A Journal for the Masonic Student

Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society


Vol. 9 No. 3 – March 1923



A Brief Sketch of His Life and Masonic Works

Bro. Jacob Hugo Tatsch

Assistant Editor, The Builder

THE Masonic records of the seventeenth century are few in number. Fortunately those of the eighteenth century, owing to the so-called "Revival" which took place in 1717, and the phenomenal growth of the Craft in the years immediately following, are far more numerous. Yet the gaps still exist, and evidences of Masonic activities culled from other sources are therefore of great value. Much can be deduced from such sources of information — of which I shall consider only one in this article; namely, that of engravings, and under this subject the work of one man — our brother, William Hogarth, Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge of England in 1735.

According to a quaint recital of his life as detailed in an eighteenth century book [1] in my possession, William Hogarth was born about 1698 (another authority gives November 10, 1697, as the exact date), in the parish of St. Bartholomew, London. It is said that his name was originally spelled Hogart, a corruption of Hogherd; it is also given as Haggard and Hogard. The elder Hogard changed it to Hogarth, yielding to the solicitation of his wife (the mother of our subject), who wished her unborn child to have a name less what suggestive of what was probably the early occupation of her husband's ancestors.

In Anecdotes of Himself, Hogarth has left us the story of his early life. "As I had naturally a good eye, and a fondness for drawing, shows of all sorts gave me uncommon pleasure when an infant; and mimicry, common to all children, was remarkable in me. An early access to a neighboring painter drew my attention from play; and I was, at every possible opportunity, employed in making drawings. I picked up an acquaintance of the same turn, and soon learnt to draw the alphabet with great correctness. My exercises, when at school, were more remarkable for the ornaments which adorned them, than for the exercises themselves. In the former, I soon found that block-heads with better memories could much surpass me; but for the latter I was particularly distinguished...

"I thought it still more unlikely that by pursuing the common method, and copying old drawings, I could ever attain the power of making new designs, which was my first and greatest ambition. I therefore endeavored to habituate myself to the exercise of a sort of technical memory; and by repeating in my own mind the parts of which objects were, composed, I could by degrees combine and put them down with my pencil. Thus, with all the drawbacks which resulted from the circumstances I have mentioned, I had one material advantage over my competitors; viz., the early habit I thus acquired of retaining in my mind's eye, without coldly copying it on the spot, whatever I intended to imitate."

Hogarth's talent for caricature was discovered while still serving his apprenticeship with an engraver of arms on plate. In company with several companions, he made an excursion to a nearby point. The heat of the day suggested refreshment at a public house, in which a quarrel arose among some men who had preceded Hogarth and his friends. Using a beer mug to enforce his contention, one of the disputants struck the other on the head with such force as to cut open his skull. The subject formed by the bleeding man, with agonizing wound and hideous grin, appealed to the caricatural instincts of Hogarth. He took his pencil and hurriedly produced an extremely ludicrous sketch. Hogarth was thus early "apprised of the mode Nature had intended he should pursue."

Completing his apprenticeship, he entered the academy in St. Martin's Lane and studied drawing from life. He never attained great excellence in the art, but showed genius in depicting character and passions.

It is believed that he began business on his own account as early as 1720. Beginning with the engraving of arms and shop bills, he next designed and furnished plates for booksellers. Thirteen folio prints, with his name attached to each, appeared in Aubry de la Motraye's Travels, 1723; seven smaller prints in 1724 illustrated Apuleius' Golden Ass; a series of prints appeared in 1726 as illustrations for Butler's Hudibras, of which one will be mentioned more fully later; other illustrations were engraved for various books printed up to 1736. He also did some work in oils, but these paintings and portraits do not possess the merit of his engravings.

Married in 1730 to the only daughter of Sir James Thornhill, who objected to the stolen match as he considered the girl too young for marriage at eighteen, in addition to being averse to Hogarth's impecunious circumstances and lack of reputation, Hogarth was beset with the difficulties familiar to struggling genius, but in 1733 his work was recognized and he rose completely into fame. It is not necessary in this article to itemize his famous engravings, as copies are readily procurable in the numerous editions of his works. I shall treat those of Masonic interest only.


It is not generally known that Hogarth was also the author of a solitary volume, the Analysis of Beauty, published in 1753. it is a treatise on art and was apparently so well received that we find it translated into German, Italian, and French. A second German edition, translated from the French, appeared July 1, 1754, prepaired by Ch. Fr. Vok. A contemporaneous observer states: "This book had many sensible hints and observations; but it did not carry the conviction, nor meet the universal acquiescence he (Hogarth) expected. As he treated his contemporaries with scorn, they triumphed over this publication, and irritated him to expose him."

Hogarth's fame lies in his caricatures and satires. "It may be truly observed of Hogarth, that all his powers of delighting were restrained to his pencil. Having rarely been admitted into polite circles, none of his sharp corners had been rubbed off, so that he continued to the last a gross, uncultivated man. The slightest contradiction transported him into a rage. To be member of a club consisting of mechanics, or those not many removes above them, seems to have been the utmost of his social ambition; but even in these societies he was oftener sent to Coventry for misbehaviour than any other person who frequented them. To some confidence in himself he was certainly entitled; for, as a comic painter, he could have claimed no honour that would not most readily have been allowed him; but he was at once unprincipled and variable in his political conduct and attachments. He is also said to have beheld the rising eminence and popularity of Sir Joshua Reynolds with a degree of envy; and, if I am not misinformed, frequently spoke with asperity both of him and his performances. Justice, however, obliges me to add, that our artist was liberal, hospitable, and the most punctual of paymasters; so, that, in spite of the emoluments his works had procured to him, he left but an inconsiderable fortune to his widow." [2]

His closing years were marked with political strife, in which he expressed himself forcibly by his carcatures of men in public life. In 1762 his health began visibly to decline. On October 25, 1764, he was conveyed to Leicesterfields. Here he received a letter from Benjamin Franklin, and drew up a rough draft in reply; but being seized with illness, died within two hours. He was buried in Chiswick, England, and a monument erected to his memory with the following inscription:

"Here heth the body
Of William Hogarth, Esq.
Who died October the 26th, 1764,
Aged 67 years."


Little is known of Hogarth's Masonic record. Where and when he received the degrees are facts awaiting discovery by the students of the Craft. A manuscript list in the records of the Grand Lodge of England show him as a member of the lodge meeting at the "Hand and Apple Tree," Little Queen Street, London; and in 1730, of the "Corner Stone" Lodge. Apparently Hogarth became a member of the Fraternity between 1725 and 1728, Robert Freke Gould stating that he was a member of the "Hand and Apple Tree" Lodge in 1725, but does not give his authority. Hogarth officiated as one of the Grand Stewards of the Assembly and Feast on April 17, 1735, as shown by the minutes of the Grand Lodge of England. His appointment March 30, 1734, is recorded as follows: "Then the twelve present Stewards were called up, and Thanks returned them from the Chair for the Care they had taken in providing such an elegant Entertainment for the Society, and at the same time their Healths were drank and also desired to proceed for each Steward to name his successor for the ensuing year which they did in manner following....... Hogarth's name appears as the eighth of a list then itemized.

"We may perhaps conjecture that in joining our ranks he was influenced by the example of Sir James Thornhill, Grand Warden in 1728, whose assistant he was, and in whose house he is said to have resided for some time before his marriage; for Hogarth was hardly the man to tamely follow a mere general fashion of the day in selecting his associates, or joining any association." [3]


Hogarth's best known Masonic engraving is the one entitled Night, the last of a series known as The Four Times of the Day. Considering the scarcity of original prints, it is interesting to note that these impressions, measuring 19 by 15 1/2 inches, were offered for sale at the nominal price of five shillings each in 1782. A reproduction of an original print in my possession accompanies this article as a frontispiece to this issue of THE BUILDER.

Unlike some of Hogarth's other prints, this one bears the date of issue, March 25, 1738. The date is important as it enables us to fix events depicted which would otherwise be matters of conjecture. Judging from the oak leaves in the barber's sign, and in the hats of two of the men depicted, it is believed that Hogarth had May 29th in mind, the anniversary of the restoration of Charles II to the throne of England.

G. W. Speth, to whom much of the credit is due what was accomplished during its early years by Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 of London, in describing the print, says:

"The street presented to our view is, almost without doubt, Hartshorn Lane, Charing Cross, opening to what is now Trafalgar Square, and which was known to our generation as Northumberland Street, but is now replaced by Northumberland Avenue. The only element of uncertainty arises from the position of the equestrian statue of Charles I, of which one expects to see more of the near side, unless either its position has been changed, or our artist has taken one of those liberties which by painters and poets are deemed allowable. In Hartshorn Lane 'rare Ben Johnson' was born, and at the Rummer Tavern, Prior was found reading Horace when a boy. Walpole's remarks would imply that the Rummer was not a very reputable house in his time, and if the room over the barber's shop be in any way connected with the tavern, the inference would appear to be justified. The only connection of the Rummer with the Craft, which I have been able to discover is that a Lodge, constituted 18th August, 1732, and erased in 1746, met at the 'Rummer, Charing Cross,' but removed in 1733. The signboard facing the 'Rummer' is inscribed 'Earl of Cardigan.' I cannot find that any Lodge met here previous to the date of the engraving; but from 1739-42, a Lodge which was constituted 15th April, 1728, and erased in 1743, held its meetings at the 'Earl of Cardigan's Head,' Charing Cross, and from 1742-44 its place was occupied by the 'Union French' Lodge, constituted the 17th August, 1732. On the whole, it would not appear that any Masonic memories were associated with this particular street in Hogarth's mind." [4]

J. Nichols, in his work, Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth, said, "In NIGHT, the drunken Free-mason has been supposed to be Sir Thomas de Veil; but Sir John Hawkins assures me, it is not in the least like him." [5] Other authorities, however, seem to differ. It is now generally accepted that Hogarth intended to satirize de Veil. There is no doubt that he designed the principal caricature to be a Mason. A Thomas Veal appears in the list of members of Hogarth's first Lodge, and arguing from the manners of the times, no question remains that Thomas Veal, Thomas Veil, and Sir Thomas de Veil are one and the same person.

The square on de Veil's breast, suspended from a ribbon about his neck, indicates either the rank of Master or of Past Master, the emblem being used for the latter purpose during the early days of the reorganized Craft. The large apron worn by him is also of interest, and is one of the strongest proofs we have that our aprons were not always of the present convenient size.

Some doubt exists whether Hogarth intended de Veil's companion to be depicted as a Mason. Possibly he may be the tyler of the Lodge, judging from the apron and the sword he carries. Again, he may only be an attache of the tavern where de Veil, to speak charitably and bearing in mind the convivial spirit of our early brethren, drank slightly to excess. The sword may have been de Veil's, taken away from him as a matter of prudence, for he could have done more damage with it than with the cane he wields against an imaginary opponent. The apron on this man may have served a real utilitarian purpose back of a tavern bar. The apparent skill of the man in helping de Veil clearly indicates that this is not his first experience in duties of this kind — a fact which can be used as a cogent argument for or against the theory that he may have been a brother of the Craft.

It is generally agreed that the other two figures in the foreground are satirical characterizations. The knife, or steel, on the belt of one of them is considered to indicate a butcher, and by analogical play on the word "veal" and the name "de Veil," to again point out that the principal figure in the picture is Sir Thomas de Veil.

Another prominent English Mason, W. H. Rylands, himself an artist, has said, "The picture is a hit, not at Masonry, but at the manners and customs of some Masons of the period.... There is a secret meaning in every little item of the picture, if one could only discover it." [6]


Next to Night, Hogarth's engraving, The Mystery of Masonry brought to Light by the Gormogons, is of greatest interest to the student. The Gormogons were a secret society established in 1724 in England in opposition to Freemasonry. Absurd and intentionally pretentious in character, it claimed a great antiquity and that it was descended from an ancient Chinese society. It flourished but a short time. Hogarth's engraving depicts characters of interest to Masons, among them a figure said to represent Dr. James Anderson, and another the Duke of Wharton, Grand Master 1722-23. Opinions differ as to the original publication of the print, for while it appeared about 1742, it is believed to have been engraved about twelve years earlier. [7]

Those familiar with Samuel Butler's poem, Hudibras, will remember where Sir Hudibras resolves to consult Sidrophel, the astrologer, on his love affair with the widow who had released him from the stocks. This astute doctor of occultism immediately dispatches his man Whacum to wheedle the squire of Sir Hudibras into telling him the object of his master's visit. This ascertained, Sidrophel informs Hudibras that

"'The stars your coming did foretel;
I did expect you here, and knew,
Before you spake, your business, too.'
Quoth Hudibras, 'Make that appear.'"

In response to Sidrophel's reply, "You are in love, sir, with a widow," Hudibras answers,

"You're in the right,
But how the devil you came by't
I can't imagine; for the stars,
I'm sure, can tell no more than a horse."

The interview between the two men is cleverly illustrated in the plate entitled Hudibras Consulting Sidrophel, of which a reproduction accompanies this article. The two globes, celestial and terrestrial, first attract the attention of the Mason. The parchment spread on the table, with astrological signs, and the chart on the floor, are also of interest. The cross on the floor is not so readily recognized, but here represents a Rosicrucian symbol. The books on the wall, other objects owned by Sidrophel and which need not be itemized, clearly indicate that

"He had been long towards mathematics,
Optics, philosophy and statics,
Magic, horroscopy, astrology,
And was an old dog at physiology."

The Roast Beef of Old England, or The Gate of Calais, was the result of Hogarth's visit to France shortly after the peace of Aix la Chapelle. While sketching the gate, Hogarth was arrested as a spy, committed a prisoner to his landlord, and not allowed to leave the house until he embarked for England. The print is of Masonic interest as the friar depicted there-in is none other than our brother, John Pine, who prepared the early engraved lists of the Grand Lodge England so greatly sought after by collectors.

The Sleeping Congregation, first published in 1736, is said to contain a representation of Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers, Grand Master, 1720, as the preacher therein. This print appears in different forms, to be recognized by modifications in the plate.

An engraving of Martin Folkes (1690-1754), Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England in 1724, was made by Hogarth in 1742. This print is sometimes overlooked by the Masonic collector, as all proofs do not bear Hogarth's name.

Hogarth also made an engraving of Simon Lord Lovat in 1746, for which there was an unusually great demand. Lovat is of interest to the Craft on account of his reputed connection with the Rite of Strict Observance. He was executed April 9, 1747, for treason, having been implicated in Jacobite plots.


Students of the literature and art of bygone centuries find a freedom of expression in surviving works which at first is rather startling; but when one realizes that these are but a faithful portrayal of the customs and manners of the times, the distaste and displeasure rapidly pass away. Hogarth is no exception among the artists of the eighteenth century whose works have been criticised. No better reply can be made to those who object to his freedom of expression and fidelity to detail than the following quotation from the Essays of William Hazlitt:

"Boccaccio, the most refined and sentimental of all novel writers, has been stigmatized as a mere inventor of licentious tales, because readers in general have only seized on those things in his works which were suited to their own taste, and have reflected their own grossness back upon the writer. So it has happened that the majority of critics having been mostly struck with the strong and decided expressions in Hogarth, the extreme delicacy and subtle gradations of character in his pictures have almost entirely escaped them."

Thackeray also pays his tribute to our eighteenth century brother in the following words:

"To the student of history, these admirable works must be invaluable, as they give us the most complete and truthful picture of the manners, and even the thoughts, of the past century. We look, and see pass before us the England of a hundred years ago — the peer in his drawing room, the lady of fashion in her apartment; ... the church with its quaint florid architecture and singing congregation; the parson with his wig, and the beadle with his cane..... You see the judges on the bench; the audience laughing in the pit; the student in the Oxford Theatre; the citizen on his country walk; you see Broughton the boxer, Sarah Malcolm the murderess, Simon Lovat the traitor, John Wilkes the demagogue, leering at you with that squint which has become historical...... All these sights and people are with you."

Hogarth's own opinion of his life is aptly expressed in the closing words of his Anecdotes:

"I have gone through the circumstances of a life which till lately passed pretty much to my own satisfaction, and I hope in no respect injurious to any other man. This I may safely assert, that I have done my best to make those about me tolerably happy, and my greatest enemy cannot say I ever did an intentional injury. What may follow, God knows."


  1. Biographical Anecdotes of William Hogarth; with a Catalog of his storks, Chronologically Arranged; and Occasional Remarks. Second Edition, London. Printed for and by J. Nicholik. 1732, p. 5.
  2. Ibid., p. 81.
  3. Transactions, Lodge of Research No. 2429, 1908-09.
  4. Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. II, p. 116.
  5. Nichols, op. cit., p. 211.
  6. Transactions, Lodge of Research No. 2429, 1908-09, p. 112.
  7. Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. VIII, p. 138 et. seq.

* * *


Bro. Dudley Wright, England

THE YEAR 1922 has been a wonderful year from a Masonic point of view and has also the distinction, perhaps, of being the most notable in the history of English Freemasonry. Veterans, hitherto, have always regarded 1874 as the red-letter year of the Craft, for it was in that year that a popular prince — afterwards King Edward VII — was elected to the exalted position of Grand Master of England and his brother, the Duke of Connaught, was initiated into Freemasonry. But, in 1922, another popular prince — the grandson of that beloved monarch — was invested with the collar of Senior Grand Warden of England by the royal initiate of 1874, who has proved a most worthy successor to his brother in the Grand Master's chair. May T.G.A.O.T.U. long preserve both to adorn the Royal House and the Royal Craft.

The year, moreover, was notable for the important domestic matters which came up for discussion and decision. The discussion on the question of the future location of Freemasons' Hall revealed the fact that all who took part in it were animated with one desire; i. e., the furtherance of the best interests of the Craft. When this is the ultimate aim any differences of opinion that may arise are quickly adjusted, and when a decision is arrived at, the minority, always transfer their activities to the propagation of the views of the majority. In connection with the Masonic Million Memorial Fund it is pleasing to note the progress made during the past year and the increased enthusiasm and support accorded to the scheme. In all, at the close of the year 479 Lodges had qualified as Hall Stone Lodges, (see note) and of this number no fewer than 198 qualified during 1922, the third year of the scheme.

