The Builder Magazine
November 1925 - Volume XI - Number
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Palmyra and the Palmyraines - By BRO. MAJOR JOHN W. SHUMAN, M. D., California
Brother Colonel Ceran St. Vrain: A Study of the Life of a Masonic Pioneer of
the Southwest - By BRO. F. T. CHEETHAM, New Mexico
Walum Olum or Painted Record – by Charles F. Irwin
Claims of the Modern Operatives - BY BRO. R.J. MEEKREN
Thyself - By BRO. GILBERT W. DAYNES
Dates in Vermont Masonry - By BRO. HERBERT H. HINES, Vermont
DUTIES OF THE STEWARDS
Men Who Were Masons - Francis Asbury Roe - By BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD, P. G. M.,
District of Columbia
INSTRUCTION IN MASONRY
STUDY CLUB - The Symbolism of Medieval Architecture - By BRO. R. J. MEEKREN
- By BRO. Emerson Esterling, Oregon
VISIBLE OF THE INVISIBLE EMPIRE. "THE MAELSTROM."
QUESTION BOX and CORRESPONDENCE
ETIQUETTE FOR GRAND OFFICERS - AND OTHERS
RELIGION OF PRESIDENT HAYES
MASONRY AND THE HOLY BIBLE
WANTED AND FOR SALE
Palmyra and the Palmyraines
BRO. MAJOR JOHN W. SHUMAN, M. D., California
is an exceedingly interesting account, the chief defect of which is its
brevity, of a visit to "Tadmor in the Wilderness." The author was formerly
(1922-23) Professor of Medicine in the American University of Beirut, Syria,
known for short as A.U.B.
February, 1923, Captain Douglas C. Cruickshank, then the Professor of
Pathology, American University of Beirut, late of the Canadian Army Medical
Corps and a Mason, inveigled the writer into taking advantage of the Medical
School's five-day-mid-year vacation and visit the ruins of Palmyra. (This is
the French name; in Arabic it is Tudmor.) He insisted that we should look over
at close range what remained of that wonderful city "in the wilderness" (Note
1), built hundreds of years ago by King Solomon the Great Builder and
successfully sacked by the Romans long afterwards. As a sight-seeing place of
Asia Minor it easily ranks third, with Jerusalem and Petri rivals for first
place; although to the Mason Jerusalem stands first, for here Solomon, the
wise one, built the first Temple and many other things.
Beirut to Damascus, the most ancient thriving city in the world, across the
two Lebanon mountain ranges, with the Wady Broca between, is seventy-five
miles; we made it by auto without mishap and spent the night at the Victoria
Hotel, famous as General Allenby's headquarters during his late campaign
against the Turks. On such a journey as we were undertaking one usually goes
armed on account of possible encounter with Cheeties (brigands); in a country
whose chief product for centuries has been war, and whose by-products have
been reported as massacre, rapine and pillage, we expected to meet trouble;
but in this we were disappointed, we met only kind and courteous treatment.
Damascus to Palmyra is about one hundred and sixty-five miles on the
Mediterranean--Bagdad Camel-Automobile route; and there are no gas stations!
So we loaded in the necessary amount of petrol to motor us there and back.
There are two roads, the high, a bit longer, and the low, a bit shorter,
leading to Karratyne, a village situated about half way between Palmyra and
Damascus. And thereby hangs a tale.
party of Beiruters had preceded us to Palmyra by the high road. We took the
low one and arrived at Karratyne at a little before eleven o'clock, when we
called to pay a visit at the Sheikh's house (which is the custom) and were
made most welcome. He was a Christian and had a son in the Collegiate
Department of the A.U.B. (American University of Beirut). Our interpreter
Zarhan, first year medical student, knew this lad, and made father and mother
delighted with "news". A bounteous repast was soon spread, to which we did
full justice as only hungry, healthy men would do when "called from labor to
kind old man offered a letter to the Mohammedan Sheikh of Palmyra, stating
"there is no hotel in that place," and we could do nothing but graciously
accept. That sealed letter was surely "the-magic-password." Thirty minutes
after we had driven the car into the courtyard where Sheikh Mohammed stood, a
freshly killed, dressed, and cooked sheep was served in the guestroom, through
the door at his back in the accompanying illustration (Cut 1). He said:
"Gentlemen, I beseech you to partake of our meagre repast; if you have wine
bring it forth, for although we Moslems are forbidden to use it, that is no
reason for our Christian guests to abstain." Just compare that with the
hospitality of a U. S. prohibitionist!
it may be stated that if your digestion and sleep are disturbed by coffee and
smoking tobacco do not go visiting in Asia Minor. For no business is
transacted, no social or official call is complete and no meeting, however
casual, is ever entered into or terminated without coffee and tobacco. The
coffee in Beirut is like the Turkish, thick, black and sweet. As we went on
into the interior of Syria the coffee seemed to get more bitter. In Palmyra it
is the typical Arabic coffee, served hot as the hinges of Hades, an ounce at a
time in the bottom of a big cup and quite bitter. After five or ten of these
drinks you will understand why the Moslems don't have to drink alcohol! An
ancient hubble-bubble (narghieh) was put at my disposal; and a large iron key
to our room was given us, which I promptly threw on the ground. We felt that
we were among brethren and our trust was not misplaced for all the time we
were there not a thing of ours was molested; we ate, slept, moved, and had our
being in this one-story mud (adobe) walled room of the Sheikh's when not on
the hike; strangers in every sense of the word except for that bond of
fellowship which binds mankind-brotherhood.
right of his father stands Sheikh Abdullah (Cut 2) detailed by his father to
show us around and comfort us. It was just about this time (6:00 P. M.) that
the two automobile loads of Beirut folks arrived, the acting President of
A.U.B. in charge, accusing us of having eaten up their luncheon in Karratyne,
and wanting to know where we intended to sleep. We replied, "Ask the Sheikh."
Sheikh Mohammed, like the Karratyne Sheikh, had mistaken us for the
"President" and his party (the letter said so) and he did not change his mind.
I suppose our old army uniforms had more prestige than "white collars". At any
rate we slept much warmer than we would have under a tent.
ruins of the Great Temple of the Sun at Palmyra, with many bits of ornate
sculpture about it, cornices, capitals, and curved ceilings, stand as majestic
symbols of great craftsmen and things that were in the ages of long ago. What
remains stands there still fighting for existence against the elements, to
welcome the modernist and make him marvel. One column which still remains
bears an inscription with the name of Queen Zenobia, who once ruled from Egypt
to Babylon, and later graced the Roman Triumph of the Emperor Aurelian.
illustrations numbered 2 and 3 show the Sheikh and four of his sons, and his
guests. He was then sixty six years of age and looked after 2,500 souls, the
"modern Palmyraines." They are the desert Bedouins, speak the pure Arabic
language, and raise sheep and camels. Palmyra is now but an oasis in the
wilderness. Water is secured from subterranean channels, which were cut there
aeons ago by the hand of man. The aqueduct system flourished in that country
many years ago and when a besieging army cut off the water supply of the
forces they were attacking, it was not long before the flag of truce was
flying. No. 3 shows the official photographer (Doctor C.), the "short
soldier," third from the left. The French Arabian soldier is from the French
garrison, located in Palmyra (the French mandate Syria now, the Turks used to)
who had come to invite the Bogus-President and his party to the Commandant's
mess that evening. He said that he would send an escort for us and the Sheikh.
We waited until 7:30 P.M. and then escorted ourselves over to find that the
real President and his crowd had "beaten us to it," so the tables were turned!
We returned to our house. The Sheikh was indignant. He had prepared for us a
real banquet which we were enjoying immensely when the Commandant with his
aides burst in upon us with beaucoup apologies, a quart of Scotch, and-that
was that ! (Note 2.)
will be noted that there are hints of foreign (Frangi) civilization out there
in the manner of dress. Note that top coat, also the two overcoats worn
instead of the native Abba. The smallest son was the songster, and sang for us
many songs in Arabic in the usual nasal falsetto key, which sounded nothing
like the "sweet songs of Araby," or "I'm the Sheikh," yet they were far more
pleasant to the ear than "Yes, We Have No Bananas," "No One Can Love Me Like
My Old Tomato Can," etc.
Another touch of the foreign was noted in the Sheikh's own bedroom; an idle,
iron bedstead, which brought forth the story that when he was much younger and
less wise, a young woman, the daughter of a prominent and wealthy French
family, visited Palmyra, fell in love with the Sheikh, married him and took
him to Paris to live. After four months the sands of the desert called him and
she went back with him. They shipped that iron bed to Palmyra from Marsailles.
But Palmyra as a steady diet for her was too tame; the bright lights of "Gay
Paree" called her, and she went back home alone.
Sheikh's father had one hundred descendants; our host had fourteen sons, the
youngest a husky infant in arms. Three of his four young wives expected soon
to present him with sons, for daughters don't count for much in the Orient.
His eldest son was missing. He was in South America, I was told, to be married
to a lady there, which grieved his father greatly for she was not of "the
Faith." But, then, "like father, like son."
Abdullah was quite anxious to show us everything there was to be seen, more
especially the Crusader Castle (see cuts 4, 5 and 6), which is a story in
itself. I marveled how that Order of Knights Templar several centuries ago set
out to conquer the world (especially Christianity's fountain Syria and
Palestine) with the sword--and failed--just as Emperor William failed!
on a Friday, the Moslem Sunday, that Abdullah asked us if we wanted to swim. I
said, "Yes, where is the tin cup ?" for I had no idea that there was anything
bigger to take a bath in. He took us for a swim in a subterranean warm sulphur
river, artificial, a part of the aqueduct system, where we frolicked for two
hours, having for companions the Cadi (judge) and Sheikh Beni Khallid, owner
of 3,000 camels, the same number that Job had. Before going into the water I
gave Abdullah my wrist watch to hold, and when I got out I noticed that it was
on his wrist. I said, "Keep it for a souvenir, [ carried it through America's
part in the World War in France and am really tired of it, and I am just
looking for a chance to get rid of it." He accepted. It is difficult to tip
these folks; in fact, it is taken as an insult unless adroitly managed. That
evening in the dark he slipped into my hand a bit of paper with a hard object
in it, saying, "Just a little souvenir, but very old." After he was gone, and
by the light of a tallow dip I discovered myself to be the possessor of an
exquisite cameo of Zenobia's Dynasty.
young men of the village love to play football of the European style. The ball
they had was flat and the only thing they requested from us was "send us a
bladder from Shem (Damascus)." We sent them one by the French Air-Post.
Sheikh's second son had only two wives. He said he was "not rich enough to
afford more as yet." He did ask, "Doctor, why does a big man like you only
have one wife?" I answered, "Effendi, you have never seen my wife." I crushed
him, however, when I remarked, "I have three children and you have only two !"
They have no doctor in Palmyra and disease cuts them down young. Infant
mortality is great there. A walk through the modern graveyard tells the story;
the numerous little tombstones marking graves of babies. "On the square," the
Sheikh would welcome a good, conscientious, well-trained, practical medical
man. That man might not become rich in money but he would live and give and in
the years to come he would have happy memories. We held a clinic while there,
thereby attempting to return, in a measure, the kindness we had received.
were interested in our telling, through our interpreter, of the A.U.B. and its
work, and the Sheikh promised that before long Palmyra would be represented at
the University. Last year, so Dr. Cruickshank writes, the Sheikh's second son
visited Beirut and was quite chagrined at not being able to visit the
"Pseudo-President." On this trip we had endured some discomforts, and hard
ships, met with extremes of heat and cold, a snow blizzard, equal to any I
ever experienced in northwest Iowa, when crossing over the Lebanons, and had
been mired in the mud; but we had been received kindly, were not allowed to go
hungry, and had slept in warm beds. A broken front spring and a ruptured tire
were all the scars we could claim.
1. I Kings, Chap. 9, verse 18, "and he built, . . . Tadmor in the wilderness
in the land." II Chronicles, Chap. 8, verse 4, "and he built Tadmor in the
2. D. C. just forwarded these photos to me, March 1, 1925. In Syria, "time
doesn't really matter." One of their proverbs out there is "Tomorrow, Effendi,
is also a day."
Brother Colonel Ceran St. Vrain: A Study of the Life of a Masonic Pioneer of
BRO. F. T. CHEETHAM, New Mexico
noted in the introduction to one of his former contributions to The Builder,
Bro. Cheetham has in hand the preparation of a history of the Southwest to
show the influence of Freemasonry in the development of that great American
empire. This study of Bro. St. Vrain will serve as a chapter in that work. Its
interest will be enhanced if it is read in conjunction with Bro. Cheetham's
previous essays: "Kit Carson A Mason of the Frontier," The Builder, December,
1922, page 366and "Governor Bent, a Masonic Martyr of New Mexico," The
Builder, December, 1923, page 358. Bro. Cheetham, who may be addressed at
Taos, New Mexico, will appreciate receiving any additional Masonic data
bearing on his studies.
we inherited from the English our language and that great system of
jurisprudence, known as the common law, we are largely indebted to the French
for our liberty. They gave lavishly of their blood and treasure that we might
become a free and independent nation. The name of the Marquis de Lafayette has
throughout the days of our life as a nation been a household word among our
people. Nor did the fostering care of our French godfathers end at Yorktown.
From the day when Napoleon Bonaparte held his fastest frigate forty-eight
hours, while our Minister, Robert Livingston, a brother Mason, penned that
famous dispatch which culminated in the purchase of Louisiana, we were
destined to become a great nation. Nor was this all, for while they aided us,
for almost a nominal consideration, to acquire title to this vast stretch of
country, they rendered most potent assistance in winning the Far West from all
our frontier soldiers, under the masterful leadership of George Rodgers Clark,
wrested the Northwest, as it was then called, from the British, we acquired,
as appurtenant thereto, the achievements of the intrepid French explorers and
traders. Following closely upon the heels of the Revolution there sprang up
along the waters of the great Mississippi and its tributaries a thriving trade
with the outlying Indian tribes, which soon crept into that portion of the
domain of the Spanish crown, known as Mexico. This trade was handled almost
entirely by the descendants of La Belle France. As a natural consequence of
this trade there soon sprang up such trading posts or centers as Kaskaskie,
St. Genevieve and St. Louis.
French traders purchased the greater portion of their goods at Philadelphia
and while in that city they met and associated with members of the French
lodges of Freemasons of that city, established by Bro. Lafayette and his men
during the War for American Independence. These merchants in turn obtained
dispensations and established Masonic lodges in western trading posts. These
lodges were in their order as follows: Western Star Lodge, No. 107,
established at Kaskaskia in 1806; Louisiana Lodge, No. 108, at St. Genevieve
in 1807; and St. Louis Lodge, No. 3, in 1808. Among the membership of these
lodges we find in Louisiana Lodge, No. 109, at St. Genevieve such names as
Pierre Chouteau and Bartholomew Berthold, the founders of the great American
Fur Company, and Stephen F. Austin, the "father" of Texas; in St. Louis Lodge,
No. 3, we note among the members the names of Meriweather Lewis, former
private secretary of President Jefferson, and Gen. William Clarke, the
explorers. Such indeed is the background of our sketch.
St. Vrain, the hero of this sketch, was born near the city of St. Louis about
the year 1797. His father and uncle had fled from France during that dark
period of the French Revolution, the uncle having been an heir apparent of
French nobility. The father of Ceran St. Vrain settled on the Bellefontaine
Road, just out of what was then St. Louis, and erected a fort, which was then,
and until after Ceran's birth, on Spanish territory. Of his early years little
is known. It is altogether probable that while a mere boy he ventured out into
the plains and the wilderness with the fur traders of his time.
BECOMES A TRAPPER
1826 we find him a captain of a party of trappers leading an expedition down
through New Mexico as far as the river Gila. It was on this expedition that
Bro. Kit Carson made his maiden trip beyond the frontier. At this time St.
Vrain was probably associated with William Bent, who, about 1824, had erected
a stockade on the bank of the Arkansas near where Pueblo now is. Soon
afterwards the Bents and St. Vrain erected another stockade near the junction
of the Purgatoire River with the Arkansas. In 1828 St. Vrain, associated with
William and Charles Bent, commenced the erection of a formidable fort,
afterwards known as Bent's Fort or Fort William, on the north bank of the
Arkansas River, a few miles east of the present city of Las Animas, Colorado.
Due credit has never been given the founders of this citadel of peace, for the
part it and they played in the winning of the Great Southwest.--
will be remembered that, arising out of the Louisiana Purchase, the
territorial claims of the United States covered the entire watershed of the
Red and Arkansas Rivers, which extended to within about fifteen miles of Taos,
New Mexico; that by the treaty of Feb. 22, 1819, between the United States and
His Catholic Majesty the King of Spain, in return for concessions in Florida
the United States moved its western boundary backward some three hundred
miles; that by this treaty the hundredth meridian was fixed as the west
boundary of the United States, north to the Arkansas River, thence along the
south bank of that stream to its source. This boundary was afterwards ratified
by the infant republic, Mexico, which almost immediately had wrested its
independence from Spain, by a treaty signed in Mexico City on Jan. 28, 1828.
will therefore be plainly seen how quickly the Bents and St. Vrain saw and
grasped the strategic importance of the site, so well chosen by them, on the
international boundary, for a large and strongly fortified trading post,
destined to do more than all the country's soldiers in the winning of the Far
West. The greater proportion of the inhabitants of the country immediately
south of the border was made up of roving tribes of unconquered savages, who
were eager to trade their peltries and robes for the trinkets, firearms and
other goods of the white man.
policy of Spain had been to exclude almost altogether any American trade with
its dominions in the Western Hemisphere. Mexico cherished the same hope and
laid its duties with a view to making the American trade prohibitive and of
creating a monopoly in favor of its central states. The result was that there
soon arose in California and other outlying territories a great system of
smuggling. But the founders of this great trading post proposed to keep within
their legitimate rights; they planted their fort on the border so that the
Comanches, Arapahoes, Utes and Apaches could migrate from their favorite
hunting grounds, camp on the Arkansas near the fort, and exchange their
products of the chase for the manufactured goods of the traders. If Mexico had
any charges against the Indians for duty on goods carried by them across the
border, it was up to it to collect from them. The fort was completed in 1832.
Speaking of its appearance, Capt. P. St. George Cooke, who visited it in 1843,
a smooth, gravelly second bank prairie we caught sight at several miles
distance the national flag floating amid picturesque foliage and river
scenery, over a low dark wall, which had a very military semblance. Very
gradually and tediously we approached and then we were more surprised at the
fine appearance and strength of the trading post. An extensive square with
high adobe walls and two large towers at opposite angles and all properly
loopholed. Our near approach was saluted by three discharges from a swivel
gun, the walls being well 'manned.' The Colonel and suite were most hospitably
greeted at the sally port by Messrs. St. Vrain and C (harles) Bent. The
regiment marched on and encamped at the first grassy meadow a mile or two
lower down. A number of officers partook of a good dinner at the post."
BUSINESS PROSPERED The "Chinese Wall" erected by Spain and fostered by Mexico
soon began to crumble before the pressure of this stronghold of commerce.
