A Journal for the Masonic Student

Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society


Vol. 3 No. 9 – September 1917



Edited by Bro. Geo. E. Frazer
President, The Board of Stewards


Henry R. Evans, District of Columbia
Harold A. Kingsbury, Connecticut
Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri
Geo. W. Baird, District of Columbia
H. D. Funk, Minnesota
Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts
Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky
Silas H. Sheperd, Wisconsin
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia
M. M. Johnson, Massachusetts
John Pickard, Missouri
Oliver D. Street, Alabama
S. W. Williams, Tennessee
Joe L. Carson, Virginia
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota
F. B. Gault, Washington
C. M. Schenck, Colorado
H. L. Haywood, Iowa
Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin
Francis W. Shepardson, Illinois
S. W. Williams, Tennessee

Contributions to this Monthly Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each writer who has contributed one or more articles to The Builder. Subjects for discussion are selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today. Discussions of politics, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided, the purpose of the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal opinions of leading Masonic students. The contributing editors assume responsibility only for what each writes over his own signature. Comment from our Members on the subjects discussed here will be welcomed in the Correspondence column.

QUESTION NO. 5: "Shall the several Grand Jurisdictions modify their rules as to physical requirements of candidates so that, other qualifications being satisfactory, Masons may welcome the petitions of all those soldiers and sailors who lose arms, legs or eyes in the service of their country? If so, shall ability to support himself and immediate family be substituted as a requirement of each initiate? If not, what physical requirements are reasonable?"

Mental Requirements Come First.

I should not regard it so much a "modification of their rules as to physical requirements of candidates" as getting back to those "first principles" which are the ancient landmarks of Freemasonry, if the Grand Jurisdictions followed the rules and policy settled for Kentucky 116 years ago by Grand Lodge action, namely, that the Grand Lodge has no authority in the matter and the question of eligibility of persons who have physical misfortunes lies entirely with the lodge which receives his petition.

As I recall the first decision concerned the petition of John Pope who was minus a left arm or hand. The lodge received him and he became one of the brightest Lights of both Masonic and Civil history in this state. Our rule of reason is that unless the candidate is unable to feel the grip, hear the word or see the sign" physical misfortune is no bar, except in cases where entrance to Masonry by such persons is made under such conditions as to lead us to believe they might become a financial charge from the beginning.

Without entering into a discussion of philosophy, I am satisfied that the reason back of the original requirement that a man be sound "in mind and member" was and still is purely spiritual and not physical save incidentally as above set forth. A consumptive or a man with eczema may have all his arms and legs but is undoubtedly physically "unsound."

If I understand our rituals aright, there is an extra-physical trend to them that can not be waved away with an idle word, and which necessitates the student who would grasp our philosophy's meaning, regarding his body as a machine or set of working tools for the use of his mind. So that there may have once been more reason than exists now, in these days of scientific surgery, for lodges to require physical perfection.

But as I say, physical requirements in my opinion, have always been subordinate to and dependent upon the mental or "spiritual" requirements, with the lodge itself as the judge.

Because of the erroneous notion that "Speculative Masonry" was merely an outgrowth of "Operative Masonry" whose symbols and rituals were in large part adapted to the ancient wisdom we now call "Freemasonry," a great many of our unthinking and I am sorry to say unlearned Grand Masters have built up "precedents" in their jurisdictions which are followed from one generation to another somewhat as attempts used to be made to confine the "landmarks" to a definite number, resulting in the most absurd situations.

I think a most interesting — and enlightening — topic for research would be a comparison of the various decisions in every jurisdiction. I recall one jurisdiction in this country where the Grand Master decided that a man could not become a Mason because he had lost a certain finger on the left hand and exactly the reverse was decided (same finger) in another jurisdiction. Such a compilation of cold statistics would amply demonstrate the need for reform.

J. W. Norwood, Kentucky.

* * *

Let Us Make New Laws Slowly.

I believe that the several Grand Lodges have already enacted too many regulations and that it is impossible at present to unite on any uniform rule as to physical qualifications. If it were possible, I doubt the wisdom of additional rules.

We have heard the charge to preserve the "ancient landmarks" and never suffer them to be infringed, or countenance a deviation from the established usages and customs of the fraternity given to every Mason and have given it ourself, realizing we did not know what we were talking about. In Mackey's enumeration of the "landmarks" he includes physical qualification, but why did he not include the requirement that apprentices serve seven years which was also a regulation given in the "old charges"? Modern dentistry makes the conformity to one of our requirements impossible in a majority of cases, but it has never been seriously considered or its symbolic effect lessened. Electric lights now take the place of the time-honored candle and so we might continue if it were necessary to show that changes have been made in our usages and customs.

Brother R. F. Gould says that "The dogmas of Perpetual Jurisdiction, Physical Perfection, and Exclusive (or Territorial) Jurisdiction, have been evolved since the introduction of Masonry into what has become the United States," from England.

Before making more laws of Masonry let us get together and try and find out what a landmark is and what constitutes ancient usages and customs and in the interval regard the Lodge as a safe guardian of those we now consider as such.

The student of history can not fail to see the harmful effects that have resulted from dogmatism in politics, science, religion, and even in social life. Let us, as Freemasons, avoid dogmas that will weaken the foundation of our Fraternity and allow nothing to take preference over our fundamental principle of "The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man." In the past 200 years many changes have been made in Masonic ritual and jurisprudence, some of which have been questionable, and we fear have been made without due regard to the basic principle. Let us be slow to enact laws and careful to make them on the basis of those things on which we all agree.

Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.

* * *

Involves Changes in Ritual.

I should not advocate any change in the physical qualifications of petitioners for our degrees as set forth at present in the Grand Jurisdictions, nor even modifications to meet the hypothetical cases covered in your inquiry. Opportunity offers the men of the Army and Navy to seek Masonic Light, should the suggested chartering of Military Lodges already discussed in the Forum be approved. Any such radical modification as that embodied in your present query would involve a complete revision of the ritual.

Viewing the subject from another angle, so long as Masonry endures as an Institution in the United States, the Patriotism and Charity constituting cardinal principles of the Order, will promptly provide for such National Responsibilities as the Red Cross, the National Soldiers' and Sailors' Homes and other obligations, an increase of which must directly result as an aftermath of our present Battle For Civilization. Our present high physical standard is an old landmark of Masonry. Its abrogation, even for so laudable a purpose as you suggest, would establish a bad precedent and personally I am opposed to innovations which might lead to others, so ultimately lessening the great potency for good of an ancient and honorable Institution.

If at any time the great Government of the United States finds itself in the least hampered in properly providing for the gallant soldiers and sailors who have suffered physical impairment in its service, our Blue Brotherhood will be the first to contribute to the needs of the Fourth Great Light of American Masonry — the Flag.

John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.

* * *

Virginia Is Investigating.

Aside from the motive of opening the doors to returned veterans, which was not mentioned, the Grand Lodge of Virginia, at its Annual in February, placed the subject of modification of physical requirements in the hands of the Jurisprudence Committee to be reported on in February, 1918. My fixed idea is that the requirement of a degree of physical perfection is but a link with past ages of the operative branch and should be retained for that reason alone. What that degree of perfection shall be, should be left to the Lodges, except that all initiates should be able to receive and comprehend our ceremonies, and should be able to make a living for themselves and families. Prior to 1866 this was about Virginia's position.

Grand Lodges legislate too much and leave too little to the intelligence and Masonic zeal of the Lodges. A change is coming as to physical requirement and it would be well but not at all necessary that Grand Lodges should all agree. Certain it is that they will not.

Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.

* * *

Few Changes in 1861-1865.

My opinion is that none of the Grand Jurisdictions should in any way modify their present requirements as to physical qualifications, because of military conditions. As I understand it, there was very little modification of these requirements made by the Grand Bodies because of conditions arising from the Civil War of 1861-1865 and in my judgment the present war does not present any reasons for such modification any stronger than were presented at the time of the Civil War.

Masonry is a fraternal and charitable institution but not an eleemosynary one. Whatever charity the order dispenses outside of its own membership should be given freely and in lump sums to worthy objects, but the order ought not to invite into its ranks those who would become burdens upon it and cause it to levy burdensome taxes upon its members. The ability of one to support himself and immediate family ought by no means to be substituted as a requirement for physical perfection. This would in a majority of cases be strained to take care of what might be deemed individual worthy cases and thus in the course of time the order would be burdened with charitable distribution to many who, while deemed able to support themselves and families at the time of their petition, would, due to military injuries, afterwards find themselves unable to render such support.

Wisconsin has always been very strict in applying the ancient landmark of physical perfection and I am not one of those who believe that the bars should be let down at this or at any other time.

Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin.

* * *

Protests Innovations.

I beg leave to invite attention to the installation ceremonies of a W. M., which makes it clear that we deny the right of any man or body of men to make innovations in the body of Masonry.

My belief is that tampering with the Landmarks and with the Constitutions is like driving nails into the coffin of Freemasonry. Too much liberty has, I think, been taken with the original plan of Masonry, and I would therefore advise protecting the Landmarks and Constitutions rather than changing them.

Geo. W. Baird, Washington, D. C.

* * *

An American Anachronism.

There is an ever-growing opinion amongst thinking Freemasons, that the Mental Qualification, not the Physical, should be the test for membership in our Order.

This physical qualification is an anachronism — a form that has remained with us centuries after the substance has gone — and strange to say remained only in the minds of American Masons. This has been the cause of more worry to our Grand Lodge, more rulings, more disappointment than almost any other single subject, all because we insist in dragging this ancient Fetish into our assemblies.

The laws of Physical Perfection died with the Operative Lodge. We apply these rules to our moral and mental qualifications rather than to our physical today, or we should do so. Ability to support himself so he may not become a charge on the Order, a further ability to make himself known to, or as a Brother, by sight, sound or touch, should govern all future initiations, and thus give our brave maimed boys a chance to receive all the "comfort of the craft" when they return.

J. L. Carson, Virginia.

* * *

The Missouri "Cripple" Law.

My views on the Physical Perfection idea have, in the past, been considered very radical. About fifteen years ago I introduced, advocated, and the Grand Lodge of Missouri adopted, the following law:

"It is incompetent for any Lodge in this Jurisdiction to confer either of the three Degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry on any person whose physical defects are such as to prevent his receiving and imparting the ceremonies of the several degrees; provided, that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to render any one ineligible to the privileges of Masonry, who can by the aid of artificial appliances conform to the necessary ceremonies."

This law met with furious criticism by some correspondents and editors of Masonic papers, and I was dubbed an iconoclast, a destroyer of the "Ancient Landmarks," and one, after denouncing me, said, "That charges should be preferred against me and expelled." But this was fifteen years ago and the Missouri "Cripple Law" or some modification of it, has been adopted in many Grand Lodges.

Freemasonry is a progressive science and a new light and age has dawned. The Physical Perfection notion became obsolete when operative Masonry became speculative. We recognize today that a wooden leg is better than a wooden head, and a few fingers missing is far better than a heart of stone. We believe today, (not merely mouthing the Ritual), "that it is the internal qualification and not the external that qualifies a man to be made a Mason."

The "Perfect Youth" doctrine has become so absurd and ridiculous among thinking Masons, that it is no longer necessary to even argue the question. It lives in some Grand Lodges purely as a reminiscence of a past age, and like all obsolete notions, it dies hard. "Shall Masonry welcome the petitions of all those soldiers and sailors who have lost arms or eyes in the service of their country?" Yes, or any other good man similarly afflicted.

There is only one point that should be considered and that is the question of becoming dependent. Freemasonry is a luxury and not an eleemosynary institution; pecuniary and material benefits must not be the motive for gaining admission. No man should be admitted, or he knowingly apply for admission, when inability to support himself is self evident. The physical condition, as to loss of legs, arms, eyes, fingers, toes, bow legs or baldhead, is of no importance, but the question of ability to support himself is the only question involved.

Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.

* * *

A Survival from Operative Masonry.

It was inevitable that the Operative Masons should insist that their apprentices be sound in limb and in good health, seeing that their trade was dangerous, onerous and difficult, and that a sick man had to be supported out of the common purse. Also was it inevitable that this ancient custom be carried over into Speculative Masonry at the Revival in 1717, for it had come to be considered an Ancient Landmark, and we all know how careful the Early Speculatives were to adhere to these. But in spite of the sanctions of antiquity the premier Grand Lodge gradually modified its rules as to qualifications, learning that what had been necessary among the Operatives was no longer essential to Speculative Masonry. Even Oliver, with all his loyalty to the past, was driven to see this, as witness this paragraph found in his "Treasury":

"It would indeed be a solecism in terms to contend that a loss or partial deprivation of a physical organ of the body could, by any possibility, disqualify a man from studying the sciences, or being made a Mason in our times, while in possession of sound judgment, and the healthy exercises of his intellectual powers."

In 1875 the Board of General Purposes of the Grand Lodge of England issued a circular in which the writer said:

"I am directed to say that the general rule in this country is to consider a candidate eligible for election who although not perfect in his limbs is sufficiently so to go through the various ceremonies required in the different degrees." As to whether the candidate was able "to go through the various ceremonies" was, it goes without saying, left to the judgment of the ballot.

In an essay included in one of the early volumes of the Iowa Grand Lodge Proceedings, T. S. Parvin takes the same position:

"It is the SOLE RIGHT of each and every LODGE to act upon these physical qualifications, as it is universally conceded that they are the sole judges of the moral qualifications of all candidates."

This, it seems to me, is good sense. If a candidate is able to pay his dues, is in reasonable good health, of average intelligence and has a good reputation, we need ask no more, unless his physical defects may incapacitate him from performing the ceremonies. I, myself, pray that the day may come when the chief qualification demanded of a candidate will be the evidence of a sincere determination TO TAKE MASONRY SERIOUSLY. We need more Masons and fewer members.

H. L. Haywood, Iowa.

* * *

Manhood, Duty and Valor.

Eligibility to the Masonic orders should not be denied any soldier or sailor of the United States because of physical disabilities caused by such service, when such candidate has the other essential moral and mental qualifications, it being granted of course that physical impairment is properly authenticated as due to exposure in the line of duty as such soldier or sailor. Masonry is not an eleemosynary institution and every candidate for membership should be capable of supporting himself and family, or least he should not become an immediate charge upon the Order. A spasm of patriotic fervor or sympathy should not be permitted to vote a man into membership in Masonry simply because he bore in his person the evidence of military heroism. But being a man and having done a man's full duty and is maimed thereby, such physical disability ought not to deny him a place in our noble Order that in all its teachings places a premium upon manhood, duty and valor.

Franklin B. Gault, Washington.

* * *

The Massachusetts Rule.

I do not think that I can better reply to your question for September than by quoting a provision of the Grand Constitutions of Massachusetts which is as follows:

"If the physical deformity of any applicant for the degrees does not amount to an inability to meet the requirements of the Ritual, and honestly to acquire the means of subsistence, it shall constitute no hindrance to his initiation."

The Grand Masters of Massachusetts have never been willing to rule on particular cases but have ruled in a general way that an awkward compliance might be accepted.

The Worshipful Master of a Lodge is required to pass on cases as it appears best. There was a vote of the Grand Lodge something over a hundred years ago to the effect that a blind man might not be given the degrees, but that would appear to be unnecessary as a blind man clearly could not comply with the regulations of the ritual.

Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts.

* * *

Symbolism of The Perfect Man.

I fear that I could not bring myself to consent to the initiation of any man into the body of Freemasonry who was not possessed of all of his physical members whole and complete. And I believe that this is in accord with the very genius of the Order.

But first of all, however, I must recognize and agree to the dictum, "It is the internal, and not the external, qualifications that recommend a man to be a Mason," (Mackey, Book of the Chapter, p. 41), and I fully realize how it may be drawn therefrom that a man, having great internal qualifications, should not be debarred from the privileges and duties of Freemasonry because he has lost perhaps the little finger of his left hand. This is further complicated by a parallel which I seem always able to find from the early Church. A candidate for Holy Orders must come freeborn, of lawful age, under the tongue of good report, and also sound of limb and unmutilated; but a man whose blood had been shed as a martyr — and who was possibly mutilated — had the priestly right of absolution, and without further ordination. (Smith and Cheetham, Dict. Xn. Antiq., pp. 1118 and 1481-2.) So it could be argued that a man who had lost a limb in the highly Masonic duty of the defense of his country, should, if otherwise worthy, be admitted into the mysteries of Freemasonry.

Now all ceremonial, whether of the Lodge or of the Church, has a materialistic, and a spiritual, or symbolic interpretation — and either is as true as the other. Now, our ancient operative brethren could not admit a maimed man to their Gild because he could not perform the functions of the Craft; but this, it might seem, could be waived when we enter the realm of the speculative. In other words, inability to display the various external signs and tokens does not necessarily keep a man from being internally what it is to be a Mason.

But even with these considerations, I cannot bring myself to believe that a maimed man should be admitted to initiation. Symbolism is the life of Freemasonry, and to such a degree that frequently what is presented to our attention is but the symbol of a symbol. And therefore, let us go to the Temple quarries. The Giblim have hewn out of the living rock a stone that shows a flaw, although but slight. This they drag with their strong cables before the Master and his wardens. Should they accept it? We know what the overseers would have done. But should this imperfect stone be placed in the North-east Corner, or even cemented by the stronger tie to the other stones of the Temple?

The candidate symbolizes, in his physical being, the perfect man, who alone is fit to enter into the composition of "that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens." I say symbolize rather than be, for none of us has yet arrived at that perfection to which the whole of Freemasonry aspires, and there may actually be, in many of us, hidden flaws that tend to weaken the great Edifice. But still we must scrupulously preserve the symbol of what we would be; we must continue to teach that we seek the perfect in body, mind and spirit, that is, in the man, and that we cannot therefore admit an imperfect man to initiation.

Let us remember, moreover, that the Great Initiate was not maimed even in death (Ps. xxxiv., St. Jno. xix., 36), and that He is the head-stone of the corner (Ps. cxviii., 22), the model from which the whole structure and every part thereof may be taken.

H. W. Ticknor, Maryland.

* * *

Note by the Editor of This Department.

The purpose of this department is to show the faith that is in Masons in order that there may be more light (and less dogmatism) in Masonry. The editor of this department believes that Masonry is a philosophy, indeed that it is the philosophy that has come down to us through the ages. Now a philosophy is a system of thought, a system of living thought. Real Masonry forces real thinking. If this department stimulates you to think, my Brother, will you not give The Builder the benefit of your serious thought by contribution of articles or by letters addressed to the Editor? The opinions given above as to physical requirements are worthy of the serious thought of thinking Masons. You can not agree with all of these opinions — some of them are opposed to each other both in letter and in spirit. If you have Masonic opinion on Masonic subjects (not political opinion; not religious opinion), then The Builder welcomes you to the forum of its columns.

George E. Frazer, Department Editor.

* * *


Let others write of battles fought,
Of bloody, ghastly fields,
Where honor greets the man who wins,
And death the man who yields;
But I will write of him who fights
And vanquishes his sins,
Who struggles on through weary years
Against himself and wins.

He is a hero staunch and brave,
Who fights an unseen foe,
And puts at last beneath his feet
His passions base and low;
Who stands erect in manhood's might, Undaunted, undismayed —
The bravest man who e'er drew sword
In foray or in raid.

It calls for something more than brawn
Or muscle to o'ercome
An enemy that marcheth not
With banner, plume or drum —
A foe forever lurking nigh,
With silent, steady tread;
Forever near your board by day
At night beside your bed.

All honor, then, to that brave heart
Though rich or poor he be
Who struggles with his baser part —
Who conquers and is free!
He may not wear a hero's crown,
Or fill a hero's grave;
Yet truth will place his name amongst
The bravest of the brave.

— Anon.

* * *


Bro. Leo Fischer, Manila P.I.


In its struggle against ignorance, superstition, and intolerance Freemasonry encountered a most formidable opponent in an institution that for six long centuries ruled a large portion of the globe with a rod of iron, namely, the Inquisition. Wherever the Catholic missionaries had carried the cross of Christ, there the Inquisition implanted its system of tribunals and spies, its practices of denunciation, torture, and spoliation, its autos da fe and burning piles. The avowed aim of the Inquisition, that of preserving the purity of the Roman Catholic religion and with this end in view to ferret out, punish, and destroy all heretics and other offenders against the faith was, of course, bound to bring it into violent collision with Freemasonry, especially after that institution had been condemned by the several papal bulls fulminated against it.

We shall now proceed to give a brief history of the Holy Office, as the Inquisition is also called, confining our attention principally to Spain, the country where its reign was the longest and bloodiest, after which we shall endeavor to give an idea of the character and procedure and the results of the work of that institution, and finally we shall deal with the persecutions suffered at its hands by Freemasonry on the Spanish peninsula.

There is some dispute as to what should be considered the date of origin of the Inquisition.

Heretics were persecuted and put to death long before the Inquisition, as such, ever existed. History records the massacre of the disciples of Vilgard in southern Italy in the 10th century; the burning of thirteen Cathari at Orleans in the 11th, and numerous executions of heretics in subsequent years; but these killings were in most instances the result of mob violence or of "justice" administered by secular magistrates and lords.

The first rules of inquisitorial procedure were laid down at the councils of the Church at Verona (1183) and Toulouse (1229). At the latter council, sixteen decrees relative to the investigation and punishment of heresy were passed, and the bishops were declared to be natural judges of the doctrine. Later, however, the bishops were deemed to be too lenient in their attitude towards offenders against the faith, and the Cistercian and then the Dominican Orders were put in charge of the work of persecuting heretics. Of this task the Dominicans acquitted themselves with such zeal that their rigor and cruelty aroused much resentment and hatred against the Inquisition. But no amount of opposition could stop that institution now: the tiger had tasted blood during the famous crusade against the Albigenses, in southern France, where a century of the bloodiest and most cruel persecution resulted in the suppression of the sect mentioned and the destruction of the flourishing Provencal civilization; and although the inquisitors were driven out of Toulouse in 1235 and massacred at Avignonet in 1242, and suffered other temporary checks and reverses, the Inquisition took a firm foothold in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, and other countries of Europe and held nearly the entire Christian world under its bloody bondage for six centuries.

