The Builder Magazine

August 1928 - Volume XIV - Number 8

 

Gematria and the Letter G

By BRO. L. F. STRAUSS. Massachusetts

IN every Masonic lodge room there is presented for special notice, exhibited for particular consideration, the letter G. At all Masonic expositions, shows or manifestations, on Masonry's golden or gilded emblems, on all the so very varied Masonic symbolic configuration, we find embedded, and as it were enshrined, this letter G. On special occasions, feasts and celebrations, this letter looks with glowing radiance upon the assembly of Free and Accepted Masons.

 

Now the question arises, or rather should arise, what is the significance of this letter G. that it should be given such an all-surpassing prominence in the Masonic realm? What was the idea or ideas, what was the object, the purpose of the pioneers, the founders of Modern Freemasonry in giving such an illustrious position to this character or symbol?

 

This emblematic G is a cogent illustration of the phenomenon that the large majority of human beings, wanderers upon this planet Earth, spend their lives, and finally complete their destined pilgrimage, without ever troubling themselves about the goal, or the purposes of Providence or God. The ratson d'etre of things, of the world, does not take up much of their attention. They spend little of their valuable time in wondering at the things which they feel, smell, taste, fear or see. The would-be teacher or monitor is told in irritated voice: "What difference does it make ?" In other words. "What can I buy for it?" The how, where, why and when, gives no trouble to the average good American, German, or French citizen.

 

Now this letter G is too conspicuous, too prominent, to be left altogether out of consideration by the honorable "Guides of the Worthy Members of Modern Freemasonry." So in one carefully arranged scene, at a definitely appointed time, the Guide gives the Candidate a brief elucidation of this so conspicuous, so omnipresent figure. In reverential voice, with solemn mien, the Candidate is informed that the letter G has a double meaning; that being the first letter of the two words, it represents two ideas: the mensurable material, and the incalculable spiritual and divine. The Guide, of course, simply repeats the memorized phrases, the words he himself was told when he was a Candidate.

 

A little reflection should bring this consideration: the letter G is the initial letter for the word God in the English and Germanic languages only. yet it is as conspicuous, as omnipresent, in the Italian, French, Spanish, Slavic and Albanian lodge rooms as in the English American-Germanic lodges. The initial letter of the word for God in the so-called Romance languages, Latin, French and Italian, is D; in Slavic languages B. and in the Albanian language is P. Why then in these countries is this letter G not changed into D, B or P?

 

Again, geometry is only a small part, a short section of the great domain called mathematics. The school child has his troubles with arithmetic, the student has his or her difficulties with algebra, trigonometry, calculus, etc. why enthrone geometry for this special consideration, meditation and reverence? "The hardest thing in the world is to think," says Emerson.

 

In this connection we will add this: the Candidate sees, in the course of his Masonic career, some strange things, some very remarkable scenes and sceneries; he hears some strange words and phrases in the memorized proclamations of the Masters, the Chiefs, the High Priests. But the large majority of the honorable members of Modern Freemasonry are in the same mental condition, or enlightenment, about Freemasonry as would be a well-trained, docile, puppy or kitten on the subject of art, when puppy or kitten is carried through a most magnior munificent palace or art museum. Its eyes might be directed and steadily turned toward some special, highly valued paintings or pieces of sculpture, and yet our patient kitten or puppy, like unto a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, will not ask a single question, will not even wonder, no matter what is placed before its healthy, innocent eyes.

 

Now let us return to our letter G.

 

What is this letter G. ?

 

It is for one thing the initial letter of the word Gematria. But what is Gematria? The word itself constitutes a kind of combination of two others, of the two words Grammateia and Geometria. Geometric "Grammateian" principles were applied by sages called Kabalists, in their search for the principles, the laws, that are operative in the evolution of life, in the structure, the Building of this our Universe. The proper use of this geometric-grammateian principle furnished to these Hebrew-Jewish-Israelitish sages and theologians, the key to the hidden, the fourfold meaning, of what is today known as the Old Testament.

 

The Jewish Encyclopedia gives us a very learned treatise on the subject of Gematria, six long pages in reduced type, a great part in the Hebrew-Aramaic-Neo-Hebrew language. The writer of this article in the Jewish Encyclopedia is a great scholar, a modern "Intellectual," therefore a little skeptical. We will give a few quotations:

 

In Cabalistic literature the use of Gematria has been greatly extended and its forms have been developed in many directions. The principles on which the Gematria rests is not stated in traditional literature, but it may be assumed is essentially the same as that which is found in the Cabala, though in the latter it has been developed along the lines of cosmogonic theories.

 

A theoretic basis: all creation has developed through emanation from the En Soph (En Soph is an important Masonic emblem or symbol). The first degrees of that evolution are the ten Sephiroth; from the last of which, the “Kingdom" developed the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Through the latter the whole finite world has come into existence. These letters are dynamic powers. Since these powers are numbers, everything that has sprung from them is number. Number is the essence of things, whose local and temporas relation ultimately depends on numerical proportion.

 

Everything has its prototype in the world of spirits, that spiritual prototype being the term from which the thing has been developed. As the Essence of things is numbers, the identity of things in numbers demonstrates their identity in Essence, etc., etc., etc.

 

The writer here wishes to call attention to a few articles recently published in THE BUILDER, a "Scientific Masonic Magazine." These articles, entitled "The Essenes," "The Kabala" and "Freemasonry and the Kabala," will also give this information: the nomenclature, the symbolism used, employed, pronounced in Freemasonry is Kabalistic, that is, is taken, borrowed from the Kabala. The progenitors of this Kabala were an Order called in history Essenes, the selfdesignation of the members of this Order was Banaim., which word translated into English means "Mason," "Builder." The aim of every member was to become Rab-Bana, that is a MasterBuilder.

 

Albert Pike, the only American Master-Builder to whom the Order of Free and Accepted Masons has erected a monument, and this in the city of Washington, has built his literary structure upon the doctrines of these Kabalistic Banaim, and on page 202 of his book calls particular attention to these Rab-Banaim, Master-Builders, and he emphasizes the fact that the Kabala furnishes to Masonry secrets and symbols.

 

Modern historians, and even some novelists, claim these Essenes Banaism to have been the founders, the pioneers, the propagandists of Christianity. A use of Gematria is recognized by the true Initiate in many pages of the Old and New Testaments. The Jewish Encyclopedia here points to Genesis (1) XIV, 14, where the number 318 is equivalent Eliezer, (2) XXXII, 1-6, (3) Ezekiel V, 2.

 

An instructive illustration or exemplification of Gematria is furnished by "Christian" Kabalists. The form here prescribed and the principles involved are, or should be, of special interest to members of an organization known by the name of "Modern Freemasonry." These Christian Kabalists, of whom the church fathers, Clement and Origen, are the most illustrious and best known representatives, were potent factors in the formation of Christian theology, and the propaganda of the Christian faith.

 

Christian Kabalists made a special use of the words IOANNES (John) and IESOUS (Jesus) and BAPTISMA were also used. This may be exemplified by a quotation from a book recently published by two unrecognized modern British students of Gematria, Frederic Bligh Bond, F.R.I.B.A., and Thomas L. Lea, D. D.

 

Here then is a case in which the Gematria value of the spelling might be looked to for light, if our theory be correct, and it must be admitted that the name IOANES has an undeniable importance in view of its divine origin in the gospel narrative. The numerical value of IOANES (Joanes) is 1069, a number not apparently related to the general scheme of mystic numbers which subsists in the writings, but as IOANNES (Joannes) the form generally formed and employed by the old Scribes and which is also to be seen in the Cosmic MS. of the Pitis Sophia, it is 1119, and this it may at once be said, is an important number in the mystical geometry of the Aeons, and is actually the number of the first.

 

Aeon in the books of IEOU and is directly connected with the number 634. The French author, Honore Balzac, in Louis Lambent and Seraphta, proclaims a philosophical theology in striking accord with the teaching of the Kabala. In this work he presents a world, ideas and doctrines, in striking agreement with the teachings given in and by Gematria. On one page, the page before me is 104, this French genius enumerates laws, principles that are stated in nearly the same words in the Zohar (Crown of Kabala). Following are some of these laws:

 

Everything in this world (iei bas) exists only by movement and by number.

 

Movement is in some sort number in action.

 

Movement is the product of a force engendered by the word and by a resistances which is matter. Without the resistance movement would be without result, its action would have been infinitely small. The attraction of Newton is not a law, but an effect of the general law of universal movement.

 

This is a kind of "Einsteinian" relativity proclaimed in 1835.

 

Now, Gematria is old, very old. But, dear reader, so is the so-called Atomic theory, so is the mis-called Copernican system of astronomy. Not only Pythagoras and Plato had taught this so-called Copernican or Heliocentric theory, but it was also taught by the Essenes Banaim and had been discovered through the modus operandi and quaerendi, called Gematria. This "Heliocentric" doctrine, with Pythagoras and Plato as well as Essenes, was of course one of their "Masonic" secrets.

 

Our friend Albert Pike in his great work presents us, in the final chapters headed "Knight of the Sun, Prince Adept, and Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret," the most brilliant exhibition and illustration of the modus operandi and opus quaerendi of his friends the Kabalists. The modus and opus operandi is, as we found out, called Gematria.

 

Our friend Albert Pike strongly emphasizes the fact that Graeco-Roman sages had employed the same, or similar, modus and opus. Now the question might arise whether the Kabalist Banaim had borrowed doctrines and ideas from the Pythagorian adepts or Eleusinian Mystics or vice versa. This question has been debated, we will leave it here undecided. In our opinion, no borrowing was necessary. Veritas habetur clara eternaque. Seeing at all times depends upon the eyes of the seer.

 

When the human race is ready for the reception of an idea it is precipitated upon terra firma by the Higher Powers. Again and again a new idea comes to, a new discovery is made by several individuals at the same time; in evolution we have Darwin and Wallace, in mathematics, in calculus, Newton and Leibnitz.

 

The great Masonic authority, Albert Pike, thinks that Pythagoras had his instruction in Judea from Daniel and Ezekiel. This writer does not endorse the opinion of Albert Pike.

 

Now, son of man, remember the declaration ascribed to King Solomon, "there is nothing new under the sun." one might see a kind of contradiction in this Solomonian proverb in the scientific dictum "nature never repeats." But to this scientific dictum should be added the word "exactly." No two things are exactly alike. So that every human voice even has its own peculiar flavor.

 

The reader has now been told a lot about ancient Gematria; he might have heard of strange Pythaorean, hermeticmathematical, astrological, superstitions, and now, lo and behold, here comes a great, a recognized, modern scholar and scientist, a Doctor, a Professor, at the University of Tubingen. He wrote for the March number of the Preussische Jahrbucher, a conservative German Scientific magazine, a long article entitled "Mathematik und Kultur." Our professor had presumably never studied the Kabala; had probably never heard the word Gematria; yet in his article he tells us of some new, strangely mystical, German discovery in the realm of mathematics; discoveries which remind the initiate of doctrines, of ideas and ideals found in the Gematria. Our professor informs us that these strangely mystical "new" discoveries have been found useful not only in theoretical science, but are utilized today in the pursuits of modern industry, such as chemistry, radio-activity and so on.

 

In this article our learned professor endeavors to place upon a scientific basis occult teachings about mathematics, the mystical potency of number, in the unfoldment, the manifestation of life in this our universe.

 

As these new doctrines are presented in eight printed pages we can give here a few quotations only. Among many other things Dr. Knapp tells us:

 

The Pythagorean succeeded in making a discovery of far reaching significance; they ascertained the laws of Harmony in sound and were able to place these laws upon a Numerical Theoretical Foundation.

 

That is, Gematria. He theorises in many words about the importance of this discovery, about the intimate connection, the complementary features possessed by two seemingly heterogeneous elements: Mathematics and Music. Our professor writes:

 

The Pythagorean school endeavors to make number, or, more clearly expressed, the relation of numbers, the innermost basis of life and nature.

 

Alongside of Harmony of sound, the Pythagorean affirmed with keen speculation the harmony of the spheres, i.e., the doctrine that in the complementary motions of sun moon and planets there is operative the principle of Numerical potency or power, which law or power resembles, is identical with, the law or power operative in the law of sound. This law in a way is "twin" and becomes affective and effective in the life of men.

 

Again Professor Knapp says:

 

Now I wish to declare that this discovery of the Pythagoreans has found, has experienced a resurrection, a most potent revival in most instances, in the different races. Such as the modern "Quantum Theory." Here we learn that relation between numbers furnishes for man the mirror in which he finds the unfoldment of Life.

 

Yet further we find the following:

 

The study, the investigation by the ancient Greeks of the Kegelschnitten [i. e., the analysis of the principles involved in the formation of the circle, the eclipse, the parabola and hyperbola] presents a highly interesting field of investigation. Appollonius of Perga gave to this mathematical study his whole lifetime, and we have from him an elaborate presentation of his results in eight books. Some inductions and deductions had seemed strange and mystical. But a few thousands of years later Kepler discovered that planets and comets in their evolution around the sun move in courses indicated and designated in this Kepelschnitten so that what had seemed mathematical playfulness or tomfoolery had the most surprising cosmic significance.

 

And still further we read:

 

Let us return to our Pythagoreans; their Einsichten, their recognitions and the hope of new discoveries gave their study of mathematics a value superior to all other occupations. The Structure, the nature of the Cosmos, was recognized as having a mathematical basis. They did not postulate this mathematical basis for the realm of exteriors, the phenomenal world, alone. For in their judgment the sense of Harmony enters deeply the interior, the human sphere, and thus they made mathematics the basis of all knowledge. We do not know what definite knowledge was reached, what discoveries in the realm of science was made by the Pythagoreans. One thing we do know: they utilized as a fact, or rather as a factor, the potency of numbers. They taught that number, whole number, was at the beginning, was in a way the Source of the evolution of Life in the bosom of Nature and that the relation between numbers furnished for man the mirror in which he could see the unfoldment of life.

 

And yet again he says:

 

At yet another point in modern progress do we see the potency of the "whole number." I wish here to call attention to the principle of periodicity in the realm of chemical elements, to the fact that every element has a definite whole number, order-of-and-for-process, which order determines so completely the character, the nature of the elements that Max Born, a recognized authority, maintained that the theory of physics and chemistry will become a problem of numbers.

 

Professor Knapp is here in accord with a statement made by Lord Kelvin in his last visit to this country when speaking to the student body at Cornell University. In this speech he remarked "The great work of the twentieth century will be in the reconciliation of the life seen with the life unseen, by means of psychophysics." To this recognition are due some commercially important discoveries in the German chemical industry.

 

One more quotation we will make from our professor:

 

An uneducated individual will not be able to imagine a nonEuclidian geometry, that is a geometry in which matter such as the three angles of a triangle make not 180 degrees, and yet Gauss, and especially Rieman, had posited, had worked with, these non-Euclidian principles. And we know today that the Theory of Relativity postulated by Einstein is based upon this non-Euclidian geometry.

 

Again in Greek history we find that mathematics was revered as the Queen of Science. And now we might say here a few swords about the relation of mathematics to the principle of Philosophy

 

Here our professor gives a dissertation too lengthy for a presentation in this sketch.

 

These declarations are strange, very strange when made by a modern scholar. Our scientists have always looked, and the majority of them today still look askance, at the sphere of the spiritual, the mystical; in other words, the realm of Religion. The claims of the theologians were smiled at, were deemed beneath the honor of an investigation by a real scientist and now the great Gauss is quoted by our professor as saying:

 

But all search, every effort was in vain; finally a few days ago there came success; the success was not due to my efforts, my struggle, my powers. Success came like unto a flash of lightning; the problem was solved through the Grace of God.

 

Now what is the purpose of Gematria? Gematria furnishes a solution for three problems.

 

1. Gematria teaches the nature of the Cosmos, the origin of this our Solar System.

 

2. Gematria teaches the Nature, the Purpose, the Destiny of man the Genus Homo.

 

3. Gematria shows to the personality the road on which the wanderer can, eventually must reach his destination.

 

The new philosophy has coined a new term, supraliminal consciousness, and we would like to refer the American reader to the father of psycho-physics, Theodore Fechner. The question of course comes up, what is this supra-liminal consciousness? The phenomena so long rejected by scientists, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience or telepathy, are today "explained" as manifestations of this "supra-consciousness." The scientists would find useful information for the solution of these problems in the study of an occult treatise called Kabala, considered by some as divinely revealed; and in a certain modus operandi designated by the letter G. and called Gematria.

 

----o----

 

American Army Lodges in the World War

 

By BRO. CHARLES F. IRWIN, Associate Editor, Pennsylvania

 

THERE is one topic that always has a charm to the Masonic student. It is the existence and history of the various Field Lodges that sprang up during our various wars and ministered to the Masonic needs of the Craft during the time of stress. The presence of such Army Lodges on American soil dates in the far past and is in fact one of the pioneer features of Masonry in the Western Hemisphere. These Field Lodges first came in the British regiments years prior to our Revolution and kept appearing through every war we have had.

 

It may prove somewhat of a surprise to the Masonic public to learn of the number of such institutions that either were stationed permanently in various American cantonments, or traveled across the ocean and accompanied the military units to the end of the foreign service.

 

We have been working upon this fascinating problem for a number of years and as a result are prepared to publish in THE BUILDER some papers either from the original leaders in these lodges or from their printed reports that are now accessible to the general Craft. The study of these papers will, we are convinced, present very strong arguments as to the value of the Field Lodge in times of national emergency. The cross section of army life displayed by these papers will stir up within the genuine student a desire to continue further into the subject.

 

If this series of papers does no more than arouse such a spirit in all our Grand Lodges we shall regard our labor as successful. Occasionally a detached story comes in to our department that by investigation can be linked up to one of these Masonic organizations and thus the material is slowly accumulating into a valuable treasure.

 

The first of the series is a paper on Montana Military Lodge No. 1, by its first Worshipful Master, Major L. A. Foot, of Helena. Worshipful Brother Foot has been advancing in the line of the Grand Lodge of Montana, and has also been Attorney General of that state. His paper displays a keen discernment on Masonic principles and merits a close consideration by all readers. We are deeply indebted to him for his careful preparation of the paper.

 

In a future issue of THE BUILDER we will have the complete story of "Army Lodge A" of the 113th Field Artillery, of the Grand Jurisdiction of North Carolina, which accompanied this regiment throughout the war in France and brought home a most enviable record and tradition. Other lodges will appear as their story is shaped up into a unity from the various fragments that have come to us from various sources.

 

History of Montana Army Lodge No. 1, U. D.

 

By BRO. L. A. FOOT, Montana

 

At the time of the entry of the United States into the World War there was considerable discussion among the various Masonic Jurisdictions of the United States relative to the advisability of granting dispensations for Army or Field Lodges in the United States Army. In many instances petitions for such lodges were denied, under the belief that the plan was not feasible, but the question continues to be a live one, and the writer submits this article on the experiences of one of such lodges, hoping that the record of the Army Lodge of Montana's jurisdiction may prove of benefit and value to the Craft in the future.

 

Army Lodges were not an innovation of the World War, Masonic history proves that a number of such lodges existed in Washington's Army during the Revolution, and it is not at all certain that the first lodge on American soil was not an Army Lodge. Why, therefore, any jurisdiction should have hesitated to grant a dispensation in the late war the writer is at a loss to understand, but doubtless apparently good and sufficient reasons existed.

 

On the 25th day of March, 1917, the Montana National Guard was mobilized for service and assembled at Fort William Henry Harrison, near Helena, Mont. The regiment (then known as the Second Montana Infantry, later to become the 163rd United States Infantry) had but recently returned from service on the Mexican border. During that service those belonging to the regiment who were Masons had several times discus the advisability and desirability of petitioning the Grand Lodge of Montana for a dispensation to organize an Army or Field Lodge. However, when it developed that the regiment was not to enter Mexico, but was merely to perform guard duty on the border, the idea was abandoned.

 

When the call to duty was again sounded, however, and with an assurance of active service in a foreign land presented, the idea was again revived, and finally a call for all Masons in the regiment to meet at a certain time and place was sent out. So many brethren responded to this call and so much enthusiasm for the plan developed that the result was the appointment of a committee to take the matter up with the Grand Master and officers of the Grand Lodge of Montana with a view of obtaining a dispensation for a lodge that might be taken to France, there to furnish to those wearers of the lambskin in their country's service the joys of fraternal comradeship only to be had within the mystic circle of Masonry.

 

The Grand Lodge of Montana met in its Annual Communication at Helena, and the writer, delegated by the soldier Masons of the Second Montana Infantry, appeared before its altar and presented the petition, duly signed, asking that a dispensation be granted to form a Field Lodge under the name of Montana Army Lodge No. 1, to accompany the regiment to the battlefields of Europe, or wherever its duty might call it.

