The Builder Magazine
March 1919 - Volume V - Number 3
REPORT OF THE MASONIC OVERSEAS MISSION
TOWNSEND SCUDDER, P.G.M., NEW YORK
have followed closely the argument in various articles recently appearing in
THE BUILDER dealing with Masonry's Duty in the War, and particularly the
report of the Cedar Rapids Masonic Conference in the January issue, will
appreciate the enthralling interest of this story of the negotiations with the
Government to allow Masonry to participate in the War activities so closely
allied to its basic principles of relief.
Everywhere and at all times Masons have been asking why Masonry was not
allowed that participation. Some have criticized our Fraternity for its
seeming indifference. In the report of the Cedar Rapids Conference was voiced
the conclusion of its participants that the only way in which Masonry might
ever hope to receive the recognition which its membership deserved was by
finding for itself a truly National Voice. Having arrived at that conclusion,
the Conference presented to the Grand Lodges of the United States a method by
which this end might be accomplished, for their consideration and adoption, if
they found the plan wise. Already there is evidence, in the affirmative action
of every Grand Lodge which had its Annual Communication subsequent to the
Cedar Rapids Conference, (these Grand Lodges being Georgia, Alabama, Texas,
South Carolina, Minnesota, Florida, North Carolina, Utah, Tennessee,
Connecticut and Louisiana,) that UNITY is the one crying need, and that unity
is clearly defined in the Constitution of the MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF
THE UNITED STATES, as set forth in the January number of THE BUILDER.
action of the Cedar Rapids Conference was largely founded upon a verbal report
from M.W. Townsend Scudder, P.G.M. of New York, wherein was fully described
the refusal of the Government to recognize Freemasonry as it had recognized
other societies desiring to perform a similar service, and the reason advanced
for that refusal.
verbal report, with all its supporting documentary evidence, has now been made
in writing to the Grand Masters of the United States, and is embodied in the
Proceedings of the Cedar Rapids Conference.
we believe a wider circulation among the Craft is vital to our individual and
collective plans for the future, particularly as they are to affect the
destinies of the proposed MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF TEXE UNITED STATES,
this Society will reproduce in full Judge Scudder's masterly report in the
columns of TIIE BUILDER, and invites the attention of the whole Craft to a
careful study of our position as it is, without some form of co-operation, as
a basis and foundation for future co-ordination of effort alone educational
and relief lines.
M.W. WILLIAM S. FARMER, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York, and
to all Masonic Grand Jurisdictions in the United States participating in the
efforts to induce our government to consent to overseas service by the Masonic
fraternity in the interest of our forces engaged in the great war.
as chairman of the Commission appointed in 1917, by M.W. Thomas Penney, Grand
Master, and confirmed in such appointment by you in 1918, to organize in
Europe war relief for the benefit of our men in the army and navy, and to
secure the permission of the government of the United States to that end, I
have the honor to make the following report. Although appointed in the first
instance by the Grand Master of Masons in New York, the Commission was
thereafter, by the Grand Masters of many of our sister jurisdictions,
appointed and designated as their own.
that the readers of this report may properly understand our efforts to engage
in overseas work, and trace the steps taken by us to that end, it is necessary
to begin with a conference held in the office of the Secretary of War in
October, 1917. At this conference a large number of fraternal organizations
conference was held at the invitation of the Secretary of War for the purpose
of discussing, and considering the modification of, an order previously made
by him which excluded Freemasons and other fraternities and associations from
engaging in welfare work within military camps and accorded that privilege
exclusively to the Young Men's Christian Association and the Knights of
Columbus. This order had been made without notice to the Masonic fraternity or
opportunity afforded it to be heard in the matter of its desire to participate
in such service, to engage in which it was at all times ready, willing, and
financially able without soliciting outside assistance.
conference resulted in a statement by the Secretary that thereafter camps and
cantonments of the army would be open for the erection and use of buildings
therein by fraternal, benevolent, or similar societies of recognized and
well-established character, having members in such camps or cantonments, upon
permission first obtained from the officer commanding the camp or cantonment
in question. The Masonic fraternity in New York state thereafter endeavored to
take advantage of the Secretary's announcement, but met with little
encouragement on the part of the military authorities. Balked in these
efforts, the fraternity devoted itself to social work for the benefit of our
soldiers and sailors, in the communities immediately adjacent to the camps,
and also in the large cities visited by the men on leave.
this time the transatlantic movement of our troops began, and because of this
fact the extension of our fraternity's activities to foreign lands was
determined upon if governmental sanction thereto could be secured.
announcement had been made that the government of the United States would
establish abroad what were described as "leaveareas," whither, and whither
alone, our soldiers on leave would be permitted to go. Recalling the
obstructions thrown in the way of our previous attempts at service in camps,
and pondering on this announcement relative to the so-called "leaveareas,"
light seemed suddenly shed upon the perplexing problem confronting us, and our
course to the goal of Masonic war relief made plain by the announcement in an
address of the Secretary of War that the major help to be rendered by maternal
societies was in the communities outside of, rather than in, the camps
themselves. Steps were promptly taken to carry this idea into effect, and it
was learned that the Commission on Training Camp Activities, a body within the
War Department, had jurisdiction over all social service activities similar to
those projected by our fraternity. At the head of this Commission on Training
Camp Activities was, and still is, Mr. Raymond B. Fosdick.
forthwith placed myself in communication with Hon. William M. Calder, senator
from New York, by addressing to him the following letter:
William M. Calder,
"United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
"Dear Senator Calder:
"The Freemasons in New York State have, by reason of many
appeals from Europe, become impressed with the belief that there exists abroad
today a new field for helpful service by the fraternity, and this field lies
not in the camps of the United States armies, but in the cities behind the
lines, to which our soldiers go when on leave.
"These communications from abroad confirm a statement of the
Secretary of War at a meeting held at the War Department on October 29, 1917,
in which he said that he was of the opinion that the major help to be rendered
by fraternal societies is in the communities outside rather than in the camp
itself, from which the soldier wants to go whenever he has an opportunity.
"The idea in mind is that we found and maintain in cities in
France, to which our soldiers will go when on leave, quarters in the nature of
clubs, open to our men in the service, where they may receive and entertain
their friends, and where they will find periodicals and newspapers from the
United States, stationery for letter-writing, and modest opportunities for
indulging their musical tastes.
"Our object is to cheer the spirits of the men, to direct, by
this instrumentality, into proper channels the natural longing of the men for
amusement and diversion, and to afford a place for social recreation.
"Similar activities we contemplate extending to Italy, as
occasion shall present.
"Furthermore, in Switzerland we propose to establish an agency
for the amelioration of the condition of our men taken prisoners of war. We
wish, also, to be free to go to England, for the reason that the establishment
of one or more such agencies there may be deemed advantageous, and because the
commission desires to obtain the benefits, derived from personal conferences
as suggested by English Freemasons, of the experience of English Masons in
"The commission to organize this work abroad will consist of
four or five members appointed by the Grand Master of Masons in the state of
New York. Four of the members are:
"Townsend Scudder, Past Grand Master, and Justice of the
Supreme Court of New York. Erastus C. Knight, of Buffalo, N.Y., ex-Mayor of
Buffalo and ex-Comptroller of the state of New York. William C. Prime, of
Yonkers, N. Y., a member of the New York bar. Rougier Thorne, of Glen Cove, N.
Y., a New York business man.
"All expenses of this enterprise will be borne by the
fraternity. We are hopeful, however, of receiving the countenance of the
United States authorities.
'I am informed that Mr. Raymond B. Fosdick, in charge of
training camp activities, is the official to whom such a project should be
submitted. Is this so? If it is, will you kindly arrange that I can have an
interview with him when I come to Washington? If he is not the proper
official, who is?
"We would, of course, require passports. What are the proper
steps to take to secure these?
"Your assistance in all this will be highly appreciated.
I received a telegram from Senator Calde as follows:
"167NYDO 37 Govt 830P
St Washn DC Apr 9
"Hon. Townsend Scudder, Supreme Court Chambers
St., Bklyn, N. Y.
"Have made appointment for you to meet Raymond
Fosdick in Washington eleven
o'clock Friday Homing. Come to Willard for breakfast eight thirty.
Accompanied by Bro. Erastus C. Knight, I journeyed to
Washington, met Senator Calder, and with him called upon Mr. Fosdick. To him
was communicated in full our aspirations to engage in war relief work overseas
and the insistent demand therefor coming from members of our fraternity then
in service abroad. Mr. Fosdick then said that, although he was not a Mason,
his grandfather had been, and he, the speaker, was in sympathy with the ideals
of the fraternity, and conversant with its past history of service in the
cause of humanity. He then went on to say that, in matters of service such as
the one under discussion, the United States government required a responsible
head of an organization with which it contemplated dealing, and pointed out
the difficulties in the path of members of civilian organizations who might
seek to engage in war relief abroad. He said that the government was
endeavoring to co-ordinate all such agencies and unite them in service as far
as possible because of the embarrassment due to the multiplicity of
credentials and the burden these placed upon the Allied governments and our
military authorities. He further said that he understood that the Masonic
fraternity in the United States was "a disjointed organization," every state
being a separate jurisdiction, in addition to which there were numerous other
Masonic bodies, none of them in this country owing allegiance to any one head
"The United States War Department," he said, "cannot issue 49
separate permits to as many different Masonic Jurisdictions. The best it could
do would be to issue one permit to the fraternity, under which all would have
to come, for which purpose a single head or committee would be necessary which
would represent the entire Masonic fraternity in this country, with which the
government could deal and which it could hold responsible."
In reply he was told that, while it was true that there were
these various independent Masonic bodies and Jurisdictions, they were,
nevertheless, in complete harmony in the desire for this service, and would
surely unite on a single committee to handle this work, were governmental
approval given to a practical plan of operations which would meet the
fraternity's hopes and desires.
After considerable discussion of this point, Mr. Fosdick was so
far convinced of the future unity of the fraternity in this matter that we
proceeded to a discussion of the purposes we had in view and of a plan to
carry them into execution. At the outset of this part of the conference he was
told that our fraternity stood ready to adopt any plan of service which the
government might desire us to follow, and at our own exclusive expense. In
response, he asked if we had not some plan formulated to this end. In response
to this inquiry, our tentative plan was outlined to him.
A lengthy discussion of this plan resulted in his hearty
approval, because, as he said, "there could not be too much of this sort of
work." He further stated that if the project were reduced to writing and sent
to him, he would take up the matter with Mr. Baker (Secretary of War), but
that he could now promise the approval of the War Department thereto.
The foregoing is, it must be understood, only the substance of
the conversations with Mr. Fosdick. There were two conferences on that day,
one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and the discussion was long and
earnest. At these two conferences Mr. Fosdick displayed a mind open to
conviction and a judgment apparently totally unbiased, so much so that the
final impression he made upon us was his evident desire to avail himself of
our proffered services, even to the extent of thanking the Masons for offering
to contribute their personal services and financial resources to the welfare
of our soldiers and sailors.
This interview was followed by a letter, dated April 16, 1918,
addressed to Mr. Fosdick as chairman of the Commission on Training Camp
Activities, outlining the tentative Plan of the fraternity:
B. Fosdick, Esq.,
"Chairman, Commission on Training Camp Activities,
Department, Washington, D. C.
"Agreeable to your suggestion, I have pleasure in outlining work New York
Masons desire to undertake in Europe, to the end that you may present it to
the Secretary of War.
Freemasons in New York state have, by reason of many appeals from Europe,
become impressed with the belief that there exists abroad today a new field
for helpful service by the fraternity, and that this field lies not in the
camps of the United States armies, but in the cities behind the lines, to
which our soldiers go when on leave.
communications from abroad confirm a statement of the Secretary of War at a
meeting held at the War Department on October the 29th, 1917, in which he said
that he was of the opinion that the major help to be rendered by fraternal
societies is in the communities outside rather than in the camp itself, from
which the soldier wants to go whenever he has an opportunity.
in mind is that we found and maintain in cities in France and Great Britain,
to which our soldiers will go when on leave, quarters in the nature of clubs,
open to our men in the service, where they may receive and entertain their
friends, and where they will find periodicals and newspapers from the United
States, stationery for letter-writing, and modest opportunities for indulging
their musical tastes.
object is to cheer the spirits of the men, to direct, by this instrumentality,
into proper channels the natural longing of the men for amusement and
diversion, and to afford a place for social recreation.
activities we contemplate extending to Italy as occasion shall present.
"Furthermore, in Switzerland we propose to establish an agency for the
amelioration of the condition of our men taken prisoners of war. We wish,
also, to be free to go to England, because, besides the establishment of such
agencies there as may be deemed advantageous, the commission desires to obtain
the benefit derived from personal conferences suggested by English Freemasons,
of the experience of English Masons in similar service.
commission to organize this work abroad will consist of four or five members
appointed by the Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York. Four of the
members are: Townsend Shudder, Past Grand Master, and Justice of the Supreme
Court of New York. Erastus C. Knight, of Buffalo, N.Y., ex-Mayor of Buffalo
and ex-Comptroller of the state of New York. William C. Prime, of Yonkers, N.
Y., a member of the New York bar. Rougier Thorne, of Glen Cove, N. Y., a New
York business man.
expenses of this enterprise will be borne by the fraternity. We are hopeful,
however, of receiving the countenance of the United States authorities.
has in the service about ten thousand Masons.
it happen that other Masonic Jurisdictions care to join in this work, it is
the wish of the New York Masons that they be privileged so to do on an even
footing and in conjunction with New York, or, if such other jurisdictions have
other plans which meet the approval of the Department, New York will be glad
to join in furthering them, our ambition being to serve usefully.
enclosing a copy of the pledge that is required of candidates in the service
who join the Masonic fraternity through our Military Lodge. This Lodge is
endeavoring to encourage and strengthen the young men and to cheer fathers
giving their sons to the country's service.
open to any suggestion the Secretary of War cares to make.
you for your courtesy, "Sincerely,
pledge referred to in the foregoing letter, and enclosed with it, is as
FIELD LODGE, NO. 1, F. & A. M., NEW YORK
undertake to maintain our part of the war free from hatred, brutality or
graft, true to the American purpose and ideals.
the temptations incidental to camp life and the moral and social wreckage
involved, we covenant to gether to live the clean life and to seek to
establish the American uniform as a symbol and guaranty of real manhood.
our example and our influence to make these ideals dominant in the American
Army and Navy.
Particular attention is called at this point in the report to the designedly
elastic nature of the plan outlined in the foregoing letter. This was so drawn
up that any Masonic body or Jurisdiction thereafter wishing to participate in
this movement could do so.
proposed to open recreation houses in leaveareas, one in each, the more
Masonic bodies participating, contributing their respective financial
resources, the more leaveareas could be covered. This elasticity of plan was
emphasized in the conferences with Mr. Fosdick, and was thoroughly understood
by him when his approval was given. The object was, obviously, to enable any
and all Masonic bodies to participate in the projected work abroad, and, at
the same time, by so uniting them all in one project, thereby comply with the
unalterable decision of our government to grant permission to Freemasons for
overseas service only in case all Masonic bodies desiring to take part were
united in the enterprise.
19th, no word having been received from Mr. Fosdick, and wishing to impress
upon him as strongly as possible the loyalty of the fraternity to the
government, and its purpose to do nothing which might in the least embarrass
the latter, I wrote to Mr. Fosdick, enclosing a letter, dated October 29,
1917, sent by Grand Master Thomas Penney of New York to the Grand Masters of
the forty-eight other Masonic Jurisdictions in the United States, the
sentiments expressed in. which letter had been approved by our sister
Jurisdictions, and the plan of action therein outlined endorsed.
Raymond B. Fosdick,
Committee on Training Camp Activities,
Department, Washington, D. C.
enclosing herewith a copy of the letter sent out by the Grand Lodge of New
York in an effort to meet the situation raised by the decision of the War
Department in connection with the activities of non-military organizations in
cantonment camps, etc. It occurred to me that perhaps you would be interested
to know what New York state sought to do and what we believe we accomplished.
We regretted exceedingly that one Jurisdiction seemingly did not at first see
the situation as we did. I am referring to Georgia.
