The Builder Magazine
June 1924 - Volume X - Number 6
TABLE OF CONTENTS
FRONTISPIECE - ENTHUSIASM OF THE CRUSADERS
BASIS OF MASONIC UNITY - By Bro. Sir Alfred Robbins, England
WHENCE CAME YOU AND HOW SHALL I KNOW YOU? - By Bro. Melvin P. Johnson, P.G.M.,
AMERICAN INDIAN MASONRY (Concluded) - By Bro. Arthur C. Parker, Associate
Editor, New York
MEN WHO WERE MASONS - FREDERICK DESMONS - By Bro. G. W. Baird, P. G. M.,
District of Columbia
REVIEW OF CRYPTIC MASONRY (Concluded) - By Bro. George W. Warvelle, P. G. M.,
APRON LECTURE FOR THE SELECT MASTER DEGREE - By Bro. Percy Edgar Brown, Iowa
MASONIC JOURNALISM OF THE LONG AGO - By Bro. Joseph E. Morcombe, Associate
STUDY CLUB - Chapters of Masonic History - Part XIII, Various Grand Lodges
France, Germany, Etc. - By Bro. H. L. Haywood
Nestors of the Craft
Frank C. Higgins' Theory of Masonry
Freemasonry as a Form of Mysticism
QUESTION BOX AND CORRESPONDENCE
Copeland a Mason
Stone, Wilbur, Denby
Masonry Not in Business
Meaning of Am B'Tsafn
Science and Freemasonry
Does Not Specify Number of Degrees
Principles Governing Fraternal Recognition in G. L. of New York.
Wanted on Masonic Funeral Customs
Special Research Group
VOLUME X NUMBER 6
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TWENTY‑FIVE CENTS THE COPY
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Basis of Masonic Unity
Interview With Sir Alfred Robbins, P. G. W., President of the Board of General
United Grand Lodge of England, W. M. Quatuor Coronati Lodge, Etc., England
Alfred Robbins was a welcome visitor to this land during March, April, and May
as an official representative from the United Grand Lodge of England. Wherever
he went he was greeted with all the honors that American Freemasonry could
bestow upon so distinguished a guest; and he, with Lady Robbins, received such
private entertainment as must have convinced him of the high esteem in which
he is personally held by American Masons. While in Missouri he was the guest
of honor at a Specific Communication of the Grand Lodge of Missouri held in
St. Louis, Monday evening, April 21, at which time he was made an honorary
member of Grand Lodge, being the fourth in Missouri history to receive that
honor, the first having been Lafayette. On April 23, he was guest of honor at
a regular session of the Grand Chapter, R. A. M., Missouri, held at Columbia,
where he was made an honorary member of the Grand Chapter. On Monday, April
21, he was entertained at luncheon in the name of the National Masonic
Research Society and on that occasion was made an honorary life member of the
Society. The interview published below is the substance of a number of his
utterances made during private conversations, he has revised it in manuscript
and corrected it in proof. The Masonic International Association was described
in an article under that title, The Builder, April, 1922, page 99; the reader
should also consult, for purposes of comparison, Bro. Oliver Day Street's
essay on "World‑Wide Masonry and Its Desirability," The Builder, June, 1923,
wish that we might find some basis for union among all Masonic Grand Bodies in
the various nations of the world is one that most active Masons have long
entertained. Of late, certain definite efforts have been undertaken looking
toward that end; and the International Masonic Association, I believe, is such
an undertaking. As I understand the purpose of this association, it has in
view the finding of a common platform on which the Freemasonry of England, the
United States, and all other nations in which English speaking Freemasonry is
practiced, may unite on the ground of fraternal recognition with the
Freemasonry practiced in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and other countries
where Latin Masonry exists. I believe that every Mason who has at heart the
general and far‑reaching purpose of our Fraternity would wish that such a
thing might be made possible. But, speaking for myself, and having in mind the
character and activities of Freemasonry in England, I am bound to say that I
consider such plans thus far formulated as being impracticable, and as leading
us on to very dangerous ground.
fundamental difference between English speaking Masonry and Latin Masonry is
that the former definitely and specifically requires of every candidate that
he sincerely profess belief in the Great Architect of the Universe before he
can be admitted into one of our lodges; whereas most of the bodies practicing
Latin Masonry either ignore this fundamental requirement or assume towards it
an ambiguous attitude. If this question is fundamental, as I consider it is, l
know I can frankly say for English Masonry that it will stand firm on its
present position, the one it has always held, and will in no sense modify or
abandon this central necessary requirement. If we were to do any such thing,
English Freemasonry would lose ninety per cent of its membership. I know it
would lose me. In our opinion, such a course would require us to depart
absolutely from the original plan and foundation of Freemasonry.
of our brethren in America, I am told, take the position that in Anderson's
Constitutions a Mason is not expressly required to believe in the one living
God and, therefore, it is the United Grand Lodge of England that has departed
from the original plan rather than Latin Masonry. I cannot in the least agree
with this theory. For one thing, Anderson's Constitutions are not held by us
to be an everlasting and infallible authority: we know our Anderson too well.
For another thing, it is not necessary for us to prove by book and bell, down
to the very text and letter, our present position. That has come as the result
of a gradual growth and development inside the English Craft, long before our
present organized Freemasonry existed. Our present position is as completely
validated by the unfailing tradition of centuries as if, in the Constitutions
of 1723, it had been specifically stated in so many words; and a candid study
of the history and customs of English Masonry since 1717 will convince any
student that from that date until now, theism - the sincere trust in
T.G.A.O.T.U. - has been central and fundamental in English Freemasonry. Back
in its early beginnings our Grand Lodge used as its official motto "In the
Lord is our trust"; this motto was placed on all our Grand Lodge documents; it
appeared on the seal of every lodge warrant; and it was stamped or printed on
every official utterance of our original Grand Lodge. Did our brethren in the
beginning use these words as a mere formula without meaning ? It is impossible
for me to think so.
told that certain ambiguous formulas used by the Grand Orient of France and
other such Latin Grand Bodies really mean the same thing, and that in spirit
and purpose Latin Masons are at one with us. If they are, why do not they say
so definitely and specifically? Why did they change their formulas? They
changed them for a purpose, and that purpose is not ours.
of us understand the conditions under which our French brethren work, the
difficulties with which they are confronted, and some of us may be in sympathy
with certain of their efforts, except that we do not at all approve of
entangling Freemasonry in political activities. Nevertheless, I am not at all
in favor of seeking a union with our brethren of Latin countries if in so
doing we must abrogate that which is fundamental in English speaking
Freemasonry. Such a departure would be too high a price to pay for any kind of
unity. Many efforts have been made to devise some formula that might serve as
a platform for union on which all of us could stand. Thus far, I have not seen
any such formula, or met any man capable of framing one that would not
neutralize or even completely cancel what everywhere in English speaking
Masonry is considered fundamental. World‑wide Masonry is a consummation for
which we all earnestly wish and pray; but what advantage would it be to us if,
in gaining it, we were to deprive the Freemasonry of all English speaking
lands of that which therein is considered most precious in the Craft?
are sincerely desirous of reaching world‑wide Masonic unity, why should we not
begin closer at home? Among our Grand Lodges practicing our form of
Freemasonry there is much work to be done, because, among them, they have many
problems to solve. We have such in the British Empire, and I am sure that you
have such problems among your forty‑nine Grand Lodges in the United States.
Until such time as a way opens up along which we may legitimately and
honorably move toward world‑wide Masonry, why should we not employ ourselves
in an effort to bring all English speaking Freemasonry closer together ? The
English speaking peoples comprise a far flung brotherhood; among them are more
than four million Masons. If, in their activities and aspirations, they can be
brought into close touch so that all Masons among them can work together at
the same great task, this, I believe, would be in itself a far greater
contribution to the peace and welfare of the world than an artificial,
are many ways in which we brethren of We English speaking peoples may draw
more closely together. My own visit to the United States is making me see this
more clearly than ever before. I am learning to know responsible American
Masons personally, and I have enjoyed the opportunity of interpreting to them
Masonry as we have it in my own country. If more of my English brethren could
find an opportunity to visit their American brethren, and if in turn the Grand
Bodies of the United States could on occasion send official or unofficial
visitors and even ambassadors to England, such personal contacts would in
themselves do much toward bringing about a more complete solidarity. At the
same time it would be possible for us to work more closely together at
specific problems. I know that English Masonry is not as well understood in
this country as it might be, and I am equally sure that my brother English
Masons do not sufficiently understand the activities and problems of American
Masonry. If we can bring ourselves more closely together so as to meet such
problems as we have in common, even to the extent of giving specific and
definite service one to another, we shall be gradually building up that kind
of unity that will endure, and will be of great ultimate fruitfulness not only
among Masons themselves, but for all English speaking peoples.
English Masonry is very practical in its nature. I speak for my brethren
there, and I am sure I correctly interpret myself, in saying that we are not
naturally so much interested in antiquarian and curious subjects as appears to
be sometimes believed over here. For us there are two great and enduring
landmarks, belief in T.G.A.O.T.U. and the Volume of the Sacred Law open on
every Masonic altar. What other landmarks there may be I do not know; men may
form such opinions as they wish on that much disputed subject. They are free
to speculate about the origins of Masonry and try to interpret our symbols and
rituals; but the main thing is that we shall do in the present our own great
and proper work, which is, through our Masonic fellowship, to enlarge and
enrich human brotherhood; through our obligations and teachings to create
individual character; and through our institutional activities to devote an
ever increasing portion of our time and substance to charity, kindliness, and
all good works. What does it matter whether we can claim to be derived from
sources three thousand years old, two thousand years old, one thousand years
old? We have an heredity two centuries old about which there can be no shadow
of a doubt; and a period of two centuries is a very respectable heredity in
itself. The important thing is that we shall practice and exemplify Masonry as
we have it; and it is my deep desire to do everything in my power to assist
contract was entered into between the Scottish Rite bodies of Little Rock and
the Grand Lodge, whereby the latter loaned them $75,000.
will be little need for innovations and for new attractions in our lodges if
we shall keep close to the practice of our professions and devote our energies
to the attainment of a full understanding and exemplification of the ideas we
profess; even if we fail in some measure, a sincere attempt will meet its sure
reward. I am not an alarmist, and I do not share in the cry that is going up
in some quarters of dangers from without. The future is secure if we look well
to our duties within. – Edward P. Hufferd, P.G.M., Colorado.
Whence Came You and How Shall I Know You?
Bro. MELVIN M. JOHNSON, P. G. M., Massachusetts
(Copyrighted by the Author)
READERS are requested to remember that I assume all responsibility for facts
stated and opinions expressed in articles contributed by me from time to time
to Masonic magazines. Printing them is not expected to be regarded as an
endorsement of the facts or opinions by the editors or anybody else. It is
hoped that if there are any qualified Masonic students who entertain different
views upon any controverted subject they will be freely and fully offered for
publication. The only way to settle mooted questions is to discuss them from
all viewpoints. Instead of resenting such discussion I most earnestly urge and
MELVIN M. JOHNSON.
nations of the world recognize what is I called international law. It results
from the fact that no nation lives isolated; each has contacts with others.
The citizens of one travel into the others. Commerce travels across boundary
lines. Each civilized nation, therefore, so conducts itself as to have a
certain regard and consideration of its sister nations and their citizens. The
principles and rules which grow out of this relationship are known as
so, the Grand Lodges of the world have an inter‑Grand Lodge or
interjurisdictional law. Only in isolated instances has it been written into
treaties or enacted as statute law. It is rather the result of common consent.
What, then, are the general principles of this interjurisdictional law and how
far shall any Grand Lodge be affected by the laws, customs, and usages of
first and fundamental inquiry concerns recognition. This is an
extra‑territorial question. Each Grand Lodge must gain information from
outside its own territorial jurisdiction to learn what other bodies there are
which claim to be Masonic and whether they are really such. Having determined
(by tests which will be discussed elsewhere) that a foreign Grand Lodge is
entitled to be treated as belonging to the Masonic family, "recognition" is
extended to it and, usually, representatives are exchanged. These
representatives have no real authority and their commissions are no more than
pledges of amity. Each Grand Lodge, as a result, acknowledges that there are
other Grand Lodges which, within their several jurisdictions, have as complete
autonomy as it has within its jurisdiction.
principle of interjurisdictional law is more universally acknowledged than the
perfect equality of all sovereign Grand Lodges. It results from this equality,
that no one may rightfully impose a rule on another. Each legislates for
itself but its legislation can operate on itself alone. Disregard of this rule
of interjurisdictional law has been at the root of most of the disagreements
between Grand Bodies. Each of the Grand Bodies of the world should remember
that as it may conduct its Masonic affairs within its sovereignty to suit
itself without interference, so it must accord that same right to its other
equals within their respective jurisdictions. If and when any Grand Body so
radically departs from the Landmarks as to cease to be a Masonic body, it
becomes, Masonically, an outlaw and no longer entitled to recognition. Until
then, so long as it comports itself with that courtesy and comity demanded by
the inherent nature of Freemasonry, it is entitled to maintain its limits free
from invasion and free from any effect which it does not, itself, see fit to
give therein to the laws, customs, and regulations of others.
doctrine of fraternal comity, however, is likewise universal.
the application of this doctrine, each Grand Lodge gives full faith and credit
to the work which each other Grand Lodge does with its own material. This
means that the Masonic status of each brother is determined by the laws of the
Grand Lodge which has acquired jurisdiction over him and to which he
rightfully owes allegiance.
status is to be considered
Raw Material, i. e., as an Applicant.
As Unfinished Material, i. e., as a Candidate.
As Finished Material, i. e., as a Master Mason; Including (a) Questions of
STATUS AS AN APPLICANT
application from a profane may be lawfully acted upon unless he has acquired a
residence within the territorial limits of the Grand Lodge receiving his
application. That does not necessarily require citizenship in the state or
country within which such Grand Lodge is located. Citizenship and residence
are different things. Residence and domicile are, for this purpose,
synonymous. If a man is actually physically present in a certain place and
then and there determines to make that place his home permanently or until his
affairs so change as to require the removal of his home to some other
locality, then that certain/place has become and is thereafter his residence
unless and until he establishes a residence somewhere else.
Length of residence before his application may be received is another matter.
When one becomes actually a resident within the sovereignty of a Grand Lodge,
it is for that Grand Lodge alone to determine how long that residence must be
maintained before he may become a candidate. For any other Grand Lodge to
attempt to impose conditions as to length of residence, would be to dispute
the sovereignty of the Grand Lodge of his residence and to invade its
Self‑evident as this is, yet it is sometimes forgotten when the candidate has
previously been rejected in another jurisdiction. Once upon a time it was
contended by some nations of the world that when a man had acquired allegiance
by birth, his citizenship was perpetual. This has, however, ceased to be
accepted as a rule of international law. Would any nation contend, even for a
moment, that one who had applied for naturalization and had been refused
citizenship could never apply for citizenship in any other nation? Or, suppose
the United States had a law which declared that no one who had been refused
citizenship should again apply for naturalization within five years, and a
rejected applicant should actually move to and in good faith acquire a
residence in France, would the United States quarrel with that Republic if it
should accept him as a citizen within, say, three years of his rejection here?
Such questions almost answer themselves. Just so within our Fraternity. When
the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania legislates that no other lodge shall ever
elect an applicant without the consent of the rejecting lodge, that
legislation is good and binding throughout the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania,
but the Grand Lodge of that state has no right or power to impose its own laws
upon Massachusetts. Massachusetts is just as sovereign as Pennsylvania. It may
decide for itself the material which it will accept. The law of Massachusetts
gives a rejecting lodge five years' control. If, then, one who has been
rejected in Pennsylvania has really and genuinely moved to and acquired a
residence in Massachusetts, and has maintained that residence for the required
term, is, after five years from his rejection, given his degrees in
Massachusetts under its laws, he is a Mason, neither irregular nor
York gives a rejecting lodge an absolute control for only one year. An
applicant, therefore, rejected in Massachusetts, who could not apply, for five
years without a waiver, according to its rules, may nevertheless, after one
year, be initiated in New York without it, provided in truth and fact he has
been a resident of New York for the time required by the Grand Lodge of New
York. It would be absurd for Massachusetts to say that it had the right to
pass a law governing what New York should do with its own material.
MUST COMPLY WITH THE LAW OF THE PLACE WHERE HE IS"
individual has a perfect right, by civil or Masonic law, to determine for
himself where he shall live, provided he does live there. But while he is
there, he must comply with the law of the place where he is, not the place
where he is not. No nation, no Grand Lodge, in this era of the world, attempts
to say to one who has moved to some other jurisdiction that he shall not
acquire a residence there (or even citizenship) if he sees fit so to do.
would be called ridiculous for one Grand Lodge to claim that if a man had once
within its confines reached the status where he might apply for the degrees,
he could never apply elsewhere during the term of his whole life. Is there any
magic in the fact that he has once applied? It will be granted that when an
application has been made, the applicant has thereby submitted himself to the
decision of the ballot and, if elected, to have the lodge do what he has asked
to have it do. Granted also, that any body has the right to say from whom it
will receive applications. But is it not ridiculous to attempt to read into
his application an agreement that if rejected he will for life remain a
Masonic prisoner within the jurisdiction where he has once applied? And even
more ridiculous to say that he has, by his applications, imposed a condition
upon all other Grand Lodges in the world? When did they surrender to the
uninitiated such an authority over their acts?
obvious that a sovereign may do what it pleases within its sovereignty. And by
the principles of interjurisdictional comity, each Grand Lodge should accept,
acknowledge, yes, recognize, what all other Grand Lodges lawfully do within
their own jurisdiction and in accordance with their own customs and rules,
always assuming compliance with the Landmarks anal absence of insult.
Therefore, each Grand Lodge may define its own material. Each may say from
what resident male adults it will permit its particular lodges to receive
applications. The status of an applicant is determined by the Masonic law of
the place of his residence. The rest of the Masonic world should abide by that
limitation of jurisdiction to the residence of the applicant is a purely
American doctrine. In England for instance, a resident of London might apply
in Liverpool or anywhere else. There is nothing inherent in the fundamentals
of Freemasonry requiring such a limitation as prevails in this country. The
theories upon which the doctrine is based are -
First, the assertion of exclusive Grand Lodge sovereignty over the territory
of the political state where it reigns Masonically.
