The Builder Magazine
January 1924 - Volume X - Number 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FRONTISPIECE - THE NATIONAL CAPITOL
SPURIOUS, OR ASSOCIATED FREEMASONRY - By Bro. Sir Alfred Robbins, England
PLONGEON THEORY OF FREEMASONRY - By Prof. Herbert J. Spinden, Massachusetts
UNIQUE MASONIC MEETING IN FRANCE.
FREEMASONRY AND TOLERATION IN THE COLONIES - By Bro. Benjamin Wellington
COMACINE MASTERS: A REPLY - By Bro. W. Ravenscroft, England
ENTERED APPRENTICE DEGREE WITH ITS GROUPS OF THREE - By Bro. Charles E. Boyden,
MUSSOLINI RECEIVES MASONS
MEN WHO WERE MASONS - ADLAI EWING STEVENSON
STUDY CLUB - By Bro. Geo. W. Baird, District of Columbia - Chapters of Masonic
History - Part VIII, The Operative Masons - By Bro. H. L. Haywood
Freemasonry's Work in the World
Masonic Service Association
CORNERSTONE OF THE NATIONAL CAPITOL
Anderson and His Book of Constitutions
Ammunition for Speech-Makers
Volume of THE BUILDER for 1923
QUESTION BOX AND CORRESPONDENCE
Missouri "Blue Lodges" and Slavery
Authentic Books on Folklore, etc
Daniel Hunt First Knight Templar..
Not Involved in Oklahoma Trouble.
Information Wanted Concerning Chart
Lincoln, Farragut, Grant and Burr
American Lodge in London....
Commends Block's Article
Do You Examine Visitors?"
Spurious, Imitative, or Associated Freemasonry
Bro. SIR ALFRED ROBBINS, England
BUILDER is privileged, through the intermediary kindness of Bro. Dudley
Wright, to publish here the Installation Address delivered Nov. 8 last by Sir
Alfred Robbins, when installed as Master of the famous Lodge of Research,
Quatuor Coronati, No. 2076, London, England. This frank utterance from a
Masonic statesman of the first rank will have all the wider hearing in this
land in view of his approaching visit to our shores. He is a Past Grand
Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England, President of the Board of General
Purposes of that body, and a journalist of note. For all his many activities
he has found time to take a keen and absorbing interest in Masonic research,
more especially of latter day Masonry, as his present paper will testify. A
magnificent address of his on "English and American Brotherhood; a league of
Masons" was printed in THE BUILDER, July, 1918, page 191.
CANNOT begin my inaugural address as Master of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge
without acknowledging in all cordiality and with all sincerity the pleasure
and pride that have been given me by acceptance of the position.
chosen as chief officer for the year of a lodge which has contained some of
the most eminent students of the immediate past, and has produced fruits of
research of the highest importance to Freemasonry, is an honour to which an
ordinary Mason hardly dares to aspire, and an honour for which, when conferred
on him, he cannot be anything but deeply grateful.
been the custom in this lodge for each succeeding Master on the night of his
installation to address the brethren upon some subject of Masonic interest
which, as a rule, has been one of research. Tonight I will follow that
example, but with the idea of searching, not so much into the past as into the
present of Freemasonry. Every historian in the Craft, I think, will agree
with me in thinking that if our departed brethren had concerned themselves
with various phases of its evolution, as that evolution proceeded and
developed, we should have been spared today much speculation and error. I,
therefore, propose to take as my theme on this occasion the problems presented
to the Craft today by spurious, imitative or associated Freemasonry. In this
regard, I do not think it necessary to deal specifically or at any length with
those bodies that all of us would recognize as covered by the eighth in order
of the summarised Antient Charges and Regulations which are promised to be
supported by every Master-elect on his coming into the Chair. This clause
gives a pledge to respect genuine and true brethren and to discountenance all
impostors and all dissenters from the original plan of Freemasonry. All of us
have a fairly clear idea of the bodies embraced in that category, but the
organizations which are now to be subjected to review are those on the
border-line. It was told me in my youth by an elementary science teacher that
there was no difficulty, broadly speaking, in saying what was an animal and
what was a vegetable; but the question became more difficult when one was
asked exactly to place a sponge. It is with, what I may term the sponges of
Freemasonry, that I wish now to deal - absorbent bodies, difficult to define,
possibly having their uses in certain directions, but apt to become dangerous
if allowed to spread with too great ease and rapidity.
A SERIOUS PROBLEM
problem is not merely speculative. It may seriously affect the immediate
future of the Craft in this country, as it already is doing our brethren in
other countries in friendly relationship with ourselves. In our own
jurisdiction, specifically according to the first clause in our Book of
Constitutions, it is "declared and pronounced that pure Antient Masonry
consists of three degrees and no more, namely, those of the Entered
Apprentice, the Fellowcraft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order
of the Holy Royal Arch." This extremely limited provision would seem to
exclude from strict contemplation, not only Mark Masonry, but all those
associated with our body which work what are variously termed, "the allied",
"the higher" or the additional degrees. In point of practice we know that the
exclusion is not of so rigid a kind. The Mark Degree, for example, along with
its subordinate part, the Royal Ark Mariners, are informally acknowledged as
kindred organizations by even strict Craftsmen. Many of our most excellent
and eminent brethren are Knights Templar, or members of the Rose Croix, the
Royal Order of Scotland, the Red Cross of Constantine, the Rosicrucian
Society, the Order of the Secret Monitor and the Order of the Scarlet Cord.
Some of our most eminent brethren belong to the Grand Council of Royal and
Select Masters and the Grand Council of the Allied Degrees; while there is the
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, with its nominal thirty-three degrees, the
Supreme Council of which avoids conflict with our Grand Lodge by not working
the first three.
long as brethren who own allegiance to those respective bodies have done
nothing specifically to forfeit their allegiance to the United Grand Lodge of
England, no objection is taken, but, by the Book of Constitutions, it is
strictly enjoined that "No honourary or other jewel, medal device or emblem
shall be worn in Grand Lodge or any subordinate lodge which shall not
appertain to or be consistent with those degrees which are recognized and
acknowledged by the Grand Lodge as part of pure and antient Masonry." In
practice, this regulation prevents the wearing of any insignia in lodges which
are not those of the Craft and Royal Arch, and strict action has been taken in
the past on more than one occasion against brethren who have infringed this
condition. In one instance this regulation was carried to such a length that
it is to be found recorded in the Grand Lodge Proceedings for the Quarterly
Communication of December, 1853, that the Grand Master (the then Earl of
Zetland) stated that he had been under the painful necessity of removing from
his position Bro. William Tucker, the Provincial Grand Master for Dorset "in
consequence of his having thought proper to appear in his Provincial Grand
Lodge in the costume and with jewels appertaining to what were termed 'higher
degrees' and not sanctioned or acknowledged by Grand Lodge, and which
militated against the universality of Freemasonry." He added that he felt much
respect for Bro. Tucker personally, but the act was so completely at variance
with the laws of Grand Lodge that it left him no alternative. The regulation
was further emphasized by the Board of General Purposes at its meeting on 19th
January, 1869, when a letter from a brother was read saying that he had seen
Knights Templar's jewels worn in a lodge, and asking what course to pursue.
The Grand Secretary - at that time Bro. John Hervey - was instructed to reply
that such proceeding was at variance with the regulation of the Book of
Constitutions. It will be seen, therefore, that, as far as the bodies under
notice are concerned, the position of Grand Lodge is one of toleration,
provided the other bodies do not attempt to pass over the border lines thus
clearly laid down.
MARK DEGREE IS CONSIDERED
case of the Mark Degree, the question of its relation to the Craft has been
definitely under the consideration of Grand Lodge, and it is important to
recall how the question was viewed by some of the most skilled and experienced
Masons of seventy years ago, represented on a special committee jointly
appointed by the Board of General Purposes and Grand Chapter. That joint
committee entered upon an inquiry and an investigation, as far as could be
done by a body, some members of which had not been admitted to the Mark
Degree, and it came to a unanimous resolution that, while the degree did not
form a portion of the Royal Arch Degree and was not essential to Craft
Masonry, there was nothing objectionable in it, or anything which militated
against the universality of Freemasonry, and "that it might be considered as
forming a graceful addition to the Fellowcraft's Degree." The Earl of Zetland,
as Grand Master, approved and directed that the report of the committee should
be laid before Grand Lodge, which then unanimously resolved, "That the Degree
of Mark Mason or Mark Master is not at variance with the Antient Landmarks of
the Order, and that the Degree be an addition to and form part of Craft
Masonry; and, consequently, may be conferred by all regular warranted lodges,
under such regulations as shall be prepared by the Board of General Purposes,
approved and sanctioned by the M.W. Grand Master." This resolution seemed to
settle the matter for all time, but, at the ensuing Quarterly Communication -
that of June, 1856 - when the minutes of 5th March were read, and were
proposed to be confirmed, an amendment was moved: "That such portion as
relates to the subject of the Mark Masons be not confirmed," and this, after
some discussion, was carried. The question has not been raised in active form
relationship of Grand Lodge to these other degrees, to which many of its
members belong is, therefore, somewhat confused and, to that extent,
unsatisfactory; but, speaking generally, an entente cordiale has been
established in this jurisdiction which prevents friction or overlapping.
When, however, any attempt has been made, directly or indirectly, to associate
women with Freemasonry, Grand Lodge, within these past few years, has taken a
strong line. At the Quarterly Communication of 3rd September, 1919, the
report of the Board of General Purposes stated: "That the Board's attention is
being increasingly drawn to the sedulous endeavors which are being made by
certain bodies unrecognized as Masonic by the United Grand Lodge of England to
induce Freemasons to join in their assemblies. As all such bodies which admit
women to membership are clandestine and irregular, it is necessary to caution
brethren against being inadvertently led to violate their obligations by
becoming members of them or attending their meetings. Grand Lodge in 1910
approved the action of the Board in suspending two brethren who had
contumaciously failed to explain the grave Masonic irregularity to which
attention is now again called; and it is earnestly hoped that no occasion will
arise for having again to institute disciplinary proceedings of a like kind."
The problem came more precisely before Grand Lodge at the Quarterly
Communication of 2nd March, 1921, when specifically Grand Lodge adopted a
report of the Board, which recommended that there should not be granted the
prayer of a petition presented on behalf of an "Honourable Fraternity of
Antient Masonry" asking for recognition of that body which "modelled its
constitutions and ritual upon those of the United Grand Lodge of England,
departing therefrom only in one matter of the admission of women." In another
form, the question was again presented to Grand Lodge six months later, when
Grand Lodge agreed nemine contradicente to the declaration that "no Freemason
is entitled to attend any non-Masonic meeting at which Freemasonry by direct
implication is introduced, or to participate in any ceremony which is
quasi-Masonic or is held under some pseudo-Masonic and unauthorized auspices."
IMITATIVE MASONRY IS FEARED
a further way the matter came before Grand Lodge in that same year, 1921, and
midway between the taking of the two decisions just recorded. In this case
the Board of General Purposes emphasized "the necessity for the greatest
caution being exercised by brethren in dealing with bodies which, from a
Masonic point of view, are clandestine or irregular. Brethren who served
their country in a special capacity during the war were being invited to
attend an 'Order', the objects of which are stated to be 'good fellowship,
harmony and benevolence'. While the body is not called Masonic, it officially
states that there is a Grand Council composed of those who have passed the
Chair, and that the Council grants charters and dispensations for the
founding, opening and consecration of lodges. 'There is a ceremony of
initiation, simple and impressive, while in each of such lodges is an altar,'
while again, to quote from the authorized statement, 'the lodge is dressed and
regalia worn by the officers, and in two lodges already formed are to be found
Freemasons who take a great interest in the Society.' The claim made in the
last sentence deserves serious consideration, and the greatest caution is
enjoined upon brethren when invited to assemblies of the kind indicated."
other facts can be given from our recent history showing the jealous regard
which is being taken by the authorities of Grand Lodge to prevent imitative
Freemasonry from spreading to England, and strictly emphasizing the necessity
for the closest scrutiny of bodies which demand any kind of Masonic test for
entrants, it is not in our own jurisdiction alone that these troubles are to
be found. As recently as 1922, the Grand Lodge of Ireland caused an addition
to be made to its regulations dealing with any society that requires
Freemasonry as qualification for membership, and its decision on this subject
is worth quotation in full:
member of any Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Ireland shall
be a member of or attend any meeting of any body or society which requires
Freemasonry as, a basis of or qualification for membership, except of such
bodies as are included in the calendar published annually by the authority
lodge, or member of a lodge, shall give any information as to the standing of
a member in reply to an inquiry from any such non-recognized body, it shall be
deemed to be unMasonic conduct and may be dealt with accordingly.
Members of lodges under the Grand Lodge of Ireland are forbidden to join or to
belong to clubs or other bodies purporting to be or calling themselves
Masonic, unless such clubs or bodies have been sanctioned by the Grand Master
or the Deputy Grand Master, or if in a Masonic Province, by the Provincial
Grand Master or his Deputy, or if abroad in a country under the jurisdiction
of a Grand Lodge recognized by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, by such Grand
Lodge. Such sanction may at any time be withdrawn without notice.
OUTER-BODIES INCREASE IN AMERICA
is when we cross the Atlantic that we find the greatest amount of trouble
arises. I have already given a number of outer-bodies as existing in England
to which no formal objection is taken, but the spread of such bodies in
America is, in these times, so rapid, and their sporadic growth is so
remarkable that it is difficult to keep in touch with even the names of these
new organizations. We, in this country, know nothing, for example, of the
Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots, an organization popular throughout
California, and in those American states west of the Rocky Mountains, and it
is already possessed of a large number of members and steadily growing
larger. We know as little of the composition of the Shrine, a body which has
a large number of members in nearly all parts of the United States, and the
Annual Sessions of which, in various of the greater American cities are
occasions of much demonstration and rejoicing. There are the Tall Cedars of
Lebanon, intended for men who are Masons and claim to have reached a
considerable proficiency in the esoteric work, the strength of this body being
mostly in the southeastern states. The Order of the Eastern Star, which is
for women alone, association with which is forbidden by the United Grand Lodge
of England to English Masons, has now an American membership of more than
more striking even than these is the rapid growth in America during the past
few years of orders intended only for boys and girls. In the comparatively
young Order of De Molay for Boys, which is spreading with great speed in the
United States, the candidate has to declare that he is a firm believer in the
One Living and True God, and that his father either is or is not a Freemason,
and he has to give the names of at least four Masonic relatives, and of four
adult persons who have known him for three years; while nomination for
membership must be made by either two members of the chapter he wishes to
join, or by two Freemasons, and chapters for chapters can be issued only by a
recognized Masonic body which promises to carry on the work. Instituted as
recently as the spring of 1919, it seems to be outstripping in rapidity of
growth the Order of the Builders for Boys, which is of about the same age, and
was instituted by members of a Lodge of Perfection of the Ancient and Accepted
Scottish Rite. The object of this body is declared to organize between the
ages of fourteen and twenty-one sons of members of lodges of Ancient, Free and
Accepted Masons, and their immediate or closest boyhood companions in order to
aid in advancing their mental, moral, physical and spiritual up-bringing and
development, but there can also become members such Master Masons "as are
interested in the promotion and welfare of the Order, and as are necessary to
exercise supervision and guidance for its conduct and maintenance."
the other sex has been instituted the Order of the Rainbow for Girls between
fourteen and eighteen years of age, which is American in scope, and bears the
same relationship to girls as the Order of De Molay does to boys. Claiming to
"inculcate the love of God, home and country, putting special stress upon the
American public school system, and political and religious liberty as
guaranteed by the American Constitution." This order is for girls who are too
young for membership in the Order of the Eastern Star, but for those of their
elders who wish to proceed beyond the Eastern Star there is the Order of the
White Shrine of Jerusalem, eligibility for membership of which is good
standing in the Eastern Star, though the body does not claim to be in any way
connected with that Order. Its whole legend, it may be noted, is essentially
ALARMED AT INCREASE OF SIDE DEGREES
not an unnatural consequence of the jealousies and growth of these various
imitative organizations that Craft Masonry in certain of the states is
becoming alarmed at their rapid increase. One American Grand Master, who
incidentally is strongly in favour of the Eastern Star and the De Molay Order
for Boys, roundly denounces as "Masonic parasites" various other bodies which
seek to make membership in Masonry a prerequisite to their own membership, and
he most seriously has asked the attention of his Grand Lodge to the question
of whether it would not be well to legislate against such a practice. Another
Grand Master, when recently denouncing the attempts of various "miscellaneous
organizations" basing their membership on Craft Masonry, to rush Craft Masons
through a maze of higher degrees before, as he picturesquely says, "they are
literally dry behind the ears," confesses his weakness when confronted with
the present position. "We have not confidence enough in our own intelligence
to attempt to furnish a remedy," he says, "but feel sure that someone will
suggest one before long that will do good. We have scattered until our force
is greatly weakened, and the time is right for the return of a consolidation
of our activities. Could we abolish all save lodges and chapters, we would be
the gainers, and some sweet day we may find it necessary to do just that."
could produce a whole volume of evidence from the various records of Masonic
work in the United States to show how this sponge-like growth is spreading in
American Masonry, and is threatening certain of the best interests of the
Craft, but I have given sufficient testimony, I think, to satisfy our brethren
that the price of Masonry, as of liberty, is eternal vigilance. While willing
to believe that nothing but the highest motives are entertained by those who
promote these outer organizations or those who patronize their mysteries and
share in their assemblies, I am strongly convinced that the policy of constant
and close watchfulness, up to now pursued by the United Grand Lodge of
England, when dealing with outside bodies has been fully justified by its
results, and is the only one that can truly uphold the dignity and high
importance of Freemasonry as we ourselves know it, feel it and hope to
transmit it pure and unsullied to our successors as we have received it. It is
because of this belief that I have ventured to take this opportunity to lay
before so influential a lodge, and so representative a body of its members and
associates, certain facts bearing upon a question which I am sure will do
something to stimulate research in a direction that, up to now, as far as
England is concerned, has been strangely neglected by those who should watch
with the closest earnestness the everchanging signs of the times.