MASTER OF MASONS IN THE STATE OF
Penney, Grand Master
Brother Grand Master:
fundamental duty of the craft of Masons is loyalty to the government of the
United States. Cooperation with, support of, obedience to the government must
and will mark the fraternity's efforts to do its bit in the war. Its purpose
being to support and to uphold those in authority, and having no quarrel with
any governmental agency nor with any organization equally zealous to serve,
the craft will countenance no controversy nor permit itself to be drawn into
present is not a time for criticism. Because danger lurks in ill-advised
action having for purpose the broadening of the government's rules with
reference to fraternal societies' activities in military establishments, it
seems wise that every precaution be taken to prevent what might place the
craft in a false light and blight its hope to be constructively helpful to the
men with the colors, to the people, and to the government.
the scope of Masonic service has not been defined, an informal meeting of the
representatives of our several jurisdictions, or of as many of them as can
conveniently be brought together, seems timely, to the end that Masonic
service in this war crisis, vital to our beloved country, may be discussed
and, if possible, recommendations agreed upon having for object the efficient
co-operation of all Masons in the United States in the service of government
this patriotic object in view, I have pleasure in offering the hospitality of
the Grand Lodge of New York to such a gathering, and if the response hereto
confirms me in my present view, will gladly designate a time and place. The
wisdom of refraining from action or declaration until the scope of the
fraternity's service can be determined, lest its position be prejudiced, needs
assurances of profound esteem, and hoping for an expression of your views at
no distant date, I am
days having elapsed without a reply from Mr. Fosdick to my letter of April
16th, and feeling somewhat nervous at receiving no word, I took advantage of
the kind offer of Senator Calder to assist in forwarding the enterprise as far
as he could do so, and sent him the following letter:
William M. Calder,
Senate, Washington, D. C.
drop in at the first opportunity and see Mr. Raymond B. Fosdick and prod him a
little on our matter. I do not want to be importunate, but on the other hand
it is quite important that we get
our necessary papers, etc.
sent Mr. Fosdick all the data he requested. Sorry to trouble you.
after the foregoing letter to Senator Calder the following two letters were
received from Mr. Fosdick, both dated April 23, 1918, one promising the full
support of the War Department in the prosecution of our work, and the other
expressing appreciation of the loyal support by the fraternity to the
government in the situation which it had to face two or three months
Mr. Fosdick referred to the situation created by the Secretary of War's
permission to a secret, sectarian society, the Knights of Columbus, as a
recognized relief organization, to do social service work in camps and
cantonments, to the exclusion of the Masonic brotherhood, a non-sectarian,
self-financing society, and other similar bodies.
"Commission on Training Camp Activities
"Washington, April 23,1918.
"Honorable Townsend Scudder,
Court, State of New York,
your interesting letter of April 16th, outlining the work which the New York
Masons desire to undertake in Europe in connection with the welfare of our
troops. I am gratified to know that your commission is sailing soon, and I can
promise you the full support of the War Department in the prosecution of your
let me know if at any time I can be of any assistance.
"Commission on Training Camp Activities
"Washington, April 23, 1918.
"Honorable Townsend Scudder,
Court, State of New York,
you for your letter of April 19th
enclosmg a copy of the communication sent out by the Grand Lodge of New York
in connection with the situation which we had to face two or three months ago.
I did not realize what loyal support your organization gave us at that time,
and I am confident that it was responsible in no small degree for the
harmonious relations finally established.
of the receipt of the foregoing letters of April 23d, there was sent to
Senator Calder the following letter, dated April 25, 1918, and a telegram
dated May 2, 1918, from Senator Calder was received in reply:
William M. Calder,
Senate, Washington, D. C.
received word from Mr. Raymond B. Fosdick, Chairman of the Commission on
Training Camp Activities, stating 'I can promise you the full support of the
War Department in the prosecution of your work.'
point is how we should proceed in connection with passports, and what
credentials we ought to have from Fosdick's Committee, or the Secretary of
War, so that when we apply for our passports the evidence that we are entitled
to them or that our work has received this endorsement may be at hand. Can you
make this inquiry and let me know?
at 313 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Washington DC 1156 A M May 21918
Court Chambers Bklyn NY
Fosdick advises you address him at once concerning Masonic plans for work
abroad he will be glad to expedite passports and any other business that your
Commission has in mind
time of the receipt of the telegram of May 2d from Senator Calder there
reached me the following letter from Mr. Fosdick, dated April 30, 1918:
"Commission on Training Camp Activities
"Washington, April 30,1918.
“Honorable Townsend Scudder,
Court of the State of New York,
"Confidentially, I am sailing for France next week, to look up the whole
matter of recreation for the troops both in France and England. Is there
anything that we ought to say to each other before I go? When does your
Mission start, and are there any further plans that have beep developed?
B. Fosdick, Chairman."
On May 2,
1918, Mr. Fosdick's communication of April 30th was answered by the following
COURT OF TEE STATE OF NEW YORK
N. Y., May 2, 1918.
Raymond B. Fosdick,
Commission on Training Camp Activities,
"Washington, D. C.
you very much for yours of April the 30th. I should like to see you before you
sail. Do you expect to spend any days in New York? The Grand Lodge of Masons
meets on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week, May 7th, 8th and 9th,
and on the evening of the 9th there is to be a conference of the Grand Masters
of the several states of the Union, which will be held in New York. At this
conference Masonic work along the lines which we have discussed will be taken
"I do not
think that we will be able to sail before June, and I have been wondering
whether in order to secure the necessary passports, etc., I did not require
some certificate from your department in a general way approving our plan, as
a supplement perhaps to the letter I received from you perhaps a week ago.
is 112 Willow Street, Brooklyn; telephone Main 4872, and I will be there every
evening. I mention this so perhaps you could find time to communicate faith me
so that I could call upon you. I hope
received on April 30th or May 1st from Mr. Fosdick by a long distance
telephone that he was to be in New York and could be reached at the Hotel
Prince George or at the Rockefeller Foundation in the Borough of Manhattan.
myself unable to meet Mr. Fosdick at the time set by him, because I was
presiding at a term of the Supreme Court at that time, and because Mr. Fosdick
could not meet me in the evening, I requested Bro. William C. Prime, a member
of the Masonic Overseas Mission, to meet Mr. Fosdick in my stead, and
ascertain from him what information, in addition to that already given him
"concerning our Masonic plans for work abroad," he had in mind, and which
called forth the telegram of May 2d from Senator Calder. I also sought
information as to the form of the Masonic Mission's credentials, and the
necessary steps to be taken to secure from the State Department the proper
Prime was received by Mr. Fosdick at the Rockefeller Foundation, and the
salient points of the ensuing conference were transmitted to me by Bro. Prime
by the following letter, dated May 3, 1918:
Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, N.Y.
Rector Street, New York City
N.Y., May 3, 1918.
Head, N. Y.
requested on Wednesday, I immediately got hold of Mr. Fosdick on the telephone
at Washington, and found he was coming to New York on Thursday night, to be
here this morning, and he made an appointment with me at the Rockefeller
Foundation, 61 Broadway, where I have just seen him, and gone over fully with
him the business of paving the way for the departure of the Mission.
me that he had done everything that he thought he could do, excepting that he
would immediately write and send to Mr. McBride, his assistant, a letter to
the State Department, which you could pick up in Washington, and which he
thought would forestall any difficulties, and ensure the issue of passports. I
gave him the personnel of the Mission, of which he made a note, and told him
somewhat of our plan.
showed a lively interest in what I said, and discussed with me at some length
the subject of rents in Paris and elsewhere; said that he would be in Paris
early in May, would see Carter, make general inquiry regarding rents and
conditions, and write you fully from Paris. He said that he expected his trip
would be very brief, and he might get back before we left, but would write in
any case, giving you full information as far as he could obtain it.
"He is to
be at the Prince George tonight, and I think will sail tomorrow or next day. I
told him that I would write you immediately the result of our interview, and
that it might be that you would endeavor to get in touch with him later, and
before he sailed.
CO-OPERATION OF THE Y.M.C.A. SOUGHT
receipt of the letter of Mr. Fosdick, dated April 23d, promising us "the full
support of the War Department in the prosecution of our work" overseas, we
sought an interview with the International Committee of the Young Men's
Christian Association to secure from them, if possible, their co-operation in
our undertaking in Europe at least to the extent of giving us the advantage of
the facilities of travel enjoyed by them through the courtesy of the French
authorities to enable us more quickly and with the least delay to pass from
one leavearea to another in organizing and prosecuting our work. We felt the
more justified in seeking this co-operation because of the fact that
Freemasons had contributed to the Y.M.C.A. large sums of money to assist the
work of the latter.
the kind offices of R.W. Jacob C. Klinck an interview was had on April 26,
1918, between Mr. C.V. Hibbard, Associate General Secretary of the
International Committee of the Y.M.C.A., and a Masonic committee composed of
Brothers Townsend Scudder, Rev. Dr. Charles C. Albertson, Rev. Dr. Clarence A.
Barbour, and Rev. Dr. S. Parkes Cadman, at which the plan and scope of our
projected overseas work were laid before Mr. Hibbard and fully explained and
discussed, and we told him we were seeking the co-operation of the Y.M.C.A.,
particularly in the matter of travel in Europe, as heretofore set forth. Mr.
Hibbard first inquired if we had government consent, to which we replied in
the affirmative, and he was promised a copy of my letter of April 16,1918,
addressed to Raymond B. Fosdick and a copy of Mr. Fosdick's reply thereto,
dated April 23d. These were subsequently duly sent to Mr. Hibbard.
Hibbard stated to our committee that he was not in a position to promise us
the co-operation we sought, but saw no reason why it should not be accorded us
if we brought ourselves under the rules governing the Y.M.C.A. in its
relations with the Allied governments. He went on to say that our proposal for
cooperation would have to be submitted to Dr. John R. Mott, General Secretary
of the Y.M.C.A., who was abroad, whose return he suggested we await. As time
was a vital element, we suggested that our proposal be cabled to Dr. Mott. To
this he assented, saying he would send the cable upon receipt from us of the
facts in writing. Pursuant to this understanding the following letter, dated
April 27, 1918, with the enclosures therein mentioned, was sent to Mr.
Hibbard, the expense of cabling being duly paid by us:
Madison Avenue, New York.
enclosing herewith a copy of my letter to Mr. Raymond B. Fosdick, Chairman of
the Commission on Training Camp Activities of the War Department, and a copy
of his reply thereto under date of April the 23rd. My letter to Mr. Fosdick
was a resume of the conversation which I had with him in Washington when I
first presented the hopes of the Masonic fraternity in connection with war
relief service overseas. For your convenience and use, if it meets with your
approval, I am sending a synopsis of our plan to be cabled to Europe agreeably
to the suggestion of yesterday. I am also enclosing the pledge exacted of the
young men in the service, sons of Masons, who join the fraternity in
anticipation of their overseas service.
"Brooklyn, N. Y.
me to thank you for your very courteous reneeption and for your generous
donation of time. T. S."
following is a copy of the proposed cable to Dr. Mott enclosed in the
foregoing letter of April 27th:
MATTER OF MASONIC OVERSEAS WAR RELIEF WORK
Masonic fraternity purposes maintaining in cities in France and Great Britain,
and in Italy when time is ripe, to which American soldiers go when on leave or
recuperating, quarters in the nature of clubs, open to all men in the service,
but where Masons in the service will be hosts, may receive and entertain their
friends, reciprocating courtesies received, and where they will find American
literature, amusement and useful information. The object is to cheer the men
and direct into proper channels their natural longing for amusement and
Switzerland it is intended to establish an agency to reach and ameliorate the
condition of Masons, prisoners in Germany.
Department has approved this work. The Masonic committee going to Europe to
organize it feel that the facility of movement enjoyed by the Y.M.C.A., if
extended to their committee, will facilitate its work. To this extent they ask
the privilege of working under the Y.M.C.A. Can this privilege be accorded
Subsequently to the sending of the cablegram, numerous interviews with
officials of the Y.M.C.A. were had, and considerable correspondence exchanged,
culminating in the following letter:
INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATIONS
Madison Avenue, New York City
"September 24, 1918.
Head, Long Island, N. Y.
to acknowledge your letter setting forth the desires of the Masonic fraternity
to share in those helpful ministries to the soldiers overseas with which the
Y.M.C.A. has been identified, and intimating that, while you may be moving
along independent lines, there will be abundant opportunities for
co-operation, and indeed coordination, between the efforts of the Masonic
fraternity and the Y.M.C.A. Pending the presentation of your proposals
formally to the Committee on Overseas Activities, I have consulted with Dr.
Mott and his associate, Mr. Brockman, and we are altogether certain that your
suggestions will find a hearty response in formal action when the committee
know, and as is quite natural, we have in the secretarial staff overseas a
considerable number who belong to the Masonic membership in the United States.
It would be perfectly possible, therefore, for us either to assign or release
some of these to specific tasks where you might desire co-operation. There are
individual types of work which we are carrying on or special areas within
which we operate which might likewise be designated as the sphere of your
special interests. I understand, however, that there is possibility of your
being given by the military some special assignment of work. While it is
natural that such work as you undertake will have a peculiar interest to
members of the Masonic fraternity, who are in the army, your plan as indicated
in your letter is in perfect alignment with our own policy, namely, to
minister freely to the needs of all. In every way, therefore, it seems to me
that we shall be able to co-operate heartily, and you may count upon our
organization and our personnel to assist you in every way that is within our
power. Perhaps I ought to call attention, however, to our own limitations
which may appear when we come to discuss definite plans, namely, that we will
have to be subject to existing military regulations, and likewise to the
necessities of practical administration of our work calling for a certain
degree of freedom and elasticity in all special designations and a certain
mobility of our personnel as to their movements under war conditions.
then await with interest some future word from you as to the special service
that you feel we might render, and the practical co-operation that we can
extend and this will appear more clearly as you discover the lines along which
your activities overseas will move.
further negotiations of the Masonic Mission with the Y.M.C.A. after the
government notwithstanding its former and early approval and promises, had
finally refused us permission for independent service abroad, will be set
forth later in this report.
CONFERENCE OF GRAND MASTERS OF MASONS IN NEW YORK, MAY 9, 1918
Negotiations with the government had now progressed so far that it was
feasible to call the proposed conference of Grand Masters and lay before them
a definite plan for overseas service by the fraternity. The call for this
conference was issued by M.W. Thomas Penney, Grand Master of New York, on
April 17, 1918.
be noted that this call was issued after the first interview with Mr. Fosdick
in Washington, in which he had given his oral approval of our overseas
project, but prior to the receipt of his written approval. This was because of
the implicit confidence reposed in Mr. Fosdick's word, and because also of
insistent demands from the many thousands of Masons in service in Europe for
action abroad by the Masonic fraternity at the earliest possible moment.
the requirement by the government that all Masons participating in this
projected overseas service be united so that one permission could be granted
to them collectively, and because it was desirable that this work be performed
by as many Masonic bodies as possible, and not by the Masons of New York only,
such a conference of Grand Masters became at this point in the progress of our
enterprise imperative. The following is the letter of April 17, 1918, calling
such conference, and the printed outline of subjects for discussion thereat
enclosed in such letter of call:
MASTER OF MASONS IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Ellicott Square, Buffalo
Brother Grand Master:
November last I addressed the Grand Masters of the several Masonic
Jurisdictions in the United States, touching upon the war conditions and the
opportunities and responsibilities resting upon Free Masonry in that
connection, with particular reference to the desirability of a conference of
Grand Masters for consideration of war problems and concerted constructive
action im that regard.
letter was issued to all of our Sister Jurisdictions, and responses were
received from more than a majority, so patriotically spontaneous that I felt
impelled to follow up my suggestion by calling a conference. Owing, however,
to the suggestions from a number, of pending sessions of their respective
Grand Lodges, to which they desired the subject referred, or of early
termination of their term of office, and therefore authority, and desire that
the matter be taken in hand by their successors, I have withheld action until
now it seems appropriate that the call should issue.
therefore suggest that a conference of the representatives of the several
Grand Jurisdictions be held at the Masonic Hall, New York City, on the evening
of Thursday, May 9, 1918, at 8:00 o'clock, to continue from day to day until
the necessary business of such conference can properly be canvassed and
transacted, and its purposes at least put in the way of accomplishment.
as a suggestion, and in order that you may have an opportunity of considering
before we get together the scope of such a session, I have thought it well to
outline somewhat the subjects for discussion, and accompanying this letter you
will see printed the agenda, so far as it can now be formulated. It will be
helpful if you will give this outline your careful consideration as promptly
as convenient, and advise me in ample time of any additional suggestions that
you have to make for business, or subjects to be considered.
hope for a prompt response, assuring your cooperation and representation?
"Sincerely and fraternally,
OF SUBJECTS FOR DISCUSSION AND CONSIDERATION AT CONFERENCE OF GRAND MASTERS TO
BE HELD AT NEW YORK CITY, MAY 9, 1918
1. It is
ascertained that in the near future the government will bring home those men
who have been so severely injured as to be incapable of useful service abroad.
They will be blind, crippled, deaf, demented. Extensive hospitals on the
seaboard and elsewhere are in process of establishment for their reception,
classification and separation according to their needs, and other hospitals
are also in process of establishment for the special treatment of other
planned to establish instrumentalities for reconstruction and re-education of
important business is already undertaken and carried on both in France and in
England. It will naturally be largely, if not wholly, under government control
What can Free Masonry do for its own and others and what should it do, and
how, in connection with this important business?
Various stations will be established throughout the country for the reception
and treatment of convalescents. In this work women can be of inestimable
service, and the opportunity both for men and women to minister to our
wounded, to entertain and occupy their minds, will be enormous.
What can Free Masonry do and how, in this important busimess?
Red Cross, Y.M.C.A., Y.M.H.A., and K. of C. are performing valiant service at
camps and at the front in connection with the welfare of the men, moral and
Are these instrumentalities sufficient or all that can usefully be employed
for the moral stabilizing of the men at the front or in camps, particularly
the men engaged in the service?
employment by Free Masonry of chaplains or other agencies at home and abroad,
in camps and elsewhere in connection with the maintenance of moral standards
and close touch between the men in the service and their friends at home.
Grand Lodge of New York is about to despatch R.W. Erastus C. Knight, who will
be joined later by M.W. Townsend Scudder, as its representative to France.
They are commissioned to organize such agency or agencies as the circumstances
require to minister to Free Masons in the service generally, save as respects
supplying them with funds. Their instructions cover duties which will demand
constant touch with members of the Craft, and keeping them in touch with
friends and relatives at home.
Will other jurisdictions participate in this service, either in respect of
independent agencies or co-operation in the expense of one representative or
set of representatives?
