The Builder Magazine
June 1919 - Volume V - Number 6
ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES AND RITES
BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT,
ASSISTANT EDITOR "THE FREEMASON," LONDON
Many writers, and especially
those of the Craft, have called attention to the resemblances between the
rites of the Ancient Mysteries and those of Freemasonry. Indeed, those
resemblances have given rise to much speculation, and it has been suggested by
more than one writer that such resemblances are more than accidental Some of
us have long been convinced that Freemasonry, if we may not say that it was
historically descended from the instituted Mysteries of antiquity, it at least
perpetuates their ministry among us.
The Eleusinian Mysteries -
those rites of ancient Greece and afterwards of Rome, of which there is
historical evidence dating back to the seventh century before the Christian
era bear very striking resemblance, in many points, to the rituals of both
Operative and Speculative Freemasonry- As to their origin, beyond the
legendary account put forth, there is no reliable trace. Like most great human
institutions they grew out of a real human need, to which they ministered,
else they could not have held sway for so many ages.
In the opinion of not a few
writers an Egyptian source is attributed to them, but of this there is no
positive proof though we may infer as much, remembering the influence of
Egypt upon Greece. There is a legend that St. John the Evangelist a character
honored and revered by Freemasons was an initiate of these mysteries.
Certainly, more than one of the early Fathers of the Christian Church boasted
of his initiation into these Rites. Even St. Paul was influenced by them, to
the extent, at least, of using some of their imagery, and even some of their
technical terms, in his Epistles.
The series of articles, to
which I have the honor thus to call attention, is one of the first attempts so
far made to give a detailed exposition of the ceremonial of the Mysteries of
Greece in English. As such they have an interest to Masons, but also to
students of antiquity in general, and if the field were familiar, as it is
not, these articles would be worthy of special interest for the new materials
brought forward- Brother Wright, I need hardly say, is a careful, painstaking,
and thorough student, as readers of THE BUILDER can testify, and among his
many services to the Craft this study will not be reckoned the least.
Such a writer needs no
introduction, but I have much pleasure in emphasizing the importance of these
researches in ancient lore, because they make a real contribution to our
knowledge. -Joseph Fort Newton.
THE ELEUSINIAN LEGEND
THE legend which formed the
basis of the Mysteries of Eleusis, presence at and participation in which,
demanded an elaborate form or ceremony of initiation, was as follows:
described as Proserpine and as Cora or Kore) when gathering flowers was
abducted by Pluto, the god of Hades, and carried off by him to his gloomy
abode; Zeus, the brother of Pluto and the father of Persephone, giving his
consent. Demeter (or Ceres), her mother, arrived too late to assist her child
or even to catch a glimpse of her seducer, and neither god nor man was able,
or willing, to enlighten her as to the whereabouts of Persephone or who had
carried her away. For nine nights and days she wandered, torch in hand, in
quest of her child. Eventually, however, she heard from Helios (the sun) the
name of the seducer and his accomplice. Incensed at Zeus she left Olympos and
the gods and came down to scour the earth disguised as an old woman.
In the course of her
wanderings she arrived at Eleusis where she was honourably entertained by
Keleos, the ruler of the country, with whom and his wife, Metanira, she
consented to remain in order to watch over the education of Demophon, who had
just been born to the aged king, and whom she undertook to make immortal.
Long was thy anxious search
For lovely Proserpine, nor didst thou break Thy mournful fast, till the far-fam'd
Eleusis Received thee wandering.
Unknown to the parents
Demeter used to anoint Demophon by day with ambrosia and hide him by night in
the fire like a firebrand. Detected one night by Metanira she was compelled to
reveal herself as Demeter, the goddess. Whereupon she directed the Eleusinians
to erect a temple as a peace offering and, this being done, she promised to
initiate them into the form of worship which would obtain for them her
goodwill and favour. "It is I, Demeter, full of glory, who lightens and
gladdens the hearts of gods and men. Hasten ye, my people, to raise hard by
the citadel, below the ramparts, a fane, and on the eminence of the hill, an
altar, above the wall of Callichorum. I will instruct you in the rites which
shall be observed and which are pleasing to me."
The temple was erected but
Demeter was still vowing vengeance against gods and men and because of the
continued loss of her daughter she rendered the earth sterile during a whole
What ails her that she comes
not home? Demeter seeks her far and wide; And gloomy-browed doth ceaseless
roam From many a morn till eventide. "My life, immortal though it be, Is
naught!" she cries, "for want of thee, Persephone Persephone !"
The oxen drew the plough but
in vain was the seed sown in the prepared ground. Mankind was threatened with
utter annihilation and all the gods were deprived of sacrifices and offerings.
Zeus endeavoured to appease the anger of the gods but in vain. Finally he
summoned Hermes to go to Pluto to order him to restore Persephone to her
mother. Pluto yielded but before Persephone left she took from the hand of
Pluto four pomegranate pips which he offered her as sustenance on her journey.
Persephone, returning from the land of shadows, found her mother in the temple
at Eleusis which had recently been erected. Her first question was whether her
daughter had eaten anything in the land of her imprisonment, because her
unconditional return to earth and Olympos depended upon that. Persephone
informed her mother that all she had eaten was the pomegranate pips in
consequence of which Pluto demanded that Persephone should sojourn with him
for four months during each year, or one month for each pip taken. Demeter had
no option but to consent to this arrangement, which meant that she would enjoy
the company of Persephone for eight months in every year and that the
remaining four would be spent by Persephone with Pluto. Demeter caused to
awaken anew "the fruits of the fertile plains" and the whole earth was
reclothed with leaves and flowers. Demeter called together the princes of
Eleusis Triptolemus, Diocles, Eumolpus, Polyxenos, and Keleos and initiated
them "into the sacred rites most venerable into which no one is allowed to
make enquiries or to divulge; a solemn warning from the gods seals our
Although secrecy on the
subject of the nature of the stately Mysteries is strictly enjoined, the
writer of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter makes no secret of the happiness which
comes to all who become initiates: "Happy is he who has been received,
unfortunate he who has never received the initiation nor taken part in the
sacred ordinances, and who cannot, alas! be destined to the same lot reserved
for the faithful in the darkling abode."
The version of the legend
given by Minucius Felix is as follows:
Proserpine, the daughter of
Ceres by Jupiter, as she was gathering tender flowers in the new spring, was
ravished from her delightful abodes by Pluto; and, being carried from thence
through thick woods and over a length of sea, was brought by Pluto into a
cavern, the residence of departed spirits, over whom she afterwards ruled with
absolute sway. But Ceres, upon discovering the loss of her daughter, with
lighted torches and begirt with a serpent, wandered over the whole earth for
the purpose of finding her till she came to Eleusis; there she found her
daughter and discovered to the Eleusinians the plantation of corn."
In the Homeric Hymn to
Demeter, Persephone gives her own version of the incident as follows:
"We were all playing in the
lovely meadows, Leucippe, and Phaino, and Electra, and Ianthe, and Melite, and
Iache, and Rhodeia, and Callinhoe, and Melobosis, and Ianeira, and Acaste, and
Admete, and Rhodope, and Plouto, and winsome Calypso, and Styx, and Urania,
and beautiful Galaxame. We were playing there and plucking beautiful blossoms
with our hands; crocuses mingled, and iris, and hyacinth, and roses, and
lilies, a marvel to behold, and narcissus, that the wide earth bare, a wile
for my undoing. Gladly was I gathering them when the earth gaped beneath and
therefrom leaped the mighty prince, the host of many guests, and he bare me
against my will, despite my grief, beneath the earth, in his golden chariot;
and shrilly did I cry."
On the submission of Eleusis
to Athens, the Mysteries became an integral part of the Athenian religion, so
that the Eleusinian Mysteries became a Panhellenic institution, and later,
under the Romans, a universal worship, but the secret rites of initiation were
well kept throughout their history.
The earliest mention of the
Temple of Demeter at Eleusis occurs in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which has
already been mentioned. This was not written by Homer but by some poet versed
in Homeric lore and its probable date is about 600 B. C. It was discovered a
little over a hundred years ago in an old monastery library at Moscow, and now
reposes in a museum at Leyden.
Eleusis was one of the twelve
originally independent cities of Attica, which Theseus is said to have united
into a single state. Leusina now occupies the site and has thus preserved the
name of the ancient city. Theseus is portrayed by Virgil as suffering eternal
punishment in Hades but Proclus writes concerning him as follows:
Theseus and Pirithous are
fabled to have ravished Helen and to have descended to the infernal regions: i.
e., they were lovers of intelligible and visible beauty. Afterwards Theseus
was liberated by Pericles from Hades, but Pirithous remained there because he
could not sustain the arduous attitude of divine contemplation.
Dr. Warburton, in his Divine
Legation of Moses, gives, as his opinion, that Theseus was a living character
who once forced his way into the Eleusinian Mysteries, for which crime he was
imprisoned on earth and afterwards damned in the infernal regions.
The Eleusinian Mysteries seem
to have constituted the most vital portion of the Attic religion and always to
have retained something of awe and solemnity. They were not known outside
Attica until the time of the Median wars, when they spread to the Greek
colonies in Asia as part of the constitution of the daughter states, where the
cult seems to have exercised a considerable influence both on the populace and
on the philosophers. Outside Eleusis the Mysteries were not celebrated so
frequently nor on so magnificent a scale. At Celeas, where they were
celebrated every third year, a hierophant, who was not bound by the law of
celibacy, as at Eleusis, was elected by the people for each celebration.
Pausanias is the authority for a statement by the Phliasians that they
imitated the Eleusinian Mysteries. They, however, maintained that their
rendering was instituted by Dysaules, brother of Celeus, who went to their
country after he had been expelled from Eleusis by Ion, son of Xuthus, at the
time when Ion was chosen commander-in-chief of the Athenians in the war
against Eleusis. Pausanias disputed that any Eleusinian was defeated in battle
and forced into exile, maintaining that peace was concluded between the
Athenians and the Eleusinians before the war was fought out, even Eumolpus
himself being permitted to remain in Eleusis. Pausanias, also, while admitting
that Dysaules might have gone to Phlius for some cause other than that
admitted by the Phliasians, questioned whether Dysaules was related to Celeus,
or, indeed, to any illustrious Eleusinian family. The name of Dysaules does
not occur in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, where are enumerated all who were
taught the ritual of the Mysteries by the goddess, though that of Celeus is
She showed to Triptolemus and
Dioeles, smiter of horses, And mighty Eumolpus and Celeus, leader of people,
The way of performing the sacred rites and explained to all of them the
Nevertheless, according to
the Phliasians, it was Dysaules who instituted the Mysteries among them.
The Pheneatians also had a
sanctuary dedicated to Demeter, which they called Eleusinian and in which they
celebrated the Mysteries in honour of the goddess. They had a legend that
Demeter went thither in her wanderings and that out of gratitude to the
Pheneatians for the hospitality they showed her, she gave them all the
different kinds of pulse, except beans. Two Pheneatians Trisaules and
Damithales built a temple to Demeter Thesuria, the goddess of laws, under
Mount Cyllene, where were instituted the Mysteries in her honour, which were
celebrated until a late period and which were said to be introduced there by
Naus, a grandson of Eumolpus.
"Much that is excellent and
divine," wrote Cicero, "does Athens seem to me to have produced and added to
our life, but nothing better than those Mysteries by which we are formed and
moulded from a rude and savage state of humanity; and, indeed, in the
Mysteries we perceive the real principles of life, and learn not only to live
happily, but to die with a fairer hope." Every manner of writer religious
poet, worldly poet, sceptical philosopher, orator all are of one mind about
this, far the greatest of all the religious festivals of Greece.
(To be continued)
Two caterpillars crawling on
By some strange accident in
Their conversation, passing
Was that same argument, the
That has been "proed and
conned" from man to man,
Yea, ever since this wondrous
The ugly creatures,
Deaf and dumb and blind,
Devoid of features
That adorn mankind.
Were vain enough, in dull and
To speculate upon a future
The first optimistic, full of
The second, quite dyspepsic,
seemed to mope.
Said number one, "I'm sure of
Said number two, "I'm sure of
Our ugly forms alone would
seal our fates
And bar our entrance through
the golden gates.
Suppose that death should
take us unawares,
How could we climb the golden
If maidens shun us as they
pass us by,
Would angels bid us welcome
in the sky?
I wonder what great crime we
That leaves us so forlorn and
Perhaps we've been
'Tis plain to me that life's
not worth the living."
"Come, come, cheer up," the
jovial worm replied,
"Let's take a look upon the
Suppose we cannot fly like
moths or millers,
Are we to blame for being
Will that same God that
doomed us crawl the earth,
A prey to every bird that's
Forgive our captor as he eats
And damn poor us because we
have no wings?
If we can't skim the air like
owl or bat,
A worm will turn 'for a'
They argued through the
summer; autumn nigh
The ugly things composed
themselves to die,
And so, to make their funeral
Each wrapped him in his
little winding sheet.
The entangled web encompassed
them full soon;
Each for his coffin made him
All through the winter's
chilling blast, they lay
Dead to the world, aye, dead
as human clay.
Lo! Spring comes forth with
all her warmth and love;
She brings sweet justice from
the realms above;
She breaks the chrysalis, she
resurrects the dead -
Two butterflies ascend
encircling her head,
And so this emblem shall
A sign of humility.
- Joseph Jefferson.
By picking English out of
Russian type with medical tweezers the Red Cross editor of the "American
Sentinel" manages to furnish the American soldiers in the Archangel district
with a four-page weekly paper of U. S. news.
THE FRATERNAL FORUM
EDITED BY BRO. GEO. E.
FRAZER, PRESIDENT, BOARD OF STEWARDS
Wildey E. Atchison, Iowa.
Joseph C. Greenfield,
Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
Geo. W. Baird, District of
Frederick W. Hamilton,
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky
Joseph Barnett, California.
H. L. Haywood, Iowa.
Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin
H. P. Burke, Colorado.
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
John Pickard, Missouri.
Joe L. Carson, Virginia.
M. M. Johnson, Massachusetts.
C. M. Sehenek, Colorado
R. M. C. Condon, Michigan.
P. E. Kellett, Manitoba.
Francis W. Shepardson,
John A. Davilla, Louisiana.
John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
Harold A. Kingsbury,
Oliver D. Street, Alabama
Henry R. Evans, District of
Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
Denman S. Wagstaff,
H. D. Funk, Minnesota.
Dr. G. Alfred Lawrence, New
S. W. Williams, Tennessee.
Asahel W. Gage, Florida.
Julius H. McCollum.
Contributions to this Monthly
Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each writer who has
contributed one or more articles to THE BUILDER. Subjects for discussion are
selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today. Discussions of
polities, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided the purpose of
the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal opinions
of leading Masonic students- The contributing editors assume responsibility
only for what each writes over his own signature- Comment from our Members on
the Subjects discussed here will be welcomed in the Question Box Department.
A resolution was last year
introduced at the Annual Communication of one of our American Grand Lodges to
limit the constituent lodges of that Jurisdiction to a maximum of 400 members.
The resolution is to be disposed of at the Annual Communication of the Grand
Lodge in question this month.
The committee to whom the
matter was referred inquired of the Society to ascertain whether or not the
subject had been acted upon in any of the other American Grand Jurisdictions
and we, in turn, submitted the question to the several Grand Secretaries from
whom it is learned that no such legislation has ever been enacted in any
American Grand Lodge.
Believing that the opinions
of our Contributing Editors would be of value to the above committee in
framing their recommendation to their Grand Lodge and that our members would
also be interested in reading a discussion of the subject, we submitted to the
Editors the following question:
QUESTION NO. 12
"Should the several Grand
Lodges enact legislation limiting the size of subordinate lodges? If so, what
should be the maximum number of members?
"If you are against such
restrictions, and favor large lodges, what are your reasons therefor?"
Doubts Advisability of Grand
Lodge Legislation Better Results to be Derived from Small Lodges.
The weight of opinion in the
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts favors smaller lodges. I question the
advisability, however, of legislation limiting the membership of lodges. We
have no such legislation in this jurisdiction and I am reasonably sure that it
would not pass if proposed.
In the Grand Lodge
Proceedings of Massachusetts for 1916 Grand Master Melvin M. Johnson gives a
most excellent discussion of the matter, which follows:
I have long been of the
opinion that many of our lodges are altogether too large, and that better
Masonic and equally good financial results would be obtained if there were
more lodges, with smaller membership. You may be interested to learn that the
average membership of lodges in Massachusetts is higher than in any other
jurisdiction in America with the single exception of the District of Columbia,
which being compact and having no country lodges is really not comparable. The
only lodges in that District having less than two hundred members are the
seven last chartered lodges. Consequently the average membership in the
District is high, viz. 339. This is more comparable with metropolitan Boston.
The average membership of our Districts No. 1 to No. 7 inclusive is 355.
