The Builder Magazine
January 1928 - Volume XIV - Number
The Shadow of the Vatican BY DR. LEO CADIUS
series of articles is written by a member of the Roman Church.
still a member of that Church end has no desire to leave it.
articles do not touch on any matter of faith or doctrine, and while severely
critical of the administration are in no sense an attack upon the church
purpose in writing them is the hope that the abuses he describes and the
conditions which foster them may be removed.
purpose in publishing them is to give our readers an intimate inside picture
of the actual working of the ecclesiastical machinery which may help them to
judge to what extent the doubts and apprehensions that exist in the minds of
many American Freemasons are well founded.
the author's opinion that the reforms he proposes would not only be to the
advantage of Roman Catholics but would largely remove the suspicions of so
many thoughtful non-Romanist American citizens.
exists among the American non-Catholics a considerable amount of antagonism to
the Roman Catholic Church. In the opinion of the average American Catholic
this is due to inherited blind prejudice, to misinformation concerning
Catholic doctrines and practices, to sectarian jealousy and similar causes.
This is no doubt very frequently the case, but not always.
articles propose to show that non-Catholic apprehension of the growing power
and prestige of the Roman Church in this country is not altogether
unjustified. Certain features of her present constitution render her a
formidable menace to the freedom of the American Republics They are also an
insult to the national self-respect of the American Catholics themselves.
These objectionable features could be easily eliminated without doing violence
to the original basic constitution of the Church which we Roman Catholics
consider divine, that is, instituted by Jesus Christ, and for that reason
optimist enough to believe that if the Vatican could be induced to make
concessions to the reasonable demands of modern democracy, national
self-respect and national self- determination, a good deal of the opposition
to the Roman Church would vanish. We might look forward then to a continuous
period of religious peace and mutual good-will, and that is what every
right-minded person desires. As matters stand at the present, the American
Catholics themselves live in fear of religious persecutions which will curtail
their freedom. Such a thing ought to be avoided. Why not discuss the problem
openly and in all good nature and
at a mutually satisfactory understanding that will insure for us a permanent
ITALIAN HEGEMONY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
According to our Catholic textbooks of theology, the Roman Catholic Church is
a monarchy, an absolute monarchy; we may add the most absolutistic of all
monarchies. All power and authority is concentrated in one person, the Roman
Pontiff, more commonly called the Pope. He is surrounded by advisory boards of
his own selection, the College of Cardinals, the various Congregations and
Commissions. He is not bound by their findings. There is no Synod or
Parliament to limit his powers. He may convoke an Ecumenic Council of all the
Bishops of the Earth. They may unanimously pass a decision or define a
doctrine. He can summo jure, by a supreme right, reject their unanimous
decision and force them to subscribe to his own decision which may be
diametrically opposed to theirs. It is true he is only infallible when he
speaks ex cathedra. But he is to be obeyed whether he speaks ex cathedra or
not. Very few of the papal decrees fall under the ex cathedral class. Most of
them belong to the non- infallible category. But they are to be obeyed just
the same. Any Catholic who presumes to oppose them will be excommunicated, if
the Vatican finds it worth while.
Pope's position is therefore assuredly a most favored one. To fill this most
privileged of all offices has been for more than four centuries the cherished
monopoly of a small body of Italian ecclesiastics, the Italian Cardinals. The
Roman Catholic Church is a world organization, an international body if ever
there was one but its supreme government is reserved to one race, the Italian.
method by which the Italians have kept themselves in power has the merit of
classical simplicity. Each Italian Pope, in creating new Cardinals, saw to it
that his compatriots retained the majority in the Sacred College. This Italian
majority would upon the demise of a Pope elect with unfailing regularity an
Italian for his successor. This happy result was then credited to the Holy
Ghost, who is believed to have a voice in the selection of Popes and Bishops,
in fact, to guide and direct that selection. From the facade of St. Peter in
Rome, then, the joyful news would be announced to an expectant world: habemus
papam! "We have again a Pope!" Thanksgiving services would be held in every
parish throughout the Catholic world.
last non-Italian Pope was Hadrian VI, a native of Utrecht in Holland. He was a
saintly, exemplary Pontiff, a shining contrast to his immediate predecessors
and his immediate successors. He was unpopular with the Romans. This was in
seventy years during which, in the fourteenth century, the Popes, all
Frenchmen, resided in Avignon, through the connivance of the Kings of France,
have been styled the Babylonian captivity of the papacy.
four centuries of uninterrupted Italian domination, beginning in 1523, may be
called the Egyptian bondage of the Church. It has been a period of tribulation
during which she has become fettered and gradually stripped of her worldly
possessions in almost every country. On the other hand, she has been spared
the curse of a schism and by reason of her poverty has advanced spiritually so
that, despite the colossal defection due to rationalism and religious
indifferentism, her present prospects are splendid. It would be useless to
discuss the merits or demerits of the Italian monopoly of the papacy. God
alone knows on what side of the ledger the balance is to be looked for. One
thing is certain, that such monopoly is unjust and unfair to the non- Italian
curiosity it may be mentioned that the youthful but very energetic and
flourishing church in the United States has so far been privileged to cast a
single vote at the election of a Pope. That was the vote of Cardinal Gibbons,
Archbishop of Baltimore, at the conclave in 1903, in which Pius X was chosen
to succeed Leo XIII. It matters very little whether American Cardinals
participate in a conclave or not. They, like all other non-Italian Cardinals,
must cast their vote for an Italian candidate or waste it. Their vote,
therefore, has only a complimentary and complementary value. That is all the
power, or shadow of a power, the Holy Ghost, whom the Italian Oligarchy
regards as its flunky.
significant of the incredible mental enslavement of modern Catholics - there
prevailed quite a different spirit in the Middle Ages - that nowhere in the
world does the Catholic press and Catholic public opinion dare to protest
against the Italian mononoly.
SELECTION OF AMERICAN BISHOPS
the American Catholics have practically no voice in the election of a Pope,
the latter has everything, positively everything, to say in the appointment of
recently, in the case of a vacant bishopric, two ecclesiastical bodies were
empowered to express a preference for a successor. They were the so-called
irremovable pastors of the diocese and the bishops of the particular
ecclesiastical province. Each body would select three names to be recommended
instance, when Archbishop Feehan of Chicago died in July, 1902, the twelve
irremovable rectors of the Archdiocese chose, by secret ballot, three
candidates to fill the vacancy. The bishops of the ecclesiastical province of
Chicago, that is, the bishops of Alton, Belleville and Peoria, all in the
state of Illinois, forwarded another list of three candidates to Rome. Bishop
Quigley of Buffalo happened to be one of these three candidates. He was
selected by the Vatican as Archbishop of Chicago. The Vatican was not required
to consider these two lists, but quite frequently it would consult them.
custom of sending names to Rome has been abolished. The Vatican has thereby
taken from the American common clergy the last semblance of representation. As
regards the American laity, it never had a voice in the affairs of the Church.
In the place of according the American Catholics more freedom and respecting
their wishes in the appointment of bishops, as would be in keeping with the
spirit of the time, the Italian Oligarchy is steadfastly centralizing its
power and tightening its stranglehold on the American Church.
whose recommendation, then, does Rome choose the American bishops?
Influential members of the American hierarchy are, no doubt, frequently
consulted. For instance, if a bishop of the ecclesiastical province of
Baltimore dies, the Archbishop of Baltimore may succeed in placing his choice
in the vacant episcopal chair. He may, and again he may not.
certain American archbishop, now dead - let us call him Mulholland - was
credited with having filled twenty-one vacancies in the American hierarchy
with favorites of his. Most of them were poor episcopal timber, some of them
utterly unfit. Hence the clergy humorously surnamed Mulholland "the episcopal
abortion clinic," his nominees being thus delicately designated as abortive in
regard to their high office.
is how Archbishop Mulholland filled a certain vacancy in his ecclesiastical
province. The clergy and the laity of the orphaned diocese forwarded a monster
petition to the Vatican that the Vicar General, a very able and popular
priest, be appointed bishop. The "interference" displeased Mulholland who,
moreover, entertained a dislike for the said Vicar General. He promptly used
his strong influence with the Vatican to have a certain Father Fullrath
appointed. The following trifling incident will shed light on Bishop
Fullrath's character. Getting worsted once in an argument with a priest, he
was so completely overcome by his temper that he spat in the priest's face.
Now, even the fiercest anti-Catholic will not harbor so low an opinion of the
Catholic episcopate as to consider such a man a typical bishop. This poor
prelate is clearly insane, not far from a raving maniac. Still, he has been
permitted for considerably over a decade to torment his diocese, clergy and
laity alike. He may afflict them for another decade or more.
Religious orders and associations, notably the Jesuits and the Sulpicians, no
doubt have had, and are still having, their fingers in the American hierarchic
pie. These two organizations specialize in educational work. Naturally, they
like to see pupils of theirs - who are not members of their organization
however - promoted to bishoprics. The Sulpicians are an association of French,
Canadian and American priests with headquarters at Issy, near Paris, France.
At the beginning of the present century, over twenty American bishops were
believed to be proteges of theirs.
European governments, European prelates, European noblemen, European
noblewomen, sisters and nieces of Italian cardinals, European scholars and
others are also believed to have placed favorites of theirs, usually
naturalized American citizens, in American episcopal sees.
following story is current among the American clergy. It was at the beginning
of the world war that a certain important American bishopric adjoining the
Canadian frontier became vacant. The Vatican was about to appoint for the post
a certain native American prelate of German extraction. The British government
got wind of the matter and intimated to the Vatican that it would regard the
appointment of a German American to so influential a position right at the
Canadian border as a distinctly unfriendly act. The Vatican yielded and
appointed a man of non-German descent. The Kaiser's government duly learned of
the affair and in turn protested to the Vatican. To placate the Wilhelmstresse,
said German- American prelate was shortly afterwards promoted to a very
important Archbishopric somewhat remote from the Canadian boundary.
story may be fiction, but it could easily have happened. American Catholics
see nothing wrong or unusual in the interference of European governments in
the affairs of the American Church.
it up: American and European prelates and monks, European monarchs, European
statesmen, European scholars, European noblemen, European petticoats - all are
credited with having placed favorites of theirs in American episcopal sees.
is one class of people that is utterly innocent of ever having nominated
American bishops. That class is composed of the common clergy and laity of the
American Catholic Church - American Catholics, in short.
why should their wishes be consulted? These innocent lambs will welcome with
parades, banners and brass bands any and every shepherd whom the Vatican has
been pleased to place over them at the recommendation of some known or unknown
Tom, Dick and Harry, or Rosina, Peppina and Carmela, or - if persistent and
widespread whispers are true at the recommendation of Simon the Magician.
employee of the Chicago Tribune tells me that in the office of that great
paper the following motto is hung up in a conspicuous place: "See to it that
the sucker does not get an even break !"
same motto could be displayed to great advantage in the Vatican, the seat of
the world's greatest autocracy. An autocracy has always and everywhere bred
suckers. Who could imagine a Czar, a Kaiser, a Sultan of the olden days,
without an entourage of courtiers and sycophants? The Vatican, being the most
absolutistic and most solidly founded of all autocracies, is naturally a
paradise for suckers.
Popes, of course, know it. Of the good and humble Pope Pius X (who died in
1914) the following incident was recorded by the daily press: Upon his
accession to the papal throne, he had his three spinster sisters brought to
Rome where he rented for them an apartment in the vicinity of the Vatican. A
young Italian ecclesiastic immediately secured an apartment in the same
building. The Pope heard of it and suspecting the Monsignore to be prompted by
ambitious designs, he strictly forbade his sisters to associate with him or
even to talk to him.
leading element in the American Church is composed of the Irish Americans.
They are, as everybody knows, gifted with a particularly keen sense of humor.
The utterly ridiculous system by which American Bishops are selected could not
fail to intimate to Pat some of its ludicrous possibilities. And thus the
following naughty little story originated:
the last fifteen years or so the Vatican has in the matter of the appointment
of American Bishops been guided by the advice of Cardinal Simoni. This part of
the story is by all accounts not fiction, however, but fact. The name Simoni,
of course, is fictitious as are the other names in this little tale which, let
us hope for the rest, is also pure fiction.
Cardinal Simoni, residing in Rome, has a spinster sister who presides over his
household. Signorina Peppina is her name. she has a little pet dog, a French
poodle, named Zambo. Next to her Most Eminent Brother, there is nothing so
dear to Signorina Peppina as her little Zambo with his bright and sweet
features. "angel face" she calls him in the exuberance of her affection.
Somehow or other, American ecclesiastics who were anxious to be promoted to a
nice bishopric, or, if they were already bishops, to an archbishopric, found
it expedient to court the good-will of Signorina Peppina. In deference to the
old admonition, "Love me, love my dog," they do not fail to extend their
ingratiating attentions to cute little Zambo. They stroke caressingly his fur,
tenderly pat him on his carefully groomed head, playfully kiss his paw. It is
even claimed - a gross fabrication, no doubt - that the attitude of this
little poodle occasionally decides the appointrrtent. If he, for Heaven knows
what reason, shows an aversion to a candidate, or his procurator, and
distrustfully growls at him, his chances are doomed. While the glad wag of the
tail and a friendly welcoming bark may secure the appointment to the bishopric
great and prosperous American Archdiocese of Cosmopolis becomes vacant. Bishop
Murphy of X is Cosmopolis becomes vacant. Bishop Murphy of X is one aspirant
to the dignity, Bishop Stark of Y another, and there are fifty or a hundred
more who are believed to have a prospect.
Murphy sends Monsignore Cashman to Rome to promote his candidacy, Bishop Stark
sends Monsignore Longreen. Cashman arrives first on the ground and pleads his
cause with so remarkable an effusion of golden eloquence that within a few
days he secures the appointment for his master. Everything is arranged and the
cable boy is getting ready to flash the important news to the United States
that His Holiness, the Pope, has appointed Bishop Murphy of X to be Archbishop
of Cosmopolis. Monsignore Cashman pays a farewell visit to Signorina Peppina.
He carries with him a little box with exquisite jewelry, stones of the purest
ray serene, an envelope containing a substantial block of thousand lire notes,
and a suitable present for Zambo. All went well so far, but now something
truly tragic happens. As he is making a deep farewell bow to the Signorina, he
has the misfortune, big, heavy man that he is, of stepping on the snow-white,
busy, silky tail of little Zambo who had been frisking and frolicking behind
the Monsignore's feet and was at that moment scratching off the effects of a
flea bite. That fateful flea bite! The poor poodle emits a succession of
high-pitched howls that pierce like so many stabs the motherly heart of
Signorina Peppina. The Monsignore offers his most profuse apologies. But the
Signorina was disconsolate. And so, shortly, was the Monsignore, for the
appointment of Bishop Murphy to the archepiscopal see of Cosmopolis was
same day on which this indescribable tragedy was enacted, Monsignore Longreen
arrives in Rome. He calls at the American College and here learns to his most
profound consternation that Bishop Murphy had been promoted to Cosmopolis. But
his sorrow was destined to be short-lived, for the same evening he is advised
at the headquarters of a certain religious order that the appointment had been
revoked. Electrified by this great news, he sets out the next morning with
hope-swelled bosom to the residence of Cardinal Simoni, and, needless to say,
does not neglect to pay his respects to Signorina Peppina and her Zambo. For
the latter he has a diamond studded collar, the masterpiece of a Paris
jeweler. He acquits himself of his task with so fine and deft a touch that he
readily obtains the appointment of Bishop Stark.
Stark, now Archbishop of Cosmopolis, takes possession of his metropolitan see.
He enters the great city of Cosmopolis like a conquering hero. The
valedictorian committees from his former diocese - in which he was,
incidentally, extremely unpopular - and the reception committees from
Cosmopolis fill several special trains. The press agent has done his stuff.
The people of Cosmopolis see in their new archbishop a second St. Ambrose, in
fact, a very close imitation of Jesus Christ Himself. Hundreds of thousands
line the streets and shout their welcomes to him. The Mayor of Cosmopolis and
the Governor of the State drop devoutly on their knees before him and
reverentially kiss his ring. Fifty thousand Catholic men march in parade with
flying banners, followed by a still larger number of pupils the parish
schools, colleges and academies with flags and scarfs in the national colors.
In a great public banquet the new Archbishop is feted by the most prominent
citizens of Cosmopolis, representing all colors, races and creeds. All these
honors would have been Bishop Murphy's if his procurator, Monsignore Cashman,
had not stepped on Zambo's tail.
to American Catholic ecclesiastics who nurse an ambition to climb higher in
the hierarchy: Do not step on Zambo's tail.
Catholic Church in the United States is divided into 14 archdioceses and 91
dioceses. Most of then corporations sole, that is corporations in which all
power is vested in one individual, the Archbishop, Bishop, respectively.
of them are financially strong. I inquired once of an official of one of the
largest banks in Chicago about the credit of the Archdiocese of Chicago. ''It
is rated all the way from fifty millions to two hundred millions of dollars,"
was the reply. At another bank I was told that one hundred million dollars was
a conservative estimate. Credit, of course, does not mean cash assets. The
Archdiocese of Chicago has debts. They are covered many times over by the real
estate value of the church property.
large credit does not include that of the more than four dozen of religious
orders, monks and nuns, that are conducting educational and charitable
institutions in the Archdiocese. Their holdings represent an aggregate
investment that runs easily into eight figures.
legal title of the Archdiocese of Chicago is: Catholic Bishop of Chicago. It
was created by a special act of the legislature of the State of Illinois in
1845. It is a privileged corporation. The Securities Commission of the State
of Illinois has the power to investigate corporations operating in that state.
But it has no power to investigate the corporation sole know as Catholic
Bishop of Chicago. That right is reserved to the Pope of Rome.
Archdiocese of Chicago has never issued a financial statement. No American
diocese ever has so far as I know. If the clergy and the people want to obtain
a glance of their financial standing, they will have to petition the Pope.
Such petition has never been sent to Rome and never will be. Nobody dares to
take the initiative. This applies presumably to every American diocese.
the Pope picks out arbitrarily an Archbishop of Chicago, he appoints him
thereby sole custodian of a gigantic credit conservatively estimated at one
hundred million dollars. With this credit the new Archbishop can do as he
pleases. He can use it for personal uses. It is all left to his conscience and
his discretion. He is accountable only to the Pope, who will not investigate.
And if he could be induced to order an investigation, he would no doubt let
Zambo select the investigating commission.
its establishment in 1845, the See of Chicago has had seven Bishops,
Archbishops since 1880. Of these seven, two have gone insane, the Bishops
O'Regan and Duggan. In such a corporation sole there is always a vast
financial credit at stake. It is all risked on the mental health and business
judgment of one individual, the Bishop or Archbishop.
mention here the Archdiocese of Chicago as an example to illustrate a certain
phase in the state of the Catholic Church in the United States, it is because
I happen to be better acquainted with it than with any other American diocese.
I have nothing to say about the present Archbishop of Chicago or his
predecessors in office except that two of them became insane.
have seen, the Pope selects the American Bishops arbitrarily at the
recommendation of Zambo or of God knows whom. The office of an Archbishop of
New York, Chicago, Boston or Philadelphia may look like a big "job" to an
ordinary mortal. It is quite a negligible position in the eyes of the Italian
dignitaries at the Vatican. There are over a thousand dioceses in the world
and many of them larger than New York with its Catholic population of a
million and a half, not including the million Catholics of Brooklyn. The Pope
cannot be expected to know the individual he chooses to fill a vacant American
bishopric. He has to rely upon the recommendation of his advisers, a coterie
of Italian ecclesiastics said to be centered around Zambo. If Zambo wags his
tail at a candidate, the latter will qualify for office. He will be entrusted
at the same time with the very considerable credit of a powerful American
corporation sole to do with as he pleases. If Zambo growls at the candidate,
he will not qualify.