Certain camps, such as Camp Merritt at Tenafly, N. J., are being employed for
concentration and embarkation of soldiers. Men frequently are despatched
thither for immediate transportation abroad, who have not been home or in
touch with friends.or kin for considerable periods. They are disheartened,
Should Masonic agents, working independently or under the wing of the Y.M.C.A.
or Red Cross, be employed at such camps to cheer, assist, and otherwise
minister to Free Masons who may be thus situated, and if so, with what scope
of authority as to funds, and how maintained?
inevitable consequence of the war will be the human wrecks or partial wrecks
of middle age, or less than middle age, most of them comparative youths. Also
men physically fit, but requiring aid and employment.
require assistance to maintain themselves, and their dependents also will
require assistance financially and otherwise.
Ways and means to cope with this problem. Should it be nation-wide,
co-operative, strong jurisdictions assisting weak, or should each jurisdiction
arrange to take care of its own?
former, should a general Masonic fund be accumulated? If so, how and how
are the several Grand Jurisdictions in the United States now doing?
conference met on May 9, 1918, and continue its sittings over May 10th, and
was actually attended by twelve Grand Jurisdictions. In addition, letters ax
proving the purpose of the conference and promising support and co-operation
were received from many others, making a participation, in person or by
letter, by 37 Masonic Jurisdictions in the United States.
following resolution was adopted by the conference:
RESOLUTION ADOPTED AT A CONFERENCE OF GRAND MASTERS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF
GRAND JURISDICTIONS OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS IN THE UNITED STATES, HELD ON
MAY 10, 1918.
That it is the sense of the Brethren here assembled, hailing from the
following Grand Jurisdictions - Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana,
Oklahoma, Ohio, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Oregon, New Hampshire
and New York - that there is present need for Masonic service overseas to
minister to Masons with the colors in the forces of the United States; that
some service lies in the cities, the recreation centers to which the boys go
in large numbers while on leave, in work that may be approved by the War
Department; that in such cities, seemingly, there should be established
general Masonic headquarters where Masons may receive Masonic welcome, comfort
and encouragement, and where our boys may be hosts at home; that the
duplication of such headquarters in one and the same town would be a waste of
energy and funds; that such headquarters be manned from time to time by
workers from any or all of our Jurisdictions as circumstances permit; that the
espense thereof be paid so far as possible out of a general fund; that the
fund be dedicated to Masonic Fraternal Service Overseas; that the several
Masonic jurisdictions be invited to contribute to this fund on an annual basis
for each member; that the management of the fund be entrusted to a committee
composed of representatives of the several contributing jurisdictions selected
as each jurisdiction sees fit; that each such jurisdiction cast one vote; that
this service be in no wise exclusive, but rather a tribute to and token of
Masonic brotherhood without regard to territorial divisions; that we recommend
that the several Grand Lodges in the United States create War Boards ready to
engage in this work as demand may appear, and we also recommend the
presentation of this plan to our several jurisdictions.
minutes of the proceedings of the conference of Grand Masters of May 9th were
duly printed, and a copy thereof, including said resolution, in book form,
sent to every sister Jurisdiction in the United States.
of the projected plan of Masonic Service abroad, as approved by the
government, was given through the medium of the Associated Press, and this
news was enthusiastically received by the Masonic fraternity, which promptly
commenced raising among its members the funds to meet the expenses of the
enterprise. Many members of the fraternity now volunteered their services. Our
plan having thus received governmental approval and endorsement, and the
Masons standing ready to meet the other requirements of the Department,
willing to give their personal services, and able of themselves to meet all
financial demands, nothing seemed now necessary save the issuance of formal
passports by the State Department.
TO SECURE PASSPORTS
Fosdick had notified us that, to expedite the securing of our passports, he
had written a letter, addressed to the Secretary of State, which we could
procure by calling at the office of the Commission on Training Camp
Activities, in the War Department, Washington. It will be recalled that this
is the Commission of which Mr. Fosdick is chairman.
Fosdick had previously advised us that it would be necessary for us to present
to the Secretary of State, in addition to his above-mentioned letter, a
certificate from the Grand Master of Masons in New York of the appointment of
the personnel of the Masonic Overseas Mission.
days were allowed to elapse after the adjournment of the New York conference
above described to enable those attending, after their return home, to
communicate the names of any whom they might wish to have included in the
personnel of the mission, it being understood that if none were so designated,
the mission as then constituted was to proceed.
19th, no such designation having been received, your chairman and Bro. Erastus
C. Knight went to Washington and duly called at the office of the Commission
on Training Camp Activities, where we were received by Mr. Malcolm L. McBride,
acting chairman in the absence of Mr. Fosdick, who delivered to us the letter
signed by Mr. Fosdick, and addressed to the Secretary of State. The following
is a copy of this letter:
"Commission on Training Camp Activities
Washington, May 6, 1918.
Honorable the Secretary of State,
Justice Scudder, of the Supreme Court of New York, is the chairman of a
commission of five men representing the Masons of New York who are applying
for passports to study the situation overseas as far as the leisure time
activities of our troops is concerned, with the idea of providing whatever may
be necessary both for their own constituent membership and others in the army
who may need their services. We have already approved the issuance of
passports to two other fraternal organizations, and I am sincerely hopeful
that no objection will be interposed in the case of Judge Scudder's
with us our letter of credentials signed by Grand Master William S. Farmer,
dated May 6, 1918, addressed to Hon. Robert Lansing, Secretary of State, a
copy of which follows:
MASTER OF MASONS IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK
"Syracuse, May 6, 1918.
"Secretary of State,
"Washington, D. C.
"I beg to
inform you that I have appointed Hon. Townsend Scudder, Justice of the Supreme
Court of the State of New York, Hon. Erastus C. Knight, one-time Mayor of the
city of Buffalo and one-time Comptroller of the state of New York; Rev. Oscar
F.R. Treder, Dean of Garden City Cathedral, Garden City, L.I.; Mr. Rougier
Thorne, of Glen Cove, L.I., and Mr. William C. Prime, of Yonkers, N.Y., to
constitute a mission to Freemasons in the United States forces overseas, whose
particular duties are to visit France, Italy, Switzerland and Great Britain,
and to establish and maintain such agencies for the comfort and cheer of
Freemasons in particular in the military and naval service of the United
States in the present war, as seem possible and practicable.
end that they may have free and safe conduct, as far as is possible in the
circumstances, I beg to request that their journey be facilitated by all means
in your power, and that passports and other necessary credentials in the name
of the United States government be issued to them with all convenient speed.
duration of their stay is uncertain, but it is likely that Mr. Knight will
remain abroad longer than the others.
receiving from the acting chairman, Mr. McBride; Mr. Fosdick's letter to
Secretary of State, we inquired where it should be presented, and if an
appointment for that purpose was necessary. He replied that, while we might,
as a matter of courtesy, take our letters to the office of the Secretary of
State, we would doubtless be referred directly to the passport bureau, where
the letters would be received and filed. He further invited us, should we
there encounter any delays, to communicate with him, when he would take care
of the matter.
feeling of confidence we left Mr. McBride and carried our letters to the
office of the Secretary of State, and presented ourselves at the office of Mr.
Polk, counsellor to the Secretary. Mr. Polk was absent, ill, and the person in
charge of his office directed us to take our letters to the passport bureau,
saying: "I will call them up and tell them you are coming so as to obviate any
delay and the matter will be given immediate attention." We stood there while
the passport bureau was called up. I heard the conversation, and could supply
the rest. It seems the head of the bureau was not in, and would not be in, but
his deputy was a gentleman by the name of Walsh or Welch. He was told that we
were coming to take up the passports, and to facilitate in every way that he
over to the passport bureau, which we found filled with people. I sent in my
card; a man eame out, asked who we were. I told him that we were the men about
whom the Secretary of State's office had spoken to him a few moments before
over the telephone. He said, "What can I do to serve you ?" I said, "It will
probably take a few moments. Shall we sit down? I see you have some people in
your private office, and we will gladly await our turn." He said, "That is
very kind of you, and I will get rid of them as soon as I can."
TO ISSUE PASSPORTS
I did not
care to announce our business out in the main anteroom, thus crowded with
people. In a few moments we were shown into his office. "Now," he said, "what
is it you wish?" I said, "We are here to obtain passports for the Masonic
Mission going overseas to engage in war relief work in the recreation centers
of our soldiers." "I am opposed to it," were the laconic words which greeted
us. Of course, he was but a clerk in an office, seemingly vested with no great
discretion. I said to him, "But the War Department has passed upon this. Are
you conscious of that fact?" "Oh," he said, "the War Department does not
finally decide these things." I said, "Who does?" He said, "We do." I said,
"Who are 'we'?" "Why," he said, "it is decided here in the first instance." I
said, "Where is it decided in the last instance?" "Well," he said, "of course,
ultimately it may get to the Secretary of State if appeal is taken to him." I
said, "Then you are the tribunal to whom this matter must now be presented ?"
"Yes," he replied. I said, "Very well, then. We will sit down and I will go
over it gladly with you." He said, "It is quite unnecessary." "But," said I,
"my dear sir, you certainly want to have the facts, do you not?" He answered,
"You told them to me and I understand it all. You are a Masonic Mission
seeking to go overseas to engage in war relief work. We do not approve of such
activities by secret societies. If you are permitted to have your passports to
engage in this work, then we have got to permit every other secret society to
engage in the same work, which would include every Greek letter society. We
will not permit it. We cannot do it." I told him that our work overseas was in
no way identified with our usual activities as a secret society, that our
service was to be of the same general nature as that of the Y.M.C.A. and the
Knights of Columbus, and that a ruling which would be applicable to college
secret societies could not hold good with us. To which he replied that "The
principle is the same." I said, "I hardly anticipated this situation. I could
not myself render judgment upon a matter coming before me on as little
evidence as you have here, and I really feel it should be more deliberately
presented and considered." He said, "That is quite unnecessary, quite
unnecessary. If you want to file your papers here, you can, of course." I
said, "We have our papers and were told to file them here, so I will file
them, but do not act upon them. I will take the matter up in other quarters,
for I think there must be some misunderstanding." He said, "We won't act upon
them until we hear from higher up," or something of that kind, and we parted.
immediately returned to the office of the Commission on Training Camp
Activities, and related to Mr. McBride our experience at the passport bureau.
He showed considerable astonishment and annoyance over our treatment, and said
that he would at once place himself in communication with the Secretary of War
and arrange for a meeting between us. After some telephoning by Mr. McBride,
he told us that he could not arrange for an interview with Secretary Baker,
but had instructions to take us to Mr. Keppel, the Third Assistant Secretary
of War, under whose jurisdiction our matter came.
Accompanied by Mr. McBride, we then repaired to the office of the Third
Assistant Secretary of War, Mr. F.P. Keppel, by whom we were most courteously
received. The object of our call having been briefly stated by Mr. McBride,
Mr. Keppel asked me to tell him in detail everything which had transpired in
the passport bureau, which I did. He listened with great attention,
occasionally asking questions, inquiring specifically for the name of the man
with whom we had had the conversation. When I had finished Mr. Keppel said, in
substance, "This is very extraordinary, and I do not understand it at all.
Conditions are changing from day to day, and it may be that the State
Department has instructions regarding passports not communicated to the War
Department. I will take up the matter with Secretary Baker and the Secretary
of State, and advise you what to do."
attention to the fact that, before going to the passport bureau, we had called
at the office of Mr. Polk, counsellor to the Secretary of State, where we had
been instructed how to proceed and what to do with our letters, and this
office made the appointment for us with the passport bureau, a proceeding not
necessary had the bureau instructions not to issue passports in a case such as
ours, approved by the War Department. Upon his saying, "The matter will be
fully looked into," we took our leave.
Knight and I at once returned to Mr. Polk's office, where we saw his
secretary, a gentleman by the name of, I think, Howell to whom I related all
the steps taken by us in our enterprise from the time we made known to Mr.
Fosdick our ambitions to the conversation with Mr. Keppel, just concluded. We
asked him to call the matter to the attention of Mr. Polk as soon as he saw
him, saying we would like to see Mr. Polk personally. I then and there, also,
for the first time voiced my suspicion that there might be at work influences
hostile to the Masonic fraternity in its endeavor to serve the soldiers
overseas. Feeling that the utmost plain speaking was now needed to avoid a
superficial consideration and hasty decision in this passport matter, and
that, if our matter were taken up in earnest with the State Department, it
would come before Mr. Polk, I addressed Mr. Howell in substance as follows:
fraternity had an active membership of nearly 2,000,000, that it had been
identified with every great work of service in the history of our country,
that it had been wounded by its exclusion from participation in war relief
work in camps and cantonments in the United States, that announcement of the
consent of the War Department had been received by the fraternity with
enthusiasm, that all over our country Masons were making financial
arrangements to meet the expense oi! the overseas work, to engage in which
permission had been received from the government, and that, if at this stage
of our progress, we should find ourselves confronted by an insuperable
obstacle to carrying out our projected service work, great and widespread
resentment might well be aroused. For these reasons I urged that these facts
be laid before Mr. Polk to the end that, when the matter came before him he
might be fully apprised of its importance and give it his personal
these conversations and efforts to achieve our aims it was also my firm
endeavor not to embarrass the government in the war crisis in which our
country then found itself, knowing that such a course was the only one to meet
with the fraternity's approval, while, at the same time, leaving no stone
unturned to reach the goal of our ambitions.
returned to New York to await the promised advices from the Third Assistant
Secretary of War.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH WAR DEPARTMENT DURING MR. FOSDICK'S ABSENCE
after our return from Washington, a letter dated May 23,1918, was received
from Mr. F. P. Keppel, Third Assistant Secretary of War, of which the
following is a copy:
"Washington, May 23,1918.
"Honorable Townsend Scudder,
"Brooklyn, N. Y.
up with the Secretary ot War the proposed trip of yourself and your associates
to France, and Mr. Baker feels with regard to this suggestion, and that of
several others now before him, that, as Mr. Fosdick is now in France himself,
it would be better for all such proposals to await his return before a
definite decision is made.
asking Mr. McBride to bring the case of the proposed visits of the
representatives of the Masons to Mr. Fosdick's attention by cable, so that he
will be prepared to give a prompt reply upon his return.
foregoing letter of May 23rd was followed by another letter from Mr. Keppel,
dated June 1, 1918, of which the following is a copy:
"Washington, June 1, 1918.
to the understanding reached at our talk a few days ago, I took up with Mr.
Fosdick by cable the question of your plans for a trip to Europe. I have just
received from him, through the courtesy of General Pershing, a cable
recommending that the matter of your visit be held up until Mr. Fosdick's
return, in view of his doubt that there is adequate opportunity for you to
accomplish independently in France what you have in mind. "Yours very truly,
City, N. Y."
of Mr. Fosdick's doubt that there was adequate opportunity for us to
accomplish independently in France what we had in mind, as stated in Mr.
Keppel's letter of June 1st, we began to press the officers of the Y.M.C.A.
for an early decision on our suggestion of co-operation between them and the
Masonic fraternity, as hereinbefore set forth.
is here called to the fact that in this letter of June 1st the word
"independently" for the first time is emphasized in the correspondence with
hearing anything further from Mr. Keppel up to June 17th, I on that date
addressed to him the following letter:
"Honorable F. P. Keppel,
Assistant Secretary, War Department,
to your favors of May 23rd and of June 1st, I beg to say that in harmony with
your suggestion the Masonic fraternity cheerfully will await Mr. Fosdick's
return from Europe to learn from him how it can serve overseas most
determination by the Department of the scope of Masonic service overseas, of
course, will take into account the effect its decision will have upon the two
million active Free Masons in the United States.
loyalty of the oldest, richest and numerically the strongest brotherhood is
unequivocal. Masonry has no quarrel with any organization zealous to serve
cause and colmtry, but it did not understand its own exclusion from such
enthusiasm was spontaneous when news spread over the United States of the War
Department's Commission on Training Camp Activities' approval of Masons as
such, in the recreation centers overseas, contributing to the cheer and
comfort of the men with the colors, to whose numbers the Masonic fraternity
already is contributing fully one hundred thousand of its members.
strength of this approval, New York called a conference of Grand Masters of
the United States, to invite their co-operation in this service; the
conference was held, and already much money has been and is to be raised
within the order to further the approved service.
facts are mentioned because their consideration seems indispensable to a
comprehensive satisfying decision, and because, if overlooked, the enthusiasm
of a very large and zealous group of citizens might suffer a chill, surely an
undesirable thing in these critical times. While picked men, Masons are only
enclose a copy of Mr. Raymond B. Fosdick's letter of April 23, 1918, upon
which the Masonic fraternity relied when it acted as outlined above, and also
a copy of a letter sent by the Grand Master of Masons in New York to the Grand
Master of each state in the Union, in the hope of dissipating the
disheartening suspicion then entertained that Freemasonry had been
discriminated against unjustly by the government's exclusion of Free Masons
from engaging in welfare work within military camps, and the according of that
privilege exclusively to the Young Men's Christian Association and the Knights
situation confronting us is calculated to be exceedingly disturbing if it is
not wisely handled. Its great importance is my excuse for writing at length.
response. I received the following:
"Washington, June 26, 1918.
