A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 6 No. 5 – May 1920
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird. P.G.M., District of Columbia
ONE OF the idols of the Navy was Captain Stephen Decatur, who lost his life in a duel in 1820. There were two Stephens of the surname Decatur — father and son. The elder served faithfully and well during the War of the Revolution, was a member of Veritas Lodge No. 16, in Maryland, and later a member of St. John's Lodge No. 20, also located in the same State. The Decaturs were Huguenots, and of French descent.
Stephen Decatur II, is the subject of this essay. He was born in Maryland in 1779, and initiated into St. John's Lodge October 12th, 1799, at Newport, Rhode Island. We are indebted to Brother Gilbert Patten Brown for this Masonic record.
Stephen Decatur II was appointed a Midshipman in 1798, and served with distinction under Captain Barry, Captain Bainbridge and Captain Dale. While under the command of Captain Valentine Morris, Lieutenant Decatur became active against the Barbary Pirates, those wolves of the Mediterranean who had been for ages levying tribute on every sail that passed in or out of the straits. Gibraltar itself gets its name (Gib-al-Taric) from a famous chief of the pirates, and the word "tariff" comes from Tarifa, the seaport where these robbers made their headquarters. It was strange that European governments sanctioned this high-sea tariff, and it is equally strange that a new government should be the first to forcibly oppose it. But this followed so soon upon the war with France (for it was a de facto war) when our Commissioner, Pinkney, said to the French Deputies, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute," that it was thought worth while to "buck" a second time.
Like Paul Jones, Decatur was said to be the pink of politeness, courteous, punctilious and courtly, but it was an easy matter for him to be led into a quarrel. He was one of the best seamen of his day, and it was a time when sail was the propelling power and the importance of proficiency in seamanship could not be over-estimated.
Decatur was a man of correct judgment; he neither over nor under estimated his adversary. His plan for cutting out and destroying the Philadelphia (one of our frigates captured by the Barbarians) was admirable, and it was wholly executed by himself. So successful was the plan that it at once brought him into the limelight. And it was also so successful in disturbing the balance of the Barbarians that they were, from that time, practically out of the grafting business. A grateful Congress voted Decatur a sword, two months' pay and a Captain's commission, and two months' pay was also voted to the officers and seamen engaged with him.
Later he took part in an allied attack on a flotilla of gun boats, which he boarded, and, in a hand-to-hand fight, conquered the enemy. A Tropolitan Captain killed Decatur's brother, a Lieutenant, but soon thereafter Stephen crossed swords with that pirate and killed him. Out of eighty men who opposed Decatur that day, fifty-two were killed or wounded, while Decatur's loss was but fourteen.
The War terminated in 1805 and Decatur was inactive until the War of 1812. In that war he commanded a frigate, and captured the Macedonian in a desperate fight. Decatur found a strong enemy, but conquered him. For this victory Congress voted him a gold medal. He also captured the Hornet, but soon the enemy appeared in such force that Decatur, with his squadron, found it prudent to remain in the sounds of Long Island rather than to go out upon the open sea. Finally, however, he was cornered and captured by a superior force. After his parole he was obliged to face a court of inquiry, which honorably acquitted him.
Decatur commanded a fleet of three ships in 1815, in the Mediterranean, when he fell in with the Algerine frigate Mashouda, taking the Algerine Admiral Rais Hammida and nearly one hundred of his officers and men besides nearly four hundred other prisoners. On board Decatur's flagship, the Guerriere, there were fourteen killed and wounded.
In 1815 Decatur was appointed Navy Commissioner, which office he held until his death, which occurred in a duel with Commodore Barron. Barron had been Decatur's commander and they had been very close friends. But during the war with Great Britain, while Barron was in Europe Decatur saw the urgent need for his return and was irritated at Barron's delay. The real reason, as afterwards discovered, was that Barron had not the necessary funds for his return trip. Decatur made some disparaging remarks about the delay, which reached Barron's ears. He might have stood these remarks from some one for whom he had not such an intimate liking, but from Decatur who had been so near and dear to him, he could not stand them, and so challenged Decatur to a duel.
They fought on the district line between the District of Columbia and Maryland, on a spot called the "Bladensburg Duelling Ground" because of so many duels having been fought there. Both fell at the first fire, Barron severely and Decatur mortally wounded.
Decatur's body was placed in a vault in Washington until 1846 when it was removed to St. Peter's Protestant Episcopal Churchyard, in Philadelphia, where the beautiful fluted column, with a Tuscan cap, and on a cubic plinthe, marks the spot. The column is surmounted by an American eagle, emblem of freedom. The eagle is seen poising upon the globe. Perhaps the artist hoped for this emblem of freedom to extend its influence over the whole globe. Surely no greater champion of freedom ever trod the globe than he who rests beneath this beautiful column.
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WASHINGTON'S MASONIC CONNECTIONS
Bro. Arthur M. Ellis, California
The historical data herewith presented bearing on the Masonic connections of Brother George Washington is of particular value to the Craft in that it has been obtained from sources entirely independent of Masonic records or traditions.
JOHN ADAMS, President of the United States, wrote a letter June 22, 1798, more than a year prior to Washington's death, in which he spoke of Warren of Massachusetts, and other Masons, adding "Such examples as these and a greater still in my venerable predecessor would have been sufficient to induce me to hold the Institution and Fraternity in esteem and honor as favorable to the support of civil authority, if I had not known their love of the fine arts, their delight in hospitality, and devotion to humanity."
This contemporaneous endorsement of Masonry and the unqualified recognition that Washington's connection with the fraternity was sufficient warrant for giving approbation to it do not serve to quiet the clamors of the enemies of Masonry. There are yet persons of influence who declare that Washington discarded Masonry before the Revolutionary war. One of them recently stated in print, "The Alexandria, Va., lodge has no claim on him, nor has any other subsequent to 1768."
Masons are possessed of sources of information that serve to make such statements ridiculous, but a resort to Masonic records and traditions is of little avail with the hostile profane. There seems to have been no serious attempt to examine the matter from the standpoint of the unbiased historian. What proofs, if any, are there apart from the records and documents under the control of Masonic lodges, that Washington was a constant adherent to the Craft throughout his life and that it continued to receive his approval and support?
There are two important sources, which are not Masonic, which are not now and which never have been, under Masonic control, and which are available to those who seek the truth. The first is the collection of Washington's correspondence in the Library of Congress; the second is the newspapers of Washington's time. The contents of these are set forth in Sachse's Masonic Correspondence of Washingtonand in Pennsylvania Sesqui-Centennial Celebrationof 1902 but no attempt has ever been made to critically consider these and other public evidences in a group by themselves, and to appraise their weight as such independent proof.
In 1834 and 1849 the United States Government purchased large portions of Washington's papers from his family. These were stored in the Department of State until 1903. They were then transferred to the Library of Congress and first became available to the historian. Amongst them are many letter books in which the secretaries employed by Washington placed copies of letters and replies. There are also original drafts of various letters entirely in the handwriting of Washington himself.
An examination of these documents and other data such as stand entirely free from every possibility of contamination or bias through connection with the Craft discloses the following:
The General Advertiser, a newspaper published in Philadelphia, in its issue of Saturday, January 2, 1779, gives a full account of the public celebration of St. John's Day, Dec. 28, 1778. Washington is there named as having been the seventh person in the order of the procession. Three hundred brethren marched in great solemnity to Christ Church.
Elkanah Watson, who afterward served this country as an agent in France, delivered a large quantity of gunpowder to Washington at Cambridge in 1775 when need of it was critical. The acquaintance thus begun was never dropped. In 1782 Watson and his partner Cassoul sent a highly ornamented Masonic apron to Washington from France. In his memoirs, published in 1856, (page 135), Watson quotes the letter with which they transmitted the apron. In it they. speak of Washington as being "a brother" and subscribe themselves as having "the favor to be by all the known members your affectionate brothers."
The original draft of Washington's reply to this, all in the handwriting of Washington, is in the Library of Congress. Amongst other things he uses in it the following expression: "For your affectionate vows permit me to be grateful and offer mine for true Brothers in all parts of the world." The original letter is owned by the Grand Lodge of New York, but the draft has never been in the possession or control of any Masonic organization.
The Pennsylvania Packet, published in Philadelphia, in its issue of July 13, 1784, reads:
"Alexandria, July 1. On Thursday, the 24th ult. the brethren of Lodge No. 39 met at their lodge room to celebrate the Festival of St. John the Baptist, . . . after which they walked in procession accompanied by their illustrious brother his excellency General Washington to Mr. Wise's tavern, where they dined and spent the remainder of the day in enjoyments becoming their benevolent and respectable institution."
In Washington's diary, Feb. 12, 1785, appears this:
"Received an Invitation to the Funeral of Willm Ramsay, Esqr. of Alexandria — the oldest Inhabitt of the Town; & went up — walked in procession as a free mason — Mr. Ramsay in his life time being one & now buried with the ceremony & honors due to one."
In 1789 Washington became President, the capitol then being New York. Rhode Island kept out of the Union until the following year. It then acquiesced. In order to cement the friendly feeling Washington then made the first Presidential tour and he visited Newport. Many different bodies there paid their respects to him. King David's Lodge presented a written address which most unequivocally was limited to fraternal relations. It read:
"To George Washington, President of the United States of America. We the Master, Wardens and Brethren of King David's Lodge in New Port Rhode Island with joyful hearts embrace this opportunity to greet you as a Brother, and to hail you welcome to Rhode Island.... We felicitate ourselves in the honor done the brotherhood by your many exemplary virtues and emanations of goodness proceeding from a heart worthy of possessing the ancient mysteries of our Craft; being persuaded that the wisdom and grace wit which heaven has endowed you, will square all your thoughts, words, and actions by the eternal laws of honour equity, and truth, so as to promote the advancement of all good works, your own happiness, and that of mankind.
"Permit us then, illustrious Brother, cordially to salute you with three times three and to add our fervent supplications that the sovereign architect of the universe may always encompass you with his holy protection."
Washington's reply is as follows in part: "Being persuaded that a just application of the principles which the Masonic Fraternity is founded, must be promotive of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the Society, and to be considered by them as a deserving brother." The original address and letter are in the collection of the Boston Athenaeum. They were published in the Newport Herald, August 26, 1790. A copy of each is in Letter Book II, fols. 27–29, Library of Congress, in the handwriting of William Jackson, Washington's Secretary.
In 1791 Washington went on his second Presidential tour throughout the South.
St. John's Lodge, Newbern, North Carolina, presented him an address on his arrival there April 20, 1791. In it they speak of him as a "true and faithful brother, the skilful and expert craftsman, the just and upright man." In his reply Washington spoke of the Masonic organization as being "a fraternity whose association is founded in justice and benevolence." Copies of both address and answer are in Letter Book II, folios 47–49, Library of Congress, in the handwriting of William Jackson.
Prince George's Lodge of Georgetown, South Carolina, presented him a somewhat similar address, April 30, 1791. In it they said among other things:
"We behold in you . . . a Brother of our most ancient and most honorable Order . . ." In reply, Washington said in part, " . . . I am much obliged by your good wishes and reciprocate them with sincerity, assuring the fraternity of my esteem. I request them to believe that I shall always be ambitious of being considered a deserving Brother."
These are entered in Letter Book II, fols. 60–61, in Jackson's handwriting.
The Grand Master of South Carolina was General Mordecai Gist. He had been a Brigadier General and Master of Military Lodge No. 27 in the Maryland line. He wrote an address in behalf of the Grand Lodge, May 2, 1791. In a portion of it he said:
"When we contemplate the distresses of war, the instances of humanity displayed by the Craft afford some relief to the feeling mind; and it gives us the most pleasing sensation to recollect, that amidst the difficulties attendant on your late military stations, you still associated with, and patronized the Ancient Fraternity. Distinguished always by your virtues more than the exalted stations in which you have moved, we exult in the opportunity you now give us of hailing you brother of our Order, and trust from your knowledge of our institution, to merit your countenance and support."
Washington in his reply made two positive statements that should be carefully noted. One was "I recognize with pleasure my relation to the brethren of your Society, and I accept with gratitude your congratulations on my arrival in South Carolina. Your sentiments on the establishment and exercise of our equal government are worthy of an association, whose principles lead to purity of morals, and are beneficial of action."
The other was: "I shall be happy, on every occasion to evince my regard for the Fraternity."
Copies of the address and reply are in the Library of Congress in the handwriting of Jackson. The address was printed in the Charleston City Gazette, May 6, 1791.
A somewhat similar address was made by the Grand Lodge of Georgia and it was replied to by Washington briefly in the same general manner. Copies in Jackson's handwriting are in Letter Book II, fols. 77 and 78.
After 1792 the capitol was Philadelphia. On Jan. 3, 1792, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania presented him an address in which they declare it is done "in the pride of Fraternal affection," and express the hope that Washington "may be long continued to adorn the bright list of master workmen which our Fraternity produces in the terrestrial Lodge."
Washington's introductory sentence in reply was:
"Gentlemen and Brothers, I receive your kind congratulations with the purest sensations of fraternal affection."
The address and reply are copied in Letter Book II, fols. 104–105 by Dandridge, Secretary to the President.
The Massachusetts Grand Lodge in the same year addressed him, saying amongst other things that they had dedicated their Book of Constitution to him, being "convinced of his attachment to its cause, and readiness to encourage its benevolent designs."
In his reply Washington speaks of the lodge as "a Society whose liberal principles must be founded in the immutable laws of truth and justice," and says further, "To enlarge the sphere of social happiness is worthy the benevolent design of a Masonic institution." Copies of both address and reply are in Letter Book II, fols. 106–108 in the handwriting of Dandridge.
On September 18, 1793, the cornerstone of the capitol building at Washington was laid by Washington in concert with the Grand Lodge of Maryland, and Lodge No. 22 from Alexandria, Virginia. Washington wore the apron which had been presented to him by Lafayette. Numerous accounts of this great Masonic event are in existence. The Maryland Gazetteof Annapolis, Sept. 26, 1793, states that the cornerstone was laid by Washington, and on it was deposed corn, wine and oil. The New York Journal and Patriotic Registerof Oct. 19, 1793, speaks of the Masonic procession as having been brilliant. The account given in Columbian Mirror and Alexandria Gazettein its issue of Sept. 25, 1793, has been adopted by the official accounts of the laying of the corner stone issued by the United States Government — House Document No. 211, 1896, Hundredth Anniversary of Capitol, p. 121 et seq.; History of U. S. Capitol — Senate Document No. 60, 1900, Vol. I, p. 14 et seq. This account states that Washington wore the Masonic apron given to him by Lafayette, that he acted as Grand Master pro. tem. and that the corner stone was laid by him "and his attendant brethren."
In December, 1796, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania addressed Washington, the occasion being the publication of his intention to retire from public life. In his reply he addresses them as "Brothers" and says in part: "I have received your address with all the feelings of brotherly affection, mingled with those sentiments for the Society, which it was calculated to excite." The address and reply are copied in Letter Book III, pp. 244–245, in the handwriting of G. W. Craik, his secretary.
In March, 1797, Washington retired from the presidency and returned to Mt. Vernon. Lodge No. 22 thereupon invited him to a Masonic dinner and also presented him an address in writing. Washington attended the lodge April 1, 1797. His answer was then read in open lodge. The introductory portion of it runs: "Brothers of the Ancient York Masons of Lodge No. 22: While my heart acknowledges with Brotherly Love your affectionate congratulations on my retirement from the arduous toils of past years, my gratitude is no less excited by your kind wishes for my future happiness."
The letter of the lodge, the address and Washington's reply are copied in Letter Book II, folios 294–295, in the handwriting of Tobias Lear, Washington's Secretary. Claypool's American Daily Advertiserof Philadelphia, in its issue of April 11, 1797, gives an account of the meeting of Lodge No. 22. After the meeting an "elegant" dinner was had. At this Washington offered the toast, "The Lodge at Alexandria, and all Masons throughout the world."
In the same month the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts forwarded an affectionate address to Washington, signed by Paul Revere, Grand Master. The delivery of this was delayed for some unexplained reason. On its receipt Washington at once forwarded to Revere a letter of apology for his delay in answering. He also wrote a most careful and significant letter to the Grand Lodge. The original draft of this letter, entirely in the handwriting of Washington himself, containing several interlineations and modifications in his own hand, is in the collection of manuscripts in the Library of Congress. In this he addresses the members of the Grand Lodge as "Brothers." One of the significant statements contained in it is the following: "My attachment to the Society of which we are members will dispose me always to contribute my best endeavours to promote the honor and interest of the Craft." He concludes the letter with the following: "With the assurance of fraternal regard and best wishes for the honor, happiness & prosperity of all the members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts."