Because of peculiar conditions we must lay these figures aside and compare
ourselves with other jurisdictions having both city and country lodges. Of
them all, our average membership is the highest, or 260. There are only five
other jurisdictions having an average membership of over two hundred, namely,
Rhode Island, 247; Pennsylvania, 244; Connecticut, 236; New York, 229; and New
Jersey, 209. Twenty other jurisdictions in the United States average between
one and two hundred, and twenty-two others less than one hundred. The average
lodge membership for the whole United States is 124. Our average, therefore,
is more than twice the average membership of all lodges in this country. This
is unhealthy growth. That does not mean that a lodge of two hundred and sixty
members is by any means necessarily too large. One hundred and forty-three of
our lodges, or more than half, have less than that number. Only fifty-seven of
our lodges have as small a membership as the average of the whole United
It is hard to say that there
is any fixed number of members which should not be exceeded. Conditions vary
in different places. It is, however, always true that where the membership is
so large that each member present can not know all the others, and where only
a very small percentage of the members can ever have the opportunity of
serving the lodge in official capacities, the interest of the members lessens
and each individual member feels less responsibility for the welfare of the
lodge and for the exercise of the duties and responsibilities of Masonry as
well. It is a practically universal rule that the smaller the membership the
larger percentage of members attend the meetings.
Elephantiasis is a disease
equally injurious to an animal, a human, or a lodge. Many lodges, however, are
afflicted with it. Let us see the result. One lodge initiated 66 last year,
and another 64. Another, with a membership of nearly 500, raised 46. Another,
with a membership of over 500, admitted 40. Another, with a membership of over
700, admitted 56. Another, with a membership of over 450, admitted 40. In one
of our cities with a population of nearly 38,000 where there is a single lodge
having a membership of over 600 (which admitted 40 last year) the sentiment
against the establishment of a second lodge is so strong as to be preventive.
In another city with a population of nearly 17,000 where there is a single
wealthy lodge with a membership of about 550 (38 being admitted last year)
there is a similar sentiment preventing the establishment of another lodge.
There is another city in the
Commonwealth having a population of over 25,000 where there is no lodge at
all, and the establishment of a new lodge there has been prevented by the
adverse action of two lodges in an adjoining city, each one of which has a
membership of over 400. If but one of these neighboring lodges had declined
its objection could be overruled by the Grand Master, but the Grand
Constitutions prevent his issuing a dispensation for the formation of a new
lodge in this city of over 25,000 inhabitants, without a lodge, because of two
objections in an adjoining community. In this particular case ten lodges have
joint jurisdiction over this virgin territory, yet the objection of two of
them absolutely vetoes the petition for a dispensation, and neither the Grand
Master nor even this Grand Lodge, as the Constitutions now stand, can consider
the wisdom of the objection. I have not examined into the present instance nor
do I attempt to pass upon its merits. But the power granted to two lodges out
of ten to retard the proper development of our institution, as an abstract
proposition, is wrong. I believe it is time that the rule should be relaxed
for the good of the whole Fraternity. What is even much more necessary is the
creation of a sentiment in favor of more and smaller lodges where the brethren
may be more united, may be thrown into closer fraternal intercourse, may have
more opportunity to serve, and where the tenets of our institution can better
If it be argued that for
financial consideration large lodges must be built up, the complete answer is
that no other jurisdiction in the whole Masonic world (save only the District
of Columbia) averages such large lodges as does Massachusetts, and certainly
other jurisdictions are prosperous and successful. We have no conditions in
this regard which are peculiar to this Commonwealth. Even Michigan, which
shows us the anomaly of one single lodge of 2,184 members and five others of
over 1,000 members, averages throughout the state only 182.
The tendency of great lodges
is to lessen rather than to enhance the Masonic development of each individual
member. The accomplishments of Masonry have never been gauged by financial
considerations. When these become the criteria, then it is time to halt and to
recast our activities, for then the grand aims and purposes of our Fraternity
are sure to be obscured. Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary,
Grand Lodge Legislation
Answering your question as to
whether or not the several Grand Lodges should enact legislation limiting the
size of subordinate lodges, I must say that I do not feel very competent to
give an authoritative opinion upon this subject or go into any detailed
discussion of it. My impression, however, is that they should not.
Our law provides (as I
understand is the fact in most of the jurisdictions) that where a new lodge is
proposed its organization must be assented to by certain of the lodges next
nearest. In case of a division of a lodge this rule would oblige the new
organization to have the consent of the old. This seems to me all that is
necessary. There is a very general sentiment among the craft in opposition to
large and unwieldy lodges, a sentiment which to me seems to be growing. There
is sufficient difficulty in some localities in holding the brethren of a lodge
together and keeping up that spirit of harmony and fraternity without which a
lodge organization is valueless. Any such dissension ought not to be
encouraged by educating the brethren to look forward continually to a time
when the lodge may be split. In some instances it will result in undue
solicitude on their part to increase their membership to a point where, under
an iron-clad law, they will be compelled to divide. In addition to this, I
think the question of when a lodge is large enough and when another ought to
be organized can well be left to the good judgment of the constituent lodges.
No hard and fast rule ought to be made. There are times and places when a
lodge can hold a very large membership to advantage and without inconvenience,
and others where half the membership ought to be divided. It is a subject over
which Grand Jurisdictions ought not to assume the authority.
H. P. Burke, Colorado.
* * *
Average Attendance Better in
My voice is in favor of small
lodges and by this I mean not exceeding 200 in membership. My reasons are:
1. A better comraderie will
thereby be obtained and preserved. In such a lodge it is possible for every
brother to know not only the face but the character and disposition of every
other and even something of the personal difficulties and troubles with which
he may have to contend. He can also rejoice with him in the good fortunes that
may befall him. A situation like this begets real brotherhood.
2. Now that organized relief
of the distressed is done chiefly through the instrumentality of Grand Lodges,
it is no longer necessary for this purpose that lodges should be large.
3. Where initiations are so
numerous as they must be in large lodges, little or no time is left for the
development of the social or study side of Masonry.
4. In every large lodge the
proper caution in admitting members can not be observed. This must necessarily
be left almost wholly to the investigating committees.
5. Finally, I believe the
average of attendance in small lodges is better than in large ones.
Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
* * * A Matter to be
Determined by the District Deputies and Concerned Members.
I am only qualified to
express an opinion with regard to conditions in England and Canada, which are
somewhat different to those in the United States. As far as I am able to
ascertain, however, the average strength of lodges in England, Canada and the
United States is about the same; in each of these three countries the average
membership is about 120, so that, as far as numerical conditions are
concerned, these countries are on practically the same footing.
I believe that excessively
large lodges are undesirable for the reason that many of the members have
little or no opportunity for ever having a hand in either the work or the
administration. Further, in large lodges, all the available time at the
regular meetings is taken up by the routine work and the conferring of
degrees, and none is available for lectures, addresses and discussions, and so
great a part of what I consider as the most valuable teachings of the Order
will be neglected.
With regard to legislation on
the subject, I do not consider that the size of subordinate lodges should be
limited by the Grand Lodges, for the reason that such a law would be in the
nature of an innovation, and I believe that the fewer changes of this sort
made in the Constitutions, the better. Laws such as this tend to hold apart
the various jurisdictions rather than to unite them by the bonds of fraternal
I believe that each case
should be considered on its own merits by the District Deputy and the brethren
concerned. If necessary steps could then be taken for the organization of a
new lodge from the membership of that already in existence.
C. C. Adams, Ontario.
* * *
Give to Each Member an Equal
Chance to Become Master of His Lodge.
I have had this subject under
consideration for some time and have discussed it with a number of brethren
and it is my firm conviction that subordinate lodges should be limited to a
membership not to exceed 400.
Let us extend to every
well-informed and zealous Mason a reasonable chance to become Worshipful
Master of his lodge.
The results of my
conversations on this subject lead me to believe that a vote of the Craft
would be almost unanimous in favor of restriction.
R. M. C. Condon, Michigan.
* * *
Too Much Grand Lodge
I am firmly convinced that
the size of lodges, save as to a minimum, is a matter with which Grand Lodges
should not interfere. We legislate far too much and leave too little to our
lodges along several lines. I do not especially favor large lodges but see no
harm in size.
Virginia has several lodges
of more than five hundred members and they are all good lodges. One of the
three to which I belong, and in which my membership is most active, has nearly
four hundred members and is noted for its harmony and good feeling. In it
there are no quarrels and there is never a contest, even of the most friendly
sort, for office. We talk privately among ourselves until we ascertain which
member is approved by the largest number of the active members, exclude all to
whom there develops any antagonism, and elect unanimously. Our law requires an
opposing candidate for each office and our Tyler fills that position. Jos. W.
Eggleston, P. G. M., Virginia.
* * *
A Virginia Brother Who Favors
Personally I am not in favor
of large lodges, nor are the majority of the brethren of the Grand
Jurisdictions under which I have been affiliated, those of England, Ireland
Can there be any Masonic
comfort in a lodge of say four hundred to five hundred members? Can there be
any real sociability? Can there be a close brotherly love amongst such a
number? Can a member of such a lodge know all the others as he should ? I
think not. Lodges of from 50 to 100 members fulfill the best traditions of the
Craft in promoting good fellowship and if lodges were of this size, and sat
down together after the labors of the evening, even if the repast consisted
only of a bottle of "pop," some bread and cheese, and a smoke to follow, it
would give the opportunity, lacking during lodge hours, of becoming acquainted
one with another, the result would be that each lodge would become a family of
itself and we would be less troubled with the unaffiliated Mason.
A brother joins a lodge of
over 100 members; he probably knows less than a dozen, and even them he can
only look at in lodge because, of course, silence must be observed. He is
conscious that he stands little or no chance of ever being elected to any
office, and after listening to the same ceremonies for a couple of years,
feeling himself a stranger in the lodge, and of little importance save when
the dues are being collected, he begins to stop away, and send his dues,
followed in the course of time by his resignation. What is there to induce him
However, let him feel, as he
assuredly will in a small lodge, that he is an integral part of the lodge,
give him the opportunity of spending a social hour with his friends and making
new acquaintances, and I am a poor prophet if we do not keep him with us.
This is certainly a more
reasonable course to pursue than the habit of reviling him, legislating
against him, and trying to coerce his attendance in a lodge which he does not
find interesting or its members congenial. The popularity of the Shrine is a
tacit acknowledgment that we feel the want of a social side to our ceremonies,
and this social element can only permeate every member when the lodge is kept
within numerical bounds.
New members in small lodges
soon become assimilated and a part of the whole, look forward to promotion to
office, and take a lively interest in the work of the lodge.
I have been a member of large
and small lodges and have found more of the real spirit of Freemasonry in a
little country lodge in Ireland, where seldom more than twenty or thirty were
gathered together, than in any lodge of which I have ever had the pleasure
(often the pain) of visiting. Joe L. Carson, Virginia.
* * *
Acquaintances a Factor.
This Grand Jurisdiction has
only five lodges whose membership rolls number over four hundred. The matter
of restricting the lodges to the number of members they might admit has never
Personally, I would be
opposed to such action because I feel that the Grand Lodge should not
interfere in the internal government of a lodge to that extent, as I find that
many applicants, by the question of individual acquaintance, are largely
biased in their selection and are prone to seek connection with lodges in
which their close friends hold membership.
John A. Davilla, Grand
* * *
Enforce Existing Laws Rather
Than Enact New Ones. In my opinion Grand Lodges should not interfere in the
matter of lodge membership. Lodges have inherited an inalienable right to make
their own membership. It follows that they may, rightfully, "unmake" their
membership, or place their own limit on the number of members.
The Grand Lodge may arrest a
charter, or oblige a lodge to bring to trial an offending member which, I
think, is going far enough.
Masonry, like creeds, Nations
and segregations of all kinds, is more in need of executing existing laws than
of making additional ones. It is the failure to execute a law that leads too
often to the enactment of another. We have an example in the recent
Constitutional Amendment providing prohibition, substituting it for
temperance. There have ever been laws in every State to punish drunkenness,
but they have not been executed.
While trouble may arise in
some instances from a large membership, a limitation by the Grand Lodge might
result in mischief in other cases it is easy to see that it might work
injustice in many cases.
A lodge may now limit its own
membership by a provision in its by- laws, but it is at liberty to change that
by-law, which it could not do if prohibited by the Grand Lodge.
Generally there are ambitious
members in every lodge who would like to get into the lime-light, and these
are the members who are apt to find reasons for the organization of another
lodge, and they usually have a following this is the ever-present cause for
loss of membership in a large lodge.
Finally, limiting the
membership by Grand Lodge action would, in my opinion, be an innovation in the
body of Masonry, which we all, at our installation as Master, have promised to
George W. Baird, P. G. M.,
District of Columbia.
* * *
Make the Limits of Lodge
Membership Bear Some Ratio to the Total Membership of the Grand Jurisdiction.
The fixing of an upper limit
of membership in lodges is a question that mainly concerns large communities.
In small communities there is sometimes the opposite tendency a tendency to
form two small lodges instead of one strong lodge. Grand Lodges have been more
concerned with this latter phase than with the former. And any consideration
of the former should be associated with a similar attention to the latter.
The personal acquaintances of
members with one another is the very basis of a lodge. In small communities,
where some membership is drawn from considerable distances, it is difficult
for all to know one another, when the membership approximates 100; when it
approaches 200 the upper limit is usually reached. When, in large communities,
the membership reaches several hundred, the individual is apt to be lost in
the crowd and manifestly it is impossible for most of such members ever to
hold office, a reasonable duty as well as a desirable ambition.
On the other hand small
lodges are at a disadvantage in such matters as Masonic relief.
In any such proposed
legislation it would be more appropriate, instead of choosing some arbitrary
number, to make the limits of lodge membership bear some ratio to the Grand
Lodge membership, that is, to the whole body of Masonry in a Jurisdiction. And
the average lodge membership in that Grand Jurisdiction might form a mean
between the two extremes. For instance, a Grand Jurisdiction of 400 lodges and
60,000 members represents an average membership of 150 to the lodge, and such
an average might form a working basis as between unwieldiness and weakness.
Joseph Barnett, California.
* * *
Large Lodges, Properly
Managed, Can Do More Than Small Lodges.
I believe that the question
of limiting the size of subordinate lodges is something that it would be
advisable to go slow with.
First of all, it has to be
noted that this is a Grand Lodge legislation that is contemplated. Would it
not seem more reasonable and proper for legislation of this kind to come from
the subordinate lodge itself rather than from the Grand Lodge? A great many
are of the opinion that we have too much of this restricting legislation, from
above, on questions which should be decided altogether by the subordinate
There is naturally a great
deal to be said in favor of a small lodge, and just as much to be said in
favor of a large lodge. There is considerable danger in a large organization
if care is not taken the danger of the membership losing that close, warm,
fraternal feeling, which is appreciated in all lodges and which it is hard for
them to lose in a small lodge where each individual member knows each other
When an organization gets
beyond a certain size, it is better to have the membership limited rather than
have that cold, stranger- like attitude to develop through the members not
knowing one another well enough and not coming in closer touch with one
another. From my own observation, however, I believe that it is possible to
avoid this state of affairs. In fact, I believe that a large lodge can be
organized for carrying out Masonic work in a broader field and a bigger way
than is possible in a small lodge. A large organization of that kind can start
out to do things that a small organization could not think of attempting. By
means of proper organization the members can be kept together and a spirit of
"esprit de corps" and good fellowship can be developed in the large
organization to probably as great (if not greater) extent than in the small
Unless a lodge figures on
planning to carry out something more than just a mere working of degrees and
meeting together in the lodge room in a perfunctory and formal sort of way, it
had better not be ambitious for a large membership. But with the other
conditions it seems to me from my observations that the larger the membership
the more effective can the organization become. Let me repeat again though,
that I do not think it is a matter that Grand Lodge should legislate on at
P. E. Kellett, P. G. M.,
* * *
A Lesson from the Bee Hive.
I gladly comply with your
request for my opinion as to the advisability of the Grand Lodges limiting the
size of constituent lodges. But I would suggest that the lessons taught by the
Masonic symbols or emblems are more worth while.
Take for instance the Bee
Hive. Many truths may be learned from it. It is an appropriate symbol of a
Masonic lodge. The hive of bees has to solve the same question as to the
proper size of a working unit. There is no fixed law, arbitrary and regardless
of circumstance, limiting the number of bees in a hive. When there becomes too
many, under all the existing conditions, there is a swarm formed which starts
a new unit. If outside hands interfere with this local method of reducing the
number, or if they too greatly divide the hive and arbitrarily reduce the
working unit, the work is interfered with and impeded.
In the same way, it seems to
me, the members of the lodges are the best judges of their own welfare. If
they want smaller lodges they can dimit into them; if they want larger lodges
they can consolidate.
You ask if I am "against such
restrictions and favor larger lodges, what are my reasons therefore I am
against such restrictions, but I do not favor larger lodges. I believe that
such restriction is an outside interference. I believe in local
self-government. This is a question that pertains to the members of the
constituent lodges and with which others should not meddle.