Plongeon Theory of Freemasonry
Prof. HERBERT J. SPINDEN, Massachusetts
an Introduction by The Editor
fathers in Masonry will recall the stir occasioned in 1886 by the publication
of Sacred Mysteries Among the Mayas and the Quiches, 11,500 Years Ago: Their
Relation to the Sacred Mysteries of Egypt, Greece, Chaldea and India:
Freemasonry in Times Anterior to the Temple of Solomon; written by Augustus Le
Plongeon. The book was read with avidity at the time, as were all other
volumes giving Freemasonry a fabulous origin, and even now the interest is not
altogether abated if one may judge by the fact that inquiries concerning it
come not infrequently to THE BUILDER.
Plongeon know as well as anybody that Freemasonry in the form it now wears is
not 12,000 years old or anything like it, and was more or less familiar with
the theories concerning its origin now more or less current; he made the
point, a hard one to sustain but not altogether unreasonable, that while the
BODY of the Craft is of comparatively modern origin, its SOUL has been a long
time in the world, meaning thereby that its principles and symbols, and the
general groundwork of its ceremonies, are late reincarnations of practices of
the Ancient Mysteries and similar world-old religious cults. The audacious
theory in Le Plongeon's book was that the Ancient Mysteries, such as were in
use in Greece and Egypt, were originally founded in America, among the Mayas,
and migrated from thence over an ancient land bridge that was broken when
Atlantis was destroyed. He summed the argument up in a few words, to be found
on page 22:
will endeavour to show you that the ancient sacred mysteries, the origin of
Freemasonry consequently, date back from a period far more remote than the
most sanguine students of its history ever imagined. I will try to trace
their origin, step by step, to this continent which we inhabit - to America -
from where Maya colonists transported their ancient religious rites and
ceremonies, not only to the banks of the Nile, but to those of the Euphrates,
and the shores of the Indian Ocean, not less than 11,500 years ago."
page 49 is another paragraph of similar import, interesting to read:
"Seeking for the origin of the institution of the sacred mysteries, of which
Masonry seems to be the great-grandchild, following their vestiges from
country to country, we have been brought over the vast expanse of the blue
sea, to this western continent, to these mysterious 'Lands of the West' where
the souls of all good men, the Egyptians believed, dwelt among the blessed. It
is, therefore, in that Country, where Osiris was said to reign supreme, that
we may expect to find the true signification of the symbols held sacred by the
initiates in all countries, in all times, and which have reached us through
the long vista of ages, still surrounded by the veil, 'well-nigh impenetrable,
of mystery woven round them by their inventors. My long researches among the
ruins of the ancient temples and palaces of the Mayas have been rewarded by
learning at the fountain-head the esoteric meaning of some at least of the
symbols, the interpretation of which has puzzled many a wise head - the origin
of the mystification and symbolism of the numbers 3, 5 and 7."
theory may be summed up in a few words, to - wit: The origin of Freemasonry is
to be found in ancient rites and symbolisms, of which the Mystery cults were
the best known examples; these cults originated in America; their rites and
symbols have been inherited by Freemasonry; therefore Freemasonry began in
America 11,500 years ago. The whole weight of this ingenious theory rests on
the Le Plongeon account of early Maya civilization, and therefore is one to be
properly referred to specialists in that field.
Professor Herbert Joseph Spinden, of Peabody Museum, Harvard University, is
such a specialist. He is one of the high authorities of the land on American
archaeology, has made explorations among the ruined cities of Central America,
and has written two books very interesting to read on the Maya subject - Maya
Art, and Ancient Civilizations of Mexico and Central America. When asked by
THE BUILDER for a statement concerning Le Plongeon's work from a scientific
point of view he sent the paper published herewith. An excellent and very
sympathetic account of Le Plongeon's career as an archaeologist, along with a
detailed description of his most important finds, will be found in Proceedings
of the American Antiquarian Society, Oct. 21, 1874, under the caption, "Dr. Le
Plongeon in Yucatan." Le Plongeon's book may be purchased through the National
Masonic Research Society at $3.25 net. Prof. Spinden is not a Mason; all the
more therefore are we appreciative of his courtesy in writing the critique
WOULD appreciate the opportunity to correct a misconception which has gained
strong hold regarding the origin of ancient American civilization and its
possible relations with the Old World. I realize that Le Plongeon's books
have been an important factor in the spread of this erroneous idea and at the
same time I do not wish to put myself in the position of making an attack upon
him in any way unfriendly or unappreciative of his self-sacrificing struggles.
say to begin with that I am not a Mason and, therefore, have no inside
knowledge of the special symbolisms which are used in its ceremonies. The
Masons, as their name implies, and their open history pretty clearly
indicates, were builders and as such, they were first of all practical men.
By this I do not mean to imply that they were not interested in ideals as well
as results. Indeed it is always within the pride and practice of good
craftsmanship to look beyond work to the things that work stands for in the
emotional life of the social group. But I cannot think that practical
builders, if given a chance, would distribute social frills and esoteric
ceremonials and not distribute at the same time the machines, processes and
constructions that were their solid and real existence.
were stone-workers in ancient America who erected some very interesting
temples, embellished them with geometric designs and with the faces of
grotesque gods who were believed to have jurisdiction over the sun and the
rain. The evolution of their art is an open book to archaeologists. They
invented a kind of corbelled vault but not a keystone vault. For the most
part they built their walls with a veneer of cut stone and filling of lime
mortar poured over broken limestone. They had the skyscraper instinct and
satisfied it by putting their principal temples upon lofty pyramids and then
erecting trellis-like walls on the roofs. Doubtless some of their methods and
results might be matched somewhere in the Old World, although they clearly
received independent development in the New.
and here is the important point - they did not have metal tools, only Stone
chisels. This is certainly true in Yucatan. In Peru and in western Mexico
some copper and bronze chisels have been found, but no evidence that these
were used in dressing stone is forthcoming. The First Empire of the Mayas, the
highest period of civilization in the New World, passed without the use of
metal. And yet here was a tremendous civilization on the artistic and
economic side, a civilization that means vastly more to us today in the food
that we eat and the clothes that we wear than do the civilizations of Greece
were no draft animals in America, except the dog and llama, and there was not
the slightest use of the wheel as a mechanical device. If some Master Mason
had reached these shores before Columbus, wouldn't he have left a cart and a
windlass? Would he have wasted a precious opportunity to benefit his fellowmen
in the practical ways of trade? Would he have taught instead only the details
of an esoteric cult, well enough as a ceremonial but shining like the moon
with light reflected from a greater purpose? These are questions which I shall
let some Mason answer; I would consider myself unfair and antagonistic to the
Order - which I am not - if I dared to answer these questions in the way they
have been answered by Augustus Le Plongeon and some of his disciples.
Essentially the romanticists who argue that similarities in human culture
necessarily mean contact degrade man instead of making his story of progress
more wonderful. They picture man as having a retentive memory merely and not
a creative mind, but the science of anthropology shows very clearly that men
do have creative minds and that all the peoples of the world given certain
opportunities and stimuli arrive at pretty much the same results.
all persons who profess to believe that the rites of Freemasonry existed in
ancient America seem to have been inspired by the writings of Augustus Le
Plongeon, and especially by his Sacred Mysteries Among the Mayas and Quiches,
11,500 Years Ago. Their Relation, to the Sacred Mysteries of Egypt, Greece,
Chaldea and India Freemasonry in Times Anterior to the Temple of Solomon. This
book was published over thirty-five years ago at a time when real knowledge of
the ancient ruined cities of Central America was non-existent. Almost
anything could be claimed without fear of successful contradiction, but even
in those halcyon and vociferous days Le Plongeon was not able to gain converts
to his strange and fantastic theories among persons familiar with the subject
matter of art and history. Today it is easy enough to controvert his basic
doctrine. He believed that the civilizations of Egypt, Assyria, India, etc.,
began in Central America, thus taking the opposite side from many other
romanticists who have attempted to carry civilizations from the Old World to
Plongeon was one of the first to explore Chichen Itza, a ruined city in
northern Yucatan, and he excavated some interesting altars and ceremonial
objects which we now know belong to a period between 1000 and 1300 A.D. He
made romantic explanations of these things and also evolved what he called an
alphabet, pretending to read passages in inscriptions by means of this
alphabet. Now the world is very eager to recover the real message in Mayan
inscriptions, and every suggestion has been subjected to searching tests. The
course of Mayan history has been sharply outlined. We know that Chichen Itza
was founded for the first time about 450 A.D. and abandoned shortly after 600
A.D. for a period of 260 years, after which it was reestablished. It was
finally abandoned about eighty years before the coming of the Spaniards after
a period during which Mexican overlords controlled the destinies of the city.
But Le Plongeon says, "From Chichen this great civilization seems to have
extended its influence to the remotest parts of the earth, and to have
exercised its controlling power among far-distant and heterogeneous nations."
But comparative chronology will not let us derive the origin of Egyptian
culture from a city which was founded long after Egypt had passed into ruin.
lest there should be an attempt among some persons to reform the arguments of
Le Plongeon on another base, let us look at some of the controlling facts as
regards historical relations in ancient times between the New and Old Worlds.
Man came into the New World as a savage with simple implements of the
new-stone type, perhaps as much as 15,000 years ago and before any kind of
civilization was developed anywhere in the Old World. The American Indian, as
a whole, is physically closely allied to the rather primitive tribes of
northeastern Asia. Nevertheless, he has natural characters which mark him off
from other peoples.
languages of the ancient Americans are distinct from those of the Old World
and are highly diversified. No legitimate proofs of linguistic characters
between the eastern and western hemispheres have ever been accepted, if we
omit the case of a small body of Eskimos who are recent invaders into Siberia
from the American side. The cultures or habits of life of the American
Indians are different from those of Europe or Africa. They had simple arts,
such as basketry, flint chipping, etc., when they spilled into their new land
across the Straits of Bering many thousand years ago. They did not bring in
food supplies, for agriculture had not been invented anywhere at this time.
Now the higher civilizations of America are all built directly upon food
supply, in exactly the same way as the civilizations of the Old World are
built upon food supply; but the plants domesticated in America were entirely
unknown in Europe and Asia before the discovery of America by Columbus and
similarly the domesticated plants of the Old World were unknown in the New.
The only apparent exceptions to this statement are cotton, where independent
species were domesticated in the two hemispheres and the common gourd which
probably drifted by water around the world.
have been plenty of parallel developments in processes and constructions.
Pottery was independently invented as was the loom. Many decorative designs
were discovered over and over again, examples being such geometric forms as
the swastika and the Greek fret, but all in all the most notable achievements
of the East and West have been distinct. The Mayas were much ahead of the Old
World nations in mathematics and astronomy. The Peruvians were the world's
weavers and the sedentary American Indians in general were more successful as
breeders of plants than were the peoples of the Old World. On the other
hand, most domestic animals are of Old-World origin and most basic machines,
such as the wheel and the screw were invented in the Old World and were
entirely unknown in the New.
follower of the fantastic proofs of contact between America and the Old World
before the momentous voyage of Columbus which were presented to explain
comparative minor matters, has got to swim a very wide channel against a very
strong tide. Speaking as a scientist who has gone deeply into the matter of
art and ceremony and kept, I hope, an open mind to real proofs, I must say
that nothing has come to light that indicates that Freemasonry was known in
ancient America. The only possibility of its introduction would be through
the Norsemen who had a slight trading contact with primitive tribes in
Greenland and Labrador. There was no lost Atlantis to give a dryland
connection and no proofs of lost Phoenician galleys or any of the other
romantic devices have survived the white light of scientific research.
Unique Masonic Meeting on the Battlefield in France
following account of a most unique event in the annals of the Craft has been
collected from several sources and deserves to be put on perpetual record.
The incident is not yet complete, but the main facts are as here stated.
Through the courtesy of Brother Alexander Anderson, U.S.S. Maryland, the main
incidents first came to our attention. The others came through correspondence
with other craftsmen. So far as known this is the only occasion of its kind
during the World War. It emphasizes the virility of the Institution and its
adaptability to every circumstance.
Irwin. Associate Editor.
the World War the craftsmen on board the U.S.S. New Hampshire organized the
"Granite Club", of which Brother Alexander Anderson was president. This club
maintained the custom of entertaining all Masons of the army who traveled
across the ocean east and west. During the winter of 1918-1919, while
transporting troops westward, they had occasion to hold a Masonic meeting in
one of their wardrooms. In the company was Worshipful Brother Colonel Morris
B. Payne, who related the following story:
December 31, 1917, I was installed Master of Union Lodge, No. 31, A.F. & A.M.,
of New London, Conn. On that date I conferred the first three degrees on
Colonel L.R. Burgess, commanding officer of the 56th Coast Artillery Corps.
Shortly after my installation it became evident that my regiment would soon be
ordered to France, so a number of Masons in the regiment petitioned the Grand
Master of Connecticut to grant us a charter to take with us. This he did not
care to do, and as it afterwards developed he used very good judgment, as the
keeping of records and electing candidates in the field would have been
practically impossible. He did, however, grant to me a special dispensation
to confer the first three degrees of Masonry on ten members of the regiment
who were elected but who had not been worked. Our work in the training area
in France was so laid out that an opportunity to gather a lodge together did
not occur until the regiment had moved into the zone of the armies. It then
became apparent to me that I would have to do the work at once or possibly
never do it.
regiment detrained at a place called La Ferte on the Marne River, and from
there went into temporary billets at Charly-sur-Marne, about six miles south
of Chateau-Thierry. On the evening of August 8, 1918, I opened a lodge of
Entered Apprentices in the Hotel-de-Ville (City Hall). The building was in a
fair state of repair, notwithstanding the destruction in the immediate
vicinity. By a liberal use of blankets over the openings we were able to
operate with a fair amount of privacy. On this evening I conferred the First
Degree on six candidates. The three lesser lights used were three very
handsome silver candlesticks borrowed from the Catholic church in the village.
August 9, 1918, I conferred the Second Degree on the same six candidates. For
the lack of other equipment a good brother very artistically chalked the 3-5-7
steps and emblems on the floor.
the evening of August 11, I raised the six candidates and one other who had
received his first two degrees in the States. The 26th (Yankee Division) was
well represented, that outfit being located close by. The work was done
perhaps not so smoothly as one would expect under more pleasant conditions,
but I assure you that the candidates were not neglected.
first candidate for the Third Degree will perhaps recall his experience as
long as he lives. After he had met his third obstruction and had been moved
to the west, the bugler outside sounded taps. This feature was a coincidence
which made it just the more impressive.
days later I was ordered to put my guns into action. While moving into
position we lost one of our most enthusiastic brothers, Brother Robert C.
Fletcher, of Norwich, Conn. While our column was passing a crossroad the
German artillery opened fire and Brother Fletcher received wounds that caused
his death within a few moments. His loss was keenly felt by all who knew him,
and it had the effect of raising the morale of my battalion to the point that
nothing they could do would be enough to avenge the death of their comrade.
officers in the lodge were Brother Major Harry Skinner, of Massachusetts,
S.W.; Brother Major J. Eugene Nestor, Connecticut, J.W. (both P.M's); Brother
Capt. Camille Mazeau, Connecticut, S.D.; Brother Lieut. J.A. Harvey,
Connecticut, J.D.; the other officers changed from night to night as
"During the Argonne battle I received dispensation to confer the degrees on
several other candidates, but the opportunity never arrived."
interesting continuation of this story, see the following letter received
through the courtesy of Capt. E.Q. Jackson, New York City. This letter is one
of a large number on his files from the Masonic Club of the American Camp at
May, 1918, this club advertised in the Paris edition of the New York Herald,
inviting any Masons in the army to open communication with their club. The
following letter was one of the replies:
Battery E, 119 Reg.,
looking through the Herald last night I saw your article concerning the
Masons, and decided that you were the man that could perhaps help me.
consider myself a Mason; consider may sound rather odd, but here's how it is.
My application was sent through by Major Morris B. Payne, and I received a
receipt O.K. Then we left for "over here" just the day designated to go to New
London (Union Lodge, No. 31) to take my degrees, so I was disappointed.
However, the Major told me that I would probably be able to take them here,
and I was figuring on that being quite a novelty.
was temporarily transferred from our battery (56th C.A.C.) and then before he
returned I was transferred to this battery. And I would like very much to be
able to finish them. Today I received a copy of Craftsman and was surprised
to see my name in the honour roll of the lodge, Major Payne being Worshipful
Master,. His whereabouts are unknown to me an I decided on asking information
can suggest something, somehow or somewhere that I could do, or go, I would
appreciate it very much. Thanking you very much, I remain, with best regards,
Leslie V. Manchester.
