The Builder Magazine
September 1929 - Volume XV -
The City of Prague and
BRO. JOSEPH S. ROUCEK, New Jersey
THIS article by Bro. Roucek is based in part on a lecture delivered by a
member of the Lodge, Adoniram zur Weltkugel in June last year. It forms an
interesting sequel to the article which appeared in THE BUILDER for March and
April of this year. Bro. Roucek, who is U.S. Representative of the
Czechoslovak Grand Lodge, is becoming widely known as a lecturer and author on
Czechoslovakia and on international relations. He is now Professor of Social
Science in the Junior College. Centenary Collegiate Institute, Hackettstown,
is nearly always necessary to repeat certain facts when talking about the
past. Hence it is to be expected that this article will also contain certain
facts which are already known to the reader. But in order to understand the
present and the future, it is always necessary to enlighten the darkness of
the past and deduct from it the teaching for the future. Only the one who
knows the history of our institution, can say that he knows what Freemasonry
is and he will understand its endeavors, efforts, tendencies and aims. Just as
a traveller, who covered a part of tiresome road stops for rest in order to
look back over the way he has traversed and get a new strength to continue in
his journey, so we, Freemasons, have travelled, also, a hard road, full of
dangers, and it is well to pause sometimes, and look back, and question
whether we have taken the right way, in harmony with the teaching and legacy
of our forefathers, or whether we have not overestimated and without avail
wasted our strength, and finally whether we may hope that we shall eventually
reach the goal. It seems that now is the time when we should look back and
draw new strength. This applies especially to the brothers of Czechoslovakia.
From the evolution and history of Freemasonry in that country they can get
consolation and comfort, new force and power to journey on, upon that
difficult but also honorable voyage. It is with gladness and satisfaction that
this discussion can be connected directly with that warrior for humanity, that
teacher of brotherhood, the spiritual father of our Masonry, Jan Amos Komensky
[Comenius]. Any scholar whose researches lead him into the rich literature of
the origin and cause of Freemasonry and especially of Czechoslovakian Masonry,
will always find himself coming back to the name of Komensky, which fact must
convince him that this great man and teacher was the creator, or at least the
co-creator, of the ideas which we, as Freemasons, accepted for our own, and
which became the basis of our most idealistic efforts. Jan Amos Komensky
laid-perhaps unconsciously- the foundation stone of the structure upon which
Freemasonry works from the most ancient times till now, and adds thereto stone
after stone, driven on by the hope that our descendants will sometimes finish
the work the Structure of our Temple.
According to legend the stronghold of Prague was founded by the Princess
Libuse, and she is said by the ancient chronicler to have made the following
prophecy regarding its future: "Here I can see a great city the glory of which
reaches to the stars." Every Czech has been nurtured with the hope since his
childhood that one day this city would succeed in casting off the fetters
which hindered it from spreading its wings and taking vigorous flight towards
a glorious future. In 1918, with the suddenness of a thunderclap, the
Hapsburgs were swept from their throne. Bohemia became the nucleus of the
war-born Czechoslovak Republic and Prague leaped to a place among the world's
Owing to its historical past which has linked it closely and inseparably with
the destinies of the Czech people, Prague has become the head and heart of the
nation, and is now the central stage of a new and brilliant development of the
national, cultural and artistic life of the people. Since time immemorial
Prague, by reason of its picturesque situation on the banks of the Vltava (the
Moldau) and the slopes of its wooded hills, and from its many historical
buildings, has been regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. In
1458 Aeneas Silvius (later Pope Pius II) named it "the Queen of Cities."
Goethe likened it to "a magnificent precious stone set in the earth's crown."
Humboldt placed it immediately after Constantinople and Naples. Rodin declared
it to be the "Rome of the North." And to W. Ritter, the city was "original and
unique in the world."
The history of Prague is for the most part the history of the nation and the
State of Bohemia; there is not a stone in Prague which has not its historical
significance, and consequently it is not strange that foreigners call the city
a "museum of the Middle Ages." In the same way it is easily understood why
every Czech and every Slav speaks with ardour and enthusiasm of "Golden,
Slavonic Prague," and why those who feel jealous and hostile towards the Czech
nation should have said more than once that the Castle of Prague, the Hradcany,
ought to be demolished, so that the nationalistic feeling of the Czechs could
also be destroyed with it.
is this castle which, from the historical point of view, represents the idea
of the Czech State. It towers high above the city. It is a castle, a citadel,
cathedral and barracks, palace and national shrine. From whatever vantage
point one gazes upon Prague, the Hradcany dominates it. Begun many centuries
ago, it looks as if it would last forever.
Three hundred and more years ago the incident which precipitated the Thirty
Years' War took place within the Hradcany. Here the discontented members of
the Bohemian Estates were assembled in 1618, when they hit upon the bright
idea of throwing the two lieutenants, go-betweens, or whatever they were, of
the Hapsburg ruler, out of a window. So here you may see the very spot from
which the Thirty Years War began.
1620 the "Winter King," Frederick of the Palatinate, passed this way with his
English wife, paused to be crowned, and then after a short year's reign, fled
from the country that had trusted him, when his army, and the cause he was
called upon to stand for, went under in a sea of blood on the White Mountain.
It is only about an hour on foot to the battlefield where the army of
Protestant Bohemia, after retiring before the Imperialist host, made its
final, fatal stand. Then the Jesuit-ridden Hapsburg entered Prague and laid
his heavy hand on all Bohemia, almost to the undoing of its people. But it is
a wonderful thing, that power of a strong nation, to survive treachery and
oppression until the time comes when it can reassert itself.
Prague witnessed the sequel to the defeat of Bohemia on the White Mountain,
the execution of Bohemian noblemen and other leaders on the open space between
the Old Town Hall and the Church of Our Lady of Tyn. There were changes going
on among the sleepy houses of Prague, for the victory of the White Mountain
and the Imperialistic successes in the Thirty Years' War had brought to
Bohemia a swarm of foreign adventurers, officers in the Emperor's army, who
acquired the property of exiled Bohemian nobility and set about building
palaces for themselves. They are interesting too, these palaces in Prague, and
some of them have beautiful gardens, such as those of Furstenberg, Lobkowitz,
Scoenborn, and Waldstein. Waldstein who rose no doubt on account of his
ability, to high command in the Imperial Army and to a position of more real
power than that of his imperial master; for which he was murdered by his own
officers one night at Cheb [Eger], a place one passes through on the way from
Paris to Prague.
as Lutzow says: "When throwing a stone through a window in Prague you throw
with it a morsel of history." If your outlook be academic, at your feet lies
one of Europe's oldest universities, the Charles University, founded in 1348.
Students of many countries and many nations flocked to Prague, witness to the
fact of the city's central position in Europe, and soon the new university
ranked with those still older institutions - Bologna, Paris and Oxford. The
number of students increased rapidly, and by the end of Charles' reign there
were some six or seven thousand of them. If you are one of those rare mortals
who study history for the sake of applying its moral to the conduct of the
world's affairs, then you have here a deep well from which to draw
The prophecy of Libusa (which is pronounced as if spelled Libushay) has been
fulfilled; her forecast of Prague's future place in the world has come true.
IN the days of Premysl Ottokar II, Prague held a high place as the capital of
a great state. Ottokar is famed for his conquests, alliances and
understandings with his neighbors. He acquired a preponderating influence in
the councils of Prague. Charles IV rescued this city that he loved, and made
it the rallying point of Central European culture.
Then followed the great era of Protestant Reformation with John Hus. He came
to Prague from his humble home in Southern Bohemia, and received his M.A.
Degree in 1396, and eventually became Rector of the University. John Hus was
an ardent advocate of Church Reform. He paid for it; but the fire that
consumed his body at Constance, Switzerland, in 1415, was reflected time and
again, angrily, in the waters of the Vltava. The Hussite wars followed;
religious dissensions, strife and turmoil, marked the following decades.
Strange scenes must have been reflected in the Vltava in those stormy days, as
the pageant of the history of Prague crossed the Charles Bridge. One day, with
the beating of drums, a bevy of priests came from afar; they came into the
market-place and there sold Indulgences. The Prager, distracted by the
dissentions that rent the country, took to arms repeatedly. At last came a
King of their own choosing, of their own race and faith, George of Podiebrad.
He realized the importance of the capital of his native country, and from it
he wove a web of treaties and agreements for the betterment of Central Europe,
by the means of his League of Peace. Then Dark Waldstein formed great and
ambitious plans, possibly not so altruistic as those of his spiritual kinsmen,
the great men already mentioned.
And yet one after another these giants of Bohemia saw their plans brought to
naught. Ottokar succumbed to the first Hapsburger that threw his shadow over
Bohemia; the successors of Charles and George of Podiebrad could not stand
against the forces of reaction. Waldstein perished at the instigation of a
Hapsburger. Heavy banks of cloud came to obscure the fair prospect. But in
1918 the clouds rolled away again; again bright sunshine draws out the
memories of Golden Prague and raises hopes of a glorious future.
Today Prague is the seat of the President of the Czechoslovak Republic, and
also of the ministries and the majority of Central Offices. As the centre of
culture it accommodates a Czech, a German, a Ukrainian and a Russian
University; there are numerous institutions for the furtherance of knowledge
of Slavonic, Latin, and Teutonic countries. It is becoming more and more the
principal market of Central Europe. There are historical reasons for this.
Ever since the Middle Ages, Prague has been the central market and meeting
place between East and West. Nowadays Prague is one of the most important
crossing-points of the great European railways. The best picture of the trade
development in Czechoslovakia is the International Fair, held twice a year at
Praha, from which every visitor will gain an objective view of the flourishing
trade conditions of the country and its capital city.
The oldest Masonic Lodge of Central Europe was founded in Prague in 1727. The
founder was the noted Count Frantisek Antonin Sporek. Sporek belonged to the
richest noblesse of Bohemia; his father was a general in the Thirty Years'
War, but Sporck did not follow the profession of his father. Though he was
educated in the German and French languages, seeing the spiritual poorness of
the town citizens and the peasants, among whom he lived, he established a
printing press on his estate, in which he had printed educational books in the
Czech language. It was a secret undertaking. The Czech people always loved
singing. Among the oldest Czech prints is the Kancional of the year 1509; it
was a book published by the Bohemian Brethren, which church was the spiritual
mother of the English Methodists, the Dutch Remonstrants and Pilgrim Fathers.
In the eighteenth century the Kancionals were prohibited and the publishers
were punished cruelly at the instigation of the Jesuits, who had enormous
influence on the state administration at that time. The persecuted found the
book of religious songs, published by Sporck very useful, because it was
printed in beautiful language and the accompanying tunes were old folk
melodies. Sporck gave this book free to all churches of Bohemia.
The first Freemasons met in the palace of Sporck in Prague. They recognized
each other by three stars put into a triangle. Their humanitarian activity was
centered in taking care of orphans, who were many in Bohemia, and specially in
Prague, during those war-times. But the activity of Sporck naturally angered
the Jesuits who induced the government to confiscate his printing press, his
library was carried off to a Jesuit monastery, where much of it was destroyed.
Sporck was imprisoned; when released he was under the police surveillance. If
the rich, educated aristocrat was persecuted in this way, we can imagine how
fared the townsmen and the peasants.
wonder then that twenty years later, viz., 1742 - 1747, the Freemasons of
Bohemia - the court noblemen - were turning away from the Hapsburg dynasty,
which was but a tool in the hand of the Jesuits. It was at the time when the
Bavarian king was trying to get possession of the kingdom of Bohemia and
Prague. But his policy failed, and the Freemasons were punished cruelly, at
least such as belonged to the citizenry and lower class of the nobility.
Vienna did not dare do much against the high nobility. Freemasonry
was not until 1780, during the reign of Joseph II, who was the only sensible
and enlightened ruler of the Hapsburg family, that toleration was proclaimed.
It meant, according to Joseph, that nobody was to be persecuted for his
religious conviction. But it should be noted that even Joseph II did not
betray his medieval convictions; he did not recognize the equality of
Protestant and Jews with the members of the Catholic Church. The tolerance
lasted only fifteen years. During the reign of Francis I, the lodges were
abolished in 1758, and participation in their work was punished. The state
employees had to take an oath that they never were and never would be members
of secret societies. This requirement lasted until 1918.
should be noted that the Sporck's brotherhood "Of the Three Stars" originated
just one hundred years after the fall of Bohemian independence. It was in 1627
that the victorious Hapsburg abolished the old Bohemian Constitution and
proclaimed the Renewed Ordinance, which abolished the old free election of
kings; though on the other hand, the Estates retained the right to raise taxes
and to administer the law. The Hapsburgs assured themselves of the loyalty of
this new Parliament by removing all the non-Catholics from the country. The
citizens had no civil rights. In 1727 Sporck founded his lodge. In 1827 began
to be published the history of the Bohemian nation, one of the factors which
reawakened the nationalistic feeling. In 1918 the dynasty of Hapsburgs fell,
and from that time on, it has become possible to realize freely the aims of
Sporck, after two hundred years.
The city of Prague has an outstanding place in the history of Freemasonry.
Already in the old times, when the beginnings of Masonry took root, the word "Praha"
was heard. The Templars, the forerunners of Freemasons, built in the old city
of Prague at a little church of St. Vavrinec (Lawrence) a monastery and soon
after even a Temple in the present Celetna ulice [Celetna Street]. In the
fourteenth century the "Fraternity of the Hoop and Mallet" built, on the New
City Square in Prague, a church in honor of the Body of Jesus Christ, and took
part in the building of Strassburg Cathedral (1365-1404). As the old Viennese
Goldenberg, as well as the Staronova synagogue in the Old City, were built by
the workers' associations of the Middle Ages (gilds) according to the pattern
of the Solomon's Temple. The immediate forerunners of the Freemasons in
Bohemia were the Hussites and the Bohemian Brethren, "The Fraternity of the
Hatchet" and the "Friends of the-Cross."
About the truth of these statements many historians are doubtful. We can,
however, consider as the founders of Freemasonry in Bohemia the Bohemian
Brothers, who gave us Komensky and the "Friends of the Cross," whose
outstanding member, Baron Frantisek Antonin Sporck, was inspired in Holland,
during his residence there, to suggest the foundation of the first Prague
Lodge, "The Three Stars."
According to the two historians, Abafi and Svatek, the day of the foundation
of this lodge was June 26, 1723. In the same year the "Constitutions of the
Free Mason" was accepted in London, as prepared by the theologian, James
Anderson, on the basis of Komensky's "Panegersie," as the ideal foundation of
The working meetings of the lodge were held mostly in the palace of Sporck
situated in the so-called "Angeluzs Garden." The garden was named after the
famous court physician to Emperor Charles IV, Angelus de Florentia. Sporck
bought it, and had the old building in it renovated by a Prague builder,
Kilian Diezenhofer, and the artist Vaclav Reiner. On the site of the building,
which during the times of Emperor Joseph II served as the chief storehouse of
tobacco, is now the Directory for Posts and Telegraphs. In 1926 a desk was
placed there with the inscription: "In this place there used to be, about the
year 1360, the Angelus Garden." (V techto mistech byvala kolem r. 1360
was probably the first botanical garden in Europe. Here lived for a time Cola
di Rienzi, Tribune of the Roman People; and in 1356 the Italian poet Petrarca.
In or about the year 1715 the house was bought by Baron Frantisek Antonin
Sporck, who founded there in 1726 the Lodge of the "Three Stars." In 1736 a
monastery of "Celestinek" was built there, which was abolished in 1784. After
1871 the building of the Central Postoffice was erected on the site.
The Hradcany is composed of a number of buildings about three large
courtyards. The foundations of the castle, the oldest part of the mass of
buildings were laid in the tenth century, and building has been going on at
every epoch since then. In the middle of the castle courtyard is the beautiful
cathedral church of St. Vitus, which was founded-by the Bohemian king, John of
Luxemburg, in the year 1344. The Hradcany is not only the President's official
residence, but in its various apartments, of which there are over seven
hundred, are housed the Chancellery, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other
In the illustration showing the Tyn Church the curious twin towers are
especially to be noticed. The form that Gothic architecture took in Bohemia
and Eastern Europe generally, was quite distinctive. The right hand tower is
somewhat more massive in proportions. The same curious lack of symmetry is to
be noted in other cathedrals, as at Notre Dame at Paris. It seems very
probable that this was intentional, and had a reference to the two pillars set
up by Hiram the Master Builder at the Porch of Solomon's Temple, of which the
one on the right hand represented strength.
American Army Lodges in the World War
The War Time Lodges of Louisiana, Ohio and Colorado
Bro. CHARLES F. IRWIN, Associate Editor
WHEN a sudden national emergency such as the World War overtakes the nation,
and our young men are rushed from their homes and peaceful pursuits to be
concentrated in camps and cantonments and placed under intensive military
training, the farthest removed from every experience they have had up to that
moment; when thousands of these same young men awaken suddenly to the
attractiveness of the Masonic Fraternity and storm the doors of the lodges
nearby their home towns, are accepted and await their opportunities to obtain
the coveted degrees; when the sudden demand which all this thrusts upon an
average lodge working in the neighborhood of the same cantonment, a situation
is created that is beyond the powers of that lodge to handle; what then shall
a Grand Master and a Grand Lodge do?
This is far graver than a hypothetical question. It is one that strikes right
down into the heart of our Institution. It raises a swarm of other questions,
and among them is this: Which is the better, for a Grand Master to stretch his
authority a little and grant a temporary dispensation creating a temporary
Field Lodge to handle this emergency work; or to issue a dispensation to the
lodges already constituted and working nearby the cantonment, empowering them
to break some of the fundamental Landmarks of the Fraternity; and to enter,
pass and raise candidates, irrespective of the solemn charges laid upon him,
"never to depart from the landmarks of the Fraternity"?
This is quite an interesting problem, is it not? And yet it was the practical
situation that confronted one of the finest Grand Masters in America and it
gave to his Grand Lodge some of its most intensive thinking. What we write
here regarding this situation is not to be taken as a criticism but as an
earnest attempt on our part to give to the Fraternity an insight into one of
the situations that arose in the war and to record it in this series for
future Masonic Students to analyze and to draw conclusions.
Liberty Lodge, U.D., Situated at Camp Beauregard, Alexandria, La.
"Liberty Lodge, U. D ," of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, was the child of a
great emergency. It came into being as the effort of a great Mason to attempt
to solve one of the most baffling problems that our Fraternity has had to face
namely, shall we or shall we not have Field Lodges in times of national
When the local situation of so many states in which training camps were
established is examined, invariably it is found that the entire social
structure of the surrounding countryside is disrupted. Within a few weeks
hundreds and thousands of young men are assembled within restricted areas and
put to work; business swells to enormous proportions, and the demands upon the
citizens in general and the business men in particular are beyond the
imagination of all who have never witnessed the phenomenon.
Alexandria is a fine city in the State of Louisiana. Its social and business
life is the equal of any other of similar size in the country. Suddenly in
1917 the government took leases on certain ground within a short distance of
the city and soon barracks, warehouses and other structures were rising from
the ground. And within a few weeks the railroads were bringing trainloads of
young men out of civilian life through the city and depositing them in the new
cantonment. The name of this cantonment was Camp Beauregard, named for the
celebrated Confederate General. It was not long until the local-lodges of
freemasonry discovered that hundreds of young men within the camp had knocked
at the doors of lodges both within and without the state lines, and had been
accepted by their lodges. Then the mail and the telegraph lines were burdened
with the flood of requests from the said lodges for the local lodges to confer
the work upon these candidates by courtesy.
There was one lodge of Masons in Alexandria, Oliver Lodge, No. 84, which is
within the city proper, and there was Curtis T. Hines Lodge, No. 317, at
Tioga, a neighboring town. These two lodges are made up of the typical men who
constitute an average city lodge; largely business men, and men who carry
responsibilities upon their shoulders. Their own business responsibilities
leaped within a night to proportions they had never dreamed of. And yet upon
all this burden was heaped this urgent call from all over the country to
confer the degrees of Freemasonry upon the young soldiers.
They did not hesitate but with the characteristic open heartedness of genuine
Master Masons, "went on foot and out of their way" to respond to the call.
Special meetings were arranged for and night after night, even when heavy
day's business cares had wearied them, relays of the membership of these two
lodges armed floor teams and began their work.
Meanwhile Grand Master John W. Armstrong had observed all this situation. For
through his office were flowing these floods of requests from other
jurisdictions as well as from the lodges within his own.
made repeated visits to Camp Beauregard as well as to the other military
centers within his state. He consulted with the Masons on the ground who were
bearing the brunt of the deluge. No one had any clear solution to offer to the
problem he had to face, and it was a real one.
