The Builder Magazine
August 1921 - Volume VII - Number
Frederick the Great, and His Relations with
Masonry and Other Secret Societies
TAKEN FROM THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE LADY CRAVEN
Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of the fourth earl of
Berkeley, was born on December 17, 1750. A sprightly and beautiful girl, she
had many love affairs, and was finally married to William, 6th Lord Craven.
She was unfaithful to him, having relations with the French ambassador, Count
de Guines, but was pardoned by her indulgent husband. After Lord Craven's
death she went to Germany and found a place in the train of the Margrave of
Anspach, to whom, after an unseemly friendship, and within three months after
the death of his wife, she was married. There is no need to detail her
history further, or print the long codicil of her titles, save to say that,
after having seen life in many courts, among them Russia, and after having had
a most mixed career of love affairs and intrigues, the Lady published her
"Autobiographical Memoirs" in 1826, when she was in her seventy-sixth year.
From these Memoirs the following chapter, with a few irrelevant paragraphs
omitted, has been taken: for what reason, the Masonic reader will immediately
discover for himself.
The best edition of the "Autobiographical Memoirs" of the
Margravine is published by John Lane under the title of "The Beautiful Lady
Craven"; the two volumes are attractive in appearance, as most of Lane's books
are, and halve been very ably edited by A. M. Broadley and Lewis Melville.
WE DISPATCHED a courier forward, after whose arrival at Berlin
the King sent eight fine horses to draw us through the sandy plains of
Prussia. The frost and snow in Bohemia had much damaged the springs and
wheels of our carriage; but we arrived without any serious injury or accident,
from a journey which was the most terrific I ever underwent; for if any thing
had ever happened to the Margrave, I and I alone, should have been accused of
doing him harm.
When we arrived at Berlin, the Carnival being ended, all the
Royal family were gone to their different villas; but His Majesty returned to
meet the Margrave at his palace; while I was left to the discretion of the
Princess Royal, afterwards Duchess of York, who had her own establishment in
the Royal Palace.
We remained here only four days, during which time I saw but
little of the Margrave, for he was constantly with the King. He informed His
Majesty that there had existed a mysterious correspondence among some of the
nobility of Bareith, and others at Anspach the object of which he supposed was
to form more distrusts between Austria and Prussia.
Frederick William II had succeeded to the throne on the death
of his uncle Frederick the Great, in 1786. He made many salutary regulations
for his subjects and established a Court of Honour to prevent the horrible
practice of duelling in his dominions.
As I was willing to gain all the information possible
respecting so great a character as Frederick the late King, it may easily be
imagined that I lost no opportunity which could be afforded me during my
residence among the Royal Family, and which, together with the Margrave's
knowledge of this illustrious man, and that of Prince Hardenberg, afforded me
After my marriage with the Margrave, we brought out from
Anspach a full-length portrait of the late King, for which he himself sat, for
the Margrave, whom he also presented another of his father, Frederick
William. The countenance and whole figure are striking resemblance of His
Majesty. The expression is surprisingly fine. I had it placed under a canopy
at Brandenburgh House, and those who have seen it can never forget it.
When Frederick ascended the throne he was only twenty-eight
years of age. lt is well known to all Europe how this great Prince profited by
the army left to him by his father, and the riches which he had accumulated.
He had been detested by the late King when he was Prince Royal, because he
appeared to apply himself to the sciences and fine arts rather than to
military affairs. Having followed his father to Wesel, he conceived the
project of passing into a foreign country. He had probably other motives than
those of gaining instruction by travels; no doubt it was to escape the tyranny
of his father: but the latter had gained information of his design, and
arrested him at the moment of its execution. He was tried by Commissaries who
had the firmness not to condemn him to lose his head. It might appear to be a
light crime for the presumptive heir of a kingdom to quit the realms without
the permission of his Sovereign; but such was the law. Of four-and- twenty
judges, only one was found who voted for the sentence of death, and that was a
person named Derschau; yet such was the magnanimity of Frederick when he came
to the throne, that this man never experienced from him the slightest
Frederick, his father, was on the point of renewing on the
theatre of Europe the scene of Don Carlos, or more recently that of Czarowitz.
The Prince was pardoned; but the unfortunate companion of his flight, his
friend and confidant, was decapitated.
Frederick has been accused by his enemies as having neither
shed a tear nor used an argument to induce his father to save this victim from
destruction. But I have been assured, from those who were present at the
scene, that when the unfortunate man was led to the scaffold, the Prince Royal
demanded his pardon with the effusions of a heart broken by grief; and that he
fainted more than once during the punishment, and in fact experienced the
greatest anguish. Before the execution he had tried every means in his power
to save him. In his despair, he had offered to his father to renounce the
throne forever, in order to preserve the life of his friend whom he loved: but
the inflexible Monarch, not satisfied with the sentence of the judges, who had
condemned him to the galleys for life, with his own hand signed his
death-warrant, alleging that there was no justification for the crime of high
treason, and treating his son's entreaties with indignation and contempt. Katt
was the grandson of a field-marshall, and son of a general of that name at
that time both alive and in the service of the King.
Frederick the Great was born with sensibility, but he learned
to suppress his emotions and his feelings; he saw how necessary it was to be
just, as well as merciful, during his long military career; and perhaps the
firmness which has been his reproach, was the greatest triumph of his nature.
After this event he retired to Rheinsberg, applying himself to
all kinds of acquirements; and here he learned to play on the flute, on which
instrument he excelled, not as a prince, but as an amateur of the first rank.
His allowance was extremely moderate, and his father had
vigorously forbidden any one to advance him money. This order was, however,
ill observed, and it has been objected against him that when King he never
repaid the obligations of his creditors. But the fact was otherwise; he paid
them in secret. The Minister of his father's finances had refused to advance
him money, and when the Prince ascended the throne this man was supposed to be
ruined, and on his coming to give in his accounts demanded permission to
retire; when the young King, to the astonishment of all round him, praised his
fidelity, begged him to continue his services, and doubled his salary.
What a different fidelity from that of the judges of poor Katt,
who considered blind obedience to the commands of their Sovereign as a proof
of fit submission to his authority!
It is a singular circumstance in the history of the House of
Bradenburgh, that during the space of 370 years, in which time the sovereignty
was in their hands, there was never experienced one minority.
Frederick enjoyed an immoderate reputation, and to a certain
point even the adoration of his contemporaries, not only as a warrior, but as
a governor of his empire, and as a profound politician. His assiduity was
indefatigable, and his skill in affairs of government transcendent. The
Government of Prussia appeared to rise from the seeds of despotism, and formed
a lesson of instruction to the world. Notwithstanding his exactness and his
inflexibility in war, he obtained the affections of his soldiers, who always
denominated him their Father Fritz. It was the name by which he was
familiarly called through the army.
The severity of his conduct towards Baron de Trenck (1) has
excited the indignation of mankind, and has been considered as a blot on his
escutcheon; but arbitrary order and rigorous detention have to be exercised in
other countries as well as in Prussia. Without pleading this as an excuse, I
shall endeavour, with impartiality, to remark on the leading points of the
justification of Frederick's conduct, derived from those who were acquainted
with the cause of such a punishment.
M. de Trenck had been forbidden by the King, whom he
acknowledged not only as his Sovereign, but as his benefactor, to write to his
uncle, who was a chief of the Pandours.
His injunctions were violated. The King demanded of him
personally whether he was in correspondence with his uncle. M. de Trenck
denied it. "Do you give me your word of honour of it?" said the King. "Yes,
Sire," was the answer. It was at the very time that Trenck had just written
to his uncle, that this dialogue passed. The discovery was made, and M. de
Trenck was sent to the fortress of Magdeburg: it was a punishment usual in the
Prussian service. M. de Trenck plotted his escape, and fled with an officer
whom he had seduced to desert, he killed those who pursued him. The King's
Resident at Dantzic, whither Trenck had fled, sent him back to his Sovereign.
Trenck had certainly violated every law - he had at first been disobedient,
then perjured - a rebel, and a murderer.
At Magdeburg, Baron de Trenck recommenced his devices: his
imprisonment was in consequence rendered more severe, and his confinement
lasted for ten years.
Trenck was six feet two inches high, and squinted: he was
popular, and always followed by thousands. After the death of Frederick he
published his Memoirs. At that period, all who were acquainted with the
groundwork of his history were dead: on his own testimony depends the whole of
his relation. Those whom he cites in his narrative have probably forgotten
the circumstances of so distant a date, but without recurring to vague
conjectures regarding the truth of this affair, or of the cruelty exercised
against him, M. de Trenck avows that he had intrigued with a person of
illustrious rank. If that person, as has been generally supposed, and which
from good authority I know to be the case, was the Princess Amelia, sister of
the King; if from this connection there were children who were deprived of
life by means the most horrible - what strong inducements might not the King
have had for visiting on Trenck a punishment of the severest kind, without
being under the necessity of explaining (from motives of decorum and decency)
the reasons which influenced him to such an act.
Frederick frequently broke his officers for causes light in
appearance; but he always had heavier charges against them, which were unknown
to the rest of mankind, and which he concealed for the purpose of preserving
As soon as Frederick ascended the throne, he invited into his
kingdom all those who were called les esprits forts: Voltaire, le Marquis
d'Argens, the Abbe de Prade, Maupertuis, and even the impious La Metrie. This
example encouraged the literary Germans to proclaim their sentiments, Berlin
became the asylum of the persecuted, and the nursery of truth.
The history of the secret societies of Germany was at that time
little known. It might be interesting to a philosopher, but the generality of
people might regard it as a romance: all well-informed persons can attest the
reality of it.
Towards the end of the last century an association, or secret
society, existed, which was daily gaining ground. It was the Order of the
Illumines. The chiefs of this Order had resolved to form an association which
was to unveil the mysteries of superstition, to enlighten mankind, and to
render them happy. Their object was to gain a superiority over the lodges of
Freemasonry, (2) and to turn these institutions from darkness to the benefit
of humanity. They proposed to extend the sphere of knowledge universally, not
so much in depth as on the surface; to introduce reason and good sense; to
ameliorate the condition of men by an insensible operation. No Prince,
however great or good, was to be admitted. They swore to preserve, as much as
was in their power, Sovereigns from the perpetration of crimes, and from the
commission of errors; to abolish the slavery of despotism, to destroy
ecclesiastical jurisdiction, to favour the liberty of the press, and to unveil
mysteries of every description.
The project was great noble and sublime; but prudence was
wanting in its execution. They expected to see a sudden effect, whilst they
forgot that the edifice was only building. The society enlarged, the wicked
and designing were admitted; the powers of bigotry and superstition saw the
force of their enemy, and the arm of Government was called to their
assistance. Many of the chiefs were driven from Germany, others were
imprisoned, and every thing but death and torture inflicted on them.
The dispersed members of this association soon formed another
assembly; they were again surprised, their papers taken, and their doctrines
published, without regard to the effects which they might produce. Many sects
arose from these, which rendered discord prevalent throughout Germany. Their
different Orders had little resemblance to Freemasonry - they were visionary,
mystical, and cabalistic.
Frederick had too sound an understanding to be caught in the
snares of enthusiasm. It is not known whether the attempt were made to conquer
him, but it is most probable that he was never tried. Nor is it certain when
the area or how the nature of the misunderstanding between this Monarch and
the superiors of the Order of Freemasonry began. Whether he was ignorant of
the machinations of modern Masonry, of the visions and the horrors which were
latterly raised, or of the general tendency of these mysterious associations;
or whether having once adopted the Masonic costume, and having openly
protected its Orders, he did not wish, even after having seen its evil
tendencies, to retract and to separate from a society into which he had
erewhile not disdained to enter - he refrained from excluding from his
dominions these secret associations.
Masons of every denomination - Rosicrucians, Centralists,
Illuminate - had all, under his reign, the liberty of establishing lodges and
societies according to their fancy, provided they did not disturb the public
Thus Berlin became the receptacle of sects, of parties, of
conjurations, of chemical mysteries, and of extravagances of every kind.
In the meantime instruction was not neglected, and Frederick
supported and protected every institution which might extend education
throughout his kingdom. Rousseau had written his Emilius - a work the most
perfect of its kind, and which places the author incontestably in the rank of
the first of benefactors to mankind; in Germany this production became as a
torch which extended its light throughout; it opened to the system of
education new views. Youth was taught not by words alone, and those in an
unknown language - but he gave them clear ideas of natural things, of moral
and physical relations, of mechanism, of history, and of geography.
Frederick did not lose sight of the good effects of such a
system of education; and to promote it, established a Consistory, which was to
superintend every institution, and at the head of which he placed himself. He
procured masters, and did not blush to render homage to the superiority of the
institution which he had promoted. The example of the Sovereign excited the
nobility and gentry of the nation, and Frederick inspired in his subjects an
admirable and laudable competition.
It was in one of those moments which in human life are so
contradictory to the general sentiments of the mind, that Frederick, hearing
the news of the proscription of the Jesuits in France, by the public
functionaries, exclaimed, "Pauvres gens! ils ont detruit les renards qui les
defendaient des loups, et ils ne voient pas qu'ils vont etre devores."
Frederick had sanctioned and approved the writing of the
philosophers; he had become a philosopher himself. Heveltius had published
his work De I'Esprit in France, and to avoid punishment had fled to England.
Le Contrat Social of Rosseau had found protection among the magistracy; and
the Parliaments had defended Doderpt's declaiming against despotism. The
Court and Clergy had admired Voltaire's ridiculing the Parliaments. There has
been exaggeration, when it has been said that the philosophers proposed by a
regular plan to subvert the foundations of societies and thrones: they worked
to that effect without being sensible of it. They did not wish to be the
destroyers, but the preceptors, of monarchs: and had Montesquieu only produced
his work Sur les Romains, and his Esprit des Lois; had Beccaria only written
his Traite des Delits et des Peines; had Voltaire only refuted Machiavel, and
defended Calas, Scriven, and Lally; had pleaded the cause of nature, of
morality, and of religion; and had the Encyclopedists respected the principles
of religion alone - they would have been entitled to the indulgence of the
world. But the discussion of one subject led to a another, and in the
correction of abuses they proceeded beyond the bounds which they had
prescribed. Then it was, that one of the greatest Kings who ever wore a crown
figured in the correspondence of philosophy: then it was, that he pronounced
in his Academy the eulogy of the man who wrote L'Homme Machine, ("Man, a
Machine"-Ed.) and that he compelled his churches to celebrate obsequies of the
man who had endeavoured to undermine the foundation of Christianity.
This influence spread throughout Europe: it penetrated into
every class. Diderot, D'Alembert, and Condoreet, united their forces in the
operation. Then the sects of the Illuminate, who had associated for the
destruction of revealed religion, overthrew its foundations, as far as
regarded themselves, and introduced a new code founded on natural morality,
which led to the system of primitive equality.
Even Frederick himself proved that a king, though a man of
letters, could not sustain with dignity the sceptre of literature. Some
unfortunate members defiled the character of his Academy; but Euler and La
Grange were an eternal honour to it. Some men of high estimation were
associated with others of obscure and even ridiculous talents: their
inequalities were great.
It was a prejudice generally spread throughout Germany, that
the province of Prussia, and Berlin in particular, was peopled with Atheists.
Because Frederick encouraged freedom of thought in his dominions; because he
collected and united about his person men of genius; because, under his reign,
some irreligious books escaped from the Prussian press - this conclusion, as
absurd as precipitate, was adopted. M. Nicolai, a distinguished writer and
bookseller of Berlin, (a union very rare, though it were to be desired that it
were more general,) had depicted Berlin in a romance with great truth; and his
work displays excellent notions on the manners of Germany. He has shown, that
if, in general, there are some Freethinkers in the Prussian provinces, the
people at large are attached to the national religion.
Towards the end of the seven years' war, a man named Rosenfeld,
in the service of the Margrave of Schwedt, quitted the service of that prince,
and began to inform the populace that he was the new Messiah; that Jesus had
been a false prophet; that the preachers were rogues and liars, who preached
death; that for himself he preached life, since his adherents never died; that
the King of Prussia was the Devil; that the time approached when he
(Rosenfeld) should assemble together the twenty-four Elders, and should obtain
the sword, and govern the world with their assistance.
Rosenfeld prevailed on some of his adherents to deliver over to
him seven girls, of whom the zealous fanatics were the fathers. It was, he
said, to open the seven seals that he required seven virgins. With these he
formed a seraglio: one of them was his favourite Sultana; he made the others
work, and lived upon the profit of their labours. After having carried on the
trade of a Messiah for twenty-nine years, under different mischanges; first
poor, then imprisoned, afterwards entertained by the presents of his votaries,
and living habitually by means of the wool which his mistresses spun; after
acquiring disciples in Berlin and its environs, in Saxony, and even at
Mecklenburg - one of his faithful followers, who had in vain expected to reap
the fruit of his splendid promises - even one of those who had delivered over
to him three of his daughters, accused him before Frederick; that is to say,
denied his Messiah, who he believed to be the true God, before the King, whom
he believed to be the true Devil. This very accuser always regarded Rosenfeld
as the real Messiah, and only wished that the King could compel him to realize
his prodigious offers.
The King sent Rosenfeld to a natural tribunal, which condemned
him to be whipped, and shut up for the remainder of his days at Spandau. The
Supreme Tribunal commuted this sentence, and pronounced that this new Messiah
should be sent to the House of Correction, where he should be flogged as often
as he at attempted to have an adventure of gallantry, and after two years that
a report should be made of his manner of conducting himself. The defenders of
the accused appealed: the King revised the process, and confirmed the severer
sentence of the first tribunal. He imagined, without doubt, that it was
necessary that Rosenfeld should be punished in the sight of the people, to
prevent them from being in future deceived through similar visions.
But the most absurd opinions are often the most tenacious,
because they have no perceptible basis by which they may be measured; and this
spectacle did not undeceive any of the adherents of Rosenfeld, a great number
of whom remained attached to him.
He went afterwards to preach his doctrines at Charlottenberg,
hardly a mile from the capital; but he found that this theatre was too small
for two fanatics like himself and Musenfeld. The Government, without doubt,
tired with his persevering enthusiasm, overlooked his folly and left him in
repose. . . .
Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, (3) the conqueror of Creveldt and
of Minden, was induced, by the persuasion of the Baron de Hund, who was a
Reformer, to place himself at the head of the reformed Lodges of Freemasonry,
which has taken the appellation of the Strict Observance. It was supposed to
be an Order of Freemasonry which was a continuation of the Society of Knights
Templer: the highest step was that of a Templar, with all the ceremonies of
ancient chivalry. Doctors of divinity and professors of Physic were received
as Chevaliers d'Epee. It is hardly possible to conceive that reasonable beings
could lend themselves to ideas so ridiculous; example, however, did
everything, and enthusiasm was contagious. In this branch of the Order there
reigned a monastic despotism, and men who led away by rites and ceremonies.
The members alone possessed the secret; those out of the Order could never
tell where or what it was.
As no woman can possibly be a Mason, every woman has a right to
endeavour to penetrate the mystery. (4) It is admitted that Adam was the first
Mason; he founded the first lodge - he had all the instruments necessary for
the purpose - he produced the mortar;- without Eve there would have been no
lodge. Where is the mystery of Masonry, if the idea be followed up? Having
created the lodge, he made members for it: those members created others, and
the society extended over the globe; and while the globe exists, members will
never be wanting. Over this secret I will throw the apron!
When the minds of men were sufficiently heated, the actor of
this drama caused to appear upon the scene the Thaumaterges, or
miracle-workers. These appeared to have ordinarily no relation with
Freemasonry in general, but attached themselves to personages eminent for rank
or fortune. One of the first of these charlatans was Schroepfer, a
coffeehouse-keeper of Leipsic, on whom Duke Charles of Courland (5) had
inflicted corporeal punishment; but who afterwards so fascinated this Prince,
and a greater part of the principal personages of Dresden and of Leipsic, that
he compelled them to act a principal part with him.
At that time were reproduced on the theatre of Europe the
follies of Asia and of China - the universal medicine - the art of making gold
and diamonds - the beverage of immortality. The peculiar qualification of
Schroepfer was the invocation of manes; he commanded spirits, and caused the
dead and the invisible powers to appear at his will. The denouement of his
drama is well known. After having consumed immense sums which he obtained
from his adherents, and alienated their senses, when he found that he could no
longer sustain the imposture, he shot himself through the head with a pistol,
in a wood near Leipsic.
To Schroepfer succeeded Saint-Germain, who had been before
announced by the Comte de Lambert. This Saint-Germain had lived a thousand
years; he had discovered a tea, before which all maladies disappeared; he
made, for his amusement, diamonds of immense magnitude! He attached himself to
Prince Carles of Hesse; (6) but, like his predecessors, he forgot not to die.
In the meantime Gessner, religious miracle-worker, appeared in
the environs of Ratisbon. He did not belong to the Freemasons, nor did he
attach himself to any of the principal members of the Order; but he was
equally useful to it, - for all the prodigies of which he was heard to speak
corroborated the general faith of miracles, which was one of the great springs
of the machine. In the heart of Switzerland lived a preacher of an ardent
imagination - of a penetrating mind - of immeasurable ambition - of undaunted
pride; am ignorant man, but gifted with the talent of speech - intoxicated
with mysticism - eager after prodigies - and made up of credulity. He
imagined that, with faith, miracles might at this time be effected. Servants,
peasants, Roman Catholic priests, Freemasons - all combined in his mind as
contributing to the gift of miracle-working, whenever he discovered the
slightest appearance of anything extraordinary.
M. Lavater (7) gained a great party, particularly among the
women; these brought him the men - and he had soon thousands, and subsequently
millions, of followers after his visionary ideas.
After these, succeeded Mesmer (8) and Cagliostro (9) (whose
tricks and extravagances are well known), without reckoning the crowds of
madmen, of charlatans, of jugglers of every kind, who sprang up on all sides.
This concourse of knaves, far from appeasing the divisions of
Freemasonry, augmented the fermentation. A new branch arose in the dominions
of Frederick: it was called the Lodge of Zizendorf, from the name of its
founder. This Zizendorf had been formerly a member of the Templars, from
which Order he detached himself, and formed a great party, assuring them that
he alone had the true rites and the true mysteries. Each of these branches
decried the other. This new agitation attracted the attention of men of sound
understanding (at least of the Order), who immediately formed a new
association under the name of Eclectic Masonry. They professed a general
toleration of all sects of the Order; and this system, which was the only
solid one (if any system of the kind can be so), gained in a short time many
partisans. This was the cause of the fall of the Order of Templars, who soon
saw their machine in ruins. Frequent Chapters were held, where the deputies
of the provinces deliberated; and, with surprise, the first question they
found they had put to the Grand Master was, What is the true end of the Order,
and its real origin? Thus the Grand Master, and all his assistants, had
laboured, for more than twenty years, with incredible ardour, for an object of
which they neither knew the true end nor the origin. Thus puzzled and
perplexed, the system of the Templars was abandoned, and an Order instituted
of the Chivalry of Beneficence.
Every secret association has something of resemblance to a
conspiracy, and it is incumbent on every Government to watch over it. But
some consideration must be paid to the characters of the members. If they
will not bear the test of inspection, doubtless measures should be taken to
prevent their increase, with moderation and prudence. And when it is
more-over remembered that Sweden lost its constitution from these
associations, which are frequently composed of men profound in design and
indefatigable in perseverance, no means should be laid aside which may develop
their plans. . . .
(1) Frederick von der Trenck (1726-1794), a native of
Konigsberg. His arrest at Dantzic in 1754 caused a great sensation throughout
Europe. He was not liberated until 1756. He was denouched as a spy in France,
and guillotined July 25, 1794. (2) Frederick the Great was, however, an ardent
Freemason, and as such was instrumental in arranging the initiation into, the
Order of more than one member of the British Royal Foraily. (3) Charles
William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick (1735 - 1806) killed at the battle of
Jena. He was an ardent Freemason, and entered into friendly relations with the
English Grand Lodge. (4) The Margravine in this instance is mistaken. Masonry
of Adoption, or Feminine Freemasonry, was extensively practised in France and
on the Continent. Marie Antoinette and her sister Caroline, Queen of Naples,
both belonged to the Order of which the unfortunate Princesse de Lamballe was
for a time Grand Mistress. (5) Charles, Duke of Courland (b. 1728). (6)
Brother of the reigning Landgrave William IX. Born 29 Dec, 1744. (7) Johann
Caspar Lavater (1741-1801). (8) Friedrich Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). (9)
Alexander Cagliostro (1745-1795). His connection with Freemasonry is fully,
but not exhaustively, described in Mr. W.R. H. Trowbridge's biography (1910).
(10) La Metrie wrote a book called "Man, a Machine." It was published in this
country by the Open Court Company of Chicago.
A Postscriptural Preachment by the Editor:
The editor begs indulgence of the veteran Masonic student while
he administers a preachment to the young students in the Craft, using the
above as a text for the same. Those young students are asked to use the Lady
Craven article as a kind of laboratory task whereby to examine two or three
rather important canons of historical study. They are asked, nay, urged to
sharpen their young critical faculties on the intriguing paragraphs of the
Beautiful Lady, for they will not soon encounter again so useful a specimen.
They are asked to note first, that the Lady Craven received
nearly all her information at second-hand, and then not often from
authoritative sources. This, at one stroke, removes her narrative, which is
so well-informed upon the surface of it, from the class of genuine historical
sources, and renders all she says (with all due respect to the memory of the
clever grande madame) more or less suspect. What is gossip worth as evidence?
Nothing! In history gossip is almost useless, more especially in those
passages whereabout much controversy has raged. When you undertake the study
of Masonic authors bear in mind that you are ever to stand on your guard
against the easy sin of accepting gossip at its face value. Ascertain first
of all if your author had access at first-hand to his sources of information:
if he did not, next ascertain, if you can, how reliable were his informants.
Accounts of Masonry, no more than any other chapters of history, are not to be
taken on anybody's mere say-so, even though the say-soer himself wore the
apron. In other words, the laws of evidence are in full force in the Masonic
province. Masonic Scholarship! what crimes have been committed in thy name by
those who have forgotten this simple fact! In the second place, it is always
necessary to ascertain the competency of the author himself (or herself) to
deal with the matter in hand. Facts themselves are useless to one incapable
of thought. What impression of the intellectual capacities of the Beautiful
Lady do you gain from the above, especially from that diverting paragraph in
which she develops a quite Jesuit bit of argument drawn from the eventful
experiences of Adam and Eve? Does it anywhere appear that she knows anything
about Masonry herself? Would a well-informed writer have mixed together the
Illuminati, the Thaumaterges, the Messiah Worshippers and all that into one
whole and dubbed the thing Masonry? It is evident that the Beautiful Lady knew
nothing about her subject, even though more than once she clearly attempts to
make the reader believe that she has seen behind the curtains of it all. When
one is being invited to receive a palpable deceit it is well that he become
sceptic at once and read on with a grain of salt.
Note another thing, not closely connected with the above.
Suppose that you have read another account of Frederick's doings in Masonry,
etc., and that, as would be very sure to happen, your author's account would
violently disagree with that furnished by the Beautiful Lady: how would you
decide in your mind which of the two to believe, or whether either one might
be true in his (or her) statements? In such a dilemma it is wise to refer the
matter to the experts. The experts may disagree, that is true. They often
do, and in that case one must let his judgment hang in suspense: but usually
on important matters, and where there is much available data, the experts are
sure to be in general agreement, and if so it is seldom difficult to learn
what are their conclusions. (THE BUILDER exists in order, among other things,
to make accessible to Masonic students the work of Masonic experts). It
happens that THE BUILDER published. recently an opinion by an expert on some
of the very things about which Lady Craven writes so engagingly. In the month
of December for last year you will find Arthur Edward Waite's reply (and what
a thrilling reply it was!) to the canards against Freemasonry published by the
London Morning Post. Look up that article and read what that "master of those
who know" had to say about Frederick the Great, and the Illuminati, etc.
(Wouldn't it be "rich" to read a reply from Brother Waite to the article on
Freemasonry published in the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia? Such a reply would
surpass the one referred to above, and would be worth going miles to see!)
Lastly, when the beginner makes his debut into the field of
Masonic lore he soon grows dizzy at the complexity of it all, begins to
realize too keenly his own ignorance, and is tempted to abandon it all at the
start. Brother Beginner, do nothing of the kind. Put up with your helpless
sense of bewilderment while you doggedly wade through six or seven volumes of
Masonic history: After awhile the country will begin very gradually to
disclose itself; you will see the great landmarks emerging from the mist; and
finally the highways will stand clearly revealed. After that it is no trouble
to walk therein. You will gain confidence in yourself; you will not abase
yourself any more at the feet of every author you encounter; you will come at
last to have an informed judgment on Masonic matters and to trust that
judgment. Long before you have reached that satisfactory stage you will have
learned enough to see that any writer who lumps together a great variety of
secret societies, religious cults, and private fanatics and calls the whole
thing Freemasonry, is not a writer whose pages are to be taken seriously.
ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND FREEMASONRY
BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, ENGLAND
L. LORENTE, the author of the History of the Inquisition, who
was himself secretary of one of the Inquisition tribunals, canon of the
Primatical Church of Toledo, Chancellor of the University of that city, Knight
of the Order of Charles III, and member of the Royal Academies of History and
of the Spanish Language at Madrid, has left on record the following lengthy
statement concerning M. Tournon's appearance before the Inquisitors.. He says:
"M. Tournon, a Frenchman, had been invited into Spain and
pensioned by the government in order to establish a manufactory of brass or
copper buckles and to instruct Spanish workmen. On 30th April, 1757, he was
denounced to the Holy Office as suspected of heresy by one of his pupils, who
acted in obedience to the commands of his confessor.
"The charges were: (1), That M. Tournon had asked his pupils to
become Freemasons, promising that the Grand Orient of Paris should send a
Commission to receive them into the Order, if they should submit to the trials
he should propose, to ascertain their courage and firmness; and that their
titles of reception should be expedited from Paris; (2), that some of these
young workmen appeared inclined to comply if M. Tournon would inform them of
the object of the Institution. That, in order to satisfy them, he told them
severally extraordinary things, and showed them a sort of picture on which
were figured instruments of architecture and astronomy. They thought that
these representations related to sorcery and they were confirmed in the idea
on hearing the imprecations, which M. Tournon said were to accompany the oath
"It appeared from the depositions of three witnesses that M.
Tournon was a Freemason. He was arrested and imprisoned on 20th May, 1757, at
Madrid, The following conversation which took place in the first audience of
monition, is of interest. After asking his name, birthplace, and his reasons
for coming to Spain, and making him swear to speak the truth, the Inquisitor
"Q. Do you know or suppose why you have been arrested by the
Holy Office? "A. I suppose it is for having said that I was a Freemason. "Q.
Why do you suppose that? "A. Because I have informed my pupils that I was of
that Order, and I fear they have denounced me, for I have perceived lately
that they speak to me with an air of mystery, and their questions lead me to
believe that they think me a heretic. "Q. Did you tell them the truth? "A.
Yes. "Q. You are then a Freemason? "A. Yes. "Q. How long have you been so? "A.
For twenty years. "Q. Have you attended the assemblies of Freemasons? "A. Yes,
at Paris. "Q. Have you attended them in Spain? "A. No. I do not know if there
are any lodges in Spain. "Q. If there were, would you attend them?. "A. Yes.
"Q. Are you a Christian, a Roman Catholic? "A. Yes, I was baptized in the
parish of St. Paul, at Paris "Q. How, as a Christian, can you dare to attend
Masonic assemblies, when you know, or ought to know, that they are contrary to
religion? "A. I do not know that; I am ignorant of it at present, because I
never saw or heard anything there which was contrary to religion. "Q. How can
you say that, when you know that Freemasons profess indifference in matters of
religion, which is contrary to the Article of Faith which teaches us that no
man can be saved who does not profess the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman
religion? "A. Freemasons do not profess that indifference. But it is
indifferent if the person received into the Order be a Catholic or not. "Q.
Then the Freemasons are an anti-religious body? "A. That cannot be, for the
object of the Institution is not to combat or deny any religion, but for the
exercise of charity towards the unfortunate of any sect, particularly if he is
a member of the Society. "Q. We prove that indifference is the religious
character of Freemasons, that they do not acknowledge the Holy Trinity, since
they only confess one God, whom they call T.G.A.O.T.U., which agrees with the
doctrine of heretical Philosophies, who say that there is no true religion but
only religion, in which the existence of God, the Creator only is allowed, and
the rest considered as a human invention. And as M. Tournon has professed
himself to be the Catholic religion he is required by the respect he owes to
our Saviour, Jesus Christ, true God and true man, and to His Blessed Mother,
the Virgin Mary, our Lady, to declare the truth according to his oath,
because, in that case, he will acquit his conscience, and it will be allowable
to treat him with that mercy and compassion which the Holy Office always shows
towards sinners who confess; and if, on the contrary, he conceals anything he
will be punished with all the severity of justice, according to the holy
Canons of the laws of the kingdom. "A. The mystery of the Holy Trinity is
neither maintained nor combatted in the Masonic lodges; neither is the
religious system of the natural philosophies approved or rejected. God is
designated as T. G. A. O. T. U., according to the allegories of the
Freemasons, which relate to architecture. In order to fulfil my promise of
speaking the truth, I must repeat that, in Masonic lodges, nothing takes place
which concerns any religious system, and that the subjects treated of are
foreign to religion, under the allegories of architectural works. "Q. Do you
believe, as a Catholic, that it is a sign of superstition to mingle holy and
religious things with profane things ? "A. I am not sufficiently acquainted
with the particular things which are proscribed as contrary to the purity of
the 'Christian religion; but I have believed till now that those who confound
the one with the other either by mistake or a vain belief, are guilty of the
sin of superstition. "Q. Is it true that in the ceremonies which accompany the
reception of a Mason, the crucified image of our Saviour, the corpse of a man,
and a skull, and other objects of a profane nature, are made use of ? "A. The
general statutes of Freemasonry do not ordain these things: if they are made
use of, it must have arisen from a particular custom, or from the arbitrary
regulations of the members of the body, who are commissioned to prepare for
the receptions of candidates; for each lodge had particular customs and
ceremonies. "Q. That is not the question; say if it is true that these
ceremonies are observed in Masonic lodges. "A. Yes, or no, according to the
requirements of those who are charged with the ceremonies of initiation. "Q.
Were they observed when you were initiated? "A. No. "Q. What oath is necessary
to take on being received a Freemason? "A. We swear to observe secrecy. "Q. On
what? "A. On things which it may be inconvenient to publish. "Q. Is this oath
accompanied by execrations? "A. Yes. "Q. What are they? "A. We consent to
suffer all the evils which can afflict the body and soul if we violate, the
oath. "Q. Of what importance is this oath, since it is believed that such
formidable execrations may be used without indecency? "A. That of good order
in the Society. "Q. What passes in these lodges which it might be inconvenient
to publish? "A. Nothing, if it is looked upon without prejudice; but as people
are generally mistaken in this matter, it is necessary to avoid giving cause
for malicious interpretations; and this would take place if what passes when
the brethren assemble was made public. "Q. Of what use is the crucifix, if the
reception of a Freemason is not considered a religious act? "A. It is
presented to penetrate the soul with the most profound respect at the moment
that the novice takes the oath. It is not used in every lodge and only when
particular grades are conferred. "Q. Why is the skull used? "A. "That the
idea of death may inspire a horror of perjury. "Q. Of what use is the corpse?
"A. To complete the allegory of Hiram, architect of the temple of Jerusalem;
who, it is said, was assassinated by traitors, and to induce a greater
detestation of assassination and every offence against our neighbours, to whom
we ought to be as benevolent brothers. "Q. Is it true that the festival of St.
John is celebrated in the lodges, and that Masons have chosen him for their
patron? "A. Yes. "Q. What worship is rendered him in celebrating his festival?
