapter. Tr.] He is designated by the
"Deputy" of Solomon the Wise. [The actual head of the rite in each province.
Tr.] In effect the supreme power gives to the lodge a choice between three
brothers designated by him.
OF THE HIGH GRADES
brethren of the five higher grades (the Chapter) are empowered to enter any
lodge, to vote, to ballot, and in the last case they have the right to put in
the ballot box a number of white or black balls which differ according to
their rank. They thus exercise an absolute authority in the affairs of the
lodges. [Of course the Master, and the other nine Chapter members necessary to
the constitution of a lodge of St. John, also have the same right. Tr.] The
lodges which disobey are dissolved and their members transferred to others.
oath demanded of each candidate at initiation obligates him to absolute
obedience, blind, and for life. And further than this it is not accompanied by
any explanation of the obligation thus concentrated. It is, in general, to the
decrees that have been issued by the "Deputy" in the past, and to the decrees
that he may choose to make in the future, that this oath of obedience refers.
Further than this the Swedish rite is based entirely on Christian dogma; it is
not permitted to accept any candidate who belongs to any other than the
ceremonial of the lodges, especially in the high degrees, is very stately, and
it is based on the myths which have attached themselves to the Order of the
Templars from its foundation to its end. This is an element exactly similar to
that found in the Strict Observance and in the Grand Lodge of Berlin. These
myths of the Templars however have been renounced since 1887, after the labors
of Schottmuller, carried out by the order of the German Emperor, Frederick
III, who was, so it is said, a perfect Mason. As this resume shows, the
Swedish rite has acted in a manner to bring about a complete rupture with the
rest of the Masonic world. It considers itself as something extraordinary,
superior to all other rites. It does not desire to entertain friendly
relations with them, and it does not recognize their rights as Masons. It has
held relations only with the Grand Lodge of England. [And then only very
Christians have often attacked the dogmatic teaching that is professed in the
Swedish lodges, in which the myths of the "Essenes" play a considerable role.
The Essenes were a Jewish sect, spoken of by Flavius Josephus in his history
of the wars against the Romans. It was a fraternal association, whose members
lived an ascetic and celibate life. It was strongly organized. The Swedish
rite has intentionally confounded this sect with the primitive Christians. In
this way it has established a connection between itself and the Jewish King,
Solomon the Wise, who plays such a large part in universal Freemasonry. The
Swedish rite is unable to pass beyond this, for it has cut itself off from all
spiritual relationship with the rest of the Masonic world.
Actually the importance of these myths is very little. In spite of very
commendable ideas, which in their time justified the absolute monarchy, this
rite has preserved completely the character of intolerance, which by the side
of the above ideas constitutes the hateful aspect of absolute power, a
character that in the present epoch presents it in an aspect that is really
is why, in the North, true Masonry has the greatest difficulties in
establishing itself. Masonry has, however, a grand social mission, involved
more and more in the troubled circumstances of our day. Although as yet, even
in Germany, an organized Masonic movement for the propagation of humanitarian
ideas and for world peace, and co-operation between the different peoples, has
not yet been possible. [Since 1906 an Independent Grand Lodge "Masonic Union
of the Rising Sun" has been working towards this end.] The Swedish rite, in
its inflexibility and the rigor of its organization bears the greatest
responsibility for this check to the true aims of Freemasonry.
in a few words, let us look at the present situation in Germany. The position
is as follows:
Grand Lodges of the Swedish rite, which accept only men of the Christian faith
and of pure German blood. These are the three Grand Lodges of Prussia--"The
Three Globes," "The Royal York" [this name has been changed to "Friendship"
since the war] and the "National Grand Lodge of Germany" at Berlin. These
Grand Lodges are fiercely anti-semitic, intolerant, and they brutally
repudiate any idea of universal fraternity. They count about two-thirds of
German Freemasons in their membership, about 40,000. These Freemasons compose
in the minds of the Germans, even of the profane, an elite circle, of men of
reputation and weight, possessing an incontestable prestige among their
lodges connected with the Humanitarian rite. That is, the Grand Lodges of
Hamburg, "Of the Sun" at Bayreuth, of Saxony, of Frankfort, "Of Brotherly
Union" and of "Concord" at Darmstadt. These accept members of all religions,
professing in this respect a tolerance quite unknown to the Swedish rite. This
indicates quite plainly a broader spirit, more under the influence of reason,
and more accessible to the ideal of universality. Two characters differentiate
it from us Masons of the Grand Orient (of France). We systematically refuse to
espouse any philosophic doctrine, enjoying in this regard a complete
independence, an independence which, it was inevitable furthermore, should be
established little by little by reason of the supple Latin mentality, which
possesses in the supreme degree the gift of adaptation to its surroundings.
This opposes itself--by a fatality --to the stiffness of the northern mind,
too often frozen in the perpetual and rigorous observations of ritual and
symbols which to us appear obsolete and archaic.
lodges of the Humanitarian rite are pacifist, in spite of their refusal to
take up again the contacts broken through the war. Before that, this rite had
relations with the Grand Orient. It is necessary, however, to take count of
the psychologic situation created by the German defeat. I am convinced that
this situation is only accidental, and that with tact we will be able to put
an end to it in time.
Constitutions of the Humanitarian rite forbid all discussions on politics and
religion in official meetings. Their membership in Germany is about 20,000,
approximately one-third of the number of German Masons. [There is also the
"Free Union of the Five Independent German Lodges which are "Minerva" at
Leipsig, "Archimedes" at Altenburg, "Balduin" at Leipsig, "Charles of the
Crown of Rue" at Hildburghausen, and "Archimedes" at Gera. These five lodges
are in fraternal relationship with the eight German Grand Lodges, with the
Grand Lodge Alpina of Switzerland and others (2).]
Most American Masons are entirely unaware that the principles upon which
Masonic Jurisdiction is determined are quite peculiar to this country and are
not Landmarks. The American system has, however, the merit of clarity and
simplicity. The case of the Polar Star Lodge is curious. The body that we
should regard as the regular and supreme Masonic authority in Norway was quite
content to have a provincial Grand Lodge holding from another country, and
lived in amicable and fraternal intercourse with it. But it objects to its
becoming an independent Grand Lodge. We might make a rule out of this, but
when we go to Germany or France we find independent Grand Lodges and
independent lodges living happily together in fraternal intercourse, and our
rule is overturned. But though there is no consistent rule about governing
bodies there is agreement about lodges. Lodges are free to accept anyone who
applies if they find him worthy, no matter where he lives or where he comes
This "Union" is not a Grand Lodge, so far as we can find out it has no
legislative or executive functions. The lodges are independent and sovereign,
but they are in friendly alliance.
encyclical letter To the Princes and Peoples of the Universe, June 20, 1894,
Leo XIII addresses himself to the Eastern or Orthodox churches, inviting them
to join the Roman Church and to place themselves under the authority of the
have no reason to fear, as a consequence of your return to Catholic Unity, any
curtailment of your rights, of the privileges of your patriarchs, or of the
rites and customs of your respective churches. For it has always been and will
ever be the intention of the Holy See, as it has been her most constant
tradition, to treat all nations with a noble spirit of condescension and to
show the greatest consideration for their origin and customs.
the expression: "with a noble spirit of condescension."
the world war broke out, the Allies were anxious to secure the aid of Italy.
Let us suppose now that the French government addressed an appeal for that
purpose to the Italian government and the said appeal contained the passage:
"We Frenchmen, Latins like yourselves, have always treated you Italians with a
noble spirit of condescension." If such an appeal had been published in the
Italian press, what would have been the effect? Indignation meetings and
demonstrations would have been held throughout the whole peninsula and many of
the infuriated Italians would have clamored for the entrance into the world
war on the side of the Central Empires. But then, what government would have
been capable of such a stunt?
Czar of Russia exercised a sort of protectorate over the adherents of the
Eastern Church. He was the pope of those within the Russian Empire. He ruled
also over a round twenty millions of Roman Catholic subjects, mostly Poles and
Lithuanians. He never looked upon them with any too great a favor. He
frequently persecuted them. It is not probable that the Pope's letter, with
its "noble spirit of condescension" tended to ameliorate their unenviable lot.
was our Catholic press when the Holy Father, the White Shepherd, handed that
"condescending" amenity to the Eastern churches ? The sheep bleat when there
is something amiss with their shepherd; for instance, when he fails to feed
them at the accustomed hour. But not our Catholic flock. It is too well
Charles C. Marshall, in his famous Open Letter to Governor Alfred E. Smith of
New York, quotes from the encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII on The Christian
Constitution of States:
Almighty has appointed the charge of the human race between two powers, the
ecclesiastical and the civil, the one being set over divine and the other over
human things.... Over the mighty multitude of mankind, God has set rulers with
power to govern, and He has willed that one of them (the Pope) should be the
head of all.
the encyclical letter on The Reunion of Christendom Mr. Marshall quotes: "We
who hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty." In a limited sense, all
those in authority hold the place of God towards their subjects; the parents
over the children; the teachers over the pupils; the ministers over their
congregations. Still, if President Coolidge asserted in a speech that in the
United States he holds the place of God Almighty, his claim would be greeted
with an outburst of hilarity.
is such a thing as a sense of fitness of things. Hence it caused no small
amount of amusement in Germany when about two decades ago Kaiser Wilhelm II,
of happy memory, while addressing a regiment of soldiers, mostly socialists,
impressed it upon them that they must regard their hated drillmasters, the
noncommissioned officers (unter-offiziere), as "the representatives of God."
Kaiser talked, and the German people laughed and sneered, and wondered if
there was no way of muzzling him. He has never been muzzled, but he is in
Pope talked and his Catholic flock imbibed his wisdom with a reverence as if
it was taking the Lord's Supper. As w e have observed, the Catholic press
admired in Pope Leo XIII principally his altogether extraordinary diplomatic
Question: What kind of encyclical letters would he have issued, if he had not
been gifted with such prodigious diplomatic skill? PAPAL INFALLIBILITY
promulgation of the Syllabus of Pius IX was shortly followed by the Vatican
Council, the first ecumenical council of the Roman Church since that of Trent
(1545-1565). The outstanding issue at this Vatican Council was the
proclamation of the dogma of papal infallibility. It created among
non-Catholics a most unfavorable impression. It stirred up fresh distrust and
hatred of the papacy, and of the Catholic Church in general. Like the
unfortunate Syllabus it has conjured up petty persecutions, discriminations
against Catholics in business, in their academic and government career. In
reality, the dogma of papal infallibility is a harmless doctrine. It has not
conferred any new powers on the papacy. The right of the Holy See to act as
the supreme tribunal in religious controversies has been accepted by the
Catholic world all along. Roma locuta causa finita, "Rome has spoken, the
controversy is ended," was the recognized Catholic principle.
infallibility means that the Pope is inerrant in matters of religion and
morals when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, officially as the head of the
Church. As a private theologian he can err. But against his ex cathedra
decision there is no higher appeal.
the proclamation of that dogma, the question has risen to the front: When is a
papal pronouncement strictly ex cathedra? The theologians have not as yet
reached an agreement on that point. For instance, they are divided in their
opinion whether the Syllabus of Pope Pius IX is an infallible dictum. The
majority seem to favor its non-infallible character.
American Church Monthly (Episcopalian, New York) of February, 1927, the
Reverend Alan Whittemore, in an article of unusual merit on Church Unity,
asserts that according to many recognized Roman Catholic authorities the Holy
Father has made but two infallible pronouncements during the whole course of
the Church's history.
a papal pronouncement, like the Syllabus, need not be accepted as an
infallible utterance, it carries, nevertheless, great force. A Catholic is
forbidden to defend a thesis that has been proscribed by the Syllabus. If a
priest would, for example, still uphold the theory that the papacy is vastly
better off without the secular power--Central Italy--he is liable to be found
guilty of contumacy and to be removed from office. This shows to what extent
freedom of speech is restricted in the Roman Church. While the proclamation of
the new dogma has practically neither augmented nor diminished the powers of
the papacy and produced no visible benefits for the Church, it has had
annoying consequences. It has cast a fresh stumbling block in the path of the
non-Catholics by whom it is still utterly misunderstood. It has released a
deluge of ridicule on the Church, ridicule mixed with hatred and disgust. And
perhaps 90 per cent of the Catholics themselves misinterpret it. Our religious
teachers have been explaining all along what it means and what it does not
mean. They will have to keep up explaining till dooms day. And all because a
powerful group of theologians, rigorists of the old school, love to multiply
dogmas. They are bent upon restricting the freedom of thought and of speech.
Their hobby must be gratified no matter at what loss to the peace and welfare
of the Church.
Ketteler of Mayence, the father of socio-economic welfare work in Germany,
Bishop Hefele of Rottenburg, the eminent historian, and other leading
churchmen had vigorously declared themselves against the advisability of
proclaiming the trouble breeding dogma, and had voted against it. John Ignace
von Doellinger, the foremost scholar in the Church, bolted the Council. The
revolt he inaugurated proved abortive. But it was by a close margin that a
great schism was averted.
Vatican Council was interrupted by the Franco-German war of 1870-1871. It is
to reconvene in the near future. If I am informed correctly, a tentative
program has been mailed to the bishops throughout the world. Its contents have
so far been kept from the public. The suspicion seems justified that something
will be "slipped over" on the Catholic people. Probably a new dogma, or
several dogmata, will be hatched out that will irritate the world, be
misunderstood by 99 per cent of the people, and bring annoyance,
mortification, and, perhaps, even persecutions on millions of the faithful.
The priests will have a few more additional doctrines to explain.
recent crisis in Mexico has revealed one thing: the American Protestants are
almost solidly in sympathy with the Calles government. Does that straw not
indicate which way the wind is blowing?
view of the sad experience we have had with the Syllabus and Papal
Infallibility, it would seen a timely move, if the Knights of Columbus
petitioned the Pope that he publish sufficiently in advance the tentative
program of the coming Council. Feeble as Catholic public opinion is in the
Vatican-ridden American Church-feeble towards the Vatican--it may nevertheless
risk a faint whisper intimating to the Holy Father that he warn the
irrepressible restrictionists and dogma sponsors to use a little caution.
Given free reign, they will again start to dance and jig around their idol
whose name is Excessive Restriction. It is our good, well meaning, patient
Catholic people, that will have to pay the fiddler.
why should it be up to the Knights to present such matters to the Vatican?