When the war broke out it was at once realized that there would be a strain upon all the Masonic institutions and English brethren at once imposed a standard, which was to meet all demands, however great and numerous they might be. This was done and during the past year Masonic benevolence has nobly sustained that self-imposed standard. The three Central institutions — Boys', Girls', and Old People's — to take them in the chronological order of their foundation — collected more than 250,000 pounds, while the Mark Benevolent Fund created a record at its annual festival in its return of over 10,118 pounds, and the Masonic Nursing Home has also made great strides towards its ultimate; viz., the creation of an endowment fund which shall yield an income sufficient for all future requirements. The Girls' Institution has accepted 125, and the Boys 164 candidates.

It is gratifying also to note that although the demands of the Central Institutions, the Freemasons' Hospital, and the Mark Benevolent Fund have been anticipated rather than met, Provincial brethren, while responding heartily and handsomely to these calls, have not been unmindful of their own local requirements. The list is far too long to give in detail but among the more important of the local schemes mention must be made of the festival held by East Lancashire brethren at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, when more than 58,000 pounds was collected towards the 150,000 pounds required for the erection of Provincial headquarters and a Masonic Hall in that city. Then the Bristol Masonic Benevolent Institution, which was founded to celebrate the diamond jubilee of the reign of Queen Victoria, kept its own silver jubilee and, small though the province is, grants in benevolence amounting to 966 pounds were made. This worthy institution is served voluntarily by its officers and conducts its beneficent work at the cost only of printing, stationery, and stamps. Bradford also is taking steps to erect its own Masonic Hall. There are fifteen Masonic Lodges in that city and they, together with the five Royal Arch Chapters, have formed a Bradford Masonic Association and a scheme under which every member binds himself to pay a certain sum spread over a number of years which, in the aggregate, will meet the cost to be incurred.

In dealing with Masonic benevolence the returns of the Board of Benevolence of the Grand Lodge of England are a striking commentary on the distress occasioned as the aftermath of the war. From 1913 to 1918 there was a steady decline both in the number of applicants for assistance and the sums granted in relief. In 1913 there were 364 cases to whom 15,945 pounds were granted, and in 1918, the figures had fallen to 217 applications and 10,630 pounds. The rise began in 1919, the year following the armistice, and the applications and amounts granted in that and subsequent years were as follows: 1919, 208, 12,475; 1920, 221, 14,975; 1921, 293, 20,340; 1922, 363, 25,470. Previously the highest total in any one month was 2,955 pounds but in May of last year 4,040 pounds were distributed among fifty-six applicants.

Another outstanding item during the year was the launching of the new motor lifeboat, the "Duke of Connaught," purchased and endowed by the Grand Lodge of England as a thank offering for the safe return of its Grand Master from India.

There seems to be no diminution in the number who assemble in the porches clamouring for admission into the sacred portals, nor is there any abatement in the demand for new Lodges. No fewer than 139 warrants for Craft Lodges were issued during 1922, as compared with 138 in 1921. Fifty-one Charters for Royal Arch Chapters and twenty-eight warrants for Mark Lodges were also sanctioned, the numbers for the previous year being sixty Royal Arch Chapters and twenty-three Mark Lodges. The figures for the last two items may be regarded as healthy, since they show the continued interest of those who have been privileged to receive initiation into Craft Masonry.

England has been less favored during 1922 with visits from prominent brethren from Overseas than in the preceding years, but the passing call of the delegates from the Northern and Southern Jurisdictions of America on their way to the European Conference of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, was greatly appreciated, as was also the visit of the Grand Master of New York.

The obituary list is a lengthy one and includes the names of many well-known in other spheres, such as the Earl of Halsbury, a one-time Lord Chancellor; Colonel Sir Charles Hanson, Past Grand Warden, and ex-Lord Mayor of London; Canon Turner, the beloved Vicar of Sutton, Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent of Surrey; Sir Richard Vassar-Smith, Bart., Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent of Gloucestershire and Deputy Grand Mark Master; Lord Bolton, Grand Superintendent of North and East Yorkshire; Colonel Sir William Watts, Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent of Dorsetshire; Sir Edward Cooper, Past Grand Warden, another ex-Lord Mayor; Bishop Kennion; Bishop Macarthur, and Dean Penfold of Guernsey, while Masonic Research is the poorer for the departure of W. H. Rylands, one of the founders of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge (who bequeathed his Masonic books and manuscripts to the Bodleian) and John Angel Sherren, editor of the Dorset Transactions. The Grand Lodge of England lost one of its hardest and most earnest workers in the Grand Registrar, Dr. W. F. Hamilton, K.C., and there are many others who joined the Grand Lodge Above who will be missed for many years to come.

The Colonies have, for a time, the loan of two well-known English brethren. The Earl of Stradbroke, Provincial Grand Master of Suffolk and Pro. Grand Mark Master, has become the Grand Master of Victoria, while Viscount Jellicoe has assumed a similar responsibility in Tasmania.

* To compare the year 1922 with 1921 see THE BUILDER March, 1922, p. 79.

Note: In order to qualify as a "Hall Stone Lodge," the subscription list of a lodge to the Masonic Million Memorial Fund, including its WW1 donation, must equal an average of ten guineas (approximately fifty dollars) per member for fully subscribing members, and five guineas for members on the Country List. Every lodge qualifying will be recorded in the new building as a Hall Stone Lodge, and be entitled to a special jewel to be worn as a collarette by each successive Worshipful Master during his year of office.

* * *



Bro. Arthur Heiron, England


The two previous instalments of this wonderfully interesting contribution have proved so attractive to the worldwide family of readers of THE BUILDER, that already brethren are asking if Brother Heiron cannot be prevailed to upon to issue his articles in book form. He has expressed himself as willing to do such a thing if a sufficient number of Masons evince a desire for it, therefore it is suggested that such brethren as would wish to possess the volume let the fact be known.

Readers of Bro. Heiron's description of eighteenth century life and manners should not forget the fact that in those swiftly receding years morals were very different from our own, and that drinking and carousing were not regarded as now. It was not at all deemed inconsistent that such a man as Dr. Johnson should be at one and the same time devout and a lover of wine; or that he should arise from the composition of a prayer to attend a party at "Old Wapping." Cicero's saying, that "different manners are given to different pursuits," applies also to difference in time and place, and in such cases should be supplemented by the antique proverb which has it that one "should know the customs of a friend but not take a dislike to them."


THERE was no special charm in Dr. Johnson's home circle for he took in as lodgers — chiefly at his own expense — two or three elderly and rather unattractive ladies, one of whom later on became blind. There also lived with him for many years "Old Levett" who practised medicine, although he was not a duly qualified doctor; his patients were poor that they often paid his small fees in food and drink, chiefly "in gin," to which he was very partial. He also used to physic the learned sage when unwell, and if you include in the family party the negro-servant (constantly described as "dear Francis"), the circle must have been a strange coterie indeed. No wonder Johnson appreciated the refined atmosphere of the Thrales' home at Streatham where he was a welcome guest for many years.


Cat lovers will be interested to know that this uncouth and at times rough man was fond of dumb animals. Boswell tells us, "I never shall forget the indulgence with which he treated 'Hodge,' his cat, for whom he (Dr. Johnson) himself used to go out and buy oysters, lest the servants having that trouble should take dislike to the poor creature." Evidently the negro-servant, "dear Francis," was much too proud thus to attend to the jaded appetite of the household pet. (Oysters were cheap in those days. The following statement appeared in the "Daily Mirror" of 2nd September, 1922:- "In a copy of an account for a banquet given at the George Hotel, Portsmouth, to celebrate his Majesty King George II's birthday October 30, 1746, appears the following item; viz., 'Six hundred oysters at 1s. 9d. per 100, 10s. 6d.'")


This was the name that the Lodge Room of the "Dundee Lodge No. 9" was known by from 1763 to 1820, when used for public dances. The lodge only met once a fortnight and when not in use for Masonic work, our brethren sometimes let the room to strangers for dancing purposes at 3.3.0 pounds per night, which included the use of "sea-coals."

The lodge did not itself officially hold these dances. They only received a rental for the use of the room (which was forty-four feet long by twenty-five feet wide); but from 1807 to 1813 the "Dundee Lodge" held its own "Annual Ball" in this same lodge room. These public dances became popular, and no one could possibly have "explored Wapping" in those days — as Dr. Johnson admitted he did — without becoming acquainted with this fashionable resort!

The charge for admission to the "Wapping Assembly" would be small, six pence or one shilling. On a wintry night (say in 1767) the ballroom resplendent with wax candles fitted in our two cut-glass chandeliers (for which in 1763 our brethren paid twenty-five pounds), the pier-glasses on the walls reflecting the dancers, and the sea-coals burning brightly in the stove, would present a gay and festive spectacle, whilst our "Sea-Members" and the foreign sailors in the "Port," (including various sea-captains hailing from the American Colonies) could be relied on to see that things were kept lively. The following verse from a ballad of Charles Dibdin (1745-1814), who was well acquainted with sailors' haunts on the river Thames, may help to reconstruct the scene:-


"'Twas Landlady Meg that made such rare Flip,
Pull away, pull away, hearties!
At Wapping she liv'd at the Sign of the Ship
Where Tars met in such jolly parties.
She'd shine at the play, and she'd jig at the Ball,
All rigg'd out so gay and so topping;
For she married Six Husbands and buried them all,
Pull away, pull away, pull away! I say:
What d'ye think of my Meg of Wapping?"

It is reasonable to suppose that Dibdin was referring to the "Wapping Assembly" when he wrote these lines, and doubtless was also himself a frequent attendant.

Now as Dr. Johnson was very fond of dancing (constantly being present at "Ranelagh"), it is the writer's firm belief that the learned Doctor did indeed, as a relief to his "melancholy," sometimes visit the "Wapping Assembly" and perhaps join there in a "country dance" (such as Sir Roger de Coverley) or eke a homely "jig" with some of the ladies of Wapping, of whom there would be an ample supply from the forty taverns then existing in the neighbourhood. The building, having the sign of the "Masons' Arms" fixed to the front, must have been well known being close to the river Thames, and on a dark night our two large oil lamps, also purchased in 1763, would so clearly illuminate the entrance that passers by could not possibly be ignorant of its existence.


In 1781 Boswell told Johnson that there was a ludicrous paragraph in the newspapers, that he (Dr. Johnson) was learning to dance of "Vestris" (a well known expert) and he was asked if the report was true; it is to be noted that Johnson did not deny the soft impeachment but merely gave an evasive answer. Boswell on one occasion himself asked Johnson direct: "If he had never been under the hands of a dancing-Master?" "Aye, and a dancing mistress, too," said the Doctor, "but I never took a lesson but one or two; my blind eyes showed me I could never make a proficiency yet it is common knowledge, however, that sometimes a big, fat man makes a very light dancer.

Now if the reader is willing to believe (as the writer is) that Dr. Johnson did in fact sometimes visit the "Wapping Assembly" (which was merely another name for our Lodge Room), then it is not difficult to credit that he actually was "Made a Mason" in the same room in 1767 as suggested in this narrative.


It is not correct to consider Dr. Johnson merely in the light of a learned sage and shrewd philosopher, for according to those who enjoyed his personal acquaintance he was at times most excellent company. He was not a proud man, and did not often use the title of Dr. Johnson, being known to his chief friends as "Sam," and nearly always signing his letters, "Sam Johnson."


Fanny Burney (afterwards Madame D'Arblay) (1752-1840), who was forty-three years younger than Johnson and during her girlhood knew him well, thus describes him in her "Diary" :- "Dr. Johnson is very gay and sociable"; "very comic and good humoured"; she also refers to "his love of nonsense," to "his sport," "his kindness, his sociability," and sometimes calls him "Dear and excellent Dr. Johnson."

When about twenty-six years old, she visited the "Thrales" at Streatham and met Dr. Johnson there — he was then nearly 70. They became great friends and the learned sage grew to love her as the clever young writer who had become famous as the authoress of "Evelina." Dr. Johnson spoke well of the book, "clasped her in his huge arms and implored her to be a good girl"; he also taught her Latin, called her his pet, his dear love, and his dear little Burney"; and she almost loved and reverenced him.

In 1790, Boswell himself called on Fanny Burney — when she was at the Court at Windsor — and told her "that his book on Johnson was coming out very soon and he wanted her help." Boswell also said to her, "Give me some of your choice little notes of the Doctor's, I want to show him in a new light." "Grave Sam, and great Sam, solemn Sam and learned Sam; all these he has appeared as, over and over. Now I want to entwine a wreath of graces across his brow."

"I, Boswell, want to show him as 'Gay Sam, agreeable Sam, pleasant Sam,' so you must help me with some of his beautiful billets to yourself." Fanny Burney however declined thus to assist Boswell with his book, deeming such private and confidential letters to be almost of a sacred character. Boswell's "Life of Johnson" appeared the next year, in 1791; after perusing it, she was most indignant at what she considered the unkind and unfair way various private incidents in the life of her hero had been dealt with and said, "How many, starts of passion and prejudice has he (Boswell) blackened into record."

Mrs. Thrale (afterwards "Piozzi") says in her "Anecdotes of Johnson": "No man loved laughing better and his vein of humour was rich." As Dr. Johnson had been a constant guest at her home, and a personal friend for about eighteen years, she was surely well qualified to express an opinion.

Sir John Hawkins (an old friend and one of Johnson's executors) said, "He was the most humorous man I ever knew." Boswell said "he possessed uncommon and peculiar power of wit and humour" and "the heartiest merriment was often enjoyed in his company."

Rev. Benjamin Jowett (at one time Master of Balliol College) in 1883 wrote:- "Dr. Johnson ought to be described not so much as a sage but rather as a rollicking 'King of Society."'


Dr. Johnson and Boswell in 1773 having called on a lawyer in the Temple, something occurred which appeared humorous to the learned author, and Boswell tells us, "Johnson could not stop his merriment but continued it all the way till he got without the Temple-gate. He then burst into such a fit of laughter, that he appeared to be almost in a convulsion; and in order to support himself laid hold of one of the posts at the side of the foot-pavement, and sent forth peals so loud, that in the silence of the night, his voice seemed to resound from Temple-bar to Fleet-ditch."


It was a period when food and drink were cheap and large meals the general custom. Johnson said to Boswell once, "I mind my belly very studiously and very carefully"; he certainly was a good trenchman.


1770, (aged 61). "Talking of the effects of drinking, he (Johnson) admitted that at one time he indulged in excess but finding it bad for his health, abstained for a period." Johnson also said, "I used to slink home when I had drunk too much."

1776, (aged 67). "When I (Johnson) drank wine, I scorned to drink it when in company; I have drunk many a table by myself; in the first place because I had need of it to raise my spirits; in the second place, because I would have nobody to witness its effects upon me." It is stated that once on a visit to Oxford "he drank three bottles of Port without being the worse for it."

1779, (aged 70). Johnson spoke with great contempt of claret, as being so weak that a man would be drowned by it before it made him drunk." He tried one glass, shook his head and said, "Poor Stuff! No, Sir; claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero (smiling) must drink brandy."

Boswell reminded him "how heartily they both used to drink wine together when they were first acquainted (in 1763) and how he (Boswell) used to have a headache after sitting up with him. Dr. Johnson did not like to have this recalled."

1781, (aged 72). Boswell says: "Mr. Thrale told me I might now have the pleasure to see Dr. Johnson drink wine again, for he had lately returned to it." "The first evening that I (Boswell) was with Johnson at Thrales', I observed he poured a large quantity (of wine) into a glass and swallowed it greedily. Everything about his character and manners was forcible and violent; there never was any moderation; many a day did he fast, many a year did he refrain from wine; but when he did eat, it was voraciously; when he did drink wine it was copiously. He could practice abstinence, but not temperance."


William Preston (1742-1818) a Scotsman, who came to London in 1760, was a very keen Mason and being desirous of making our Ritual more perfect, revised — or perhaps composed — a new or improved system of Masonic lectures which were formally submitted to certain selected Freemasons in 1772 for their approval, and were afterwards adopted and used by a large section of the Craft; in fact, it is generally considered that they form the basis of the "Masonic Lectures" still worked in England in 1922. They were also introduced (about 1797) with various modifications into the United States by Bro. T.S. Webb, a well known and expert American Mason.

Now the printing of Dr. Johnson's "Dictionary of the English Language" and other works of his, was entrusted by the learned author to his intimate and personal friend William Strahan, "His Majesty's Printer," who (after 1760), had in his employ as "reader of the press" and "leading compositor" this same William Preston.

The printing works of Strahan, who was also a Scotsman, were in New Street, Shoe Lane, London, E. C. — near Johnson's residence — and he must of necessity have paid many visits to his printer to ascertain the progress of the work from time to time. In this way Johnson could not help coming into personal contact with William Preston.

As an illustration, on one occasion Johnson found fault with the work done by a certain compositor named "Manning," and in a passion began to blame him, but finding him innocent, Boswell tells; us that Johnson candidly and earnestly said to him, "Mr. Compositor, I ask your pardon; Mr. Compositor, I ask your pardon again and again." The writer now ventures to make the suggestion that at the request of Preston, Dr. Johnson personally assisted him in the work of revising these Masonic Lectures. It was a constant practice of the distinguished author thus to help literary aspirants and the fact that our Ritual in those days — more even than in ours — was steeped in reference to the promulgation of "moral truth and virtue" and is based upon a fervent and sincere belief in the Almighty, and His creative and providential attributes — would strongly appeal to one imbued with Johnson's religious training and ethical disposition. If Johnson were willing to assist Rev. Dr. Dodd, a convicted forger, it is more than probable that he would be inclined thus to help Preston, who was such a loyal colleague and servant of his own most intimate and personal friend, William Strahan.

