The Builder Magazine
February 1929 - Volume XV - Number
The Practice of Freemasonry
As a Solvent for World Problems
Being the second section of the discussion of the question:
Freemasonry Playing Its Part in Promoting the Welfare of the World Today?
The fourth of a series of articles discussing our ancient fraternity and
present day problems
BRO. HERBERT HUNGERFORD Author of Seeing Both Sides of Yourself
Bro. Hungerford justified in his contention that Masonic principles fearlessly
applied would solve the problems facing us today ? Could Freemasonry exercise
a real influence in the world? Have Masons forgotten their fundamental ideals,
so that while doing reverence to the Landmarks in word they neglect them in
deed? Is Freemasonry a Fraternity or merely a social organization? Is it
universal or only to some extent international? In short, Whist is it ad
about, what are we doing and what are we trying to do? Can anyone tell us?
HOW AMUSING and absurd it is to have some "nervous Nellie" in our Fraternity
protest that the Landmarks of Freemasonry forbid the discussion of religion in
our lodges or other strictly Masonic circles. If this were true, our entire
ritual would have to be revised and most of its principal tenets recast in
order that our official ceremonials might not transgress our own traditional
Surely no member of the Fraternity will deny that our ceremonials are
discussions and demonstrations of religious and ethical principles from
beginning to end. Every formal Masonic lecture is a discussion of religious
ideals and an admonition to religious practices.
What our constitutional rules actually prohibit is the discussion of sectarian
questions or doctrinal religious issues.
There's a world of difference between discussing a disputed doctrinal problem
or a sectarian religious question and discussing the application of those
broad religious principles which Freemasonry professes to uphold and to
practice to the various problems which are disturbing the world today.
am dwelling upon this fact because it seems quite necessary to get this
particular point fully cleared up as we attempt to consider the pertinent
question as to whether or not the principles and purposes of Freemasonry, if
properly practiced, might become a solvent for the distressing questions with
which our civilization is faced.
Let me remind you that I stated, in my previous article, my contention that
our Fraternity contains in its basic aims and objectives, the principles and
program which, if sincerely practiced, generally and regularly, by our members
throughout the world, would actually prove a solvent for all the serious
social difficulties of our times.
Putting it plainly and boldly, I believe with all my heart and soul that, if
Freemasons throughout the whole world would begin to practice the principles
and precepts which the Fraternity professes and teaches, we would set into
motion such forces for human betterment that it would mean, ultimately, the
solving of every present day problem.
You may regard this as a too bold and, possibly, too idealistic a prediction.
But, I hope, you will at least give it due consideration.
the first part of this particular discussion, I quoted from more than a score
of persons prominent in world affairs, showing how diverse are the views as to
what constitutes the foremost problem which our world is facing today. Yet I
think we may be able to devise a fairly simple outline of the three principal
world problems which will be sufficiently broad and comprehensive to include
every major problem of our times.
Peace, Prosperity and Progress; Our World Problem
Suppose, for instance, we regard the promotion of peace, prosperity and
progress as the three-fold problem of the world. This, of course, must mean
universal peace, the prosperity of all mankind and the progress of all
humanity everywhere. Surely, you will observe, if we provide a program and a
plan that will promote all these, in the broad universal way we have outlined,
such a plan or program will include the solution of all the major as well as
the minor problems named by our correspondents.
Will any Freemason dispute the statement that the central tenet of our creed
and the backbone principle of our Craft is the profession and the practice of
universal brotherhood? In every degree, our ceremonials impress this central
theme. Every emblem and symbol of the Craft relates to this central ideal,
either directly or indirectly. Our reverence for the great Architect of the
universe, the Father of all mankind, is simply the basic idea or the main root
supporting this central trunk of our Masonic tree. The acknowledgment of our
common Father of all mankind presumes the practice of universal brotherhood.
am not pretending that Freemasons, as a rule, are practicing the principles of
universal brotherhood; but I do contend, without fear of contradiction, that
the central ideal upheld in all our ceremonials as the most important endeavor
for all candidates for advancement in our Fraternity is to profess and to
practice universal brotherhood.
Putting my proposition into a nutshell, it is my firm conviction that the
practical exemplification of a truly universal brotherly love, exactly as it
is plainly advocated as the central theme of Freemasonry, would do more
towards promoting world peace, and advancing the welfare and common good of
humanity, than any other political plan or social formula that could possibly
is "old stuff," of course, to complain that we do not practice what we preach.
Every man and Mason has it dinned into his ears the fact that we poor, frail
mortals are prone to make mistakes and fall short of living up to our
pretentions and professions.
Are Masonic Lodges Stressing Superficialities?
So, please do not infer that I am merely trying to find fault because we, as
Freemasons, are subject to the shortcomings which all flesh is heir to. My
criticism is more pertinent and more serious. Furthermore, the flaw that I
point out could be remedied, whereas only through the long painful educational
process of struggle and conquest, trial and error, failure and victory, will
the common faults of our humanity be overcome.
What I am trying to point out and drive home is my personal conviction that
most modern activities in our lodges are placing stress upon secondary matters
and failing to emphasize, as effectively and fully as we should, the real
Landmarks, the fundamental factors of Freemasonry.
conduct high-pressure fund raising campaigns to build memorials and monuments.
We play up the social features of our program to the limit. We rush batches of
candidates through our degree mills and try to beat the records of our
predecessors in office and outshine our sister lodges. All these activities
are in accord with the progressive, competitive, strenuous spirit of our
times. But, in making them our foremost and, frequently, our only definite
objectives, it seems to me that we are departing much farther from the ancient
landmarks of Freemasonry than we would by any possible discussion of religion
in our lodge rooms.
What is the Central Theme of Freemasonry t
the broad platform of brotherly love upon which the structure of our great
Fraternity is established comes to be regarded merely as a pretty figure of
speech and not a genuine working principle, a real fundamental factor of
Freemasonry, it seems to me that it is high time for us to pause for a while
that we may consider what being a good man and a Mason should really mean. If
it does not mean, according to every intent and purpose of the founders of
Freemasonry, that you thereby acknowledge your allegiance to the belief in
universal brotherhood and the practice of brotherly love towards all mankind,
then I have sadly misinterpreted what appear to me as plain statements of our
professions of faith and practice.
you still harbor the slightest suspicion that universal brotherhood is not the
central theme of Freemasonry, let me suggest that you try to recall any
portion of our ritual which does not set forth some ideal either directly
professing or closely harmonizing with the cardinal virtue of brotherly love.
How Would it Work Out in Actual Practice?
Possibly, however, you may still wonder what are the grounds for my assertion
that brotherly love, really believed and practiced, would act as a common
denominator for developing the practical solution of every world problem.
Suppose, accordingly, that we attempt to analyze and resolve the ideal of
brotherly love into some of its prime factors, or essential elements. As we
have been dealing with our other points in groups of three, as for instance,
the three-fold world problem, let us consider three elementary factors of
universal brotherhood. These are by no means all the factors and, possibly,
may not be the most important. Yet they will be sufficient, I trust, to drive
home our point that brotherly love is the universal solvent for the ills of
Understanding, confidence and tolerance are the three great attributes of
brotherly love to which I would invite your consideration.
You will readily observe that all of these elements characterize the true
spirit of brotherhood. There always exists a bond of sympathy and
understanding between loving brothers. Likewise, love that endures must always
be built upon mutual faith and confidence. Finally, there is, between those
who bear true affection towards each other, a spirit of tolerance, which
overlooks common faults and condones human weaknesses and shortcomings.
Now, suppose that throughout the whole world, among all the races and peoples
of every country, there existed a world-wide spirit of real understanding,
genuine confidence and true tolerance, would we be so fiercely concerned in
fighting over petty partisan policies or battling for the conquest of either
property or political power?
Can Our Remedy for World Ills Be Applied?
am sure, however, that it is needless for me to argue that the world-wide
practice of all the elementary attributes, relations and activities of
brotherly love certainly would cure the ills of mankind. Doubtless, you will
admit the efficacy of the proposed remedy, but, probably, you will insist that
we are today a long, long way from finding a practical plan for the adoption
and application of this remedy.
do not deny that present conditions seem to indicate that this doubtful
attitude is fairly justified by the facts. We may be, according to current
indications, a considerable distance from world brotherhood.
But this does not diminish the importance of the point I have been attempting
to present. Admitting that world brotherhood may be simply a far-off ideal for
the many millions of mankind, yet we must also admit that, among the several
millions of Masons throughout the world, this ideal is not, or should not be,
something in the dim and distant future. In Freemasonry, the ideal of world
brotherhood is something ever present and always advocated as a real working
principle of the Craft.
world brotherhood ever becomes a universal working principle, it certainly
will have to have its beginning somewhere. It is my sincere conviction that
the leaven of this great ideal already has begun its work in our great
Fraternity. Too slowly, it may seem to us, it is working and spreading the
beneficent ferment in its influence among the more thoughtful members of our
this series of discussions, in which I am attempting to act as sort of a
chairman, should lead a few more brethren to see still further light on the
fundamentals of Freemasonry, and should thereby, through these leaders,
instill in a few more lodges more emphasis upon the real and abiding factors
of our Fraternity, I shall feel that I have not labored in vain.
Again let me remind the reader, that when we call these articles discussions,
we mean that our principle objective is to stimulate contributions from those
who may be interested. My own endeavor has not been to present an exhaustive
treatise upon each topic considered, but rather to raise as many questions as
may be possible, without making my article merely a questionnaire.
The editors of THE BUILDER will be pleased to consider any comments or
contributions that you may submit. Do not hesitate to write if your views are
at variance with the writer's. You should not overlook the slogan on the cover
of THE BUILDER. Why not do your part to help make this magazine "An Open Forum
for All the Craft."
The Degrees of Masonry; Their Origin and History
BROS. A. L. KRESS and R. J. MEEKREN (Continued from January. All rights
THAT any body of Masons were so much influenced by Prichard's six- penny
pamphlet that they straightway gave up their old customs to follow his
imaginings seems so inherently improbable that only the most definite evidence
could convince us of it. However, Gould, in making this suggestion has left
himself a loophole. He may be interpreted, if we read between the lines, as
meaning no more than that Prichard's work represents a procedure that was then
being followed in some quarters, which the Grand Lodge, or the Grand Lodge
officers and their circle, judged to be not in accord with the "ancient and
symbolic traditions of the Craft."
think that this point was not really an essential part of the theory of a
misunderstanding. It was based in Gould's mind, so it appears to us, upon his
dislike for the "Ancients." Previous to the Union in 1813, the "Moderns"
changed certain features of their ritual and thus came to differ, not only
from the "Ancients," but also from the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland,
on the grounds of which the two latter bodies had for many years refused them
recognition while maintaining fraternal intercourse with the Ancients a fact
that Gould very much minimized and glossed over. (1) He insisted that the
original Grand Lodge had never made any changes with the single exception of
the one we have been considering the unwilling sanction of the division of the
Apprentice's part into Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft. He puts this very
strongly in his smaller History in commenting on the negotiations that
preceded the Union. (2)
. . the virtual adoption of the method of working among the "Ancients" which
has been relied upon as affording decisive proof of the "Moderns" having
finally returned to the old ways I regard myself from an entirely different
aspect, and consider that it points with certainty to "an alteration" for the
first and only time, "in its established forms," by the earliest of Grand
This is explicit. According to him the yielding of the senior Grand Lodge in
matters of ritual was a surrender to innovations introduced by the "Ancients"
at least so far as concerned England from Ireland.
must take this as representing his final and mature opinion, though earlier
utterances seem to conflict with it. As for example in the larger and earlier
work we find These alterations [the expansion of the Apprentice's Part into
our first and second degrees] if I am right in my supposition were not
effected in a day. Indeed it is possible that a taste for "meddling with the
ritual," having been acquired, lasted longer than has been commonly supposed-
and the variations made in the "established forms," which was one of the
articles in the heavy indictment drawn up by the seceding against the Regular
Masons, may have been but a further manifestation of the passion for
innovation which was evinced by the Grand Lodge of England during the first
decade of its existence. (3)
And later still, we are inclined to think.
the same volume, referring to the changes made by the Moderns to conform with
the usage of the Ancients just before the Union, he says:
This was virtually a return to the old practice, and it will be sufficient to
remark, that with the exception of the opportunities selected under the two
systems for the communication of secrets, there appears to have been no real
difference between the procedure (or ceremonial) of the two fraternities. (4)
With the last statement we are unable to agree, unless the term "real" be
understood in an exceedingly general (not to say vague) sense. But it does
seem that here he did still accept the received assertion that the Moderns had
made deliberate changes (5) with a view to excluding the members of lodges
which were not in their obedience. If so, he later modified his opinion, and
we could wish that he had given his readers warning of the fact.
will be necessary now to show as briefly as possible how he justified his
later contention, in the face, not only of the fact that it was regarded as a
matter of general knowledge in the later part of the eighteenth century, but
also in view of the formal admission by the Grand Lodge of the Moderns in a
resolution passed at the Quarterly Communication of April 12, 1809.
That this Grand Lodge do agree . . . that it is not necessary any longer to
continue in Force those measures which were resorted to in or about the year
1736, respecting irregular Masons, and do therefore enjoin the several Lodges
to revert to the Ancient Land Marks of the Society. (6)
calls this "a lamentable exhibition of weakness and ignorance of history." He
quotes Bro. Sadler on an earlier page in support of his view:
adopt the words of Mr. Henry Sadler, "I am fully convinced that at this period
the leaders of the rival Grand Lodges really knew very little of each others
origin and antecedents." It would, indeed, be quite possible to show, from
their own writings, not merely a sufficiency but an affluence of proof, that
neither Dermott nor Preston was even superficially acquainted with the history
of English Freemasonry between the years 1717 and 1751. (7)
This is undoubtedly true, but it does not follow that a tradition to the
effect that a deliberate change had been made for the purpose specified, was
without foundation in fact. That still remains an open question.
Gould's argument may be summarized thus. Beginning with the position, already
sufficiently defined, that in England Masonry emerges into history as a two
degree system, but that in Scotland it contained, on the esoteric or
speculative side, only the "Mason Word" (which, as we have said, he was
apparently inclined to take very literally as implying merely a single
password) it followed that in his opinion when the London Grand Lodge
acquiesced in the division of the first grade into two, it was fully competent
to decide how the division should be made. We must ask our readers here to
bear in mind that the most prominent and most definite charge made against the
Moderns was that they had transposed certain words. Gould argues that whatever
arrangement was followed by the Moderns was the one that was made when the
present second degree was separated from the first, and whatever the merits of
that fundamental innovation might be it was within the competence of the Grand
Lodge to regulate it, and that this being the original arrangement, and if a
different one was improper, then it was the other Grand Lodges that were at
fault. That of the Ancients, and also those of Scotland and Ireland which
agreed with them. (8)
The argument is a very plausible one, but its weakness lies in the
impossibility of adequately accounting for the change being made in Scotland
and Ireland. If Scotland got the degree system from England, as he holds, why
did it twist things round in adopting it? He suggests, in the case of Ireland,
that it had the same right that the Grand Lodge of England had to divide the
original first degree as it chose, and suggests that the Irish brethren were
misled by Prichard. The Ancients probably got their ritual from Ireland, at
least we may so think if we accept Sadler's thesis that they were in the first
place chiefly Irish immigrants to London. Besides this we have Gould's own
assertion (whatever it may be worth) that in 1739 there were discontented
lodges following Prichard's arrangement. This, however, he ignores in the
present connection. It seems therefore that his hypothesis raises a dozen
difficulties in order to solve one. On the other hand he did not consider the
possibility that there might have been a traditional sequence in the old
Apprentice's Part, which was in itself the basis of the original division. If
so, then from the standpoint of conservatism it would not be justifiable to
alter it. There is evidence overlooked by Gould that this was the case. To
this we shall have to come later on.
have scarcely touched upon his discussion of the vestiges of the old ritual
practice as his treatment of these seems to be merely auxiliary to his main
argument. One point remains which we find still rather obscure, and that is
just what he meant by insisting the "essentials" of the ancient symbolic
system were the same as those we have today? He intimated indeed that he could
not speak more precisely. However in his large History (9) he gives the
impression that he believed the legend of the Builder to have been
incorporated between 1723 and 1729, while in his paper on the Antiquity of
Masonic Symbolisms he says what seems to be the exact reverse of this.
Gould bulks very largely in the discussion of this problem, not only because
of his extensive acquaintance with the facts concerning it, but also from the
sheer bulk of what he has written, and because, owing to the comparative
accessibility of his two Histories and the Collected Essays his views are
perhaps more widely known than those of any other Masonic writer, with the
possible exception of Albert Mackey.
have attempted to show that whatever degree of credence may be given to his
opinions, his arguments are not logically conclusive. It is possible, it may
even be probable, that no solution of the puzzle can ever be discovered which
will compel assent; but it is something to know wherein certainty has not been
reached. The facts themselves, as our readers by now must fully realize, are
complex and obscure, and it is impossible to adequately discuss them without
entering into a complex argument. We hope that in this case we have not made
Gould's obscurity still greater in our attempt to elucidate his position.
With Gould what may be called the classical period of the discussion comes to
an end. It seemed that, for the time being at least, all the evidence
available had been brought forward and debated from every point of view, and
that there was no more to do than to give judgment upon the argument. Masonic
students have very generally accepted the two degree hypothesis; and though
there is, as we have seen, plenty of room for divergence of opinion within
those limits, yet probably a majority have taken it in the same sense as Gould
and Speth; that the original second grade was equivalent to our third, and
that our second has been manufactured or evolved out of part of the original
Thus the focus of interest shifted to the origin of the third degree and its
relationship to the Royal Arch. These intensely interesting problems fall
outside the limits that, for purely practical reasons, it has been necessary
to lay down although seeing they are closely, one might say organically,
connected, it will be impossible to avoid some mention of them, if the subject
is to be shown in its true relations.
For our present purpose, therefore, we will briefly mention such contributions
to the subject of the evolution of the Masonic ritual, the origin of the Royal
Arch and cognate topics, so far as they bear upon the particular object of
Bro. Roderick H. Baxter read a paper before the Manchester Association for
Masonic Research in 1909, on the "Old Charges," in which he briefly touched
upon the question of their ritual use in early Masonic lodges. (11) Eight
years later he took up an extension of this subject before the Humber
Installed Masters Lodge, under the head of "The Old Charges and the Ritual,"
and in the following year gave substantially the same paper before Quatuor
Coronati Lodge. (12) In this he summarized Speth's arguments on the subject of
degrees and indicated his own adhesion to his conclusions. He showed also a
number of striking parallels between passages in the MS. Charges and certain
present day ritual formulas, chiefly of a hortatory character. As against the
doubt expressed by Gould, whether these MSS. were used in the eighteenth
century lodges, he advanced the strong, though indirect, argument, that
Anderson's Constitutions were to take the place of the old manuscript charges,
and that it was directed that they should be read at the making of Masons.
Whether this was ever actually done or not we do not know, and it is pretty
certain that if it was done it very soon dropped out of use. But it is a fair
inference that this direction was not a new thing, that in this too the
printed book was intended to take the place of the older and more concise
documents. This would also account for the evidences of borrowing collected by
Bro. Baxter. The position might be stated thus: There was a definite
recollection that the Old Charges and the introductory legend had formed part
of the ritual. They became obsolete with the advent of the printed book. The
latter, if for no other reason, on account of its impossible length, was never
used in this way, or if used was soon disused, and so, in compensation, the
old MSS. were used as a quarry by ritualists in search of material for
exhortations, eulogiums, moralizings, and so on. Just as, much later, Webb
used Preston's Illustrations without regard to the original place and purpose
of his material. It is obvious that this kind of ritual expansion and
embellishment has no direct bearing on the question of origins.
another paper before the Manchester Association Bro. Baxter discussed the
Chetwode Crawley MS. (13) and its bearing upon the "two degree" hypothesis.