We read in the Book of the
Law about a land of milk and honey; these foods are good to the taste, but
does not the beauty of that country come rather from the fact that they are
both produced without interfering with, preying upon or living off of anything
else? The bee in taking his honey from the grove does not interfere with the
fruit, but actually increases the yield. Would it not be well for our Grand
Lodges to ever work with our lodges, encourage them and help them, and
scrupulously avoid interfering with or raising an outside ruling hand in
purely local matters.
Is not the experience of
freedom worth more than a life well- governed by another? Is not the school of
local self-government and freedom one of the constituent lodges' most valuable
functions In asking your question you use the term "subordinate lodge." Would
it not be better to not only call them but keep them "constituent lodges" ?
Asahel W. Gage, Florida.
* * *
Not Favorable to Grand Lodge
Legislation but Prefers the Small Lodge.
In answering this question I
find my personal preferences for a small lodge brought into conflict with my
objection to Grand Lodges enacting any legislation that divests the membership
of the right to decide upon their own numbers. Or perhaps this is not a
No Grand Lodge that values
the respect of its members, I should think, would undertake to legislate upon
the size of subordinate bodies, upon which it must depend for its existence,
any more than it should undertake to legislate what the members should eat for
breakfast or what kind of shoes they should wear. The locality and conditions
with which the lodge is surrounded, as well as ability to bear its financial
burdens, can be taken into consideration and acted upon more intelligently by
the members themselves than by the Grand Lodge. Large lodges unquestionably
lose men of the spirit of fraternity in the bigness. But the biggest lodge of
all is that universal lodge we call the world and we believe in that so we
The chief questions to be
considered in this inquiry are (1) the material side and (2) the spiritual
1. In large cities, financial
conditions alone, under our system of building great temples and making
outward display that attracts membership, sometimes make it imperative in the
interests of economy to have the number of lodges confined to a few large
ones. Of course there need not be any loss of interest in the individual in
all this, if devoted officers are chosen who are still at heart working
Masons. I have seen very large lodges in which clubs and committees performed
all the social good-fellowship of the small ones; in which a visitor was
welcomed and made acquainted, or a candidate as thoroughly instructed as in
the small ones.
2. Out I prefer the small
lodge because it is nearer to that individual ideal which makes the true
freemason and upon which our whole structure rests. one history of my own
lodge, of which I had the honor to be the 112th Master, convinced me of the
supreme spiritual value of a small membership. In its pioneer days members
sometimes came from hunting trips hundreds of miles to attend what was then a
brotherhood of such virile stripe that they wrote into our first constitution
and laws the Masonic principles upon which the nation is founded; selected a
seal that no Mason in the world could fail to recognize; founded works of
brotherhood that in these days would be called sociological affairs.
As time progressed and our
membership became larger we took to building and owning property in keeping
with our dignity, diverting much of our energy to business details connected
therewith. We followed the old church lottery idea to raise money. The
"Masonic Lottery" became a stench to the Craft. Members who were devoted to
the same ideal of national solidarity we have in the Masonic Service
Association of the United States, were denounced as mere politicians and
Today about two-thirds of our
membership never come to lodge, while the other third is earnestly striving to
hold onto Masonic ideals and at the same time wrestle with the incubus of
Lodge Temple Debt. The smaller the membership, the easier it is to meet and do
active Masonic work.
I do favor Grand Lodges
making it easier for new lodges to obtain charters. It would then be possible
for half a dozen Masons, with a determination to do something more to serve
their communities than grind out candidates, to get together in tyled lodge
and lay their plans for individual work and service.
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
* * *
Advocates Large Lodges.
In union there is strength
and the larger the unit the stronger and more stable it is. From the four
London lodges forming the Grand Lodge of England in hilt, what a united power
for good are its innumerable ramifications, extending to the uttermost parts
of the world, and yet constituent elements of our harmonious whole the Masonic
The larger the lodge
membership made up of suitable material (and none other should be selected)
the greater its potentiality for a wider field of Masonic activity of a higher
quality. A lodge with a large membership has also a wider field for the
selection of officers of greater ability who can thus accomplish more and
better work; its sphere of social and benevolent activities is widened; it has
greater financial stability; can be maintained more economically and is
enabled to exert a greater influence within the community or civic and
Dr. G. Alfred Lawrence, New
* * *
Large Lodges a Matter of
I am decidedly opposed to the
Grand Lodge of any jurisdiction legislating to limit the number of members
that any subordinate lodge may have. While I do not question the legal right
of the Grand Lodge to pass such legislation I do not think it has the moral
right. Such legislation would seem meddling with the rights of the subordinate
Contrary to the Implication
carried in the second section of the question I hold no brief for the large
lodge but consider it a matter of evolution which cannot be helped not by
legislation at any rate. Even were I in favor or such a law L can see that
local conditions would have much bearing on the matter and it would be
impossible to state a maximum which would be suitable to all lodges in the
Jurisdiction and on the other hand were a deferent maximum established tor
different conditions there would be trouble brewing right away. No doubt
conditions which would apply in Nebraska would not apply in Connecticut. Let
me illustrate what I mean by different conditions. My own lodge, Adelphi No.
63, was the second one formed in New Haven, being instituted in 1823. The
reason for asking for a charter is set forth as "there being one lodge of one
hundred and fifty members on which your petitioners frequently find it
impossible to attend in consequence of their numbers" and "that your
petitioners believe that many of our valued citizens are deterred by the
numerous situation of said lodge from requesting membership," etc. This shows
on the face of it that in 1823 Hiram No. 1's one hundred and fifty Masons were
all, or a very large percentage, attending lodge regularly while today there
are in New Haven seven lodges with a membership of more than 4,200 or an
average of six hundred apiece and except when the K. and F. degree is worked
we are not troubled with overcrowding. This is easily explained as in 1823
lodge meeting and church were about all the attraction to be had, while now
movies, theatres, all sorts of activities keep one occupied so that lodge is
not the main attraction. We can thus draw a parallel to the comparison of 1823
and modern times by a comparison of the remote country lodges and those in the
The main objection to the
large lodges as I take it is the fact that the members in general do not know
each other as well as those of the smaller lodges and the true Masonic spirit
does not permeate the lodge so thoroughly. This is probably so in the main but
as nearly if not all the large lodges are city lodges would they know each
other any better even though split into smaller lodges always remembering that
they would be city lodges? It is one of the penalties of living in a city that
we don't become acquainted with those with whom we meet day in and day out in
business, church or lodges in as intimate a way as do our country brethren.
Then again when the lodges
reach the maximum, what then? Is it to be that when some fine character
desires to become a member of a particular lodge because all his friends and
associates are there the lodge says "nothing doing, you'll have to apply
elsewhere" or will it have a waiting list? When our past masters' sons become
of age are they to be sent to some other lodge ?
We are told that in life's
journey we must either progress or slide back; there is no such thing as
standing still. A certain amount of work if good for a lodge, it impresses the
candidate and also refreshes the memory of those on the side lines and I
believe legislation declaring that when a lodge reaches a certain limit it
must quit work until some one dies is bad.
Julius H. McCollum,
* * *
Suggestions Invited from
Lodge Officers and Members of the Society.
The question raised is
important to the development of American Masonry. The Blue Lodge is the
foundation of all Masonic enterprises. It would seem to be of the greatest
importance that the Blue Lodge should operate as a social unit; not as a
Chamber of Commerce for a community, nor as a charitable machine, still less
as a degree mill for the preparation of candidates for the so called "higher
degrees." It is by no means clear that a large lodge may not develop the
social qualities of its members just because the size of the lodge enables the
brethren to maintain satisfactory quarters, and to operate through a variety
of committees and projects that give each individual member a chance to select
work to his own liking.
I should like very much to
have the officers of several of the larger lodges of each jurisdiction send in
to the offices of the National Masonic Research Society such a description of
their individual lodges as will enable us to prepare an article on lodge
organization. Particularly I should like to have each member of the Society
who has had experience with forms of lodge organization add his own
contribution to the discussion of this question by sending in a short letter
which can be published in the Correspondence department.
George E. Frazer, President.
Board of Stewards.
THE LARGEST LODGES
We are indebted to the
Masonic Life Association of Buffalo New York, for a copy of the Masonic
Directory for Buffalo, which they publish annually. What interests us most is
the list of large lodges. This list shows the most remarkable development from
year to year. It is not many years since for the first time an American lodge
reached a membership of 1,000. Now there are 55 with a membership exceeding
1,000 and the 55 have a total membership of about 85,000.
The list is as follows:
- Palestine Bulletin
BULLETIN No. 29
DEVOTED TO ORGANIZED MASONIC
Edited by Bro. H. L. Haywood
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF
MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE MEETINGS AND STUDY CLUBS
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for
its foundation two sources of Masonic information: THE BUILDER and Mackey's
Encyclopedia. In another paragraph is explained how the references to former
issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may be worked up as
supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course with
the papers by Brother Haywood.
The Course is divided into
five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is shown below:
Division I. Ceremonial
A. The Work of the Lodge.
B. The Lodge and the
C. First Steps.
D. Second Steps.
E. Third Steps.
Division II. Symbolical
B. Working Tools.
Division III. Philosophical
D. Religious Aspect.
E. The Quest.
G. The Secret Doctrine.
Division IV. Legislative
A. The Grand Lodge.
1. Ancient Constitutions.
2. Codes of Law.
3. Grand Lodge Practices.
4. Relationship to
5. Official Duties and
B. The Constituent Lodge.
2. Qualifications of
3. Initiation, Passing and
5. Change of Membership.
Division V. Historical
A. The Mysteries--Earliest
B. Studies of Rites--Masonry
in the Making.
C. Contributions to Lodge
D. National Masonry.
E. Parallel Peculiarities in
F. Feminine Masonry.
G. Masonic Alphabets.
H. Historical Manuscripts of
I. Biographical Masonry.
Masonry--Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting
a paper written by Brother Haywood, who is following the foregoing outline. We
are now in "First Steps" of Ceremonial Masonry. There will be twelve monthly
papers under this particular subdivision. On page two, preceding each
installment, will be given a list of questions to be used by the chairman of
the Committee during the study period which will bring out every point touched
upon in the paper.
Whenever possible we shall
reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles from other sources
which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by Brother
Haywood in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental
papers in addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of
references. Much valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to
the attention of many of our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of
the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin should be used one
month later than their appearance. If this is done the Committee will have
opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance of the meetings
and the brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research Society will
be better enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over and
studied the installment in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL
Immediately preceding each of
Brother Haywood's monthly papers in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin will be
found a list of references to THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. These
references are pertinent to the paper and will either enlarge upon many of the
points touched upon or bring out new points for reading and discussion. They
should be assigned by the Committee to different brethren who may compile
papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or in many instances
the articles themselves or extracts therefrom may be read directly from the
originals. The latter method may be followed when the members may not feel
able to compile original papers, or when the original may be deemed
appropriate without any alterations or additions.
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND
CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The lodge should select a
"Research Committee" preferably of three "live" members. The study meetings
should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the lodge called
for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the
lodge routine) should be transacted--all possible time to be given to the
After the lodge has been
opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the lodge
over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This Committee should be fully
prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All members to whom
references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with
their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Haywood's
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
1. Reading of the first
section of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers thereto.
(Suggestion: While these
papers are being read the members of the lodge should make notes of any points
they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion is opened. Tabs
or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be distributed
among the members for this purpose at the opening of the study period.)
2. Discussion of the above.
3. The subsequent sections of
Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers should then be taken up,
one at a time, and disposed of in the same manner. 4. Question Box.
MAKE THE "QUESTION BOX" THE
FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
Invite questions from any and
all brethren present. Let them understand that these meetings are for their
particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the questions
they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to
facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the
paper. If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them,
SEND THEM IN TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in
an endeavor to supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make
special research when called upon, and will usually be able to give answers
within a day or two. Please remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand
Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles away, and, by order of the Trustees of the
Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it at our disposal on any query raised
by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information
should enable local Committees to conduct their lodge study meetings with
success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and communications from
interested brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not entirely
clear to them, and the Services of our Study Club Department are at the
command of our members, lodge and study club committees at all times.
QUESTIONS ON "WORKING TOOLS
OF A FELLOW CRAFT"
I What are the working tools
of a Fellow Craft? How have you explained them to yourself ? What is their
meaning in your understanding now ? Why do you always think of goodness,
holiness, heaven, God, as being above you ? What is the difference, in your
judgment, between morality and righteousness ? Do you think of your ideal of
your own life as being above and beyond you? If so, what efforts are you
making to attain to that ideal ? May this not be one of the suggestions in
this working tool of the plumb?
II What do you mean by "a
hero"? How can a man erect himself above himself ? What influence has the
memory of Washington, Pike, Jefferson and Lincoln had for you ? In what way
may a true Mason be a hero to his friends ? his family? his race ?
III What do you understand
yourself when you use the word "level"? Do you really believe that you are
equal in all ways to every other individual? Is every other individual equal
to you in all ways? If there are fundamental differences between you and other
individuals, just what is the nature of these differences ? What do you
understand by "pride" ? "superciliousness" ? In what way are all Masons on a
level with each other? What becomes of your pride when you sincerely stand in
a lodge room on a level with your brother countryman ?
IV How would you explain the
meaning of the square when that symbol is used as one of the working tools of
a Fellow Craft? How can the sense of manly pride and the feeling of equality
be joined together in your own experience ? Do you really use your gifts to
help your brethren, and to help others in this world? How can a healthy man
use his own strength to help those that are ill ? How can a learned man use
his learning to help those that are ignorant ? How can a man who has money
really help those that have little or no money? Should we not try to help
others in Such a way that they do not even know that we are helping them? How
should parents help their children? How should teachers help their pupils? How
may the Master and officers of a lodge help the members of that lodge without
their knowing it? What is meant by not letting your right hand know what your
left hand is doing?
V What is your understanding
of the ashlar symbolism ? What is meant by saying that a profane man, using
the word in a Masonic sense, is but like a rough block of stone ? Is not an
ignorant, unclean, profane, dishonest, unbrotherly man like an unshaped piece
of rough rock from the quarry? If you know of such a man how can you help him
to become a man more square, cultured and brotherly? What is the Masonic
Fraternity as a whole now doing, in your own honest estimation, to help this
whole world to cease to be a wreck of a world? Is not this present world but a
great crude piece of rock in your eyes ? What can our Fraternity do to help
make this living human race more square with the everlasting laws of life,
righteousness, health, happiness and God? Which are you, in your own lodge -a
rough ashlar or a perfect ashlar ? What do you do with the members of your
lodge who make trouble? Do you grow impatient with them, or do you help them?
You see that all these questions are designed to lead Masonic students to
understand that Freemasonry tries to help us in our daily lives.
Level, p. 442; Plumb, 570;
Square, p. 708.
Vol. IV The Working Tools, p.
PART IV WORKING TOOLS OF A
I The candidate is handed
three symbolical tools at a certain place in the Second degree each of which
is intended to teach him some truth concerning the art of right living. There
is no need that any man be mystified by these simple emblems for their meaning
lies upon the surface, clear and plain to the plainest man in the fraternity.
The plumb is just a tool,
such as carpenters and masons now use, a kind of hint or suggestion visualized
before one's eyes, which says to us, "there is such a thing as an up and down
in human experience." Because of the way our minds are it helps us to remember
that there are always those who stand above us in character or achievement and
that there is always One who stands above us, not in lonely pride, but in
goodness and sincerity.
We often say that such and
such a man is "righteous"; what do we mean by that expression? We mean that he
has, as it were, a picture before him of what God Himself wishes him to be;
when he tries his best to be that he mounts, as we express it, to a higher
level, and that is ever a noble and manly thing to do. The word "rectitude"
suggests, in itself, a picture of the plumb-line for it is a word that means
"high up." Every Mason is called to live a life of rectitude; for that reason
we hold before him the picture of Hiram who, in his sublime faithfulness to
duty, proved himself one who lived on high levels indeed.
II It is fortunate for us
Americans that in our history we have many men who "stand high" in our
estimation; and they should, for they are a constant inspiration to us to
climb to a loftier plane of living, for,
"Unless above himself he can
erect himself, How poor a thing is man!"
Lincoln was one of those men,
also Washington, Pike, Jefferson, and many others; merely to look at the
picture of Lincoln recalls to us the fact that in each of us there are the
possibilities of living a similar life. And what a life it was of simple
manliness, of honesty, democracy, and a great reverent trust in God! To use
the Masonic plumbline partly means, then, to keep before us the memory of
these kingly men in order that their example may help us to take our own
III The level teaches a
similar lesson for it pictures to us the duty of democracy. To "meet" upon the
level is not enough; we must remain there. He who looks with disdain on one
fellow Mason must do either of two things - he must prove that fellow unworthy
of the fraternity or he must himself get out; for superciliousness is one of
the ultimate crimes against fraternity. God Himself must hate a man who raises
his eye-brows when he sees someone who has little talent or no money.