Hence it is humbly suggested that to this source our Ritual owes the undoubted "Johnsonian" influence running through its language; the ponderous words, the lengthy and involved sentences are, as Macaulay said of Fanny Burney's second novel "Cecilia", "Either Sam Johnson or the Devil."

Dr. Johnson himself defines an "Order" to be "a society of dignified persons distinguished by marks of honour; a religious fraternity." Now the "Order of Freemasonry" certainly in his day complied with both these qualifications, and although all references to any sect or creed are now strictly forbidden in our lodges, yet in the days of the learned sage, it was the practice (both of the "Moderns" and "Antients") to use Christian prayers in their lodges during the working of the Ritual; this is made manifest from the following extract taken from "Ahiman Rezon," the book of "Constitutions" of the "Antients," various editions of which were published from 1756 to 1813; viz:

"Prayer to be said at the opening of a Lodge, or 'Making' of a brother:

"Most Holy and Glorious Lord God, thou Great Architect of Heaven and Earth, who art the Giver of all good gifts and graces; and hast promised that when two or three are gathered together in thy name, thou wilt be in the Midst of them; in thy Name we assemble and meet together, most humbly beseeching thee to bless us in all our Undertakings, to give us thy Holy Spirit, to enlighten our Minds with Wisdom and Understanding, that we may know, and serve thee aright, that all our Doings may tend to thy Glory and the Salvation of our Souls.

"(To be added when any 'Man is Made'):

"And we beseech thee, O Lord God, to bless this our present Undertaking, and grant that this, Our New Brother, may dedicate his Life, to thy Service, and be a true and faithful Brother Among Us; endue him with Divine Wisdom, that he may, with the Secrets of Masonry, be able to unfold the Mysteries of Godliness and Christianity.

"This we humbly beg in the Name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen."

This same prayer also appeared in the "Freemasons' Pocket Companion," Edinburgh, 1764.

These words breathe the spirit that permeated all the religious writings, utterances and prayers of Dr. Johnson, and a society promulgating such tenets and doctrines would surely be one to his own heart. It is a well known fact that many sermons preached by various clergymen in those days were composed or considerably revised by him, in some cases gratuitously, but on the distinct understanding that his name as the author was not to be revealed; he also assisted many struggling writers and revised their work under the same conditions of secrecy. It is interesting to note that later in life, William Preston became a partner in the printing firm to whom he had rendered much useful assistance. The following extracts are taken from a paper entitled "A Masonic Triad: Preston-Hutchinson-Oliver," written by an expert and skilled Masonic student, Bro. W.B. Hextall, P.G.D., a P.M. of Quatuor Coronate Lodge No. 2076; reprinted from Lodge of Research, Leicester, No. 2429, Transactions 1911-12. Bro. Hextall states that "William Preston, was born at Edinburgh in 1742, son of a writer to the signet. In 1760 he came to London and was employed by William Strahan, 'Kings Printer' as 'corrector of the press,' who on his death in 1785 left him an annuity. Under Andrew Strahan, who succeeded his father, he became chief reader and general superintendent until 1804 when he was admitted to the firm (who then traded as 'Strahan and Preston'), and that his literary capability was considerable is clear."

Further evidence that Dr. Johnson was personally acquainted with William Preston and enjoyed his friendship appears from the fact that on Preston's death in 1818, there were found in his library various presentation copies of books made to him by the following noted writers; viz., Robertson, Hume, Gibbon, Blair and "the moral and philological (Dr.) Johnson."

Preston introduced his Masonic Lectures at "A Grand Gala in honour of Freemasonry, held at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand on 21st May, 1772." In 1774, the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 1, of which Preston was Master, met at the "Mitre"; both of these taverns were constantly frequented by Dr. Johnson (who was often accompanied by Boswell), thus giving ample opportunities for mutual intercourse; and finally Preston's address was "Dean Street, Fetter Lane," quite close to Johnson's home. Surely, surely, Bro. William Preston, a keen Mason, a Scotsman, and the R.W.M. of the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 1, would have easily recognized as a Freemason, Bro. James Boswell, — also a Scotsman — the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1776!

Brethren will remember that these Craft Lectures were the chief method of imparting Masonic knowledge in English Lodges during the period we are now discussing, the Ritual itself being then of comparatively short duration.


Boswell tells us: "His figure was large and well formed, and his countenance of the cast of an ancient he .... He also had the use of only one eye." "So morbid was his temperament that he never knew the natural joy of a free and vigorous use of his limbs; when he walked it was like the struggling gait of one in fetters; when he rode, he had no command or direction of his horse, but was carried as if in a balloon." He was prone to superstition, but not to credulity.... He was a sincere and zealous Christian, of High Church England and monarchical principles."

1763, (aged 54). Boswell called on Dr. Johnson one morning at his chambers which were then on the first floor of No. 1, Inner Temple Lane, and tells us: "His furniture and morning dress were sufficiently uncouth. His brown suit of clothes looked very rusty; he had on a little old shrivelled unpowdered wig which was too small for his head; his shirt-neck and knees of his breeches were loose; his black worsted stockings ill-drawn up; and he had a pair of unbuckled shoes by way of slippers." Johnson himself said that "he had no passion for clean linen."


His ways did not please everybody; when he was Boswell's guest in Edinburgh in 1773, Mrs. Boswell did not like "his irregular hours and uncouth habits, such as turning the candles with their heads downwards when they did not burn bright enough and letting the wax drop upon the carpet"; and she galled him "a bear." Boswell's father also did not fully appreciate Dr. Johnson and described him as "a brute."


In 1752, shortly after his wife's death, Johnson took into his service a black boy (a negro born in Jamaica), aged 15, named "Francis Barber," who remained in his employ for about thirty years so that Dr. Johnson had up to his death in 1784 as his personal servant or valet, "a negro," constantly described by Boswell as "dear Francis."

The Doctor by his last will bequeathed the residue of his "estate and effects" (worth about 1,500 pounds) to this same "Francis Barber" and described him in his will as "my man-servant, a negro." Now as Johnson's entire property only amounted to about 2,000 pounds, it was certainly a handsome legacy, but the gift was severely criticised by his executor and old friend, Sir John Hawkins (who actually had to pay over the money); he described "Francis Barber" as "crafty, selfish and mean," and "entered a caveat against ostentatious bounty and favour to negroes." Various personal friends were quite overlooked by Dr. Johnson in his will, even his favourite step-daughter, Lucy Porter, who had shown him much hospitality on his visits to Lichfield, was ignored; while the faithful "Bozzy" (whom Johnson often told, possessed his love) in spite of an intimate friendship of twenty years, did not even receive a book by way of souvenir; in fact, his name was entirely omitted as if Dr. Johnson had never heard of his existence, yet the negro-servant received 1,500 pounds! [Note. Over twenty books were bequeathed by Johnson to sixteen of his friends, but Boswell was quite overlooked]


On the death of his elderly wife (Mrs. Elizabeth Porter) in 1752, Johnson carefully preserved her wedding-ring "as long as he lived, with an affectionate care, in a little round wooden box." This sacred relic ought certainly to have been either given or bequeathed by him to his wife's daughter, Lucy Porter, to whom Dr. Johnson (her step-father) wrote less than a year before his death, calling: her "my dearest love." Instead of which this much cherished ring went with the gift of the residue to "Francis Barber." He had enough grace, however, to offer it to this lady, but she declined to accept it from such a source, and eventually this sacred relic adorned the hand of the wife of Johnson's negro-servant! It is now preserved with other interesting souvenirs in "Johnson's House" at Lichfield, where the learned sage himself was born in 1709. It is obvious that if "Francis Barber" had written his own "Memoirs" we should have learnt much of Dr. Johnson's domestic life for "no man is a hero to his own valet."

It is fair, however, to state that in those days people often kept a "black boy" on their staff.

(The pictures of this period painted by William Hogarth (1697-1764) and others, constantly include a black servant in the family circle.)

The following extract is taken from "A Souvenir of the Bi-Centenary, 1713-1913, of the Westminster Past Overseers Society" compiled by Bro. J.E. Smith, former vestry-clerk to St. Margaret's Westminster:-

"To be sold, a negro boy aged eleven years. Enquire at the Virginia Coffee House, in Threadneedle Street, behind the Royal Exchange." (The Daily Journal, 28th September, 1728.)

"For Sale, a healthy negro girl, aged about fifteen years, speaks good English, works at her needle, washes well, does household work and has had small pox." (The Public Ledger, 31st December, 1761.) Fancy making similar purchases in 1922 in the heart of the City of London!


Dr. Johnson's attitude as to the controversy concerning the right of Great Britain to tax her colonies was most unfortunate, but in spite of strong protests from Boswell, Burke and other of his friends who sympathized with our American cousins in their efforts for freedom, he was obdurate to the end. Events have proved how foolish and wrong he was; and if Dr. Johnson were to revisit the earth he would be the first acknowledge his error. Perhaps being in receipt of Government pension of 300 pounds a year biased his judgment. How different would the history of the world have been, if wiser counsels had then prevailed and settlement arranged on peaceful terms. It is interesting to note that the leaders on the side of the American colonists which resulted in the "Declaration of Independence" on the 4th July, 1776, were nearly all Freemasons.

(To Be Concluded)

* * *


By Bro. Dudley Wright, England

IN 28TH November, 1889, Mr. Stewart Culin read a paper on Chinese Secret Societies in the United States at the annual meeting of the American Folk Lore Society. He gave many particulars of a secret society known as I Hing existing among the Chinese labourers of the United States. From personal observations and research he was able to identify the Society as a branch of the Hung League. The designation I Hing, meaning "Patriotic Rise," is the watchword originally taken by one of the chiefs of the Triad Society. There was a lodge in New York and branches in Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore. A large proportion of the members attended Christian Sunday schools and professed to be Christians. Native and Christian ceremonies are said to have been alternately performed at the dedication of the Society's lodge room in New York in October, 1887. Mr. Culin adds:

"The I Hing Society is said to claim to be affiliated to the Masonic Order, and in New York City a Masonic print representing the two pillars surmounted with globes and resting on a tessellated pavement with the square and compasses, the eternally vigilant Eye, and in large red letters the words IN GOD WE TRUST hangs on the wall of the lodge room. The Society is usually described to foreigners by those who speak English as the 'Chinese Freemasons,' and as such it has become generally known to the outside world. In my opinion the Chinese have been misinformed with reference to the identity of the I Hing with the Masonic Order. It is a belief in which they would receive much encouragement, as there is a popular tradition that lodges of native Freemasons exist in China, which is credibly received by members of the Craft with whom I am acquainted."


The full name of the San ho hwuy, or the Triad Society is really "The Society of the Three United," the three being Heaven, Earth and Man, which according to the Chinese doctrine of the Universe, are the three great powers in nature. One story of the origin of this Society gives an elaborate description of the manner in which the inmates of a monastery near Foochow came to the aid of a Manchu Emperor in one of his foreign wars. As a reward they were given and for several centuries enjoyed great privileges, but their descendants became the victims of official tyranny. Their monastery was either destroyed or taken from them and they went through the land in search of their revenge. Then it was that they came to the decision to put forward the Ming pretension, and members of the Brotherhood went to different provinces to stir up disaffection and to point popular aspiration towards a desirable end. The records of the society say that it was organized in 1689 by a party of Buddhist priests who had suffered cruel injustice at the hands of the Emperor Kangshi. Another story is that the Society revived during the reign of the Emperor Yung-cheng (1723-1736) when the iniquitous cruelties and exactions of an infamous judge in Fuh-kien set the spark to the powder of discontent, and that the Emperor's destruction of a celebrated Buddhist temple was the prime cause which prompted the five priests who survived the outrage to raise the standard of revolt. The members of this Society, however, do not appear on the pages of history as open insurgents until the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Formosa was the scene of their rebellion, in which a female leader, Chen, whose record is said to rival that of Lucrezia Borgia, is said to have figured prominently. Its membership was composed of the disaffected of all classes and in their secret meetings they abused the government, cursed the emperor and his laws, while in their mysteries they laid the foundations of a coming kingdom in which the golden age of China was to be realized.

During the reign of the Emperor Klia King (1799-1820) the Society spread rapidly through Cochin China Siam, and Korea, its headquarters being in the southern province of the empire. It was not until 1806 that the authorities got the upper hand of its machinations and the ringleaders were seized and put to death. The emperor was told that "There was not so much as one member of the rebellious fraternity left under the wide expanse of the heavens." So far however, from such being the case the Society was still working in a subterranean manner and presently came to the surface, more powerful than ever, under the name of the Hung League, or, as it is more generally and more appropriately known, the Great Hung League. Originally the Society does not appear to have been particularly harmful and, apparently, was formed for mutual assistance, but as time progressed it aimed at political power, the overthrow of the government and the approbation of theft and robbery. Their ill-gotten gains were shared among the members of the Society in proportion to their rank, and the members were pledged to defend and protect any of their number from arrest.

The government of the Society was in the hands of three brethren: Yih ko, Urh ko, and Sen ko, meaning "Brother first," "Brother second," and "Brother third." The members generally are called Heung te, or "Brethren." Initiation took place at night in a very retired or secret chamber. Offerings were presented to an idol placed there, before which also the oath of secrecy was taken. It is said that there were thirty-six oaths, and as there are thirty-six sections of the oath taken by initiates of the Hung League (as well as of the Gee Hin Society) this is probably correct. Doubtless many of the particulars given under the Hung League apply also to the Triad Society. In the initiation there was a ceremony called Kwo keaou, or "crossing the bridge," or taking the oath under an arch of steel, formed by the members who held up their swords, points meeting, in the shape of an arch. When the member took the oath he cut off the head of a cock, as is usual on the occasion of a solemn oath taking. The seal of the Society was a five-angled figure with a character in each of the five corners representing Saturn Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, and Mars. The Master of the Lodge was referred to as "Incense Lord," the Lodge itself was called Muhyang City (a city in the Ming dynasty) while the innermost part of the Lodge was known as "Red Flower" pavilion. In addition to the three principal officers of the Lodge there were two subordinate officers and inner and outer guards, the two last named wearing wave-shaped swords. There were three degrees in the Society and certificates and badges were issued to all initiates. On initiation the upper garments of the candidate were removed; he was then robed in white garments; his shoes and stockings were taken off, and he was given straw sandals to put on his feet.


The T'hian Ti Hwui, or the Hung League, was a continuation of the Triad Society. The meaning of Hung is "flood" and it is said that this name was chosen by the leaders of the new organization as an intimation that the Society was to flood the earth. The headquarters have never been discovered, but the directing power appears to centre in three individuals. The Chief has the title of "Elder Brother," and the two others take the title of "Younger Brothers." The Society has extensive ramifications but the branch are known under various names, some even retaining the old name of the Triad, others taking the names "Blue Lotus," "Golden Orchid," etc. About 1820, the chief leader of the League was one Kwang Sang. It was reported that, to make himself ferocious, he once drank gall, taken out of a murdered man's body, mixed with wine. About that time also the League developed into a band of rebels and robbers. In 1849 there was a revival through the efforts of a certain Hung-siu-tsiuen ("He who accomplishes the glory of the Hung League"). He changed the name of the League into the Shangti-hwui, "The League of God," or "The Association of the Supreme Ruler." He was, however, indicted by the government and executed. One of his successors, named Yung, who became Grand Master of the League, was known as "the Eastern King." He named himself the younger brother of Jesus and pretended that the Holy Ghost made known the Divine Will through his mediumship. There was a revival of the League's activity in 1850, when Yae-ping-wang, a noted revolutionary leader, made another attempt to restore the Ming dynasty, from which he pretended to be descended. With his defeat the League, for a time, fell into obscurity. In the spring of 1863 a quantity of books was accidentally discovered by the police in the house of a Chinaman at Padang (Sumatra), who was suspected of theft. These books contained the statutes, oaths, ceremony of initiation, catechisms, descriptions of flags, and the secret signs of the Uague. For nearly all the information relating to the League we are indebted to Gustav Schlegel, who translated this mass of documents seized by the Chinese government and placed in his hands for that purpose. These were translated into English and published by him in 1866 in one large volume entitled T'hian ti hwui, The Hung League or Heaven-Earth League.

New members, he says, are obtained in several ways. If the initiated are not able to seduce the people to enter the League by an enumeration of the griefs against the Tartar sway and, in this way, excite them to throw off the dominion of the hated usurpers, recourse is had to threats. A person may And same day in his house a chit of paper, stamped with the seal of the Society, by which he is ordered to betake himself at a certain hour to such and such a place, under the menace that if he dares to disobey, or breathe a word of it to the authorities, he and his while family will be murdered and his house and possessions burned down. Sometimes, too, he is stopped on the road by an unknown who gives him a similar order. Violence is also used. One of the members insults a person on the road by giving him a slap on the face. The man, of course, pursues the offender, who leads him, in this way, to an isolated spot. Here, at last, he stands at bay, but the scuffle has scarcely begun when, on a given signal or whistle of the initiate, several members of the League appear and knock the man down. The victim is then thrown into a bag and carried away to the place where the Lodge is held. If any refuse to enter the league they are led away by an executioner outside the West Gate of the Lodge where their heads are cut off at once.

The ritual of initiation is very lengthy and elaborate, there being no fewer than 333 questions and answers prior to the actual ceremony, each answer being accompanied by a verse of poetry, sometimes two, or even three verses.