Second, that the applicant will be best known and, therefore, more carefully
investigated in the municipal sub‑division where he lives. This, however, is
no longer universally true. Rapidity and convenience of transportation
now‑a‑days often cause one's legal residence to be little, if anything, more
than his bedroom; his business, his social relations, and practically all his
associations being in some other municipality. In such cases, and they are
innumerable, the applicant prefers to join where his friends and associates
are to be found. This he cannot do without technical compliance with laws
concerning waiver of jurisdiction which often lodges are loath to grant,
usually for financial and not fraternal reasons. To permit petitions to be
received by lodges located either where the applicant resides or where he has
his usual place of business would be merely to recognize existing facts and
conditions of life. It would usually result in the petition being presented to
a lodge in the community where the applicant is better known and more readily
investigated. But in Freemasonry as in government, laws seldom precede or
accompany changed conditions. They usually lag far behind.
STATUS AS A CANDIDATE
a lodge lawfully receives a petition for the degrees from a profane, he
becomes a candidate. By petitioning he submits himself to the Masonic laws of
the jurisdiction. He has irrevocably given to that l lodge the right to accept
or reject his application. Until that particular lodge has either declined to
do or has actually done what he has requested, no other lodge in the world may
deal with him. He has given the lodge to which he has applied what a lawyer
would call an irrevocable option. The lodge may refuse his petition. If so,
then there has been and is no contract, no agreement whatever between the
applicant and the Fraternity. He did what he could to make an agreement but
the Fraternity refused to make it. True, the Grand Lodge may impose certain
disabilities upon its own lodges from receiving his petition again within a
certain length of time, or except under certain conditions. But the applicant
is himself free once more. He proffered himself and his fees. The Fraternity
spurned his offer and that's the end of it so far as he is concerned. The
Grand Lodge may impose conditions upon itself, its lodges and its members, but
not upon him.
however, the lodge accepts his application by electing the applicant, then the
situation is analogous to what the law calls a contract. By that election the
lodge has bound the Fraternity to give him the degrees of Entered Apprentice,
Fellowcraft, and Master Mason subject to and in accordance with its customs
and laws. Until this agreement has been carried out (or terminated in
accordance with law, as, for instance, on objection duly sustained) no other
lodge in the world may deal with this unfinished material. The same principles
apply where there is a separate vote in each degree which is merely piecemeal
the status of a candidate from the presentation of his petition to his
rejection, or to his declaration as a Master Mason is that of being under the
exclusive jurisdiction of the lodge which first lawfully receives his
petition. This is true even if in the meantime he moves his residence to the
uttermost corners of the earth.
STATUS AS FINISHED MATERIAL, i. e. AS A MASTER MASON
the close of the ceremonies of the Third Degree the candidate becomes a Master
Masons The agreement which he and the lodge made is completed. The contract is
executed. His ties now are those of his obligations, no more, no less. He is a
member of the Fraternity but not of any lodge. In most, if not all,
jurisdictions he is entitled to membership in the lodge upon signing the
by‑laws, though sometimes he must first learn his Third Degree lecture.
he need not join that lodge. If he chooses he may, instead, apply to any lodge
anywhere for membership. No longer do jurisdictional lines restrict his
freedom. And at his own free will, if he is square upon the books and not
under charges, he may terminate his membership in any lodge to which he may
belong. The methods by which he alters his lodge membership do not affect the
question we are now discussing, i. e., his status as a Master Mason.
some jurisdictions he may be a member of as many lodges as he sees fit, if
duly elected to membership therein. In most jurisdictions, however, dual or
plural membership is forbidden though a good reason for such prohibition has
never yet been given. It, again, is a purely American and quite modern
prohibition and is surely, though slowly, being discarded. Where it still
persists its greatest hardship is in compelling a brother to sever connection
with his mother lodge, of which perhaps he is a Past Master, when his affairs
call him to another community where he would affiliate if he could, or, as the
alternative, be barred from sharing in the labors and support of the lodge of
his new residence. The result is often to lose his Masonic activity wholly
from the Fraternity. His sentiment keeps his membership with his mother lodge
which distance prevents him from attending. He does not feel right to share in
the pleasures of a lodge he might readily attend because he cannot be a
member. Consequently, he attends neither the one nor the other except at rare
intervals, and his enthusiasm wanes.
Whether or not a Master Mason is in good standing if he be not a member of a
lodge is a question which each jurisdiction decides for itself. Some make no
distinction between affiliated and unaffiliated brethren. Some deny
visitation, relief, and other Masonic privileges to those who remain
voluntarily, for a certain length of time, unaffiliated. Each jurisdiction is
a law unto itself and its laws apply upon its lodges and within its
jurisdiction when a Master Mason within that jurisdiction applies for any of
the rights or privileges of Freemasonry.
then is the status of a Master Mason desiring to visit a regular lodge? The
lodge first wants to know if he is in good standing. If he is in good standing
in a regular lodge of a recognized jurisdiction, he is by the universal law of
the Craft in good standing everywhere. If he is not in good standing in the
jurisdiction from which he hails, he is not in good standing anywhere.
Suppose he is in good standing. What is his status as regards visitation ? By
some Masonic jurists it has been held and in some jurisdictions it has been
enacted into law, that the right of visitation is a Landmark. I doubt it. But
leave that question for consideration elsewhere. Whether or not the right of
visitation is a Landmark, however, it is clear that in order to visit there
must be a full and complete compliance with the conditions with regard to
visitation imposed by the jurisdiction where visitation is sought. There is no
inter-Grand Lodge law which defines how any particular Grand Lodge shall
determine the question of the qualifications by which the lodge to which the
visitor applies shall ascertain whether or not it will admit him. One rule and
one rule only is absolutely universal, to wit, that he must submit himself to
GRAND LODGE DETERMINES ITS OWN METHOD OF EXAMINATION
is no inter‑Grand Lodge law which determines the elements or processes of the
examination. One Grand Lodge may proceed upon a mental examination alone.
Another Grand Lodge may require documentary evidence as an element of that
examination. Each Grand Lodge may direct its particular lodges how extensively
the mental tests shall be applied, equally each Grand Lodge may determine the
particular kind of documentary evidence which it regards as sufficient. In
laying down rules with regard to documentary evidence each Grand Lodge is
expected by its sister Grand Lodges to recognize the principle of comity. It
therefore will consider in laying down its rules what kind of documentary
evidence, if any, is furnished by the jurisdiction from which visitors may
come. But when it has considered this question and has determined exactly what
type of documentary evidence it will require, that determination within the
particular jurisdiction is final and conclusive. No other Grand Lodge has the
right to invade the sovereignty of the Grand Lodge in question and demand that
it shall or shall not establish a particular form of documentary evidence
which happens to suit another Grand Lodge or other Grand Lodges.
as a conspicuous instance the recent unfortunate controversy between the Grand
Lodges of New Hampshire and Kansas. The Grand Lodge of Kansas apparently
demands that the law with regard to the documentary evidence required as a
part of the examination of a visitor in New Hampshire shall be made not by the
Grand Lodge of New Hampshire but the Grand Lodge of Kansas. In other words,
the Grand Lodge of Kansas demands that it shall determine what the Grand Lodge
of New Hampshire shall accept in examinations of visitors in New Hampshire. By
so doing the Grand Lodge of Kansas demands the right to determine for New
Hampshire and for exercise within the State of New Hampshire that which the
sovereign Grand Lodge of New Hampshire alone has the right to decide.
Masonic jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire is complete and
unlimited and sovereign throughout the entire State of New Hampshire. The
Grand Lodge of Kansas can no more/pass laws which the Grand Lodge of New
Hampshire must observe than New Hampshire could demand a similar thing in
Kansas. Would it not be obviously absurd for the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire
to demand that the Grand Lodge of Kansas should change its Ritual? Kansas
would say that its Grand Lodge alone had the right to legislate upon that
matter so long as it kept within the Landmarks. To ask the question if the
Grand Lodge of New Hampshire could lay down rules of mental examination of
visitors from New Hampshire applying in Kansas is to make the answer obvious.
If the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire cannot establish the tests of mental
examination conducted by Kansas, how can it be said that the Grand Lodge of
Kansas can establish the tests of that part of the examination which is
documentary for the Grand Lodge of Nest Hampshire ?
DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE IS DEMANDED
true that there are some who argue that requiring documentary evidence of any
kind is un‑Masonic, but those who make such a contention cannot have studied
the history of the past. In 1763 the Grand Lodge of England made a regulation
reading, "No person hereafter, who shall be accepted as a Freemason, shall be
admitted into any Lodge or Assembly until he has brought a CERTIFICATE of the
time and place of his acceptance from the Lodge that accepted him, unto the
Master of that limit, or district, where such Lodge is kept."
recently as June 5, 1895, the United Grand Lodge of England, after careful
consideration, upheld a Master who refused to admit a visitor without
documentary evidence. As early as 1798 the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
procured a plate to be engraved for such certificates. The demanding of
documentary evidence was approved by the Baltimore convention of 1843, and
indeed the ancient charters and regulations to which every Master‑elect
submits and which he promises to support according to the almost universal
phraseology contain as the fifteenth paragraph: "You agree that no visitors
shall be received into your Lodge without due examination and producing proper
vouchers for their having been initiated in a regular Lodge." Who is to
determine what are proper vouchers except the Grand Lodge? What Grand Lodge is
to determine them except the Grand Lodge of the jurisdiction where the
visitors apply? If it be contended that the jurisdiction where he was made a
Master Mason determines what vouchers it will issue, it is nevertheless clear
that that Grand Lodge cannot determine the same question for any other Grand
Lodge. His status as a Master Mason is fixed by the Grand Lodge to which he
owes allegiance. How the jurisdiction where he seeks to visit shall find out
that status is for the latter jurisdiction to determine. Each jurisdiction
which admits the visitor must determine for itself and by virtue of the
inherent right of its sovereignty what will be regarded as proper vouchers in
its particular lodges. In the instance to which we have referred the Grand
Lodge of New Hampshire has determined what it regards as proper vouchers. If
other Grand Lodges are unwilling to give their members the kind of vouchers
which New Hampshire regards as proper, they unquestionably have such a right,
but if they do so they deny to their own members the privilege of visiting in
press the illustration a little further, if one Grand Lodge should see fit to
transpose the passwords of the Third and Second Degrees, as the Grand Lodge of
England did a good many years ago, its brethren would undoubtedly be members
of the Fraternity, but it might be impossible for them to visit in some other
these lines of reasoning the writer reaches the conclusion that the status as
a prospective visitor of any Master Mason in good standing, when outside of
the jurisdiction from which he hails, although determined by the jurisdiction
of his affiliation, less, ascertained according to the laws of the
jurisdiction where he seeks to visit. For one Grand Lodge to deny recognition
of another Grand Lodge, because the latter's regulations in this regard do not
happen to suit the ideas of the former, is to wage Masonic war. If that war be
waged successfully the result would be to impose a limitation upon the
sovereignty of the vanquished Grand Lodge by permitting the victor to
legislate upon this subject for the other, thereby successfully invading its
STATUS FOR PURPOSES OF DISCIPLINE
this I mean, Where may a Freemason be tried for an alleged Masonic offense ?
There are four theories of criminal jurisprudence in the criminal courts of
First: Forum delicti commissi. This is the territorial theory. Under this
theory, crime may be punished only by the sovereign of the place where the
crime is committed and only then when the offender has been brought before a
court at that place for trial. This is the Anglo‑Saxon common law theory and
the basis of criminal jurisdiction in the United States.
Second: Forum ligeantiae. This is the theory of the forum of allegiance the
Roman and French theory. It is that the sovereign to which the offender owes
political allegiance may punish him for an offense committed anywhere in the
Third: Forum laesae civitatis. This is the theory of the forum of the injured
state and is adopted more or less in continental Europe. The question here is,
What sovereign was injured by the act of the alleged criminal ?
Fourth: Forum deprehensionis. This is the theory of the forum of capture. It
is the Italian theory, that of cosmopolitan justice. Under this theory any
sovereign power who apprehends the criminal may punish him no matter where he
committed the offense and entirely irrespective of his citizenship.
A MASON MAY BE TRIED
disciplinary powers of Freemasonry for general Masonic offenses (but not for
violations of mere local regulations) are not limited to any one of these
theories, nor to the theory adopted by the civil government within which the
Grand Lodge in question is located. It has been developed as the common law of
the Fraternity that a Mason may be tried either by the body to which he owes
allegiance or by the Masonic tribunals of any jurisdiction within which the
offender is residing and may be reached for service of papers upon him. In
other words, if a Mason belonging to a lodge in the State of Washington
commits a Masonic offense in Iowa and then goes to Florida for the winter, he
may be tried by the Masonic tribunals appointed under the laws of the Grand
Lodge of Washington because that is the Grand Lodge of his allegiance. He may
be tried by the Masonic tribunals of Florida because he is there where service
may be had upon him. He may not be tried by the Masonic tribunals of Iowa
where he committed the offense, however, unless he belongs to a lodge in Iowa
or the Grand Lodge of Iowa can get service upon him while he is within that
state. In other words, the Masonic theory of punishment does not follow the
common law territorial theory. Neither does it follow the continental theory
of the forum of the injured state. It does follow the theories of the forum of
allegiance and forum of capture.
must always be cautious lest we regard ideas of Masonic government as derived
from the principles of civil government. Unconsciously it is assumed, often,
that the correct principles of civil government must apply to all government.
It was well stated by Vaux: "Freemasonry is a law unto itself." Drummond
law must be sought in the fundamental principles of the Institution, as
expounded and defined by the usages of the Craft. The first lesson taught in
Masonry, indeed, forcibly suggests that Masonic laws are based upon the laws
of God." Drummond declared, as the result of his Masonic life's experience and
study of Masonry, in all of its rites and degrees, that "this natural tendency
to apply the principles of the civil law, to mould Masonry according to modern
ideas, and bring it 'in accord with the. spirit of the times,' rather than to
abide by the old laws and the ancient usages of the Craft, is the greates
danger to the prosperity and perpetuity of the Institution.”
American Indian Masonry
(Concluded from May)
Bro. ARTHUR C. PARKER, Associate Editor,
(Copyright by Arthur C. Parker)
would be an interesting thing to trace out the various forms of religious
belief held by the American natives, but though there are those competent to
write upon this subject, it is so vast in its extent that no individual writer
has yet dared the attempt. We have briefly outlined the essential features of
the Indian's belief, but of the numerous customs and rites we have yet
suggested little. Perhaps an outline of the religious rites of a single nation
or stock will suffice. Let us take the Iroquois.
the Iroquois the world was the handiwork of a Creator. He was known under
various names - Great Ruler, Good Mind, Sky Dweller, Creator. It was believed
that life came to the earth from the heaven world in the form of a woman ready
to give life to a girl child. The great Turtle of the black chaos seeing a
rift in the sky above called out to the water creatures of the darkness and
told them of the event bidding them to try to bring some substance that would
grow if placed upon his shell. At length after many creatures had perished one
deposited the earthly substance on the turtle's back and the substance grew.
Then the night birds flew upward and received the Sky Mother on an island
formed by their interlaced wings. With great gentleness she was placed upon
the earthy back of the Turtle. As she rested there a girl child was born who
immediately grew and became mature. All was dark until the Sky Mother stuck
the stalk of the Flower of Light in the soil.
first born then commenced to go round and round the island finding that it
became larger each time she tried the journey. One of her latter journeys took
longer than others for the island had grown very near a place called East. She
paused on the shore and a warm wind came and whispered to her. She felt it
encircle her and lift her from her feet but her heart was thrilled with a
strange ecstacy. She went back to the camp of her mother and told of the
strange experience, but the Sky Mother only wept.
a season the First‑born‑of‑Earth gave birth to two boys, one called the Light
One and the other the Dark One, who had a heart of flint. In giving birth to
the twins the mother died leaving them to the care of the Sky Mother. The boys
grew to maturity immediately and demanded to know their father. One was kind
and built things; the other was ferocious and destroyed anything that came his
way. The Light One received the name of Good Minded and the evil one was
called Bad Minded. Good Minded cared for the grave of his mother and watered
it because the Sky Mother had told him to do so. He watched over it with great
devotion until he was rewarded by seeing plants spring from the grave. The
tobacco came from the head, the corn from her breasts, the pumpkin from her
waist and the edible tubers and beans from her feet. Good Minded then asked
his mother where he should go to find his father and was told to journey to
the east sea and cross to a mountain raising from the water. This, after great
difficulty, he did. As he stood at the base of the mountain he called, "My
Father, where art thou ?" And the reply came, "A Son of Mine shall cast the
great cliffs from the mountain's edge to the summit of this peak." Good Minded
clasped the cliffs and flung them afar over the top of the mountain. Then came
the voice, "A Son of Mine shall swim the cataract from the base to the top."
Good Minded flung himself into the merciless current and swam his way upward
to the top of a ledge near the mountain top. Then again the voice sounded, "A
Son of Mine shall wrestle with the hurricane." A great wind swept about Good
Minded as if to sweep him from his unstable footing, but he wrestled with the
wind though he could not see it nor tell where to grasp it, until the
hurricane cried out, "Enough, for you have exhausted my breath." Once more the
voice sounded, "A Son of Mine shall brave the fire of hottest flame. Come!"
From the mountainside burst a sheet of flame that burned and blinded Good
Minded, but he pushed through the twisting arms and ran up the mountain to the
summit. There in repose was a being so infinitely brilliant that Good Minded
could scarcely see.
thy Father," said the Light, "thou art My Son."
the Father gave to Good Minded the power to make the earth grow with all
manner of plants and trees. In a package he placed the magical dust that would
become animal life. Long the Father spoke to his Son and then bade him depart.