In Spain the Inquisition was first established in 1233. At the beginning it met with bitter opposition. The Spanish monarchs exhibited tolerance towards the Jews and Mohammedans and thereby incurred much criticism from Rome. However, the priests did not remain idle, and massacres of Jews and Mohammedans, instigated by them, began in the 13th century and continued throughout the 14th and 15th. Finally, in 1480, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella founded a National Inquisition for Spain, without the aid of the Papacy. Inquisitorial tribunals were established throughout the peninsula and the Spanish possessions in Italy, and a reign of terror was initiated. The course of the Inquisition did not always run smoothly and several inquisitors, among them the merciless Pedro de Arbues, afterward canonized by the Church of Rome, were slain.

In 1483 the Dominican father Thomas de Torquemada was, by papal bull, appointed Inquisitor General of the Crown of Castile. During the first six months of his term of office, over two thousand Jews and Mohammedans who had embraced the Christian religion under compulsion, but had relapsed, were burnt at the stake; others, who had escaped in time, were burnt in effigy, and some seventeen thousand persons suffered other severe punishments for heresy.

According to a careful, conservative estimate by Llorente (Histoire Critique de l'Inquisition d'Espagne, Paris, 1818, Vol. I), during Torquemada's terrible rule, extending over eighteen years, 10,220 persons were consigned to the flames; 6,860 were burnt in effigy; 97,321 received sentences of imprisonment for life, confiscation of property, disqualification from holding public office, and other severe penalties, and 114,400 families were irretrievably ruined. So hated was the arch fiend Torquemada that on his travels he had to be guarded by a small army of "familiars," 50 of them mounted and 200 on foot, and on his table there always lay the horn of a rhinoceros ("unicorn," Llorente has it), which was supposed to detect and counteract the influence of poison.

The Grand Inquisitors-General were nearly all members of the Dominican Order. Dominick de Guzman, the founder of this Order, had organized during the persecution of the Albigenses in southern France the so-called "Militia of Christ," a corps of spies and denouncers of both sexes, recruited from all classes of society, which later became known by the name of "familiars" of the Inquisition.

From Spain and Portugal the Inquisition was carried to the colonies and possessions of these two countries beyond the seas. Revolts and uprisings against the reign of terror instituted by it occurred in many places, but were suppressed with iron hand. At times the Holy Office relaxed somewhat in its severity, but periods of recrudescence generally followed. Spain and her possessions were still a stronghold of the Inquisition after the other countries had driven it out or reduced its power to practically nothing. On December 4th, 1808, Napoleon suppressed the Inquisition in Spain, but after the downfall of the great Corsican it was re-established and held that unfortunate country under its sway until 1820, when a general insurrection resulted in its final overthrow.

Nothing was sacred to the Inquisition, nothing exempt from its fury. Its thunderbolts did not spare age or innocence, and rank and station were no protection against them. Even death was not respected by it; the remains of many dead were disinterred and publicly burnt on the charge that the deceased had been a follower of the law of Moses or Mohammed or had been guilty of other forms of heresy. Mere children were subjected to torture and the children and often grandchildren of persons condemned by the Holy Office were declared infamous, in addition to having their inheritance confiscated. In one instance a son was compelled to disinter the remains of his father and burn them publicly.

The following is part of the decision pronounced by the Inquisition of Mexico in 1609: "And the sons and daughters, if any, of the said Jorge de Almeida are hereby disqualified from serving in any public office, or occupying any public position of honor or trust, whether in the secular or ecclesiastic branches of the government; and they are also forbidden to wear about their persons any ornament or jewel of gold or silver, or precious stones, or coral, or to dress in silk or fine cloth, or any other fine material of any kind." (Dr. Cyrus Adler, Trial of Jorge de Almeida).

Heckethorn says that "the Inquisitors were the first to put women to the torture; neither the weakness nor the modesty of the sex had any influence on them. The Dominican friars would flog naked women in the corridors of the Inquisition building, after having first violated them, for some slight breach of discipline." (The Secret Societies of all Ages and Countries, by Charles William Heckethorn, London, 1875).

Puigblanch ("The Inquisition Unmasked," translation by William Walton, London, 1818) cites the case of a noble lady, lately delivered of her child, who was arrested in 1557 on the charge of being a Lutheran, and to whom the tribunal of Seville administered the rack "with so much rigor that the ropes fixed on her arms, legs, and thighs entered as far as her bones, when she remained senseless, casting up quantities of blood; and died at the expiration of eight days, without any other attendance than a young female who had also undergone the torture." The same writer tells us that "in Seville . . . an inquisitor commanded a beautiful young female, accused of practising Jewish rites, to be scourged in his own presence; and, after committing lewdness with her, delivered her over to the flames."

It must be remembered that these horrors were committed by virtue of orders of torture beginning with the phrase "Christi nomine invocato"!

After relating deeds like these, which one would expect only of fiends incarnate, it seems bloody sarcasm to read what one of the defenders of the Inquisition has to say: "In reality, so great is the compassion of the Holy Tribunal of the Inquisition with the offenders that these themselves acknowledge it. The Holy Office shows much forbearance, much kindness, much perfection, and this being true, as the enemies and accusers of the Inquisition well know it is, let those accusers come forward and confess and repent their errors; let them admit that it was malice which made them say that the Inquisition is excessively rigorous, and let them present themselves before this Holy Tribunal repentant and thus return to the bosom of the Church; so mote it be, Amen." (Defensa critica de la Inquisicion, by Don Melchor Rafael de Macanaz, Madrid, 1788.)

How little protection rank and station in life afforded, is made patent by the fact that among the victims of the Inquisition there were numerous nobles, statesmen, bishops, and persons of wealth and influence. Even a nephew of King Ferdinand V was thrown into the dungeons of the Inquisition and released only after undergoing humiliating public penance.

The right of asylum did not exist for the Inquisition. The following extract from an order of arrest plainly shows this: "and ye shall seize the body of Gabriel de Granada, a resident of this city of Mexico, wheresoever ye may find him, although it may be in a church, monastery or other consecrated, fortified or privileged place." (D. Fergusson, Trial of Gabriel de Granada.) Even the secret of the confessional was violated. Don Juan Antonio Rodrigalvarez, canon of the royal church of St. Isidore of Madrid, said of the Inquisition: "The infraction of every right and principle in this tribunal still goes further, for though secrecy is the very soul of all its proceedings, that of sacramental confession is nevertheless not respected by it, in consequence of the declarations it frequently requires of confessors relating to their penitents." (Puigblanch, in the work above quoted.)

A person could be the devoutest catholic imaginable and yet be arrested, thrown into the dungeons of the Inquisition and perish there or at the stake, on the calumnious accusation of an enemy or on account of some thoughtless remark, misconstrued and twisted to suit the purpose of his enemies or of the inquisitors.

If a person put a clean cloth on the table on Saturday, or sat at table with a Jew, or had his friends for dinner at his home on the eve of his departure for a journey, he exposed himself to the suspicion of being a Judaizer," and if he sang a Moorish song or danced a Moorish dance, abstained from the use of wine, or changed his linen on Friday, he was liable to be suspected of being a secret Mohammedan. Once suspected, a person never escaped without suffering: years of imprisonment in the secret dungeons of the Inquisition, torture, and the most humiliating penances were sure to be his fate, because the Inquisition always devised some way of finding a prisoner guilty. Llorente states that one acquittal to every two thousand cases was about the proportion observed in the judicial findings of the Holy Office.


The procedure of the Inquisition, evolved by many generations of crafty and fanatical priests, was the most insiduous that could be imagined. Upon receipt of the denunciation, though it often came from the most suspicious sources and was inspired by the impurest of motives, the Holy Office ordered the arrest of the accused, who was considered guilty unless he achieved the tremendous task of proving himself innocent. He was arrested without warning and conveyed forthwith to the secret prisons of the Inquisition.

During the first three days of his confinement there he received three monitions to confess his offenses against the Catholic faith and thus secure mercy. He was not informed of the charges against him, but was told that no one ever entered the prisons of the Inquisition without being guilty of some crime. If he confessed himself guilty of some offense or offenses not covered by the denunciation, his confession furnished grounds for new charges. Whatever he said, his testimony was so turned and twisted by his tormentors that his guilt appeared to be much greater than an unbiased judge would have found it to be. In many cases his confession did not save him from torture, and in none did it deliver him from the humiliating penances decreed by the tribunal.

After the monitions had been delivered, he was formally arraigned and the charges were then read to him; but the name of the informant was never revealed, nor was the accused allowed to face his secret accuser or the witnesses that had testified against him. If the culprit remained mute or his confession was deemed incomplete, he was ordered taken to the torture chamber, where the rack, pulley, thumbscrews, fire, and other means of extorting a confession were applied to him for hours at a time. If he fainted or remained obdurate, the torture was suspended for the time being. Thousands of persons remained firm, thousands died from the barbarous treatment received, and many thousands confessed to crimes they had ever committed and were punished accordingly.

The terror inspired by the Holy Office was a mental torture that often brought about the same result as the physical suffering. The ascetic, cruel, relentless faces of the inquisitors sometimes sufficed to terrify the prisoner into saying all the tribunal wished him to say. One of the witnesses in the case against Jorge de Almeida, above quoted, "begged that the Inquisitor" Don Alonso de Peralta should not be present, because the mere sight of him made his flesh creep, such was the terror with which his rigor inspired him."

All proceedings were carried on in the utmost secrecy. As they advanced, more and more persons were implicated in the case. Many an accused, shrinking from pain and death, driven frantic by the pangs of torture, or deceived by false promises of clemency or immunity, became the accuser of his friends and relatives. Sons betrayed their parents and parents denounced their children, and the flinty-hearted secretary of the court coldly penned orders for the arrest of victim after victim as the cowering wretch before the tribunal stammered their names.

When the evidence was all complete and sentence ready to be pronounced, preparations were generally made for an auto da fe (in Spanish auto de fe, i.e., decision or sentence in a case regarding the faith). This ceremony began with a solemn procession, generally attended by much pomp, of the functionaries, familiars and henchmen of the Inquisition, the persons condemned to be burnt or to suffer other punishment or penance, and religious organizations and priests with banners and crosses. A suitable stage and seats had been prepared on the square where the ceremony was to take place, and after the arrival of the procession a mass was read; the king, viceroy, or governor of the territory and other high government officials took the oath of allegiance to the Holy Office; a sermon was pronounced by the Inquisitor General, and the sentences of the persons condemned by the tribunal were read. The condemned prisoners were arrayed in sanbenitos and corozas, sack-like garments and pointed caps painted with flames and figures of demons, and many of them were gagged in order to stifle their imprecations.

After the ceremony the condemned were "relaxed" (turned over) to the secular authorities, for the execution of their sentences, with the injunction that they be dealt with compassionately. What hypocrisy! Llorente says: "It certainly causes one surprise to see the Inquisitors insert at the end of their sentences the formula praying the (secular) judge not to apply the penalty of death to the heretic, while it is demonstrated by several examples that when, in compliance with the request of the Inquisitor, the judge did not send the culprit to the stake, he was himself indicted as a suspect of the crime of heresy."

An auto da fe was generally a gala occasion in Spain and her colonies. We have before us the account of one of the most elaborate known, held at Madrid in 1680. This detailed account, written by a member of the Inquisition, was published in Madrid in 1680. (Relacion historica del auto general de fe que se celebro en Madrid el ano de 1680, por Jose del Olmo.) At the auto da fe mentioned, 120 prisoners, each accompanied by two priests, and the effigies of 134 accused persons who had made their escape or had died in the prisons of the Inquisition, were paraded through the streets of Madrid in a procession composed of thousands of priests, soldiers, members of religious organizations, etc., had their sentences read to them in the presence of the King and Queen of Spain on the "Plaza," and were then "relaxed" to the secular authorities. Nineteen of them, who had been sentenced to death, were taken to the brasero late at night, after the ceremonies were over, and were there burnt at the stake.

The scenes that took place at these burnings were sometimes of the most revolting and gruesome nature. The following is an extract from the account of one of these executions in 1691, on which occasion two Jews and a Jewess were burnt: "On seeing the flames near them, they began to show the greatest fury, struggling to free themselves from the ring to which they were bound, which Terongi at length effected, although he could no longer hold himself upright, and he fell side long on the fire. Catherine, as soon as the flames began to encircle her, screamed out repeatedly for them to withdraw her from thence, although uniformly persisting not to invoke the name of Jesus. On the flames touching Valls, he covered himself, resisted, and struggled as long as he was able. Being fat, he took fire in his inside, in such manner that before the flames had entwined around him, his flesh burnt like a coal, and bursting in the middle his entrails fell out." (Puig-blanch).

Often the poor wretches met their death bravely; some died mocking and cursing the executioners and of one, a Jew, it is even told that he drew the blazing fagots towards him with his feet. The "relaxed" who had repented were generally strangled to death before being consigned to the flames.

The fanaticism of the populace is the best expressed by the following incident recorded by Del Olmo: "It seems as if God moved the hearts of the craftsmen in order that the serious difficulties that arose might be overcome; this is shown by the following incident: Tomas Roman, overseer of works, having taken charge alone of the execution of the work (of building the staging for the auto da fe described by Del Olmo), at his own expense, in accordance with the design and plan of Jose del Olmo, sixteen master builders with their subordinates, lumber, and tools came, without human solicitation, to offer him their services in the performance of his undertaking, and such were their perseverance and fervent constancy that, without observing the accustomed hours of rest and taking only sufficient time for food, they returned to their labors with joy and pleasure, explaining the reason for their eagerness by shouting: "Long live the faith of Jesus Christ; it shall all be finished in time, and if there should be any lack of lumber, we would tear down our own houses to put them to such holy use."

These were, of course, only ignorant persons, but the more enlightened classes were not much better. We again translate from Del Olmo's work the account of an incident illustrating this:

It seems that two days before the auto mentioned, a preliminary ceremony took place which shows the attitude taken by the royal couple of Spain. A company of soldiers marched out to the Alcala gate to get the firewood prepared there. Each soldier took a fagot and the company then marched back to the Palace Square. "The captain went upstairs to His Majesty's apartments by the rear entrance, bearing a fagot on his shield. It was taken from him by the Duke of Pastrana and carried into the presence of His Majesty. The latter, with his own hand, took it in to show it to our lady the Queen, Dona Luisa Maria de Borbon, and upon his return the Duke received the fagot from the hand of the King and returned it to the captain, with the command that His Majesty ordered it taken in his name and cast into the fire the first. In giving such command, our Lord the King followed the dictates of his pious character, inherited from the sainted King Don Ferdinand the Third, who on a similar occasion, in order to give an example to the world, took himself firewood to the burning pile."

Who were the principal victims of the Inquisition?

When the Inquisition was first instituted in France, its hand fell the most heavily upon the Albigenses of Languedoc, of whom many thousands were slain.

Upon the establishment of the Holy Office in Spain, its first efforts were directed against the so-called "New Christians." These comprised the but lately converted Jews (marranos), many of whom had become Christians in order to escape the numerous persecutions, but were secretly practising Judaism, and the converted Moors, who had abandoned their religion for similar reasons, but were secretly practising Moslem rites. These new Christians were especially welcome victims to the Inquisition on account of the antipathy and envy with which they were looked upon by the old Christians, owing to their constantly increasing prosperity and wealth, which latter, on the other hand, offered a powerful incentive to the Holy Office, a very expensive institution, according to all accounts, and in need of all the money it could lay its hands on.

Later Lutherans, Jansenists, Illuminati, and members of other sects came in for a great deal of attention, and finally, during the last century of its existence, the Inquisition waged a relentless war against Freemasonry.

In addition to these, the Inquisition had other classes of offenders to contend with.

It had jurisdiction over bigamists, persons claiming to be possessed by demons or to have supernatural powers, witches and sorcerers, soothsayers, priests guilty of expressing unorthodox views or of seducing or attempting to seduce women in the confessional, etc.

It also had charge of the censorship of books, and numerous auto da fe were held at which books, writings, pictures, and statues that had incurred the disapproval of the Holy Office were consigned to the flames.

Enormous damage was done to literature, art, and science by this particular activity of the Inquisition. Valuable products of literature were destroyed and suppressed or stifled in their birth, and works of science and inventions that might have secured for Spain a place in the foremost ranks of the civilized nations were never conceived. This having continued for many generations, the very brain of the nation became atrophied, and it will take centuries before unhappy Spain will be able to cleanse her life blood from the poison permeating it as a result of the many centuries of spiritual slavery and corruption.

This leads us to speak of the consequences of the Inquisition in general.

The six centuries of the reign of the Holy Office had the most terrible and widespread consequences in Spain. The Inquisition drove from Spain's dominions millions of her most useful subjects; it depopulated entire villages, towns, and districts; it even changed the national character. Let us here quote what Burke has to say on this matter in his "History of Spain":

"The work of the Inquisition, while it tended, no doubt, to make men orthodox, tended also to make them false, and suspicious, and cruel. Before the middle of the sixteenth century, the Holy Office had profoundly affected the national character; and the Spaniard, who had been celebrated in Europe during countless centuries for every manly virtue, became, in the new world that had been given to him, no less notorious for a cruelty beyond the imagination of a Roman emperor and a rapacity beyond the dreams of a Republican proconsul."

We have no doubt that Spain would not have declined so rapidly and would still be a first-rate power had she not had her life blood sapped by the Inquisition. Compared with the terrible injury wrought to country and nation by that institution; the destruction of the Armada, was but a trifling incident which a rich and powerful country could have remedied comparatively quickly, in order to repeat the attempt with better success under more favorable conditions.


Now we shall give a short account of the influence of the Inquisition on the Masonic Order, confining our attention to Spain, with a few brief references to Portugal, and to the 18th and 19th century. We shall, therefore, not allude to the persecution of the Knights Templar, who suffered such fearful torments at the hands of the Inquisition.

In 1738, Pope Clement XII excommunicated all Freemasons in the bull "In eminenti," and two years after, in 1740, Philip V, king of Spain, published a royal decree which was the first blow struck at Freemasonry by Spain. Many Freemasons were arrested and sent to the galleys where, laden with chains, ill fed and worse treated, they were compelled to toil at the oars without compensation. In 1751, immediately upon the publication of the bull "Providas romanorum ponticum," Ferdinand VI of Spain issued a still more severe edict against the Order, and now the Inquisition began to wage a merciless war against Freemasonry. We translate the following from the "Ritual del Maestro Mason" (Madrid, 1909), an official publication of the Spanish Grand Orient:

"The persecutions reached their height in Spain in 1751, as a result of the new anathema launched by Benedict and the denunciations of an ambitious, malevolent friar named Jose Torrubia, who, desirous of obtaining a bishopric as reward for his services, had promised to exterminate Freemasonry. He quickly rose to revisor and censor of the Holy Office, which latter ordered him to enter a lodge under an assumed name, after receiving from the Papal Penitentiary a dispensation authorizing him to take any oath which might be required of him. This Torrubia actually did, and soon thereafter he began to visit lodge after lodge in the peninsula until he had gathered all the information he required for the execution of his infamous plan. Having achieved this purpose, he presented to the Tribunal of the Inquisition a terrible denunciation of the labors of Freemasonry, accompanied by a list of ninety-seven lodges, with the membership roll of each.

"As a result of this denunciation, hundreds of Freemasons were arrested and many were tortured by the Inquisition."

In his "Histoire de l'Inquisition," Llorente gives an account of the prosecution of a Monsieur Tournon, in 1757. This man, a Parisian, had been called to Madrid by the Spanish government to instruct Spanish workmen in the making of brass buckles. One of his pupils denounced him to the Holy Office as a heretic, alleging that Tournon had endeavored to induce him and others to become Freemasons. Tournon had shown them diplomas or charts on which architectural and astronomical instruments were depicted, and this had caused them to suspect magic, "in which belief they were confirmed when they heard the imprecations contained in the oath that, according to Tournon, they would have to take to preserve profound secrecy regarding all they should see or hear in the lodges."

Tournon was arrested on May 20th, 1757.

Upon being interrogated by the tribunal, he frankly admitted that he was a Freemason and had been one for twenty years. He stated that he did not know whether there were any lodges in Spain; that he was a Roman catholic; that he saw nothing in Freemasonry that interfered with his religion, and that it was not true that Freemasonry taught religious indifference. Here are a few of the questions and answers:

Q. What oath must a person take in order to become a Mason?
A. He swears to preserve secrecy.

Q. Concerning what things?
A. Concerning things which it is inadvisable to make public.

Q. Is this oath accompanied by execrations?
A. It is.

Q. What are they?
A. One consents to suffer all evils and penalties that may afflict body and soul if one should ever violate the obligation taken under oath.

Q. Of what importance is this obligation that it is considered justifiable to take an oath with such fearful execrations?
A. It is of importance for the good order in the society.

Q. What is going on in those lodges that might make trouble if it were made public?
A. Nothing, if you judge things without bias and prejudice. However, as there is a general mistaken impression on this subject, care must be taken to prevent malicious interpretations, and these would surely arise if one told everything that is going on in the lodges on the days when the brethren meet.

The inquisitors further asked Tournon whether and why Saint John was the patron saint of Freemasons; whether it was true that the sun, moon, and stars were held in reverence in the lodges and were represented therein; why a crucifix, a skull, and a dead human body were present in the lodge room during initiations, and other questions more.