Mexico soon discovered that if it did not let the traders in, its people would
go across the border to trade. Before the fort was really completed St. Vrain
and the Bents were able to make their way to Santa Fe with goods, as will
appear from a letter written by St. Vrain to Bernard Pratte & Co. from that
place on Sept. 14, 1830, as follows:
Fernando del Taos, Sept. 14, 1830.
"Messrs. B. Pratte & Co.
"Gentlemen: It is with pleasure that I inform you of my last arrival at Santa
Fe which was the 4th of August. We were met at Red River by General Biscara
the customhouse officer and a few soldiers, the object in coming out so far to
meet us was to prevent smuggling and it had the desired effect; there was a
guard placed around our wagons until we entered Santa Fe. We had to pay full
dutys which amounts to about 60 per cent on cost. I was the first that put
goods in the Customhouse and I opened immediately, but goods sold very slow,
so slow that it was discouraging. I found that it was impossible to meet my
payments, if I continued retailing. I therefore thought it was best to hole
saile. I have done so. I send you by Mr. Andru Carson and Lavoise Ruel one
wagon, eleven mules, one horse and 653 skins of Beaver, 961 Ibs. (nine hundred
and sixty-one pounds), which you will have sold for my account. I do not wish
the mules sold unless they sell for a good price. I am with much respect,
after the completion of Bent's Fort this firm established a branch post at
Taos, New Mexico, and later on at Santa Fe, both of which were maintained
until the firm was dissolved by the death of Governor Bent, in 1847. In 1838
they erected a fort on the South Platte north of the site of Denver. This fort
was called St. Vrain's Fort. Gen. Fremont speaks of visiting this fort on his
first expedition to the Rocky Mountains. It was at the confluence of the Cache
le Poudre River with the South Platte. Francis Parkman, who visited it in
1846, found it abandoned.
this time the fur trade had suffered a great decline, the price of beaver
having suffered a great slump on account of the discovery of a new way of
making hats. The American Fur Company and the Rocky Mountain Fur Company found
their trade unprofitable. The latter company went out of business entirely.
Jedediah S. Smith, its most daring captain, had quit the northwest fur trade
and engaged in the Santa Fe trade when he lost his life while blazing a new
trail on the Cimarron. But the business of Bent &; St. Vrain had been
established with a view of working both ways. They worked as far north as Fort
Lookout on the Missouri, and held the key to the Southwest. They later erected
a fort on the Canadian River in northern Texas, known as the Adobe Fort.
TRADING POSTS BECAME A RENDEZVOUS FOR EXPLORERS
trading posts became the rendezvous of the daring mountain men, trappers and
explorers who penetrated the mountain forests, scaled the snow-capped peaks,
blazed their trails through seemingly inaccessible passes, encountered both
savage and foreign foes, and planted the American flag on the Pacific. A
trading post of Bent & St. Vrain was like a safe haven in the midst of the
trackless storm-tossed sea. When Marcus Whitman and A. Lawrence Lovejoy made
their famous ride in the winter of 1842-3 in an effort to save Oregon to the
United States, they availed themselves of the hospitality of several of these
posts and it fell to the lot of Ceran St. Vrain to render substantial aid to
Whitman in getting across the plains, for he, on learning of Whitman's desire
to proceed across the plains, sent an express from Bent's Fort to their
caravan at the Big Cottonwood and held it until Whitman could arrive.
1843, Ceran St. Vrain, believing that the course of empire was westward,
associated with him one Cornelio Vigil, a progressive resident of Taos, New
Mexico, and for invaluable and meritorious service to the Mexican Government
in maintaining peace with the Indians on the frontier, made application to the
Governor for a grant of land for colonization purposes, the petition for
which, being translated, is in part as follows:
desiring to encourage the agriculture of the country to such a degree as to
establish its flourishing condition, and finding ourselves with but little
land to accomplish the object, we have examined and registered, with great
care, the land embracing the Huerfano, Pisipa and Cucheras Rivers, to their
junction with the Arkansas and the Animas, and, fintling sufficient for
cultivation, and abundance of pasture and water, and all that is required for
a flourishing establishment, and for raising cattle and sheep, being satisfied
therewith, and certain that it is public land, we have not hesitated to apply
to Your Excellency, praying you to be pleased, by an act of justice, to grant
to each one of us a tract of land in the above mentioned locality."
grant was accordingly made and the intent and purpose thereof is probably best
shown by a deed made in 1844 to St. Vrain's partner, Charles Bent, which is as
OF CONVEYANCE TO CHARLES BENT.
undersigned owners and possessers of the lands included from the waters of the
Rio de las Animas and of the Huerfano, within the boundaries designated in the
act of possession, for the purpose of effecting and procuring means to settle
those lands, for which purpose we have solicited and obtained the concession
of the Government; and of our own free will, we cede to M. Charles Bent, and
to his successors, the one-sixth part of the land contained in our possession
at said place, to which we hereby renounce all our rights, hereby obligating
ourselves not to prescribe him in that which we hereby grant unto him; it
being our voluntary act and deed, it being understood that we are to give to
such families as may transport themselves to said place, lands free of charge,
subject to the guarantees and benefits to each party, as may be agreed upon in
order to protect the settlements to be formed; and by this extra-judicial
document, which we execute on this common paper (there being none of the
corresponding seal), we, thus, as our entire voluntary act, covenant; and this
indenture shall be as valid as if it was duly authenticated; and by the same
we may be compelled to observe and comply therewith; and in testimony whereof,
we sign this in Taos, on the 11th day of March, 1844.
WAS DECLARED Within about two years thereafter, the diplomatic relations
between the United States and Mexico, long strained, reached a breaking point
and war was declared between the two countries. The Army of the West was
organized and placed under the command of Col., afterwards Gen. Kearney. It
proceeded, in several columns, to march from the Missouri River to Bent's
Fort, which was established as a rendezvous. There the little expeditionary
force rested a few days, preparatory to the invasion of the enemy's country.
We find that the men who had been forerunners of the flag stood ready to
render any service in their power. Charles Bent served as chief intelligence
officer and Ceran St. Vrain hastened to St. Louis to procure supplies and
provisions soon to be needed. When the soldiers crossed the frontier, they
found that the traders had accomplished by the arts of peace what they had
expected to achieve by the shedding of blood.
St. Vrain left St. Louis on the 1st of September, 1846, with a cargo of goods
for New Mexico. He was accompanied, among others, by a young lad of seventeen
years, Lewis H. Garrard, who left behind a narrative of his thrilling
experiences, published in 1850 under the title of Wah-To-Yah, or, The Taos
Trail, which he dedicated to the hero of our story in token of the many acts
of kindness by the latter. St. Vrain left Garrard at the fort and proceeded on
to Santa Fe with his goods where they would be most needed. Soon after his
arrival at that place the Taos Insurrection broke out and Gov. Chas. Bent was
assassinated, under circumstances narrated in a former sketch. [THE BUILDER,
December, 1923, P.358.] St. Vrain, on learning that his friend and partner had
been slain, enlisted the services of about sixty mountain men at Santa Fe and
tendered his little command to Col. Price, who immediately proceeded with such
force as was available to Taos to avenge the death of the Governor and other
countrymen. St. Vrain was given a commission as captain and rendered gallant
and meritorious service at La Canada, Embudo, and at the Taos Pueblo. At the
latter place he came near to losing his own life in a personal encounter with
the Indians. He served as court interpreter in the trials of the conspirators
and was afterwards tendered the office of governor of the territory, which he
VRAIN SETTLED AT TAOS After the restoration of order, Capt. St. Vrain settled
down in Taos, New Mexico, known then as Don Fernando de Taos, where he had a
store on the south side of the plaza in his business as a trader. In 1849 he
was elected to, and served as a member of, the Constitutional Convention,
convened at Santa Fe on Sept. 24 of that year.
the years 1854, 5 and 6 the Ute and Apache Indians had given the people of New
Mexico deal of trouble, waging constant war on the unprotected settlements and
even came near annihilating a couple of companies of the First United States
Dragoons in a fight in the Embudo Mountains near Taos. The civil and military
authorities in Santa Fe decided to put an end to these troubles. Volunteers
were accordingly asked for. Col. De Witte C. Peters, in his Life of Kit
Carson, published in 1858, in speaking of this affair, says:
organization of the Mexican volunteers was made complete by the Governor of
the Territory, who selected as their leader Mr. Ceran St. Vrain of Taos. This
gentleman, although he had much important business which called his attention
elsewhere, immediately expressed his willingness to accept the responsible
position which, without solicitation, had been conferred upon him. The
commission received by St. Vrain gave him the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
Without delay he set about the difficult and important work that lay before
him, bringing to bear upon the details that sound judgment, gentlemanly
bearing and ready zeal which had long characterized the man. He had the good
fortune to secure the services of Lieutenant Creigg of the regular army, whom
he appointed as one of his aides-de-camp. Having completed his staff and other
arrangements to place his force upon a military basis, he was ready to take
appointment of St. Vrain as commander of the Volunteers, was hailed with
delight throughout the territory. His great experience in the mountains, his
knowledge of the Indian mode of warfare, and the respect which the people he
was called upon to command invariably paid him, seemed to convince every
thinking mind that something more than usual was to be accomplished. They felt
that the wrongs of their country would be certainly redressed. The sequel will
prove that the people were not doomed to disappointment."
Lieut.-Col. St. Vrain thereupon reported to Col. T. T. Fauntleroy who
forthwith launched an expedition against the warlike savages. The command
proceeded to Ft. Massachusetts, near the station of Garland, in Colorado;
thence they pursued a westerly course to the head waters of the Rio Grande;
from thence they crossed the Saguache Pass where they found the Indians
encamped in a large village. They gave them battle and put them to flight with
heavy loss. Col. Fauntleroy then divided his command, sending Col. St. Vrain
with his command to the eastward across the main range where he again
encountered the fleeing fugitives and inflicted upon them a terrible loss. Kit
Carson, who accompanied this expedition as a scout, referring to it afterwards
in his personal narrative dictated to Col. Peters, the MS. of which is now in
the Newbury Library in Chicago, in substance said, that if the operations of
this voluntary organization had continued a few months longer under Col. St.
Vrain's direction, there would never again have been any need for soldiers in
term of service of this organization having expired they were mustered out and
Col. St. Vrain returned to his business at Taos. He erected and operated
extensive flour mills and extended his business operations in all directions.
In the first issue of the Rocky Mountain News, published at Cherry Creek [now
Denver], Kansas Territory, in 1859, we find an item announcing that Col. St.
Vrain had lately arrived at that place with a train load of flour from Taos.
VRAIN ENTERED THE CIVIL WAR When the Civil War broke out Col. St. Vrain, like
Bro. Kit Carson, joined hands with the North and very promptly tendered his
services to his country. When the call for volunteers came he helped to
organize the First New Mexico Cavalry and was elected its first Colonel. Kit
Carson was elected lieutenant-colonel. He was soon obliged, owing to poor
health, to relinquish his command to the latter, with the consolation,
however, that it would render a good account of itself. In this he was not
disappointed. He continued to render valuable service to his country by
keeping his mills grinding and supplying the various military posts of the
Southwest with flour and other articles of subsistence.
St. Vrain, like many other sturdy men of the frontier, was long prepared in
his heart to become a Freemason, before he had had an opportunity to knock at
the door of a lodge. He had been intimately acquainted and more or less
associated with men like Charles Bent, Dr. Dayid Waldo, James Kennerly, and
Col. Dodge, who had long been members of the Order. He therefore presented
himself for initiation March 22, 1853; was passed April 16, 1853; and raised
Jan. 28, 1855, receiving his degrees in Montezuma Lodge, No. 109, of the
jurisdiction of Missouri, at Santa Fe. He demitted therefrom April 7, 1860,
and together with Bros. Kit Carson, Peter Joseph, Ferdinand Maxwell, John M.
Francisco, A. S. Ferris, and others he formed a lodge at Taos, under a charter
from the Grand Lodge of Missouri, issued on the 1st day of June, 1860. This
lodge was known as Bent Lodge, No. 204.
the close of the Civil War, in order to better conduct his business for
furnishing supplies to the Government, Col. St. Vrain moved to Mora, which was
near Ft. Union, the principal military base of the Southwest. Col. James F.
Meline, who visited New Mexico, in 1866, in his book entitled Two Thousand
Miles on Horseback, in speaking of the Colonel, says:
is the residence of Lieutenant-Colonel Ceran St. Vrain one of the most
distinguished of the band of early pioneer traders and trappers--Bent, Kit
Carson, Bridger, Maxwell--who survives. Colonel St. Vrain's wealth in land is
very great, and he owns under a Spanish grant, one tract of land a hundred
miles square, bounded by the Snowy Range, the Rio de las Animas and the
Arkansas. St. Vrain was, with Kit Carson found on the side of his country in
the hour of trouble, and threw the influence of his high personal character,
great popularity, and immense wealth, in the scale of freedom against
slavery." (pp. 109-110.)
he spent the most of his declining years. We learn from Albert D. Richardson,
in his Beyond the Mississippi that, "after accumulating an ample fortune (he)
went to New York City with a determination of spending his days. But he found
life there insupportable, and soon returned to New Mexico, vowing he would
never leave it again."
DIED IN 1870 He was gathered to his fathers Oct. 28, 1870. Speaking of his
passing the Daily New Mexican, under date of Oct. 29, 1870, said:
OF CERAN ST. VRAIN
received this morning, by telegraph, from Fort Union the painful intelligence,
that Col. Ceran St. Vrain of Mora departed this life at six o'clock last
St. Vrain came to New Mexico more than forty years ago and has been one of its
most highly and respected and influential citizens ever since. Possessed of
good education, fine natural abilities, the highest style of courtesy and very
good energy and enterprise, he at once engaged in merchandising and
manufacturing, by the legitimate profits of which he has accumulated a
handsome property. His upright dealing, fairness and courteous treatment of
all with whom he came in contact won him hosts of friends, who will sincerely
sorrow at his death.
enterprise looking to the improvement of the country received willing and
earnest support and sympathy from him, and many hundreds of honest poor men
have been by him furnished with the means to start again, and repair the
misfortunes of the past. In every part of this Territory there are men who
will feel that in the death of Col. St. Vrain, not only has the country lost
one of its best citizens, but that they have lost one of their truest and
noblest personal friends.
the friends of the deceased we tender our sincerest condolence and commend his
virtues and enterprise to the imitation of his thousands of acquaintances in
Rocky Mountain News of Denver, under date of Oct. 31, 1870, had this to say:
Union, Oct. 31, 1870.
St. Vrain, the oldest pioneer of the Rocky Mountains died at his residence in
Mora at six o'clock the 28th. The funeral took place on Sunday the 30th and
was attended by Gen. Gregg and nearly all the officers of Ft. Union. Col.
Starr of the 8th Cavalry with his troop acted as escort and the General and
his staff as pall bearers. The regimental band furnished the music. He was
buried by the Masons and as Col. of Volunteers with Military honor. Over 2,000
people were present. The Services were highly impressive."
monument was erected over his grave with Masonic emblems--square and
compasses--but the writer has been informed by Bro. Z. S. Lonquevan, who for
many years resided at Mora, that the Masonic emblems have been defaced.
Freemasons should take pride in paying a tribute of respect and love to the
memory of this worthy brother, who was born a Spanish subject, of French
extraction, and yet whose loyalty to the country which adopted him was the
admiration of all who knew him.
Walum Olum or Painted Record
Bro. Charles F. Irwin, Associate Editor, Pennsylvania
beliefs and customs of the Red man are matters of deep interest to a great
many American Masons, though the older and uncritical theories that a primeval
form of Freemasonry existed among them is quite untenable. Bro. Irwin has
drawn on the great store of material buried in forgotten books, and we hope
that he may have something more to tell us later on.
recent years there have appeared in the issues of THE BUILDER a number of
articles upon the American Indian. This is a department of American Research
which appeals to me as a field to be carefully investigated, seeing that it
belongs to the soil of this great continent, and there is one department of
such a study which presents to the student a fascinating path along which to
travel. It is the legends of the prehistoric wanderings of the various stocks
of Indian. And in these legends there is ever to be the possibility of clues
to the still more remote and fascinating mystery: the races of prehistoric
Americans known as the MOUND BUILDERS whose traces abide to this day in
earthern mounds, circles, and in fortifications, together with animal and bird
Generally speaking, there were four stocks of Indians in the United States:
ALGONKIN FAMILY - They were a widespread family found stretching from Labrador
in the northeast of the continent, westward through Canada to the Rockies and
thence southward into the United States, thence eastward to the Atlantic
seaboard from Maine to Florida.
IROQUOIS FAMILY - They were found surrounding the Erie and Huron Lakes and
through New York State, and eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland.
CREEK FAMILY - Under this general name were embraced in a general way all the
Indians in southern United States, such as the Muskogees, Seminoles, Creeks,
CHEROKEES - This family presents some unique features and should be studied
apart from all the others. They were found in the states of Tennessee,
Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and later across the Father of Waters in Indian
Territory and Oklahoma.
each of these four main groups there grew up a body of tradition and lore in
the form of legends and rituals that all point back to prehistoric migrations.
In some particulars these traditions overlap and wherever this occurs we are
provided with points at which to make critical comparisons. They make it
imperative to accept as fact that great movements of aborigines took place in
the dim past over large stretches of the continental area.
WAS THE ORIGIN OF THE AMERINDIAN ?
Accepting as fact that such tribal and national movements did take place, we
are led at once to this consideration: whence did they come ? From what remote
places did they depart and what were the routes they pursued in their
migrations ? Did they meet with other peoples who were still earlier. that
they found dwelling upon the soil of our country? If so, who were these
peoples and whence did they spring ? We are restricted to narrow limits in
conjecturing on these points. But by no means has the argument been mild.
There have been two principal theories, first, that man is indigenous to the
American soil and like Topsy "he just grew" here. That man emerged from the
brute order into intelligence upon the western continent just as he did on the
eastern hemisphere; and second, that man was not indigenous to the western
soil but entered from other lands.
former theory has not had serious consideration by archaeologists while the
latter has given rise to some interesting groups of ideas. For example, we
find among a large group of French and Spanish writers the theory that
migrations took place from Phoenicia via Africa and the lost continent of
Atlantis, arriving on the shores of South America and in time spreading up
through Central America into the northern continent. The adherents of this
theory hold as one of their prime reasons that the remains of the prehistoric
peoples show a higher state of development in Central America than they do in
the United States, and that this indicates that the genius of the ancient
peoples for some reason had deteriorated as time elapsed and their migrations
carried them farther from the sources of their original culture.
However, the theory that has appealed to the Nordic American supposes that in
the dim past migrations took place from northern Europe via Iceland and
Greenland, and that these Nordics took root in Labrador and northeastern
America and in time spread to the west and south. An interesting offshoot of
this theory has it that one chieftain of the Welsh, one Madoc, in the year
1100 A. D. left the shores of Britain and landed on the eastern American
coast, and proceeded gradually to the westward where in the 18th and 19th
Centuries their descendants, known as White or Welsh Indians, were to be found
in the general territory of Oklahoma and Arkansas. There was heated
controversy early in the 19th Century in the American press over this theory.