McBride and I have been going over together the points contained in your
letter of the 17th, and have come to the conclusion that the best thing for us
to do is to await Mr. Fosdick's return, which if all goes well will be within
ten days or a fortnight. We will then bring your letter promptly to his
attention and will let you know the result in the light of his fresh views on
the foreign situation.
Assistant Secretary of War.
Court of the State of New York,
"Brooklyn, N. Y."
therefore replied, under date of June 28th, as follows:
"Honorable F. P. Keppel,
Assistant Secretary of War,
Department, Washington, D. C.
me to thank you for your favor of June the 26th. May I suggest that I have the
opportunity of meeting you, Mr. Fosdick, and Mr. McBride. I lean to the belief
that such a meeting will be helpful, and I will be glad to come to Washington
on very short notice.
you for your courtesy, and with kindest regards, believe me,
"Sincerely, Townsend Scudder.
Head. Lone Island. N. Y."
Keppel replied as follows:
"Washington, June 29,1918.
your letter of the 28th, but cannot say when such a meeting as you suggest
will be possible, as it is not known when Mr. Fosdick, who has been overseas
for the past two months, will return. In the meantime I have taken the liberty
of referring your letter to Mr. McBride, acting chairman in the absence of Mr.
very sincerely, F.P. Keppel,
Assistant Secretary of War.
Head, Long Island, N. Y."
received from Mr. McBride, under date of July 2nd, an acknowledgment as
"Commission on Training Camp Activities
"Honorable Townsend Scudder,
Head, Long Island, N. Y.
"Secretary Keppel has referred to me your letter of June 28th, and inasmuch as
Mr. Fosdick will probably be back in the course of a week or ten days, may I
suggest that you defer your meeting until his return, as I am sure he will be
able to add fresh light on the situation abroad, in which you are so much
of growing uneasiness over the passage of time, and because of the approaching
return of Mr. Fosdick, I was desirous that our matter should be as thoroughly
as possible understood, and its magnitude appreciated, by those before whom I
felt it would sooner or later come.
accordingly, on June 28th, addressed to Mr. Polk the following letter:
"Honorable Frank Polk,
to the Secretary of State
"Washington, D. C.
been named as the head of the Masonic Overseas Mission in connection with war
relief work. I am very keen to have a little chat with you and have been
expecting to go to Washington July the 8th, to be there several days.
purpose of my letter is to inquire whether you expect to be in Washington at
that time, and, if you will not, to request that you advise me when you feel
that I could see you either in Washington or elsewhere.
me to offer my sympathy in the bereavement you have sustained, and also to
express the hope that your health has improved.
Head, Long Island, N. Y."
receipt of the foregoing letter was acknowledged by Mr. Howell, Mr. Polk's
secretary, under date of June 29th, apprising me of Mr. Polk's expected return
after absence due to illness:
COUNSELOR FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Polk is away ill, I beg to acknowledge your letter of the twenty-eighth. You
say you are coming here July eighth for several days and I think I can safely
say that Mr. Polk will be in Washington at that time.
Plead, Long Island, N. Y."
same object in view I wrote on June 28, 1918, to Assistant Secretary of the
Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and received from him his reply dated June 29,
"Honorable Franklin D. Roosevelt,
"Washington, D. C.
head of the Masonic Overseas Mission. I am very keen to have a little chat
with you in the near future. I can come to Washington almost any time. I have
been planning to go to Washington on July the 8th, to be there several days.
May I inquire whether you expect to be in Washington at that time, for, if
not, I will arrange to come earlier.
"Assistant Secretary's Office
be only too glad to see you if you come to Washington. I have been hoping to
have a little talk with you for some time, in regard to New York matters,
Masonic and otherwise.
however, that I shall be away on July 8th, for I am leaving here on the Fourth
for some time on an inspection trip. I wonder if there is any chance of your
being here before the Fourth? Otherwise, I fear, we shall have to postpone it
until after I get back from my trip.
Head, Long Island, N. Y."
2, 1918, I again wrote Mr. Roosevelt as follows:
Franklin D. Roosevelt,
Department, Washington, D. C.
thank you for yours of June the 29th. Would it be troubling you unduly to
request that upon your return you communicate with me, to the end that I may
run down to Washington to see yout I want to talk over something which I
consider of very great importance. I am quite sure you will agree with me. I
regret that I cannot get down between now and the 4th.
you for your courtesy, believe me,
Head, L. I., N. Y.
Mr. Roosevelt's secretary answered:
"Assistant Secretary's Office
Roosevelt is still out of town, but I shall call your letter to his attention
immediately upon his return. Very sincerely yours, R. K. Camalier,
Court of the State of New York,
"Brooklyn, N. Y."
privately advised that Mr. Roosevelt had sailed for Europe.
also privately advised that Mr. Polk's illness was quite serious, and as,
about this time he suffered a bereavement, I decided to avoid further
troubling Mr. Polk at this inopportune time.
* * *
April instrument of Brother Scudder's report will open with the account of the
State Department's refusal to issue passports. Letters of refusal were written
to Brothers Prime, Thorne and Treder, but no such letters were received by
Judge Scudder and Brother Knight. Following this correspondence Brother
Scudder gives the details of what he designates as a "surprising interview
with Mr. Fosdick," in which the latter asks "What about the feud between you
and the Knights of Columbus ?" Brother Scudder replied that it took two to
make a quarrel, and that the Masonic Fraternity had no quarrel with them.
state here, for the benefit of those of our readers who wish to know the
outcome of the whole matter before we shall have published the last instalment
of this report, that the Masonic Overseas Mission sailed for France the latter
part of January, passports having been issued to Judge Scudder and his
associates without further quibbling after a few extracts from this report had
been read in certain quarters in Washington. They were told that they might go
as an independent organization if they so desired, but since arrangements had
been completed with the Y.M.C.A., they sailed as secretaries of that
stones whose gray lips keep your secret well,
that touch you touch an ancient terror,
ancient woe, colossal citadel
fierce faith, some heaven-affronting error.
Rude-built, as if young Titans on this world
played with ponderous blocks a striding giant
brought from oversea, till child more bold
their temple down with foot defiant.
fatal altar Redbreast combs
fluttering plume, and flocks of eager swallows
fearlessly to choose their April homes
crevices and storm-beat hollows.
in elemental mysteries,
Portentous, vast, august, uncomprehended,
dispose our little lives for ease,
unconscious courtesies befriended.
Katharine Lee Bates.
TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
GEORGE W. BAIRD. P.G.M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
JOHN A. LOGAN
Equestrian Statue of Major General John A. Logan is in bronze superimposed
upon a bronze pedestal situated in Iowa Circle at the intersection of Rhode
Island and Vermont Avenues and P Street, Washington, D.C., and is in plain
view from all of these thoroughfares. It was modeled by Franklin Simons and
has been pronounced one of the most artistic equestrian statues in the world.
The likeness is correct and the figure of General Logan is fine. The horse,
which in all equestrian statues has much to do with making or marring the
picture, is truly a work of art in its life-like appearance.
reliefs on the sides of the die portray the most important acts of Logan's
life. The panel on the east side represents General Logan taking the oath as
United States Senator, administered by President Arthur; at the lower
right-hand corner appear the figures of Senator Daniel Voorhees of Indiana and
Senator Thurman of Ohio, the latter who, having been a candidate for the
Vice-Presidency, seemed to be a fitting figure for General Logan's statue. On
the north end of this panel are the figures of Hon. Shelby M. Cullom, the
General's colleague in the Senate, Senator Miller of California, Senator
Morton of Indiana, and Senators Conkling and Evarts of New York.
west side of the statue is pictured a council of war. In this relief there is
shown a table upon which a map is spread at the head of which stands General
Logan while Major General Frank P. Blair and General Joseph H. Mower are
examining the map. General Granville M. Dodge, General M.D. Leggett, General
Slocum, General Hazen and a staff officer are in the group.
panels were the conception of Mrs. John A. Logan, thinking they would
represent the unique character of the General's life as a soldier and a
statesman, equally as great in peace as in war, ever ready to advocate, and to
die for if need be, the best interests of his Country.
allegorical figure under the head of the horse, for which Mrs. Mary Logan
Tucker, a daughter of the General, posed as the model, is representative of
War, while that at the rear representing Peace is the figure of his
daughter-in-law, Mrs. John A. Logan, Jr.
of the work was $65,000 of which Congress paid $50,000, the remaining $15,000
being subscribed by the Grand Army of the Republic, the Army of the Tennessee,
and by individuals.
Logan was of Scotch-Irish descent. He was
born in Illinois on February 9, 1826. He enlisted in the Mexican War as a
private and was promoted to a Lieutenancy and served throughout the period of
the war with great credit.
at the close of the war, he took up the study of law in the office of his
maternal uncle, ex-Governor A. M. Jenkins. He served three terms in the State
Legislature and was elected to the National Congress where he served in the
House from 1858 to 1861 when he resigned his seat to organize the 31st
Regiment of Illinois Infantry. He was in the first battle at Bull Run
(Manassas) while still in Congress, fighting all day under Colonel Richardson
of Michigan. General Logan participated in many of the most severe battles of
that unfortunate war - Fort Donelson, Fort Henry, Pittsburg Landing, and
others, and was promoted to Major General. During the war he declined a
renomination to Congress. He succeeded General Sherman as Commander of the
15th Army Corps.
Logan was a devoted admirer and supporter of Abraham Lincoln and was active in
the campaign in 1864 when Lincoln was elected to the Presidency.
Logan was re-elected to the House of Representatives in 1866 and served until
1871 when he was elected to the Senate to which body he was twice re-elected.
General inherited habits of industry which clung to him throughout his life
and which account for so much of his success, but he generously gave credit to
his wife for her untiring assistance in the collection of material for his
speeches, reports and researches. He was a logical man, an eloquent speaker
and had the courage to say and do the things which his conscience told him
were right and he courted no man's favor. He was temperate in all things, but
a prohibitionist in none, as attentive to the complaints of the helpless as to
the wishes of his personal friends.
Logan was a member of a Blue Lodge in Pinckneyville, Illinois, a member of
Chevalier Bayard Commandery of Knights Templar and a Scottish Rite Mason of
the 33rd degree.
weary feet shall have reached at last their toilsome journey's end
be to you the priceless gift of your best and truest friend,-
nature's way to speak to you the word that sounds the best
kisses you her fond good-bye and sweetly whispers, - REST.
- Bro. L.
B. Mitchell, Michigan.
MONTHLY LODGE MEETING
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN---NO. 26
Bro. H. L. Haywood
BULLETIN COURSE OF MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE MEETINGS AND STUDY CLUBS
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
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.
Course is divided into five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided,
as is shown below:
I. Ceremonial Masonry.
Work of the Lodge.
Lodge and the Candidate.
II. Symbolical Masonry.
III. Philosophical Masonry.
IV. Legislative Masonry.
Relationship to Constituent Lodges.
Official Duties and Prerogatives.
Qualifications of Candidates.
Initiation, Passing and Raising.
V. Historical Masonry.
Mysteries--Earliest Masonic Light.
Studies of Rites--Masonry in the Making.
Contributions to Lodge Characteristics.
Parallel Peculiarities in Lodge Study.
Historical Manuscripts of the Craft.
Philological Masonry--Study of Significant Words.
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.
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
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 PAPERS
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
ORGANIZE FOR AND CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
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 study period.
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 paper.
FOR STUDY MEETINGS
Reading of the first section of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental
(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.)
Discussion of the above.
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" THE FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
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.
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
I Why was
the "passing" among Operative Masons so important a step? What new secrets, do
you suppose, were then given to the Mason? What do you imagine the
masterpieces to have been ? Why was a masterpiece demanded? What is a
"masterpiece" in the ordinary sense of the word as now used? What are the
marks of a masterpiece in literature ? in business ? Is your lodge a
masterpiece of Masonry? Do we tend to judge men by their fine words and
promises rather than by their productions? In what way do the man's actual
productions reveal his character? What effect on character do bad works have?
Scotch Masonry different from English? If so, why, do you suppose ? Why are
there now variations in different countries and under different Grand Lodges ?
How do these variations affect Masonry as a whole? Have you fixed clearly in
your mind how we came to have three degrees instead of two ? What is the
key-word of the Second Degree? What do you mean by "knowledge"? Is
intellectual power an accumulation of facts or is it the development of all
the faculties? How can these be developed ? Are books and colleges necessary
for this ? How do you make your work develop your mental faculties? Is
ignorance a sin?
William Preston ? What led him, do you suppose, to take so much interest in
Masonry ? How does your lodge stimulate such interest? Is the study of Masonry
making you more interested? What was the nature of the "lectures" in the old
work? When officers do their ceremonial work in a slovenly manner are they
really good Masons in the literal sense of that wordy What did Preston do to
the Second degree and why did he do it?
you think of Pound's suggestion? Could you carry out his idea without
remodeling the ritual ? How ? Could well prepared lectures be now written to
be used in conjuction with the "work" that would make the Fellow Craft degree
a real education? Could you expound the fundamentals of some art or science in
a single lecture? Would such a lecture on, say, government, help the lodges in
their fight against anarchy, depostism, and dogmatism? How?
was the function of the Intender in the old work? Could we have Intenders now?
When a man "coaches" a candidate in the work is he an Intender? If he could
explain the thought as well as teach the words would he not be a much more
effluent teacher ? What, in your judgment, has the lodge a right to expect of
a man before passing him ?
the Master Mason have a mark? Why didn't the Apprentice have one? How, would
you guess, did the Mason leave his mark on the finished work? What kind of a
"mark" are you leaving on your work?
we were to demand a masterpiece before passing a man, what should it be? What
is real Masonic education? In what sense is the lodge a School?
p. 261; Fellow Craft, p. 261; Marks of the Craft, p. 470; Preston, p. 679.
Preston, William, pp. 7, 9, 11, 31, 292, 310. Vol. II. Passing of a Candidate,
p. 108; Preston, William pp. 81,166, 302; Preston, Work of, p. 167. Vol. III.
Fellow Craft Degree, pp. 25, 334, Nov. C. G B. 1 Vol. IV. What a Fellow Craft
Ought to Know, p. 115, Passing of a Candidate, p. 268.
STEPS by Bro. H.L. Haywood, Iowa
is little to tell us what was the manner among Operative Masons of the passing
of a man from the Entered Apprentice grade to the next higher degree; but such
fragmentary records as we do have imply that the ceremony was most simple. The
man to be made a Master ("Master" and "Fellow Craft" originally referred to
the same grade) was taken before six Master Masons and (possibly, in many
cases at least) two Entered Apprentices; his name and his mark were entered in
the record book, together with the names of those by whom he was admitted, and
those "intenders" by whom he had been instructed. According to the earlier
Codes no man was thus made a Master until he had given a practical
demonstration of his skill by producing, usually, a masterpiece (literally
"master's piece"). The words, grips and tokens, etc., were probably given in
such wise as not to be betrayed to the Entered Apprentices who were present.
"Fellow Craft" was first used by Scotch Masons, according to the evidences,
and was not introduced into the English lodges until the Constitution was
printed in 1723. At first the term meant exactly the same as "Master Mason" so
that the two were interchangeable, a fact which clears up much confusion in
Masonic history. Originally, it seems, there were but two (some, even, say
one) degrees but during the period between 1723 and 1738 the first degree was
split in two, the former half of which was made into the Entered Apprentice
degree, the latter into the Fellow Craft degree; the old Second degree, after
sundry modifications, became the Third; it was in this wise that the terms
came to have their present meaning.
appears that the Operative Entered Apprentice was obliged to produce a
masterpiece in order to qualify for passing to the next higher grade; after
another manner, as my readers may painfully remember, the same thing is
exacted in the present Speculative degrees. In the Apprentice grade the man
was made to learn the use of his tools; the Master was one who had achieved
that knowledge. By a happy coincidence it still remains true that the key-word
of our Second degree is Knowledge, but this knowledge, it is to be noted, is
something more than a matter of correct information; it is an ability to do
things; it is the having one's faculties perfectly and harmoniously developed.
The degree as it now stands is a kind of acted treatise on the part
enlightenment, information and mental development must play in the life of a
Mason and a man.
know that while Operative Masons were trained men they did not include in
their simple ceremonies so elaborate a presentment as that which we find in
our own work; we owe this enlargement of the rite to a Scotchman, William
Preston, born at Edinburgh, August 7, 1742. Soon after arriving in London as a
printer, Preston was made a Mason and later the Master of a lodge; accepting
this latter office with more than the usual sense of responsibility he set out
to master, as opportunities then permitted, the history and symbolism of the
first days he found that usually after a candidate had been initiated the
Master was accustomed to deliver a "lecture"; inasmuch as this was often a
hasty extemporaneous production it did not amount to much, and the
slovenliness of such lectures as he heard offended the trained literary tastes
of Preston. So he set about writing lectures to be used at various stages of
the "work" and something of these, after divers troubles and
misunderstandings, came at last to be incorporated in the rites. There is
every reason to believe that Preston almost wholly remodelled the Second
degree and that it, as it now stands, is largely his own production. The long
discourses on education are his.
he include these educational features? Because at that time England had no
public schools and few private ones so that the ordinary boy had scant
opportunities for an education; it occurred to Preston, a real inspiration for
the time, that Masonry might reduce the essentials of education to small
proportions and thus give instruction to its candidates, most of whom were
young men. He undertook to transform Masonry into an academy of education, a
noble enough purpose then, but somewhat confusing to us in this day of
elaborate public and private school systems. Brother Roscoe Pound, whose
"Philosophy of Masonry" is so richly rewarding a book, suggests a plan whereby
to preserve Preston's great idea of education and at the same time eradicate
much of the material which has now become obsolete.
today a man of Preston's tireless diligence attempted a new set of lectures
which should unify known edge and present its essentials so that the ordinary
man could comprehend them. To use Preston's own words, suppose lectures were
written, as a result of seven years of labor, and the co-operation of a
society of critics, which set forth a regular system of modern knowledge
demonstrated on the clearest principles and established on the firmest
foundations. Suppose, if you will, that this was confined simply to the
knowledge of Masonry, Would not Preston's idea (in an age of public schools)
be more truly carried out than by our present lip service, and would not his
central notion of the lodge as a center of light vindicate itself by the
is this not worth thinking about? At any rate a discussion of Brother Pound's
suggestion will prove greatly worth while to any student or study class.