"A. None; that it may not be mingled with profane things. This celebration is
confined to a fraternal repast, after which a discourse is read, exhorting the
guests to beneficence towards their fellow creatures, in honour of God, the
Great Architect, Creator, and Preserver of the Universe. "Q. Is it true that
the sun, moon, and stars are honoured in the lodges? "A. No. "Q. Is it true
that their images or symbols are exposed? "A. Yes. "Q. Why are they used? "A.
In order to elucidate the allegories of the great, continual, and true light
which the lodges receive from the Great Architect of the world, and these
representations belong to the brethren, and encourage them to be charitable.
"Q. M. Tournon will observe that all the explanations he has given of the
facts and ceremonies which take place in the lodges are false and different
from those which he voluntarily communicated to other persons worthy of
belief; he is, however, again invited by the respect he owes to God and the
Holy Virgin to declare and confess the heresies of indifferentism, the errors
of superstition which mingle holy and profane things, and the errors of
idolatry which led him to worship the stars: this confession is necessary for
the acquittal of his conscience and the good of his soul; because if he
confesses with sorrow for having committed these crimes, detesting them and
humbly soliciting pardon (before the fiscal accuses him of these heinous sins)
the holy tribunal will be permitted to exercise towards him that compassion
and mercy which it always displays to repentant sinners; and because he is
judicially accused, he must be treated with all the severity prescribed
against heretics by the holy canons, apostolic bulls and the laws of the
kingdom. "A. I have declared the truth and if any witnesses have deposed to
the contrary, they have mistaken the meaning of my words, for I have never
spoken on this subject to any but the workmen in my manufactory, and then only
in the same sense convey by my replies. "Q. Not content with being a
Freemason, you have persuaded other persons to be received into the Order, and
to embrace the heretical pursuits and pagan errors into which you have fallen.
"A. It is true that I have requested these persons to become Freemasons,
because I thought it would be useful to them if they travelled into foreign
countries, where they might meet brethren of their Order who could assist them
in any difficulty; but it is not true that I encouraged them to adopt any
errors contrary to the Catholic faith, since no such errors are to found in
Freemasonry, which does not concern any points of doctrine. "Q. It has been
already proved that these are not chimerical; therefore let M. Tournon
consider that he has been a dogmatizing heretic, and that it is necessary that
he should acknowledge it with humility, and ask pardon and absolution for the
censures which he has incurred; since if he persists in his obstinacy he will
destroy both his body and soul; and as this is the first audience of monition
he is advised to reflect on his condition, and prepare for the two other
audiences which are granted by the compassion and mercy which the holy
tribunal always feels for the accused."
M. Tournon was taken back to the prison and persisted in
giving the same answers in the two remaining audiences. When brought before
the court when the fiscal presented his act of accusation he confessed facts
but explained them as he had done before. He refused to choose an advocate on
the ground that Spanish lawyers were not acquainted with the Masonic lodges
and were as much prejudiced against them the public. He therefore thought it
better to acknowledge that to was wrong and might have been deceived from
being ignorant of particular doctrines; he demanded absolution and offered to
perform any penance that might be imposed on him, adding that he hoped the
punishment would be moderate on account of the good faith which he had shown
and which he always preserved, seeing nothing but beneficence practised and
recommended in the Masonic lodges without denying or combatting any article of
the Roman Catholic faith.
He was condemned to be imprisoned for one year after which he
was to be conducted under an escort the frontiers of France; he was banished
from Spain forever, unless he obtained permission to return from the King or
the Holy Office. He also signed his abjuration with a promise never a again
to attend the assemblies of the Freemasons. He went to France at the
termination of his imprisonment and it does not appear that he ever returned
In the same year that the foregoing occurred - 1757 - the
Associate Synod of Scotland attempted to disturb the peace of the Fraternity.
Happily, these bigoted dissenters did not possess a fraction of the power of
the Church of Rome, or of the Council of Berne, but their proceedings were
prompted by a like fanaticism, and would have been marked with the same
severity, but, fortunately for the Order, their power extended only to the
spiritual concerns of those delinquents who were of the same sect as
themselves. At the beginning of 1745 a complaint was lodged before the Synod
of Stirling stating that many improper things were performed at the initiation
of Freemasons and requesting that the Synod would consider whether or not the
members of that Order were entitled to partake of the ordinances of religion.
The Synod referred the matter to the Kirk Sessions under their inspection,
allowing them to act as they thought proper. In 1755, they ordered that every
person who was suspected of being a Freemason should return an explicit answer
to any question that might be asked concerning the Masonic oath. In the
course of these examinations the Kirk Sessions discovered (for they seem
hitherto to have been ignorant of it) that men who were not architects were
admitted into the Order. On this account the Synod, in the year 1757, thought
it necessary to adopt stricter measures. They drew up a list of foolish
questions, which they commanded every Kirk Session to put to those under their
charge. These questions related to what they thought were the ceremonies of
Freemasonry and those who refused to answer them were debarred from religious
ordinances. The Act of the Associate Synod was in the following terms:
"Whereas the oath is one of the most solemn acts of religious
worship, which ought to be taken only upon important and necessary occasions;
and to be sworn in truth, in judgment and in righteousness, without any
mixture of sinful, profane, or superstitious devices:
"And, whereas the Synod had laid before them, in their meeting
at Stirling on the 17th March, 1745, an overture concerning the Mason oath,
bearing that there were very strong presumptions that among Masons an oath of
secrecy is administered to entrants into their Society, even under a capital
penalty, and before any of these things which they swear to keep secret be
revealed to them; and that they pretend to take some of these secrets from the
Bible; beside other things which are ground on scruple, in the manner of
swearing the said oath; and therefore overturning, that the Synod would
consider the whole affair, and give directions with respect to the admission
of persons engaged in that oath to sealing ordinances.
"And, whereas the Synod in their meeting at Stirling on the
26th September, 1745, remitted the overture concerning the Mason oath, to the
several Sessions subordinate to them, for their proceeding therein, as far as
they should find practicable, according to our received and known principles,
and the plain rule of the Lord's word and sound reason.
"And, whereas the Synod at their meeting at Edinburgh on the
6th March, 1755, when the particular cause about the Mason oath was before
them, did appoint all the Sessions under their inspection, to require all
persons in their respective congregations, who are presumed or suspected to
have been engaged in that oath, to make a plain acknowledgement, whether or
not they have ever been so; and to require that such as they may find to have
been engaged therein, should give ingenious answers to what further inquiry
the Sessions may or cause to make, concerning the tenor and administration of
the said oath; and that the Sessions should proceed to the purging of what
scandal they may thus find these persons convicted of, according to the
directions of the above-mentioned Act of Synod in September, 1745.
"And whereas the generality of the Sessions have, since the
afore-mentioned periods, dealt with several persons under their inspection
about the Mason oath; in course of which procedure, by the confessions made to
them, they have found others, beside themselves of the Mason Craft, to be
involved in that oath; and the Synod finding it proper and necessary to give
more particular directions to the several Sessions, for having the heinous
profanation of the Lord's name by that oath purged out of the congregations
under their inspection. "Therefore the Synod did and hereby do appoint that
the several Sessions subordinate to them, in dealing with penons about the
Mason oath, shall particularly interrogate them - if they have taken that
oath, and when and where they did so? If they have taken the said oath, or
declared their approbation of it, oftener than once, upon being admitted to a
higher degree in a Mason lodge? If that oath was not administered to them
without letting them know the terms of it, till in the act of administering
the same to them? If it was not an oath binding them to keep a number of
secrets, none of which they were allowed to know before swearing the oath? If,
beside a solemn invocation of the Lord's name to that oath, it did not contain
a capital penalty of having their tongues and hearts taken out in case of
breaking the same? If the said oath was not administered to them with several
superstitious ceremonies: such as the stripping them of, or requiring them to
deliver up, anything of metal which they had upon them - and making them kneel
upon their right knee, bare, holding up their right arm bare, with their elbow
upon the Bible, or with the Bible laid before them - or having the Bible, as
also the square and compasses in some particular way applied to their bodies?
And if, among the secrets which they were bound by oath to keep, there was not
a passage of Scripture read to them, particularly I Kings vii, 21, with or
without some explication put upon the same for being concealed?
"Moreover, the Synod appoint, that the several Sessions shall
call before them all persons in their congregations who are of the Mason Craft
and others whom they have a particular suspicion of as being involved in the
Mason oath, except such as have been already dealt with, and have given
satisfaction upon that head; and that, upon their answering the first of the
foregoing questions in the affirmative, the Sessions shall proceed to put the
other interrogatories before appointed; as, also, that of persons of the Mason
Craft, applying for sealing ordinances, and likewise others concerning whom
there may be any presumption of their having been involved in the Mason oath,
shall be examined by the ministers if they have been so; and upon their
acknowledging the same, or declining to answer whether or not, the ministers
shall refer them to be dealt with by the Sessions, before admitting them to
these ordinances; and that all such persons offering themselves to the
Sessions for joining in covenanting work, shall be then examined by the
Sessions as to their concern in the aforesaid oath.
"And the Synod further appoint, that when persons are found to
be involved in the Mason oath, according to their confessions in giving plain
and particular answers to the foregoing questions and professing their sorrow
for the same; the said scandal shall be purged by a sessional rebuke and
admonition - with a strict charge to abstain from all concern afterward in
administering the said oath to any, or enticing into that snare, and from all
practices of amusing people about the pretended mysteries of their signs and
secrets. But that persons who shall refuse or shift to give plain and
particular answers to the foregoing questions, shall be referred under scandal
incapable of admission to sealing ordinances, till they answer and give
satisfaction, as before appointed.
"And the Synod refer to the several Sessions to proceed unto
higher censure as they shall see cause, in the case of persons whom they may
find involved in the said oath with special aggravation, as taking or
relapsing into the same, in opposition to warnings against doing so.
"And the Synod appoint that each of the Sessions under their
inspection shall have an extract of this Act, to be inserted in their books,
for executing the same accordingly:'
In Roman Catholic countries, in particular, the persecution of
Freemasons continued with unabated vigour. In Portugal brethren were exposed
to the penalties ordained by its bigoted rulers. In 1766 Major Francois
d'Alincourt, a Frenchman, and Don Oyres de Ponellas Pracao, a Portuguese
nobleman, were imprisoned by the governor of Madeira solely because of their
membership of the Order. They were conveyed to Lisbon where they were confined
in a fortress for fourteen months until they were released by the generous and
persistent efforts of other members of the Craft.
Towards the end of 1770 the governor of the Isle of Madeira,
Jean Antoine de Sa Pereira, persecuted several Freemasons, his action being
said at the time to be for vengeance. His despatches to the Marquis de Pombal,
some of which are now in the keeping of the Bibliotheque Nationale, are
couched in bombastic and splenetic language, as may be seen from the following
"In discharge of my duty and as a faithful subject, I am
compelled to describe to you the horrible scheme of the most monstrous crimes
concocted by the most diabolical of sects and the most barbarous suggestions,
such as in this enlightened age have never been placed before the pious eyes
of His Majesty. I call this sect diabolical, because under the title of
Freemasons they open their arms to embrace all the nations of the world. They
obey one visible head who bears the specious title of 'Very Worshipful,' who
is said to have been elected to this position in Scotland, of which nation he
is a subject."
On 27th November, 1770, the enraged Governor Funchal informed
the Marquis de Pombal of the discovery of a group of Freemasons, which he
proved to him by forwarding the documents seized, among which were some
Masonic catechisms. He added that these impious people followed the
anathematized maxims posed by Father Joseph Torrubia in his book Sentinelle
contre les Francs-Macons, a copy of which he also sent. Aires de Ornellas
Frazao, head of the Funchal custom house, and a very large number of
Freemasons in the island were the first to be arrested. When interrogated,
Frazao observed a strict silence, but in a letter to the magistrate, he
indulged in threats and endeavoured to outwit him with subterfuges. However,
his wife, when she was questioned, declared than an engineer, Sergeant-major
Francis d'Alincourt and Barthelemy Andrieux, both Frenchmen, were also members
of Craft. They were at once arrested. She then gave the names of other
persons whom she believed also be associated with the Order, among whom were
Julien Fernandez da Silva, a physician; Eumolpo Stanislas; and Joachim Antoine
Pedroso, who, in a letter sent London addressed to Barthelemy Andrieux had
referred to "the memory of our good brothers." Frazao and d'Alincourt were
sent to Lisbon but Andrieux asked to be interregated again, when he avowed
heresy, and having told the Governor all he wished to know, was released.
This man had previously been denounced to the Inquisition as a libertine,
because he had set the soldiers the bad example of eating meat on the fast
days prescribed by the Church, not attending Mass, and belonging to the
On St. Januarius' Day in 1776 the blood of saint is said to
have refused to liquefy in the customary manner and the agents of Tanucci, an
unscrupulous and inveterate enemy of the Craft, attributed this to the
machinations of the Freemasons and a persecution immediately followed. But
Ferdinand's queen Caroline, who is said to have "loved Masons well,"
interposed and in consequence of her advocacy the edict was revoked and
Tanucci dismissed from office.
The original Lodge of John of Scotland founded France in 1778
on a warrant and constitution from the Grand Orient of Paris had as its first
Master the Abbe Bartolio, while among its members were the Abbe Robinson, the
Abbe Durand, Prior of Entraigne Dom Chabriet, a Benedictine of the Monastery
Aix-la-Chapelle was the scene of a severe persecution of
Freemasons in 1779. A Dominican monk named Ludwig Greinemann, a lecturer in
theology, endeavoured to prove, in a course of Lenten sermons, that the Jews
whom he held to be responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus, were members of
the Masonic Order; that Pilate and Herod were the Wardens of a Masonic lodge;
that Judas before he betrayed his Master was initiated in a lodge held in a
synagogue; and that when he returned the thirty pieces of silver he did no
more than pay his fees for initiation into the Order. A commotion was raised
immediately among the people by these discourses, and the magistrates of the
city immediately issued a decree which provided that "if any one shall offer a
refuge in his house to Freemasons, or allow them to assemble there, he shall
be punished for the first offence with a fine of one hundred florins; for the
second offence, two hundred florins; and for the third offence, with perpetual
banishment from the city and its territories."
Meanwhile, however, the Craft continued to grow. In 1787 a
lodge was again established in Rome, but the members were surprised by the
officers of the Inquisition on 27th December, 1789, but the brethren succeeded
in making their escape though the property and archives were seized. On the
same day the Inquisition captured that arch-charlatan, Cagliostro, whose evil
repute had acted very prejudicially upon Freemasonry. The lodges in Lombardy
issued a manifesto - which was laid before the College of Cardinals -
disclaiming all connection with him and defending the Craft from the charges
brought against it by the Papacy.
(To be continued)
THE FINALITY OF MASONRY
BY BRO. LOUIS BLOCK, P.G.M., IOWA
SOME YEARS ago a great thinker and teacher, one George Burman
Foster, now of sainted memory, wrote an epoch-making book which he called "The
Finality of the Christian Religion." By this he did not mean the end of the
Christian Religion in the sense of its coming to a termination, but what he
did mean was an effort to set forth the true meaning and purpose of this great
religion in its last and final analysis.
In writing this book this brave preacher performed a great
service for Christianity, for he rescued it from being smothered to death by
the caking and crystallizing process with which the creed-mongers were trying
to encase it. This he did by showing that real Christianity - the
Christianity that Christ taught - was no mere matter of fixed formulae, of
rigid legalism, of hard and fast creeds. That on the contrary it was a
natural religion, taught by reason and inspired by nature, which is after all
but the visible garment of God. It found its voice in the song of the birds
and the brooks, in the murmur of the breeze and the majestic roll of the
thunder. It was a thing which, as Emerson put it, was in tune "with the
blowing clover and the falling rain." It was a living, breathing force, one
that could no more be confined within a creed, than a rose could be kept from
bursting from its bud. Christ cared naught for creeds but He was careful to
"consider the lilies how they grow." He knew that forms and ceremonies, creeds
and churches, towers and temples are not themselves religion, but the mere
trappings of it - mere modes of expression by means of which human souls have
striven since time began to make confession of the presence of God in the
heart of men.
Forms fade and die away, creeds change and disappear, churches
crumble to dust, but the Spirit abides, for it is not they.
Today a great and far-reaching cry responds from the Craft,
calling for a leader who shall perform fro Masonry the same great service that
Prof. Foster rendered his religion.
For we face two things that are fraught with menace for our
One of these is a growing superstition that worships the
ritual like an idol - that tends to look upon it as a thing and an end, in and
Another is a woeful failure of many so-called Masons to get any
sort of real idea about the great lessons the ritual strives to teach, and a
consequent wretched failure to make its meaning, manifest either in the life
of the individual Mason or of the nation in which he lives.
Why is it so many Masons continue to think that Masonry was not
only brought into being, but continues to exist, for the sake of the ritual
and for that alone? All they seem to talk about, or think about, or care about
is "getting the work." In their effort to become perfect in the letter of the
ritual they would fain memorize the punctuation marks if that were possible.
Among them that man is the best Mason who comes nearest a phonograph in the
perfection of his word memory. All too few of them make much, if any, effort
to understand the spirit of the ritual or to let that spirit have its perfect
work in their thoughts and lives. Ask one of these what a certain part or
phrase of the ritual means, and he is not only at a loss to know, but even
wonders what is the matter with you, that you should think it really had a
meaning, or that he ought to know that meaning. He has accurately committed
his lines, repeated them without a mistake, and for him that's enough. And it
he can say them with fewer errors than you can, he thinks himself a better
Mason than you are - despite the fact that he has little or no idea what those
Is Masonry an institution that exists for the sole purpose of
putting a premium upon the mere ability to memorize?
Let us see.
From time immemorial we have been taught that the design of the
Masonic institution is to make its votaries wiser and better and consequently
happier, that we are to receive none knowingly into our ranks except such as
are moral and upright before God and of good repute before the world, because
such men when associated together will naturally seek each other's welfare and
happiness equally with their own. In order that they may do so upon a common
platform and become not weary in well doing we obligate them by certain solemn
and irrevocable ties that serve to bind them together in this great and
Now it must be perfectly clear to any one who will give it a
moment's thought that the mere ability to commit words never made a man wiser
and better, nor himself or his neighbours any happier. But that it is only
when he comes to grasp the noble meaning that those words teach and makes that
meaning to live in his daily life, that any real good gets done.
