The Builder Magazine
November 1916 - Volume II - Number
TO JOHN PAUL JONES
BY BRO. GEO. W. BAIRD, P. G.
M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
THE bronze statue of the peerless John Paul Jones,
with its marble pylon for a background, is situated at the foot of Seventeenth
street, near the entrance to Potomac Park, in the City of Washington. It is
the work of Mr. Niehaus, an American Sculptor of German descent, who used
Houdon's bust for a model.
This memorial had its origin in the hearts of a
grateful Congress, when they learned that our American Ambassador, at Paris,
General Horace Porter, who was also President General of the Society of the
Sons of the American Revolution, had spent $35,000 in his search for and the
identification of the body of John Paul Jones, and had refused reimbursement
by the Government.
The body of the great Admiral was brought from
France to the United States in a battleship, convoyed by a fleet of French war
ships, and the obsequies were held at the U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, on
the 24th of April, 1906. This date was chosen by the President of the United
States, because it was the anniversary of Jones' battle with the Drake.
Though a man of small stature (five feet seven
inches in height) the statue of John Paul Jones is of heroic size, about
twelve feet in height. The marble pylon, the waters of the Potomac and the
foliage beyond afford a beautiful background for the memorial. The sculpture
is classic and his been pronounced exquisite.
John Paul Jones is represented as standing on the
deck of his ship, in the uniform of his rank, his left hand resting on the
pommel of his sword, his right hand clenched, his lips compressed and his gaze
fixed on the enemy.
The pedestal was designed by Mr. Hastings and is
decorated on two sides with a combination of sword, helmets and laurel
branches, in high relief. A band of low relief runs around the pedestal, and
has a number of Naval emblems for motives. In front the attic of the pedestal
shows an Eagle in flight, carrying a wreath of oak leaves. In the rear is a
relief showing John Paul Jones raising the stars and stripes on a U.S.
At the obsequies the speakers were the President
of the United States, the Secretary of the Navy, the Ambassador from France,
(Monsieur J. J. Jusserand), General Horace Porter, (our Ambassador to France),
and the Governor of the State of Maryland.
The officers of the French Fleet which had come to
Annapolis, Members of the Supreme Court, Senators Members of Congress,
officers of the Navy and Army and other distinguished men were present.
The only flowers in evidence were the laurel
wreaths on the Casket, and the floral wreath containing a square and compasses
which was sent by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. The casket was
covered with the union jack, as is the rule for seafaring men.
No one could hear the speeches that day without a
feeling of pride and shame: of pride for the man whose acts had been so potent
in securing the recognition of the Republic: and of shame that he to whom the
Nation was indebted full $60,000 for services rendered, should have been
buried by charity in a foreign cemetery, and there remain, neglected by his
countrymen, for a century and a quarter.
It was decided that day to inter the body of John
Paul Jones in the crypt, under the Naval Academy chapel (then under
construction), somewhat in imitation of the tomb of Napoleon, at Paris. The
cost of the changes in the building, for this purpose, was estimated by the
architects, to be $100,000; and, in declining the proferred reimbursement of
$35,000 spent in discovering and identifying the remains, General Porter
requested the Government to add the amount to the estimate, which would make
the tomb so much more beautiful and imposing.
The refusal of General Porter to accept
reimbursement is what determined Congress to show its gratitude in erecting a
memorial to John Paul Jones, in the Capital City.
Senator Lodge, of Massachusetts, (a member of the
Society of the Sons of the American Revolution), introduced a bill in the
Senate, carrying $50,000 for a memorial statue of John Paul Jones.
The bill had such a ring of patriotism and the
history and deeds of John Paul Jones had been so often repeated in the daily
press and was so fresh in the public mind that no one thought it necessary to
push that bill. The bill was committed and probably would have lapsed had not
another, paraphrasing Senator Lodge's bill, been introduced in the House, by
Mr. Driscol of N. Y. This bill differed from the Lodge bill in that it
purposed making its memorial to "Commodore" John Barry "Father of the American
As John Barry was the eleventh Captain on the
original Navy list, Congress could not declare him, in that Act, to be the
"father." The Bill for the Barry statue was urged by the "Irish Societies"
while that for John Paul Jones seemed to have no promoters, and as both bills
were reported by the same Committee the same day, and were passed the same
day, it is apparent that one helped the other.
John Paul Jones was made a Freemason in the lodge
of Saint Bernard, at Kirkudbright, Scotland, in 1770, but he afterwards took
his membership to that famous French Lodge, Neuf Soeurs, in Paris, of which
Benjamin Franklin, Houdon, Voltaire, Helvitius, Elie DuMont, D'Estang and
other famous men were members.
John Paul Jones began to go to sea when about 14
years of age. He was a Midshipman in the British Navy, from which he resigned
because of the retarded promotion. He entered the Merchant Marine and was in
command of a ship before he was twenty-one years of age.
He must have been a close student, for he seemed
to be master of both French and Spanish as well as being a superior navigator.
His letters are still in use, as models, at the Naval Academy. As a diplomat
he was in the highest rank, at that time.
John Paul Jones joined an older brother, in
Virginia, where he was living when war was declared. He was the first officer
who received a commission in the Colonial Navy (as a first lieutenant). He was
the first to aid the Continental Congress in creating the Navy and formulating
its regulations. He was the first in command of a vessel of war; the first to
run up the American flag on an American war vessel (the Alfred); he was with
those first at sea with the flag, and was in at the first British warship
striking colors and surrendering to an American warship; the first and only
Naval officer named in an act of the Continental Congress, creating the flag -
the Stars and Stripes. He was the first to run up the Stars and Stripes, on
board an American war vessel - the Ranger. He was the first to carry this flag
across the sea; the first to propose and to receive a salute to the Stars and
Stripes from a foreign Nation, and, therein the first to receive recognition
of the new Nation, the United States. He was the first to make a British war
vessel (the Drake) strike her colors and surrender to the Stars and Stripes;
the first and only Naval Officer to receive a vote of thanks from the
Continental Congress, and theonly one, during the Revolution, who never lost a
warship in battle.
The Nation's Board of Admiralty said, and the
Continental Congress printed
"He hath made the flag of the United States
respected among the flags of other nations."
The victory of John Paul Jones, in command of the
Bon Homme Richard, over the Serapis, had more to do with the United States
getting recognition from other Nations than any one act of that war.
John Paul Jones was the only Naval Officer, of any
Nation, who dared carry a war up to a British port, so firmly were the Britons
masters of the sea of that day.
John Paul Jones was the only American Naval
officer who figured at all extensively in British History of the American
At the close of the Revolutionary war the ships of
the Navy were dismantled and sold and the officers and crews discharged. The
Treasury was depleted; there was no money for salaries. John Paul Jones,
however, was retained as Commissioner, in France, to settle the complicated
affairs that existed: ships had mixed crews of French and Americans. Some of
the ships had joint owners and some, with mixed crews, were owned entirely in
the United States.
John Paul Jones contracted consumption and
nephritis from which he died in Paris in 1792. His assets were not available
and he was buried by the charity of noble hearted Frenchmen in a small
protestant cemetery where his remains lay for a hundred and twenty-five years.
The search for his body extended over a period of
six years. It was found and turned over to the French Academy for
identification, which, at first, would appear impossible. But the history of
his burial, the perfect preservation of measurements, particularly of the
head, compared with the Houdon bust, and the unmistakable identification of
leisions in the kidneys fron nephritis and in the lungs from tuberculosis, the
color of the hair, and numerous other ways made the identification complete.
The body had been preserved in alcohol, in an air-tight metallic casket.
Two years after his death the Navy of the Unites
States was rehabilitated, when it was found that but few of the original
officers were living. The regulations, prepared by Jones, were used and his
original organization was continued.
John Paul Jones was a man of remarkable
personality, dainty and particular in his dress and manners he was, at the
same time, pugnacious. He was popular in the best of society. He was a welcome
guest at the French Court, and Louis XIV made him a Chevalier, and presented
him with a sword. He was as popular with ladies as with men.
The Marquis of Vaudreil said of him, "His talents
are so wonderful and of such diversity that each day he brings forth new
proofs of cleverness."
Franklin spoke of the "strange magnetism in his
presence, and indescribable charm of manner."
The Captain of the Serapis, said he felt that he
was fighting something superhuman in his battle with the Bon Homme Richard.
John Paul Jones would never sail in a privateer.
In a letter to Jefferson he said, "I can never renounce the glorious title of
a citizen of the United States," and also "I do not wish to engage in
privateering. My object is not that of private gain but to serve the public in
a way that may reflect credit on our Infant Navy and to gain prestige to our
Country on the sea."
He also said, "If, by desperate fighting, one of
our ships shall conquer one of theirs of markedly superior force, we shall be
hailed as pioneers of a new power on the sea, with untold prospects of
These principles he lived and by them won renown
and made his name immortal in the history of the Nation and of the world.
I love thine inland seas,
Thy groves of giant trees,
Thy rolling plains;
Thy rivers' mighty sweep,
Thy mystic canyons deep,
Thy mountains wild and steep,
All thy domains;
Thy silver Eastern strands,
Thy Golden Gate that stands
Wide to the West;
Thy flowery Southland fair,
Thy sweet and crystal air, -
O land beyond compare,
Thee I love best !
- Henry Van Dyke.
MASONIC SOCIAL SERVICE -
CHICAGO EMPLOYMENT BUREAU
BY BRO. ARTHUR M. MILLARD,
THIS is the story of an
organization of usefulness; an organization made up of Masonic bodies,
reaching out for the fulfillment of their higher calling which lies before,
and represented in its workings by men with high ideals; men with a vision of
purpose and of progress, and inspired by the spirit of that which lies at the
foundation of Masonry's teachings.
It is the story of an organization of effort - and
of privilege - an organization whose work is open to all men of Masonic
calling and whose privilege lifts them to higher planes of purpose and of
action, to purer ideals and nobler impulse by the practical application of
that spirit of love and of service, which they have found is the body, soul
and spirit of the Masonic Institution.
It is the story of the Masonic Employment Bureau
of Chicago, an organization which during the past few years has placed
thousands in employment, has helped thousands to help themselves, has inspired
the foundation of many other organizations of a like purpose and character,
both in and outside of Masonry, throughout the United States and Canada, and
which preaching by its actions the gospel of Brotherly Love and Relief, is
pointing more clearly the way to the pathway of Truth.
The Masonic Employment Bureau commenced its career
of finding jobs for Masons, and helping others to help themselves, in 1905, at
a meeting of the representatives of a number of Chicago Masonic Lodges, called
by a member of Wrights Grove Lodge who felt the need of applying his Masonry
in a practical manner to those less fortunate than himself.
At this meeting, an
organization was formed to be maintained, by such Masonic Lodges and other
Masonic bodies of Chicago and Cook County as cared to
join in its purpose, by a
subscription fee of so far as possible five cents per member annually and for
the purpose of securing employment for unemployed Masons in good standing,
their widows, daughters and minor sons, at no cost to the applicant or those
securing their services.
With wise forethought, it was decided that the
government of the organization should be representative, that is, each Masonic
body holding membership in the Bureau by contribution towards its support
should be represented in the conduct of its affairs by a duly appointed
representative (the officers being chosen annually from among the
representatives), and as it has been worked out, this object has a two-fold
purpose; first, to give the subscribing bodies a voice in the conduct of the
Bureau, and second, to create an interest in its affairs and purpose by having
the representative report back to the body from which he was appointed and
arouse and enthuse in the members of that body a fraternal bond of helpfulness
to those less fortunately situated than themselves.
The growth of the Chicago Masonic Employment
Bureau, from its inception up to the present time, from a few to hundreds of
interested brethren, has not been one of phenomenal progress, rather it has
been that steady, persevering and persistent effort, which, meeting and
surmounting the obstacles that beset its path, climbs steadily onward to
achieve its purpose; but though in its infancy today, though it has but
reached the foothills of the mountains of purpose, progress and achievement
ahead, it stands an enduring monument, firm on the rock of applied Masonry,
pointing out to the world about it the simplicity of service and the way which
shall one day be accepted as the true and enduring principle on which to build
a practical and applied charity in the onward march of progress and of
civilization. But it must not be assumed that the sole object of the
representatives concerned in the welfare of this Bureau is but a plan to
secure jobs for the unfortunate unemployed, because it goes farther than that.
It is true that the Bureau is organized for the direct benefit of the
unemployed, but beyond that is the spirit of the work which is behind it all.
During the past few years the Bureau has secured
not only representatives from nearly all of the Masonic bodies of Chicago, but
also committees in those bodies, all of whom are working in unison on the
broad platform of helping others. Now, these brethren are planning and
carrying into effect a broader work and a greater purpose - they are building
toward an ideal.
It is not enough to provide work for the
unemployed, they are now providing work for all Masons, however high or low
their station, in helping others to help themselves.
The Chicago Masonic Employment Bureau is going
beyond the material and binding that to the spiritual. It is striving to
become the big brother of humanity.
It is teaching the principle of putting aside self
in service for others, and pointing the way to an applied Masonry, a Masonry
which in its search for Truth applies the principles of Brotherly Love and
Relief to all with whom they come in contact.
The spirit of the work of this organization of
Chicago, the plans and ideals of the brethren who make it up, is not a thing
apart but it is the spirit of Masonry pointing the way to a real brotherhood
of service, to a universal work for the advancement of humanity; for
representing as it does the unity of the Masonic bodies along certain definite
lines, the principle upon which it stands and from which it receives and gives
its inspiration, and to which it owes its origin, is that which lie at the
source and is the fundamental law and principle of the teachings of the
It is that which rises above the things of
material life and stands on a higher plane, a plane of purpose and of
progress, for while its object is carried out in the material realm below, its
application is such as to instill into men's hearts and lives that touch of
spirituality that fulfillment of duty, one toward another, that application of
human sympathy and brotherly love, which brings them into closer communion and
fellowship with Him above, under whose banner they are enlisted and under
whose laws they are committed to serve.
THE YORK RITE
BY BRO. WM. F. KUHN, MISSOURI
It has been stated that "A
Rite in Freemasonry is a collection of grades or degrees always founded on the
First three degrees." This definition is wholly misleading, and constitutes as
grave an error as to call "The York Rite" as conferred in the United States,
"The American Rite."
For the purpose of adding
"more light" on the subject, we may state that in the United States there are
two Masonic Rites, known as the York Rite and the Ancient and Accepted
Both are misnomers if the
name of the Rite is to indicate its parentage or birth place. The York Rite
was not born in the ancient city of York, neither was the Ancient and Accepted
Scottish Rite begotten in Scotland.
The so-called York Rite is
the result of an evolution in England from a One Degree Operative Craft of
1717, to a system of degrees of six or more as now practiced in the United
States, Canada, England, Scotland and Ireland. The Seottish Rite was evolved
from the Rite of perfection of twenty-five Degrees, by the addition of eight
more at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1801, where the Mother Supreme Council
If either one of the Rites is
to be known as the American Rite, the title probably belongs to the Ancient
and Accepted Scottish Rite. To designate the socalled York Rite in the United
States, as the American Rite, would be even more absurd than to call it the
York Rite, for it is neither.
What is meant by the word
Rite? A Rite is defined as "A custom of practice of a formal kind; a formal
procedure of a religious or solemn observance." But such a religious or solemn
procedure or observance must have a definite end or purpose. It must have a
goal idea. A central idea which the ceremony of procedure is intended to
convey. The ceremony may be brief or voluminous, plain or ornate, but the
central idea must be maintained and attained, as in the Rite of Baptism, in
the Rite of Marriage, in the Rite of the Holy Sacrament, etc.
The central idea or pivot
around which all Masonic ceremonies or Degrees must revolve is the Loss, the
Recovery, and the Interpretation of the Master's word. This goal idea must be
the nucleus of a system of Degrees, and without which no system of Degrees can
be called a Rite.
Any series of Degrees,
however intimately connected, that does not contain this central idea of Loss,
Recovery, and interpretation can not be called a Masonic Rite. This is the
goal idea or pivot of the so-called York Rite. The number of Degrees in a Rite
is merely incidental. It matters not whether there are three or thirty-three
Degrees, provided the central idea, the end of all Masonic symbolism is
The Loss and Recovery with a
positive interpretation, or the Loss and Recovery with a general or individual
interpretation is the very essence of a Rite.
The Loss is symbolized in the
Craft or Lodge Degrees, the Recovery is symbolized in the Royal Arch.
In the York Rite the
interpretation of the symbolism of the Royal Arch is left to the individual
interpretation of the Royal Arch Mason, or it finds its positive and special
interpretation in the light of the new dispensation, as taught in the Masonic
Order of the Christian Knighthood.
The Three Craft or Blue Lodge
Degrees, the Royal Arch, and the United Orders of the Temple and of Malta are
the essential grades of the York Rite. The Mark, Past, Most Excellent, Royal,
Select Degrees, and the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross are not essential,
nor essentially necessary to the York Rite, but they are great aids in the
elucidation of the symbolism of the central idea of the Rite and they adorn
and magnify the Rite. The Lodge Degrees, the Royal Arch, and the Masonic
Orders of Christian Knighthood constitute the so-called "York Rite." To
eliminate the Royal Arch would be like removing the keystone of an arch, and
the whole fabric would crumble and fall.
In essentials, the York Rite
is the same in the United States as it is in every province or Country in the
British Empire; in other words, it is essentially the same in the Anglo-Saxon
world. But each country has its own system. In the United States it consists
of seven Degrees and three Orders; in Canada, of six Deees and three Orders,
although Canada has added the most excellent Degree in the Chapter and the Red
Cross of the Commandery to harmonize, for the purpose of visitation with the
United States; in England, it contsists of four Degrees and two Orders; in
Ireland, of five Degrees and two Orders; in Scotland the system conforms
closely to that of Ireland. The most excellent Degree is unknown in the
British Empire, except in Canada; in England, the Mark Master's Degree is
under the control of a Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.
It will be noted that in the
countries mentioned, the number of Degrees in the Rite varies, even the
Degrees bearing the same name vary in the ceremonies of presenting the same
truth. The Master's Degree in Pennsylvania varies much from the same Degree in
the other States, yet symbolically it is the same. The Royal Arch in the
United States, is more dramatic in its form than that of England or Canada,
yet in essentials it is the same.
The Order of the Temple in
the English Ritual is brief; in the Canadian Ritual it is more elaborate and
has its military features; in the United States it is more wordy, possibly
more ornate and dramatic, yet it is essentially the same in all these
The Rituals of the Order of
Malta in these countries are so near alike that a person that is conversant
with one can readily use the other; even a casual observer can readily see
that this so-called "York Rite" in essentials is the same everywhere where the
English language is spoken. The Concordat adopted in 1910 by the Temple Powers
of the World, emphasizes this great fact.
The name "York Rite" is an
inexcusable blunder; at least an unfortunate mistake. There never was a York
Rite. It is unnecessary to enter upon any discussion as to the claims of the
York Grand Lodge or a York system of Freemasonry as the question has been
settled beyond controversy. The name "York Rite" is an inheritance from the
forefathers of Freemasonry in the United States, who were more skilled in
ritual tinkering than in the history of Freemasonry. This becomes especially
apparent, when one remembers that the ephemeral Grand Lodge of York never
chartered a single Lodge in America. The Freemasonry of the United States
began under the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, then under the Grand
Lodge of England (Moderns) with Price as Grand Master. The Grand Lodge of
England (Ancients) and the Grand Lodge of Scotland chartered Lodges in
America, and it is reasonably possible, that before the union of the two Grand
Lodges of England, the Royal Arch and the Masonic Orders of Christian
Knighthood were conferred in this Country by the Military Lodges connected
with the Irish Regiments stationed in the Colonies. To sum it all up, our
so-called York Rite is the English Rite dressed in more fantastic clothing.
The name "York Rite" should
be eliminated and the name English Rite substituted. In view of the foregoing
facts as to what constitute a Rite, we in the United States are practicing or
have formulated an American system of the English Rite; not an American Rite
as it is frequently erroneously called, but a system of Degrees of the English
Rite; it should be known as the English Rite, or Anglo-Saxon Rite.
A MASON'S PRAYER
Unto thy altars, Truth, we
We would commune with thee;
From errors of the heart and
Oh, keep our Order free.
Make us true seekers for the
That springs from thee alone,
That we may lead a darkened
To thy sister Reason's
Help us to build our edifice
"Fair, fronting to the dawn,"
Not on a thrice denying saint
Who would his Lord were gone,
But on thy words wherever
In tree or grass or rill;
And in the very soul of thee
We'll find our haven still.
Help us to travel unafraid
The path that thou hast
For with thee standing by His
A man's a host alone.
Help us to realize that time
"Makes ancient good uncouth,"
And for the blind who fain
Oh trouble the waters, Truth
--Oscar A. Janes.
THE SUPPRESSION OF THE ORDER
OF THE TEMPLE
BY BRO. FREDERICK W.
CIRCUMSTANCES have conspired
to single out the Order of the Temple from the other orders of Soldier-Monks
of the twelfth century for the particular notice of succeeding generations.
Preeminent for their valor and their accomplishments during the days of their
magnificent success, the bitter injustice and cruel suffering attendant upon
the suppression of the Order has thrown around their name a dark shadow of
tragedy. Not only so, but the added horror of the accusations made against
them, the whispers of still more dreadful things circulated by envious,
fearful, or malignant tongues, the unusual end of the proceedings against the
Order, and the conviction of many members before the ecclesiastical courts
have lent an air of mystery to the whole sad story.
The very mention of the word
Templar brings to many minds the suggestion of romance and of mystery coupled
with a vague sense of hidden crime and lurking horror. As a matter of fact
there is really very little mystery about the fate of the Templars and it is
perfectly possible to find out of what they were accused and to make a fair
estimate of their probable guilt or innocence. This is of particular interest
to Masons because large numbers of Masons in other than symbolic degrees have
taken the name of the old Order, endeavoring to practice its principles and
emulate its virtues and holding in everlasting remembrance the name of the
last Grand Master.
Before proceeding to tell in
detail the story of the fall of the Order, let us stop to review briefly the
story of its growth.
In 1118, two Knights, Hugues
de Payens, a Burgundian, and Godeffroi de St. Omer, a Frenchman, associated
with themselves six other Knights for the service of the Holy Sepulcher, the
protection of pilgrims, and the welfare of the Church.
These men took a step beyond
that taken by the ordinary crusader, in that they undertook to give their
whole lives to the service of the Church militant and to found an order of men
likewise devoted to the same service. These eight men took an oath to the
Patriarch of Jerusalem by which they swore to fight for Christ under the three
fold vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience. It will be understood, of
course, that the vow of poverty, while it debarred the Knight from having any
personal possessions whatever, did not apply to the accumulation of riches by
the Order or to the Knight's enjoyment of those riches, while the vow of
obedience had reference only to his relations with his superiors in the Order.
King Baldwin I. of Jerusalem
gave them for a residence a part of his palace next to the Mosque of Aksa, the
so-called Temple of Solomon, from which they took the name of Knights of the
Temple. At first they had no particular regulations or "rule," as it is
commonly called, and no distinguishing dress. Their first idea appears to have
been to make the Order a means of reformation by opening its ranks to men
whose past was one of sin and failure and giving them an opportunity to redeem
their souls through offering to Christ a service of constant danger. They,
therefore, admitted to their number excommunicated knights, after they had
obtained absolution from a Bishop, and other men of darkened past who desired
an opportunity to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. This missionary idea
was soon abandoned and the Knights chosen from candidates, who showed
themselves worthy. It was unfortunate, however, in that it immediately laid
the Order under suspicion of both the Church and laity because of doubts of
the sincerity of such repentance.