It was, however, never seriously considered by American scholars.
MIGRATION WAS FROM ASIA
remains but one more possible theory and that is that migrations took place at
a remote time across the Behring Sea, or possibly on solid ground prior to
some cataclysmic rupture of contact with Asia. Thence that they proceeded down
the Pacific coast into American territory and grew strong in the Columbia
River regions, whence the legendary migrations of the Indians proceeded.
much for these explanations of the Indian and his ancestry. There is one point
in all these theories, and that is that sooner or later the migrations became
a progress "toward the east".
However the Indian entered the western world they were a migratory people
compelled by economic, domestic, or political pressure to remove from one area
to another and it was not until historic times that the bounds of the American
Indians became fixed. And it is moreover true that there were certain national
movements steadily to the eastward, or rising sun. The traditions of the
Indians within continental United States all agree upon this point. There is
one notable exception to this. The Cree Indians of Canada in their legend
state that their forefathers came westward from Labrador - southwestward and
westward. This series of legends stands out in bold contrast with the Algonkin
and Iroquois and Cherokee legends. And this becomes more significant when you
consider that the Cree and Chippeways belong to the Algonkin Family Stock. In
fact, the language of the Crees is accepted by American archaeologists as the
purest linguistic dialect of their parent stock.
SCOPE OF THE ARTICLE DEFINED
study confines itself to the second of the four great Indian Stocks, namely,
the Algonkin. This family was widespread: In Canada we find the Crees,
Chippeways and Montagnais. In the United States, the Pottawottomies, Miami,
Peoria, Pea, Piankashaw, Kaskaskia, Menominee, Sac, Fox, Kicjapoo, Abnaki,
Mogegan, Massachusetts, Shawnee, Minsi, Unami, Unalachtigo, Nanticoke,
Powhatan, Blackfeet, Gros Ventres, and Cheyennes. In all these general groups
we find certain linguistic, traditional and internal indications pointing to a
means of information are several.
early Missionaries, such as Heckewelder and Loskiel of the Moravians; Brainerd
of the New England Puritans; and the Jesuits of the Roman Church, rank among
first explorers, traders, interpreters, and government agents.
records of conferences and treaties between Whites and the Redmen, at which
time the Indians often referred to historical matters in arguing their claims
to certain sections of the country, and in order to settle rank and precedence
among the representatives of various Indian nations.
the later archeologists, especially of the early 19th Century, there appears a
man whose career and whose personality present some of the strangest aspects
to be found among American scholars. I refer to Prof. G. S. Rafinesque. This
interesting character was born in Galata of French parentage, Oct. 22, 1783.
His father died while Rafinesque was quite young and consequently the
responsibility of his training fell upon his mother. She permitted him very
largely to work out his own career. In 1802 Rafinesque came to the United
States where he remained two years. In 1804 he sailed to Europe and settled in
Sicily. Here he married and maintained an unhappy domicle until 1815, when he
returned to the United States to make it his home, leaving his family behind
him. He made Philadelphia his home, where, except for a short experience as
Professor of History in Transylvania University in Kentucky, he pursued his
erratic course until his death in 1840 amid squalor, poverty and misery.
Rafinesque early turned his attention to botany and became an expert in that
science. His attainments, however, reached out into other departments of
learning. He was a Latin and Greek scholar of parts, he was master of several
modern languages, he was interested in the science of the time, and for a
period posed as a medical practitioner.
accumulated a mass of manuscripts on diverse subjects, for he was an
indefatigable worker. Many of these were lost in a shipwreck during his second
ocean voyage to America, and after his death his remaining manuscripts were
scattered and most of them lost. He seems to have been shunned by most of our
leading scientists of the day, although he belonged to a number of their
societies; however, Asa Gray took cognizance of some of his botanical papers
and prepared a criticism of them.
BAFINESQUE FIRST PUBLISHED THE PAINTED RECORD
during the period that Rafinesque was on the staff of the University in
Kentucky, he claims to have secured, in 1820, from a "Dr. Ward of Indiana"
access to a number of wooden symbols or ideographs together with a manuscript
on which were certain legends of the Lenni Lenape Indians. He seems to have
done little with these discoveries until 1833, when he published what he
called a translation of the ideographs and the Chants. He arranged these in
three column series somewhat similar to the manner on the Rosseti Stone. He
called his translation the "WALUM OLUM" or Painted Record of the Lenni Lenape
document consists, as has been said, of three columns. The first is a series
of pictographs, the second of dialectic chants, and the third his own
translation of the two into literal English. It purports to be a metrical
legend of the migrations of these Indians in prehistoric times and of their
contacts with other nations which are thus brought into view. It did not
receive consideration to any considerable degree on the part of
contemporaneous scholars until Squier secured possession of the original
manuscripts and produced an independent copy of the pictographs, chants and
translations which he incorporated in a paper he read before the New York
Historical Society in 1849. Brinton, into whose hands the original manuscript
had come subsequent to the death of Rafinesque, and who loaned them to Squier,
has stated that Squier's copy of the symbols is very careless and in a number
of places is inaccurate; also that his Indian chants wander from the original
manuscript in several places. My own conclusion after close study of this
point is that Brinton is the safest translator for the student to follow.
at this time a brief example from each of the Cantos, producing the ideograph,
metrical chant and literal English translation of the same.
Canto deals with the Creation. There is considerable similarity to the
Biblical record in this Canto. The surmise is made by several scholars that
this is a proof of the recent origin of the legend and indicates the influence
of the missionaries on the Indians. In rebuttal the widespread appearance of
this legend wherever the Algonkin stock existed refutes this claim; in
divergent form this legend existed in each of the subdivisions of the family.
Moreover, Heckewelder gives us an enlarged version of the legend and this
version corroborates the WALUM OLUM in most of its statements. In reply to
this it is fair to state that charges are made that Rafinesque borrowed freely
from the manuscripts of Heckewelder. Brinton seems inclined to believe that
the legend is genuine although it may contain some influences of the
ewitalli wemiguma wekgetaki.
first-all-see water above land.
Hackung kwelik owanaku wakyutali kitaneto-witessop.
earth, an extended fog, and there the great Manito was.
Sayewis hallemiwis nolemiwi elemamik kitanitewit essop.
forever, lost in space, everywhere, the great Manito was.
Sohalawak kwelik hakik owak awasagamak.
made the extended land and the sky.
the II Canto, The Deluge:
Wulamo maskanako anup lennowak makowini esso-pak.
ago there was a mighty snake and brings evil to men.
Maskanako shingalusit nigini essopak shawelendamep eken shingalan.
mighty snake hated those who were there greatly disquieted those whom he
Nishawi palliton, nishawi machiton, nishawi matte lungundowin.
both did harm, they both injured each other, both were not at peace.
Mattapewi wiki nihanlowit mekwazoan.
mighty snake firmly resolved to harm the men.
Pehella wtenk lennapewi tulapewini psakwiken woliwikignu wittank talli.
the rushing waters (had subsided) the Lenape of the turtle were close together
in hollow houses, living together there.
Topan-akpinep, winen-akpinep, kshakanakpinep, thupin akpinep.
freezes where they abode, it snows where they abode, it storms where they
abode, it is cold where they abode.
Lowankwamikek wulaton wtakan tihill kelik meshautang sill ewak.
northern place, they speak favorably of mild,. cool, (lands) with many deer
Chintanes-sin powalessin peyachik wikhichik pok-wihil.
they journeyed, some being strong, some rich, they separated into
housebuilders and hunters.
Wulamo linapioken manup shinaking.
ago the fathers of the Lenape were at the land of spruce pines.
Wapallenewa sittamaganat yukepechi wemima.
Hitherto the Bald Eagle band had been the pipe-bearer.
Akhomenis michihaki welaki kundokanup.
they were searching for the Snake Island, that great and fine land.
Angomelchik elowichik elmusichik menalting.
having died, the hunters, about to depart, met together.
Wemilangundo wulamo talk talegaking.
was peaceful, long ago, there at the Talega land.
Tamaganend sakimanep wapalaneng.
Pipe-Bearer was chief at the White River.
Wonwihil lowashawa wapayachik.
this time, from the north and south the whites came.
Langomuwak kitohatewa ewenikiktit.
are peaceful, they have great things who are they?
these fragments the reader will discover that we have a very important
document that reaches back beyond the discovery of America by Europeans and
that touches very closely upon the era of that mysterious people who inhabited
the American continent in primeval days.
WALUM OLUM frequently refers to a race, as the "Tellegwi". According to the
account, this people occupied the central portion of the continent – where now
the states of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are found. They also stretched well
remains of their name is found in the Allegheny Mountains aid River. The
Tellegwi were a warlike race, possessing considerable civilization,
cultivating their fields, with highways and walled cities. Scientific
investigations carried on by the Ohio Archaeological Society have recovered to
us considerable of the domestic and cultural life of this lost people. The
Lenape legend ascribed to them these qualities and declares that the Iroquois
nation and themselves joined hands and for years fought bitterly with the
Tellegwi and at last expelled them from their homes and country and drove them
southward down the Ohio Valley. There are reasons for believing that the
Cherokee Indians are the lineal descendants of these Tellegwi, and if so, are
the genuine First Families of America.
Walum Olum supplies the American archeologist with a text which, supplemented
by other aboriginal documents, furnishes us with considerable information as
to the beliefs of the ancient American Algonkin stock.
Indian of that day had a trinity of objects of worship: Light, Winds, Totemic
worshipped the Light. They did this under three forms: the Sun, Fire, and the
Brainerd, "Life and Journal," says "Others imagined the sun to be the only
deity, and that all things were made by him."
their festivals, the fifth was held in honor of "fire." They personified fire
and called it "the grandfather of all Indian Nations." They assigned to it
twelve divine assistants, represented by so many actors in the ceremony. This
has very clear reference to the twelve moons or months of the year, the fire
being a type of the heavenly blaze - the sun. [See Loskiel, Geschichte, etc.]
Both sun and fire were material emblems of the mystery of Light. Out in the
Fair Grounds at Newark, Ohio, is found one of the remarkable enclosures of the
Mound Builders. It has but one opening. In the center of the immense enclosure
is the dirt effigy of some great winged creature. It is flying straight toward
this one opening. In the summer of 1917 my family gypsied with our auto
through southern Ohio and we encamped in this enclosure over night. At
daybreak my children stood on the top of the effigy and looked across its body
toward that one opening and discovered they were gazing straight at the sun as
it rose over the eastern hills.
son and fire became the body or fountain of deity [Brainerd]. Something "all
light," a being in whom the earth and all things in it may be seen, a "great
man, clothed with the day, yea, with the brightest day, a day of many years, a
day of everlasting continuance." Light was also worshipped under the symbol of
the Hare. [Brinton.] The Delawares applied to the Hare the appellation
"Grandfather of the Indians." [Loskiel.] Like the fire, the hare was
considered their ancestor, in both Light was meant, their word for "hare" was
identical with their word for “brightness and light.” Now the “Light” worship
among the Delaware Indians has an immediate bearing on several points in the
Walum Olum. No compounds are more frequent in that document than those with
the root signifying "light", "brightness".
WORSHIP GIVEN TO THE FOUR CARDINAL WINDS
Indians worshipped the four cardinal points. This worship was parallel with
that of Light and very probably was a part of it. These four cardinal points
appear as the four winds, they bring the rain and sunshine, they rule over the
weather. Brainerd observes "after the strictest inquiry respecting their
notions of the Deity, I find that in ancient times before the coming of the
white people, some supposed there were four invisible powers who presided over
the four corners of the earth."
HELD IN THE SOUL IMMORTALITY
had a general belief in a soul, spirit, or immaterial part of man. Their words
for soul were:
tschipey - root - to be separate or apart.
tschitschank - root - the shadow.
death the soul went south. It enjoyed here a happy life for a certain term of
years, then could return and be born again into the world. In certain
ecstasies this soul had power to recall its former existences, both mundane
we learn that the Aboriginal American, especially of the Algonkin stock, had
dim memories of an exceedingly ancient lineage, extending over vast reaches of
land and sea; he had developed a religious cult that found place for the
invisible forces of the spiritual world. God had a meaning to him and he found
in himself a spiritual nature. Moreover, he projected life beyond the limits
of the physical world and discovered certain great virtues inherent in his
cosmogony. As time stretches out, the origins of man on the American
continents will appeal increasingly to the archaeologist. Trend of opinion is
assigning to him more ancient epochs than was formerly granted. Meanwhile, the
student of American life will find it profitable to investigate the legends of
these Lenape Indians and their observations recorded by early whites who lived
Squier's paraphrase of the Walum Olum, as found in Drake's Aboriginal Races of
North America, is given here at length.
I. The Creation
the first there were great waters above all the land.
above the waters were thick clouds, and there was God the Creator.
first being, eternal, omnipotent, invisible, was God the Creator.
created vast waters, great lands, and much air and heaven;
created the sun the moon, and the stars;
caused them all to move well
His power He made the winds to blow, purifying, and the deep waters to run
was made bright and the islands were brought into being
Then again God the Creator made the great Spirits,
made also the first beings, angels and souls
Then made He a man being, the father of men
gave him the first mother, the mother of the early born
Fishes gave He him, turtles, beasts and birds.
But the Evil Spirit created evil beings, snakes and monsters
created vermin and annoying insects.
Then were all beings friends.
There being a good God, all spirits were good -
The beings, the first men, mothers, wives, little spirits also.
Fat fruits were the food of the beings and the little spirits:
All were then happy, easy in mind, and pleased.
But then came secretly on earth the snake (evil) god, the snake-priest and
Came wickedness, came unhappiness,
Came then bad weather, disease and death.
This was all very long ago, at our early home.
II. The Deluge
Long ago came the powerful serpent (maskanako), when men had become evil.
strong serpent was the foe of the beings, and they became embroiled, hating
Then they fought and despoiled each other, and were not peaceful.
the small men (mattapewi) fought with the keeper of the dead.
Then the strong serpent resolved all men and beings to destroy immediately.
black serpent, monster, brought the snake-water rushing, everywhere
wide waters rushing, wide to the hills, everywhere spreading, everywhere
the island of the turtle (Tula) was Manabozho, of men and beings the
Being born creeping, at turtle land he is ready to move and dwell.
Men and beings all go forth on the flood of waters, moving 18 afloat everyway
seeking the back of the turtle (tulapin).
The monsters of the sea were many, and destroyed some of them.
Then the daughter of a spirit helped them in a boat and all joined, saying,
Manabozho, of all beings, of men and turtles, the grandfather!
All together on the turtle then, the men then, were all together.
Much frightened, Manabozho prayed to the turtle that he would make all well
Then the waters ran off, it was dry on mountain and plain and the great evil
went elsewhere by the path of the cave.
After the flood the true men (lennapwi) were with the turtle in the cave
was then cold, it froze and stormed, and
From the northern plain, they went to possess milder lands, abounding in game.
That they might be strong and rich, the newcomers divided the lands between
the hunters and tillers (wickhichik, elowichik ) .
hunters were the strongest, the best, the greatest.
They spread north, east, south, and west.
the white, or snow country (lumowaki), the north country, the turtle land and
the hunting country, were the turtle men, or Linapiwi.
Snake (evil) people being afraid in their cabins, the snake priest (Nakopowaj
said to them, let us go away.
Then they went to the east, the snake land sorrowfully leaving.
Thus escaped the snake people, but the trembling and burned land to their
strong island (Akomenaki).
Free from oppressors, and without trouble, the Northlings (Lowaniwi) all went
forth separating in the land of snow ( Winiaken ) .
the waters of the open sea, the sea of fish, tarried the fathers of the
white-eagle (tribe?) and the white wolf.
Our fathers were rich; constantly sailing in their boats, they discovered to
the eastward the Snake island.
Then said the Head-beaver (Wihlamok) and the Greatbird, let us go to the Snake
All responded, let us go and annihilate the snakes.
All agreed, the northlings, the easterlings, to pass the frozen waters.
Wonderful! They all went over the waters of the hard, stony sea, to the open
vast numbers, in a single night, they went to the eastern or Snake island; all
of them marching by night in the darkness.
The northlings, the easterlings, the southerlings ( Shawanapi), the Beaver-men
(Tamakwapis), the Wolf men, the Hunters or best men, the priests (Powatapi),
the wiliwapi, with their wives and daughters and their dogs.
They all arrived at the land of Firs (Shinaking), where they tarried, but the
western men (Wunkenapi) hesitating, desired to return to the old turtle land (Tulpaking).
Long ago, our fathers were at Shinaki, or Fir land.
White Eagle (Wapalanewa) was the path leader of all to this place.
They searched the great and fine land, the island of the snakes.
hardy hunters and the friendly spirits met in council.
all said to Kalawil (Beautiful Head): be thou chief ( sakima ) here.
Being chief he commanded they should go against the snakes.
the Snakes were weak and hid themselves at the Bear Hills.
After Kalawil, Wapagokhas (White Owl) was sakima at Fir land.
After him Jantowit (Maker) was chief.
And after him Chilili (Snowbird) was sakima. The south, he said -
our fathers, they were able, spreading, to possess.
the south went Chilili; to the east went Tamakwi.
The Southland (Shawanaki) was beautiful, shoreland abounding in tall firs.
The East Land (Wapanaki) abounded in fish, it was the lake and buffalo land.
After Chilili, Agamek (Great Warrior) was chief.
Then our fathers warred against the robbers, Snakes, bad men, and strong men,
Chikonapi, Akhonapi, Makatopi, Assinapi.
After Agamek came ten chiefs and then were many wars south, east, and west.
After them was Langundowi (the Peaceful) sakima, at the Aholaking (Beautiful
Following him Tasukamend (Never bad), who was a good and just man.
The chief after him was Pemaholend (Ever beloved), who did good.
Then Matemik (Town builder) and Pilwihalen.
And after these in succession, Gunokeni, who was father long, and Mangipetak
Then followed Olumapi (Bundle of sticks), who taught them pictures (records)
Came then Takwachi (Who shivers with cold), who went southward to the Corn
Next was Huminiend (Corn eater), who caused corn to be planted.
Then Alko-ohit (The Preserver), who was useful.
Then Shiwpowi (Salt man) and afterwards Penkwonowi (The Thirsty) when
There was no rain, and no corn, and he went to the east far from the great
river or shore.
Passing over a hollow mountain (Oligonunk) they at last found food at
Shililaking, the plains of the buffalo-land.
After Penkwonowi, came Mekwoehella (the Weary), and Chingalsawi (the Stiff).
After him, Kwitikwund (the Reprover), who was disliked and not willingly
Being angry, some went to the eastward, and some went secretly afar off.
The wise tarried, and made Makaholend (the Beloved) chief.
the Wisawana (Yellow River) they built towns, and raised corn on the great
All being friends, Tamenend (the Amiable) lit beaverlike, became the first
The best of all, then or since, was Tamenend, and all men were his friends.
After him was the good chief, Wapikicholen (White Crane).
And then Wingenund (the Mindful or Wary), who made feasts.
After him came Lapawin (the White) and Wallama (the Painted ) and
Waptiwapit (White Bird), when there was war again, north and south.