Zambo, of course, I mean the system. But, for all I know, the little French
poodle may be very much of a reality. In an immense concern like the Catholic
Church all possible things have happened and are likely to happen again.
ancient Rome, previous to the time of the Caesars, a few powerful politicians
or military leaders would distribute the provinces among themselves and their
henchmen. After a successful election, consuls like Sulla, Cinna, Caesar,
Pompey, Lepidus would divide the spoils: "You take Spain, you Gaul, you Asia
Minor, you Africa," and so on.
modern Rome the Italian ecclesiastics distribute American ecclesiastical
provinces and corporations sole ad libitum - all for the glory of God.
little Fortnightly Review, published by Mr. Arthur Preuss at St. Louis,
Missouri, plays sometimes the role of an enfant terrible in American Catholic
journalism. It prints news that the other Catholic papers prefer to ignore.
Mr. Preuss - for the rest strictly orthodox and rather conservative - may
justly style himself the chronicler of the neglected truth.
number of Feb. 1, 1924, the Review had the following item:
Petition With a Lesson
the middle of December there was filed at the Massachusetts State House a bill
that would take away from Cardinal O'Connell the custodianship of the church
property of the Archdiocese of Boston and give the same to a board of
trustees, to consist of the Archbishop of Boston; his vicar general; a member
of the Knights of Columbus, to be elected by the grand knights of the diocese
a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters to be elected by the chief rangers
of that organization; and a woman, to be a member of the female auxiliary of
the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and to be elected by the presidents of the
two clergymen, according to the bill, would hold their places permanently, but
the other trustees would be elected for terms of two years each. The salary of
the archbishop, as chairman of the board of trustees, would be $15,000 a year,
that of the other trustees, $5,000 each. Another provision of the bill is that
the present corporation sole shall immediately give an accounting to the new
board of trustees of all church funds and all property! (See Boston Herald,
Dec. 19, 1923.)
bill, which was filed by Senator H. S. Clark upon petition of George F. A.
McDougall, of Dorchester, a Catholic layman is a plain symptom of
dissatisfaction, not to say distrust on the part of the Catholic laity of the
Archdiocese of Boston, inspired largely, we believe, by the famous Keith
According to the Review, young Paul Keith, son of the founder of the Keith
theatres, bequeathed to Cardinal O'Connell of Boston real estate and personal
property appraised by the Massachusetts Probate Court at $1,892,056.00. The
actual value is more.
would seem that some of the Catholics of Boston were curious to find out
whether the Cardinal had appropriated the money for himself or turned it over
to the Archdiocese. They will have to wait a long time before their curiosity
will be gratified.
bill introduced by Senator Clark was withdrawn by him shortly afterwards. The
day is far off on which American Catholics will be granted an insight into
their diocesan finances. They dare not displease the hierarchy. And each and
every member of their hierarchy is chosen arbitrarily by a foreign autocrat,
the Holy Father in Rome, in whose election not a single American citizen had a
little Zambo is the Pope's right hand "man" in the administration of the
Catholic Church in the United States.
OF AMERICAN PRIESTS
been stated, the Archdiocese of Chicago is a corporation sole created by a
special act of the legislature of the State of Illinois. The legal status of a
priest is that of a servant of the corporation sole. The Archbishop can remove
him from his pastorate as an employer dismisses a servant or other employee.
If the pastor refuses to vacate the rectory, the Archbishop invokes the law.
The civil court will issue an order, a writ of restitution, requiring the
sheriff to eject the pastor. This is typical of the other American dioceses.
there is the Canon Law of the Church that guarantees certain rights to the
"common" clergy. One of these provisions specifies that the bishop cannot
remove a pastor without a canonical cause and a canonical procedure. Such
causes are heresy, unworthy conduct, inefficiency, physical disability, and
code of Canon Law is a most admirable collection of laws that every jurist
will admire. In Europe it is more or less faithfully observed, because in most
countries there exists an agreement between State and Church. The bishops have
to watch their step.
United States it is different. The Church and State are separated. The bishops
are unhampered as long as they keep in the good graces of Zambo, who is the
Pope's unofficial plenipotentiary deputy, and consequently the Supreme Head of
the Church in the United States. As far as this country is concerned, then,
the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church is a farce. There are cases when it
is observed. But these cases are the exceptions and exceptions merely prove
American pastor feels that he has been unjustly deprived by his bishop and
resolves to defend his canonical rights, he will find that all the chances are
against him. In the first place, he has to look for an ecclesiastical court of
appeal. If he belongs to a diocese, not an archdiocese, then the archbishop of
the particular ecclesiastical province is the immediate court of appeal. For
instance, if a pastor of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, which belongs to the
ecclesiastical Province of Cincinnati, wants to appeal, then the Archbishop of
Cincinnati, as the metropolitan, is the judge to appeal to. But if the priest
belongs to an archdiocese, for instance, Chicago, he has no immediate court to
appeal to. It is true, according to Canon Law an archbishop is required, upon
assuming office, to appoint a judge of appeal for his archdiocese. Some
neighboring bishop would be the proper man for that office. He has to be
approved by the Vatican and would then be the permanent judge of appeal for
that archdiocese. But no American archbishop has taken the trouble of
designating a judge of appeal. Nor has the Vatican seen fit to remind them of
their duty. Hence a pastor of an archdiocese, having no immediate judge of
appeal, will have to have recourse to the Papal Delegate in Washington. But
the Delegate is a very busy man. Few priests have ever received any
satisfaction from him.
litigation between bishop and priest, the bishop defrays the expenses from the
diocesan treasury. in a prosperous diocese he can appropriate hundreds of
thousands of dollars for that purpose, should it be necessary, and nobody is
wiser of it. For, as has been -said before, an American bishop issues no
financial statement. He is accountable to the Pope only, who never
investigates. The bishop can, at the expense of the diocese, hire the best
legal talent both in Civil and Canon Law. He can engage the services of a
detective agency to annoy the "rebellious" pastor.
latter, on the other hand, has to search his own pockets for the necessary
funds for the litigation. If he is impecunious, as most priests are, there
will be no litigation. Few are familiar with Canon Law. The bishops do not
encourage the study of it. If a litigant pastor makes one false step,
overlooks the merest technicality, the case is killed. Canonists are scarce:
to consult one it is not unusual for a priest to travel five hundred miles:
the bishop can afford to summon one; many a bishop has a canonist for his
Litigation often lasts several years. During that time the bishop resides in
comfort in his sumptuous mansion and lives on the fat of the land. The ousted
priest is, pardon the expression, like a stray dog. No pastor in his diocese
dares to take him in for fear of incurring the ire of the bishop. If the
latter is known to be a favorite of Zambo, no bishop in the whole country
dares to grant him an asylum.
Civil Law should favor him, he nevertheless cannot avail himself of it. For
any Catholic, be he priest or layman, who presumes to cite a bishop in a civil
court, is ipso facto excommunicated. A bishop may arraign a priest or layman
before the civil court, but not vice versa.
plead the case before the court of public opinion, if he can succeed in
arousing interest. Public opinion, however, usually takes it for granted that
a bishop is good and just and will not discipline a priest without due cause.
The general public has no idea what peculiar characters have slipped into the
hierarchy by kissing, in person or by proxy, the paw of Zambo. It would be a
miracle if it were otherwise - what can you expect under the Zambo system?
Still, I am glad to state that, in my honest opinion, most of the American
bishops mean to be just, and many of them are even kind-hearted. But some of
our highest dignitaries are thoroughly detested by their clergy. The nearer to
the Church the further from God is a good old Catholic saying that is not
without a grain of truth. About these matters the general public is left in
the dark. The daily press will not hesitate to publish facts, or even mere
charges, that militate against a priest, but it will not dare to print
anything unfavorable to a bishop.
SERVITUDE OF THE SECULAR CLERGY
Catholic clergy is divided into two classes, the diocesan priests and the
monks. The latter constitute about one-fourth of the total. These religious
orders are little democracies embedded in the great world autocracy of the
Catholic Church. They elect their own superiors. But the diocesan priests, and
that means the great bulk of the American Catholic Clergy, have no voice in
the selection of their superiors, the bishops. They have to accept whomsoever
Zambo places over them.
it up, the bulk of the American Catholic Clergy lives in a state of servitude
or semi-slavery. When the padrone (bishop) is kind, just and prudent, this
paternalistic form of government works admirably. Nothing better could be
desired. But when he is an arrogant tyrant, he can mop the floor with his
subjects. They will submit to it. There is no redress against him as long as
he knows how to keep on the right side of Zambo. That is not difficult for a
strong corporation sole with vast financial resources.
American priests are at the mercy of their bishops who owe their powerful
position to the Holy Father in Rome, the greatest of the world's autocrats. He
appointed them arbitrarily at the recommendation of Zambo or of God knows
whom. These American priests, generally well-treated, though often
ill-treated, serfs - but always serfs - of the appointees of a foreign
autocrat, are the principals of parish schools in which more than two million
children of America are being educated. These serfs, subjects of the most
absolutistic of foreign autocrats, are instilling into the minds of over two
million American children the principles of democracy, equity and national
The Masonic Activities of Robert Burns
BRO. ALBERT FROST, England
W.BRO. FROST, who is P. P. A. D. C. of . West Yorkshire, England, and has
attained the thirtieth degree of the Scottish Rite (which means a great deal
more in England than it does in this country), is an authority on the life and
work of Robert Burns. Part of the substance of the present article appeared
some time ago in the London "Masonic Record," but it has been re-written and a
good deal of new information incorporated. As the birthday of the famous poet
comes in January, a day much regarded by all Scots and those of Scottish
descent the world over, the occasion is fitting. There were a number of
valuable articles on the subject in the early numbers of THE BUILDER but there
has been nothing in recent years, so the present article will, we believe,
prove very interesting to our readers.
THE fact that the immortal Robert Burns was a "Son of Light" is well known
throughout the Fraternity the world over, but that he was a very zealous and
enthusiastic Mason is not so generally known. From the day of his initiation
at the age of 22 to the time of his death, his interest in the Craft never
subsided. Wherever he chanced to be located we find him identified with a
lodge, as we shall see later. The "true spirit" was evinced in him from the
commencement of his Masonic career, and with a fervor and magnetism which were
characteristic of his sparkling nature.
was initiated in St. David's Lodge, Tarbolton, on July 4, 1781 - a village a
few miles distant from Alloway Kirk, Ayrshire, where he first saw the light of
day. Whether the ceremony was conducted at the Bachelor's Club, or at the
Cross Keys Inn, otherwise known as Manson's Tavern, is an open question. The
brother who had the distinction of conferring the initiatory rites was
Alexander Wood, a tailor of Tarbolton. The minute recording the event is brief
to a degree - "Robert Burns in Lochly was entered an apprentice Joph Norman,
M". He was passed and raised in the same lodge in October of the same year,
the record being likewise brief:
Robert Burns in Lochly was passed and raised, Henry Cowan being Master, James
Humphrey Senr Warden, and Alex Smith Junr, Robert Wodrow, Secy, and Jas Manson
Treasurer and John Tannock Taylor and others of the brethren being present.
Probably "Taylor" is an error of transcription and should be "Tyler."
James Humphrey was a "character" in the lodge, possessing a remarkable genius
for censoring Ministers of Religion, and a propensity for expressing adverse
views on Theological subjects. Often did he find himself at grips with Burns,
whose opinion is expressed in the "Epitaph on a noisy polemic":
Below thie stanes lie Jamie's banes
Death, it's my opinion,
Thou ne'er took such a bleth'rin' bitch
Into thy dark dominion.
Formerly there were two lodges in Tarbolton - St. David's and St. James',
which became united under the name of St. David's in June, 1781, a month
before Burns' initiation. The following year Burns and others seceded and
reconstructed under a Charter from "Mother Kilwinning" St. James' Lodge, the
present number of which is 135 - "Tarbolton Kilwinning, St. James'." The
meetings were held at the Cross Keys, of which Bro. Manson was the Landlord
and also the Treasurer of the lodge. If anything remains of this historic
building it is but the ruins, which should at any rate have been preserved in
memory of its glorious past, and particularly so in view of Burns' wish
expressed so touchingly, and with an almost broken heart in his "Farewell" to
And you, Farewell! whose merits claim,
Justly, that highest badge to wear !
Heav'n bless your honor'd, noble Name
Masonry and Scotia dear!
last request, permit me here
When yearly ye assemble a'
One round, I ask it wi' a tear,
him the Bard that's far awa.'
Masonic pilgrims from all quarters of the Globe turn their faces towards the
commodious premises which the lodge now possesses, for in it there remains
quite a collection of valuable relics of the Poet. The old Minute Book
containing records in his own handwriting under his own signature. The Chair
which he occupied as Master: the Gavel he used, and the Apron and Jewel which
he wore. The Candlesticks are there, and an old Tyler's sword of the period.
The Bible he presented to the lodge is preserved; but probably the possession
most treasured is the letter he wrote from Edinburgh in August, 1787,
regretting that it was beyond his power to be present, concluding with the
Within this dear mansion may wayward contention
And withered envy ne'er enter.
May secrecy round be the mystical bound
And Brotherly Love be the center.
The reviving of St. James' Lodge called Burns into very early prominence, for
within three years of joining the Craft he became the Deputy Master, often
conducting the proceedings of the lodge:
Oft honour'd with supreme command,
Presiding o'er the Sons of Light.
Whether he attained to the position of R.W. Master is doubtful; it is more
than likely that some local dignitary was the nominal head of the lodge,
whilst the duties were principally conducted by Burns or some other officer of
the lodge. Being so, it is quite permissible for the Minutes to be silent on
The congenial companionship of Burns and his unswerving devotion to the Order,
became landmarks to the brethren. If any proof of his devotion is wanted take
a single instance of his anxiety to assure the attendance at the Annual
Meeting and Procession which were held on June 24 - Lodge Tarbolton,
Kilwinning St. James'. Fearing his friend Dr. Mackenzie would consider his
duty to his patients weighed heavier with him than his duty to the lodge,
Burns addressed to him a note in verse as a reminder of the occasion, which
had its effect:
Friday first's the day appointed,
our Right Worshipful Anointed
hold our grand procession
Our Master and the Brotherhood
Would a' be glad to see you.
Evidence of his good humor and congeniality is no where better expressed than
in his address to the De'il." With affected seriousness he narrates the
alarming consequences of collusion with that dreaded personage. The stanza
When Masons' mystic word an' grip
storms an' tempests raise you up
Some cock or eat, your rage maun stop
strange to tell
The youngest brother ye wid whip
Aff straught to hell.
His bursts of eloquence on many occasions were popular diversion at the
festival board; his facetious improvisations a source of wonder and merriment
to all the brethren - more particularly to those who came under his magic
spell. When in serious mood, the poetry which made him famous sprang from his
lip and heart like "fragrance on the breeze." There is scarcely any side of
human nature upon which he did not exercise his innate genius. His poems are a
library in themselves - and must be the envy of all psychologists, whose
science will never be understood without some supernatural manifestation.
possessed an insight which is given to few, but even he realized how men can
so easily be misinterpreted. With the very best of intentions one may become
the greatest offender.
wad some Pow'r the giftie gie' us
see oursel's as ithers see us.
wad frae many a blunder free us.
The social friendly honest man
Whate'er he be
he fulfils, great nature's plan,
And none but he.
a farmer in Mossgiel, Burns was a failure, and he decided to test his fortune
in Jamaica where he had obtained a post as Book-keeper on an Estate. He took
farewell of St. James' Lodge, Tarbolton, in a lyric so touching and so noble
that by the time he got to the last stanza the tears were rolling down the
cheeks of the brethren. It was sung to the tune, so popular at the time, "Good
Night and joy be wi' you a'," and with such a pathos and passion as to produce
a profound lasting impression:
Adieu! a heart-warm fond adieu!
Dear brothers of the mystie tie!
favoured, ye enlightened few,
Companions of my social joy!
Tho' I to foreign lands must hie
Pursuing Fortune's slidd'ry ba',
With melting heart and brimful eye,
I'll mind you still tho' far away
There is a difference of opinion as to who was responsible for Burns being
diverted from his intention to migrate to Jamaica. It is however more than
likely that it was his staunch friend and counsellor Prof. Dugald Stewart who
turned his thoughts in the direction of the Scotch Metropolis. With such an
influential introduction to the brethren of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge,
Edinburgh, he was assured of a hearty fraternal welcome. His straightened
circumstances were the means of his close friend Bro. Garvin Hamilton
rendering him financial assistance in the publication of his poems.
_______ the poor man's friend in need,
The gentleman in word and deed.
The first edition was published in 1786 (Kilmarnock) followed by a second
edition twelve months later. So successful was this issue, that Bro. William
Creech, the publisher, was enabled to hand over to the Poet a sum of money
which exceeded his vainest expectations. Smellie was the printer; Alex Nasmyth
the painter and Bengo the engraver - all brother Masons. By this success the
current of his life is turned and he -
Takes a share wi' those that bear
The Mallet and the Apron.
From this time Burns became a deservedly popular member of the lodge. Hailed
and toasted - on one occasion by the Grand Master as "Caledonia's Bard" - he
grew in general favor. Without assuming affecting airs he bore his honors with
dignity. His conduct and manners were commendable; his intellectual energies
were stimulated and he merited the acknowledgments which were showered upon
him. He always rose to speak with an ovation; his forcible and fluent language
- almost invariably unpremeditated - met with general approbation.
was no small distinction for Robert Burns to be appointed Poet-Laureate of the
lodge. Although his innate genius would have found recognition in any sphere,
it is very appropriate that many illustrious Freemasons of nearly a century
and a half ago should discover this "Ploughman Poet," by whom they were not
only immortalized, but who in no small measure ennobled and enriched the Order
by his many references to it. There is a vein running through many of his
later productions which nothing but Freemasonry could have inspired, and his
association with the Brotherhood very materially assisted in the deveIopment
of his talents.
his contemporaries we know but little. Lexicons and Encyclopedias make little
mention of them. In his satires Burns himself gives us the best insight into
the character of many of them. Even Lyon's Freemasonry tn Scotland (1) makes
but scant reference to them. Of their eminence, however, there is no doubt.
Amongst those who were proud to call Burns their companion and friend are Lord
Elcho, Earl of Glencairn, Earl of Eglinton, Earl of Buchan, Sir William
Forbes, Alex Cunningham, and many others whose names bespeak some importance
in Scottish Freemasonry, and of whom short biographical sketches are to be
found in "A Winter With Burns" published in the year 1846.
The photograph reproduced from the rare mezzotint is very interesting insomuch
as it gives what may be taken to be a true representation of those present on
March 1, 1787 - the great occasion of Burns' Inauguration, and typically
depicts varieties of dignity and of expression and affability, presenting him
in the light in which he was regarded by his brethren during the time he
formed the center of attraction. The original painting is hung in the
Freemasons' Hall, Edinburgh, and is well worth a visit to see.
Alex Ferguson, Provincial Grand Master of the Southern District at this time,
and also Master of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, is seen in the photograph
presenting the poetic wreath to Burns, who has been conducted to the Chair to
The figure and face of Burns are pronounced to be a most faithful likeness;
his gracefulness and modesty are characteristically delineated. The D.C. is
William Nicol, Professor of Languages, who gave Burns tuition in Latin,
immediately behind whom stands Louis Gauvin, a French Tutor of high repute. He
taught Burns the French language, and afterwards expressed his conviction that
no ordinary pupil could acquire in three years what Burns assimilated in three
months. Other Masonic luminaries depicted are, Grand Master Sir William Forbes
on the Master's right; James Dalrymple; Sir John Whiteford; Lord Monboddo. In
the forefront is Lord Napier who laid the foundation stone of the College of
Edinburgh, in which ceremony the Craft took no small part. James Boswell, the
biographer of Dr. Johnson, is seen with clasped hands in the center of the
picture, whilst standing to the left is Nasmyth, the Landscape Painter. A
prominent figure is Francis Grose the Antiquary, who is in conversation with
James Gregory, the talented Physisian. Scarcely any of these brethren escape
notice in Burns' Iyrics.
would appear that the gathering was more of an informal character typifying a
free and easy style. Whether in the ordinary lodge meetings the brethren were
so placed is questionable, but if the manner in which the Minutes of the
Canongate Kilwinning Lodge were kept is any criterion, then we should imagine
that informality was the order of the day, for although it is on record that
the W.M. proposed Burns as a joining member on Feb. 1, 1787, yet there is no
subsequent minute of his appointment to the Poet-Laureateship a month later.