Tournon having answered all these questions according to the truth, in the most frank and intelligent manner, he was informed that his answers were false and untrue, and was admonished, for the sake of the respect he owed to God and the Holy Virgin, to say the truth and confess to the heresies of religious indifference, the superstitious errors which had caused him to mix the sacred with the profane, and the error of idolatry which had induced him to worship the heavenly bodies. If he confessed and repudiated all these errors, the Holy Office would use clemency in his case, otherwise he would be prosecuted with all the rigor authorized against heretics.

Tournon remained firm in his attitude during the several hearings of his case. He finally stated, however, that nothing was left to him but to "admit that he had been in the wrong and to confess his ignorance of the dangerous spirit of the statutes and customs of Freemasonry; that he therefore confirmed all that he had testified in so far as he had said that he had never believed there was anything contrary to the Catholic religion in what he had done as a Freemason; but as it was possible that he had erred, owing to his ignorance of certain particular dogmas, he was ready to disavow all heresies into which he might have fallen and prayed to be absolved from censure and promised to undergo such penance as might be imposed upon him."

In December, 1757, judgment was pronounced upon Monsieur Tournon, convicting him of the errors of religious indifference, naturalism, superstition, and pagan practices; but in view of his offer to recant, he escaped with a comparatively light sentence. A private auto da fe was held in the court rooms of the Holy Office, attended by such persons as had received permission from the senior inquisitor, and there Tournon had his sentence read to him, received a reprimand from the senior inquisitor, abjured all his heretical errors, read and signed a declaration of his faith, and promised to sever all connections with Freemasonry or suffer accordingly. He was sentenced to one year of imprisonment, at the expiration of which he was to be expelled from Spain, and to undergo certain spiritual exercises.

Then Freemasonry had a breathing spell and began to spread. In 1767, the first Grand Lodge was constituted in Spain, and in 1780 a Grand Orient was organized there. The following years, however, saw a change for the worse. The first Grand Master of Spain, the Count of Aranda, a minister under Charles III, was banished in 1794 by Charles IV. In the neighboring Portugal the persecution of Freemasonry reached the greatest violence in 1792. "Queen Isabel, counselled by her confessor, ordered the governor of the island of Madera to deliver over to the Tribunal of the Holy Office all members of the Masonic Order who could be found. But few of the families of Freemasons succeeded in escaping the fury of the Inquisition by fleeing to Europe or taking refuge in America. In 1809 the persecution was renewed as a result of the constant agitations of the Catholic priests, who so excited the fanatical populace that at Lisbon the mob vilely murdered a large number of Freemasons who were following the funeral of a brother mason. . . In 1817, the Grand Orient of Portugal had to dissolve again on account of the edicts of King John VI, of 1818 and 1823, the first of which assigned imprisonment and the second death as the penalty for every Portuguese found to be a Freemason." (Ritual del Maestro Mason.)

A new era seemed to have dawned for Freemasonry in Spain when Napoleon I. conquered the country and abolished the Inquisition. Freemasonry flourished exceedingly under the protection of the French invader and for a brief period after the French had been ousted. The Cortes of Cadiz, which adopted the first Spanish constitution, were largely composed of Freemasons. When the reconstruction came, however, the Inquisition was re-established and another period of trial and persecution set in for Freemasonry. In 1814, Ferdinand VII ordered all lodges closed. Some continued to meet secretly, however. In 1815, lodges were raided at Granada and Malaga and the brethren apprehended were cast into the prisons of the Inquisition. During the next few years the persecutions became extremely cruel and violent.

"In 1819, a Lodge was surprised at Murcia; the brethren, nearly all persons of distinction, died from the tortures inflicted upon them by the Inquisition, except the illustrious lawyer Brother Romero Alpuente, whose strong constitution enabled him to withstand the cruel suffering and who was released, the same as the other persons who were imprisoned because they were Freemasons, by virtue of a decree of the Provisional Government of 1820." (Ritual del Maestro Mason) .

In 1820, Ferdinand VII of Spain fixed death on the gallows as the penalty for membership in the Masonic Order, and when a Lodge was raided at Granada, in 1825, all the members were hanged and the candidate, who had not yet been initiated, was sent to the galleys. In 1828, the Marquis of Lebrillana and Captain Alvarez de Sotomayor perished on the scaffold because they had not come forward and denounced themselves as being Freemasons. In 1829, a Lodge was raided at Barcelona; the Master was hanged, some of the brethren were sent to prison for life, and others were sentenced to less severe penalties.

In 1832, at last, the liberal government, organized with the aid of Freemasons, issued a general amnesty for all offenders of this class and Masonry flourished once more. A new period of trial began in 1849 and many persons were deported or sent to prison for their connection with the Masonic Order, until the September revolution (1868) came and put a final stop to these persecutions. An attempt was made to renew them after the uprising of the natives of the Philippine Islands (1896), as a result of which the Grande Oriente Ispaniol was charged with having fostered the separatist movement and fathered the "Katipunan," a nave revolutionary society patterned on Masonry so far as matters of form and organization were concerned. his attempt fell flat, however.

While the persecutions last mentioned can not, perhaps, be charged to the Inquisition, yet they were, to a certain degree, the result and upshot of the bitter war which that defunct institution had waged against Freemasonry for so many years.

This concludes our brief study of the Inquisition and its influence on humanity in general and the Masonic Order in particular.

The thought that it will have inspired his brethren in Freemasonry with thoughts of gratitude and admiration towards those who suffered and died for the cause in the days gone by is alone sufficient to compensate the author for the time and effort which he has devoted to this subject.

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(Note. By the courtesy of Brother Willis D. Engle, Secretary, we are in receipt of the following historical sketch of this organization, whose effective work in behalf of a saner Masonic Charity is perhaps little known to the rank and file of the Craft. In apprehending frauds, impostors and unworthy persons, and systematically caring for worthy cases it has developed exceptional facilities; hence the constantly increasing support which it is receiving. Its next biennial meeting will be held at Omaha, September 25-27, 1917. By following the practical suggestions with which Brother Engle closes this article, our Brethren can in most cases protect themselves against deception.)

THE institution of Free and Accepted Masonry, whose fundamental principle is charity, has for many years, in this country and in Europe, carried on the work of charitable relief in a manner that encouraged mendicancy and, in a measure, tended to increase the fast multiplying class that seeks to live without mental or physical effort. The mere application of a man who claimed membership in the fraternity, for money, was amply sufficient to accomplish the desired effect, and many unscrupulous men (women also), with improper claims, have managed to secure a good living upon the well-known benevolent desires of the craft.

The majority of Masons now living remember the time when the legitimate business of every lodge session was interrupted by an applicant for relief at the lodge door, which was always followed by the appointment of a committee to wait upon the applicant, the report of the committee after a necessarily superficial examination, and then the invariable contribution, with all the necessary routine in connection therewith. Though this practice is still in operation in the small towns and villages of the country, nearly every city has learned and adopted a wiser and better plan of giving relief. In almost every large centre of population there is now a Masonic Board of Relief, organized upon a systematic basis, and managed by Masons of experience and good judgment. The majority of these Boards of Relief are operating upon a system recommended by this Association and by brethren who have made Masonic relief a study of years, so that the practical part of the general plan has become a matter of uniform action.

Though these Boards of Relief, when operating according to the recommendations made, have proven the value of organization and method, and have succeeded in reducing the aggregate of donations to the improper claimants, and thus accomplished a saving that cannot, for obvious reasons, be accurately stated, but which is vast, still an isolated Board of Relief, acting independently, is incapable in itself of affording protection to the funds placed at its disposal for charitable disbursement against more than a small fraction of the unworthy. The reason for this inability is sufficiently clear to need little explanation beyond that given in the monthly circulars now issued.

Before the organization of this Association it was found, by comparison of notes, that at least sixty percent of the applicants for relief were unworthy for various reasons, chiefly because of unaffiliation — the greatest of all evils Masonry has had to contend against in its progressive march.

The conditions attending the disbursement of charitable funds, and the necessity of establishing some kind of a check upon the demands of the unworthy, were laid before several Grand Lodges with the view to securing some authorized or concerted action whereby relief might be systematized, with little effect however.

Pursuant to a call authorized by the Grand Lodge of Maryland, signed by representatives of the Masonic Relief Boards of Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, New York City, St. Louis, and Wilmington, Del., a convention met in Baltimore, August 31st, 1885, when representatives of twelve Relief Boards organized the General Masonic Relief Association of the United States and Canada. It was a day of small things, but the foundations were carefully and substantially laid, upon which has been builded this Association, numbering among its members most of the Grand Lodges in North America.

While among its active workers have been distinguished Masons from all portions of the country except the extreme West, who, owing to their distance from the places of meeting have not been able to actively participate in the deliberations of the Association, yet the hearty co-operation of the Masons, both in the Mountain states and on the Pacific slope has been had.

The growth of the Association has been a steady one, demonstrating the good work that it has done and is doing, and the appreciation thereof by the Fraternity generally. This will be shown by the following comparative statement of its membership.

  Grand Lodges Relief Boards Lodges
1886 3 20 331
1892 17 24 89
1899 21 68 123
1905 22 71 180
1911 41 92 141
1916 48 138 97

There have been over 6,000 original cases reported, some of them traveling under different aliases, while there have been over 2,100 reports concerning men already recorded, many of them being cases where frauds had been detected by our circulars which contain the pictures of over 200 unworthy applicants.


Every Master Mason is obligated to contribute to the relief of a worthy brother in distress to the limit of his ability. While this is a personal obligation assumed by every Master Mason, yet, in order that Masonic relief may be systematized, the worthy provided for, and the unworthy discriminated against, the usual practice is for the relief work to be done through lodges and relief boards.

A brother's claim for relief primarily rests upon the lodge of which he is a member, and every lodge should, to the extent of its ability, extend relief to its own members in distress wherever they may be. However, if a lodge to which a non-resident worthy brother belongs is unable, or unwilling to relieve him, he has a claim upon any brother to whom he may apply. But, for reasons before stated, such work is usually assumed by the Lodge within whose territorial jurisdiction the brother resides. While the obligation to relieve primarily rests upon the lodge to which a brother belongs, any brother, lodge, or relief board extending relief to an applicant has no legal claim — although a moral one — against the lodge to which such brother belongs, unless it is specifically authorized to extend such aid.


In communities where there is but one lodge, a relief committee should be appointed; where there are two or more lodges, a joint committee or board should be organized. This committee or board should designate one brother, to whom all applicants should be referred for investigation and recommendation. This brother, hereafter called "The Officer," should be centrally located and easily accessible. The brethren should be instructed to refrain from extending any assistance whatever to strangers claiming to be Masons, emergencies excepted. The Officer should be provided with our warning circulars, list of regular lodges and uniform application blanks.

When the applicant reaches the Officer, emergencies must be handled according to the demands of the situation, but when there is time for careful investigation, the general procedure to be adopted is as follows:

Allow the applicant to tell his story in full and produce documentary evidence. It is not advisable to indulge in ritualistic examinations. Advise applicant all applications must be handled according to uniform code. Get out application blank and fill out all blanks on body and secure signature of applicant. Next consult this list of lodges to see if the lodge given exists. Also consult warning circulars. If applicant is therein reported, dismiss, or, if justified, arrest him. If not reported, advise applicant you will wire at once to the Secretary of his Lodge to establish his identity. At this point many applications will be withdrawn, in which case write a letter to the Secretary, simply stating that So-and-So, claiming membership, called. If the applicant is a fraud, this will be sufficient to call out an answer, and, if he is in good standing, it will not disclose the nature of his visit. If the application is not withdrawn, wire or have Secretary wire at once (day or night letter is recommended) to lodge (see sample telegram attached) and be governed by answer. While waiting answer, furnish order on restaurant for meals (also for room, if necessary), but do not give cash. It is better to spend $5.00 to investigate rather than 50 cents on a chance.

Request applicant to return later. Frauds seldom return.

Whenever a fraud is discovered, report by letter to Rev. W.D. Engle, Secretary, Masonic Temple, Indianapolis, Ind., giving full description and information.

Be careful in case of foreigners. It is generally safe to refuse relief unless a certificate and dues receipt are produced.

Never give money, if other relief is available and adequate.

The same care should be taken in case applicant claims to be member of family, widow, or orphan of a Mason.


Secretary Boaz Lodge Sixteen (use title only), Deer Creek, Ohio:

John Smith, engineer, claiming membership your lodge, age thirty, height five ten, weight one forty, black hair and eyes, dark complexion, Roman nose, scar over left eye, applies for assistance (vary to suit occasion) Wire standing, worthiness and instructions.

or Ionic Lodge No. 40, F. & A. M.

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Bro. Geo. W. Baird, P.G.M., District of Columbia


ON the second of December, 1907, Congressman Wiley, of Alabama, introduced Bill No. 539 into the 60th Congress, asking an appropriation of Public Money of $50,000, to erect in the Capital City of the Nation a Monument to the memory of Jeremiah O'Brien, upon the pedestal of which should be inscribed:

Erected to the memory of
The Heroic Irish-American
Who captured
In the first sea fight of
The Revolutionary War
The British Schooner Margharetta.

The writer has been informed, by Mr. Wiley, that the bill was exploited, lobbied, etc., by members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Knights of Columbus, who were proud of their hero and urgent in their testimony in favor of the bill.

The "hearings" before the committee on Library, in favor of the appropriation, were very complimentary to Captain O'Brien, and quite convincing of his heroism, patriotism, etc.

Captain O'Brien, however, was not Irish, as they evidently believed, but was born and raised in the State of Maine.

During the month of June, 1775, a small British armed schooner visited the Harbor of Machias: it was the Margharetta. O'Brien attacked her on the 12th of June, with several smaller vessels, armed with muskets, shot-guns, pitch forks, axes, and one small cannon. The armament of the Margharetta was far superior, being "sixteen swivels and four four-pounders," but the Americans carried her by boarding. The fight was bloody but of short duration, and really was the first sea-fight of that war.

O'Brien used the battery of the Margharetta in other vessels in "raiding" the enemy's vessels in the bay of Fundy, and around New Foundland and Halifax, which waters he faithfully patrolled. The vessels he used, though smaller than the Margharetta, were faster sailers, which was much to their advantage. He encountered the Dilligence, the Fatmagouche and another armed tender, which came to Machias to retake the Margharetta, and he beat them off.

The Committee on Library, in the House of Representatives, to whom the bill was referred for consideration and report, was informed that Jeremiah O'Brien was a pew holder and attendant of the Congregational Church at Machias, of which his father was one of the founders, and that Jeremiah O'Brien was a charter member of Warren Lodge at Machias. This they probably communicated to the promoters of the bill, for they as suddenly abandoned it and the committee never reported the bill, pro nor con.

O'Brien served six years as a member of the National Congress, and was held in high esteem. He died in 1858, at the age of 80 years, and was buried in the protestant cemetery at Machias, and the memorial, shown in the cut, though not so ostentatious as the one asked for by the hyphenated-Americans, is sufficient to identify the individual, who was not an Irish-American at all.

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Did you ever stop to consider what our national emblem represents to the true patriot? In form a memorial of events of supreme importance in our history, it is a symbol of the national life itself, of the power which binds us into one cohesive whole. It represents not only the traditions, the history, the struggles and victories of the past, and our love and devotion of the present, our institution and privileges and the liberty we enjoy, but it represents and symbolizes our faith in and hope for the future.

The Flag always represents the ideal State. No matter how great injustice we may think we suffer at the hands of those who wield the powers of government at the time, the flag yet remains undimmed. We struggle and strive, not to raise the National Emblem to a higher standard, but to raise society to the standard of the ideal nation of which our flag is the sign and symbol. No matter how far we may go, our National Banner holds a vision of a yet brighter future, a vision of an ideal future which is a truly Masonic ideal, when Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity shall reign supreme.

— Silver Trowel Bulletin, Calif.

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Edited by Bro. Robert I. Clegg


Part I. Proposing and Recommending

(Note. The following article is one of a series prepared by the Editor for reading and discussion in Lodges and Study Clubs. This series is based upon the Society's "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." Each month we present a leading article supplemented by a list of references on the same subject. Commencing with this issue, we also append a column of "Helpful Hints to Study Club Leaders," which we hope will assist those already doing this work, and inspire others to do likewise. This innovation is in line with the Society's policy of stimulating active Masonic study.

We recommend that Lodges and Study Clubs use the current paper at their meeting one month after it is received. This gives time for careful study by the members; it also permits the preparation of additional papers from the references. In the original presentation of this paper, if it is read a paragraph at a time, and fully discussed as you proceed, you will find that each member will get more out of it. By this plan, the leader can bring out the important points listed under "Helpful Hints," as you go along, and the discussion will perhaps be more to the point than otherwise.

The Bulletin Course may be taken up at this point as profitably as elsewhere. The previous lessons may be considered review work. Mackey's Encyclopedia and the bound volumes of The Builder remain the necessary references; others will from time to time be given; rare references will be reprinted in THE BULLETIN. YOUR LODGE can undertake systematic Masonic study with small expense in dollars, but large returns to your membership, if you will let us assist you. Our "STUDY CLUB DEPARTMENT" is organized for that purpose.

Address Geo. L. Schoonover, Secretary, Anamosa, Iowa.)

THE very word "candidate" has a special significance. It means one clothed in white. As a symbol the color reference is striking, representing as it does the stainless and unblemished. It is also a reminder of the apron and all which that emblem teaches.

One who applies for the degrees of Masonry must do so of his own free will and accord. He cannot be solicited to become a member. No invitation in any form is offered to him. Of all the requirements for a clear application this one is in the most rigorous class.


A petition for the degrees is usually in brief form. It recites that the petitioner has long had a favorable opinion of the institution and if found worthy is desirous of being admitted a member; that he believes in the existence of a Supreme Being; that he has (or has not) before petitioned a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for admission; that he has lived in the same locality since the date he sets forth in the petition; states when and where he was born; and also gives his occupation. To this document there is appended his own signature and usually two Masonic endorsers.

Of course it is only to be expected that the endorsers of the application are able of their own knowledge to verify some, if not all, of the statements made in the document to which they have attached their signatures. It is not altogether reasonable that as witnesses their names are merely to be accepted as deposing that if required they can prove the identity of the person signing the statement.


For a number of years there has been a tendency to elaborate the forms of petition for the degrees and that the method of investigation be extended and in general improved. That the candidate shall be more thoroughly put upon record in certain essential particulars is the object of these developments. Already in this paper I have presented a simple form of application and now I offer the clauses found in the application adopted in Pennsylvania so far as these are affected by recent developments.

  1. Name in full....
  2. Age..... years.
  3. Date of birth......
  4. Occupation (state specifically and in detail the character of the occupation)......
  5. Residence of petitioner (give street and number)..........
  6. Where I have continuously resided since ......
  7. My former residences were at......for.....years, and at......for.....years.
  8. Place of birth.......Name of employer ....
  9. Date of signature...........Signed......

I recommend the petitioner as worthy, and certify that I have been personally acquainted with him for....years immediately preceding this date.


I recommend the applicant as worthy, and certify that I have been personally acquainted with him for.....years immediately preceding this date.

Date..................... Signed........


This petition accompanied with the fee stipulated by the bylaws of the Lodge is presented at a communication of that body. If no sufficient objection, orally or in writing, is addressed openly to the Lodge or privately presented to the Master, the petition is received and acted upon to the extent of appointing a Committee of Investigation. The Committee makes suitable inquiries and reports at a succeeding communication of a Lodge. Some difference of opinion may easily arise as to what are "suitable" avenues of investigation for the Committee.


Whether the endorsers know much or little about the petitioner does not release the members of the Committee of Investigation from the full share of responsibility for a thorough inquiry into the worthiness of the applicant to receive the Masonic degrees in the Lodge to which he has applied for this privilege.


What are these essential requirements?

The Ancient Charges exact only the broadest of faiths. "That religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves; that is, to be good men and true, or men of honor and honesty, by whatever persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the center of union, and the means of conciliating true friendship among persons that must have remained at a perpetual distance."

My own State (Ohio) interprets this in its Code as "No religious test shall ever be required of any applicant for the benefits of Masonry other than a steadfast belief in the existence and perfection of Deity; and no lodge under this Jurisdiction shall receive any candidate without the acknowledgment of such belief." Of course the Ohio Code also accepts as law the foregoing excerpt from the old Charges.

It is also provided by the same State Code that "At his reception into the Lodge of Entered Apprentices, the candidate must be able to respond of his own accord that in times of difficulty and danger he trusts in God. The Masonic requirement is in the expression of faith and trust — faith in God and trust in His protection — and if the candidate does not so respond he should be conducted from the Lodge." The Code further recites that "Masonry is above sectarianism and embraces all who acknowledge a belief in God."

Sundry other qualifications are not so universally insisted upon as is the matter of religious faith, though even in that important particular there are a very few instances where the rigor of the situation is waived.

We are also informed by the old Charges that "The persons admitted members of a Lodge must be good and true men, freeborn and of mature and discreet age, bondmen, no women, no immoral or scandalous men, but of good report."

At least one great Masonic jurisdiction no longer follows this paragraph in its entirety. England uses "free" instead of "freeborn."

Just what is "mature and discreet age" may be variously estimated. Most jurisdictions specify twenty-one years as the minimum. Exceptions have been known. The son of a Mason was of old known as a Lewis and was privileged to become a member at an earlier age than other applicants for the degrees.

Among the other regulations are that the candidates shall be of good and honest parentage, and that they have "right and perfect limbs and able of body to attend the said science."

Many hold that the individual must be judged by his own acts and therefore this old stipulation as to legitimate birth no longer obtains as tenaciously as of yore. There is also great difference of opinion and of practice with regard to the matter of what is sometimes called "physical perfection." One jurisdiction has gone on record with the following: "A candidate for the degree of Entered Apprentice should be able physically, as well as intellectually, of himself and without exterior aid or assistance from another, to receive and impart all the essentials for Masonic recognition." It is obviously impossible here on the printed page to specify in detail all that the candidate will be instructed as to the requirements of Masonic recognition.

