The Builder Magazine
August 1928 - Volume XIV - Number
Gematria and the Letter G
BRO. L. F. STRAUSS. Massachusetts
every Masonic lodge room there is presented for special notice, exhibited for
particular consideration, the letter G. At all Masonic expositions, shows or
manifestations, on Masonry's golden or gilded emblems, on all the so very
varied Masonic symbolic configuration, we find embedded, and as it were
enshrined, this letter G. On special occasions, feasts and celebrations, this
letter looks with glowing radiance upon the assembly of Free and Accepted
Now the question arises, or rather should arise, what is the significance of
this letter G. that it should be given such an all-surpassing prominence in
the Masonic realm? What was the idea or ideas, what was the object, the
purpose of the pioneers, the founders of Modern Freemasonry in giving such an
illustrious position to this character or symbol?
This emblematic G is a cogent illustration of the phenomenon that the large
majority of human beings, wanderers upon this planet Earth, spend their lives,
and finally complete their destined pilgrimage, without ever troubling
themselves about the goal, or the purposes of Providence or God. The ratson
d'etre of things, of the world, does not take up much of their attention. They
spend little of their valuable time in wondering at the things which they
feel, smell, taste, fear or see. The would-be teacher or monitor is told in
irritated voice: "What difference does it make ?" In other words. "What can I
buy for it?" The how, where, why and when, gives no trouble to the average
good American, German, or French citizen.
Now this letter G is too conspicuous, too prominent, to be left altogether out
of consideration by the honorable "Guides of the Worthy Members of Modern
Freemasonry." So in one carefully arranged scene, at a definitely appointed
time, the Guide gives the Candidate a brief elucidation of this so
conspicuous, so omnipresent figure. In reverential voice, with solemn mien,
the Candidate is informed that the letter G has a double meaning; that being
the first letter of the two words, it represents two ideas: the mensurable
material, and the incalculable spiritual and divine. The Guide, of course,
simply repeats the memorized phrases, the words he himself was told when he
was a Candidate.
little reflection should bring this consideration: the letter G is the initial
letter for the word God in the English and Germanic languages only. yet it is
as conspicuous, as omnipresent, in the Italian, French, Spanish, Slavic and
Albanian lodge rooms as in the English American-Germanic lodges. The initial
letter of the word for God in the so-called Romance languages, Latin, French
and Italian, is D; in Slavic languages B. and in the Albanian language is P.
Why then in these countries is this letter G not changed into D, B or P?
Again, geometry is only a small part, a short section of the great domain
called mathematics. The school child has his troubles with arithmetic, the
student has his or her difficulties with algebra, trigonometry, calculus, etc.
why enthrone geometry for this special consideration, meditation and
reverence? "The hardest thing in the world is to think," says Emerson.
this connection we will add this: the Candidate sees, in the course of his
Masonic career, some strange things, some very remarkable scenes and
sceneries; he hears some strange words and phrases in the memorized
proclamations of the Masters, the Chiefs, the High Priests. But the large
majority of the honorable members of Modern Freemasonry are in the same mental
condition, or enlightenment, about Freemasonry as would be a well-trained,
docile, puppy or kitten on the subject of art, when puppy or kitten is carried
through a most magnior munificent palace or art museum. Its eyes might be
directed and steadily turned toward some special, highly valued paintings or
pieces of sculpture, and yet our patient kitten or puppy, like unto a member
of the Free and Accepted Masons, will not ask a single question, will not even
wonder, no matter what is placed before its healthy, innocent eyes.
Now let us return to our letter G.
What is this letter G. ?
is for one thing the initial letter of the word Gematria. But what is Gematria?
The word itself constitutes a kind of combination of two others, of the two
words Grammateia and Geometria. Geometric "Grammateian" principles were
applied by sages called Kabalists, in their search for the principles, the
laws, that are operative in the evolution of life, in the structure, the
Building of this our Universe. The proper use of this geometric-grammateian
principle furnished to these Hebrew-Jewish-Israelitish sages and theologians,
the key to the hidden, the fourfold meaning, of what is today known as the Old
The Jewish Encyclopedia gives us a very learned treatise on the subject of
Gematria, six long pages in reduced type, a great part in the
Hebrew-Aramaic-Neo-Hebrew language. The writer of this article in the Jewish
Encyclopedia is a great scholar, a modern "Intellectual," therefore a little
skeptical. We will give a few quotations:
Cabalistic literature the use of Gematria has been greatly extended and its
forms have been developed in many directions. The principles on which the
Gematria rests is not stated in traditional literature, but it may be assumed
is essentially the same as that which is found in the Cabala, though in the
latter it has been developed along the lines of cosmogonic theories.
theoretic basis: all creation has developed through emanation from the En Soph
(En Soph is an important Masonic emblem or symbol). The first degrees of that
evolution are the ten Sephiroth; from the last of which, the “Kingdom"
developed the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Through the latter
the whole finite world has come into existence. These letters are dynamic
powers. Since these powers are numbers, everything that has sprung from them
is number. Number is the essence of things, whose local and temporas relation
ultimately depends on numerical proportion.
Everything has its prototype in the world of spirits, that spiritual prototype
being the term from which the thing has been developed. As the Essence of
things is numbers, the identity of things in numbers demonstrates their
identity in Essence, etc., etc., etc.
The writer here wishes to call attention to a few articles recently published
in THE BUILDER, a "Scientific Masonic Magazine." These articles, entitled "The
Essenes," "The Kabala" and "Freemasonry and the Kabala," will also give this
information: the nomenclature, the symbolism used, employed, pronounced in
Freemasonry is Kabalistic, that is, is taken, borrowed from the Kabala. The
progenitors of this Kabala were an Order called in history Essenes, the
selfdesignation of the members of this Order was Banaim., which word
translated into English means "Mason," "Builder." The aim of every member was
to become Rab-Bana, that is a MasterBuilder.
Albert Pike, the only American Master-Builder to whom the Order of Free and
Accepted Masons has erected a monument, and this in the city of Washington,
has built his literary structure upon the doctrines of these Kabalistic Banaim,
and on page 202 of his book calls particular attention to these Rab-Banaim,
Master-Builders, and he emphasizes the fact that the Kabala furnishes to
Masonry secrets and symbols.
Modern historians, and even some novelists, claim these Essenes Banaism to
have been the founders, the pioneers, the propagandists of Christianity. A use
of Gematria is recognized by the true Initiate in many pages of the Old and
New Testaments. The Jewish Encyclopedia here points to Genesis (1) XIV, 14,
where the number 318 is equivalent Eliezer, (2) XXXII, 1-6, (3) Ezekiel V, 2.
instructive illustration or exemplification of Gematria is furnished by
"Christian" Kabalists. The form here prescribed and the principles involved
are, or should be, of special interest to members of an organization known by
the name of "Modern Freemasonry." These Christian Kabalists, of whom the
church fathers, Clement and Origen, are the most illustrious and best known
representatives, were potent factors in the formation of Christian theology,
and the propaganda of the Christian faith.
Christian Kabalists made a special use of the words IOANNES (John) and IESOUS
(Jesus) and BAPTISMA were also used. This may be exemplified by a quotation
from a book recently published by two unrecognized modern British students of
Gematria, Frederic Bligh Bond, F.R.I.B.A., and Thomas L. Lea, D. D.
Here then is a case in which the Gematria value of the spelling might be
looked to for light, if our theory be correct, and it must be admitted that
the name IOANES has an undeniable importance in view of its divine origin in
the gospel narrative. The numerical value of IOANES (Joanes) is 1069, a number
not apparently related to the general scheme of mystic numbers which subsists
in the writings, but as IOANNES (Joannes) the form generally formed and
employed by the old Scribes and which is also to be seen in the Cosmic MS. of
the Pitis Sophia, it is 1119, and this it may at once be said, is an important
number in the mystical geometry of the Aeons, and is actually the number of
Aeon in the books of IEOU and is directly connected with the number 634. The
French author, Honore Balzac, in Louis Lambent and Seraphta, proclaims a
philosophical theology in striking accord with the teaching of the Kabala. In
this work he presents a world, ideas and doctrines, in striking agreement with
the teachings given in and by Gematria. On one page, the page before me is
104, this French genius enumerates laws, principles that are stated in nearly
the same words in the Zohar (Crown of Kabala). Following are some of these
Everything in this world (iei bas) exists only by movement and by number.
Movement is in some sort number in action.
Movement is the product of a force engendered by the word and by a resistances
which is matter. Without the resistance movement would be without result, its
action would have been infinitely small. The attraction of Newton is not a
law, but an effect of the general law of universal movement.
This is a kind of "Einsteinian" relativity proclaimed in 1835.
Now, Gematria is old, very old. But, dear reader, so is the so-called Atomic
theory, so is the mis-called Copernican system of astronomy. Not only
Pythagoras and Plato had taught this so-called Copernican or Heliocentric
theory, but it was also taught by the Essenes Banaim and had been discovered
through the modus operandi and quaerendi, called Gematria. This "Heliocentric"
doctrine, with Pythagoras and Plato as well as Essenes, was of course one of
their "Masonic" secrets.
Our friend Albert Pike in his great work presents us, in the final chapters
headed "Knight of the Sun, Prince Adept, and Sublime Prince of the Royal
Secret," the most brilliant exhibition and illustration of the modus operandi
and opus quaerendi of his friends the Kabalists. The modus and opus operandi
is, as we found out, called Gematria.
Our friend Albert Pike strongly emphasizes the fact that Graeco-Roman sages
had employed the same, or similar, modus and opus. Now the question might
arise whether the Kabalist Banaim had borrowed doctrines and ideas from the
Pythagorian adepts or Eleusinian Mystics or vice versa. This question has been
debated, we will leave it here undecided. In our opinion, no borrowing was
necessary. Veritas habetur clara eternaque. Seeing at all times depends upon
the eyes of the seer.
When the human race is ready for the reception of an idea it is precipitated
upon terra firma by the Higher Powers. Again and again a new idea comes to, a
new discovery is made by several individuals at the same time; in evolution we
have Darwin and Wallace, in mathematics, in calculus, Newton and Leibnitz.
The great Masonic authority, Albert Pike, thinks that Pythagoras had his
instruction in Judea from Daniel and Ezekiel. This writer does not endorse the
opinion of Albert Pike.
Now, son of man, remember the declaration ascribed to King Solomon, "there is
nothing new under the sun." one might see a kind of contradiction in this
Solomonian proverb in the scientific dictum "nature never repeats." But to
this scientific dictum should be added the word "exactly." No two things are
exactly alike. So that every human voice even has its own peculiar flavor.
The reader has now been told a lot about ancient Gematria; he might have heard
of strange Pythaorean, hermeticmathematical, astrological, superstitions, and
now, lo and behold, here comes a great, a recognized, modern scholar and
scientist, a Doctor, a Professor, at the University of Tubingen. He wrote for
the March number of the Preussische Jahrbucher, a conservative German
Scientific magazine, a long article entitled "Mathematik und Kultur." Our
professor had presumably never studied the Kabala; had probably never heard
the word Gematria; yet in his article he tells us of some new, strangely
mystical, German discovery in the realm of mathematics; discoveries which
remind the initiate of doctrines, of ideas and ideals found in the Gematria.
Our professor informs us that these strangely mystical "new" discoveries have
been found useful not only in theoretical science, but are utilized today in
the pursuits of modern industry, such as chemistry, radio-activity and so on.
this article our learned professor endeavors to place upon a scientific basis
occult teachings about mathematics, the mystical potency of number, in the
unfoldment, the manifestation of life in this our universe.
these new doctrines are presented in eight printed pages we can give here a
few quotations only. Among many other things Dr. Knapp tells us:
The Pythagorean succeeded in making a discovery of far reaching significance;
they ascertained the laws of Harmony in sound and were able to place these
laws upon a Numerical Theoretical Foundation.
That is, Gematria. He theorises in many words about the importance of this
discovery, about the intimate connection, the complementary features possessed
by two seemingly heterogeneous elements: Mathematics and Music. Our professor
The Pythagorean school endeavors to make number, or, more clearly expressed,
the relation of numbers, the innermost basis of life and nature.
Alongside of Harmony of sound, the Pythagorean affirmed with keen speculation
the harmony of the spheres, i.e., the doctrine that in the complementary
motions of sun moon and planets there is operative the principle of Numerical
potency or power, which law or power resembles, is identical with, the law or
power operative in the law of sound. This law in a way is "twin" and becomes
affective and effective in the life of men.
Again Professor Knapp says:
Now I wish to declare that this discovery of the Pythagoreans has found, has
experienced a resurrection, a most potent revival in most instances, in the
different races. Such as the modern "Quantum Theory." Here we learn that
relation between numbers furnishes for man the mirror in which he finds the
unfoldment of Life.
Yet further we find the following:
The study, the investigation by the ancient Greeks of the Kegelschnitten [i.
e., the analysis of the principles involved in the formation of the circle,
the eclipse, the parabola and hyperbola] presents a highly interesting field
of investigation. Appollonius of Perga gave to this mathematical study his
whole lifetime, and we have from him an elaborate presentation of his results
in eight books. Some inductions and deductions had seemed strange and
mystical. But a few thousands of years later Kepler discovered that planets
and comets in their evolution around the sun move in courses indicated and
designated in this Kepelschnitten so that what had seemed mathematical
playfulness or tomfoolery had the most surprising cosmic significance.
And still further we read:
Let us return to our Pythagoreans; their Einsichten, their recognitions and
the hope of new discoveries gave their study of mathematics a value superior
to all other occupations. The Structure, the nature of the Cosmos, was
recognized as having a mathematical basis. They did not postulate this
mathematical basis for the realm of exteriors, the phenomenal world, alone.
For in their judgment the sense of Harmony enters deeply the interior, the
human sphere, and thus they made mathematics the basis of all knowledge. We do
not know what definite knowledge was reached, what discoveries in the realm of
science was made by the Pythagoreans. One thing we do know: they utilized as a
fact, or rather as a factor, the potency of numbers. They taught that number,
whole number, was at the beginning, was in a way the Source of the evolution
of Life in the bosom of Nature and that the relation between numbers furnished
for man the mirror in which he could see the unfoldment of life.
And yet again he says:
yet another point in modern progress do we see the potency of the "whole
number." I wish here to call attention to the principle of periodicity in the
realm of chemical elements, to the fact that every element has a definite
whole number, order-of-and-for-process, which order determines so completely
the character, the nature of the elements that Max Born, a recognized
authority, maintained that the theory of physics and chemistry will become a
problem of numbers.
Professor Knapp is here in accord with a statement made by Lord Kelvin in his
last visit to this country when speaking to the student body at Cornell
University. In this speech he remarked "The great work of the twentieth
century will be in the reconciliation of the life seen with the life unseen,
by means of psychophysics." To this recognition are due some commercially
important discoveries in the German chemical industry.
One more quotation we will make from our professor:
uneducated individual will not be able to imagine a nonEuclidian geometry,
that is a geometry in which matter such as the three angles of a triangle make
not 180 degrees, and yet Gauss, and especially Rieman, had posited, had worked
with, these non-Euclidian principles. And we know today that the Theory of
Relativity postulated by Einstein is based upon this non-Euclidian geometry.
Again in Greek history we find that mathematics was revered as the Queen of
Science. And now we might say here a few swords about the relation of
mathematics to the principle of Philosophy
Here our professor gives a dissertation too lengthy for a presentation in this
These declarations are strange, very strange when made by a modern scholar.
Our scientists have always looked, and the majority of them today still look
askance, at the sphere of the spiritual, the mystical; in other words, the
realm of Religion. The claims of the theologians were smiled at, were deemed
beneath the honor of an investigation by a real scientist and now the great
Gauss is quoted by our professor as saying:
But all search, every effort was in vain; finally a few days ago there came
success; the success was not due to my efforts, my struggle, my powers.
Success came like unto a flash of lightning; the problem was solved through
the Grace of God.
Now what is the purpose of Gematria? Gematria furnishes a solution for three
Gematria teaches the nature of the Cosmos, the origin of this our Solar
Gematria teaches the Nature, the Purpose, the Destiny of man the Genus Homo.
Gematria shows to the personality the road on which the wanderer can,
eventually must reach his destination.
The new philosophy has coined a new term, supraliminal consciousness, and we
would like to refer the American reader to the father of psycho-physics,
Theodore Fechner. The question of course comes up, what is this supra-liminal
consciousness? The phenomena so long rejected by scientists, such as
clairvoyance, clairaudience or telepathy, are today "explained" as
manifestations of this "supra-consciousness." The scientists would find useful
information for the solution of these problems in the study of an occult
treatise called Kabala, considered by some as divinely revealed; and in a
certain modus operandi designated by the letter G. and called Gematria.
American Army Lodges in the World War
BRO. CHARLES F. IRWIN, Associate Editor, Pennsylvania
THERE is one topic that always has a charm to the Masonic student. It is the
existence and history of the various Field Lodges that sprang up during our
various wars and ministered to the Masonic needs of the Craft during the time
of stress. The presence of such Army Lodges on American soil dates in the far
past and is in fact one of the pioneer features of Masonry in the Western
Hemisphere. These Field Lodges first came in the British regiments years prior
to our Revolution and kept appearing through every war we have had.
may prove somewhat of a surprise to the Masonic public to learn of the number
of such institutions that either were stationed permanently in various
American cantonments, or traveled across the ocean and accompanied the
military units to the end of the foreign service.
have been working upon this fascinating problem for a number of years and as a
result are prepared to publish in THE BUILDER some papers either from the
original leaders in these lodges or from their printed reports that are now
accessible to the general Craft. The study of these papers will, we are
convinced, present very strong arguments as to the value of the Field Lodge in
times of national emergency. The cross section of army life displayed by these
papers will stir up within the genuine student a desire to continue further
into the subject.
this series of papers does no more than arouse such a spirit in all our Grand
Lodges we shall regard our labor as successful. Occasionally a detached story
comes in to our department that by investigation can be linked up to one of
these Masonic organizations and thus the material is slowly accumulating into
a valuable treasure.
The first of the series is a paper on Montana Military Lodge No. 1, by its
first Worshipful Master, Major L. A. Foot, of Helena. Worshipful Brother Foot
has been advancing in the line of the Grand Lodge of Montana, and has also
been Attorney General of that state. His paper displays a keen discernment on
Masonic principles and merits a close consideration by all readers. We are
deeply indebted to him for his careful preparation of the paper.
a future issue of THE BUILDER we will have the complete story of "Army Lodge
A" of the 113th Field Artillery, of the Grand Jurisdiction of North Carolina,
which accompanied this regiment throughout the war in France and brought home
a most enviable record and tradition. Other lodges will appear as their story
is shaped up into a unity from the various fragments that have come to us from
History of Montana Army Lodge No. 1, U. D.
BRO. L. A. FOOT, Montana
the time of the entry of the United States into the World War there was
considerable discussion among the various Masonic Jurisdictions of the United
States relative to the advisability of granting dispensations for Army or
Field Lodges in the United States Army. In many instances petitions for such
lodges were denied, under the belief that the plan was not feasible, but the
question continues to be a live one, and the writer submits this article on
the experiences of one of such lodges, hoping that the record of the Army
Lodge of Montana's jurisdiction may prove of benefit and value to the Craft in
Army Lodges were not an innovation of the World War, Masonic history proves
that a number of such lodges existed in Washington's Army during the
Revolution, and it is not at all certain that the first lodge on American soil
was not an Army Lodge. Why, therefore, any jurisdiction should have hesitated
to grant a dispensation in the late war the writer is at a loss to understand,
but doubtless apparently good and sufficient reasons existed.
the 25th day of March, 1917, the Montana National Guard was mobilized for
service and assembled at Fort William Henry Harrison, near Helena, Mont. The
regiment (then known as the Second Montana Infantry, later to become the 163rd
United States Infantry) had but recently returned from service on the Mexican
border. During that service those belonging to the regiment who were Masons
had several times discus the advisability and desirability of petitioning the
Grand Lodge of Montana for a dispensation to organize an Army or Field Lodge.
However, when it developed that the regiment was not to enter Mexico, but was
merely to perform guard duty on the border, the idea was abandoned.
When the call to duty was again sounded, however, and with an assurance of
active service in a foreign land presented, the idea was again revived, and
finally a call for all Masons in the regiment to meet at a certain time and
place was sent out. So many brethren responded to this call and so much
enthusiasm for the plan developed that the result was the appointment of a
committee to take the matter up with the Grand Master and officers of the
Grand Lodge of Montana with a view of obtaining a dispensation for a lodge
that might be taken to France, there to furnish to those wearers of the
lambskin in their country's service the joys of fraternal comradeship only to
be had within the mystic circle of Masonry.
The Grand Lodge of Montana met in its Annual Communication at Helena, and the
writer, delegated by the soldier Masons of the Second Montana Infantry,
appeared before its altar and presented the petition, duly signed, asking that
a dispensation be granted to form a Field Lodge under the name of Montana Army
Lodge No. 1, to accompany the regiment to the battlefields of Europe, or
wherever its duty might call it.