In 1127 Hugues de Payens, who
had been chosen Grand Master, went to Europe with the purpose of finding
support for the Order. He was fortunate enough to enlist the interest and
obtain the active patronage of St. Bernard. Bernard of Clairvaux, more1monly
known as St. Bernard, was the greatest and most influential churchman of his
time and one of the greatest of all times. Under his patronage the Order
quickly obtained favor and support and grew in members and power.
St. Bernard drew up the
"rule" or series of regulations governing the organization of the Order and
the lives of its members. The original "rule" of St. Bernard was written in
French. Unfortunately there are no early copies of it known to be in
existence. There are however, later copies together with the translation into
Latin known as the "Latin Rule" and additional statutes which were adopted
from time to time.
It was vehemently asserted by
the enemies of the Order, in later years, that there was a secret "rule" quite
different from this which entirely changed the character of the Order, colored
it with heresy, and stained it with sin. There is no evidence whatever that
any such "secret rule" ever existed. Stories about it may be safely dismissed
as idle gossip.
The French "rule" provided
for the officers of the organization and defined their duties. It also
carefully regulated the daily conduct of the Knights and provided for the
support which they should receive from the common funds of the Order. It is
interesting to observe that the "rule" provided that each Knight should have
three horses and one squire. By favor of his commander, or prior, he might
have four horses and two squires.
This effectually disposes of
the legend that the great seal of the Order, representing two Knights mounted
on one horse, was intended to indicate that in early days the Order was so
poor that the Knights went to battle mounted thus in pairs. The second rider
in the device is probably intended to represent either a wounded Knight who is
being rescued by his brother in arms or a pilgrim being protected by a Knight
of the Temple.
The Knights were not priests.
That is to say, although under the three vows they were not in holy orders.
Each priory or house of the Knights was provided with one or more chaplains.
These chaplains were members of the Order of the Temple and were always in
holy orders. The chaplains were exempt from ordinary ecclesiastical
jurisdiction. Spiritually they were accountable only to the Pope; temporally
only to the Grand Master. They were the sole confessors of the Knights, who
were not permitted to accept the ministrations of religion from any but their
own chaplains unless it was impossible to secure a chaplain's services.
The monastic custom of having
the Bible read at meals was prescribed by the "rule" for the Knights, in
consideration of the fact that they were laymen, and consequently uneducated,
the Bible was read in the vernacular and not in the Latin which was customary
in religious services. There is in existence an old French Bible of the
Templars which shows evidences of the critical spirit on the part of the
With this brief survey let us
pass on to the opening years of the fourteenth century. The little band of
eight Knights sworn to the service of the Holy Sepulcher and the protection of
pilgrims had grown to be one of the great powers of the world. If its purpose
and policy had been other than they were it might have shaken the power of any
monarch in Christendom. It consisted of many thousand Knights besides the lay
brothers and feudal servants of the Order. It possessed wealth far greater
than that of any state in Christendom. This wealth was the result of the great
stream of gifts which for two centuries had flowed steadily into the coffers
of the Order, supplemented by the spoils of war, and husbanded with great
financial abilty. Kings, princes, and nobles throughout Europe had vied with
each other in their great donations to the Order of the Temple. It owned
literally thousands of estates all over Europe and wherever in the east the
crusades had been successful.
The crusades being over and
their immense expenditures having ceased, the enormous revenues of the Order
were accumulating in its hands, and those were not idle hands, for the
Templars were not content to let their gold pieces lie idly in their treasury.
This was before the age of modern banking and the Templars, with their great
wealth, their many establishments, and their connection with the Orient, made
themselves the great international financiers of the age. Kings and merchants
alike borrowed on good security and at ample interest the unused treasure of
the Order. Oriental exchange, especially, was almost absolutely in their hands
so that they acted as the great financial clearing house between Europe and
Asia. Their establishment, commonly known as the Temple, at Paris was the
center of the world's money market.
It is said that when De Molay
came from the east, lured by the treacherous call to consult about the
crusade, he brought with him 150,000 florins in gold and ten horse loads of
silver. With due allowance to the difference in the purchasing power of money,
the gold was probably the equivalent of three million dollars today. I have no
way to guess the value of the silver, but it must have been very great. This,
it will be remembered, was the ready money upon which De Molay could lay his
hands at short notice.
The power of the Order
matched its wealth. The Grand Master was a sovereign prince, recognized as a
full peer of any monarch in Europe. The Knights, save those too old for
warfare, were all soldiers trained to arms and owing no allegiance to any
power but the Grand Master and the Pope. During the stormy years of the
crusades, they, with the Knights of the compan ion Orders, formed the fighting
edge of the Christian army. Combined with their lay brothers and the feudal
array of their tenants they formed an army far superior to any other in
That an Order possessed of
such wealth and power should have been regarded with suspicion, and even fear,
is only natural. It is entirely clear, however, from their entire history, and
especially from their fate, that the Order had no policy in the political
affairs of Europe either for its own advantage or that of any others. The
Knights adhered strictly to the original policy of the Order. They had no
enemies in Christendom and no friends outside of it. Their sole military and
political purpose was the service of the church and the reconquest of the Holy
Land. It must be remembered that while we know that the crusades were over in
1300 the men of that day did not know it. They fully expected that the
crusades would be resumed, and the Knights of the Temple were maintaining
their numbers and diligently increasing their wealth in order to be able to
strike more effectively than ever before when the banner of the Cross should
once more take the field against the Crescent.
In addition to all their
wealth and power the Order had great privileges of two classes, lay and
clerical. As lay nobles they held and exercised all the usual feudal rights in
and over estates which had been given to them, with certain extremely
important additions. The Order, being a corporation in the first rank of the
feudal hierarchy, exercised in all its fiefs what was known in those days as
high, middle, and low justices, that is, complete jurisdiction extending even
to the infliction of the death penalty. Owing allegiance only to the head of
their Order, the estates of the Knights were not liable for military service
except to the Order itself. The estates of the Order were the permanent
possessions of the corporation.
The greater part of the
revenue of the kings of that age was derived from certain rights of taxation
which were exercised on special occasions; for example, the passage of an
estate by death or marriage from one holder to another involved certain
payments to the king or over-lord which amounted practically to an inheritance
tax. The marriage of children, the knighting of the noble's sons, or other
events in the family of the noble were occasions for gifts to the king which
were practically taxes. Other forms of taxation were laid from time to time on
the feudal estates. But corporations do not die, do not marry, and do not have
children, consequently the estates of the Templars were free from every kind
of taxation, except for the benefit of the Temple itself.
This exemption from military
service and from financial burdens struck at the very roots of the royal power
as the state was organized in the middle ages. The Templars enjoyed all the
benefits of the feudal system but bore none of its burdens. When an estate in
France or England, for some reason, passed into the hands of the Templars it
was to all intents and purposes taken out of the kingdom as effectively as if
it had been swallowed up by the sea.
As an Order of military
monks, the Knights enjoyed clerical privileges equally great.
That their spiritual affairs
were in the hands of their chaplains, has already been pointed out. In
addition to this, the Grand Master and others of the high officers possessed
the power of disciplinary confession, but not of sacramental confession, a
point important to be remembered in connection with later developments. The
Order as a whole and its members individually were entirely free from the
jurisdiction of bishops and other ecclesiastical authorities. They were
accountable only to the Pope in person. They were not affected by general
censures or decrees of the Pope unless they were especially mentioned. Their
churches, of which there were great numbers on their various estates besides
those attached to their houses, were not affected by ordinary excommunication
and interdicts. No matter what ecclesiastical censures might hang over the
people of the nation the activities of the churches of the Temple went on
undisturbed. Excommunicated persons might be buried in consecrated ground
belonging to the Templars, and this was not infrequently done. They possessed,
by papal decree, the right to have churches not their own which were under
interdict opened twice a year and services held for the purpose of presenting
their cause and taking collections for the support of the Holy War. They
collected the usual tithes from the churches on their estates but they did not
pay any tithes, even for those churches, into the coffers of the Church.
The natural result of this
condition was envy and hatred on the part of both civil and religious
authorities. Civil authorities looked on with dismay while the broad lands of
noble after noble passed by gift or bequest into the control of the Templars
and ceased to contribute to the maintenance of the state, while the individual
noble was filled with envy as he saw the Knights of the Temple enjoying
privileges and powers so much greater than his own, and the law officers of
the crown indignantly found their authority everywhere terminating at the
boundary line of one of the Temple estates.
On the other hand the
religious authorities, accustomed to control the lives and actions even of
kings, were enraged beyond measure to find themselves utterly powerless before
the Knights of the Temple. Entrenched behind the many privileges granted by a
long line of Popes the Templar could and did snap his fingers in the face of
the most arrogant archbishop or cardinal and the angry churchmen had to
swallow his wrath and digest it as best he could, while he had not even the
poor consolation of collecting revenues from the parishes in his jurisdiction
which had passed into the hands of the Order. This sort of thing had raised
tides of envy and hatred against the Order of which it seemed to be strangely
Claims that the Knights
abused their power and privileges were common. The picture of the Templar in
Scott's Ivanhoe undoubtedly represents the widespread conception of the
character and conduct of the members of the Order. That there were men like
Scott's Templar could hardly be denied, but there is no reason to believe that
they were typical of the Order generally.
One feature of the Order gave
the opportunity for proceedings against it and the excuse for its undoing. The
Order of the Temple was always a secret order. Its conclaves for business and
for the reception of candidates were always closely guarded. It was as
impossible for one not a member of the Order to get into meeting of the
Knights of that day as it would be for like person to get into a meeting of
one of our modern gatherings of Knights Templars.
This secrecy, as is
inevitable, in all ages and especially in times of ignorance and superstition,
like the thireenth and fourteenth centuries, bred all manner of suspicion.
Men, and especially ignorant men, are ready to believe that evil things are
done in places where they are not admitted and unfortunately there were too
many who envied and hated the Templars and were ready to spread these
whispered accusations. It was asserted that under cover of this secrecy the
Knights not only lapsed into heresy and consorted with Saracens and other
misbelievers but that they practiced idolatry and necromancy, that they
performed the most blasphemous travesties of religion, and that they were
given to licentiousness and practiced every conceivable crime, natural and
We have now set the stage for
the tragedy. Let us consider a little the persons and antecedents of the three
principal actors. They were the Grand Master of the Templars, the King of
France, and the Pope.
The Grand Master of the
Templars, who had in been office since 1295, was Jacques de Molay. He was a
simple, unlettered Knight, personally brave, confiding and unsuspicious,
incapable of intrigue or treachery, not very clear headed or resourceful in
the face of other than physical peril. His intentions were always good; his
conduct under the severe trials to which he was subjected was sometimes weak.
He was a man who could be easily deceived and could be worked upon through his
reverence for the Pope, his respect for the King, and his honest desire to
protect the interest of the Order and the welfare of his brother Knights.
The Knights generally were
fighters and some of them were men of affairs, but they were not thinkers and
they were not intriguers. It has been said that they were too stupid to be
heretics but this is probably an extreme statement. They were rather simple
minded single hearted gentlemen thoroughly loyal to the cause to which they
had dedicated their lives and for which they were ready to die.
The King of France was Philip
IV, commonly known as Philippe Le Bel or Philip the Fair, a name, by the way,
which would better be translated, Philip the Handsome. Born in 1268 he
ascended the throne in 1285. As his name indicates, he was a man of singular
beauty, being said to be the handsomest man of his time. He was cold,
self-contained, far-sighted, crafty, and unscrupulous. He possessed great
ability and was absolutely remorseless in the choice of means and in the
pursuit of his ends. It is said that he was never known to smile and those
whom he crushed in the cold persistency with which he executed his purposes
said that he was not a man at all, but that his beautiful body was inhabited
by a demon instead of a human soul.
It must be admitted that from
the point of view of the interests and prosperity of the kingdom he was a good
king. In his day France was well governed and strongly consolidated and he
left it on the whole in a much better condition than he found it. He had one
supreme end in life and that was to make the royal government supreme in
France. He was determined that the government should be independent of priests
or noble and the king should have a free hand, not limited in the exercise of
his authority by any powers within or without the confines of the kingdom.
To accomplish this he
believed that two things were necessary. One was that the shackles imposed by
the papacy upon the King of France, in common with the other monarchs of
Europe, should be broken and the crown of France relieved from the domination
of the Vatican. The other was that the feudal nobles should be brought into
subjection to the crown and especially that the independent power of the Order
of the Temple should be broken, their wealth plundered for the filling of the
royal Treasury, their great estates restored to the usual condition of feudal
dependency, and their resources of men and money made available for the
purposes of the kingdom.
The Pope was Clement V. In
order to understand the conduct of Pope Clement, it is necessary to go back a
little. At a comparatively early period in the reign of Philip, Boniface VIII
ascended the throne, in 1294. The predecessor of Boniface was Celestine V, one
of the most singular popes who ever occupied the chair of St. Peter.
Deeply imbued with mysticism,
he was a dreamer of dreams and a writer of strange books. The sanctity of his
life and the strangeness of his somewhat unintelligible writings placed him on
the narrow edge between condemnation as a heretic on one side and canonization
as a saint on the other. Whether saint or heretic, he was utterly unfit for
the difficult administrative duties of the papacy. He never wanted to be Pope
and after a short and troubled reign he was induced to resign, and sought
seclusion, which was really imprisonment, in a monastery, where he died in a
very short time.
Boniface was certainly the
leader in the movement which brought about the resignation of Celestine and
was charged with being the author of the unfortunate old man's misfortune. At
any rate, he succeeded him on the papal throne. There was quite a good deal of
doubt in the minds of canon lawyers as to whether a pope could resign, and
therefore a cloud rested on the title of Boniface, a cloud which was only
partially dispelled by the death of Celestine. The enemies of Boniface, and he
had many, declared that the death of his predecessor was not a natural one and
that Boniface himself was responsible for it.
Boniface was proud, arrogant,
and rash. He declared himself over-lord of all the monarchs of the world, and
set the high water mark of papal pretension. On one memorable occasion, when
there was a vacancy in the office of Emperor, the Pope appeared in public,
brandishing his sword and declaring that he was Emperor as well as Pope. He
claimed, and attempted to exercise, power to set up and pull down kings and
Naturally, Philip the Fair
and Boniface very soon found themselves engaged in a deadly conflict. Boniface
laid France under an interdict and excommunicated King Philip and his family.
The King, supported by a host of the clergy as well as the laity of France,
appealed to a future Council of the Church. It is worthy of mention that this
appeal was signed by the Order of the Temple. The appeal struck Boniface in
his most sensitive spot. The question of whether or not a Council was superior
to a Pope had not yet been settled and the assumption that it was his superior
was unspeakably exasperating to the overbearing, tyrannical Boniface.
King Philip was far too
aggressive to content himself with this appeal. Seizing an occasion when the
pope was absent from Rome on a visit to Anagni, his native town, and
comparatively undefended, the king sent his chancellor, William de Nogaret,
and Sciarra Colonna, a great Italian noble who was on bad terms with the pope,
to arrest Boniface. By whom Philip expected that the pope would or could be
tried is not clear. The charges preferred were intrusion, that is to say,
forcing himself into the papal chair without proper title, gross immorality,
tyranny and heresy.
Boniface was actually
arrested and treated with great indignity. Some authorities say that he was
actually struck in the face by Colonna. The people of Anagni rose and
overpowered the guard and released Boniface, but the shock of his arrest with
the attendant humiliation and indignation caused his death within a few days.
He was succeeded by a
somewhat colorless pope, Benedict II, who ruled only from October 27, 1303, to
the seventh of the following July. He released France from the interdict and
Philip and his family from excommunication, but his reign was otherwise
Now came the question of the
election of a new pope, in which Philip proposed to play an important part.
His attention fell upon Bertrand de Got (Gouth). De Got came from a Gascon
family and was an Aquitainian, that is to say, an English subject, for it must
be remembered that at this time about half of what is now France belonged to
the dominions of the English kings, either by descent from the Dukes of
Normandy, or by virtue of the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry III.
De Got was Archbishop of
Bordeaux. He had been an early friend of Philip, who knew the man thoroughly,
but in the quarrel between Philip and the pope, he had sided with Boniface.
Election to the papacy was not then limited to the cardinals, and the
Archbishop of Bordeaux might well aspire to the tiara. He was extremely
ambitious, hungering with all his soul for wealth, honor, and power. Philip
knew his man and believed that as pope he might be controlled, especially if
he was made to feel that he owed his election to the king.
Philip did not see the
Archbishop personally, as has been claimed by many writers, but he did
unquestionably have an understanding with him through intermediaries before
using his influence to secure his election. Two questions were raised by King
Philip. One was the question of the suppression of the Order of the Temple,
for the interest of both church and state through the abolition of the power
and privileges which made the Templars so objectionable to both. The other was
the question of the heresy of Boniface VIII. King Philip threatened to bring
pressure to bear which would make it necessary to call a General Council
before which he would impeach the late Pope of heresy. In view of the great
unpopularity of Boniface and of certain things said and done by him, there
appeared to be great danger that the charge could be pushed home and the
memory of the late Pope attainted of heresy to the great scandal of the church
and disgrace of the papacy.
De Got was unscrupulous
enough to agree to almost anything in order to be made Pope and he therefore
agreed to co-operate in the suppression of the Order of the Temple if the king
would agree not to press the charge of heresy against his predecessor. With
this understanding King Philip supported his candidacy and he was elected Pope
and took the title of Clement V.
As might be expected it very
soon appeared that Bertrand De Got who wanted to be Pope and Clement V who was
Pope, were not quite the same person. Like many another successful politician
before and since the Pope had no intention of fulfilling pre-election promises
if he could get out of it.
His first movement was to
propose the consolidation of the Order of the Temple with the Order of the
Hospitalers. This would then enable him to reorganize both bodies and amend
their charters. This project was proposed in 1306, but was abandoned on
account of the vigorous opposition of the Grand Masters of both the Orders.
The Pope then proposed to reform the Order of the Temple, but moved slowly in
carrying out the project.
King Philip was very
impatient at the Pope's delay and continually pressed him to fulfill his
promises of suppression under threat of a general Council and condemnation of
Boniface VIII for heresy. He was not content, however, with insistence and
threats. Through his agents he found two broken Knights of worthless
character, Esquiau (Squin) De Florian, a Frenchman, and Noffo Dei (Deghi), a
Florentine. These men claimed to have been members of the Order of the Temple
and offered pretended confessions in which they charged the Order with heresy
and various abominable practices. For all this they were well paid.
On the basis of this
manufactured evidence Philip submitted formal charges to the Pope. The Pope
received them, but continued to delay action. Philip's determination, however,
was more than a match for the Pope's procrastination. He found means to force
the Pope's hand through the intervention of William of Paris, Grand Inquisitor
of France. The Grand Iniquisitor had been King Philip's confessor and was
entirely ready to lend himself to the King's desires. By virtue of his office
he had power to take summary action in all cases of heresy within the kingdom
and to take such measures as he saw fit to deal with them.
Philip submitted his evidence
to the Grand Inisitor who forthwith demanded of the civil authorities the
arrest of all the Templars in France. Obviously this was a very serious
matter. If the Templars had taken concerted action to resist such an arrest it
would probably have been impossible. Assembled in their strong houses they
might have stood siege until aid could have reached them from other countries
and it would have been a very serious question whether Philip could have
retained his throne. Plans were therefore laid for their capture by surprise
and arrangements were made for the simultaneous arrest of all the Knights
throughout the kingdom on the night of October 13, 1307.
The blow came like lightning
from a clear sky. It is true that the Templars had been aware of the
circulation of unpleasant reports. They knew that there were whispers of evil
and De Molay had gone as far as to ask, in 1306, that an investigation be made
into the conduct of the Order, but investigation was the last thing the King
desired and no attention was paid to the request.
The apprehensions of the
Templars were set at rest and their confidence was further deliberately
strengthened by the treacherous conduct of the King. In 1306 King Philip had
been assailed by a mob in the streets of Paris and saved himself from great
personal danger by taking refuge in the house of the Templars which happened
to be not far from the scene of disturbance. This obligation, however, rested
lightly on his conscience. The Templars were accustomed to have a public
reception of Knights in addition to the private initiation and King Philip
attended such a public reception the spring of 1307. On October 12, the very
day before that fixed for the arrest, De Molay was present by invitation, at
the funeral of King Philip's sister-in-law and was assigned a place of honor
among the participants in the ceremonies. It is not to be wondered at that the
blow of October 13 was an entire surprise and was entirely successful. De
Molay and all the Knights in the kingdom were arrested, their goods were
seized, and their houses taken possession of, without the slightest attempt at
resistance so far as we have any record.
The events which ensued are
somewhat complicated and consist of two distinct sets of proceedings, first,
personal proceedings against the individual Knights and second, proceedings
against the Order as a whole and in all its branches.
Proceedings against the
Knights were the first in time. They were begun with great vigor by the Grand
Inquisitor of France, but there was some question about the Grand Inquisitor's
jurisdiction. Particular rights and immunities of the Templars which have
already been noted might be considered as placing them beyond the reach of
proceedings not instigated by the Pope, or at least approved by him.
The Grand Inquisitor,
however, would not allow himself to be troubled by questions of this sort and
immediately proceeded to examine the arrested Knights under torture.
We must not forget that this
was not an unusual proceeding. The examination of accused persons, and even of
witnesses, under torture was the ordinary method of judicial procedure at that
time. It was not a method confined to the Inquisition but was commonly
practiced by the civil courts. It would have been very unusual if it had been
omitted in this case. Horrible as it appears to us and useless as a method of
ascertaining the truth, it was an every day occurrence in the 14th century and
was absolutely relied upon as a method of getting at facts.
Torture was not confined to
physical torment. The accused were promised clemency if they freely confessed
the acts with which they were charged and named their accomplices. In the case
of the Templars such promises were conveyed in letters under the royal seal.
These letters were decoys pure and simple. They were either forgeries or
deliberately written with intent to deceive and without the slightest
intention of keeping the promises which they contained.
The accused were told that if
they retracted these confessions they would suffer the pains of death in this
world and of hell in the world to come. It was realized that men under
physical torture will often say almost anything which may be suggested to them
as a means of securing relief from their sufferings and these means were taken
to prevent a retraction of these forced confessions.
Moreover the law of evidence
in use in those days contained one provision which seems to us a peculiarly
ghastly mockery. The confessions which were wrung from the lips of the
tortured victims were taken down as uttered. Depositions thus obtained were
taken to the victim after he had recovered from the first effects of the
torture and he was asked to sign them. If he did thus sign them, aware that a
refusal to do so would mean renewal of the tortures together with the before
mentioned threats of death and damnation, confessions thus signed were held to
be voluntary and not legally made under torture.
Naturally many of the Knights
confessed. De Molay himself made a partial confession. Most of these
confessions were afterwards retracted, but for the time being they stood.
The charges will be examined
further on, but the principal things confessed should be noted here. They
Denial of Christ. Defiling
the Cross by spitting upon it and by other methods too indecent to describe.
Indecent kisses which it was
claimed the initiates were compelled to give the receiving officer on various
parts of his body.