This MS. seems to shed a good deal of light upon the well known "Haughfoot
minute," and Baxter notes Hughan's admission in regard to it, that it did give
real support to the theory of an original system of two grades. A rather
grudging admission it must be said. (14) Bro. Baxter however expresses the
opinion that the argument in favor of two degrees is conclusive, the Chetwode
Crawley MS. being an additional and convincing piece of evidence. But it must
be remembered that it is possible to hold that there were two original
degrees, and yet to suppose the third degree to be a modern invention. As we
saw in the discussion of Speth's argument, Bro. J. Ramsden Riley was of this
opinion (15), as some other students still appear to be also. Bro. Baxter,
however, agrees in this with Gould, and in 1914 in a paper read before the
Humber Installed Master's Lodge, he undertook to prove the antiquity of our
Third Degree. (16) In the course of his argument he referred, as others have
done also, to the various legends of Masonic tragedies; as those of Roslin,
Gloucester, Cologne, etc., and also to the folk tragi-comedy embodied in the
Mummer's play. In this, however, we must not follow him now.
The late Bro. E. L. Hawkins read a paper in Quatuor Coronati Lodge on the
Evolution of the Masonic Rituals He however only dealt in this with the period
ending with 1716. He covered in this very much the same ground that we have
already traversed but in the discussion Bro. Dring made a point that had not
definitely been brought out before and that was that certain of the MS.
Constitutions, the Watson and Heade versions being specially mentioned,
... show a distinction between being made a Mason and a Fellow being received
and allowed. According to those versions it was on the latter occasion (when
the Fellow was received and allowed ) that the Charges might be read to him.
My view is that one can only form personal conclusions or opinions as to what
the procedure really was. (18)
And he went on to say that the differences and discrepancies were due to the
transition from the Operative to the Speculative regime proceeding at
different rates in different places. (19)
1917 Bro. Redfern Kelley (20) discussing the origin of the Royal Arch,
intimated his acceptance of the single initiation theory, with second, third
and fourth degrees added in succession, but without advancing any new
arguments. He however did not take it in exactly the same sense as Hughan and
Mackey and the other brethren of their school, as the following passage shows:
Ancient Craft Freemasonry there would appear to have existed from time
immemorial, so to speak, a certain essential and well recognized archaic
legend; and in connection with that legend a peculiar secret, which may be
regarded as being one of the ancient esoteric landmarks of the Order,
primitively considered- that this particular esoteric landmark, the M. . . W.
. . [presumably these letters stand for "Mason Word"], was recognized under
the ancient "Operative" system and subsequently under the combined "Operative
and Speculative" systems; and as well under the more recent and improved
purely "Speculative" system which obtained since the year 1717; and that, as a
"Prime Secret," it was invariably communicated to all candidates
indiscriminately, on their admission into the Order under the primitive one
degree Ritual of the Craft, as acknowledged and practiced in, and prior to,
the latter year  irrespective of any distinction of class either of
"Apprentice," "Fellow of the Craft," or "Master" of the Guild or of the Lodge.
other words, that all the essentials of our three degrees were included in the
primitive ritual of initiation. It will be remembered that Bro. Sydney Klein
had suggested a very similar theory in the discussion of Speth's paper. (22)
Bro. Klein, however, begins with the second degree, that is, he supposes the
original initiation to have taken place at the end of the Apprentice's term of
servitude, when he was made free of the Craft.
Bro. R. J. Meekren, in an article published in the Tyler-Keystone, March and
April, 1918, had also developed at some length a similar theory, more like
Bro. Kelley's than that of Bro. Klein. It was, however, written with
insufficient information, and is another example of the difficulty would-be
students so often experience in gaining access to the results of the
investigations made by others. A further suggestion was made in this article
that the first of the Masonic degrees to be put third in the series was not
the "Master Mason" but that of "Past" or "Passed Master," and that from this
as a germ the Capitular Degrees eventually were developed, i. e., the various
Excellent Masterships and the Royal Arch. This, as will be remembered, was not
wholly unanticipated. Bro. Upton, for example, suggested something like it.
The paper by Bro. Kelley referred to above was rather severely criticized by
the other members of Quatuor Coronati Lodge; chiefly on account of his
acceptance of the "single initiation" hypothesis, but partly on other grounds
which do not concern us here.
Bro. J. E. S. Tuckett is the next student who calls for some notice in this
connection. His work has dealt more with the origins of the additional
degrees, but among his postulates for these researches is this:
That before 1717 Freemasonry possessed a Store of Legend, Tradition and
Symbolism of wide extent. That from 1717 the Grand Lodge selecting a portion
only of the Store, gradually evolved a Rite consisting of E. A., F. C., M. M.,
and R. A. That the restriction of the terms "pure," "Ancient," and (in a
certain sense) "Craft" to the degrees included in this Rite is arbitrary, and
due solely to the accident of selection by the Grand Lodge. (24)
believe that there is a good deal to be said for this, though we think too
much emphasis is laid on the "selection," which gives the impression that it
was a deliberate and conscious process. Our own feeling is that the Grand
Lodge followed, rather than led, in the matter; and even that it may have been
reluctantly dragged into accepting the evolving expansions of the ritual that
took place in the formative period, 1717 - 1738.
Bro. Tuckett accepts two original degrees under the names of "Enter'd Mason or
Apprentice" and "Enter'd Fellow or Master," and suggested that they were
recast (25), the present third degree being "a dramatic representation of the
older 'Master's Part."' Which seems to imply that the latter consisted chiefly
of the communication of an item of legendary history. But some years later
(26) he summed up his views as follows:
The old two degrees were substantially the same as our present day First and
"The Master's Part" was not a degree but a ceremony-with secrets, conferred
upon but few. This was elevated to the status of a recognized degree our
present Third Degree for which all Brethren in possession of the other two
This would seem to be closely allied to the theory that the third degree was
originally for Masters of Lodges (or earlier still, of employers) although
this is not definitely brought out. Otherwise the theory is like that of Bro.
J. Ramsden Riley. (27) But what a ceremony-with-secrets if not a degree? We
are inclined to think that such a conception as this would only be possible in
England, where the brethren are "teethed" on the eminently practical but
absurdly illogical compromise of 1813. (28)
this, for the purpose of English Masonic Constitutional Law the term "Degree"
is defined as applicable only to the three specifically mentioned, and to
nothing else. Whatever propriety this usage may have in its limited legal
sphere, it must be said that from the etymological point of view it is
artificially restricted, and for the historian's purposes highly inconvenient;
and more than that, it tends to misunderstanding and confusion of thought. It
is however useless to quarrel over words. To those who use the term in this
restricted sense we submit the following schema:
Sub-class: (a) Degree. (b) Ceremony-with-secrets.
desire, though, to make it quite clear that we have used, and intend to
continue to use (on the mere ground of convenience) the word "degree" for the
class, amending the classification thus:
Class: Degree Sub-class: (a) Degree in English legal sense. (b)
short, following the classic example of Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking
Glass, we will pay the word extra and make it mean what we like.
is obvious, as we think, that the Royal Arch and the Installed (or Past)
Master have every characteristic of a degree, there are in them secrets,
communicated to duly qualified persons under a vow of secrecy, in a ritual
that is also secret and which is accompanied by a legendary history. The
special qualifications demanded are not, for the student's purpose, a relevant
mark of distinction. Historically the R. A. and P. M. are intimately connected
with the first three degrees of our system, and no attempt to investigate the
origin of the last mentioned can be complete that entirely ignores the
additional ceremonies-with- secrets that in England are denied the name of
degrees, though acknowledged to be part of the "pure Ancient" system.
Bro. Tuckett has collected much evidence to substantiate in some sense the
vague statements of older Masonic authors regarding the Jacobite influence in
early Speculative Masonry. Interesting as this is, it is yet itself too
speculative, in the ordinary, non- technical sense of the word, to be dealt
with here; though if, as has been frequently suggested, the degree of Master
Mason is a cryptic allegory of the history of the cause of the Stuarts and the
hopes of their supporters, it could hardly be left out of account. Bro.
Tuckett, however, sees the effects of this influence rather in the formation
of those early "additional" grades that were termed "Scottish," or more
The Rev. H. G. Rosedale does ascribe the third degree to this cause,
unfortunately without seriously attempting to support it with evidence. He
says for example:
is clear that the two first Degrees were in existence and fully recognized
though possibly not in separate form before the year 1717. The full "Third"
Degree did not appear as an accepted Rite till 1724, when, according to Bro.
Yarker and others, the old Jacobite Lodges in London owing to the repeated
failures of Jacobite plots were beginning to regain strength and when the
newly-formed Hanoverian Grand Lodge had proved a success. (29)
Earlier in the same paper in which this occurs, Bro. Rosedale had argued that
the division of opinion in the country at large during the religious and
political struggles of the seventeenth century had been reflected in the
Masonic Fraternity, even to the extent of producing groups or lodges on each
side of the dispute. No reason is given for this but probability. To us it
seems highly improbable. That Masons, as individuals, were divided is certain;
that their political and religious differences were carried into the lodges to
the extent of creating two opposed Masonries there is no evidence at all. We
cannot forget that the lodge at Warrington initiated on the same occasion the
royalist Ashmole and the parliamentarian, Col. Mainwaring, at the very time
the Civil War was tearing the country in two. That groups of royalist Masons
may have formed lodges and made Masons of other royalists is very possible,
just as a group of good Presbyterian Masons at the siege of Newcastle
initiated Robert Moray, but this is not at all the same thing that we
understand Bro. Rosedale to assert. Still less can we accept his contention
that the schism between the Moderns and the Ancients had their roots in these
political and religious differences, especially as no evidence is advanced in
support of the hypothesis. In justice to Bro. Rosedale, however, it must be
said that he touched on this matter only as preliminary to an examination of
later ritual development (which of course is outside our present purpose
altogether) and so did not really attempt to prove his statements.
Bro. Rosedale followed the late John Yarker in this idea of two opposed
Masonries divided on politico-religious grounds, though he may of course have
reached the conclusion quite independently. Bro. Yarker seemed to be willing
to admit the antiquity of the essentials of our present system, but his theory
is complicated by his acceptance of the modern Operative or Guild Masons.
These claims are so far apart from the main lines of this investigation that
we must ignore them here. (30)
number of other brethren have addressed themselves to the problem of the
origin of the sublime degree of Master Mason. Two of these essays call for
brief mention. Bro. Moir Dow in discussing "The Basis of the Third Degree,"
appears to accept a system of two grades as inherited by the Grand Lodge of
1717 from the old lodges which composed it; but seems to suppose that this was
a comparatively recent evolution from a Single initiation. At least he thinks
. . highly probable that by this simple mode Elias Ashmole was "made a Mason"
in 1646 . . .
and he goes on to say that
There is evidence, however, that side by side with the one Degree mode, the
reception ceremony comprised two steps or stages. We know definitely that a
certain point the Entered Apprentice withdrew from the Lodge Room- when the
initiate received further instruction. This early evidence (based on Scottish
records), is of high importance as manifesting evolution in a ritualistic
direction . . . and it is therefore probable that by the close of the 17th
century influenced by the increasing speculative element that the two-Degree
system developed, became crystallized, and displaced in England generally the
original sole Degree. (31)
The evidence, "based on Scottish records" must be, we presume (unfortunately
no references are given) the "Haughfoot minute," interpreted in the light of
the Chetwode Crawley MS. The hypothesis offered by Bro. Dow is a new
combination of the elements. Contrary to the earlier investigators he seems to
incline to the belief that the more complex two degree system arose in
Scotland. We could wish that he had developed his arguments in favor of this
view. We can only guess that it is based on the fact that the lodge at
Haughfoot seems to offer the earliest existing record of two separate grades
which comprised ceremonies with special secrets pertaining thereto. Not, we
think, sufficient to produce conviction. And we might ask why a single
initiation should have been divided or expanded in the 17th century, when
Freemasonry was still mainly operative, if there were no earlier tradition of
such division ?
Two years later Bro. G. W. Bullamore defended the "Antiquity of the Third
Degree." In this paper he made some interesting suggestions. He supposes that
the three classes mentioned in the Old Charge,
. . the "Masons, fellows or freemasons" of the Apprentice Charge are the
accepted Masons, Mark fellows and Master builders. These three classes would
meet in separate lodges. . . . There would be no regular advance from accepted
Mason or layer to mark mason or hewer and then from hewer to master. The
Master's Lodge could no doubt confer the secrets of all three degrees, and in
this sense might be considered to work the three degrees, but the evidence of
the Old Charges favors the view that the apprentice when he had finished his
time either became a fellow or else a master on account of his exceptional
we might add, because he had capital enough behind him, or was the son or
relative of a master. Bro. Bullamore further said that our present ceremonies
originated from these three types of lodges, and that there
. . are facts which suggest that distinct types of Lodges have amalgamated to
form our present ceremonies. The struggle between Ancients and Moderns was far
too great to have been produced by a few minor alterations in the ritual. (33)
This last may be true, and we are inclined to think it is, but as Bro.
Bullamore does not tell us what these facts are on which he bases this rather
startling theory of the amalgamation of quite separate units we can hardly
criticize it profitably. As for the third degree itself, which presumably was
that of the "master builders" in his classification of ranks or kinds of
operative Masons, he apparently would explain its genesis in the light of
foundation sacrifices. Not at all an original idea, of course; and though he
adduces many interesting facts, yet he does not develop the argument based on
them very definitely, probably because of difficulties that will be apparent
to all Freemasons. (34)
Gould's argument on this point depends on the lack of precision in ascribing
any date to the supposed change, either by the Grand Lodge itself in 1809,
when it spoke vaguely of 1736, or by Preston or Dermott. The unrecorded motion
of 1730, earlier than the publication of Prichard's work, and so unaffected by
it, seems to him the only possible place to be found for it in the record.
From that it would follow, on his premises, that as the things transposed were
still equally component parts of the original first grade, their order was a
matter of no consequence. To that we would repeat that there may have been a
traditional order within the old "Apprentice Part," and that changing this was
one of the "measures adopted." If a recollection of this was handed down, and
it is precisely the kind of thing that might be thus remembered, it would be
more probable that both its date and the exact circumstances might be
forgotten, while the main fact was remembered that there had been a
transposition for the purpose of excluding unrecognized Masons or imposters.
Our own opinion is that there was such an original, traditional sequence, and
that it had been changed; and further that this "slogan" of the "Ancients," as
it might be termed in present day parlance, merely represented the differences
between them and the "Moderns"-which were many and important- and which they
supposed (not unnaturally) were all deliberate innovations on the part of the
latter. Though in all probability most of them were actually inherited from
variations antedating 1717, many years perhaps, possibly centuries.
NOTES (1) Gould History, Vol. iii, p. 248, cf. Essays, p. 229.
(2) Gould Concise History, p. 441. Also A. Q. C., Vol. x, p. 138.
(3) Hist., Vol iii, p. 114.
(4) Ibid., Vol iii, p. 252.
(5) At least it is plausible that Dr. Desaguliers advocated something of the
kind in 1730. Gould, op. cit., Vol. iii, p. 138.
(6) Hist., Vol. iii, p. 250- Concise Hist., p. 441.
(7) Ibid., p. 433.
(8) Ib., pp. 403 and 408. Also Essays, pp. 228 and 232.
(9) Hist., Vol. iii, pp. 117-119.
(10) A. Q. C., Vol iii, p. 23; Reprinted in the Essays, p. 141.
(11) Trans. Man. Ass'n, 1909-10, p. 22.
(12) A. Q. C., Vol. xxxi p. 33.
(13) Trans. Man. Ass'n 1910-11.
(14) The point has been touched on in a previous note. BUILDER, Aug., 1928, p.
248. The reference is to Hughan's Origin of the English Rite, p. 23.
(15) BUILDER, Oct., 1928, p. 299.
(16) Trans. Humber Installed Masters Lodge, 1912-1916, p. 635.
(17) A. Q. C., Vol. xxvi, p. 6.
(18) Ibid.; p. 19.
(19) The William Watson MS., Q. C. A., Vol. iii, has the following passage
which succeeds the account of the great Assembly at York under Edwin. "In
England right worshipful masters & fellowes yt been of divers Semblies and
congregations wth ye Lords of this Realme hath ordained & made charges by
their best advise yt all manner of men yt shall be made & allowed Masons, must
be sworne upon a booke to keep the same in all yt they may to ye uttermost of
their power, & alsoe they have been ordained yt when any ffellow shall be
reeeiued & allowed yt these charges might be read unto him, & he to take his
charges, and these charges haue been seen & perused by our late Soveraigne
Lord King Henry ye sixth & ye Lords of ye Honourable Couneell, and they have
allowed them well & said they were right good & reasonable to be holden...."
(20) A.Q.C., Vol. xxx. D. 7. "The Advent of Royal Arch Masonry.
(21) Ibid., p. 13.
(22) BUILDER, Oct., 1928, p. 299; A. Q. C., Vol. xi, p. 61.
(23) BUILDER Oct., 1928 p. 301 and others have reverted to it since. We hope
to explore it more fully later on.
(24) A. Q. C., Vol. xxxii, p. 5.
(25) Trans. Man. Ass'n, 1921 1922, p. 78.
(26) Trans. Dorset Masters Lodge, 1926-1927, p. 42.
(27) BUILDER, Oct., 1928, p. 299.
(28) Already quoted, BUILDER May, 1928, p. 132.
(29) Trans. Man. Ass'n, 1919-1920, p. 21.
(30) Bro. Yarker's views are set forth, not very coherently, in his work The
Arcane Schools, in which a mass of interesting material has been collected. We
must confess though that we do not think the author an entirely safe guide in
its interpretation. For the claims of the modern operatives, see also Carr,
The Ritual of the Operative Freemasons, and Merz, Guild Masonry in the Making.
The articles in the BUILDER for 1926 may also be consulted.
(31) Trans. Man. Ass'n, 1922-1925, p. 28.
(32) A. Q. C., Vol. xxxviii, p. 68.
(33) Ibid., p. 76.
(34) Readers who desire to follow this up may be referred to Bro. J.S. M.
Ward's recent work Who Was Hiram Abiff ? There is much material of this kind
in Frazer's Golden Bough and Tyler's Primitive Culture.
American Army Lodges in the World War
BRO. CHARLES F. IRWIN, Associate Editor
have been presenting a series of American Field Lodges that flourished during
the World War, both at home and overseas. Six of these lodges have thus far
been presented, as follows:
August - Montana Military Lodge, No. 1, U.D.
September - Army Lodge A, U.D., North Carolina
October - North Dakota Military Lodge Lodge, No. 2, U. D.
November - Emergency Lodge U.D., of Indiana
December - Lahneck Lodge, No. 1186, Coblentz, of Texas
January – Overseas Lodge, No. 1, at Coblentz, Germany (Rhode Island Grand
month we are presenting the first of a series of five Military Lodges all
under the dispensations of the Grand Lodge of New York. Four of these were
stationed overseas. The first of the series was at first stationed in the City
of New York. After seeking for an authoritative account of Sea and Field
Lodge, No. 1, I secured the following from M. W. Bro. William C. Prime, Past
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York, and the Secretary of this lodge.
Bro. Prime was also one of the active members of the Overseas Masonic Mission
that went to France in the spring of 1919 and ministered to the Craft
throughout France and other Allied Countries in a most efficient manner. The
history of this mission will be given in the articles on Masonic Clubs which
will follow the present series. To those of us who met the warm friendliness
of the Overseas Mission, and benefited by it was one of the outstanding
experiences of our sojourn in France during the latter part of the War, and
all Masons in the A.E.F. owe them enduring gratitude. To M.W. Bros. Prime and
Townsend Scudder, and the many other fine New York Masons (not overlooking my
excellent friend and brother Merwin W. Lay of Syracuse, and our dear old
comrade Charles H. Huntley of Schenectady) this chapter is especially
warranting of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, provided the substructure upon which
each of the other four Overseas and Field Lodges of the Grand Lodge were
warranted and worked. It is my personal testimony, after having had the
privilege of attending the closing Communication of Sea and Field Lodge, No.