Grand Master Armstrong at length came to a conclusion. It was this, that so
far as the courtesy work was concerned, it belonged to the Grand Lodge of
Louisiana to care for this and not one or two local lodges. Because the
appeals that came for courtesy work came, not to the subordinate lodge, but to
the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge.
His reasoning was sound; and his conclusion was that he would issue a
dispensation creating an emergency lodge, to be known as "Liberty Lodge U.D."
This lodge was to be maintained by Oliver Lodge, No. 84. It was to confine
itself strictly to the working on the courtesy material from the cantonment.
But at once he seems to have met with strong opposition from Oliver Lodge, No.
84, whose members seem to have feared that this would be creating a rival
lodge, and thus they refused to consent to the solution. In their opposition
were sown the seeds that later destroyed the Field Lodge. Fifteen Masons
constituted the petitioners who presented to Grand Master Armstrong the
request for the dispensation. The opposition to the emergency lodge, however,
was not confined to the local lodge in Alexandria. It appears that strong
influences within the Grand Lodge itself had lined up in opposition to the
dispensation. Meanwhile the flood of requests kept coming in to the Grand
Liberty Lodge opened and began its-work, and strove to do its bit, working
side by side with Oliver Lodge, No. 84, in Alexandria, supported by Curtis T.
Hines Lodge, No. 317, nearby. Brothers might differ as to modes but they were
one in action.
Meanwhile the time came for the Annual Communication of 1918, of the Grand
Lodge of Louisiana. It met and Grand Master Armstrong came before that body to
make his accounting for his term of office. At the end of this story you will
find copies of his address, together with other official papers that touch
upon this lodge. If you will give his story a careful reading you will find
the heart of this brother beating with a fervent regard for the young men
within the camps. Further as you read the full address and consider his
careful planning for the Masonic "Rest Room," which he opened in Alexandria
for the comfort of military Masons, and discover its careful financing, you
are compelled to the conclusion that this Grand Master was a sound thinker and
But in spite of the masterly presentation of his solution to the hypothetical
question with which this story commences, there were strong forces in Grand
Lodge who looked at his solution from a diametrically opposite viewpoint. Who
shall say whether or not they were right or wrong? The report of the Committee
on the State of the Order became the spear point that struck at the Grand
Master's action in issuing the dispensation. They based their adverse report
upon several grounds:
That Liberty Lodge was instituted with less than fifteen members.
That Oliver Lodge, No. 84 did not approve of it.
That the dispensation was made to run to December 31 1918, which was beyond
the limitations of the term of Grand Master Armstrong's administration.
That the granting of the dispensation was irregular, and illegal.
That Oliver Lodge, No. 84, could handle the situation by Special meetings.
The report of this committee was approved, together with the resolution
attached to it by the committee. The Grand Master succeeding Most Worshipful
Brother Armstrong, namely, Brother George A. Treadwell, was directed to recall
the dispensation, which, upon assumption of his office as Grand Master, he
did. Thus ended Liberty Lodge U. D. But the problem was not yet solved. All
that had happened was that the Grand Lodge of Louisiana answered the first
part of our hypothetical question in the negative.
Meanwhile Oliver Lodge, No. 84, was working overtime upon the accumulated work
thrust upon Louisiana by other Grand Jurisdictions. And here let us pause long
enough to notice that some of the most strenuous opponents of Military Lodges
were the first Grand Jurisdictions to flood Grand Jurisdictions with requests
to perform the work upon candidates from their jurisdictions, by courtesy. The
same thing prevailed in the Military Lodges that went across the sea. We have
already seen in previous articles how these lodges received numerous requests
from Grand Jurisdictions who had fought the idea of Military Lodges,
requesting these same Military Lodges to confer the degrees on their
candidates. And, so far as it was possible to comply, in every case the
Military Lodges gave full service. The brethren back in Alexandria meanwhile
were bending under this added burden that had been thrust upon them.
Grand Master Treadwell, the possibility of a special emergency lodge being
denied him, had the other horn of the dilemma to meet, namely, shall a Grand
Master under any circumstance disregard the solemn injunction laid upon him,
and permit the removal of the Ancient Landmarks for a season. It is a serious
situation in which to place a high officer in our fraternity.
His solution of the problem is evidenced by the step taken by our excellent
the end of this story you will find excerpts from the Proceedings of 1919,
Grand Lodge of Louisiana, as well as a review of the same by the Correspondent
within the Grand Lodge of Missouri, writing in the Proceedings of the Grand
Lodge of that state for 1919.
these documents you will find that Grand Master Treadwell proceeded to issue a
dispensation to Oliver Lodge, No. 84, Alexandria, and to Curtis T. Hines
Lodge, No. 317, Tioga, empowering them to open and carry on special meetings
strictly for the purpose of doing courtesy work. Quoting from the Grand
Master's own report:
The result of the visit the had gone to Alexandria to get first- hand
knowledge of his problem] was that I issued a dispensation permitting Oliver
Lodge and Curtis T. Hines Lodge to initiate, pass and raise as many Candidates
at one and the same time as could be conveniently and properly handled, to
confer the second section of the Master Mason's Degree, when more than one
Fellow Craft was raised, but the last in summary manner, so-called, and to
confer more than one degree upon Candidates at one and the same Communication,
all the above to apply to work for other lodges only. I am glad to report that
all requests for Degree work made by the other Jurisdictions have been
complied with very little delay, although since the last session of the Grand
Lodge, Oliver Lodge, No. 84, has conferred 363 degrees by courtesy, and Curtis
T. Hines Lodge, No. 317, 64 degrees.
The italics are mine. In other words, Grand Master Treadwell dared to remove
the landmarks in order to solve the question.
The life of Liberty Lodge U. D. was like the illustration in one of our
lectures. "It blossomed, budded and sprang into fruit in a day." But the frost
nipped its shoots and it fell into a sere and yellow age.
Nevertheless this short-lived Military Lodge was not without benefit to the
Craft at large, for it carved out a path whereby Grand Lodges may, if they
will, meet a similar emergency and do their part to solve it. The work done by
Liberty Lodge was identically the same as that which was done in mass
formation by the two regular lodges. It was the gesture of one type of mind
which is flexible and dares to cut through precedent in order that a fine
piece of work might be done.
Were there no records of other Military Lodges in existence, then the wisdom
of Grand Master Armstrong might not be so clear. But the unimpeachable
testimony of the Military Lodges I have already described in this series is
proof beyond contradiction, that the Field Lodge had its place in the great
For the information upon which this history of Liberty Lodge U. D. is based,
we are dependent on the reports and transactions of the Stated Communications
of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for the years 1918 and 1919, together with the
review of the same by the Correspondent of the Grand Lodge of Missouri,
together with personal correspondence with officers of the Grand Lodge of
Proceedings of Grand Lodge of Louisiana, 1918, gage 30 seq.
The Annual Address of the Grand Master (Armstrong): "Liberty Lodge U.D."
The situation at Alexandria was such that it was imperative another lodge
should be located at this place to take care of the enormous amount of work
entailed on account of conferring degrees as a courtesy to lodges in this
State and of Sister Jurisdictions, of those who were elected to receive these
degrees by their respective lodges and are now located at Camp Beauregard.
The feeling in Oliver Lodge, No. 84, was against the establishment of another
lodge at this time, but they realized that something had to be done to assist
the lodge, as they had so much work of their own it was nearly impossible for
them to do any more courtesy work, and this class of work increasing. The
problem was solved by the granting of a dispensation for a Lodge, U.D., with
power to do only courtesy degree work. This dispensation has been granted to
Liberty Lodge U.D., the same to continue until December 31 1918, with the hope
that by this time the war will be over or that a charter will be asked for. I
have granted this dispensation without cost from the Grand Lodge, and Oliver
Lodge, No. 84, is to maintain same without cost to Grand Lodge.
Proc. Grand Lodge, 1918, page 157, Report of Committee on State of the Order.
The Committee on the State of the Order presented the following report:
New Orleans, La., Feb. 6, 1918.
the M. W., the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, F. & A. M.:
Your Committee on the State of the Order would report that we heartily approve
the earnest solicitude of the Grand Master in his desire to facilitate our
soldiers in receiving the degrees of our Order, but our information is that
Liberty Lodge U.D. was organized with less than fifteen members and that
Oliver Lodge, No. 84, the nearest lodge, did not approve of same. Furthermore,
the dispensation was made to run to December 31, 1918, which is beyond the
following Annual Communication for this Grand Lodge.
For all these reasons your committee agree that the granting of the
dispensation was irregular and illegal and the same should be recalled. This
situation should be handled by Oliver Lodge, No. 84, holding the necessary
Special meetings to do the work. We append the following resolution:
Resolved, That the dispensation granted to Liberty Lodge U. D. be recalled by
the Grand Lodge.
fraternally submitted, L. E. THOMAS, B. B. PURSER, W. B. MORRISON
motion, the report of the committee was received and the appended resolution
was duly adopted.
Proc. Grand Lodge of Missouri, 1919, page 49 Review by Correspondent of Proc.
(G.M. George A. Treadwell) recalled the dispensation of a lodge (Liberty Lodge
U.D.) created, as we understand it, only to aid the other lodges in Alexandria
in conferring the multitude of degrees requested by other Grand Jurisdictions
for soldiers at the nearby camp. He compensated this, however, by issuing a
dispensation which would seem to meet the exigency. (Quoting from G. M.
Treadwell's Annual Address): "The result of the visit was that I issued a
dispensation permitting Oliver Lodge, No. 84, and Curtis T. Hines Lodge, No.
317, to initiate, pass and raise as many Candidates at one and the same time
as could be conveniently and properly handled, to confer the second section of
the Master Mason Degree, when more than one Fellow Craft was raised, but the
last in summary manner, so-called, and to confer more than one degree upon
Candidates at one and the same Communication, all the above to apply to work
for other lodges only. I am glad to report that all requests for degree work
made by other jurisdictions have been complied with, with very little delay,
although since the last session of the Grand Lodge, Oliver Lodge, No. 84, has
conferred 363 degrees by courtesy and Curtis T. Hines Lodge, No 317, 64
1922, we notice in the list of lodges in the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, the
following: " Alexandria, U.D. ", which would seem to indicate that the
brethren of Alexandria reversed their opinion as to the need for an additional
lodge within the city of Alexandria.
give here part of a letter from Wor. Bro. John A. Davilla, Grand Secretary of
the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, dated August 1, 1928:
John W. Armstrong was Grand Master during the year 1917 and that after the
constitution of Camp Beauregard, as the training camp, just outside of
Alexandria Oliver Lodge, No. 84 located at that point, was working nightly
with different shifts of officers endeavoring to keep up with the heavy
demands for courtesy work in addition to their own.
This lodge had already absorbed Solomon Lodge, No. 220, on the opposite side
of Red River, and this work was centered upon
Oliver Lodge with only a little help from Curtis T. Hines Lodge No. 317, in
the same parish, the location being not very distant.
Grand Master Armstrong visited Alexandria frequently and was willing to grant
a dispensation for a new lodge at that point, but found that the officers and
membership strongly in opposition to such a step which they felt would create
a rival lodge finally. The Grand Master finally did grant a dispensation for
Liberty Lodge U.D., limiting its powers to the work of conferring degrees by
courtesy and fixing the time limit of the dispensation as December 31, 1918,
which covered the term of his successor in office.
This Subjected him to some criticism at the hands of the Committee on State of
the Order and upon their recommendation, the dispensation was recalled.
Ohio Military Lodge U.D. For the Ohio Division of the U. S. Army.
presenting this paper on the abortive attempt of the Ohio Masons in the Ohio
Division of the United States Army to obtain from their Grand Master and Grand
Lodge a dispensation to open and conduct a Military Lodge, I do so because it
carries a lesson, that it may be hoped will be a guide to the Grand Lodges of
America if and when the next national emergency arises.
The tragedy of Masonry during the World War lay in the unpreparedness of
almost every Grand Lodge to meet and surmount the problems that a great war
engenders. The fact that the usual procedure has become crystallized into
rigid form under the close supervision of men who by age and temperament so
often are not in close contact with the heart-throb of the Craft in the times
of stress, the tenacity with which forms and traditions are held to, and the
slowness with which new departures can be made, result in great hardship for
the Craftsmen who in such times turn to their fraternity for its sustaining
Ohio 's tragedy was due to many causes: to the opposition of a Grand Master
who personally could not see any use in the existence of a Military Lodge
within his Grand Jurisdiction; to the political undercurrent that swept the
Ohio Division while in the southern cantonment, and which political upheaval
swept the beloved General John C. Speaks out of his command of that division,
and at the same time removed him from eligibility to serve as the first Senior
Warden in the proposed Ohio Military Lodge U.D.; to the movement of the Ohio
troops from its southern cantonment by the time the machinery of the Grand
Lodge had adjusted itself to the war-time situation; and, finally, to the
grave mistake the petitioners made in nominating and naming for their first
Master and Wardens, men who held high military office in the division. This
mistake was carefully guarded against in the case of North Carolina, where a
Sergeant was named for the first Master of their Military Lodge. In times of
national emergency men holding high military rank are so pressed with
responsibilities and cares that in the nature of the case it is impossible for
them to give a Masonic lodge within their command that attention that is
vitally needed by the lodge. In every ease during the past war where the
Military Lodges took root and grew strong, the Master and Wardens were
officers, or enlisted men, of the Junior Grades or at the most not above a
regimental commander's grade.
The story of the steps taken by the Ohio Masons to prepare and present their
case before their Grand Lodge are told in the Proceedings of 1917 and 1918,
together with letters which I have received from officers of the Grand Lodge,
and from Masons of influence in the State of Ohio. Being an Ohio Mason myself,
a Past Master of an Ohio lodge, I have a special and personal interest in this
story, and am trying to get it into permanent form so that it may be preserved
among the other histories of military organizations of Masonry during the war.
the Proceedings of 1917, Grand Master Joel C. Clore declares in his address to
have received some informal requests for the establishment in the State of
Ohio of Military Lodges, sometimes called Traveling or Army Lodges. I have
answered these requests by stating that it would not be conducive to the best
interests of Freemasonry, in my opinion to authorize such lodges. I have
explained that the Grand Master has no power in the premises, but that the
initiative would have to be taken up by the Grand Lodge. I am opposed to the
idea no proper place can be had for the meeting of a lodge under conditions
now existing in Europe where the men are engaged in actual fighting. No proper
safeguard can be thrown around a lodge of Masons.
The fallacy of this line of reasoning is now, of course, apparent to all
Masons in the light of the histories of our Military Lodges which have
appeared in THE BUILDER. Such lodges were able to hold regular meetings in
Europe, in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, to the happiness and
welfare of the Craft serving in our armed forces in Europe.
However, Grand Master Clore, in spite of his own personal disapproval of
Military Lodges, gave the information to the Grand Lodge in 1917, whereupon
steps were taken to meet and solve the situation. The first step that was made
is to be found in a resolution prepared and presented to Grand Lodge by Past
Grand Master Charles J. Pretzman, ever an ardent friend of the soldier Mason,
and a believer in the value of a Military Lodge under proper rules and
Worshipful Brother Pretzman offered the following resolution which was
promptly referred to the Committee on Charters and Dispensations:
Resolved, That the incoming Grand Master be and is hereby authorized to grant,
in his discretion, a dispensation for an Army or Traveling Lodge or Lodges
upon such conditions and with such limitations as to jurisdiction as in his
judgment may be advisable, and that all petitions prepared for that purpose
and now in the hands of the Brethren present, be referred to the Committee on
Charters and Dispensations.
This committee in due time brought its findings upon the floor of the Grand
Lodge, and by the mouth of Bro. Campbell M. Voorhees made the following
Your Committee on Charters and Dispensations reports that it has had under
consideration the petition for a dispensation for a new lodge with the Ohio
Division of the United States Army, to be named "Ohio Military Lodge U.D.",
praying for a warrant or dispensation to empower them to assemble as a legal
body to discharge the duties of Masonry in the several degrees of Entered
Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason in a regular and constitutional
manner, according to the ancient usages of the fraternity and the laws and
rules of this Grand Lodge, with Bro. Frank W. Hendley, a Past Master of this
Grand Jurisdiction, to be its first Master; Bro. John C. Speaks, to be its
first Senior Warden; and Bro William V. McMakin to be its first Junior Warden.
Said petition has been signed by some fifty brethren, members of the Masonic
lodges of this Grand Jurisdiction, now in active military Service with the
said division, presented to this Grand Lodge, and referred to this Committee
on Charters and Dispensations, pursuant to resolution duly adopted. This
committee has carefully considered said petition and the action of this Grand
Lodge in reference to former petitions for dispensations for Military Lodges,
and recommends that a dispensation be granted to our brethren with the Ohio
Division of the United States Army for a new lodge to be named "Ohio Military
Lodge U. D." under such general rules and regulations as this Grand Lodge has
heretofore adopted or may hereafter adopt, and upon the payment of the fee
prescribed by this Grand Lodge.
The Grand Lodge Proceedings goes on then to the discussion of the rules to
govern such Military Lodges, as follows:
M. W. Bro. W. A. Belt:
Amendment to Section 3 of the Code. To the Grand Lodge of Ohio F. & A. M.:
The undersigned hereby propose the following amendment to Section 3 of the
Code so that Section 3, as amended, shall read as follows:
Sec. 3. Each subordinate lodge possesses the inherent right to enact by-laws
for its government, provided the same are not inconsistent with the
Constitution, By-Laws Rules and Regulations of the Grand Lodge or the
fundamental principles of Masonry.
And to that end that these shall be preserved inviolate, it is hereby declared
that no by-law of a subordinate lodge shall be of any validity until approved
by the Grand Lodge, provided that so much of the by-laws of a subordinate
lodge as relates to and fixes the time of stated meetings thereof and the
amount of annual dues, which shall not be less than $2.00, may be altered or
changed without submitting the same to the Grand Lodge for its approval, and
further, provided, that where a lodge adopts the Uniform Code of By-Laws
recommended by this Grand Lodge, the Grand Master approve them, and as a part
of such Uniform By-Laws, a lodge may provide for trustees and their election
and such provision may be approved or disapproved by the Grand Master.
Fraternally submitted, LEVI C. GOODALE IKE M. ROBINSON LEWIS P. SCHAUS C. G.
BALLOU W. A. BELT F. B. WINTER CAMPBELL M. VOORHEES GEO. D. COPELAND
The copy of the rules and regulations above referred to it as follows:
RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR MILITARY LODGES.
The Committee on Charters and Dispensations having recommended that
Dispensations be granted to Military Lodges, the undersigned, the Committee on
Masonic Jurisprudence, respectfully report that they have had the same under
consideration and recommend the adoption of the following rules and
Dispensations for Military Lodges may be granted by the Grand Master upon the
same petitions, certificates, and prerequisites as are required for the
establishment of civil Lodges, except that the consent of other Lodges shall
not be required, nor a Dimit from the Lodge to which the petitioner belonged,
but always provided that said Dispensations shall in every case end with the
present War, and provided further, that such Lodges shall have no right to
confer degrees in any part of the United States or its dependencies, but only
in foreign countries.
Dispensations shall not be issued to any but Ohio Masons who are members of
No Military Lodge shall, on any pretense, initiate into Masonry any inhabitant
or sojourner in any town or place at which its members may be stationed, or
through which they may be marching, or any person who does not, at the time,
belong to the armed forces of the United States, nor any period who at the
time of his petitioning or at the time of his enlistment or selection was not
eligible to petition an Ohio Lodge.
Every Military Lodge under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Ohio shall so
conduct itself as not to give offense to the Masonic authorities in the
country or place in which it may sojourn; never losing sight of the duties it
owes to the Grand Lodge of Ohio, to which communication is ever to be made and
all dues and fees regularly transmitted.
In case of the death, removal, resignation, or permanent absence of any
officer of the Military Lodge, the Grand Master may supply the vacancy.
Military Lodges shall make the same returns as civil lodges.
Any Brother joining a Military Lodge shall not thereby forfeit his membership
in the Lodge to which he formerly belonged, but such joining shall operate to
suspend his payment of dues to the Lodge to which he formerly belonged and of
the payment of Grand Lodge dues by said Lodge for him.