Could not our American bishops and priests attend to it? They could, but they
will not do so. They are tongue-tied. They dare not utter a wish that might
displease the Holy Father. Not only their career, their prospects of
advancement, but their very livelihood is at his mercy. Moreover, many of our
bishops, including our most influential dignitaries, are themselves
restrictionists, particularly in the question of church government. While
those who are inclined towards latitudinarianism will for other reasons prefer
to observe a judicious silence. They know that the restrictionists are sitting
in the saddle at the Vatican.
regards the common clergy, you could not induce a group of priests to draw up
such a petition. If you succeeded, it would be of no avail. The Vatican would
frown upon such a move. It would scent a spirit of unrest and insurgency to be
promptly crushed. Such matters, like demanding for the common clergy and for
the laity a voice in the government of the Church, cannot be presented to the
Vatican without implying a criticism of its past policies and, perhaps, of its
present policy. Such criticism will not be countenanced. The Vatican is
accustomed to be fed adulation and wants nothing but adulation and servility.
individual priest who presumes to criticize the Vatican is laughed at as a
joke. He could not make himself heard. And if he should succeed in making
himself heard, he will be regarded by our good conservative Catholic masses an
impudent rebel, a scabby sheep, a weed in the garden of the Church. He is
liable to be denounced by the loyal Catholic press as a wretch who, inflated
by insane conceit, has been shipwrecked in faith. At best, he is pitied as a
hopeless fool who has thrown himself in the path of the most powerful steam
roller on the face of the earth. He is a ridiculous mouse who attempted to
bell the cat. Many of the bishops, most of the best educated priests and
laymen and, in short, the greater part of the American Catholic
intelligentsia, may secretly approve of his stand, but it is doubtful whether
even one person will dare to side with him openly. He will need a strong sense
of humor and an imperturbable mental poise to bear his stigma with equanimity.
For if he has any common sense at all, he cannot help asking himself: Can I be
possibly right when so many good people condemn me and nobody defends me ? On
the other hand, the restrictionists and dogma spouters who bring needlessly
odium and even persecutions on the Church are applauded as the pious
loyalists, as the courageous champions of the faith. They are in the inner
counsels of the Lord and on terms of familiarity with the Holy Ghost. In fact,
they are the mouthpiece of the Holy Ghost. Their wisdom and virtue is extolled
during their life time, they are granted the papal blessing on their deathbed
and they die with the sweetest and happiest smile on their face, conscious of
having kept their faith, and confident that St. Peter will receive them with a
brass band at the gates of paradise. And as most of them are really good and
virtuous people, we allow them cheerfully to be entitled to all that. They
mean well and we bear them no grudge.
my pessimism is unwarranted. The Marshall Smith correspondence has furnished
us a pleasant surprise. The valiant Governor of New York, the most popular
Catholic layman in the United States, has, after consulting a highly esteemed
priest, virtually repudiated the papal doctrine of the superiority of the
Church over the State. He has done so amid the applause of almost the entire
nation, the Catholics emphatically included.
THE FUTURE HOLDS
Marshall has induced the Governor to make that "declaration of independence,"
as the Literary Digest has characterized his summary of political principles.
There is a ray of hope that the American Catholics may still further
emancipate themselves from the Italian Autocracy in the Vatican. They may yet
succeed in being placed on a footing of equality with the Italians in the
Catholic world church.
Mr. Marshall and Governor Smith are entitled to congratulations. They have
advanced us a step towards clearing up the Vatican problem. But that problem
is far from being disposed of. I venture the following statements:
The American Catholics are, without exception, loyally devoted to their
country and to its Constitution.
Second. The Vatican has no ambition whatsoever of supplanting the government
of the United States, or for that matter, of any government in the world.
However, if Roman Catholicism in the United States keeps up the rate of
increase it has maintained in the last half century, then, owing to a certain
peculiarity in the hierarchic organization of the American Church, in fifty
years from now the Vatican will be the super-government hovering over the
federal government. The latter will be at the mercy of the Italian Autocracy.
The Autocracy will, perhaps, make no use of its tremendous latent power. Or,
what seems more probable, it will make only a very moderate, a very
broadminded and a very beneficent use of it. But that is not the issue. The
question is: Does the American people want to be at the mercy of the great
foreign Autocracy--of any foreign power?
Perhaps I have made a rash, irresponsible statement. In my work The Shadow of
the Vatican, which will shortly appear serially in these pages, I endeavor to
prove my contention. I will be glad to be corrected and to be shown that I
have essayed to give a false alarm.
are millions of American non-Catholics today who, devoid of all religious
prejudice, view the form of government of the Roman Church with a certain
uneasiness. Why not discuss the problem openly and candidly and try to dispose
of it one way or the other? At any rate, such a discussion may tend to clear
BRO. S. J. CARTER, New York
THEOLOGIAN of our own day, the Rev. Dr. Robert MacIntosh, in a discussion of
theistic belief, has said that attention has been confined almost entirely to
the question: "Does God exist ?" and to advancing proofs of the affirmative,
while the further question: "What is God?" is slurred over, if not ignored "as
if there could be no two opinions regarding that; whereas in truth there is
two hundred opinions," and as many more, it might be added, as there are
believers who think as well as believe.
older divines allotted long chapters in their ponderous tomes to the
discussion of the "attributes of God," but they were not so much concerned
with proofs of His existence. Not that they omitted them, for being
systematists they covered every part of the field, but in their day God and
the devil and heaven and hell were taken for granted by everyone. Even so late
as 1750 Hume did not formally deny the existence of God; he was called
atheistic because his philosophy left no place for a Deity.
Deism of two hundred years ago undertook to account for everything by reason,
and to prove God's existence by a "natural" theology. In this, the early
Rationalists attempted nothing really new, but their "orthodox" opponents felt
that they tended in effect to belittle revelation and to exalt human reason.
The controversy is of little interest today, for the descendants of the
orthodox stand in positions far more advanced (did they but know it) than the
Deists and Rationalists of the past.
man calls himself an atheist the first thought of the present writer is to
inquire what he means exactly, for curious as it may seem to those who have
not examined closely--and, it may be added, fearlessly --what their own
beliefs imply, this is neither obvious, nor in general easily defined. The
atheist, even within the memory of those who do not yet care to think of
themselves as old, was once regarded as something monstrous, inhuman, beyond
the pale. Indeed as something essentially and wilfully diabolical, partaking
of the character (and destined to the fate) of the spirits of evil. He was a
pariah, a moral leper, a thing apart, amazing, inexplicable, repulsive, and
yet an object of intense interest, horrible and fascinating, like a drowned
man, a hanging, a fatal accident, or one the like things that draw a crowd and
excite the so-called morbid curiosity that is normal to 85 per cent of the
race, and probably suppressed in most of the remainder.
as sex novels now, two generations ago writers were putting out stories about
heroes and heroines who came through storm and stress to the haven of faith,
or through storm and stress made shipwreck of it; of clergymen who were forced
by an irresistible passion for truth to give up their religious beliefs, or
infidels who, following the same guide, came back to the fold. These novels
were incomparably better written than their counterparts today, it took more
ability and more courage to do it well, yet they are completely forgotten.
Chiefly it would appear because the whole mental atmosphere has so changed
that the questions thus dealt with now seem fantastic and unreal to the
generality of the reading public, and leave us wondering at what the world was
like in those days. Even our most fundamentally minded religious reactionaries
have built themselves mental and moral houses and planted metaphorical
vineyards on the very ground that was then being torn up by the front-line
fighting--if a military metaphor may be permitted--and poisoned by mephitic
clouds of abuse.
CHARACTER OF DEISM
true that the eighteenth century was characterized, at least among the
cultured and intellectual, by an essential infidelity; but it was a
superficial attitude, more than willing to conform to custom and convention.
To go to church was fashionable, to profess plain disbelief was bad form.
Instead of doing this men invented Deism. God made the world, as a clockmaker
makes a clock, he wound it up, and went away and left it. Up to this time
science was still in the descriptive stage--what happened when an acid was put
with an alkali, or copper and zinc in salt water. Botany and zoology were
still only classifying orders and species. In history and letters criticism
was becoming methodized in the matter of texts and documentation, and in the
mass of the elementary work that called to be done before further advance
could be made, while the more crucial questions had not even emerged--the
questions of how and why.
or later, if men went on, there was bound to be a conflict-the conflict
loosely and inaccurately, though conveniently, called that of science and
religion, really that between scientific hypotheses and traditional religious
formulas. The first great battle (there had been preliminary skirmishes) was
fought over Darwin's theory of evolution--not, it should be noted, over
evolution itself, for that was no new idea--but its cause and mode of
operation. The eighteenth century had been an age of polite and shallow
philosophical doubt, the nineteenth was one of an earnest but materialistic
passion for truth. So much had been achieved by slow patient gathering of
tested facts, that by reaction and contrast any conclusion not reached in this
way was held to be inadmissible, to be put on the docket as suspect if not
sentenced out of hand to rejection. It depended on temperament which procedure
was followed, but the tendency of the period was to deny all that could not be
proved by scientific methods, that is subjected to repeated and controlled
experiment and producing results measurable with scale and balance. Today,
what with theories of relativity that dismiss time and space as mere
abstractions without essential reality, and physical hypotheses that picture
the atom, the ultimate unit of matter, as an indefinitely minute but very
complex solar system consisting of still smaller, very much smaller ions, or
particles of negative electricity (if a particle of electricity is
conceivable) revolving at inconceivable velocities about a proton or particle
of positive electricity, the solid material universe that seemed so ultimate
to the preceding generation is well on the way to dissolving into the
substance of which dreams are made.
SUBSTANCE OF ATHEISM
said above that it is not really clear what atheism means. It is quite true
that most self-styled atheists think they know, as do their theological
opponents, nevertheless it is one of those conceptions that the closer it is
examined the more and more indefinite and vague it becomes. There is the fool
who has said in his heart that there is no God, who is the same person,
presumably, barred by Freemasonry as a "stupid atheist." But this atheism is
not to be dignified as a mental attitude, it is merely an expression of the
wishes and desires of the pure materialist, who sees nothing in life but
selfish advancement and sensual enjoyment. So far as Freemasonry is concerned
his character bans him in any case, he is not worth argument, but merely of
then is atheism from an intellectual standpoint ? We must remember that
through the ages many men have been so stigmatized because they rejected
conceptions of the Deity that were degraded or mistaken; it is an easy way to
get rid of an opponent whose arguments are hard to answer, and whose
conclusions are disturbing. These men are not properly to be classed with
those who profess atheism, and it may be well to consider what these last are
trying to do. Only the half-hearted and those of little faith will fear them.
illuminating example is before us today. Certain good people have been much
exercised and horrified at the spread of an organization among students in our
universities for the propagation of this creed--for this atheism is held with
all the fervor of a religious belief. Questioned as to what they seek to do
the reply is that they want to get rid of the idea of "a big man up above in
Heaven." One wonders what kind of religious instruction they have come in
contact with, but if that is what they are attacking in this day and age, one
can only say "In God's name let them get on with it." Again, take Robert
Ingersoll, once a name to conjure with (both for blessing and cursing) but now
almost forgotten. A winning orator and a pleasing writer, his arguments were
shallow, and in truth effective only against the futilities and finalities
that had formed as excrescencies about the orthodoxies of the day. One can
believe that in the divine Providence he had his place and his work. But
again, with such as he we need not concern ourselves.
SCIENTIFIC INTERPRETATIONS OF THE UNIVERSE
more weighty opponent to religion was Ernst Haeckle, whose achievements in
biology and whose weighty reasoning put him in an altogether different class.
He did not call himself an atheist, but a monist. A monist is not necessarily
an atheist, but a materialistic monist is practically the same thing, so far
as the position of either can be made clear. It must be remembered that when
Haeckle wrote the books that have been translated and read in so many
languages, the newer physics had not come into being. The atom was still the
ultimate unit of matter, and it was still regarded as an exceedingly minute
body, impenetrable, indestructible, having, so it was uncritically assumed,
all the properties of larger bodies. With these atoms alone he tried to
account for the universe, and life and generation, and will and desire, and
love and hate and thought and moral good and evil. It was a great attempt, and
convinced many and apparently satisfied himself; but in reality it was a
failure. For without telling his readers, apparently, indeed, quite unknown to
himself, he in the course of his argument, here a little and there a little,
imported into his bare material atoms all the potentialities of life. Had he
only gone a step or two further his monism would have ended at least in
pantheism if not theism. Incidentally, from sundry incidental glimpses he
gives into his own spiritual history it is fairly clear that his passionate
enmity to religion was due to the utterly impossible teaching he received in
its name as a child.
Herbert Spencer took, in his own way, the step at which Haeckle stopped short.
He may be labeled as agnostic--a conception, by the way, no more clear on
examination, than atheist. To him God was the Absolute--the unknowable origin
of all things, agreeing thus far with the theologians, and here he stopped
short and parted company, of no practical concern to mankind. For Spencer
could not conceive the Absolute being interested in ephemeral beings of time
and space. Space is here wanting to discuss his position, if not time also,
but with the same materials he showed it was logical to go on to postulate the
existence of some kind of Deity which the biologist Haeckle had failed to see.
need concern ourselves no further with either writer, influential as both have
deservedly been, for the scientific conceptions on which their systems were
based have crumbled and in their place we have the new physics. It is true
that there is a clinging to the past, and that present day scientists, as a
class, seem as alien from religion as ever, but the battleground is a new one,
and the strategy and tactics of both sides are changing accordingly.
Scientists as such still see no place in the universe for God, but their ideas
of the ultimate constitution of matter are far more spiritual in truth than
the spiritual conceptions of many who pride themselves on their religious
orthodoxy. But it must be remembered (scientists themselves do not always
remember though more inclined to do so than in the past) that the scientific
field of investigation is a strictly limited one, and inevitably the results
are limited, too.
WAY TO THEISM
common sense of mankind insists that a cause must be found for everything, and
eventually a final first cause. The scientist is apt to reply that to seek for
a final cause is a meaningless problem. It is, from the purely scientific
point of view--but there are wider prospects than that--there is life and
human relationships, for example, and like matters. From such standpoints the
question does have meaning, meaning of the utmost importance. Scientists
profess great contempt for metaphysics, but it might be better for them if
they knew more of philosophy, for they are now beginning, rather crudely, to
tackle particular cases of some of the problems that metaphysicians have been
discussing generally for centuries, and on which they have reached at least as
much agreement as physicists have in their theories.
scientist objects to religion that it is a matter of faith based on human
needs and intuitions and emotions, backed by traditions and books of uncertain
history written by men subject to human limitations and liability to error. It
is all uncertain, compared to a chemical experiment or a proposition in
Euclid. The scientist seeks certainty; but he is not alone, for so does
everyone else. The easiest way to obtain it, and perhaps the only way, is to
manufacture it--that is to say, to believe. Really nothing is certain. Once
Euclid's propositions and chemical experiments were supposed to be, but that
day is past. There are, it is true, practical certainties, and these are the
more probably certain in inverse ratio to their importance in human life.
Strictly speaking nothing can be proved, for we must always start with
something unproved that is taken for granted. Everything can be proved if the
appropriate postulates are laid down and accepted-we can prove the existence
of space of the fourth, or the nth dimension, and equally the existence of
God. But the grounds of any proof of anything can always be criticized, and
are open to rejection.
human beings even scientists and philosophers --are chiefly and primarily
concerned, not with the world of magnetic fields of force, or kinds of
dimensional space, or the orbits of ions in the atom, and quanta and such
things, but with the world in which they live and work, and with the
elementary passions, desires, emotions, and with thought and feeling and life
and death, and that most amazing and wonderful thing of all, love. Love,
unselfishness, benevolence, pity. In this world, so complex, so limitless, we
have to find our way, and our only guide is some kind of faith, some kind of
general hypothesis that postulates a meaning to it all, and that meaning
leads, by whatever way we go, to some conception of God. That is if we follow
it to the end.