Then was Tamaskan (Strong Wolf) chief, who was wise in council, and
Who made war on all, and killed Maskensini (Great Stone).
Messissuwi (the Whole) was next chief, and made war on the Snakes (Akowini).
Chitanwulit (Strong and Good) followed, and made war on the northern enemies (Lowanuski).
Alkouwi (the Lean) was next chief, and made war on the Father-snakes (Towakon).
Opekasit (East Looking) being next chief, was sad because of so much warfare.
Said, let us go to the sunrising (Wapagishek), and many went east together.
The great river (Missussipi) divided the land, and being tired, they tarried
Yagawanend (Hut Maker) was next sakima, and then the Tallegwi were found
possessing the east.
Followed Chitanitis (Strong Friend), who longed for the rich eastland.
Some went to the east, but the Tallegwi killed a portion.
Then all of one mind exclaimed, war! war!
The Talmaton (Not of Themselves) and the Nitilowan all go united (to the war).
Kinnehopend (Sharp Looking) was their leader, and they went over the river.
And they took all that was there, and despoiled and slew the Tallegwi.
Pimokhasuwi (Stirring About) was next chief, and then the Tallegwi were much
Teuchekensit (Open Path) followed, and many towns were given up to him.
Paganchihilla was chief and the Tallegwi all went southward.
Hattanwulaton (the Possessor) was sakima, and all the people were pleased.
South of the lakes they settled their council fire, and north of the lakes
were their friends the Talamaton (Huron?).
They were not always friends, but conspired when Gunitakan was chief.
Next was Linniwolamen who made war of the Talamaton.
Shakagapewi followed, and then the Talamatons trembled.
were peaceful long ago, at the land of the Tallegwi.
Then was Tamaganenu (weaver Leader) chief at the White River.
Wapushuwi (White Lynx) followed and much corn was planted.
After came Walichinik, and the people became very numerous.
Next was Lekhitin, and made many records (Walum Olum) or painted sticks.
Followed Kolachnisen (Blue Bird), at the place of much fruit or food.
Pematalli was chief over many towns.
Pepomahemen (Paddler), at many waters (or the great waters).
Tankawon (Little Cloud) was chief, and many went away.
The Nentegos and the Shawanis went to the southward
Kichitamak (Big Beaver) was chief at the White Lick.
The Good Prophet (Onowatok) went to the west.
visited those who were abandoned there and at the southwest.
Pawanami (Water Turtle) was chief at the Talegahonah ( Ohio ) river.
Lakwelend (Walker) was next chief, and there was much warfare.
Against the Towako (Father Snakes), against the Sinako (Stone or Mountain
Snakes), and against the I,owako (North Snakes).
Then was Mokolmokoni (Grandfather-of-boats) chief, and he warred against the
snakes in boats.
Winelowich (Snow Hunter) was the chief at the north land.
And Likwekinuk (Sharp Seer) was chief at the Allegheny Mountains (Talegachukang).
And Wapalawikwon (East Settler) was chief east of the Tallegwi land.
Large and long was the east land;
had no enemies (snakes) and was a rich and good land.
And Gikenopolat (Great Warrior) was chief towards the north.
And Hanaholend (Stream Lover) at the branching stream (Saswihanang, or
And Gattawisi (the Fat) was sakima at the Sassafras land.
All were hunters from the big Salt Water (Goshikshapipek), to the again sea.
Maklinawip (Red Arrow) was chief at tide-water.
And Wolomenap was chief at the strong falls.
And the Wapanend and the Tumewand were to the north.
Walitpollot (Good Fighter) was chief, and set out against the north.
Then trembled the Mahongwi (The Iroquois) and the Pungelika (Lynx-like or
Then the second Tamenend (Beaver) was chief and he made peace with all
And all were friends, all united under this great chief
After him was Kichitamak (Great-good-beaver) chief in the Sassafras land.
Wapahaky (White Body) was chief at the seashore.
Elangonel (the Friendly) was chief, and much good was done.
And Pitemunen was chief, and people came from somewhere.
this time from the east came that which was white (vessels?).
Makelomuch was chief and made all happy.
Wulakeningus was next chief, and was a warrior at the south.
made war on the Otaliwako (Cherokee snakes or enemies) and upon the Akowetako
Wapagamoski (White Otter) was next chief, and made the Talamatons friends.
Wapashum followed and visited the land of Tallegwi at the west.
There were the Hiliniki (Illinois?), the Shawani, and the Kenowiki.
Nitispayat was also chief and went to the great lakes.
And he visited the Wemiamik (Beaver Children, or Miamis) and made them
Then came Rackimitzin (Cranberry-eater), who made the Tawa (Ottawas) friends.
Lowaponska was chief and visited the Noisy place
And Tashawinso was chief at the seashore
Then the children divided into three parts, the Unamini (Turtle tribe), the
Minsimini (Wolf tribe), the Chikimini (Turkey tribe).
Epallahohund was chief, and fought the Mahongwim, but failed.
Laugomuwi was chief, and the Mahongwi trembled.
Waugomend was chief, yonder between
The Otawili and Wasiotowi were his enemies
Wapachikis (White Crab) was chief, and a friend of the shore people.
Nenachipat was chief towards the sea.
from the north and south came the Wapagachik (White comers).
Professing to be friends, in big birds (ships), who are they?
BRINTON: Lenave and Their Legends.
BRINTON: Library of Aboriginal American Literature. Vol. 5. 1885. Phila.
Indian Migrations in his "Indian Miscellany."
Indian Migrations as Evidenced by Language. 1883. Chicago.
LACOMBE: Dictionnaire de la langue des Cries. 1874. Montreal.
A Grammar of the Cree Language. 1842. London.
Province of Maryland. George Alsop.
American Historical Magazine. Vol. 2.
Early Indian History on the Susquehanna. 1883. Harrisburg.
HECKEWELDER: History of Indian Nations.
History of Objibway Nation.
Relation des Jesuits 1637.
HAYWOOD: Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee. 1823. Nashville.
LOSKIEL: Geschichte des Missions.
ETTWEIN: Traditions and Language of the Indian Nations. 1788.
DRUMMOND: Articles in American Philosophical Association. 1872.
DRUMMOND: Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society.
BRUNNER: The Indians of Berks Co., Penna. 1881. Reading.
RICHARDSON: John Richardson's Diary. 1844. London.
SCHOOLCRAFT: History and Statistics of the Indian Tribes.
SCHWEINTZ: Life of Zeisberger.
WILLIAMS: Key Into the Language of America.
History of the Indians
BRINTON: Myths of the New World.
BRAINERD: Life and Journal.
BRAINERD: Pennsylvania Historical Society Bulletins. 1848.
HARRISON: A Discourse on the Aborigines of the Valley of the Ohio. 1838.
GALLATIN: Transactions American Antiquity.
Aboriginal Races of North America.
Claims of the Modern Operatives
BRO. R.J. MEEKREN
article was partly written two years ago at the request of Bro. Haywood, while
the author was in England where he had the privilege of seeing and hearing a
good deal at first hand on the subject. It has been completed with a view to
presenting the other side of the case so ably advocated by Bro. Springett in
his article that appeared in the August and September numbers of The Builder,
Bro. Wonnacott very kindly furnishing additional information for this purpose,
and permission to use his name.
time within the first decade of the present century, I put it thus
indefinitely for so far I have not been able to learn exactly when or how the
first announcement was made, the members of the Craft in England were
intrigued by statements that lodges of Operative Masons were still in
existence, and working the original initiatory rites as handed down from a
Clement Stretton, a north of England Civil Engineer, claimed to be one of the
three chief masters of this organization. Dr. Carr became one of his
disciples, and wrote his descriptive pamphlet, The Ritual of the Operative
Freemasons, and later Dr. Merz in this country published Guild Masonry in the
Making, while John Yarker acted in support by various statements and
references in certain of his works. The claims made by these brethren were
naturally heard with mingled feelings by Masonic scholars. It is not easy to
mentally adjust oneself to facts that appear to undermine the very
presuppositions of all one's previous work. An analogous case in science was
the discovery of radio-activity, which necessitated an entire revision of the
accepted physical hypotheses and an abandonment of the older theory of
indestructible and inert atoms as the substratum of matter.
first impulse, and a perfectly normal and sane one, is to doubt such alleged
discovery, and to put it to the most searching tests. This Masonic students
did with the claims of the "Operative" Masons: yet on the other hand they
showed a perfect willingness to be convinced, and many of them took a great
deal of trouble, and were willing to agree to any possible conditions that
might be laid down for an examination of the records said to be in the
possession of the Operative Society. In short, it cannot be said that these
claims met with an intolerant or prejudiced examination; and if the weight of
Masonic scholarship has finally rejected them it is due to a continued
refusal, or inability, to produce any tangible evidence. It is certainly
curious that not only have the ritual secrets of the Guild been communicated
freely to Speculative Masons, but in the works of the brethren above mentioned
they have been published to the world at large, so far as it may be
interested; while inspection of minute books and accounts has been
consistently refused on various pretexts.
CLAIMS MADE BY THE OPERATIVES
be as well to recapitulate the more or less official statements and claims of
the modern Operative or Guild Masons, the full title of whose society is "The
Worshipful Society of Freemasons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors,
Plaisterers and Bricklayers."
be noted, by the way, that while the name of the society indicates that it
includes all these occupations connected with building yet apparently only the
stone masons are actually admitted into the lodges, though Carr does say that
a Fellow will exchange the apprentice grip with a bricklayer, but will go no
further. The operative craft, according to the accounts given, is divided into
two, the arch and square masons, and a man must belong to one or other
exclusively, except that the masters are free of both, and form the link that
unites the two branches into one organization, for the lodges of the lower
degrees are separate for each. The Apprentice is not considered a member of
the society, though obligated and entrusted with certain ritual secrets. When
he has served his time he becomes a Fellow, from which degree he may advance
to Super-Fellow, and from that to Super-Fellow Erector. Then he may become a
Superintendent and after that a Passed Master. From the Passed Masters on is
annually chosen to be one (the junior) of the three Masters who rule the
society. This position is filled annually, the second and third Masters
holding office for life or until they retire.
ceremonies of the first grade correspond to those of Entered Apprentice in
Speculative Masonry, and Fellow to the Fellow Craft. Super-Fellow and Erector
parallel Speculative Mark Masonry, while the degree of Master Mason is said to
be an imitation of the annual ceremonies connected with the election and
installation of the Third Master, who is said to represent H.A.B., only the
ceremony is used to retire the occupant of the office at the end of his term
and give an occasion to install his successor, instead of being an initiation
into a higher grade. From the accounts given us there is one idea specially
worked out in the ritual of each of the first four grades, which is that the
candidate is made to emblematically represent the stone, in its rough and
polished states and as marked and set in its place in the building.
Operatives give a very detailed account of the origin of present day
Speculative Masonry. They lay all the blame on Dr. Anderson, who it would
seem, poor man, has still another set of sins to answer for in addition to
those that have been laid at his door by modern scholars, of unreliability in
his historical accounts and his liberalizing tendencies in religion. By this
account he was Chaplain to the old Lodge of St. Paul's (this same account, by
the way, is the authority that there was such a lodge) and that he irregularly
admitted sundry gentlemen as honorary members of the Craft. For this he was
expelled, and in consequence proceeded to set up a Speculative lodge in
conjunction with those whom he had irregularly introduced (who included, it is
said, Dr. Desaguliers, Sayer and George Payne) and from this clandestine
Speculative lodge the Grand Lodge of 1717 shortly after arose. Dr. Carr says:
1717, under the influence of Dr. Anderson and his friends, some Operative
Freemasons with some of these non-Operative, Accepted or Speculative
Freemasons, belonging to four lodges in London, met and formed the first Grand
Lodge, a combination in which Speculative Masonry instead of Operative Masonry
was the primary consideration. Architecture and Operative tools became
symbolical, but the ritual was based on the Ritual of the old Operative
Society, of which, indeed, it was largely a reproduction.
Apprentice Degree and the Fellow Craft Degree were founded on the
corresponding degrees of the Operative System.
on, when a Master's Degree--not a Master of a lodge, but a Master Mason--was
added, Anderson and his friends invented a ceremony based on the Operatives'
Annual Festival of Oct. 2, commemorating the slaying of Hiram Abiff at the
building of King Solomon's Temple.
real Secrets and real Ritual of the Operative Master's Degree could not be
given, as but few knew them, namely, only those who had actually been one of
the three Masters, Seventh Degree, by whom the Operatives were ruled, and
Anderson had certainly not been one of these; his function having been that of
Chaplain, although it is quite possible he had been admitted an Accepted
member of the Craft some years previously in Scotland."
course if Operative Masonry did consist of a two-branched seven-degree
organization, and if Sir Christopher Wren was chief Master of the lodge that
built St. Paul's Cathedral when Anderson was Chaplain, then this account might
be accepted; but as this complicated organization of the Craft is one of the
very points at issue it must be held in doubt till the matter is decided.
OPERATIVE CONTENTIONS CRITICIZED
are three lines of criticism which may be followed. The strictly historical is
one. The time and occasion when modern Operative Masonry was first heard of,
the development of its claims, the attempts of qualified students to find out
more about it, the constant evasions of Bro. Stretton, and his refusal to meet
direct, straightforward inquiries concerning the alleged continuous records.
There is in the possession of Bro. Wonnacott, Grand Librarian of the United
Grand Lodge of England, a collection of letters from Stretton to a prominent
member of the Craft now deceased, covering a period of about five years. In
these letters one can see a gradual evolution of the claims and
characteristics of the Guild organization; to use Bro. Wonnacott's own phrase,
one "can almost see it grow"; and by comparing dates, it is even possible to
see what books Stretton had been reading. In one important point he flatly
contradicted himself. One of the earlier letters gives a long, circumstantial,
half-jocular, account of the initiation of the landlady of a public house
where the meetings were held, into the first degree, so that she could be free
to enter the lodge with refreshments when required. As the Operative ritual
requires the candidate to be stripped naked this was somewhat embarrassing, as
Stretton was at pains to explain. Some years later he repudiates the idea that
ever under any circumstances could a woman be admitted. Masonic students in
England are personally aware of all these circumstances and so far it has not
seemed to them worth while to actually collect the facts concerning these
claims. But for the coming generation, and for those at a distance it would be
well if some qualified brother should take this task in hand.
Another line of approach is through a criticism of the Operative ritual itself
in the light of all the facts known about the Speculative ritual forms, and a
third would be a consideration from a technical point of view of the alleged
Operative trade secrets and methods of planning and laying out buildings. To
deal with these two aspects of the question we need no more evidence than is
furnished by the writings of the partizans of the Operative claims.
start with the title itself. We have already pointed out the contradiction
between a Society of Rough Masons, Plasterers, Bricklayers and others that
does not admit any man of these trades to more than a first degree, which is
expressly stated to be exterior (that is, the apprentice is not a member of
the Society) so that though the Slater or Pavior may be given the apprentice
grip and word he does not really belong. Bro. Merz in his Guild Masonry in the
Making alludes to a number of instances of Guilds or Companies composed of a
group of crafts including masons. He also gives in full the charter given by
the Bishop of Durham to a Guild in that city in 1638. The curious thing in
this (it is not a charter of constitution, but of confirmation) is that in the
preamble it speaks of the Society having formerly existed under the name of
Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaytors, Pavers, Playsterers and Bricklayers--the
title is mentioned twice, the second time to say that "from henceforth and
hereafter" it is to be "in deed and name one body politiq ppetuall and
incorporate by the name of the Company society and fellowship of freemasons,
roughmasons, wallers, etc." That is the freemasons are from thenceforward to
be a part of this civic corporation. How this can be evidence of any esoteric
organization is hard to see. All such guilds and companies composed of like
(and in some cases unlike) occupations were formed for purely local and
sectional reasons, to make rules for the occupations concerned, to inspect
work done and, especially, to prevent the employment of "furriners," men
without the freedom of the city. Again all the old MS. Constitutions insist
that there must be no consorting with roughmasons or layers--probably much the
same class of workmen as wallers, yet according to the modern Guild rules they
are allowed to enter as apprentices. Yet the old "Charges" are claimed as
being really Guild documents ! They certainly are operative documents, but the
assumption of the term operative by a modern organization gives the latter no
claim on them except by confusion of thought.
THERE SEVEN DEGREES?
next point is the hierarchy of seven grades or degrees. We must all heartily
agree with Bro. Merz that the medieval Masons could have devised and worked a
seven degree ritual, but the question is not whether they had the ability but
whether they actually did so. If the modern Operatives did not appeal to the
Old Charges and the other records of the Craft we could have little to say,
for it is hard to prove a negative. Such an organization might have existed,
might have been perpetuated, but it would be something quite other than the
organization that we know did exist. But if they bring the records of this
last as evidence for their claims it seems they can only be disallowed, for
the Mason craft of which we have documentary knowledge possessed three ranks
and two grades, or if not two then only one. This last is to some extent still
an open question--but the bearing is the same, however decided. There were
three ranks known--the Masters, employing other men, the Fellows and the
Apprentices. In degree, either all ranks were included in one esoteric grade
or the Apprentice grade was one step and Master or Fellow another.
TITLES SOUND MODERN
titles of the seven Operative degrees give the impression of modernity rather
than antiquity. SuperFellow and Super-Fellow Erector are very clumsy
titles--not such as would stand the wear and tear of centuries. A "banker" or
"setter", a "layer", "cutter", or "carver" are terms that could be and have
been used. But the prefix "super" applied to fellow is not easy to say, it
does not run smoothly. It also suggests some forgotten side degrees of the
middle eighteenth century Speculatives, such as Super-excellent Master, a much
more euphonious title, by the way, than Superfellow, though it has been
practically discarded for the more sonorous Most-excellent. The sixth grade is
called Passed Master, which composes the body of Harodim. Passed or Past
Master is a simple, smooth sounding phrase that might be of any age, only
there is no evidence in any documentary record that it was actually used until
after the crucial year of 1717 and the formation of the Speculative
organization. So far as can be gathered it meant (however spelled) either one
whom we would call a Past Master, or what we intend when we say one has been
raised a Master. The terms pass and raise were at first used indiscriminately
for either or both the Speculative degrees of Fellowcraft and Master Mason.
Harodim is again a curious term. It is not impossible, of course, that it
might have been used in medieval times, but it is quite certain that we first
hear of it in connection with Speculative Masonry. It sounds very much like a
bit of the learned pedantry that marked the period in which the latter was
organized. Until some record of its previous use can be adduced it rather
points to modern invention than immemorial usage.
actual ceremonies themselves as they have been described to us there are many
minor points that seem to indicate an evolution from the Speculative ritual
used in England at the present time. Some of these points indeed are even used
by the supporters of the "Guild" claims as evidence for their contention. The
mere fact of resemblance proves nothing one way or the other, nor does it
follow that the more developed is necessarily the original, it may be an
evolution from the simpler form. For instance, Bro. Carr in a paper read
before the Author's Lodge (1) makes a point of the fact that in an Operative
masters lodge three mountains intimately connected with Hebrew history are
referred to, Moriah, Tabor and Sinai. Then he observes that in the special
form of opening the lodge in the English Grand and Provincial Grand Lodges the
Grand Wardens are said to have their stations on Tabor and Sinai respectively.
