The Builder Magazine
February 1930 - Volume XVI -
Historical Sketch of Albany
Sovereign Consistory Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret
BRO. ISAAC HENRY VROOM, JR., New York
THE City of Albany, N. Y., has the distinction of being the home of the oldest
working body of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Ineffable
and Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection having received its Charter on December
20, 1767, from Henry Andrew Francken, " Deputy Inspector General of all the
Superior Degrees of Masons in the West Indies and North America."
The early records of the lodge were long lost, but were recovered in 1901
through the efforts of the late Ill. John Hally Lindsay, 33d, and the late
Ill. William Homan, 33d, then Deputy for New York State. Ill. Bro. Homan
caused the Minutes from 1767 to 1774 to be published in the Proceedings of the
New York Council of Deliberation for 1902, and also a photographic copy of
them in the Proceedings for 1906. There appeared also in the 1902 Proceedings
a concise history of Ineffable Lodge by Ill. John Hally Lindsay, 33d, then its
These records throw a flood of light on the early history of Scottish Rite
Masonry in Albany and, in conjunction with the records of Masters Lodge No. 2
(now No. 5), F. & A. M., give us a fairly complete story of the building of
"The First Lodge House Owned by a Masonic Lodge in America." This house (1)
was situated at the northwest corner of Maiden Lane and Lodge Street (hence
the name) on the site of the present Masonic Temple; a bronze tablet in the
vestibule of which records the fact that:
Purchased Oct. 17, 1766 By
Brother Samuel Stringer
The First Lodge House
Owned by a Masonic
Lodge in America
Was Erected in 1768
and Remained the
Until Presented to
The Masonic Hall
Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem was established at the same time, but,
unfortunately, there are no early records available.
December 6, 1768, Ill. Bro. Francken appointed Dr. Samuel Stringer a Deputy
Grand Inspector and at a Lodge Meeting on March 27, 1769, "Br. Samuel Dr.
Samuel Stringer, Deputy Grand Inspector, December 6, 1768.
Stringer produced to the Lodge a Warrant from our Worpl. Founder, Constituting
him a Depy. Grd. Inspector, which was read and admitted of by the Body. " Bro.
Stringer was Master of the Lodge of Perfection from 1770 to 1774, and was also
Master of Masters Lodge for many years. His portrait is here produced.
Bro. William Gamble, the first Master of Ineffable Lodge of Perfection, was a
Civil Engineer by profession and a draftsman of ability. It was he who,
probably, executed the "Constitution and Patent" of Ineffable Lodge and he
also prepared tracing boards for many of the Degrees. Eleven of these are
reproduced in the Proceedings of the New York Council of Deliberation for
1906. and one of them will be shown in the March issue.
The Minutes of Ineffable Lodge end with the meeting of December 5, 1774, when
the "Lodge closed till this Night fortnight"; but the Lodge met for some years
thereafter. For some unknown reason the Lodge suspended labor and was revived
in 1820 or 1821 by Bro. Giles Fonda Yates, as will later appear. The Grand
Council of Princes of Jerusalem was also revived and continued active for
several years. It exercised the power of issuing Charters and one of these is
reproduced. Although it is evident that several of the Albany Brethren
received the higher degrees of the Rite, there was no Consistory established
until 1824, and what follows is an attempt to gather together into a
consecutive narrative the material at present available concerning the early
history of Albany Sovereign Consistory, S. P. R. S.
The early history of Albany Sovereign Consistory is so intimately connected
with that of Bro. Giles Fonda Yates that a short sketch of his life seems
appropriate. He was born in Schenectady, N. Y., on November 8, 1798, the son
of John and Margaret (Fonda) Yates. He was graduated from Union College in the
Class of 1816, with Phi Beta Kappa rank, and later received the degree of
Master of Arts. He was by profession a councellor-at-law and held the office
of Surrogate of Schenectady County from 1821 to 1840. For many years he edited
the Schenectady Democrat and Reflector.
Bro. Yates was Initiated Entered Apprentice in Morton Lodge No. 77, of
Schenectady, N.Y., on October 23, 1820, and received the degrees of
FellowCraft and Master Mason on October 27, 1820. On December 15, 1820, he was
elected Senior Deacon and the following year Senior Warden, to which office he
was re-elected in 1822, but was not advanced in 1823. On December 7, 1824, he
affiliated with St. George's Lodge No. 6, but did not sign the By-Laws until
June 24, 1825. W. Bro. Yates served as Master of St. George's Lodge in 1826
and 1827, and again in 1844 and 1845. He was also a Royal Arch Mason and a
is not known when he received the Scottish Rite Degrees, but it must have been
during 1820 or 1821, for in the Minutes of Ineffable Lodge of Perfection of
January 31, 1822, he is recorded as Senior Grand Warden, and on November 11,
1823, he was elected Sublime Grand Master.
Ill. Bro. Yates received the 33d on October 24, 1825, from Ill. Bro. John
Barker, special agent of the Supreme Council of Charleston, S. C. - as noted
in the Reprint of the Proceedings of the Supreme Council, 33d, . . . Portland,
1876, p. 36. Later, Ill. Bro. Yates stated that he took his vows as a
Sovereign Grand Inspector General "between the hands" of Bro. Joseph M'Cosh,
Ill. Gr. Secretary-General of the Supreme Council at Charleston, South
While the Supreme Council for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction was
established in 1813, it was not until 1828 that the two Councils agreed upon a
jurisdictional division of territory. On July 5, 1828, Ill. Bro. Yates was
"acknowledged and admitted" a member of the Northern Supreme Council and
Representative near it of the Southern Supreme Council, his appointment as
such Representative having been made May 11, 1826. His Patent of 1828 is in
the Library of St. George's Lodge No. 6, of Schenectady, N. Y., and is here
reproduced. On June 15, 1844, he was appointed "Most Illustrious Inspector
Lieutenant Grand Commander ad vitam" of the Supreme Council, N. M. J., and in
1851 succeeded Ill. Bro. John James Joseph Gourgas, 33d, in the office of M.
P. Sovereign Grand Commander. At a meeting of the Supreme Council on September
5, 1851, he delivered a most important address, in the course of which he
turned my attention to the history of the 'Sublime Degrees' very soon after my
initiation as a Mason. My intercourse in 1822 with several old Masons (3) in
the city of Albany led to the discovery that an 'Ineffable Lodge of
Perfection' had been established in that ancient city on the twentieth
December, 1767. I also discovered that not only the Ineffable, but the
Superior Degrees of our Rite had been conferred at the same time on a chosen
few, by the founder of the lodge, Henry A. Francken, one of the Deputies of
Stephen Morin of illustrious memory. It was not long, moreover, before I found
the original warrant of this lodge, its book of minutes, the patents of III.
Brothers Samuel Stringer, M. D., Jeremiah Van Rensselaer and Peter W. Yates,
Esquires, Dep. Inspectors General, under the old system; also the 'regulations
and Constitutions of the nine commissioners,' etc., 1761, and other documents
that had been left by Bro. Francken with the Albany Brethren when he founded
that lodge. With the concurrence of the surviving members of said lodge
residing in Albany, Dr. Jonathan Eights and the Hon. and R. W. Stephen Van
Rensselaer, P.G.M. of the Grand Lodge of New York, I aided in effecting its
"The necessary proceedings were thereupon instituted to place the same under
the Superintendence of a Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem, as required by
the old Constitutions; and such Grand Council was subsequently opened in due
form in said city.
"Having been made aware of 'the new Constitution of the thirty- third Degree,'
ratified on the first of May, 1786, conferring the Supreme Power over our Rite
on 'Councils of nine Brethren,' I hastened to place myself in correspondence
with Moses Holbrook, M. D., at the time S. G. Commander of the Supreme Council
at Charleston, and with my esteemed friends Joseph McCosh, III. Gr. Sec. of
the last named Council, and Bro. Gourgas, at that time III, Gr. Gen. of the H.
E. for this Northern Jurisdiction. Lodges of Perfection in the Counties of
Montgomery, Onondaga, Saratoga and Monroe in the State of New York, were
successively organized, and placed agreeably to the Constitutions under the
superintendence of the Grand Council before named, The establishment of this
last named Body was confirmed, and all our proceedings in 'sublime
Freemasonry' were legalized and Sanctioned by the only lawful authorities in
the United States, the aforesaid Supreme Councils.
"On the sixteenth day of November, 1824, I received a patent appointing me
S(overeign) of S(overeigns) of a Consistory of S. P. R. S., established in the
city of Albany. I would here also state, that on the thirteenth day of
February, 1825, a charter was granted to III. Bro, Edward A Raymond, of
Boston, Mass., and eight associates, constituting them a Grand Council of
Princes of Jerusalem; a charter was also granted them for a Consistory of S.
P. R. S., both Bodies to be holden in the city of Boston. All these several
Bodies named, as well as the Albany Grand Council and Consistory, have since
their establishment, paid due faith and allegiance to our Northern Supreme
the close of his address - having appointed Ill. Edward A. Raymond Lieut Gr.
Commander - Ill. Bro. Yates resigned the office of M. P. Sov. Gr. Commander
and installed Ill. Bro. Raymond as his successor. The latter, appreciating
Ill. Bro. Yates' great services to the Supreme Council and desiring to retain
him in active office, appointed him Ill. Grand Chancellor, H. E., which office
he retained until his death - at the same time serving as Deputy for New York.
The latter years of Ill. Bro. Yates' life were spent in New York City, where
he took an active interest in the local bodies of the Rite. Between April,
1856, and May, 1857, Cosmopolitan Consistory was organized in that city and he
was appointed the first "Sovereign of Sovereigns.
died on December 13, 1859, and his body rests in the Union College plot of the
Vail Cemetery, Schenectady, N. Y.
The foregoing account of Ill. Bro. Yates' activities is condensed from a
longer article by the present writer on the same subject, printed in the
Proceedings of the New York Council of Deliberation, 1914.
Portions of the correspondence to which Ill. Bro. Yates refers have been
preserved and were printed in the "Official Bulletin of the Supreme Council of
the 33d Degree, for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, " Vol. X,
No. 1, June, 1890, pp. 179-254. It is from these letters that most of our
information relative to the early days of our Consistory has been obtained.
While the Northern Supreme Council was established in New York in 1813, the
Charleston Supreme Council apparently continued for some time to grant
charters in the Northern territory. It was the practice of this Supreme
Council never to establish more than one Consistory, 32d, in a state. The
Supreme Council only chartered Councils, 16d, and Consistories, 32d, the
Councils chartered Lodges of Perfection and the Consistories regulated the
degrees from the 17th on. (Bul. Vol. X, No..1, p. 189.) This will account for
the absence of any early records or mention of Albany Sovereign Chapter of
Rose Croix, which was, apparently, incidental to the Consistory, although
established at the same time.
When Ill. Bro. Yates commenced his correspondence with Ill. Bro. Holbrook he
was unaware of the existence of the Supreme Council in New York City.
Ill. Bro. Holbrook had appointed Ill. Bro. John Barker as agent to effect the
establishment of Consistories and Councils, and it was he who instituted the
Consistory at Albany in the fall of 1824 or early in 1825. In 1826, the New
York Supreme Council commenced correspondence with the Charleston Supreme
Council relative to the bodies established by it in the Northern States -
especially the Consistory at Albany - and the Charleston Supreme Council on
September 22, 1826,
"RESOLVED: That the different subordinate bodies now under this jurisdiction
in the Northern States be directed to furnish and make out full returns of the
names of all of their initiates into any or all the Sublime Degrees specifying
which degree and their place of residence and avocations together with the
date and place of birth and religious persuasions that it may preparatory to
transferring the Jurisdiction over them to the legal Supreme Council of the
33rd Degree in the Northern States."
"The Consistory of Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret for the State of New
York will be pleased to take due notice of the above order and govern
themselves accordingly." (5)
response to this resolution Ill. Bro. Yates prepared a return from which is
taken that portion relating especially to the Consistory:
"To the Three Illustrious Supreme Council of the Sov. Gr. Inspectors General
of the 33rd Degree in the U. S. A. situated under the C. C. of the Zenith,
which answers to the parallel of 32d 47' N. L. and to the Meridian of 2d 32'
(or 79d 48') West Longitude.
"The Consistory of Sub. Princes of the Royal Secret for the State of New York,
established in the G. east of the City of Albany, in said State, would most
respectfully beg to leave to represent:
"That they have hitherto deemed it inexpedient to exalt and perfect any
Princes of Jerusalem (in any of the Sublime degrees conferred by them), except
those associated with the original founders of their body in the organization
of the same, who were not present to receive said degrees from Ill. Bro. John
Barker, general Agent of your Supreme Council.
"The above Brethren received the degrees of Sup. from that of Rose Croix to
that of Sublime Prince of Royal Secret from the hands of Ill. Bro. John
Barker, General Agent of the Sup. C. Of Sco. (3) Imp. Genl. 33rd Degree of the
Southern Tiers of U. S. in 1825 and admitted members of grand Consistory of
Su. C. P. R. T. for State of New York at the City of Albany.
"Bro Beck has moved to Vermont, and will not be able to assist us. Bro. Van
Dusen whose name was given in our Warrant, is at present under censure,
perhaps unjustly . . ."
The return continues with lists of members of the Council of Princes of
Jerusalem and of Ineffable Lodge of Perfection. It was copied many years ago
and a portion was printed in the Proc. N. Y. Council of Deliberation, 1902,
pp. 150-153. On March 22,1827, the Charleston Supreme Council transferred the
Consistory to the jurisdiction of the Northern Supreme Council, as is shown by
the following letter:
"Supreme Council Chamber, "Charleston, S. C., 17th May, 1827.
"Most Illustrious Brothers of S. P. R. S.:
"Agreeably to a resolution passed by this Supreme Council at its sitting of
the "Vernal Equinox," 23rd of the 12th month, called Adar, of the Hebrew year
5587, answering to Thursday, 22d March, A. M. 5831, A. D. 1827, I am directed
to write and inform you that, in conformity with a mutual arrangement, which
is legal and will be conducive to the good to the Craft, your Consistory of S.
P. R. S. at Albany will henceforth pay all due faith and allegiance to the
Grand Supreme Council of S. G. I. G. of the 33d Degree for the Northern
District and Jurisdiction of the U. S. A., rendering them all due obedience
which of right heretofore could be claimed or exercised with justice; hereby
renouncing on our part all our rights and privileges of control or direction.
In thus separating, as parent and child, this Supreme Council wishes you
prosperity both individually and as a Body, and can assure your respectable
Body that it will always give great Satisfaction to hear of your success.
have the honor to remain, with the best wishes, most illustrious brothers, for
your welfare both temporal and eternal,
"Deus Meumque Jus, "MOSES HOLBROOK, M. D., "R+, K - H. S. P. R. S., S. G. I. G
of the 33d Degree, "(L S. 33d) and Grand Commander in the Southern
Jurisdiction of the U. S. A.
"P. S. Your orders and directions will be received from the Illustrious
Brother J. J. J. Gourgas, Esqr., Sec'y Genl. of H. E., to whom you will as
soon as may be, report yourselves."
The correspondence indicates that several of the Brethren were reluctant to
sign a "Submission" to the Northern Supreme Council and that some of them
resigned. By this time the Anti-Masonic excitement was gaining strength and it
was difficult - if not impossible - to hold meetings. In 1828, Bro. N. N.
Whiting, one of the charter members of the Consistory, applied for a dimit on
the ground that "he must give up Masonry or lose his place as a Baptist
clergyman, on which, and which alone, he depends for his daily bread." (Bul.
S. C., Vol. X, No. 1, p. 218.) In a letter to him, dated April 4, 1828, Ill.
Bro. Yates gives the following interesting information:
"You know that the charter for the Consistory to be located at Albany was
granted by said Supreme Council (at Charleston, S. C.), to five or six
persons, including yourself, and that circumstances have prevented us from
doing anything as a body since the receipt of the charter in the fall of 1824.
You know too that, afterwards on account of our location, it was deemed proper
by said Sup. Council to transfer their jurisdiction over our Consistory to the
Sup. Council at New York. To effectuate this object and also that the
interests of the Southern Sup. Council and of our Consistory might be
promoted, they thought it expedient to appoint a representative in the
Northern Sup. Council, and as I was the presiding officer of the Consistory
this appointment fell upon me. I could not, however, act as such
representative without first receiving the degree of Grand Inspector of the
33d, &c., which I accordingly I received shortly after.... On the 6th
September, 1826, ' the Sup. Council at New York wrote to the Sup. Council at
Charleston as follows: 'Your request to have us recognize Ill. B. Giles F.
Yates, of Sehenectady, as your representative near our Sup. Council is
accepted with satisfaction. . . ."
From the facts thus far obtained we may gather that the Consistory at Albany,
N. Y., was chartered by the Supreme Council at Charleston, S. C., on November
16, 1824, with the title of "The Consistory of Sublime Princes of the Royal
Secret for the State of New York," and Ill. Giles Fonda Yates was named as the
first Sovereign of Sovereigns. It was instituted either later in the fall of
1824 or in 1825 by Ill. John Barker, General Agent of the Charleston Supreme
Council. The Consistory was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Northern
Supreme Council at New York City by the Southern Supreme Council on March 22,
1827. The Consistory had jurisdiction over the degrees from that of Prince of
Jerusalem (16d), consequently there was no separate organization of a Chapter
of Rose Croix. Little, if any, work was done for many years for, on April 4,
1828, Ill. Bro. Yates wrote: "We can hardly be said to be as yet completely
organized," so that the organization would seem to have been in posse rather
than in esse, potential more than actual.