Some Grand Lodges are much more insistent than others as to the extent of bodily imperfection that may prevail in order to disqualify the applicant. It is usually held that the question only arises before the candidate receives the Entered Apprentice degree. Should he by some accident occurring subsequent to initiation suffer mutilation, this is sufficient cause in eight United States Jurisdictions for arresting his further advancement.


The Grand Master of Alabama, in 1915, in his annual report dealt with the physical and other qualifications after this wise:

"One of the first lessons taught the initiate is that 'it is the internal and not the external qualifications of a man which recommend him to be made a Mason,' and yet, we are prone to overlook any little stain on the moral character, and waive any defect in the mental ability of a petitioner which renders him incapable of properly understanding or comprehending the principles of our fraternity. We are not willing to sit in judgment upon the intellectual attainments — or rather, the lack of them — of one who desires to connect himself with our ancient and honorable institution, but we never overlook a stiff knee, nor waive the loss of a foot, nor the first joint of a thumb. In so doing we deny membership to many men of big brains and warm hearts; men of good moral character; men whose mental ability and intellectual attainments would be of great benefit to the craft and of greater benefit to the world by reason of their association with us, and their help in the great work in which we are engaged.

"The requirements that an acceptable petitioner shall be 'perfect in member' comes to us from the days of operative Masonry when there was, probably, good reason therefor, but has little to recommend it now except its antiquity, and, as I view it, with so little to recommend it, and so much to condemn it, it is time that we modify it, even at the risk of shattering what might be termed a landmark.

"I believe that intellectually, morally, and socially, the effect upon the candidate and upon the craft would be beneficial if by amending or modifying the present law concerning physical perfection or qualifications we look more closely into the intellectual, moral, and social qualifications of the petitioner, and admit those who are worthy and well qualified from these standpoints, and waive such slight physical requirements as now prohibit the reception of a petitioner who cannot perfectly exemplify our ritual. I therefore recommend:

"That our constitutions and edicts be so amended that the question of physical qualifications for initiation or advancement be left to the subordinate petitioned lodge, subject to the approval of the Grand Master."

The suggestion bore fruit. An amendment adopted in 1916, reads as follows:

"No subordinate lodge shall proceed to confer any or either of the degrees of Masonry upon any person who is not a man, freeborn, of the age of twenty-one years or upward, of good reputation, of sufficient natural and intellectual endowment, with an estate, office, occupation, or some other obvious source of honest subsistence, from which he may be able to spare something for works of charity and for maintaining the ancient dignity and utility of the Masonic institution. If the petitioner be physically defective by reason of deformity or being maimed, his eligibility shall be determined by the lodge to which he has applied, and if determined favorably to the petitioner he shall be eligible to receive the degrees of Masonry when the action of the lodge has been approved by the Grand Master in writing."

It is the law in Indiana that "The Grand Master may with the consent of the Committee on Jurisprudence allow lodges to receive and ballot on petitions for membership of those who can by the aid of artificial appliances conform to the ceremonies of the order."

Since the adoption of this law in 1911, the average number of such petitions has not exceeded eight in any one year. Indiana has a membership of over seventy thousand Masons and therefore the ratio of the "physically imperfect" is numerically very small. Probably the method employed acts to some extent to deter or at least to lessen the number of applications because of the official approval required of those who are not influenced by the local personal equation. They do not have an acquaintance with the applicants other than is requisite to understand the extent of the bodily defect. Hasty and ill-advised action would appear to be checked in every way by the Indiana method.

A special form has been prepared for Indiana lodges which makes it easy to compile and submit such data concerning every applicant as will enable the Grand Master and the Committee on Jurisprudence to pass intelligently upon the merits or the demerits of each case.

Says the Committee: "We must remember that we should not encourage this class of applicants any more than we should solicit the applicants who are physically perfect, nor should we encourage them to believe that this amendment gives them an inalienable right to the blessed privileges of our institution. Let them understand that this is a favor to be bestowed only upon those whose mental, moral, and social endowments have more than compensated for the loss they have sustained in the physical."

In Massachusetts the law in reference to physical qualifications is expressed thus: "If the physical deformity of any applicant for the degrees does not amount to an inability to meet the requirements of the ritual, and honestly to acquire the means of subsistence, it shall constitute no hindrance to his initiation." Grand Master Johnson interpreted the significance of this regulation to be that "The physical defect of the candidate, whatever it may be, shall not be such as to render him incapable of receiving and imparting instruction, nor of performing any duties that may be required of him in his capacity or vocation as a Mason. No such maim or defect of the body as the loss of an eye, an ear, a finger, or other member not essential to the discharge of his Masonic duties, or to his personal maintenance, does any violence to the spirit and original intent of this regulation, and, in the opinion of your committee, no other construction can be put upon it consistently with the higher demands of humanity, justice, and equality."


Some lodges in Ohio provide an additional series of questions in order that investigating committees may be more thorough in searching out the character and reputation of applicants for membership. Sometimes these questions are printed on the backs of the petitions or reports. Under the heading of "Qualifications of Applicants" there is stated:

"Each committee shall, collectively if possible, visit the Petitioner in his home and require him to answer the following questions:

"Do you pay your debts? "Do you use profane or indecent language, gamble, associate with improper persons, indulge intemperately in intoxicating liquors, own or tend a saloon? "If married, do you live with your family? "Do you believe in the everliving and true God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures? "To what Organizations or Associations do you belong? "The committee shall then ascertain from outside sources: "If he is temperate in all his habits. "If his neighbors, acquaintances and employers give him a good character. "If he is mercenary, narrow-minded, arbitrary, or a disturbing element. "If he is physically qualified to receive the degrees. "If he has sufficient education to understand that Freemasonry is to improve in knowledge, to cultivate the social virtues, and to practice out of the lodge the great moral and charitable precepts taught in it. "If the Organizations to which he belongs would circumscribe or prevent his usefulness in the Fraternity."

With the very broad scope of these queries there is nevertheless omitted any mention of the provision to be made by the applicant for the future welfare of those dependent upon him. The Grand Lodge of New Zealand expects the applicant to satisfy the Committee of Investigation regarding the insurance or other provision for the family in case of the death or permanent disability of the petitioner.

Among the recommendations of Grand Master Cotton of Missouri submitted to his Grand Lodge during the annual communication of 1915 was one that suggested that committees of investigation be required to answer the following questions with reference to applicants for the degrees:

"Has the applicant resided in Missouri twelve months and in the jurisdiction of the lodge six months? "Is he mentally qualified and of proper age? "Is he strictly honest and truthful? "Is he addicted to the intemperate use of intoxicating liquors? "Does he gamble? "What is the character of his company and associates? "Does he habitually use profane or indecent language? "Has he licentious or immoral habits? "Is he a law-abiding citizen? "Do you consider him suitable material for 'a beautiful system of morals"'?

Lodges in New Jersey have an application blank containing the following directions and questions which the investigating committee is in every case charged with the duty of having duly and properly observed and answered:

"Brethren, you are appointed a committee to investigate the character and eligibility of.....for membership in our lodge.

"The following information will guide you in performing your duty: "He is in business at.... (employed by) ....located at...... He resides at..........

"You will obtain from said petitioner full and correct answers to the following questions: "Names of parents. "Names of brothers and sisters. "Where has he resided during the past ten years? (If more than one place, give places and periods of residence.) "Does he appear to possess sufficient intelligence to understand and value the doctrines and tenets of our order? "What are the names and addresses of all his employers for the past two years, and the periods and nature of his several employments? "Is he married or single? "If married, is he living with his wife? "If not living with his wife, state the reason for separation. "Has he any children? If so, how many? "What provision has he made for himself or his family in case of his disability or death? "Does he contribute to the immediate necessities of those who want, and is it his purpose to practice charity so far as his circumstances will permit? "Has he ever been convicted of a crime? If so, state the circumstances and result. "Is he physically qualified to become a member of the order? "What three responsible persons, Masons preferred, have known him the most intimately, and for the longest time? "Said committee shall report the results of its investigation to the lodge in the following form, which shall be properly filled in: "Your committee appointed upon the petition of Mr......... would report that they called personally upon such petitioner, and have called or communicated by letter with persons named in answer to questions five and fourteen, and have received the following answers: (Give report of each person replying).

"From .................... "From .................... "From ....................

"We are satisfied that the answers in his statement contained are.... true; that his life, conduct, morals, and general reputation and standing in the community in which he resides are such that he is ....qualified as a proper candidate for Masonry, and that there are .....reasons to the knowledge of your committee why the prayer of such petitioner should not be granted."

Details so elaborate may to many accustomed to the simpler forms appear unnecessary. On the other hand it has in fact happened that the wrong man has been under investigation and that the lodge has thereby been constrained to vote improperly. In this instance the two men were of the same name but not related and both resided within the jurisdiction of the lodge to which an application was tendered. The whole proceedings were subsequently officially declared null and void. The Grand Master found that "The committee did not report on the application placed in their hands nor did the lodge vote on the petition of the man who applied." Accordingly there was but the one thing to do and the lodge received the following explicit instructions: "Let the committee do its duty, make report on the proper man, and let the lodge vote on the proper petition."

Iris Lodge, No. 229, of Cleveland, Ohio, uses the regulation blank for the petitioner's application for membership. When this petition is received the Secretary sends the applicant another printed blank which he is to fill out and return. This latter blank bears the name and address of the Lodge and of its Secretary an otherwise is as follows:

"Dear Sir: — I am in receipt of your application to Iris Lodge. Will you kindly supply answers to the following questions and return the form to me in the enclosed envelope at your earliest convenience:

  1. Full Name ......................................
  2. Address ........................................
  3. Date of Birth....................................
  4. Place of Birth...................................
  5. How long have you lived in Cleveland............
  6. How long have you lived in Ohio.................
  7. Occupation .....................................
  8. If employed, give Employer's name...............
  9. Business Address ...............................
  10. Single, Married or Widower......................
  11. If married, how many in family..................
  12. Do you attend any Church........................
  13. If so, which.....................................
  14. Give Pastor's name..............................
  15. Do you belong to any Secret Societies............
  16. If so, which.....................................
  17. Give names of three men to whom you can refer, other than those already on the petition:
  18. Name.........................Address
  19. Name.........................Address
  20. Name.........................Address
  21. Have you ever made application to a Masonic Lodge before............
  22. Give any other information that will be of assistance to the Committee.

The effect of the last line in the foregoing blank will be to encourage the applicant to make a more thorough search through his answers to the preceding questions and to supply additional data where his first replies may have been scanty of particulars.

In all these investigations there is the object that a sense of absolute confidence within the lodge must be satisfied. To attain this end the candidate is called upon for all the necessary details of these qualifications essential to Masonic raw material. Systematization of the work of investigation simplifies the labors of the Committees, produces uniformity of results, and do much to provide that nothing of value has been over looked. When these much to be desired results are obtained the lodge can then proceed to ballot advisedly. Sure of its ground the lodge then builds upon firm foundation the edifice Masonic, the worthy candidate being by its labor fitted to the purpose of the Craft.


Proposing and Recommending.

Under this heading we consider all of the conditions surrounding a candidate for the Mysteries of Masonry, his qualifications, and the duties of the Lodge with respect to a proper consideration of his petition. The following points should be thoroughly brought out in the Club discussion. In addition, we append some questions dealing with the more general policies of a Lodge which will serve, as we think, to form in the mind of a student a correct opinion on these matters.

  1. What is a complete and legal Petition for the Mysteries of Masonry?
  2. How does a Petition come before the Lodge? What are the successive steps which it must take before finally being acted upon?
  3. What are the duties of the Recommenders to a Petition?
  4. What are the duties of the Committee on Investigation?
  5. Where must a candidate reside in order to petition a Lodge? What determines the jurisdiction of a Lodge? When and where is jurisdiction referred to as "concurrent"?
  6. Discuss the doctrine of "Physical Perfection." What is the law in your own State on the subject?
  7. In the olden time Lodges were small, and the members knew all candidates personally. How far do modern conditions justify a Committee on Investigation in asking for additional information regarding a candidate? In cities and towns with a considerable transient population would you regard the lists of supplemental questions in this paper as justifiable?
  8. Should the fact that a candidate has presented his petition to a Lodge be kept from the general public? Why?
  9. Impress the necessity of proper decorum in the ante-room and preparation room. What should be the attitude of all the Brethren of a Lodge toward a candidate whose name has been proposed?
  10. Has not the Lodge the right to try to learn whether or not a candidate will take Masonry seriously? Should the petitioner's motives be included in the list of qualifications? What is meant by "preparation in the heart"?


  1. Which policy is best for Masonry, charging a high initiation fee, say from $50.00 to $100.00, or a relatively low fee, from $25.00 to $40.00?
    1. Discuss the "human nature" element. Which do we value most, things that cost us enough to demand sacrifice, or things which cost us little?
    2. Is the establishment of a relatively high fee for the degrees in any sense placing a "money value on Masonry"?
    3. How far may a Lodge be said to place its own valuation upon the work which it does, when it establishes the fee to be charged?
    4. Ought not every Lodge to place itself in such a financial position that it can fulfill its charitable obligations to its members? What are these obligations?
    5. Ought not every candidate to be presented by the Lodge with enough good Masonic literature so that he may come to a full understanding of what Masonry is, and what it should mean to him?
  2. 2. Discuss the question of Lodge Dues as related to the above.
  3. 3. Bring out the fact that, though the candidate is presently to assume an obligation to the Lodge, the Lodge is also, through its W. M., to assume the same obligation toward the candidate. This being true, the Lodge MUST determine for itself the qualities of a candidate which tend to make him either worthy or unworthy of the mutual confidence imposed by initiation.


Committee on Investigation, The Builder, vol. II, (Cor.) p. 254. Preliminary Statements of Candidate, The Builder, vol. Soliciting, The Builder, vol. I, p. 40. Qualifications, The Builder, vol. I, pp. 126, 242, 248; vol. II, pp. 17, 30, 239, 274, 277, 350; (Cor.) pp. 95, 160, 191, 318; (Lib.) p. 27; (Q. B.) pp. 317, 381. Old Constitutions of Freemasonry, 1722, p. 15 Newton's "The Builders," p. 127. Mackey's Encyclopedia: Candidate, Esoteric Masonry, Monitor, Proposing Candidates, Recommendation, Residence, Qualifications of a Candidate, Jurisdiction of a Lodge, Physical Qualifications. Mackey's Text Book of Masonic Jurisprudence, Book I, Chapter ii. The student is also referred to the articles on "Physical Qualifications" in this issue of The Builder.



It is a society of men of all classes in the social scale, all nations, races, colours, and creeds.

They must be believers in one sole, personal God.

Further, of good position, i.e., following some reputable calling. A usurer, a police-informer, the follower of any degrading occupation, even though perfectly legal, such as a hangman, would be an impossible candidate; because his presence would dishonour the Craft, and he would be unfit to associate with gentlemen.

They must be of adequate means; that is, their income must be in excess of their actual necessities. Freemasonry is always more or less expensive, and we hold it a Masonic crime to devote to the Craft what is required by one's family.

They must be of good repute or morals. This does not imply that every candidate shall be absolutely faultless; but what is known of him must be, on the whole, to his credit. The man of business whose smartness borders on dishonesty; the boon companion whose conviviality resolves itself into frequent excess; the man who is often seen in doubtful company; the hotheaded disputant, whose violence of temperament leads him to forget the respect due to his adversary; these are not desirable members of the Craft, even though their good qualities exceed their bad ones. And yet, if carelessly admitted there is a likelihood that the Craft and its lessons may do them great good.

On the other hand, the inveterate liar, the unclean liver, the drunkard, the rowdy, the companion of rogues and vagabonds, the fraudulent bankrupt, the gambler, the spendthrift, the betrayer of innocence, the hypocrite and the niggard, are under no circumstances fit and proper candidates for the privileges of Freemasonry.

They must be Free. When Masonry was first established, serfs and villains existed in the land. Such were not admitted to apprenticeship in our lodges. In like manner we must not admit a man who is not master of his own time and actions. But we apply the restriction to his intellect also. A man bound down in the chains of superstition, unable to take a free and manly view of matters in general, the bondsman of priestcraft, of social laws and prejudices of his business avocations even or a slave to his own passions, is not a fit associate for Free men and Masons.

They must be sound men. When Masonry was chiefly composed of operative Masons, a cripple was not admitted to apprenticeship; the reason is obvious. We no longer insist upon soundness of limb, provided the candidate can fulfill our requirements; but we stipulate for mental soundness. A Mason must have a sound mind, capable of reasoning, of instruction, of appreciating the beauties of our ritual, of expressing himself clearly, of discriminating between good and evil, the noble and the base.

They must be educated men. This does not imply a university career, or even a board-school education. The best and truest and most serviceable education is often acquired amongst one's fellow men in the battle of life. That they must be able to read and write is obvious. But they must have been educated to possess the most valuable attributes of a gentleman. Not in the restricted and false sense in which My Lord Tomnoddy would apply the word. Polished manners and a good tailor neither make nor mar the gentleman. Masons understand by the term a man who has learnt to be considerate to all men, of a kind and chivalrous nature, who avoids acts and words which pain his neighbors, honest in thought and deed, the support of the weak, the vindicator of the oppressed. Such a man, though his hands be horny, his boots clumsy, his gait heavy and his H's misplaced, is a noble man, a friend to be trusted, and will make a good Mason. If in addition he possesses the grace and complishments of Lord Chesterfield, or the erudition of Bacon, he will be doubly welcome; but the latter qualities, without former, are as naught.

They must be of a charitable disposition. Charitable in giving of their superabundance, charitable in sympathy with the distressed in body and mind, charitable in thinking no evil of friend or foe. To virtue ever kind, to faults a little blind.

Such should be the members of the Craft; this is the ideal which every lodge should strive to attain. That in many cases we fall lamentably short of this high ideal, must be attributed to the imperfections of our human nature.

— From "What Is Freemasonry?"

— G. W. Speth.

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Most of the Lodges that have been called off for the summer season will call on again this month. The great number that are following our Course of Study will resume their monthly study meetings with the installment of the course in this issue of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin. They will be better prepared than ever to successfully conduct their meetings since the inauguration of the new feature, "Helpful Hints to Study Leaders."

The facilities of the Study Club Department have been greatly augmented and we are now in a better position than ever before to answer the many questions that are being referred to us by Lodges and Study Clubs. For the past ten months one of our clerks has been employed in card-indexing the contents of all the Masonic books, periodicals, Research Lodge transactions, Grand Lodge Proceedings, Encyclopedias, etc., in the Library of the Society. Four of us have been busy for several months on our "Clipping Bureau." In this Bureau we are clipping and classifying under their proper titles articles of every description contained in all the Masonic periodicals coming to our exchange table. Our task will not be completed for many months to come but we already have a vast fund of information for reference purposes and the card-index system and Clipping Bureau are both in excellent working order. When both of these systems are practically completed (they will both be constantly added to each month as new material is received from other sources), we shall have the most complete reference system that can be imagined, and the references on every conceivable subject having to do with Masonry in any connection will be instantly available. Every subject will have its individual index-card and this card will show the volume and page of every book in the Library in which allusion is made to the subject in particular, be it but a single line or several chapters.

Take, if you please, the "Oblong Square" for a subject. We consult our index-card and find immediately a list of every mention of the subject that has been made in the many volumes of the "Ars Quatuor Coronatorum," Mackey's Encyclopedia, MacKenzie's Encyclopedia, The Builder, NEW AGE, etc. We are also directed to the exact volume and page of every other work on Masonry on our Library shelves wherein anything ever appeared on this subject. We then take our folder from our Clipping Bureau, containing all the clippings from the Grand Lodge Proceedings and Masonic and other periodicals, and we are in a position to give the individual member, Lodge or Study Club referring to us a question on this subject, everything that has been written about it.

In addition to these facilities, we have, by an order of the Trustees of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, free and unlimited access to every work on Masonry in the archives of the greatest Masonic Library in the world, the Iowa Masonic Library at Cedar Rapids, where are located two of the members of the Board of Stewards of the National Masonic Research Society. Need we tell you any more of our vast resources of Masonic reference?

Right here is where YOU, as a member of the Research Society, enter into the proposition. Your own Lodge, which may not have yet taken up this valuable and interesting feature in its meetings, is entitled, through your membership in the Society, to the free services of our Study Club Department and you will be conferring a great favor upon your fellow-members of your Lodge by bringing this matter before them.

You may not be in a position to take a leading part in the study meetings yourself, but doubtless there are others among the officers and members of your Lodge who have the time and the inclination to do so if the matter is properly presented to them. May we not depend upon you to do this, if you cannot do more? Talk it over at the next meeting of your Lodge and then let us hear from you, or if you are too busy, have your Master or some other Brother write us for full particulars of our Study plan, and thus number your Lodge among the many hundreds that are DOING THINGS and living up to their obligations to their members.

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Bro. Dudley Wright


The fortunate habit, adhered to by the London Freemason, of publishing portraits of Brethren elected to preside over some of their London Lodges enables us this month to present to our Members a likeness of Brother Dudley Wright, of London, whose graceful pen has already adorned these pages. But for this publication, we could not have done so, owing to the rules of the English Post Office prohibiting the mailing of photographs to outside countries during the war.

Brother Wright was installed as W. M. of Tuscan Mark Lodge No. 454 in London, on March 30, 1917, the brief summary of his acceptance revealing a high conception of Masonry, and a devout sense of the duties and responsibilities of the office. He occupies an eminent position in English Masonry from a literary standpoint also, being at the present time Associate Editor of the London Freemason. We hope in due time, to be able to give to our readers a more extended notice of this Brother, and also to explain more fully the position of Mark Mason Lodges in England, this being a branch of Freemasonry not represented in America.