2, at Paris in July of 1919, and having participated in the conferring of the
Third Degree, in the East, that same evening, that the Ritual of New York, as
used in its Military Lodges in the World War, omitted not a single fundamental
of the Masonic Principles in the three degrees. That the procedure was not
only dignified, but produced a deep emotion seldom aroused by the peace time
rituals. That the vow each Candidate took upon himself as stated above, was
under the most profound feelings of exalted loyalty to his God, his Country,
his Neighbor and Himself as phrase by phrase this obligation was given him by
the Master of the Lodge.
my own return to my own Grand Jurisdiction of Ohio late in the summer of 1919,
I discovered that through misrepresentations, current in a number of Grand
Lodges, relative to New York's Military Lodges, a Resolution had been passed
by my Grand Lodge holding in abeyance all Ohio material made in a New York
Military Lodge. I am happy to say that through my own personal efforts after a
full explanation of the work as I had seen it, the Past Grand Masters almost
to a man, led by our splendid P.G.M. Charles Pretzman of Columbus, Ohio, with
ardent support of P. G. Masters Kissel of Springfield, and Flotron of Dayton,
that Resolution was recalled the next Annual Communication and all Ohio
material made through a Sea and Field Lodge of New York State were permitted
to visit Ohio Lodges and to present their dimits for membership in the same.
of the priceless rewards that come to a Searcher after Light in the Masonic
quarries, is the friendship formed with excellent brothers in all quarters of
the country. I have been forming such friendships during the past ten years
and count myself among the wealthy of our land, although but an humble
shepherd in the fields of our Lord. This account by Bro. Prime is so full and
complete that there is nothing more to add to it, and I therefore give it just
as it stands.
Sea and Field Lodge No. 1 of New York
Stationed in New York City
BRO. WILLIAM C. PRIME, Secretary
WITHIN approximately a month after the United States entered the Great War,
the Grand Lodge of New York convened in Annual Communication, enthusiastically
voted unlimited support to the Government, of men and money, and adjourned
without substantial action looking to the opportunities and meeting them,
which the War inevitably would offer.
Early in the summer of 1917, M. W. G. M. Thomas Penney appointed a committee
on "Plan and Scope of Masonic Service During the War", who pondered over the
problem which the Grand Lodge had neither attacked nor solved. The Committee's
advice caused the Grand Master to reconvene the Grand Lodge (the 136th Annual
Communication), on the 10th day of September, 1917. After a sincere and most
telling address, the report of the Committee was presented, whereupon the
Grand Lodge among other actions taken, adopted the following Resolution:
Whereas, Numerous members of the Masonic Fraternity have entered, or are about
to enter, the service of the Country in its armed forces at sea and on land,
in the Great War- and
Whereas, in cantonments, training camps, at sea or at the front, the influence
of Freemasonry is inestimably valuable to its votaries- and
Whereas, both to members of the Fraternity and to their dependents and
relatives, the opportunity and the duty to administer will presently be at
Whereas, it may be found that the Fraternity can best administer to the souls
and the bodies of its members through the time-honored institution of Masonic
Lodges; now, therefore,
it Resolved, that Sea and Field Lodges be organized in cantonments, training
camps, on vessels, and in regiments or other military units at the front, if
in the judgment of the Grand Master it be wise to exercise his prerogative in
that regard; and the Grand Master is requested to take such steps as in his
judgment shall seem best, to establish by his warrant, wherever he may see fit
Sea and Field Lodges, at home and abroad, with such authority to make Masons,
and under such regulations as to dual membership or multiple membership,
inspection and control, as to him shall seem proper; and also to take all Such
steps as to him shall seem best and appropriate to extend the influence of
Freemasonry through deputies, representatives or otherwise to and among the
members of the Fraternity engaged in the Country's Service; and to render to
stall sick and distressed, such aid, comfort and relief as to him shall seem
Resolved, That this Grand Lodge do and it hereby does extend to sister Grand
Lodges in the United States an invitation to cooperate and participate with it
in the work above described and to do, if in their judgment it be wise,
whatsoever the Grand Master of New York may do in the matter of warranting Sea
and Field Lodges for the Period of the War.
the same Session the Grand Lodge authorized the Grand Master to grant a
dispensation to a Lodge to shorten the time between degrees, in case of war
The problem of Masonic Service during the War was not simple. How to render
it, in what form to present it to the Masons in the service of the Country was
the Civil War some twelve Field Lodges had been warranted by New York; but the
experience which our Grand Lodge had with their work and officers was not
satisfactory. Little record was kept, and almost none was turned over to the
Grand Secretary after the War was over, and it was almost impossible to learn
what those Lodges had done and what material had been handled. This left a bad
taste and tended seriously to prejudice the leaders of the Fraternity against
the proposal to authorize Sea and Field Lodges in the Great War.
Nevertheless, with this previous experience plainly in mind, the Grand Master
after full consideration, on Oct. 6, 1917, by his warrant created Sea and
Field Lodge, No. 1, with an unusual personnel; the warrant designating the
seven Officers from Master to Junior Deacon necessary to constitute an Entered
Apprentice Lodge, and authorizing it to sit in the City of New York and
elsewhere as might be convenient; to initiate, pass and raise its own war
material without the usual formalities required for chartered Lodges; to
initiate, pass and raise war material from foreign jurisdictions on request of
the Grand Master; and to pass or raise, for other Lodges in the State of New
York, war material that had already been initiated. Having in mind the total
omission of records or the careless keeping and more careless failure to file
them, by the Civil War Lodges above referred to, Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1,
had three separate complete records of all of its transactions as regards
candidates, consisting, first, of complete applications
fully signed, authenticated and approved; second, its minute books containing
the full record of all its proceedings; and third, a complete card index of
all of its personnel as well also as the personnel of the Overseas Lodges
consolidated with it, on which cards are substantially all the data contained
in the application blanks and the record transcribed from the minutes of the
actions of the Lodge thereon.
With this triplicate record it is not likely that, large as the number of
those served may be, any loss of important material or information can occur.
least three cantonments were in rather close proximity to New York City and
several others had been established in various parts of the State of New York
and several in the adjoining States nearby the New York Harbor. Troops were
pouring into those stations from all over the country. Some of them had been
accepted candidates for Masonry but had not yet been initiated; others had
received one or more of their degrees, but had not yet been raised.
Our New York Law did not permit, nor does it now permit, a Lodge to initiate
any but its own material; and the prayer from all over the country was
pressing us that we find some way to help them in the situation, by
initiating, passing, and raising, or of passing and raising, foreign material
thus situated, as well also as some of our own Lodges in other portions of the
State, whose material was due to embark for foreign service.
There was also an appeal for the sons of Master Masons, which was very potent
and induced the Grand Master to include in his delegated authority to Sea and
Field Lodge, No. 1, the power to accept and to confer the three degrees upon
candidates who were under the age of twenty-one, sons of Masters (Lewises in
fact), provided, however, that each of such candidates should be the subject
of a special and separate dispensation granted by the Grand Master after
thorough inquiry into the candidate's history and the reasons advanced for the
conferring of this exceptional favor.
M.W. Townsend Scudder, P.G.M., was appointed the Worshipful Master; R. W.
George J. Jackson, Deputy Grand Master, was appointed the Senior Warden; M. W.
Robert Judson Kenworthy, P.G.M., was appointed the Junior Warden; Bro. Harold
E. Lippincott, Judge Advocate, was appointed Senior Deacon; R. W. John A.
Dutton (then Commissioner of Appeals, now Grand Master) was appointed Junior
Deacon. The remaining personnel was of similar caliber.
The original Committee and these Lodge Officers, with the Grand Master,
foresaw the peculiar character of the service which this Lodge would be called
upon to perform, and they realized early the inadaptability of the regulations
and ritual to such an undertaking. Practically none of the Candidates would
live in New York, nor would have leave, time or opportunity to visit New York
City for instruction, and the personnel of the Lodge were busy men, who could
not, if they would, go to the stations of the Candidates to instruct them.
Instruction and catechism would require time.
The men were all, practically, on the point of embarking. New York and its
neighborhood was but a brief resting place before boarding transports for
foreign service. To initiate a candidate, then to postpone his passing or
raising until after instruction and examination, might involve a delay in his
Masonic progression that could easily cover years, if in fact he ever went
further in the institution. He might be on the seas, in the trenches, or in a
"better country" before the Lodge machinery could arrange for his Masonic
accommodation. It was obvious that the unusual must be done, and it was done
bravely and prayerfully.
the authority of the Grand Master, expressly granted in the warrant, the
Officers of the Lodge undertook to formulate a simplified ritual for the
extraordinary purpose for which the Lodge was created and adapted. This
ritual, after some evolution recommended by later experience, soon reached a
high degree of perfection and rendered possible a very signal service.
Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, sat, in all, 36 times to confer degrees, always at
New York City. Sometimes in the afternoon, usually in the evening, at
substantially weekly intervals, save that in the first ten days of December,
1917, it sat twice in the space of five days.
These Sessions opened with the usual ceremonies, including the carrying-of the
Colors. The Lodge sang the first verse of "America" with a special second
verse composed during the War and which was very appropriate to the occasion.
A talented quartette assisted and each degree was prefaced with a hymn
especially appropriate to it. For the first degree we used "Guide Me, O Thou
Great Jehovah", to the tune of "Autumn". The third degree was preceded by "I
would not live alway". While the Lodge was closed with the hymn "O God Our
Help in Ages Past".
The several degrees were exemplified usually by selected persons, members of
the Lodge, in successive stages; the entire personnel of the Lodge however
being on the qui vase to render any service which might be required. Each of
these were fully equipped to take any position at a moment's notice.
all cases the Candidates were vouched for by a Past Master of a regular
chartered Lodge in the State of New York. A peculiar form of application with
additional data relating to the military station of the applicant, yet
covering all the requirements of the usual application, was adopted. Upon the
Secretary fell the burden of verifying the data thus furnished, and the
preparing of the detail of each communication; and at each Session, which
opened at seven o'clock P. M., a roll call was made which revealed the class
which had been summoned for the evening and who had been elected by the
approval of the Master and Wardens who had passed upon their credentials. This
service was rendered for the minimum fee prescribed by the Constitution of the
Grand Lodge of New York; and no dues were imposed. A Lodge Card and a Diploma
together with a Bible appropriately inscribed, was presented to each
Candidate. In the Bible was attached a neat title plate on which the name of
the owner was inscribed, together with the Lodge War Pledge, which read as
undertake to maintain our part of the War free from hatred, brutality or
graft, true to the American purpose and ideals.
Aware of the temptations incidental to camp life and the moral and social
wreckage involved, we covenant together to live the clean life and to seek to
establish the American uniform as a symbol and guarantee of real manhood.
pledge our example and our influence to make these ideals dominant in the
American Army and Navy.
This Pledge was also administered and assented to in the course of the
The degrees were conferred consecutively on one evening occupying in all
approximately three and one-half hours. Upon one occasion Sea and Field Lodge,
No. 1, took over the entire Trestle Board of another Lodge, which for some
reason was prevented from working, and upon another occasion, a special
Session was held in order to confer the degrees upon a class of twenty-four
soldiers and sailors from another New York lodge, treating this Session, to
all intents and purposes, as its own.
some cases the rendering of the service consecutively was impossible due to
the requirements of one or another jurisdiction. In all such cases Sea and
Field Lodge, No. 1, did what it could and if the Candidate did not receive his
entire Masonic work, in the matter of the degrees, it was not through any
negligence of the Lodge or its officers.
The total number of Candidates who entered the Outer Door was 743. Of that
number 439 were enrolled as members of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1; 57 were
candidates under the age of twenty-one years, that is, they were in each case
a "Lewis"; 131 were Candidates of New York City Lodges; 54 were Candidates
from other New York Lodges outside the metropolis; while 119 were Candidates
of foreign Jurisdictions.
The largest class of candidates present at any one Session was 54. These men
were arranged in six files of nine each; a man's length between each file; at
a certain stage in the work, and at a signal from the East, with one accord
and in perfect unison, these Candidates experienced the full exemplification
of the second section of the third degree. It is to be observed that each
candidate had a Conductor who attended to the ritual throughout this section.
Visitors were not welcome; while each who was present, by invitation, was so
employed in a valuable service, and so occupied in his own task, that at no
time was any carelessness, levity or lack of dignity observed in any of the
labors of the Lodge. It was a serious and holy and intense procedure. Upon the
conclusion of the work for the evening the officers with scarcely an
exception, however cold or inclement the weather, were wet to the skin through
sheer nervous tension and the exaltation aroused by the occasion.
One Saturday in December, 1917, a flotilla of transports convoyed by a
destroyer was due to leave the New York Harbor. Twenty-two of the personnel of
the destroyer were brought in the morning to the attention of the Secretary of
Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1; they were properly and singularly vouched for.
Their applications made out in proper form, were passed upon, after their
credentials had been closely scrutinized. At seven o'clock the Session opened,
most of the Candidates being accompanied by their fathers, who of course were
Master Masons. At approximately eleven o'clock on a wild winter night, they
left our shores, after having been taken into Masonic Fellowship, and followed
by our united prayers went out upon the troubled seas, equipped each of them,
so far as we could aid them, with a new inspiration and a new Light, out to
the hazardous service of the Supreme Architect of the Universe and of their
each of the Communications of the Lodge a box was passed and voluntary
contributions were collected, totaling in all $3,563.21. This sum, after a
modest deduction of expenses for stationery and the musical services, was
placed in the War Relief Fund. It is almost interesting to record that many
Lodges for whom courtesy work was rendered, voluntarily contributed to this
Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, was warranted, as distinguished from the usual
authority of a chartered New York Lodge. This warrant gives life to its Lodge
during the pleasure of the Grand Master. Since the Armistice and
demobilization of our military forces a diligent effort has been made
continuously to bring about the demission of the membership of our lodge to
regular chartered Lodges.
1920, the Grand Master recalled the Warrants of the other four Overseas Sea
and Field Lodges, and consolidated their undimited material into Sea and Field
Lodge, No. 1, for the purpose of record and control. At the present date only
291 out of a total of 1,192 are still undimited. Some of these no doubt are in
the other world.
Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, still lives. Its personnel is unchanged save that
in April, 1918, its Senior Warden met an untimely death and the Junior Warden
was advanced to that station. Otherwise the personnel all stepped up.
several occasions thereafter the Lodge was employed by the Grand Master as a
convenient agency to sponsor patriotic occasions, and it will probably
continue so long as it lives to be available for any emergent service upon the
call of the Grand Master.
The particular motif of this undertaking was originally to inspire in the
Candidates the virtues of decency and personal purity and respect for others.
We endeavored so to exalt the spirit of the Candidates whom we served that
they would not only have no fear of death should it come to them, but that
they would be keen so long as they should live and the military service still
embrace them, to keep themselves fit to fight if need be. It is a matter of
great satisfaction that in not a few distances from time to time during the
War and the years following it, letters and personal communications have been
received from many indicative of their lively memory of their experiences and
of the indelible lessons which were taught and which were safely received.
And a closing word with regard to our ritual. The standard ritual of the Grand
Lodge of New York was used throughout with some abbreviations in the lectures,
excepting that in the second section of the Third Degree a modification of the
Emulation Ritual of the United Grand Lodge of England was used, adapted to the
purposes of our undertaking. To those familiar with that Ritual, its
appropriateness will be obvious. To handle any such company as 54 Candidates
in one class in one and the same evening in the space of something less than
an hour in the Second Section of the Third Degree would have been impossible
by any other method. Altogether aside from the facility which it offered, the
fine dignity and the absence of all levity was an outstanding characteristic
of our War Ritual.
Although our method of inquiry into the qualifications may have seemed to be
rather informal; however moderate or even cheap our fees may have appeared
(which might have inspired some Candidates to seek membership at a material
saving) yet there was but one instance in our entire experience, known to us,
of any Candidate accomplishing this purpose. With that exception if it is
such, we have not known of a single instance of unworthy material having been
accepted by our Military Lodge.
The following comments from other Jurisdictions will be interesting and
informing. The Fraternal Correspondent, in the Proceedings of Pennsylvania,
for 1918, says that at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of New
York, held on May 7, 1918, the Grand Master, mentioning Sea and Field Lodge,
No. 1, said that it conferred the degrees on 431 applicants, of whom 39 were
under the age of twenty- one years. He also attended the first meeting of this
Lodge, at which time his son was made a Mason. The ages of the initiates under
twenty-one ranged from eighteen years and four months to twenty years and ten
months. The majority of them were over nineteen years.
the Pennsylvania Proceedings for the following year, 1919, it is noted that:
In addition it [S. & F. L., No. 1] raised about 300 Candidates for other
Lodges. The total membership at the date of report was 361. It conferred no
degrees after the Armistice, Nov. 11, 1918. Its future existence depended at
the will of the Grand Master.
The Fraternal Correspondent of South Dakota remarks in the Proceedings of that
Grand Lodge for 1920 that:
The work of the Sea and Field Lodges was closed, except No. 1, which remains
in existence for the purpose of placing the Masons made in all of them in
recommended that their names so far as appropriate be given chartered Lodges
of the State from time to time.
was to be expected there was not unanimous approval of New York's action on
the part of other Grand Lodges. In the Proceedings of Texas for 1921 the
criticism of the South Carolina correspondent is quoted with approval, and it
is intimated that the Grand Lodge of New York was acting improperly in issuing
warrants for Sea and Field Lodges in France, the Texas brother adding that:
the Grand Lodge of New York can issue a warrant for a Lodge in France, under
the jurisdiction of New York, it might with the same authority set a Lodge to
work in Texas or South Carolina.
The report of M.W. Bro. Townsend Scudder to Grand Lodge on the work of Sea and
Field Lodge, No. 1, which was received and ordered printed in the Proceedings
of the Grand Lodge of New York for 1920, is as follows:
New York City, May 4, 1920. Hon. W. S. Farmer, Grand Master. Dear Sir and M.
beg to submit the following report of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1
Since Nov. 9, 1918, no sessions save formal business sessions have been held.
The last session was held on April 5, 1920, in conjunction with a regular
session of Jonkheer Lodge, No. 865, at Yonkers, N. Y., on which occasion, by
your permission, the officers of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, undertook to
confer the Second Section of the Master Mason degree for that Lodge.
March last you issued instructions to the Wor. Master to assimilate the
undemitted material of Sea and Field Lodges Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5, overseas, and
that thereafter that material should be recorded and transferred in the same
manner as the material of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1. Your instructions have
been carried out.
During the year 1919, 145 demits were issued, and from the institution of the
Lodge to date 225 have been transferred to other Lodges. The number remaining
upon the roll, untransferred, exclusive of the personnel, is 204.
Fraternally, William C. Prime,
The Grand Master's Address for the same year had the following reference to
Sea and Field Lodges:
my address to the Grand Lodge at its 138th Annual Communication, I stated that
the warrant establishing Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, was still outstanding,
and that I had also issued warrants establishing Sea and Field Lodges, Nos. 2,
3 and 4, for work and instruction overseas.
did, in fact, issue warrants for Sea and Field Lodge, No. 2, with M. W.
Townsend Scudder as Master, at Paris, France; Sea and Field Lodge, No. 3, with
R. W. Harry B. Mook, Past Master of Excelsior Lodge No. 195, as Master, at Le
Mans, France; Sea and Field Lodge, No. 4, with W. Charles T. Arrighi, Past
Master of Howard Lodge, No. 35, as Master, at Marseilles, France- and Sea and
Field Lodge, No. 5, with Bro. Mark E. Penney, Junior Warden of Konosioni
Lodge, No. 950, as Master, at the A. E. F. University, Beaune, France....
Inasmuch as the establishment of Sea and Field Lodges was commenced in the
administration of my predecessor, I should hope if my suggestion is approved
that one of said Lodges may be located in Buffalo; and that I should be glad
if one of them No. 2 might be located in or near my home city, Syraeuse. I
should like to see them established in different parts of the State.
the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Florida for 1919 is the following
sympathetic account of the social activities of the lodge:
The first Army Lodge chartered by the State of New York known as "Sea and
Field Lodge", has arranged to open and has now opened the club rooms in the
basement of the Masonic Hall on Twenty-Third Street. It is probably the most
magnificent club of its kind in the city. Large rooms opening from the main
entrance have been remodeled and are furnished with costly rugs, tables,
desks, chairs, full writing equipment, magazines, and every other convenience
for a lounging room for the men in service. Attendants are on hand at all
times, to render assistance to the visitors.