The Lodge is built in the form of a square, east to west, surrounded by walls, which are pierced at the four cardinal points by gates, the faces of which are adorned by triangles, the mystic, symbol of union. The Lodges are always erected in out-of-the-way places, safe from the observation of the mandarins; in towns and populous neighbourhoods, the meetings are held at the house of the Master. Within the enclosure is the Hall of Fidelity and Loyalty, where the oaths of membership are taken. Here also is placed the altar of the precious nine-storied pagoda, in which the images of the five monkish founders are enshrined. The candidate is introduced to the Hall of Fidelity under a bridge of swords formed by the members holding up their swords in the form of an arch; he then takes the oath and has his queue cut off, though this ceremony is dispensed with if he lives among Chinese who are faithful to the Tartar rule; his face is washed and he exchanges his garments for a long white robe, as the token of purity and the commencement of a new life. He is then led up to the altar where he offers up nine blades of grass and an incense stick, while an appropriate stanza is repeated between each offering. A red candle is then lighted and the members worship heaven and earth by pledging three cups of wine. This done, the seven starred lamp, the precious imperial lamp, and the Hung lamp are lighted and prayer is made to the gods beseeching them to protect the members. The oath of thirty-six articles is then read and each member draws some blood from the middle finger and drops it into a cup partly filled with wine. Each neophyte having drunk of the mixture, strikes off the head of a white cock as a sign that all unfaithful brothers shall perish. Then each new brother receives his diploma, a book containing the oath, the rules and secret signs, a pair of daggers and three Hung medals.

The secret signs are numerous and by means of them a brother can make himself known by the manner in which he enters a house, puts down his umbrella, arranges his shoes (in the form of a square, toes meeting), holds his hat, takes a cup of tea, and performs a number of other actions. Every member is provided with a copy of the seal printed with coloured characters on silk or calico. It is pentagonal and inscribed with a number of Chinese characters, but no translation of it seems to be possible. The League is governed by the Masters of the five principle Lodges. Each Lodge has for its officers: President, two Vice-Presidents, Master, two Introducers, Fiscal, thirteen Councillors, one of whom is Treasurer, another Receiver, and a third Acting Receiver. Some of the members are called Horse-leaders and bring them into the Lodge. Two agents are also appointed to each Lodge, who are sent about on behalf of the League, which pays their travelling expenses. At the same time they are allowed to undertake commissions for the members of the League.

One of the clauses of the Penal Code of China runs:

"All those vagabond and disorderly persons who have been known to assemble together and to commit robberies, and other acts of violence, under the particular designation of Tien ti hwui, or "The Association of Heaven and Earth," shall immediately after seizure and conviction suffer death by being beheaded; and all those who have been induced to accompany them, and to aid and abet their said practices, shall suffer death by being strangled."

The Mongol dynasty established by Jenghiz Khan and his followers owed its downfall mainly to the energetic action of the Hung League and if it had not been for the support Great Britain gave to the government of China in its struggle with the Taipings, who trace their origin to this League, the Manchu dynasty then would have shared the fate of the Mongol emperors.

In the Straits Settlements there was little difficulty in obtaining information about the League, which was recognized by the government, and some valuable particulars concerning it were imparted by Mr. W. A. Pickering in two papers read by him at the meetings of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in May, 1878, and June, 1879, the names of tens of thousands of office-bearers and members being, he said, registered with the government. His information was practically complete, since not only was it obtained from conversations with the Sien-sengs or Masters of the Lodges, but also from perusal of the numerous manuals or catechisms which passed through his hands, some copies of which he possessed. He traced the foundation of the League as a political society to 1674, but at the time at which he wrote it had degenerated into an association of, at the best, very questionable characters, the objects being to carry out private quarrels and to uphold the interests of the members, either by means of the law or in spite of it, and to raise money by subscription, or by levying fees on brothers and gambling-houses in the districts controlled by the various branches. However degenerated the Society may have become, Mr. Pickering held to the opinion that originally, in the long past, it was a system similar to Freemasonry and that its object was to benefit mankind by spreading a spirit of brotherhood by teaching the duties of man to God and to his neighbour. The motto adopted, whether acted on or not was, "Obey Heaven and Work Righteousness."


Mr. Pickering gives an account of an initiation ceremony which he witnessed in a well-disciplined Lodge in Singapore, which ceremony lasted from 10 P.M. until 3 A.M., when some seventy new members were admitted into the Society. Theoretically all meetings are held in the jungle or mountains and every new member was instructed to reply, when asked where he was initiated: "In the mountains, for fear of the Ching officials."

Just inside the outer door of the Lodge was the famous Red Baton (a staff of thirty-six Chinese inches in length), which was used as an instrument of punishment and from which one of the office-bearers derived his title. Any person who wished to enter the Lodge was required to take up the baton with both hands and repeat the following verse:

"In my hands I hold the red cane,
On my way to the Lodge I've no fear,
You ask me, brother, whither I go,
You come early but I walked slow."

Any stranger failing in this test ought, according to the rules of the League, at once to be beheaded.

Another gate, which, like the former, was guarded by two officers of the Lodge, had to be passed before the Hall of Sincerity and Justice was reached. Two flags above the portal bore the inscription: "Dissipate revenge and put away all malice," while on the doorposts was the following couplet:

"Though a man be not a relation, if he be just he is worthy of all honour.
A friend if he be found destitute of honour, ought to be repudiated."

The next step was to the "City of Willows," which had four gates, real or represented, each surmounted by a couplet, while inside the "City of Willows" was the "Red Flower Pavilion." Above the Pavilion was the grand altar with the pulpit of the Sien-Seng, or Master of the Lodge. Passing through the circle and out by the west door of the Pavilion was reached the "Two-Planked Bridge," supposed to be guarded by the spirits of deceased brethren. The right hand plank of the bridge was supposed to be of copper and the left of iron, while on the bridge were hung various coins. Underneath were three stepping stones arranged in the form of a triangle, over which candidates passed to the fiery valley or the red furnace, guarded by a malignant though just spirit, who scrutinized the hearts of all who approached him and mercilessly slew all the traitors with his spear, consigning; their souls to the flames. Finally, the end of the dangerous journey was reached on arrival at the "Market of Universal Peace" and the "Temple of Virtue and Happiness." Fruit of five kinds was sold in the market and the following couplet was inscribed over the temple:

"In this happy place, if there be any impurity, the wind will cleanse away.
In this virtuous family, there will be no trouble; the sun will continually illumine the door."

The candidates, having purified their bodies by ablution, and after donning clean clothes, were prepared for initiation in a room convenient to the Lodge, on the Right of the "Market of Universal Peace." Each candidate was introduced by an office-bearer, who was responsible for him that for four months after his initiation the new member would not even come to words with the brethren and that for three years he would not break the more important of the thirty-six articles of the oath. Each candidate paid a fee of $3.50, two of which went to the Lodge treasury, the remainder being expended in fees to the office-bearers and the expenses of the evening. The surname, name, age, place and hour of birth, were entered on the register of the Society and copied on a sheet of red paper. The queue of each candidate was unbraided and the hair allowed to flow loosely down the back; the right shoulder and breast were bared, and the candidate was deprived of all possessions, except a jacket and short trousers. The candidates were addressed by the Master, who gave a description of the origin and objects of the League, concluding with the following:

"Many of our oaths and Ceremonies are needless and obsolete, as under the British government there is no necessity for some of the rules, and the laws of this country do not allow us to carry out others; the ritual is however retained for old customs' sake. The real benefits you will receive by joining our Society are, that if outsiders oppress you, or in case you get into trouble, on application to the Headmen, they will, in minor cases, take you to the Registrars of Secret Societies, the Inspector General of Police, and the Protector of Chinese, who will certainly assist you to obtain redress; in serious cases we will assist you towards procuring legal advice."

Mr. Pickering was informed by many old office-bearers of societies that forty years previously the punishments of the league were carried out in their integrity and that on one occasion some strangers (called in the slang of the Society "draughts of wind") were actually beheaded for intruding on a meeting of the League held in the "jungle."


After the address to the new members the Master explained to them the various secret signs and passwords, which were of great use to those who travelled in the Native States and through the Archipelago. Those secrets were, however, then only revealed in a very elementary manner; a familiar knowledge could only be obtained by attending Lodges of Instruction which were frequently held, after notification to the government. The Master then unbraided his queue and put on a suit of clothes and a pure white turban, his assistants also arraying themselves in white, but with red turbans and with white straw shoes laced over white stockings. With right shoulder bare, the Master passed through the gate into the Hall of Sincerity and Justice and the east gate of the City of Willows, repeating an appropriate verse at each stage, the candidates being left behind. When he arrived at the altar in the Red Flower Pavilion he lighted certain lamps and burned a charm to drive all evil spirits away. With a sprig of pomegranate and a cup of pure water he sprinkled the altar at the four points of the compass, to cleanse the offerings from all impurities. After certain other ceremonial, in which blades of grass and incense sticks appeared, the Buddhist and Taouist gods, angels and spirits, with the five ancestors and others were invoked to descend, at monotonous length, the invocation concluding with the words:

"This night we pledge that the brethren in the whole universe shall be as from one womb, as begotten by one Father, and nourished by one Mother; that we will obey Heaven and work righteousness; that our faithful hearts shall never change. If august Heaven grants that Beng be restored, then happiness will return to our land."

Libations of tea and wine were then poured out and sacrifices offered. Officers were placed at all gates, when, at a given moment, there came an alarm at the Ang Gate, outside which the candidates were squatted on the ground, waiting admission. The officer who answered the alarm returned to the Master and said:

"May it please the Worshipful Master, the Vanguard General Thien Iu-Ang is without, having the secret sign and password, and he humbly begs an interview with the Five Ancestors."

The Master, having granted admission the Vanguard enters the gate and having repeated the appropriate verses at each barrier, passed into the city and fell prostrate before the altar. The Master then catechised him as follows:

"Q. The Five Ancestors are above , but who is this prostrate before me?

A. I am Thien Iu-Ang of the Ko-Khe Temple.

Q. What proof can you show of this?

A. I have a verse as a proof.

Q. What is the verse?

A. I am indeed Thien lu-Ang, bringing myriads of new troops into the city.
That they tonight in the Pear Garden may take the oath of brotherhood.
The whole Empire desires to take the surname Ang.

Q. For what do you come here?

A. To worship the Thien Te-hui.

Q. What proof do you bring?

A. In this verse:

Heaven produced the Sun-Moon Lord (Beng) whose surname is Ang.
But from north to south the wind has blown him where it listed.
All the heroic brethren of Ang are now associated together, to restore the rightful dynasty,
Waiting for the dragon to appear, when they will burst open the barriers, and overturn the Cheng.

Q. Why do you wish to worship the Heaven and Earth Society ?

A. In order that we may drive out the Cheng and restore our Beng.

Q. Have you any proof?

A. In this verse:

We have searched the origin and inquired exhaustively into the Cause,
And find that the Cheng took from us by force our native land.
Following our leaders we will now restore the Empire.
The glory of the Beng shall appear and the reign of righteousness shall be established.

Q. Do you know that there is a great and a small Heaven and Earth Society?

Yes, the great Society originated in Heaven and the lesser at the waters of the three rivers.

How can you prove this?

By the following verse:

Our Society was originally established at the Sam Ho
And multitudes of Brethren took the oath of allegiance.
On the day when the principles of Heaven shall be carried out
Our whole family shall sing the hymn of universal peace.

Q. What evidence do you bring?

A. In this verse:

The sun and moon issuing from the East clearly,
The army is composed of countless myriads of Ang heroes,
To overthrow the Cheng and restore Beng is the duty of all good men,
And their sincerity and loyalty will at last be rewarded by rank and emolument."

Mr. Pickering says it is really astonishing to hear a clever Master and Vanguard go through the lengthy catechism of 333 questions and answers in this manner correctly without reference to a book or paper, although the Master has the ritual before him on the altar. This portion of the ceremony lasts for nearly an hour, during the whole of which time the Vanguard is kneeling, and at its conclusion, the Master addresses him as follows:

"Having thoroughly examined you, I find that by your satisfactory replies, you have proved yourself to be the real Thien Iu-Ang; the Five Ancestors graciously accept your answers and petitions, so kotow and return thanks for their benevolent condescension."

The Master then presents a sword and warrant flag and gives him permission to bring in the candidates for initiation. They enter in pairs and after giving particulars of themselves subscribe to the oath and are formally admitted.


The Ko-lao-hwui association was in 1896 said to be numerically the most powerful secret society in China, numbering then more than a million members, its organization being as perfect as the erratical Chinaman could make it. It is a direct offspring of the famous Hung League and, like that Society, each branch is governed by three principal officers. The southern and central provinces of China form the main centers of its activity, and the provinces of Hunan, Fuhkien, and Canton are especially honeycombed with its branches. Some of these branches are known under different names. One, the Golden Lily Hui, flourishes in the western provinces of China. The members generally are divided into four sections, marshalled respectively under white, black, red, and yellow flags. Ostensibly the objects of the Society are for the mutual protection of the members against the plunder and extortion practised by the civic officials when dealing with the pay and maintenance of the troops, and the Society was at first a purely military association. In more recent years, however, the recruits have been gathered from the dregs of society — time-expired soldiers, unemployed and professional thieves — but, for their own safely, as many house-holders as possible seek initiation and, sometimes, are forced to join should they prove unwilling voluntarily to enrol. On various occasions members of the Society have been found guilty of organizing risings against the government. The Society is anti-foreign, anti-missionary, and anti-dynastic. Its banners are inscribed with the words "Faith and Righteousness," though the means employed to attain the ends would scarcely come within those virtues; Initiation consists in killing a cock and drinking its blood, either by itself or mixed with wine. The ticket of membership is a small oblong piece of calico or linen stamped with Chinese characters, but as the Society is proscribed, the possession of one of these vouchers, if discovered, entails immediate execution by the authorities.

The Tsing-lien-kiao, or the Wonderful Association, is a secret society which arose in China in 1800. It is supposed to have been the Pe-lin-kao under another name. Its members conspired unsuccessfully against the ruling dynasty. The members are said to have abstained from animal food, wine, garlic, and onions. They took fearful oaths to conceal their secrets from even their nearest relatives. They met only at night.

In all probability this Society was the parent of the Vegetarians, the members of which eat no meat and neither smoke nor drink. In 1896 the members committed ruthless murders on English missionaries in the neighbourhood of Foochow and it is said that from their ranks the Boxers of 1900 were largely recruited.


The Tsingeha Man, or the Tea Society, is another Chinese Society. All that is known of it is from a report of a prosecution of some of its members, which appeared in the Peking Gazette in June, 1816, from which the following is extracted:

"That on the first and fifteenth of every month, the votaries of this sect burn incense; make offerings of fine tea; bow down and worship the heavens, the earth, the sun, the moon, fire, water, and their deceased parents. They also worship Buddhas and the founder of their own sect. In receiving proselytes they use Choh-kwai (bamboo chopsticks) and with them touch the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose of those that join their sect, commanding them to observe the three revertings and the five precepts. They lyingly and presumptuously affirm that the first progenitor of the clan of Wang resides in heaven. The world is governed by three Buddhas in rotation. The reign of Yentang Fuh is past; Shihkia Fuh now reigns; and the reign of Milih Fuh is yet to come. These sectaries affirm that Milih Fuh will descend and be born in their family; and carry all that enter the sect, after death, into the regions of the west, to the palace of the Immortal Sien, where they will be safe from the dangers of war, of water, and of fire. Because of these sayings they deceive the simple people, tempt them to enter the sect, and cheat them out of their money."

The Chang Society or clan is a local Chinese society numbering some ten thousand in Fuhkien, so well organized that the emperor's writs were only circularized by permission of the chiefs of the Order.

The Tien chu kiau was a society organized by Catholics for the propagation of the Faith. There was nothing secret about it but the Chinese government classed it among the prohibited societies and suppressed it. The Emperor Yung Cheng classed Catholics with political societies and ranked their meetings among the dangerous associations.

There is one androgynous secret society in China, which is known as the Golden Orchid Society, the female members of which take an oath never to marry. They not only threaten, but they positively commit suicide upon any attempt to coerce them into marriage. At one time this society became such a serious menace that the authorities were compelled to adopt severe measures of repression.

The Hip Shin Tong, or "Hall of United Virtues," is an independent local Chinese secret society in Philadelphia, U.S.A. It is really an association for the purposes of blackmail, or what is known in California as a "highbinder" society. The membership, says Mr. Stewart Culk, is entirely recruited from the ranks of I Hing.

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


DR. KANE, one of the most illustrious of modern explorers, scientists, and geographers, was born in Philadelphia of Quaker parents in 1820. As a boy he possessed a courageous and daring spirit and always tried to excel other boys in sports and physical exercises. He was a brilliant student whose thoughts and pleasures tended always to run along the line of popular science. He matriculated at the University of Virginia at the age of 17, and became the honor student in chemistry, mineralogy, and physical geography. While at the University he suffered a severe attack of heart trouble: this should have been a warning to him, but he paid little heed to it and continued to work as hard as ever. He always seemed to have an almost abnormal love for the cold: while other men went about in overcoats he felt uncomfortably warm.

He later attended the University of Pennsylvania medical school where he received his degree at the age of 22. Shortly afterwards he entered the navy. His biographers disagree among themselves as to the nature and extent of his service, but I have taken the pains to unearth his official naval records from the offices of the Navy Department and therefore feel secure in stating the facts. Dr. Kane was commissioned as assistant surgeon in the Navy on July 21, 1843, and was ordered to the East India squadron, in which he served until August, 1845, when he was ordered to the Philadelphia navy yard. A year later he was ordered to the frigate "United States." Later he was given a leave of absence to "recruit his health," which proves that he was still struggling with his old malady. On November 2, 1847, after he had been examined for promotion, he was ordered to the city of Mexico to serve with the Marines and remained with them until July 25, 1848, after which he was again examined and promoted. In 1849 he served on board a supply ship for a few months and was then ordered for duty on a coast survey vessel. After this he was assigned, so the record shows, to an "Arctic expedition"; the record is dated after May 8, 1850.

The chronological records of an officer do not often show the purpose or nature of his duty but one may learn from other sources that Dr. Kane was made a surgeon under Lieutenant E. J. DeHaven who had charge of the "Advance," which was one of the two vessels sent to the Arctic in search of Sir John Franklin. The vessel was owned by Mr. Henry Grinnell of New York. No trace was found of the unfortunate Franklin expedition, although a most diligent search was made. British authorities later sent another expedition in search of Franklin but this was not enabled to report any discoveries.

