The Builder Magazine
October 1929 - Volume XV - Number
THE CITY OF PRAGUE AND
Bro. Joseph S. Roucek, New Jersey
(Concluded from September)
1729, the activity of the lodge was stopped temporarily, because Sporck, its
founder and Master, was imprisoned. The Jesuits accused him of treason against
the state. The process against him lasted seven years, and we must thank the
influence of Frantisek, Duke of Lorraine, who meanwhile had become the husband
of Maria Theresa, later Empress of Austria, and, himself a Freemason,
intervened with his imperial father-in-law.
The lodge continued its activity in 1735. In 1738 Count Sporck died, exhausted
spiritually and bodily. Count Ferdinand Paradis was elected his successor as
Master of the Lodge. Under his rule political questions were introduced, which
was hardly surprising in those stormy days. The Austrian-Bavarian War gave the
Count an opportunity to support, with a part of the brethren, the Bavarian
Elector, Karel Albrecht. But some of the members of the lodge were opposed to
this, while yet others remained neutral. Hence the lodge was divided into
three parts. Perhaps as a result of this two new lodges were founded in 1741,
so that there were three lodges in Prague at that time. It was only after
1743, following many conferences and discussions, that these three lodges were
united into one Czech Lodge, of the Three Crowned Stars, which was headed by
Count Keunigl, a partizan of Austria. But not all the members of the three
lodges agreed to this union. A part of them, especially those who belonged
formerly to the Bavarian Lodge, nursed their national hatred in their hearts
and the old traditions in their minds, and during the year 1743 formed a new
lodge in the Old City, entitled Of the Three Pillars, which in 1752 was headed
by Captain Schindler. According to the historian Svatek, the Lodge of the
Three Pillars was an offshoot of the Lodge Of the Three Stars with an
affiliated lodge in Litomerice, named Sincerite.
shall turn our interest now to the Lodge of the Three Crowned Stars, whose
Master in 1758 was still Count Kuenigl. The lodge worked according to the
Ecossois, or Scottish [really the French] ritual, and devoted itself entirely
to philanthropic objects and banned all political debate in its meetings.
Freemasonry at that time was persecuted in Austria, and hence in Bohemia also,
and even though Francis I gave it some protection, it was not recognized as
legal, and the meetings of the lodges in Vienna and Prague had to be held in
secret. The Jesuits, as ever, were its worst enemies, and they attempted to
brand the members of the brotherhood as enemies of both the State and the
Church. The persecution went so far that a meeting of the Viennese Lodge was
dispersed by soldiers, and eighteen members thrown into prison. This forced
the lodge at Prague to be still more cautious. First of all, they concealed
their archives, which explains the fact that we have so little definite
knowledge of the activity of Bohemian Masonry at this period. We know,
however, that the lodge continued to work in secret. A Papal Bull was
published against the Craft on May 18, 1751, while in 1762 Maria Theresa
prohibited Freemasonry altogether. This also accounts for the fact that
Bohemian Lodges were not recognized abroad. To remedy this the Lodge of the
Three Crowned Stars sent an application to the Lodge of the Three Grenades at
Dresden in Saxony, asking for recognition. The application was signed by such
outstanding representatives of the Bohemian aristocracy as Counts Clary-Aldringen,
Luetzow, Martinic and Thun; Barons Skoelen, Goetz, Pracht, Furztenberg,
Schmidburg, and many others. The Dresden Lodge gave a patent to the Prague
Lodge as a "proper and perfect lodge," but a draft was demanded for 300 dukats.
The new lodge worked only a short time, because in 1764 a secret society
called the "Roses and Crosses, " with headquarters at Prague, was suppressed
and its outstanding members sentenced to six years' imprisonment in Spilberk,
Brno, Moravia. It appears that some freemasons were also members of this
Society, and thus discord arose between the two lodges at Prague and Dresden,
fomented by the sinister role played by a certain Masonic adventurer who
called himself Johnson. He was subsequently expelled from the lodge. The lodge
at Prague interrupted relations with Dresden, and attached itself by
affiliation to a lodge founded in Northern Germany by Count von Hund, famous
as the head of the then new Order of the Strict Observance, which claimed to
be founded on the Templar Order of the Middle Ages. Every member or Knight of
the Order was bound to the strictest subordination, hence the title "Strict
Observance". Under its jurisdiction was Silesia and a part of Poland. At the
request of the Lodge of the Three Crowned Stars Prague was promoted to the
rank of a prefecture under the name of Radomskoy, and Baron Skoelen became the
Master and named the other Bohemian prefectures.
1766, upon the festival of St. John, Prague was disturbed by wild rumors that
the Freemasons were planning an uprising of the people, with the object of
proclaiming Bohemia an independent kingdom. The rumor was quite unfounded, but
the Lodge of the Three Pillars was surrounded by soldiers and proved, they
were released. The renewed prohibition of Freemasonry in Austria, however,
crippled the activity of the lodge for two years. Count Martinie, the Master,
gave up his office, which was in 1769 by Count Kuenigl. Difficult times
followed everywhere for Freemasonry. The lodges in Prague and in other
Bohemian cities only barely managed to subsist. At that time most of the
European governments were negotiating about the abolition of the Jesuit order,
and having to fight for their own existence the Jesuits had no time to
persecute the Freemasons, and the brethren could breathe more freely. After
the abolition of the Jesuit order in 1773 we find there were four lodges in
Prague. A famous and learned man, Count Ignae Born, Councillor of the Mint
Office, resuscitated the Lodge of the Three Pillars, which was called from
that time on the Lodge of the Three Crowned Pillars. This met in the
Kutnohorsky Dum (the House of Kutna Hora), situated in the still existing
chief square of the City of Prague, the Vaclavske Namesti [Wenceslas Square].
Besides this Count Born founded the Lodges of the Nine Stars and Honesty. The
members of these lodges and some others founded, in 1773, the Orphanage of St.
John the Baptist. The first director of this institution was a Professor of
the University of Prague, Karel Seibt, a member of the mother lodge of the
Three Crowned Stars. In this orphanage a very interesting character was
employed, the quondam Jesuit, Ignac Cornova, who was the author of a prayer
book for the Freemasons published in Prague in 1784, and translated into Czech
in 1914, and still more recently edited by the Quotuor Coronati Coetus
Pragenses (a society founded by Grand Secretary, Dr. Oskar Posner, of the
Grand Lodge Lessing zu den Drei Ringen).
1780 Empress Alaria Theresa gave to the orphanage the Bredovsky Palace in
Bredovska Street, where the of the Three Crowned Stars continued to meet until
The year of 1780 was a landmark in the history of the Prague Lodges. Maria
Theresa died and Joseph II ascended the throne. All Masons in the Austrian
dominions had great hopes in him, and for a while it seemed that he would
fulfill these desires and wishes. In 1781 the freedom of the press was
proclaimed, and later the Emperor announced that though he was not initiated
into the secrets of Freemasonry, he recognized its humanitarian activity, and
was willing to permit the formation of lodges. In consequence of this, lodges
sprang up everywhere and soon, according to the historian Svatek, there was
not a city in Austria where there was not a lodge.
Prague there was formed the lodges Union and Truth and Unity. But this area of
prosperity was short. The Emperor became reactionary and disappointed the
hopes of a liberal regime. Under the influence of his advisers a centralizing
policy was adopted, and the Emperor began to restrict Masonic activities. By a
decree of December 16, 1785, he limited the number of lodges in individual
cities and districts, and ordered the publication of the names of jerking
programs of the lodges. For non-obedience to this edict very severe penalties
These measures, which deprived Freemasonry in Austria of all rights, and put
it under state Surveillance, caused bitter disappointment and was the occasion
of internal dispute. The Grand Master-provincial Count Stampach- gave up his
office, and the Lodges of Prague were disturbed by excited scenes, when
different viewpoints clashed, chiefly on the question whether the order should
be obeyed or not. However, after a stormy meeting in the palace of Count Canal
it was decided to submit to the decree.
After the first of January, 1786, in consequence of the royal decree, only
three lodges remained: Truth and Unity of the Three Crowned Pillars, the Lodge
of the Nine Pillars, and the Mother Lodge of the Three Crowned Stars. The
newly elected Grand Master, Count Lazansky, announced the change to the
Highest Burgrave of Prague and gave him the list of the members. On March 12,
1786, the Imperial Decree gave legal recognition to the "reformed"
the years of 1787 till 1791 Brother Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited Prague
several times and on those occasions visited the Masonic Lodges. That
beautiful work of Mozart, "The Magic Flute," originated partly in Prague, and,
as it is known, Mozart took the ideal elements of Freemasonry into the fairy
story of his opera.
This work of musical genius, however, proved also to be the swan song of
Freemasonry in Austria, for the last year of Mozart's life was also the last
year of any freedom for Masonry. With the death of Joseph II on February 20,
1790, began the period of rigid suppression of Austrian Freemasonry, and with
it of Bohemian Freemasonry also.
Emperor Leopold II rescinded all the decrees of Joseph II in regard to the
Fraternity as soon as he ascended the throne, and the members of the lodges,
who were known to the authorities through the lists that had been furnished by
the lodges, were all put under strict police surveillance.
His son and successor, Francis I, took even stronger measures, in which he was
abetted by the Catholic clergy. As is well known, the clergy promulgated the
reports that the French Revolution was the work of Freemasonry. In 1793 the
number of the members was so reduced that it was almost impossible to continue
the work of the lodges. In the first days of the year of 1794 the remaining
members of the Prague Lodges decided to voluntarily cease their labors and to
await the return of more propitious times. The Viennese Lodges followed suit,
and thus the Craft itself forestalled the effect of a decree published in that
year which absolutely prohibited Masonry in the Austrian Empire.
The Emperor let the three Prague Lodges know of his "highest satisfaction"
with their decision, and "graciously" permitted them to continue the
administration of their humanitarian institutions, not as Masons, but as
1795 came a renewed prohibition of all Freemasonry in Austria, which
prohibition, with a short intermission in 1848, lasted until the Revolution of
But even the most drastic prohibition cannot suppress the Masonic idea and
thought. The faith and ideals remained hidden in hearts of a few brothers who
notwithstanding all the persecution kept them alive secretly as a most
precious legacy and bequest. A little spark of living fire persisted under the
seemingly cold dead ashes, until the breath of a strong and mighty wind of
renewed freedom blew the ashes away and fanned the spark into a new blaze,
which now sheds its light in the liberated countries.
Returning to the past, a new lodge was created in Prague in 1811. During the
occupation of Vienna by Napoleon I in 1809, a lodge was founded in that city
under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of France, which survived until the
Congress of Vienna in 1813. In 1811 Count Auersperg dared to found a lodge in
Prague. Its existence was kept secret until 1814, when it was discovered and
suppressed. At that time Pope Pius VII published a new Bull against
Freemasonry, and, concurrently with this, re-established the Order of the
Jesuits, while the well-known Chancellor Metternich of Austria introduced his
famous police system, which suppressed even the least and most innocent
expression of free thought. Bernard Bolzano, professor of the philosophical
faculty of the Prague University, after whom one of the Czech Lodges is named,
was a victim of the Metternich's reactionary system. It was only due to the
intervention of Joseph Dobrovsky, also, a Freemason, that Bolzano was
rehabilitated in 1826, and allowed his liberty under police surveillance.
Various attempts of foremost Czech politicians and scholars to found
associations and societies were ruthlessly suppressed. One of them, Amerling,
succeeded later in getting official permission to found an educational
Institute, Budec. His adherents played an important role at the Slav Congress,
and during the Prague Revolution in 1848.
February, 1849, Prof. Ludvik Lewis of Vienna revived, in Hotel Modra Hvezdu.
(Blue Star), the Lodge Truth and Unity of the Three Crowned Pillars. But
Prince Windisehratz brought it to a speedy end during the so-called "May
Uprising." There followed a period of unreasoning persecution. In 1865 Lewis
again attempted to obtain permission to found a lodge, and in 1868 a member of
the Imperial Council, Dr. Foregger, supported the move. But it was all in
That in the history of European Freemasonry Prague has had an important part,
is evident from this brief account. The year 1918 brought a new area. As
Das Alte sturxt, es andert sich die Zeit under neues Leben bluht ads den
Ruinen! (What is old dies, the time changes and new Life blooms from the
the days of October in 1918, old masks fell off, the society Charitas, which
had been formed in 1909, was transformed into the Lodge Hiranz Den Drei
Sternen, which later became the mother lodge of Czechoslovakia. Freemasonry
was freed from its shackles, and breathed freely in the new state. It no
longer had to fear its most dangerous and strongest antagonist the despotic
power of the State and the Church.
What has since transpired has been described in a preceding article. It would
not be amiss, however, to turn to the future and see what it seems to promise.
After the war the whole world was in a psychological state which can be
described as highly nervous and antagonistic. It is the duty of us all to work
sincerely for the ultimate brotherhood of humanity, after so many years of
misery and oppression. Is there not for all of us Masons, without distinction,
in every country, a glad prospect of a broad and limitless field of
humanitarian endeavor? In the case of the brethren in Czechoslovakia they must
expend more energy, because there are so few of them to labor.
is the time to end this discussion. At the beginning we used a simile that we
are on a journey, and, resting, we are looking back on the road that we have
covered. We may say that we have succeeded. If throughout our road has not
been and will not be the same, yet the aim remains the same, and we know that
at the end of the road we shall meet and tell each other our experiences. But
now--forward, brothers, only forward; we must remember the tradition, we must
remember all that has been done by our brothers before us. A great task is
awaiting us; we must fulfill it with courage and good will. Let us hope that
at some time our universal history will conclude with the statement that the
main merit for the bringing together of all nations inhabiting this earth, for
its cultural and economic development, belongs to Freemasonry which sowed the
seed of universal love in the hearts of the peoples, and during that time
realized the idea of reconciliation, harmony, concord, brotherhood and
humanity in the sense of Jan Amos Komensky:
are all citizens of one world, we are all of one blood. To hate a man because
he has been born in another country, because he speaks a different language or
because he takes a different view on this subject or that, is indeed a great
folly. Desist, I implore you, for we all are equally human. Let us unite all
our thoughts, so that all that separates us from God, or from one another, may
disappear. Let us have but one aim in view namely, the welfare of humanity,
and let us put aside all selfishness or considerations of language,
nationality or religion.
Jan Malypetr, who appears in the group with President Masaryk in the
illustration on a previous page, is one of the leading statesmen of the
Czechoslovakian Republic. He is an exceedingly able man, and has had a most
remarkable career. He began life as a farmer, from which he has risen to his
present eminent position in the councils of the state. His private estate lies
near Klobuky, a little village not far from the author's own birthplace, Slany,
and they have been close friends for many years.
Statistics of Freemasonry
BRO. ALEXANDER B. ANDREWS, North Carolina
average man looks on a table of statistics with the same horror that he does
an income tax blank or a complicated audit, which he is asked to explain to
some one else. However, statistics are necessary for any business to know
whether it is progressing or falling back, and in what proportion in either
Annually the several Grand Lodges compile statistics of membership, which in
years past have been more or less noted by Masonic reviewers. In some
instances several Grand Lodge reviewers have attempted to annually summarize
the aggregate number of Masons, some in the entire world and some in the
United States. It is regretted that very few reviewers have gone into detail
of statistics, which have been kept up over a period of years. The recently
inaugurated plan of Reviewer J. Edward Allen, Past Master, Wanton, North
Carolina, who, since 1922, has compiled the annual review of that Grand Lodge,
is well worth notice. In the review of 1928 he not only gives the table
showing the statistics of Freemasonry in the United States. but also the
membership figures of numerous bodies based upon Freemasonry as a
prerequisite. In the same volume are statistics of the Grand Lodge of North
Carolina, and General Grand Chapter, R.A.M. (50 years); General Grand Council,
R. & S. M.; Grand Encampment, K.T.; Supreme Council, Northern Masonic
Jurisdiction; Supreme Council, Southern Masonic Jurisdiction and the Imperial
Council of the Shrine covering 30 years, then immediately past.
statistics chronicle the happenings of events, yet the working out of
statistics on a percentage basis and diagraming on graph charts present these
facts much more vividly.
Taking advantage of the work of Brother Allen we find the following compiled
table of statistics for forty‑nine Grand Lodges in the United States for the
years 1924 to 1928, both inclusive:
GRAND LODGES OF UNITED STATES A.F. & A. M.
(consolidated Statistics, 1924‑1928
interesting part of this table is the increase of 425,000 Masons in five
years' time, yet the student in Masonry looks deeper and notes that the
railings in 1928 were 48,000 less than in 1924, the suspensions for
non‑payment of dues were double in 1928 what they were in 1924 and net gain in
1928 was 47,919 as against 119,517 in 1924.
possible on these statistics to forecast what will be the number of railings,
deaths, suspensions, net gain, etc.. on December 31, 1929 (five months
would such forecast be calculated?
the actual statistics are interesting, yet the true perspective can better be
shown by translating these same statistics into percentages which, when
tabulated, show up as follows:
Percentages, Grand Lodge of United States, A.F. & A. M., 1924‑1928
percentages are interesting as showing the steady decline of the railings and
net gain, while there has been a steady increase in the number of suspensions.
This is very much more vividly brought to one's attention by a diagram of
these percentages, which is set out on the diagram which appears on page 295.
examination of this diagram shows very clearly the trend of the times. The
affiliations are approximately 80 per cent of the demits and are a negligible
quantity. The death rate is practically constant for the five years, 1.190,
which is practically age 47. With the declining rate of initiates and the
increasing rate of suspensions there has been a fall in the net gain. However,
the net gain line shows that on the 1928 compiled statistics the net gain is
apparently not declining as fast as it has done heretofore.
these compiled statistics, by averaging the percentages upwards or downwards
of (A) one year, (B) two years and (C) three years, it is possible to make a
forecast of what will be the compiled statistics of the forty-nine Grand
Lodges of the United States as of December 31, 1929, which statistics are
hereinbelow set out and are as follows:
FORTY‑NINE GRAND LODGES
Forecast for December 21, 1929
Membership Forecast, Dec. 31, 1929
The Degrees of Masonry; Their Origin and History
BROS. A.L. KRESS AND R. J. MEEKREN (Concluded from September. All rights
will now return to more solid ground the Book of Constitutions. Here we find
that the Duke of Wharton when Grand Master used a new ceremonial devised for
the formal inauguration of new lodges and the installation of their officers.
The latter forms the basis of our present Installation Ceremonial. Now it is
almost (though not quite) definitely said by Anderson that there were secrets
connected with this formulary, that parts of it could not be printed. Whether
any such part was peculiar to Installed Masters only does not appear (1).
Certainly later on the most important sections of the Installation Ceremonies
became, in all essentials, a degree, as we have already noted. Out of it, or
rather an archaic variant of it, came the Past Master's Degree of the American
Capitular Rite. And a certain significant part of this ritual, one which bears
all the marks of antiquity, points to the ceremony having been originally
conceived as a third and culminating degree, just as a number of the high
grades show similar marks of being composed as a fourth, that is, as following
our third, or Master Mason's, degree. We cannot be more explicit.
Now here we can begin to put things together. Back in the fog is the
possibility of evolution of new ritual forms on the Continent, with echoes in
Britain. Then we have the very definite Installation, that certainly later on
became a degree (in our sense of the term) at the very time that the balance
of the evidence points to the old two-grade system still holding the ground in
the Grand Lodge circle. The possible inference is, that in England the
earliest "three degree" system was Apprentice, Master or Fellow, and Master of
the Lodge. And as a matter of fact the last of these has continuously remained
at the apex of the ritual Sequence worked in the lodge, in spite of the legal
fiction that it is not a degree.