The Grand Lodge received the petition, and by a unanimous vote authorized its
Grand Master, Most Worshipful Bro. Francis D. Jones, to issue the dispensation
prayed for, and appointed a committee consisting of the Most Worshipful Grand
Master and Most Worshipful Past Grand Masters E. C. Day and H. S. Hepner to
prepare the dispensation granting such powers as in their judgment were
necessary to accomplish the purpose desired.
All things being in readiness, Montana Army Lodge No. 1 was duly constituted
by M. W. Grand Master Jones in the Consistory Shrine Temple at Helena on Sept.
8, 1917, with the writer as W. M.; Bro. Jesse B. Root, Senior Warden; Bro. Wm.
O. Whipps, Junior Warden; Bro. Jos. P. Sternhagen, Treasurer, and Bro. Willard
E. Olson, Secretary. The appointive officers installed at the same time were
as follows: Bros. George A. Wright, Senior Deacon; D. E. Hawley, Junior
Deacon; A. E. Johnson, Senior Steward; W. E. Wilson, Junior Steward; Jos.
Writenour, Tyler; H. N. Johnson, Marshal, and Wm. Pippy, Chaplain.
The jewels and furniture of the lodge were the gifts of the three Helena
Lodges, Helena Lodge No. 3, Morning Star Lodge No. 5, and King Solomon's Lodge
No. 9, the square and compasses being made for the purpose by a Helena
silversmith from pure Montana silver. All these jewels and other articles were
returned to the Grand Lodge and are now deposited in its archives among the
other historical relics of Montana Masonry.
Three days after the institution of Montana Army Lodge No. 1, the regiment
departed for Camp Greene, North Carolina, on the first step of its journey to
meetings of the lodge were held in the United States although permission to
meet at Camp Greene was asked and received from the Most Worshipful Grand
Master of North Carolina, and the use of the beautiful lodge rooms in the
Masonic Temple in Charlotte, North Carolina, was tendered to the lodge during
its stay at Camp Greene. The limited time the regiment remained there and the
arduous work of preparing for the voyage across the seas prevented the
acceptance of the offer of the kind brethren of Charlotte who overwhelmed the
brethren of the division with their attentions and kindness.
Dec. 14, 1917, the regiment sailed from Hoboken, N. J., on board the
"Leviathan," formerly the Hamburg-American Liner "Vaterland," for France and
the great adventure. Being unconvoyed the vessel took a course far north of
the usual lines of travel.
The day of Dec. 21 found the ship somewhere off the coast of Iceland, and all
members of the lodge feeling that they had their "sea legs." The first meeting
was held in the stateroom occupied by our Senior Warden, which not being
designed for lodge purposes, caused an overflow of the brethren into the
bathroom. The Master and Senior Warden were provided with chairs, but the
Junior Warden was compelled to occupy a seat on the side of the berth, while
the Secretary and other officers and brothers made themselves comfortable on
the floor. Nothing daunted by cramped quarters, the lodge was duly opened. Two
petitions for degrees were received and other business transacted, and the
lodge was duly closed, somewhat hurriedly, however, as a bad sea had risen and
some of the "sea legs" were found to be not as stable as their owners had
The two petitions were subsequently favorably acted upon and both candidates
elected, one of whom was killed in action before any degrees could be
conferred. The other was duly raised and is now a United States Consul in
further meetings were held for several weeks, during which the 163rd Infantry,
and necessarily the officers of the lodge, were scattered about over France,
but finally the regiment was re-assembled in the St. Aignan area on the Cher
River, and meetings were resumed. The Division Commander, General Robert
Alexander, himself a brother of the Jurisdiction of Kansas, gave the lodge
permission to meet in a room in a school building which was in use in the
daytime for military purposes, and several meetings were held there, until
finally the trustees of the school entered objections to its use as a lodge
room by Freemasons and it had to be abandoned.
the first meeting held in this school room a general notice was sent out to
all Masons in the area, and the result was four solid hours of examining
visitors before the lodge would be opened. There was no work for this meeting,
so the time after the lodge was opened was devoted to a "get acquainted"
meeting, the W. M. calling the roll of the states and brethren present
answering for their respective jurisdictions. The result was almost
unbelievable, as 23 states and Porto Rico were represented by brethren at the
the second meeting a third degree was conferred by courtesy for Helena Lodge
No. 3 of Montana. Both Wardens of the Army Lodge were absent on military
duties, as well as were several other officers, so the Master called for
volunteers from the brethren present to assist in the work. Seven different
states were represented by the brothers taking part, several by Past Masters,
and owing to the difference in the work of the seven different jurisdictions,
the Master was kept extremely busy maintaining Matson during the evening.
Early in the spring of 1918 the regiment was moved to Montrichard, and several
meetings were held at that place, one of the most interesting of which was
held in a cave of a single room, without seats of any kind, at which were
raised two brothers whose orders took them to the front lines the following
day. The altar at this meeting was an empty "Corn Willie" box; the officers
and brethren sat, tailor fashion, upon the stone floor; the preparation room
was all of France, roofed by the starry sky. But the spirit of the brotherhood
of Masonry was present and the impressiveness of the degree was enhanced by
the thought that on the morrow the two brothers being bound to us by
unbreakable ties, were to take their places in the firing line; that they were
going from us, fresh from our altar with their newly assumed vows upon them,
possibly to attend their next meeting in that Celestial Lodge on High.
However, I am glad to record that both brothers returned, and today are
honored members of the Craft.
Near Montrichard lives an American, a Mr. Wells, the owner of a fine large
chateau. This gentleman, learning of the existence of the lodge, although not
a member of the Craft, tendered the lodge the use of a fine large room in his
chateau and several meetings were held there by the Senior Warden while the
Master was performing military duty at the front.
incident occurring at Montrichard seems worthy of mention. A French Mason,
having made himself known to a number of American Masons, informed us that
there was an interesting place in the village and led us to a cave in the
rocks. Entering we discovered a large room of probably twenty by thirty feet
in size, cut out of the solid rock. At the east end of the room were three
steps of stone and carved in the rock wall were the Sun, Moon and All-seeing
Eye. The ceiling was curved and still retained the remains of a representation
of the starry canopy. The walls were decorated with pillars of the different
classes of architecture. At one side we discovered the winding stairs with the
proper number of steps, each bearing its appropriate symbol, and terminating
in a small chamber whose walls were decorated with various signs and symbols
familiar to Masons.
The front of the cave, which evidently had been of masonry, was gone, and the
place was crowded with articles of machinery and a rabbit hutch. The small
chamber at the head of the winding stairs was fitted up as a bed chamber, and
at the time of our visit, quite late in the evening, contained a sleeping
peasant whom we disturbed, but who accepted our apologies with a smile and
resumed his slumbers. We desired to hold a meeting of our lodge in this old
lodge room, which our guide informed us had been first prepared for Masonic
purposes nearly three centuries before, but owing to the impossibility of
properly closing the front, we were unable to do so.
The French Lodge which originally used the cave as a meeting place is still in
existence, having moved from Montrichard to Tours some thirty or forty years
Several other meetings were held at Montrichard in a mushroom canning factory
which the American Forces were using as a warehouse, the lodge room and
preparation room being constructed in the center of the large room by erecting
walls of boxes and bales of army supplies.
After the Armistice the Army Lodge met more regularly at St. Aignan, where a
fairly good room was secured on the third floor of a building. Here several
brothers received their degrees and learned their lectures.
the last meeting held an investigating committee made its report on an
applicant. When the ballot box was called for, it was missing. This ballot box
consisted of a cigar box divided into two compartments, with the lid in two
parts, and the ballots were red and white army beans.
However, the absence of such an article could not long deter the functioning
of Montana Army Lodge, and two tin dishes were promptly produced, into one of
which were placed a number of silver and copper French coins. The whole was
then covered with a cloth, and the candidate duly elected with silver French
50 centime pieces.
Among the Montana Masons serving in the A. E. F. was the Right Worshipful R.
E. Hathaway, Senior Grand Warden Elect of the Grand Lodge of Montana. Early in
the spring of 1919 the mails brought to the writer a proxy issued by the Most
Worshipful Grand Master of Montana, Bro. E. M. Hutchinson, empowering him to
convene a special communication of the Grand Lodge of Montana for the purpose
of installing Brother Hathaway as Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden.
Brother Hathaway, who was then in Paris, was communicated with, and on March
29, 1919, he arrived at St. Aignan, where, in compliance with the authority
granted, a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Montana was convened
and he was duly installed in his office.
Inasmuch as this is probably the only instance in American Masonic History
where a Grand Lodge of an American jurisdiction was convened on foreign soil,
the minutes of that meeting and a roster of the acting Grand officers and
brethren present might bit of interest to the Craft. We give them as follows:
Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Montana A. F. and A. M., was held
at St. Aignan, Loir-et-Cher, France this 29th day of March, A. D. 1919, A. L.
5919. The following officers were present:
Bro. L. A. Foot, Act. W.G.M. Bro. W. C. Riddell, Act. S.G.W. Bro. L. A.
Buchanan, Act. J.G.W. Bro W. E. Olsen, Act. G. Sec'y. Bro O. S. Perry, Act. G.
Treas. Bro. R. O. Osborne, Act. S.G.D. Bro. J. P. Webber, Act. J.G.D. Bro A.
E. Johnson, Act. S.G.S. Bro W. E. Wilson, Act. J.G.S. Bro. G. R. Austin, Act.
G.Tyler. Bro. C. S. Winn, Act. G. Marshal.
Brothers as shown by Tyler's Register.
Lodge was opened in form on the Third Degree at nine o'clock p. m.
The Acting G. M. then read the following:
Proxy appointing L. A. Foot, W. M. Montana Lodge No. 1, U. D. to install R. W.
Brother Robert E. Hathaway as Senior Grand Warden.
all to whom These Presents May Come-Greetings:
Whereas, at the Fifty-fourth Annual Communication of our Grand Lodge, held in
the City of Billings on August 21 and 22 1918, R. W. Brother Robert E.
Hathaway, now in the Medical Reserve Corps of the United States Army in
France, was duly elected R. W. Senior Grand Warden; and,
Whereas, he was not present to be installed into said position by virtue of
such election; now, therefore, know ye:
That we, Ernest M. Hutchinson, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free
and Accepted Masons of Montana, reposing full confidence in the Masonic skill
and ability of Brother L. A. Foot, W. M. Montana Army Lodge No. 1, U. D., do
hereby appoint him as our special proxy and representative to install R. W.
Brother Robert E. Hathaway as R. W. Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge A.
F. and A. M. of Montana, according to the ancient customs and rites of the
Fraternity, requesting that due return be made to us of this, our proxy.
Given under our hand and the seal of our Grand Lodge at Whitefish, this 19th
day of October, A. D. 1918.
Ernest M. Hutchinson, Grand Master Attest: Cornelius Hedges, Jr.
Grand Secretary (Seal of Grand Lodge).
W. Brother Robert E. Hathaway was then introduced and duly installed as R. W.
Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge A. F. and A. M. of Montana.
After the ceremony, R. W. Brother Hathaway made an address to the assembled
brothers expressing his satisfaction and pleasure at being installed into his
high office by a subordinate lodge of his own Grand Lodge in France, and
thanking the officers and members of Montana Army Lodge No. 1 for their
efforts in his behalf.
There being no further business to come before the meeting, Lodge was closed
in form on the Third Degree at 10:30 p. m. Peace and Harmony prevailing.
E. Olsen. Act. G. Sec'y.
A. Foot Act. W. G. M.
TYLER S REGISTER OF MONTANA ARMY LODGE NO. 1, U. D. St. Aignan, France, March
E. Hathaway, Glendive No. 31, Glendive, Mont. L. A. Foot, Choteau No. 44,
Montana and M. A. L. No. 1, U. D. Wm. C. Riddell, Helena, Mont. Curtis Winn,
P. M., St. John's Lodge No. 17, Albany, Oregon. H. W. Bateman, Choteau 44,
Choteau, Mont. A. E. Johnson, Mont. Army Lodge No. 1, U. D. J. P. Webber,
Silver Bow No. 48, Butte, Mont., and M. A. L. No. 1. G. N. Austin, Sandstone
No. 34, Baker Mont., and M. A. L. No. 1 W. L. Hurlburt, Star in the East, New
Bedford, Mass W. E. Olsen, Valier, Mont., and M. A. L. No. 1. V. E. Landon,
Excelsior 22, Council Bluffs, Iowa. W. T. Barker, Mt. Vernon, Malden, Mass.
Philip Abraham, Oblong City 644, Oblong, Ill. Edward Hambrecht, Hamilton 79,
Canajoharie, N. Y. Vernon A. Hammond, Rock Creek 685, Harriet, Ark. Albert E.
Davis, Covenant 753, Brooklyn, N. Y. William Reed McCathran, Osiris 26,
Washington, D. C Kris M. Solberg, Virginia Falls 171, Merrill, Wise. Robert D.
Ashley, Cradford 470, English, Ind. Frank M. Good, Adoniram 517, Akron, Ohio.
Oliver S. Perry, Montana Army Lodge No. 1. Nathan B. Gillispie, St. George's
Lodge, Barkston, Mass. James A. Krall, North Star No. 46, Glasgow, Mont. Louis
B. Meyer, Enfield No. 447, Enfield, N. C. Bernard Ettengen, St. George No. 6,
Sehenectady, N. Y. Lyman C. Ward, Llano, Texas. J. Emory Tribbey, Washburn
Lodge No. 421, Washburn, Ill. Edgar W. Martin, Athens, West Virginia.
Excluding the special communication of the Grand Lodge of Montana, above
mentioned, Montana Army Lodge No. 1 held eighteen meetings at which were
initiated thirteen candidates, eleven of whom were raised. The Lodge received
requests from American Grand Jurisdictions, through the Grand Lodge of
Montana, to confer 103 courtesy degrees. With most of these requests it was
impossible to comply as the candidates were never, due to the exigencies of
war, near enough to the lodge to present themselves. A number of such requests
were complied with and we would have been only too glad to care for them all
had circumstances allowed.
the eyes of the writer the greatest benefit of the Army Lodge was the fact
that within its sacred precincts alone could soldiers of all ranks meet on an
equal footing, free from the somewhat undemocratic restrictions of army
regulations governing the associations of officers and men. In an army made
up, as was ours, of men from all walks of life, the rule of the old regular
army that there must be no social intercourse between the enlisted and the
commissioned personnel proved galling, and nowhere save in such a place as was
provided by the Army Lodge could this condition be avoided. the Mason is a
social being; he wants to meet his brothers on the level, and he does not want
a little thing like a General's stars or a Corporal's chevrons to make any
distinction between him and them. When he was on the drill field or in the
trenches he believed in as strict compliance with army regulations as he did
in the Landmarks of his Lodge, but he wanted a place where all rank could be
forgotten, where he could meet his brother who wore the stars or the eagles
and his brother who distinguished the insignia of a private soldier as equals.
Such a place he found in the Army Lodge, where the Tyler looked upon military
rank as in the same class with cowens and evesdroppers, and where the military
salute was displaced by the fraternal handclasp.
The Ancient and Illustrious Order of Knights of Malta of the Continent of
Communicated by BRO. WILLIAM A. GRETZINGER, Pennsylvania
BRO. GRETZINGER is a Past Grated Commander of Quaker City Commandery, No. 422,
of the Knights of Malta. In view of the recent revival of interest in the
Order of St. John, this presentation of the claims of the American Order to be
directly and continuously descended from the original Knights of the Hospital
of St. John of Jerusalem is query welcome. The crucial link in the chain of
evidence is concerned with Sir James Sandilands, and what is said of him in
the article should be read with the closest attention
THE Order of the Knights of Malta was originally divided into eight
languages, or nationalities. These were, in order, Provence, Auvergne, France,
Italy, Arragon, England, Germany, Castile. These were thus divided long before
the modern frontiers were drawn. Provence and Auvergne are now part of France.
Arragon and Castile are in Spain. The language of England, sixth in order,
included also the Scottish branch, though politically the two countries were
then quite separate. It is from the Scottish branch of the Sixth Langue that
the Order in America is descended.
History informs us that several centuries ago some merchants from Amalfi, in
Naples, being struck with the misery to which pilgrims were exposed on their
road to the Holy Sepulchre, obtained permission from the Caliph of Egypt to
erect a church and build a monastery near the site of the Holy Sepulchre at
Jerusalem, which they dedicated to St. John the Baptist or the Almoner, A. D.
They entertained all pilgrims that came for devotion and cared for the
distressed among them. They became eminent in their devotion, charity and
hospitality, and were called Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, to
distinguish them from the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. They took the Black
Habit of the Hermit of St. Augustine and on the left breast wore a cross of
The cross was a white cross or an eight-pointed fishtail Maltese cross,
(a) Its whiteness the emblem of that purity of life required in those who
fight for the defense of the Christian faith and live for the service of the
poor and suffering.
(b) The four arms representing the Christian virtues: Justice, Prudence,
(c) The eight points representing:
Patience, Repentance, Charity, Humility, Sincerity, Faith, Justice and Mercy.
(d) The eight points representing the eight original languages.
(e) The eight points representing the eight original flags.
(f) Representing the compass in its cardinal points in: The Angles: North,
East, South, West.
The Points: Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest.
(g) Representing: Earth, Air, Fire, Water.
(h) Representing the four beasts and four great angels.
war they wore crimson with a white cross, but in their monasteries and on the
day of their profession, the black garment only.
Paschall II, Bishop of Rome, by a decree appointed Peter Gerard, a native of
Provence, their Provost and Guardian. By the same decree it was provided that
the successor of Gerard was to be fairly elected by the brothers. The first
election resulted in electing Raimond Du Puis to the Grand Mastership and he
extended the original design of nursing and feeding the sick and poor to that
of affording pilgrims and strangers a safe escort from the Holy City to their
own home. (The country between Jerusalem and the nearest point of embarkation
for Europe being inhabited by the opponents of Christianity who used every
means to destroy all those who bore the name of Christian.)
The Hospitallers, a short time afterwards, petitioned that they might become a
military order without relinquishing their religious habits, and this petition
was granted. The Patriarch of Jerusalem armed them himself and received their
vows to defend the Holy Sepulchre with the last drop of their blood, and to
combat infidels wherever they should meet them. On the conclusion of the
ceremony, the Knights of St. John offered their services to the King of
Jerusalem, and afterwards, with Knights Templar, became the principal
supporters of that ruler.
When the Knights of Malta were reorganized on a military basis, A. D. 1118,
the Master's Assistants formed themselves into a chapter or council, and
statutes and rules were instituted for their guidance.
THE SIXTH LANGUAGE
will now turn our attention to the Sixth Language, the Scottish portion of
which survived the main body. As already stated, the Sixth Nation or Language
was England, including Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It consisted of three
priories, and was governed by a Chapter composed of representative officers
from each priory. The principal officers of the Chapter being the Lord Grand
Prior, who was Lord Lieutenant of England, and sat in the English Parliament
as Premier Baron of the Realm; the Lord Prior of Torpichen, who was Bailiff of
Scotland, and sat in the Scottish Parliament as Lord St. John; the Lord Prior
of Kilmainham, who was Bailiff of Ireland; the Turcopolier, the Conservator,
the Procurator, the Grand Crosser, the Grand Chaplain, the Grand Secretary,
The Grand Priory was situated in the Parish of Clerkenwell, London, and
contained a church, a hospital and an inn. A magnificent edifice, founded by
Lord Briset and consecrated to the services of the Order in 1185, by Heraclius,
Patriarch of Jerusalem. It was set on fire by the rebels under Wat Tyler, in
1380, and burned for seven days. In its widely varied decorations, both
internally and externally, it is said to have contained specimens of the arts
of both Europe and Asia, together with collections of books and rarities, the
loss of which in a less turbulent age would have been a subject of national
regret. The building was finally repaired by the Lord Grand Prior Dotwra in
1504, and is still rich in the monumental grandeur of the Knights of Malta.
When the Knights Templar were suppressed in 1312, the whole of their extensive
possessions in the British Isles were bestowed to the Knights of St. John,
thus enriching the Order very considerably. They thereafter held estates in
almost every country of the three kingdoms.
The English and Irish branches were suppressed in 1540, by act of Parliament
(statute 32, Henry VIII, chap. 24) intituled:
act concerning the lands and goods of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem,
in England and Ireland, to be hereafter in the King's hand and disposition....