At the close of the present war all members of such Miliary Lodges who were
Masons before their connection with the same, shall immediately be restored to
full membership in their respective Lodges; all persons initiated by said
Military Lodge and members thereof at the close of the War shall receive
certificates from the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ohio which shall
clothe them with the same rights and privileges enjoyed by the holder of a
At the close of the present war it shall be the duty of the Master or other
Officer having the Dispensation records, jewels, papers, and other property of
such Lodge in charge, to forthwith deliver the same to the Grand Secretary of
the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
The above is respectfully submitted. ALLEN ANDREWS, BARTON SMITH, O. P.
SPERRA, F. S. HARMON, B. F. PERRY NELSON WILLIAMS, CHAS J. PRETZMAN.
With this action on the part of Grand Lodge, the way was open for the
presentation of petitions for Military Lodges within the Ohio Division. But in
the meanwhile he internal cleavages along military lines had taken place and
temporarily the matter was laid aside by soldier Masons.
the 1918 Proceedings of Grand Lodge we find two notations that tell the final
story of the Ohio attempt for a Field Lodge.
The Grand Master reported:
Notwithstanding the Grand Lodge at its last Annual Communication authorized
the Grand Master to grant Dispensation for Military Lodges, none have been
granted, for the reason that no petition has been received for the same.
the same communication, the Committee on Charters ad Dispensations reported:
Inasmuch as petitioners for a Military Lodge failed to comply with the rules
thereof, and the Grand Master not having signed a dispensation, the
petitioners for same having removed to different camps, we recommend that a
note to that effect be made in the minutes of this Grand Lodge and the papers
in the case be retained by the Grand Lodge.
The original papers accompanying the original petition for the Military Lodge,
not being in conformity with the proper form, had been returned to the
southern cantonment to the original petitioners. In the meantime by the
rearrangement of troops and stations, many of the original signers had left
the southern cantonment and thus entirely new petitions would have to be made
out. But the time for the great move across the seas had come, and no further
opportunity was present for the Ohio Masons to prepare and forward their
petitions to the Grand Master.
Thus the opportunity for Ohio to have had a Field Lodge dissolved into the
But this whole procedure has conducted to one excellent result. The way has
been prepared in Ohio for any further or future movements by Ohio Military
Masons to prepare their case and present it to their Grand Lodge. Ohio has
crystallized in concise form a set of rules and regulations that will become,
not only for her own membership but for other Jurisdictions, that can be
resuscitated in time of national emergency, and rapidly set up an Emergent
Lodge for the comfort and care of her Masonic brethren serving their nation in
its armed forces.
The First Colorado Cavalry Lodge. THE history is presented not as the record
of an actuality, but as a Military Lodge that existed only as a hope, and an
attempt that never attained fulfillment. Its story reveals a cross section of
the insurmountable obstacles which made it impossible for the Grand Lodge of
Colorado to complete the plans which it had put forward to meet the needs of
soldier Masons in the exigencies of war. It points to the situation that will
confront the Grand Lodges of America should a like great emergency arise.
Owing to the organization of the national forces in time of need there are
states whose quota will be so small, relatively speaking, that their identity
as state troops will be merged in larger groupings of men from other states.
In such a case what should be the procedure for a Grand Lodge to take when the
petitions are received from their members in the army for the forming of
Shortly before the declaration of war by our President, in 1917, the service
men of Colorado found themselves gathered in the camps in their state
preparing for an intensive course of training for war. As we would expect, the
pride of Colorado rested in the cavalry troops of their state. For what else
should we look for in the western country than men who had a natural love and
aptitude for the saddle. In these cavalry regiments appeared almost
immediately a desire on the part of the Masons enrolled to obtain from their
Grand Lodge permission to form and carry on a Military Lodge. To show the
attitude of mind on the part of the Grand Master I will quote from the columns
of THE BUILDER for December, 1917:
The following communication from M. Wor. Bro. L. D. Crain, then Grand Master
answer to your inquiry I desire to say that the Grand Lodge delegated the
right to the Grand Master to institute such Military Lodges as in his judgment
he might think were for the interest of the Craft. Up to the present time no
Dispensation has been issued to such Lodges. There is, however, a movement on
foot to organize a Colorado Lodge in one of the Units now in the service of
the Government. There is one obstacle in granting a Military Lodge for
Colorado Masons; we are not sure that enough Colorado men will be located in
the same place, regiment or division, to support a Lodge. It is a question
which has not apparently been opened, if a Military Lodge formed by the Grand
Lodge of one State, can justly take soldiers from another State in the Lodge.
Without discussing the point I will say I must be reasonably assured that
enough Colorado material will be available to form a Lodge and to maintain it
before I will look with favor upon the organization. As mentioned before a
Military Lodge is now forming in one of the Camps, but no Dispensation has as
yet been issued.
much for the attitude of mind of the Grand Master. It displays a fine
discrimination and good judgment as to the situation that confronted his
Jurisdiction. But going back into the summer months, in the Colorado
Proceedings of the same year, we find:
The formation of a military lodge was authorized by the following:
Resolved, That this Grand Lodge hereby approves the issuance of Dispensations
by the Grand Master, at his discretion, for the formation of Military Lodges
to be formed by Master Masons in good standing, residents of Colorado, and in
the military service of the United States; provided the said lodges shall be
formed and governed and shall meet, transact business, work and make reports
under such rules and regulations as may be formulated by the Grand Master,
which shall conform as near as the circumstances may permit to the Book of
Constitutions of this Grand Lodge.
This action on the part of the Grand Lodge was produced by the reception of a
petition from certain brethren within the ranks of the first Colorado Cavalry,
PETITION FOR DISPENSATION FOR A NEW LODGE,
Presented to the Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M., of Colorado, September 18, 1917.
Camp Baldwin, Denver, Colorado, September 7, 1917.
the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of
Your petitioners respectfully represent: That they are Master Masons in good
standing and soldiers in the First Colorado Cavalry in the United States
Service, soon to engage actively in war in defense of the primal principle of
this manner we will be deprived of our active participation in Masonry, and
its restraining influence and of the last honors of Masonry to those who may
not survive this acid test of their belief in that principle.
is impossible to form a permanent Lodge such as is contemplated by the Grand
Lodge Constitutions, owing to the provisions therein concerning territorial
jurisdictions. The history of Masonry is full of instances where Brethren in
the Army have been granted special dispensations to hold Traveling Lodges with
some of the powers of regular Lodges, which could meet in Lodge capacity at or
near their camps or posts and perform some of the functions of regular
is unnecessary for your petitioners to dwell upon the wholesome influences
with which not only the members of such a Lodge, but also all the members of
the regiment would be surrounded by the establishment of such an Army Lodge in
the First Regiment of Colorado Cavalry. Nor need we point out the service
which would be rendered by this Grand Lodge to the Colorado Soldier-Mason in
the amelioration of the vicissitudes of the soldier's life, not alone by
affording him opportunity to continue his life as a Mason, but added thereto
his life as a Mason under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Colorado.
Such a Lodge indeed should be limited to members of the regiment and as
members of such regiment could not have opportunity to obtain the Masonic
Degrees at their stations, there would be no conflict of jurisdiction with
that of any other Grand Lodge.
The expenses incident to such a Lodge have been provided for by pledges of
donations to be paid by the petitioners signing this petition, upon the
Issuance or the Dispensation prayed for.
There is attached hereto the certificate of the Grand Lecturer of the M. W.
Grand Lodge of Colorado, as to the proficiency of the Brethren nominated
herein, to be Worshipful Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden of said
Certificates of each of the petitioners whose names are signed hereto,
properly endorsed, certified by the Grand Secretary of the M. W. Grand Lodge
of Colorado, are presented herewith
We, therefore, pray that a Lodge be established by Dispensation in the First
Regiment of Colorado Cavalry with the powers of regularly chartered Lodges,
under such limitations as the Grand Lodge may deem best.
recommend that Brother William L. Hogg be appointed Worshipful Master, Harry
D. Smith Senior Warden, and Dean E. Martin, Junior Warden of this Lodge, and
that said Lodge be named "First Colorado Cavalry Lodge," under Dispensation.
This petition was properly introduced into the business of the communication
of Grand Lodge in September of 1917, whereupon it was referred to the
Committee of Jurisprudence consisting of: George W. Musser, Charles H. Dudley,
and Robert M. Simons. This committee reviewed the whole situation and in due
time brought back to the Grand Lodge session the following report:
Report of the Committee on Jurisprudence.
The Committee on Jurisprudence presented the following report which, on motion
of M. W. Brother George W. Musser, duly seconded, was adopted:
the M. W. Grand Lodge, A.F. & A. M., of Colorado:
Your Committee on Jurisprudence, to whom was referred the petition of Brother
William Leonard Hogg and others for a Dispensation for the formation of a
Military Lodge, to be known as "The First Colorado Cavalry Lodge,"
respectfully report as follows:
That said petition be referred to the incoming Grand Master with
recommendation that the petition be granted and the Dispensation issued upon
presentation to the Grand Master of such evidences of the good standing of the
petitioners and other facts as may be required by him.
recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
"Resolved, That this Grand Lodge hereby approves the issuance of Dispensations
by the Grand Master, at his discretion, for the formation of Military Lodges,
to be formed by Master Masons in good standing, residents of Colorado, and in
the military Service of the United States, provided the said Lodges shall be
formed and governed and shall meet, transact business, work and make reports
under such rules and regulations as may be formulated by the Grand Master,
which shall conform as near as the circumstances may permit to the Book of
Constitutions of this Grand Lodge."
Respectfully submitted, GEORGE W. MUSSER CHARLES H. DUDILEY ROBERT M. SIMONS,
With this favorable consideration the brethren within the first Cavalry set to
work to realize their great masonic desire. But in the meanwhile forces were
at work that brought their anticipations to nought. The War Department, in its
broad and Comprehensive policy of army organization found it necessary to
dismount the cavalry and to rearrange its component parts so that the first
Cavalry of Colorado was broken up into smaller units and lost its identity.
But a number of the brethren strove even with this calamity to gather some
action out of their ruined plans. The story comes to us in official form as
told in the Proceedings of 1918 of Colorado. Grand Master L.D. Crain, in his
address before the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in 1918, refers to
the situation in the following words:
The Grand Lodge, at its last Annual Communication, authorized the Grand Master
to issue Dispensations to Military Lodges under such regulations and
requirements as might seem wise to him. Colorado Masons in the Cavalry Service
of the National Guard, which organization was assimilated by the National
Army, petitioned the Grand Lodge for a Dispensation to form such a Lodge. This
petition was turned over to me with the instruction from the Grand Lodge as
given above. Before the proper steps could be taken to form this Lodge, the
Cavalry was ordered to California. Again, before the organization was
completed, this unit was entirely disbanded, its members being assigned to
various other branches of the Service. I was then asked to issue my
Dispensation to a "Colorado Military Lodge" in place of a "Colorado Cavalry
Lodge." This I agreed to do under certain conditions. The conditions were as
First, that I be assured that enough Colorado Masons would be in a unit or
division to maintain a lodge.
Second, that I be given reasonable assurance that there would be sufficient
Colorado men in such divisions to furnish candidates for work, and that only
such candidates would be considered by this Lodge.
The reason for my second condition is this Even in time of war I believe
territorial jurisdiction should hold. If, therefore the Military Lodges be
permitted to assume jurisdiction over material from another Grand
Jurisdiction, then such Grand Jurisdiction through its Military Lodge could
claim jurisdiction over Colorado soldiers, and this I could not accede to as
The conditions imposed were such that the Brethren interested could not comply
with, and the Military Lodge was not formed.
believe it is a question if the interest of the Craft will be greatly or at
all benefited by such Lodges. As Masonic Clubs perhaps, they would contribute
to the pleasure of the members. In such cases purely social clubs composed of
Masons would be quite as useful.
the Correspondence Report of Alabama for 1918, the writer takes notice of the
Colorado Proceedings and especially the Grand Master's address and places in
quotations these words found in that address: "The Grand Master was empowered
'at his discretion' to issue warrants." If you couple this with the closing
words of that same address as found above it may be that the brethren from
Colorado faced the same situation that confronted petitioners from several
other of the states where those in authority were not predisposed toward the
whole proposition of Military Lodges.
However that may be, our comrades from Colorado were unable to realize their
great desire for a lodge to accompany them into the military service and were
compelled to fall back upon their own initiative and to take advantage of all
the Masonic opportunities that came across their paths wherever they found
themselves during the war.
have presented this brief resume of the steps taken looking toward the
formation of a Colorado Military Lodge in order that as complete a history as
possible may be put on record of all that was attempted along these lines
during the war.
Closing with the same thought with which this article began, we point out that
to some of the Grand Lodges within states where their National Guard is not
large in numbers there will inevitably come, through the plans of organization
of the military forces of the Government, this same splitting up of local
military organizations into smaller units attached to regiments and divisions
made up of soldiers from a number of states. Thus their problem as to army
lodges is immeasurably more difficult than is the problem of the more thickly
The Degrees of Masonry: Their Origin and History
BROS. A.L. KRESS AND R. J. MEEKREN (Continued from August)
BEFORE proceeding to a final summing up of the results of this discussion it
may be well to consider a general objection to the conclusions which seem to
have emerged. And it is not an objection that can be merely brushed aside, for
the point raised therein fairly demands consideration.
All these catechisms that have been put in evidence are evidently, what in
several cases is explicitly stated, examinations, means by which, as it is
alleged, one freemason of the period could demonstrate his status to another,
and be at the same time assured of that of his interlocutor. On the "Single
Degree" theory of Hughan, Lyon and Mackey and their followers, no difficulty
is here presented, but, if two or more degrees be assumed as being an integral
part of the original deposit of Masonic tradition, the question arises: How
did it come about that questions relating to a superior grade were mixed in
without discrimination with the general demand, the answers to which would be
common knowledge to all grades of Masons?
The general lines on which this difficulty may be solved have been indicated,
but the matter is too important to be left with a merely incidental treatment,
although a complete analysis would take too much time to be practicable, and
could hardly be made intelligible except to those who had copies of all the
documents before them.
will, to begin with, refer once more to the Catechisme des Francs Masons. As
we have it reprinted in the work L'Ordre des Franc-Masons Trahi, it is
interspersed with notes, which may have been in the original publication, but
some of which certainly seem to be due to the compiler of the later work.
Disregarding these breaks in the continuity of the Sequence of questions and
answers, we are struck at once by two obvious things. The first is that three
degrees, Apprentif, Compagnon and Maitre, are refered to, each having secrets
peculiar to it while the second peculiarity is that the special secrets of the
two higher grades are mingled quite indiscriminately with those that are
common to all Masons, including Apprentifs. This catechism as a whole, and
those published by Prichard, are more complete, and cover more ground, than
any of the documents we have been considering, or else they have been more
subject to the process of development. It is probable that both the
alternatives are true. There are indications in some of the older forms to
lead us to suspect the incorporation of parallel variations. This, with
elaboration and explanation, would seem to account for much of the contents of
the two more developed forms - though this development in each case was
independent. In Prichard we find three definitely separated parts, but in the
Catechism we find a most curious inconsequence. Questions of a general
character seem to form the main texture or background, while interspersed here
and there are questions proper to one or other of the higher grades, and there
are several that have different answers according as the one answering is
Apprentice, Companion or Mastery (1). From which the necessary conclusion is
that, however illogical and inconsistent it may seem, the lack of any sharp
segregation of matter pertaining to a higher grade does not prove that there
was no such specific allotment.
EARLY CONFUSION OF GRADES ACCOUNTED FOR
The hypothesis of a "telescoping" of grades, or that of a regular custom of
conferring both at once, would each quite account for such confusion. In the
one case the distinction would have more or less broken down, and in the
other, there would be no practical need to keep things separate and distinct.
Of course, as "telescoping" would be merely a further stage of decadence,
following on after the habit of accepting candidates as fellows immediately
after their entry, all the confusions in the Catechisms could spring
ultimately from the same root cause.
Now the distinction between Apprentice and Fellow seems to have been almost
entirely lost in the Grand Mystery and its two parallel versions, although
these seem to be otherwise much fuller and more complete and more orderly in
arrangement than any of the others. It would be feasible to suggest that some
such arrangement was followed in the old Lodge of York at the beginning of the
eighteenth century, if we may judge from its extant minutes.
the Examination the distinction is clear, though, from the obscure description
of the ceremonies with which the catechism is prefaced, it would seem to
derive from a locality where there was no interval between grades, and this
supposition is strengthened by the fact that the answer to the first question
combines the Apprentice's and Fellow's response in one, although at the end
the two grades are definitely differentiated. Its companion document, the
Mystery of Freemasons, has also a mixture of grades at the beginning, and
likewise at the end differentiates them, even more clearly than the
Examination. The editorial note:
There is not one Mason in a Hundred that will be at the Expense to pass the
Master's Part, except it be for Interest,
might point to the existence of an attempt at reform by reintroducing a real
interval, as was done at Dunblane and Haughfoot, and, as we may guess,
possibly in London, too - if we suppose these versions to have come from that
The Dumfries-Kilwinning MS. tells us least of all, though it may be
interpreted as suggesting some such intermixture as we find in the last two
documents, but on the whole it seems to be rather incomplete. The Confession,
confused as it is, definitely describes two degrees, though the author seems
to remember little of the higher one. We could suppose that he had been well
coached by his Intender during the year's interval of which he speaks, because
the latter, being liable to a fine if his pupil were found not to he fully
instructed, saw to it that he learned his lesson.
the Chetwode Crawley MS., in spite of its exasperating brevity, there is no
confusion at all. The questions belonging to the Fellow-Craftsman, who is the
same as the Master Mason, or Mason Master, are quite distinct in the short
catechism that is given, and follow in order those of more general character
which were taught to the Apprentice. The Sloane MS. we are inclined to believe
is a compilation by a non-Mason, and also that the material used by its author
related to a two-degree system, and that, either by a pure mistake in copying,
or else by being interpreted in the light of some knowledge of a more
developed arrangement, it has been given the superficial appearance of
referring to three grades under the names we are now so familiar with. Either
explanation is possible. This brings us to the deferred question regarding the
date of the Trinity College MS., and the inferences consequent thereon.
POSSIBLE EVOLUTION BEFORE 1717
have said that in our own opinion it is most probable this manuscript is later
than the date endorsed upon it. But it remains that it is not certain that
this is so; and even supposing that it is, the question arises, how much
later? That is, was it later than 1723 or 1730? For while it undoubtedly
refers to three degrees, under what are practically the same names that we use
today (2), there is very little else that is recognizable. Its affinities seem
to be much closer with the other Catechisms than to any later ritual forms.
Can we then suppose it to represent a first sketch of a tri-gradal system? Or
an independent line of development?
Another question; assuming the date to be erroneous, are we to give credit to
the remainder of the endorsement - and accept it as having belonged to some
member of the Molyneux family, with the inference therefrom that it is of
use a theatrical simile, the "spot-tight" has hitherto been on the Grand Lodge
of London. In the Book of Constitutions, the official records, newspaper
allusions and so on, students have had definite and connected material to work
upon. It was therefore natural enough to assume that all modern Masonry was
transmitted through the "four old lodges" of the English metropolis. Though
the earlier extreme view, that pre-Grand Lodge Masonry had dwindled almost to
a vanishing point or rather four vanishing points and then revived, and from
thence spread out all over the world, is now fully recognized as untenable,
yet, owing to the obscurity and uncertainty found elsewhere, attention is
still pre-eminently drawn to the only place where the series of events is
comparatively clear. But this needs conscious correction; we have got to keep
in mind the fact that Masonry did exist elsewhere. In Scotland, Ireland and
York certainly; elsewhere in England almost certainly, and in France (and also
the Low Countries) very probably. The erudite French historian, Albert
Lantoine, cites the Jesuit father, Louis Maimbourg, author of a history of the
Crusades, as referring to the Freemasons "as a society that is believed to
have been founded at the conquest of the Holy Land." And Maimbourg died in
1686 (3). This is only one of several references which point in the same
direction. We quote this one because it is not very generally known. These
indications may all be very doubtful and uncertain, but to quote Lantoine
again, where there is smoke there is probably fire. Once we can free our minds
of the natural bias that makes it difficult to realize that Masonry once
existed and propagated itself very well without the elaborate machinery of
Grand Lodges and Warrants and Charters, we can see that, so far from the
existence of the fire being impossible, it is really highly probable; and
though the evidence in itself may not be rated any higher on this account, yet
its implications will seem much more in accord with the probabilities of the
case. But it is no part of our present affair to argue for or against the
existence of Freemasonry prior to 1717 in any particular place or country, we
merely wish to draw attention that it did certainly exist elsewhere than in
London, and that there is nothing in the world to force us to believe that all
ritual evolution took its rise in the "regular" lodges under the new
Constitution. Indeed, it is inherently probable, when we think of it, that
innovations would be more likely to rise outside the new organization. Here
again we may be very easily misled by the complex of inferences based on the
older views that still hold their ground, though those views have themselves
been rejected. The idea may still hold its place in the back of our minds
that, like Athena, the Grand Lodge sprang forth fully armed, and clothed in
the aegies of authority, on St. John's Day in the year 1717, all out of the
empty blue, without generation or antecedents.
a matter of fact it is very doubtful if the year 1717 can be assigned with
anything like accuracy as the date of the founding of the Grand Lodge. There
was a meeting of the same four lodges in 1716 which seems equally entitled to
the honor. Such a movement must have had some antecedents, some incubation at
least, even though we can do little but speculate about it. The New Articles
in some of the later versions of the Old Charges point to some earlier attempt
to reorganize and reform the Craft. While on the other hand it could quite
well be asserted that the Grand Lodge proper did not really take form until
1723, when the first records begin and the first Grand Secretary was
appointed; and that previous to this there had been, not a Grand Lodge, but a
General Assembly of the London Masons; either as a genuine tradition, or as a
conscious attempt to reconstruct it on the basis of the Old Charges, as they
were then understood. However, the point is not one that is of much
consequence for our present purpose, attention has been drawn to it for one
reason only, and that is to emphasize the fact that we are dealing with a
living social organism at a period of accelerated evolution. And we specially
wish to emphasize evolution.