INSTALLATION AND PAST MASTER.
This inference is not particularly welcome, for it seems to complicate further
an already too complicated affair. However, there it is and nothing is gained
by ignoring it. Let us then proceed with the facts. This Installation business
was apparently devised, or at least first used, in 1722. Between 1723 and 1730
another degree was slipped in. The Past Master's degree contains certain
features that seem once to have been part of the ancient tradition of Masonry;
again we cannot be explicit and must leave it to Past Masters to search and
interpret for themselves. So also this later, inserted, grade contained
nothing essentially new, for it was probably at first no more than a cutting
in two of the Apprentice part. We may say then that the situation in 1728, or
thereabouts, was roughly this. In some lodges, yet untouched by the novelties,
there were two ceremonies employed, in others only one, combining the two,
either in immediate sequence or "telescoped" together. While those lodges
which were in the forefront of the new movement had three or four. Yet the
Fellow of either kind of the older lodges had received everything that was
communicated to the Installed Master of the last group, except perhaps some
things that were absolutely new inventions devised to round out a ritual. This
would account for the fact that the new system made its way under ground, as
it were, and with no apparent disturbance; and anything that can account for
so remarkable a phenomenon is indeed welcome, and by that fact alone commends
itself as credible. To make the transition still easier, the first and second
degrees of the new System were for many years (so it appears) invariably given
together. Thus it was in effect little more than a change of nomenclature, the
Apprentice of one lodge was equal to the Fellow Craft of another. The Fellow
or Master of the first was the same as the Master Mason of the Second. As
there were never any Entered Apprentices of the latter lodges (seeing they
were all "passed" as Fellow Crafts on the same occasion as being "made"
Apprentices) there could be no confusion in visiting and communicating.
But having suggested a "how" for the process we now have to seek a "why."
Which is a harder (and more elusive) nut to crack. First we must assume that
there was a keen interest in the ritual, on the part of some Masons at least;
and the first step of these interested brethren would be (what it always has
been since) the collecting and comparing variations. And as everything was
fluid, and there were no authoritative standards, there would be probably a
good deal of compilation; improving one tradition by the addition of bits from
others. The old Catechisms, as we have noted, contain evidences of such a
process antedating our period by an unknown number of years. The next step
would be rationalization. To some extent this would be a necessary consequence
of the compilation work, the pieces of the mosaic would have to be made to
fit. But the open field for such enterprise would be the Legend. According to
the probabilities indicated by the scanty scraps of evidence, this reached our
ritualists in a form very like a folktale; the master was dead - the master
was alive; the word was lost - the word was found. As a ritual myth this
fairy-story inconsequence was of no moment - it had the logic of its species;
that is, it closely conformed to the ceremony of which it was the verbal
counterpart and accompaniment. But our brethren of the "Age of Reason" knew
nothing of ritual myths; they took the story literally at its face value. It
was for them a history that had become corrupted by transmission through dark
ages of ignorance and superstition; and they supposed, quite confidently, that
to apply the standards of reason to it, and to prune out the inconsistencies,
would restore it to its original form. But even so they were cautious and
conservative, and though a good deal was added bit by bit as time went on, the
actual changes made in the original deposit were always the least possible. A
dead man could not come to life, but his body might be exhumed and reburied;
being dead he could not transmit the word and so it was lost, and a substitute
had to be provided, and so on.
But this elaboration apparently led to a situation where he dramatis personae
of the tale came to be represented by the officers of the lodge; and in the
newer version of the story two of these also had the word but were debarred by
a technicality from communicating it. It might then come about, in that spirit
of serious make-believe which as had so much to do with the development of
Masonic ritual, that the word communicated to the Master at his installation
was taken to be the real word that had been lost. It would have a semblance of
fitness it was a word that he could not communicate either to the candidate or
to the Fellows (i.e., Masters) of the lodge. Perhaps the better way to express
it would be to say that it was taken to represent the word supposed to be
lost. Outside of the make-believe they probably knew then, as Masons take for
granted now, that the substitute word is in fact and in truth the real
master's word, whatever symbolism may be attached to the idea of substitution.
THE PAST MASTER AND THE ROYAL ARCH
This of course is pure hypothesis, a speculation about what might have
happened. And if it did happen, it could ever have occupied the whole field or
been more than a rapidly passing phase. But it affords a framework on which
several fragments of fact may be hung in what seems to be an ordered relation
with the whole, and which otherwise are hard to place. For instance, there is
the remarkably close and intimate connection of the Installed or Past Master
with the Royal Arch. And incidentally, it appears that the original Royal
Arch, by a subdivision like that hypothetically suggested for the original
first degree, gave birth later on to the different "excellent" masterships,
and the Orders of Red Cross and Knight Templar. But there is a still closer
and more significant connection between the Past Master and the Royal Arch. It
is very possible that the tri-syllabic phrase which is the culminating secret
of the latter grade is derived directly from that word which was taken out of
the "points" of the original Fellow and made the significant word of the
Installed Master. We can hardly say much about it here, at if those who have
received both words will look in the right places, a series of intermediate
forms may be found at lead from one to the other by easy and natural stages.
But while evolution was working upwards it was operative also in the other
direction. Possibly even sooner. It would be felt almost at once that this
system was ill-balanced, and unsatisfying. The climax, instead of coming at
the third stage (as by all symbolical analogy it should), came second, while
the third grade in comparison was an empty husk. This would give a strong
impulsion to follow any line by which the balance could be adjusted and bring
the climax into its fitting place. The expedient of a division of the first
grade would accomplish this with the least possible disturbance. But how would
the idea of division arise ?
SOURCE OF THE IDEA OF DIVISION.
There were several things that might have suggested it. There was (on the
basis of our previous conclusions) a precedent in the separation of the
amalgamated two degrees in those places where such amalgamation or telescoping
had existed. The investigations of our hypothetical zealous ritualists would
very soon discover this corruption and seek to remedy it. The Haughfoot and
Dunblane resolutions forbidding entering and passing at the same sederunt, may
be taken as the results of such attempts at reform. (1)
But the discovery that a single ceremony had been really the decadent
amalgamation of two distinct rites, would create a receptive state of mind for
any suggestion that there had been further telescoping. Here a possible, and
even probable, misunderstanding of the relationship of Masters and Fellows, as
well as of "Master Masons" and "Fellow Crafts" would come in. To the brethren
of this period, largely or entirely divorced from all operative connection,
and in any case living at a time when, in all trades and crafts, the masters
or employers and their journeymen had come to be quite distinct classes, the
original equivalence of "Fellows" and "Masters" would be obscured. It would
appear, from their reading of the Old Charges, that there were properly three
grades. They had separated one into two, but to complete the reform required a
line of demarcation would be at once apparent. There were two words held
sacred in the Apprentice grade, as there had been two in the Fellow's also.
One of the latter had been taken into the new Installed Master (or
alternatively, was eventually to be so transferred - the sequence does not
affect the argument vitally) and so these two Apprentice words would each form
the nucleus of the ritual of a degree. And, as we have seen, the first form of
the division was actually more nominal than real. In 1745 in France we find
the candidate still being made a Fellow at once, under the designation of
Apprentice-Fellow (Apprentif-Compagnon); and that literally described the
process. The ceremony and the secrets were the same as for the old Apprentice.
The novelty was all in the added name. The candidate was told that the first
word belonged to Apprentices, the second to Fellow Crafts, and that he was an
Apprentice-Fellow Craft. But naturally the first part of the appellation was
dropped in time, and more differentiation grew up in the re-duplicated ritual
until by a series of additions, constructed by analogy, the Fellow Craft Part
became a full degree. Though even after this had come about the two were still
customarily given at the same time, with no longer interval between them than
was required for a withdrawal from the lodge by the candidate to allow its
being opened in the higher grade. But eventually, the same feeling that had
caused earlier separation between Apprentice and Master would lead to a real
interval being demanded by the two separated, and now autonomous parts of the
SIMPLE EXPLANATION INADEQUATE.
grant willingly that this reconstruction is speculative in the highest degree,
but in formulating it we have endeavored to arrange all the scattered and
fragmentary facts in such a way as to link them all together. We are also
perfectly ready to believe that other causes and motives may have been at
work, and influenced the final result. Indeed we are inclined to put it more
strongly, and say that for such a complex result there must have been other
causes involved. No theory that supposed deliberate and conscious invention
can, in our opinion, ever be accepted as adequate. The history of such an
institution as the Masonic Fraternity is a process, analogous to that of a
living organism, and it is impossible in the nature of things that any simple,
clear-cut theory should cover the whole ground.
The time has now come to make some brief recapitulation of the results of our
discussion. This falls into two parts. The first is the attempt to discover
the actual structure of the Craft in regard to grades or degrees at the
critical point of the transition, that is, the year 1717, or better, the
period between 1717 and 1730; the second is the more risky enterprise of
reconstructing the process by which the traditional structure developed into
the system now existing.
regard to the first of these correlated efforts the really fundamental
evidence upon which we have to adjudicate is that of the remaining minutes and
records of the old lodges whose existence antedated the critical period of
change. We venture to think that we have conclusively demonstrated from these
records that two degrees, in the sense in which we have defined the term, were
in existence everywhere that definite evidence of this kind is found;
providing, that is, that it first be admitted that there was something of an
esoteric nature initiatory ceremonies and secret means of recognition.
This conclusion is reinforced both by the dubious evidence of the Old
Catechisms on the one hand, and that of the respectable but obscure MS.
Constitutions on the other. These last, so interpreted, carry the two degree
system back several centuries, and thus lead to the inference that this system
was not only ancient, but general.
MEDIEVAL EVOLUTION POSSIBLE
does not of course follow that there were always two degrees in the distant
past. While it is purely a matter of speculation in the utter lack of
evidence, it is possible that the two-degree system was the result of an early
Medieval evolution. Originally there might have been one initiation ceremony,
coming at the end of the stage of pupillage, when the Apprentice became a free
craftsman and his own master, in the limited sense that any man was his own
master in those days. Medieval society tended strongly to restrictions,
quantity production was undreamed of, and not only undesired, but would have
been vigorously suppressed had it been attempted. The effort was made, both
consciously and unconsciously, to prevent over production of anything, goods
or workmen. This economic and social tendency tended toward the extension of
the time of training by the addition of a period during which the young
workman was neither properly an apprentice nor yet fully free of his Craft.
The extra period of seven years prescribed by the Schaw Statutes before the
Entered Apprentice could become a Fellow of Craft might be taken to indicate
something of this sort, and it might be plausible to assume that in thus
increasing the transition stage between the status of pupil and that of
master, the initiation that marked it traditionally was cut in two, and part
given at the beginning and part at the end of the period. But this is really
outside the limits of our subject even were it anything more than mere
speculation. The point that we regard as established is that modern
Freemasonry inherited two degrees from the Medieval institution.
Subsidiary inferences from the same evidence point to modifications due to
changing social and economic conditions. The restrictions of the older order
were breaking down. Competent workmen came into existence who did not belong
to the old organization. In compensation, many entered it who were not
craftsmen at all, except in an honorary sense, in germ a symbolic sense too,
it may be, and this led very naturally to a breakdown of the distinctions
between the two grades, first by the elimination of the interval between them
and possibly in places, by a further stage of decay, to an amalgamation of the
two ceremonies into one. But, as there was no central controlling mechanism
there was no uniformity, and all stages existed simultaneously in different
places. This secondary conclusion we regard as practically established, but
not quite so definitely or certainly as the primary one that the two-degree
system was the traditional inheritance of the Craft.
reconstructing the stages of the evolution from a two to a three-degree
arrangement we start from quite solid ground. By applying the general results
of modern anthropological researches to the content of the degrees - which of
course has been no more than baldly stated - for obvious reasons - we are led
to the conclusion that the present third degree is as archaic and primitive in
its constituent elements as the first, while a comparison of rituals reveals
that the second is merely an echo or duplication of the first, or more
correctly, was no more than this in its inception, while the special
characteristics it now possesses bear the obvious marks of the century in
which they were invented. From this, it seems to a very high degree probable
that the original two grades became three by the division of the first one
into two parts.
The obvious practical difficulties presented by this deduction from the
contents of the degrees are apparent only, as we have shown. The fact that the
new first and second degrees were always given at the same time until long
after the third degree system had become general obviated the confusion that
would otherwise have been created. But the psychological difficulties are
another matter. To answer the question "Why " is always harder than to show
Our suggested answer is no more than a guess controlled by the facts. Up to
this point we believe the conclusions reached are the most probable
interpretations of the existing evidence. From here on we enter the realm of
hypothesis, and for this reason have done no more than barely sketch our
One new point was developed, which is that we do not have, as has been
generally supposed since Gould wrote, any higher limiting date for the
beginning of the evolution, for Anderson's Book of Constitutions only shows
that the Grand Lodge began with two degrees, and does not prove that no
incipient third degree could have existed outside that organization. While
very little can be built on a mere possibility, it does negate any argument
founded on a presumed impossibility, which may be very important sometimes.
THE NATURE OF SOCIAL EVOLUTION.
the evolution of a social organism, as in a physical one, every part has some
effect upon the whole. Some more, and some less, naturally. Outstanding
leaders, whether known to history or not, have left their mark more deeply
than the rank and file that is inevitable. Payne and Anderson, Dermott and
Preston, Webb, Mackey and Pike, to mention a few whose names are known to most
Masons, undoubtedly had much to do with modifying the Masonic system. But only
as the body was prepared to assimilate their ideas only as they took the lead
along the general line of evolution along which the Craft as a whole was
moving. So that on the whole we can say that even the greatest Masonic leaders
and teachers have had less effect, much less effect really, than they seem to
have had. And in view of all this we believe there is still plenty of room for
other students to re-examine the facts and bring out fresh combinations, and
further motives and movements that played their part in the final result,
which we have so far missed.
suggest that, in the nature of things, it is very probable that there should
have been abortive beginnings parallel to the one that finally held the field.
Just as a number of seeds sprouting together aid each other in pushing out of
the ground, while later one or two will crowd cut the rest, which finally die
of inanition, or are thinned out by the gardener, so every development in a
social organism is preceded or accompanied by similar or parallel movements
looking to the same end.
the first place it is not only probable, but almost inevitable, that some
Masons of a curious turn of mind, and especially those of antiquarian tastes,
should have speculated about the origin of the mysterious institution of which
they had become members. The by- laws of the old Lodge of York (3) provided
for an hour "to talk about Masonry. " Compilation of variants, and suggested
explanations that had met with approval, would gradually well the ceremonies.
The cold hand of logic could seize hold of the impossibilities in the ritual
Myth of the Master. The word, once said to have been found, would be explained
is a substitute; and this would open up a prolific field of speculation as to
what the real word was, and whence it came and what it meant. And this again
would fit in with speculations as to the origin of the Fraternity and its real
purpose. The skit attributed to Dean Swift (4) proves that even in 1724,
thirteen years earlier than Ramsay's famous oration, the hypothesis of an
origin in the Crusades and some connection with the chivalric orders of
soldier monks, was sufficiently widespread to be almost public property, and
then there are the vague rumors of some entanglement with the hopes and plans
of the partizans of the Stuarts. All these things show at least an active
interest in the origin and meaning of the institution, which would form a
fertile seed bed for definite formulations in ritual guise, once the idea of
new grades or degrees was presented. Stukeley's "Order of the Book" may have
been such an attempt at explanation and interpretation in ritual form for all
we know; though equally it may have had nothing to do with Masonry at all.
But two organized interpretations did emerge eventually and have persisted and
flourished till now, the Royal Arch and Ecossaism, the so-called Scottish
degrees. The connection between the secrets of the Installed Master and the
Royal Arch could only be explained in a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in
America, or in private in England to Royal Arch Masons who were also Installed
Masters, so all that can be said here is that in our judgment it is a very
close and intimate one, and that the one developed out of the other. But the
Installation of the Master of a Lodge came into existence earlier than any
other development is known to have done. This presents the possibility that
within the Grand Lodge organization it may have given the idea and the impetus
which led to the division of the first degree into two to make a tri-gradual
system. Though it remains possible that the idea, and the first essays along
this line, came from outside that circle, and leaked into it against the will
of its directing spirits.
it be objected that this is all very hazy and unsatisfactory we can only say
that tentative and hypothetical answers are all that the evidence will yield.
We cannot get a clear-cut answer out of the disjointed and fragmentary facts.
Any such answer stands self- convicted of going beyond the evidence.
Finally we would point out that these suggestions are not necessarily
inconsistent with such other hypotheses as have been offered. That of Bro.
Vibert, for instance, is quite compatible with them - it is only offering a
double motive for what was done. Even Gould's theory of misunderstanding can
be fitted in, if it be somewhat enlarged, and not confined to a
misunderstanding of the phraseology of the Book of Constitutions merely.
Doubtless there are other possible motives and reasons and causes that could
be discovered and shown to be complementary. We hope others may follow along
and pick them out of relations and connections in the evidence that we have
failed to observe.
Coming now to the "very end," as signallers put it, we shall be very grateful
for any suggestions, criticisms or corrections. We are hoping to republish
these articles in book form, and would like to make them as useful and
reliable as possible, in the hope that others may build on the foundations we
using the work of our predecessors have laid. The task has been much greater
than was anticipated when it was begun, and we confess that it is not without
relief that we now bring it to a close.
(1) The passage referred to is at page 72 of the first edition and for
convenience we cite the particular sentences which imply Something of an
And the Candidate [Master-elect] signifying his cordial submission thereto [i.
e., the Charges of a Master], the Grand Master shall, by certain significant
Ceremonies and ancient Usages install him, and present him with the
constitutions, the Lodge Book, and the Instruments of his Office, not all
together, but one after another; and after each of them the Grand Master, or
his Deputy, shall rehearse the short and pithy Charge that is suitable to the
There is no indication here of anything not open to the members of the lodge.
It is only the fact that, at some later time, the Installation did develop
into a degree (in our sense of the word) that leads us to see any Special
Significance in the passage.
(2) The "telescoped" ritual could very easily have grown up. In an operative
lodge the non-operative entrant was an honorary member. For him the rules were
naturally relaxed. The Apprenticeship was omitted; the forms might or might
not be gone through, but in any case he came at once to membership and
fellowship. Now gradually the number of honorary members increases, till
finally the operative membership is extinct. During this change a tradition
has grown up of some form of combination of the two ceremonies. After a while,
the more curious and interested brethren begin to consider the symbolism or
the ritual, and they come to feel that to omit apprenticeship has led to a
loss of significance. They perhaps find out that in some lodges (possibly
still in part operative) there are two distinct ceremonies, and they begin to
urge a return to the old ways, as they understand them. But the old ways have
suffered a "sea change." The apprenticeship as restored is purely Symbolical,
and while the brethren of Haughfoot postulated the interval of a year,
Dunblane was satisfied (as most lodges since) with simply a second meeting.
(3) Gould. Hist. vol. iii, p. 159, Rule 13. Mackey was rather scornful of this
rule, but in how many lodges in his day (there is little need to ask how many
now) was any time set aside regularly to "talk Masonry?" See Mackey, Hist.,
vol. iv, page 1134, note 3.