An article by the present writer was published in THE BUILDER for 1920 under
the title, "The First Lodge House Owned by a Masonic Lodge in America." For
those readers who are unable to refer to this it may be said here that no
drawing or description of this earliest building erected in America for
exclusively Masonic purposes now exists
Proc. Sup., Courtland, 1876, p. 236.
In the passage quoted it will be observed that Ill Bro. Yates gives the date
of this revival as being 1822. The evidence, however points to meetings having
been held two years previously, in 1820.
Proc. N. Y. Con. Del., 1911, pp. 280-303.
Idem., 1902, p. 150.
While the date of Ill. Bro. Yates' birth is here given as November 9, 1799,
the usually accepted date is November 8, 1798. The former date would make him
but 19 years old at the time of his initiation into Masonry (October 23,
It is evident that these abbreviations have been copied incorrectly.
Bul. Sup. Coun. S. J., Vol. X, No. 1, p 192, Proc N. Y. C. of D., 1902, p 164.
(To Be Concluded)
Historical Notes on Masonry in the Civil War
BRO. FRANK P. STRICKLAND, Kansas (Concluded from January)
GRAND MASTER JOHN F. HOUSTON, of Missouri, who had consistently refused the
incessant demand for Masonic privileges for the so- called "good fellows" for
whom such privileges were generally asked, congratulated his brethren upon
their freedom from the entanglements of military Masonry; but he suggested
that, as many Masons had been made in army lodges, some method of procedure
should be devised by which subordinate lodges might be governed in their
intercourse with these Masons. The Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, still unhappy
over the fact that citizens of that state had made Masons in army lodges,
chartered by other Grand Lodges, ruled, June 13, 1865, that all citizens of
that jurisdiction so made were to be regarded as clandestines until formally
healed, the healing process to consist of submission to the same regulations
as those governing the application for the degrees.
Among the thousands of citizens of the border state of Tennessee who served in
both the Federal and Confederate armies were many Masons and prospective
Masons who sought affiliation with military lodges. Upon their return from
service they naturally sought Masonic intercourse in their home surroundings.
Although Grand Master Thomas A. Hamilton felt that many of these brothers were
not influenced by proper motives, yet the Grand Lodge, on October 2, 1865,
ruled that, as there had been many worthy applicants admitted to the degrees
in army lodges in both armies, they should be admitted into full membership
upon their return to the jurisdiction of Tennessee.
its Annual Communication, October 3, 4, 1865, the Grand Lodge of Illinois took
steps to evolve a plan of action tending to eliminate the evils resulting from
army Masonry; and instructed the Grand Secretary to issue a bulletin notifying
other Grand Bodies of the action taken. Because of the light which it throws
upon the subject of military Masonry, the copy sent to Kansas is appended in
the M. W. Grand Master, R. W. Deputy Grand Master, R. W. Grand Wardens and
Worshipful Brethren of the M. W. Grand Lodge of Kansas: The Grand Lodge of
Illinois sends Fraternal Greetings.
Dear Brethren: At a Regular Grand Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of
Illinois, M. W. Thomas J. Turner, Grand Master, begun and held at Springfield,
on the 3d and 4th days of October, A. D. 1865, A. L. 6865, the following
proceedings were had:
October 3d. 1865.
* * * *
The Grand Master delivered his annual address, which, on motion of R. W. Bro.
S. A. Hurlbut, was referred to a Select committee of five.
"Previous to my installation, several dispensations had been granted by my
predecessor to open military lodges in the army then in the field. I have
never been fully informed as to the extent of the powers granted by these
dispensations, but I suppose they did not confer any authority to invade
foreign Jurisdictions and make Masons from the citizen soldiery of other
States. In all the dispensations for military lodges granted by me,
jurisdiction was limited to the single regiment of Illinois troops to which
the dispensation was granted. I am led to believe that some of the military
lodges working under dispensation from our jurisdiction have greatly abused
their privileges, and brought reproach upon our Order. Instead of confining
their operations to Illinois regiments and troops exclusively, as they ought
to have done, they made Masons indiscriminately from soldiers and citizens of
other States, with very little regard for the kind of material used.
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri have especial cause to complain in
"M. W. George W. Washburne, Grand Master of Wisconsin; A. T. C. Pierson, Grand
Master of Minnesota, and E. A. Guilbert, Grand Master of Iowa, in the most
fraternal manner called my attention to the fact that these military lodges
were in the habit of making Masons of citizens belonging to their respective
jurisdictions, and that candidates had been admitted whose characters wholly
disqualified them from becoming Masons. As soon as these facts became known to
me I at once addressed letters to the Masters of all the military lodges
working under dispensations from our jurisdiction, instructing them not to
receive or act upon the petition of anyone who was not known to be a citizen
of the State of Illinois. About that time most of our military lodges
suspended work, and, the war being closed, they ceased to exist, having done
some good and much mischief. I would fraternally ask our sister Grand Lodges
to overlook errors which were not designed or Sanctioned by the Grand Master
or the Grand Lodge of Illinois.
"There is one question connected with our military lodges to which I invite
your careful attention. What is to be the status of Masons who were made in
these lodges? The lodges ceased to exist when the war closed. Some of them had
been broken up through the long marches and hard fighting which immediately
preceded the cessation of hostilities; the brethren have no demits, and in
many cases cannot procure even certificates of having been made Masons; some
have received only one and others only two degrees. They are all Masons, and
will naturally seek affiliation with Masons when they return to their homes.
How that affiliation shall be accomplished, and how those who seek advancement
shall be disposed of, are questions of grave importance, and of sufficient
magnitude to demand your prompt attention.
"In behalf of the brethren who have been made Masons in our military lodges
from citizens of other States than Illinois, I would fraternally ask that our
sister Grand Lodges adopt some plan by which they may, if found worthy, become
affiliated with lodges in their respective jurisdictions."
* * * *
The Grand Master appointed R. W. Breth. S. A. Hurlbut, of No. 60; W. James M.
True, of No. 260; John A. McClernand, of No. 71; Mason Brayman, of No. 4, and
John M. Pearson, of No. 27, said committee.
October 4th, 1865.
* * * *
W. Stephen A. Hurlbut, from the Committee on Grand Master's Address, submitted
the following report, which was received and read:
"Very grave and serious questions are raised by so much of the address as
relates to military lodges and their action.
"Either by direct authority of the Grand Lodge in dispensations conferred, or
by usurpation of power in those to whom the dispensations were committed, it
is clear that the rights of sister Grand Lodges have been repeatedly invaded.
Masons have been made not only of citizen soldiers of Illinois in the field,
but also of known citizens both of loyal and disloyal States, under apparent
authority from this Grand Lodge. For those who were thus made Masons, and who
reside in this jurisdiction, this Grand Lodge should provide by recognizing
them as such, and a resolution to that effect is appended. For those who have
been made Masons, and who of right belong to other jurisdictions, this Grand .
Lodge can do no more than to request the appropriate Grand Bodies where they
may permanently reside to adopt them into the general Brotherhood, if in other
respects found worthy, and thus heal the breach which has been made in the
"It is to be hoped that this experience will forever close the question of
traveling lodges operating within regular foreign jurisdictions."
* * * *
motion, the consideration of the report was postponed until 2 o'clock P. M.
* * * *
O'CLOCK P. M.
The Grand Lodge called to labor.
* * * *
The Grand Lodge resumed consideration of the report of Committee on Grand
Bro. L. B. Dugger moved to consider the resolutions proposed by the committee
Resolution No. 1 was then taken up, considered and adopted:
Resolved, That all Masons made in military lodges under dispensation from this
Grand Lodge should, upon the best evidence that can be procured of that fact,
be acknowledged and received as such, and, if found worthy, should become
members of subordinate lodges where they reside, and be advanced if
Resolution No. 2 was then taken up, considered and adopted:
Resolved, That our sister Grand Lodges are fraternally requested to take into
their charge such Masons within their jurisdictions as have been made under
these dispensations, and, if found worthy, to incorporate them into the
fraternity where they may reside.
true copy from the record.
Given under my hand and the seal of said Grand Lodge, at Springfield, this 9th
day of November, A. D. 1865, A. L. 5865.
HARMON G. REYNOLDS,
Grand Secretary (17)
This bulletin was issued too late in the year to receive general consideration
in 1865, as most Grand Bodies had already held their Annual Communications. It
aroused a great deal of discussion in the annual meetings of the following
year, when the troubles growing out of army Masonry finally came to a head.
With the advent of the year 1866 and the disbanding of the armies of the Union
and the Confederacy, and the resulting dispersion of the membership of the
army lodges, large numbers of army-made Masons were "left in the air," so to
speak, with no Masonic connection and little, if any, evidence to show that
they were brethren of the Mystic Tie. Upon their return to their homes they
naturally sought recognition. Their activities in this direction brought up
for final solution the problem which was engaging the thoughtful attention of
Masonic leaders. And a solution was now acutely necessary. Those Grand Bodies
which, through patriotism or other motive, had created the problem, now were
seeking, with anxiety, some method of solving it; those Grand Lodges which had
kept themselves free from the entanglements of army Masonry, although they now
saw their course justified, yet were drawn into the tangle, and forced to aid
in the solution.
Maryland refused to subscribe to the Illinois plan. Oregon refused recognition
to any soldier Mason unless he could prove that at the time of making he was a
resident of the jurisdiction which authorized the military lodge in which he
received his degrees. Florida made the same ruling.
the other hand, the District of Columbia adopted the Illinois scheme; as did
South Carolina. At the Annual Communication of the latter Grand Lodge, in
1866, Grand Secretary A. G. Mackey, reporting for the Committee on
Correspondence, discussed the subject of military Masonry:
Not more important to the Masons of Illinois than to those of South Carolina
is the consideration of these questions. Between the years 1860 and 1864, the
several Grand Masters who, during that eventful period, presided over this
jurisdiction, issued dispensations for the establishment of ten military
lodges among the troops of this State. From not one of these lodges have I
received a return of the dispensation, any report of its proceedings, or list
of its members. Many of them, established in regiments quartered for some time
near Charleston, did, I know, much work, initiating, passing and raising many
candidates. Some of their work, too, was unfinished, from causes which, I have
no doubt, were beyond their control; and there are now in this State many
Entered Apprentices, as well as Fellow Crafts, who received the degrees, as
far as they have taken them, in military lodges. Most of these Masons,
finished and unfinished, have now returned home, their lodges informally
disbanded, and they themselves without any external evidence of their Masonic
character, and are knocking at the doors of our regular lodges for affiliation
and for advancement, and the completion of that work which the military lodges
were unable to accomplish. I have received many communications, asking for my
opinion as to the proper course to be pursued in these cases. My answers have
uniformly been to this effect: I have looked upon these military lodges as
extinct lodges, whose records have been lost or destroyed, and of whose
membership there is no documentary evidence in the archives of the Grand
Lodge. In such cases, it is impossible to obtain dimits, and as the law does
not and cannot require impossibilities, I have advised that the lodge to whom
application is made for affiliation or advancement, may lawfully dispense with
the production of the dimit, and on the person applying proving his status by
"due trial and strict examination", the lodge might proceed to ballot for his
affiliation or advancement. But in cases where the lessons of Masonry had been
so badly taught or so carelessly received, that they had made no impression,
then I conceived (there being no evidence, external or internal, of Masonic
character or standing) that the petitioner should be treated as a profane
making application for initiation.
This, it has seemed to me, is the only way in which this difficulty can be
overcome; but the very fact of the existence of the difficulty in no measured
degree, has led me very seriously to reflect on the history and character of
military lodges as a part of the Masonic Institution . . . my experience of
the working of the system for the last four years would hereafter render me
exceedingly averse to their establishment in volunteer organizations which
have but a temporary existence. When the regiments are in activity, but little
time or opportunity is afforded to the soldier to acquire any useful knowledge
of the nature and object of the degrees which he has received; and when the
regiment is disbanded, the members are dispersed over the country with little
or no means of proving their Masonic character or standing, and every
jurisdiction is likely to be incommoded with a large class of unaffiliated and
will say nothing of the chances that, in a military lodge, a rigid scrutiny of
the character of messmates and of companions in labor and peril will not be so
likely to be exercised as in a lodge of civilians, but will base my objections
solely on the ground that a volunteer regiment, organized for a particular
purpose and for a definite period, is of too temporary a nature to admit
within it of the establishment of a lodge, which should always be a permanent
The Grand Lodge of Michigan, feeling that any blame in the matter of making a
Mason in an army lodge rested, not with the individual, but with the lodge
making him, decided to recognize Masons so made in military lodges authorized
by other Grand Bodies, or working in other jurisdictions, so long as they
remained in good standing, and, if dimited, to admit them.
The Grand Lodge of Missouri, never having countenanced military lodges,
evinced but little interest in the problem; but inasmuch as many Missourians
had been made in army lodges, the Grand Lodge ruled that they were to be
regarded as clandestines until healed, the healing process to consist, in the
case of those found worthy, in their regular election and advancement through
the degrees. Iowa adopted the same procedure, while the Grand Lodge of
Mississippi required its subordinates to affiliate, pass and raise those
soldiers who had received a part of the work in army lodges, provided their
petitions were handled in the same manner as those of other applicants. Grand
Master W. S. Patton, in speaking of the military Mason, remarked:
Masonry has no censure to inflict, or rebuke to administer, on account of
religious or political tenets, or his views or the position he took in the
past struggle (provided he is otherwise worthy) (19).
the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kansas, in 1866, Grand Master
Jacob Saqui, in handing a copy of the Illinois bulletin to the brethren,
circular has been received from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Illinois in
relation to the Masonic position of members of military lodges acting under
the authority of that Grand Lodge. Now when these lodges have ceased to exist,
truly, indeed, it is said the "questions raised" are of the most grave and
serious import. The Grand Lodge of Kansas has cause to rejoice that she
unhesitatingly refused to give the Sanction of her Masonic authority to a
single military lodge, and may congratulate herself that none of those Masonic
Ishmaelites can trace their paternity to her indiscretion. The circular marked
"A" I lay before you, confident that you will do the best you can with what at
best is a "bad matter" (20).
The committee appointed to study the subject made the following report, which
was adopted by the Grand Lodge: To the M. W. Grand Lodge of Kansas:
Your committee, to whom was referred the communication from the M. W. Grand
Lodge of Illinois, relating to military lodges, and the status of Masons made
therein, would respectfully report, that in the opinion of your committee that
and other Grand Lodges exhibited but little Masonic wisdom in granting
itinerant dispensations, which evidently have brought confusion among the
Craft, and we earnestly hope that the sad lesson taught thereby may prove to
them the necessity of guarding more closely the true interests of Masonry in
regard to the status of such as received the degrees in such lodges, your
committee are of the opinion that, however impolitic or, as some may say,
illegal, the granting of such dispensations may have been, we must recognize
as Masons those who received the degrees of Masonry in such lodges.
Fraternally submitted, C. K. HOLLIDAY, J. C. RICHMOND,
With the close of the year we thus see that while certain Grand Bodies still
withheld recognition to the army made Mason the bulk of them were preparing to
absorb him into the general body of the Fraternity.
1867 most of the Grand Lodges had reached a decision in the matter of military
Masonry, and the agitation aroused by the soldier Mason began to subside. A
few Grand Bodies, however, still wrestled with the problem. In that year
Louisiana decided to recognize all army made Masons; Wisconsin ruled that
these men must be first healed before they could be considered as being
Masons. The healing process prescribed required each applicant to petition in
the regular manner; if elected, he was to take the obligation of each degree
at intervals of not less than twenty days, show the usual proficiency in each
degree and pay a fee of not less than ten dollars.
spite of all the agitation growing out of army Masonry, Iowa, in 1868,
permitted the degrees to be conferred, out of time, upon a number of returning
soldiers. On the other hand, in Indiana, a hotbed of military Masonry
throughout the war, the pendulum had swung so far away from the soldier Mason
that, in 1869, the Grand Lodge even refused to allow its subordinates to
participate as such in the Memorial Day exercises.
Kansas, the stern exponent of regular Masonry throughout the war, never fully
accepted the soldier Mason, although it had subscribed to the Illinois plan.
Even at late as 1871, Grand Master John H. Brown aroused some unfavorable
comment in the Grand Lodge of New York, and in other Grand Bodies, by ruling
that a certificate of standing, or a dimit, from a military lodge was not
admissible in Kansas; and that an applicant should be formally healed before
being admitted, even as a visitor to a Kansas lodge.
MASONRY AND THE CONDUCT OF THE CIVIL WAR
various times during the progress of the War efforts were made to inveigle the
Fraternity into the political dissentions of the period. Many Craftsmen
believed that Masonry, founded upon the principle of "peace on earth, good
will to men," should endeavor to bring about a cessation of the unnatural
strife, and should use its influence to restore peace. But the attempt to
involve the Order in the political confusion of the times was almost
universally discouraged and condemned by the wise leaders who held the helm of
the Craft in those troublous days. Although few Grand Masters failed to refer
to the War in their addresses, yet they invariably sought to impress upon
their brethren the necessity of carefully separating their duty as Masons from
their duty as citizens.