THE CAUSES OF THE EVOLUTION
is now time to gather up the various threads of the whole course of the
discussion and see what answer can be given to the final question; how and why
did our present tri-gradal system come into being? The conclusion we have
reached is that prior to the transition period, which is represented not
delimited - by the symmetrical figure 1717, the Mason's fraternity, on its
esoteric side, had two distinct grades which, as we have defined the term,
were "degrees." We have made no attempt to determine their content, except to
indicate that the first of them comprised the essentials of our present E. A.
and F. C., and that the second contained the germs of our M. M. This question,
in spite of its great intrinsic interest, does not come within the scope of
our inquiry, except as it bears upon the question of origins and development.
It is plainly obvious that the two things are really closely and organically
connected, and that the limitation is an artificial one, but such restrictions
have to be made in order to make investigation possible. There is just one
observation to make before we pass on, the significance of which is greater
than may at first appear. The three degree system which appears definitely in
London in 1730, had in fifteen or twenty years spread all over the Masonic
world so completely and so silently and with so little disturbance that for
more than a hundred years thereafter no one ever so much as dreamed that any
such radical change had taken place. Which fact, when all its bearings and
implications are considered, is in itself proof that, frowns the inside, the
change was nothing like so radical as it would appear.
Starting then with the traditional Operative two degrees, with their origin
rooted in an indefinite past, we find that in 1730 there was certainly a third
degree arrangement in being. We also have unequivocal proof that the old and
the new methods overlapped - the old system existing in scattered survivals
long afterwards; while conversely it can be confidently asserted that the
three degrees must have existed before 1730; for aside from various allusions
of earlier date, there is the general argument that such developments must
always antedate their first publication in the nature of things. Hitherto it
has been assumed, as we confess we had done previous to this investigation,
that a higher limit had been set in 1723 by the Book of Constitutions, which
refers definitely to the old system. But we have now to accept the full
consequences of the fact that the circle of lodges that formed and adhered to
the Grand Lodge in the first years of its existence did not comprise the whole
Craft, and were probably, in point of numbers, an insignificant minority. Thus
the field in which the evolution played its part is indefinitely extended; and
it becomes possible, and even probable, in the light of social experience,
that so far from the Grand Lodge being a hotbed of experiments and innovations
it was a conservative factor from the beginning. More definitely, we might say
that while in the field of legislation and regulation it had to innovate by
the necessities of its existence, it balanced this by checking so far as was
possible any changes in the traditional ritual. Thus, if we had to select any
name as that of a probable "ritual tinker," it would be such a man as Dr.
Stukeley, in his independent lodge at Grantham, rather than Payne, Desaguliers
or Martin Clare. But this desire to ascribe epoch making changes to
individuals is, while natural, liable to lead us into error. Such developments
are always anonymous, they grow by imperceptible changes, here a little and
there a little, and the whole passed on from group to group and generation to
generation. It is understood that we are speaking of the genuine article and
not the manufactured imitation.
POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT OUTSIDE GRAND LODGE.
Now we have described the Grand Lodge as being under the spotlight, while the
rest of the stage is in darkness; but this spotlight gives only a relative
illumination unfortunately. Still we do have here a series of events that are
more or less connected, whereas elsewhere we have only vague outlines in the
obscurity. The Trinity College and Sloane MSS. are such disconnected facts,
they may or they may not antedate 1717, they may or may not point to ritual
evolution before that date. What we wish to insist upon is that exact dating
is not possible, and further, that it fortunately is not very important
whether the developments were earlier or later, for the really interesting and
significant thing is the order in which they happened, and the operating
conditions, causes and motives which brought them about. We shall therefore
refrain from bringing together here all the scattered allusions that point to
Masonic activity prior to 1717 or 1716, especially as most of them have
already been mentioned, and point out some general considerations, which,
though indirect, will help us to a realization of the extent of that darkened
stage at the centre of which the Grand Lodge, in none too brilliant
illumination, played its part.
The first of these is the extraordinary rapidity with which "regular" Masonry
spread, not only in England, but in other countries. No one can contemplate
this fact without having it borne in upon him that, even with American
"quantity production" methods, it would have been impracticable to have made
Masons enough in the lodges that are known to have existed to have founded the
new lodges that were constituted under the London authority in the years
succeeding 1717. The only answer is that there were already Masons, and
probably lodges, who enlisted themselves in the new organization. And this not
only in England, but in Europe also.
Now we are not now concerned with the propagation of Masonry or its origin in
different countries, though, like the question of the content of the primitive
ritual, it is a subject very intimately connected with our problem, and we
have perforce to touch upon it. A suggestion has previously been made that
there may have been a very practical, and even interested motive, for men of
the higher classes of society entering a widespread fraternity in such
troublous times as continued with brief intermissions, from the reign of
Charles I to that of Queen Anne. As Hurree Chunder Mookerjee put it, when he
was initiating Kim into the secrets ("quite unofficial") of his pet invention,
the Sat Bhai, it might enable a man to "get his second wind" in an emergency.
A Mason might find shelter and assistance when it was a matter of life and
death. Let us remember in this connection that the percentage of Masons among
soldiers, sailors, travellers, explorers and pioneers, has always been, and
still is, very much higher than among other classes of men. And we have to
remember also that, according to the custom of the time, it was of frequent
occurrence for gentlemen to go abroad and serve as volunteers at their own
expense in the continually recurring wars on the Continent. And besides this,
the French kings had whole regiments, recruited entirely, officers and men,
from Scotch and Irishmen, most of them political exiles. And so far as the
Scots were concerned, the law of averages, as we have previously noted, makes
it incredible that some Masons should not have been found among these
migrants. What happened in the army besieging-Newcastle in 1641 might have
been repeated - without record remaining any number of times elsewhere.
There are also some further facts to be considered. It was in France
preeminently that the "high grades" later on had their rankest development;
but Ireland was not far behind in the invention or adoption of new degrees and
orders; and secret societies, it may be remarked, have always flourished among
the Irish, as among the people of Sicily and China. Now if the Trinity College
MS. suggests the possibility of ritual development in Ireland previous to
1717, we have to recall that already in 1745 there was in France a degree or
order of Ecossais Masonry (4). But this was not its beginning, for the first
French Grand Lodge (5) added to Anderson's General Regulations, which it
adopted in full, an additional one expressly denying the claims of Maitres
Ecossais to dominate and supervise any lodge of which they were members, or
even, as it would seem, merely visitors. Such a claim, which in spite of this
new legislation was apparently often admitted by the lodges, must have had a
history behind it. If Masonry was (as has been generally supposed) first
introduced into France under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of London this
phenomenon is quite inexplicable. But if we assume that there had been an
earlier importation, by Scottish and Irish exiles (there were Maitres
Irlandais as well as Maitres Ecossais) the later confusion and dissension
could be explained as the inevitable conflict between the democratic ideas of
"regular" Masonry and those of an autocratic development of the older and
Very tentatively we would suggest that there is a possibility a possibility
merely that not only before 1717, but earlier still, even perhaps in the
seventeenth century, there existed in France, among the Stuart partisans in
exile, the germ of what was later known as Macornerie Ecossaise. A germ only;
bearing the same relation to the swarm of "Scottish," "Perfect" and "Elect"
degrees that developed out of it that an egg does to the hatched chick. It is
certain that the first definite appearance of what is now a heavily stressed
feature (far too heavily stressed one might think) in the rituals of English
speaking Masonry, both American and British, a feature that has never been
incorporated into the Master's grade as worked in European countries, is first
found in the Ecossais and Elu degrees (6). We refer to the section concerning
rewards and punishments. And we have also to remember the persistent tradition
in early Continental Masonry of some relationship with Jacobite aims and
pretensions. This has been denied many times as baseless, and baseless it may
be for all we know definitely, yet so much smoke does seem to argue at least a
JACOBITE INTERPRETATION OF THE LEGEND.
There is a theory of the origin of the legend of the third degree which at one
time had many upholders. This was that the legend was devised as a veiled and
allegorical account of the "martyrdom" of Charles I. We certainly hope that no
one will suspect us of wishing to revive this, but it must be pointed out,
that just as the Masonic myth could be interpreted in the Order of Rose Croix
as an allegory of the death of Christ, the Word Incarnate, so it could also
have been interpreted as referring to the king slain by traitors, as loyalists
naturally regarded them. Psychologically we can easily appreciate that it
would be very natural for dispossessed men, followers of a king in exile,
whether Charles or James, or both in turn, to so interpret such a legend, and
further that to them would it be most likely to occur that the story was
deficient in the particular point which would be uppermost in their minds
justice and vengeance.
Having said this, let us enter a caveat. We ask no one to accept any of these
suggestions, nor have we adopted them ourselves except so far as to recognize
their being possibilities, perhaps only barely such, but still possibilities.
None of all this is really essential to our further argument, we have
canvassed the subject only to draw attention to that wider background upon
which the evolution of the primitive degrees took place within the circle of
Grand Lodge Masonry. The background we do assert was there, and it was neither
inert nor inactive. To such as would deprecate such hypothetical
reconstructions as useless, we would say that the facts known to us do not
lead to positive conclusions, and that like indeterminate equations in algebra
the only thing to do is to work out all possible solutions to the problem.
Such hypotheses have this use, that they may lead to the discovery of further
facts that either support or negative them, and so help us to more solidly
Should anyone feel shocked at the suggestion that new degrees might have been
in existence prior to 1717 it might be said that there is distinct evidence
that one important modification had taken place in the legend long before the
death of Charles Stuart. We refer to the curious fact that the earliest
printed English translations of the Bible, those of Tyndale and Matthews,
transliterated the name and title of the architect of the Temple as Hiram Abi,
whereas the earlier manuscript versions, like the later printed ones, all
followed the Vulgate in rendering the second word as "his father," or some
equivalent phrase. When we remember that these two translations were
condemned, and so thoroughly sought out and destroyed by the authorities that
they are now exceedingly rare, it becomes to a very high degree probable that
it was during the twenty years or so of their currency, roughly between 1530
and 1550, that this peculiar phrase was adopted into Masonry.
Two things only do we carry over from this discussion. One practically
certain, the other possible. The first is that extraneous material was at some
time incorporated into the legend of the Master from so-called Ecossais
Masonry, which definitely fits in with the view that the evolutionary process
within the Grand Lodge circle was affected by what we have called the
background. The other is, that evolution may not have been unilateral, but may
have proceeded along different lines in different places, and also that it may
have begun earlier than has hitherto been supposed. And here there is one
thing that may be referred to again because it is like a fixed point in a fog.
It has no known antecedents, or consequents, that we know of. This is
Stukeley's "Order of the Book"; mentioned once in his diary, and then silence.
It is brought up simply because it shows that the possibility of creating new
orders and degrees was in the air, even if the possibility that there had been
any development in France or Ireland be summarily rejected.
(1) After some general questions comes a word assigned to the Apprentices,
followed by one belonging to the next higher grade, which is given in response
to the question: "Are you a Companion ?" Then follow questions about the lodge
of the kind that seem everywhere to have been common to the Apprentices, and
then some description of the forms of initiation. Then a second time comes the
question: "Are you a Companion?" followed by one about the letter "G." which
we are informed a Master answered differently from a Companion. Then comes the
Apprentice's greeting, including the statement that he is ready to work from
Monday till Saturday, and then a question about wages for which each grade has
its own answer. Then is followed the demand: "Are you a Master?" and several
others which have different answers according to grade. Indeed the latter part
of the Catechism seems to be little more than a disconnected series of catch
questions set down as they came to mind.
(2) The terms used actually are "Master," "Fellow Craftsman" and "Enter
(3) Lantoine, Histoire de la Francmaconnerie Francaise, pp. 104, 132.
(4) L'Ordre des Franc-Macons Trahi. In a note to the preface the Abbe Perau
speaks of "un certain Orde qu'ils appellent les Ecossois, superieurs, a ce
qu'on pretend, aux Francs-Macons ordinaires, & qui ont leurs Ceremonies &
Leurs Secrets a part."
(5) Lantoine, op. cit., p. 195.
(6) Compare Mackey Encyclopedia under "Elu."
(To be concluded)
Operative versus Speculative Freemasonry
BRO. CHARLES COMSTOCK, Tennessee.
The following article was published in The Lamplighter of Chattanooga, Penn.,
for May and June, 1929, we are reprinting it by permission as we believe it
will be of interest to many of our readers. Bro. Comstock, the author is
Secretary of the Historical Committee of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee.
THE BUILDER one of the leading Masonic journals of today, published under the
auspices of the National Masonic Research Society, has for some months past
contained a series of articles relating to "Origin and History of Masonic
Degrees," contributed by some of our foremost research workers. They have gone
into the merits of former discoveries by such noted historians as Albert G.
Mackey, Robert Freke Gould, Lionel Vibert and D. Murray Lyon, as well as
others of more recent times, and are giving to the Craft a thoroughly complete
account of the findings of our illustrious predecessors along the arduous way
of Masonic historical investigation.
The writer who has been a member of the above Society since its inception in
1915, desires briefly to present to the Craft in Tennessee, and even beyond
our borders where this article may find its way, certain cited facts
concerning the relationship between Operative and Speculative Masonry which
come not through the usual channels of our historical research.
First, we respectfully tender the statement that there are, or, at least until
quite recently, have been, Operative Lodges still maintaining an active
existence in the Mother Land," which claim a continuous record both written
and unwritten, since the Grand Lodge of All England was established at York,
England, under the supervision of Prince Edwin, as Grand Master, in the year
926 A. D. Masonic historians generally agree that whatever may have been the
status or origin of this traditionally important Masonic Assembly, whether it
was duly constituted as a supervising Grand Lodge, or merely as a General
Assembly of the Craft, en masse, it did exert at times the authority of a
governing body, and that it also functioned as a private lodge, receiving
applications and entering such new Brethren as were approved. This old Lodge
continued its operations for more than eight and one-half centuries, its
latest record bearing date, by authentic account during the year 1791, A. D.
For nearly seventy-five years, it performed the functions of an Operative
Grand Lodge, under the title, "Grand Lodge of All England," after the
formation of what is known as the "Constitutional Grand Lodge," or the Grand
Lodge of "Moderns," at London, in 1717. During the forty years subsequent to
the establishment of the Grand Lodge of "Antients," sometimes known as the
"Athol Grand Lodge," while the two rival Grand Lodges followed a course of
ofttimes bitter antagonism, the old Operative Grand Lodge, without contention
with either of the younger bodies, pursued the even tenor of its course, in he
supervision of the Craft acknowledging its obedience.
The most rational and lucid account of the facts and conditions affecting the
relationship between Operative and Speculative Masonry, during the primitive
days of the latter, when its ceremonials and regulations were being evolved
from the customs and practices of the Operative Society, is set forth in a
valuable contribution to our modern Masonic literature, entitled, "Guild
Masonry in the Making," compiled by Brother Charles H. Merz, of Sandusky,
Ohio, a member of the Speculative Craft in that Grand Jurisdiction, and who is
also a member of one of the Operative or Guild Lodges still functioning as
late as the present century in various parts of England. On June 2, 1912, at
Leicester, England, Dr. Merz became regularly indentured as an apprentice to
the Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters,
Paviors, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers, (York Division), to learn their Art,
etc. This occurred in Lodge Leicester, No. 91, established at Leicester,
England, in 1761, under the authority of the Grand Lodge of All England, which
is known historically to have issued charters to certain Operative Lodge
during that year, even as it had for many years, and doubtless so continued
until its records were closed in 1791.
Brother Merz passed through the simple ceremony of initiation practiced by the
Operative Lodges, which he describes as substantially comparative to our
Speculative ceremonial, and there can be no logical doubt that our present
Entered Apprentice ceremonial was based on this ancient work of the Operative
Craft. Furthermore, Brother Merz sets forth the regulations of Guild Masonry,
which he informs us is divided into two branches, one known as "Square
Masonry," performing such work as may be founded on the basis of the square or
rectangle, and one designated as "Arch Masonry," covering the construction of
circular or arch work, so often found in the ancient Temples and Cathedrals of
bygone centuries. Each of these branches of the Operative Craft is divided
into seven degrees, covering the various grades of workmen; the Entered
Apprentices, one grade of Fellows of the Craft; two grades of Super-Fellows;
the fifth is styled Intendent of the Craft of Free Masons; sixth, the Degree
of Passed Master of the Craft; and seventh, the governing officials, composed
of the Three Grand Masters, representing the two Kings and the Chief
Our modern Masonic historians have expressed grave doubts as to the Operative
Society having had but one Degree, common to all grades of Craftsman. This, in
the light of Brother Merz' instructive revelation, is evidently a
misconception, and he cites excellent authorities to refute that assumption.
He avers that we, as Speculative Masons, are much more deeply indebted to
Operative Masonry for, our Ceremonials than many of our leading Craftsmen
realize; and that our present day ritualism is much older than the transition
period from 1717 to 1723. On this hypothesis, it is highly logical to conclude
that founders of our present Speculative System of Degrees, found enough
material in the Operative ceremonials of those days to form the basis of not
only the symbolic Degrees, but also of the Royal Arch and its preparatory
grades. After long years of participation in the ceremonials of our present
System and dilligent research into the antecedents of our Craft work, the
writer is convinced that the suggestions of Brother Merz regarding the origin
of our Speculative Degrees, are devoutly worthy of our earnest consideration.
His work is highly illuminating. He states that the Grand Lodge of England, as
recently as 1911, issued a circular letter admitting that "The ritual of
Freemasonry, so far as the first and second Degrees are concerned, is, in
part, no doubt, derived from the ceremonies of the Operative Guilds." The
symbolism of Speculative Masonry finds its counterpart in the revelations of
Operative Society, which presents in frequent instances a clearer conception
of their hidden significance. In the transition from the Operative to the
Speculative form, much that should be clear, became obscure in the effort to
separate Speculative Masonry from the customs and practices of the Operative
Society, and make it thereby a more distinctive organization. Brother Merz
advances the thought that those venerated Craftsmen who developed our
Speculative system of ceremonials, while they had been initiated in the
Operative Society, did not attain the Seventh Degree, the grade of the three
Grand Masters, and therefore they were not in possession of important
mysteries and symbolic interpretations which should have been introduced into
the Speculative teachings, and which would have greatly clarified the deeper
significance of our ritualism. It is undeniably true that beneath the
customary explanations of our Masonic symbols and emblems, is concealed a more
profound spiritual interpretation which is only realized by those who may be
said to "have advanced far toward perfection" in their fervent search after
Truth and At-onement with Infinite Wisdom; after that which was (not)
lost, only concealed within the depths of our inner consciousness, until the
"scales of doubt and darkness shall fall from our eyes and the wise purposes
of the Divine Architect be displayed in all their splendor."