(4) Chetwode Crawley in Sadler's Masonic Reprints add Historical Revelations
(1898), page 375 of the reproduction. Also Lepper and Crossle, History on the
Grand Lodge of Ireland, page 457.
American Army Lodges in the World War Saxonia Lodge No. 1, "Somewhere at Sea"
BRO. CHARLES F. IRWIN, Associate Editor
PROPERLY speaking, this was not a Lodge and perhaps ought not to be granted a
place among those which I have described heretofore in this series of
histories. But nevertheless in order to cover as completely as possible the
period of the World War with the record of the Craft with regard to organized
fellowship, I feel that I should present to our readers the story.
recalling the periods of the entrance into the War of America, we must fasten
upon the date of April 6, 1917. From this date all our American interests in
the War officially begin. By this point we are able to measure the promptness
with which various elements with in our American Masonry responded by the
gathering together of draftsmen for mutual fellowship.
Among the very first contingents of the military forces to be ordered to
overseas duty were the 18th Engineers, 17th Engineers, numbers of Casuals,
journeying to Europe for future assignments, newspaper men, and the Masons of
the ships crew. I have several very interesting stories connected with this
Saxonia Lodge was in reality an evening's social fellowship on the part of
Freemasons traveling on the Cunard Liner Saxonia during the month of August in
1917. With the close of the evening's entertainment the "Lodge" ceased to
exist and became most pleasant memory. But within its short career it
demonstrates the elements of fellowship which later on sprang into existence
throughout the A.E.F.
The story comes to us from two sources. From an article which appeared in some
Masonic periodical, the name of which was unfortunately not attached to the
page in my files. I regret exceedingly my inability to give due and public
credit to this paper. Nor is the name of the author given. It is a fragment
cast up upon the shore out of the mass of material being slowly rescued for
the Masonic History of the great struggle. The second is contained in a letter
written to me by my good friend and Brother, Alsa C. Howard, late of the
regular army, and a most indefatigable Masonic student and worker. His
manuscripts which he alas so generously submitted to me through the years
contain a great mass of incidents of especial interest to Masonic students,
for Bro. Howard journeyed around the world with the Army, and turned every
opportunity that presented itself to make Masonic contacts to full account.
might say that in addition to these two accounts, another very close and
intimate friend presented me some years ago with one of the Menu cards used on
the occasion of the Saxonia Lodge Incident. He was a Chaplain in the service,
and it fell into his hands years ago. I refer to Dr. W. A. Atkinson, of
Rochester, Penna. Unfortunately two pages are missing, those which contained
the menu on the occasion, and gave the story of the incident. The story has
been recovered but the menu unfortunately is lost. Being a British Liner I
have no doubt that the refreshments were in line with the liberal
characteristics of that people.
The story of the Saxonia Lodge therefore is pieced together from the sources
that are at hand.
The first is entitled "A Lodge of Inherent Right." I quote:
the pages of the American Mason (Philadelphia), the following relation is
given which is of unusual interest in more than one particular. Especially is
the narrative notable as showing that a body of Masons, thus thrown together,
re-assumed an inherent right delegated to Grand Lodges under ordinary
circumstances, and constituted themselves into an "Occasional Lodge" as was
the custom of our Masonic forbears.
The Nineteenth Engineers, Railway, was recruited largely from among the
employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and in company with the Eighteenth
Engineers, Railway, from the Pacific Coast, sailed from New York on August 9,
1917. The big Cunard Liner "Saxonia," then used as a troopship by the English
authorities, on which we were sailing put in at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and
there joined the convoy which was being formed. Quite a number of passengers,
both civilian and military, were on board other than the two regiments
few days out from Halifax the present writer had occasion to be discussing
Masonic matters with Brother William H. Ingram, Secretary of Anglo-Saxon Lodge
No. 343, Paris, France. It was suggested that as a large number of those on
board were wearing Masonic emblems it would be a very appropriate matter to
hold a meeting of all Masons on board for the purpose of discussing Masonic
matters in general. The idea was deemed quite practicable, so steps were
immediately taken to carry it into execution. A number of the ship's officers
were found to be Masons, which facilitated matters very much. Suitable space
and cooperation were provided.
Brother Howard Clarke, Major, M. C., and myself had sat in Lodge together, as
had Brother Clarke and Brother William H Nelson, Captain, Eighteenth
Engineers, Railway. With that trio acting as an examining committee all the
members were tried and examined according to Masonic standards, and the
evening of August 19, 1917, selected as the date for the meeting. The aft
smoking room had been well prepared for the occasion and well in advance of 8
P. M., the hour set for the opening, all were present.
The authority for this meeting was that old Masonic regulation that permit
three Past Masters, when assembled, to hold Masonic communication. Brother L.
A. Nutter, P. M., Gate City Lodge No. 522, Kansas City, Mo.; Brother E. C.
Boddy, P. M., Corinthian Temple No. 805, Rochester, N. Y.; and myself, a Grand
Lodge official, believed we were well within our prerogatives in holding this
meeting. Among those present the following members of the Nineteenth Engineers
Clarke, Leon L., Colfax No. 378, Lowell, Indiana.
Cline, Thomas S., St. Johns No. 2, Middletown, Conn.
Harrell, C. H., Manassas No. 182, Manassas, Virginia.
Holm, John L., Lansing No. 33 Lansing, Michigan.
Joseph T. Cedwyn, Peter Williamson No. 323, Seranton, PA.
Kline, Ben. W., Logan Lodge No. 490, Altoona, PA.
Kauffman, Reginald Wright, Mt. Horeb Lodge No. 528, Phila., Pa.
Kraft, R. W., Golden Rule Lodge No. 159, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Mallam, T. S., Logan Lodge No. 490, Altoona, Penna.
Miehe, Wm. J., Naphtali Lodge No. 25, St. Louis, Mo.
Medley, John E., St. Johns Lodge No. 115, Phila., Pa.
Murbaek, C. F., Superior Lodge No. 179, West Unity, Ohio.
MacColman, D., Concordia Lodge No. 13, Balto, Md.
Pettry, B. L., Odell Lodge No. 115, Madison, W. Va.
Wells, Frank H., Mt. Pickering Lodge No. 446, Chester Springs, Pa.
Welch, William, Mercer Lodge No. 50, Trenton, N. J.
Wightman, Frank A., Mountain Lodge No. 28, Altoona, pa.
and many others whom the writer did not happen to get the names and addresses
of. The number assembled was just about the most enthusiastic crowd that the
writer ever met with.
The following officers were elected and installed:
W.M. I. A. Nutter, Gate City Lodge No. 322, Kansas City, Mo.
S.W. Alsa C. Howard, Hancock Lodge No. 311, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
J.W. Wm. H. Nelson, Green Lake Lodge No. 149, Seattle, Wash.
Sec. Wm. H. Ingram, Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343, Paris, France.
The name "Saxonia" was proposed and unanimously selected for the name of the
Lodge, in honor of the ship on which we were at the time sailing. After
opening of the Lodge a number of speeches were made by various brethren
present upon Masonic topics. They were well received. A novel feature of the
meeting, and commented upon at that time, was the fact that all present were
wearing life belts fastened around them and automatic pistols in their belts.
second informant, Bro. Howard, has the following story to tell of this unique
LODGE NO. 1. A.F. & A.M.
"Whenever indulging in Masonic reminiscences the present writer always recalls
with pride and much gratification the formation and organization of Saxonia
Lodge No. 1, A. F. & A. M. This occurred on board the big Cunard liner 'Saxonia'
when in the danger zone, on August 19, 1917. Saxonia Lodge No. 1 was formed as
the result of a Conversation between Bro. Wm. H. Ingram, of Anglo-Saxon Lodge
No. 343, Paris, France, and the present writer, one afternoon while in
"The suggestion of a meeting of all the Masons on board for the purpose of
cementing the ties of brotherly love and for discussing matters of Masonic
interest was warmly received, and steps were immediately taken to bring the
thought to fruition.
"Brothers Howard Clarke of Corregidor No. 3, Manila, P. I., Wm. H. Nelson, of
Green Lake Lodge No. 149, Seattle, Wash., and myself, had sat in Lodge and
could thus vouch for each other. With this nucleus to start with the members
of the Craft on board were strictly tried and duly examined according to
Masonic customs and usages.
"The after smoking room, through courtesy of the ship officials, was prepared
and tendered us for the meeting; accordingly at 8.30 P.M., August 19, 1917, 56
earnest brethren of the Craft from among the officers of 17th and 18th
engineers, U.S. Army, and the ship officers duly assembled therein for this
auspicious event. After being called to order the following officers were
elected and installed:
W.M. L. A. Nutter, P. M., Gate City Lodge No. 522, Kansas City, Mo.
S.W. Alsa C. Howard, P. G. C., Hancock Lodge No. 311, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.
J.W. Wm. H. Nelson, Green Lake Lodge No. 149, Seattle, Wash.
Sec. Mom. H. Ingram, Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343, Paris, France.
Trs E. H. Taylor, West Cheshire No. 2977, Birkenhead, England.
M.C. A. H. Rostron, Minerva No. 2433, Birkenhead, England.
Chpl. Howard Clarke, Corregidor No. 3, Manila, P. I.
Mshl. Geo. M. Rice, Arcana No. 76, Seattle, Wash.
S.D. Wm. J. Miehe, Naphtali No. 25, St. Louis, Mo.
J.D. G. A. Kendrick, King Solomon No. 60, Auburn, Wash.
S.S. Wm. Ballyn, St. John No. 673, Liverpool, England.
J.S. C. A. Pauson, Fidelity No. 120, San Francisco, Calif.
I.G. F. Murback, Superior No. 179, West Unity, Ohio.
Tyl. T. H. Darrow, Lakeside No. 42, Sand Point, Idaho.
Org. Demon H. Evans, Green Lake No. 149, Seattle, Wash.
"The Lodge was then opened in due and ancient form.
After opening Lodge, by way of introduction, each member arose, in turn, and
gave his name, residence and home Lodge. It was interesting as well as
surprising to meet with members of the Craft from such widely separated places
as Paris, France, and Manila, P.I.; and from Fort William, Canada, to Needles,
in southern California.
"Several of the brethren then gave impromptu remarks upon matters of Masonic
interest. No degrees were conferred. One interesting feature of this meeting,
unique in Masonic history, too, was the fact that all members present were
wearing cork life preservers and had automatic pistols attached to their
belts. This fact, to those present was but an illustration of that 'being duly
and truly prepared'; it may be said also to show that even the dangers of a
German submarine could not prevent the assembling of loyal Masons.
"The formation of this dodge also affords an excellent illustration of the
freedom to travel in foreign countries as known in Freemasonry, and that in
accordance with the teachings of the Craft, its members in times of trial and
trouble never forget the lessons of the early degrees as exemplified by the
legend of the widow's son.
"Among those present Bros. A. H. Rostron, of Minerva No. 2433, Birkenhead,
England, who won Congressional recognition by the manner in which he drove his
ship through ice floes to the rescue of the 'Titanic' survivors; and Bro.
Reginald Wright Kauffman, Mt. Horeb Lodge No. 528, Philadelphia, Pa.; Bro.
Hugh Wiley, Fort William Lodge No. 415, Fort William, Canada; the latter two
being well-known magazine writers.
Lodge No. 1 was held under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of England, the
Saxonia being a British ship. There is a provision in the Constitution of the
Grand Lodge of England, so I understand, which provides that three Past
Masters, or Grand Lodge officials, may meet and after strict trial and due
examination, hold masonic communication. This is also in accordance with
masonic custom from time immemorial. Therefore Bro. L. A. Nutter, P. M. of
Gate City Lodge No. 522, Kansas City, Mo.; and Bro. E. C. Boddy, P. M.,
Corinthian Temple 805, Rochester, N. Y.; and myself were acting well within
our rights and privileges."
From the minutes of this interesting meeting aboard the Saxonia, I glean the
SAXONIA LODGE NO. 1
Not forgetful of that great Masonic virtue Charity, a collection of $56.00 was
taken up, which was turned over to Brother Rostron, to forward through his own
Lodge to the Grand Lodge of England for use of same in charity work. A pretty
gavel and plate was made by the ship's carpenter which was used in the Lodge
meeting, and afterwards presented by the Lodge officials as a committee to
Bro. Rostron at his station on the bridge of the ship. Attractive roster
cards, as well as membership cards, had been prepared by Bro. Warm Ballyn, of
St. Johns No. 673, Liverpool, England, Chief Steward of the Saxonia, and were
his contribution to the enjoyment of the meeting. It is not known to the
writer if there has ever before been a similar use of the Cunard Stamship
Company's Menu Cards.
There being no further business the Lodge was closed in due and ancient form.
Thus the organization and disbanding of Saxonia Lodge No. 1 came and went. It
has passed into history, leaving a lasting and deep impression in the memory,
of at least one of its members which as stated before, is recalled with great
Thus the historians whom we have come upon. There remains the Menu Card
referred to above, a cut of which appears with this article. The face of the
Menu is in colors presenting a fine view of the Chamber of Deputies in Paris,
France. The name of the Lodge follows, together with the list of officers. The
back of the card presents in fine colors a plaque displaying the letters "R
F." that is, the Republic of France, together with the words Liberte,
Fraternite, Egalite. The whole being topped by the words " Cunard Line." Upon
the inside faces of these backs is found a Roster of the Masons who were
present at the meeting, and a brief invitation in the following words:
LODGE NO. 1
Antient, Free and Accepted Masons
Somewhere at Sea,
18th August, 1917.
Dear Sir and Brother:
You are respectfully requested to attend the Masonic Duties of this lodge on
Sunday, the nineteenth day of August, 1917, at 8.30 P. M. prompt.
A. NETTER, W. M.,
WM. H. INGRAM. Secry.
One more word in connection with this history. Within recent time I have met
with one of the former soldiers of the 18th Engineers, and he informs me that
it was current rumor on the Saxonia that only commissioned officers were in
attendance at this event on the Saxonia. Which if it should prove to be true
would detract from the full value this gathering had, as a meeting of the
Masons upon board the ship. In this respect it falls far short of the historic
meeting on the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico the year before at which ALL
MASONS met upon the level and parted on the square.
this story you have therefore one of those rare Masonic events when a group of
like minded Craftsmen, finding themselves in close proximity, find a way
whereby they may pass a few hours in those scenes which delight the Masonic
heart wherever it may beat.
Amid the war's alarms and its terrors Masons manage to find a period wherein
they may lay aside for the moment their military cares and yield themselves to
the social fellowship of the Fraternity. And the incident merits being
recorded among the many Masonic stories that we are endeavoring to recover and
to perpetuate in this series of papers.
LIBERATION LODGE NO. 8, BORDEAUX, FRANCE.
SHOULD hasten at once to correct any erroneous impression the above heading
might give to the casual reader. This Lodge was not an American Lodge. The
sole reason for giving its record in this series is because of the prominent
place American Masons in the A.E.F. had in bringing it into life. My purpose
is to indicate to the Masonic Student that there are fields in Masonic
Research that transcend the strict lines of our American System and wherever
these lines cut across the established life of our own system it is valuable
for the student to have this material at hand.
my wide survey of the Masonic situation during the World War it has been my
privilege to come in contact with American Masons of all types of temperament
and experience. Among this number very shortly after the war was my
introduction by way of correspondence with Brother Alsa C. Howard at that time
in the regular service. Bro. Howard at the entrance of our country into the
war was a Sergeant in the U. S. Army. He was commissioned and at first held
the rank of Lieutenant. He was promoted, in France, to the grade of Captain,
then Major. Upon the return of our country to peace time conditions, he
returned to his rank of Sergeant and my last intercourse with him, he was
still holding that rank.
an old Army man Bro. Howard was able to visit all parts of the world and
always took occasion to visit Masonic bodies. For that reason he has a
world-wide friendship with Masons of many lands.
While stationed in Bordeaux during the war, Bro. Howard became associated with
a number of British Masons who were in that city in civil, diplomatic and
military service for their King and Empire. Bordeaux has been closely
associated in history with the British Empire and has always been regarded as
a point of unusual value to the interests of the Island Government. The finest
reciprocal friendship exists between the native French population and these
Bordeaux moreover was one of the first points in France to come under the
survey of our government when it was definitely decided that America should
enter the war. Its fine harbor and facilities for the erection of huge
warehouses, made it inevitably one of the great ports of entry for American
men, munitions and supplies. In fact during 1918-19 the great system of depots
that sprang into existence at Bordeaux and the vast harbor improvements speak
a brilliant word for the genius of the American engineer.
Early in the fall of 1917 American troops began to appear in Bordeaux. The
15th Engineers, a group from Pittsburgh, were the first on the ground. These
were shortly relieved by detachments from the 18th Engineers and others, until
at last a stream of American troops began to enter the port. Thousands became
attached to the permanent personnel of the city and the adjacent camps.
Now among these thousands of Americans swarming in and about Bordeaux were
large numbers of Craftsmen and inevitably they drew together until Masonic
Clubs flourished in camps, single organizations, the city itself, and in 1919
in the University of Bordeaux.
The contact with the French and the British Masons came in due time and many
an evening was spent in fraternal and social fellowship.
material at hand, to deal with this situation and to tell to my readers the
story of Liberation Lodge, is quite abundant and comes from all three sources,
American, British and French. For general purposes I shall confine myself
however to correspondence with Brother Howard and with Brother W. Hennessey
Cook, an official of Lloyds, now located in Paris. Bro. Cook was the
representative of the great British Company in Bordeaux during the war and was
very prominent in fraternal activities. For purposes of continuity I shall
reserve much of his material to the closing words on Liberation Lodge, for he
has furnished me with a pen sketch of the post-war activities of this Lodge.
understand the situation we must go back to the year 1910. At that time a
large and scattered group of British Masons sojourning in France, started a
movement whereby they might have Lodges in which to satisfy their craving for
Masonic intercourse. As is well known the regular French Masonic organizations
were not recognized by the English Grand Lodge. Consequently these scattered
groups of British Masons conceived the idea of having a system in France that
should be regarded by their own Grand Lodge as regular.
From a pamphlet they issued some years ago over the signature of the Grand
Secretary, Bro. G. L. Jollois, they display the various steps by which they
came into existence. The story is long and cannot all be given here. Suffice
it to say that their organization is now known as La Grande Loge Nationole
Independente et Reguliere pour la France et yes Colonies Francais, i.e., The
National Grand Lodge of France. They have received recognition from the Grand
Lodge of England and from a number of our own American Grand Lodges.
Were I to wander from my role as historian, and enter the field as an
interpreter of Masonic movements, I might indicate where my sympathies lie
with regard to this system of Lodges in France. I might also be compelled to
call the attention of the Masonic world to some of the strange idiosyncracies
of Grand Lodges who have recognized this system in France, who are yet at the
same time supersensitive with regard to "Invasion of Territory," "courtesy
toward other Grand Lodges," and such "Landmarks." But the Masonic world is
full of inconsistencies and so it does not become me to enter the
controversial ranks. Only this to say, that very frankly, the origin of this
system of Masonry in France is plainly, according to our standards, an
invasion of the territory of another nation. The results however of this new
system are happy so far as the nonFrench residents in France are concerned.
But I cannot leave this trail without remarking that the desire that animates
the Italian Masons residing in Pennsylvania and the non-English group in New
York, and the alien group in Louisiana or Mississippi, is the same as the
identical feeling that our British friends had in France when they originated
the "National" Grand Lodge of France, which, when one thinks of it, is an
absurdly inappropriate title. I am not placing any strictures upon this group
nor indicating any personal bias one way or the other. But I am laying a
background for the reader to study as this story unfolds.
