A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 9 No. 12 – December 1923
PATRIOTISM — AS INTERPRETED BY FREEMASONRY
The Worshipful Master of Evans Lodge, No. 524, Evanston, Ill.
No word has come to headquarters during the past year of a finer or more constructive piece of Masonic educational work than that completed by Evans Lodge, of Evanston, Illinois, under the direction of its Educational Committee. Once a month the Worshipful Master delivered an address for his lodge on topics in this order: Initiation, Fraternity, Toleration, Faith, Truth, Charity, Morality, Patriotism, Symbolism, Philosophy, Happiness and Immortality. Each lecture was beautifully printed and a copy given to each brother in attendance on the night of its delivery, thereby enabling him to read, reread and inwardly digest at his leisure what he had heard. The interest developed by the course was such that at its end the Educational Committee printed the series in book form, in a gold-embossed volume of 108 pages 8x11 inches, in a limited edition of six hundred copies, to be ready for distribution Dec. 15, and to sell at $5.00 net. The volume is so beautifully printed and bound that there is little likelihood of any profits accruing, but if so the money will be used to carry forward the work of the Educational Committee. It is a matter of regret that we are not permitted to give adequate credit here to the Worshipful Master himself, whose desire to sink his identity in his work is a rare example of Masonic modesty. The lecture printed here is republished by his permission. Brethren desiring to make use of it in lodge should address the Educational Committee, Evans Lodge, No. 524, Evanston, Illinois.
Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land;
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand?
If such there breathes, go mark him well,
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,
Despite those titles, power and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured and unsung.
— Sir Walter Scott.
WHAT is patriotism — this almost universal instinct for which more men have given their lives than for any other cause, and which counts more martyrs than even religion itself — this potent sentiment which has produced so great and splendid deeds of heroic bravery and of unselfish devotion — which has inspired art, and stimulated literature, and furthered science — which has fostered liberty and won independence, and advanced civilization — and which on the other hand has sometimes been misunderstood and perverted and made the excuse for brutal excesses and arbitrary tyranny?
The dictionary tells us that a patriot is "one whose ruling passion is the love of his country" and that patriotism is "love and zeal for one's country."
But patriotism is no virtue when it dwarfs the sympathies and narrows the soul's horizon; it is simply bigotry and selfishness, and becomes a menace to the world. John Paul Jones, Freemason, and America's first naval hero, called himself "a citizen of the world," and though a Scotchman by birth, fought for the Colonies because he thought they stood for a wider patriotism than had obtained before. He stood for America because he regarded America as standing for man as man. His enthusiasm was for the human race rather than for a nation. Love of country is a noble passion, but not as noble as the love of man.
Patriotism must be founded on great principles and supported by great virtues. It involves duties as well as privileges, and these duties rise in connection with the domestic relations of the citizen to his country as well as in all that concerns the attitude of the country towards foreign nations. In both cases the idea of patriotism involves that of personal sacrifice. Our obligations do not end with obedience to the laws and the payment of taxes. These things are compulsory and involuntary evidence of our love of country, since the police insist on the one, and the Treasury takes good care of the other. But we give a free and additional proof of patriotism in taking our full share of public work and responsibility, including the performance of those municipal obligations on the due fulfilment of which the comfort, the health, and the lives of the community so largely depend.
It is not true to say that one man, however little, must not be sacrificed to another, however great, to a majority, or to all men. That is not only a fallacy, but a most dangerous one. Often one man and many men must be sacrificed, in the ordinary sense of the term, to the interest of the many. It is a comfortable fallacy to the selfish — for if they cannot, by the law of justice, be sacrificed for the common good, then their country has no right to demand of them self-sacrifice; and he is a fool who lays down his life, or sacrifices his estate, or even his luxuries, to insure the safety or prosperity of his country. According to that doctrine, Curtius was a fool, and Leonidas an idiot; and to die for one's country is no longer beautiful and glorious, but a mere absurdity. Then it is no longer to be asked that the common soldier shall receive in his bosom the sword or bayonet-thrust which otherwise would let out the life of the great commander on whose fate hang the liberties of his country, and the welfare of millions yet unborn.
On the contrary, it is certain that necessity rules in all the affairs of men, and that the interest and even the life of one man must often be sacrificed to the interest and welfare of his country. Some must ever lead the forlorn hope: the missionary must go among savages, bearing his life in his hands; the physician must expose himself to the pestilence for the sake of others; the sailor, in the frail boat upon the wide ocean, escaped from the foundering or burning ship, must step calmly into the hungry waters, if the lives of the passengers can be saved only by the sacrifice of his own; the pilot must stand firm at the wheel, and let the flames scorch away his own life to insure the common safety of those whom the doomed vessel bears.
Has any philosopher failed to discover that his country is more to be valued, and higher and holier far than mother or father or any ancestor, and more to be regarded in the eyes of men of understanding? Also to be soothed, and gently and reverently entreated when angry, even more than a father, and if not persuaded, obeyed? And when we are punished by her, whether with imprisonment or stripes, the punishment is to be endured in silence; and if she leads us to wounds or death in battle, thither we follow as is right; neither may anyone yield or retreat or leave his rank, but whether in battle or in a court of law, or in any other place; he must do what his city and his country order him; or he must change their view of what is just: and if he may do no violence to his father or mother, much less may he do violence to his country.
Our philosophy of patriotism is that each nation has, by the gift of God, something unique, particular and precious; something not to be found anywhere else, and therefore it has a gift to make to universal humanity. That it may make that gift it should be free to develop what is most unique and precious in its life.
True patriotism is a thinking patriotism. It is a sacred thing. No noise, however great, no shouts, however thrilling, no hurrahs, however enthusiastic, no blare of brass bands, no flaming of fireworks, no flaunting flags, no strenuous stump speeches, can begin to tell what true and genuine patriotism really is, for it lies too deep for all of these. True patriotism is a great, calm, altogether lovely and holy thing, that worships God and loves its fellow men. It is a consecration to high ideals; it is the hallowing of a man's whole soul in a holy cause.
To toil, to incur hazard, to die, for one's country, without hope of pay or reward, is the noblest inspiration and ambition of a free man.
DEFINED BY DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Americanism is defined by the Declaration of Independence, which, basing its doctrine upon the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," asserts the rights of man in one immortal sentence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
We are the freest government on the face of the earth. Our strength rests in our patriotism. Anarchy flees before patriotism. Peace and order and security and liberty are safe so long as love of country burns in the hearts of the people.
How can we justify our love of our own land as over against those who hold that all patriotism is provincial, if not pernicious? Only in this way: each nation, each race has a genius of its own, and by that fact a contribution to make and a service to render to the total of humanity. Judea was no larger than Illinois, and yet it gave to the race its loftiest and truest religion, and the strongest, whitest, sweetest soul the earth has known. Greece was a tiny land, girt about by violet seas, but it added unmeasurable wealth of art, drama and philosophy to the world. So of Rome. And thus we might call the roll of races and nations, asking of each what it had or has to give of beauty and of truth to mankind. Even so, our country has a genius unique, particular and peculiar, and by that token a service to render to the universal life of humanity. What is that service if it be not to show, not only that "government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth," but that it is the highest ideal of government, and that it makes for the greatest happiness of man, alike in private nobility and public welfare?
Of that genius and service our flag is the emblem and prophecy, and loyalty to that emblem implies devotion to that service. Our field is the world, but our solicitude is our own country — that it may the better make its unique and priceless contribution to the universal good. Thus, with due reverence for other nations, by loyalty to our own flag we best serve our race.
No country can ever be wholly without men of the old heroic strain and stamp, whose word no man will dare to doubt, whose virtue shines resplendent in all calamities and reverses and amid all temptations, and whose honour scintillates and glitters as purely and perfectly as the diamond — men who are not wholly the slaves of the material occupations and pleasure of life, wholly engrossed in trade, in the breeding of cattle, in the framing and enforcing of revenue regulations, in the chicanery of the law, the objects of political envy, in the base trade of the lower literature or in the heartless, hollow vanities of an eternal dissipation. Every generation, in every country, will bequeath to those who succeed it splendid examples and great images of the dead, to be admired and imitated; there were such among the Romans, under the basest Emperors; such in England when the Long Parliament ruled; such in France during its saturnalia of irreligion and murder, and some such have made the annals of America illustrious.
The famous examples of the Past of our nation, the memories and immortal thoughts of our great and wise thinkers, statesmen and heroes, are the invaluable legacy of that Past to the Present and Future. They are our chief elements of material wealth, as they are of national manliness, heroism, glory, prosperity and immortal renown.
FREEMASONRY STANDS FOR AMERICANISM
It must be understood by every Freemason in these United States that Freemasonry is an institution that is vital in its relationship to American destiny. An understanding of this will involve only such study as will enable any Freemason intelligibly to state the analogy between Freemasonry and Americanism. His life and example should evince the fact that to be a good Freemason is to be a good American. For Americanism, we are emboldened to say, is the latter day effort to incarnate our age-old Masonic idealism in law for the governing of an entire nation.
It was Freemasonry in a preeminent degree which so tenderly and yet so resolutely cradled democracy in the first eventful years of America's history. In confirmation of this I need but call attention to a few of the many illustrious names written alike on the pages of Masonic records and American history — Washington, Franklin and Lafayette!
A Past Grand Master of the District of Columbia numbers twenty-three Freemasons among those patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence. The same honour roll carries the names of eighteen former Presidents of our country.
Benjamin Franklin, a Grand Master of Pennsylvania, both at home and abroad did more by his wisdom and diplomatic skill than any other one Freemason, Washington alone excepted, to place Old Glory high among the nations. He helped make both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and is a signer of both documents.
While as a nation we pay homage to the memory of Washington, it is peculiarly fitting that as Freemasons we meet in our various Masonic homes and in solemn quietude around our altars contemplate the virtues of this great man and Mason, this great character who exemplified every virtue which Freemasonry inculcates.
We fail to grasp the full significance of the noble record of those illustrious brethren of our Order who took such prominent parts in Revolutionary days, if we see in it only a source of pride and gratification. It is all this but much more: for every page imposes duty, obligation, responsibility. If it be true, as the record seems to teach, that American nationality was largely brought about by Freemasons, and that to this end the best energies of the Craft were devoted in the trying times of the Revolution; if our predecessors gave "their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honour" to start the Republic on its glorious career, surely we can best prove true to the traditions of American Freemasonry by continuing the work which they began. Our advantages, if not our opportunities, are greater than theirs. The feeble Fraternity of that day has become a powerful Order now — it can exercise a mighty leverage for civic progress and reform.
The highest lesson taught us as a Craft by the Freemasons of the American Revolution is: To place patriotism above partisanship, to preserve and extend the free institutions of the Republic, to maintain the honour and dignity of the nation at home and abroad, and thus to realize the lofty ideals of our eighteenth century brethren, bequeathing them as a priceless heritage to generations yet unborn.
The most sacred symbol of any people is its flag, and in an hour of crisis and destiny the old emblem is instinct with all lofty and holy meanings. Here is the soul of the nation, the outward and visible sign of its invisible and invincible spirit. The very body and blood of a free people are in the folds of its flag, and when it is unfuried the soul of the nation stands erect.
Freemasons, who teach so much by symbols, point with pride to the part of Freemasonry in establishing the greatest symbol known among nations — the stars and stripes so fondly called "Old Glory."
Just what suggested to Washington the stars and stripes can never be known because he never referred to the matter in any way. On Jan. 1, 1776, when the new army was organized, a "Union" flag was raised which gave the British much joy because it was, at that time, the flag of loyal India. Whether Washington knew this to be a fact or not, this Cambridge flag was his idea and was raised on his own initiative and authority. Later, in Philadelphia, with independence in sight, he knew the flag would have to be changed and made a drawing of its revision. He was taken to Betsy Ross, who was the wife of a Master Mason, and who made the first flag with white stars on a blue field, in addition to the thirteen red and white stripes. These stars were arranged ten in a circle, with an eleventh star as a point in the center. Evidence shows that in this change Washington again acted on his own initiative.