Operative days a man was compelled to spend a series of years, sometimes five,
usually seven, in mastering his trade; during this period he remained
indentured, or bound, to some Master Mason. In our Speculative system there is
no need that a man wait so long between degrees; but does it not seem clear
that we have, in many jurisdictions, drifted off to the opposite extreme? In
at least three Grand Lodges of our country a man may be passed in two weeks;
in several he may even be passed as soon as believed proficient; in a majority
a month must intervene. What does the candidate do in that interval? Usually
he does nothing except learn as best he can the words of his lectures. Would
it not be far better if, in that betweenwhile period, he could be enabled to
master thoroughly the teachings of the preceding degree? Why do men so quickly
become indifferent to Masonic ritual? Because it speaks its mighty truths to
them in a dead language which they can illy understand; what would it not mean
if, during the intervals, the lodge should undertake to make the man genuinely
proficient in the work he has previously had! This too may be worth some
when a man was passed in Operative days, he was given his own mark; a vast
number of these have been collected by our scholars and much light have they
thrown on the evolution of our Order. Each mark was the worker's own private
possession which another could use at his peril; receiving that mark was a
token of his full assumption of responsibility for the work he had done; with
his own mark on his own work the supervisors could easily learn who had done a
task well or ill. We have no such marks, save in one degree of the York Rite,
but each of us, if he will but consider, is in reality placing his own mark on
everything he does.
would it not also be wise for us, in our Speculative Masonry, to revive the
old custom of demanding a masterpiece; suppose that, before a man is passed or
raised, he were obliged to write, say, a brief essay on the degree just taken,
or some similar subject; would it not soon sift out those who were passing
through the work for selfish and private reasons? Would we not have more
Masons and fewer mere members ? This is but a suggestion; the student will
think of many other ways in which the candidate could produce a masterpiece of
his skill. A man who would take his initiation that seriously and thoroughly
would get far more out of Masonry, and Masonry would get far more out of him.
Entered Apprentice of the old days worked under the eye of an Intender or
instructor; this opens up to us at once the large question of instruction in
Speculative Masonry. Do you believe that your own lodge is doing all it might
do to interpret to its members the meaning of its rites? Why are so many
Masons in such dense ignorance as to the real significance of all the strange
symbols and bewildering ceremonies which make up the work? Should not the
lodge, or some body working in conjunction with the lodge, be willing to meet
such a man more than half way ? Can you think of any better means for
performing the functions of the Intender than the reading of good Masonic
literature and the formation of study classes in every lodge?
readers may remind me that Operative customs were designed to prepare men for
actual work, laborious and difficult, and that no such instructions are now
necessary; let such readers lay their hands on their heart and ask what kind
of an examination they could pass in a course on "the meaning of Masonry"!
When the Speculative Mason passes from the first degree he has two other
degrees ahead of him; surely that should demand the most careful preparation.
Masonry will be more to our daily lives when we make it mean more to our
minds. The man who first masters his Apprentice Degree before passing to the
Fellow Craft, and who masters that in turn before going on to the climax in
the third, that surely, in all true senses, is a Master Mason, well entitled
to consider himself a Fellow of the Craft; nay a Fellow fit for the Craft.
HIS OWN TONGUE"
Fire-Mist and a planet,
and a cell,
jellyfish and a saurian,
where the cavemen dwell;
sense of law and beauty,
face turned from the clod,-
others call it God.
A haze on
the far horizon,
infinite, tender sky,
rich tint of the cornfields,
wild geese sailing high,-
over upland and lowland
of the goldenrod,-
us call it Autumn,
others call it God.
tides on a crescent sea-beach,
moon is new and thin,
hearts high yearnings
welling and surging in,-
the mystic ocean,
no foot has trod,-
us call it Longing,
others call it God.
frozen on duty,-
starved for her brood,-
drinking the hemlock,
on the rood;
millions who, humble and nameless,
straight, hard pathway plod,-
others call it God.
about those subjects you have had long in mind, and listen to
others say about subjects you have studied but recently.
- O. W.
Abraham Mitre Rihbant
our readers' interest in this subject we have received gracious permission
from the Beacon Press to reprint this chapter from Abraham Mitrie Rihbany's
"America Save the Near East," a volume renewed in our Library Department this
few issues aside from the main phases of the conflict itself which the present
war has created or made more prominent, that are more interesting to the world
than the Zionist movement. Begun many years before, this movement has received
an impetus during the war which has made interest in it, in both Jewry and
Christendom, intense and very wide-spread. The proponents of Zionism among the
Jews consider the vast and radical changes which the present conflict is
effecting in the lives of the various nations as favorable to the consummation
of Zionist hopes. The world is being refashioned. The majority of the great
and enlightened nations claim to be fighting for the freedom of all peoples.
Never before was the heart of the world so responsive to the cry of the
oppressed as it is now. All signs, also, point to the permanent separation
from Turkey of her Near Eastern provinces. Palestine has already fallen to the
British. Zion has been delivered from Turkish bondage.
the time, therefore, very opportune for the friends of Zionism to press its
claims with greater vigor than ever before, and secure, if possible, the
coveted land of Palestine as a free and permanent home for Jewish nationalism?
So it must seem to the ardent supporters of this Jewish movement, and their
hopes cannot be pronounced elusive.
Christendom, also, is deeply interested in the Zionist's expectations. This
interest springs not necessarily from the Christians' love for the Jews, for
hatred for the Jew has been one of Christendom's greatest offenses against God
and humanity. Christian interest in the Zionist movement comes chiefly from
the fact that there are millions of Christians who believe that Christ's
kingdom will not come upon the earth until the Jews have been "restored" to
Palestine. To such a success of Zionism means the long-awaited regathering of
the chosen people to their "promised land."
many others whose interest in this significant movement is purely romantic.
The thought of a "restored Israel" to the land of its origin seems to reinvest
for them the ages of Hebrew history with compelling charms. The picture of the
sons of Abraham regathered as a people, free and strong, to "build the old
wastes, and raise up the former desolations," and sing again the psalms of
their faith and hope among the hills of Zion, is to the lovers of romance a
most enchanting vision. This expectation for the advent of Christ's kingdom
upon the final restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land and the legitimate
romantic interest are shared also by many of that minority of Christians who
are deeply interested in the improvement of the Jew's lot, and the restoration
to him, as a man, of his lawful right of social and political equality with
the other enlightened members of the human race.
And it is
not at all strange that the Christians in general, as well as many among the
Jews themselves, should have only a superficial knowledge of the aims and
purposes of Zionism. Zionism is not a general movement to "restore" the
fourteen million Jews from all the regions of the earth to the Holy Land. Such
an enterprise would involve, to say the least, a physical impossibility. Even
if it had no other inhabitants, Palestine could not properly sustain
one-fourth of the Jews of the world, even if they could all be led, or driven,
into it. Again, the Jews are very far from being all Zionists. Only a minority
of them is deeply interested in this movement. Millions among them are
perfectly indifferent to it, and many are decidedly opposed to it. But the
leaders of Zionism are among the foremost men of this remarkable race, and
their followers can by no means be called "only a few."
purpose of the Zionist movement is to provide the Jews, who refuse to
relinquish their claim to being a nation, a national centre and a "legally
secured home" which they may call their own. I can do no better in presenting
the purpose of Zionism than to quote the words of the honorary president of
this movement in America, Justice Brandeis of the United States Supreme Court.
bear clearly in mind," says Justice Brandeis, "what Zionism is, or rather what
it is not. It is not a movement to remove all the Jews of the world
compulsorily to Palestine. In the first place there are 14,000,000 Jews, and
Palestine would not accommodate more than one-fifth of that number. In the
second place, it is not a movement to compel any one to go to Palestine. It is
essentially a movement to give to the Jews more, not less, freedom, it aims to
enable the Jews to exercise the same right now exercised by practically every
other people in the world: to live at their option either in the land of their
fathers or in some other country; a right which members of small nations as
well as of large, which Irish, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, or Belgian, may now
exercise as fully as German or English.
seeks to establish in Palestine, for such Jews as choose to go and remain
there, and for their descendants, a legally secured home, where they may ;
live together and lead a Jewish life, where they may expect ultimately to
constitute a majority of the population, and may look forward to what we
should call home rule. The Zionists seek to establish this home in Palestine
because they are convinced that the undying longing of Jews for Palestine is a
fact of deepest significance; that it is a manifestation in the struggle for
existence by an ancient people which had established its right to live a
people whose three thousand years of civilization has produced a faith,
culture, and individuality which enable them to contribute largely in the
future, as they had in the past, to the advance of civilization; and that it
is not a right merely, but a duty of the Jewish nationality to survive and
develop. They believe that there only can Jewish life be fully protected from
the forces of disintegration; that there alone can the Jewish spirit reach its
full and natural development; and that by securing for those Jews who wish to
settle in Palestine the opportunity to do so, not only those Jews, but all
other Jews will be benefited and that the long perplexing Jewish Problem will,
at last, find solution."
writers dwell upon the fact that notwithstanding the improvement of his lot in
many western European countries and in America, the Jew remains a "man without
a country." Many countries have admitted the Jews into full equality before
the law with other citizens; nevertheless, the social mind of nonJews in all
lands instinctively ostracizes the Jew. The removal of his legal disabilities
is doled out to him as a gift, and not granted as a right inherent in his
status. Religious and political liberalism has greatly ameliorated his
condition, but is dangerously threatening his racial and national existence.
The direct and indirect aim of his toleration by the peoples among whom he
dwells seems to be, not the sharing with the Jews of the privileges and
responsibilities of citizenship as a Jew, but the hastening of his
assimilation and obliteration. His racial distinction, his national
individuality, his language, and even his faith are in grave danger of being
done away with. In short, modern liberalism and toleration are threatening
with extinction all the precious assets of Judaism and the gifts which have
enabled the Jew to make so large and rich a contribution to the spiritual
culture of the human race.
very things the Jew must continue to hold most dear if his future is not to be
the antithesis of his glorious past. And in order to do this, he must have a
Jewish national centre, a land that he can call his own, where his language
and his culture may be revitalized and enriched, and his racial type
preserved. To Zionists, Palestine is that land.
book entitled "Zionism," the noted Jewish scholar, Richard J. H. Gottheil,
whatever point of view we regard the situation, the unity of Israel must be
restored. A complete reversion to unity of practice seems impossible as modern
conditions in the Diaspora will continue to increase disfavorably to the Jews.
The Jewish hope must be constituted upon modern linen Embodied in a physical
centre, and that centre illumined by a rekindled light, it will serve as a
point towards which the thoughts, aspirations, and longings of the Diaspora
Jews will converge, and from which they will draw, each in his own measure,
that sufficiency of moral and religious strength that will better enable them
to resist the encroachments of their surroundings. The knowledge that in some
one place, in some one country and that country the most hallowed by its
recollections Jewish life is possible without the unnatural restrictions that
naturally hem it in elsewhere, will act as a centripetal force, the very force
that is needed today."
very briefly stated, is the aim and purpose of the Zionist movement. Whether
the Zionist hope is possible of full realization, whether, if realized, it
would solve the "Jewish Problem," are questions whose consideration falls
outside the plan of this volume. What concerns us here is the bearing of
Zionism upon the racial and governmental problems of Syria, and this I will
proceed to consider.
impetus which Zionism has received recently has greatly alarmed the Christians
and Mohammedans of Palestine. In the first place, the universal prejudice
against the Jews is shared by those sects in the East. The Jews "crucified
Christ," and "dealt treacherously with Mohammed." Until they abjure the sins
of their fathers and are converted to the faith of their persecutors, the Jews
will remain in disfavor.
the second place, this inhuman attitude toward the Jew is not the sole reason
which impels the Christians and Mohammedans of Palestine and Syria in general
to resist Zionism. Its possible political consequences afford a more rational
reason. The Syrians perceive that the goal of Zionism is the establishment of
an independent Jewish state in Palestine, or at least the establishment of an
autonomous Jewish state under the protection of some foreign power. Under the
auspices of the Zionists, Palestine must be either detached from Syria and
"given to the Jews," or become a "sphere of influence of some Western Power."
Either prospect is repugnant to the non-Jewish population of the "land of
promise" and to intelligent Syrians in America.
process of reasoning in the case is very simple. The Zionists' ultimate
purpose is to establish a Jewish national centre for all the Jews of the
dispersion. To this centre the Jews of the world are to look, not only for
inspiration, but for redress in time of trouble. In Palestine the Hebrew
language is to be revived and, in course of time, made the language of the
land. In Palestine a vital Jewish atmosphere is to be created through the
spread of Jewish culture, an atmosphere vital enough, if possible, to mould
the character of international Jewry.
is asked, can all this be accomplished without that "national Jewish centre"
first becoming an independent Jewish country, sufficiently powerful to resist
all modifying influences? The intelligent Syrians realize that independent
nationalism is not what the Zionists insist upon at present, but they seem to
be certain that nothing short of that would be able to make the Zionist
program a reality.
that Palestine is the Jew's home land is not fully conceded by the nonJews in
that country, especially the Mohammedans. It was the Jew's home land, which he
acquired by the sword from former owners. His successful conquest of the land
gave him the right to possess it. But the Moslem is the later conqueror of
Palestine. He also acquired it by the sword, and built in it homes and
shrines. So if the successful conquest of a land carries with it the right of
ownership, then it is the Mohammedan and not the Jew who has the prior claim
to the ownership of Palestine. Again, the Jew's plea that the Holy Land should
be given him on religious grounds is not absolutely valid. When he came into
that country he built his religious shrines on the foundations of the shrines
of the "nations of the land" which he had destroyed. Palestine is the cradle
of his religion, but it is also the cradle of the Christian religion, whose
adherents are hundreds of millions. The Mohammedan, also, has his holy shrines
in Palestine and in its Holy City. The Dome of the Rock (the Mosque of Omar)
is built on the very site of Solomon's Temple.
being the case, would the European nations and America, to whom the Zionists
are appealing them to enable them to make Palestine a Jewish national centre
and a "legally secured home" for the "chosen people," be justified in heeding
such an appeal and furthering such a cause? Palestine is an integral part of
Syria. It is dear to the devotees of three great faiths. The majority of its
present inhabitants are non-Jews. Therefore, for any European Power, or
Powers, to favor the Jews above the other elements of the population by paving
the way for Jewish supremacy in Palestine and for its ultimate severance from
Syria and its organization as a Jewish state, would be an act of violent
injustice to its non- Jewish inhabitants and an irremovable cause for future
troubles. It would revive the feuds of biblical times between Jews and
Gentiles, and thus emphasize religious and racial division in a country which
sorely needs peace and unity.
have already found articulate expression in Palestine since its occupation by
the British. Representatives of the Christians and the Mohammedans have
already held several joint meetings in Joppa and in Jerusalem, at which were
considered ways and means by-which to check the advance of Zionism. They have
petitioned the British Government to protect the nonJewish property owners,
who feel compelled under the present stress to sell their properties to the
moneyed Zionists at any price, by prohibiting such sales during the war. They
have asked that government also to establish in Palestine agricultural banks
in order to enable the land-owners to secure loans (which should be paid on
the installment plan) at a reasonable rate of interest. They have demanded
also that the Arabic language be made by law the "official" national tongue of
Syria. According to the reports which have been received, the British
Government has agreed to these demands in principle, and is proceeding to give
them legal form.
foregoing it may be easily seen that the unanimous resolution of the nonJewish
population of Palestine is that that country shall not become a Jewish state.
it should not be inferred from the foregoing objections to Zionism that the
nonJewish population of the Holy Land mean to exclude the Jews from it, or to
deny them the rights which others may enjoy. On the contrary, the demand of
that population is for equal rights for Jews and non-Jews. The Jew is free to
return to the ancient home of his faith, to acquire property in the open
market, to do business on the basis of fair competition, and to make Jerusalem
the seat of his culture and a "breeding ground for Jewish leaders." But he
must not ask for special privileges. He must be a co-operative Syrian citizen,
and not the means of increasing the racial and religious contentions in the
So far as
I have been able to learn, such are the views and sentiments of intelligent
Syrians everywhere with regard to the Zionist movement. And although I suspect
that this attitude is not entirely free from racial and religious prejudice, I
consider its underlying principle to be sound. For the last two thousand years
the Jew's lot has been hard. His "problem" is indeed a vexatious one and
deserves the co-operative wisdom and sympathy of right- minded people the
world over. But I fail utterly to see how the establishment of a Jewish
national centre in Palestine would solve the problem of all the Jews of the
dispersion. I fail to see how such a Jewish state, even if secured, could be
powerful enough to compel fair treatment for the Jews in all parts of the
world, or how to make every Jew look to such a state as his protector. Nor
amiable to see how the Jews could live in peace and comfort in the "land of
their fathers," if that country is detached arbitrarily from Syria and given
to them. Such an act would plant the Jew in the midst of irreconcilable
enemies and thus increase rather than lessen their troubles.