 

The Grand Lodge received the petition, and by a unanimous vote authorized its Grand Master, Most Worshipful Bro. Francis D. Jones, to issue the dispensation prayed for, and appointed a committee consisting of the Most Worshipful Grand Master and Most Worshipful Past Grand Masters E. C. Day and H. S. Hepner to prepare the dispensation granting such powers as in their judgment were necessary to accomplish the purpose desired.

 

All things being in readiness, Montana Army Lodge No. 1 was duly constituted by M. W. Grand Master Jones in the Consistory Shrine Temple at Helena on Sept. 8, 1917, with the writer as W. M.; Bro. Jesse B. Root, Senior Warden; Bro. Wm. O. Whipps, Junior Warden; Bro. Jos. P. Sternhagen, Treasurer, and Bro. Willard E. Olson, Secretary. The appointive officers installed at the same time were as follows: Bros. George A. Wright, Senior Deacon; D. E. Hawley, Junior Deacon; A. E. Johnson, Senior Steward; W. E. Wilson, Junior Steward; Jos. Writenour, Tyler; H. N. Johnson, Marshal, and Wm. Pippy, Chaplain.

 

The jewels and furniture of the lodge were the gifts of the three Helena Lodges, Helena Lodge No. 3, Morning Star Lodge No. 5, and King Solomon's Lodge No. 9, the square and compasses being made for the purpose by a Helena silversmith from pure Montana silver. All these jewels and other articles were returned to the Grand Lodge and are now deposited in its archives among the other historical relics of Montana Masonry.

 

Three days after the institution of Montana Army Lodge No. 1, the regiment departed for Camp Greene, North Carolina, on the first step of its journey to France.

 

No meetings of the lodge were held in the United States although permission to meet at Camp Greene was asked and received from the Most Worshipful Grand Master of North Carolina, and the use of the beautiful lodge rooms in the Masonic Temple in Charlotte, North Carolina, was tendered to the lodge during its stay at Camp Greene. The limited time the regiment remained there and the arduous work of preparing for the voyage across the seas prevented the acceptance of the offer of the kind brethren of Charlotte who overwhelmed the brethren of the division with their attentions and kindness.

 

On Dec. 14, 1917, the regiment sailed from Hoboken, N. J., on board the "Leviathan," formerly the Hamburg-American Liner "Vaterland," for France and the great adventure. Being unconvoyed the vessel took a course far north of the usual lines of travel.

 

The day of Dec. 21 found the ship somewhere off the coast of Iceland, and all members of the lodge feeling that they had their "sea legs." The first meeting was held in the stateroom occupied by our Senior Warden, which not being designed for lodge purposes, caused an overflow of the brethren into the bathroom. The Master and Senior Warden were provided with chairs, but the Junior Warden was compelled to occupy a seat on the side of the berth, while the Secretary and other officers and brothers made themselves comfortable on the floor. Nothing daunted by cramped quarters, the lodge was duly opened. Two petitions for degrees were received and other business transacted, and the lodge was duly closed, somewhat hurriedly, however, as a bad sea had risen and some of the "sea legs" were found to be not as stable as their owners had fondly believed.

 

The two petitions were subsequently favorably acted upon and both candidates elected, one of whom was killed in action before any degrees could be conferred. The other was duly raised and is now a United States Consul in China.

 

No further meetings were held for several weeks, during which the 163rd Infantry, and necessarily the officers of the lodge, were scattered about over France, but finally the regiment was re-assembled in the St. Aignan area on the Cher River, and meetings were resumed. The Division Commander, General Robert Alexander, himself a brother of the Jurisdiction of Kansas, gave the lodge permission to meet in a room in a school building which was in use in the daytime for military purposes, and several meetings were held there, until finally the trustees of the school entered objections to its use as a lodge room by Freemasons and it had to be abandoned.

 

At the first meeting held in this school room a general notice was sent out to all Masons in the area, and the result was four solid hours of examining visitors before the lodge would be opened. There was no work for this meeting, so the time after the lodge was opened was devoted to a "get acquainted" meeting, the W. M. calling the roll of the states and brethren present answering for their respective jurisdictions. The result was almost unbelievable, as 23 states and Porto Rico were represented by brethren at the meeting.

 

At the second meeting a third degree was conferred by courtesy for Helena Lodge No. 3 of Montana. Both Wardens of the Army Lodge were absent on military duties, as well as were several other officers, so the Master called for volunteers from the brethren present to assist in the work. Seven different states were represented by the brothers taking part, several by Past Masters, and owing to the difference in the work of the seven different jurisdictions, the Master was kept extremely busy maintaining Matson during the evening.

 

Early in the spring of 1918 the regiment was moved to Montrichard, and several meetings were held at that place, one of the most interesting of which was held in a cave of a single room, without seats of any kind, at which were raised two brothers whose orders took them to the front lines the following day. The altar at this meeting was an empty "Corn Willie" box; the officers and brethren sat, tailor fashion, upon the stone floor; the preparation room was all of France, roofed by the starry sky. But the spirit of the brotherhood of Masonry was present and the impressiveness of the degree was enhanced by the thought that on the morrow the two brothers being bound to us by unbreakable ties, were to take their places in the firing line; that they were going from us, fresh from our altar with their newly assumed vows upon them, possibly to attend their next meeting in that Celestial Lodge on High. However, I am glad to record that both brothers returned, and today are honored members of the Craft.

 

Near Montrichard lives an American, a Mr. Wells, the owner of a fine large chateau. This gentleman, learning of the existence of the lodge, although not a member of the Craft, tendered the lodge the use of a fine large room in his chateau and several meetings were held there by the Senior Warden while the Master was performing military duty at the front.

 

An incident occurring at Montrichard seems worthy of mention. A French Mason, having made himself known to a number of American Masons, informed us that there was an interesting place in the village and led us to a cave in the rocks. Entering we discovered a large room of probably twenty by thirty feet in size, cut out of the solid rock. At the east end of the room were three steps of stone and carved in the rock wall were the Sun, Moon and All-seeing Eye. The ceiling was curved and still retained the remains of a representation of the starry canopy. The walls were decorated with pillars of the different classes of architecture. At one side we discovered the winding stairs with the proper number of steps, each bearing its appropriate symbol, and terminating in a small chamber whose walls were decorated with various signs and symbols familiar to Masons.

 

The front of the cave, which evidently had been of masonry, was gone, and the place was crowded with articles of machinery and a rabbit hutch. The small chamber at the head of the winding stairs was fitted up as a bed chamber, and at the time of our visit, quite late in the evening, contained a sleeping peasant whom we disturbed, but who accepted our apologies with a smile and resumed his slumbers. We desired to hold a meeting of our lodge in this old lodge room, which our guide informed us had been first prepared for Masonic purposes nearly three centuries before, but owing to the impossibility of properly closing the front, we were unable to do so.

 

The French Lodge which originally used the cave as a meeting place is still in existence, having moved from Montrichard to Tours some thirty or forty years ago.

 

Several other meetings were held at Montrichard in a mushroom canning factory which the American Forces were using as a warehouse, the lodge room and preparation room being constructed in the center of the large room by erecting walls of boxes and bales of army supplies.

 

After the Armistice the Army Lodge met more regularly at St. Aignan, where a fairly good room was secured on the third floor of a building. Here several brothers received their degrees and learned their lectures.

 

At the last meeting held an investigating committee made its report on an applicant. When the ballot box was called for, it was missing. This ballot box consisted of a cigar box divided into two compartments, with the lid in two parts, and the ballots were red and white army beans.

 

However, the absence of such an article could not long deter the functioning of Montana Army Lodge, and two tin dishes were promptly produced, into one of which were placed a number of silver and copper French coins. The whole was then covered with a cloth, and the candidate duly elected with silver French 50 centime pieces.

 

Among the Montana Masons serving in the A. E. F. was the Right Worshipful R. E. Hathaway, Senior Grand Warden Elect of the Grand Lodge of Montana. Early in the spring of 1919 the mails brought to the writer a proxy issued by the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Montana, Bro. E. M. Hutchinson, empowering him to convene a special communication of the Grand Lodge of Montana for the purpose of installing Brother Hathaway as Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden. Brother Hathaway, who was then in Paris, was communicated with, and on March 29, 1919, he arrived at St. Aignan, where, in compliance with the authority granted, a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Montana was convened and he was duly installed in his office.

 

Inasmuch as this is probably the only instance in American Masonic History where a Grand Lodge of an American jurisdiction was convened on foreign soil, the minutes of that meeting and a roster of the acting Grand officers and brethren present might bit of interest to the Craft. We give them as follows:

 

A Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Montana A. F. and A. M., was held at St. Aignan, Loir-et-Cher, France this 29th day of March, A. D. 1919, A. L. 5919. The following officers were present:

 

Bro. L. A. Foot, Act. W.G.M. Bro. W. C. Riddell, Act. S.G.W. Bro. L. A. Buchanan, Act. J.G.W. Bro W. E. Olsen, Act. G. Sec'y. Bro O. S. Perry, Act. G. Treas. Bro. R. O. Osborne, Act. S.G.D. Bro. J. P. Webber, Act. J.G.D. Bro A. E. Johnson, Act. S.G.S. Bro W. E. Wilson, Act. J.G.S. Bro. G. R. Austin, Act. G.Tyler. Bro. C. S. Winn, Act. G. Marshal.

 

Brothers as shown by Tyler's Register.

 

Lodge was opened in form on the Third Degree at nine o'clock p. m.

 

The Acting G. M. then read the following:

 

Proxy appointing L. A. Foot, W. M. Montana Lodge No. 1, U. D. to install R. W. Brother Robert E. Hathaway as Senior Grand Warden.

 

To all to whom These Presents May Come-Greetings:

 

Whereas, at the Fifty-fourth Annual Communication of our Grand Lodge, held in the City of Billings on August 21 and 22 1918, R. W. Brother Robert E. Hathaway, now in the Medical Reserve Corps of the United States Army in France, was duly elected R. W. Senior Grand Warden; and,

 

Whereas, he was not present to be installed into said position by virtue of such election; now, therefore, know ye:

 

That we, Ernest M. Hutchinson, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Montana, reposing full confidence in the Masonic skill and ability of Brother L. A. Foot, W. M. Montana Army Lodge No. 1, U. D., do hereby appoint him as our special proxy and representative to install R. W. Brother Robert E. Hathaway as R. W. Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge A. F. and A. M. of Montana, according to the ancient customs and rites of the Fraternity, requesting that due return be made to us of this, our proxy.

 

Given under our hand and the seal of our Grand Lodge at Whitefish, this 19th day of October, A. D. 1918.

 

Ernest M. Hutchinson, Grand Master Attest: Cornelius Hedges, Jr.

 

Grand Secretary (Seal of Grand Lodge).

 

R. W. Brother Robert E. Hathaway was then introduced and duly installed as R. W. Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge A. F. and A. M. of Montana.

 

After the ceremony, R. W. Brother Hathaway made an address to the assembled brothers expressing his satisfaction and pleasure at being installed into his high office by a subordinate lodge of his own Grand Lodge in France, and thanking the officers and members of Montana Army Lodge No. 1 for their efforts in his behalf.

 

There being no further business to come before the meeting, Lodge was closed in form on the Third Degree at 10:30 p. m. Peace and Harmony prevailing.

 

W. E. Olsen. Act. G. Sec'y.

 

L. A. Foot Act. W. G. M.

 

TYLER S REGISTER OF MONTANA ARMY LODGE NO. 1, U. D. St. Aignan, France, March 29, 1919.

 

R. E. Hathaway, Glendive No. 31, Glendive, Mont. L. A. Foot, Choteau No. 44, Montana and M. A. L. No. 1, U. D. Wm. C. Riddell, Helena, Mont. Curtis Winn, P. M., St. John's Lodge No. 17, Albany, Oregon. H. W. Bateman, Choteau 44, Choteau, Mont. A. E. Johnson, Mont. Army Lodge No. 1, U. D. J. P. Webber, Silver Bow No. 48, Butte, Mont., and M. A. L. No. 1. G. N. Austin, Sandstone No. 34, Baker Mont., and M. A. L. No. 1 W. L. Hurlburt, Star in the East, New Bedford, Mass W. E. Olsen, Valier, Mont., and M. A. L. No. 1. V. E. Landon, Excelsior 22, Council Bluffs, Iowa. W. T. Barker, Mt. Vernon, Malden, Mass. Philip Abraham, Oblong City 644, Oblong, Ill. Edward Hambrecht, Hamilton 79, Canajoharie, N. Y. Vernon A. Hammond, Rock Creek 685, Harriet, Ark. Albert E. Davis, Covenant 753, Brooklyn, N. Y. William Reed McCathran, Osiris 26, Washington, D. C Kris M. Solberg, Virginia Falls 171, Merrill, Wise. Robert D. Ashley, Cradford 470, English, Ind. Frank M. Good, Adoniram 517, Akron, Ohio. Oliver S. Perry, Montana Army Lodge No. 1. Nathan B. Gillispie, St. George's Lodge, Barkston, Mass. James A. Krall, North Star No. 46, Glasgow, Mont. Louis B. Meyer, Enfield No. 447, Enfield, N. C. Bernard Ettengen, St. George No. 6, Sehenectady, N. Y. Lyman C. Ward, Llano, Texas. J. Emory Tribbey, Washburn Lodge No. 421, Washburn, Ill. Edgar W. Martin, Athens, West Virginia.

 

Excluding the special communication of the Grand Lodge of Montana, above mentioned, Montana Army Lodge No. 1 held eighteen meetings at which were initiated thirteen candidates, eleven of whom were raised. The Lodge received requests from American Grand Jurisdictions, through the Grand Lodge of Montana, to confer 103 courtesy degrees. With most of these requests it was impossible to comply as the candidates were never, due to the exigencies of war, near enough to the lodge to present themselves. A number of such requests were complied with and we would have been only too glad to care for them all had circumstances allowed.

 

In the eyes of the writer the greatest benefit of the Army Lodge was the fact that within its sacred precincts alone could soldiers of all ranks meet on an equal footing, free from the somewhat undemocratic restrictions of army regulations governing the associations of officers and men. In an army made up, as was ours, of men from all walks of life, the rule of the old regular army that there must be no social intercourse between the enlisted and the commissioned personnel proved galling, and nowhere save in such a place as was provided by the Army Lodge could this condition be avoided. the Mason is a social being; he wants to meet his brothers on the level, and he does not want a little thing like a General's stars or a Corporal's chevrons to make any distinction between him and them. When he was on the drill field or in the trenches he believed in as strict compliance with army regulations as he did in the Landmarks of his Lodge, but he wanted a place where all rank could be forgotten, where he could meet his brother who wore the stars or the eagles and his brother who distinguished the insignia of a private soldier as equals. Such a place he found in the Army Lodge, where the Tyler looked upon military rank as in the same class with cowens and evesdroppers, and where the military salute was displaced by the fraternal handclasp.

 

----o----

 

The Ancient and Illustrious Order of Knights of Malta of the Continent of America

 

Communicated by BRO. WILLIAM A. GRETZINGER, Pennsylvania

 

BRO. GRETZINGER is a Past Grated Commander of Quaker City Commandery, No. 422, of the Knights of Malta. In view of the recent revival of interest in the Order of St. John, this presentation of the claims of the American Order to be directly and continuously descended from the original Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem is query welcome. The crucial link in the chain of evidence is concerned with Sir James Sandilands, and what is said of him in the article should be read with the closest attention

 

 THE Order of the Knights of Malta was originally divided into eight languages, or nationalities. These were, in order, Provence, Auvergne, France, Italy, Arragon, England, Germany, Castile. These were thus divided long before the modern frontiers were drawn. Provence and Auvergne are now part of France. Arragon and Castile are in Spain. The language of England, sixth in order, included also the Scottish branch, though politically the two countries were then quite separate. It is from the Scottish branch of the Sixth Langue that the Order in America is descended.

 

History informs us that several centuries ago some merchants from Amalfi, in Naples, being struck with the misery to which pilgrims were exposed on their road to the Holy Sepulchre, obtained permission from the Caliph of Egypt to erect a church and build a monastery near the site of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, which they dedicated to St. John the Baptist or the Almoner, A. D. 1048.

 

They entertained all pilgrims that came for devotion and cared for the distressed among them. They became eminent in their devotion, charity and hospitality, and were called Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, to distinguish them from the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. They took the Black Habit of the Hermit of St. Augustine and on the left breast wore a cross of eight points.

 

The cross was a white cross or an eight-pointed fishtail Maltese cross, signifying:

 

(a) Its whiteness the emblem of that purity of life required in those who fight for the defense of the Christian faith and live for the service of the poor and suffering.

 

(b) The four arms representing the Christian virtues: Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude.

 

(c) The eight points representing:

 

Patience, Repentance, Charity, Humility, Sincerity, Faith, Justice and Mercy.

 

(d) The eight points representing the eight original languages.

 

(e) The eight points representing the eight original flags.

 

(f) Representing the compass in its cardinal points in: The Angles: North, East, South, West.

 

The Points: Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest.

 

(g) Representing: Earth, Air, Fire, Water.

 

(h) Representing the four beasts and four great angels.

 

In war they wore crimson with a white cross, but in their monasteries and on the day of their profession, the black garment only.

 

Paschall II, Bishop of Rome, by a decree appointed Peter Gerard, a native of Provence, their Provost and Guardian. By the same decree it was provided that the successor of Gerard was to be fairly elected by the brothers. The first election resulted in electing Raimond Du Puis to the Grand Mastership and he extended the original design of nursing and feeding the sick and poor to that of affording pilgrims and strangers a safe escort from the Holy City to their own home. (The country between Jerusalem and the nearest point of embarkation for Europe being inhabited by the opponents of Christianity who used every means to destroy all those who bore the name of Christian.)

 

The Hospitallers, a short time afterwards, petitioned that they might become a military order without relinquishing their religious habits, and this petition was granted. The Patriarch of Jerusalem armed them himself and received their vows to defend the Holy Sepulchre with the last drop of their blood, and to combat infidels wherever they should meet them. On the conclusion of the ceremony, the Knights of St. John offered their services to the King of Jerusalem, and afterwards, with Knights Templar, became the principal supporters of that ruler.

 

When the Knights of Malta were reorganized on a military basis, A. D. 1118, the Master's Assistants formed themselves into a chapter or council, and statutes and rules were instituted for their guidance.

 

THE SIXTH LANGUAGE

 

We will now turn our attention to the Sixth Language, the Scottish portion of which survived the main body. As already stated, the Sixth Nation or Language was England, including Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It consisted of three priories, and was governed by a Chapter composed of representative officers from each priory. The principal officers of the Chapter being the Lord Grand Prior, who was Lord Lieutenant of England, and sat in the English Parliament as Premier Baron of the Realm; the Lord Prior of Torpichen, who was Bailiff of Scotland, and sat in the Scottish Parliament as Lord St. John; the Lord Prior of Kilmainham, who was Bailiff of Ireland; the Turcopolier, the Conservator, the Procurator, the Grand Crosser, the Grand Chaplain, the Grand Secretary, etc.

 

The Grand Priory was situated in the Parish of Clerkenwell, London, and contained a church, a hospital and an inn. A magnificent edifice, founded by Lord Briset and consecrated to the services of the Order in 1185, by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem. It was set on fire by the rebels under Wat Tyler, in 1380, and burned for seven days. In its widely varied decorations, both internally and externally, it is said to have contained specimens of the arts of both Europe and Asia, together with collections of books and rarities, the loss of which in a less turbulent age would have been a subject of national regret. The building was finally repaired by the Lord Grand Prior Dotwra in 1504, and is still rich in the monumental grandeur of the Knights of Malta.

 

When the Knights Templar were suppressed in 1312, the whole of their extensive possessions in the British Isles were bestowed to the Knights of St. John, thus enriching the Order very considerably. They thereafter held estates in almost every country of the three kingdoms.

 

The English and Irish branches were suppressed in 1540, by act of Parliament (statute 32, Henry VIII, chap. 24) intituled:

 

An act concerning the lands and goods of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, in England and Ireland, to be hereafter in the King's hand and disposition.... That the lords, spiritual and temporal, in this present parliament assembled, having credible knowledge that divers and sundry of the King's subjects, Knights of Rhodes, otherwise called Knights of St. John, otherwise called Friars of the Religion of St. John of Jerusalem, in England, and of a like house in Ireland . . . have unnaturally, and contrary to the duty of their allegiance, sustained and maintained the usurped power and authority of the Bishop of Rome lately used and practised within this realm, and have not only adhered themselves to the said bishop, being a common enemy of the King our Sovereign Lord, and this realm, unruly upholding and affirming, maliciously and traitorously, the same bishop to be Supreme Chief Head of Christ's Church, . . . it should be most dangerous to be suffered or permitted within this realm. Or in any other of the King's dominions, any religion being sparks, leaves and imps of the said root of iniquity.... That it were and is much better that the possessions in this realm, and in other of the King's dominions appertaining to the said religion, should rather be employed and spent within this realm, for the defence and surety of the same, than converted to and among such unnatural subjects which have declined from their natural duty of obedience daily doing, and attempting privily and craftily, all they can to subvert the good and godly policy in which this realm and all other of the King's dominions now stand, &c.