On June 14, 1777, Congress officially adopted this flag, changing the number of stars to thirteen and arranging them in a circle. The wording of this famous resolution is as follows:
"Resolved, that the Flag of the United States be thirteen stripes alternate red and white, that the Union be thirteen stars white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
In 1794 two stars were added and their arrangement changed to the form of an oblong square.
In 1818 the number of stars had increased to twenty and their arrangement took the form of a five-pointed star, such being the array used by the Military Department for many years, while the Navy continued in the form of the oblong square of 1794.
At this time Congress made provision for the future by authorizing a new star to be added to the flag for each new State admitted to the Union, to be inserted on the July Fourth following its admission.
Finally, by agreement, the flag took the Navy form for arrangement of the stars in parallel lines, and today Old Glory is an oblong square of stars, six deep and eight wide.
No American ever saw this glorious flag of ours in a foreign port, fluttering at the masthead of even the most insignificant vessel, without a thrill of excitement and exultation and gladness at the sight — without stepping a little more haughtily and firmly at the thought of his country across the ocean.
It is said that the flag of our country was born in 1777, but that cannot be true. It was stitched into form at that time, in a little back parlour, but he who would know its origin must look far into the dim, pathetic, aspiring past. It was woven on the loom of ages — woven of the dreams and heartbeats of humanity, of the warp of sorrow and the woof of hope — by a Great Hand stretched out from the Unseen. All those who on red fields of war died that their sons might be free; all who in dark prison cell suffered for the rights of MAN; all who in the long night of tyranny toiled and prayed for a better day, added threads to our Flag.
It floats today in the blue sky, swayed by happy winds, held aloft by innumerable hands of the living and the dead, at once a history and a prophecy.
The colors blended in our Flag make it the sanctifying symbol of Unity, Fraternity and Goodwill among men. So may it ever be — Flag of Freedom and Friendship — woven of the mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, proclaiming the time-glorified principles wrought out by the tears and prayers of our fathers.
Let all those who stand under it join hearts in one faith, join hands in one purpose — for the safety and sanctity of this Republic; for the rights of man and the majesty of law; for the moral trusteeship of private property and public office; for the education of the ignorant; for the lifting of poverty, through self-help, to comfort; for the dignity of the home and the laughter of little children; for social beauty, national glory and human welfare. Long may it wave, rendered for all ages holy by the faith of the men who lifted it up, and the valour of the men who defended it in an hour of madness and peril. May it never again float over a field of war, but ever and forever over scenes of peace, honour and progress.
THE FLAG SYMBOLIZES MANY THINGS
Is it any wonder that the old soldier loves the Flag under whose folds he fought and for which his comrades shed so much blood? He loves it for what it is and for what it represents. It embodies the purposes and history of the government itself. It records the achievements of its defenders upon land and sea. It heralds the heroism and sacrifices of our Revolutionary fathers who planted free government on this continent and dedicated it to liberty forever. It attests the struggles of our army and the valour of our citizens in all the wars of the Republic. It has been sanctified by the blood of our best and our bravest. It records the achievement's of Washington and the martyrdom of Lincoln. It has been bathed in the tears of a sorrowing people. It has been glorified in the hearts of a freedom-loving people, not only at home but in ever part of the world. Our Flag expresses more than an other flag; it means more than any other national emblem. It expresses the will of a free people and proclaims that they are supreme and that the acknowledge no earthly sovereign other than them selves. It never was assaulted that thousands did not rise up to smite the assailant. Glorious old banner!
Wherever there is a constitutional government which respects the rights of men and of the people and the public opinion of the world, Freemasonry is the loyal supporter of that government. Patriotism, loyalty to government and to our Flag, are found running through every Masonic degree. The Masonic formula for brotherhood rests upon the identical principles which were written large into the Constitution of the United States.
Loyalty to country is a Masonic principle, yet to frequently this is construed to refer only to times war and national crisis. Loyalty carries with it highest obligation of citizenship; obedience to law, respect for constitutional authority, a recognition of the right of every human being to the enjoyment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The rights we enjoy as citizens carry with them corresponding duties. Among these duties is the proper exercise of the franchise, the careful and intelligent consideration of men and measures coming before the people for approval. No good Freemason will fail to be a good citizen, and to be found on the side of decency, civic righteousness, and public order.
Freemasons preach the right to think, the right to speak, the right to worship in freedom, and as conscience alone shall dictate, but how many Freemasons know what these things mean — how many really believe in them? How many believe in them so firmly that they are willing to fight for them, live for them, die for them if need be? These things, when mentioned, sound decidedly like those principles of Americanism for which the soldier of our country goes out to fight. He believes in them. If our Masonic institution stands for them, whole-heartedly and unafraid, then we should use our Fraternity as a great force for the continued upbuilding of America.
The activities of the Masonic lodge are today lopsided. They take too little account of civic duty, to which we are pledged in our obligations, and concerning which our charges have so much to say.
The world at large already credits us with a far greater influence than we really possess. The real need is within our fraternity. The real challenge to us is that we prove our worth and show cause why our Order should continue to exist. The cry of the hour in Freemasonry is for leadership. Leaders who will do things. Leaders who are so filled with inspiration and consecration to the development of true citizenship — for the sake of America! — that they will forget self and self-interest and work for the attainment of the ideal. The real Freemasonry has a contribution of infinite value to make to America.
We need, as never before, a clear, commanding conception of what America means. He is a poor patriot, and no Freemason at all, who has not asked himself what plan, what purpose, what prophecy the Great Architect is trying to work out in our national history. For true citizenship, no less than true statesmanship, consists in discerning the way the Eternal Will is moving and in getting things out of His way. Surely America exists to build in the new world a Beloved Community — united, just and free — where men of every race and creed may live and live well, because they live in moral fellowship under a sense of common interest and obligation: and loyalty to that ideal is true patriotism. For the same reason, race, class, party, sect, everything must be subordinated to the service of that ideal, that we may fulfill our national destiny and be of real service to all humanity.
* * *
GOVERNOR BENT, A MASONIC MARTYR OF NEW MEXICO
Bro. F. T. Cheetham, New Mexico
Brother Cheetham's story of "Kit Carson: A Mason of the Frontier," published in THE BUILDER, December, 1922, page 366, aroused so much interest that we urged him to continue his researches into the connections between Freemasonry and the early history of the Southwest with a view to making evident how large a part the Craft had in winning for the nation that vast empire, and more especially in establishing religious and political liberty there. The present narrative of the colorful career of a great pioneer was written in response, and after a great deal of special research, much of it among sources never before examined for such purposes. Other chapters will follow until a more or less complete account of Freemasonry In the early Southwest will have been published. Those who are especially interested, or who have suggestions to make or data to contribute, may address Brother Cheetham at Taos, New Mexico.
MANY of our countrymen have been destined to follow the flag, but there are few whom the flag has followed. When President Jefferson, his ministers and plenipotentiaries negotiated the purchase of Louisiana Territory none, with the exception of Robert Livingston, foresaw what the future had in store for the newly acquired domain. At that time there were millions of acres of fertile vacant lands lying east of the Mississippi River yet to be developed; so there was no fear that the agricultural resources of the country were reechoing the high water mark. The motive which induced President Jefferson and those associated with him was to secure the right of deposit somewhere on the Mississippi, which had been then recently denied; or better still to secure a port where goods and products, originating largely on the Ohio River, could be transferred from rafts and flat boats to ocean-going vessels.
Napoleon had lately, through his brother, Lucian, acquired Louisiana from Spain after it had been in possession of his Catholic Majesty for about two generations. With that military sagacity and foresight which easily made him the mastermind of Europe, Napoleon foresaw that it was only a matter of time when the invincible fleet of his arch-enemy across the channel would interpose itself between him and that rich possession Which was destined to become an industrial and commercial empire, therefore when our plenipotentiaries approached him with a view of securing a right of deposit or a port, he unloaded into the arms of the infant Republic this great territory with its hidden wealth untold.
Many of our countrymen thought we had bought ourselves land poor. The fertile valleys could not at that time be farmed with profit, nor could the rivers be chained and harnessed; it might have long remained an idle waste had it not been for the great American fur trade which soon sprung up. The administration lost no time in encouraging the explorers to learn the extent and resources of the newly acquired territory by sending Lewis and Clark to the headwaters of the Missouri, and Pike to the source of Red River. The former passed their goal and re-discovered the Columbia, while the latter scaled the mighty Rockies and pitched his camp on the banks of the Rio Grande, where he fell into the clutch of the Spaniard, who was naturally jealous of the rising power of the young Republic, and was carried a prisoner to Chihuahua. Each in due time returned to the place from whence he came with a glowing account of what he had seen en route. Soon the trapper, the frontiersman and the lover of adventure were on the trail, followed closely by the trader to keep them supplied with ammunition and the necessaries, and perchance some of the unnecessaries, of life. And thus it was that the winning of the Far West began.
CHARLES BENT WAS A LEADER AMONG PIONEERS
Out of the sturdy and patriotic pioneers who helped to roll back the frontier, the hero of this sketch stands pre-eminent. Charles Bent was born at Charlestown, Va., in 1797. His ancestry, on the paternal side, was English while on the maternal side it was French. He was a man of education, having at one time studied medicine with a view of entering that profession, but later secured an appointment to West Point from which institution he graduated and entered the army. In a short time he resigned from the army to take up a mission of peace and engaged in a business enterprise at St. Louis. In 1828 he made his first trip to the Far West with a view to entering the fur trade, and with his brother William erected a fort and trading post on the Arkansas River near the present city of Las Animas, Colo., known as Bent's Fort, or Fort William, as it was sometimes called.
In 1832 the Bent brothers established a store in Santa Fe. Charles Bent soon afterwards became associated with Col. Ceran St. Vrain, another man and Mason who helped very materially to win the West. The firm of Bent & St. Vrain became a big concern and was second only to the American Fur Company. This co-partnership lasted until the tragic death of Governor Bent. They established a fort on the South Platte, north of the present City of Denver, known as St. Vrain's Fort; also a fort on the Canadian, known as the Adobe Fort, near which the First New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry, under the command of Col. Kit Carson, afterwards had a big fight with the Kiawas. They also established a store at Taos, New Mexico, where Gov. Bent lived and where he lost his life. Gov. Bent was married to Maria Ignacia Jaramillo, who was a daughter of Don Francisco Jaramillo and Apolonia (Vigil) Jaramillo, one of the most respected families in the territory. She was also a sister of Josefa Jaramillo, who married Gen. Kit Carson. Mrs. Bent survived the Governor thirty-seven years.
In first checking up Gov. Bent's Masonic record, no definite information seemed obtainable. Several interviews with a daughter, who has lately departed this life, at Taos, New Mexico, also with grandchildren at Gallup and Clovis, New Mexico, failed to throw any light upon the question except that he had always been recognized as a brother by all Masons who came in contact with him. It was a matter of common knowledge among Freemasons that he had been buried with Masonic honors by his brethren and comrades at Santa Fe; that when a lodge of Masons was formed at Taos in 1860 it was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Missouri as Bent Lodge, No. 204, and that when, in after years, a lodge was chartered by the Grand Lodge of New Mexico for Taos, it took the name of Bent Lodge, No. 42. It was not until a copy of the Reprint of the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Missouri was obtained by Brother T. P. Martin, M. D., of Taos, a co-worker in Masonic research, that any definite information was uncovered. By it we find the name of Charles Bent standing alongside of Senator Benton as a charter member of Missouri Lodge, No. 1, of St. Louis. This was In 1821. No doubt can longer remain that this was our Charles Bent, for he was making his home in that city at the time.