These facilities are offered only to soldiers and sailors in uniform, and all
is free without a cent of charge. They also have all the privileges of the
club on the top floor of the building.
The old banquet room has been turned into bath and amusement rooms. There are
showers, tubs and lockers fitted with the very best plumbing, and there are
billiard and pool rooms and there are rooms for checkers, dominoes, and
shuffleboard The War Demonstration Committee of the Grand Lodge are keeping up
these rooms in perfect shape and they are being visited by several hundred
enlisted men almost daily.
1919 many thousands of cards were distributed throughout the embarkation
centers and ports informing returning Masons of these Club Rooms in New York
and extending to them every courtesy while stopping in the vicinity of New
York prior to their demobilization. A photograph of one of these cards is here
reproduced. It bears the seals of the Grand Lodge and of the lodge, and is
signed by the Secretary. This was made out as a specimen for record.
The following circular letter was issued by the Grand Lodge of New York to all
the Grand Lodges of the U. S. A., informing them of the formation of the Sea
and Field Lodge and offering its services to them:
GRAND LODGE OF THE FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK MASONIC
HALL. Office of the Grand Secretary.
New York, June 14, 1919. Most Worshipful Sir and Dear Brother:
The Constitution of the Grand Lodge of New York gives it jurisdiction over all
men serving in the United States Army and Navy. The Grand Lodge of New York
has warranted Sea and Field Lodges in France, and may warrant some in the
occupied territory to serve the Craft if the circumstances justify this
course. Notwithstanding the fact that under its Constitution the Grand Lodge
can accept material resident of other jurisdictions when serving in the United
States Army or Navy, it has hesitated so to do and has uniformly sought the
acquiescence of the Grand Lodge in the jurisdiction in which the Candidate
resided, when in civil life.
appreciate fully that most Grand Lodge Constitutions have no provisions to
meet conditions prevailing in war times and that few Grand Lodges have
provided for waivers excepting through the medium of the local lodge within
the jurisdiction of which the candidate resides.
important part of our service to the Craft overseas is to correct the
unfavorable impressions which our younger members had gained through the
failure of our Fraternity to serve them independently over there as a war
relief organization. It happens that much can be done to retrieve our failure
and further our cause by accepting certain candidates whose influence and good
will we can use for the betterment of the condition of our members.
would like to have it understood that your Grand Lodge will not take offense
if in our effort to serve American Masons overseas in some eases we initiate,
pass and raise material which in civil life would belong to you exclusively.
These men will become members of our Sea and Field Military Lodges. We will
carry them until they have had a reasonable time to affiliate elsewhere. We
confer the degree for the minimum of $20. Of course the money is not a factor.
Our sole purpose is to help our boys overseas. When the new members return
they will affiliate where they belong and an affiliation fee in their ease can
be made to equal the home initiation fee, if that will better suit local
The purpose of this letter is to receive from you, if it seem to you proper,
some assurances that in this Service overseas to the Fraternity as a whole the
American Masonic Mission will not give offense to your Grand Lodge when it
accepts candidates in the service hailing in civil life from your jurisdiction
This letter aroused mixed feelings in the various Grand Lodges. Some granted
this permission while others summarily refused to do so and declared summary
action against any material received by the New York overseas lodges that came
from their Grand Jurisdictions. The letter, as a historical document,
indicates a genuine effort on the part of New York to meet and solve a wartime
will be useful, as will as interesting, to put on record The Warrants by which
Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1, was constituted.
Sit Lax Et Lax Fait.
Thomas Penney, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York, do by these
presents, appoint, authorize and empower our worthy Brother Townsend Scudder
to be the Master- our worthy Brother George J. Jackson to be the Senior
Warden; our worthy Brother Robert Judson Kenworthy to be the Junior Warden;
our worthy Brother Arthur K. Kuhn to be the Treasurer- our worthy Brother
William C. Prime to be the Secretary, our worthy Brother Harold E. Lippineott
to be the Senior Deacon; our worthy Brother John A. Dutton to be the Junior
Deacon of a Sea and Field Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, to be by virtue
hereof, constituted, formed and held at the City of New York, and elsewhere as
may be convenient and necessary, which lodge shall be distinguished and known
by the name or style of Sea and Field Lodge No. 1 and the said Master is
hereby authorized to appoint subordinate officers of said lodge; and said
lodge is authorized to adopt all such by-laws and regulations for the
governance of its proceedings and labour, Subject to any approval, as it may
And further the said lodge is hereby invested with full power and authority to
assemble on proper and lawful occasions and to confer upon candidates who have
been elected and initiated members of a regular lodge of Free and Accepted
Masons of the State of New York, and who have actually enlisted or been
drafted or commissioned officers in the United States Forces in the present
great war; the Second and Third Degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry, without the
usual interval, and without the usual proof of suitable proficiency in the
preceding degrees- and, to elect, initiate, pass and raise, without the usual
formalities and requirements of chartered lodges, candidates, residents of the
State of New York, who have actually enlisted, or been drafted or commissioned
officers in the United States Forces in the present great war, who apply
therefor in writing, and who satisfy the Master and Wardens of said lodge that
they are qualified, and who are about to be sent out of this jurisdiction on
duty, and on payment of twenty dollars- and to initiate, pass and raise
candidates who have actually enlisted or been drafted, or commissioned
officers in the United States Forces on the present great war, residents of
other states, who have been initiated or passed, or who having been elected
members of regular lodges in their respective states, have not been initiated,
upon the request of the Grand Master, and Satisfactory proof that they have
paid all fees required by the laws of the jurisdiction in which they were
respectively elected, as also to do and perform all and every such acts and
things appertaining to the Craft as have been and ought to be done for the
Honor and Advantage thereof.
Membership or Officership in said lodge shall in nowise impair or affect
existing membership or officership in a regular chartered lodge.
Said lodge shall have a seal and shall have and keep all books required to Abe
kept by regular lodges in the State of New York, and the same and all records
to be surrendered to the Grand Lodge on the termination of this warrant.
This warrant shall terminate at the pleasure of the Grand Master.
Given under my hand and Private Seal at the City of New York, in the United
States of America, this sixth day of October in the year of our Lord, one
thousand nine hundred and seventeen, and in the year of Masonry, five thousand
and nine hundred and seventeen.
(Signed) Thomas Penney,
(Seal) Grand Master.
Sit Lung Et Lux Flit.
Thomas Penney, Grand Master.
Thomas Penney, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York, do, by these
presents, simplify and enlarge the authority and power heretofore granted by
me to Sea and Field Lodge No. 1, and to certain brethren appointed officers
thereof, as appears by the warrant thereof, granted by me and dated on the 6th
day of October, 1917, by expressly authorizing and empowering said lodge to
initiate candidates who have been elected members of a regular Lodge of Free
and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, and who have actually enlisted
or been drafted or commissioned officers in the United States forces in the
present great war, and who, for reasons satisfactory to the Master and Wardens
of said Sea and Field Lodge No. 1, are unable to present themselves for
initiation to the lodge which elected them, upon request of said lodge, and
satisfactory proof that they have paid all fees required to be paid by said
lodge, or upon payment thereof to said Sea and Field Lodge No. 1.
This supplemental Warrant shall terminate with the original warrant at the
pleasure of the Grand Master.
Given under my hand and private seal at the City of New York in the United
States of America this 29th day of October, in the year of our Lord one
thousand, nine hundred and seventeen, and in the year of Masonry five
thousand, nine hundred and seventeen.
(Signed) Thomas Penney, Grand Master (Seal)
Visitors were not received in the lodge except by invitation because of the
strenuous character of its labors. The following is a copy of the invitation
to the first meeting:
GRAND LODGE, F. & A. M. State of New York.
The honor of your presence is requested at the first Communication of Sea and
Field Lodge, No. 1, Wednesday evening, October 10, 1917, at six o'clock.
Assembly in the Grand Master's Room, Masonic Hall, on the hour sharp.
order of Townsend Scudder Master.
Wm. C. Prime, Secretary.
Freemasonry in Czechoslovakia
BRO. JOSEPH S. ROUCEK, New York
THE author of this account of Freemasonry in Czechoslovakia was born in
Prague, and received port of his education in the old University there. He
completed it in this country, in California and New York, and he is now on the
staff of the latter institution as an Instructor in the Department of
Diplomacy and Government. He is well known throughout the country as a
lecturer and author, especially on subjects connected with modern history and
international relations, and also on the manners and customs of his native
WHEN I decided to write the story of Czechoslovakian Masonry, I was quite
surprised to find out that almost nothing is known about it to American
Masons. My research work showed that Masonic literature contains exactly five
lines about it. This seems to be rather curious in view of the fact that last
May the National Grand Lodge of Czechoslovakia was accorded recognition by the
Grand Lodge of New York, and that each Grand Lodge of this country received a
petition from Czechoslovakia for similar recognition. If we put the story in a
larger setting, it should be realized that Czechoslovakia presents a very
interesting and unusual subject for the American reader. The father and maker
of Czechoslovakia, Theodor Garigue Masaryk, was a personal friend of President
Wilson. He declared the independence of his country in Washington, on Dec. 18,
1918, and hence Czechoslovakia considers herself a legitimate child of
America. Furthermore, Masaryk married an American lady. His family connections
with America and American Masonry will be mentioned later, as well as other
order to appreciate the present situation of Masonry in Czechoslovakia it will
be necessary to skim over a few historical facts which will give us the
The history of Masonry of Czechoslovakia, or rather of Bohemia, is
indissolubly woven into the history of an age-long struggle by a valorous
people for their freedom. that the first was destined to be long and fierce is
apparent by a glance at the map of the new Europe. For Czechoslovakia lies in
the heart of the Continent, a veritable European crossroads. Lying midway
between East and West, she has had throughout her history to make a choice
between, on the one hand, the influences of Western culture and Western
ideals, pointing to progress, freedom and constitutional government, and
Eastern influence, wholly unprogressive in character, upon the other; and very
early she chose to link herself with the West. Today, Czechoslovakia forms the
middle ground between West and East and North and South.
The name "Czechoslovakia" was something quite new to most Americans in 1918.
It comprises two words, "Czech" and "Slovak," the former being pronounced as
"check." "Czech" is identical with "Bohemian," while the Slovak is the Czech's
kinsman, dwelling in that region just east of Bohemia.
But this explanation does not give a complete picture of the country. It is
composed of several provinces which were included in the old Austria Bohemia,
Moravia, Silesia-while the former Kingdom of Hungary included Slovakia and
The Czechs are the westernmost branch of the Slavs, their name being derived,
according to tradition, from that of a noted ancestral chief. The term Bohemia
was applied to the country probably during the Roman times, and was derived,
like that of Bavaria, from the Boii, who for some time before the Christian
era occupied or claimed parts of these regions.
WARS OF RELIGION IN BOHEMIA
is a matter of interest that the checkered history of Bohemia has developed in
part out of the religious convictions of its people. In the history of the
Czechs, religious passion has been the creative energy at the heart of their
nationalism. The religious fervour of the past has been the chief impulse
governing political events, and the great controlling force in the evolution
of state and people. It was the conflict for religious rights and freedom that
aroused, influenced and determined the nation in its remarkable medieval
democracy; and it was the union of this religious spirit with the distinctive
Czech nationalism that was so terribly humiliated and destroyed after the
Battle of the White Mountain in 1620. These religious wars of the fifteenth
and sixteenth centuries had weakened Bohemia to such an extent that she was
obliged to recognize the Hapsburgs as her rulers, who, with the assistance of
the Jesuits, took revenge on the "heretic" nation by burning hundreds of
thousands of Bibles and religious works written in the vernacular.
The story of the oppression of Bohemia under the Austrian Hapsburgs is too
long to be told here. It is no exaggeration to say that on the eve of the
World War no one even dreamed of the resurrection of old Bohemia, or of the
creation of a new nation with a name as yet unknown.
Bohemia's contribution to America is greater than is commonly realized. The
man who made the first maps of Maryland and Virginia, and who introduced the
cultivation of tobacco into the latter state, and, for these and other
services, became the lord of the "Bohemian Manor" in Maryland, was the exiled
Bohemian John Herman. The parents of Phillip, lord of the Phillip's Manor on
the Hudson, one of whose female descendants came so near to becoming the bride
of Washington, were also Bohemian. Not a few of the Czechs came into this
country with the Moravian Brethren (the Unitas Fratrum). One of the most
honored names in the universal history of pedagogy is that of the Czech
patriot and exile, Jan Amos Komensky, or Comenius ( 1592-1671 ), the last
bishop of the Bohemian Brethren, after whom the first Czechoslovak lodge was
named. His pedagogical writings constitute the foundations of modern
education. Once he was invited to become the President of Harvard University.
To make this story short, it might be mentioned that among others stand out
Prokop Divis, the discoverer of the lightning rod, and Joseph Ressel, the
inventor of the screw propeller. Antonin Dvorak was admittedly the greatest
composer of his time. His "Slavonic Dances" and his symphonies are played
everywhere. Invited to this country, he was for several years director of the
National Conservatory of Music in New York City, during which time he made an
effort to develop a purely American music, based on native, and especially
Indian, melodies. The result is the "New World Symphony," the Largo of which
"Goin' Home" was sung to Lindbergh when welcomed at Washington by President
Coolidge after his epochal flight to Paris.
FREEMASONRY IN THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN MONARCHY
Because of the fact that Bohemia was a part of Austria-Hungary up to 1918, the
history of Masonry is a part of the history of the Empire. It should be kept
in mind that in all countries wherein the Roman Catholic clergy predominate,
Masonry has always experienced great difficulty in attaining a permanent
foothold. Of this fact Austria is a striking example. The Lodges constituted
in the Austrian states have never had but a brief term of existence, the
persecutions on the part of the clergy, and the prohibitions of the
sovereigns, having never given them any time to take root.
The history of Freemasonry in the Austro-Hungarian Empire may be divided into
two separate epochs. The earlier period comprises the history of the Order in
the eighteenth century; extending more exactly from 1726 to 1795, in which
year Masonry was altogether suppressed by an Imperial and Royal Edict in both
countries. Thereafter Masonry slumbered more than half a century, and had to
be founded anew, its reintroduction being due to quite other authorities, with
entirely different elements and effected in other ways, than those of the
past. There is, therefore, no organic connection between the earlier and the
latter period, comprising modern Masonic history and life in these countries.
One distinction more. At the earlier epoch Masonry flourished as well in the
Austrian dominions as in the lands of the Hungarian Crown; in the nineteenth
century Masonry revived simultaneously with Hungarian Constitutional freedom;
first, for a very short period indeed, immediately previous to the outbreak of
the Hungarian War of Independence in 1848; and again to a more durable
existence after the restoration of the Hungarian Constitution in 1867, when it
received governmental recognition in the countries of the Hungarian Crown,
while still remaining forbidden in Austria.
It follows from what has been said that in to recent period we can only
recognize a history of Hungarian Masonry because, although there were
individual Masons in Austria, yet their respective Lodges were held under the
jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Hungary, and for ritual work they assembled
only on Hungarian soil.
These facts should be kept in mind, because they are intimately connected with
the history of Bohemian Masonry and with the foundation of the first
Czechoslovak Masonic Lodge.
PRECURSORS OF MASONRY IN BOHEMIA
The country of the actual Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in which Freemasonry made
its first appearance was Bohemia. It is strange that even before real Masonry
struck its roots into her soil there are recorded a series of societies which,
although in no direct connection with Masonry, yet undoubtedly show features
of striking likeness to our institution. Only a few words about them.
The eldest of these societies, whose origin can be retraced as far back as the
fourteenth century, is the "Fraternity of the Hoop and Mallet." Their emblem
was a hoop with a mallet hanging within. They seem to have been originally a
simple guild of hoopers. The list of its members, however, exhibits a great
number of names belonging to nobles, knights and clergymen. So it may be
assumed that very early other persons beyond operative hoopers had been
"accepted" in the gild (quite in the same way as happened in England with the
accepted Masons). These noble members became the ruling power before long. At
the head of the fraternity stood King Wenceslaus, the governing power being
vested in three captains, newly elected each year. It appears that the
fraternity was once of chivalric character. Its members engaged in works of
charity; they erected and endowed a church at Prague in 1382, which was given
by them, with all its rights and revenues, to the "Magisters, Bachelors, and
Students of the Bohemian tongue at the University of Prague" in 1403. Not long
afterwards the fraternity seems to have ceased to exist. Possibly a part of
the "operative" members joined the Bohemian Masons, known under the name of
"JungHerrn von Prag," who took part in the building of Strassburg Cathedral
[1365-1404], but who are mentioned as late as 1486.
One reason for the dissolution of the "Hoopers" may be found in the internal
troubles and civil war which succeeded the execution of John Hus. The result
of the Hussite Wars is well known to those acquainted with European history.
Part of the Hussites later joined the Protestant Churches, but a small number
maintained the doctrine of Hus in all its purity.
The true heirs of Hus were the Bohemian Brethren, the Unitas Fratrum, also
known as the Church of the Moravian Brethren, or the Moravian Church, though
the distinction is purely geographical. This was a religious community, the
story of which offers one of the most interesting chapters in the religious
history of Europe, and whose influence has done great service both to Bohemia
and to the world. Their principles were grounded on pure and primitive
Christianity, and emphasized the doctrine of the original equality of men, and
as a consequence, the precept of a universal fraternal love, not a little
reminding us of Masonry.
few of their principles will be mentioned. The reader will immediately see
their connection with the Masonic doctrines and practices.
Adults seeking admission from other evangelical bodies, which in later years
meant the Lutherans chiefly, were generally received upon promise of obedience
to the pastors, and of willingness to be subject to all the rules regulating
the life and conduct of members of the Unity. They were exhorted to renew
their vows to lead a holy life, and upon receiving the right hand of
fellowship were admitted to all the privileges of the church. Those coming
from the Papal Church were first admonished to consider well the step they
were about to take. If the applicant professed to have carefully considered
the question, he was asked to give his reasons for wishing to leave his church
and seeking to join another. In case these were found satisfactory, he was
admitted to the class of beginners, or catechumens, where he might become the
better acquainted with the life and doctrines of the church; and the church in
turn could test his sincerity and piety. Before full admission was granted,
the applicant was again questioned concerning his motives in seeking admission
to the Unity. Was it because he found the truth of God, good government, and
wholesome discipline among the Brethren ? Has he confidence in their
teachings, their discipline, their pastoral oversight and guidance? Does he
accept the full right of the pastor and the lay officers of the local church
to teach, warn, admonish, reprove, and in case of need to discipline him? If
his answers were found satisfactory, this private examination before the
pastor and the church officers was followed by public reception to membership
at the next communion. The candidate was again exhorted to steadfastness in
following the truth of God to the end, and the pastor, giving the new member
the right hand of fellowship in token of obedience to Christ, announced his
reception into the church, and admission to all its privileges.
putting their principles into practice, the Brethren very properly began with
a gradation of their membership into four classes: that of beginners, those
growing in grace, the perfect, and the fallen. The perfect were those who had
attained to so full a knowledge of the things of God, and were so rooted and
grounded in Christian faith, love and hope, that they were capable of
enlightening others in them, and could be intrusted with oversight over the
weaker members. From this class the lay officers of the local church were
elected. These included the judges, the almoners, the custodians, and the
sister elders. Their duties were carefully defined and strictly performed.
Space does not permit their detailed enumeration; their names indicate their
nature and scope. But to give an idea of the thoroughness and
comprehensiveness of the ecclesiastical fabric of the Unitas Fratrum, and of
the seriousness and purity of spirit which characterized it, we shall indicate
some of the duties of the lay elders. They had liberty to visit the home of
any member of the church, to note the conduct of husband and wife, children
and domestics, to correct offenses, and to enjoin family worship both morning
and evening. They were expected to prevent all possible offenses and scandals
in the church. If the head of a household lay sick, it was their duty to visit
and comfort him, and in case of emergency to secure provision for the proper
support of his widow and orphaned children. In case any orphans or wards were
left, the judges had oversight over their interests, that no injustice might
be done them.
consequence of the severe persecutions they had to endure, a part of the
Bohemian Brethren emigrated at the beginning of the seventeenth century to
Hungary, Poland, and the Netherlands. In the latter century they established a
society of similar tendencies, which was called the "Friends of the Cross."