My home is in Norwich, Conn., and I was stationed at Fort H. G. Wright, just
outside in the sound.
we have on record the opening of a Master Masons lodge in the very front of
the battle line during the fierce month of August in 1918, and the conferring
of the three degrees upon six of our American soldiers.
Freemasonry and Toleration in the Colonies
Bro. BENJAMIN WELLINGTON BRYANT, California
paper may with profit be read in conjunction with Bro. Bryant's contribution
to THE BUILDER, February, 1923, page 50. THE BUILDER is not much in sympathy
with those who seek to stir up religious strife and rancour, least of all with
those who would introduce it into Freemasonry, nevertheless it believes that
an impartial treatment of some subjects is valuable to the student, and
therefore arranged with Bro. Bryant for these two able articles, along with
others to follow. Those who may be interested to read an account of Roman
Catholicism in Revolutionary America from the Romanist's point of view are
advised to consult The Life and Times of John Carroll, published by The
Encyclopedia Press, 119 East 57th street, New York City, 1922. John Carroll
was Archbishop of Baltimore. Chapters v, vi and vii deal with some points
covered by Bro. Bryant, and are entitled thus: "The Catholic Church in the
United States on the Eve of the Revolution," "Catholics in the American
Revolution," "Carroll's Mission to Canada." Bishop Carroll was largely
responsible for publishing a ban against Freemasonry in America. On page 780
of his biography occurs this peculiar statement: "To those who are aware that,
two years previous to this ban on the Freemasons, the Ursuline Nuns of Nantes
wrought a beautiful Masonic apron of satin, with gold and silver mountings,
for George Washington, this regulation will appear curious." On page 781 is a
long letter written by Carroll concerning Freemasonry and the Roman Catholic
Mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the moral law; and if he rightly
understands the art, he will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious
libertine. But though in ancient times Masons were charged in every country
to be of the religion of that country or nation, whatever it was, yet it is
now thought more expedient only to obligate them to that religion in which all
men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves; that is, to be
good men and true, or men of honour and honesty, by whatever denominations or
persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the center of
union, and the means of conciliating true friendship among persons that must
else have remained at a perpetual distance."
"Concerning God and Religion" in the first (Anderson's) Book of Constitutions.
year 1717, and during the reign of the first George of England, occurred the
great event of modern Masonic history - the Revival of the Fraternity. This
was far from being the least of the causes that contributed, during the
subsequent half century, to the propagation of the ideals of human liberty and
religious toleration, and to the undermining of despotism, both in the
political and ecclesiastical sense.
charge "Concerning God and Religion," which was first published in Anderson's
Constitutions of 1723, is one of the landmarks of human as well as Masonic
progress; it is doubtful if the language contains a half dozen passages of
equal length that have exerted more influence upon human thought.
Sectarianism and bigotry cannot live in the midst of a group of men united in
the bonds of "that religion in which all men agree," for such is the very
foundation of universal brotherhood. A group of men in any community united
on that basis must inevitably carry the ideal with them when they leave the
tiled precincts of the lodge, and must exert a powerful influence upon the
thought and action of all with whom they come in contact. Such a group must
be an influential factor, through their own efforts and through the force of
example, in the building of a fairer, nobler and more fraternal social and
only forces which have desired or dared to attempt the extinguishing of the
light of Masonry have always been, and still are, those that work in behalf of
political and religious despotism. Of these, the contest waged by the latter
has been the more bitter even as its effects have been more baneful in
cramping and distorting the minds of men. It is with the latter, far more
than with the former, that our contest here in America has been waged from the
beginning. Only too frequently history exaggerates the lesser struggles,
waged on the battlefield and within legislative halls, and ignores or
belittles the far more bitter and relentless, though less spectacular,
struggle for the control of the minds and consciences of men.
more than significant that the Masonic Fraternity stepped out of the shadows
into the full glare of historical light just at the time when those forces of
darkness had received a most important, if not a final cheek in England. Of
Freemasonry prior to 1717 we can catch only occasional unsatisfactory
glimpses. How much of it existed and what was its influence must be left to
conjecture. It is difficult to believe, however, that the religious clause in
the Charges approved in 1722 represented a novel innovation or a sudden
reversal of established customs.
has been written of those men who stood in the front rank of English Masonry
at this period. Doubtless much more could be said of their high character and
broad vision. However, the present purpose is to endeavour to show the
intimate connection of the Craft with the dissemination of the ideas of human
liberty, religious toleration and popular education which have since become
the foundation stones of our American institutions.
first Freemason on this continent of whom we have reliable historical record
is a character fully in keeping with the high standards of worth which the
Craft has ever sought to maintain, for it was no less a personage than
Jonathan Belcher, Governor of Massachusetts Colony from 1730 to 1741. Bro.
Belcher was made a Mason in England, whither he had gone to complete his
education, in 1704. He returned to Massachusetts the following year.
Samuel Oppenheim devotes several pages of history of his essay on The Jews and
Masonry in the United States before 1810 to consideration of a tradition of a
Masonic lodge held at Newport, Rhode Island, as early as 1656 or 1658. The
evidence is meager, however, and there are some points in which it does not
square with well substantiated Masonic history. On the other hand, reliable
evidence has been found that a lodge met for a time in King's Chapel, Boston,
in the year 1720. Melvin M. Johnson, Past Grand Master of Massachusetts, in
an article published in THE BUILDER for May, 1915, states on the authority of
Bro. Sachse, Librarian of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, that confirmation
of this fact may be found in the Library of the American Philosophical
recorded history of the Fraternity of this continent began about the year
1730, both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania claiming the honour of priority. It
is sufficient for us here that the Craft was established in both these
colonies about that year. Thence it spread throughout the thirteen
English-speaking colonies and attracted to its altars the best of many
communities, men who were or soon came to be recognized as leaders in every
field of public endeavour. It is an indisputable fact that prior to the
Revolution a surprisingly large number of lodges had been chartered in the
our brethren of that early day were actively promoting the cause of public
education is indicated by a fragment of correspondence quoted by Hayden in
Washington and his Masonic Compeers. It is a portion of a letter from a
German printer, Christopher Sowrs, of Germantown, to Conrad Weiser. In it
bitter complaint is made of the activities of Benjamin Franklin and the
Freemasons generally on behalf of the movement for free schools. Sowrs
exclaimed: "The people who are the promoters of the free schools are Grand
Masters and Wardens among the Freemasons, their very pillars."
AS PIONEERS IN EDUCATION
Another interesting sidelight on the subject of early Masonic interest in
education is a resolution adopted by St. John's Lodge of Philadelphia under
date of June 5, 1732, and believed by good authorities to be in the
handwriting of Benjamin Franklin. It provides:
That since the excellent Science of Geometry and Architecture is so much
recommended in our ancient Constitutions, Masonry being first instituted with
this Design, among others, to distinguish the true and skillful Architect from
unskillful Pretenders; total ignorance of this art is very unbecoming a Man
who bears the worthy Name and Character of a Mason.
therefore conclude, that it is the Duty of every Member to make himself, in
some measure, acquainted therewith, as he would honour the Society he belongs
to, and conform to the Constitutions.
That every member may have an Opportunity of so doing, the present Cash to be
laid out in the best Books of Architecture, suitable Mathematical instruments,
foregoing resolution with an account of its discovery may be found in the
American edition of Gould's History of Freemasonry. (Vol. IV, p. 235.)
we have indisputable evidence that the Masons of Philadelphia, both as
individuals and as a Fraternity, were actively interested in free education.
It was scarcely two score years later that the Massachusetts brethren at least
gave equal proof of their devotion to the cause of human liberty by active
participation in the stirring events which led to the outbreak of the
Revolution. We cannot but be certain that much of the inspiration of the
innumerable other workers in the field of human progress throughout the
colonies was gained from Freemasonry. The Masonic names that appear among the
Colonial and Revolutionary leaders leave no doubt on this score. Washington,
Randolph, Pinckney, Patrick Henry, from Virginia; Adams, Hancock, Warren,
Otis, Revere, from Massachusetts; Thornton, Bartlett, Sullivan, from New
Hampshire; Livingston, Jay, Gouverneur Morris, from New York; Greene, from
Rhode Island; Ethan Allen, from Vermont; Franklin, Rush, Robert Morris, "Mad
Anthony" Wayne, from Pennsylvania - the list is too long for more extended
notice. The reader's attention is directed to Hayden's Washington and his
Masonic Compeers and to Madison Peters' Masons as Makers of America.
Attention should also be drawn to the fact that the earliest Masonic centers,
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia, were the colonies where the most
vigorous organized resistance to royal tyranny appeared; and these colonies
furnished the most able and active of the Revolutionary leaders. Some
significance may be attached to this circumstance. The value of a Masonic
lodge to a community, not only as a disseminator of high ideals of
citizenship, but also as a training school of popular government, cannot be
questioned. Too little attention has been given to this phase of
Revolutionary and early Constitutional history. The part played by the
Fraternity in the establishment of American independence and in the building
of a stable government in these United States is as yet scarcely realized.
SOUL OF ULSTER
Another factor that has received little attention, and which is closely allied
to Masonry, is the great Scotch-Irish immigration during the half century
preceding the Revolution. These people were of the only faction in that
unhappy island who could possibly have lent their cordial support to Irish
Masonry, and they came from the districts where it had made its first recorded
appearance in Ireland. They must have brought with them much of the Masonic
ideal, together with a stern realization of the age-long, bitter and
relentless struggle of ecclesiasticism against all that makes for liberty,
toleration, education and fraternity. I have seen no work that gives a more
clear and concise account of the conditions under which they had lived than
Mr. Ernest Hamilton's The Soul of Ulster. While not a Masonic book, it is
worth the time of every Mason to read it.
too well those sturdy Scotch-Irish pioneers knew the lengths to which
religious intolerance could be carried, and their influence counted for much
in shaping a government here in America under which every sect and every
citizen should be equal before the law, and in creating a Constitution that is
a standing rebuke to any organization or individual seeking special
privileges. It is estimated that upwards of half a million of these
immigrants arrived prior to the Revolution.
1775 there were approximately three million people in the thirteen colonies.
Of these, not to exceed 25,000 were of the Roman faith. By far the greater
majority of the Roman Catholic population resided in Maryland, the original
"Catholic colony," and in Pennsylvania, where the Quakers extended to them a
sort of negative toleration. There were some score or so of Roman Catholic
seems to have been a strong disposition on the part of our fathers of '76 to
extend to this small and apparently harmless minority, a greater measure of
toleration than they had enjoyed at any time previously under the colonial
governments. It is significant, however, that one of the complaints raised
against the Mother Country just prior to the outbreak of hostilities was
occasioned by the passage by Parliament of the Quebec Act. The Declaration of
Rights of 1774 mentioned this act as one of the "infringements and violations
of the rights of the colonists," and declared its repeal as "essentially
necessary in order to restore harmony between Great Britain and the American
the act passed at the same session for establishing the Roman Catholic
religion in the province of Quebec, abolishing the equitable system of English
laws, and erecting a tyranny there, to the great danger (from so total a
dissimilarity of religion, law and government) of the neighbouring British
Colonies, by the assistance of whose blood and treasure the said country was
conquered from France."
government of Canada was thus placed practically in the hands of the
priesthood. It was most bitterly resented by the English speaking colonists,
and was again referred to in the Declaration of Independence two years later.
abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighbouring Province,
establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so
as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same
absolute rule into these Colonies."
Article XV1, of the Virginia "Declaration of Rights," adopted May 6, 1776,
expresses a sentiment that is reminiscent of the clause "Concerning God and
Religion" of Anderson's Constitutions:
religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it,
can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and
therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion,
according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the duty of all to
practice Christian forebearance, love and charity towards each other."
passages are important in illustrating the trend of thought in the colonies.
The adoption of the Quebec Act by the English Parliament would seem to
indicate that the party in power in Protestant Britain, realizing that the
spirit of revolt was spreading through the English-speaking colonies, was
seeking to placate the Catholic priesthood of Canada in order to enlist their
aid in preventing the infection of rebellion from reaching the newly acquired
French provinces. The Act served its purpose in Canada, but it only added
fuel to the conflagration in the thirteen Protestant Colonies.
purpose of the act and its certain effect upon the Roman Catholics of Quebec
must certainly have been understood in the colonies, as the resentment of the
colonies must have been known at least to the priesthood of that province,
yet, curiously enough, the Continental Congress, only a few months prior to
the adoption of the clause quoted from the Declaration of Independence, sent a
commission to Quebec in an effort to enlist the aid of that province in the
struggle against the mother country. The members of the commission were
Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase and Charles Carroll; the latter's cousin, John
Carroll, a Jesuit priest and later the first Catholic Archbishop in the United
States, went along as a priestly appendage to the party. Needless to say,
their efforts came to naught.
the progress of the Revolution the loyalty of a large percentage of the
Romanist population to the American cause was far from being above question.
The infamous "Conway Cabal" against Washington took its name from Major
General Thomas Conway, a member of that church and one of the few non-Masons
holding high commissions in Washington's army. Again, when the British,
finding themselves hard pressed for soldiers to carry on the war, sought
enlistments among the colonists, their principal, if not practically their
only success, was among the Roman Catholic population. These were still under
the domination of the Jesuits who not only distrusted the Masonic influences
that were playing so large a part in the leadership of the patriot cause, but
also hated our French allies for the stand taken by France in the suppression
of the Society of Jesus. Hence they were only too ready to make common cause
with England against their Protestant and Masonic neighbours.
According to Bancroft's History of the United States Howe was able to form a
regiment of Catholics in Philadelphia. Clinton also, by playing on their
racial weaknesses and by flattery, allured many in New York to the support of
the British cause. He raised a regiment for Lord Rawdon in which both
officers and men were exclusively Irish Roman Catholics. Among them were
nearly five hundred deserters from the Continental Army. Two regiments
certainly represented no small percentage of the able bodied males among the
25,000 adherents of that faith in the colonies at the time. So much for the
"Irish of the Revolution."
of contrast the almost interminable list of Masons who were active supporters
of the cause of independence speaks for itself. Much could be written of the
work of the military lodges in the Continental Army, as well as of the
numerous civil and military leaders who were members of the Fraternity. When
Warren fell at Bunker Hill the Massachusetts brethren lost their Provincial
Grand Master. The Sons of Liberty were largely officered by Masons, and their
Boston headquarters, the Green Dragon Tavern, was also the home of St.
Andrew's Lodge. It is a matter of record that on the night of the famous "Tea
Party" the lodge was unable to work owing to lack of attendance. Paul Revere,
who had been credited with the leadership of the band that boarded the tea
ships, was at the time Junior Warden of St. Andrew's Lodge. Many of the other
Revolutionary leaders who were Masons have already been mentioned.
number of Masons among the signers of the Declaration of Independence and
among the members of the Constitutional Convention is too much in dispute for
discussion in the limited space of this article, but enough is known with
certainty to prove that the leading spirits of both conventions were members
of the Craft. The immortal documents framed at those two conventions were
made possible by, as they represented the spirit of Freemasonry in America.
Comacine Masters: A Reply
Bro. W. RAVENSCROFT, England
Historians know a great deal about the builder gilds of the Roman Empire and
much about the gilds of the Middle Ages; but what about the extended period
between the two? For a long time it appeared to be impossible to bridge this
gap. It remained for a woman, Mrs. Lucy Baxter, writing over the pen name of
"Leader Scott" in a volume entitled "The Cathedral Builders," to offer a
theory with sufficient merit in it to attract general attention. Mrs. Baxter
was followed by Bro. W.R. Ravenscroft, whose little book, "The Comacines,
Their Predecessors and Their Successors," was published serially in THE
BUILDER. An elementary sketch of the Comacine Theory was published in the
Study Club department of THE BUILDER, October, 1923, page 305. The
contribution printed below was written by way of reply to the Study Club
article, and should be read in conjunction therewith. Bro. Ravenscroft is one
of the most delightful friends in the world who understands how to disagree
without being disagreeable.
the October 1923 number of THE BUILDER under the section set apart for the
Study Club the editor has dealt with the question of Freemasonry and the
Comacine Masters, and if one may be permitted to say so he has done this with
frankness, fairness and friendly spirit and by not attempting to settle
differences but by restricting himself to a statement of known facts and a
brief sketch of theories regarding the Comacines and their relation to
Freemasonry. He has opened the door for some further consideration of the
subject. He concludes his article, however, by an expression of his opinion
for which I am sure we are grateful because of the value we set upon anything
he gives us in that, as in other directions. This permits one to venture on a
similar expression. May I therefore, in a short effort, be allowed to carry
on the study and divide what I have to say into four parts:
As to the facts about the Comacines. 2nd. As to opinions about them. 3rd. As
to the connection between them and Speculative Masonry. 4th. As to Bro.