Now to facts. The National Grand Lodge was instituted in November, 1913. It
came through certain French Masonic groups that had agreements and
understandings running back many years, together with this group of very
active and fine British sojourners. By forming a concordat with the various
elements involved they emerged as a Grand Lodge system. So far as I can
untangle the story a few scattered French Lodges, some of which were in Paris,
were taken into the system and practically reorganized with British Masons
either in office or behind the whole movement. Among these Lodges were the
following: "Brittanic Lodge," Paris; "Jeanne d'Arc Lodge," Rouen; "Le Centre
des Amis," Paris; and "Loge Anglaise" No. 204, Bordeaux (English Register).
This Lodge was founded in 1732, figuring as No. 363 on that Register, in 1766.
Its number was changed to 298 in 1770; in 1780 to 240; in 1792, to the number
204. In 1803 it passed under the government of the Grand Orient of France, and
so remained until 1913, when it once more returned to the Register of the
Grand Lodge of England. These things should be kept in mind in order that the
American Masonic Student may be guided in his research into the French
White in France during the war I noticed in the several newspapers printed for
English-speaking soldiers notices of certain Masonic functions and events that
puzzled me. Such for example as one that referred to the Lodge Jeanne d'Arc"
at Rouen. In this notice the Installation of Officers for the ensuing year
(1919) were given in full, which is a thing that is never done with our French
Brethren on account of the persecution they meet constantly from the Roman
Catholic Church. The entire roster of names proved to be military men in the
later years the movement has been gradually to turn the Lodges over to native
French Masons, who are therefore producing a distinctive French Grand Lodge.
But during the war it must be borne in mind that the British practically
offered and dominated the few Lodges in the "National" Grand Lodge system.
And this brings us to Bordeaux, and to Liberation Lodge No. 8.
shall now quote Bro. Howard's story, that his view of the situation may be
recorded, he being one of the foremost Americans concerned in the incident. He
"The 18th Engineers, Railway, U. S. Army, with whom I was serving, immediately
after arrival overseas, was sent to Bordeaux, France, for duty, in preparation
of existing dock facilities and the construction of new docks, wharves, and
storage space. This was in August, 1917. I thought that a club where Masonic
matters might be discussed, ties renewed, new friendships formed, conferences
held, oversight of sick and needy Brothers arranged, was practical.
discussed this with a number of Masons in my regiment, and as a result
searched for a suitable location for a club center. I visited the "English
Club" composed of resident Englishmen, and made inquiry regarding a suitable
location. Some of them became very interested in our idea, and introduced me
to Bro. Wm. Hennessey Cook, P. M. of Canada Lodge No. 3527, London, England.
He entered heartily into our project. He however broached the situation with
regard to International Freemasonry, and believed that instead of our forming
a Masonic Club, that if a Lodge were instituted composed of the Masons of the
three great nations, France, Great Britain and America, it would be a larger
and finer achievement.
agreed to the suggestion and we consulted together how best to place the
situation before the three groups of Masons. Bro. Cook carried the suggestion
to the Grand Lodge of England; to the National Grand Lodge of France; and to
the Grand Lodge of Aquitaine at Bordeaux. I tried by correspondence to put the
matter in a clear light before the Grand Lodges of America."
Howard here discovered what my readers know he would encounter. He mentions a
meeting of Grand Masters where the matter must have been brought to their
attention and of course there was no agreement on the suggestion. Thus the
American situation was an unbroken refusal even to discuss the proposition.
the meanwhile, to return to Howard's recital:
"Our plan met with a hearty approval by the Grand Lodge of England, and the
National Grand Lodge of France. Some American Grand Lodges interposed no clear
objections, such as New York, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, and perhaps some
others; I do not recall. Others, like California and Oregon, viewed our desire
"With the English and French Grand Lodge ("National" Grand Lodge of France)
authorities in agreement as to the formation of a new Lodge, an application
was made in due form to the Grande Loge Nationale for a charter, which was
granted and a date set by that body for the consecration and installation
ceremonies. The following named Master Masons, in a meeting regularly called
for the purpose on the evening of September 17, 1917, in due form petitioned
the Grand Lodge (of France) For a charter for the new Lodge, named Liberation
No. 8. The Roster of those present and whose names were attached to this
petition were as follows:
William Hennessey Cook, Canada No. 3527, London, England.
Alsa Chester Howard, Hancock No. 311, Est. Leavenworth, Kan.
Frank Ralph Pearson, Charter Rock No. 410, Berkeley, Calif.
Theodore Gustave Lechten, California No. 1, San Francisco, Calif.
Ralph Bushnell Aitken, Roseville No. 432, Roseville, Calif.
Austin G. Marsh, Ely No. 29, Ely, Nevada.
John Howe, Canby No. 147, Canby, Minnesota.
John William Clay, Hollenbeek No. 319, Los Angeles, Calif.
Donald McVicar Wallace, Temescal No. 314, Corona, Calif.
Willie Willard Graham, Verde No. 14, Jerome, Ariz.
Benjamin Taylor, Francis Drake No. 396, San Francisco, Calif.
Herbert Preston, Trinity College No. 1765, London, England.
Irwin Harold Reimers, Yosemite No. 99, Mereed, Calif.
Alfred E. Middlehurst, Reno No. 140, Hutchinson, Kan.
The following named Master Masons were chosen to occupy the several stations
in the new Lodge, as follows:
William Hennessey Cook - Worshipful Master.
Alsa C. Howard - Senior Warden.
Frank Ralph Pearson - Junior Warden.
The elections were unanimous and without contest. Election was by acclaim."
pause here by us to see where we are. We find that there are 14 names attached
to the petition. And of these names 12 are members of American Lodges. And of
the three leading officers elected to the three leading stations, two bear the
names of American Lodges. Hence our inclusion of this event among the American
Series of Field Lodges during the War. Howard continues:
"Lodge Anglaise No. 204, Bordeaux, France, stood sponsor for us before the
world in the founding of the new Lodge, mentioned from hereon as Liberation
"On the afternoon of December 8, 1917, members of the Grand Lodge of England,
the Grand National Lodge of France, and of the Grand Lodge Provincial
d'Aquitaine, and a large number of brothers, met at the beautiful Salle
Franklyn, Bordeaux, and consecrated Liberation No. 8 in due and ancient form.
The consecration ceremonies were begun by M. Wor. G. M. F. Eigau, Provincial
Grand Lodge d'Aquitaine, who opened his Grand Lodge, announced the object of
the meeting, officially received the Grand Lodge Nationale, and then vacated
all Stations to the Grand Lodge Nationale for the further conducting of the
"Wor. Bro. Edmund Heish, Grand Junior Warden, Grande Loge Nationale, acting
for the Grand Master, installed Bro. Wm. Hennessey Crook as W. M.; Very Wor.
Douglas Magnus Nicholson, Grand Treas., installed the present writes [Bro.
Howard] as Senior Warden; and Wor. Bro. F. Eigau, installed Bro. Frank R.
Pearson as Junior Warden. This was the most impressive installation ceremony
that the writer has ever witnessed, and no doubt the other members present
were as deeply impressed with the stately dignity and the solemnity which
characterized the ceremonies throughout.
"The other Stations were filled at a subsequent meeting. The consecrating
ceremonies were then concluded in due and ancient form and then the newly
constituted Lodge closed. After the closing of the Lodge all present were
invited to a banquet such as only the best French chefs can prepare. Speeches,
toasts, and a rapid interchange of wit marked this most auspicious occasion at
the hour of "high Twelve" (I am sure Bro. Howard slips here, for it must have
been "low Twelve." However after that splendid banquet we forgive him, I am
sure !) the Lodge was closed.
"There were present Masons from eight or nine countries."
The Lodge seems to have flourished under this set of officers. They did
considerable work. Quite a number of Americans were initiated, passed and
raised, most of them, however, only to discover upon their return to America
that their several Grand Lodges refused to recognize their regularity. In some
cases known to me these were healed by proceeding along the same road that
other brothers have traveled as though they had never been made Masons before.
Bro. Howard was transferred to other parts of France in the course of time and
lost personal touch with the Lodge. With the exception of the following note
from him, his story ends:
"Some time after the consecration of liberation No. 8, Bro. Cook informs me
that the Lodge was going strong. It had at that time some 12 candidates
waiting for the degrees. Fourteen applications for the degrees were also
waiting." Howard then proceeds: "At the next meeting of the Provincial Grand
Lodge I was elected Grand Master of Ceremonies. Later I was presented with a
very beautiful 'Founder's Badge,' or jewel."
Turning now to Bro. Cook, former Master of Liberation No. 8, I quote from a
letter dated Nov. 26. 1928, in which he says:
All l can do today is to give you a very few brief words on developments which
have taken place in Liberation Lodge No. 8, Bordeaux, since 1918. Obviously on
the termination of the war, all those Brethren who had joined and who had
returned to the U.S.A., ceased to be paying members, and for a time the funds
of the Lodge were hardly sufficient to carry on the work, and by the most
careful economies, the W. M., Brother Preston, has succeeded in carrying on
the Lodge through troubled waters.
that time the Lodge numbered only about 22 paying members, whereas, during the
war it had a roll call of about 60. Since then members have steadily increased
and today they number about 38 paying members.
The various Masters who succeeded one another have shown considerable aptitude
and even their good example has served to emulate interest from Norwegian and
the beginning of this year (1928) there was a demand made to the Grand Lodge
(National Grand Lodge of France), to enable the Lodge Burdigala to work with a
French translation of the English Ritual. I understand that quite a large
number of the members of Liberation are also members of the Burdigala and
assist in the propagation of masonry in the French language.
any case I can assure you that the Masonic keenness is fully developed by the
two Lodges in Bordeaux and that they frequently send representatives to Paris
to take part in other Masonic meetings which are taking place there.
have but a few more mentions made of this Lodge in paragraphs from various
Masonic friends scattered throughout our land. In a letter dated December 12,
1928, my friend, Bro. William C. Prime of New York, says:
William Hennessey Cook, who was Master of Liberation No. 8 in 1918, was then
as I remember it, Manager of Lloyd's Bank, Bordeaux Branch, but was afterwards
transferred to Paris, where he is now either a manager or submanager of the
head office of Lloyd's Bank in Paris. Liberation Lodge was organized under the
stress of the war by the influence among others of Americans temporarily
located in or near Bordeaux, with Britons in charge, naturally. From my point
of view it was and is entirely regular, as one of the other Lodges of the
Grande Loge Nationale which was founded in 1913 under the auspices or wing so
to call it, of the Grand Lodge of England, and with its kindly influence. It
was a weak group and is not strong now, although no French Jurisdictions are
numerically strong as compared with American. It organized a Lodge in Rouen,
one in Nice, and several elsewhere, which I think dropped after the War,
because the English-speaking men who formed them, mostly service men, British
or Irish, moved out. I cannot tell you just now how many (American)
jurisdictions recognized them. The Grand Lodge of New York has done so within
the past year. I know that Iowa and New Jersey and several others did during
the War and so far as I know have not withdrawn recognition.
a paragraph from the Temple Bulletin (a publication I much regret to have no
further designation to identify), entitled "Blue Lodges of the Trenches," I
find the following:
Among the many beautiful evidences of Masonic Brotherhood in the trenches in
western France, the founding of a new English speaking Lodge, by American
soldiers of the A. E. F., is of significant interest. "Liberation" Lodge No.
8, was consecrated by French and English officers of the Grand Loge Nationale,
Independent and Regular for France and the French Colonies. During the
installation the Worshipful Master wore an apron used two hundred years ago in
the Lodge where the ceremony took place, probably the oldest Masonic apron in
William Hennessey Cook was installed as W. M., and Lieut. A. C. Howard, who
had been instrumental in organizing the Lodge, became S. W.
the meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge, F. & A. M., held February 2, the
following Grand Officers were elected in the Temple recently acquired in the
city of Bordeaux: G. M. Bro. Eigau; Deputy G. M., Bro. Gendron; G. S. W., Bro.
Cook; G. J. W., Bro. Maura; G. M. C., Bro. Howard; G. Chapl., Bro Perche; G.
Org., Bro. Preston.
will be of keen interest to the Craft to learn that the U. S. A. is
represented in the Grand Lodge by Brothers Cook, Howard and Preston, who are
also officers in the new English-speaking Lodge "Liberation No. 8."
the Report of the Overseas Masonic Mission page 175 I have come upon this
Returning to Bordeaux with Brother Collins (April 6) from Camp de Souge, he
(Prime) attended a session of Liberation Lodge at the Masonic Temple, occupied
by the Loge Anglaise, founded in 1734 (1732) under dispensation of the Grand
Lodge of England, and at various times thereafter, holding obedience to the
Grand Orient, or the Grand Lodge of England, but now holding obedience to the
Grand Loge Nationale, and being one of the constituent lodges which formed
that grand body in the autumn of 1913.
took part in conferring the Masonic degrees on 4 members of the A. E. F. in
the afternoon, and on 8 in the evening. He also conferred with Capt. John D.
Hatch and associates regarding the establishment of a Masonic Club in
Bordeaux, which was shortly after established with the zealous aid and support
of Brother Collins.
One other clipping is in my files. It is a part of a letter written to Bro.
James G. Frey, editor of the American Tyler Keystone of Battle Creek,
Michigan, by Bro. Jesse R. Aver of Michigan:
moved from Is-sur-Tille to Bordeaux July 1, 1918, I found no Masonic Club and
few Masons, at first, but a little investigation developed a Lodge under the
Grand Lodge of England, meeting in an abandoned old church down town. The
Master was agent for a British bank and some barriers had to be broken down
before I could talk to him privately. But once identified and satisfied I had
no ax to grind, the traditional British reserve thawed and several American
Brothers had the pleasure of seeing the British work.
From this group of testimonies gathered through the years from such diverse
and scattered sources I have tried to reconstruct for you this story. The
Lodge was heavily officered by American Masons from its origin to their
transfer out of the Bordeaux area and by their efforts they were instrumental
in aiding to a very large degree the launching of this Lodge, which has ever
since been at work under the Constitution of the National Grand Lodge of
France. It is the sole example thus far discovered by me in my wartime
researches where American Masons in the A. E. F. or elsewhere participated
personally and actively in the formation of a Lodge holding allegiance to a
Grand Lodge not American.
to the regularity of the process from an American standpoint there can be
little doubt but that these brethren transgressed seriously their American
Grand Lodge Laws. From a British and French standpoint there was no
irregularity, as is attested by the recognition of the lodge by both the Grand
Lodge of England and the National Grand Lodge of France. It is further
strengthened by the later recognition extended by the several American Grand
Lodges as already mentioned.
The record is written and the story thus brought to all Masonic students
interested in knowing and preserving the movements of the Craft in times of
Special appreciation is herewith extended to those brethren who made possible
the collection and elaboration of the portions of the story as given.
BRO CYRUS FIELD WILLARD, California
this celebrated hierophant, "our ancient brother, Pythagoras," should reappear
in our time, he might have need to put his great and powerful intelligence in
touch with modern scientific learning.
a French writer, Armand Bedarride, declares in an article he has written for
the high-class French Masonic magazine, Le Symbolisme, edited at Paris by
Oswald Wirth. This article is entitled "The Letter G - What Pythagoras Would
the modern discoveries concerning electrons are taking us back to the old
Hermetic philosophy: "As above, so below" we cannot agree that Pythagoras did
not know what we know now, only perhaps using different terminology yet the
article contains such interesting Speculations and is so suggestive of other
thoughts, that I have deemed it best to offer readers of THE BUILDER some of
the thoughts contained herein although it is too long to give in full.
Bedarride thinks that Pythagoras would abandon many of the hypotheses that
were accepted in his time, as a consequence of the insufficiency of knowledge
of the phenomena of nature. He thinks Pythagoras would learn from our
mathematics, our physics and our astronomy, and would be amazed at our
chemistry. But after that he could unhesitatingly assert that the innumerable
operations of the universe, better scrutinized now, continue to be written in
abstract formulas only more learned and more numerous, that the contemporary
mind finds it more and more the case that nature "geometrizes" and its point
of view will be enlarged, in place of being struck with decay.
Nothing enters into the domain of geometry and of arithmetic more than the
exterior forms and the internal arrangements of crystals, each substance
exhibiting certain determinate dispositions. It is also true that certain of
them present several exceptional properties. If we do not yet know the cause
of them, we may be certain that the cause some day will appear, marking the
outlines of a new law or of an unexpected discovery.
"In passing let us salute the cube," he says, "the fundamental base of all
construction." The cube, which serves as the image of our cubical stone, is
the crystal of mineral salt. It is also the connecting link by which the
chemical symbolism of our predecessors in hermeticism is joined to the
geometry of- our ancestors, the stone cutters. If in positive chemistry a salt
is the product of the action of an acid on a base, alchemically it is the
action of sulphur on mercury, the prototype of the effect of the active on the
passive and the symbol of regulated and balanced wisdom, of Jachin and Boaz.
Moreover this active and passive relation is indeed that of the chemistry of
our laboratories; only the greater part of those who work there with so much
merit and who sometimes succeed in becoming illustrious, care but very little
for the philosophical power of symbolical tradition and of hermeticism.
passing we may be permitted to recall that eminent Scientists have not had for
alchemy, even the operative kind, that disdain that a great many of the
specialists of our time have manifested for it, and above all the profane who
believe themselves to be Scientists because they have rubbed themselves up
against a few books of science. The great Berthelot, or the eminent chemist
Dumas, have not considered the transmutation of metals and the synthesis of
gold as scientifically impossible. It is generally known among chemists that
the English chemist, Sir William Ramsay, announced that he had made gold from
the baser metals, and future discoveries may show that it can be done cheaply.
But our Mason, in the search for truth, like the hermit of the Tarot, armed
with his lantern, has a great deal more to see.
will observe that human beings are "constructed" according to a plan which
resides in a latent state in the grain or in the egg; he would not admit
probably the existence of a force coming from without in order to put this
plan to work but he would assert that this immanent force or property
"geometrizes" in its turn.
The morphological variations produced artificially or the experiments in
artificial fecundation, like those of Messrs. Yves Delage and Bolm, however
interesting they may be from the point of view of the influence of chemical
factors, would not contradict for him the principle, for the scientists
themselves assert and recognize that
. . the egg is like a star launched by an initial force in the midst of a
system of stars in movement. The trajectory will be influenced and modified by
the stars whose sphere of action it traverses and yet, if something may have
been changed in its mass or its initial movement, it has not been what it is;
it is the same way with the egg, but whatever one may do, this egg contains
its "potentiality," to employ the technical expression, and we will never see
a bird come out of the egg of a frog. That which changes is only the
superstructures and not the formal types. [Remy Collin].
The artificial modifications are then only the consequences of the variable
conditions in which one can cause the organizing and natural constructive
tendency to act, but they imply and require this fundamental tendency which is
realized by the indeterminate forms. Besides, the evolution of the embryo in
the egg, and its passage through diverse animal types to stop at last at that
of its own species, is the best proof of it.
There is nothing of miraculous nor of the supernatural in this, but a growth
following the "Plan," whatever be the sense that one gives to the "Plan"; and
even if it were considered as proceeding from the action of the environment,
for this action would apply itself always on all object having its own vital
the zoological order amply instructs us, the botanical order also gives us
subjects for meditation with the regular insertion of the leaves on the stalk,
following a spiral which determines the "foliar cycle" of each plant; the
disposition of the leaves of each plant can express itself by a numerical
formula plainly characterized. Geometry; arithmetic.
MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
THIEMEYER, Research Editor
ROBERT I. CLEGG, Illinois
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
V. DENSLOW, Missouri
GEORGE H. DERN, Utah
N.W.J. HAYDON, Canada
CHARLES F. IRWIN, Pennsylvania
JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California
ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York
HUGO TATSCH, Iowa
M. WHTED, California
E.W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
boss has gone to the country, hurray! The fact that he has left his trials and
tribulations behind and that they constitute a few worries is insignificant.
The joy in his departure more than compensates for the tasks it is necessary
to perform. The playful mood of the mice whose watchful cat is away prevails
at present in the editorial office. The joy in the departure of the ogre who
watches over the destinies of this journal more than compensates for the
disagreeable tasks which he has left behind. In reality this is not quite a
true statement of affairs because the boss to whom reference is made is not
and never has been a boss in the literal sense of the word. He says that it is
impossible for him to be bossy and I believe he speaks the truth. Throughout
the years of our relationship it has been more of a collaboration than
anything else, with him doing most of the collaborating. The years of close
association with him have been most pleasant, but it is a new experience for
me to be intrusted with the make‑up of thirty‑two pages of magazine. I am
enjoying the novelty of the situation and hope that I shall do nothing to
betray the trust he has reposed in me.
frankly, this is not an editorial, but an effusion of a sort that is hard to
define. I am not making use of the customary " we ", but am adhering to the
personal "I" because this is, after all, a personal expression. That may, in
itself, constitute a breach of trust, but under existing conditions I am ready
to shoulder the burden and take all of the blame.
has been indicated, it is a new experience for me to be completely in charge
of any one issue of THE BUILDER. I hope that the qualifications I possess,
largely through the efforts of the aforesaid boss, are equal to the task, but
that' is not what I really wanted to say. I first came to know THE BUILDER
nearly five years ago. It seems nothing like that long since I had the
pleasure of becoming acquainted with Bros. Haywood and Meekren, who were
co-operating in the editing of this journal at that time. Masonry was very new
to me then and I had all the enthusiasm for it that youth usually has for new
things. I was sadly in need of someone to direct that enthusiasm into channels
where it would do some good. Bro. Meekren became my guide and counsellor. I
shall leave it to others to judge how successfully he fulfilled the task he
set for himself. Interested as I was at that time in finding out everything I
could about the Fraternity it was only natural that I should soon come to take
an active interest in the affairs of the National Masonic Research Society.
For almost two years I acted in an unofficial capacity. I was willing to
assist in any way possible and soon found myself thoroughly wrapped up in the
work that was being done. In November of 1926 I became connected with the
Society as a sort of glorified office boy. No mention was made of the fact, so
far as the pages of the journal were concerned, for some months, largely
because Bro. Meekren and I were busily engaged in one of our most important
collaborations. We were endeavoring to find a title that would be sufficiently
high sounding to be applied to the sort of thing I was to do. Finally it was
determined that "Research Editor" would not be too much of a prevarication so
I was officially announced as Research Editor of THE Builder. I have not yet
determined the precise nature of the work to be done by that officer, but have
come to the conclusion that the duties are largely composed of those things
that the Editor‑in‑Charge dislikes doing. One of his dislikes that he has
never been able to successfully load onto my shoulders is the writing of
editorials, but more about that later.
work I have done on TE[E BUILDER; is made up of almost everything. I have had
my hand in the Study Club work undertaken by the Society. I have messed with
dummies and made up a few of them; I have read proof, sometimes inefficiently,
I am afraid; written articles, some of which were good; read books and written
reviews, most of which were not so good; and from time to time I have
laboriously penned editorials, all of which, if the truth is told, were rotten
and which accounts for the fact that the Editor‑in‑Charge has not been
successful in delegating this task to me. Through all of this, however, I have
never had complete control of any one issue of the magazine until the present
time. If you don't think that this experience is a joyous one you are just
"c‑a‑r‑a‑z‑y" as the flapper would say.
then, is the climax after three years of official connection with the National
Masonic Research Society. I have been temporarily elevated to the Master's
seat, and after Wink into oblivion, for with this issue I officially retire.
is, then, that I say " Hurray" and that I am having the most fun of my brief
Masonic career, and so also with a deep‑seated regret I say "Au Revoir". I use
that term hopefully because I do feel that it will not be good‑by. I sincerely
hope that I shall be allowed to continue in as much of the same capacity as I
have occupied during the past three years even though it is unofficial.
should be most ungrateful if I did not take advantage of this opportunity to
use these pages to pay a few debts. I have made many friends during the past
few years. All of them I prize most highly and it is not at all a pleasant
task to even contemplate bidding them adieu. Though it may happen that I shall
no longer be known as one of their active associates I hope that they will
always consider me as one of their friends. Officially our friendship is
severed because I shall no longer be officially connected with Masonic
Research, but unofficially I have found a hobby and I expect to ride it. Our
unofficial friendship then is only beginning.
of the most pressing debts that I owe is to the work itself. I have thoroughly
enjoyed every minute of it. I feel that it has added tremendously to my
equipment and that it has enabled me to face the world much more competently
than I could have done without it. Can I say more except. that perhaps the
greatest thrill I have received in many years was to have one of my
contributions read before that august body known as Quatuor Coronati Lodge? In
the short space of four years I attained that goal of Masonic students and
have most pleasurable memories of the fifteen months I spent in preparing the
document. Now I have attained what I consider one of the most exalted
positions in the realm of Masonic Research, that of Editor‑in‑Charge of THE
BUILDER. True, it is only temporary, but the thrill to me is none the less
because of that fact. I owe these two joyous experiences to the work itself
which made the opportunities for me, so I say that I owe it a great debt.
above all that I owe an even greater one to a man. That this obligation can be
paid by a few lines written and published behind his back is to be doubted,
more than that, it is impossible. I cannot, however, resist the temptation to
say something about my relations with him whom I have facetiously called my
boss, Brother Robert J. Meekren, the Editor‑in‑Charge of THE BUILDER. He is
away at present on a much deserved vacation and his absence makes me
appreciate all the more the many kindnesses he has done me. It is under his
tutelage that I have done all of my work as a Masonic student, if I may be
conceited enough to apply that title to myself. Without his guidance what ever
I may have accomplished in this interesting field would have been impossible.
As a babe in arms in research work he guided my footsteps along paths that
proved to be short cuts and enabled me to accomplish much that I would have
been unable to do without him. I recall the fatherly advice he gave me early
in my venture into this strange realm. How frequently he counselled me and
kept me from making a veritable fool of myself only he and I will ever know.
Is it any wonder then that I look up to him as the one man most responsible
for the measure of success I have attained in the field of my hobby?
addition to all of these things I have always found Bro. Meekren ready to
indicate evidence to me that would controvert views I had formed, or which
would substantiate them, and this was equally true whether we were in
agreement or otherwise. He has what I consider an uncanny/ faculty for citing
evidence in such a way that you aide forced to form your own opinions instead
of being guided by conclusions that he has reached through years of patient
study. He may not agree with your opinions but he \can always see the merit in
them. He may cite sufficient evidence to cause you to change your views, but
never have I heard him say that I was wrong even though we differed. This
feature of his scholarly character is perhaps best illustrated by an article
appearing elsewhere in this number. Bro. Castells has replied to a critical
review of his latest work on the ritual of the Royal Arch. This review was
written by Brother Meekren. Our English brother has been able, as I see it, to
find few places in which he could pin Bro. Meekren down. Whenever in doubt
about a point in argument, Bro. Meekren carefully phrases his work so that he
makes no positive statements. Unless he has incontrovertible evidence to
support a conclusion, that conclusion is cited only as an opinion and not as a
fact. A difference between Bro. Castells and Bro. Meekren is clearly shown in
the article above mentioned for in one place Bro. Castells says that he knows
he is right. I venture the assertion that if Bro. Meekren held to a similar
opinion he would have said that he believed he was right, which is entirely a
However that may be, there is another thing about my boss which demands
notice. He is the most pleasant man to work with that it has ever been my
pleasure to meet. I shall not elaborate on that statement, but say in summing
up that he is a gentleman the "like of which there is no whither" to use the
have not come so closely in contact with the Executive Secretary of the
Society, but I am deeply appreciative of many considerations he has shown me.
so it happens that the joy of editing one number of THE BUILDER in its
entirety is tinctured with sadness over an impending departure. From the dust
did I come and to the dust I must shortly return, but before I do so I must
wish each and every member of the society the best the future can possibly
offer; to the Society, health, good luck and prosperity; to the new friends,
many of whom have become old friends by now, a long useful and prosperous life
with the personal hope that they will remain my friends for many years to
come. The wishes I have for those with whom I have come into daily personal
contact, among them the Editor‑in‑Charge and the Executive Secretary are too
intimate to be put into words, but I feel sure that they know me well enough
to realize the sincerity of unexpressed thoughts.
have really been writing of my hopes, aspirations, as they lived in the past
with some thought of the future, but to me it seems like writing my own death
notice. I am reminded of the meteor, a flash of brightness and then oblivion
and thus has my official life as a Masonic Research Worker struck me; a bright
spot in my life with seeming oblivion in the future. I sincerely hope that it
will be brighter than the prospects at present indicate.
ERNEST E. THIEMEYER.
* * *
recent headlines in the press of the country regarding the disappearance, the
search, and the final location of the Transcontinental Air Transport liner,
City of San Francisco, offers an opportunity to the Masons of this country, as
well as to other citizens, to be of vital service to the country at large. It
is not customary for THE BUILDER to comment upon matters which seemingly have
no Masonic connection. We feel, however, that there is a definite tie between
the unfortunate circumstance in New Mexico and many of the things for which
Masonry stands. In the first place, air transportation perhaps the infant of
the great industries of the country. Airplanes are running on schedule and
maintaining effective communication between distant points, but no one can
fail to see that this mode of travel is still in the primitive stages of its
development. It has taken rapid strides forward, perhaps outgrowing its
swaddling clothes at a too youthful age. Regardless of anything that might be
said on that score, the fact remains that air transportation is, or should be,
a symbol of progress.
Somewhere in the Masonic ritual there is a phrase which says that Freemasonry
is a progressive science. Generally that phrase is taken to allude to the
several steps a candidate undergoes in his initiation. In other words, in the
ordinary sense it means the same progressive development that we find in
retracing from its inception any age worn path. There is another meaning to
the word " progressive, " however, or it may be better to say, there is an
added meaning. The word means "going forward." May we not say, therefore, that
this same phrase might reasonably be interpreted to mean that Masonry stands
for anything progressive or for the advancement of human knowledge,
understanding, or convenience? If we accept this latter interpretation, there
is every reason why we should comment in the pages of a Masonic journal upon
the unfortunate crash of the City of San Francisco.
newspapers have been making it "screamer" news for almost a week. It will
doubtless be ten days to two weeks before this calamity finds itself removed
from the front pages of the daily press. We are accustomed to think of the
newspapers of this country as standing for everything progressive. Perhaps
they do, but their attitude in this air disaster, as in other of a like
nature, has tended to discourage, rather than encourage, progress.
Although the airplane is now rounding out its first quarter of a century of
existence, it is still far from being a perfect machine. The railroads of this
country, which have been in existence for more than a century, still have
calamities. Every few months one sees in the paper an account of some wreck.
Unless the accident happened in the immediate vicinity of the newspaper, a
train wreck in which eight passengers or eight people were killed would
receive less attention than the murder of some prominent gangster. Perhaps a
column heading with a half column of letterpress, or even a full column, would
be the most that would be seen in the ordinary news journal.
seems to us that the death of eight people in an airplane is of no more
consequence to the world at large than the death of eight people in a train
wreck. The contrasting method of treatment, however, is immediately apparent.
An airplane flies into the wastes of Arizona and New Mexico, is lost for four
or five days, Ad the newspapers of the country are emblazoned with "
screamers, " and anywhere from two to four columns of news on the first page
devoted to it. Is the airplane receiving a square deal ? At least one writer
does not think so.
more thing. During the last few months it seems to the writer that the
newspapers hype contained more reports of airplane accidents than hi been the
case for several years past. These accidents have always been played up as
news, given a prominent place in the paper so that you and all could read.
The.effect on passenger travel by airplaine could hardly help but be
unfavorable. Still, any thinking person could not fail to realize that in
spite of all this publicity, airplane travel is still one of the safest means
of transportation known to the world today. The writer recalls two major
steamship disasters during 1929. The sinking of the Vestris was the first and
the sinking of the San Juan about sixty miles from San Francisco was the
second. If memory serves right, there was a total of nearly two hundred lives
lost in these two wrecks. They were headline material for a few days, and then
sank into oblivion. While figures are not available, I should be willing to
wager that there have not been two hundred deaths in airplane accidents in the
same period of time. I am willing to offer odds of a million to one that in
commercial air transportation there have not been fifty lives lost during the
past year. I think it would be a safe bet that there are fewer deaths per
passenger mile in air travel than by any other mode of modern transportation.
In spite of the large number of airplane accidents reported, remarkably few of
them have been in commercial service. A few unqualified pilots carrying
sightseeing passengers locally have crashed. Some injuries and a few deaths
have resulted, but the major portion of airplane accidents are due to
pioneering effort in the field of air development. They occur either in stunt
flights, such as endurance contests and airplane derbys, or other forms of
long distance flying, or in test flights of other nature. There, again, is an
unfairness apparent in press reports.
discussion of this kind could be carried to an interminable length. The result
would always be the same, that the press of the country is not treating air
transportation fairly and squarely. Freemasonry being, as has been indicated,
a progressive science, let us as Freemasons make it a part of our business to
acquaint ourselves as thoroughly as possible with the statistics of commercial
air transport. We would thus become qualified to do our share in dispelling
any unfavorable effect created by the yellow journalism being practiced in
this connection. Let us be really and truly progressive and do what we can to
further the progress of the nation. E. E. T.
Chronicle and Comment
Review of Masonry the World Over
Masonic Hotel for New York
Tyler‑Keystone some time ago reported that the new Masonic hotel in
Philadelphia is progressing so nicely that the Masonic club of New York has
decided to erect one. The plans call for a building 25 stories high, to cost
about $2,000,000. The new hotel will be located at 134 West 4th Street.
Brother Burton E. Bennett
Readers of THE BUILDER will regret to learn that Bro. Burton E. Bennett passed
away at his home in Seattle, Wash., on August 26th. Bro. Bennett was quite
widely known for his Masonic work and a number of his literary products have
appeared from time to time in THE BUILDER. Aside from Masonry he had many
interests. He was very closely identified with the growth and development of
Alaska and the Northwest.
in Central New York in 1863, he received his early education at Brookfield
Academy from which he graduated in 1881. The Degree of Bachelor of Science was
conferred upon him by Cornell University in 1885. From other institutions he
received the Degrees of Doctor of Science and Doctor of Civil Law, He was the
orator of his class at Cornell, one of the Woodford orators and a senior
editor of the Cornell Daily Son.
Following his graduation from college Brother Bennett read law with E. H. Lamb
of Waterville, N.Y., and with S. M. Lindsley of Utica. He was admitted to
practice before the bar of the State of New York in 1887. His career as a
lawyer in New York State was limited because he moved to Seattle in 1888 and
bee came an important figure in civic affairs and political life in the
Northwest. He served as park commissioner for Seattle for several years. In
March of 1893, with the beginning of the second Cleveland administration, he
was given control of patronage and became a power in the Democratic party. He
is credited with being the Democratic dictator in all things political
throughout this administration. In 1895 he wits appointed United States
District Attorney for Alaska and was present during the great gold rushes. As
District Attorney in that territory he made a notable record, successfully
prosecuting a number of important criminal cases. Of 101 cases handled during
his last term he secured 99 convictions. In 1898 he was the Alaskan delegate
to the International Mining Congress.
he did not neglect religion is shown by the fact that he was the first
Chancellor of the American Episcopal Church in Alaska.
Bennett returned to Seattle in 1900 and in 1901 he was appointed Pan‑American
Commissioner by Governor Rogers of Washington. Aside from his Masonic writings
he is well known for many articles on Western and Alaskan history. At the time
of his death he was a member of Ionic Lodge, No. 90, F. & A. M., of Seattle,
in which lodge he had held membership for thirty years. His contributions to
Masonic literature ranked him as an authority on Masonic history. Much of his
earlier work was polemical in regard to the Scottish Rite. We feel sure that
readers of THE BUILDER will regret with us the passing of Bro. Bennett.
Recent Scottish Rite Congress in Paris
April 29th to May 4th the leaders of the Scottish Rite the world over met in
Paris. This congress was to have been held in Buenos Ayres in 1927, but
economic conditions in Europe made it impossible for representatives of the
continental Scottish Rite bodies to be sent to South America. As a result the
Supreme Council of France extended an invitation to hold the congress in Paris
which was accepted.
of the most noteworthy members who were present at the last congress in 1922
have passed on since that time. The then Vice‑President of the United States,
Brother Thomas Riley Marshall, who was a member of the delegation from the
Northern Jurisdiction: the great student of ritual and symbolism Count Goblet
d'Alviella, Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite in Belgium; and Brother
Maillefer, the past President of the Swiss National Legislature, are among
those who have passed on.
continental bodies were represented fully. The two American jurisdictions sent
their Grand Commanders. Canada and several South American states also sent
delegates. Two newcomers to the circle of Supreme Councils, both organized
since 1922, were represented for the first time, being the Supreme Council of
Vienna and that of Roumania.
International League of Freemasons
organization of individual Master Masons held its annual convention this year
at Amsterdam, Holland, on the 13th, 14th and 15th of September. In the few
years of its existence it has accomplished a great deal in the way of
ameliorating the evil effects of the War upon Freemasonry as a universal
brotherhood. Any regular Master Mason is eligible to membership. Its objects
are the realization of the ideal of universality within the Craft and the
propagation of the idea of universal brotherhood of man and peace between
nations. Further information may be obtained from Brother Eugen Lennhof, 53
Bocklinstrasse, Vienna, Austria. The annual membership dues are about one
Quasi‑Masonic Organizations in England
the July number of THE BUILDER there was a brief notice of the fact that the
Masonic authorities in England were perturbed over the introduction of a
fraternal organization "imported from America." Further information has since
come to hand. As we suspected, it turns out that the definition of a
quasi‑Masonic body in England differs materially from what would be understood
by that term in America, Incidentally it may be remarked that the particular
organization in question is said to be the Order of Moose.
the Report of the Board of General Purposes presented at the Quarterly
Communication of the United Grand Lodge in June the President, R. W. Bro. Sir
Alfred Robbins, made this statement:
Board . . . adheres to the practice Grand Lodge has always observed of
permitting the Brethren to belong to other bodies which, though they may have
certain ceremonies associated with them, are clearly Benefit Societies . . .
While, therefore, Grand Lodge has never opposed or obstructed the existence of
purely benefit Societies . . . it is bound, in order to preserve the Antient
Landmarks, to call serious attention to the creation of imitative or
quasi‑Masonic bodies, which restrict their membership to those who take a
certain vow, and thereupon participate in a secret ceremony, each unknown to
and unrecognized by the United Grand Lodge of England.
another demonstration of the fact that Freemasonry necessarily develops along
different lines in different countries and under different conditions. In
other words, it can only be understood in the light of its history. Our
natural impulse is to think our own way best, always. So it probably is for
us, in our circumstances.