Sodomy. This, by the way, was
a vice much more common in the 13th century than now and was ordinarily a part
of any serious accusations made against either individuals or groups of
individuals. It was one of the charges against Boniface VIII when he was
arrested by De Nogaret and Colonna.
Idolatry. This was based on
the alleged worshipof an idol, of which we shall hear more, and on the
accusation that the cord which was part of the habit of every Templar was
consecrated by this idol by being touched to it before the Templars put it on.
Other abominations were vaguely referred to but these were the main points of
(To be Continued.)
BY BRO. RABBI EUGENE
My Brothers: Mine it is to
speak of the Trowel--that instrument which, occupying an important position in
the work-chest of the operative mason is, as our ritual suggests, the especial
tool of the Master Mason; made use of by operative masons to spread the cement
which unites a building into a common mass, but utilized by the Free and
Accepted Mason for the more noble purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly
love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or
society of friends, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble
contention, or rather emulation, of who can best work and best agree. What
instrument could be of nobler significance ? What implement of more glorious
Through the use of the
trowel, spreading the cement, the single bricks and stones, once a chaotic
mass, now stand united and solid, to form this noble edifice which we dedicate
this day to the cause of God and Masonry. Through the symbolic service of the
Masonic trowel, spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection, we, the
individual members, once as separated and chaotic as these stones which house
us, are as firmly bound together in a union which dedicates us one for all and
all for one. . . What were this structure, which we solemnly consecrate, had
not the trowel been honestly wielded, or if the cement and mortar should fail
it? What were our brotherhood without the bond of love and affection to bind
us close? And only as long as this bond continues to unite us, only so long
will this Temple stand a true shrine of Masonry and of God. Only so long will
our Brotherhood be a real brotherhood, worthy of its consecration and its
Do we need this lesson? Does
this thought require the especial emphasis we would wish to give it? Truly,
none more. None to which mankind has beer. more impervious in all times and
Three thousand years ago, on
Judea's plain, the prophet of the Lord proclaimed: "Behold, it shall come to
pass in the latter day that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be
established at the top of the mountains and exalted above all hills. And all
nations shall flow unto it. And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares
and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations shall not lift up sword against
nation. Neither shall there be war any more." For two thousand years, not the
one seer alone, but all prophets and ministers of Judaism and Christianity
together have united to emphasize the same ideal. They have urged and re-urged
the truth on the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of all his children.
Out of such conviction they have hoped to bring to dawning the day of
But look about us today and
see the result. Where is the brotherhood, the affection, the peace, the
understanding ? Do not bigotry, hatred, superstition, ignorance and jealousy
flourish as ever before? Are not differences in creed, color and birth, on the
slightest provocation, still found meaningless excuse for savagely warring
nations, as for many of-their supposed superiors in culture? Does not the
whole modern world panorama but demonstrate that whatever our lip service to
the ideal of God's fatherhood and Man's brotherhood, whatever the hymns and
prayers that have arisen from our temples, the songs and prayers were not from
the heart but from the lips of man only?
As Master Masons, who have
taken the obligations of the three degrees, brotherhood is our ideal. We have
vowed to eradicate darkness, hatred, superstition and misunderstanding from
out our own lives and from out the world as far as lay within our power.
Recognizing no particular creed within our Lodge room, hailing as brothers the
followers of all creeds who are worthy of such recognition, we have taught
ourselves, and we hold before the world the constant example, that men of
different creeds can stand and work together for a common purpose. Living in a
world of discord, in which brotherhood, love, sympathy and justice are,
all-too-often, nothing more than words, it is urgent beyond expression that we
continually reimpress our vows upon our hearts and minds, that we may never
lose them from our lives. Most urgent of all is it for us to spread their
influence as far and wide in the world as our united power will permit, that
thus we may do our share to end the reign of bigotry, hatred and superstition.
Thus will we do our part to help hasten the dawning of the day when the
glorious brotherhood and peace dream of the prophet shall be realized.
As men and Masons we
understand that this task is not easy of accomplishment. But as men and Masons
we have faith in God, in our fellowmen, in ourselves. We know that the
attainment of the goal is the sure promise of the morrow. In this faith we
live and labor on.
But note this one thing more,
my Brothers. Those who wrote our ritual did not harbor the foolish notion that
initiation into Masonry would in some mysterious way, in a single moment,
through a single act, change the entire nature of the initiate, to make him in
a moment the perfect servant of God and man that his obligations require of
him. We are not told that as the result of entering the Masonic fraternity a
man must be at once, so filled with the spirit of brotherhood that the spirit
of false contention CAN never again find lodgement within his breast. We are
told that it SHOULD never again be found within him. The demand is made of
each of us who comes to this Altar to take the obligation, that he shall
continuously thereafter strive to eradicate from his heart the prejudice,
error and misunderstanding that may have filled him in the past, that at last
the moment may come when he is a Mason in reality as well as in name. But the
burden of making ourselves such true Masons is placed upon our own shoulders,
and nowhere else. To us ourselves and to no others the task is assigned.
It is these high and noble
purposes, my Brothers, of which the Trowels are here emblematic. These the
ideals, of which they stand to remind us upon our Altar. As we consecrate
these trowels anew, this night, unto their holy offlce, unto these same holy
purposes may we, at the same time, re-consecrate ourselves. To these ideals
may we vow renewed fidelity.
WATCH YOUR STEP
Yet in opinions look not
Your wake is nothing, mind
the coming track;
Leave what you've done for
what you have to do;
Don't be "consistent," but
simply be true.
--O. W. Holmes.
ARCHES AND ARCHES
Build as we may we shall not
reach the sky;
Our little arches bend
Beneath the eternal arch that
curves on high,
Above the eternal depths we
do not know.
--F. D. Snelling.
THE LODGE ROOM OVER SIMPKIN'S
BROTHER LAWRENCE N. GREENLEAF
Past Grand Master of Colorado
The plainest lodge room in
the land was over Simpkin's store,
Where ,Friendship Lodge had
met each month for fifty years or more.
When o'er the earth the moon,
full-orbed, had cast her brightest beam
The brethren came from miles
around on horseback and in team,
And ah! what hearty grasp of
hand, what welcome met them there
As mingling with the waiting
groups they slowly mount the stair
Exchanging fragmentary news
or prophecies of crop,
Until they reach the Tiler's
room and current topics drop,
To turn their thoughts to
nobler themes they cherish and adore,
And which were heard on
meeting night up over Simpkin's store.
To city eyes, a cheerless
room, long usage had defaced
The tell-tale line of lath
and beam on wall and ceiling traced.
The light from oil-fed lamps
was dim and yellow in its hue,
The carpet once could pattern
boast, though now 'twas lost to view;
The altar and the pedestals
that marked the stations three
The gate-post pillars topped
wilh balls, the rude-carved letter G
Where village joiner's clumsy
work, with many things beside
Where beauty's lines were all
effaced and ornament denied.
There could be left no
lingering doubt, if doubt there was before, The
plainest lodge room in the
land was over Simpkin's store.
While musing thus on outward
form the meeting time drew near,
And we had glimpse of inner
life through watchful eye and ear.
When lodge convened at
gavel's sound with offlcers in place,
We looked for strange,
conglomerate work, but could no errors trace.
The more we saw, the more we
heard, the greater our amaze,
To find those country
brethren there so skilled in Mason's ways.
But greater marvels were to
come before the night was through
Where unity was not mere
name, but fell on earth like dew,
Where tenets had the mind
imbued, and truths rich fruitage bore,
In the plainest lodge room in
the land, up over Simpkin's store.
To hear the record of their
acts was music to the ear,
We sing of deeds unwritten
which on angel's scroll appear
A WIDOW'S CASE -- FOUR
HELPLESS ONES--lodge funds were running low--
A dozen brethren sprang to
feet and offers were not slow.
Food, raiment, things of
needful sort, while one gave loads of wood,
Another, shoes for little
ones, for each gave what he could.
Then spake the last: "I
haven't things like these to give--but then
Some ready money may help
out"--and he laid down a TEN
Were brother cast on darkest
square upon life's checkered floor,
A beacon light to reach the
white--was over Simpkin's store.
Like scoffer who remained to
pray, impressed by sight and sound
The faded carpet 'neath our
feet was now like holy ground.
The walls that had such dingy
look were turned celestial blue,
The ceiling changed to canopy
where stars were shining through.
Bright tongues of flame from
altar leaped, the G was vivid blaze,
All common things seemed
glorified by heaven's reflected rays.
O ! wondrous transformation
wrought through ministry of love--
Behold the LODGE ROOM
BEAUTIFUL !--fair type of that above.
The vision fades--the lesson
lives--while taught as ne'er before
In the plainest lodge room in
the land--up over Simpkin's store.
THAT WHICH ABIDES
A great character, founded on
the living rock of principle, is, in fact, not a solitary phenomenon, to be at
once perceived, limited and described. It is a dispensation of Providence,
designed to have not merely an immediate but a continuous, progressive and
neverending agency. It survives the man who possesses it; survives his
age--perhaps his country and his language.
Knowledge is proud that he
has learned so much; Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
--Cowper. The Task.
BULLETIN -- NO. 2
Edited by Bro. Robert I.
Clegg, Caxton Building, Cleveland, Ohio
Note. Evidence multiplies
that this Correspondence Circle idea has met the desires of a great number of
our Members. This did not surprise any of us. The remarkable--and
unexpected--feature of the replies to Brother Clegg's September letter was the
universal desire that the Society should from the beginning lead off in a
definite Course of Study. The demand appears to be for something very like a
Chautauqua organization. Our theory of co-operation between Study Clubs
contemplated an interchange of queries and results between groups of Brethren
undertaking to work out programs of their own, suited to local conditions.
This, we felt, would make of the Society's office an headquarters, a forum, a
radiating center, suggestions coming in and being forwarded everywhere that
similar needs seemed to exist. We had hoped to add, from time to time,
references and helpful plans for overcoming obstacles.
But to meet the present
unexpected situation requires time and study. We shall not shirk the problem,
but with your help, will tackle it confidently. Our friends must needs see
that it will only be as they present their suggestions and problems that we
shall be able (if at all) to think them through.
This much must be said, in
order that the Society's attitude shall not be misunderstood. We can only work
out the outlines of study, papers, etc., which this new plan will require, in
co-operation with our own Members as individuals, or as voluntary Study Clubs.
What is said must be considered as suggestive and advisory only. Those who go
along with us do so for the sole purpose of self-improvement, even as we
expect to be benefited by your efforts. As light radiates from its central
source without producing friction, but generates warmth and fruition on
far-distant bodies, so must we mutually agree that our united efforts-- we
supplying as best we can that which you will use--shall be always and ever a
union with the single purpose of promoting a better understanding of Masonry,
and between Masons. In a word we embark now into a new enterprise, but as
before, with no ulterior motive whatever. We simply "think out loud" in an
effort to help one another.
COMMITTEE READY FOR TOOLS
Your work has, by comparison,
taught a number of the Brethren the baldness of the effort here, and
encouraged them to try to better conditions. A Committee on Masonic Research
and Education has been selected but has no tools with which to work. You would
confer a great favor if you be so good as to cause me to be sent instructions
regarding organization, and such literature as would be helpful during the
formative stage. With best wishes, I am, Yours fraternally, E. M. Walker,
Masonic Temple, Winnipeg, Man.
The October issue of The
Builder has in the Bulletin section in the center a letter from S. H. S. His
problems were analogous to yours. They are indeed so closely akin that I might
venture in default of further particulars from you to repeat verbatim what I
then said. If in any wise the answer to S. H. S. does not properly meet all
the requirements I shall be willing, yes, anxious to serve you in every
If your plans are local, and
of such were my intentions in preparing the letter for the September issue
(vide inside back cover), then the situation is less awkward for me to handle.
I feel very diffident at making suggestions toward State organizations. Such a
group of earnest students as was suggested in the September issue could very
informally but effectively pursue research studies. Simplest of organizations
is all that is necessary. For those who may consider something more formal I
shall be very glad to assist in any way that is unobjectionable to the Masonic
With a very few books of
reference and a supply of the various publications issued by the National
Masonic Research Society you can easily make a start. During the initial
stages and until your members get the swing of the movement you can use for
discussion some of the papers that will be printed for that purpose in The
Builder and in this Bulletin. Our resources will be at the disposal of the
Society, as long anyway as they will hold out under pressure, and I am always
ready to comfer with any of the members. Kindly call upon me again as you go
along. I am keenly interested in everything you undertake in study club
propaganda. How can I best serve you ?
EARNEST STUDY TO BE
I am much interested in Bro.
Clegg's proposition for group meetings, and request a list of the members of
the Research Society in my location. If anyone else in this section should
request a list please give him the preference as I am Secretary of Adelphi
Lodge and don't feel that I can really afford the time and effort necessary
for such a proposition, but feel the lack of real earnest study among the
I would much rather be an
enthusiastic booster for some good leader than to have to do the leading
myself, so even if some other brother requests later than mine please give him
We have over 500 members and
are doing considerable work, so you can see the Secretary is fairly busy.
Julius H. McCollum, Secy., 40 Shelter St., New Haven, Conn.
My heart goes out to the
active Secretary of a big lodge. What a multitude of things come his way, all
demanding prompt and systematic and continually courteous attention. Yet who
has better chance to bring studious Freemasonry straight home to the members,
old and new? Masters come and go but Secretaries commonly continue permanent
as the famous pillars at the porch, greeting the guests, cheering sojourners,
ever making programmes and seeing them duly executed.
Your letter was officially
acknowledged forthwith. If there is anything that I can do now to start you
off the more successfully please let me know of it.
AWAKEN THE HEART INTEREST OF
I wish to make response to
open letter from Robert I. Clegg for list of members of Research Society in my
immediate vicinity for co-operative study of the neglected half of Masonry,
the heart part. I very much commend your work. Yours very truly and
fraternally, A. K. Bradley, Tioga, Texas.
You have indeed hit the spot.
It is the heart interest we seek to encourage. Too much of Freemasonry has
been allowed to push the research intimacy of it aside. Advise us oś your
progress. Easy as it is to start something, it takes vim to keep agoing Your
letter lings so true that I shall expect further light upon your advance.
Please keep us posted on your progress. Highly value your complimentary words.
HOW SHALL WE START SOMETHING?
I see in the September
BUILDER something about clubs for the purpose of studying Masonry. I am
writing for information and as to how to get started. Fraternally yours, A. G.
Templen, Greeneville, Mo.
Your desire for information
on the best way to make a start - is met fairly well in the Bulletin
accompanying the October BUILDER. Other particulars as to local members were
sent to you direct. Much more than these details are necessary and will be
supplied in due course as my opportunities and the resources the Society are
capable of dealing to the best of our respective abilities with the situation.
We want to start right in all we attempt but we shall avoid all possible
DENVER IS UP AND DOING
If there is to be a study
club organized in Denver, Colo., I would like very much to become a member of
it. I have been ying to get into something like this for a long time. Have
been doing a lot of Masonic reading lately, but don't get out of it hat I
should and am sure that what we need is some definite plan of study along some
certain line. Very truly yours, W. A. Reynolds, 1079 So. Corona, Denver, Colo.
If there is not a study club
organized in Denver it will not be because of any lack of the finest material
for membership therein. Be sure and get my old and highly esteemed friend,
Henry F. Evans, the secretary of Rob Morris Lodge, to join it. Where there is
one like Evans there must be others of the same kind. In him is the true
instinct of evangelism. He cannot help but be a missionary of Masonry. You
won't have to interest him. Long ago he was vaccinated and it took for keeps.
A definite plan of study
along some certain line is as you noint out essentially necessary. In the
October issue I briefly resented an outline for the student of Freemasonry.
Any one of the topics enumerated would require a lot of study before apoaching
But such an outline will not
meet all the necessities of the case. What I am considering, and what I hope
to make an actual start at in this issue, is a paper or two in some such
convenient form as to be read at any study club. It ought to be complete in
itself. Have plenty of references so that the diggers among us may go ahead
with their own pursuit of the Masonic quarry, but independent of the literary
frills so that every brother can understand and appreciate fully. But proceed
along the lines laid down in the October issue. Make a start. Meantime we must
as we are able provide for all the needs that are being so suddenly developed
on the heels of that pioneering letter of mine in September.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS IN
Note the series of questions
running in The BUILDER. Would appreciate information as to how to procure
answers to same. If published in book form please advise where same can be
procured. I understand that there is to be a study club organized here as soon
as Temple No. 4 can arrange and fit up a new home. Reply at your convenience
appreciated. Yours fraternally, W. H. McEwen, 2106 Providence street, Houston,
The series of questions may
be answered by referring to the book pages quoted in the articles published in
the BUILDER. Perhaps you refer to the inquiry that once in a while waits in
the correspondence columns. Such instances are few, very few. So I rather
think your reference is to the lists of questions emanating from study clubs.
The questions are really in the nature of a review, quickening the interest
and impressing the memory with what has been the purposes of the book on which
the questions are founded.
Why let the study club wait
for a new home for the lodge? Lodge business is going on while the tenancy is
fluid. Pending the change you might plan with your local brethren the initial
meetings of a study club eminently deserving the excellent quarters that I
hope are in store for you. Please start something. Surely there can be no
better time. Can I help you?
AN EXCELLENT PLAN OF CAMPAIGN
Have read Bro. Robt. I.
Clegg's letter on inside back cover of September number of BUILDER and it's
just what I have wanted for a long, long time. Will you please send me a list
of the members of the Society in this immediate vicinity so that I may write
them calling their attention to Bro. Clegg's letter and arrange for a meeting
in the near future ?
As to the course of study we
will want to pursue, I am afraid that we will in a way be obliged to begin
with the ABCs of Masonry, but will write you in regard to this after we have
our first meeting.
If you have on hand a supply
of Bro. Clegg's letter that I may enclose in letters to Brothers who are
interested in the study side of Masonry but are not at this time members of
the Society, I would be glad to receive about five of same and through the
study club they may be made to realize what they are missing by not receiving
the BUILDER. Fraternally thine, J. A. Stiles, Morganfield, Ky.
Many thanks. All that we
could send your way has been forwarded from Society headquarters. Do not fail
to ask me for anything that will help you in making a start. I have in
prospect the publication of just such papers as I fervently hope will meet
your requirements. These will appear soon, perhaps a beginning may be made in
this issue. Meantime it is most cheering to note how thoroughly you have
caught the spirit of the enterprise. Your club is certain to be a success.
STARTING STUDY CLUBS BY WIRE
TELEGRAM--Will you please
send me paper regarding lecture course of outline in September issue by Clegg
? Will appreciate a prompt reply as subject to come before our Lodge September
18th. Wire me collect if I am too late. H. M. Marks, Jr., W. M., Lodge 148, F.
& A. M., Ft. Worth, Texas.
All the available information
went your way as quickly as possible. We hope that it was of service to you
though probably too hurried to do what could have been done with a greater
expenditure of time. The October issue of the BUILDER contained an article or
two written with your telegram in mind. If they did not give exactly the data
of which you were in search I trust you will write us again and go more
thoroughly into details of what is wanted.
TEXAN TAKES HOLD IN FINE
We desire to get Masonic
Lectures started in the various organizations here. I note "An Open Letter to
our Members " Sept. 16th, The Builder. We desire a lecture once a month, given
by our Masonic Club in their rooms, fostered by Master Masons. We may be able
to start study units. We have a place to meet. The Brethren will come together
on call of the Club the Third Tuesday in each month. The elements are all
here. The Club has a small library already. We need something for that Third
Tuesday and you can supply the need I'm sure. Cordially, K. Robey, Fort Worth,
Your letter in connection
with the telegram from your neighbor, Bro. Marks, is conclusive that Masonic
activity in your vicinity is most progressive. You have the opportunity in
shape and are prepared to go on with the work. We hope to publish the very
material of which you are in search and shall endeavor to time our labors so
that they will fit in nicely with the Tuesday,s on which you hold meetings.
Your plans strike my fancy very favorably. Every contingency seems
anticipated. My heartiest congratulations on your perseverance and your
A STUDY CLUB OF ONE, PLUS
Kindly forward me such
information as you may have at your command in compliance with Robert I.
Clegg's suggestion in your September issue of the BUlLDER. I am much
interested in such work and hope within a year or two to be in a position so
that I can mingle with Brother Masons more than I am permitted at this time or
for the last five years. In the meantime I can be preparing for the future as
I have much time that can be devoted to study. Waiting your early reply, I am,
Fraternally yours, Lem L. Gaghagen, Pelican Bay Woods Camp No. 2, Odessa,
Your message somehow gives me
the impression that at the moment you are too isolated for study club purposes
with the companionship of many Masons. Consider yourself therefore a
member-at-large, entitled to receive all the information that goes to any
study club and participating in such long-range benefits as can possibly be
deflected your way.
This Bulletin department
should be of particularly direct help to you in maintaining a close
acquaintance with the brethren. Many who cannot join study clubs must be cared
for here. Their independent study will through the BUILDER have excellent
vehicle for carrying the results of their investigations afield.
Let no brother lament that
near him there can be no study club. He can, as does the good brother here,
look ahead to the approaching and favoring prospects and in the meantime make
the best possible use of our current advantages in the study of Freemasonry.
LOCAL AND NATIONAL
Enclosed find check to cover
membership fee of Bro. J. R. Hunter. Will say in behalf of the BUILDER that we
find it very helpful in our Club work and we hope that by the first of
January, 1917, all our Club members will be members of the N. M. R. Society.
Thanking you for past favors, I am, Fraternally yours, N. T. Roach, Winslow,
The benefit from membership
in a national organization is very evident. If it were only that we can spread
our inquiries over the larger field, membership in the countrywide body is
preeminently worth while. We need you, and in the proportion that our
membership nationally is larger than is yours locally so do you get the
greater outlook with us.
In every manner practicable
we plan to make the contents of the BUILDER minister to the better knowledge
of Masonry and your approval of it is appreciated warmly.
Upon the repeated
solicitation of a number of the Brethren of the Craft of this city, I am
making a canvass among the membership to ascertain whether or not it would be
possible to organize a Masonic study club. With that purpose in mind I have
approached one of our very brightest Masons to assist us in the work should we
succeed in starting a club of that kind. He consented.
I now ask you, if I am not
asking too much of you, to please send me such literature as is being sent out
to such clubs in your state. Or state whether we ought to affiliate under the
Research Society. I should like to have a study program or outline of work.
Also what books, if any, we must purchase. Any information necessary to
thoroughly start us to working will be appreciated. Kindly send me a couple of
blanks for brethren who desire to join the N. M. R. Society. Thanking you in
advance, I am, Yours fraternally, E. W. Cruss, 32d, 2314 Ave. M., Galveston,
For the reasons stated in the
immediately preceding letter and my comments, it does seem highly desirable
that you and your brethren should become members of the National Masonic
Research Society. A further argument is that this body has already collected a
fund of information that has been given the light of print in the BUILDER and
in other publications. This data is available for all of you as members. In
the first volume of the BUILDER, in Dean Pound's book oL the "Philosophy of
Masonry," and in various other reprints, the Society has now at your command
enough for alluring discussion at many meetings.
The October issue had a
briefly expressed line of work laid out with a number of references to topics
and to authorities. We expect to supplement this with a series of papers in
this month's Bulletin. Such papers will not be too weighty but will
be arranged for ready use at
any study club. They will have a fund of references for deeper and further
My own preference as to books
is given in the October issue. If I could afford to buy but one book I would
get Mackey's Encyclopedia, the very latest edition. I am doubtful about study
club libraries; the individual member's own set of books is the thing to aim
at. I do not profit by the sale of any book and therefore my opinion is all
the more that of a buyer of volumes. Lodge libraries are usually stagnant.