There is such a thing as
equality when the word is used in one sense; there is no such thing when it is
used in another sense. We must endeavor to understand the words if we would
understand the teachings of the level. No two men are or ever can be
identically equal in their talents; one man can sing and another can't; one
man is successful in business and another can never be; after a man has grown
and developed his faculties he finds that many of his faculties, long out of
use, will not revive. And it is certain that some men, even in the eyes of
God, are better in morality than others, else moral distinctions would mean
nothing. But all men are equal in this, that they belong to the same race,
have the same blood in their veins, breathe the same air, live on the same
earth, and have the same mighty Father who loves each individual in His own
way according to that particular individual's needs. It is this latter
equality which men more and more need to have kept before them for many seem
to forget it. A "high-brow" Mason is a contradiction in terms. We are all on a
level in the lodge room because individual peculiarities are there forgotten;
we remember only that we are fellows, that is, fellow men.
IV As for the square that is
one of the symbols which is so filled with mysteries and endless suggestions
that a student may well despair of surprising its meanings out of it. But let
us link this emblem up to the preceding and think of the square as a
combination of the plumb and the level, for the very figure suggests that; one
arm is perpendicular, and one is level. What, then, may it mean to us in this
way of looking at it ! It may mean that there is a duty upon each man to climb
into strength. knowledge, and wisdom as far as he can, though his fellows
remain far beneath him in such things; and then that he can turn about and use
those gifts in behalf of his less fortunate brethren. Let him that has
knowledge share it with other Masons, too busy to study; let him that can
speak, speak to them that can't talk on their feet. This is a high level of
brotherhood indeed but it is not above our reach as Masons, if only we can
ever take Masonry seriously. Looked at from without it is nothing but child's
play, furbelows, gee-gaws, and feathers; lived from within, it is one of the
noble types of life, always blessed of God, who is Himself a Father that
delights to find His sons living together as brothers.
V The Rough Ashlar, a symbol
which may be studied in this same connection, is, in daily parlance, a crude
chunk of stone wrested from the mother rock in the quarry. Such is only the
promise of a stone fit for the builder's use. A Perfect (or complete) Ashlar
is that same stone dressed and squared and ready to be fitted into the
building. The interpretation is perfectly obvious. There are some men who, in
the sight of God, are mere masses of human material unfit for any immediate
use; such are the men who use profanity, who tell smutty tales, who gossip
about their fellows maliciously, who teach blasphemous religious doctrines,
and who hate other persons; what use can he make of such men ? Think that out.
The Perfect Ashlar of a man
is merely a human being who has found himself, who is educated for his own
life work, who is clean in body and spirit, who loves rather than hates, and
who has a great reverence for Him who loves straight clean men.
To keep one's eyes fixed on
those men of the past who were heroes indeed, heroes in heart: to remember
that we are all frail and that we are each one an essential part of the human
race; to dedicate one's own victories and talents to others, to share with
them one's possessions, every kind of possession; and lastly to remember that
a man isn't fit for life, even in God's sight, until he becomes fit to live a
truly human life, all this, in brief, seems to be, the sermon preached to us
by the Ashlar and by the Working Tools of the Fellowcraft.
BULLETIN DISCONTINUED UNTIL SEPTEMBER
In accordance with our usual custom the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin section of THE BUILDER will be discontinued
during the months of July and August, and resumed with the September number.
Practically all of the lodges and study clubs that
are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study" close down during these
months and in order that they may resume their studies with the current
instalment in the September issue of THE BUILDER we have adopted the custom of
discontinuing the Bulletin for the two months mentioned.
We should like to hear from all lodges and study
clubs who have adopted the study plan, whether they are following THE
BUILDER'S course of study, or some other, and also from members of the Society
in communities where the study plan is not in effect but where there might be
a prospect of some activity alvong this line when the regular lodge
communications are resumed in the Fall.
If every member of the Society who is interested, either
individually or otherwise, in the systematic study of Masonry as now being
conducted in THE BUILDER will communicate with the Secretary's Office
they will receive information that will be useful to
them in their studies.
MY BOOKS BEFORE ME IN A ROW
My books before me in a row,
straight-trunked and lofty, rise,
As do the forest friends I
know unite the earth and skies.
The book, the maple and the
How like are all these
friends of mine!
They stand upon the common
soil, among the common things,
Amid the dust, amid the toil,
the city's echoings-
And yet their mounting
Upon the heavens, tree and
Who pauses by a giant tree
and sees its giant length
And never feels its majesty,
made stronger by its strength? -
So does the volume lift the
The universe to scan.
Who reads a rime of Tennyson,
a bit of Bobby Burns,
Nor looks where stars their
courses run, some simple lesson learns?
The magic of the three-foot
Shall lift the man above
With Stevenson who walks the
way and reads his limpid lines
But hears the melodies that
play forever in the pines -
But long like Stevenson to
The sweetness of our English
The lesser poets (not in art
but in a world's renown)
So may they also lift the
heart above the earth of brown -
The minor poets, if you will,
Who sing the major measure
Here stands a little London
guide, a shilling guide in red;
Where Dickens dwelt and
Goldsmith died a pilgrimage it led.
So has it power, too, to
Our vision from the common
And here are simple tools of
We labor in their grateful
shade, these adjuvants of man.
Here stands the sturdy old
Familiar servant, good and
And, near at hand, the Book
of Books, the counsellor and priest,
To which the mind forever
looks in famine or in feast,
The one philosophy to test
The truth and purpose of the
And here are children of mine
own, not fitted to inspire;
Yet who the pangs of birth
has known, the sacrificial fire,
But loves their lisping words
And holds his children very
The glad companions of the
day, the solaces of night,
They stand beside me all the
way, by sun or candle-light.
And it is good to have them
By books before me in a row.
- Douglas Mallock, in
There is Godness in the
In the tempest, in the
In the sweet refreshing
In the lightning, in the
There is Godness in all
Worlds by it their courses
'Tis the life, the force of
That its product cannot know.
The women knitters of America
have made more than 10,000,000 garments for the troops in France.
Music is well said to be the
speech of angels. - Carlyle.
AMERICAN GRAND LODGES AND
BY BRO. SAMUEL H. GOODWIN, P.
G. M., UTAH
There's nothing constant in
All ebb and flow, and every
That's born bears in its womb
the seed of change."
The action of Grand Lodges
with reference to French Masonry, and the change of front on the part of many
Masons toward the same subject, are in line with the assertion of Ovid, quoted
above. If there is one thing on this earth of ours intimately connected with
humanity that is above the reach of change, we for one, know not in what
quarter of the globe to search for it.
This is especially true of
everything which exhibits life. The fundamental law of growth implies and
involves change. Deterioration and death follow where this law ceases to
That Poet saw clearly and
truly who wrote:
"Weep not that the world
changes - did it keep
A stable, changeless state, 'twere
cause indeed to weep.
No thoughtful student of
Masonic history can pursue his subject very far, without fronting the fact
despite the insistent claims of perfervid banqueters and some others to the
contrary that Masonry has responded, and still answers to the same law.
To one who holds that there
must be no "variation, neither shadow cast by turning" from the line laid down
by our Masonic fathers, it is only necessary to point to the Code of his own
Jurisdiction, and to customs and usages which prevail in his own lodge and
which are of quite recent origin to find both the prophesy and the warrant of
further changes. And when we are solemnly warned against making any
"innovations in the body of Masonry," we may well regard such admonition as
being relative, only, for what part of this "body" is untouched by Change!
Because certain customs and
jurisprudence were quite satisfactory yesterday, or a generation, or a hundred
years ago, affords no reason for assuming that the ultimate was reached at
that time, or that yesterday's readjustments will meet all future
Masonry is a living thing. It
has to do with living beings who pass their lives in environments which change
over-night. If it is to rise to its opportunities under such conditions, it
cannot remain insensible to, or be untouched by, the currents which sweep men
ever onward in the line of their destiny. Masonry, we should not forget, is a
means to an end, not an end of itself. It is an institution calculated to help
man toward the goal: it is not itself the goal. If these things be true; if
Masonry is to be a real help to man and not be as so much impedimentia to be
added to his other burdens, it must have flexibility and adaptability.
Otherwise, it may as well be laid away in a glass case, with other mummies,
where the dust of the ages may hide it from sight, for its day and generation
are of the past.
It may safely be said, we
think, that no period in the world's history has witnessed so many, or such
radical changes as the period between August 1st, 1914, and November 11th,
1918. Again and again men declared that a world war was simply out of the
question; inconceivable; impossible. When it came, the same false prophets
predicted with no less confidence that it could not go beyond three months six
months, at the outside, because the nations would be bankrupt and exhausted in
that length of time. But the war ran into the fifth year, thereby giving added
emphasis to their assininity. And the war upset about every standard, and
rendered untenable nearly every position hitherto accepted and occupied by
men. With such a general and radical upheaval and shifting of about everything
that man had considered established, it could hardly be expected that Masonry
should remain untouched by this world- cataclysm. Nor did it by any means
escape. One, and not the least important, of the effects of the war upon
Masonry, is seen in a hitherto unknown willingness on the part of many Grand
Lodges and Masons to consider the status of French Masonry in the light of
facts revealed by the world's greatest holocaust.
In what follows an attempt is
made to exhibit, under a rather crude classification, the action and present
position of the several American Grand Lodges, so far as these are shown by
the Proceedings at hand. In some cases no record of action had since the
reception of the request for recognition from the Grand Lodge of France, July,
1917 has been available. In such instances, the Grand Bodies have been placed
under the head of "No Action Taken." Information concerning the action of two
Grand Lodges Rhode Island and Wyoming was derived from Masonic publications,
other than the Proceedings, as these have not yet reached us. Aside from these
matters, the scheme adopted is self-explanatory.
1. Grand Lodges which have
recognized both the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient of France. These number
five. In the order of date of action, they are:
Louisiana, February 5th,
New Jersey, April 17th, 1918.
Iowa, June 11th, 1918.
California, October 9th,
Minnesota, January 21-22,
It should be noted here, that
while formal recognition was extended to the Grand Lodge of France, only on
the date named by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, the interdict against the
Grand Orient was rescinded, and this, if we understand correctly New Jersey's
position, places the Orient on practically the same footing as the Grand Lodge
2. Grand Lodges which
recognized the Grand Lodge of France, only, and either took no action at all
with reference to the Grand Orient, or refused recognition to that Grand Body.
Our records show that there were six of these, viz:
Texas, December 4th, 1917.
District of Columbia,
December 17th, 1917.
South Dakota, June 11th,
Nevada, June 12th, 1918.
Oregon, June 14th, 1918.
Rhode Island .. ..
In connection with the last
named Grand Lodge, we have only the statement of a Masonic publication that
"Rhode Island recognized France." Oregon removed "the inhibition resulting in
the prevention of our brethren now in France from visiting French lodges. . ."
This would place that jurisdiction under the next head, as well. And while
Nevada did not formally recognize the Grand Orient, she certainly did so
inferentially, for the Grand Secretary reports that the "Masonic Bureau for
the Allied Armies" which is neither more nor less than a committee appointed
by the Grand Orient with its headquarters in the Temple of the Grand Orient
"has served us by raising a Fellow Craft of our Ely Lodge No. 29, to the
Degree of a Master Mason in a duly recognized lodge in France." This would
place Nevada, practically, in Class No. 1, above.
3. Grand Lodges which did not
formally recognize either of the Grand Bodies of France, but which did give
permission to their members to visit French lodges. These number eleven and
fall under two heads:
(a) Those which restrict this
privilege of visitation to lodges under the obedience of the Grand Lodge of
France. There are four of these:
Florida, January 15th, 1918.
Philippine Islands, January
Georgia, May 1st, 1918.
Indiana, May 28th, 1918.
(b) The other seven Grand
Lodges permit their members to visit lodges of both of the French Grand
Bodies. these are:
New York, September 10th,
Kentucky, October 16th, 1917.
Alabama, December 5th, 1917.
*Utah, January 15th, 1918.
Colorado, May 1st, 1918.
North Dakota, June 18th,
Wyoming, September 11th,
It is barely possible that
Indiana belongs under "b" rather than under "a." The wording of the resolution
granting such permission is not clear to us, on this point. Were it is:
"Resolved: That any member in
(*At the 48th Annual
Communication of the Grand Lodge of Utah, January 21-22 1919 the Grand Lodge
of France was recognized, and the interdict against the Grand Orient was
rescinded. This places Utah in Class "1," above, its action being similar to
that of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey.)
good standing of a lodge
under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Indiana is hereby permitted to
visit and hold Masonic intercourse with any lodge or member of a lodge
operating under the Grand Lodge of the country in which said lodge is
located." The matter would depend upon the measure of exactness with which the
words "Grand Lodge of the country," are used. If intended to be exact, then
visitation would be restricted to lodges of the Grand Lodge of France. In as
much as the Grand Orient of France was not mentioned in the list of Grand
Lodges and Orients presented at the time for consideration, we think that
Indiana is properly placed.
4. Grand Lodges which took a
more or less decided stand against any measure of recognition being accorded
either of the two Bodies under consideration. There are four of these, to
date. They are:
Missouri, September 20th,
1917; Sept. 20th, 1918.
Connecticut, February 6th,
Virginia, February 12th,
Wisconsin, June 11th, 1918.
5. Grand Lodges which
considered the matter, but postponed action without, apparently, being
committed definitely to one view or the other, on the merits of the question.
There were eleven of these:
Massachusetts, June 13th,
Arkansas, November 20th,
North Carolina, January 15th,
Tennessee, January 30th,
Oklahoma, February 28th,
Maine, May 9th, 1918.
Nebraska, June 5th, 1918.
Washington, June 11th, 1918.
Vermont, June 12th, 1918.
Idaho, September 10th, 1918.
Illinois, October 8th, 1918.
It is rather difficult to
word a heading which will do justice to the position of all the Grand Lodges
listed under this division. In some cases, the discussions evoked were shot
through and through with dogmatism and bitterness. If definite action had been
taken, there can be little doubt where such Grand Lodges would stand. In other
instances, as for example, Massachusetts and Maine, and some others, there was
more of the kindly, and what we should characterize as the Masonic spirit
manifested, though perhaps on a test vote, these would stand with the others.
However, as already intimated, our tabulation is approximate, only.
6. Grand Lodges in which the
subject appears not to have been mentioned, or only incidentally so, at the
Communications indicated by the dates. Here we have thirteen Bodies, as
Delaware, October 4th, 1916
Mississippi, February 13th,
1917 Not mentioned.
Ohio, October 17th, 1917 Not
West Virginia, November 14th,
1917 Not mentioned.
Maryland, November 20th, 1917
South Carolina, December
12th, 1917 Not mentioned.
Pennsylvania, December 27th,
1917 Not mentioned.
Arizona, February 12th, 1918
See statement following this list.
Kansas, February 20th, 1918
New Hampshire, May 15th, 1918
Michigan, May 28th, 1918 See
New Mexico, October 18th,
1917- See statement following.
Montana, 1916 Not mentioned.
Of this list, the Grand Lodge
of Arizona "recognized" the "Masonic Bureau for the Allied Armies," which, as
noted above, is only a committee, and a committee composed of members of the
Grand Orient of France, and appointed by that Grand Body. We are somewhat at a
loss to understand just how much our Arizona Brethren meant by this action. It
would seem to be a tacit recognition of the Grand Orient of France, but
perhaps our Brothers did not mean it to be such.
The Grand Lodge of Michigan
appropriated $200.00 to be used by the same Bureau in its fine work for the
soldiers. This, of course, does not commit the Grand Lodge of Michigan, or
show a leaning toward the Grand Orient, any more than a similar contribution
to the general fund that was recently gathered, a part of which was to be
administered by the K. C., would indicate Roman Catholic predilections.
To summarize: The foregoing
list shows that of the 50 Grand Lodges named, 22 gave some measure of
recognition to French Masonry. Of the remaining 28, four were avowedly opposed
to any form of recognition though two of the four have recognized that other
Body in France, a part of whose strange story is told below 11 considered the
subject, but postponed action; in 12, the matter was not mentioned, and two
expressed themselves only so far as concerns the "Masonic Bureau for the
THE NATIONAL INDEPENDENT AND
REGULAR GRAND LODGE OF FRANCE AND THE FRENCH COLONIES
In preparing the following
statement of facts, the writer has assumed that others, like himself, have
been not a little puzzled by the dearth of definite information concerning the
initial steps leading to the organization of the National Grand Lodge of
France, the number and character of the lodges composing it, and the reasons
which led to the hasty action of the Grand Lodge of England in recognizing it.
To these matters we propose to devote a little space.
1. The Formation of this
Grand Lodge. It appears that this Grand Lodge originated in the action, not of
three lodges, or of two, or, really, of even one lodge, but of a small company
of Masons who had but lately (viz., two days previous to the organization)
seceded from the Grand Orient of France.
The leader in this movement
was one, Dr. Ribaucourt, who, for some three or four years previously, had
been endeavoring to "found" something, of which he should be the head, while
still retaining his membership in the Grand Orient of France. But that is a
different though not an entirely separate story. On the 3rd day of November,
1913, Dr. Ribaucourt resigned his membership in the lodge, "Les Amis du
Progres," and two days later November 5th, ". . . he constituted himself and
other seceding members of a Grand Orient lodge 'Le Centre des Amis,"' into a
Grand Lodge, of which he became Grand Master.