HE IS SENT TO PRISON
Taking up the thread of our story we find that soon after Gov. Bent located in Taos he was caught in the maelstrom of revolution and intrigue so frequent in that day and time among the natives of Mexico and was thrown in prison for a while. This was in 1837. Some time prior thereto, in 1835, to be more definite, President Santa Ana had sent Col. Albino Parez as Governor of the Territory. In 1836 Gov. Parez promulgated a decree providing for schools and directing a tax to be levied in support thereof. While the proof is not at hand at this writing we have no doubt but that Gov. Parez was a "Yorkino," of which order Santa Ana was a member. If our conjecture is true it is only reasonable to suppose that Bent was confused with that fraternity from the south of the Rio Grande. The manner of his release is reserved for another sketch. It is sufficient to say, however, that it was not accomplished through the regular diplomatic channels!
From this time on the war clouds began to gather. The seeds of hatred, sown to the winds at the Alamo in the treatment of the prisoners of Muir, and the ill-fated Texas-Santa Fe expedition, were soon to reap a whirlwind. But during all these trying times Charles Bent was ever at his post, and his business grew and prospered. Being versed in medicine he ministered unto the unfortunate about him, and they were legion, which to him was a matter of charity.
On May 13, 1846, the storm, gathering for several years, burst forth and war was declared between the United States and Mexico. It was during the preceding month that a treaty had been signed between the United States and England, settling for all time the Oregon question. It had been in the winter of 1842-3 that Marcus Whitman had made his famous ride to save that valuable and beautiful country. After breasting mountain snows and swimming rivers of slush ice he had made his way to Taos, the headquarters of the Bents, and by their aid he was enabled to get across the plains on his way to Washington. But the Oregon question had been settled, Oregon had been saved and war with England averted. The United States could devote all its energy to strengthening its frontier in the Southwest. By the latter part of June the Army of the West, commanded by Gen. Stephen W. Kearny, was under way for New Mexico. Bent's Fort, which had for years served as a haven of peace, was selected as the place of rendezvous, and it appears that the small army halted there while a detachment under command of Lieut. De Courcey proceeded to Taos to learn the state of mind of the inhabitants. Charles Bent rendered invaluable service as intelligence officer, being familiar with the topography of the country, its inhabitants and their language and customs.
On Aug. 15 the army, under Gen. Kearny, entered Las Vegas. Gov. Armijo, who had proven a terror to the helpless, issued his verbose proclamation, calling upon his countrymen to rally to his standard and to help hurl back (what he termed) "the foul invader." He gathered together an army, mightier in numbers than his adversary's, and with all the pomp, splendor and braggadocio, for which he was famous, and which would have shamed an oriental monarch, marched out towards Glorietta, at which place, or in the Apache Canon just below, a handful of men could have held back an invading army as the Greeks held Thermopylae. But the little American army marched on and on. Before they had drawn dangerously near him Armijo beat an inglorious retreat without waiting to fire a shot, while his army scattered to the four winds of heaven. On the 18th day of August, Kearny's army entered the ancient capital without having met with resistance. Next day he assembled the people in the plaza and in a speech to them said:
"In taking possession of New Mexico we do not mean to take away from you your religion. Religion and government have no connection in our country. There, all religious are equal; one has no preference over the other; the Catholic and the Protestant are esteemed alike. Every man has a right to serve God according to his heart. When a man dies he must render to God an account of his acts here on earth, whether they be good or bad. In our government all men are equal. We esteem the most peaceable man, the best man. I advise you to attend to your domestic pursuits, cultivate industry, be peaceable and obedient to the laws. Do not resort to violent means to correct abuses." (Twitchell's Leading Facts, page 210.)
On Sept. 22 Charles Bent was appointed civil Governor. Courts were established and a set of laws, known as the Kearny Code, was promulgated for the government of the department. Governor Bent immediately assumed the duties devolving upon him and on Sept. 25 Gen.Kearny departed for California after having left orders for Col. Doniphan's regiment.to proceed south upon the arrival of Col. J. Sterling Price with the 2nd Missouri Volunteers. All went well until the latter part of December, when a plot was uncovered to assassinate Gov. Bent and exterminate all of the Americans. We prefer to let W.H.H. Davis, a man of scholarly attainments and legal training, who was appointed United States Attorney for the Territory in 1853, afterwards appointed Secretary of the Territory and who also served for eleven months as acting Governor, tell the story of this awful affair. In "El Gringo," published in New York in 1856, writing of the "Uprising of 1847," he said:
"Notwithstanding the people had apparently submitted with good grace to the rule of the Americans, and appeared to be well satisfied with the condition of things, there was much discontent among a portion of the population, who resolved not to give up the country without a struggle. These were principally the wealthy class, with the addition of a few unquiet spirits, who saw their dreams of ambition dashed to the ground should the Americans retain possession of the country, and incorporate it permanently into the Union. These discontented ones soon began to mature their plans of rebellion, and like Catiline and his co-conspirators held meetings in retired places at the dead hour of night to plot the expulsion of their conquerors. The two leading spirits of the enterprise were Tomas Ortiz and Diego Archuleta, men of talent and enterprise, and of great ambition, whom gambling and intemperance had rendered desperate. They had the countenance and support of Manuel Chavez, Miguel E. Pino, Nicolas Pino, Pablo Dominguez and Tomas Baca of Pena Blanca, all men of influence. A number of priests joined in the conspiracy, and some even preached rebellion in the pulpit. The two who took the lead were the Vicar Juan Felipe Ortiz and Padre Jose Manuel Gallegos. Priest Ortiz, upon pretense of going to the town of Jolla, in Rio Arriba, in order to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadelupe, visited the upper country to incite the people to rebellion. The same day he left Santa Fe, Priest Gallegos arrived in Albuquerque, by agreement with the co-conspirators, to arrange their operations. Everything was conducted with the most profound secrecy, and only a few of the leading men were made acquainted with their plans. The secret was not to be intrusted to a woman for fear of its being divulged.
"The first meeting was held on the twelfth of December, 1846, and the nineteenth of the same month was fixed upon as the time of rising, which was to be general all over the Territory. All the Americans were to be either killed or driven from the country, as also Mexicans who accepted office under General Kearny. This accomplished, they were to seize upon the government and establish themselves in power. To each of the ringleaders a distinct duty was assigned, and they mutually pledged themselves upon the cross. So confident were they of success that they even named the chief officers of the new government, among whom Tomas Ortiz was fixed upon for governor, and Archuleta to be the commandant general. The master spirits went to different sections of the country to stir up the people to resistance. Everything looked propitious, and promised success to the enterprise.
THEY PLAN TO ATTACK ON CHRISTMAS EVE
"A final meeting was held in Santa Fe on the evening of the eighteenth to arrange the plan of attack upon the garrison, but not finding their organization complete, they agreed to postpone the time of taking up arms until Christmas eve. This was considered a more fitting time to make the attempt, inasmuch as it would be a season of amusement, when the soldiers would be generally off their guard, scattered about the town unarmed, and could be easily overcome. The following was the plan of attack agreed upon, and as sworn to before the court upon the trial of some of the conspirators:
"'On Saturday evening, the nineteenth of December, all were to assemble with their men at the parish church. Having divided themselves into several parties, they were to sally forth, some to seize the pieces of artillery, others go to the quarters of the colonel, and others to the palace of the governor (if he should be there) and if not, to send con order to Taos to seize him, because he would give them the most trouble. This act was also agreed upon by all. The sound of the church bell was to be the signal of assault by the forces concealed in the church, and those which Diego Archuleta should have brought near the city; midnight was the time agreed upon, when all were to enter the plaza at the same moment, seize the pieces) and point them into the streets.'
"This conspiracy was discovered in time to place the troops on their guard, and prevent it being carried into effect at the time agreed upon. Three days before the time of raising, Augustin Duran informed Governor Bent of the plan of rebellion, who immediately caused several of the leaders to be arrested.
"The discovery had only smothered, not quenched, the revolutionary spirit, and a new and more extended conspiracy was almost immediately placed on foot. Religious fanaticism was made use of to incite the people against the Americans, and they were called upon to arm themselves in defense of their holy faith, their homes and their country. Some of the Pueblo Indians were enlisted in the cause, which greatly added to their strength. Great secrecy was observed, and no suspicion was entertained that another outbreak was so near at hand.
"The time fixed upon was the nineteenth day of January 1847, when the people took up arms in various parts of the country. Governor Bent, supposing that the rebellion was quelled, left Santa Fe for his home at Don Fernandez de Taos where he arrived about the middle of the month. A large body of rebels, composed mainly of the Pueblo Indians. and incited to the act by Priest Martinez and others, attacked his residence and murdered him and several others in cold blood. The same day seven Americans were attacked at the Arroyo Hondo who, after defending themselves for two days, were most cruelly butchered. Four were killed at the Moro, and two on the Rio Colorado. A large rebel force had assembled at. La Canada for the purpose of advancing upon Santa Fe, but General Price, being aware of their movements, marched against them with four hundred men and four pieces of mountain howitzers. He attacked them on the afternoon of the twenty-fourth, and routed them with a loss of nearly a hundred men. They retreated toward Taos. closely followed by our troops. They made a stand at El Embudo, where they were again defeated with loss. They continued their retreat to Taos, followed by the Americans, who arrived there on the third day of February. They found the Mexicans and Indians strongly fortified in the Pueblo of the latter, the main body having Entrenched themselves in the church. An attack was made upon them the next morning and the action continued all day with great fierceness and considerable loss. The following day they capitulated and surrendered the place into the hands of the Americans. In these actions the enemy lost three hundred killed and wounded while our loss was about sixty." (Pages 94, 95, 96 and 97.)
THE "UPPER COUNTRY" WAS A CENTER OF REBELLION
There are some things in the foregoing narrative which are very significant to one acquainted with the history and customs of the country. We note that the Vicar General Juan Felipe Ortiz visited the "Upper Country." The "Upper Country" had been the birthplace of revolution. It was in Taos, in the "Upper Country," that the rebellion of 1680 originated which, for almost a decade, defied the Spanish authorities. The "Upper Country" again figured in the revolution of 1837, which terminated the regime of Gov. Albino Parez and his public schools. It was in the "Upper Country" that the priest sought to stage the massacre of 1847. Again, the 12th of December was the date set for meetings to be held throughout the country; this was Guadelupe day, the great Mexican festival, the anniversary of the day when, as all Mexicans believe, the Virgin had appeared to the Indian, Juan Diego, on the barren hill of Tepeyacac, more than three centuries before. This therefore was the day of days when fealty to mother church and mother country would be at its highest. The church bell was to be the signal of assault and sound the death knell of the new born religious liberty in New Mexico.
That the priests were largely instrumental in inciting this uprising can not be doubted. If not, why were churches selected as the places of rendezvous? They could have prevented such use by their parishioners had they so desired.
Touching the part played in this affair by Padre Martinez, the Roman Catholic curate at Taos, we find the following comments in the History of New Mexico, published in 1907, and edited by Mr. George B. Anderson:
"The home of Fr. Martinez was generally regarded as the headquarters of the insurrectionists prior to the uprising and until after the attack upon Taos. His power over the parishioners was absolute and his hatred of Americans and American institutions was recognized by all. This fact was recopied by such men as Governor Bent, Charles Beaubien, Col. St. Vrain and Kit Carson as ample proof of his complicity in the affair. (p. 94)
Again the same work says:
"Father Antonio Jose Martinez, who was regarded by many as one of the chief authors of the Taos insurrection, was one of the most remarkable men who was ever identified with the history of New Mexico." (p. 95.)