Perhaps study club libraries may not run into the same ruts. But anyway I have
more faith in every member having his own books and slowly adding to their
number. Please refer to what is said on the question of books here and there
in the Bulletin of October.
FIRST AN ORGANIZATION, THEN
FOR THE REST
In answer to the Open Letter
in the September issue of the BUILDER I write asking for a list of the members
of Research Society who receive the BUILDER at Onawa. I would like very much
to get a Study Club started. Unless the list has already been sent I would
like to have it. After we get an organization, we will no doubt need
assistance as to topics and programs. I think the study club idea is the
genuine fruit that should be the result of the Society and the BUILDER.
Fraternally, Mark H. Dobson, Box 476, Onawa, Iowa.
Any way that we can help you
from headquarters, or anything that I can do personally, will be cheerfully
done with all the speed and conscientiousness that is ours. Emphatically you
are right. We are ready and must go forward. The accepted time is now. Please
call on our facilities as if they were in very deed your own.
GRAND LODGE URGES MASONIC
North Dakota Grand Lodge
passed a resolution during the recent session of Grand Lodge favoring the
aggressive pushing of Masonic study during this coming winter. We, in the
library, are making every effort to get reading lists, study outlines, etc.,
with that in mind. We are advised that the N. M. R. S. has just such lists and
outlines which may be obained for the use of its members. If such is the case,
may we hope to receive from you some assistance of this sort? Personally, I
should be very glad to learn just what the resources of this sort are which
are available for the use of the members of the association. Yours very truly,
Clara A. Richards, Librarian in Charge, Fargo, North Dakota.
Let me ask you please to
examine the present Bulletin and also the one that appeared in the October
issue of the BUILDER. There was in the latter a reply to S. H. S. which gave
with some degree of detail what I was venturesome enough to offer to one Grand
Lodge Committee on Masonic Education. I offered the suggestions with
considerable diffidence. I again do so. If they contain anything of worth to
the brethren of North Dakota and to the Librarian, I shall be abundantly
An outline of Masonic study
is given in the October Bulletin and some references are given to books as
well as topics. In general, and maybe for the bookish and scholarly Mason,
this October outline would serve roughly as a guidepost at the very least.
It does not satisfy me. As
the writer of it I have every right to criticise it. If we are to make Masonic
study really attractive we must go a long way beyond the point of directing
the other fellow's footsteps. Many must be led for a while. This calls for
actual papers to be presented to the study clubs and so thorough and so
interesting that everybody will go away afterward feeling that all could
understand and also be inspired to do some digging on his own account.
Masonry has at its command
the best men of our own generation. As their minds are gradually turned toward
the literary delights of Masonic investigation we may count upon an unearthing
of rare possessions. I therefore rejoice exceedingly in the activity planned
by your Grand Lodge and I anticipate we shall be greatly benefited by your
co-operation with us. I hope your Grand Lodge and its subordinate bodies will
become allied with us in the most useful of studious associations among Masons
What we call degeneracy is
often but the unveiling of what was there all the time; and the evil we could
become, we are. If I have in me the tyrant or the miser, there he is, and such
am I--surely as if the tyrant or the miser were even now visible to the
wondering dislike of my neighbors.--George MacDonald.
A SIGNIFICANT CHAPTER IN THE
EARLY HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY
BY R.I. CLEGG
I HOPE to present some facts
of very general interest to the brethren. Whatever use may be made of them is
a matter for each of you to determine for himself There are those who will
value these details as most important contributions to the ever wondrous story
of the Craft. Others will I daresay hold them as mere coincidences, incidents
of only accidental import and of minor pertinence at best.
Be that as it may, the field
is open to you all. Many ts are already available. Many more are doubtless
waiting for you. It is the purpose of our organization, the National Masonic
Research Society, the individual as well as the collective forces of the body,
to take up these admittedly slender threads of testimony and her them into
whatever cord of evidence is proper and practicable.
Two points of consequence
should first be mentioned: First, It is impossible in a paper written for
publication to say many things relative to the ritual that could readily and
properly be communicated by word of mouth within the inner door of a Lodge. My
brethren must therefore apply for themselves much of what I shall say, having
the ritual constantly in mind, continually asking yourselves if the words
written do apply in any wise to what each of you has experienced either as a
candidate or as an officer in the conferring of the Masonic ceremonies. Please
therefore add to what I shall here utter your own knowledge of the work. Much
will in that way be made clear.
Secondly, in a paper such as
this I must not be too technical. For those who desire to carry forward the
study of the subject I shall elsewhere in the Bulletin of the Society submit a
selection of authorities to be consulted. This list can easily be lengthened
to elaborate proportions. Such an array of authors and of literary productions
adds strength to any paper but if too freely quoted the effort becomes
cumbrous and burdensome to speaker as well as to hearers.
I am convinced that the
really interesting and instructive things to be said and to be treasured about
Freemasonry need be neither tiresome nor appalling. Whatever success we may
meet in our endeavors toward this end, successful or unsuccessful as any of us
may be, we should honestly make the effort. Too often the study of Freemasonry
is hidden behind a cloud of words or weakened by a poverty of facts.
Returning to our topic after
thus clearing away the path, let me state my case briefly.
Today the blessings of
education are about us. Common is the ability to read.
Suppose that the contrary was
true. Assume that Freemasonry was active but that the common people were
little informed as to moral truths in the manner that the church and Craft
desired them to be known. It would under those conditions be a likely prospect
that Freemasonry would attempt a means of bringing the instruction of religion
to the masses.
To make the contents of the
Book of Law vivid to the people there is no more striking method of
presentation than the pictorial one employed by the devout peasantry and
townsfolk of Oberammergau who for so many years exemplified the tale of the
Christ on the stage. That Freemasons should have done this is by no means out
of the question as I shall hereafter show to some extent.
Now carrying this picture in
your mind's eye, the early Freemasons staging the episodes narrated in the
Scriptures, permit me for a moment to take you a step further. After several
scores, yes, hundreds of years, of such labor by the Craftsmen we find the
people gradually acquiring a learning sufficient to meet their needs in the
study of the Bible for themselves. Then there would be less necessity for the
public instruction of the multitudes by Freemasons. The field properly tilled,
the Craft would then in all probability withdraw.
But would it entirely abandon
its dramatic presentations? Not necessarily. These very probably would in some
form be continued. Spectacles and pageantry delight the eye and make a very
vigorous appeal to the mind. Many who listen with dull ears are keenly alive
to impressions upon the eye.
Did the brethren of old
desire to select some most striking lesson to teach a great truth then what
could they have preserved of more consequence out of the many known so well to
them than the one acknowledged as the climax of the Craft degrees and which
reappears in various forms in so many of the grades Masonic of every rite, old
You may now ask for proof of
these speculations. Backward we turn the pages of dramatic history. What do we
find ? Among the trustworthy chronicles brought down to our own times is the
account of the city of London written by William Fitzstephen who died in 1191.
He is quoted freely by Stowe who flourished some four hundred years
afterwards. Well, what says Fitzstephen, the monk of Canterbury?
"London," says he, "instead
of theatrical shows and scenic entertainments, has dramatic performances of a
more sacred kind, either representations of the miracles which holy confessors
have wrought, or of the passions and sufferings in which the constancy of
martyrs was signally displayed."
Who took part in these staged
moralities, these dramatic episodes of religion? The artisan corporate bodies.
Stowe is unmistakable when in his "Survey of London" he enumerates the
"Skinner's well, so-called for that the skinners of London held there certain
plays yearly, played of Holy Scripture, etc."
Snell in his "Customs of Old
England" points out a very noteworthy conclusion as to the origin of these
religious ceremonials. "As far as can be ascertained, the earliest miracle
play ever exhibited in England-- and here it may be observed that such
performances probably owed their existence or at least considerable
encouragement to the system of religious brotherhood detailed in our opening
chapter--was enacted in the year 1110 at Dunstable."
Incidentally, I may here
allude briefly to the religious orders, such as the followers of Saint
Benedict. The initiation of a member of the Order of Saint Benedict has been
described by our late and greatly lamented Brother Gould. Further details may
be found in the various histories of the Order. The ceremonial includes a
dramatic teaching of the impressiveness of death and the hope of immortality.
Early artisans and merchants
of England (legally chartered by the government to carry on their respective
trades and professions) joined hands with the religious orders to adequately
represent these Scriptural incidents. Each Craft took some important episode
and we can readily understand that there was involved a lively trade rivalry,
a competition that brought out a remarkably effective result.
Eventually these isolated
plays, crude as they must originally have been, grew into pageants, each
extending over several days, and the degree of elaboration meant an expense of
labor and of money restricting these exhibitions to the larger centers of
population and of wealth. Thus there came about the planning and the
presentation of the four great cycles, those of Chester, York, Wakefield, and
of Coventry. The cycle was a series of plays forming a compendium of history.
Commencing with the Creation, the cycle proceeded to unfold the story of earth
and the people thereof unto the times of the New Testament. Movable stages
were devised so that the several sections of every locality could be reached
and the halt or lame accommodated conveniently.
Says Archdeacon Rogers of the
stage itself, as quoted by Snell: "A high scaffolde with two rowmes, a higher
and a lower, upon four wheeles. In the lower they apparelled them selves, and
the higher rowme they played, being all open on the tope, that all behoulders
might heare and see them." Wood and iron were used in the construction of
these portable stages. Trap doors were in the floor of the stage covered with
Roger Burton, the town clerk
of York, has enumerated for us the various trades taking part in the Play of
Corpus Christi in that city. It reads as if an inventory of all the industrial
crafts. The cycles were a glory of the city and it became a point of honor not
to be outclassed by any other city; or for any participating guild, or
"mystery," to be outshone by a competitor.
Sometimes the sections of
the play cycle were appropriately apportioned to some particular craft or
organization. Thus there are instances where this aptness of assignment of
duties is very marked. Take the scene where Noah is warned to undertake the
making of the ark, this part of the representation being given to the
"Worshipful Company of Shipwrights"; and then when the patriarch appears in
the completed ark this was done by the Mariners, a special touch of realism
and of trade propriety being afforded by this division of duties.
Towns were for the time being
turned into theaters. The huge stage was drawn from one station to another.
Again we may quote from quaint Archdeacon Rogers in what he says of Chester:
"The place where they played was in every streete. They begane first at the
abaye gates, and when the first pagiant was piayed, it was wheeled to the high
crosse before the mayor, and so to every streete; and soe every streete had a
pagiant playinge before them at one time, till all the pagiantes for the daye
appoynted weare played; and when one pagiant was neere ended word was broughte
from streete to streete, that soe they might come in place thereof excedinge
orderlye, and all the streetes have their pagiantes afore them all at one time
playeing togeather, to se which playe was greate resorte, and also scafoldes,
and stages made in the streetes in those places where they determined to play
Sometimes the elaborate
arrangement of the plays so enacted by the craftsmen was by no means unworthy
of mention in the same breath with our modern scenic triumphs. For example we
are told that at one portrayal of the "Trial of Jesus" two stages or scaffolds
were simultaneously employed. One of these displayed the judgment hall of
Herod, the other was reserved for that of Pilate. Messengers on horseback
passed between the two halls of judgment. By no manner of means was this an
unambitious exposition of Biblical story, but one that compares quite
favorably, as I am sure you will agree, with what has in our own times been
attempted in that direction.
When the pageants passed from
the churches into the streets for their rendition they gradually became less
dominantly controlled by the churchly authorities and were the more closely
governed by the civic and guild officers.
Pope Gregory held in the year
1210 that the priests must no longer participate in what had in his belief
ceased to be an act of public worship.
Devotees of the church in a
strict construction of the edict lost regard for the Craft plays but it is
very significant for us as Freemasons that Manning who in his translation of a
French manual upon sins denounced such representations and regarded it sinful
to look upon them, yet held as allowable that the resurrection might be played
for the confirmation of men's faith in that greatest of mysteries. Manning's
prejudice was not universal. More than a hundred years later, in 1328, the
Bishop of Chester counseled his flock to resort "in peaceable manner, with
good devotion, to hear and see" these stagings of the Scriptures.
Moreover the Grey Friars of
Coventry had a cycle of Corpus Christi plays of their own. These they
exhibited outside the town. Exactly what was the reason for the selection of
this place of portrayal is not clear. Shell records the conjecture that it was
so chosen because of the competition of the trade guilds.
The fifteenth century found
at York a famous preacher, William Melton. He declared that it was necessary
to have certain changes made in the conduct of the pageants. Accordingly, the
mayor, William Bowes, on the 7th of June, 1417, issued an ordinance that has
some elements of interest for us. Among the various regulations we find "that
no man go armed to the disturbance of the peace and the play, and the
hindering of the procession, but that they leave their weapons at the inns,
upon pain of forfeiture of their weapons, and imprisonment of their bodies,
save the keepers of the pageants and officers of the peace." So were they duly
and truly prepared.
Hone in his "Ancient
Mysteries Described" tells of the practices followed in the church. These
suggest the fount from whence the greatly embellished plays of the guilds were
evolved. As for instance we may take "The Making of the Sepulchre," as it was
termed. This custom, founded upon old tradition, taught that the second coming
of Christ would be on Easter eve. Therefore Jerome conceived that the people
should await until midnight in the church for the Redeemer's appearance.
The "Making of the Sepulchre"
and the watching of it remained in England until the reformation. An account
of it by Davies follows:
"In the abbey church of
Durham, there was very solemn service upon Easter Day, betwixt three and four
o'clock in the morning, in honor of the Resurrection; when two of the oldest
monks of the choir came to the Sepulchre, set up upon Good Friday after the
passion, all covered with red velvet, and embroidered with gold, and then did
cense it, either of the monks with a pair of silver censers, sitting on their
knees before the Sepulchre. Then they both rising, came to the Sepulchre, out
of which with great reverence, they took a marvellous beautiful image of our
Savior, representing the Resurrection, with a cross in His hand, in the breast
whereof was enclosed, in most bright crystal, the holy sacrament of the altar,
through which crystal the blessed Host was conspicuous to the beholders. Then
after the elevation of the said picture, carried by the said two monks, upon a
fair velvet cushion all embroidered, singing the anthem of "Christus Resurgens,"
they brought it to the high altar setting it on the midst thereof, the two
monks kneeling before the altar, and censing it all the time that the rest of
the whole choir were singing the aforesaid anthem; Which anthem being ended,
the two monks took up the cushion and picture from the altar, supporting it
betwixt them, and proceeding in procession from the high altar to the south
choir door, where there were four ancient gentlemen belonging to the choir,
appointed to attend their coming, holding up a most rich canopy of purple
velvet, tasselled round about with red silk, and a goodly gold fringe; and at
every corner of the canopy did stand one of these ancient gentlemen, to bear
it over the said images with the holy sacrament carried by the two monks round
about the church, the whole choir waiting upon it with goodly torches, and
great store of other lights; all singing, rejoicing, and praying to God most
devoutly till they come to the high altar again; upon which they placed the
said image, there to remain until ascension day."
These early practices of the
church are not extinct. Particularly at Christmas there are many observances
to be found that remind us strongly of these ancient customs from whence the
craftsmen of old drew the inspiration for their great public displays of
You may ask if there is
record of the Masons having taken part as an organization in the city cycles
of pageants. There is a carefully prepared account still extant of the York
pageants. This is entitled "The order of the Pageants of the play of Corpus
Christi, in the time of the Mayorality of William Alne, in the third year of
the reign of King Henry V. anno 1415, compiled by Roger Burton, town clerk."
There are fifty-four scenes,
some of which are depicted by more than one class of craftsmen. For instance,
the Pewterers and the Founders were associated in the rendition of the
thirteenth scene. The first scene was assigned to the Tanners, and was "God
the Father Almighty creating and forming the heavens, angels and archangels;
Lucifer and the angels that fell with him into hell." So we go on to the
eighteenth scene, alloted to the Masons. This was of "Mary with the child;
Joseph, Anna, and a nurse with young pigeons; Simeon receiving the child in
his arms, and two sons of Simeon."
You will be interested to
learn that some of these old morality plays are even yet of record and are by
no means trivial. In fact the conditions under which they were produced, and
the time spent upon them for some hundreds of years, must have brought them to
a very high plane.
Take the Cornish Mystery of
Jesus-- Woman, seest thou thy
son? A thousand times your arms Have borne him with tenderness. And John,
behold thy mother; Thus keep her, without denial, As long as ye live.
Mary-- Alas ! Alas ! Oh ! Sad
! Sad ! In my heart is sorrow, When I see my son Jesus, About His head a crown
of thorns. He is Son of God in every way, And with that truly a King; Feet and
hands on every side Fast fixed with nails of iron. Alas ! That one shall have
on the day of judgment Heavy doom, flesh and blood, Who hath sold him.
John-- Oh sweet mother, do
not bear sorrow, For always, in every way I will be prepared for thee; The
will of thy Son is so, For to save so much as is good, Since Adam was created.
Jesus-- Oh Father, Eli, Eloy,
lama sabacthani? Thou are my dear God, Why hast Thou left me, a moment alone,
In any manner?
First Executioner-- He is
calling Elias; Watch now diligently If he comes to save him. If he delivers
him, really We will believe in him, And worship him for ever.
(Here a sponge is made ready,
with gall and vinegar. And then the Centurion stands in his tent, and says:)
Centurion-- I will go to see
How it is with dear Jesus: It were a pity on a good man So much contumely to
be cast. If he were a bad man, his fellow Could not in any way Truly have such
great grace, To save men by one word. (The Centurion goes down.)
Second Executioner-- It is
not Elias whom he called; Thirst surely on him there is, He finds it an evil
thing. (Here he holds out a sponge.) Behold here I have me ready, Gall and
hyssop mixed; Wassail, if there is great thirst.
Jesus-- Thirst on me there
Third Executioner-- See, a
drink for thee here; Why dost thou not drink it? Rather shoulds't thou a
wonder work ! Now, come down from the cross, And we will worship thee.
Jesus-- Oh, Father, into Thy
hands I commit my spirit; By Thy will take it to Thee, As Thou sent it into
(Then Jesus shall die. Here
the sun is darkened.)
You have here, my brethren, a
story of the cross that for simple strength is not easily excelled. Not for a
moment is it to be marvelled at that great throngs saw these spectacles.
Theatrical skill in abundance was lavished upon them. Devoted craftsmen
contributed freely of their means in money and histrionic ability. Great
religious orders gave them literary aptness. Monks and Masons, Church and
Craft, combined the best that in them was for the portrayal of the Scripture
story from the creation to the cross, from the Fall to the risen Lord.
This co-operation of forces
has curiously given some things in common to the Catholic and Protestant
Churches and the Masonic organization. Think of the similarity of symbolism,
particularly of colors as with blue, red, purple, white, etc. Consider the
ritual of the Mass, its obvious teaching and the signs and ceremonies that are
its accompaniment. Ponder over the joint uses of such words as warden, deacon,
chapter, council, consistory, and so forth. Do these not tell us of the days
when the brotherhood of Freemasons held up the hands of the church with
dramatic fervor, with an ornate stage, showing the Scripture and saying its
story in so simple and strong a style that the least informed might be made
wise unto biblical truths and all fundamental philosophies ?
This fact I hold to be one of
the greatest significances of Masonic history, a heritage to be proudly
possessed and passed onward.
* * *
NOTES FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
Readers of the Bulletin will
have observed the suggestion made on the fourth page in the October issue for
a "Course in the Study of Masonry."
Under the head of "Ritual" I
mentioned several items for consideration. One of these was the "Mystery Plays
of the Middle Age." Promptly I received a request that I say something further
on this topic as at least one good brother had never thought of these plays in
that connection. The above article was at once prepared. It is not intended to
be comprehensive. Time for its preparation has been so limited that I have
been unable to cover to my liking certain phases of the subject that demand
critical attention. Yet it may serve for the present. And it may also provide
a paper that can be submitted at any study club. Frankly do I admit that it is
not my ideal of a paper for study club consideration. I shall have other
papers and I hope papers of even more general appeal and perhaps more
pertinent significance. When we get to the stage where we are receiving papers
from study clubs everywhere we shall indeed have a finer quality of
To the good brethren who seek
to pursue this subject further for themselves, and beyond the confines of the
various Masonic publications, I have a few references to provide.
An excellent chapter on
"Miracle Plays" is to be found in Snell's "Customs of Old England." (1)
Some few references are to be
found in Stowe's "Survey of London."
I am especially fond of that
volume in "Everyman's Library" entitled "Everyman, and Other Interludes,
including Eight Miracle Plays." (2)
"Everyman," by the way, I
have been tempted to reproduce in this Bulletin, and later may do so. It is a
morality play in which the various attributes of manhood are personified and
converse with the individual when he approaches his death. This exhibition of
Wisdom, Strength, Beauty, Good-deeds, Fellowship, etc., in the shadow of death
is of decided interest to the Freemason, and is peculiarly apt to the era of
my paper of which it is indeed a valuable survival.
Hone's "Ancient Mysteries
Described" (3) contains some curious lore upon old church customs. Allusion to
one or two of the many cited by Hone is made in my paper.
The Encyclopedia Brittannica
has an article on the Drama. About a column of it treats of the old miracle
and morality plays. While you are looking through the Enyclopedia, glance at
the articles entitled "Initiation" and "Mutilation." While these do not
directly touch upon the plays here treated, they have marked interest to the
student of primitive ceremonies. From the consideration of these peculiarities
we may derive light upon society, secrecy in the earliest stages of its
F.H. Stoddard's "References
for Students of Miracle Plays and Mysteries" (4) furnishes a bibliography that
up to the date of publication, 1887, is ranked as full. The little volume,
"Everyman," already mentioned, has in the introduction a very useful set of
The two volumes of Taunton's
history of the "English Black Monks of St. Benedict" (5) can be consulted for
some additions to the references I have made in the above text to what is said
on the subject by Gould. R.I. CLEGG.
(1) [Snell] Charles
Scribner's Sons, New York
(2) [Everyman] E. P. Dutton &
Co., New York.
(3) [Hone] William Hone,
(4) [Stoddard] University of
California Bulletin No. 8.
(5) [Taunton] Longmans Green
& Co., New York.
THE MEASURE OF GOODNESS
Be good at the depths of you,
and you will discover that those who surround you will be good even to the
same depths. Nothing responds more infallibly to the seret cry of goodness
than the secret cry of goodness that is near. While you are actively good in
the invisible, all those who approach you will unconsciously do things that
they could not do by the side of any other man. Therein lies a force that has
no name; a spiritual rivalry that knows no resistence.--Maurice Maeterlink.
CHIPS FROM THE QUARRY
Human improvement is from
within outwards.-- Froude. In this world a man must either be hammer or
anvil.--Longfellow. Architecture is frozen music.--De Stael. Greek
architecture is the flowering of geometry.-- Emerson. A Gothic church is
A MAN'S MAN
CHARLES BAYARD MITCHELL
A man's man must be his own
man. I mean by that he must have faith in his own integrity. He does not
discount himself. He knows himself. He has surveyed his own estate and knows
his limitations and boundary lines; but knows his powers, as well. He has
studied himself. He has discovered within himself a duality; one side of him
tending downward, and the other upward. He aims to be true to his better self.