Although Grand Master N. Greene Curtis eloquently expressed his sorrow, at the
Annual Communication of California, May 14, 1861, over the national troubles,
yet he thought that his brethren were doing their duty sufficiently when they
invoked the Grand Architect of the Universe to speedily end the unnatural
large part of the address of Grand Master Alexander C. Downey, at the Annual
Communication of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, May 27, 1861, was devoted to a
discussion of the perilous condition of the country. Brother Downey thought
that there were ways of clearing up the misunderstanding existing between the
two sections of the country. But he made no suggestion that his Grand Lodge
enter into the matter. On the same day, Grand Master McFarland, of Missouri,
exhorted his brethren to remember that Masonry knew no sectional or political
lines; that regardless of whatever they did as citizens, they should always
remember the teachings of the Craft.
the Annual Communication of Kansas, October 15, 1861, the Committee on
Correspondence, in reporting upon certain communications from the Grand Lodges
of Nebraska, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, referring to action that might be
taken by Grand Bodies in the political troubles, stated that, while it
deplored the loss of peace and hoped for a peaceful solution of the contest
which threatened to wreck the government, yet Masonry was a brotherhood which
eschewed interference in warlike projects; that it was the duty of the
Institution to attempt to relieve the horrors of war but not to bear a part in
the strife. The Committee, therefore, recommended that the Grand Lodge take no
Brother John Dove, reporting for the Committee on Correspondence, at the
Annual Communication of Virginia, in 1861, remarked:
few communications have been received from Grand Masters, bearing on the
distracted political condition of our suffering country, but on these we
forbear to comment, and would earnestly deprecate any concerted movement on
the part of the Masonic fraternity, as such, to interfere in any shape with
the discordant political questions now agitating the public mind. With these
our glorious old Institution has nothing to do; its mission is 'Peace on earth
and good will to mankind'; and when, by the relentless force of patriotic duty
it becomes necessary for the Mason to assume the character of soldier, he
should never be unmindful of the divine attributes with which his sword is
emblazoned - Faith, Hope and Charity " (22) His pacific words evidently had
little influence, for we find that, in 1862, his Grand Lodge prohibited
members of its jurisdiction from having any intercourse with Masons who
adhered to the Union. (23)
the Annual Communication of Iowa, in June, 1862, Grand Master Thomas H.
Benton, Jr., in his address, quoted Mackey to the effect that: "No civil
commotion can sever Masonic ties, or render nugatory Masonic obligations."
(24) He went on to say:
"That while the revolt of certain States against the authority of the
government, receives my unqualified disapprobation and condemnation, I know of
no reason why it should interfere with Masonic jurisdictions. Masonry is a
private Institution, established solely for social improvement, and the
inculcation of the principles of benevolence, morality and virtue. It is
restricted by no metes and bounds of civil jurisdiction, and has no special
identity with any particular government. Its character is universal, and its
objects everywhere, and for all time, the same. " (25)
the Annual Communication of Kansas, October 21, 1862, Grand Master Jacob Saqui
felt that, in the excited state of the public mind, there was some danger to
the Craft. He realized that obedience to the government was one of the
cardinal duties of Masons which the brethren should cheerfully perform; but he
feared that, in their zeal for the preservation of the Republic, they might
lose sight of that charitable spirit which should ever guide the conduct of
draftsmen in their dealings with mankind. He begged them not to bring into the
lodge political rancors which would cause them to act toward brethren of
opposite political opinion as Masons should never act. He called attention to
the fact that:
"Masonry never yet descended from her high position to participate in the
struggles of policy or of warfare that the error was not fatal to her
prosperity and usefulness, and not infrequently to her local existence." (26)
During the progress of the war several attempts were made to organize Masonic
conventions whose general purpose was to draw the Order into the political
arena. Few Grand Bodies participated in their deliberations, and the attempts
were all abortive. Grand Master George Armstrong, in discussing these
conventions, at the Annual Communication of Nebraska, June 2, 1862, expressed
the opinion that there was nothing "which the Masonic fraternity could advise
that would be mutually acquiesced in by the belligerent parties." (27)
The Grand Lodge of New York, in the same year, decided that the relations of
Masonry to the civil government, both of the United States and of the
Confederacy, were not such as to permit it to interfere with any line of
policy which either might see fit to adopt. consequently, Grand Master Finley
M. King had refused to attend a so-called Masonic convention, to be held at
Louisville, Kentucky, as he conceived that "it must necessarily be of a
political character," and he had no authority "to mingle in the deliberations
of such a body. " (28)
When American Grand Lodges refused to attend these conventions, it was hardly
to be expected that foreign Grand Bodies would care to be represented. Thus
Grand Master T. Douglas Harrington, of the Grand Lodge of Canada, reported,
July 8, 1863, that he had declined an invitation, extended him by the Grand
Lodge of Maine, to attend such a meeting to be held in New York. While he
desired to see an end of the struggle of the Civil War, and felt that Canada
would gladly assist in bringing about this end if she could do so with
propriety, yet he did not think it proper for him to attend the convention -
"First, because my attendance might be looked upon as an unauthorized
interference in a domestic quarrel with which Canada had nothing to do, and
secondly, because no Southern brethren could have an opportunity of giving
expression to their feelings." (29)
Many Masons believed that Masonic punishment should be inflicted upon those
who held political beliefs opposite to their own. In the North, certain
brothers thought that those who followed the fortunes of the Confederacy
should be expelled from the Order. In the South, some believed that the Order
should be purged of those who adhered to the Union. This sentiment was
constantly frowned upon by Masonic leaders. Speaking upon this subject in
1861, M. Wor. Bro. Garfielde, of Washington Territory, said:
"While the cloud of misfortune hangs black and threatening over the land;
while States are discordant and hostile armies meet to spill fraternal blood,
it is the high and holy mission of our fraternity to pour oil upon the
troubled waters; to act as ministers of peace, mercy and conciliation, and at
all times maintain our unity. Masonry knows no North, no South, no East, no
West, no nation or race. Its home is the world; its devotees, the worthy of
all nations; its faith centers in Deity, and its hope in immortality. Let us
act as Masons, while we think and feel as citizens of the Republic. So shall
we always be found true to ourselves, true to our families, true to our
country, our race and our GOD." (30)
Speaking of Masonic punishment, at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge
of Kentucky, October 21, 1862, Grand Master Hiram Bassett said:
"While I observe with pleasure that most of the Grand Lodges, whose
Proceedings it has been my pleasure to examine, have wisely abstained from
introducing any political legislation, I have been grieved to find that some
of our brethren in this jurisdiction have conceived the idea that what they
deem political offenses - crimes against the State or civil government - are
also breaches of Masonic obligations. In order to preserve that harmony among
the brethren, which is our strength and our support, it seems to me neither
ill-timed nor out of place to notice briefly here, the relation which Masonry,
as an Institution, bears to the civil government." He quoted from the Ancient
Mason is a peaceable subject to the civil powers, wherever he resides or
works, and is never to be concerned in plots and conspiracies against the
peace and welfare of the nation, nor to behave himself undutifully to inferior
magistrates, for as Masonry has been always injured by war, bloodshed and
confusion, so ancient kings and princes have been much disposed to encourage
the craftsmen, because of the peaceableness and loyalty, whereby they
practically answered cavils of their adversaries, and promoted the honor of
the fraternity, which ever flourished in times of peace. So that if a brother
should be a rebel against the State, he is not to be countenanced in his
rebellion, however he may be pitied as an unhappy man, and if convicted of no
other crime, though the loyal brotherhood must and ought to disown his
rebellion, and give no umbrage or ground of political jealousy to the
government for the time being, they cannot expel him from the lodge, and his
relation to it remains indefeasible.'' (31)
That there was not always unanimity of opinion, even in an individual Grand
Body, upon the subject of Masonic punishment, is shown by the action taken in
the Grand Lodge of Indiana regarding an incident which occurred in that
jurisdiction in 1863. A subordinate lodge desired to know whether or not it
had the right to expel a member who had gone south, accepted a commission in
the Confederate army, and was then fighting against the Union. Grand Master
John B. Fravel ruled that a brother could not be expelled for disloyalty
alone. But the Committee on Jurisprudence, to whom the matter was referred,
did not agree with the Grand Master, and ruled:
"Expel him, and expel him quickly; and should you ever catch him engaged in
his unholy purposes, treat him just as you would the assassin who, in the dead
hour of night, would, with stealth, enter your bed-chamber, and there, while
carrying out his purpose of robbery, plunge the dagger to the heart of the
wife reposing on your bosom. Your committee deny, in the most emphatic terms,
that there is any law of Masonry contravening or setting aside the first law
of nature self-preservation." (32)
However, the report of the committee was tabled, and justly, in the opinion of
the Committee on Correspondence of Kansas, which was "glad to see that the
Grand Lodge of Indiana is not disposed to misconstrue the Ancient Charges on
this point. However much our erring brethren may be politically culpable, it
is only politically that they are so; and however much as patriots we may
detest their course, we should not, by extravagant pleading, or farfetched and
unnatural construction, attempt to shove the old and sacred landmarks of the
Order out of their natural position, in order to gratify our patriotic ardor.
By such a course we injure the Order, open a gap for innovation, and gain no
advantage either to our country or the Craft." (33)
The Grand Lodge of Ohio gave proof that the policy of aloofness in political
matters was not unanimous among Grand Bodies, when, at its Annual
Communication, October 20, 1863, it passed fiery resolutions "expressive of
their utter condemnation of the infamous traitors engaged in the unholy work
of rebellion"; these resolutions further announced the "complete and thorough
determination of the Grand Lodge to sustain the government in its efforts to
restore the union of the States at every hazard." (34)
survey of the situation as respects politics shows that, while sporadic
attempts were made to involve the Institution in the tangle of political cross
currents, the Order, in general, abided by the landmarks and refrained from
taking those steps likely to involve it in the political contests of the time.
MASONIC RELIEF WORK IN THE CIVIL WAR
While the Masonic Institution regarded the army-made Mason with suspicion and
even hostility, and while it refused to be inveigled into attempting to
influence the conduct of the War, yet Masonry showed no unwillingness to
render all possible aid to the soldier in the field. There were few, if any,
Grand Bodies that did not contribute in some way toward the relief of the
troops. Some furnished money to be used by sanitary commissions in aiding the
sick and wounded; others provided medical and other supplies. Certain Grand
Bodies also donated the services of visitors who made personal contacts among
the troops. And this relief work was not confined to the soldiers of one side
only, but was extended to the men of both armies. Outstanding among Masonic
bodies in its relief work, was Louisiana Relief Lodge, No. 1, of New Orleans,
Louisiana. In 1861, this lodge reported its receipts for 1860 as $3876.46; of
which, $3087.15 had been expended for the relief of soldiers regardless of the
side on which they fought. (35) Although its resources became more and more
circumscribed as the War advanced, yet the lodge continued its good work
throughout the years of the great struggle, its expenditures, as late as 1866,
being $2392.36 The splendid work of the brethren of this lodge aroused the
admiration of Grand Master William C. Belchor, of California, who, in 1863,
called the attention of his Grand Lodge to the "noble act of J. Q. A. Fellows
of New Orleans, who, in spite of all opposition, fearlessly did his whole
Masonic duty toward those of our brethren who had the misfortune to be
prisoners of war in that city." (37)
The Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, in 1862, organized a complete
system of relief for the troops of both armies; Grand Master McJilton, in
1863, reported that he had visited many army hospitals, in his capacity of
head of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, and had found the need of Masonic
chaplains so great that he had appointed Reverend Brother Robert Piggott to
begin the good work, an idea that was strongly supported in many Grand Bodies.
final problem growing out of the War was the attitude Masonry was to take
toward maimed candidates. Many Grand Lodges, as in the case of Missouri, ruled
that, in the case of such petitioners, the subordinate lodges should adhere to
the landmarks and the rules and regulations of the Grand Bodies upon the
subject of the admission of candidates. Other Grand Lodges were inclined to be
lenient in the matter, as in the case of the Grand Lodge of Mississippi,
which, on January 21, 1867, ruled that it was proper to confer the degrees of
Fellow Craft and Master upon candidates who had lost an arm or leg, provided
they had been initiated before such loss, and provided, further, they could
physically perform the ceremonies.
With every line of human endeavor disjointed by the holocaust of the Civil
War, it was inevitable that Masonry should reel before the storm. The
conflicting ideas of various Grand Lodges as to the proper method of dealing
with army Masonry naturally led to great confusion which involved not only
those Grand Bodies yielding to the desires of the soldier petitioner, but,
also, those which, adhering to the doctrine of Grand Lodge sovereignty,
sternly refused to bow to army Masonry. Further, there was a large body of
sentiment among the membership of the Craft in favor of the Institution
entering the realm of polities and taking a hand, as an organization, in the
conduct of the struggle between the states - a sentiment which required the
utmost efforts of Masonic leaders to combat and suppress.
And this state of affairs was naturally bound to follow under the
circumstances. But, confronted by unusual conditions, the several Grand Bodies
sought, honestly and conscientiously, we believe, to solve the problems which
were presented to them. And the evidence shows that they did, finally, solve
them. During the period of reconstruction adjustments were made and the damage
largely repaired. The worthy army-made Masons were absorbed into the stream of
regular Masonry, which was soon flowing as placidly as ever, unpolluted by any
contamination growing out of political entanglements.
But there is a lesson to be learned from a study of the trials and
tribulations of Masonry during the period of the Civil War. In times of great
national danger when men are arming themselves for battle, there is, among
them, a vital need for Masonry. After all, men are but adult children. As the
ties of family and home are broken, and the perils of the battlefield draw
near, they cast about for some staff upon which to lean for strength and
support. Religion does not always furnish that support. But who that has not
experienced it can appreciate and understand the mighty strength and help of
the tie with which Masonry binds together its votaries? It is stronger than
the tie of comradeship which binds soldiers closer together than the tie of
blood brotherhood. How many American Masons will ever forget the cheer and
encouragement and comfort which they derived from the informal little Masonic
gatherings in the muddy trenches and reeking dugouts on the shell torn fields
From the earliest times there has been an intimate connection between the
Mason and the soldier. Our ancient operative brethren were exempted from
military duty, but they followed the Roman legions into the fastnesses of
western Europe and erected their bridges and fortifications; the great
cathedrals, which were their handiwork, were erected only after the soldier
had conquered the land. From the very beginning of Speculative Masonry, we
find, sprinkled over the roster of its leaders, the names of warriors. Who can
estimate the value to American Masonry, of the labors of the soldier draftsman
of colonial times? In all the history of mankind, the Mason and the soldier
have worked hand in hand - each the complement of the other. In the soldier,
Masonry has always had a defender; in Masonry, the soldier has always found
that peace and relaxation denied him by his stern profession.
The laws and regulations formulated for the establishment and government of
civilian, or regular lodges, are not, as a whole, landmarks. They are
conventions developed to meet conditions and have responded to changes in
those conditions; they may be subject to changes in future. The American
doctrine of Grand Lodge sovereignty, although it has come to have something of
the status of a landmark, is not one in the sense that the Ancient Charges are
landmarks, and it is virtually unknown in European Masonry.
Why, then, should there not be a place in American Masonry for the soldier
Mason? In what way would the landmarks be violated by the enactment of
legislation having for its objects the control of military Masonry during
period of hostilities, and the orderly absorption of the army made Masons upon
the return of peace? Why should the defenders of the country (including the
Masonic Institution) be made to feel, upon their return from war, that,
because they received their degrees in military lodges, they were pariahs and
Ishmaelites? Does it not seem that the Grand Lodges of the United States might
deliberately agree upon a policy to be adopted should any similar emergency
unhappily arise in the future? Is there not prescience enough, and
statesmanship enough, among the leaders of the Craft to accomplish this?
Proc. Kansas, 1866, pp. 24-5.
Review, Proc. So. Car, 1866, in Proc. Kans., 1867, pp. 250-1.
Review, Proc. Miss., 1866, in Proc. Kans, 1867, p. 259.
Address, G. M. Saqui, in Proc. Kans., 1866, p. 15.
Proc. Kans., 1866, p. 51.
Review, Proc. Va., 1861, in Proc. Kans., 1864, p. 464.
Review, Proc. D. of C., 1862, in Proc. Kans., 1863, p. 388.
Review, Proc. Iowa, 1862, in Proc. Kans., 1863, p. 392
Review, Proc. Iowa, 1862, in Proc Kans., 1863, p. 393.
Address G. M. Saqui, in Proc. Kans., 1862, pp. 264-5-6.
Review, Proc. Nebr., 1862, in Proc Kans., 1862, p. 320.
Review, Proc. N. Y., 1862, in Proc. Kans, 1862, p. 322.
Review, Proc. Can., 1863, in Proc. Kans., 1864, p. 454.
Review, Proc. Wash., 1861, in Proc. Kans., 1862, p. 326.
Review, Proc. Ky., 1862, in Proc. Kans., 1863, pp. 393-4.
Review, Proc. Ind., 1863, in Proc. Kans., 1863, p 390.
Review, Proc. Ohio, 1863, in Proc. Kans., 1864, p. 477.
Review, Proc. La., 1861, in Proc. Kans., 1862, p. 316.
Review, Proc. La., 1866, in Proc. Kans., 1866, p. 91.
Review, Proc. Calif., 1863, in Proc. Kans, 1863, p. 386.