What a wonderful world this would be - what a heaven - life we
would have on earth - if every Mason would try half as hard to know the
meaning, and to live it, as he does to get the words of the ritual.
We are painfully careful about a new brother's committing the
words - we force him to learn them - won't be decent to him till he does -
but once he's got them, we let him go hang as far as their meaning goes. As
far as the words went he was subjected to forced feeding, but when it comes to
getting the meaning, he must forage for himself. Having ground the words into
him we let him grope for the rest. Naturally he thinks his betters know what
they are about, and noting where they put the emphasis, he gets the words and
- quits. Or if he goes on doing anything it is simply to help some other
brother to get the words, words, words. In lodges where this sort of thing
prevails real live men soon lose their interest and stay away, for there is
much better food for hungry souls to be found elsewhere. That is the thing
that causes so many lodges to die of dry rot.
For there is something in the very nature of formalism that
tends to fossilization. The charm of novelty is a thing that cannot last, and
endless repetition soon wreaks ruin unless there is repeatedly brought to the
mind of the Mason a re-vivifying realization that there lies hidden within the
ritual great thoughts and meanings to come to know which means comfort in
hours of care, an inspiration that rescues life from becoming a dreary
mill-round of fate, and reveals a path of individual service, to follow which
is to sweeten and sanctify the whole life of the humblest mortal on earth.
But unless the Mason comes to see these things, unless he gets
the vision, unless the spirit that lies within the letter be eternally made
manifest, the ritual becomes like a system of electric light wires from which
the current is cut off, so that even while crying for light, we grope in
darkness, and Masonry fails in her function.
Of what avails our elaborate system of "types, emblems, and
allegorical figures" if these have become as "sounding brass and tinkling
cymbal" that strike upon deaf ears and stir no life in our sodden souls?
Oh, yes, I know - we are busily engaged in caring for our
distressed, housing their bodies, clothing their nakedness, and filling their
bellies, nevertheless, and despite all that, and until we go one step further,
and systematically feed their starved souls, our own included, Masonry will
continue to fail in her function.
There is a great hunger in the souls of men today - a lack and
a want that neither food, clothes, or shelter can fill. If Masonry is to save
herself it must be by trying to satisfy this want. To succeed it must be done
systematically. Haphazard work always has, and always will, fail. The only
salvation that really saves is systematic salvation. The only way to rescue
and revive the ritual and restore it to the brethren is by a systematic scheme
for educating them in the things for which it stands. Masons must be made to
know that the ritual is no mere magic sing-song of empty words, but is the
stern story of the struggle and travail of a human soul striving to attain
light - that "Light that never was on land or sea."
One who has just come fresh from reading the thoughts of the
leaders of the Masonic world will find a wonderful accord among them
concerning the thing they think the ritual is meant to teach - things that
make for nobler human life, in the home, on the street abroad in the nation,
and round about the globe. It is like a mighty chorus singing, in unison -
"Hark to their voices, they utter one Name One Lord, one Hope,
one Brotherhood proclaim!"
It is these things which when taught systematically that have
in them the power to save. And it can be systematically done, is even now
being so done. You will be surprised to learn how hungry the Masons are to go
to school - all they want is a chance.
Give them a course of study and broad-mind deep-thinking,
forward-looking men - men with soul aflame with their faith in human
brotherhood, to teach them, and you simply cannot drive them away from the
Masonic study class.
In my own town, with my own eyes I have seen it. Have seen a
Masonic college professor lecture night after night to an audience of three
hundred brethren - men from all the walks of life - "the butcher, the baker
and the candle-stick maker" - they were all there, they simply ate up that
"high-brow stuff" and called for more. Sat for over an hour, hearing him talk
about such a thing as the "Psychology of Architecture" forsooth! And the
discussion and live debate that followed, the interest and enthusiasm that
were show and the new friends that were made - friends of mind, heart, and
soul! Why it would make you think Brother Kipling's "Mother lodge out there"!
And out of it all there has grown a great revival of Masonry throughout the
community. Interest in the ritual has revived, for now the brethren are coming
to know what it is all about. Even the "phonograph" Mason has profited - has
ceased being a mere mechanical mouth piece and has become a living voice of
The last lecture dealt with the subject of the Mason's civic
and patriotic duty, and an audience of over a thousand Blue Lodge Masons were
stirred to enthusiasm as never before. The spirit which ruled our brethren of
the "Boston Tea Party" is now making itself felt in the civic life of our
community, in a cleaner, a better, a truer, and a nobler life.
Finally, my brethren, let us render honour where honour is due.
Be it known that the success we are achieving is due in larger measure to the
real service we have received at the hands of the Masonic Service Association.
Its plain and practical programs, its clear and carefully prepared courses of
study, its helpful literature, and its prompt response to our every need have
been for us a source of great inspiration and have set our feet in the path
that has led us to doing sums thing really worth while.
Its service is free for the asking and lodges everywhere, both
within and without Iowa, could do themselves no greater kindness than to avail
themselves of it.
Here in Iowa its work is well seconded and furthered by the
enthusiastic support of the Masonic Research Committee of the Grand Lodge,
whose Speaker's Bureau has provided speakers and lecturers, who have put vim
and snap, and fire and punch into the promulgations of this Great Work.
More power to the movement!
BY BRO. JOSEPH H. FUSSELL, CALIFORNIA
The Headquarters of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical
Society at San Diego, is one of the show-places of Southern California, so
beautiful is it for situation, so striking in its arrangements, so manifold in
its interest. The educational experiments being carried on there have
attracted a more than curious interest from educators. As for the doctrines
of Theosophy they are known everywhere. Many of the men in residence at the
Headquarters, and also a number of those holding official or teaching
positions, are active and interested Freemasons, who find in the Fraternity
much of the spirit of universality and toleration, and some of the tenets,
which comprise the body of doctrines that they hold. Among these is the
Secretary, of the Society, Brother Fussell, whom it is a pleasure to introduce
to our readers.
The following article is written in response to a letter
received from Brother Robert I. Clegg, 33 degree, Editor-in-Chief of the
Masonic History Company, Chicago, Illinois, through whom I learned of an
Esperanto Masonic Convention held last year at The Hague, with the object of
bringing about a closer relationship among Freemasons all over the world. At
the Convention a Committee of Freemasons was appointed from various
countries. It was felt best that the President and Secretary of the Committee
should be residents of some neutral country. Accordingly the new President is
from Holland. The new Secretary is from Antwerp, concerning whom Brother
Clegg writes, "much to my sorrow I note that he represents a lodge of
Co-Masons. I have just written to the Chairman to tell him frankly that this
will be a very serious handicap to English, as well as American, Freemasons.
So far as I am concerned I fail to see how I can possibly have any Masonic
correspondence with any individual having such connections. Nevertheless it
may be that when they find out how unfortunate is this step they will do
something to correct it."
Brother Clegg, knowing that I had given some attention to
so-called "Co-Masonry," asked if I had any information that I could give. I
was happy to respond to his request, and in addition it has occurred to me to
write the following, which I now offer for the consideration of the brethren.
THE SUBJECT of "Co-Masonry," so far as I know, has been treated
hitherto mainly, if not entirely, from its outer aspect, on the supposition
that the exclusion of women from Freemasonry is merely a matter of tradition
and of rules and regulations and outer ceremonial; in other words, that it is
a matter of form and not basic - superficial and not fundamental.
While it will generally be conceded that some women who
advocate "Co-Masonry" may be actuated by a desire to learn something of the
deeper spiritual teachings of Freemasonry which, apparently, they are
convinced it possesses, others - those who are most insistent in their efforts
to enter its portals - appear to regard their exclusion as an expression of
man's selfishness, or as a (supposed) weapon by which he seeks to maintain a
(fancied) supremacy over the so-called weaker sex; and on these grounds they
are determined to assert their rights and break down this exclusion. Others
perhaps are actuated by other, more hidden, motives -of ambition, or - what?
To those of the first class who, it is assumed, are sincerely
seeking for light, I hold that something more is due than merely to say that
Freemasonry is a Fraternity for men only; and if there is a deeper and basic
reason for excluding women from Freemasonry which may properly be made known,
surely they are entitled to know it. That such a reason exists, I hold, and
the position taken in the following discussion is that women are excluded from
Freemasonry for fundamental - not formal or fictitious - reasons, and that
because woman is not and can never become man, so she can never become a
"I believe in the equality of the sexes; but I hold that man
has a mission and that woman has also a mission, and that these missions are
not the same. If woman is to understand the duties of real wifehood and
motherhood, and to reach the dignity of ideal womanhood, she must cultivate
her femininity. She was born a woman and she must BE a woman, in the truest
sense; and the contrasts between man and woman exist in life. . . . these
contrasts hold within themselves, in the very undercurrent of human life, a
superb and glorious harmony. Woman in her true place, her position, hand in
hand with man in his true place, would bring about such a new order of things
that we can hardly speak of, much less realize, the resulting possibilities."
"I hold that man has a mission, and that woman has also a
mission and that these missions are not the same." "Woman in her true place,
hand in hand with man in his true place."
These are the words of one of the foremost thinkers and
educators of the day, Katherine Tingley, Leader of the Theosophical Movement -
successor in that office of H. P. Blavatsky and W. Q. Judge. I have chosen
them to introduce the subject because, first, they are from a woman; and,
second, they are in entire harmony with the spirit as well as the letter and
practice of Freemasonry, as I understand these. Whatever be the ultimate
origin of Freemasonry, whether to be searched for in remotest antiquity as
some claim, and as I believe, or in comparatively recent times, there is no
question as to modern Freemasonry and its practice - that it is an
organization for men only, with the object (among others) of teaching and
fitting the neophyte for his mission and true place in life as a man.
It is true that the great moral principles of Freemasonry are
universal, applicable to all life, to the life of woman as well as to that of
man, and equally so, being basic. There is no secret made as to the moral
teachings of Freemasonry; they are published openly and are for all who care
to inquire into and study them. The secrets of Freemasonry do not consist in
In what do these secrets consist? Many different answers have
been made to this question, and I venture to make one more, and to say that
the secrets of Freemasonry are such as pertain to the full knowledge of man's
nature and his mission as man - knowledge more complete than, generally
speaking, is to be found outside the ranks of Freemasons, and which is had in
varying degrees even within its ranks. In this connection it must be
confessed that not all Freemasons comprehend, or even apprehend the nature of,
the secrets of Freemasonry, which can only become known and be understood by
the individual Freemason as and to the degree that, through - his own efforts,
he becomes worthy and well qualified, duly and truly prepared. Such
qualification and preparation are not outer but inner, and must be the work of
himself alone, the fruit of his own efforts.
The real secrets of Freemasonry do not have reference to
physiological so much as to psychological differences which exist
fundamentally between men and women - distinctions of inner qualities which
may be summed up and regarded as the foundation of true manliness in contrast
to true womanliness. The one is not and never can be the other; they are
fundamentally different, being aspects of the root-differentiation of all
nature, all manifestation and existence, and yet when rightly developed they
are in complete harmony. It is to be noted that harmony does not result from
identity or sameness but is a certain relation existing between two
dissimilars; and on the development and character of those dissimilars will
depend the nature of the resultant harmony.
The purpose of Freemasonry then, as I understand it, is to fit
man as man to fulfil his duties in life and to make possible his contributing
his due share to that harmony on which alone not only a true home but the true
state and civilization itself can be established and maintained, for the
foundation of the state and of civilization is the home.
Why is it, then, that certain women seek to invade the Masonic
Fraternity? (1) Is it out of mere curiosity? (2) Are they jealous because for
centuries men have met in their Masonic lodges from which women are excluded,
and have faithfully kept the secrets of Freemasonry from women; or (3) Do they
imagine that in Freemasonry there is certain knowledge which they are entitled
to have and which men have been withholding from them?
Is any one of these possible reasons worthy of true womanhood?
Certainly not (1) or (2); but what of (3)? Is there certain knowledge in
Freemasonry to which women are entitled?
The principles and ethics of Freemasonry, as already stated,
are not secret; they have been again and again publicly proclaimed. If women
feel themselves entitled to such knowledge it is for them to take it and apply
it to their own lives as women, just as Freemasons are taught to apply it to
their lives as men. There is nothing to prevent women from doing this, but
such application must be made by themselves; for certainly and rightly, I take
it, they would object to any line of application which men might lay down and
insist upon for them. Hence what need for women seeking admission to
Freemasonry to obtain such knowledge when it is open to them?
Clearly, therefore, it cannot be the principles of Freemasonry
that they are seeking, and yet these are at the very heart of Freemasonry and
are the essential factors which make Freemasonry such a power. What is it,
then, that women seek in their effort to invade Freemasonry? Is it to
participate in its ritual, to learn its obligations and, doubtless, other
secrets which they are convinced must exist? But though a woman should
participate in the ritual of Freemasonry and its obligations, she would be
just as far as ever from being a Freemason, for it has secrets which a woman
can never know. Leaving aside, therefore, mere curiosity and jealousy, I am
convinced that the desire of any good woman to enter the ranks of Freemasonry
arises from a misunderstanding; and it is my endeavour, in writing this, to
remove that misunderstanding.
The true womanly attitude, in my estimation, is that expressed
by Katherine Tingley in a statement which she made on "Co-Masonry," published
in "The New Age Magazine.,," June, 1914, from which I quote:
"I cannot understand how any true woman would wish to intrude
into an order held to be exclusively for men. There are lines of work which I
hold are exclusively in the province of men, just as there are lines of work
which are exclusively in the province of women. I hold that woman can only
wield her full share of influence in the world from a knowledge gained by
using and fulfilling her opportunities as a woman and in her own sphere. I
consider that she steps away from her true position and greatly lessens her
influence by seeking to invade the sphere of man. Why should women be
disturbed that men have an organization which is exclusively for men?
"What is needed today by both men and women is a greater
respect, first for themselves, in their true natures as men and women, and
following that a greater respect each for the other - of women for men and of
men for women. Such respect implies no invasion of one another's sphere, but
the very contrary, and in fact can only suffer terribly from such invasion.
"If it were possible to conceive of the secrets of Masonry
being given to a woman, from my understanding of the matter it could be only
through some one unfaithful to his vows as a Mason, and no true or
self-respecting woman would think of availing herself of such information; nor
could it, by the nature of things, be held to be reliable, for he who is
unfaithful in one thing will be unfaithful in others, and I prophesy that this
attempt of certain women to seek admission where they do not belong can result
only in confusion, disaster, and serious embarrassment for all such women."
Relativity and contrast are to be found throughout manifested
life; they are the sine qua non of manifested existence and of all Progress.
It is relativity, contrast and, if these are rightly balanced, the subsequent
harmony, between man and woman that make not only for the happiness of home
but for true civilization. The Delphic Oracle "Man, know thyself," must be, to
a degree at least, fulfilled, and equally "Woman, know thyself," if that
harmony is to be attained. If there is an invasion, or attempted invasion, of
the rightful sphere of man by woman, or vice versa, the result can only be -
not harmony but - confusion.
One of the greatest stabilizing forces of the present day, as
it has been in the past, is Freemasonry. It is, in the best sense,
conservative, in that it is founded upon and teaches the highest ethics, the
loftiest ideals, and fairest virtues, taught and practised by the noblest in
all ages. It is progressive in that while holding to, the highest traditions
of the past, it relates those traditions to the present welfare of humanity,
and by seeking to develop the highest qualities of true manhood it works for
the spiritual upbuilding of the race.
The tacit assumption of "Co-Masonry" is that the woman nature
is not different from but identical with the man nature and that therefore
woman should have and be whatever man has and is. But woman can never be man,
nor can she ever have what man has in the same way that he has it. Even the
woman mind is different from the man mind. As said above, it is a
psychological difference, of which the physiological is merely an outer
aspect. In the normal man reason governs, in the woman intuition. This does
not mean that woman has no power of reason, or man no faculty of intuition,
but in man the relation between reason and intuition is different from the
relation between these in woman.
In the earliest years of life there is apparently no marked
difference between boys and girls, and very naturally and properly they may be
educated together. But to develop the best in their natures as they pass
through the period of youth and enter upon that of manhood and womanhood,
while certainly they should not be deprived of mutual association, yet boys
and girls should receive distinctive and separate training; and a part of
their lives should be kept sacred to themselves throughout life if their finer
distinctive traits are to be preserved.
Every normal man desires, and with reason, to associate at
times with man alone; and so too, I take it, every normal woman with woman
alone; and every normal man and woman desires and, in the deepest sense,
requires recurring opportunities for solitude. "And thou, when thou prayest,
enter into thy closet (into solitude) and there pray" - to that "Deity" which
can be approached only in secret, and in the inner solitude of the heart.
Freemasonry as practised today may be far short of the ideal,
but if Freemasons have recognized the value of meeting with their brother
Masons for the purpose, and in a sense the highest purpose, of attaining
self-knowledge, of studying and practising the noblest virtues, and of
preparing themselves to fulfil all the duties of life, should women therefore
be jealous and seek to invade their ranks? Is not the way open to them to do
likewise, but in their own womanly way?