The duplicity of the priests is evidenced by the statement of John T. Hughes, in Doniphan's Expedition, who says:
"Near this same time (late in August) the priest of San Felipe and the curate of the churches in the Valley of Taos came to acknowledge the authority of the conqueror, receive his commands and ask protection for the churches and church property. The general having assured them that their temples of worship should be respected and their 'religion in the amplest manner preserved to them,' they returned peaceably and favorably disposed toward the Americans, more subdued by kindness than by force of arms. They did not even forbear to speak in praise of the generous and magnanimous conduct of their conquerors. (It was not long before these faithless priests and leaders were detected in a conspiracy against the new government.)"
The feeling of all the priests of that time towards the new government was probably expressed by Padre Antonio Jose Martinez, if we are to believe the story of his biographer, Don Pedro Sanchez, who says that one of the father's pupils asked the curate one day what the government of the United States was like. The master replied that it was like a burro: "The lawyers can ride but the clergymen can not."
In Two Thousand Miles on Horseback, by Col. James F. Meline, who visited the country at the close of the Civil War, we find the following observations of the religious status of the country under the Mexican priests. He says:
"With the advent of los Americanos came a changed state of things in the Church. It was not without reason that several Mexican priests were mote than implicated in the rising or insurrection of 1847 against the Americans, in which Governor Bent was massacred at Taos. The annexation of New Mexico to the United States brought it under their Catholic ecclesiastical authorities, and they knew well what to expect from any bishop who might come from us. They understood 'Diana of the Ephesians.' A bishop was sent from the United States. There was a general suspension, unfrocking, dismay and howling among those Mexican priests (and it would have been difficult to find the exceptions), who 'kept cocks and fit 'em,' had cards and played 'em, indulged in housekeepers of an uncanonical age, and more nieces than the law allowed." (p. 190.)
ORDERS CAME FROM "HIGHER UP"
While we have not the proof at hand it is not unreasonable to suppose from facts known that these people were acting on orders from higher up. Judge Benedict, who assumed the Supreme Bench of the Territory in 1853, in the case of Carter vs. Territory (I. N. M., 317), says in part:
"The movements of a portion of these people in what is known as the Taos 'Insurrection' against the United States authority and government seems to have drawn towards these inhabitants strong professions of sympathy from the Mexican government." (Op. p. 323)
"On the sixth of September following [the signing of the treaty] the President of Mexico appointed and commissioned Ramon Ortiz, a priest, to execute the instructions of the decree. In due time he arrived in this territory. Of this the court may take notice. It may refer to the safest sources of information to know the events of that period. So far as a knowledge of these is essential to the consideration of the matters under consideration, none can be more reliable than the written relation of the honorable Joab Houghton, who, from the conquest of the country down to the induction of the territorial government occupied the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and circuit judge, and must have had full knowledge of all the movements resulting from the entrance of Ortiz among the Mexicans, and his promises to and deportment with them. The records of the executive proceedings of that time will also assist in the inquiry we are now making. After reaching Santa Fe, the commissioner journeyed through some of the counties and, to use the language contained in the narrative of Joab Houghton, produced a great excitement among the people, inducing a large portion of the inhabitants of those counties not only to declare themselves as retaining the character of Mexican citizens and their readiness at once to emigrate but excited them to acts of disturbance and disregard to the then existing authorities. In fact, as it then appeared to both civil and military authorities, an open rebellion was threatened in consequence of the course taken by the commissioner. See executive records sustaining the truth of Houghton's statement." (Op. p. 337.)
". . . It was now after the peace confirming the conquest in the midst of all the hatred and bitterness against the Americans and the United States which the conquest and its consequences had engendered among a people foreign in language laws, customs and religion, with the pride of kindred and race peculiar to all Spanish races, in the midst of those who had lately, as the Mexican Cabinet council said, 'risen against the government and the American name and blood in the country,' and when risen, whose steps and deeds were marked with murder, robbery and fiendish atrocity in the village of Taos, and who, as counsel assert, though 'their plans were discovered and disconcerted, their conspiracies frustrated, did not cease to conspire.' A popular, powerful and well-known priest, clothed with a commission from the Mexican government, though dismembered and humiliated, was exciting the prejudices of the people already hostile to the new government, offering bounties to those who would reject allegiance, and payment of expenses to them upon their emigration." (id. Op. p. 338.)
If this was done after Mexico had acknowledged defeat by a sacred treaty, what could we have expected from her before she had made her last stand!
There is another phase in the life of Governor Bent that interests us most. As was already noted he had for many years been a Freemason, in fact, so far as we have been able to ascertain, the first of that Fraternity to settle in New Mexico. Freemasons were not in favor with the powers that held sway under the Mexican regime. Josiah Gregg relates some of his experiences in that line as follows:
"Before leaving Durango I witnessed one of those civil broils which are so common in Mexico. I was not even aware that any difficulty had been brewing at all, till I was waked on the morning of the 25th by a report of firearms. Stepping out to ascertain what was the matter, I perceived the azotea of the parochial church occupied by armed men, who seemed to be employed in amusing themselves by discharging their guns at random upon the people in the streets. These bravos, as I was afterwards informed, belonged to the bishop's party, or that of the Escosseses, which was openly at war with the liberalists, anti-hierarchists, or Yorkinos, and were resorting to this summary mode of proceeding in order to bring about a change of affairs; for at the time the liberal party had the ascendancy in the civil government of Durango." (Commerce of the Prairies, p. 102.)
Again he says:
"It may already be generally known, perhaps, that the predominant party in Mexico (and particularly in the North), is decidedly anti-Masonic. During my stay in Chihuahua I had an opportunity to test their antipathy for that mysterious brotherhood. This was evidenced in the seizure of a dozen or two cotton handkerchiefs which, unknown to myself, happened to bear the stamp of the 'Masonic carpet.' These obnoxious articles having attracted the attention of some Iynx-eyed friar, one day, much to my consternation, my store was suddenly invaded by the alcalde and some ecclesiastics. The handkerchiefs were seized without ceremony, and by an auto de fe. condemned to be publicly burned." (id. Vol. II, p. 121.)
When the military authorities found it necessary to select a man to act as the first civil governor under American rule, Charles Bent was chosen as the most fit for this responsibility. When the conspirators began to plot he was the first to be removed for he was the most feared. His power and influence was far reaching, yet even Caesar fell at the hand of an assassin. When warned on the eve of his death, Governor Bent said: "I have nothing to fear. I have fed these people when they were hungry, clothed them when naked and ministered unto their ailments in time of distress. They will not harm me." But he was the first to be slain. The unspeakable cruelties of his last agony are beyond description. Let us pass over the harrowing details of his taking oft. They are too terrible to contemplate. They belong to the dark ages. His work was unfinished yet it was the decree of fate that he be sacrificed upon the altar of religious and political bigotry, before the fires of the auto de fe should be forever extinguished. He had blazed the trail for the flag to follow and his name should go down to posterity as the first patriot of the great Southwest. His life was given for his country and the things it stood for.
His remains were thrice buried. First by his comrades in an improvised cemetery at Santa Fe. Afterwards his body was raised and re-interred in a cemetery dedicated to his Craft. Again they were raised for more decent interment in the National Cemetery at Santa Fe. Let us hope that some day due honor will be paid this true patriot and a suitable monument erected to his memory.
Note. — Students who care to pursue this subject further should secure House Executive Document No. 60, Thirtieth Congress, first session, entitled, "Occupation of Mexican Territory."
* * *
WHY ALL THIS SECRECY?
By Bro. Arthur C. Parker, Associate Editor, New York
The bold man who sets out to joust with a learned lady must go well armed, must he not? In his quiver should be many arrows, thirteen at least, which number has been deemed a sign of ill-omen by women folk since time began, why, it would take a learned lady to tell. Will Brother Parker permit one to contribute a shaft to his bow? In Freemasonry, secrecy is more than a mere device for shutting out the profane, God rest their souls, but is employed as a symbol of something that a man is to practice always and everywhere; in other terms, it is a virtue, and Freemasonry teaches it to be such. What would life be in the hubbub of the world if men knew not how to keep inviolate a brother's word? All the kindliest and most benign of human relationships would vanish away, leaving us all strangers one to another. Yes, secrecy is a virtue. Is this a hard saying for women? One should wish not, but — There is danger here of transgressing on Brother Parker's preserves, who is abundantly able to take care of himself, even with Katherine Fullerton Gerould. Mrs. Gerould may have the privilege of the last word here if she desires it.
PAUSE a moment and reflect. What is there in the secret society that excites and holds the interest of normal American citizens of good character? Is it the ritual, the mysticism, the gold lace, the high sounding titles, the parades or the esoteric teachings? And, why all the secrecy?
A woman wants to know. She is that very clever woman, Katherine Fullerton Gerould, and not one of the questions that she asks in her article, "Ritual and Regalia," in the November Atlantic Monthly, even remotely hints at an answer.
Apparently sure of her ground she boldly challenges any anthropologist to make reply, feeling certain that an ultimate authority on the folkways of man will retire in confusion.
"Is all this initiating and swearing of oaths, and reverencing of insignia, mere protest against the drabness of life?" she asks, and then leaps into another question: "If so, why is it that women do not indulge? Women are supposed to be fonder both of secrets and ornaments than men are, yet you will notice that it is not the women of the country who invent rituals and fashion symbolic costumes for themselves. Women do not wear aprons on the street if they can help it, but men do.... There must be some good and dignified reason for it or it would not be so widespread. There must be something in the male heart that is left out of the female heart."
You will observe that the clever critic comes closely to answering her own question in this last sentence.
Yet she goes on with her questions and marvels that men are proud of their connection with a secret society. "What is this instinct, so strong that it conquers the general horror of being conspicuous and absurd?" she asks.
The lady tells us that her gentlemen friends do not belong to secret societies, but that they are sorry that they did not join years ago. Thus she appeals through the pages of a magazine and challenges the anthropologist and student of folklore to answer her.
A good question has been raised, but it is a feminine and not a masculine question. For a versatile woman the questioner betrays a surprising lack of insight into the psychology of boys and men. Many a female of less brilliance has discovered that men are but boys grown up and having greater capacity to satisfy their innate longings. But how shall we answer our interrogator?
Shall we begin by telling the story of civilization, of how primal women closely hugged their cave fires and crooned lullabys to their babes, while the men roved the thicket killing beast and human enemies, or satisfied their revenge, or brought back fine peltries to their mates, only then to retire to the Wise Man's cave to discuss in secret how they might slay more beasts and intruders, discover more booty for their females or perhaps wrest the secrets of power from the gods?
Shall we dwell upon the natural instinct of primitive men to gather in the Men's House to initiate youths in the duties of warriors and hunters and to swear them to chastity, thereby preparing them as fit providers for future homes, well grounded in morals and traditions. Shall we recount the development of human society and show how secret associations and gilds were necessary for the teaching and preservation of great truths that uninstructed mortals may not be entrusted with until after initiation? Shall we delineate the history of dress and costume and show that both males and females even now love to satisfy their desires for distinctive dress, especially by uniforms expressing group personality?
More than this, shall we show that by mask and costume normal human beings seek to extend their personality and vary it and through the medium of dramatics thus finding new wellsprings of moral energy within themselves?
All this would be only to recite history and to give it an anthropological interpretation, and our critic would say that all this might be granted but why the secrecy?
It is because secrecy not only adds zest to the rites but permits men with common aims to gather into fraternities where they may promote their principles and engage in their ceremonies unmolested by those who have not been found worthy and well qualified.
And, "all this initiating and swearing...?" Simply because brothers must agree upon principles and thoroughly understand them. Men enjoy the experience of opening their eyes upon strange surroundings and of seeing the unfamiliar objects of another world, not for the novelty of it only but to discover for themselves how they react to unfamiliar conditions. So much for the ritual and regalia.