In 1798 trouble with France had reached such a stage that Congress ordered an army to be raised and made Washington Lieut.-General. In November he was in Baltimore and the Grand Lodge of Maryland presented him an address in which they stated that it was "the greatest boast of their Society, that a Washington openly avows himself a member of it and thinks it worthy of his approbation." The draft of Washington's reply, sent from Elkton, Maryland, Nov. 8, 1798, is in the Library of Congress. He addresses the members of the Grand Lodge as "Gentlemen & Brothers." In it he makes the following unqualified declaration:
"So far as I am acquainted with the principles and doctrines of Freemasonry, I conceive them to be founded on benevolence, and to be exercised for the good of mankind; I cannot, therefore, upon this ground withhold my approbation of it."
It is subscribed thus:
"I am, Gentlemen and Brothers,
Your most ob't servant."
The Maryland letter was Washington's last written communication bearing upon Masonry. His funeral, as is admitted everywhere, was a Masonic one. Dr. E. C. Dick, Master, and Rev. James Muir, D. D., Chaplain of Lodge No. 22, performed the funeral ceremonies. The General's apron was on the casket together with his sword. Details as to the funeral were published broadcast throughout the country.
Opponents of the Craft have sought to make capital of a letter written by Washington to Rev. G. W. Snyder in 1798 prior to his letter to the Grand Lodge of Maryland. They overlooked his second letter to Snyder, Oct. 24, 1798, in which he reiterates his faith in Masonic lodges. Rev. Snyder had written to Washington and charged that "some of the lodges in the United States" had caught the infection and cooperated with the Illuminati and Jacobins. He further said that he thought Washington might block the progress in "the English lodges over which you preside." The term "English lodge" had a meaning at that time as distinctive and well-recognized as contrasted with American Lodges as now are the York Rite and Scottish Rite. Immediately after the American revolution a movement was started to withdraw the lodges of this country entirely from allegiance to the English Grand Lodges. Many of the lodges, however, insisted on retaining their English charters and it was several decades before the American lodges had full possession of the field. There were three "English lodges" in Quebec until very recently, as contrasted with the great number of "Quebec" lodges." Hence, when Washington wrote that Snyder was in error as to his presiding over the "English lodges" and that he had not been in one more than once or twice in thirty years he was literally correct. Such statements were called for in his reply as naturally as would a similar answer be prompted now from a member of a Commandery who had never had any connection with the Scottish Rite if he were urged to take some action with respect to the activities of the Scottish Rite. Washington was urged by Snyder to act in the "English lodges."
The details available from Masonic sources which cover the skeleton of fact above outlined and give to Washington's Masonic connection its life and color are far more important than the dry memoranda here set forth. It may be serviceable, however, to many readers to have at hand the foregoing succinct statement of indisputable facts established in complete independence of any Masonic connection or influence that show the unreserved recognition by Washington of his Masonic affiliation and also his unqualified approbation of the fraternity throughout his life.
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ON THE WAY
Bro. G. A. Nancarrow, Indiana
As we travel on our journey
From our morning to our night,
Touching flowers by the wayside,
Sometimes losing in the fight;
As we taste of joy and sorrow,
Zeal and languor, love and hate,
Let us know, my wayside brother,
That there is no kinder fate.
When our Parent came to planning
What His children here should do,
He, in wisdom, gave us labor —
Some for me and some for you;
Knowing well that, big and little,
Human hands will shape or mar
Just as idle boys make mischief
And the idle monarchs war.
By our labors we must progress
On the rugged road we climb;
By our effort and endeavor
Live a growing life through time.
For this stop is but a moment
Twixt the life that we have done,
And another in the cycle
Of our evolution's run.
Would we in the life to follow
Find a higher plane than here;
Would we walk above the level
We are treading in this sphere;
We must earn our fee of entrance
E'er we knock upon the door;
We must pay the price in labor
Or move backwards from this shore.
God holds out His hand to aid us
Up the steeps that we must climb
Through this vale of failing effort
Toward that promised life sublime.
Let us grasp the hand He offers
Sending one hand down below,
To pull up some fainting brother
With a longer way to go.
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Good citizenship implies more than a mere negative goodness, merely refraining from law-breaking of any sort. Duties of a positive nature are imposed and these are incumbent upon us as a part of our Masonic obligation. It can be insisted that we are bound, even more than others, to support the institutions of the Republic and to uphold the American ideal and principles. That such institutions and principles are akin, in very essence, to the ideas and ideal of Masonry, is plain to those within and without the Fraternity.
— Robert Sterling Teague, P. G. M. Alabama.
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The crown of all faculties is common sense; it is not enough to do the right thing, it must be done at the right time and place. Talent knows what to do; tact knows when and how to do it.
— W. Matthews.
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THE CRYPTIC DEGREES
Bro. Gustav A. Eitel, Maryland
FROM Moore's Free Masons Monthly Magazinefor November, 1848, we have the following account of the introduction of the Royal and Select Masters' Degrees, by Albert G. Mackey, M. D., whom we in have come to consider authority on all Masonic subjects upon which he writes:
"The proper jurisdiction under which the Degrees of Royal and Select Master should be placed is a question that is now beginning to excite considerable discussion and much embarrassment among the fraternity. It is, therefore, the duty of every brother who wishes this ' questio vexata ' amicably and judiciously, settled, to communicate to his brethren whatever he may suppose will conduce to this 'consummation most devoutly to be wished.' Allow me to throw in my mite.
"The history of these degrees will show that the Chapters and Councils are now contending for that to which neither ever had any legitimate right. And it seems to me that the former are as much justified in taking the jurisdiction of these degrees from the latter, as these were in taking it some years ago from the administrative body of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, to which it originally belonged. The controversy terminates in a contest for the distribution of the spoils of war.
"These degrees of right belong to the Supreme Council of the 33d Degree, Ancient Scottish Rite, and the claim to them has never been abandoned by that body. At the establishment of the Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem, in Charleston, S. C., on the 20th February, 1788, by brothers Joseph Myers, Barend M. Spitzer and A. Forst, Deputy Inspectors-General of Frederick II., of Prussia, Myers deposited in the archives of the Council certified copies of the said degrees from Berlin, in Prussia, placing them at the same time under the care and jurisdiction of this body. Copies of these degrees are still retained in the archives of the Supreme Grand Council at Charleston."
(Brother Mackey then refers to the communication sent by the Grand Chapter of Maryland to the Grand Chapter of South Carolina, and its action there-on as quoted elsewhere, in which an adverse report was made by the committee, and the Grand Chapter decided that it was improper and inexpedient to issue a jurisdiction of these degrees, and thus interfere with the rights and privileges of their brethren and companions in another and higher order of Free Masonry.) Continuing, he says:
"The Supreme Council for the Southern States has never abandoned its claim to these degrees. It has organized Councils of Royal and Select Masters, in other States, as, for instance, in Mississippi and South Carolina, either directly, or through the intervention of its subordinate Councils of Princes of Jerusalem, and although no application has lately been made to this body for a charter for a Royal and Select Council, I see not how, without impairing its rights, it could refuse to grant a charter when applied for by 'true and trusty' persons. In fact, the degrees continue to be given by our Inspectors, and as there are now no Royal and Select Councils in South Carolina, the old ones being extinct, the degrees can only be obtained from such authority. Brother Barker, who, perhaps, constituted as many Councils of Royal and Select Masters as any other man in the United States, did so only as a Deputy Inspector-General and the agent of the Supreme Council, and, therefore, although I have not time to hunt up statistics, I have no hesitation in believing that half the Councils and Grand Councils in the country owe their existence, and with it their original allegiance, to the Ancient Scottish Rite.
"The matter, however, has now become inextricably confused, and I know of but one method of getting out of the difficulty. Although the Supreme Councils of the 33d are not willing to have their authority and rights wrested from them vi et armis, I have no doubt — but I do not speak officially — that for the good of Masonry they would willingly enter into any compromise. Let a convention of Royal and Select Masters be held at some central point. To this convention let the most intelligent companions, legitimately possessing the degrees, whether from Councils of Royal and Select Masters, as in most of the States, from Royal Arch Chapters, as in Virginia, or from Councils of Princes of Jerusalem, or from Grand Inspectors-General, as in South Carolina and Mississippi — let the wisdom there congregated be directed to the amicable settlement of this dispute. The important point is not to have these degrees placed in any particular order, but to make the mode and manner of conferring them, whether it be before or after the Royal Arch, uniform throughout the country. The decision made for two successive triennial meetings by the General Grand Chapter, viz., in 1844 and 1847, as tending to destroy this uniformity and produce 'confusion worse confounded,' can not but be regretted by all good Masons."
It will be seen that the degrees were cultivated in South Carolina, or at least the Select Degree, at an early date. In consequence of the authority by which the degrees were conferred, the Grand Council system was not recognized, but the Supreme Council was regarded as the lawful governing power. Accordingly, in 1858 and 1859, nine Councils were chartered by that body. In deference to the usage in other jurisdictions the Supreme Council (Scottish Rite) waived its claims and a Grand Council was formed in Charleston on February 15, 1860. The Minutes of this Assembly were published with the proceedings of the Grand Chapter.
Companion George W. Warvelle, LL. D., Past Grand Master and Grand Recorder of the Grand Council of Illinois, is another Masonic scholar and writer who emphatically dissents from the Scottish Rite claims and theory. For more than a score of years he has been searching for "facts" in lieu of "fables" and "traditions." The discoveries of his research have been presented from time to time.
Space prevents reproducing all he has written on this subject. One of his earlier contributions is:
GENESIS OF THE DEGREE OF ROYAL MASTER MASON
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE THIRD MASS CONVENTION OF THE ROYAL AND SELECT MASTERS OF ILLINOIS, AT PEORIA, SEPTEMBER 6, 1893.
I had found in my reading that much — nearly all — that had been said or written upon this subject in recent years was but a repetition of old statements made at a time when the knowledge of the Rite was very limited, and the sources of information not as accessible as at present; that little or no attempt was made at verification, and that, in many instances, these same old statements, taken oftimes at second hand, had been coloured, changed or distorted in the retelling to suit the varying fancies of the narrators. It was the confusion created by these discordant recitals that stimulated me in the first instance to investigate the subject for myself, and it was the facts as I found them that induced me to communicate them to you. I entered upon this work with neither prejudice or bias, and in my investigations I sought only to ascertain the truth. I endeavoured, so far as I was able, to separate the real facts from the fancies and fictions into which they had become imbedded, and to weigh, with impartiality and fairness, the evidence that was offered in support of the various theories which at different times have been advanced. The effect of my inquiries was to cause a thorough revision of many of my own previously conceived opinions concerning these degrees and the complete rejection of a number of matters that had formerly commanded my implicit belief, and as the conclusions which I announced were in many respects opposed to certain generally received and hitherto unquestioned theories of origin, I have, during the year that has intervened, continued my researches with a view to demonstrate either their correctness or fallacy. In so doing I have necessarily expanded my field of operations and at the same time examined with greater scrutiny the ground already traversed, and while, in a few minor particulars, some slight changes have been made, the general tendency of my search has only been to strengthen the position which I assumed in my address of last year.
I have brought together for your consideration today a few facts relating to the degree of Royal Master, some of which have only been discovered within very recent years, and to them I append my own conclusions. If these latter should differ from those reached by men who are older and wiser than myself I can only say, it is with no disparagement of the thoughts or opinions of others that I offer my own; I reason from the light that is within me; possibly I am mistaken, but I think I am right, and so thinking I do not hesitate to express my views.
The "high degrees" in this country, at the commencement of the present century, may well be said to have been "without form and void." They consisted, in the main, of a chaotic mass of pompous titles, borrowed in many instances from extinct orders and societies, with feeble expositions of Masonic legends strangely blended with Hermetic philosophy and weak imitations of medieval chivalry. They were conferred with little or no attempt at ritualistic elaboration, while the dramatic effects which constitute such conspicuous features in the liturgies of today were practically unknown. As a rule they were composed of nothing more than a meagre recital of traditional history, supplemented possibly by a brief "lecture" or catechism, while many possessed not even this amount of substance. With the exception of the Capitular degrees no effort had been made at organization, and the warrant of a Master's lodge was generally considered a sufficient authority to legitimatize the conferring of any and all degrees of which any of the members might be possessed, if, as was sometimes the ease, the conferant did not himself claim powers still greater. A lingering recollection of the Rite of Perfection was preserved in some localities by individuals who claimed authority under the original grant of power to Stephen Morin and a little band of zealous Masons at Charleston, S.C., had vainly endeavoured about this time to assert an organized expression of the ineffable grades of that system under the name of Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, while a rival society, with the same object in view, was soon afterwards started in New York. The best efforts of both bodies were, however, productive of but little in the way of tangible results, and it was not until fifty years afterwards that the matchless genius of Albert Pike gave shape and purpose to the Scottish Rite.
Among the many degrees that ambition or avarice brought into existence or rescued from oblivion about this time was that of Royal Master Mason. From whence it was derived or how it originated we know absolutely nothing, and though there has not been wanting astute historians to trace its genealogy and declare its primary symbolism, no proof has yet been offered to substantiate the statements or support the theories which these ingenious gentlemen have advanced.
While the "high degrees" of every kind and nature were conferred indiscriminately by any person who might see fit to arrogate a power for that purpose, yet they were in the main dispensed by a number of gentlemen who posed under the dignified title of Inspectors General and who claimed absolute dominion over the entire Masonic world as "Princes and Chiefs of Exalted Masonry." The authority for this broad claim rested upon a delegation of power said to have been transmitted from Frederick II of Prussia at various times subsequent to the year 1762, and upon the assumption that Frederick himself possessed "the sovereign Masonic power over the craft." [ 4 ] With these claims or pretensions we as Cryptic Masons would have little or no concern were it not that certain high dignitaries of the system which was established upon the remains of the defunct Rite of Perfection have at various times asserted a right of control or dominion over all of the Cryptic degrees, and that these claims have been wholly relinquished only within very recent years. In view of these facts an inquiry into the legitimacy of the claim is imposed upon every one who seeks to discover origin or trace descent, yet it is not my purpose at this time, to open the questions involved nor to discuss the subject in its general phases, and, save as it may incidentally occur, I shall attempt no argument with reference to Scottish Rite claims as applied to the Cryptic degrees in general, but will briefly summarize so much thereof as refers to the Royal Degree.
So far as I have been able to learn no Inspector of the Rite of Perfection ever made a personal assertion of any knowledge of the Royal degree or claimed any rights in connection therewith in virtue of his Inspectorship; the name itself cannot be found in any of the patents, diplomas or other documents issued in connection with that rite, although in most cases a full enumeration of the degrees possessed by the patentee and which he was authorized to confer were set forth in every grant of power. Nor did the Supreme Council A.A.S.R. at its establishment in 1801 make any claim with reference thereto, nor does the name thereof appear in any of the documents which it issued at that time. At the institution of the Supreme Council a full scale of degrees was adopted and announced to the Masonic world; they were thirty-three in number, including those theretofore exclusively controlled by the Symbolic Lodge. Their names and numerical progression were all set forth in orderly arrangement, and over the system thus promulgated the Supreme Council claimed original and exclusive jurisdiction. This claim, with the exception of the Symbolic degrees, has generally been recognized as just, and for years has been acquiesced in by the Masonic powers of both hemispheres. Of the degrees composing the curriculum of the new rite, some — the majority — were taken from the old Scale of the Rite of Perfection; some were appropriated from the many "detached" degrees of the period, and some were invented for the occasion by the framers of the system; eclecticism in Masonry was then the order of the day, [ 5 ] and the right to appropriate and had was not seriously disputed. But the Supreme Council asserted jurisdiction only over the regular series of degrees which it then promulgated as its own; whatever else might have been in the possession or within the knowledge of its members was left with them for their disposal or use, and in the manifesto which announced its organization this fact was distinctly stated. In that remarkable document it was said that some — not all — of the Inspectors were it the individual possession of other degrees, "given in different parts of the world," which they conferred at their pleasure upon those who were high enough to understand them." [ 6 ] A partial enumeration of such detached degrees then followed, and, while a mention is made of "Select Masons of 27," no reference can be found to the degree of Royal Master. This statement is the basis of the Scottish Rite claim of dominion over the Cryptic degrees, and while it is possible that among the side degrees of which "most of the Inspectors" were in possession, there might have been that of Royal Master, yet there is no proof that such was the fact. But even conceding that it may have been known to some of the members it was nevertheless individual property and the Supreme Council never officially asserted a jurisdictional right thereto until fifty years afterwards. In 1827, ten years after the formation of Councils and Grand Councils of the dual body of Royal and Select masters, and nearly twenty years after the regular organization of either degree as separate bodies, Bro. Moses Holbrook, then a high officer of the Southern Supreme Council, reported to the Grand Chapter of South Carolina that he had ascertained that the degrees of Royal and Select Masters were brought from Berlin, Prussia, by one Joseph Myers in 1778, [ 7 ] and that certified copies thereof, which he had been privileged to inspect, were deposited with the Council of the Princes of Jerusalem at Charleston. This statement, although not emanating directly from the Supreme Council, which at that time was practically in a moribund condition, has formed the mainstay of all subsequent claims in which direct authority has been sought to be asserted by that body. I have no doubt but what Bro. Holbrook's report was made in perfect good faith and a sincere belief that what he had ascertained was true. The period of his report was an age of credulity in all matters connected with Masonry; myths and fictions were readily received as incontestable facts; forgeries passed current without question, and histories evolved from the vivid imaginations of the writers supplied the place of more authentic data. But later years have discredited the facts upon which Bro. Holbrook relied, and the student of today classes the Berlin constitutions in the same category as the pious frauds of the early Christian churchmen. ln 1850, or thereabouts, the Southern Supreme Council, at the instance of Bro. Mackey, [ 8 ] formally assumed jurisdiction of both degrees by granting charters of constitution, and this right was maintained until 1870, when by resolution the Cryptic Council was recognized as "a separate and distinct organization in Masonry," and further control over it was "relinquished." [ 9 ] There were at this time twenty-eight Grand Councils in existence.