Haywood's closing remarks.
then as to facts:
amazing to read that Wyatt Papworth should say "I believe they never existed,"
or that George Edmund Street should consider the "theory" of the Comacines
altogether erroneous when we have such a mass of actual historic evidence
before us, and when we can give documentary evidence and the names and dates
of individual Comacine Masters and point to the scores of buildings they
erected, still standing. Moreover, we have statements (not opinions) of
Italian writers who have studied the subject; and last of all the numerous
traditions which, although not direct evidence, are of some value. Neither
Wyatt Papworth nor Street, however, are men to whom we should look for any
reliable help in this direction, simply because the one was concerned chiefly
in architectural history in general and could not have given the time or
thought required to qualify for a statement on the Comacines and Freemasonry
on which any reliance could be placed, while the other (Street) was distinctly
a student of Gothic development and not an authority for the work of those
days which preceded the birth of Gothic in Europe. I very much doubt if
either seriously studied and investigated the subject on the spot or indeed
sufficiently to make their evidence of any value. One might write a great
deal more on this first point, for it seems to me it would be just as
reasonable to doubt whether William the First ever conquered England as to
question the existence or work of the Comacines. But I will only add that it
is known as fact (the editor says "believed") that Comacine Masters and
Craftsmen did work in the district of Como and that the reason for their
continuing in that neighbourhood was, as the editor says, the twofold one of
available quarries, and the rapid development of the Lombards from a
semi-savage to a civilized people.
as to opinions about the Comacines. Here I need only refer to those hostile,
the chief of such being held, I suppose, R.F. Gould. This writer has,
according to some, demonstrated conclusively a good many things, and amongst
them the mythical character of the Comacines. Bro. E. Ellison of San
Francisco last year contributed an article to THE BUILDER entitled "Traveling
Craftsmen" (April 1922, page 102) in which he relies on the opinion of Gould;
but in the November number of THE BUILDER of the same year Bro. Cyrus Field
Willard, of California, effectually disposes of the position taken by Gould,
and one cannot do better than refer to that article in order to show the
weakness of Gould's opinion. Unfortunately I do not know what Dr. Milman has
to say, but I am well aware that in England there are critics who, in their
desire to trace everything that one would denominate "Comacine" to Byzantine
origin, simply ignore the existence of the former or at least call it by
another name. Not so Rivoira who places between these two influences that of
Ravenna, and in a most consistent way shows their relation to each other.
on to the connection between the Comacines and Speculative Freemasonry, and
here it seems necessary to make it clear that no claim based on proof has, so
far as one knows, been made that in an unbroken line Speculative Masonry is
clearly the direct outcome of the Comacine Gilds.
are the facts?
Comacine lodges did exist. There are records of them; buildings are still
standing which are pointed out as their headquarters, e.g. one at Assisi
referred to in my little book. They had a system of symbolism in many
respects similar to that of Speculative Masonry. They were called to England
over and over again and engaged in the erection of churches there.
architecture of those churches corresponded with that of their work in
Lombardy in many striking details. And the symbolism expressed in stone in
those churches also corresponded in many ways with that they had at home. So
far as I know these are undisputed facts, and then, although of course of less
weight, there are their traditions of King Solomon's Temple. Leaving that
out, however, as nebulous, if some brethren would have us so regard it, I
submit we have facts enough to show that in England there did exist "Masonic
lodges" by whatever name they may be called. If it be challenged that this is
all true except that the men who formed these lodges in England were not
Comacines, one asks the question, Who then were they? Not men from Byzantium,
not from Rome, not from Germany, but either from France or Italy; so the
records read, so the architecture conforms, and I think I am right in saying
history gives no other gilds who would be at all likely to fill the place
claimed for these men.
Metzario professes to trace their existence through the later medieval times
and claims for them the glory of Gothic architecture. Here I venture to think
he is wrong and that the real fact was that the Comacine gilds merged into
those of the Gothic Masters which were more wide spread in Europe than ever
the Comacines had been. In a word these latter were lost in the larger
movement which characterized the great Gothic building period. That their
ritual and symbolism, probably with many modifications, passed on to the later
gilds one claims as a fair inference and equally that our Speculative Masonry
is largely based upon the practices of the later medieval gilds, thus forming
a chain of several links, connecting the Comacine Masters with our Masonry of
to-day, but beyond that one would not venture to dogmatize.
to Bro. Haywood's closing remarks. Here may I say that the delightful and
courteous way in which he disagrees, is so attractive that one is fain to be
thankful even for the disagreement. In the same spirit I would reply as
Haywood says my opinion that the Comacines held traditions of King Solomon's
temple is open to two facts which tell heavily against me. One that most of
these traditions are in the Scriptures and therefore available to anyone. To
this I reply that the Scriptures were not available to anyone, only to the
learned and chiefly to ecclesiastics. Hence the value of a body outside the
church holding such traditions. Moreover, supposing they had been available
to anyone that does not militate against their adoption or symbolic usage by
any guild. They are open to anyone today yet we Masons appropriate them in a
other argument against me, Bro. Haywood says, is that there is no known
connection between the Comacine and Gothic gilds which latter developed in
Europe, but found little development in Italy. I think the answer to this is
given under my last heading in which I considered the decline of the Comacine
gilds thus showing that there were not two schools running on
contemporaneously and to this I might add that in England at least the growth
of Gothic work out of Norman architecture through the transitional period and
the previous growth of Norman work in England out of the so-called Saxon,
evidences a connection and sequence which cannot be ignored. This being the
case it is not to be expected that there should be any connection between
these gilds except that of sequence.
only now to thank the editor for the kind words in which he has referred to my
researches and writings, and for the courteous spirit and unbiased manner in
which he has set forth his conclusions. May I hope that, for further
elucidation of whatever may remain obscure regarding the Comacines, any
brother who can contribute information will do so seeing it is better (whether
my theories hold good or are shaken) that the truth shall prevail.
no brief against stronger evidence.
TOAST TO OUR NATWE: LAND"
and alert, irascible yet strong,
make our fitful way 'mid right and wrong.
time we pour out millions to be free,
rashly sweep an Empire from the sea!
time we strike the shackles from the slaves.
then, quiescent, we are ruled by knaves.
we rudely break restraining bars,
confidently reach out toward the stars.
under all there flows a hidden stream
from the Rock of Freedom, the great dream
Washington and Franklin, men of old
knew that freedom is not bought with gold.
is the land we love, our heritage,
Strange mixture of the gross and fine, yet sage
full of promise, - destined to be great.
to Our Native Land! God Bless the State.
Robert Bridges, in Atlantic Monthly, January, 1902.
Entered Apprentice Degree With Its Groups of Three
Bro. CHARLES E. BOYDEN, Grand Lecturer, A.F. & A.M., North Dakota
BUILDER, JANUARY 1924
let our minds be clear and free
dwell a while on Masonry,
basic principles forsooth,
we may grasp the Precious Truth
Concealed in "Mystic Groups of Three"
visioned in the First Degree.
left was said by ancient Masonic writers to be the weaker part of man and by
analogy the Entered Apprentice Degree was pronounced the "weakest" part of
Masonry; but the consensus of opinion among modern Masonic investigators lays
more stress on the Entered Apprentice Degree as being basic and fundamental;
the cornerstone of a moral and Masonic edifice. Upon this cubical stone of
"Faith in God' the candidate for Masonic Light, at his entrance, places his
trust and commences to build the temple of character.
consider in detail these "Groups of Three" which in this degree are quite
marked. Masonry is defined by many Masonic writers as being a system of
morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols, and the symbolism of
the Entered Apprentice Degree is mainly calculated to impress upon the mind a
high regard for the moral lessons to be derived from a study of the "groups of
three" as presented in the lectures.
"Three Knocks," alluding to a certain text in scripture, "Ask and ye shall
receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you," was
applied as follows: the candidate asked the recommendation of a friend to be
made a Mason, through his recommendation sought initiation, knocked at the
door of the lodge and it was opened unto him. How true this allusion is to
life. What we ask for and seek for in truth and set our affections upon, we
naturally obtain. It is the law of the natural and spiritual world.
Three Great Lights are the Holy Bible, Square, and Compasses. The Holy Bible
is to rule and guide our faith, the Square to square our actions, and the
Compasses to circumscribe and keep us in due bounds with all mankind. The
Holy Bible is dedicated to God, it being the inestimable gift of God to man;
the Square to the Master, for it is the proper Masonic emblem of his office;
and the Compasses to the Craft, for by a due attention to its uses they are
taught to circumscribe their desires and keep their passions in due bounds.
Three Lesser Lights are the Sun, Moon and Master of the Lodge symbolical of
the Divine Mastery over Nature, and the Mastery of Man over himself and the
Three Divisions of the twenty-four inch gauge we find eight hours for the
service of God and the relief of a distressed worthy brother, eight for our
usual avocation and eight for refreshment and sleep. In this material age we
are apt to emphasize the latter two divisions of our time and neglect the
former, "service to God and our fellow men." If Masons could only be impressed
with this fair division of time, what happiness would follow!
Three Symbolic Supports of a lodge are Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. The
universe is the Temple of the Deity whom we serve; wisdom, strength and beauty
are about His throne as pillars of His work, for His wisdom is infinite, His
strength omnipotent, and his beauty shines forth through all His creations in
symmetry and order. These pillars represent the three principal officers of
the lodge. The Worshipful Master is supposed to have wisdom to open and
govern his lodge; the Senior Warden to assist him in his arduous duties, and
the Junior Warden, who in ancient times observed the sun at meridian height,
which is the beauty and glory of the day, presides at the refreshment hour and
sees that none convert the means of refreshment into intemperance or excess.
Hope and Charity are the principal rounds of the mysterious ladder which Jacob
in his vision saw extending from earth to heaven; the greatest of these is
Charity, for our Faith may be lost in sight, Hope ends in fruition, but
Charity or Love extends beyond the grave throughout the boundless realms of
Three ornaments of the lodge are the Mosaic Pavement, the Indented Tessel, and
the Blazing Star. The Mosaic Pavement is a representation of the ground floor
of King Solomon's Temple; the Indented Tessel, of that beautiful tessellated
border or skirting which surrounded it. The Mosaic Pavement is emblematic of
human life, checkered with good and evil; the Beautiful Border which surrounds
it of those blessings and comforts which surround us, and which we hope to
obtain by a faithful reliance upon Divine Providence, which is
hieroglyphically represented by the Blazing Star.
Three Symbolic lights are to be found in the East, West, and South, while
Darkness (the absence of light) is to be found in the North. Let us always be
seekers after more light and avoid the abysmal Darkness, which is the state of
a Soul on its journey through life without light to guide.
Three Immovable Jewels are the Square, Level and Plumb. The Square teaches
morality, the Level equality, and the Plumb rectitude of life.
Three Movable Jewels are the Rough Ashlar, the Perfect Ashlar, and the Trestle
Board. These jewels mark the line of culture and progress. The Rough Ashlar
is a stone taken from the quarry in its rude and natural state. The Perfect
Ashlar is a stone made ready by the hands of the workman to be adjusted by the
working tools of the Fellowcraft. The Trestle Board is for the master workman
to draw his designs upon. The rude stones have by work and discipline been
transformed into beautiful and polished ones; so it is with our lives in
Masonry; from rudeness to culture, from darkness to light, from slavery of
bodily appetites to the mastery of our own minds and spirits, the very
discipline necessary for progress.
Three Tenets of our profession are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. By the
exercise of brotherly love we are taught to regard the whole human species as
one family - the high and low, the rich and poor. On this principle Masonry
unites men of every country, sect and opinion. To relieve the distressed is a
duty incumbent on all men but more particularly on Masons who are linked
together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. Truth is a Divine
attribute and the foundation of every virtue. To be good and true is the
first lesson we are taught in Masonry. On this theme we contemplate, and by
its dictates endeavour to regulate our conduct.
Freedom, Fervency and Zeal were the characteristics of the Entered Apprentices
in ancient times represented in the lodge by Chalk, Charcoal and Clay. There
is nothing freer than Chalk, the slightest touch of which leaves a trace
behind; there is nothing more fervent than Charcoal, to which, when well
ignited, the most obdurate metals will yield; nothing more zealous than Clay,
or our Mother Earth, which is Continually imparting for man's necessities, and
constantly reminding us that as, from it we came so to it we must all sooner
or later return.
Groups of Three set forth in the beautiful lectures and ceremonies of the
Entered Apprentice Degree must become a part of the spiritual temple we are
endeavouring to erect in our lives if we are to build characters that shall
resist the temptations of our animal nature and permit us to continue our
Masonic career unto the end of our material existence, that end which we hope
will usher in the perfect day.
this article we have not attempted to consider the beautiful lessons to be
derived in the presentation of the "Lambskin," or the request for a "Memento,"
nor have we alluded to the "Situation and Dedication" of Masonic Lodges, or
even the "Four Cardinal Virtues." Each of these would demand separate
articles, but we confined ourselves to the Groups of Three as set forth in
this degree. The reader will find some Iteration of Phrases found in the
Monitor, but we cannot too often be reminded of the valuable character of the
lessons sought to be inculcated in these Groupings of Three.
differently in Masonry! The hand that grasps a brother is the hand of charity,
relief and truth. The arms that are stretched forth to minister consolation
and comfort, are the strong arms of sympathy and brotherly love. The eye that
sees the Masonic brother's signal of distress, and the ear that catches the
words that accompany it when daylight has departed, are the willing eyes and
ears that will hasten to a brother's relief and whisper words of cheer and
hope and comfort, and like the good Samaritan, bind up his wounds and minister
to his wants.
Beeches Lodge, Toronto, Canada.
MUSSOLINI RECEIVES MASONS
Courtesy of The Christian Science Monitor)
is a brief announcement in the papers that the President of the Council,
Benito Mussolini, received at Palazzo Chigi a delegation representing the
Order of the Scottish Rite. The Masons forming this delegation were: Grand
Master Raoul V. Palermi, Comm. Cesare Mombello, Prof. Ernesto Villa, Comm.
Dott. Tito Gualdi, Grand Uffieiale Dott. Pietro Villetti, Comm. Giovanni
Nicolini, Comm. Vittorio Falorsi, Cav. Giovanni Giaealone, Capt. Marehese
receipt of the journals it is said that Grand Master Palermi, speaking for the
Scottish Rite Masons in Italy, expressed to Signor Mussolini the admiration of
his Masonic brethren for the work which the Fascist Government had
accomplished, pledging anew their unfaltering support of those ideals which
inspire the Duce in his service to the patria and the people. Grand Master
Palermi also registered his commendation of the new school reform, especially
because of its emphasis on moral and religious values. Signor Mussolini in
reply thanked the members of the delegation heartily for their words,
expressing likewise his sympathy for their national order. The notice of this
meeting is brief, but its significance should not be overlooked.
MASONRY OR FASCISMO
of all, this is a complete right - about - face by Signor Mussolini in his
attitude toward Masonry. Only a few months back he was saying clearly to all
Italian Masons that they must choose between Masonry and Fascismo. If they
were Masons, they could not be Fascisti; if they were Fascisti, they could not
be Masons. Last July, speaking in Parliament in favor of his new electoral
law, he referred to the Masons of Palazzo Giustiniani in most uncomplimentary
terms. Four mouths later he receives officially this delegation of the Italian
Scottish Rite and expresses his kindly feeling for the Order.
cannot read the inside of Signor Mussolini's mind, but one may infer what is
transpiring in the thought of the Fascist Dictator. There are those who hold
that this is simply another pass to gather in his support parties outside of
Fascismo. He is experiencing considerable difficulty in his efforts to hold
his own special Fascist forces united. While on the surface his ranks are
intact, it is well known that very serious divisions exist. Because of bitter
internal dissensions, not long since he was forced to decapitate his entire
Fascist executive council. Subsequently he declared that Fascismo had been
created to aid him in saving the patria. If by small polities it showed itself
unworthy of this high calling, he would look elsewhere for the support
necessary to rehabilitate the country.
maintain that in receiving this delegation from the Scottish Rite he is giving
tardy recognition to that branch of Italian Masonry which assisted him to
secure control of the Government, and which since his assumption of power has
thrown the weight of its organization solidly and consistently in support of
his program. On his arrival in Rome, at the head of his troops, Grand Master
Palermi was one of the first to shake his hand. As a matter of fact, Signor
Palermi has been criticized severely in certain quarters for his so - called
surrender to Fascismo.
Signor Mussolini arrived in Rome with his Fascist troops he found another
special, well equipped army of Blue Shirts, calling themselves the
Nationalists. Their chief was Luigi Federzoni. There were in the city at that
time 20,000 to 30,000 of these young Nationalists, thoroughly organized and
prepared for armed action. Signor Mussolini felt it the part of wisdom to
unite, if possible, these Blue Shirts with his own Black Shirts. The Blue
Shirts, being intensely Roman Catholic and therefore uncompromisingly hostile
to Masonry, it was necessary for the Dictator, in order to secure his desired
union of forces, to assume an attitude strongly antagonistic to the Masonic
fraternity. This is the explanation given for his out burst against Masonry.
It is current report that he now feels himself sufficiently strong to express
his real sentiment for the Craft, which is one of genuine friendliness. The
word is also being passed in well-informed circles that the Duce himself is a
Mason, though officially this is denied.
more or less evident that two principal considerations have induced the
Fascist condottiero to modify his policy. First, he has no intention of
allowing himself to he sewed up in a Vatican suck. For his own political
reasons he supports strongly the rehabilitation of the Vatican power in Italy.
Don Sturzo has gone quietly into his retreat. No word comes from him, but Don
Sturzo still lives. At the opportune moment the hierarchy that ordered him to
retire may easily summon him to assume again the leadership of the Roman
Catholic forces on the field of battle. Signor Mussolini has begun the
creation of the new units that will serve him in that day.
second place, and this is perhaps the main reason for his change of policy
toward Masonry, he is deeply concerned for his foreign policy. Fascismo has
never been popular in France, England and America. And on the good will of one
or more of these countries he must depend for any success he may achieve
NATIONS LOOK ASKANCE AT FASCISMO
England and in America, Fascismo is unpopular because it is anti - democratic,
to say nothing of its anti - constitutional actions. In France, its military
threat is recognized. The highhanded occupation of Flume and the seizure of
Gorfu have intensified this hostility, and aroused a great fear in all the
Balkan states, as well as in the smaller countries of other parts of Europe.