According to American ideas a quasi‑Masonic body is one that requires Masonic
connection as a pre‑requisite for membership. Unless an organization makes
some such claim to Masonic status we regard it as outside the purview of Grand
Lodge authorities. It is true that in certain states edicts were issued in
recent years condemning the Klan, and forbidding Masons membership therein;
but this was regarded as exceptional. It was based partly on the claims made
by Klan organizers that it was a Masonic institution, but chiefly for the
practical reason that in those states the members of the Klan were guilty, or
were generally believed to be guilty, of law‑breaking, and usurping the
functions of the regularly constituted civil authorities. This gave a fully
sufficient reason on Masonic grounds to forbid membership in the Klan to
Masons, entirely apart from the fact that it was an oath bound fraternal
society with secret ceremonies of initiation
American position is thus logical and consistent. The freedom of the
individual Masons to join any society or fraternity he pleases is not
interfered with except on the grounds that it is not an illegal or
law‑breaking organization, which clearly brings it within the scope of Masonic
discipline; or that it does not claim a Masonic character, in which case it
must have the approval of the Masonic authority to whom the individual owes
the other hand the position taken by the Grand Orient of the Netherlands, and
possibly other European Grand Lodges, is equally logical and consistent. Here
the individual Mason is forbidden to join any other society whatever without
express permission. The English rule is, as usual, a practical compromise that
doubtless works very satisfactorily but which can with difficulty be logically
justified without artificial and historically questionable distinctions.
certainly far from being a general principle of distinction that is advanced
in the report. Organizations that qualify under English laws governing
insurance as Benefit Societies undoubtedly do form a distinctive group, but
the distinction is an extraneous one. This is minimized as much as possible in
the cautious phraseology of the report: ". . . bodies which, though they may
have certain ceremonies associated with them, are clearly Benefit Societies";
and a contrast is suggested with other bodies, "imitative or quasi‑Masonic"
confined to those "who take a certain vow, and thereupon participate in a
secret ceremony." This suggestion is not wholly unjustified for there are
Benefit Societies and Benefit Societies in England, ranging all the way from
mutual insurance associations pure and simple to such fraternities of
respectable antiquity as the Odd Fellows, Orangemen and Forresters, in which
(we believe) the benefit feature is optional, and which in all other respects
are "imitative or quasi‑Masonic" bodies, as these are defined in the report.
definition, logically developed, implies that Freemasonry is the one only
original society in the world to have vows and secret ceremonies, a position
that no one would be less likely to maintain as a general proposition than
those responsible for the report. It is very probable that the Odd Fellows did
to some extent borrow from Masonic ritual usages, but it is not certain that
they were, in the beginning, purely imitative. It has to be remembered that
they were already in existence before the Masonic ritual had taken its present
form, and that there were many other clubs and societies contemporaneous with
the revival of Masonry which had elaborate rituals and oaths of secrecy. And
so far as later organizations are concerned they may have imitated the Odd
Fellows equally with the Masons.
though the principle of distinction laid down is not a logical one, and is
obviously ad hoc, devised to meet a particular case, American Masons must not
misjudge the situation. As Salvador de Madariaga put it in a recent work, the
Englishman thinks in terms of action. His judgments are never theoretical but
always confined to the particular problem to be dealt with. And according to
Senor Madariaga the Englishman is generally right, practically. We may assume
therefore that there are in all probability good and sufficient reasons for
the action taken, which it is better under the circumstances not to make fully
explicit, but which are perfectly appreciated by those on the spot.
Persecution of Italian Freemasons
During the past few years THE BUILDER has contained many items regarding the
Masonic situation in Italy. Last month there was a report reprinted from the
London Freemason of May 25th regarding the growing blindness of Domizio
Torrigiani, the former Grand Master of Italian Masons, who, through
persecution, was exiled to the Island of Ponza. There have been many
conflicting reports regarding the relations between Torrigiani and the present
Fascist regime and the things that they were doing to help his blindness. No
complete report is available and it is most difficult to get any accurate
statements because of the strict Fascist censorship. We are informed that the
Grand Secretarv of the Grand Lodge of New York, Brother Kenworthy, has twice
written directly to Mussolini requesting permission to send a physician to
Brother Torrigiani. He has not received a reply.
addition to this the Freimaurer Z:eitung of Vienna for July and August, 1929,
reports that the Fascists have unexpectedly begun a new persecution of Italian
Masons. Many of the former leaders of the Craft in Italy who somehow were
missed in previous persecutions have been sent into exile with no knowledge of
any wrongdoing and without the benefit of a court trial. Among those deported
is the one time Deputy Grand Master, Brother Guiseppe Meoni, who not long ago,
upon the request Of a commission of Fascists, was arrested and sentenced to
five years in exile. Brother Ulise Bacci, who has an international reputation
not only for his Masonic activity but as the author of a fundamental text on
Italian Freemasonry, the title of which, translated, is, The Book of Italian
Freemasonry, and who was Grand Secretary of the dissolved Grand Orient of
Italy, met with the same fate as Brother Meoni. Brother Bacci is an old man.
He has lived in retirement ever since the dissolution of Italian Freemasonry.
are now some forty brethren in exile on the Island of Ponza. The Commander of
the Supreme Council, Guiseppe Leti, left Italy and found a new home in Paris.
So far as is known this alone is the cause for his son's having been sent to
exile for five years without court proceedings and solely on the order of the
administration. The younger Leti was a chemist by trade and had never been
active in Freemasonry. General Bencivenga, a past President of the Press Union
is in exile on the Island of Ustica. The Past Grand Commander, Ettore
Ferrarri, a celebrated sculptor, has doubtless escaped exile only because he
is 86 years old and his opponents are evidently ashamed to persecute such a
celebrated and famed old gentleman. The Manchester Guardian reports that he is
living at home nominally under police protection, the fact being that he is
actually guarded and can leave his home only by special permission from the
More of Italian Freemasonry
Antwerp Metropole reports the following news from Italy relative to
Mussolini's persecution of Masons:
"Mussolini could only reach an accord with the Vatican after having
annihilated the Masonic Order. King Humbert, in 1895, made a move for
reconciliation. He gave orders to accomplish this to Prime Minister Crispi who
asked for a respite. After a few days the Prime Minister reported that he had
taken up the question of reconciliation with the Grand Master of the Grand
Orient who sent the following message to the King: "When the King of Italy
makes an attempt to reach an accord with the Holy See we shall bring all Italy
against him." It is reported that the King was very angry but that he dropped
the matter entirely."
incredible story is a good example of the tactics of the enemies of
Freemasonry in Europe.
Freemasons' Hospital in Hamburg
the last legislative session of the Senate of the City of Hamburg, a bill was
introduced providing for a loan of approximately $470,000.00 to the five
Masonic Lodges in the city for the enlargement of their hospital.
hospital today has a capacity of 72 beds. This loan will provide an additional
162 beds and will enable the Masons of Hamburg to rebuild the X‑ray
Department, operating rooms, confinement department and to erect a sun‑bath
and dwellings for janitors. The regular bath department and heating plant are
to be enlarged and brought up‑to‑date.
Lodges did not have money for these necessary improvements. They decided to
ask the city for support and secured it on most favorable terms. The loan
bears interest at the rate of 4% per annum. It is to be redeemed in
installments beginning July 1st, 1932, with a 2 ˝ % premium. The Senate of the
City of Hamburg went on record as feeling that it was to the interest of the
state to increase the number of beds in private hospitals so that those
operated by the government might be relieved of congestion.
THE STUDY CLUB
Are You a True and Loyal Builder?
Personal Letter With Seven Pertinent Questions
HERBERT HUNGERFORD, Author of "Our Ancient Fraternity and Present Day
Dear Brother Hiram:
you and I were to meet on the five points of fellowship I could not make this
message to you more personal and intimate than it is intended to be. I am
addressing you as an individual man and a Mason. You and I are traveling
together on the level of time toward the light of truth. We are brothers,
united by that mystic tie that binds us as kindred souls, no matter how far
our bodily separation may be. Therefore, I feel free to speak to you openly,
yet intimately on a subject nearest to my heart and which, I trust, also may
be equally near and dear to you.
You and I were told, upon being admitted to the fellowship of our great
fraternity, that we should become true and loyal builders, not of any earthly
edified but of a "temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." I
propose that we pause for a moment to take stock of ourselves and enquire how
far we have obeyed this admonition.
With sincere regret, I confess that I had been enjoying many benefits and some
honor from my fraternity for many years before I was awakened to the
realization of how far short I came from being a true and loyal builder,
rendering a fair and just return in personal service for the benefits I had
been receiving. Like many others, I did not then appreciate that paying my
dues and fees was far from sufficient to earn the privilege of becoming a true
and loyal builder. Only through a personal service, that is more than money
and without price, can one obtain this high honor and rare privilege.
Upon being called upon to investigate and undertake a certain task on behalf
of the Order, my eyes were opened to the serious shortcoming from which our
fraternity is suffering, due to the fact that so many of its members simply
become passengers, but never lend a hand either to sail or steer the craft.
Without going into the details of the discoveries I made in my study of
current conditions and present problems in our Order, I think you will readily
see the principal points if you will give sincere and open-minded answers to
seven questions that I propose for your consideration.
HAS FREEMASONRY FULFILLED YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
Being a secret order with a traditional requirement that every candidate must
"sell himself" on the value of membership, without invitation or persuasion by
anyone already within the fold, naturally, you must have had a fairly definite
conception of the benefits you expected to gain before you decided to seek
admission into a Lodge. While you were informed, doubtless, that the benefits
you would derive would be social, spiritual, mental and moral; rather than
material; yet I am sure you must have expected genuine aids toward
self-improvement and advancement, otherwise you never would have knocked upon
the Lodge door.
Have you found what you were seeking? Have you really learned how "to improve
yourself in Masonry?" Are you satisfied with what you have gained by being
made a Mason?
ARE MOST MEMBERS OF YOUR LODGE ACTIVE AND REGULAR IN ATTENDANCE?
you are able to answer this question affirmatively, you may congratulate
yourself upon belonging to an exceptional Lodge. According to the best
statistics available, in the average Lodge, about fifteen per cent of the
members are active and regular in their attendance, while only a small group,
probably, less than five per cent of the membership, are actually active in
conducting the customary programs of their Lodges.
Surely there is justification for an inquiry as to why eighty-five per cent of
our membership fail to maintain their interest in our activities. The fees for
enrolling in a Lodge are by no means trifling, so it certainly is a serious
question as to why about six out of every seven men who become Masons seem so
indifferent with regard to the privileges for which they have paid their good
Are Masonic activities losing their appeal to the average man? The fact that
the records of gains in membership throughout the country show a steady
decline during recent years, so that, unless there is a change in the near
future, the time will soon come when our fraternity will be losing instead of
gaining ground annually, is something that can not be lightly overlooked or
easily answered by those seriously concerned with the welfare and progress of
ARE YOUR LODGE ACTIVITIES AS ATTRACTIVE, INTERESTING AND HELPFUL AS THEY MIGHT
your routine consists chiefly of ceremonials and official affairs, with an
essential smoker, ladies' night or other social entertainment to relieve the
monotonous grinding of the "degree mill," your answer to the above question
will depend upon your type of temperament. It can not be gainsaid that there
are men who never tire of Masonic ceremonials, always discovering new beauty
and deeper meaning in our marvelous ritual. The majority, however, whether
unfortunately or otherwise, are not so enamoured of our ritualistic
ceremonials that they do not become monotonous and tiresome after a while.
Therefore, if your Lodge carries on the customary program of the average Lodge
of today, it may be safely predicted that your average attendance will be
similar to the vast majority of all Lodges throughout the country.
While the rate of increase in Lodge membership has been steadily declining in
recent years, the reports of average attendance indicate a still greater
falling off. And this ebbing tide of interest in routine Masonic meetings has
not been stemmed by the frantic efforts of many Lodges to introduce vaudeville
stunts, moving pictures, minstrel shows and other entertaining features to
compete with similar outside attractions which, it is assumed, are drawing
members away from their Lodge meetings.
is improbable, however, that any ordinary Lodge ever will be able to compete
successfully against the theatres night clubs or other commercial concerns,
conducted exclusively for entertainment purposes.
Since ordinary men, who comprise the rank and file in our Lodges, soon become
bored by routine ritualistic meetings, and since it seems impossible to hold
these members in line by socials, shows and entertainments, the big question
is whether there is any possible plan to stem the tide of decreasing
attendance and declining membership. Possibly we may find an answer to this
question by going back to the beginning and studying the earlier activities of
our brethren, in the days when the average Mason would as soon think of going
without eating as missing a regular meeting of his Lodge. It is not so long
ago that the average attendance in most Lodges was more than a majority of
their enrolled membership.
ARE YOU AWARE THAT FREEMASONRY WAS FOUNDED AS AN EDUCATIONAL FRATERNITY?
is difficult for me to see why our ritual does not impress upon every Mason
the dominating educational objectives of our institution. There is no
questioning the fact, that, originally and up until fairly recent times, the
outstanding activity of every Lodge was to aid its members "to improve
themselves in Masonry." In brief, the emphasis of all Masonic programs used to
be upon self- development, through definite cultural and educational
activities. Just how and why the emphasis was shifted from this original
motive to its present stress upon social and entertaining features, is a
matter that would require more discussion than the purpose of this message
requires. I am sure, however, you will not deny that it would be the extreme
of exaggeration to characterize the activities of the average Lodge today as
either educational or cultural.
That modern Masonic programs have been affected or infected by the spirit of
the Jazz Age does not appear to be a debatable question. It is a serious
problem, however, whether jazzing up our activities has proven really
attractive and interesting, even to the rank and file of our fellowship, who
were supposed to be immune and indifferent to all cultural or educational
influences. Certainly, the records showing a decrease in growth and a steady
decline in attendance do not indicate that the shifting of emphasis from
educational to entertaining programs has been altogether effective.
HAS MODERN MASONRY DEPARTED TOO FAR FROM THE ORIGINAL EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES?
YOU will have no doubt as to my answer to this question. I hope, however, you
will consider the conditions in Masonry as you have observed them in your own
Lodge and in whatever other Masonic circles you have traveled and form your
own conclusions from your personal experience and observations. If you are
satisfied that the present trends of Masonic activities are in the right
direction, I have no desire to upset your complacent attitude. But, if you
believe, as I sincerely do, and as many students and observers of Masonic
tendencies also believe, that there is vast room for improvement in the
programs of most of our Lodges today, I trust that you will give careful
consideration to our proposed remedy.
is our contention that the entire structure of Freemasonry is designed to
emphasize its cultural character. In every degree, the ritualistic teaching is
predominantly educational. To admit this is not to deny the social, ethical
and moral teachings. Rather it is to stress the fact that true education,
genuine self-culture, must include social, ethical and moral instruction.
urging that Masonic programs should place greater stress upon educational
activities as a means of overcoming the declining trends in membership and
attendance, you will note that we can not be charged with advocating any
innovation or recommending any departure from the traditional interests and
activities of the fraternity. On the contrary, our plea is for a return to the
ancient ideals upon which the greatness of our institution has been
Let it not be implied, however, that I am pleading for any sort of a backward
step. Neither, should it be understood that I am objecting to the social and
entertaining activities of- our present day programs. My sole objection is to
permitting our social and entertaining features to dominate or crowd all
educational activities entirely off the program. When we do this, I claim that
we are going contrary to the traditional and true spirit of our great
fraternity. Likewise, I maintain, that eliminating the educational emphasis of
freemasonry is a serious mistake that hinders rather than helps the progress
of the Order.
Finally, I boldly believe that most men are seeking in Freemasonry today the
same ideals our ancient brethren were seeking when they founded the
fraternity. I believe that men are as eager for self- improvement today as
they ever have been. I believe that our candidates today have a real desire to
"improve themselves in Masonry," consequently they are disappointed and drop
out when they find, so frequently, that their Lodge program offers neither
incentive nor opportunity for any truly cultural activity.
the way, please bear in mind that I am not advocating that Masonry should
compete with any existing educational agency or institution. I am not urging
that our Lodges attempt to provide inferior substitutes for the many excellent
ways and means provided in every community for obtaining a practical education
or special training in any of the arts and crafts. I hold that to "improve
yourself in Masonry" means a definite and distinct type of education that can
not be obtained outside of our Craft because no other institution is designed
to provide true Masonic education.
you are ready to grant my contention that the present declining trends in our
Order might, possibly, be arrested by introducing the right kind of a program
for Masonic education, your next query naturally will be regarding the ways
and means for introducing more educational and cultural factors into our Lodge
HOW MUCH PERSONAL SERVICE ARE YOU RENDERING TO YOUR FRATERNITY?
THIS question, brother Hiram, that I now put up to you is the very question I
asked myself after I made a study of our ancient fraternity and its relations
to our present day problems. When I discovered what appeared to me to be a
wrong trend in our present Masonic programs, I came face to face with the
proposition of what I could possibly do as a single individual to counteract a
tendency that seems to have developed considerable headway and appears to be
supported by the majority of Masonic opinion, despite the plain fact that
Masonry is not maintaining its usual progress under its present program.
personal answer to the question was a resolve that I would devote as much of
my time and effort as possible to helping formulate and foster a broad program
of Masonic education, designed to appeal to the interests of all types of
ordinary Masons from the rank and file in our Lodges. In a previous issue of
THE BUILDER, my suggestions for a proposed educational program have been set
forth. No pretense is made that our proposed program is free from faults and
shortcomings or is adequate to meet all the demands of the situation. But it
is a start in the direction toward what I sincerely believe must be the remedy
for the present declining tendency in our fraternity.
you agree in general with my contention that the greatest need in modern
Masonry is again to place the dominant emphasis upon educational or cultural
activities, you surely should share in this mutual endeavor.
you are aware, the only way that any worthy cause may be developed into a
movement is through the recruiting of individuals who, first, believe in the
worthiness of the cause, and next, resolve to do their part toward its
advancement. Which brings us down to our final question:
WILL YOU DO THREE THINGS FOR THE CAUSE OF MASONIC EDUCATION?
UNLESS you are earnestly and enthusiastically in favor of advancing the cause
of Masonic education and sincerely believe that it is not only possible but
absolutely necessary to devise and develop an educational program that will
appeal to the rank and file of Freemasons, of course, you are not expected to
accept this invitation. But, if you are in general agreement with the matters
which have been set forth in this article, I am sure you will be glad to do
these three things for the advancement of the cause we are advocating.
First: Spread the gospel of Masonic education by speaking a word in its favor
whenever you can either find or make an opportunity to do so. If you are able
to address your Lodge and explain the advantages of putting greater
educational emphasis into your programs, by all means do so. If you have the
ability to deliver a convincing address and can visit neighboring Lodges of
your locality, you certainly may be assured of interested audiences, but, the
least you can do, if you are really in earnest about the importance of Masonic
education, is to speak a word in season or out of season to your brethren
whenever you are able to do so. This word-of-mouth recommendation of one
brother to another, you will find, ultimately will become a most effective
method for advancing our common cause.
Second: Advertise the advantages of Masonic education by distributing printed
circulars and booklets that will be supplied to you on request. We are
planning to reprint certain extracts and articles from THE BUILDER and also
prepare other leaflets setting forth this subject from various angles.