Their main task was to spread true brotherly love, which should unite, not
only the members of the society, but all mankind. Beyond that they tried to
increase enlightenment by the publication of good books for the people. The
last Bishop of the Bohemian Brethren, Jan Amos Komensky, better known as
Comenius, is world-famous. Komensky's manifold activities as educator,
novelist, philosopher, theologian, historian, and philologist, which he
embodied in some one hundred and fifty works, and his importance for world
education and the progress of science in general, are of such magnitude that
it is impossible to deal with them here. He is one of the spiritual fathers of
Masonry, and is often called "A Mason without the Apron." An eminent authority
on Komensky, Dr. R. J. Vonka, a prominent Czechoslovak Mason, has written a
thesis proving that all the Masonic symbols can be traced to this eminent man
THE FRATERNITY OF THE HATCHET
the end of the seventeenth century, and even in the first half of the
eighteenth century, there existed in Bohemia another society of a similar
kind, named "The Fraternity of the Hatchet (Hackebruderschaft)." It is
possible they were a branch of the Bohemian Brethren, like "The Friends of the
Cross" in Holland. The emblem of the fraternity was a small hatchet, which was
always carried by the members. Their motto and form of oath was, "by the old
hatchet," and one of their rules provided that, "no one should be admitted a
member whose helve did not fit the old hatchet." The chief object aimed at by
the "Brethren of the Hatchet" was the exercise of a true, faithful, and
Now going back to the "Friends of the Cross" in the Netherlands, there existed
about the same time Lodges of Operative Masons, which, at the end of the
seventeenth century or beginning of the eighteenth century, must have united
with the Friends of the Cross, the members of the latter society most probably
becoming Accepted Masons much in the same as happened in England.
The Cosmology of the Freemason
Translated from Die Baguette by E. RAMMELMEYER, Utah
THIS composition came from the pen of a brother Mason who lived in the 18th
century in Germany and closed his earthly life as a comparatively young man,
yet rich in writings for the benefit of the Craft. Of his works one volume
consists almost entirely of Masonic essays. The Freemasonry of this man, full
of enthusiasm and kindly inspiration, took in the large, broad remote horizon
of the profane world. In it there was no harm to anybody, but much usefulness
and inspiration to the brethren.
His name was Aloys Blumauer, born in Steyr, Dec. 21, 1755. He became a Mason
in 1781 in Vienna, Austria, in the Lodge Zur Warren Eintracht. His "Aeneide"
and the "Prayer" had several editions, but his works are now only known in
GREAT, extensive and comprehensive is the goal of the Mason; broad the sphere
of action for his mind and heart; unbounded the field whereupon he works.
When the Mason perceives the light he is born to truth and humanity, and as
far reaching as the expanse of truth is also the native place of his mind, and
as far reaching as the boundaries of living humanity, so far extended is the
limit of his heart. There is not in the great "All" of creation a spot which
would not give to the searching mind of a Mason food for contemplation, and
there is no place on the earth's surface where his loving heart would not find
an object and confrontation of his rendering a kindness and service in another
Therefore, my brethren, we find in every zone of this earth Masons, and for
this reason a good Mason in our order must of consequence be in his heart as
well as in his mind a cosmopolite, following the great universal rule.
Veracity is the constituent principle of a Mason, the goal to which his mind
is striving to go, the source of light his soul is thirsting for. And this
element wherein he lives breathes the fragrant air of the "All" creation of
the Architect of the Universe.
Everywhere in the whole visible natural order of things grows the tree of
knowledge and beckons to him to nourish his mind and be refreshed and
strengthened in his thirst after the truth.
he knows that this gift of heaven is neither allotted to a certain season or
climate of any country, but sprouts forth everywhere beneath the steps of the
attentive wanderer, he gathers them wherever he finds them, not minding the
adverse light-shy zealot who condemns surroundings beneficial to the Mason's
mind, or any other "Know-All" who claims to be in sole possession of all
truths and human knowledge.
Convinced that the wise hand of the Creator sowed the seed of all the true
and enduring, as well as the seed of love, goodness and charity throughout all
of the creation, so he never searches for the truth at one particular place
only never swears on the word of a teacher who recommends his temple as the
only source of light, nor does he follow a swarm of Masonic sectarians who,
like the heathens, go on a pilgrimage to Delphos as the only place in search
a Mason every knowledge, every disclosure and science is gratifying; he has no
preference for confident, fixed or certain truths; he never thinks onesidedly,
nor does he lean to one side more than another. The general tendencies of his
mind follow a firm, steady pace, examining his way to the right and left,
never faltering by flattering or fawning acclamations, nor being blended by
whatever feigned or gorgeous garment the truth is depicted by anyone to
ensnare his mind, he never hesitates or wavers, knowing that truth has an
undraped body, and how could he love it on account of the draperies?
The Mason does not fear or is timid of unlimited truth, he loves it, he honors
it, even if it would disturb him out of his sweetest dreams, or should deprive
him of the calm and peace of his life. The glance of his eye is the sight of
the eagle in the sun, never dazzled, never recoiling before the light of
truth, however weaker souls may only enjoy the mixture between deception and
truth and complain of eye-sores when gazing in the bright rays of truth. But
he, with firm eyes, looks the truth in the face and comforts and refreshes his
light-wonted spirit in its all-glorified godly shimmer.
The Freemason is tolerant against errors. He knows how difficult it is to free
the truth from the dross which passes through the heads of men and often some
of the latter is firmly attached in the mind to remain there.
knows the immensity of the sphere of truth and how short the sight and small
and often the wanderer's strength in search grows weary.
knows deception in all kinds of conventions, which in hundreds of forms and
formalities speak falsely against truth, and are quite often supported by
power and authority, laws and anathema claiming in the realm of truth an
Thus, my brethren, the Mason thinks and ponders and through it, from the
intellectuality of his mind, embracing the truth wherever he finds it, he
grows to be a world citizen.
But if the Mason thinks as a world citizen, so must he also act as such; and
the sphere of activity of his heart can not be less than the sphere of his
mind, and it is impossible for him to esteem every truth without loving all
Therein, my brethren, we perceive the great law of equality, which is one of
the brightest pillars of our royal order. Not to make all men equal, for that
would be a mere chimera, but to love all men alike is the great attainable aim
which the hand of Nature has set up in the heart of the Mason. The Mason
serves humanity, and in all zones, under all forms of governments, openly and
secretly; and therefore how could one land or one strip of this God's green
footstool have the exclusive claim of his heart? The Mason loves the strict
truth and weighs his fellowmen according to their mental intellect, and
recognizes merit for the measure of his benefactions as he has no preference
to the unworthy, should he be his brother, but preference only for the worthy.
How could he do otherwise, knowing the universal law that he must divide his
esteem and affection according to the merits of the individual, and not follow
his private inclinations, often detrimental to righteousness, nor to be too
subservient to fraternal demands at the expense of humanity?
Regrettable to say, it is often a sad occurrence in almost all human
societies, brotherhoods and orders, that the members look only towards the
center of their order, often turning their back to each other; so that the
boundary of their organization becomes the boundary of their participation and
sympathy for humanity. But more even than this, the social motive, the
beneficial, helpful, natural tendencies of men in the intimate brotherhood of
their kind has contrived from time immemorial hate, persecution and
Perpetually the Brahmin hates the Dervish, the Augur the Haruspex and the
black Christian Monk the brown Monk. This seemingly inevitable course, which
leads a multitude of human societies to become disputing and quarreling
fractions against the well-being of humanity. The laws of our worthy and
honorable Fraternity alleviate this in uniting the members in symmetrical and
universal love for all humanity.
Great is this law, my brethren, but few the number who fulfill it. The heart
of the Mason should take hold of all humanity; but alas, it often does not
even embrace the men of a single country, the members of a society, the
followers of a system, or the brethren of a lodge; the adept insults the
profane; the profane defames the adept, and within the bounds of universal
humanity there are religious sects accusing each other of heresy without
restraint; while lodges, rendered virtually hostile through petty jealousy and
envy, pursue each other; and some members provoke brother against brother, who
in the very bosom of fraternal charity revive the intolerant abominations of
the Guelfs and Ghibelines.
Brethren, let me turn away from this picture. I will not criticize any
further; considering the high honor of our Order and the forbearance of those
of our noble-minded brothers whose hearts have never been poisoned by envy or
party spirit. Then let us merit the name we carry let us always be unbiased
Freemasons, men of a free mind and heart, who, with unembarrassed soul,
intercept every ray of truth, and love all mankind with a clean, uncorruptible
MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
THIEMEYER, Research Editor
ROBERT I. CLEGG, Illinois
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
V. DENSLOW, Missouri
GEORGE H. DERN, Utah
N.W.J. HAYDON, Canada
CHARLES F. IRWIN, Pennsylvania
JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California
ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York
HUGO TATSCH, Iowa
M. WHTED, California
E.W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
PRESSURE OF RITUAL WORK
recent issue of the "Masonic World," December, 1928, to be precise, Bro.
Morcombe, who is an Associate Editor of THE Builder in addition to his other
charge, refers to a suggestion made by M. W. Bro. W. A. Sherman, P. G. M. of
California, in regard to the duties of the Masters of lodges. Bro. Sherman
said in 1923, in an Addendum to his Annual Address:
the opinion of your Grand Master that in these times of rapidly increasing
membership the ritualistic work of the Lodge should be separated from the
executive, that while the Master should be held to accountability for the
character of degree work, yet his energies should be devoted more largely to
the development of fraternal relations among his members, educational programs
that will instruct yet not disrupt his Lodge in short to do those things that
will make his Lodge a vital force for service and understanding in the
touch about the possible disruptive effect of educational programs gives food
for questioning if not for wonder. But that must be left aside at present.
suggestion embodies an idea that is far from new, and indeed one that in other
countries is to some extent the regular practice. In European countries the
Orator had appeared on the scene as an indispensable officer of the lodge at
least as early as 1745, and while we can hardly say that he was entirely the
Initiating Official, yet a very large part of the work, and the most onerous
(for most men) was devolved from the Master on to his shoulders. To the Master
were left the indispensable ritual acts and the short spoken formulas that
were considered to be the essentials, while the Orator expounded and explained
them, very frequently in his own language.
method could hardly be adopted in working the American ritual, which is so
different from any that has ever been followed elsewhere in the world, but it
does show that such a plan is practicable. As a matter of fact something of
the same sort is being evolved in America in those jurisdictions in which
there are no restrictions as to who shall occupy the stations in the lodge. It
is not at all rare to see all the chairs occupied pro tempore by brethren who
are not, and never have been, installed in any office. In some places a custom
has arisen that the Junior Warden shall undertake all Initiations, the Senior
Warden all Passing, leaving the Raising to the Master. And these officers
again devolve a large part of their work upon volunteers.
the large memberships that are to be found in every city, and the enormous
amount of ritual work these lodges are called upon to do in the course of the
year, some method of relieving the installed officers is absolutely necessary,
merely on account of the limits of human endurance. But it is open to question
whether the methods that are being evolved under the pressure of circumstances
are the best that could be devised. One defect that is apparent is that it
does not lead to the selection of Masters with executive and administrative
ability. The sequence of promotion tends, from bottom to top, to stress ritual
and ceremonial and to obscure the other functions of the perfect lodge. And
the larger the lodge the more ability is required in its executive head for it
to function as it should, a need that is too often lost sight of.
eight years ago the. present writer made a suggestion directed to the same end
as that of M. W. Bro. Sherman. It was that of confederated or grouped lodges,
in which the social and fraternal advantages of the small lodge would be
combined with the financial and administrative benefits derived from large
memberships. The essential point in the scheme was that all the business of
the combination should be in the hands of a lodge composed of representatives
of the smaller units, and which would do no ritual work. The plan would not
necessarily imply dual membership, or at least it could be modified to avoid
this. But, whatever plan might be adopted, it does seem that here is a field
for practical research. For that something ought to be done to stem the drift
of American Masonry away from the practice of intimate friendship and
brotherly love is keenly felt by most thoughtful members of the Craft. We
would welcome any suggestions or plans to meet the situation.
* * *
HISTORY AND EVERYDAY LIFE
following news item put out by the Associated Press last month is of interest
in that it emphasizes the practical importance of that supposedly useless and
dry-as-dust subject, history. It is a condensed report of an utterance by the
President of the American Historical Association:
YORK, Jan. 5. - Historical research as something useful to apply to everyday
life and to the doings of politicians is forecast by Dr. James Harvey Robinson
of New York, newly elected president of the American Historical Association.
Concerning the purpose of the $1,000,000 which the association plans to raise
for historical research Dr. Robinson says:
real significance of history is a new way of seeing what things really are by
following the process by which they have come about. Our churches, schools,
senates, courts, diplomats and the working of our business system must be
explained by a knowledge of their coming about.
time goes on the fund would not be applied exclusively, perhaps not even
chiefly, to historical research in the narrower sense of accumulating new
fuller knowledge of the past doings of politicians would tend to make our
oversight of them more exacting.”
judgment concerning the value of, or rather necessity for, a knowledge of
history is profoundly true in a democracy, where every citizen has a real, if
indirect share in the conduct of his government and of the policies of his
country. It is sometimes said, with superficial plausibility, that history
does not repeat itself. Neither does individual experience. But every man of
mature age - or at least mature judgment (and here we may include the ladies)
- knows very well that there are kinds of situations, crises, emergencies, in
human life which past experience will teach us how to meet and adjust
ourselves to. The same is exactly true of communities and states. Only as
these are longer lived than individuals the individual personal memory is not
equipped to understand them without the aid of records of the past; that is,
without a knowledge of history.
striking instance of this has been painfully apparent in the recent
discussions of the so-called "Peace Pact," in the Press and in the Senate
both. In the November issue of THE BUILDER last year, we said that the great
importance of this mutilateral treaty lay in the fact that the signatory
powers, in plain and simple language agreed to renounce war, not absolutely -
this is very important - but as an instrument of policy.
our politicians and writers of newspaper articles had any real acquaintance
with history, beyond the chronological scheme of dates, and the interesting
stories tending to flatter national vanity, which is what passes for history
in the schools of most civilized countries, they would have realized the
extreme importance of this distinction. For as we said in the article above
mentioned "it is not too much to say that war was the instrument of national
policy," and has been for centuries. War was taken for granted, and the threat
of war, more or less veiled, was the chief inducement in national bargaining.
To have pretended to renounce all war, that is, conflict between bodies of
armed men, would have been as chimerical as to pass a law that no one was to
use violence within a state, and on the strength of such a law to disarm and
disband the police.
has been discovered since 1918 that civilized languages are lacking in their
vocabularies, in that there are no definite terms to distinguish between
aggressive war and defensive or punitive war. To say that there is no
difference between these is, to go no further, to condemn those who fought for
the liberties of this country against the autocracy of the Hanoverian George
III. To say that every aggressor country will attempt to show that it is the
victim may also be true. It has not been true in the past; and here again a
knowledge of history would show that such hypocrisy would bear witness to a
real advance; for it would show that civilized people no longer regard war as
a justifiable means to any end but that of self defense against attack - armed
attack, not economic competition.
value of this treaty is precisely in the fact that it gives formal and
explicit expression to this change of attitude among civilized peoples. It
does not attempt to go too far, or do too much. It makes no provision for any
sanctions, for no nation is yet ready to depend on international action for
its own defense. It simply gives each adhering country an opportunity to
solemnly affirm the sentiment of its people that to use war, or the threat of
war, to gain selfish advantages is as reprehensible and criminal as blackmail
and banditry. That the majority of people in every civilized country do now
believe this is undoubtedly true, and to have it formally expressed in an
international declaration of policy is a step in the right direction. And no
one should be so silly as to object to taking this step because it does not
bring us at once to the desired goal. On that principle no one would ever do
anything or get anywhere.
repeat once more; without a knowledge of history the free and independent
voter is hoodwinked, and can be led anywhere; very possibly by interested
parties who do not care what pitfalls and dangers are in the way so long as
their own petty purposes are attained. Or rather, it is a case of the blind
leading the blind; and we have the best authority for the end of that journey.
* * *
OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESEARCH
not at all unusual to hear it said that there is little or no chance for any
new historical fact being discovered by an American Masonic student. Far off
fields look green - always and it is assumed that of necessity all treasure
trove yet to be found lies hidden across the Atlantic, and in consequence
there is nothing for us to do but look on enviously while our brethren in more
favored lands dig out new facts, while to us is left the minor and less
exciting task of possibly joining in the discussion of what others have found.
this prepossession (amounting one might say to a sort of collective
inferiority complex) we seem to miss entirely the opportunities that do from
time to time turn up. We may mention, as the classic horrible example, the
alleged record of the "giving the degrees of Maconrie" to "Abm Moses" in the
"House of Mordecai Campannall" in Rhode Island in 1656 or 1658.
is quite fully discussed by Bro. Melvin M. Johnson in his Beginnings of
Freemasonry in America. At least Bro. Johnson quotes fully from statements
made by various prominent brethren at the time this matter first came to light
nearly sixty years ago. But on carefully examining these statements it is to
be noticed that they all consist largely of argument based on the implicit
assumption that it is utterly impossible that a Masonic lodge could have been
held in Rhode Island in 1656. It is a false assumption. There is nothing
impossible in lodges being held then in the American Colonies, though there
are features about this particular claim that give rise to doubt, but these
were not touched on by the brethren who rejected it. The point, however, that
is particularly worth noticing is that no one seems to have gone to Bro. N. H.
Gould, the owner of the alleged record, and questioned him directly. All the
inquiries seem to have been made at second or third hand. Bro. Gardner, Grand
Master of Massachusetts, did write to Bro. Gould, but he could not reasonably
have expected the document (if it really existed) to have been sent to him for
inspection. Bro. Doyle, Grand Master of Rhode Island, "made many inquiries
about these documents of brethren in Newport," but not, apparently, of Bro.
Gould himself. What value have such long-range investigations to us? We are
left with the painful doubt that there is a bare possibility, putting it at
its lowest, that a tremendously valuable record has been lost to us because no
one had the common sense, the gumption, to go to Bro. Gould himself and demand
either that he show the document to competent witnesses, or else admit by his
refusal to do so that it did not exist, or was not genuine. In such cases a
negative result is as valuable as a positive one, though it may not be so
the present moment there are in different parts of the country several
opportunities for investigation which no one in the respective localities
seems to appreciate, so far as we can discover. There is yet another in
Canada, which if authenticated, will prove as significant and important as the
Annapolis stone, or the Rhode Island record above mentioned. This we believe
(or at least hope) the Toronto Association for Masonic Research will
thoroughly investigate, and we will say no more of it now.
correspondent sent us recently a clipping from the St. Paul Pioneer Press
containing a report from St. James, Minnesota, of a Masonic medal found thirty
years ago on a farm near Marshall, in the same state. It bears the date 1790,
it is said. While a Masonic medal of this date may not be a fact of very great
importance, it is of sufficient interest to make it worth while to have as
full and accurate an account of it as is possible, put on record. It might be
very useful in determining some point in local Masonic history. One can never
tell in what way one fact will fit in with others.
is one opportunity for someone. The next is an "emblem," consisting of a brass
plate "about seven inches square," presumably engraved (though this is not
stated) with a Maltese Cross and the letter G. It was recently discovered in
digging foundations at Sioux Falls, North Dakota, under eighteen feet of
earth. According to the only account of this we have seen, that in the Masonic
Tribune, of Seattle, Jan. 12, 1929, it has been presented to the Masonic
Library at Sioux Falls. It would seem that conditions could hardly be more
favorable for making a complete and accurate report of this relic, with
description and full details of how and where it was found. Yet, if we are to
predict what will be done from what has been usual in the past, it is quite
possible that this will be merely shown to visitors, and that in future years
all that will be known of it is that it was said to have been found at such a
time and such a place. It is so hard to realize the importance of fully
investigating and making records at the time. The time passes and the
opportunity slips away, and eventually is gone beyond recall.
one more thing calls for examination, this time it in an opportunity for some
brother in Detroit. Surely among the thousands of Masons in and about Detroit
there is one with sufficient interest to undertake it. There is an old Masonic
Apron, in the possession of a Mr. Frank Eldridge whose address is 2906
Seventeenth street, Detroit. This is a family heirloom, as the male ancestors
of Mr. Eldridge appear to have been Masons, though he himself is not one. It
is said to have been made by a lady, a Mrs. Fink of London, for Hezekiah
Eldridge in 1727. It is made of silk, in colors, pink, blue and white. If it
really is as old as 1727, it is most remarkable, for at that time it is
generally supposed that the old operative skin aprons were still in use in the
lodges. We have been in correspondence with Mr. Eldridge, but have not been
able to obtain any definite account of what proof or record exists of the age
of this relic. We suggested to the Educational Commission of the Grand Lodge
of Michigan that it was a great opportunity to set some enthusiastic brother
on the trail, but we have no knowledge whether anything has been done. We can
only say that if there is any reasonable proof that this apron is as old as is
claimed, it is valuable, and should be secured for the Craft. Or at least
photographs, and a full and accurate account of its history should be put on
nothing is done when such things as these turn up, we have no right to bemoan
our lack of opportunities. Rather we should be glad that they more frequently
occur where there are those who are glad to seize them as they come.