The first mention of his having held the office is recorded in the Minutes
dated Feb. 9, 1815. The omission may be accounted for by the Canongate
Kilwinning Lodge not being singular in its slackness.
The Minutes for many years prior to the period of Burns' attendance are brief
to a degree, and this may account for the infrequency of the allusions to him
who was not then the distinguished Poet he afterwards became. It will not,
however, be denied that the Inauguration did actually take place, as the lodge
has unimpeachable testimony from the brethren who were present on the
occasion, and saw him wear the jewel of his office - evidence of the event.
may be noted that prior to the publication of Freemasonry in Scotland (1) an
interesting correspondence took place on the subject of the Laureateship
between the Author and the Secretary of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, which
goes to show that Lyon preferred to go into print with a distinct bias against
Burns' appointment, rather than sift the evidence provided, with the result
that not only was Burns depreciated but the lodge also. Why this should have
been so is not easily comprehensible. If Lyon had any doubts on the generally
accepted connection of Burns with the lodge they could have been removed at
the time - instead of which we have a "History" which so far as Burns is
concerned is not impartial; making isolated statements that do not convey the
actual facts to the reader. The Secretary of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge,
Bro. H. E. Peacock, wrote to Lyon at the time of the preparation of his
is my duty to inform you that there is ample evidence of the Poet's
association with this Lodge, to which Lyon replied: I recognise the
satisfactory nature of the evidence, but your delay prevents my being able to
submit a slip of my remarks - the printers being close up to that particular
part of my MSS.
this be the sole reason why Lyon so summarily dismisses Burns from his History
then it is still more difficult of comprehension.
W.J. Hughan states:
March 1st, 1787, Bro. Burns was invested as Poet-Laureate of the Canongate
Kilwinning Lodge, No. 2, Edinburgh - the painting to commemorate the event
having been executed by Bro. Watson, a member of the same lodge.
great a Freemason as Hughan must have had sufficient grounds for his
further evidence be needed it is provided by the Minutes of Canongate
Kilwinning Lodge under date Jan. 16, 1835, which state:
was proposed by R.W. Bro. M'Neill, Master, and seconded by W. Bro. Turnbull,
Substitute Master, that it was expedient that the honorary office of
Poet-Laureate of the Lodge, which has been in abeyance since the death of the
immortal Brother Robert Burns should be revived, and that James Hogg the
Ettrick Shepherd, on whom his poetic mantle has fallen should be respectfully
requested to accept the appointment as the highest tribute to his genius and
priorate worth which the brethren had it in their Power to bestow.
Neither can the records contained in that priceless little volume, A Winter
With Burns, be discredited. The narrative rings so true, and it was so widely
circulated at the time that it was rather late in the day - 27 years
afterwards - for Lyon to doubt its accuracy, and at a time when very few of
his contemporaries were alive.
Alexander Ferguson, the hero of the Song of the Whistle (the original
manuscript of which was sold by auction in Edinburgh in March, 1887, for two
hundred and thirty guineas), was the brother who conferred upon Burns the
title of Poet-Laureate. The lodge Minutes dated March 1, 1787, bear witness to
this - signed by himself and also Charles More, Deputy Master, and John
Mellor, Advocate. J. W., William Dunbar - writer to the signet, was Senior
Warden, and afterwards in some "tattered rhymes," Burns himself mentions the
Laureateship in the following lines:
Latin Willie's reek noo raise,
He'd seen that nicht Rab crowned with Bays.
have dwelt on this aspect of the Poet's Masonic career at some length because
my researches leave me with the confirmed opinion that the incident is well
authenticated; but notwithstanding this it is a pity that there should have
been left room for doubt.
Incidentally, I may mention that there is in the Library of the Quatuor
Coronati Lodge A Collection of Masonic Songs and Entertaining Anecdotes by
Garvin Wilson, Poet-Laureate of the Lodge St. David. This was published in
1788 and dedicated to the Rt. Hon. and Most Wor. Lord Elcho - Grand Master of
Therefore it may be that whilst the office was not officially recognized by
the Grand Lodge of Scotland it was a title not uncommonly given as an honorary
one to those who made the entertainment for the brethren.
Let us follow the Poet a little further afield. Proud as Tarbolton is that
Burns was their offspring, yet that pride is shared by others also, Edinburgh
probably taking first place; afterwards Kilmarnock, where he became a joining
member of Lodge St. John Kilwinning. Whilst it has been stated by one writer
that Burns' poem commencing "Ye Sons of Old Killie" had reference to Canongate
Kilwinning Lodge, it will not now be denied that it bears direct reference to
Kilmarnock, of which "Killie" is an abbreviation. Bro. William Parker is W.M.
and proposes Burns as an Honorary Member, which is unanimously received. Burns
is called upon to make acknowledgment, and that spontaneous effusion is the
sons of old Killie assembled by Willie,
follow the noble vocation
Your thrifty old mother has scarce such another
sit in that honoured station.
powers who preside o'er the wind and the tide,
Who marked each element's border
Who formed this frame with beneficent aim
Whose Sovereign statute is order!
Another brother of the Kilmarnock Lodge is Tam Samson, a worthy old sportsman,
who confides to Burns his fears that his end is near at hand, and expressed a
wish to die and be buried on the Moors. On the inspiration of the moment Burns
composed the Elegy:
The Brethren o' the mystic Level
May hing their head in wofu' bevel
While by their nose the tears will revel
Like ony bead
Death's gien the Lodge an unco devel,
Tam Samson's dead !
Tam was not altogether pleased at being numbered amongst the dead, whereupon
Burns promptly added the "Per Contra":
Go, Fame, an' canter like a filly
Thro' a' the streets an' neuks o' Killie,
Tell ev'ry social, honest billie
cease his grievin'
For yet, unskaith'd by Death's gleg gullie,
Tam Samson's livin!
For nine years afterwards the worthy Samson lived to revel in the limelight
into which the Poet had thrown him.
Burns visited the "Ancient" Lodge at Stirling, but the page in the attendance
register bearing his signature is missing, which is taken as conclusive
evidence of his visit. He was also a joining member of Loudoun Kilwinning
Lodge Newmilns - on the nomination of Garvin Hamilton. In October, 1786, he
attended a Lodge at Sorn and later at Irvine. In 1787 along with his friend
Robert Ainslie he was admitted a Royal Arch Mason at St. Abb's Lodge, Eyemouth
- at an "encampment" specially convened to do honor to the Poet.
other lodges he was not an infrequent visitor. The last five years of his life
were spent at Dumfries, where he was made a Freeman of the Burgh. In 1788 he
became a member of St. Andrew's Lodge held in that town which he attended with
regularity, taking part in the ceremonies and subsequently attained to the
Chair of Senior Warden. His last recorded attendance is within three months of
his death. The Minutes state that Burns was "the most distinguished brother,
the Lodge has been privileged to receive within its portals."
Although no mention is made of his decease, it is more than likely that the
brethren paid a last appropriate tribute to the memory of so distinguished a
brother. The Apron he wore and the Gavel he used, together with the Minute
Book, by some unknown means got into the auction room. Fortunately they were
rescued by the timely intervention of Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, Grand Master
1873-1881, who presented them to Grand Lodge, where they now form part of an
interesting collection of Masonic relics.
Far from uninteresting is the incident of his affection for "Highland Mary" -
Mary Campbell. To her memory he subscribed some of his most beautiful
inspirations. The Bible he presented to her was inscribed with his Masonic
Mark. After finding its way to Canada it was sent back home to be deposited in
the Monument erected to the Memory of Burns on the Banks of the Doon, where it
is now to be seen. The Burns' Family Bible is in possession of the Trustees of
the Monument, by whom it was purchased 26 years ago (1900) for 1500 pounds,
and is now one of the most valued treasures of Alloway Cottage.
Undoubtedly Burns' connection with Freemasonry in Edinburgh was the most
interesting era of his life. Certain it was that during this period his genius
was appreciated and rewarded. Of his consummate love for, and interest in, the
Order, there remains no shadow of doubt, and had it not been for his
revolutionary political views, openly expressed whilst being in the Excise,
and his disgust of conventional prejudice, he would have risen to a great
height in the social sphere without the loss of his most ardent admirers.
There is always the possibility of being wrong in viewpoints, no matter how
convinced one may be that he is right. In Burns' case he was probably wrong.
In any event, he had the courage of his convictions:
fig for those by law protected!
Liberty's a glorious feast!
Courts for cowards were erected
Churches built to please the Priest.
Burns died prematurely at the age of 37, on 21st July, 1796, at his residence
in Dumfries, and his remains were interred in a humble grave. Afterwards they
were transferred to the Mausoleum in the same churchyard. Shortly before his
death he wrote:
The pale moon is setting beyond the white wave
And time is setting with me.
lodge bearing the name of "Robert Burns' Lodge," constituted before the union
in 1818, probably gives some significance to the fact of the monument being
erected to the Poet's memory in 1820 - 24 years after his death. At Doon Brig,
the vicinity of his birthplace, the foundation stone was appropriately laid by
Sir Alex Boswell, "Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, of the most Antient Mother
Lodge Kilwinning," at which ceremony the Masonic Lodges in Ayrshire were
without exception represented. A full account of this is given in "Preston's
Illustration of Masonry."
good edition of Burns' Poems is that published by the Oxford University Press,
edited by J.H. Robertson, in which they are placed in order of popularity, and
it is significant that the "Address to the De'il," "Tam Samson's Elegy," and
the "Lament for Earl of Glencairn" are amongst those considered to be his
the vale of human life
The victim sad of fortune's strife
thro' the tender gushing tear
Should recognize my Master Dear
friendless, low, we meet together,
Then, Sir, your hand - my friend and Brother.
(1) This is the short title. The work is generally cited as History of the
Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel), No. 1, by David Murray Lyon.
PRAYER IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH
Thou unknown, Almighty Cause
all my hope and fear!
whose dread presence, ere an hour
Perhaps I must appear!
I have wander'd in those paths
life I ought to shun
something, loudly, in my breast,
Remonstrates I have done -
Thou know'st that Thou has formed me
With passions wild and strong!
And list'ning to their witching voice
Has often led me wrong.
Where human weakness has come short,
frailty stept aside,
Thou, All-good - for such Thou art
shades of darkness hide.
Where with intention I have err'd,
other plea I have,
But, Thou art good, and Goodness still
Delighteth to forgive.
The Man, Burns
THAT Robert Burns lived his life as well as made poetry about it and that he
was accepted by his own people, not only in the form of a cult since his
death, but also during his lifetime are two things that are remarkable about
him. Primarily a lyric poet, his songs dealt with life as he lived it and
those who heard them responded. He was closely in touch with reality and his
verse was not moulded in accord with any preaching fashion. For this reason,
perhaps, it is ageless. He was a moralist at heart, though his behavior caused
much scandal among the conventional and straitlaced. He appeals to all who set
reality above hypocritical propriety and respectability, and because of this
he will probably be read and appreciated as long as the English language is
The following brief notes on the life of Burns are drawn entirely from the
Cambridge Edition of Burns' works. It is in no wise original work but purely a
condensation of the material contained in the introduction to this volume of
his poems. For this reason, as much as any other, it must be read with more
understanding than is generally accorded to a biographical sketch. Readers
must remember the times in which Burns lived, the conditions surrounding his
life, and then judge, not by present day standards, but by the standards of
the time. It is impossible to make allusions to this phase of Burns' life in
the space allotted and the fairness of the readers must be trusted to make up
for any lack of explanatory material.
Robert Burns was born on the 25th of January, 1759, and was the eldest of
seven children. His father, William Burness (or Burnes), and his mother, Agnes
Brown, came of yeoman stock - one a native of Kincardinshire, the other of
Ayrshire. William Burness began life as a gardener, and was plying his trade
in the service of one Fergusson, the then Provost of Ayr, when, with a view of
setting up for himself, he took a lease of seven acres in the parish of
Alloway, and with his own hands built a two-roomed clay cottage. In December
of 1757 he married Agnes Brown, his junior by eleven years. She was
red-haired, dark-eyed, square-browed, well-made, and quick-tempered. He was
swarthy and thin; a man of strong sense, a very serious mind, the most
vigilant affections, and a piety not even the Calvinism in which he had been
reared could ever make brooding and inhumane.
The Scots peasant lived hard, toiled incessantly, and fed so cheaply that on
high days and holidays his diet consisted largely in preparations of meal and
vegetables and what is technically known as "offal". He was, however a
creature of the Kirk; the noblest ambition of Knox was an active influence in
the Kirk; and the parish schools enabled the Kirk to provide its creatures
with such teaching as it deemed desirable. William Burness was a very poor
man, but he had the right tradition; he was a thinker and an observer; he read
whatever he could get to read; he wrote English formally, but with clarity;
and he did the very best he could for his children in the matter of education.
Robert went to school at six; and in May of 1765 a lad of eighteen, one John
Murdoch, was engaged by Mr. Burness and four of his neighbors to teach, and
accordingly began a little school at Alloway. Murdoch was an intelligent
pedagogue, especially in the matter of grammar and rhetoric; he trained his
scholars to a full sense of the meaning and the value of words; he even made
them turn verse into its natural prose order and substitute synonymous
expressions for poetical words. One effect of his method was that Robert,
according to himself, "was absolutely a critic in substantives, verbs, and
participles," and, according to Gilbert, "soon became remarkable for the
fluency and correctness of his expression, and read the few books that came in
his way with much pleasure and improvement."
Robert had had about two and one-half years of Murdoch's tuition when the
school broke up and Robert and his brother fell into their father's hands, and
for divers reasons, Gilbert says, "we rarely saw anybody but the members of
our own family," so that "my father was for some time the only companion we
had." It will scarce be argued that this sole companionship was wholly good
for a couple of lively boys; but it is beyond question that it was rather good
than bad. The elder Burnes conversed with the boys on all subjects as if they
had been men and was at great pains, as they accompanied him in the labors of
the farm, to lead the conversation to such subjects as might tend to increase
their knowledge or confirm their virtuous habits.
Robert was a voracious reader and no book was so voluminous as to slacken his
industry, or so antiquated as to damp his research, with the result that
before he was very far in his teens he had a competent knowledge of ancient
history with something of geography, astronomy, and natural history. At
thirteen or fourteen Robert and Gilbert were sent to Dalrymple Parish School
to better their handwriting. The summer after the writing-lessons at Dalrymple,
Robert spent three weeks with Murdoch at Ayr, one over the English Grammer,
the others over the rudiments of French. This latter language he was presently
able to read, for the reason that Murdoch would go over to Mount Oliphant on
half- holidays, partly for Robert's sake and partly for the pleasure of
talking with Robert's father. Thus was Robert schooled. It is plain that in
one, and that an essential particular, he and his brother were exceptionally
fortunate in their father and in the means he took to train them.
The next years form a period of stress and hardship. Shortly before the
breaking up of Murdoch's school the elder Burns had leased a farm at Mount
Oliphant. The land was the poorest in Ayrshire, and inasmuch as the venture
was started on borrowed money things did not progress as well as they might.
To add to the difficulties the generous master died about 1775 and the Burns
family fell into the hands of a factor. According to Robert Burns this factor
is pictured in the "Tale of Twa Dogs." Fortunately the lease had only two more
years to run and in 1777 William Burnes removed his family to Lochile. The
nature of the bargain was such as to throw a little ready money in his hand at
the commencement or the affair would have been impracticable. The next four
years the family lived in comfortable circumstances and at this place Robert's
gay and adventurous spirit began to free itself. His admirable talent for talk
found fit opportunities for exercise and display. The reaction set in and he
took life as gallantly as his innocency might, wore the only tied hair in the
parish and was recognizable from afar by his fillemot plaid. He was made a
"Free and accepted Mason", founded a Bachelors Club, and took to sweethearting
with all his heart and soul and strength. He had begun with a little harvester
at fifteen, and at Kirkoswald he had been enamoured of Peggy Thomson to the
point of sleepless nights. His love rarely settled upon persons who were
richer than himself, or who had more consequence in life. To condescend upon
one's women is an ideal to some men, it certainly was so with Robert Burns.
Apparently he held it was an honor to be admired by him; and when a short
while hence (1786) he ventured to celebrate, in rather too realistic a strain,
the Lass of Ballochmyle, and was rebuffed for his impertinence - it was so
felt in those unregenerate days - he was, 'tis said, extremely mortified.
is no more than natural that this period should see the beginning of his
poetry. The wonder is that so little of it was deemed too good for the fire.
His loves during these Lochlie years, whether plain or pretty, were all
goddesses to him, but it was not until after this period that he began
rhymiing to any purpose. We are assured that his Lochlie love affairs were all
"governed by the strictest rules of modesty and virtue, and from which he
never deviated until his twenty-third year."
was natural and honorable in a young man of this lusty and amatory habit to
look around for a wife and to cast about him for a better means of keeping her
than farm- service could afford. In respect of the first he found a
possibility in Elison Begbie, a Galston farmer's daughter, at this time a
domestic servant, on whom he wrote (they say) his "Song of Similes," and to
whom he addressed some rather stately, not to say pedantic, documents in the
form of love- letters. For the new line in life, he determined that it might,
perhaps, be flax-dressing; so, at the midsummer of 1781 he removed to Irvine,
a little port on the Firth of Clyde, which was also a center of the industry
in which he hoped to excel. Here he established himself, on what terms is not
known, with one Peacock, whom he afterwards took occasion to describe as a
"scoundrel of the first water, who made money by the mistery of Thieving";
here he saw something more of life and character and the world than he had
seen at Mount Oliphant and Lochlie; here, at the year's end, he had a terrible
attack of vapours; here, above all, he formed a friendship with a certain
Richard Brown. According to him, Brown, being the son of a mechanic, had taken
the eye of "a great man in the neighbourhood", and had received "a genteel
education, with a view to bettering his situation in life." His patron had
died, however, and he had perforce to go for a sailor. He had known good luck
and bad, he had seen the world, he had the morals of his calling, at the same
time that "his mind was fraught with courage, independence, and magnanimity,
and every noble and manly virtue"; and Burns, who loved him and admired him,
not only "strove to imitate him" but also "in some measure succeeded". Brown
was Mephisto to Burn's Faust and "here", says the Bard, "his friendship did me
a mischief, and the consequence was that soon after I assumed the plough, I
wrote the enclosed Welcome." This enclosure, to Moore, was that half-
humorous, half-defiant, and wholly delightful Welcome to His Love-Begotten
Daughter, through which the spirit of the true Burns - the Burns of the good
years: proud, generous, whole- hearted, essentially natural and humane -
thrills from the first line to the last.
Burns returned to Lochlie in March, 1782. The prosperity of the preceding
years was coming to a close and through a quarrel that went to the courts the
elder Burnes was dispossessed. Thus was the quarrel ended and with it ended
the career of William Burness. He died in February of 1784. Robert and Gilbert
secured another farm - Mossgiel - in Mauchline Parish, two or three miles from
Lochlie in the late days of 1783 which would seem to show that in spite of the
serious state of the affairs of their father, the family credit was not
William Burness had paid his children wages during his tenancy of Lochlie and
the elder four, by presenting themselves as his creditors for wages due, were
enabled to secure a certain amount of "plenishing and gear" wherewith to make
a start at Mossgiel. It was a family venture, in whose success the Burnesses
were interested all and severally, and to which each one looked for food and
clothes and hire (the brothers got a yearly fee of 7 pounds apiece); and, as
all were well and thoroughly trained in farming work, and had never lived
other than sparely, it was reasonable in them to believe that the enterprise
would prosper. That it did not begin by prospering was no fault of Robert's.