ABSTRACT CONCEPTIONS OF GOD
Atheism then is really negligible. The juvenile excesses of college clubs
certainly are. Serious denial of some adequate origin and spiritual
environment of the things of most concern to us may be said to be almost
non-existent. But the orthodox are not satisfied, however. They object to God
being conceived as an abstract First Cause, or an Absolute, or an originating
Energy. God is more than a bare abstraction they say. It is curious to note
that such objectors generally use other abstractions to express their own
conception even in the same breath as when condemning these. One prosperous
and growing religious body (not regarded as orthodox, though) persistently
(after its founder) calls God by the term Principle. Principle might be called
the very abstraction of an abstraction. A principle of energy or force is more
abstract than force or energy taken by themselves. But truly no abstraction
remains bare when it is used as a term for God. Just as Haeckle imported life
and mind into bare dead matter so other qualities creep into Energy or Cause
or whatever it may be when regarded as the ultimate origin of the world. Truth
is as much a bare abstraction as Force, and it is freely used by the orthodox
as a term for God, and with some scriptural warrant.
scholastic theologians laid down different ways of arriving at the divine
attributes--one they called via negative, the way of negation. God being
infinite could not be this or that, because every term of qualification is
also a limit. By itself, this leads to the Absolute of the philosophers, which
is bare enough and abstract enough, and the Ain Soph of the Kabbalah, Who, or
perhaps Which, is beyond thought and even existence. But the method of
Negation was balanced by that of Eminence. God is everything preeminently, the
most Holy, most Perfect, most Just, most Merciful, beyond all human
conception. True the two sets of conceptions are not easy to reconcile in a
logical scheme, but then nothing is easy to systematize once we get beyond the
apparent solidities and accepted verities of every-day life.
there are inadequate conceptions of God, it is objected. Truly there are. All
conceptions are inadequate; but we naturally hold our own to be more adequate
than those we object to. The old theologians, who were no fools for all their
dullness and prolixity, claimed that every attribute of God could be deduced
from any one of them; if a man hold but one he potentially holds all, and may
arrive at them if he goes on thinking. Nevertheless there are certain well
defined kinds of belief about God, pantheism, theism, dualism, pluralism. But
here again the borders are vague. The Christian doctrine of Divine Immanence
verges closely on Pantheism and it takes very close and rather artificial
definition to keep them apart. Much Christian theology, too, is dualistic in
its fear to face the problem of evil. If men had more Christian charity and
less conceit of their own definitions there would be less disagreement. But
just as we build houses and shut ourselves within four walls and a roof, so we
construct orthodoxies, and hold by formulas to shut our fellow believers in
and our opponents out. God as working in all men throughout all the ages is
too large a conception for us, and we seek refuge from this blinding vision of
infinity in our own precise definitions and limitations, pitifully inadequate
as they necessarily and inevitably must be.
practical atheist we have ever with us. He is to be found in our churches in
the most prominent pews, sometimes in the pulpit and at the altar. He is to be
found in Masonic Lodges in spite of all formulas and professions of faith. To
the man who denies God in his life, profession comes easily enough when it
serves his purpose--and he may all the time regard himself as a pillar of the
faith, as a perfectly squared stone in the temple. The theoretical atheist is
a man seeking the truth; and if he keeps on seeking he will find, when he
least expects it, that he has been walking with God all the time, and that God
was guiding him. A hard doctrine, my masters, for what becomes of our
comfortable formulas of creed and doctrine? Nevertheless it was the Lord
himself who said "He that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous
man shall receive a righteous man's reward." Truth is not an easy guide to
follow, and we all make compromises with error.
everyone in the name of common sense must suppose some Origin, some Cause, the
question is whether such terms so used signify the same Existence or Being
that religion calls God. And here the way is indeed confusing, a very
labyrinth. One thing is sure, one man may mean much more by a First Cause than
another does by God. The Cause originating the universe must in some way be
the Cause of everything in it--and immediately the broad paths of Pantheism
and Dualism open out before us; and the problem of free will, and the origin
of evil and the bases of morality. Here we must all walk delicately in a fog
of possibilities--that is if we think. Those who attach themselves, or are
attached, to some system of belief and doctrine find the way clear enough, and
they are usually bitter in reprehending thought and doubt and criticism in,
exact proportion as they are in their own hearts doubtful of the ground on
which they stand. To discuss all these possibilities whole libraries have been
written, but there is one short cut just as safe as any. The practical atheist
is he who lives a selfish, self-seeking immoral life. The practical theist is
he who in spite of doubt and uncertainty sees and prefers and follows after
the good. Not the man who proclaims his virtue, but rather he who does not
realize he has any yet esteems it in others. It is true that Christian
doctrine teaches that works are dead without faith. But he who follows the
good, not sure whether it has a permanent place in the universe, unable to
account for it, but believing that it is there and determined that he will
cling to it, that man is not far from God.
world as we know it there is something that is ignored by the exact and
physical sciences--necessarily ignored, for we can only think in compartments
--neither is it pertinent in biology; and that is personality. Unimportant as
men may be in the scale of cosmic distances and the magnitudes of nature, yet
in our existence this fact of personality outweighs them, all; or rather it is
incommensurable with them, being on another plane of existence. Yet it, too,
calls for an origin and some proper place, some environment of its own kind.
God cannot be personal, it is said, because personality, as we know it,
implies limitation. Yet there must be that in His being which accounts for
personality and corresponds to it. Edouard Le Roy, a French student of
philosophy, in a little book entitled What Is Dogma? insists that, though
couched in the form of a statement addressed to the intellect, a dogma is
essentially a rule of conduct. The dogma that God is a person means that we
should so conduct ourselves in all things as if He were a person, that the
relationship between the individual and God may be all that a personal one
is--and perhaps more.
PROBLEM OF EVIL
conception meets some difficulties, doubtless it leads to its own; for we walk
in a twilight of uncertainties and irreconcilable facts, the obscurity of the
cave in Plato's allegory, where only the shadows of things were seen. But
ignoring the difficulties and objections, and accepting, let us say, the
superpersonality of the Deity as well as His power or energy, what of His
nature? Here again a new confusion, yet another labyrinth. For in bulk the
evil in the world seems to overwhelm good as matter outweighs mind. Mankind
has a strong tendency always to concentrate difficulties into an uncriticized
postulate. Thus the rationalist philosophy of a generation or so ago accounted
for everything very neatly on the basis of the science of the day, simply
lumping everything that did not fit into the scheme by the theory,
dogmatically asserted and defended with the true odium theologicum, that
consciousness was an epiphenomenon, an illusion, of no more account than the
noise of the whistle is to the running of a locomotive, which was Huxley's
metaphor. Similarly in many religious systems, including much systematic
Christian theology, the problem of the existence of evil was all concentrated
in hell, in Satan, in Ahriman, or some other fiend or devil. The difficulty
was still there, however.
was suggested above that the apparent preponderance of matter over mind was
due to not perceiving that the two things are not in the same class, are on a
different level, and not properly to be compared. Perhaps good and evil are
likewise on different planes. Evil may be a function of the relationship of
organisms, of living entities somehow embodied, with the dead world of matter.
The good may be the proper functioning of these living entities apart from the
physical and material. The colorless word entity has been used, but obviously
it here expresses what is known as the spiritual, the soul. It is true the
scientific mind objects that we have no conception of the soul, that the
meaning of the word, if meaning there be, is a complex of confused ideas,
images and projections. Nevertheless there is something over and above
physicochemical explanations, or even psychological, that requires a name. It
is there whether named or not, and its plane of existence is the good, and
perhaps also the beautiful.
coming back to our abstract Origin or First Cause, we must ascribe to It not
only the essentials of personality without the limitations, which ascription
makes the personal pronoun more appropriate, but we also must see in It, or
Him, the source of good--the good which is so much more than evil that but one
instance of it shines through all the world like a candle in the night.
(never do we find anything clear-cut and definite, except as we make it so by
names and limitations) what is the Good ? We know it well enough when we meet
it, but what is it? How describe it, how fit it in to the logical scheme ? The
lists of virtues are rather haphazard, traditional, affairs; many that have
names are no more than embodiment of quite human conventions. God is the
holy-but the holy is but an idealized version of the taboo. He is
righteous--another name for the good. He is the just--another composite term
of purely human and temporal reference. Is there anything that is more
fundamental? Anything that underlies the rest? As has been said, theologians
claim that all the attributes of God are deducible from any one of them; and
if these are, as it would seem from this, but different applications or
manifestations of the divine nature in the world, we can see how this should
be so. But there is one attribute, one quality, or perhaps more accurately,
not an attribute but a predicate, that seems more fundamental than holy, or
true, or just and the rest, although the theologians as a rule do not bring it
out very clearly. It was first expressed by the second of the two patrons of
Masonry, St. John the Evangelist, in his first epistle general, in the fourth
chapter and the eighth and sixteenth verses. Those inclined to the occult way
may note the Pythagorean sequence, the square, the cube and the fourth power
of the dyad. As American Masons so value the Great Light there will be no need
to quote the passage, though it is but three short words.
summing up may now be made. At the present time, whatever it might have been
in the past or may be in the future, atheism as an intellectual factor is
practically non-existent. The postulation of some cause, some originating
energy, some all embracing absolute is now generally made. The terms used are
abstract, as they must be, but the more such abstract conceptions are made to
include in the concrete world, the greater and more varied potentialities must
be explicitly or implicitly imported into them; and sooner or later the honest
thinker will see and make explicit what is implied in his postulates. Thus all
roads lead eventually to God--if only the adventurer travel far enough. That
men do not always go far enough is too evident from every-day experience, but
it is not the fault of the road but of the traveler. We are hindered by all
kinds of irrelevant matters, prejudices, reactions, habits, wishes, inertia,
and sheer stupidity and obtuseness.
orthodox Christian this will not seem sufficient, very naturally. And reason
and thought cannot, by itself, lead to Christian belief. If Christianity be
true--the proviso is made advisedly--it is in a real and significant sense a
revelation. It is in fact a new complexity to add to an already complex
universe. That is no argument against it, it is only what a revelation would
be. Nor does it mean that it cannot be fitted into some intelligible scheme as
well as electricity or radio-activity. It may even support (as so many have
thought) the theistic conclusions based on reflection upon, and reasoning
from, the every-day facts of the world. However this may be it does not call
to be discussed here, for Freemasonry does not require acceptance of
Christianity. It has been thus far notice however, because of the tendency of
many good Mason in the past as in the present, to more or less consciously
import Christian ideas and beliefs into Masonry.
past it was supposed that no atheist could be a good man. Experience upsets
this naive belief, for many men so labeled were found to be virtuous, just
moral and upright. It would be safer to reverse the proposition and say no
good man is really an atheist whether so labeled or not. A simple test was
once laid down; "by their fruits ye shall know them." He who brings forth good
fruit in his life has a practical faith in the good, in which is also implicit
an intellectual belief in the source of good--that is in God, as the highest
good men can conceive.
Masonic Stone at Pompeii
time to time references are made by Masonic writers, and sometimes by others,
to a supposed lodge-room discovered in the excavations at the buried city of
Pompeii. Recently two Canadian members of the Society communicated photographs
showing a "Masonic" stone also discovered there. One of these was also
accompanied by a newspaper clipping, which, with the usual inaccuracy of
newspapers when they go outside the beaten path, seemed to intimate that this
stone and the supposed lodge-room were connected. Bro. N.W.J. Haydon, who sent
this clipping, suggested that the matter needed some clearing up. The
newspaper had a poor reproduction of the stone which might have been taken
from the same photograph as the illustration here presented for which we are
indebted to Bro. Irvine of Calgary. It may be remembered that another view of
the same stone was published in THE BUILDER, Vol. xi, page 173, with a note
that information on the subject was to be desiderated. This earlier view shows
the position of the stone to be near the corner of the wall of a house. The
third of our illustrations here given shows its general position in the
street, but does not show the corner, which was evidently too near the camera
to be included in the photograph.
J.S.M. Ward, who is one of the most interesting, and may we also say the most
imaginative of living Masonic authors, refers to this Pompeian Lodge, or
alleged Collegiate gild room, in a number of places. For instance, he says in
Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods:
Pompeii we find what is practically a Masonic tracingboard and a significant
the latter is not in the same building and has really nothing Masonic about it
except that one of the figures in the drawing he reproduces is standing in a
position which he believes was one of the original signs of Freemasonry. The
said figure is that of a woman, by the way. In a photographic copy of this
fresco recently examined (which differs considerably in details from the
drawing) the gesture appears to be merely a natural one of surprise. On a
later page he says:
building of the Collegia unearthed at Pompeii in 1878 has already been
described, but we will summarize and repeat the description.
were two columns in front, and the walls were decorated with interlaced
triangles, the constant badge of the Masons. Upon a pedestal in the room was
found a tracing board of inlaid mosaic. In the center is a skull with a level
and plumbline and other symbolic designs.
description referred to is as follows, and as it gives a description of the
tracing-board we will give it at length:
the ruins of ancient Pompeii is a building almost perfect, known locally as
"The Masonic Temple." It has received the name because of the discovery
therein of a peculiar mosaic table which can best be described as a
tracing-board. It is made of marble and inlaid with the following symbols: On
a ground of grey green stone is a human skull inlaid in grey black and white;
above it is a level in colored wood, the points however, being made of brass.
From the top is suspended a plumb line; beneath the skull is a six spoked
wheel, on the upper rim of which is a butterfly . . . On the left there is an
upright spear from which hang a scarlet and also a purple robe . . . On the
right there is a thorn stick from which hangs a coarse piece of cloth in grey
brown and yellow, tied with cord and over it a leather knapsack.
seems too bad to coldly criticize the romantic suggestion that in an ancient
Roman town there was a Masonic lodge room, with two pillars, and steps and
pedestals and tracing-boards all complete, but truth compels us to do so.
There is nothing about the house itself that distinguishes it especially from
others. The two pillars were obviously to support the roof, and are not the
only ones in the building. The triangle, single or interlaced, is not
especially a Masonic symbol even though frequently employed by Masons. On the
so-called tracing-board there is but the level that is unmistakably Masonic.
The wheel and butterfly are certainly not. The skull, like the triangle, was
adopted among Masonic emblems in the eighteenth century, and while the regal
robes and beggar's staff and scrip do indeed parallel a reference in the
modern English lectures, this is obviously no more than a coincidence; for the
earlier form of the statement--"brother to a king, . . . or a beggar, if a
Mason and found worthy" is quite different and has no suggestion of such a
contrast of fortune.
matter of fact the dominating feature of the design is the wheel. In the Study
Club article in THE BUILDER for December, 1925, there was a reference to wheel
symbolism and its antiquity. In this mosaic we have obviously the wheel of
fortune or fate. Above it the skull, below the butterfly, the classic emblem
of the soul. On the left wealth and power, on the right poverty and indigence.