* * *
EQUALITY IN MASONRY
of the ideals of Freemasonry is symbolized by the Level; that is the equality
of all Masons, despite the accidents of birth, education and fortune; coupled
with the doctrine that all preferment in the Craft is based on merit and
services rendered. However, Masons are only human, and it is natural that one
who is prominent in the world should be deferred to in the lodge more than he
otherwise would be.
America have often prided ourselves upon our republican principles and
democratic habits; and have been more than a little inclined to judge our
brethren in other countries as guilty of snobbery in electing men of rank to
the highest offices, and in other ways giving undue consideration to members
with titles or of aristocratic birth. In view of the fact that all European
aristocracies were based fundamentally on the control or possession of land
when that was the only form of productive capital, and that our millionaire
class is also based on the control of productive capital in other forms, we
may draw attention to an item of news which, as it is going the rounds of the
Masonic press, would seem to be regarded as of interest and importance.
seems that Bro. Henry Ford, who it is said had not previously been in lodge
for more than twenty years, recently visited Zion Lodge, No. 1 of Detroit, and
that he was "officially recognized and given a seat in the East." We confess
to not being informed whether in earlier life Bro. Ford ever served his lodge
as Master; if so, he was entitled to this honor and it hardly seemed necessary
to make a special point of it. But if not, wherein lies the difference in
principle between this fervid welcome and electing a noble duke or royal
prince as Grand Master and giving him a deputy to do the work?
QUESTION OF NON-AFFILIATION
problem of the unattached Mason has exercised the rulers of the Craft, and has
furnished subject matter for the Masonic press for a hundred years and more.
Practically without a single dissentient voice it has been assumed that the
non-affiliated brother was, if not a rebel and traitor, at least disloyal and
delinquent. It has been taken for granted that fundamental Masonic law
required that every Mason should be a member of some lodge. For this, the
third charge in Anderson's Constitutions dealing with the lodge, is taken as
authority. But the clause, "and every brother ought to belong to one" is not
mandatory. It expresses the desirability, the propriety, of lodge membership,
but leaves it to the individual to make the decision. However, most Grand
Lodges now penalize in some way the unaffiliated brother.
view of this general unanimity of sentiment we were much struck by a recent
editorial article in the Masonic Home Journal, of Louisville, Kentucky.
Incidentally we may remark that articles by Bro. H. H. Moore, the editor of
this periodical, are always worth reading. In this case Bro. Moore goes
directly counter to the common opinion and as a forcible argument for the
defense we have asked permission to reproduce it, as we believe it will be of
interest even to those who will disagree with it. Ed.]
question of non-affiliation is a disturbing element in our institution, yearly
increasing in magnitude, which neither the animadversion of Grand Masters nor
the legislation of Grand Lodges has lessened or abated; on the contrary it is
thought both have rather increased the number and the obstinacy of
unaffiliated Masons, and that such will be the case until there is an entire
change of policy and practice, as well in Grand as in constituent lodges. It
is hard to conjecture whither and how far the radical mind will lead and
control in matters of this kind. The first step toward an equitable solution
of this and similar questions is to stop legislation; the second is to cease
calling non-affiliation a crime. Non-afflliation is not a crime, has but
recently been so denominated, and that in defiance of general ancient usage,
so far as can be ascertained, and is in opposition to the present practice of
the oldest Grand Lodge on the continent. There is not a word in the
obligations which the Mason assumes on his making, that contemplates or looks
to continued membership. While in a lodge he is bound to obey its laws; laws,
however destitute of public sanction, and, therefore, wanting the very element
upon which crime can be predicated in case he is guilty of their infraction.
Out of the lodge, by virtue of a legally obtained dimit, such and all laws of
a private and particular nature no longer bind him to obedience, and so long
as he violates no part of the common law of ancient craft Masonry, crime
cannot, with any degree of justice, be imputed to him. There are many good and
sufficient reasons why Masons do not wish to affiliate, and the attempt to
compel them is as absurd as it would prove futile. It would be well to let
humanity, fraternity and justice govern our councils, and the strife now
looming up with angry aspect in many jurisdictions would be averted. Induce
the large number of members systematically absent, except at celebrations,
eats and elections, to attend the lodge regularly, and possibly their example
may stimulate the non-affiliate to lay aside his indifference and seek lodge
relations. At any rate, cease to denounce him, to placard his name on your
lintels, to call him drone and criminal, until you can show, by a general
attendance of your present members, that a new impetus had been given to the
old forces, and to them had been added new ones, and to interest, enlighten
and upbuild faster and firmer the brother remaining within the lodge, than any
appliance which can be found or adopted by him who stays without. We hear much
of perfect ashlars and pure cement; we fear five-eighths of the former are
naught but cobble stones or spawls, while the latter has no more adhesive
consistency than mere mud. Anyhow, the cracks in the walls of some lodges are
yearly growing in number and size, and unless master workmen are soon summoned
to repair with better materials than frequently used, those walls at no
distant day will crumble to dust.
THE STUDY CLUB
pamphlet on "How to Organize and Maintain a Study Club" will be sent free on
request, in quantities to fifty
Papers of the Cedar Rapids Conference
continuing the presentation of the papers read at the Cedar Rapids Conference
in May, 1928, we now come to the subject of Masonic Education. The title of
the first is sufficiently descriptive of its contents to require no further
introduction. The author is Chairman of the Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic
Research and Education in Wisconsin, and is a nationally known figure in this
connection. His opinions therefore carry no little weight.
MASONIC EDUCATION IN WISCONSIN By BRO SILAS H. SHEPHERD
THE work we have attempted along educational lines in Wisconsin will probably
be more Satisfactory for this conference if we state the things we have
attempted to do rather than those we have accomplished.
The purpose for which we started this work was to create a greater interest in
the various phases of Freemasonry and while the results have not reached our
hopes or expectations, we believe that a foundation is being laid for more
efficient work in the future. As we have been told by Brother Clegg, Masonic
Education is not something new, but has always been the outstanding feature of
The methods by which it has been promulgated have however been constantly
changing. Many things contribute to make this necessary; the large influx of
membership of recent years has made former methods ineffective and the problem
of today seems to be one of method. For this reason it is highly advantageous
for those of us who are interested in seeing the Craft function to its fullest
extent to discuss our problems together and benefit by the mistakes as well as
the proven successful methods which we have witnessed. When we have eliminated
all the errors in our methods and consolidated all the beneficial features
which have been adopted in various parts of the country, it is quite probable
we will have solved the great problem of Masonic Education.
Wisconsin our work has been quite meager and elementary during the twelve
years our Committee has been functioning. Our principal work has been the
publication and distribution of elementary pamphlets. While these have not
been as satisfactory as we would have liked to have them, we believe they have
inspired in several lodges and in quite a number of individual brethren a
sincere desire to go into the deeper phases of Masonic study.
The earlier pamphlets of our Committee dealt largely in the history and
literature of the Fraternity. But during the past year we have published a
series of pamphlets which are outlines of the symbolism of the Entered
Apprentice Degree. These seem to fill a need and we contemplate a series on
the Fellow Craft Degree during the coming year. While these pamphlets are
simply outlines, they contain extensive references to all the standard Masonic
texts on the subject and can be used by either individuals or study groups to
The most serious detriment to organized efforts to promote Masonic study is
the failure of Masters of lodges to see the necessity of promoting it and
giving the necessary time to its attention. In too many of our lodges the
degree work takes up so much time that Masters do not feel justified in giving
the time necessary for Masonic Education. Of course those of us who understand
the situation realize that the degrees are of little value unless followed up
by education which will make the candidate understand the forms and ceremonies
which he has participated in.
Another feature of our work has been the sending of Traveling Libraries to our
lodges. Commencing with two traveling libraries a few years ago, we now have
twenty libraries in the field and almost half of the lodges in Wisconsin have
had the use of these. These libraries not only give many of the brethren an
opportunity of seeing some of the standard Masonic works which they probably
would not otherwise have known about, but in several of the lodges it has
induced the formation of lodge libraries which we continually urge.
Perhaps one of the most efficient methods of Masonic Education is a group of
speakers. We only recently started to organize a Speakers' Bureau, and we
believe when it is fully developed it will prove of great efficiency. One of
the most detrimental features to the Speakers' Bureau is the difficulty in
getting talented brethren to devote the time necessary to inform themselves on
Masonic subjects. If these brethren could understand the keen interest which
will be given to any talk by some brother who has given the subject sufficient
attention to present the phases of Freemasonry which every brother is anxious
to know, they would gladly respond to the work with the time and attention
necessary. It seems self evident that the two principal methods of Masonic
Education must be the printed page and the spoken word. It is difficult to say
which of these is the more important. We believe they should always work side
by side and should always have as a basis the Ritual of Freemasonry.
Countless hours are spent by brethren in making themselves proficient in the
Ritual. We heartily agree that this is highly essential, but we deplore that
in too many eases perfection in the Ritual has been the goal of many. After we
become proficient in the knowledge of the verbal Ritual we have only commenced
our Masonic Education. We have only received the key to knowledge, not the
knowledge itself. The knowledge consists in the meaning of the forms and
ceremonies of the Ritual. This again is not the goal. The goal itself is to
put into practice the knowledge thus attained.
The efforts we have made in Wisconsin have been largely experimental and we
trust that such conferences as this will help us to get on to more solid
ground, and formulate methods of promulgating the meaning of the Ritual in the
most effectual manner possible.
The most encouraging feature of the educational work in Wisconsin is the
splendid activities of Henry L. Palmer Lodge. Several years ago this lodge
started a Masonic Library which now numbers over a thousand volumes. Not only
has this library a wonderful collection of books for private lodge use but it
is very efficient having in continual circulation a large number of books.
This lodge also conducts a Study Circle which meets every Wednesday evening of
the year. This Study Circle is continually increasing in both numbers and
efficiency and we believe is one of the most progressive Circles of any lodge
in the United States.
first inspiration to study Masonic literature came from the Iowa Masonic
Library. The Iowa Masonic Library has always been the source of light to which
I looked in times of need. The inspiration given by this great library has
probably been no small part of the inspiration which has caused many other
libraries to spring up, and it is quite probable that the future will see many
other small libraries of the present grow into large libraries of the future.
order to be of the greatest efficiency libraries must also adopt the most
efficient methods in promoting the use of their books and in making them
available to those who intend to use them.
These conferences will bring out problems in library work which ought to be
beneficial to both libraries and library users.
The next paper was by the Editor of THE BUILDER, and its scope is likewise
fully indicated by the title.
MASONIC STUDY CLUBS BY BRO. R. J. MEEKREN.
THIS is an exceedingly important subject though it may be that I live too
close to it to see all its bearings.
the first place the name Study Club is, I believe, a detriment to the
movement, but it seems to have come to stay. We in the National Masonic
Research Society have given a great deal of thought to this point, trying to
devise some new term that would be less terrifying and repellent to the
brethren whom we are all trying to reach, but without evolving any practicable
substitute. However, as the name becomes a household phrase, it will, as all
names do, become a mere label, and thus we may hope that its detrimental
features will be minimized. Circle would, I believe, have been a better term
than Club, because less definite. A Club implies a regular and permanent
organization, a "Circle" may exist without any organization at all; and this
brings me to the second point, that the Study Club, like a Sunday School, is a
substitute the latter for the religious training that properly should be given
to the home, the former for the Masonic instruction that should be given in
the lodge. Every Master of a lodge undertakes, though few of them realize it,
the education of the brethren under his supervision. Every time the lodge is
opened, it is repeated that it is the Master's function "to set the Craft to
work" and to give them proper "instruction for their labor." If only Masters
would realize this, if only Grand Lodges would insist on it, the problem would
be solved. In any ease, we should stress the fact that the Study Club is not
the ideal, and that at least its members should set before themselves as one
of their chief aims, the enlightening of their brethren by talks and addresses
in lodge whenever occasion serves.
This movement is really no new thing. As far back as 1732 or thereabouts,
Martin Clare gave lectures in his lodge. It has been frequently stated, and
the error has been given very wide circulation through Mackey's Encyclopedia
of Freemasonry (it has been corrected in the revised edition), that Clare was
given the task of preparing a new set of catechetical lectures as part of an
improved ritual; but this is pure fiction. His lectures were of a scientific
and historical character.
Later in the same century William Hutchinson, as Master of his lodge, prepared
and delivered a series of lectures on the origin and meanings of Masonry; his
well known Spirit of Masonry, first published in 1775. Preston did compile a
new set of catechisms, but he added also much explanatory material, and
invented his Chapter of Harodim, as a sort of exalted Study Club for earnest
Others followed in the footsteps of these early Masonic educationalists, among
whom I will mention only Dr. George Oliver, who not only instructed his own
lodge, but also delivered various series of lectures in many other lodges
also; most of which lectures he later published in book form. It is well, I
think, to keep these facts in mind.
Coming to the actual working out of the organization of a Study Club, Group or
Circle; conditions and circumstances vary so much that it is impossible to lay
down any detailed rules, except of the most general character. We always
advise the absolute minimum of machinery. There are groups functioning very
successfully with no more than a director or leader, who is not even formally
elected. On the other hand there is a very efficient and successful Study Club
in California that is provided with President, Vice- Presidents, Secretary and
Treasurer as well as Director. The best way seems to be to do with as little
as possible in this regard.
Any group of this kind must have at least the nucleus of a library, whether
the books are owned by individuals or collectively. Some works of reference
are almost essential, Mackey's Encyclopedia at least, and a standard history
is almost as necessary. This brings up the connection of the Study Club
movement with Masonic libraries. All these, that are more than mere
collections of books locked up in some inaccessible room, are constantly
receiving requests for information. If Masonic Education is to spread, every
Grand Lodge will have to organize a library; which means not only buying books
but providing a librarian to make them available. Further than this, every
place where there are a considerable number of lodges should have one also.
Once the movement gets started it will spread, I believe, as public libraries
have in the last thirty or forty years. And libraries, eventually, and
inevitably, mean readers.
The next point is what we may perhaps call the curriculum. Here again no
definite rule can be laid down. It depends on the composition of the Club. A
select group of reading Masons will follow their own bent. They do not need
guidance. But in most cases the members are distinguished only by a desire to
know more about Masonry. If, however, there is only one among them who is
already to some extent a student, he will probably select the path that most
interests himself, and being interested himself will have the better chance to
interest others. But by far the larger number of groups have no one specially
qualified as a leader, except in enthusiasm and desire to help. Every Study
Club must have one or two enthusiasts or it would never be formed. It is in
these eases that some kind of ready made program is a necessity.
The natural starting point of Masonic study is the symbolism and ritual. The
two from this aspect are inseparable. Every Mason can be interested in this,
and from this he can be led naturally into further fields. For distinctions of
subject are after all rather arbitrary. One cannot go into the meaning of the
ritual very deeply without getting into history for instance.
One great point in the working of a Study Group is to set every member to
work, especially in the case of those who begin in the kindergarten class.
Every one should be set some question to find an answer to, which he should
deliver himself. Thus two purposes are served; each brother will at least
remember what he has looked up himself, and he will get practice in expressing
himself to others. The majority of Study Club members are not numbered among
the orators of their respective lodges.
One thing should be avoided, and that is making up the program with addresses
either from qualified members, or invited speakers. Unfortunately it is much
easier to secure one or two speakers than it is to plan the work so everyone
may take a part in the proceedings. The latter needs real work on the part of
the director or leader, and I fear, too many of these, without realizing it,
follow the line of least resistance.
This briefly sets forth the actual status of the Study Club movement as far as
our experience goes. I should like to say a few words on possibilities. A
Study Club should not be regarded as a permanent institution. We should not
feel discouraged because they live for awhile and then die. They may have
served their purpose. I repeat, the proper organ of Masonic instruction and
education is the lodge, and ideally its director should be the Master, or
someone acting as his agent or deputy; and as fully empowered in this regard
as a brother invited to occupy the chair in the initiation of a candidate. We
must recover the conception that instruction is part of the "work" of the
lodge, and that instruction is not restricted to the formal explanations of
the ritual. So completely have American Masons lost the original idea of the
proper activities of a lodge that this will seem to many of them an
innovation. There is no need for me to say to those present that it would be
only a return to the older traditions.
Thus really we should aim at the extinction of Study Clubs by absorption into
the lodges. The Clubs should be a leaven, and when the lodges are duly
prepared, and "raised," they can gracefully pass out of existence.
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.
TRANSACTIONS OF AUTHORS' LODGE, No. 3456, London, England. Vol. IV. Edited by
Albert F. Calvert, P. G. Std. Cloth, thick octave, illustrated, 467 pages.
AMERICAN Craft students are generally familiar with the Transactions, issued
by the various English research lodges and associations, of which a very
representative list appeared in THE BUILDER for November, 1922. An
organization not so well known, because of its limited membership, but which
has already issued four volumes of highly desirable material since 1915, is
the Authors' Lodge, No. 3456, London, England. Membership is not only based
upon Masonic affiliation with a recognized lodge, but it is also necessary to
be a member of the Authors' Club of London. Hence many American brethren who
would otherwise be eligible, are not able to affiliate; nevertheless, such can
purchase the Transactions after the members of the lodge have been supplied.
The roster appearing in Vol. IV, under review, shows 115 active and four
honorary members. Among the former are five Americans.
editor's name, Bro. Albert F. Calvert, is well known to American Masons
through his numerous works, among them The Grand Lodge of England (1917); Old
King's Arms Lodge, No. 28 (1899); Grand Stewards' and Red Apron Lodges (1917);
Old Engraved Lists of Masonic Lodges (1920); The Grand Festival and the
Stewards (1919), and The Grand Stewards' Lodge (1920). No Masonic library is
complete without them; unfortunately, they are out of print and difficult to
obtain. They portray Masonic life of bygone days, and contain biographical
sketches of early worthies little known to Masons of this generation. For this
reason one is glad to see some of Bro. Calvert's articles, particularly "Lodge
Nights in the Olden Days," in the volume before us. Others of particular
interest are sketches of George Payne; Philip, Duke of Montagu; Dr. William
Stukeley, and Orator John Henley, all by Bro. Calvert.
Alfred Robbins contributes three articles of timely interest, "Grand Lodge and
Its Work," "The Masonic Million Memorial Fund" and "Problems for Grand Lodge."
His duties as Chairman of the Board of General Purposes, United Grand Lodge of
England, make him most qualified to discuss the topics he presents.
brethren whose names will be recognized are Colonel Gilbert W. Daynes, writing
on "The G.A.O.T.U. and the V.S.L."; the late Bro. The Rev. J. George Gibson,
an honorary Past Senior Grand Warden of Iowa, writing on "Our Ritual"; Bro.
Bernard H. Springett has an article on "Some Early Masonic Ritual"; Col. Cecil
Powney writes along related lines in his article "The Craft Degrees."
brethren overseas have far more freedom and latitude in writing on these
topics than we have in America, where the "secrets of Freemasonry" are
construed to mean the text of the ritual, instead of only the essential and
distinctive grips, words and signs. For this reason American brethren are
often much astonished when seeing the revelatory handbooks current among
English and Scottish brethren.