That the lords, spiritual and temporal, in this present parliament assembled,
having credible knowledge that divers and sundry of the King's subjects,
Knights of Rhodes, otherwise called Knights of St. John, otherwise called
Friars of the Religion of St. John of Jerusalem, in England, and of a like
house in Ireland . . . have unnaturally, and contrary to the duty of their
allegiance, sustained and maintained the usurped power and authority of the
Bishop of Rome lately used and practised within this realm, and have not only
adhered themselves to the said bishop, being a common enemy of the King our
Sovereign Lord, and this realm, unruly upholding and affirming, maliciously
and traitorously, the same bishop to be Supreme Chief Head of Christ's Church,
. . . it should be most dangerous to be suffered or permitted within this
realm. Or in any other of the King's dominions, any religion being sparks,
leaves and imps of the said root of iniquity.... That it were and is much
better that the possessions in this realm, and in other of the King's
dominions appertaining to the said religion, should rather be employed and
spent within this realm, for the defence and surety of the same, than
converted to and among such unnatural subjects which have declined from their
natural duty of obedience daily doing, and attempting privily and craftily,
all they can to subvert the good and godly policy in which this realm and all
other of the King's dominions now stand, &c.
is then enacted -
That the corporation of the said religion, as well within this realm, as
within the King's dominions and land of Ireland, by whatsoever name or names
they be founded, incorporated or known, shall be utterly dissolved and void to
all intents and purposes, and that Sir William Weston, Knight, now being Prior
of the said religion within this realm of England and land of Ireland, shall
not be named or called from henceforth Prior of St. John of Jerusalem, in
England, but shall be called by his proper name of William Weston, Knight,
without further addition touching the said religion. And that likewise John
Rauson, now Prior of Kilmainhlam in Ireland, shall not be called or named from
henceforth Prior of Kilmainham in Ireland, but only by his proper name John
Rauson, Knight, without further addition touching the said religion, nor any
of the brethren or confereres of the said religion, in this realm of England
and land of Ireland shall be called Knights of Rhodes, nor Knights of St.
John, but shall be called by their own proper christian names and surnames of
their parents, without any additions touching the same. . . . It is
furthermore enacted that if the said William Weston, Knight, or any of his
brethren or confreres of the Hospital or House of St. John of Jerusalem in
England, &c.; and if the said John Rauson, Knight, or any of his brethren or
confreres of the said Hospital or House of Kilmainham in Ireland, &c., do use
or wear within this realm, or within the said land of Ireland, or elsewhere,
in or upon any apparel of their bodies, any sign, mark, or token heretofore
used and accustomed, or hereafter to be devised, for the knowledge of the said
religion, or make any congregations, chapters or assemblies, touching the said
religion; or Maintain, support, use, or defend any manner of liberties,
franchises, or privileges heretofore granted, &c., the parties so offending
shall incur, &c.
Here follows a list of penalties incurred.
far as England and Ireland were concerned this act gave an abrupt ending to
the Order, but fortunately the Order existed where King Henry had no
jurisdiction. We must not, however, overlook the magnanimity of "old King
Hal." The act from which we have just quoted was sufficiently magnanimous to
leave the two Priors the dignity of knighthood, and to grant a pension to each
of the then officers of the Order to continue during their lifetime. This kind
of magnanimity may not be considered wholesome, but the late Right Hon. W. E.
Gladstone, M. P., acted on the same principle when, in 1869, he despoiled the
Protestant Church of Ireland, and doubtful as the honesty of the principle may
be he found a majority of the British House of Commons could sufficiently
stultify their consciences to permit of their voting for the Church-Plunder
Bill, and believe that they were really magnanimous in doing so. Truly, in
point of honesty we are not much better than "old King Hal" and we should
therefore be sparing in our denunciations of his policy.
Although this statute never was repealed, an attempt was made by Queen Mary of
England to revive the Order, in the hope that the Priests of the Order would
aid her in her bloody work of undoing the Reformation by the extermination of
Protestants. Cardinal Pole was her adviser, and she (or rather they, for the
Cardinal had a greater hand in it than the Queen) appointed Sir P. Tresham,
Prior; Sir R. Shelly, Turcopolier; Sir Peter Felix de la Nuca; Baili de Aguila,
and others of the knights into a corporation or Priory of the confraternity of
St. John of Jerusalem in England. In the reign of James II we again find the
Order existing in England under the Duke of Berwick as Grand Prior. It is
scarcely necessary to point out that on both occasions the order was popish.
Early in the nineteenth century the Order was again resuscitated in England,
this time on a legal footing, and by virtue of powers granted in 1827 by the
Commander de Dieune, and others, forming a capitulary commission delegated to
act by a chapter general of the Languages of Provence, Auvergue, France,
Arragon and Castile, being a majority of the eight Languages, held at Paris
under the presidentship of Prince Camille de Rohan (Grand Prior of Aquitane in
1814), whose proceedings were sanctioned and afterwards confirmed by the
Lieutenant of the magistery and the sacred council at Catania. Under these
powers Sir Robert Peat, D.D., chaplain to King George IV., was installed as
Grand Prior in 1831. and as such took the oath de fideli, but it was found
necessary to revive the corporation before the court of King's Bench, which
was accordingly done on the 24th February, 1834. These formalities were gone
through at the instance of Sir Lancelot Shadwell, Vice-Chancellor of England,
who was soon after elected a Knight of the Order. Sir Henry Dymoke, of
Scrivelsby, succeeded Sir Robert Peat, D.D., as Grand Prior in 1837.
The Order thus resuscitated was strictly Protestant, and was understood to be
so by the conference of five out of the eight languages, at which the order of
resuscitation was granted, and by whose authority a Protestant clergyman who
was chaplain to a Protestant king was ordained as Grand Prior. Even in those
latter days of the Order's infirmity, when it was slowly but surely dying out
on the Continent, the Pope had no authority and Protestantism was no crime.
THE ORDER IN SCOTLAND
already stated the Scottish branch of the Sixth Language outlived the parent
stem. It is here and here only that we have an unbroken chain of existence.
Here Henry VIII. of England had no jurisdiction; here the European resolution
had no effect; here there was no necessity to suppress the Order on account of
the religion of the Knights, they being foremost amongst the reformers.
The Order was introduced into Scotland by "the sore saint," King David I.
(1124-1153). James VI., when viewing the tomb of his great ancestor in
Dumfermline, referred to him as "King David," when one of his nobles reminded
him that it was "St. David," James replied, "Aye, he was a sore saint for the
crown." The finest preceptory was established at Linlithgow, and in due course
the Order was governed by a Grand Priory called the Grand Priory of Torphichen.
The Grand Prior had a seat in Parliament under the appropriate title of Lord
St. John. He was by virtue of office a member of the Grand Chapter, or Supreme
Council of the Sixth Language, a body which was presided over by the Grand
Prior of England.
The Scottish Knights do not appear to have had the same zeal for crusading
which characterized their continental brethren. Probably the unsettled state
of the country may account for their lack of zeal in this matter. When people
have more than enough to do at home, they don't as a rule go abroad; and the
civil wars of the thirteenth century kept the Scots very much at home. Yet
they were not insensible to the spirit of the age, and they have left their
mark on many places in the country. Thus Jordanhill, near Glasgow, has an
interesting connection with the Crusaders. Some of the Knights Templar, after
their return from Palestine, settled near Jordanhill at the village now called
Temple. The general appearance of the district so reminded them of the country
around the Jordan that they gave it the name of Jordanhill. A little west of
Jordanhill is the village of Knightswood, which also owes its name to the
Crusaders from its having been the forest in which the Knights hunted.
Auchtermuchty, in Fifeshire, bears the name of a Knight of Malta. The late Sir
Samuel Auchmuchty, of the 57th Regiment made the following statement:
two uncles, Sir Samuel Auchmuchty, for some time commander of the British
forces in Dublin, and Sir Benjamin Auchmuchty, took much interest in the
Knights of Malta. I have heard the latter frequently speak of them, and from
traditions in my family, I know that our ancestors were originally Knights of
Malta, and emigrated from there to Scotland. They founded a town in Scotland,
called from them Auchtermuchty, and a sword is to this day preserved in our
family, once the property of one of those Knights.
From the death of Scotland's royal saint (David I.) in 1153 till the
conversion to Protestantism of Sir James Sandilands in 1553, exactly 400
years, there is little to record. At what date the Grand Priory was
established in Scotland is, we fear, lost in the antiquity of the ages; but we
have it on record that Archibald, Magister of Torphichen, held the office of
Grand Prior in 1252, and his successors appearing in the following order, all
of whom received their appointment from the Grand Master:
Alexander de Welles annointed 1291
Ranulph de Lindsay.....” .............1298
William de la More........” ........... 1315
David de Marr .............. “ ........... uncertain
Edward de Brenne ....... “ ........... 1386
John de Rynnaige ........ “ ........... 1410
Henry Livingstone ........ “ ............ 1449
William Meldrum .......... “ ............ 1453
William Knowles............ ” ........... 1463
George Dundas ............ “ ............ 1514
Walter Lyndsay...............” ........... 1530
James Sandilands .......... " ............1547
was undoubtedly through the instrumentality of Grand Prior Sir James
Sandilands Lord St. John of that period, and the last holder of that long
honored title that the reformation of the Order, which converted it from a
popish confraternity to a Protestant fraternity in Scotland was effected. It
certainly cannot be said of him that he hid his light under a bushel; when the
light of the Sun of Righteousness penetrated his own soul, he reflected the
brightness of that soulsaving light upon those around him. This distinguished
reformer, liberator and guardian of the regenerated Order, was the second son
of Sir James Sandilands of Calder, and Marietta, daughter of Archibald
Forrester of Corstorphine. He was initiated into the Order at Malta, and there
received his knightly education under the eye of the Grand Master. He was
recommended by Sir Walter Lyndsay, on his decease, as a person well qualified
to succeed him in the office of Grand Prior of Scotland. He was accordingly
appointed to that position by a bull of Grand Master Homedez, dated at Malta,
April 2, 1547. He was an intimate friend of the great reformer John Knox, and
had long been favorably disposed toward the reformers. By the persuasion of
Knox he was led to publicly renounce the Roman Catholic religion in 1553.
M'Crie referring to him in his Life of John Knox, states that
After his return to the south of the Forth he (Knox) resided at Calder House,
in West Lothian, the seat of Sir James Sandilands, commonly called Lord St.
John, because he was the chief in Scotland of the religious order of Military
Knights, who went by the name of Hospitallers or Knights of St. John. This
gentleman who was now venerable, for his grey hairs as well as for his valour,
sagacity and correct morals, had long been a sincere friend to the reformed
cause, and had contributed to its preservation in that part of the country. In
1548, he had presented to the parsonage of Calder, John Spotwood, afterwards
the reformed superintendent of Lothian, who had imbibed the Protestant
doctrines from Archbishop Cranmer, in England, and who instilled them into the
minds of his parishioners, and of the nobility and gentry that frequented the
house of his patron. Among those who attended Knox’s sermons at Calder, were
three young noblemen who made a great figure in the public transactions which
followed Archibald, Lord Lorne who succeeding to the earldom of Argyle at the
most critical period of the Reformation, promoted with all the ardor of
youthful zeal, that cause which his father had espoused in extreme old age,
John, Lord Erskine, afterwards Earl of Mar, who commanded the important
fortress of Edinburgh Castle during the civil war which ensued between the
Queen Regent and the Protestants, and died Regent of Scotland; and Lord James
Stuart, an illegitimate son of James V., who was subsequently created Earl of
Moray, and was the first Regent of the Kingdom during the minority of James
have noticed statements to the effect that it was at Calder House that John
Knox first administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in the Protestant
form, but we are not anxious to lay claim to doubtful honors. According to
M'Crie, this event took place in St. Andrews, in 1547 which date is prior to
the conversion of Sir James Sandilands. But we will let M'Crie speak for
His (Knox’s) labors were so successful during the few months that he preached
at St. Andrews that, besides the garrison in the castle, a great number of the
inhabitants of the town renounced Popery and made profession of the Protestant
faith by participating of the Lord’s Supper. This was the first time that the
Sacrament of the Supper was dispensed after the reformed mode in Scotland, if
we except the administration of it by Wishart. in the same place, which was
performed with great privacy immediately before his martyrdom.
Although Lord St. John had openly professed his acceptance of the Protestant
faith, he continued to exercise all the functions of his office as Grand
Prior, and as shown by the preceding quotation, his influence was over the
best and foremost men in the country. Calder House, as the residence of the
Grand Prior, would naturally be a rendezvous for the Knights of the Order, but
as we have seen it was also a rendezvous of prominent politicians. Either
these politicians were Knights of the Order, or the Order and the Grand Prior
had an abnormal influence over them. It was under the protection of the Grand
Prior that they received both their religious and political education. That
two of his respected guests became Regent of the kingdom and a third entrusted
with an important command under the reformed, or Protestant government, taken
together with the duties entrusted to him personally, point very plainly
indeed to the enormous influence he wielded, and wielded for good.
Oct. 1, 1557, he was still in communication with the Grand Master and Chapter
at Malta. Thus proving conclusively that his conversion to Protestantism did
not in any way affect his relations with the body.
Feb. 27, 1559, we find him as one of the signatories to the offensive and
defensive treaty between Queen Elizabeth, of England, and the Lords of the
Congregation, i.e., the Scottish Protestant party.
When, on Aug. 24, 1560, the Scottish Parliament abolished popery, the work of
the reformers had been so well done that only three men raised their voice
against the proposal, namely, the Earl of Atholl and Lords Sommerville and
Borthwick "The clergy spake never a word." Lord St. John was on this occasion
selected by Parliament to go to France and lay their proceedings before the
Queen (Mary) for ratification. It is said that upon that occasion the Cardinal
of Lorraine sought to load him with reproaches for his conversion to the
Protestant religion, which step was, however, ably defended by that chivalric
Knight to the utter confusion of the wily Cardinal.
The manner in which he carried out this rather delicate task is best shown by
the manner in which the Queen appreciated his services on this and other
Jan. 24, 1563, we again find the Protestant Grand Prior and the Popish Queen
face to face. This time he went at the request of the Grand Priory, to hand
over to the Queen the lands and possessions of the Order, together with the
dignity of Lord St. John, which he held as chief of the Order; and this for
the purpose of freeing himself and his Knights from certain obligations of
their Sovereign a task which few men would care to take in hand.
The Queen accepted them in the most gracious manner, and in order to show her
great respect for the man who thus divested himself of the rank and title of a
peer, she returned to him as a personal gift the lands of Torphichen, and at
the same time re-created him a peer of the realm under the title of Lord
From this time forward the Order has been separate from the state, and
therefore from under the eye of the historian, a circumstance which forces us
to be content with side-lights being shed across our path, while other matters
are under review, until we again come into the full light of documentary
The first matter which presents itself to the mind of the thoughtful companion
is, did Sir James Sandilands resign the office of Grand Prior when he gave up
the local dignity of Lord St. John, or did he retain office till his death in
1596? Some writers have assumed that he resigned, but we fail to see where the
circumstances justify the assumption. The object of giving up the lands, etc.,
of the Order, was beyond doubt that the relations of the Order to the Crown
would be that of civilians. Had the Grand Prior intended to resign, his
renunciation of the Order would have secured the end in view without risking
the displeasure of the Queen. His mission to the Queen was no personal matter,
he was acting for the Order as a whole with a view to their continued
existence apart from the state, and they obtained the object of their desire.
The Order continued to exist, and whether Lord Torphichen continued to hold
the office of Grand Prior or not, he positively did continue to be a leader in
the Protestant cause, where he led the same men as he led as Grand Prior. We
have never seen any valid reason put forward as to why he should have
resigned, while there are many reasons why he should have retained office; but
we are content to rest our case on the fact that all the trouble he took in
gaining release from state control would have been superfluous had he intended
to resign. We therefore conclude that he retained office till his death, on
29th March, 1596.
That the Order continued in a publicly recognized manner is shown by the fact
that about the year 1572, David Seaton, with a portion of the Scottish
Knights, separated themselves from the then Protestant fraternity. He retired
to Germany where he died in 1591, the remnant of the seceders ultimately
finding a shelter under the wing of the first lodge of Scottish Masons at
Kilwinning, Ayrshire, where they introduced the Orders of St. John, which are
still given in connection with (Blue) Masonry. We again get a glimpse of the
Order in 1643, when it was reintroduced into Ireland for the protection of
Protestants who had suffered so severely by the Irish rebellion of 1641. This
was the Second Grand Priory of Ireland, and be it noted, founded and
established by the Grand Priory of Scotland. That this branch was still in
existence in 1795 when the Loyal Orange Institution was founded, is shown by
the fact that at a very early date the Orange and the Black had become
inseparably connected. In some cases separate warrants were held, while in
others certain degrees were given under an Orange warrant, and those wishing
to travel further had to apply to a Black lodge. These facts point to two
conclusions: 1st, That the Orange was a popular endeavor of the Knights of St.
John to accomplish the object for which the Order had been reestablished in
1643, namely: The protection of Protestants, and is therefore the natural
offspring of the Ancient Order. 2nd, That the Knights of St. John were very
lax in the performance of their duty when they allowed their degrees to be
given under the jurisdiction of a body actually free from their control,
although a friendly body, and it may be a body founded by them. That this was
a blunder is now recognized and the practice forbidden. While endeavoring to
be just in our criticism we must not forget to be generous. It was this
blunder which brought about that close relationship which has kept the older
Order alive, and without which it assuredly would long ago have shared the
fate of the continental branches.
will now turn our attention to documentary evidence; for this purpose we have
had free access to all documents held by the Imperial Parent Grand Black
Encampment of the Universe. Strange as it may appear, the oldest of these are
of Irish origin, but before looking into the more ancient of them we will note
one of semi-modern date. The report of the Third Grand Priory (or Lodge) of
Ireland, or to be more correct, the report of a Committee to Grand Lodge on
11th April, 1850, re The newly instituted Grand Black Chapter of Ireland. In
the report they refer to their own origin and antiquity coming through the
Scottish reformers, and they assert that "The Order never was dissolved and
that they held the chain of transmission which was perfect in all its links."
Here we have an authoritative declaration of the unbroken continuity of the
Order, from the time the political history of the country lost touch with the
Order, until the time of giving their report, i.e., to 1850; and from the
tenor of the report the Order was in a fully organized condition in 1807. This
latter is implied, not stated, but the former general statement covers the
period, so that we may not distress ourselves about the implication. We have
before us while we write a very old copy of Rules belonging to the Royal Black
Association (of Ireland), they are undated, but they must have been compiled
prior to the year 1820, and may have been compiled as far back as 1795, which
would only have necessitated a change of the monarch's name; which is common
practice at the death of a monarch. In its "Prefatory Observations" it sets
forth that "It should be understood that this Order is entirely detached from
that of Orangemen (with the exception that no person, unless he has passed the
Degrees of Orange and Purple, can be admitted), and it ought not to be
supposed that it entrenches on the rights, privileges or immunities of that
system. It is calculated to instruct and inform those who are desirous of
obtaining a knowledge of Divine Truth, and Sublime Mysteries, and to cultivate
that harmony which should exist amongst true Protestants."
Amongst other things provided by this code is a declaration to be read, by the
Master, to candidates previous to their initiation:
Whereas our Christian forefathers, the Knights of Malta, who joined a holy
bond of brotherhood, to support all kings and states against Turks and
infidels. we, the members of the Royal Black Institution, will as far as in
our power lies, imitate their glorious acts and great achievements, with our
lives and fern tunes, to support and defend his present majesty George IV, his
heirs and successors, so long as he or they maintain and defend the Protestant
religion and the present Constitution.
Rule III provides -
That a regular visiting officer shall be received at the different lodges in
Dublin, for the purpose of communicating their progress to the Grand Lodge;
and such lodges as do not meet in the Metropolis shall, by their Secretary,
communicate to the Secretary of the Grand Lodge, annually, their progress.
The code goes on to give the obligation which is substantially the same as
that still in use. Of course the name of the Sovereign given is George IV.,
and it was sworn to, a custom long since abolished. It also gives the prayers
to be used at the opening and closing of lodges. These are identical with
those in use at the present day.
That the Order was in good working condition both in Scotland and Ireland,
long before the time we might limit for the code quoted from above, will be
seen by the following documents:
The first we will look at is headed "No. 155, Grand Black Order of Orangemen:
Monaghan Regiment." It has the royal arms on the left, and the skull and
crossbones on the right with the words "God be our guide" under the royal
arms, and under this a broad black ribbon with an equilateral seal in black
wax. The text is as follows:
all Brother Knights of the Grand Black Order of Orangemen, to whom these
presents come greeting. We, the Master Deputy-Master, High Priest, Secretary,
&c., of the Assembly of Knights of the Grand Order of Orangemen, held in
Princes Town, England, do hereby certify that Brother Sir James Henry was by
us dubbed a Knight of this Most Grand and Sublime Order, on the 30th day of
August, 1814, &c.
need not quote further, as what follows are commonplace formalities. It
Given under our hand and seal of Assembly, held in Princes Town, this 31st day
of August, 1814.
(Signed) JNO. SEAVEN, Master
JOHN M'CLELLAND, Deputy-Master.