Gibbon in his "History of Rome," in relating the story of the birth of the future deliverer of that country — Nicholas Rienzi Gabrini — says that from his parents, an innkeeper and a washerwoman, he could inherit neither dignity nor fortune. The history of every country and of many institutions teems with illustrations of the manner in which gigantic structures have risen from the tiniest of foundations. In the same way that before now a blow has caused a revolution and mighty contests have arisen from trivial causes, of which the history of the present day is presenting the most notable illustration in all annals, so many of the great and solid institutions which adorn the world had their origin almost in obscurity.

Of these institutions, perhaps the most notable is the story of the Grand Lodge of England. Its origin is known but the place of its birth has passed away. The members of the original foundation had ambitions, because they decided that "till they should have the honour of a noble Brother at their head," their Grand Master should be selected from among themselves. But the most sanguine of the members of those four Lodges who assembled in the upper room of "The Goose and Gridiron" in St. Paul's Churchyard — a room twenty two feet long by fifteen feet broad — on the 24th June, 1717, could not have glanced with prophetic vision across the vista of two hundred years and seen those four constituent Lodges grow and increase until they numbered nearly four thousand. But this achievement, great as it is, is, however, one of the smallest links in the Masonic chain forged in that upper room, a chain which now encircles the globe. That Grand Lodge, organized "pro tempore in due form," became the parent of the many hundreds of Grand Lodges now existent in all parts of the earth.

From the earliest days of its history the Craft of Freemasonry has attracted men of learning and of high attainments in science and literature, and in the fourth year of the history of Grand Lodge, the Duke of Montagu was installed as Grand Master amid the rejoicings of the Brethren "who all expressed great joy at the happy Prospect of being again patronised by noble Grand Masters as in the prosperous Times of Free Masonry." From that time onward the Grand Master's Chair has been occupied by a nobleman or a prince of the royal house. The heads of the Craft have not, however, been chosen merely for the sake of the titles which they bore, though some importance may undoubtedly, in the earlier days, have been attached to this factor. One of the founders and the first resident of the Royal Society — the Fellowship of which has always been regarded as the blue riband of learning — was a member of the Craft, and many of its prominent officials, particularly in the early days of its history, have also been prominent members and officers of the Grand Lodge of England. A similar relationship existed, and, happily, still exists between the Grand Lodge and the Society of Antiquaries.

But there are some utilitarians who will always persist in asking the question Cui bono? What has Freemasonry done that could not have been achieved by any other organization, say, a religious body? Happily, religious strife and controversy are less poignant in the present age than was the case two hundred years ago. There is now discernible a tendency towards unification which must be particularly cheering to those who have always maintained that in the principles of Freemasonry may be found the common basic facts of all religious systems. In India, where the caste system prevails in its most rigorous aspect, the Craft has broken down all barriers: the high-caste Hindu will fraternise and without question eat with the Mussulman, the Buddhist, and the Christian, if they are his Brethren. If Freemasonry had done no more than this, it would have accomplished what many statesmen and missionaries would, but a few decades ago, have regarded as a miracle and, in the same breath, have declared that such miracles, at any rate, never happen. It was that same longing, that same ardent desire for unity, the begetter of strength, that led to the organization of the Grand Lodge of England on the 24th June, 1717. The same eagerness has led Brethren during the ensuing two hundred years — particularly in 1813 — to cast aside everything that was tending to hinder the sublime achievement and preserve and maintain the fundamental principle. There are doubtless not a few who, if asked to say what had been the personal effect of Freemasonry, would make answer in the words of the poet:

No one could tell me what my soul might be;
I sought for God, and God eluded me;
I sought my brother out, and found all three.

But to the unobservant enquirer, who persists in putting the question Cui bono? and who must see in order that he may believe, the guide may point with pride to the great Masonic Institutions which have arisen during the-two last centuries and which were founded as a practical demonstration of the second Masonic principle of Relief. He could well challenge his questioner to produce their like as the result of less than two hundred years' activity on the part of any organization — religious, social, or philanthropic. He could also tell him — but then the instances would be far too numerous to relate — of the hundreds, aye, thousands, of aged Brethren, their wives and widows, whose declining years would have ended in tragedy but for the practical sympathy of the members of the Craft. He could point to the long roll of Girls and Boys who have passed through the Institutions erected for their care and support, many of whose names have been emblazoned, and some quite recently, on the annals of fame; and then let both questioner and questioned try to imagine what would have been their fate if Masonry had not put forward a helping hand. Then point to the record of relief granted by the Board of Benevolence, by the numerous Provincial Charity Funds, by the innumerable Masonic Institutions and Charity Funds of the Sister Grand Lodges of Scotland, Ireland, the Overseas Dominions, Allied and Foreign Countries and, at the same time, recollect that these are but some of the offspring of that meeting in the little upper room of "The Goose and Gridiron," St. Paul's Churchyard on the 24th June, 1717. Last, but by no means least, tell the sceptical enquirer of the wonderful work that has been accomplished in less than three years the Freemasons War Hospital in the Fulham Road.

No less strenuous have been the efforts of heads of the Craft to disseminate Truth, the third great principle of the Order, or, adapting the words of Buckle, the historian, "to purify the very source and fountain of our knowledge, and secure its future progress, by casting off obstacles in the presence of which progress is impossible." A mighty weapon which might have been used for ill has been placed in the hands of the Grand Lodge of England, but, surely, the fact that it has always been used for good must be the reason for the strength of the Craft today. "Right not might" has been the watchword in the past and will be the keynote of future success. The fact that the Craft, through the Grand Lodge, has always stood for the right accounts for its might. As Lewis in his work "On the Influence of Authority in Matters of Opinion" said: "It is of paramount importance that truth, and not error, should be accredited; that men, when they are led, should be led by safe guides; and that they should thus profit by those processes of reasoning and investigation which have been carried on in accordance with logical rules, but which they are notable to verify for themselves." The wonderful growth and strength of Freemasonry during two hundred years is in no small degree attributable to the fact that the body militant has been under the direction of safe guides, Brethren who have led by example and have not driven by force. Regard has been paid more to the center than to the circumference, to the foundation more than to the superstructure.

Truth is one:
And in all lands beneath the sun,
Whoso hath eyes to see may see
The tokens of its unity.

There is a vast difference, in point of numbers, from the gathering in that little upper room in "The Goose and Gridiron" on the 24th June, 1717, and the huge assembly in the Royal Albert Hall on the 23rd June, 1917, but the principles for which both meetings were organized and held were the same. During two hundred years they have been preserved inviolate. Exigencies of time and circumstances have necessitated development in points of procedure but these have involved no deviation from the original foundation. The center is still where it was. The circumference is an ever-broadening one. Freemasonry has never employed the argumentum ad hominem, but rather, with a mind conscious of rectitude, which has enabled its adherents to set at naught criticisms founded on a misunderstanding or wilful falsification of its aims, has adopted as its motto Respice finem and pursued unfalteringly its way.

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Bro. W. E. Atchison, Ass't Sec'y


(Note: The following is a digest of the laws of the several Grand Jurisdictions of the United States relating to physical qualifications of candidates for initiation into the mysteries of Masonry. While it was our primary intention when this study was begun to cite only the laws pertaining to "physical" qualifications, it became evident, from the replies of some Grand Secretaries, that it would be necessary in some instances to include also portions of the law concerning moral, intellectual and age qualifications owing to the fact that these were included in the same section or paragraph with physical qualifications, and to delete all but physical qualifications might lead to a misinterpretation of the law. These excerpts from the Codes are not in all instances exhaustive of the Code but are comprehensive enough to cover the subject from almost every angle without making the article too lengthy.

The present study is intended only to cover the qualifications of candidates for initiation. The law of each jurisdiction covering the question of advancement of Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts sustaining physical injuries after initiation or passing may be found in the February, 1917, number of The Builder, pages 50 to 56, inclusive.)

Alabama. No subordinate lodge shall proceed to confer any or either of the degrees of Masonry upon any person who is not a man, freeborn, of the age of twenty-one years or upward, of good reputation, of sufficient natural and intellectual endowment, with an estate, office, trade, occupation, or some other obvious source of honest subsistence, from which he may be able to spare something for works of charity and for maintaining the ancient dignity and utility of the Masonic institution.

If the petitioner be physically defective by reason of deformity or being maimed, his eligibility shall be determined by the Lodge to which he has applied, and if determined favorable to the petitioner he shall be eligible to receive the degrees of Masonry when the action of the Lodge has been approved by the Grand Master in writing.

(The Jurisprudence Committee, being requested by the Grand Master to interpret the above law replied "we do not believe it advisable or desirable to attempt to specify the particular instances which would authorize the waiver of physical infirmities or deformities. The spirit of this amended clause of the constitution is broad, and its purpose clear, and the construction thereof should be left to the deliberate judgment of the subordinate lodge and the Grand Master, in the light of this spirit and purpose under the facts of each particular case.")

Arizona. The person who desires to be made a Mason must be a man; no woman or eunuch; free born, being neither a slave nor the son of a bond woman; a believer in God and a future existence; of moral conduct; capable of reading and writing; having no maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the art, and physically able to conform literally to what the several degrees respectively require of him.

Arkansas. No person must be made a Mason unless he be a man of full age, of good character, honest and upright; he must have the use of his limbs and members, as a man ought to have; and with no maim, nor any such defect as may incapacitate him to learn the art, to give all due signs and salutations, to be made a Fellow Craft and Master in due time; honestly and reputably to acquire means of subsistence; and to comply fully and entirely with all the duties and obligations assumed by him towards the Craft at large and individual brethren, and such as Masonic law and usage impose upon or require of a good Mason.

Defects which have been held to disqualify: Loss of arm. Stiff knee. Eunuch. Loss of left hand. Loss of foot. Inability to take the steps.

Defects which have been held not to disqualify: Nearsightedness. Slight defect in hip. Broken right thigh causing partial loss sense of feeling in right foot. Loss of one eye. Loss of last joint of thumb on left hand.

California. No Lodge in this jurisdiction shall receive an application for the degrees of Masonry unless the applicant be a man; no woman nor eunuch; free born, being neither a slave nor the son of a bond woman; a believer in God and a future existence; of moral conduct; capable of reading and writing; having no maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the art, and physically able to conform substantially to what the several degrees respectively require of him.

A petition cannot be received from one under 21, even though he would arrive at that age before action on the petition could be taken.

A Lodge cannot with propriety receive an application from one who has served a term in State's prison.

Nor from one under indictment by a grand Jury.

The candidate must be a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and not quibble about Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence.

The non-observance of the first day of the week as a day of rest does not disqualify an applicant.

Saloon keepers and bar keepers are ineligible.

Colorado. A candidate for the degrees shall be a man, at least twenty-one years of age at the time his petition is presented to the Lodge; free born, of sound mind, having no maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the art and becoming perfect in the work, but physically able to conform literally to what the several degrees may require of him; shall be of good report, and shall possess a belief in one ever-living and true God. No Lodge shall confer the Entered Apprentice Degree upon a candidate unless he possess these qualifications. No substitution of artificial parts or limbs is a compliance with the law. The loss of a hand or a foot, or any considerable part of such member, or a material natural deformity therein, is an absolute disqualification. Except where the disqualification is absolute, the Lodge has a discretion, which must be governed by the spirit of the law as above set forth.

Connecticut. The necessary qualifications of a candidate are such that affect his character, which are termed the internal qualifications, and such as affect his body, which are termed the physical or external qualification.

The internal qualifications are — (1) That he shall be free-born — born of free parents — and under no restraint as to his liberty. (2) That he shall be of lawful age, not less than twenty-one years. (3) That he shall not be an "Irreligious libertine," nor a "stupid atheist." (4) That he shall be of honest reputation, of humane disposition, and of temperate and industrious habits. (5) That he shall be actuated solely by a desire for knowledge, and of being servicable to his fellow-men. (6) That he shall be of sound mind and memory.

The external qualifications are: That he shall be a man — not a eunuch, nor a woman and that he shall possess the full enjoyment of those faculties, organs, limbs and members which are necessary for the reception and imparting of Masonic knowledge, and for a full compliance with all the forms and ceremonies employed in such reception or imparting, as practiced from time immemorial among Masons.

Delaware. Men made Masons must be freeborn, of mature age and of good report, hale and sound, not deformed at the time of their making and having full and proper use of their limbs, so that they may be capable of receiving and communicating the art of Masonry.

District of Columbia. No Lodge shall initiate any candidate who is under twenty-one years of age or whose physical defects are such as either to prevent him from being properly instructed or from conforming literally to all requirements of the several degrees in Ancient Craft Masonry.

Held: That the loss of right thumb; loss of left hand; loss of index finger and middle finger of right hand and part of right heel; stiff knee are all disqualifying disabilities.

Florida. The candidate for initiation into Masonry must be a man; free-born; with good moral reputation; of reasonable intelligence; physically capable of conforming literally to what the several degrees require of him; and he must not be an atheist.

A light physical deformity will not bar the initiation of a worthy applicant. The physical, mental and moral qualifications must all be considered in preparing a ballot, and all must have their due weight. The members of a Lodge are the judges as to these qualifications.

It is a safe rule in these days, though its antiquity may be greatly doubted, that a candidate should be able to read and write.

The casualties of war are no reason for changing the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry. The candidate must be hale and sound, not deformed or dismembered, and must be able to perform the work required in the first three degrees of Masonry.

An artificial substitute will not qualify a dismembered applicant.

Georgia. A candidate at the time of filing his petition must be fully twenty-one years of age.

Old age is not a bar to Masonry provided that the candidate in consequence thereof, has not lost possession of his physical and intellectual faculties, of which the Lodge must be the judge.

A candidate should be able to perform all the duties of Masonry, whether intellectual or physical.

The question of when a man is in his dotage is a question of fact, to be applied to each particular case. There is Ill no stated age at which a man would be considered in this unfortunate condition. A man possessed of all his faculties, capable of transacting the ordinary affairs of life and memorizing our lectures and ceremonies, no matter how old he may be, is not in his dotage. One man may reach this condition at a much earlier age than another.

One whose vision or hearing are so much impaired as to prevent his full understanding of any of the forms and ceremonies of Masonry, is ineligible to receive the degrees.

A candidate must be able to both read and write. A man who can read, but cannot write, except to sign his name, is not eligible for admission for membership.

Every candidate for initiation in this Jurisdiction must be upright in body, not deformed or dismembered at the time of making, but of hale and entire limbs, organs and members, as a man ought to be.

In the following cases the candidate is ineligible: (A) If either hand is amputated. (B) With only one leg. (C) With one-half of one foot lost. (D) When any limb or part of limb is lost, although approved mechanical appliances are used. (E) A hunch-back, who is necessarily a deformed man (E) One who has one leg materially shorter than other. (G) One whose left hand is crippled, and who has lost a thumb and two joints of the first finger thereof. (H) One who has lost two joints off of two fingers of the right hand. (I) One who has lost his right thumb at the first joint. (J) One who has lost the first or index finger of the right hand at the first joint, the second, half-way between the first and second joints, and the third at the first joint (K) One whose thumb and index finger of the right hand are sound, but the two middle fingers are drawn against the palm of the hand, and cannot be straightened, and whose right arm is also slightly drawn, so that when straightened as far as possible would form an angle of about 120 degrees. (L) With the thumb and fingers of the left hand lost (M) With the fingers of either right or left hand, except the first finger and thumb lost. (N) With two joints of the index finger lost. (O) With the little finger and the ring finger lost, with two other fingers off at the middle joint.

An illegitimate is not thereby disqualified.

The loss of first joint of the first finger does not disqualify.

Held: If any candidate for the mysteries for Freemasonry possess any physical defect which shall cause him not to conform to the standards set out in our laws, or that may render him incapable of learning the art of Freemasonry, he shall be ineligible.

Idaho. Decision by Grand Master Waterhouse, 1898: The ancient regulations governing the qualifications of a candidate for the degrees of Masonry were that he should not be formed nor dismembered. Since Operative Masonry is not coupled with Speculative Masonry, and we deal with Speculative Masonry only, this has been modified so that a man be not deformed to an extent that will prevent him from receiving and giving all Masonic signs, etc., nor prevent him from earning an honest living for himself and family, and that he be not likely to become a charge upon the Lodge. The Lodge to be the judge of this.

Held: That a man who is a trifle lame — one leg shorter than the other — capable of making all signs correctly and who would not become a charge on the Lodge and is not barred by some particular section of our laws, is eligible. The Lodge to be the judge.

Held: That the following defects are disqualifications: Loss of one eye; loss of one hand, loss of two fingers from right hand; loss of leg; loss of right thumb.

Illinois. Every candidate applying for the degrees in Mason must have the senses of a man, especially those of hearing, seeing, and feeling; be a believer in God; capable of reading and writing and possess no maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of conforming literally to what the several degrees require of him. No provision of section shall be set aside, suspended, or dispensed with the Grand Lodge.

The loss of sight in one eye or the necessity of wearing a truss, are not disqualifications.

Indiana. Lodges are prohibited from initiating any candidate under twenty-one years of age, or one who has not made a declaration of his belief in the existence of the Deity, or one whose physical disability is such as to prevent his literal compliance with the ceremonies of the Order: Provided, That the Grand Master may, with the consent of the Committee on Jurisprudence, allow Lodges to receive and ballot on petitions for membership of those who can, by the aid of artificial appliances, conform to the ceremonies of the Order in every particular.

It has been held that:

An applicant whose left knee is anchylosed, and can not kneel on his left knee and can not kneel on both knees is not eligible to the degrees in Masonry.

That one who has lost the entire four fingers of his left hand is eligible to be made a Mason, because that is not such a defect as would prevent him from fulfilling strictly the requirements of Masonry. If it were the right hand, the decision would be otherwise.

Iowa. A man to be eligible to the degrees must be able to conform to all the ceremonies required in the work and practice of Masonry with his natural person. No substitution of artificial parts or limbs is a compliance with the law. The loss of a hand or foot is an absolute disqualification; other deformities may or may not be, depending upon the nature and extent.

Masters and Lodges will be held strictly accountable for the observance of this rule. Except where the disqualification is absolute, the Lodge has a discretion, which must be exercised with prudence.

It has been held that a loss of a foot at the ankle, after a person is elected for the degrees, absolutely disqualifies, notwithstanding the election, and he can not be received.

Kansas. A candidate for the mysteries of Masonry must be a man, free born, of sound mind, of mature age, without bodily defect, without physical disability and living under the tongue of good report.

Kentucky. A candidate for initiation must possess no maim or deformity which will prevent him from being perfectly instructed in the art and mystery of Freemasonry, and in his own person instructing others by exemplification. Of all this the Lodge is the sole judge.

The Entered Apprentice Degree should not be conferred on one who wears a metal truss, unless he shall dispense with it, but the Lodge is the sole judge as to whether the candidate is duly and truly prepared.

Louisiana. A candidate should be able to see, hear, feel and walk and should be in such possession of his physical and mental faculties as will enable him to fully perfect both himself and others, and be enabled to obtain thereby a living that he may not become a charge to the Order.

The loss of an arm disqualifies; a defect in the right hip, that makes it impossible to put the right heel to the ground is a disqualification.

Loss of three fingers on the right hand disqualifies.

One who has but one foot is not physically qualified, nor can this physical disqualification be cured by the fact that he has an artificial leg.

Loss of left arm between the shoulder and elbow disqualifies. The loss of an eye, the candidate being able to see well with the other eye and the loss of the first articular joint of the thumb on the right hand does not disqualify.

The Lodge, in deciding upon the physical qualifications of a candidate, must be governed by the views of this Grand Lodge.

Held: That a man whose right ankle is stiff, with the foot turned out and who slightly limps, may be initiated providing he can perform the ceremonies of initiation and give the signs of recognition, and has the other necessary qualifications.

That one who has one leg shorter than the other and uses an extension shoe, but who can, without the aid of the extension shoe assume all positions required in receiving the degrees and give all signs of recognition, could be initiated.

The loss of right thumb disqualifies. The loss of fingers of left hand does not disqualify.

Maine. Ancient regulations: The physical deformity of an individual operates as a bar to his admission into the fraternity. But as this regulation was adopted for the government of the Craft when they united the character of Operative with that of Speculative Masons, this Grand Lodge authorizes such, a construction of the regulation as that, when the deformity of the candidate is not such as to prevent him being instructed in the arts or mysteries of Freemasonry, and does not amount to an inability honestly to acquire the means of subsistence, the admission will not be an infringement of the requirements, but will be perfectly consistent with the spirit of our institution.

To which are added the following decisions given from time to time according to the Maine Masonic Text Book.

A man who has lost his right hand cannot be made a Mason.

Nor a man who has lost an arm or a leg, a hand or a foot.

Not even if the deficiency has been supplied by artificial means.

So of a man who, by palsy or other cause, has lost the use of a leg.

If the Senior Warden can conscientiously declare that the candidate "is in due form," and he is fully able to receive and impart all signs and tokens necessary for Masonic recognition, he is not physically ineligible.

Maryland. No Lodge shall on any account initiate a candidate who is under twenty-one years of age nor initiate, pass or raise a candidate whose physical defects prevent him from conforming literally to all the requirements of the several degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry.

Massachusetts. If the physical deformity of any applicant for the degrees does not amount to an inability to meet the requirements of the ritual, and honestly to acquire the means of subsistence, it shall constitute no hindrance to his initiation.

Numerous requests for rules concerning the physical qualifications of particular candidates are made of the Grand Master. Following precedent, he has persistently declined to pass upon particular cases. He should state only Masonic Law on the subject, and that general statement of law, the Master and his Lodge must apply upon their own responsibility to the case on hand.