By restraining the evil and giving vent to the good within him, he has seen
the better forces coming to the throne of his life. He can trust the scepter
in the hands of his own better nature. He dares trust himself. He can trust
his instincts. He yields quickly to his intuitions. He feels strong in the
sense of his own integrity. He knows he is a true man-- others may think what
they please. He knows he rings true. When a great question is to be decided he
dares take it to the bar of his own better judgment and abide its decision.
His mind is superior to doubt and fluctuation. He can laugh at opposition. He
feels within himself the power to will and to do. He dares to do what others
fear. He initiates where others follow. He has a sublime confidence in his own
power to carry out whatever he wills. He knows no timid lingerings. Neither
doubts nor misgivings keep him back from the trial. He is larger than his
vocation and superior to opinion. He is impervious to contempt and ridicule.
No man can be a man's man who
is not his own man. Discount yourself and the world will take you at your own
estimate. A divine self respect, a sane selfconfidence, must mark the man who
aspires to win the confidence of his fellow men.
THE SPIRIT OF MASONRY
It is one of the most
difficult things in the world for one to be just, while suffering from
injustice. It is not an easy thing to permit one who attacks another's
reputation to go on with his own reputation apparently unsullied. It is not a
simple matter to be non-partisan when one is being held up to scorn by
partisans. It is not a pleasant thing to stand aside, inactive, while
designing persons are telling lies about us. But the man who can be JUST under
trying conditions, and the man who can refrain from showing resentment when
assailed, and the man who can still be non-partisan when subjected to partisan
attack, and the man who can resist the temptation to talk back when he knows
that some one is Iying about him--all of these men are exemplifying the spirit
of Masonry. --John W. Hill, 33d.
THE SWEETNESS OF LIFE
There's night and day,
brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things;
there's likewise a wind on the heath. Life is very sweet, brother; who would
wish to die ?"--George Barrow.
BY JOSEPH FORT NEWTON
YES, it is London. Had I been
set down here from anywhere, or from nowhere, I should have known that it was
old London town. Here all things turn to the left, as they do in the Inferno
of Dante--there is no mistaking the place. And speaking of the Inferno, the
English way of handling baggage gives one a clear idea of what that place must
How quiet London is. Compared
with the din of New York and the hideous nightmare of the Chicago loop it is
as quiet as a country village. There are no sky-scrapers to be seen, but the
scene spread out like a panorama from the top of Primrose Hill is not to be
forgotten! Yes, it is London, the greatest city in the world, and not another
like it. But which London is it? Well, that depends upon what London you are
There are many Londons, my
dear reader. There is the London of the Tower and the Abbey, of Soho and the
Strand, of Buckingham and Downing Street, to say nothing of Piccadilly. There
is the London of the story-book; of Whittington and his Cat and Goody
Two-Shoes and the Canterbury Shades; of Shakespeare and Marlowe and Chatterton;
of Nell Gwynne and Dick Steele and poor old Noll--aye, the London of all that
is bizarre in history or strange in romance.
They are all here, with much
else in this gigantic medley of past and present, of misery and magnificence.
Sometimes for me it is hard to know which holds closest, the London of Fiction
or the London of History, or that London which is a mingling of both--the
London of Literature. Anyway, as I see it, Goldsmith carouses with Tom Jones,
and Harry Fielding discusses philosophy with the Vicar of Wakefield; Nicholas
Nickleby makes bold to introduce himself to Mr. W. H. Thackeray and to ask his
favor in behalf of a poor artist, the son of a hair-dresser in Maiden Lane;
and Boz, as he passes through Fleet Street, is tripped by an Artful Dodger and
falls into the arms of St. Charles Lamb.
No doubt my London is in
large part a dream, not to say a fool's paradise, but it is most enchanting.
Slowly it works its ancient spell, and he who does not love it is fit for
strategems and spoils--not fit for anything, I had almost said. There is no
denying, I am in love with London, and can drink as much tea as any Englishman
who ever coveted his neighbors goods. Here is the center of the world, so far
as I am concerned, the great old city of the motherland of all my
fathers--everywhere the hauntings of history, a scene to stir the soul of one
who loves England equally for its fiction and its fact.
Yesterday I visited the Abbey
and attended the afternoon service--an hour I can never live long enough to
forget. How can I express my feeling as I stood for the first time in that
grey old pile thinking of the mighty dead who sleep there--thinking how those
pillars have stood through all the nights and days, through storm and calm,
peace and war, for ages. Truly, "time, the white god, makes all things holy,
and what is old becomes religion." I sat facing the Poet's Corner, where
Tennyson and Browning sleep side by side, as they should in the eternal
fitness of things, and the efflgy of Shakespeare has the bust of Burns nearby.
If one cannot pray in Westminster Abbey, where men have prayed for centuries,
and where the echo of voices long hushed still cling to its arches, he cannot
pray at all--unless it be on the wide and eloquent sea !
Today I went to St. Paul's
and heard the Archbishop of Canterbury preach, and after the service wandered
for two hours in the recesses of the cathedral. Descending into the crypt one
looks upon the tomb of Nelson, the mighty lord of the sea, and the sleeping
place of Wellington, the great commander of the English race. Lord Roberts
rests a few feet away. Here sleep the great artists--as the poets are honored
in the Abbey--among them Wren who built St. Paul's, a famous Mason. Who can
measure the influence of such a building, enshrining as it does so many
historic memories, the dust of great men, and the tradition of ages of
patriotism and prayer? It stands for order in the stl eets, for order in the
land, for order in the secret places of the soul !
From St. Paul's it is not a
far walk across London Bridge to Southwark Cathedral--hardly less interesting
and far less known. In this parish stood the Globe theatre, in which
Shakespeare made himself and England famous, and there is a recumbent figure
of the poet in alabaster--the gift of Americans. His younger brother lies
buried there in company with Massinger and Fletcher. Indeed, it had been a
place of literary renown long before Shakespeare, in the days of Gower, who
rests there, and Chaucer, whose Canterbury pilgrims set out from the Tabard
Inn, once close at hand. Also, in this parish was born John Harvard, founder
of our great university, and there is a chapel in his honor in the cathedral.
And so my story might go on endlessly.
Old London is the keeper of a
great history, but the London of today is athrill and athrob with the stir of
history in the making. How impressive to step out of some grey old
church--like that of St. Bartholomew, or the Temple where poor Noll found rest
at last--into the teeming, tragic London of today; from the peace of the past
into the tense air of the greatest war in all the annals of time. If the
London of old is hallowing, London of today is thrilling--sometimes
terrifying. There is a sense of a vast tragedy only a few miles away, and here
one is behind the scenes, so to speak-- soldiers and sailors everywhere;
armies of nurses, Red Cross emblems, ambulances, hospitals, and so forth.
How striking the contrast as
one steps out of the quiet of the past where "the eternal ages watch and
wait." Indeed, just now England is a world of women nurses, messengers,
porters, tram and bus conductors, very conscious and important in uniform and
badge and brass buttons. Manifestly the English woman is finding herself and
she likes it. Bright-eyed, capable, and cheerful, she is doing things she
never dreamed of doing before. Even women doing their ancient work as
house-wives feel a new distinction, I dare say, and dust their rooms for the
good of the country. They have learned their worth to the nation in a new way.
Will they be willing to go back to the old ways after war? Can they do it?
What will be the result? Will not England be permanently different?
Such questions have followed
me ever since I landed. At Hyde park entrance the other day I saw one of the
shrieking sisterhood which I thought were extinct-- I wish they were. Maybe I
shall live long enough to forget that sight, but I doubt it. Hideous is a mild
word. Fact is, my profession will not allow me to say what I really feel.
Those poor, half-crazed creatures have set their cause back fifty years in
England, and injured it everywhere. Had I been shaky on the subject of
suffrage, that harangue, and still more the wild-eyed fanaticism of the ranter,
would have sent me away with a vast disgust. Heaven help a cause that has such
But she and the like of her
are forgotten when one sees the heroic spirit of the multitudes of women who
work and endure, counting their sorrow as only one item in a measureless
common woe. And they are so brave and gay withal. Indeed, London is
unnaturally gay and many are puzzled by it, knowing not what it means. Almost
every reporter who has interviewed me--and they have been legion--has brought
up the subject. Yet it ought to be very easy to understand. A man who had been
in the trenches told me that there men learn to live a moment at a time--they
may not be alive more than a moment. And the reaction, he said, an explosion
of "insane gaiety," to use his words. Pent up feelings must find vent, and it
is no wonder that the theatres are crowded every night--and the more
rollicking the play the greater the jam.
Frankly, I was not prepared
for the feeling against America which exists in England today, and I am amazed
at it. It is widespread, and is sometimes so intense as to verge on
anti-Americanism. My English friends assure me that it is not so in a way that
really matters, but I know better--and Americans living here confirm my
impression. Perhaps it is not so with those who are discerning, but with the
man-in-street it is different. He feels, however wrongly, that America
betrayed humanity in behalf of dollars. It is not so much that the president
kept us out of the war, but the appalling way in which he did it, that hurts.
Further, the American
government is a continuing entity to English people. They do not divide it
into presidential terms or personalities, and the feeling against America will
continue whatever the future may be in our politics. Therefore it behooves us
to do all within our power--on both sides of the sea--to see that such a
feeling does not gather force and grow; for, surely, the last and worst
calamity that could befall humanity would be an estrangement between the
Empire and the Republic having one language, one tradition, and one common
ideal of civilization. But I am off my subject and had better go back to
The newspapers here interest
me very much. They are small now, to be sure-- except Old Thunderer, the
Times--owing to the price of paper and the lack of labor. They are poorly
printed, as compared with our papers--certainly the religious papers are
abominably printed. But they are better written by far. They serve the news up
after their fashion in more compact form, but in a much more lucid style, and
some of the war correspondents--Phillips Gibbs more than any other,
methinks--are very remarkable. Also, the editorial page has more influence
than with us, though it has suffered decline, I am told, on this side. Men of
letters write more frequently for the daily press than with us. Certainly the
press, both in London and in the provinces, has been very kind to me in every
I am bound to say that
religious conditions in England are most distressing and confounding. The
churches are empty, for the most part, and have little influence--the state
church emptier than the rest, if possible. Perhaps I should have said church
conditions instead--for some of my thoughtful friends tell me that there is
more religion outside of the church than inside. Carlyle thought it was so in
his day. Anyway, I have attended three religious conferences since I came,
representing three branches of the church, and the tone of bewilderment and
discouragement was common to all. They know not what to do, and the ministers
are all the time trying to explain the war and "to justify the ways of God to
man"--with not much success, I must admit. It makes me think of a student in
the University of Michigan, after three visiting ministers had each discussed
the question of the existence of God. He said that up until that time he had
never had any doubts, but that now he was a little uncertain. I am much in his
case, as to the explanations I have heard so far.
There is a vast unbridged--and
seemingly unbridgeable--gulf between the church and what is called the working
classes; and it widens every day. What the end will be is hard to know. If the
war did not save dear old England from something like revolution, it at least
postponed it. Perhaps the shaking the war has given the churches will wake
them up, before it is too late. For surely the people are as religious as ever
they were, but the churches no longer express their religion. There are
exceptions, of course, to all these statements--thank heaven--but I am
speaking of the general condition.
And the City Temple is an
exception to anything on earth. It is wonderful--all that I expected and more.
It has been full from top to bottom at every servicc a sea of faces below and
clouds of faces in the galleries. What a sight ! What an opportunity ! What a
crushing responsibility! If anybody ever tells me that an English audience is
unresponsive, I shall be ready to fight him. It is not so. I never had such a
response, much less such a welcome, in any strange place in all my life. And
if anything had been lacking at the Temple, it would have been made up by the
Masons at their brilliant banquet and reception in my honor. That, too, was a
scene never to be forgotten till all things fade in the dark. Of this more
MASONIC LIGHT UPON MEXICO --
BY BRO. JOHN LEWIN MCLEISH,
(Through the courtesy of the
Editor of The Builder I have been privileged to peruse advance sheets of Bro.
Eber Cole Byam's article, "Mexican Masonry, Another Side," written for the
October issue of the magazine. Brother Byam presents so strong a brief against
the Mexican Revolution which he italicizes as an I.W.W. Revolution,
incidentally condemning Mexican Masonry and condoning Mexican Catholicism,
that I am sorely tempted to plain speaking. Realizing fully our Masonic
Doctrine of Tolerance, I shall stress the fact that any allusions herein made
apply strictly to Catholicism in Mexlco, and I shall support my arraignment by
references easily obtainable to those seeking More Masonic Light Upon Mexico.)
IN 1494 Pope Alexander VI
divided the undiscovered regions of the earth by an imaginary line of
longitude running through the Atlantic Ocean from pole to pole, three hundred
and seventy miles west of the Azores. He gave the Portuguese unlimited sway
over all the countries that they might discover to the east of that line, and
pledged himself to confirm to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, the right to
every isle, continent and sea where they should plant the flag on the western
hemisphere.--(Mexico and the United States, by G. D. Abbot. Putnam.)
The Catholic Conquistador
Hernan Cortez and his little band of mailclad men brought only the sword and
the cross to the New World. They took freely of the Emperor Montezuma's gold,
enjoyed his hospitality, and in return began "a holy war" ruthlessly
destroying the monuments, history, literature and records of a splendid Aztec
civilization quite equal to that of the effete Spain from which they had come.
A Jesuit historian, Abbe F.
S. Clavigero, in his History of Mexico, says: "The Spaniards in one year of
merciless massacre sacrificed more human victims to avarice and ambition, than
the Indians during the existence of their empire devoted in chaste worship to
their native gods."
A more recent authority, L.
Gutierrez de Lara, in his "The Mexican People: Their Struggle For Freedom,"
"In Mexico on the other hand,
the invading Spaniards found not barbarism, but a feudal civilization, private
ownership of land in place of communal ownership, and serfdom in place of
nomadic liberty. With fire and sword they laid waste a civilization in many
respects superior to their own: and the fighting elements among the natives,
once subjugated or exterminated, the serfs fell perforce into the most abject
servitude of their new masters. . . Spain brought to Mexico an arrested
civilization and a fanatic Romanism embittered and perverted by the fierce
conflict with Islam. The Holy Inquisition set its bloody fangs in the heart of
the people: persecution, fire and torment quenched all liberty of conscience
and the soul of Mexico lay degraded and shackled as even her body. The
ignorant priests went so far in their hatred of all enlightenment, that
emanated from any other source than the Vatican, that they burned to ashes the
invaluable library in the Imperial Palace of the Aztecs, destroying at a blow
the records of the culture beyond their comprehension."
The Pope's proclamation in
1494 set the precedent for the later policy of the Vatican to "Catholicize"
the world, was the forerunner of the latter day slogan of the Cardinals, "We
shall make America Catholic." Witness the Council of Trent convened by Pope
Paul II in 1545 legislating "a body of canons that were to subject all mankind
for all ages to the will of one man in the papal chair."
The Conquest successful,
Spanish civilization fastened a firm hold upon Mexico. To quote from Wilson's
Mexico:--"Many of these wretched people were formally reduced to the condition
of absolute slavery, and some were even branded as such with the owner's
initial by a red-hot iron, women as well as men, while the middle class, the
real backbone of the nation, perished from the land."
Now quoting from my own
article, "Mexican Masonry," published in Light of June 15, 1916:
"At the inchoation of the
nineteenth century Mexico seemed hopelessly enslaved under the harsh rule of
Roman ecclesiasticism expressing itself through the puppet personalities of
Spanish Viceroys, representatives of a king and cortes utterly subservient to
the Pope of Rome. For three hundred years this sad condition had persisted in
Mexico. In consequence the clergy were stupendously rich, and seemingly
fortified in an impregnable position. What was left of the natural resources
of the country after supplying the priests and mother ,country went to the
enrichment of the Viceroy and the Spanish satellites making up his court. For
the native-born was abject misery, slavery, dire poverty. Through the country
the dread Inquisition flourished and held sway. Its wretched victims filled to
overflowing the great military prisons like San Juan de Uloa with their
disease-disseminating, vermin-infested, dark dungeons, veritable hellholes. So
unutterably cruel were the penalties attached by the Inquisitors to failure to
pay the clerical tithes, or any utterance against the existing order, a breath
of what they might consider heresy, that wonder is the SYSTEM held sway as
long as it did. However much the native-born contributed to their taskmasters,
it was never enough. Overseas, decadent Spain was in dire ,straits: Upon the
Viceroys it devolved to pay the upkeep of the Court of the Bourbons, to meet
the endless demands of the CLERICAL OCTOPUS fattening upon both countries."
A Roman Catholic Bishop, Las
Casas, protested strenuously against the Spanish cruelties crossing the
Atlantic twice to show convincing evidence that a continuation of the policy
inaugurated by Cortez could only result in utter extermination of the Aztecs
as a race and nation.
Let us now take more
testimony from a Catholic Authority. Let a French Abbe, the Catholic Chaplain
of Napoleon's Expeditionary Force to Mexico, speak to you from his book,
"Mexico as It Is," published in Paris in 1867. Says this very reverend father,
Abbe Emanel Domenech:
"Mexican faith is dead. The
abuse of external ceremonies, the facility of reconciling the devil with God,
the absence of internal exercises of piety, have killed the faith in Mexico.
It is in vain to seek good fruit from the worthless tree which makes Mexican
religion a singular assemblage of heartless devotion, shameful ignorance,
insane superstition, and hideous vice. . . The idolatrous character of Mexican
Catholicism is a fact well known to all travelers. The worship of saints and
madonnas so absorbs the devotion of the people, that little time is left to
think about God. . . If the Pope should abolish all simoniacal livings, and
excommunicate all the priests having concubines, the Mexican clergy would be
reduced to a very small affair. Nevertheless there are some worthy men among
them, whose conduct as priests is irreproachable. In all Spanish America there
are found among the priests the veriest wretches, knaves deserving the
gallows, men who make infamous traffic of religion. Mexico has her share of
these wretches. Whose fault is it ? In the past it has been Spanish manners. .
. climate. In the present it is the episcopate. . . Priests who are recognized
as fathers of families are by no means rare. The people consider it natural
enough and do not rail at the conduct of their pastors excepting when they are
not contented with one wife. They make merchandise of the sacraments, and make
money by every religious ceremony, without thinking that they are guilty of
simony, and expose themselves to the censure of the Church. If Roman justice
had its course in Mexico, one-half of the Mexican Clergy would be
excommunicated. . . The well-instructed priests, disinterested and animated by
a truly apostolical spirit, holy souls whose religious sentiments are of good
character constitute an insignificant minority. . . One of the greatest evils
in Mexico is the exorbitant fee for the marriage ceremony. The priests compel
the poor to live without marriage, by demanding for the nuptial benediction a
sum that a Mexican mechanic, with his slender wage, can scarcely accumulate in
fifty years of the strictest economy. This is no exaggeration. The
consequences of the excessive demands for perquisites in general are as
lamentable to public morality as to religion."
It was just such esoteric
knowledge of the evils of his brother clergymen that led Miguel de Hidalgo, a
Mexican priest, to foreswear his vows and seek MASONIC LIGHT in Mexico City in
1806. From the time he sounded the slogan of revolution against the puppet
Viceroys of Rome and Spain, to the ultimate triumph of Juarez, the enforcement
of the Laws of Reform, through the successive revolutions of Madero, and
Carranza, the fight has been for the one great principle of compelling the
separation of Church and State.
If as Bro. Byam says, "The
Church in Mexico was stripped and had the melancholy satisfaction of
witnessing the chagrin and rage of the strippers because the booty was so much
below their calculations," WHY NOT?
Nearly naked and poverty
stricken came the priests to Mexico to kill and plunder the poor natives and
amass fabulous wealth during the three hundred years of their undisputed sway.
When the worm turns at last, to drive them from their piratical strongholds,
to give back to the State that which the Church took by right of might and the
Inquisition, is it other than the enforcement of a good law "Naked ye came and
naked ye go" ?
Again Bro. Byam says:--"Latin
American Masonry is atheistic, revolutionary and contentious, and in Mexico it
has become anarchistic and murderous."
I do not agree with Bro. Byam
at all. Only in one of the twenty-seven states of Mexico was the Great Light
absent from the altar and this I believe in Monterey, during the mastership of
General Reyes. In regard to his statement concerning Bro. Castellot, I again
quote from the New Age, the official organ of the Scottish Rite, Southern
Jurisdiction, of January, 1915:-- "Scottish Rite Masonry in Mexico is under
the leadership of Dr. Joseph G. Castellot, formerly President of the Mexican
Permit me now briefly to
epitomize from my article. Mexican Masonry, already referred to:
"Our first authentic Masonic
record in Mexico may be traced back to a little house in Mexico City, Calle de
las Ratas No. 4 where as early as 1806 the Masonic Lodge then known as "Arquitectura
Moral" held regular meetings. . . Although the SYSTEM crushed the Moral
Architect Lodge not at all did they preclude the spread of Masonry. In 1813
was established the first Grand Lodge under the Scottish Rite, having for its
Grand Master Don Felipe Martinez Aragon. A number of subordinate lodges sprang
up through the country. In 1816-1817 there were working under charter from the
Grand Lodge of Louisiana these lodges, "Friends United No. 8," and "Reunion By
Virtue No. 9." In 1824 the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania gave charter to a lodge
working as "True Brothers of Papaloapam No. 191." . . . Factional fights and
internecine strife were but natural in an order embracing men of the fervent,
effervescent disposition of the native Mexicans. The time seemed ripe for a
schism. It so happened that the American Minister to Mexico, Mr. M. Poinsett,
was one of the high authorities of York Rite Masonry in his native land. For
many symbolic lodges who petitioned him Bro. Poinsett secured a Charter under
the York Rite of the United States through the Grand Lodge of New York. In
1828 there were as many as 102 York Rite lodges in Mexico working under this
Charter. Out of the jealousies of the two active Rites Scottish and York
emerged still a third, the Mexican National Rite, composed of York and
Scottish Rite Masons. Although the York and Scottish Rites had taken a
considerable part in the shaping of the Republic's welfare, it remained for
the youngest of Masonry's Mexican daughters to openly formulate a definite
platform. In 1833 the Mexican National Rite set forth its policy as follows:
"Absolute Freedom of Thought,
Freedom of the Press, Abolishment of the Fueros (Privileges) of the Clergy and
of the Army, Suppression of Monastic Institutions, Destruction of Monopolies,
Protection of Arts and Industries, Dissemination of Libraries and Schools, the
Abolishment of Capital Punishment, and Colonial Expansion."
All of these high principles
and others were embodied in the Laws of Reform enacted and put into the
Mexican Constitution by the greatest of the Masons of the Mexican National
Rite, Brother Benito Juarez. They are the same principles for which First
Chief Carranza is fighting today.
Says Brother Byam:--"The laws
of Reform were not aimed at securing freedom of worship, but at the spoliation
of the Catholic Church."
Even were his statement just,
and I cannot for one moment admit that it is, may we not answer that when the
Mexican State says to the Roman Catholic Church, "Take that thine is, and go
thy way," is it the fault of the State that "Naked they came and Naked they
go" ? On the contrary, "We are satisfied: that is a GOOD LAW."
Naturally the Laws of Juarez
did not at all appeal to the Vatican as you may see from reading a summary of
their intent. They were:
1. Laws establishing liberty
for all opinion, liberty of the press, and liberty of faith and worship. 2.