He made excellent resolutions, and what was more to the purpose, he kept them
- for a time. He "read farming books" (thus he displays himself ), he
"calculated crops", he "attended markets"; he worked hard in the fields, he
kept his body at least in temperance and soberness, and, as for thrift, there
is Gilbert's word for it, that his expenses never exceeded his income of 7
pounds a year. It availed him nothing. Gilbert is said to have been rather a
theorist than a sound practician; and Robert, though a skilled farmer, cared
nothing for business, and left him a free hand in the conduct of affairs.
Luck, too, was against them from the first; and very soon the elder's genius
was revealed to him, and he had other than farmer's work to do. Robert could
do his work, and prided himself on the straightness of his furrows; he was,
however, scarcely cut out for a successful farmer except, it may be, under
certain special conditions. He was bursting with intelligence, ideas, the
consciousness of capacity, the desire to take his place among men; and in
Mauchline he found livelier friends and greater opportunities than he had
found elsewhere. Being a Scot, he was instinctively a theologian; being
himself, he was inevitably liberal-minded; born a peasant of genius, and
therefore a natural rebel, he could not choose but quarrel with the Kirk -
especially as her hand was heavy on his friends and himself - and it was as a
Mauchline man that the best of his anticlerical work was done. Then, too, he
was full of rhymes, and they must out of him; his call had come, and he feel
to obeying it with unexampled diligence. It is from Mauchline, too, that his
affair with Betty Paton over and done with, and, to anticipate a little, his
affair with Jean Armour left hanging in the wind, he starts on his career as
amorist at large.
the November of 1784 Elizabeth Paton bore him a daughter - "the First
Instance", so he wrote above his Welcome, "that entitled him to the Venerable
Appellation of Father." The mother is described as very plain-looking, but of
an exceedingly handsome figure; rude and uncultivated to a great degree, with
a strong masculine understanding, and a thorough, though unwomanly, contempt
for any sort of refinement; withal, so active, honest, and independent a
creature that Mrs. Burns would have had Robert marry her, but "both my aunts
and Uncle Gilbert opposed it," in the belief that "the faults of her character
would soon have disgusted him." Thus it was that the marriage was not
was at Mossgiel that the enormous possibilities in himself were revealed to
Burns; and it was at Mossgiel that he did nearly all his best and strongest
work. The revelations once made, he stayed not in his course, but wrote
masterpiece after masterpiece, with a rapidity, an assurance, a command of
means, a brilliancy of effect, which makes his achievement one of the most
remarkable in English letters. In all of his work, however, he had the good
sense to concern himself with the life he knew. The way of realism lay broadly
beaten by his ancestors, and was natural to his feet; he followed it with
vision, with humor, with inspiration and sympathy, and with art; and in the
sequel he is found to be one in the first flight of English poets after
Milton, Chaucer, Shakespeare.
Elizabeth Paton's child was born in the November of 1784. In April of that
year, a few weeks after the general settlement at Mossgiel, he made the
acquaintance of Armour the mason's daughter, Jean. She was a handsome, lively
girl; the acquaintance ripened into love on both sides; and in the end, after
what the dates prove to have been a prolonged and serious courtship, Jean
Armour fell with child. Her condition being discovered, Burns, after some
strong revulsions of feeling against - not Jean, one hopes, but the estate of
marriage - gave her what he presently had every reason to call "an unlucky
paper," recognizing her as his wife; and, had things been allowed to drift in
the usual way, the world had lacked an unforgotten scandal and a great deal of
silly writing. This, though, was not to be. old Armour - "a bit mason body,
who used to snuff a guid deal, and gey af'en tak' a bit dram" - is said to
have "hated" Burns; so that he would "reyther hae seen the Deil himsel' comin'
to the hoose to coort his dochter than him." Thus a contemporary of both
Armour and Burns; and in any case Armour knew Burns for a needy and reckless
man, the father of one by-blow, a rebel at odds with the Orthodox, of whom, in
existing circumstances, it would be vain to ask a considerable living. So he
first obliged Jean to give up the "unlucky paper", with a view to unmaking any
engagement it might confirm, and then sent her to Paisley, to be out of her
lover's way. In the meanwhile Burns himself was in straits, and he had half a
dozen designs in hand at once. Mossgiel was a failure; he had resolved to
deport himself to the West Indies; he had made up his mind to print, and the
Kilmarnock Edition was setting, when Jean was sent into exile. Worst of all,
he seems to have been not very sure whether he loved or not. The tangle which
resulted from this doubt on his part is interesting, but too lengthy to be
detailed here. It ended by the deserter finding himself deserted and his
pride, inordinate in a peasant, was cut to the quick. In effect, his position
was sufficiently distracting. He had made oath that he would not marry Jean;
then he had practically married her; then he found that nobody wanted her
married to him - that, on the contrary, he was the most absolute "detrimental"
in all Ayrshire; when, of course, the marriage became the one thing that made
his life worth living. He tried to persuade old Armour to think better of his
resolve; and, failing, ran "nine parts and nine-tenths out of ten stark
staring mad." He took occasion to refer to Jean (to David Brice; 12th June,
1786) as "poor, ill-advised, ungrateful Armour"; vowed that he could "have no
nearer idea of the place of eternal punishment" than "what I have felt in my
own breast on her account"; and finally confessed himself to this purpose: "I
have tried often to forget her: I have run into all kinds of dissipation and
riot . . . to drive her out of my head, but all in vain." Long before this,
however - as early, it would seem, as some time in March - his "maddening
passions, roused to tenfold fury", having done all sorts of dreadful things,
and then "sunk into a lurid calm", he had "subsided into the time-settled
sorrow of the sable widower", and had lifted his "grief-worn eye to look for -
another wife". In other words, he had pined for female society, and had
embarked upon those famous love-passages with Highland Mary.
Little is known about Mary Campbell, though she forms an interesting episode
in the life of Burns. The speculation and theorizing which have run rampant
concerning her makes interesting reading, but one cannot advance one theory
and reject the others. Space will not permit of this, and it is sufficient to
say that they were never married.
this time the end of Mauchline, and of much besides, was nearer than he knew.
Probably sent to press in the May of 1786, the Kilmarnock Volume was published
at the end of July. Most of, if not all, the numbers contained in it were
probably familiar to the countryside. Some had certainly been received with "a
roar of applause"; Burns, who was not the man to hide his light under a
bushel, was given to multiplying his verses in MS. copies for friends; he had
been "read into fame" by Aiken the lawyer; so that Poems, Chiefly in the
Scottish Dialect was, in a sense, as "well advertised" as book could be. Its
triumph was not less instant than well-deserved; the first issue, six hundred
copies strong, was exhausted in a month. But Burns himself, according to
himself, and he was ever punctiliously exact and scrupulous on the score of
money, was but 20 pounds in pocket by it; the Kilmarnock printer declined to
strike a second impression, with additions, unless he got the price of the
paper in advance; and for some time it seemed that there was nothing but
Jamaica for the writer, Local Bard and Local Hero though he were; so that he
looked to have sailed, in mid-August, and again on the 1st September, and at
some indeterminate date had "conveyed his chest thus far on the road to
Greemock", and written that solemn and moving song - far and away the best, I
think, and the sincerest thing he left in English - The Gloomy Night is
But for one or another reason, his departure was ever deferred; and, though on
the 30th October (some ten days, it is surmised, after the death of Mary
Campbell), he was still writing that, "ance to the Indies he was wonted," he'd
certainly contrive to "mak' the best o' life wi' some sweet elf," on the 18th
November, "I am thinking for my Edinburgh expedition on Monday or Tuesday come
s'ennight " In effect, an "Edinburgh expedition" was natural and inevitable.
reached the capital on the 28th November, and was hospitably entertained by
Richmond - to the extent, indeed, of a bedfellow's share in the clerk's one
little room in Baxter's Place, Lawnmarket. Through Dalrymple of Organefield he
got access to Lord Glencairn and others - among them Harry Erskine, Dean of
Faculty, and that curious, irascible, pompous ass, the Earl of Buchan, and
Creech, the publisher, who had been Glencairn's tutor, and who advertised the
Edinburgh Edition on the 14th December. He saw everybody worth seeing, and
talked with everybody worth talking to; he was made welcome by "heavenly
Burnett" and her frolic Grace of Gordon, and welcome by the ribald, scholarly,
hard- drinking wits and jinkers of the Chrochallan Fencibles. He moved and
bore himself as easily at Duglad Stewart's as in Baxter's Place, in Creech's
shop, with Henry Mackenzie and Gregory and Blair, as at that extraordinary
meeting of the St. Andrew's Lodge, where, at the Grand Master's bidding, the
brethren assembled and drank the health of "Caledonia and Caledonia's Bard -
Brother Burns." To look at "he was like a farmer dressed to dine with the
laird"; his manners were "rustic, not clownish"; he had "a sort of dignified
plainness and simplicity."
What is really wonderful is the way in which Burns kept his head in Edinburgh
Society, and stood prepared for the inevitable reaction. Through all the
"thick, strong, stupefying incense smoke", he held a steady eye upon his
future. In the long-run his magnaminity suffered a certain change. The peasant
at work scarce ever goes wrong; but abroad and idle, he is easily spoiled, and
soon. Edinburgh was a triumph for Burns; but it was also a misfortune. It was
a center of conviviality - a city of clubs and talk and goodfellowship, a city
of harlotry and high jinks, a city, above all, of drink; a dangerous place for
a peasant to be at large, especially a peasant of the conditions and the stamp
of Burns. He was young, he was buckishly given, and he was - Burns.
After residing some months in Edinburgh he began to estrange himself, not
altogether, but in some measure, from the society of his graver friends. . . .
He suffered himself to be surrounded by a race of miserable beings who were
proud to tell that they had been in company with Burns, and had seen Burns as
loose and as foolish as themselves. It is evident that the distractions and
the triumphs of Edinburgh continued the work which the mistakes and follies of
Dumfries were to finish ten years later.
The Edinburgh edition floated - Burns cleared about 450 pounds from it - he
fell in with Mrs. M'Lehose; he instantly proposed to "cultivate her friendship
with the enthusiasm of religion". This affair lasted for some time and seems
to have been one sally of these years which was wholly honest and straight. It
must be confessed that this was due to the woman and not to the man.
Very early in 1788, Jean Armour - brought some time in the preceding summer
"pop, down at my feet, like Corporal Trim's hat" - was expelled from her
parents' house and took refuge at Tarbolton Mill. There Burns found her on his
return, and thence he removed her to a house in "Mauchline toun," to the
particular joy, a short while after, of Saunders Tait. A very perplexing
series of circumstances follow. The Edinburgh widow and the reunited Jean
Armour occupy his affections alternately. Some time after 7th March, 1788, he
escorts Jean to a place of seclusion, and the affair is closed when he marries
her on April 7th.
Meanwhile he had taken Ellisland, a farm in Dumfriesshire, of Miller of
Dalswinton, with an allowance from his landlord, a worthy and generous man, of
300 pounds, for a new steading and outhouses. His marriage at last made formal
and public on the 5th August, 1788, the bride and bridegroom appeared before
the Session, acknowledged its irregularity, demanded its "solemn
confirmation," were sentenced to be rebuked, etc., and were finally "absolved
from any scandal" on the old account. It was not until November, however, that
Burns and Jean set up their rest in Dumfriesshire; and even so, they had to
go, not to their own farmhouse, it was not ready for them until August of
1789, but to a place called "The Isle," about a mile away from it. By the end
of July, 1789, Burns had resolved to turn his holding into a dairy farm to be
run by Jean and his sisters, and to take up his gaugership in earnest; and on
the 10th of August he learned from Graham of Fintry that he was appointed
exciseman for that district of Dumfriesshire in which Ellisland is situate.
The work was hard for he had charge of ten parishes and must ride two hundred
miles a week to get his duty done. He developed into an officer at once humane
and vigilant and it is told of him that he could always wink when staring
would mean black ruin to some old unchartered alewife (say), hiss first year's
"decreet" - his share, that is, of the fines imposed upon his information -
was worth some fifty or sixty pounds.
was unable, however, to overcome the amorous ways of his youth and while he
married Jean in the April of 1788, Anne Park bore him a child just ten days
before Jean was delivered of his second son (in wedlock) - on; the 9th of
April, 1791. Jean was magnanimous, and while no one knows what became of Anne
Park, it is; known that her child was nursed with Jean's own. It is
furthermore worthy of note that Anne Park is the last of Burns' mistresses who
has a name. It is known that this was not the last, and he kept up his trick
of throwing the lyric handkerchief till the end. All through his last illness
he is tenderly solicitous about his wife, be it remembered; yet the deathbed
songs for Jessie Lewars are the best of those closing years.
Whatever the sequel, it may fairly be said for Ellisland that Burns and Jean
were happy there, and that it saw the birth of Tam o' Shanter and the
perfecting, in the contributions to Johnson's Museum, of the Vernacular Song.
The last we know, was Burns' work; but he had assistants, and they did him
The story of the Dumfries period is one of decadence; and, even if it were
told in detail, would tell us nothing of Burns that we have not already heard
or are not all too well prepared to learn. In a little town, where everybody's
known to everybody, there is ever an infinite deal of scandal; and Burns was
too reckless and too conspicuous not to become a peculiar "sock-shoy" for the
scandal-mongers of Dumfries. That he fought against temptation is as plain as
that he proved incapable of triumph, and that, as Carlyle has wisely and
humanely noted, the best for him, certain necessary conditions being
impossible, was to die.
The precisian has naught to do at this grave-side; and to most of us now it is
history that while there was an infinite deal of the best sort of good in
Burns, the bad in him, being largely compacted of such purely unessential
defects as arrogance, petulance, imprudence, and a turn for self-indulgence,
this last exasperated by the conditions in which his lot was cast, was not of
the worst kind after all. Yet the bad was bad enough to wreck the good. The
little foxes were many and active and greedy enough to spoil a world of
grapes. The strength was great, but the weaknesses were greater; for time and
chance and the necessity were ever developing the weakness at the same time
that they were ever beating down the strength. That is the sole conclusion
possible. And to the plea, that the story it rounds is very pitiful, there is
this victorious answer: that the Man had drunk his life to the lees, while the
Poet had fulfilled himself to the accomplishing of a peculiar immortality so
that to Burns death came as a deliverer and a friend on the twenty-first of
July, 1796. This sketch may well be concluded with the following verses from
his own Epitaph:
there a man whose judgment clear
Can others teach the course to steer,
Yet runs himself life's mad career
Wild as the wave?
Here pause - and, through the starting tear,
Survey this grave.
The poor inhabitant below
Was quick to learn and wise to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow
And softer flame;
But thoughtless follies laid him low,
And stained his name.
Reader, attend! Whether thy soul
Soars Fancy's flights beyond the pole,
darkling grubs this earthly hole
Know, prudent,- cautious, self-controI
BRO. S. PFRIMMER, Indiana
SITTING in the little library of Pisgah Lodge, No. 32, Corydon, Indiana, the
first week in May, 1927, browsing through the annual reports of the Grand
Lodge of Indiana, I came across Past Grand Master Gay's Review of the
proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Montana for 1925. Bro. Gay wrote with
seeming enthusiasm and approval as follows: "The splendid report on the
subject of 'Compass or Compasses?' is given by Bro. R. J. Lemert, which
concludes with the following recommendation which was adopted:
"This is perhaps the ancient symbolism of the Square and Compass, and we
should not destroy or becloud it by over- anxiety to conform to the
etymologies of the outer world. Much of the most Sacred symbolism of our
institution has been lost forever through the honest but unskilled tinkering
of amateur ritualists. Let this Grand Lodge not add to the confusion within
"For these and other reasons, with which the committee was not willing further
to burden the Grand Lodge, it was recommended that the word 'Compass' be once
again given sanction in preference to 'Compasses' wherever it appears in our
work, written or unwritten."
once the question arose, why should Reviewer Gay refer to this action of the
Grand Lodge of Montana with such enthusiasm and apparent approval ? Upon
inquiry, I was informed that the Grand Lodge of Indiana had a few years ago
adopted a ritual which used the word "Compass" instead of "Compasses," but a
record of this action had failed to appear in the Grand Lodge report. This at
once opened up a field of investigation. I had been giving the degree lectures
for forty-nine years, always using the word "Compasses" and had never had its
correctness questioned. I did not know what practice prevailed in the Masonic
world and for the purpose of discovering this I wrote to the Grand Secretaries
of the Grand Lodges with which Indiana has fraternal relations. I have
received sixty-eight answers. Of these sixty-two Grand Secretaries answer that
the word in use in their Grand Jurisdictions is "Compasses." Six say
"Compass." I am giving a list of the Grand Jurisdictions with answers and
comment, if any:
Alabama - Compasses.
Alberta - Compasses.
Arkansas - Compasses. "Compass" is the nautical instrument for steering.
Arizona - Compass.
British Columbia - Compasses
California - Compass.
Colorado - Compasses.
Connecticut - In Connecticut the preferred terminology is the plural,
Compasses. Delaware - Compasses.
District of Columbia - Compasses.
England - I return your letter of the 4th of July with the word "Compasses"
inserted therein, this being the method of description in the English
Jurisdiction. P. Coville Smith, Grand Secretary.
Florida - Our Monitor gives it Compasses.
Georgia - Compasses.
Guatemala - Compasses is called in this Jurisdiction.
Idaho - Compasses.
Iowa - Compass.
Ireland - In reply to yours of the 29th ultimo, the Masonic Emblem referred to
is known under the Irish constitution as the Compasses. H. C. Shellard, Grand
Illinois - Compasses.
Kansas - Compasses.
Kentucky - Compasses.
Louisiana - Compasses.
Maine - Compasses.
Manitoba - Compasses.
Maryland - Compasses.
Massachusetts - Compasses.
Michigan - Compasses.
Minnesota - Compass. I am well aware that the best authorities sanction the
word "Compasses", and I am personally of the opinion that the same is the only
Missouri - Compasses (Monitor).
Mississippi - Compasses.
Montana - Compass.
Nebraska - Compass. Although the authorities seem to be nearly all against us.
Nevada - Compasses.
New Brunswick - Compasses.
New Hampshire - Compasses.
New Jersey - Compasses.
New Mexico - Compasses (Monitor).
New South Wales - Compasses.
New York - Compasses.
New Zealand - Compasses.
North Carolina - Compasses.
North Dakota - Compasses.
Nova Scotia - Compasses.
Ontario - Compasses.
Ohio - Compasses. Past Grand Master Belt, Chairman of the Ritual Committee for
Ohio, in answering the question "Compasses" says, "I never heard any other
from anywhere on earth."
Oklahoma - Compasses
Oregon - Compasses always in all work.
Pennsylvania - Compasses.
Prince Edward Island - Compasses.
Quebec - we invariably give it in the plural, Compasses, as distinctive from a
Queensland - Compasses.
Rhode Island - Compasses.
Saskatchewan - Compasses.
Scotland - Compasses.
South Australia - Compasses. The great Oxford dictionary supports this usage.
South Carolina - Compasses.
South Dakota - Compasses
Tasmania - Compasses.
Tennessee - Compasses.
Texas - Compasses.
Utah - Compasses.
Vermont - Compasses.
Victoria - Compasses.
Virginia - Compasses, never Compass.
Washington - Compasses.
Western Australia - Compasses.
West Virginia - Compasses.
Wisconsin - Compasses.
Wyoming - Compasses.
After completing this survey, the compiler turned his attention to Masonic
dictionaries and encyclopaedias.
The first volume of Oliver's Universal Masonic Library (30 volumes) is a
Masonic Dictionary. In this dictionary, the word "Compasses" only is used, and
this seems to be true in all of Dr. Oliver's writings, so far as I have been
able to discover.