 

It is then enacted -

 

That the corporation of the said religion, as well within this realm, as within the King's dominions and land of Ireland, by whatsoever name or names they be founded, incorporated or known, shall be utterly dissolved and void to all intents and purposes, and that Sir William Weston, Knight, now being Prior of the said religion within this realm of England and land of Ireland, shall not be named or called from henceforth Prior of St. John of Jerusalem, in England, but shall be called by his proper name of William Weston, Knight, without further addition touching the said religion. And that likewise John Rauson, now Prior of Kilmainhlam in Ireland, shall not be called or named from henceforth Prior of Kilmainham in Ireland, but only by his proper name John Rauson, Knight, without further addition touching the said religion, nor any of the brethren or confereres of the said religion, in this realm of England and land of Ireland shall be called Knights of Rhodes, nor Knights of St. John, but shall be called by their own proper christian names and surnames of their parents, without any additions touching the same. . . . It is furthermore enacted that if the said William Weston, Knight, or any of his brethren or confreres of the Hospital or House of St. John of Jerusalem in England, &c.; and if the said John Rauson, Knight, or any of his brethren or confreres of the said Hospital or House of Kilmainham in Ireland, &c., do use or wear within this realm, or within the said land of Ireland, or elsewhere, in or upon any apparel of their bodies, any sign, mark, or token heretofore used and accustomed, or hereafter to be devised, for the knowledge of the said religion, or make any congregations, chapters or assemblies, touching the said religion; or Maintain, support, use, or defend any manner of liberties, franchises, or privileges heretofore granted, &c., the parties so offending shall incur, &c.

 

Here follows a list of penalties incurred.

 

So far as England and Ireland were concerned this act gave an abrupt ending to the Order, but fortunately the Order existed where King Henry had no jurisdiction. We must not, however, overlook the magnanimity of "old King Hal." The act from which we have just quoted was sufficiently magnanimous to leave the two Priors the dignity of knighthood, and to grant a pension to each of the then officers of the Order to continue during their lifetime. This kind of magnanimity may not be considered wholesome, but the late Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, M. P., acted on the same principle when, in 1869, he despoiled the Protestant Church of Ireland, and doubtful as the honesty of the principle may be he found a majority of the British House of Commons could sufficiently stultify their consciences to permit of their voting for the Church-Plunder Bill, and believe that they were really magnanimous in doing so. Truly, in point of honesty we are not much better than "old King Hal" and we should therefore be sparing in our denunciations of his policy.

 

Although this statute never was repealed, an attempt was made by Queen Mary of England to revive the Order, in the hope that the Priests of the Order would aid her in her bloody work of undoing the Reformation by the extermination of Protestants. Cardinal Pole was her adviser, and she (or rather they, for the Cardinal had a greater hand in it than the Queen) appointed Sir P. Tresham, Prior; Sir R. Shelly, Turcopolier; Sir Peter Felix de la Nuca; Baili de Aguila, and others of the knights into a corporation or Priory of the confraternity of St. John of Jerusalem in England. In the reign of James II we again find the Order existing in England under the Duke of Berwick as Grand Prior. It is scarcely necessary to point out that on both occasions the order was popish.

 

Early in the nineteenth century the Order was again resuscitated in England, this time on a legal footing, and by virtue of powers granted in 1827 by the Commander de Dieune, and others, forming a capitulary commission delegated to act by a chapter general of the Languages of Provence, Auvergue, France, Arragon and Castile, being a majority of the eight Languages, held at Paris under the presidentship of Prince Camille de Rohan (Grand Prior of Aquitane in 1814), whose proceedings were sanctioned and afterwards confirmed by the Lieutenant of the magistery and the sacred council at Catania. Under these powers Sir Robert Peat, D.D., chaplain to King George IV., was installed as Grand Prior in 1831. and as such took the oath de fideli, but it was found necessary to revive the corporation before the court of King's Bench, which was accordingly done on the 24th February, 1834. These formalities were gone through at the instance of Sir Lancelot Shadwell, Vice-Chancellor of England, who was soon after elected a Knight of the Order. Sir Henry Dymoke, of Scrivelsby, succeeded Sir Robert Peat, D.D., as Grand Prior in 1837.

 

The Order thus resuscitated was strictly Protestant, and was understood to be so by the conference of five out of the eight languages, at which the order of resuscitation was granted, and by whose authority a Protestant clergyman who was chaplain to a Protestant king was ordained as Grand Prior. Even in those latter days of the Order's infirmity, when it was slowly but surely dying out on the Continent, the Pope had no authority and Protestantism was no crime.

 

THE ORDER IN SCOTLAND

 

As already stated the Scottish branch of the Sixth Language outlived the parent stem. It is here and here only that we have an unbroken chain of existence. Here Henry VIII. of England had no jurisdiction; here the European resolution had no effect; here there was no necessity to suppress the Order on account of the religion of the Knights, they being foremost amongst the reformers.

 

The Order was introduced into Scotland by "the sore saint," King David I. (1124-1153). James VI., when viewing the tomb of his great ancestor in Dumfermline, referred to him as "King David," when one of his nobles reminded him that it was "St. David," James replied, "Aye, he was a sore saint for the crown." The finest preceptory was established at Linlithgow, and in due course the Order was governed by a Grand Priory called the Grand Priory of Torphichen. The Grand Prior had a seat in Parliament under the appropriate title of Lord St. John. He was by virtue of office a member of the Grand Chapter, or Supreme Council of the Sixth Language, a body which was presided over by the Grand Prior of England.

 

The Scottish Knights do not appear to have had the same zeal for crusading which characterized their continental brethren. Probably the unsettled state of the country may account for their lack of zeal in this matter. When people have more than enough to do at home, they don't as a rule go abroad; and the civil wars of the thirteenth century kept the Scots very much at home. Yet they were not insensible to the spirit of the age, and they have left their mark on many places in the country. Thus Jordanhill, near Glasgow, has an interesting connection with the Crusaders. Some of the Knights Templar, after their return from Palestine, settled near Jordanhill at the village now called Temple. The general appearance of the district so reminded them of the country around the Jordan that they gave it the name of Jordanhill. A little west of Jordanhill is the village of Knightswood, which also owes its name to the Crusaders from its having been the forest in which the Knights hunted. Auchtermuchty, in Fifeshire, bears the name of a Knight of Malta. The late Sir Samuel Auchmuchty, of the 57th Regiment made the following statement:

 

My two uncles, Sir Samuel Auchmuchty, for some time commander of the British forces in Dublin, and Sir Benjamin Auchmuchty, took much interest in the Knights of Malta. I have heard the latter frequently speak of them, and from traditions in my family, I know that our ancestors were originally Knights of Malta, and emigrated from there to Scotland. They founded a town in Scotland, called from them Auchtermuchty, and a sword is to this day preserved in our family, once the property of one of those Knights.

 

From the death of Scotland's royal saint (David I.) in 1153 till the conversion to Protestantism of Sir James Sandilands in 1553, exactly 400 years, there is little to record. At what date the Grand Priory was established in Scotland is, we fear, lost in the antiquity of the ages; but we have it on record that Archibald, Magister of Torphichen, held the office of Grand Prior in 1252, and his successors appearing in the following order, all of whom received their appointment from the Grand Master:

 

Alexander de Welles annointed 1291

Ranulph de Lindsay.....” .............1298

William de la More........” ........... 1315

David de Marr .............. “ ........... uncertain

Edward de Brenne ....... “ ........... 1386

John de Rynnaige ........ “ ...........  1410

Henry Livingstone ........ “ ............ 1449

William Meldrum .......... “ ............ 1453

William Knowles............ ” ...........  1463

George Dundas ............ “ ............ 1514

Walter Lyndsay...............” ...........  1530

James Sandilands .......... " ............1547

 

It was undoubtedly through the instrumentality of Grand Prior Sir James Sandilands Lord St. John of that period, and the last holder of that long honored title that the reformation of the Order, which converted it from a popish confraternity to a Protestant fraternity in Scotland was effected. It certainly cannot be said of him that he hid his light under a bushel; when the light of the Sun of Righteousness penetrated his own soul, he reflected the brightness of that soulsaving light upon those around him. This distinguished reformer, liberator and guardian of the regenerated Order, was the second son of Sir James Sandilands of Calder, and Marietta, daughter of Archibald Forrester of Corstorphine. He was initiated into the Order at Malta, and there received his knightly education under the eye of the Grand Master. He was recommended by Sir Walter Lyndsay, on his decease, as a person well qualified to succeed him in the office of Grand Prior of Scotland. He was accordingly appointed to that position by a bull of Grand Master Homedez, dated at Malta, April 2, 1547. He was an intimate friend of the great reformer John Knox, and had long been favorably disposed toward the reformers. By the persuasion of Knox he was led to publicly renounce the Roman Catholic religion in 1553.

 

M'Crie referring to him in his Life of John Knox, states that

 

After his return to the south of the Forth he (Knox) resided at Calder House, in West Lothian, the seat of Sir James Sandilands, commonly called Lord St. John, because he was the chief in Scotland of the religious order of Military Knights, who went by the name of Hospitallers or Knights of St. John. This gentleman who was now venerable, for his grey hairs as well as for his valour, sagacity and correct morals, had long been a sincere friend to the reformed cause, and had contributed to its preservation in that part of the country. In 1548, he had presented to the parsonage of Calder, John Spotwood, afterwards the reformed superintendent of Lothian, who had imbibed the Protestant doctrines from Archbishop Cranmer, in England, and who instilled them into the minds of his parishioners, and of the nobility and gentry that frequented the house of his patron. Among those who attended Knox’s sermons at Calder, were three young noblemen who made a great figure in the public transactions which followed Archibald, Lord Lorne who succeeding to the earldom of Argyle at the most critical period of the Reformation, promoted with all the ardor of youthful zeal, that cause which his father had espoused in extreme old age, John, Lord Erskine, afterwards Earl of Mar, who commanded the important fortress of Edinburgh Castle during the civil war which ensued between the Queen Regent and the Protestants, and died Regent of Scotland; and Lord James Stuart, an illegitimate son of James V., who was subsequently created Earl of Moray, and was the first Regent of the Kingdom during the minority of James VI.

 

We have noticed statements to the effect that it was at Calder House that John Knox first administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in the Protestant form, but we are not anxious to lay claim to doubtful honors. According to M'Crie, this event took place in St. Andrews, in 1547 which date is prior to the conversion of Sir James Sandilands. But we will let M'Crie speak for himself:

 

His (Knox’s) labors were so successful during the few months that he preached at St. Andrews that, besides the garrison in the castle, a great number of the inhabitants of the town renounced Popery and made profession of the Protestant faith by participating of the Lord’s Supper. This was the first time that the Sacrament of the Supper was dispensed after the reformed mode in Scotland, if we except the administration of it by Wishart. in the same place, which was performed with great privacy immediately before his martyrdom.

 

Although Lord St. John had openly professed his acceptance of the Protestant faith, he continued to exercise all the functions of his office as Grand Prior, and as shown by the preceding quotation, his influence was over the best and foremost men in the country. Calder House, as the residence of the Grand Prior, would naturally be a rendezvous for the Knights of the Order, but as we have seen it was also a rendezvous of prominent politicians. Either these politicians were Knights of the Order, or the Order and the Grand Prior had an abnormal influence over them. It was under the protection of the Grand Prior that they received both their religious and political education. That two of his respected guests became Regent of the kingdom and a third entrusted with an important command under the reformed, or Protestant government, taken together with the duties entrusted to him personally, point very plainly indeed to the enormous influence he wielded, and wielded for good.

 

On Oct. 1, 1557, he was still in communication with the Grand Master and Chapter at Malta. Thus proving conclusively that his conversion to Protestantism did not in any way affect his relations with the body.

 

On Feb. 27, 1559, we find him as one of the signatories to the offensive and defensive treaty between Queen Elizabeth, of England, and the Lords of the Congregation, i.e., the Scottish Protestant party.

 

When, on Aug. 24, 1560, the Scottish Parliament abolished popery, the work of the reformers had been so well done that only three men raised their voice against the proposal, namely, the Earl of Atholl and Lords Sommerville and Borthwick "The clergy spake never a word." Lord St. John was on this occasion selected by Parliament to go to France and lay their proceedings before the Queen (Mary) for ratification. It is said that upon that occasion the Cardinal of Lorraine sought to load him with reproaches for his conversion to the Protestant religion, which step was, however, ably defended by that chivalric Knight to the utter confusion of the wily Cardinal.

 

The manner in which he carried out this rather delicate task is best shown by the manner in which the Queen appreciated his services on this and other important occasions.

 

On Jan. 24, 1563, we again find the Protestant Grand Prior and the Popish Queen face to face. This time he went at the request of the Grand Priory, to hand over to the Queen the lands and possessions of the Order, together with the dignity of Lord St. John, which he held as chief of the Order; and this for the purpose of freeing himself and his Knights from certain obligations of their Sovereign a task which few men would care to take in hand.

 

The Queen accepted them in the most gracious manner, and in order to show her great respect for the man who thus divested himself of the rank and title of a peer, she returned to him as a personal gift the lands of Torphichen, and at the same time re-created him a peer of the realm under the title of Lord Torphichen.

 

From this time forward the Order has been separate from the state, and therefore from under the eye of the historian, a circumstance which forces us to be content with side-lights being shed across our path, while other matters are under review, until we again come into the full light of documentary evidence.

 

The first matter which presents itself to the mind of the thoughtful companion is, did Sir James Sandilands resign the office of Grand Prior when he gave up the local dignity of Lord St. John, or did he retain office till his death in 1596? Some writers have assumed that he resigned, but we fail to see where the circumstances justify the assumption. The object of giving up the lands, etc., of the Order, was beyond doubt that the relations of the Order to the Crown would be that of civilians. Had the Grand Prior intended to resign, his renunciation of the Order would have secured the end in view without risking the displeasure of the Queen. His mission to the Queen was no personal matter, he was acting for the Order as a whole with a view to their continued existence apart from the state, and they obtained the object of their desire. The Order continued to exist, and whether Lord Torphichen continued to hold the office of Grand Prior or not, he positively did continue to be a leader in the Protestant cause, where he led the same men as he led as Grand Prior. We have never seen any valid reason put forward as to why he should have resigned, while there are many reasons why he should have retained office; but we are content to rest our case on the fact that all the trouble he took in gaining release from state control would have been superfluous had he intended to resign. We therefore conclude that he retained office till his death, on 29th March, 1596.

 

That the Order continued in a publicly recognized manner is shown by the fact that about the year 1572, David Seaton, with a portion of the Scottish Knights, separated themselves from the then Protestant fraternity. He retired to Germany where he died in 1591, the remnant of the seceders ultimately finding a shelter under the wing of the first lodge of Scottish Masons at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, where they introduced the Orders of St. John, which are still given in connection with (Blue) Masonry. We again get a glimpse of the Order in 1643, when it was reintroduced into Ireland for the protection of Protestants who had suffered so severely by the Irish rebellion of 1641. This was the Second Grand Priory of Ireland, and be it noted, founded and established by the Grand Priory of Scotland. That this branch was still in existence in 1795 when the Loyal Orange Institution was founded, is shown by the fact that at a very early date the Orange and the Black had become inseparably connected. In some cases separate warrants were held, while in others certain degrees were given under an Orange warrant, and those wishing to travel further had to apply to a Black lodge. These facts point to two conclusions: 1st, That the Orange was a popular endeavor of the Knights of St. John to accomplish the object for which the Order had been reestablished in 1643, namely: The protection of Protestants, and is therefore the natural offspring of the Ancient Order. 2nd, That the Knights of St. John were very lax in the performance of their duty when they allowed their degrees to be given under the jurisdiction of a body actually free from their control, although a friendly body, and it may be a body founded by them. That this was a blunder is now recognized and the practice forbidden. While endeavoring to be just in our criticism we must not forget to be generous. It was this blunder which brought about that close relationship which has kept the older Order alive, and without which it assuredly would long ago have shared the fate of the continental branches.

 

We will now turn our attention to documentary evidence; for this purpose we have had free access to all documents held by the Imperial Parent Grand Black Encampment of the Universe. Strange as it may appear, the oldest of these are of Irish origin, but before looking into the more ancient of them we will note one of semi-modern date. The report of the Third Grand Priory (or Lodge) of Ireland, or to be more correct, the report of a Committee to Grand Lodge on 11th April, 1850, re The newly instituted Grand Black Chapter of Ireland. In the report they refer to their own origin and antiquity coming through the Scottish reformers, and they assert that "The Order never was dissolved and that they held the chain of transmission which was perfect in all its links." Here we have an authoritative declaration of the unbroken continuity of the Order, from the time the political history of the country lost touch with the Order, until the time of giving their report, i.e., to 1850; and from the tenor of the report the Order was in a fully organized condition in 1807. This latter is implied, not stated, but the former general statement covers the period, so that we may not distress ourselves about the implication. We have before us while we write a very old copy of Rules belonging to the Royal Black Association (of Ireland), they are undated, but they must have been compiled prior to the year 1820, and may have been compiled as far back as 1795, which would only have necessitated a change of the monarch's name; which is common practice at the death of a monarch. In its "Prefatory Observations" it sets forth that "It should be understood that this Order is entirely detached from that of Orangemen (with the exception that no person, unless he has passed the Degrees of Orange and Purple, can be admitted), and it ought not to be supposed that it entrenches on the rights, privileges or immunities of that system. It is calculated to instruct and inform those who are desirous of obtaining a knowledge of Divine Truth, and Sublime Mysteries, and to cultivate that harmony which should exist amongst true Protestants."

 

Amongst other things provided by this code is a declaration to be read, by the Master, to candidates previous to their initiation:

 

Whereas our Christian forefathers, the Knights of Malta, who joined a holy bond of brotherhood, to support all kings and states against Turks and infidels. we, the members of the Royal Black Institution, will as far as in our power lies, imitate their glorious acts and great achievements, with our lives and fern tunes, to support and defend his present majesty George IV, his heirs and successors, so long as he or they maintain and defend the Protestant religion and the present Constitution.

 

Rule III provides -

 

That a regular visiting officer shall be received at the different lodges in Dublin, for the purpose of communicating their progress to the Grand Lodge; and such lodges as do not meet in the Metropolis shall, by their Secretary, communicate to the Secretary of the Grand Lodge, annually, their progress.

 

The code goes on to give the obligation which is substantially the same as that still in use. Of course the name of the Sovereign given is George IV., and it was sworn to, a custom long since abolished. It also gives the prayers to be used at the opening and closing of lodges. These are identical with those in use at the present day.

 

That the Order was in good working condition both in Scotland and Ireland, long before the time we might limit for the code quoted from above, will be seen by the following documents:

 

The first we will look at is headed "No. 155, Grand Black Order of Orangemen: Monaghan Regiment." It has the royal arms on the left, and the skull and crossbones on the right with the words "God be our guide" under the royal arms, and under this a broad black ribbon with an equilateral seal in black wax. The text is as follows:

 

To all Brother Knights of the Grand Black Order of Orangemen, to whom these presents come greeting. We, the Master Deputy-Master, High Priest, Secretary, &c., of the Assembly of Knights of the Grand Order of Orangemen, held in Princes Town, England, do hereby certify that Brother Sir James Henry was by us dubbed a Knight of this Most Grand and Sublime Order, on the 30th day of August, 1814, &c.

 

We need not quote further, as what follows are commonplace formalities. It concludes thus:

 

Given under our hand and seal of Assembly, held in Princes Town, this 31st day of August, 1814.

 

(Signed) JNO. SEAVEN, Master

JOHN M'CLELLAND, Deputy-Master.

FRANCIS HAWKSHAM, High Priest.

JOHN LAVERTY, Secretary.

 

From this document it would appear that Companion Henry had been initiated the night before he left the regiment, and brought his certificate with him.

 

Our next belonged to a Companion of more experience. It is headed with an arch wherein are shown emblems of all the degrees. On the left margin above the ribbons are the royal arms, with the words, "King and Constitution we will support." The text runs thus:

 

Loyal Orange Association, New System, No. 155. Now we, the Master, Deputy-Master, Secretary, &c., do strictly charge you to withdraw yourself from brethren that walketh disorderly

 

We, the Master and Deputy Master, of No. 155, of true Orangemen, do certify that Brother James Henry has regularly received the colours affixed to this certificates &c.