Mussolini begins to realize the enormous influence of world - wide Masonry. At
the same time, his eyes are opening to the feet that the Craft throughout the
world is almost solidly against him.
there was convened in Paris an international congress of the Grand Orient. The
dominant thought of this conference is summed up by Mr. Vandervelde in the
recent happenings - the occupation of the Ruhr and the triumph of Fascismo
- demonstrate the urgent necessity of an international union of all those who
wish to defend democracy against nationalistic tendencies. This union can and
must be established outside of all parties."
official of the Scottish Rite organization in Italy was asked how he
reconciled his unqualified support of Signor Mussolini with the Masonic
fundamentals of liberty and brotherhood. His reply was: "Fascismo is the
constitutional Government of Italy. We are loyal to that constitutional
Government. Under this Government Italians are free to follow the legitimate
pursuits of life, liberty and happiness!"
second question put to him was this: "How can you, a Mason, declare yourself
in perfect accord with Signor Mussolini in his school reform, which places the
schools of the country in the hands of the priests ? " He insisted that the
schools of the country have not been handed over to the control of the Roman
Catholic Church. "Private schools," he continued, "may now be organized on an
equal footing with those of the State. Religious instruction is obligatory,
but parents are free to accept or reject the priests as religious instructors
of their children. Protestants and Jews and Liberals should see that this,
their right, is exercised, and at the same time they should put forth the
utmost effort to provide schools in which they may determine the character of
the religious instruction."
Men Who Were Masons
Bro. G. W. BAIRD? P G. M., District of Columbia
BROTHER STEVENSON was born in Christian County, Kentucky, in 1835, and
received his early education in the schools of that county, and, later,
attended Center College, where he was graduated with honor. He moved to
Bloomington, Ill., with his father's family, where he studied law, and was
there admitted to the Bar. In 1859 he had a good practice in Metamora, Ill.
and was also later in chancery in the circuit court for a number of years. His
methods were agreeable, fair and straight, and he won the confidence of the
people. In 1864 he was nominated by the Democratic party as a presidential
elector. In the interest of General McClellen, the nominee of his party, he
canvassed the state, speaking in about every county, town, and hamlet. He
returned to Bloomington in 1869, and formed a law partnership with J. S.
Ewing, which continued until the day of his death. The firm had a good
practice with the state and federal courts.
first nominated for Congress in 1874 and as the district had been "safely"
Republican for so many years his chances were not regarded as good, and,
besides that his opponent was Gen. McNulta, a soldier, lawyer and citizen
above reproach. Though the campaign was a vigorous one it resulted in the
election of Bro. Stevenson. He was in Congress during the Tilden-Hayes contest
in 1876, a trying time, in which the people accepted the decision with loyalty
and love of harmony. Stevenson was renominated for Congress a second time but
was defeated. In 1878, however, he was again elected, and by an increased
majority. He was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention in 1884, in
Chicago, and, after the election of Mr. Cleveland, he was appointed first
assistant post master general, the duties of which are probably more exacting
than any in the Post Office Department. During this incumbency he afforded
important assistance to the President in formulating the civil service, for,
under the post office, there are more appointments than all the rest, and Bro.
Stevenson was glad to make wise and fair rules, rules which would enable the
department to retain men in office for their service more than for their
Cleveland soon learned to love Bro. Stevenson, as so many others did. He was
elected Vice President of the United States in 1893 and served during the
second term of Mr. Cleveland, during which time his intimacy with the
President continued. For some reason, never explained, the Vice - President
has not been much in evidence, and Mr. Harding was the first President to
invite his Vice - President to be one of the Cabinet. But there was evidently
a bond of friendship between Mr. Cleveland and Mr. Stevenson which continued
to the end.
the expiration of his term of office as Vice-President, Mr. Stevenson was sent
to Europe to try to secure concurrent legislation on the bi - metal coinage.
It was a delicate mission: touch a man's pocket or a nation's pocket and you
are near his heart: a selfish interest is manifested that shows plainly the
selfishness of the animal. Stevenson had such a nice way of smoothing people
the right way that he met much favor. He was defeated for Vice - President in
1900, which terminated his political career.
the Grand Secretary in Illinois we learn that Bro. Stevenson was Master of the
Lodge in Metamora, the lodge in which he received his degrees. He was,
afterwards, Master of Lodge No. 43, in Illinois. He was never spoiled by
prosperity: he was ever easy to approach, and he was ever ready to hear what a
brother had to say to him.
married the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Lewis W. Green, president of Center
College, at Danville, Ky., and had a son and three daughters. He was always
regarded as an ideal citizen: temperate in every way, but convivial withal.
His influence was gentle, persuasive rather than forceful, but felt all the
same. He was a man of untiring energy, and was always ready in his law cases
as in his politics. He was the same kind of a Democrat that Jefferson was:
though he had more appointments under his office in the post office than any
other Cabinet officer, he sought to reduce rather than add to the number of
Stevenson died in the Presbyterian Hospital, Chicago, Ill., in June, 1914, and
was buried in the lot with his wife in Evergreen Cemetery, at Bloomington,
Ill. The only memorial ever erected to his memory is the one in the gallery of
the United States Senate, shown in the cut. This honor has been done to a few
of the Vice - Presidents.
hath made mankind one vast Brotherhood, Himself the Master, and the World His
Chapters of Masonic History
Bro. H.L. HAYWOOD, Editor
VIII. THE OPERATIVE MASONS
now generally accepted by Masonic authorities that the modern fraternity of
Freemasons had its origin among the builder guilds of England in the Middle
Ages. A rapid survey of the gild system in general was published in this
department in November; it is now in order to examine with more care the
Masonic gilds themselves, with a view to gaining a picture (necessarily
somewhat in the rough, and in outline) of the customs and manners of our
Masonic forbears, a subject that is saved from being academic and dry by the
fact that most of the rules, regulations and customs now in operation among us
are traced to the early Operative Masons (as it is the habit to describe
them), so that it is impossible for us to understand the Masonry of today
apart from the Masonry of many centuries ago.
subject is admittedly difficult. "We possess no series of documents, nor even
an approach to a series, sufficiently extensive to enable us to form any
connected history of the ancient institutions of Masons and Freemasons. We
have, in fact, no materials by which we can form any definite idea of the
precise nature of those early societes." These words by Halliwell-Phillips,
discoverer of the Regius Poem, the oldest and most precious of all Masonic
MSS., were uttered in 1839; much has been added to our knowledge of Masonic
history since then, indeed Masonic history strictly so-called did not come
into existence for nearly a half century afterwards, but even so the statement
remains substantially correct. Our sources are scattered as well as meager
and often it requires great ingenuity to find any sources at all. Moreover,
it should be borne in mind that the Freemasonry of England prior to 1717 was a
developing and changing institution so that it varied much from place to place
and time to time; it is an error to generalize too widely on the basis of some
it is necessary that we challenge every writer on the subject to furnish us
with his authorities and sources, and that he prove himself free from
partisanship; a vast deal of the so-called "Masonic literature" which floats
about the world is derived at second or third hand from uncritical writers who
took their own theories from hearsay, or from an ignorant misinterpretation of
known facts. The existence of a statement in some old book, even if it be a
volume of "Constitutions" more or less officially sanctioned by Grand Lodge,
is not by any means a token of its authenticity. The theories of the older
writers - so long known and so often loved among us - the Anderson's,
Preston's, Oliver's, Hutchinson's, and the rest, are after all theories only,
and no more to be protected from the scrutiny of historical criticism than
theories promulgated in our own day.
general sources from which authentic historians gather information concerning
Operative Masonry may be roughly divided into seven or eight groups, tabulated
for convenience's sake as follows:
general history of medieval architecture. A study of the building art
throughout the Middle Ages, as it developed in Italy, Germany, Netherlands,
France and England reveals much concerning the builders, so that one may often
learn more about Masonry from a non-Masonic historian than elsewhere.
Porter's Medieval History, in two volumes, is a case in point.
general history of the people of England. The gild life of the Middle Ages
played as conspicuous a part in the life of the people as churches and schools
do among on the history of the people helps us the better to understand the
institutions in their midst.
Statutes passed by various kings and parliaments to govern labourers. The
Ordinance of Labourers, 1349, and the Statute of Labourers, 1350, are typical
Under the same general head might be included the gild returns, consisting of
reports made by gilds to the government upon official demand. It is believed
by some writers that the Regius MS., or Poem, was written in response to some
such demand in order to furnish official information concerning the history
and practice of the Freemasons, late in the fourteenth century.
Old Manuscripts of the Craft, the earliest of which was the "Poem" just
mentioned, usually dated as of 1390. These documents were written by credulous
and miracle-loving men in an age when it was easier to believe marvels than
not, so that as sources of history they are to be read with great care; but
the application to them of the historical methods popularly known as the
"higher" and the "lower" criticism yields results of rare value.
Diaries, letters, lodge minutes, fabric rolls, etc. The records of the City
Company of London, presented to the Craft by Edward Conder, and the old lodge
minutes of Scotland are cases in point.
General literature of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century. Sir
Richard Steele mentions Freemasonry, so also Plot, Dugdale, etc.
relics from the past embedded in the present institution, like fossilized
remains in a rock stratum, reminding one of the familiar lines of Bro. Rudyard
Kipling, who, in writing them, may very well have had this point in mind:
cleared me ground for a Palace such as a King should build.
decreed and cut down to my levels, presently, under the silt,
on the wreck of a Palace such as a King had built."
careful analysis of the ritual, for instance, against the background of
general Masonic history yields, in the right hands, safe and valuable
PROBLEMS REMAIN OBSCURE
been a huge task to develop these sources of possible information concerning
our ancient history; the end is far from yet, so that a wise student will, as
dear Horace Bushnell was wont to put it, "hang many subjects on pegs, as not
disposed of yet." Many of the most important of our historical problems, such
as the question as to the number of degrees before 1717, are still on the
pegs, and will probably long manuscripts yet undiscovered, and numberless
others not examined by Masonic scholars.
craft of the Operative Mason was not easy to learn, especially since there
were no books, manuals and schools such as are now in use; a workman had to
apprentice himself when a mere boy in order to learn the art at first hand in
the dame school of experience. A compact organization was necessary (as it
was in most other crafts) not only to protect trade secrets but also as a
means of schooling.
Oftentimes a Mason worked alone, moving on from place to place as work might
require, and in accordance with the rules and regulations obtaining in the
various communities, each of which had its own laws and "customs" - the latter
usually recognized by the courts as having the weight of law. In such an
instance Masonry could be practiced in a village in which was no lodge or
many towns the Masons had their own gilds, like other crafts; in that event
they conducted their work in the manner described in these pages in November.
It is a fact worthy of remark that the gild Masons did not cut much of a
figure in town life, being usually relatively of lesser importance as compared
with gilds of the other crafts; and in some instances they were forbidden to
have gilds at all, why it is not always easy to determine, though it is
probable that much of the building of the average town was monopolized by the
carpenters, for brick and stone structures did not come generally into use
until a comparatively late period. "For instance, at Norwich, that town of
churches, the Masons appear to have had no gild of their own in 1375, but to
have been attached to the carpenters. In the Exeter plays the Masons share a
play with the Goldsmiths; and at York they are joined with the Hatmakers, In
1604 we find a corporation at Oxford given a charter which includes
Freemasons. Carpenters, Joiners and Slaters." (Vibert)
appears that the "lodge" was peculiar to the Masons, though it is probable
that other crafts would sometimes have buildings or rooms of their own near a
place of work, the carpenters, for example; but the lodge as an organization,
a controlling body as well as the building, hut, or lean-to in which it met,
belonged only to the builders. It was usually attached to the building under
construction, but sometimes was a permanent structure, as at Aberdeen. In
some instances, as at York and Westminster, permanent gangs of workmen were in
constant attendance and probably used permanent rooms or buildings. The
existence of a lodge wherein to assemble, admit apprentices and for it is
mentioned in the Regius Poem among regulations governing apprentices who were
forbidden to divulge what happened in the "logge". The Cooke MS. ordains that
a Mason must "hele [conceal] the counsel of his fellows in lodge and in
chamber", a wise rule that might at this late day be hung on lodge walls.
THERE "ONE BIG FRATERNITY"?
all these various lodges and individual workmen governed by "one big
fraternity" having jurisdiction over the entire Craft? It used to be a common
opinion that such was the case, but all the facts subsequently unearthed point
in the opposite direction, a conclusion well stated by Mr. Wyatt Papworth, in
Transactions of Royal Institute of Architects: "All the documents have led me
to believe that there was not any supreme gild in England, however probable
the existence of such a body may appear. Thus the 'orders', supplied to the
Masons in York Cathedral in 1352, give but a poor notion of there being then
in that city anything like a gild or fellowship claiming authority in virtue
of a charter, supposed to have been given to it by Atheistan in 926, not only
over that city but over all England." R. F. Gould, who cites the above,
concurs, and says, as regards the theory of one supreme gild, that it all the
evidence we possess points in quite an opposite direction." The unity of the
Mason trade was sustained like that of any other craft, by general laws,
rules, regulations and customs adhered to throughout the land, and also, as
explained in the first chapter of this series, by the nature of the work
itself which, like technical occupations of the present day did not admit of
wide variations in practice. Uniform control of all lodges from a central
authority did not come until very late; it was not attempted until after the
formation of Grand Lodge in London, 1717, and was not perfected until the
organization of the United Grand Lodge of England, in the first quarter of the
difficult matter to make plain, but absolutely vital to an understanding of
the subject, is the difference between gild Masons and Freemasons. Such data
as we possess is both fragmentary and confusing, so that the best specialists
have been unable to clear up all the problems involved. However, it seems
pretty certain that there was always a rather wide division between the
members of the local stationary gilds having a monopoly of building in each
town, and the Freemasons employed to build cathedrals and other ecclesiastical
structures. The gild Mason was bound down by local ordinances and was not
permitted to work outside his own community, which fact will carry all the
more force when it is remembered that in the Middle Ages towns were vastly
more independent and self-centered than they are now, and more jealous of
local laws and customs. But there was of course no steady work in any one
town for men trained to work on cathedrals, a specialized form of architecture
so difficult and requiring so much special knowledge that even at a loss to
understand how the cathedral builders managed some of their problems. It is
almost certain that these Masons were a class apart from the gild Masons, and
that, unlike the gild Masons, they had rules and regulations of their own, and
were permitted to adhere to the same wherever they might be at work, and
whatever might be the ordinances binding on local Masons. It is also almost
certain that Freemasonry, as it later on evolved into what we have come to
call Speculative Masonry, originated among the cathedral building lodges and
not among the gild Masons, though of course there must have been a certain
amount of interaction and over-lapping as between the two; our Old Charges,
our traditions, legends and our symbolism came down to us from the migratory
lodges connected with ecclesiastical structures. It might not be possible to
prove this theory to the satisfaction of a court of law, but all the available
evidence, direct and indirect indicates as much. The point is of the utmost
importance, not alone as regards history, but whenever we undertake to govern
our present day Craft activities by the past.
a difficult thing properly to govern a lodge of cathedral building Masons, not
alone because of its essentially temporary character, but also from its having
in hand the most stupendous work possible in the Middle Ages, involving the
expenditure of large sums, the importing of workmen from abroad and the
handling of masses of costly material. In such an undertaking all manner and
types of men were employed, from the general overseer who would be an
illustrious artist, down to the rough workmen and errand boys, a cosmopolitan
group in which all classes would be represented, priests, bishops, gentlemen,
freemen, bondsmen, serfs, necessitating a complex and highly developed system
of government. The general control of such an enterprise would sometimes lie
entirely in the hands of churchmen, sometimes wholly in lay hands, and often
in a mixed group.