The Operative Craft deposited beneath the foundations of the stately edifices
they erected a store of spiritual wisdom and understanding which our
Speculative Builders should zealously strive to discover and bring to light,
that the Craftsmen of far off futurity may profit by the knowledge and
understanding of those whose genius and skill passed the test of the Chief
Architect in the days when Masonry was young in point of time.
live in a "rapid" age, whose whirling activities too often leave us little
time for reflection, and frequently cause us to lose sight of that which is,
in our eagerness to attain knowledge of what may be. Freemasonry, with its
beautiful revelations and deeply hidden interpretations, is worthy of our
thoughtful consideration. Not alone in impressive ceremonials, highly valuable
as a means to an end, we may find revealed the sublime teachings, the
inspiring conceptions of the Mystic Builders' Art. That "we reap what we sow"
is distinctively true of those who follow the winding way of Spiritual
Craftsmanship. The highest realization of Masonry's "Hidden Mysteries," comes
to the inquiring mind of him who fervently gives himself to the ennobling
cause of Brotherhood, without the hope of recompense. Through secrecy, silence
and darkness, lies the way of attainment, and to each earnest seeker who
selfishly follows the rugged path of accomplishment and willing service, comes
at last the ample compensation for his labor.
March the Master Mason of Washington, D. C., published an article by the Rev.
E. deP. Castells under the title "Masonic Research in England." It was
piquantly written, being a running criticism of Masonic Research in England,
of the Research Lodge, their members and of finials, and especially of the
oldest and best known of them; Quatuor Coronati Lodge.
article was later reprinted in the London Freemason, preceded by some severe
comment. In a later number of the Freemason some correspondence between the
Editor and Bro. Castells was quoted, in which it must be admitted the latter
appeared to be somewhat lacking in candor. In the July number of the Master
Mason an editorial explanation was published from which it appears that Bro.
Castells was asked by them to write an article, and that, so far as the Master
Mason was concerned, there was no thought or desire of criticizing the
scholarship of Masonic students in England.
Freemason, however, was not wholly satisfied, apparently holding that a
definite apology was in order from the Master Mason for having published the
insinuations which appeared in the original article, against Quatuor Coronati
Lodge, and against its Secretary in particular.
might be said on behalf of the Master Mason and the American readers of the
article, that these veiled reflections would be a sealed book to them. Their
real import would not be apprehended for lack of knowledge of the
circumstances, and the article therefore did not convey the same meaning to
its American readers that they must have done to our English brethren.
those who were more or less familiar with the state of affairs in England, the
article appeared to have been written solely to vent the author's displeasure
with Quatuor Coronati Lodge. Fair criticism is one thing; veiled innuendos,
mixed with very faint praise, are another. And the personal attack on the
genial brother who for many years so ably and competently held the exceedingly
responsible office of Secretary is, as the Freemason says, "ridiculous" in its
content. We wish we could believe it ridiculous in its intent also.
the benefit of those of our readers who do not know much about the brother so
unfairly attacked, we would say that during his long tenure of office he has
ever been ready to afford information and advice to those who applied to him,
with the utmost courtesy and patience, often suggesting facts and arguments
that might tend to support views with which he personally disagreed. A more
candid and impartial scholar it would be hard to find in any field of
learning. And with his scholarship went a zealous interest in the practice of
Masonry; he having for many years given of his time without stint in labor for
the benevolent activities which so distinguish the Craft in England. What
motive, outside some petty jealousy or personal pique, could lead anyone to
attack him is indeed hard to imagine. But, undoubtedly, it will prove another
case of the "engineer hoist with his own petard."
Miles Prentice - Soldier and Mason
BRO. A. J. B. MILBORNE, Canada.
COMPARATIVELY unknown but captivating figure who passed across the stage in
the latter half of the eighteenth century was Miles Prentice. Coming to Canada
with General Wolfe's Army, he was present on the Plains of Abraham when the
battle was fought which decided the fate of the City of Quebec and brought an
end the domination of the French in Canada.
Quebec capitulated on the 18th of September, 1759, and a Minute Book which
recently came into the possession of the Grand Lodge of Quebec records that a
meeting of the brethren in the Regiments forming the garrison was held at
Simpson's Coffee House on the 28th November of the same year "as soon as
convenient after the surrender of this place to His Britannic Majesty's Arms."
It was decided to form a Provincial Grand Lodge and Lieutenant John Price
Guinnett of Lodge No. 192 I.R. (Warranted in 1748) held in the 47th Regiment
became the first Provincial Grand Master.
Following the end of active military operations Prentice took his discharge
from the Army, turned tavernkeeper, and became the proprietor of the Sun
Tavern in Quebec, then located on St. John Street.
The Sun Tavern quickly became the rendezvous of the Masons of the City and
garrison. Existing records show that meetings of the Provincial Grand Lodge of
Canada, the Merchants Lodge No. 1 and St. Andrews Lodge No. 2 were held there.
It is not improbable that St. Patrick's Lodge of which Miles Prentice was a
member, also met at the Sun.
The first Canadian newspaper, The Quebec Gazette, made its initial appearance
on June 21st, 1764; the prospectus, according to tradition, having been set up
in the printing office of Benjamin Franklin. It was published both the English
and French languages, with the exception of the following advertisement which
was printed in English only:
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN That on Sunday, the 24th being the Festival of St.
Jhon such strange BRETHREN who may have a desire of joining the Merchants
Lodge No. 1. Quebec may obtain Liberty, by applying to Miles Prentics at the
Sun, in St. John Street, who has Tickets, Price Five Shillings for that Day.
Miles Prentice appears on a list of Protestant Housekeepers contained in a
Certificate given by General Murray in 1764. He continued to occupy the Sun
Tavern until 1771 when he acquired the property now occupied by the City Post
Office upon which stood the house erected in 1688, and said to be the first
built of stone in the City. Many romantic stories have been woven around this
old house - Le Chien D'Or - so named because of a gilt carving over the front
door of a dog gnawing a bone, and now incorporated in the present building.
Prentice converted Le Chiex D'Or into an hotel and boarding house which became
known as "Freemasons' Hall."
1775 the City of Quebec was once again besieged, is time by the American
forces under Generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold. The British
garrison consisted of only three hundred men, and the citizens were quickly
mobilized to assist in the defense of the City. An existing Orderly Book kept
by Capt. Anthony Vialar records under date of the 19th September, 1775, that
"Mr. Miles Prentice is appointed Sergeant Major to the British Militia and is
to obey and be obeyed as such." Freemasons' Hall was made the headquarters of
Colonel McLean, and the defence of the City was no doubt planned in its lower
room, for the Orderly Book makes frequent reference to meetings there of the
officers of the garrison. The besieging army launched its attack on the night
of December 31st, 1775, and at first it seemed that the City would fall under
a stroke similar to that conceived by Montgomery's former chief Wolfe. The
defenders, however, were thoroughly prepared. Fire was opened on the attacking
force as it reached the foot of Cape Diamond, and Montgomery fell at the first
volley. His body was recovered the next day and its identity definitely
established by Prentice's wife; Montgomery having been a frequent visitor at
the Sun Tavern when a Captain in the 17th Regiment. Sir Gilbert Parker, in his
work Old Quebec, writes that the identification was made by the "widow
Prentice," but it is clear that Miles Prentice lived for many years after
these stirring times.
With the death of Montgomery the hopes of the expedition were crushed,
although Quebec was not relieved until the next spring, when British warships
brought reinforcements and much needed supplies.
Judge Henry, a volunteer in the American forces, who was captured during the
assault, records in his Diary, that Miles Prentice was in charge of the
prisoners; and under the date of the 20th February, 1776, the Orderly Book
above referred to contains the following order:
Mr. Miles Prenties is appointed Provost Martial to this Garrison with the rank
of Lieutenant as given him by General Wolfe in the last War. The guards are to
assist him with whatever partys he may demand from them.
a meeting of St. Andrews Lodge No. 2, Quebec, held on September 12th, 1776,
Miles Prentice, who was then the Master of St. Patrick's Lodge, was present as
a visitor. It is recorded that the Lodge was informed that
* * our Sister Lodge of St. Patrick had instructed her Officers to apply to
the R.W. Prov. Grand Master to request that a Grand Lodge may be called * * *
and * * * that the W. M. would wait on him in Company with the Master of this
Lodge for that purpose, if it should be agreeable to us.
The object of the meeting was to request
* * that the Grand Master would be pleased to appoint his Deputy in place of
our late worthy Deputy Grand Master John Aitken, who is called by the Grand
Architect from Sublunary Lodges to one more Perfect and Glorious.
was the funeral of this Deputy Grand Master which is so vividly described in
the First Campaign of the Brunswickers in Canada in the Year 1776.
few years later, in 1782, H.M. frigate Albemarle, 28 guns, under the command
of Captain Horatio Nelson, visited the port of Quebec, and there ensued a
romantic episode which might have changed the whole course of Nelson's career.
Robert Southey, in his Life of Lord Nelson, writes that at Quebec;
Nelson became acquainted with Alexander Davison by whose interference he was
prevented from making what would have been called an imprudent marriage. The
Albermarle was about to leave the station, her Captain had taken leave of his
friends and was gone down the river to the place of anchorage when the next
morning, as Davison was walking on the beach, to his surprise he saw Nelson
coming back in his boat. Upon enquiring the cause of his reappearance Nelson
took his arm to walk towards the town, and told him he found it utterly
impossible to leave Quebec without again seeing the woman whose society
contributed so much to his happiness, and then and there offering her his
hand. "If you do," said his friend, "your utter ruin must inevitably follow."
"Then, let it follow," cried Nelson, "for I am resolved to do it." "And I,"
replied Davison, "am resolved you shall not." Nelson, however, on this
occasion was less resolved than his friend and suffered himself to be led back
to the boat.
The object of Nelson's affection was the youthful and accomplished niece of
Miles Prentice, a daughter of one of his old comrades in arms, Sandy Simpson,
a Highlander in Wolfe's Army. It is quite probable that Nelson made her
acquaintance at a function held at Freemasons' Hall which at this period was
the centre of the social activities of the Quebecoise.
Miles Prentice died in 1790 or 1791; for James Thompson, one of Fraser's
Highlanders, to whom he was related, wrote that in 1791, shortly after the
death of her husband, Mrs. Prentice took up her residence with the Thompson
family. It may be added that it was this same James Thompson, a veteran of
Louisburg and Quebec, who in 1827, as the oldest Mason in the City, was called
upon by Earl Dalhousie to give the three mystic taps of the mallet when the
corner stone of the Wolfe and Montcalm monument was laid. He died in 1830 at
the age of 98.
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
MILITARY LODGES AND JURISDICTION.
this month’s installment of Bro. Irwin's series of articles on Army Lodges is
a very interesting account of the abortive attempt made by Colorado Masons to
form a Military Lodge among the Masons called up for service in that state. As
the author remarks, it brings out very clearly one aspect of the difficulties
presented by such an emergency, that of the question of jurisdiction.
evident that it was generally assumed by those jurisdictions which established
Military Lodges, simply taking it. for granted indeed, that such lodges,
though working outside their territorial limits, should not accept (aside from
"courtesy work" naturally) candidates whose normal civil domicile was within
those limits. It seemed a natural emergent extension of the territorial
theory, so natural indeed that the possibility even of any order line of
action never seems to have occurred to any Masonic authority concerned. Yet it
was certainly not the only solution possible.
is little doubt that an overwhelming majority of American Masons assume that
the rule of exclusive territorial jurisdiction is a landmark, although it does
not appear in that formidable list compiled by Albert Mackey, which by many is
accepted as a complete statement of Masonic fundamental law. Of course, as
everyone knows who has read the history of the Craft in America to any
purpose, it is nothing of the sort. It is a peculiarly American development,
based originally on a practical compromise to keep peace between lodges which
regarded their " territory " very much as placer miners regard their claims,
as a potential source of wealth.
Military Lodges of the eighteenth century, those chartered by the Grand Lodges
of Ireland and of the Ancients especially, which did so much toward spreading
Masonry throughout the world - including America - were hampered by no such
rules. Had they been, the work they did would have been quite impossible.
law must be to some extent a compromise. It can only provide for the average
cases that occur under existing circumstances. When these last change the law
must change, too, or become a dead letter - there is no better way out. The
change may be by the way of interpretation and extension, which is naturally
the first thing tried, or by formal amendment.
Strictly speaking, territoriality long ago was logically nullified as an
absolute principle by the compromise of "concurrent jurisdiction" in centers
of population of considerable size.
further extension of that adaptation to circumstances could theoretically have
been easily applied; not as between lodges but as between Grand Lodges. They
could say; so far as the government services are concerned (for it need not be
confined to the military and naval forces only) all Grand Lodges will
recognize concurrent jurisdiction. That is a man in any government service of
such a nature that his place of residence depends on the orders of his
superiors, shall be considered as domiciled in tile United States, and at
liberty to petition any regular dodge holding under an American Grand Lodge.
is, in itself a perfectly feasible extension of the idea of concurrent
jurisdiction, with which everyone is familiar. It is perfectly definite. There
could be no mistake as to who would come under the rule and who not; and it is
as suitable for the normal circumstances of peace as for the emergencies of
war. Though in peace time the problem is not so pressing there is no doubt
that a very large percentage of Masons in such government services as we have
in view experienced great difficulties in obtaining residential qualifications
when they sought to enter the fraternity.
have, however, very little hope of any such arrangement being made; though we
suggest it as a topic for discussion at the next Grand Masters' Conference. It
is not the impracticability of a suggested new rule that prevents its
adoption, for no matter how simple and workable it may be, had it a clear
field, that is precisely what it never does have. It has to run the gauntlet
of inertia, preconceived ideas, mental habits, not to speak of suspicions,
fears, jealousies and sheer stupidity.
Irwin's articles should be the occasion of a reconsideration of all the
problems involved, and it must be remembered that an emergency is a test of
our habits and mode of life, both for individuals and organizations. The
Military Lodges of the war years showed up a good many things in our
established methods and ideas which might be improved. We hope that some real
discussion of these problems may result.
* * *
SCHOOLS OF MASONIC RESEARCH.
title is ambiguous, but it cannot be helped. We are not proposing to discuss
institutions of learning founded (and possibly endowed) to conduct researches
into Masonry, or to teach the methods appropriate to such tasks. While we
would be glad enough to write of such schools did they exist (or were there
the least hope that in a thousand years they might exist - outside of dreams)
it is the other usage of the word which we have in mind at present. And here
lies the reason that the ambiguity, now we hope happily cleared away, could
not be avoided. We propose to examine the idea of Schools of Research
concerned with Freemasonry, because it is becoming more and more frequent
among American Masonic writers and publicists to use the phrase. We shall
therefore seek an answer to three questions: What are schools of research ?
Are there schools of research ? Should there be schools of research?
sounds something like the opening of an old fashioned doctrinal sermon, but
our readers may be reassured, we shall not go on to "seventeenthly."
"school of thought," "a school of philosophy," " the Aristotelian School" or
"the school of Thomas Aquinas," are casual examples of a well know usage of
the word. The basic idea being that of a teacher and a group of disciples or
scholars. By a legitimate transfer it is used to denote a group so much alike
in their opinion and ways of thinking that they might all be the followers of
some one teacher, although in actual fact no such person ever existed. Is
there anything like this in connection with Freemasonry ?
obviously is. We can properly speak for example of a traditional school, an
occult school, or a historical school of Masonic thought. We can with
propriety describe a Masonic author as of the "Andersonian" school, pr of the
school of Dr. Oliver, of that of Pike and Mackey, and in doing so we shall be
following correct usage and our meaning will be perfectly clear. But a school
of thought is not quite the same thing as a school of research. Indeed when
the latter phrase is considered its meaning becomes less and less definite.
Either it means the same thing as a school of thought, or else it means a
certain distinct technique. Now as there are schools of painting which depend
on certain methods of using pigments so it might be thought that something
analogous would be found among research workers. But is there ? The more one
thinks of it the more difficult it is to see in what it could lie. One can be
careful or careless, accurate or inaccurate, thorough or superficial, but
those characteristics surely are not marks of a school but of quality of work.
us then leave this question and proceed to the next in search of further
light. Are there schools of Masonic Research, as distinct from schools of
thought? One man may be a careful, accurate scholar and yet belong to a
mystical school, another can be careless and superficial and follow a
realistic or critical school, so that it is something other than this that we
are looking for.
said that in England there is an Authentic and an Anthropological School of
Research - no one has yet ascribed any kind of school to America. Does this
help us at all ? " Anthropological " seems to mean something, though not very
distinctly. But what does "authentic" mean in such a connection? Surely not
that it is the correct or true one, with the implication that all others are
incorrect and false. We say surely not, because the author who first coined
these terms was most insistent that the authentic school was too limited, and
needed to be complemented by others, and also because he was himself the
founder of what is known as the anthropological school as well as the inventor
of its name. One might suspect that the alliteration had something to do with
the choice of the term authentic, and that under it lay a rather vague
concepion of research confined strictly to authentic written documents. But if
so would it not be much better to say so? Why not have called it simply
Historical Research? After all our self-styled anthropological researchers use
documents; some among them have made some first hand observations and
explorations, but even they depend largely on the work of others, as recorded
in books and manuscripts. In so far as they use documents they are in the same
boat, in regard to technique, as those they dub the Authentic School;
documents can be used properly or improperly. They have not suggested that the
other group use any but proper methods in this regard, and we cannot suppose
that they mean that they themselves use their sources in a way that is
improper. But if not, where is the contrast or distinction ?
seems then that though there are said to be schools of research - on the other
side of the Atlantic - and though there is a differentiation of subject
matter, no really clear idea is conveyed nor any very useful distinction made
by the terms employed. But we do seem to be raising a suspicion that the
answer to the first of our questions is in the negative - or that to ask what
a school of research is, is strictly speaking a question without meaning. But
if this suspicion is correct then the third question goes by the board also.
If "There ain't no such animal," what is the use of asking if there ought to
we can do is to come back to a more correct use of terms. We can have our
legendary, our symbolical and our historical schools of Masonic authorship,
such designations are clear. We can have our mystical, our theosophical, our
practice schools of interpretation, or of thought. Such distinctions can be
made as needed. Then we can have a division of subject matter, such as the
history, and the pre-history of the Institution. We can treat it
archaeologically, comparatively, and psychologically. There are many divisions
possible, and all of them might be useful in appropriate circumstances. But so
far as the working of these different fields goes, research could only be good
or bad in the various degrees of these opposing terms, positive, comparative
and superlative. All truth is one, and all research should be directed to that
one truth, whatever the angle of approach, or however its scope may be limited
for the sake of convenience. And so, while we will always, till the millenium,
have schools of thought, or of opinion, or of interpretation, there can never
be more than two kinds of research, the good and the defective.
* * *
pessimists take the position that because. there have been wars in the past,
as far back as history extends, therefore there must be war in the future. The
future, it is true, remains unknown to us, but while these dismal prophecies
may be fulfilled, it must be remembered that the prophets will be partly
responsible for the event. That is, it is this cynical or despairing attitude
which is itself one of the chief obstacles to attempts to establish permanent
peace. Peace is a state of mind primarily, maintaining world peace a problem
of group psychology. There is no inherent law of nature to make war
inevitable. Certainly the fact that nations have fought in the past is not a
cause of which the inexorable effect is that they must fight in the future.
Human action is much too complex in its springs and motives for that.
our civilization is not the only one that has ever existed, while it is an
open question whether it is the highest form that has yet emerged, it is
distinguished by certain features that have never previously existed except in
the merest embryo. In mechanism, in complex organization, in rapidity of
communications, in its means of applying the forces and potentialities of
nature, it is unique. And this results in a set of conditions that have never
previously existed. Our civilization has the means in its hands of committing
suicide. The difference between past wars and a future war lies in two points.
A war cannot in future be isolated, once started it will involve the whole
world; and the means of destruction are now so adequate that once they are
loosed they will probably result in the downfall of a whole organism of
Freemasonry has a certain status in this matter. As a world wide Fraternity
which creates and establishes a state of peaceableness between men of all
races and countries, it is logically involved in the larger issue. The Craft
cannot act as an organization, that is not its method. But it can act through
the influence of Masons individually; and as we have said, the cause of peace
is ultimately a matter. of change of heart in individuals.
we need some clearer distinctions, we need to be freed from mental slavery to
catch words and slogans. One of these is, "no treaty can compel nations to
remain at peace." Of course it cannot. Neither can a contract bind a man to do
as he agreed. But an honest man keeps his word. On the whole nations have far
more often kept their agreements than they have broken them. It is not the
armed force of the United States that causes the nation indebted to her to
make payments on those obligations. There are many other motives and forces at
play besides the crude one of the possibility of the use of armaments.
Another distinction that we need - it is far more generally appreciated in
Europe - is that between public and private war. Granted that, in such a
general agreement as the recently proclaimed Peace Pact, some one of the
nations that is a party thereto might run amuck, might start a war of the old
type for its own private national ends, the pressure of world action, not
necessarily at all of armed intervention, could soon bring it to its senses.