Seth Warner; The Green Mountain Boy
BRO. WILLIAM M. STUART, New York
STUFFED catamount crouching upon the signboard of the Green Mountain Tavern in
Bennington, and apparently snarling toward the province of New York,
reflected, a few years prior to the outbreak of the Revolution, the spirit of
this tavern were wont to assemble the leaders of those settlers who had
resolved to protect their rights against the authority of New York, even to
the shedding of blood. And of these leaders, who gathered on frosty evenings
about the roaring flames in the fireplace and discussed over their wine and
long-stemmed pipes projected raids against the officers of the law, the two
most noted ones were the gigantic Ethan Allen and his smaller friend, Seth
Seth Warner had been born in Woodbury, Connecticut, in 1743, removing with his
father to Bennington twenty years later. The dispute with New York was just
then beginning and young Warner soon found himself involved.
The first settlement in what is now known as Vermont was made at Fort Dummer,
now Brattleborough in 1724. The region was claimed by both New Hampshire and
New York. The governor of the former colony disregarding the rights of New
York, issued grants of land in the new territory so indiscriminately that the
region became known as the NEW HAMPSHIRE GRANTS.
New York resorted to the courts, obtained a favorable decision and endeavored
to eject the settlers who had cleared and rendered valuable their isolated
farms. These pioneers now banded together, assumed the name of GREEN MOUNTAIN
BOYS, chose for their leaders Ethan Allen and Seth Warner, and proceeded to
resist the execution of the law. In the mountains of THE GRANTS ensued a
species of guerrilla warfare, in which the New York officers usually had the
worst of it.
the 9th of March, 1774, the Legislature of New York Province passed an act of
outlawry against the leaders of the Green Mountain Boys; mentioning by name,
and offering a reward of fifty pounds for the capture of each, the following
persons: Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, Remember Baker, Robert Cochron, P.
Sunderland, S. Brown, J. Smith and J. Brackenridge.
The valley of Otter Creek was the scene of this mountainous warfare, which was
yet of pigmy size. The locality and many of the events have been described
vividly by Daniel P. Thompson who, in 1839, published his novel, Green
Ernest Peixotto, in 1917, while collecting data for his book, A Revolutionary
Pilgrimage, motored through the valley of Otter Creek (or river) and thus
"From Rutland southward the road follows the Otter River, threading a
beautiful valley, hemmed in between the Taconic Ridge on the one side and the
main range of the Green Mountains on the other. The day . . . was showery, and
gray clouds hung thick at times about the mountains, hiding one peak and
revealing another; screening one range entirely and crawling over another in
long, white filaments, that hung like ghosts among the trees, and by their air
of mystery enhanced the sense of height."
is likely that the contemplation of such scenes as that portrayed by the
artist Peixotto had much to do with inspiring Allen and Warner to cast in
their fortunes with the common cause. When the guns of Lexington sent their
alarming message reverberating among the crags where the "Boys" had been
forced to pitch their camp, in order to avoid the New York officers, they
realized that their own petty quarrel must inevitably be engulfed in the
greater one now at hand. As many peaks were required to produce the grandeur
that was the Green Mountains, so the fate of the "Grants" would depend upon
the success of the "Old Thirteen." The bickering with New York must now be
cast aside so that all true men might hasten to the defense of the common
So, when Ethan Allen led his men to the surprise of Fort Ticonderoga, Seth
Warner was in command of the rear guard. Allen captured the fort, " In the
Name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress," before Warner could
cross. But Allen now sent his lieutenant to surprise Crown Point.
Warner was at first driven back by a sudden storm, but two days later he took
the place, garrisoned by twelve men, without firing a shot. Much plunder was
secured, including sixty-one cannon fit for service. At the last moment Warner
had been joined by Captain Remember Baker - another proscribed Green Mountain
Boy - with a small contingent of troops. Baker had seized on the way two
boatloads of British troops who were endeavoring to escape to St. Johns.
July 27, 1775, Seth Warner was elected by his own men lieutenant-colonel of
the Green Mountain Boys, now organized as a regiment. It was at about this
time that he accompanied Ethan Allan to Albany to offer the services of their
organization to the common cause.
The New York legislators were somewhat embarrassed. The attainder against
Allen and Warren had never been wiped off by a repeal. Could the Solons
receive in their midst the outlaws of the mountains?
After considering the matter from all angles, they admitted their former
enemies, by resolution, "to the floor of the House. " The hatchet was buried.
is likely that it was at this time that Seth Warner was raised to Masonic
Light in old Union Lodge No. 1, now Mount Vernon Lodge No. 3, the oldest in
the state outside of New York City.
The history of this Lodge is an interesting one. It was organized in Albany in
1759, under authority of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, originally issued to
brethren of what is now called in the British service, the Royal Scots
Regiment. During the years 1758-59, this regiment was located in Albany, and
many prominent citizens of the town were admitted to its Lodge. When, in 1759,
the regiment was ordered away, it left a copy of its warrant with the Albany
Brethren, to enable them to continue their meetings.
The Lodge worked under the copied authority until February 21, 1765, when it
was chartered as Union Lodge No. 1, by Provincial Grand Master Harrison. Eight
years later (July 30, 1773) the charter was confirmed by Sir John Johnson, the
son of Sir William Johnson and at this time Provincial Grand Master. On
January 6, 1807, it received a warrant from the Grand Lodge of the State of
New York, as Mount Vernon Lodge No. 3.
The By-Laws of Union Lodge, drawn up by request of said body by Peter W. Yates
in 1773, and approved by Sir John Johnson, were signed in order by the various
members, beginning with Peter W. Yates, Master. Seth Warner was the
ninety-sixth signer. Until No. 274, no mention was made regarding the dates of
the various degrees. The Brother who signed as No. 274 received his first
degree, January 14, 1794. It is therefore probable that Colonel Seth Warner
was initiated, passed and raised during the summer of 1775, receiving at least
the first degree while on his visit to the New York Legislature.
Colonel Seth Warner commanded some of the Green Mountain troops at the siege
of Fort St. Johns, under General (Brother) Richard Montgomery, and was
instrumental in carrying the operations to a successful conclusion. When
Governor Carleton approached with a relieving force, he was ambushed by Warner
and his men and driven into headlong rout.
Later, Colonel Warner was at Quebec, and he covered the retreat of the
Americans from Canada to Ticonderoga.
July 5, 1776, he was appointed by Congress colonel of a regiment in the
was with St. Clair at Ticonderoga, and when the Americans were forced to
evacuate that fortress, he commanded the rear-guard. It was on July 7, 1777,
that he fought his heaviest action at Hubbardton.
General Arthur St. Clair, a Master Mason, the grandson of a Scottish earl, and
perhaps the most unfortunate officer in our service, had been fairly
outgeneralled by Burgoyne at Ticonderoga. The fort was fully commanded by
Sugar Loaf Hill, later called Mt. Defiance. This elevation had been deemed by
St. Clair inaccessible for artillery. Burgoyne proved that the contrary was
true. With a battery planted on this height, he held the key to Ticonderoga.
St. Clair was forced to evacuate in the night and beat a hasty retreat.
Contrary to orders, someone fired a building and the flames betrayed to the
British the retreat. An immediate pursuit was organized. Colonel Seth Warner,
known as a bulldog fighter, commanded the brigade that was the last to leave.
At Hubbardton he was overtaken by the enemy 's advance guard under General
Fraser. Colonel Warner had three regiments - 1300 men. Fraser had 800
seven in the morning of that hot July day Fraser began the attack. Pushing
from the forest, the red-coated British infantry made a rapid charge. Warner's
men opened with quick volleys and broke up the assault. All would now have
been well had not a raw militia regiment commanded by Colonel Hale given way
and fled. This left Warner but 700 men to continue the action.
The Americans were, however, stationed in a strong position on the brow of a
hill, partially screened by trees. From this post they poured a galling fire
upon the British grenadiers, who occupied the Castleton road, and caused them
to fall back. Victory was again in sight for Warner's men, when drums were
heard in the forest, and soon the tossing of banners and the gleaming of steel
informed all that Reidesel and his Germans had arrived to support Fraser.
overpowering charge followed. Warner 's brigade was forced to flee over the
Pittsford Mountains. The loss on each side was very heavy.
Colonel Warner collected his own regiment at Manchester and at once began
whipping it into shape for further conflicts. It was soon to be needed.
When, the following month, hard-pressed Burgoyne sent Colonel Baume with his
German mercenaries on the Bennington raid, with orders to "scour the country
from Rockingham to Otter Creek," John Stark (soon to become a Master Mason in
Albany) took charge of the threatened territory, rallied the militia and sent
a messenger post haste to Colonel Seth Warner, begging his help.
once Warner ordered his men to march. All that day and part of the night they
plodded through the rain over muddy roads and arrived at Bennington during the
watches of the morning. Here they remained for a time, drying their clothes
and preparing their arms for battle. But Colonel Seth Warner joined Stark as
The first part of the Battle of Bennington ensued. General Stark made his
famous speech, containing the allusion to the future slumbers of his wife -
provided the red-coats were not beaten; Baume was mortally wounded, his
artillery and most of his men captured and the rest driven away. The militia
had fought well, but the end was not yet. Colonel Breyman arrived on the
stricken field with British reinforcements, at once charged the scattered
American militia, and it seemed that the battle would be lost by the patriots.
But now, just in the nick of time, the drums of Colonel Seth Warner's veteran
regiment were heard beating the charge. Through the ruck the Continentals
shoved with advanced bayonets, fell upon Breyman's troops and drove them
steadily until darkness settled and the historic contest was over - the
contest that proved to be the first nail in the coffin of Burgoyne's military
Once more Seth Warner and his men had proved their worth.
But the Green Mountain Boy's work was not yet done. At the battle of Saratoga
he was to meet again his old antagonist of the fight at Hubbardton - General
Fraser. In this decisive conflict of the war for American independence Warner
and his men rendered excellent service. At the end Fraser was killed and
Burgoyne surrendered. The war in the far North was over.
this campaign Seth Warner soldiered with such Brother Masons as Daniel Morgan,
the old wagoner general; Colonel Peter Gansevoort, a member of his own Union
Lodge No. 1; Colonel Cilley of New Hampshire ; Benedict Arnold, of Hiram Lodge
No. 1, New Haven; General Gates himself; Marinus Willett, the final savior of
the Mohawk Valley; Stark, Poor, Whipple, Paterson, Wilkinson, Glover, Dearborn
and Hull. Surely, Masons helped mightily at Saratoga to build the foundations
of the Republic.
Colonel Seth Warner was destined barely to see his country independent. Early
in 1782 he was forced by ill health to leave the military service. He retired
to Woodbury, Connecticut, the place of his birth, and there two years later he
died, being but forty-one years of age.
Friend of the puissant Ethan Allen, Green Mountain Boy, patriot of the
Revolution, Master Mason, Seth Warner - though his life was brief - qualified
as one of the builders of the nation.
THE DUCE'S REVENGE
Translated from DIE LEUCHTE by Bro. Jacob Ruehl, Illinois.
SOMETIME ago we gave an account of the situation of the Italian Masons who
have been exiled in the Lipari Islands. We based our report upon the
information of a journalist who had had permission to visit the Island. Today
we present the information given by three fugitives, Rosseli, Lussu and Nitti.
The former is a well known Professor of the University of Genna and the latter
a nephew of the some time Prime Minister, Nitti, who has for years been living
in exile. The escaped brethren are now safe in Paris with their friends.
According to the Ogenbacher Zeitxng, the trial of a Mason takes the following
Place of action: Prefecture of any city in Italy
People Present: The committee, consisting of the Prefect the Chief of Police,
the Secretary of the City Administration, and an Attorney for the Secretary of
the Interior, dressed in the robes of a judge.
gentleman enters the courtroom escorted by police. Three months ago he was
arrested. All that time he has been in jail without any preliminary hearing.
The Attorney rises from his seat, puts his cap upon his head and proclaims the
judgment already decided upon, to- wit: "Upon affirmation that you have been
connected with the defense of Anti-fascism, you are sentenced to five years
deportation in the Island of Lipari." The convicted is escorted out of the
courtroom, the committee is dismissed. The end.
Twelve hundred of such sentences have been given in one year. They are usually
reported: "Sent off by order of the administration." The prisoners are divided
upon the Islands Lipari, Ustiea, Ponza and Triniti. Amongst the prisoners are
intellectuals like General Beneivenga, once a dignitary of the Grand Orient of
Italy, and President of the Union of Italian Journalists. There also is the
leader of the Peoples Party, Turati; the representatives of the burghers, of
the republican party, men of letters, savants, Fascists who refused to be such
any longer; there are people who stood in the way of some higher officer of
the Fascist hierarehy. The official sentence is always based "Upon
affirmation." The trip to the Islands takes about fourteen days, during which
time the prisoner is handcuffed or laid in chains. The transport is made in
railroad cars traveling about eight kilometers per hour. At night we lodge in
penitentaries. The Island lies in a northwestern direction from Messina and is
about thirty-eight square kilometers and has about five hundred population.
Amongst the deported are highway robbers and other criminals from the gutter.
Four hundred guards watch the prisoners. Around the Island circle continuously
three gun-boats, and one high-sea-boat does patrol service. The shores are
watched by a chain of sentinels about two for every one hundred meters. At
night searchlights throw light upon the island every ten minutes. Radio,
aeroplanes and every modern technical device is carefully put in service. The
living allowance for prisoners has been reduced from 20 Lire to 10 Lire per
diem. Out of this sum the cost of living quarters and food must be paid.
Diseases are very common. It is forbidden to send food or clothing to the
prisoners on the island. Letters are severely censured, which means physical
and mental repression, which again causes the prisoners to become homesick or
to lose their minds if there is no chance for an escape.
shake off these conditions was the work of three of Italy's best men.
Reluctantly they tell of their escape, some of their escape, not all, because
one incautious word and the whole secret is exposed. They gave representatives
of the French press the following narration of their experience:
the night of June 27, a night with no moon, the three at a certain signal
jumped into the sea. It was about 9 p. m. At 9:10 p. m., they had to be at a
certain rock in the sea, which lay about one hundred and fifty meters from the
shore. At 9:20 a boat was to be at this rock. At 9:25 they had to be in the
boat, or their chance of liberty was lost because at 9:30 the last roll call
took place and their absence would be noticed, and then every means would be
at once put in motion to find the fugitives; if found life as well as liberty
would be in danger. Professor Roselli was a few minutes behind, with his
clothes on he jumped in the water, he had no time to take them off. While
swimming he saw the Carabineri on patrol, but they did not see him. Once he
had to dive in order to avoid the searchlights. Finally he came to the rock.
The others were waiting for him. holding on to the rock with their hands,
keeping their heads above water, with such thoughts as: "Are we on time? Oh,
faith! One minute we are saved and - one minute we are lost." On the minute,
there was the boat, another minute and we are in it. We are saved. Ten minutes
later the whole island is alarmed; too late! We are saved.
MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
OF ASSOCIATE EDITORS
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
STUDY CLUB DEPARTMENT
the autumn of 1927 we made a considerable change in the Study Club pages of
THE BUILDER. For quite a number of years before that they had been used for
series of articles of a nature that could hardly be described as elementary.
In short, from 1921 up to 1927 the material used in this department was in no
way essentially different in character from the general articles and papers
published in the body of the magazine. In the years preceding that a
supplement had been published first under the heading of the "Correspondence
Circle Bulletin." The title was varied somewhat in different years, but the
substance was much the same. From 1915 to 1921 a series of elementary lessons
in Freemasonry were published (the greater part of which has been since
republished in book form) which very fully covered the whole ground. Research
never comes to an end, but the boundaries of elementary teaching in every
branch of knowledge are not very extensive and do not change very much;
obviously from the very nature of things.
ground having been once fully covered it was a natural development to proceed
into more advanced subjects until at last it became apparent that the
separation of the articles thus labelled was a purely arbitrary distinction.
For this reason a radical change was proposed. It was sought to make the
department really accord once more with the elementary character of Study Club
work, but as it was absurd to cover the ground once more when perfectly
adequate material was readily available, the new idea was to make it of
assistance to those who sought to organize and conduct Study Clubs.
have reason to believe that the material that has been published since 1927
has been helpful to many, but again it has come to an end. In one way it has
been very disappointing; those interested have on the whole taken, but have
not given. Had Study Club leaders and members more generally kept us informed
of their activities, there would probably have been a sufficiency of new ideas
to have maintained the value and interest of this department. However, while
disappointing we can hardly say this was wholly unexpected.
these considerations had for some time made the utility of continuing this
part of the work a matter of doubt, the final decision to discontinue it was
reached quite suddenly. Bro. Hungerford, who took over the work from Bro.