Albert G. Mackey, in his monumental work, Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, seems
invariably to use the word "Compasses." The following quotations from this
work are given under the heading:
COMPASSES. As in Operative Masonry the Compasses are used for the
admeasurement of the architect's plans, and to enable him to give those just
proportions which will ensure beauty, as well as stability to his work; so, in
Speculative Masonry, is this important implement symbolic of that even tenor
of deportment, that true standard of rectitude which alone can bestow
happiness here and felicity hereafter. Hence, are the compasses the most
prominent emblem of virtue, the true and only measure of a Mason's life and
SQUARE AND COMPASSES: These two symbols have been so long and so universally
combined to teach us, as says an early ritual, "to square our actions and to
keep them within due bounds," they are so seldom seen apart but are so kept
together either as two great lights, or as a jewel worn once by the Master of
the Lodge, now by the Past Master.
Again, we find this:
The Bible, square and compasses are technically said to constitute the
furniture of a lodge.
GREATER LIGHTS: The Bible, and the Square and Compasses.
Bro. William L. Boyden's Little Masonic Dictionary says,
COMPASSES: one of the most prominent of the emblems of Masonry.
SQUARE AND COMPASSES: the badge of the fraternity.
The furniture of a lodge, the Bible, Square and Compasses.
GREAT LIGHTS: the Bible, Square and Compasses.
Bro. Charles H. Merz, author and editor of the Sandusky Masonic Bulletin, in
his unique book, Ask Me, Brother, says the furnishings of a lodge are
The Holy Bible, Square and Compasses.
The word "Compass" may be used only to indicate the cardinal points; as a
geometrical instrument, the word in Masonry is always "Compasses."
One of the important products of Masonic learning in the last century was Bro.
Mitchell's Common Law of Masonry, and in an inserted Dictionary of Masonic
terms uses the word "Compasses" only.
letter from the Grand Librarian of the Grand Lodge of England, the oldest
Grand Lodge in the world, says:
reply to your letter, the use of the word "Compasses" (in the plural) by
Freemasons of the English Constitution is in no way a use peculiar only to the
Craft. It is the proper English designation of this particular instrument used
by many professions and trades besides its symbolic employment by Freemasons.
The word "Compasses" is, however, really an abbreviation, for colloquial
conveniences of the full name which is "a pair of Compasses", just as the word
"Scissors" describes, for shortness sake, a "pair of Scissors", another
instrument which like the Compasses consists of more than one distinct part
and so may rightly be denominated in the plural.
The Secretary of Grand Master's Lodge, No. 1, in the jurisdiction of the Grand
Lodge of England, says:
far as my observation and research have gone the word "Compasses" is always
used and not "Compass."
The Secretary of St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Boston, Massachusetts, reputed to be
the oldest lodge in America, writes that they use the word "Compasses" and he
presumes they have always done so.
Bro. Lionel Vibert, Editor of Miscellanea Latomorum and Past Master of Quatuor
Coronati Lodge, says:
The facts are pretty clear. Compass in the singular means for us the Mariner's
compass. The emblem is the Compasses.
now turn to "the etymologies of the outer world." Chamber's Encyclopaedia has:
COMPASS, Mariner's is the name given to the instrument by which sailors are
enabled to steer their course on the ocean and out of sight of land.
Much more is given, but no reference to the mathematical instrument.
And then says,
COMPASSES, instrument for transferring and marking off distances, or for
drawing circles. etc.
The International Encyclopaedia has four pages devoted to "Compass" - not once
referring to the mathematical instrument And follows this with
COMPASSES, a mathematical instrument for transferring or marking off distances
(and for this purpose often called "dividers") or for drawing circles. The
common compasses or dividers are composed of two rods or legs joined together
by a pivot joint at one end and pointed at the other.
The Encyclopaedia Americana says:
COMPASS, MARINER'S: an instrument to ascertain directions at sea by means of
the attraction of the earth for a movable magnet or a set of magnets.
Considerable space is given to a discussion of the subject, but no reference
is made to the geometrical instrument. But this is followed by another
COMPASSES: mathematical instrument used for describing circles, measuring
The Funk and Wagnalls Standard Encyclopaedia says:
COMPASS or Mariner's compass, a magnetic instrument used to indicate the
direction of a ship with respect to the magnetic N. and S. Iine.
This discussion continues for four columns. No reference is made to the
COMPASSES, instruments for transferring and marking off distances or for
drawing circles, etc.
The following letter was written to the Editor of the Standard Dictionary:
Under the word "Compass" in the Standard Dictionary, you provide for thirteen
definitions. You use twelve of them in defining things other than the
mathematical instrument. After the number 7, you say, "see Compasses." And
then in regular alphabetical order you say, "Compasses, noun, plural. An
instrument consisting of two branches or legs, etc."
Are we not justified in concluding that you mean that "compasses" is one of
the few nouns that have no singular? Chamber International, Funk and Wagnalls,
The Americana, Mackey's (Masonic) Encyclopaedias, as well as Oliver's
(Masonic) dictionary, all confirm this view. While Webster's, the Century and
Stormonth's dictionaries practically do so.
shall be greatly obliged to you for a reply.
which the Editor replied:
Yes, compasses and scissors are words in the same class. "Compass" singular
has a totally different meaning.
The Century Dictionary defines "Compass" under 10 headings. Under number 8, it
mathematical instrument for describing circles or for measuring figures,
distances between two points, etc.; commonly plural. Compasses consist of two
pointed legs, etc. and then quotes Milton -
"In his hand He took the Golden Compasses, prepared In God's eternal store, to
circumscribe This Universe and all created things."
Webster's Dictionary devotes 10 headings to the definition of "Compass." Nine
of them refer to other things than the geometrical instrument. After number 8
(usually plural). An instrument for describing circles transferring
measurements, consisting in its simple form of two pointed branches or legs,
joined at the top by a pivot; called also pair of compasses. Compasses have
generally one pen or pencil point, those with two sharp metal points for
measuring are specifically called dividers.
Then in regular alphabetical order comes this:
COMPASSES, noun, plural. An instrument for describing curves, measuring, etc.
GEOMETRY OR MASONRY, ORIGINALLY SYNONYMOUS TERMS
Bro. H. L. Haywood's pamphlet, The Walrus and the Carpenter, which is included
in the Dollar Masonic Library, gives us a glimpse of the mathematics of
Masonry. Writing of the Forty- seventh problem of Euclid and its reputed
discoverer, the Great Pythagoras, Bro. Haywood says:
There is more substantial evidence to show that he founded a School of
mathematics to make special studies of the righted- angled triangles. That
theorem which showed up in Euclid as the forty-seventh proposition was
attributed to him - in itself sufficient to establish ever enduring fame for
any man. This proposition, you will recall holds that the sum of the squares
of the two shorter sides of a right-angled triangle is equal to the square of
the hypotenuse. For ages before Pythagoras the Egyptians had known on the
basis of a rule of thumb that any triangle, the sides of which are in units of
3, 4, and 5 is a right-angled triangle; it is possible that Pythagoras
generalized this into his own theorem.
The importance of this theorem in the history of mathematics, and even in the
history of exact thinking in general, cannot be exaggerated. "No proposition
in the whole of mathematics has had such a distinguished history," writes
Bertrand Russell one of the greatest of all living mathematicians. "Everything
in geometry, and subsequently in physics, has been derived from it by
This problem at once becomes intensely interesting, and important to every
Master Mason. The symbolism of Masonry being so closely connected with the
mathematical sciences, I wrote to the Department of Mathematics of a number of
Universities and Colleges asking what name they applied to the geometrical
instrument used in describing circles. Here is the result so far as obtained:
Amherst College - Compasses.
University of Arizona - A pair of Compasses. A pair of Dividers. This is not a
University of Arkansas - Compasses.
Birmingham-Southern University - Compasses.
Brown University - Compasses.
Cambridge (England) University - Compasses.
University of California - Either but Compasses more common.
Chicago University - Dividers or Compasses
Columbia University - This is known as Compasses, i.e., an instrument often
called Compass, but "Compasses" is scientifically correct, the magnetic
needle, a circle or space being a Compass. The above is also referred to often
as a pair of Compasses.
University of Colorado - Plural drawing instrument for measuring, describing
circles, etc. (Webster).
Connecticut Agricultural College - Compasses. Dartmouth
University - Compasses.
University of Delaware - Compasses. Compare the word scissors.
Earlham College - Compasses.
George Washington University - Compasses. See Funk & Wagnalls, or any other
good dictionary. J. T. Erwin.
University of Georgia - Compasses. R. P. Stephen.
Hanover College - Usually plural.
Howard Payne University - Dividers
University of Illinois - Pair of Compasses. Not Compass.
Indiana University - Compasses.
Indiana Central University - Compasses.
Iowa State University - Dividers or Compasses.
University of Kansas - Compasses.
University of Kentucky - Compasses.
University of Maine - Compasses.
University of Manitoba - A pair of Compasses.
S. Military Academy - Pair of Compasses or Compasses.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Compasses.
University of Michigan - I prefer the plural Compasses, or a pair of
University of Minnesota - This looks like a pair of Compasses.
University of Missouri - Compasses.
University of Montana - Compasses. See dictionary.
U.S. Naval Academy - Compasses. (See Webster.)
University of Nebraska - Compasses.
University of Nevada - Compasses.
University of North Dakota - Compasses.
University of Notre Dame - An instrument used in drawing, for describing arcs,
circles, etc., is called "Compasses". An instrument used in surveying, for
determining courses and directions from a magnetic needle is called "Compass".
Oakland City College - Compasses.
Oberlin College - The term applied to the above is Compasses or a pair of
Compasses. Ohio State University - Compasses.
University of Oklahoma - Compasses.
University of Oregon - Compasses
University of Pennsylvania - Pair of Compasses.
Princeton University - Compasses (or Dividers).
Purdue University - If used in drawing, "a pair of Compasses". If used in
measuring, "a pair of Dividers".
Rollins College - Compasses.
Rose Polytechnic Institute - Compasses.
University of South Carolina - Compass
University of Southern California - Compasses.
University of Tennessee - Compasses.
University of Utah - Compasses.
Taylor University - Compasses.
University of Vermont - Compasses.
University of Virginia - Compasses.
Wabash College - I would call the above "Compasses" or "a pair of Compasses."
University of Washington - Compasses is technically correct. I prefer the term
"a pair of Compasses".
Western Reserve University - Compasses.
West Virginia University - A pair of Dividers or Compasses.
Wyoming University - (Pair of) Compasses.
Yale University - Pair of Compasses or Dividers.
DIVIDERS is given in dictionaries and by mathematicians as synonymous with
The following excerpts are taken from Brothers and Builders, Bro. Joseph Fort
Newton, and will form a fitting conclusion to this article:
THE HOLY BIBLE
Upon the Altar of every Masonic Lodge, supporting the Square and Compasses,
lies the Holy Bible. The old, familiar Book, so beloved by so many
generations, is our volume of Sacred Law and a Great Light in Masonry. The
Bible opens when the Lodge opens; it closes when the Lodge closes. No Lodge
can transact its own business, much less initiate candidates into its
mysteries unless the Book of the Holy Law lies open upon its Altar. Thus the
book of the Will of God rules the Lodge in its labours, as the Sun rules the
day, making its work a worship.
The Holy Bible lies open upon the Altar of Masonry, and upon the Bible lie the
Square and Compasses. They are the three Great Lights of the Lodge, at once
its Divine warrant and its chief working tools. They are symbols of
Revelation, Righteousness, and Redemption, teaching us that by walking in the
light of Truth, and obeying the law of Right, the Divine in man wins victory
over the earthly. How to live is the one important matter, and he will seek
far without finding a wiser way than that shown us by the Great Lights of the
The Square and Compasses are the oldest, the simplest, and the most universal
symbols of Masonry. All the world over, whether as a sign on a building or a
badge worn by a brother, even the profane know them to be emblems of our
ancient Craft. Some years ago, when a business firm tried to adopt the Square
and Compasses as a trade-mark, the Patent Office refused permission, on the
ground, as the decision said, that "there can be no doubt that this device, so
commonly worn and employed by Masons, has an established mystic significance,
universally recognized as existing; whether comprehended by all or not, is not
material to this issue." They belong to us, alike by the associations of
history and the tongue of common report.
Nearly everywhere in our Ritual, as in the public mind, the Square and
Compasses are seen together. If not interlocked they are seldom far apart, and
the one suggests the other. And that is as it should be, because the things
they symbolize are interwoven In the old days when the earth was thought to be
flat and square, the Square was the emblem of the Earth, and later, of the
earthly element in man. As the sky is an are or a circle, the implement which
describes a Circle became the symbol of the heavenly, or skyey spirit in man.
Thus, the tools of the builder became the emblems of the thoughts of the
thinker- and nothing in Masonry is more impressive than the slow elevation of
the Compasses above the Square in the progress of the degrees. The whole
meaning and task of life is there, for such as have eyes to see.
our study of the Square we saw that it is nearly always linked with the
Compasses, and these old emblems, joined with the Holy Bible, are the Great
Lights of the Craft. If the Lodge is an "Oblong Square" and built upon the
Square (as the earth was thought to be in olden time), over it arches the Sky,
which is a circle. Thus, Earth and Heaven are brought together in the Lodge -
the earth where man goes forth to his labor, and the Heaven to which he
aspires. In other words, the light of the Revelation and the law of Nature are
like the two points of the Compasses within which our life is set under a
canopy of Sun and Stars.
THE BUILDER January, 1928
BRO. L. F. STRAUSS, Massachusetts
the May number of THE BUILDER last year appeared an article entitled The
Essenes; in July was published Freemasonry and the Essenes. These two articles
constitute a kind of introduction to this one. In Freemasonry and the Essenes
attention was called to Masonic terminology and nomenclature of Hebrew-Aramaic
origin. A repetition here of this list may be of interest; furnish food for
Adonai - Lord; used by the Jews in place of Jehovah, the name of God.
Adon Hiram - Adoniram - The Lord is exalted.
Ahiah - I Kings iv, 3
Ahiman - Rezon. Derived from a very old and obsolete Hebrew word and used as
title to a book of instruction in the Grand Lodge of York. [Actually it first
appears as the title of the Constitutions of the "Ancient" Grand Lodge in
London, compiled by Lawrence Dermott. Ed.]
Balgulkal - obsolete Hebrew
Cedars of Lebanon
Pentalpha - Solomon's Seal
Seal of Solomon
Shield of David
Signet of Serubbabel
Tomb of Adoniram
Twelve Lettered Name
Two Lettered Name
this list of Masonic terms we will add the word Ain Soph, one of the most
important figures in the Zohar (crown of the Kabala). This term Ain Soph was
referred to in an article entitled the Freemason's Vision of God, by W. W.
Covey Crump, a clergyman of the Church of England and Master of Quatuor
Coronati Lodge. This also appeared in THE BUILDER for last May.
Now what is, what means, what is contained in the Kabala? We will give a brief
outline of the "idea" as reflected in the minds of recognized "authorities."
Webster's Dictionary, abridged definition: Esoteric Theosophy.
Encyclopedia Brittanica: An interesting exposition is here given; four lengthy
pages. But - in the opinion of Strauss - after reading these four pages, the
average reader, even the scholar, will know as little or as much as before.
This selection of the information given in the Encyclopedia Brittanica may be
of value to the innocent reader:
the Middle Ages, especially during the first period of the Renaissance and
again at the period of the Reformation this Kabala was something of a factor,
especially in the minds of Pico di Mirandola, Johann Reuchlin, Cornelius
Agrippa, Theophrastus, Paracelsus, Robert Fludd, etc., etc. Through
Mirandola's power of persuasion Pope Sixtus wanted Kabala taught to divinity
students of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Some points given in the Encyclopedia Brittanica should be of interest to
students of Philosophy and Theology, and to seriously minded members of the
Order of Free and Accepted Masons.
Article in the Catholic Encyclopedia, "A little scratched will serve"
(Bacon-Shakespeare). We will give a few significative excerpts:
Its application has greatly varied in course of time and it is only since the
eleventh and twelfth centuries that the term Kabala has become the exclusive
appellation for the system of Jewish religious philosophy which claims to have
been uninterruptedly transmitted by the mouths of the Patriarchs, Prophets,
Elders, etc., ever since the creation of the first man.
Several of its doctrines recall to mind those of Pythagoras Plato, Aristotle,
the Neo Platonists of Alexandria, the oriental or Egyptian Pantheists and the
Gnostics of the Earliest Christian Church [Capitalization is by Strauss].
German Encyclopedias; Brockhaus and Meier: one-fourth of a page. Contents -
Grande Encyclopedie: In the opinion of Strauss this Encyclopedia is the
fairest, the best, the most impartial published in Europe or America. On our
"subject" we find six large pages.
The true Caballe dates in reality, as we will see later, only from the
thirteenth or fourteenth centuries. But its origines are very ancient.
Why print "Does not date in reality only from the thirteenth or fourteenth
centuries" and then "But its origins are very ancient"? Should not origines
constitute a kind of beginning?
The Gnosticism of the Jews is found already in the Old Testament, and the
foundation of its metaphysical theory and the colors in which it is clothed.
Everyone knows what an important part is played by Wisdom in the different
books of the Bible in Proverbs, the Book of Job, the Wisdom of Jesus the Son
of Siraeh and in the Wisdom of Solomon. [The last two mentioned being in the
One of the most striking proofs of the influence exercised by secrets,
doctrines and mystical ideas upon the Jews of Palestine towards the end of the
second Temple is furnished by the sect of the Essenes.
The Glory, or the Word, which under the influence of Plato and the Stoics
became with Philo the famous Logos or the Word. . . . [The italics are by
The Zohar was earlier considered as a very ancient work. It was usually
attributed to Simeon ben Jochai (2nd Cent.) but today there is no doubt that
it was born in Spain at the end of the thirteenth century, etc., etc.
Wrong; the name Zohar saw then the light of day, but contents, doctrines,
propounded were transmitted orally centuries B. C.
Grande Encyclopedie gives a very lengthy and learned exposition of the
doctrines, the idea found in the Kabala. Time and space does not permit here
an elaborate presentation or a critical view.
Encyclopedia Universal Ilustrade Americana Europea says of the Kabala that it
An oral tradition among the Jews that explained the sense of the Holy
In the ancient Jewish literature the whole body of religious doctrine with the
exception of the Pentateuch.
At the beginning of the tenth century of our era the cabala was considered as
a secret science, a system of Theosophy.
This Spanish-American Encyclopedia devotes four full pages and, strange as it
may seem, gives an impartial presentation of the case. Nueva Encyclopedia
Italiana. Two pages. Presentation is not deliberately unfair, principle of
hypothesis is strongly accentuated, contents not of sufficient value (opinion
of Strauss) to be given space in THE BUILDER, or time in the mind of the
The Encyclopedia Americana: Presentation free from bias. Four pages.
Cabana designates the mystic law of the Jews and the practice based thereon.
Historically considered the Cabala antedates by many centuries the work
devoted to the exposition of its theorists and the inculeation of its
practices, etc., etc.
Indications are plentiful in both the Apocrypha and the pseudo-Epigrapha,
notably in the Enoch books and the Testaments of various Bible heroes pointing
to the acceptance and currency of Cabalistic concepts at the time these extra
canonical books were composed, etc.
Jewish of the late pre-Christian, and Christian Gnosticism of the early
Christian centuries may be looked upon as its predecessors.
The Neo Platonic and Pythogorean character of the book's theorizing is
evident. To some sectaries the affirmation of the treatise seemed too strongly
anthropomorphic. They therefore posited between God and Universe a Mediator
the PRINCE of the WORLD, to whom they imputed all acts of creation and to whom
they referred the corporeal description of God found in the Bible....
brief, the main contentions of the Kabala are these: God is unknowable in His
own essence. He is the EN SOPH the limitless, infinite. He is the HIDDEN OF
ALL HIDDEN. He is the negative as far as he is cognizable by man, etc., etc
[Capitalization is by Strauss.]