Good Minded returned to the Earth Island and told his grandmother, the Sky
Woman, where he had been and what power he had received, Bad Minded became
very jealous and by an ingenious plan sought to destroy him. But after a
lengthy battle the Bad Minded was vanquished and put in a deep cavity in the
earth along with all the perverted and distorted creatures he had made from
the good creatures. And the evil creatures were banished because they chose to
be evil rather than as they had been created.
the Good Minded took the face of his mother and flung it into the heavens and
it became the moon. And at that time a new light far more brilliant appeared;
it was the sun. So came the sun to rule the day and the moon to give hope to
when all things had been perfected, Good Minded looked into a pool of water
and saw his own face. He took a handful of clay and molded his image and it
became a man.
were many pre‑humans on the Earth then and they were subdued and told their
function. They were forbidden to molest men. When all this was finished, the
Sky Mother said to her grandson, "We must return to the world above the sky,
our Ga‑o‑ya‑geh." So did they return to the Father but they ever watch over us
for we are their children and because they were, we are.
is the Indian's Genesis, and though briefly told, there will be few who cannot
see in it a wonderful symbolism and a real recognition of man's divine origin.
The last great test of the Good Minded, we observe, is not alone to overcome
earth and water and fire and air, which are material, but to banish evil and
all its distorsions.
series of religious tales, such as this, the Iroquois were taught the great
essentials of moral life and a recognition of man's relation to his Creator.
The lessons of these unwritten gospels teach Fortitude, Loyalty, Patriotism,
Tolerance, Fraternity and Gratitude.
Iroquois was religious in every act of his life, for was not the Creator in
all that he had created? Sin thus became a thing that man could commit against
himself, against his fellows, human and nonhuman, and against the interests of
the tribe. It was not believed that the Creator could be sinned against for he
was above an injury by man. Nor was it possible for a sin to be forgiven for
effect always follows action. What we have done we have done and not even
divinity can say it was not done, nor can the effects be wiped away. For the
guilty there was no escape through forgiveness by the Creator. Sins against
self and society must be paid for by restitution in some form.
religious ceremonies of the Iroquois were many but the great ceremonies were
those of the seasonal thanksgiving, of which there were six each year.
Gratitude to the Creator was the underlying principle of the red man's
religion. One of the stanzas in the Thanksgiving rite is:
all that He has Created and should offer thanks,
all the things from below up to 'himself in the sky‑world, ‑'
who are here gathered in assembly thank our Creator -
all his creatures who are living here in this earth‑world.
of the members of the various Iroquois tribes - the Seneca, the Cayuga, the
Onondaga, the Oneida and the Mohawk - are now Christians, living as white men
do. But so great a hold have the old rites and religion of their ancestors
upon some that the old beliefs still hold among a considerable portion of the
Onondages and Senecas in New York State and Canada.
Senecas of the old belief hold their religious rites in their Long Houses, the
Temples of their Faith. Here the honest student may observe these rites and
determine whether a people whose religious heritage is what we have described
may be called "pagan" or not. Is there not something racially heroic in this
stand of the Senecas to preserve that which is distinctive of their people?
Yet, slowly, but surely, the old life is fading and in time it will all be
gone. The Senecas will have succumbed to the heat of the melting pot.
you have read in the pages that have been written was told to a great Mason,
long before he made his journey to the land of the Senecas and witnessed their
ceremonies. The Senecas called him Ho‑doinjai‑ey, the Holder of the Earth, and
they invited Hodoin‑jai‑ey to come as a novitiate to the Lodge of the Ancient
Guards of the Mystic Potence. Two other friends of the Senecas had been
invited, Ho‑skwisa‑oh and Ga‑jee‑wa, thus forming the mystic triangle.
HAND, THE BROTHER‑FRIEND
candidates were told to listen. The legend of the Ancient Guards was told. The
complete relation would make a lengthy document, though I am not sure that you
would find it a marvelous tale.
Hand was a young chief whose life was blameless for he was Ho‑ya‑di‑wa‑doh. He
had received certain mysterious knowledge that made the covetous envy him, but
so brave and kind was Red Hand that he was admired and loved by men and
Hand had a place where he spoke to the Great Mystery, and because the Great
Mystery spoke to him he was kind to every brother of the earth - every tree,
every rock, every animal. He fed the hungry birds in winter time. When the
wolves were hungry he gave them meat; when the deer were hungry he gave them
grass and moss. The children loved him because he gave them trinkets; the old
people were grateful to him because he knew of oils that cured their lameness:
the warriors admired him because he had power to lead them against the enemy
that sought to destroy them.
to the south country in the valley of the Ohio, went a war party to punish the
foe. The Leader went apart to seek the chief of the enemy and while he stood
alone a poisoned arrow struck him and he fell. Then the assassin who rushed
upon him demanded the secret of his power but he would not give it and so the
enemy lifted his tomahawk and scalped our Leader, taking the scalp away in
triumph to be dried over the lodge poles where the smoke issues forth.
wolf lifted his nose and smelled blood. He howled to bring the pack and
followed the scent to the body of a man. He looked and saw that it was Brother
Friend whom he knew as Red Hand. He called in a different note and there came
all the chiefs of the animals and even the chiefs of all the great plants and
trees. They looked at the body of their friend. Then they held a council as to
how he should be revived. "We will give the tip of our hearts and the spark
from our brains," they said. Then they sent for the scalp which the Dew Eagle
brought, making it again alive by sprinkling it from the pool of dew that
rests on his back. It was placed on the crown of Red Hand's head and grew
by one the greatest of created things gave up the vital parts of their beings,
the tips of their hearts and the hearts of their brains. For a brother is not
a friend if he will not give his life for the Brother Friend who has
befriended him in great emergency. When the life sparks were reduced to dust,
so small a quantity was there that all together there was only enough to fill
an acorn cup. Then the other chiefs of the animals and trees and plants and
birds gathered around while the wolf took a cup of bark and dipping it with
the current of a spring dropped into the water three tiny grains of the dust
of life. This water of life was poured into the mouth of Red Hand and he
moved. A compress of the water healed his wounds. Then the chosen hand
commenced to chant the ritual of the Ancient Guardians of the Mystic Potence.
During the night of blackness they sang, reciting the life and adventures of
Red Hand. He awoke but lay still with his eyes shut. He listened and learned
the song. The wings of the eagles lifted him and bore him to a great
waterfall. He heard the rushing of strong waters thundering down upon the
craigs below. The whipporwill called and a light floated over the darkness.
the circle clustered closer and the brother who is the Bear touched the breast
of Red Hand. All stood erect. The Bear grasped the hand of the Leader who was
to be raised; though slain the Bear grasped his hand and by a strong grip
raised Red Hand to his feet. All was darkness, but Red Hand lived. * * * * *
Ancient Guards called, each with his own peculiar cry. Red Hand recognized his
friends. * * * * *
Yiewanoh, who has passed through the initiation of the Ancient Guards, tells
us the story of Red Hand.
a night of darkness impenetrable. There is no sound save the waterfall and the
river. In the forest the Leader, patient and listening, is waiting for the
sign promised him. Will it be given ? Yes, for the Birds and Beasts do not
PROMISE OF POWER
Leader, who is Red Hand, trusts and waits until a strong voice from the
darkness comes, saying:
thou cleansed thyself from human guilt and impurity ?"
have,” Red Hand replied.
thou ill will toward any of thy fellow creatures ?"
thou trust and obey us, keeping thyself always chaste and valorous ?"
thou hold this power with which we endow thee for shine own chosen company
thou endure death or torture in its cause?"
thou vow this secret never to be revealed save at thy death hour ?"
death hour will be revealed to thee; thou wilt be allowed to choose thy
successor, and at the end of thy journey thou wilt be rewarded for faith and
was a rushing of winds and the sound of hurrying creatures was heard. The song
was renewed and then a winged light appeared. The voices were bidding him
sings the whippoorwill, "Follow me, follow me."
replies the Chief to him, "Yes, I will follow thee." "See, the night is
darkening, the shadows are hiding, no light to follow now," so sings the
the deep abyss went Red Hand, following his unseen guide. He felt the spray of
the waterfall and then up he climbed until he knew he was ascending a
mountain. The dawn light appeared and he went on and on until when the sun was
high he found the flat summit of the mountain.
in the circle of an altar was a wild maize plant. At its roots was the box
holding the Mystic Potence that restores men to life and heals wounds.
white flint knife lay at the roots of the maize plant and a voice called,
"Slash into the stalk of the maize!"
Leader cut the stalk and blood flowed from the wound. Then again a voice said,
"Touch the wound with the potence." This he did and the wound immediately
healed. The voice sounded again, saying:
"Guard well this Mystic Potence for while ye have it thy people shall endure.
When it is gone they shall be no more. Go and found an order that shall know
all this wisdom and preserve in the bonds of faithful brotherhood the
mysteries, the chants and the will to perform the task of spreading the
knowledge of the kinship of all created things."
* * *
* * *
* * *
* * *
OF THE DARKNESS
Order has been founded, and though many centuries have passed by, the faithful
Fraternity still remains. In the ritual the members impersonate the
brother-friends who of their lives. In the mystic square in the darkness we
hear their voices. The call of the birds is heard and the shrill call of the
Guide Bird comes toward morning to herald the promise of day. The waters
thunder with deafening sound - and so deeply do these sounds imbed themselves
into the memory of the ears that it is days before they are forgotten.
During the intervals of the night at three periods the lights appear and the
brothers refresh themselves with berry juice mixed with maple sugar. The
sacred incense of the O‑yan‑kwa is burned. The altars are covered when the
morning song comes at last with the calling of great flocks of crows. Then
appears the boar's head or perhaps that of a bear, steaming with the fragrant
soup of the maize. There is a ceremonial partaking of the feast and then the
O‑noh‑kwa is distributed. It is yet just before dawn and the company has
adjourned. The session has been from the beginning of total darkness until its
lodge of Neh Ho‑noh‑chee‑noh‑ga has been closed; the Ancient Guards of the
Mystic Potence gather up their mystery bundles that hold the sacred Ni‑ga‑ni‑gaa‑ah.
* * * It is still night though the Ga‑no‑dah * * * has been ended.
wait in the darkness. Come all ye who listen!
us in our darkness journey, now no sun is shining;
no star is glowing. Come show us the pathway!
night is not friendly; she closes her eyelids;
moon has forgot us; we wait in the darkness,
"Follow me, follow me," so sings the whipporwill.
I am following," so the Chief answers him!
DA‑NE‑HOH. WHAT HAS HAPPENED HAS HAPPENED
tall bronze‑skinned guide led the way over an ice-rutted road. The journey
from the mysterious East had commenced. Following the Guide in single file
were four, and there were four. It was the land of the Senecas, those most
powerful confederates of the Six Nations of the Iroquois. To this land in the
Valley of the Cattaraugus had journeyed the Commander‑in-Chief of Buffalo
Consistory and three other members of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of
Masonry, and now they were on their way back to the city that rises where the
ancient Seneca town of Do‑sho‑we once had its site. These pale‑faced members
of the race that came and possessed the red man’s land had been adopted
brothers and initiated into the highest rites of the Senecas.
Little has been told; the door has only been held ajar the slightest space and
no secrets have been revealed. There were feather wands and deer skins, but no
purple robes or crowns. Yet, who shall say that the Senecas have not the
thread of the legend of Osiris or that they have not an inherent Freemasonry?
Men Who Were Masons
Bro. GEORGE W. BAIRD, P. G. M., District of Columbia
FREDERICKDESMONS was President of the Grand Orient of France for many years.
Though a Protestant minister he was respected by the French public and loved
by members of the Fraternity. He was born at Brignon, Province of Gard, in
1832; and died in Paris, 1910. He was always a consistent member of the
Protestant Episcopal Church in which he had an ever increasing following. Of
Freemasonry he believed that it had for its principal purpose the linking
together of men of every nation, sect and opinion, making them brothers
instead of foreigners. To be a Mason in France, having in mind the savage
massacre of the Huguenots and the mobbing of the very funeral of Voltaire, and
knowing that the mantles of those inquisitors have fallen on others equally
fanatic, requires some courage; the Mason, the Protestant, and the Jew are
alike tolerated but always in danger.
Desmons' biographers mention his return to his native country after having
completed his education and of his life long devotion to his church; from this
one may infer that he was educated abroad, a fact that may account for his
great breadth of mind.
was initiated in the lodge at Nimes in 1860, but later formed a lodge nearby,
where his church was situated, at Saint‑Genies‑Mal‑Gloires; he was Worshipful
Master of this lodge, named Le Progres, from 1870 to 1888, a period of
eighteen years. In 1873 he was elected to membership in the Supreme Council
and served therein until his death in 1910. The Supreme Council elected him
President - equivalent to our Sovereign Grand Commander; in this office he
closely resembled our own great Albert Pike in his loyalty, philosophy,
philology and wisdom. The daily papers now and then had their little flings at
les freres trots points (as they called the Masons), but no aspersion was ever
aimed at Bro. Desmons.
hardly possible to form a correct idea of a people or nation unless one has
been there. A sailor will tell you it is impossible to know a man until you
have sailed with him. The great aim of Bro. Desmons was evidently to make it
possible for the better men of France to get together. The better men and
scholars of France are already Masons or wish to be. Disgusted with the
sorcery and superstition everywhere about them, they naturally gravitate
toward men of like feeling, but they are not unanimous on matters of creed.
Many, if not all of them, have learned to thinly of the Bible as a book of
creeds; we know from our experience with fanatics and politicians how fixed a
man is when he has once made up his mind on suet; a subject. Bro. Desmons was
always happy in his efforts at reconciling differences and the writer has al
ways believed that this was the origin of the famous modification of the
Constitutions of the Grand Orient, which were adopted Sept. 14, 1877, and
which deleted the requirement for belief in Deity. This was really a return to
the Constitutions of Dr. Anderson adopted by the Grand Lodge of England in
1723, which by no means exact some things we are nor very insistent on.
purpose of the obligation is to bind the postulant, not to convert or prevent
him. The British still obligate a Mussulman on the Koran. We are careful that
the postulant expresses a belief in Deity, lest he may not regard his
obligation, but after all we take his unsupported word that he believes in
God. The Grand Orient permits the Bible in an of its lodges that want it; it
permits the Book of the Law and the testimony of any country or municipality
to be used in administering the obligation, where it is believed to be the
most binding on the initiate.
believe that the rupture between the American Grand Lodges and the Grand
Orient of France first arose over the Grand Orient's invasion of jurisdiction
in Louisiana; but in my own Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, in 1878,
P.G.M. Isaac Johnson introduced the following resolution, which was adopted:
"Resolved, that the action of the Grand Orient of France, in ignoring the
foundation principle of Masonry - that of a firm belief in God and in the
immortality of the soul - meets the unqualified disapproval of this Grand
Review of Cryptic Masonry
Bro. GEORGE W. WARVELLE, P.G.M., Illinois
(Concluded from last month)
WHATEVER may have been the original form of Cryptic degrees it is certain that
they were not preserved as they came from the hands of their founders, and in
their dissemination by the self appointed chiefs who controlled them they soon
assumed a bewildering variety of phases in the method of organization, order
of arrangement and ritualistic expression. As time wore on these features
became more pronounced. In some jurisdictions the scale was increased by
adding the Super‑Excellent Degree; in some it was expressly rejected, and in
others it was unknown. There was no uniformity in the order of conferring the
two recognized degrees. In some states, the Select was the first of the
series, in others the last, and while the general principles which give
distinctive character to the rite were probably the same in all jurisdictions,
yet in many there was a commingling of legend and incident. The salient
features of one degree were often transferred to the other and that which to
us would seem to be inseparably connected with the Select was not infrequently
to be found in the Royal Degree and vice versa. In the names, titles and
number of officers, there was also a great diversity while in the smaller
details the same conditions prevailed in a still more aggravated form. Added
to all this was the unsettled and vexed question of the right of capitular
domination which ever since the organization of the first councils had
continued to assert itself. Out of these facts grew these assemblies which are
popularly known as
was generally conceded that the condition of affairs as just related, called
for some action calculated to secure substantial uniformity in the number,
arrangement and ritual of the degrees as well as in the organization of the
bodies, both Grand and constituent, and as early as 1848 Companion A. G.
Mackey proposed that a convention be held to make an amicable settlement of
the disputed questions involved in the conflict of jurisdiction between
councils and chapters and to determine upon a uniform method of conferring the
degrees. An attempt was made to have this convention held at Boston in 1850
during the convocation of the General Grand Chapter, but it does not appear
that sufficient interest in the subject could be created at that time to
insure an attendance and no call was issued. With this exception, however, no
one seemed prepared with a remedy, and so matters remained until 1867. At this
time measures were initiated looking toward a solution of the difficulty by a
suggestion that at the Triennial Session of the Grand Encampment of Knights
Templar to be held in the city of St. Louis the following year the Grand
Councils should insure the attendance of some of their best workman for the
mutual consultation and interchange of ideas.
GENERAL GRAND COUNCIL NOT CONTEMPLATED
project was favorably received and the Grand Council of Maine formally
crystallized the suggestion by making it a resolution addressed to the other
Grand Councils of the country. It is further worthy of note in this connection
that the resolution, in express and unmistakable terms, disclaimed "any
intention or desire of forming, or seeking to form, a General Grand Council of
the United States," yet this was the germ from whence the present General
Grand Council was evolved. But nothing practical came of this resolution as
the proposed convention did not materialize and the "best workman," if present
at St. Louis, probably found more congenial employment in other avenues of
labor. The project was kept alive, however, and four years later, through the
joint efforts of the Grand Councils of Maine and Massachusetts a convention
was held at the city of New York at which fourteen Grand Jurisdictions were
represented, Illinois among the number. The business of this convention was
devoted mainly to a revision of nomenclature and the arrangement and order of
the degrees. The results were highly gratifying to all concerned, but owing to
differences of opinion in reference to some of the matters presented, to
settle which would require more time than the convention could command, it was
deemed advisable to remit same to a committee upon which members of Grand
Councils not represented should also be appointed. This necessarily involved
an adjourned session and so the convention took a recess for one year. The
convention met, pursuant to adjournment, at the same place in June, 1873,
Illinois being again represented. But little of a practical nature was
accomplished at this meeting, other than to confirm the actions of the year
previous, and after the appointment of a committee to memorialize the Grand
Encampment on the subject of "prerequisition," the convention again adjourned
to meet in New Orleans the next year. It is also worthy of note in this
connection that at this meeting a resolution was adopted reciting "That in the
judgment of this convention it is expedient and proper to form a General Grand
Council of the United States," and in view of our present relations with the
body now bearing that name, possibly the knowledge of the fact that the mover
of this resolution was the delegate from Illinois may not be without interest
to you. On Nov. 30,1874, the convention again assembled at New Orleans but the
only question of moment which was presented was the propriety of the immediate
organization of a General Grand Body. A committee was appointed to prepare a
provisional constitution, which was to be submitted to the Grand Councils for
approval, but notwithstanding the committee seem to have reported back such an
instrument no action was taken upon it. Pending the report it was resolved
that the "present officers" continued and when the constitution should have
been ratified by two‑thirds of the Grand Councils they shall call a meeting
for the organization of a new body. The convention then adjourned to meet at
Buffalo three years later. The convention did meet, as per adjournment, Aug.