I do not
pretend in the least to offer a solution for the "Jewish problem." What I feel
warranted in saying from my intimate knowledge of Syrian affairs is that it
would be a great injustice to both the Jews and the Syrians in general should
the Allies and America support the present Zionist plan, as they are
petitioned to do by its advocates. In order that Syria may have permanent
peace and a stable government, the Western Powers should simply maintain the
"open door" policy in that country and insist on equal rights for all.
Theodore Roosevelt, shortly before his death, arranged to give substantial
expression of his gratitude to the people of the little village in France near
which his son Quentin is buried. Through the Red Cross he provided that $6,900
of the Nobel Peace Prize money awarded to him should be used for the benefit
of the simple country people who have kept Quentin's grave covered with
Roosevelt left the decision of the exact form his gift should take to the
discretion of the Red Cross, and that organization is now trying to ascertain
the wishes of the villagers.
Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes, and Adversity is not
without comforts and hopes. -Bacon.
progress of rivers to the ocean is not so rapid as that of man to error.
TO THINK ABOUT
QUESTION frequently has been asked to what cause or causes were attributable
the failure of American Masonry to win our Government's recognition in the
great war and its consequent failure to serve the boys with the Colors
overseas side by side with other civilian organizations less strong from the
standpoint of members, less able from the standpoint of resources, and no more
willing from the standpoint of zeal and sense of obligation.
George L. Schoonover, who presided over the Iowa conference of Grand Masters,
attributed Masonry's failure to "Apathy" and "Disunity." As I see it, this
time too, the attack upon us was by three ruffians, and to the two named by
Brother Schoonover must be added a third, "Selfishness," who was active within
as well as without our mystic circle.
was "Apathy" whom we met and had to overcome. He is a charmer who had lulled
us to sleep and soothed us with dreams of a fairyland where we revelled in the
beauties of the principles of Freemasonry without too much concern for their
practical application. So intoxicating was our Masonry as thus sung that we
knew not very often whether we slept or were awake. War came to us as we were
held spellbound in the clutches of "Apathy"; it took time to free ourselves
from the spell, to shake him off.
had an ally in "Mossback," a creature which lives in the past, rejoicing in
his sterility, and winning influence over shallow men by his barren lodge
attendance to the neglect of many other duties.
"Mossback" opposes progress; he can not grow, and would not if he could; he is
the self constituted interpreter of the landmarks and their guardian in the
sense in which he interprets them.
and "Mossback" are a strong team - at backing. The comfortable stall and the
full manger meet their wants. Their souls are never hungry. "Why Worry" is
"Apathy" and his side partner had been overcome, "Disunity" blocked our way.
He is a crochity fellow, will not pull with any one, not even with himself.
His toes might be tread upon had he company. He imagines bliss behind a
Chinese wall with the rest of the world on the other side. He leaves undone
what he can not do alone. Co-operation to achieve great results he opposes,
lest his co-workers gain more than he. He places no trust in his neighbor, and
would put his brother under bond.
"Disunity" is a fit companion to "Apathy," possessing all of his faults and
none of his virtues. Disunity is still at large, but the Craft is hot on his
trail. The ruffian is doomed.
three, "Selfishness" is the most evil ruffian, for he seeks to conceal himself
everywhere; his roots penetrate even to the souls of men. Except to squeeze
out of him what he covets, he is never his brother's keeper, and, his objects
attained, straightway he discards the husks.
than share credit he would leave undone what he can not do alone. That alone
is worth while to him which brings him gain, be it praise or profit.
"Selfishness" is not entirely wicked as the world rates evil; he possesses
virtues and often sits in the front pew. He may not rob, maim, or kill; he
just breaks your heart. Creature comforts are his chief concern. The dire need
of his brother annoys, but does not move, him. Often he hides behind acts of
philanthropy which stir the world. They tickle his vanity, but do not move his
Masonic Fraternity encountered these three ruffians on the path which led to
duty. From "Apathy" and "Disunity" it escaped; from "Selfishness" it could
not. The blows which temporarily brought it low were struck from within and
they were struck from without.
lesson has been learned.
Humiliated and chastened, but neither disheartened nor dismayed, it is the
resolve of our Brotherhood so to organize its energies in this beloved land of
ours that, happen what may in times to come, be the need great or be it small,
the Craft will be ready and qualified to do its share of the day's work and to
give its best.
* * *
OF AMERICAN MASONRY
your thrilling letter about the newly formed Masonic Service Association of
the United States, and thank you with all my heart. At first I did not know
whether I was reading of a revival meeting of real religion, or the minutes of
a session of the Kingdom of Heaven, and before I had finished I found that it
was both. Truly, it was a wonderful meeting, and your letter, so aglow with
the spirit of it all, conveyed to me the very atmosphere of it. Almost I could
see the faces of the men, and feel their heart-beat, because it is like a
dream come true to me, as it is to you.
are: American Masonry is born - it has become conscious, for the first time,
of itself, of its obligation, and of the opportunity before it. Hitherto, we
have been still in our colonial period Masonically, and now, let us hope, we
shall pass into something like a federated, or at least a co-operative
Masonry, and make our influence and power felt in helping to organize and make
effective the goodwill of the world. And long steps will be taken in that
direction, if the men who attended that conference carry home, as they surely
will, the large vision and the deeper fellowship.
longer I live the more I believe in the mystery, the beauty, and the efficacy
of fellowship, and the meeting you describe was, as I read it, a revelation of
the power of fellowship. After all, that is about the sorest need of this sad
and distracted world: to overcome the Will to Rivalry - or what is the same,
if not worse, Indifference - by the Will to Fellowship. For example, if a
gathering of a sort similar could be held, including the leaders of the Grand
Orient of France, of which our Grand Lodges have been suspicious, deeming it
atheistic, how different the attitude would be toward that Grand Body. I have
been looking into their Constitution, and I find that it defines Freemasonry
as having for its essential principle "the existence of God, and the
Immortality of the Soul, and the Solidarity of the Human Race," - and yet that
is the Grand Body excommunicated as atheistic!
return to the Service Association, and my thoughts go back to it again and
again: it is so wise and sane, so practical as well as passionate, and so well
considered withal - the very name a stroke of genius. Unity, not union, is
what we want; unity, not uniformity; unity of spirit, of purpose, and of
action: that we may undertake great things together and get something done
before we die. Let this spirit of togetherness grow and abide, and the whole
nation will feel the quiet, benign, and fruitful influence of Freemasonry.
What can we not do, once the Genius of Masonry has its way with us,
emancipated in our lives and we have the patience, the skill, and the courage
to "organize God's light," - surely that is our task as a Craft!
I send greetings and blessings to the Service Association, to its Executive
Commission, and to all who were present at its formation. It marks a new era
in American Freemasonry. Long may it live and grow, making the Spirit of
Masonry eloquent among men, touching our great and gentle Craft to finer
issues and nobler endeavors. Count me in from now on and always. Joseph Fort
BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD
object of this Department is to acquaint our readers with time-tried Masonic
books not always familiar; with the best Masonic literature now being
published; and with such non-Masonic books as may especially appeal to Masons.
The Library Editor will be very glad to render any possible assistance to
studious individuals or to study clubs and lodges; either through this
Department or by personal correspondence; if you wish to learn something
concerning any book - what is its nature, what is its value, or how it may be
obtained - be free to ask him. If you have read a book which you think is
worth a review write us about it; if you desire to purchase a book - any book
- we will help you get it, with no charge for the service. Make this YOUR
Department of Literary Consultation.
SAVE THE NEAR EAST”
Save the Near East," by Abraham Mitrie Rihbany. Published by The Beacon Press.
25 Psasean Street. Boston. Mass. Price
MITRIE RIHBANY spent the early part of his life in Syria, not far from
Nazareth; after securing an excellent education he came to this country and
has won a high place for himself in the American pastorate; while learning the
American spirit and the American point of view he has kept in touch with the
Near East; for these reasons there are few men in our land better qualified to
speak concerning the after-war problems in Syria, Arabia, and Armenia. In a
little book recently published under the title at the head of these paragraphs
he has stated his solution of the problem of the Near East with singular charm
Rihbany believes that the people of the Near East, owing to racial and
religious differences, are incapable of evolving their own government; being,
as it were, in a condition of pupilage, they need help from outside. A
temporary protectorate must be established. What country can successfully
establish such a protectorate? Mr. Rihbany insists that the United States
alone is in an ideal position to lend a hand, and his book is a development of
the most significant chapters in the volume deals with Zionism: owing to the
interest expressed by our readers in this subject we have secured permission
from the publishers, The Beacon Press, Boston, to reprint the chapter in full:
it will be found on another page of this issue.
* * *
and Its Faiths," by James Bisset Pratt, Ph. D., published by Houghton, Mifflin
and Company, 4 Park St., Boston; 16 E. 40th St., New York; 278 Post St., San
Francisco. Price $4.00, net.
recent books on the land of Buddha and the Brahmins, one of the most authentic
is "India and Its Faiths," by James Bisset Pratt. Professor Pratt has long
been a diligent and authoritative student of the psychology of religions;
unlike most travelers in India he carried no prejudice with him, but
interpreted all that he saw with candor, knowledge and sympathetic insight. We
believe our brethren will be glad to read the following excerpt made from the
book, not only because it will give them some hint of the book itself, but
because the subject is one in which every Mason is very much interested:
we touch the very heart of the difficulty, the cause of most of the spiritual
blindness that separates peoples of different faiths. We do not understand one
another's symbols, and we seldom try. And this is partly because we have not
stopped to consider the tremendous importance of symbolism in religion, its
universality, and the method of its growth. If we should all realize in what
varied forms the same truth or the same emotional attitude may be symboled
forth, there would be less mutual recrimination between followers of different
years for a symbol to gain its full force over an individual or a race. One
must grow up with it. It gathers its strength from the whole life and the
whole environment. It does not greatly matter what the symbol is; anything
will do provided it has by the steady growth of a lifetime and by the aid of
the whole social environment drawn around itself the spiritual attitudes and
sentiments which the race most prizes. Thus, it takes a whole life thoroughly
to understand a symbol; from which it follows that one can never completely
understand the full force and the emotional meaning and value of a symbol
belonging to a strange people and a strange culture. In symbolism we all tend
to be extremely provincial. We insist that other peoples shall adopt our
symbols without realizing that our symbols may be as strange and
incomprehensible to them as theirs are to us. We can not understand how any
one can find strength or comfort in Kali, the great Hindu Bother, with her
string of skulls and her bloody mouth. We see the Hindu deities presented with
from four to ten arms, and we say they look like spiders and must be horrid;
not realizing that to the Hindus these many arms mean the all-enfolding powers
of the Divine. And it never occurs to us that the Indian would find it hard to
appreciate some of our emblems and figures of speech. To say nothing of the
strange symbolism of early Christian art, - the fish and the various beasts to
which we have grown accustomed, - consider our present constant emphasis upon
blood - the picture of moral guilt being 'washed away' by the application of
blood, etc. Then there are the various symbols connected with the 'Lamb slain
from the foundation of the world' - 'the Lamb upon the Throne, crowned with
many crowns.' (Try to visualize the picture!) There is also the trefoil
representing the Trinity. And is not the Trinity itself a kind of symbol,a
symbol of which the meaning seems quite uncertain?
while we can hardly hope to share with our Indian brothers their feeling for
their symbols, nor expect them fully to appreciate ours, we can at least
cultivate a sympathetic attitude toward one another's symbols if we only
will. And if we really make the effort to do this, instead of
satisfying ourselves with clever ejaculations as to their absurdities, we may
gain some sort of insight into their spiritual value. This is the only way. It
was thus, for instance, that Sister Nivedita won the insight which so
distinguishes her among writers on India. The story of her learning the
significance of Kali, the Great Mother, will illustrate what I mean. One
evening shortly after her arrival in Calcutta, she heard a cry in a quiet
lane, and following her ears, found it came from a little Hindu girl who lay
in her mother's arms, dying. The end came soon, and the poor mother for a time
wept inconsolably. Then at last, wearied with her sobbing, she fell back into
Sister Nivedita's arms, and turning to her, said: 'Oh, what shall I do ? Where
is my child now ?' And Sister Nivedita adds: 'I have always regarded that as
the moment when I found the key. Filled with a sudden pity, not so much for
the bereaved woman as for those to whom the use of some particular language of
the Infinite is a question of morality, I leaned forward, " 'Hush, Mother!' "
I said. " 'Your child is with the Great Mother. She is with Kali!' " And for a
moment, with memory stilled, we were enfolded together, Eastern and Western,
in the unfathomable depth of consolation of the World-Heart’. “
AT LAST, THE VICTORY
a man who saw God face to face,
countenance and vestments evermore
with a light that never shone before,
from him who saw God face to face.
anear him for a little space,
sorely vexed at the unwonted light.
whom the light did blind rose angrily;
his body to a mountain height
nailed it to a tree; then went their way;
resisted not nor said them nay,
that he had seen God face to face.
* * *
a man who saw Life face to face,
as he walked from day to day,
deathless mystery of being lay
the path he trod in loneliness;
deep-hid inscription could he trace;
have fought and loved and fought again;
lone darkness souls cried out for pain;
green foot of sod from sea to sea
with blood of men slain wantonly;
of pity warm as summer rain
ever washed the stains away,
to Love, at last, the victory.
strife and hate and fever pain,
squalid talk and walk of sordid men,
the vision changeless as the stars
shone through temple gates or prison bars,
Or to the
body nailed upon the tree,
each mean action of the life that is,
marvel of the Life that yet shall be.
WORLD MAY BE CLEAN
world may be clean. That is the way I view the great task of the Red Cross
workers of the world. Clean physically, mentally and morally - I can think of
no more inspiring or practical gospel for humanity than that. And the Red
Cross is the evangelist. - Major General Merritte W. Ireland, Surgeon General
of the United States Army.
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.
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
I find something about St. John the Almoner? M.J.W., New York.
devotes a little over half a column to St. John the Almoner in his
Encyclopedia. From volume XXVI of the Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati
Lodge we quote the following reference to this personage by Brother Chetwode
Notwithstanding the learned labors of the Abbe de Vertot, there would seem to
be room for hesitation in affirming which St. John was the original Divus
eponymus of the Knight Hospitallers, though there is none as to the identity
of the St. John subsequently approved by the pope as their patron Saint. This
was St. John of Jerusalem, otherwise St. John the Almoner, or St. John the
Eleemosynary, a personage somewhat obscure in comparison with his great
namesakes, St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. When the Calendar
of the Church of Rome, with its score or so of Saints John, was forgotten by
the Freemasons, the identity of this local Saint, who served as Patriarch of
Alexandria from 606 A. D. to 616 A. D., was merged in one or other of the two
Saints John whose sanctity was universally recognized. Freemasons may stand
excused for sharing the mistake, for our distinguished Brother, H.F. Berry,
I.S.O., D.Litt., of the Public Record Office, has cited numerous original
documents, emanating from the Order itself in the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries, in which sometimes St. John the Baptist and sometimes St. John the
Evangelist are claimed as patron Saints. The mistake was not the less
palatable to our forefathers in the Craft, because it fitted in with the
popular assumption that the medieval Gilds of Freemasons had been wont to
celebrate their festivities on St. John's Day. In the last century, a flicker
of vitality was engendered by Dr. Oliver's somewhat controversial work
entitled "A Mirror for Johannite Masons." In this work the Rev. Dr. Oliver who
in his earlier career, stoutly supported the Christianizing factors in
Freemasonry, sought to exhibit an antidote to the Unitarian, or, more properly
speaking, the Unsectarian proclivities ascribed to H.R.H. the Grand Master.
As far as
Modern or Grand Lodge Freemasonry is concerned, the earliest mention of St.
John known to the present writer is to be found in "The Grand Mystery of
Freemasons discover'd," (London, 1724). In this pamphlet the name of St. John
takes the place held by St. Stephen in the Catechism pubIished the previous
year in a London newspaper, "The Flying Post." The invocation of St. John is
by no means confined to the Grand Lodge of England. The name of St. John the
Evangelist stands at the head of every Master Mason's certificate issued by
the Grand Lodge of Ireland, while the generic term "St. John's Masonry" is
officially used by the Grand Lodge of Scotland to denote the Craft degrees. It
may be convenient to leave to these Grand Lodges the task of explaining the
usage, which evidently has no connection with the Order of St John of
Jerusalem, otherwise Knights of Malta.