Beyond these things there is the joy of human fellowship, the mingling with men in all honest walks of life, wherein it is discovered who best can work and best agree. It is here that qualities of manhood, of ability, of leadership and of mental make-up are revealed. It is in the secret society that men come to appreciate and to love their fellow men. Because of this most normal men seek a fraternity and find in it the satisfaction of every fundamental desire in the male heart — the desire to be, to have, to rank, to know, to feel, to fit. Through the righteous satisfaction of these desires men grow in social and spiritual qualities.
Secrecy is one of the finest instincts that man possesses and contributes to his identity and individuality. It springs from nature itself. It is the instinct of secrecy that closes the door of the home to the stranger from the street and gives to each member of the family his own room. Much that is noble and lofty manifests itself in secrecy. The Christian prays alone in his closet, and groups of the spiritually exalted meet in "class rooms" for experience meetings, where they may pour out their hearts to God and their fellows.
Secrecy not only means privacy and protection from prying eyes that seek to use personal situations for promiscuous purposes, but it means decency and order. Secrecy is the peculiar garb of fraternity. The initiate assumes the garb in order to be known and distinguished as a brother in a great family of friends and brothers, and he is oath-bound to do this, for by initiation he becomes a more developed personality, having a "new name". The rite of initiation is an old one and one that men and women have long understood. It is only by sophistry and the perversion of ideas, some of them springing from prurient minds, that the utility and righteousness of secrecy has ever been questioned.
To strip a fraternity of its secrecy is like divesting a man of all his clothing and saying to him, "Walk as God made you." There would be nothing evil in this, per se, BUT, the customs of decency and the desire for protection require a man to wear a garb of some kind. And secret fraternities are nothing more than purposeful men multiplied.
As for the apron which our lady critic says the brethren wear in the street when women will not do so if they can help it, let it be stated in full confidence that most women, our interrogator included, would not only wear aprons in the street but even tied about their heads, if Dame Fashion so dictated. All of which convinces us that clever questions are not always sincere.
* * *
Man with his burning soul
Has but an hour of breath
To build a ship of truth
In which his soul may sail.
Sail on the sea of death,
For death takes toll
Of beauty, courage, youth,
Of all out truth.
* * *
A SKETCH OF THE CONSTANTINIAN ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD
Bro. George W. Warvelle, P.G.M., Illinois
Old-time readers of THE BUILDER will have in memory a series of sparkling essays from Brother Warvelle on themes various and sundry, the titles and dates of which are worthy of record: "The Ineffable Name," November, 1915, page 271; "The Perfect Youth," January, 1916, page 17; "Sectarianism and Freemasonry," April, 1916, page 109; "At Refreshment," April, 1917, page 111. To these are now to be added two or three more, the first of which is given herewith. It was composed several years ago, but until now has not received the wide hearing it deserves.
To correct, in some measure, the erroneous opinions concerning the Constantinian Orders of Knighthood, which, mainly through lack of proper information, seem to have gained currency, the Grand Imperial Council of the Order has caused to be published for the information of the Craft within its jurisdiction, the following summary of the history, purposes and organization of these exalted degrees of Freemasonry.
They are the most ancient of all the chivalric orders and degrees, and, unlike all of the other great ecclesiastical-military organizations which sprang into existence or were first brought to public notice during the crusades, have a legendary history extending back to the early days of the Christian era. As all orders and degrees in Freemasonry are more or less based on legends, the truth of which cannot be demonstrated, so it is not pretended that the Constantinian Orders rest upon any stronger or more reliable foundation; yet it is certain that they have existed for many years and find mention in Masonic nomenclature as early as 1736. From our ancient traditions we learn that the Order of the Red Cross was founded by Constantine the Great, Oct. 28, A.D. 313, as a memorial of the divine miracle which effected his conversion to the Christian faith, and also as a reward for the valour of certain of his soldiers. It is related that on the day previous to his ever memorable battle with Maxentius, as Constantine was seated at his tent door reflecting upon the dangers of the approaching expedition and sensible of his own incapacity to succeed without divine assistance, he offered up a prayer for divine inspiration and wisdom to choose the right path to be pursued. As he turned his face toward the setting sun there suddenly appeared in the heavens a pillar of light in the shape of a cross, surmounted with the inscription, "In hoc signo vinces" — in this sign conquer. So extraordinary an appearance created the utmost astonishment in the mind of the Emperor and his whole army. The Pagans deemed it a most inauspicious omen, but Constantine, being reassured by the visions of the night, on the morrow made a public avowal of his faith in the God of the Christians. He caused a royal standard to be constructed in imitation of the luminous cross which he had seen in his vision, and commanded it to be carried before him as an ensign of victory and divine protection, while the consecrated emblem was conspicuously displayed upon his own person and that of his soldiers. After the memorable battle, which was fought at Saxs Rubra, a small village about nine miles from Rome, the Emperor sent for the chiefs of the Christian legion, and in presence of his other officers constituted them into an Order of Knighthood with the celestial cross as an insignia, and, on the return of peace, became himself the Sovereign Patron thereof. These Christian warriors were then selected to compose the bodyguard of Constantine, and the command of same was confided to Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, who was thus considered the second officer of the Order. Whether these incidents are true or false is immaterial so far as they affect the present objects and purposes of the Order.
After the death of Constantine and the division of the empire, the Order is said to have flourished under his successors, Marcian and Leo, but afterward declined until the year 1190, when it was revived by the Emperor Michael Angelus Comnenus on a scale of increased splendour. From this time down to 1699 the Grand Mastership was vested in the Comnenian family, who were considered the lineal descendants of Constantine. At this later period the dignity was vested in one Andrew Angelus Comnenus, titular Prince of Macedonia, who pretended to assign his hereditary rights to Francis Farnese, the reigning Duke of Parma. The Grand Crosses of the Order, one of whom was the Abbe Giuistiniani, continued, however, to exercise their undoubted privilege of conferring the Red Cross upon worthy men; and it is to this learned Abbe, who was long attached to the Venetian Embassy in London, that the existence of the Order in England is attributed. The members of the English branch during the eighteenth century were men of high social position and of eminence in the Masonic Fraternity, but, like the Knights Templars, we are unable to say positively when the Order was restricted to Freemasons. It is presumed that this regulation was made about 1788, as from this date it appears wholly under Masonic auspices. In 1796 the Grand Master of the Templars was also the head of the Red Cross Order. In 1804 it was vested in Waller Redwell Wright, a most distinguished Mason, to whom we are indebted for the form of our present rituals. In 1908 a constitutional government was effected, and the present Imperial Council of England established. There is a continuous record still in existence from 1788.
ORDER OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE
The Order of the Holy Sepulchre is said to have been instituted A.D. 326, by St. Helena, the mother of Constantine, in commemoration of her discoveries in the Holy Land. It was instituted with the sanction of Constantine and confirmed by the Pontiff Marcelinus. The Knights were selected from the Order of the Red Cross, and the original investments were made at Jerusalem, the knightly vows being made while kneeling at the sacred tomb. The two Orders have always been intimately connected, and since 1190 under the same government. The history of the Holy Sepulchre since that period is therefore identical with that of the Red Cross.
The Holy Order of St, John the Evangelist purports to be a continuation of the Palestine Order of St. John, as distinguished from the Hospitallers and other orders which claim a dedication to that Saint. It is based upon certain incidents which are said to have occurred in the restoration of the fourth Gospel, as related by the Byzantine historians, and assumes to be a final exposition of the fundamental concepts of Freemasonry. It is further claimed that the Knights of St. John of Palestine were the true Masons, as to them only were the words of the highest import imparted, and that it was only after warfare with the enemies of the faith they received this privilege and were admitted to full communion with the Holy Brotherhood.
In 1813 H.R.H. the Duke of Sussex became the Grand Master of the united Orders for the term of his natural life, and continued to exercise the dignity until his decease in 1843. The Order remained in a languishing condition from this time until 1865, when the Imperial Council of England was revived and the present organization adopted.
In the year 1869 the Earl of Bective, then the Grand Sovereign of England, commissioned Fra. McLeod Moore an Intendant General, with authority to introduce the Orders into the western hemisphere, and in pursuance of this authority and through various intermediaries, conclaves were finally established in Illinois during the year 1872. On Aug. 30, 1872, the representatives of these conclaves met at the city of Chicago, Ill., and by virtue of a dispensation from the Grand Sovereign of England authorizing the formation of Independent Grand Councils, and a further special dispensation from his Chief Intendant General for the United States, Fra. Alfred Creigh, they organized a new and sovereign body which they called the "Grand Imperial Council of Illinois." The new body thus created was thereafter duly recognized and acknowledged by the Grand Imperial Council of England as a properly organized and legally existing governing body of the Orders with sovereign powers and a peer of the parent body.
Although possessing beautiful as well as ancient rituals, which in lethargic expression and exalted symbolism compare favourably with the best of any rite of Freemasonry, yet the primary object of the Order has constantly been to promote the social features of the Masonic Institution and to preserve, as far as possible, the primitive customs of the fraternity that conduce to good feeling and fellowship. As these objects and purposes became known to the Craft an interest was created in territory lying without the claimed exclusive jurisdiction of the Grand Imperial Council of Illinois. This eventually resulted in the organization of conclaves in other states, and with this extension of territorial jurisdiction there came a general feeling that the organic law should be so changed as to meet the new conditions. Accordingly, at the assembly held at Jacksonville, Ill., on Oct. 13, 1899, a new constitution was adopted whereby the governing body became the "Grand Imperial Council for the Western Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States," exercising sovereign prerogatives over the grades and orders in all of the states west of the Alleghenies. But after a time conclaves were organized in localities without this last named jurisdiction, and so, in pursuance of what appeared to be manifest destiny, at the assembly held at the city of Duluth, Minn., on Aug. 14, 1907, the constitution was again amended and the supreme body became the "Grand Imperial Council for the United States of America," the name by which it is now called. This organization, with a jurisdiction embracing all parts of the Union where no Grand Council exists, has been duly recognized by the Grand Imperial Council of England, the mother council of the world, as a lawful and regular governing body of the Orders within its claimed territory, and relations of amity and correspondence have been established.
ARE TRACED FROM PARENT STOCK
The Constantinian Orders are the only chivalric grades now conferred in this country that can show direct descent from the parent stock, and which can trace an unbroken line of genealogy. Originally the initial grade was called the "Illustrious Order of the Red Cross," and as this Order and that of Knight Templar were the only chivalric degrees recognized in England at the time Webb constructed his "American System," it is supposed that, not being possessed of the English degree, he fabricated the present Red Cross of American Templary in order that his system might coincide with the names of the English bodies. The degree now known as Red Cross of Constantine is, however the original, as well as the present, Red Cross of English Freemasonry.
The degrees of the Constantinian Orders are six in number, three working and three official, and are conferred in the following order:
- Knight of the Red Cross of Constantine (or Perfect Knight Mason) conferred in a body styled a Conclave.
- A Knight of the Holy Sepulchre conferred in a body styled Sanctuary.
- Knight of St. John of Palestine (the Evangelist) conferred as an appendant Order to the last named, but in a body styled a Commandery.
- Viceroy-Eusebius (or Perfect Priest Mason) conferred in a College of Viceroys erected within the Imperial Council, and only on the elected Viceroys of Conclaves except by dispensation.
- Sovereign-Constantine (or Perfect Prince Mason) conferred in a Senate of Sovereigns established within the Imperial Council, and only on the elected Sovereigns of Conclaves, except by dispensation.
- Grand Cross of the Order — a decoration and dignity conferred upon worthy and eminent Knights of the Order as a special mark of honour and distinction. The number of Knights Grand Cross is limited to fifty, in accordance with the ancient statutes promulgated by the Emperor Michael Angelus Comnenus.