Taken with these the level can only be taken as having the same meaning as the
balance. The level of time, signifying that everything comes to the same end,
in the dust of the grave.
Granted that there is much in the Masonic system as it is today that is
closely analogous to this, nevertheless it is all so obvious, it is such a
commonplace of all philosophic moralizing and proverbial wisdom that Masons
can lay no exclusive claim to it. As has been said there is but one certain,
authentic, Masonic element in the whole design, the level. That tools,
including those of Masons, were frequently depicted and popularly referred to
in all times and places is probable in itself and can be conclusively
demonstrated in a great many instances. For instance, the use of the word
"square" to describe an individual or his character is a figurative expression
very common in the eighteenth century and in the seventeenth also. It could
hardly at that :have been borrowed from the Masons, as it might have been
later when they became if not notorious at least generally known to the world
at large. Of more ancient and more exotic instances we have often been
told-China, Egypt and Ancient Greece all give us examples. A single swallow
does not bring the summer, and a reference to a builder's working tool does
not establish the existence of Freemasonry.
the "Masonic" stone been fixed in the wall of the Masonic temple, the case
would be somewhat stronger, though even then by no means conclusive. There is
no suggestion, however, that it is--and it would hardly have been overlooked.
It is rather crude work and from the photograph looks almost as if the
original intention had been to cut away the intervening stone and leave the
emblems in relief. Most of the objects represented are quite clear. Beginning
at the left is a carpenter's auger of the old-fashioned spoon type. Then comes
a spade, the blade and its socket for the handle. To the right of that at the
top is what looks suspiciously like a phallos, at the bottom is an inverted
two-handled vase. Then comes the common A-shaped level with a
disproportionately large pear-shaped plumbbob. To the right of that at the
bottom is what is probably a reel for winding the line upon, a form of what
English Masons call the "skirret." Such reels appear on other classical
representations of builders' implements with spiral markings on them to
indicate the cord wound on them. The next object seems to be the head of a
carpenter's adze, and if this is the right interpretation the staff or baton
next to it may be intended for the handle.
have here a curious collection of emblems that certainly do seem to be chiefly
connected with building operations, but in truth seem more to appertain to
carpenters than to masons. It is indeed possible that the peculiar esoteric
system out of which modern Freemasonry has developed was originally common to
all crafts connected with building. There is much to be said for such a
theory, but this does not support in any way the supposition that Masonry as
we know it, with its specially arranged lodge rooms and their furnishings, was
existent in remote ages.
ask what was the purpose of carving these objects on a stone and building them
into a wall--a wall of rough masonry without any architectural ornament ?
There was doubtless some significance in it, but was this anything like what
we would call a Masonic significance ? In the first place the representation
of tools and implements in carving and fresco was quite common. In Pompeii
itself we have wall paintings showing all kinds of occupations. The mill, and
the baker's kneading trough and oven is quite frequent. Kitchen implements and
those of agriculture are found. We reproduce here (Fig. 7) a panel found at
Pompeii showing the paraphernalia of a scribe, the wax tablets, stylus and
eraser, with pen and inkpots. A basrelief from an altar (Fig. 6) shows a smith
at work, with an assistant blowing the forge. Tongs, hammer and chisel are
shown to the right and what is supposed to be a finished lock.
Curiously enough the tongs appear very frequently in conjunction with other
objects that were considered as powerful amulets against the Evil Eye. An
example is given in Fig. 5, which is from a terra cotta mould, of a type of
which a number of specimens exist with very similar designs. The tongs in this
example are at the bottom, a little to the right. These moulds are supposed to
be intended for forming the tops of the terra cotta lamps which are to be
found in almost every museum. Among the other emblems that constantly reappear
in them and like designs are the vase and ladder. It may seem also to give
them a Masonic flavor to some brethren to know that the sun and moon appear
with equal frequency.
Another relief is reproduced, Fig. 2, which is very interesting in itself, as
showing the loading and unloading of ships in a Roman port. But the particular
reason for introducing it here is the incongruous eye placed under the yard
arm of the smaller ship. It does not belong to the ship as the sail is furled,
and the eye just hangs in mid-air. By itself it is rather in explicable, but
in the light of other reliefs and designs its intention becomes somewhat
clearer. One of the most potent antidotes against the ill-luck wrought by the
Evil Eye was a representation of that Eye itself. Bro. Elworthy in his book on
the subject gives a very curious relief that was apparently originally built
into the wall of a house in Rome itself. In this the eye is of enormous size
and the dominating feature of the design. It is represented as being attacked
by gladiators on each side, and from below a number of animals also attack it,
among them the scorpion and crab of Mithraic reliefs. Above, upon the Eye
itself, is a figure in a Phrygian cap in a most realistic and Rabelaisian
attitude, on account of which it seemed wiser not to reproduce it. And this
brings out another curiosity of the beliefs concerning the Evil Eye, that
obscenity in itself acted as an antidote, whether in word or gesture, or
representation. Bro. Elworthy has reproduced a multitude of charms both modern
(for the belief is still in full force in Italy) and ancient, and among them
the phallos, sometimes disguised, sometimes not, is very frequent. Among the
many charms the "Canopic" vase also seems to have been quite a favorite.
Evil Eye--which anyone might have quite innocently--was capable of almost
anything in the way of bad luck and misfortune, the counter-spells were very
important. Everything had to be protected, especially the weak and the valued.
Children were especially liable to the miasma, and young animals. Personal
ornaments were often also charms, horse furniture and trappings also bore
adornments of the same character. But not only the living, but inanimate
things needed protection also, and among these houses and temples. Curious it
seems to us that the gods should need charms to protect their own property,
but so it was. While the luck of a house--and of those who dwelt in it--might
be entirely reversed by a passing malignant glance; hence the addition of
ornaments or objects that the Greeks called akroteria. Indeed the tradition
lasted on into Christian ages, and churches were sometimes invested with the
traditional protection--sometimes of precisely the same character--and
battered and defaced carvings of this kind are still to be found here and
there on old churches.
theory of these protective charms seems to have been that they acted as a kind
of spiritual lightning conductor. They drew the malignant power of the Evil
Eye to themselves and absorbed it. It would seem that almost any object that
would attract attention would serve in this way; as for example one powerful
protection against both the Eye and witchcraft is a tangled ball of thread or
twine, and if it be scarlet woolen yarn so much the better. An elaborate
interlaced pattern, that showed neither beginning nor end, had a like
efficacy. Probably the composite charms, such as that in Fig. 5, not only
combined the virtue of each individual emblem in itself, but as a whole had
the virtue of complexity, which puzzles the first glance and draws attention
to the picking out of the different objects represented.
now to the interpretation of the "Masonic" stone; in view of these facts it
would seem most probable that its main purpose was to protect the house into
the wall of which it was built. We have two objects in it that are known to be
such charms, the phallos and the canopic vase. For the rest it is rather hard
to say. We have one certain case of implement or tool used in this way--the
blacksmith's tongs. But their efficacy may be derived from the fact that they
are made of iron--itself potent against witchcraft, and also have to do with
fire, which is both purifying and protective. It is possible to guess that the
other objects simply helped to draw attention, and that their choice was due
to the occupation of the owner of the house. If so, we must assume that he was
a carpenter. For the line and level belong just as much to a builder in wood
as in stone, and the auger and adze are certainly not mason's tools. Whether
this suggestion be accepted or not however, we can take it as certain that
this stone had nothing to do with Masonry as we know it.
Freemasonry and Fascism
Freimaurer Zeitung of Vienna had in April an account of the trial of General
Capello for complicity in the insane attempt made by Zaniooni to assassinate
Mussolini. The May number was almost entirely devoted to the history of the
relations between Freemasonry and Fascism in Italy down to the martyrdom, for
it is nothing less, of General Capello and Grand Master Torrigiani.
present article is not an exact translation, for the matter has been
considerably rearranged in order to make it easier to follow for those who
know little or nothing of the circumstances of the tragedy, nevertheless it
follows the original in the relation of the facts.
the disturbances that marked the initial clash between the then triumphant
Socialism and the rising forces of Fascism, Signore Torrigiani, Grand Master
of Italian Freemasonry, addressed a circular letter to the Italian lodges,
dated Dec. 21, 1921. In this letter he recommended to them the following
Violence can never be sanctioned. Circumstances may arise when force has to be
repelled by force. However, this should never become a normal political
campaign method. Fascism in its beginning appeared to be a political
necessity, a deliverance at a time when a state of anarchy and the
establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat had to be opposed. For
that reason many Masons joined the ranks of Fascism. The brethren are not
prohibited from remaining in the Fascist camp. But they must always regard it
as their duty to try to prevent Fascism from degenerating into terrorism.
months later, on Oct. 19, 1922, Grand Master Torrigiani issued another letter
to the Italian lodges in which he warned against the terroristic tendencies in
Fascism. We quote:
become a Freemason, one has to be devoted to the ideals of patriotism and of
liberty. This does not imply that one has to identify himself with one or
another political faction. In our ranks there is room for the most divergent
everything else, so also in our stand towards Fascism we have always the
welfare of the fatherland before our eyes. Our aim was always to eliminate all
venom in the political campaign, to oppose acts of terrorism and to promote
liberty. We desired to propagate the ideals of humanity and the spirit of
fraternity in the nation. These are still today the principles by which we are
guided in our endeavor. For that reason we hope that the Fascist theories will
not assume a form that means a slap in the face of our conception of democracy
and freedom. We hope that they will not aim at dictatorship and oligarchy.
Meanwhile Bro. Maruzzi, Grand Archivist of the Grand Orient, had drawn up a
declaration of faith of the Italian Masonry. It is based on the Ancient
Charges and presents in a condensed form the cardinal principles of Masonry.
He grouped them into five sets of rules which he called the "Five Points of
the Masonic Brotherhood." These principles are identical with those professed
by Masonry all over the world. They include:
in a Supreme Being. Love of our neighbor, of our country, of humanity. The
golden rule: Do unto others what you would that others do unto you. The
freedom of conscience and of speech. Respect for the opinion of others.
Sincere devotedness to truth, to what is beautiful, what is good. The moral
uplift and material progress of humanity. Equal rights for all. Social
early in 1923 the lodges of the Grand Orient convened to consider, among,
other things, a revision of the constitution, the delegates of the Symbolic
Rite (St. John's Lodges) adopted Maruzzi's Five Points as basic principles.
The General Convent of the Grand Orient unanimously approved of this.
agreed on these principles, the Grand Convent now considered their application
to the problem of Fascism. After protracted debates a communique was issued on
Feb. 3, 1923. It contained the following passage:
General Convent discussed under the presidency of the Grand Master the
question, how our conception of the duty towards our country has to be
interpreted at this crisis in the national life. The very exhaustive, fruitful
debate, in which brethren in high political position participated, showed, as
the Grand Master in his final address summarized it, that Masonry can never
develop into a political party, that, on the contrary, it must in the interest
of the ideal of patriotism always stand above the parties. Therefore also at
this hour that exhibits all the symptoms of a revolution, the Masonic Society
may not and can not abandon its tradition that our civil life is firmly
founded on the principle of the sovereignty of the people.
statement, of course, implied a challenge to Fascism which aimed at the
establishment of an oligarchic dictatorship.
FASCIST HIGH COUNCIL MOVES
stand taken by the Grand Orient was duly noted by the Fascists. Ten days after
the issuance of the above cited communique, the High Fascist Council, in its
session of Feb. 13, 1923, dwelt on the subject of Fascism in its relation to
Freemasonry. Under the presidency of Mussolini, after a long debate, the
following resolution was adopted:
High Council of Fascism has in its discussion of the subject of Fascism and
Freemasonry decreed: The latest political events and the attitude and certain
decrees issued by Freemasonry have convinced us that Masonry is pursuing a
program and methods adverse to the ideals and activities of Fascism.
Therefore, the High Council of Fascism calls upon the Fascists who are
Freemasons to choose between membership in the National Fascist Party and
membership in the Masonic Society. For the Fascists there can exist only one
discipline that of Fascism, only one hierarchy, that of Fascism, and only one
obedience, an absolute, submissive and ever ready obedience to the Duce and
other leaders of Fascism.
GRAND MASTER SECONDS THE MOTION
Feb. 18, 1923--five days after the High Fascist Council had published its
communique the directors of the Grand Orient convened in session to deliberate
on the newly created situation. The following measure was agreed on:
Fascist brethren have full liberty to sever their connections with
Freemasonry, so that they may continue to serve loyally the cause of Fascism.
Those who will take that step will prove thereby that in the lodges the love
of their country has been inculcated into them as their supreme command.
this parting of the ways, many Fascist Masons, mostly youthful enthusiasts,
decided to cast in their lot with Fascism. But the by far greater number
turned their back on Mussolini, though by doing so they renounced all
prospects of a successful political career and other advantages that Fascism,
now in power, held out to them. They cheerfully made this sacrifice in
steadfast loyalty to the ideals of the brotherhood of man. Prominent among
these Masons who left the Fascist camp were Cesare Rossi, Balbo and Acerbo,
all three of them directors in the High Fascist Council, and the popular
General Lugi Capello, the martyr of Masonry.
Shortly afterwards, Grand Master Torrigiani published his Gray Book entitled,
Massoneria e Fascismo (Masonry and Fascism), Rome, 1923. He submits therein to
the general public his entire material on the subject of Fascism.
preface of this Gray Book he replies to the fanatics who ferociously assailed
the Masonic Order without being acquainted with its tenets and practices. He
refers to Wolfstieg's Bibliographie der Freimaurerei (Bibliography of
Freemasonry) that enumerates over 40,000 volumes of Masonic literature. They
contain an immense mass of material on the idea of humanity. Many of them are
to be found in the public libraries. But how many among the countless enemies
of Masonry have ever taken the trouble of consulting such books ?
Several months passed without anything of consequence taking place. But
occasionally there appeared in newly, founded Fascist papers various attacks
on the Grand Orient. But towards the end of 1923 and early in 1924 serious
excesses of Fascist troops against the meeting places of their political
adversaries occurred. A considerable number of Masonic lodges were victimized.
Be it remarked though that the official Fascism strongly disapproved of these
acts of violence.
the temples of the lodges "Giuseppe Mazzoni," in Prato, and "Ferruccio," in
Pistoia, were demolished. In Termoli the valuable library of the lodge
"Ernesto Nathan" was destroyed. The lodge in Monteleone, in Calabrie, was
entered during a military celebration. The furniture was smashed, the pictures
of Mazzoni and Garibaldi, lodge emblems, insignia and the like were carried as
trophies through the streets to Fascist headquarters. Also the home of the two
lodges of the Grand Orient in Lucca were visited by a mob. The great triangle
above the chair of the Master was pulled down and thrown on the Piazza
Napoleone. The following morning policemen carried the insignia to the city
hall. The mayor, a Fascist, severely condemned the action of the mob,
expressed his official regrets to the Master of the Lodge "Francesco
Burlamacchi" and ordered the stolen articles to be returned. Thereupon the
Master sent him 1900 lire to be distributed among ten poor families of the
city, emphasizing the necessity of political and religious peace. This letter,
that was copied by numerous journals, met with the liveliest sympathy in all
Nevertheless, a few days later fresh riots broke out in San Severo. The temple
of the lodge "Luigi Zuppetta" was completely demolished, the archives
destroyed, the furniture smashed and then burned.