The Americana gives quite a philosophical interpretation: A knowledge, an
understanding of the real, the inner, meaning of the Kabala cannot of course
Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings. Six large
pages. Selections follow:
The famous admonition of Sirach not to see that which is too wonderful for
thee, etc., etc.
This would seem to imply a tendency to Esoteric doctrines on the part of the
Kabalism denies the "Creatio ex nihilo" and the possibility of knowing God,
Presentation is fair, free from "conscious" bias; good intention but Christian
Orthodoxy - "Fundamentalism" - color the vision.
The New International Encyclopedia:
The designation for a mystical system of philosophy, which arose among the
Jews at the beginning of the common Era, as a reaction against the sober and
austere form assumed by Rabinnical Judaism. It attained a great vogue after
the twelfth century, spread among Christian scholars in the 15th and 16th
centuries and still prevails among the Jews of Eastern Europe though now dying
out, etc., etc.
More than "a little scratched," therefore will not serve.
Now again, what is the Kabala?
When L.F. Strauss became a member of the Ancient or Modern "Order of Free and
Accepted Masons," when he studied and examined carefully what had been
presented to his physical ears; when he - did what is generally expected from
a scholar - such as he is supposed to be - made some extensive researches;
Strauss rubbed his eyes to ascertain whether he was dreaming or was really
awake. Next he examined his intellect and then scrutinized his "NOUS" (Supraconscious
self) to make sure that everything was all right in the upper story of L. F.
Masonic nomenclature, Masonic symbolism taken, borrowed, "stolen," from what
might be called the innermost shrine of Judaism. A shrine, the existence of
which, in the opinion of Strauss, was no longer known or recognized, was in
fact, decried and rejected by official Christianity. L.F. Strauss, through
strange exceptional course of events had been made to see that what is called
Christianity may be likened unto a jewel taken from this innermost shrine or
unto a child reared and trained for its mission by the Builders, the Guardians
of this Shrine.
L.F. Strauss had intimated in previous articles, a society and organization
known in history as the Essenes, but whose real name, whose self-designation
was Banaim (which term means Builders or Masons) was the Builder, the
Providential Guardian of this Sacred Shrine.
number of secular, half-informed critical historians, make Jesus an Essene;
John the Baptist is universally recognized as a member of these Essenes, John
the Evangelist shows himself a member of this order by his presentation of the
Gospel. The Apostle Paul informs us that he had sat at the feet of Gamaliel, a
distinguished, a prominent member of this brotherhood. In Paul's presentation
of the figure of Melchizedek there stands revealed a definite knowledge and a
willing, joyful, acceptance of Essenic, that is Kabalistic, Weltanschauung
philosophy, theosophy religion. There cannot be a doubt in the mind of a
careful unbiased student that St. Clement and Origen, two of the most
prominent Church- fathers, and some other leaders of primitive Christianity
had been initiated into Essenic Kabalistic wisdom.
Upon the table upon which this article is written lies a book recently
discovered, and considered a treasure, by L.F. Strauss. A treasure, because
this book is in a way a star witness. In its presentation of Masonic lore this
book affirms, confirms, the main view and interpretations of L.F. Strauss. The
author of this book is Albert Pike, in whose memory a Masonic monument has
been erected in Washington. The title, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
This book by Albert Pike is a great work, a wonderful, a most marvelous
presentation of the garb, the dress in which were, are, clothed the doctrines,
the ideals of Ancient and Modern Freemasonry. Albert Pike in the opinion of
L.F. Strauss had not only entered the outer court, but his mental eye had been
opened, he had a distinct inner vision of a glorious temple, and even of an
inner shrine, which, in the opinion of L.F. Strauss, Albert Pike had actually
tried to enter.
Albert Pike in this book makes many favorable references to the Essenes; in
one place he has even given the name, the word Banaim, without seeming to
recognize its significance and relation. He refers to the connection of our
two Johns with the Order of Essenes, its teachings and activities.
This book by Albert Pike contains with appendix more than a thousand pages. In
this short article a full presentation of the "case," the Weltanschauung, of
our author (a recognized leader in Freemasonry) cannot of course be given. We
will also state that on some points the belief, the philosophy, the
Weltanschauung of L. F. Strauss is somewhat different from the interpretation
given by Albert Pike. The latter's references to some Graeco-Roman sages,
especially to Pythagoras, produced an inner and outer smile, in the mind and
upon the lips of L. F. Strauss.
What interests us, however, in the work of Albert Pike, are his many
references to the subject now under consideration, the Kabala. In a way this
Kabala constitutes the foundation, furnishes the basic principles of the
Masonic doctrines, ideas and ideals presented to the reader. As this book
contains, as already stated, more than a thousand pages, a few quotations only
can be given.
Kabala consecrates the alliance of the Universal reason and the Divine Word. .
Kabala contains a doctrine of logical, simple, absolute....
Kabala contains a source of many doctrines....
Kabala furnished the material for the Roman de la Rose. KABALA gives to
MASONRY secrets and symbols....
Kabala an entire perfect, unique theology in the secret traditions.
Kabala in active realization, the magic of words, is "Hermeticism."
Kabala taught the unity of God and embodied a pure Philosophy.
Kabala teaches the emanation of all from infinite light. .
Kabala the Ancient of Days existed before everything... .
Kabala the Hebrew traditional philosophy....
Kabala the supreme Being in the Unknown Father. . . .
Kabala the Key of the occult sciences and gave birth to the Gnostics.
Kabalistic doctrines known to the Templars....
Kabalistic and Hermetic Rose Croix....
Kabalistic books furnished the doctrine of the Hermetic philosophers.
Hermetic Philosophy, whose principles and teachings, ideas and ideals, in the
opinion of Strauss are in accord with the doctrines given in Kabala, existed
(again in the opinion of Strauss) thousands of years before the Kabala was
This Universe, this world of ours (again in the opinion of Strauss) existed
much longer than the average man imagines. Continuing quotations from Pike:
Kabalistic doctrines concealed under its emblems in the Apocalypse.
Kabalistic doctrine, like Masonry, tends towards spiritual perfection
Kabalistic doctrine of emanation, the origin of the Christian Trinity.
Kabalists have chiefly studied the question of the nature of Deity and the
beginning of the Universe. . .
Kabalists' opinion concerning souls is Platonism and comes from the Chaldeans.
. . . [Nix! Strauss.]
Cabalistic clavicules, Ezekiel and the Apocalypse have occult explanation.
Cabalistic expressed the perfect number, 10, by a Tau cross....
Albert Pike gives us also numerous references to the Zohar (in a way the crown
of the Kabala). These references are too lengthy and too significative to be
given in this brief article.
correspondence with our Bro. R. J. Meekren, L. F. Strauss was given the
information that Bro. Pike had obtained his knowledge about Occultism and the
Kabala largely from Maurice Constant, whose nom de plume was Eliphas Levi.
This caused L. F. Strauss to investigate Eliphas Levi, and Strauss was pleased
and feels grateful to his informant.
After a brief investigation he will say this: Eliphas Levi was one of the few
favorites of Fortune who had come near the ideal expressed by Nietsche in Also
Sprach Zaratsushtra, near the position in store (ultimately) for the members
of the Genus homo, near the position recognized by the great ones, the
Philosophers, the Prophets of the race; of which position Bulwer Lytton gives
us a vivid glimpse in his strange book entitled Zanoni: a position to which
Campanella refe in some of his writings. [See Sonnets, translated by J.A.
Simonds and Civitas Solis.] This Campanella spent thirty years of his life in
a dungeon, the prisoner "Our Holy Father the Pope" and the Holy Inquisition.
The philosophy, the theology, the doctrines enshrined, stored up in this
position, could be given or to a selfish untutored world in a form veiled,
very much veiled. The Platonists, Origen definitely informs us, when called
upon to choose, preferred to express the selves in too veiled a manner rather
than too plainly or openly.
Giordano Bruno has seen far and deep. Had expressed himself too openly? And
was he therefore punished by "Providence"?
Jacob Boehme, one of the greatest of seers, was, harmless; because his vision
is beyond the reach, above the understanding of the multitude and the
Cosmic Consciousness by Maurice Bucke, contains most valuable information for
those already initiated.
This book, La Clef Des Grands Misteres, is a most markable presentation of a
wonderful world, of a subject usually called Occultism, Mysticism,
occasionally even Spiritualism. Our author presents his ideas, his
interpretation of this strange world in three hundred and fourteen pages.
Levi" had glimpses of a superworld which glimpses disclosed to him a realm,
strange and wonderful; but he, in the opinion of Strauss, was not a trained
philosopher, did not fully realize the meaning and interpret correctly the
scientific cosmic significance of the things he saw with his inner eye. A few
One very important from first part:,
God Himself creates Himself eternally, and the Infinite which He fills with
His work is an infinite and incessant creation.
This word "infinite," like most people's clothes, covers a multitude of
"sins", or rather misunderstandings, errors, mistakes.
The second part of this book is devoted to a something our author calls a
supplement, and is entitled Articles Sur La Kabbale.
few excerpts which Strauss thinks of interest:
Catholic Dogma is derived from, based upon the Kabala, but carefully veiled
The word, God, expresses an ideal unknown in itself but well known under the
diverse ideas which man makes, conceives, and expresses under the name, God.
The Kabala which is the Mother of Exact Sciences, does admit a doubt when
authorizing a hypothesis and speaking the religious sense and the name by
which Man expresses his idea of the Infinite and the Invisible, the Kabala, we
declare predicates His necessary existence because the verb indicates Being,
as reflection indicates body .....
Kabala distinguishes between the real Being of God and the human conception or
idea, to which is given the name Adonai or Jehovah. . . .
is for this that the Kabbalists have distinguished the real being of God from
the idea of him in the [mind] of man.
Eliphas Levi was born a member, a son of the Catholic church. He remained a
good Catholic, not, of course, in the eyes, the judgment, of Our "Holy Father
the Pope." Some of his views will not be endorsed by American Protestants.
Protestantism, for instance, is able to produce enthusiasm only rarely and in
Protestantism is a religious negation rather than an affirmation.
Predilection, prejudice, ideas instilled into our mind during our childhood,
continue as a force, as a factor, in our opinion, our interpretation, even in
the mind of an Eliphas Levi.
Men who are too good or too liberally minded are disabled [lit. out of the
Sad but true !
Truth is set in the concourse [put where all can see] but those who find her
are condemned to silence, otherwise everything would be ended.
Endorsed by Strauss.
is for this that it mras said by the Christ, "I speak in parables that seeing
they should not see, and hearing they should not understand. Otherwise they
would be converted and would be saved."
Satis, satis! Enough, enough.
Eliphas Levi is considered, by our Editor, to have been the teacher, the guide
of our good brother and recognized leader, Albert Pike. Ergo, the words of
both should be of interest to the brothers of the Order of Free and Accepted
Masons and to the readers of THE BUILDER.
But frankness ! What will, what would be, the benefit derived from the reading
of the works by these great authors for the large majority of living members
of the genus homo, even if or when these readers are also members of our
The things presented, the ideas, the doctrines, the subjects discussed are so
strange, so mysterious, so incomprehensible to the mere intellect. We are here
reminded of the sage's declaration, Wer den Dichter will verstehen muss in
Dichter's Lande gehen. Who would the poet understand must travel to the poet's
country. In fact, in the opinion of L. F. Strauss, the ideas, the doctrines,
the subjects presented by Eliphas Levi, or Albert Pike, are about as strange,
as mysterious and incomprehensible as are, to the large majority of our
brothers, the ceremonies, forms, and nomenclature used in our lodges. Why this
opus and modus operandi? What justification, what purpose? We mentioned the
declaration by Plato and Origen. But have we not also the words of the Master
given in the sermon on the Mount, "Do not give that which is holy to dogs.
Cast not pearls before swine;" and the words of the Apostle Paul: "You are
still babes and cannot stand strong meat" (or shall we say "drink?"). Why this
The time for revelation, for publication had not yet come. In correspondence
with our editor, this brother was informed that Arthur Waite (in the opinion
of Strauss a great writer, a great student, a great theosophist, a good Mason)
had secured in his (our Editor's) mind, an improved appreciation, a higher
valuation, of our present subject, "The Kabala."
Arthur Waite has written many wonderful books of interest to searchers after
Truth and especially of special value to members of Masonry. Will here
The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, The Occult Sciences, The Real History of
the Rosicrucians and The Secret Doctrines of Israel, i.e., The Kabala.
might here also mention the great work published a few years ago by a noble
Frenchman, P. Vulliaud, of one of whose books our Editor expressed in
correspondence a favorable opinion. The book now in our mind is entitled La
Cabbage Juif. A "great" work, two large volumes. La Cabbage Juif presents a
learned exposition of Mysticism, in general, and Jewish Esoteric Occultism in
particular. A brilliant description of a most marvelous temple. Our Frenchman,
in the opinion of Strauss, even saw an inner shrine which he, our Frenchman,
failed to enter.
The second half of the second volume is devoted to a learned, a scholarly
refutation, of the claim of Masonry, to a connection, a relation, with La
The idea! La Cabbage Puff, the divinely revealed wisdom that has furnished to
the Holy Roman Catholic Church some of its most important dogmas and
doctrines! How preposterous! What a presumption! we must here, of course, take
into consideration that our noble Frenchman was born a Catholic, wished to be
considered a faithful son of his Church, and did not want to offend Our Holy
Father, the Pope, in his official court.
This present article is intended as a kind of introduction to a subject - the
Kabala. L. F. Strauss here wishes to call again attention to the three other
introductory articles published in THE BUILDER, one in the month of May, the
other in July, the third in the December edition.
For the benefit of the forgetful reader, or new readers of THE BUILDER, the
writer wishes to emphasize a few points: the nomenclature, the symbolism, used
in the Masonic Lodge, is taken from a something called The Kabala.
organization known in history by the name Essenes, are the fathers of this
Kabala. The popular name of these Essenes was Chasidim, the self-designation
was Banaim, which name or word means in English, Builders, Masons.
Kind readers recall, reflect: Maha Banaim.
a kind of "reference" to the reliability, the trustworthiness, of this Kabala,
Strauss will reiterate: The heliocentric doctrine "quoted" in the July number
was an integral part of the Essenic secret doctrines.
doctrine of evolution which contained features recognized by William James,
but which was not elucidated on account of not yet being scientifically
established, was also a part of Essenic teachings.
the textbook not yet written, this kind, this form, these basic principles of
evolution - wie die gute Mutter schafft - as Goethe said - will be given in
the textbooks, the school books of future generations.
scientific astronomical progress made possible and assured acceptance of
heliocentric doctrine, and prevalent theories of the doctrine of evolution -
although considered still by some unbiblical - so, the progress made in modern
astronomy, the discoveries, the doctrines of Theodor Fechner (whose main work
has been translated by Strauss), whose strange metaphysics the Encyclopedia
Brittanica calls the master key to "Modern Thought." (This should read
"future" thought in the opinion of Strauss.) Some features in the doctrine of
Relativity make possible and advisable the publication of some of the secrets,
some of esoteric doctrines enshrined in a work called the Kabala, the
fountainhead, the textbook of Free Masonry.
in a subsequent article L. F. Strauss intends to give in plain language, with
simple words, some highly interesting Kabalistic doctrines.
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
E. W WILLIAMSON Nevada
VATICAN AND ITS SHADOW
begin the New Year and the new volume of THE BUILDER by presenting the first
installment of "The Shadow of the Vatican." Our readers will now be able to
judge for themselves what the character of these articles really is. There
seems to be no object in repeating what was said on this subject last month as
to the reasons that have led us to publish them, but it may be as well to
insist once more that we take no responsibility for the author's statements.
We are satisfied that he is in a position to know what he is talking about,
and we have every ordinary everyday assurance that he is a man of probity and
honor, but this does not absolve our readers from making their own judgment
upon his work.
condition in his Church upon which he strongly animadverts seems, according to
recent news items, to have been removed, formally at least, and that is the
Italian dominance in the College of Cardinals. We say formally for the fact
that the new appointments now place the Italian Cardinals in a bare minority
will obviously not end their power of control. But it is a step towards an
administrative reform, and it is not impossible that the shadow of these
articles has gone before, and had something to do with the inauguration of the
new policy. This is not at all impossible (we will not venture to say
improbable) as they have been read in manuscript by several influential
churchmen, and have been much talked about privately.
again that it is our belief that the revival of administrative autonomy in
different countries, and especially, of course, in America, in the Roman
Church, would remove as a consequence most of the features that rouse the
apprehensions of Protestants and nonRomanists generally. As things now are
this Church is not only extra-national, but is also highly centralized and
ruled absolutely from a foreign country; and this again, not only in matters
of faith and doctrine, which in itself might be tolerable, but also in matters
of administration down even to minor details. And this it is that inevitably
makes everyone who does not accept the Papal claims either in spiritual or
temporal affairs justifiably suspicious.
there is one thing that must be constantly borne in mind and that is that this
condition is one for the action of the citizen and not of the Mason. It is the
neutrality of Freemasonry in regard to religious creeds that is the chief
count in the indictment against it, for this neutrality is feIt to be more
dangerous than hostility. Masons as such must never be tempted to leave this
impregnable position. As citizens they must act as their duty dictates
according to the best information they can obtain.
* * *
who have taken the trouble to read the pages of the Northeast Corner during
recent months will have gathered that the obstacles. confronting the National
Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association have been increasing rather than
diminishing, and becoming more and more insurmountable as time went on. As the
Grand Lodge of New Mexico was the prime mover in the formation of the
Association it was felt by the Board of Governors that before any final steps
were taken a full report of the whole situation should be presented to the
Grand Lodge at its next communication.
Several courses of action are possible, but it seems obvious that with the
general refusal of the other Grand Lodges of the country to cooperate it will
be useless to try and continue along the present lines. and trying to meet the
need through the agency of an official national organization.
the circumstances it will be best to defer all comment until after the report
of the Association has. been considered by the Grand Lodge of New Mexico. But
it may be as well to recall here what THE BUILDER undertook to do in support
of this cause, and the reasons for so doing. When the Association was
organized the first step was the essential one of bringing the situation to
the attention of the Masonic Fraternity and making the need for some action in
the matter as widely known as possible. Two avenues were available, and both
were attempted. The first was the regular official channel of correspondence
with the Executives of the various Jurisdictions. The other, intended to gain
the support of the members of the Craft at large, without which no official
action could be either decided or continuous, was the medium of the Masonic
Unfortunately comparatively few of the Masonic periodicals of the country were
willing to give much space or emphasis to the subject. An occasional paragraph
would appear here and there; gradually to become more and more infrequent,
until latterly all mention of the subject has been entirely dropped with very
few exceptions. In saying this we are merely stating a fact without the least
intention of making any criticism. We presume for one thing that, as in the
case of the Grand Lodges, the Association failed to convince the editors and
proprietors of the various Masonic Journals. The reasons for this failure are
doubtless complex. They may be the same as those which caused the majority of
the Grand Lodges to withhold support or they may be quite different, we do not
know, and not knowing do not presume to judge. We suspect however that they
were widely different in different cases.
Another condition entered into the situation. Of only a few Masonic
periodicals can it be said that they have a truly national circulation, and of
those few we believe that there is little question that THE BUILDER is most
evenly distributed throughout the whole country. Besides that, its readers
comprise the most thoughtful and influential members of the Craft.
seemed therefore, once the need was made clear, that it was our duty as Masons
to use our exceptionally favorable position to support the movement, and it
was for this reason that we placed a certain amount of space in our pages at
the disposal of the N.M.T.S.A. so that their message could be fully presented
to our readers in any way that seemed to them most fitted to produce results.