FRANCIS HAWKSHAM, High Priest.
JOHN LAVERTY, Secretary.
From this document it would appear that Companion Henry had been initiated the
night before he left the regiment, and brought his certificate with him.
Our next belonged to a Companion of more experience. It is headed with an arch
wherein are shown emblems of all the degrees. On the left margin above the
ribbons are the royal arms, with the words, "King and Constitution we will
support." The text runs thus:
Loyal Orange Association, New System, No. 155. Now we, the Master,
Deputy-Master, Secretary, &c., do strictly charge you to withdraw yourself
from brethren that walketh disorderly
We, the Master and Deputy Master, of No. 155, of true Orangemen, do certify
that Brother James Henry has regularly received the colours affixed to this
The degrees represented by the colors affixed are orange, purple, black,
scarlet, old blue and royal mark, and concludes thus:
Given under our hands and seal of our lodge, in our lodge room, in the County
of Monaghan and Kingdom of Ireland and town of Glasslough. Dated this 12th day
of June, 1816.
(Signed) DANIEL PRASHEY, Master.
JOS. MILLS, Deputy Master.
THOS. SOMMERS, Secretary.
and countersigned "Jos. Mills, Grand Secretary."
Our next is a written document almost as neat as copper plate. The kingdom is
not stated. It is headed "Royal Black Association, No. 3," and is a
certificate of "Brother Sir Thomas Burgess," who has been
. . duly initiated into the Mysteries and Secrets of a Royal Arch Black Knight
Templar . . . having taken the sword in hand against all Turks and
unbelievers. We therefore recommend.....
is dated 2nd March, 1821, and bears the signatures
JOHN PATERSON, Master.
RICHARD MARKS, Deputy Master.
WM. M'KEY, High Priest.
JAMES CARSON, Grand Pursuivant.
Bro. Burgess became a member of No. 24, and we judge the document to be from
No. 3 of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
now turn to a parchment certificate, which is still in good condition, and
issued by a lodge holding its authority from the Grand Black Lodge of
Scotland. It runs thus:
God is our Guide. Royal Black Lodge. Honourable Protestant Association: 1st
Royal Regiment. "And God said let there be light and there was light."
Now we, the Master, Deputy-Master, &c., do Strictly charge you to withdraw
yourself from brethren that walketh disorderly. In the name of the most holy,
glorious, and undivided Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we grant to
Brother John Nixon this certificate from No. 16 Warrant, of the Magnanimous
and Invincible Order of Royal Black Lodge Association of Lodge No. 16. held at
Banzalore, in the East Indies.
need not copy the document further. It is dated 1st August, 1829, and is
JAMES GIBSON, Master.
BLAIR, Deputy Master.
WM. HALLIDAY, High Priest.
R. BAILLIE, Pursuivant.
The colors affixed represent the degrees up to and including the green.
These are the oldest written documents to which we have had access, but they
are sufficient to prove the existence of the Grand Lodge of Scotland when No.
16 warrant was issued, and that it (No. 16) was working in Bangalore on 1st
August, 1829, whither it had removed with the regiment some time previous,
therefore an old lodge at the date given. This certificate alone gives the
death-blow to the theory so often promulgated, that the Grand Lodge of
Scotland was founded in 1831; but when taken together with the other documents
quoted we are carried far back beyond the time when the Grand Lodge of Ireland
ceased to exist; therefore impossible for them to have granted the letters of
authority, held by Grand Master Donaldson, for the reorganization of Grand
Lodge in 1831, they being nonexistent for at least seven years before the
event. Moreover, No. 16, of the Irish Grand, was working at the same time as
the No. 16 to which we have referred, and continued to work in Ireland up till
1834. When we add to this fact that the Grand Lodges of Ireland publicly
declared their Scottish origin, and were justly proud of it, is it too much to
ask, or to expect, that we should hear no more of such foolish fancies being
promulgated as facts? Whether the wish be father to the thought or not, the
persistence with which it has again and again been put forward proves that the
wish is not wanting. Had it been possible for them to prove their case, it
would have been done many years ago. They cannot prove a case because they
have no case to prove.
Our next is rather a peculiar document consisting of a series of resolutions
referring to financial affairs, in which fines are imposed for certain
offenses, such as absence from the regular meetings of the lodge, arrears of
dues, etc. In each case the resolution closes with the reminder that if they
(the members) fail they will "receive the benefit of a committee." What that
means must be plain to the greatest dullard, so far at least as modern notions
carry us; but those who have been privileged to read the "Old Maltese Laws"
and the "Old Scotch Laws" will be aware of the fact that the committee had to
be paid by the offending member, or members, according to a printed scale.
This document is headed Saturday, 12th September, 1829, and begins thus: "At a
committee meeting of the Royal Black Lodge, No. 24, held in M'Culloch's, it
was resolved, &c." Only one of the resolutions is of any importance to us,
namely, No. 3, which gives us some data as to the age of the lodge, and places
beyond dispute the claim of its members that Ancient St. John's, Glasgow, No.
24, is the oldest subordinate Black Lodge in the Universe.
The resolution refers to arrears extending over "the last twelve months," and
giving details of meetings held on the following dates: 24th February, 24th
March, 12th August, 31st August, 26th October, 24th November, 24th February,
24th March, 24th April, and 24th May. The year dates are not given in above
details, but they plainly show the existence of the lodge on 24th February,
1828; and the fact that the committee dealt with an accumulation of arrears
proves the existence of the lodge for a considerable time prior to that date.
The document bears the seal of the lodge which is a neat little thing, one
inch in diameter. Round the outer circle are the words, "Loyal Black
Association, No. 24," and in the center a skull and cross-bones, surmounted by
the Latin words, Memento mort Remember death. The signatures appended are:
Taylor Rankin, Hugh M'Hutcheon, William Gemmell, William Dickson, and William
being presented to the lodge it was approved and signed "Henry Burnside, M."
and "William Dickson." In connection with the foregoing we have the following
"Glasgow, 24th October, 1829.
two months from date 1 promise to pay to Royal Black Lodge, No. 24, the sum of
Ten Shillings sterling.
(Signed) WILLIAM KILPATRICK.
JOHN ALLAN, Witness.
now come to a very important document a Grand Lodge Warrant which evidently
implies a reconstruction of some kind; probably necessitated by the
introduction of Orangeism into Scotland, and the consequent flooding of the
Order in Scotland by members from Ireland who were, as a matter of course,
Orangemen. From this time forward the Order in Scotland had been closely
connected with the Orange Institution. That the reorganization of Grand Lodge
was a legal one is shown by a letter from the Grand Secretary, on behalf of
the Grand Council, to the Grand Master, requesting him to attend a subsequent
meeting of Grand Lodge, and "to bring with him the letters authorizing them to
reorganize the Grand Lodge." So whatever the change was it was legally
effected, and Grand Master George Donaldson held the letters of authority.
The warrant is one of a lot lithographed for issue to subordinate lodges,
altered to suit the purpose of Grand Lodge. We give it as altered. (It was
surmounted by the Royal Arms):
Royal Black Association
HELD IN GLASGOW 'GOD IS OUR GUIDE'
name of the Most Glorious and Undivided Trinity. Amen.
We, the Grand Master and Officers of the Grand Black Assembly of Scotland,
&c., held in Glasgow, do hereby authorise and empower our well beloved
brother, Sir George Donaldson to establish a lodge of true and worthy Black
Men, and to act as Grand Master thereof, this being his Warrant; also to issue
Given under our hand and seal of our Grand Assembly, at our Lodge Room, 24th
June, A. D. 1831, and of Royal Black, 4344.
(Signed) Sir GEORGE DONALDSON, G.M.
Sir ANDREW WILLIAMSON, G.T.
Sir WILLIAM JOHNSTONE, H.P.
Sir JOHN ALLAN, G.S.
Black and Scarlet Ribbon
Sir ANDREW KETING, D.G.M.
Sir JAMES HENRY, G.P.M.
again return to Lodge No. 24. This lodge has in its possession an old warrant
of the pattern referred to, but as we have proof of the existence of the lodge
long before the granting of this warrant, we are forced to conclude that it is
not the original, or first, warrant, but a renewal of one previously held,
probably exchanged for the purpose of bringing them into conformity with the
new state of affairs created in 1831. The heading of this warrant is the same
as the Grand Lodge warrant already given, and the text is as follows:
Lodge No. 24. Held in Glasgow, County of Lanark. We, the Grand Master and
Officers of the Grand Black Lodge of Scotland, &c., held in Glasgow, do hereby
authorize and empower our well-beloved brother, Adam Thomson, to establish a
lodge of true and worthy Black Men, and to act as Master thereof, this being
Given under our hand and seal of our Grand Assembly, at out Lodge Room, 24th
March, 1833; and of Royal Black, 4346.
(Signed) Sir GEORGE DONALDSON, G.M.
Seal. Sir ANDREW KEATING, D.G.M.
Sir ANDREW WILLIAMSON, H.P.
Sir JAMES HENRY, G.T.
Royal Black Lodge of Scotland, &c
Sir JOHN M'KEAND, G.S.
Sir ADAM THOMSON, G.P.M.
This warrant is in good condition and in the original frame.
This lodge (No. 24) has in its possession a copper plate on which is engraved
what appears to have been the emblematic heading of a warrant, and must have
been the property of Grand Lodge. It must also have been of an ancient date,
as we are not aware of any existing document taken from it. For the benefit of
our readers we here give a copy, taken from the original plate.
have before us another warrant of the same design as the one given in
connection with No. 24. This one is No. 99, and is granted to James Scott, of
Johnstone, on 24th March, 1854, and has written (with pen and ink) on the back
thereof what is called “A Dispensation of Knights of Malta," while No. 24
warrant has no such endorsement or dispensation, and therefore (presumably)
not entitled to confer the degree of Knights of Malta. The dispensation runs
Grand Assembly Rooms, No. 71 Nelson Street, Glasgow, 24th March 1854. By the
advice and consent of the Very Right Worshipful the Grand Master and
Office-bearers of the Parent Grand Black Encampment of the Universe, I, Sir
Hans Newell, Grand Chancellor in virtue of said office, do hereby authorize
and empower our truly and well-beloved friend and constituted Knight
Companion, Sir and Brother James Scott, and each of his successors, to hold a
Sub-Commandery of Knights of Malta in the town of Johnstone, in the County of
Ayr and dominion of Scotland (of course this is a simple yet important error.
Geographically the Town of Johnstone is in the County of Renfrew) to act
Commander thereof and perform all the requisites of said Royal Illustrious
Grand Black Order of Knights of Malta.
Given under my hand, at Glasgow, this 24th day of March, in the year of our
Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fiftyfour.
(Signed) Sir HANS NEWELL, Grand Chancellor.
God Save the Queen
little later we have the revised copy of the laws applicable only to
Commanderies and Sub-Commanderies of Knights of Malta. (They bear no date but
the context proves them to be contemporary with the revised laws of the
"Black" which were sanctioned by Grand Lodge, in February, 1854). The first
page is a warrant, of which the foregoing dispensation may be accepted as an
advance copy, the only differences being that in the printed warrant they use
the words "Great Chancellor," and the second paragraph runs "do empower and
authorize our trusty friend and constituted Sir Knight Companion, &c."
Following the dispensation is the "Declaration of Knights of Malta," and the
"Caution to Candidates," both of which are identical with those now in force.
From these documents it would appear that the degree of Knights of Malta was
only conferred by such lodges as held this special dispensation or warrant. At
any rate they prove that the ordinary warrant of a Black Lodge was
insufficient. This accounts for some lodges conferring the degree, while
others did not confer it; and this certainly applies to the Irish as well as
the Scottish lodges.
now get a glance at the condition of affairs in the Grand Lodge of Ireland, in
a letter addressed to Henry Burnside, evidently the Master of No. 24.
Strabane, 27th May, 1830.
Sir and Brother,
received yours of the 10th inst., enquiring about the Grand Black Lodge. I am
sorry to say that that establishment has been badly conducted these last four
years, but I think there will shortly be a change in its affairs. I have
written several times during the last two years, but could get no satisfactory
account from them. We will shortly have an entire change in the Orange system,
its laws and government-which I hope will be more Satisfactory in every
department-which, when it takes place, I will send you the particulars.
The remainder of the letter is of a private nature testifying to the good
character of Wm. Battersby, and is signed "Dan. Cook, Martin B., L. No. 13;
and of O.L., No. 250."
have quoted this letter at length because it is the first evidence we have of
the degenerate condition of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which as a matter of
fact was dormant at the time this letter was written although Bro Cook seems
not to have been aware of it. Later on we have proof positive that warrants
were not obtainable in 1825. On Feb. 11, 1832, we have an application for a
warrant to work in Airdrie, Lanarkshire. The names appended are David Lindsay,
Samuel Black, Henry Rollins, Joseph M'Gowan, John Craig, John Graham, Charles
Birch, William Laughlan and Samuel Robinson. The warrant granted was No. 32.
In this encampment we were duly initiated into all the mysteries of the Order
in the year 1869. We may be pardoned for adding that in our boyhood we were
personally acquainted with three of the above-named applicants Joseph M'Gowan,
John Graham and William Laughlan.
The Sixth Language is being perpetuated at the present day in Scotland by a
body known as the Imperial Parent Grand Black Encampment of the Universe with
headquarters at Glasgow. In the year 1870 the Order was first introduced into
America and an encampment was chartered at Toronto, Canada, from which it soon
spread to the United States, and in 1875 the Supreme Encampment of America was
chartered by the Imperial body of Scotland, but a few years later the charter
was revoked and cancelled by the Imperial body for disloyalty and departing
from the ancient landmarks of the Order.
Some of its Subordinate Commanderies, however, remained loyal to the Imperial
Encampment. They continued to carry on the work and in 1884 formed themselves
into a Grand Body. Their growth was most remarkable, and on June 1, 1889, the
Supreme Grand Commanders of America was chartered by the "Imperial Parent
Grand Black Encampment of the Universe," and under this charter the Supreme
Grand Commandery of America is granted the sole power on the Continent of
America to issue charters to Grand and Subordinate Bodies.
the Court of Common Pleas No. 2, for the County of Philadelphia, as of
December Term, 1883, No. 566, a charter was granted the Grand Commandery of
the Ancient and Illustrious Order of Knights of Malta in accordance with the
Provisions of the Act of Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as
approved the 29th day of April, A. D. 1874, which charter is recorded at
Philadelphia, the 23rd day of January, 1884, in Charter Book No. 8, page 375,
the same Court an amendment was presented to change the name of the Grand
Commandery of the Ancient and Illustrious Order of Knights of Malta to the
Supreme Grand Commandery of the Continent of America of the Ancient and
Illustrious Order of Knights of Malta on which a Decree of Court was allowed
and duly recorded at Philadelphia in Charter Book No. 26, page 408, on the
23rd day of September, 1901.
The badge design of the Order was duly patented by letters at Washington, D.
The badge design of the Order has recently been protected at Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, under a recent Act of Assembly of the Commonwealth of
The title of the head of the Order in 1889 was Most Eminent Grand Commander,
subsequently changed to Sir Knight Supreme Commander, for titular head Supreme
Body, and Sir Knight Grand Commander for Grand Jurisdictions.
The Master of Mount Vernon
BRO. E. E. THIEMEYER, Research Editor
PERHAPS of all the titles conferred upon George Washington none was closer to
his heart or described more completely the ambitions of the man than that
which heads this article. The man whose knowledge and genius had led him to
the highest pinnacle of success envied no one, desired no glory, and still he
could not help but become the greatest American.
After the close of the Revolutionary War, Washington returned to his home on
the Potomac. That he had at last attained his fondest desire is amply attested
by the following quotation from one of his letters to the Marquis de
Lafayette, who had by this time returned to his native France:
have not only retired from all public employment, but I am retiring within
myself. Envious of none, I am determined to be pleased with all; and this
being the order of my march, I will move gently down the stream of life until
I sleep with my fathers.
itself a sufficiently simple statement, but it is couched in terms of such
supreme contentment that no one could doubt the satisfaction that the writer
was gathering from the experience.
can imagine Washington, after those strenuous years of war and pestilence,
happily situated in the massive colonial mansion which overlooks a broad sweep
of the Potomac. Here he was surrounded by every intimate thing which he held
dear. Here he was free, answerable to no man but himself, literally lord of
all he surveyed. The amiable companion of his domestic joys and sorrows was
with him; the Manor house rang with the artless prattle of their two adopted
children; his friends and his family were within visiting distance; but above
all he could gather up the tangled threads of the rural life that he loved and
weave of them a beautiful fabric of comfort and consolation for his declining
years. Such was his dream, but such was not his destiny.
Washington had been wealthy at the beginning of the war. Probably he was the
richest man in the colonies. During the hostilities he gave freely of himself
and his fortune. At its end he was no longer vaunt though the hardships
through which he had passed had left him strong enough to enjoy life, and he
had not lost the desire to retrieve his fallen fortunes. We can picture him at
this time as a vigorous and industrious planter. For recreation there was
fishing, fox hunting, visiting, cards, travel and other favorite diversions.
Southern hospitality was no empty phrase at Mount Vernon. There was a constant
stream of visitors, and the house was rarely without company.
cannot imagine a Washington content to sit by and delegate the management of
his vast estates to others. To the man who has always been active and
industrious, industry becomes a habit, and even in the retirement he loved
Washington was constantly busy.
The man is the topic of the present discussion only incidentally. It is a new
book about him that is the main interest. What a pleasant task it must have
been for Mr. Joseph D. Sawyer to investigate the life of such a character.
Perhaps many persons could acquire as much joy in a work of research, but
could others put into words their findings ? Many of them could do so, but
their work would not bubble over with the pure joy of doing which stands out
so prominently from the pages of Mr. Sawyer's work. The author has been
indefatigable in collecting facts; he has been painstaking in recording them;
but like all great accomplishments it has been a labor of love and all of the
creator's love for his creation appears in the pages of this work.
The story of Washington is told in an intensely interesting manner. The
author's style is easy and readable. Even the chronological table of
Washington's ancestry takes on an interest usually lacking in such accounts.
Most of us know that Washington's family came from England, but very few of us
know anything about the ancestral home of the Washingtons. In the first two
chapters Mr. Sawyer has told us something of Sulgrave Manor, and he has
pictured the stock from which George Washington sprang. I have no desire to go
into this subject; were there nothing else in the book than those two
chapters, and the illustrations that accompany them the book would be worth
The mention of illustrations gives us an opportunity to say something of the
physical appearance of this work. The composition cannot be passed over
without some commendation. The type is clear, legible, and pleasantly spaced.
No matter how interesting the book, unless it is readable in make-up it is not
all that it should be. There is no doubt but that the type, paper and
illustrations add materially to the interest of this work. The paper has a
glossy finish which is usually somewhat difficult on the eyes, but
illustrations are so profusely scattered through the text that to use any
other material would have been impossible. Some 1500 illustrations are
included in the work. Many of them have never before been published, and the
gallery of some 200 portraits of Washington is notable in itself. It is
possibly unfortunate that some of the facsimiles of letters and documents did
not reproduce well enough to be easily read, but this is a minor defect since
in most cases a complete transcription is given in the text. They are all
decipherable if one cares to expend the energy. It would be too bad if the
binding were not of the durable kind, but even here the publishers have lived
up to the highest standards. The student will be overjoyed to find that the
book is substantially bound in such a manner that the leaves lie flat when
open. Taken all in all the book is a masterpiece of the publisher's art. I do
not mean by that that it is highly ornamented or that it rivals the
hand-tooled books that one frequently sees, but for mass production no better
work could be produced.
is not surprising that in a work which excels in so many respects we should
find the first mention of Washington as a Mason that, to my knowledge, has
been made in a biography published under purely nonMasonic auspices. There is
contained in its pages a complete record of Washington's Masonic career and an
account of the work that is being done by the Fraternity today in erecting the
George Washington Masonic Memorial. It is unfortunate that there are some
minor errors in this section of the work. Only one of them, however, is of
enough consequence to warrant specific mention here. In referring to the
Signers of the Declaration of Independence Mr. Sawyer says that nine of them
were Masons. We know positively of thirteen, and there are indications which
point to more of them having been members of the Craft. Fortunately this is an
error on the conservative side and Mr. Sawyer, who by the way is not a Mason,
is to be congratulated for not having fallen into the too common error of
asserting that fifty or more of the Signers were members of the Fraternity.
would be interesting to Masons generally to know how many of the characters
mentioned in Washington were Masons. It would require some little research to
be certain of the ground, but a goodly number of Masons could be found with
ease. John Paul Jones, Benj. Franklin and Pulaski are a few who come to mind
very interesting illustration which, unfortunately, cannot be reproduced,
appears in the first volume. It represents John Paul Jones at the
Constitutional Convention. Its principal interest lies in the fact that the
three central figures were all Masons, Jones, Franklin and Washington.