Thiemeyer, had also found that a change in his other affairs made it
impossible for him to devote as much time to it as had been expected, and
there being no one else in sight to undertake it the decision was made to drop
it, at least for the time being.
as we said when the change was made before, this is not a final decision, it
is experimental. We are no less interested in elementary work than before, and
will publish any useful material dealing with it that comes to us. We will
even resume the regular department if there is any real demand for it; for in
this, as in everything else, we are at the disposal of the members of the
* * *
MASONRY AND PEACE
CIVILIZATION is a tremendously complex thing, so much so that no analysis or
conspectus of it can be anything but schematic and partial. If we liken it to
a living organism, and the men and women who form part of it to the individual
cells that form our bodies then it is as hard for us to see all the
inter-relations of the Society in which we live, as we can imagine it would be
for a single cell to appreciate its function in the organic whole of which it
is a part.
analogy is capable of being worked out to a considerable extent without
straining it too much. Society has evolved as the organism has, the
development has not (except to quite negligible extent) been the result of
planning or foresight, but in the main has been a following of lines of least
is not a natural and inevitable outcome of organized society. It is true that
war is built upon, and affords an outlet for man's pugnacity, aggressiveness,
and desire to "take a chance," but it is not the only outlet for these
instincts, and as a matter of fact we find that the most primitive races of
mankind are not war-like. They do not lack courage, they frequently indulge in
fighting, and often enough kill each other, but this is not the same thing at
all as war. It begins without specific motive and ends when the combatants are
Roughly speaking - under all the reservations alluded to above - war does not
emerge in the history of the race until men have become so far civilized as to
accumulate property. As soon as the idea and the fact of property appears (or
as it may be called in another aspect, capital, accumulations of the results
of individual labor which enable the individual or the group to tide over
periods of scarcity without distress) there appears the by-product of
civilization - war, or organized robbery. For there is no doubt whatever that
war in its earliest forms is nothing more than this. And while this element
recedes somewhat as civilization advances, yet even up to quite modern times
all wars were expected by the participants to pay for themselves. The armies
lived off the country invaded, and enriched themselves by plunder. Of course
it was a glorious game of chance, where the forces were at all evenly matched.
Where they were not, the aggressors were frankly seeking to get something for
nothing, while the defenders tried to prevent them to the best of their
long as wars were fought with comparatively small armies, and at comparatively
small cost, it was possible to indulge in them frequently, and in many races a
war-like spirit became inbred. But concurrently with that other men developed
different outlets for their instincts and energies. But underneath the skin,
in all civilized peoples, is that quarrelsome, pugnacious, aggressive animal
which we find in the primitive races.
our civilization has undoubtedly come to a critical period, a parting of the
ways. Spengler and other pessimists believe it has passed its highest point,
and that from now on it will relapse again into barbarism. While we cannot say
that our civilization is really greater than others which have preceded it,
and have disappeared, it does have certain characteristics that have never
appeared before, and which present quite new problems.
far as previous civilizations were concerned, in their war-like aspect we find
that without exception their means Of defense were greatly superior to their
weapons of attack. This is one tremendous difference, for in our case means of
attack, of destruction, have already developed beyond any possibility of
adequate defense, and the growth of this discrepancy is continuing.
the second place our civilization has developed communications to an extent
that till recently was not only unimagined but would hardly have been
conceivable. This has two consequences, potentially it adds enormously to the
power of attack in war, that is, increases its destructiveness, and actually,
it has led to an interdependence between different states to a degree scarcely
realized, even by the acutest observers. Civilized countries are now so
connected by thousands of fibres and veins of trade and credit, and the whole
system is so delicately balanced, that any disaster to one part is felt in a
hundred unsuspected ways by all the rest. For one country to strike at another
is indirectly to strike at itself.
pressing problem, on which the future of the world depends, stands before us
now. Is there any solution? Are there enough people awake to the fact that
there is a problem? The cynic and the pessimist are with us always, with their
continual refrain, " There have always been wars, and there always will be
wars. Human nature cannot be changed."
even if we grant the latter statement, it is certain that circumstances can
change, that they have changed. Hitherto there have been two ways of acquiring
wealth, creating it by labor, or taking it from those who have created it.
Wars, until modern times, were profitable in the same sense that gambling is
profitable. The gain of one was the other's loss; but the gain was great and
in a sense easy - and certainly exciting. But bitter experience has now proven
that under modern conditions no one can gain, and so far as the excitement is
concerned, it is now at too high a pitch, and too continuous, for normal
people to find any pleasure in it.
have as a matter of fact entered a new world, and we have come into it with an
incongruous baggage of old habits, old fears and old traditions. Pride and
fear and habit. The problem is not a material one, it is psychological. We
need a change of heart. We need to accustom ourselves to the idea that it may
be as well to try taking some risks for peace.
Behind the statesmen of the different countries are their peoples. They cannot
go further than they are sure of support, and among those from whom they
should certainly find support are members of the Masonic Fraternity. For here
is an international organism. Without force, without external controls,
Freemasonry unites as brethren men of different countries with an intangible
but very real tie. There is no need to repeat that the Craft cannot act
collectively as an Institution, but the influence of Masons as individuals
each in his own circle would be incalculable. On which side is it going to be
* * *
WORSHIP OF THE LETTER
of the most marked instances of the tendency in American Masonry to run to
seed in pure legalism is the complex decisions and rulings which have grown up
about the sacred principle of the Secrecy of the Ballot. This is commonly
supposed to be a Landmark, and is treated as if it were an important end in
and for itself.
shall not attempt to say whether or no it is a Landmark, until some definite
agreed meaning is assigned to that term. According to the definition offered
by Mackey it certainly is not one. The ballot box was introduced first into
lodges as a natural and obvious mechanism for securing real unanimity in the
choice of Candidates, and obviating any suspicion of moral pressure upon
individual members of the lodge in making that choice. Later, having come into
universal use, it was regulated by Grand Lodges. Being thus a creation of
Masonic statute law it is subject to modification, and even, in theory, to
repeal. It is not the ballot that is a Landmark, but the unanimous consent of
itself then it is not an occult symbol, a divine commandment, or a fundamental
principle of Masonry, it is simply a practical means to a very practical end.
As soon, therefore, as this practical end is forgotten, and the procedure made
into a fetich or magical rite, all kinds of absurdities arise, absurdities in
some cases sufficiently ridiculous to be the cause of overwhelming laughter to
the unprejudiced observer, were it not for the grave, even intolerable
injustices that may proceed from them.
secrecy of the ballot is intended - or was intended - to protect the
objecting brother; to give him full freedom to object to a Candidate without
fear or favor. The secret is his, not the lodge's, and while it may for quite
secondary reasons be better as a general thing that he should keep it to
himself, to visit all the severity of Masonic discipline upon his head should
he inadvertently reveal it is a travesty of justice. A striking case in point
is recorded in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for 1928.
brother cast a black ball in the ballot upon an application for initiation.
Whether by collusion does not certainly appear (though it is suggested in the
report of the Committee on Appeals) the Wardens and the Master in turn
declared the ballot clear. When the brother protested that the ballot was
incorrectly reported, on the grounds he could have for doing so, that he had
himself voted adversely, he was charged with violating the secrecy of the
ballot, and sentenced to suspension.
Committee, in reviewing the case, having first come to the sensible and just
conclusion that the sentence and verdict should be set aside, was prevailed
upon, for considerations not stated - probably the sacro-sanct nature of the
Ballot - to reverse this decision, thus upholding the unjust action of the
lodge. As we cite this instance merely to illustrate the absurdities into
which this adoration of the letter of a severely practical regulation may at
any time lead its devotees we have nothing to say about the Master and Wardens
of the lodge, guilty either of the grossest carelessness or else, in the
language of the Committee, of a "most heinous offense" against the spirit and
purpose of the law, and a violation of the really sacred trust placed in them
as officers. But this brings out a comparatively recent development of the
ritual of voting, namely, that only these three officers are permitted to
inspect the ballot. In a past generation it was the established usage, after
the official examination, to invite any brother who wished to do so, to
satisfy himself that the report was correct. Had this old usage and safeguard
been retained such a case as this would never have arisen. But we insist that
in common sense and fairness the secret of the ballot is the objecting
brother's secret, and for him to reveal his vote is clearly quite a different
matter from a like action by anyone who voted favorably.
* * *
WILLIAM HENRY PIERCE
the Chicago Masonic Chronicler we learn of the death of Bro. William Henry
Pierce on January 6. It is probable that at the least two out of three of the
many readers of the Chronicler always turned first to the page on which
appeared the weekly contribution from the "Hired Man," under which pseudonym
Bro. Pierce was wont to hold forth his homely and penetrating philosophy of
life veiled in anecdotes and illustrated by a whimsical humor all his own.
Bro. Rapp, the Editor, thus expresses himself on the departure of his old
friend and co-worker:
good friend and co-laborer, William Henry Pierce, passed from earth January 6.
The tenement of flesh which had housed his gentle spirit is now mingled with
the dust in Oakridge cemetery. A multitude of personal friends will mourn his
departure, but a much larger circle of acquaintances, who knew him only as the
"Hired Man" and gained their knowledge of his personality through reading what
he wrote for this column, will feel that they have lost a friend A commentator
of great acuteness and interesting quality is gone.
has been evident for many months to his intimates that Brother Pierce's
thoughts were dwelling much on the translation from earthly existence to the
life eternal, and that he was preparing himself for the inevitable change that
he felt was not far away. Many things he has written in the past year or two
have revealed to our readers the trend of his thought. To us nothing among his
contributions reveals his state of mind more poignantly and pathetically than
the following, which appeared in The Chronicler of February 23, 1929:
"'When my father, in 1895, built a house on Latrobe avenue in Austin he
planted four lilac bushes on the lot, one in front of the house and three in
the back yard. The one in the front of the house and the one beside the north
fence in the back yard never did well, the first never having more than three
or four blooms on it at once and the other perhaps a dozen. But the two near
the south fence in the back yard were marvels of fragrance and beauty every
year, being profuse bearers of magnificent blooms. The spring of 1900 was a
very early one. Father died on April 28 of that year, and the lilac bushes
were in bloom, so we took the blossoms to the cemetery with us and placed them
above him, as we knew he would wish, for he loved them. Six years later, on
May 11, 1906, we laid Little Bill beside grandpa. Again the lilac bushes were
full of blooms, and these we carried with us, for they were Little Bill's
special pride. The year 1912 was cold and backward. On June 6, when my mother
died, the lilac bushes were again loaded with their beautiful flowers, and
again we took them to Oakridge.
will not be long now until the lilac bushes will be in bloom once more.'
consequence of Brother Pierce's death, a few weeks previous to lilac time,
which he thus set as the limit of his life, the "Hired Man" column will be
discontinued when accumulated matter of his writing has been published."
* * *
GUSTAV STRESEMAN AS A FREEMASON
Bro. Wilhelm Fluhrer. Translated from the Eklektisches Bundesblatt by Bro.
Jacob Ruehl, Illinois.
GUSTAV STRESEMAN, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, only became a
Freemason in his later years, although even in earlier life he concerned
himself with Masonic questions. Indeed when only twenty years old he wrote an
essay in which he gave a clear exposition of Masonic thought. As a member of
the student organization ''Neo Germania," in Berlin, he undertook the
editorship of the Allgemeine Deutsche Universtats Zeitung, founded by Konrad
Kuster, the organ of the "Allgemeinen deutschen Burschenbund" [General German
Society of University Students], and in this journal published a synopsis of a
work by Bro. D. Bischoff, Freimaurerei und Menschentum [Freemasonry and
Mankind]. In this review, he among other things, adopted and stressed this
statement by Bro. Bischoff:
must never think of himself alone, he should not regard himself merely as an
individual, separate from the community; nor yet as meaningless or minute part
of a great machine. On the contrary he must be convinced of the reality of the
mission he has to fulfill in advancing the culture and refinement of humanity.
A mission which pertains to every man, high or low, in conformity with and to
the extent of his ability. The moment that all men fulfill this duty a great
part of the present social problems will be solved. In the unity of an ethical
will is to be found a basis for a just apportionment of material goods, which
will lead to real human happiness; the first step to which is the equal
sharing by all in the benefits of our highly developed civilization.
thought of human brotherhood was ever with him. He was never a partisan, and
always stood for the rights of the working classes. He worked for a
reconciliation of capital and labor. As a statesman he emphasized the duty of
the state to care for and protect the weaker, thus naturally receiving the
support of the workers.
last in May, 1923, he found his way into the lodge. In the great temple of the
Gross National Mutterloge, "zu den Drei Weltkugeln," the Bundeshaus, he was
initiated by the lodge "Frederick the Great." Later he received in regular
course the degrees of Fellow and Master. In 1928 the Grand National Mother
Lodge elected him as an honorary member, an unusual distinction, and one which
betokens the estimation in which his truly Masonic work was held. He was
rejoiced when the nine German Grand Masters met in Conference in the autumn of
1927 to consider a new agreement for working together, after the Union of
German Grand Lodges of 1922 had split into three parties.
Streseman's death is a heavy loss to the world, but particularly to German
Masonry, in which he worked for the removal of the particularistic tendencies
which hamper it, and because he sought to carry into the profane world in
actuality what in the silence of the temple he had seen to be true and good
well known, Streseman had a great deal to do with bringing Germany into the
League of Nations, and thereby making the chances for the preservation of
peace in Europe much brighter than they had been. The following extract from
his first speech in the League Assembly is worth recording here:
hold that no country that belongs to the League of Nations thereby surrenders
any of its national individuality. The Divine Architect of the world has not
created mankind as a homogenous whole. He has given them their mother tongue
as the sanctuary of their soul He has given them countries with different
characteristics as their homes. But it cannot be the purpose of the Divine
world order that men should direct their supreme national energies against one
another, thus ever thrusting back the general progress of civilization. He
will serve humanity best who, firmly rooted in the faith of his own people,
develops his moral and intellectual gifts to the utmost, thus overstepping his
own national boundaries, and serving the whole world, as has been done by
those great men of all nations whose names are writ large in the history of
was himself one of the great men of whom he spoke, and doubtless his name will
be recorded as one who stood and showed the right way when the nations of the
earth stood, as they are still hesitating, at the parting of the ways. Throne,
the old, well trodden road that leads to destruction, the other a new and
difficult path that gives hope of leading to life and peace.
* * *
INTERNATIONAL MASONIC ASSOCIATION
Consultative Committee of the International Masonic Association held its
Autumn meeting at Barcelona in Spain in order that its members might
participate in the Spanish-American celebration that took place there in
September last year. The Bulletin of the Association has just come to hand in
which an account of the proceedings is given.
will be remembered, perhaps, by some of our readers, that a new edition of the
Association's Annual or Year Book was published in 1928, the first since 1923.
In this edition information was given about a number of Grand Lodges not
generally recognized as regular, and some criticism was directed against the
I. M A. in consequence. As a result of this some discussion arose at this
meeting of the Committee. It was suggested that the Grand Lodges and Orients
of the world be classified as hitherto by continents, and that under each
continent should be a triple classification containing (a) members of the I.
M. A., (b) Grand Lodges of unquestionable regularity, and (c) other
this it was objected that the I. M. A., or its Committee, would in effect have
to sit in judgment on this difficult and tangled subject of recognition, a
position entirely foreign to its purpose and constitution. It was proposed
that two categories only be made, perfectly clear and innocuous; (a) members
of the Association; (b) non-members; coupled with a statement that inclusion
in the list implied no judgment in regard to regularity either for or against.
An amendment to this was offered, that it should be shown with what other
Grand Bodies each one had official relations.
Another proposal was made, to the effect that in any territory over which a
member body of the Association had jurisdiction, no other body should receive
mention except by the desire of such member.
result of the debate it was finally decided by motion that the Annual is a
reference work solely, and should contain information about all bodies in
order to be complete. To this a rider was added that wherever a member body
existed it should be consulted in regard to non-member bodies in the same
territory, but that final decision remains with the Committee.
our opinion this was a wise decision. It is easy enough for any Mason to
obtain information about Masonic bodies recognized by his own Grand Lodge, but
it is exceedingly difficult to find out anything about others. The Annual of
the I. M. A., as it has been compiled in the past, is the only publication
attempting to give complete information for the whole world, of organizations
claiming to be, or calling themselves, Masonic. While there exist everywhere
good brethren, with the makings in them of inquisitors and heresy hunters had
they the power, who would prevent the dissemination, if they could, of any
information even of the existence of unrecognized Masonic bodies, yet such
information cannot possibly do any harm. And for Freemasons to suppress
information and burk knowledge is a ridiculous inconsistency. We trust
therefore that the I.M.A. will continue to give the fullest and most complete
information possible about every Grand Lodge, including the point of its
relations to others, for from this alone it will be possible to make a prima
facie judgment of its character and position.
next Convert or general meeting of the Association is to be held in September,
1930, in Belgium. It is hoped that the studies in Masonic fundamental law
begun some years ago will be continued.
Bulletin also contains a biographical notice of the late Sovereign Grand
Commander of the Supreme Council of Italy, Ettore Ferrari, world known
sculptor and architect, who in recent years has suffered so severely under
Fascist persecution. There is also an account of the dedication of a monument
to the memory of the late Isaac Reverchon, Grand Master of the Swiss Grand
Lodge Alpina. A warning is inserted in regard to the alleged Grande Oriente
Italiano at Florence, pointing out that no organization functioning openly in
Italy can be regular.
Edouard Plantagenet concludes his article on Le bases do droit Maconnique
(Bases of Masonic Law) by a brilliant criticism of the illogicalities and
inconsistencies of the various systems of "Landmarks." He claims that the only
document of universal application is the "Charges of a Freemason" in
Anderson's Book of Constitutions.
* * *
the Zirkelcorrespondence a Bro. Bolle of Potsdam, according to the Hamburger
Logenblatt, recently made the following statement:
Grand National Lodge of Freemasons of Germany is a Christian Institution which
shall educate its members in the sense of the traditional teachings of the
Order. . .
goal of the Order is not ethical, it is religious . . .
the pure religious educational work lies the difference between the essence of
our Order and the spirit of the Old Landmarks to which non-Christian Masonic
Lodges adhere . . .
to them [the non-Christian] is the goal of their Masonic work, is to us only
one of the avenues by which to reach the Masonic goal."