Finally, during the night of the 23rd to the 24th of January, 1924, the rooms
of the lodges in Turin were ransacked. The furniture and the archives of four
lodges were carried away on an auto truck.
letter dated Jan. 31, 1924, Grand Master Torrigiani now appealed to the
Minister of Justice for help. The latter replied in a very amiable
communication on Feb. 3, stating that he had issued orders to the respective
authorities to send him their reports at once. He seems to have taken his time
about investigating and none of the rioters were punished. No wonder that the
riots continued with increased fury. Wild scenes were enacted in Milan,
Bologna, Venice, Arezzo, Livorno, Perugia, Foligno, Spoleto, Forli, Bari,
Tarento, Andria and other places. It soon became manifest that these excesses
were not sporadic, but were carried out under a preconceived plan and system.
beginning of August, 1924, the High Fascist Council, under the presidency of
Mussolini, occupied itself again with the subject of Fascism and Freemasonry.
In the session of Aug. 5, Deputy Caprino declared:
attitude of Fascism towards Masonry cannot remain an academic question. It
must pass beyond the stage of mere protests and resolutions. It is necessary
that the secret societies be suppressed whose existence is possible only under
a liberal constitution.
following resolution of Bodrero was then adopted:
Fascists cannot join Freemasonry. 2. Those Fascists who are Masons must quit
Masonry at once, 3. Fascists who can supply the government with information
concerning Masons who are active against the government are not permitted to
discontinue this their duty.
Sept. 16, 1924, Torrigiani addressed a letter to Mussolini protesting against
the outrages perpetrated against the Masonic lodges. He called attention to
the fact that even Fascist members of the parliament marched at the head of
the mobs that pillaged the Masonic homes. He reminded the Duce of the merits
of Italian Masonry during the World War. We quote:
Excellency will no doubt remember our indefatigable work during the war when,
after the reverses at Caporetto, defeatism lifted its head. At that time high
praise was bestowed upon us. Again we earned that for the welfare of our
country in the heavy post-war crisis when we stood up bravely against the men
who set out to establish in Italy the dictatorship of one class, when we with
our full force opposed to those subversive ideas our ideals of freedom and
democracy. We feel that we have a right to be respected by the men who are at
the steering wheel today. We have always advocated respect for every sincere
conviction, tolerance towards the views of others, humanity and kindness
towards our fellow men. These principles ought to be respected by the
government also in these days when the fever heat of factional strife is
coloring our streets with blood.
have been falsely accused of being enmeshed in international ties, of placing
foreign interests above our domestic ones. These are lies the groundlessness
of which can be easily proven.
assume willingly the "guilt" of being guardians of the ideals that have made
Italy great, of the ideals of liberty, of the sovereignty of the people, of
the independence of the state from dictation by an ecclesiastical hierarchy,
of equal rights for all. These principles of ours should not prevent your
Excellency from applying the laws also for our protection.
DOMIZIO TORRIGIANI, Grand Master.
Torrigiani's appeal to Mussolini produced no results. The authorities
pretended to be indignant over the "irresponsible elements" staging the riots
and promised deliverance, but a few days later fresh acts of terrorism were
"pulled off." The ransacking of the lodge building in Florence aroused
indignation throughout the world. Nevertheless the outrages continued in
Genoa, Pisa, Venice, Perugia, Bologna, Palermo, to name but a few places. In
Livorno a bomb was exploded at the entrance to the lodge rooms. In Rome, the
Palazzo Giustiniani, the home of the Grand Orient, was during several nights
attacked by Fascist bands who were armed with revolvers and stilettos and led
to the "battlefield" in auto trucks. Only by a large contingent of carabinieri
the assaults were warded off. Nobody was arrested, much less indicted.
fact that these outrages were silently tolerated by the authorities justified
the suspicion that an official blow at Freemasonry was being prepared. It came
soon. A commission was appointed to collect material about Freemasonry. It
shortly published the results of its investigation in a memorandum, the
principal item in which was this: Freemasonry is entitled to no credit for the
great risorgimento or national renascence of Italy in the nineteenth century.
brethren of the Grand Orient evinced no fear in the face of the threatening
storm. They continued to oppose the idea of a dictatorship. They continued to
assert their conviction that a sane and sound government cannot be founded on
terrorism, but only on democracy. Insistence on this principle marked the
speech which Torrigiani delivered before a gathering of several hundred Masons
in Milan in December, 1924. This address was communicated to the press. He
declared that Fascism meant morally and intellectually a step backwards for
Italy and that it was irreconcilable with Masonry.
this last point both camps agreed, namely, that membership in the Masonic
order was incompatible with membership in the Fascist party. And both camps
drew the necessary practical deduction, to-wit, that Fascist Masons must
renounce either the one organization or the other. In consequence, Bro. Dudan,
a member of the High Fascist Council, was expelled from his lodge when he
persisted in regarding the difference between the two organizations as a mere
academic question. The Fascist Council equally disciplined officers and
officials who were tardy in renouncing Masonry.
great blow came when on Jan. 10, 1925, the cabinet introduced the anti-Masonic
bill in the parliament. It was hailed with wild applause by the Fascist press.
"Freemasonry is now outlawed in Italy !" exultantly exclaimed the Idea
Nazionale. And on the other hand, several prominent papers, even of the
government party, like the Messagero, opposed the proposed measure. They urged
moderation. The followers of Mussolini kept up their aspersions on Masonry.
Fresh charges were raised against it. Even the recent fall of the lira was
imputed to a Masonic plot.
Nothing was too absurd, no statement too extravagant. And echoes of the
accusations were heard elsewhere.
MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
Thiemeyer, Research Editor
I. CLEGG, Illinois
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
H. DERN, Utah
CHARLES F. IRWIN, Pennsylvania
E. MORCOMBE, California
C. PARKER, New York
HUGO TATSCH, Iowa
M. WHITED, California
E. W WILLIAMSON Nevada
American Masons interested in educational work the name of Bro. Blight will be
familiar. He has been doing a remarkable work in California as Executive
Director of the Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Education. It will be a
pleasure to all who know or know of him and his work, to learn that the
University of Los Angeles has conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor
of Laws. THE BUILDER extends to him its heartiest congratulations on this
fitting acknowledgment both of his services to the Craft and the educational
world at large.
* * *
more we would draw attention to the changed address of the Society's
Headquarters, and especially we ask the editors of the periodicals with whom
we exchange THE BUILDER to note the fact and act accordingly if they have not
already done so. It makes unnecessary work for the post-office as well as
delaying the mail.
* * *
MASON ALWAYS A MASON
is a saying with a respectable antiquity of tradition behind it. True, it is
not very often heard among us now, except perhaps among the older members of
country lodges, nor has it ever been incorporated in any official
pronouncement or formula. Nevertheless it comes down to us as one of the
apothegms, or pithy utterances, in which our Masonic forbears gave expression
to their conception of what Masonry was and what it implied.
living organism, and every institution that is alive, is subject to the
changes enforced by the changes in its environment; there is no standing
still, and Masonry being alive is subject also to this law. Yet the
conservatism and the clinging to ancient tradition that marks the Fraternity
is also a real functioning force. We cannot stand still in a moving world, but
our ancient constitutions and landmarks determine the lines upon which we
advance. It is therefore not without reason that we are all taught to look to
them and keep them ever in mind.
are many things about the Craft as an organization that are widely different
from other societies and fraternities. The new members of the Order are
constantly bringing in ideas derived from their previous knowledge and
experience. It is an elementary function of the lodge to teach them that such
ideas do not belong to Masonry. For an example, it is not of very great or
fundamental importance but will serve to show what is meant, in conducting its
business affairs the lodge acts as a democratic deliberative assembly. The
Master presides, and to the young Mason he seems to have the same position as
the chairman or president of other bodies. It may be some time before he
learns, and it may be only in "butting into it" himself, that the Master is
much more than a chairman, that he decides at discretion what business shall
be discussed, in what order, and who shall speak and when, and that there is
no appeal against his ruling or decisions except to the Grand Master and the
most other societies and associations the bond between the individual and the
group to which he belongs is not a very strong one. A man joins easily, and
departs in the same way, and that ends it. There is an alarming tendency among
us today to view the Masonic tie in a similar manner. It is from one point of
view only an aspect, a constituent part, of that general development which has
led on the one hand to the influx of such large numbers of men into the Craft,
and on the other to the disquieting increase in the percentage of Masons
suspended for non-payment of dues. In most societies to cease to pay one's
quota to meet the expenses of the organization is to cease to be a member, and
it is natural that the same way of, looking at the relationship should creep
in, and even find explicit expression as it sometimes does. But in Masonry,
there is much more than this financial bond, this "cash nexus," as Carlyle, in
another connection, phrased it. In times past a clear distinction was made
between membership in the Fraternity and in a lodge. Initiation did not
automatically make a man a member of the lodge in which he received light. The
distinction still remains even though the regulations of our Grand Lodges now
make the two things concurrent; election to the degrees is also election to
membership, initiation is tantamount to becoming a member. Yet a Mason can
always sever his connection with his lodge, and his lodge can always suspend
him for not paying his dues. Here again disciplinary measures have been
extended. Originally such suspension was only from that particular lodge, his
standing as a Mason in other lodges was not affected, but now as an additional
sanction, and a self-protpeting measure, all lodges have agreed to honor the
suspensions of each one, for that in effect is what the various Grand Lodge
edicts, statutes and regulations on the subject amount to, so that in effect a
man suspended in one lodge is suspended from the Craft. The danger is that
this practical consequence may be used as a basis for argument that, being
practically (though not theoretically) suspended from the Craft through the
fact of his suspension being effective in all lodges, it follows that he is no
longer a Mason, and is as much out of the Fraternity as if he had never been
Although this general effect of local suspension has found a place in the
ritual (there has been a marked tendency among American ritualists to insert
the expression of new laws into our ancient formulas) yet it ought not to be
interpreted in a way that nullifies other, and more authoritative utterances.
often the ritual is regarded as something merely to be learned and repeated;
even its plain and obvious sense is often ignored. Naturally we must here
speak darkly and allusively, but let our readers consider the relevant places
and what is stated. They will see on consideration that first of all every
Mason takes upon himself voluntarily, and after due warning phrased in the
most emphatic language possible, certain obligations that he can never
thereafter repudiate or lay aside. He may cease to pay dues, he may cease to
be interested, he may forget all about it, he may even become hostile,
nevertheless - because they were voluntary - those obligations remain morally
binding upon him so long as he lives.
next thing to notice is that these obligations are not to an institution, to
an organization, but to individuals - to sum them all up they bind him to
regard, and act towards, every other Mason as if each and every one was his
own blood brother - and it is just as irrevocable and unescapable as blood
relationship. However much it may be ignored, forgotten and disregarded,
however unworthy a man may prove to be, so far as these obligations are
concerned, once a Mason is to be always a Mason, even if suspended, and even
* * *
our contemporaries, the Masonic Tidings of Milwaukee, reports an address given
by Bro. Leo. F. Nohl before the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, of which it says
that it was "easily the sensation of the 83rd Annual Communication" of that
body. We confess we do not wonder at this, though many Masons may be inclined
to ask why it should be so. The following quotation, however, shows the nature
of the sensation:
Nohl, speaking, as he said, for the rank and file of the Craft, expressed some
of the heretofore unexpressed sentiments of the members.
challenged the right of organized Masonry here to be regarded as one of the
foremost charitable institutions.
charged it with absolute failure to provide a suitable outlet for the social
and cultural aspirations of its members.
charged the Masters and Wardens of constituent lodges . . with neglect of
their Masonic duties in failing to properly consider and prepare for the
discharge of their duties at Grand Lodge Communications.
severely criticized Masonic officials in this [Wisconsin] and other Grand
Jurisdictions for neglect in failing to advocate and work for a centralized
Masonic authority in this country.
speaking of the small amount of actual charitable work done by lodges in
[Wisconsin] . . . Bro. Nohl advised that while Masonic property is exempt from
taxation because of the supposedly charitable nature of the institution, he
suggested that the exact percentage of expenditure for charity be not
disclosed to the tax officials.
hardly fair to the Masons of Wisconsin that they should be singled out for
such criticism. The name of almost any other Jurisdiction might be substituted
with a good chance that the statements would remain substantially true -
though there are honorable exceptions. Most Grand Lodges have funds for
benevolent purposes, but generally the trustees guard it as the dragon did the
golden apples of the fabled Hesperides. Many Grand Lodges have Masonic Homes
and like institutions, and credit should be given for these. But how does the
sum total spent in this way compare with that spent, or owed, on costly
temples and like self-indulgences?
dreadful and pitiful story was related in the daily press recently, of a woman
left a widow with five children killing them all and herself because she could
not keep them. Her husband was a Mason. It is true that in this case his lodge
could not be blamed, for it was in a distant city and its members could hardly
have known of their brother's death, for she was too proud and sensitive to
apply to them. But what of the many cases that happen every year in our large
lodges when a member's death is discovered only when a notice is sent to him
for the annual dues? Again it may be said, and with justice, how are the
officers and active members to know? But that is just the point, for such a
state of things is proof that Masonry is not functioning, that it is suffering
from a sort of elephantiasis, a deadly and disgusting disease. The lodge
originally was, and in theory still remains, a band of friends and brothers,
knowing each other intimately, ready to help and sympathize with each other,
acquainted with each other's affairs; it has become a huge institution, as
impersonal (except in word and form) as a joint stock corporation. If American
Masonry is going to keep its enormous overgrown lodges, it has got to develop
some method or machinery within them to carry out the primary purposes of the
Fraternity. The trouble is one that afflicts and has afflicted all societies
grown large, and rich and powerful. The church has suffered in the same way;
countries and nations also. In our case the disease might be diagnosed as
fatty degeneration of the heart, and more strenuous exercise for that organ is
* * *
Greek word Polis is usually rendered into English as city. It has behind it a
long and interesting history. In the first place it meant a citadel, a
fortress. But not such a fortress as is known in the art of civilized war (if
there ever were such a thing) but a defensible place of refuge. Primitive men
were what anthropologists classify as "food gatherers." They had no
domesticated animals nor did they practice any form of agriculture. A few
peoples are still in this stage, notably the Australian aborigines. Certain
tribes, later to become peoples and nations, gradually struggled out of this
stage, and came to a parting of the ways - the differentiation typified in the
Book of Genesis by Cain and Abel. Cain was a tiller of the ground, Abel was a
shepherd. The agriculturist becomes naturally and inevitably a settler, a
fixture in one locality. The shepherd and herdsman is, also inevitably and
naturally (in the first instance), a nomad. Two habits of life were developed,
at first on a level, but one with the possibilities of further advance.
nomad threatened by enemies took naturally to flight. All nomad races
developed fighting tactics based on flight with continual counter and flank
attacks on the enemy. To the sedentary agriculturists flight was ruin, it was
to leave their wealth and livelihood behind them, to begin life anew
elsewhere, if possible. They therefore under the pressure of necessity
developed the fort, the entrenched and palisaded camp. It was not a place to
live in, but a place to retire to when attacked. From such camps, found all
over the world, the acropolis, the fort on a hill or mountain top, grew up in
ancient Greece and eventually became the city. And as the cities became
stronger it became the city state.