"Freemasons' Lodges in French Monasteries," by Bro. Springett, will be
informative to many who do not know that Roman Catholics were until recent
times active and devoted Freemasons. There are two articles on our "ancient
friend and brother, the Great Pythagoras," one by Bro. H. C. Plummer, F. R.
S., and the other by Bro. E. R. Garnsey. "Some Links Between Mithraism and
Freemasonry,” by Bro. H.G. Burrows, will interest Masons who are tracing
Freemasonry back of the 11th and 12th centuries.
Altogether there are forty-eight fine articles, each worthy of serious
reading. Brethren who have a complete file of the Transactions of Authors'
Lodge, No. 3456, are to be congratulated, as only a limited number of copies
was issued. Vols. I and II have long been out of print.
* * *
MUSINGS OF A FRATERNAL CORRESPONDENT. By Louis Block, P. G. M. Privately
printed, Iowa Masonic Library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Paper covers, 114 pages,
understand this book, it is necessary to know something of its author. Douglas
Martin, editor of "Masonic News," Detroit, has given a terse pen picture of
Bro. Louis Block in 1926 which tells its own story. "Every now and then," says
Bro. Martin, "the Craft pauses in its labors and listens to a voice from Iowa.
'Louis Block,' say the brethren, 'is at it again.' And well may the brethren
listen because Louis Block is one of the reasons for Iowa leading in the work
of Masonic education. Another reason is the Iowa Masonic Library."
leadership of the Iowa Masonic Library in Craft educational matters is felt
outside of its own bailiwick by the publications it issues. The 1928
contribution of the Library is Musings of a Fraternal Correspondent,
distributed gratis upon request. The readable volume is a collection of
"Forewords" and "Afterwords" which formed a part of Bro. Block's annual
Correspondence Reports to the Grand Lodge of Iowa. The chapters selected by
Bro. Block for reproduction in the new book cover topics which were not only
vital at the time of publication, but which will strike a responsive chord in
the hearts of Masons at the present hour. Written in energetic and compelling
style, they command attention, and as such have been considered worthy of
reproduction in many Masonic periodicals, as is evidenced from a glance at the
exchanges which all Masonic editors receive.
Readers of THE BUILDER, representing as they do the intelligentsia rather than
the ritualistic automatons of Freemasonry, will be interested in what Bro.
Block has to say of the Ritual. Two fine papers on this subject, entitled "The
Ritual" and "Getting at the Meaning of the Ritual" state facts in terms which
cannot be misunderstood. Our doughty warrior has no hesitancy in dubbing the
average ritualists as "phonograph Masons" and "mechanical Masons," and it is
no secret that his outspoken utterances have aroused ill will in some
quarters. Yet he has accomplished what he started out to do, namely, to make
ritualists think; and while we shall always have a high degree of Masonic
illiteracy among those who worship the letter rather than the spirit of
Masonry, it must be conceded that in Iowa Bro. Block has held aloft the torch
ignited by Theodore Sutton Parvin of blessed memory and has contributed no
small share to the encouragement of Masonic learning in the United States.
Block is also a vigorous opponent of side orders, and in "The Menace of the
Side Orders," he tells what he thinks on this subject. Advocating lectures,
readings, discussions and debates in the lodge as a means of counteracting the
side orders, he says: "Perhaps if we do this we will be pouring parts green
upon these parasites. But if that doesn't work we may need a new set of
Masonic police regulations, that will put these bums in the bastile where they
belong." Unusual language, but it expresses the unofficial attitude of the
Grand Lodge of Iowa, of which Bro. Block has so often sounded the keynote.
Other topics touched upon are "Masonry's Idea of World Peace," "Masonry,
Religion and Politics," "Masonry and Americanism," "The Design of the Masonic
Institution," etc. Each chapter is a straight-forward, clear and concise
presentation of sound tonics worthy of consideration by all thinking Masons.
[Readers sending for copies of the book to the Iowa Masonic Library, Cedar
Rapids, Iowa, should at least defray the cost of mailing, which is ten cents.
* * *
ENCYCLOPEDIC OUTLINE OF MASONIC, HERMETIC, QABBALISTIC AND ROSICRUCIAN
SYMBOLICAL PHILOSOPHY, BEING AN INTERPRETATION OF THE SECRET TEACHINGS
CONCEALED WITHIN THE RITUALS, ALLEGORIES AND MYSTERIES OF ALL AGES. By Manly
P. Hall. Illustrations in color by J. Augustus Knapp. San Francisco, H. S.
Crocker Company, 1928. Parchment and boards, folio, 211 pages, with copious
index of 3; pages, slip case. Price, $100.
the most hardened of reviewers will greet this book with a sincere and hearty
welcome, for it is a volume designed to command attention and respect. Its
size - nineteen inches high, thirteen inches wide, almost two inches thick,
with a weight of fifteen pounds - naturally attracts the eye, but these
physical proportions are forgotten as one later contemplates the magnitude of
the volume in its literary aspects. Accustomed as we are to machine made
books, cheapened everywhere in the interests of mass output and economy of
production, the weary critic literally hugs this artistic production to his
bosom, for it is a delight to the eye and a feast for the soul. I know of no
other book of modern times which so transports one in flights of fancy to the
medieval presses of Aldus, Estienne, Plantin and Elzevir, as does this
masterpiece. The craftsmen who wrought this wonderful production of the
printer's art were truly inspired by the ideals of their ancient forebears.
technical terms necessary to describe the volume in its physical aspects
beggar one's vocabulary. The bibliophile only encounters them in his fancies,
or in his dreams. As students of catalogues issued by venders of incunabula,
we read of vellum binding, little thinking we should ever see a massive book
of the present day so bound. But here it is, half vellum and boards. The
boards are not the common article so described, but are substantial material
covered with a fibrous paper of batik design which prepare us for the
dignified Alexandria Japan so reverently fingered and turned as we page
through the book. Quality is the dominant keynote; little wonder the volume
won first prize at the Advertising and Printing Convention held in Honolulu in
title page is in two colors, red and black; each page is headed by numerals -
not in commonplace Arabic - but in Roman notation printed in a delicate blue.
Each chapter has an ornamental Caxton initial in a warm orange and black. The
text is set in twelve point Italian Old Style, a type face of sufficient
density to be easy reading, yet not so heavy as to mar the artistry and
symmetry of the open pages as a whole. A very noticeable feature is the manner
in which each chapter, regardless of various sized illustrations with "run
around" text, invariably ends at the bottom of the left hand page. The
mechanical skill required to accomplish this is deserving of every
commendation; and credit must also be given to the author for his part in
fitting the text to the physical demands of the page. Nowhere does the text
appear curtailed or abrupt. Each chapter ends with an ease and elegance of
style possessed of every literary refinement.
is struck by the beautiful frontispiece in colors; but we are rendered
speechless when we find there are fifty-four such illustrations throughout the
book. These are specially painted by J. Augustus Knapp, an artist whose
understanding of the author's purpose is clearly revealed by his sympathetic
interpretation on the canvas. The engravers who made the color plates are also
masters of their art. With such perfection in the technical and highly
complicated art of color reproduction, no doubt can remain as to the
excellence of the two hundred or so zinc and copper etchings which reproduce
the illustrations from rare tomes listed in the stupendous bibliography at the
end of the volume.
let us go on. Pages could be written about the physical aspects of the book,
and then the story would not be told.
author presents the book to his readers with a very appropriate introduction,
saying in part:
Numerous volumes have been written as commentaries upon the secret systems of
philosophy existing in the ancient world, but the ageless truths of life, like
many of the earth's greatest thinkers, have usually been clothed in shabby
garments. The present work is an attempt to supply a tome worthy of those
seers and sages whose thoughts are the substance of its pages.
upon the text of this volume was begun the first day of Jan. 1926, and has
continued almost uninterruptedly for over two years. The greater part of the
research work, however, was carried on prior to the writing of the manuscript.
The collection of reference material was begun in 1921, and three years later
the plans for the book took definite form. For the sake of clarity, all foot
notes were eliminated, the various quotations and references to other authors
being embodied in the text in their logical order. The bibliography is
appended primarily to assist those interested in selecting for future study
the most authoritative and important items dealing with philosophy and
symbolism. To make readily possible the abstruse information contained in the
book, an elaborate topical cross index is included.
make no claim for either the infallibility or the originality of any statement
herein contained. I have studied the fragmentary writings of the ancients
sufficiently to realize that dogmatic utterances concerning their tenets are
worse than foolhardy. Traditionalism is the curse of modern philosophy,
particularly that of the European schools. While many of the statements
contained in this treatise may appear at first wildly fantastic, I have
sincerely endeavored to refrain from hap-hazard metaphysical speculation,
presenting the material as far as possible in the spirit rather than the
letter of the original authors. By assuming responsibility only for the
mistakes which may appear herein, I hope to escape the accusation of
plagiarism which has been directed against nearly every writer on the subject
of mystical philosophy.
Having no particular "-ism" of my own to promulgate, I have not attempted to
twist the original writings to substantiate preconceived notions, nor have I
distorted doctrines in any effort to reconcile the irreconcilable differences
present in the various systems of religio-philosophic thought.
entire theory of the book is diametrically opposed to the modern method of
thinking, for it is concerned with subjects openly ridiculed by the sophists
of the twentieth century. Its true purpose is to introduce the mind of the
reader to a hypothesis of living wholly beyond the pale of materialistic
theology, philosophy, or science. The mass of abstruse material between its
covers is not susceptible to perfect organization, but so far as possible
related topics have been grouped together.
as the English language is in media of expression, it is curiously lacking in
terms suitable to the conveyance of abstract philosophical premises. A certain
intuitive grasp of the subtler meanings concealed within groups of inadequate
words is necessary therefore to an understanding of the ancient Mystery
Running through the table of contents, it is apparent that the studious Mason
will be interested in the Ancient Mysteries and secret societies; Atlantis and
the gods of antiquity; the initiation of the Pyramid; the Zodiac and its
signs; the life and philosophy of Pythagoras; the human body in symbolism; the
Hiramic Legend; the symbolism of fishes, insects, animals, reptiles, birds,
stones, metals, and gems; the Qabbalah and the secret doctrine of Israel; the
fraternity of the Rosy Cross; the chapters on alchemy; symbolism of
Freemasonry; the faith of Islam; American Indian symbolism, etc.
novice in Freemasonry will be astounded by the ramifications of the volume,
and to what extent of knowledge and ancient lore the author touched in his
painstaking labors. The Scottish Rite Mason, familiar with many of the
philosophical systems of earlier times through his reading of Morals and Dogma
by Albert Pike, will find a wealth of material in this book elucidating the
rituals of the Rite. The Rosicrucian Mason, affiliated with the brethren of
the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, not to overlook the various Rosicrucian
societies in the United States, will revel in the work, for it makes available
information and symbols much sought after.
Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy is a book
which will have more than a mere ephemeral existence. The high cost of
production (more than $110,000 outside of bibliographical volumes valued at
$150,000) puts the work out of reach of the average brother; but there is
nothing to deter libraries and lodges from procuring the volume. The original
edition, for advance subscribers, was taken by 525 individuals and
institutions; a fifth edition, numbering eight hundred copies, and of which
but a few hundred are left, will most likely be the last. Hence the fortunate
ones who have specimens may well treasure them, for such books appear upon the
market only accidentally when the publishers' editions are sold out.
in all, the work is one which requires careful examination and leisurely
reading to be appreciated as it deserves. To reduce the lore of the ages to
such minimum as this capable compilation and interpretation represents
requires skill of no small degree, as will be perceived by those who merely
read the list of works consulted, leaving out of the question any examination
of the voluminous books themselves. With the wide diversity of opinion
existing among students regarding occult topics, it is natural that there will
be disagreement on the part of some with the author. Yet, be that as it may,
all will agree that a herculean task has been capably essayed, and Mr. Manly
P. Hall deserves unstinted credit for his efforts.
* * *
GOETHE: THE HISTORY OF A MAN. By Emil Ludwig, Translated from the German by
Ethel Colburn Malone. Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons. Cloth, illustrated,
index, x and 617 pages. Price $5.25.
are three questions which a reviewer should have in mind during the reading
and discussion of a book - What is the author seeking to do? Is this worth
doing? Is it well done?
first of these questions Ludwig has answered clearly and unmistakably in the
subtitle of his work, "The History of a Man," and in the "Introduction" to the
English translation by Ethel Colburn Wayne. In an "Epistle Dedicatory" to Mr.
Shaw the author explains his "Purpose of reconstructing the genuine man, who
really lived, from the aesthetic divinity" and enabling the reader to "be a
spectator of the sixty-yeared battle which his Genius fought with his Daemon,
and from which he finally wrested a kind of tragic victory." Ludwig's aim,
then, is to dissipate the mists in which the adoration of a century has
enshrouded the figure of the greatest German writer, and paint for his readers
,a picture of Goethe as he really was. Especially does the biographer seek to
direct the reader's attention to the subjective rather than to the objective
side of that lengthy life, rather to the soul-struggles than to the acts and
achievements of his hero.
this was obviously well worth doing. Nothing in history is more striking than
the way in which legends grow up around the great personalities of the past
until the clearcut lines and true proportions of the actual figures are
blurred and magnified into a sort of historical spectra of the Brocken. And
although such legends have a practical as well as a poetic value, it is
essential in the interests of truth and accuracy to go back to the actual
records and reconstruct the authentic individuals. This has, indeed, become
one of the major literary activities of the day, partly as a result of the
universal search for the truth of a Scientific era, partly, in all
probability, as a reaction against the every-day conditions of life. In an age
when the machine is more and more, and the man ever less, the mind turns for
relief from the mechanization of existence to the study of individual
character and the lives of great men. Emil Ludwig is eminently in the height
of fashion in directing his energies to biography, and especially to its
question of how far Ludwig has been successful in achieving his object is more
difficult and complicated, and the answer must to a considerable extent,
depend upon the character and predilections of the individual reader. Many no
doubt, will find the perusal of the six hundred and forty-two pages of the
English translation rather a tedious and bewildering task than a pleasure, and
will regret that the mercy towards foreign readers which, as the preface
explains, has abridged the German text by half, was not further extended. Such
an initial feeling of bewilderment is a natural result of the method adopted
by the author to depict the real man. "The book," Ludwig tells us, "will
display in a slowly moving panorama the landscapes of his (Goethe's) soul,"
and at the same time enable the reader to witness the constant series of
campaigns which the hero's Genius waged with his Daemon. This Caesarian
division of Goethe into three parts - Landscape, Genius, and Daemon - is
liable to confuse and perplex the reader, and lead him to regard Goethe's soul
as a mere terrain on which two external powers waged a ceaseless warfare. And
as the evil power seems to have won almost every battle, and the divine
element to have preserved itself only by a series of strategic, if unheroic,
withdrawals, the reader is apt to grow weary of the constantly repeated
phenomenon of defeat and retreat.
will frequently be with a feeling of relief that an arduous and wearisome task
has been accomplished that the last words will be read, and the volume closed
and laid aside. And the natural conclusion will be that Ludwig has not been
very successful in the attempt to achieve the object he had set before
yet, as one reflects over what one has read, a portrait of the great German
poet forms itself from the material which the author has presented. "The
slowly-moving panorama" comes to rest and on the screen of the imagination
there remains the picture of a many-sided individual, emotional and
scientific, idealistic and practical. The Genius and Daemon of the biographer
appear as the two sides of that dual nature, strenuous and practical,
emotional and sensual. And Goethe stands revealed as a man endowed with the
greatest scientific and literary abilities, yet prone to erotic crises in
which he is tempted to turn from study and creation to love and sensual
enjoyment. The depth and strength of the two sides of Goethe's character and
the length and fierceness of the inner conflict in which they involved him
explain his rank as the greatest of German poets. For after all this quality
is the essential characteristic of the poetic temperament. It is the
combination in a single person of the emotional and the intellectual, enabling
the individual to strike out great ideas and present them in beautiful forms,
which makes the poet. Thus the hasty verdict of failure will be revised and
modified. If Ludwig has not clearly depicted the real man, he has supplied the
materials by which the reader can perform the feat for himself.
Moreover, although prone to over indulgence in a somewhat meaningless flood of
verbiage, there are times when Ludwig becomes simple and direct, and achieves
marked success in the living presentment of his subject. The description of
the closing years of the long life is an excellent piece of work, and here and
there in the earlier chapters scenes and pictures impress themselves vividly
upon the reader's imagination, notably, for example, the "interior" of
Frommann, the Jena publisher, at the beginning of the tenth chapter. So that
moments of tedium and bewilderment are balanced by moments of interest and
insight. And the final verdict will be that the volume was well worth the
has been the general rule among the biographers of Goethe, his Masonic
interests are little more than barely mentioned. This is the more strange,
seeing that many of his poems are of a distinctly Masonic character, and
Wilhelm Meister can hardly be fully appreciated without some knowledge of the
ideals and aims of Freemasonry in Germany at the period it was written. In
spite of this, and the fact that having been initiated as a young man he
retained and maintained his connection with the Fraternity during a long life,
Ludwig has only the following brief and truly misleading references. On page
166 we are told that:
Goethe consented to join the Freemasons on the somewhat arrogant ground that
he was desirous of good fellowship.
account of the circumstances of Goethe's application and initiation were fully
described in an article by Bro. Harvey McNairn in THE BUILDER for September,
1923. Goethe said in his letter to von Fritsch, the Master of Lodge Amalia,
that he desired to belong to the Society of Freemasons in order to have
opportunities ". . . of walking in closer union with persons I have learned to
respect." This is not quite the same thing as a "desire for good fellowship"
in the usual connotation of that phrase. Further Goethe made this application
of his own will and desire, and not (as the word "consented" suggests) at the
instance or persuasion of others. So far indeed was this from being true that
the Master of the lodge seems to have hesitated a good deal whether to act
upon the petition.
second reference in the present work is on page 303, where it is said.
prevented the establishment of a lodge in Jena - indeed he induced a colleague
there to lecture on the chaotic state of the secret societies and make a
simultaneous attack in print so as to proclaim open hostility "between
ourselves and the fools and knaves."
last quotation has also been exploited by the writer of the article on Masonry
in the Catholic Encyclopedia. It would go far beyond the limits of a review to
fully deal with this. A knowledge of German history at the time, and Masonic
history in Germany would be necessary. The article by Bro. McNairn above
mentioned has something on the point; something may be found in Findel, And of
course there is much that has been Written in German which has never been
translated into English. In brief; Goethe was on the side of Craft Masonry as
against the Strict Observance and other congeries of "high grades" that were
sapping the life of the Fraternity.
final reference is at page 457, where it is said that in later life Goethe
re-established a Masonic lodge which had been closed for twenty-five years.
The lodge in question was Lodge Amalia in which he had been initiated. It was
dormant twenty-six years as a matter of fact. The suspension was due to
trouble over the Strict Observance. Its resuscitation was largely due to
Schroeder, the apostle of Craft Masonry in Germany, who won the support of
Goethe and the Duke of Weimar.
slighting of so strong an emotional and intellectual interest in Goethe's life
as Masonry undoubtedly was, gives rise to the suspicion that Ludwig has not
been unaffected by the tide of anti-Masonry that has risen in Germany since
the war, the prophet and protagonist of which is the half insane General
Whatever may be the reader's verdict on the content of the book, he will
undoubtedly be favorably impressed with its outward appearance. Messrs. G. P.
Putnam's Sons have given us an exceedingly attractive volume with the stout
binding, clear type and charming series of illustrations that lead one to take
down a book from the shelf for the mere pleasure of feeling it in one's hands
and idly turning the pages. E. E. B.