For the contents of the Northeast Corner the Editors of THE BUILDER have no
responsibility, other than the general one of giving this opportunity to the
Association to approach our readers. We have fully supported the work in its
general aspects in the editorial columns, and have from time to time
emphasized those features of the problem that seemed to us most essential.
as we can gather from letters received during the whole period that the
Northeast Corner has been a regular department of THE BUILDER, a majority of
our readers have approved this action. Indeed if the proportion of our
correspondents who favored it to those who did not is at all representative of
our readers as a whole it would not be too much to say that the latter form a
minority quite negligible in point of numbers. And such objection as has been
offered has not been disapproval of the T. B. Campaign itself or of any doubt
of the pressing nature of the problem, but solely on the grounds that it was
not appropriate in a magazine expressly devoted to Masonic Research.
force of this we concede. We can only repeat what we said on this point at the
very first, that though this is not a matter of research, yet we are all
Masons before we are students, and our Masonic duties have the prior claim
upon us. It seemed then, as it seems now, a matter of obligation that we
should do whatever lay in our power to help. And in any case, if this subject
has proved to be of interest to any substantial number of our readers, it
would be justified on that score alone, even if they were not a majority. It
is hardly possible to make everything that appears in THE BUILDER of equal
one of our readers. Any reader of any periodical must inevitably find some of
its contents dull ,or uninteresting, and the only practical ideal is to
arrange it that everyone may find something that appeals to him in each issue.
leaving the subject we may add that we have received unofficial information
that the work of the N.M.T.S.A. has at last borne some definite fruit. We
understand that at the recent meeting of the Grand Lodge of Texas an
assessment of twenty-five cents per capita was levied for the relief of
tubercular Texas Masons. Restricted in scope as this action is it is yet a
great step in the right direction and we congratulate the Texas brethren on
having taken it. If only every other Grand Lodge would follow this example and
proceed to make adequate provision for their own tuberculars the problem will
be solved in what after all may prove to be the most satisfactory way.
Providing of course that the tubercular Masons now in the "Tuberculosis
Triangle" are transported back to their own states as soon as provision has
been made for them. This is essential, for it must never be forgotten that the
problem is not an academic one, but that hundreds of our brethren are slowly
dying of disease and privation in the Southwest and that the pressing and
urgent need is to provide them some adequate relief. If the means so far
suggested to this end will not serve, others must be devised.
Bulletin of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association
Incorporated by Authority of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, A.F.&A.M.
MASONIC TEMPLE, ALBUQUERQUE, N. M.
OFFICERS AND BOARD OF GOVERNORS
HERBERT B. HOLT, Past Grand Master, President
RICHARD H. HANNA, Vice-President
FRANCIS E. LESTER, Vice-President
L. ELSER, Executive Secretary
ALPHEUS A. KEEN, Secretary
W. BOWMAN, Treasurer
J. NEWTON, Editor, Manager N.M.T.S.A.. Las Cruces, New Mexico
BRO. ROBERT JESSUP NEWTON, New Mexico
following article is reprinted from the "Journal of the Outdoor Life." It is a
general presentation of the problem by one who is thoroughly familiar with all
its aspects. Whether national or local sanatoria are the better means for
meeting the need, or whether a combination of both, the point that it is
necessary to grasp is that it is a national and not a local question. If every
state and every city was equipped to took after its own people, the need would
be met of course, but what is to be done with the sufferers already in the
a ruler upon the map of the Southwestern United States and draw a line from
San Antonio to Denver, 815 miles; then a second line from Denver to Los
Angeles, 850 miles, and a third line from Los Angeles back to San Antonio,
1220 miles, and you have enclosed within a vast triangle approximately 350,000
square miles of mountains and valleys, high tablelands, or mesas, and deep
canyons, deserts and irrigated valleys, ranging from sea level to peaks more
than two miles high. This great empire is the "Tuberculosis Triangle," famous
throughout the whole world, as the "Promised Land" of health and healing to
the unfortunate victims of the Great White Plague.
before the days of the gold rush to California and, in fact, more than a
century ago, the migration for health began. It is continuing and increasing
today. The biographies of many men who later became prominent in the history
of the Southwest show that they came as health-seekers. The pioneers of this
pilgrimage sought the semi-arid climate of Southwest Texas and the old Spanish
city of San Antonio, and as the passing of years brought settlements and
safety throughout the entire "Triangle," those who followed after them pushed
on to the Pacific Coast and spread out over the whole of this vast area, until
today there is scarcely a town in Western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Southern
California and Colorado, which has not its quota of health-seekers.
belief that tuberculosis is curable prevailed five hundred years before
Christ. Hippocrates wrote that, "phthisis, taken early, can be cured." The
belief that change of climate is beneficial existed at least as far back as
the first century of the Christian era. Celsus, a Roman writer who lived in
the first half of the First Century, A. D., author of a comprehensive
encyclopedia, of which only the eight books de medicina have come to us, in
which he gives an account of the whole medical system of the time, recommended
change of climate and life at sea. Galen, a celebrated Greek physician, born
about A. D. 130, long the supreme authority in medical science, advised a dry
hill country. Another writer of ancient days said, "If you have a phthisis go
into a high mountain, take a cow and live on the fruit of the cow."
is a deeply grounded belief in this country, among sick and well, that
consumptives can be cured, or their lives prolonged, if they will go to the
Southwest. That popular faith in the healing virtues of the climate of the
"Tuberculosis Triangle" is well-founded, is proven by the experience of many
thousands who are now living in this and region. Concrete evidence of the
restoration to health of many thousands exists in the cities and towns they
have built in the Southwest, for the growth and development of many
communities from sleepy Mexican villages, or Indian pueblos, into live and
hustling American municipalities is largely due to the consumptives who,
having recovered their health, had sufficient intelligence to remain within
the confines of the "Tuberculosis Triangle."
of these cities and towns with a real appreciation of what has made them grow
and prosper have capitalized the experiences of their citizens and advertised
their climate as their greatest asset. While this advertising and publicity is
addressed to the wealthy and the well-to-do, it has equal drawing power for
the poor and the indigent and has helped to develop and intensify a problem
that has assumed serious proportions and that is becoming more serious every
poor man with tuberculosis, and most of them are poor, believes that if the
climate of the Southwest is good for his well-to-do brother of this "Grand
Lodge of Sorrow," it is equally good for him. So he sets forth with the high
hope and optimism, which is symptomatic of tuberculosis, and often with a wife
and several children, to "chase the cure." He proposes to seek "light work" or
to "rough it," little realizing that there are fifty or more candidates for
every "easy" job, and that ranch work is strenuous and impossible for a man
who is A.W.O.L. from the hospital and the grave. So they start out like the
seekers of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and to most of them the
search is fruitless. They come to grief and after a year or more of suffering,
prolonged beyond the time they would have lived at home, for it is hard to die
even of tuberculosis in the Southwest, they come to journey's end in a ward of
some county hospital or poor farm where they find shelter f or the last few
months or weeks of life.
NUMBER OF TUBERCULOSIS MIGRANTS
many have come in a century of migration will never be known. How many come
every year? How many are now living in the Southwest? No one can say.
Estimates can be made but they would be only estimates. Even the number of
those who die cannot be given, for complete and accurate death records are not
kept in all places.
survey made by the United States Public Health Service in 1913 and 1914, facts
were secured from health authorities, county and municipal officials, charity
societies, hospitals and every agency having any contact with the tuberculous.
Definite information could be secured only about those who, because of
indigency, were forced to appeal to some agency for help and Who were a
liability to Southwestern cities and towns. Little information could be
gathered about those who were an asset to these communities, those who brought
capital and new life into the business of the Southwest.
estimated, by the Public Health Service investigators, that there were 30,000
consumptives in Western Texas, 27,000 in New Mexico and 20,000 in Southern
California. No estimates were made for Arizona and Colorado. Just prior to
this survey the National Tuberculosis Association estimated that 10 per cent
of the population of the Southwest was tuberculous, or had come to the West
because some member of their family was afflicted. The number of deaths of
tuberculous migrants does not give any real idea of the number of living cases
in the Southwest for hundreds and thousands go home to die.
of the death records by the Public Health Service investigators in 1913-1914
of three principal cities showed an increasing number of migrants coming to
these cities each year during the preceding ten years and led to the following
actual number of cases migrating is increasing, and this in spite of the
dissemination of information regarding the curability of the disease in other
climates and the erection of large institutions for its treatment in the
years later Miss Jessamine S. Whitney, an investigator for the National
Tuberculosis Association, came to the same conclusion. This would seem to
indicate a continuous increase in the number of sick coming to the Southwest
during the past twenty years.
Feb. 6, 1926, the United States Census Bureau stated that the approximate
population of the territory embraced within the "Tuberculosis Triangle" on
Jan. 1, 1920, was 2,912,000. If the estimate made by the National Tuberculosis
Association more than ten years ago is applied to the present population of
the "Triangle" there would be more than 300,000 people living in this
territory because they or some member of their families have, or have had
CLASSIFICATION OF MIGRATORY CONSUMPTIVES
migratory consumptive has been divided into four classes by one of the writers
of the Public Health Reports. The consumptive of wealth and ample means is
placed in the first class, for he often becomes an asset to the community in
which he locates. The second class is composed of those who have only moderate
means, and who, if they recover, may also become, in time, productive citizens
of their adopted city. Indigent consumptives, both those Who are indigent when
they arrive and those who may become indigent after their arrival, are placed
in a third class, and the fourth class is composed of the tuberculous tramps.
of the first and second class may again be divided into three subdivisions of
hopeless, doubtful and favorable cases. The hopeless, rich or poor, should
never make the journey. But who is competent to say which cases are hopeless
when every Southwestern city and town has a number of more or less prominent
citizens who proudly tell you of their coming to the Southwest "on a
stretcher" and who have recovered their health. The doubtful cases may do
well, if no unforeseen contingency, physical or financial, arises, while the
favorable cases might have fared equally well at home.
indigent cases there can be only two classes, doubtful and hopeless, for
chances for recovery are in direct proportion to the amount of aid which may
be extended to the patient by some agency and also to his physical condition.
Within the geographical "Tuberculosis Triangle" there is an economic Triangle
and its three points are money, intelligence and climate. He who wins into the
first Triangle of tuberculosis must also be able to enter into the second, for
without money and intelligence to use it climate is of no avail.
Consumptives of the first and second class do not enter into this tragic
problem unless through a change of circumstances they "graduate" into the
third and indigent class. They have contributed much to the building up of
the West. Their money, initiative and intelligence have built cities and
are those who claim that this influx of capital and of people more than
offsets the cost of caring for the indigents who come. This might be true if a
balance could be struck somewhere and the profits, if any, devoted to the care
of the indigents. While this is the oldest part of the country in history, it
is new in modern civilization and lacks the public institutions supported by
general taxation that are long established entities of northern
municipalities. It also lacks the highly-organized, completely financed
charity societies to aid the public welfare work. Therefore, the care of these
cases is a problem that defies solution.
pamphlet on "How to Organize and Maintain a Study Club" will be sent free on
request, in quantities to fifty
Constitution and By-laws for Study Clubs
have been numerous requests in recent months for a draft of a Constitution and
By-laws suitable for adoption by Study Clubs. In answer to these
correspondents we are publishing herewith such an outline. It is a
modification of the Constitution and By-laws of an organization now
functioning and comes well recommended by the brethren in that group.
fact that it is short and permits of much elasticity is very much in its
favor. It must be borne in mind that a Study Club should not be overburdened
with officers, committees and general organization. It must be flexible and
informal to as great a degree as is possible.
Section 1. The name of this Club shall be ................
Section 1. To seek further light in Masonry.
2. To study and familiarize ourselves with the Allegoric and Symbolic meaning
of the Masonic Ritual and the history of Freemasonry from such books as
authorized and originate from constituted authority.
3. To report on assigned topics which will be followed by discussions at
Section 1. The membership of this Club shall be limited to all Master Masons
in good standing of the ______ Masonic District, who are desirous of gaining
further knowledge in Masonry.
2. All Masters and Past Masters are Honorary Members of this Club.
ARTICLE IV OFFICERS
Section 1. The officers of this Club shall be a President, VicePresident,
Secretary, treasurer, Study Director and Assistant Study Director.
ARTICLE V DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Section 1. The President shall preside at all the meetings.
2. The Vice-President shall assist the President and preside in his absence.
3. The Secretary shall keep a faithful and accurate record of the proceedings
of all the meetings. Attend to all the correspondence of the Club. Receive all
moneys collected from the members and pay same to the Treasurer and take his
4. The Treasurer to receive all moneys from the Secretary and pay out same by
order of the President with the vote of the members present.
5. The office of the Secretary and Treasurer may be combined until such time
as their duties require separation.
6. The Study Director and Assistant Study Director shall assign Study Topics
and prepare questions for discussion.
Section 1. Each application for membership shall be accompanied with a fee of
2. The dues of the Club shall be ten cents per month per member payable at
each regular meeting.
3. Additional funds of this Club may be derived from assessments, if, when,
and as necessary, by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present.
ARTICLE VII MEETINGS
Section 1. The place of meeting shall be at the .......... in unless
otherwise specified by a majority vote.
2. The regular meetings of this Club shall be held on the ____ of each month.
The meetings shall be called to order at 7:30 p. m. and closed at 9:00 p. m.
3. Special meetings may be called at the order of the President. Special
meetings not to exceed more than one in any calendar month.
ARTICLE VIII ELECTIONS
Section 1. The election of Officers shall take place at the .......... regular
meeting in December and they shall be installed the same evening.
Section 1. Robert's Rules of Order shall govern the business procedure in this
Section 1. This Constitution may be amended only at a regular meeting and by a
two-thirds vote of the members present, provided such amendment be presented
and read at the regular meeting next previous to being voted upon.
quite possible that in most places even this form of constitution is more
complex than the need will call for. For example, the President and Director
might in many cases profitably be combined as well as that of Secretary and
Treasurer. Article IX is quite possibly unnecessary; the business of the Club
outside of the study and research work will naturally be very slight, and no
questions of order will be at all likely to arise. In regard to the
discussions on topics assigned no rules are required but those of the ordinary
courtesies of debate. They must naturally be as free as possible to give
everyone the fullest opportunity of contributing his quota to the discussions.
This is the end to be constantly kept in view, that every member is to take
his part in the proceedings, and nothing calculated to hinder this should be
* * *
Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan, through its Committee on Masonic Study and
Research, is continuing the work which began so auspiciously this fall. The
outline program for the work of the present season was published in full in
THE BUILDER. We have the detailed outlines for all of the topics, including
January, on file in this office and will be very glad to furnish them to those
who were interested in this work.
would be well to publish these more detailed outlines in full in this
department but their nature makes it inadvisable to do so.
outlines are valuable aids to Study Clubs who find themselves confronted by
the problem of what to study, though it must be borne in mind they are
prepared to meet the needs of a specific Grand Lodge and may need some
modification before being entirely suitable for use in a subordinate lodge
owing allegiance to some other Grand jurisdiction.
more we congratulate the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan upon the efficiency of
its Masonic Study and Research Committee.
* * *
DEVELOPMENTS IN GLENDALE
just in receipt of advice from the Glendale Masonic Research Club that the
Worshipful Master of one of the two lodges interested in this organization has
seen fit to appoint members of the club on the Lodge Committee on Masonic
Education. This may constitute a tip for the Masters of other lodges.
live wire organization has accomplished much in the seven months of its
existence and the plan calls for a presentation of their latest activities in
a forthcoming number of THE BUILDER.
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.
AND REFRESHMENT. Edited by J. S. M. Ward, M. A. Published by The Baskerville
Press, Ltd., 161 New Bond St., London. 1926. Cloth, table of contents, index,
illustrated. Price $4.00.
purpose of this book," the editor informs the reader, "is to indicate subjects
which will appeal to various types of men, and to show how such subjects can
conveniently be compressed into a reasonable space." The purpose has been
accomplished, and the subjects dealt with range from an enquiry as to whether
the Christian Mysteries are extinct to a discussion, contributed by Bro. V. S.
Stevens, of the meaning of Brotherhood in Freemasonry, with two pieces of
fiction thrown in for good measure.
Rev. W. A. Wigram, D. D., contributes two papers, one concerning the Ancient
Mysteries in Modern Greece, and the other dealing with the migration of
Phoenician deities, as well as a review of Bro. Ward's book, "Who Was Hiram
Abif," which has already been dealt with in these columns. "What Is
Freemasonry" is the title of another chapter in which W. Bro. H. V. Watch, of
Sydney, Australia, develops an effective parallel between the teachings of the
Craft and the hidden mysteries of nature and science.
R. V. Harris, the Historian of the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, is responsible
for an article on the Early History of Freemasonry in Canada, and although it
contains a mass of dates and facts the writer has -succeeded in presenting his
information in an interesting and connected narrative. We notice one slight
error, Lieut. Guinnett, the first Provincial Grand Master of Quebec, held his
commission in the 47th Regiment, not the 27th, an error which can safely be
attributed to the printer. In asserting that Lodge No. 156, warranted in 1755
by the "Moderns" in the 8th or King's Regiment, was the first military lodge
warranted by that body, does Bro. Harris disregard the lodge established by it
in 1750 and attached to the 31st Foot because it did not actually possess a
documentary Warrant? Bro. Harris refers to the service held in the Recollet
(not Recollect) Church on the installation of the Duke of Kent as Provincial
Grand Master of Lower Canada, but so that an incorrect inference may not be
drawn from this fact it should be borne in mind that this building, which was
the property of the Recollet Fathers, was used jointly by the Protestant and
Roman Catholic communities at that period.
turn to Bro. Ward's own contributions to the volume. Bro. Ward is an
enthusiast in the endeavor to connect the modern Craft with the past, and in
searching for the "missing links" catches at every straw to bolster up his
ingenious theories. He appears to be a disciple of that early school of
Masonic writers whose works, in the light of modern criticism, are no longer
acceptable, and the strained parallels and overdrawn coincidences which he
puts before the reader with such frequency are not only unconvincing but
irritating. It is to be regretted, too, that a writer of his attainments
should permit himself to fall into those inaccuracies which, with but little
care, he could avoid.
discussion of the descent of Freemasonry through the Companionage, Bro. Ward
relies on the Livre du Compagnonnage, published by Perdiguier in 1841 (this
was the second edition, not the first, which appeared a year earlier), but
supports the claim that it possessed the Hiramic Legend. His quotation from
Gould in rebuttal of the belief that the legend was introduced into the
Companionage from Freemasonry does not carry conviction, and Bro. Ward's
witness-in-chief (Perdiguier, 3rd Edn. 1887) himself expresses the view that
it was borrowed from the Craft, while Saint Leon (1901) gives the whole text
of the legend, which is clearly taken from a French translation of a
contemporary English Lecture. Bro. Ward tells us that the guilbrette is really
the greeting known to all Master Masons, but the similarity is not very
profound, nor is it conceded that the guilbrette was actually given to a
deceased companion. Much is made of the "howling" at the funeral of a
companion, but this was not a practice confined to the Companionage, nor was
it common to all three branches for the Sons of Solomon (which included the
Masons) did not howl at all. No reference is made to the use of soubriquets to
designate the various classes forming the Companionage, and with this practice
in mind, the use of the word "Louveteaux" as applied to sons of companions
loses the significance which it is suggested it possesses.
"The Passing of the Operatives" Bro. Ward strongly sustains the contention put
forward a few years ago by Bro. Clement Stretton, and rejected from lack of
evidence, that the Modern Operatives possessed and had worked continuously
from the pre-Grand Lodge era the original rites of the Craft. The production
of a Minute Book of the Warrington Operative Stone Masons' Society, founded in
1832, is not evidence of the earlier existence of the Operative Ritual, and
will fail to convince the critics of the merits of Bro. Stretton's views as
Bro. Ward scornfully anticipates.
* * *
SPLENDOR. By Ben Ames Williams. Published by E. P. . Dutton & Co., New York.