 

The degrees represented by the colors affixed are orange, purple, black, scarlet, old blue and royal mark, and concludes thus:

 

Given under our hands and seal of our lodge, in our lodge room, in the County of Monaghan and Kingdom of Ireland and town of Glasslough. Dated this 12th day of June, 1816.

 

(Signed) DANIEL PRASHEY, Master.

JOS. MILLS, Deputy Master.

THOS. SOMMERS, Secretary.

 

and countersigned "Jos. Mills, Grand Secretary."

 

Our next is a written document almost as neat as copper plate. The kingdom is not stated. It is headed "Royal Black Association, No. 3," and is a certificate of "Brother Sir Thomas Burgess," who has been

 

. . . duly initiated into the Mysteries and Secrets of a Royal Arch Black Knight Templar . . . having taken the sword in hand against all Turks and unbelievers. We therefore recommend.....

 

It is dated 2nd March, 1821, and bears the signatures

 

JOHN PATERSON, Master.

RICHARD MARKS, Deputy Master.

WM. M'KEY, High Priest.

JAMES CARSON, Grand Pursuivant.

 

Bro. Burgess became a member of No. 24, and we judge the document to be from No. 3 of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

 

We now turn to a parchment certificate, which is still in good condition, and issued by a lodge holding its authority from the Grand Black Lodge of Scotland. It runs thus:

 

God is our Guide. Royal Black Lodge. Honourable Protestant Association: 1st Royal Regiment. "And God said let there be light and there was light."

 

Now we, the Master, Deputy-Master, &c., do Strictly charge you to withdraw yourself from brethren that walketh disorderly. In the name of the most holy, glorious, and undivided Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we grant to Brother John Nixon this certificate from No. 16 Warrant, of the Magnanimous and Invincible Order of Royal Black Lodge Association of Lodge No. 16. held at Banzalore, in the East Indies.

 

We need not copy the document further. It is dated 1st August, 1829, and is signed by

 

JAMES GIBSON, Master.

A. BLAIR, Deputy Master.

WM. HALLIDAY, High Priest.

J. R. BAILLIE, Pursuivant.

 

The colors affixed represent the degrees up to and including the green.

 

These are the oldest written documents to which we have had access, but they are sufficient to prove the existence of the Grand Lodge of Scotland when No. 16 warrant was issued, and that it (No. 16) was working in Bangalore on 1st August, 1829, whither it had removed with the regiment some time previous, therefore an old lodge at the date given. This certificate alone gives the death-blow to the theory so often promulgated, that the Grand Lodge of Scotland was founded in 1831; but when taken together with the other documents quoted we are carried far back beyond the time when the Grand Lodge of Ireland ceased to exist; therefore impossible for them to have granted the letters of authority, held by Grand Master Donaldson, for the reorganization of Grand Lodge in 1831, they being nonexistent for at least seven years before the event. Moreover, No. 16, of the Irish Grand, was working at the same time as the No. 16 to which we have referred, and continued to work in Ireland up till 1834. When we add to this fact that the Grand Lodges of Ireland publicly declared their Scottish origin, and were justly proud of it, is it too much to ask, or to expect, that we should hear no more of such foolish fancies being promulgated as facts? Whether the wish be father to the thought or not, the persistence with which it has again and again been put forward proves that the wish is not wanting. Had it been possible for them to prove their case, it would have been done many years ago. They cannot prove a case because they have no case to prove.

 

Our next is rather a peculiar document consisting of a series of resolutions referring to financial affairs, in which fines are imposed for certain offenses, such as absence from the regular meetings of the lodge, arrears of dues, etc. In each case the resolution closes with the reminder that if they (the members) fail they will "receive the benefit of a committee." What that means must be plain to the greatest dullard, so far at least as modern notions carry us; but those who have been privileged to read the "Old Maltese Laws" and the "Old Scotch Laws" will be aware of the fact that the committee had to be paid by the offending member, or members, according to a printed scale. This document is headed Saturday, 12th September, 1829, and begins thus: "At a committee meeting of the Royal Black Lodge, No. 24, held in M'Culloch's, it was resolved, &c." Only one of the resolutions is of any importance to us, namely, No. 3, which gives us some data as to the age of the lodge, and places beyond dispute the claim of its members that Ancient St. John's, Glasgow, No. 24, is the oldest subordinate Black Lodge in the Universe.

 

The resolution refers to arrears extending over "the last twelve months," and giving details of meetings held on the following dates: 24th February, 24th March, 12th August, 31st August, 26th October, 24th November, 24th February, 24th March, 24th April, and 24th May. The year dates are not given in above details, but they plainly show the existence of the lodge on 24th February, 1828; and the fact that the committee dealt with an accumulation of arrears proves the existence of the lodge for a considerable time prior to that date.

 

The document bears the seal of the lodge which is a neat little thing, one inch in diameter. Round the outer circle are the words, "Loyal Black Association, No. 24," and in the center a skull and cross-bones, surmounted by the Latin words, Memento mort Remember death. The signatures appended are: Taylor Rankin, Hugh M'Hutcheon, William Gemmell, William Dickson, and William Kilpatrick.

 

On being presented to the lodge it was approved and signed "Henry Burnside, M." and "William Dickson." In connection with the foregoing we have the following promissory note:

 

"Glasgow, 24th October, 1829.

 

two months from date 1 promise to pay to Royal Black Lodge, No. 24, the sum of Ten Shillings sterling.

 

(Signed) WILLIAM KILPATRICK.

JOHN ALLAN, Witness.

 

We now come to a very important document a Grand Lodge Warrant which evidently implies a reconstruction of some kind; probably necessitated by the introduction of Orangeism into Scotland, and the consequent flooding of the Order in Scotland by members from Ireland who were, as a matter of course, Orangemen. From this time forward the Order in Scotland had been closely connected with the Orange Institution. That the reorganization of Grand Lodge was a legal one is shown by a letter from the Grand Secretary, on behalf of the Grand Council, to the Grand Master, requesting him to attend a subsequent meeting of Grand Lodge, and "to bring with him the letters authorizing them to reorganize the Grand Lodge." So whatever the change was it was legally effected, and Grand Master George Donaldson held the letters of authority.

 

The warrant is one of a lot lithographed for issue to subordinate lodges, altered to suit the purpose of Grand Lodge. We give it as altered. (It was surmounted by the Royal Arms):

 

Royal Black Association

 

HELD IN GLASGOW 'GOD IS OUR GUIDE'

 

In name of the Most Glorious and Undivided Trinity. Amen.

 

We, the Grand Master and Officers of the Grand Black Assembly of Scotland, &c., held in Glasgow, do hereby authorise and empower our well beloved brother, Sir George Donaldson to establish a lodge of true and worthy Black Men, and to act as Grand Master thereof, this being his Warrant; also to issue out Warrants,

 

Given under our hand and seal of our Grand Assembly, at our Lodge Room, 24th June, A. D. 1831, and of Royal Black, 4344.

 

(Signed) Sir GEORGE DONALDSON, G.M.

Sir ANDREW WILLIAMSON, G.T.

Sir WILLIAM JOHNSTONE, H.P.

Sir JOHN ALLAN, G.S.

On Black and Scarlet Ribbon

Sir ANDREW KETING, D.G.M.

Sir JAMES HENRY, G.P.M.

 

We again return to Lodge No. 24. This lodge has in its possession an old warrant of the pattern referred to, but as we have proof of the existence of the lodge long before the granting of this warrant, we are forced to conclude that it is not the original, or first, warrant, but a renewal of one previously held, probably exchanged for the purpose of bringing them into conformity with the new state of affairs created in 1831. The heading of this warrant is the same as the Grand Lodge warrant already given, and the text is as follows:

 

Lodge No. 24. Held in Glasgow, County of Lanark. We, the Grand Master and Officers of the Grand Black Lodge of Scotland, &c., held in Glasgow, do hereby authorize and empower our well-beloved brother, Adam Thomson, to establish a lodge of true and worthy Black Men, and to act as Master thereof, this being his Warrant.

 

Given under our hand and seal of our Grand Assembly, at out Lodge Room, 24th March, 1833; and of Royal Black, 4346.

 

(Signed) Sir GEORGE DONALDSON, G.M.

Seal. Sir ANDREW KEATING, D.G.M.

Sir ANDREW WILLIAMSON, H.P.

Sir JAMES HENRY, G.T.

Royal Black Lodge of Scotland, &c

Sir JOHN M'KEAND, G.S.

Sir ADAM THOMSON, G.P.M.

 

This warrant is in good condition and in the original frame.

 

This lodge (No. 24) has in its possession a copper plate on which is engraved what appears to have been the emblematic heading of a warrant, and must have been the property of Grand Lodge. It must also have been of an ancient date, as we are not aware of any existing document taken from it. For the benefit of our readers we here give a copy, taken from the original plate.

 

We have before us another warrant of the same design as the one given in connection with No. 24. This one is No. 99, and is granted to James Scott, of Johnstone, on 24th March, 1854, and has written (with pen and ink) on the back thereof what is called “A Dispensation of Knights of Malta," while No. 24 warrant has no such endorsement or dispensation, and therefore (presumably) not entitled to confer the degree of Knights of Malta. The dispensation runs thus:

 

Grand Assembly Rooms, No. 71 Nelson Street, Glasgow, 24th March 1854. By the advice and consent of the Very Right Worshipful the Grand Master and Office-bearers of the Parent Grand Black Encampment of the Universe, I, Sir Hans Newell, Grand Chancellor in virtue of said office, do hereby authorize and empower our truly and well-beloved friend and constituted Knight Companion, Sir and Brother James Scott, and each of his successors, to hold a Sub-Commandery of Knights of Malta in the town of Johnstone, in the County of Ayr and dominion of Scotland (of course this is a simple yet important error. Geographically the Town of Johnstone is in the County of Renfrew) to act Commander thereof and perform all the requisites of said Royal Illustrious Grand Black Order of Knights of Malta.

 

Given under my hand, at Glasgow, this 24th day of March, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fiftyfour.

 

(Signed) Sir HANS NEWELL, Grand Chancellor.

 

God Save the Queen

 

A little later we have the revised copy of the laws applicable only to Commanderies and Sub-Commanderies of Knights of Malta. (They bear no date but the context proves them to be contemporary with the revised laws of the "Black" which were sanctioned by Grand Lodge, in February, 1854). The first page is a warrant, of which the foregoing dispensation may be accepted as an advance copy, the only differences being that in the printed warrant they use the words "Great Chancellor," and the second paragraph runs "do empower and authorize our trusty friend and constituted Sir Knight Companion, &c." Following the dispensation is the "Declaration of Knights of Malta," and the "Caution to Candidates," both of which are identical with those now in force.

 

From these documents it would appear that the degree of Knights of Malta was only conferred by such lodges as held this special dispensation or warrant. At any rate they prove that the ordinary warrant of a Black Lodge was insufficient. This accounts for some lodges conferring the degree, while others did not confer it; and this certainly applies to the Irish as well as the Scottish lodges.

 

We now get a glance at the condition of affairs in the Grand Lodge of Ireland, in a letter addressed to Henry Burnside, evidently the Master of No. 24.

 

Strabane, 27th May, 1830.

 

Sir and Brother,

 

I received yours of the 10th inst., enquiring about the Grand Black Lodge. I am sorry to say that that establishment has been badly conducted these last four years, but I think there will shortly be a change in its affairs. I have written several times during the last two years, but could get no satisfactory account from them. We will shortly have an entire change in the Orange system, its laws and government-which I hope will be more Satisfactory in every department-which, when it takes place, I will send you the particulars.

 

The remainder of the letter is of a private nature testifying to the good character of Wm. Battersby, and is signed "Dan. Cook, Martin B., L. No. 13; and of O.L., No. 250."

 

We have quoted this letter at length because it is the first evidence we have of the degenerate condition of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which as a matter of fact was dormant at the time this letter was written although Bro Cook seems not to have been aware of it. Later on we have proof positive that warrants were not obtainable in 1825. On Feb. 11, 1832, we have an application for a warrant to work in Airdrie, Lanarkshire. The names appended are David Lindsay, Samuel Black, Henry Rollins, Joseph M'Gowan, John Craig, John Graham, Charles Birch, William Laughlan and Samuel Robinson. The warrant granted was No. 32. In this encampment we were duly initiated into all the mysteries of the Order in the year 1869. We may be pardoned for adding that in our boyhood we were personally acquainted with three of the above-named applicants Joseph M'Gowan, John Graham and William Laughlan.

 

The Sixth Language is being perpetuated at the present day in Scotland by a body known as the Imperial Parent Grand Black Encampment of the Universe with headquarters at Glasgow. In the year 1870 the Order was first introduced into America and an encampment was chartered at Toronto, Canada, from which it soon spread to the United States, and in 1875 the Supreme Encampment of America was chartered by the Imperial body of Scotland, but a few years later the charter was revoked and cancelled by the Imperial body for disloyalty and departing from the ancient landmarks of the Order.

 

Some of its Subordinate Commanderies, however, remained loyal to the Imperial Encampment. They continued to carry on the work and in 1884 formed themselves into a Grand Body. Their growth was most remarkable, and on June 1, 1889, the Supreme Grand Commanders of America was chartered by the "Imperial Parent Grand Black Encampment of the Universe," and under this charter the Supreme Grand Commandery of America is granted the sole power on the Continent of America to issue charters to Grand and Subordinate Bodies.

 

In the Court of Common Pleas No. 2, for the County of Philadelphia, as of December Term, 1883, No. 566, a charter was granted the Grand Commandery of the Ancient and Illustrious Order of Knights of Malta in accordance with the Provisions of the Act of Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as approved the 29th day of April, A. D. 1874, which charter is recorded at Philadelphia, the 23rd day of January, 1884, in Charter Book No. 8, page 375, etc.

 

In the same Court an amendment was presented to change the name of the Grand Commandery of the Ancient and Illustrious Order of Knights of Malta to the Supreme Grand Commandery of the Continent of America of the Ancient and Illustrious Order of Knights of Malta on which a Decree of Court was allowed and duly recorded at Philadelphia in Charter Book No. 26, page 408, on the 23rd day of September, 1901.

 

The badge design of the Order was duly patented by letters at Washington, D. C.

 

The badge design of the Order has recently been protected at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, under a recent Act of Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

 

The title of the head of the Order in 1889 was Most Eminent Grand Commander, subsequently changed to Sir Knight Supreme Commander, for titular head Supreme Body, and Sir Knight Grand Commander for Grand Jurisdictions.

 

----o----

 

The Master of Mount Vernon

 

By BRO. E. E. THIEMEYER, Research Editor

 

PERHAPS of all the titles conferred upon George Washington none was closer to his heart or described more completely the ambitions of the man than that which heads this article. The man whose knowledge and genius had led him to the highest pinnacle of success envied no one, desired no glory, and still he could not help but become the greatest American.

 

After the close of the Revolutionary War, Washington returned to his home on the Potomac. That he had at last attained his fondest desire is amply attested by the following quotation from one of his letters to the Marquis de Lafayette, who had by this time returned to his native France:

 

I have not only retired from all public employment, but I am retiring within myself. Envious of none, I am determined to be pleased with all; and this being the order of my march, I will move gently down the stream of life until I sleep with my fathers.

 

In itself a sufficiently simple statement, but it is couched in terms of such supreme contentment that no one could doubt the satisfaction that the writer was gathering from the experience.

 

We can imagine Washington, after those strenuous years of war and pestilence, happily situated in the massive colonial mansion which overlooks a broad sweep of the Potomac. Here he was surrounded by every intimate thing which he held dear. Here he was free, answerable to no man but himself, literally lord of all he surveyed. The amiable companion of his domestic joys and sorrows was with him; the Manor house rang with the artless prattle of their two adopted children; his friends and his family were within visiting distance; but above all he could gather up the tangled threads of the rural life that he loved and weave of them a beautiful fabric of comfort and consolation for his declining years. Such was his dream, but such was not his destiny.

 

Washington had been wealthy at the beginning of the war. Probably he was the richest man in the colonies. During the hostilities he gave freely of himself and his fortune. At its end he was no longer vaunt though the hardships through which he had passed had left him strong enough to enjoy life, and he had not lost the desire to retrieve his fallen fortunes. We can picture him at this time as a vigorous and industrious planter. For recreation there was fishing, fox hunting, visiting, cards, travel and other favorite diversions. Southern hospitality was no empty phrase at Mount Vernon. There was a constant stream of visitors, and the house was rarely without company.

 

We cannot imagine a Washington content to sit by and delegate the management of his vast estates to others. To the man who has always been active and industrious, industry becomes a habit, and even in the retirement he loved Washington was constantly busy.

 

The man is the topic of the present discussion only incidentally. It is a new book about him that is the main interest. What a pleasant task it must have been for Mr. Joseph D. Sawyer to investigate the life of such a character. Perhaps many persons could acquire as much joy in a work of research, but could others put into words their findings ? Many of them could do so, but their work would not bubble over with the pure joy of doing which stands out so prominently from the pages of Mr. Sawyer's work. The author has been indefatigable in collecting facts; he has been painstaking in recording them; but like all great accomplishments it has been a labor of love and all of the creator's love for his creation appears in the pages of this work.

 

The story of Washington is told in an intensely interesting manner. The author's style is easy and readable. Even the chronological table of Washington's ancestry takes on an interest usually lacking in such accounts. Most of us know that Washington's family came from England, but very few of us know anything about the ancestral home of the Washingtons. In the first two chapters Mr. Sawyer has told us something of Sulgrave Manor, and he has pictured the stock from which George Washington sprang. I have no desire to go into this subject; were there nothing else in the book than those two chapters, and the illustrations that accompany them the book would be worth while.

 

The mention of illustrations gives us an opportunity to say something of the physical appearance of this work. The composition cannot be passed over without some commendation. The type is clear, legible, and pleasantly spaced. No matter how interesting the book, unless it is readable in make-up it is not all that it should be. There is no doubt but that the type, paper and illustrations add materially to the interest of this work. The paper has a glossy finish which is usually somewhat difficult on the eyes, but illustrations are so profusely scattered through the text that to use any other material would have been impossible. Some 1500 illustrations are included in the work. Many of them have never before been published, and the gallery of some 200 portraits of Washington is notable in itself. It is possibly unfortunate that some of the facsimiles of letters and documents did not reproduce well enough to be easily read, but this is a minor defect since in most cases a complete transcription is given in the text. They are all decipherable if one cares to expend the energy. It would be too bad if the binding were not of the durable kind, but even here the publishers have lived up to the highest standards. The student will be overjoyed to find that the book is substantially bound in such a manner that the leaves lie flat when open. Taken all in all the book is a masterpiece of the publisher's art. I do not mean by that that it is highly ornamented or that it rivals the hand-tooled books that one frequently sees, but for mass production no better work could be produced.

 

It is not surprising that in a work which excels in so many respects we should find the first mention of Washington as a Mason that, to my knowledge, has been made in a biography published under purely nonMasonic auspices. There is contained in its pages a complete record of Washington's Masonic career and an account of the work that is being done by the Fraternity today in erecting the George Washington Masonic Memorial. It is unfortunate that there are some minor errors in this section of the work. Only one of them, however, is of enough consequence to warrant specific mention here. In referring to the Signers of the Declaration of Independence Mr. Sawyer says that nine of them were Masons. We know positively of thirteen, and there are indications which point to more of them having been members of the Craft. Fortunately this is an error on the conservative side and Mr. Sawyer, who by the way is not a Mason, is to be congratulated for not having fallen into the too common error of asserting that fifty or more of the Signers were members of the Fraternity.

 

It would be interesting to Masons generally to know how many of the characters mentioned in Washington were Masons. It would require some little research to be certain of the ground, but a goodly number of Masons could be found with ease. John Paul Jones, Benj. Franklin and Pulaski are a few who come to mind at once.

 

A very interesting illustration which, unfortunately, cannot be reproduced, appears in the first volume. It represents John Paul Jones at the Constitutional Convention. Its principal interest lies in the fact that the three central figures were all Masons, Jones, Franklin and Washington. Probably this painting is the only one in existence which pictures these three prominent Colonists together, and it is striking that all of them belonged to the Fraternity.

 

Mr. Sawyer has included so many illustrations in his text that it is difficult to choose from them for the purpose of illustrating this review. Many of those used are copyrighted and it is impossible for us to reproduce them. The author and the Macmillan Company have' been very courteous in permitting us to use illustrations from the text. It has been our desire to make those used as representative as possible.