20, 1877, but the session was devoid of interest. Nothing seems to have been
done with respect to the main questions presented to the New Orleans meeting
three years previous and the provisional constitution was not even alluded to.
After passing the usual resolution to again memorialize the Grand Encampment,
the convention adjourned without day but subject to the call of the President.
can be no doubt but that, had it not been for a subsequent remarkable
convulsion of the Cryptic world, the premonitory symptoms of which were then
visible, this would have been the last session of the convention, and the
project of a General Grand Council would never have advanced to any higher
stage of development than it assumed at the New Orleans meeting. The practical
work of the convention was fully accomplished at its sessions in New York, in
1872‑3. These assemblies seem to have been of the highest importance, and were
productive of incalculable benefit. In them was done all that was originally
contemplated, and to the men who promoted and conducted them the Craft are
under a lasting debt of gratitude. Particularly is this true of Bro. Josiah H.
Drummond, of Maine, whose genius inspired and whose will directed the
effective deliberations of the convention. But all that followed was barren.
With no well defined policy, the convention extended, or attempted to extend,
its own existence by adjournments. Its "delegates" were not usually the same
at its different sessions, and few, if any, who attended were accredited as
such. It succeeded in dragging its slow length over a period of ten years, and
finally, by an act, the full legality of which is not without question,
culminated in the formation of a General Supervisory Body of doubtful utility
and powers. To understand the motives which actuated the founders of the
General Grand Council, as well as the incentives to such action, it will be
necessary to hastily review the works which were transpiring in the Crypt
during the period covered by the convention's sessions, and particularly of
the movement now known in Cryptic history as
Through a variety of causes, real and fanciful, Cryptic Masonry, for a number
of years succeeding the close of the civil war, was in that condition
generally described as "languishing." Having no showy uniforms or military
gewgaws to attract the heedless, its growth, as compared with the Chivalric
Orders, was slow; the aspirants for enrollment as imitation soldiers passed it
by with scorn, and those who had entered it simply through desire to possess
"high degrees" began to forsake it for its more brilliant rival, then rapidly
rising to the flood‑tide of its popularity. It had nothing to offer but
"Masonry," and that is what a vast multitude of "Masons" have very little use
for. Those who remained mistook this process of purification for dissolution,
and because they erroneously supposed that our success lay in numerical
accessions and our prosperity in treasury balances, they became despondent,
and out of their blind despair evolved the Mississippi Plan. This consisted
simply of a surrender of the degrees to the Royal Arch Chapter, and while the
project had often been discussed and, indeed, practically effected in Virginia
under a mistake of fact, yet, as Mississippi was the first to adopt it as a
measure of expediency, it has generally been alluded to as a line of policy
peculiar to that jurisdiction. By the terms of the surrender, each Royal Arch
Chapter was thereafter authorized to open "within its bosom" and under its
charter, as a chapter of Royal Arch Masons, a Council of Royal and Select
Masters, and all who thereafter obtained the Royal Arch were to receive the
Cryptic Degrees, if they so desired, without further fee. It was contended by
the promoters of the plan that this course was essential to the preservation
of the degrees in their jurisdiction, and while other motives have been
charged, reflecting to some extent upon the integrity of the men who
consummated the deal, I am satisfied that it was made with honesty of heart
and sincerity of purpose.
effect of the action of Mississippi was immediately discernable in the other
states and a spirited contest ensued. In many localities the preponderating
sentiment favored its adoption, and this led to what is now known as
difficult, at this time, for those who have entered the Secret Vault since the
abandonment of the "Mississippi Plan" to fully comprehend the motives which
induced its adoption and even of those of us who were present and participated
in the work can find but little justification or excuse for the extraordinary
course which was then pursued. I speak now only for Illinois. Whatever
conditions may have prevailed elsewhere I do not know and possibly in other
jurisdictions the "merger" may have been more defensible than with us. But
however this may be the action of Mississippi seemed to be infectious and was
speedily followed in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Wisconsin and our own jurisdiction, while measures looking
ultimately to the same end were inaugurated in California and Missouri.
Scarcely any two of the merging jurisdictions adopted in all respects the same
procedure, although the ultimate object to be attained was everywhere the
same, but, as a general similitude pervaded all of the methods employed, a
recital of the plan pursued in Illinois, will, perhaps, furnish a fair idea of
the salient features of the movement as it existed in other states.
year 1877 had witnessed a marked depression in Masonic circles which had been
felt perhaps more severely in the council than elsewhere. Added to this was
the further fact that a national delegation, including representatives from
Illinois, which attempted to present the question of prerequisition to the
Grand Encampment at its session at Cleveland in that year had been repulsed
with freezing "courtesy." Thereupon the leaders became discouraged;
Mississippi's act had just been accomplished; the plan seemed feasible and
with little or no time for serious consideration measures were introduced at
an Annual Assembly looking toward a formal cession to the Grand Chapter of the
constitutional right to confer the degrees. In pursuance of this line of
policy overtures were made to and received by the Grand Chapter which resulted
in the appointment of a joint commission by both bodies to mature and report a
detailed plan for the consummation of such union. The committee met,
deliberated and finally reported the result of the conference and the report,
which was formally adopted by both bodies, became, in effect, the concordat
which affected the transfer of legal authority over the degrees. It provided
that each Royal Arch Chapter should open a Council of Royal and Select Masters
and confer the degrees subsequent to the Royal Arch; that the officers of the
chapter should hold corresponding rank in the council and that all Royal Arch
Masons at the date of ratification should be entitled to receive the degrees
without fee. It also provided, on the part of the Grand Chapter, that the
officers of all chapters should qualify themselves in the work without delay
and that the Grand High Priest, as the custodian of the ritual, should, as
soon as practicable, take the necessary steps to carry out the foregoing plan.
practical effect of the treaty was that of a dispensation from the Grand
Council to the constituents of the Grand Chapter to open Councils of Royal and
Select Masters and confer the degrees, and while our course in this respect
has been severely criticized in some quarters, its legality cannot be
seriously questioned. It will be observed that the Grand Council never
dissolved, nor did it surrender any of its powers in other particulars. It met
regularly every year in Annual Assembly; elected its own officers, all of whom
were members of some one of its constituent Councils, and retained the same
authority over its said constituents as before the "merger." The Councils in
the meantime remained as they were; no charters were surrendered, and no
degrees were conferred; no dues were collected and no Grand Council taxes were
paid. And so matters continued for five years, during which period the
advocates of the "Mississippi plan" had ample opportunity to study its theory
and observe its practice. The results were not satisfactory, and in 1882 a
return was had to the old methods.
Without questioning the motives of those who advised or aided the consummation
of the Mississippi plan, it may nevertheless be said that its influence was
pernicious. Its logical effect was the disintegration of the Cryptic system
and the reduction of the liturgies of the Council to the position of mere
"side degrees" of the Chapter. In this jurisdiction they certainly assumed
that position. In many Chapters they were never conferred; in others only at
infrequent intervals. In some of the "merging" jurisdictions I am informed
they were almost lost sight of, and had the movement attained such force as to
carry all of the states, it is fair to presume that like all other side
degrees, they would in time have fallen into complete disuse and finally have
been lost. But fortunately the project met with vigorous opposition in many
states which had a reassuring effect upon some of the weaker jurisdictions,
while to still further stem the tide a new factor was evolved known as the
GENERAL GRAND COUNCIL
have stated, when the convention which met at Buffalo, in 1877, concluded its
apparently purposeless session, it adjourned to meet at the call of the
chairman. Very soon thereafter the Grand Council of Mississippi surrendered
its degrees and dissolved its organization. Other states rapidly followed the
precedent established by Mississippi, while still others held the project
hinder serious consideration. This was the condition of affairs at the
beginning of the year 1880, when the Grand Council of Minnesota formally
requested the chairman, Bro. J. H. Drummond, to call a meeting of the
convention. In response, thereto, a call was issued for a meeting to be held
at Detroit Aug. 23, 1880, for the purpose of consultation and advisory action,
and pursuant to such call, a meeting was held, in which eighteen Grand
Councils are said to have been represented. A protest against any usurpation
of Cryptic prerogatives by the General Grand Chapter or any of its
constituents was adopted, and all persons receiving their degrees under such
auspices were declared to be clandestine. The advisability of forming a
General Grand Council was then affirmed; a constitution was adopted and
provisional officers elected, all to be subject to the approval of and
ratification by the Grand Councils of the country, "or of a majority of them."
The convention then adjourned, subject to the call of the Provisional Grand
Master. On March 1, 1881, a proclamation was issued by the Provisional Grand
Master (Bro. Drummond) reciting a ratification of the constitution by nine
Grand Councils, and declaring the new organization regularly formed and duly
existing "as the governing body of the Rite in the United States." Since then
it has continued to assert a mild, and, I am free to say, innocuous existence.
It meets regularly every three years and elects officers. It also publishes
its Proceedings which consist mainly of the record of such elections. While it
accomplishes but little in the way of tangible results, I am unable to find
that it is productive of any very serious harm, and were it not that it
assumes to be "the governing body of the Rite in the United States," I should
not be inclined to find any fault with either its organization or methods.
while the General Grand Council now exercises no higher functions than to
furnish a few more high-sounding, but empty, titles, I nevertheless believe
that its organization was productive of a most salutary and beneficial effect
upon the entire Cryptic system of the country. It brought together the leading
spirits of the nation, who were struggling against disintegration, unifying
their efforts and directing their energies, and to no small extent it served
to stem the tide of dissolution which then threatened to engulf the Rite. That
the General Grand Council "saved the Rite," as has been repeatedly stated by
its adherents and supporters, I most emphatically deny, but do believe, and
here cheerfully testify to my belief, that the movement worked incalculable
good at the time. I further believe that the Cryptic world is under a lasting
debt of gratitude to the men who directed and controlled the movement, and
particularly to Josiah H. Drummond, of Maine; George W. Cooley, of Minnesota;
George J. Pinckard, of Louisiana, and George M. Osgoodby, of New York. Their
efforts have certainly been conductive of lasting benefit to the Rite, and
history will do full justice to their memory.
a slow awakening from unpleasant dreams the merging jurisdictions gradually
began to realize the mistake they had committed. The very agencies which had
been relied upon to preserve and perpetuate the Degrees were fast causing
their destruction; the work of the Chapters was repudiated by the non‑merging
states, while the fact of continued existence of Councils and Grand Councils
was an evidence that the Rite still possessed vitality and strength. Then came
the period of
the year 1880 a majority of the Grand Councils and Grand Chapters who had
formerly thought that the separation of the two systems was not only
unnecessary but operated as well to the detriment of both, had begun to revise
their opinions. The dangers resulting from the multiplication of Grand bodies
was found to be far less of an evil than was first supposed, while the fiction
of the preservation of the degrees by capitular supervision had been
abundantly demonstrated. Thenceforward there was a growing disposition on the
part of both Chapters and Councils to terminate the arrangement. In our own
state this was easily effected, as the Grand Council had never abandoned its
organization nor had any of its constituents surrendered their charters. A
simple agreement to dissolve the compact by the Grand Chapter and Council and
the issuance of an edict by the Grand Council to its constituents were the
only steps necessary. In other jurisdictions more serious conditions prevailed
and the work of rehabilitation was accomplished, in some instances, in a
manner not wholly above criticism. During the years 1880‑83 most of the
"merging" jurisdictions resumed control of the degrees, and with the single
exception of Iowa, all have now returned to the old ways.
the year 1880 until the present time there has been a steady, constant and
visible improvement and the tendency is still onward and upward. Indifference
and apathy have given way to interest and zeal, a more intelligent
appreciation of the character and scope of the degrees themselves, after years
of uncertainty and doubt, have at length secured a long denied recognition as
integral parts of the American Masonic system.
APRON LECTURE FOR THE SELECT MASTER DEGREE
BRO. PERCY EDGAR BROWN, Custodian of the Work, Grand Council, R. & S. M., Iowa
companion, I now present you with the apron of the Select Master. It is white
in color, like the lambskin or white leather apron which you received when you
were made a Mason, symbolizing that purity of life which should be your
constant aim and that uprightness and integrity which should ever attend your
steps, if you are to attain to the highest achievements.
emphasizes the feet that only by right living will that secret vault which you
are erecting within yourself become a proper place to deposit Divine Truth.
Only thus can you dwell with God and God with you, and only thus can you hope
to receive the reward of the righteous, the "Well done, good and faithful
servant" of the Supreme Master of the Universe.
this apron is bordered with purple, indicating the honor which has befell
conferred upon you by selecting you to receive this degree,' Purple has ever
been the color worn by kings and rulers and it represents therefore the
highest rank attainable in worldly affairs. As a Select Master, you have
attained the highest rank possible in ancient Masonry. The purple of kings
also indicates a power to rule. So too the purple of the Select Master
represents a power to rule - not over temporal kingdoms, but over the kingdom
of molar own life. The privilege accorded you in admitting you to this degree
has enabled you to advance further in your search for Masonic light and the
various lessons which have been inculcated have shown you how, through Divine
guidance, you may better rule and govern the empire of yourself.
those who wear the purple must not only rule well their own lives, they must
also serve their fellow men. As good kings must always make the welfare of
their subjects their first consideration, so must you, as a Select Master,
devote yourself to the interests of your companions. By your increased
knowledge and the greater opportunities afforded you, through your admission
to this degree, you are better fitted to perform your whole duty to your
brethren and to labor for all mankind.
this apron, then, ever be to you a symbol of pure heart and a power to rule
your life and conduct, through the blessings and guidance of the secrets of
Divine Truth, safely deposited in the hidden vault of your inner
consciousness, so that you may walk with God through a long and useful life
and finally secure eternal and ineffable happiness in the world to come.
it also be a constant reminder to you of that duty incumbent upon every worthy
Select Master, that he shall serve God, aid, comfort and elevate his
companions and do all in his power to be of service to his fellow men and to
Finally, my companion, remember that you should strive in season and out of
season to attain to the character of a true Select Master.
this goal ever before you - not only while you wear this apron within the
narrow confines of the lodge room but while you go about the duties of your
daily life. Remember too that
goal in sight, tho' ne'er attained
noble effort is maintained,
make your life one long sweet song;
Eternal joys, for you, prolong."
Masonic Journalism of the Long Ago
Bro. JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, Associate Editor, California
Morcombe is a member of Educator Lodge, No. 554, San Francisco, Cal., Rabbi
Chapter, No. 103, R. A. M. Storm Lake, Iowa, Maple Valley Council, No. 25, R.
& S. M., Rose Croix Commandery, No. 38, K. T., Sac City, Iowa, and Abu Bekr
Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., Sioux City, Iowa. See in the Editorial Department, this
issue, "A Masonic Critic."
might be interesting to know just when the first periodical devoted to the
Craft made its appearance. To ascertain the subjects considered worthy of
record would reveal much as to the inner workings of Masonry beyond anything
preserved in formal documents. The inquirer of the future, having desire to
know the conditions of the institution of our time, will be at no loss, thanks
to the number of journals now published. These cover the entire country. Some
essay the national field and deal only with the larger questions, while others
confine themselves to local affairs and the jurisdictional happenings. The
older papers and magazines of Masonry are few, and where preserved they are
Through the kindness of a correspondent this writer has before him a volume of
the Scientific Magazine and Freemason's Repository for 1798. This periodical
was an ambitious affair, when compared with British publications of the time,
being about equal, in form, size and contents, with the contemporary Land on
Magazine and the Gentleman's Magazine, with just a flavor of Masonry added.
There are the usual comments on affairs of the time, domestic and foreign,
with long winded essays, somewhat stilted and labored, as was the style of the
period. The Masonic department for the year in question found subject matter
in the anti-Craft books of Professor Robison and the Abbe Barruel - books
that we know now as curiosities, without critical value and only serving to
reveal the intense prejudices and slanderous moods of the time. There is a
department of book reviews, commending or condemning newly published volumes
that are unknown today even to the most mole‑like of researchers. Poetry had
its place also - several pages each month of most atrocious verse, though
perhaps no worse than the vers libre so prominently displayed in some of our
cherished publications. "Public Amusements" are handled in such wise as to
indicate that the old brethren were devotees of the play houses.
"Parliamentary Proceedings" take up much space, as may be well imagined when
the year 1798 is remembered for the scare of invasion by the French which
agitated all England, and when Bonaparte was the arbiter of Europe. "The
Monthly Chronicle" gathers an odd lot of matters, social happenings, perils by
fire and flood, scientific guesses and inventions, all heaped together, and
having now a curious interest because of the childlike faith, or rather
credulity, so often shown.
foreword to the completed volume the editor speaks of the "present awful
crisis, when nations are in perplexity and individuals in fearful
apprehension, and when every man has a peculiar duty to perform. Ours at
present appears to be to preserve our miscellany from the influence of a party
spirit on the one hand, and to advance, so far as in us lies, the great
interests of society, order and virtue on the other. We would be understood to
mean that while this magazine shall continue to be distinguished by the
leading objects which constitute its titles, it shall stand eminently forward
in behalf of the Constitution, under which, happily, we were born, and under
which w e live." All of which might be truly echoed by any Masonic editor of
the present time, when viewing the critical conditions of society in this
third decade of the twentieth century. We could do worse than repeat in our
own place what this old brother writes in continuation:
is a time that calls for every man to express his undisguised sentiments.