Politeia was what concerned the citizen. It came to include the city
government and its politics and its policies - its organization, constitution,
its plans and aims. It is a far cry from the primitive tiller of the soil
dwelling near some place of refuge to the politics of today, but the
transition has been made. A policy is now not only a matter of states and
communities but of societies and corporations and even individuals, a settled
plan or rule of action, an aim to be consistently pursued.
N.M.R.S. is a society, it has no politics, but does have both a polity, an
organization and a machinery, and also a policy, an aim or purpose. THE
BUILDER is an important link in the polity of the Society and through it the
policy is furthered.
policy, it may be redundant to repeat it, is to encourage both study and
research among Masons. The two things, though overlapping, are not precisely
the same. By the one what is already known is assimilated, by the other what
is still unknown is sought for, and it may be discovered.
Editors of THE BUILDER are not infallible or omniscient, nor so foolish as to
try to appear so. They are students among others, they have their own
interests and presumably, their own prepossessions and prejudices. Fallible
human beings cannot avoid this. What however is possible to some extent is to
act impartially. It has been explained before that it is physically impossible
to publish everything we receive. We have to select as best we can what is of
the greatest importance and general interest. But, and we trust all will keep
this in mind, once a subject has been broached, space will always be found for
those who take an opposing point of view. Controversy must of course be kept
within due bounds, but so long as any real contribution is being made to the
discussion the pages of THE BUILDER will be available. The magazine belongs to
the members of the Society and it is a their service always, within the
limitations of space, as a medium to convey their opinions, conclusions, or
information to others, and in respect to all this THE BUILDER's sole policy is
to be impartial.
Bulletin of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association
Incorporated by Authority of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, A.F.&A.M.
MASONIC TEMPLE, ALBUQUERQUE, N. M.
OFFICERS AND BOARD OF GOVERNORS
HERBERT B. HOLT, Past Grand Master, President
RICHARD H. HANNA, Vice-President
FRANCIS E. LESTER, Vice-President
L. ELSER, Executive Secretary
ALPHEUS A. KEEN, Secretary
W. BOWMAN, Treasurer
J. NEWTON, Editor, Manager N.M.T.S.A.. Las Cruces, New Mexico
Paso Gets New Sanatorium
the above heading the El Paso Herald for June 22 last has the following:
first Catholic national sanatorium will be located in El Paso.
Sisters of St. Joseph, with their motherhouse at Concordia, Kan., have taken
an option to purchase the old Baldwin sanatorium on Grandview street in the
Highland Park addition. The deal was negotiated by the Mortgage Investment
Company. The consideration was not given.
property, in addition to the building, comprises nine acres.
planned to spend $75,000 in improvements, these being confined, for the most
part, to the exterior of the building and the grounds. Recently $45,000 was
expended on interior improvements. Rooms and hallways were refloored with oak;
an entirely new plumbing system was installed; every room was redecorated;
screened porches were glazed; new heating and kitchen equipment was added; the
most modern type of refrigeration was installed, with an ice water fountain on
addition to landscaping, present plans call for changing the exterior of the
building to conform to a colonial style of architecture. Work will start
shortly and it is hoped to have the place open by Aug. 15, with 125 beds.
Orville Egbert will be the medical director.
According to Bishop A. J. Schuler, El Paso's sunshine influenced the sisters
to make the investment.
the plan for the purchase of the sanatorium originally was presented to the
order by Fr. Robert O'Loughran at Concordia, he explained Bishop Schuler's
proposal to make the proposed institution a national Catholic sanatorium. It
was on this basis the sisters decided to come here.
been figured that the property, consisting of nine acres, will be in keeping
with the proportions of the national sanatorium planned.
hospitals of the Sisters of St. Joseph are located in the wheat and corn belts
of the central states," said Dr. Egbert, "and, by the establishment of the
sanatorium here, it is expected to bring many patients to El Paso from regions
from which this city has not hitherto drawn."
only other institution of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the Southwest at this
time is an academy at Silver City, N. M.
readers will remember how, in the April number of THE BUILDER, there was a
description on this page of a great opportunity that had presented itself of
buying a sanatorium, ready built, for approximately the amount that had been
recently spent in repairs to the building. It seemed a heaven - sent
opportunity. At a comparatively small cost it would be possible to have had a
National Masonic Sanatorium in operation before the year was out. The prospect
seemed too good to be true. The sum required divided up among the different
jurisdictions of the country amounted to an almost negligible sum from each.
Only a short time previously the meeting of the Association in Chicago, at
which so many representatives from all over the country were present, had
seemed to put the movement definitely upon its feet. Those present had been
greatly impressed with the need and with the work already done by the
executive of the Association. With this in mind it seemed as if it could
require no more than to bring this opportunity to the notice of the rulers and
representatives of the Craft to ensure that advantage would be taken of the
option secured on these most favorably situated buildings.
Herbert R. Holt, President of the Association and Past Grand Master of New
Mexico, sent out the following appeal:
tuberculosis sanatorium, located in a Southwestern city, will shortly be sold
under foreclosure proceedings," writes Mr. Holt. "The executive committee of
our Association has inspected it, and has determined to endeavor to purchase
it, if the necessary money can be secured. The institution can accommodate
nearly 100 patients in the main building, which has recently been thoroughly
repaired and renovated, at a cost of about $50,000. Furniture and equipment,
not including X-ray and other medical equipment, will cost approximately
$10,000. It is possible that we may be able to secure the institution,
furnished, for about $75,000.
will be no immediate need for any further expenditure for repair and
renovation of the main building. Later, when necessary, we can repair the
other buildings, which consist of a two-story brick, with 24 bed rooms and
sleeping porches, a four-room bungalow, four small cottages and a building for
are approximately eleven acres of ground, and the property is located in a
large city which, for years, has been a Mecca for the tuberculous. There are
two advantages of locating in a city: first, the availability of a complete
medical staff to provide every necessary form of treatment for patients; and
second, opportunities for employment for wives and children of patients.
appeal to Masonic bodies and Masons everywhere to open the 'Door of Hope' to
our tuberculous brethren.
“Service units; the kitchen, dining rooms, etc.; patients' wards, bed rooms,
sleeping porches and beds, will be named for Masonic bodies and Masons who
contribute the proportionate part of their cost. By this plan of 'selling'
some part of the Masonic Sanatorium to many Masonic bodies and Masons, the
total cost will be distributed so that it will be easy for all to bear.
years have been spent in discussion of this great problem of relief and
hospitalization of Masonic tuberculars, while many vainly hoping for help,
have died. If we, in our various Masonic organizations, and as individuals,
will spend five minutes in action, we can, through this institution, actually
begin this great and practical work of Masonic brotherhood."
appeal fell on deaf ears, no response was made except from individual
brethren. The Door of Hope still remains fast locked for lack of the golden
key. It seems hard to believe but the sanatorium spoken of in Bro. Holt's
appeal, is the same one as that referred to in the El Paso Herald for June 22,
December the Grand Lodge of Texas ordered the Committee on Masonic Service and
Education to make a survey to determine the actual situation in this state
with reference to the extent of tuberculosis among Masons and their families.
That survey having been made, Grand Master M. A. Childers called a conference
of Grand Lodge officers, and other representative members, to consider this
very important matter, and formulate such recommendations for the action of
the Grand Lodge as might seem feasible and practical.
conference met at Kerrville June 3, and after many hours of earnest thought
and interchange of views, the following resolution was adopted: "Be it
resolved by the conference called by the Grand Master of Masons in Texas, to
consider the matter of tubercular relief in this state, we recommend to the
Grand Master that he submit to the various constituent lodges of the Grand
Lodge of Texas, for their consideration, an assessment of $1 per capita, said
assessment fund to constitute a charity and relief fund to be used to meet the
present need, as disclosed by the survey of the Committee on Masonic Service
resolution was signed by A. A. Ross, of Lockhart, Past Grand Master; W. B.
Pearson, Grand Secretary; L. E. Tennison, of Clifton, chairman Grand Lodge
Finance Committee; W. S. Tate, of Hamilton, former chairman of the Grand Lodge
Committee on Work; H. F. Lively, of Dallas, Grand Junior Warden. Other
brethren present at the conference, and participating in the discussion and
decision, were: Judge M. A. Childers, of San Antonio, Grand Master; George
Montgomery, of Fort Worth, Deputy Grand Master; Col. Beaumont B. Buck, of San
Antonio, Grand Marshal; D.C. McCord, of Dallas, Grand Master of Grand Council;
M. C. Vaughn, of Hillsboro, chairman Grand Lodge Committee on Work; Lonnie
Irvin, of San Antonio, member of the Grand Lodge Committee on Work; Hon. James
W. McClendon, of Austin, head of the Masonic Service Association; W. B.
Pearson, Grand Secretary; Wilbur Keith, of Dallas, Executive Secretary of the
Texas Masonic Service and Education Committee; H. C. Talbot, Grand Treasurer,
and Robert Burns, of Kenedy. Bro. Burns was the only brother present who went
on record as being opposed to the $1 per capita assessment; all others present
at the conference pledged their moral support in favor of the adoption of the
Tabulation of the results of the survey, made by the Comrnittee on Masonic
Service and Education, shows returns from 811 lodges in Texas, with 164 not
total number of Texas Masons afflicted, according to the survey, is 297,
classified as follows: total needing assistance, 152; total not needing
assistance, 92; total not indicating, 53.
Families of Masons (wife, daughter, son) are classified as follows: total
number needing assistance, 45; total not needing assistance, 76; total not
indicating, 22; total families afflicted, 143.
mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters of Masons are shown as follows: total
needing assistance, 24; total not needing assistance, 16; total not
indicating, 2; total, 42.
total number of unafflicted children of afflicted Masons is reported as 264.
Sojourning Masons from foreign jurisdictions and their families, total
afflicted, 57, classified as follows: total number of sojourning Masons
afflicted, 53; total Masons' families afflicted, 4. A total of 36 unafflicted
children of afflicted sojourning Masons is reported.
Speaking of the proposed assessment of $1 per capita, the Grand Master says:
"The assessment of $1 per member, to constitute a charity and relief fund, to
be used in assisting our brethren and members of their families, who are
suffering from tuberculosis, or other malignant or incurable diseases, will
average scarcely more than $600 for each person already reported in need of
immediate aid, with 164 lodges yet to be heard from. Some of these cases may
be relieved with less money, while others will require considerably more. Any
less sum would be so grossly inadequate as to render the service proposed
ineffective. The need of a relief fund for our brethren and their dear ones
who are suffering from tuberculosis and other kindred malignant diseases, in
our Grand Jurisdiction, is daily growing more acute, and is presenting a
condition that is now challenging our spirit of generosity, and the sincerity
of our profession as Master Masons.
relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent upon all men, but particularly so
on Freemasons, who are linked together by an indissoluable chain of sincere
affection. To soothe the unhappy; to sympathize with their misfortunes; to
compassionate their miseries and to restore peace to their troubled minds, is
the grand aim we, as Masons, have in view. On this basis we form our
friendships and establish our fraternal connections."
keeping with the conference resolution, the Grand Master has issued a
communication to be read at summoned meetings of all lodges in Texas, asking
for definite action on the following three alternate plans or propositions:
"First: Do you favor extending relief where needed to our brethren and members
of their families afflicted with tuberculosis, or other malignant or incurable
"Second: Do you favor a fee of $10 for each Master Mason's Degree conferred,
plus an assessment of 50 cents per member for their relief?
"Third: Do you favor, in lieu of all other plans suggested, an assessment of
not exceeding $1 per member for this relief?"
* * *
your issue for July you have an article on "An Appeal for the Tubercular," in
which I heartily agree with Bro. Behrens in everything he pleads for, and he
is in a position to know.
every Mason could only see things as the medical man does - how hopeful and
enthusiastic the patients are, even in the worst stages, for their own
recovery, and how anxious and sacrificing the dependents and loved ones are
from every standpoint! That tuberculosis is curable in its early stages is
demonstrated daily, so why not let us get busy in a hurry and help all
tubercular Masons and their families in a real substantial and scientific and
not in a haphazard way?
Bro. Behrens says, "Keep up the good work for it is good; it is a burning
need. In time we will see the need and Masons Will not regret the doing."
Henke, M. D.
* * *
"HELPED DAUGHTER OF DEAD BROTHER"
No. 97. Grand Lodge of Indiana. Daughter of deceased brother. Masonic Relief
Board of Indianapolis requested El Paso Relief Board to get in touch with girl
and "offer her all encouragement possible. From what we learn she has been
advised by the physician that her recovery is impossible." Investigation
disclosed that patient had been sent west by the Y.W.C.A., of which she was
former employee, and that she was receiving some help from them and other
sources. Her physical condition was not as serious as represented but the
doctor advised complete rest for four months at least. Her brother's home
lodge gave necessary help to carry her through. Patient made a fine recovery,
secured employment and repaid the lodge all money advanced.
Want dues paid. Unpaid for two or three years. Think he needs some. Let
insurance drop account of no funds. Wife and two children back home.
10. Believe pride keeps him from asking for help.
* * *
C. Johnson, Lawrenceville, III.
personally think this a great move and one that should meet the approval of
all good Masons, as we have hundreds of brothers that are stricken with the
White Plague every year that haven't the means to go to a hospital in the
Southwest for treatment, and if we had an institution of the above character
no doubt what it would be the means of saving the lives of our dear brothers."
article supplements that which appeared in THE BUILDER for June, at page 187,
and is from the same source. The writer has good reasons for withholding his
name. Unfortunately outside of the English speaking world, Masons too often
find it absolutely necessary to conceal their connection with the Craft.]
MASONRY played a very important part in the gradual development of Russia,
more especially so during the second part of the 18th century when the
majority of those, who were the pioneers of European civilization in the
country, belonged to the Masonic brotherhood.
Peter the Great, when Russia definitely took the course of a gradual blending
with the West, Masonry became the main channel for the penetration of ideas of
progress and civilization. This took place in the days of the Empress
Elizabeth (1741-1761), and still more so during the reign of Catherine II,
when Masonry accomplished a great and beautiful historical achievement.
on, after 1780, when Novikoff was the leader of Russian Masonry, it gradually
developed along the lines of Christian mysticism; this was the result of the
great success, which German Rosicrucianism and after wards Martinism, together
with the higher degrees of Swedish Masonry, had gained among the educate
classes of Russian society.
the French revolution, the Russian Government began to look with suspicion on
all secret societies particularly on F.M. In 1792, drastic measures followed.
Novikoff was imprisoned and F. M. in fact ceased to exist. The Blue Lodges,
anyhow, were closed
only after Alexander I ascended the throne that we see, in 1805, a revival of
Craft Masonry, and in 1810 it received official, though not public,
recognition, and was even to a certain extent patronized by the Government.