Neither the Grand Consistory nor Supreme Council established at New York by Bro. Joseph Cerneau ever made any claim to the Royal degree, notwithstanding it was so reported for many years, nor did any of its Inspectors claim authority over the Rite. No inquiry, therefore, is raised with respect to this body.
The Northern Supreme Council was established at New York in 1813, but not until three years after the organization of a Council of Royal Masters in the same city. Its powers and authority were derived from the parent body at Charleston and it professed only to exercise jurisdiction over the 33 degrees which then as now constituted the Scottish Rite. From its organization until 1844 it was practically dormant, and it was not until 1860 that its present career of activity commenced. In 1850 this body, for the first time , asserted a claim over all of the degrees of the Cryptic Rite including the Super-Excellent, alleging that it had been the custom "from time immemorial" to communicate them "in the side chambers of our Holy Temple." [ 10 ] The Northern Sup. Council at this time consisted nominally of four individuals but was centred, in reality, in the person of Bro. James J. J. Gourgas, then a very old and infirm man. The action of Bro. Gourgas in making this claim was doubtless prompted by the attitude then recently taken by the Southern Sup. Council, and while the Southern body never made any claim with respect to the Super-Excellent, I presume Bro. Gourgas thought he might as well take all as a part. The fiction of authority was maintained by the Northern Supreme Councils, [ 11 ] regular and irregular, until the time of the "Union" in 1867 when by common consent the matter was dropped and has not since been heard of.
Such, in brief, is the history of Scottish Rite claim and dominion over the Royal degree. It was never a part of the Scottish system; illustrates none of its symbolism; has no connection, directly or indirectly, with any of its degrees, and no right of control, other than that which flows from simple appropriation, has ever been shown. It is difficult at this time to understand the reasons which prompted the leaders of that rite to retain such a tenacious hold upon it, and the only rational explanation that can now be advanced is that it was held under a mistake of fact and that to the imperfect knowledge of the times must we attribute the first assumption of authority over it.
From all that I have thus far been able to learn, I am strongly of the opinion that the degree of Royal Master was invented during the early part of the present century and that it had its origin at the city of New York. If it existed prior to the year 1800 or was ever conferred at other places no record thereof has ever been found nor is any reference made thereto in contemporary documents. I have made a most diligent search through all the channels of information that were at my command and have through an extensive correspondence pushed my inquiries in every direction from whence a knowledge of this subject might be expected. By whom it was invented we do not know, yet it is certain that for its promotion and diffusion we are indebted to Bro. Thomas Lownds. This fact has been placed beyond dispute by the comparatively recent discovery of the old minute book of the Council established by Lownds at New York, and a number of hitherto doubtful questions in connection with the early exploitation of this degree have, by this discovery, been definitely solved.
From these old records it would seem that on Sept 2, 1810 at St. John's Hall in the city of New York, sixteen persons met and organized a Council of Royal Master Masons, to "be known and distinguished by the name of Columbian Grand Council." This was the first systematic effort at organization ever made of either of the Cryptic degrees, for while Bro. Eckel, at Baltimore, was wont to organize Councils for the purpose of conferring the Select degree, yet such Councils seem to have been of a temporary character and for the purpose of each particular occasion only. The fact that sixteen persons met for the purpose above indicated establishes, as a necessary corollary, the further fact that at this time the degree was in existence and had been conferred by other authority and that parties were then in possession of it. This fact is further emphasized by entries in the record of the admission of persons as "adjoining" members. The natural inference, therefore, is that prior to the establishment of Columbian Council, the degree like many others of that period had been conferred by individual communication. It was for many years supposed that this Council owed its existence to Joseph Cerneau, who at that time was a resident of New York and an active worker in a Scottish Rite body which he had established there. In many of the arguments which have been advanced to sustain the Scottish Rite theory of origin, this statement has been repeatedly made as an historical fact, and until the discovery of this record, was accepted by a majority of the Masonic historians as true. But it now, seems that Cerneau was never in any manner connected with this body either as an officer or member and his name is not even mentioned once in the entire record. Nor is there the slightest intimation that the degree was either derived from or subsidiary to the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite or any superior body of any kind, and, unlike most of the Inspector's degrees which were endowed with much florid rhetoric in the statement of the authority by which they were conferred, it seems to have been organized in much the, same manner as the Capitular degrees had been a few years preceding. Nor is there any reference to the Scottish Rite with respect to qualifications for the degree which seems to have been conferred, without regard to other affiliations, on Master Masons. Indeed, the only titles or other matters appended to the names of the officers or members was their rank in Symbolic Masonry or their lodge affiliation and during the earlier years this latter is found after the names of all candidates receiving the degree.
A strong reason for believing that Thomas Lownds was the originator or at least the first disseminator of the Royal degree in America, is afforded in the fact that in Columbian Council he also conferred other degrees now totally unknown and which so far as I have been able to learn, were never conferred by any of the Inspectors connected with the Supreme Councils either at Charleston or New York. These degrees, in name if not in substance, were distinctively English, and by no process of reasoning can they be connected with the high degree systems of any of the continental rites. Thus on Dec. 7, 1810, a Council of "Knights of the Round Table" was opened by the "Illustrious Abbot, Lownds," [ 12 ] and on March 4, 1811, a Chapter of "Illustrious Knights of the Hon. Order of the Garter" was opened by "Grand Prelate Lownds.", [ 13 ] it will require no demonstrations to show that both of these diversions were the inventions of the times, and it is but fair to ascribe them to the man who organized this body and for more than ten years presided at every meeting thereof.
In my address of last year I adverted to the fact that it is to Columbian Council we are indebted for the Super-Excellent degree as a regular part of our system. It is true that a degree bearing this name was conferred in connection with the Royal Arch, both in England and America, as early as 1760, and at one time I supposed the two to be identical. But since I last addressed you I have secured copies of the rituals of both the Excellent and Super-Excellent degrees of the old Royal Arch system and find them to be essentially different from the present degree both in historical scope and symbolic teaching, while an inspection of the old Royal Arch ritual, of which I also now have a copy, demonstrates that it could have had no connection therewith and must have been fabricated after Webb's adaptation had been made. The inference is irresistible that it was invented in New York, probably by Lownds himself, at or near the time when he first gave it publicity. The first mention of the degree which I have been able to find is under date of Dec. 22, 1817, when a Super-Excellent "Lodge" was opened in "ample form" and several Companions received. From this time forward it was regularly "worked" and finds frequent mention in the minutes, wholly displacing in about a year after its introduction the "Invincible Order of the Round Table."
Columbian Council, from the time of its organization until 1823, met regularly as an independent body, but in this year a Grand Council was formed to control the degrees of Royal and Select Master, and Columbian Council surrendering its title of "Grand," became a constituent of the new body as No. 1 of its registry.
In 1816 it would seem the Council abrogated the rule which permitted Master Masons to receive the degree, and from this time on only Royal Arch Masons were accepted. In December, 1817, a communication was received from Boston, Mass., showing that a Council of Royal Masters had been established there "within the present year," and that "they acknowledge, with much respect, the senior establishment in New York, and with their advocates do honour to same." They further pray for "written sanction" and "that they may be confirmed in their Masonic labours." The sanction was granted. It would thus appear that this Council was regarded at this time as a legitimate source of authority for the dissemination of the degree.
In December, 1821, the Council of Select Masters, established by Cross, petitioned Columbian Council for a union and such proceedings were then had as resulted in a merger of the two bodies. The minutes with respect to this interesting event are, however, extreme meagre and perhaps "absorption" would more fitly characterize the action than any other term that could be employed. Thereafter the Select degree was regularly conferred in the same order as at present, but the name of the body continued to be Columbian Council of Royal Master Masons.
On January 18, 1823, it was resolved that it was expedient to form a "Grand Council of Royal Master Masons and Select Masons" for the State of New York, and in pursuance of such resolution a Grand Council was on January 25 duly organized, which claimed "of right the government and superintendence of all Royal Master Masons and Select Masons in the said State."
Such, brethren, is a rough outline of the beginning of the Royal degree in America so far as the same is now known. To Thomas Lownds must be ascribed the credit for its life, and to Columbian Council the honour of its first organized existence.
In 1818, Bro. Jeremy Cross, who had previously obtained the Select degree at Baltimore, in some manner became "possessed" of the Royal degree as well, whereupon he joined the two together under one government and out of the plentitude of his own power established a new system which he christened "Councils of Royal and Select Masters," and of which he at once became the missionary and apostle. This (1818) is the earliest date at which the title "Royal and Select Masters" was used, and all reference thereto at any time anterior must now be regarded as a mistake or a fabrication.
In 1827–8, Bro. John Barker, emulating the fame and envying the gain which Bro. Cross was acquiring as a "disseminator" of Cryptic light, resolved to enter the field himself. As Bro. Cross had credentials from the "Grand Council of Select" at Baltimore, which subsequent developments have tended to show were spurious, [ 14 ] so Bro. Barker travelled as the "agent" of the Southern Supreme Council, 33, but the authority thereof has never been shown and is subject to much doubt. At all events neither party worked for or accounted to any other than themselves, and the charters given by them purported to be issued only on their own authority. In later years attempts have been made to substantiate the claim of Scottish Rite origin and consequent jurisdiction by the labours of Barker. As a matter of fact, however, Barker's "agency" was simply an excuse for some show of authority. I do not understand that he ever had a commission from the Supreme Council for this purpose. His charters were granted in his own name and not in the name of the Supreme Council; his rituals were modifications of the Cross lectures, and the "emoluments" of his "agency" enriched no one but himself. It was at one time supposed that Barker obtained his degrees from Cross, but it would now seem that he was greeted in Columbian Council, Nov. 25, 1821, [ 15 ] receiving the degrees from the hands of Thomas Lownds.
Through the labours of Cross, Cushman and Barker, the degree has been preserved and disseminated, and while the methods employed by these ancient worthies have at times been severely criticized, it must be remembered that age and environment have much to do with the formation of judgment and shaping of opinions. The itinerant lecturer and degree peddler was an established feature in American Masonry until as late as 1840. His services, never lavishly rewarded, did much to shape, protect and perpetuate the uniformity of ritual and symbolism, and while the present age has outgrown the crude methods of the fathers, we can well afford in the enjoyment of the legacy they have bequeathed to us to condone their faults and forgive their transgressions. It is immaterial at this day that they made merchandise of degrees or sold charters on manufactured authority; they but followed the precedents of the times. Their motives were good and presumably their wares were worth the price which they charged, and posterity, as a rule, has done honour to their memory.
Now one word more regarding these addresses and I have finished. I did not expect when I addressed you last year that all of my statements would meet with ready assent or my conclusions pass unchallenged. Old myths die hard and men do not, as a rule, give up the convictions of a lifetime without a protest. But nothing has more strongly characterized the literary life of Masonry during the past twenty-five years than its freedom from the shackles of unverified tradition and imaginative history. The love of truth, "for truth's sake" has exerted a strong influence upon the work of the later day historian and his active efforts have been directed in attempts to show the past as it was and not what it should have been in order to sustain fanciful theories or old traditions. To do this he must at times appear a veritable iconoclast, and the worshippers at the shrines he shatters regard him with but little favour. That my work in this respect should be criticised and questioned I fully expected, but I was not prepared for the personal attacks, vilification and abuse which, in some quarters, a difference of opinion seems to have provoked. I shall continue, however, in the path I have marked out, regardless of the sneers, denunciations, or super-arrogant airs of superior learning which some of my captious critics have employed in the discussion of my views and opinions. I believe the statements of fact which I have made to be correct and feel that my conclusions are sound. Should time and circumstances permit I shall have more to say on the Cryptic Rite at our next meeting, shattering, perhaps, another idol or two and opening up a new vista with a broader horizon and higher mental plane. Nothing is now to be gained by concealment or a blind adherence to old beliefs or antiquated fictions. Let us fully, freely and fairly, investigate the old canons for ourselves, with an abiding confidence in the apostolic injunction that "the truth shall make us free."
Another contribution by Companion Warvelle (1907) is "The German and French Traditions" which has been copied by nearly all the correspondent writers.
Although printed in our 1908 proceedings they will well bear reproduction in this paper with his other writings, from which we have copied so free.
I presume there are few of you who at some time have not seen or heard the old and persistent story of Joseph Myers' importation of the Cryptic degrees. As the story goes, Myers brought the degrees from Berlin, Prussia, and in the year 1781, or 1788, for the accounts differ, he deposited the rituals in the Lodge of Perfection at Charleston and thereafter committed the authority for their diffusion to the Chiefs of Sublime Masonry resident in that city. It was not until about forty years after the alleged deposit, and not until many years after the establishment of Grand Councils, that the Chiefs made the facts known. Inasmuch as they were unable to produce the original rituals or any evidence of Myers' authority in the matter, the Masonic students have always regarded the statements as a sort of pipe dream on the part of the Chiefs, and as something unworthy of credence.
I am inclined to believe that the story, to some extent at least, rests on a knowledge of the practices of the early German lodges and the coincidences found in the Select Master degree. Thus, from the earliest descriptions of the Council chamber that have come down to us we find a prescription of triangular tables, with a light on each angle, to be placed before the officers in the East. Neither the ritual nor its accompanying lectures furnish us with any very satisfactory explanation of this furniture. In the absence of such explanations we can only conclude that it represents an archaic survival, the original significance of which has been lost. But this form of table, and arrangement of lights, was employed in the German lodges during the first half of the Eighteenth century, and particularly is this true of the lodges located at Berlin. From the fact, therefore, of the coincidence of custom in the Berlin lodges and in the Select degree in America, it would be an easy matter for a lively imagination to deraign a descent of the latter from the former.
I have lately come across a little book published at Sulzbach, Germany, in 1803. In this book the author, speaking of the initiation of Prince William of Prussia by Frederick the Great in 1740, describes an old and rare engraving in his possession.
He then describes the picture of which I venture a free translation as follows:
"The King sits in the Master's chair. Before him is an altar-shaped table upon which, in the form of a triangle, are placed three burning tapers. Near them are laid a sword, a gavel and skull. At the left hand of Frederick stands a warden. Before the table, without either sword or hat (which two brethren are holding) stands Prince William taking the oath."
I do not profess to be an adept in the translation of eighteenth century German but I think I have faithfully rendered the spirit of the original. From the foregoing it will be seen that the East of the early German lodges resembled in some respects the East of a Council of Select Masters and it is from this circumstance, probably, that the Chiefs of the Sublime Degrees at Charleston evolved the romance of Joseph Myers' importation of the Rite. A very searching investigation a few years ago revealed the fact that the Cryptic degrees are utterly unknown in Germany and, so far as could be ascertained, had never been heard of in that country.
For many years the French tradition of Cryptic origins and diffusion was received without question. Even such a Masonic scholar as the late Josiah H. Drummond endorsed the stories, for there were two of them, and in his published writings stated them as historic facts. Further investigation subsequently induced him to discard his earlier opinions and to characterize the legends as untrue, or, at least, as not proved. Many persons, however, still cling to the old exploded fables and the pseudo historian still drives his trade, as is apparent from the lucid expositions which from time to time appear in the Masonic press.
One story is that Henry A. Francken, a Hebrew peddler of eighteenth century high degree Masonry, in the year 1767, introduced the degrees of the Cryptic Rite into the States of New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island by the institution of Councils. As late as 1875 this story was generally accepted as correct. Just how, or where, or when, Francken received his degrees was never stated, but he was an Inspector General of the "Ineffable and Sublime" degrees and as the Inspectors generally carried everything that any reasonable person could ask for, so it was assumed that he came rightfully by the Cryptic grades and had authority to sell them. Francken's stock in trade was supposed to have been imported from France.
Another story was that Joseph Cerneau brought the degree of Royal Master to the City of New York, and in the year 1807 established a Council for its exploitation. Cerneau's authority was supposed to have been derived from the Grand Consistory in France.
Both of these romances passed current as genuine Cryptic history and were accepted by Mackey and other writers. And particularly were they received by those who sought to trace the genealogy of the Cryptic degrees through the Scottish Rite.