 

The first one is from a photograph of the statue by Jean Antoine Houdon that stands in the Capitol at Richmond, Va. Two views of this are given, and this one was selected because it gives in a marked degree the impression of height. It is now far from generally realized that Washington was an unusually tall man, and of exceedingly powerful physique.

 

During Washington's tenure of the Presidency a very large number of portraits were made. The State of Virginia voted one thousand guineas for the purpose of having a statue made. The French sculptor Houdon was selected for the work, and arrangements were made through Franklin and Jefferson, who were then in France. Houdon decided he could not do justice to the work from a portrait only, one by Charles Willson Peale had been sent for the purpose, he sailed for America and reached Alexandria in October, 1785. Washington recorded the event in his diary

 

.... after we were in bed, about eleven o'clock, Mr. Houdon, sent from Paris by Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jefferson, to take my bust in behalf of the State of Virginia, with three young men assisting arrived here . . .

 

Thus it will be seen that this statue is probably, in every way, the most accurate representation of Washington's appearance, face, figure, attitude and dress that is in existence. It cost the State of Virginia the artist's fee of some five thousand dollars and his expenses, and is now beyond price. To say it is worth several millions is absurd. There is probably not gold enough in the world to tempt Virginia to even think about selling it.

 

We cannot recommend Mr. Sawyer's work too highly to the Masonic Fraternity. Aside from the principal character there are dozens of men mentioned who were Craftsmen. It is fascinating to read through the pages and realize the prominent part that our Fraternity played in the Revolution. To the student of Colonial Masonry there will be suggested numerous fields for research. If all of the possible lines of inquiry were followed to their ends there would be enough to occupy several men for the balance of their lives. From a purely profane standpoint, however, it can be truthfully said that Sawyer's Washington deserves to be ranked with the great biographies of modern times.

 

----o----

 

The Degrees of Masonry: Their Origin and History

 

By BROS. A. L. KRESS AND R.J. MEEKREN

 

(Continued from JULY)

 

IN dealing with the primitive esotericism of the Craft, and the forms and ceremonies, if any, inherited by the new Grand Lodge organizations in the British Isles, from the old Operative system, Murray Lyon, as we have seen, practically ignored ritual evidence. In fact from his History alone we should hardly even suspect that there was any. Hughan did touch upon it slightly, but only because those he opposed had to some extent used it in support of their contentions. He expressed his opinion that either it was spurious, or else too late in date to have any bearing upon the question at issue. In the revised edition of his valuable work, The 0rigin of the English Rite (1) expresses himself to this effect in several places. Nevertheless, both he and Lyon did accept, apparently in an uncriticized way, so much of the ritual tradition or tradition of ritual that is inherent in Freemasonry as to lead them to understand the bare and laconic pre-Grand Lodge records in the sense that there was something of a secret and ceremonial character practiced in the lodges, although, as we have pointed out, this is hardly a necessary conclusion from the evidence of these records by themselves.

 

Albert Mackey, whose arguments we are now considering, did however go into this aspect of the subject more fully (2); though, apparently, he was only acquainted with The Grand Mystery of Free-Masons Discovered, of 1724, Prichard's Masonry Dissected, of 1730, and the Sloane MS. No. 3329 of unknown date, but probably between 1700 and 1720. It was thus impossible for him to treat the matter adequately. Two or three of these documents have been discovered since, but the Mason's Examination and the Mason's Confession were well known when he wrote, and it seems curious that he was not familiar with them. As this evidence will have to have its turn later we need only to touch on the salient points of his argument on this score.

 

He notes first that in the Grand Mystery (3) there is no reference to degrees. This is not true of all these documents, and the Grand Mystery itself actually makes a distinction of class in two questions and answers:

 

Q. What is a Mason? A. A man, begot of a man, born of a woman, Brother to a king.

 

Q. What is a Fellow? A. A Companion of a Prince.

 

This is very slight by itself, and for its full significance needs to be compared with parallel passages in other versions. But Mackey goes on to quote the Sloane MS. 3329 (4), in regard to the formation of the lodge, where it is said:

 

What is a just and perfect or just and lawful lodge?

 

A just and perfect lodge is stwo Interprintices, two fellow craftes and two Mast'rs . . .

 

so that by his own showing the (apparent) silence of the one is balanced by the definite statement of the other, though he, of course, interprets the last quotation as referring to status only, and not to degrees. He takes these documents as representing old operative ritual, and as he sees nothing in the Catechism that definitely refers to higher degrees and more restricted secrets, he infers that they did not exist. The argument is good so far as it goes. The Sloane MS. has, however, some additional matter in which a "gripe for fellow crafts" and a "master's gripe" are spoken of. In this passage he certainly has put his finger on a real difficulty for the proponents of the two degree hypothesis, although on its face it seems to support the older and traditional belief in the antiquity of the present system rather than a single initiation. The difficulty from the former point of view will have to be discussed later. Mackey seeks to show, first, that the difference between these two "gripes" is trifling, and second, presumably along the lines of his interpretation of "the threttene artycul" of the Regius MS., that they "distinguished" the higher grades but yet were known to all Masons, including the apprentices, just "as the number of stripes on the arm distinguish the grades of noncommissioned officers in the army."

 

In the MS. there are two variant forms of "their master's gripe" described, and the second is introduced by the words

 

. . . but some say the mast'rs grip is the same I last described only, etc.

 

Now the last described was the one coming immediately before, for the "gripe for fellow craftes" is the one first described. But Mackey misunderstood the passage, and that he did so is concealed in a broken quotation. He cites it thus (5):

 

. . . the close of the passage leaves it uncertain that the "gripes" were not identical, or at least with a very minute difference. "Some say," adds the writer [i.e., of the MS.], "the Master's grip is the same" as the Fellow Crafts "only" and then he gives the hardly appreciable difference.

 

But the MS. does not say "the same as the Fellow Crafts," but "same as I last described," and this can only grammatically, and in common sense, refer to what actually had last, that is, just previously, been spoken of; and that in fact was the Master's, not the Fellow's, grip. In other words, the MS. describes a Fellow's "gripe" and two variant forms of that of the Master's, which have a slight, but in spite of Mackey a quite appreciable difference between them.

 

Another argument is drawn from this MS., and here again it seems Mackey fell into error, possibly through having an inaccurate copy before him. He says:

 

The manuscript speaks of two words, "the Mast'r Word" and "the Mason word." The latter is said to have been given in a certain form, which is described. It is possible that the former may have been communicated to Masters as a privilege attached to their rank, while the latter was communicated to the whole Craft. In a later ritual [this refers to the Grand Mystery] it has been seen there were two words, "the Jerusalem Word" and "the universal word," but both were known to the whole Fraternity.

 

Had he written: "The first is said to have been given in a certain form . . . It is possible that it may have been communicated to Masters,” and so on, the passage would make sense. In the MS. there is at the very end an oath, so headed, which begins:

 

The Mason word and everything therein contained you shall keep secret . . .

 

Immediately before this are two paragraphs describing formal salutations, the second of which begins:

 

Another they have called the mast'r word . . .

 

This word is given, and it seems to be another form of the word " “Maughbin" which appears in several other of the old catechisms. What the "Mason word" was is not said, it may have been another term for the "Mast'r word," or we may perhaps interpret it, as Lyon seemed willing to do (though rather reluctantly, it must be said), as a phrase implying all the esoteric secrets and mysteries of Masonry. The two words spoken of in the Grand Mystery as the Jerusalem word and the Universal word respectively are Giblin and Boaz, but in the Essex MS. (6), which is an independent variant form of the same catechism, they are given as Giblin and Maughbin. This fact, which of course was unknown to Mackey, really cuts the ground from under his argument in this place, whatever it may be worth on its own premises.

 

He bases a further argument on this oath, and says it

 

. . . supplies itself the strongest proof that during the period in which it formed part of the ritual, that ritual must have been one common to all classes; in other words, there could have been but one degree, because there was but one obligation of secrecy imposed, and the Secrets, whatever they were, must have been known to all Freemasons, to the Apprentices as well as to the Master (7).

 

This, we fear, rather in the nature of special pleading. The Grand Mystery, and the other two documents which are variant forms of it (8), all give a "Freemason's Oath," which has nothing about secrecy at all. It runs

 

You must serve God . . . be a true liege man to the King and help and assist any Brother so far as your ability will allow. By the contents of the Sacred Writ, etc.

 

But immediately, or closely following it, in all three documents is the "Freemason's Health," in which occurs the phrase:

 

....... to every faithful Brother that keeps his Oath of Secrecy.

 

The obvious inference is that the oath actually given was not the only one. Mackey, as also others, has argued as if these stray memoranda, for that seems to be their character in every case but that of Prichard's exposure, were complete rituals. We cannot quite hold Mackey fully excused, as he was acquainted with the contents of the early French publications, such as L'Ordre de Franc-Macons Trahi, and here we find three degrees fully fledged while only one form of oath is given.

 

THE THEORY OF DELIBERATE INVENTION

 

Mackey's theory of the origin of the two higher degrees of Fellow Craft and Master Mason is very simple, and in such a complex situation its very simplicity lays it open to doubt. He lays it all to deliberate and conscious invention.

 

It is now [about the year 1880] very generally admitted that the arrangement of Freemasonry into the present system of three degrees was the work of Dr. Desaguliers, assisted by Anderson, Payne and perhaps some other collaborators. The perfecting of the system was of very slow growth. At first there was but one degree, which had been derived from the Operative Masons of preceding centuries. This was the degree practised in 1717, when the so-called “Revival” took place. It was no doubt improved by Desaguliers, who was Grand Master in 1719, and who probably about that time began his ritualistic experiments. The fact that Payne, in 1718 "desired any brethren to bring to Grand Lodge any old writings concerning Masons and Masonry in order to show the usages of ancient times," exhibits a disposition and preparation for improvement. (9)

 

Which, interrupting, we may agree seems a very justifiable conclusion, but surely not "improvement" along the lines of "innovation" and "pure invention." He continues:

 

The First and Second Degrees had been modelled out of the one primitive degree about the year 1719. The "Charges" compiled in 1720 by Grand Master Payne recognize the Fellow Craft as the leading degree and the one from which the officers of lodges and of the Grand Lodge were to be selected.

 

This of course assumes that the Regulations as printed in 1723 were exactly the same as those Payne compiled and submitted for the approval of Grand Lodge on St. John Baptist's Day, 1720, at Stationers Hall, when the Duke of Montagu was installed as Grand Master. This is not certain, for there is no way of proving it; and as a matter of fact Anderson definitely states that they had been edited and "digested" into a "new method" by him. Indeed, Mackey himself, as we have seen, suggested an alleged interpolation in Regulation xiii. He goes on:

 

Up to this time [1723] we find no reference to the Third degree. "The particular" lodges conferred only the First Degree. Admission or initiation into the Second Degree was done in the Grand Lodge. This was owing to the fact that Desaguliers and the inventors of the new degree were unwilling to place it out of their immediate control, lest improper persons might be admitted or the ceremonies be imperfectly performed.

 

Here we may observe that there is nothing whatever to show that this requirement was ever anything but a dead letter. The existing minutes of the Grand Lodge (10) begin June 24, 1723, and this particular regulation was repealed at the quarterly communication held Nov. 27, 1725 the proceedings of eight meetings being recorded previously; in none; of them is there the slightest reference to any passing of Fellow Crafts. From this it would seem, that either it had never been carried out and the lodges had made their own members Fellow Crafts, or else that between June, 1723, and March, 1722 (or perhaps June, 1721, if this clause appeared in the original Regulation as submitted by Payne), the Grand Lodge worked overtime and made sufficient Fellow Crafts to qualify all the Masters and Wardens of the many new lodges that were being instituted. The only other possibility is to suppose that the qualification had been disregarded, and that there were no Fellow Crafts outside the little group surrounding Desaguliers and Payne and those active in the supposed plan to transform Masonry into a new and purely speculative system. Really it would seem this last supposition would fit Mackey's theory of conscious and deliberate innovation the best.

 

To go on with his account of the steps taken by the inventors of the new degrees in carrying out their alleged plans:

 

After the "Revival," in 1717 (I use the term under protest), Desaguliers had divided the one degree which had been common to the three classes into two, making the degrees of Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft. It is not to be supposed that this was a mere division of the esoteric instruction into two parts . . . we may believe that taking the primitive degree of the Operatives as a foundation there was built upon it an enlarged Superstructure of ceremonies and lectures. The Catechism of the degree was probably changed and improved, and the "Mason Word" as the Operatives had called it, was transferred to the Second Degree, to be afterwards again transferred to the Third Degree.

 

After this, Desaguliers continued to exercise his inventive genius and consummated the series of degrees by adding one to be appropriated to the highest class, or that of the Masters. But not having thoroughly perfected the ritual of the degree until after the time of publication of the Book of Constitutions, it was probably not disseminated among the Craft until the year 1723.

 

Here Mackey is in agreement with Hughan, who thought that the Mason's Examination, which appeared in the Flying Post the same year, proved that the "Master's Part" was then in existence as well as the Fellow Craft. This, too, will have to have consideration later.

 

Mackey also discussed (11) the account given by Laurence Dermott, in the second edition of Ahiman Rezon, of the origin of the "Modern" (i.e., the senior) Grand Lodge, which he thinks may reflect some recollection of the invention of the degree of Master Mason, and, indeed, it is not improbable that it is founded on some actual report, at first or second hand, that a degree was added to the old system. 1764 was not too long after 1720 to be bridged by the life of an individual as has already been pointed out, and Dermott had been a Mason a good many years before he wrote the words quoted.

 

We may add that Mackey also adopted the "mutilation" theory of the origin of the Royal Arch (12), which Dr. Oliver had supported in later life; so that on his showing, the "Mason Word" was progressively transferred from degree to degree until it finally found a resting place in that "Supreme Order."

 

THE OPINION OF ALBERT PIKE

 

Albert Pike was quoted by Hughan as among those authorities who agreed with him, but we have been able to find no new argument advanced in his published works. Indeed he seems to have depended largely, if not entirely, on the conclusions reached by Murray Lyon, and Hughan himself (13). We may, therefore, dismiss him without further consideration in the present connection. But it is noteworthy, and rather curious, to see how the proponents of the single initiation theory have depended on the conclusions reached by Lyon, based on his consideration of the ancient Scottish records. His conclusions were inferences, but these brethren were all more than a little inclined to object to the inferences of others who held different views, not as illogically drawn, but simply as being inferences.

 

THE TWO DEGREE THEORY

 

We have now examined the case for the existence only of a single admission ceremony practiced by Masons before the Grand Lodge era (14). As against the traditional view that three degrees existed from time immemorial it carries very great weight. So much so that it is probable that any critical mind would accept it. However, it is not the only alternative, and we now come to the consideration of the arguments of G. W. Speth, who may be regarded as the protagonist of the so-called "Two Degree" theory, though R. F. Gould became a very prominent supporter of it too. It would appear, though, that Speth was first in the field. He broached it in various lectures to Masonic audiences (so we gather from scattered allusions) and in articles in various periodicals, among them the old Keystone of Philadelphia. We have not been able to trace all these scattered articles and references, but it fortunately does not seem necessary for our purpose, as both Hughan and Speth presented their respective cases before the Quatuor Coronati Lodge and, so far as can be judged, resumed every argument in support of their respective views that seemed to them to be of weight. Speth regarded his paper, which was read the year after Hughan's, as a reply thereto. This we will now consider.

 

He begins by a caveat (15): He says that Hughan's strongest argument was the lack of direct evidence for more than one degree, and this he admits is the chief difficulty he has to face. His task is to marshall the indirect evidence which Hughan and Lyon were inclined to rule out as inadmissible. On this question of evidence something will have to be said in the sequel so it may be passed over here, but Speth might almost have said that there was no direct unequivocal evidence (other than ritual and tradition) for any "degree." It really seems curious that no one engaged in the discussion saw this. Tradition apparently blinded them.

 

He then divides the question by periods, which he classes as the purely Operative, the mainly Operative, the mainly Speculative and the purely Speculative, though he makes it clear that there are no sharp clearly defined boundaries between them. The purely Operative period is in fact quite hypothetical, or at least pre-historic in the strict sense, because as far back as we have records we find non-Operative members in the Fraternity. But we must presumably postulate such a period; and in it, some time before the fifteenth century let us say, the Old Charges were formulated and introduced, with a legendary account of the invention and progress of Geometry and Masonry.

 

The first argument is that something was necessary to distinguish the fellow in order to prevent an apprentice running away and passing himself off as a fully qualified craftsman. In the discussion following the paper Hughan was unable to see why this would be more necessary among Masons than in any other Craft. Lane seemed inclined to think it doubtful that the apprentice received any secret mode of recognition. And if the one degree theory is to be adopted it would really seem more feasible to suppose the initiation came at the end of the apprenticeship rather than at the beginning. But as Speth pointed out in reply boys became men much earlier in life in those days. There are cases of boys of sixteen leading armies in the field, while Hughan's objection was met by pointing out the peculiar conditions of the Craft, that Masons were migratory, and, outside the larger towns, free to work anywhere.

 

Speth then made the point that our present nomenclature is. from the operative point of view, incorrect, as the apprentice became a Master first, a master of his craft, and thus was eligible to become a Fellow of the Fraternity; and in this Conder (16) agreed with him, stating that this was certainly the case in regard to the London Mason's Company. Speth also asked if it was probable that such an important occasion in the Craftsman's life as the end of his servitude as an Apprentice was likely to pass "without some ceremony to mark the occasion." Hughan (who answered every argument adduced categorically) asked why more so in the Mason's craft than any other? And if there was a ceremony, why it should be esoteric? In respect to the first question it might be said that there was something in the nature of a ceremony in other crafts. There would be the formality of release, and the young craftsman, even to our own day, had to stand treat. In regard to the second it can only be countered, why any secret ceremony at all? If the implied argument is good it covers the initiation as well.

 

The next point rests on the passages in the Old Charges that have already come before us in discussing Mackey's views. It is the phrase "hall and bower" in the Regius MS. and "lodge and chamber" in the others. Now to

 

..... kepe all the counsells of yo'r fellowes truely, be yt in Lodge or chamber

 

as the Grand Lodge Roll No. 1 has it, might possibly refer to two sets of secrets; but, as we noted before, there is nothing on the face of it to lead us to think so; one would naturally take them to refer to trade and personal matters. But the curious thing is that several of the Old Catechisms make the Hall and Kitchen a mark of distinction between the Fellow and the Apprentice. In the Mystery of Free Masons (17), published in 1730 the question

 

Did you ever dine in the Hall?

 

is asked to distinguish a "Brother Mason" from an "Enter'd Apprentice" who had only been in the kitchen. By itself then this argument carries little weight, but yet Speth's interpretation is not to be brushed aside as requiring no consideration at all.

 

THE COOKS AND REGIUS MSS.

 

The next argument advanced is drawn from two passages in the Cooke MS. This was reproduced in Quatuor Coronotorum Antigrapha with a commentary by Bro. Speth himself. In this he advances reasons for holding that this MS. consists of a copy of the oldest form of the Charges now existing, prefaced by an extended legend or history of the Craft, and that though the Regius MS. is older than the Cooke yet the latter in part is a copy of the same code that the author of the Masonic poem had before him and which he versified, and further that it is probably a more primitive version still, as the Regius has a number of additions which seem to be amendments to the original.

 

The two passages that Speth thought significant in the present connection are as follows, both being from the part of the document that is supposedly the copy of an older code. It has briefly announced the spread of Masonry "from londe to londe and fro Kyngdome to Kyngdome" and says that in the time of "kynge adhelstone" the craft was reorganized in England on account of "grete defaute" found among Masons, and it was consequently ordained that "fro provynce to provynce and fro contre to contre," that is presumably from county to county, "congregacions scholde be made," by masters of "alle maisters Masons and felous in the forsayde art," which in modern English would be "all master masons and fellows of the aforesaid art or craft," and then, that at such congregations

 

..... they that be made masters schold be examned of the articuls after writen, & be ransakyd whether thei be abulle and schulde receyue here charge that they schulde welle and trewly dispende the goodys of here lordis.

 

Which means that they who are "to be made masters" are to be examined as to their knowledge of the law of the craft and their technical skill, and then "to receive their charge" that they will honestly conserve the interests of their employers. After this follow the "articuls," of which there are nine, and these again are followed by nine "poynts." The latter concern the private relations of Masons to each other, while the articles seem to refer to those with their employers. In other words the articles were regulations that had probably the force of civil law, while the points were by-laws governing the internal economy of the Craft. These having been recited, the narrative returns to the conduct of the assembly with the words:

 

Whan the master and the felowes be for warned ben y come to suche congregaiones . . .