The following is an authoritative statement of the Jurisprudence Committee of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on the question taken from the Proceedings of 1915:

"This regulation is to be interpreted, not according to the Levitical law, with which Masonry never had anything to do, either as a symbol or a fact, but by its own terms and the logical consistency and propriety of its application. So interpreted, its significance manifestly is, that the physical defect of the candidate whatever it may be, shall not be such as to render him incapable of receiving and imparting instruction, nor of performing any duties that may be required of him in his capacity or vocation as a Mason. No such maim or defect of the body as the loss of an eye, an ear, a finger, or other member not essential in the discharge of his Masonic duties, or to his personal maintenance, does any violence to the spirit and original intent of this regulation, and, in the opinion of your committee, no other construction can be put upon it consistently with the higher demands of humanity, justice and equality. 'Not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.' Your committee take leave of this branch of their report here, in the belief that the regulation of our own Grand Lodge on the subject may be safely left as it stands, and the interpretation and practical application of it, to the intelligence of the Lodges. With the cases before them as they arise, they can with more safety and greater propriety determine the proper disposition of them."

Michigan. No Lodge shall initiate, pass or raise a candidate who lacks any qualifications required of him by ancient usage and by a Master Mason's obligation.

A Grand Master has no power to dispense with any of the "qualifications of a candidate" prescribed by the Regulations.

Minnesota. A candidate for Masonry must be a man of mature age, free born, of good report, hale and sound, not deformed or dismembered and no eunuch.

The requirements of the Landmarks, that a petitioner must be a man of mature age, of good report, hale and sound, not deformed or dismembered, may be deemed to be complied with if the petitioner is twenty-one years of age when he files his petition, of good character, physically and mentally sound, and if no physical defect exists which will disable him as a candidate from conforming to and meeting the requirements of the rites and ceremonies of all the degrees, without assistance, or the aid of any artificial substitute for any member of his body he may have lost, and especially can take all of the positions and steps required in any of the degrees and has a perfect thumb and third joint of the index finger of his right hand, normal hearing, and perfect sight of one eye.

No ruling of a Master of a Lodge, nor decision or dispensation of the Grand Master, can warrant any departure from the regulation laid down in this section.

Missouri. It is incompetent for any Lodge in this Jurisdiction to confer either of the Three Degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry on any person whose physical defects are such as to prevent his receiving and imparting the ceremonies of the several degrees; Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to render any one ineligible to the privileges of Masonry who can by the aid of artificial appliances conform to the necessary ceremonies.

It has been held:

That a man who has lost the left leg below the knee and wears a cork leg is eligible, if able to conform to the ceremonies.

That a Lodge could receive a petition from one whose feet were of unequal size.

That a man having lost the second, third and fourth fingers of his right hand is ineligible.

Montana. No Lodge shall confer the Degrees upon any candidate unless he be a perfect man, having no maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the art and becoming perfect in the degrees.


That a person with one defective eye is eligible.

That the eligibility of a person who has lost his right thumb, rests with the Lodge having Jurisdiction.

That a person who has lost the index finger of the right hand at the knuckle joint is ineligible.

That one who has had his right leg amputated below the knee is not eligible.

That the loss of either finger from the left hand, the index finger and thumb being intact, would not render a man ineligible.

A person with part Indian blood is eligible.

Note by Grand Secretary Hedges:

"The crux of the matter with our Grand Lodge is the following, taken from the Ohio expression on the subject, which was adopted by our Grand Lodge in 1899: 'A candidate for the degree of Entered Apprentice should be able physically as well as intellectually, to receive and impart all the essentials of Masonic recognition, and this the Lodge may determine.'"

Nebraska. A Lodge can not initiate any one who can not read and write, nor one having physical imperfections which impair his ability to support himself and family, or by reason of which he is unable to conform to all of our peculiar rites and ceremonies.

Nevada. Men to be made Masons must be free born, of mature age, of good report, hale and sound, perfect in their members, so far as to be able to perform all Masonic labor.

Report of Jurisprudence Committee adopted in 1916:

We do not propose that our constituent Lodges shall confer any degree — either on its own material or the material of another Lodge or Jurisdiction — upon one who cannot comply with the rules laid down by this Grand Lodge,- that an applicant must be hale and sound, perfect in all his members, so far as to be able to perform Masonic labor, and in full possession of all mental faculties.

This rule must be given the earnest consideration of every Master within this Jurisdiction and we urge that no relaxation be permitted.

New Hampshire. By the ancient regulations, the physical deformity of an individual operates as a bar to his admission into the Fraternity. But as this regulation was adopted for the government of the Craft, at a period when they united the character of Operative with that of Speculative Masons, this Grand Lodge authorizes such a construction of the regulation as that, when the deformity of the candidate is not such as to prevent him from being instructed in the art and mystery of Freemasonry, and does not amount to an inability honestly to acquire the means of subsistence, the admission will not be an infringement upon the Ancient Landmarks, but will be consistent with the spirit of our Institution.


An applicant who has lost a thumb and second finger of his right hand is ineligible.

An applicant who has lost his left arm below the elbow is ineligible.

An applicant for the Degrees who has a stiff knee is physically disqualified.

A Lodge rejecting an applicant on account of physical disqualifications cannot waive jurisdiction in favor of a Lodge in another state where physical disqualification is not a bar to being made a Mason.

Applicants for the Degrees must be able to comply readily and naturally with all the requirements of our ritual.

The Grand Master has no authority to grant a dispensation which would enable a Lodge to initiate a candidate who has lost a thumb and fore finger of the right hand.

A person who has lost his left hand at the wrist is not eligible to receive the degrees.

A man whose foot is artificial and whose leg from down about half-way from knee to ankle is artificial, is not eligible for the degrees of Freemasonry.

A candidate with one leg several inches shorter than the other and obliged to use a crutch is not eligible to the degrees.

New Jersey. Before proceeding with an initiation the Master or, in his absence, the acting Master, must have accurate knowledge of the candidate's physical competency to literally conform to all the requirements of Ancient Craft Masonry.

If a Master is in doubt as to the physical qualifications of a candidate, he must not proceed until after a personal inspection has been made by the direction of the Grand Master. The instructions of the Grand Master must be followed without question.

If a candidate has any visible physical defect, the Master must suspend all proceedings looking to his initiation and at once report the case to the Grand Master, who, in person or by Deputy, shall, after personal examination, decide as to the physical competency of the candidate.

The assumption by a Lodge or its Master, of authority to determine the eligibility of a maimed candidate for initiation is forbidden.

New Mexico. No degree shall be conferred upon any one who is physically unable to conform to the letter and spirit of the ceremonies of the Fraternity; who is unable to read and write; who is affected with any incurable disease; or has no visible or legitimate means of support for himself and family.

We look more to the moral and mental qualifications of those who knock at our doors.

All questions relative to physical qualifications of petitioners for degrees have been answered by reference to our Law — "Is he physically unable to conform to the letter and spirit of the ceremonies of the Fraternity? " The officers and members of a Lodge are better qualified to answer that question than the Grand Master.

An applicant for the "mysteries" who has lost, in its entirety, the thumb from the left hand, is eligible to receive the "mysteries."

The rule in this Jurisdiction is that if the candidate has any physical disability which would prevent him from conforming to all our rites and ceremonies, then he is ineligible to Masonry.

No one can be made a Mason who is physically unable to conform to all the rites and ceremonies. A point to be decided by the subordinate Lodge — and no stigma attaches to a rejection of this kind.

If the committee finds the candidate disqualified for any other reason than one affecting his moral character, they may so report and the Lodge may permit the return of the fee and the application without actually rejecting the candidate by ballot.

New York. A candidate must be able without artificial aid or substitution of members or parts thereof to conform to the ritual and to learn and practice the art as a brother should. This includes not only Masonic work within Lodge room, but ability to earn his livelihood by manual labor if necessary outside the Lodge room.

It does not include those whose dismemberment of defect is such as to require or permit the substitution of an artificial member or part thereof, even though with such substitution the same result could be obtained.


That every candidate for the honors of Freemasonry must be a man, free born, of mature and discreet age, no eunuch, no woman, no immoral or scandalous man, but of good report, having no maim or defect in his body or mind that may render him incapable of learning and practicing the art.

That the right of a Lodge to judge for itself who shall be admitted to initiation or affiliation therein is inherent and indefeasible, not subject to dispensation or legislation of any kind or from any source whatever.

Definition 6: Sec. 3: Physical ability without artificial aid or substitution of members of parts thereof to conform to the ritual and to learn and practice the art as a brother should. This includes not only Masonic work within the Lodge room, but ability to earn his livelihood by manual labor if necessary outside the Lodge room.

The Landmarks are inherently and by Section I of Definitions of the Constitution, a part of the Masonic Law of this State and "the only part of the Masonic Law or rule that may never be altered or disturbed."

North Carolina. A candidate for initiation must possess no maim or deformity which will prevent him from being properly instructed in the art and mysteries of Freemasonry and in his own person instruct others by exemplification. Maim or deformity after initiation shall not prevent the brother from advancement. Such advancement is a recognition of the claims of a worthy and unfortunate brother.


That a man paralyzed more than thirty years ago, since which time he has been unable to walk without crutches and has very little use of his legs, is ineligible to Masonry.

That an intending petitioner who had lost his thumb just below the knuckle, but, in the opinion of the Master was able to give the grips without much trouble, was held eligible to the degrees. That one who has lost his left arm below the elbow is ineligible.

North Dakota. If the physical disability of any applicant for the degrees does not amount, aided by any ordinary artificial means, to an inability to meet the requirements and honestly to acquire the means of subsistence, it shall constitute no hindrance to his initiation.

Ohio. The Grand Lodge makes the "Ancient Charges," as printed with its Constitution, Code, etc., a part of its fundamental laws, and the language of the "Ancient Charges" is so plain as to admit of but one construction, viz.: that a candidate for initiation must be "without maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the Art, etc."

A person who has lost his right hand at the wrist can not be legally initiated.

A person who has lost a hand, an arm, a foot, a leg, or is deficient in any of his limbs or senses, cannot be made a Mason.

A stiff knee is such a defect as will bar a candidate.

Seeing and hearing are two of the most important qualifications of an applicant for initiation, and if he is unable to hear ordinary conversation, he is disqualified.

An applicant for degrees being blind in one eye, but otherwise eligible, would not, because of such defect alone, be rendered disqualified to receive the degrees of Freemasonry.

A candidate for the degree of Entered Apprentice should be able physically, as well as intellectually, of himself and without exterior aid or assistance from another, to receive and impart all the essentials for Masonic recognition.

Oklahoma. A petitioner shall have attained the full age of twenty-one years, be free born, of good moral character and without maim or such bodily defect as would incapacitate him to make all signs and salutations and to properly learn the art.

It has been held that:

One who has lost his right arm is physically disqualified. Where a man have lost his left foot, same having been removed about two inches above the ankle joint, who wears a cork foot, is not eligible for the degrees of Masonry.

One who has lost part of right thumb, if enough of his thumb remains so that he can give all grips clearly and distinctly, this infirmity does not necessarily disqualify.

One who has lost the index finger of his right hand and has a wire finger attached to hand cannot be initiated.

One whose eyesight is such as to prevent him from being instructed in the arts and mysteries of Masonry, is disqualified.

The loss of the right eye (or of either eye) does not disqualify a candidate.

One whose leg is shorter than the other but who can stand erect without too much strain or effort, both feet square on the ground and put himself in proper position to give the necessary steps and signs, could petition for the degrees.

Oregon. Every candidate applying for the degrees of Masonry must be a man, free born, have the senses of a man, possess the ability to earn a livelihood, and possess the physical ability to conform substantially to and be instructed in and give instructions in the arts and mysteries of Freemasonry.

*Pennsylvania. The requisite qualifications for initiation and membership in a Lodge, are that the petitioner shall be a man, free born, of mature age, sound in all his members, of good Masonic report, and able to earn a livelihood for himself and family, and perform the work of a member in a Lodge.

The perfect youth is the standard; perfect in his physical form, and so perfect in his mental and moral structure, that no deformity in either will ever prevent him from properly understanding those virtues and precepts Freemasonry teaches and enjoins. There are no degrees in disability. If it exists, so that the slightest violation of the perfectness is cognizable, it is as fatal to the man as though it took away his arm, hand, finger, leg, or foot. There is not in Freemasonry a positive, comparative, or superlative disqualification. It is the disqualification, per se, the simple naked fact, that the standard of a perfect youth is not attained, that ends the question. It is neither debatable nor avoidable. Anatomical disquisitions, wordy casuistry, persistent importunities, or the citation of instances, wherein ignorance was the discredit of the example, will not suffice to subordinate obedience to the Landmarks. The Rough Ashlar must be fitted to its proper place without disfiguring the perfect symmetry of the perfect work.

By the 5th Article of the Gothic Constitution, adopted at York in the year 926, it is declared that "a candidate must be without blemish, and have the full and proper use of his limbs, for a maimed man can do the Craft no good." This is the first written declaration of the Landmark, which continued from that period until 1722, when the further condition was expressed that the candidate must "be a perfect youth, having no maim or defect in his body," etc. In 1783, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania declared that the candidates must "be hale and sound, not deformed or dismembered at the time of their making." This is the Landmark, and the most ordinary understanding can comprehend what the disabilities are which "forbid the making."

The qualifications of candidates are thus defined in the Ancient Charges: "The persons admitted members of a Lodge must be good and true men, free-born, and of mature and discreet age, no woman, no immoral or scandalous men, but of good report." "No Master should take an apprentice unless he be a perfect youth, having no maim or defect in his body that may render him incapable of learning the Art, of serving his Master's lord, and of being made a Brother, and unless he be descended of honest parents."

When a candidate appears for initiation, and the Master discovers that he is not physically perfect, and declines to initiate the candidate for this reason, his petition can be withdrawn; but all the facts of the case must be entered upon the minutes of the Lodge and at once reported to the Grand Secretary.

Rhode Island. No man who is unable to perfect every part of the work in the Three Degrees of Symbolical Masonry is eligible to receive those Three Degrees.

South Carolina. Every candidate for initiation in this Jurisdiction must be without maim or defect in his body or mind that may render him incapable of learning and practicing the art, and who can comply literally with all the requirements as to initiation ceremonies without artificial aid or friendly assistance.

South Dakota. A candidate must be free-born, under no bondage, twenty-one years of age, in possession of sound mind, free from any physical defect or dismemberment, no atheist, eunuch or woman.

It has been held that:

A man who has lost his foot and part of his leg cannot be initiated if wearing a cork leg.

A slight deformity is no bar to the candidate's initiation unless it prevents his receiving and imparting Masonic knowledge in the usual manner. The Lodge must consider the matter and draw the line. A deformed man is ineligible to the degrees.

A man who is physically able to conform fully to the requirements of our ritual, receive and impart instructions therein, and who possesses all the necessary qualifications to be made a Mason, may petition for the degrees.

The local Lodge and not the Grand Master should be the judge of the moral, physical and intellectual qualifications of its candidates, it being responsible to the Grand Lodge for its actions.

When the Grand Lodge is appealed to and the facts presented in a question of physical disqualifications, it is the duty to pass upon them.

Tennessee. A candidate for the mysteries of Freemasonry must be a man, free born, not less than twenty-one years of age, and of good report.

He must be physically and mentally capable of earning a livelihood, and of receiving and imparting the Ritual of Masonry. By "imparting" is meant by actual demonstration. To describe by words does not comply with the Law.

Texas. The perfect man is an ideal being, and absolute perfection does not exist among men, neither physically, mentally nor morally; therefore it is not obnoxious to the Ancient Landmarks and Charges of Masonry that slight maims or defects of body should debar an applicant for initiation or advancement in Masonry, and an applicant for initiation must be sound and hale, without maim or defect in his body that may render him ineligible to be a Mason; that is, physical maims and defects should be considered on the basis of his ability to receive, practice and impart freely and without artificial or other aid, all the rites and ceremonies of Ancient Craft Masonry including Masonic work in the Lodge room and shall possess the mental and physical ability to earn his livelihood in his chosen occupation outside the Lodge room.

That when an applicant for initiation has a maim or defect, the Lodge to which the application is made shall refer the case, with a faithful description of such maim or defect, to the Grand Master, who shall thereupon rule upon the eligibility of the applicant in the light of these resolutions.

Utah. Every candidate for the degrees in Masonry must be a man, free born, have the senses of a man and possess physical ability to earn a livelihood, and to conform substantially to the rites and ceremonies of Masonry, and be instructed in its mysteries. It has been held that the loss of first joint of the fingers of right hand will not debar a candidate.

*Vermont. Physical ability to earn a livelihood, and to conform substantially to the forms and ceremonies of Masonry, and be instructed in its mysteries, is all that is required, provided the candidate possess the higher qualifications of a belief in God, of mental worth and the record of a moral and upright life; that this interpretation of the ancient charges and regulations is not inconsistent with the true spirit of the Masonic Institution, but in keeping with its sublime teachings from time immemorial.

Mental or physical deformity:

Since deformity is not such as to prevent the candidate from being instructed in the mysteries of the Craft, the admission will not be an infringement of the ancient Landmarks, but will be perfectly consistent with the spirit of Freemasonry.

A blind man cannot be made a Mason. Hearing, seeing, and feeling are the senses most revered by Masons.

Virginia. No petition for initiation shall be entertained from any person who is not a free-born man of the age of twenty one years, of sound mind, of good repute, and so perfect in body that he can without artificial aid or friendly assistance, conform to the Ritual, and who does not believe and trust in God as the Supreme Architect and Governor of the Universe.

It has been held that:

One who had lost a leg cannot be initiated.

The petition of an applicant whose elbow was perfectly rigid, and who could not comply with the Ritual, could not be received.

A Lodge could not confer the degrees on a candidate, who, after filing his petition, lost the small finger of his right hand and finger next to it.

One who had met with an accident, or received a wound in his left arm which necessitates an amputation a couple of inches below his elbow and who had an artificial arm and hand but was unable in any particular to conform to the ritual, was ineligible.

A man with an artificial foot is ineligible.

Washington. Every candidate petitioning for the degrees of Masonry in order to be eligible, must have the senses of a man, especially those of hearing, seeing and feeling, and possessing no maim or defect in his body that would render him incapable of conforming literally to what the degrees respectively require of him. No provision of this section shall be set aside, suspended or dispensed with by the Grand Master or by the Grand Lodge.

The Lodge shall itself determine the petitioner's physical disqualifications by the sole test of whether any maim or defect in his body renders him incapable of conforming literally to what the several degrees require of him.

A request for dispensation to receive a petition for the degrees from a man with an artificial foot was refused.

West Virginia. The general rule is that "when the deformity of the candidate is not such as to prevent him from meeting fully the requirements of the ritual, or from honestly acquiring the means of subsistence," he is eligible.

The edict of the Grand Lodge as to physical qualifications of candidates, as above stated, is in derogation of the ancient regulation requiring the candidate to be sound in limb and member; and while it must be held as law in this Jurisdiction until modified or repealed by the Grand Lodge, yet it must be given a strict construction, and if it is doubtful as to whether a particular candidate is within its provisions, the doubt must be resolved against him.

It has been held that a candidate is eligible in the following cases:

Loss of the thumb and index finger of left hand; loss of fingers of left hand; loss of the middle finger of left hand; loss of second finger and third finger off at the first knuckle on the right hand; loss of first joint of forefinger of right hand and the whole of the second finger, except at knuckle joint; loss of the second and third joints of forefinger of right hand, leaving a stub protruding long or short; loss of first joint of the middle finger of the right hand and the third finger slightly crooked towards the second finger; loss of the two little fingers of right hand at first joint; loss of one eye and the other in which the sight is defective but not entirely gone; loss of one eye; a hunchback whose deformity is not such as to prevent him from meeting the requirements of the ritual and from honestly acquiring the means of subsistence; a person who has a deformity on the right shoulder blade, next the back, of the size of a beef-heart, who walks erect and is not hindered because of such deformity from gaining a livelihood; hernia, unless it be such as to prevent meeting some of the requirements of the ritual, or from honestly acquiring the means of subsistence; stiff right ankle, with foot somewhat smaller than the left and turned out, if he can conform to the ritual.

It has been held that a candidate is not eligible in the following cases:

Loss of the thumb of the right hand; loss of the first three fingers of the right hand; loss of the first or knuckle joint of right hand; loss of part of the second finger at the second joint, and the ring and little finger at the approximal joint of the right hand; loss of right index finger at the second joint, the second and right fingers near the hand, and the little finger curved inward, contracted and stiffened; loss of the two middle fingers of the right hand, including the knuckle joint; loss of the first three fingers of the right hand close to the palm; loss of thumb above the first joint on right hand; born "into this world minus his left hand;" left hand crippled in such a manner as to prevent flattening it out; minus the thumb and all the fingers of the left hand; minus the thumb on the left hand, and the thumb on the right hand is forked almost amounting to two thumbs; right hand smaller than the other, the fingers of which were not more than one-half inch long.

Born with but two fingers on his right hand, his thumb being perfect; left arm three inches shorter than the right, four inches less in circumference, left hand could not be turned upwards on a level with the waist; incapacity to bend left leg from stiffness so that person could not kneel; stiff knee joint and unable to kneel on right knee; left leg two and one-half inches shorter than the right; right leg four inches shorter than the other and walks with staff; loss of right foot at the ankle and uses cork foot; right leg off below the knee; badly deformed in both feet from birth, with large bulges instead of hollow insteps in his feet, rendering the person perceptibly lame; deaf, but could hear with an acoustician.

Wisconsin. The Landmarks as to physical qualifications to be strictly construed. The candidate must be a man, free born, hale and sound and unmutilated.

The above physical qualification is founded on Landmark Eighteen and reads as follows, viz.:

"Certain qualifications of candidates for initiation are derived from a Landmark of the Craft. These qualifications are that he should be a man — shall be unmutilated, free born, and of mature age. That is to say, a woman, a cripple, or a slave, or one born in slavery, is disqualified for initiation into the rites of Masonry. Statutes, it is true, have from time to time been enacted, enforcing or explaining these principles; but the qualifications really arise from the very nature of the Masonic institution, and from its symbolic teachings, and have always existed as Landmarks."