Nearly all the ministers belonged to different lodges in St. Petersburg, and
undoubtedly Masonic ideas had a great influence during the period of liberal
reforms by which Alexander I inaugurated his reign; unfortunately, after the
wars with Napoleon were over, Alexander I's liberalism was changed to
reaction. He founded the Holy Alliance, joined the society of New Israel, and
his very mysticism took a reactionary form. In all this we may with great
probability suspect the work of the Jesuits, who, after Frederic II of
Prussia, greatly influenced German Rosicrucianism towards reaction. A fact now
proved by history.
Masonry in Russia began to work against these reactionary tendencies and in
the attempt to bring on a revolution in December, 1924, the majority of the
leaders were Masons. This attempt completely failed, and the results were
disastrous. Masonry was completely forbidden in 1826. A few Masons escaped
imprisonment and exile, and they even sometimes met in secret. Lodges, but
Masonry, as an organization, ceased to exist and could not have any further
influence in the life of the country. The fact, anyhow, remains that nearly
for a whole century Masonic ideas permeated different classes of Russian
society, and it is interesting to see that the Russian national character
itself always meets these ideas with the greatest sympathy. This is very
noticeable in the higher and more educated classes.
the revolution of March, 1917, the best elements of Russian society remained
in opposition to the Bolshevik Government, because it endeavors to destroy all
intellectual culture, considering it a bourgeois superstition, has in the same
time openly and definitely replaced the idea of right by violence and has
officially proclaimed religion to be a counter revolutionary principle, waging
a merciless war against it, not only as a church, or a creed, but even as an
idea or a feeling.
this condition the sympathy towards Masonic ideas, which had always existed,
very naturally came again to light and found its expression in a revival of
Russian Freemasonry. The hospitality of French Masonry of the Scottish Rite
helped a great deal in this revival, and so did also the broad ideas of the
Rite. The Supreme Council of France understood very well the important part
which Masonry will have to play in future Russia, and assisted those Russian
Masons, who have gradually created a young but sufficiently strong Russian
Masonic organization in France under the Supreme Council and the Grand Lodge
of the country.
present moment four Russian lodges working in Russian exist, also a Lodge of
Perfection and a Rose Croix Chapter, all of which work in Russian the rituals
of Scottish Rite Masonry. The Grand Lodge of France and the Supreme Council
have both granted great freedom to the different Russian lodges, working under
their jurisdiction, with the result that even now in the Russian Masonry in
Paris the peculiarities of the Russian nationality are very noticeable, and it
is a faithful reproduction of what purely Russian Freemasonry was in the older
days. It has again a certain religious tendency, but absolutely free of any
dogmatism, and without any difference between creeds or races. The idea of
striving for moral perfection is very strong and equite natural for mystical
Russians. The volume of the Sacred Law is always on the altar of the meetings
of every lodge, and the work is usually the study of the deeper meaning of
Freemasonry. On the whole, the distinguishing characteristics of Russian
Masonry are: moral improvement, absolute recognition of the principles of
personal liberty, liberty of conscience and equality. The feeling of
brotherhood is very strong as a natural consequence of the difficult moral and
material conditions, in which the Russian emigrants have to live. Russian
Masons fully understand what an enormous task awaits them, when their country
will again have a normal government and will return to the ordinary conditions
of political and economical life. Only a strong Masonic organization morally
healthy and full of enthusiasm will be able to work for the restoration of
morality and intellectual culture so utterly undermined in Russia. It will
have to assemble in its ranks all those elements who have still retained some
moral strength and direct them in the reconstruction of Russian society. It
will have to repeat perhaps, under more unfavorable conditions, what the
Russian Masons of the 18th century so successfully did. Those Masons, who
developed civilization in Russia, and gradually created that peculiar national
culture which so often astonished Europe and America but gained praise and
the work will be many times difficult because Masonry will not only have to
create, it will have also to destroy. It will have to destroy all the evil
results of the Bolshevik rule, and the longer this rule lasts the worse it
will be. The true ideas of liberty will have to take the place of violence and
oppression, called proletarian dictatorship; moral ideas will have to be
developed instead of the coarse material instincts which are at the base of
the actual system in Russia.
impossible to foresee at the present moment what the future forms of
government in Russia will be. They will certainly be based on the will of the
nation, and on democratic principles, but when Bolshevism comes to an end,
before new forms of government are solidly established, it is very possible
that the country will pass through a period of reaction, and here Masonry will
perhaps have a great work to do to moderate and soften the transitory period.
Russian Masonry, not only in its work but even in its innermost tendencies,
has no special political creeds. People with very different political ideas
meet in the brotherly atmosphere of pure Masonry and unite in the desire of
realizing Masonic principles in the social and national life of Russia for the
triumph of liberty, equality and brotherhood. Whatever form of government the
Russian nation will establish, Masonry will heartily work for the welfare of
the country. Though Russian Masons in France are not very numerous, their
organization is being gradually completed, both in the Blue Lodges and in the
high degrees. The four Craft lodges are ruled by a committee which in fact
represents the future Grand Lodge of Russia. The Lodge of Perfection works in
close contact with the Rose Croix Chapter. In conformity with the wish,
expressed by the Covenant of Lausanne in 1922, the Supreme Council of France
has sanctioned the existence of a temporary committee in the higher degrees,
which represents the nucleus of a future Supreme Council for Russia of the
books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of
the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which always include postage. These prices
are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though
occasion for this will very seldom arise. Occasionally it may happen, where
books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some
indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is
equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make an
inquiries for second-hand works and books out of print.
By Leonie Aminoff. Published by E. P. Dutton & Company, New York. Cloth, 426
pages. Price, $2.65.
work forms the seventh volume in a series of twelve Napoleonic romances
designed to follow in detail the varying fortunes of the Little Corsican.
Judging solely from the present work it can be reasonably assumed that the
series as a whole is designed to present a character sketch of the leading
figure rather than to furnish the fascinating entertainment that might be
possible with such a hero. It is interesting to contrast in imagination the
differences between the author of Glory and Sabatini. The startling rapidity
of movement which characterizes the man who might be termed the foremost
living author of historical fiction is totally lacking in Aminoff. So far as
movement is concerned the present work is funereal in character and Glory is
not a book to be recommended to those who read solely for the plot.
period depicted in this seventh volume is one of great interest, being the
events preceding Napoleon's coronation and the military struggles which
culminated in Austerlitz. We see the Emperor surrounded with a court of
impossible nobility and we are much amused by the petty jealousies which
animate many of them. The imperial dinner party at Montefontaine is an amusing
bit of characterization of the retinue of Napoleon. Overshadowing all such
events is the supreme ego possessing the Emperor of the French. The skill with
which he manages to occupy the center of the stage, even when the Pope is his
rival for attention, shows perhaps more clearly than anything else in the book
the true nature of its leading figure.
the pleasures of reading romances of bygone days is to be able to enter into
the spirit of the times, to live with the characters and enjoy life as they
must have done or to suffer trials and tribulations when these fell to them.
For some reason it is not possible to fall into the spirit of the present
work, possibly due to a particularly irritating practice of the author in
bringing present day thoughts into a century old atmosphere. It is most
distracting to find one's self deeply engrossed in a certain event and then
have the train of your thoughts rudely interrupted by a discourse from a
present day human. Never is one allowed to forget for more than fifteen
minutes at a time that he is reading a book of fiction - a great mistake and a
most annoying one.
from the fact that one does see Napoleon at the height of his glory the book
is poor entertainment.
* * *
BRIDGE TO FRANCE. By Edward N. Hurley. Published by J.B. Lippincott Company,
Philadelphia. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, index, 338 pages. Price,
a decade has passed since the cessation of hostilities on Nov. 11 1918. In
spite of that fact there are certain terms which bring to mind different
aspects of the war. Those of us who lived through the stirring years from
1914-1918 will always remember the Marne, Ypres, Soissons, Chateau Thierry,
St. Mihiel, the Argonne, and countless other names of like significance. Those
words will to many bring back actual experiences. To those who remained on
this side of the Atlantic there are other names whose significance is
apparent. Occupying a position in the front rank of domestic, war
nomenclature, if I may call it such, is Hog Island. DoubtIess this brings to
mind much that is not pleasant. For example, we cannot help but see the
pictures of ships rotting in the harbors with which the papers were filled a
few years ago. We recall the unpleasant criticism that accompanied the
cancellation of ship building contracts. Cries of protest against the wastage
that apparently followed upon the close of the war arose. Even more insistent
were the condemnations of various departments of the government for the
promiscuity with which they spent money during the war.
Shipping Board came in for its share of the criticism, and it was quite
generally believed that this organization had contracted for ships for which
there would be no use and which were totally unnecessary. Few Americans, aside
from those in official circles, realized the problem which confronted the
American Government in transporting and maintaining an army across three
thousand miles of ocean, a large portion of which was infested by enemy
submarines. If there were few who realized the problem then there are no more
who understand the difficulties now. On the surface it seems comparatively
simple. Approximately three weeks are required for a round trip between New
York and Le Havre at the present time. All that was necessary was to develop a
line of ships reaching across the Atlantic sufficient in number to transport
three weeks' supplies for an army.
problem takes on a different aspect when we consider that the program called
for 80 divisions in the A.E.F. - approximately 2,500,000 men; that the country
proposing to maintain this army had practically no ships of its own; that the
need was urgent and the men had to be transported as quickly as possible; that
troop ships, cargo ships, hospital ships and warships were required; that even
railroad lines had to be constructed in France, that cars and locomotives had
to be sent abroad to carry the supplies from the coast to the front; that
ships cannot be built in a day; there are myriads of other considerations.
Everyone who reads Mr. Hurley's book will become convinced that the problem
was a Herculean task and that we were fortunate in solving it as efficiently
as we did. The work is a splendid tribute to the ingenuity of the American
people and should be read by every thinking American.
* * *
SERFDOM TO BOLSHEVISM. The Memoirs of Baron N. Wrangel. Published by the J. B.
Lippincott Co., Philadelphia. Cloth table of contents 324 pages. Price, $4.20.
period of transition in Russia is seemingly far from completion. There are
doubtless many difficulties that will have to be solved before Russia will
again be in a settled state. Baron Wrangel, in the present book, tells many
first-hand stories of the conditions which led up to the turbulent period
which saw its most violent expression in the years between 1917 and 1920. The
book does not profess to be an autobiography and it cannot be listed in that
category. It is a collection of stories arranged loosely in chronological
order and which furnish us with a first-hand picture of the country and its
brief account of the life of Baron Wrangel will give an inferential picture of
the stories he tells in a clearer manner than might otherwise be possible.
This Russian nobleman was born in 1847 and saw the last days of serfdom on his
father's estate. He was sent to Geneva for his education and spent some years
in the administrative machinery of the Russia Empire in Poland and later as an
officer in the Imperial Horse-guards. He was concerned in business and held
executive rank in many important enterprises during later life. He was in
'Russia during the various stages of the revolution and in the course of his
varied career knew almost everyone worth knowing in Petrograd and in official
book is devoted to vivid, amusing and often startling stories of such
characters as the Jewish banker Rothstein, and Skobeloff, the "White General"
of the Turkish wars, who was always in conflict with the authorities. His
character sketches of Nicholas II, Prime Minister Witte, Rasputin, and others,
show a keen insight on human nature.
style, while not that of a professional writer (though in some measure this
may be due to the translators), is rapid, vivid and shows what might be called
a remarkable change of pace. He has a faculty for description that is quite
distinctive; there is also a certain pathetic type of humor, engendered
perhaps by his own sorrows; but above all a sarcasm, when he chooses to use
it, which makes one shudder for those who at any time may have received a
tongue lashing from him.
book is not only interesting and entertaining reading, but educational as
well. Those who are interested in Russia cannot afford to miss it, and those
who would like to know about Russia and its revolution without reading large
and heavy volumes, can find just the account they want between the covers of
From Serfdom to Bolshevisni.
E G T.
* * *
WITCHCRAFT AND THE BLACK ART. A Book Dealing with the Psychology and Folklore
of the Witches. By J. W. Wickwar. Published by Herbert Jenkins. Cloth, table
of contents, index, 320 pages. Price, $1.50.
author has given a very readable, if in places somewhat gruesome, account of
this obscure subject. As it is written for the general reader we perhaps have
no right to quarrel with it for lacking bibliographical references, especially
as most of the sources of information are rare books and most of them in
languages not "understanded of the people," which considering the character of
some of their contents is possibly just as well. However it is a little
curious that the author should make no mention of Miss Murray's work, The
Witch Cult, especially as in places he goes directly counter to her
conclusions and reverts to the older ideas on the subject.
the time of Reginald Scott's Discovery of Witchcraft the tide may be said to
have turned. It was however then at full flood - King James ordered the book
to be burnt by the common hangman and wrote his Daemonologie to refute it.
Nevertheless, though for another century and more, witch trials and witch
executions continued, yet, more and more, educated and intelligent people
began to turn against the idea until, in the eighteenth century, it was all
relegated to the limbo of exploded superstitions; and there it remained until
the rise of scientific anthropology, scarcely more than forty or fifty years
ago, brought out the fact that witchcraft, or evil-working magic, was still
being practiced among primitive and barbarous peoples all over the world. The
difference between medicine men, shamans, witch doctors and all that ilk, and
the witches and wizards they combatted, is rather a difference of regularity
or legality than of method and theory. The official magic is practiced for,
and on behalf of, the whole community; private magic or witchcraft is
practiced by individuals for their own benefit, usually to the harm of others.
All this has now long been accepted. Miss Murray went a step further and made
out a strong case for supposing that mediaeval witchcraft was survival from
very primitive times. This was perhaps hardly new idea, but what was novel was
the development of the thesis that it had survived in a definitely organized
form, that the witch-cult was really a religion as the Tuscan witches,
according to Cleland, always call it la recchia religione, the old religion.
Wickwar begins, it would almost seem, as if he accepted this position. His
first chapter is headed, "Witchcraft: A Primitive Cult," and in the second, he
discusses the initiation into the cult and other ceremonials, in all of which
he seems to agree with Miss Murray. But when in chapter four he comes to
discuss "Practical Witchcraft," he seems to swing right round to the earlier
incredulous attitude and apparently takes the rather inconsistent position
that those accused of witchcraft were not witches after all, that they were
innocent and harmless individuals who were only accused by reason of the
ignorance, malice and superstition of their neighbors, and condemned the same
reasons by their judges.
Perhaps he has unconsciously confused two ideas under the one word. We may
agree with him that there is no reality in magic, and that all the fantastic
and oftentimes disgusting paraphernalia of witchcraft was pure superstition;
but it is necessary to distinguish between this aspect of the subject and the
question whether those accused of this offense did or did not practice
of us, if we heard that someone who had a grudge against us had made a wax
image and stuck pins in it with the idea of causing us to feel pains, and
perhaps to pine away and die, would be only amused. We would not feel amused
if we suspected they were contaminating our milk with typhoid germs. But we
believe in germs and do not believe in magic. If the reverse was the case, if
everyone in the community believed in magic, then to practice it is a crime.