It should be noted here, that
this action was taken by these Brethren, not as members of lodges for they had
withdrawn from the lodges in which they formerly held membership but as a body
of Masons. Of course this was not without precedent. This fact, apparently,
had not been brought to the attention of the Pro Grand Master of the Grand
Lodge of England, for in his announcement of his recognition of this new Grand
Lodge to the Grand Lodge of England December 3rd, 1913 he said: "A body of
Freemasons in France . . . have united several lodges as the Independent and
Regular National Grand Lodge of France and of the French Colonies." As we
shall presently show, at the moment of this announcement a month after the
organization of the new Grand Body there was, at the very most, but one lodge
under its obedience. Just here it may be well to mark the dates, in the
procession of events, for they are most illuminating. On the 3rd of November,
1913, Dr. Ribaucourt resigned his membership; November 5th he constituted the
new Grand Lodge, as indicated above; at once application was made to the Grand
Lodge of England for recognition; on November 20th, the Pro Grand Master of
England (in the absence of the Grand Master), issued his edict recognizing the
National Grand Lodge of France; December 3rd, 1913, the Grand Master
apparently made the action of the Pro Grand Master his own, and, in a "message
from the throne" announced to Grand Lodge what had been done. (Recognition of
Grand Lodges under the English Constitution lies with the Grand Master, and
only incidentally is brought before Grand Lodges.)
The course pursued by these
seceding members of the Grand Orient of France is similar to that of those
Brethren who, in 1910, withdrew from what is now the York Grand Lodge of
Mexico, and soon after, erected a Grand Body of their own. In this connection
it should be borne in mind that a lodge, once created by a higher power,
belongs to that obedience, till, by constitutional action of the Body which
created it, it has been released, or erased from the roll. The members of a
constituent lodge may all withdraw, the lodge still exists, legally, and is
still under the jurisdiction of the body which chartered it (unless
Constitutional enactment provides otherwise), and its effects are the property
of the Grand Lodge which gave it being. This is illustrated by the action of
the Grand Lodge of England through its District Grand Lodge with reference to
those lodges whose membership all withdrew to form the present Grand Lodge of
Queensland. The name, number, property, lodge all belonged to, and were taken
possession of by the Grand Lodge of England.
So, when Dr. Ribaucourt
formed himself and his seceding colleagues into what they were pleased to call
a Grand Lodge, no one of them represented any lodge, for there was no lodge in
existence, nor were they members of any lodge. It appears that as soon as this
inchoate assemblage of Masons had declared themselves duly constituted into a
Grand Lodge, they proceeded at once to issue their first charter creating a
constituent lodge, and named it, we believe, "Le Centre des Amis" thus using
the name of the lodge of which the larger part were formerly members. In this
action we have an interesting and rather unusual situation. These seceding
Masons from the Grand Orient first constituted themselves into a Grand Lodge,
and then a charter was granted by themselves, to themselves, thus creating
their first constituent lodge ! And it was this lodge of Topsy-like
antecedents that the Pro Grand Master of England, as noted above,
characterized as "several lodges." We can hardly wonder that the kaleidoscopic
changes indicated above should have a distressing and disturbing effect upon
the vision, or that one should appear to be three or more !
2. Some Facts Concerning the
Lodges of this Grand Body. Under ordinary circumstances in this country, great
care is usually exercised by our Grand Lodges in assuring themselves of the
"regularity" of the constituent bodies which unite to form any new Grand
Lodge. This is especially true of several American Grand Lodges which have
recognized the Grand Body under consideration. It is not our purpose to
comment on the origin or history of the several constituent lodges under the
obedience of the National Grand Lodge of France. Information is not at hand to
enable us adequately to do this. our purpose is the simple one of noting a few
salient facts in connection with two or three of these lodges, because this
course will help us the better to appreciate the character of the National
Enough has been said,
perhaps, concerning number 1, of these lodges. But the second lodge, generally
named in connection with the organization of this Grand Lodge the impression
being given that it was one of the "several lodges," which united to form the
Body we are considering was the "Loge Anglaise No. 204," of Bordeaux.
This lodge has had a most
interesting history, which does not particularly concern us in this
connection. It may be noted here, however, that "Loge Anglaise No. 204" was
organized at Bordeaux, on Sunday, April 27th, 1732, by several English sea
captains. In those early days, charters were not necessary, and three Masons
duly assembled for the purpose, could constitute a lodge. Of this lodge it is
said that it ". . . was founded under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of
England." Its career was somewhat tempestous, and its independent spirit not
infrequently brought it into conflict with superior authority. But, for 110
years it appears to have gone along with a fair degree of unanimity and
success under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of France. In view of the
fact that this lodge has been loosely claimed as one of the lodges which
united with others to form the National Grand Lodge of France, it may be well
to note certain circumstances which finally led Loge Anglaise No. 204 into the
fold of the new Grand Body.
A matter of Ritual, in use in
the lodge "Le Centre des Amis," came before the Council of the Grand Orient,
and later, in June, 1913, before the Annual Convention of the Grand Orient.
The governing body used its authority, to the extent even so the aggrieved
parties declare of cutting off debate, and not permitting the lodge to be
heard. In such discussion as was had, and in its general attitude, the only
support which came to Le Centre des Amis, was that given by Loge Anglaise No.
204. From this time and incident there developed something of an understanding
between the two lodges, and a desire and purpose to co-operate in securing
certain results. Later, came the events noted under "1" above, recognition of
the new organization, by the Grand Lodge of England, coming on November 20th,
of that year. six days later, November 26th, Loge Anglaise "resolved that all
correspondence with the Grand Orient should be broken off." At its next
meeting, December 3rd, 1913, ". . . the lodge officially severed its
connection with the Grand Orient, and resolved to co-operate with the 'Loge
Centre des Amis.' " This, be it noted, was 13 days after the National Grand
Lodge of France had been recognized by edict, issued by the Pro Grand Master
of the Grand Lodge of England. Formal official notice of the action of the
lodge was not given, however, until January 1st, 1914, on which date Loge
Anglaise announced its decision to the Masons of France in a "Manifesto."
From the foregoing brief
statement it will be seen that not till more than 40 days after the National
Grand Lodge had been recognized by the Grand Lodge of England, was there a
second lodge under its obedience, and this lodge was the one at Bordeaux Loge
Anglaise No. 204.
The Junior Grand Warden (Bro.
Edmund Heisch) of the new Grand Lodge tells us that, "Early in 1914, certain
English Freemasons resident in Paris, members of English lodges, made
application for permission to form a lodge under the obedience of the National
Lodge." This permission was granted, together with a charter, and on June
20th, 1914, "St. George's Lodge" was duly consecrated, the Junior Grand Warden
becoming its first Master. Thus, the third lodge under the obedience of the
National Grand Lodge came into existence, more than seven months after
recognition had been accorded by the Grand Lodge of England.
"Liberation Lodge No. 8" of
this obedience, has an interesting story, and one that is significant of the
general character of the body under consideration. Briefly, it appears that
certain American soldiers while on shipboard, on their way to France,
discussed the matter of forming some sort of a Masonic organization upon their
arrival in that country. In fact the question had been considered while they
were still at American Lake. Upon reaching France the discussion was renewed,
and a Washington Mason called a meeting at which further consideration was
given the subject. At the second meeting of these brothers they learned that
already "steps were being taken to form a lodge for American soldiers." On
October 20th, 1917, the Washington Brother and others attended a meeting
called to further this movement, which was presided over by one J. Hennessy
Cooke, one of Lloyd's agents, and a member of an English lodge, who informed
them that already a petition for a charter had been sent to the National Grand
Lodge. At a later meeting, the charter was presented and read, and by a
majority vote, it was decided to go forward and establish the lodge. This
accordingly was done, and on December 8th, 1917, the Junior Grand Warden of
the National Grand Lodge consecrated "Liberation Lodge No. 8" with the
aforesaid J. Hennessy Cooke as Master.
In February, 1918,
"Britannica-Lodge" was created by the National Grand Lodge, this being number
9 of the lodges on its roster.
Of these nine lodges, seven
are English-speaking, and use the "Emulation Working." The other two,
probably, use the "Rectified Scottish Rite," as it was insistence upon the use
of this Ritual that led to the difficulty between Lodge Le Centre des Amis and
the Grand Orient. But the matter of Ritual, apparently, is of less importance
in France, than it is in America, for Brother Heisch tells us that "The
Constitutions of the new Grand Lodge have been so framed as to permit the
lodges under its obedience to practice the rituals of any Grand Lodge with
which the National Grand Lodge is related an essential condition being that
those Rituals are practiced without alteration."
To us the very large
predominance of the Anglo-Saxon element in these lodges is most significant.
It occurs to us this moment that if that principle, of which we hear much
through the press of the self determination of the peoples, in matters of
government and boundaries, along lines of linguistic and racial cleavage
should be applied to the Masonry of France, the Grand Body under consideration
would cease to be the "National Independent and Regular Grand Lodge of France
and the French Colonies," and would take its proper place as a District Grand
Lodge, under the English Constitution! And this suggestion receives some color
of support from the Pro Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England. In his
announcement Grand Lodge (Quarterly Com., Dec. 3rd, 1913) of the recognition
of the National Grand Lodge the Pro Grand Master enumerated "The obligations
which will be imposed on all lodges under this new Constitution," under six
heads. The sixth and last reads: "Only those Brethren who are recognized as
true Brethren by the Grand Lodge of England will be received in lodge." We may
be at fault, but that statement seems not to consort well with the notion of a
"National," and an "Independent," and "Regular" Grand Lodge, supreme and
untrammeled in the exercise of its sovereign powers within the limits of its
3. The Recognition of the
National Grand Lodge by the Grand Lodge of England. The expedition with which
negotiations were carried forward to a satisfactory issue in this matter, has
often been remarked. In fact, we alluded to it under "1" above. But there are
some interesting incidents connected with those negotiations, which we do not
remember to have seen brought together.
As already noted, Dr.
Ribaucourt organized himself and his seceding colleagues into a Grand Lodge on
November 5th, 1913. On November 20th the Pro Grand Master recognized this
newly created Body, as a just and legally constituted Grand Lodge. But how
could the necessary preliminaries be attended to in so short a time' of
course, the distance between London and Paris is not great, but traveling and
discussions take time. We do not propose a solution to this problem, but
simply note certain phases of it.
Following the "message from
the throne" already referred to which dealt with this subject, the Pro Grand
Master, of the Grand Lodge of England added "a few words of explanation." He
told Grand Lodge that "The agreement with this newly constituted body of
French Freemasons is the result of prolonged and difficult negotiations
(emphasis ours) in which two well-known brethren have been devoted and skilful
intermediaries." "Prolonged!" We have seen that but 15 days elapsed between
the organization of this body and its recognition. Is it to be understood that
these brethren were negotiating with the members of Le Centre des Amis, while
they, and the lodge of which they were members, were still under the obedience
of the Grand Orient, and that possibly, by suggesting the certainty of
securing immediate recognition, differences were intensified till bonds were
snapped asunder by secession? We do not say that such was the case, but less
than 15 days seems to us to be a very short time in which to carry on
And these two English
Brethren: these successful "intermediaries," who held "no official positions,"
and who did this work, "not as a matter of duty" (the Pro Grand Master is
again our informant) "but from disinterested devotion to the Craft" did they
understand that they were going forward with the tacit approval of Grand Lodge
? The fruits of their "prolonged" efforts were accepted and acknowledged, at
all events. And could their labors have been "prolonged," unless their
beginning antedated the rupture between some of its members and the Grand
Orient of France?
In his "message from the
throne," the Grand Master of England referred to the brethren who had
organized the National Grand Lodge as being "resolved to uphold the true
principles and tenets of the Craft," and further, that they were "pledged to
adhere to those principles of Freemasonry which we regard as fundamental and
essential," and that in consequence of these facts, "I have joyfully assented
to the establishment of fraternal relations and the exchange of
We know what is required by
the Grand Lodge of England when a new Grand Lodge is to be erected in one of
the Colonies of the Empire, where Masonry is already established, but we do
not know what it regards as essential principle of regularity when the
applicant for recognition is outside of the territory of the Empire. To be
sure, there is Article XII, of the "Old Regulations," of 1721, approved by
Grand Lodge, in that year, which states what is the composition of Grand
Lodge, and Article VIII of the same "Regulations" which brands as "Rebels,"
any ". . . Set or number of brethren" who "shall withdraw or separate
themselves from the lodge in which they were made Brethren .... without a
Dispensation from the Grand Master or his Deputy." Of course, the fact that
recognition was Immediately granted the brethren who seceded from the Grand
Orient of trance, is evidence enough that these regulations are not now
operative, or at all events, do not control action, where the Bodies
considered are outside of the Jurisdiction or the Grand Lodge of England. And
it would seem that it is not necessary that there should be a fixed number of
lodges uniting to form a new Grand Lodge, or any lodges at all- as in the case
of the National Grand Lodge- as a prerequisite to recognition. American Grand
Lodges are usually very careful on these scores. It is generally held by them
that there must be at least three lodges, which have been regularly
constituted by a recognized authority, and that the applicant for favors must
be supreme within the Jurisdiction over which it proposes to hold sway. We
say, these are generally held to be necessary. Of course, there are many
departures from this standard, even by some of our most conservative Grand
Bodies. As tor example, the Grand Lodge of Missouri, and the Grand Lodge of
Virginia, and some others which have recognized the National Grand Lodge of
France, which, as we have seen, was composed of members who had their Masonic
birth in the Grand Orient of France an organization absolutely tabooed by
these Grand Lodges and, as we have also seen, had not so much as one lodge to
bless itself with at its inception, and only one, when it was recognized by
the Grand Lodge of England. It would appear from this, that the Grand Lodge of
England (and a few American Grand Lodges) does not take into account any of
these matters when weighing the claims of an applicant for recognition.
Another statement by the Pro
Grand Master when feliciting Grand Lodge on the auspicious advent of the
National Grand Lodge is of interest in view of later developments, the
significance of which we have tried to indicate under "2,' above. He said: You
will permit me, I am sure, to express my own deep satisfaction that the
privation of Masonic intercourse with Frenchmen in France, which has for so
long caused us so much sadness, is now at an end. Now that there is a body of
Frenchmen, a body which I do not doubt will grow very largely," &c. Of course,
the Pro Grand Master could not foresee that the Body which came into existence
in consequence of the "prolonged' negotiations carried forward by the two
"intermediaries," already referred to, would become as we have seen - an
English Body, in practically everything but name, with most of its lodges
bearing English names, and at this time, seven of its nine lodges,
English-speaking, using English Work. Apparently, the "body of Frenchmen"
referred to by the Pro Grand Master, is still confined, mainly, to Lodges 1
and 2, on the roster of the National Grand Lodge, viz., Lodge "Le Centre des
Amis," of Paris, and "Loge Anglaise No. 204," of Bordeaux.
Such are some of the facts
concerning the organization of the National Grand Lodge of France, the
constitution and character of some of its constituent lodges, and the
recognition of this Body by the United Grand Lodge of England.
NOTE: For the benefit of any
who may desire to "check up" the foregoing statements, the following list of
authorities is given, as being the chief sources of information:
1. An article entitled,
"National Independent and Regular Grand Lodge of France and the French
Colonies," by Edmund Heisch, J. G. W. of that Grand Body. "Transactions, '
Authors' Lodge No. 3456, volume I, (1915), pages 269-275.
This article has an added
value, in that it embodies a quite full statement by the Grand Secretary of
the National Grand Lodge, G. L. Jollois.
2. An interesting bit of the
history of the Lodge of Bordeaux, under the caption: "The loge Anglaise No.
204' of Bordeaux," by the same author as the preceding article.
"Transactions," Authors' Lodge No. 3456, volume II, (1917), pages 203223.
3. An article, "Freemasonry
in France," in pamphlet form, by Wm. Preston Campbell-Everden (1918). This
brochure, of some 26 pages, is by a P. M. of "Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343,"
under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of France. The author has written
works on several Masonic subjects, and he here gives us some illuminating
facts in concise form.
4. A letter from Brother D.
H. Johnston, of the Grand Jurisdiction of Washington, written from "Somewhere
in France,' in December, 1917, and enclosing a letter from one, J. Hennessy
Cooke. Proceedings of Washington, 1918, pages 213-216.
A careful reading of Brother
Johnston's letter will leave no doubt on the score of that brother's zeal, and
even less concerning the restricted area of his Masonic knowledge. We have
touched upon the contents of both of these letters in our review of
Washington, for 1918.
5. Proceedings of the United
Grand Lodge of England, Quarterly Communication, December 3, 1913.
He’s a great big, willing
Brother with a heart like to the ox,
He would put big things
“across” but here comes the paradox
For he finds himself “at
ease,” something holds him on the sly,
There’s a “landmark” in the
way that he can’t-get-by.