Hamburgher Logenblatt comments as follows:
must be thankful for this plain language. Indeed they use the right name for
their organization: a 'Christian Order.' Now, even the L,udendorffs may be
satisfied, and can stop their attacks upon the Grand National Lodge because it
not only rejects the Humanitarian Lodges, it also refuses to deal with any
other Masonic Lodge in the world.
all see in our Masonry the goal of a higher ethical education and religion is
a means to reach this end. However, the Grand National Lodge does not
acknowledge an ethical goal, it only strives for a religious goal! Then again
the amiability of which we have heard so often: 'Non-Christian Masonic
of course Ludendorf maintains of the Grand National Lodge that it also
artificially produces Jews. We Humanitarian Masons do not find anything in our
Lodges of an un-Christian doctrine. It is impossible not to find in the German
people, in their culture, and therefore in our work, the foundation of
Christianity. Therefore, our lodges cannot be branded as unChristian Lodges,
or better; Jewish Lodges. Whether our goal stands far behind the Grand
National Lodge and is only a means to the real Masonic goal, is not our
purpose to determine, we leave that to the judge of all mankind. 'He shall
examine my deeds, but my belief - no, that I do not believe.' In conclusion
one more citation from Bro. Bolle: 'The Grand National Lodge, with modesty, is
assured of its being indispensable for saving German souls.' Being modest and
indispensable for seeking German souls then God help the 69,078,000 German
souls who do not belong to the Grand National Lodge. They are massa
perditiortis [a crowd of the lost]. Till now, there was but one ‘exclusive
soul-saving church’ – the Roman Catholic. Now we have an exclusive soul-saving
Masonic Lodge, the Gross Landesloge of Germany.”
Chronicle and Comment
Review of Masonry the World Over
Membership Proposed in Connecticut
the Grand Lodges that are considering this important question, that of
Connecticut is also to be numbered. At the last Annual Communication M. W.
Bro. Robt. S. Walker discussed the subject at considerable length, and pointed
out that it was now permitted in three jurisdictions bordering on Connecticut.
Two statements were made which were not quite accurate. One is that there is
no prohibition of plural membership outside the United States excepting in
Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Unfortunately most Canadian Grand
Lodges have followed this American innovation; though in some of them dual
membership outside the jurisdiction is permitted. We are under the impression
too that the Australian Grand Lodges, or some of them, have followed American
usage in this matter rather than the British.
second statement referred to is correct so far as it goes, but gives an
inaccurate impression. As statements in the same form have been made elsewhere
it is worth emphasizing that, except for a very early attempt - in Anderson's
first Book of Constitutions - to limit membership in the London lodges (a
provision that apparently was never effective and never enforced. English
Masons have always been free to belong to as many lodges as they eared to join
and pay dues in. So that to say that plural membership "is now permitted," or
as Bro. Walker put it, has prevailed "for many years" in England, is not an
adequate statement of the facts. This, however, is merely in the interests of
accuracy, and is not here important in itself. The important thing is that the
suggestion was well received and the Committee on Jurisprudence reported an
amendment to the Constitution to give it effect, which report was adopted by
the Grand Lodge.
Lodges and Small
question of dual membership was raised by M. W. Bro. Walker as a sequel to a
valuable discussion on the size of lodges. By a comparative table he showed
how the large lodges tend to increase by a constantly accelerated ratio, as
compared with smaller ones.
disadvantages of the large lodge, in Bro. Walker's view, are first the obvious
ones of the difficulty of coping with the quantity of "work," and the dilution
of Masonic spirit that is almost inevitable in a huge aggregation. But
specifically he pointed out that in a large lodge the great majority were
debarred from any hope or opportunity of filling the offices of the lodge, and
were thus led to seek an opening elsewhere for their activities. This is very
true; it is a laudable ambition to become Master of one's lodge, and where
lodges are of reasonable size every brother able and willing will have an
opportunity to attain this position of honor and service.
is, however, rather curious that in other quarters there is a tendency to
insist that there are too many lodges, and that there should be consolidation
and mergers. There is little doubt that this is in line with social and
industrial tendencies in the United States, and that American Masons in the
mass are unconsciously affected by it. When to this trend is added the effect
of unwise or inadequate financial methods in lodges it seems to become
irresistible. Under present conditions it cannot be too strongly emphasized,
that any lodge that cannot meet its normal expenses from dues is improperly
Henry L. Palmer Lodge of Milwaukee
every large lodge in the United States could capture the secret of Henry L.
Palmer Lodge much of the misgivings that serious observers feel in regard to
the tendencies apparent in the American Craft would be dissipated. The
following is taken from the lodge bulletin, the Templegram, of some months
back. The membership of the lodge is composed of very much the same elements
in much the same proportions as are to be found in the larger lodges of most
American cities. They are far from neglecting the social side of Masonry but
neither do they neglect the other aspects as is too often done. Speaking of
the action of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin the Templegram said:
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."
Masonic Service Association
month we gave a resume of the report of the Annual Meeting of the Masonic
Service Association held in Chicago last November. In the November-December
issue of the Grand Lodge Bulletin of North Dakota we find the following
account of the meeting by M. W. Bro. Walter H. Murfin, who attended as
official representative of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota As it supplements
the report above mentioned in a number of particulars we give it here in full.
is extremely difficult to put down on paper my exact impressions of the recent
meeting at Chicago of the Masonic Service Association, for the very simple
reason that it is hard to analyze just what the situation is. As a member of
the committee to which was allotted the main work of digesting the past and
providing a program for the future, I was permitted to get in on the ground
floor where practically all of the work of the meeting was accomplished. This
committee was headed by Grand Master Sturges of Connecticut and included the
grand masters of Massachusetts, New Mexico and Utah, Past Grand Masters
Vanderlipp of New Jersey, and Poteat of North Carolina, Lively of Texas and
Murfin of North Dakota, and Brother Carl H. Claudy of the District of
Columbia. Never have we had the privilege of working with a group of men more
in earnest. Everyone thoroughly understood the problems before us, knew the
difficulties with which the association is confronted and from noon until
after midnight gave the best that was in each of them to the end that the
association might live and continue to function with increased efficiency.
Time and experience alone will tell whether or not the ends sought will be
"Stated briefly, the association decided to continue the monthly Short-Talk
Bulletins and to limit itself to that so far as any definite educational
program is concerned, but to maintain itself as a service agency in rendering
assistance whenever called for in assisting member grand lodges with their
individual educational programs in any manner possible, and of course, being
ready to function in time of disaster. It was also voted to hold a special
meeting of the association at Washington in February at the time of the
Washington Memorial meeting in the nature of an educational conference and in
which non-member grand lodges will be invited to participate. It is hoped that
as a result, interest will be aroused in some of these jurisdictions with a
resulting increase in membership.
"Financially, it was decided to cut out all of the frills and a system of fees
on a sliding scale was adopted with a maximum per capita of three cents as
against four cents last year and five cents previously. The executive
secretary will be employed on a part-time basis, but the office will be kept
open continuously and he will always be available for service to the Craft.
to North Dakota's future connection with the association: Notice has already
been served of our intention to withdraw our membership, so we are fully
protected. The writer's individual reaction, however, is that final decision
in the matter should be held in abeyance at least until after the Washington
meeting. The grand master and grand secretary will be present at that time and
should be able to judge as to whether or not there is any valid reason to hope
that the association can continue to live and be of any real service to the
craft in America. We are convinced that well informed brethren everywhere
realize that the death of the association would be nothing short of a
catastrophe to the fraternity, but we are not blinded to the fact that it can
justify its continued existence only by proving its ability to function and
serve with efficiency.
Grand Master George R. Sturges of Connecticut we are confident that we have a
chairman of the executive commission of wonderful character and ability and
who will insist on the association working if there is any work in it. Our
private opinion of the man is that there will be no sidestepping of issues as
they arise, that no excuses for failure will be tolerated and that the Craft
will be kept informed as to what. is going on. Brother Carl H. Claudy is the
new executive secretary for the present at least. Our impression of him is
most favorable. He is filled with enthusiasm and has a thorough knowledge of
the situation and its taking hold of the fob with a determination to yank the
association out of the doldrums and put it on its feet. Personally he has a
most engaging personality and one cannot help loving the chap. May success
attend his efforts."
Injunction Against Negro Masonry in Colorado
Negro Masonry of the United States is afflicted by clandestinism. Two rival
Grand Lodges in Colorado, both claiming lawful descent from the Prince Hall
Lodge, took their dispute, very foolishly, into the courts. The Grand Lodge of
Colorado, A. F. & A. M. then intervened with the result that a sweeping
injunction has been issued against both the Negro bodies forbidding them to
use any of the names, titles or emblems usually associated with Freemasonry.
Prussian Masonry abhors the Jew as American Masonry abhors the Negro, but it
does not seek to suppress by legal action the so-called Humanitarian lodges in
Germany which admit Jews and other non-Christians.
Foreign Relations of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky
Committee of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky charged with external relations
reported at the last Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in favor of
recognizing and exchanging fraternal representatives with the following
foreign obediences, the Grand Lodges of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland
(Grand Lodge Alpina) Jugo-Slavia, Finland and Spain, and also the Grand Orient
of Spain. The report was adopted.
recommendations seem to have been made very largely, if not entirely, on the
basis of the investigations made by M. W. Bro John H. Cowles, as the following
the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, F. & A M., of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
has been my privilege, and from it I have derived much pleasure, profit and
information, to visit and associate with leading Masons in many countries of
written and verbal authority of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, F.&A.M.,
of Kentucky, and also acting on my own responsibilities as a Past Grand
Master, I have investigated the regularity of many Grand Lodges with which the
Grand Lodge of Kentucky was not specifically in relations of amity.
"Several of these investigations I have presented to that peerless
correspondent of our Grand Lodge, Past Grand Master William W. Clarke, who
recommended, and the Grand Lodge adopting his recommendation has established,
fraternal relations with quite a number. I am very proud of this action of our
Grand Lodges of Masons in the world have problems confronting them,
difficulties to surmount, obstacles to overcome, that are colossal compared
with the conditions in our country. Their methods and ritual may differ some
from ours, but they are actuated by the same motives and possess the same
fundamentals as we do. They need encouragement and moral support, and I repeat
that I am proud that our Grand Lodge is so generous in extending the grip of
Brotherhood to so many of these Masonic powers.
must not boast of Masonry being universal - found everywhere on the globe -
unless we make it a fact. Since the Grand Lodge session (October, 1928), I
have made further investigations, and now I unhesitatingly recommend, and I
hope with the approval of Past Grand Master Clarke, who is himself quite
familiar with world Masonry, that the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F & A. M.,
enter into mutual relations of amity and exchange representatives with the
following Grand Lodges of Symbolic Masonry …
assure the Grand Lodge that I have taken every precaution, looked thoroughly
into the organization of each, and am satisfied that they require a belief in
God, have the Great Lights (Bible, Square and Compasses), are sovereign and
independent, and adhere to the Land Marks as they understand them.
H. COWLES, P. G. M "
* * *
Pressure of Ritual Work
a year ago THE BUILDER had an editorial article under this head which was
suggested by Bro. Joseph E. Morcombe, in the Masonic World of San Francisco,
of which journal he is the editor. None of our own readers took the matter up,
as we had hoped might be done, but recently Bro. Morcombe has returned to the
charge by publishing a letter from the Grand Secretary of California, Bro.
John Whicher, to M. W. Bro. W. A. Sherman, P. G. M., whose address to the
Grand Lodge of California six years ago furnished the text for the original
discussion. Bro. Whicher's letter is here given as a valuable contribution to
a very important subject:
the December issue of The Masonic World, Brother Joseph E. Morcombe reprints
and comments with approval a portion of your Bulletin No. 1, published and
distributed to our lodges in 1903. The excerpt is referred to and made the
text of an editorial in THE BUILDER for February of this year, under the
caption of 'The Pressure of Ritualistic Work.' The particular portion of your
bulletin quoted was as follows:
is the opinion of your Grand Master that in these times of rapidly increasing
membership the ritualistic work of the lodge should be separated from the
executive; that while the Master should be held to accountability for the
character of degree work, yet his energies should be devoted more largely to
the development of fraternal relations among the members - in short, to do
those things that will make his lodge a vital force for service and
understanding in the community.
editor of THE BUILDER expresses his opinion that your suggested method could
hardly be adopted in working the American ritual, which is so different from
any that has ever been adopted elsewhere in the world. But it does show that
such a plan is practicable, going on to state that it is not uncommon nor
unusual for Masters to call their Wardens to the East to confer degrees, and
even to request the lay members to officiate in the degree work. The sequence
of promotion, as usual in our lodges, is objected to by this editor. And
rightly so, because it tends, from bottom to top, to stress ritual and
ceremonial and to obscure the other functions of the perfect lodge, and the
larger the lodge the more ability is required in its executive head for it to
function as it should - a need that is too often lost sight of. The editorial
closes with this pertinent observation, that 'something ought to be done to
stem the drift of American Masonry away from the practice of intimate
friendship and brotherly love.'
pleased and heartened to note that the little seed sown by you six years ago
is apparently bearing fruit. I sincerely wish that you would water it and
encourage its growth by further preachment. Every day I see the crying heed
for a reform in our practice of requiring Masters of lodges to be first as
ritualists and second as executives. The ritual is necessary; it ought to be
guarded and fostered and taught in its purity as we know it. But it is not all
of Masonry. Indeed, it may be said that it is the warp of Masonry, and without
the woof the fabric of our institution is not complete - the fabric cannot be
finished without both the warp and the woof.
have a concrete - and I am tempted to say, a humiliating - instance just now
of a newly organized lodge of this jurisdiction being denied the privilege of
selecting as Master one of the outstanding Masonic students of America, for
the sole reason that he was unwilling to memorize and repeat the words of the
ritual. And this scholarly gentleman is one who, above all the brethren of his
lodge, and above most of the members of the entire jurisdiction, is peculiarly
and particularly qualified to give hills lodge "good and wholesome
instruction" concerning the history, the traditions, the legends and the
esoteric doctrines of Freemasonry. Yet under our law, which requires the
Master of a lodge to be able to repeat, parrot-like, certain words in a
certain sequence, this Masonic scholar is not eligible to preside over a
"There is no inherent law in Freemasonry that demands or even suggests that
the Master of a lodge should personally impart the esoteric lessons of the
degrees. Basically, Masonry requires that the Master shall be of good morals,
true and trusty, a lover of the whole fraternity; one who can and will teach
his brethren the dignity and importance of Masonry; one to whom the burdened
heart may pour out its sorrows; one whose skill in our laws and customs and
usages will enable him to conduct the affairs of the lodge in a manner to
reflect credit and honor upon his brethren and the community in which they
live. He should be a man to whom his fellows may point with pride as their
representative, and stand between the lodge and the public at large as the
embodiment of the principles and teachings of our ancient institution.
Master may now, under our law, call upon any Mason, whether he be warden or
layman, to confer degrees, he being responsible for the ritualistic skill of
his proxy. And I submit to you that there can be no valid reason why we should
continue to require the Master of a lodge to memorize certain words as a
condition precedent to his being permitted to assume the duties of that very
firmly believe that the opinion expressed by you as Grand Master was sound,
and that if we should revise our laws and permit the brethren to select as
Masters the men of outstanding character and learning and executive ability,
irrespective of their skill as ritualists, not only Masonry but the
communities in which lodges exist would be benefited thereby."
Morcombe comments on this as follows:
"Here, as always, Brother Whicher has the courage oft his convictions. Backed
by his knowledge of the Craft, and able to distinguish clearly between the
loose ideas of a careless time and the enduring principles of Masonry, he
points the way of right going as among the divergent paths of error. He sees,
as many others are seeing, that the insistence upon mere verbalism as sole or
chief qualification for a Master is the cause of a decadent leadership. The
qualities that are elsewhere demanded as all important are in Masonry regarded
as secondary in value, if not altogether negligible.
Grand Master Sherman was perhaps in advance of his time when, six years ago,
he made the suggestion referred to. But it was a living idea, and will not be
forgotten nor lost from the consciousness of the Craft. Sooner or later,
whether in the jurisdiction of California or elsewhere, there will be wisdom
to discern the worth of this suggestion, and by its means to redeem Masonry
from the appalling mediocrity of mere wordiness."
New Italian Freemasonry
Wiener Freimaurer Zeitung has the following item in a recent issue:
rumors current about peace between Masonry and Mussolini arose in consequence
of a correspondence from Paris, which, was based upon false information. After
an investigation we have come to the conviction that there is absolutely no
sign of peace between Mussolini and Masonry. The fact that the two names,
Frosini and Palermi are mentioned supports this conviction and is against the
reliability of the above rumors. Of Palermi we know that he has stood aloof
from all Masonic activity for years. Frosini is hardly known to us. Of him we
know only that he some years ago issued a patent to the irregular Danish
"Grand Orient," which may be the cause of the rumors of a reconciliation of
Italian Masonry and Mussolini. Mussolini himself in a speech denied these
rumors. Said he:
Lateran-agreement was opposed by two parties, firstly by the Temporalists and
secondly by Freemasons, who wanted to perpetuate the conflict. The Italian
government can defend itself against such attacks and it is really childish to
believe that the Fascist government would welcome a new Freemasonry to fight
Clericalism. The hopes of some foreigners will remain hopes only in so far as
the Italian State is concerned."