The Masonic qualification for membership in these Orders is that the applicant shall be a Royal Arch Mason in good standing. By the ancient statutes Master Masons are eligible for the Order of the Red Cross, but to attain the Holy Sepulchre it is necessary that the postulant be also a Royal Arch Mason. In England, where the rule is still observed, but few ever attain this last dignity, indeed the number is limited to ninety-nine. In this country all of the so-called working Orders are open without limit, and for this reason the qualifications for the Holy Sepulchre are required of all applicants.
Faith, Unity and Zeal are the principles upon which this chivalric fraternity is founded. A reverential belief in the New Covenant, the blessings of fraternal union, and the advantages of zeal in a good cause, are impressed upon the minds of our aspirants, who are taught to reflect not only upon the mysteries of life, but on the solemn secrets of the hereafter. In this respect the Order may well claim kinship with the noble institution of Freemasonry, from which its members are chosen, and with which they consider it their duty as well as their privilege to continue allied.
In the Constantinian Orders the allegories and primary symbolism of the lodge and chapter are retained unchanged, but with new interpretations and more recondite meanings. The True Word, for which our ancient brethren sought, is recovered, and is itself the Light which shone in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. All of the ceremonies are designed to illustrate this phase of the symbols, and the precepts and lessons are drawn wholly from the teachings of the Master of Nazareth. Only those who are willing to follow in the footsteps of the Divine Master can, with propriety, assume our obligations, and for this reason, although no specific definition of the aspirants' religious views are required, those only will be accepted who can subscribe to a general belief in the Christian religion as set forth in the New Testament.
In their essential characteristics the Orders may be said to constitute a beautiful system of Christian Masonry, and to furnish a most impressive allegorical sequel to the history of the Craft degrees. In their development the neophyte gazes for the last time upon the fragmentary forms and types of the Mosaic dispensation; upon the ruins of the ancient temple he sees arise the New Tabernacle of Divine Truth, whose existence human power shall not be able to affect, and whose duration shall be for an eternity of ages; the confusion of the Old Covenant is made clear in the New Law, and he learns that the mysteries of the Craft are in reality but the mysteries of religion. His long initiation of toil ended, he lays down the implements of labour and rises to a higher sphere of usefulness and duty; neither is there longer any Temple, because the light of the Lord is universally dim used and the world has become one Holy House of his wisdom.
But while the Constantinian Orders are essentially Christian, they involve no sacrifice of personal beliefs, and compel adherence to no formulated creed. They do not assume to prescribe articles of faith or to usurp the province of the church, neither do they attempt to fetter the mind with the shackles of sectarian prejudice or denominational bias. That perfect right of freedom of conscience, so essential to every man who would obtain just conceptions of Deity, is accorded to all, and the only doctrines inculcated are those of the Gentle Master himself — "the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
Historically considered the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine commemorates the first elevation of Christianity from the position of a despised and proscribed heresy, to that of a legally recognized and honoured religion. Christianity had indeed existed for more than three centuries before the institution of the Order, but always under the ban of restrictive laws and proclamations, more or less rigidly enforced, according to the caprice of those intrusted with their administration, and it was not until Constantine won the battle which gave him supreme control over the Western Empire that it acquired an established place among the religions of the world. Created, therefore, by the first Christian ruler, it was fitting that to our Order should have been committed the keeping of the faith as it was delivered to the founders of our religion, and the guardianship and preservation of the true key to what has been hidden, in the design of God's providence, concerning the real meaning of His, ordinances. To us has come, by the hands of generations of faithful Knights, the knowledge first revealed to and through St. John the Evangelist, of the mysterious, yet beautifully simple explanation of all God's revelations to and dealings with man, and we have found that they all led to and were comprehended in the great fact, that God was the Word from the beginning and that for which man had been searching in all ages, the beginning and the end of wisdom, was found, at last, upon the Cross.
* * *
POEMS OF THE CRAFT
THE POETIC CAST OF MASONRY
There is a code of moral grace
From sweetest inspirations drawn,
Which touches in the holiest place
The sentiment hope feeds upon.
It somehow brings together those
Bound by no other interest here
In closest ties, whose acts disclose
The principles which they revere.
The system breathes of love and strength,
Of confidence 'twixt man and man,
And, delving through its depths at length
To understand its graceful plan,
New truths and beauties mark the way
Where'er our searching footsteps lead
Through labyrinths whose rich display
Reveals a wondrous wealth indeed.
A wealth of wisdom, love and power,
A wealth of truth and honor high,
A wealth of sunshine's brightest hour
That sweetens life as moments fly;
A wealth of music's richest chords
That wait the touch of magic hand
Which poetry's rare art affords
And speaks to hearts that understand.
Prosaic lessons bring to mind
The practical details e'er sought
By zealous craftsmen who would find
The plans by mystic labor wrought;
But 'tis the thrill of vibrant notes
Of euphony's sweet mystic spell
Which voices all its power denotes
From spheres where best ideals dwell.
It pictures to the plastic mind
Soft tinted shades of beauty rare
Which ornament each thought refined
Throughout its teachings everywhere.
Its grace uplifts the struggling soul;
Its tones on memory firmly pressed
Whose chords through human nature roll
With influences unexposed.
No other art has greater need
Of melody's refining song
Whose beauties rare, by far, exceed
All others that to her belong,
For Masonry's sweet lessons ring
With harmony's delightful strain
Whose influence ne'er fails to bring
A host of blessings in its train.
— Lewis Alexander McConnell.
JACQUES DE MOLAY
A flood of visions sweeps along
And in the depth we hear a song
That seems to rule the rushing tide
With grief for one who nobly died.
Jacques de Molay dishonor spurned;
His body at the stake was burned.
His spirit could not reach the sky
Contaminated with a lie.
He died a martyr for the truth
Which blossoms in eternal youth.
He died the leader of his clan;
A hero and a worthy man.
For centuries around his tomb
The flowers of admiration bloom.
Sweet is the incense honor gives;
Jacques de Molay in glory lives.
— Francis L. Murphy
(Courtesy The De Molay Councilor)
ENOUGH FOR ME — A MASON'S CREED
I will not ask my neighbor of his creed;
Nor what he deems of doctrine, old or new;
Nor what rites his honest soul may need
To worship God — the only wise and true;
Nor what he thinks-of the anointed Christ;
Nor with what baptism he has been baptized.
I ask not what temptations have beset
His humane heart, now self-debased and sore;
Nor by what wayside well the Lord he met;
Nor when He uttered, "Go, and sin no more."
Between his soul and God that business lies;
Not mine to cavil, question or despise.
I ask not by which name among the rest
That Christians go by he is named and known;
Whether his faith has ever been "professed,"
Or whether proven by his deeds alone;
So there be Christhood in him, all is well;
He is my brother, and in peace we dwell,
If grace and patience in his actions speak,
Or fall in words of kindness from his tongue,
Which raise the fallen, fortify the weak,
And heal the heart by sorrow rent and wrung —
If he give good for ill, and love for hate —
Friend of the friendless, poor and desolate —
I find in him discipleship so true
So full, that nothing further I demand.
He may be bondsman, freeman Gentile Jew,
But we are brothers — walk we hand in land.
In his white life let me the Christhood see —
It is enough for him — enough for me.
By courtesy of the Masonic Journal of South Africa, the editor of which makes the following note:
"A brother writes that many years ago, while sojourning in the 'Bad Lands' of South Dakota, he found in an old discarded magazine the above gem. Can anyone tell us the name of the author?
NEVER IN THE DARKNESS — HE!
I cannot bow my head before that seat
Where men declare their God in darkness dwells;
I cannot in the spirit touch my feet
Beside the spring whence wrath-mixed Love outswells.
He is not that! My God is none to fear
Or wince from vengeance loosed upon the world;
But beauty from the farthest shoreless sphere
And Truth throughout the firmament unfurled.
I humbly bow my head to all the Good
That shines from eyes and hands and open hearts;
And worship at the shrine of Brotherhood
Where God His love from Soul to Soul imparts.
Before the Good, the Beautiful, the True,
Let Mind and Heart stand still in wordless awe!
For God in man cloth loose the power to view
The world of worth — the triumph of His law.
— Gerald Nancarrow.
With plumbless darkness all-effacing Night
Descends about our world; it shutteth out
Familiar scenes, and lies so dark about
As if the vasty skies were void of light;
It closes on our lives with such a might
As mocks at gods, and in its black redoubt
Of mystery shuts us, till our boldest shout
Would falter helpless in such infinite!
But see! the clouds unroll before the living stars
And empty Night grows populous with forms
And worlds go brothered through the fearful skies!
Thus will it prove when we pass o'er the bars
That hedge our earth. and mount above the storms
Of time and chance, and into Death arise!
* * *
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird. P.G.M., District of Columbia
THE Hon. David Brearley, jurist, statesman, soldier, was the first Grand Master of Freemasons in New Jersey, and he continued as Grand Master until his death, Aug. 16, 1790. He was buried with military and Masonic honors. Two Masonic bodies were named after him. His portrait which hung upon the walls of Brearley Lodge, at Bridgetown, for so many years, has disappeared.
He was born near Trenton, N. J., in 1741, and was but forty-nine years of age when death claimed him. But in that forty-nine years he accomplished much. His biographers do not state from what college he was graduated, but do say that he practiced law in Allentown; that he was elected Chief Justice of New Jersey June 10, 1779, and was made Master of Arts by the college of New Jersey. He was Grand Master from 1786 to the time of his death. He was state vice-president of the Society of the Cincinnati.
When the trouble between the Colonists and the mother countrymen was fomenting, which preceded the War of the Revolution, Judge Brearley was in the front line of the Colonists, and was a central figure when hostilities began. He was one of the first agitators arrested, was held for trial, but was released by a mob. He promptly joined Maswell's brigade, "and became/Lieu". Col. of the Fourth Battalion of 2nd Establishment, Nov. 28, 1776." His military record was excellent but he left the army to accept the office of Chief Justice of the state. He was then but thirty-four years of age.
In the convention which framed the Constitution of the United States, of which he was a member, he entered a firm protest against the inequality of representation of the several states, and vigorously opposed any joint ballot by the two houses of Congress, and his protest prevailed.
Judge Brearley was president of the New Jersey convention which ratified the Constitution of the United States, and he was, also, a presidential elector in 1788. In 1789 he resigned the position of Chief Justice of the state of New Jersey to accept the appointment of Judge of the United States District Court of the state of New Jersey.
He was one of the compilers of the Protestant Episcopal Prayer Book in 1785; it was a grand work. Due to the substitution of republican government for that of constitutional monarchy, and to pacify the constituency in both policy and in creed, the utmost tact was essential; but his work was so splendidly done that it still excites admiration. The prayers are printed; the litany affords the congregation an opportunity to participate, which increases their interest; the sermons are short and the statutes are so carefully guarded that the pastor, no matter how energetic he is, finds it difficult to get outside the confines of his creed. We believe this wise provision has had much to do with preventing the Episcopal clergy from yielding (as so many other Protestants have done) to the clamour and the pressure of the faddists in their congregations to neglect teaching the beautiful life and example of Jesus, and to the substitution of suffragism, disarmament, abolition of capital punishment, etc., and it clearly shows the profound wisdom and vision of David Brearley, the first Grand Master of New Jersey.
His vision, experience and altruism made him eminently qualified to prepare, or at least to superintend, the preparation of that splendid constitution which has preserved, without amendment, the great state of New Jersey peaceably and harmoniously intact.
The picture of the modest little memorial, shown herewith, was given to me by the Grand Secretary, Brother Isaac Cherry, who has also annotated this manuscript. It will be seen that the little memorial is broken, mutilated. The writer brought this to the attention of the congress of the Sons of the American Revolution, hoping that that patriotic society may have the little memorial replaced, just as Grand Master Brother Sell, of Pennsylvania, did with the damaged memorial of Brother Arthur St. Clair.