Probably this painting is the only one in existence which pictures these three
prominent Colonists together, and it is striking that all of them belonged to
Mr. Sawyer has included so many illustrations in his text that it is difficult
to choose from them for the purpose of illustrating this review. Many of those
used are copyrighted and it is impossible for us to reproduce them. The author
and the Macmillan Company have' been very courteous in permitting us to use
illustrations from the text. It has been our desire to make those used as
representative as possible.
The first one is from a photograph of the statue by Jean Antoine Houdon that
stands in the Capitol at Richmond, Va. Two views of this are given, and this
one was selected because it gives in a marked degree the impression of height.
It is now far from generally realized that Washington was an unusually tall
man, and of exceedingly powerful physique.
During Washington's tenure of the Presidency a very large number of portraits
were made. The State of Virginia voted one thousand guineas for the purpose of
having a statue made. The French sculptor Houdon was selected for the work,
and arrangements were made through Franklin and Jefferson, who were then in
France. Houdon decided he could not do justice to the work from a portrait
only, one by Charles Willson Peale had been sent for the purpose, he sailed
for America and reached Alexandria in October, 1785. Washington recorded the
event in his diary
.... after we were in bed, about eleven o'clock, Mr. Houdon, sent from Paris
by Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jefferson, to take my bust in behalf of the State of
Virginia, with three young men assisting arrived here . . .
Thus it will be seen that this statue is probably, in every way, the most
accurate representation of Washington's appearance, face, figure, attitude and
dress that is in existence. It cost the State of Virginia the artist's fee of
some five thousand dollars and his expenses, and is now beyond price. To say
it is worth several millions is absurd. There is probably not gold enough in
the world to tempt Virginia to even think about selling it.
cannot recommend Mr. Sawyer's work too highly to the Masonic Fraternity. Aside
from the principal character there are dozens of men mentioned who were
Craftsmen. It is fascinating to read through the pages and realize the
prominent part that our Fraternity played in the Revolution. To the student of
Colonial Masonry there will be suggested numerous fields for research. If all
of the possible lines of inquiry were followed to their ends there would be
enough to occupy several men for the balance of their lives. From a purely
profane standpoint, however, it can be truthfully said that Sawyer's
Washington deserves to be ranked with the great biographies of modern times.
The Degrees of Masonry: Their Origin and History
BROS. A. L. KRESS AND R.J. MEEKREN
(Continued from JULY)
dealing with the primitive esotericism of the Craft, and the forms and
ceremonies, if any, inherited by the new Grand Lodge organizations in the
British Isles, from the old Operative system, Murray Lyon, as we have seen,
practically ignored ritual evidence. In fact from his History alone we should
hardly even suspect that there was any. Hughan did touch upon it slightly, but
only because those he opposed had to some extent used it in support of their
contentions. He expressed his opinion that either it was spurious, or else too
late in date to have any bearing upon the question at issue. In the revised
edition of his valuable work, The 0rigin of the English Rite (1) expresses
himself to this effect in several places. Nevertheless, both he and Lyon did
accept, apparently in an uncriticized way, so much of the ritual tradition or
tradition of ritual that is inherent in Freemasonry as to lead them to
understand the bare and laconic pre-Grand Lodge records in the sense that
there was something of a secret and ceremonial character practiced in the
lodges, although, as we have pointed out, this is hardly a necessary
conclusion from the evidence of these records by themselves.
Albert Mackey, whose arguments we are now considering, did however go into
this aspect of the subject more fully (2); though, apparently, he was only
acquainted with The Grand Mystery of Free-Masons Discovered, of 1724,
Prichard's Masonry Dissected, of 1730, and the Sloane MS. No. 3329 of unknown
date, but probably between 1700 and 1720. It was thus impossible for him to
treat the matter adequately. Two or three of these documents have been
discovered since, but the Mason's Examination and the Mason's Confession were
well known when he wrote, and it seems curious that he was not familiar with
them. As this evidence will have to have its turn later we need only to touch
on the salient points of his argument on this score.
notes first that in the Grand Mystery (3) there is no reference to degrees.
This is not true of all these documents, and the Grand Mystery itself actually
makes a distinction of class in two questions and answers:
What is a Mason? A. A man, begot of a man, born of a woman, Brother to a king.
What is a Fellow? A. A Companion of a Prince.
This is very slight by itself, and for its full significance needs to be
compared with parallel passages in other versions. But Mackey goes on to quote
the Sloane MS. 3329 (4), in regard to the formation of the lodge, where it is
What is a just and perfect or just and lawful lodge?
just and perfect lodge is stwo Interprintices, two fellow craftes and two
Mast'rs . . .
that by his own showing the (apparent) silence of the one is balanced by the
definite statement of the other, though he, of course, interprets the last
quotation as referring to status only, and not to degrees. He takes these
documents as representing old operative ritual, and as he sees nothing in the
Catechism that definitely refers to higher degrees and more restricted
secrets, he infers that they did not exist. The argument is good so far as it
goes. The Sloane MS. has, however, some additional matter in which a "gripe
for fellow crafts" and a "master's gripe" are spoken of. In this passage he
certainly has put his finger on a real difficulty for the proponents of the
two degree hypothesis, although on its face it seems to support the older and
traditional belief in the antiquity of the present system rather than a single
initiation. The difficulty from the former point of view will have to be
discussed later. Mackey seeks to show, first, that the difference between
these two "gripes" is trifling, and second, presumably along the lines of his
interpretation of "the threttene artycul" of the Regius MS., that they
"distinguished" the higher grades but yet were known to all Masons, including
the apprentices, just "as the number of stripes on the arm distinguish the
grades of noncommissioned officers in the army."
the MS. there are two variant forms of "their master's gripe" described, and
the second is introduced by the words
. . but some say the mast'rs grip is the same I last described only, etc.
Now the last described was the one coming immediately before, for the "gripe
for fellow craftes" is the one first described. But Mackey misunderstood the
passage, and that he did so is concealed in a broken quotation. He cites it
. . the close of the passage leaves it uncertain that the "gripes" were not
identical, or at least with a very minute difference. "Some say," adds the
writer [i.e., of the MS.], "the Master's grip is the same" as the Fellow
Crafts "only" and then he gives the hardly appreciable difference.
But the MS. does not say "the same as the Fellow Crafts," but "same as I last
described," and this can only grammatically, and in common sense, refer to
what actually had last, that is, just previously, been spoken of; and that in
fact was the Master's, not the Fellow's, grip. In other words, the MS.
describes a Fellow's "gripe" and two variant forms of that of the Master's,
which have a slight, but in spite of Mackey a quite appreciable difference
Another argument is drawn from this MS., and here again it seems Mackey fell
into error, possibly through having an inaccurate copy before him. He says:
The manuscript speaks of two words, "the Mast'r Word" and "the Mason word."
The latter is said to have been given in a certain form, which is described.
It is possible that the former may have been communicated to Masters as a
privilege attached to their rank, while the latter was communicated to the
whole Craft. In a later ritual [this refers to the Grand Mystery] it has been
seen there were two words, "the Jerusalem Word" and "the universal word," but
both were known to the whole Fraternity.
Had he written: "The first is said to have been given in a certain form . . .
It is possible that it may have been communicated to Masters,” and so on, the
passage would make sense. In the MS. there is at the very end an oath, so
headed, which begins:
The Mason word and everything therein contained you shall keep secret . . .
Immediately before this are two paragraphs describing formal salutations, the
second of which begins:
Another they have called the mast'r word . . .
This word is given, and it seems to be another form of the word " “Maughbin"
which appears in several other of the old catechisms. What the "Mason word"
was is not said, it may have been another term for the "Mast'r word," or we
may perhaps interpret it, as Lyon seemed willing to do (though rather
reluctantly, it must be said), as a phrase implying all the esoteric secrets
and mysteries of Masonry. The two words spoken of in the Grand Mystery as the
Jerusalem word and the Universal word respectively are Giblin and Boaz, but in
the Essex MS. (6), which is an independent variant form of the same catechism,
they are given as Giblin and Maughbin. This fact, which of course was unknown
to Mackey, really cuts the ground from under his argument in this place,
whatever it may be worth on its own premises.
bases a further argument on this oath, and says it
. . supplies itself the strongest proof that during the period in which it
formed part of the ritual, that ritual must have been one common to all
classes; in other words, there could have been but one degree, because there
was but one obligation of secrecy imposed, and the Secrets, whatever they
were, must have been known to all Freemasons, to the Apprentices as well as to
the Master (7).
This, we fear, rather in the nature of special pleading. The Grand Mystery,
and the other two documents which are variant forms of it (8), all give a
"Freemason's Oath," which has nothing about secrecy at all. It runs
You must serve God . . . be a true liege man to the King and help and assist
any Brother so far as your ability will allow. By the contents of the Sacred
But immediately, or closely following it, in all three documents is the
"Freemason's Health," in which occurs the phrase:
....... to every faithful Brother that keeps his Oath of Secrecy.
The obvious inference is that the oath actually given was not the only one.
Mackey, as also others, has argued as if these stray memoranda, for that seems
to be their character in every case but that of Prichard's exposure, were
complete rituals. We cannot quite hold Mackey fully excused, as he was
acquainted with the contents of the early French publications, such as L'Ordre
de Franc-Macons Trahi, and here we find three degrees fully fledged while only
one form of oath is given.
THE THEORY OF DELIBERATE INVENTION
Mackey's theory of the origin of the two higher degrees of Fellow Craft and
Master Mason is very simple, and in such a complex situation its very
simplicity lays it open to doubt. He lays it all to deliberate and conscious
is now [about the year 1880] very generally admitted that the arrangement of
Freemasonry into the present system of three degrees was the work of Dr.
Desaguliers, assisted by Anderson, Payne and perhaps some other collaborators.
The perfecting of the system was of very slow growth. At first there was but
one degree, which had been derived from the Operative Masons of preceding
centuries. This was the degree practised in 1717, when the so-called “Revival”
took place. It was no doubt improved by Desaguliers, who was Grand Master in
1719, and who probably about that time began his ritualistic experiments. The
fact that Payne, in 1718 "desired any brethren to bring to Grand Lodge any old
writings concerning Masons and Masonry in order to show the usages of ancient
times," exhibits a disposition and preparation for improvement. (9)
Which, interrupting, we may agree seems a very justifiable conclusion, but
surely not "improvement" along the lines of "innovation" and "pure invention."
The First and Second Degrees had been modelled out of the one primitive degree
about the year 1719. The "Charges" compiled in 1720 by Grand Master Payne
recognize the Fellow Craft as the leading degree and the one from which the
officers of lodges and of the Grand Lodge were to be selected.
This of course assumes that the Regulations as printed in 1723 were exactly
the same as those Payne compiled and submitted for the approval of Grand Lodge
on St. John Baptist's Day, 1720, at Stationers Hall, when the Duke of Montagu
was installed as Grand Master. This is not certain, for there is no way of
proving it; and as a matter of fact Anderson definitely states that they had
been edited and "digested" into a "new method" by him. Indeed, Mackey himself,
as we have seen, suggested an alleged interpolation in Regulation xiii. He
to this time  we find no reference to the Third degree. "The particular"
lodges conferred only the First Degree. Admission or initiation into the
Second Degree was done in the Grand Lodge. This was owing to the fact that
Desaguliers and the inventors of the new degree were unwilling to place it out
of their immediate control, lest improper persons might be admitted or the
ceremonies be imperfectly performed.
Here we may observe that there is nothing whatever to show that this
requirement was ever anything but a dead letter. The existing minutes of the
Grand Lodge (10) begin June 24, 1723, and this particular regulation was
repealed at the quarterly communication held Nov. 27, 1725 the proceedings of
eight meetings being recorded previously; in none; of them is there the
slightest reference to any passing of Fellow Crafts. From this it would seem,
that either it had never been carried out and the lodges had made their own
members Fellow Crafts, or else that between June, 1723, and March, 1722 (or
perhaps June, 1721, if this clause appeared in the original Regulation as
submitted by Payne), the Grand Lodge worked overtime and made sufficient
Fellow Crafts to qualify all the Masters and Wardens of the many new lodges
that were being instituted. The only other possibility is to suppose that the
qualification had been disregarded, and that there were no Fellow Crafts
outside the little group surrounding Desaguliers and Payne and those active in
the supposed plan to transform Masonry into a new and purely speculative
system. Really it would seem this last supposition would fit Mackey's theory
of conscious and deliberate innovation the best.
go on with his account of the steps taken by the inventors of the new degrees
in carrying out their alleged plans:
After the "Revival," in 1717 (I use the term under protest), Desaguliers had
divided the one degree which had been common to the three classes into two,
making the degrees of Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft. It is not to be
supposed that this was a mere division of the esoteric instruction into two
parts . . . we may believe that taking the primitive degree of the Operatives
as a foundation there was built upon it an enlarged Superstructure of
ceremonies and lectures. The Catechism of the degree was probably changed and
improved, and the "Mason Word" as the Operatives had called it, was
transferred to the Second Degree, to be afterwards again transferred to the
After this, Desaguliers continued to exercise his inventive genius and
consummated the series of degrees by adding one to be appropriated to the
highest class, or that of the Masters. But not having thoroughly perfected the
ritual of the degree until after the time of publication of the Book of
Constitutions, it was probably not disseminated among the Craft until the year
Here Mackey is in agreement with Hughan, who thought that the Mason's
Examination, which appeared in the Flying Post the same year, proved that the
"Master's Part" was then in existence as well as the Fellow Craft. This, too,
will have to have consideration later.
Mackey also discussed (11) the account given by Laurence Dermott, in the
second edition of Ahiman Rezon, of the origin of the "Modern" (i.e., the
senior) Grand Lodge, which he thinks may reflect some recollection of the
invention of the degree of Master Mason, and, indeed, it is not improbable
that it is founded on some actual report, at first or second hand, that a
degree was added to the old system. 1764 was not too long after 1720 to be
bridged by the life of an individual as has already been pointed out, and
Dermott had been a Mason a good many years before he wrote the words quoted.
may add that Mackey also adopted the "mutilation" theory of the origin of the
Royal Arch (12), which Dr. Oliver had supported in later life; so that on his
showing, the "Mason Word" was progressively transferred from degree to degree
until it finally found a resting place in that "Supreme Order."
THE OPINION OF ALBERT PIKE
Albert Pike was quoted by Hughan as among those authorities who agreed with
him, but we have been able to find no new argument advanced in his published
works. Indeed he seems to have depended largely, if not entirely, on the
conclusions reached by Murray Lyon, and Hughan himself (13). We may,
therefore, dismiss him without further consideration in the present
connection. But it is noteworthy, and rather curious, to see how the
proponents of the single initiation theory have depended on the conclusions
reached by Lyon, based on his consideration of the ancient Scottish records.
His conclusions were inferences, but these brethren were all more than a
little inclined to object to the inferences of others who held different
views, not as illogically drawn, but simply as being inferences.
THE TWO DEGREE THEORY
have now examined the case for the existence only of a single admission
ceremony practiced by Masons before the Grand Lodge era (14). As against the
traditional view that three degrees existed from time immemorial it carries
very great weight. So much so that it is probable that any critical mind would
accept it. However, it is not the only alternative, and we now come to the
consideration of the arguments of G. W. Speth, who may be regarded as the
protagonist of the so-called "Two Degree" theory, though R. F. Gould became a
very prominent supporter of it too. It would appear, though, that Speth was
first in the field. He broached it in various lectures to Masonic audiences
(so we gather from scattered allusions) and in articles in various
periodicals, among them the old Keystone of Philadelphia. We have not been
able to trace all these scattered articles and references, but it fortunately
does not seem necessary for our purpose, as both Hughan and Speth presented
their respective cases before the Quatuor Coronati Lodge and, so far as can be
judged, resumed every argument in support of their respective views that
seemed to them to be of weight. Speth regarded his paper, which was read the
year after Hughan's, as a reply thereto. This we will now consider.
begins by a caveat (15): He says that Hughan's strongest argument was the lack
of direct evidence for more than one degree, and this he admits is the chief
difficulty he has to face. His task is to marshall the indirect evidence which
Hughan and Lyon were inclined to rule out as inadmissible. On this question of
evidence something will have to be said in the sequel so it may be passed over
here, but Speth might almost have said that there was no direct unequivocal
evidence (other than ritual and tradition) for any "degree." It really seems
curious that no one engaged in the discussion saw this. Tradition apparently
then divides the question by periods, which he classes as the purely
Operative, the mainly Operative, the mainly Speculative and the purely
Speculative, though he makes it clear that there are no sharp clearly defined
boundaries between them. The purely Operative period is in fact quite
hypothetical, or at least pre-historic in the strict sense, because as far
back as we have records we find non-Operative members in the Fraternity. But
we must presumably postulate such a period; and in it, some time before the
fifteenth century let us say, the Old Charges were formulated and introduced,
with a legendary account of the invention and progress of Geometry and
The first argument is that something was necessary to distinguish the fellow
in order to prevent an apprentice running away and passing himself off as a
fully qualified craftsman. In the discussion following the paper Hughan was
unable to see why this would be more necessary among Masons than in any other
Craft. Lane seemed inclined to think it doubtful that the apprentice received
any secret mode of recognition. And if the one degree theory is to be adopted
it would really seem more feasible to suppose the initiation came at the end
of the apprenticeship rather than at the beginning. But as Speth pointed out
in reply boys became men much earlier in life in those days. There are cases
of boys of sixteen leading armies in the field, while Hughan's objection was
met by pointing out the peculiar conditions of the Craft, that Masons were
migratory, and, outside the larger towns, free to work anywhere.
Speth then made the point that our present nomenclature is. from the operative
point of view, incorrect, as the apprentice became a Master first, a master of
his craft, and thus was eligible to become a Fellow of the Fraternity; and in
this Conder (16) agreed with him, stating that this was certainly the case in
regard to the London Mason's Company. Speth also asked if it was probable that
such an important occasion in the Craftsman's life as the end of his servitude
as an Apprentice was likely to pass "without some ceremony to mark the
occasion." Hughan (who answered every argument adduced categorically) asked
why more so in the Mason's craft than any other? And if there was a ceremony,
why it should be esoteric? In respect to the first question it might be said
that there was something in the nature of a ceremony in other crafts. There
would be the formality of release, and the young craftsman, even to our own
day, had to stand treat. In regard to the second it can only be countered, why
any secret ceremony at all? If the implied argument is good it covers the
initiation as well.
The next point rests on the passages in the Old Charges that have already come
before us in discussing Mackey's views. It is the phrase "hall and bower" in
the Regius MS. and "lodge and chamber" in the others. Now to
..... kepe all the counsells of yo'r fellowes truely, be yt in Lodge or
the Grand Lodge Roll No. 1 has it, might possibly refer to two sets of
secrets; but, as we noted before, there is nothing on the face of it to lead
us to think so; one would naturally take them to refer to trade and personal
matters. But the curious thing is that several of the Old Catechisms make the
Hall and Kitchen a mark of distinction between the Fellow and the Apprentice.
In the Mystery of Free Masons (17), published in 1730 the question
Did you ever dine in the Hall?
asked to distinguish a "Brother Mason" from an "Enter'd Apprentice" who had
only been in the kitchen. By itself then this argument carries little weight,
but yet Speth's interpretation is not to be brushed aside as requiring no
consideration at all.
THE COOKS AND REGIUS MSS.
The next argument advanced is drawn from two passages in the Cooke MS. This
was reproduced in Quatuor Coronotorum Antigrapha with a commentary by Bro.
Speth himself. In this he advances reasons for holding that this MS. consists
of a copy of the oldest form of the Charges now existing, prefaced by an
extended legend or history of the Craft, and that though the Regius MS. is
older than the Cooke yet the latter in part is a copy of the same code that
the author of the Masonic poem had before him and which he versified, and
further that it is probably a more primitive version still, as the Regius has
a number of additions which seem to be amendments to the original.
The two passages that Speth thought significant in the present connection are
as follows, both being from the part of the document that is supposedly the
copy of an older code. It has briefly announced the spread of Masonry "from
londe to londe and fro Kyngdome to Kyngdome" and says that in the time of
"kynge adhelstone" the craft was reorganized in England on account of "grete
defaute" found among Masons, and it was consequently ordained that "fro
provynce to provynce and fro contre to contre," that is presumably from county
to county, "congregacions scholde be made," by masters of "alle maisters
Masons and felous in the forsayde art," which in modern English would be "all
master masons and fellows of the aforesaid art or craft," and then, that at
..... they that be made masters schold be examned of the articuls after
writen, & be ransakyd whether thei be abulle and schulde receyue here charge
that they schulde welle and trewly dispende the goodys of here lordis.