With this new idea of "private war" the old theories of neutrality go by the
board. The other nations are not the impartial witnesses of a duel, but are
all directly interested in the cessation of a dangerous nuisance.
America we have not fully realized the significance of the occupation of the
Ruhr by France. In effect there was an invasion by an armed force. There was
no war, no fighting, yet the invader was absolutely defeated, and withdrew
without having gained a single point of the demands made, and in a distinctly
worse position. It was passive resistance on the one hand, and world opinion
on the other, that produced the result, the amazing result of vanquishing an
army without fighting, and without any formal or organized action.
in the study of the conditions, the entirely new conditions, which spring from
the interdependence of al] civilized communities, that the cause of peace can
be furthered. It is in the realization that war is not only useless, but also
incredibly stupid, that mankind can free itself of the collective fear
psychoses, and it is here that Masonry could properly do its part.
* * *
members of the Research society carefully preserve THE BUILDER as it comes out
each month, and quite a good number have them bound. But Bro. John Riekmo of
Minneapolis is so proud of his complete set that he has taken photographs of
it, copies of which he sent to the Editor. Under the circumstances we could
not do less than make mention of it, in the hope that it may bring about a
reformation of the habits of such of our members who let THE BUILDER go the
way of other magazines.
indoor view would have been more appropriate perhaps, but the one taken in the
open air reproduced better, the others being rather dark.
congratulate Bro. Rickmo on a possession that is going to be more and more
valuable as time goes on. Even now it is not at all easy to make up complete
Chronicle and Comment
Review of Masonry the World Over
Florida Deals with Quasi-Masonic Organizations
Grand Lodge of Florida, following another edict of M. Wor. Bro. Brandon,
adopted the following amendment to their regulations:
organization of any club or society by the members of the particular Lodges
under the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge, using the name "Masonic" or other
term indicating connection with Masonry, which club or society becomes
affiliated with or under the control of any central power or authority or
body, exercising control over such club or society, is prohibited, and all
club or organizations of members of any of the particular Lodges in Florida
are hereby directed to at once withdraw their affiliation with any and all
central powers or bodies exercising control over them in any manner.
member of such club, society or organization failing to withdraw therefrom
within a reasonable time hereafter, shall render such member subject to
charges and trial.
Whether this would be held to prohibit the formation of Study Club or like
organizations in connection with the National Masonic Research Society we do
not know. If so, we naturally would regard it as regrettable, although it is
evident that under the circumstances at present existing something had to be
done. It is too bad, however, that the lodges themselves should not be
encouraged to use their own initiative in dealing with such abuses.
Presentation of the Apron in Florida
the current volume of the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Florida, we learn
that the following edict issued by M. Wor. Bro. Leroy Brandon was approved:
have found that some of the Lodges have been making an actual presentation of
a lambskin apron to the candidate in the Entered Apprentice degree. This is a
very natural mistake, probably caused by the language used immediately
following the symbolic presentation of the apron on page 19 of the large
Monitor, where it says "or the following may be given," then giving the form
to be used for the actual presentation of the lamb-skin apron which is
followed by the words "take it * * * ," which naturally gives the Lodges the
idea that an actual presentation of a lamb-skin apron could be made to the
candidate in the Entered Apprentice degree, but these words are misleading as
it was never intended that the actual presentation to the candidate of a
lamb-skin apron for his own should be given at this time, and I hereby order
and direct that such practice be discontinued and that only the symbolic
presentation of the apron using the short form as on page 18 of the large
Monitor, and that the actual presentation of the lamb-skin apron with the long
form of presentation as used on page 19 of the large Monitor be not made until
the candidate has been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason and shall
have been examined in open Lodge and found proficient in the work of the
Master Mason's degree.
is a concrete instance of the divergence of American Masonic usages from the
original traditions, and from the practice of the rest of the Masonic world.
From the exclusion of Apprentices and Fellowcrafts from the lodge, it is a
logical step to assume they are not yet Masons, and consequently to refuse
them aprons It has even been suggested that the ritual presentation should be
deferred till the candidate is raised. Logic without knowledge has been the
cause of many fearful and wonderful modifications of the ritual.
Rights of the Profane
rights has a man of "lawful age, free born" and so on, in regard to the Craft?
An editorial article in the Orphans' Friend and Masonic Journal, official
organ of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, in dealing with the question of
the selection of candidates makes the following statement:
man who comes within the requirements laid down by Masonic law has the right
to petition for and receive the degrees …. no Master Mason, . . has the right
to defraud an applicant of a legal and moral right that is his.
have the impression that the view here plainly stated has come to be accepted
more or less definitely by a very great number of American Masons, but it is
not very often that it is stated so clearly or so responsibly. Without
venturing an opinion as to what may be the rule in any particular
jurisdiction, and while we are in full accord with the writer in regard to the
abuses for which he seeks a remedy, it must be said that what may be termed
Masonic Common Law, recognizes no rights as pertaining to a profane Whatever
his qualifications it remains an act of grace and favor if he is admitted into
the Craft and given membership in a lodge. He has not (according to the
original usage and custom) even the right to petition. No Mason is bound to
act in the matter; and where its freedom of action has not been curtailed by
specific regulations, no lodge is obliged to receive a petition presented to
Report of the Educational Foundation Committee Grand Commandery, Knights
report of this committee recently received shows that there is need for more
funds of this character in the United States. The growth of all worthy funds
seems to be slow and this is no exception The report for the year ending April
15, 1929, shows a total of $42,955.26 distributed in loans. There is a balance
in the fund of $3,270 86. Collections on loans amounted to $2,162.25. During
the year covered by the report 63 young men and women have received assistance
from the fund. The total number of students helped thus far in the history of
the fund is 245. We gather that none of the administration expense is deducted
from the principal received for the support of the fund but is provided for by
a special appropriation for a contingent fund. At any rate the trustees should
be congratulated for being able to carry out the work they have done at a
total expense of only $152.55 for the fiscal year.
are other Educational Funds being built by the Knights Templar; we trust that
they are all functioning as successfully and efficiently as the report on the
Alabama fund shows.
this connection it is worthy of note that the following resolution was enacted
by the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of West Virginia:
Resolved: That the R. E. Grand Commander be requested to issue a General
Order: That Commanderies shall indicate on bills for Dues, the item:
Educational Foundation $1.00. In accordance with the action of the Grand
Encampment at Detroit in 1928. See proceedings page 205.
above resolution was adopted and is herewith promulgated as General Order No.
fact that the Henry L. Palmer Lodge of Milwaukee disagrees with the attitude
of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin in relation to Masonic Education is clearly
illustrated by the following comment to be found in the Palmer Templegram for
July and August:
contrast to the attitude of Palmer Lodge on this subject, it is evident that
the Grand Lodge is not yet impressed with the urgency and need of Masonic
Education. The usual about 2 1/2 cents per capita allowance was granted to the
Wisconsin Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Research, but a very nominal amount
for the establishment of a Wisconsin Grand Lodge Library was denied. Henry L.
Palmer Lodge, No. 301, F. & A. M., continues to hold the rather unusual
distinction of spending more for Masonic Education than does the Grand Lodge
for the entire balance of over three hundred lodges in Wisconsin. This, to
some, may appear to be a strange relationship, but it has the very decided
advantage of leaving the kind and character of Masonic Education in the hands
of the individual lodges. The right of individual lodges to govern their own
affairs has always been a strong point in Wisconsin's Masonic affairs. With
the continuous increase in the number of the Wisconsin Masonic Lodges asking
to be placed on the mailing list of our publication in order that they may
profit from our own way of 'doing things' is a very hopeful sign that we are
functioning somewhat like the leaven in the loaf. We are quite satisfied to
serve in this role and, no doubt, are slowly but surely creating a sentiment
which will ultimately bring a real Masonic harvest."
Difference in Usage and Etiquette
South Australian Freemason' carries the following brief article:
brethren occasionally, through want of thought or knowledge that they are
doing so, overstep the bounds of prudence. They smoke whilst in regalia. This
is contrary to Grand Lodge edict. More than once has attention been called to
it by Grand Officers and through the columns of the South Australian
Freemason. Hence it is necessary again to draw attention to it by a Grand
Officer arid to mention the matter through the columns of this paper. A large
gathering of brethren, representative of many of the lodges in the South
Australian Constitution, attended the installation in connection with Adelaide
Lewis Lodge in the Port Adelaide Temple on March 26. In responding at the
social board in behalf of the Grand Master and Grand Lodge V. W. Bro. A C.
Weber, G. L., who on that occasion was the representative of the Grand Master,
mentioned that prior to entering Lodge he had observed brethren with aprons on
in the corridor smoking. He reminded the brethren generally that they must not
smoke with their Masonic aprons on. 'Brethren,' he remarked, 'it is the
command of the Grand Lodge that you must not do so."'
County (Oklahoma) Masons Practice Their Preachings
seven Masonic lodges in Payne county, Oklahoma, have organized the Payne
County Masonic Hospital Association and through the cooperation of the voters
of this community have secured a 99-year lease upon what was formerly the
Cushing Municipal Hospital. The building was erected in 1922 after bonds in
the amount of $65,000 had been voted. An election was held a few months ago to
determine the advisability of changing the hospital to a Masonic institution,
and at the time it was voted to lease the hospital, complete with equipment
and furnishing, to the Masonic Hospital Association of Payne County, for a
term of 99 years at the rate of One Dollar per year. Application has been made
to make the hospital a member of the American Hospital Association. The
favorable acceptance of this application will assure the maintenance of a high
standard for this new Masonic institution.
National Masonic Research Society through its journal THE BUILDER takes this
opportunity to congratulate the lodges and the Masons of Payne County.
Smoke or Not to Smoke in California
reported ruling of the Grand Lodge of South Australia forbidding smoking while
clothed Masonically has had a reaction in California. Possibly it would be
better not to use the word reaction. Frankly we do not know where the idea
started, but now it is certain that South Australia forbids the practice and
that California is discussing the question seriously.
question in California differs somewhat from its overseas contemporary. In
America the problem is whether or not to smoke in lodge rooms. There are many
lodges in Missouri which forbid the use of the weed in its lodge chambers, but
they do not attempt to prohibit the members from smoking in the ante-room even
though they are "clothed." The custom is so deeply rooted in the lodge to
which the writer belongs that we were not allowed to smoke in the lodge room
even when we were holding instruction in the ritual work.
Whether we go so far as our Australian brethren, or whether we only limit the
decree to smoking in lodge rooms, it seems that sufficient respect is due the
solemn work being performed and to the sanctity of' the lodge hall to cause
every lodge of its own volition to forbid smoking in the chamber whenever the
lodge is in session.
According to the accounts in certain quarters the settlement of the religious
controversy in Mexico has been a complete triumph for the Roman Catholic
Church. It appears, however, that the victory was not so complete as the
publicists of that church would like to have us believe. According to
information the terms of the present agreement are identical with those
offered to the church in 1928 by President Calles. At that time the Pope and
his Mexican bishops refused absolutely to accept them, believing that if the
priests would continue to refuse to say mass a religious revolution would take
place which would force the government to terms. There was a rebellion, in due
course, as we know, but it did not have the expected result.
perfectly obvious that the Roman Church in accepting the agreement realized
that it was losing ground in Mexico by failure to continue religious services.
Also that their religious strike was gaining for them the disfavor of the
Roman Question in England
controversy over the Roman Church and the education of the children of America
has been one or perennial recurrence. In fact the idea of intermittence
contained in those words may be a false one and cause the opinion to be
advanced that it is not recurrent at all, but ever present. Be that as it may,
however, the fact remains that this country of ours is not the only one
enveloped in the folds of the political aspects of religious education. The
Modern Churchman, an English publication, had this to say on the subject:
Everyone was aware that when the solution of the Irish Question had liberated
Catholic energies for political mischief we should witness a revival of
intrigue and agitation. The Roman Catholic hierarchy has begun its campaign by
issuing a questionnaire to certain Parliamentary candidates in the subject of
Catholic schools, according to the results of which the faithful will be
instructed to vote. As the Catholic vote in certain constituencies (especially
in Lancashire) is a possibly decisive factor, some candidates have been rash
or prudent enough to make promises which afterwards perhaps, they will see
cause to regret. Dr Somers, a distinguished Roman Catholic, ventured, in a
letter to the Manchester Guardian, to criticize the episcopal policy, and
called down upon his head the epistolary fury of his co-religionists But if
there are liberals among Catholics who will be offended, there are many more
amongst other Nonconformists who will resent bitterly this introduction of
continental methods into English politics.
"Suffer the little children," said Jesus. The priests have taken Him at His
word, and over the souls of children they will wage a virulent and
irrenconcilable warfare, knowing full well that weeds of superstition must be
planted early if they are to make a luxuriant growth.
England's Masonic Charity Again
English Craft propose to erect a Hospital and Nursing Home on their premises
at Ravenscourt Park. The plan is to raise $1,250,000 as an endowment for this
new English Masonic Institution It is hoped that this sum will be sufficient
to preclude the possibility of any special festival being held for the
Hospital, thus assuring the three enterprises at present functioning of the
same clear field they have enjoyed in the past. i'he Masonic Record (London)
devotes considerable Space to the method of distributing gifts. For example
fifty guineas ($250) will qualify one as a Patron; twenty-five guineas as a
Vice-Patron. Naming of beds and wards are limited to Provincial, District and
way in which the English Craft supports a charitable undertaking is
illustrated to some extent by the following paragraph:
privilege of naming a bed after a lodge can be secured by the contribution of
$5,000 in individual and other gifts on a lodge list. We heard W. Bro. the
Rev. Joseph Johnson, P. A. G. Chap., put it very simply and attractively
before the Merchant Navy Lodge, No. 781, at the Abercorn Rooms, E. C., on a
recent evening. He said that should this lodge with its membership of upwards
of 300 desire to name a bed it could be done very simply, e. g., if 60
brethren contributed $50 each during the ensuing years which meant an average
in round figures of 35 cents per week for that period, that would provide
$3,000, and if 60 other brethren contributed $25 during the same period, an
average of approximately 16 cents per week, a further $1500 would be provided;
and then if the lodge out of its funds would make three annual grants of $165
each, thereby making the lodge Patron of the Hospital, the balance would be
provided and the $5,000 would be raised. The case was put so forcibly that a
number of members of the lodge there and then made substantial promises in the
hope that the lodge would be induced to name a bed, and one visitor
spontaneously promised $250, which promise Bro. Johnson has gladly passed on
to the hospital authorities. It is within the reach of most brethren to have
some share in this great movement, and it is gratifying to know that many
lodges are giving the matter generous consideration."
American Masonic Lodges could learn a lesson from their English brethren.
Masonic Institution for Boys
Following closely upon the heels of the report of the Royal Masonic
Institution for Girls comes an account of the 131st Anniversary Festival of
the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys. When figures are cited American
Masonic Charity becomes appallingly meager. Here is a Grand Lodge with not
many more than 250,000 members raising $375,000 for its girls' institution and
then shortly afterward raising more than $410,000 for its boys' school.
American Masons couldn't raise $75,000 to $100,000 to purchase a Tuberculosis
Hospital and there are some 3,000,000 of them.
Coals for the Fire
$410,000 contributed at the R. M. I. Boys' Festival brings the total of
Masonic Contributions this year to over $1,285,000. The London Freemason says
this is a remarkably generous response when it is remembered that there has
been a General Election, that the business of the country has been affected,
and that the appeal for the Freemasons' Hospital's $1,250,000 has now been
don't do charity by halves in English Freemasonry.
Emulation Lodge of Improvement
only in America that the natural but devastating tendency to seek uniformity
in matters of ritual has had its full scope. In England, as most of our
readers know, there is really no official standard form. For although a ritual
was approved at the time of the Union between Ancients and Moderns in 1813,
yet no one now knows exactly what it was. Two Lodges of Instruction, generally
known for short as Emulation and Stability - their full titles being rather
cumbersome - each claim to present it in substantial purity - but they differ
have been many printed rituals, claimed by their publishers to present
accurately the forms used in these two Lodges of Instruction, but they are
officially repudiated by the Preceptors as inaccurate, and without authority.
Now comes a correspondent of the London Masonic News who has the temerity and
audacity to assert that every preceptor of Emulation has a printed book which
he refers to in private.
sad but true - not only in England, but much nearer home. The feet is that the
written word will always supersede unaided memory. Peoples who have no means
of making permanent records develop a technique of memorizing and transmitting
their traditional songs and tales and histories, and maintain them with
wonderful tenacity. But universal literacy inevitably destroys this gift in
the long run. The habit of referring to the written word is too convenient,
and sooner or later it invades every Sanctum Sanctorum, whatever we may
Masonic University and Its Lesson
the installation of America Lodge No. 3368 held at Freemason's Hall, London,
on Monday the third of' June Bro. the Rev. H. Gathorne Crabtree struck a
keynote in his address. He said he was made a Mason in Quetta some twenty
years ago. Masonry had taught him much. It was a revelation to him when he
found in his Mother Lodge Englishmen, Scots, Irishmen, Hindoos, Brahmins and
Moslems, all joining in the same ceremonies, and all recognizing the same
G.A.O.T.U. It was a binding link stronger even than the Flag. He had found the
same features in Lodges in Hong Kong and Shanghai and in all a visitor was
received as a Brother. They found the same thing in England, particularly in a
Lodge such as the America. If only the English-speaking Lodges of the world
could get to work the peace of the world would be assured. Masonry was going
to do far more as a body than they could do as individuals. It was a great
agree as to the greatness of the ideal, but why limit it to English speaking
Freemasonry and World Peace
Europe the opinion is general and strong that Freemasonry is properly
concerned with the great problems involved in the maintenance of the peace of
the world. Not only has the International Masonic Association [the A. M. I.]
so declared itself, with unanimity on the part of its members, and not only
has the more recently organized Freemasons League put the solution of this
problem in the forefront of its objects, but nearly every Grand Lodge or Grand
Orient has likewise formally expressed the same opinion.
English speaking Masonry has avoided the subject; from a vague fear, we may
suppose, that it might be considered a political question. While the Masonic
periodicals of, all European countries frequently contain articles on every
aspect of the complicated problems, historical, psychological and practical,
of the attempt to banish "private" war, between civilized countries, those of
the United States rarely allude to the subject. It is all the more noticeable
to find several of them recently commenting on an address made by Senator S.
M. Shortridge, delivered at the centennial celebration of the Congress Street
Methodist Protestant Church in the District of Columbia.
all there seems nothing to be afraid of, the ideal of Freemasonry is Universal
Brotherhood, and universal brotherhood would automatically eliminate war.
Surely it is possible to work for this great aim, properly ours, without fear
of en. tangling ourselves in political intrigues and partisanships.
Masonry in China
Frank M. Henry, a thirty-second Mason, whose home is in China is a member of
three Blue Lodges in that country - a past master of Hykes Memorial Lodge,
(Massachusetts constitution); Union Lodge No. 1951, (English Constitution);
and Lodge Caledonia No. 1300 (Scottish Constitution) and also of Tientsin Mark
Master Masons No. 704, (English Constitution). He states that is no Chinese
grand lodge or subordinate lodges in China, as the lodges are run by the
foreign population for foreigners, and no native-born Chinese can get in, as
their oaths mean nothing. Membership of the lodges there shift, as the
foreigners are shifted from one city to another. While he was master of his
lodge there, he had seven or eight changes in the list of officers
Henry's statement in regard to Chinese Masons must however be modified in the
light of' information from other sources. There are lodges which have Chinese
members, who in several cases have served as Master's with honor and
distinction. And the assertion that the oath of a Chinese means nothing is far
too sweeping a generalization to be true even if we had no other information
to prove the contrary.
has been much comment of late regarding the sentence imposed by the Cuxhaven
Court on March 27 on General Ludendorff. The former German War Lord was
ordered to pay a fine of 800 marks or to serve one day's imprisonment for
every 50 marks. His offense was libel committed against a photographer named
libel was contained in a pamphlet, entitled "The Destruction of Freemasonry
through the disclosure of its secrets." Among the revelations in this
publication was a photograph of' a meeting at Saint Quentin in 1916 of, the
"Field Lodge of the Rising Light on the Somme.” With the exception of one man
in civilian dress the group shown in the picture consisted of German officers
who were said to be Germans acting as spies for the enemy.
photograph was headed, "Example of Masonic Lack of Principle." To it was
attached a commentary, in which it was stated that the civilian in the group
was a Frenchman and an Entente Spy. He was, however, the German Herr Sparr,
whose presence in the picture was more or less accidental.
unable to prove his statement, the ex-Dictator, through his lawyer, exhausted
every legal resource in order to escape punishment. First, he pleaded that his
offense was political and was covered by the amnesty of 1926. Alternatively,
he urged that his accusation was a collective one, which referred to the
entire body of Masons, and could not be regarded as stigmatizing an
individual. Finally, he attempted to prove that he should have the benefit of
immunity conceded in certain circumstances to persons who "in defense of the
public interests" utter statements which would otherwise be punishably
pleas were all examined in the judgment and found wanting. The Court pointed
out that thousands of copies of the pamphlet had been sold after the
promulgation of the Amnesty Law Moreover, with specific reference to Herr
Sparr's presence in the group Ludendorff had written of a "dishonoring of the
field-grey coat of honor," which aroused "anger and shame."