OFFICERS WERE GOVERNING HEADS
charge of the work would be a general head, variously styled superintendent,
overseer, architect, clerk of the works, keeper of the works, keeper of the
fabric, director, ingeniator, etc. The presiding officer was called master,
warden, deacon, president, as local customs might dictate; the keeper of funds
was a box master or treasurer; in addition were other functionaries, such as
book keepers, who naturally dropped entirely out of the form of organization
when the Craft became speculative, for the officers of the operative lodges
were chosen in view of the work to be done, and not as representing degrees or
grades of a speculative science. It does not appear that a tiler was
employed, though it is certain that some means was used to guard the door of
Members of the Craft were governed in accordance with a set of rules and
regulations which each Mason was sworn to observe, versions of which are
incorporated in the various Old Charges, the oldest, so it is believed, being
that in the Cooke MS., dated as middle fifteenth century, and preserved with
certain alterations in the constitutions still used by Grand Lodges; these
rules were adjusted to the requirements of time and place, it may be supposed,
but in general outline were faithfully preserved through many centuries. The
"Orders for the Masons and Workmen," found in the Fabric Rolls of York
Cathedral, furnish one a fair idea of the hours of work, working conditions,
and general rules:
first and second Masons, who are called masters of the same, and the
carpenters, shall take oath that they cause the ancient customs underwritten
to be faithfully observed. In summer they are to begin to work immediately
after sunrise until the ringing of the bell of the Virgin Mary; then to
breakfast in the fabric lodge (logium fabricae), then one of the masters shall
knock upon the door of the lodge, and forthwith all are to return to work
until noon. Between April and August, after dinner, they shall sleep in the
lodge, then work until the first bell for vespers; then sit to drink till the
end of the third bell, and return to work so long as they can see by
daylight. In winter they are to begin work at daybreak, and continue as
before till noon, dine, and return to work till daylight is over. On Vigils
and on Saturdays they are to work until noon."
appears that from time to time assemblies were held, called also
congregations, and in one MS. (the Papworth) associations, in order that all
lodges in a given district be kept in due order and under the control of the
king's officers. The Old Charges make much of these, though only three
assemblies are distinctly mentioned; the Regius refers to one called by King
Athelstan and attended by great lords and burgesses; another version tells of
an assembly held at Windsor when Edwin was made a Mason; and nearly all of
them refer to assemblies at York. "Every master that is a Mason," says the
Regius, "must be at the general congregation." It is probable that some of
these meetings were called by craft officers, and others by the king's sheriff
or other officers, in the latter case to see that the craft was strictly
obeying the laws of the realm. The Cooke MS. makes it plain that attendance
was obligatory on masters: "That every Master should be notified to come to
his congregation, that he may come in due time unless excused for some
reason. But those who have been disobedient at such congregations, or been
false to their employers, or had acted so as to deserve reproof by the Craft,
should be excused only by extreme sickness, of which notice was to be given to
the Master that is principal of the assembly." There is no record of any
nation-wide assembly, neither is it possible to be sure concerning when and
where such meetings were held, or how long the custom continued; the records
are so scant, and often so confusing, we cannot make sure of any point except
that some manner of assembly was occasionally held. Some idea of the extent
of territory covered by the authority of such a general assembly is suggested
by the Old Charges, as in the Cooke, Grand Lodge, York, Sloane and others
which make it fifty miles; the Harleian, ten miles; and still others, all of
later date, five miles. As time went on and the towns and population of
England increased, assemblies went altogether out of fashion; it may very well
be that the idea of forming a "Grand Lodge" in London, 1717, was suggested to
"some old brother" by a reading of the Old Charges; we can at least be certain
that the brethren at that time felt justified in taking their radical step by
the fact that general assemblies "had been holden in old times."
MANY DEGREES WERE THERE?
Operative Masonic lodges did not employ degrees at all in our modern sense of
the term but recognized grades of workmen and had regulations and, probably,
ceremonies in accordance. A youth was made an apprentice when only twelve or
fourteen years of age, therefore it is not probable that his admittance to the
craft was attended with any very heavy ceremony, but it is certain that he was
made to hear the Legend of the Craft, its rules and regulations, and was given
an oath. After seven years he was passed to the other grade, and became a
Master Mason or Fellow, the two being two terms for the same grade.
Authorities are about evenly divided as to whether or not this advancement was
attended by any kind of secret ceremony; the fact that apprentices are known
to have been present at "the making of a master" would indicate that no such
thing occurred; but the other fact of there being such a cleavage between the
two grades would suggest that a master received some secrets never imparted to
an apprentice. On the continent a workman journeyed about for two years or so
after being made a Fellow of the Craft, but this was not the custom in England
where, in the fourteenth century, it was expressly prohibited by law. All
masters stood on the same level as regards rights, and privileges, but a few
masters enjoyed the further honour of being selected to superintend the work,
and they therefore stood on a still higher grade as regards position; but even
so they possessed no secrets of the trade not held by the fellows. Wages
varied from time to time, often being fixed by statute; usually the workmen
received gloves, tunics, aprons, and sometimes board or food supplies,
apprentices receiving nothing at all or else mere pittances in addition to
room and board.
every fabric many workmen not members of the lodge were necessarily employed,
of which we have abundant records; they were known as rough masons, cowans,
rough setters, "masons without the word", wallers, plasterers, etc. It was
strictly prohibited for any master mason to lay out plans or otherwise employ
his trade secrets in the presence of these men, who were looked upon as
"profane", or outsiders. Also - this is a fact of importance - it was
necessary to give the "freedom of the lodge" to certain men connected with the
works who were not trained Masons, a bishop it may be, having the whole work
in charge, or a man especially skilled in geometry or other important items of
"speculative" Masonry. In Scotland these brethren thus received into the
lodge, but not as actual workmen, were known as "geomatic" or "gentlemen"
Masons. Some of them were doubtless very learned men, and it is not a wild
guess to suppose that a certain amount of the symbolism and esoteric "work"
which at last evolved into the magnificent Ritual now employed may in the
beginning have been due to the presence of these educated gentry.
the Craft was transformed into a speculative institution in the eighteenth
century the ancient and probably very simple ceremonies employed by the
Operative Masons were greatly changed and expanded, in some cases by the
addition, one may believe, of materials from sources other than Operative
Masonry; the one or two degrees were reorganized and a third was added,
sometime after 1720. After this tri-gradal system became permanently
established - a thing it was a long time doing, and after encountering
opposition - it was adopted in Scotland, Ireland, and on the Continent, thus
giving rise to the present world-wide Fraternity. It should be noted just
here, and as a fact never to be forgotten by the student, that whereas many
countries other than England had a system of Operative Masonry it was in
England alone that Speculative Freemasonry developed; all the Speculative
Freemasonry now in existence came originally from that one source. Attempts
to explain our present day practices by reference to Operative Masonry in
Germany, Italy, Spain and France are usually misleading.
Secrecy was as vital to Masonry in these early times as it is now, and for
similar reasons except in the matter of trade formulae, the possession of
which had the same kind of money value to an Operative Mason that the
possession of a patent carries with it now. Without a careful guarding of all
that went on in lodge the whole system would have gone to pieces, architecture
would have become a lost art, and the world have been vastly the poorer, a
thing one could say with equal emphasis of Speculative Freemasonry, which
keeps the doors shut to outsiders not because it has aught to be ashamed of,
as it is the fashion in some quarters idly to assume, but because without its
arcana it would soon cease to be anything more than a mere social club, of
which, heaven knows, we already have an abundance. But whereas our secrets
are moral and speculative, those held so carefully by our ancestors were of
the trade variety, and had to do with methods of building and designing. I
have already quoted a passage from the Regius Poem commanding the apprentice
to "hele" (conceal) the "counsel of his fellows"; regulations of a similar
import occur in all the other Old Charges, as witness this passage from the
Harleian: "You shall not disclose your Master or Dame [the Master's wife]
theire Counsell or secrets, which they have imputed to you, or what is to be
concealed, spoken, or done, within the precincts of their house." This passage
shows that Operative Masonic secrecy had its moral as well as its professional
side. So is it amongst us; Speculative Freemasonry teaches that secrecy is a
virtue to be practiced everywhere and always, and not merely a device for
keeping outsiders in the dark as to lodge affairs, a wise admonition in a
world so filled with people where the confidence that one reposes in his
fellow needs to be kept in sacred trust.
FREEMASONS DIFFERED FROM OTHERS
craft of the Freemasons differed in one all-important regard from that of
almost every other gild, namely, that the work of their predecessors remained
visibly in their midst. A tailor, a carpenter, a tinner could care little
about the history of his craft, its traditions, or its ideals; why should he,
for his work quickly perished and could leave behind it no enduring remains.
With the cathedral builders it was otherwise. They were familiar with the
work their fathers had done, loved and revered it, and found in it an open
book of lessons, a well of inspiration, a house of doctrine. Accordingly, it
was a matter of great moment to them to preserve the traditions of the past,
its light and its lore, because they were themselves engaged upon fabrics that
would last from generation to generation, and transmitters of an art as
enduring as the stones wrought into buttress and wall. This one fact alone,
it seems to me, ignoring all others, would almost make inevitable the
development of a system of symbolism. Men who built churches had to think and
practice religion, had to familiarize themselves with philosophy and know
something of art, and all of these interests in that day of no printing
presses and general illiteracy could be expressed in no other way than
symbolical. Symbolism was the popular language, so that the sculptures on the
facade of a cathedral were a book for the folk, a history of the world, a
Bible to the eye. In such an age it would have been strange indeed if the
artists who spoke to the people through symbols had not employed the same
means of teaching their own apprentices and of preserving their own secrets.
One needs only look at the photograph of the front of a cathedral to see that
the men who made it were symbolically minded not to conceal their ideas but to
express them; and that the mightiest thinkers of the period left behind them
in symbols some of the richest and rarest ideas ever known, and often not to
be otherwhere found. To interpret their symbols is not an antiquarian's game,
like the piecing together of an old puzzle, but a legitimate work of the mind,
endeavouring to translate into our own language and thought forms the truths
learned by the Freemasons and taught by them in the one manner they knew; it
is like the translating of a wise and ancient book from a dead language into a
the Reformation that gave to Operative Masonry its death blow. Henry VIII,
after dissolving the abbeys and monasteries, was seconded by Edward VI, who
swept away the last vestiges of brotherhoods, fraternities and religious
associations other than the church, both kings pocketing the money in the name
of the privy purse. The monasteries had been the principal employers of the
Operative Freemasons, and with the coming of an age of puritanism in thought,
morals and art the cathedral building period came to a sad but not inglorious
end. The rank and file of Operative Masons dropped out and completely lost
interest in the Craft; only the more intelligent among the lighter grades of
workmen continued to cherish the ancient traditions, to read the Old MSS., and
to pore over the time-hallowed symbols. By the seventeenth century lodges
began to become definitely speculative, or at least non-operative; and by the
first quarter of the following century the whole system was reorganized from
top to bottom, Operative Masonry passed away, except in isolated instances,
and Speculative Masonry came in. But after all, and in the sequel, the world
has been the gainer. Many of us are Masons who never held a trowel,
continuing the hoary customs and keeping alive the ancient fire, not because
we are superstitiously reverent of the past, but because in our inheritance
from the Operative Masons we have a treasure of unsearchable riches by which
one is enabled to become in his secret soul an unprofaned temple wherein a
light dwells brought bona out the past by which we are helped to guide our
feet along the twisted paths of life toward the high calling of a man, which
is uprightness, honour and brotherliness.
CONSULTED IN PREPARING THIS ARTICLE
Antigrapha; Brewster, History of Freemasonry; Robert I. Clegg, Mackey's
Revised History of Freemasonry; Edw. Conder, Records of the Hole Crafte and
Fellowship of Masons; Dallaway, Master, and Freemason; Findel, History of
Freemasonry; Fort, Early History and Antiquities of Freemasonry; Fr. Funck-Brentano,
The Middle Ages; R.F. Gould, Collected Essays on Freemasonry; R. F. Gould,
Concise History of Freemasonry; R. F. Gould, The Four Old Lodges; R.F. Gould,
History of Freemasonry; William Herbert, History of the Twelve Great Livery
Companies; W.J. Hughan, Old Charges of the British Freemasons; W.J. Hughan,
Origin of the English Rite of Freemasonry; Lethaby, Medieval Art; Lethaby,
Westminster Abbey and the King's Craftsmen; Murray D. Lyon, History of the
Lodge of Edinburgh; Meredith, Economic History of England; J.F. Newton, The
Builders; Frederick A. Paley, Manual of Gothic Architecture; Pierson,
Traditions, Origin, and Early History of Freemasonry; Robert Plot, The Natural
History of Staffordshire; A. K. Porter, Medieval Architecture; Wm. Preston,
Illustrations of Masonry; Toulmin Smith, English Guilds; F.J. Snell, The
Customs of Old England; Lionel Vibert, Freemasonry Before the Existence of
Grand Lodges; Lionel Vibert, Story of the Craft; Paul Vinogradoff, English
Society in the Eleventh Century; A. E. Waite, New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry;
J.S.M. Ward, Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods; E.M. Wilmot-Buxton, A Social
History of England: Robert Wylie, History of the Mother Lodge Kilwinning.
Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (Revised Edition). Anderson. 57-58;
Apprentice, 70-71; Architect, 75; Architecture, 75; Athelstan, 85; Builder,
123; Church, 151; Comacine Masters, 161-167; Company of Masons, 472;
Congregations, 174; Corporations of Builders, 123; Cowan, 183-184; Craft, 184;
Craftsman, 184; Deacon, 197-198; Fellow, 261; Fellow Craft, 261-262; Gentleman
Mason, 294; Geomatic, 295; Gloves, 299-300; Grand Lodges, 306-307; Hale, 313;
Halliwell Manuscript, 616; Harleian, 317; Hutchinson, 342-343; Lodge, 449-451;
Master, 473-476; Master of the Work, 476; Master Mason, 474-475; Middle Ages,
483; Oliver, 527-529; Old Masonic Manuscripts, 464-467; Operative Art, 532;
Operative Masonry, 532; Overseer, 540; Preston, 579-582; Regius Manuscript,
616; Revival, 622-623; Ritual, 627; Sloane, 694-695; Stone-Masons of the
Middle Ages, 718-722; Symbol, 751-755; Tiler. 786: Tyler, 811; Wages, 834;
Warden, 835-836; York, 867-871.
TOTORGANIZE A STUDY CLUB
pamphlet on "How to Organize and Maintain a Study Club" will be furnished free
to those asking for it in any quantities up to fifty or one hundred. For
further information address the National Masonic Research Society, 1950
Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. The Society answers questions, lends books,
clippings, etc., free of charge to clubs. Text books recommended are
"Symbolical Masonry" and "Great Teachings of Masonry," both by H.L. Haywood,
the former of which should be used in beginning.
work upon marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it;
if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal
minds, if we imbue them with principles, with the just fear of God and love of
our fellow - men, we engrave on those tablets something which will brighten to
all eternity. Daniel Webster
FREEMASONRY'S WORK IN THE WORLD AS SEEN FROM THE THRESHOLD OF 1923
year 1923 came and went through a disorganized world in which millions needed
bread while other millions spent days plotting how to kill their fellow men in
the greatest possible numbers; but for all that, and in spite of many other
things well nigh as bad the Masonic Fraternity moved forward, with peace as
its mission and brotherhood as its method, to convince the world what folly it
is for the human race to make war upon itself. Has the fact come home to you
with sufficient force'' While the heathen raged and nations whispered new
plots among themselves, Freemasonry wavered not once. It has changed neither
its course nor its aim, and does not intend to, let come what may. Its purpose
is as benign as the will of God, and almost as certain, for it is God's
purpose surely that we all us in this mighty world should learn richly to
enjoy life and to live in amity one with another. The stars in their courses
are fighting to that end, and men will sooner or later learn to keep step with
the stars. The issue is inevitable and he is afflicted with a strange unwisdom
who supposes otherwise.
Governments perished in the Great War, and others, nearly all of them, have
been obliged, or will be obliged, to readjust themselves to new conditions; so
with churches, and so with nearly all institutions, but not so with our Craft.
It was an English post - bellum statesman that declared Freemasonry to be "the
despair of ecclesiastics and the wonder of politicians," who can't fathom the
mystery of its hold upon men, or the genius of an organization that could pass
through such a furnace with so little loss and so few things to regret.
sentences are not glittering generalities or idle dithyrambs but reports of
fact easily patent to any one who will study the Proceedings for 1923 of all
Grand Bodies, here or abroad. Our purposes, ideals or principles have nowhere
been called in question; nobody has sounded retreat; nor has there been enough
pessimism expressed to warrant notice. The Craft has moved ahead on its own
path, breaking down the dead branches, making way for brotherhood.
Masonic education stood at the focus of all American activities during 1923;
it is become the most living thing inside the whole institution. Masonic
education is not a luxury for a few learned pundits interested in Masonic
archeology but a statesmanlike effort to make every brother more clearly aware
of the meaning and mission of Masonry, and to enable every official in lodges,
chapters, commanderies and consistories to become capable of carrying on his
duties intelligently. Such an effort is practical in the strictest sense of
the word, and destined sooner or later to multiply the power of Freemasonry
many times over.
with this there has been evident an unwonted concern for the future of the
boys who, some of these days, will be petitioning for membership. The De Molay
and the Order of Builders for Boys have both had Grand Lodge sanction in many
parts of the land, or otherwise received serious attention. It appears that
sooner or later the Masonic lewis, the son of a Mason, will have his own
recognized status and place in the machinery of organization.
growing influence of Masonry entices many movements outside the pale to seek
to make use of it for their own ends. Some of these non - Masonic
organizations have been pretty widely discussed, and almost everywhere it has
been made plain by official utterance that Freemasonry does not intend to
repeat the errors of 1826 by getting itself snarled up with religious,
political, or race propaganda that have no place in Masonry's program.
ANCIENT CRAFT MASONRY HOLDS PRIORITY
the knottiest problems before Grand Lodges has been the relationship of Higher
Degrees and Side Orders to the structure of Symbolic Masonry. The priority of
Ancient Craft Masonry has been everywhere pretty definitely upheld, but with a
significant lack of bitterness. In only a few instances has there been shown
an unbrotherly and impatient spirit in dealing with this situation. Sooner or
later a way will be found to satisfy the social instincts without infringing
upon the proper work of the lodge. As for the Higher Grades they make the
claim for themselves that they exist to expand, exemplify, and enforce more
fully the teachings of the Blue Lodge, and that in the work of the first three
degrees is laid down the grand trestle board of Freemasonry, to depart from
which would be an innovation too disastrous to be thought of. If this position
is adhered to questions of detail and of harmonious adjustment of the
mechanisms of organization will be taken care of as time goes on.