Hypocrisy now would be as one of the deadly sins. Free, therefore, are we to
declare that our Magazine is and shall be solely directed under the influence
of this persuasion and this resolution. 'For our God, our King and our
Country' is our declaration at the commencement of this sixth year of our
labors, and we trust that our exertions will not be found in vain in this most
important and interesting cause. Earnestly do we pray that the Providential
Power which pervades and guides the universe may speedily disperse the raging
elements of dissension, and quiet the turbulent spirits of mankind, that
Harmony and Peace may again fix their abode on the earth, and all the Virtues
and the Graces dance in their train!”
threat of invasion to which reference has already been made was at that time
something well within the range of probability. A whole chapter of accidents,
and the heroism of the British sailors, put a period to the plans of the
Corsican conqueror. Contrary winds interfered, so that temporary command of
the narrow sea was denied the armies gathered about their great rafts. And
later one smashing blow after another delivered by the English fleets caused
abandonment of the ambitious scheme. There were traitors at home to be
watched; misguided men who imagined, as now there are some who look to Moscow
for the millennium, that the French Revolution would surely usher in the new
and golden age. At his juncture we are told of Masonic lodges meeting and
resolving that the whole man power of the organization offer itself to the
government to meet the threat from across the channel. Most of these Masonic
volunteers were home bodies, however, and in their resolutions specified the
particular parishes where they were willing to stand guard and meet the
invaders or domestic foes.
FAMOUS BOOK IS REFERRED TO
Almost every Masonic library of worth has in it a copy of Dr. Robison's "Proof
of a Conspiracy," etc. This Edinburgh professor, becoming somewhat unbalanced
because of the excesses of the French Revolution and the subsequent chaos in
Europe, looked about for the cause of such upheaval and became convinced that
it was to be found in the secret meetings and plottings of Continental
Masonry. The Scotchman was somewhat less credulous than the Abbe Barruel, who
found plots and Jacobins around every corner. But both were convinced that
Masonry existed to tear down religion and ordered government, and to let loose
atheism and anarchy in the world. The opponents of Freemasonry have not
advanced one step since that time. The same old slanders have been revamped in
our own time by those concerned to make of Masonry the scapegoat for world
troubles. The Craft has again been accused of stirring the nations to conflict
and of plottings to destroy all religion and to loosen the bonds of ordered
society. We can recall the recent utterance of that discredited royal exile,
who from his hiding place in Holland declared that only two institutions have
survived the World War undiminished in strength - the Masonic Fraternity and
the Roman Catholic church - and that the first named of these was still
striving to push humanity over the brink of utter ruin.
Professor Robison had a new theory of Masonic guile. He averred that it had
been instituted and nourished by the church to further its own purposes, but
that it has turned upon its creator to a vast hurt. One can see in the
analysis before us how Masonry had been regarded in England when the reviewer
writes: "The Masonic body has hitherto had to encounter the general opprobrium
that their society is frivolous, nonsensical and destitute of any consistency.
Mr. Robison is the first to give them a consequence to which they are not
entitled, as belonging to an institution formed by Craft, founded in the
deepest motives and capable of effecting the most important events." Admitting
that in some of the assemblies of Continental Masonry the society may have
been turned to evil ends, the writer asks: "Is Masonry herself chargeable with
the follies, with the iniquities and the infidelity of any of her sons; or
shall the institution be held up to general opprobrium because some
apostasized Masons have acted in violation of their principles ?"
was made in this volume, and in other writings of the time, that the newer
degrees, termed Masonic and attached to the simplicity of Symbolic Masonry,
were invented and worked to spread atheistical and anarchial doctrines. "To
this it may be replied," says our old‑time reviewer, "that the invention of
new degrees and orders in Freemasonry, such as those described by the present
adversaries of the Institution, are in general innovations and are quite
opposite to the pure principles of Freemasonry. * * * Yet I will maintain that
in some, at least, of those very degrees and orders which the professor has
reprobated, so far from an anti‑religious or leveling principle being
inculcated, the very reverse is maintained, with a degree of strength unknown
in the preparatory steps of the Institution. I pretend not to go farther than
the Order instituted in imitation of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, and
in which there is a more efficient loyalty and more direct Christianity than
in all other parts of Freemasonry." But here is more than enough of attention
to an old slander, happily disproven and long forgotten.
copper‑plate of "Symbolic Masonry," conceived in the style of the time,
represents three beneficient and scantily clad beings wandering through the
sky, visiting the seven planets by turn and applying to these heavenly bodies
the square, level and plumb, by which they discover the seven Virtues and the
seven Sciences. Rather far‑fetched allegory, perhaps, according to our way of
thinking. But by this representation we are assured "industry shall not go
without its reward. This is beautifully represented in the appropriate
ceremonies of symbolical Masonry. After much painful labor the indefatigable
sojourners discover the great object of their search. The truth is attained by
unwearied seeking. It mocks only the idle and the careless."
the time of the publication considered Masonic funerals evidently did not
occur as matter of course. We read of a dispensation being procured by the
lodge at Maidstone from the Provincial Grand Master authorizing the interment,
with Masonic honors, of a brother who had fallen from a cliff and was killed.
Perhaps because such occasions were infrequent, this particular Craft ceremony
was well attended and the funeral sermon was "pathetically adapted to the
"DEFEND THE COUNTRY!"
perilous position of the country was the theme at all gatherings and cropped
up at Masonic meetings, where the brethren were anxious to show their loyalty.
The sums of money needed to defend the kingdom, and which appalled those
responsible for the government and gave opportunity for a fierce attack by the
opposition, seem small and even trivial to us, who have become accustomed to
billions in governmental budgets. But it was evidently a hard strain for Pitt
and his colleagues to raise the few millions of sterling then needed. There
were no bond sales, and there was no conscription. Reliance was placed upon
voluntary aid, whether for men or money. So we find lodge after lodge
declaring it the duty of good citizens to come to the financial assistance of
the nation and advising the brothers to make such contributions as they could.
We are also informed that the responses were most gratifying.
guise of "A Brief History of Nonsense" there is slightly hidden a return
attack upon the Catholic church. We are told very frequently by brothers
nowadays that it is something new and regrettable for Masons to concern
themselves with the affairs of that other institution, even if its authorities
should slander and attack Masonry. But it seems that our "ancient brothers"
recognized ecclesiasticism in politics as an enemy to be met. In serio‑comic
style this history of nonsense follows the fortunes of the power that swayed a
scepter "made up of equal parts of lead and iron, with an undisturbed dominion
over Europe,” until such time as its rule was challenged by and Erasmus.
"Then the records of Nonsense, which had hitherto been deemed sacred, and to
question which was to be guilty of a damnable sin, were exposed to contempt
and sentenced to eternal oblivion. Men began to think and enquire; and the
more they examined the greater was their wonder at the torpid state in which
they had so long remained. Strange indeed was their astonishment at the
veneration in which they had held old rags and rotten skulls, pieces of
consecrated wood scapularies, strings of beads and round wafers; and with the
ideas of which they had been accustomed to associate their hopes of
the chief agents of Nonsense handle their votaries is thus described:
"There are two outlets from the abominable pit. Those who were fortunate
enough to have had money, or friends, obtained elevation from the stinking
hole (of purgatory) to a place of ease and pleasure where all the time was
taken up in rapturous enjoyments and the singing of psalms. But those who had
no means to purchase a lift from this preparatory confinement were certain of
being precipitated down a gulph ten thousand fathoms deep, there to remain for
endless ages, with no other liquid than melted brimstone, no other food than
burning ashes, and the pleasant company of a strange sort of spirits, with
horns on their heads, long tails, cloven feet and crooked talons, with which
they took great delight in lacerating and tossing about the poor beings who
fell into their power. Now the chief servants of this power used to assemble
their votaries in large crowds, and exhibit to their terrified view these
comfortable scenes in the most lively colors they could devise, by which means
there was little doubt of getting them to purchase certain ‑powerful charms,
which they had to dispose of, that would infallibly preserve them from this
pleasant place, let their tempers and actions be what they would."
history grows tedious, however, as it proceeds to tell of the unloosing of the
bulls by the possessor of the three crowns against all and sundry who dared to
question the right of Nonsense to rule the world. And of course Masons, who
are seekers for the truth, had several of these animals from the papal herd
turned upon themselves, with rueful consequences to those living where
Nonsense still preserved its power. But for the rest the bulls bellowed loud
and harmlessly. One can imagine the old brothers chuckling mightily over this
sort of matter such times as they foregathered in the low‑ceilinged taverns.
place of the page or column of alleged humor that finds place in some of our
modern Masonic journals, this antique Repository of the Craft had a department
under title of "The Collector," where one finds many anecdotes. These were
doubtless regarded as very funny, though their repetition now would hardly
raise a smile. Somewhat coarse in spots, as in the following: "Henry the
Fourth of France loved pleasantry, and willingly allowed it in the companions
of his victories. Walking one day in the environs of Paris, he stopped, and
putting his head between his legs, said, looking at the city: 'Ah, how many
cockold's nests!' A courtier, who was near him, did the same thing, and cried:
'Sire, I see the Louvre!' (the king's palace)."
read of a Provincial Grand Lodge attending church at Newcastle on Tyne on St.
John's day, two years before the date of publication - there were no efforts
to secure "news beats" in those comfortable days. After the religious services
the brethren returned to “Mrs. Hanzell’s, at the White Hart Inn, where the
Grand Feast was spread, and which was for most of those in attendance the
principal feature of the affair." These old fellows could find plenty of
subjects for their formal toasts, and each one had to be drank in bumpers.
Thus we find the list on this occasion: "The King and the Craft; Virtue,
Benevolence and a Good Peace; the Prince of Wales, Grand Master of Masons of
England; Earl Moira, Acting Grand Master of England; The Provincial Grand
Chaplain, and thanks to him for his excellent sermon; The Provincial Grand
Marshal, and thanks to him for conducting the procession; May our Principles
Keep Pace with our Professions! All Worthy Masons; All our Royal Brothers,"
would be hard nowadays to persuade a Masonic editor to publish as a serial the
life of a cardinal. Yet here we have an extended biography of Ximenes, even
though that distinguished prelate loomed large in the affairs of his time some
three centuries before the magazine articles appeared. Not even Cardinals
O'Connell and Dougherty could get in with us, though they are American wearers
of the red hat. But Ximenes fills many pages in this volume, doubtless to the
edification of those old‑time Masons.
is also a smattering of scientific intelligence, as the title of the
periodical would lead one to suppose. There is an improvement to the steam
engine, by which it is possible to get power equal to two men. Naval guns are
made better, so that they can be operated by five instead of fifteen men.
French experiments promised a balloon from which it would be possible to
discharge a shower of fire, this being denominated an "infernal machine."
There is account of a cat with eight legs and four ears, vastly interesting to
contemporary scientists. New comets were being discovered and astronomers were
busy computing the orbits of these wanderers through space. And lastly, in the
section quoted from, the Royal Society was being urged to move for a universal
standard of weights and measures. Some of these things are to us, living in
the full light of science, as trivial. Yet it must be remembered that men were
then but testing their powers; that the puerile inquiries made opened the way
to greater things. And here, to bring this disconnected gathering to an end,
is a resolution adopted at a lodge at Wakefield in Yorkshire, chosen for its
matter and manner:
is the great and leading characteristic of Free and Accepted Masons, in every
clime, and under every form of government, to be obedient to the powers that
are, and grateful to the laws by which they are protected, that accustomed as
they are everywhere to the study of whatever is most perfect in the sublime
science of architecture, they are led to admire beauty under all its forms and
various appearances; and that we, the inhabitants of this happy isle, do most
especially contemplate, with enthusiastic fondness and admiration, the nice
symmetry and proportion of that glorious structure, the British Constitution,
consisting of King, Lords and Commons.
the cause and interest of our most ancient institution are more particularly
maintained by, and have ever been most prosperous under the monarchical form
of government, that this and other weighty reasons and considerations moving
us, we do avow an unfeigned love for the King, our sovereign - the friend and
father of his people - and look upon no sacrifices to be too great, which have
for their object the dignity of his crown the safety of his person, and the
stability of our incomparable constitution and law.
we are decidedly amongst the foremost of our patriotic fellow subjects to
approve and adopt any measure that may (by our competent rulers) be thought
most conducive to the general welfare and the prosperity of the state. Most
emphatically and unreservedly, we do desire to be understood as 'hating with a
perfect hatred' all treasonable and revolutionary practices; and do solemnly
deprecate that impious and atheistical system which now desolates the
continent of Europe, and which will if it continues to gain ground, not only
disappoint the exalted ends and benevolent purposes of the Craft, but also do
away with the fear and love of the Supreme Being and root out the moral and
social virtues from the hearts and souls of men.
the Grand Architect of the Universe preside over this and all other lodges
around the globe! So mote it be!"
Should some brother, having in mind the very troubled situation in the world
today, propose in one of our lodges a series of resolutions covering like
ground, he would be apt to run foul of the ancient prohibition against
political matters. It is evident that these Masons of the late eighteenth
century did not consider themselves debarred, even in their lodges, from
considering the state of their own and other countries, and putting themselves
on record on the side of law and order and loyalty. Yet now it is regarded as
out of order to declare for civic righteousness and for devotion to the
principles on which our Government is founded. We may have still something to
learn from these, our Masonic ancestors.
STUDY C LU B
Chapters of Masonic History
Bro. H. L. HAYWOOD, Editor
XIII. VARIOUS GRAND LODGES; FRANCE, GERMANY, ETC.
present chapter brings this series of Study Club articles to a close. No
attempt has been made to publish an exhaustive and critical history of the
Craft but rather the purpose has been to prepare such a rapid outline sketch
of the more important phases of the history as beginners might find useful.
According to custom the Study Club will be discontinued during July and
August, to be resumed in September with a new series on the Story of American
Freemasonry, unless circumstances make necessary a change in plans as to the
theme. In the chapter of last month brief sketches were given of Freemasonry
in Ireland and Scotland and of two Grand Lodges in England; it is now in order
to treat in like fashion other countries, the first of which to be considered
FREEMASONRY IN FRANCE
earliest protagonists of the Craft in France are almost mythical figures, and
move about in a fog of rumor and conjecture, so that it is exceedingly
difficult to find one's way among them with any assurance of certainty.
Conditions were not as favorable to the Institution as in the United Kingdom;
the political state of affairs constantly interfered with the development of
lodges; and the French themselves, with their Latin minds, did. not have for
Craft Masonry the same instinct as their English brethren. Like all men of
their blood they were more passionate and more logical, and therefore more
given to going to extremes; moreover the aristocratic spirit was strong among
them, especially during the eighteenth century, so that many of them were
impatient with the simple Craft ceremonies of the Three Degrees, and they soon
set to work to fabricate one system after another of degrees more congenial to
their aristocratic leanings.
writers, Bro. Robert I. Clegg among them, believe that as early as 1721 lodges
of a Time Immemorial character, without warrant from England, were organized
in France; Bro. Clegg names one at Mons and one at Dunkirk. But the main
stream of tradition has it that the first lodge was founded at Paris in 1725
by the Earl of Derwentwater and his fellow Jacobites, who had fled from
England upon the fall of the Stuart dynasty. There is much uncertainty about
this. Gould quotes a "German publication" to the effect that in 1736 the Earl
of Derwentwater was chosen Grand Master by the French lodges to "succeed James
Hector Maclean, a previous Grand Master." Lalande, the astronomer, was
responsible for the 1725 account in his Franche-Maconnerie, published in 1773;
Rebold followed Lalande in this, and so did Dr. Oliver. The Abbe Robin, one of
the founders of the Lodge of the Nine Sisters (of which Voltaire was a
member), published in 1776 Researches on the Ancient and Modern Initiations in
which he says that French Masonry originated in 1720. Clavel says that the
first lodge on French soil was Friendship and Fraternity, at Dunkirk, founded
by the Grand Lodge of England, 1721. Hughan, who made patient researches in
this subject, said that the first historical record of the founding of a
French lodge was the one mentioned in Pine's Engraved List for 1734 as having
been founded April 3, 1732, and held at the Louis d'Argent in the Rue des
Whenever, however, and by whomever established the earliest French lodges did
not find smooth sailings, either in the country or among themselves; there was
general lack of agreement and many quarrels. Thory, who was a careful student
of documents, gives one a picture of this in his Historie de la Fondation du
"Freemasonry was then in such a discorded condition that we have no register
or official report of its Assemblies. There did not exist any bodies organized
in the fashion of Grand Lodges, such as were known in England and Scotland.
Each lodge in Paris or in the kingdom was the property of an individual called
the Master of the lodge. He governed the body over which he presided according
to his own will and pleasure. These Masters of lodges were independent of each
other. Each body recognized no other authority than their owner. They granted
to all applicants the power to hold lodges, and thus added new Masters to the
old ones. In fact, it may be said that up to 1743 Freemasonry presented in
France under the Grand Masterships of Derwentwater, Lord Harnouester, and the
Duke d'Antin a spectacle of the most revolting anarchy."
According to Thory the beginnings of the first legal Grand Lodge in France
began on Dec. 11, 1743, when a number of the Masters of lodges met in assembly
and elected the Count of Clermont Grand Master; this body adopted the title,
The English Grand Lodge of France, which in 1756 was changed to the National
Grand Lodge of France. This new body fell into many difficulties at the very
beginning. For one thing, Masters held office for life, and lodges were so
organized that each was virtually the private property of its Master, as
quoted above; this made general‑ supervision of Craft activities very
difficult; for another thing, as a result of Chevalier Ramsay’s celebrated
oration in 1737, new degrees started up on all sides, and this entailed an
endless amount of confusion.