Old Story Revised
paper in Antwerp, The Metropole, publishes the following news item from Italy
on Mussolini and the persecution of Masons:
Mussolini could only then come to a reconciliation with the Vatican after
having annihilated the Masonic Order. King Humbert already in 1895 had made a
motion for a reconciliation. He had given orders for to accomplish this to
Prime Minister Crispi who asked for a respite. After a few days Crispi
reported that he had laid the question of reconciliation before the Grand
Master of the Grand Orient, who told Crispi to tell the King the following:
"On that day when the King of Italy makes an attempt for a reconciliation with
the Holy See we shall bring all Italy in motion against him [the King]. The
King was very much angered on account of this answer, and dropped the matter
story appears every now and then, but that it is true as told is quite
incredible. While it is possible that Crispi may have made such a statement to
the King in regard to the result of any attempt at a reconciliation with the
Vatican, that it should have been presented as an ultimatum from the Masonic
Order is quite impossible. But anything serves an anti-Mason,
Pope on Polish Masonry
die Drei Hinge of November, 1929, is an account of the Pope's latest
pronunciamento against Masonry in Poland The item is as follows:
address to a group of Polish Pilgrims to the Holy City the Pope spoke
vehemently against the growing influence of Masonry in Poland, which he
branded as a militia of hell. He said: "One must be on guard because there is
so much of perfidy, of danger and denunciation. The enemies of good, which the
Lord branded as the powers of hell, are entering Poland. The Masonic Order
which works its injurious influence upon religion, and in civil life, has not
omitted Poland, and is now trying to extend its work upon you, which is
destructive to your inheritance of your faith. If your religion, and your
healthy life as citizens is to be preserved, these treasures must remain
Pope concluded with a summons for unity, that the powers of hell do not get
the upper hand. “Human forces are not strong enough against these enemies, we
therefore must pray to God.”
books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of
the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which include postage, except when otherwise
stated. These prices are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without
notice; though occasion for this will very seldom arise. It may happen, where
books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some
indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is
equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make inquiries
for second-hand works and books out of print.
NEW MORALITY. By Durant Drake. Published by the Macmillan Co. Cloth, Table of
Contents sit and 359 pages. Price $2.50 net.
book, very interesting and very readable, is an honest but rather superficial
attempt to show a way out for modern civilization from its present moral
The author views the supernatural sanctions of morality
with suspicion and disfavor. If he were Bertrand Russell, your reviewer could
understand such an attitude because that gentleman holds ethical doctrines
which would win warm approval in Moscow and Leningrad. He is a revolutionary
in thought. But Dr. Drake in my opinion is nothing wilder than an
evolutionist, and might be expected to value the corroboration of the Divine
Will for ethical principles which represent what ninety-five per cent of
intelligent Christians unreservedly accept.
author should produce evidence for the questionable, though calmly stated,
assertion that "morality is far older than religion." (p. 5.) Reasons should
be given for a statement of such great importance, or it should be expressed
in a cautious and tentative fashion. Then again, he says "justice and mercy
and kindness and courage are virtues anyway." ( p. 7. ) Who told him so? The
Bolshevist has a code of ethics quite at variance with the ethics of Dr. Drake
but the former is an unbeliever; the latter I take to be a Christian of the
Liberal type, who is thinking out his position, and in the reaction from the
Puritan complex of his forefathers is inclined to regard the value of the
terms, God and religion, as purely emotional. But no Christian can rest in
that condition. God must be realized as the source of all things, the Author
of Life, and above all the Arbiter of conscience, the standard of right and
wrong - a Gad whom we see revealed, as far as moral perfection is concerned,
in Jesus of Nazareth. Either that, or be discarded altogether. It is in this
doing away with the sanctions of religion that our author's morality may be
regarded as new. Even so, he appears to be haunted with a desire to form an
alliance with religion. "It still contains much that is of the greatest value
for us and for the future." In the author's eyes religion henceforth is to
combine the functions of courier, guide, and publicity agent, or be half of
morality but to possess no authority. It must not dictate.
truth of the matter is that the author is an empiricist who is rather afraid
of experiment. He views with dismay the present moral laxity in social and
political life, and to steer civilization into safe waters he would reimpose
upon it practically the whole of Christian ethics - minus its religious
sanctions. There would be some notable concessions, however, to modern laxity
- an easy outlet to the unhappily married, a recognition and regimentation of
the practice of birth control, and sympathetic judgment and treatment of f
laming youth. But a new commandment (to offset these concessions) is added to
the decalogue, "Thou shalt not drink." The reviewer is nevertheless glad to
testify that nowhere has he seen the case for prohibition more temperately
stated and discussed than in these pages.
is made of the fact that the modern world has changed, and is changing, so
rapidly. The inventions of applied science, the industrial revolution, the
growth of class-consciousness among the workers, the Great War, the widening
of international relations, the awakening of racial consciousness among the
peoples of the Orient - these problems are noted and treated with considerable
knowledge and force. But one is compelled to meet the claims for the New
Morality with the Scotch verdict, not proven.
all, Christian morality is a coherent series of principles applicable to human
life. These principles have been applied through ages of civilization. Their
elasticity and adaptability to various conditions and to diverse races are a
common place of history. Why change them now, or call them by a new name? What
is happening today is that in an age of transition moral forces have been
somewhat deafened and bewildered by the multitude of voices calling this way
and that. But moral hearing will become clear again; nervous poise will
return. A new orientation will take place; a new application of Christian
ethics will be made.
author illustrates his theme from the experience of the Renaissance. He speaks
of the Pagan revolt which was associated but by no means identical with that
movement. It is a happy illustration, for Christian morality re-asserted
itself and in spite of a divided Christendom has remained the guide of
civilization until our own day. It is hard to believe that Christian morality
is an exploded force, that it is even exhausted, that it requires either to be
whittled down, or otherwise tinkered with, or given a new name. The sole
requirements are that it be applied more widely and its claims vigorously
not sure whether on page 265 the writer is quoting from a former work of his
own, or ventilating the views of the Federal Council of Churches. Whichever be
the case I regard it as a very noble utterance eloquently summing up what I
have been laboring to educe:
to be really Christian in business and you may discover the Cross to be no
longer an antiquated symbol, but a present day reality. Face the vested
interests of your own town, the owners of wretched house property, the
sweaters, the men who live by the shame of women, the publicans, all who grind
the face of the poor, and you shall know the fierce joy of being persecuted
for Christ's sake. Attempt the stupendous task of making the message of Christ
a reality to people of another race and civilization, try to Christianize
international relations and interracial contacts, and you shall find that
there is enough to call forth the entire energies of a full-blooded manhood
demand for adventure will not be satisfied until the religion we practice is
something like the religion we profess, until we are applying it to the most
difficult questions of modern social life, as well as in our private lives and
in our homes. But when we do this we shall rediscover the glory of the
Christian faith. It will be something for which we are glad to live and
something for which we shall be willing, if necessary, to die."
* * *
AND WEST OF JORDAN. By Albert Field Gilmore. Published by the Stratford
Publishing Co. Table of Contents, profusely illustrated, index, vi and 191
pages. Price $3.25.
purpose of this slender volume, as stated in the foreword, is to relate the
author's experiences and record the impressions received by him during a trip
to Palestine, Syria, and Egypt in the spring of 1927; and this purpose is
effectively carried out. The reader lays down the book with two clear
conceptions in his mind, one of Palestine and Syria as they appeared to the
author (Egypt is merely his taking off ground ), the other of Dr. Gilmore
main portion of the book deals with Palestine, which impressed the author in
three ways - geographically; as the land of the Old Testament and the Gospels;
and as entering, under the guidance of Britain as mandatory for the League of
Nations, upon a new and interesting phase of its age-long history.
Geographically, the features that struck the traveller were the small site of
this country which has played so decisive a part in human development and the
regularity of its physical divisions. Palestine appeared to the New Englander,
accustomed to the great distances of America, as a country which could be
surveyed in almost its entirety from one or other of its lofty heights. Such a
survey would reveal the physical division of the land into three
clearly-marked strips running from north to south - the coastal plain on the
west, the great hill-range which forms the backbone of Palestine in the
center, and the submarine trough of the Jordan valley, descending into the
Dead Sea 1300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean, on the east.
as it was, the country was vitally interesting, however, as the scene of most
of the events of Jewish history narrated in the Old Testament and of the
earthly career of Christ. Here were Hebron where Abraham buried Sarah in the
Cave of Macpelah, here the vale of Elah in which David fought with Goliath,
here Gilboa with its memories of Saul's defeat at the hands of the Philistines
and Gideon's "midnight victory over the Midianite host." Here again was
Nazareth of Galilee where the pre-ministry days of Jesus were passed, here was
Cana, or the Arab village which occupies the supposed site of Cana, where the
first miracle was performed, these were the ruins of the synagogue of
Capernaum in which Christ taught and healed, and these the stones of the very
steps up and down which He must have passed to and from worship. This was the
aspect of the land which most impressed the author. His real guide-book was
his Bible. True, he notes events subsequent to the procuratorship of Pilate;
somewhat dimly appreciates the extension of Roman civilization to this Eastern
country, especially to the region of the Decapolis; and remembers that this
was the scene of the first clash between Islam and Christianity in the seventh
century, the objective of the Crusaders at the end of the eleventh, and the
land in which Napoleon's destiny was decided at the close of the eighteenth.
But although these facts were known to his mind they appear to have made
little impression upon his imagination or his emotions. They were hardly
visible to him.
if, while the Holy Land of the Bible is clearly presented, medieval Palestine
is dim and misty, the land becomes visible again to the reader as it was when
Dr. Gilmore traveled through it in the spring of 1927, a land of many clashing
races and religions, depopulated and rendered comparatively barren by
centuries of strife and Oriental misgovernment, in which the British mandatory
administration was striving to maintain peace and order, to promote material
development, and to prepare the country for an independent existence of its
own, a land which the Zionist movement was seeking to remake the homeland of
the Jewish people. Dr. Gilmore's appreciation of this movement and of the
economic conditions of its success or failure is shrewd and penetrating. A
hasty visit to the French mandatory district of Syria gave material for a
brief but interesting description of Damascus, "the most ancient city in the
world," and completed the ground covered by the trip.
places described and the topics treated in the book have been the theme of
many works, and perhaps the chief interest of the present volume lies in its
revelation of the author's personality. As Dr. Gilmore takes us hither and
thither and records the impressions made on him by the various scenes and the
reflections to which they gave rise, the reader comes to regard him as an
actual fellow-voyager in the world of motor ears and walking tours, not that
of print and photographs, and to form an idea of his character as one does of
fellow travellers. The conception that arises is of a Protestant New Englander
thoroughly acquainted with the Bible and somewhat dominated mentally and
imaginatively by that intimate knowledge of the Scriptures. One detects a
keener interest in spots connected with the Bible narrative than in those
famed in post-scriptural history and an unconscious feeling of resentment when
the traveller finds that subsequent events have overlaid the actual topography
of Bible times with the accretions of a later development. The Samaritan
celebration of the Passover on Mount Gerizim is far more sympathetically
treated than the ceremonials of the Orthodox and Roman Churches which were the
product of the Roman and mediaeval development of Christianity. Between the
Samaritans and the author there is the bridge of the Old Testament, between
him and monk and patriarch, the gulf of the Reformation. And yet it is clear
that Dr. Gilmore has conscientiously tried to travel with open mind, to seek
the good in Moslem and mediaeval; the attitude noted is largely unconscious;
to him in his innermost mind Palestine is the land of the Bible, as it is to
most of us.
arises, too, a feeling that the author has not been able to get away from
himself and the thought of his own country in the fashion which produces the
best travel books. The nostrils that are offended at the Eastern odours of the
streets of Jerusalem and Damascus have not forgotten the sanitated townships
of New England. One feels that Dr. Gilmore is regarding his tour, again in all
probability unconsciously, not as a great adventure or as a great experience,
but as the means of acquiring information which will enable him to do more
effective work on his return home. One senses the feet that he is not just
soaking himself in his temporary environment but is preparing a course of
sermons and addresses. This is particularly the case when one stands with him
in the vale of Elah or beside the Sea of Galilee. In the former instance Dr.
Gilmore closes a vivid description of the scene and the incident with the
remark "David's victory stands to this day as an example of the triumph which
supreme faith in God ever wins over the bragging claims of evil," and after
describing the moonlit scene by the Sea of Galilee and the boats putting out
for the night fishing, he intrudes a couple of platitudes on the persistence
of the basic industries and the constant food supply provided by Providence
which transport us from the moonlight of the sea shore to the lamplight of the
though somewhat prone to preach and unconsciously bound in by training and
environment, Dr. Gilmore impresses the reader as being essentially candid and
fair-minded, and as having the very rare anad valuable characteristic of being
open to conviction and not afraid to change a preconceived opinion in the
light of facts. His fair-mindedness and intellectual honesty are especially
noticeable in his discussion of the French mandate in Syria, where conditions
as he saw them and the comments of those who had a more intimate acquaintance
with the country led him to revise his view that the French had acted with
unnecessary severity, and of the British mandate in Palestine with its deep
appreciation of the loyal way in which the mandate is being administered and
of the improvements that have already resulted therefrom, with the wise
comment that if action undertaken on behalf of others may lead to an
occasional mistake, criticism from those who bear no share in the burden would
be entirely out of place. Such a spirit as this is as admirable as it is rare,
and arouses in the reader a keen desire to meet the writer and chat viva voce
over the events and impressions of his tour to the "East and West of Jordan."
* * *
ARTICLES DE PARIS: A BOOK OF ESSAYS. TV Sisley Huddlestone. Published by the
Macmillan Co. Table of Contents, xiv and 207 pages, price $2.25,
might naturally be expected in this contrary world of ours the familiar essay,
having been invented by a Frenchman, Montaigne, has turned out to be
peculiarly adapted to the literary expression of the English character and
language. The French genius is too social, too neat and formal, perhaps also
slightly over sarcastic to be perfectly at ease in this particular medium.
There is no word in the French vocabulary which is the exact equivalent of the
English "home" and the familiar essay is essentially the literature of the
home. It is the product of a man seated comfortably by the fireside in his own
den chatting lightly with a friend, outlining an episode, sketching a
character, giving an impression of a favorite author or book, following some
random train of thought, or recalling a scene which has struck his
imagination. To pick up a new volume of familiar essays is to be admitted to a
new intimacy, to form another literary friendship. And this will be the
pleasant fortune of the reader into whose hands may fall Sisley Huddleston’s
Articles de Paris.
author has the wide range of interest, the power of appreciation, the
sympathetic touch and charm of expression which distinguish the finished
essayist. On whatever topic he chooses, the magic of Ninon de Lanclos or the
madness of Guy de Maupassant, the quaint religious sects of revolutionary
France or the toy balloons sold in the streets of Paris, a house that can be
turned always to face the sun or Clemenceau's political testament, he can talk
easily and attractively. And in the selection and treatment of his themes Mr.
Huddleston conforms to the canon of the familiar essay. The subjects arise
naturally of themselves as they would in familiar converse. "A strange thing
happened to me today as I was taking a bock in the cafe X ____ ," "What do you
think of Clemenceau's little sketch of Demosthenes?" "Have you read Herriott's
'Dens la Foret Normande?" "Were you at the unveiling of Maupassant's monument,
and what did you think of the minister's address?" "I see in the papers that
the vendange promises to be unusually excellent."
such conversational banality as these seems to have set the author going in a
little monologue on whatever topic has cropped up. And in the handling of the
theme there is the sympathetic touch, the power of putting the reader en
rapport with the writer's emotion that preserves the feeling of personal
contact in friendly conversation. If, in the style, a fastidious ear may
occasionally detect a tendency to overindulgence in alliteration, that is only
a friend's little idiosyncrasy - some people prefer an extra lump of sugar in
essay of A. V Lucas certain persons try to decide which one of the Essays of
Ella they would wish preserved if all but a single essay were destined to
perish in some great catastrophe. Naturally, the "Embarrassed Eliminators"
will fail in their impossible task. But if I were asked the same question in
regard to the Articles de Paris I should answer unhesitatingly, "By Running
Brooks." In six brief pages Mr. Huddleston has given us the story of a country
walk with the various emotions that its environment and incidents aroused,
little sketches of scenery, a delightful interlude, an idea of a philosophy of
nature, and done it without the least sense of overcrowding, nay, with the
spaciousness of the whole wide out-of-doors. I am looking forward to many a
pleasant chat with Mr Huddleston in the future on Leconte de Lisle, the
Almanac, Broadcasting, and Boulevard Trees; but I think I shall rarely take
the volume from the shelf without wandering at his side "By Running Brooks."
E. E. B.
* * *
THE DIARY OF A PRESIDENT. 1845-49. Edited by Allan Nevins. Longrnans, Green
and Co., New York Cloth, illustrated index. 412 pages. Price, $5.00 net.
consulting Who's Who in America we find enough information about Allan Nevins
to assure us that he is fitted for the task he essayed in editing the diary of
James K. Polk, who is known to brethren of the Craft as one of the eleven
Masonic presidents of the United States.