We are not giving sufficient weight to the magnificent characters and examples of our early Grand Masters. It is true they had a population capable of understanding pristine democracy, and easier to manage; now we have a balance of foreign born, foreign prejudiced, proletariat, which has disturbed if not conquered us. Grand Masters of today and those looking forward to that office would find it very much worth their while to make a careful study of the careers and achievements of the Grand Masters of a century ago, especially of the type of David Brearley.
* * *
THE STUDY CLUB
Chapters of Masonic History
Bro. H. L. Haywood, Editor
PART VIII. YORK ROLL, No. 1
A SPECIMEN OF THE OLD CHARGES
FROM of old, York has been the Mecca of English Freemasonry, holding some such place in the Craft of that land that Mother Kilwinning occupies in the affections of Scotch brethren; both hold a prominent place in the Masonic traditions of their respective countries, and they are alike hallowed by time. According to a very old tradition preserved in the Old Charges the first general assembly of the Craft ever held convened in York, under a charter granted by King Athelstan, at the time Prince Edwin was made a Mason; it is uncertain how much of this is to stand as actual history, for the old writers were much given to accepting hearsay, but there appears to be good reason for believing that some kind of Masonic assembly, or assemblies, were held in that community.
"The Old Lodge of York", as it used to be called, was a "time immemorial lodge" and worked Speculative Masonry many years before the founding of the first Grand Lodge at London in 1717. Somewhere about the year 1725, and tartly as a result of the example furnished by the brethren at London, this old lodge blossomed out into a Grand Lodge itself, known as the Grand Lodge of all England, a detailed account of which, along with the original data, will be found in chapter XVIII of Gould's History of Freemasonry, and in chapter eighty-three of Mackey's Revised History of Freemasonry. William Preston became identified w ith this Grand body after his break with the Grand Lodge at London.
The Lodge at York is also linked up with the oldest traditions concerning Royal Arch Masonry. In 1774 Dr. Fifield Dassigny referred to Royal Arch Masons at York; this reference has led our historians to think that the Royal Arch Degree, or degrees, must have been practiced there at least as early as 1740.
The Grand Lodge of all England never came formally to an end, but peacefully passed out of existence through absorption by its more powerful rivals. In an inventory made in 1779 of its effects six copies of the Old Charges were listed. The first of these was described after this fashion: "No. 1. A parchment roll in three slips, containing the constitutions of Masonry, and by endorsement appears to have been found in Pontefract Castle at the demolition, and given to the Grand Lodge by Brother Drake." The manuscript was in the form of a roll, five inches wide and about seven feet in length. The endorsement here mentioned will be found at the bottom of the copy published herewith.
This roll was lost sight of by the York brethren and was accidentally discovered at Freemason's Hall, London, by Brother W. J. Hughan. Through his good offices the truant document was restored to the York Lodge in 1877, the Earl of Zetland then being Grand Master. This "York Roll, No. 1", has been chosen for reproduction here as furnishing a typical version of the Legend of the Craft in language sufficiently modern to be easily read.
Hughan's transcription of the York MS. No. 1, used below, reproduces thorns and superscript abbreviations such as ye, yt, Mr, etc. In the following text these have been rendered as 'the', 'that', 'Master', etc. Hughan also reproduces inconsistencies in spelling and punctuation. These have been amended in conformity with modern usage, and in the interest of legibility. The spelling 'Masonrie' used in the title and the anagram has been preserved.
— The Skirret
YORK ROLL No. 1.
About A.D. 1600.
An Anagram upon the name of Masonrie
William Kay to his friend Robert Preston
upon his Art of Masonrie as followeth:
Much might be said of the noble Art
A Craft that's worth esteeming in each part
Sundry Nations Nobles & their Kings also
Oh how they sought its worth to know
Nimrod & Solomon the wisest of all men
Reason saw to love this Science then
I'll say no more lest by my shallow verses I
Endeavouring to praise should blemish Masonrie.
THE CONSTITUTIONS OF MASONRIE
THE might of the Father of heaven with wisdom of the blessed Son through the grace of God & goodness of the Holy Ghost that be three persons in one godhead, be with us at our beginning & give us grace so to govern us here in this life that we may come to His blessing that never shall have ending. And good brethren & fellows our purpose is to tell you how and in what manner this worthy Science of Masonrie was begun & afterward how it was found by worthy Kings & princes & by many other Worshipful men. And also to them that be here we will declare the charges that belong to every Free Mason to keep sure in good faith. And therefore take good heed hereto, it is well worthy to be kept well, for that the Science is ancient, for there be VII liberal Sciences of the which it is one & the names of the seven Sciences be these. First Grammar which teacheth a man to speak truly & write truly. And the second is Rhetoric & teacheth a man to speak fair plain in subtle terms & the third is Dialectic or Logic that teacheth a man to discern truth from falsehood. And the fourth is Arithmetic & that teacheth a man to reckon & to accompt all manner of numbers. And the fifth is called Geometry & teacheth all measure of grounds of all other things of the which Science is grounded Masonrie: & the fifth Science is called Music & that teacheth a man the Science of Song & viol of tongue & organ, harp, trumpet. And the seventh Science is called Astronomy & that teacheth a man to know the course of the Sun, Moon & Stars.
These be the VII liberal Sciences the which Seven be all grounded by one, that is to say Geometry, for by this may a man prove the Essence of work as founded by Geometry, so Geometry teacheth mete, measure, ponderation & weight of all manner of things on earth, for there is no man that worketh any Science but he worketh by some measure or weight & all this is Geometry, & Merchants & all crafts men & all other of the VII Sciences & especially the plower & tiller of all manner of grains & seeds, planters of vineyards, sellers of fruits, for in Grammar, Rhetoric nor Astronomy nor in any of all the liberal Sciences can any man find mete or measure without Geometry, methinks that this Science Geometry is most worthy & foundeth all others. How these worthy Sciences was first begotten I shall you tell viz. Before Noah flood there was a man called Lamech as is written in the Scripture in the 4th Chapter of Genesis. And this Lamech had two wives the one named Adah, by whom he had two Sons, the one named Jabell, the other named Jubell. And his other wife was called Zillah, by whom he had one son named Tubalcain & one daughter named Naamah & these four children founded the beginning of all the Sciences in the world viz. Jabell the eldest Son found out the Science of Geometry. He was a keeper of flocks of sheep & Lands in the Fields as it is noted in the Chapter before said. And his brother Juball found the Science of Music, Song of Tongue, harp & organ. And the third Brother Tubalcain found the Science called Smith Craft of Gold, Silver, Iron, Copper & Steel & the Daughter found the art of Weaving. And these persons knowing right well that God would take vengeance for sin either by fire or water, wherefore they writ their several Sciences that they had found in two Pillars of stone that they might be found after Noah his Flood, And the one stone was Marble because it would not burn with fire & the other called Laternes because it would not drown with water. Now our intent is to tell you how & in what manner these Stones were found in which these Sciences were written. The ancient Hermarines was a Cub, his Son the which Cub was Sem that was Noah's Son; this Hermarines was after called the father of wise men. He found one of the two pillars of Stone & he found the Sciences written therein & he taught that to other men. And at the making of the Tower of Babel there was Masonrie first much esteemed of & the King of Babylon that was called Nimrod was a mason himself & loved well Masons & that Science as it is said among Masters of Histories. And when the city of Nineveh & other cities of the East should be builded Nimrod the King of Babylon sent thither said Masons at the request of the King of Nineveh his Cousin and when he sent them forth he gave them a charge on this manner that they should be true each one of them to other & that they should love well one another & that they should serve their Lord truly for their pay so that the master may have pay & all that belongeth unto him & other more charges he gave them & this was the first time that ever any Masons had any charge of his Craft. Moreover Abraham & Sarah his wife went into Egypt. And there he taught the VII Sciences to the Egyptians & and he had a worty Scholar named Euclid & he learned right well & was Master of all the VII Sciences liberal & in his days it befell that the Lords & States of the Lands had so many Sons, some by their wives & some by their concubines, for that land is a hot land & plentious of Generation & they had not a competent proportion of estate wherewith to maintain their said Children, wherefore they took much care & the King of that land caused a great council & summoned a parliament to consult how they might provide for their children whereon they might live honestly as Gentlemen & they could find no manner of good way. And then they made a proclamation throughout all the Realm that if there any that could inform them therein that he should come to them & he should be well rewarded for his travail so that he should hold himself satisfied. After this proclamation was made came this worthy Clerk Euclid & said to the King & to his Nobles if you will except of me to teach, instruct & govern your children in the VII Sciences whereby they might live honestly as Gentlemen I shall do it upon condition that you will grant me & them a Commission that I may have power to rule them after the manner the Sciences ought to be ruled, which the King & all the Council granted him & Sealed the Commission. And then this worthy Doctor took to himself Lord's Sons & taught them the Science of Geometry & practise to work in Stones all manner of worthy work that belongeth to Buildings, Churches, Temples, Castles, Towers, Manors & all manner of Buildings & gave them in Charge on this manner. First that they should be true to the Lord that they serve & that they should love well on another & that they should be true one to another & that they should call each other his Fellow or his Brother & not his Servant or Knave or other foul names & that they should truly deserve their pay of their Lord or the Master that they serve & that they should ordain the wisest of them to be Master of the work & neither to chose for Love nor Affection nor great nor riches to set any that hath nor sufficient Knowledge and cunning the work to be Master of the work whereby the Master should be evil served & they disgraced or ashamed & also that they should call the governor nor of the work Master during the time that they work with him & other more charges that is to long here to tell & to all these Charges he made them to swear a great Oath that men used in that time & ordained for them reasonable pay or Wages that they might live honestly thereby & also that they should come & assemble themselves together once every year and consult how they might best work for their Lord's profit & their own credit & to correct within themselves him that trespassed against the Science & thus was the Science grounded there & that worthy Master Euclid was the first that gave it the name of Geometry the which is now called Masonrie throughout all this nation. And after that when the children of Israel were come into the land of Behest which is now called among us the Countrie of Jewry, King David begun the Temple that is now called Temple Dome & is named with us the Temple of Jerusalem & the said King David loved well Masons & cherished them much & he gave them good wages & he gave them both the charges & manners as he had learned in Egypt given formerly by Euclid and other more charges that you shall hear afterwards. After the decease of King David Solomon his Son finished out the said Temple that his father had begun & he sent for Masons into divers countries of divers Lands & gathered them together so that he had four score thousand workers of stone & were all named Masons he chose out of them three thousand that was ordained to be Masters & governors of his work. And furthermore there was a King of another Region that men called Hiram & he loved King Solomon well & he gave him Timber to his work. And he had a Sonne named Amon & he was a Master of Geometry & he was chief Master of all his Gravings, Carvings & all of his Masons & Masonrie as appears in Scripture in Libro Primo Regnii & Chapter the 5th. And this Solomon Confirmed both Charge & manners that his Father had given to Masons & thus was that worthy Science of Masonrie confirmed in that Country of Jewry & at the City of Jerusalem. And in many other Kingdoms Curious Craftsmen walked about out full wide & spread themselves into divers Countries, some to Learne more craft & cunning & some to teach them that had little skill & cunning. And that befell that there was one Curious Mason called Namus Grecas that had been at the building of Solomon's Temple & he came into France & there he taught the Science of Masonrie to men of France & there was one of Royal line of France called Charles Martel & he was a man that loved well such a Craft & he drew to this Namus Grecas above said & he learned of him the Craft & took upon him the charge & manners & afterwards by the Providence of God he was elected King of France & when he was in the Estate he took & helped to make men Masons which before were none & gave them both the charge & the manners & good pay as he had learned of other Masons & also confirmed a Charter from year to year to hold their Assembly where they would, and cherished them right much. Thus came this famous Craft into France. England in all this time stood void of Masonrie especially for any Charge imposed upon that Science until St. Alban's time & in his days the King of England that was then A pagan did wall th Towne of St. Albans about & St. Alban was a worthy Knight & Steward of the King's Household & had Governor of the Realm & also had the ordering of the said Town Walls & he Loved well Masons & cherished them right much & made