Wyoming. When the deformity of the candidate is not such as to prevent him from being instructed in the arts and mysteries of Freemasonry, and does not amount to an inability honestly to acquire the means of subsistence, the admission will not be an infringement upon the ancient landmarks, but will be perfectly consistent with the spirit of our institutions.

It has been held that:

A man with only one eye is eligible.

A man who had lost part of the forefinger of the left hand is eligible.

One who had lost the two middle fingers and the end of his thumb at the first joint on his right hand, is eligible.

The loss of a foot renders a man ineligible.

A man who had a stiff hip joint, the result of a revolver going off in his pocket while on horseback, is ineligible to the degrees.

*Referred to Grand Secretary for confirmation but no reply received up to time of going to press.


With the language in the various Codes, Decisions, Edicts and Regulations varying in almost every instance, it seems almost impossible to arrive at any "general rules" of our American Jurisdictions. And yet, a reasonable interpretation, having in view all the surrounding circumstances cited and the apparent intent of the Grand Lodges in passing the legislation, would probably lead our readers to agree with us, at least substantially, in the following generalizations. In any event, we have tried to take a reasonable view of the rule in each state, taking the provisions of all the documentary evidence as a whole. We have not attempted to quibble over absolutely exact definitions. In several cases we have deliberately overlooked apparent attempts to modify the doctrine of physical perfection, where in fact no discretion is specifically allowed to anyone, either Lodge, Grand Lodge or Grand Master, to so modify. Such an attempt has justified us, in one or two places, in saying that a "liberal" construction of the law is intended. It would be interesting indeed if we could discover the actual interpretation that is being placed upon some of these modifications by the Lodges, in practice. For we have grave suspicions that in at least a few cases, equivocal language has been used deliberately, or at least as a compromise between extreme views, in order that the Lodges could as a matter of fact do about as they pleased, without fear of being "spanked."

With this tendency, not confined to Masonry alone, to "wink" at evasion of the law, ye scribe is entirely out of sympathy. The law should be so written as to mean exactly what it says, responsibility for defiance or evasion of the law should be placed exactly where it belongs, on the Lodge and the Worshipful Master, and discipline provided which would stop the unauthorized practices. If a Grand Lodge determines that the doctrine of physical perfection is right and in harmony with the modern application of the Ancient Charges, there should be no misunderstanding about it. If the Grand Lodge decides that the wooden head is less desirable than the wooden leg, the Fraternity as a whole will be benefited by saying that such is the principle which is accepted by that Body, and its application to individual cases by the Lodges should follow the lines of interpretation laid down. To equivocate on this important matter leads to confusion and sometimes discord that is entirely out of harmony with the established principles of Freemasonry.

Having relieved ourself of this "effusion," we will endeavor to summarize the rules.

First. "Physical Perfection" obtains in 16 Jurisdictions, while 20 others specify that "literal conformity to the requirements of the ritual is a necessary prerequisite to initiation."

Second. Five Jurisdictions use language indicating that "substantial" conformity to the requirements of the ritual is satisfactory.

Third. Three Jurisdictions say that the use of artificial parts or limbs in conforming to ritualistic requirements shall not necessarily constitute a disqualification, leaving the Lodge to decide, either in whole or in part, in the latter case providing for review either by the Grand Lodge or the Grand Master.

Fourth. Nineteen Jurisdictions specifically prohibit the use of artificial parts or limbs, or provide that such shall be an absolute disqualification.

Fifth. In 10 States the Lodge is specifically mentioned as having authority and power to determine the question of eligibility; three others allow the Lodge discretion in its determination "within the specific rules laid down," or "where the disqualification is not absolute," one denies such right.

Sixth. Conformity with the views of the Grand Lodge, or Grand Lodge approval of the ballot are provisions in 3 States; 4 Jurisdictions specifically deny the right of either the Grand Lodge or the Grand Master to waive disqualifications or repeal the strict provisions of the law.

Seventh. Four Jurisdictions require the Grand Master's approval to a petition, or his permission to ballot upon such a petition; in one State he is allowed some discretion in determining whether the disqualification is or is not absolute; 4 States deny him any discretion, or say that he has no prerogative giving him any right to interfere.

Eighth. Nineteen Jurisdictions recognize the candidate's "means of subsistence," or "ability to obtain an honest livelihood" as an important factor in determining his eligibility. Some say "and," and some say "or," leaving it doubtful whether this is or is not a partial test of physical qualifications.

Ninth. Fifteen States, directly or by implication, provide for a liberal construction or interpretation of the law; 13 specifically say it shall be strictly interpreted.

Tenth. Minor infirmities or deformities do not disqualify in 17 of our Jurisdictions. A few of them, either in the Codes, or Decisions, give specific lists, though they do not specify that it is necessarily a complete list.


Advancement. Maine. (February, 1917, BUILDER, page 53.) In column headed "When rejected applicant may renew application" change to read "It is the right and duty of the Master to determine when a candidate shall be advanced except when objections have been made."

In column headed "Objection" change to read "Objections must be made known to the Lodge and their sufficiency determined by a two-thirds vote."

Minnesota. (Same issue and page as above.) In column headed "Time between degrees" change to read "Proficiency required; no time limit."

Affiliation. Maine. (January, 1917, BUILDER, page 11.) In column headed "To whom petition may be presented" change to read "Any Lodge within or without the State." In column headed "When rejected applicant may renew petition" change to read "To any Lodge within the State as often as desired."

* * *


We laid his body in the covering earth, And mourned a well-filled life now closed, — Remembered kindnesses well planned and done, And temples built ere weary he reposed.

His tools another took, and straightway sought To emulate the life now lost to Man. His life on earth is but a Memory now, — Past work is all the tenderest eye can scan.

Yes! All is Past, though Memory sweet recalls Each mighty effort made, and each success: Upon the casket holding that which WAS We drop the Acacia sprig, and Memory bless.

* * *

Our doubt is too unworkmanlike! What workman works for one TODAY? He who is gone is just behind the evening cloud That hangs between earth's gloaming and the clearer way.

Behold him now emancipate On greater Levels of the LIGHT. Behold him as he dares to use the tools of Heaven, — Erect the brighter homes of Heaven's Love and Might.

And listen to the strains that fill The cultured ear, the noble arch, That nerve the high ambition, stir the awakened soul And tell of true success in the long Eternal March.

* * *

No earthly tomb can close a life well lived; Nor cloud once hide the Ultimate of Love. Acacia means a life that cannot die; And death is but the door to Heaven above.

* * *


Bro. Joseph Fort Newton, England


NOT one of the eight thousand Freemasons, who sat in the Royal Albert Hall, in London, June 23rd, will ever forget the scene. Nor will any one of them ever see another like it. As an occasion it was memorable; as a spectacle it was unique. It marked the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Mother Grand Lodge of England, and was in all ways worthy of that noble tradition. Truly it was a great privilege to have been present on a day so historic, and to have looked upon a scene at once so picturesque and so remarkable.

The assemblage was arranged in five tiers, stretching from the arena to the highest gallery beneath the roof, all wearing their respective regalia. Even without the evening dress, usually worn in English Lodges, it made a very striking picture not to be forgotten by one accustomed to the simpler and less ornate ways of American Masonry. Although the number was so large, it included none of the rank and file of the Craft, but only Grand Officers, past and present, Past Masters of Lodges, the reigning Rulers of the Order, and, of course, distinguished visitors. Sitting in the closely-packed arena, I thought of many things, trying to look beyond the scene before me to that other gathering in the old Ale-house in St. Paul's Churchyard, June 24th, 1717.

Shortly before three o'clock, a procession was formed, and the Deputy Grand Master, Brother T.F. Halsey, was escorted to the Chair, "the Throne," as it is called in England. He is a sturdy and noble man, his head bowed with the weight of more than eighty years, most lovable to know, and very popular among the Craft. He formally opened the Lodge, and then a further procession, in which he himself took part, moved to the main entrance to receive the Grand Master, the Duke of Connaught. It was an imposing procession through the arena to the orchestra, as the Grand Master ascended to his Throne. Where all are distinguished it seems idle to mention names, except to say the procession included, besides the Grand Master and his Officers, the Grand Masters of Ireland and Scotland, district Grand Masters of Argentine, Malta, Ceylon, and Bengal, and the Provincial Grand Masters of England.

The Grand Master announced that in the name of the Brethren he had sent a telegram to the King, expressing the loyalty of Freemasons to the Empire and the hope of a speedy victory and a lasting peace. He then read the reply of the King, in which His Majesty conveyed his cordial thanks, and added that the traditional loyalty of English Freemasonry "has been to me a proud memory during the anxious years through which we are passing." The Deputy Grand Master then gave a brief but vivid account of the growth of Grand Lodge during the 200 years of its existence, from four Lodges in 1717 to 3,226 in active work under its obedience today, besides the many Lodges and Grand Lodges descended from the mother body and now working in lands beyond the boundaries of the British Empire.

In reply, the Grand Master made a very graceful and appropriate address, in which he said that every Mason could say of those devoted Brethren who, to their lasting honor, invoked the original assembly in 1717, what was said of their illustrious contemporary — whose maul, used in the building of St. Paul's Cathedral, he held in his hand — "If you wish to see their monument, look around." They builded better than they knew, because they built on the strongest foundations. He recalled the close association of members of the Royal House of England with English Freemasonry, which began shortly after the founding of the Grand Lodge and has continued to this day. Indeed, the Grand Lodge had been in existence only twenty years, when the Prince of Wales became the Master of a Lodge. The Grand Master recalled, further, that it was his grandfather, the Duke of Kent, who did so much to promote the Union of Grand Lodges in 1813, from which so many Masonic blessings had flowed. Loyalty to the Empire, he said, devotion to public order, and a determination to assist in every beneficent and patriotic work, has always characterized English Masonry, and those qualities remain its highest titles of honor.

An address from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, read by Grand Master Lord Donoughmore, and another from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, read by Grand Master General Gordon Gilmour, followed. There were also messages from Grand Lodges in oversea Dominions, and from representatives of Grand Lodges in the United States, to all of which the Duke replied very happily. A number of promotions and appointments were announced, including that of Sir Edward Letchworth, the Grand Secretary, which was regarded as a fitting recognition of the completion of twenty-five years of service. The Grand Secretary read an address from the interned civilian Freemasons at Ruhleben, Germany, and the session closed with the singing of the National Anthem.

Very beautiful, too, I am told, was the Service of Thanksgiving, held on Sunday morning, June 24th, at which the Bishop of Birmingham preached. Unfortunately, I was not permitted to attend it, owing to my engagement in my own pulpit at the City Temple. His sermon dealt, it is said, with the great problems which are to follow the war, and the part which Masonry should have in solving them. I should like to have heard it, because it seems to me that our Order ought to have a very large and benign ministry in helping to build upon the wreck of today a better, purer, wiser, greater tomorrow. And so endeth an event which will linger long in the memory of English Masons, and which marks, let us hope, the opening of a new era in the story of the greatest order of men upon earth.

In my next Official Communique I shall be giving some impressions of English Masonry which I think will be of interest to Brethren on that side, and especially with reference to what is going on in the way of Masonic Research. Meantime — and, truly, it is a mean time — I send greetings to all The Builders, and wish them every blessing in their labors.

City Temple, London, June 25th.

* * *



OF all the sources of misunderstanding among Masons there are few if any that are more potent in evil possibilities than those concerned with what may be termed the business of the institution. We are fraternal first of all, and there are many of us who never seem to grasp the fact that when we are least businesslike we may be least effective as a fraternity. So it comes about that there are too often, inside and outside the body Masonic, curious and conflicting ideas of what the fraternity should do in monetary matters.

By way of being more explicit let us state a case from actual experience to show what the outside world thinks of Masonry and what is often expected of it.

A business man was for several years a member of a lodge and at his death in good standing thereof. He died after a long illness during which he was frequently visited by his brethren.

A desire was long previously expressed by him that in the event of his death the funeral ceremony of the fraternity should be conducted by the brotherhood and this was promptly promised by the officers, and a notation so made opposite his name when he signed the Constitutions. A son in fair but not over well-to-do circumstances and a sister in like condition were his nearest living relations but he had several cousins of considerable means. The son was a Mason.

When death came the Secretary of the lodge was notified and he went out at once to visit the family. They knew of the wish to be buried Masonically but suggested that in some way it might be possible to also use the church service for the dead that is given by the communion adhered to by the departed brother. This seemed easily capable of adjustment and the Lodge Secretary so informed the relatives but also pointed out that this he felt should be referred to the Worshipful Master for his consideration and formal consent.

On taking up the question with the Master the latter advised the relatives that he thought it most seemly for the funeral services to be kept separate and distinct, the Episcopal service to be rendered at the church and the Masonic service at the grave. It seemed to him that any contact or interference of the one funeral ceremony with the other was a detriment to both. The clergyman on consultation agreed with him and this point was passed without further discussion and the plan of burial eventually carried into effect to the satisfaction of all concerned.

The morning of the funeral a request from the relatives was made for a further conference with the officials of the lodge. Master and Secretary reported at once and were advised of all the arrangements made for the funeral. These appeared to be complete and no expense had been spared to make the appointments of the most impressive type.

The brethren knowing that the deceased had left little or no property were pleased that his relatives were able and willing to go to so much expense and care to show their respect and affection for him.

To this comment the relatives replied with every satisfaction because, as they pointed out, the better the lodge was pleased the better they would in turn be satisfied.

This mutual exchange of compliments was not altogether sufficiently explicit to meet all the expectations of one relative present. He was not a Mason. A brother of his was a member of the fraternity, and the dead man was a cousin. It was easy to see and to hear that he was furnishing the financial resources for the funeral.

When he mentioned the amount paid for the grave and the expenditure for the coffin and all the other items necessary to his interment standards the brethren were somewhat dismayed at the detail. They somehow felt that they were being given too intimate a view of the cost.

The Master was indeed embarassed. He was convinced that he should say how much this lavish allowance told of the affection behind it. In doing so he could not refrain from saying as delicately as he could that this was purely a matter for the family and not for the lodge and that on that account he the more appreciated their confidence because he had really no right of any kind to inquire into the amount they might choose to spend.

At this statement there seemed to be a distinct drop in the prevailing unanimity. The man of means at once spoke up:

"Why it is only the proper thing I am sure to tell you the total of the bill, isn't it?"

"No, indeed," said the Master, "We are not concerned with the bill. This is not our affair."

"Do you mean to say that when a Masonic lodge conducts a funeral it does not pay all the bills?"

"That is exactly what I must say if you ask the question. There may be cases where the lodge properly pays the bill but every instance is judged on its own merits. We have no rule, as I read the Masonic law, requiring us to pay the bills when the family are well able to do so."

"You surprise me. I thought that all secret societies had death benefits or things of that sort to meet the funeral expenses."

"No death benefits are paid of equal sums in all cases, — in fact nothing of the sort is promised anybody. We do attempt to aid the widow and orphan in their distress but here there is no widow to be succored, no child to cherish. You as relatives want this brother to have a funeral suitable to your condition in society. You have taken the necessary steps to bring this about. You are fully able as far as we know, to meet the expense you have incurred. But into this we do not seek to inquire because that is not our business. All that we have to do is to render the funeral service at the grave and do it as well as we know how. Beyond that we have nothing further to do with the cost except to provide the transportation for our members. So far as the expenses go we are no more to be charged with them than is the minister whom you desire to have a part in the ceremonies."

"But I want to tell you that this brother of yours has left no estate and there are no funds to meet these bills when they come due."

"That is something that you ought to have considered before you gave orders for this elaborate funeral. I do not see how you can expect us to pay the bills nor for that matter do I see how you can escape the responsibility for them."

"But are you not a philanthropic organization? Seems to me that here is a case where you could very appropriately contribute the amount for giving this member of yours decent burial."

It was evident that he did not propose to pay the bill if he could get out of it. There were plenty of witnesses present and it was undoubtedly the place and the time to speak plainly. So the Master thought for a moment or two before replying, then he spoke earnestly:

"We do pay many bills where those most benefited are not in a position to take care of them. These acts are done as a charity. Each case is judged on its own merits. If you will say here and now that you believe this to be a fit subject for charity I will take the matter up with my lodge at its next meeting and we will see what we can do about it. But at present I see no good evidence that you relatives can not take care of these bills at the proper time. Therefore I don't think that I ought to recommend the payment of the bills as a charity by my lodge."

And when the matter was so bluntly set forth there was nothing more than a growl or two privately that that funeral was not to be a charity affair. It was not. With all the musical and choral adjuncts possible the ceremony gave prestige to the social crowd for whom it was conducted. The procession started from the large house in town of the wealthy relative and even he, sore as he may have been in pocketbook, and rebuffed as was his business zeal for a trade deal that left him so much to the rear in money results, was a cheery loser on the surface and met his mishap with a philosophic face.

* * *


  1. At the altar of Masonry have I knelt and mine eyes have seen the Light.
  2. The Apron has been explained to me; with pride I wear it.
  3. Into my hands were laid the tools of the Craft.
  4. Symbols of serious import taught me much, and will teach me more as the years slip fast behind my onward march.
  5. Before me in all directions outstretched lies the Masonic chart of duties great and glorious, as exacting as they are elevating.
  6. Tied to the fraternity by bonds tight-wound and oath-bound, easily I cannot escape the obligations due from me to it.
  7. To do my part well, I well must know my part.
  8. Willing to learn am I.
  9. At the door I still stand and strike thereon my signal.
  10. Arouse ye, I say.
  11. To you I present my plea.
  12. Ye are my brethren. To you I plead for Masonic wisdom to the end that I too may be among you a well-informed Master Mason.
  13. Each year one hundred thousand of us take your vows.
  14. We enter the sacred hall and from the Temple go forth impressed to readiness by the ceremonies.
  15. We are puzzled at their significance, and uncertain of future study.
  16. Most of us soon find the social worth of Masonry sufficient.
  17. Content with our increased acquaintance we slacken and stop our search for knowledge.
  18. Satisfied with the added grips of the hands among a flock of button and badge bedecked members we lose our grip upon the inner values of the head and the heart.
  19. Yours is the duty of our enlightenment.
  20. On you is the burden of our instruction.
  21. What we know comes from you our Elder Brethren or we fail and fall by the wayside of a busy world, too tired to tread an upward path where toil is sure and labor long.
  22. Full well ye know we Masons are the more akin where we are the better taught.
  23. No union is so close as that of a perfect understanding.
  24. No friendship is so strong as that founded on thorough knowledge.
  25. When we all know Masonry as it was intended to be, shall we not the better know each other?
  26. What ye know of Masonry belongs to me and to these my brother initiates.
  27. Our claims ye cannot ignore.
  28. We have done our part, we have filled our place, we demand the wages due.
  29. Neither disregarded nor despised can be our plea.
  30. Your institution and ours rests upon the granting of our petition.
  31. Either you shall accept a lower level of Masonic standards or you must set your banner high and educate us to its lofty heights.
  32. At the door we stand and knock for admission to the inner mysteries of the Holy Tabernacle.
  33. Echoes in your hearts are stirred by our alarm.
  34. At your hands we seek more light.
  35. From none shall it come but from yours, for unto ye has the Great Architect given the charge, and you must administer your trust.
  36. Why then stand ye here idle?
  37. Are ye content with numbers, satisfied because the scroll is writ large with names?
  38. Empty and vain as a rope of sand is then your hope.
  39. Ye then are building upon the shifting shores of a treacherous sea.
  40. When the winds of adversity come upon you the structure shall not withstand the storm.
  41. Its walls will crumble, the foundations be torn, and it be swept aside for things more stalwart and sufficient.
  42. Today is your era of events, tomorrow is ours.
  43. Your opportunity is now, the future belongs to us.
  44. Is it not wise therefore to plan for us that we may in due time carry forward your labors to still nobler achievements?
  45. Come, let us go. Time waits neither on man nor Mason. The hour is at hand. We are the sons of light. From us the darkness shall recede, the gloom of ignorance be lighted up with knowledge. Only with your help can we the sooner make for Masonry its proper place. Withhold not therefore your hands my brethren in help, for unto you under God's great grant of life to us we seek to fulfill the destiny of all true and earnest Master Masons.

* * *


Of after-dinner speakers there are many and in our fraternity opportunities quickly multiply for the exhibition of whatever skill may be exercised to this end. These occasions are altogether too numerous for mention save as in the present instance by way of comparison. Meridian Lodge, the Daylight Lodge of Cleveland, observed this summer as in previous years a "sunrise raising." Lodge was opened at 2:30 a. m. Breakfast was served at 6 o'clock. Before the closing of the lodge a representative of The Builder was invited to discuss the National Masonic Research Society and the Study Club work in particular. He puts the fact upon record and points out that in his judgment the work of Study Club extension is as well done early as late. Please let everyone make a note of this and act accordingly.

* * *



NOTHING is more interesting in the whole field of ancient history than the story of the Ancient Mysteries. These were secret societies existing for the purpose of teaching the rudiments of knowledge and the principles of religion to their adepts, a very valuable service in a day when the priesthood sought to make knowledge a monopoly. The men admitted to these societies by initiation were bound by awful oaths of secrecy and were led through a number of ordeals to test their courage and their earnestness. The Egyptian Mystery of Isis and Osiris, the Eleusinian Mystery of Greece, and Mithraism, a Persian cult transplanted in Rome, exercised an incalculable influence in their day.

After Christianity had begun to show signs of its power, pagan writers, especially in the third and fourth centuries, sought to blend together the teachings of these Mysteries, the theosophy of the Jews, the doctrines of the Gnostics, and certain floating doctrines, into a religion that might offer itself as a worthy rival of the new faith. Many of the writers who undertook this task attributed their books to "Thrice Greatest Hermes," a more or less mythical Egyptian personage who was probably, in the beginning, the god Thoth, the scribe and book-keeper of the Egyptian deities. In this way the mixture of magic and mysticism thus evolved came to be called "Hermeticism." The reader who may feel a curiosity to learn more of this story may be referred to Mead's "Thrice Greatest Hermes," a very interesting and well-informed volume.