The argument is that because the Speculative ritual does not go on to place
the Grand Master on Moriah this ceremony is an imperfect reflection of the
Operative form. So it might be if there were nothing else to consider. But
when we remember that this Tabor, Sinai form is peculiar to England, and that
it is restricted to Grand Lodge, we have to hesitate, because to fully
appraise the problem we must remember that other Speculative ritual traditions
are of equal value to the post Union ritual of England, if indeed they are not
of even greater weight, when we are trying to work back to early eighteenth
century forms. Briefly we know that the oldest catechisms referred to high
hills and to the Valley of Jehosaphat. This was quite sufficient to have been
the germ of the Grand Lodge formula and the Operative addition could have well
been a still further evolution, put in conjunction with their method of
placing the officers in just the opposite positions to those they have in
Speculative Masonry, that is WestEast-North instead of East-West-South. But
all the earliest ritual evidence, which must almost certainly take us behind
the supposed Andersonian innovations, goes to show that the Master's place was
always East and the Warden's (for at first there seems, at least in some
places, only to have been one) in the West.
Operative system a great deal is made of the great secret of the 3-4-5 sided
triangle, and each of the three Masters has a rod of proportionate length, so
that with the three such a triangle can be made. This Operative grade is
equated with the Royal Arch. In the English form of this degree each of the
three principal officers bears a scepter, and at a certain point in the
ceremonies a triangle is formed with them, an equilateral triangle. Here again
just from these facts alone the derivation might have been one way or the
other. The Operative theory is that the Speculative ritual framers had a vague
inkling of the formation of a triangle but did not know its significance. But
we know, curiously enough through Bro. Yarker himself who laboriously made a
beautifully written copy for the Library of the Grand Lodge of England and
another for Quatuor Coronati Lodge, that a form of lectures used by
Speculatives at the end of the eighteenth century contained this great
Operative secret, so that it was quite well known to the Speculative Craft
late in the eighteenth century. An argument based on this being unknown to
them must fall to the ground in the light of this evidence.(2)
Another point is made of the length and complexity of the Operative
ceremonies, and the references to technicalities and trade secrets. But
inherently this would seem to point rather to invention than to tradition. A
ceremony is no place for practical instruction. The apprentice was not taught
in a class but as he worked. At the end of his apprenticeship he was a master
of his craft, he knew all the trade secrets and operations and had the manual
skill to employ them.
ceremony is described of stretching a cord between the stations of the three
principal officers so as to make a triangle, and then the measurement of the
three angles together must make three right angles. The three angles of any
triangle must always equal two right angles, though to measure the angle made
by a stretched cord would be difficult enough to do with any accuracy--and as
useless as difficult.
symbolism of the Pole Star and the Swastika again sounds very like a borrowing
from modern researches; one would guess that the framer of these rituals had
read Bro. Simpson's work on the Buddhist Prayer Wheel, and other works of like
content that were published in the late nineties of last century or the first
years of the present one; that he was acquainted with the various theories
advanced by Masonic scholars, such as the old one that the Royal Arch was
originally part of the third degree--a hypothesis that seems the less tenable
the more closely it is considered in the light of known facts; or the opinion
that the "Lodge" is derived from the "Guild," which brings many unnecessary
difficulties in its train; or the very common supposition that Craft
ceremonies are ultimately of Hebrew origin, which has led to so much learned
darkening of counsel by multitudes of words.
points we have been considering are not of course conclusive, but taken
together in the light of the constant refusal to submit any of the documentary
evidence which is said to be in the possession of the Operative Society they
certainly make a strong case for rejection of the claims made for its
continuous existence, in its present form, from time immemorial. It is
difficult to get over the extraordinary facility with which esoteric and
ritual secrets have been published while such commonplace things as minutes
and books of account have been withheld. The story that they are in a secret
vault that only the Masters can enter, and from which they cannot be removed,
is not very convincing. Bro. Carr is of the Master's Grade, yet he has
apparently never seen them, at least he has never said so publicly, nor has he
ever dwelt on the point, although it has always been the first one to be
raised by every serious student when confronted by the Operative claims.
BRO. GILBERT W. DAYNES
course of the ceremony of raising a Mason to the Sublime Degree of a Master
Mason, as practiced in England, the attention of the candidate is drawn to
certain emblems [of mortality] which it is hoped will guide his reflections to
that most interesting of all human studies, the knowledge of himself. The
maxim, "Know thyself," was no new maxim when the ritual of our Masonic
ceremonies was expanded and perfected ,during the eighteenth century. We know
that, far back in the dim distant past, the heather oracles made use of it.
Its origin has been ascribed to one who has been universally recognized as the
founder of Greek geometry, astronomy and philosophy--Thales of Miletus--who
flourished during the sixth century B. C., and was the chief of the Seven Wise
Men of Greece. Chilon of Sparta--another of the seven-makes use of the maxim
in his writings, and the saying was also inscribed over the entrance of
Apollo's Temple at Delphi. Right down the ages this axiom has been quoted and
its eternal verity demonstrated. Christian sages have held it in the highest
esteem, and we find many passages in the V.S.L. which point out, in clear and
unmistakable terms, its sterling worth. For instance, are we not told in
Chapter XVII of St. Luke, verse 21, that "the kingdom of God is within you?"
There can be no surer way to that haven of eternal happiness and peace than by
learning to "Know thyself ."
down to more recent times we find Alexander Pope clothing this maxim in poetic
then thyself, presume not God to scan;
proper study of mankind is man."
on, in the same poem, the maxim is again brought into focus, and we read:
virtue only makes our bliss below,
all our knowledge is, ourselves to know."
not surprising, therefore, that Freemasonry, in its system of morality should
point out the desirability for its members to acquire such a knowledge. Many
may say that the principle enunciated is self evident, and that it is
therefore not necessary to lay stress upon it. It may be true that the
advantage of knowing yourself is obvious; but, as the acquisition of that
knowledge is by no means easy, and the search after it neglected in so many
cases, is it not well that we as Masons should have this truth brought
continually to our notice as we listen to the ceremony of the Third Degree? It
is to our profit that we should be made to realize the help and guidance that
a knowledge of one's self can give, for, as William Hazlitt so truly tells us,
"There is nothing that helps a man in his conduct through life more than a
knowledge of his own characteristic weaknesses which, guarded against, become
his strength." It is for want of such knowledge that men go astray, and
utilize their faculties for ignoble ends. There must be no straying into
bypaths from the Road of Conscience and Reason; and the precept, "Know
thyself," is the best and surest guide, or signpost, to the true road to
it surprising that this maxim should find its place in the ceremony of the
Third Degree, in which are gathered together the fruits of those Degrees which
precede it. The Master Mason should consider this charge to "Know thyself," a
standing rule of conduct of life, and strive diligently to perfect himself in
the necessary knowledge. By the study of ourselves --the sum of wisdom--those
tenets which form the basis of Freemasonry can be observed. By a searching
knowledge of ourselves we may hope to steer the bark of this life over the
seas of passion without quitting the helm of rectitude, and so subdue our
passions and prejudices that they may coincide with the just line of our
conduct. As Francis Bacon correctly has it, "knowledge is power." Just as
knowledge of outside matters will give to the man who acquires it a power over
his more ignorant fellowmen, so also will knowledge of one's self give us a
power over those unworthy feelings which tend to be uppermost in most human
beings. It is by means of such knowledge that man realizes that he does not
live merely for himself, but is part of one vast humanity.
is no better method of grasping and taking to heart those great Masonic
principles, which the brotherhood would instill into all its members, than by
following the maxim, "Know thyself." Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth will
become real factors in a Mason's life. The spirit of Love, as defined in the
V.S.L., becomes a standard for attainment; Charity, in its fullest sense,
wells up and fills the heart; and Truth comes to the front, thrusting
falsehood and dishonor into the abyss. By acquiring knowledge of yourself the
shackles of ignorance and prejudice may be struck off, and the garments of
goodness and humility donned. Fortified by such a knowledge all matters are
put to the highest test, and only the good retained; also, the voice of
conscience becomes strengthened and more audible to declare the true way. In
short, it cannot be too strongly brought home to every Mason that it is by
introspection that the mind is guided into the right channels; and that by a
thorough knowledge of one's self the Mason is given strength and courage to
practice, outside in the world, those beautiful principles and tenets he is
taught within the lodge. The truth of the maxim is brought home by its
practice, and thus we are made to feel that more wisdom cannot well be crowded
into less room than in those two short words, "Know thyself." The immortal
Shakespeare must have understood the true inwardness of this precept, for, in
Hamlet, when Polonius is expounding certain principles of character to Laertes,
he concludes thus:
above all--to thine own self be true;
must follow, as the night the day
canst not then be false to any man."
Dates in Vermont Masonry
BRO. HERBERT H. HINES, Vermont
Registrar of Probate, Secretary of State for Vermont, State Senator, Clerk of
Windsor County Courts, Master of Warren Lodge, Woodstock, Vt., at the time of
its dissolution. Was made an honorary Mason in 1856 for fidelity throughout
the Anti-Masonic period.
Lawyer, Congressman, Postmaster General under President Taylor; Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court of Vermont. United States Senator. Made an honorary Mason
in 1856 because he "would not and did not desert" Freemasonry when it was
"assailed the fiercest, and when weak-minded and faint-hearted brethren were
swept away before the blast." (Records of Woodstock Lodge, No. 31.)
YOUNGER Masons often find themselves governed by curiosity. They have not yet
learned the answers to all the questions, and very often face the symbolism of
the ancient landmarks with a great deal of bewilderment. It very often seems
that a strange, solemn voice is asking, "In your present blind condition, what
do you most desire ?" No answer comes until a familiar voice whispers,
"Further light in Masonry." As long as further light in Masonry is the desire,
curiosity leads in many directions. The following account may be taken as a
sample of some of the results of investigation on the part of one whose
Masonic experience is still so limited that he feels uncomfortable outside the
northeast corner. It may also be a warning that not enough of the older
brothers assisted in bringing him to Masonic light.
are three questions that come to one before he has gone very far into the
history of the Vermont lodges: (1) Why did the old lodges disband ? (2) Why
were they reorganized? (3) What does it mean today ? The first question is the
most difficult to answer; the second is largely left to our imaginations;
while the third is answered in the spirit of the Craft today. It might be
thought as centering around three dates: 1832, 1850 and 1925. It takes us back
to one of the most unstudied periods in American history. Yet to us,
interested in preserving the ancient landmarks that anti-Masonry more nearly
defeated than we like to think, the years from 1826-1845 are of unusual
we turn to our most reliable information we read that a dissolute, shiftless
bricklayer in Batavia, New York, a man who had "failed in everything else . .
. thought to make money by betraying the secrets of an order which his
presence polluted." That he was foolishly arrested on a trumped-up charge and
afterwards taken by a few Masons, with or without his consent, who "got him
out of the country, and apparently paid him to stay out." There should have
been no attention paid to him. But "rumors of abduction started." It was said
that he had been "thrown into Niagara," or otherwise killed. There is "no
proof that he was ever killed." The Governor of New York made every effort to
detect and punish any possible murderer. The wild rumors, however, soon
reached Vermont and quickly penetrated to every village and hamlet within its
future historian's unprejudiced analysis of the causes of anti-Masonry, the
part played by William Morgan will be as insignificant as that of the killing
of an already unknown man in a forgotten city of Central Europe in the real
causes of the Great War. Today we know how it was seized for political
propaganda by Thurlow Weed and his "pack of unscrupulous politicians"; of
Weed's statement: "It's a good enough Morgan until after election," and how it
spread like a prairie fire, and about as disastrously. Politically it centered
in the election of 1832 in which the Democrats renominated Andrew Jackson (at
the convention which first inaugurated the two-thirds rule); the National
Republicans nominated Henry Clay, while the anti-Masons, the first in the
field, presented a former United States Attorney-General, William Wirt. In his
speech of acceptance, Mr. Wirt said that he had not been in a Masonic lodge
for many years; that he had never taken the Third Degree, and that he had not
known that anything was wrong with Masonry until he had read certain pamphlets
printed in New York. The party, aided by the pen of Horace Greely and popular
frenzy, was particularly powerful in Western New York and Vermont, where Mr.
Wirt was heralded as the Moses who would lead the country through the Red Sea
results of the election were that Henry Clay, a Mason, was defeated; Andrew
Jackson, another Mason, was elected, while the only state of the twenty one to
give its electoral vote for William Wirt was Vermont. It is rather hard to
explain why the supposedly conservative state of Vermont was so carried away
with the movement, but the center of the excitement for New England was in
Central Vermont. For several years almost all local and state officers were
non-Masons, for it was the election issue that it was the duty to keep Masons
out of office. At several state elections no governor was chosen. The
elections in the legislature went to thirty or forty ballots, and on one
occasion no governor could be elected.
THE MOVEMENT EFFECTED
old diaries, and from older men who heard the story from the generation before
them, we learn how the excitement rose to white heat, affecting business,
dividing towns, splitting families and churches. Masons were not allowed to
serve in courts, not even on the jury. The demand was that they should not be
allowed to vote. Masonic clergymen were forced out of churches by dramatic
methods. At funerals, Masonic relatives would sit in one room and the
anti-Masonic relatives in the other, and at the grave the factions would stand
on opposite sides. Lodges speedily surrendered their charters. The Grand Lodge
was declared by the Masons themselves to be unnecessary. Morgan's book was
sold on the trains and in stores for twenty-five cents a copy. Caravans
traveled from town to town giving exhibitions of the degrees. One day, in the
Windsor County court house, 300 received the Third Degree by proxy.
had been in the shire town of Windsor County a certain Joe Burnham who had
disappeared and had been pronounced dead. Later he returned to the town in
perfect health. The anti-Masons said that he had really died but that he had
been raised to life in Masonry. A five-act play was presented in a large hall
entitled, "The Tragic Raising of Joe Burnham," and the newspaper of that week
says it was accompanied by broken heads, black eyes and bloody noses." Local
people who had been named in the play brought suit for slander, which went
through several courts before it was finally settled. A copy of this play sold
not long ago for $750 to a book dealer who again sold it at a considerable
Everything was done to make Masonry ridiculous. Stones were thrown through
church windows at ministers; anti-Masonic almanacs were distributed;
conventions were held in churches of almost all denominations. At church
services ministers asked, not for converts to religion, but for men to
renounce Masonry. There is one record of a man acquitted for a serious crime
on the grounds that being a Mason he was not a responsible citizen. Masonry
was held to be a "secret combination at war with free government," to contain
"illegal oaths," to "shield criminals from punishment," while such epitaphs as
"kidnappers" were among the mildest sort used. The result was that by 1833 the
Vermont Legislature reported with satisfaction the very small number of lodges
and the diminishing ranks of Masonry.
BIGOTED HOSTILITY DEVELOPED
beginning, some newspapers, as the Vermont Courier, were very tolerant, and
committed the heresy of suggesting that the anti-Masons were without "good
sense, reason or sound prudence," and that Masons seemed to be qualified for
public office. The chief opposition in Central Vermont came from a paper
called "The American Whig, Vermont Luminary and Equal Rights, published by the
Windsor County AntiMasonic Committee." In the files of this paper is the
record of one of the most unreasonable and intolerant attacks ever made by one
body of citizens against another, and printed at the very center of this
"bitter and baseless persecution." Certainly in Vermont history there is
nothing to compare with it since the land grant struggle of the early
pioneers. Among the signed articles are numerous "withdrawals" from Masonry.
The following is a sample, from the issue of Jan. 7, 1832:
"Feeling conscious of my accountability to God, and duty to my country and
posterity I cannot (consistently) any longer forbear stating to the public my
former and present views of the Masonic Institution. I was made a Mason in
Faithful Lodge, Charlestown, N.H., about the year 1809 or 1810, and was raised
to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason. At that time, being in an atheistical
state of mind, I expected to find light which would be of great service to me,
but being disappointed in each step, I was told that the light was in the
higher degrees. You must go further to obtain the desired object. During this
time, while undetermined about going further, in the higher degrees, our agent
returned from a visit to the Grand Lodge of the state. Among other things our
agent told us that there was a brother under trial for un-Masonic conduct and
would probably be expelled from the lodge, simply for the crime of stating
that the degrees in Masonry above the third were merely nominal. As I was
convinced that the first three degrees were such, it struck my mind forcibly
that the man told the truth. Therefore I concluded not to follow the phantom
any further but determined to search for light from some other source. Soon
after this I was led to examine the Bible (for I had hitherto much neglected
it)--I found a glorious light--viewing Masonry by this light I found it to be
total darkness and I could no longer have any fellowship with it. I could not
rest. Whenever I heard of Masonry I became excited. I rejoiced at Morgan's
exposition--the snare of Masonry was now broken--it was the handmaid of
infidelityits oaths and obligations are profane. Therefore I renounce it as
dangerous to civil and religious rights and privileges."
same paper one week published a list of Masons living in a nearby town. The
next week there was a communication from one of the men mentioned who said
that while he had been a Mason he had not attended lodge for six years; had
not in that time spoken to a Mason, and would not do so. Another denial of
Masonry has this paragraph:
believe Freemasonry is a moral, charitable, benevolent and literary
institution. But its morals are heathenish. its benevolence selfish, its
humanity cruel, its literature childish, its religion anti-Christian.
destructive and anti-republican. It is said that Masonry is of divine origin,
that it descended from Heaven. Here I believe is some mistake. It came from
the other place and I guess 'twill go there again."
sample of how anti-Masonry perverted every possible representation of the
Order is seen in the following poem. It was written by a Prof. Dean, and very
widely circulated under the title "The Freemason's Dream." The last verse
heart in devotion, it swells to an ocean
all Freemasons in union agree;
will meet them in glory, and there tell the story,
troubles and triais forever shall flee."
was changed to read:
heart in dejection, it swells to reflection
the corruption of Freemasonry
I meet them in glory, I'd there tell the story,
warn the Freemasons from its thraldom to flee."
the warning was hardly necessary to the few lodges and members that were left
in this part of the state. In most towns a faithful few had hidden the records
and working tools, sometimes in a hole on a hillside, or under the floor of a
barn where it would be accidentally discovered years later.
all wide spreading movements, the causes and encouragements of anti-Masonry
were complex and very diverse. In some parts the Morgan affair was a
subterfuge, a political plot under a thin disguise. In other towns internal
trouble in the lodge defeated its purpose. "Immoral conduct of the members,
lack of ability to enforce discipline in the lodge, the brethren will not meet
upon the level or part upon the square, obligations are disregarded," these
are the reasons for the abandonment of the lodge in the shire town of Windsor
County as early as 1827. This was not an exceptional case, but a sample of the
pernicious purposes undermining the Craft. It is undoubtedly true that Vermont
Masonry had flourished more than was good for itself. Many had become members
for political influence. Many knew nothing at all about the Order, never had
attended a meeting since they had been made members, and were ignorant of its
principles. It could be said of the lodges as it was said of the first Grand
Lodge in England, "It ran itself out of breath through the folly of its
also the time of many revival movements of an emotional type that took Masonry
as its chief point of attack. It was the time of many fanatical excitements
such as phrenology, mind-reading, magnetism, hypnotism, and many such
movements, most of which were half fraud. The new immigration brought social
unrest; the spoils system caused political dissatisfaction. Anyone with a loud
voice could get an audience. It was as true then as now:
whole world loves the quiet men
sit all day as still as owls;
'tis needless to mention,
gives its attention,
man who gets up and howls."
years passed, and in 1850 in Windsor, and gradually all the other towns and
villages of Central Vermont, little groups of a dozen or fifteen men quietly
came together of their "own free will and accord" for the reformation of their
lodges. They were men beyond middle age. They had no banquets, parades or
public services. They were willing to make sacrifices, to endure hardships, to
work hard, to face possible local criticism and personal risk. There was not a
"cowan" among them. No one in those days talked about "watch-fob Masons."