Masonic jurisprudence continues to remain in an unsatisfactory state of
affairs, not in principle alone but in practice. We need badly a few authentic
manuals of practical jurisprudence brought down to date by the best
jurisconsults in the Craft, a fact that need cause nobody to suppose that the
older texts already generally in use are to be any the less valued. The rules
of procedure satisfactory to the conditions of 1900 are not adequate to meet
the new complexities of 1923. There are some of us who pray that Bro. Melvin
Johnson will be inspired to finish the work he already has under way in this
field; he is capable of giving us a manual of authoritative and practicable
value. May T.S.G.A.O.T.U. continue to strengthen his hands to that end!
example of the need of such a manual is shown in the debate over physical
qualifications which occupied so much time in Grand Lodge sessions during
1923. That question is not yet settled and can't be until there is a more
general agreement on first principles. One distinguished brother held that the
Craft is still bound to the constitutions of 1390, another that we need pay no
attention to the ancient rules; both were wrong but it would take a Nestor of
wisdom to show what is right. All such attempts to smooth our relations with
our own past bring clearly to the front how necessary it is that we thoroughly
understand that past and what there is in it binding upon today. The history
of Masonry is a live issue whenever the question of physical qualifications
comes up for debate.
purpose of Freemasonry is as direct as sunlight and as easy to see. It is to
help build the whole race of man into one world - wide brotherhood through the
instrumentality of a fraternity of picked men placed under such favorable
conditions as will best teach and inspire them concerning that grand aim. By
the simple devices of ritual and of symbolism, of private dedication and
collective enterprise, these men are prepared to be apostles abroad of the
lessons learned in lodge, and they are shown that if each one will be a
sincere and well trained workman in building his own manhood he will thereby
become fitted to co - operate with all his fellows who together labor at the
temple of the universal brotherhood.
BROTHERHOOD IS AS RICH AS LIFE IS
gospel of brotherhood is as complex as the life of the world, as rich as the
experiences of the race, but for all that there are in it a few shining
principles which to know and to practice make plain all the rest. It is upon
these that Freemasonry places its emphasis. There must first of all be truth
in the whole man, inward and outward; lying, deception and hypocrisy are
disastrous to brotherhood because in their very nature they disrupt the bonds
that bind man to man. "Let there be light!" If there is not, darkness will lie
in the heart, and on the streets, as well as upon the mind. Next after that
comes toleration, which is a recognition of the fact that until now no man has
captured the whole of truth, and that the search for truth is a task requiring
the co - operation of all good men; therefore each must be left unfettered to
work out his own contribution, so that toleration is a free collective action
in the pursuit of truth, rather than the mush of concession, the fog of
indifference that it is usually falsely supposed to be.
this it is necessary that liberty be secured. No man can contribute his
thoughts if he be not permitted to think; or his deeds if he be not permitted
to act; or his worship if he be not given liberty of religion; the slave has
nothing to give, not even himself. To make knowledge, truth, and good will
prevail it is necessary that they be developed into the uses of fraternity,
which is a consciously organized group of men devoted to a common purpose, and
which issues in the practices of charity, mutual aid, and sociability. The
solid ground under all this is the religion in which all good men agree, a
free faith in the God of All, a firm belief that life is worth the living, and
that the issues of existence run toward heights beyond our knowing. If we men
are clods merely, or accidental off - scourings of a blind physical process,
or trained animals, or ghosts walking in dreams, then nothing is worth while,
brotherhood or anything else. It is this essential faith that holds the world
together and furnishes their vitality to all the creeds and churches; it is
this that underlies Freemasonry with all its works and hopes.
this is Freemasonry's work in the world, which, though it is as wide as the
life of man and as deep as his most desperate needs, does not lose sight of
the individual in the fog of vast general purposes. The fear expressed with
some frequency that the attempt to awaken in the Craft a consciousness of its
world mission will transform it into a kind of wholesale movement and break
its ancient contacts with the private craftsman is groundless if only our
leaders work with wisdom in organizing our activities; the best kind of social
effort is that which comes quickest home to the individual.
is something in Freemasonry that quickens in a man like an ancient enthusiasm;
something that draws him away from the hearth of a winter night to attend his
lodge, something that sets him to dreaming dreams, that sends him forth to new
crusades. What it is no man can tell. It is the secret that is holden from
Masons themselves, a Divine Word hidden away in their hearts. But it is there
and it is ever at work. To become its servant, to yield one's life to it, to
let it rule in one's soul, that it is to be a Mason. Never in all the long
reach of time has the world been more sadly in need of such a life. The very
heartbreak and misery of these bloody days is a call to every Mason to stand
true to the faith that is in him.
MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION
Masonic Service Association of the United States issues this month the first
number of its new journal "The Master Mason," to be edited by Bro. Joseph Fort
Newton, which fact in itself means that "The Master Mason" will at once take
its place among the best Masonic periodicals in the world. THE BUILDER extends
a hearty New Year's greeting to its new colleague, and wishes for it God speed
and all manner of prosperity.
Association was organized as the result of a Conference of Grand Masters held
in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nov. 26, 1918, to serve as a general clearing house for
inter - Grand Lodge activities so that in event of such another calamity as
the World War the forty-nine Grand Lodges of the country would not find
themselves rendered ineffective by a tangle of cross purposes or have their
efforts wasted by over-lapping or duplication. At the same time it is carrying
on a general Masonic educational program that is a statesmanlike enterprise so
organized as to bring home to each lodge and individual the meaning and
mission of Masonry.
According to one of its recent bulletins there are now some thirty - three
Grand Lodges in its membership, named as follows: Arizona, Arkansas,
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana,
Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North
Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Philippine Islands, Rhode Island, South
Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
advent of "The Master Mason" is one more harbinger of a new springtime in
American Masonic literature. Time was when Masonic periodicals had to struggle
for the mere right to exist, so paralyzing was the general apathy, so wide -
spread the feeling that in some mysterious way a public discussion of Masonry
might expose its secrets, as if secrets that could be exposed would be worth
having! But times have changed. So many Masonic journals have come into
existence during the past few years, and these have exhibited such a variety
of excellences, that by now the Craft is being magnificently served by its
magazines. May the good work never cease! There cannot be too many light -
houses in our midst, not as long as there is so much darkness in the world.
CORNERSTONE OF THE NATIONAL CAPITOL
cornerstone of the National Capitol was laid by George Washington and a great
company of Masons Sept. 18, 1793. Washington wore the apron and the regalia of
a Past Master; the apron had been made for him by Marquise de Lafayette, the
wife of Bro. General Lafayette, as was also the sash he wore. A silver plate
was laid on the stone, bearing the following inscription:
Southeast cornerstone of the Capitol of the United States of America, in the
city of Washington, was laid on the 18th day of September, 1793, in the
thirteenth year of the American Independence, in the first year of the second
term of the presidency of George Washington, whose virtues in the civil
administration of his country have been as conspicuous and beneficial, as his
military valor and prudence have been useful in establishing her liberties; in
the year of Masonry 5793, by the President of the United States, in concert
with the Grand Lodge of Maryland, several lodges under its jurisdiction, and
Lodge No. 22 from Alexandria, Virginia.
"Thomas Johnson, David Stuart and Daniel Carroll, Commissioners; Joseph
Clarke, R.W.G.M. Pro. Tem.; James Hoban and Stephen Hallate, Architects, and
Collin Williamson, Master Mason.
Anderson and His Book of Constitutions
CONSTITUTIONS OF THE FREEMASONS CONTAINING THE HISTORY, CHARGES, REGULATIONS
&. OF THAT MOST ANCIENT AND RIGHT WORSHIPFUL FRATERNITY, 1723, AN ABSOLUTE
FACSIMILE REPRINT OF THE RARE FIRST EDITION, with a historical and analytical
Introduction by Lionel Vibert, P. M., Quatuor Coronati Lodge, author of
"Freemasonry Before the Existence of Grand Lodges," "Story of the Craft," etc.
Published by Bernard Quaritch, Ltd., 11 Grafton street, New Bond St., London,
W. L., England. May be purchased through the Book Department of the National
Masonic Research Society. Price 1 pound, 1s, net. Limited edition.
basis of jurisprudence as practiced by every American Grand Lodge is the Book
of Constitutions, and that book is based, in the last analysis, on the
original Book of Constitutions prepared by Dr. James Anderson and published by
him in 1723. Accordingly Anderson and his book together comprise a subject on
which it is necessary that every intelligent active Mason be correctly
informed, all the more so in that there is abroad, even among Grand Lodge
officials oftentimes, a woeful amount of misunderstanding on that theme. It is
therefore a matter of general importance to everyone that at last we have
assembled into one volume all that is thus far known about Anderson himself
along with a photographic facsimile of his book, all produced with an
apparatus of critical notes so complete as to render previous editions more or
book itself is a work of art, as are so many of the titles printed by Quaritch.
It is nine by eleven and three quarter inches in size, and runs to about 150
pages all told. As a volume to signalize the bicentenary of the famous
Anderson book it could not be improved upon. Its editor, Bro. Lionel Vibert, a
P. M. of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, London, England, needs no
word of introduction to readers of this journal all of whom will recall his
essay on Anderson's Constitutions published in the August issue of 1923, and
most of whom will have seen his two books, Freemasonry Before the Existence of
Grand Lodges, and the Story of the Craft. He is editor of Miscellanea
Latomornm, and author of a number of important treatises, one of the most
notable being a study of the French Compagnonage which will be published, so
it is hoped, in a future number of THE BUILDER. The Foreword is signed by E.
H. D. - Bro. E. H. Dring, one may suppose. Of efforts at reproducing
Anderson E. H. D. says:
Benjamin Franklin reprinted the book at Philadelphia in 1734 it has been
reprinted many times, some of the modern editions purporting to be facsimile
reprints. Inasmuch as these editions were all printed from type and no attempt
made to reproduce the text 'line by line', even the most aspiring of these
facsimiles only succeeded in printing a good readable text. The last attempt
that was made was the edition issued at Wiesbaden in 1900, and this
illustrates well the errors to which all typographical reprints are liable. On
page 74, line 9, in the original there occurs the name 'Timson' which has been
misread and printed in the reprint as 'Limson'. The basis of the present
facsimile is photography and it is as perfect as present methods are capable
of executing. It is extremely fortunate that Lionel Vibert, a Past Master of
the Lodge of the Quatuor Coronati has been induced to write the Introduction.
He has made a special study of Dr. James Anderson and his works and whether he
has been successful in throwing new light on the subject must be left to the
Vibert's Introduction is a volume in itself. The first of its two portions is
a sketch of Dr. Anderson's life insofar as the meagreness of knowledge makes
that possible, along with an account of his Masonic career. The second portion
is an elaborate analysis of the Constitutions based immediately upon the
facsimile itself, and covers, for all its pithiness, a very large amount of
ground. In the earlier part of that analysis is some explanation about Old
Charges in general and a valuable explanation of uses of the word
"constitutions" in Freemasonry. The analysis proper covers every feature of
Anderson's book, frontispiece coat of arms, meaning of words, the various
Charges, the Regulations, the Approbation, the songs, the list of Grand
Masters (one of the most astonishing things ever produced by a Mason), the tri
- gradal system of degrees, etc., and in addition thereto a contrast between
the editions of 1723 and of 1738, notes on the publishers Senex and Hooke,
Anderson's Constitutions of the Freemasons was originally a private venture
which gained Grand Lodge sanction by a kind of accident, and it came into
general use by a slow evolution. In its own time it almost escaped notice, at
least by the general Masonic public. Yet, after a time it came to be to the
Craft in general what the Old Charges were to lodges in the Operative period,
and continues so to be in spite of the feet that since R. F. Gould, Anderson's
work and Masonic record have been scrutinized with merciless severity, one of
the results being that his attempt at writing a Masonic history has been
discounted almost to the vanishing point.
it would be difficult," writes Bro. Vibert, "to estimate its influence on the
history of the Craft. Notwithstanding the way in which Grand Lodge received
the work after its publication, it took its place as the official manual, so
that the feet that it was not official but essentially a private affair was
entirely lost sight of. It was taken by the Grand Lodge of Ireland as the
model for their Book of Constitutions in 1730. It was reprinted verbatim for
use in America by Franklin in 1734. It was pirated in London and later in
Dublin by Smith in 1735. And its author's reputation was great enough to carry
off the History he wrote for his second edition of 1738, and led the Craft for
a century and a half to accept it and reprint it as a serious contribution to
the subject. Today we value the Doctor's labours less highly, but the
Constitutions of 1723 is nevertheless one of the most important records of the
Begemann undertook a detailed analysis of the text in the second volume of his
Freimaurerei in England, being, I believe, the first to essay the task. My own
paper on similar lines will be found in the Transactions of the Lodge of the
Quatuor Coronati for 1923, vii. xxxvi, and it is mainly from the material
there collected that this present introduction has been put together. (Page
AMMUNITION FOR SPEECH - MAKERS
AND ANECDOTES, by Paul W. Kearney. Published by Edward J. Clode, New York; may
be purchased through National Masonic Research Book Department. Blue cloth;
299 pages; $1.00 net.
is no earthly excuse for a man boggling a speech in lodge, not when there are
so many helps available for budding orators. Here for instance is this Toasts
and Anecdotes. It was not designed for the man who knows how, but for the
fellow that doesn't, and it fills the bill for its purpose. Like Caesar's Gaul
it is divided into three parts, the first of which is filled up with toasts
for various occasions, most of which run somewhat after this manner: "To our
ancestors. We forgive them and trust that they forgive us." Or this: "A health
to our widows. If they ever marry again may they do as well."
second part is made up of a miscellany of verse and prose quotations from
famous authors for use on appropriate occasions. Here is one chosen at random
that might serve to give point to a Masonic talk: "Many men build as
cathedrals were built, the part nearest the ground finished; but that part
which soars toward heaven, the turrets and the spires, for ever incomplete."
This is credited to Henry Ward Beecher. There are scores more of such
character, each chosen for its fitness in speech - making.
excellent collection of historical anecdotes fills up section three, the best
in the book. Two specimens will suffice:
Marshall, pleading a ease before the bar, was once fined thirty dollars for
contempt of court because of a slighting remark made about the presiding
a profuse apology and a low bow Marshall said: 'Your Honor, I have the
greatest respect for this court and the judge who presides over it. I intend
to carry out every wish of this court, sir, and I will therefore pay this fine
it happens, however, I have not the full amount of thirty dollars with me at
the moment, and since no one in this court room knows me better than yourself,
Your Honor, I must ask you to lend me that amount so that I may pay off this
assessment at once.'
judge cleared his throat and then recovered his wit. Turning to the clerk he
said in his sternest voice: 'Clerk, remit that fine. The United States
Government can better afford to lose thirty dollars than I!' . . ."
day President Lincoln was driving in a carriage with a typical Southern
gentleman when they passed an old colored man who bowed low and doffed his
ragged hat. Lincoln smiled in acknowledgment of the greeting and tipped his
own hat in return. 'Why,' asked his companion, 'should you tip your hat to a
rigger?' 'Because,' answered Lincoln quietly, 'I prefer not to be outdone in
courtesy by anyone.'"
BOUND VOLUME OF THE BUILDER FOR 1923
ACCORDING to its usual custom the National Masonic Research Society has issued
a bound volume of THE BUILDER for the past year. For the benefit of newcomers
in our family it may be said that in this volume are included all twelve
issues of the year without covers and bound up, with a complete descriptive
index, in substantial manner. Brethren who make a point of securing each
volume as it appears in order to keep their set complete are urged to order at
once that they may not be disappointed by finding the supply exhausted. The
supply of bound volumes for 1918 is so nearly gone that copies are now sold
with complete sets only; owing to an unprecedented demand for it the volume
for 1923 will soon be as scarce. Each bound volume retails for $3.75. The
binding is goldenrod buckram.
MASONIC RITUAL, Described, Compared and Explained, by J. Walter Hobbs, London
- The Masonic Record, Ltd. 80 pages. Cloth.
little book, though written by one of our English brothers and dealing
entirely with the English ritual, may well be read with pleasure and profit by
American Masons. Its author expressly disclaims any attempt to present an
exhaustive narration of the history and development of the ritual, yet he is
convinced from long experience as Preceptor of several Lodges of Instruction
that "there is a great need for enlightenment on the subject of the ritual," a
sentiment to which we surely subscribe.
interesting manner, Brother Hobbs takes up the purpose of the ritual, its
growth and development in England, comparisons of current "workings," methods
of instruction and uniformity. The limit of space he imposes on himself
renders his account of the growth and development of the English ritual too
sketchy to be of much value. Unlike the majority of American Grand Lodges, the
Grand Lodge of England has never adopted or recognized any standard ritual.
The author tells us the chief "workings" are Emulation, Stability, Westend,
Oxford, Logic, West London, North London and Metropolitan. No doubt there are
others, especially outside of London. He then devotes three chapters to a
comparison of verbal differences among the first five of these. He makes no
attempt to trace them back to show when or why these differences arose. In
many instances he would find they had their genesis prior to the Union of
Brother Hobbs is at his best in writing on the "Object and Function" of the
ritual. This chapter alone would commend the book. One paragraph especially is
worth quoting here, for it sets forth what is, in our humble opinion, the true
intent and purpose of Freemasonry:
aware that the foregoing to some extent limits the purpose of Masonry to a
right attitude of Man to Man, that is, to recover a lost Brotherhood. Such I
believe it to be, but there are those who take the purpose to be a quest or
search for that which was lost, and remains to be found, the knowledge of and
union with the Deity. It may be so, I know not, but this I believe, that the
task of every true man is to love his neighbor as himself, and the teaching of
this by ritual, and the constant practice of that principle of Brotherhood
will, of necessity, bring us nearer to the source of all Life and Light."
need an adequate literature which will bring us to know and understand our
ritual and which will enable us to see something more in it than an elaborated
Robert's "Rules of Order." Towards that end this little book is a most
tell me what was the legend of "the Prentice pillar." F. H. B., Idaho.
probability your question refers to the legend that has grown up about the
pillar that stands in the south end of Roslyn Castle, Scotland. It is a fluted
shaft, base and capital richly ornamented, with a garland twined about it.