Dr. Kane, who had become deeply interested in Arctic exploration, wrote an interesting report of his own trip and at the same time took occasion to present his views of a better plan than had hitherto been planned. Upon this Mr. Grinnell came forward with the offer of another ship in 1853, hereupon Dr. Kane fitted out an expedition and made a hazardous voyage, attended with any privations and much suffering. He did not find Franklin but he discovered an open polar sea. His ship became an ice-bound prison, and Dr. Kane and his associates made friends with the Eskimos, learned much of their language and of their customs, and were enabled to contribute much to the geography of the polar regions. He was obliged to abandon his ship in 1855 and march about twelve hundred miles to a Danish settlement in the south of Greenland, the march being over broken and often floating ice the whole weary way. The party reached home in October of that year and was received with much enthusiasm by both America and England. Dr. Kane's health was broken so that he was compelled to make a trip to England for special medical treatment. His return from Greenland had been in the famous bark "Release" which the Government had sent for the purpose.

Dr. Kane died in Cuba in 1857, where a medallion has been recently erected, and this unfortunately is the only memorial of this great man. The last record made in the Navy Department reads as follows: "The records further indicate that he died on the 16th of February while on special duty, the character of which the records do not seem to show." Some of his biographers alleged that he served a while in the Army but from the records just quoted it appears that they are in error.

It is worthy of note that when the House of Representatives was informed of the death of this famous explorer it adjourned out of respect for his memoir and yet no one thought of a memorial to him. His remains were removed to the family burying ground in Laurel Fill Cemetery, Philadelphia, and there, as one of my correspondents informs me, lie in a vault surrounded by natural rock, having no memorial of any kind.

It remained for Freemasons to make up the neglect of the Government by honoring the memory of a hero of science and exploration. In the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of New York, 1922, you may read the following significant words: "Brother William E. Somners, of New Jersey, while on a visit to Havana in 1920, discovered the site of the house where Dr. Kane had died. Feeling that the friendly act of the Cubans deserved recognition, he enlisted the interest of the Grand Lodges of New York and New Jersey. A beautiful memorial tablet was designed and cast under the direction of Brother Henry M. Moeller, secretary of Kane Lodge No. 454 of New York. The tablet was unveiled in February, 1922, with impressive public ceremonies. R. W. Harold E. Lippincott, Judge Advocate, represented the Grand Lodge of New York."

Dr. Elisha Kent Kane was made a Mason in Franklin Lodge No. 134 in Philadelphia. So far as I have been able to learn he never held any office in the lodge. Kane Lodge in New York was named after him which shows that his fellow Masons have not forgotten his membership in the Order, or his zeal and fame in science.

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Editor, The Builder

The paper below is the first of a new series of Study Club articles to cover, chapter by chapter, the more important periods and features of Masonic history. I have condensed and simplified to the limit of my ability but even so I know that beginners may find some passages difficult. This difficulty lies in the subject matter, which is stubborn and complicated to a degree, and therefore means that readers themselves must cooperate by a willingness to read and re-read, and to study. Surely the subject is worth it! Vibert's "Freemasonry Before the Existence of Grand Lodges," Vibert's "Story of the Craft," Newton's "The Builders," and Gould's "Concise History of Freemasonry" may be read in conjunction with these papers. Of the many articles on Masonic history that have already appeared in THE BUILDER lists will be printed at the end of each monthly instalment; so also with titles of books consulted. By the time the series is completed the reader will have traversed the whole field of the general history of the Craft and be all the happier in his Masonic life in consequence, and much better equipped to take a part in its activities. Hitherto we have carried in the department a stereotyped page of suggestions to Study Club members and leaders; for the sake of space, which grows more valuable each month, we are omitting such matter. In its place we have printed a booklet on "How to Organize and Maintain a Study Club" which will be furnished free to any brother asking for it. — H.L.H.



THE WORD Gothic has become associated in our minds with much that is most beautiful in the world — cathedrals, churches, spires and an old manner of decoration — but to the Italian artists of the Renaissance who gave the world its currency it had quite a different meaning, and was used by them as a term of reproach to signify the culture of the northern barbarians, especially of German blood, who had broken off from classical traditions. Vasari appears to have been responsible above any other individual for this usage.

Gothic was at first applied to the whole barbarian (I use the word here in its Renaissance sense) culture; but later, and after men had begun to understand and to appreciate it, was more narrowly applied to that which was most distinctive in barbarian culture, the architecture; and at a still later period, and through popular usage, it became associated almost entirely with religious architecture, and more especially with the cathedrals, so that we find the great New English Dictionary giving it the following definition:

"The term for the style of architecture prevalent in Western Europe from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century, of which the chief characteristic is the pointed arch; applied also to buildings, architectural details, and ornamentation. The most usual names for the successive periods in this style in England are Early English, Decorative, and Perpendicular."

This definition is not as accurate as it might be. Many authorities on the history of architecture would not agree with the statement that "the chief characteristic is the pointed arch"; they have other theories of the matter. Nor is it safe to apply the word only to architecture, because there were Gothic styles in dress, in bridges, in walls, in furniture, in ornamentation, in manners, and even in household utensils. It happens that little is left of Gothic save church edifices, but that is because war has destroyed everything else.

Some of the best writers on the subject, Lethaby for example, whose work is to be recommended for its energy, interest and scholarliness, make Gothic to be equivalent to everything specifically medieval in art, which would include stained glass, manuscripts, poetry, etc. These writers point out that it was not until the nineteenth century archaeologists had come, under the leadership of De Caumont and his fellows, that men began to give a narrow usage to the word. "The word," writes Arthur Kingsley Porter, "first applied as an epithet of approbrium to all medieval buildings by the architects of the Renaissance, was given a technical meaning by De Caumont and the archaeologists of the nineteenth century, who employed it to distinguish buildings with pointed arches from those with round arches, which were called Romanesque." Some writers continue to refuse to use the word at all; Rickman prefers "English Architecture"; and Britton, "Christian Architecture." Dr. Albert G. Mackey says, "that Gothic architecture has therefore very justly been called 'The Architecture of Freemasonry;'" but of that more anon.

The old Roman style of building, on which all subsequent styles in Western Europe were based until the coming of Gothic, and which came to be called Romanesque, was organized on a very simple principle, and had its beginnings, at least so far as temples, churches, and cathedrals were concerned, in the ancient basilica. A flat roof was laid across four walls, like the lid on a box. If the roof was ridged or arched the walls had to be thickened in order to take care of the side thrust, so that in the largest buildings, where much interior space was needed, the walls were necessarily given a massive thickness; and this thickness in turn made it necessary to use small windows lest the anchorage furnished by the walls be weakened and the building collapse. In consequence of this, Romanesque buildings were like military fortifications in their squatness, their ponderousness, and their interior gloom. The Gothic architects escaped from these unfortunate results by employing the pointed arch which enabled them greatly to increase their interior heights; and they learned how to take up the side thrusts of these arches by means of flying buttresses, rather than by heavy pier-like walls. This removed the great weight from the side walls and enabled the builders to substitute glass for stone, thus destroying at once the old unpleasant gloominess. In the course of time the system of pillars, arches and flying buttresses became a kind of thing in itself, like the frame-work of a machine, so that the skeleton of a building became self-sufficient, and might be said to dispense with walls altogether. It is this frame-work, so organized as to be self-supporting, that most distinguishes Gothic as a whole from its predecessor, Romanesque; such features as made this feat possible — the arch, rib vaulting, and the buttress — being secondary.

This is the point of Violet-le-Duc's famous description of Gothic, ably summarized by C. H. Moore in these words: "A system which was a gradual evolution out of Romanesque; and one whose distinctive characteristic is that the whole character of the building is determined by, and its whole strength is made to reside in, a finely organized and frankly confessed, frame-work, rather than in walls."

Moore has himself furnished a definition yet more famous, and easily comprehended:

"In fine, then, Gothic architecture may be shortly defined as a system of construction in which vaulting on an independent system of ribs is sustained by piers and buttresses whose equilibrium is maintained by the opposing action of thrust and counterthrust. This system is adorned by sculptures whose motives are drawn from organic nature, conventionalized in obedience to architectural conditions, and governed by the appropriate forms established by the ancient art, supplemented by colour designs on opaque ground and more largely in glass. It is a popular church architecture — the product of secular craftsmen working under the stimulus of national and municipal aspiration and inspired by religious faith."

Moore finds the key to Gothic in the flying buttress. Other authorities have other theories. Porter finds it in the rib vault; Phillips in the pointed arch, which he makes to be the alpha and omega of the whole system; Gould believes that stone-vaulting is paramount; while Lethaby appears to find the quintessence of Gothic not in this one feature or in that but in the general medieval character of it as a whole.


There has been a great deal of difference of opinion among the historians of architecture as to where and when Gothic began. English writers, who have a very natural desire to claim for their own land the glory of the discovery of the art, date it at 1100 A.D. or earlier, and find its first manifestations at Durham; whereas French writers almost unanimously hold that Gothic began first of all in the region round about Paris, in what was once called the Ile de France, and say that the Abbey Church of St. Denis, begun in 1140, is to be regarded as the first known Gothic monument. It appears that a majority of the more modern writers incline to agree with the French theory. Porter dates the new style as beginning in Paris about 1163, and says that it reached its culmination in the year 1220, with the nave of Amiens.

Goodyear, in his Roman and Medieval Art, gives a fairly accurate and quite condensed account of the origin and growth of Gothic in a paragraph very suitable for quotation in this connection. He say's that "the late Gothic is known in France as the 'flamboyant'; i.e., the florid (or flaming). Otherwise the designation of 'early,' 'middle' and 'late' Gothic are accepted. It must be understood that there are no definite limits between these periods. Speaking generally, the late twelfth century was the time of Gothic beginnings in France, and it is rarely found in other countries before the thirteenth century; the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries are both periods of great perfection, and the fifteenth century is the time of relative decadence. Both in Germany and in England the thirteenth century was the time of the introduction of Gothic. In Italy it was never fully or generally accepted. Within the field of the Gothic proper (i.e., excluding Italy), England is the country where local and national modifications are most obvious, many showing that the style was practised more or less at second hand. In picturesque beauty and general attractiveness the English cathedrals may be compared with any, but preference must be given to the French in the study of the evolution of the style." (Page 283.)

Whence did the Gothic architects derive the secret of their new art? Theories are as numerous as they are various, and they range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Lascelles believed that the builders had learned their pointed arches from cross-sections of Noah's ark! Stukeley and Warburton held that they stumbled upon their new principle while trying to imitate the secret groves of the Druids. Ranking argued that Gothic is Gnostic in character, and brings to bear a great mass of data. Christopher Wren argued that it had been borrowed from the Saracens. Findel and Fort both attribute the discovery of the art to the Germans; with this Leader Scott agrees in her now famous Cathedral Builders, except that she seems to hold that the Comacine Masters were the missionaries who carried it into France and into England. Dr Milner believed Gothic to have been a modification of Romanesque arches, a theory with which many agree. In a contribution to Ars Quatuor Coronatorum that made much of a stir at the time, Hayter Lewis urged that such a definite and clearly articulated principle must have been the work of one man, and suggested Suger, the minister of King Louis le Gros of France, which country was at that date a little strip about Paris not much larger than Ireland. Governor Pownall believed that Gothic was derived from timber work practices; whereas some Scotch theorists have believed it derived from wicker work. Gilbert Scott, a writer of great authority in his day, rejected all these particular derivations and argued that Gothic evolved gradually, orally, and inevitably out of conditions already existing in architecture and in society; with this Gould agreed, as do a majority of present day writers. Gould is the whole matter up in a sentence: "The researches of later and better informed writers, however, have made it clear that the Gothic was no imitation or importation, but an indigenous style, which arose gradually but almost simultaneously in various parts of Europe." (History of Freemasonry, Vol. I, p. 255.)


At the time that Gothic made its appearance almost all art, including architecture, was still under control by the monastic orders; but with the development of the cathedrals art passed into lay control. It believed by some that the scarcity of records concerning the builders themselves is due to the pride of chroniclers, almost always ecclesiastic, who disdained to mention the workmen except in the most general way. These workmen, like almost all other craftsmen of their period, were organized into guilds. Guilds differed among themselves very much with time and place but through all their various changes retained well defined characteristics. Each guild was a stationary organization which usually possessed a monopoly of trade in its own community, the laws of which were binding on the craftsmen. The guilds of one trade wielded no control over those of another, but all together agreed on certain rules and practices, such as those that appertained to apprenticeship, buying raw materials, marketing, and all that. In some communities, the guilds became so powerful that a few historians have confused their government with that of their city, but it is probable that this never happened frequently, if at all.

It is believed that, owing to peculiarities in their art, the guilds that had cathedral building in charge became differentiated from others in some very important particulars. If this really happened it was a most natural result of the circumstances under which the cathedral builders laboured. Theirs was a unique calling. All other buildings were wholly unlike cathedrals, and it was not often that cities were able to afford the luxury of one, so that there never was a great plenty of work for them to do. Also, their craft was peculiarly difficult, and involved the possession and learning of many uncommon trade secrets, so that the very nature of the work differentiated the cathedral building craftsman from other guild members. It is believed by cautious historians that after a while the authorities, recognizing the uniqueness of the cathedral builders' art, granted them certain privileges and immunities, and permitted them to move about at will from place to place, which in itself set them sharply apart from the stationary guilds, each of which was not permitted to do work outside its own incorporated limits; and many writers believe that because of this freedom to move about unrestricted by the usual medieval curtailments of privilege, that these guilds, or Masons (the word means "builders"), came at last to be called "Freemasons." Governor Pownall wrote a page once to prove that even the popes granted these builders special privileges, but subsequent researches in the Vatican library never enabled him, or other researchers after him, to unearth the papal bulls.


Writers of the old school used to believe, almost unanimously, that these medieval Freemasons were bound together into one great unified fraternity operating under single control from some center, such as London, Paris, York, and they argued that this it "one big fraternity," with certain important but not revolutionary changes, existed right down to our own time, and that the Freemasonry of today is virtually that same organization that it was then. R. F. Gould, (see note) who spoke for a whole group of first-class English Masonic scholars as well as for himself, flatly denied this whole theory in the most sweeping and unequivocal manner. "I have shown," he said, on page 295 of the first volume of his History of Freemasonry, 'that the idea of a universal body of men working with one impulse and after one set fashion, at the instigation of a cosmopolitan body acting under a certain direction..... is a myth." On page 262 of the same volume he remarks that the theory of a universal brotherhood "is contradicted by the absolute silence of all history." With this verdict, Arthur Kingsley Porter, who wrote solely as a historian of medieval architecture, and not with any of the problems of Freemasonry in mind, agrees, and on very much the same grounds.

Gould bases his negation almost entirely on the testimony of the buildings themselves, and argues that whereas a writer here and there might be mistaken the buildings cannot be, and he holds that they one and all offer a united testimony that they were not the work of "one big fraternity" but represent local peculiarities not to be overlooked. His examination of the Gothic architecture of the various countries, with the purpose in view of revealing their testimony on this important point, is one of the most magnificent achievements in his monumental History. It is probable that the great majority of present day historians of medieval architecture would agree with him.

The history of the various arts and devices that made Gothic possible seems to corroborate this position. Every fact known concerning the evolution of Gothic proves that it came into existence gradually, and that no organization ever possessed its secrets at any one time, and that the arch, the flying buttress, the rib vault, and the other features so characteristic, were learned through painful experience, and independently of each other. Porter speaks of the flying buttress as "a new principle" and one "that more than any other assured the triumph of the rib vault and a principle whose discovery marks the moment when Gothic architecture first came into existence." On page 92 of Volume II of his great work, Medieval Architecture, a masterly production the reading of which is urged upon every student of Freemasonry, he writes as follows: "Hence it is probable that the advantages and possibilities of the flying buttress were not immediately appreciated at their full value, and, while the new construction was freely applied in cases where the threatened fall of the vault demanded its application, edifices even of considerable dimensions still continued to be erected without its aid." This important feature, without which Gothic could never have come into being, was the work of gradual experiment, and builders learned about it slowly, here a little, there a little, and in some places they never mastered it at all: had the secret of the flying buttress been known in advance to any one big fraternity of craftsmen, all this painful and costly evolution would have been unnecessary.

The same thing may be said of the pointed arch which was so essential to Gothic that it has often given its own name to the style. Porter shows that the arch as a unit of construction was very old, and used long before the Crusaders took Jerusalem; and that it was adopted by Gothic builders slowly and only under compulsion; its use for ornamental purposes alone came late, and in the beginnings of Gothic the builders clung to their use of the old-time round arch as long as possible.

There is no need to multiply instances. Geometry, which was sometimes used as being synonymous with the art of building itself, and more particularly with Gothic, and which was of such obvious importance, was never known as a merely abstract science, and came gradually to hand after countless experiments and trials of failure and success. There is no evidence that any body of men ever possessed it at once and in its entirety, which is what would have been necessary to "one big fraternity" having the enterprise of medieval building in hand. The history of Romanesque ornamentation in Gothic structures tells a similar tale; and so also the use of stained glass, which Porter traces to the Ile de France, and which came into existence gradually and by slow degrees.

In short, the history of the art verifies the testimony of the buildings themselves; all was a gradual evolution, and after the usual fashion, out of contemporaneous conditions and from preexisting methods and customs. When one casually glances back on medieval history from the ease of his armchair, and looks upon it as a spectacle hanging in the air, Gothic may appear to have come into existence almost at once, like the goddess rising from the head of Zeus; but a more careful examination of the facts proves that the old theory of one big fraternity bestowing on the world a whole new art and a whole new culture to be a pleasant delusion.