Laws granting to the members of all denominations the right of establishing
schools and colleges. 3. Laws permitting the intermarriage on terms of
religious equality of Catholics and Protestants. 4. Laws permitting civil
marriage. 5. Laws permitting the burial of Protestants in Romish lands where
Protestants have no cemetery of their own in which to bury. 6. Laws
establishing public schools for secular education that shall be free from the
control of the Romish priesthood.
Said the Pope, joining with
Bro. Byam, in condemning them, "They are contrary to the doctrines, rights and
authority of the Catholic religion. Let it be understood that the Roman
Catholic Church declares such laws as these, wherever they may be enacted, to
be null and void." (See Christian World, Vol. XIX, pp. 312-314.)
Now to consider that portion
of The Laws of Reform appertaining directly to the Roman Catholic Church.
William Butler, D. D., summarizes them in his "Mexico In Transition,"
published by Hunt & Eaton, New York, 1893.
"The complete separation of
Church and State. "Congress cannot pass laws establishing or prohibiting any
religion. "The free exercise of religious services. The State will not give
any official recognition to any religious festivals save the Sabbath as a day
of rest. "Religious services are to be held only within the place of worship.
"Clerical vestments are forbidden in the streets. "Religious processions are
forbidden. "The use of church-bells is restricted to calling the people to
religious work. "Pulpit discourses advising disobedience to the law, or injury
to any one are strictly forbidden. Worship in churches shall be public only.
"Gifts of real estate to religious institutions are unlawful, with the sole
exception of edifices designed exclusively to the purposes of the institution.
"The State does not recognize monastic orders nor permit their establishment.
"The association of the Sisters of Charity is suppressed in the Republic, and
the Jesuits are expelled and may not return. "Matrimony is a civil contract
and to be duly registered. The religious service may be added. "Cemeteries are
under civil inspection and open for the burial of all classes and creeds. "No
one can sign away their liberty by contract or religious vow. "Education in
the public schools is free and compulsory."
I am sure when Brother Byam
carefully considers these wise enactments he will admit "The Laws of Reform
are Good Laws, Just Laws."
Three years the Mexicans
under Juarez fought for the Laws of Reform. Says De Lara, in his "The Mexican
"But the fight was destined
to be bitter and prolonged, for against the limited resources of the
Constitutionalists were pitted the millions of the Church and against the calm
statements of the constitution were pitted the inflammatory, seditious
harangues of every priest in the country. . . The Church indeed, leaning
strongly upon her fundamental policy of psychological debauchery, exploited
every device known to the science of class rule, in order to counterbalance
the simple, n.ighty appeal to the people of the great Constitution of 1857.
Her priests throughout the land proclaimed "a holy war" characterizing the
struggle as one against the enemies of God. The soldiers marched to battle
bedizened with scapularies and crosses, bearing aloft flags and banners
inscribed with the sacred images and symbols of religion. Those who fell were
extolled as martyrs in the holy cause--the peers of the first Christian
martyrs under the Roman Empire."
None the less right
triumphed. The Clerical forces were utterly routed. Before President Juarez
had full time to perfect the magnificent reforms he had in mind, the Clerical
Conspirators prevailed upon France, Spain and England to press their claims
for debt. As Napoleon the Little had foreseen Spain and England withdrew in
disgust when they fully understood the full conditions of affairs in poor
Mexico. Only the French remained to establish by force of arms the Empire of
the Pope's puppet, Maximilian. I make this statement advisedly, and quote from
the letter of Pope Pius IX to his Austrian fugleman as given in "Mexico a
traves de los siglos," Vol. V, p. 671, sic:--
"Your Majesty is fully aware
that in order to remedy the wrongs committed against the Church by the recent
revolution, and to restore as soon as possible her happiness and prosperity,
it is absolutely necessary that the Catholic religion, to the exclusion of any
other cult, continue to be the glory and support of the Mexican Nation: that
the Bishops have complete liberty in the exercise of their pastoral ministry:
that the religious orders be reorganized and restablished, according to the
instructions and powers that We have given: that the estates of the Church and
her privileges be maintained and protected: that none have authorization for
the teaching or publication of false or subversive documents: that education
public or private be supervised and led by the ecclesiastical authorities: and
finally that the chains be broken that until now have held the Church under
the sovereignty and despotism of civil government."
Of how well Maximilian obeyed
his Papal Master you may read in history. In 1866 Napoleon III ordered the
withdrawal of the French Army of 50,000 men under Marshal Bazaine, leaving the
Pope's puppet to pay the penalty with his life for his numerous Black Decrees
and an unblushing effrontery in trying "to Catholicize" the Republic of
I have touched more in detail
upon points herein merely mentioned in my series, "Masonic High Lights of the
Struggle for Mexican Independence," in The American Freemason of April and
May, 1916, and October, 1916, to which I respectfully refer Brother Byam. Also
to Light of May 15th, 1916, and June 15th, 1916.
A careful examination of the
records will show that before the enactment of the Laws of Reform the Roman
Catholic Church actually owned $200,000,000 of property from which and other
sources the Church derived an annual income of not less than $20,000,000. How
did they get it? You will remember that the priests who came over with Cortez
possessed only a scanty wardrobe and their crosses backed by the mailclad men
and the Holy Inquisition. "Naked they came and naked they go." It is a just
I have shown that Mexican
Masonry had no clandestine origin.
Now relative to the claim of
Bro. Byam that the late revolution was an I. W. W. and Socialists' Movement.
Again I emphatically differ.
Matters were running along
nicely enough in Mexico as long as President Diaz held true to his Masonic
Vows, and kept in force the Laws of Reform. When having married a second time,
he succumbed to the relatives of his young wife Senora Carmelita Diaz--all
Catholics, . . when he lifted the barriers and allowed the Catholic Clergy
some of their old Fueros or Privileges, Trouble Brewed in Mexico as it always
will there and everywhere when the blackrobed members of the Third Sex are
allowed to play Politics.
Says De Lara, in "The Mexican
"Never for a moment since
Diaz came into power in 1876 had the spirit of revolt ceased to fire the
hearts of the people. Its manifestation had been repressed but the spirit
lived on and grew stronger with the passing days. . . Mexico under Diaz was no
place for revolutionists. . . A movement such as this which had for its avowed
object the enforcement of the Constiution of 1857 in general, and the
restoration of the agrarian democracy in particular called for prompt
suppression at the hands of Diaz and the Scientificos. Such a suppression was
not altogether easy matter. Up to the year 1910 literally millions of dollars
were expended by the Mexican government to stamp out the revolutionary
organization. At the same time the Scientists played into the hands of the
Roman Church, with the result that Mexico was fined more than a million
dollars in the matter of the restitution of the long cancelled Pious funds
formerly paid by Mexico to the Church in California for the upkeep of the
missions to the Indians."
Now let us listen to William
R. Tourbillon, speaking on "The Curse of Mexico" in The New Age of September,
"The Catholics in Mexico as
in all parts of the world diligently seek and acquire special influence over
the boys and girls, and over the sisters, wives and mothers of men. They
especially direct their attention to the sisters, wives and mothers of men who
are least religious so that they are able to dominate even where the head of
the house is not a Catholic. . . The Cathlic Party knowing that General Diaz
could not abolish the Laws of Reform as Chief of the Liberal Party, whose
program was and is bound up with these very laws, worked with all the
influence in their power to secure the aid and influence of the women in the
families of Porfirio Diaz and his Cabinet. During the life of the first wife
of President Diaz this influence was very small and Diaz stood firm in his
convictions. His second wife, Mrs. Carmelita Romero Rubio de Diaz, a most
devout Catholic, allowed herself to fall under the influence of the Church,
which is ever ready to gain a foothold in some way or other, and through her
dominated Diaz and the Government. Mrs. Diaz tried in every way possible to
influence her husband. The Catholic Church through this influence gained many
advantages, and even General Diaz was rapidly becoming a Mocho.
"Several years before the
late Madero revolution materialized, and even during the time the late
assassinated President, Francisco I. Madero was going through the country
lecturing about the great principles of the Liberal Party, a great many
Liberals, feeling the necessity that Mexico had for the preservation and
enforcement of the Laws of Reform, and knowing that the Catholic Party was
attaining greater and greater influence hoped and wished secretly for the
success of Don Francisco I. Madero. President Diaz had been so long in power
and had become so old that he did not realize the truth and strength of the
movement that a few Liberals helped to blow into a great flame and secure his
downfall. These Liberals knew that the great Catholic Party was regaining
control and they were determined to stop it. After the loss of thousands of
lives the Madero revolution triumphed."
I only wish space permitted
the inclusion of the whole of this very convincing and authoritative
narrative. As it is I shall abstract only enough to show the sordid conspiracy
which caused the present dire state affairs in Mexico directly due to "The
"The Catholics knew that with
the late President Madero in power they could not dominate. Above everything
they demand their former power. They are working with determined will to have
the Laws of Reform revoked, and to that end nothing can stand in their path. .
. The principles of the Madero Governent were based on Masonic ideas. . . The
principles of Masonry were deeply instilled in the heart of Madero and his
Government. Based on these principles Madero spared the life of Felix Diaz who
had forfeited it at Vera Cruz, where he was defeated and taken prisoner by
General Beltran after his first revolt. . . President Madero with the help of
Vice President Pino Suarez, (both Masons of the highest degrees,) believed,
and what is more to the purpose put into practice even in the machinery of the
Government, practical Masonry. His was a Masonry that meant enlightenment for
the people-- a Masonry that did not speak but acted, having always in view the
advancement and education of the masses, with absolute faith in his brethren
to carry out all the principles contained in the Masonic Code. The Catholics
in Mexico, on the other hand, have been, were, and are today opposed to
uplifting the masses. Their interests have been and are today joined with the
10,000 who own practically the whole of Republic of Mexico against the
12,000,000 that are the tools of the few. The 12,000,000 have always been kept
by them where we now find them, for the priests know that if through Masonic
principles the populace receive light, the Catholic Church would soon lase its
hold over them."
I ask you to read the
following arraignment by William R. Tourbillon and then tell me if you agree
with Brother Byam that "the Mexican Revolution is an I.W.W. Revolution."
"Madero represented honor and
truth. His Government despised treachery and cunning and unfortunately for him
he had faith in all men. The Catholic Party stands guilty today of a base
combination and they are morally guilty of the assassination of President
Madero and Vice President Suarez. They lent their moral aid to its
accomplishment. They are responsible for the present revolution in Mexico,
because of their intrigues with Huerta and Diaz.
"With Madero's Government,
Masonry stood for everything that is absolutely true, fair, honest and
above-board, and the Catholic Party forsook all this, thinking they could gain
"Out of a clear sky the
revolt in Mexico City started. The Catholic Party began its intrigue through
General Mondragan, who was afterwards made Minister of War. Mondragon through
his friendship with the Colonel of the Government Boys' School "Aspirantes"
induced the Colonel and the boys to join him. They united with another
regiment, went to the military prison, freed General Reyes . . and released
General Felix Diaz. The band separated into two parts, Reyes going to the
National Palace and in the fight that ensued lost his life. Felix Diaz and
Mondragon went to the arsenal which surrendered after a sham fight, and they
took possession. All this had been prepared.
"Huerta came to the President
and Vice President and reiterated his loyalty. He was Commander-in-chief. All
the troops in Mexico were put under his command. . . The army under Huerta,
President Madero's trusted friend, shot, at everything but the enemy. He was a
part of the plot. The Roman Catholic Party had joined hands with him.
"The conspiracy was carried
out in every particular.
The farce had to be well
played. Failure for the Roman Catholic Church, Huerta and Diaz was impossible.
Diaz knew that the troops under Huerta would not shoot at him or his troops
All had been arranged before hand by the Catholic Party.
"After the tenth day, Huerta
personally invited the President's brother Don Gustavo Madero to dinner. . .
Don Gustavo was seized and bound. He was sent to the arsenal, the enemy
stronghold, where without any trial he was shot to death.
While Huerta did this,
Huerta's aid, General Blanquet two blocks away from the National Palace, with
a group of soidiers made prisoners of President Madero and Vice President Pino
Suarez in the palace. Huerta the trusted friend and General of Madero and
Saurez became President.
"Huerta held them prisoners
in the palace for two days before they were killed. . . After the second day
and at eleven o'clock at night, Huerta ordered that Madero and Pino Suarez
should be silently taken from the palace in a closed automobile and sent to
the penitentiary. When they arrived there, they were taken out to the wall at
one side of this prison and met by a captain and twelve soldiers. Vice
President Suarez was first shot. He had three bullets through his head and the
brain in the back part of it was all destroyed. The twelve men were ordered to
shoot Madero, but, recognizing the President, refused to do so. . .
"The Captain then struck
Madero over his left eye with his pistol, knocking him senseless to the earth,
and then the coward shot him from behind, the bullet going through his brain
and coming out between his eyes. When President Madero was seen last, just
before lowering his body into his grave in the French cemetery, his left eye
was swollen; it was red and blue from the blow.
"Huerta, in order that no
witnesses to this bloody murder might survive, had the twelve soldiers shot,
and the Captain promoted to be a Colonel. During all that night Huerta did not
leave the National Palace.
"This is the man, Huerta, to
whom the Catholic Party of Mexico 'representing the Machos,' gave their
assistance, friendship and money. Will they give him and his deeds the holy
blessing of the Pope?"
Remember the facts stated are
given on absolute authority. If Bro. Byam wishes more Masonic Light on this
period I respectfully refer him to Hon. Luis Manuel Rojas, Grand Master of the
Grand Lodge, Valley of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, during that period, a true
Mason who exhausted all the Masonic machinery at his disposal at that time to
save the lives of his brothers Madero and Suarez.
President Taft to whom he
repeatedly appealed by telegraph, had already imparted instructions to the
American Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson, and relying upon his timely
intervention referred Grand Master Rojas to him. Now I quote once more from
"The Grand Master after the
conference with Mr. Wilson, knew that the Ambassador was carrying out a policy
that up to today has had no satisfactory explanation. Henry Lane Wilson,
representing in Mexico the American Government, which since the days of its
independence has despised treachery and cunning, and has never been a party to
anything that is not absolutely true and above-board, allowed himself to
become the tool of the Roman Catholic Party of the Mochos, of Huerta, Diaz,
Leon de la Barra, and Mondragon. Ambassador Wilson therefore could have
requested, could have demanded, could have secured the lives of Madero and
Suarez, while he walked arm in arm with Huerta and the combination. . .
Ambassador Wilson would not listen to the plea of Mr,s. Madero and Mrs. Suarez
to save the lives of their husbands; he was implored and humbly besought by
them to interfere, as they knew it was in his power to do. . . Mr. Wilson knew
that Madero and Pino Suarez were to be taken prisoners, for the
representatives of the treacherous plot met in the American Embassy. but he
did not advise either Madero or Pino Suarez to escape
"One word from Ambassador
Wilson would have been sufficient to have delivered them to one of the
battleships which were then in Vera Cruz harbor. . . Nor was Mr. Wilson moved
by the Grand Master's appeal in the name of all Master Masons in Mexico, made
to him as a Master Mason, to save the lives of brother Master Masons."
Perhaps our Ambassador had
conceived the same contemptuous opinion of Mexican Masonry as that voiced by
Brother Byam in his article.
I have presented the facts
supported I think by sufficient authority. If Brother Byam wishes more I have
plenty at hand. I too lived some years in Mexico, part of the time in Mexico
City where I had the privilege of daily meeting General Agramonte, Judge
Andres Horcasitas, J. Mostella Clark and other Masons active in those days:
also much time in interior Chihuahua where I saw daily for myself the
oppressiveness of conditions for the masses. In our mines and smelter we
employed many hundred men with whom I came in daily contact.
I have gone some length into
this reply, because I cannot but regard Bro. Byam's article other than an
excellent brief for Mexican Catholicism. Much more I might say did space
permit but as Bro. Denman Wagstaff says sapiently:- Masonry does not fight
Catholicism . . she tolerates it because of her great Charity for all things.
The Roman Church is continually attacking Masonry. Very unchristian like I
should say. We are not intending to attack or storm the Vatican. There is
nothing therein contained that we need or want or prize. We not only do not
covet our neighbor's goods, but being plain truth-tellers, we are in addition
constrained to confess that "there is nothing there which would be of use to
THE SUBLIME ACHIEVEMENT
BY BRO. HENRY BANKS, P. G.
IN all times, in all climes, and among all
nations, wherever the banner of Masonry has been unfurled she has had her
enemies. Though her pathway down the ages has been strewn with the most
fragrant flowers of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, though the lives of the
best and purest among the Sons of Men have been magnificent monuments to the
grandeur of her mission, yet her enemies have not failed to decry her merits,
nor ceased their efforts to destroy her usefulness. While the Masons of this
glorious century - this century of soul liberty - have the freedom to erect
her Temples and worship about her altars, the spirit of enmity still exists,
and adverse criticisms of her methods are freely offered by those who are
ignorant of her mission, or blind to the rich fruitage of her labours.
When we consider the antiquity of Masonry, the
dangers through which she has so safely passed, the persecutions of bigotry,
superstition, and fanaticism she has so successfully met and repelled, and
behold her today with the glory of her centuries clustering about her brow,
and the years of labour resting so lightly upon her unbowed form, standing
upright and stately with all the vigour of her early youth, her feet as
elastic to run errands of mercy - knees as supple to bend in prayer for a
Brother's need - breast as faithful to receive and keep a Brother's whispered
words, hands as ready and strong to support a falling Brother, and lips ever
whispering words of cheer and comfort to the ear of distress - we stand with
unshod feet and uncovered head at her mystic portals and fain would lay the
laurel wreath of well-earned fame upon her pure white brow.
The flight of time has not dulled her ardour nor
made sluggish the blood that richly courses through her veins. The finger of
the ages has been powerless to mark the years of passage upon her beautiful
face. Her form unbent by the burdens she has borne; her eyes undimmed, catch
the sign of trouble, and her ears are quick to hear the plaintive cry of
distress, while old Father Time, with all his perseverance, has not yet
accomplished the task of unweaving the meshes of her hair, or weaving one
silver thread among its golden tresses. Although her pathway down the ages has
been marked by magnificent monuments of glorious achievement and gems of
precious truth sparkle about her feet, yet she has not been, and is not now,
free from detraction. The mystery and secrecy that hedge her in and veil her
beauties from the prying eyes of the world is no barrier to the performance of
She came into the world at the cry of distress,
uttered in man's need. No blare of trumpets or flaunting banners heralded her
coming, but secretly and silently, as the dews distilled upon Hermon, she came
from the loving heart of God to take her place as one of His mighty factors in
the building up of the waste places in His moral kingdom, and to bless man by
the beneficent power of her secret, silent influence. Masonry, with her
beautiful ritual, impressive ceremonies, and the glory of centuries clustering
about her brow, stripped of her moral character, would lose her greatest
charm, her most precious jewel. For Morality is her foundation, Truth and
Virtue her pillars, and Brotherly Love the high priest that ministers at her
altars. To be good men and true is the first and most important lesson taught
within her sacred walls. Every step of the candidate, from his preparation to
the last solemn scene, as he passes through her beautiful ceremonies and is
inducted into her mysteries, leads along a pathway strewn with fragrant
flowers of truth, while diamonds of virtue sparkle about her feet,
illuminating the mind with moral light, flooding the heart with a celestial
glow of divine principles, inspiring the soul and leading up to a higher plane
of holy, upright living. The trowels in our hands are rusty from lack of use,
for the cement of brotherly love has not always been spread with generous
hand. The hours of relief have been so destitute of service that we have
well-nigh lost the gauge's use, while from lack of labour our arms have become
too weak to wield the gavel in preparing the rough ashlars for the Great
Builder's use. Wrong and error stalk among us, and ofttimes unseemly tread our
The mission of Masonry in the world is to fight
the wrong and defend the right. Is she needed? Is her mission ended? Coming in
answer to man's need for moral help, she has come to stay. Until there are no
wrongs to right, no sin to fight, no distress to help, no woes to heal, no
lessons of purity and righteousness to teach; when, by the practice of our
secret art, the original design shall be restored to the trestle board, and
man is faithfully working it out, then, and not till then, will her mystery be
revealed and her mission be complete.
The power of faith threw its mysterious shield of
protection about the forms of the Hebrew children as they walked unscathed
amid the roaring flames of the seven-times-heated furnace. It parted the
waters of the Red Sea for the passage of the Children of Israel. It was a
cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night as they wandered for forty years.
Its mysterious healing power was felt by them as they looked upon the brazen
serpent uplifted in the wilderness. Its mystic power is felt as it flows in
rhythmic measure through the songs of the sweet singer of Israel, and, like a
thread of gold, it will be woven in the robes of righteousness we shall wear
around the throne of God. As with such mystery God has clothed His wondrous
works in nature and in grace, and through them showered blessings upon the
world, so shall Masonry, His servant, continue her blessed work among the
erring sons of man.
The prayer of every Mason's heart should be that
all men were Masons. and all Masons true. Then white-winged peace would hover
over all lands, nations would learn war no more. Swords would be beaten into
plough-shares and spears into pruning-hooks, brotherly love would prevail and
every moral and social virtue would cement us. If we so pray let us so live;
and, renewing our allegiance to the grand principles of Masonry, study more
earnestly her great light, making it the only rule of our faith and practice,
and the man of our council, and so move among our Brothers and the world that
they, seeing the beauty of Masonic holiness as it shines in our words and
deeds, may be constrained to exalt Masonry to the high and honoured place she
so richly deserves. Thus we will speed the glad time when the sublime
principles of Masonry will cover the earth as the waters cover the deep, and
the glorious sway of her power shall girdle the globe with kindness, love, and
THE LAMB-SKIN APRON
Light and white are its
And a priceless lesson its texture holds.
Symbol it is, as the years increase,
Of the paths that lead
through the fields of Peace.
Type it is of the higher sphere,
Where the deeds of the body, ended here,
Shall one by one the by-way be
To pass the gates of Eternity.
Emblem it is of a life intense,
Held aloof from the world of sense;
Of the upright walk and the lofty mind,
Far from the dross of Earth inclined.
Sign it is that he who wears
Its sweep unsullied, about him bears
That which should be to mind and heart,
A set reminder of his art.
So may it ever bring to thee
The high resolves of Purity.
Its spotless field of shining white,
Serve to guide thy steps aright;
Thy daily life, in scope and plan,
Be that of a strong and upright man,
And signal shall the honor be,
Unto those who wear it worthily.
Receive it thus to symbolize
Its drift, in the life that before thee lies.
Badge as it is of a great degree,
Be it chart and compass unto thee.
- Fay Hempstead.
KEEPING THE PEACE
Our duty is not only to keep the peace, but to
make a peace that is worth keeping. For the kind of peace that the world needs
cannot be had for the asking. It comes high, but it is worth the price. -
Samuel M. Crothers.
THE LAMP OF FELLOWSHIP
RUSKIN lighted his Seven Lamps of Architecture and
set them on golden candlesticks, the better to show us that the laws of art
are moral laws, whether they are used in building a cathedral or in making a
character. If we would build for eternity, he tells us that we must obey Him
whose mountain peaks and forest aisles we imitate in our temples. Martineau
lighted five Watch-night Lamps, in a noble address, and urged us to keep our
souls awake looking for the dawn in "this solemn eve of an eternal day which
we call Human Life."