Which means that they who are "to be made masters" are to be examined as to
their knowledge of the law of the craft and their technical skill, and then
"to receive their charge" that they will honestly conserve the interests of
their employers. After this follow the "articuls," of which there are nine,
and these again are followed by nine "poynts." The latter concern the private
relations of Masons to each other, while the articles seem to refer to those
with their employers. In other words the articles were regulations that had
probably the force of civil law, while the points were by-laws governing the
internal economy of the Craft. These having been recited, the narrative
returns to the conduct of the assembly with the words:
Whan the master and the felowes be for warned ben y come to suche
congregaiones . . .
And it goes on to say that, if required, the sheriff or mayor shall be an
. . felow and sociat to the master of the congregacion,
help him keep order and maintain the right of the realm. And then comes,
apparently, the first order of business:
the fyrst begynnynge new men that neuer were chargyd bifore beth charged in
this manere . . .
Now in his commentary (18) Speth says of this
The first business was to charge men that had never been charged before. It is
impossible to read this otherwise than that apprentices who had served their
time were here declared free of the craft, master workmen, admitted into the
other words that it was a restatement, in the form of an Order of Business, or
Agenda, for the Assembly, of what had previously been said in the historical
account of the organization of the Craft in England. Or that the charging of
"new men" was the same thing as the "receiving their charge of those that were
to be made masters." This was in 1890, eight years before the paper we are
considering was written. In the interval Speth seems to have changed his mind,
for he now contrasts these two passages and says of the latter:
"New men that never were charged before" must be the newly entered
and goes on to say that in later versions of the Constitutions it seems to be
indicated that this obligation was
. . administered at the lodge at, or shortly after, their entry, pointing
possibly to the gradual obsolescence of the assembly.
one seems to have noticed this reversal of opinion except Upton. However, Lane
said that the Charges generally, that is the written documents, were addressed
to "Every man that is a Mason," and were either given to Apprentices or
Fellows. If to the former why was there a separate set of "Apprentice
Charges?" If to Fellows, the phrase "new men" seems inapplicable. To this, it
must be observed, that the special Apprentice Charges do not appear till late,
and thus the point raised hardly affects any argument concerning the early
period, the "purely Operative," represented by the Cooke MS. Also it might be
contended that "new men" were those who had learned the trade outside the
Fraternity, and wished to join, or were being forced to join it as in our own
times men have been forced to join trade unions. This would of course imply
that the original of this MS. dated back to a time when the Craft organization
was being introduced into England, or into parts of England, where it had not
Lane also said that there was no indication in the Cooke MS. of anything
esoteric about this charging of "new men" or making of masters, which is quite
true. There is no hint anywhere of anything secret, excepting the third point
..... that he can hele the councelle of his felows in logge and in chambere
and in every place ther as Masons beth,
though instead of this he quoted the equivalent passage from the Carson MS.
hele . . . the counsel of his fellows in Lodge and in Chamber and all other
Counsels that ought to be kept by way of Masonry
as it appears in other places "Masonhood" or "Brotherhood."
this Lane appears to be justified; to see anything beyond the proper reserve
and reticence concerning trade secrets, and the business and personal affairs
of the associates of the individual Mason, his fellow workmen and employers,
is an inference. But if this, being only an inference, is to be held as
conclusive against the existence of something esoteric in the "making" and
"charging" of Masters it is equally conclusive against the existence of
anything esoteric at all at the time when the Charges were formulated.
(1) Hughan, Origin of the English Rite of Freemasonry, published first in
1884. The revised edition appeared in 1909; a third edition, edited by John T.
Thorp, was published in 1925.
his revision, Hughan, on page 23, admits that the discovery of the Chetwode
Crawley MS. Catechism head some weight in favor of a primitive two degree
theory, more especially as it is in part corroborated by the cryptic note in
the minute book of the old lodge at Haughfoot, of date 1702. However, in spite
of this concession, his opinion was not really shaken. On page 37 he dismisses
the ritual remains as in his opinion worthless, and on page 24 quotes a letter
from Murray Lyon, in 1897, as saying he was "more than ever convinced that we
are right in our views" on the question of degrees.
(2) Mackey: History of Freemasonry, Vol. iv, Chap. xxxii, p. 926. (In the
Revised Edition it is Chap. 76, Vol. iii, p. 977.) The discussion is carried
on in the succeeding chapters.
(3) This Catechism is reproduced in the Appendix to Gould's History of
Freemasonry. In the Yorston Edition, this is to be found in Vol. iv, p. 280.
The Mason's Examination is also given.
(4) This was discovered by J. G. Findel in the Sloane collection of MSS. in
the British Museum. It was published by the Rev. A.F.A. Woodford, and
according to Mackey, by W. J. Hughan in the Voice of Freemasonry, October,
1872, in the National Freemason for April, 1873. It was reproduced again in
the Montana Mason for October, 1921. The Catechism contained in the MS. is
given in Finders History of Freemasonry, App. C. Mackey apparently intended to
publish it also, judging by a statement in Chap. xxxii, p. 927, but the
passage referred to in the note merely tells us where it was to be found.
Possibly his publishers decided to leave it out. We have used a transcript
made from the original MS.
(5) Mackey: op. cit., p. 969.
(6) In the British Museum. It has never been published.
(7) Mackey: op. cit., p. 971.
(8) The Essex MS. already mentioned, and the Institution MS., which was
published in facsimile by Bro. A. F. Calvert, in the Transactions of the
Authors' Lodge, No. 3456, in 1919.
(9) Mackey: op. cit. p. 991.
(10) These were published in the Reprints of Quatuor Coronati Lodge in 1913,
Q.C.A., Vol. x. The minute referred to is on p. 64.
(11) Mackey: op. cit., p. 998.
(12) Ibid., p, 1108 and Vol. v, p. 1238.
(13) Hughan (A.Q.C., Vol. x, p. 131) cites Pike's Origines. In this work Pike
offers as his chief argument the authority of Hughan's own conclusions.
(14) German Masonic students, as Kloss and Findel took the same view. Findel
indeed was the first to advance it. So far as we have been able to consult
their work, no further arguments appear than those already discussed. The
chief one, on which all the others depend, being that elaborated by Murray
Lyon that Apprentices were present in the lodge when Fellows were admitted or
(15) A.Q.C., Vol. xi, p. 47, et seq.
(16) A.Q.C., Vol. xi, p. 72, also Hole Crafte, p. 58, and A.Q.C., Vol. ix, p.
35, et seq.
(17)This is not to be confused with the Grand Mystery; the Catechism given is
a variant of that in the Examination.
(18) Q.C.A., Vol. ii. The commentary has no page numbers. The passage quoted
is on the next to the last one.
MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
Thiemeyer, Research Editor
I. CLEGG, Illinois
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
H. DERN, Utah
CHARLES F. IRWIN, Pennsylvania
E. MORCOMBE, California
C. PARKER, New York
HUGO TATSCH, Iowa
M. WHITED, California
DAVID E. W WILLIAMSON
all know that certain subjects are absolutely barred from discussion in
Not only may they not be discussed but they cannot even be raised. It is one
of the things that every Mason has at his tongue's tip, and is ever ready to
pass on to the inquiring non-Mason. It is true, that in many cases, were the
question then asked, "Why?" the informant would be non-plussed. For to most it
is more a sacred, immutable, tabu, rather than a rule based on reason.
course, the intelligent Mason, thus posed, would soon think of reasons, even
if they had not occurred to him before. "The members of our lodges," he would
say, "belong to different political parties, and to different churches, and so
discussion of these things would create a risk of breach of harmony and
brotherly love. And indeed this is the very reason that is given for the rule
where it first appears in the Book of Constitutions of 1723, although it there
appears more as a by-law than as a dogma. However, this is aside from the
aspect of the subject we wish to discuss here.
imbued with this idea has English speaking Masonry become in the two centuries
and more that have elapsed since Dr. Anderson first deprecated "private piques
and quarrels" and "quarrels about religion, or nations or state policy," that
it has come to be assumed, quite generally, that this prohibition is general
in its scope, instead of being strictly applicable only to the private
assembly of the lodge.
The question in this form, especially affects the Masonic author and
publicist. It is true that in a rough way it has been answered in practice,
but it is without any clear idea of the principles involved. If every topic
that trenched on religion, to take that alone, were deleted from Masonic
literature, probably a good half of what has been published would disappear.
Yet, owing to confusion of thought upon the subject, at any time the Masonic
writer is liable to criticism on the grounds that he has transgressed this
we have seen, the reason given for the first form of this law was that it
would lead to lack of harmony and disunion among the brethren. But though this
is true enough, and adequate enough too, there is more behind it. Certainly,
everything and anything that would lead to disunion is to be avoided, but that
does not mean that every subject about which there may be disagreement should
be suppressed, as would be only logical if this were all that is implied in
the rule. There are few subjects upon which there is full agreement, there are
many which no one would dream of barring from discussion, even in the lodge
that are highly controversial. It is, therefore, not merely the existence of
differing opinions, or even of warm dispute and opposition, that is the
fundamental, underlying factor. It is not even so much that Masons might be
thereby opposed to each other upon grounds that are external to Masonry,
though practically this consideration has great weight. At bottom it is that
an assembly of such a private and secret nature as is a Masonic lodge is not a
fitting or proper place for such discussion; and to have permitted it, would
have laid the Craft under deep suspicion by governments and established
churches, or have given real, tangible grounds for such suspicion where it
Freemasonry reorganized itself in 1717 as neutral in regard to these matters.
Perhaps it had always been so, we can quite believe it was; but we know
certainly that from the time it emerged into the light of history it
definitely sought to be a center of union between good men who otherwise would
remain disunited. It stressed character, and deliberately ignored those things
which have always been the active cause of dissension and strife. To admit,
therefore, any question of this nature into the lodge would inevitably have
given it the appearance at least of being in some sort a political or
religious body. But does this affect in the same way discussion that is public
and open to the whole world, as are the contents of a book or magazine?
would certainly seem that this element of publicity makes an important
difference. And then it must also be remembered that the terms politics and
religion have very wide and comprehensive meaning. We must not allow ourselves
to be blinded by regard for mere words. It is not enough to say politics is
politics, or religion is religion, that gets us nowhere. Freemasonry certainly
has a very close contact with religion, if in no other way, through the fact
that it is an ethical and moral institution, and that morals have always in
human history been most intimately associated with religion. In the same way
it may have contacts with politics in the wider and accurate sense of the
term. What is usually understood is, properly speaking, party-politics. For
this reason the word is usually avoided for fear of misunderstanding. But this
may help to conceal the real connection. For example, such matters as
patriotism, good citizenship, law enforcement, education and the like are all
political in the general and proper meaning of the word. It would be absurd to
say that everything relating to the duties and obligations of the citizen was
alien to the Mason as such, when these have had a most prominent place in the
Masonic code from the first. The propriety of the interest remains even if
they become questions of party strife, though admittedly such a condition
makes discretion much more necessary.
Religion, like politics, is a word of wide and vaguely defined meaning. It has
two fairly clearly marked sides. Religion proper, as a spiritual
interpretation of the universe, or as a system of belief; and religion in a
secondary sense, as an organization or hierarchy based on a common belief or
set of dogmas. In the first sense it comes in contact with Masonry, as has
been said, through ethics. Also, through the general requirement of so much of
religion as is implied by profession of a belief in God. In the other sense
there is also contact, of a different kind. Certain religious organizations,
churches, have opposed and condemned Freemasonry, just as certain political
organizations, states, governments, have opposed and suppressed it.
such circumstances some consideration of these matters is forced upon us. The
actual facts and conditions bring the matter into our purview however
reluctant we may be to touch them. Masonry is a universal institution. It is
by its own principles (not always fully lived up to, unfortunately) tolerant
of religion, race and politics. It ignores, in other words, the three chief
factors that, in the history of mankind, have bred division and strife, and
has sought to unite them on the basis of justice, morality and benevolence. It
is, as we all know, bitterly opposed by another world-wide institution.
Opposed not only in polemic, but with actual persecution, whenever and
wherever circumstances have made it possible. Do our principles forbid mention
of the fact? It is intolerance to discuss the underlying causes for this
hostility? Masonic tolerance is after all our own rule for ourselves, and we
alone are judges as to how and where it applies.
submit that the presentation of any facts throwing light upon the situation
directly or indirectly is justifiable, and is in no proper sense of the word
intolerant. There are precedents of great weight for the historical treatment
of the subject. But what difference in principle is there between the relating
of what has occurred in the past and giving information concerning the
present? Or even forecasting the future? The only difference is the practical
one that it may be more controversial. But what essential sin is there in
controversy, if it be kept within the bounds of fairness and courtesy?
Finally, are we limited merely to answering wild accusations made against the
Fraternity, or defending it from unprovoked attack? Have we no right to
consider what this organization really is that is so hostile to us. Is it
intolerance to recognize the facts, or to show that the divergence or
opposition is complete and irreconcilable? We have indeed scriptural ground
for recognizing the utter futility of saying "Peace, peace," where there is no
peace. Intolerance is quite another thing. It is the child of prejudice, as
prejudice is the offspring of ignorance. A frank discussion may reveal a state
of opposition, but as one may, when necessity arises, fight without hate, so
it is possible to oppose without intolerance.
the June number of THE BUILDER we reproduced, as a curiosity, an item under
the above heading which was taken from the Fortnightly? Review. Last month we
gave, from the same source, a letter from a Roman Catholic physician
expressing common sense doubt of the truth of the original tale, based on
general grounds. The editor of the Fortnightly in the issue for July 1, then
invited us to discuss the subject. We shall be very glad indeed to publish any
development of the accusation, whether by a Romanist or anyone else, but to
discuss it ourselves is rather embarrassing. It is rather like the famous
question, "Have you given up beating your grandmother?" To take the matter
seriously is to artificially give it a weight that it does not possess in
saying this we have no desire to make any reflection upon those to whom it
seems perfectly credible. We suppose any story, no matter how preposterous in
itself, if only repeated often enough, will find believers. And the individual
is always powerfully influenced by the presence of a group of believers. So
that, wherever there is any predisposing motive to belief, no matter how
baseless, or how irrational, the fact that others have accepted it will in
itself seem a proof that the thing asserted is true.
Again, all men, even the very best, are naturally prone to believe evil of an
opponent. It is, indeed, an almost inevitable emotional response to any kind
of conflict. Many Protestants, for example, believe the most impossible and
ridiculous things about Roman Catholics. No proof is asked for, or rather
constant reiteration is proof enough. Even if something like critical
questioning arise, it is generally settled by some process as is expressed in
the proverb "Where there's smoke there's fire." If, says the "critic," these
things are stated so conclusively, and they are not denied, they must be true.
The "critic" of course is not situated as a rule to hear of any denials, and
if he does meet them, he can easily explain them as the natural protective
reaction of the guilty to always claim innocence whenever accused. Humanity at
large is not just by instinct. Justice and impartiality are high virtues
gained only through the most severe self-discipline.
The accusations of heresy, witchcraft and diabolism were made against
Freemasonry almost from the first possibly even before the historic period of
the Fraternity begins. Lest this be taken as a proof of there being basis in
fact for them, let us remind those who would so conclude that the same kind of
accusations were made against the early Christians. Every association of an
esoteric character is subject to this kind of thing, which is only another
natural human phenomenon. The motives are mixed, resentment and jealousy at
being on the outside probably form one component. It is assumed that there is
only one possible motive for concealment, that is, the wicked or shameful
character of the secrets in spite of the common knowledge that there are many
other respectable and laudable reasons for secrecy in every day life.
The Fortnightly Review specifically asks:
...... whether THE BUILDER regards the reports upon which our article was
based as trustworthy, and if so, how it explains this anti-Christian tendency
of a portion of European Freemasonry, or if it considers that these and other
reports, no matter how apparently well founded, are false, how are we to
explain their repeated confirmation by European Masons and the fact that they
are so persistently circulated? All we are after is the truth.
is in the confidence that the editor of the Fortnightly Review is quite
sincere in the last sentence that we are taking the trouble to try and throw
some light upon the subject. We think that if he will consider the nature of
his question he will admit that there is in it a shift from the original
point. It refers to an alleged "anti-Christian tendency." Truly Satanism and
the black mass and the rest of the diseased phantasies that probably did once
exist, are anti-Christian in one sense, though not in the same sense that
Atheism or Materialism are, for the former require a lively faith in
Christianity as a starting point.
There is here some room for misapprehension owing to lack of definition in
terms. Atheism and Satanism and such names are freely used as opprobrious
epithets in theological controversy. From certain points of view Atheism may
be called Satanic, or Satanism described as Atheistic. Yet there is a real
difference between the practice of black magic (if anyone does practice it)
which demands a belief in spiritual beings and powers, and the Atheism based
on materialistic views of the universe which denies the existence of God
precisely because there is seen (by the Atheist) no place in the world for
anything but mechanism and mechanistic determinism. The two things may be
equally inimical to religion but they are not at all consistent with each
other. The point is an important one, for it is very easy to argue from the
one sense to the other.
Another source of misconception lies in the possibility of confusing
anti-clericalism with irreligion. Here again it depends on the way in which
words are used. The "clericalist," the member or supporter of a hierarchy of
any kind, naturally identifies the machine, the organization, with its
purpose, its raison d'etre. Thus autocrats or oligarchies always identify
themselves with the state or country they rule, anyone who opposes them or
their administration is a traitor and an enemy to his country. So anyone who
criticizes a priesthood or religious officialdom is accused of being an enemy
of religion. After all it does not much matter how the words are used, as long
as they are used in the same sense all through an argument. Unfortunately this
too often is not the case.
have entered into this preliminary discussion, which may have seemed somewhat
irrelevant because the question we are asked by our contemporary really covers
a good deal more than the original assertions which have given occasion to it.
In respect to the alleged Satanism revealed by the writer in the Revue des
Societes Secretes, the letter we publish from Mr. Goaziou on another page
shows conclusively (if it were necessary) that the whole thing is a tissue of
misrepresentations. We simply decline to give it even so much adventitious
importance as would result from denying it.
do not think that it would be accurate or just to describe, even the Grand
Orient of France as anti-Christian, though it is undoubtedly very strongly
anticlerical. There are no religious or anti-religious tests required by it.
We do not know what statistical tables as to the percentages of various types
of religious belief (or lack of belief) among the members would show, but we
do know that some among them are Protestant Christians and some are orthodox
Jews. An organization in which religiously minded men can find a place is not
in the strict sense anti-religious, even if a majority of its members are
individually non-believers, or even inclined to hold all religion to be a
primitive survival, or an emotional outlet. The point is that not even in the
most condemned and heretical Masonic Obedience is the organization hostile to
religion. We use the word here in its general and vague sense. Anyone who
identifies religion with some given religious organization will naturally
dissent from the statement. We do not wish to argue about words. Religion is
used commonly in this general sense and we know of no other word to take its
place. Perhaps we can give precision to what we are trying to say, by putting
it thus: even under the Grand Orient of France, which probably a large
majority of Anglo-Saxon Masons believe to be atheistic and definitely hostile
to all religion, there is nothing to prevent any theist, any member of any
organized religion, from joining it. The inference is that the Grand Orient,
as such, is not concerned with religion at all, again in the general sense of
the word. That it is anticlerical no one would dream of denying. Naturally,
anyone, as we have said, who defines religion so narrowly as to make it
practically synonymous with a particular religious organization will insist
that its anti-clericalism implies its hostility to religion. But then at the
same time every other church and sect also becomes anti-religious in precisely
the same sense.
Every organization, of any kind, secular or religious, tends to evolve a
hierarchy, and a hierarchy involves that spirit and tendency, that in this
particular case is generally known as "clericalism." Freemasonry itself is not
by any means immune from this general law, though its fundamental principles
are totally at variance with anything of the sort; so much so that Masonry can
never agree with any kind of absolutism. The matter may be summed up in this.
We all fall far short of the spirit of our creeds, but we are generally in
advance of the letter of our dogmas.
conclusion we would repeat our invitation to anyone who desires to present any
proof or argument that there are anywhere Masons or groups of Masons who
indulge in black magic, or even in studied disrespect and insult to the
religious beliefs of others. We will gladly give him all the space he needs to
develop his thesis.
JOHN AND THE MASONIC PRESS
spite of hot weather and the accompanying lassitude in all things fraternal
and in the work of all organizations, the announcement of the plans of the
Order of the Hospitalof St. John seems to have strucIc a responsive chord
among Craftsmen in all parts of the country.