African Masonic Briefs
Bro. Sir Robert Gilmour of Liberton and Craigmillar, Past Grand Master Mason
of Scotland, laid the foundation Stone of the Suburban Masonic Temple at
Rondeboseh, on Wednesday, 20th March, 1929. Sir Robert was assisted by the
District Grand Master ( Rt. Wor. Bro. Thos, N. Cranstoun Day ), Rt. Wor. Bro.
J. Murray Wilson, D. G. Master of Scottish Freemasonry of the Cape of Good
Hope, Western Prov.; Wor. Bro. W. J. Gibbon, Deputy D. G. Master, E. C.; and
Officers of the District Grand Lodges of the English and Scottish
Constitutions. The proceedings were conducted under the Claremont Lodge, 931
S.C. which was opened at 4 p.m., and adjourned for the ceremony, after which
the procession returned in inverted order and the lodge was closed.
Worshipful Brother William B.M. Vogts has been honored by the Supreme Council
of the Higher Degrees in the Netherlands by the appointment of Sovereign Grand
Inspector General, 33d. He is a member of the thirtieth degree in the English
and thirty-second degree in the Scottish Rite. He commenced his Masonic career
as an English Mason, being an initiate of the Frere Lodge, Aliwal North, and
is serving his fifth quinquennial term of office as Provincial Grand Master of
the Transvaal, G. E. N.
Deportations of Anti-Facists in Italy
Correspondent of the well known English journal, the Manchester Guardian says
that deportations of anti-racists are on the increase. "Deportation" being, of
course, a euphemism for transportation to the island prisons where those who
have offended Mussolini are herded. The communication is so important that we
give it in full.
Freemasons especially are being arrested and deported. Ettore Ferrari, Past
Sovereign Grand Commander, who is now 86 years old, is under surveillance in
his home and is not allowed to leave it without police permission. The Vice
Sovereign Grand Commander, Giuseppe Leti, a lawyer, has fled to Paris, and as
he is out of reach Fascism has, for no reason whatever imprisoned his son,
Francesco Leti, and sentenced him to five years deportation. Francesco Leti is
not even a Freemason; he was a chemist in Rome, interested only in his
science. He has been punished for being the son of his father.
Signor Torrigiani, the Grand Master of the Italian Freemasons, has for a long
time been a deportee on an island. He has suffered greatly from persecution.
As he has already lost one eye and the other is in danger he has been
permitted to go to a clinic. General Bencivenga, a deputy and past president
of the Italian Press Association, is also in detention on an island.
remained in Rome as representative of Freemasonry the Vice Grand Master, a
lawyer named Giuseppe Meoni. Lately he has been thrown into prison, and, not
by order of any tribunal but soley on the proposal of a Fascist commission,
has been deported to an island for five years. Recent arrests include writers,
lawyers, and doctors, among them Signori Guastalla, Lenzi, Pavoni, Cosmo, and
other well-known persons.
Special Fascist Tribunal has just condemned Signor Ferrini, a lawyer, to
deportation for four years and eight months, and Signor Mazzotti for three
years and four months, on the charge of having sent news and information "to
the other anti-Fascists of Paris on the situation in Italy." Any criticism of
the Fascist regime is considered a crime. Persons suspected of talking of the
fall of the lira and the grave economic situation in Italy are being
Senator Benedetto Croce, the greatest of Italian philosophers justly regarded
as the greatest thinker in Italy, criticised the agreements with the Vatican
in a long speech in the Senate. The censorship forbade the newspapers even to
publish a summary of the speech. A score of writers and Turn University
students signed a letter expressing their admiration of Signor Croce. The
postal censorship opened the letter, and on the next day all the signatories
were arrested. Among them was the son of the Deputy Treves. Some of the
arrested persons are still under arrest and some have even been deported.
belief is widespread, especially in financial quarters, in the inevitable
collapse of the lira, but anyone who ventures to speak of it is deported at
Proposal for an Organization of Lodge Secretaries.
reprint below a letter addressed to the Masonic News (London) together with
the editorial comment thereon:
time to time I have had conversations with Brethren who are Secretaries of
their lodges and have found the interchange of views on lodge procedure,
charity organizations and Masonic administration generally has been very
useful. Now it occurs to me that if a 'Lodge Secretaries' Association' was
formed it would be very helpful to some of us less enlightened Brethren and I
believe that the Craft and our Institutions would benefit materially through
it. In my view, in such an association as I suggest any discussion on ritual
should be absolutely abandoned.
should welcome the opinion of any Brother who is Secretary of his lodge
regarding my suggestion."
Clearly the author knows not of the Fratres Calami Lodge, 3791, limited in
membership to Lodge Secretaries, which supplies this very need. Conferences on
points affecting Secretaries take place at every meeting, when ordinary
talkee-talkee is banned, The Lodge meetings are held in London.
Obviously any lodge composed of lodge secretaries would be an impossibility in
most American jurisdictions. The Secretaries' Associations which exist in many
large centers of population may serve the same purpose. Would it not be better
if the discussions which take place in those Associations could be held behind
the tiled doors of a lodge?
THE STUDY CLUB
Shall we Broaden Our Program of Masonic Education to Reach a Rank and File of
know what the "wise boys" among our brethren will say to this proposition. Not
long ago I had a talk with one of them, a newly elected young Master, about
this matter. Quote he
"You are all wet, old man, and wasting your time trying to interest the
average Mason in anything about education. It simply can't be- done, because
nine men out of ten join a lodge for the fun and fellowship they expect to get
out of it. They may be dumb, but they know what they want and what they don 't
want, also. They simply will not stand for anything labeled educational. Even
studying their part in the ritual is too much of a tax upon the minds of many
candidates. Try to put more educational features in your lodge programs and
you will drive most of your members to the movies or other places of
amusement. Give them lots of lively and light entertainments and plenty of
good feeds and you'll get them out; but try to get the average Mason
interested in anything educational and you'll see what will happen to the
attendance at your lodge meetings. As everybody knows, when there is a good
feed at Third Degrees, the attendance will be doubled or trebled over ordinary
This sounds fairly plausible. Apparently it represents a common viewpoint,
judging from the lack of anything of an educational nature in most lodges. The
indifference which most of our brethren display towards every effort to
encourage the discussion of any educational question - such as the one we are
now discussing, for example - tends to confirm the view that education is a
dead issue in Freemasonry.
Our Present Programs Hold Over Members?
may seem presumptions, therefore, for anyone to challenge this viewpoint or
question the correctness of this opinion. Yet this is exactly what I venture
to do, and I am basing my criticism of this commonly accepted notion upon the
plain question: Are our grand balls and banquets, our smokers and beef-steak
dinners, our official pow-wows and our routine ceremonials really attracting
the interests and maintaining the attendance of the majority of our
All available statistics indicate a distinctly negative answer to this
question. In fact, the most optimistic data show that not more than twenty
percent of the Freemasons throughout our country are regular attendants at
lodge meetings or take any active part in Masonic affairs. If this condition
upholds the viewpoint that almost exclusive emphasis should be placed upon the
social and entertaining features of Freemasonry in which most lodges have
indulged in recent years, I must be vastly mistaken. I am aware, of course,
that other reasons may be assigned to account for the proportionately small
attendance at lodge meetings, as for instance, the claim that many men simply
take the Blue Lodge Degrees in order to make their way into some of the
various auxiliary orders. But, it appears to me quite logical to place the
burden of proof upon those who claim that our present-day programs are exactly
suited to the temperament of our times.
WHY MEN BECOME MASONS.
Every candidate coming into Masonry avows that his principle purpose in
seeking admission into a lodge is to learn self-control and self-improvement.
Surely this is the plain and clearly stated meaning of the candidate's answer
to one of the first questions asked during his initiation.
Possibly one explanation of the distressing fact that over eighty per cent of
those initiated into our lodges so soon discontinue regular attendance or
active participation in lodge affairs, may be the failure of their lodge to
provide anything in its program that the average man might regard as an aid to
self-control or a means of self-improvement.
The monotonous routine of our degree mills, the dry-as-dust dullness of our
big back-patting official affairs, and the standardized socials of the average
lodge program evidently are not sufficient to satisfy the cultural aspirations
of some of the eighty percent of our membership who drop out of Masonic
activity about as soon as they "get their degrees. "
No pretense is made that the cultural aspirations of most of us are very
lofty. Yet, I believe, that we do possess some desire to subdue our baser
passions and improve ourselves as much as possible without taking too much
time or trouble about it. Few of us are dominated by any all consuming desire
for self-culture. We are seeking the pleasant paths and broad roads to
knowledge. Most of us are unwilling to make any serious sacrifice to acquire
information or improvement. We prefer, as far as possible, to take our
educational lessons in small doses, carefully sugar coated.
After admitting this, you have not eliminated the fact that the average man is
an aspiring being. In various ways, feeble though they may be, he is always
trying to improve. Among those who seek admission into Freemasonry, I am
convinced, this universal desire for self improvement is above the average.
Personally, I cherish no illusions that elaborate or studious educational
programs are likely to become popular in our lodges. Frankly, I confess that
it would be difficult for me to become keenly interested in highly
intellectual activities or in the Culture that is always spelled with a
the other hand, although my own observation and experience in the field of
Masonic Education has been limited, it has been sufficient to convince me that
the vast majority of our members are chiefly interested in the educational
aims, which originally were the dominant features of all activities of our
ancient brethren. I contend that modern Masonry has made the mistake of
swinging too far away from the ancient educational ideals in catering too much
to the pleasure-seeking tendencies of the present day.
There seems to be plenty of evidence of a fairly general feeling among the
Craft that everything is not altogether satisfactory in our programs
now-a-days. But modern Masonic activities are so diversified and so complex
that it would be impossible, it seems to me, to devise a limited or particular
plan for Masonic Education that will meet the needs and requirements of so
many and varied types of lodges. To confine a program for Masonic Education to
Study Clubs or Lecture Courses means restricting our educational activities to
a proportionately small percentage of our membership.
The response or reaction to my own efforts on behalf of Masonic Education has
thoroughly sold me on the necessity of attempting broader and more diversified
programs than we have been generally advocating heretofore. In brief, my
personal answer to the question we have propounded is unqualifiedly in the
SHOULD MASONIC EDUCATION BE DEMOCRATIC ?
am very little disturbed over the fear expressed by some of our brethren that
to further broaden our program of educational activities would mean spreading
out our efforts so thinly that the results would be hardly deserving of the
term educational. Possibly, I may be too deeply concerned about reaching the
rank and file and interesting them in at least a few elementary educational
activities. Likewise, it may be that my personal temperament is at fault in
the matter of the slight interest that I take in Masonic Research or Education
as an intellectual pastime to be indulged in chiefly by the Cultured Minority
who classify themselves as the Intelligensia of the Craft. If my attitude
toward Masonry is thoroughly Democratic, it seems to me that the institution
itself contains ample authority for such an attitude. If the main principles
we profess as Masons are not thoroughly in accord with Democratic ideals, then
I have misconstrued the meaning of our ritual.
The only way to give a definite understanding of exactly what I have in mind
in proposing that we broaden our program of Masonic Education, is for me to
outline a number of the principle activities which I would classify as
educational and which, I believe, might be attempted, in some measure at least
by every type of Masonic lodge.
do not mean to suggest, of course, that any lodge should attempt the entire
program proposed, but that each lodge should select and carry out some of the
suggested activities, adapting them to the particular requirements of the
EDUCATIONAL COMMITTEE IN EVERY LODGE.
First and foremost, I would advocate the appointment of an educational
committee in every lodge. It seems to me entirely reasonable that along with
the social, entertainment, financial and other standing committees of every
duly organized and well regulated lodge, there certainly should be an
educational committee whose particular duties would consist in doing
everything possible and practical in the furtherance of the cause of Masonic
Education among the members of the lodge.
fact, I think the first step toward the definite introduction of Masonic
Education into any lodge, invariably, should be the appointment by the Master
of a Committee on Masonic Education.
The second important effort that I believe all those interested in the cause
of Masonic Education should put forth is to urge and encourage Masonic
speakers everywhere to devote more attention to this cause. It seems to me
that many of the topics discussed by Masonic speakers are trivial as compared
to the question of the whys and wherefores of Masonic Education.
Please bear in mind that I am not advocating any dry-as-dust discussions
or-lectures of the purely academic side of education. Rather, I am urging that
Masonic Education should always be considered from the practical standpoint of
showing how the great teachings of our ancient Fraternity should be adapted
and applied to the solution of the modern problems, with which all men and
Masons are necessarily concerned. Let it be said, too, that the first effort
of every Masonic speaker should be devoted to the verification of his facts.
Too many speakers are careless in this regard and consequently depart
unconsciously from the truth.
third effort that should be encouraged in every possible way is to interest
more of our members in reading books on Masonic subjects. We should do
everything possible to provide easy, inexpensive ways for distributing and
circulating literature among our brethren. It seems to me that it might be a
good thing to adopt and uphold the slogan-" A Library in every Lodge."
Societies committed to the cause of Masonic Education, such as the National
Masonic Research Society? it seems to me, should provide suggestions and
material-for broad gauge educational programs to meet the varied requirements
of every type of lodge and to appeal to the interests of all classes in the
Craft. Instead of devoting our attention mainly to the interests of Masonic
scholars, I believe, we should also spare no pains or efforts to discover and
devise the ways and means of appealing to the educational interests of all
Freemasons from the highest to the lowest in aspirations and attainments.
READING COURSES AND KEYBOOKS.
Another activity that should be undertaken, in my opinion, is the publication
of what might be termed keybooks or primers on various Masonic topics, the
idea of each keybook being to open up the doors to a wider interest in and
knowledge of the subject treated upon. These brief booklets, outlining the
elementary principles of various Masonic subjects, should be published
inexpensively and sold at low prices to all Masons who may be induced to
purchase and read them. Personally, I am not greatly in favor of publishing
booklets for free distribution because it is my impression that most folks
regard anything that costs them nothing as being worth exactly what it costs.
a means of encouraging more widespread reading of Masonic books, periodicals,
and keybooks, I believe, a variety of reading courses could be outlined
covering all phases of Masonic Education. These reading courses should not be
elaborate or expensive but simply suggestive plans whereby an ordinary Mason
could derive the most benefit from reading a few books on any Masonic subject
in which he might become interested.
believe that there are thousands of our members who have the ability as well
as the desire to speak on behalf of the cause of Masonic Education but do not
know exactly how to go about preparing a brief and interesting talk on this
topic. I would recommend, therefore, that topical outlines and material for
short addresses on various subjects connected with Masonic Eduction, should be
provided at a nominal cost for all speakers requesting such assistance.
NATIONAL MASONIC LECTURE SERVICE
addition to providing material for such brief addresses, a major effort on
behalf of Masonic Education should be to encourage the planning and conducting
of Lecture courses covering all phases of this subject. There ought to be, in
my opinion, not only a way of rendering assistance to those who desire to
conduct a lecture course to local-talent speakers, that is the members of the
lodges of a particular community, but there also should be some sort of a
clearing house or national lecture bureau in which the outstanding student and
lecturers on Masonic Education could be brought into touch with interested
audiences. In other words, this national Masonic lecture bureau should, of
course, work both ways; that is, it should supply the requests of those who
are conducting Masonic Educational lecture courses and wish to obtain the
services of speakers of outstanding talent outside of their own community.
Likewise, the bureau in due course of time should be able to develop a wider
field or forum for Masonic speakers of unusual talent.
That any program for Masonic Education, either narrow or broad, should provide
plans and programs for round table discussion groups, almost goes without
saying. These topics for discussion should cover the widest possible range and
should, of course, appeal chiefly to the interests of ordinary Masons.
addition to these introductory, elementary, or kindergarten courses of study,
there should be study outlines, lesson questions, and text books for all
grades of Masonic Study Clubs.
will be noted that little attempt has been made in the foregoing to elaborate
the various suggestions as to the channels of interest or the methods of
Masonic study that have been recommended. Neither is it professed that these
suggestions are complete or comprehensive. Doubtless, many other avenues for
Masonic Education will be opened up and many other methods will be devised,
providing the general policy of a broad gauge program should meet with
approval among our readers. Our attempt has been to suggest a fairly wide
variety of Masonic activities which, we feel, should be justly classed as
educational, with the aim of enabling our readers to compare the respective
advantages of this broader program with the present policy of confining the
scope of Masonic educational work to a lore limited, yet more definitely
instructive class of activities.
have endeavored to present my views which, of course, are entirely in favor of
the broader program. But I do not profess the authority to speak for the Craft
at large or for any others excepting a scattering number of brethren
throughout the country who have written to me expressing their approval of
other articles in which I have advocated a somewhat similar policy.
Consequently, we are anxious to have every Mason interested in this question
present his views and offer criticism of this proposition regardless of
whether his views are in accord with or opposed to the program that has been
outlined. Likewise, we are particularly anxious for further suggestions on any
phase of this program or any ideas for its improvement from those who may, in
general, favor its adoption.
Our sole interest is that we may discover or devise a program of Masonic
Education that will really meet the needs of present day problems in our
Craft. Personally, the writer's experience has compelled him to conclude that
our means and methods and program of Masonic Education in the past have been
too narrow and inadequate to meet the requirements of modern Masonry. Yet we
do not feel sufficient confidence in our own proposals to give clear assurance
that our plans and program will fully solve the problem. In fact, the one
point on which we feel the greatest degree of certainty is the idea that the
only way to work out a program that will completely solve the educational
problems of modern Masonry is to find some way to stimulate suggestions and
draw upon the experiences of interested members and well informed brethren
from all parts of the Masonic domain. In other words, the only program that
will surely solve our present day problems will be the one that is developed
from the consensus of opinion of Masons everywhere who are interested in the
cause of Masonic Education.
books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of
the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which allways 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 uncorks and books out of print.
ROBERT BURNS AND HIS MASONIC CIRCLE. By Duddley Wright. Published by Cecil
Palmer, London. Cloth, table of contents, 181 pages Price $2.15,
statement can be made, almost without fear of contradiction, that American
Masons are more familiar with the writings of Bro Dudley Wright than with
those of any other English author. Those American Masons who have read his
previous works will welcome the present volume of' Robert Burns. The book is
written in the usual readable style but (more's the shame) is not documented.
The easy readability that is characteristic of Bro. Wright makes for his works
a wide popular appeal. This, of course, is highly desirable, because it will
help to increase the number of reading Masons, which proportionately is so
deplorably small. Possibly Bro. Wright feels that documenting his works would
lend an atmosphere of scholastic stiffness to them, and for this reason omits
page and line reference. Agreeing fully that documentation does give a book a
heavy appearance, one cannot help but feel that the advantage to scholars of
following this practice would amply repay the trouble and overbalance what
objections might be raised.
course, Burns lived over a century ago. It is not surprising therefore that so
much has been written about him; particularly is this true when due
consideration is given to the popularity of the works of the Scotch Bard.
There are many biographies and numerous accounts of his Masonic connections.
For this reason we should not expect to find anything very new in the present
volume. New to this reviewer, however, was the controversy over Burns as Poet
Laureate of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge. That Burns had held this office had
always been taken for granted.
seems that the lodge records make no mention of the appointment at the time it
was supposed to take place The appointment of James Hogg, the Ettriek
Shepherd, as Poet Laureate is recorded in later minutes in terms that seem to
verify the feet that Burns was his predecessor. Here is one place where the
lack of documentation is a nuisance.
a matter of common knowledge that Burns was a member of several Scotch lodges.
The number ran to seven, I think. Bro. Wright makes brief mention of them. It
seems too bad that more space was not devoted to this section of the work.
Surely there is enough of interest to be found to make the filling of many
more than 35 small pages possible, particularly when the type is so large as
that used in the present volume.