Third: Join with other brethren in all sections of the country in forming sort
of a "boosters club" to work together for the cause of Masonic education. In
such an association, which might be called The Loyal Builder's League, all the
friends of our cause may pass along their ideas and exchange their experiences
for the mutual benefit of all who may be interested. In due course of time, we
believe this association of workers for the cause of Masonic education may
become a most influential and helpful force.
you are willing to do these three things and thus do your bit toward helping
devise and develop a practical program for Masonic education, the next step is
to enroll. But, bear in mind that our program is not cut and dried. It is
still in the making so we welcome suggestions from every source that may
enable us to make our plans more attractive, interesting and helpful.
Therefore, please write me freely and frankly, letting me know just what co-
operation we can give to help you in doing your bit for this cause. Address
your letter to Herbert Hungerford, Scarsdale, N. Y.
Broaden Whose Program?
BRO. CYRUS FIELD WILLARD, California.
BROTHER Herbert Hungerford has an article of peculiar suggestiveness in " The
Study Club " department in the September BUILDER entitled "Shall We Broaden
Our Program of Masonic Education," etc., in which he says:
"Consequently we are anxious to have every Mason interested in this question
(Masonic Education) present his views and offer criticism of this proposition,
regardless of whether his views are in accord with or opposed to the program
Having devoted six years as a member of the Committee on Masonic Education of
the Grand Lodge of California, it is a fair presumption that the writer is
somewhat interested in this subject. Furthermore it is possible that he may
have obtained some Masonic education for himself in these six years of
experience which might be of value if passed on to those now coming forward in
the Masonic world.
may be necessary to go back to fundamentals and assert that the Masonic
organizations, which to my mind only include the Blue Lodge, the Scottish
Rite, the Royal Arch and the Royal and Select Masters, are supposed to be,
from their very nature, educational and also individualistic in their
teachings to develop the individual. These organizations are necessarily
opposed as organizations to collectivism and mass action. They are also
opposed to any religious test for membership such as is required, contrary to
the universality of Masonry by one organization claiming to be Masonic, which
requires of its members a belief in Christian Trinitarianism and which the
writer, whose family in Massachusetts became Unitarians, could not join.
This is a primary matter of education which goes to Article 1 of the Old
Charges, "Concerning God and Religion." What Masonic educator dares to speak
of it or to tell the newly-made Mason that such is not a Masonic organization
any more than the Shrine is. The strictures of Dr. Ernest Crutcher on the
conduct of the Shriners in the public streets of Los Angeles at the time of
their last convention and of which city he has been a resident for years are
such that the necessity of teaching the newlymade Mason that the Shrine is not
a Masonic organization is most apparent. To get that information to the public
is the next step.
But really the matter of Masonic education is a matter which affects the
member of the Blue Lodge. He is first a member of that Lodge, no matter what
appendant degrees he has taken. He is subject to the discipline of the Grand
Lodge of which he is a member or within whose jurisdiction he may reside while
retaining membership in another Grand Lodge.
There are two methods of education, one by the eye (reading) and the other by
the car (oral instruction and lectures).
Oral instruction has always been recognized as being something which the older
brethren are supposed "to be as ready to give as you will be to receive it."
The Worshipful Master is supposed to "set the Craft on work and give them the
necessary instruction whereby they may pursue their labors." How many Masters
who come "up the line" simply because they are "good fellows" can give any
Scotland, to whom we in America owe as much as to England, had a custom of
appointing for every new member one who was called "an intender" out of the
elder brethren who took the new member in hand and instructed him in the
meaning of the symbols, rites and ceremonies of the secret work so that the
new member might get a Masonic education. Masonic education is obligatory,
whether the "jazz" member likes it or not. Because we have been negligent in
not providing an educator for each new member is no reason why in each Lodge
such a practice, sanctioned by ancient usages, should not be established.
The Grand Lodge of California adopted the recommendation of its Committee on
Masonic Education three or four years ago that every new member should be
required to attend some educational meeting during the year after he became a
member. The writer was instrumental in having this put in practice in San
Diego where there are some sixteen Lodges in and adjacent to the city, by
having the Master of each Lodge notify the newly-made Mason that he must
attend the meeting of what was termed "The South Gate," where addresses were
made by well known Masons and questions were answered by them and others. This
was called the "San Diego idea" and was more or less discussed throughout the
State and in other jurisdictions. It was successful in giving Masonic
education by being obligatory to those who would not otherwise have received
Then one of the Grand Masters took a forward step by making it obligatory for
the Master of every Lodge in the State to hold an educational meeting once a
month on subjects sent out by the committee, to be addressed by a speaker or
speakers of local talent.
Here is where the committee fell down. It did not recognize that it was
necessary to supply literature to the one or two reading Masons in every Lodge
who got their education through the eye and who could speak to their fellow
Masons. Although it gave references to literature, yet the average man did not
know where to go to get this literature.
the normal schools in every State educational system educate their teachers
and the school system would not amount to much without the teachers, so
Masonic education cannot amount to anything unless there are provisions to
educate Masonic educators. Where California fell down was in not having a
traveling library system whereby libraries could be sent to each Lodge as has
been so successful in Iowa, Washington and other States where the reading
Mason and he who was to deliver an address before the Lodge could get the
information necessary to make his speech authentic.
Our experience with the newly-made Mason in California has only emphasized the
saying "Catch them young." We found them hungry for knowledge about Masonry.
They want to know and this is the main idea of Masonic education, to supply
the average Mason with knowledge about the institution of which he is a member
and of which ordinary literature gives him no accurate information.
Thanks to Brother Robert I. Clegg I received at the same time as THE BUILDER a
copy of "Proceedings of the Third Informal Conference of Masonic Librarians
and Educators in May of this year at Milwaukee," and I would suggest it might
be a good idea of reprinting it seriatim in that magazine. There is one idea
which seemed to me of great value and that is to have the public library in
each city carry a group of Masonic books.
There is always such a thing as "Grand Lodge politics" and while it is not
possible sometimes, as we have found in California, to get traveling libraries
going to each Lodge when asked, yet it would be easier in many instances to
get the public library in the city or town to put in a few Masonic books.
There is no need for the introduction of Masonic Education into the Lodge. It
was there from the beginning. It is for the rank and file to demand their
birthright, for the sacerdotal class in all ages and all bodies, even Grand
Lodges, have always sought to keep the multitude in ignorance that their own
schemes might be forwarded.
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 arid books out of print.
THINGS A FREEMASON SHOULD KNOW. By Fred J. W. Crowe. Published by George
Kenning and Sort, London. Cloth. 95 pp., illustrated. Price $1.85.
1929 edition of this standard work has just come to my desk. Though primarily
intended for brethren under the English Constitutions, the well written volume
contains much that will interest us on this side of the Atlantic. The book has
the conservative tone and the atmosphere of painstaking accuracy which marks
the writings of the Quatuor Coronati brethren, and because of this, American
reviewers of English books have no hesitancy in recommending the volumes to
are eight chapters, treating of history, Old Charges, certificates (or, as we
call them here, diplomas of membership), rulers of the Craft, sister Grand
Lodges, literature of Freemasonry, English regalia and the English Masonic
charities. With most of these we are more or less familiar; but mention must
be made of three of the subjects treated, namely, literature, regalia and the
who join with me in my admiration and veneration of William James Hughan will
rejoice in this deserved tribute:
on the list (of brethren whose names are world-famed as Masters of the Craft)
I unhesitatingly place the name of William James Hughan, because without his
work as pioneer in the authentic school of Masonic history, and the ever-ready
assistance and advice so freely given, the work of those who followed in his
footsteps would have been impossible.
Brother Crowe also gives praise to Robert Freke Gould, Henry Sadler, Laurie
and Lyon of Scotland, Dr. Chetwode Crawley of Ireland; and to Brothers
Songhurst, Thorp and Vibert and brethren who are still laboring in the
literary quarries of the Craft. Neither does he forget Oliver and Preston of
early days, nor Woodford, Whytehead, Speth and Dring, names more familiar to
us than the prophets of Israel. At least, I can call the roll of English
writers better than I can name the characters of Old Testament history!
the United States are not sticklers for correct regalia and jewels; on the
other hand, we feel we are "putting on swank," to borrow an overseas
expression, when we turn out in anything but the simple cotton aprons to be
had at the Tyler's desk. We stretch a point on installation night, and may
wear our Past Master's aprons and jewels, but even then we feel overly
conspicuous. In England, however, it is expected that the brethren wear the
regalia of the rank which they have attained, and to also wear the proper
jewels, being careful not to commit breaches of etiquette by wearing the
jewels of the so-called higher degrees (Templar and Scottish Rite) in a Craft
lodge. Brother Crowe's chapter on regalia will prove interesting reading to
stress is laid by our English brethren upon their three great Grand Lodge
charities, the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, the Royal Masonic
Institution for Boys, and the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution. There is
also a Freemasons' Hospital and Nursing Home. These institutions are supported
by lodges and individual brethren, funds being raised by outright grant,
bazaars, etc. The information given by Bro. Crowe is of more than passing
interest to us.
book is well illustrated, half-tone illustrations printed in enameled paper
appear frequently. A picture of the Pro-Grand Master, the Right Honorable Lord
Ampthill, G.C.S.I.. G.C.I.E., graces the volume as a frontispiece. Then, too,
we meet R. W. Bro. Sir Alfred Bobbins, who endeared himself to us and brought
us closer to our brethren overseas by his never-to-be-forgotten visit in 1924;
Hughan, Gould and Sadler are also shown.
fine, this little volume, so packed with vital information, is recommended for
inclusion in every Masonic library.
* * *
FREEMASONRY: ITS VISION AND CALL. By the Rev. Joseph Johnson, with a foreword
by Sir Alfred Robbins. Second edition. Published by the Masonic Record, Ltd.,
London. Cloth table of contents, 166 pages. Price $2.15.
last April we reviewed the first edition of Bro. Johnson’s work, rather
belatedly received by us it must be said, we expressed the opinion that it was
a worthy addition to serious Masonic literature and expressed the hope that it
would be as widely read as it deserved. We did not suspect that within six
months it would have been found necessary to issue a second edition, or more
accurately speaking, a reprint. In the past, Masonic works have more often
than not been put out in very small editions, and generally at a loss both to
the author and the publisher. There are indications of a turn of the tide. A
number of instances have occurred in recent years where the demand for a
Masonic book necessitated a second edition, and in one case, that of Dr.
Joseph Fort Newton's Builders, the sales have risen to the level of a "best
of the most talented Masonic writers in America, Bro. J. E. Morcombe, recently
raised the question as to whether there really was such a thing as a Masonic
literature. True, there have been thousands of books published on Masonry, but
how many, or better, how few of them, could be classed as literature? It must
be confessed that there are not too many works that could be properly so
classified. Bro. Morcombe referred, of course, to works in English. There is
an extensive Masonic literature in German, and a very considerable one in
Dutch, not to speak of other languages. The two specifically mentioned stand
at a very high average of merit.
Johnson's work is undoubtedly to be classed as serious literature, and what is
more, it appears to us to be one of the ablest expositions of the attitude of
English speaking Masonry in relation to religion and morality, and on this
ground alone is worthy of careful consideration. But it is more than that, it
opens up countless vistas and possibilities of service to humanity and moral
advancement. A better work to put in the hands of a young Mason would not be
easy to find. In it he will find extensions and developments of the
significant symbolism revealed to him in the lodge. It is our hope that this
second edition will meet the same response as the first. S. B.
* * *
JACOB ASTOR: LANDLORD OF NEW YORK. BY Arthur D. Howden Smith. Published by J.
B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia. Cloth, 292 pages Index: Illustrated. Price,
MASONS generally will recognize the subject of this most interesting biography
as a Mason; but beyond the words, "He was a Master Mason in Holland Lodge No
8," there is nothing in the book under review bearing upon Astor's Craft
activities. As one well known American Mason recently remarked, it is to be
hoped that some day biographers will recognize a prominent man's fraternal
connections, and will consider them at least as important as his taste for a
strong cigar, or his preference for coffee with cream in it. When such a
biographer appears on the scene, the craft of Masonic book reviewers will rise
up bodily and invoke heaven's choicest blessings upon him. There was good
reason, seven or eight decades ago, for omitting any reference to Masonic
affiliations - for the subject of a biography fell in the readers' estimation
if he was a Mason because of the bitter anti-Masonic feeling which followed
the Morgan affair, but in this day and age, when we honor a man for his
adherence to the Fraternity at a time when it took courage to be known as a
Mason, there is no excuse for omitting complete accounts of Masonic
affiliation. Astor was not only a Master Mason, but was Master of Holland
Lodge and left a printed address which he gave in his official capacity; in
addition, he was Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge F. & A. M of New York
1798-1801. Associated with him as Grand Master and Grand Wardens were Robert
R. Livingston, Jacob Morton and De Witt Clinton, respectively.
this criticism is but a minor matter, for the book is one of the most
fascinating biographies it has been my fortune to read. It appeals to one
because it not only presents Astor's good qualities, but also emphasizes and
does not apologize for his weaknesses and faults. In this book we meet face to
face a gruff old German, whose exasperating stubbornness was no different from
that of thousands of his kind. Astor was superior to them because he had
imaginative powers and vision, coupled with a tenacity of purpose that one
cannot help admire even in the face of Astor's heartlessness.
in Waldorf, Germany, in 1763 - an immigrant to London at sixteen - saved $75
and funds for a suit of clothes in four years - spent $25 for the journey from
London to Baltimore and New York at twenty - an attentive ear while fur
traders' talk furnished the motive for a vocation when a venture as a dealer
in flutes fails - these were the prelude to his real work as a dealer in furs
and in real estate. "Say what you please of our John Jacob, hate him as you
may before we are done with him, his life was as packed with an essence of
romance as a nut is with meat." So says the author; all who read the book
twill agree with him. Forest runner - trader in fur and tea - a ship owner -
an apostle of' empire - these were activities which we of today remember when
Astor's name is spoken. Washington Irving (who was an intimate friend of
Astor’s in his time), has preserved the romance of the Pacific Northwest in
his entertaining. though none too accurate, Astoria. Little do we think today
that Portland, Seattle and Spokane are in a territory once under the British
flag; the War of 1812 is rarely spoken of in terms of Pacific Coast history,
yet its influence is still evident to the keen student. Those who have been
privileged to live in the Far West and have communed with the red gods who
still live in the far-reaching territory once the domain of the Hudson's Bay
Company, the Northwestern Fur Company and the Pacific Fur Company trappers,
will be thrilled by Mr. Smith's treatment of the historical events of the
Northwest. They were all part of the prelude to "covered wagon" days. We meet
Jim Bridger,.Pierre Chouteau, Marcus Whitman, Rev. Henry Spalding (whose
daughter was the first white woman born west of the Rockies, and whose
grandson, my friend of many years, is a brother of the Craft) and others. To
dwell upon them here would rob the reader of his enjoyment of the book.
whose interest in Astor lies more in his activities as "Landlord of New York"
will find this phase of his life extensively treated. He profited greatly
through his foresight in the panic of 1837, though he paid heavily in health
as a result of' the strain which the trying times brought upon him. He turned
to more intellectual diversions, and gathered about him such men as Henry
Clay, Fitzgreene Halleck, Washington Irving, Samuel Ward, Daniel Webster and
Through all of the book we are not permitted to forget that Astor was human.
Let me quote from the concluding text in which the author paints a picture of
arrant individualist, selfish, narrow-minded, quite blandly anti-social, he
went after whatever he sought and took it by fair means or foul - and whoever
didn't like it was welcome to a battle.... In his features you might trace
meditation, courage and masterful resolve - and coldness, indifference and
acquisitiveness. But never brutality, intolerance or stupidity. In the final
analysis, he was simply the product of a period and an environment.... Hove he
would have hated himself had he been able to view some of his acts
objectively, as we can, through the perspective of time!"
Libraries and individual brethren who are rounding out their collections with
the biographies of great men who were Masons will find John Jacob Astor:
Landlord of New York, a book highly deserving of a place on their shelves. J.
* * *
HOLY BIBLE: A New Masonic Edition. Published by the Oxford University Press,
American Branch. Grained leather, with stiff covers, 6 x 4 1/2 inches, 283
pages. Price $2.15.
edition has been prepared especially as a presentation Bible. It has a page
for the record of the dates of Initiation, passing and raising and the
signature of the Master and Secretary of the lodge, with supplementary pages
for other details, the individual brother will like to have for remembrance.
This is practically identical with the previous presentation editions
Masonic Concordance has been omitted with the result that the volume is not
too large to be conveniently carried in the pocket. There is no need to say
anything of the make up, the quality of the paper, the printing or the
binding, for these are all up to the recognized standard of the Oxford Press.
custom of presenting Bibles to Candidates upon being raised is constantly
spreading, and we do not think that a better one for the purpose could be
* * *
FACE FROM FISH TO MAN. By William K. Gregory. With a Foreword by William
Beebe. Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons. Cloth, table of contents, profusely
illustrated, bibliography, index xl and 205 pages.
scope of the book is fully indicated in the title. It covers the evolution of
the human face, by pointing out the stages of development that every feature,
both exterior and internal, has passed through. The author, who is Professor
of Vertebrate Palaeontology at Columbia University, does not seem to mind how
much embarrassment the facts he has collected will give to anti-evolutionists.
The style is semi-popular, but it is not a book for the casual or superficial
reader. However anyone with a fair amount of general knowledge of scientific
subjects will have no difficulty in following the argument, or appreciating
the facts upon which it is based.
* * *
MUSSOLINI: THE WILD MAN OF EUROPE. By John Bond. Published by the Independent
Publishing Co. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, 206 pages. Price $2.65.
author asserts that his sketch of the career of the Italian dictator has been
written disinterestedly, without fear or favor; that he has had no special
consideration, nor any injury, from the Fascist regime, and that the purpose
of his work is to enable ordinary Americans to learn the real facts in the
maze of distortions of the truth found in the propaganda of paid apologists,
and the rancor of victims of the regime. However, there is little doubt that
Mr. Bond's sympathies lie with the latter - and perhaps it is hardly matter
for wonder. One does wonder a little, however, how it was written in Rome, or
rather, by what channel the MS. was safely conveyed from Rome to America.
* * *
HEGEL'S SCIENCE OF LOGIC. Translated by W.H. Johnston and L.G. Struthers, with
an Introductory Preface by Viscount Haldane Published by the Macmillan Co.
Cloth, two volumes. Analytical table of contents, table of categories, list of
English works on Hegel, 404 and 487 pages. Price $10.35.
to be feared that most students of' philosophy who do not know German, have
only read about Hegel; never a wholly satisfactory way of finding out what an
author really said. Logic is usually taken either as a method, or a discussion
of the basis of reasoning. Hegel seems to have given it almost the content of
Metaphysics. This is the first complete translation that has been published in
English, though the work has been discussed and quoted for more than a hundred
* * *
FRATERNITATIS ROSAE CRUCIS. By R. Swinburne Clover. Published by the
Theosophical Publishing Co. Frontispiece, table of contents, addenda, xxiv and
advance notice of this work appeared in THE BUILDER for February, in which the
publishers generously offered to supply gratis any Masonic library with a copy
on application. The author undertakes to answer the questions, when and where
did the Rosicrucian Fraternity originate? By whom was it founded? And whether
it was reborn from older organizations or not. The work is written apparently
from the standpoint that the Fraternity has had a continuous existence till
the present and is still active. The author disagrees with the recent work of
A. E. Waite upon the same general subject.
* * *
LAFAYETTE AND THREE REVOLUTIONS. By John Simpson Penman. Published by the
Stratford Co. Table of contents, illustrated with 21 plates, bibliography,
index, xiv and 362 pages. Price $5.20.
author has sought to correct the rather one-sided view of Lafayette's life and
efforts. A very young man when he aided in the American War of Independence,
he played a great part in the struggle for liberty in France, both at the time
of the Revolution, and later in the Revolution of 1830. The author may perhaps
be excused for not mentioning Lafayette's Masonic connection as he has not
undertaken a complete biography. In spite of this omission the work is a
valuable addition to our knowledge of this noble partisan of freedom.