Count of Clermont, after having lost his interest, appointed as Deputy to act
in his stead in 1744 a certain Baure, who was neglectful of his duties, and
during IN hose regime irregular and spurious Masonry flourished. A more famous
Deputy was one Lacorne, a dancing master, appointed in 1761. Upon his
accepting office worse confusion followed until at last affairs were in such a
state of anarchy that in 1767 the government forbade further assemblies of
Grand Lodge. By Clermont's death in 1771 Grand Lodge was split in two, with
the Lacorne faction making a deal of trouble. The Duke of Chartres - a name of
ill omen in the history of French Masonry - was made Grand Master, largely
through the action of the Lacorne faction.
impossible in short space to furnish an account of the confusion that existed
for a few years; it is sufficient to say that out of it all the old Grand
Lodge became moribund and on its ruins was erected the Grand Orient, a name
invented at the time, apparently, and since used in many lands. The Grand
Orient undertook to secure control of all the "higher degrees." It held its
first meeting March 5, 1773, and its Constitutions were adopted on the
following June 24. The original Grand Lodge held on to existence but fought a
losing battle. The Duke of Chartres, its Grand Master, became also the head of
the rival body, the Grand Orient, a thing that tied the hands of the older
Grand Body, so that it grew weaker with each year and at last expired in 1792.
the Revolution had come the Duke of Chartres assumed the name Philippe Egalite.
On May 15, 1793, in an insulting letter to the Grand Orient, he renounced
Masonry altogether. His disreputable career came to a bloody end on the
guillotine during the Terror.
Meanwhile, in 1782, the Grand Orient had organized its Chamber of Degrees upon
the recommendation of which there were added to the original Craft ceremonies
the degrees of Elect Freemason, Scottish Freemason, Knight of the East, and
Knight of the Rose Croix, with a view to bringing under the control of the
Grand Orient all "higher degrees."
During the Revolution the Craft became somnolent, so that in 1796 only
eighteen lodges were active in the whole of France; but a revival came
afterwards, and with it interest continued to increase in higher degrees. Many
of these were brought under one obedience when, in 1804, and acting under a
Constitution granted by the Mother Supreme Council, Charleston, S. C., Count
de Grasse Tilly organized the Supreme Council, a Grand Body that has ever
since remained independent of the Grand Orient. In after years there was
organized under its auspices a Grand Lodge of France, to have charge of the
1871 the Grand Orient abolished the office of Grand Master, since which time
the duties of that office have been performed by the President of the Council
of the Order. On Sept. 14, 1877, it took the yet more extraordinary step of
amending Artilce I of the Constitutions of Masonry. The paragraph originally
"Freemasonry has for its principles the existence of God, the immortality of
the soul, and the solidarity of mankind."
a year or so of deliberation, this was at last amended to read:
"WHEREAS, Freemasonry is not a religion, and has therefore no doctrine or
dogma to affirm in its Constitution, the Assembly adopting the Vaeu IX., has
decided and decreed that the second paragraph of Article I. of the
Constitution shall be erased, and that for the words of the said article the
following shall be substituted: I. Being an institution essentially
philanthropic, philosophic and progressive, Freemasonry has for its object,
search after truth, study of universal morality, science and arts and the
practice of benevolence. It has for its principles, absolute liberty of
conscience and human solidarity, it excludes no person on account of his
belief and its motto is Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity."
Immediately upon this (in the December following) the United Grand Lodge of
England appointed a committee to consider this innovation; after two months
the committee reported it as having been a departure from all the Landmarks of
the Craft, whereupon England withdrew fraternal recognition; since then the
great majority of Grand Lodges among English speaking peoples have taken the
Grand Body, known as The National Grand Lodge, was organized in 1914 to erect
lodges practicing Ancient Craft Masonry on the same principles as those
adhered to by English speaking Grand Bodies; to date it remains small in size
FREEMASONRY IN GERMANY
his Report on Correspondence made to the Grand Lodge of Alabama at its Annual
Communication in 1922, a volume of 376 pages containing the most comprehensive
account of foreign Grand Bodies published in many years in this country, Bro.
Oliver Day Street gives a list of the various Masonic bodies in Germany as
The Grand Lodge of Hamburg, founded Feb. 11, 1811, with seat at Hamburg.
The Mother Grand Lodge of the Eclectic Union, founded March 27, 1823, with
seat at Frankfort on the Maine.
The Grand National Mother Lodge of the Prussian States, called 'of the Three
Globes,' founded in 1744, with seat at Berlin.
The National Grand Lodge of All German Freemasons, or Grand Lodge of the
Country, or Grand Countries Lodge, founded in 1770, with seat at Berlin.
The Grand Lodge of Prussia, called Royal York of Friendship, founded in 1760,
with seat at Berlin.
The Grand Lodge 'Sun,' or 'Zur Sonne,' founded in 1741, with seat at Bayreuth.
The National Grand Lodge of Saxony, founded in 1811, with seat at Dresden.
The Grand Lodge 'Concord', founded in 1846, with seat at Darmstadt.
The five Independent Lodges, (1) Minerva of the Three Palms, at Leipsic; (2)
Baldwin of the Linden, at Leipsic; (3) Archimedes of the Three Tracing Boards,
in Altenburg; (4) Archimedes of Eternal Union, at Gera; (5) Karl of the Wreath
of Rue, at Hildburgshausen."
five independent lodges named by Bro. Street, formed, in 1833, what they
called a Free Association, which functions very much as a Grand Lodge, and is
generally acknowledged as regular.
existence of so many Grand Bodies in one country immediately suggests that
Freemasonry in Germany has undergone many transformations, a fact that is
borne out by its history. The first German lodge to be constituted was
established at Hamburg, Dec. 6, 1737. In August of the following year it
initiated the Crown Prince of Prussia, who afterwards became Frederick the
Great. Frederick in turn established a private lodge of his own at Rheinsberg,
and later permitted the forming of a lodge at Berlin, Sept. 13, 1740, which
took the name "Of the Three Globes." This lodge, after erecting a number of
lodges at other points, transformed itself into a Grand Lodge under the title
Grand Royal Mother Lodge, which in 1772 was changed to Grand National Mother
Lodge, number three in Bro. Street's list.
National Grand Lodge of all German Freemasons was founded Dec. 27, 1770, by
Johann Wilhelm von Zinnendorf, one of the most arresting and dramatic figures
in the annals of German Masonry. He was made a Mason at Halle, Aug. 10, 1731,
and afterwards joined the Lodge of the Three Globes. When that lodge embraced
the Rite of Strict Observance, Zinnendorf became Master of the Scotch Lodge.
He quarreled with the Rite of Strict Observance, which excommunicated him and
which he in turn condemned. Immediately he secured through a friend of his a
copy of the Swedish rituals and used them as a basis for a new Rite, which he
set up in opposition to the Strict Observance. A sufficient number of Masons
followed his lead to enable him on June 24, 1770, to set up a new Grand Lodge,
in which twelve lodges participated. For seven years this Grand Lodge enjoyed
the recognition of the Grand Lodge of England, and later the protectorship of
the King of Prussia. Zinnendorf remained Grand Master from 1774 until his
death in 1782. In spite of all manner of obstacles - he was denounced by the
Grand Lodge of Sweden and became hated by many lodges in Germany - he had so
much zeal and so many of the qualities of leadership that he was able to
triumph over his enemies.
still greater name in the history of German Masonry is that of Friedrich
Ludwig Schroeder, who was born at Schwerin, Nov. 3, 1744. Schroeder was one of
the greatest actors Germany has even known and possessed of fine character and
a powerful personality. Soon after his initiation in 1774 he established a
lodge under the system of Zinnendorf, but it did not last long. In 1814, when
he was seventy years of age, he became Grand Master of the English Provincial
Grand Lodge of Lower Saxony. This honor came to him as a result of the work he
had done in the years just previous by way of reorganizing the ritual.
According to his view, Freemasonry in Germany had become corrupted by the
luxuriant growth of higher and side degrees; believing that Masonry in its
purest form was that which had been developed in England, he translated a form
of the English ritual into German and set up what came to be known as
Schroeder’s Rite, which consisted of only three degrees. This was adopted by
the Provincial Grand Lodge in 1801.
Partly as a result of Schroeder's influence and partly owing to other forces
at work, other Grand Lodges followed suit, so that of the eight Grand Lodges
now in existence, five practice only three degrees. The National Grand Lodge
uses ten degrees; the Grand National Mother Lodge uses seven; the Grand Lodge
of Prussia uses a fourth degree, confined to a select few.
OTHER GRAND LODGES
the most distinctive of all degree systems is that employed by Sweden and
generally known as the Swedish Rite. The Grand Lodge National of Sweden was
founded in 1759, twenty‑four years after the first lodge had been founded at
Stockholm. The Swedish Rite as it now exists was established in 1775, or
thereabouts, and is compounded of Craft Masonry, the Strict Observance, and
Scottish Rite Degrees, with a trace of the influence of Swedenborgianism. Of
this the first three degrees correspond to those practiced in our Blue Lodges;
the fourth to sixth degrees, inclusive, are so much like the Scottish Rite in
character that members of Scottish Rite bodies are permitted to visit; the
last four degrees are peculiar to the Rite.
Grand Lodge of Norway was set up as a Grand Lodge independent of Sweden, Nov.
24, 1891. The Mother Lodge of Norway was founded in 1749 and was in 1818
united with the Grand Lodge of Sweden. The Provincial Grand Lodge of Norway
was founded in 1870, and this, as already stated, became independent in 1891.
The Norway Grand Lodge controls eleven degrees, the first three of which are
Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master of St. John; the others belong to
the Swedish Rite.
Freemasonry was established in Denmark at Copenhagen, Nov. 11, 1743, under a
German charter. Lodges were subsequently warranted by the Grand Lodge of
England, and in 1749 Count Laurvig was granted a patent as Provincial Grand
Master by Lord Byron, Grand Master of England. The Grand Lodge of Denmark was
constituted in 1792, at which time Prince Charles became the ruling head of
Danish Lodges. Frederick VII rearranged the Danish degrees according to the
Swedish system when he became Grand Master in 1848.
Freemasonry took root in Italy in 1735. From that time until 1820, when all
Masonic lodges were suppressed, the story of Freemasonry in Italy is one of
sudden change and confusion. Italian Freemasonry revived in the 1850's, but
since that time, owing to constant changes in Italian ecclesiastical and
political affairs, Italian Masonry has developed such a variety of forms that
it is exceedingly difficult for an American Mason to find his way amid the
maze of conflicting testimony and bewildering facts. The Masonic movement
culminating in the Grand Orient of Italy began in 1859 at Turin. In 1861
twenty‑two lodges assembled at Turin and formed a Grand body, which, on Jan.
1, 1862, became the Grand Orient of Italy at Turin, recognizing only three
degrees. This Grand Orient came under the influence of higher degrees during
the first decade of its existence; it emerged from this struggle in 1873 when
all the rival ractions united in the present Grand Orient. In 1875 a number of
lodges, lead by Saverio Fera, seceded from the Grand Orient and organized
themselves into the Grand Lodge of Italy for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Rite. In 1919 the Blue Lodges adhering to this Supreme Council severed their
relations with it and, with its express consent, became independent of the
Scottish Rite. These lodges then held an assembly and formed themselves into
the Most Serene National Italian Grand Lodge. It exacts of its members a
belief in Deity and displays the Bible upon its altars. Of the two Supreme
Councils in Italy, one is connected with the Grand Orient, the other works
with the Serene National Grand Lodge. There is also in existence in Italy the
Grand Lodge of Florence.
Freemasonry in Spain has always existed in a state of considerable confusion.
When Bro. R. F. Gould wrote his History of Freemasonry, he listed five Spanish
Grand bodies. According to Bro. Street's Report, already cited, there are now
in existence at least four Grand bodies, two Spanish Grand Orients at Madrid,
Spanish Grand Lodge at Barcelona, and the Supreme Council of the Spanish Grand
Portugal the most important Grand body is the United Lusitanian Grand Orient
founded in 1872. The Grand Orient of the Netherlands was formed in 1757. The
Grand Orient of Belgium dates from 1832. Egypt has a Grand Lodge, organized in
1872. Swiss Freemasonry is under the Grand Lodge "Alpine," formed July 24,
Grand Lodge for the Republic of Czecho‑Slovakia was formed at Prague under a
patent from the German Grand Lodge "Zur Sonne." Jugoslavia came into
possession of a Grand Lodge, June 9, 1919, under the title "Grand Lodge of the
Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Jugoslavia," with headquarters at Belgrade.
Freemasonry was introduced into Greece by the Grand Orient of France in 1809.
In 1860 a Provincial Grand Lodge was established in Greece, under the Grand
Orient of Italy. The present Grand Orient of Greece was organized in 1868; the
Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite July 12, 1872.
Canada each province has an independent Grand Lodge of its own. The Grand
Lodge of Canada (Ontario) was formed in 1855; Nova Scotia, 1866; New
Brunswick, 1867; Quebec, 1869; British Columbia, 1871; Prince Edward's Island,
1875; Manitoba, 1875; Alberta, 1905; Saskatchewan, 1906.
Freemasonry on the continent of Africa is a world in itself, with many Grand
Lodges and Provincial Grand Lodges working under English, Scotch, Irish,
French, Italian, etc., constitutions.
Central America and South America, Masonry has for the most part been formed
under Scottish Rite influences; it is impossible in a paragraph or two to
convey any impression of the great number of Grand bodies in existence or of
the complexity with which the Craft is there organized.
Mexico Bro. Street lists some thirty-two Grand bodies. The key to the` history
of Mexican Masonry has been politics and also a certain amount of friction
between Scottish Rite and Craft lodges.
Mackey's Encyclopedia (Revised Edition)
Latomorum, 13, Africa, 34, Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, 62; Austria,
86; Belgium, 102; Buhle, 122; Canada, 131; Clermont, Count of, 156, Cologne,
Charter of, 159; Compagnonage, 171, Darmstadt, Grand Lodge of, 197,
Derwentwater 206, Des Etangs, Nicholas Charles, 208, Emperors of the East and
West, 241; Fessler, Ignaz Aurelius, 262; France, 276; Frederick the Great,
279, French Rite, 285, Germany, 295, Grasse, Tilly, 309; Hamburg, 316; High
Degrees, 324; Hund, Baron von, 339; Illuminati of Bavaria, 346; Italy, 358;
Jacobins, 359; Krause, 417; Memphis, Rite of, 479; Mexico, 482; Mizraim, Rite
of, 487; Morin, Stephen, 492, Naples 507, Netherlands, 509, Nova Scotia 509,
Ontario, 530, Orient, 53i Orleans, Duke of, 538 Persia, 558 Peru, 559;
Philosophic Scottish Rite, 562; Poland, 5i4; Portugal, 576; Primitive Rite,
584; Prussia, 595; Ramsay, Andrew Michael, 607; Rite, 626; Rose Croix, Prince
of, 636, Saxony, 664 Schroeder, 669, Scottish Rite, 671, Spain, 703, Starck,
712 Strasburg, Constitutions of, 729; Stuart Masonry, 730; Supreme Councils,
741; Sweden, 744; Swedenborg, 745; Swedish Rite, 747; Switzerland, 747; Thory,
783, Titles of Grand Lodges, 787; Torgau, Constitutions of, 790; Tschoudy,
805; Turkey, 809, Venezuela, 826; Weishaupt, Adam, 842; Zinnendorf, 876.
Latomorum Thory. Allgemeines Handbuch der Freimaurerei (2 Vol.), A.Q.C.
(France), XVI, 181; XX, 15; XXIV, 107; XXVII, 22, 63, 96. A.Q.C. (Germany), I,
17, 161, II 159; V, 192; VIII, 240; IX, 55, 113, 146, 160, XIV, 83. Concise
History of Freemasonry, Gould. Early History and Antiquities of Freemasonry,
Fort. Four Old Lodges, Gould. Histoire des Trois Grandes Loges, Rebold.
Histoire Pittoresque Clavel. Historical Landmarks, Oliver. History of
Freemasonry Findel. History of Freemasonry, Gould. History of Freemasonry,
Laurie. Mackey's Revised History of Freemasonry Clegg. Origin of the Royal
Arch, Hughan. Proceedings Grand Lodge of Alabama, 1922. Proofs of a
Conspiracy, Robison. Things a Freemason Should Know, Crowe.
number of Grand Lodges have passed legislation to regulate advancement to the
Higher Degrees. There is little antipathy to Higher Degrees, as such, in this
- a great many active workers in Grand Lodges are themselves members of
chapter, council, commandery, or consistory - but a desire to halt the mad
rush that carries so many new Master Masons away from the lodge before they
have learned the A B C's of it. Usually the remedy adopted is to set a time
limit in which a lodge member cannot seek advancement. This is sound in
purpose, but is it sufficient? How many Master Masons are any better grounded
in Symbolical Masonry at the end of a year than at the end of a month ? It is
not time that counts, but proficiency, so that a wiser plan is to seek means
of training every lodge member in the life and purpose of his lodge. The
remedy is not to get him more into lodge but to get more lodge into him.
Higher Bodies, as they are called, should welcome every effort made to ground
Masons more thoroughly in fundamentals. The lodge is never so much the friend
of the chapter, council, commandery and consistory as when it insists that the
one passport to more light up the hill is faithful service in its own work and
degrees. The Mason who seeks to pass through the Higher Degrees before he has
in his blood the lessons of Apprentice, Fellow and Master is like a boy trying
to enter high school before he has studied his primer; he is as useless in the
one as ridiculous in the other.
this time our readers will have noted the addition to our Board of Associate
Editors of the name of Bro. Joseph E. Morcombe, Editor‑in‑Chief of the Masonic
Periodicals Corporation, publishers of The National Trestle Board, now merged
with THE BUILDER. Bro. Morcombe took a prominent place among the literati of
the American Craft when, in 1910, in association with Bro. W. F. Cleveland, he
prepared for the Grand Lodge of Iowa a history of that body; and at about the
same time launched The American Freemason, with headquarters at Storm Lake,
Iowa. Within a short time he made The Freemason the most learned and vigorous
Masonic periodical in the land, and that before there was as general a demand
for scholarly Masonic literature as there is now; a large number of the
younger students and writers now coming to the fore gained their first vision
of the possibilities of Masonic study from the articles written by Bro.
Morcombe's exceptionally brilliant circle of contributors, and from his own
found a much wider audience in The National Trestle Board, which, had not the
Masonic Periodicals Corporation found it wiser to deal only with local fields,
would have undoubtedly continued to make its way to an ever increasing
clientele. The National Trestle Board was a noble journal, ample as to size,
almost over generous in quantity, and comprehensive in content, the
controlling purpose of which was to bring into focus all the activities of the
Craft to the end that the goings on of the present might be appraised at the
court of Masonic opinion. Its passing was a national loss.