And if the community knows nothing of microbes, or does not believe in them,
then to sell typhoid infected or tubercular milk is not a crime.
as the witch trials were concerned they were conducted very much on the same
lines as other trials were. Procedure was very much against the accused in any
case, and doubtless many people suffered who were accused out of malice. When
a whole community is in a panic stricken state, acts of injustice almost
inevitably occur - we have seen instances of that in our own day.
having allowed for this inconsistency in the author's treatment of the
subject, it must be said that he has written a very interesting and readable
book; and to those who wish to obtain a general idea of the nature of
mediaeval witchcraft and the more notable cases, and the gradual change in
sentiment, finally reflected in modified laws, it can be fully recommended.
* * *
MACKEY'S JURISPRUDENCE OF FREEMASONRY. Revised by Robert I. Clegg. Published
by the Masonic History Company, Chicago, Ill. Cloth, table of contents, index,
403 pages. Price, $3.65.
well-known work scarcely needs more notice than an announcement that a new
edition is ready. It is gratifying to see that the reviser has adopted the
practice of preserving Dr. Mackey's text and including his revision in a
different type. It would be well if this practice would be adopted by editors
generally; at least the necessity for scholars looking up originals would be
eliminated and much time and trouble saved.
is sadly needed at the present time is a consolidated history of the
development of Masonic law. We hope that some earnest scholar will decide to
make this his next work.
* * *
STORY OF LINDBERGH, THE LONE EAGLE. By Richard J. Beamish. Published by the
John C. Winston Co., Philadelphia. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, 288
advertisement of this book says that "Richard J. Beamish, in The Story of
Lindbergh, the Lone Eagle, tells the story with a completeness of detail that
reads like a romance.” He does, but he is not very much more accurate as to
facts than most romances. The book is good entertainment and worth reading, as
one would read any tale of adventure.
* * *
Logic of Modern Physics. By P. W. Bridgman, published by The Macmillan Co.,
New York. Price, $2.65.
History of Freemasonry. By H. L. Haywood and J. E. Craig, published by The
John Day Company, New York. Price, $3.20. The Rise of American Civilization (2
vols.). By Mary R. and Chas. A. Beard, published by The Macmillan Company, New
York. Price, $13.25.
FLORIDA AND THE 1842 CONVENTION
Through your columns I wish to thank Bro. Philip C. Tucker of Florida for his
complimentary remarks concerning my articles on "The Effects of Anti-Masonry
on the Masonic Fraternity" which recently appeared in THE BUILDER. I also
desire to express my appreciation to him for his statements in regard to
Florida's representation at the Masonic National Conventions of 1842 and 1843.
It was in the hope of securing such additional information that Bro. Tatsch
and I published our material on anti-Masonry in periodicals before issuing our
contemplated book on the subject.
Tucker said, "I notice one minor fact that Bro. Eriksson omitted, not that it
is of much consequence (except for historical accuracy), that is, that the
Grand Lodge of Florida was not in attendance at the convention of 1842. Bros.
J.P. Duval, P.G.M., and J.G. Jones were delegated from this lodge, and in 1843
Bro. Thomas Hayward attended as a delegate." In my article in the April
BUILDER I cited ten Grand Lodges which were represented at the convention of
1842. This information was gleaned from a report of the convention contained
in the Proceedings . . . of the Grand Lodge of Virginia . . . 1842, in which
nothing was found concerning the presence of Florida delegates. My conclusion,
based on Bro. Tucker's letter and the report mentioned, is that Florida
elected delegates but that they did not appear at the convention. I would be
glad to have Bro. Tucker cite sources so we may incorporate his information in
our forthcoming book.
Tucker is quite right in mentioning that Florida was represented at the
convention of 1843 by Thomas Hayward. I did not think it would contribute
anything to the article to list the fifteen Grand Lodges which were
represented in 1843, though the delegates are named in a report of the
convention contained in the Virginia Proceedings of 1843.
McKinley Eriksson, Iowa.
* * *
MANKIND AND THE DEITY
Peter, in the house of Cornelius, said, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no
respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh
righteousness is accepted with Him." It had not occurred to me that it was
necessary for a 320 Scottish Rite Mason to declare that be was in accord with
Peter's statement. I may say further that as a Methodist preacher I am in
accord with Paul, who wrote to the Romans, "Because that which may be known of
God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible
things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being
understood by the things that are made even His eternal power and Godhead."
Mankind has never been without the knowledge of the true God. Abraham was not
separated from his kindred to give Monotheism to the world, but that through
him and his posterity that primitive revelation which was being corrupted
might be preserved and increased. Abimelech, King of Gerar, and Melchizedek,
King of Salem and Priest of the Most High God, were men associated with Him in
the Old Testament story. But it was a faith that was dying out; and when we
come to the end of the career of Moses we have no hint of any successor of
Abimelech or Melchizedek. The only trace we find of that earlier faith is a
torch going out in the darkness, Balaam, a backsliding prophet who loved the
wages of unrighteousness, who was slain with the sword in the war against the
great religions of the world have ever been loftier intellectually and nobler
morally in their beginnings than in their later history. Buddhism and
Mohammedanism are striking illustrations of this.
never discovered God. He is known only as He has revealed Himself to men. The
only revelation of God that is worth much to the world today we find in the
Bible and on this Freemasonry is founded.
greatness of Confucius and Buddha is not to be questioned, but neither claimed
to know anything about God. They dealt only with human conditions and
relations. While it may be that Sir Edwin Arnold idealized Buddha to some
extent hi his "Light of Asia," yet he undoubtedly stands out as the noblest
and most pathetic figure the Far East has given to the world. His view of life
was pessimistic. A. W. Wilson, in his "Abode of Snow," says of him, "It was
his profound sense of the misery and worthlessness of life which drove Gautama
Buddha from his throne into the jungle, which underlies all the meaning of
religion which he founded, and which finds forcible expression in the Buddhist
hymn, 'All is transitory, all is misery, all is void, all is without
substance.' His Nirvana is well expressed in Sir Edwin Arnold's gnostic
figure, 'The dewdrop slips into the shining sea.' The bubble bursts on the
surface of the strain and the individual life is merged with the great source
and center of all being." The oldest church the writer knows is Notre Dame, in
Paris. In it he saw nothing obscene. That Christianity is much discredited by
the unChristian living of men and women who have gone into Pagan from
so-called Christian lands, is notorious. An African chieftain sent this
message to the Archbishop of Canterbury, "Great and Good Chief of the Tribe of
Christ, the humblest of thy servants kisses thy feet and begs, send us more
Gospel and less Rum." That Rome has, in heathen lands, done many things that
were cruel and lustful, may be granted, but I am not prepared to admit that
such a charge can lie against the Protestant denominations that are conducting
the great missionary operations of today in the heathen world. "I am from
Missouri, show me."
* * *
general drift of the interesting article by Bro. House in the June number of
THE BUILDER is to assert such a conception of Masonry as is compatible only
with the Christian faith. It seems to me there are objections to this position
on broad grounds as well as in detail in regard to some of the arguments used
to support it.
broad grounds of objection lie in the fact that many men following
non-Christian religions have been and are accepted into Masonry. It would
almost seem that the author classes Judaism and Christianity together; but
this seems illegitimate. Many things can be found in the Judaic scriptures of
the Old Testament that as understood by the Hebrews of the times referred to,
and even as understood by Jews today, would be open to the same objections he
alleges against the other great ,,ethical" religions, such as Islam, Buddhism
and the rest. In other words, the Old Testament must be interpreted in a
Christian sense to fit in with his scheme. I do not wish to be understood as
here expressing any opinion as to the justification for so doing, I merely
wish to make the point that the Jewish conception is not the Christian; yet
there are thousands of Jews accepted into the Order. In the same way have
Mohammedans, Buddhists,. Sikhs and followers of Confucius been accepted, and
though not in very large numbers yet sufficiently to show that in actuality
and practice the Craft is more inclusive than Bro. House's position would
would seem in fact that he has made the common error of judging other
religions by their worst features, and his own by its best. This may be
comforting to the individua e lever, but does not lead to a true judgment of
not entirely meaningless that the most commonly used Mohammedan term for God
is "The Most Merciful." That the Hebrews did not believe it right to love
their enemies we have the authority of Christ Himself when He said, "Ye have
heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine
enemy," and went on to lay down the new law in opposition to this. How was
this old law worse than Plato's dictum that justice included doing hurt to
enemies, a saying which would be somewhat modified in meaning in its proper
context. Was it not held to be the duty of all soldiers in the late war to do
what hurt they could to their enemies? The essentials are in no way changed by
substituting personal enmities for national ones, for in Plato's time every
individual quarrel involved the families of the participants, and the family
(as today among barbarous and primitive peoples) was a war making unit. If two
families, one in Sparta and another in Athens, had a bond of hospitality
between them, it was quite recognized that members of such families should
avoid each other in battle, or even help each other; which from the strictly
national point of view might be regarded as treason, while from that of
humanitarianism it would make an approach to a limited kind of Freemasonry.
only people who lived up to the principles laid down by Bro. House in the
Great War were the conscientious pacifists - there were some. I do not wish to
take too much space, but must say that it seems as if one striking and
inescapable conclusion to be drawn from the Third Degree (I admit it is never
enlarged upon) is that we should ruthlessly revenge deadly injuries, and
should not live in the same world with our enemies - when able to send them to
another. In the American ritual I believe this is even more insistently
exhibited than in ours. If Bro. House will here abide by the ordinary
conventions that this was justice, then he has no claim to condemn the
conventions of other peoples that make it a duty to support one's family in a
private war, or to resent and fight about certain classes of insults and
up, it seems to me that Bro. House has read a great deal more into Freemasonry
than is properly there. We are obligated to assist Brother Masons, we are only
recommended to help the rest of the world. It is a Mason's duty to maintain
brotherly love within the Craft, there is no duty of obligation to be at peace
with the rest of the world. Masonry obliges us to a limited circle of duties,
to love our brethren, in short. It exhorts and recommends the extension of
this love to all mankind, but it does not make it obligatory in the same
absolute sense. I submit, therefore, that the Masonic code is not equivalent
to that of Christianity, but one on the level of the religions that Bro. House
puts (and I believe rightly) on a lower plane.
* * *
CHISEL AND DIAMOND
authors of the article very much regret having disturbed Bro. F. G. G. as
apparently they did. In strict truth we had not the faintest notion that
anyone would find the passages we criticized worthy of defense, once the
defects were pointed out.
F. G. G. has, however, apparently mistaken in some respects what we intended
to say. We do not understand just what it was that gave him the impression
that we confused the gavel (mason's or waller's hammer as it is now called)
with the mallet. There are many varieties of hammers and mallets employed in
different trades, but all are alike in respect to their being implements of
impact, for striking. There are a number of different forms of the hammer used
in stone work, spalling hammers, scabbling hammers, mash hammers, bush hammers
and others; and these again may all have other names in different places. Most
of them are used directly on the stone, as the axe, adze and hatchet are used
on wood. The mallet is used only with a chisel, point or punch or similar
tool. We explained the difference earlier in the article, at page 153, where,
as we thought, we clearly pointed out the difference between them.
regard to finishing the surface of wrought stone this is done in various ways
as we noted in the article in the April BUILDER. The bush hammer (or "claw"
tool) is used very generally on hard stone. On free stone a chisel, the edge
of which is broken by a series of V-shaped indentations, is often employed.
This tool leaves a series of parallel ridges like the bush hammer, but bolder
and more regular in appearance. The finishing is sometimes done with a pick,
point or pricket, as in what in England is sometimes called "sparrow-pecked"
work. Smooth work is of course finished by rubbing with a piece of stone, and
polishing is done by means of various abrasives. It is unnecessary to go into
not know if Bro. F. G. G. is speaking from experience or observation when he
says that sometimes the chisel is pushed instead of struck with the mallet. It
would have to be on exceedingly soft stone to be of any effect. In carving the
sculptor may use all methods of finishing, including rubbing and scraping. But
if scraping with a chisel it would naturally be done by holding it in both
hands. To press it with the mallet would be so unhandy and inefficient that it
is difficult for us to imagine anyone ever attempting it. But as technique
varies so much not only in different places but also with the idiosyncrasies
of the individual that we are willing to accept the statement, only even so,
it is such an exceptional use of the tool, that we do not think that it should
be taken as typical, as it is in the phrase we criticized.
are many forms of tools, gouges, drifts, punches, drills, as well as chisels,
that are used chiefly by being struck with a hammer or mallet. They all have
this in common that the working surface is formed at one end of the body of
the tool, and the force supplied by blow or impact at the other end. In this
sense such tools are all in the same class. But a chisel, properly speaking,
has a cutting edge transverse to the axis of the tool, while "knife" tools of
various kinds have an edge parallel to the axis. The ordinary usage of the
English language also quite sharply distinguishes an edge from a point.
Nevertheless technical terms frequently vary a great deal from ordinary usage
and we have looked the matter up to see if a chisel were ever said to have a
point. We found several instances of this use in one technical handbook, but
it seems likely from the context that this is no evidence of genuine technical
usage but is due to the carelessness of the author in writing.
New English Dictionary gives no support to any such usage. This work covers
both dialect and old and obsolete forms. Several pages are devoted to the word
point, and considerable space to chisel. The only thing possibly favorable is
the term "chisel-pointed" given as one of several examples of combination
which are not explained. The only application of chisel-point or
chisel-pointed we remember is to a mode of sharpening drawing pencils for
ruling sometimes employed by draughtsmen.
be also here permitted to note the interesting fact that the technical work
above mentioned, The Practical Stonecutter, by F. T. Hodgson, gives the term
"boaster" as the name for a special kind of chisel. The usage did not seem
fixed, but in view of the fact that "boasted" is a form of "broached" this
survival of the term "boaster" in America is interesting, even if it is no
longer applied to a "broach" or point.
the opinion expressed by Bro. F. G. G. that the first quotation does refer to
an actual diamond we are in hearty accord. Our point precisely was that those
who framed this ritual (circa 1750 possibly) had in so doing preserved an old
tradition of which the meaning had been lost. Some may judge this transference
justifiable symbolically speaking, that is a matter of opinion. Our criticism
was not of its interpretation and moral teaching but of the confusion of the
technique of the lapidary with that of the mason. Diamonds from certain parts
of the world are often cased in a matrix of other mineral substances from
which they must first be freed. But the implements used for this purpose and
for "cleaving" or splitting off thin flakes along the planes of
crystallization are not chisels but knife-shaped tools with a blunt edge, and
are struck on the back not with a mallet or hammer but with a short rod of
iron or steel. The cutting of a diamond is done by means of another diamond or
by a wheel charged with diamond dust, and it has never been done in any other
way for the excellent and compelling reason that nothing but a diamond is hard
enough to cut a diamond. There is in fact no analogy between the craft of the
mason and the lapidary except of the vaguest and most tenuous kind, and we
hope we may be pardoned if we still continue to think it would have been
better to have kept diamond cutting out of the ritual altogether.
K. and R. J. M.