And the Craft at large is
bound, there’s an unseen cable tow
That is binding tothe past,
though the urge would prompt to go;
There’s too oft a ling’ring
round, - when they would in progress vie, -
Some old weird, landmarky
thing that they can’t-get-by.
But to make this old world
over, “bariers” must “be burned away,”
Masonry must melted be fo the
all-wold Bother day;
It is coming, almost here,
and its spirit must defy
Every old opposing thing that
- Bro. L.B. Mitchell,
The American Red Cross has
provided 250,000 articles of clothing for returning Italian prisoners.
SOME SOURCES AND SYMBOLISM OF
BY BRO. CHARLES S. LOBINGIER,
THE flag which is today
presented and raised is not a mere piece of bunting designed to attract the
eye or adorn the landscape. It is a great national emblem, expressing the
traditions and ideals of earth's mightiest democracy and appealing to the
deepest emotions of every patriotic American. More than that our flag has a
history and an historical significance, of which far too little is generally
known. But, thanks to the encouragement offered by our patriotic societies,
groups of our people here and there have seriously taken up "flag study." Now
"flag study" is a branch of heraldry and heraldry of sphragistics. And so the
study of our flag in the light of its history leads us into several
interesting fields where the horizon is broadened and the view inspiring.
What are the elements of our
flag, or of any flag for that matter? Are they not (1) its colors and (2) its
Joseph Rodman Drake, the
first poetic panegyrist of old glory, sang in rhapsodic verse, recalling the
first lines of "Rule Brittania,"
"When Freedom, from her
Unfurled her standard to the
She tore the azure robe of
And set the stars of glory
She mingled with its gorgeous
The milky baldric of the
And striped its pure,
With streakings of the
"Flag of the free heart's
hope and home
By angel hands to valor
Thy stars have lit the welkin
And all thy hues were born in
A later bard, (2) in language
equally ornate, sings
"From the dyes of battle
Foam and wave of ocean's
And the stars that tell thy
Freemen fashioned thee."
But these hues the red, white
and blue which the one poet said "were born in heaven" and the other takes
from nature, are in fact found in many other flags e.g. the French, the Dutch,
the Russian and even the Chinese. And have you not noticed them in the Union
Jack? If not do so, for thereby hangs an interesting historical chain.
THE RED CROSS
In this fateful time when the
Red Cross emblem is omnipresent, one is much interested to find that it may
rightfully claim a kinship to our own. While the Cross itself is an universal
symbol the red cross appears always to have been a Christian emblem. The story
of Constantine's vision of that flaming cross in the sky may have been mere
legend but modern scholars "are agreed that the sacred monogram was in fact
employed by Constantine on the shields of his soldiers as a sort of magic to
secure the help of the mighty God of the Christians. " (3)
The same figure a red cross
in a white field flourished in the days "when knighthood was in flower."
Spenser, describing in his "Faery Queene" the accoutrements of his knightly
"Upon his breast a bloodie
erosse he wore,
The dear remembrance of his
Such also was the standard of
the crusaders, particularly the Knights Templar, who organized in 1118 to
protect pilgrims to the Holy Land. It was such a banner, afterward known as
the "Cross of St. George," that Richard Coeur de Lion, England's Crusader
king, received from George Bishop of Cappadocia, later made patron saint of
the kingdom. Such was the beginning of what Thomas Campbell calls
"THE METEOR FLAG OF ENGLAND"
By the time of Edward II
(1327) it had become the recognized English standard and remained such for
nearly three centuries. As the ensign of Henry VII, it was planted on the
shores of what is now Canada by Sebastian Cabot in 1497 the first European
flag to float over the soil of North America. And is it not fitting that this
ensign of chivalry should reappear in modern times as the emblem of humanity?
As early as 1830 Bishop Baraga, a Roman Catholic missionary, carried a red
cross flag in his work among the Indians of western America. Florence
Nightingale, nursing the victims of the Crimean war in 1854, was a source of
inspiration to Henri Dinant, the young Swiss physician, who some years later,
after his experiences on the battle field of Solferino in 1859, conceived the
idea of an international organization devoted to the special purpose of
mitigating the horrors of war. The outcome of his efforts was the Geneva
Conference of 1864, participated in by the representatives of fourteen
nations, which adopted as its watch-words "Humanity" and "Neutrality" and as
its emblem that which also supplied its name the red cross in a white field.
It was Clara Barton who
introduced the Red Cross into America. She had unconsciously served it
throughout our own Civil War but it was not until after its close, when she
went to Europe for rest that she heard of the organization. Observing its
achievements in the Franco-German war of 1870 she resolved to devote her
efforts to securing her country's adhesion to the Geneva Convention. It was
not until 1882 that she succeeded but, like certain other organizations-the
Masonic Order and the Y.M.C.A.-which originated in Europe, the Red Cross had
its greatest growth after transplantation to America. Incorporated by Act of
Congress in 1900 and reincorporated in 1905 the American Red Cross became the
mightiest non-governmental factor in the late world war while in time of peace
its emblem is the omnipresent herald of social service on a colossal scale.
(4) Truly when the League of Nations is formed its flag should be the Red
Cross in a white field.
THE "BONNIE BLUE FLAG"
There was another crusader
standard borne by a brave and hardy people who have contributed much to the
making of our own nation. This was the "bonnie blue flag" of Scotland,
consisting of the white cross of St. Andrew in a blue field,-a flag which
seldom met defeat and never conquest. Under it Robert Bruce, addressing the
assembled Scots at the break of that fateful day of Bannockburn, uttered those
fiery words which the genius of Robert Burns transformed into a Scotch
"Scots wha hae wi' Wallace
Scots wham Bruce has often
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victory!"
In 1606, after James VI of
Scotland had become James I of England, these two historic standards were
combined in token of the union of the kingdoms. To the red and white of St.
George's banner was added the blue of St. Andrew's; and the red, white and
blue, thus for the first time appearing in a single flag, became known as the
"King's Colors." (5) This was the flag under which our country was chiefly
colonized. It was the flag which the Maytiower flew and which our colonial
ancestors carried in all their wars including King William's, Queen Anne's,
George It's and the French and Indian. As a young lieutenant, George
Washington rendered his first military service under that flag with General
Braddock's ill-fated expedition against Ft. Du Quesne. In all their history
the colonists had followed no other flag than the "King's Colors." What was
more natural than that they should embody the same colors in their new banner
of independence ?
But what of the stars and
stripes? How came they to find a place in our flag? Drake, you will remember,
tells us that
"Thy stars have lit the
But no flag with which our
Revolutionary fathers had been familiar ever contained stars and stripes. The
only figures in the older flags were the crosses and these were retained in
the earliest revolutionary flags even so late as January, 1776, scarcely a
half year before the Declaration of Independence, when a flag was hoisted over
General Washington's headquarters at Cambridge, Massachusetts, with thirteen
stripes, one for each of the revolting colonies, but still with the united
crosses of St. George and St. Andrew in a blue field.
A flag containing thirteen
red and white stripes and a red cross appears (6) to have been used by the
East India Company as early as 1704 and some have thought that it furnished
the suggestion of the stripes in our flag. If so it affords one more example
of Asiatic origins.
In the colonial banner of
Rhode Island there were thirteen stars in a blue field and some would trace to
that source the stars of our flag another honor for the smallest commonwealth.
But one fact seems clear: The
stars and stripes were never combined in any single flag until they appeared
in one designed and used by General Washington. Just when this was
accomplished, remains a disputed question.
In the New York Metropolitan
Museum of Art is a famous painting by Emanuel Leutze which represents
"Washington Crossing the Delaware," and in the prow of the boat which bears
the great leader, floats "the star spangled banner." Of course that picture
was painted long after the event, for the artist belongs to a recent
generation (1816-1868); but there are reasons for believing that in this
respect he followed those who were contemporaries of the event. Charles Wilson
Peale, (7) the soldier painter, commanded one of the companies which recrossed
the Delaware on Christmas day, 1776, and participated in the battle of Trenton
of the day following. Later he painted a picture of "Washington at Trenton" in
the background of which is a flag of thirteen white stars in a blue field.
Colonel John Trumbull was one
of the most famous of early American painters. He was General Washington's
aide during the operations around Boston and later was with him again "not
long after his success at Trenton." (8) The battle of Princeton was only one
week after, and Colonel Trumbull painted a picture of that battle showing the
stars and stripes in action. Thus the present figures of our flag appear in
these two leading engagements, as represented by contemporaries, directly
under the eye of the commander-in- chief.
He seems to have been quite
as closely identified also with the circumstances which culminated about a
half year later, in the official adoption of those figures by Congress. In the
spring of 1776 Washington visited Philadelphia and we are told (9) that, in
company with Robert Morris, the financier of the Revolution, George Ross, a
member of the Continental Congress, and Betsey Ross, widow of the latter's
nephew, he worked out the details of the new nation's flag. Only in September,
1917, it was my privilege to linger for a time in the little two story
building on Arch street, in the city of brotherly love, where Betsey Ross kept
her upholstery shop and her three distinguished visitors gathered to discuss
with her the designs for a new national emblem. It is interesting to note in
passing that the means for purchasing and preserving those historic premises
came largely from ten cent contributions, mostly by American school children,
and that a fund is now being raised to purchase the surrounding property and
convert the whole into a memorial park. I am glad to be able to provide the
opportunity for the names of members of the present graduating class of the
Shanghai American School to appear on the roll of honor of this patriotic
On June 14,1277, the
"Resolved, That the Flag of
the United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white" with "13 stars white
in a blue field."
As no other details are
prescribed it is evident that the author of this resolution assumed that the
arrangement and location of these figures would be understood and that implies
a flag already in existence doubtless that designed by Washington with the aid
of Betsey Ross. It seems clear, therefore, that the "father of his country"
had a very direct part in the making of its flag and particularly in the union
of the figures the stars and stripes which afford its most distinguishing
Now it happens that those are
also the figures of the Washington family coat of arms. In the church of St.
Mary the Virgin, hamlet of Great Brington, Northamptonshire, are the tombs of
several Washingtons, among them Lawrence, who died in 1616 and was a grandson
of another of that name who, in 1539, received a grant of Sulgrave Manor in
the same shire, having migrated there from Lancashire. (10) These tombs are
marked by an inscription bearing this Washington coat of arms; argent two
bars, and in chief three mullets (stars). They are also carved on a sun dial
found near the Washington home in the adjoining hamlet of Little Brington and
were naturally carried by two grandsons of Lawrence Washington who emigrated
to Virginia in 1657, one of whom (John) was the greatgrandfather of George
Washington. And it was in this cherished heirloom that, so far as heraldic
records have disclosed, the stars and stripes were first combined in the same
The objection (11) that
General Washington himself never referred to this device as a source of our
national flag seems to me without force. The man whose innate modesty forbade
him to remain (12) in the hall of the Continental Congress, though a member,
after his name had been so much as mentioned for the post of Commander-in-
Chief; and who shrank later from the mere suggestion that the national capital
be located near his Virginia home, would have been the last to draw public
attention to the fact that the figures of our flag are those of his ancestral
coat of arms. But that the one suggested the other seems to me too obvious for
The stars and the stripes
thus united originally symbolized at first the same fact the union of thirteen
states. And this connection lasted for a considerable time after the first new
states were admitted. For each one a new stripe, as well as a new star, was
added to the flag. But it soon became apparent that these additional stripes,
if continued, would widen the flag unduly and spoil its symmetry. A compromise
was finally reached by which the number of stripes was restored to thirteen
while a star was added for each new state. Thus the stripes permanently
symbolize the original states while the stars represent the ever expanding
And what a wealth of
symbolism and historic allusion lies back of this chivalry, the crusades,
heraldry, the exploration and colonization of the new world, the union of
English-speaking nations, the struggle to make and keep North America
Anglo-Saxon, the preservation of Anglo-Saxon ideals of liberty and law, the
defense of the rights of small nations these are the ideas perpetuated and
preserved in the evolution of our flag. And the mighty conflict now closing
has opened a new chapter in its history. For within recent months the stars
and stripes have been raised for the first time over St. Paul's Cathedral,
flown from the mastheads of British vessels, carried by American armies
through the streets of the world's metropolis amid thundering plaudits of a
grateful populace and borne with resistless courage over the bloody fields of
Chateau Thierry and the Argonne.
Scion of knightly standards,
cousin of Red Cross emblem, symbol of triumphant democracy, prophecy of a
world wide ensign, Old Glory floats today over the soil of defeated Germany,
but it floats even there in mercy. A German newspaper recently said of our
army of occupation,
"The generosity of the
Americans is spoiling our children."
For as President McKinley
declared, in speaking of the Philippines,
"Our flag has never waved
over any people save blessing."
And in the words of Clinton
"Nor stripe nor clustered
star has ever shone
Save but for freedom, for the
Of liberty the dearer,
Of brotherhood on earth.
Wave then, O banner! May thy
To heal the grievous wounds,
the woeful sears,
Triumphant over wrong and
Beloved Stripes and Stars!"
(1) The occasion of this
address was the raising of a flag presented by the American University Club of
China to the American School at Shanghai.
(2) George Sterling.
(3) Warvelle, Constantine the
Great (1915) 7.
(4) Judge Lobingier is Field
Representative of the American Red Cross in China and was recently decorated
with the Service Button and presented with Service Certificate of the Red
Cross, "in recognition," wrote Manager Cutler of the Insular and Foreign
Division, "of the loyal service you have rendered to the American Red Cross
and to the nation during the war." Editor.
(5) Journal of American
(6) Preble, The United States
(7) THE BUILDER, II, 200.
(8) Goodrich, History of the
United States, 244. Cf. THE BUILDER,
The statement in a recent
number of the Geographic Magazine (XXXII, 297) that Trumbull "left the
colonies while Washington was before Boston and was abroad for seven years,"
appears to be incorrect.
(9) Canby & Balderston,
Evolution of the American Flag.
(10) Lodge's "Washington," I,
30-32 note. The family seems to have been of Swedish origin. See Review of
Reviews (Feb., 1919), 202.
(11) Journal of American
History, 13; THE BUILDER, II, 227.
(12) Goodrich, History of the
United States, 198.
THE PROBLEM OF THE LARGE
The problem of the large lodge is one with which
many Grand Masters have had to contend during the past year and more because
of the hundreds of young men knocking at our doors who were eager to receive
their degrees before leaving for overseas to teach the Hun his lesson. Many of
the larger lodges found it necessary to hold meetings for work nearly every
day in the week in order to keep their trestle boards partly cleared for other
work in prospect. The larger the lodge the more nunlerous grew the
applications at each regular communication, and in addition to having to take
care of their own candidates many were called upon to do work for other lodges
within and without their several Grand Jurisdictions. Even in normal times
nearly every large lodge finds it necessary to devote at least three or four
meetings each month to the conferring of degrees, and at their regular
communications the entire evenings are usually taken up by the reception of
and balloting on petitions and the examination of candidates for advancement,
until but little opportunity is offered for sociability and the
getting-together of the members, or enlightenment upon Masonic subjects.
Being aware of many of the various phases of the
subject with which Brother Schoonover has had to meet during his term as Grand
Master the editor has prevailed upon him to give to the readers of THE BUILDER
the following editorial.
A further discussion of the subject will be found
in the Fraternal Forum department of this issue of THE BUILDER.
EVIDENCE accumulated from many sources, during the
year goes to prove the inherent difficulties of the large lodge. In many ways
the large lodge fails, as a Masonic institution. It tends to become a highly
centralized business institution. Its members, even after many years, become
acquainted with but a fraction of the total roster. On funeral occasions the
attendance is a handful, except in cases where the deceased brother was
prominent in financial or political circles. Of sociability it has little
except that which is purely formal. The reception of petitions becomes a
burden. Witness the reception of 68 petitions in one evening by one of our
lodges this year. The conferring of degrees obsesses the officers like a
night-mare. Observe the announcement of one lodge that it would start to work
on a certain day at 12:01 a. m. and close at 11:59 p.m. - with a temptation to
set the clock back to conform to the law, so that the lectures might be given.
My correspondence file will prove every allegation
I have made. It will reveal a lodge under the practical domination of a
Secretary whose acts at least laid him under suspicion that his principal
Masonic ideal was to perpetuate himself as Secretary at a salary of $1200.00
per year (another $1200.00 of salary being received from other "Masonic"
bodies), and who, perhaps unthinkingly, was willing to besmirch the reputation
of this Grand Lodge for fair dealing by insisting upon lodges in sister
jurisdictions paying over their full fee for courtesy work. Why? Our sister
jurisdictions feel in their hearts that it was so that he might make a good
financial showing and perpetuate that salary.
Letters requesting permission to ballot upon
petitions in groups have come to me. The conferring of sixteen degrees in the
twenty-four hour session above referred to is, to my mind, an absolute
travesty upon Masonry. No matter if the lodge was crowded with work, and
trying to satisfy the ambition of brethren in khaki to receive their degrees
before "going across" - I am not questioning the good faith of the lodge or
its officers, for they were trying to meet a strenuous problem and could only
do so in a wholesale way.