Morcombe's own writing is characterized by the tonic qualities of
independence, wide learning, wit, pointedness and a general disregard for smug
prejudices and ancient sophistries, with ever and anon a bit of irony, or a
jab at some antagonist. He has probably performed more surgical operations on
the diseased organs of Masonic theory than anyone amongst us, all of which is
only another way of saying that he is a Masonic critic.
"Critic" is a gift to us from the Greek language, in which "kritikos" was a
beloved word, and derived from an ancient root having the meaning of "able to
discuss." Webster now defines it as "one who expresses a reasoned opinion,"
which, if it be correct, sets the word apart in splendid isolation, seeing how
seldomly there is any reasoning behind expressed opinions. Criticism is not
fault‑finding, destructiveness, or opposition; it is not the critic, but the
criticaster who loves to find fault; and it is the criticaster, not the
critic, who loves to split hairs in an argument:
is in Logic, a great critic
Profoundly skill'd in Analytic;
can distinguish and divide
hair 'twixt south and south‑west side."
was Socrates, apparently, who first discovered the great fun of being a
critic, and it was Plato who developed it into an art, giving it the high
sounding name of "dialectic," a term defined by Plato's famous pupil,
Aristotle, as "a standard of judging well." Later on when Kant set about
laying the foundations of modern thought he elected to use it in the title of
his greatest book, The Critique of Pure Reasons, a work that has caused
countless headaches. In literature criticism has become a fine art, the gospel
of which was preached to us by Matthew Arnold with so much suavity and address
and with so much emphasis on the creative function of literary appraisal; one
needs only recall the names of some of the modern literary critics to see how
right Arnold was - St. Beuve, Hazlitt, Macaulay, Lowell, Watts‑Dunton, Taine,
Gosse, Symons, Anatole France, Saintsbury, etc. - each of whom has himself
been a literary creator of the first rank.
critic lets in light on dark places, opens the window to the air of heaven,
tears the disguise from sophistry, destroys obsolete dogmas, brings new
theories to the test of reason, and awakens men that have fallen asleep at
their posts. He doesn't accept a thing on anybody's say‑so, but demands book
and verse, and clings strenuously to his one dogma, "that nothing is more
sacred than a fact." It is this spirit that makes the modern world modern, for
it is the essence of modernity that nothing is so old or so revered but that
its value may be enhanced under the scrutiny of a "reasoned opinion" offered
by men with "a standard of judging well."
Criticism has a hard time of it in Freemasonry because we Masons are thin
skinned about the Craft; we have a sensitiveness, a feeling of reverence, a
clinging fondness for anything that has "Masonry" attached to it, so that it
hurts our feelings to see anything Masonic laid on the operating table.
Nevertheless we raised up a breed of critics in the past century who left a
mighty tradition behind them, and one hard to live up to. T. S. Parvin was
essentially a critic, with small reverence for received opinion; so was Josiah
Haydon Drummond, the wielder of a big stick; and Albert Pike, the hardest
hitter of them all. If ever we get too softhearted to turn loose the critic we
shall suffer from it, because criticism is life and freshness in the mind,
without which everything grows stale
* * *
NESTORS OF THE CRAFT
have sometimes thought that this Organization was composed of the most sincere
workers and the least appreciated for their labors of any in the various
endeavors of Freemasonry, but as for myself if I never have any other reward
than that of the happy friendships I have formed among you for the past twenty
years during which time not a single one of you have ever caused me an
unpleasant moment, but on the contrary have brought much additional happiness
into my life and inspired me with new ambitions to devote myself to renewed
efforts in behalf of our beloved Fraternity."
words, written by Bro. Lou B. Winsor, Grand Secretary, and at the time
Fraternal Correspondent, Michigan, have no reference to a private club, a side
order, or a secret fraternity, nor were they written for a circle of private
friends, though their warmth might lead one to suppose as much; by "this
Organization" was meant the forty or more brethren who compose the Round Table
of Fraternal Correspondents, among whom Freemasonry is found in fullest and
most fragrant flower.
all Masons, especially among those most recently come into the Craft, know of
the labor of these brethren, since their work is printed as an appendix to
Grand Lodge Proceedings, which are volumes seldomly read by the rank and file.
The duty of a Fraternal Correspondent, or Reviewer as he is sometimes called,
is to pass in review all Grand Lodge Proceedings so as to furnish his readers
with a succinct outline of the work of the Fraternity during the preceding
year. With such a report before him a Mason can take in at a glance the toil
and achievements of the entire Fraternity during twelve months.
brethren maintain a high standard among themselves. Speaking for them all Bro.
Louis Block, himself a veteran at the Round Table, answered the query, What is
a Fraternal Correspondent ? in this manner:
he is a sort of reporter and reviewer. It is his duty to tell his brethren of
the work of Masonry in the world at large, to tell them what Masonry means,
and what it stands for as interpreted in the expressions of thinking Masons
the world over, and in the achievements of the Craft, not only in other states
but in foreign lands and climes as well, in a word to give them Masonry up to
we conceive of it, the Report on Foreign Correspondence was designed to serve
as a sort of post‑graduate course in a school of Masonry of which the writers
of the round table form the faculty. Its purpose is to give the Mason of one
locality and one state accurate information as to the achievements and
accomplishments of Masonry in other states and localities, and to show him
what the Masonic institution stands for in the world at large.
the local Mason need this information? Most assuredly. For the Mason who knows
only his own Masonry is like the business man who knows nothing more than his
own personal, private, and peculiar methods who never studies the operations
of his associates and competitors, and whose business for that reason sooner
or later dies of stagnation and dry rot."
nearly all instances Fraternal Correspondents are chosen because of their
great experience of the practical workings of Freemasonry. They are the
Nestors of the Craft. With a rich background of general Masonic knowledge, and
with ripe wisdom gained from years of practical services, they glance across
the Masonic world in the large, report what they see, encourage good work,
dynamite errors from the root, and among themselves maintain a critical but
ever friendly habit of speaking out in meeting, spicing their words the while
with a deal of banter and good natured raillery.
of the ablest leaders of the Craft have wielded their influence largely
through these Reports. Bro. Aldro P. Jenks, P. G. M. Wisconsin, himself a
Reviewer of nearly thirty years of experience, recalled some of the "giants in
those days" when making his twenty-fifth Report:
I commenced the work, twenty‑five years ago, there was a galaxy of brilliant
writers gathered at the 'Round Table.' We recall Greenleaf of Colorado,
Robbins of Illinois Parvin of Iowa, Drummond of Maine, Hedges of Montana,
Cunningham of Ohio, Diehl of Utah and Upton of Washington, all of whom have
passed to their reward. These writers constituted a 'Big Eight' that, by the
consensus of their opinions, determined most of the great questions coming
before the Craft. They have left the imprint of their services engraver deeply
upon the annals of Freemasonry. For years they have shaped and, for many
decades to come, will continue to shape and guide the traditions and practices
of the Craft in the United States; because it is true that it is the dead, and
not the living, that rule and guide us "
work of Josiah H. Drummond in this field was herculean; through the larger
part of the latter half of the nineteenth century he was Fraternal
Correspondent for Maine, and in addition, for many of those years, served in
the same capacity for the other Grand Bodies, most of which, like Grand
Lodges, published Reports. Drummond was the greatest master of Masonic
Jurisprudence of his generation so that in all his Reports, more than a
hundred in number, there lies imbedded a mass of information and of wisdom on
that subject that should be rescued and published in book form.
Brethren often regret the lack of a national forum in which Masonic issues
might be fearlessly but with wide knowledge ventilated and discussed; if they
will read a dozen Reports published during the present year they will find
their want already satisfied. It is probable that, take them by and large, the
brethren of the Round Table are the most capable and the best informed men now
writing on Masonry in this nation; it is certain that some means should be
found to bring their labors more widely to the attention of the Craft, for in
their Reports a Mason will find a school of Masonry, wherein to learn history,
jurisprudence, and the works of the present. If a Study Club is looking about
for a course of study, here is a suggestion: secure a copy of the last Report
issued by your Grand Lodge; map it out in lessons; and then go through it
carefully point by point. You will find in it a good year of work.
Frank C. Higgins' Theory of Masonry
"Ancient Freemasonry, an Introduction to the Study of Masonic Archaeology," by
Frank C. Higgins. Johnson Book & Stationery Co., Kansas City. May be purchased
through National Masonic Research Society. Red cloth, 463 pages, illustrated.
C. HIGGINS is a Past Master of Ivanhoe Lodge of New York City and the author
of quite a number of book and magazine articles, which have appeared during
the last ten or twelve years in Masonic literature over the country. Bro.
Higgins makes the attempt to connect the symbols of Freemasonry with ancient
mathematical and astronomical science and binds these closely with ancient
philosophy and theology through the evidence furnished by archeology.
his books and articles from start to finish simply expand the subject by
adding further facts and incidents. His books are profusely illustrated with
pictures of ancient gods and sacred objects in which our ancient brethren had
attempted to make known fragments of their scientific discoveries. The main
elements of Bro. Higgins' theory or demonstration are drawn first from the
facts of Gematria. It is a more or less well‑known fact that the letters of
the Hebrew and Greek alphabets had a numerical value. Those peoples did not
seem to have any figures or characters to represent numbers specially, but
used letters for that purpose. When Bro. Higgins translated many Hebrew and
Greek proper names, especially the names of deities into their numerical
values, he found that the numbers thereby obtained were cosmic numbers: that
is, numbers that represented divisions of time and space, such as the number
of days in the year, or solar periods; the days in a month, or lunar periods;
and the years occupied in the passage of the precession of the equinoxes
through the space of a single sign or in the entire circle of the zodiac. In
applying these numbers to the representation of geometrical proportions, he
found the figures thereby drawn to have been employed by our ancient brethren
in the attitudes and postures given to the statues and pictures of the ancient
gods and figures ornamenting ancient buildings. Ancient geometry and astronomy
seem to be closely connected with ancient theology and the philosophy by which
that theology was explained.
first introduction to Bro. Higgins' work was a series of articles in the
American Freemason, published by Bro. Joseph Morcombe, at Storm Lake, Iowa,
entitled "Origins and Symbols of Freemasonry." The chapter which first
attracted my attention was on the geometrical origin of the signs of the
zodiac. The drawings were so significant, so perfect, so conclusive. that when
I had finished the article I said to myself. "A prophet has certainly arisen
in Freemasonry at last." Bro. Higgins alone of all the students of the subject
has shown us what a symbol really is. We no longer need hesitate as to which
one of a thousand and one imaginative meanings we ought or might apply to a
newly discovered symbol. Its meaning is written in it plainly, though it may
require a little learning to decipher it. As the meaning of an English word is
bound up in the construction of that word and will appear, through the
application of more or less philological knowledge and study, so the meaning
of a truly ancient symbol will also appear, if our scientific knowledge of
ancient geometry and astronomy is sufficient. We no longer need wonder why the
ancient Egyptian gods all had their arms folded in a certain attitude. They
all demonstrate the 10‑5‑6‑5 of the J.H.V.H., the geometrical dimensions of
the Jehovah trapezoid.
Higgins shows us in ancient symbolism the formation and government of a cosmic
universe of which the Ineffable Name is the geometrical key. It is an
astronomical fact that the inclination of the earth to the plane of the
ecliptic is 231/2 degrees. This inclination is really the cause of the change
of the seasons. If we draw a line from the earth at the vernal equinox, along
the ecliptic through the sun to the earth at the autumnal equinox and divide
that line into tell equal parts, then take a sight to the north star from each
of these points, we obtain our inclination of 23 1/2 degrees; if we go up this
inclination five of the same dimensions as the ten we originally made on
either side, it will take a line exactly six of those dimensions to connect
the two points. In short, we have drawls a trapezoid of the dimensions
10‑5‑6‑5, or Jehovah. If we take the great cross of the zodiac represented by
the summer solstice, the vernal equinox, the winter solstice and the autumnal
equinox, illustrated by the signs of the lion, the ox, the man and the eagle,
we find that these signs are in their position the fifth, second, eleventh and
eighth, equalling twenty‑six, which, is the same as the numbers of the
Ineffable Name, 10‑5‑6‑5, also equalling twenty‑six. The stone winged bulls
that stood at the entrance of all ancient Chaldean and Assyrian palaces, which
were cherubim made up of the same lion, ox, man and eagle, were also
indicative of the same Ineffable Name and the same grand cross of the zodiac
and the same seasons off the year. Thus, theology, astronomy, astrology and
mathematics were all merged in the one great philosophy, which is Masonry.
That is, it is Masonry if geometry and Masonry are, as the Ritual says,
old Biblical proper names reveal by their numerical values and philological
make‑up cosmic numbers of the most important astronomical, astrological and
philosophical facts that ancient science had discovered, and communicated
those sciences to those who had been properly instructed. Many of these old
numbers in the Bible like six hundred, three score and six, 666, that had
caused so much speculation, under Bro. Higgins' explanation become as plain as
the Pythagorean problem. The essential numbers of the Pythagorean triangle are
3‑4‑5 and we are delighted to find that such words as Logos, Al ShDI, Moses,
Hermes and the Hebrew words that represent "I am that I am" carry these very
numbers. Add these numbers together and they represent twelve, the number of
the signs of the zodiac, and the three and four show the movable heavenly
bodies or planets under the ancient observation. The 3‑4 and 5 are also the
numbers of the Lesser Lights of Freemasonry, the Sun, Moon and Hermes, the
latter name being that of the planet Mercury, who was always indicated as the
Master of the Ancient Mysteries.
symbols of Masonry may all be said to represent mathematical symbols of the
universe, developed in the days when philosophers worshipped Him who was the
Great Light, in whom there was no darkness at all. We read that the gold,
which was the metal of the sun, that came to Solomon in one year was 666
talents, besides the gold that came to him in trade and tribute and all
legitimate ways. This is the sum of the numbers from one to thirty‑six. It
represents the number of Shamash‑Sh‑M‑Sh, the Hebrew spelling, equaling 640,
and the number of Jehovah which we have said was twenty‑six, making in all
666, showing that Jehovah dwelt in the sun, that the sun was His solar
envelope or tabernacle, from which the beams of life and light continually
went forth to gladden and renew life on the earth.
admit that some knowledge of Hebrew and Greek and the simple facts of geometry
and astronomy are necessary to appreciate to their full the meaning of Bro.
Higgins' demonstration. This fact was not made necessary by Bro. Higgins, but
by the fact that this philosophy came down from the long ago. Do not let us
throw away his book because it requires some knowledge to understand it.
book which heads this review was written for a popular audience in the New
York Herald and it certainly ought to find enough erudition in the general
Craft to master it. Don't lay the book down with the exclamation, "It is too
rich for my blood." Don't let the great number of trees hide the forest. Bro.
Higgins has done much to make good on our brags that Freemasonry contains a
store of hidden knowledge of great value. Our ancient brethren, whether they
belonged to our Order or not, were surely Masons in the highest meaning of the
word. They possessed theological sense and they possessed mathematical sense
and they never made the two incompatible. They did not split hairs over the
legitimacy of their Masonic standing. We read that any recognized Driest might
enter and pray in any temple, no matter what its location. Their organization
may have been quite clandestine, so far as our examiners make out, but their
knowledge is surely Masonic knowledge. If not now, it ought to be as soon as
our membership can make it so. The writer has seen and talked with Bro.
Higgins of New York while sitting quietly in his office, and as Eugene Field
said of Dana of the New York Sun, "He won't do no living human being harm."
Rollin C. Blackmer, M. D.
* * *
FREEMASONRY AS A FORM OF MYSTICISM
Meaning of Masonry," by W. L. Wilmshurst. Published by William Rider & Son,
Ltd., London. May be purchased through National Masonic Research Society.
Black cloth, 216 pages. $3.60 postpaid.
is an old saying that "religions are many but religion is one." This idea
appeals with peculiar power to minds of a certain type, especially those that
are made uncomfortable by diversity and opposition and prefer unity and
agreement. The idea is not true in the strictly historical sense, because
there has been the greatest possible variety among religions on the most
fundamental matters of doctrine and faith, so that no amount of juggling can
make them teach the same thing; but even so there is a truth in the idea,
because the religious needs of men have always and everywhere been pretty much
belief that a certain unity underlies all the diversities of faith is made the
point of departure by the mystical school of interpreters of Freemasonry. The
brethren of that school hold that for centuries and centuries the wiser and
more devout among the adherents of all religions have among themselves
understood and held a doctrine of faith too broad to be given to the
multitude, and that they have therefore preserved it as a Secret Doctrine,
given only to the initiated, or to those otherwise prepared to receive it. It
is contended by these brethren that in our times Freemasonry is the custodian
of this Secret Doctrine, the truths of which are hidden away among our
symbols, to be known only by the inner circle.
Wilmshurst belongs to this school. On page 7 of his book we find him saying:
in the five papers I have sought to provide a survey of the whole Masonic
subject as expressed by the Craft and Arch Degrees, which it is hoped may
prove illuminating to the increasing number of brethren who feel that
Freemasonry enshrines something deeper and greater than, in the absence of
guidance, they have been able to realize. It does not profess to be more than
an elementary and far from exhaustive survey; the subject might be treated
much more fully, in more technical terminology and with abundant references to
authorities, were one compiling a more ambitious and scholarly treatise. But
to the average Mason such a treatise would probably prove less serviceable
than a summary expressed in as simple and untechnical terms as may be and
unburdened by numerous literary references. Some repetition, due to the papers
having been written at different times, may be found in later chapters of
points already dealt with in previous ones, though the restatement may be
advantageous in emphasizing those points and maintaining continuity of
exposition. For reasons explained in the chapter itself, that on the Holy
Royal Arch will probably prove difficult of comprehension by those unversed in
the literature and psychology of religious mysticism, if so, the reading of it
may be deferred or neglected. But since a survey of the Masonic system would,
like the system itself, be incomplete without reference to that supreme
degree, and since that degree deals with matters of advanced psychological and
spiritual experience about which explanation must always be difficult, the
subject has been treated here with as much simplicity of statement as is
possible and rather with a view to indicating to what great heights of
spiritual attainment the Craft Degrees point as achievable, than with the
expectation that they will be readily comprehended by readers without some
measure of mystical experience and perhaps unfamiliar with the testimony of
the mystics thereto.