 

And it goes on to say that, if required, the sheriff or mayor shall be an assessor or

 

. . . felow and sociat to the master of the congregacion,

 

to help him keep order and maintain the right of the realm. And then comes, apparently, the first order of business:

 

At the fyrst begynnynge new men that neuer were chargyd bifore beth charged in this manere . . .

 

Now in his commentary (18) Speth says of this

 

The first business was to charge men that had never been charged before. It is impossible to read this otherwise than that apprentices who had served their time were here declared free of the craft, master workmen, admitted into the fellowship.

 

In other words that it was a restatement, in the form of an Order of Business, or Agenda, for the Assembly, of what had previously been said in the historical account of the organization of the Craft in England. Or that the charging of "new men" was the same thing as the "receiving their charge of those that were to be made masters." This was in 1890, eight years before the paper we are considering was written. In the interval Speth seems to have changed his mind, for he now contrasts these two passages and says of the latter:

 

"New men that never were charged before" must be the newly entered apprentices,

 

and goes on to say that in later versions of the Constitutions it seems to be indicated that this obligation was

 

. . . administered at the lodge at, or shortly after, their entry, pointing possibly to the gradual obsolescence of the assembly.

 

No one seems to have noticed this reversal of opinion except Upton. However, Lane said that the Charges generally, that is the written documents, were addressed to "Every man that is a Mason," and were either given to Apprentices or Fellows. If to the former why was there a separate set of "Apprentice Charges?" If to Fellows, the phrase "new men" seems inapplicable. To this, it must be observed, that the special Apprentice Charges do not appear till late, and thus the point raised hardly affects any argument concerning the early period, the "purely Operative," represented by the Cooke MS. Also it might be contended that "new men" were those who had learned the trade outside the Fraternity, and wished to join, or were being forced to join it as in our own times men have been forced to join trade unions. This would of course imply that the original of this MS. dated back to a time when the Craft organization was being introduced into England, or into parts of England, where it had not existed before.

 

Lane also said that there was no indication in the Cooke MS. of anything esoteric about this charging of "new men" or making of masters, which is quite true. There is no hint anywhere of anything secret, excepting the third point

 

..... that he can hele the councelle of his felows in logge and in chambere and in every place ther as Masons beth,

 

though instead of this he quoted the equivalent passage from the Carson MS.

 

to hele . . . the counsel of his fellows in Lodge and in Chamber and all other Counsels that ought to be kept by way of Masonry

 

or as it appears in other places "Masonhood" or "Brotherhood."

 

In this Lane appears to be justified; to see anything beyond the proper reserve and reticence concerning trade secrets, and the business and personal affairs of the associates of the individual Mason, his fellow workmen and employers, is an inference. But if this, being only an inference, is to be held as conclusive against the existence of something esoteric in the "making" and "charging" of Masters it is equally conclusive against the existence of anything esoteric at all at the time when the Charges were formulated.

 

NOTES

 

(1) Hughan, Origin of the English Rite of Freemasonry, published first in 1884. The revised edition appeared in 1909; a third edition, edited by John T. Thorp, was published in 1925.

In his revision, Hughan, on page 23, admits that the discovery of the Chetwode Crawley MS. Catechism head some weight in favor of a primitive two degree theory, more especially as it is in part corroborated by the cryptic note in the minute book of the old lodge at Haughfoot, of date 1702. However, in spite of this concession, his opinion was not really shaken. On page 37 he dismisses the ritual remains as in his opinion worthless, and on page 24 quotes a letter from Murray Lyon, in 1897, as saying he was "more than ever convinced that we are right in our views" on the question of degrees.

(2) Mackey: History of Freemasonry, Vol. iv, Chap. xxxii, p. 926. (In the Revised Edition it is Chap. 76, Vol. iii, p. 977.) The discussion is carried on in the succeeding chapters.

(3) This Catechism is reproduced in the Appendix to Gould's History of Freemasonry. In the Yorston Edition, this is to be found in Vol. iv, p. 280. The Mason's Examination is also given.

(4) This was discovered by J. G. Findel in the Sloane collection of MSS. in the British Museum. It was published by the Rev. A.F.A. Woodford, and according to Mackey, by W. J. Hughan in the Voice of Freemasonry, October, 1872, in the National Freemason for April, 1873. It was reproduced again in the Montana Mason for October, 1921. The Catechism contained in the MS. is given in Finders History of Freemasonry, App. C. Mackey apparently intended to publish it also, judging by a statement in Chap. xxxii, p. 927, but the passage referred to in the note merely tells us where it was to be found. Possibly his publishers decided to leave it out. We have used a transcript made from the original MS.

(5) Mackey: op. cit., p. 969.

(6) In the British Museum. It has never been published.

(7) Mackey: op. cit., p. 971.

(8) The Essex MS. already mentioned, and the Institution MS., which was published in facsimile by Bro. A. F. Calvert, in the Transactions of the Authors' Lodge, No. 3456, in 1919.

(9) Mackey: op. cit. p. 991.

(10) These were published in the Reprints of Quatuor Coronati Lodge in 1913, Q.C.A., Vol. x. The minute referred to is on p. 64.

(11) Mackey: op. cit., p. 998.

(12) Ibid., p, 1108 and Vol. v, p. 1238.

(13) Hughan (A.Q.C., Vol. x, p. 131) cites Pike's Origines. In this work Pike offers as his chief argument the authority of Hughan's own conclusions.

(14) German Masonic students, as Kloss and Findel took the same view. Findel indeed was the first to advance it. So far as we have been able to consult their work, no further arguments appear than those already discussed. The chief one, on which all the others depend, being that elaborated by Murray Lyon that Apprentices were present in the lodge when Fellows were admitted or received.

(15) A.Q.C., Vol. xi, p. 47, et seq.

(16) A.Q.C., Vol. xi, p. 72, also Hole Crafte, p. 58, and A.Q.C., Vol. ix, p. 35, et seq.

(17)This is not to be confused with the Grand Mystery; the Catechism given is a variant of that in the Examination.

(18) Q.C.A., Vol. ii. The commentary has no page numbers. The passage quoted is on the next to the last one.

 

----o----

 

EDITORIAL

 

R.J. MEEKREN, Editor in Charge

E.E. Thiemeyer, Research Editor

 

BOARD OF EDITORS

 

LOUIS BLOCK, Iowa

ROBERT I. CLEGG, Illinois

GILBERT W. DAYNES, England

RAY V. DENSLOW, Missouri

GEORGE H. DERN, Utah

N.W.J. HAYDON, Canada

R.V. HARRIS, Canada

C. C. HUNT, Iowa

CHARLES F. IRWIN, Pennsylvania

A. L. KRESS, Pennsylvania

F. H. LITTLEFIELD, Missouri

JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California

ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York

J. HUGO TATSCH, Iowa

JESSE M. WHITED, California

DAVID E. W WILLIAMSON Nevada

 

FORBIDDEN TOPICS

 

WE all know that certain subjects are absolutely barred from discussion in Masonic lodges.

 

Not only may they not be discussed but they cannot even be raised. It is one of the things that every Mason has at his tongue's tip, and is ever ready to pass on to the inquiring non-Mason. It is true, that in many cases, were the question then asked, "Why?" the informant would be non-plussed. For to most it is more a sacred, immutable, tabu, rather than a rule based on reason.

 

Of course, the intelligent Mason, thus posed, would soon think of reasons, even if they had not occurred to him before. "The members of our lodges," he would say, "belong to different political parties, and to different churches, and so discussion of these things would create a risk of breach of harmony and brotherly love. And indeed this is the very reason that is given for the rule where it first appears in the Book of Constitutions of 1723, although it there appears more as a by-law than as a dogma. However, this is aside from the aspect of the subject we wish to discuss here.

 

So imbued with this idea has English speaking Masonry become in the two centuries and more that have elapsed since Dr. Anderson first deprecated "private piques and quarrels" and "quarrels about religion, or nations or state policy," that it has come to be assumed, quite generally, that this prohibition is general in its scope, instead of being strictly applicable only to the private assembly of the lodge.

 

The question in this form, especially affects the Masonic author and publicist. It is true that in a rough way it has been answered in practice, but it is without any clear idea of the principles involved. If every topic that trenched on religion, to take that alone, were deleted from Masonic literature, probably a good half of what has been published would disappear. Yet, owing to confusion of thought upon the subject, at any time the Masonic writer is liable to criticism on the grounds that he has transgressed this fundamental rule.

 

As we have seen, the reason given for the first form of this law was that it would lead to lack of harmony and disunion among the brethren. But though this is true enough, and adequate enough too, there is more behind it. Certainly, everything and anything that would lead to disunion is to be avoided, but that does not mean that every subject about which there may be disagreement should be suppressed, as would be only logical if this were all that is implied in the rule. There are few subjects upon which there is full agreement, there are many which no one would dream of barring from discussion, even in the lodge that are highly controversial. It is, therefore, not merely the existence of differing opinions, or even of warm dispute and opposition, that is the fundamental, underlying factor. It is not even so much that Masons might be thereby opposed to each other upon grounds that are external to Masonry, though practically this consideration has great weight. At bottom it is that an assembly of such a private and secret nature as is a Masonic lodge is not a fitting or proper place for such discussion; and to have permitted it, would have laid the Craft under deep suspicion by governments and established churches, or have given real, tangible grounds for such suspicion where it already existed.

 

Freemasonry reorganized itself in 1717 as neutral in regard to these matters. Perhaps it had always been so, we can quite believe it was; but we know certainly that from the time it emerged into the light of history it definitely sought to be a center of union between good men who otherwise would remain disunited. It stressed character, and deliberately ignored those things which have always been the active cause of dissension and strife. To admit, therefore, any question of this nature into the lodge would inevitably have given it the appearance at least of being in some sort a political or religious body. But does this affect in the same way discussion that is public and open to the whole world, as are the contents of a book or magazine?

 

It would certainly seem that this element of publicity makes an important difference. And then it must also be remembered that the terms politics and religion have very wide and comprehensive meaning. We must not allow ourselves to be blinded by regard for mere words. It is not enough to say politics is politics, or religion is religion, that gets us nowhere. Freemasonry certainly has a very close contact with religion, if in no other way, through the fact that it is an ethical and moral institution, and that morals have always in human history been most intimately associated with religion. In the same way it may have contacts with politics in the wider and accurate sense of the term. What is usually understood is, properly speaking, party-politics. For this reason the word is usually avoided for fear of misunderstanding. But this may help to conceal the real connection. For example, such matters as patriotism, good citizenship, law enforcement, education and the like are all political in the general and proper meaning of the word. It would be absurd to say that everything relating to the duties and obligations of the citizen was alien to the Mason as such, when these have had a most prominent place in the Masonic code from the first. The propriety of the interest remains even if they become questions of party strife, though admittedly such a condition makes discretion much more necessary.

 

Religion, like politics, is a word of wide and vaguely defined meaning. It has two fairly clearly marked sides. Religion proper, as a spiritual interpretation of the universe, or as a system of belief; and religion in a secondary sense, as an organization or hierarchy based on a common belief or set of dogmas. In the first sense it comes in contact with Masonry, as has been said, through ethics. Also, through the general requirement of so much of religion as is implied by profession of a belief in God. In the other sense there is also contact, of a different kind. Certain religious organizations, churches, have opposed and condemned Freemasonry, just as certain political organizations, states, governments, have opposed and suppressed it.

 

In such circumstances some consideration of these matters is forced upon us. The actual facts and conditions bring the matter into our purview however reluctant we may be to touch them. Masonry is a universal institution. It is by its own principles (not always fully lived up to, unfortunately) tolerant of religion, race and politics. It ignores, in other words, the three chief factors that, in the history of mankind, have bred division and strife, and has sought to unite them on the basis of justice, morality and benevolence. It is, as we all know, bitterly opposed by another world-wide institution. Opposed not only in polemic, but with actual persecution, whenever and wherever circumstances have made it possible. Do our principles forbid mention of the fact? It is intolerance to discuss the underlying causes for this hostility? Masonic tolerance is after all our own rule for ourselves, and we alone are judges as to how and where it applies.

 

We submit that the presentation of any facts throwing light upon the situation directly or indirectly is justifiable, and is in no proper sense of the word intolerant. There are precedents of great weight for the historical treatment of the subject. But what difference in principle is there between the relating of what has occurred in the past and giving information concerning the present? Or even forecasting the future? The only difference is the practical one that it may be more controversial. But what essential sin is there in controversy, if it be kept within the bounds of fairness and courtesy?

 

Finally, are we limited merely to answering wild accusations made against the Fraternity, or defending it from unprovoked attack? Have we no right to consider what this organization really is that is so hostile to us. Is it intolerance to recognize the facts, or to show that the divergence or opposition is complete and irreconcilable? We have indeed scriptural ground for recognizing the utter futility of saying "Peace, peace," where there is no peace. Intolerance is quite another thing. It is the child of prejudice, as prejudice is the offspring of ignorance. A frank discussion may reveal a state of opposition, but as one may, when necessity arises, fight without hate, so it is possible to oppose without intolerance.

 

* * *

 

MASONIC SATANISM

 

In the June number of THE BUILDER we reproduced, as a curiosity, an item under the above heading which was taken from the Fortnightly? Review. Last month we gave, from the same source, a letter from a Roman Catholic physician expressing common sense doubt of the truth of the original tale, based on general grounds. The editor of the Fortnightly in the issue for July 1, then invited us to discuss the subject. We shall be very glad indeed to publish any development of the accusation, whether by a Romanist or anyone else, but to discuss it ourselves is rather embarrassing. It is rather like the famous question, "Have you given up beating your grandmother?" To take the matter seriously is to artificially give it a weight that it does not possess in itself.

 

In saying this we have no desire to make any reflection upon those to whom it seems perfectly credible. We suppose any story, no matter how preposterous in itself, if only repeated often enough, will find believers. And the individual is always powerfully influenced by the presence of a group of believers. So that, wherever there is any predisposing motive to belief, no matter how baseless, or how irrational, the fact that others have accepted it will in itself seem a proof that the thing asserted is true.

 

Again, all men, even the very best, are naturally prone to believe evil of an opponent. It is, indeed, an almost inevitable emotional response to any kind of conflict. Many Protestants, for example, believe the most impossible and ridiculous things about Roman Catholics. No proof is asked for, or rather constant reiteration is proof enough. Even if something like critical questioning arise, it is generally settled by some process as is expressed in the proverb "Where there's smoke there's fire." If, says the "critic," these things are stated so conclusively, and they are not denied, they must be true. The "critic" of course is not situated as a rule to hear of any denials, and if he does meet them, he can easily explain them as the natural protective reaction of the guilty to always claim innocence whenever accused. Humanity at large is not just by instinct. Justice and impartiality are high virtues gained only through the most severe self-discipline.

 

The accusations of heresy, witchcraft and diabolism were made against Freemasonry almost from the first possibly even before the historic period of the Fraternity begins. Lest this be taken as a proof of there being basis in fact for them, let us remind those who would so conclude that the same kind of accusations were made against the early Christians. Every association of an esoteric character is subject to this kind of thing, which is only another natural human phenomenon. The motives are mixed, resentment and jealousy at being on the outside probably form one component. It is assumed that there is only one possible motive for concealment, that is, the wicked or shameful character of the secrets in spite of the common knowledge that there are many other respectable and laudable reasons for secrecy in every day life.

 

The Fortnightly Review specifically asks:

 

...... whether THE BUILDER regards the reports upon which our article was based as trustworthy, and if so, how it explains this anti-Christian tendency of a portion of European Freemasonry, or if it considers that these and other reports, no matter how apparently well founded, are false, how are we to explain their repeated confirmation by European Masons and the fact that they are so persistently circulated? All we are after is the truth.

 

It is in the confidence that the editor of the Fortnightly Review is quite sincere in the last sentence that we are taking the trouble to try and throw some light upon the subject. We think that if he will consider the nature of his question he will admit that there is in it a shift from the original point. It refers to an alleged "anti-Christian tendency." Truly Satanism and the black mass and the rest of the diseased phantasies that probably did once exist, are anti-Christian in one sense, though not in the same sense that Atheism or Materialism are, for the former require a lively faith in Christianity as a starting point.

 

There is here some room for misapprehension owing to lack of definition in terms. Atheism and Satanism and such names are freely used as opprobrious epithets in theological controversy. From certain points of view Atheism may be called Satanic, or Satanism described as Atheistic. Yet there is a real difference between the practice of black magic (if anyone does practice it) which demands a belief in spiritual beings and powers, and the Atheism based on materialistic views of the universe which denies the existence of God precisely because there is seen (by the Atheist) no place in the world for anything but mechanism and mechanistic determinism. The two things may be equally inimical to religion but they are not at all consistent with each other. The point is an important one, for it is very easy to argue from the one sense to the other.

 

Another source of misconception lies in the possibility of confusing anti-clericalism with irreligion. Here again it depends on the way in which words are used. The "clericalist," the member or supporter of a hierarchy of any kind, naturally identifies the machine, the organization, with its purpose, its raison d'etre. Thus autocrats or oligarchies always identify themselves with the state or country they rule, anyone who opposes them or their administration is a traitor and an enemy to his country. So anyone who criticizes a priesthood or religious officialdom is accused of being an enemy of religion. After all it does not much matter how the words are used, as long as they are used in the same sense all through an argument. Unfortunately this too often is not the case.

 

We have entered into this preliminary discussion, which may have seemed somewhat irrelevant because the question we are asked by our contemporary really covers a good deal more than the original assertions which have given occasion to it. In respect to the alleged Satanism revealed by the writer in the Revue des Societes Secretes, the letter we publish from Mr. Goaziou on another page shows conclusively (if it were necessary) that the whole thing is a tissue of misrepresentations. We simply decline to give it even so much adventitious importance as would result from denying it.

 

We do not think that it would be accurate or just to describe, even the Grand Orient of France as anti-Christian, though it is undoubtedly very strongly anticlerical. There are no religious or anti-religious tests required by it. We do not know what statistical tables as to the percentages of various types of religious belief (or lack of belief) among the members would show, but we do know that some among them are Protestant Christians and some are orthodox Jews. An organization in which religiously minded men can find a place is not in the strict sense anti-religious, even if a majority of its members are individually non-believers, or even inclined to hold all religion to be a primitive survival, or an emotional outlet. The point is that not even in the most condemned and heretical Masonic Obedience is the organization hostile to religion. We use the word here in its general and vague sense. Anyone who identifies religion with some given religious organization will naturally dissent from the statement. We do not wish to argue about words. Religion is used commonly in this general sense and we know of no other word to take its place. Perhaps we can give precision to what we are trying to say, by putting it thus: even under the Grand Orient of France, which probably a large majority of Anglo-Saxon Masons believe to be atheistic and definitely hostile to all religion, there is nothing to prevent any theist, any member of any organized religion, from joining it. The inference is that the Grand Orient, as such, is not concerned with religion at all, again in the general sense of the word. That it is anticlerical no one would dream of denying. Naturally, anyone, as we have said, who defines religion so narrowly as to make it practically synonymous with a particular religious organization will insist that its anti-clericalism implies its hostility to religion. But then at the same time every other church and sect also becomes anti-religious in precisely the same sense.

 

Every organization, of any kind, secular or religious, tends to evolve a hierarchy, and a hierarchy involves that spirit and tendency, that in this particular case is generally known as "clericalism." Freemasonry itself is not by any means immune from this general law, though its fundamental principles are totally at variance with anything of the sort; so much so that Masonry can never agree with any kind of absolutism. The matter may be summed up in this. We all fall far short of the spirit of our creeds, but we are generally in advance of the letter of our dogmas.

 

In conclusion we would repeat our invitation to anyone who desires to present any proof or argument that there are anywhere Masons or groups of Masons who indulge in black magic, or even in studied disrespect and insult to the religious beliefs of others. We will gladly give him all the space he needs to develop his thesis.

 

----o----

 

ST. JOHN AND THE MASONIC PRESS

 

In spite of hot weather and the accompanying lassitude in all things fraternal and in the work of all organizations, the announcement of the plans of the Order of the Hospitalof St. John seems to have strucIc a responsive chord among Craftsmen in all parts of the country.

 

The Masonic press seems also to be interested. The following editorial reprinted from the Masonic Chronicler of June 23, 1928, is typical of references to the Order of St. John which are now appearing in the various magazines and newspapers of the country. In addition many letters have been received from other papers giving promise of articles and editorials to be published later:

 

PROPOSING A "MILITIA OF MERCY"

 

Antedating by some time the Ancient Order of Knights Templar, the Order of Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem was formed in the early days of the Christian era. Its principal function was to care for the sick. Through the centuries it has existed until the present time, being now an active organization among Roman Catholics in Germany and Italy and under Protestant auspices in England and Prussia.