Masonry had been purged until there were no members who were Masons only in
name. They had not come together for social purposes, for they could have
found that in other places with less personal risk. There must have been some
deeper purpose behind their reorganization. Sometimes it is only when a man
takes a long journey away from home that he truly comes to appreciate its love
and care. Often a man can judge his business best when he is away from it. A
certain man who lived in a situation where for three years he could not attend
church, came to a new appreciation of its necessity and worth through its
enforced absence. Something like that moved these men of seventy years ago.
could only have been men who knew their work well. Through the years, the old
truths, of which their work was but the symbol, must have haunted their minds,
for they lived not with the monthly repetition of the work but with the ideas
of what it meant. It must have seemed to them that they were living in the
ante-room when they should have gone on into the lodge; that there was
confusion among the workmen, that their column was broken and the temple
incomplete. They had been spending their years in the North and its darkness
was unnecessary. As earnest workmen they had set out in "friendship, morality
and truth," but they had been betrayed by those whom they had trusted, their
hopes and creative purposes had been put to death and thrown into an unmarked
grave. Their enemies had said that Masonry was dead, but these few men
believed that there was still something that could not be defeated, and which
could yet be raised from the level of death to the perpendicular of life. Once
they had known "how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together
in unity." Then their society had been torn by jealousy, hatred, unkindness
and unbrotherliness. Now they faced the problem of living together. "The only
cure of unbrotherliness is brotherliness," was their conviction. Here in the
teachings of our Craft were the basic principles of tolerance and charity and
truth, and the cement of brotherly affection. And on this they built their
Order anew, and we honor them because they came through with it.
of 1925 many truths come out of these tragic experiences. Perhaps we are
reminded to be more careful in the selection of candidates. Perhaps it means
that we should be sure that every man of us is trained in the work, knows its
meaning from study, and is fully acquainted with the history and the symbols.
But there is a greater lesson, one that Vermont Masonry will never have to
learn again, and it goes to the very heart of our fraternal purpose. If these
fast fading events mean anything at all, they tell us in unmistakable terms
that Masonry is not a search for a word. One may know the word and not have
the spirit. Masonry is not something that can be voiced in a few words. Its
secret is not a combination of syllables. It is true of Masonry, as of the
highest religion we know, "not he that nameth the name, but he that doeth the
will." Masonry cannot be exposed in a book. It is as safe and deep as
character. If it had been false at heart it could not have lasted. It lives in
DUTIES OF THE STEWARDS
the early days of Speculative Masonry lodges made much of their "feasts," and
other gala events. Such affairs were carried on by the lodge itself, as one of
its regular duties; and their stewards were chosen for the express purpose of
superintending them. Nowadays it has generally come to be the custom to leave
the planning for all forms of sociability to special committees or clubs, as
if the social hour were something apart from, or even opposed to, the proper
work of a lodge. In addition to this emasculation of the scope and duties of
the lodge, the special committee method has a further defect in that it leads
to extravagance, clannishness, and sometimes to results still less dignified.
A sensible way out is for the lodge to recover control of its own social life
by placing all responsibility for it once more in the hands of its stewards.
Men Who Were Masons
Francis Asbury Roe
BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD, P. G. M., District of Columbia
ADMIRAL FRANCIS ASBURY ROE was born in Elmira, N. Y., in 1823. Of his early
life little is known, but at twenty-two years of age he received an
appointment as Midshipman in the United States Navy. Five years later it is
recorded he was raised a Master Mason in Union Lodge, No. 95, in his native
the officers whom l have met he was remarkable for a sincere and sublime
religious faith. He believed so simply and completely in the Divine Providence
that in times of danger he was absolutely fearless, and in this confidence
would often do things that in another man would have b e e n pure
foolhardiness. He was a very reserved and reticent man, and had but few
intimate friends. He was abstemious and rigidly moral in all his habits, so
much so that his presence and example were at times embarrassing to many of
his fellow officers.
first service was on board the old sloop of war John Adams, in which vessel he
served three years on the west coast of South America, in rough water and
fresh breezes. The John Adams was very low between decks, and the berthing
space very cramped, and altogether the vessel was badly ventilated and
uncomfortable; but in those days a seafaring man did not expect the comforts
next ship was the Yorktown, on the west coast of Africa, where though still
only Midshipman, he did the duty of lieutenant. Later he was with Commodore O.
H. Perry at the blockade of Vera Cruz, in the sloop Boston, and was wrecked in
that vessel in Eleutrera Sound in 1847. Next he served in the Alleghany, an
experimental steamer, and later the same year went for a course in the
Annapolis Naval Academy. In 1848 he graduated, after which he was absent from
active service for a period of eleven months. His next service seems to have
been on the mail steamer Georgia, after which he was appointed to the famous
old brig Porpoise as lieutenant and executive officer when she was
commissioned for the Behring Sea exploring expedition, and later in the China
Seas. It was during this cruise that the Porpoise had an action with a fleet
of thirteen pirate junks, all heavily armed, in Koulan Bay. As a result of the
battle six of the junks were sunk or that destroyed and the remainder
dispersed with heavy loss.
this he served on another exploring expedition in the Vincennes, through the
Sea of Japan and the Kurile Islands and along the north coast of Siberia. This
expedition was chiefly for surveying and charting purposes for the benefit of
navigation, as those coasts were almost unknown to geographers and seamen
these years Roe was continuously in service, receiving some promotions, though
frequently they were unduly retarded. The present writer first knew him as
first lieutenant of the Pensacola in 1861, at the Washington Navy Yard. This
vessel was another experimental steamer, but full rigged in addition to her
engines. She was armed with a heavy smooth bore battery. Her commander was
ordered to join Farragut's fleet off the Mississippi River Passes. To prevent
her doing this the Confederates erected batteries at four points on the
Potomac. The President was very anxious and visited the ship several times,
encouraging everyone on board. Roe seemed the only one not in the least
disturbed by the prospect, and in the event his attitude was justified. The
ship ran safely by the batteries at night, and though she was subjected to a
brisk fire from them all not a shot hit her, nor did she fire a gun in reply.
When she reached her destination it was found that she drew so much water that
it was impossible to get her over the bar of the Mississippi until she had
been greatly lightened. However, she was finally floated over and Farragut was
ready to go up the river.
most officers Roe was known to his men by a nickname. He had a very dark skin,
black eyes and a very black beard, and he was naturally called "Black Jack.”
After the Pensacola had got by Fort Jackson which was effected with very
little damage, she ran into a fleet of armed river boats which put up a stiff
and determined fight. Their shells were bursting freely, doing much execution.
Stationed on the wardroom ladder, passing up ammunition, was a coal-heaver
named Eagan, and as "Black Jack" rushed past the hatch, trumpet in hand,
shouting some order, Eagan said, "Howly Jaze, Oi hopes the firrst shell that
burrsts over the ship will take the seat of the trousers off of him," and it
was scarcely a minute later when the fragment of a shell actually did this to
Roe, taking a good deal of skin and flesh besides. He fell forward, was picked
up and taken to the sick bay, and as he was carried past, Eagan said, "Howly
Mother, it's lucky Oi did not wish it was the head of him."
was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in July, 1862, and was
ordered to command the Katadin after the fall of New Orleans, and was in the
fight at Grand Gulf when the army was landed to garrison the place. Here Roe
witnessed some pillaging on shore, by soldiers and officers, which greatly
outraged his feelings, for if there is any one thing impressed on the mind of
a young navy officer it is respect for civilian inhabitants and their property
rights. He reported this pillaging to the Secretary of the Navy, knowing it
would get thence to the Secretary of War and come back to the commanding army
officer for action. This actually did occur, but instead of the letter going
to the Division Commander it reached the Department Commander, Maj. Gen. B. F.
Butler. The latter replied to the War Department in such caustic terms
respecting Roe as would have made many an officer challenge him. But Roe,
satisfied with having done a Christian act, as well as one that he regarded as
his duty as an officer, said that to read between the lines would condemn Ben
Butler in the estimation of any officer or honest man.
1864 Roe commanded the paddle wheel gunboat Sassacus in North Carolina Sound,
and very promptly destroyed two blockade runners. The Confederates then sent
out their new iron-clad Albemarle to meet the Sassacus. An engagement took
place on May 5, 1864, which was very hotly contested. The Albermarle,
iron-clad, had the advantage of almost complete protection for her guns and
crew, while the Sassacus had that of speed and steam power. There were many
killed on board the latter ship, and for a while it looked serious. However,
by skilful handling Roe caught the iron-clad across his bow, and sending his
ship ahead full speed, rammed his opponent, which so damaged her that she
began to take in water fast and was glad enough to escape up the nearest
river. However, with a parting shot she put a shell into the Sassacus' engine
room and burst one of the boilers, doing much injury. Altogether it was one of
the hottest naval duels in the Civil War.
afterwards commanded the Madawaska; and later the Michigan on the Great Lakes.
In this last vessel he was called to quell the miners' riot in Marquette which
saved the town. He was in command of the Tacony at Vera Cruz at the time of
the capture and execution of Maximilian, and as senior officer prevented the
bombardment of the city by the foreign war vessels assembled there. After this
he was fleet captain under Admiral Rowan on the China Station. His last cruise
was on the Lancaster off the coast of Brazil. In 1875 he was on duty at the
New London Naval Station and on special duty at Washington from 1879 to 1880,
and he was at about this time member of the Board of Examiners at Annapolis.
In 1880 he was promoted to the rank of Commodore, and from 1883 to 1884 was
Commander at the Government Naval Asylum at Philadelphia. He was retired from
the service at the end of 1885 with the rank of Rear Admiral.
writer saw a good deal of Admiral Roe in 1896 and enjoyed many intimate
conversations with him. He was just as serious as when a young man. He said
that in all his service he had never had a nickname, and, while we smiled
inwardly, we thought of Dennis Eagan and the seat of his trousers.
Admiral Roe died in Washington on Dec. 28, 1901, and was buried in Arlington
National Cemetery. The writer has always regarded Roe as a great man, and is
happy to think that we may claim him as a Mason. He was a true and sincere
Christain, who never intruded his creed on others; one who ever set a splendid
example; who was as ready to reward a generous or righteous act as to condemn
a fault; who enjoyed a glass of wine but detested intemperance; and who loved
a generous and manly man. He was buried in a grave adjacent to that of his old
shipmate and lifelong friend, Rear Admiral Earl English, and over his remains
the beautiful granite monument shown in the engraving has been erected.
L. CLEGG, Ohio
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
H. DERN, Utah
CHARLES F. IRWIN. Ohio
E. MORCOMBE, California
FORT NEWTON, New York
C. PARKER, New York
M. WHITED, California
E. W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
is the universal law and the theme of every age. It comes no less to THE
BUILDER than to other established institutions, and it comes now in this
announcement of a successorship in its editorial chair.
R. J. Meekren, known to readers of THE BUILDER and as well to students of
Freemasonry, is now in charge of the editorial affairs of the National Masonic
Research Society and its official journal.
in reality, scarcely necessary to introduce Bro. Meekren to our members, for
his pen and the results of his research have already done that. Rather is it
necessary to give something of the occasion therefor and of the retirement of
Bro. H. L. Haywood, who has been obliged to leave this work because of the
state of his health.
serious illness during the summer made his physicians insistent that he reduce
the physical demands upon him, and it was upon consideration of this advice
that he decided to take the step of severing his active connection with the
National Masonic Research Society.
Haywood has been identified with THE BUILDER from its inception, assisting
Bro. Joseph Fort Newton during his occupancy of the editorial chair and
afterwards becoming more and more responsible for the editorial. management of
THE BUILDER until in 1921 he was placed in complete charge. During his
incumbency he became well known personally and by correspondence to a very
large number of Masons in every part of the country, indeed of the world,
while his literary abilities were patent to all. His resignation is, as
already noted, because of his physical condition and the necessity for
preserving his health by lightening his duties.
Haywood's illness came while the August number and the September and October
numbers as well were in preparation. Hence the absence of the formal
announcement until the present issue.
selecting Bro. R. J. Meekren to take charge of the editorial duties of the
Society, it is my firm belief, developed through intimate association with the
man amid particularly trying circumstances, that THE BUILDER and the work of
the Society will maintain that constant progress forward and upward which has
been the record of the years which have passed, despite the difficulties that
are inherent in such efforts as those to which this Society and THE BUILDER
having made this announcement, may I not add the assurance on my own behalf
that nothing that it is possible to do with the resources at command will be
left undone by this Society in the advancement of the cause of education in
INSTRUCTION IN MASONRY
well periodically to stop and take stock and balance our accounts, whether
physical, commercial, mental or moral; whether as individuals or as
organizations. At the present time the vaccination of "Education" has taken in
the body corporate of Masonry. Most of the Grand Lodges in this country,
including Canada, are doing something definitely in this way, either using the
machinery of the Masonic Service Association, or through Masonic Service
Committees and Educational Boards of their own; many of tavern making regular
appropriations for carrying on the work, in some cases of very considerable
is all very much to the good. It shows at least that a need is recognized,
that there is something lacking in the general condition of the Craft, and
also a desire to find and apply a remedy. Yet a general survey of what is
being done might lead an innocent bystander (which THE BUILDER, of course, is
not) to suppose that the doctors agreed only in disagreeing, and that the
patient had no more chance of recovery than Nature and Providence might
however is merely in passing. There is no intension here of criticizing or
even of making suggestions. Freemasonry in each section of the country has, to
a very considerable extent, special characteristics, peculiar conditions and
its own particular problems. A variety of treatment of the one we are
considering is thus inevitable, and very largely desirable, at least in the
experimental stage. What it is proposed to do here is to briefly review the
question in its more general aspects. For this no apology will be needed as
members of the National Masonic Research Society are naturally interested in
the subject, both from their own personal requirements and through desire to
be of use to their brethren.
be of advantage to consider the matter under different heads, as it is so
extensive that it really is hard to see the forest for the trees. First we may
briefly ask what indications are there that there is a need for education,
what deficiency is to be found in Masonry and among Masons to make it a
desirable or necessary thing? The answer to this is very much under our
notice, and there is little need to cite chapter and verse. The large number
of members who have little or no interest in the Order, the questioning of the
younger Masons who want to know what it is all about anyway. A feeling that
the Institution has grown to an enormous size and is yet apparently without
definite purpose or object. Both the instructed and the uninstructed feel that
Masonry means something, stands for something, if only it were known what it
was. Those we have called the instructed have worked out more or less
satisfactory conclusions for themselves. They feel, and experience tends to
show they are right, that only a small minority of the uninstructed will find
out things for themselves, and they feel that there should be some machinery
for teaching the others, and so prevent them from swelling the great class of
the lapsed and indifferent. About this there is nothing new, the point of
especial interest here is that the demand for education is not a "high brow"
affair at all, it is not to make the members of the Craft scholars and
students, but to make them Masons, to give them the instruction necessary to
Larry out their Speculative vocation. Those who have it in them to become
students usually do so in spite of difficulties and discouragements. Yet, a
complete scheme of Masonic education must regard them as well. There is no
reason for needless difficulties to be put in their path, and their natural
use in the organization is to instruct their brethren. An educational system
must arrange for the training of teachers.
second heading that we may take up is the subsidiary question whether the
Masonic system contemplates anything of the nature of education, and if so, by
what method was it supposed to be carried out ?
again is a question of which the answer is right at hand. The most superficial
acquaintance with the ritual will indicate an affirmative answer. The lectures
of the several degrees are obviously designed to instruct. The Entered
Apprentice is informed in the charge given to him that in his leisure hours he
is "to converse with well informed brethren" that he "may improve in Masonic
knowledge." But the charge given to the newly passed Craftsman goes beyond
this and "earnestly recommends" to his consideration the 'study of the liberal
arts and sciences," showing that not only was the Mason expected to devote
time and attention in learning about Masonry itself, but also to "polish and
adorn his mind" with general knowledge, as well as to "learn to subdue his
passions" and "divest his heart and conscience of all the vices and
superfluities of life." While the machinery for this is not obscurely
indicated; not only is the neophyte to converse with well instructed brethren
as he can find or make opportunity, but again and again it is emphasized that
it is the Master's place to afford light and knowledge to the uninformed and
give his lodge good and wholesome instruction. But it is not all thrown on
-the Master of the lodge, it is the duty of every Master Mason "to correct the
errors and irregularities" of the uninstructed. How are the Masters to teach
unless they are first instructed themselves? The word "Master" with us implies
primarily the idea of control, of authority, but as it came into Craft usage
in mediaeval times it first of all connoted that of teaching and instruction.
The Master directed and controlled by virtue of his ability to teach. It
follows then that the organization of Masonry fully provided for instruction,
for the education of those who entered it. But Master with us has come to be
but a formal title, all Masons receive it after a few short weeks, while yet
in fact they are but very newly Entered Apprentices, and the Masters of lodges
being chosen from such a class it is no wonder that in general they are little
qualified to instruct. It would be something if they could be made to realize
that it is their duty to do so, and if not qualified personally, to arrange
that competent brethren should take their place in this respect.
thus seen that the original Institution both contemplated education and
provided means to put it into effect, we may next ask what should be the
position of Grand Lodge Committees, Research Societies, Study Clubs and other
like organizations ? That is, should we acquiesce in the present state of
things, scrap the old machinery and provide new, or should we seek to return
to the old ways and use the newer methods to supplement and strengthen the
old? Here again to ask the question is in the minds of most Masons to answer
it. The old machinery is perfectly good and fully adequate were it used. The
unit organization in the Craft is the lodge, and everything should be done in
and through the lodge. Educational Committees should direct their efforts to
this end, Study Clubs should be regarded as stop gaps and not as permanently
desirable institutions, or at least as supplementing and not as supplanting
the functions of the lodge in this regard.
brings us to the last aspect of our general problem - of what should the
Masonic curriculum consist ? Masonry is not a school such as our schools are
today, but rather more like one of the old European universities where
instruction was given, but the students pleased themselves as to what they
took and when they took it. We cannot force members, if they lack interest, to
learn more than the bare rudiments of the lectures. Instruction must be given
in such wise that it will invite interest and encourage discussion and study,
and only so can it be successful. A scheme of Masonic education must be based
on the elementary instruction in the ritual, beginning with acquiring the bare
forms, in the teaching of which the lodge machinery is still functioning.