That such procedure should be necessary is but a
symptom of the same disease which permeates our Fraternity too much.
Elephantiasis - overgrowth - top-heaviness - these are the definitions
attributed by some of my eminent friends over the country.
Our good Brother Pitts, of Palestine Lodge in
Detroit, with 3,000 members, insists that the large lodge offers more to its
membership than the small lodge, and under his energetic and unselfish
leadership they have pretty nearly made good their opinion by their conduct of
affairs. Contrast this situation with the average of 500 to 1,000 membership
in Iowa and it is not to our credit, to say the least. And when it came to a
discussion upon the floor, Palestine Lodge discussed, and if I remember
correctly, asked the Grand Lodge of Michigan to permit, breaking it up into
several groups, to be designated as "Palestine No. 1, No. 2, etc." They needed
more degree teams.
This is only one of many remedies that have been
proposed. I told the Master of the Lodge with the 68 petitions to ballot upon
in one evening that I could not and would not relieve him or his lodge of the
responsibility of passing upon the petitions one by one. To practically repeal
the ballot law, by permitting joint balloting would not cure the evils, I am
The advocates of the large lodge, and there are many such, base
their opinion largely upon three affirmative propositions: (a) the opportunity
to build a Masonic structure in the lives of our cities which, conforming to
the city club idea, can theoretically perform a real Masonic service even in
the highly congested life of the city which is worthy of the dignity of the
Fraternity and wield an influence which will support the better side of civic
institutions; (b) that in the large lodge there is an opportunity for a wider
selection of officers, thereby attracting the men of larger abilities; (c) the
greater per capita economy of doing things by means of which the large lodge
can afford commodious
and even luxuriant quarters at high rentals and meet the other necessary
"overhead" expenses. They also advance at least two negative propositions: (a)
that if a Grand Lodge attempts to legislate upon the subject in a restrictive
way it is an "innovation" upon the body of Masonry; (b) that if restriction
should be accomplished it should be done by the voluntary division of the
lodge, by a "swarming off" process which will result in the formation of new
lodges out of the parent lodge.
As I am, frankly, opposed to the large lodge,
several answers to the above contentions occur to me. Even if the reasoning
under (a) is true, it does not convince me that lodge activities of that
particular kind are either necessary or in conformity with the real purposes
of Masonry. Friendship and Brotherly Love are two of the most potent
characteristics of a Masonic lodge pictured in the ideal, and I have never
found that the club life of a great city was anything more than a poor
substitute for the real thing as defined Masonically. In (b) it is true that
the membership of the large lodge necessarily includes men of affairs and men
of high mental attainments. But it is the remote case where men of such
exceptional attainments as they refer to occupy the chairs. Why? Because the
"line" system prevails, and a man who is by education and executive ability
preeminently equipped to lead a lodge will not ordinarily accept the seven
years of apprenticeship imposed upon those who would preside. When we bring
the discussion down to the level of per capita economy we must also assume
responsibility for the decreased efficiency of the lodge from the true Masonic
standpoint. To clinch the argument, it is as it seems to me only necessary to
point out that with anything like Masonic harmony prevailing, a group of small
lodges, perhaps the groups which were once integral parts of the large lodge,
could by cooperation and union of their resources perform any social or club
function which a large lodge could.
The negative propositions advanced by those who
believe in the large lodge are to be found equally unsound. The answer to the
innovation argument is that the large lodge is itself an innovation; such
cumbersome groups of brethren unacquainted with each other were never
contemplated as Masonic. And the "swarming off" process, even when voluntalily
attempted, as a rule, removes from the original organization only the fifteen
or twenty brethren constitutionally necessary for the formation of a new
lodge. A real division of the large lodge has never been accomplished within
To bring together the principal objections to the
large lodge that form the real indictment, let us mention (a) the tendency to
lay stress upon the business activities and the ritualistic work to the
exclusion of all others; (b) the absence of real sociability and acquaintance
among the members - the extent of this lack exhibiting itself in the
indifference to a brother's welfare and a failure to love him enough to wish
to follow him to his last resting place; (c) the wastage of all the energies
of the officers in the degree mill, so that they have no opportunity or vim to
perform other functions equally or even more important for the advancement of
the causes for which our Fraternity should stand; (d) the large lodge gives
the average member no opportunity to participate in its activities, all the
time being taken up by routine work to the exclusion of addresses or lectures
even if talent is available for this source of inspiration; (e) the Masonic
development of each member is necessarily restricted; (f) even the opportunity
to participate in the ritualistic work of the lodge is confined to a very
small proportion of the total membership; and the pathway to the stations is
too narrow for the progress of more than the few; (g) the individual member
therefore feels a very small sense of responsibility for either the lodge or
Masonry in general. As opposed to these things, the small lodge facilitates
acquaintance, uses a larger proportion of its membership in the various
activities, thereby generating the desire to know and the desire to serve in
the hearts of all, promotes good fellowship, gives a more nearly equal chance
for each member to become Worshipful Master (the ambition to preside over a
lodge is a just and honorable one), and finally, the percentage of attendance
in the small lodge is far higher than in the large one.
With those brethren who criticise our Grand Lodges
for too much legislation I am inclined to agree, and the practical side of
this question has been a matter of some concern. Various suggestions have been
received. Some have felt that if we introduce a system of District Deputies
these brethren could by persuasion and help bring about a voluntary
readjustment of membership which would prove beneficial, and there is much
weight to the argument. Others have proposed that it be made easier to form a
new lodge, but I fail to see wherein our system in this respect could be
materially simplified. The abolition of the system of line officers in the
local lodges as has been done in this Grand Lodge might prove a help, and
perhaps a law making an immediate past Warden ineligible for election would
accomplish this result.
It has seemed to me, however, that the outright
division of the large lodge into as many units as would make each lodge no
larger than 200 members would be the only way in which to accomplish a uniform
result. Perhaps to aspire to uniformity is wrong. But if each large lodge were
to arrange its Past Masters in an alphabetical list, its Wardens likewise, and
divide each list into the number of groups necessary for compliance with the
general rule, and then alphabetically arrange and divide the brethren of the
lodge in like manner, securing to all past officers their rights and honors
and making provision for an equitable division and use of the lodge property,
there should be no insuperable difficulties involved. Automatically, when any
one of the groups of 200, now of course independent lodges, would reach a
membership of 400 it would again divide. No lodge would be obliged to cease
working and no injustices would be done; in my opinion.
There is still another phase to this whole
problem, and I find that another remedy finds its advocates. If, instead of
dividing up large lodges, we should make group working - i.e. the conferring
of degrees upon more than one candidate at one time, perhaps limiting the
number to seven - legitimate, we might remove the objections to the large
lodge, insofar, and only insofar, as congestion in the degree mill is
concerned. Advocates of this plan advance the argument that the conferring of
degrees upon classes has proven eminently successful in the Scottish Rite, and
point to the higher efficiency of the individuals in the degree teams as more
than offsetting the disadvantage which immediately occurs to some of us,
insofar as the impression upon each candidate is concerned.
Have I made this review of the subject
sufficiently explicit to justify the statement that we have here a problem
which is vital, and worthy of our most careful study? Recommendations
concerning the immediate settlement of the problem I shall not attempt. Put I
do most earnestly recommend that a Commission of three or five members, chosen
from some of our smaller lodges, join hands with three or five other brethren
who are members of large city lodges to study this question in all its
aspects, and make report at our next Annual Communication. The Commission
should study the reports of the Special Deputy Grand Masters for this year,
revealing as they do so clearly conditions in Iowa Masonry as they actually
exist. They should advise with the brethren of other Jurisdictions who have
given thought to this problem. They should consult with the Nebraska
Commission appointed to review this subject, and who, I presume, will have a
report at their June third Annual which will be available. The inquiry should
be conducted in a brotherly spirit. If it can not arrive at a majority
conclusion which will be acceptable to this Grand Lodge, then they should by
all means recommend some practicable method of dividing responsibility in the
large lodge, so that the necessary lodge functions may be carried out to the
glory of Masonry. If the large lodge refuses to admit that it has any disease,
then the representatives of the smaller lodges will have to diagnose the case
for themselves, and apply some sort of a remedy to bring the larger lodges in
harmony with the ideals which are at present largely the possession of the
MASONRY IS THINKING
Masonry is to be congratulated upon the attempt of
the Grand Masters and Representatives in attendance at the Cedar Rapids
Conference last November to awaken the more thoughtful and earnest members of
our Fraternity to the absolute necessity for action if the Institution of
which we are all so proud, though temporarily humiliated, is to hold the place
it should occupy among the great forces for good in America.
In this great world in which all movement is
directed, wisely or unwisely in its direction, forward, we can not stand
still, clinging to outworn theories and dead conditions and still hope to live
on indefinitely. Conservatism is a good thing when it leads to holding fast
that which has proved itself founded on enduring principles.
Ultra-conservatism is not a good thing, for it clings to that which time has
made a dead weight or a useless burden upon human progress.
Let me say seriously that the Cedar Rapids Conference was the
most important event that has engaged the attention of thinking Masons in
America within a century - it stands in that importance along with the union
of 1813. Its results are not all realized yet; Masonry has been set to
thinking; it has broken the chains of the despotism of Masonic superstition,
to speak, that has for so long bound her devotees to the rock
of disunity - of division of effort. Men will feel freer to take progressive
action. They will not be afraid of having their loyalty to Masonry questioned
because they may advocate the advancement of its columns in conformity with
the spirit of the times. The results to follow will not all develop at a
bound, but they will follow.
Let us be conservative still, but with reason in
our conservatism - not blind adherence to a past that can only bear us down
whereas we must rise or eventually pass into decadence, the beginning of an
inglorious end as a great Institution. D. Frank Peffley.
BAITING AND BANTERING
Altogether too many candidates present themselves at
expecting to be made sport of - that the ceremonies are to be characterized by
fun and frolic, if not by farce and buffoonery. Part of this is gathered from
the comic papers, part from idle jest, and part, I regret to say, from the
insinuations and pretended intimations of brethren. Part of this can not be
helped, but certainly that part which comes from the thoughtless remarks of
our brethren themselves can, and ought to be, prevented. Little does the
average candidate dream that he is about to receive serious and solemn
instruction; that he is, by symbolism, to be taught a moral philosophy based
upon monotheism, the belief in one God, the Creator, Preserver and Benefactor
of the world and all therein contained, and developed to the climax of
teaching that greatest and most expansive concept which God has permitted the
mind of man partially to comprehend - the immortality of the soul. With no
admixture of sadness, but with all the joys of righteous and happy living do
we embellish the symbolisms by which we develop and unfold this moral
philosophy to the candidate. How unlikely indeed are we to succeed in our
service to him if, even though the surroundings savor only of dignity, the
candidate momentarily expects sudden mirth at his expense. How much more our
teachings will sing into his heart and mind if he has no thought except that
he is to be received as a gentleman into the company of gentlemen; nay more,
as a neophyte into the company of those who are about to take him by the right
hand and call him their brother. Bantering and baiting of candidates is all
wrong. It injures the reputation of Masonry; it decreases our opportunity of
service to the candidate; it reacts upon the thoughtless brother who utters
the ill-timed jest; it lowers the moral tone of all concerned.
- P.G.M. Melvin M. Johnson,
Two million dollars of relief will be distributed
in Poland by the Red Cross during the next five months.
The divine essence itself is love and wisdom. -
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum
for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his
own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of
spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such,
does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another,
but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each
to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and
Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times.
Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our
members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are
following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions
will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.
WANTS TO BORROW MASONIC BOOKS
A California brother writes to ask if we can put
him in touch with some brother Masons near his home who will be willing to
lend him some Masonic books.
We feel very sure that if any California brother
who has books to lend reads this notice, he will be glad to write us. We shall
at once communicate with the brother making this request and get them together
We have suggested to this brother that he make his
appeal for the loan of books to his Grand Secretary. A Masonic Research
Committee has been in existence in California for several years and possibly
some preliminary steps have already been taken to inaugurate traveling Masonic
libraries in that Jurisdiction such as we now have in Iowa and several other
We have made a further suggestion that a few of
the earnest brethren of the lodge get together and introduce a motion at the
next regular meeting to appropriate $25.00 or so toward the purchase of a few
volumes as a foundation for a lodge library. The writer was instrumental in
introducing several such resolutions in the lodge in which he was raised and
never met with the least opposition in the matter even when he asked for an
appropriation to be used in having bound thirty-two years' Proceedings of his
Grand Lodge, and another appropriation for the purchase of a set of the
* * *
PROBABLE EXISTENCE OF SECRET
SOCIETIES IN EARLY CHRISTIAN TIMES
What is the origin of the words "cowan" and "Pleyel"
? Were Jesus Christ and any of his disciples Freemasons ? Were any of the
early Christians, or any great Romans or Greeks, Freemasons ? Please name
rulers and prime and other ministers of Europe who are Freemasons. J. B. N.,
A cowan was originally one who, in some unlawful
fashion, learned the trade secrets of Operative Masons without himself being a
member of a lodge. In present-day use a cowan is a man who thinks he knows the
secrets of the Fraternity without being a member.
Pleyel was the author of a tune to which the dirge
used in the Third degree is sung.
Neither Jesus Christ nor any of his disciples were
Freemasons in any sense of the word. Early Christians, many of them, probably
belonged to secret societies, but none of these societies was a Masonic
society in our modern sense of the word; they were probably secret
fraternities wherein men banded together to protect themselves against
It is utterly impossible to name the rulers and
prime ministers of modern Europe who are Freemasons - if any brother can send
in a partial list which is authentic, we shall be very grateful. H. L. H.
* * *
RAVENSCROFT'S THEORY OF THE
What is your opinion of
Brother Ravenscroft's theory of the
Comacine Masters and the Roman Collegia as described in THE BUILDER
several months ago?
The Roman Collegia were trades-unions, the members
of which protected themselves against oppression: these organizations had many
of the features which we now have in Freemasonry. For this reason we may very
justly think of the Roman Collegia as holding an important place in the
evolution of these secret fraternities out of which modern Freemasonry has
For a great many years Masonic scholars found a
gap in the story of this evolution immediately after the break-up of the Roman
Empire: they were obliged to take a leap over two or three centuries to the
medieval craft gild. Brother Ravenscroft and other scholars have devoted much
time to bridging over this gulf, and it is the opinion of the editors of THE
BUILDER that Brother Ravenscroft has given the most reasonable account of the
development of builder's trades and gilds during the two or three centuries
immediately preceding the dissolution of the Roman Empire. H.L.H.
* * *
PRESIDENT LINCOLN AND WELFARE
MISSIONS IN THE CIVIL WAR
While reading in the March number of THE BUILDER
of the obstacles thrown in the way of the committee appointed by the Grand
Lodge of New York to organize war relief for our men in the Army and Navy
serving in Europe, it occurred to me that I had seen an account of a similar
experience encountered by the Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. This
account is in Mr. L. E. Chittenden's Recollections of Mr. Lincoln, and is as
If seventy-five thousand volunteers were suddenly
called into active service in the swamps and marshes of the South, subject to
the diseases incidental to constant exposure in a new climate, together with
the casualties of battle, it was obvious to everybody except the Surgeon
General of the Army that the ordinary resources at his command would be wholly
inadequate to preserve their health or secure their comfort. The recent
experiences of European nations in war, which had availed themselves to the
fullest extent of the assistance of private organizations, to supplement the
deficiencies of a better service than our own, had demonstrated the great
value of such organizations, if any proof be needed. As if by a common
impulse, the charitable and benevolent of all the loyal states contributed
large sums of money, and organized that magnificent charity, now well-known in
history by its excellent work in saving lives, the Sanitary Commission. Dr.
Bellows, of New York, accompanied by equally eminent citizens from other large
cities, proceeded to Washington and tendered their organization, with its
abundant resources and supplies already accumulated, to the War Department for
the use of the Army. In the regular course of such human events their offer
was referred to the bureau of the Surgeon General of the Army. To their
surprise and confusion their offer was rejected with undisguised contempt.
They were told, in substance, that they were interfering with matters which
did not concern them, about which they knew nothing; that the Department was
able to perform its own duties, and wanted none of their assistance. In short,
they were figuratively turned out of the office and told to go home and attend
to their own affairs, for their volunteered assistance was an annoyance, the
repetition of which would not be tolerated.
The indignant mortification of these eminent
citizens may be imagined. They had previously supposed themselves engaged in
an honorable public service - they were told now that they were impertinent
intermeddlers with matters beyond their sphere. Upon one conclusion they were
agreed: they would shake the dust of the War Office from their feet, go home,
and supply their comforts directly to the soldiers, without the endorsement or
intervention of the fossils of that department.