 

An effort, it appears, is about to be made to establish the modern Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in the United States. The particular emergency which has brought about the contemplated attempt is the failure of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association of New Mexico to obtain aid, endorsement and cooperation from the Masonic jurisdictions of this country. It will be remembered that this national sanatoria project was launched by the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, in sympathetic coordination with the Grand Lodges of Arizona and Texas, to provide help and hospitalization for the hundreds of tuberculous Masons, and their dependents, who in their efforts to arrest the progress of the dread "white plague" had migrated to the southwest and become unable to provide for themselves, thus throwing a great burden of charitable work on the Masons of three sparsely peopled and not wealthy states. It will also be recalled (with shame, we hope) that Masonic organizations refused to extend the help asked for. Various alibis and sophistries, as well as a few well- grounded objections, were heard from many quarters and the project was doomed to failure as a national movement. The Masons of New Mexico are resolved, it is understood, to persevere in the work as well as they can in their necessarily limited way.

 

It is the plan of the promoters of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, operating from a general headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., to organize local Preceptories in the cities and towns, which shall be united in Priories in certain designated territories in the counties and large cities, which in turn will be under the jurisdiction of Provinces or state-wide bodies and the whole governed or directed by a Grand Commandery or national assembly. An ambitious program has been devised, with departments of religious, charitable, institutional, physical training, health education, first aid, public health, war activity and calamity relief, and recognition of service and bravery work. These organizations are to be conducted like most fraternal secret societies, conferring degrees with a ritual of their own and getting their support from fees and annual dues.

 

Though sponsored by Masons the Order will not be confined to members of our fraternity. Any Protestant eighteen years of age or older may seek membership, the qualifications for which are to be much the same as those required of prospective Masons, with the exception that wives, daughters, mothers and sisters of members may be admitted at half the rates asked of men.

 

A writer in THE BUILDER Calls the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem a "militia of mercy," and such it may prove should its promoters succeed in launching it successfully on the sea of fraternalism.

 

Many letters have also been received from brethren who have been, and still are, interested in the work of Masonic tubercular relief, in which they express their approval of the new plan and effort to secure action. Many inquiries are being received from brethren, who apparently have not carefully read the announcement in the June BUILDER of the plans and methods of work. For the benefit of these it may be worth repeating very briefly what is proposed.

 

First, it is desired to aid and assist tuberculous Freemasons, and tuberculous members of Masons' families, who are resident in the Southwest, seeking health. This relief work will be carried on in conjunction with the work of the Masonic Tuberculosis Association, if possible. Relief will be given in their homes and by hospitalization in existing tuberculosis hospitals until the day when a Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatorium can be purchased or built.

 

Second, it is planned to continue the effort to induce every Grand Lodge to take some action for relief of tuberculous Masons in their own home states. It is hoped that in time each Grand Lodge will vote an appropriation, or an assessment for that purpose, the money to be expended in home relief and in hospitalization in existing institutions. In many states, where a State Tuberculosis Hospital exists, arrangements can be made for hospital care, all or part of the expense of same to be borne by the Fraternity.

 

Third, wherever the need exists, and a Priory of the Order of St. John can be formed for the purpose with sufficient numerical strength and financial resources to do so, it is planned to establish a general hospital for the care of medical and surgical cases. Where there is need for another hospital, frequently there exists a need for some other type, or kind, of institution, which may be established by a Priory of St. John.

 

Fourth, in many of the smaller cities and towns, there is no organized charity society to provide for the needs of the local sick and poor. In many places where a charity society exists, it does not command the full support of the people. In both such cases, a  Preceptory of the Order may be established and render great service.

 

The above is but a brief outline of what may be accomplished. There are many other phases of work which can be taken up later when the Order is firmly established, or may be taken up now in some places. Public health work and first aid and calamity relief in times of disaster, are but a few of the lines of activity which will appeal to some.

 

The plan of organization is simple. The Grand Commandery is the sovereign body. A Provincial, or Great Prior, will be designated in each state who will have charge of all work in his Province. His position corresponds to that of the S.G.I.G. of the Scottish Rite. Priories will be established in key cities where later it is desired to establish a hospital or other institution. Priories correspond to the Scottish Rite body in that they will have jurisdiction over a certain number of counties, the population of which will be expected to support the Priory Hospital when established. The Preceptory, similar to the Masonic lodge, in the smaller places will aid in the maintenance of the Priory hospital and carry on their own work of relief, etc., in their own towns.

 

The Degree of Brother of St. John only is conferred by the Preceptory, and the revenues from this, from dues, from benefits, entertainments, etc., must go to support the Preceltory work. The Priory will confer the first degree on those resident in the Priory city and in addition will confer the four orders of Knighthood. The fees will go to the support of the Priory work, to a hospital building fund, etc.

 

A plan for financing hospital construction, through financial campaigns which contemplate seeking gifts for that purpose, the entire amount of the gift to be returned to the donor's estate at his death, is under consideration and if adopted wiIl be announced later.

 

It seems to be feasible and has been carried out for financing hospital building, colleges, and other and similar institutions.

 

The immediate and urgent need is for the right man, in every state, to come forward and volunteer for service as Provincial, or Great Prior, to take entire charge of the organization and executive work incident to the establishment and carrying forward the plans of the Order. A beginning has been made in several states and it is hoped that every state will soon be assigned.

 

* * *

 

A BOHEMIAN MASON VISITS AMERICAN LODGES

(Summarized from Die Drei Ringe by C. L.)

 

THE European Mason is inclined to be a one-sided academician, the American Craftsman a one-sided materialistic practitioner. This is in essence the verdict arrived at by Bro. Dr. Ludwig Brajjer, honorary member of the Lodge Munificentia in Karlsbad, Bohemia, who had spent one-half of the year 1927 in the United States. It was not his first visit to our shore. A whole-souled Mason, he missed no opportunity of attending lodge activities, visiting Masonic libraries and charitable institutions and gathering all available information about the progress of the American Brotherhood. Some of his impressions he published in a very interesting communication to Die Drei Ringe, of Reichenberg, the official monthly organ of the Lessing Grand Lodge in Czecho-Slovakia, in the number of December, 1927.

 

He finds that the European Masons walk on the stilts of a sterile idealism. They still consider it their primary mission to promote the ideals of democracy and an abstract humanitarianism. They love to parade worn out slogans like, "to educate humanity, to build up the temple of humanity, to promote the social aims of humanity, to search after truth." These high sounding phrases largely fill their program. Intoxicated by them, these European Masons rather commonly neglect the practical opportunities waiting at the door: mutual aid and social recreation.

 

Hence, Bro. Brajjer feels refreshed in the atmosphere of practical charity and social activity that envelops the Craft on our side of the Atlantic where barren theories and abstract ideas are at a discount. He points with admiration to the many flourishing charitable institutions maintained by the American Fraternity for its ailing and indigent members and their families. He mentions in particular the Masonic Orphans' Home in Utica, N. Y., which he calls the greatest of its kind in the Masonic world; also the Old People's Home in Tappan, N. Y. He was also deeply impressed by the fact that when the cyclone devastated Florida, the Masons were the first to rush aid to the afflicted, the Grand Lodge of New York alone raising several millions of dollars. And he was edified by our diligence in visiting sick brethren and attending to their needs. This emphasis of charitable and social work deserves full recognition, he believes, though thereby Masonry has become in the eyes of many chiefly a mutual aid society or a social club. The fondness of club life and recreative activities he finds more pronounced in the German speaking lodges of America than in the English speaking ones. The Germans, he notes with satisfaction, are indefatigable in arranging "gemuetliche" evening entertainments, lectures, dinners, balls, picnics, parades and all sorts of "fests." Which reminds us of the delightful observation of an Irish lady of our acquaintance: "Give a German a flag and he will march behind it all day long." But the parade usually leads to a fine luncheon with congenial beverages and a general good time. Fritz is no fool.

 

Nothing on earth is perfect. Bro. Brajjer is not blind to the fact that this accentuation of practical humanitarianism and sociability in American Masonry is accompanied by a certain neglect of Masonic dogma, history and lore. He ascribes this partly to the somewhat materialistic, practical American mind, partly also to the more variegated make-up of the American membership. In Europe Masonry is almost entirely recruited from the educated bourgeois. In America the Craft includes a large contingent from the small tradesmen and working classes.

 

Though the European Mason enjoys the advantage of a higher education, Bro. Brajjer nevertheless finds that when it comes to team work in the initiation ceremonies, the American Brother shows himself more familiar with the ritual. He knows his part by heart, while Brother Hans or Brother Wenceslaus nervously thumbs the pages of the ritual until at last he finds his text.

 

To sum it up: European Masonry labors under an excess of dogmaticism and abstract idealism to the neglect of practical humanitarianism. In America the opposite prevails: a one-sided pragmatism fostered at the expense of Masonic study and dogmaticism. A happy mixture of European dogmaticism and American pragmaticism would be a desirable ideal.

 

While we readily admit our deplorable lack of interest in the academic side of Masonry, we fear that Bro. Brajjer bestows on us too generous a praise when he extols the depth and width and height and other dimensions of our fraternal charity. So at least we are tempted to opine when we think of the general apathy towards our National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria.

 

----o----

 

THE LIBRARY

 

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 inquiries for second-hand works and books out of print.

 

WASHINGTON. By Joseph Dillaway, Sawyer. Published by the Macmillan Company, New York. Cloth, Table of Contents, Index, Profusely Illustrated, two volumes. Volume 1,640 pages; Volume 2, 619 pages. Price $20.75.

 

THIS is probably the final word upon the "Father of His Country." Every possible source of information has been searched, and the results presented fully and frankly without any predisposition to make the national hero either more or less than human, but shows him as what he was a great man. An extended review of the work will be found at page 237.

 

ORIGIN OF THE MASONIC DEGREES. By the Rev. F. deP. Castells. Published by A. Lewis, London. Cloth, table of contents, index, 450 pages. Price, $4.00.

 

BEFORE anyone attempts to discuss the origin of Masonic degrees he had best define his terms. The subject is one of great interest and one on which comparatively little has been written. Naturally everyone is interested in knowing where and how and why our ceremonies originated and the fact that so few writers have definitely treated the subject from this point of view may seem to call for explanation. Yet the reason is fairly apparent. To discuss origins it is naturally necessary to discuss the thing, the origin of which is being sought. In the case of Masonic ritual this is obviously all but impossible. One who attempts such a discussion soon finds this out for himself. The need for precise definition of terms is not so immediately apparent, and it seems to be less apparent to authors than to the laity. The resulting confusion is anything but desirable and misconceptions are far too general to be passed without some notice. Perhaps what is meant can be more clearly demonstrated through illustration than in any other way.

 

The title of the work under discussion would naturally lead one to expect a discussion of the historical developments of the Masonic degrees. As a matter of fact the author pretends that this is what he is giving his readers. He begins by condemning all who have preceded him in investigating this field and the reader is led to expect a quite different treatment of the subject. The impression is conveyed that much new material is about to be offered. But when he has read half through the book the reader begins to awaken to the fact that the author seems to have no clear conception of what he is driving at, and finally it becomes clear that it is not historical origins that are being discussed, but philosophical ones. The whole book is a strange mixture of history and philosophy.

 

Everyone will grant that if we wish to trace the moral origin of Freemasonry we must go back to the day when Johnny Caveman was Worshipful Master of Stone Hatchet Lodge, No. 1. As a system of morals the Masonic Ritual is as old in its teachings as man. We find the same lessons being taught in the most primitive of peoples. This one fact has led to more confusion in the minds of Masonic authors generally than any other. The teachings of our ritual are older, perhaps hundreds or thousands of years older, than the oldest existing religion. But there is no more reason for saying that Masonry is as old as its teachings than there is for asserting that Masonry borrowed its teachings from other sources. If we accept the ritual definition of Masonry we might accept the former view. That definition is not complete, however. Masonry is more than a system of morals. It is an organization of a definite character. In the strictest sense Freemasonry, as we know it, does not begin until 1716. We know, indeed, that the Modern Fraternity was an outgrowth of a previously existing organization, but is not the same thing. Nor was the transition from the old to the new the act of a moment. It was a development of many years duration.

 

Our Speculative Craft bears, organically, some resemblance to a parasite. It started inconspicuously enough, but in the course of centuries the parasite consumed the host. It is only because we know and have definite evidence to support this "parasitical" theory that we have any reason for going beyond 1716 in our search for origins. Certainly we can hardly hope to go beyond the Operative Society which was the host of the parasitic Speculative Fraternity.

 

Returning to the discussion of degrees - if we grant what has just been said, we must necessarily confine the discussion of t origin of degrees to the usages of the modern organization an its predecessor, until such time as the chain is carried farther into the past through the medium of historical research. All of this leads to one conclusion - if it cannot be shown historically that Freemasonry had a direct connection with such organizations as the Rosicrucians or the Kabbalists, we have no grounds for asserting that they were connected simply because we find the same symbols or philosophy in each. We must first prove the historical connection before the symbolic resemblance can be taken to indicate more than a borrowing of ideas - which is the simplest way of accounting for it.

 

Without vouching for the truth of any statements in Bro. Castells' work we submit the following as a sketch of his theory. The Royal Arch is the apex, the summit, the ne plus ultra of Masonry. It is the oldest part of the system, and therefore is original Masonry. The Craft degrees were invented for special purposes, and it was not until the Mason attained the Royal Arch that he became a Master. He cites the Order of Harodim and the Masters' Lodges as evidence. There his history ends and his speculation begins. A long discussion of the Kabbala and its Masonic import follows. It may be that if his first postulate is granted the rest follows logically; but to at least one reader the evidence is wholly unconvincing. It might carry more weight if the author had had the consideration for his readers to cite his authorities, and refrained from being quite so dogmatic. The following is an illustration:

 

Thomas Vaughan in his works declared himself to be a disciple of Agrippa, and he claimed that the traditions of the Kabbalah are sacred truth, giving us as a sample the Great Mystery of Jacob's Ladder, which we still find incorporated into Craft Masonry. He said: "Here we find the two extremes - Jacob is the one, at the foot of the Ladder, and God is the other, who stands above it. The rounds or steps in the Ladder signify the middle nature, by which Jacob is united to God." The Craft Mason of today endorses all this, and says that "rounds or staves" represent the Three Cardinal Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, by which we also draw near to God.

 

In the first place, where in Thomas Vaughan's work is the above statement found? Next, when did Jacob's Ladder come into Masonry? So far as we can recall there is no authentic reference to the ladder as a Masonic symbol before the latter part of the eighteenth century. There is indeed the passage in the second of the famous Two Letters to a Friend, published in 1725, praising the Gormagon Society and depreciating Freemasonry in the guise of a candid friend:

 

Alarming Reports and Stories of raising the Devil, of Witches, Ladders, Halters, Drawn Swords and Dark Rooms, have spread Confusion and Terror.

 

And there is the well known coarse and obscene engraving of Hogarth's, The Mystery of Masonry Brought to Light by the Gormogons, which seems to be the graphic counterpart merely of the "Letter."

 

As a contribution to the real history of Masonic Ritual and the origin of degrees the work will be disappointing to students, and it is to be feared misleading to others. But it will scarcely be fair to leave it at that. It would appear to be in reality a continuation or sequel of the previous work, the Antiquity of the Royal Arch. Read from the point of view of a symbolical interpretation it has an interest that will make a strong appeal to a large number of Masons, especially those who are little interested in history but attach great importance to symbolism. And after all, without the symbolism the history would be of little moment.

 

M.T.

 

* * *

 

RECORDS OF THE LODGE ORIGINAL, No. 1. Vol. 1. Second Edition Revised. Edited by Bro. W. Harry Rylands. Privately printed. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, index, 436 pages.

 

GREAT events in Masonic literature are altogether too rare owing largely to the difficulties of publication. Occasionally, however, something happens which is of more than usual importance. For many years prior to 1911, English Masonic students had been bewailing the fact that the records of Lodge Original No. 1 were almost inaccessible. The lodge itself seems to have realized that it would be of great assistance to those who were seeking to find the origins of things Masonic to have those records available. In the Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, the famous English Research body, prior to this date, one finds references here and there regretting that these records should be so closely kept. Suggestions for their publication were frequently made. In 1911 the first volume of these records was published. Bro. W. H. Rylands, the editor, did not tell us bow long they had been in preparation, neither did be mention whether Quatuor Coronati had been an influence in causing them to be brought to light. We are left in total oblivion as to how long this step had been contemplated by the Lodge of Antiquity. The characteristic caution of the English is sufficient to assure us that it was not decided on the spur of the moment. The painstaking care shown by the work itself attests the time spent by Bro. Rylands in its composition.

 

This first publication, however, was only a step in the right direction. For some reason the first edition of Volume I was limited to one hundred copies, none of which were for sale. A few volumes were presented to outstanding Masonic libraries, the remainder found homes in the private libraries of the members of the Lodge of Antiquity, which, since the Union, has been No. 2 on the Grand Lodge rolls. Thus it happened that the records were made more accessible, but still their availability was restricted to a very few. The first volume brought the records up to the year 1779 and a part of the plan was to publish the remainder of the minutes in subsequent volumes. Bro. Rylands did not live to complete his self-imposed task. For fifteen years the matter stood as it was left by the Past Master of No. 2, who besides editing Volume I of the Records was Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge and Editor of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. During all of this time scholars bemoaned the scarcity of the first volume.

 

In 1926 under the able editorship of Captain C. W. Firebrace, Volume II made its appearance. This volume was reviewed in detail in the July number of THE BUILDER for 1927. Perhaps because of the urgent pleading of the world of Masonic Research, this volume was published in an edition of 300 copies. It was understood at the time of its publication that if the sale warranted, a sufficient number of Volume I would be reprinted to complete the sets. This explains the appearance of the second edition of the first volume.

 

The whole Masonic world owes the Lodge of Antiquity and its two able editors a debt of thanks. The now existent 300 sets of the Records of Lodge Original No. 1 will make it sufficiently accessible for Masonic students generally to consult the work. This is of the utmost importance since the Lodge of Antiquity has enjoyed an existence longer than that of any other lodge in England, and was one of the four that organized the first Grand Lodge.

 

To attempt anything like an adequate account of this important work is impossible at this time. The late Bro. Wonnacott reviewed it very exhaustively in Volume XXV of A.Q.C. As has been said, there are only 300 sets available. Probably most of these have already been subscribed for, so that those interested will have to act promptly if they hope to secure a copy. It is a work of pre-eminent value for the student, and enough copies should be secured for our Masonic libraries, at least, to make it as accessible in America as in England to those who require to consult it.

 

Some mention of the salient points in the history of the Lodge of Antiquity may be mentioned. This was the lodge with which Sir Christopher Wren was connected. It met at the Goose and Gridiron in St. Paul's Churchyard. In this tavern, be it remembered, was held the meeting on June 24, 1717, where the General Assembly and Annual Feast were revived. This, together with the additional fact that it was placed as No. 1 on the records, may point to its seniority among the London Lodges. It will be recalled that the first meeting which had to do with the reorganization of the Craft was held at the Apple Tree Tavern in 1716. There must have been some reason for the gathering on St. John's Day in the summer following being held at the Goose and Girdiron. Either it was traditional for the Annual Feasts to be held in the vicinity of the cathedral or it was done because this inn was the meeting place of London's oldest lodge.

 

Perhaps the most interesting part of the two volumes is the account of the quarrel between the Grand Lodge and the Lodge of Antiquity. For here, for the first time, the story of this break and how the Original No. 1 came to act as the Grand Lodge of all England South of the Trent has been fully told from the actual records. Just in the middle of this quarrel Volume I ends. Volume II takes up the thread and carries the history down to the present day.

 

There are some differences between the first and second editions of Volume 1. Since these should be a matter of record, it may be well to, quote Bro. Firebrace's Preface to Volume II where these changes are outlined:

 

Bro. Ryland's text has been left practically unaltered. The book has been divided into chapters, some printer's errors corrected, and a few slips of the Editor amended. Where, in the light of further knowledge, a larger correction or addition was required, footnotes refer the reader to the "Notes and Corrigenda to Vol. I," printed in Volume II, Appendix F.