After these are learned the next step is obviously explaining their surface
meaning. There is so much that is archaic in our formularies that there is
need for a considerable amount of what we may call "textual commentary," the
explanation of obsolete words and phrases, the pointing out that the ritual
does actually mean something. From this would naturally spring instruction in
the duties of the individual Mason, explanations of what Masonry should mean
in his own life, and what he should make it mean to the world at large. That
is the ethical and sociological side. With this is closely connected the
symbolism of the Craft, for this is chiefly intended to teach and emphasize
the moral side. After this would come history. Much of the preceding cannot be
fully understood without knowing how it came to be, that is, its history.
History when thus taught is intensely interesting, though when handed out in
heavy indigestible chunks nothing is more calculated to dampen and extinguish
any interest the enquirer may have had. These then it would appear are the
lines which general Masonic instruction should follow. The "higher" education,
the instruction of the instructors is another matter altogether. If the
majority of Masons had the elements it is probable that there would be no
problem at all, for the way would be open for those capable to go on and
qualify themselves to be Master Masons in the original sense of the term, and
fully competent to teach and guide their less well informed brethren.
Masonry teaches man to practice charity and benevolence, to protect chastity,
to respect the ties of blood and friendship, to adopt the principles and
revere the ordinances of religion, to assist the feeble, guide the blind,
raise up the downtrodden, shelter the orphan, guard the altar, support the
Government, inculcate morality, promote learning, love man, fear God, implore
His mercy and hope for happiness.
"Loyalty to one's country is an essential qualification in Freemasonry, and
those only are acceptable who cheerfully conform to every lawful authority.
Disloyalty in any form is abhorrent to a Freemason, and is regarded as a
serious Masonic offense.”
Symbolism of Medieval Architecture
BRO. R. J. MEEKREN
point about the Masonic Institution will be assented to by all students, that
there is a real organic connection between the Speculative fraternity of today
and the Operative organization of the past--but regarding the question how
much of Operative usage and tradition has survived there have been, and still
are, wide differences of opinion. At the least during the period of transition
(say from 1680 to 1730, more or less) the old must have been mingled with new
material, the new expanding and the old fading out until it was all
gone-except the name, and some technicalities much changed in meaning; while
at the highest we may suppose the essentials of the old were all retained and
only changed in detail and by the addition of formal Speculative explanations.
Between, these two extremes must lie the opinions of everyone at all
conversant with the facts. It follows, therefore, that our present symbolism
must either be derived from the medieval craft of Masonry or else have been
borrowed from other and extraneous sources during the period of transition
just mentioned, or even later still.
course the present system (or aggregation) that we possess may be of mixed
origin in any proportion of the two elements, original and borrowed, and as
the matter is too complex to deal with except one step at a time we will now
confine our attention to the tangible symbolism in the architectural monuments
erected with such loving care and patience by our Operative predecessors.
supposition that medieval Masons recorded hidden doctrines in the symbols they
carved in stone is incredible on the face of it. Any such teaching that the
Craft may have possessed was quite easily and safely transmissible through the
organization of the lodge, there would be no need to record it publicly, even
if under a veil. As a matter of fact we find that the emblems and devices
actually used were such as were either commonly or traditionally known and
employed, or else such as might easily be understood by obvious allusion. For
instance, the fox preaching from a pulpit is as plain a denunciation of
clerical rapacity as the bishop being dragged down to hell in a fresco of the
last judgment still existing in an old church at Salisbury is a reminder that
high position, even in the church, is no passport to salvation.
often been asserted that the old churches of Europe are full of symbolism,
books written in stone for those able to read. That they are full of
significance is undoubtedly true, and it may also be the fact that people
today have generally lost the key to understanding them, but it does not
follow that because we need special study to interpret the meaning that it was
so when they were built. An inscription in Greek is unintelligible to most
among ourselves today --to the citizen of old Athens it was as clear as the
headlines of a newspaper. Among the people of Europe, in the thirteenth
century say, there was perhaps no larger percentage who could read at all than
among us who can read Greek or Latin, and to them generally written
inscriptions would be as unintelligible as their emblematic and symbolic
representations are apt to be to us. But when we go back and laboriously
attempt to interpret these last we are faced with an added complexity that did
not exist when they were newly carved. Most of these devices were
conventional, at least to the extent that they were generally recognized and
understood. Such a device stood for such an idea, as to us the symbol + means
"add" or % means "percent." We do not think when we see these and like
characters of what they may have meant in the first place, or how they came to
mean what they do to us, we glance at them and take their face value and pass
on. But in deciphering the symbols of a forgotten language it is quite
different, to get at any meaning at all we must dig into their history and
when we have found that we really know too much to easily realize their
content at any given time.
SYMBOLS BECOME ORNAMENTAL
key pattern, honeysuckle, etc., may once have been symbols, but became
decoration merely. There were many emblems and motifs carried over into church
decoration from non-Christian sources through folk tradition, but these were
either given new meanings, or their meaning was forgotten. The maze, or
labyrinth, from being probably the ground laid out for a heathen ritual dance,
became a means of a minor form of penance. On the other hand the medieval
Mason had a sense of humor, and frequently indulged in mystification, and
sometimes concealed his meaning. The architect of the Pharos, the great
lighthouse of Alexandria, is said to have carved his own name on a great stone
in the base and then covered it with cement in which was cut the name of the
King--expecting the cement eventually to disintegrate when his name would
remain. The story is doubtful but the Mason who carved a grotesque and evil
looking dragon set in the gable end of a building at Glastonbury, which when
seen œrom the side appears as the profile portrait of the Abbot of the time,
certainly recorded his opinion of his employer--but he played safe for it is
impossible to see the carving from the side except by climbing a ladder, or
getting on the roof of another building, where an abbot would be hardly likely
investigation into the habits and customs of the so-called white Indians of
Central America show that they have a highly developed picture writing, but
that also certain individuals draw or paint pictures with no symbolic import,
but from pure artistic impulse. Certain individuals among the Esquimaux have
also been found who drew or carved most realistically animals in groups or
singly, with no ulterior purpose but the pleasure of delineation. Pre-historic
men, or at least certain pre-historic races, notably that called after the
hamlet of Cro-Magnon in the south of France where their remains were first
discovered in any quantity, seemed to have had the artistic instinct
abnormally developed, almost comparably with the classical Greek or his
Mycenaean predecessors. Yet it is possible these drawings and carvings had a
magical purpose. That at least is the accepted theory. But such care and skill
was not necessary for magic, cruder work would have served. We may suppose
that this was the purpose but that the magician lost himself in the
artist--just as the Greek sculptor carved statues of the gods, but made them
ideal human beings.
races, however, such as the Azilians, showed little depictive ability--and
went in for geometrical patterns. The purpose of their inscribed and painted
pebbles is most obscure. Perhaps it was no more than a semi-serious play on
the part of child-men. It is hard to say. But if one takes pebbles and a paint
brush and undertakes to mark them with dots and lines and circles, or if one
takes wet clay and a piece of pointed stick and attempts some kind of simple
decoration it will be found how easily certain forms supposed to be symbols
can be formed, how they will come of themselves practically, circles with dots
in them, triangles, parallel lines, crosses and so on. The combinations of
simple lines that give any effect as a pattern motif are not so many but that
almost any child will hit on most of them. It is for this reason that it is so
impossible to say whether the origin of a given device was in a pattern or
ornament, or was a symbolic representation. The cross is an example. Found
practically everywhere and at all times, it seems almost everywhere to have
been venerated as a very sacred, or at least significant, symbol. Yet no
combination of lines is simpler or more obvious, a geometrical pattern can
hardly be designed without the cross appearing in it somewhere, openly or
concealed, and the original association which made of it a most sacred symbol
is even yet not agreed upon by those most competent to judge.
Returning now to Christian Churches, we must, to begin with, clearly grasp why
they were in the first place built at all. Every religion has sacred or holy
places, most have sacred buildings, and these have varied in character
according to the religion. A mosque is primarily a place where individual
worshippers can pray, and secondarily where the Koran can be read and
expounded. A Greek temple was the house or shelter of the cult image of some
deity-the ritual all took place outside. Churches were first built as places
where the sacrament of the Eucharist could be celebrated; and until the
Reformation we may generally say that this was always the fundamental idea
underlying the planning of churches. The evolution of the cathedral from the
simplest form of basilica reflects the evolution of sacramental doctrine,
though very likely the growing complexity of structure may have had an
obscure, unconscious, reaction and stimulated the very advance in dogma by
which it was caused. However, to trace this out in detail would take us too
far afield and into controversial subjects besides; but in order to understand
the Medieval churches and cathedrals this much must be borne in mind, that
both priests and people, employers and builders, believed quite simply and
literally that the sacred edifice would shelter the very presence of God, not
spiritually only but in a sense physically, not only sacramentally but bodily.
That every day, at the altar, the sacrifice of the cross would be symbolically
yet really re-enacted, and that the bread and wine would become daily the
flesh and blood of Christ. Believing this a number of things naturally and
inevitably followed. Perhaps the very first would be the arrangements whereby
the congregation of the faithful could see and worship, but with this would
follow also that nothing could be too good for such a place. The costliest
materials, the most skilful craftsmanship, the richest ornaments. But though
the artist is always making new combinations, and going to nature for new
elements of design, yet always (at least in the earlier schools) he starts
with something traditional. Sometimes old symbols can be pressed into use,
sometimes they have lost all meaning as we have seen and are simply pattern
elements, but whichever it was it beautified and glorified the House of God.
Thus we find that one of the first types used to represent the Lord was the
old mythological figure of Orpheus.
Orpheus it has been fabled descended to hades and by the power of his music
obtained the release of his dead wife Eurydice; so he was taken to represent
the Christ who saves men from death and hell. Another pagan figure adopted was
Apollo, in the guise of the good shepherd, that is as carrying a lamb. Here we
have an example of the inextricably tangled strands that go to the making of a
symbol. Both the shepherd and the lamb represented the Saviour as taken
directly from scriptural parable and metaphor. But Apollo had been regarded as
a Saviour god, he represented the sun, and thus was equated with the sun of
righteousness, and in addition the ram was an animal sacred to the sun, the
stories of the golden fleece, or the purple lamb of Atreus, are in part sun
myths. So that in this symbolic figure were many lines of association which
made it full of significance to the converts to the new faith to whom these
tales were as familiar as Bible stories are to us--or should we say to our
grandfathers and grandmothers? There was the added advantage, during the first
centuries, that such symbols were noncommittal--the unbeliever would see in
them nothing to cause comment or remark. In the Christian sense they were
secret symbols; later when it was quite safe to be a Christian newer devices
took their place, and these earlier ones were modified in form and emphasis
and gradually fell into the background.
mosaic design from North Africa, here reproduced from Mr. Lethaby's work on
Medieval Art, we have probably part of the floor of a very early church. From
the colors it is evident that the arches springing from the vases are intended
for fountains, the wavy border being also a conventional representation of
water. The deer drinking at the two streams of water springing from the holy
mount refer to the Psalmist's verse, "As the hart panteth after the water
brookx so panteth my soul after Thee, O God." The peacocks strangely enough
were an early Christian symbol of the Resurrection, from a supposed fact of
natural science (as then understood) which no one ever troubled to verify,
that the peacock's flesh was incorruptible. It may be conjectured that this
very beautiful bird when first introduced from the East was thought of as
representing, or being like, the fabled Phoenix. The stories about the latter
and its rebirth in fire show that originally it was the sun represented as a
bird. The spreading tail of the peacock again and its many "eyes" was possibly
connected with "thousand-eyed Argus" who was a personification of the starry
sky. These two associations would have been enough to account for what was
believed about the peacock in an unscientific age, which held also that the
terrible unicorn was tame and docile in the presence of a virgin, and that the
pelican pierced its own breast to feed its young.
the streams of water at which the two deer are drinking, the fountains and the
wavy border, all have undoubtedly a reference to baptism; the border may also
have reference to the four rivers of Paradise, while the two streams flowing
from the mount would remind the believer of the rock in the wilderness that
Moses struck to give water to the people. The rock or mountain was constantly
referred to Jehovah himself in the Old Testament; "The Lord is my rock and my
fortress," "O Lord, my rock," "Be thou my strong rock," are but a few
instances from the Psalms, while the sacred mountains, Sinai, Horeb, Zion, and
later the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Transfiguration would also be
brought to mind. But the associations or meanings of the symbol are even yet
not exhausted. The two streams would recall inevitably the mingled water and
blood that flowed from the Saviour's side when pierced by the centurion's
spear, a detail even yet dwelt on in many popular hymns.
first centuries the cross does not seem to have been much used as a symbol by
the Christians, and when used at all it was more frequently in the form of the
Greek letter "Chi"--that is X, the St. Andrew's Cross. This was the first
letter of the word "Christos and was most frequently used in the still
familiar "Chi Rho" monogram. There was a natural reason for not emphasizing
it, for it was still a common and peculiarly dishonorable mode of execution,
reserved for slaves and especially atrocious criminals. But in Western Europe
it was different. The late Baring Gould collected evidence to show that all
the peoples of Western Europe, Celt and Teuton alike, used the cross as a
sacred symbol, and he showed also that it is probable that its use in the
church spread from West to East. That is, in the West it formed a link between
the new and the old faiths. It does not mean that heathen ideas were
necessarily carried over, but that the symbol being familiar and sacred, and
being capable of a purely Christian meaning, was naturally employed, just as
in preaching to the unconverted it was necessary to use their own terms for
God, heaven and so on, in order to be intelligible to the hearers. With
symbols as with words the form persists but the meaning changes.
we come to the churches of the great period of the Middle Ages, in the full
development of Gothic architecture, we find that they are filled in every
available part with sculptured and painted symbolism of this kind. To enter a
church, to walk around it, was to pass in review the representations of every
fundamental point of Christian faith, and much else besides. On the facade,
above the main entrances, the Last Judgment was often depicted, as a warning
to both those in and out of the Church's fold. In the porch, or in the west
end of the nave, would be types of the initiatory rite of baptism, such as the
Ark, the Israelites passing through the Red Sea, the baptism of our Lord, St.
Peter sinking in the sea. On the screen separating nave from chancel was the
crucifix; over the high Altar, the Ascension, or the Lord in glory surrounded
by angels. The Annunciation, the Nativity, would be depicted, the Wise Men
from the East. The genealogy of the Lord in a "Jesse Tree," and everywhere the
representations of saints and angels, martyrs, confessors, those who had
defined or supported the faith, with many allusions to their stories. Virtues
and vices allegorically and symbolically represented, the seasons of the year,
and the characteristic occupations carried on in each--the whole of life and
of history as known to the builders was set forth in such wise that the simple
and unlearned could understand.
the question arises, who devised all this? The only answer that seems possible
is that it must have been those who had the churches built. Here again we must
remember that whether priest and congregation, bishop or noble, all were at
one on the matter. And the builders, the masons, were not a caste apart so far
as religion was concerned, they had the same faith, and the same ideas about
religion as their employers. Those who provided the funds, knew, as those
today who consult an architect, something of what they wanted. They knew which
saint they wished to dedicate the church to, they had an idea of the size they
could afford, they doubtless referred to other churches as having this or that
point they would like included. Then with these indications the master would
sketch a design. The final plans would be a result of consultation and
discussion between all parties concerned. When it came to details the same
process seems to have been gone through. We will say that a doorway is in
question. It has been decided between the Master and his employees that a
certain subject shall be treated, let us suppose the "Last Supper", or as it
would then have been thought of, the "Institution of the Holy Eucharist." The
Master would depict this to one of the craftsmen, who in his turn would make
sketches and discuss them with the Master, and then after the general outline
had been decided on he would proceed to do the work. Over the doorway might be
a relief showing Christ and the Twelve sitting at table. Or it might be
arranged as a series of separate statues, the Lord in the central position,
with the chalice and paten, the statues of the Apostles on each side, each
with his distinguishing attribute. Over each there would be a canopy, while
under the brackets supporting each statue might be some allegorical or
symbolic device worked into the design, that would have some reference to the
person represented. Here if anywhere would be found the expression of
individual ideas. But whatever these were they would be in accord with the
general scheme outlined. In certain places, as in mouldings, the carvings on
the misereres, or in the gargoyles, the craftsman might let himself go, and
introduce satyrical or humorous subjects-but these would in general be as
obvious in intention as are comic supplements or political cartoons to us.
Sometimes again frankly pre-Christian devices with the old pagan intent were
inserted, but these would be in the nature of traditional survivals of which
there are so many examples in all the higher religions as well as in
traditional Christianity. This will be touched on in a succeeding article.
conclusion the evidence thus far examined has led to is that the medieval
church builders systematically employed symbolism, of a specifically didactic
character. It ranged from bare conventional signs to the highest flights of
artistic representation in sculpture and painting, and it was designed with
the conscious purpose of recalling the tenets of the Christian faith, and of
other points regarded as interesting or edifying to the worshippers, and
lastly, that there was nothing secret about it, that it was intended to be,
and doubtless was, as obvious in meaning as the advertisements on our
general view Medieval Architecture by A. Kingsley Porter is one of the best
works on the subject. A smaller, but most excellent work, is W. R. Lethaby's
Medieval Art, from which the illustrations in the article have been taken.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
was the real character of the symbolism found in the churches built in the
Middle Ages? Was there any esoteric meaning attached to the symbols employed?
If there were such hidden meanings by whom were they intended and for what
purpose? How much of the original meaning clung to old pagan symbols when used
with a Christian reference?
BRO. Emerson Esterling, Oregon
many of us the pursuit of happiness, and the escape from sorrow, is the
desideratum of our mortal existence. Our great national institution of
government makes mention of this in our worthy Constitution. Blindly seeking
after this coveted condition, we only too quickly find that with it comes, to
our way of thinking, that opposable state, sorrow.
the philosopher, seeking not pleasure nor happiness, perhaps receives fully
his lot; for he takes in hand and peruses the garment of Hertha, spun from the
spindle of the Fates, the cloak of ideas, woven from the black and white
threads of eternity, and finds that one lends to the other, and that without
the blinding light and abject blackness we would know nothing of the gray of
Seeking, and partially reaching the heights of joy and happiness, eschewing,
but overtaken by the depths of sorrow, we come to know.
Pike writes, in his Morals and Dogma: "All the true Initiates have recognized
the usefulness of toil and sorrow. 'Sorrow,' says a German poet, 'is the dog
of that unknown shepherd who guides the flock of men.'"
have taken the degrees of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and who have taken
it for more than the form and pretense of ritual, know it to be verily a Lodge
of Sorrow, for to the true philosopher life itself is a sorrow, for with his
vision he can see ahead, behind, beyond, and in the range of his vision looms
up "what might have been," "what might be," and all around he sees only what
is--and it is no wonder that many saw Christ weep, but none saw Him smile. No
wonder that the great Abraham Lincoln carried the woe of a nation on his
shoulders and the sorrow and suffering of humanity in his face--he saw!