With respect to the first story there is not a scintilla of evidence to show that either of the Cryptic degrees were in existence in 1767, or that Francken ever heard of them, or that he ever conferred them. The whole story seems to be a pure fabrication. It grew out of the fact that Francken visited the City of New York in 1767, and while there conferred the degrees of the Lodge of Perfection on two gentlemen from Albany. Subsequently he gave them a warrant for the establishment of a lodge. The old records of these transactions, at one time supposed to have been destroyed, have been recovered, and there is not the slightest reference to the Cryptic degrees or a shadow of a foundation for the oft repeated yarn of Francken's introduction of the Rite.
The other tale is equally destitute of truth. Cerneau was a resident of New York in 1807, at which time a Council of Royal Master Masons was organized and from this circumstance the imaginative historians deduced the fact that he was the organizer. The old minutes of this Council were found a few years ago and from them it appears that Cerneau had nothing to do with its organization and that he was not even a member of the body.
But old myths die hard. The Scottish Rite historians are loath to relinquish their long maintained hold on the genesis of the Cryptic degrees, and notwithstanding that the falsity of their claims has been often demonstrated they still continue to assert both the German and French traditions in support of their contentions. From time to time, in his "historical Notes," and under other captions, Companion Warvelle has contributed much more on this subject, all of which we would like to present for our Companions, but we are reminded that paper and printer's ink cost money, and we will have to be content by quoting the closing paragraph of one of his later "Notes."
"Now what we want from the men whose views are not 'erroneous' is some tangible evidence, properly authenticated, to show the conferring of the Royal Master's degree at any time prior to the year 1805, at any place other than the city of New York, and by any other person than Thomas Lownds. To show the conferring of the Select Master's degree at any time prior to the year 1790, at any place other than the city of Baltimore, and by any other person than Henry Wilmans. To show the conferring of the two degrees combined into one system at any time prior to the year 1818, at any place other than Hartford, Conn., and by any person other than Jeremy Cross. Will the gentlemen who have the 'facts' please produce them?"
Your committee believe they have "culled" nearly all the important data connected with the origin and the dissemination of the Cryptic degrees and have presented the views of the most prominently known Masonic students, historians and writers who have contributed to the history of the degrees covering a century or more.
Of those dissenting from the Scottish Rite claim or theory, Companion Schultz has devoted most of his research to the Select degree, while Companion Warvelle seems to have made the tracing of the Royal Master's degree his favourite study.
- See circular Sup. Council, S.M.J., Dec. 4, 1802. ↩
- Pike's Dissection of a Manifests, p. 40. ↩
- Manifesto Sup. Council A.A.S.R., 1802. See also Dalcho's Orations, Charleston, 1807. ↩
- Mackey says the degrees were first introduced in 1783. See address to Grand Council S.C., 1870. ↩
- See address to Grand Council of South Carolina, 1870. ↩
- Pro. Sup. Council S.M.J., 1870. ↩
- See Reprint N.M.J., Vol. 1, Pt. I, pp. 212, 214. ↩
- "See Constitutions N. M. J., 1860. ↩
- See Proceedings Columbian Council, p. 5. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Cross purported to work under a commission of this kind and his original grant of power was until very lately to be seen in New York. The genuineness of this document has been questioned, however, and Bro. Drummond, who caused a photographic copy to be taken and submitted to experts, now pronounces the commission a forgery. Bro. Schultz, of Baltimore, after an investigation is of the same opinion. ↩
- See records Columbian Council, p. 31 ↩
* * *
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN — NO. 34
Edited by Bro. H. L. Haywood
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE MEETINGS AND STUDY CLUBS
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for its foundation two sources of Masonic information: THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. In another paragraph is explained how the references to former issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may be worked up as supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course with the paper by Brother Haywood.
The Course is divided into five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is shown below:
- The Work of a Lodge.
- The Lodge and the Candidate.
- First Steps.
- Second Steps
- Third Steps.
- Working Tools.
- Religious Aspect.
- The Quest.
- The Secret Doctrine.
- The Grand Lodge.
- Ancient Constitutions.
- Codes of Law.
- Grand Lodge Practices.
- Relationship to Constituent Lodges.
- Official Duties and Prerogatives.
- The Constituent Lodge.
- Qualifications of Candidates.
- Initiation, Passing and Raising.
- Change of Membership.
- The Mysteries — Earliest Masonic Light.
- Study of Rites — Masonry in the Making.
- Contributions to Lodge Characteristics.
- National Masonry.
- Parallel Peculiarities in Lodge Study.
- Feminine Masonry.
- Masonic Alphabets.
- Historical Manuscripts of the Craft.
- Biographical Masonry.
- Philological Masonry — Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting a paper written by Brother Haywood who is following the foregoing outline. We are now in "Third Steps" of Ceremonial Masonry. There will be twelve monthly papers under this particular subdivision. At the head of each installment will be given a number of "Helpful Hints" consisting of questions to be used by the chairman of the Committee during the study period which will bring out every point touched upon in the paper.
Whenever possible we shall reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles from other sources which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by Brother Haywood in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental papers in addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of references. Much valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to the attention of many of our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin should be used one month later than their appearance. If this is done the Committees will have opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance of the meetings and the Brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research Society will be better enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over and studied the installment in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PAPERS
Immediately preceding each of Brother Haywood's monthly papers in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin will be found a list of references to THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. These references are pertinent to the paper and will either enlarge upon many of the points touched upon or bring out new points for reading and discussion. They should be assigned by the Committee to different Brethren who may compile papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or in many instances the articles themselves or extracts therefrom may be read directly from the originals. The latter method may be followed when the members may not feel able to compile original papers, or when the original may be deemed appropriate without any alterations or additions.
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The Lodge should select a "Research Committee" preferably of three "live" members. The study meetings should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the Lodge called for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the Lodge routine) should be transacted — all possible time to be given to the study period.
After the Lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the Lodge over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This Committee should be fully prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All members to whom references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Haywood's paper.
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
- Reading of the first section of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers thereto. (Suggestion: While these papers are being read the members of the Lodge should make notes of any points they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion is opened. Tabs or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be distributed among the members for this purpose at the opening of the study period.)
- Discussion of the above.
- The subsequent sections of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers should then be taken up, one at a time, and disposed of in the same manner.
- Question Box.
MAKE THE "QUESTION BOX" THE FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
Invite questions from any and all Brethren present. Let them understand that these meetings are for their particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the questions they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the paper If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them, SEND THEM IN TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in an endeavor to supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make special research when called upon, and will usually be able to give answers within a day or two. Please remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles away, and, by order of the Trustees of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it at our disposal on any query raised by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information should enable local Committees to conduct their Lodge study meetings with success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and communications from interested Brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not entirely clear to them, and the services of our Study Club Department are at the command of our members, Lodge and Study Club Committees at all times.
QUESTIONS ON "THE LOST WORD"
What is the master symbol of Blue Lodge symbolism? Why should we be cautious in our endeavours to ascertain the origins of the symbolism of the Lost Word?
How were brethren in the early days of Masonry sometimes "made Masons"? Have our researchers yet been able to discover what the "Lost Word" was? What would those who hold to the theory that the Royal Arch Word is the "Lost Word" lead us to believe? Is there any evidence to prove beyond a doubt that this word was really the "Lost Word"?
Do you agree with Brother Haywood that the "Lost Word" was never a component part of the Blue Lodge work which was later taken away from the Blue Lodge and transplanted into the Royal Arch degree? If so, what are your grounds for so agreeing? If not what are your reasons for disagreeing with him?
What is the Legend of the Tetragrammaton? What was the custom among the Jewish people relative to pronouncing the name of Deity? How was the use of the name restricted? What finally became the penalty inflicted upon one who spoke the name aloud? What further restrictions were placed upon the use of the name? How was the name spelled?
When and in what manner did the true pronunciation of the name became wholly lost? What did this result in after the Exile was ended? What did the priests and scribes have left upon which to base their search? What were the vowels of the word?
Of what did the Tetragrammaton become the centre, and how did the search for the word spread?
Did the form of the legend always remain the same? What various forms did it take?
Has the symbolic idea centred in the search for the "Lost Word" been confined to Masonry alone? Do we find it in modern literature?
(Suggestion to Study Club Leaders: Ascertain if any brethren present have read "The Wandering Jew" and the other works mentioned by Brother Haywood, and if so have them give a synopsis of each if possible. Also if anyone present can describe the play "The Blue Bird," request that this be done.)
Vol I. — "The Fourth Degree," by Bro. W. F. Kuhn, p. 44.
Vol II. — "Some Deeper Aspects of Masonic Symbolism," by Bro. A. E. Waite, p.175; "The Lost Word," by Bro.W.F. Kuhn, p. 327.
Vol.III. — "The Lodge," by Bro. H. W. Ticknor, p. 198; "The Lost Word," Question Box Department, p. 189.
Vol.IV. — "The Symbolism of the Master Mason Degree — The Lost Word," by Bro. Oliver Day Street, p. 322.
Vol. V. "The Legendary Origin of Freemasonry," by Bro. Dudley Wright, p. 297; "What a Master Mason Ought to Know," by Bro. Hal Riviere, p. 130.
Incommunicable, p. 349; Ineffable Name, p. 351; Tetragrammaton, p. 781; Twelve-Lettered Name, p. 809; Unutterable Name, p. 817
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Bro. H. L. Haywood, Iowa
PART III — THE LOST WORD
WE COME now to the crux and the climax of Blue Lodge symbolism, the master symbol by means of which all other symbols have their meaning. Well will it be for us walk warily here, not only because the origins of the symbolism of the Lost Word are bound up with an ancient and tangled tradition; not only because it has been so often prostituted to the level of magic and superstition, even in recent times; but also because it is the embodiment of one of those ideas so high and so deep that they contain whole systems of philosophy and theology within them. It is like the "flower in the crannied wall" of Tennyson's poem; if we could understand it, "root and all, and all in all," we would know "what God and man is."
Much has been written about the "Mason's word" as employed in old days, when brethren were sometimes "made Mason" by having that secret term entrusted to them; research has failed to show what this word was though some scholars believe it to have been that sovereign name which stands at the centre of the Holy Royal Arch. Some who hold to this last named theory would have us believe that this transfer of the word from the Blue Lodge to the Royal Arch degree was so disastrous to the symbolic structure of the Blue Lodge that, to patch up the damage, a substitute word was devised to take its place until the candidate passed on to the higher grade. But as there is little or no evidence to prove that the great word of the Royal Arch is the same as the "Mason's Word" of the old lodges that theory must be left suspended in the mid-air of conjecture.
For my own part — and I can speak here for no other — I can not believe that the Blue Lodge system was ever rifled of its chiefest treasure to grace the forehead of a "higher" grade nor can I see why we should think that the Third degree, just as it is, has lost the one key to its mysteries. The search for a lost word is not the search for a mere vocable of a few letters which one might write down on a piece of paper, it is the seeking for a truth, nay, a set of truths, a secret of life, and that secret truth is so clearly set forth in the Hiram Abiff drama that one is led to wonder why anybody should suppose that it had ever been lost. "The Lost Word" does not refer, so it seems to me, to any term once in possession of the Third degree and accidentally lost, but rather it denotes the ancient Tetragrammaton, or "four-lettered name," for which search has been made these two and a half millenniums.
According to a very old tradition (how much actual history ma be in it we can not know) the Legend of the Tetragrammaton goes back to ancient Israel as far as the time of the Exile. Like all people of that day the Jews saw in a person's name, not a mere handy cognomen whereby a man might be addressed, but a kind of sign standing for the personality of the one who bore it. Jacob was Jacob because he actually had been a "supplanter," as that name means; and he later became Israel because he was a "prince of God." Jacob's name was a revelation of bis character. So was it with all names. Therefore was it that the ancients held proper names in a reverence difficult for us to understand, as is hinted in an old Chaldean oracle:
"Never change native names;
For there are names in every nation, God-given,
Of unexplained power in the Mysteries."
Bearing this in mind we can understand why the Jews throw, about the name of Deity the wrappings of secrecy and sanctity. At first, after the dread secret had been imparted to Moses, the people pronounced the name in whispers or not at all. They were bidden never to use it except on the most solemn occasions as witness the Third Commandment which reads, when literally translated, "Thou shalt not utter the name of thy God, idly." As time went on the priests forbade them to do more than hint at it, one of the priestly commands in Leviticus reading, "He that pronounceth the Name of the Lord distinctly, shall be put to death" (Ch. 24, v. 16). At last, only the High Priest was permitted to utter the Name at all, and then on some great occasion, such as the Day of Atonement. At the same time, it must be remembered, the Jews were using no vowels in their writing; for some strange reason only consonants were ever written or printed; therefore only the four consonants, JHWH, were ever seen.
When the Jews were taken into Exile, all trace of the true pronunciation was lost, either because the High Priest was killed before he could impart it, or died in Babylonia before a successor entitled to the secret could be found. Consequently, the Exile was no sooner ended than priests and scribes began their search for the Lost Name. The four consonants only did they have; what the vowels were nobody could learn, nor has anybody since discovered.
This Tetragrammaton became a storm centre of theology and around it a great mass of symbolism gradually accumulated. So deeply did it sink into the imagination of Israel that the later Jewish theosophists who built up the speculative system which we call the Kabbala made it the very core of their teaching; and through the Kabbala, the literature of which was so popular even so late as Reformation times, the legend of the Lost Name made its way into the thought and literature of medieval Europe. But the form of the legend did not always remain the same; "now it is a despoiled sanctuary; now a sacramental mystery; now the abandonment of a great military and religious order; now the age-long frustration of the greatest building plan which was ever conceived; now the lost word of Kabbalism; now the vacancy of the most holy of all sanctuaries." Whatever the disguise the quest was always the same, a search for something strangely precious which men believe had been lost out of the world but might be found again.
This wonderful symbolic idea still retains its power to cast a spell over us, as witness its use by modern writers. Eugene Sue incorporated it in his haunted tale — "The Wandering Jew." Tennyson wove it into his Arthur epic, where it has assumed the form of the search for the Lost Grail, the cup used by the Lord at his Last Supper. Henry Van Dyke has embodied it in his book of stories, "The Blue Flower," and Maurice Maeterlinck has woven about it a strangely beautiful drama, "The Blue Bird."
Shall we not add to that list the drama of the Third degree? Surely, "that which was lost" can refer to nothing else, as the evidence, both internal and external, does so abundantly seem to show. If that indeed be the case how it does light up with prophetic meaning the whole mystery of the Third Degree! for it shows that the candidate is on no hunt for a mystic term to be used like a magic spell, still less is it some mysterious individual that he seeks. That for which he really searches, is to discover the Divine in himself and in the world.
Going out to find God we need not wonder when he finds no one word, or one thing, to reward his labours; nor need we be disappointed if he is "put off with a substitute," for though his search is not fruitless it is not altogether successful, as is fitting when we recall that the complete unveiling of God can not come to any one man in any one lifetime. That hope must ever remain an ideal to us humans in the shadows of our earth life — a flying ideal, eluding us while it beckons us, leading us over the hills of Time into the tireless searchings of Eternity.
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CELEBRATION OF HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF BROTHER ELISHA KENT KANE, ARCTIC EXPLORER
On March 30th Kane Lodge No. 454, F. & A. M., located in New York City, celebrated the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Elisha Kent Kane, the famous arctic explorer, after whom the lodge is named.
The celebration was the occasion for awarding a Kane Lodge gold medal for distinguished achievement in exploration. It had been the purpose to award this medal to Brother Rear Admiral Robert Edwin Peary for his success in reaching the North Pole, Brother Peary having been a member of Kane Lodge which had been the recipient of many arctic mementos as memorials of his several trips to the north. Admiral Peary's death, however, precluded a personal presentation and the medal was presented to his widow, being received from the lodge by her son, Robert E. Peary.
The medal bears upon its obverse the ancient seal of Kane Lodge, representing an explorer swathed in furs, standing in an arctic waste and holding aloft the American Flag. About this design is a chain emblematical of fraternal bonds, and outside the chain there appears an inscription noting that the medal is awarded for "Predominant achievement in exploration."
A brief sketch of Brother Elisha Kent Kane, for whom Kane Lodge is named, follows:
ELISHA KENT KANE
Elisha Kent Kane was born in Philadelphia, February 3, 1820. He died in Havana, Cuba, February 16, 1857. As a lad, he showed an adventurous spirit but no particular scholastic ability. His father was, therefore, somewhat doubtful of his future. His interest in study developed rapidly when he became a college student.
It was first intended that he should go to Yale but later the University of Virginia was selected. Here he made rapid progress in his studies but in his eighteenth year he suffered a severe attack of rheumatism, which permanently affected his heart. He was obliged to leave college and a year later was entered as a medical student in the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
On graduation from medical school he entered the navy and made a voyage to China as physician to the legation. On the way out, he visited India and Ceylon, and later journeyed to the Philippines. He decided to practice in Canton but within six months suffered a severe attack of rice-fever and determined to return home. After his recovery, he made a trip overland visiting Borneo, Sumatra, India, Persia and Syria. A special permit as given him by Mahemet Ali to explore the ruins of Thebes. He made various studies in Egypt but again was taken ill with fever and obliged to abandon his work.