 

In the first edition some of the earliest minutes were reproduced in facsimile, and reference is made to these in the Introduction. These were eighteen in number, and consisted of seven pages of notes and a list of members dated 1721 from the old Book E, a page of the Minute Book dated 1736, and nine pages of signatures of members between 1737 and 1767. The extracts from Book E are all printed in the text, and facsimiles of the notes, purporting to be Minutes between 1721 and 1736, are of no value to establish an early date of entry, as it is admitted that they cannot have been written in Book E before the year 1768. The facsimile signatures are those of members who are quite unknown, and their names are found in the text and in the list of members printed in Vol. II, Appendix E. For these reasons and on account of the expense of reproduction, these plates have been omitted. For the same reason it has not been found possible to reproduce the colored prints of the Heading and Colophon of the "Antiquity" Roll of Old Charges. The other illustrations remain, but the Engraved Lodge Summons of 1760, the list of members of 1776, and the Lodge Certificate of 1788 (incorrectly described as the original one of 1777), are reduced in size. Two new plates are added, the actual Lodge Certificate of 1777, which is particularly interesting as being the one given to William Preston on Feb. 18, 1778. and the Lodge Summons attributed to the year 1769, to which reference is made in Vol. II, pp. 319-321. The original of both are in the Library of Grand Lodge, and I am indebted to the late Bro. Wonnacott, the librarian, for permission to reproduce them. Many of the corrections also, which are noted in Appendix F, and are now inserted in the text, are taken from his review of the first edition, printed in Trans. Quatuor Coronati Lodge, Vol. XXV, 1912, p. 165, et. seq.

 

To estimate the value of these two volumes to posterity would be difficult, and about all that can be said at this time is that the recent publication of the second edition of Volume I of the Records of Lodge Original No. 1 brings to a culmination one of the most important incidents in the history of Masonic Literature.

 

E.E.T.

 

* * *

 

BUILDERS OF MAN; The Doctrine and History of Masonry or The Romance of the Craft. By John George Gibson. Published by the Northumberland Press, England. Cloth, table of contents, 248 pages. Price, $1.85.

 

BY some oversight, the cause of which cannot now be ascertained, this work has never been reviewed in THE BUILDER, although it has been advertised on the cover at least twice. We know this, without an examination of the files, through Bro. Vibert who raised objection to an error in the title. It was the most recent of these occasions that led the present writer to read the book, which he had never done before. This led directly to the opinion that it would have been much better named without the sub-titles, neither of which are especially appropriate. It is not a history of Masonry in any strict sense of the word, nor yet is it "romance." However, this is perhaps a minor matter as no one will ever remember or speak of it except by the short title, The Builders of Man.

 

The Rev. Dr. Gibson was (for we understand he is no longer living) a clergyman of the Church of England. This church is known for its practical tolerance and comprehensiveness. It contains Catholics and Protestants, Modernists and Fundamentalists, Mystics and Formalists. Not entirely without internal friction it is true, but yet apparently without much danger of schism or measures of repression, and this in spite of recent happenings. This helps us in part to understand Dr. Gibson's position. One gathers from the pages of his book that he was eclectic in his opinions, choosing them here and there as they seemed to fit in with his vision of the truth. He was broad enough to see in all forms of religion, even the most primitive, a seeking after good, and some apprehension of the source of all good. In a sense he took upon himself the mantle of Dr. George Oliver; at least his vision of the essentials of Freemasonry seems much the same. Dr. Oliver interpreted the spiritual aspects of the Craft to his own generation in terms they could understand. Terms more alien to us almost than if he had lived a thousand years ago instead of in the last century. Dr. Gibson naturally uses a Ianguage more familiar to us. Perhaps it is the result of a natural bias, but it would seem almost that his ideas are on a higher spiritual level, and, will make a more permanent appeal.

 

The underlying idea of the book would seem to be that Freemasonry is a greater thing than its formal organization at any given time. Part II is entitled "History," Part I, being no more than a sort of introduction. The reader should be on his guard here. Dr. Gibson is not to be taken as an authority on Masonic History. He seems to have accepted much of the theories of such writers as the late Bros. Yarker and Churchward. Writers who, like himself, were more interested in the symbolism and allegorical value of their theories than their literal accuracy as a record of humdrum fact. But with this caution in mind no harm will be done.

 

Bro. Gibson holds that the living principle of modern Freemasonry has been that which has led man from primitive savagery to the highest state of civilization. All who have built in and for mankind, whether materially or morally, intellectually or spiritually, have been Masons - not in the narrow and formal sense, but in their hearts - and they have sought for the true word, even though the substitute we know was never whispered in their ears. This is a high and inspiring conception. The author is possibly inclined to think that this spirit always was embodied in some kind of organization, and also that there may have been some physical continuity of such organization as well, yet this is not forced upon the reader; while on the other side it is constantly insisted that it is spiritual continuity and not the material that really counts.

 

This makes the relationship of Masonry to religion a very important point, and many readers may find the author somewhat paradoxical. But that may be the only way to express a complex truth. One might say that as be sees it the essence of religion is one with that of Masonry. That Masonry is the practical aspect of belief touched by emotion, as religion has been defined. Paradox is hard to avoid in dealing with words of such general and hardly defined meanings. On the whole it is a pregnant and stimulating idea.

 

Bro. Gibson's style is worthy of his theme. It is easy and flowing at all times, and where occasion demands rises to the level of true poetry in prose form. For the Mason who is not satisfied with the essential, though elementary moralities of the ritual, there are few books that will be more helpful in setting him upon the way to higher illumination. Not a will o' wisp withdrawn in mist, but a light that will lead him to the service of his brother men and the ennoblement of his own character.

 

M.

 

* * *

 

INFORMATION FOR ROYAL ARCH MASONS AS TO MARK MASTER, MOST EXCELLENT MASTER AND ROYAL ARCH DEGREES. By Henry T. Smith, Grand Scribe E. Canada (Province of Ontario). Privately printed. Paper, 12 pages.

 

IN this little pamphlet Bro. Smith has put together some useful elementary information regarding the Chapter degrees that will answer many of the questions that will rise in the candidate's mind after he has passed through them. Indeed it might be very useful for preliminary information to the Master Mason who is contemplating presenting his application to the Chapter. Naturally it refers especially to the Canadian ritual, which in many respects is quite different from that used in the United States. There are several illustrations and diagrams which assist the reader in understanding the text; an especial one showing the arrangement of the furniture of a chapter, proper placing of the banners, the working tools and so on.

 

The author gives a brief sketch of the place of the Royal Arch in the Masonic system, in which he follows the older authorities, whose conclusions are not so well established as they once were considered to be. It is doubtless correct to say that "as late as 1758 the Moderns had no Royal Arch Degree." It would be equally correct to say that they had none as late as 1813, in the sense that the Senior Grand Lodge never recognized the Royal Arch. But this is not to be taken as meaning that some Modern Masons did not possess and work the Royal Arch, either in 1813, 1758 or earlier. The difference between Ancients and Moderns being that the degree or order was recognized officially as part of the Masonic system by the first and was officially ignored or repudiated by the second.

 

There is a limited sense, too, in which we may admit that the original ritual of the third degree contained the germ of the Royal Arch, in that, apparently, so far as we have any evidence, the lost word was at first said to have been found. Somewhat later, there seems to have been a modification of this. The word was not lost, but changed, and incidentally it was told what the original word was. This was obviously an unsatisfactory arrangement, both dramatically and symbolically; and naturally it was modified and improved by the addition of the new motif of the secret vault, which was worked out along two divergent lines in Britain and France. But the subject is still very obscure, and may always remain so.

 

Bro. Smith, too, seems to follow older sources in saying, by implication, that the rise of the Ancients is to be dated from 1738. Really it was twenty years later. However, it is perhaps hardly fair to criticize what is after all only an introduction. The only reason for doing so is that these erroneous ideas are very widely held, and are constantly being repeated, and it is only by as constantly taking them up that there is any hope of spreading knowledge of the actual facts so far as they are known. Outside of these few paragraphs on the first and second pages there is nothing to find fault with. The progression of the degrees is touched upon with brief indications of the lesson of each in the ordered system, culminating in the Royal Arch. The silver shekel, the Ark of the Covenant and the Banners of the Twelve Tribes are among the other topics dealt with.

 

M.

 

----o----

 

 

THE QUESTION BOX

and CORRESPONDENCE

 

THE ARK OF THE COVENANT

 

For the information of Bro. Briggs, and of all interested Masons, I deem it wise in addition to my communication last month, to give my authority for the suggestion in the May number of THE BUILDER that the bones of the Patriarch Joseph formed the contents of the Ark of the Covenant.

 

Professor Stanley A. Cook, one of the greatest of English Biblical scholars, author of The Religion of Ancient Palestine, Critical Notes on Old Testament History, The Laws of Moses and Hamurabi, etc., says:

 

"Whether the ark contained some symbol of Yahweh has been a subject of much discussion . . . As the palladium of the Joseph tribes it has even been suggested that the bones of Joseph were treasured in the ark."

 

I will take advantage of the opportunity also, to point out a typographical error which makes a difference of a century in the date of King Hezekiah. 801 B. C. should have been 701 B. C.

 

Burton E. Bennett, Washington.

 

* * *

 

MR. MARSHALL AND HIS CRITICS

 

In the review of Mr. Schroeder's recent book, Al Smith, the Pope and the President, in your July issue, it is stated that I "believe in the civic supremacy of the people." Whether this statement is correct depends on the meaning attached to the words "believe in." The civic primacy of the people is not properly the object of belief, being more of a fact than a theory or principle. It is possible that your reviewer has acquired the notion that I am a defender of unlimited State Sovereignty and a worshipper at the altar of "majorities." Late reviews in Roman Catholic Journals both here and abroad, of my recent book, The Roman Catholic Church in the Modern State, seek to give this impression and the Rev. Bertrand S. Conway, of the Paulist Fathers, in The Catholic World for June states that I am "a defender of the theory of unlimited State Sovereignty," according to Hegel and Austin, and that I "make State Sovereignty the final determinant of morals."

 

The fact is that I execrate the Hegelian State and the Austinian conception of State Sovereignty, and have very flatly so expressed myself in the book Father Conway attempts to review. It is wholly devoted to the maintenance of the moral supremacy of the individual conscience against the moral supremacy of the State as well as against the moral supremacy of the Pope as defined in the Vatican Conciliar decrees of 1870.

 

There seems to be a conviction in Roman Catholic thought that to escape the Hegelian State one must take refuge in a "Hegelian" Church, and that if one rejects the majority as the final determinant of morals he must accept Papal Supremacy and Infallibilty - as such determinant.

 

One may not "believe in" the "Civic Primacy of the People" and yet may utilize it in moral determination if it is the only alternative to Papal Supremacy de fide and jure divino.

 

To the latter a large part of the world interposes vigorous objection, and asserts its rights of self realization towards God. Such assertion does not mean the negation of a teaching and sacramental church but it does mean the negation of a juridical church claiming for its Supreme Pontiff, by the ordinance of Christ and superior to all human consent and will, a Supremacy and Infallibility over the moral life of man.

 

Modern society must in the end agree with Burke that it cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite is placed somewhere. It is manifestly absurd and grossly oppressive (until "America is made Catholic") to claim that the controlling power should be placed outside the State in the Supreme Pontiff of a Church of which only a part of the civic community are members. The only alternative, unsatisfactory like all things hum - an though it may be, is to place it where the modern state places it - in the civic primacy of the people in which we all share, and balance it there with the moral supremacy de jure of the individual conscience - a conscience that is not mere choice or whim but the serious reaction of man to the divine impulse at the basis of human society. There is a universal church which offers no conflicting juridical order to that of the State - the formless church of Father Tyrrell's thought, which, as he said, underlies the hierarchical organization and in the life of which "God's spirit exercises a silent but sovereign criticism and his effectual judgment is made known not in the precise language of definition and decree but in the slow manifestation of practical results." In that Church there is a controlling power upon will and appetite. Of that Church all Christians will concede that the Roman Catholic Church is a part but they cannot concede that it is more than part, or that, with the State, it alone constitutes the two powers of papal theory and claim, or that all Christians are bound by their duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience to submit to the Pope in matters which belong to faith and morals under the penalty of loss of salvation.

 

The civic community which recognizes the de jure moral supremacy of the free conscience is the antithesis of the Hegelian State and a book whose argument, however unconvincing, asserts the moral supremacy by divine right of the individual conscience against the moral supremacy of the State cannot justly be assailed as defending unlimited State Sovereignty merely because it protests against an unlimited Papal Sovereignty by Divine Right.

 

Charles C. Marshall, New York.

 

* * *

 

MASONIC SATANISM

 

I have been reading the June number of THE BUILDER and have noticed the item entitled "Masonic Satanism." I am not at all surprised at anything that appeared in the Revue Internationale des Societes Secretes, but it is interesting to learn that an American Roman Catholic should pay any attention to what it may have to say about Masonry.

 

I have at hand the copy of L'Acacia (June, 1927) from which it professes to quote. At page 534 is a paper by M. Charles Bernadin dealing with the history of a Masonic lodge at Metz in the period preceding the French Revolution. In this he points out the relatively large number of priests who were members or visitors of the lodge, indulging in some ironic raillery at the elasticity of their consciences in thus joining a forbidden society. He remarks that he has published elsewhere an account of a lodge at Angers of which, in 1883, "almost all the members were ecclesiastics." But nowhere in this paper does he suggest that any special search should be made for such cases. One might judge indeed that in his opinion they were so common that it would not be worth while. What he does advise, and is indeed the chief purpose of his paper, is that in every old lodge someone should be appointed to make an inventory of all the old documents in the archives, making copies of any that are unique or of special interest, and that duplicates of these lists and copies should be sent in to the Grand Orient for the purpose of making them available to students of Masonic history.

 

In a post scriptunt he adds the following, which is evidently the basis of the garbled account in the Revue Internationale des Societes Secretes:

 

Apropos of Freemason clergymen, I had a friend of childhood days who became a priest. After having lost sight of him for a long time I ran on to him again some thirty years ago, more of a priest than ever, and still more than that, an authentic Freemason with a diploma. He said mass regularly, held missions, had mistresses, gave me consecrated hosts, and lunched with me on Good Friday. He was not a fool, quite the contrary. He died three years ago, to the last "Priest, Monk, Reverend Father Dom X -, resting in the peace of the Lord and fortified with the Sacraments of the Church," as it says in the obituary notice. Some time or other I will tell you all about this, for it is as interesting as the moving pictures.

 

Was his life vowed to God or to the Devil? Whom has he deceived? The church? That is quite certain. Us also? If so, why? It would be very interesting for us to investigate it further, were it only to prove yet once more that the heart of a priest is unfathomable.

 

The second sentence hardly bears out the supposition that he became a priest after he was a Mason, nor does the casual reference to the reception of consecrated hosts indicate any such fantastic mental aberration as is supposed by the journalistic hack in the Revue.

 

Louis Goaziou, Colorado.

 

* * *

 

FRENCH FREEMASONRY: A REPLY

 

I should like to make a few remarks concerning the letter signed by Albert Lantoine in the June number of THE BUILDER, under the heading "French Freemasonry."

 

The name "Albert Lantoine" is so well known, being that of the French historian, that it would be interesting to know whether the letter in question is supposed to come from "the" Albert Lantoine or not.

 

I happen to know that Lantoine's knowledge of English is extremely limited, and that it is impossible for him to have written such a letter in English, and it is extremely doubtful whether he could, as stated in the letter, have enjoyed reading the April number of THE BUILDER. (That of course is his loss!)

 

But whoever wrote the letter, there are certain parts of it which are very misleading, in connection with the Grande Loge Nationale. It must be remembered that the question of recognition is a very delicate one, and that every Grand Lodge has a special committee which deals very carefully with every demand for recognition, and I consider that Lantoine is insulting the intelligence of a number of very distinguished Grand Lodge officers, when he suggests that such Grand Lodges as England, Scotland, Ireland, Missouri, Western Australia, Canada, Massachusetts, New York, etc., have been taken in by the claims of the Grande Loge Nationale. Every Grand Lodge deals with claims for recognition in its own particular manner, and a casual letter in THE BUILDER, signed with a distinguished name, is not the right method to pursue to obtain such recognition. Indeed the only result of such a letter is to mislead a number of earnest students of Masonry.

 

But there is one point which does need attention, and that is the part played by Englishmen in the formation of the Grande Loge Nationale, in 1913. Now in 1913, what was the exact position? It was this: A number of Frenchmen had discovered that regular Freemasonry as they understood it was non-existent in France. A number of Englishmen also, found that regular Freemasonry as practiced by the Grand Lodge of England, was non-existent in this country. Those of you who realize how much you would miss your lodge if you lived in a town or country where regular Freemasonry did not exist, will readily understand how this small body of Frenchmen established cordial cooperation with the English Masons living in France. The result was that the Grande Loge Nationale was formed by the Lodges, Centre des Amis, No. 1; La Loge Anglaise, No. 2 (At Bordeaux); and almost immediately, by the St. George's Lodge, No. 3. This small Grand Lodge immediately applied for recognition from the Grand Lodge of England, and obtained it. To suggest for a moment that the Grand Lodge of England formed our Grand Lodge as one of its branches is grotesque, and can only be accounted for by Lantoine's extremely limited knowledge of English.

 

Our little Grand Lodge has grown and is growing. At present we have:

 

17 Lodges working Emulation in English.

3 Lodges working Emulation in French.

1 Lodge working the Rite Ecossais Rectifie in French.

1 Study Lodge, where papers are read in English or French.

 

One other French Lodge is to be consecrated in October, and others are in the making.

 

We admit that the number of French Lodges is small. But remember that we are pioneers and must go slowly; and remember also that to the average Frenchman Freemasonry means a society which is political and anti-clerical. (The anti-clerical tone of Lantoine's letter is of course obvious.) We are out to spread regular Freemasonry in France, but I repeat that our chief difficulty is that Masonry as practiced by the Grand Orient and Grand Lodge of France has a very dubious reputation and we are extremely careful in our choice of French candidates. But the English in France are fully alive to their responsibilities and to their limitations. They have no wish to control the Grand Lodge at all, and they are quite content go to their own lodge and receive the moral refreshment such lodges offer. As an example of what the English are doing, let me quote one instance. Last week I was present at the installation meeting of the Lodge, Centre des Amis, No. 1. Three years ago among the eleven officers of the lodge there were two Frenchmen and nine Englishmen. At present there are ten Frenchmen and one Englishman (and he has lived on the continent for over twenty years). The Englishmen held office until there were Frenchmen able to fill these offices, and when such Frenchmen were available, the Englishmen stood aside but continued to support the lodge as ordinary members, and this is the role of the Englishmen in our Grand Lodge, to stand aside when Frenchmen are available.

 

I have said already that this is not the time or the place to discuss our claims for recognition, and I am not authorized to do so. But I should like to state:

 

1. The Grande Loge Nationale insists on having the V. S. L. open at its meetings, and insists on the obligations being taken therein.

 

2. The Grande Loge Nationale forbids all discussion of a religious or political nature.

 

3. The Grand Lodge of France says that lodges may, if they wish, use the V. S. L., but it remains in close cooperation with the Grand Orient.

 

4. The Grand Orient forbids the use of the V. S. L. and of the words "G. A. of the Universe."

 

5. It is a well known fact among students of French Masonry that the Grand Orient (and therefore the Grand Lodge of France owing to their close association) meddle in political matters. Indeed most of the Grand Orient Masons I know try to justify this, and do not attempt to deny it.

 

Let me conclude by saying that the Englishmen who have been initiated out here are very proud of belonging to a French Grand Lodge. We claim to be doing something towards spreading those principles which (are maintained by most of the Grand Lodges in the world, and we continue to make progress under the guidance of our distinguished and well beloved French Grand Master, Charles Barrois.

 

W. J. Coombes, France.

 

[We must apologize for having omitted to note, in publishing the letter referred to above, that it was a translation. Ed.]

 

* * *

 

THE OLDEST MASONIC BUILDING

 

In the July number of THE BUILDER, at page 206, 1 see that it is stated that the first building erected for Masonic purposes was that owned by the Richmond-Randolph Lodge and occupied continuously by the lodge since it was built in 1785. I would like to call your attention to the New Age for May of this year, in which is an article by Bro. S. M. Gary (page 301) on the Royal White Hart Lodge, No. 2, at Halifax, N. C. In this it is asserted that Benjamin Franklin built the first house for purely Masonic use in America. This was located on Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, between Seventh and Eighth Streets, and was put up a little prior to 1769. It was torn down in 1801. The second such building to be put up exclusively for Masonic purposes was that of the Royal White Hart Lodge at Halifax, N. C., as mentioned above, in 1769, as the old minutes show, and the building has been used continuously since, and is still in use by the lodge.

 

John S. Wood, North Carolina.

 

[We had seen the article in the New Age referred to by Bro. Wood, but the one published in THE BUILDER last month was prepared before the other had come to hand. As the matter now stands it would seem that the Royal White Hart Lodge has the better claim to the oldest temple continuously used, though we do not intend to assume the role of arbiter in such question. Bro. C. W. Cramer, in an interesting article in The Mountaineer Mason, Vol. I, Nos. 8-9, tentatively arrives at the same conclusion.]

 

 

 

         

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