Burns' plural membership was not sufficient guarantee of his interest in the
Craft, certainly there is much additional material to prove his activity. For
some years he was a "Depute Master." He appears never to have lost an
opportunity to commune with his brethren. The meeting at which Dugald Stewart
made the acquaintance of the poet is a ease in point. This assembly was held
at Mauchline on July 25, 1787, and was, as a matter of fact, irregular, as the
charter did not empower the lodge to hold meetings outside Tarbolton The
regular meetings were held at an inn, known as "The Cross Keys," Tarbolton,
which was kept by a person of the name of Manson. According to Bro. Wright,
Burns was such a zealous Mason that he frequently held meetings in his own
house for the purpose of admitting new members into the Order. While this was
known previously, the present writer does not recall precisely the source of
the reference. Once more the lack of documentation must be deplored.
view of these facts one is, perhaps, entitled to presume that the governing
body of Scotch Freemasonry was not nearly so powerful in the latter part of
the 18th century as it is today. No modern Grand Lodge would sanction for a
moment such conduct on the part of its members.
chapter dealing with Masonry's influence on Burns is very interesting,
presenting as it does, two conflicting points of view. Bro. Wright seems to be
an adherent to the more optimistic party. His contention, supported again by
undocumented authority, is that Masonry enabled the poet to move in circles
above his own social level; that it had a cultural effect Upon him which was
reflected in his life and works. The other viewpoint is that the
convivialities of the 18th century Masonry made of Burns a drunkard and
destroyed his moral fiber. To the reviewer it seems that those who choose to
follow the second of these two opinions are projecting modern standards back
into the past It must be remembered that in the days of Burns it was no
disgrace to become inebriated. Contradicting this view, however, are the
statements of Burns' wife and brother to the effect that they never knew him
to be intoxicated.
are many other matters that might be discussed in the remainder of this book,
but in view of the fact that there is nothing very new it does not seem
necessary. The final chapters are devoted to other aspects of Burns' Masonry;
his Masonic friends; his publishers; Gilbert Burns, his brother; his
descendants; and so on. It is all interesting and all good reading, and it
will be very useful as a compendium of what is known of the life, and
especially the Masonic life, of one of the most romantic figures in the annals
of the literature of Scotland. J.E.S.
* * *
BIBLICAL ANTHROPOLOGY; Compared with and Illustrated by the Folklore of Europe
and the Customs of Primitive Peoples. By H.J.D. Astley. Published by the
Oxford University Press. Cloth, table of contents, bibliographical note,
indices. Pages viii and 262 Price $4.75.
work is partly made up of articles published in various periodicals, and truth
compels us to say that, like so many books put together in this way, it
suffers for it. Nevertheless the matter is all good, and it makes a very
readable and not too erudite introduction to a subject of the greatest
Taking the view that is now, in spite of fundamentalism, accepted by all
Biblical scholars and theologians whose judgment carries any weight outside of
their own communion, that the Scripture is a literature, not a book; that it
has grown by a series of compilations and recompilations and editing, into its
present form; and that in it, as fossils in the face of a cliff, we find the
traces of many successive stages of religion, evolving from a very primitive
stage to the highest; the author undertakes to show the connection of some of
the relies of the oldest strata with the religious remains of other
primitives. In this he is further exploring the field that was covered by
Frazer in his Folk Lore in the Old Testament.
author is a clergyman of the Church of England, belonging to the "Modernist"
school of thought. There are a number of passages, and the last chapter
especially, in which this is very obvious, and it tends to make the reader
somewhat impatient. It is probably due largely to the feet already mentioned,
that so much was contributed as articles to Anglican theological journals. It
is rather unfortunate however, as the subject seems to demand an attitude more
aloof from practical problems and the outlook of any particular communion.
is here stated, not in criticism or derogation, but to forewarn the reader, so
that he will be ready for such passages when he comes upon them, and not be
unduly disturbed or irritated. For anyone who has no knowledge of the subject,
but has had his curiosity aroused regarding it, will hardly find a better book
to begin with. It covers the field of primitive religion very fully, with
sufficient detail for purposes of illustration, but not so much that the
beginner will lose his way, as he is apt to do in such comprehensive works as
those of Frazer.
has to be remembered, or for many people (even yet) to be learned, is that to
accept the results of the modern science of Comparative Religion, and the
hypothesis of religious evolution does not mean denial of a belief in God or
his governance of the world. While it is true that many workers in this field
have little faith in the objective reality underlying religion, this view does
not necessarily or logically follow from such studies. This dispute is the old
one between believers and non-believers, only on a different and wider field.
What the conservative and reactionary element in the various denominations
fail to realize is that the views they hold were once "modernist," were the
result of reason applied to such facts as were known, and were opposed by the
fundamentalists of their day.
Religion began back in the prehistoric past. There is no doubt that the
Cro-Magnon cave artists of Europe had a definite and quite developed religion.
And since then men have been seeking after God "if haply they might find him."
And always the seekers have been in danger from the mass of conservatives who
preferred to give a formal assent to traditional beliefs, which did not
interfere with their lives and habits of thought. The one thing the majority
of people resent is to be forced to re-think their fundamental beliefs.
Perhaps a word of warning may be advisable. When the reader is told of
survivals of primitive belief and thought in higher cultures, as when in the
present work a parallel is drawn between the ideas of certain primitive
peoples and expressions used by St. Paul in his epistles, it must not be
supposed that the latter use of the form meant the same thing as the earlier
one. When a man removes his hat to salute a lady, or in the presence of the
flag, or in any other circumstance where he desires to show deference he is
not thinking of the origin of that action, or how it came to be a sign of
respect. Such survivals of words, phrases and ceremonies, have a traceable
history, but they have changed in meaning. And so it is with religious
survivals. In general only those things survived that could be adapted to
higher purposes in changed circumstances. M.
* * *
TRIBAL INITIATIONS AND SECRET SOCIETIES. By Edwin M. Loeb. Published by the
University of California Press. Paper, 40 pages.
pamphlet is a useful resume of the subject of primitive puberty initiations
and the secret societies of barbarous races. Mr. Loeb has found four principal
elements in these ceremonies, namely:
the use of the "bull-roarer," (2) the impersonation of ghosts, (3) the death
and resurrection initiation, and (4) the mutilation by cutting.
object of the essay is to collect the references to these four elements and to
show that they are very wide spread within the principal area covered,
Australasia and Oceania.
the same complex of elements is also found in Africa, and in part of both
North and South America. As a matter of fact it was from his investigations
among the Pomo Indians of California that the study had its origin. It has to
be admitted though that in the American evidence the four elements have
suffered some diminution in places, though enough remains to lead to the
conclusion that such cases are to be interpreted as due to decay. In some
places whistles of various kinds replace the bull-roarer.
Andrew Lang pointed out long ago this curious instrument, which is a
traditional toy in some parts of the British Isles, was probably used as part
of the paraphernalia of the Orphic and other mysteries of the classical world.
Loeb concludes that the tribal initiation ceremony was derived from one
centre, at a remote period, and that contrary to the views of various other
writers, they have no casual relation to totemism or any particular type or
system of reckoning kinship; rather that the evidence points to their being an
older and more primitive element in the social organism.
essay will form a useful starting point for anyone wishing to learn more of
this subject, which has proved so attractive to Masonic students who are
especially interested in the question of origins. It is a starting point only,
for the treatment precludes any detail being given; for that the reader must
go to the works cited; or best of all, to begin with, to Tylor's Primitive
Culture and Frazer's Golden Bough.
QUESTION B OX
MASONIC HISTORY FOR THE BEGINNER
you advise me what book of Masonic History I should read? I would prefer one
that contained no special pleading, but approached the subject in a purely
scientific manner in an honest attempt to ascertain the facts. It seems to me
that what we need is scholars such as those who have done so much for the
criticism, "lower" and "higher," of the Bible; in consequence of whose work
more is now known about the Bible than at any previous time in history.
have to admit, with sorrow, that the book asked for has not yet been written.
There are approximations to it, but probably no history will ever be written
without some bias.
monumental works of Gould and Mackey are essential to every advanced student,
but they are too overwhelming for the beginner. They each have their defects,
and each author had his own particular prejudices. Nevertheless they are each
impartial in respect to the evidence, and generally on all points where their
special bias did not come into play.
Undoubtedly the best work yet published for the beginner is the History of
Freemasonry by Haywood and Craig. Perhaps the most readable book on the
subject' is J. F. Newton's Builders, a work that has served to give the
initial impulse to seek further light to hundreds of Masons. But it remains
that the work desired by our correspondent does not yet exist, and perhaps
never will. History of that type must be sought each for himself, sifting the
wheat from the chaff, in the many books, papers, essays and articles that have
been and are being published,
* * *
CHIVALRIC ORIGIN OF MASONRY
you advertise THE BUILDER as "an open forum for all the Craft" I am wondering
if you will answer a question for a neophyte in Masonic research.
Masonic speaker, who claimed to have a deep knowledge of things, recently made
the statement that the Fraternity originated from a Military Order of some
kind. I told him I always understood that it was an outgrowth of a purely
operative mason's guild. But he insisted that the operative masons played a
very small part. Which of us is right?
Probably the brother who made these statements derived them from one of the
older works on the history and origin of the Craft. The myth has long since
been thoroughly exploded by Gould and Mackey, yet even now it frequently
reappears in articles and books; and especially in addresses given by Masonic
orators. Our correspondent had better recommend this particular speaker to
obtain and read Gould's Concise History, or Haywood and Craig's, A History of
Freemasonry, or better still, to join the N.M.R.S. and read THE BUILDER.
* * *
HOLY SAINTS JOHN
possible I should like some light upon the connection of the two Saints John
with Freemasonry. I have read all that Mackey has to say in his Encyclopedia,
but I still feel that it has not been fully explained. The dedication of the
lodge seems clear enough but I gather that in Mackey's judgment the dedication
was originally to St. John the Baptist only, but he does not offer any
explanation why in that case, St. John the Evangelist was brought in. But the
point that is not touched on at all is the phrase, "From the Lodge of the Holy
Saints John at Jerusalem." What does this mean? Or what did it mean?
Traditionally the lodge at Jerusalem antedated the Christian era by hundreds
of years. If it had been from the Lodge of Solomon, it would have been
perfectly clear. I should be glad of some explanation of this.
is not at all an easy question to answer briefly. From the various
explanations given at different times and places, cited by Mackey we may
deduce one thing, that the reference puzzled our eighteenth century and
nineteenth century brethren as much as it does our correspondent. Mackey's own
theory, of reference to observances connected with the solstices, has been
widely (though far from universally) accepted, and probably has something in
it. He is quite correct in saying that the oldest ritual forms mentioned only
a Saint John, but it is not certain, as he thought, that this was St. John the
dedication of a lodge probably goes back no further than the post-Grand Lodge
period, 1723, at the earliest, and more probably later. But the formal
dedication of lodges to St. John was the interpretation of the much older
phrase "The Lodge of St. John," which we find in the very earliest ritual
remains still extant. It would seem that every lodge was St. John's lodge, and
the explanation may be that it was simply an allusion to a custom in older
times, of an annual lodge held on a St. John's Day. It is a subject that might
be further investigated with profit.
page 203 of the July number of THE BUILDER appears the following statement by
Bro. Curtis G. Shake:
lodge was finally instituted on March 13, 1809, the first legally constituted
lodge of the order, or for that matter the first assemblage of Masons in the
territory now comprising Indiana Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin."
Bro. Israel Israel, Grand Master of Masons of Penn. issued his dispensation
June 18th, 1806, for Western Star Lodge No. 107 at Kaskaskia, Illinois. The
lodge was instituted September 13th of the same year, June 24th, 1808, By-Laws
were adopted and signed by eighty-four members. This lodge continued to exist
until February 7th, 1829. The original dispensation is now in the office of
the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Illinois.
* * *
IS GOOD STANDING?
is a matter that has many times occurred to me when I have visited lodges in
different places. Methods of procedure in such cases vary a great deal. I
find, generally, that in country lodges, and lodges in small out-of-the-way
towns, that the good brethren lay chief stress upon the traditional and
esoteric means of recognition, while documentary evidence comes, often as not,
almost as an afterthought. In city lodges, however, and the Mason who visits
much, comes much more into contact with them, the documentary evidence is the
first thing demanded, and indeed without it one would generally get no
further. I have no objection to that in itself; a receipt for dues duly sealed
and signed is prima facie evidence, and it is a convenient substitute for the
regular Grand Lodge Diploma, which is a most awkward thing to carry about. The
point I am anxious to raise, and would very much like to see discussed, is by
what show of right the officers of lodges have to insist that the receipt for
dues should be for the current year?
have said, I take this receipt with the seal of my lodge, and the secretary's
signature, and my own signature in the margin, as prima facie evidence, no
more, that I am in good standing, or rather, that I have not been suspended.
But the fact that it is last year's receipt does not show that I am not in
good standing. For I maintain that a Mason is in good standing until his lodge
has suspended him.
reason that this matter has been forced upon my attention is that in my own
lodge, which is an old one and "set in its ways,” dues are payable at the end
of the year and not in advance. Last January, for instance, I got my notice
that my dues were due. I sent a check to the secretary, and in return he sent
me a receipt showing that I had paid up till December 31, 1928. Now when I
show this receipt, I am told "This is no good, you're not in good standing."
It has taken a lot of explaining sometimes; and now I come back at them, and
ask what business it is of theirs how my lodge manages its affairs. Our
by-laws distinctly say that dues shall be paid either at the end of each
quarter, or at the end of the year. They have been in force over a hundred
years, and there would be a fine fuss if anyone suggested they should be
changed. But this is not really the point, it is only the occasion and
bringing it home to me personally. I offer as my opinion that a Mason is in
good standing till his lodge, or his Grand Lodge, takes definite action to
suspend or expel him - and that as a receipt for dues cannot possibly show at
any time that a man has not been suspended or expelled, that it is ultra vires
for an examining committee to take the date of a receipt into consideration;
that a receipt, or diploma for that matter is proof only that at one time a
man was in good standing, the rest has to be decided by other means; which
means used with intelligence are quite adequate. Now I would like to know what
others think about it. J. J. G., Vermont.
* * *
HUMBOLDT A MASON?
the April BUI1DEB, No. 4 of the current volume, Bro. C. S. P. makes inquiry
about the Masonic affiliation of the Barons "Friedrich and Karl" von Humboldt.
In your reply to this inquiry you state that "Apparently neither oft the
brothers was a Mason." This had always been the opinion that I had held,
though I never investigated the matter
in the 1860's there was organized at Columbus, Ohio, a Humboldt Society. Its
founders were a group of men of the highest type, who were of German
extraction and who had had a German University education. The objects of the
society were cultural, intellectual and social. The organization stood for
everything that was of the highest, ethically and culturally, and also
patriotically. Somehow I had always believed that the high and good repute of
this society induced the charter members of what became Humboldt Lodge, No.
476, to adopt the name "Humboldt" for the lodge. As a student in 1880 and 1881
I lived at the home of perhaps the most prominent member of Humboldt Society,
of the oldest members of Humboldt Lodge, and the son of the oldest living
member of the now defunct Humboldt Society tells me I am mistaken in my
surmise, and that neither one or the other, if not both of the Humboldt
brothers, Alexander and William were Masons, that he had a book at home
containing the evidence. Subsequently he told me he could not find the book.
whole question was referred by me to a competent correspondent in Germany. I
have just heard from him, He has investigated the records of his own lodge.
Grosse Loge von Preussen, as well as those of the Grosse Loge zu den drei
Weltkugeln. The record of both these lodges do not show that either of the
Humboldt brothers were members of the Masonic Order. A member of the
last-named lodge, a member of considerable standing as a Masonic author and
historian thinks it probable that Alex. V Humboldt, the naturalist, was a
Mason. He thinks he remembers of having read somewhere that Alexander, on his
first trip to South America was raised in some South American Lodge. But this
is by no means established. Nor is it certain that the father of the Humboldt
brothers held membership in the Order. However, my correspondent has become
interested, promises to continue his investigations and to let me know the
outcome. B. A. E., Ohio.
* * *
T.B.PROBLEM IN THE SOUTHWEST
Possibly THE BUILDER is off the subject of the relief of tuberculous Masons,
and relief too, of the brethren in the Southwestern States who are struggling
vainly with a problem that is beyond their power to meet, yet which, faced
with the spectacle of the dire distress of those who appeal to them for aid as
Masons, they attempt to meet as they can. Perhaps the enclosed item from the
San Antonio Express of July 2nd may be of interest to you. There are still
Masons among those who are mentioned in it as being in need of help. S. K. O.,
clipping enclosed was an Associated Press report from San Francisco, and was
Jessamine S. Whitney of New York, statistician of the National Tuberculosis
Association, estimated in an address before the National Conference on Social
Work here today that there were 10,000 wanderers afflicted with the "white
plague," being cared for by various relief agencies in Texas, Colorado,
Arizona and California last year.
Whitney declared that since most of these ailing wanderers preferred the
smaller towns, the burden on the finances of' the various communities was a
Illinois, New York, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan were said by
Miss Whitney to be the chief sources of these migrants. She declared the tide
of migration was steadily increasing in the Southwest.
communities like El Paso, Colorado Springs and Phoenix, said Miss Whitney, the
financial burden is unusually heavy be. cause of the unusual number of
afflicted wanderers appearing for treatment. She quoted figures from Colorado
Springs to show that in 1920 there had been 385 indigent tuberculous persons
cared for by city agencies at a per capita annual cost to each resident of $1.
By 1927, she said the number had increased to 436 at a per capita cost of $2
Whitney said there had been a slight sprinkling of tuberculosis migrants
through Galveston, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth and Amarillo but not enough to
create a social or financial problem. In El Paso, she said, 88 per cent of the
clinic cases were tubercular migrants, in San Antonio, 18 per cent. The
tuberculosis death rate in Texas is low, she said. The number of tuberculosis
cases in the Denver clinic was given as 40 per cent while the corresponding
figure in Colorado Springs was 66 per cent.
BUILDER is not "off" this subject, but there is no apparent prospect of doing
anything at this time. We have said, and we still hold, that this problem must
be solved in some way or American Masonry will be stultified, and will suffer
accordingly. The law of the balance cannot be evaded.
* * *
FIRST LODGES IN AMERICA
and where was the first Masonic Lodge instituted in the United States? Who
were the first officers in it?
Simple as this question may sound there is no answer to it. There is no
record, and there is very little chance that any definite information will
ever be discovered. The whole subject was very fully treated in THE BUILDER in
1924 and 1925, by Bro. Haywood. Any of the histories of the Craft may also be
consulted for such facts as are known.
first man we know positively to have been a Mason in America was Jonathan
Belcher. According to his own statement he was initiated in 1704. He was born
in 1681 in Boston, Mass, and was in England at the period he claimed to have
been initiated, so that nothing is proved whether there were other Masons in
America at the time. Daniel Coxe was apt pointed Provincial Grand Master of
New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but he is not known to have ever acted
in his official capacity. Henry Price was appointed Provincial Grand Master
for North America in 1733, and he did constitute lodges. Benjamin Franklin in
1730 stated there were several lodges in Pennsylvania. Some time later he was
made a Mason in a lodge in Philadelphia, of the origin and constitution of
which nothing is known. These are fair samples of the scrappy and incomplete
knowledge we have of the early days of Freemasonry in this country.
* * *
ROMAN CHURCH AND MASONRY
following excerpt from a work of recognized authority, the Moral Theology of
Scavini, may be of interest to readers of THE BUILDER:
Masonry is a secret society having as its aim a bitter fight against the
divine authority of the church and the law. Its purpose is also to overthrow
the constituted legal government. This sect has been damned by all the popes
from Clement XII to our present ruler Pius IX. The penalty of excommunication
is inflicted ipso facto upon all those who become members or attend meetings
or participate in any of their functions. This applies also to all those who
in any way give aid to the sect or he who lends favors to this sect and
knowing their names or their doings does not denounce them.
Excommunication is also extended to those who read any book, statute or
by-laws of such a society. This does not only apply to those who read such
literature, but those also who hold such in their possession.
excommunication is also imposed upon any one who defends such societies by
writing or even word of mouth.
Alphonsus de Liquori wrote: "This sect some day will be the ruin, not only of
the church, but all reigning monarchs. Those monarchs who do not take care
will awake too late. These Masons, who do not have any love for God, certainly
do not have any for Kings." (Vol. II, page 642.)
is a clear exposition of the law of the Roman Church in regard to Masonry; and
however individual members of that church may think or feel, when it comes to
the point, by this law their conduct will be governed. C. F., New York.