Nevins made an excellent record for himself at the University of Illinois
(A.B., 1912, A.M., 1913) and has also achieved a reputation in literary
circles through his work in the New York newspaper field and as an author of
several books. He is now professor of history at Cornell University. With
these facts before us, we can proceed with a hasty examination of the work in
American Freemasonry is indebted to William M. Boyden, Librarian of the
Supreme Council, 33d, A.A.S.R., S. J., Washington, D. C., for the best
compilation of facts concerning Masonic Presidents, Vice-Presidents and
Signers, to emphasize the title of the book giving the information. The
limitation of the Diary to the years 1845-49 denies us a picture of what
President Polk thought of the Fraternity in his younger days, for he was made
a Mason in 1820 and received the Capitular Degrees in 1825. His Masonic
activities in Nashville in 1840 are also unrecorded in the present work, but
we do read of the ceremonies in which he participated in Washington, D. C., on
Saturday, May 1, 1847, when the cornerstone of the Smithsonian Institution was
laid. Among other things, Polk wrote:
twelve o'clock a large procession, consisting of the military, Masons, the
order of Odd Fellows, and citizens appeared at my door….Delegations of the
Masonic Lodges of Pennsylvania and Maryland were present, as also a large
number of the Masonic fraternity and the Odd Fellows of the District of
as the Masonic references are - though I have not piloted them in their
entirety, as Masons should add the volume to their libraries in order to have
the full account - the book is of much interest for other reasons. There are
innumerable references to other giants of the period, many of them Masons, and
such will be recognized by the Masonic student. The outstanding events of the
administration were the War with Mexico, 1846-48, and the gold rush to
California, 1849, both of which are rich in Masonic anecdote and enduring
history. Sam Houston looms large in the pages of the book; he was the first
president of the Republic of Texas, and later Senator from the Lone Star State
after it became a part of the Union. Houston- and General Andrew Jackson were
brothers in arms in the Indian campaigns of an earlier day, long before either
had any political aspirations, for both were soldiers first and politicians
afterward Houston presided over the Convention at which the Grand Lodge of
Tennessee was formed, at which Jackson was elected as first Grand Master.
Another Mason whose name we meet is that of Major General Wm. J. Worth, whose
remains lie buried at Fifth Avenue and Broadway in New York, where thousands
pass daily, utterly oblivious to the monument which has graced the busy corner
California and Oregon are mentioned often during the period; as early as 1846,
before the United States acquired title to the Golden State, Benton of
Tennessee is mentioned as having "agreed that no foreign power ought to be
permitted to colonize California, any more than they would colonize Cuba." The
Pacific Northwest comes in for mention, for "Col. Benton in the course of the
conversation stated the fact that the British Hudson's Bay Company had now
twenty forts on Fraser's River."
was Colonel Thomas H. Benton, of Tennessee, whose nephew in later years was
destined to become Grand Master of Iowa 1860-62. In his capacity as a colonel
in the Union Army, the nephew, named after his famous uncle, commanded a
brigade in Arkansas, and saved Albert Pike's library at Little Rock from
destruction. This became the nucleus of the splendid Supreme Council Library
at Washington. The story of this incident is told in the Iowa Grand Lodge
Bulletin [July, 1925, pages 110-11].
Obviously, our interest in the book is more Masonic than general for as its
pages are turned, a panorama of Masonry's eventful history passes before us.
John Quincy Adams brings recollections of the bitter Anti-Masonic period; let
it be said that Mr. Nevins has also edited Adams' Diary, of which more must be
said on a later occasion. Adams' bitter opposition did not weaken the
determination of men like Henry Clay (Past Grand Master of Kentucky) and Lewis
Cass (Past Grand Master of Michigan) to remain true to the Fraternity, for
they were made of sterner stuff. Yet with all of this Masonic appeal, which is
recognized throughout the work like the overtones to a beautiful symphony, the
reader unfamiliar with the part that Masons played in olden time will find the
pages of the Diary instructive and fascinating. They reveal the thought,
spirit and soul of the period in which great things were initiated, one cannot
leave the book without renewed hopes for the welfare of our country and a
strengthened faith that this land of opportunity has a foreordained place in
the council of nations. The great men it has produced cannot be denied a
position of honor and achievement in the history of human kind. J. H. T.
* * *
IS FREEMASONRY? MASTER MASON DECREE: By Silas H. Shepherd. Published by the
Wisconsin Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Research. Paper, 31 pages.
Committee on Research, whose animating spirit is Bro Shepherd himself, manages
to accomplish wonders on the exceedingly modest grant made for this purpose by
the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin. The present publication is another addition to
the now long list of useful pamphlets that it has put out, most of them by
Bro. Shepherd. It is a guide to the study of the symbolism of the Third
Degree, and, though it is naturally largely a compliance , it is very well
arranged for its purpose. A list of references is appended for more advanced
MASONRY IN THE CIVIL WAR
glancing through the January issue, which arrived today, I noticed in
"Historical Notes on Masonry in the Civil War," in the second column of page
12, it states that the Grand Master of Michigan would not recognize as
"regular" Masons those soldiers of Michigan made in an army lodge in
Mississippi working under the "jurisdiction of Indiana" during the Civil War.
And on page 7, in the sketch of "George W. Baird: Sailor, Man and Mason," that
he, an American, a native of Washington, D. C., received all his degrees in
Tolerancia Lodge, No. 4, of Lisbon, Portugal, within a week, and three years
later, affiliated with a California Lodge, transferring later to Hope Lodge in
Washington, D. C. That he received the first fourteen degrees of the Scottish
Rite in Portugal.
on page 215 of "Recollections of Thirteen Presidents" by John S. Wise,
published by Doubleday, Page & Co., 1906, he tells the story of McKinley being
made a Mason in the Virginia Lodge at Winchester during the Civil War. Can
some Ohio brother tell us how and when McKinley affiliated with an Ohio Lodge?
is a very interesting and profitable point for study and discussion.
ARTHUR H. VAIL, Pennsylvania.
* * *
AMERICAN MASONRY IN THE WORLD WAR
following letter was received recently by Bro. Irwin, and it is so interesting
that we asked Bro. Howard's permission to pass it on to readers of THE
have just received the copy of your article in which you relate something of
my activities, especially in regard to the founding of Saxonia Lodge, No. 1,
and Liberation Lodge, No. 8.
hasten to congratulate you for the well-written and readable manner in which
you have presented to the Masonic world, and future writers, the motives that
actuated me in my efforts to better the conditions that beset the Craft during
the World War. As you so well state, there are occasions - and the World War
was one of them - when our American system of Freemasonry signally fails to
meet the need of the time; it is on such occasions that we need members in the
Craft who are endowed with sufficient vision to see the proper thing to do,
and then possess initiative to go ahead and do it. I make no claim of such
vision, but I did realize what was needed, thought out how we might make some
effort to meet that need, and then simply went ahead and tried to do it. That
is all there was to my activities. I then found it (to found an international
lodge) the correct thing to do, and I still feel that way about it. And now
that you have come along, with your data from sources that I never knew of
(extracts from various publications and writers) and speak in such a
complimentary tone of my activities, I am even more convinced that I was
trying to do and did do the proper thing. I was criticized at the time, I'll
admit, and by high authority, too, but just the same, results then and since
seem to vindicate my judgment. Again, I wish to thank you for your clear-cut
illustration of my international outlook during the World War and since. If
there is any one thing that should be thoroughly international in scope and
range it is the institution of Freemasonry.
will now speak of other phases of your article in an attempt to clear up one
or two small doubts that I note. On page 301 you speak of a rumor that came to
you concerning the Masons in attendance on the occasion of the forming of
Saxonia Lodge, No. 1. Let me say that the rumor of only commissioned officers
being present is not the fact; there were members present who were not
officers; just who, I am at this time unable to say, but I recall them being
present, It was the physical size of the after-smoking room alone that
prevented us from having all members of the Craft on the ship present; simply
no other place to meet, and we were forced against our wishes to limit the
number present to the capacity of the smoking room. That may have been the
occasion of the rumor that you mention.
in Europe two years ago, and was informed that Liberation No. 8 was making
good progress. Another time I shall endeavor to plan my itinerary so as to
visit the lodge and see for myself how the "infant" I aided in founding has
grown. In speaking of progress and growth in Masonic lines in Europe one must
always bear in mind the fact that it is not in numbers, as we in America are
so given to thinking of, it is the quality. Also remember that the population
is predominantly Roman Catholic, and also that frequently governmental
opposition is encountered.
speak more personally. I made a long trip a couple of years ago through
Portugal, all around the Mediterranean, Greece, Turkey, Roumania, Russia, Asia
Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Italy, Austria, Germany, Holland, England and
so on. Needless to say I made it my business to encounter as many Masons in
the various lands as I possibly could (the more prominent the affairs of the
particular nation the better), and in that way met with some exceedingly
interesting experiences. For instance, in hastening to Damascus to meet with
the various Palestine and Syrian lodge officials - with the four members of
the New York Grand Lodge - I met two automobiles of them at a famous spring in
the Lebanon Mountains. My guide and chauffeur was a bright young Arab, with a
limited knowledge of English. The Masters of the four Damascus lodges made
themselves known to me, and while little actual conversation could be held, I
assure you it was a most novel and interesting experience to me. They sent a
note by my guide to some gentleman in Damascus, and I assure you I certainly
was well taken care of in that city. For one thing, as you know, an Arab with
his house is the most secluded thing in the world to a westerner. I mean the
soul of an Arab and the interior of his house. Well, I was treated to a visit
to the interior of Sheik Somebody-or-other's house, and let me tell you that
it was by far the finest home that my eyes have ever beheld. When you hear of
Oriental splendor, let me say that your wildest imagination will give you but
a poor idea of the reality. But he didn't let me see his harem! Got a couple
of interior pictures, though.
look back over the past to recall the impressive moments that have come my
way, I seem to ever think of the night, when in Jerusalem, I was called to the
East, and invited as a visiting Grand Lodge official to assist the Master in
conferring the third degree, in the lineal descendent lodge of King Solomon.
This ceremony was performed far more impressively than we do in any American
lodge; at least any lodge that I have ever visited. It was not merely well
done, it was a work of ART. Of course, one can not, under the surroundings of
that place, do other than feel a sense of awe and reverence. That ceremony
doubtless made a much deeper impression on me than it did on the candidate
that was raised. I shall carry with me through life the most pleasant memories
of that occasion.
Again, at Athens the son of a local 33rd - I never could spell Greek names
anyway - guided me out to Eleusis and to the ruins of the Temple where the
various initiates to the Eleusinian Mysteries lived. Many were the indications
of past glories and relics of the work of the long ago visible to anyone that
knew what to look for. Unfortunately I did not have the time to do the
research that I would have most liked to do.
Couldn't meet a solitary Mason in Italy. But met a few most interesting men in
Austria. Only a few Masons, however, could I meet in Germany. Perhaps time did
not permit. In England I was treated to a dinner by one of the important
lodges, and had to speak before them; something I dislike very much to do.
Since coming to New York have had to speak but twice, once at Jonkeer Lodge in
Yonkers, and once some other place. That fairly well covers my story to date.
passed through St. Louis last September, but again my time limit would not
allow me the opportunity to call at your office and meet you. Another time I
will do so, for I have long since promised myself the pleasure of meeting you.
yes, by the way, I have been told, when in Paris, and other places, too, that
my activities in connection with Liberation, No. 8, and the attendant success
of that lodge in meeting the need which called it into being, brought sharply
to a head the idea of a truly international Masonic body, and that today there
is in existence an association at Geneva, Switzerland, closely connected to
the present League of Nations. If I was in any way instrumental in bringing
that body into being, and I know it strongly affects world conditions today,
then I assure you I feel I have made my contribution to the betterment of the
world. I wish you to know this; and I also wish you to know how grateful I am
* * *
you advertise yourselves "an open forum for all the Craft," I am wondering if
you will answer a question for a new subscriber and a neophyte in Masonic
Masonic public speaker, who claimed to have a deep knowledge of things,
recently made the statement to me 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 Masons' gild, but he replied he thought
Operative Masonry played but a small part. Which of us is right?
can 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
Bible with higher and lower criticism, so that now we know more about the
Bible than at any time in history.
regard to Masonic histories there is considerable choice. The two principal
histories in the English language are those by Albert Mackey and R. F. Gould.
The latter is the most impartial of the two, although it is not now in print
and can only be obtained secondhand.
However, both these works are voluminous and in a number of volumes. To begin
with, it would be preferable to start on one of the single volume works. There
is the Concise History of Freemasonry by Gould, and the recent work by Haywood
and Craig is eminently readable, and very accurate and just. We might also
mention the just published work of Bro. J. Hugo Tatsch, Masonry in the
Thirteen Colonies, though this, as its title indicates deals only with
American Masonic history. There are a great number of other Masonic histories
of greatly varying worth. Usually they are less valuable the older they are.
regard to the first question, your informant is undoubtedly quite mistaken. It
is an old theory of the origin of the Masonic Fraternity that it was derived
from the crusading orders, especially the Knight Templars and Knights of
Malta. Those who hold this theory ignore the rivalry, and even hostility, that
existed between these two orders, which makes it historically a rather absurd
position to take that they together had anything to do with the institution of
Freemasonry. There is no doubt whatever that Freemasonry has descended from a
craft organization of the Middle Ages. Further back than that, we cannot go
with any reasonable assurance.
* * *
WILHELM VON HUMBOLDT
was copyrighted in Germany in 1928 a book entitled Die Freimaurerei; ihr
Ursprung, ihre Geheimnisse, ihr VVirken. (Freemasonry; Its Origin, Its
Secrets, Its Activities), published by Alexander Duncker, Weimar. The author
is Gregor Schwartz-Bostunitsch. His effort is, among other things, in the
nature of an expose of Masonry and its secrets. Chiefly, however, it is
Jew-baiting and anti-semitic propaganda.
page 295 the author gives the names of several "of the most prominent men who
were Freemasons" at about the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the
nineteenth centuries. Among these is the name of Wilhelm von Humboldt.
letter written to the author, in care of his publisher, asking for
substantiation of the statement that Wilhelm von Humboldt was a Mason, brought
an immediate reply, from which the following is quoted in translation.
late Ludwig Keller, a man of renown, a high official in the lodge and an
investigator in the field of the history of the order, says in his book
Freemasonry, [vol. 463 of the series Aus Natur und Geisteswelt, published by
B. F. Teubner, Leipsig, 1918, the edition edited by Dr. Schuster - the latter
likewise is a Freemason and a scholar in history] P. 74,
" . .
. King Frederick William III . . . after 1806 placed the government of his
country into the hands of men whose Masonic-mindedness must have been known to
him . . . (There follow the names of von Stein, Hardenberg, Schoen,
Scharnhorst, Boyen) . . . while Wilhelm von Humboldt, descending from a family
of Freemasons, and on most intimate terms with the leaders in the movement of
the new German humanism, was placed, 1809, in charge of the ministry of church
affairs and education."
Schwartz-Bostunitsch next quotes from page 18 of a recent book, The
Freemasons, by "a Viennese Freemason, Eugene Lennhoff," and published by the
Amalthea Publishing House (Vienna IV, Argentinierstr. 28), as follows:
Wilhelm von Humboldt says, "If we want to give a name to an idea that can be
discerned throughout history in constantly more expanding form, then this is
the idea of humanitarianism, the effort to remove the boundaries which
prejudice, and one-sided views of all kinds have established among men, with
the intention of creating hostilities among them, and to designate all mankind
irrespective of nationality, religion and race as being a great tribe whose
memo hers are closely related as brothers, as a whole constituted for the
purpose of establishing the unobstructed development of inner power."
"Finally," our author, Mr. Schwartz-Bostunitsch, again quotes Keller (op. cit.
pp. 96 and 97), "it [Masonry], conforming to its traditions, has the custom of
erecting monuments to the great men kindred to it in spirit, by naming lodges
after them Thus, in addition to the names of renowned rulers and statesmen,
the names of Plato, Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Comenius, Lessing, Schiller,
Goethe, Humboldt, etc., occur frequently as lodge designations in all
countries. . . "'
Naively my correspondent concludes, "With these citations your esteemed
inquiry is exhausted." The italics are mine. His evidence that Humboldt was a
Mason is also, therefore, exhausted. Exhaustion results in weakness. But as
the evidence desired, the reader of these citations may "take it or leave it."
The writer chooses not to take it.
* * *
RITUAL OF THE OPERATIVES
should very much like to procure a copy of Dr. Carr's Ritual of the Operative
Masons which was published some fifteen or more years ago at Owosso, Michigan,
by the Tyler-Keystone Publishing Co. If any reader of THE BUILDER has a copy
he wishes to dispose of, or knows where one may be found, I should be greatly
obliged to hear from him.
J. HAYDON, Canada.
* * *
SETS OF THE BUILDER FOR SALE
wish to dispose of a complete set of THE BUILDER from January, 1915, to the
current issue The first two volumes are bound, the remainder are in parts, in
the best condition. Circumstances make it necessary to dispose of these and I
am offering the fifteen volumes for $60.00 and will send them free of charge
to the purchaser.
MOORE, Box 342, Sta. D,
* * *
wondering if you could give any information as to the place to list THE
BUILDER for sale. My husband, Raymond Williams, passed away July 27, 1929, and
it is necessary for me to reduce the size of our library, and we have every
copy of THE BUI1DER beautifully bound and I would like to dispose of them.
National Ave., Fort Scott, Kansas