When well enough, he returned to America and later made a trip as naval surgeon to Africa. There he was attacked by the coast fever and invalided home. His adventurous spirit, however, demanded outlet and as soon as he was convalescent he secured service as inspector of hospitals in connection with the Mexican War. He went to Vera Cruz, was wounded in an engagement, once more succumbed to fever, this time to typhus, and once more had a long convalescence.
When Lady Franklin pleaded with the United States to assist in a search for the lost expedition headed by Sir John Franklin, Dr. Kane volunteered. This expedition was known as the First Grinnell Expedition and sailed for the north with Kane as surgeon in May, 1850. The vessel returned in September, 1861, without having found trace of Franklin. Dr. Kane at once made preparation for a second expedition. This was again aided by Mr. Grinnell and is known as the Second Grinnell Expedition.
In the little brig Advance, in which he had sailed a year before, Kane now set colt as commanded for Smith's Sound. The Advance was there caught in the ice and the party obliged to remain with her through two arctic winters. Two of the number died and all suffered from scurvy. In the spring of 1855, Kane abandoned his vessel and in small boats made a 1300 mile trip south, where he was picked up by a relief ship under the command of Lieut. Hartstone, U. S. N. He was brought back to New York in October, 1853, after an absence of thirty months. Dr. Kane at once wrote an account of his journey, feeling that his end was approaching. The hardships he had sustained had quite undermined his limited physical resources. The book had an enormous sale and the name of Kane became world famous. The author, however, failed rapidly. He went to England and then to Cuba for relief and died at Havana just after his thirty-seventh birthday His body was brought north with imposing ceremonies. It was met at every city by great crowds of mourning people. It lay in state repeatedly and was beheld by thousands. It lies buried in a cemetery near Philadelphia.
* * *
SEA AND FIELD LODGE NO. 4
By Bro. Major Chas. T. Arrighi
District of Columbia
ONE DAY in November, 1918, in the ancient, dirty and over-populated city of Marseille, France, four Americans were in the Officers' mess room in the buildings facing the Place Victor Hugo, which, formerly the home of the Faculte des Sciences, later used as barracks for French-Algerian troops, was at that time being used as Base Headquarters of Section No. 6, A.E.F.
The four Americans were known to each other as Masons and consisted of Major Charles T. Arrighi, a Past Master of Howard Lodge No. 35, New York, the Y.M.C.A. Secretary of that Section, Charles M. Conant, of Amicable Lodge, Cambridge, Mass., Major Basil G. Squier, of Manila Lodge No. 1, Manila, P. I., and Captain Alex H. Fairchild, of McAllen Lodge No. 1110, McAllen, Texas. The conversation had turned on the subject of instituting Masonic activities in Marseille, a growing demand for such an undertaking having become noticeable. Brother Arrighi stated he had written to his home lodge inquiring as to the possibility of securing a charter from the Grand Lodge of New York State and had received a reply informing him that efforts were being made to comply with his request and also that a Masonic Commission was endeavoring to secure permission to come overseas for the purpose of starting Masonic activities.
This meeting led to other informal meetings and talks by the four brothers, to which were invited other enthusiastic Masons.
Brother Conant then conceived the idea of a Masonic Club, and working along these lines got in touch with local French Masons who most generously offered the use of the French Masonic Temple at 24 rue Piscatoris, which had housed several ancient French Lodges, some for a continuous period of seventy-five years. The French Lodges whose home was here were: Parfaite Sincerite, founded in 1767; Reunion des Amis Choisis, 1801; Phare de la Renaissance, 1859; Parfaite Union, 1863; Verite-Reforme, 1875; Amis du Travail, 1882. The years stated are the years in which these lodges were founded as Free and Accepted Masons, but most of them were outgrowths of more ancient Operative Masonic Societies and direct descendants of such. This building was admirably situated for the new club, being convenient to all sections of the city where the Americans were stationed.
Rue Piscatoris is a very narrow, winding street, reached from Cours Litand, one of the main thoroughfares, by a series of stone stairs of varying steps, the ascent of which reminded the brothers of their progress in the Second degree to the famous Middle Chamber.
Arriving at the door of number 24, one mounted another stone stairs, which brought him to an open courtyard furnished with tables and chairs, and which became a most popular rendezvous where the brothers could sit warm evenings, converse and indulge in light refreshments.
To the right of the courtyard was a door entering into the building proper, opening which one found himself in a comfortable-sized room also equipped with tables and chairs, which was used by the French brothers for social purposes. The walls bore many bulletin boards of the various lodges, Masonic pictures, portraits and devices. At one end of the room was a small stage and a piano. To the left of this stage was an anteroom that led into the lodge-room.
It was in the banquet hall, as the first described room was known, that was held on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, 1918, the first meeting of the A.E.F. Masonic Club of Marseille, with Brother Charles M. Conant as President and Treasurer, and Brother Fred G. Redwin as Secretary. Anyone who could prove either by examination or the presentation of membership card or certificate that he was a Mason, was eligible for admittance and at this first meeting there were about 150 American Masons present. A subscription was taken up for the purposes of entertainment, and the evening was most pleasantly passed in this "get-together" meeting. Refreshments in the shape of sandwiches and coffee were procured from the Base Commissary, supplemented by various light beverages procured from the French brothers charged with the care of the establishment.
This meeting was but the first of a series of such gatherings. The room was available for use by the Americans three times a week, and every Wednesday night an entertainment or dance was given, the talent for the entertainments being furnished by Brother Conant from the various Y.M.C.A. entertainers that happened to be in town at the time.
The club was a success from the start. The meetings were well patronized by American Masons and on entertainment nights the room was usually packed to the doors.
Many Americans, brought to these entertainments by their Masonic friends, witnessing the good-fellowship and perfect harmony existing, became interested and the demand for a chartered Masonic lodge grew stronger and stronger. Brother Arrighi, in the meanwhile, had been corresponding with brothers in the States, in an endeavor to secure the necessary authority to confer degrees, but delays in postal transit prevented a speedy accomplishment of his request. Finally, not until March 1919, he received a letter from R∴ W∴ T. Channing Moore, who informed him that he, together with M∴ W∴ Townsend Scudder, Past Grand Master of the State of New York, as Chairman, R∴ W∴ W. C. Prime, R∴ W∴ George S. Goodrich and R∴ W∴ Merwin W. Lay, were in Paris, having come from the United States under the auspices of the Y.M.C.A. as a Masonic Commission to investigate conditions and further the Masonic work in the A.E.F. A few days later, Brother Moore and Brother Goodrich arrived in Marseille and were presented to the club, whom they informed that a dispensation would be granted for a lodge in Marseille. This good news was joyfully received and it seemed as though the ambition of the brothers in Marseille would be realized. But, alas, the inevitable flies appeared in the ointment, for two weeks later when Brother Prime arrived with the dispensation, he was also the bearer of the news that the dispensation could be used only under pre-war restrictions; that only classes of not more than five could be initiated, passed or raised at a time; that two weeks must elapse between degrees, and that candidates hailing from homes outside of the States of New York, Massachusetts and Oregon, would have to receive the consent of their home jurisdiction before degrees could be conferred upon them. This, in view of the fact that it was probable that the Base would be evacuated by the American forces in two or three months, meant that only a very few candidates could be accepted, and after a conference between Brothers Prime, Arrighi, Conant and Hood, it was decided with deep regret not to accept the dispensation.
Brother Prime returned to Paris with the document, but the disappointment as voiced throughout the American forces was so intense that Brother Conant made a hurried trip to Paris, and after an interview with Brother Scudder, in which the situation was explained to him, all the objectionable restrictions were eliminated, and Brother Conant returned in triumph to Marseille, the proud bearer of the dispensation.
No delay was made in calling a meeting of Sea and Field Lodge No. 4, and it was held in the lodgeroom of the Masonic Temple on the evening of April 16, 1919, the charter members present being:
- W. M. — Charles T. Arrighi, of New York.
- S. W. — Charles M. Conant, of Massachusetts.
- J. W. — Bishop E. Shirey, of Pennsylvania.
- Treas. — Clarence E. Mayo, of Oklahoma.
- Secy. — William F. Hood, of Wisconsin.
- S.D. — John Bonner of Texas.
- J. D. — Carrol E. Griffin, of Montana.
In addition to the above mentioned officers, the Worshipful Master appointed the following:
- S. M. C. — Alex H. Fairchild, of Texas.
- J. M. C. — Jesse R. Ayer, of Michigan.
- S. S. — Hiram Jennings, of California.
- J. S. — John C. Fletcher, of North Carolina.
- T. — Allison Webb, of Ohio.
This first meeting was devoted to organizing and installing the various officers.
On account of the temporary nature of the lodge, the initiation fee was fixed at the minimum, $20.00, with no dues, as the expenses being light, no rent to be paid, etc., it was not desired to make the initiation burdensome on the applicants, many of whom were de pendent on their meager army pay. It was ruled by the Master that inasmuch as service abroad deprived a man of his franchise as a voter, he therefore temporarily was without United States residence and could justly claim his station as his residence, and that all applications would be based on these premises.
It was decided that the seven charter members would constitute an examining committee to pass on applicants and that the applicant should be judged as to fitness for membership from personal examination, his army record and the testimony of his comrades.
On account of the various jurisdictions from which the officers of the lodge hailed, and the variations in ritual, it necessitated, as the lodge was operating under a New York dispensation, that they all conform to the work standard in New York State. This caused a little raggedness in the rendition of the ritual at first, but the rough spots were soon ironed out by a little practice.
Paraphernalia was loaned by the French, but owing to the absence of an altar, one had to be improvised out of a desk belonging to one of the minor French officers. The bible was furnished by the Y.M.C.A. and the square and compass hand-hammered out of steel by Brother Bonner. The aprons were made by the seamstresses of the Base Salvage Repair Shop and the costumes for initiates were obtained from the same source.
Thirty-one applications for initiation were acted upon, all having been thoroughly investigated, also forty applications for affiliation. Affiliation in Sea and Field Lodge No. 4 being only temporary, it did not affect the status of the affiliate in his home lodge.
The second meeting, at which the first degree work was performed, was held on April 21st with the Worshipful Master, Charles T. Arrighi in the East and all officers at their respective stations.
Shortly after the opening, it was announced that Le Venerable Grand Maitre Aime Mognier, 33°, and head of all Masonic activities of Southern France, sought admittance. He was received, together with a delegation consisting of Masters of the local lodges, by the Master who made an address of welcome in French, necessarily short as he was not exactly a fluent speaker of that language. Brother Mognier responded, translated as follows:
"It is indeed a pleasure and an honor for me to be present at the first meeting of the American Lodge No. 4, Sea and Field. As a member of the Council of the Grand Orient of France, and as Worshipful Master of a lodge of the Orient of Marseille, I assure you, my dear brethren, of our entire fraternal affection. As we declared to you on the occasion of your first visit and reception at the solemn meeting of the French rite, it is with all our hearts that we offer you in its entirety the halls of the Masonic lodges of the Grand Orient of France. In the name of the Grand Orient of France I salute your Worshipful Master, your worthy officers and you, my brethren. Our affection for America is already of long standing, and today since this frightful war has permitted you to know us better, we hope that sentiments of a new and great reciprocal affection will be established between us and that our relations will be of intimate friendliness. To the glory of our Masonic ancestors, American and French. Our heart is with you."
At the conclusion of his remarks, Brother Mognier embraced the Master and saluted him with a kiss on each cheek, in due French form, which rather unexpected honor was bravely borne by the embarrassed Master. After the Grand Honors were given, the distinguished visitors were seated in the East and the meeting was continued.
During the work, thirty-five candidates were initiated in full form. For the first section they were disposed of in batches of ten, nine, nine and seven. The second section was performed on one only, the others being seated west of the altar where they could benefit by the instruction.
Notwithstanding the unfamiliarity of some of the officers with the standard New York work, the degree was presented in a dignified and impressive manner, the trifling irregularities in ritual which existed proving to be no impediment to the effective performance of the ceremonies.
At this meeting there were present the seven charter members, fifty brethren who had all been duly examined and vouched for, thirty-five candidates and fourteen visiting French brothers; a total of 106.
Receipts for the evening were $550.00, quite a fair start financially for the infant lodge.
After the meeting, all adjourned to the banquet room where a supper of sandwiches, cheese and coffee was furnished, and the balance of the evening was passed in social intercourse.
Up to and including the last meeting of June 4th, there were twenty-one stated communications and three special meetings. June 4th was the last meeting, as Brother Arrighi was to sail for the United States on June 7th and the dispensation had been granted with the understanding that the charter would lapse with his withdrawal from Marseille, also the city was being evacuated as an American Base.
Before closing the lodge sine die, a contribution of 2,000 francs to the French Masonic Building Fund was made as part recognition of their great hospitality and use of their temple free of rent. An artistic and appropriate memorial, done by one of the local artists, was framed and also presented to the French lodges.
Notwithstanding these expenses, the cost of several entertainments, the usual expenses of a lodge for printing, etc., and the small fee charged for membership, there was finally, at the close of the lodge, turned over to the Grand Lodge of New York, in addition to the percentage of fees due the Grand Lodge, the sum of $678.00 to be added to the Charity Fund, or to be devoted to such other purposes as the Grand Master saw fit.
The net results as to the activities of Sea and Field Lodge No. 4 in respect to creating Masons were that 137 candidates were initiated, passed and raised; 5 candidates were passed and raised fqr other lodges and 140 brothers temporarily affiliated, which with the original charter members of seven, made a total of 289 members after an existence of exactly seven weeks.
Materially it is evident that the lodge prospered. Morally and spiritually it is also evident that the lodge was an instrument of great good. Marseille, even in peace times, has an atmosphere not only of right-living, which was greatly magnified by war-time conditions. The city was congested, its normal population of 500,000 being more than doubled by the great influx of troops from all parts of the globe — French and British Colonials, black and white, Asiatics, Brazilians, Americans, swarms of refugees from the devastated portions of France, and riffraff from Paris, the shores of the Mediterranean, Spain and Italy. It made the city a veritable rabbit warren of things unclean in person and mind, where vice of the most loathsome kind and crime of all varieties flourished, and human life, let alone morals, wasn't worth a sou.
In this plague-spot of rotten and noisome influences, Sea and Field Lodge No. 4 proved a haven of clean, wholesome character, where Masons and their friends could meet in pleasant surroundings and be free from the degrading and revolting influences of the city. In that lodge-room as Masons they met and conversed, and as many testified, it was the nearest approach to home that they had encountered since their arrival on those alien shores. Here it was that they all met on that common level of true Masonic democracy, where the humblest private could talk as man to man to his colonel without the restrictions of military regulation, and in this way better understanding and closer relations were established.
The lodge exerted a wholesome effect on the entire American establishment in that section, and operating as it did in those weary, homesick days existing between the Armistice and the actual return home, it proved a steadying and uplifting influence to a sagging morale.
* * *
THE COIN OF GOD
Bro. L. B. Mitchell, Michigan
Not mere existence counts for worth,
We came, we're here as parts of earth,—
As parts of its all-nature plan.
We live and think and pose as man;
But higher values there must be
Above just mere nativity.
And if there's value we must pay
The price beyond the right to stay,—
The price above the normal need
Or privilege that we may plead,—
The price that pays for something worth
More than can be derived from earth.
We must meet values in the things
Beyond what mere existence brings;
Our entries on the balance sheet
Must for the higher realm be meet,
And if thereon are credits made
'Twill show that we in kind, have paid.
And just as we invest in gold,—
The soulful things of worth untold,—
Just as we pay the price of life
Above its elemental strife,—
Just so much then will worth appear,—
The coin of God, so precious here.
* * *
It is expedient to have an acquaintance with those who have looked into the world; who know men, understand business, and can give you good intelligence and good advice when they are wanted.
— Bp. Horne.
* * *
Bro. Paul N. Davey, Missouri
"WE WORK in speculative Masonry," so runs our Monitor, "but our ancient brethren wrought in both operative and speculative." Therefore he who would become proficient in Masonic "work" must become proficient in speculative Masonry. But what are we to understand by the word "speculative"?
Laying aside the monitor we open our Century Dictionaryand turn to the word "speculation," finding that it means, among; other things, "the pursuit of truth by means of thinking, especially logical analysis." The pursuit of truth is a phrase having a familiar Masonic ring to it, reminding us of "the search for Truth and the Lost Word." We need not know much of Greek or the rules of etymologic correlation to know that the term "logical analysis" is a close correlate of the word analogy. So then if we indulge in speculation we are to pursue truth by thinking, by logical analysis and analogy.