According to one version of the legend the plans, which had been sent from
Rome, did not make clear the details of its construction; another version has
it that a portion of the plans had become lost; in either event the Master
Builder had to go to Rome. During his absence a skilful young apprentice
carved out the pillar and had it in readiness for its place upon the return of
the Master, who, seeing before him such a masterpiece, was so filled with
jealousy that he killed the youth with a blow on the forehead from a setting
maul. The boy was the son of a widow. The relevancy of this to a study of the
legend of Hiram Abif is immediately apparent. This is but one of a large
number of legends of human martyrdom or sacrifice in connection with great
buildings, a subject dealt with in masterly style by George William Speth in
his Builders' Rites, a book somewhat hard to obtain but well worth the
MISSOURI "BLUE LODGES" AND SLAVERY
reading James Ford Rhodes' History of the United States From the Compromise to
1850 I came across this statement, which has aroused my curiosity: "In October
1854 Blue Lodges were formed in Missouri. These were secret societies, with
the methods and paraphernalia of an organization, whose members were bound
together by secret oaths. Their purpose was to extend slavery into Kansas.
Popular sovereignty meant to them the right of Missourians to vote at the
territorial elections in furtherance of the design which had given rise to the
Blue Lodges." I would appreciate very much if you could tell me if these Blue
Lodges had their origin, or derived their name, from the Masonic Fraternity.
B., New York.
inquiry, Bro. Bragdon, was referred to Mr. Rhodes himself, and to Bro. Albert
K. Wilson, Grand Secretary, Kansas. The former replied in this wise:
that I cannot answer your question. It is over thirty years ago when I penned
the words which you cite and when I had all the material of the subject before
me. It is impossible for me to recover the same even if I were in my own
library and knew where to make a search for it. But away from my library the
task is hopeless. On a general proposition however I should say that the Blue
Lodges of Missouri were in no way connected with the Masonic Fraternity. You
know in 1854 there were abolitionists at the North who were Masons and a
distinctly pro - slavery organization would have aroused objections on their
Wilson's letter may also be given in full:
your quotation from James F. Rhodes' History of the United States From the
Compromise to 1850 and in reply will say that there is either a glaring error
in the statement that in October 1854 Blue Lodges were formed in Missouri, or
you have made a mistake in copying the excerpt.
facts are that the Grand Lodge of Missouri issued letters of dispensation and
subsequently charters in 1854 for the establishment of our first three lodges
in Kansas, and in 1855 two others. If, however, your quotation is correct,
then I can give you no light on the subject as it deals exclusively with
Missouri. If such a society was ever organized in that state I do not believe
it entered into the early history of eastern Kansas, or at least there is no
record of that kind concerning our state. So far as Kansas is concerned, I can
say there were no spurious lodges organized in our territory and if any were
created it was in some other jurisdiction.
K. Wilson, G. S., Kansas.
question therefore remains on the table. Can any reader throw further light on
it? If so, let us have a word from you.
AUTHENTIC BOOKS ON FOLKLORE, ANTHROPOLOGY, ETC.
a list of books to read on savage customs, religions, and ceremonies. I think
we can learn much about Freemasonry's symbols and ritual in that field.
H., New Jersey.
Arthur C. Parker, Associate Editor, is an expert in that field; he recommends
the following: Frazer, J. G., The Golden Bough, a Study in Myth, Magic and
Religion (10 vols).. Tylor, Edward B., Primitive Culture (2 vols.), John
Murray, London. Gray, L. H., Editor, Mythology of All Races (13 vols.),
Marshall Jones, 1916. Murray, Alex S., Manual of Mythology, Scribner.
Encyclopaedia of Superstitions and Occult Sciences, J. H. Yewdall & Sons,
Chicago and Milwaukee, 1903. Lang, Andrew, Myth, Ritual and Religion, Longmans,
Green; Customs and Myth; Secret of the Totem. Muller, F. Max, Collected Works
of F. Manc Muller, about 30 vole., Longmans, Green. Sumner, Folkways. Osborn,
H. F., Men of the Old Stone Age, Scribner, 1918. Beddoe, John, Anthropological
History of Europe, Paisley: Alex Gardner, 1912. E. W. Hopkins, Origin and
Evolution of Religion, Yale University Press, 1923. Duckworth, W. L. H.,
Morphology and Anthropology, Cambridge University Press.
Magazines: Journal of American Folklore, F. Boas, Editor, American Museum of
Natural History, New York. The American Anthropologist, care American Museum
of Natural History, New York. Folklore, British Folklore Society, London.
DANIEL HUNT THE FIRST KNIGHT TEMPLAR?
our brethren here is descended from Captain Daniel Hunt, who commanded the
ship Louisa in the U. S. Navy about 1814 - 1816. The ship was registered at
Portland, Maine. Now it is alleged that Daniel Hunt was one of the very first,
and perchance the first, Knight Templar in America. I have only the family
tradition at present for this, but the elderly brother who asked me to look
into the matter claims that it is true, and I wonder if you can assist me in
digging up the facts. The above is all the definite information I have to work
on, as I do not know to what Blue Lodge Daniel Hunt belonged. Probably it was
an English lodge, or it may have been a colonial lodge. If you can help me in
any manner I shall appreciate it very highly.
Editor, Georgia Lodge Tidings,
Box 410, Atlanta, Ga.
NOT INVOLVED IN OKLAHOMA TROUBLES
order to reply to a number of inquirers a letter was addressed to Bro. Wm. M.
Anderson, Grand Secretary, Oklahoma, to ask if the Masonic lodges in that
state had been in any way involved in the troubles that circled about former
Governor Walton. His response is here given in full:
"Responding to your request of some days ago I am very glad to be able to
state that the Masonic lodges in the state of Oklahoma have not been connected
with the various troubles that have circled about Governor Walton."
Anderson, Grand Secretary, Guthrie, Okla.
INFORMATION WANTED CONCERNING CHART
Herewith I enclose you a photo taken from a print of an ancient chart which
came into my possession some time ago. I should be pleased if any of our
eminent research brethren can supply me with a descriptive reading of the same
or any other information. The footnote reads as follows:
original was brought from Jerusalem; now in the possession of Bro. Colonel
Wilkins, Philadelphia. Entered under act Congress for the proprietor by Bro.
W.H. Holbrook, New York."
would be extremely obliged if you could supply the following particulars,
A descriptive reading of the chart.
If I could possibly ascertain the address of Bro. Col. Wilkins.
If it is possible to ascertain the year these prints were made in New York and
the number of copies made by Bro. W. H. Holbrook and also his address.
Thanking you in anticipation for any information that you can give me in this
LINCOLN, FARRAGUT, GRANT, BURR
September number Brother Rose of New Jersey comments on "Great Men Who Were
Not Masons." He is correct in stating that Lincoln was not a Mason; the Grand
Master of Illinois at the time of the Lincoln funeral so stated, although the
Grand Treasurer's report shows that the Grand Lodge had incurred expense on
account of the funeral, supposedly for floral offerings. The Proceedings of
the Grand Lodge of Illinois for 1865 will serve as reference.
Admiral Farragut. Grand Master Holbrook of New Hampshire, May 17, 1871,
announced the death of this naval hero. The particulars as to which lodge held
his membership is not stated. (Reference: Page LXII, Correspondence, Grand
Lodge, Illinois, 1872.)
Brother Rose might be interested to know that in 1859 Captain U.S. Grant
petitioned Occidental Lodge, No. 163, of St. Louis, Missouri; he was elected,
but never presented himself for initiation. (Page 152, Appendix Part I,
Proceedings Grand Lodge, Illinois, 1909.)
would appear that Aaron Burr was also a Mason. The records show that he
visited the Western Star Lodge, No. 107, on the register of Pennsylvania, and
located at Kaskaskia, Illinois, the date of the visit being April 4, 1812.
(Page 32, John C. Reynolds' "History of the M. W. Grand Lodge of Illinois.")
AMERICAN LODGE IN LONDON
1909 the following foreign lodges were working in London: The Pilger Lodge,
No. 238, employing the German language, came under the jurisdiction of the
Grand Lodge of England in 1779; La France Lodge, No. 2060, working in the
French language, was consecrated in 1884; Loggia Italia, No. 2687, using
Italian, was consecrated in 1897; L'Entente Cordiale Lodge, No. 2796, also
working in the French language, was consecrated in 1899; the Deutschland
Lodge, No. 3315, was consecrated in 1908.
Inasmuch as these foreign lodges were all prospering and doing good work it
occurred to a few of us here that there were a sufficient number of American
Masons in London to warrant our founding an American lodge. As a result
America Lodge, No. 3368, with twenty - one founders, all of them belonging to
English lodges meeting in London, was consecrated on June 3, 1909. We did not
expect a large membership, but felt that even so there was room for us and
that we should be able to draw the American brethren together and probably
find many good initiates. The World War, of course, prevented us from growing
very rapidly during those awful years, nevertheless we met regularly, did our
work, and initiated a few new members. Since 1918 we have had many additions
to our roll, one of the most notable among whom being one of our American
Vice-Consuls in London. Today we have an active membership of fifty - seven.
The Rt. Hon. Lord Ampthill officiated as W. M. of our consecrating officers.
Our consecrating officers are honorary members as well, and the list of which
also includes the names of former President W. H. Taft; Hon. William B.
Relish, P. G. M. of Ohio; Hon. John W. Davis, late Ambassador to the Court of
St. James; Hon. Leonidas P. Newby, Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of
Knights Templars, and also the names of the late Presidents Roosevelt and
the war we received a large number of American brethren as visitors from
almost every jurisdiction in the United States' and we now have the privilege
of welcoming to every one of our meetings American brethren of prominence.
This enables us to keep in close touch with our brethren at home and we hope
that all American brethren will visit us when in London. As far as our funds
have permitted we have contributed to the English Masonic charities. During
the war we sent out committees to visit the hospitals in England where there
might be wounded Masonic brethren and we have in other ways done everything
possible to give Masonic help and assistance to American brethren.
Van Duzer, Secretary,
Southampton Row, London, W. C. 1,
COMMENDS BLOCK'S ARTICLE
your November number of THE BUILDER, you issued a very interesting article,
named "The Present Day Tendencies and Dangers in Freemasonry" by Bro. Louis
Block. The article is not alone very interesting and instructive, but true in
every sense of the word. Not alone have these thoughts occurred to me, but I
have time and again voiced my sentiments regarding the deleteriousness of
auxiliary branches to our Blue Lodges. I was made a Mason in May 1895, was
Senior Deacon in '96, Junior Warden '97, Master in 1898 - 99, and District
Deputy Grand Master of the 2nd Masonic District in 1900. During that period we
had no Past Master Association, no Senior Deacons' or Fellowcraft Clubs, no
Wardens' Associations, Square Clubs, Masonic Associations, etc., etc., as at
the present day. In those days we did not initiate and raise by special
dispensation ten and fifteen candidates in one night. During that period a
candidate had to be proficient before being advanced. All instruction was
given from mouth to ear. I well remember wandering the streets night after
night receiving my lessons in that manner. Now everything is changed;
abnormally so; now, some of our Masonic supply houses sell pamphlets at ten
cents each, and cypher books with which candidates educate themselves in
direct opposition to the vows that all such printed forms and matter would be
ignored. I wish that every Master of the Brooklyn and New York lodges as well
as lodges wherever found could be placed in possession of a copy of Bro.
Block's article, and that it be read in lodge for the guidance and instruction
of the brothers. I know of several instances of men becoming identified with
the fraternity in order to become members of some social auxiliary ignoring
all the beautiful teachings and doctrines of Blue Lodge Masonry, in fact
hardly ever attending their lodges. Present conditions are much to be deplored
and are becoming worse by the hour. The crucial question is not alone what
should be done, but what must be done.
Realizing the necessity that something must be done I would deem it an honor
and pleasure to co - operate with Bro. Block in his endeavor to call the
attention of the Craft to the feet that they are rapidly drifting onto the
rocks of calamity through their foolish as well as insane hankering after
"Jazz in Masonry", instead of adhering strictly, consistently and
conscientiously to its tenets and doctrines.
Hertschaft, New York.
Block's article has stirred up a great excitement, if one may judge from the
many letters written to commend it. The above is typical of a score or more.
Demands for extra copies of the November issue were so great as almost to
exhaust the supply.
DO YOU EXAMINE VISITORS?"
in your Ye Editor's Corner for October you ask for information as to "How do
you examine visitors?" I will answer for our own lodge and I believe it is
customary through this jurisdiction. First, we demand to see his receipt and
we see that the seal of the lodge he claims to be a member is on same; he is
then given the tiler's, or test oath. We then have to use quite a bit of
judgment in regard to a ritualistic examination as we find quite a number who
are what is termed rusty. But we are rather particular in demanding that in
all three degrees that they shall know certain grips, words, signs, especially
a certain one in the last, and how it is given. This is about all I can
describe to you here. Visitors should always have their receipts when coming
to Florida. I will also state that we have a list of all "Regular Lodges". I
feel satisfied that the above will be found pretty general throughout this
jurisdiction. I have served on the examining committee for the past twenty
years and examined brothers from almost every state in the Union and have had
some queer experiences.
just been scanning the pages of the October 1923 number and have come upon
your "Corner" with the query "What is the greatest danger now facing
Freemasonry?" While not very old either in years of natural life or in
membership I have ever been a keen observer both in and out of the Craft and,
since my discovery of your Society, somewhat of a student of the Fraternity. I
therefore feel both the inclination and qualification to submit an answer.
the membership itself which is the ONLY "great" danger. Doubtless, I think, a
very different reply was either sought or anticipated, some reference to other
antipathetic organizations or unwholesome "friendly" bodies which have come in
for much notoriety. I had such things fully in mind when framing my reply and
I submit that, after a careful analysis of their activities, I believe their
influences are harmful to Freemasonry only in so far as our beautiful and
wonderful Institution is cheapened and caused to deteriorate by a careless
selection of our membership and by such poor membership engaging in
antagonistic, controversial or animous activities.
old axiom "two wrongs never made one right" seems to apply. In all my readings
regarding the early periods of both national and world - wide Masonic history
I have failed to find precedent for the mental, moral and political atmosphere
which seems to permeate to permeate the rank and file of the Craft today. We
appear to have descended to the level of the too numerous "lodges" when we
should have maintained the lofty position as a Profession in Social Science,
admitting to practice only those worthy and well qualified, duly and truly
Paul Babcock, New York.
I, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.
XXXII, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum; both must be complete, and with St. John's
"Records of the Hole Crafte and Fellowship of Masons," by Edward Conder.
"Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry," by H. P. H. Bromwell.
"History of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite," by Robert Folger.
description and prices to Book Department, National Masonic Research Society,
1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo.
Through a stupid typographical error the honored name of John Ross Robertson
appeared in this Corner, November last, as "John Robertson Ross". Such things
can happen, even in dry times. A Canadian brother has written to question the
title "Sir" also used in the same item. My note was copied from a Canadian
Grand Lodge Proceedings, but it may be in error. Will some Toronto brother
* * *
hoary problem, "How old is Ann?" (or is it Anne) must now take a seat in the
rear. A new one is going the rounds of the devotee of "ye ancien scions of
geometric" as witness my hand as follows:
many apples did Adam and Eve eat ?
say Eve 8 and Adam 2 - a total of 10 orally.
we figure the thing out far differently: Eve 8 and Adam 8, also - total 16.
second thought we think the above figures are entirely wrong .
8 and Adam 82, certainly the total would be 90.
Scientific men, however, on the strength of the theory that the antediluvians
were a race of giants, reason something like this: Eve 81 and Adam 82 -
again. What could be clearer than if Eve 81 and Adam 812 the total was 893.
believe the following to be the true solution: Eve 814 Adam and Adam 8124 Eve
- total, 8,938.
another calculation is as follows: If Eve 814 Adam, Adam 81242 oblige Eve -
answers to our Adam and Eve editor. The League of Nations will decide the
winner. Entrants must be of mature age and unsound mind.
* * *
comes that Bro. Reynold E. Blight is now editor of The New Age.
Congratulations, Bro. Blight, and power to your arm.
* * *
need an article on The Order of the Cincinnati; would you care to make a study
of the subject to that end? Let us have a word from you if you would.
* * *
Ossian Lang writes: "THE BUILDER is respected universal!. in Europe where
Masonic journalism as you know has been moving on a considerably higher plane
than has been the case in America. I heard words of commendation from our
journal wherever it has become known." Thanks. Such words are encouraging.
* * *
an entrance to the post office building that stands near the union station in
Washington, D. C., are these words: "Messenger of Sympathy and Love -
Servant of Parted Friends - Consoler of the Lonely - Bond of the
Scattered Family - Enlarger of the Common Life." How true they are of the
mail service' Would they not also be true in a certain sense of the Masonic