"Purposely these papers avoid dealing with matters of Craft history and of
merely antiquarian or archaeological interest. Dates, particulars of Masonic
constitutions, historical changes and developments in the external aspects of
the Craft, references to old lodges and the names of outstanding people
connected therewith - these and such like matters can be read about elsewhere.
They are all subordinate to what alone is of vital moment and what so many
brethren are hungering for - knowledge of the spiritual purpose and lineage of
the Order and the present‑day value of rites of initiation.
giving these pages to publication care has been taken to observe due reticence
in respect of essential matters. The general nature of the Masonic system is,
however, nowadays widely known to outsiders and easily ascertainable from many
printed sources, whilst the large interest in and output of literature upon
mystical religion and the science of the inward life during the last few years
has familiarized many with a subject of which, as is shown in these papers,
Masonry is but a specialized form. To explain Masonry in general outline is,
therefore, not to divulge a subject which is entirely exclusive to its
members, but merely to show that Masonry stands in line with other doctrinal
systems inculcating the same principles and to which no secrecy attaches, and
that it is a specialized and highly effective method of inculcating those
principles. Truth, whether as expressed in Masonry or otherwise, is at all
times an open secret, but is as a pillar of light to those able to receive and
profit by it, and to all others but one of darkness and unintelligibility. An
elementary and formal secrecy is requisite as a practical precaution against
the intrusion of improper persons and for preventing profanation. In other
respects the vital secrets of life, and of any system expounding life, protect
themselves even though shouted from the housetops, because they mean nothing
to those as yet unqualified for the knowledge and unready to identify
themselves with it by incorporating it into their habitual thought and
author makes a more explicit statement of his position in a passage on page
that I wish to emphasize at this stage is that our present system is not one
coming from remote antiquity: that there is no direct continuity between us
and the Egyptians, or even those ancient Hebrews who built, in the reign of
King Solomon, a certain Temple at Jerusalem. What is extremely ancient in
Freemasonry is the spiritual doctrine concealed within the architectural
phraseology; for this doctrine is an elementary form of the doctrine that has
been taught in all ages, no matter in what garb it has been expressed."
follows from this, according to the thesis, that the supreme aim of Masonic
education is to awaken among Masons a sense of their hidden treasure, and to
incite them to search diligently for it:
then was the purpose the framers of our Masonic system had in view when they
compiled it? To this question you will find no satisfying answer in ordinary
Masonic books. Indeed there is nothing more dreary and dismal than Masonic
literature and Masonic histories, which are usually devoted to considering
merely unessential matters relating to the external development of the Craft
and to its antiquarian aspect. They fail entirely to deal with its vital
meaning and essence, a failure that, in some cases, may be intentional, but
that more often seems due to lack of knowledge and perception, for the true,
inner history of Masonry has never yet been given forth even to the Craft
itself. There are members of the Craft to whom it is familiar, and who in due
time may feel justified in gradually making public at any rate some portion of
what is known in interior circles. But ere that time comes, and that the Craft
itself may the better appreciate what can be told, it is desirable, nay even
necessary, that its own members should make some effort to realize the meaning
of their own institution, and should display symptoms of earnest desire to
treat it less as a system of archaic and perfunctory rites, and more as a
vital reality capable of entering into and dominating their lives: less as a
merely pleasant social order, and more as a sacred and serious method of
initiation into the profoundest truths of life. It is written that ‘to him
that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be taken away even
that which he hath’; and it remains with the Craft itself to determine by its
own action whether it shall enter into its full heritage, or whether by
failing to realize and to safeguard the value of what it possesses, by
suffering its own mysteries to be vulgarized and profaned, its organization
will degenerate and pass into disrepute and deserved oblivion, as has been the
fate of many secret orders in the past."
Meaning of Masonry is a book to be valued whether a man can agree with the
author's thesis or not, for it is full of a serene wisdom, rich with insight,
and written in a style of quiet beauty, reminiscent at times of Hutchinson's
Spirit of Masonry. Underneath all its pages is that seriousness of purpose and
spiritual urgency which only religious minds feel about the Craft, as witness
the closing paragraph of the book:
knowledge, get wisdom; but with all thy gettings, get understanding,' exclaims
the old Teacher, in a counsel that may well be commended to the Masonic
Fraternity today, which so little understands its own system. But
understanding depends upon the gift of the Supernal Light, which gift in turn
depends upon the ardour of our desire for it. If wisdom today is widowed all
Masons are actually or potentially the widow's sons, and she will be justified
of her children who seek her out and who labour for her as for hid treasure.
It remains with the Craft itself whether it shall enter upon its own heritage
as a lineal successor of the Ancient Mysteries and Wisdom‑teaching, or
whether, by failing so to do, it will undergo the inevitable fate of
everything that is but a form from which its native spirit has departed."
* * *
immense building program now being carried out by all branches of the Craft in
this land is in a large way an unmitigated blessing, but in some instances is
proving a curse by being overdone, reminding one of the Socrates dictum, that
"vice is an extension of virtue." If a new building saddles a small lodge with
a killing mortgage, or raises dues to unfair heights, or cuts down the lodge's
funds for Masonic relief, the new building had better be left among the
castles in Spain.
its Annual Communication in May, 1922, the Grand Lodge of Maine adopted a
Resolution reading in this fashion:
it Voted, That the Following Standing Regulation he adopted:
"'That no building shall be purchased, erected or extensively constructed at
the expense, in whole or in part, of any lodge in this jurisdiction until the
plans of the same, and terms, and conditions of its construction or
acquisition shall have been approved by the Grand Master."'
personal letter Bro. Charles B. Davis, Grand Secretary, comments on this
"Permit me to say that this regulation was adopted because several of our
small lodges down in the country had undertaken to build halls and as a result
found themselves facing debts which will be hard for them to recover from.
Even in one of our cities the several bodies built a temple with the result
that they have been struggling for years now to annually raise money enough to
pay the interest on the mortgage. Therefore the regulation above referred to
will watch with interest the outcome of the Regulation adopted by Maine. If
there is any fault in it it is because it lays one more responsibility on an
office already overloaded. Other Grand Lodges have found a way out by adopting
a set of rules to govern the per capita indebtedness of constituent lodges;
this works automatically, equally and impartially.
COPELAND A MASON
Senator Royal S. Copeland, New York, a member of our Order ?
* * *
STONE, WILBUR, DENBY
Please tell me if the new Attorney General Stone is a Mason; also the new
Secretary of the Navy Wilbur, and the former Secretary Denby.
According to our advices neither Mr. Stone nor Mr. Wilbur is a member of the
Craft; Edwin Denby is a member of Oriental Lodge, No. 240, F. & A. M.,
* * *
MASONRY NOT IN BUSINESS
have some reason to ask if a certain life insurance organization of Virginia
is operating with the approval of the Grand Lodge of Virginia.
Secretary Charles A. Nesbitt informs us that the organization mentioned by you
is not approved but condemned by the Grand Lodge of Virginia. It is against
all laws of Masonry, written or unwritten, for the word "Mason" to be used in
any way by any kind of business organization or enterprise whatsoever.
* * *
MEANING OF AM B'TSAFN
the Royal Arch Degree, as practiced in Scotland there is used the term "Am
B'Tsafn"; can you explain the meaning of it? D. L. K., Ontario.
George A. Howell, Grand Scribe E, Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of
Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, has written to explain the term in this wise:
the Hebrew of the term you should read "H" as meaning "the"; "AM" as meaning
"way"; "B"'as meaning "in, to or on", and "Tsafn" as "something concealed or
hidden." According to our ritual, the Sojourners in the course of their work
at the ruins of the old Temple, removing some rubbish, found a large brazen
ring fixed to a broad flat stone with the words Am B'Tsafn engraved thereon.
On removing the stone they found the crown of a perfect arch. On removing the
keystone, etc., and descending into the vault, they found it was King
Solomon's secret vault of which reference is made in the Mark ritual.
* * *
SCIENCE AND FREEMASONRY
read the April copy of THE BUILDER with interest. I read all my copies of THE
BUILDER that way and then lend them around to my friends. One question was
raised by an editorial in the April copy, "Modern Science and the Science of
Masonry." Don't you believe there is danger in science? It appears to be
working to destroy our old beliefs. I believe that God and the Holy Bible are
the roots of Masonry and if they go Masonry will not last long. Shouldn't THE
BUILDER and all other of the Masonic magazines come to the defense of our Ark
of Faith against the science that tries to destroy it?
inquiry somewhat falls outside our province so that what is here said in reply
to you must be read as expressing only the personal opinion of the writer,
leaving an ultimate decision to the collective wisdom of the Craft. What do
you mean by "science"? Is it not a vague and too inclusive word that needs
defining every time it is used? There are sciences and sciences, but no
science, except in the sense that all the sciences make use of the same
general methods and principles. Also is there not a danger of confusing the
theories of the sciences with their facts? Each man must decide in his own
mind what he is to think of this or that theory held by some scientist as to
the age of the earth, the origin of the human race, how the Bible came to be
and what it means, and on all other such subjects as are now being so widely
controverted. But a fact is a fact, however it may be discovered, and there
can be no two opinions as to what is to be done with it; every man is under a
moral obligation to accept a fact as a fact, whatever may be his theories. The
facts and realities of science are omnipresent in our lives. It is science
that prints the page you are now reading; that created the schools in which
you learned to read; that digs the coal which warms your house; that carries
you about in your automobile; that manufactures the food you purchase in your
grocery store; that carries your conversation over the telephone wire; that
brings music to you over your radio; that makes your clothes, your furniture,
the pictures on your walls and the money in your pocket; it sits at your
bedside when you are ill, and buries you when you are dead. Every physician,
school teacher, lawyer, chemist, engineer, and almost every other trained man
is in some sense, and to some degree, a scientist. To make war on science is
to make war on civilization.
* * *
CHINESE W. M.
know that Masons in the United States will find it interesting to learn that a
Chinaman has been elected W. M. of one of our lodges. I quote here an excerpt
from The Honolulu Advertiser, a daily published in Honolulu, under date of
Dec. 3, 1923:
the first Chinese Worshipful Master of an American lodge of Free and Accepted
Masons, Apau Paul Low, county engineer of Maui, is enjoying an unusual
distinction, which was conferred upon him Saturday night at the annual
election of officers of Maui Lodge, No. 742, held in the Masons' building at
is one of the Chinese to be found on every island of the Hawaiian group who is
a thirty‑second degree Mason. He also is a member of Aloha Temple of the
Mystic Shrine. Masons of Hawaii are said to pride themselves on their
broadmindedness in admitting Chinese to membership in their Order.
"Being elected at the age of 32 years enhances the honor bestowed upon Low,
who was born in Honolulu July 22, 1891. He is the son of Yee Sing Low, a
former merchant of Honolulu and Ho Shee Low. Both parents are dead. Low was
graduated from the McKinley high school in 1910.
"After the meeting of Maui Lodge Saturday night, Shriners of Maui met and
formed a Shrine club. Noble D. C. Lindsay banker of Kahului, Maui, was elected
first president of the organization. Masons of Kauai plan to obtain a
dispensation soon to install a Masonic lodge on that island. There are now six
Masonic lodges on Hawaii, four on Oahu, one on Maui, and one on Hawaii. All
Masonic lodges of the territory are under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge
Walter R. Coombs, Honolulu.
* * *
DOES NOT SPECIFY NUMBER OF DEGREES
lodge bulletin carries an item about Texas. It says that the Grand Lodge of
Texas has, at its last annual communication, forbidden constituent lodges to
give more than ninety degrees during the year. What do you think about this ?
was news to us that Texas had taken any such action. Your inquiry was referred
to Bro. W. B. Pearson, Grand Secretary, Texas, who writes that while he knows
that such a report has gone abroad he is at a loss to explain what started it.
"I cannot state where this report started, but I can assure you that there was
not an amendment of this nature that was adopted at the last meeting of the
Grand Lodge." If such a thing had happened our opinion would be that there is
a better way of dealing with the "degree mill evil" than through Grand Lodge
regulation. The same impulse that leads American citizens at large to refer
all their troubles to the Federal Government leads them inside the Masonic
Craft to pile all their problems on the already over‑burdened shoulders of
Grand Lodge. If this habit continues Grand Lodges will become over‑organized,
top‑heavy and paternalistic, and that will lead to a bureaucratic control of
Masonry, a worse evil than any we are now suffering from. In this connection
there is point to a paragraph recently published in an article in The Montana
Mason, by its editor, Bro. R. J. Lemert, a portion of which reads in this
'blue' lodge is not a 'subordinate' lodge; it is a constituent lodge, which is
a vastly different thing. The Grand Lodge exists only by the will of the
'blue' lodges; the powers it exercises are delegated, and not inherent, and if
the Master Masons' lodges in a given state were to cease work, the Grand Lodge
would automatically find itself non‑existent. In other words, the Master
Mason's lodge is supreme, and the Grand Lodge merely its creature...."
* * *
PRINCIPLES GOVERNING FRATERNAL RECOGNITION IN G. L. OF NEW YORK
According to my readings here and there the Grand Lodge of New York has its
own theories about what foreign bodies should be granted fraternal
recognition. Has that Grand Lodge ever made public the theory on which it
works in such cases ? I should like to have this answered in THE BUILDER.
Secretary Robert Judson Kenworthy has furnished the complete formula as
adopted by the Grand Lodge of New York. It is self‑explanatory:
"Before a recommendation of fraternal recognition of a foreign Grand Body may
be submitted, it shall be ascertained by the Committee on Foreign
That such Grand Body has been formed lawfully by at least three just and duly
constituted lodges, or that it has been legalized by valid act issuing from
the Grand Lodge of New York or from a Grand Body in fraternal relations with
this Grand Lodge;
That it is a responsible, independent, self‑governing organization with sole,
undisputed and exclusive authority over the symbolic lodges of its
jurisdiction, and not in any sense whatever subject to, or dividing such
authority with, a Supreme Council or other power claiming ritualistic or other
supervision or control;
That its membership is composed of men exclusively, and that it entertains no
Masonic relations with mixed lodges or bodies admitting women into their
That it adheres in principle to the Ancient Landmarks, traditions, customs and
usages of the Craft, as set forth in the Constitutions adopted by the Grand
Lodge of England in 1723;
That it meets in particular, the following tests which the Grand Lodge of New
York considers essential to acceptance of a foreign Grand Body into its
Acknowledgment of a belief in God the Father of all men,
Belief in immortality,
Presence of the Three Great Lights of Masonry in the lodges while at work,
chief among them the Sacred Book of the Divine Law,
Exclusion of controversial political and sectarian religious discussion from
the lodges and from all meetings held under the auspices of a lodge.
While the Grand Lodge of New York claims exclusive jurisdiction in the
territory in which it is the supreme Masonic authority, it recognizes that the
law of exclusive territorial jurisdiction, while firmly established in the
United States and many other countries, is not universally accepted and does
not constitute an Ancient Landmark of the Universal Craft. To the end that no
unwarranted impediment may exclude from our fellowship such Grand Bodies as
are sharing the same territory with others by mutual consent we shall accept
such mutual consent as entitling the several Grand Bodies included therein to
fraternal consideration, providing the applicant for recognition does not
presume to extend its authority into, or presume to establish lodges in, a
territory occupied by a lawful Grand Lodge, without the expressed assent of
such supreme governing body."
* * *
WANTED ON MASONIC FUNERAL CUSTOMS
have just come across something which is either so very old it does not
deserve resurrection, having been long ago threshed out to the entire
satisfaction of the Craft, or else it may serve as another new thought for the
research fiends and for deliberation. At a Masonic funeral recently, the
undertaker, who is Mason, and whose church affiliation I do not know,
expressed himself to the Episcopalian clergyman, who had officiated, al
follows: "I do not see why they have to bury a man twice."
take it that this refers to that part of our ritual which is generally termed
"committal." While it never occurred to me before I now realize I had
subconsciously watched this duplication of effort before and thought it rather
superfluous, but let that pass. Now I wonder, after reading so much about
revision and Church of England domination in our parent body, whether it might
not be that this Church of England ritualism was injected into A. F. and A. M.
ceremonies, and if so, what might be the reason for it, and if it is not in
fact superfluous, would it not have a tendency to make all men think more of
churches if they alone committed us to Mother Earth?
Paul Babcock, New York.
Babcock's letter is referred to research fiends and to our readers in general.
Will not such as have information on this subject send it, along with their
views thereof, to THE BUILDER ?
* * *
SPECIAL RESEARCH GROUP
special research group to devote itself to Freemasonry of Revolutionary times
is now being formed under the auspices of the National Masonic Research
Society. The chairman in charge will be Bro. Paul V. Knudsen, 1703 Harvard
avenue, Seattle, Wash. If you desire to join this group communicate directly
with Bro. Knudsen or else send a letter to Ye Editor
* * *
are still some copies on hand of the index of THE BUILDER, 1923, which members
of the N.M.R.S. may secure by sending a request.
three pictures illustrating the Crusades, printed in the present issue, were
taken from History of the Crusades, by Michaud, a massive work in two huge
volumes, crammed with full page drawings by Gustave Dore. The edition used was
published by George Barrie, Philadelphia, no date. Students of Crusaders'
costumes would find this work of value.
* * *
J. Gabriel, Grand Master of Iowa, had the privilege, April 15 last, of raising
his own son to the Sublime Degree. In his address to his son he said: "I was
proud of you as a boy. I am still prouder of you as a man and I am glad you
have started out thus early to follow my footsteps. There is no grander
institution on earth than Freemasonry." Well said!
* * *
have come upon a reference to History of Masonry, by Leggett. Do you know
anything about this book? I don't.
* * *
Prohibition has had no effect on the poets. See what some bard has perpetrated
saw a cow slip through the fence
horse fly in the store;
a board walk up the street,
stone step by the door.
saw a mill race up the road,
morning break the gloom;
a night fall on the lawn
clock run in the room.
saw a peanut stand up high.
sardine box in town
a bed spring at the gate
ink stand on the ground.”