Meanwhile, among the Jews, a number of philosophers had been at work interpreting the Old Testament from a similar point of view. Their argument was that there is a hidden meaning behind the letter of the text which can be understood only by those possessing the key. What this hidden meaning was cannot very well be described in a paragraph; it may here be sufficient to say that this "Secret Doctrine" sought to teach men how to find union with God, using the symbolism of numbers, the Tetragrammaton, the Story of the Garden of Eden, and of the building of Solomon's Temple, as allegories through which to convey the secret to the initiated. A.E. Waite, in his:"Doctrine and Literature of the Kabalah," tells the story in full for those who may be interested. The Kabalah persisted through many centuries and exerted a profound influence in Christian theology at about the time of the Reformation.

At about this latter time a legend found currency in Europe which told that a certain Christian Rosenkreuz, while traveling in the Orient in the Fifteenth Century, had re-discovered the secret of the Wise Men of the East. Here and there individuals appeared who claimed to possess this Secret; they became very numerous, and even powerful in the early Seventeenth Century, and it is even believed by some that these "Rosicrucians" organized lodges in which especially qualified men could be initiated into the hidden lore of the Orient.

Meanwhile, from a time beginning before the institution of Christianity, there had grown up a different kind of school — the Mystics. These men were, for the most part, in the churches, and their chief interest was the religious life, instead of philosophy and metaphysics, and they sought to teach men how, by devotion, prayer and spiritual discipline, that they might learn to live in God. Among the Mystics, Plotinus, Tauler, Ruysbroeck, and William Law, may be mentioned as typical great names.

Alongside of these, since a time when the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, there had stood the secret societies of The Builders, known in latter days as the Gilds. These also taught secrets to initiated men, using their working tools and building processes as symbols. Needless to say, the authentic school of Masonic historians believe that it was from these Gilds that the organization of our modern social cult of Freemasonry derived.

Other secret or occult fraternities, the alchemists, for example, might have been included in this brief sketch; but we have indicated a sufficient number to bring us face to face with this question: How much does Freemasonry owe to these several movements? That all our symbols and ceremonies did not originate with the Operative Masons has long been held by our greatest scholars. Thus, it was Pike's favorite theory that the Speculative Masons, many of them, accepted into the lodges in the Seventeenth Century, men such as Ashmole and the like, were really Hermeticists who made use of The Builders' simple rites as a vehicle for their "Secret Doctrine." Woodford, in a paper read before the Lodge Coronati, argued to the same point, and suggested a number of our symbols which seem to be of Hermetic origin; Dr. Westcott, in another paper before the same Research Lodge, sought to trace others of our symbols to the Rosicrucians. Oliver and Mackey, as we all know, found very many echoes of the Ancient Mysteries in our ceremonies.

Now it is the purpose of A.E. Waite's "Studies in Mysticism" to show, at least it is one of the principal purposes, how much Freemasonry is indebted to Mysticism and to the occult societies which we have mentioned. Few men have ever been better qualified for such a task because it has been his chosen vocation to make a special study of occultism in every form, as witness his various books, among which are the two works on the Kabalah, the "Real History of the Rosicrucians," "The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry," "The Way of Divine Union" and the translation of Eliphas Levi's "History of Magic," not to mention that other work, a volume of peculiar power, compact of sweetness and light, "The Life of Louis Claude de Saint-Martin." It is because of this erudition, and because he has enjoyed personal initiation into many of the secret bodies, that his "Studies in Mysticism" may be so heartily recommended to the Masonic student who seeks some leading in this difficult problem as to the relationship between Freemasonry and the various mystical and occult movements.

Waite's thesis in this book, if we may hazard an epitome of a volume so manifold, so rich in material, and so profound, is this: That all the Mysteries, the occult fraternities, and the other similar movements, have all one end in common, the way in which a man may find union with God; that this is achieved through regeneration, or re-birth, which is the doctrine that the physical, or natural, in man, must be placed under subjection to the spiritual in man; that this is the real end of the ceremonies and teachings of Freemasonry; and that therefore our own order is now carrying on the ancient tradition. In this wise he seeks to show that, while the BODY of Freemasonry may have been inherited from the Operative Masons of the Gilds, the SOUL of Freemasonry has come to it from the many sources of the old secret and occult fraternities. Mr. Waite expounded this theory in very simple fashion in a series of articles that appeared in the early issues of this Journal.

Some have found Mr. Waite's books difficult reading; in a sense they are that, for he does not carry his mind on his sleeve. But it is worth something of an effort, even for busy men, to persevere until they have familiarized themselves with his vocabulary. We have read and re-read his books; we shall do so many other times; for we believe that there are few living teachers who are so wise, so sound, so true to realities, so well equipped to lead the apprentice along the way that leads to the Inner Chamber of the life of the soul.

* * *


There are very many such things, are there not? Of a number sufficient to fill an encyclopedia; indeed, to master the lore of one small department of Masonry has now become the task of the life-long specialist, so that the rank and file of us must stand aside "in giant ignorance.

But even so there are some things which EVERY Mason should know and which will not task any average brain to learn. Fortunately, the literature on Masonry addressed to the "man in the trench" grows apace and will doubtless continue so to grow, and so mote it be. "The Builders," written by the former editor-in-chief of this Journal; "Speculative Masonry," by Brother MacBride; "The Philosophy of Masonry," by Brother Pound, himself a philosopher, and many other things besides; "Freemasonry Before the Grand Lodge Era," by Brother Vibert: these and many another similar book have set new currents to moving in the life-blood of the Craft; and again, so mote it be.

Alongside such studies one is glad to place "Things a Freemason Should Know," by Brother Fred J.W. Crowe, a former Master of the Lodge Coronati of England, warrant enough for any reader. It is a modest little volume of 86 pages, built for pocket wear, done into a book by Kenning & Son of London: its cost, according to a stub in our check-book, is one dollar, the price of a few potatoes! Its worth, however, cannot be computed in such terms, which, these days, is saying much.

The first thing a Freemason should know, according to Brother Crowe, is the history of the Craft, the HISTORY, we say, not the fairy tales. He who reads the first three chapters of this book will obtain a very fair understanding of that.

Then comes "Our Rulers." Many times we boast of the calibre of the men who lead the Craft in its work; but not often do we take the time to make their acquaintance, though their names are often known to fame outside our boundaries. Brother Crowe begins, as is proper, with Anthony Sayer, himself, and closes with the Duke of Connaught, as an Englishman naturally would.

Chapter five deals with the various Grand Lodges now in operation while chapter six gives a very brief, but valuable, account of Our Literature. The "our" here is very English, indeed, as all the names mentioned are English, the scholars connected with the Lodge Coronati receiving the lion's share of attention, which is as it should be as we have already testified in this department.

"Our Regalia" is by far the most worth-while chapter in the volume for it tells us just what we need to know about "the badge of a Mason." Brother Crowe may be said to have specialized on the apron and does not hesitate to drive his plow through the mass of rubbish that has accumulated about that emblem. He has the distinction, further, of having made the first serious attempt, in the spirit of the scientist, to account for the use of blue in Masonry. His theory, briefly stated, is that the Craft borrowed the hue from the Order of the Garter, and that its symbolical significance grew up "after the fact." Scholars not a few have attacked this theory but thus far it may be said .to have as good a right to existence as any other theory we have.

Masonic Charities, which the English brethren make a great deal more of than we do, receive attention in the last chapter of this interesting and, on the whole, very authoritative brief study.

* * *



Dear Brother Editor: I attended last evening a meeting of the Square and Compass Club of the University of Chicago. There were in attendance representatives of eleven states and two foreign countries — one from Hungary and one from the Philippine Islands. The former had visited Lodges in France. The latter had receipts showing his lodge — La Regeneration, Manila, P.I. — to owe allegiance to the Grand Orient of Spain.

How will these brothers stand on visiting lodges in this country? They have all the necessary documents to prove their identity. Should they be eligible on visiting a regular lodge to examination?

Franklin T. Jones, Ohio.

Brother Willis D. Engle, of Indianapolis, Ind., in his 1917 "Complete List of the Masonic Grand Lodges of the World," gives six Lodges under the Grand Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. At the meeting of the Grand Lodge in their new temple in February, 1917, charters were granted to 27 new Lodges. It appears from the Proceedings that most of these represented groups of Masons who had belonged to Lodges previously under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Spain. Brother Newton C. Comfort, Grand Secretary, speaking in Grand Lodge in favor of a motion to grant charters to these Lodges, said, in part:

It will be remembered that our R.W. Deputy Grand Master in his message at the opening of the first annual communication of this Grand Lodge said "The purpose of its formation (this Grand Lodge) is to promote and maintain harmony and UNITY in our Masonic relations and to increase the usefulness of our Fraternity in the Orient." And the M.W. Grand Master said, "Our hearts beat with exultation and gratitude to the Grand Master of the Universe for having the opportunity of a century — that of bringing to this country a Masonry regular and nonpolitical. We are sincerely in hope that the year will bring together under our jurisdiction the regular lodges of the Philippine Islands."

The next year the Grand Master made a number of allusions to the particular aim of this Grand Lodge being the unifying of the various Masonic entities and interests in the Philippine Islands, and among other things he said "All were productive of a lively influence for amity and harmony among the members of the various Jurisdictions represented in the cosmopolitan city of Manila, among whom and for whom, the best efforts of this Grand Lodge must be pledged if the high aims and fundamentals of our Grand Lodge are to be realized. This can be done in time without the abandonment of one jot or one tittle of the American standards, and in full accord with the ancient Landmarks and Charges of the Fraternity. All of our Americanisms, some of which are not Landmarks, and perhaps to some not essentials, can also be safeguarded; and no lowering of standards should be made in our endeavors to solve one of the greatest problems the Fraternity has been called upon to work out in recent decades and with this end in view, a work magnificent in its possibilities and results lies before us; and we will be equal to the task only in so far as we are strictly obedient to the precepts of our universal brotherhood. We will win and the victory will in coming years be a glory of which every Mason can justly be proud."

Last year also our Grand Master alluded to the same great vision before our eyes, that of the unification of the Masonry of the Philippine Islands. In our hearts, in our addresses, and in our work throughout the last ten years, the uppermost thought has been to bring Masonry to her own, united and triumphant in these far off isles of the sea.

We who have not had to suffer for our Masonry are not as fully cognizant of its sweetness as those whose Masonic history includes the sacrifice of the lives of brethren, the suppression or their lodges, the prohibition of use of the name, the struggle for Light in the thick darkness, and the most strict selection of members lest one enter who could not be implicity trusted and who would deliver the Mason to be executed, — these are the fires of purification which have sanctified the Fraternity here and resulted in the formation of a Masonry sublime, glorified.

As time passed it seemed more and more imperative that if we were to accomplish the greatest good of which we were capable, Masonry in these far flung isles must present a solid front before the world. To use an overworked expression it really seemed as if the psychological moment had arrived for bringing all the lodges working under the various Jurisdictions into our Grand Lodge. For well we knew the sincerity and love for the Fraternity which had been shown by the brethren in the lodges working under foreign Grand bodies. Some, yea many, of whom had suffered, bled and even died solely and simply because they were members of our beloved Fraternity. So a special committee was appointed and empowered to take any and all necessary steps to regularly and properly bring in the several lodges then working under other Grand Jurisdictions, at our meeting of all the members of the Grand Lodge which was held informally several months ago.

Later we again met informally with a large majority of the Grand Lodge present and after full and free discussion we finally decided upon the methods of regularizing and admission of the lodges by being granted Dispensations by the Grand Master after all necessary steps had been accomplished. This was done, and today these lodges return their Dispensations and request Charters, together with those who have been working only under Dispensation, and who never have been heretofore constituted. I recommend that the report be unanimously approved.

By this action we will take into our fold 27 lodges, most of the members of which heretofore were under the Grand Oriente Espanol. They have now been brought into regular affiliation with our Grand Lodge by the means acknowledged as proper and correct. You are nearly all in full possession of a true conception of the splendid heart Masonry represented by the members of these lodges, many of whom were Masons before some of us were born, and their sterling attachment to the principles of our Institution, and the work of their lodges, has in truth glorified Masonry, the which we have observed approvingly during the years of Americanism in these Islands.

Whether "La Regeneracion" Lodge, under the Grand Orient of Spain, was merged bodily into a Lodge under the Grand Lodge of the Philippines is doubtful, since the Lodge of that name ("La Regeneration, No. 36") is stated in the 1917 Directory of the Lodges of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines to be located at Tarlac, and not at Manila.

The status of this particular Brother, therefore, would now be determined by his membership in a regular Lodge, chartered by the Grand Lodge of the Philippines. The Grand Orient of Spain, according to Brother Engle, has been recognized only by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia.

The Grand Lodge of Hungary is recognized (in America), according to Brother Engle, only by the Grand Lodges of Alabama, British Columbia, Canada, and New York.

Under such circumstances as Brother Jones relates, of course, the real meat of the question has to do with the Recognition of Grand Bodies, for it may be stated as a general rule that visitation in a Lodge deriving authority from a Body not recognized by the visitor's own Grand Lodge is forbidden.

Have any of our members made an exhaustive study of these two subjects, "Recognition of Grand Bodies" and "The Right of Visitation"? We would welcome papers on these subjects.

G. L. S.

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The inquiry of Brother W. L. A. in the August issue, in regard to a Louveteau is prompted by the article that appeared on pp. 159-160 of the May BUILDER, reprinted from the New Age of 1915 and written by Brother Albert G. McChesney, Master of St. John's Lodge, No. 11, Washington, D. C.

We are not aware that any Grand Lodge has prepared a baptismal ceremony for use in this country. The only endeavor of the kind that occurs to us in the English language is the one by General Albert Pike. This farsighted leader labored most diligently and with a rare degree of skill toward fullness of ceremony, the ritualistic completement of the Craft.

Added to his work on the series of grades in the much favored Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, he developed a ritual of Adoptive Masonry for women, the near relatives of Masons. Elaborative and dramatic as it was we are not able to discover that to any considerable extent this ritual has been used. Another admirable effort of Brother Pike's was in the three ceremonials prepared by him in 1871 for the Supreme Council of the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction, and entitled "Masonic Baptism," "Reception of a Louveteau," and "Adoption." Each of these ceremonies is preceded by the various instructions necessary to make the proceedings most impressive and of permanent success.

"A 'Louveteau' is the son of a Mason. The word is of very ancient origin, so ancient that it was long ago corrupted into other words, and its etymology unknown. The initiates into the mysteries of Isis wore, even in public, a mask in the shape of a wolf's head gilded; and therefore came to be themselves called 'Wolves'; and their sons, 'Young Wolves.' A wolf, in French, is soup,' and a young wolf, 'louveteau.' The wolf was peculiarly sacred at Lycopolis (Wolf-City, from the Greek lycos, a wolf, and polis, a city), in Upper Egypt, where, Plutarch says, that animal was revered as a god. Eusebius says that the wolf was honored in Egypt, because when Isis, with her son Horus, was on the point of encountering Typhon, she was assisted by Osiris, who came from Hades in the shape of a wolf. Macrobius says that the sun was at Lycopolis called Lukon, a wolf; and that they worshiped Apollo and the wolf with equal honors, in each venerating the sun. In Greek, the same word, lukos or Iykos, meant a wolf and the sun; and Lykeios, or wolf-like, was one of the titles of Apollo, the sun-god; because, says Cleanthes, as the wolves carry away the flocks, so the sun with his rays consumes the vapors and mists, because, Macrobius says, the shades of night flee before him as the sheep flee before the wolf."

The above explanation is by Brother Pike.

We doubt much whether in all the ritualistic labors of Brother Pike he did anything nobler than the preparation of these ceremonies. The admirable addresses to the young are in the simplest words and opportunity is taken to describe the teachings of Freemasonry, the objects of the Craft, the qualities and the rewards of the Mason. Nothing better for the purpose of our correspondent is known to us.

Perhaps the use of the ritual might be secured through the officials of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite at Washington, D.C., Sixteenth and S. Streets. We are also assuming that the matter will be taken up with the Grand Lodge authorities of his State before our correspondent as Worshipful Master introduces such a ceremonial to his lodge. That would be but a matter of courtesy due the governing body. Less than this we could not advise.

Then, too, it has been and is now our great good fortune to carry a commission issued by this grand old Masonic body!

R. I. C.

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I have had a question come up to me that I would like your information upon. Is it true that the Imperial German Government, as such, will not permit any of its officers, either Government, Army or Navy, to become affiliated with the Masonic Order, for reasons of State?

— C. A. C.

At latest reports the Emperor's cousin, Prince Leuitpolt, continued as the Grand Master of the Grosse Landesloge. Since the beginning of the war several lodges of the Masonic brotherhood have received military charters. One of these, as we learn from the Bulletin of the Bureau of Masonic Relations, is the "Iron Cross of the East" and has been stationed at Warsaw. These facts appear indisputable and certainly do not accord with the points raised in the question. Should different information be in the possession of any of our friends we shall be pleased to receive it.

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Bro. Editor: — Not to criticise, but to shed light on Brother J. W. Barry's excellent and scholarly articles on the "Pillars of the Porch." In the July number of The Builder, he says, in connection with a picture of Hiram's tomb, near Tyre: "To the right will be noticed a compass and square cut in the rock, by whom and when are questions that can not be answered."

Brother Rob. Morris, in his book on "Freemasonry in the Holy Land," gives an exhaustive set of measurements of the tomb, etc., and says that he carved the compass and square upon it, in the place shown in Bro. Barry's picture of the tomb. Such excellent matter as Bro. Barry is furnishing, and the general contents of "The Builder," make it of priceless value. Long live The Builder!


Rear. F. W. Hart, 32d, Bellaire, O.

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Dear Brother: — That article on the Brotherhood of the Wise was written before I was raised in Masonry. It had a certain interest then as a record of observation among the Ingiet of the Bismarck Archipelago, but I am not willing to publish it in that form at the present moment because I can well see that it does little more than scratch the surface of a most interesting field. Military operations in the western Pacific have prevented me from carrying out my plan of returning to the islands for further field investigation of this as well as many other themes.

When this war is over, when the ban is lifted in the Pacific and I am discharged from my voluntary service here, I shall hasten back to the Pacific. Then I expect to do something really worth while along the line of the Ingiet signs and perambulations; for the present it would be unwise to publish the incomplete and faulty records.

Fraternally yours,

William Churchill, Washington, D. C.

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When a body of troops is to go into a region where Masonry does not exist a military lodge may have a legitimate reason for existence, as distinguished from a merely sentimental one. But under ordinary circumstances a military lodge seems to me to be of doubtful expediency as it creates in the military body, say the regiment, an organization to which all the members of the military body do not belong. That is, it creates internal subdivisions in the military body. It requires no argument to show that such a thing is bad. Therefore, under the present circumstances I do not approve of the chartering of military lodges in out expeditionary forces.

If the permitting of the Brethren to attend French and Belgian lodges would entail the recognition of lodges which, because of their unmasonic tenets, are at present, and for good reasons, unrecognized by legitimate Masonry, then I do not think that the brethren ought to be permitted to visit such lodges.

Harold A. Kingsbury, Connecticut.

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We are indebted to the courtesy of Brother Thomas Isitt, Past Grand High Priest of Ohio, for the opportunity to transcribe a letter in his possession written by Albert Pike to Brenton D. Babcock of Cleveland. It is as follows:

Washington — 25 January, 1887.

Dear Bro. Babcock:

Like you, I laid away the enclosed "Screed," and it has been only now got out from a mass of papers which I have had to look over. I have read it, but I don't think it would pay to investigate and criticize it.

I think that no speculations are more barren than those in regard to the astronomical character of the symbols of Masonry, except those about the Numbers and their combinations of the Kabalah.

All that is said about Numbers in the lecture, if not mere jugglery, amounts to nothing. That the object of Masonry is "to preserve weights and measures," is an entirely new notion; and I fail to see how it preserves them.

If the Symbols and Ceremonies of Masonry don't teach great religious truths, not in the ancient ages made known to the Profane, they are worthless. The astronomical explanations of them, however plausible, would only show that they taught no truths, moral or religious.

As to the tricks played with Numbers, they only show in what freaks of absurdity, if not insanity, the human intellect can indulge.

As you may want to keep the Lecture as a curiosity, I return it to you, with thanks for your kindness in sending it to me.

Always fraternally yours,

Albert Pike.

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"Once in Persia reigned a King,
Who upon his signet ring
'Graved a maxim true and wise,
Which, if held before the eyes,
Gave him counsel at a glance,
Fit for every change and chance.
Solemn words, and these are they:
'Even this shall pass away.'

Trains of camels through the sand
Brought him gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to match with these.
But he counted not his gain,
Treasures of the mine or main;
'What is wealth?' the King would say;
'Even this shall pass away.'

In the revels of his court
At the zenith of the sport,
When the palms of all his guests
Burned with clapping at his jests,
He, amid his figs and wine,
Cried: 'Oh, loving friends of mine!
Pleasure comes, but not to stay;
Even this shall pass away.'

Fighting on a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield:
Soldiers with a loud lament
Bore him bleeding to his tent;
Groaning from his tortured side,
'Pain is hard to bear,' he cried,
'But with patience, day by day —
Even this shall pass away.'

Towering in the public square,
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his statue, carved in stone.
Then the King, disguised, unknown,
Stood before his sculptored name,
Musing meekly, 'What is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay,
Even this shall pass away.'

Struck with palsy, sere and old
Waiting at the gates of gold,
Said he, with his dying breath:
'Life is done, but what is death?'
Then, in answer to the King,
Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray —
'Even this shall pass away."'

— Theodore Tilton (1835-1907.) .