* * *
ROBES FOR CANDIDATES
C. C. Adams, editor of "Masonic Notes,' Kingston, Ontario, Canada, (which
publication was reviewed by Brother Haywood in the Library Department for
January,) submits the following inquiry which he has received from a brother
in England who is engaged in writing a history of one of the oldest lodges in
that country, Old Dundee Lodge No. 18, which was constituted in 1722. This
lodge is in possession of its old minute books dating back to 1748.
submitted the questions to all the Grand Secretaries of the United States and
find that the custom has been in vogue in but a very few American
jurisdictions. One brother, in replying for his Grand Secretary, makes the
suggestion that correspondence with the secretaries of two or three of the
oldest lodges in each jurisdiction rnight be the means of throwing some light
on the subject as the matter might be mentioned in some of the early lodge
minutes yet not appear in the Grand Lodge records.
possible that some of our readers may be able to give us some information on
the subject that will be of value to our English brother. The questions
candidates clothed in white robes during the ceremonies of initiation in your
the custom taken from the old English practice in vogue about 1730 to 1750, or
how did it originate in your jurisdiction ?
is the appearance of these gowns at the present time ? Are they made of white
flannel ? Have thev a hood similar to a monk's cowl? Are they fastened by
white bone buttons, or tapes?
such clothing is not used in your jurisdiction at the present time, was it
ever used, and if so, when was the custom abolished, and why?
GRANTS FULL RECOGNITION TO GRAND LODGE AND GRAND ORIENT OF FRANCE AND SWISS
GRAND LODGE "ALPINA"
Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alabama, held in Montgomery Dee.
4th and 5th, 1918, Brother Oliver D. Street, Chairman of the Committee on
Foreign Correspondence, submitted the following special reports which were
LODGE OF FRANCE
last Communication of this Grand Lodge your Committee on Foreign
Correspondence was directed to secure all available information relative to
the present status of Freemasonry in France and report the same to this
Communication, with recommendations.
committee has made a careful investigation and was early impressed with the
great confusion and lack of information (or rather misinformation) concerning
French Masonry existing in the United States. It is necessary to understand
that the doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction which has proved so
beneficial to American Masonry is not and never has been recognized in France.
There exist two well-known systems both professing to practice genuine
Freemasonry throughout the same territorial jurisdiction and yet both living
on terms of perfect harmony and good fellowship with each other. We refer to
the Grand Orient of France and the Grand Lodge of France. They are entirely
separate and distinct bodies and in any intelligent examination of their
respective claims it is necessary to bear this fact constantly in mind. Where
this is not done we frequently find otherwise reliable writers attributing to
one of them the resolutions and the acts of the other. Let it, therefore, be
distinctly understood that this report deals exclusively with the Grand Lodge
letter dated July 26, 1917, from the Grand Lodge of France to the Grand
Secretary of this Grand Lodge we quote the following:
Grand Lodge of France was constituted in 1804 by the Supreme Council 33d for
France and the French Colonies to administer and control the lodges working
the three degrees of Craft Masonry. In 1904, as the result of friendly
negotiations with the Supreme Council our Grand Lodge became a Sovereign and
integral part of the A. & A. S. Rite, our Masonic principles are those common
to the Rite in general as set forth in the declaration of the Convention of
Lausanne in 1875."
letter is signed by the Grand Master, the Grand Secretary, the Grand Orator
and the Grand Treasurer and may, therefore, be taken as official and
declaration of Lausanne referred to above so far as material to our present
inquiry reads as follows:
Freemason reveres God under the name of the Grand Architect of the Universe.
Whatever religion he - may profess, the Freemason practices the most complete
tolerance towards those who have other convictions. The Masonic alliance is,
therefore, neither a religious nor an ecclesiastical one. It requires of its
members no profession of faith."
hundred years the Grand Lodge was subordinate in a greater or less degree to
the Supreme Council. In 1879, what may be termed its modern history began. The
year 1896 witnessed a very material extension of its rights and powers and the
year 1904 marks its complete independence, and the consummation of an
arrangement between it and the Supreme Council quite similar to that
prevailing in the United States between the Grand Lodges and the Supreme
Councils of the Scottish Rite, giving it exclusive control of the first three
degrees. It is true the lodges forming the Grand Lodge of France were of
Scottish Rite origin, but this is true of other Grand Lodges recognized by
Alabama, and even New York and Louisiana, and perhaps others now have
subordinate lodges working the Scottish Rite symbolic degrees. This Grand
Lodge has not in the past considered this as good ground for refusing
recognition, and your committee does not so consider it now.
confusion of the Grand Lodge with the Grand Orient of France it has been
frequently charged that the Grand Lodge is atheistical in its teachings. The
letter from which we have quoted above should be sufficient to refute this
accusation. Besides all the documents and correspondence of the Grand Lodge is
captioned "To the Glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe." As further
proof we cite the following from the pen of Brother Robert F. Gould, certainly
one foremost Masonic historian, in his "Concise History of Freemasonry,"
the auspices of the Supreme Council, there has of late been established a
Grand Loge de France, which works in the three Craft degrees, while the
Supreme Council itself takes sole charge of the 4-33. The new Grand Lodge is
desirous of putting a stop to the discussion in lodges of political and
religious questions, a practice which distinguishes the Masonry of France from
that of the generality of other countries where the consideration of such
questions is forbidden. The atheistical doctrine of the Grand Orient is not
shared by the Supreme Council of France."
seen above that the Grand Lodge of France emanated from the Supreme Council
and shares the same views and doctrines with it. The fact that its
constitution is silent concerning at belief in Deity proves nothing; the
constitution of our own Grand Lodge is silent on that Subject.
It is the
conclusion of your committee that the Grand Lodge of France is a regular
Masonic body and it has been recognized as such by the following Grand Lodges,
and doubtless others, within the last twelve months, viz., Iowa, Nevada,
Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Kentucky, Louisiana, District of Columbia, and
therefore, recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
That the Grand Lodge F. & A. M. of Alabama hereby recognizes "La Grand Loge de
France" as a regular, legitimate and independent governing body of symbolic
Masonry and the Grand Master is authorized and directed to arrange for an
exchange of representatives.
ORIENT OF FRANCE
duty of your Committee on Foreign Correspondence is to inquire into the claims
of the Grand Orient of France to recognition and to report thereon our
conclusions and recommendations. The task has proven a large one and on
account of the polemical character of most of the literature on the subject it
has been difficult to get all the facts. We believe, however, that we are in
possession of those that are material.
Orient is the oldest Masonic organization existing in France. According to its
own claims it dates back to 1736, but it is certain that it has had a
continuous history under its present name from the year 1796. Originally its
Masonry was derived from the Ancient Craft of England, but upon French soil it
underwent many changes in organization and ritual. Gradually it absorbed and
took control of a great number of degrees floating around as Masonic, but in
course of time by selection and elimination it evolved a system of seven
degrees of which the basis is those of Apprentice, Companion and Master,
corresponding to our first three degrees. From its origin till 1869, the Grand
Orient was recognized by and enjoyed the fraternal regard of all the Masonries
of the world. Since that date many of the grand lodges have refused to have
any Masonic relations with it.
reasons assigned for this have been the following:
system of organization and government.
it does not respect the territorial jurisdiction of other grand bodies.
it does not require the Bible to be displayed in its lodges.
it is agnostic in its teachings.
it dabbles in polities.
necessary to consider each of these objections separately and we trust the
brethren will bear with us if this report is somewhat lengthy.
Organization and Government.
Controlling as it does other degrees than the first three, the organization of
the Grand Orient at first appears to us somewhat complex, but it is sufficient
for our purpose in this connection to state that the fundamental body is, as
with us, the blue or symbolic lodge. The Supreme governing body is the General
Assembly, which meets once a year and is composed of one delegate elected from
each lodge and corresponds very closely to our Grand Lodge. The General
Assembly elects from others than its own members the Council of the Order,
consisting of thirty three members, who thereby become members of the General
Assembly. This Council of the Order exercises controlling authority over the
Craft generally between sessions of the General Assembly, within the limits
fixed by the Constitution and Regulations of the Order. It finds its nearest
counterpart among English speaking Grand Lodges in the Boards of General
Purposes, so well known among Grand Lodges of British-countries. The bodies
controlling the higher degrees known as "Chapters" and "Councils" have no
control whatever over the Symbolic lodges. The form of government and
organization of the Grand Orient has never except by a very few been regarded
as affording any obstacle to its recognition as a regular and sovereign
governing body of Symbolic Masonry.
committee have carefully read the constitution and regulations of the Grand
Orient, also an official pamphlet issued by it entitled "La Frane-Maconnerie
du Grand Orient de France," and we have found nothing in them to which a Mason
of the most exacting ideas could object. On the contrary, they afford many
evidences of the highest understanding and appreciation of Masonic principles.
and immediately following, many jurisdictions severed relations with the Grand
Orient because it recognized and established relations with a spurious Supreme
Council of the Scottish Rite organized in Louisiana by one Foulhouse, which
Supreme Council essayed to charter symbolic lodges of the three degrees. At
the December, 1869, Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alabama, this action
of the Grand Orient was severely criticised by the Grand Master and the
Committee on Foreign Correspondence but no action was taken. This cause of
discord, however, has long Since been removed and the Grand Orient has amended
its ways in this regard so we do not consider this as any longer material to
our present inquiry.
and Belief in Deity.
convenient to treat together the third and fourth objections above enumerated.
Beginning in 1878, there was a very general withdrawal of recognition of the
Grand Orient by the other Masonic powers because, it was charged, it had
professed atheism. What it had really done was to strike from its constitution
an affirmation of a belief in Deity. In our judgment the signification and
importance of this action has been greatly exaggerated. From its foundation
till 1849, the constitution of the Grand Orient contained no declaration of a
belief in Deity, yet during all those years the Grand Orient was fully
recognized by all the Masonic world. On August 10, 1849, the Grand Orient
inserted the following clause:
"Freemasonry has for its principles the existence of Deity and the immortality
of the soul."
September 14, 1877, there was substituted for this declaration the following:
has for its principles mutual tolerance, respect for others and for itself,
and absolute liberty of conscience."
change placed the Grand Orient back precisely where it had stood during all
the years prior to 1849, when, as already stated, it was recognized without
question by all the Masonic world. It is well to bear in mind that this change
was proposed by Brother Desmons, a Protestant Minister of the Gospel, who at
the time declared that this action was not to be regarded as a negation in any
sense of a belief in Deity. It was done to meet a charge made by the Roman
Catholic Church that Freemasonry was attempting to foster a spurious religion;
the purpose was to demonstrate, as has often been explained, that Freemasonry
did not attempt to usurp the function of the church. The wisdom of taking this
action for any such a reason could only be judged after a careful study of the
disturbed religious and political conditions of France at that time. But it
should be borne in mind that it is not the wisdom of the action but the right
of the Grand Orient to take it that we are concerned with. If they were within
their legitimate rights and powers as Masons, then we have no right to
excommunicate them because they did what we regard as an unwise or mistaken
thing. That they had the right to make this alteration in their constitution
can not be doubted. They simply eliminated what they themselves had put in
less than thirty years before and in so doing brought their constitution back
again, as they contend, into strict conformity to the original constitution of
the Grand Lodge of England, which was silent on both belief in Deity and the
immortality of the soul. Besides, the constitution of our own Grand Lodge and
of many other regular grand lodges are also silent on both these Subjects. In
this regard the Grand Orient is today no worse off than the Grand Lodge of
Alabama, yet with astonishing inconsistency it was on this precise ground that
the Grand Lodge of Alabama in 1878 based its action in severing relations with
the Grand Orient. The record of that action shows unmistakably that it was not
duly considered and was to some extent at least, if not decisively, influenced
by the fact that the Grand Orient had recently extended recognition as above
stated to the spurious Louisiana Supreme Council. We may dismiss this phase of
the question from further consideration with the confident conclusion that
there is nothing in it requiring us to treat the Grand Orient as a non-Masonic
or two later than the above change in its constitution, the Grand Orient made
certain alterations in its internal arrangement stand ritual. These
alterations added to the chorus of disapproval that had arisen against that
body. It is now necessary to examine these changes and this is by far the most
difficult portion of our task.
been favored by the Grand Orient with a printed copy of its Ritual of the
first three degrees. What we have said above of its Constitution and
Regulations we can repeat with emphasis of this Ritual. It is dignified and
impressive, agreeing in its outlines, with two important exceptions, with our
own ritual, though not so dramatic as ours. To any thing actually contained in
this Ritual no one could have the slightest objection. The two exceptions just
alluded to are in the nature of omissions.
be frankly admitted that the effect of these omissions in its ritual and
practices was that the Grand Orient (1) made it optional with its lodges to
display or not to display the Bible, and with its initiates to be obligated on
the Bible, or on such other book as they might deem more sacred, or on no book
at all, and (2) that it no longer exacted of them a declaration of a belief in
Deity. And here is where the battle has raged hottest around the question of
the recognition of the Grand Orient.
us face these questions squarely and not dodge them as some Grand Lodges have
done. We were once of the opinion that these two omissions barred the Grand
Orient from the category of Masonic bodies, but we have changed that opinion.
We have reached the conclusion that according to the original plan of Masonry
neither the display of the Bible in lodge nor the exaction of a belief in
Deity is essential to constitute a Masonic body.
approach a correct solution of these questions, it is necessary for brethren
to understand and bear constantly in mind that Masonry throughout all parts of
the world is not uniform. It would be narrow and provincial in the extreme for
the Grand Lodge of Alabama to draw the line on another grand lodge merely
because in some particular it departs from what Freemasonry in Alabama
requires. It is not to be denied that in making the two omissions above named
the Grand Orient waived two things which we have made essential to a Masonic
lodge in this State, but we must not fall into the conceited error that
Alabama Masonry is the standard by which to judge all others. To get this
universal standard we must go back to the original plan of Masonry as
exemplified by the earliest statement of the laws, principles, doctrines and
practices of modern Speculative Freemasonry. By universal agreement this is to
be found in "The Charges of a Free-Mason, extracted from the Ancient Records
of Lodges beyond Sea and of those in England, Scotland and Ireland for the use
of the Lodges in London; to be read at the making of New Brethren or when the
Master shall order it," drawn up in 1722 and first published by the Grand
Lodge of England in Anderson's First Book of Constitutions in 1723. They
appear in our Monitor under the name of "Ancient Landmarks." It is agreed by
Masons everywhere that any organization claiming to be Masonic which can
measure up to-the requirements of these "Charges" must be recognized as
legitimate Freemasonry. Dr. Albert G. Mackey enumerates these "Charges" as
among the documents of "sufficient authority to substantiate any principle or
to determine any disputed question of Masonic law."
question then is: (1) What do these "Ancient Landmarks" require concerning the
Bible? The answer is simple, "Nothing." There is not a word in them about the
Bible and the entire context is convincing that nothing on this point was
required. Prior to the promulgation of these "Ancient Landmarks" in 1723, we
have no evidence that any use was made of the Bible in lodge except to
obligate candidates upon it, precisely as witnesses and jurors in court were
sworn upon it at that date and as we have seen done within the past twenty
years. No one ever supposed that the oath was thereby made any more binding,
but it was done only to give form and added solemnity to the ceremony. There
is no evidence that the Bible performed any other function in lodge until the
year 1760, when on motion of William Preston (?) in the Grand Lodge of England
it was; made one of the Great Lights. From that date onward it has been
displayed by the Masonries of the British Isles and most other countries, but
the practice has never been uniform.
is not displayed on our altars now and never has been for the reason that
Masons are required to believe its teachings. We know that there is a very
large element of the Craft the world over who do not believe the teachings of
the New Testament. We know that many individual Masons do not believe portions
of the Old Testament. Hence, unless we are perpetrating a grim mockery, we do
not employ the Bible as a profession that we as a Society accept all its
teachings and doctrines. Many of us believe these, and none more strongly than
this committee, but the point we make is that Masonry as an organized society
does not and has never exacted this belief of its members. It can, therefore,
have no other place in our lodges than that of a symbol. In the ritual of the
very Grand Lodge that first made it one of the Great Lights, as well as in the
ritual of many other grand lodges, it is to this day termed one of "the three
great, though emblematical, Lights in Freemasonry." It is a symbol of Truth,
of Divine Truth, of all Truth, whether drawn from some book of Revelation or
from the great Book of Nature. The stern logic of the fact that we are
constantly admitting Hindus, Chinese, Mohammedans, Parsees and Jews, not one
of whom believes all the teachings of the Bible, forces the conclusion that
Masonry regards the Bible only as a symbol. When our rituals and monitors tell
us the Bible is one of the Great Lights in Masonry and that as such it is the
rule and guide to our faith, it can only be speaking symbolically as it
certainly is when speaking of the other two Great Lights, the square and the
compasses. It is the rule and guide to our faith because that which it
symbolizes, Truth, should rule and guide us in our faith, and in all our
beliefs, thoughts, words, and actions.
when it was first made a Great Light was long after the Masonry from which the
Grand Orient is descended had been carried over from England to France. It is,
therefore, folly to talk of the Grand Orient of France or any other grand body
for that matter, being bound by the action of the Grand Lodge of England taken
in 1760. Moreover, the formula used in England is not "the Bible" but "the
Volume of the Sacred Law," which would properly include only the first five
books of the Old Testament.
we unsupported in the views here expressed. We find ourselves in accord with
the highest Masonic authorities. Certainly one of the purest and ablest Masons
Alabama ever produced was Brother Daniel Sayre. He was long one of the most
distinguished Chairmen of our Foreign Correspondence Committee. In 1855 he
dealt with the question of the office of the Bible in the lodge. See his
report for that year, page 63. The Grand Lodge of Ohio had officially declared
that Freemasonry requires of its members a belief in the Bible. Brother Sayre
declares that he believes this "all wrong." He further says:
some Masons may teach the divine authenticity of the Holy Scriptures is true,
because some Masons are Christians; but Masonry does nothing of the sort but
leaves every man to his own opinions upon the subject as it does upon his
polities, his religion, his profession."
presume, will admit that Dr. Albert G. Mackey was one of the leading scholars
of the Masonic world during the first half of the last century. Few have
equalled and none have surpassed him in the mastery of our Symbolism. From his
"Encyclopedia of Masonry" we quote the following:
Bible is used among Masons as the symbol of the will of God, however it may be
expressed. And, therefore, whatever to any people expresses that will may be
used as a substitute for the Bible in a Masonic lodge Thus in a body
consisting entirely of Jews the Old Testament alone may be placed upon the
altar, and Turkish Masons may make use of the Koran, whether it be the Gospels
to the Christian, the Pentateuch to the Israelite, the Koran to the Mussulman,
or the Vedas to the Brahman, it everywhere Masonically conveys the same idea
that of the symbolism of the Divine Will revealed to
following is taken from Kenning's "Cyclopedia of Freemasonry." Its author was
Rev. A. F. A. Woodford, a noted divine of his day and at one time Grand
Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of England. He says:
are very tender of the conscientious rights of others and would be willing to
recognize the methods most binding on the individual conscience either of
religious assent or moral authority to the individual, the Bible remains open
in our midst as an emblem of Divine truth in which we believe and of that
moral law which we are bound to obey."