Cloth, 570 pages. Price $2.65.
general it may be said that readers of fiction are divided into two classes:
those who read solely for the story and those who seek the motive which may
lie beyond the printed page. In other words, there are readers of lines and
others who endeavor to read between the lines. Unfortunately the readers in
the latter class are as few as the worth while books which are at present
being produced for them.
this last group who will find welcome relief from the usual type of best
seller in Ben Ames Williams' Splendor. I seriously doubt the possibility of
Mr. Williams' work becoming a member of the most popular class, though more
readers who were capable of enjoying the work would help to subject it to this
distinction and would consequently elevate the plane of American fiction.
story as it appears in print is nothing as compared to the unprinted
background from which it rises. I have always admired Mr. Williams as a
spinner of yarns, and he has told his tale with the usual facility in the work
under discussion. It is more of a character sketch, better, a group of such
sketches, than a tale, though it has a plot which is ample and well worked
out. Perhaps not in precisely the same station in life, nor under the same
conditions have each of us seen this drama of life unfold, nevertheless we all
know the characters in the tale as friends. Mr. Williams has pictured each of
them with such clarity that they are easily recognized. Doubtless this
contributes, in no small measure, to the enjoyment of the book.
are so many phases of the book which are worthy of more than passing mention
that another volume could be written in describing it. Among other things
there is a picture of and a tribute to the world of journalism such as has
appeared before in cases all too rare. The period in which the action takes
place - from about 1870 to the present day - is one which is interesting
because of the revolutionary changes which have taken place. The newspaper
world felt this transition; it was reflected in transportation systems, and in
modes of private travel as well - the horse, the bicycle and the automobile.
The family life of the world at large was influenced materially by the change
iii lighting equipment, from gas to electricity. Other things there are, but
we have accepted all of this as a matter of course, and it is only when we
have a rare moment of contemplation that we realize the wonders which have
taken place in the past half century.
is a certain Splendor in this march of progress. Mr. Williams has presented it
in an intangible way, the more charmingly because of the intangibility. One
sees the hero of his tale as a son of a blacksmith, enjoys with him the sparks
which fly from the anvil into the neutral gloom of his father's shop, and
becomes a part of this childish splendor. We continue to live through the
trials, and tribulations of an ordinary, it might almost be said mediocre,
existence; through youth with its ambitions, love and marriage; through a
fatherhood, the joys of which are marred by death and a frustrated ambition;
through manhood and its joys in the life of the children and its grief as they
part for college, and later marriage. One cannot help but see a renewal of the
more youthful happiness in the joys of grandchildren. But behind all of this
stalks the terror of a decline - comes the day when there is no longer forward
progression in the business world and a backward step sets in. There is
nothing unusual in all this as it is pictured on the pages of a book, but
behind it all is a certain something, which comes to mind time and time again.
It is ephemeral; it has no lasting quality; it cannot be mirrored in cold
black letters; there is a warmth, a satisfaction, a joy in the life we see.
This is Splendor.
* * *
THOUGHTS ON BUDDHISM. WHY I BELIEVE IN BUDDHISM. By Alice Leighton Cleather.
JESUS VISIT INDIA AND TIBET? By Basil Crump. Privately printed.
who without knowing much about the subject are interested in Buddhism will
find considerable material in small compass in the first two of these little
pamphlets, the first of which has a number of illustrations - chiefly of
different art types of the Buddha from various oriental countries. The author
has especially studied the cult in China, where according to the ordinary
authorities, it exists only in a debased form. She however presents an
entirely different picture.
second pamphlet her subject leads naturally to a revelation of part of her own
personal experience. Like so many other devotees of this religion she was
directed towards it, apparently, by the works of Madame Blavatsky.
Dissatisfied with an inadequate presentation of Christianity which she, in
company with thousands of others, finds repellent, and not inclined to look
for the underlying reality and truth in her hereditary faith, she found
eventually a spiritual home in the system founded by Sakya Muni. The upholders
of narrow and unspiritual dogmatic systems have much to answer for, even
though they are so certain that their orthodoxy is the only path to salvation.
On the other hand if the earnest seekers after truth would work as hard to
find out the truth about Christianity as they do to master exotic cults, they
might find that what they sought for was right at hand. Still it is only too
natural to reject the gold when it is presented in the form of an unattractive
ore, to throw away the chaff without stopping to sift out the good grain.
third pamphlet contains a discussion of the claims that have been made at
various times that Jesus, previous to his three years' ministry in Palestine,
had visited India and Tibet; and had thence derived much, if not all, of his
teaching. The author rejects the Tibetan part of the story entirely, on the
authority of the explorer Sven Hedin, with whose views he seems to agree. In
regard to India be appears inclined to leave the question undecided, admitting
the case is not proved, but evidently feeling that it may be true
nevertheless. This is only natural, as if the central figure of the Christian
religion could be shown to have been taught by the occult schools of the far
east, Christianity could be made out to be only an adaptation or secondhand
version of the true religion. This conclusion would not, however, necessarily
follow, even if the truth and antiquity of these legends were demonstrated
beyond reasonable doubt. And that they ever will be, or can be, seems highly
general tone of the pamphlet is to be commended. Too many writers of the
author's school of thought indulge in mere assertions, just as so many Masonic
writers have done - and still do. Mr. Crump however does endeavor to limit
himself to the evidence and to go no further than it warrants. But in reality
the problem he deals with is very complex, and it is possible to account for
the traditions without admitting their historical truth.
* * *
COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP. By Willa Cather. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New
York. Cloth, 303 pages. Price $2.65.
Imperialism meets Republicanism, or more precisely, when Monarchy meets
Democracy, there is likely to be a struggle; not merely a wrestling match
where the pinning of the shoulders for a matter of five seconds or so
constitutes a victory, but a matching of grips where victory means life, and
defeat, oblivion. Such was the stage which was set for Monsignor Jean Marie
Latour, when he was sent as a missionary priest to the New Mexican wilderness
of 1861. The territory which was to constitute his parish, or diocese, had for
centuries been under Spanish control, and was accordingly a part of the
Episcopal see of Mexico. There was no mere battle, but a war, in which the
first victory only foreshadowed other struggles to come. The first task to
confront Father Latour was to establish himself in his new charge. But there
is no need to tell the story, let those who may be interested seek information
in the original.
book is less of a tale than the picture of a character; and one sometimes
feels that the two-fisted, hard-drinking, heavy-weight champion of the Lord,
Father Joseph Valliant, should have been the hero instead of the gentle
Monsignor Latour. The latter seems out of place in the roughness which
surrounded him, and perhaps would have been better qualified for a village
cure in his native Auvergne. The will of God, published through a committee of
Cardinals, ruled otherwise however, and it was not until late in life that
Father Joseph donned his own mitre. Perhaps some day we shall have the story
of how he carved his diocese from the wilderness to the north; and what a
story it will be!
whole, however, there is little complaint that can be made of the story given
us. If, at times, Miss Cather falls into the attitude of a highly devoted
member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin, it is not often enough to be
irritating, and her ability as a skillful story teller overshadows it all. The
writing throughout is in her best style; simplicity without ornamentalism and
yet relieved of monotony, could characterize the technical side of the work.
As a piece of writing it is her best work. T.
* * *
HAPPINESS. By William Lyon Phelps. Published by E.P. Dutton & Co., New York.
Cloth, 49 pages. Price $1.10.
pot of gold at the rainbow's foot, which, in many cases, symbolizes happiness,
has no real place in this short essay by Dr. Phelps. It will take no more than
an hour to read, but one can spend many pleasant days contemplating the
material of which it is composed. Coupled with Dr. Phelps' definition, which
is really not a definition of happiness, but a description of a happy person,
and which reads as follows: "The happiest person is the person who thinks, the
most interesting thoughts" should be another one, "The City of Happiness is in
the state of mind." The elaboration of the first of these definitions composes
the subject-matter of the essay, which is in Dr. Phelps' most pleasing style.
No further recommendation should be necessary.
stamps I received from the readers of THE BUILDER the last year helped me to
have a year of much joy.
still flat on my back but free from pain.
Christmas time most of the post offices will use what are known as
pre-cancelled stamps, the kind with cities names printed over the face of each
would be happy to have you and your friends save them for me. All I ask is
that they do not peel them off the wrapping paper or cut into the perforation
teeth at the sides.
H. Cooke, P.O. Box E, Carmel, Cal.
Unfortunately this letter was not received in time to insert in the December
number, so that we fear the stamps on Christmas parcels this year, unless
already saved, will have been permanently filed in the W.P.B. or its domestic
equivalent. However, we are very glad to know that readers of THE BUILDER have
remembered Bro. Cooke during the past year and trust they will not forget him
* * *
BIBLE IN MASONRY
you give me any information concerning the time when, and circumstances
attending, the introduction of the Holy Bible as the Great Light in Masonry?
beginning of last century, Webb placed the Bible with the S. and C. under the
two heads of Great Lights of Masonry and Furniture of the Lodge. Browne's
Master Key, published not long before Webb's Monitor, spoke of it only as part
of the Furniture, as also Preston in his Illustrations of Masonry. A work
published in 1760 which might be described as an illicit ritual, has in its
account of the initiation an address by the Master to the Candidate in which
the Great Lights include the Bible, but in the appended lecture or catechism,
these are called Furniture, and the Great Lights are said to be what have
since been called lesser lights. Lesser lights are not mentioned, so far as we
recall, before the publication of Webb's Monitor. Instead three "Fixed Lights"
are spoken of which seem to have been explained as three windows to the lodge,
E.,S. and W. In 1730, another illicit ritual speaks again of the Furniture as
in the 1760 Lecture, the Great and Fixed Lights are also the same.
Great Lights were spoken of in France, and presumably elsewhere in Europe, but
not the Fixed Lights nor the Furniture. About 1730 in Scotland, or precisely,
in the old Lodge of Dumfries, there is some evidence that the B. S. & C. were
described as the three pillars of Masonry. A description also of the Bible as
the foundation or support of the ladder of the Theological Virtues is also met
with, in the latter part of the 18th century.
France the Holy Book was not the Bible but the Book of the Gospels - or
possibly the New Testament. There are indications that this was also the
original practice in the British Isles, especially before the Reformation. But
it is very possible it persisted in places into the 18th century.
primitive or pre-Grand Lodge Masonry the candidate was probably required to
take two or three oaths or solemn promises. The first was to abide by and keep
the ancient charges. This he promised with his hand on the book as they were
read to him. Another was to be a loyal law-abiding citizen, and to aid and
assist his brethren. The third was an obligation to secrecy. This last was
probably in quite a different form from the others, and the book may not have
figured in it at all.
been suggested that the book on which the first oath was taken was the Book of
Charges itself, this however needs more evidence, as it does not seem very
probable in itself.
conclusion it would seem that the Bible, or the Book of the Gospels, whichever
may have been used, was introduced first not as a symbol but simply as an
additional sanction to the oath. That once admitted as part of the necessary
furniture of a lodge it finally came to be regarded as the Great Light was
under all the circumstances inevitable, but the process has never yet been
* * *
RELATIONS OF SWEDISH MASONRY
in receipt of your kind letter of July 21 and will say that I will be pleased
to see those letters you mention published in THE BUILDER, and the sooner the
couple weeks ago I received a letter from the secretary of Michigan
Consistory, A. & A. S. R., dated April 28, 1927, and a letter from the
secretary of Zion Lodge, No. 1, enclosing a letter from the Grand Secretary of
the Grand Lodge of Michigan dated June 20, 1927.
contents of these letters I think ought also be published for the information
of American Masons. For that reason I enclose copies of these two letters and
submit them to you for publication with the letters that have already appeared
in THE BUILDER.
Referring to the statement in the first letter I would like to add that I
heard from a man last week, that the Grand Lodge of Sweden is in fraternal
relations with the Grand Lodge of New York, U.S.A. If such be the case - and
that can be investigated then - I would like to know why is not and can not
the Grand Lodge of Michigan be in fraternal relation with the Grand Lodge of
Sweden. It seems to me that the Grand Lodge of Michigan should have the same
right to such fraternity as the Grand Lodge of New York.
Herbert L. Smith, Secretary.
in receipt of yours of the 29th instant with copies enclosed of letters from
Bro. Eric H. Peterson.
fact is that the Grand Lodge of Michigan is not in fraternal relations with
the Grand Lodge of Sweden, in fact then are very few if any of the Grand
Lodges in the United State that are in fraternal relations with the Grand
Lodge of Sweden consequently, I do not see any way to help Bro. Peterson out.
It is unfortunate, indeed, the condition he is in if he is going t continue
his residence in Sweden. Of course, if he comes back to this country or
removes to any other country where we hav4 fraternal relations with their
Grand Lodge, he could speedily be taken care of. I very much regret the
situation he is placed in, but as above stated, I know of no way to help him
Sincerely and fraternally yours,
Winsor, Grand Secretary,
Lodge of F. & A. M., Michigan.
Eric H. Peterson,
true that ALL FREEMASONS do not recognize each other as FREEMASONS. Whether or
not Freemasonry fails because of this is a debatable question. No doubt that
is the original intention, and is yet, and it is gradually working to that
end. It is something akin to the saying of the great Roosevelt, who said, "I
do not believe in war, but suppose the other fellow does not believe as I do?"
Perhaps it is also true that "All Grand Jurisdictions of Freemasonry in the
world should take it as their duty to communicate with each other and to
recognize each other." But suppose one or more Grand Jurisdictions does not so
think? The membership in either is helpless, is it not? I am sure that the
spirit of Americanism would gladly take, and no doubt has taken, steps to be
in fraternal relationship with all Grand Jurisdictions throughout the world.
Here is where the great "slogan" of "Brotherly Love" comes in on the part of
our great American Freemasonry. Brotherly love for all mankind is the basic
principle upon which American Freemasonry is founded. BUT suppose our
brotherly love is not acceptable? Does that minimize Freemasonry here in
America? There is no doubt that Scottish Rite Masonry of Michigan and the
United States desires fraternal relationship the world over. Our "Brotherly
Love" to all mankind does not entitle us to visitation in other jurisdictions
where we have no fraternal correspondence. We may have charity for our
neighbor, but he may refuse our admission to his household. . . .
N. Glass, Secretary,
Michigan Sov. Cons., Valley of Detroit.
Grand Lodge of New York appears to be in fraternal correspondence with most of
the European Grand bodies with the exception of those in Latin countries and
Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Consequently it would seem that Bro. Peterson's
informant was in error on this point.
* * *
KNIGHTS OF MALTA AND THE ORDER OF ST. JOHN
regard to the article in the December issue of THE BUILDER about the Knights
of Malta. I am a member of the Knights of Malta, as well as a member of the
National Masonic Research Society, and I thank you for the space you have
given in THE BUILDER for information about the Knights of Malta. However, I
will say that I have never heard anyone addressed as His Eminence, which is
the first question asked. The next question raised is to the proper title of
address of the members in the United States; the only one I have ever known
given is Sir Knight Companions for the members, and Sir Knight Commander and
so on for the officers.
Grand officers are addressed as Grand Sir Knight. I enclose an application
blank, which has some history of the Order on it, any of which you are welcome
to publish, as well as anything in this letter. Any further information that I
can give you will be glad to do so.
Myers has misunderstood the subject of Bro. Bennett's questions. The further
communication that immediately follows will show that the latter has found the
answer to them himself, at least in part.
historical notes on the form sent by Bro. Myers it is claimed that the English
branch of the Order is the sole legitimate existing "Language" and that the
American Order of the Knights of Malta was instituted by the Scottish Branch
of the English "Language." The claim may be based on facts, but we would warn
our readers that it would hardly be safe to accept it without satisfactory
evidence. The American Order even if legitimately descended has apparently
been affected by the Masonic Order of Knights of Malta as it has practically
the same officers, with presumably the same functions. The existing branches
of the Order of St. John, Roman Catholic and Protestant both, do not have
these officers and have nothing like a ceremony of initiation. Bro. Bennett
says in his letter that:
Knights of Malta, known officially as "Knights of the Order of the Hospital of
St. John of Jerusalem," is the oldest military order in Europe. It was founded
Order is governed by what is known as a Grand Master. It consists of seven
chapters, six of which are in Europe and one in the United States. The
American chapter was recently established in New York City with ten charter
members. Cardinal Hays, Archbishop of New York, is the head of the chapter.
stated that the American chapter is the first one to be established in three
are two Protestant branches of the Sovereign Order of Malta, one in England
and one in Germany. None can become members in Europe of any of the branches
of this Order except nobles of long and high degree. It is the most exclusive,
and the most important military order in the world. The doors of the oldest
and highest of the European nobility open as if by magic to all members of the
Knights of Malta.
Masonry a degree known as the Knight of Malta is conferred in a Commandery of
Purpose of the Roman Catholic branch of the Knights of Malta is to raise funds
for charitable uses. The Great War has caused such great changes in Europe,
especially among the old nobility, that the Grand Master of the Order, with
the sanction of the Pope of Rome and his advisers (probably at their
suggestion), thought it necessary to establish a chapter in the United States,
to elect to it American multimillionaires so as to obtain funds for charitable
purposes, and thus making them "cousins" of the old European nobility.
further letter has been received from Bro. Bennett with additional information
regarding the advertising the Order of St. John seems to be obtaining
recently. He writes:
Mention of the Order of Malta, or reference to it, is lately being made in
many publications. It is surprising how widespread this is, it almost reaches
the plane of propaganda.
night I took up the December National Geographic Magazine, and in the leading
article, "Pageant of Jerusalem," was the following:
"Taking a car, we rode down the Bethlehem road toward the citadel. On the
right, high above the Opthalmic hospital, flies the flag of the Venerable
Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. [Also known as the Knights of
Rhodes and the Knights of Malta.] Eight hundred years ago noble knights and
occasionally fair ladies set forth from England, France, Germany, Austria and
other parts of Europe to wrest the Holy Land from the Saracens, and under the
flag of the Knights played a great part in the history of the city.
the Grand Priory in the British Realm is living up both to the traditions and
motives of the Order: Pro Fide (for the Faith) and Pro Utilitate Hominum (for
the Service of Man). It maintains the eye hospital to which people come from
all parts of Palestine, Transjordiana, Syria and even Irak."
* * *
AIR CORPS MASONIC CLUB, HAWAII
communication from a small group of Masons, isolated in the midst of the
Pacific Ocean, is exceedingly interesting. It could be wished that brethren
nearer home would make as good use of their opportunities to make an advance
Twenty-four hours "as the ship flies," but seven days by steamer from San
Francisco, in the vast waters of the Pacific, are situated the Hawaiian
Islands. In this group of Islands is the Island of Oahu, and as a possession
of the United States, Old Glory flies on the tropical breezes. Following this
beautiful flag, as thousands of Master Masons do, there is a group of Flying
Hirams stationed on a small island called Luke Field in the heart of Pearl
flying brothers, isolated from the larger portion of Oahu Island, dwell in
unity as Master Masons and have formed a club known as the "Luke Field Masonic
Club." They meet once monthly at a dinner and discuss subjects of interest and
enjoy the good fellowship of their brethren.
club's membership numbers sixty or more members, and enjoys the prestige of
having as a member the Past Commander, Major P. E. Von Nostrand, 32d, and Post
Adjutant Lt. Leon E. Sharon, 32d.
in this remote district this brotherly companionship out of military formality
can be appreciated by all.
Editor's articles in THE BUILDER have served, on several occasions, as
excellent subjects for discussion and general comment.
present officers of the club are:
President, Bro. O.R. Kelsey; Vice-Presidents, Bro. Boyd Ertinne and Bro.
Alfred Granger, while the Secretary and Treasurer is the present writer.
Wallace H. Williams.
* * *
HOLY CROSS AND SIGMA CHI
G. N. Black did not find the reply to his letter by E. E. T. particularly
helpful as he was already aware of the facts stated therein. He still thinks
that there may have been some connection between the members or some of them,
of the Danish Lodge Hellige kors (Holy Cross) in the Island of St. Croix and
the founders of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, and he would like to get into
communication with any members of the latter who are interested in seeking for
its origins. This Danish lodge was instituted in or about the year 1775, and
its history is quite fully treated in a paper by Bro. Rasmussen in A. Q. C.,