Masonic press seems also to be interested. The following editorial reprinted
from the Masonic Chronicler of June 23, 1928, is typical of references to the
Order of St. John which are now appearing in the various magazines and
newspapers of the country. In addition many letters have been received from
other papers giving promise of articles and editorials to be published later:
PROPOSING A "MILITIA OF MERCY"
Antedating by some time the Ancient Order of Knights Templar, the Order of
Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem was formed in the early days of
the Christian era. Its principal function was to care for the sick. Through
the centuries it has existed until the present time, being now an active
organization among Roman Catholics in Germany and Italy and under Protestant
auspices in England and Prussia.
effort, it appears, is about to be made to establish the modern Order of the
Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in the United States. The particular
emergency which has brought about the contemplated attempt is the failure of
the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association of New Mexico to
obtain aid, endorsement and cooperation from the Masonic jurisdictions of this
country. It will be remembered that this national sanatoria project was
launched by the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, in sympathetic coordination with
the Grand Lodges of Arizona and Texas, to provide help and hospitalization for
the hundreds of tuberculous Masons, and their dependents, who in their efforts
to arrest the progress of the dread "white plague" had migrated to the
southwest and become unable to provide for themselves, thus throwing a great
burden of charitable work on the Masons of three sparsely peopled and not
wealthy states. It will also be recalled (with shame, we hope) that Masonic
organizations refused to extend the help asked for. Various alibis and
sophistries, as well as a few well- grounded objections, were heard from many
quarters and the project was doomed to failure as a national movement. The
Masons of New Mexico are resolved, it is understood, to persevere in the work
as well as they can in their necessarily limited way.
the plan of the promoters of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of
Jerusalem, operating from a general headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., to
organize local Preceptories in the cities and towns, which shall be united in
Priories in certain designated territories in the counties and large cities,
which in turn will be under the jurisdiction of Provinces or state-wide bodies
and the whole governed or directed by a Grand Commandery or national assembly.
An ambitious program has been devised, with departments of religious,
charitable, institutional, physical training, health education, first aid,
public health, war activity and calamity relief, and recognition of service
and bravery work. These organizations are to be conducted like most fraternal
secret societies, conferring degrees with a ritual of their own and getting
their support from fees and annual dues.
sponsored by Masons the Order will not be confined to members of our
fraternity. Any Protestant eighteen years of age or older may seek membership,
the qualifications for which are to be much the same as those required of
prospective Masons, with the exception that wives, daughters, mothers and
sisters of members may be admitted at half the rates asked of men.
writer in THE BUILDER Calls the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem
a "militia of mercy," and such it may prove should its promoters succeed in
launching it successfully on the sea of fraternalism.
letters have also been received from brethren who have been, and still are,
interested in the work of Masonic tubercular relief, in which they express
their approval of the new plan and effort to secure action. Many inquiries are
being received from brethren, who apparently have not carefully read the
announcement in the June BUILDER of the plans and methods of work. For the
benefit of these it may be worth repeating very briefly what is proposed.
it is desired to aid and assist tuberculous Freemasons, and tuberculous
members of Masons' families, who are resident in the Southwest, seeking
health. This relief work will be carried on in conjunction with the work of
the Masonic Tuberculosis Association, if possible. Relief will be given in
their homes and by hospitalization in existing tuberculosis hospitals until
the day when a Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatorium can be purchased or built.
Second, it is planned to continue the effort to induce every Grand Lodge to
take some action for relief of tuberculous Masons in their own home states. It
is hoped that in time each Grand Lodge will vote an appropriation, or an
assessment for that purpose, the money to be expended in home relief and in
hospitalization in existing institutions. In many states, where a State
Tuberculosis Hospital exists, arrangements can be made for hospital care, all
or part of the expense of same to be borne by the Fraternity.
wherever the need exists, and a Priory of the Order of St. John can be formed
for the purpose with sufficient numerical strength and financial resources to
do so, it is planned to establish a general hospital for the care of medical
and surgical cases. Where there is need for another hospital, frequently there
exists a need for some other type, or kind, of institution, which may be
established by a Priory of St. John.
Fourth, in many of the smaller cities and towns, there is no organized charity
society to provide for the needs of the local sick and poor. In many places
where a charity society exists, it does not command the full support of the
people. In both such cases, a Preceptory of the Order may be established and
render great service.
above is but a brief outline of what may be accomplished. There are many other
phases of work which can be taken up later when the Order is firmly
established, or may be taken up now in some places. Public health work and
first aid and calamity relief in times of disaster, are but a few of the lines
of activity which will appeal to some.
plan of organization is simple. The Grand Commandery is the sovereign body. A
Provincial, or Great Prior, will be designated in each state who will have
charge of all work in his Province. His position corresponds to that of the
S.G.I.G. of the Scottish Rite. Priories will be established in key cities
where later it is desired to establish a hospital or other institution.
Priories correspond to the Scottish Rite body in that they will have
jurisdiction over a certain number of counties, the population of which will
be expected to support the Priory Hospital when established. The Preceptory,
similar to the Masonic lodge, in the smaller places will aid in the
maintenance of the Priory hospital and carry on their own work of relief,
etc., in their own towns.
Degree of Brother of St. John only is conferred by the Preceptory, and the
revenues from this, from dues, from benefits, entertainments, etc., must go to
support the Preceltory work. The Priory will confer the first degree on those
resident in the Priory city and in addition will confer the four orders of
Knighthood. The fees will go to the support of the Priory work, to a hospital
building fund, etc.
for financing hospital construction, through financial campaigns which
contemplate seeking gifts for that purpose, the entire amount of the gift to
be returned to the donor's estate at his death, is under consideration and if
adopted wiIl be announced later.
seems to be feasible and has been carried out for financing hospital building,
colleges, and other and similar institutions.
immediate and urgent need is for the right man, in every state, to come
forward and volunteer for service as Provincial, or Great Prior, to take
entire charge of the organization and executive work incident to the
establishment and carrying forward the plans of the Order. A beginning has
been made in several states and it is hoped that every state will soon be
* * *
BOHEMIAN MASON VISITS AMERICAN LODGES
(Summarized from Die Drei Ringe by C. L.)
European Mason is inclined to be a one-sided academician, the American
Craftsman a one-sided materialistic practitioner. This is in essence the
verdict arrived at by Bro. Dr. Ludwig Brajjer, honorary member of the Lodge
Munificentia in Karlsbad, Bohemia, who had spent one-half of the year 1927 in
the United States. It was not his first visit to our shore. A whole-souled
Mason, he missed no opportunity of attending lodge activities, visiting
Masonic libraries and charitable institutions and gathering all available
information about the progress of the American Brotherhood. Some of his
impressions he published in a very interesting communication to Die Drei
Ringe, of Reichenberg, the official monthly organ of the Lessing Grand Lodge
in Czecho-Slovakia, in the number of December, 1927.
finds that the European Masons walk on the stilts of a sterile idealism. They
still consider it their primary mission to promote the ideals of democracy and
an abstract humanitarianism. They love to parade worn out slogans like, "to
educate humanity, to build up the temple of humanity, to promote the social
aims of humanity, to search after truth." These high sounding phrases largely
fill their program. Intoxicated by them, these European Masons rather commonly
neglect the practical opportunities waiting at the door: mutual aid and social
Bro. Brajjer feels refreshed in the atmosphere of practical charity and social
activity that envelops the Craft on our side of the Atlantic where barren
theories and abstract ideas are at a discount. He points with admiration to
the many flourishing charitable institutions maintained by the American
Fraternity for its ailing and indigent members and their families. He mentions
in particular the Masonic Orphans' Home in Utica, N. Y., which he calls the
greatest of its kind in the Masonic world; also the Old People's Home in
Tappan, N. Y. He was also deeply impressed by the fact that when the cyclone
devastated Florida, the Masons were the first to rush aid to the afflicted,
the Grand Lodge of New York alone raising several millions of dollars. And he
was edified by our diligence in visiting sick brethren and attending to their
needs. This emphasis of charitable and social work deserves full recognition,
he believes, though thereby Masonry has become in the eyes of many chiefly a
mutual aid society or a social club. The fondness of club life and recreative
activities he finds more pronounced in the German speaking lodges of America
than in the English speaking ones. The Germans, he notes with satisfaction,
are indefatigable in arranging "gemuetliche" evening entertainments, lectures,
dinners, balls, picnics, parades and all sorts of "fests." Which reminds us of
the delightful observation of an Irish lady of our acquaintance: "Give a
German a flag and he will march behind it all day long." But the parade
usually leads to a fine luncheon with congenial beverages and a general good
time. Fritz is no fool.
Nothing on earth is perfect. Bro. Brajjer is not blind to the fact that this
accentuation of practical humanitarianism and sociability in American Masonry
is accompanied by a certain neglect of Masonic dogma, history and lore. He
ascribes this partly to the somewhat materialistic, practical American mind,
partly also to the more variegated make-up of the American membership. In
Europe Masonry is almost entirely recruited from the educated bourgeois. In
America the Craft includes a large contingent from the small tradesmen and
the European Mason enjoys the advantage of a higher education, Bro. Brajjer
nevertheless finds that when it comes to team work in the initiation
ceremonies, the American Brother shows himself more familiar with the ritual.
He knows his part by heart, while Brother Hans or Brother Wenceslaus nervously
thumbs the pages of the ritual until at last he finds his text.
it up: European Masonry labors under an excess of dogmaticism and abstract
idealism to the neglect of practical humanitarianism. In America the opposite
prevails: a one-sided pragmatism fostered at the expense of Masonic study and
dogmaticism. A happy mixture of European dogmaticism and American pragmaticism
would be a desirable ideal.
we readily admit our deplorable lack of interest in the academic side of
Masonry, we fear that Bro. Brajjer bestows on us too generous a praise when he
extols the depth and width and height and other dimensions of our fraternal
charity. So at least we are tempted to opine when we think of the general
apathy towards our National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria.
books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of
the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which always include postage. These prices
are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though
occasion for this will very seldom arise. Occasionally it may happen, where
books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some
indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is
equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make inquiries
for second-hand works and books out of print.
WASHINGTON. By Joseph Dillaway, Sawyer. Published by the Macmillan Company,
New York. Cloth, Table of Contents, Index, Profusely Illustrated, two volumes.
Volume 1,640 pages; Volume 2, 619 pages. Price $20.75.
is probably the final word upon the "Father of His Country." Every possible
source of information has been searched, and the results presented fully and
frankly without any predisposition to make the national hero either more or
less than human, but shows him as what he was a great man. An extended review
of the work will be found at page 237.
OF THE MASONIC DEGREES. By the Rev. F. deP. Castells. Published by A. Lewis,
London. Cloth, table of contents, index, 450 pages. Price, $4.00.
anyone attempts to discuss the origin of Masonic degrees he had best define
his terms. The subject is one of great interest and one on which comparatively
little has been written. Naturally everyone is interested in knowing where and
how and why our ceremonies originated and the fact that so few writers have
definitely treated the subject from this point of view may seem to call for
explanation. Yet the reason is fairly apparent. To discuss origins it is
naturally necessary to discuss the thing, the origin of which is being sought.
In the case of Masonic ritual this is obviously all but impossible. One who
attempts such a discussion soon finds this out for himself. The need for
precise definition of terms is not so immediately apparent, and it seems to be
less apparent to authors than to the laity. The resulting confusion is
anything but desirable and misconceptions are far too general to be passed
without some notice. Perhaps what is meant can be more clearly demonstrated
through illustration than in any other way.
title of the work under discussion would naturally lead one to expect a
discussion of the historical developments of the Masonic degrees. As a matter
of fact the author pretends that this is what he is giving his readers. He
begins by condemning all who have preceded him in investigating this field and
the reader is led to expect a quite different treatment of the subject. The
impression is conveyed that much new material is about to be offered. But when
he has read half through the book the reader begins to awaken to the fact that
the author seems to have no clear conception of what he is driving at, and
finally it becomes clear that it is not historical origins that are being
discussed, but philosophical ones. The whole book is a strange mixture of
history and philosophy.
Everyone will grant that if we wish to trace the moral origin of Freemasonry
we must go back to the day when Johnny Caveman was Worshipful Master of Stone
Hatchet Lodge, No. 1. As a system of morals the Masonic Ritual is as old in
its teachings as man. We find the same lessons being taught in the most
primitive of peoples. This one fact has led to more confusion in the minds of
Masonic authors generally than any other. The teachings of our ritual are
older, perhaps hundreds or thousands of years older, than the oldest existing
religion. But there is no more reason for saying that Masonry is as old as its
teachings than there is for asserting that Masonry borrowed its teachings from
other sources. If we accept the ritual definition of Masonry we might accept
the former view. That definition is not complete, however. Masonry is more
than a system of morals. It is an organization of a definite character. In the
strictest sense Freemasonry, as we know it, does not begin until 1716. We
know, indeed, that the Modern Fraternity was an outgrowth of a previously
existing organization, but is not the same thing. Nor was the transition from
the old to the new the act of a moment. It was a development of many years
Speculative Craft bears, organically, some resemblance to a parasite. It
started inconspicuously enough, but in the course of centuries the parasite
consumed the host. It is only because we know and have definite evidence to
support this "parasitical" theory that we have any reason for going beyond
1716 in our search for origins. Certainly we can hardly hope to go beyond the
Operative Society which was the host of the parasitic Speculative Fraternity.
Returning to the discussion of degrees - if we grant what has just been said,
we must necessarily confine the discussion of t origin of degrees to the
usages of the modern organization an its predecessor, until such time as the
chain is carried farther into the past through the medium of historical
research. All of this leads to one conclusion - if it cannot be shown
historically that Freemasonry had a direct connection with such organizations
as the Rosicrucians or the Kabbalists, we have no grounds for asserting that
they were connected simply because we find the same symbols or philosophy in
each. We must first prove the historical connection before the symbolic
resemblance can be taken to indicate more than a borrowing of ideas - which is
the simplest way of accounting for it.
Without vouching for the truth of any statements in Bro. Castells' work we
submit the following as a sketch of his theory. The Royal Arch is the apex,
the summit, the ne plus ultra of Masonry. It is the oldest part of the system,
and therefore is original Masonry. The Craft degrees were invented for special
purposes, and it was not until the Mason attained the Royal Arch that he
became a Master. He cites the Order of Harodim and the Masters' Lodges as
evidence. There his history ends and his speculation begins. A long discussion
of the Kabbala and its Masonic import follows. It may be that if his first
postulate is granted the rest follows logically; but to at least one reader
the evidence is wholly unconvincing. It might carry more weight if the author
had had the consideration for his readers to cite his authorities, and
refrained from being quite so dogmatic. The following is an illustration:
Vaughan in his works declared himself to be a disciple of Agrippa, and he
claimed that the traditions of the Kabbalah are sacred truth, giving us as a
sample the Great Mystery of Jacob's Ladder, which we still find incorporated
into Craft Masonry. He said: "Here we find the two extremes - Jacob is the
one, at the foot of the Ladder, and God is the other, who stands above it. The
rounds or steps in the Ladder signify the middle nature, by which Jacob is
united to God." The Craft Mason of today endorses all this, and says that
"rounds or staves" represent the Three Cardinal Virtues of Faith, Hope, and
Charity, by which we also draw near to God.
first place, where in Thomas Vaughan's work is the above statement found?
Next, when did Jacob's Ladder come into Masonry? So far as we can recall there
is no authentic reference to the ladder as a Masonic symbol before the latter
part of the eighteenth century. There is indeed the passage in the second of
the famous Two Letters to a Friend, published in 1725, praising the Gormagon
Society and depreciating Freemasonry in the guise of a candid friend:
Alarming Reports and Stories of raising the Devil, of Witches, Ladders,
Halters, Drawn Swords and Dark Rooms, have spread Confusion and Terror.
there is the well known coarse and obscene engraving of Hogarth's, The Mystery
of Masonry Brought to Light by the Gormogons, which seems to be the graphic
counterpart merely of the "Letter."
contribution to the real history of Masonic Ritual and the origin of degrees
the work will be disappointing to students, and it is to be feared misleading
to others. But it will scarcely be fair to leave it at that. It would appear
to be in reality a continuation or sequel of the previous work, the Antiquity
of the Royal Arch. Read from the point of view of a symbolical interpretation
it has an interest that will make a strong appeal to a large number of Masons,
especially those who are little interested in history but attach great
importance to symbolism. And after all, without the symbolism the history
would be of little moment.
* * *
RECORDS OF THE LODGE ORIGINAL, No. 1. Vol. 1. Second Edition Revised. Edited
by Bro. W. Harry Rylands. Privately printed. Cloth, table of contents,
illustrated, index, 436 pages.
events in Masonic literature are altogether too rare owing largely to the
difficulties of publication. Occasionally, however, something happens which is
of more than usual importance. For many years prior to 1911, English Masonic
students had been bewailing the fact that the records of Lodge Original No. 1
were almost inaccessible. The lodge itself seems to have realized that it
would be of great assistance to those who were seeking to find the origins of
things Masonic to have those records available. In the Transactions of Quatuor
Coronati Lodge, the famous English Research body, prior to this date, one
finds references here and there regretting that these records should be so
closely kept. Suggestions for their publication were frequently made. In 1911
the first volume of these records was published. Bro. W. H. Rylands, the
editor, did not tell us bow long they had been in preparation, neither did be
mention whether Quatuor Coronati had been an influence in causing them to be
brought to light. We are left in total oblivion as to how long this step had
been contemplated by the Lodge of Antiquity. The characteristic caution of the
English is sufficient to assure us that it was not decided on the spur of the
moment. The painstaking care shown by the work itself attests the time spent
by Bro. Rylands in its composition.
first publication, however, was only a step in the right direction. For some
reason the first edition of Volume I was limited to one hundred copies, none
of which were for sale. A few volumes were presented to outstanding Masonic
libraries, the remainder found homes in the private libraries of the members
of the Lodge of Antiquity, which, since the Union, has been No. 2 on the Grand
Lodge rolls. Thus it happened that the records were made more accessible, but
still their availability was restricted to a very few. The first volume
brought the records up to the year 1779 and a part of the plan was to publish
the remainder of the minutes in subsequent volumes. Bro. Rylands did not live
to complete his self-imposed task. For fifteen years the matter stood as it
was left by the Past Master of No. 2, who besides editing Volume I of the
Records was Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge and Editor of Ars Quatuor
Coronatorum. During all of this time scholars bemoaned the scarcity of the
1926 under the able editorship of Captain C. W. Firebrace, Volume II made its
appearance. This volume was reviewed in detail in the July number of THE
BUILDER for 1927. Perhaps because of the urgent pleading of the world of
Masonic Research, this volume was published in an edition of 300 copies. It
was understood at the time of its publication that if the sale warranted, a
sufficient number of Volume I would be reprinted to complete the sets. This
explains the appearance of the second edition of the first volume.
whole Masonic world owes the Lodge of Antiquity and its two able editors a
debt of thanks. The now existent 300 sets of the Records of Lodge Original No.
1 will make it sufficiently accessible for Masonic students generally to
consult the work. This is of the utmost importance since the Lodge of
Antiquity has enjoyed an existence longer than that of any other lodge in
England, and was one of the four that organized the first Grand Lodge.
attempt anything like an adequate account of this important work is impossible
at this time. The late Bro. Wonnacott reviewed it very exhaustively in Volume
XXV of A.Q.C. As has been said, there are only 300 sets available. Probably
most of these have already been subscribed for, so that those interested will
have to act promptly if they hope to secure a copy. It is a work of
pre-eminent value for the student, and enough copies should be secured for our
Masonic libraries, at least, to make it as accessible in America as in England
to those who require to consult it.
mention of the salient points in the history of the Lodge of Antiquity may be
mentioned. This was the lodge with which Sir Christopher Wren was connected.
It met at the Goose and Gridiron in St. Paul's Churchyard. In this tavern, be
it remembered, was held the meeting on June 24, 1717, where the General
Assembly and Annual Feast were revived. This, together with the additional
fact that it was placed as No. 1 on the records, may point to its seniority
among the London Lodges. It will be recalled that the first meeting which had
to do with the reorganization of the Craft was held at the Apple Tree Tavern
in 1716. There must have been some reason for the gathering on St. John's Day
in the summer following being held at the Goose and Girdiron. Either it was
traditional for the Annual Feasts to be held in the vicinity of the cathedral
or it was done because this inn was the meeting place of London's oldest
Perhaps the most interesting part of the two volumes is the account of the
quarrel between the Grand Lodge and the Lodge of Antiquity. For here, for the
first time, the story of this break and how the Original No. 1 came to act as
the Grand Lodge of all England South of the Trent has been fully told from the
actual records. Just in the middle of this quarrel Volume I ends. Volume II
takes up the thread and carries the history down to the present day.
are some differences between the first and second editions of Volume 1. Since
these should be a matter of record, it may be well to, quote Bro. Firebrace's
Preface to Volume II where these changes are outlined:
Ryland's text has been left practically unaltered. The book has been divided
into chapters, some printer's errors corrected, and a few slips of the Editor
amended. Where, in the light of further knowledge, a larger correction or
addition was required, footnotes refer the reader to the "Notes and Corrigenda
to Vol. I," printed in Volume II, Appendix F.
first edition some of the earliest minutes were reproduced in facsimile, and
reference is made to these in the Introduction. These were eighteen in number,
and consisted of seven pages of notes and a list of members dated 1721 from
the old Book E, a page of the Minute Book dated 1736, and nine pages of
signatures of members between 1737 and 1767. The extracts from Book E are all
printed in the text, and facsimiles of the notes, purporting to be Minutes
between 1721 and 1736, are of no value to establish an early date of entry, as
it is admitted that they cannot have been written in Book E before the year
1768. The facsimile signatures are those of members who are quite unknown, and
their names are found in the text and in the list of members printed in Vol.