One could also add to the argument the testimony of history, which is the testimony of silence. If Gothic art was the possession of one big fraternity, then that astonishing society must have had also in hand the building of highways, bridges, walls, private dwellings, fortresses, miles, and it must also have taught the people how to make their garments and to ornament their residences because, as has already been said, Gothic art was continuous with medieval art it society endowed with such wisdom, and working in every center in Europe, would have been as universal as the Catholic Church of those days, and would have left as voluminous a record; but as the fact stands there is such a lack of records, even of the cathedral builders, that even now, and after a century of constant research on the ground by experts, very little is known of the cathedral builders, so that it is necessary to feel one's way in the dark whenever one sets out to learn something about them.

Gothic architecture was not the outcome of the labours of any one group but of all the groups and classes that made up the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries in Europe and in England. In the latter country one need only recall the reigns of Henry II and of King John, from whom Magna Charta was wrested to remember what a ferment everything was in, and how vigorous was the communal life. In western Europe it was the same. The successors to the Capets created in the Frankish territories, and with Paris as its center, an empire comparable to old Rome itself. It was the time when cities arose to independency, when kings became powerful monarchs as against the divisive rule of feudal lords and barons; when the papacy extended its power to the limits of Christendom, with the consequence that something like unity was affected in the moral and religious life of the peaces; and this moral and religious life became powerful enough to send the crusaders into Palestine for the capture of Jerusalem. "The greatest of all the marvels of the Gothic cathedral is the age which produced it. Amid the broils of robber-barons, amid the clamour of communes and contending factions, amid the ignorance and superstitution of the Church, this lovely art, at once so intellectual and so ideal, suddenly burst into flower. It seems almost like an anachronism, that this architecture should have arisen in the turbulent Middle Ages. Yet Gothic architecture, although in a sense so distinctly opposed to the spirit of the times, was none the less deeply imbued with that spirit of the times, and can be understood only when considered in relation to contemporary political, ecclesiastical, economic, and social conditions. For the XII century, despite its darkness, was yet a period far in advance of what had gone before — so far that M. Luchaire does not hesitate to name it 'la Renaissance fran├žaise.'.....

"The intellectual revolution was accompanied by an economic upheaval no less radical. Herr Schmoller has even compared it to that which took place in the XIX century. In the cities the workmen were freed from serfage, and commenced to unite themselves into free corporations; and the same process was at work in a less degree among the villeins or serfs of the country. The economic advantages of this emancipation were incalculable. The pilgrimages, the journeys of the French chivalry into all parts of Europe, above all, the crusades, opened to the merchants a field of activity undreamed of heretofore. The guilds of merchants, which ever became more numerous and stronger; the commercial relations that were established between Normandy and England; the redoubled prosperity of Montpellier and Marseille; the multiplication of markets; the increasing importance of the great fairs Champagne — all these conditions betray a radical transformation in the material condition of the population. Everywhere the condition of the labourer was made easier; everywhere the cities increased their economic productions, and extended their traffic; everywhere bridges were rebuilt and repaired; everywhere new roads were opened. And with commerce, came wealth." (Pages 145, 147, Porter's Medieval Architecture Vol. II)

This new life also manifested itself in theological speculation, some of which was so audacious that men were martyred at the stake for the sake of their opinions; in philosophy and the study of law; in polities and in art. A new life broke forth everywhere, and out of its richness there came, as its consummate blossom, the Gothic cathedral.

But how, it may be reasonably inquired, are we to amount for the unity of Gothic art at a time when the world was very much divided, and intercommunication among countries very difficult? The question is well taken, but it can be easily answered. The unity of the craft was due to the unity of the work done by the craft; Gothic technique imposed its own unity upon the workmen and their activities as such things always do. Phillips has shown that if one will lay out a chart showing the building of each French cathedral in succession the sites will begin thickly about Paris and then widen out in concentric curves, thus proving that the new architectural knowledge learned at the center radiated itself out, as knowledge is apt to do.

We have in our midst abundant examples of such a progress. The world is now full of steam engines of various kinds, but not for that reason do we believe that the secret of steam has even been the private property of a secret organization; we know that the steam engine began with Watt in 1789 and that each inventor has copied the work of his predecessor and added improvements and modifications of his own. There are hundreds of medical schools over this land and in other countries which use the same technical terminology (comparable to the "secret language" of the old cults); they employ the same types of instruments; have similar rules; and one and all furnish their students such an education as is formally recognized in other schools across the world. We know that this unity of medical organization was never brought about in the beginning by "one big fraternity"; it grew out of the nature of the technique employed; the formal unity now possessed by national medical associations is not the cause, but the result, of the unity imposed by the profession itself.

I believe that a similar thing happened as regards Masonic guilds in the Middle Ages. Those bodies had a unity, but it was due to the nature of the work, and came about inevitably. They exchanged memberships, as medical, or law, or art societies now do, and that because the work done was everywhere pretty much the same. They developed an ethic of their own profession and held all guilds strictly thereto, as did the stationary guilds, and as do local medical and similar societies, always self-governing, in our own day. The unity which thus developed out of the nature of the work itself gradually crystallised into constitutions and traditions; and this unity finally, in England of the eighteenth century, and owing to profound changes in the conditions under which the guilds, or lodges, operated, became transformed into the formal unity that is represented by the authority and power of Grand Lodges. From the time early in the twelfth century when the cathedral building guilds first began to be, until Speculative Freemasonry was born in 1717 as a formally organized society, there was never a break in the historical continuity but there were very important evolutionary changes. Legally and technically our present Freemasonry began in London in 1717; historically, and in a wider view, it began in Europe in the eleventh or twelfth centuries.

But even in those early days the builders did not begin from the beginning. They had predecessors and ancestors upon whose shoulders they stood, and out of whose art they evolved their own. It will be necessary to take these into account, in order to complete the picture; this will be done in a few chapters to follow, and as introductory to a further development of the theme presented in this.

Note: Gould's "History of Freemasonry" was in reality the work of a group of men and it was the original intention to have the names of all appear on the title page. I have this information direct from one of the members of the group. H. L. H.


What did the word Gothic originally mean? What is the definition given by the New English Dictionary? How does Lethaby define Gothic ? Give substance of Porter's description of Gothic. What was the principle upon which Romanesque architecture was based ? Describe the general principle of Gothic architecture as explained by Brother Haywood. Give Moore's explanation in your own words. Can you name any specimen of Gothic architecture in your own community? Can you name any Gothic cathedrals in the United States? Why is Gothic architecture deemed particularly appropriate for church buildings? Have you ever in your own mind connected Gothic architecture with Freemasonry? If so, what has been your theory of that connection?


Where and when did Gothic begin? Give in your own words a sketch of Gothic history. What are some of the various theories of the origin of Gothic? What has all this to do with the history of Freemasonry?


What was a Guild? Why were the Gothic buildings different from others? What is the meaning of the word Mason? How did the word "Freemasonry" come into existence?


What was the theory of "one great fraternity"? What is Gould's verdict concerning this theory? In what way does the history of Gothic art tend to disprove the "one great fraternity theory"? Give examples to show that Gothic architecture developed gradually. Tell something about the age in which Gothic came into existence. How do you account for the unity of the Craft in the Middle Ages? Give some modern examples. The majority of historians of "Freemasonry" agree that our fraternity had its rise among Guilds of the Middle Ages: how would you state that theory in your own words? What bearing has this theory on our interpretations and obligations of present day Freemasonry?


  1. Medieval Art — W.R. Lethaby.
  2. Westminster Abbey and the King's Craftsmen — W.R. Lethaby.
  3. Architecture — W.R. Lethaby.
  4. Freemasonry before the Existence of Grand Lodges — Lionel Vibert.
  5. Story of the Craft — Lionel Vibert.
  6. Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. III, p. 13; 70.
  7. Ibid., Vol. XXXIII, p. 114.
  8. New English Dictionary on Historical Principles.
  9. History of Freemasonry — R.F. Gould, Vol. I, chapter 6, p.253.
  10. Medieval Architecture — Arthur Kingsley Porter, Vol. II.
  11. Mackey's Revised History of Freemasonry — Robert I. Clegg, p. 814.
  12. Early History and Antiquities of Freemasonry — G.F. Fort.
  13. History of Freemasonry — J.G. Findel, p. 76, (1869 edition).
  14. Freemason's Monthly Magazine, (Boston), Vol. XIX, p. 281.
  15. Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masonry — Edward Conder
  16. The Cathedral Builders — Leader Scott
  17. The Comacines — W. Ravenscroft.
  18. A Concise History of Freemasonry — R.F. Gould, 1920.
  19. Roman and Medieval Art — Wm. H. Goodyear.
  20. Development and Character of Gothic Architecture — Charles Herbert Moore.
  21. History of Architecture — James Fergusson.
  22. History of Architecture — Russell Sturgis.
  23. Art and Environment — L.M. Phillips.
  24. How to Know Architecture — Frank A. Wallis.
  25. History of Freemasonry and Concordant Orders — Hughan and Stillson, p. 747.
  26. The Builders — J.F. Newton, p. 97.
  27. Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods — J.S, Ward, part 1, chapter 6.


Mackey's Encyclopedia — (Revised Edition):

Antiquity of the Arch, p. 74; Architecture, p. 75; Basilica, p. 99; Bridge Builders of the Middle Ages, p. 117; Builder, p. 123; Cathedral of Cologne, p. 159; Cathedral of Strasburg, p. 729; Freemasons of the Church, p. 150; Gilds, p. 296; Giblim or Stone-squarers, p. 296; Geometry, p. 295; Gothic Architecture, p. 304; Implements, p. 348; Operative Masonry, p. 532; Secret Vault p 822; Sir Christopher Wren, p. 859; Stone-Masons of the Middle Ages, p. 718; Stone of Foundation, p. 722; Stone Worship, p. 727; Symbolism of the Temple, p. 774; Traveling Masons, p. 792.


Vol. I (1915) — Regensburg Stonemason's Regulations, pp. 171, 195; Whence Came Freemasonry? p. 181.

Vol. II (1916) — Masonry Universal, p. 29; Steinbrenner, p. 158; Masonic Traditions, p. 189; Joseph Findel, p. 221; A Significant Chapter in the Early History of Freemasonry, Nov. C.C.B. 4; Operative Masonry, Dec. C.C B. 1.

Vol. III (1917) — Antiquities, p. 181; Masonic History, p. 204; The Guild and York Rites, p. 242; Freemasonry and the Medieval Craft Guilds, pp. 342, 361; Worthy Operatives Cathedral Builders, p. 349.

Vol. IV (1918) — George Franklin Fort, p. 171; The Masonic Writings of George Franklin Fort, p. 210.

Vol. V (1919) — Mackey's History of Freemasonry, p. 53; Legendary Origin of Freemasonry, p. 297; Quatuor Coronate, p. 300.

Vol. VI (1920) — Speculative Masonry, p. 130; A Bird's-Eye View of Masonic History, p. 236.

Vol. VII (1921) — Whence Came Freemasonry? p. 90; Three Good Books on the Guild Question, p. 195; "The Evolution of Freemasonry," p. 360.

Vol. VIII (1922) — Gould's Concise History of Freemasonry, p. 23; Masonic Legends and Traditions, p. 57; Craft Guilds and Trade Unions, p. 63; Traveling Craftsmen, p. 102; A New Brief History of Freemasonry, p. 120; "Freemasonry and the Ancient Rites," p. 151; Freemasonry of the Middle Ages and International Society, p. 331.

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The Editor

It is our regretful duty to announce that Brother W. E. Atchison resigned his position as Assistant Secretary of this Society on January 1st. In severing this connection Brother Atchison terminated a period of some six years of service which has been signalized, especially during the period of the World War, by zeal and industry, so that the hearty good wishes of all will go with him to his new labors. He has accepted a position in the Service Department of the Masonic Service Association of the United States, of which Brother Andrew L. Randell, P.G.M., Texas, is Executive Secretary. It may be observed here, inter alia, that the National Masonic Research Society and the Masonic Service Association are two entirely separate and distinct organizations which, though they work together in harmonious cooperation, has each one its own task apart from the other.

Meanwhile — we now pass to the other side of the ledger — we are happy to announce the appointment of Brother Jacob Hugo Tatsch as Assistant Editor of this Society. Brother Tatsch is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but he has for a long time lived on the Pacific coast, where he served in the banking business for some seventeen years. During the World War he was commissioned a Captain of Infantry and as such organized and commanded what is now Co. A, 161st Infantry; and was also on active duty in the Military Intelligence Division of the United States Army during the last year of the War.

Brother Tatsch was raised in Oriental Lodge No. 74, F. & A. M., Spokane, Washington, on June 28, 1909, and served his lodge as Worshipful Master in 1914. He was appointed Junior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge F. & A. M. of Washington for 1914-15, and Grand Orator for 1917-18. He received the 32d of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in Oriental Consistory No. 2, Spokane, in 1909, and has held various appointive and elective offices. He is one of the American local secretaries of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, London, and is affiliated with the following bodies: Lodge of Research No. 2429, Leicester, England; Manchester Association for Masonic Research, Manchester, England' International Masonic Association, Geneva, Switzerland; Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Foerderung Freimaurerische Wissenschaftlicher Forschung, Hamburg, Germany. He is a charter member of the National Masonic Research Society.

For many years Brother Tatsch has been an indefatigable student of Freemasonry and has to his record many valuable pieces of research, especially in the field of Masonic bibliography, of which he has an expert knowledge. He enjoyed the distinction last year of contributing a treatise to the Lodge Quatuor Coronati of London, England, an honor that has gone to only a few American brethren. In addition to his duties as Assistant Editor of the Society, Brother Tatsch will superintend our book and publishing department. All inquiries sent to this office concerning books will receive his personal attention.

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WAY BACK in the 'eighties a distinguished English brother wrote a treatise on "The Worship of Death" in which learned document he undertook to show that Freemasonry is in line with the ancient cults and creeds that taught it is the duty of man in this life to keep his thoughts fixed on the dissolution of the body. There was a certain fitness in this preachment because the Freemasonry of the period was more or less funereal in its make-up, — repressed, rigid, shut-eyed, introspective, and very much given to brooding on the mystery of the coffin, and the skull and cross-bones. Lodges were dark and solemn places; and Masonic ceremonies were considered as reminders of the vanity of life and the certainty of death. Is the picture overdrawn ? Perhaps. Most such pictures are. Nevertheless the characterization will serve to remind one of what most struck the candidate in a lodge in the old days.

There is a funereal note in Freemasonry, even in the Freemasonry of this new day, and there should be, because death and all the last mysteries that surround it belong to the scheme of things human: but for all that there is no reason in the world why any Mason should let his Masonry be swamped by a cheerless gloom, a pall-like solemnity. Quite the contrary, for Masonry is in its very nature, if we shall but consider it, life, and light, and cheer, and should be lived as such. Masonry does not teach that death ends all, but that life ends all. It does not teach that everything is swallowed up in the grave, but that everything, the grave included, is swallowed up in the power and love of God. It does not teach that man should succumb to the assaults of time, or the bludgeons of the assassins and villains of bad fate and unfortunate circumstance, but that one may arise from his graves in the rubbish with many resurrections.

Such teachings should make one glad, not sad. And so also with the activities of the Craft by which a man is surrounded. Membership in the Fraternity armors a man against the slings and arrows of outraged fortune. He finds himself among friends; he enjoys hospitality and fellowship: he learns how good and blessed a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in harmony. The work of Masonry, like all its teachings, adds to the gaiety of nations and the joy of life. "Let there be light" is addressed to the heart as well as to the mind, and might very easily be translated into the other words, "Be of good cheer."

The solemn men, apparently so aged in spirit, who write so many of our books and compose so many of the articles that appear in our periodicals, are misled by the trappings and outward apparel of the Order. There is no need that they be so lugubriously sad, so heavy hearted, so leaden footed, so sunken eyed. Nobody will expel them from the Craft if they compose a cheerful song once in a while, or even contrive a bit of humor.

Of course nobody enjoys seeing grown men acting the fool on a lodge floor. Nobody enjoys the spectacle of a lot of men who take no interest in anything save lunches. Least of all does anybody desire to see the legitimate work of lodges side-tracked in favor of dances for the girls and musicales for the ladies. Such things are incidental and by-the-way, and not here in mind. The thing in mind is that Masonry is a triumph over the sour beast and the cynic in man. It exists for the sake of life. It makes for our peace and ministers to our joy. It calls for blithesomeness because it carries within itself the gladness of eternal LIFE.

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In its issue of February 5, "The Missouri Freemason" of St. Louis, published and edited by Brother F. H. Littlefield, made a two page announcement that must have proved of considerable interest to any members of this Society who chanced to read it. Over his own signature Brother Littlefield announced that a visit to the headquarters of this Society had so opened his eyes to its possibilities for Masonic service that he wished all readers of his paper to become members and to that end offered to sponsor their memberships, and by way of encouragement volunteered an offer of his own paper at a fifty per cent reduction. This is the first time such a thing has occurred since this Society was organized more than eight years ago, and is therefore worthy of more than passing notice.

This matter of possible co-operation with Masonic periodicals was carefully canvassed by officers of the Society who found there could be no possible objection to it in principle, but a very great likelihood of good; therefore, they approved the move, taking care the while to have it understood that membership in this Society can never be made a part of a club offer, but remains at a fined fee to one and all.

It chanced that during the week immediately following Brother Littlefield's visit to the Society's headquarters another Masonic periodical took up the matter, thus proving once again that the minds of men will sometimes run in the same channels. If some arrangement is entered into with these latter mentioned brethren there is no reason but to suppose that others may propose some such arrangements later on.

All this is as it should be. THE BUILDER is not competing with other Masonic magazines in the commercial field; but it is the journal of the National Masonic Research Society, and is designed to be a literary record of Freemasonry with a world-wide appeal. The Society itself is strictly and permanently non-commercial and does not, and cannot, pay a dollar of profits to anybody. All of its income is used to publish THE BUILDER and to maintain or increase its rapidly growing services to Freemasonry.