Looking up the definitions of all the words closely related to the word speculative, we find that to speculate means, in the sense in which we are considering it, to look into, to inspect, to scrutinize closely, to look under, to contemplate, to meditate, to reflect, to theorize concerning, to conjecture, to philosophize by the a priorimethod, to investigate the occult, to look into mysteries or secret arts, to employ magical means. And so it would seem that the speculative Mason has some job laid out on the trestle-board when he starts in to speculate. But whether he be merely an humble seeker after more Masonic light or a Masonic savant seeking material for another ten-tome "History of Freemasonry" or an exhaustive commentary of "Masonic research" — if not born with a speculative mind or not brought into that "light by which Master Masons meetly work" — he must learn to speculate, or the great and enthralling volume of Masonic knowledge will ever remain for him a sealed book. So long as he but continues to wear more threadbare the circumambulatory path around the lodge room; so long as he contents himself with merely memorizing what he fondly but mistakenly regards as "the work"; so long as he contents himself with trite and timeworn platitudes; so long as he neglects or refuses to think and to speculate; just so long will he remain standing just where he first started in his search after Truth and the Lost Word — a profane, standing without and in front of (pro) the veil of the ancient temple (fane) of the mysteries of Freemasonry. Moreover, if "we work in speculative Masonry" only and a modern Mason declines to speculate, what kind of Mason is he?
"But," some newly passed Fellow Craft may exclaim, "I was not born with a speculative mind and I know nothing of the particular 'light' you refer to! How shall I go about learning; to speculate?"
The question is not one easy to answer in so brief an article as this but an attempt will be made. But first, my young brother Fellow Craft, as an illustration that will later assist your understanding of the explanation, turn to the word "habit" in your dictionary: note that it has two definitions: first, "a natural or acquired proclivity, disposition, or tendency to act in a certain way"; second, "the garments, such as hat, coat and shoes customarily or generally worn." (Reflect on these two definitions of the word habit for a moment before passing on.) At about the age you began to cover your nakedness with a habit (garments) you also began, through a natural and acquired proclivity and tendency to put on certain other habits of thought. As a small child you exclaimed "I see the light!" and no one could have convinced you that you did not see the light. Later on, science proved to you that the human eye receives only shadows and that a ray of pure light unbroken by shadows, while imperceptible to your sense of sight, would destroy that sense. But a thought-habit and a speech-habit had become fixed upon you, and you still both think and say "I see the light," do you not?
As a schoolboy, you studied spelling, arithmetic and history. In recitation (observe that word "recitation") you were compelled to cite the authority of your text-book, to spell each word just as it was spelled in the book, to solve your problem by the method prescribed by the book, to relate each incident, with its date, as contained in the book, accurately and literally. If asked some question related to the subject of your lesson that you could not answer, your reply was "I don't know; that is not in my book." This method of teaching was all right in its way and for its purpose, but it produced in your mind another group of thought-habits. One of these was the inability or indisposition to speculate — to look beneath the literal meaning of words; and you became prone to deny that words could have any other meaning than the literal, every-day, "common-sense" meaning which accorded with the sense in which they were used. And so, perhaps, you came to an insistence of the literal interpretation of Holy Writ, and to a like understanding of the Masonic ritual and monitorial lectures.
"Freemasonry," you were told as an Entered Apprentice, "is a beautiful system of morals veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." But you never asked to look behind the veil or be told what it was that the symbols illustrated. So the beautiful system still remains "veiled" from your eyes. You were content with a literal and "common-sense" interpretation of what you heard and saw. Perhaps you have yet to learn that the greatest of all Masonic symbols is a word, that of all the other symbols the most important is a Substitute word-more, that not only is every word used in the ritual and lectures a symbol but that there are in your Masonic work a large number of substitute words.
But before proceeding to speculate concerning one of the most interesting of these substitute words, again be warned that before you can become qualified and duly and truly prepared to enter upon that speculation, it is necessary that you divest your mind and consciousness of your acquired thought-habits, particularly your dependence upon, adherence to, and insistence upon the literal meaning of words; divest your mind and understanding of these habits as completely as you would divest your body of its clothing, particularly your shoes. (In passing, pause and speculate upon this word "understanding": note the connection of thought between that word and the human foot, the under-most member upon which the whole body stands erect.) The ancient Egyptians ideographically represented that faculty of abstract thought to which we give the name understanding by a naked human foot, and this ideology has come down to us through seventy centuries and is preserved in our word "understanding." Moses, before questioning the Most High in order to obtain from Him a revelation of His true character and name, put his shoes from off his feet, thereby symbolically freeing his understanding of all preconceived thought-habits and rendering it as capable of receiving the impressions of divine truth as his feet had been free and untrammelled at his birth.
Among the Hebrews, in the time of Boaz, a man removed his shoe as a token by which he unreservedly confirmed some business transaction — an act of warranty, in which he symbolically declared a clear understanding of what he had done and that his mind was free from restriction, reservation or meditated fraud. The Moslem of today removes his shoes before entering a mosque or communing with Allah in prayer, symbolically divesting his mind of error, heresy or schism, as well as divesting that mind and heart of all the vanities and superfluities of life. And so you, my brother Fellow Craft, must divest yourself of your thought-habits, particularly the idea and belief that all which makes up your Masonic "work" is to be accepted in no other than its literal sense. If you have done this, we may proceed to approach the veil through which we must pass before our "beautiful system of morals" will appear to us; not, as at present, "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols," but as the most marvellous system of moral philosophy ever evolved from out the wisdom of all the ages that have passed.
Let us take the word "Fellow" as it appears in "the Degree of Fellow Craft," and, remembering that in the lodge we are shown only the veils and illustrations, some of which have become sadly torn and unskilfully patched, let us put all that we have seen, or heard, or read pertaining to the degree of Fellow Craft out of our minds — simply take the English word "fellow," and, using the method of old Socrates, speculate upon it.
THE DEGREE OF FELLOW CRAFT
And first, let us put to this word "Fellow" the same question that Joseph put to his brethren when they came down into Egypt to buy corn, and, wishing to test them, he spake harshly unto them saying, "Whence come you?" Whence came our English word fellow?
Through the sciences of philology and etymology we learn that it came into what is now England at a time long before there was an English language. It was carried thither in some ship sent out by some king of Tyre to trade with the natives of "the Islands of the North," as far north as what are now called Iceland and Shetland. Only the men who brought it to these islands spelled it fellah(if the man chanced to be a seaman from Alexandria) or falah, if a man of Tyre. This word fellahwas of ancient Egyptian origin; from the Egyptian it passed into the Arabic, and from the Arabic into the Syrian, returning again into the Coptic (the later Egyptian). In an ancient day, and to this day, fellahdenotes a tiller of the soil, one engaged or employed in the craft of agriculture. The Arabs, who were not tillers of the soil but subsisted on the milk and flesh of their herds principally, applied the word fellahto the Egyptians, who were agriculturists, as a word of reproach or contempt. Either an Egyptian or a Syrian sailor of that long-past day, desiring to express his contempt for the unskilful character of a brother seaman, in place of the word "land-lubber" used today, would have called him a "fellah," meaning that he would doubtless make a better farmer or haymaker than a sailor; and it is interesting to note that our word "fellow" is still used as a term of contempt. The word fellahis today restricted to an Egyptian peasant or farm-hand.
The climate of the North Atlantic Isles is more rugged and damp than that of Egypt, Arabia or Syria. Men do not dare expose their throats and vocal chords by opening the mouth in speaking any wider than is necessary. So the word fellahbecame felaghein the Iceland tongue then felagi; after the Danish invasion, it was rendered in the English tongue, felaghe, later as felag, denoting one who accumulated tillable land (as did Boaz); later, after the reign of Alfred, it passed from felawethrough many forms, until finally it became fellow. But, while as a modern English word, its former application has been lost to a great extent, the fact remains that this word (as well as the word "fallow," freshly plowed land) came from a very ancient root that meant to cleave, or plow, the soil, and that at the time our Masonic "work" began taking on its present form the word "fellow" applied almost exclusively to the Craft of Agriculture, the companion or associate craft of Architecture. For men who delve in quarries, square the stones, and lay them in mortar, must eat — must receive their wares in corn, wine and oil. Do you begin to perceive why a certain pretty little pastoral romance related in the Book of Ruth, in which Boaz, the agriculturist, played a leading role, was apparently dragged into a system seemingly based only on the science of geometry and the arts pertaining to architecture? Do you understand that Agriculture is the Fellow Craft of Architecture, and that as such it was allegorically honoured as one of the two great pillars that together support the Temple of Civilization?
My inquiring young brother Fellow Craft, the foregoing is but a hint to put you upon the track of discovery — a mere glimpse of the splendid treasures of Masonic knowledge that may become yours if you will but consent to think — and to speculate. On the next occasion when you attend a meeting of a lodge of Fellow Craft, in "clothing yourself" in the emblem of purity, at the same time divest your mind and consciousness of your thought-habits before entering the lodge-room; when you have entered, listen thoughtfully, not idly or critically, and reflect, meditate, speculate; observe all that is presented to your view, not casually nor mere cursorily, but contemplate, scrutinize; look under, through and behind — and speculate — concerning the ornaments of the lodge, the sheaf of wheat suspended above the picture of falling water, the metal devices that tip the rods of the stewards; speculate as to the hidden meaning of certain words — particularly one that should be well known to you.
And then, should we meet again, we will speculate further concerning what you have heard and seen.
* * *
SYMBOLISM IN TEACHING
Bro. R. C. Blagrave, Ontario
TEACHING by symbolism makes an appeal to the mind through the eye rather than the usual channel of the ear. The method is particularly valuable as a means of impressing abstract truth upon the unlearned. It is also of value to the better educated as a medium for the communication of truths and impressions which cannot be fully articulated within the limits of human language. Truth, through symbolism, teaches the consciousness in a unique way; it suggests mystery, stimulates the imagination, and inculcates reverence. The chief defect of the method is the danger of fixing attention upon the symbol or figure itself, rather than upon that which is meant to be conveyed. It is interesting to note that symbolic ritual is preserved in our time mainly in secret societies and the Catholic religion. In ancient times it was the generally recognized form of instruction in Jewish worship and in the mystic cults. Symbolic rites and ceremonies are not chance methods or forms: there is always a fittingness or oppositeness in their significance. In ancient times there was more than appropriateness, there was an underlying philosophy which related the symbol fundamentally to the truth.
The science of numbers, in the elementary stages, is simple enough to be grasped by even the juvenile intelligence, but as it progresses it discovers certain fixed relations and proportions which indicate a more complex and profound significance. Upon these unalterable relations are developed the general laws of geometry and chemistry, which, in their final application, define and explain the structure and composition of the material universe. Hence the study of the science of numbers was in ancient time, not only of practical scientific value, but also lead the mind into a contemplation of the mysteries of the universe, and the cosmic plan of the creator. The study of the significance of numbers was, accordingly, attended by a sense of mystic reverence as the human mind felt itself to be following the Divine mind into the secrets of creation. In the contemplation of fixed and fundamental geometric relations the exploring mind was impressed with a mystic sense of the nearness of the great Architect Himself, so that the quest became nothing less than a religious passion. Secret societies were formed to further the science, as well as having the religious purpose of leading their members into mystic relation with the great Creator and Architect through a contemplation of geometric facts and forms impressed symbolically. Symbolic rites and figures were a concrete setting forth of mathematical truth so that those who were unable to penetrate the philosophical significance of numbers might, nevertheless, hold mystic communion with the Creator of the universe. Symbols became, therefore, a nice setting forth of scientific truth, and objects of reverent adoration. The societies were schools of religion as well as of science and philosophy.
The astute and inquisitive mind of the ancients were aware of the fact that beside the material universe about them there was also a moral universe within whose phenomena did not yield so readily to mathematical analysis and synthesis as the one which had been giving up its secrets to the scalpel of numbers, squares and angles. There were moral relations between man and man, and there were conscientious relations between man and the Creator, which bore in upon the awakening mind, for which some guidance and direction were insistently demanded. There must be some authenticated standard of conduct as between man and man, and this standard of conduct must in some way express the will of the CreatorCthe quest was to know the will of God.
The criteria to hand were the sense of right, or the moral conscience, within, and the laws of creation as expressed in numbers and squares, without. After all, was not the same God the author of both? Might there not, therefore, be some fixed relation between the science of conduct and the science of numbers? Might not the application of scientific discovery to the moral relations of mankind lead to conformity to the Divine Will? The ancient philosophers answered these questions in the affirmative. The mystical and moral value of numbers constituted the main thesis of the Pythagorean philosophy. So it came to pass that, in the ancient mysteries, the symbolism that interpreted the science of numbers, and related the devotee in a mystical way to the Creator, was made to serve also the additional purpose of moral instruction. Modern Masons fully appreciate the value of such instruction as they remember that early S.T. and E. has a moral significance and serves to inculcate the practice of virtue in all its genuine professors.
It was a further appreciation of the unity of all creation that lead the ancient philosophers to attempt to answer other and more difficult questions by a like process of reasoning. What was the origin of life? Through what agonies had mankind attained its present status? What is to be the end of it all? There was abroad an abundance of legendary material. If the science of numbers could furnish but little satisfaction in answer to these great questions might it not happen that symbolism could be made to furnish the key to unlock the mysteries? Hence the legendary accounts of life's origin, struggles, triumphs and destiny, were adapted and incorporated in a dramatic and symbolic ritual, by the ancient societies, which served to furnish some answer to the problems of life in the form of an impressive and concrete method of instruction. So it came about that science, philosophy and religion met and mingled in glowing and elaborate symbolism in Greek and Egyptian mystery cults, through which they effectually served human society in relating the mind and heart to the ways and will of the Creator.
But there was still another channel through which truth was to be made available to mankind It is but natural the Creator should care for His creatures. They were eager to know truth, and were exploring the universe without and within to find it. Surely the One who made all things, and made them for a purpose, must needs have within Him a desire to meet mankind with a full revelation of truth. The scientific method was helpful as far as it went, but it was at the best, as a solution of life and guidance for life, only tentative. The volume of the Sacred Law is the record of the Creator's revelation of Himself. "The Almighty has been pleased to reveal more of His Divine will in that holy Book than by any other means." Even in that record, through a large portion of it, the symbolie method is used for guidance and instruction. The construction of the Tabernacle in the wilderness by the skill of Bezaleel and Aholiab, was carried out according to the plan revealed to Moses on the Mount, and included squares, angles, and oblongs, as well as sacred numbers and figures.
The secrets of a Master Mason which were given to Hiram the widow's son, consisted of geometrical knowledge, and of the mystic value of sacred numbers and proportions; so that the building of the Temple was a setting forth of the Divine plan of Creation. The sacrificial system of the Temple ritual served to inculcate a conscientious dread of sin, and a desire for righteousness and purity. The prophets preached the righteous glory of God, and the awful retribution which is the inevitable nemesis of wilful sin.
Modern Speculative Masonry is eclectic and synthetic. It draws from the riches of all these ancient sources, and sets forth in symbol, type, and allegory, mystical and moral truth, and Divine revelation.
We have preserved for us in the symbolism of our lodges the geometrical discoveries and valuations of the ancients, with their mystical and moral significance. These are particularly represented in the form of the lodge, in our movements within the lodge, and in the square and compasses.
An explanation of the meaning and purpose of life is set forth in the orderly development of the three degrees. In the First degree, under the symbolism of light, our birth into the world is depicted. In the Second degree the rough and perfect ashlars indicate the progress we are expected to make in the development and application of our corporeal and intellectual faculties. The Third degree dramatically sets forth the inevitable dissolution of "our house of the tabernacle," and ensures, for the faithful, the glorious promise of eternal hope beyond the grave, in "the bright morning star whose rising gives peace and salvation to the faithful and obedient of the human race."
Above all we preserve in our lodges, under the sacred letter, and upon the sacred altar, the V.S.L., the direct revelation to man of the nature and will of the great Creator, as well as of man's whole duty to Him in this world, and of his destiny in the world come.
For all these things we rejoice in the great Masonic heritage as a pure cement of truth, of love and of fellowship.
* * *
WHERE LEADEST THOU THE RACE?
Bro. Gerald Nancarrow, Indiana
O Time, Thou tireless traveler,
Where leadest thou the race?
Was it for naught that we were brought
Into this toilsome place?
From thy beginning to thy end
How great a wave, O Time?
Shall we, God's sons, forever crawl,
Or shall we reach and climb?
In years long gone, primeval man
Arose from couch of stone,
And, stretching up his bestial soul
He started for the Throne.
And so has man through million years,
Reached up and ever on;
And will, through million years to come,
Reach on till God is won.
For this, O Time, thou wert conceived,
For this and this alone;
The Father draws His children up
Through eons to their own.
* * *
An Allegory is a means of conveying instruction in veiled form. The real subject of the allegory is hidden under the disguise of another subject. The inner meaning of the lesson must be sought under or behind the lesson presented to the senses and emotions. Only through the exercise of the mental faculties and the moral powers will the real lesson be apprehended, understood and applied.
— Oriental Consistory Bulletin.