But there is another Lamp without which all lights
flicker and fade as we walk together in the dim country of this world - the
Lamp of Fellowship. Indeed, one may sum up the whole of life, and of religion,
in the one word Fellowship - a deep and tender fellowship of the soul with the
Father of all, whose inspiration and help are the supreme facts of life; and
then, turning manward, to fill all the relations of life with the spirit of
sincere and sympathetic fellowship. What more than this can the best man do,
how better can he serve his fellow pilgrims who journey with him the old-worn
"Fellowship is heaven,
Lack of fellowship is hell."
By the same token, if the soul of Masonry is its
Symbolism, its heart-throb is felt in its Spirit of Fellowship. Its history is
gray with age. Its philosophy is profound. Its philanthropies are beautiful
and benign. Its ritual is rich in suggestion, eloquent with echoes of those
truths that have haunted the mind of man since thought found a throne in the
brain. But the heart of Masonry, its vital force, its divine fire are in its
Strong Grip by which men of every land, of every creed, of every shade of
temperament and thought are brought together on the five points of Fellowship!
Fellowship - that is the word which utters, so far
as any word may utter, the deepest reality and the highest aspiration in the
heart of Masonry. This is the mystery which its rituals labor to express and
which its symbols seek to interpret and unfold - a mystery, as Whitman said,
more profound than metaphysics, by which man is united with his Fellows in
Faith, Freedom, and Friendship. For this Masonry exists - to assert the fact,
to spread the spirit, and to promote the practice of Brotherhood - that man
may learn that it is what he shares that makes life worth living, and that "he
who seeks his own loses the things in common.”
Indeed, the whole arrangement of human life exists
that man may learn three things: the law of right, love of God, and love of
man. After long ages of tragedy we are beginning to learn the first lesson,
that a world in which poison makes men strong and food destroys them is not
more unreal than a world in which falsehood makes great characters and
righteousness issues in ignoble spirit and unworthy life. How far we have
failed to learn the other two truths of love of God and love of man, the human
scene makes pitifully plain. Yet learn them we must, else the story of men
will be blurred with blood and blistered with tears till whatever is to be the
end of things, with never any hope of a better day to be.
Here lies the divine mission of Masonry, to
fulfill which we must make deep research into our history, and still more into
our hearts, using every art at our command, every influence we can invoke,
joining our hands in one high service, the while we light the Lamp of
Fellowship and learn to "live in the eternal order which never dies."
This is the work on the
Trestle-board for Brethren everywhere,
For never was there greater need for level, plumb, and
For trowel with cement of love to strengthen and
The human race in Brotherhood, and usher in the
Truly, "the best laid plans of mice and men gang
aft aglee," and not a few of our pet schemes have suffered wreck during the
year, much to our regret. Nevertheless we have made progress, and we believe
that our Members will agree not only that The Builder is far and away a better
journal than it was a year ago, but that the Society is not far from a
solution of the hardest problem which any group of Masons ever set themselves
to solve - how to induce Masons to study Masonry alike in its deeper aspects
and its wider practical application.
Our Brethren abroad are amazed at the advance
made, and even those among us who hold aloof, waiting for tangible results,
must admit that something has been done that has never been done before.
Looking forward, the tokens are most encouraging, in the response to the
Study-Club program as well as in the general feeling that the Society is an
honest and firmly established movement having the good of the Order at heart,
free from fads and bent on serving the cause to which every true Mason is
devoted. Criticism has given way to co-operation to a degree unexpected even
by the most sanguine, and the omens for the future are friendly and full of
So far, of course, only the corner-stone has been
laid, but it is a good beginning, and we feel that the spirit and intent of
the Society have won the intelligent confidence of the Craft. Something has
been achieved in the field of original research, as our pages bear witness,
and more will be accomplished in the days to come. Nothing would be easier
than to edit an erudite journal filled with learned essays to be read by the
few and filed away for reference, had that been the purpose of the Society.
But our first concern is to reach the rank and file of the Craft, as far as
possible, and to enlist them in the study of Masonic truth, the practice of
Masonic principles, and a better use of the Fraternity for the service of
Many plans are afoot for the new year, but our
chief aim will be to push to successful issue the Study-Club program, in every
part of the land. How difficult the problem is, how novel and fascinating
withal, the Correspondence Bulletins reveal, and the letters which threaten to
swamp Brother Clegg show that the Society did not misread signs of the times
or the needs and feelings of the draft. If we have only scratched the surface
of the field, we at least know how rich a soil we have to till, and if we do
the thing that needs to be done the harvest will take care of itself. The
motto of England these days would not be a bad motto for us, "Every man do his
bit, and stick to it."
LET US GIVE THANKS
Soon will come the day when we shall be called to offer thanks,
as a people, for the old sweet fashions of nature, for the miracle of
seed-time, summer and autumn harvest, for the necessity which impels industry
and the stores of material for use and beauty. No man, surely, can think back
over the year and not be moved to gratitude for the joys of life, for home and
family and the dear love of comrades; yea, even for the sorrows that subdued
him to sobs and welded him in love and pity to his kind. Thankfulness is the
fruit of thoughtfulness, and if we cannot be thankful for all things we may
learn to be thankful in all things - albeit saddened unutterably by the vast
shadow of woe that hangs over the world. May we not also give thanks for the
great order of Freemasonry, whose mission is not to tear down but to build up,
to bless not to hurt, and whose labors in behalf of a better world never stop,
never tarry, never tire? Indeed, yes, and with all our hearts, the more so in
a day when men are divided by sect and party and clan and every tie is needed
the world together. Humbly let us
give thanks, trusting One who in a way beyond our reckoning brings good out of
ill, and makes the woe of man to serve His awful
STEPS TO THE CROWN
FROM over the sea comes a neat, well-dressed
little book named "Steps to the Crown," from the busy heart and tireless pen
of Brother Arthur Edward Waite a man the very thought of whom is like a
fragrance brought from afar on friendly winds. This time it is a series of
Aphorisms, a form of writing to which one is tempted to say his style does not
easily lend itself, did we not recall those fine and deep sayings scattered
like bits of star-dust through his book of poems. Terse, pithy, picturesque,
they begin with the worldly-wise Counsels of Caiaphas after the fashions of
this world, and bring us at last, as the writer always brings us, to the white
steps that lead to the Places of Sanctity; and they speak many kinds of wisdom
in one spirit of love. Meanwhile, we tread the thresholds of many sanctuaries,
in the shadow of a Secret Light, if happily we may learn the consolations of
the Greater Law and the Path of Union. At random we gather a handful of these
aphorisms, after this manner:
Except a man use simple words, he shall not in the
last resource escape from being intelligible.
Intellectual tolerance is not incompatible with
the enlightened hatred of a good many current opinions.
The world, as a going concern, is for sale to
those who can buy, but no good-will goes with it.
The fly walks on the ceiling, and yet it has never
affirmed that the world is upside down.
The number of the schools is infinite, but the
truth is one. A single clear intuition is better than a score of reasonings.
Subtlety and duplicity can teach us much, but not
to escape either death or immortality.
Return tickets are not issued for any of the great
From day to day we pronounce the Lost word with our lips, but
it remains lost until we utter it in our
Herein is a Garden of Nuts in which he who seeks
will find what he seeks, and no more. Knowledge runs but wisdom lingers, and
he that is in haste loses what is most worth while. Always it is the
heavenly-minded man who is the teacher of the truest worldly wisdom, for that
he sees through the show and sham of things to the realities that await our
coming. Who opens this little volume will find a log-book of past voyages, in
cipher which has been here and there decoded; and if the cipher spells out
fragments of strange legends, it also gives hint that "the secret of getting
on in the world is that of passing quickly through it."
THE MASTER MASON
"Help me to do my work this
day - my best;
And lead me in my blindness;
With strength of truthful
purpose fill my breast
Sufficient to withstand
And fill my heart with
Such is the brief and wise prayer in which every
reader will join who opens "The Confessions of a Master Mason," by Brother C.
F. Whaley, who dedicates his pages "to the man who believes in the Fatherhood
of God and the Brotherhood of Man; to the man who believes himself to be his
brother's keeper; to the man who walks the four-fold path of right thinking,
right speaking, right acting and right living." Nearly fifty years ago,
unsolicited, he sought admission into the ancient craft of Masons, and after
many days he now sets down what Masonry has taught him of the meaning of life
and how to live it. Truly, it is a wise and gracious little book, one to
ponder over betimes, giving us a lecture in prose and a legend in poetry;
brotherly withal, and of bright and pure spirit; reverent and religious, as
witness its evening prayer when the shadows fall:
"Thou great and loving Father:
I know full well my failures
I say it to my sorrow.
Teach me some better, nobler
Be Thou my help in every
need, I pray;
Bide with me yet tomorrow."
* * *
THE RELIGION OF AMERICA
Years ago, wounded by a great sorrow, George H.
Fitch sought the "Comfort Found in Good Old Books," whereof he told in a
volume of that title, of which we made note in these pages. Now he would lead
us further, if so that we may find the vital force in the new religion of
democracy as revealed in the "Great Spiritual Writers of America" - Emerson
and Whitman its prophets, Lowell, Whittier and Markham its poets. Why not
Lanier, too, whose "song was only living aloud, his work a singing with the
hand?" One misses that golden voice in this heavenly choir. And what a choir
it is: Emerson, Whitman, Irving, Cooper, Poe, Longfellow, Thoreau, Mark Twain,
Whittier, Hawthorne, Bret Harte, Howells, and, by no means least, dear Edwin
Markham who is not only a poet, but is himself a poem. 'Tis a most useful and
inspiring book for a young man, opening the door into the best that has been
thought and sung and dreamed under "the wide and starry sky" of this new
world; happy is he who enters and finds there a "city of the mind built
against outward distraction for inward consolation and shelter."
* * *
Fortunately, as we
suggested, the series of articles in the Masonic Standard, by Brother Frank G.
Higgins, in which he presents Masonry as a survival of the ancient
Cosmic Science, have been gathered into an attractive little book; and may now
be studied by the Craft. These papers are designed to be an elementary course
of instruction in the secret learning of antiquity, which the author holds is
the real, albeit long-lost, secret of Masonry, if not the reason for its
existence. Such learning was deemed too disturbing to be spread broadcast in
olden times, but he feels that the day has arrived, in view of the interest in
the deeper side of Masonry, when this hidden lore should be brought to light
and put before the rank and file of the Order. He frankly admits that this
venerable science, so presented, looks like what he calls a "stupendous
cut-out puzzle," to piece together which has been his pleasant lifework; but
when it is put together it reveals a consistent and commanding philosophy
which will stand the test of scientific examination. Masonry, he tells us, has
wrought a great work in the world despite its almost total oblivion of what
was once its principle reason of being, and the inference is that, once it
recovers its long-buried learning, it will move forward to greater service. As
space permits only a brief notice, we reserve a more detailed review until a
later issue, albeit not without expressing sincere appreciation of a brilliant
student and a most lovable and brotherly man.
* * *
We regret to announce that, owing to the war
regulations of the British Empire, it is impossible to secure the books
mentioned by Brother Baxter in his "Course of Masonic Reading" in our last
issue. It is only another evidence of how our peaceful labors are to be
shadowed by the dark cloud of war.
* * *
"Away with funeral music -
The pipe to powerful lips -
The cup of life's for him
And not for him that sips."
- Unpublished Stevenson MSS.
* * *
BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS
Great Spiritual Writers of America, by G. H.
Fitch. Elder & Co., San Francisco.
Steps to the Crown, by A. E. Waite. Rider and Co.,
The Beginning of Masonry, by F.C. Higgins. Pyramid
Publishing Co., Masonic Hall, New York. $1.50.
Story of the Ancient Craft; Its Lessons in Verse,
by O. B. Slane, Wyoming, Ill. $.25.
Freemasonry and Medieval Gilds, by Ossian Lang.
Grand Lodge of New York.
The Relation of the Liberal Churches and the
Fraternal Orders, by E.C. Coil. American Unitarian Association, Boston. Free
The Cloud upon the Sanctuary, by Karl von
Eckartshausen, edited by A.E. Waite. Rider and Son, London. $1.00
Poems of Rupert Brooke, Introduction by G. E.
Woodberry. John Lane Co., Boston.
Le Symbolisme, Edited by Oswald Wirth, 16 rue
TRULY A MAN
He is truly a man who makes justice his leader in
the path of inquiry, and who culls from every sect whatever reason approves
of. - Akbar, 1578.
THE QUESTION BOX
A TOKEN OF MEMORY
Suppose each man who entered our Order should
receive, as a token of memory, the Bible on which he took his obligation as a
Mason, how much it would mean to him in after years! Having on its fly leaf
his name, the date of his initiation into the different degrees, the names of
the officers who conferred the degrees, it would be a sacred thing to him and
to his family; a treasure to be handed down from generation to generation.
What would it mean to a son to plight his Masonic vows on the same Bible on
which his father, and perhaps his grandfather, had plighted their vows before
him? How many memories would cling to such a book, making it doubly dear for
itself and for its associations! Is not this suggestion worthy of thought?
* * *
From time to time there come letters from Brethren
expressing regret, if not dissatisfaction, on account of certain penalties of
obligations. While one may not write freely of such matters some things may be
said: (1) The points complained of are manifestly of modern origin, and had no
place, so far as we can learn, in ancient craft Masonry. In olden times the
oath of a Mason, if we may judge from those which come-down to us, was a very
simple thing, consisting of one or two sentences. The language used was very
simple, and it is in some respects unfortunate that it should have given place
to an elaborate form for which there is no authority either in history or in
reason. (2) A study of the punishments attached in ancient English law to the
crime of high treason is very enlightening, if one has eyes to see, regarding
the history of the things objected to. (3) In some Lodges - especially in
Scotland - the candidate is told that, while the old form is preserved as a
symbol, the real penalties that affect and influence the human soul are moral:
the penalties of being branded and forsworn as a dishonored man and Mason, of
receiving the well merited contempt and score of good men; of suffering the
horrors of an outraged conscience, and of incurring the retribution of the
Deity whose presence is invoked.
* * *
THE OLD CHARGES
Two Brethren ask if the Old Constitutions which the Society is
issuing is in fact the earliest copy, and as rare and unique as is claimed.
Certainly not, if by copy is meant manuscripts of the Old Charges; but it is
the earliest printed copy. Of this edition Brother Hughan says in his
"Constitutions of Freemasons": - "The earliest printed Constitutions of the
operative Masons were issued in 1722. The title runs - 'From the old
Constitutions belonging to the Ancient and honorable Society of the Free and
Accepted Masons; taken from a Ms written about five hundred years hence.
London: Printed and sold by J. Roberts, in Warwick-lane, 1722.' We have been
favored with a perusal of this work, and can testify to its exclusively
operative character. The Obligation taken by the apprentices accords with the
(1942, British Museum.) The ancient charges were read to the initiate, who
then subscribed to them as follows: 'All these articles and charges which I
have now read unto you, you shall well and truly observe, perform, and keep,
to the best of your power and knowledge, so help you God, and the true and
holy contents of this Book.' " (Hughan, pp. 12,13. Incidentally, this is an
example of the simplicity of the oath of an operative Mason, while showing
that the Constitutions of 1722, although to be classed with the old operative
Constitutions, belongs to the period of transition.
* * *
Editor Builder: - Kindly advise, through The
Builder, if a Brother Mason can inform the Master that he wishes a certain
candidate rejected, and in the absence of the objecting Brother, is the Master
duty-bound to cast a black-ball against the candidate for the E.A. degree. Is
not the objecting Brother obliged to state his reasons for the objection?
M. B. Slemmer, Centreville,
An objection to
advancement in your jurisdiction has the same effect as a black-ball. As to
whether this applies to a candidate who has been elected to receive, but has
not yet received, the Entered Apprentice
Degree, the Maryland code does not state. Neither does it state whether
objections must be made in open Lodge.
or privately to the Master, nor if it is necessary for the objector to make
known his reasons.
* * *
Dear Sir and Bro.: - I have read that in a shop
window of a certain Swedish city the notice appears: - ENGLISH SPOKEN,
This would seem to predicate some distinction in
the linguistic accomplishments of the two great families of the Anglo-Saxon
race. It hardly seems to me, however, to justify either the Anglicisation or
Americanisation of the quotations from Scottish documents, given in the
otherwise excellent article by Brother G. P. Brown in your January issue.
The genealogical reference, to begin with, is
wrong, as the poet's father was not even an Ayrshire man, and the baptismal
record must surely be misquoted, as the family name was not Burns, but Burness.
No Scottish Scribe could be guilty of writing
Lockly for Lochlea when entering the abode of the initiate in the minutebook,
and the town which had the honour of receiving the poet into the Royal Arch
degree was not Leymouth, but Eyemouth.
Under the sub-title of "The Sweet Singer," the
omission of the word "air" between "with" and "benign" in the first line of
the second quatrain spoils the whole rythm of the piece.
Rodk. H. Baxter, England.
* * *
Dear Brother Newton: - Here is my trouble, as briefly as I can
state it. The Grand Lodge of our state has never adopted a uniform ritual.
Each Lodge, so long as it does not violate the ancient Landmarks, is permitted
to put on the work according to its own particular wording and interpretation.
This, naturally, has resulted in there being a wide variance in the work in
different parts of the State; and in the remote districts has brought about a
sad state of affairs. To counteract this, our Grand Lodge created a committee
method of conferring the degrees, which, if adopted, should make the ritual
uniform throughout the jurisdiction. As a member of that committee, I hope the
report will be adopted. But we anticipate opposition, and in order to meet it
we want accurate information as to the number of states in which uniform work
is being used, and also some data as to the methods employed in promulgating
it to the lodges; and I have, therefore, taken the liberty of writing to you
for some information to assist us in getting our report adopted, which result,
we feel, is very vital to the future welfare of Freemasonry in this state.
1. Does Iowa have an official uniform Blue Lodge
2. How is it taught to the various lodges ? In
other words, do you use a printed cipher, do you promulgate it by specially
trained lecturers, or what method do you employ?
3. What is your opinion as to the advantage of
having the ritualistic work of a state absolutely uniform?
4. Tell me, if you know or can possibly find out,
in your doubtless extensive records, how many Grand Lodges in the United
States of America have a uniform ritual, and what are their various methods of
teaching it to the subordinate lodges.
While I know that you are interested in the philosophy of
Masonry rather than the forms and phrases by which the degrees are
communicated, I believe you will for that very reason realize that there is
very little hope of having a man grasp a great truth of any kind when the
language by which it is presented
to him a
Therefore, we, of the committee on work, feel that
if we can succeed in having a common language, or a common method of
conferring the degrees adopted by the Grand Lodge, in a verb few years; from
that one thing alone, the standards of Masonis ideals, ambitions and purposes
will have advanced at least one hundred per gent in our state.
Knowing that you are interested in the welfare of
Masonry everywhere, I call on you for assistance because in the short time, I
cannot otherwise get the information, and I assure you that the time you
devote to your reply will be more than well spent.
J. A. D.
Here is a situation as novel as it is important
and it raises many interesting questions which are too large to be discusses
in a brief answer. First, as to information: (1) Yes, the Grand Lodge of Iowa
uses a uniform ritual which it recognizes as the "ancient Webb work," not only
the teaching of which, but its preservation and disseminaton being enjoined on
a Board of Custodians, and all innovations or changes in the ritual are
strictly forbidden. As stated in its Constitution, (Art. XI), "In conferring
the degrees of Masonry, the subordinate Lodges are enjoined to a strict
adherence to the work as authorized and taught in this jurisdiction." (2) The
ritual is taught to the Lodges by a Board of specially trained district
lecturers. Ciphers are forbidden. (Code, 297.) Schools of instruction are held
annually at strategic points in the jurisdiction, to which the Lodges of the
surrounding district are invited; thus uniting good fellowship with good
instruction. (3) There is no debate as to the essentials of Masonry, its
fundamental principles; on these matters all are agreed. Masonic fellowship,
of course, is deeper than but the ritual is a medium, a vehicle, through which
Masonic truth is conveyed; and if the medium is chaotic, the teaching will be
uncertain and ineffective. Dignity, impressiveness and teachability are all on
the side of uniformity of ritual. But, strictly speaking, there can be no such
thing as absolute uniformity - there will always be variation of emphasis and
interpretation, just as no two artists can give exactly the same
interpretation of a Shakespeare play. So that uniformity of ritual need not
mean monotony, unless the ritual is repeated after the manner of a parrot or a
phonograph - and that is an awful possibility whether the ritual be uniform or
not. There is no doubt that, if your Grand Lodge adopts a uniform ritual, the
effectiveness of Masonry will be many times increased in your jurisdiction.
Let this action be followed by a like emphasis upon the study-side of Masonry,
inducing the masters and brethren to study the degrees, live with them until
they become living realities to their minds and heart, and the influence of
Masonry will be still further increased. (4) As to the Grand Lodges United
States which employ uniform work, the facts are as follows:
Not mentioned in Code
Not mentioned in Code
District Deputy Grand Masters
Not mentioned in Code
Furnished to W. M. and Wardens
Uniform only in essentials
Com. on Work
Dist. of Columbia
Not mentioned in Code.
District Deputy Grand Masters
Not mentioned in Code
Furnished to Master
District Grand Lecturers
Official cipher authorized
Uniform District Lecturers
Furnished certain officers.
Inspectors appointed by Grand Master
Not mentioned in Code
Two Grand Lecturers
Temporary Grand Lecturers
Not mentioned in Code
Grand Lecturer and Com. on Work
Not mentioned in Code.
Grand Lecturer app. by Grand Master
Not mentioned in Code.
Furnished by Grand Secretary
Board of Custodians, five in number
Grand Lecturer and Deputies
Not mentioned in Code
Not mentioned in Code
Grand Master, Grand Secretary and Deputy
Grand Master, Custodians
Not mentioned in Code
Uniform except Carson Lodge No. 1
Not mentioned in Code.
District Grand Lecturers
Grand Instructors and Dist. Deputies
Grand Lecturer and Deputies
Grand Lecturer and Assistants
Grand Lecturer and Assistants
District Deputy Grand Masters
District Deputy Grand Masters
Not mentioned in Code.
Grand Master or his appointee
Not mentioned in Code.
Not mentioned in Code.
Grand Lecturers and Deputies
Not mentioned in Code.
Grand Lecturers and District Deputy Grand
Official cipher permitted.
Grand Lecturer and Division Lecturers
Not mentioned in Code.
Grand Lecturer and Deputies
Grand Lecturer and Deputies
Not mentioned in Code.
* Masonic Code of this
jurisdiction has been requested, but has not been received.
1717 - 1917
Dear Brother: - The questions raised in an
interesting letter quoted by the editor in a recent number of The Builder
surely ought to evoke many answers. The question as to whether Masonry has a
world mission commensurate with other outward expressions of organized
activities is highly debatable. Its intrinsic character, forbidding those
activities which have a special sectarian or political bias, prevents its
engaging in lines of outward demonstrable service. Due observation, however,
must be taken in connection with this that there is no legitimate barrier to
its active participation in social reform, or to taking a united stand as a
revolutionary party should emergency arise. To fail indeed to respond in
conscious deliberate activity when a people's rights or liberties were
affected would be to violate its teachings, betray its heritage and disown its
traditions. But would a study of our social status reveal such causes as would
justify any such stand of the body politic of Masons? An investigation that
would afford one the opinion of the individual Masons of these United States
would not, I believe, reveal anything that would approximate unanimity as to
what ought to be at the present hour its social or world mission. We would
find without question certain disgruntled folk who call for Masonry's
unhinching opposition to some provincial issue or other, but can we sanely and
wisely point the common cause or grievance that would cement in unity our
Masonic Statesmanship, and crystallize the Masonic forces for one specific aim
and purpose? We seriously question it. To ascertain then what is the decided
modern mission of the craft one would have to look other than in fields
political or sectarian or probably international. Imperative indeed is the
need of declaring the modern mission especially if there be five out of ten
instead of one in ten as quoted in the letter who have no real or profound
interest in Masonry.