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The great number of Masonic buildings now under way or in prospect has brought into emphasis the need for architectural experts knowing Freemasonry thoroughly enough to serve as consulting specialists for regular firms. To be perfectly fitted to its purpose a Masonic temple must be, in arrangement and accommodations, adapted to the uses of several Masonic bodies, and often of two or three auxiliaries; it must have the peculiar equipment needed in Masonic work; and its decorations must fit into the Masonic scheme of things.

How far the general run of architects are from understanding the specifically MASONIC requirements of buildings and lodge rooms is proved by the small number of such structures as successfully combine form and function.

There is a real need for the Masonic consulting specialist. Such a man must have a thorough grounding in his own profession: and on top of this he should as thoroughly understand Freemasonry in all its rites, its history, its spirit, and its symbolism. With his headquarters in some central city this man could be called in by local lodge committees and local architects [or advice on such architectural features as are peculiarly Masonic. He would be especially valuable in working out the decorative scheme of the building, which in too many cases, alas, is in shrieking discord with our ceremonies. Imagine a Third Degree exemplified in a room decorated like a movie theatre! The thing is hard to imagine, but it often happens.

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HISTORY OF MASONRY, Central Printing Co., Little Rock, Arkansas: $3.00.

MASONIC MONITOR FOR ARKANSAS, published by George Thornburgh, Little Rock, Arkansas: $1.25.

MASONIC MONITOR FOR LOUISIANA, published by George Thornburgh, Little Rock, Arkansas: $1.25.

THE HISTORY OF MASONRY has already received a commendatory review at the hands of the editor of THE BUILDER, which same appeared in the issue for December, 1915, page 308. The book has now reached an eighth edition, a rare dignity in Masonic literature wherein so many similar ventures come to early grief. Statistics and tables have been brought up to date, and such other changes made as time has proved desirable. The volume as a whole comprises 243 pages; when it is said that the last 70 pages are devoted exclusively to Arkansas, and that the 173 preceding pages are divided among all the Masonic bodies along with rapid sketches of Masonry in each of the states, it will be seen that Brother Thornburgh has permitted himself no liberties with space. The story of Masonry is reduced to the irreducible minimum, and there is much by way of names and dates.

This is the kind of volume required by the majority of men who wish to read something about Freemasonry but haven't opportunity to read much. Such brethren will find here collected together, and conveniently arranged, such facts as all should know, especially those who enjoy the honor of the chairs, and whose position imposes upon them the honorable obligation to learn something about the Craft which they have undertaken to rule. Brother Thornburgh has addressed himself to these men in his History and in his Preface thereto, in the latter of which he writes: "Few have the time or means to devote to large and expensive books, which in the end do not make clear the truth. I present this history in plain language, boiled down and stripped of speculation, with the hope that it will be studied and appreciated."

The man for whom Brother Thornburgh has so successfully performed this service will not be much given to a meticulous examination or to quarrelling with the author over moot points: a sophisticated student will no doubt become irritated here and there. To have Duncerley spelled as "Dunkerly" and Ramsay appear as "Ramsey" on one page hurts one's feelings. Dr. Anderson is given credit, and without reservation, for transforming Operative Masonry into Speculative, a thing to which few can subscribe. Neither is it possible for one to accept without reservations Brother Thornburgh's account of "Operative Masonry," where he furnishes us not with an account of the old Operative Freemasons as historical research has made them known to us, but the legend, altogether unsustained by documents, set forth by the modern society called "Operative Masonry," which is a very different thing. The "Stuart Theory" of the Scottish Rite bodies is set forth in a page of straightforward statements that wholly ignore the many other respectable theories that have been championed by eminent scholars. The formation of the "Antient" Grand Lodge is described as a "schism," a theory long exploded: and almost everything else said about that great and critical epoch is erroneous.

If the entire volume were devoted to "history" properly so-called, after the fashion of the works of Gould, Findel, Mackey, et al., such faults would be fatal; but the present work is not such an attempt, since it is really a hand-book of such outstanding facts as are never called in question, therefore they will do no great harm.

The volume includes a series of brief sketches of American Masonry state by state, very valuable for reference purposes. There are little chapters on "The Poets Laureate," "George Washington," and "Albert Pike"; and there is a great deal to be said, as already indicated, about Masonry in Arkansas. The Table of Contents is shifted to the rear and called an "Index" and the index itself is altogether missing, upon which ye scribe exclaims, Alas! and finds himself confirmed in his long-cherished intention of organizing an "Index Society." Heaven speed the day when every book is compelled to carry an index! Of the two Monitors listed in the heading it may be said that they are all that good Monitors should be, and are purchasable by Masons everywhere.

What a rare old state is Arkansas! Since Albert Pike graced it with his residence in the ante-bellum days until now it has walked proudly among the foremost jurisdictions in Freemasonry. Brother Thornburgh himself deserves a niche in the Arkansas pantheon: as a Grand Master, as Custodian of the Secret Work, and as one of the princes of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, he has labored long in behalf of the Craft. A "fine Arkansas gentleman" is he, and long life to him!

* * *


A photographic reprint of THE OLD CONSTITUTIONS OF FREEMASONRY, published by J. Roberts in 1722, issued by the National Masonic Research Society: price $2.00.

This is a hurry-up call to Masonic students who may have it in mind to possess themselves of this invaluable book. The edition is limited to one thousand and each copy is numbered. There are not many left, so that it will be wise to secure one while securing is possible. The book carries a Foreword by Dr. J. F. Newton, former editor of THE BUILDER, which same is here reproduced in order that readers may have accurate knowledge of what the volume contains:

"The Old Charges or Constitutions of Freemasonry are the title deeds of the Fraternity, and as such they should be carefully studied by every Craftsman — just as a man ought to take due care to know the title of his home and holdings. It is therefore that the Society issues herewith a photographic reproduction of a document as unique as it is interesting, in the hope of reviving and prompting a study of the Old Charges among American Masons, and especially among the young men now entering our ancient fellowship.

"When Hughan and Woodford began their researches into the Constitutions of the Operative Masons, about 1866, hardly more than a score of such documents had then been recovered and traced. [1] By the time Hughan published his Old Charges of British Freemasons, in 1869, which was the first collection in print of the kind, several more which had been discovered were duly noted or reproduced in that volume. When the second edition of his volume appeared in 1895, he had access to sixty-six rolls of the Old Charges, and nine printed versions, besides eleven others known to have existed which he reckoned as 'Missing MSS.' [2] Of these the oldest known was written about the latter part of the 14th century, followed by another in the early 15th, then another in the 16th, thirty-nine in the 17th, and twenty-one in the 18th, besides a few in the 19th century. Some of these, to be sure, are duplicates, and others are simply slight variations of extant originals, but a number are independent versions of not a little value.

"Whether in manuscript or printed copies only, they have now all been named and arranged in classes, or families, according to their dates and importance; and these again have been subdivided into branches, the better to compare their different readings and to estimate their value both individually and generally. [3] The researches of Begemann in this field were not only memorable but astonishing, all the more so because, as a German, he so thoroughly mastered the language in which the Old Charges were written as to be able, more than once, to locate and give date to a document by its peculiar accent and dialect. Surely, few feats of scholarship in the annals of the Fraternity can surpass such an achievement, for which every Masonic student should be deeply grateful.

"The Old Charges were, in fact, a part of the ritual of Operative Masonry, being read or recited to the initiate upon his advent into the Order, to which, with whatever other secret sign or teaching was communicated, he subscribed in an obligation. The obligation, as will be seen in the following pages, was very simple, consisting of only two or three sentences — sometimes of only one sentence — followed by none of the elaborate penalties afterwards imposed when the Craft passed out of its operative period. Evidently, our ancient Brethren relied upon the greater moral penalties which affect and influence the human soul: namely, the terror of being forsworn and scorned as a dishonored man and Mason, the horrors of an outraged conscience, and the just and awful anger of the infinite Deity whose presence was invoked as a witness on the 'holy contents of this Book.'

"As all authorities agree, the tiny, faded, time-stained booklet which we herewith present, is the oldest Masonic book, the earliest printed copy of the Constitutions of the operative Freemasons. Hughan holds it to be such, with which Woodford agrees when he says, 'Until some reliable evidence can be produced of their actual publication, we must be content to accept Robert's Edition of 1722 as the first printed issue of the Constitutions.' [4] The only possible exception are the excerpts from the 'William Watson MS.' printed by Dr. Robert Plot, author of The Natural History of Staffordshire, in 1686. [5] Speaking of this little booklet, Brother Spencer, who originally owned it, remarked in 1871, [6] that, as far as he could ascertain, it is unique: 'It came into my possession about a quarter of a century ago, bound up at the end of a scarce 1723 edition of the Constitutions: and from that time I have been searching for another unsuccessfully. On making inquiry I learn that the work is unknown at the British Museum, the Bodleian, and other public Libraries.' Hughan adds, [7] 'At the sale of his (Spencer's) Masonic Library in 1875, it was purchased by me for the late Mr. Bower, of Keekuk, Iowa. This pamphlet is now in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, being one of the most valuable books of the celebrated "Bower Collection."

"Printed one year before the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of England, and being, as Hughan holds, an 'exclusively operative' document, it stands as the parting of the ways between Operative and Speculative Masonry. One has only to read it alongside the Constitutions of 1723, to see how profound and far-reaching the transformation from the old Masonry to the new really was. [8] Of its contents Hughan writes:

"'The text leans more to the Grand Lodge MS. No. 2, than to the Harleian No. 1942, though substantially it represents both documents. Robert's Charges run I to XXVI, then follow (a) the brief and long "obligations," (b) "This Charge belongeth to Apprentices" (I to X), and (c) the "Additional Orders" (I to VII), (d) concluding with a repetition of the longer Obligation. The word omitted in Rule XXIII, apparently because the Editor failed to read it, is supplied in the two MSS. named, as "erred."

" 'The "Additional Orders and Constitutions" are declared to have been "made and agreed upon at a General Assembly held at — on the Eighth Day of December, 1663 ;" but evidently this guess was not explicit enough for Dr. Anderson, as he states in "Constitutions" 1738, that the Earl of St. Albans' held a General Assembly and Feast on St. John's Day, 27th Dec., 1663, when the regulations were made. One romance is as good or worthless as the other; and like the claim of Roberts, that the MS. he copied from, was then about 500 years old, is only quoted now to show how Masonic "History" was written at that period.' [9]

"Why it was published at all has led to some interesting speculations, one of which, by Albert Pike, being to the effect that English Masonry, in 1717, and afterwards to 1745, had for one of its purposes, at least, if not the chief one, to sustain the Act of Parliament settling the succession and excluding the Stuarts and all Papists: and that by the Chiefs of the Order, at least, it was enlisted in the support of the House of Hanover. [10] Whether this was so or not we need not stop to argue, but it adds interest to the little booklet which Pike surmises is so scarce because it was suppressed: and it may well provoke a desire to study anew the era in which it appeared. What influence, if any, it had on the ritual mongers of the time, by whom Gould thinks it was carefully studied, [11] is another question into which it may repay us to inquire. Interesting in itself, valuable as a sign of the times in which it was printed, and fruitful of problems worthy of study, the Society sends it forth in the hope that it will provoke further research and bring more truth to light."


  1. Old Charges of British Freemasons, by W. J. Hughan, 2nd Edition.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Transactions Quatuor Coronati Lodge, Vol. I; also Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha.
  4. Hughan, R. F., op. cit., preface 1872 edition.
  5. History of Freemasonry, by R. F. Gould, Chapter VII; also Early Printed Literature Referring to Freemasonry, by H. J. VVhymper.
  6. Old Constitutions, by Spencer, p. 22.
  7. Hughan, op. cit., 2nd edition, p. 122.
  8. Constitutions, by Anderson.
  9. Hughan, op. cit., 2nd edition, p. 122.
  10. Official Bulletin Supreme Council, A.&A.S.R., Southern Jurisdiction, Vol. I, pp. 491, 632.
  11. Collected Essays, by R.F. Gould, p. 246.

* * *


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 club which are following our Study Club course. The Society is now receiving from fifty to one hundred inquiries each week: it is manifestly impossible to publish many of them in this department.


Is there a good history of Freemasonry in Canada? If so, where can I get it?

W.H., Ontario

There have been pamphlets dealing with the history of the Craft in the several Provinces issued by the Nova Scotia Lodge of Research and by brethren in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia; but with the exception of the first, these are all out of print. The only complete history obtainable for the whole Dominion was published in two volumes in 1900 by the late M. W. Bro. John Ross Robertson, of Toronto.

In this connection, our readers, particularly those in Canada, will be interested to know that we expect to publish in a few months an "All-Canadian" issue of THE BUILDER, composed entirely of material by our brethren north of the border. The Toronto Society for Masonic Research, now in its third year, of which Bro. N. W. J. Haydon is Secretary, has undertaken to gather the literary matter and photos which will be needed, and we hope that all our readers who have anything suitable for this purpose, will at once let him know. His address is 564 Pape Avenue, Toronto, Ontario.

* * *


Will you please furnish me the Masonic record of President Warren G. Harding?

F.F.F., West Virginia.

Brother J. H. Bromwell, Grand Secretary, Grand Lodge of Ohio, replies to your query with the following information:

Entered Apprentice, June 28, 1901; Fellow Craft, August 13, 1920; Master Mason, August 27, 1920, in Marion Lodge No. 70, F. & A. M., Marion, Ohio.

Mark Master, January 11, 1921; Past and Most Excellent, January 11, 1921; Royal Arch, January 13, 1921, in Marion Chapter No. 62, R. A. M., Marion, Ohio.

Elected, but has not yet received Council Degrees in Marion Council No. 22, R. & S. M., Marion, Ohio.

Red Cross, Malta and Temple, March 1, 1921, in Marion Commandery No. 36, K. T., Marion, Ohio.

Scottish Rite (4°–32°) January 5, 1921, in Scioto Consistory, Columbus, Ohio. (The only candidate.) Has been elected by Supreme Council, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, to receive – 33°, but this has not yet been conferred.

Shrine, January 7, 1921, in Aladdin Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., Columbus, Ohio.

* * *


Is Professor Edwin Grant Conklin, author of "The Direction of Human Evolution," a Mason?

O.C.Q., New Hampshire.

Professor Conklin replies: "I beg to say that I am not a member of the Masonic Fraternity. Possibly certain phrases of my book, The Direction of Human Evolution, may have suggested this inasmuch as I have lived with members of this Fraternity all my life and have unconsciously and unknowingly adopted many of their phrases. My father was a life long Mason and many of my University associates have been members of this great Fraternity."

* * *


Can you tell me if Augustus Thomas is a Mason?

L.M.P., Idaho.

Your inquiry was forwarded to Mr. Thomas himself who replied as follows:-

"I am a Mason, 32nd degree.

Augustus Thomas."

* * *


I have found very little reference in my Masonic studies to brooks published in languages other than English. We know that Masonic lodges exist in Germany but apparently we have little knowledge of their literary work. What can be said on this subject?

R.F.G., Jr., California.

The Mason with a knowledge of foreign languages denies himself a wonderful opportunity for obtaining information about Masonic affairs in Continental Europe if he does not read books and magazines published abroad. To begin with, the best bibliography of Masonry was prepared in Germany. In fact, the only extensive bibliographies ever published have been in German.

The premier work of importance is that of George Klosz, Bibliographie der Freimaurerei. This was published in Franfort-on-the-Main in 1844. It lists 5400 titles. The next important work was Reinhold Taute's Maurerische Buecherkunde: Ein Wepweiser durch die Literatur der Freimaurerei, published at Leipzig in 1886. This was followed in 1911-13 by the monumental three volume work of August Wolfstieg, Biblio" graphic der Freimaurerischen Literatur, which lists 43,347 items. These books will give an idea of the number of works published on Masonry. Wolistieg's Bibliographie should be in the possession of every Masonic library, for it is printed in English type and can be used by those not conversant with German.

What Wolfstieg is to Masonic bibliography, Wilhelm Begemann is to Masonic history. His best and most widely known books are Vorgeschichte and Anfaenge der Freimaurerei in England, 2 volumes, 1909-10; Freimaurerei in Irland, 1911; Freimaurerei in Schottland, 1914. Other books of his are: Die Tempelherrn and die Freimaurerei, 1906; Die Hanger Loge non 1637 and der Koelner Brief von 1535, 1907; Der Alte and Angenommene Schottische Ritus and Friedrich der Grosse, 1913. Begemann's books are especially desirable as they supplement the earlier works of British authors, such as Hughan, Gould, Sadler, etc.

Findel's History of Freemasonry has gone through many editions in Germany since it made its first appearance in 1861. J.G. Findel was for many years editor of Die Banhuette. He has written more than any other German on Masonry, and his works are desirable and authoritative, making due allowance for the period in which he wrote. The iconoclastic tendency of German Masonic writers, due partially to an inborn trait to judge by the known evidence only, disregarding sentimentality, and a friendly rivalry with England on the subject of Masonic origins, are factors which must be considered when reading German literature.

An earlier work of value is Geschichte Freimaurerische Systeme in England, Frankreich and Deutschland, by Freihe. C.C.F.W. von Nettelbladt. Originally written during thy early decades of the nineteenth century, this work was republished in 1879 by the editors of the Zirkel-Correspondenz. It must be taken cum grano salis, as is the case with all other early works.

It has been well said that we have no really excellent English encyclopedia of Freemasonry. Apparently the author of these words had examined the Allgemeines Handbuch der Freimaurerei, third edition, (1900) an adaptation of Lenning's early work. It is a most commendable encyclopedia in two volumes which should be consulted carefully whenever a critical review is necessary.

Dr. Jos. Schauberg's Vergleichendes Handbuch der Symbolik der Freimaurerei is an excellent work in three volumes, originally issued in 1861. A general history of symbolism is contained in the quarto volume of Max Schlesinger, Geschichte des Symbols: Ein Versuch, published in Berlin, 1912.