* * *
VICTIM AND VICTOR. By John Rathbone Oliver. Published
The Macmillan Company, New York. Cloth, table of contents, 435 pages. Price
his previous book, Fear, Dr. Oliver showed how closely religion and disease
really are linked. This is not quite an accurate estimate of the purpose of
the earlier work because the religion that is emphasized in Fear is not what
most people would acknowledge as such. It is what most doctors would doubtless
call mental hygiene, but to me it is much more than that. That book
constituted almost as clear an estimate of the religion that I have been
endeavoring to practice as it would be possible to put on paper. All of this
meaning is, of course, stressed only by implication. This is not the proper
place to discuss the book that Dr. Oliver wrote almost, or perhaps it is more
now, than a year ago. We are especially concerned at this time with his new
book that is fresh from the press.
Someone who had read Fear suggested that an "equally interesting book might be
made by working out a portrait of a priest-physician with some psychasthenies
and delinquents mixed in with the other fictionized characters to show with
what uncanny skill he could establish healing contact with them compared to
either clergymen or psychiatrists in their separate spheres." It is really
this remark that caused Dr. Oliver to write this second volume, not, in any
sense dependent upon the previous one, but still carrying out the idea of the
first book and taking the matter just a little farther along. Dr. Oliver
continues his description of what he has done by saying "This, however, proved
a task beyond my strength. I have had to content myself with imagining two
men, one a physician the other a churchman, and with delineating certain
interesting patients whom these two treated successfully together". To see how
well this aim has been realized it is necessary to read the book.
not think that Dr. Oliver has succeeded quite as well as he did in Fear. This
may be only a personal opinion, but after reading the book I was left with a
sense of dissatisfaction that was not present when I had finished the previous
one. Perhaps this feeling is engendered by the fact that the author has seen
fit to close the lives of both central characters in the course of this
history. This hardly seemed necessary. During the reading of the book the two
heroes are so much alive, so full of vitality, that one would like to think of
them as actual human beings still administering to the wants of their
patients, instead of being under the necessity of thinking that their work is
being carried forward by others, if at all. Perhaps there is no richer reward
for a life of fruitful labor than what John Vandercook has so beautifully
described as "venturing into finality", and maybe I am wrong.
is another side to this question which does give some consolation, and I leave
it to others to decide whether it is this or the other that is the best
solution to the problem. Certainly the two men merited some reward for the
good that they did in this material world. We are accustomed to thinking that
the fruits of labors, which sometimes seem altogether fruitless here, are to
be harvested in "that land from whose bourne no traveller returns". Doubtless
it is this that Dr. Oliver had in mind when he closed his book as he did, and
possibly it is the best solution of what would have been a very vexing problem
had he allowed both or either of the two to live on. The revelations which are
put in print in the pages of Victim and Victor are of such an intimate nature
that no man living would like to feel that he had laid his soul so bare to the
eyes of the world. When we think of this phase of the problem that confronted
Dr. Oliver it seems that to have allowed them to continue their ministrations
would have been to detract from the reality of the two characters.
Occasion has been taken to mention that the central figures in Victim and
Victor seem to live and breathe as one pores over the pages of the book. No
matter how little one may agree with the theories that are brought out in
those same pages, one must admire the author for his facility of expression,
his keen insight into human nature, and further than that, his skill, which at
times seems far above all technique, in making his characters real. I am
inclined to be envious of the style of realistic writers, but I have never met
an author that I have envied as much as I do Dr. Oliver. To have his gift for
expressing things that, for me at least, are beyond expression; to have his
knack of making people live, breathe, and walk through the pages of a book
would be a joy forever.
was a key thought in Fear that might be singled out and made the main matter
of a review of that work. This is not the case in the present work. There is
too much in the way of divergent interest, too much that would have to be
mentioned in explanation for any one thought to be taken as the leading
principle; but there is a sentence in the New Testament, which may seem trite
from too frequent use, but which in spite of that is still as full of meaning
as it was when it was written centuries ago, and which sums up in a very few
words everything that might be said about the context of Victim and Victor. It
runs "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
fits Michael Mann as no glove could possibly fit his hand. Through the trials
and tribulations of more than half a generation this one thought seemed
uppermost in his mind. It is by and through the practice of this doctrine that
the Victim of circumstances became not only the Victor, but the lord of all he
met and overcome. E.E.T.
* * *
ADVENTURES IN FLOWER GARDENING. By Sydney B. Mitchell.
ENGLISH. By Virginia C. Bacon.
FRENCH LITERATURE. By Irving Babbitt.
PIVOTAL FIGURES OF SCIENCE. By Arthur E. Bostwick. All published by the
American Library Association, Chicago. Price $0.35 each.
name of the American Library Association is sufficient guarantee for the
authoritativeness of any of the above works. In order that the titles may not
be misleading, it is necessary to state that these pamphlets belong to a
series which is fast becoming lengthy and to which the Association has given
the general title of Reading With a Purpose. In the case of other pamphlets in
this series which have come to our desk we have stated that they were well
worth while, really, they are more than that because they enable the average
man who has some time for reading, but lacks sufficient leisure to enable him
to wander through the devious paths frequently necessary to gain acquaintance
with subjects of interest, to gather, almost at a glance, the information
necessary for a general understanding of the subject. Each course is
accompanied by a bibliography and the texts selected are moderate in cost or
may be obtained on loan from any fair-sized public library. To those
interested in reading along any special line we not only suggest, we
recommend, that they write the American Library Association in Chicago, Ill.,
for a complete list of their reading courses. Such a procedure will save much
time and will in addition prevent any possibility of reading unauthentic
* * *
MACHINERY IN THE LIBRARY. By Arthur E. Bostwick Published by the St. Louis
Public Library. Paper, Index, 24 pages.
pamphlet would hardly be of value to the average Masonic Library because they
are too small, though it is a very good discussion of the uses of machinery in
the large library. Public institutions of this nature will find the work
filled with valuable suggestions, perhaps the larger Masonic libraries will
find therein some suggestions that may enable them to simplify their tasks.
* * *
IS THE MIND? By George T. W. Patrick. Published by The Macmillan Company, New
York. Cloth, Table of Contents, Index, viii, 185 pages. Price $2.65.
book belongs to the Philosophy for the Layman Series. In it the author points
out how the older views of the mind have gradually given way to the
realization that it is simply a term for certain operations and activities of
the human organism as a whole. The reader will also find in this book a clear
statement of how the psychologist looks at evolution.
NATURE OF THE PHYSICAL WORLD. By A.S. Eddington. Published by The Macmillan
Company, New York. Cloth, Table of Contents, Index, xvii, 561 pages. Price
author discusses some of the results of modern study of the physical world
which give most food for philosophic thought. Some of the subjects treated
are: The downfall of classical physics; relativity; time; the running-down of
the universe; gravitation, the law and the explanation; man's place in the
universe the quantum theory and the new quantum theory; world building;
reality; causation; science and mysticism.
* * *
ARTICLES DE PARIS. By Sisley Huddleston. Published by The Macmillan Company.
Cloth, Table of Contents, xii, 207 pages. 5 ½ x 7 1/2 inches. Price $2.15.
book contains three dozen essays, in lighter vein, of the most variegated and
entertaining character. Robespierre, Bluebeard, Guy de Maupassant, Anatole
France, and the Last of the Bohemians are among the subjects dealt with, and
the volume also includes a criticism of James Joyce's "Ulysses."
* * *
NEW QUEST. By Rufus M. Jones. Published by The Macmillan Company. Cloth, Table
of Contents, 202 pages. 5 ½ x 7 ½ inches. Price $1.90
* * *
Philosophical Publishing Company, of Quakertown, Pa. announces that a new and
"very important work " The Fraternity of the Rosicrucians, is now in press and
shortly to be published. The very liberal offer is made by the company to
donate a free copy to every (legitimate) Masonic Library in the world that
wishes to apply for one. The work is to be sold at the price of $3.00.
PRESENT DAY PROBLEMS
December issue of THE BUILDER was one of the most interesting issues I have
the article relating to Religion and Masonry, I quite agree with the author
that there are too many Masons too prone to slur any of the numerous religions
to be found in a small town. In this connection I am reminded of the words of
the Master when He said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Religion has always made a very strong appeal to me, especially when I was
younger than I am now, even if I didn't know what it was all about. But I like
to go back as much as I am able to do, to the time before I became a Master
Mason. That is a pretty hard thing to do sometimes. I try to recall the way my
mind was running in those days. I realize now that I was groping this way and
that, hunting for I knew not what. Then came the turning point. The Master
Mason's Degree and the Royal Arch. It finally dawned on me that I had found
what I was looking for. Naturally, I became interested in religion again, and
for a time attended a Men's Bible Class in the Presbyterian Church. The
teacher of the class was a professor at the high school and a Blue Lodge
Mason. The text for the first Sunday was "And whosoever shall exalt himself,
shall be abased, and he that shall humble himself, shall be exalted." I was
rather interested to know how the Sunday-school teacher would handle that
text. I had just gone through that very thing. Indeed, when I received the
Royal Arch Degree the road was very rough and rugged. Well, the Sunday-school
teacher fell down flat. Right then and there I said to myself, to use a
popular expression, "Masonry puts it over." And indeed it does. But that does
not mean that I have lost all interest in church. I am very fond of the
Presbyterian minister here, and like to listen to his sermons; but he happens
to be a Scottish Rite Mason. So I have come to the conclusion that while the
churches get men started in the right direction, Masonry finishes the job.
been reading with a great deal of interest the articles on Army Lodges. While
my own father was not a member of the Masonic Fraternity, he spent forty-five
years of his life in the service of his country, having graduated from West
Point in 1872. The article about Lahneck Lodge, No. 1186, at Coblentz,
Germany, makes one proud that he is an American citizen and a Master Mason.
* * *
IMHOTEP, PHYSICIAN AND ARCHITECT
following item from the London Times of Sept. 6, 1928, is interesting in
connection with my review of Imhotep, by J. B. Hurry, in the January number of
THE BUILDER. As it may not be known to all your readers, I quote it in full.
It occurred in a report of the Quarterly Communication of the United Grand
Lodge of England on Sept. 5, 1928:
"Brigadier General Charles S. Wilson, the District Grand Master of Egypt and
the Sudan, presented to Grand Lodge a maul which had been found in the tomb of
Poser, a Pharaoh of the Third Dynasty, at Sakkara. He stated that competent
Egyptologists declared that the maul was certainly not more modern than 1300
B. C., and it might date from any time back to 2500 B. C. The funeral temple
in which the maul was found was believed to be the first building ever erected
in stone. It was built by Imhotep, the King's Prime Minister, who was long
worshipped as a god in Egypt. It had only been discovered recently that he was
not a god, but a human being, and the King's Prime Minister.
Ampthill [the Pro-Grand Master] in accepting the gift, said that the maul was
far older than anything now in the museum of Grand Lodge and it was fitting
that it should come from a land which was deeply associated with the mysteries
of the Craft."
maul, or rather mallet, is of the same conical shape that is still used by
sculptors, stone cutters, and wood carvers. It is a genuine operative
implement as it shows the wear and tear of long and heavy use.
* * *
MASONRY IN MEXICO
Occasionally I get out and read the old files of THE BUILDER as a Sunday
afternoon diversion. Today I ran onto an article in the October, 1916, number
which impressed me as having enough merit to justify being reprinted. This
appears on page 310 under the heading, "Mexican Masonry; Another Side," by
Bro. Eber Cole Byam, of Illinois.
lived for a good many years on and along the Mexican border, and while not
prepared to go quite as far as Bro. Byam has, I realize that he is shooting
pretty close to the mark.
Masons are prone to feed ourselves up on anything that coincides with our
prejudices and as a result sometimes arrive at some very erroneous
this article is perhaps just a little extreme, from our own observation I
cannot help but feel there is a strong undercurrent of truth running through
* * *
NAPOLEON A MASON
reference to the article by Bro. E. E. Murray entitled "Napoleon the Mason and
the Pope," which appeared in THE BUILDER for last September, I would like to
know what grounds there are for believing Napoleon to have been a member of
the Masonic Fraternity.
L. Y., Colorado.
This was referred to Bro. Murray, who wrote to our correspondent as follows:
you will see I am away from home and do not expect to get back, except between
trains, for a couple of weeks, and I am without any books here to refer to, so
am writing this that you may not think I am discourteous in not replying, and
as soon as I get back home I will quote chapter and verse. However, speaking
from memory, you will find that Mackey in his Encyclopedia quotes French
authors that Napoleon was made a Mason in, I think, Malta. Gould, in his
history of the Netherlands, mentions that when he placed his brother on the
throne of Holland, in 1805, he instructed him to be Patron on Masonry in that
country. I had this before me recently when digging into Netherlands' history.
Then there is in existence an old engraving showing Napoleon giving the grip
and word to a Tyler at the door of a lodge. If my memory does not sadly
forsake me, within the past two years one of the descendants of Napoleon
presented to some museum in France his apron or other Masonic regalia. This is
not conclusive evidence, I admit and it may be very hard to place the finger
on a lodge minute recording his admission to the Order. About four years ago
Bro. Rae Lemert, of Helena, editor of the Montana Mason and Grand Historian of
the Grand Lodge of Montana, and who has a very large library of French Masonic
books, several of the 18th century, went into the matter fully, as he does in
all things, and wrote an article in that magazine. As soon as I get back home
I will look it up and copy it out and send it to you.
a second letter he supplemented this with the following information:
the issue of the Montana Mason of September, 1922, there appeared a cut of a
picture of Napoleon entering his lodge wearing his apron and sash. In the
issue there was the following article:
NAPOLEON AND THE CRAFT
"The Great Napoleon, the famous Emperor of the French, was a member of the
Masonic Fraternity, and many anecdotes are current regarding his admiration
for the Institution, and his attachment to it. Engravings showing him in
Masonic garb are rare, but this magazine presents to its readers this month a
reproduction of one taken from a French work showing Napoleon at the entrance
to his mother lodge demanding admittance, accompanied by several of his
officers. Close observers will discern certain interesting features in the
you desire more direct evidence than I have quoted as to his being a Mason, I
am confident that Lemert will be very pleased to supply it. Similarly it is
stated that some if not all of his brothers were Masons, so were some of his
marshals and generals. That he was approached by the Grand Orient, when he was
Emperor, to give the Fraternity his protection; that he named one of his
brothers Grand Master; that he asked his brother when made King of Holland, to
be protector of the Craft, and several other acts are those of a member and
not merely a sympathizer.
There was an important article on this same subject in THE BUILDER for March,
1924, by Bro. D. E. W. Williamson, "Where Was Napoleon Made a Mason?" In this
some evidence that had hitherto been unknown to English and American students
was brought forward. This was found in a French work by Charles Bernadin,
Notes to Serve as a History of Freemasonry at Nancy up to 1805, in which is
quoted a statement by M. Noel, "historian of Lorrain," himself a Freemason.
Bro. Bernadin says that Napoleon paid a visit to the lodge at Nancy in
November, 1797, on his way, via Switzerland, from Milan to Paris.
Bro. Williamson also refers to the paper by Bro. J. E. Tuckett which is to be
found in A. Q. C., vol. xxvii, p. 96, in which an exceedingly strong ease is
made out for Napoleon's membership in the Fraternity, so strong that though
the evidence is mostly circumstantial it only just falls short of complete
demonstration. Bro. Tuckett's own summary of his conclusions are as follows:
(1) That the evidence in favor of a Masonic initiation previous to Napoleon's
assumption of the Imperial Title is overwhelming.
(2) That the initiations took place in the body of an Army Philadelphia Lodge
of the (Ecossais) Primitive Rite of Narbonne, the third "initiation" of the
"Note Communiquee" being an advancement in that Rite.
(3) That these initiations took place between 1795 and 1798.
Hitherto one of the chief objections to admitting that Napoleon was a Mason
has been found in the fact that when he was asked to become the Patron of the
Craft in 1804 he requested from Prince Cambaceres to have a report "on the
objects and principles of the association, especially as to what is caned the
secret of the Freemasons." The question was raised by the Masonic historian
Findel, and repeated by later students. Findel said:
the Emperor Napoleon was a Mason . . . he ought properly speaking to have been
well acquainted with the Institution and its tendencies without making any
special enquiries on the subject.
Bro. Tuckett clears this difficulty away very easily by pointing out that in
the many Ecossais rites, the symbolic degrees were regarded only as stages of
the novitiate, and it was impressed upon the initiates that even the Master
Mason was comparatively yet in a state of darkness, and that the true secret
was known only in the more exalted grades. No one has ever suggested that
Napoleon had "advanced" beyond the degree of Master, and it therefore seems
not only natural, but obvious, that as Emperor he should want to know what
these reserved secrets were before giving his countenance to the Institution
in so definite a manner.
* * *
interested in your reply to E. H. P. in the Question Box last month. I see a
number of Masonic magazines regularly, and I have several times noticed in
recent years that a statement that discredits French Masonry will be copied
freely from one paper to another, but if anyone writes anything in its favor,
or tries to point out the real facts, this is allowed to drop as quickly and
quietly as possible.
just the other day an account of Latin Masonry that seemed to be dealing
mostly with that of Italy, though the writer included France and Spain also. I
have not got it by me so I cannot quote as I would like to do. But in spite of
the facts made known by the newspapers of the world regarding the brutal
treatment of men in Italy for the crime of being Masons, this brother calmly
tells us that all this talk of persecution arose merely because disloyal
government employee were discharged from their positions. He said also, as if
it was the most dreadful crime, that Latin Masonry is anti-clerical. I can
only suppose that he is so ignorant of conditions in Europe that he does not
know what Clericalism means, and that he supposes that to be anti-clerical is
to be against ministers of the Gospel, and so hostile to religion. Every Mason
in the United States would be anti-clerical if Clericalism in the European
sense existed in this country. It is commonly supposed that the result of the
recent election was partly due to fear that the election of a Roman Catholic
President might lead to something of the sort.
was also said that Latin Masonry was subversive of government. It sounds well
but what does it mean? What does it mean in Italy? That Masonic principles
would be subversive of government dictatorship ? Were not the principles of
Mussolini and his Fascisti subversive of the constitutional government? Are
Masons bound by Masonic law to support any government no matter how it got
into power or how it exercises power? If so, then George Washington and Paul
Revere and Joseph Warren and the hundreds of other Masons who rebelled and
fought against Britain should have all been expelled for unMasonic conduct. It
seems we have one rule for ourselves and another for other people.
recent statement by the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction
about European Masonry should do a lot of good, it is all the more forceful
because it is so carefully worded. I hope it may have the widest publicity. We
should not go on repeating like parrots the wild stories invented by the
enemies of Masonry. For they are told, and believed, about American Masonry,
just as much as about French or Spanish or Italian.
* * *
have always understood that our sign for the dollar was derived from a
combination of the two letters U. S. Recently, I have seen it claimed that it
originally referred to the pillars of Hercules, and that these have a remote
connection with the pillars of King Solomon's Temple. Can you tell me if this
is correct ?
information is, though we cannot give the original authority for it, that this
conventional sign is derived from a coin-type of the south of Spain. The
piastre, or piece of eight reals, coined by Charles V (1600-1556) at Seville,
bore on the reverse two pillars with a scroll. This coin was called a
"collonate," or pillar piece. It is unlikely that this was an entirely new
design. The city of Cadiz was founded, it is supposed, about 1100 B. C. by
colonists from Carthage, itself a colony of Tyre. The original name was Gadir,
or Agadir, meaning "the Stronghold." In Latin this became Gades. To reach this
place the Straits of Gibraltar had to be passed, which to the Greeks, under
the name of the Pillars of Hercules, was the end of the world. As Hercules, or
Herakles, was originally a Phoenician solar deity, there is little doubt that
the Rock of Gibraltar, and the corresponding hill of Ceuta on the opposite
shore, were connected with Hercules, as marking the gateway of the setting
sun; and the tradition would very likely survive in the south of Spain. As the
two pillars of King Solomon's Temple are undoubtedly only an instance of the
marking of the sacred place, or the dwelling place of the deity, by two
isolated pillars, a custom common all through Syria, there is a definite link
between them and the pillars of the west.
remaining steps are comparatively simple. The Spanish coin became a common
medium of exchange all through the New World; it was the "piece of eight,"
well known to every boy who has read Robinson Crusoe. The two pillars and
ornamental scroll were naturally conventionalized until they became the two
perpendicular lines through an S. which forms our dollar mark today. Thus by a
long and circuitous route there is a real line of descent from the pillars of