The making of too many Masons is something to be
seriously deprecated and protested against for observation and experience
convinces that this promiscuous Mason-making process is not for the good of
the order. In making the Mason we have often missed the most important thing,
namely, that we are gonsecrating a man who would be forevermore as the noblest
among men, clean of heart and mind, a builder of the empire of truth, a lover
of fraternity and fellowship. Here I believe we have the clue to the modern
mission of Masonry - the creation of that sublime and lofty character that
will express the potential human goodness, that will in its journeyings,
business, and pleasure, as a result of Masonic culture and training, react
upon the world for its uplift and betterment. Into the order those who can
give of the riches of their heart, and who would delight to their good in the
treasures of the craft, should be welcome; but he who intolerantly and
arbitrarily views those who differ with him, should never be admitted. Masonry
is not a reformatory. It is a university and ought to perform a like service
for the world. To mingle with men of many minds, of many viewpoints who
religiously adhere to the search for truth and who practice fraternity as
dictated by the religious spirit of the universal man, is the Mason's
privilege and solemn duty. How shall we welcome the advent of the
two-hundredth anniversary? By re-emphasizing the knowledge of Masonry's
character upon the two millions of American Masons. By returning to the rigid
observance of allowing only those qualified according to Masonic requisites to
come into the Order. By more urgently endeavoring to establish the true
fraternity that we would hold up as exemplary for the emulation of the world.
By persistent endeavor to educate the vast number in the Craft in the ethics
and philosophy of the Order. By humbly confessing our forgetfulness in thought
and practice of things once solemnly enjoined upon us and a rededication of
the Craft to the cause of humanity through the service of the man who is a
Robert Tipton, Iowa
* * *
WILLIAM J. FLORENCE
Dear Bro. Newton: - Your incautious statement in
"The Builder" for last May that "Billy" Florence was not a Mason has brought
out protests from my good friends Clegg and Somerville, who both refer to my
"One Hundred Years of Aurora Grata" published in 1908 as authority for the
claim that Florenge was a Mason. So it seems to be my "move."
As to his being a Mason:
(1) Bro. J. Henry Williams, P.G.M., Penna., is
authority for the statement that the records of Pennsylvania show:
Mount Moriah Lodge No. 156, Philadelphia. William
J. Florence, Comedian, Age 22; Initiated, Crafted, and Raised October 12,
1853, by dispensation. Admitted November 22, 1863. Suspended December 22,
1867. Restored to good standing December 26, 1871. Admitted M. M. January 23,
1872. Deceased November 19, 1891.
(2) Bro. George B. Orlady, P.G.M., Penna., states
that he sat in lodge with Florence and can vouch for his being a Master Mason.
(3) Bro. George B. Wells, P.G.H.P. and present
Grand Secretary of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania, writes that
the Chapter records show:
Zerubbabel Chapter No. 162. William J. Florence,
Marked June 10, 1854; Most Excellent June 10 1854; Royal Arch June 12, 1854.
Sojourner. (That is, not affiliated.)
(4) Dr. Saram R. Ellison, Recorder of Mecca
Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., New York, tells me that William J. Florence, Comedian,
Age 25, received the Orders of Masonic Knighthood in Pittsburgh Commandery No.
1, at Pittsburgh, Pa., June 13, 1854, being entered as a "sojourner." I have
written to Bro. David M. Kinzer, Recorder of Pittsburgh Commandery, for his
confirmation of this, but have not had an answer from him. I shall probably
see Bro. Kinzer at the session of the Supreme Council, 33d, at Pittsburgh next
week, and if he confirms this I shall so advise you.
(5) I copy the following from the minutes of
Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection of Brooklyn, of which I am the present T.P.
At a special communication of Aurora Grata Lodge
of Perfection held at their rooms, Halsey's Building, on Tuesday evening,
April 16, '67, Ill. Bro. C.T. McClenachan 33d proposed Bro. W. J. Florence,
Age 40, Occupation Actor, Residence Metropolitan Hotel. Refers to Ill. Bro.
McClenachan and Ill. Chas. Brown, M. D., which was on motion received and
referred to Ill. Bros. Willets, Smith and McClenachan for investigation, who
immediately reported favorably and recommended his election. The T.P.G.M. then
ordered a ballot and Bro. Florence was declared duly elected. Bro. F. being
about to depart for Europe and wishing to receive the degrees of the A. & A.
Rite, permission was given Ill. Bro. McClenachan to confer the degrees upon
him as soon as convenient and wherever his judgment might digtate.
D.G. Smith, G.S.K.S.A.
Acting upon above authority Bro. McClenachan conferred upon
Bro. W.J. Florence the degrees from 4th to 14th inclusive at Metropolitan
Hotel on 21st April, '67, in presence of and assisted by Ill. Bro. Wilson
Small 33d, A.T.C. Pierson 33d S.J., Ill. Gabrial McCowan 33d of the S.J.,
Chas. Brown, M. D., 32d, Thos. J.
Leigh 32 and D. G. Smith 32nd, Secretary of Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection.
D.G. Smith, G.S. K.S.A.
This minute is probably erroneous as to the
degrees conferred. It is evident to me that all of the degrees from the Fourth
to the Thirty-second were conferred at this special communication, from the
following facts: (a) When the degrees of the Scottish Rite were communicated,
as they were in those days, all of the degrees excepting the Thirty-third were
usually communicated at one session; (b) It was common in Aurora Grata Lodge
of Perfection, Council of Princes, Chapter of Rose Croix and Consistory at
that time to confer the degrees "from the 4th to the 32d inclusive,"
notwithstanding the jurisdiction of each of these bodies over but a part of
the Scottish Rite series; (c) The Secretary, Bro. Smith, had himself received
the degrees by communication at the fifth communication preceding the one he
here records, and had become Secretary on April 9th but twelve days before the
reception of Florence, and this was the second communication at which he acted
as Secretary. It is probable, therefore, that Bro. Smith did not know just
exactly what did occur; (d) At the rendezvous of Aurora Grata Consistory of
April 23, 1867, but two days after the reception of Florence, there is entered
under receipts, "W.J. Florence, $55 for degrees." Fifty-five dollars was the
fee for the degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-second at that time. From
these facts I feel sure that Florence received the Thirty-second degree.
It will be observed that according to the
Pennsylvania record Florence was not in good standing in his Symbolic Lodge at
the time of his reception in Aurora Grata. But don't you know that in those
crude days, when they used to say "Once a Mason, always a Mason," they were
often so ignorant of the fundamental principles and eternal truths of Masonry
that even officers of a lodge would sometimes say "the" where the Standard
Work was "a!" Billy Florence was always in good standing as a man.
As to his name and religion:
Bro. J. Harry Conlin, a nephew, tells me that "Uncle Billly’s
name was not Bernard Conlin, but William Jermyn Conlin, but that he used his
stage name of William J. Florence, and was known among his friends as
Florence. Bro. Conlin does not believe that his name was actually changed to
Florence by legal process. Florence married a Catholic, who declared that upon
his death bed he became a Catholic. Bro. Edwin D. Washburne, 33d, tells me
that he was in the house when Florence died, but was not actually present at
his death. Bro. Washburne says that to his knowledge a Catholic priest was
present with Mrs. Florence when Florence died. The widow took charge of the
funeral arrangements, and services were held at St. Agnes (Catholic) Church.
The Conlin family made no energetic objection to this, as they wished to avoid
"talk," as Bro. J. Harry Conlin expresses it. The body was buried in Greenwood
(Protestant) Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.
Y., in a plot purchased by Florence himself for the family burial plot. Bro.
Conlin says, "Uncle Billy was no more a Catholic than you are," - meaning me.
Now please don't say again that Florence was not a
Mason, because there is too much against you to sustain that statement!
Very truly and fraternally
Chas. A. Brockaway, 33d, New
* * *
THE ROLL OF HONOR
Dear Sir and Brother: - In reply to your inquiry
of the 12th instant, I beg leave to say that, so far as I have been able to
verify, the following list of Presidents of the United States were Brother
John Adams. James Madison.
John Quincy Adams.
William H. Harrison.
James K. Polk.
James A. Garfield.
William H. Taft.
From the late General Robert H. Hall, U.S.A.,
that General Grant was a fellow craft Mason; initiated and raised in a
frontier lodge, when a second lieutenant; Gen. Hall got his information from a
brother who was present at the initiation. Just before the death of General
Hall, I wrote to ask the name of the lodge and date of the initiation, but
received no reply. I took the matter up with the surviving frontier lodges
located where Gen. Grant had been on duty when on the Pacific Slope and also
with the surviving Army Officers who were with him in his youth, who were
Masons, but could not get the verification I sought.
I do not, however, regard this as proof that
General Grant was not a Mason, for so many lodges have gone out of existence,
and records have been badly kept in many lodges; many records lost, and, what
is quite as bad, searches are difficult and inconvenient.
I once wrote the Secretary of a lodge in the West,
inquiring the Masonic record of an officer in the Army. The Secretary searched
but did not find his name: later I found name and date in Gould's History,
again wrote the same Secretary, who then looked and verified.
My record of the Signers of the Declaration of
John Hancock, Grand Master in Mass.
Josiah Bartlett, Grand Master in Mass.
William Whipple. *
Matthew Thornton. *
Samuel Adams, St. Johns lodge, Mass.
John Adams, St. Johns lodge, Mass.
Robert Treat Paine. *
Elbridge Gerry. *
Stephen Hopkins, St. Johns lodge, Providence,
Roger Sherman. *
Philip Livingston. *
Oliver Wolcott, * St. Johns lodge, Hartford, Conn.
Francis Lewis. *
John Witherspoon. *
Francis Hopkinson. *
Robert Morris. *
Benjamin Rush. *
Benjamin Franklin, G.M. in Penna.
George Ross. *
Richard Henry Lee. *
Francis Lightfoot Lee.
Those marked * are taken from one Library
History, Vol. IV. The others I have verified from Lodge Records. I have made
many searches, without being able to verify all of those marked *; but without
the records there have been good traditions, if any traditions are good.
A direct descendant of Matthew Thornton is
positive Matthew Thornton was initiated in an Army lodge, but there exists no
records at all of that lodge.
A descendant of Josiah Bartlett (signer) feels
sure that her ancestor was not a Mason, and knows that there were two Josiah
Bartletts; while members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and the Editor of
"Light" are certain the Josiah who was Grand Master is the veritable Josiah
who signed the Declaration of Independence. This Bartlett record, however, is
the only one which has been questioned.
The records in Military Lodges have rarely, if
ever, been carefully kept, and very few of our Military lodge records have
ever reached any Grand Lodge.
Of the Signers 13 were Congregationalists; 34 were
Protestant Episcopalians; 2 were Quakers; 5 were Presbyterians; 1 was a
Baptist and 1 a Roman Catholic.
All were born in the United States, excepting
nine, as follows: Thornton, Smith and Taylor, in Ireland; Lewis, Morris and
Gwinnett, in England; Scott, Witherspoon and Wilson, in Scotland. Charles
Carrot was a native of Maryland, and though recently it is claimed he was a
"life long friend of Washington" there is no history nor tradition to prove
it. There is no intimation of their acquaintance until after Washington became
President, and was invited to present the premiums at the Jesuit College in
Georgetown, where Bishop Carrol was president.
During the War of the Revolution there were about
500,000 Scotch (Presbyterian) - Irish in the Colonies who were "the Irish in
George W. Baird, P.G.M. Dist.
* * *
SYLVANUS COBB: MASON
In the March number of The Builder, Brother W.A.G.
asked for information regarding some of Sylvanus Cobb's stories. It was my
privilege to have seen Mr. Cobb many times and to know his famous twin
brothers, Cyrus and Darius. The following is a short sketch of his busy life,
taken from a biography, written by his daughter, and "Dedicated to the Masonic
Sylvanus Cobb, Jr., was the son of Sylvanus Cobb
and Eunice Hale Waite, born in Waterville, Me., June 5, 1823, and was publicly
"dedicated to God" by "Father" Hosea Ballou on June 26th.
His parents moved to Maiden, Mass., in 1828, and
lived in the Parsonage House, still standing, and celebrated as the birthplace
of Adoniram Judson. They moved to Waltham, Mass., in 838; and while Sylvanus
was attending High school, he went to Brooklyn, N. Y., and enlisted in the
United States Navy in Feb., 1841, easily passing for a man of 21 years. He was
honorably discharged from the Navy three years later, and on June 29th, 1845,
he was married to Mary Jane Mead in East Boston, Mass.
In 1846, with one of
his brothers, he founded "THE RECHABITE,"
a great temperance paper, and three years later went over to the
"WASHINGTONIAN." James Ed. Polk, Daniel Webster and Henry Clay were among the
hundreds who were publicly named in these papers as "rum drinkers." From the
Washingtonian, he went to the "WAVERLY MAGAZINE" as associate editor. As a
member of the "Sons of Temperance" he was a public lecturer for several years
He began to write continued stories in 1850, the
first being "The Prophet of the Bohmer Wald" published in the "FLAG OF OUR
NATION." Began to write for the New York Ledger in 1856, and in thirty-one
years, he wrote 122 Long stories, 862 short stories and 2143 "scraps," in all,
89,544 pages. On May 19th, 1887, he wrote in his diary: "Wrote a sketch,
'Jack's Romance' and will now pull up for awhile." The "pull up" was for the
last sweet rest.
From 1852 until his death, July 17, 1887, he was
actively engaged in civic, political, military, temperance, patriotic musical,
literary, masonic and religious work. In July, 1863 he was unanimously elected
Captain of the Norway, Me., Light Infantry and became intimately associated
with "private" Hanibal Hamlin of a Bangor, Me., company. At this time, he was
also closely associated with Andrew Wilson and Sen. Clark of New Hampshire on
a regular tour of campaign speaking. While living in Norway, Me., he held many
town offices, school committee and was chief engineer of the Fire Department.
After the war, he became a resident of Hyde Park,
Mass. and was annually elected moderator. On March 7th, 1870, he while
moderator, allowed 47 women to vote at a regular Town meeting, and declared
himself for women's suffrage. This was the first event of the kind in the
country, and caused universal interest and comment. On March 24th, 1870, he
was elected first commander of Hyde Park Post, G.A.R.
Among his many friends were Gen. N. P. Banks,
Benj. P. Shillaber, (Mrs. Partington) Hanibal Hamlin, Andrew Wilson, William
Wirt Virgin and Harry Rust, all prominent in National and public life. Ralph
Waldo Emerson once criticised his stories as "yellow" literature; but on being
persuaded to read one of Mr. Cobb's stories, apologized and said, "In
sentiment and language, that story was not only unobjectionable, but
elevating." In such a long, busy life does it seem possible that Mr. Cobb
could find time to do more, yet look at his Masonic record:
On Thursday, May 11th, 1854, he wrote this in his
diary: "Went down to the Village, and became initiated as a 'Free Mason' in
the Oxford Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. Am now an Entered Apprentice.
Like it much." Oxford Lodge No. 18 was at Norway, Me. He was passed to the
degree of Fellow Craft on Thursday, May 18th, and raised to the sublime degree
of Master Mason, Thursday, June 8th. He was elected senior deacon August 31st,
and held that office in '54, '55 and '65; was secretary in 1863, Worshipful
Master in 1858 '59, '61, '62 and '66. He demitted from Oxford Lodge, Oct. 17
1867, and joined Hyde Park Lodge, April 15th, 1869. He served as secretary in
1872 and '73, and represented his lodge by proxy in the Grand Lodge from Dec.
15th, 1881, until his death.
Received the degrees of Mark Master and Most Excellent Master
in King Hiram Royal Arch Chapter of Lewiston, Me., May 20th, 1859; and was
exalted to the Ineffable degree of Royal Arch Mason on June 10th. He was a
charter member of Norfolk Royal Arch Chapter, Hyde Park, Mass.,
and served as Excellent King for two years. Was elected Most Excellent High
Priest in Sept., 1873, treasurer in '78 serving for six years and chaplain for
two years. Elected Grand Scribe in Grand Chapter Dec. 7th, 1884, and at the
same time was appointed by the Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania as Grand
Representative near the Grand Chapter of Massachusetts.
He received the degrees of Select Master, Royal
Master, and Super Excellent Master in Dunlap Council No. 80 of Lewiston, Me.,
April 7th, 1864. He was one of the petitioners for the dispensation which was
granted to Hyde Park Council, in 1872; and was constituted as one of its
charter members in 1873. He was Right Illustrious Master in '72 and '73;
Principal Conductor of the Work in '77, '78 and '83; Thrice Illustrious Master
in '79 and '80; treasurer in '84 and until his death. Grand Chaplain of the
Grand Council of Mass. in '79 and '80, and was elected Grand Principal
Conductor of the Work December 8th, 1880.
He received the order of the Red Cross in Boston
Commandery, March 29th, 1872, Orders of Temple and Malta May 2, 1872. He was
one of the petitioners for a dispensation which was granted to Cyprus
Commandery, Hyde Park, Mass., in 1873. He was a charter member from Oct. 12,
1873, and served as Prelate from that evening until the day of his death,
excepting one year, beginning May, 1878, when he served as Eminent Commander.
He received the 32d of A. & A.S.R. on April 24th,
1874, and at the time of his death was a life member of Boston Lodge of
Perfection 14d; Giles F. Yates Council of Princes, 16d; Mt. Olivet Chapter
Rose Croix 18d; and Massachusetts Consistory of S.P. of the R.S. 32d. In
Boston Lodge of Perfection, he held the office of Grand Orator in '80 and '81;
and Junior Grand Warden in 1883. He was also a member of Mass. Convention,
High Priests, and Mass. Union of Templar Commanders.
Could his speeches, made at Masonic banquets and
social gatherings, have been preserved, they would have been invaluable as
illustrations of his love for the order. These and many anecdotes and
experiences were always given extemporaneously, and live only in the hearts
and memories of his brothers. They were sometimes deep and pathetic, often
bright and witty, always clean and pure. His suppression on such occasions of
everything bordering on coarseness was proverbial.
He wrote the following sketches for the "Liberal
Free Mason" all based upon facts: "A Reminiscence," "The Templar's Wife,"
"Story of a Sleeve-button," "The Sign of the Red Cross" and "An Effective
Token." Besides many sketches of this character, he wrote not a little on the
subject of Masonry, his best and well known Masonic stories being "Alaric,"
"The Mystic Tie of the Temple" and "The Key-stone." The first of these Masonic
stories was written in 1858: "A Sicilian Story of Early Times." "The Mystic
Tie of the Temple" is based upon the early Masonic struggle and is considered
by many as his best Masonic story.
Louis S. Brigham, Randolph,
* * *
Dear Brother: - A friend of mine who is a Mason
was visiting, this summer, in Colorado, and on one of the sight seeing trips
in the mountains between Manitou and Colorado Springs on what is known as The
High Drive, came across an old lady about seventy-five years of age, who runs
a small curio shop, and whom he understands is located the year round at the
She claims to be the youngest member of a band of
seventh women who were given the Masonic work during the Civil War somewhere
in New York State - she thinks she is the only one of the seventy now living.
My friend, in connection with another Masonig
gentleman asked her a great many questions and she could intelligently and
Masonically answer them - he was greatly surprised and likewise the writer. My
friend is informed that her husband, now dead, was a Mason - he was called
"Captain Jack," and this woman goes by the name of "Captain Jack."
Light on this subject through the columns of "The
Builder” will be very much appreciated.
Asa D. Hurd, Mo.
* * *
THE BALTIMORE CONVENTION
Dear Brother Newton: - Ament the article, "The
Baltimore Convention," in the Correspondence section of "The Builder" for
September, Brother Anderson in his communication quoting from memory and
hear-say, there is some excuse for having places names and dates wrong.
Through the courtesy of our Grand Master, Thomas
J. Shryock, I
am sending you for the archives of "The Builder," a copy of the printed
proceedings (very scarce) of that important Convention.
By referring to the printed proceedings you will
see that, in pursuance of a recommendation of the Masonic Convention held at
Washington, D.C., in March, 1842, the Delegates assembled in Baltimore on the
8th day of May, 1843, and adjourned sine die on May 17th, having previously
adopted a resolution recommending that the next meeting of the Grand Masonic
Convention be held in the city of Winchester, Va., on the second Monday in May
in the year 1846.
A report was adopted at the Baltimore convention
endorsing "the establishment of a Grand National Convention possessing limited
powers, to meet triennially to decide upon discrepancies in the work, etc.,
etc." Whenever thirteen or more Grand Lodges should agree to the proposition,
the Convention should be permanently formed.
In pursuance of the recommendation of the
Convention, representatives from the Grand Lodges of North Carolina, Iowa,
Michigan, Virginia, District of Columbia and Missouri assembled at Winchester,
Va., May 11th, 1846. Only eight delegates appearing, the Convention adjourned
without transacting any business. (From Schultz's History.)
As this convention is frequently mentioned, it may
prove interesting to our members to know who composed and attended the
Baltimore Convention. Members of the convention were:
Thomas Clapham, Portsmouth, N. H.
Charles W. Moore, Boston, Mass., R.W.G. Secretary.
(Editor Free-Mason's Monthly Magazine.)
William Field, Pawtucket, R. I.
Ebenezer Wadsworth, West Troy, N.Y., R.W.P.
Daniel A. Piper, Baltimore, Md., G. Lecturer.
Nathaniel Seevers, Georgetown, D.C., G. Lecturer.
John Dove, Richmond Va., R.W.G. Secretary.
John H. Wheeler, Raleigh, N.C., M.W.G. Master.
Albert Case, Charleston, S.C., M.R.G. Chaplain.
Lemuel Dwelle, Augusta, Ga., G. Lecturer.
Edward Herndon, Gainesville, Ala., P.G. Master.
Thomas Hayward, Tallahassee, Fla., P.D.G. Master.
Jr., Memphis, Tenn., G. Lecturer.
John Barney, Worthington, Franklin Co., Ohio., G.
S.W.B. Carnegy, Palmyra, Missouri, P.G. Master.
(Representative expense contribution credited to his name.)
Joseph Foster, St. Louis, Mo., S. G. Warden.
W. J. Reese, Lancaster, Ohio, M.W.G. Master.
Charies Gilman, Baltimore, Md., M.W.G. Master.
Hiram Chamberlain St.
Charles. Missouri, R.R.G. Chaplain.
Joseph K. Stapleton, Baltimore, Md., D.G.G.M. G.G.E.U.S.
R.W.E. Cruben, Louisiana.
R.W.F. Billon, Missouri, P. G. Secretary.
R.W. Edward John Hutchins,
P.P.D.G.M., South Wales
Cornelius Smith, S.G.W., Maryland. The Officers of the Convention were:
R.W. John Dove, M. D., of Virginia, President.
Rev. Albert Case, of South Carolina, Secretary.
Rev. Bro. W. E. Wyatt, of Maryland, Chaplain.
Gustav A. Eitel, Baltimore,