* * *
AND WEST OF JORDAN. By Albert Field Gilmore. Published by the Stratford Co.
Cloth, table of contents, illustrated by 15 plates, index, xii and 191 pages.
author states that his book is based on his experiences during a visit to
Palestine, Syria and Egypt two years ago. It appeared first (for the most
part) as a series of articles in the Christian Science Monitor. There are very
rapid changes and developments going on in what used to be thought of as the
changeless East. How far these changes are more than superficial remains to be
seen. But, for those who cannot go to see for themselves, the impressions of
travelers are the main source of information. The chapter on the prospects of
industrial development is especially interesting.
* * *
GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY. By Wolfang Nobler. Published by Horace Liveright. Cloth,
Illustrated by diagrams, index, xii and 401 pages. Price $4.15.
Kohler is an opponent both of the fashionable "Behaviorism" and the
"Introspectionism" that preceded it. Both, in his opinion, being founded on a
too narrow conception of the machinery of the brain. Gestalt psychology takes
into consideration the innate faculty of the senses to apprehend forms as
wholes. Behaviorists defend their doctrines with a passion that reminds one of
Fundamentalists in religion. The author comes among them as a Modernistic
iconoclast - and is treated by them accordingly.
* * *
WORK BY SIR ALFRED ROBBINS
have received an advance notice of a work by Sir Alfred Robbins to be
published shortly by Ernest Benn, Ltd., London, under the title English
Speaking Masonry Bro. Robbins, as is well known, is president of the Board of
General Purposes of the United Grand Lodge of England, a position he has held
for over sixteen years. He is also, as most of our readers know, a Past Master
of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076.
recent years Bro. Robbins has made a number of visitations to foreign
jurisdictions as a sort of ambassador. He has thus come in personal contact
with the leaders of the Craft in the United States, parts of South America,
and some European countries. This double qualification of scholarship and
official experience gives promise that the forthcoming work should be of the
highest value. We gather that it covers the whole ground, from the
transformation of a craft organization into a world-wide institution of
fraternal benevolent, and - possibly - educational character, dealing, as the
title indicates, with its foundation, development and special characteristics
in all English speaking countries.
* * *
READING WITH A PURPOSE
American Library Association is constantly enlarging the field covered by
their Reading with a Purpose Courses. There are some six or eight titles now
in the course of preparation in addition to those that have been recently
published. The list of titles now deals with fifty-two subjects. The fact that
the A. L. A. sponsors the preparation of these brochures and that they have
selected men who are nationally known in their respective fields to compile
them constitutes a double guarantee of their value.
latest titles to be published are the following:
Advertising, by Earnest Elmo Calkins.
Geography and Our Need of It, by J. Russell Smith.
Prehistoric Man, by George Grant MacCurdy.
Young Child, by Bird T. Baldwin.
Mental Hygiene, by Frankwood E. Williams, M. D.
Economics, by Walton H. Hamilton.
Journalism by Willard Grosvenor Bleyer.
* * *
the July number of THE BUILDER there appeared a review of Bro. F. de P.
Castells' new book on the Royal Arch. Bro. Castells has taken exception to
some of the statements in that review, as appears in the following
reviewing my book, Historical Analysis of the Holy Royal Arch Ritual, you
admit that the word "authentic" as applied to one particular group of men
engaged in Masonic Research is "an ill-chosen word," and you suggest that
"critical or historical" would be more suitable for as there are so many
workers on that field, no one has a right to monopolize a term which may be
equally applicable to others.
suggestion, however, does not meet the case, because if the brethren who have
hitherto used the designation of "authentic" are to adopt the description
proposed by you, they will be making an invidious distinction implying that
they alone are "critical or historical." For instance, there is my book, of
which you say: "It is really an analysis of the Royal Arch Ritual." If it be
not critical and historical, how else will you characterize it?
have been quite fair in stating my views. I hold with Dermott, 1756, and with
a host of eighteenth century Masons, that the Royal Arch is, "the root, heart
and marrow of Freemasonry," and that it is founded on historic fact. But you
are neither fair nor accurate in other respects. And yet I should not complain
for some of our "authentic school" friends will feel that you have been far
too lenient with me and that you have "blessed me altogether," for you say:
Castells is entitled to the credit of having compared the various types of
Ritual actually in use. Generally, such studies have been undertaken on the
basis of one ritual form only. And again,
symbolical interpretations suggested by Bro. Castells are often worthy of
consideration; they are sometimes striking and almost always ingenious. And
one respect we must heartily agree with him; the lectures of the three
Principals and especially of Ex Z in the English Ritual, certainly do need
drastic revision, etc.
marvel is that after having said so much in my favor you part company with me.
You state the good results I obtain by my method and you can see that the
authentic school, however much it may have accomplished, gives no promise of
ever solving the problem of our origin; and yet you will not assist me. The
Authentic School has recklessly set itself against the view held by Dermott in
1756 about the Royal Arch, and I am out to vindicate that view which is at
least two Sentries old, cost what it may.
Believe me, I have no personal animus against the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, or
against your own National Masonic Research Society; or against any other
Masonic Study Circle anywhere. On the contrary, I say: "God bless them all!"
But I can see that the "Lodges of Research" are working within too narrow
limits, which is unavoidable if Royal Arch matters are to be ventilated in
Royal Arch Chapters only. As a rule such Lodges are looking for the object of
their quest in the Mason's Craft, whereas "the genuine Freemasonry" is
confessedly something radically distinct from the Craft. Naturally they cannot
find anything but the "substitutions" effected two centuries ago or very
Lodges of Research are working on a line parallel to the one I am following
and so the two can never meet, and yet what they are searching for is all the
time very near them. My one aim is to discover the origin of Freemasonry, and
in this respect I know that I am on the right track. The genealogies which
fill so many pages in the Transactions of some Lodges of Research, seldom
extending beyond 1717, have no charm for me. And the claims of many
quasi-Masonic bodies which we euphemistically call "the Higher Degrees" leave
now as to the points at issue between us. In my book, I refer to the American
(meaning, of course, the Ceremonies practiced ) of the xviiith century and you
argue that there is no Ritual "either in print or in manuscript" of such sort.
You even venture to say that if it existed "there are two or three who would
travel a thousand miles or more to see it. I confess that what I possess is
only an English reprint, without date, which I have deduced from the internal
evidence to belong to the close of the xviiith century. It is in this way that
I conclude that this printed Ritual "represents" the working of the Royal Arch
which obtained in America "one hundred and fifty years ago."
us see, then, whether this assumption is justified or not. You say "there seem
to be Royal Arch Rituals of the last decade of the xviiith century." I can
mention only one, viz., the Deptford Ritual now in the Freemasons' Hall,
London, which Bro. Sadler assigned to 1797. There are other Rituals in
manuscript which may be a few years older. But please note, that when you say
"the last decade of the xviiith century," you virtually say "one hundred and
forty years ago." Now, inasmuch as "Exposures" are only of any value when they
relate to some well-established practice, which has become fairly general, I
claim that a Ritual which was paraded one hundred and forty years ago as that
in use among the Freemasons, may safely be considered to represent the
practice of at least ten years earlier, that is to say, one hundred and fifty
years ago. This should be a great relief to you, for you will not be required
to undertake a 1000miles-long pilgrimage.
should be a warning to us not to be too skeptical about the antiquity of
Freemasonry. He argued that the Royal Arch was something concocted about 1738
because the earliest reference to it took him to 1740 or thereabouts. Now,
however, we have one document of 1725 (only eight years after 1717) where the
name of some of the practices of the Royal Arch are mentioned. In consequence,
Gould's "Authentic theory" (if I may so call it) has been given up.
Moreover, while you find fault with me for referring to the practice of one
hundred and fifty years ago, you yourself write: "It would seem that about the
end of the eighteenth century there were the widest variations in the Royal
Arch as practiced in different places."
so, the modern Royal Arch Chapters were bent on simplifying; hence "the
variations." But in alluding to this you appear to know a great deal about the
practice of nearly one hundred and fifty years ago! I suggest that you form a
Chapter of Research to investigate such things; by doing so you would steal a
march on us on this side of the Atlantic, where obvious things hinder.
Unfortunately I am not in a position to state what relation my American Royal
Arch Ritual bears to those you name. But it is not the same as that of Elder
Bernard in Light on Masonry published in 1829, because it contains an addendum
of three years earlier. What I am surprised at is that after giving such ample
quotations you are unable to identify it. There is Webb's Ritual, you say, but
Webb "stood at the dividing line between the centuries." He was initiated in
1792, but you suspect that he did not transmit the Royal Arch Ritual of' his
Mother Chapter; your words are:
if its accuracy be questioned (which is at least open to question), etc.
does not seem very probable that he remodelled those of the Chapter and the
to question" . . . and "seems very probable" are too indefinite expressions to
base an argument on, for unfortunately you do not give the grounds for your
suspicions. If Webb be. came "the law and the Gospel" for American Masons, as
you put it, I should feel inclined to believe that he re-enacted the Royal
Arch Ritual substantially as he found it at the time of his exaltation.
the interrogatory at the Banquet between the M. E. Z. and the P. S. with which
English Royal Arch Masons are familiar, I have stated that it was taken from
the "sections," or Lectures; and you hasten to explain to your readers that,
"the only authority for these 'sections' is Carlile’s expose of 1825."
matter of fact, however, Carlile's Sections are not the only questionnaire of
the sort; and our interrogatory follows the Deptford Sections which are at
least thirty years older than Carlile's and somewhat different.
scholar who enjoys a high reputation in the Authentic School once said: "If
anybody should say that the Sections are not as old as the Royal Arch itself,
I should challenge him to assign any date to them." I will not go so far as
this, but I believe they are very ancient.
now about "the Keystone." My view is that the use of this term in the plural,
Keystones, is decidedly wrong, and you dissent from me because you say:
there be any point that emerges from the scraps of information we have about
the pre-nineteenth century Royal Arch symbolism, it would seem to be that
originally there were three Vaults and three Arches.
Again, "If there be any point .... it would seem to be," are too indefinite
expressions for any argument. And "pre-nine" teenth century" would seem to
mean one hundred and fifty years ago!
not deny that at one time some Rituals spoke of three Vaults and three Arches.
Carlile's Exposure (1825) is one of these. But do you know of another? The
Deptford Ritual, which is fully thirty years older, knows nothing of this; it
only speaks of one Vault. And in this respect, the Old American Ritual appears
to have conformed to that of Deptford.
Triplication of the Vault and of the Arches was a fanciful variation of our
Masonic legend. The tradition about a unique Vault is extremely ancient. We
all know how as early as 364, Philostorgius mentioned its discovery, but in
this account there is nothing to suggest three Arches. The tradition was kept
alive through the Middle Ages but not by Christian workers for whom it had no
importance. It is from Manasseh ben Israel in El Conciliador, written in
Spanish and published in 1632, that we have the mediaeval version; but again
he only speaks of the one Vault which had been built by King Solomon, and
there is no suggestion of three Arches. If, therefore, there was only one Arch
(whence the name Royal Arch in the singular) there can only have been one
Keystone, as I maintain.
Manasseh ben Israel was no ordinary Jew; he was an ardent Kabbalist, and his
book helps to establish my view that it is from the Kabbalists that the
Freemasons have derived all the chief elements of the Masonic Ritual (Q. E.
D.). Oliver in his Origin of the Royal Arch has quoted the passage about the
Vault from Lindo's English translation of El Conciliador, and I can vouch for
the accuracy of the translation for I have read the original.
say that on this point: "Carlile is supported by numerous Masonic designs,
many of which are of the eighteenth century." That these designs are
"numerous," I do not deny; but that "many" are of the eighteenth century and
that they support Carlile, I cannot allow. There is one which dates from 1789
which was the subject of a brochure by Bro. Speth, but that one has no
suggestion of either three Vaults or three Arches. I visited the Freemason's
hall Library to see if I could discover the "many designs" you speak of, but I
was unsuccessful. I came across one of 1801 by Finch on which was depicted one
Vault with Arches. And I saw one of the Jewels said to have been worn by the
"Nine Worthies" of the Antients on which there is the outline of three Arches,
which do not necessarily imply three Vaults. These "Nine Worthies" were
appointed in 1792, and in the Jewel was designed at the time of their
appointment, that might possibly be the approximate date of the invention of
the notion, which was obviously designed to make the tradition to harmonize
with the existence of three Principles. In this same way the Select Masters
speak of the Vault as having nine apart meets with nine Arches; a very pretty
idea but quite unhistorical.
hope that after this elucidation you will try to help me in my self-imposed
task of clearing up the problems of the Royal Arch? I have nothing to gain but
everything to lose by trying to vindicate the old conception of the Supreme
Degree against the opinion of the men who now direct operations in some of the
Lodges of Research. Their successors, however, will do me justice. F. de P.C.
COLLEGE DORMITORIES FOR MASON'S DAUGHTERS
seven or eight years ago the writer had occasion to spend Easter Sunday in
Austin, Texas. Our Texas brethren will know without being told that the
University of Texas is situated in this beautiful city, it is for others, not
so well informed, that mention is made of this fact. It was in connection with
the University, or more particularly the chapter of my college fraternity at
the University, that the trip was made. If I may be permitted some purely
personal expressions, I should like to say that my impression of the
institution and the surrounding college life was anything but pleasant. I
thought the school one of the worst equipped I had ever seen and my visits
were not narrowly limited. At that time I had seen the campuses of some dozen
or so of the larger middle western universities. The University of Texas was
from the fraternity standpoint supposed to compare favorably with the other
schools. But it did not.
these impressions still in mind it was a pleasure to read in the current issue
of the Texas Freemason that the Fraternity had erected a splendid girls home
in Austin for the daughters of Masons. There have been numerous dormitories
built for men at various educational institutions, but so far as I know this
is the first time that the Masons have thought enough of their daughters to
provide suitable living quarters for them.
commendation of this work of our Texas brethren I wish to say only one thing:
That the need for properly supervised dormitory facilities for women is acute
at any co-educational institution. We think enough of our boys to take care of
them, but the girls are left to struggle for themselves and believe me or not,
it is some struggle. E T. R., Missouri.
* * *
you please inform me in regard to the following. On the Masonic Chart there is
a coffin with a five-pointed star on the side. Why is the star placed there
and what is its significance? W. J. B. Georgia.
presume our correspondent refers to a chart in the Monitor used in Georgia, of
which unfortunately we have no copy at hand. However, the many Monitors that
have been published all follow each other very closely, and are all directly
or indirectly to be traced back to the original one published by Webb. The
"Hieroglyphic" emblems are derived from The True Masonic Chart of Webb's
disciple and successor, Jeremy E. Cross, whose designs have been copied with
very little change, over and over again.
frontispiece of The True Masonic Fort is a design called the "Master's
Carpet," which includes all the emblems of the symbolic degrees. It was
intended, and in early days was used, as a design painted on cloth or canvas,
and laid down on the floor of the lodge before the station of the Worshipful
Master to illustrate the "lectures" when delivered to the candidate. There is
in this well-known design a coffin in the foreground, and in later
reproductions a five-point star or pentagram appears on the lid. In the
original design of Cross it does not appear in this place, though it is found
above the letter G. between the two pillars, and under the "All-Seeing Eye."
Following the "Master's Carpet" and the title page, came a series of plates
each with several emblems or designs, intended to recall different points in
the three degrees. The eighth of' these showed the "chequered pavement" with a
five-point star in the center. The seventeenth, dealing with the Master Mason,
shows the star again, all by itself', under the legend "Second Section." The
twenty-fifth plate gives the "Emblems of Mortality," and among these is the
coffin, upon which is not a star, but a pentagram - though of course the
outline of the pentagram is that of the star. All these separate designs have
been recopied hundreds of times. In most of the later reproductions the
pentagram has become a star.
years before Jeremy Cross published his Chart, there had appeared various
works in France containing designs of similar import, though widely different
in arrangement and detail. Two of these were reproduced in THE BUILDER for
1927, at pages 87 and 120, respectively. In each of these will be found a
five-point star, relatively in the same position - between the pillars - as in
the "Master's Carpet." In the earlier one the star contains the letter G. in
the later one the letter appears below. In each the star is irradiated with
flames issuing from between the points - the obvious reference being to the
"Blazing Star" mentioned in the first lecture.
these facts we have to infer that the five point star is among the oldest of
our symbols. In the form of the pentagram it was used in ceremonial magic, and
it has various occult meanings. In Masonry there seems little doubt that its
primary significance was not so much in its being a star, as in its having
five points. The fact that Cross Put it as the symbol for the second section
of the third degree, and repeated it in connection with the emblems of
mortality, should be a sufficient hint to intimate to what it referred.
the "Master's Carpet" and the French designs, it would seem to have a somewhat
extended meaning, though derived from the primary one. Briefly we might say it
refers to the final illumination that is only received symbolically in the
lodge, but which in its reality will come after the faithful Master Mason has
finished his labors, and has received admission to the Celestial Lodge above.
* * *
SYMBOLISM OF THE KNOCKS
would like to have your opinion as to the symbolic meaning of the knocks given
by the W. M., S. W. and J. W. in the opening and closing ceremonies (three
knocks in rotation, three times in the third; two knocks in the second, and
one knock in the First Degree ) .
might say, with the man who saw the giraffe, "there ain't no such animal," but
this would not be particularly helpful. There is a brief paragraph in Mackey's
Encyclopaedia which mentions the use of hammer or mallet to call the workmen
to labor, or to signify the hour of refreshment among German stone masons in
the Middle Ages. This is taken from the Statutes of the Steinmetzen, which are
given in full in Gould's History in Chapter iii, and are worth referring to.
custom was a natural and practical one. Bells, gongs, trumpets, drums, and
nowadays factory whistles, have been used everywhere and always to summon
people to assemble for every kind of purpose. To use a hammer in this way in
the stone-shed, or lodge, was a most obvious thing to do. It is quite likely,
too, that some differentiation may have been made in the method of knocking,
for different purposes, though less probably to indicate the position of the
one doing it, as has been suggested by some authors.
Doubtless this use of the officers' gavels in our Speculative lodges is a
survival of a genuine tradition. The distinction in regard to degrees is not
so old, but it was a very natural development to indicate these by the number
any symbolism is to be looked for, it is in the number three, though it is
intimately connected with the symbolism of the gavel. But whatever there might
be of this has never yet been worked out. Here is an opportunity for our
* * *
UNIQUE ST. JOHN'S DAY
June 24th of this year, a St. John's Day festival was held by Chattanooga
Lodge, No. 199, Chattanooga, Tenn. The present secretary of the lodge, Bro.
John B. Hurley, read the minutes of the meeting held on June 24, 1869. The
then secretary of the lodge who compiled those minutes was present in the
person of' Bro. Capt. A. J. Gaghan. He has been a member of Chattanooga Lodge
for sixty-two years.