We know but little of the ancient Mysteries. There were the
Lesser Mysteries - into which all who fulfilled the preliminary requirements
were permitted to enter. The Greater Mysteries were only for those who
successfully passed through the Lesser. From a careful study of the subject I
have come to the conclusion that while the Lesser Mysteries were open to men
and women alike, and while some of the ceremonies were for men and women
together, there were also those into which men alone and others into which
women alone, were admitted. In Freemasonry men have kept alive, or have at
least revived a part (however small or great) of their phase of the Lesser
Mysteries; whereas the women of our Western civilization seem to have lost
touch with theirs. This conclusion is borne out by the fact that among the
North American Indians and certain other so-called primitive or savage races
there are still lodges for men and lodges for women which are wholly distinct,
no woman being admitted to the former and no men to the latter. (2)
"Co-Masonry" is an attempted intrusion; it is a virtual
confession on the part of those women who advocate "Co-Masonry" that they have
neither the wit to discover, nor the intelligence to devise and carry out, a
system and organization that shall in its inspiring teachings, profound
symbolism and uplifting influence be equal, parallel and complementary to the
Masonic Fraternity and become, like it, a beneficent power not only in woman's
life, but through her in the life of the world. This attempted intrusion is,
in fact, a virtual confession that men have discovered or evolved for
themselves something which women have not in this age been able to discover or
evolve or parallel
One of the cardinal teachings of Theosophy, especially
accentuated by Katherine Tingley, is that there are two natures in every human
being: a higher nature, divine in essence and immortal, and a lower nature,
mortal, passional, self-seeking. I cannot help but question if it be the true
womanly nature that actuates the advocates of "Co-Masonry." I question whether
it may not be that some of the advocates of "Co-Masonry" have failed to find
and take their true place as women, and that, realizing their failure (though
doubtless they would indignantly deny it), they seek another sphere, not their
own. And I question whether they could do this were it not that the finer,
truer side of their womanliness has been stunted.
Every true man, and certainly every true woman, knows that
woman loses more than half her influence if she seeks to put aside her
womanliness. Reference is not made here to the domestic virtues and
affections, though these have their place and their charm, but to the deeper
aspects of womanliness which have made so many women (aside from all sex
influences) the inspirers and helpers of men. It has often been said, but may
well be repeated again and again, and men will always be ready to acknowledge,
that their greatest achievements in life would never have been accomplished
but for the inspiration of mother, wife, sister or woman friend. I put Mother
first, for "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."
On the other hand, can it be gainsaid that the present unrest
of the world, beginning long before the war, is in great measure the result of
woman's failure to exercise her true womanly influence in the home, in society
and in the nation? "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" - and it
is the mother who has the glorious and fateful opportunity of striking the
first keynote of her son's life - by her own thoughts, her own attitude, her
self-control and purity and true womanliness. And the sweet, refining, and
inspiring influence of these continue with him all through life, even when she
has passed on.
Every, true mother, too, knows that her son will have to meet
problems which he must solve for and by himself, and the wise mother, however
her heart may ache for him, will at such times leave him to himself and let
him have his solitude. She knows, too, that he needs a father's influence and
the companionship of other boys. On these she will not intrude, for that
would mar the fineness of his manhood and the sweet relationship between
them. Yet, if she has struck the keynote aright, her influence will be with
him still, a gentle and unbreakable restraining power, keeping him in the path
of true nobility and chivalry, in the path of purity, honour and true
manliness. This, I take it, is the influence that the true mother wields, and
the true wife and sister - the influence of the true womanly nature.
Is it worth while bartering away that influence for the sake of
the very doubtful gain that might accrue from any attempted intrusion upon an
organization which is for men alone? Assuredly no! And were the intrusion to
become a fact, it is not only woman who would suffer, but man too, and the
home and civilization. Such an intrusion would but add to the already
appalling confusion of the present day - its attempt is indeed but another
indication of the confusion.
Even if the doors of Masonic lodges were opened to women, it
would still be a hollow victory for them they would for ever miss the inner
meaning which, already said, concerns man as man. Indeed, I think that the
women who advocate "Co-Masonry" have looked far enough ahead, they look only
at the possible and immediate fulfilment of their desires - the opening of
Masonic lodges to them - but have no adequate conception, if any conception at
all, of what would result. In other words, they do not know what they are
doing; they are working wholly from wrong premises.
Now let me venture a suggestion, first premising that all true
men and all true women desire and welcome opportunities for closer cooperation
- such cooperation implying no superiority or inferiority, either of the one
or of the other, but a complementary equality and harmony. Here then is the
suggestion which I venture as possibly leading towards a solution.
Freemasonry is a Fraternity for men; let women establish their Sorority with
its appropriate name - it cannot be Freemasonry nor "Co-Masonry," as already
shown, and I am not disposed to think that women are so lacking in
resourcefulness that they would have to copy a name which has its distinctive
application to an organization of and for men alone, or that by copying they
would wish to show their dependence on men. I use the term Sorority as the
exact complement of Fraternity and as best describing an organization of and
for women alone, as a Fraternity is of and for men alone.
Let them therefore revive the lodges for women which
undoubtedly existed in the most ancient times with their appropriate ritual
and ceremonial, which women themselves must re-discover or devise. Such
appropriate ritual and ceremonial, if these are to be parallel and
complementary to Freemasonry, must be based upon the highest principles, the
noblest moral teachings and be applicable to woman's true development as those
of Freemasonry are to man's. Let them prove their organization, as
Freemasonry has been proved, to be a beneficent power in the life of the
world, and then they will not have to ask, for Freemasons will be ready to
join with them, for a higher cooperation, a greater harmony in which each
shall play an appropriate part, man as man, and woman as woman-partners and
coworkers for the world's good.
As parties to this new cooperation will be on the one hand
women who have passed through the portals of their Sorority and have proved
themselves (how - it is for women to determine) worthy and well qualified; and
on the other hand men who have passed through the portals of the Masonic
Fraternity, and have likewise proved themselves worthy and well qualified.
Such a step forward, assuming it to be practicable, might require years of
preparation, or it might be possible to take it quickly. And perhaps it
depends, in the first instance, upon the women, and not upon the men. Perhaps
this is an instance to which Katherine Tingley referred when she said, "Let
woman find her true place and man will find his." Such a step, made possible
by this new cooperation, might lead indeed to the finding of the door to the
lost Greater Mysteries. Who can tell?
"Analogy," says Mme. H.P. Blavatsky, in her great work The
Secret Doctrine (II, 153), "is the guiding law in Nature, the only true
Ariadne's thread that can lead us, through the inextricable paths of her
domain, toward her primal and final mysteries." It was through woman, through
our mothers, that we gained entrance into this physical world; the impulse,
the seed, is from the father, but the mother opens the door of physical life.
And, by analogy, may it not be, that though man may give the impulse, may
perhaps provide the seed, he must wait for woman to open the door into the
spiritual life. Underlying this conception there is, I think, a profound
mystical principle, discussion of which must be deferred until a future
occasion. If this conception and analogy be correct, does it not show that
true progress can come only through the cooperation of man and woman, through
which alone can come into existence the true home, the true state, and a true
Nor can this be accomplished by either man or woman assuming
the superior role. As in the true home neither is superior, and neither
inferior, but each with his or her own sphere, with his or her own part to
play, they are partners and coworkers; so in the world's life, for which
Freemasonry is a preparation for men, while for women-where is their
organization? If women feel the need of similar opportunities, and similar
preparation, let them be true to themselves, to their own womanhood, which
they cannot be if they leave their own sphere and seek to invade that of men.
There is, however, this to be remembered and seriously
considered: Freemasonry, according to many students, traces its lineage back
to the ancient Mysteries (clearly the Lesser Mysteries, as already said), and
our modern Freemasonry is a continuation or revival of part of the symbolism
and of a few of the teachings of those Lesser Mysteries which were enacted in
Egypt, India and Greece. It may be, and I think it certain, that a hidden
thread may be found whereby women may link the present with the past and
rediscover a part of the symbolism and teachings of the ancient Mysteries that
relate to their life and opportunities as women.
It is for this reason that it is held that the establishment of
an organization for women which shall be complementary and parallel to the
Masonic Fraternity must be a re-discovery or revival and not an invention.
Further, as Freemasonry in no sense takes man away from the path of duty, or
the fulfilment of his obligations to his family, his fellow man or society,
but accentuates the importance of such fulfilment, so a complementary or
parallel Sorority must in no sense take woman away from the path of duty or
the fulfilment of her obligations in the home, to her family or society, but
will accentuate the importance of such fulfilment.
Such a complementary and parallel Sorority, it will be clear,
cannot be established by any woman or group of women who are actuated by
ambition or fancied knowledge. It can be established, if it is to be indeed
complementary and parallel to Freemasonry, by finding the Ariadne's thread
that shall lead the woman of the present to the rediscovery of the teachings
of Antiquity, - of some, at least, of the teachings of the Lesser Mysteries
pertaining to woman's true place in life and to the unfoldment of her
spiritual nature. And when woman takes her true place, as Katherine Tingley
has said: "Woman in her true place, her true position, hand in hand with man
in his true place," may we not look confidently forward to the coming of "such
a new order of things we can hardly speak of, much less realize, the resulting
How much then depends upon woman in this day and generation!
And the question is: shall it be co-operation and a resulting harmony or
attempted intrusion and disharmony and confusion? Shall the door to the
Greater Mysteries of Antiquity once more be found and humanity enter upon its
spiritual inheritance? Does it not depend very largely upon woman?
(1) "Katherine Tingley on Marriage and the Home" - An Interview
by Claire Merton - Theosophical Publishing Co., Point Loma, California.
(2) Further corroboration of this conclusion is given by
Professor Franz Cumont (Membre de I'Tnstitut, Paris), a distinguished
archaeologist and author of "The Mysteries of Mithras." In a letter, April 17,
1921, he writes: "The evidence of the numerous inscriptions which have been
gathered prove that women did not partake in the Mysteries of Mithras, which
were derived from the old religion of Persia. We never find them making any
offering, receiving any degree of initiation, or mentioned in the list of
names of the confraternities. But the excavations have proved that the
subterranean temples of Mithras were often connected with temples of the Great
Mother of the Gods (Cybele) and we have other proofs that the two cults were
closely associated. Women of course could worship this goddess and partake in
her mysteries. If they were excluded from the men's colleges of the
'Invincible' Sun, they could have their feminine 'Sororities' devoted to the
MASONIC CLUBS IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Washington, D.C., now has nineteen Masonic clubs, with a
membership of nearly 6,000. They embrace the employees of Government
departments and various institutions as follows: Ashlar Club, State, War and
Navy, White House and Civil Service Commission; Ionic Club, Treasury
Department; Trestleboard Club, Government Printing Office; Trowel Club,
Department (of the Interior; Triangle Club, Department of Agriculture;
Fellowship Club, Bureau of Engraving and Printing; Lambskin Club, Navy Yard;
Circle Club, District Government employees; Compass Club, Pace and Pace
Institute employees; National University Law School Masonic Club; George
Washington Univers in Masonic Club; Craftsman Club, War Risk Insurance; Anchor
Club, Shipping Board; Gavel Club, business and profession men of Washington;
Italian-American Masonic Club; Railroad Square Club, Washington Terminal
employees; Southgate Club, Southern Railway employees; Level Club, Department
of Commerce; Cable Tow Club, City Postoffice.
The first club was organized in the Geological Survey in 1909,
known as the Trowel Club, and its formation was prompted by a brother in that
Department being sick and the Masons getting together to look after him.
The clubs meet once a month and the proceedings are of a social
character and for the purpose of getting acquainted. The Advisory Board of
Washington consists of the president and two members from each club and meets
four times a year for the purpose of exchanging views and to combine action
for the good of Masonry. They install the officers of the clubs when requested
to do so. Brother W.R. Metz is president of the board and Brother W.J. Dow is
secretary and treasurer. - The Kraftsman.
GENERAL JOFFRE. FREEMASON
BY BRO. CHARLES F. IRWIN, OHIO
THE DISPROPORTIONATE number of brilliant Masonic leaders in
France to their membership roll struck the American brethren as remarkable.
The cultivation of the social friendship of French Masons opened the way for
the exchange of information which proved of worth to us. The brethren of
French Masonry form the very foundation of the genius of France. The leaders
in constructive thought in all departments of public life will be found
identified with some branch of Freemasonry. Every sound law placed on the
national statute books for twenty-five years has been placed there through the
activity of French Masons.
When the war opened the man toward whom France turned to lead
the army and to preserve the Republic was General Joffre, the idol of France,
or, as he is popularly known, "Papa Joffre." General Joffre had a plan
speedily formulated which practically held for the duration of the war.
For reasons never publicly expressed General Joffre was retired
from active command of the Armies early in the war. He was practically in
retirement for the balance of the fighting. Yet the genius of this remarkable
man permeated the councils of the Allies and influenced their deliberations.
It was inevitable that we should wonder why General Joffre was
thus retired. Although advanced age and physical weakness were given as
ostensible reasons for his retirement, his continued activity contradicted
Thoughtful observers know that a wave of reaction swept Europe
and came close to American governmental shores during the war. This reaction
changed many things which had formerly led to liberty and intelligence.
General Joffre is a 32nd degree Mason. He is a Protestant. He
represents the highest point attained by French intelligence and culture in
the early years of the twentieth century. He was persona non grata to elements
in France who have always bitterly assailed our Fraternity. And it cannot
escape our minds that the fraternal associations of General Joffre were
matters of serious dissatisfaction to this element in the French government.
General Joffre had a great reluctance to needlessly sacrificing
his men in assaults. He developed to its high degree of perfection the trench
warfare. There are many who believe that, had he retained command, scores of
thousands of French soldiers who now sleep would be alive and aiding in the
constructive policies of their country.
When the great celebration of the Victory Day Parade - July 14,
1919 -was approaching, the curiosity of the French people was aroused as to
the place General Joffre should occupy. So they inquired of the government who
announced that due to his age and feebleness he would occupy a seat beside
President Poincare in the tribunes, or reviewing stands.
This did not satisfy the populace who demanded that Joffre
should ride beneath the Arch de Triomphe. Never since 1812, or in 107 years,
had a French victorious Army marched beneath the arch, and French emotion
could not contemplate this great Frenchman deprived of a place in such a great
The government then announced a change in plan, and declared
General Joffre should march through the Arch de Triomphe and dismount at the
tribunes, where he would take his designated place.
Again the French public demanded the presence of Papa Joffre at
the head of the Defile. And such was the pressure that the government yielded.
I stood at the Place de la Concorde that morning amid a host of
French people. We heard the roar of applauding voices in the distance, up
Champs Elysee. Cannons were booming in the distance, aeroplanes were gliding;
and captive baloons hung, still and stationary, overhead. Everyone was under
Then the head of the parade came into sight. The applause was
so great as to defeat all attempts to speak to one's neighbor. What was the
burden of tumult? The answer was found in the erect, graceful figure of an old
warrior who rode at the right of that historic march - "Papa Joffre! Papa
Joffre! Brava, Papa Joffre!" The old warrior - the Freemason - who was
supposed to be too feeble to sustain the day's exposure, was passing by!
Two years have gone and many later experiences have come to
pass. But the day and the man stand out in my memory like a monument of marble
against a sky of azure.
Recently the Cincinnati Enquirer printed an editorial on this
great man, which is so timely a summary of his life that I am quoting it. The
editorial was headed "The War's Greatest Figure," and reads as follows:
"How much the world owes to Marshal Joffre gradually is being
disclosed through belated publications of the inner secrets of the incidents
in which he was central and important. The very recent utterance of one of the
aides who accompanied him to America in May, 1917, reveals the warrior is a
skilled diplomatist and master of the knowledge of mass psychology.
"It was he who suggested to President Wilson that the most
profound effect upon the morale of the Allies would come from the prompt
sending of an American division to France and the twining together of the
Stars and Stripes with the Tricolor and the Union Jack.
His mature mind also caused the dispatching of Pershing in
advance to make ready for the millions that were to come. From his experience,
too, came the warning to the President to send none but competent Generals and
to be prepared for the failure of fifty per cent. of them under the real test
"In fact, it was Joffre who made the plans for the disposition
of the troops we sent abroad, and it is to the credit of the War Department
and the General Staff that it possessed the sound discretion to accept his
counsels and follow the courses he mapped out with meticulous care. But the
greatest value in these publications is the proving that the old Marshal's
concept of the defense against the German attack was the ablest of all the
theories of the war councils. It was the policy of persistent nibbling at the
apparently impregnable lines before the Allies' front until the foe was
brought down to the same level with his opponents. Then was to follow the
grand assault and victory.
"Precisely that campaign was followed by Foch, and it was a
proud part that the American Armies played in the concluding drive, pantomimed
by the Marshal by delivering an imaginary blow with his left and then with his
right hand, and following both with a kick to the front. The story of the aide
also gives a better light upon the part taken by the President in preparing
for the invasion of Europe by the American troops. Apparently he was guided by
the veteran of the Marne, who was also good enough to pay a high tribute to
Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker, for his rapid absorption of the plan of
action brought from France and his clear understanding of the situation.
"From this record it is difficult to reconcile the stories of
haphazard plans and fumbling execution."
THE MISSION OF THE MASONIC PRESS
BY THE LATE BRO ROBERT FREKE GOULD, ENGLAND
In the first issue of this journal its editor laid on the
trestleboard a scheme of the plan of work proposed for the National Masonic
Research Society: therein was indicated a purpose to republish already printed
works that may not be accessible to the majority of students. The best that
has been thought and said about Masonry, by those outside as well as inside
the Craft, should not fall into oblivion merely because it may chance to have
been written a year ago, or ten years ago, or twenty. We have already
republished a number of essays and chapters of such a character: we shall
publish many more. Among these may be listed the following characteristic
essay by one of the masters of Masonic lore: the article, which I able to
speak for itself, was first printed in The London Freemason in 1906.
"Oceans of ink, and reams of paper, and disputes infinite might
have been spared, if wrangles had avoided lighting the torch at the wrong end;
since a tenth part of the pains expended in attempting to prove the why, the
where, and the when certain events have happened, would have been more than
sufficient to prove that they never happened at all." Rev. C.C. Colton.
POPULAR errors of the moment, mischievous and extensive in
their effects," observes Sir Egerton Brydges, "are always in operation; truth
prevails more rarely than is assumed, and false opinions, let alone, will
obtain absolute dominion. The enlightened intellect which can correct them,
and dissipate delusions, is a great benefactor."
Surplus copies of books, as many will be aware, are called in
trade "Remainders," and with this prelude I proceed to quote from an interview
with one of the greatest dealers in those wares, of which an account was given
some years ago in the newspapers. "Remainders in Law and Physic," Mr. William
Glaisher, the well-known bookseller of High Holborn, is reported to have said,
"would be of little use. People who want legal and medical works must have
the latest editions -they must be up-to-date. I'm afraid, therefore, that
surplus copies of legal and medical works become so much waste paper, and are
sent back to the mills."