* * *
THE PUBLIC SCHOOL
THE PUBLIC SCHOOL is the one great democratized Institution existent in the world. The flower of its genius is best expressed in these United States. To the Masonic Fraternity it stands as the most consistent expression of the ideal of Masonry, translated into fact and practice, that there is. Of all agencies that minister to a Democracy, such as we have, the public school is the most indispensable, nay, more. It is questionable whether a Republic could ever be a success without such an Institution existent, training and developing the youthful citizenry for the later duties that they must assume, in the great common field of responsibility and citizenship.
Within the school, the public school, be it observed, the prototype of what America should be on a large scale is discovered. The plane of equality is there observed rigidly and justly. There are no favors bestowed regardless of whether a child's antecedents be rich or poor, learned or ignorant; he shares alike with every other pupil, the cultural and educational opportunities. Individual responsibility is there enforced. None may do the pupil's work save the pupil himself. If we would carry this practice into the larger activities of life, the duties of citizenship would of necessity be responded to not by a select few, but by all.
In times of war the burden of the battle would not have to be carried by those who were willing to do so, but it would be impressed upon everyone who shared the privileges which the Nation guaranteed unto the individual. Even so do we recognize the first principle of the public school being the first safeguard and bulwark of American Democracy. Common privileges, common responsibilities, common duties — these are the things which warrant an attainment of real fellowship and fraternity later on.
Those political demagogues who would transform society so as to reduce us to a dead level in which initiative would be handicapped, may well learn something from the public school.
A common fallacy that has been existent has been due to attributing to either heredity or environment the capacities and genius and likewise the retrogressive tendencies that characterize individuals. The truth of the matter probably would be, if scientists could but agree, that both these factors had much to do in the development of the individual. Common observation, however, reveals very frequently that with the best hereditary legacy, man may make little of himself, and with environmental conditions conducive to real development, men very often turn out in a disappointing way. In the school this fact is wonderfully evident. Such a level as man legitimately would morally aspire to already exists here, and in this environ is tested the real worth of the potential man. This indicates to us the only sort of equality that can ever reasonably exist, and guarantees both equity and justice to all concerned. If within the school there is obedience to the requisites of success, the one so gifted can attain the highest pinnacle.
Within the school there is no injunction served that will prevent any student acquiring excellence over another, and who can conceive of an injunction being served which did not cultivate emulation of the worthy example of scholastic excellence? Further, reward is invariably according to merit. A child that is not fitted for the sixth grade, capable of assuming the duties that study involves there, will not be found there, if his place is in the second grade. And such condition is but miniature of what ought legitimately to exist in the greater world without. Fairness and justice and reward for ingenuity, initiative and sacrifice ought always to go unchallenged. It may indeed afford us a greater benefit if we make a study of the public school as showing in an exemplary way what we should be without.
Casual observation persuades us that we do well to comply with the standards of government as it is exemplified in the school life. We have heard of the objections raised In certain quarters owing to the lack of the teaching of religion in a specific way in connection with the school. Naturally the criticism has come from churches, the most aggressive being the Roman Catholic church. The teaching of religion and the fostering of its tenets and principles was conceived by the Fathers to be the function of the church, hence they safeguarded domination of the school by the church or making the school auxiliary to the church by stating emphatically as a constitutional principle that the church and state should remain separate. This was not done from a bias against religion. It was a fullfledged recognition of how the church in times past had subverted the teaching of religion by training men to a blind submission to the church's interpretation of certain things fundamental to human happiness which had by the church's arbitrary ruling proved derogatory and painful.
It was recognized that ecclesiasticism had in the past taken the lead of religion. A full consciousness that religion could exist independent of churches seems to have animated the founders of this republic.
Our great task today, then, is to prevent such encroachment by ecclesiastical powers as would bring the church and the state once again into a relationship where the controversy as to which should dominate and direct people's affairs would agitate the minds of a great people.
We have, through the clearmindedness of the Fathers, gained an appreciation of what is the legitimate province of the church. It is to actuate a citizenry with a dominant love of service for God and always for the good of all mankind. It should motivate men with an unselfish passion for their common good. It should proclaim that religion is not a thing strictly for ecclesiastical interpretation, but is that response to divine instruction within men which prompts them to a disinterested service arising from a consciousness of relationship both to God and to man. An acquaintance with the sacred books that tell of religion is necessary to reveal to the pupil the compelling power of religion as it has revealed itself in the world. These books have left men Godwise and enabled them to live Christlike.
The very guaranty of freedom contained in the Constitution of the United States to which we have referred, however, is a mandate against interference with the public school system. No institution can claim that in its private or parochial system it is engaged in a function superior to that of the States. To criticise the public school system as "godless" because the public sehool adheres to the constitutional distinction, is to violate the very freedom which that constitution guarantees. If any church attacks the public school system of this republic on this ground, that church is opposed to this republic. The study of history proves to the most critical student that free education goes hand in hand, and necessarily so, with true freedom. Freedom of conscience, and freedom to worship according to the dictates of conscience, like the other guarantees of human rights contained in the constitution of the United States, are and should be for free citizens, who accept the responsibilities as well as the benefits of their citizenship. There is food for thought in this suggestion, which may well be taken to heart by those who oppose our free school system. They oppose it with a motive which is contrary to our whole system of government. An advocate of dogma does not honestly believe in true freedom — he wants a kind of freedom which he can dictate. If he can begin that dictation in the untutored mind of the young, he can warp the mature mind which is to grow up out of the untutored. If he has not this control, he well knows that dogma by the fiat of any man or set of men must eventually answer at the bar of Truth. He further knows that an answer, formulated by a church with such a record of opposition, will not be in harmony with our American constitutional guarantees.
— Robert Tipton.
* * *
Edited by Bro. Robert Tipton
The object of this Department is to acquaint our readers with time-tried Masonic books not always familiar; with the best Masonic literature now being published; and with such non-Masonic books as may especially appeal to Masons. The Library Editor will be very glad to render any possible assistance to studious individuals or to study clubs and lodges, either through this Department or by personal correspondence.
It will be our aim to publish in this Department each month a list of such publications as we may be able from time to time to secure for members of the Society. However, a book listed herein this month may be out of stock next month, and further copies unobtainable, and for this reason it is recommended that when ordering books or pamphlets from these lists the latest monthly issue of THE BUILDER be consulted, and no orders be made from lists more than thirty days old.
In the monthly reviews the names and addresses of the publishers of the books are given in order that our readers may order such books direct from the publishers instead of through the Society.
FAMOUS LEADERS OF INDUSTRY
"Famous Leaders of Industry," by Edwin Wildman, Editor of "The Bookman." Published by Page Company, 53 Beacon St., Boston. Mass. Price $2.00.
A SHORT while ago we had the pleasure of reading "Reconstructing America," by Edwin Wildman, Editor of "The Bookman." It was a pertinent collection of views on our present great problem, by men from all walks of life in the country. It was such a compendium as would be eminently suggestive in the hands of all those who are trying to mold public opinion along lines that would be conservative, safe and sane.
We are again indebted to Mr. Wildman for a timely service in the gift of his book, "Famous Leaders of Industry." It is a veritable chronicle of the romance of greatness achieved by famous leaders of industry in America. In the hands of the young man, it ought to be stimulative and inspirational. Especially serviceable is it at this time, when there is so much abroad to discourage individual initiative.
The short sketches of the lives of such men as P. T. Barnum, Thomas A. Edison, Henry Ford, Hudson Maxim and Charles M. Schwab should be conducive to arousing our youth from the state of inertia, or allaying the mad frenzy for amusement that has so gripped so many Americans. We rarely read of today, or see about us young men who frequent the Doctor's or Lawyer's office or the Public Library for the obtaining and studying of books of serious import, which would warrant us in believing that the good old fashioned American ambition is still alive among us. Such a book as this one of the "Famous Leaders" series will no doubt render a very efficient service in the interests of the rising generation. It is in itself a protest against that crass stupidity which believes that mass movement allows no room for individual genius and enterprise. May it find its way into the hands of the youth of our country.
* * *
A NEW JEWISH TRANSLATION OF THE SCRIPTURES
"The Holy Scriptures." For information regarding the publication and price, address The Jewish Publication Society of America, Broad Street and Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa.
We are delighted to note the issuance of a new translation of the Holy Scriptures by the Jewish Publication Society of America. The translators have done a splendid work in their translation and as stated in their preface have applied themselves to the sacred task of preparing a new translation of the Bible into the English language which, unless all signs fail, is to become the current speech of the children of Israel.
It is the work of the ripest scholars among the Jewish people in America, and a work of immeasurable value to all those who desire to know the Bible as the Jews themselves translate it.
We heartily commend its circulation.
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AN ANALYSIS OF LIFE FROM MANY PHASES
"A Lover of the Chair," by Sherlock Bronson Gass. Published by Marshall Jones Company, 212 Summer St., Boston, Mass.
Lovers of good literature will find a treat in Sherlock Bronson Gass's book, "A Lover of the Chair." It is not a book that can be read without arousing the imagination. We were reminded in our reading of it of the statement of a certain great man which was to the effect that to get the best out of anything one must apply all his energy and have his faculties well sharpened, as only after the worthy effort will the treasure be yielded.
It is a keen analysis of life from many phases, and well balanced in its; observations. Lovers of the esthetic will enjoy "A Lover of the Chair." It is a fling, as the author intimates, at the spirit of our age, and he has succeeded, as it is further evinced, in accomplishing his task with very good humor.
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THE PRICE WE ARE PAYING FOR OUR LACK OF GREAT MEN
"The Nemesis of Mediocrity," by Ralph Adams Cram. Published at $1.00 by Marshall Jones Company, 212 Summer St., Boston, Mass.
This book is one of several written by the eminent American architect, Ralph Adams Cram. We wish that they might all be placed in the hands of thoughtful readers who are concerned about the future happiness of this and every other country in the world. Dr. Cram is indeed no mean prophet. His analysis of history in these small but weighty volumes, and his capacity to discern the great significance of world movements, either in the past or the present, makes the reading of his books greatly worth while. It may be said by some that he is tinged with pessimism, but to say this would be to overlook the undercurrent which reveals him to be a man of profound faith in the ultimate adjustment of things. The volume under consideration brings home to us the price that we are paying by trusting our political, civic and religious des tinies to people of mediocre capacities. His contention that there is a dearth of great men is amply convincing when we take account of world conditions at the present time. The fallacies attendant upon what Dr. Cram has designated as the Democracy of Method as contrasted with the Democracy of the Ideal is amply illustrated.
While some may take exception to what he suggests as a possible way out of our world difficulties, viz: by returning to monastic practices in community living, none however can read and not be profoundly stirred by the challenge that is set forth in his works and backed by his acute observation of great historic epochs.
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A NEW WORK ON PSYCHIC RESEARCH
"The Book of the Damned," by Charles Fort. Published by the Boni Liveright Company, 105 West 40th St., New York. Price $1.90.
We can do no better in commending this book than to insert a foreword in connection with it.
In this amazing work — the result of twelve years of patient research — the author presents a mass of evidence which has hitherto been ignored or distorted by scientists, pointing to the certainty not only of life in other planets, but of communication between them and this earth.
Things which would be incredible without the formidable mass of evidence adduced, support the author's argument, which he develops in a fascinating manner with strong touches of sardonic humor and flashes of sheer poetic insight.
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FOR BETTER THINKING AND NOBLER LIVING
"The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit," by Ralph Waldo Trine. Published by Dodd, Mead & Co., 4th Ave. and 30th St., New York. Price $1.75.
Ralph Waldo Trine possesses in marked degree the ability to state old philosophic truths in terms of modern thinking. To those who have been permitted to enjoy the counsels of the wise men of the past, many of his sayings will sound quite platitudinous. Nevertheless the age always requires men who can become vehicles of inspiration and uplift to those who are too busy with the busy toils of a material nature. Trine may be considered the foremost and best loved of the exponents of new thought in the country today. His latest volume, "The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit," transcends the usual channel in which the new thought test travels.
The chapters on the World War and International Peace show his grasp of big problems in a very practical fashion. His plea for the understanding of the life of the man of Galilee is both wise and suggestive, and his observation upon military training, revealing that Universal Training is not incompatible with the best interests of Democracy, is very timely.
His little book will enhance in value the treasury of books on better thinking and nobler living.
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MAY BOOK LIST
Publications Issued by the Society
- 1915 bound volume of THE BUILDER. $3.75
- 1916 bound volume of THE BUILDER. $3.75
- 1917 bound volume of THE BUILDER. $3.75
- 1918 bound volume of THE BUILDER. $3.75
- 1919 bound volume of THE BUILDER. $3.75
- Philosophy of Freemasonry, Pound. $1.25
- Freemasonry in America Prior to 1759, Melvin M. Johnson, P.G.M., Massachusetts. $1.35
- 1722 Constitutions(reproduced by photographic plates from an original copy in the archives of the Iowa Masonic Library, Cedar Rapids.) Edition limited. $2.00
- "The Story of Old Glory, The Oldest Flag," by Bro. J. W. Barry, P.G.M. Iowa, red buffing binding, gilt lettering, illustrated. A story of the flag and Masonry. $1.25
- "The Story of Old Glory, The Oldest Flag," paper covers. 50¢
- "Further Notes on the Comacine Masters," W. Ravenscroft, England. A sequel to "The Comacines, Their Predecessors and Their Successors," a Masonic digest of Leader Scott's book "The Cathedral Builders" and containing the latest researches of Brother Ravenscroft which present a very logical argument for the connection of Freemasonry of the present day with the Roman Collegia and traveling Masons of the early times, paper covers, illustrated. 50¢
- Symbolism of the First Degree, Gage, pamphlet. 15¢
- Symbolism of the Third Degree, Ball, pamphlet. 15¢
- Symbolism of the Three Degrees, Street, 68 pages, paper covers. The lessons and symbols of each degree traced to their origin, in every instance that it has been possible to so trace them. Brother Street gives many explanations of our symbols in this little book on which our monitors but vaguely touch. 35¢
- Deeper Aspects of Masonic Symbolism, Waite, (pamphlet). 15¢
Publications from other sources, kept in stock at Anamosa.
- The Builders, a Story and Study of Masonry, by Brother Joseph Fort Newton. Formerly Editor-in-Chief of THE BUILDER. $1.50
- Mackey's Encyclopaedia, 1920 edition, in two volumes, black Fabrikoid binding. $15.00
- Symbolism of Freemasonry, A. G. Mackey. $3.15
- Masonic Jurisprudence, A. G. Mackey. $2.65
- Masonic Parliamentary Law, A. G. Mackey. $2.15
- Concise History of Freemasonry, Robert Freke Gould. $4.50
The foregoing prices include postage and insurance or registration fee on all items except pamphlets. The latter will be sent by regular mail not insured or registered.
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THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.
MORMONS AND MASONRS
I would like to know, through the Question Box in THE BUILDER, if Brigham Young, the Morman, was a Mason, and if there is any objection to a Morman becoming a Mason?
L. L., Montana.
We do not believe that Brigham Young was ever a member of the Masonic fraternity.
From Gould's Historywe learn that the Grand Lodge of Illinois, in 1842, granted a dispensation for a lodge at Nauvoo, the Mormon settlement, in which 286 candidates were initiated, and nearly all passed and raised. The Grand Lodge appointed a committee to examine the work of the lodge, and this committee made a favorable report, whereupon the dispensation was continued and dispensations granted for three more lodges, two at Nauvoo and one at Keokuk, Iowa, the territory of Iowa being at that time under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Illinois. At the next session of the Grand Lodge the records of these lodges were withheld, and after examination, the Grand Lodge refused charters and withdrew the dispensations. The Nauvoo lodges were composed mainly of Mormons, who continued to work in spite of the action of the Grand Lodge, and refused to deliver the dispensations to the committee appointed to demand them; at the next session of the Grand Lodge these associations were declared to be clandestine, and all those hailing therefrom were suspended, and a circular to that effect was ordered to be sent to the other Grand Lodges and published in all Masonic periodicals. The Keokuk lodge, or certain members of it, sent in a petition to have their dispensation renewed, averring that they had not violated Masonic law to their knowledge. The Grand Lodge ordered an investigation during the recess, but it does not appear that any further action was taken.
On February 4, 1866, the Grand Master of Nevada issued a dispensation for Mt. Moriah Lodge at Salt Lake City, Utah, under which the lodge was organized the next day. Soon afterwards a question arose in relation to the treatment of Mormons, who claimed to be Masons, and it was submitted to the Grand Master. He, undoubtedly aware of the Illinois Mormon episode, for reply issued an edict forbidding the admission as visitors, and the affiliation as members, of Mormons claiming to be Masons, and the reception of petitions from Mormon candidates. The lodge was deeply aggrieved and even indignant, but submitted to the order of the Grand Master. A meeting was held, however, and a petition sent to the Grand Lodge to modify the edict, so that Mormons, not polygamists, would be excepted from its operation; also the dispensation was returned with a petition for a charter; but the Grand Lodge approved the edict of the Grand Master, declined to grant a charter, and continued the dispensation: the lodge was "worse than sorrow-stricken"; but worked on, obedient to the edict, for another year. Then a petition for a charter was presented to the Grand Lodge, but accompanied with the statement that, unless they could have a charter unrestricted by the edict, they respectfully declined to take any; the Grand Lodge promptly accepted the surrender of the dispensation, and refused to grant a charter. They then presented a petition, reciting the circumstances, to the Grand Lodge of Montana at its session, October 8, 1867. That Grand Lodge declared the assumption of the petitioners, that the Grand Lodge of Nevada did not possess the power to decide who are not proper persons to be admitted into its subordinate lodges, was "subversive of the principles of Masonry," rejected the petition for a charter, and referred the petitioners to the Grand Lodge of Nevada for a "redress of their alleged grievances," as that Grand Lodge was "abundantly qualified, as we believe they are disposed, to render justice in the premises." The petitioners then applied to the Grand Master of Kansas for a dispensation, which he issued November 25, 1867, and a charter was granted by the Grand Lodge, October 21, 1868.