William C. Penick was one of the most distinguished and beloved Masons of
Alabama. He was long Chairman of this Committee. He has left on record for us
his views on this question. In 1866, the Grand Master of Minnesota had said
that "although a Mason is not required by the law of the order to reject a
candidate because of his unbelief of the Bible, yet I trust that every Mason
knowing that a candidate entertained such unbelief, would promptly exercise
his individual prerogative and promptly reject him." Brother- Penick gave it
as his opinion that the Grand Master of Minnesota had gone too far and that
Masonry did not require a belief in the Bible.
Joseph Fort Newton, author of "The Builders," one of the finest short
histories of Freemasonry, formerly of Iowa, but now pastor of one of the
greatest churches in London, England, in the November, 1915, issue of THE
BUILDER, page 264, says that "Masonry sees the Bible as a symbol of that
eternal Book of the will of God."
none was ever more thorough master of the symbolism of Masonry than Brother
Albert Pike. He says:
Bible is an indispensable part of the furniture of a Christian lodge only,
because it is the sacred book of the Christian religion. The Hebrew Pentateueh
in a Hebrew lodge and the Koran in a Mohammedan one belong on the altar; and
one of these and the square and compasses, properly understood, are the Great
Lights by which a Mason must walk and work."
the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts chartered a lodge in China with the expressed
understanding that an Islamite might and should be obligated on the Koran and
that a Hindu might have the Vedas spread before him.
Authorities to this effect might be multiplied indefinitely. They establish
three things (1) that the Bible is only a symbol, (2) that a Mason is not
required to believe its teachings and (3) that some other book may be
substituted for it.
If it is
a symbol only, if an initiate may reject its teachings in whole or in part, if
this power of substitution exists (and in the light of the foregoing
authorities we do not see how they can be denied) then the removal of the
Bible and replacing it with some other symbol of Truth may surely be done
without altering the essential character of the Fraternity. The Grand Orient
did not, therefore, place itself outside the Masonic pale by substituting for
it the Book of Masonic Law.
question in our inquiry is, (2) Does the failure of the Grand Orient to exact
of its initiates a profession of a belief in Deity deprive it of its Masonic
character? This question is fundamental and to answer it correctly we must
resort to fundamental principles and to the original authorities. We get
little help from the mass of controversial literature that has grown up around
do the "Ancient Landmarks," and by these we mean, as already explained, the
"Charges of a Free-Mason," as they appear in Anderson's First Book of
Constitutions, 1723, say on this subject? Again the answer is plain and
unmistakable. The very first article declares:
is oblig'd, by his Tenure, to obey the Moral Law; and, if we rightly
understand the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious
Libertine. But though in Ancient Times Masons were charg'd in every Country to
be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet 'tis now
thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all men
agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is to say to be
good men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or
Persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of
Union, and the means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must
have remain'd at a perpetual Distance."
us not forget that these "Charges of a Free-Mason" profess to be and plainly
are a faithful digest of the ancient teachings of the Craft; that they were
compiled by an eminent Presbyterian clergyman of the day; that they were
expressly approved and published by the Grand Lodge of England; and that they
have ever since been regarded by Masons the world over as the last word upon
proper Masonic teaching and practice. In other words, they are in the Masonic
world viewed in much the same light that Magna Charta or the Bill of Rights is
viewed in the political world. Not that they are absolutely unchangeable in
that they may not be added to, but any society which requires at the least
what these "Charges" require in this and other respects and which claims to be
Masonic can not be refused recognition as a Masonic body.
quotation above is positively every word contained in these "Charges of a
Free-Mason" concerning God and religion. Now let us analyze it. It declares
that "in ancient times" a certain rule prevailed but that for the present and
the future a new one has been adopted. It is useless to inquire critically
what that ancient rule was. If it was the same as the new then well and good.
If it differed it must give way in favor of the new. So in any event we need
inquire only what does the new rule require.
obliges the Mason "to obey the moral law." It obliges him "to that religion in
which all men agree." These are the only two obligations placed on him
concerning either God or religion. If, however, this article stopped here
there might have been doubt as to what religion is meant by that "in which all
men agree." It proceeds, therefore, at once to define this religion as meaning
"to be good men and true," or "men of honor and honesty." This Article further
leaves the "particular opinions" of Masons concerning God and religion "to
themselves." Whereby, it declares, "Masonry becomes the center of union" for
those who otherwise, because of their differing views on this subject, "must
have-remained at a perpetual distance." The purpose is unmistakable to unite
all "good men and true," all "men of honor and honesty," all who "obey the
moral law" into one society of friends, whose "particular opinions" and
"denominations or persuasions concerning God and religion had been keeping
apart and would otherwise continue to keep them apart. Yet, two hundred years
after that liberal and fraternal declaration, and in spite of it, we see "good
men and true, men of honor and honesty," those who "obey the moral law" still
being kept at a distance from each other by "their particular opinions," by
their "denominations or persuasions" concerning God and religion. Shall this
keeping them at a distance be made perpetual? If so, one of the great objects
of our Institution will be defeated.
Article further says "if we (i. e., the author) rightly understands the Art he
(the Mason) will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine." Note
the peculiar phraseology. The compiler does not say absolutely that a Mason
"will never be a stupid atheist nor irreligious libertine" and his language is
very far from meaning that an atheist or irreligious libertine can not be
admitted to the Society. He simply gives it as his opinion that a right
understanding of the Art will lead away from atheism and irreligious
therefore, we are to deny the Masonic character of the Grand Orient we must
seek elsewhere than in "The Charges of a Free-Mason" for authority on which to
base the denial. There is simply none to be had.
not, of course, know what were the teachings and requirements of the Masonic
rituals of 1723, but we must conclude that this declaration "concerning God
and religion" was not in conflict with the ritual. Anderson's work was
examined and solemnly approved by the Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master
and the Grand Wardens of the Grand Lodge of England and by the Masters and
Wardens of twenty particular lodges, as well as divers Brethren and Fellows in
and about the cities of London and Westminster. The Deputy Grand Master was
the distinguished Dr. J. T. Desaguliers who wrote the dedication for the work
and therein emphasizes the pains and accuracy with which Dr. Anderson had
discharged his task. He also informs us that the highly esteemed Duke of
Montagu, while Grand Master, gave it his "perusal and approbation" and that
Grand Lodge also approved it while the Duke was Grand Master. Now it would be
most remarkable if the Grand Lodge and all this array of Masons and Masonic
officials gave their endorsement to a public declaration of Masonic principles
concerning God and religion which was in conflict with the teachings and
requirements of their ritual. Only a deliberate purpose to mislead or defraud
could have prompted such a thing. Surely we are not prepared to convict them
of that. We may, therefore, safely conclude that the laws and ritual of the
original Grand Lodge in 1723 required no more of its initiates on the subject
of religion than that they should be good men and true, men of honor and
honesty, obeying the moral law. No one questions or has ever questioned that
the laws and ritual of the Grand Orient require that its members shall be men
of this character. No one questions or has ever questioned that the personnel
of the Grand Orient will compare favorably with that of any body of men of
similar size anywhere in the world. Some have questioned but none will ever
again question the greatness, the grandeur, the nobility of the French race,
the reservoir from which the Grand Orient draws its membership. The French
people have experienced many glorious periods in their history but never
before were they so universally acclaimed as among the very greatest and
bravest and most chivalrous people the world has ever produced.
We do not
question the power or the right of the Grand Lodge of Alabama to add the
requirements of a display of the Bible and a declaration of a belief in Deity.
On the contrary, we fully approve and indorse that action. We should be
violently opposed to any elimination by our Grand Lodge of those requirements,
because it would be an unwise and hurtful thing to do. We do not challenge the
right of Scandinavian Masonry to add the further requirement of a profession
of Christianity, but we should be violently opposed to any such requirement
being added by our Grand Lodge. Our proposition is that we may claim the right
to add to the original requirements, but when we do we must recognize the
right of others to stand squarely upon them.
Orient indignantly denies the charge that has been made against it that it is
agnostic. That it teaches or encourages its members in any such views is
plainly false. Its ritual, while demanding no profession, is calculated to set
any intelligent man to thinking seriously on the subject. The Grand Orient
does not pretend to solve the riddle of human life. According to its theory it
is for Masonry to propound the problem and to attempt to start its votary upon
a serious search for the answer. It recognizes that at last every man must
answer the question for himself.
questions propounded to the candidate at his initiation have this object. They
are: "Have you a religion?" "What is it?" "Do you practice your religion?" The
ritual lays down no answer. The candidate must frame his own answer. The
legend of Hiram Abif, identical with our version of it in its general
outlines, is introduced to teach similar lessons as with us. The acacia is
employed with the same symbolism. A part of the obligation of the Master's
acacia, symbol of rebirth and newness of life, I promise to instruct the
Companions and Apprentices to labor for the intellectual and moral
emancipation of Mankind."
regulation requires that the candidate shall be of "irreproachable reputation
and habits." An admonition is, "en order to employ well your life, reflect
upon death." Other portions of the ceremonies having the same purpose could be
cited. The Masonry of the Grand Orient rightly understood is not devoid of the
religious spirit and after all that is as much as Masonry anywhere attempts to
accomplish in the religious field. There is nothing better understood among
Masons than that it is not a religion; it is not a religious institution in
the sense that it is sen instrument for the propagation of religious
doctrines. It seeks only to stir the religious spirit, that is to say, to
beget an an attitude toward religion that keeps the mind in an open and
receptive mood for the acceptance of religious truth as the individual may
find it. Our investigation convinces us that the initiatory and other
ceremonies and the instructions of the Grand Orient are calculated to beget
this mental and spiritual attitude towards things religious, and that
therefore it fulfills all the requirements of Masonry according to its
original plans in this regard.
objection that has been made to the Grand Orient is that it dabbles in
politics. It is very true that in the dark days of the Third Republic,
immediately following France's crushing defeat by Germany in 1870-'71, when
monarchists and clericals were trying to reinstate the Empire, Masons, as
individuals and citizens, ranged themselves on the side of the Republic. It
cannot be denied that the excessive activities of some of these well known as
Masons brought discredit upon the Craft just as have evil or overzealous
Masons done on occasions in all countries. It is also true that even now they
discuss in lodge questions which we deem political and which are political in
the better sense of that term. But the matter ends with discussion. There is
no attempt to act on such questions as a body. The questions they discuss one
might also discuss to the benefit of both Masonry and the community. It is
strictly forbidden to draw the name of Masonry into party struggles. Section
15 of the Constitution says:
discussion of the acts of the civil authorities and all Masonic participation
in the struggles of political parties are forbidden."
official circular issued in 1886 says on this subject:
as citizens, the members of the Grand Orient are free in their political
actions, as Freemasons they must abstain from bringing the name and the flag
of Freemasonry into election conflicts and the competition of parties. All
political debates at Masonic meetings are strictly forbidden."
We do not
consider this charge against the Grand Orient worthy of serious consideration.
It originated with their clerical enemies (and clerical in France means Roman
Catholic). The charge was then taken up and frequently reechoed by others
not forbear quoting the opinion of one of the foremost and most learned
historians of the Craft, Brother J. G. Findel. He says:
excommunication of the Grand Orient of France; by the Masonic Grand Lodges is
an intolerant act of Popery, the negation of the true principles of the Craft,
the beginning of the end of cosmopolitan Freemasonry. The excommunication of
the Grand Orient of France only proves the sectarian mind of the
excommunicating Grand Lodges, which have forgotten that Masonry has for its
purpose to unite all good men of all denominations and professions; they
profess the separating element, and destroy the Craft and waste the heritage
of our more liberal and more tolerant forefathers."
only to add that during the past year the Grand Lodges of Kentucky, Louisiana,
New Jersey, Iowa, and no doubt others have extended unqualified recognition to
the Grand Orient. In Iowa this action was taken on the advice of that splendid
Mason and scholar, Brother Louis Block. Many others have authorized mutual
visitation. Investigation is convincing them that not only was the action of
the Grand Orient within the bounds set by the "ancient landmarks" of the Craft
but that the course pursued by the grand lodges towards it was unwarranted. We
have also reached these conclusions and we, theretore, recommend the adoption
of the following resolution
That the Grand Lodge F. & A. M. of Alabama hereby recognizes the Grand Orient
of France as a regular, sovereign and independent governing body of Symbolic
Freemasonry and we authorize and direct the Grand Master to arrange for an
exchange of Representatives.
LODGE "ALPINA" OF SWITZERLAND
Committee on Foreign Correspondence has had under consideration the question
of recognition and exchange of representatives with the Grand Lodge "Alpina"
of Switzerland, which is the sole supreme governing body of Symbolic Masonry
in that Republic. This Grand Body has never before been the subject of
official action on the part of the Grand Lodge of Alabama. It is, therefore,
proper that we should state briefly the results of our investigation.
history of the Grand Lodge "Alpina" of Switzerland begins with the founding of
the Lodge of Hope at Berne, by the Grand Orient of France in 1803. In 1818,
this lodge, having severed its connection with the Grand Orient, was erected
into a Provincial Grand Lodge by the Grand Lodge of England, modeled upon the
Constitutions of Anderson, but practicing the Schroeder ritual.
Freemasonry was first introduced into Switzerland, at Geneva, by English
Masons, in 1736. Lodges sprang up rapidly, and in 1737, George Hamilton was
appointed Provincial Grand Master. It would be bootless to attempt to trace
the devious course of Masonry in Switzerland during the period from 1737 to
1818. At least twice it was practically stamped out of existence.
it to say that the year 1816 found four systems in existence, (1) lodges
adhering to the Grand Orient of France, (2) the Grand Orient of the Helvetic
Rite, at Lausanne, (3) the Scots Directory or Rectified Rite, at Zurich (later
at Basle), and (4) the Lodge of Hope, at Berne. The French lodges gradually
dissolved; the Helvetic Rite became dormant or extinct; the Rectified Rite is
mentioned by Brother Robert F. Gould in his History of Freemasonry, Vol. III,
p. 295, as "on the wane, the antiquated Templar system"; while the Lodge of
Hope, as already stated, was formed into a provincial Grand Lodge under the
Grand Lodge of England, and is described as a "lusty young giant, prepared to
run his race and confident of victory."
the Provincial Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient of the Helvetic Rite both
dissolved, and their Masters and Wardens then formed the National Grand Lodge
of Switzerland, recognizing three degrees only. This left the Scottish
Directory, or the Rectified Rite, as the only rival of the Grand Lodge, and on
July 24, 1844, these were united, forming the National Grand Lodge "Alpina,"
whose constitutions, in the language of Brother Gould, "were almost identical
with those of England, both in spirit and machinery."
Periodically, between 1844 and 1869, the defunct Helvetic Rite, at Lausanne,
sought to regain its lost power and influence, but without success. The "Alpina"
continued to prosper, reviving old lodges and warranting new ones. In 1869,
the Helvetic Directory, at Lausanne, resolved itself into a sort of Supreme
Council under the name of the Rectified Scottish Helvetic Directory, and began
to exercise the power of a Grand Lodge to warrant symbolic lodges of the three
degrees. For several years there was a bitter struggle between it and the "Alpina,"
but in 1876, an understanding was reached whereby the "Alpina" secured
exclusive control over the three Craft degrees, and the Directory over the
additional degrees, and its symbolic lodges joined the "Alpina." The Supreme
Council, A. and A. S. Rite, has entered into similar agreement with the "Alpina,"
thus bringing about an arrangement substantially the same as exists between
Symbolic Masonry and the Scottish Rite in the United States.
foregoing it is apparent that, while there has been an infusion of certain
strains of foreign blood into the "Alpina," yet the stem of Swiss Freemasonry
is of English extraction. As to origin there can be no sound objection to the
recognition of the "Alpina" as a regular Grand Lodge.
So far as
constitution, principles, customs, and practices are concerned, we are unable
to find that they anywhere are in conflict with the best traditions and ideas
of the American Craft. The "Alpina" is recognized by many of the leading grand
lodges of-the world. We therefore recommend the adoption of the following
That the Grand Lodge "Alpina" of Switzerland is hereby recognized as a
regular, supreme governing body of Symbolic Masonry, and the Grand Master is
authorized to arrange for an exchange of representatives.