Let us contrast with this the fate of unsold copies of works
relating to Freemasonry. Year by year, the early history of our ancient Craft
is being gradually unfolded to us. But no Masonic book ever seems to grow out
of date. The visionary writings of past times, and the more scholarly
productions of our own, are perused with an equal faith. Old texts are found
to yield new readings, but the old readings are not thereby displaced. Popular
fallacies are exploded, i.e., within a limited circle - but within a larger
circle their vitality, remains unimpaired.
What, therefore, is most wanted in the true interests of
Masonic study, or, perhaps, it will be better to say, in the diffusion of
genuine Masonic knowledge, is a tabulation of results. The wisest man may be
wiser today than he was yesterday, and tomorrow than he is today. New facts
are constantly becoming known, while old facts are as rapidly disappearing,
and (as it seems to myself) an efficient registration of these phenomena
should be included among the duties or obligations which we naturally
associate with the Mission of the Masonic Press.
It has been well said, that it is not so difficult a task to
plant new truths, as to root out old errors; for there is this paradox in men,
they run after that which is new, but are prejudiced in favour of that which
Under the title of A Masonic Curriculum, the late George
William Speth wrote an interesting pamphlet which was designed to be "A Course
of Study in Freemasonry." It was almost the last essay he lived to complete,
and though a small and unpretentious contribution to the literature of the
Society he served so faithfully and well, it is full of sage reflections and
interesting comments on the then published works and ephemeral writing of all
Masonic authors of repute, and these critical remarks will always be
attractive, not for their utility, but also for their felicities of style.
It was the object of the late Bro. Speth to point out what
books and pamphlets ought to be read. A similar duty, of course, devolves on
the Masonic Press, but a matter of far greater importance (as it strikes my
own mind) is the urgent necessity for the literary organs of the Fraternity to
speak with no uncertain sound as to the books and writings (of all classes and
descriptions) which the student of Masonry will be well advised to leave
The amount of justly merited obloquy under which the entire
literature of the Craft reposes, owing to the foolish writings of so many
enthusiastic but uncritical Freemasons, it would be impossible to exaggerate.
By way of illustration, let me quote some passages from a long
forgotten article on "Ancient and Modern Freemasonry," by the late Dr.
Armstrong, Bishop of Grahamstown, who observes: "The Livys of the Masonic
Commonwealth are far from willing to let their Rome have either a mean or
unknown beginning. According to Preston, 'From the commencement of the world,
we may trace the foundation of Masonry'; 'But,' adds Dr. Oliver, 'ancient
Masonic traditions say, and I think justly, that our science existed before
the creation of this globe, and was diffused amid the numerous systems with
which the grand empyreum of universal space is furnished."'
After pointing out in a strain of severe satire that the
Freemasons were not in the least joking, in what many men considered as a
joke, the Bishop continues: "Look, for instance, at the Rev. G. Oliver, D.D.
He is quite in earnest. There is something really wonderfully refreshing in
such a dry and hard-featured an age as this to find so much imagination at
work. After having pored through crabbed chronicles and mouldy MSS., with
malicious and perverse contractions, ragged and mildewed letters, illegible
and faded diaries, &c., it is quite refreshing to drive along the smooth and
glassy road of imaginative history. Of course, where there is any dealing
with the more hackneyed facts of history, we must expect a little eccentricity
and some looseness of statement - we cannot travel quickly and cautiously,
too. Thus the Doctor of Divinity before mentioned somewhat startles us by an
assertion respecting the destruction of Solomon's Temple: 'Its destruction by
the Romans, as predicted, was fulfilled in the most minute particulars; and on
the same authority we are quite certain it will never be rebuilt.' He is
simply mistaking the second Temple for the first!"
The Bishop further observes: "There are minds which seem to
rejoice in the misty regions of doubt, which see best in the dark, which have
a sensation of being handcuffed when they are tied to proofs and documents;
they despise those stubborn facts, the mules of history, on which safe
historians are content to ride down the crags and precipices of olden times, 'Inveniam
viam aut faciam'- I will find my facts or make them; so say the Masonic
writers. They have the same contempt for plain plodding historians which we
can conceive a stoker of the Great Western dashing out of Paddington would
feel for an ancient couple, could such be seen, jogging leisurely out of town
in pillion-fashion on their old somber mare, with the prospect of a week's
journey to Bath. They drive the 'express trains' of history. While we are
groping and floundering amid the fens and bogs of the seventh, eighth and
ninth centuries, they look upon such times as the mere suburbs of the present
age - 'the easy distance from town.' They dash past centuries, as railroad
trains whisk past milestones. For ourselves we see nothing of Freemasons
before the seventh century; we cannot even scent the breath of a reasonable
rumour. But if we put ourselves under the charge of the most sober and
matter-of-fact Masonic historians, away we are scurried from the seventh to
the sixth, from the sixth to the fifth, from the fifth to the fourth, to the
third, to the second, till dizzy heads and our breath gone, we find ourselves
put down by the Temple of Solomon.
Dr. Oliver, of course, was not the only, but he may justly be
styled the worst, offender in matters of the kind, as of all the vast array of
authors who have written on the subject of Freemasonry, he was the most
prolific, and in the quantity of the publications that issued from his pen,
there has been no one to compete with either in the Old World or the New.
All the works of Dr. Oliver would be put into an Index
Purgatorius, that is to say, if the scholars of Masonry were empowered to draw
up "A Catalogue of Books prohibited to be read." The book of his that has
probably done the most harm is The Revelations of a Square, a sort of Masonic
Romance, professing to detail, though in a fictitious form, many of the usages
of the last centuries, with anecdotes of the leading Masons of that period.
Most of the articles on the English Ritual of the eighteenth century, written
since the publication of this work, have been based on the illusory
"Revelations" of Dr. Oliver's imaginary "Square."
In the remarks, however, with which I am now proceeding, space
would fail me were I to attempt to enumerate the books and pamphlets which
should be carefully avoided and left unread by all serious students of
Freemasonry. The utmost I can do is to present in a small compass a body of
specious but radically unsound doctrines, which if resolutely stamped out by
the combined action of the Masonic Press, would result in a purification of
our sources of knowledge, and tend to remove the popular impression that
Freemasonry is wholly unworthy of the attention either of scholars or men of
Historical fictions have been common in all ages, and the
particular branch of "history" in which Masonry is contained, has its full
share of them.
There is nothing from which we have reason to infer, that the
cathedral (or church) builders were a separate class from the Masons of the
City Guilds or companies; that the Manuscript Constitutions belonged to the
Church-building Masons; or that the Church builders were a single fraternity,
travelling from place to place as their services were required and making
themselves known by means of secret grips, words, and signs.
Papal Bulls were not given to the Freemasons, nor had they an
annual Parliament of their own. The first Grand Lodge was formed, and the
first Grand Master elected in 1717. Sir Christopher Wren was not a Grand
Master, nor is there any proof that he was a Freemason at all. The Grand
Lodge of England (1717) was not founded by Payne, Anderson, and Desaguliers,
or any one of them. Two degrees and not three were recognized by the Grand
Lodge of England in 1723. Neither Martin Clare nor Thomas Manningham revised
the Ritual, and the labours of Thomas Dunkerley in the same direction are
equally imaginary. Andrew Michael Ramsay did not invent a single one of the
numerous Rites that have been fathered on him. The young Pretender - Charles
Edward - was not a Freemason. There has never been - except in the
imagination of the American writers - a York Rite; nor are there any
Prerogatives, which are inherent to the office of a Grand Master. The dogmas
of Perpetual Jurisdiction, Physical Perfection, and Exclusive (or Territorial)
Jurisdiction, have been evolved since the introduction of Masonry into what
has become the "United States," from England, during the first or second
quarters of the eighteenth century. No alterations were made by the Original
Grand Lodge of England in the "established forms." The story of Mrs. Aldworth,
the alleged "Lady Freemason," is of no historical value whatever, and to bring
my list of delusions to a close (though the examples could be greatly
multiplied) the now familiar mot du guet, "the fatherhood of God and the
brotherhood of man" would have been both unmeaning and unintelligible to the
Masons living in the era that preceded that of Grand Lodges, as their
conception of a creed would have been a strict belief in the Trinity; and
probably nothing would have more surprised our ancient brethren than to hear
it mooted that persons of other than Anglo-Saxon parentage were qualified for
admission into the Society.
It will scarcely be denied by anyone, that owing to the loose
and inaccurate - not to say extremely foolish - manner in which Masonic
history has been written, there is much that the present, and possibly a later
generation will have to live down. That the efforts of the true lovers of
Freemasonry in this direction will be ultimately successful I have myself no
doubt whatever, but the period of time that may be expected to lapse before
this aspiration is fulfilled must necessarily vary in extent, accordingly as
enlightened assistance is rendered, or not rendered, by the concerted action
of the Masonic Press.
The task immediately before us is to show, that with the
disappearance of its fabulous history, there emerges a real history, of which
every intelligent Freemason may feel justly proud.
There is an anecdote of Lord Chesterfield, so much to my
present purpose, that I cannot refrain from relating it, as I conceive that it
will be deemed in point by most readers, and to some may possibly be new. We
are told by Horace Walpole, in one of his letters, that on a certain occasion
Lord Chesterfield exclaimed to John Anstis, Garter King of Arms, "You foolish
man, you do not understand your own very foolishness." Without doubt, there
are points of resemblance - suggestive of a family likeness - between the
Herald and the Freemason, when each of them is clad in full panoply of his
regalia, which strikes the eye of the ignorant (or untutored) observer; and
while I do not for an instant wish it to be supposed that I consider the
"business" of a Freemason to be a "foolish" one (which, indeed, would be in
direct opposition to the view I am seeking to establish), nevertheless, I
shall venture to affirm that the profound ignorance of the generality of the
Craft, with regard to the history and antiquities of our venerable Society,
might well extenuate, if it did not entirely excuse, the words of Lord
Chesterfield, if peradventure, instead of being addressed to the Garter King
of Arms, they had been used with respect to the "business," as commonly
understood, of a Freemason.
"The boys that grind my colours," said Apelles to one of the
priests of Diana, "look upon you with respect, while you are silent, because
of the gold and purple of your garments; but when you speak of what you do not
understand, they laugh at you."
"Why do men study ancient history, acquire a knowledge of dead
languages and decipher illegible inscriptions? What gives life to the study of
antiquity? What compels men, in the midst of these busy times, to sacrifice
their leisure to studies apparently so unattractive and useless, if not the
conviction, that in order to obey the Delphic commandment - in order to know
what Man is, we ought to know what Man has been?"
The foregoing are the words of the late Professor Max Muller,
and they are applicable to the study of Masonry, as to the investigation of
any other branch of historical research. The authentic history of our ancient
Craft can be traced, by the evidence of existing documents, to the fourteenth
century, and without the shadow of a doubt it had then attained a hale and
vigorous old age.
The recent labours of many learned men have brought to actual
demonstration what was previously only matter of strong probability, that a
state of society highly cultivated and refined, existed in various parts of
the globe, prior to any written or authentic documents transmitted to us. Are
we justified in supposing that the traditions which connect Masonry with those
ancient peoples, among whom that advanced condition of civilization is found
to have prevailed, are entitled to any real weight?
Of traditionary evidence, indeed, it has been said by an old
writer whose name I forgot, "that a great cloud of smoke argues at least a
But the observation is a shrewd one, and I have reminded the
reader of it, as the Traditions - Written or Unwritten - of Freemasonry, are
its chief glory, and in these consists its superiority over all other
"Say what you will against Tradition," wrote the learned
Selden; "we know the Significance of Words by nothing but Tradition. You will
say the Scripture was written by the Holy Spirit; but do you understand the
Language 'twas writ in? No. Then, for example, take these words, 'In principio
erat verbum." How do you know these words signify, 'In the beginning was the
word,' but by Tradition, because some Body has told you so?"
But long before the discoveries of recent times, there were
monuments in many countries which fairly justified the belief that has now
ripened into actual knowledge. The magnificent ruins of ancient cities, of
which no record remained, the Pyramids, concerning which the remotest
antiquity had nothing to depose, the advanced state of the sciences of
Geometry and Astronomy amongst the Egyptians and the Babylonians amply
warranted the presumption that a high state of cultivation and knowledge did
exist anterior to any written documents or historical records.
To the literate of our Craft it will be unnecessary to explain
either that the characteristic signs now called Masons' Marks, were originally
developed at a very early period in the East, and have been since used as
distinguishing emblems of some kind throughout the Middle Ages, in Persia,
Syria, Egypt and elsewhere; or, that the Science of Geometry as taught by
Euclid to the Egyptians, was the fons et origo of the Craft of Masonry, that
is if we may repose any confidence in what is distinctly affirmed by the most
ancient Manuscripts of our Society.
There are many further points on each of which I should like to
say a few words, but as this cannot be done, I shall make the best selection I
can for treatment in the present article. To begin with, there is a certain
amount of drudgery associated with the acquisition of the rudiments of Masonic
knowledge, which may explain, perhaps, why it is that no one who enters upon
the study of Masonry late in life ever pursues it to an entirely satisfactory
conclusion. "More, therefore (to slightly paraphrase the words of Dr.
Johnson, when speaking of the natives of Scotland), may be expected from a
Mason, who has been caught young." Lengthy works, however, are not generally
esteemed by any Masonic readers, who, in this particular, remind one the
Italian convict - the story is told by Macaulay. He was given the choice of
the galleys or reading through Guicciardini; he chose Guicciardini but stuck
fast in the wars of Pisa, thought better of it, and took to the oar.
The famous author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
has spoken of "the vast space which every ray of light has to traverse before
it reaches the eye of the common understanding." But since the days of Edward
Gibbon, many things have happened, and at the present day intelligibility is
not considered by learned men as a sort of reflection on their intellectual
status. It is no longer a reproach to be "popular." On the contrary, it is
generally understood that the savant who is unable to make the abstruse
moderately simple is not gifted with a very clear intellect, or is deficient
in that literary ability which is so marked a characteristic of the leading
latter-day writers on subjects of scientific, artistic, or of any other
The extent to which the history of our own Craft has been
critically and intelligibly dealt with by writers of the present generation,
is a question on which, for obvious reasons, I should hesitate to pronounce
any judgment at all. But wherever they have failed to bring down to the level
of the ordinary mind the bearings of the latest discoveries, let us hope that
what Proctor did for Astronomy, what Huxley and Wallace achieved for Natural
History, what Tyndall accomplished for Physics in this country, and Helmholtz
in Germany, may be done for Masonry by the organized labours of the Masonic
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LANDMARK QUESTION
OUR CORRESPONDENCE, along with such knowledge of things Masonic
in general that we receive from reading Masonic journals and newspapers, shows
that ever and anon the Landmark problem keeps bobbing up. Grand Lodges and
private individuals, students and dilettanti, find it a real question on
occasion, and many are their attempts to solve the matter.
On the surface it would appear that this is a thing of
hair-splitting. What practical difference does it make to anybody whether
there are three Landmarks, or thirty? Why should it be of concern to know what
Pike thought on the matter? or Mackey? or Webb? Why should Masonic journalists
show so much alarm when some Grand Lodge undertakes once again to define,
name, and number Landmarks?
The significance of all this, of course, lies behind the
details, and that significance seems to be this, tha Masons are ever trying to
discover what is Masonic orthodox. Back of their minds is the belief that some
where in the past there has been a perfect, a classic Masonry; that what that
classic Masonry was all Masonry should be; and that it is our duty to keep
testing our present day Masonry by the touchstone of that classicism.
The fallacy of all this lies in the fact that there never has
been a classic Masonry. Never once has the Order developed into a stage which
we may refer to as the standard of what all Masonry should be. The Masonry of
the Grand Lodge of England in the first half of the eighteenth century cannot
be accounted the norm, because that Masonry became changed out of all
recognition, and was itself always in a condition of flux and uncertainty, as
witness the history of the Holy Royal Arch. Nor can we look back to the same
Grand Lodge during the latter half of that century, because in that period it
was compelled to divide the field with the Masonry represented by the Ancient
Grand Lodge, which had a very different system. During the following quarter
of a century there came the Union of 1813 when both sides compromised, and
when the Hemming Lectures were adopted. But in this land those lectures did
not receive favor, having to give way to the system inaugurated by Webb. And
so it goes. And if in our search for a strictly standard Masonry we turn back
to Masonry before the era of Grand lodge's we find ourselves in a worse case
still, for the Order was then in such a state of flux as has since given the
period the name of the Era of Transition. Masonry before that was of the
Operative variety. Nearly every Landmark has at some time or other, by some
one of the numerous Grand bodies, been entirely abolished. In the Ritual there
have been innumerable changes. Of Masonic jurisprudence, its principles and
practices, the same may be said.
Consider also how things lie in the Masonic world at present.
The Masonry of the Grand Orient of France has so far departed from the
Landmarks as defined by American Masonry that a great number of our Grand
Lodges refuse to affiliate with the Grand Orient. But, except in regard to two
important matters, American Masonry differs from English Masonry by almost as
wide a gulf. It is a well known fact that our English brethren always go away
in a daze after witnessing our Work, it varies so much from theirs. And of
brethren in Latin countries one may say as much.
But all this need disturb no one. It has been so from the
beginning, and that with small effect on the growth and character of the
Fraternity. It is so in every other department of life: in government, in
religion, in education, in literature, in business. It is so with the
individual. He grows from babyhood to boyhood, thence into youth, from which
he springs up to manhood, and thence to old age, and all the while maintains
his identity unchanged, so that despite all changes he remains the same
individual still, and recognizable as such by all his friends.
What difference does it make if American Masonry differs so
much from English Masonry? What matters it if the customs of Pennsylvania are
very unlike those of Wisconsin? Masonry is a great living organism, waxing
ever more vigorous, and all these variations within itself are signs and
tokens of its own power and everlasting vitality. Nobody need fear that it can
ever change its character or lose its identity. In a thousand years from now
it will have become something unrecognizable to us; but even then,
antiquarians will look back to the Order as it was in 1921 and say, It is the
same great Fraternity still !