II, Appendix E. For these reasons and on account of the expense of
reproduction, these plates have been omitted. For the same reason it has not
been found possible to reproduce the colored prints of the Heading and
Colophon of the "Antiquity" Roll of Old Charges. The other illustrations
remain, but the Engraved Lodge Summons of 1760, the list of members of 1776,
and the Lodge Certificate of 1788 (incorrectly described as the original one
of 1777), are reduced in size. Two new plates are added, the actual Lodge
Certificate of 1777, which is particularly interesting as being the one given
to William Preston on Feb. 18, 1778. and the Lodge Summons attributed to the
year 1769, to which reference is made in Vol. II, pp. 319-321. The original of
both are in the Library of Grand Lodge, and I am indebted to the late Bro.
Wonnacott, the librarian, for permission to reproduce them. Many of the
corrections also, which are noted in Appendix F, and are now inserted in the
text, are taken from his review of the first edition, printed in Trans.
Quatuor Coronati Lodge, Vol. XXV, 1912, p. 165, et. seq.
estimate the value of these two volumes to posterity would be difficult, and
about all that can be said at this time is that the recent publication of the
second edition of Volume I of the Records of Lodge Original No. 1 brings to a
culmination one of the most important incidents in the history of Masonic
* * *
BUILDERS OF MAN; The Doctrine and History of Masonry or The Romance of the
Craft. By John George Gibson. Published by the Northumberland Press, England.
Cloth, table of contents, 248 pages. Price, $1.85.
some oversight, the cause of which cannot now be ascertained, this work has
never been reviewed in THE BUILDER, although it has been advertised on the
cover at least twice. We know this, without an examination of the files,
through Bro. Vibert who raised objection to an error in the title. It was the
most recent of these occasions that led the present writer to read the book,
which he had never done before. This led directly to the opinion that it would
have been much better named without the sub-titles, neither of which are
especially appropriate. It is not a history of Masonry in any strict sense of
the word, nor yet is it "romance." However, this is perhaps a minor matter as
no one will ever remember or speak of it except by the short title, The
Builders of Man.
Rev. Dr. Gibson was (for we understand he is no longer living) a clergyman of
the Church of England. This church is known for its practical tolerance and
comprehensiveness. It contains Catholics and Protestants, Modernists and
Fundamentalists, Mystics and Formalists. Not entirely without internal
friction it is true, but yet apparently without much danger of schism or
measures of repression, and this in spite of recent happenings. This helps us
in part to understand Dr. Gibson's position. One gathers from the pages of his
book that he was eclectic in his opinions, choosing them here and there as
they seemed to fit in with his vision of the truth. He was broad enough to see
in all forms of religion, even the most primitive, a seeking after good, and
some apprehension of the source of all good. In a sense he took upon himself
the mantle of Dr. George Oliver; at least his vision of the essentials of
Freemasonry seems much the same. Dr. Oliver interpreted the spiritual aspects
of the Craft to his own generation in terms they could understand. Terms more
alien to us almost than if he had lived a thousand years ago instead of in the
last century. Dr. Gibson naturally uses a Ianguage more familiar to us.
Perhaps it is the result of a natural bias, but it would seem almost that his
ideas are on a higher spiritual level, and, will make a more permanent appeal.
underlying idea of the book would seem to be that Freemasonry is a greater
thing than its formal organization at any given time. Part II is entitled
"History," Part I, being no more than a sort of introduction. The reader
should be on his guard here. Dr. Gibson is not to be taken as an authority on
Masonic History. He seems to have accepted much of the theories of such
writers as the late Bros. Yarker and Churchward. Writers who, like himself,
were more interested in the symbolism and allegorical value of their theories
than their literal accuracy as a record of humdrum fact. But with this caution
in mind no harm will be done.
Gibson holds that the living principle of modern Freemasonry has been that
which has led man from primitive savagery to the highest state of
civilization. All who have built in and for mankind, whether materially or
morally, intellectually or spiritually, have been Masons - not in the narrow
and formal sense, but in their hearts - and they have sought for the true
word, even though the substitute we know was never whispered in their ears.
This is a high and inspiring conception. The author is possibly inclined to
think that this spirit always was embodied in some kind of organization, and
also that there may have been some physical continuity of such organization as
well, yet this is not forced upon the reader; while on the other side it is
constantly insisted that it is spiritual continuity and not the material that
makes the relationship of Masonry to religion a very important point, and many
readers may find the author somewhat paradoxical. But that may be the only way
to express a complex truth. One might say that as be sees it the essence of
religion is one with that of Masonry. That Masonry is the practical aspect of
belief touched by emotion, as religion has been defined. Paradox is hard to
avoid in dealing with words of such general and hardly defined meanings. On
the whole it is a pregnant and stimulating idea.
Gibson's style is worthy of his theme. It is easy and flowing at all times,
and where occasion demands rises to the level of true poetry in prose form.
For the Mason who is not satisfied with the essential, though elementary
moralities of the ritual, there are few books that will be more helpful in
setting him upon the way to higher illumination. Not a will o' wisp withdrawn
in mist, but a light that will lead him to the service of his brother men and
the ennoblement of his own character.
* * *
INFORMATION FOR ROYAL ARCH MASONS AS TO MARK MASTER, MOST EXCELLENT MASTER AND
ROYAL ARCH DEGREES. By Henry T. Smith, Grand Scribe E. Canada (Province of
Ontario). Privately printed. Paper, 12 pages.
this little pamphlet Bro. Smith has put together some useful elementary
information regarding the Chapter degrees that will answer many of the
questions that will rise in the candidate's mind after he has passed through
them. Indeed it might be very useful for preliminary information to the Master
Mason who is contemplating presenting his application to the Chapter.
Naturally it refers especially to the Canadian ritual, which in many respects
is quite different from that used in the United States. There are several
illustrations and diagrams which assist the reader in understanding the text;
an especial one showing the arrangement of the furniture of a chapter, proper
placing of the banners, the working tools and so on.
author gives a brief sketch of the place of the Royal Arch in the Masonic
system, in which he follows the older authorities, whose conclusions are not
so well established as they once were considered to be. It is doubtless
correct to say that "as late as 1758 the Moderns had no Royal Arch Degree." It
would be equally correct to say that they had none as late as 1813, in the
sense that the Senior Grand Lodge never recognized the Royal Arch. But this is
not to be taken as meaning that some Modern Masons did not possess and work
the Royal Arch, either in 1813, 1758 or earlier. The difference between
Ancients and Moderns being that the degree or order was recognized officially
as part of the Masonic system by the first and was officially ignored or
repudiated by the second.
is a limited sense, too, in which we may admit that the original ritual of the
third degree contained the germ of the Royal Arch, in that, apparently, so far
as we have any evidence, the lost word was at first said to have been found.
Somewhat later, there seems to have been a modification of this. The word was
not lost, but changed, and incidentally it was told what the original word
was. This was obviously an unsatisfactory arrangement, both dramatically and
symbolically; and naturally it was modified and improved by the addition of
the new motif of the secret vault, which was worked out along two divergent
lines in Britain and France. But the subject is still very obscure, and may
always remain so.
Smith, too, seems to follow older sources in saying, by implication, that the
rise of the Ancients is to be dated from 1738. Really it was twenty years
later. However, it is perhaps hardly fair to criticize what is after all only
an introduction. The only reason for doing so is that these erroneous ideas
are very widely held, and are constantly being repeated, and it is only by as
constantly taking them up that there is any hope of spreading knowledge of the
actual facts so far as they are known. Outside of these few paragraphs on the
first and second pages there is nothing to find fault with. The progression of
the degrees is touched upon with brief indications of the lesson of each in
the ordered system, culminating in the Royal Arch. The silver shekel, the Ark
of the Covenant and the Banners of the Twelve Tribes are among the other
topics dealt with.
ARK OF THE COVENANT
the information of Bro. Briggs, and of all interested Masons, I deem it wise
in addition to my communication last month, to give my authority for the
suggestion in the May number of THE BUILDER that the bones of the Patriarch
Joseph formed the contents of the Ark of the Covenant.
Professor Stanley A. Cook, one of the greatest of English Biblical scholars,
author of The Religion of Ancient Palestine, Critical Notes on Old Testament
History, The Laws of Moses and Hamurabi, etc., says:
"Whether the ark contained some symbol of Yahweh has been a subject of much
discussion . . . As the palladium of the Joseph tribes it has even been
suggested that the bones of Joseph were treasured in the ark."
take advantage of the opportunity also, to point out a typographical error
which makes a difference of a century in the date of King Hezekiah. 801 B. C.
should have been 701 B. C.
E. Bennett, Washington.
* * *
MARSHALL AND HIS CRITICS
review of Mr. Schroeder's recent book, Al Smith, the Pope and the President,
in your July issue, it is stated that I "believe in the civic supremacy of the
people." Whether this statement is correct depends on the meaning attached to
the words "believe in." The civic primacy of the people is not properly the
object of belief, being more of a fact than a theory or principle. It is
possible that your reviewer has acquired the notion that I am a defender of
unlimited State Sovereignty and a worshipper at the altar of "majorities."
Late reviews in Roman Catholic Journals both here and abroad, of my recent
book, The Roman Catholic Church in the Modern State, seek to give this
impression and the Rev. Bertrand S. Conway, of the Paulist Fathers, in The
Catholic World for June states that I am "a defender of the theory of
unlimited State Sovereignty," according to Hegel and Austin, and that I "make
State Sovereignty the final determinant of morals."
fact is that I execrate the Hegelian State and the Austinian conception of
State Sovereignty, and have very flatly so expressed myself in the book Father
Conway attempts to review. It is wholly devoted to the maintenance of the
moral supremacy of the individual conscience against the moral supremacy of
the State as well as against the moral supremacy of the Pope as defined in the
Vatican Conciliar decrees of 1870.
seems to be a conviction in Roman Catholic thought that to escape the Hegelian
State one must take refuge in a "Hegelian" Church, and that if one rejects the
majority as the final determinant of morals he must accept Papal Supremacy and
Infallibilty - as such determinant.
may not "believe in" the "Civic Primacy of the People" and yet may utilize it
in moral determination if it is the only alternative to Papal Supremacy de
fide and jure divino.
latter a large part of the world interposes vigorous objection, and asserts
its rights of self realization towards God. Such assertion does not mean the
negation of a teaching and sacramental church but it does mean the negation of
a juridical church claiming for its Supreme Pontiff, by the ordinance of
Christ and superior to all human consent and will, a Supremacy and
Infallibility over the moral life of man.
society must in the end agree with Burke that it cannot exist unless a
controlling power upon will and appetite is placed somewhere. It is manifestly
absurd and grossly oppressive (until "America is made Catholic") to claim that
the controlling power should be placed outside the State in the Supreme
Pontiff of a Church of which only a part of the civic community are members.
The only alternative, unsatisfactory like all things hum - an though it may
be, is to place it where the modern state places it - in the civic primacy of
the people in which we all share, and balance it there with the moral
supremacy de jure of the individual conscience - a conscience that is not mere
choice or whim but the serious reaction of man to the divine impulse at the
basis of human society. There is a universal church which offers no
conflicting juridical order to that of the State - the formless church of
Father Tyrrell's thought, which, as he said, underlies the hierarchical
organization and in the life of which "God's spirit exercises a silent but
sovereign criticism and his effectual judgment is made known not in the
precise language of definition and decree but in the slow manifestation of
practical results." In that Church there is a controlling power upon will and
appetite. Of that Church all Christians will concede that the Roman Catholic
Church is a part but they cannot concede that it is more than part, or that,
with the State, it alone constitutes the two powers of papal theory and claim,
or that all Christians are bound by their duty of hierarchical subordination
and true obedience to submit to the Pope in matters which belong to faith and
morals under the penalty of loss of salvation.
civic community which recognizes the de jure moral supremacy of the free
conscience is the antithesis of the Hegelian State and a book whose argument,
however unconvincing, asserts the moral supremacy by divine right of the
individual conscience against the moral supremacy of the State cannot justly
be assailed as defending unlimited State Sovereignty merely because it
protests against an unlimited Papal Sovereignty by Divine Right.
Charles C. Marshall, New York.
* * *
been reading the June number of THE BUILDER and have noticed the item entitled
"Masonic Satanism." I am not at all surprised at anything that appeared in the
Revue Internationale des Societes Secretes, but it is interesting to learn
that an American Roman Catholic should pay any attention to what it may have
to say about Masonry.
at hand the copy of L'Acacia (June, 1927) from which it professes to quote. At
page 534 is a paper by M. Charles Bernadin dealing with the history of a
Masonic lodge at Metz in the period preceding the French Revolution. In this
he points out the relatively large number of priests who were members or
visitors of the lodge, indulging in some ironic raillery at the elasticity of
their consciences in thus joining a forbidden society. He remarks that he has
published elsewhere an account of a lodge at Angers of which, in 1883, "almost
all the members were ecclesiastics." But nowhere in this paper does he suggest
that any special search should be made for such cases. One might judge indeed
that in his opinion they were so common that it would not be worth while. What
he does advise, and is indeed the chief purpose of his paper, is that in every
old lodge someone should be appointed to make an inventory of all the old
documents in the archives, making copies of any that are unique or of special
interest, and that duplicates of these lists and copies should be sent in to
the Grand Orient for the purpose of making them available to students of
post scriptunt he adds the following, which is evidently the basis of the
garbled account in the Revue Internationale des Societes Secretes:
Apropos of Freemason clergymen, I had a friend of childhood days who became a
priest. After having lost sight of him for a long time I ran on to him again
some thirty years ago, more of a priest than ever, and still more than that,
an authentic Freemason with a diploma. He said mass regularly, held missions,
had mistresses, gave me consecrated hosts, and lunched with me on Good Friday.
He was not a fool, quite the contrary. He died three years ago, to the last
"Priest, Monk, Reverend Father Dom X -, resting in the peace of the Lord and
fortified with the Sacraments of the Church," as it says in the obituary
notice. Some time or other I will tell you all about this, for it is as
interesting as the moving pictures.
his life vowed to God or to the Devil? Whom has he deceived? The church? That
is quite certain. Us also? If so, why? It would be very interesting for us to
investigate it further, were it only to prove yet once more that the heart of
a priest is unfathomable.
second sentence hardly bears out the supposition that he became a priest after
he was a Mason, nor does the casual reference to the reception of consecrated
hosts indicate any such fantastic mental aberration as is supposed by the
journalistic hack in the Revue.
* * *
FREEMASONRY: A REPLY
should like to make a few remarks concerning the letter signed by Albert
Lantoine in the June number of THE BUILDER, under the heading "French
name "Albert Lantoine" is so well known, being that of the French historian,
that it would be interesting to know whether the letter in question is
supposed to come from "the" Albert Lantoine or not.
happen to know that Lantoine's knowledge of English is extremely limited, and
that it is impossible for him to have written such a letter in English, and it
is extremely doubtful whether he could, as stated in the letter, have enjoyed
reading the April number of THE BUILDER. (That of course is his loss!)
whoever wrote the letter, there are certain parts of it which are very
misleading, in connection with the Grande Loge Nationale. It must be
remembered that the question of recognition is a very delicate one, and that
every Grand Lodge has a special committee which deals very carefully with
every demand for recognition, and I consider that Lantoine is insulting the
intelligence of a number of very distinguished Grand Lodge officers, when he
suggests that such Grand Lodges as England, Scotland, Ireland, Missouri,
Western Australia, Canada, Massachusetts, New York, etc., have been taken in
by the claims of the Grande Loge Nationale. Every Grand Lodge deals with
claims for recognition in its own particular manner, and a casual letter in
THE BUILDER, signed with a distinguished name, is not the right method to
pursue to obtain such recognition. Indeed the only result of such a letter is
to mislead a number of earnest students of Masonry.
there is one point which does need attention, and that is the part played by
Englishmen in the formation of the Grande Loge Nationale, in 1913. Now in
1913, what was the exact position? It was this: A number of Frenchmen had
discovered that regular Freemasonry as they understood it was non-existent in
France. A number of Englishmen also, found that regular Freemasonry as
practiced by the Grand Lodge of England, was non-existent in this country.
Those of you who realize how much you would miss your lodge if you lived in a
town or country where regular Freemasonry did not exist, will readily
understand how this small body of Frenchmen established cordial cooperation
with the English Masons living in France. The result was that the Grande Loge
Nationale was formed by the Lodges, Centre des Amis, No. 1; La Loge Anglaise,
No. 2 (At Bordeaux); and almost immediately, by the St. George's Lodge, No. 3.
This small Grand Lodge immediately applied for recognition from the Grand
Lodge of England, and obtained it. To suggest for a moment that the Grand
Lodge of England formed our Grand Lodge as one of its branches is grotesque,
and can only be accounted for by Lantoine's extremely limited knowledge of
little Grand Lodge has grown and is growing. At present we have:
Lodges working Emulation in English.
Lodges working Emulation in French.
Lodge working the Rite Ecossais Rectifie in French.
Study Lodge, where papers are read in English or French.
other French Lodge is to be consecrated in October, and others are in the
admit that the number of French Lodges is small. But remember that we are
pioneers and must go slowly; and remember also that to the average Frenchman
Freemasonry means a society which is political and anti-clerical. (The
anti-clerical tone of Lantoine's letter is of course obvious.) We are out to
spread regular Freemasonry in France, but I repeat that our chief difficulty
is that Masonry as practiced by the Grand Orient and Grand Lodge of France has
a very dubious reputation and we are extremely careful in our choice of French
candidates. But the English in France are fully alive to their
responsibilities and to their limitations. They have no wish to control the
Grand Lodge at all, and they are quite content go to their own lodge and
receive the moral refreshment such lodges offer. As an example of what the
English are doing, let me quote one instance. Last week I was present at the
installation meeting of the Lodge, Centre des Amis, No. 1. Three years ago
among the eleven officers of the lodge there were two Frenchmen and nine
Englishmen. At present there are ten Frenchmen and one Englishman (and he has
lived on the continent for over twenty years). The Englishmen held office
until there were Frenchmen able to fill these offices, and when such Frenchmen
were available, the Englishmen stood aside but continued to support the lodge
as ordinary members, and this is the role of the Englishmen in our Grand
Lodge, to stand aside when Frenchmen are available.
said already that this is not the time or the place to discuss our claims for
recognition, and I am not authorized to do so. But I should like to state:
Grande Loge Nationale insists on having the V. S. L. open at its meetings, and
insists on the obligations being taken therein.
Grande Loge Nationale forbids all discussion of a religious or political
Grand Lodge of France says that lodges may, if they wish, use the V. S. L.,
but it remains in close cooperation with the Grand Orient.
Grand Orient forbids the use of the V. S. L. and of the words "G. A. of the
is a well known fact among students of French Masonry that the Grand Orient
(and therefore the Grand Lodge of France owing to their close association)
meddle in political matters. Indeed most of the Grand Orient Masons I know try
to justify this, and do not attempt to deny it.
conclude by saying that the Englishmen who have been initiated out here are
very proud of belonging to a French Grand Lodge. We claim to be doing
something towards spreading those principles which (are maintained by most of
the Grand Lodges in the world, and we continue to make progress under the
guidance of our distinguished and well beloved French Grand Master, Charles
must apologize for having omitted to note, in publishing the letter referred
to above, that it was a translation. Ed.]
* * *
OLDEST MASONIC BUILDING
July number of THE BUILDER, at page 206, 1 see that it is stated that the
first building erected for Masonic purposes was that owned by the
Richmond-Randolph Lodge and occupied continuously by the lodge since it was
built in 1785. I would like to call your attention to the New Age for May of
this year, in which is an article by Bro. S. M. Gary (page 301) on the Royal
White Hart Lodge, No. 2, at Halifax, N. C. In this it is asserted that
Benjamin Franklin built the first house for purely Masonic use in America.
This was located on Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, between Seventh and Eighth
Streets, and was put up a little prior to 1769. It was torn down in 1801. The
second such building to be put up exclusively for Masonic purposes was that of
the Royal White Hart Lodge at Halifax, N. C., as mentioned above, in 1769, as
the old minutes show, and the building has been used continuously since, and
is still in use by the lodge.
S. Wood, North Carolina.
had seen the article in the New Age referred to by Bro. Wood, but the one
published in THE BUILDER last month was prepared before the other had come to
hand. As the matter now stands it would seem that the Royal White Hart Lodge
has the better claim to the oldest temple continuously used, though we do not
intend to assume the role of arbiter in such question. Bro. C. W. Cramer, in
an interesting article in The Mountaineer Mason, Vol. I, Nos. 8-9, tentatively
arrives at the same conclusion.]