However, we must consider the contagious effect of personality. The chronic
grouch, the person who has a biased view of things, and whose perverted
influence is extended to others, is not to be confused with the man who has
found wherein lies the true happiness, who has sounded humanity and the
universe to his mental capacity, and who comes forth with an understanding of
better things, and then accosted with the grim realities of this fallen race
of mankind, expresses a sorrowful sympathy.
find in the woof and warp of the mantle of life both black and white threads,
interwoven, interlinked, under and over, around and about and side by
side--and, wearing this mantle throughout our mortal existence unto the portal
of death where we must shed all and stand naked and alone, we must accept the
texture, for the self-same hand that formed us out of the dust of the earth
fashioned our mantle, of sorrow and Joy.
Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, by their Grand Officers and
Representatives in Grand Lodge assembled, at an annual communication thereof,
in accordance with existing Constitutions and Laws, do establish and
promulgate the following
expression of the simplest form of the faith of Masonry, not exhaustive, but
incontrovertible and suggestive, the following is
is one God, the Father of all men. The Holy Bible is the Great Light in
Masonry, and the Rule and Guide for faith and practice. Man is immortal.
Character determines destiny. Love of man is, next to love of God, man's first
duty. Prayer, communion of man with God, is helpful.
IS DOGMA? By Edouard LeRoy. Translated by Lydia G. Robinson. Published by the
Open Court Publishing Co., Chicago, III. May be purchased through the Book
Department of the National Masonic Research Society, J950 Railway Exchange
Bldg., St. Louis, Mo. Boards, 6x4, 89 pages. Price. postpaid, 60c.
is a remarkable little book. It goes right to the very root of the question
with no redundant argument or superfluous illustration, while yet the author's
thesis, or rather, as he insists, his question, is put so clearly that it
seems difficult to comprehend how he could have been misunderstood. Yet
misunderstood he was, and his little essay was the cause of a prolonged
controversy in the French press, not only in theological and philosophical
journals, but also in the popular magazines and newspapers.
LeRoy is a Roman Catholic, and apparently both sincere and devout in his
religion. But he is also a philosopher and fully abreast with scientific and
literary culture. His question is addressed to the authorities of the Roman
Church, and though he asks a question he apparently puts them in a dilemma -
which may account for the hostility his article roused, and the fact that when
republished, with some of the letters it elicited and the author's replies
thereto, it was put on the Index as a book forbidden to the faithful.
reason for the question raised may be given in the author's own words. "I
desire above all," he says, "to make better known the state of mind of these
contemporaries who think, the nature of the questions they ask themselves, the
obstacles that hinder them and the difficulties that perplex them . . . The
experience of cultivated non-Christian circles (I might even say a personal
experience) has demonstrated to me that the proofs brought forward as
traditional have no effect on intellects accustomed to the discipline of
contemporary science and philosophy." And further on he says, "Let no one
think such a task profitless or superfluous . . . we [i. e. defenders of
dogmatic teaching] are not listened to or understood. What we say has no
response and carries no weight. We exert ourselves in [a] silence and in a
void, without even giving rise to any criticism or refutation." And again he
says, "Today denial does not attack one dogma any more than another. It
consists above all in a preliminary and total demurrer . . . it is the very
idea of dogma which is repugnant, which gives offense."
dogma, he means a point or article of faith held and taught by the church, and
his argument holds good of any dogma of any church, and two of the three given
in illustration are held by all orthodox churches. He shows that understood
purely and simply as intellectual propositions they are not only impossible to
demonstrate but that they are positively meaningless. He then shows that
historically dogma is negative, it is not this or that is to be believed, but
such and such a thing is not to be believed. Only in the historical setting
have the dogmas of Christianity any intelligible meaning from the
philosophical point of view. But beyond this they have a practical meaning, as
in one of his illustrations, "God is a person," teaches negatively that God is
not simply a law, a hypothesis, an abstract force. But positively it implies
that the believer must act as in a personal relation towards the mysterious
being we call God.
discussion of this subject will prove of great value to thinking Masons who
really want to know quite clearly what the "belief in God" that is a
prerequisite to membership in the Fraternity really implies.
translator is to be congratulated on the successful rendering of the original
into exceedingly clear and idiomatic English. We could wish that she had gone
on and included some of the ensuing controversy.
* * *
DEMOCRACY VS. AUTOCRACY
VISIBLE OF THE INVISIBLE EMPIRE. "THE MAELSTROM." By Edgar I. Fuller. Revised
and edited by Geo. La Dura. Published by the Maelstrom Publishing Co., Inc.,
Denver, Colo. May be purchased through the Book Department of the National
Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Cloth,
illustrated, 178 pages. Price, postpaid, $1.60.
author was at one time Executive Secretary to Edward Young Clarke, Imperial
Giant, Imperial Wizard Emeritus, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, but has very
fully and completely renounced the organization. This and the title will give
the reader a very fair inkling of what to expect. Incidentally one would
remark that publisher or author, or whoever was responsible for the
allegorical picture that comes before the Foreword, seems to take the
Maelstrom to be a kind of cyclone, tornado or aerial disturbance of some kind.
The word of course simply means "millstream" and was applied to a once famous
and much dreaded whirlpool caused by tidal currents off the west coast of
Norway. This error is perhaps trivial enough in itself, but one feels in a way
that it may be really typical of the whole work.
book is in brief a very fierce and bitter accusation and denunciation of the
Klan, its founders, its leaders and all its ways and works. If a tithe of what
the author alleges is true his indignation would be more than justified, but
the critical reader, failing other sources of information, would be inclined
to suspect that righteous wrath has run to seed in rhetoric. It certainly
seems that a more restrained account would carry greater conviction.
author gives us an account of the founders of the present day Klan, and the
men who now control it, and it is no pleasant picture that he draws. There are
included portraits of Simmons and Clarke which might be those of any ordinary
prosperous American citizen. Certainly these illustrations would not give us
by themselves the impression that the first showed the features of a man
"characterized by physical laziness, mental inertia and moral insensibility
from childhood," of a minister of the gospel "discontinued, while yet on trial
because of his inefficiency and unreliability, with grave rumors as to his
moral conduct." Nor does the other look like a confessed white slaver, a
renegade Presbyterian church worker and habitual drunkard. Yet on the other
hand the author alludes casually to newspaper reports that would fully bear
out his characterizations. Into these personalities, however, it is hardly
worth while to go. The Klan and its activities are of interest to Masons,
negatively in the first place, because of the persistent propaganda put out to
lead the public to think that there was some connection between the two
organizations. Secondly, it is of interest to individual Masons as citizens of
the United States, because its machinery is so diametrically opposed to the
ideals of democracy on which the Republic is founded. Secret tribunals are a
natural resource of a people oppressed by a despotic and tyrannical
government, but they have no place in a free country. The Klan as a
pretentious make-believe would be only a source of mirth, but when it tries to
make its hidden autocracy effective it becomes a legitimate object of
apprehension and reprobation. At the very best it is a short cut to reform
that would lead still deeper into the quagmires of injustice and corruption.
the most amusing things about the Klan is the amazing nomenclature in use, and
the even more amazing crudity of its rituals. It is a cause of wonder how
anyone with enough education to be able to read and write can stomach it. It
evidently subsists on racial and religious prejudice, and its promoters find
their fishing the better the more they can trouble the waters. We can fully
recommend the book as a counter-irritant to anyone at all inclined to become a
QUESTION BOX and CORRESPONDENCE
ETIQUETTE FOR GRAND OFFICERS - AND OTHERS
with interest an anecdote in the October BUILDER, narrating that a Grand
Master on an official visit was seated in the East during the reading of a
passage from the Old Testament, in the course of which he repeatedly asked a
Past Master seated beside him, "What does that mean?" The Past Master replied
irritably that he did not know. The moral is that Past Masters really ought to
know more things than they do know.
is, I suppose, incontestable; but the anecdote calls to my mind a problem in
politeness which is occasionally perplexing. I have not found in any of the
standard books of etiquette directions on how to shut up a Grand Master; nor,
frankly, do I think I would act upon the knowledge if I had it. One shrinks
from the exercise of stupendous powers. Besides, one ought never to get
irritated at a Grand Master any more than at an organist. Most of us could not
fill either job. But just what ought you to do if you are visiting a lodge and
some Worshipful Brother seated next to you persists in chattering to you
during the work; or if you are entertaining a visitor and he converses so
continually that even the candidates as they pass by cannot but hear him? You
don't want to be a solemn ass; but conversation, when it is neither time nor
place for it, is one of the crimes it takes two to commit; so if you talk back
to your amiable neighbor many can see that you and he are talking and some can
happen to be seated in the East when this occurs everybody can see that you
solution of the difficulty is a compromise - no doubt a cowardly one. At most
stages of the proceedings I do answer back, under the continual fear or
perhaps hope - that the Master will gavel us into silence. But when the
Scripture is being read, I would not pay attention to anybody seated beside
me, were he a Grand Master or the best of grand good fellows. I don't think my
regard for the Bible is superstitious or fanatical, but when the word of God
is being read to me, I consider it up to me to pay attention to it and not to
anything or anybody else.
even noticed conversation going on during prayer. That surely is boorish as
well as irreverent.
it not be well once in a while to suggest to officers, kindly, that during the
work they ought to sit up straight and pay attention; and might we not remind
Past Masters, respectfully, that when seated in the East they are conspicuous
and are setting an example? Let all the brethren remember that it is the lodge
at work, not merely certain performers doing the work. If that were more fully
realized perhaps the work would seem more interesting.
is a time for conversation, for catechism by Grand Masters, for speechmaking
and for all that promotes sociability. The Master has power to allot the time
for these things as he deems best; the brethren, whatever their station,
should govern themselves accordingly. At least, that is the way it seems to
* * *
RELIGION OF PRESIDENT HAYES
evidence as to the religion of President Hayes that would probably be regarded
as most authentic, is his own diary, in which he wrote on May 7, 1890: "I am
not a subscriber to any creed. I belong to no church. But in a sense
satisfactory to myself and believed by me to be important, I try to be a
Christian, or rather I want to be a Christian and to help do Christian work."
Again, on Jan. 8, 1893, nine days before his death, he wrote: “I am Christian,
according to my conscience, in belief, not, of course, in character and
conduct, but in purpose and wish; not, of course, by the orthodox standard.
But I am content and have a feeling of trust and safety."
extracts and many others from Hayes' diary are printed in the two-volume
"Life," by Charles Richard Williams (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914) which was
written at the request of General Hayes' sons and principally in the family
home at Fremont, Ohio. Hayes' mother was a New England Congregationalist; when
they moved to Ohio his parents united with the Presbyterian Church. Hayes went
to Kenyon College (Episcopalian) but apparently only because it was the
nearest. The President's wife was, as is well known, a zealous Methodist and
he always went with her to church. His biographer, Williams, says: "His
widowed mother's pride in him was unbounded, and she never had fault to find
with him except that he did not make public avowal of the Christian faith and
unite himself with some church. While he felt himself to be a Christian in all
essential respects, he never united with any church. There were declarations
of belief in the orthodox creeds that he could not conscientiously make."
Similar statements, though much briefer, are found in the "Life," by William
Dean Howells (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1876).
Charles E. Harrison, New York.
Referring to the statement in your October issue that President Hayes was a
Baptist. President Hayes and his wife were both members of the Methodist
retiring from the Presidency, he made his home at Fremont, Ohio, and the
Methodist Episcopal Church in Fremont is largely indebted to President and
Mrs. Hayes for its beautiful church edifice.
President Hayes and my father were close friends and frequently discussed
religion. One day I overheard my father say, "Hayes, I know you belong to the
Methodist Church, but what is your religious belief?" He replied, "I am a
Christian; there are very few of us." Another statement he made and which I
overheard, "It is not related that Christ ever smiled. He seems to have had no
sense of humor."
H. Howe, Ohio.
* * *
to call your attention to an article appearing on the Editorial page of the
January, 19?5, issue of THE BUILDER, to the effect that Mark Twain was an
atheist. In a publication known as "Masonic Events," whose business office is
located at 186 N. LaSalle street, Chicago. Ill., I read another article which
leads me to believe that Mark Twain was a member of Polar Star Masonic Lodge,
No. 79, St. Louis, Mo. These two articles conflict with each other. Which is
editorial in the January issue of THE BUILDER was based upon the biography of
Mark Twain. written bit Albert Bigelow Paine, who is the authority for stating
that Twain in his later years was an atheist. We have no other authority for
the statement than that contained in the Paine biography. This statement,
however, is not inconsistent with the statement that Mark Twain was a member
of Polar Star Lodge, No. 79, St. Louis, because his membership in Polar Star
Lodge was at a time prior to the period in which it is averred by Mr. Paine
that he became an atheist.
this latter period of his life he was no longer a member of Polar Star Lodge;
therefore, his religious beliefs could not be called in question.
BUILDER does not accept responsibility for the statement in the Paine
biography, but simply in its editorial saw in the distress of that great
humorist probable confirmation of the statement made by his biographer.
* * *
article by the undersigned in your September issue on "Facts About Stephen
Morin" seems to have elicited considerable interest as shown by the receipt of
a number of letters by him.
most important was one from Henry A. Alexander, a prominent attorney of
Atlanta, Georgia, who in his letter dated Sept. 22, says:
"Referring to your article 'Facts About Stephen Morin' in the September, 1925,
number of THE BUILDER, in which in the third paragraph you refer to Abraham
Alexander, the first Secretary-General of the Scottish Rite, Southern
Jurisdiction, may I correct your impression that he was not a Jew.
pertinent facts are that Mr. Alexander, my great-great-grandfather, was a
native of London and a Jew.
"Without compensation he served the Jewish congregation of the House of God of
Charleston, South Carolina, as its minister from 1764 to 1784, and this
service is still commemorated in the ritual of that congregation for the Day
of Atonement. He is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Coming Street in
Charleston and his descendants are Jews."
this most interesting letter to all Scottish Rite Masons I replied, saying I
was very much pleased to learn that there were descendants of this noted
brother, Abraham Alexander, now living in the United States, and asked for
more details of his life, as Albert Pike was able to find out but little
concerning him save that he was employed in the Charleston Custom House, was
an Englishman and, as his informant expressed it, "a fine caligraphist." I
further suggested to Mr. Alexander that he give me all the facts concerning
his illustrious ancestor that he cared to communicate for publication as a
separate article, to which I have as yet received no reply.
Field Willard, California.
* * *
MASONRY AND THE HOLY BIBLE
taking the liberty of mailing you a copy of "The York Rite Trestle Board," a
little sheet published by a few earnest and enterprising brother Masons of the
City of Mexico in the interest of York Rite Masonry in this Republic. It is
the practice of the Grand Master to address the Craft by a monthly letter.
This second letter of our present M. W. Grand Master occurs to me as about as
fine a statement of real Masonry and its purpose as I have ever seen.
Especially apt is his statement with reference to the "Holy Bible as the
nearest means we have of learning the Will of God, and as the best Guide, upon
which to base our faith and our conduct." Here is a conception, upon which all
honest men can agree whether in the lodge or out of it.
Tampico Lodge, No. 10, F. & A. M., Tampico, Mexico.
paragraph from which Bro. Banks quotes, reads in full thus:
Masonry has for its fundamental principles and tenets only those principles
upon which all good men may agree without argument and without contention.
Such is the belief in one Supreme Being, the Father and Creator of all things;
such is the belief in the immortality of the soul, that part of Man which most
nearly resembles the God he worships; such is the belief in the Holy Bible as
the nearest means we have of learning the Will of God, and as the best guide
upon which to base our faith and our conduct. To these great fundamentals we
add the practice of benevolence, of charity and of tolerance, the belief in
individual responsibility, in the free education of all men and in freedom of
thought for all mankind.
* * *
WANTED AND FOR SALE
anyone having a copy of "Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid," by Piazzi
Smyth, that they are willing to dispose of, communicate with Bro. George
Meyer, care of the Editor?
G. F. Winemiller has a complete set of THE BUILDER from January, 1915, to
date, for sale.
Louise Todd Plum, daughter of the late Bro. Irving Todd, of Hastings, Minn.,
wishes to sell her father's Masonic library. This consists chiefly of a
collection of proceedings of various Grand Masonic bodies which had been made
very nearly complete. A very valuable set, which might especially interest any
Masonic body contemplating the formation of a library. There are in addition
some two hundred volumes of a miscellaneous character, some of them very
O. M. Henderson has about seventy Masonic works to dispose of. A list will be
furnished to those interested. Among these books are such items as the
Lexicon of Masonry. Mackey, 1866. $2.00.
Traditions of Freemasonry. Pierson, 1865. $2.00.
Symbolism of Freemasonry. Mackey, 1869. $1.50.
Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. Mackey. $4.00.
Antiquities of Freemasonry. Oliver, 1856. $2.00.
Illustrations of Masonry. Preston, 1856. $2.00.
Revelations of a Square. Oliver, 1855. $1.76.
Mnemonics. [Morris.] $2.50.
Wm. A. Theobald would like to obtain a copy of the Scottish Rite Liturgy of
the first Three Degrees. If any of our readers have a copy to dispose of, or
know where such could be obtained they would be extending a fraternal favor in
letting him know. Letters may be addressed in care of the Editor of THE
Robert I. Clegg writes to point out an error that was overlooked in the
September number of THE BUILDER, and one that is sufficiently obvious, at
least when pointed out. The portrait illustrating his article entitled "More
Patriarchs- of the Craft" is that of Bro. John Barker, not Harry Tipper.
s’excuse o’accuse, say the French, and Ye Editor is neither going to excuse
nor accuse himself. The mistake occurred, it is now corrected, and that's
* * *
little work published some time ago giving a brief outline of Biblical history
from the Masonic point of view, together with topographical and archeological
details of the Orient - it would perhaps be unkind to mention the exact title
- occurs the following gem: "The Sphinx is a gigantic monument with the body
of a lion and the bust of a woman, probably the image of an ancient king."
However one reads this it would seem that kings were curious animals in those
* * *
yet another correction! A friendly critic writes to point out that the poem we
quoted last month is all wrong, and also (which under the circumstances is
worse) that the true version appears in the first volume of THE BUILDER on
page 137. Ye Editor will "save his face" by pointing out that this is a very
good concrete example of how variant forms of a story, a proverbial saying, or
a traditional ritual can arise. If such mistakes can be made when the original
is on record and easily accessible, much more so are they likely to occur when
this is not the case.
is the original form of the poem:
parish priest of austerity
Climbed up in a high church steeple,
nearer God so that he might hand
word down to the people.
sermon and script he daily wrote
he thought was sent from heaven
dropped it down on the people's heads
times one day in seven.
age God said, Come down and die.
cried out from the steeple
art Thou, Lord? And the Lord replied
here among my people ! "
breaking up of the poem into stanzas, and the dividing of the first and every
succeeding alternate line into two are minor details and do not affect either
the rhythm or the sense. But note how the "austerity" of the priest has been
changed into a geographical designation of similar sound. The most curious
change, however, is adding "r" to the word "age" and the consequent complete
change of the end of the line in order to produce sense. Those who wonder how
discrepancies have got into the Masonic Ritual can see the process here in
plain view. It is now the turn for some one else to discover neither version
is right. But this will not affect the moral.