* * *
A NEW MASONIC SCHOLARSHIP NEEDED
In that excellent paper, The Masonic Reporter, of Chicago,
there appeared some time back an editorial in the midst of which are these
"Seldom do we hear of a lodge engaging a Masonic lecturer or
encouraging the study of Masonry. Its traditions and history, its beautiful
system of morality and science, all, all are a closed book to the average
Mason. Where are our Masonic libraries? The few books that may be found in
some of our lodge libraries are covered with dust, undisturbed for years."
And then the editor goes on to tell what a store of information
and of inspiration is to be found each year in the Grand Lodge Proceedings,
and laments the fact that so few of the brethren ever look into the volume,
published at so great cost of money and time. He says that this indifference
to what Masonry really is and is trying to do seems to indicate that a vast
number of the young men who throng our portals come for the less worthy
purposes of social or business aggrandizement.
The mail that brought the Masonic Reporter in which this
editorial appeared brought also a letter from a kind brother in which was
enclosed the following, clipped from a daily paper:
"Some brethren hold that the art and mystery of the Masonic
Order was first introduced at the building of the Tower of Babel, thence
handed down by Euclid, who communicated it to Hiram Abiff, under whom, at the
building of the temple of Solomon was an expert architect named Mannon Graecus,
who, according to legendary lore, introduced it into England."
Well! well! well! It may be that a great deal of the lack of
interest complained of above, (and complained of in every issue of THE
BUILDER) may be due to the sort of stuff that is peddled about by some Masonic
talkers and writers. It is true that lodges and masters are to blame for the
dearth of intellectual activity; it is equally true that those who seek to
minister to that activity are equally to blame, for so much has been said and
written about Masonry which is mere stuff, so silly that a child can see
through its pitiable ignorance. Men of sense and education will not waste
their time on such trifling. We need a new Masonic scholarship in America: a
new standard for our great host of Masonic speakers: a new knowledge of the
real history of, and of the true interpretation of the teachings oft our great
Fraternity. When members once begin to understand that to accomplish all this
is one of the principal purposes of Masonic study and research, they will
cease to look upon that enterprise as the plaything of a few brethren with a
certain intellectual curiosity about things far away in time and importance.
Do something for somebody gladly,
'Twill sweeten your every care;
In sharing the sorrows of others
Your own are less hard to bear.
Do something for somebody always,
Whatever may be your creed;
There's nothing on earth can help you
So much as doing a kindly deed.
- Venie Whitney.
‑ The cautious seldom error. - Confucius.
ROBERT BURNS AND FREEMASONRY
WHAT the Masons of an older day might have been like is sensed
in yet another charming volume that has come to our desk; this time the work
of the distinguished English Masonic scholar, Brother Dudley Wright, Associate
Editor of THE BUILDER. "Robert Burns and Freemasonry," by our worthy brother
ought to find room upon the shelves of all who are collecting a Burnsiana, or
for that matter, upon all library shelves, and particularly the Masonic
library shelf. We suggested its indication of what the Masonic life of a
bygone day was like. We may read this interesting information on page thirteen
of this well printed volume: "Freemasonry influenced his (Robert Burns)
thoughts; inspired his muse, and nutured that stern love of independence and
brotherhood which became the predominant characteristic of his manhood." And
then a little later we have this sidelight in Burns' companionships, "with
very few exceptions all his patrons and acquaintances were members of the
Brotherhood." We have today in our midst as lodge members many distinguished
men, but no doubt many of us who belong to lodges that contain the names of
these eminent men on their rosters have never had particular fellowship with
them in the body of the lodge room. It is interesting to note how the
distinguished were constantly present at lodge meetings in the Poet's day. We
have another reference on page sixty‑one to those names associated with
literature which figure in the register of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No. 2,
among them John Wilson (Christopher North), J. Gibson Lockhart, and Lord
Brougham. We are informed that this lodge possesses the most ancient lodge
room in the world. "It is one of the most active Masonic lodges of the present
day, keeping alive the traditions of nearly eight hundred years."
This volume of Dudley Wright's makes us feel that Burns is
indeed the eternal Poet Laureate of Masonry, and through the marvelous poetic
quotations in the volume we get new glimpses of the wonder and everlasting
worth of Masonic teaching, as sung by him. Completing the book is an address
delivered by our own Dr. Newton "proposing the toast to the immortal memory of
brother Robert Burns at the Burns meeting of Scotts Lodge, No. 2319, English
Constitution, on the 24th of January, 1918." We cannot refrain from quoting
what Brother Newton says: "If ever of anyone, it can be said of Robert Burns
that his soul goes marching on, striding over continents and years, and
trampling tyrannies down. He was the harbinger of the nineteenth century, the
poet of the rise and reign of the common people of whom it has been said God
must love, because he made so many of them."
At the time of our reading of Robert Burns we chanced to be
dipping into a biography of John Wesley, written under the caption "Wesley and
His Century," by an Australian Methodist minister named Fitchett. We could not
help but wonder whether there was any relationship between the revival of
modern Masonry and the great religious revival of the eighteenth century in
which Wesley was the predominant figure. We have been assured that Wesley was
not a Mason, but we should not fail to note that the marvelous spiritual
awakening culminating in the progressive strides of the nineteenth century can
never be explained without Wesley and we believe Freemasonry had no small part
in the strife with malignant atheism of the century.
When we are inclined to a depressing pessimism the antidote
that we require is a reading of history that will reveal to us what the great,
luminous souls of yesterday had to contend with and how they attempted,
achieved,, and triumphed. England in the eighteenth century is a morbid, dark
picture. "A new century was dawning," says Dr. Fitchett, "but it seemed as if
in the spiritual sky of England the very light of Christianity itself was
being turned by some strange and evil force into darkness," and a little
farther we read that, "judges swore on the bench; chaplains cursed sailors to
make them attentive to sermons; the king swore incessantly and at the top of
Infidelity and blatant deism then ruled the world; religion was
a mockery; and right relationships, moral and exemplary, were regarded with
contempt. Rejuvenation or disaster inexorably attended such a condition.
Across the channel the phrase "disaster" expressed itself in revolution; in
England the Wesleyan revival and the fertile brain of John Wesley caused a
light to shine throughout the Empire which brought healing and ultimately that
light shone to the far corners of the globe. "When one thinks of the heroic
figure," says a recent writer, "athletic both in body and soul, and the wonder
of his evangel which saved England from revolution, one must not forget the
stern culture of soul which made it possible."
While John Wesley was a sacramentarian and a high churchman he
was a Protestant of the Protestants and if modern Protestantism is to play the
part we believe God intended in the rejuvenation of modern life, it must
evolve men of the vision, consecration and the daring of Wesley.
Freemasonry will never fail to militantly support the spiritual
idealism expressed in such men as Wesley, that culminates in the finding of
benevolent institutions for the service of mankind.
"Now and then, usually at far distant periods, a personality
appears in the world of such commanding character that all other formative
elements are subject to his supremacy. He is a creative power, and then
something totally new appears." Of Martin Luther who stood before the Diet at
Worms, and whose 400th anniversary is being celebrated this year, were these
words spoken. But the words may be used with equal force relative to John
Wesley. So mote it be.
(Robert Burns and Freemasonry, by Dudley Wright, price $1.75,
postpaid. Copies may be secured through the National Masonic Research Society,
PUBLICATIONS WANTED, FOR SALE, AND EXCHANGE
We are constantly receiving inquiries from members of the
Society and others as to where they might obtain books on Masonry and kindred
subjects, other than those listed each month on the inside back cover of THE
BUILDER. Most of the publications wanted have been out of print for years.
Believing that many such books might be in the hands of other members of the
Society willing to dispose of them we are setting apart this column each month
for the use of our members. Communications from those having old Masonic
publications will also be welcomed.
Postoffice addresses are here given that those interested may
communicate direct with each other, no responsibility of any nature to be
attached to the Society.
It is requested that all brethren whose wants may be filled
through this medium communicate with the Secretary so that the notices may
then be discontinued.
By Bro. George D. Macdougall, Grand Master, New Glasgow, Nova
Scotia, Canada: "History and Cyclopedia," by Oliver and Macoy; "A Concise
Cyclopedia of Freemasonry," by E. L. Hawkins; "Masonic Facts for Masons," by
W. H. Russell; "Genius of Freemasonry," by J.D. Buck; "The Traditions, Origin
and Early History of Freemasonry," by A. T. C. Pierson; "Illustrations of
Freemasonry," by Wm. Preston; "The Spirit of Freemasonry,t' by Wm. Hutchinson.
By Bro. Avery P. Lord, 537 Champlain St., Berlin, N. H., a copy
of "The Universal Masonic Directory," published in 1912 by the Fraternal
Directory Company, of Cleveland, Ohio.
By Bro. N. W. J. Haydon, 564 Pape Ave., Toronto, Ontario,
Canada, a copy of Da Costa's "Dionysian Artificers." Brother Haydon has been
trying for years to find a copy of this work, but without success, and will
gladly enter into an arrangement with some more fortunate brother for the
temporary loan of a copy.
By Bro. E. A. Russell, 751 Linwood Place, St. Paul, Minn.
"Symbolism East and West," Aynsley; "The Gods of Egypt," Budge; "Dionysian
Artificers," Da Costa; "Secret Tradition in Masonry," and "Studies in
Mysticism," Waite; "The Cathedral Builders," Scott; "Freemasonry and the Great
Pyramid," Holland, and "Egypt the Cradle of Freemasonry," De Clifford.
By Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin, "Catalogue of
the Masonic Library of Samuel Lawrence," "Mystic Masonry," by J. D. Buck,
"Second Edition of Preston's Illustrations of Masonry."
FOR SALE OR EXCHANGE
By Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin, "Stray Leaves
from a Freemason's Note Book," by George Oliver. This volume also contains
"Some Account of the Schism showing the presumed origin of the Royal Arch
Degree." Univ. Mas. Lib. edition. Price $3.00. "Lights and Shadows of
Freemasonry," bv Robert Morris. (Fiction and anecdotes.) Price $3.50.
By Nelson L. Finch, Broadalbin, N. Y.:
"The History of Freemasonry," by Robert Freke Gould. The London
edition, six volumes, 4to cloth, full gilt, 1884. Price $16.50.
"Discourse on Masonry," by Thaddeus Mason Harris, D. D., 1801.
"Tales of Masonic Life," by Robert Morris, 1860. Price $3.00.
"Digest of Masonic Law," George W. Chase, 1859. Price $1.50.
"Practical Masonic Lectures," by Samuel Lawrence, 1874. Price
RADICALISM IN THIS COUNTRY
Those who see the roots of revolutionary radicalism only in the
Old World will find cause for second thought in the report of the Lusk
Committee of the New York Legislature. The modern radical movement began with
Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto of 1848, since which revolutionary
radicalism has been more or less evident in Europe.
But the Lusk Report, in four large volumes of more than a
thousand pages each, calls upon Americans to look to their own country for
some roots of radicalism. It presents an amazing review of revolutionary
efforts that have been cradled here. No doubt, these are a by‑product of the
growth of machine production and large cities. But to charge the changing
industrial order with the whole responsibility for revolutionary radicalism is
to go astray.
The Lusk Report finds two great causes for the movement. The
first is economic and the second is moral. The infection of radicalism has
spread from the ranks of labor to churches and universities, because our
acquisitive society has left the intellectuals sadly underpaid. Except for
teachers and clergymen of the highest rank, salaries have been allowed to drop
far below industrial wages. The result has been to spread discontent and
bitterness. More reward and honor should be given where they are necessary to
maintain balance and good feeling.
Besides this economic factor, the lack of religious and moral
training has furnished seed‑ground for revolutionary radicalism. When high
moral standards fall into abeyance, instincts of acquisition, ruthless
consumption and display are quick to take their place. This country has in the
past generation enjoyed marvelous material prosperity, but without a
corresponding quickening of moral responsibility and good citizenship.
American instincts are still sound, but there has been, on the
part of many, a loss of perspective and balance. The Lusk Report presents a
picture whose moral is evident. Revolutionary radicalism does not spring up
without reason or cause. It is the result of certain conditions. These are not
An economic adjustment and the revival of the moral element in
American life will do much to check the spread of radicalism. Because the
normal way out has seemed unduly slow, many have resorted to a quick and
dangerous philosophy of escape.
- Minneapolis Journal.
SIGHT, HEARING, SMELL
Seeing, it is a gladdening thing:
White birds against a morning sky,
Blowing poppies, nodding grasses,
Light that grows and fades and passes,
Young‑leaved poplars shining high.
And God be thanked that gave us hearing
For children's laughter, sweet and bold,
For winds that whisper old hills round,
For every intimate sweet sound
The quiet golden evenings hold.
But oh, 'tis scent that makes immortal
The little lives of mortal men!
Roses with haunting sweetness riven,
Incense, to lift men's hearts to heaven,
Lilacs, to draw them home again.
- Margaret Adelaide Wilson.
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion.
Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his
own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of
opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of
Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for
fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all
members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic
subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particlllarly those connected
with lodges or study clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic
Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before
publication in this department.
LANDMARKS ONCE MORE
While preparing a paper on Landmarks I have gone through all
the bound volumes of THE BUILDER, and have read every reference to the
subject. It all confuses me. It seems that Landmarks are and they are not.
From your own article which was published in the May number for 1918 I gain
the same impression. Won't you confess that you were not yourself sure what
Landmarks were when you wrote that paper?
G.A.W., Rhode Island.
"Guilty, Most Excellent King Solomon"! and I might add also, as
a sop thrown to my vanity, "As many a friend and brother has done before" me!
I have never yet cornered a Landmark. I could no more make up a list of the
Landmarks of Freemasonry now than I could when I wrote the article in 1918.
There is however one way out, and that as simple as it is practicable:
If you approach the subject from a philosophical or historical
point of view you must form your own judgment as to what the Landmarks are:
that judgment will be valid for you but it cannot be binding on any other. It
is not often, however, that you would think of them in that way.
Usually the only time a Mason thinks about the Landmarks is
when someone proposes a change in the Fraternity, in its ritual, its
jurisprudence, its symbols, its policy, or what not. In that event it is the
duty of Grand Lodge arbitrarily to decide what the Landmarks are. When your
Grand Lodge has so decided them, for you, that determines what are and what
are not, Landmarks.
For all practical purposes, then, we could define a Landmark as
a long‑established principle, or tenet, or policy of the Order having the
sanction of universality which Grand Lodge has decreed to be a Landmark.
* * *
PROFANITY AMONG MASONS
The subject of profanity among Masons has been on my mind for
some time and it would seem that if this could be brought before the brethren
in the proper manner, and would be seen in the right light, that much
improvement could be accomplished in that direction.
I feel proud to be a Mason, and to be connected with so great
and good a Fraternity, but it sometimes makes one blush with shame to be in a
gathering and hear an otherwise good and worthy brother (one who would perhaps
give his last dollar for the support of widows and orphans, and do all in his
power to help a brother in distress), curse, blaspheme, and take the name of
God in vain, that God whom we as Masons reverence and serve. Surely it is
inconsistent, as well as sinful and shameful.
If the absence of profanity among Masons could be made a
distinguishing feature, it would not only be a wonderful improvement to our
Fraternity, but would have a wonderful impression on the world outside,
especially among men who at some time intend to unite with us.
This may not be in line with your research work, but I believe
that this subject could be agitated through THE BUILDER and would in that way
reach a great many Masons who would be ready and willing to cooperate, and
perhaps later it could be brought before the Grand Lodges, and then before
every lodge in the country.
We have contributed to the cause of a more reverent manhood,
Brother Larsen, by printing your excellent letter, which is in itself as
eloquent a plea as men will often hear. Like yourself, ye scribe has heard
Masons use profanity ad lib, and how they can do it is ever a mystery, for
surely he who has passed through the Masonic initiation to any purpose and
with any sincerity must know that God is, and that to keep His name pure and
clean is an ever present necessity. What can be done about it? Apparently
nothing except to leave it to each man, for it is by its nature a private
problem, and one difficult to deal with in the large. It may be that other
brethren glimpse the matter from another angle, or have a word to add to the
good words of Bro. Larsen's letter; if so, let them speak up!
* * *
THE NEW TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA
Can you tell me where I can get a copy of a New Testament
Apocrypha? what was this book? is it of any interest to a Mason? H.F.T.,
The standard edition of the New Testament Apocryphal writings
has long been Volume XVI of the "Ante‑Nicene Christian Library" published in
1870 by T. & T. Clark of Edinburghthe translation was made by Alexander
Walker. You can secure a copy of this book through any book dealer or
publisher: you should be able to find a second‑hand copy at a very reasonable
The New Testament Apocrypha was not, properly speaking, a book,
but rather a collection of books which had a wide circulation in early
Christian times but which, for one reason or another, were omitted from the
New Testament canon, and which are not believed to have much value from an
historical point of view. These writings fall naturally into three groups: the
Gospels, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Nicodemus, etc.; the
Acts, such as the Acts of Paul and Thecla, of Barnabas, of Philip, etc.; and
the Revelations, such as the Revelation of Moses, of Esdras, of Paul, of John,
These writings have no value to the Masonic student save as
they throw light on the religious thoughts of the early Christians and Jews,
and as they explain some of the theological doctrines of the Roman Catholic
The great living authority on things Apocryphal is Canon R.H.
Charles; he has published several very excellent works on the matter, besides
numerous contributions to the Encyclopeedias. The last work from his pen is a
two‑volume commentary on The Book of Revelation.
* * *
MASONRY AND CHRISTIAN SCIENCE
Do you believe that Masonry faces a Christian Science peril ?
Gracious! are we face to face with another peril? They come
thick and fast these days ! Henry Ford would have us believe that we are all
to be eaten by the Jews: Senator Phelan is equally alarmed at the Japanese: in
England there are those who can't sleep o' nights, for fear of the Masons!