One of the best German works is Wolfstieg's Unsprung and Entwicklung der Freimaurerei, also in three volumes. This is of recent publication (1920) and deals with the origins of Freemasonry in England *tom the Renaissance to the Reformation, as well as taking up the later phases of Masonic history. Other European nations are also covered in these books.

Research work, comparable to that carried on by English research bodies, is brought to the attention of Masonic scholars by the "Verein Deutscher Freimaurer," (Dr. Jur. J. C. Schwabe, Secretary, Fichtestrasse 43, Leipzig III, Germany) and the "Deutschen Gesellechaftzur Foerderung freimaur-wissenschaft Forschung," (F. E. Zierler, Johnsalle 84, Hamburg, Germany.

The works of Diedrich Bischoff, Otto Caspari, Hermann Settegast and August Hornneffer are among modern examples of German Craft literature.

J. H. T.

[Note: Brethren interested in any of the German publications can place orders through the Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society.]

* * *



In the "Question Box" for September, 1922, a brother from Florida requests information regarding the symbolism or meaning of certain parts of the M. M. drama.

I question if there is any special significance to the Seafaring Man, the Embargo, the burial in the rubbish of the Temple and the dimensions of the grave. I am inclined to believe they are individually simply events necessary to develop the plot of the drama. While practically every detail of the Masonic initiation has some significance, we must not always ascribe or attempt to ascribe a symbolic meaning when those who elaborated on the ritual had no such thoughts in mind.

As to the Seafaring Man, the correct designation is "Wayfaring Man." The former is a corruption and should be altered by those jurisdictions using it. I can't say now just what jurisdictions use the term "Seafaring;" but all do not. Mackey says the Wayfaring Man was either introduced by Webb or else was found by him in the work as exemplified in the colonies in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Up until about the time of the Baltimore Convention, the Sea-Captain whom we meet with in most jurisdictions, was unknown in the ritual. As the M. M. drama became more and more dramatized and elaborated the Sea-Captain was introduced and with him the dialogue between him and the ruffians, wherein they seek passage out of the country. To be logical, when this was done, it should have been the Sea-Captain and not the Wayfaring Man, who advises the three Craftsmen that the ruffians had sought passage into Ethiopia. Except that a Sea-Captain would hardly have business inland. My guess would be that the two terms became confused in some jurisdictions through carelessness or ignorance and they borrowed the "Sea" from the Sea-Captain and attached it to the "Faring" making it "Seafaring Man," possibly believing them one and the same character.

The Embargo likewise is unknown in some jurisdictions. An expose of 1831 makes the W. M. say: "I had this embargo laid to prevent the ruffians from making their escape." I am sure there is no significance to this event except as it tends to develop a logical plot. And the plot is just as logical where no reference is made to it. Unquestionably it was a part of the ritual in use prior to 1849, but was later deleted in most states.

As this is proving lengthier than I intended to write, I shall only discuss the grave. I do not believe there is any special reason for the dimensions given in the ritual in this country. The expression "six feet of earth" is quite common in describing a grave and it is from this expression I think our description comes. I cannot say whether the description is identical in the English Ritual. It is interesting to note that in the French Rite the following question and answer occurs as part of the M. M. catechism:

Q. What was its size?

A. Three feet wide, five feet deep and seven feet long.

This is certainly an improvement on our work as I believe that six is not a Masonic number.

A. L. Kress, Pennsylvania.

* * *


I was greatly interested in THE BUILDER for November to see the long list of Research Societies in England.

One important Association has been omitted; viz., "The Manchester Association for Masonic Research," with a membership of over 1000 members. The secretary is Brother Chew P. Noar, 50 Murray Street, Higher Broughton, Manchester. From the above heading, "The Merseyside Association for Masonic Research," you will see that we have in this district recently formed a similar Association, of which I am the secretary.

John Mumby, Birkenhead, England.

* * *


It may interest you to know that we have a copy of Original Thoughts by Frank M. Duffy. This is in reference to the question asked by L.D.S., South Carolina, in the December number of THE BUILDER. You say in your reply that it was published in 1868. You came upon a second edition. I find our title page shows that it was published at Nashville, Tennessee, for the author in 1867. There is a note on the fly leaf in the author's hand writing; thus:- "Cornelius Moore, Esq., presented with fraternal regard by the Author. Springfield, Tennessee, March 12th, 1858." The book is inscribed to "John E. Brevard, Schoolmate, Friend, and Brother, and to the Officers and Brethren of Union Lodge No. 113, Hartsville, Tennessee." The title page carries this little piece of poetry:-

"Go, little book, from this my solitude!
I cast thee on the waters; go thy ways;
And if, as I believe, thy vein be good
The world will find thee after many days."

This little book of 138 pages has been a source of great pleasure to me in my digging around for information on the Forty-seventh Problem. Hoping that I have not intruded on your valuable time, with the best wishes for a prosperous and happy 1923, for yourself and THE BUILDER, I am fraternally,

Fred W. Schmerr, Librarian, Cincinnati, Ohio.

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In your Editorial Department of the January issue of THE BUILDER you made reference to a bill which had been presented to the State Legislature of Mississippi concerning the illegal wearing of lodge emblems. This bill passed and became effective April 7, 1922, with this addition: "Provided, however, that these emblems may be worn by consent of those nearest of kin."

J. Parkinson, Mississippi.

(We are indebted to J. W. McCants, of Mississippi, for a similar letter.)

* * *


Word came to us that in the Minutes of Widow's Sons Lodge No. 60, Charlottesville, Virginia, is an entry to show that Thomas Jefferson was a Mason. Our readers will bested to read the reply to our inquiry sent by Brother E. E. Dinwiddie, Secretary of Widow's Sons Lodge:-

Your letter to Secretary W. F. Souder, of Lodge No. 55, has been handed me by him. There is no record of Jefferson as a Mason here. There were three lodges within less than five miles of his home, and no record of him as a member or as having visited any of them. This Lodge No. 60 is the surviving lodge of the three.

From extracts from the minutes of Lodge No. 90 of October 6, 1817, I copy as follows: "The Lodge formed procession and marched to the Central College where they were joined in procession by James Monroe, James Madison, Thos. Jefferson, Jno. H. Cocke, Jos. C. Cabell, & David Watson, Visitors of the Central College, proceeded, & did lay with the assistance of the visitors of the said Central College, the Corner Stone of the said building in ancient form."

This Corner Stone of Central College, now the University of Virginia, was laid by Charlottesville Lodge No. 90 in conjunction with Widow's Sons Lodge No. 60.

In conversation with Past Grand Master Rt. Wor. R. T. W. Duke of Virginia a few days ago, he expressed the opinion that Jefferson was not a Mason, though some have thought so. Certainly he never attended any Lodge here.

We have no record of Madison or Monroe as being Masons. They would not have belonged to a Lodge here had they been, as their homes were too far away.

E. E. Dinwiddie, Virginia

* * *


In looking over an English newspaper recently I ran across the following which seems to me most surely a record:-

"Mr. F. James, of Penkridge, Staffordshire, has just celebrated his one hundred and first birthday.

"He is a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and at one time served as chairman of the Staffordshire County Council.

"Not in public affairs only is he a well-known figure. He is one of the veterans of Freemasonry, his connection with it going back for seventy-four years."

Sidney J. Harris, Manitoba, Canada.

* * *


So many times I have noted in THE BUILDER references to long periods of service of secretaries and it has occurred to me that you should know something of Brother the Rev. Willis D. Engle, Secretary of Mystic Tie Lodge No. 398, F. & A. M., of the city of Indianapolis.

Brother Engle was Master of Mystic Tie Lodge No. 398 in 1875. In 1876-7 and 8 he was secretary of that Lodge. In 1879 he was again made Master of the Lodge and in 1880 he was again elected secretary and from that time he has continuously served without interruption, thus constituting this year his forty-fifth term as secretary of that lodge.

Mystic Tie Lodge was chartered in 1869. Today it has a membership in excess of 1400 members and Brother Engle has personally met and helped over obstacles, trials and troubles every one of these members and that host of members "who have gone on."

He is loved, revered, respected and his presence among us is appreciated.

Bro. Engle has been active Secretary of the Masonic Relief Board forty-four years and Secretary of the Masonic Burial Ground the same number of years.

E. O. Burgan, Indiana.

* * *


We are looking for a collection of songs to sing at the social sessions of our Lodge. I have written to a number of publishers for a collection of Masonic songs, but thus far have failed to locate an appropriate collection. If any brother knows of any such collection, the writer would be glad to hear from him.

Harry J. Laque,

702 Provident Bank Building, Cincinnati, Ohio.

* * *


Let's get a law passed to stop lodge orators from reciting Bryant's "Thanatopsis." It is possible to do some things once too often.

* * *

It was impossible to respond to the hundreds of replies that came from the circular letter sent out to all members.

* * *

Are you remodeling your lodge room or erecting a new Masonic building? Send us copy of yours plans and drawings; we have constant inquiries for such things.

* * *

A brother of evident foreign birth, not yet out of the throes of his struggle with our mysterious English language, remarks in a recent letter to us that "we all cherish a great admiration for the profits of Israel." Indeed we do!

* * *

The Sojourner's Club Building at Fort Bayard, New Mexico, was scheduled for dedication February 7th last. Congratulations, brethren!

* * *

Can you make a map? We need a world map showing distribution of Masonic lodges.

* * *


A Subject of Vital Interest to Every Mason


Author of "Masonic Legends and Traditions," "Woman and Freemasonry," "The Eleusinian Mysteries and Rites," etc.

This is a historical, not a controversial work. It contains a full translation of the official Bulls, Encyclical letters, and Decrees issued against the Craft by Popes and Bishops, as well as the official records of the sufferings imposed upon Freemasons under the Inquisition. Incidentally, it throws interesting sidelights upon the history of Freemasonry in the United Kingdom and on the Continent of Europe, and gives particulars of secret societies into which only Catholics were permitted to be initiated. The facts are given without embellishment; they speak for themselves. The range covered by the work extends over two centuries, beginning with the latter part of the seventeenth century and carrying up to the present day.

Attractively bound in blue buckram, 247 pages and comprehensive index $3.25, postpaid

Early Eighteenth Century Masonry in the Colonies

Past Grand Master of Masons of Massachusetts

The beginnings of Freemasonry in America are as fascinating to the Masons of today as was the story of the Colonists when we first learned the romance of American history. Many of the men who participated in the aggressive life of the Colonies were brethren of the Craft. Benjamin Franklin, Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania, printed accounts of the Fraternity in his newspaper, the Philadelphia Gazette. before he was a Mason.

Brother Johnson has examined many of the original documents and printed accounts of Colonial Freemasonry, and presents a wealth of material to the reader interested in learning how the Craft sprang up in America. This book is necessary to the library of every well informed Mason. (Reviewed in THE BUILDER, May, 1918, page 152.)

Bound in blue buckram, 225 pages, folding plates and facsimile reproductions $1.35, postpaid

"MASONS AS MAKERS OF AMERICA," Madison C. Peters. Gives account of all prominent Revolutionary heroes who were Masons. Has gone through several editions. Cloth binding, 60 pages $1.00

"THE BUILDERS — A STORY AND STUDY OF MASONRY," by Brother Joseph Fort Newton, former Editor-in-Chief of THE BULDER, is now the fastest selling Masonic book in the world. It is being translated into several languages. (Special price in lots of twelve or more copies.) Bound in substantial blue' cloth beautifully printed. Single copies $1.75

"QUESTIONS ON THE BUILDERS." Compiled by the Cincinnati Masonic Study Club to be used in connection with "The Builders," by Joseph Fort Newton. Paper, 13 pages, closely printed $.15

"SYMBOLISM OF FREEMASONRY," Albert G Mackey. New edition of a Masonic classic, revised by Robert I. Clegg. De Luxe fabrikoid binding, 311 pages. (Old edition reviewed in THE BUILDER, August 1920, page 226. New edition reviewed in the December 1922 issue.) $3.65

"THE GOSPEL OF FREEMASONRY," by "Uncle Silas." A very rapidly selling book written in a new vein. Third edition. Cloth binding, 60 pages $1.00

"THE STORY OF THE CRAFT," Lionel Vibert. One of the best of brief histories of Masonry. Cloth binding; 86 pages. (Reviewed in THE BUILDER, April 1922, page 120) $1.35

"FREEMASONRY BEFORE THE EXISTENCE OF GRAND LODGES," Lionel Vibert. Embodies findings of Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research on Masonic history prior to 1717. A standard. Cloth binding, 164 pages. (Reviewed in THE BUILDER, October 1917, page 314.) $1.75

"A CONCISE HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY," Robert Freke Gould. Revised by Fred J. W. Crowe. Absolutely indispensable. Cloth binding, 349 pages. (See THE BUILDER, January 1922, page 23, June 1922 page183.) $5.00

"THE PHILOSOPHY OF MASONRY," Roscoe Pound, LL.D. Five interesting chapters on Preston, Krause, Oliver, Pike, and "A Twentieth Century Masonic Philosophy." Cloth, 92 pages and index $1.25

"LECTURES ON MASONIC JURISPRUDENCE," Roscoe Pound, LL.D. A series of lectures on a subject often perplexing and confusing to Masons Cloth, 112 pages $1.50

"THE ARCANE SCHOOLS," John Yarker. A famous book. Especially interesting to students of the occult. Cloth binding, 535 pages $5.00

"THE KABBALAH. Its Doctrines, Development and Literature," Christian D. Ginsberg. For many years the standard. A new reprint. Cloth binding, 232 pages $2.35

"COLLECTED ESSAYS ON FREEMASONRY," Robert Freke Gould. Important treatises by a master Masonic historian. Large size, beautifully printed. Cloth binding, 300 pages. (Reviewed in THE BUILDER, March 1918, page 93. $7.00


"ROBERT BURNS AND FREEMASONRY." Contains chapter by Joseph Fort Newton. Cloth binding, 113 pages. (Reviewed in THE BUILDER. August 1921, page 235.) $1.75

"MASONIC LEGENDS AND TRADITIONS." Cloth binding, 152 pages. (Reviewed in THE BUILDER, February 1922, page 57. Review by A. E. Waite reprinted in THE BUILDER, July 1922, page 221.) $1.50

"THE ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES AND RITES." One of the best accounts of one of the most influential of the Ancient Mysteries. Cloth binding, 108 pages $1.50

"WOMAN AND FREEMASONRY." Especially valuable for students of the Order of the Eastern Star. Cloth binding, 184 pages $1.90

The National Masonic Research Society is a non-commercial organization that pays neither profits nor dividends. Its Book Department exists for no other purpose than the convenience of its members. All profits on book sales are returned to the working treasury of the Society, to be used to increase its service to the Craft.

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In addition to selling new books — both of other publishers and its own — the National Masonic Research Society maintains a department for the purchase and sale of used books on Freemasonry and kindred subjects. Persons having Masonic books to sell are asked to inform us of the title, author, place and date of publication; those wishing to purchase desirable books are invited to submit lists of wants. The Society will endeavor to locate scarce and out of print books.

An Intimate Glimpse of English Masonry in the Eighteenth Century


This interesting and instructive book is crammed full of facts about Masonic life in the period between 1720 and 1820. Dealing more especially with London and environs, Brother Heiron's contribution to the story of the Craft sheds much valuable light upon conditions existing at the time the first Grand Lodge was formed. Various old Masonic customs — quaint, humorous and even startling — so grip the attention of the reader that he is reluctant to put the book down. A lengthy review of this fascinating volume appeared in the September, 1921, issue of THE BUILDER, page 243.

A handsome volume in blue cloth, gold lettering, 304 pages, with colored frontispiece of the "Pelican Stairs, Old Wapping," and many halftone illustrations $5.00 postpaid.

Comments by the Masonic Press

"The author now presents us with a book to which almost unqualified praise and welcome can be offered... The old customs, Masonic, convivial, and hospitable, are fully illustrated... To criticise this book would only be to praise."

Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.

"The book is designed for the benefit of those brethren who have little leisure and few opportunities to study for themselves the early life of our Masonic ancestors in London. Brother Heiron's book has not a dull page within its handsome and serviceable covers."

The Freemason, London.

An Exact Facsimile of an Exceedingly Rare Masonic Publication


This handsome book is an exact photographic reproduction, page by page, of the earliest printed edition of the Masonic Constitutions, of which the only known copy is in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa. The title of the original publication reflects the medieval tone of the contents: "The Old Constitutions Belonging to the Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons. Taken from a Manuscript wrote about Five Hundred Years since. LONDON: Printed and sold by J. Roberts, in Warwick Lane, MDCCXXII." A review of this National Masonic Research Society reprint appears in this issue of THE BUILDER, page 85.

Blue buckram binding, with Foreword by Joseph Fort Newton, numbered and limited edition; $2.00, postpaid.


H.L. Haywood. (Special prices on lot orders for 25 or more copies for presentation purposes.) Single copies $.25
S. H. Goodwin, Grand Secretary of Utah. Printed for the Society by the Grand Lodge of Utah. A fascinating story of a little known chapter in the history of American Masonry. Paper binding, 38 pages $.25
Hal Riviere. (Special prices on lot orders for 25 or more copies for presentation purposes.) Single copies $.15
W. Ravenscroft. The two works in one binding, paper covers, illustrated $1.00
J.W. Barry, P. G. M., Iowa, paper covers, illustrated. A story of the Flag and Masonry. $.50
Arthur Edward Waite, with introduction by Joseph Fort Newton. A treatise on the esoteric interpretation of Masonic lore and ceremonies. $.15
By Joseph Fort Newton, former Editor-in-Chief of THE BUILDER, is now the fastest selling Masonic book in the world. It is being translated into several languages. (Special price in lots of twelve or more copies.) Bound in substantial blue cloth; beautifully printed. Single copies $1.75

2920 First Avenue East.