The Master and Wardens of Wasatch Lodge, chartered by the Grand Lodge of Montana, October 7, 1867; Mount Moriah Lodge, chartered by the Grand Lodge of Kansas, October 21, 1868; and Argenta Lodge, chartered by the Grand Lodge of Colorado, September 26, 1871, all located at Salt Lake City, met in convention January 16, 1872, and on January 17, 1872, "regularly organized" the Grand Lodge of Utah. Wasatch Lotdge had previously worked under dispensations dated October 22, 1866, and Argenta under dispensation dated April 8, 1871. The Grand Lodge of Missouri chartered Rocky Mount Lodge, June 1, 1860, but it surrendered its charter the following year.
After this new Grand Lodge had begun to function, an important question arose in consequence of its peculiar surroundings. A member of one of its lodges joined the Mormons, and for this cause, upon regular proceedings, he was expelled by his lodge, and the expulsion confirmed by the Grand Lodge. The matter attracted the attention of the other Grand Lodges, and many of them, at the request of the Grand Lodge of Utah, took formal action in relation to it. It was objected against the expulsion, that Masonry never interferes with the religious views of any member of the fraternity. This was admitted, but the expulsion was quite unanimously sustained on the ground that acts, in violation of Masonic or moral law, are not justified, nor the perpetrator thereof shielded from punishment, although such acts are in accordance with, and are enjoined by, his religious views. Freedom of conscience, to the extent of committing crime, is no more tolerated by Masonic, than by civil law.
We have been promised by a prominent Utah brother a series of articles on Mormonism and Freemasonry in that State for early publication in THE BUILDER.
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OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL OF CHICAGO MASONIC TEMPLE
A Detroit Mason recently told me that the Masonic Temple in Chicago was owned and controlled by Catholics and rented by them to the various Masonic bodies meeting therein. Is there any truth in this statement?
The Masonic Temple, located at State and Randolph Streets, Chicago, was originally owned by a stock company, the stock being widely scattered among various interests. The stock was, however, gradually absorbed and merged into a trusteeship known as the "Masonic Temple Trust"; the controlling interest in the building being owned by the estate of N. W. Harris and A. O. Slaughter, and the Barhydt and Bodman estates, the minority interests or stock being held by various individuals and Masonic bodies.
So far as is known none of the stock is held by Catholic interests.
The building is managed by the real estate firm of Willoughby & Co., Chicago, composed of E. M. Willoughby and J. E. Swanson, both of whom are members of the Lodge, Chapter, Council, Commandery, Consistory and Shrine.
Twenty Lodges, three Chapters, one Council and two Commanderies hold their meetings in this building.
A. M. Millard, President
Masonic Bureau of Service and Employment,
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THE BLUE LODGE EMBLEM
Will you please explain through THE BUILDER why the letter "G" is placed inside the square and compasses? Why not the level or trowel, or some other symbol?
No reason can be given. "G" is one of the more important symbols; emblem makers have therefore attempted to make use of it in Masonic lapel buttons, watch charms, etc. Its being incorporated with the square and compasses is purely accidental.
H. L. H.
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"THE WHITE SHRINE" AND THE "ORDER OF AMARANTH"
What is "The White Shrine," also the "Order of Amaranth"?
O.I.O., North Dakota.
Both the "White Shrine" and the "Order of Amaranth" are degrees to which only members of the Eastern Star are eligible.
The "Order of Amaranth" was invented by J. B. Taylor, of Newark, N. J., but it was amplified and improved by Robert Macoy of New York. The Supreme Council of the rite was established June 14, 1873, with Robert Macoy as Supreme Patron and Robert Morris as Supreme Recorder.
The "White Shrine" was founded by Charles D. Magee, Chicago. Ill., in 1894. It is at the present time an active and growing organization.
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A PROPOSED REMEDY FOR DISAPPOINTMENT AND APATHY IN MASONRY
(The following suggestions are made in response to the editorial "A Confession and a Challenge" in the March issue of THE BUILDER.)
It cannot be denied that thousands of Masons finish their degree course in Masonry with a feeling of disappointment and the thought, generally unexpressed, that they have not received all that they had been led to expect to receive. This is because they enter into Masonry with the expectation of receiving something that cannot otherwise be obtained — an unexpressed "some thing" which is traditionally supposed to be attainable in Masonry, and nowhere else; yet we do not take the trouble to explain to the candidate for Masonic membership just what he has a right to expect to find. The result is "Masonic Apathy" in thousands of our members.
As a remedy for this condition the following suggestions are offered:
Before the candidate receives his first degree let him be given a short, carefully prepared lecture, preferably uniform for every jurisdiction, and incorporated in the monitor, just as are the printed lectures of the various degrees, in explanation of the history of Masonry, what Masonry is, and what Masonry has stood for throughout the years. Let this lecture be given with utmost seriousness in a most impressive manner, and by the very best man for the purpose in the lodge, whether an officer or not.
The lecture might well be somewhat in the form of a "charge" and, for example, similar to the following, it being understood that the example given is but a rough suggestion merely for the purpose of illustrating the idea:
Mr. A. B., you have made application to this lodge to be received among us, and among all the duly recognized Masons of the world as an equal — more than an equal, as a brother. It has been the pleasure of this lodge to favorably act on your petition and to grant your request.
But before proceeding with the actual conferring of Masonic degrees upon a candidate, it is the custom of this lodge to explain to him what Masonry is, and what he may expect to find in it for himself, and what Masonry, as an organization, and through its individual members, of which you aspire to the honor of becoming one, owes to the world.
You doubtless have heard it said that Masonry is not a religious organization, that it is not a political organization, and that it is not a charitable organization — or if you have not heard these statements, you hear them now — and they are all true. That is, all are true in a narrow sense — in a wide sense they are all untrue, for Masonry is the custodian of the greatest religious faith, the belief in God and the immortality of the soul. Masonry, without partisan afflliation or narrow political creed, is a supporter of civic righteousness, sturdy citizenship, and freedom to worship God each man in his own way. And Masonry regards with charity the works and acts of all men. Never in your Masonic life forget or neglect these principles of Masonry, for by remembering them and acting in accordance with them you will do your duty in carrying forward the proud history of Masonry.
The history of Masonry has been many times written yet never wholly correctly, and in all probability never will be. The origin and early history of Masonry is lost in the distant past; the later history of Masonry, that is its history as an organization such as we now know it, is in many respects incomplete and confused. Masonry's documentary history extends back little beyond 1717, but from internal evidence, which you will later have the privilege of yourself considering as a fruit of your Masonic studies, it plainly appears that Masonry, broadly considered, is many, many, yes, hundreds of years, older than 1717.
When I refer to the internal evidence of Masonic age, I refer not to Masonry's history as APPARENTLY taught in the degree work, but to its history as REALLY taught by the work in the lodge — its teachings by means of symbols, the manner in which its Great Truth is taught, its concealed references, and so forth. All these things can become plain to you only by the most careful consideration and utmost thoughtfulness on your part, to-wit, by YOUR OWN Masonic labor.
The history of Masonry, as APPARENTLY taught by the degree work is frankly, to a great extent, a hodge podge of historic untruths, or at best historic truths inaccurately presented. You are not to consider the degrees as history, but rather to consider them as allegories, each teaching by one of the most ancient methods known to the human mind, an important moral truth. First learn the lesson of the particular allegory and then, if you so please — and I sincerely trust you will — discover by the study of Masonic history just what is history and just what is purely allegory.
The degrees of Masonry are those of the Master's lodge, popularly called the "Blue Lodge"; those of the Royal Arch Chapter; the cryptic degrees of the Council; the chivalric degrees of the Commandery, and the degrees of the Scottish Rite. The Blue Lodge degrees, when received, constitute you a Master Mason, so far as your right to receive the privileges of a Master Mason are concerned. The other degrees are to aid you to a better understanding of what the Blue Lodge degrees are intended to teach you. It is no concern of any Master Masons' lodge whether or not you take the so-called "higher degrees," and do not take what I have said to you as an attempt to in the least influence you in the matter — but this I may say: That Master Mason who rightly understands the lessons of the Blue Lodge and diligently practices them is the Masonic equal of any Mason, no matter what that Mason's degree may be, and no amount of degree taking can make a true Mason of any man who does not practice the teachings of the Blue Lodge.
You doubtless have heard of the "secrets of Masonry." If you expect to obtain the TRUE SECRET of Masonry by the mere taking of degrees, you are inevitably destined to disappointment. For the TRUE SECRET is an unexpressible knowledge of how to act and how to conduct yourself throughout your life, learned, each man for himself, by thoughtful contemplation of the simple teachings of Masonry.
Insofar as you learn this TRUE SECRET you will be able to do your part in helping Masonry to do its duty in the world. That duty of Masonry is that it exert all its forces and all its influence toward the betterment of the world by all means possible, and more specifically by making good citizens and by preserving man's inalienable right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and freedom to worship God each man in his own way.
And now, Mr. A. B., I, in the name of this Master Masons' lodge, wish you God speed on your introduction into Masonry.
Harold A. Kingsbury, Delaware.
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WHAT MASONRY MEANS TO A MONTANA BROTHER
The March editorial entitled "A Confession and a Challenge" has prompted me to set down a few lines; not as an acceptance of the "challenge," for there are many pointed questions in the article beyond my poor ability to answer, but more to give my own experience. My Masonic career has many points in common with that of the composite doughboy:
I am a man in my late thirties, and never had the slightest interest in Masonry till a little over three years ago. What prompted me to ever take an interest? I do not know, unless it was the subconscious influence exerted by the fact that most of my friends were Masons. However, no one of them ever asked me to petition the lodge. I just found out one day that I wanted to be a Mason.
I received the M. M. Degree December 7th, 1916, was made a Royal Arch Mason January 31st, 1917, took the Commandery all in one day on March 12th, 1917, and the Shrine May 25th, 1917. At the December Reunion of the Scottish Rite in the same year I took the degrees through to the 32nd. In April, 1919, I was accepted into the Council, and also received the Super-Excellent. Thus you will see that I took my Masonry in rather frequent doses, without having time to digest as I went along.
During the past three years I have had the honor of holding office in my Blue Lodge, and am at present the Master. I also hold office in one of the higher bodies.
The foregoing is not set down with any idea of being a boast. It is simply a statement of facts in the life of one Mason of the millions who live in America today.
Should a friend or brother of the Blue Lodge ask me, "Would you advise me to take all the degrees I can?" I should say "Yes, if you are prepared to read and study in the wonderful field of research and inspiration opened up for you." I should advise him especially to take the Scottish Rite, the most wonderful influence for moral and spiritual uplift and inspiration extant.
Our Doughboy says, ". . . But I've stopped learning about it, and really know less than when I was studying the first three degrees. There's some mystery about it. I don't understand yet what it's all about. I've rushed through. I've seen it all. But I haven't digested it."
Who among us has "digested" it all? To whom is its great mystery an open book? And along the same lines, who understands all the teachings of the Scriptures, the Apocalypse of St. t John, or the Kabala, or the Avesta of Zoroastrian teachings?
No two persons receive the same impressions, or derive the same benefit from a given topic of study. But is not each one bettered by reading the works of, or books about the great thinkers, patriots, or philosophers? Why has Doughboy stopped learning about Masonry when he has at his command such books as "History of Freemasonry and Concordant Orders," "A Concise History of Freemasonry," "Morals and Dogma" of the Scottish Rite, "Mackey's Encyclopsedia," "The Comacines," "Legenda" of the various Scottish degrees, and a host of others?
To me Masonry is not a sect, a faction, a creed, or a religion. Masonry is an influence, an inspiration, and a philosophy. The benefits are not to be derived but in a minute part from the hearing of degrees, the "patter" of the work. Lodge meetings are most necessary, and the degrees are the very heart of the Order. But if Masonry is put off when lodge closes, to be resumed only at the next meeting; then it is not fully appreciated. Masonry can, and should be taken into the home for study, inspiration, and practice.
Masonry is not the finding of a word spelled with letters. It is not being able to memorize a ritual, or the wearing of a pin. Masonry is not the bare reading of records of the past, or facts of the present.
Masonry is the change for the better effected in the lives of its members; the instilling of toleration for the opinions of others, of charity in its broadest meaning, and the desire to get into action for fellow men, instead of drifting along. Masonry is the mystery of life and how best to live according to each one's ability and circumstances.
A Montana Brother.
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THE FREE PUBLIC SCHOOL
The following resolution recently adopted by the Grand Lodge of Mississippi should be of interest to readers of THE BUILDER:
THE FREE PUBLIC SCHOOL; THE GREATEST UNIFYING FACTOR IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRACY IN THE UNITED STATES
The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Mississippi, in Annual Communication, declares:
It regards the free public school the chief bulwark of the State and Nation, to be kept under the sole dominion and direction of the State, and so far as the efforts of Free Masonry in Mississippi is concerned, its voice, vote and influence will at all times be exerted in keeping it so.
It regards any individual or other influence, be it political or ecclesiastical that seeks to destroy the free public school system as now operated in this country, as an enemy of our American institutions, the State and Nation, and the object to attack by the institution of Free Masonry.
It demands that all teachers in our free public schools, to whom are entrusted the foundation of our national endurance, should be those who cherish the value of the great opportunities of true Americanism above all other power on earth, be it political or ecclesiastical; those who recognize the authority only of a just and merciful God who rules over heaven and earth, and also, that of this great American government.
It demands that the highest type of manhood and womanhood may be secured as teachers in our free public schools, that they be paid generously, and be required to realize that loyal, efficient service will be expected at their hands.
It demands that all teachers employed in our free public schools be required to take an oath of allegiance to the State and Nation, particularly in all matters affecting the free public school system, as against any other influence whatever.
Be it further resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be furnished our Senators and Representatives in Congress and also the legislative bodies in Mississippi, now in session.
Adopted February 25, 1920.
J. W. McCant, Mississippi.
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HE WHO HAS NOT MASTERED THE ENTERED APPRENTICE DEGREE CAN NEVER RECEIVE MASTER'S WAGES
The editorial in the March number of THE BUILDER is highly significant.
The doughboy went "over the top" in France, is nearly "over the top" in Masonry, having attained the 32nd degree, and is asking the question "What does Masonry really try to teach?"
I would suggest that he go back and take the Entered Apprentice degree over again and "learn to subdue his passions and improve himself in Masonry," using the four cardinal virtues to do so, that when he has truly mastered and can put into practice Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice, his passions will be under control. Without this foundation upon which to build, his Masonry will be but "sounding brass" as he has found it.
He will then be ready, but not before, to be instructed in the mysteries of the letter G. and learn the wages of a Fellow Craft. When he has mastered this degree he will be ready for the life-long quest "to receive the wages of a Master Mason." This will keep him employed and intensely interested through life.
He will find that he will never "receive Master's wages" unless he masters the Entered Apprentice degree.
A. K. Bradley, Texas.
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THE LESSER LIGHTS
I wish to thank you for the copy of THE BUILDER for September, 1918, recently sent me in reply to my query for information concerning the situation of the lesser lights in the various jurisdictions. My difficulties are now settled, which goes to show how important it is to have a complete file of THE BUILDER.
It may be of interest to you to know that in Cornwall Lodge, Cornwall, Ontario, the lesser lights are placed at the corners of the lodge room, in the northeast, northwest and southeast, if I remember correctly.
In our lodge rooms we have not only the altar lights, which are referred to in the ritual as the "auxiliary lights," but also lights on the officers' pedestals, and on the walls above their three chairs. The latter are used only in the First degree.
W. Harvev McNairn. Ontario.
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KEEP ME STRIVING
Bro. Gerald Nancarrow, Indiana
O keep me striving after Thee, my God,
I ask no lighter way to tread;
I seek not flowers but e'en the rod
And feed my soul on hunger's bread.
For I would grow to Thee in nature's part
Not at a bound to scale the heights,
But by the hungerings of my heart
Reach up and on through blackest nights.
To win to Thee though eons intervene,
Though I shall labor through the dust
A thousand groping lives which lie between—
I shall for Thou hast said I must.
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Experience is the successive disenchanting of the things of life; it is reason enriched with the heart's spoils.
— J. Petit-Senn