They were about to depart from the Capitol when
some happy thought or fortunate suggestion turned their minds to Abraham
Lincoln. They called upon him and related their experience. He "sent for" the
Surgeon General. A request for his immediate attendance at the Executive
Mansion was one which even that exalted official did not think it prudent to
decline. "These gentlemen tell me," said the President, "that they have raised
a large amount of money and organized a parent and many subordinate societies
throughout the loyal states to provide the soldier with comforts, with
materials to preserve his health, to shelter him, to cure his wounds and
diseases, which the regulations of the War Department do not permit your
office to supply - that they offer to do all this without cost to the
government or any interference with the action of your department or the good
order and discipline of the army, and that you have declined this offer. With
my limited information I should suppose that this government would wish to
avail itself of every such offer that was made. I wish to have you tell me why
you have rejected the proposals of these gentlemen."
Had the President realized the cruelty of
confronting an old bureau officer of the War Department, encrusted with all
the traditions of "how-not-to-do-it," suddenly and without previous
opportunity to frame an excuse, with the hard, inflexible sense of such a
question, he would have been more merciful. The officer was confounded. He
could only mumble some indefinite objections to outside interference with the
management of the War Office, and claim that the Department could take care of
its own sick and wounded,in short, his attempts at excuse were failures. "If
that is all you can say," remarked the President, "I think you will have to
accept the offer, and co-operate to the extent gf your ability with these
gentlemen in securing its benefits to the Army." Bureaucracy struggled against
common sense no longer. The Sanitary Commission was the greatest, the most
active charity of the War. Tens of thousands of saved lives, of naked men
clothed, of wounded men sheltered and made comfortable, had good reason to
bless the name of Abraham Lincoln, whose common-sense secured for them the
benefits of such an invaluable organization.
Doubtless a fuller report of this interesting
incident may be found in some history of the Sanitary Commission, though I
doubt if it will be more authoritative than this by Mr. Chittenden, who was
auditor of the Treasury during the War and whose recollections are among the
most readable and reliable of all reminiscences of our greatest President.
C. A. Snowden, Washington.
* * *
SOME HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS TO
Having noted the troubles of Companion C.B.G., of
Indiana, in the January issue of THE BUILDER, I can sympathize with him and
offer to him and other High Priests who have been called upon to preside over
listless Chapters the result of my own experiences.
When I was elected to the High Priesthood of our
Chapter; I followed three predecessors none of whom had been able to confer
the degrees and who had to depend upon past officers to do this work for them.
Our Chapter had lapsed into about the same state as described by our Indiana
Companion. We often failed of a quorum, and there was very little interest
manifested by the members.
I made myself profficient in the entire work of
the degrees and qualified to take any station so that I could prompt or
correct any errors of the subordinate officers and required of my appointees
promises to learn their parts and to attend all meetings. We made it a point
to open on time, get through our business and work as early as possible and
avoid late hours.
Whenever there was no degree work I endeavored to
create a discussion on Masonic subjects and to get as many interested in the
discussions as possible. I also made it a point whenever I met a Companion on
the street or elsewhere to remind him of our meetings and urge him to be
Our attendance soon began to increase, our work to
improve and the members took a new interest in the affairs of the Chapter. We
materially increased our membership during the year.
I believe that good degree work, promptness in
opening, dispatch in the transaction of business and the avoidance of late
sessions are most essential in all Masonic bodies if a good attendance is to
be desired and an interest maintained.
H. C. Butler, North Carolina.
* * *
MASONIC AFFILIATIONS OF PRESIDENTS JEFFERSON AND
In the April issue of THE BUILDER it is stated
that Presidents Jefferson and Adams were both Masons, Jefferson being raised
in Lodge Neuf Souers, Paris. I have some printed matter of that lodge, with
rosters, but Jefferson's name is not mentioned. Sereno Nickerson was positive
that Jefferson was not a Mason.
The name of John Adams is on three lodge lists, either of which
would fit the President, but while a candidate for President, Adams denied
being a Mason. I do not believe either of the
Adams were Masons.
Geo. W. Baird, P.G.M.,
District of Columbia.
* * *
PROMINENCE OF MASONRY IN THE
Concerning the same subject discussed in your
answer to the query of R.H.A., Nebraska, in the Question Box Department for
November, I ran across the following in Sadler's "Masonic Reprints and
The Library of Trinity College, Dublin, possesses
a copy of the Tripos of Midsummer, 1688, which was discovered and published by
Dr. Barrett in 1908 . . . in his "Essay on the Earlier Part of the Life of
(Dean) Swift" . . . and this Tripos contains notable evidence of Freemasonry
in Dublin in 1688.
The Tripos begins thus, "It
was lately ordered that for the honour and dignity of the University there
should be introduced a Society of Freemasons, consisting of Gentlemen,
mechanics, porters, parsons, ragmen, hucksters, divines, tinkers, knights,
thatchers, cobblers, poets, justices, drawers, beggars, aldermen, paviours,
sculls, freshmen, bachelors, scavengers, masters, sow-gelders, doctors,
ditchers, lords, butchers and tailors, who shall bind themselves by an oath
never to discover their mighty no-secret, and to relieve whatsoever strolling
distressed brethren they meet with, after the manner of the Fraternity of
Freemasons in and about Trinity College...."
In the epilogue, the orator
makes rueful reference to the results of his afternoon's work, saying, "I have
left myself no friend.... If I betake myself to the Library, Ridley's ghost
will haunt me for scandilising him with the name of Freemason . . . the
Freemasons will banish me their Lodge . . . I take my leave."
remarkable quotations demonstrate that the Fraternity of Freemasons was so
well known in Dublin in 1688 that a popular orator could count on his audience
catching up allusions to the prominent characteristics of the Craft. The
speaker was addressing a mixed assemblage of University men and well-to-do
citizens, interspersed with ladies and men of fashion, who had come together
to witness the chief University function of the year. His use of the theme
proves that the Freemasonry
known to him and his audience was conspicuous for its secrecy and benevolence.
We can fairly deduce, too, that membership in the Craft was not confined to
Operatives, or to any one class. Otherwise the catalogue of incongruous
callings would be without point.
The importance of such public notice of
Freemasonry in 1688 can hardly be overrated. The instances of what may be
called public mention of our Brotherhood before 1700 can be counted on the
fingers of one hand. They are practically confined to the entries in Elias
Ashmole's diary, 1646 and 1682; Dr. Robert Plot's diatribe in the "History of
Staffordshire," 1686; Randle Holme's observations in the "Academie of Armory,"
1688; and Aubrey's memoranda of the preparations for Sir Christopher Wren's
Acceptance in 1691. The evidence that the upper classes of society in Ireland
were well acquainted with Freemasonry and its tenets before William of Orange
landed there will come as a surprise. But the proof is beyond cavil and,
coming from an unsympathetic outsider, is akin to that of Dr. Plot and quite
comparable to it in historical value.
N. W. J. Haydon, Ontario.
* * *
A LETTER FROM THE HEATHER HILL MASONIC CLUB
February 16th, 1919.
Mr. Wildey E. Atchison, Ass't.
National Masonic Research Society,
Dear Brother Atchison: -
Your letter of Oct. 19th, 1918, to hand just a few
days ago. I can explain the delay in receiving it by telling you that you
addressed me wrong as I am in the 13th Engr's. Ry. U. S. Army, and you
addressed me in the 15th. It must have been a misprint as The Heather Hill
Masonic Club is strictly a 13th organization as it was born in our Camp at
Borden, England, and has ever been under the watchful eyes of this Regiment
ever since. I just received the third copy of THE BUILDER about four days ago
and have never received any of the copies that you said we had been put on the
mailing list for.
I have delayed answering your letter until I had
seen the most of the boys that belong to the Club and as we are scattered
around quite a bit it took some time, but I wanted to get the expression from
the majority of the members before I answered, although it was hardly
necessary as every one of them had almost the same thing to say.
On January 23rd we had what we consider one of the
grandest meetings of its kind that was ever held anywhere in all the world. It
was the anniversary of the eighteenth month since the original members of the
Regiment left the U.S.A. That made it the day that we put on our third service
stripe and we held an open meeting for all Masons in the A.E.F. and we had
them from all over this part of France, some of the brothers coming from a
distance of ninety miles in autos and as it was a very chilly night you can
guess that we had to do our very best to make them feel well paid for their
trip and some of them that came the farthest were the loudest in their praise
of the treatment they received. We had Colonels, Lieut. Colonels, Majors,
Captains and Lieutenants, until when one looked over the room one almost
thought that it was a gathering of Sam Browne Belts exclusively, but as we
were meeting on the level very little attention was paid to rank.
In all we had members from thirty-eight States and
the District of Columbia totaling 236 Masons who registered and there was a
good many that did not register, very likely forgetting it in the excitement
and the pleasure at hand. Just to tell you that we spent a very pleasant
evening is not saying very much and so I will have to leave the rest to your
imagination. But as a great many of the brothers spoke about it at the time
the historical significance of the meeting, which is the only one of its kind
that has ever been or ever will be held, I expect, in the lifetime of any of
us that attended this one, viz: a Masonic Club meeting held just outside of
the gates of the city of Verdun, even though the city is only a mass of ruins
at the present time.
For the records of the Research Society I will
enclose you a copy of the Register by States and the number of members present
from each one and also a copy of the program which we had printed in Paris for
the evening's entertainment.
We as a club have no way of thanking Grand Master
Schoonover for the generous contribution of $500.00 that he sent to us. At
first there was a moment of breathless surprise from all the boys and then a
feeling as if one wanted to shout for joy in the thought that we had been so
substantially remembered by men of such nationwide reputation in the Masonic
world. It came just at a time when we were debating as to how best to raise
funds for the grave stones for our other two departed brothers, and a part of
this fund was very quickly put to that good cause.
We were originally a small bunch of twenty-seven
lonely brothers in a strange land, who were drawn together by the spirit of
Freemasonry to hold a meeting for the purpose of forming some kind of a club
where we could get together on a social basis and help one another.
Consequently we met on the top of a hill adjoining our camp and as it was
thickly covered with both English and Scottish Heather we very quickly decided
on a name, and by a unanimous vote we adopted the beautiful Scottish Heather
as our emblem. Since that time we have grown to a membership of about 350
members and have adopted one French orphan, have our by-laws and officers, and
when we are where we can do so, we hold regular weekly meetings.
Nearly all of the commissioned officers of the
regiment are members of the Fraternity and of the Club and enjoy meeting with
us whenever it is possible for them to do so.
We are greatly in hopes that the Regiment will be
allowed to return to Chicago intact and to be mustered out there and we hope
to have a big meeting and banquet in some lodge room and confer what we call
the 34th and 35th degrees on some past master or other worthy brother, and at
the same time perfect a plan by which we can keep our Club alive and hold
yearly meetings somewhere and not die with our discharge from the Army.
States and membership represented at the open
meeting of the Heather Hill Masonic Club, held at Verdun-sur-Meuse, France,
Januarv 23. 1919
Colorado 5 New
Georgia 1 New
1 Oregon 1
27 Pennsylvania 9
46 South Dakota 1
1 Utah 1
Missouri 6 West
Serg't. A. G. Wyant,
Co. B. 13th Engrs. Ry. A. E.
* * *
A COSMOPOLITAN LODGE MEETING
A unique lodge notice has been sent to us by a Philippine
member of the Society. Our brother calls our attention to the various
nationalities represented, stating that among them are Americans, Filipinos,
Spaniards, Englishmen, Scotchmen and "a Kentuckian." We wonder if the
representatives of the twelve Grand Jurisdictions each insisted upon using the
"work" of their respective Jurisdictions. If they did so and were afterward
treated in the same manner by the members of the local lodge as is a certain
brother we have in mind who occasionally tells the
Iowa brethren "how he used to do it in Colorado," we are
certain that the "fourth degree" was a very interesting one.
The lodge issuing the notice
is "Mactan Lodge No. 30, F. & A M.," Iocated at Cebu, Cebu, P.I.; the date
March 5th, 1919, and the occasion "Stated Meeting and Third Degree." The
line-up is as follows:
Walter A. Smith, Past Master,
Cosmos No. 8, Manila, P. I.
Warden William R. Giberson, Past Master,
Cebu No. 1106, Cebu, P. I.
Warden Theodore H. Robinson,
Victoria-Columbia No. 1, B. C.
Deacon John Moran,
Mactan No. 30, Cebu, P. I.
Deacon C. E. McAdams,
Prairie No. 546, Missouri.
Steward Samuel J. Wright,
Ionic No. 254, Kansas.
Steward M. E. Clelland,
Southern Cross No. 6, Manila, P. I.
Chaplain Henry U. Umstad,
Mactan No. 30, Cebu, P. I.
Organist E. M. Hayward,
Zetland No. 525, E. C., Hongkong.
Mactan No. 30, Cebu, P. I.
M. P. Alger, Remsen No. 677,
L. S. Boggess, Anderson No.
Dr. W. R. Martin, Khuram No.
Carter Johnston, Corregidor
No. 3, Manila, P. I.
William E. Crowe, Salsbury
No. 411, Indiana.
H. P. Strickler, Lents No.
S. Frazer, Manila No. 1,
Manila, P. I.
A. R. Furrer, Perla del
Oriente No. 1034, Manila, P. I.
L. J. Francisco, Corregidor
No. 3, Manila, P. I.
E. A. Kingcome, Wellington
No. 301, England.
Santiago Franco, Makabugwas
No. 48, Tacloban, Leyte, P. I.
Dr. N. T. Deen, Mactan No.
30, Cebu, P. I.
J. Clayton Nichols, Past
Master, Mesa No. 55, Colorado.
Joseph Parrot, St. Johns No.
9, Manila, P. I.
J. J. J. Addenbrooke, Laflin
No. 247, Wisconsin.
* * *
A MASONIC MEETING WORTHY OF
In that part of the Grand Jurisdiction known as
the Big Horn Basin the Masons have established the custom of holding joint
communications in which all the lodges located in the basin are invited to
participate. At these joint communications candidates are initiated in each of
the three degrees and the work exemplified in full. At the close of the work a
program is carried out which includes the discussion of subjects of Masonic
The general management of the meetings is under
the direction of a Masters' Club which arranges the program and assigns to
each lodge its particular part. The officers of this Club also pass on the
quality and efficiency of the work as done by the different lodges. The
program of our meeting held on March twentieth is appended.
Big Horn Basin Lodges
A. F. & A. M.
Basin, Wyoming, March 20th,
Afternoon Session, 4 P.M.
Lodge No. 34
Music by Quartette
Absarokee Lodge No. 30
Lecture Absarokee Lodge No. 30
Music by Quartette
Greybull Lodge No. 34
Lodge No. 34
Dinner, 6 P. M. at Antlers
Evening Session, 7 P. M.
Music by VanSlyke Quartette
F. C. Degree
Opening Cloud Peak
Lodge No. 27
Lodge No. 17
W. S. Lecture
Cloud Peak Lodge No. 27
Lecture Malta Lodge No. 17
Closing Cloud Peak
Lodge No. 27
M. M. Degree
Lodge No. 21
Lodge No. 20
Lecture Temple Lodge No. 20
Shoshone Lodge No. 21
Lodge No. 21
Lunch will be served at the
lodge hall immediately after closing.
E. J. Sullivan, Toastmaster
Address of Welcome
Temple Lodge No. 20
Response Guy Gay
Malta Lodge No. 17
Address A. K. Lee,
Dep. G. M.
Masonry and the
Reconstruction Era Paul Moss
Greybull Lodge No. 34
Masonry, Ancient and
Modern M. H. Smith
Shoshone Lodge No. 2t
Problems of Rapid
Growth C. G. Caldwell
Absarokee Lodge No. 30
The Brotherhood of
Masonry Rev. Wm. Gorst
Cloud Peak Lodge No. 27
Announcement of Awards
S. Skovgard, Wyoming.
* * *
GETTING AWAY FROM THE DEGREE
Herewith is a clipping from a little magazine
published by the Hollenbeck Lodge of Los Angeles, Calif. We are very glad to
print this because it shows that one more lodge is awakening to the urgent
necessity of Masonic study. Masonic study has not much to do with solving
problems of Ancient History but it has much indeed to do with the awakening of
our Fraternity to its present day mission and obligation.
A great many of our members have at different times asked to
have different things in Masonry explained. Why do we do so and so? What is
the meaning of this or that? What are Masonic traditions, and how are they
handed down? Most of
us are too
ignorant or too lazy to look them up for ourselves, but we have several
Masonic scholars in Los Angeles who have studied on the subjects, and are able
to talk on them in a very interesting manner. Now, my suggestion is that we
get up a series of lectures or talks by as many as we can of these men for the
benefit of the members of Hollenbeck Lodge, and any other Masons in good
standing, who desire to attend. I personally suggest that it might be well to
have a dinner at six o'clock on our stated meeting nights, and charge those
who attend thirty cents each to cover the expense, then at 6:30 have the talk
for thirty to forty-five minutes, preceding the business session. I would like
to get an expression from the different ones what they think of it. We might,
if it seems to meet with the approval of enough to make it worth while, have
our first dinner and talk on the stated meeting night of May. Let us hear from
our membership, and if they want these dinners and talks, I feel sure we can
arrange to have them.
M.A. Bresee. Los Angeles,