Masonry does not face any Christian Science peril. Many Masons
good and true are of that sect, of which they can be as proud as any other man
his sect, and these have come as others have, because there is that in the
Order which draws them. This is only another example of the universality of
Freemasonry, and shows that it does in truth lay its foundation beneath all
the creeds. If many Masons read the Christian Science Monitor it is because it
is so excellent a newspaper and prints, among other things of more than local
and sensational interest, many articles about Masons and their doings. If many
Christian Scientists come to our doors to seek entrance, it is our gain and
theirs, and thrice welcome are they all, as members of any church are welcome.
As for a peril, that is of a piece with the giraffe which the backwoodsman saw
for the first time: "there a'int any sech animal!"
* * *
THE ANCIENT BELIEF CONCERNING THE CONSTELLATIONS
Can you refer me to a good book that tells about the
constellations, and what the ancients believed about them?
C.B.Y., New York.
"The Star Lore of All Ages," by William Tyler Olcott, is
doubtless the very book you need. It is published by G.P. Putnam's of New
York, and has a deservedly wide popularity. The sub‑title gives a condensed
description of its contents: "A Collection of Myths, Legends, and Facts
Concerning the Constellations of the Northern Hemisphere." In the course of
400 pages the author brings together the beliefs concerning each of the
constellations held by all the races of men, and with it all furnishes the
reader with a mass of accurate information on astronomy in general. Scattered
through the volume are some fifty beautiful illustrations, most of‑them
photogravures of old masterpieces; many of them photographs of sculpture. The
book is a companion to "Sun Lore of All Ages," which is published in a binding
uniform with it.
* * *
ARE OUR ISSUES TOO SMALL?
I have long been a booster for THE BUILDER. The only complaint
I have ever heard is that it is too small. Now that the war is over can't you
give us more bulk?
Steady there! Don't you recall Mr. Dooley's definition of a
magazine? "An island of littrachoor in an ochean of advhertisin!" You must
remind your friends that THE BUILDER carries no advertising, and that it is
even larger than the great majority of journals in its own field and class, as
you can prove for yourself if you will measure its reading contents and make
comparison with its contemporaries. Moreover, you can also remind them that
when they "subscribe" to THE BUILDER, it is not merely a magazine they
receive, but a membership in the National Masonic Research Society, and also
an unlimited service, free of charge, in any form of Masonic study, not to
mention other things that we gladly do for our brethren, every day of the
year, such as buying books for them, helping them with speeches, and what not.
* * *
In our study club we have several times discussed things
pertaining to the Ancient Jews, their temple, and their capital city. Our
leader has several times mentioned the "Talmud": will you please explain to me
what this is ?
Roughly speaking, The Talmud is a book composed of those
comments on the Old Testament, of traditions and legends having to do
therewith, and of the sayings of wise teachers made in its spirit, which came
to take rank in Jewish literature next to the Old Testament itself. I advise
you to read carefully the articles in the Jewish Encyclopsedia and in
Hasting's Encyclopsedia of Religion and Ethics. Also, I recommend a volume
called "The Early Christians in Rome," by the Very Rev. H. D. M. Spence‑Jones,
and published in 1911, by the John Lane Company. Book V of this volume is
entirely devoted to the Talmud and gathers into a few pages of clear prose
nearly everything you may care to learn about the matter.
In this connection I am tempted to write a little review of
this volume, since it is one that deserves a wide reading, not only by those
interested in church history, but also by Masons, for here and there through
the book are many matters of concern to the Masonic student. It is divided
into five books, the first of which relates the story of the "Beginning of
Christianity in Rome." Much is given in this part about the private life of
Christians then, about their habits of letter writing (of which many remains
are still in existence), and about a few of the Emperors who took most notice
of them. Book II is an account of those elements in early Christian private
life which led to asceticism, and to the subsequent formation of schools of
monks and nuns. Book III is an account of "The Inner Life of the Church,"
which relates how the early Christians worshipped, and how they met
martyrdoms. Book IV, a very interesting section, has to do with the Catacombs,
how they were discovered, how their story has been deciphered, and what light
they throw on the history of those times. The final book, as said above, deals
with "The Jew and the Talmud." The author narrates the story of the last three
great wars of the Jews: that of A. D. 70 when the Romans, under Titus the son
of the Emperor Vespasian, destroyed Jerusalem and slew about two million Jews:
that of 116‑7 when the Zealot Party led the Jews in a forlorn hope against the
Roman Power, were defeated, and suffered losses of about two hundred thousand;
and the final war of 132‑3‑4 when, led by a pseudo‑messiah named Bar‑cochab,
the Jews attempted to overthrow the yoke, only to meet a terrible defeat, with
the loss of about one million lives. The author then describes Rabbinism and
what it did for the nation; the Massorah; the Haggadah, and the Halacah. In so
short a space details are necessarily omitted from the discussion of so many
large matters, and the volume is not recommended to those who need such
treatment, but for those who need a brief and rapid introduction into the
field, "The Early Christians in Rome," will prove a very worth while book.
* * *
WAS MARTIN LUTHER A MASON?
What documentary evidence have we that Martin Luther after his
heroic stand at the Diet of Worms, was rescued and kept in seclusion by
Masons? I have often heard this statement made, and have been assured that it
was authentic history. Re cently I made the statement here, and in this strong
Luthera community my statement was naturally challenged. Now I wan the facts,
if they may be had. Can you help me out?
It is hard to give you the facts because the particular episode
of which you speak is still shrouded in uncertainty. Luther was excommunicated
in 1520. He was called to the Diet of Worms in 1521. He had been given a "safe
conduct" before leaving for Worms, else he could never have reached the place,
but this expired before he could return and he was compelled to go into
hiding. It is supposed, but nothing can be certain about it, that his friend
and patron, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, sent soldiers to secrete
him in an old castle. And it is supposed that it was during this seclusion
that Luther began his famous translation of the Bible into the German
vernacular. You will find these matters carefully traversed in any good life
of Luther, among which the lives by President McGiffert and by Prof. H.P.
Smith may be especially recommended.
* * *
WERE ANY OF THE POPES MEMBERS OF THE MASONIC FRATERNITY ?
Can you tell me if any of the Popes of the bygone age have been
members of the Craft? Are any of the dignitaries of the Roman Church today
So far as is known no Pope has ever been a member of the
Fraternity. This could have happened a thousand years ago when Masons were
builders of church buildings, favored by the Papal See, and all loyal
churchmen, but, so far as we can discover, it has never occurred. No church
dignitary of today is or could be a member, because it is now a law of the
church, and has been for a century and more, that membership in the fraternity
is punishable by excommunication, and in many cases, as the papal bulls
express it, "the heavier penalties" of the church. A certain Spanish bishop in
charge of Santiago, Cuba, was, a long while ago, a Mason, but he was taken in
charge by the Inquisition, and paid the price therefor.
* * *
"MASONRY" OR "FREEMASONRY"
Which is proper to use, "Masonry" or "Freemasonry"?
Usage dictates that "Freemasonry" is the more correct, though
the other term is not banned, even by the carefullest writers. In nearly all
encyclopaedias and histories it is "Freemasonry"; that is more accurate and
* * *
Can you recommend to me a good and not too long history
of the Society of Jesus, otherwise known as the Jesuits?
Of such histories there are many, some of them in many volumes
and full of erudition; it is probable that, your own wants can best be
satisfied by a one volume work written in 1908 by G.B. Nicolini, an Italian
writer who has also published other works on various phases of Romanism. The
fact that this work is published by George Bell & Sons, of London, and issued
as one of the numbers of the famous Bohn's Library is its highest
* * *
Is it true that the Theosophists have organized a branch of
Masonry for women? H. F. D., California.
The Theosophical Society exists in two opposed sects, one
headed by Annie Besant, now in India, and the other led by Madame Katherine
Tingley, of Point Loma, California. Under the Besant faction there exists an
order described as "CoMasonry" which is supposed to be Masonry for women. It
is not Masonry for women because there can be no such thing.
* * *
AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM
In the Jesuit weekly "America" for April 9th is the following
interesting book review:
"Albert Pike - Fred W. Allsopp has written an interesting 'Life
Story of Albert Pike,' (Parke‑Harper News Service, Little Rock, Ark.), the
well‑known American Freemason. Born in Boston in 1809, he went West at
twenty‑one, following the Santa Fe Trail. He fought in the Mexican and Civil
Wars, became 'Sovereign Grand Commander' of Scottish Rite Masonry, and died in
Washington in 1891. In reply to Pope Leo's Encyclical, denouncing Masonry,
Albert Pike protested that Freemasonry makes no war upon the Roman Catholic
religion, and said that it is not true that 'English‑speaking Freemasonry will
not receive Catholics into its bosom,' but 'It will not receive Jesuits
because no oath it can administer would bind the conscience of a Jesuit.' Yet
how remarkably widespread is the impression that the Church and Masonry are
hardly bosom friends, and that no Catholic, let alone a Jesuit, can be a Mason
without giving up the practice of his religion, an impression which is
strengthened, strange to say, by the perusal of the 'New Age,' the Masonic
periodical. AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM is the Jesuit device on a Masonic temple in
Mr. Allsopp's book."
What is the date and history of origin of the Latin phrase
given above? A.H.V., Pennsylvania.
Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Order of Jesuits, was born
in Spain in 1491, which was the year before the discovery of America. He took
up arms as a profession, and was wounded in a battle against the French in
1521. While convalescing he experienced a profound religious conversion during
which, amid many visions, he saw before his inner eye a great army of Jesus
Christ advancing against the enemies of the church, and he pictured himself at
its head, as its general. His life was an attempt to fulfill this vision. Like
other "armies" his was to have a flag, and the device he chose for that flag,
the device which has ever since been the motto of the Order, was "Ad Majorem
Dei Gloriam." "To the Great Glory of God."
MAKING MASONS AT SIGHT
I notice in "The Masonic Herald" of Rome, Ga., an article
entitled "Bishop Made Mason at Sight" which relates how that the Rt. Rev.
William A. Guerry, of Charleston, was made a Mason "at sight" at Columbia on
Tuesday, January 18, by Grand Master Lanham of Spartanburg.
We are sorry that Bro Guerry, by this haphazard method, has
been deprived of the necessity, required by Masonry, of having "made suitable
proficiency in the preceding degree," before advancing to the next, and
sincerely hope that his interest in Masonry may be strong enough to cause him
to make diligent study of which a number of years are usually necessary, and
thus learn at least a part of that which, by this method, has been denied to
THE BUILDER discussed this subject at some length, I think in
1916, and the writer of this article wrote under the caption of "Prerogatives"
an article in strong condemnation of this apparent un‑Masonic practice,
receiving letters of commendation on account of the article, from
representative Masons in various parts of the country, and I shall not in this
brief article, attempt to reiterate, nor in any manner review the articles
written upon the subject at that time, but I cannot help saying in conclusion,
that as the article says it was the first time in the history of
the Fraternity in South Carolina that such a thing had been
done, let us fervently hope that it may also be the last.
Lewis A. McConnell, Colorado
* * *
I have observed that many, if not a great majority, of the
members of our local lodge neither wish nor expect anything to be brought up
at our meetings except the ritualistic work.
Some time ago we elected a young, ambitious brother as Master
and as soon as he was installed he announced that he hoped to have the
meetings made more interesting and that they would attract more members by
having talks on various Masonic subjects. Immediately one of the older
brethren got up and said that we did not need anything of the kind - that if
we learned the ritual that was all that was necessary. It is needless to say
that this Master's term of office was not characterized by any great advance
in the work.
It may not be polite, but it seems to me that some of these
self‑satisfied members should be overruled and a broader view of Masonry
spread abroad among the members. Our magazine, THE BUILDER, (I say "our"
because I expect ever to be a Masonic student), should be placed in the hands
of every newlymade brother and every lodge should be required to subscribe for
him for one year. If the brother wants "more light" this will show him where
and how to get it and will do more than anything else to make him active in
* * *
SPIRITUALITY IN MASONRY
In the April issue of THE BUILDER Brother Ellison, in his
article "Whence Came Masonry," "proves" that Masonry is a relic of medieval
guilds and trades unions, which are synonymous with our present‑day labor
He establishes his theory by "authentic" history, which reminds
us of Brother Dupuy, who vouched for a number of brethren, but no one could be
found "who vouches for Dupuy."
Certainly there is no unbroken chain of written history to show
that Masonry existed in remote ages of the world, but corroborative,
circumstantial and self‑evident facts backing up the historical and
prehistorical periods, show conclusively an ancient origin.
O]iver's History of Masonry, 1841, quotes from Preston's
"Illustrations," Book 4, Section 2: "About the year of our Lord 690, the Picts
and Scots continued their depredations with unrestrained vigor, till the
arrival of some pious teachers from Wales and Scotland, when many of these
savages, being reconciled to Christianity, Masonry got into repute."
A manuscript in the Bodlein Library, which is a copy of one
written in 1440 A. D., attests that "Maconnes techedde mankynde relygyonne."
Evidently there is some spirituality about Masonry, that the
great pedestal of Masonry is religion, and without belief in a supreme being
there can be no Masonry - Guild Masonry to the contrary.
Masonry ministers to the needs of man. As man is a dual being,
physical and spiritual, it could not do that, were it not spiritual.
We are first made Masons at heart - if not, we are "physical"
Masons similar to the medieval Guilds, Operative and Trade Union Masons, as
Brother Ellison says we are, plus more or less morality.
Everything physical dies - the divine only is deathless.
When Masonry ceases to be divine it dies.
When the spiritual, or heart part of Masonry, is eliminated
Masonry will have already been dead.
A. K. Bradley Texas.
* * *
One of the most gigantic problems before our people is the
stupendous question of how to make permanent and patriotic citizens of the
aliens upon our shores and those who are to come.
There are three great factors, the perfection of which will
accomplish the desired results:
1. The American Public Schools.
2. The Boy and Girl Scout Movement.
3. Universal Military Training.
First and foremost is the American Public School System.
It may be of interest to know that the Ancient Greeks were the
first people to establish a system of education based upon scientific
principles to prepare its youth for citizenship, rather than upon religious
beliefs and ecclesiastical ceremonies. Plato's "Gymnastics for the body, music
for the soul," was supplemented by the rhetorical and philosophical teachings
of Socrates and Aristotle.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, however, this excellent
system of education was declared pernicious by the priests; the church assumed
control of education in Europe; resented any encroachment of the state on its
domain and education again beeame a matter of religious beliefs and mediaeval
After the Reformation, the multiplication of sects brought
about so much warfare regarding religious instruction that in most of the
advanced nations, education is now mainly secular and controlled by the State.
The American Public School System obtained its greatest impetus
during the forty years following the Revolutionary War and has constantly
developed until now its splendid educational advantages are second only to
those of France.
Most of our states have compulsory school laws but these are
not well enforced, because in 1918 Montana children wasted 25.8 per cent. of
the time they should have spent in school by non‑attendance.
This means that Montana children wasted 39.2 days out of the
152 school days that Montana provides for them. The expense to the state was
as great as though they had attended the full 152 days.
There were upon the outbreak of the war, whole communities in
our country and in our state where language, schools, churches, newspapers and
all literature was in a foreign tongue. In the case of Lutheran colonies, of
Mennonite colonies, of German colonies, their sympathies were naturally with
the home land, for we had given them little to make them American at heart.
In some localities it is claimed that radical principles were
openly advocated to children at their most impressionable age and the school
house was sometimes the center of a hotbed of alien propaganda.
Understand these were not foreign schools, these were American
schools, attended by American school children!
When America entered the war, thousands of American boys were
inducted into the service who could not understand a word of our language!
Imagine the amazement of your Grand Master in inspecting whole
companies of American soldiers who could not comprehend an American command!
These boys were born in America, educated in American schools
and had grown to manhood in America with a knowledge only of the language
spoken by their foreign born parents!
Oh the pity of it!
This is not the fault of the alien immigrant nor of his
American born son.
It is the result of criminal negligence of the United States
Government and we are that United States Government.
We have called them wops, bohunks, kikes, svenskas, pollocks,
dagos and square, heads, but we have considered their patriotism as we
considered their labor: of interest to us only as it could be used.
We have been long on nicknames, but short on sympathy.
Radiant with ridicule but stingy with sentiment.
Sarcasm begets not love but rancor.
The glowing light of Liberty's torch that welcomed them to our
harbor only served to deepen the shadow of our National indifference.
Repelled by this neglect, chilled by indifference, ridicule and
frequently open contempt, is it any wonder they formed colonies, started
schools, established churches for worship and kept green the hallowed memories
of the home land from which still were stretched yearning arms of loved ones
Is it any wonder that our pre‑war apathy for our own flag
lighted no patriotic fire in alien breasts?
Having renounced his own flag and finding only ridicule and
contempt under ours, is it surprising that his hungry heart sometimes sought
sympathy under the Red?
It is now proposed to establish night and special courses at
which the adult immigrant may learn to speak and if he cares to do so, to
write the American language. The children of foreign born parents of course,
come under the same laws as home born children and all these from the ages of
six to fourteen, without regard to birth, nationality, political, religious,
or financial conditions, should attend the American Public Schools, which
schools should be under the joint supervision of federal and state control.
Then will all interests be national; then will our patriotism
be spontaneous; then will the "little red school house" cease to be a healthy
habitat for the little Red school teacher.
Many feel that the learning of the language by the adult should
be made compulsory, but Masonry rebels at forced Americanism.
Unstable the government borne upon the back of compelled
We believe the implied ignorance of a lack of its knowledge
will force the unwilling to its acquisition.
While many sects oppose this plan, it is interesting to note
that the organization most vicious in its denunciation is the one which stands
accused of the greatest unfaithfulness during the war, namely: the German
Well may we question and even suspect the motives of any
organization that fosters class distinction in a democracy.
Masonry, pledged to patriotism, must insist upon the learning
and use of the American language by alien immigrants and upon the compulsory
attendance at our public schools by all children during the years of school
age. Not a factional school, not a private school, not a parochial or
denominational school of any kind, but the American Public School, the
greatest of present day factors for making Americans.
Robert J. Hathaway, Grand Master, Montana.