their pay right good considering how wages & other things stood then for he gave them 2s-6d a week and 3d for their nonfinch & before that time through out all this Land a mason took but a Penny a day until St. Albans advanced it as above said & procured them a Charter of the King & his Counsel whereby for to hold a general council & gave it the name of Assembly & there at he was himself & helped to make men Masons & gave them a charge as you shall here after hear. But it happened shortly after the death of St. Alban that there arose great wars in England which came out of divers nations so that the good order of Masonrie was destroyed until the days of King Athelstan who was a worthy King of England & brought this land in good rest and peace & builded many great works as Abbeys, Towns & other manners of Buildings & loved well masons & he had a Son named Edwin & he loved Masons much more then his Father & he was a great practioner in Geometry & he delighted much to talk & commune with Masons & to learn of them skill & cunning & afterward for love he bore to masons & to their Science he was made a mason & he procured for them of the King his father a charter & Commission to hold every year an Assembly wheresoever they would within the Realm of England & to correct within themselves defaults & trespasses that were done within the craft & he himself held an Assembly at York & there he made masons & gave them the charges & taught them the manners & commanded that rule to be kept ever after & also took for them the charter to keep & also gave order that it should be renewed from King to King. And when the Assembly was gathered together he made proclamation that all old masons or young that had any writings or understanding of the charge & the manners concerning the said Science that were made before in this Land or any other that they should bring them forth & when they had viewed & examined there found some in French, some in Greek, some in English & some in other Languages & the intent & meaning of them was found all out & he had made a book thereof how the Craft was founded & he himself gave command that it should be read or told when that any Masons should be made & to give them the Charge. And from that day to this day, Manners of Masons have been kept & observed in that form as well as men might Observe & govern it. And furthermore at divers Assemblies an Addition of certain things in the charges ordained by the best advice of Masters & Fellows — Tunc unus ex senioribus teneat Librum ut ille vell illi potiat vel potiant manus Sup Librum et tunc precepta deberent Legi — Every man that is a Mason take right good heed to these Charges & if any man find himself guilty in any of these charges that he amend himself before God & in particularly ye that are to be charged take good heed that ye may keep these charges right well for it is perilous & great danger for a man to forswear himself upon the Holy Scripture. The first Charge is that he or thou be true man to God & the Holy Church & that you use neither error nor heresy according to your own understanding or discreet & wise means teaching & also that he shall be truly liege man & bear true Allegiance to the King of Masonrie & also that you use no thievery but keep yourselves true. And also & advantage of England without any treason or any other falsehood & if they know of any treason or treachery that you amend it privily if ye may or else warn the King or his counsel of it by declaring it to the Magistrates. And also ye shall be true one to another that is to say to every Mason of the Craft of Masonrie that be allowed Masons you shall do to them as you would they should do to you. And that you keep truly all the counsel of Lodge & chamber & all other counsel that ought to be kept by way you shall be true to the Lord or Master you serve & truly see his profit promoted & furthered. And also you shall call Masons your Brethren or Fellows but not any other foul name. And you shall not take in villany your Fellows wife nor unlawfully desire his daughter or servant nor put him to any discredit. And also that you pay truly for your meat & drink where you go to table & that you do not any thing whereby the craft may be Scandalized or whereby it may receive disgrace. These be the charges in general that belongeth every Mason to keep both Masters & Fellows. Now come I to rehearse certain other charges singularly for Masters & Fellows viz. That no Master take upon him any Lord's Work or any other men's work except he know himself to be of sufficient skill & cunning to perform & finish the same so that the Craft thereby receive no slander or discredit but that the Lord be well served & have his work truly & sufficiently done. And also that no Master take any work at unreasonable rates but so reasonably that the Lord or owner may be true served with his own goods & the Master to live honestly thereby & to pay his fellows truly their wages as the manner is. And also that no Master or Fellow shall suplant another of his work that is to say if any Master or Fellow have taken any work to do & therefore stand as Master of the said work ye shall not put him out of it unless he be unable of skill & cunning to perform the same to the end & also that no Master or Fellow take any apprentice under the term of Seven years & yet such apprentice sufficiently able of body & sound of limbs & also of good birth free born no Alien but descended of a true & honest kindred & no bondman & also that no mason take any apprentice unless he have suficient occupation whereon to employ two or three Fellows at the least. And also that no Master or Fellow put any to take any Lord's work that was wont to work Journey work. And also that every Master shall give wages to his Fellowes according to his work doth deserve that he be not deceived by false work. And also that none shall slander another behind his back whereby he may lose his good name or wordly riches. Also that no fellow within the Lodge or without shall mis answer or reprove unlawfully another without cause. And also that every Mason shall reverence his Elder brother & put him to honour. Also that no Mason shall be a common player at cards or dice or any other unlawfull game or games whereby the Science may be slandered & disgraced & also that no fellow at any time go from his fellows of the Lodge into any town adjoining except he have a fellow with him to witness that he was in honest place & civil company. And also that every Master & fellow shall come to the Assembly of Masons if it be within 1 mile about him if he have any warning of the same. And if he or they have trespassed or offended against the craft all such so trespassing shall stand there at the award & Arbitration of the Masters & Fellowes there & they to make them accord if they can or may & if they cannot agree them then to go to the common Law & also that no Master or Fellow make any mould, rule or square of any Layer nor set any Layer or without to hew any mould stones. And that every Mason shall cherish strange fellows when they come out of other Countries & set them on work if he can as the manner is viz. if he have no Stones nor moulds in that place he shall refresh him with money to supply his necessities until he come at the next Lodge. And also that every Mason shall perform his work truly & not sleightily for his pay but serve his Lord truly for his wages & also that every Master shall truly make an end of his work whether it be by Tax or by Journey viz. by measure or by days if he have his pay & all other covents performed to him by the Lord of the work according to the bargain. These Charges that we have now rehearsed to you & to all others here present which belongeth to Masons that shall well & truly keep to your power so help you God & by the contents of that booke.
Found in Pontefract Castle at the Demolishing, and Given to this Lodge by Francis Drake, 1732.
MACKEY'S ENCYCLOPAEDIA (Revised Edition). Edwin, 231; Antiquity Manuscript, 66; Athelstan, 85; Old Records, 612; York Constitutions, 866; York Grand Lodge, 867; York Legend, 867; York Manuscripts, 870; York Rite, 871.
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CHRISTMAS IN THE LODGE
The wise pundits who think they know a thing or two tell us that Christmas as a gift-giving festival, a season of merry making and good cheer, was invented by Washington Irving and Charles Dickens, the first conceiving the idea, the second, through the infectiousness of his stories, giving it currency. One is not to believe a word of this. Christmas is as old as the hills, it is as ancient as God. Like the stars that glitter above its frosty skies it has never had a beginning and can have no end. It had its origin in time when the first man felt a glow of gladness to see the sun turn in his tracks at mid-winter toward warmth again; toward spring, when the animals would awake in their dens, and green spread along the hills. But its true origin, lying outside of time, was in the heart of man himself, so that under one form or another it has always existed, and always will. It is a voice coming through the wintry darkness, like the quick golden cry of trumpets, to tell us that the gods of light are neither dead nor sleeping; it is an angel in the tomb announcing Easter days.
Christmas has its permanent and prominent place in Masonry in the form of St. John's Day, the observance of which by the Craft is of exceedingly ancient date. Long ago our brethren were wont to hold processions on that day, with an hour of worship at some beloved altar, and candles burning. And we, in our turn and with our own manner, do likewise, albeit ours is the lodge room altar, with observances and feasts among ourselves.
St. John's Day is one of the best opportunities of the year for a wise Worshipful Master when, more than at any other time, he can permit the hidden heart of Masonry to reveal itself. Why shouldn't he hold a Christmas festival among his brethren? He could mail out a personal invitation to each and every one' not forgetting those out of town, and include the wives and children. These could gather for an evening in the lodge room, decorated in Christmas fashion, for a feast and a program. There could be special letters and remembrances for the sick and the shut-ins and a few quiet acts of charity on the side. Upon such an occasion the lodge orators might be persuaded to remain silent to give the children a chance, who have ways for warming the cockles of one's heart, though they may stutter and forget their pieces. Soloists also might be left out so that everybody could join in the music, old songs and Christmas glees. Santa Claus could show up at the last; and before "Auld Lang Syne" is sung there could be a prayer by way of remembrance for those gone to the Grand Lodge above. On such an occasion as that, with the vaudevillians and the paid entertainers at a safe distance, the brethren would learn anew that the tie of Masonry, though it is secret and mystic, is after all human and simple, like all the bonds that unite us men. Would not that be a beautiful Lodge Christmas ? It would be a kind of translation into deeds and words of the sweetest Christmas poetry since the first Christmas story was written two thousand years ago:
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men.
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THE AMERICAN PEACE AWARD
Masonic lodges are forbidden to participate in politics or similar activities, and Freemasons are forbidden to carry that name with them into any political or Religious but there is nothing to hinder lodges or individual Masons from being interested in a non-political, non-sectarian plan for discovering some method to establish peace in the world such as that proposed some months ago by Edward Bok, when he offered prizes aggregating $100,000 for the best suggestion made to secure that much prayed for end of war. The contest itself closed Nov. 15. The jury of award, consisting of J. G. Harbord, E. M. House, Ellen F. Pendleton, Roscoe Pound, Elihu Root, William Allen White and Brand Whitlock) will announce its decision on or about Jan. 1.
It is the purpose of the Policy Committee of the American Peace Award to submit a draft of the plan selected to the American people in order to secure the verdict of the entire American citizenship thereon, and means for the same will be furnished at the earliest possible date. The National Masonic Research Society has been asked to join with a group of other representative Masonic organizations to bring this home to the attention of all American Masons, a thing it has cheerfully consented to, and now does. N. M. R. S. officials hope that all members of the Society will make it a point to express their opinions of the plan selected in due course of time, especially since the purpose of the Award is so closely in line with one of the great ends of Freemasonry — the establishment of a reign of peace, fellowship and good will throughout the world.
F. H. Littlefield.
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A PRESIDENT TRULY MASONIC
In the Masonic year now passing out the death of Brother Warren G. Harding, President of the United States, came with a sense of personal loss to his brethren and cast a shadow all the darker for its being thrown into relief against a background otherwise so bright, for 1923 has been, in many ways, the best the American Craft has ever known. Brother Harding was a man of simple instincts, much nearer to the people than most, though he lacked the faculty of arousing enthusiasm in the mass. In his nature he was essentially a fraternal man.
He felt a sincere interest in our Craft, and never hesitated to say as much in public, so that it was in the fitness of things that one of his last acts as President was to send his secretary to Los Angeles with an address to the Knights Templar. There was nothing more Masonic about him than his character, which was stainless, and always held within the limits circumscribed by the compasses and based upon the square. He saw in Freemasonry a bond uniting north and south and all other sections beside; an influence making for religious and political toleration; a solvent of racial prejudices; a witness to the underlying democracy of American life. If he preferred to walk along the great Main street of the nation, as his critics sometimes sarcastically averred, it was because he felt that we all belong there, and that in this land there is no King's Highway for the elect.
The Craft was proud to have him in the White House, not because he gave us special privileges, which is a thing we do not ask, but because he was an exemplification of so many things for which we stand. In the long hereafter of our Craft, when brethren of the far future come to make up their book of memory, they will keep a page for this brother and President who, in a high station, held aloft the lamp of fellowship and good will.
* * *
This month's frontispiece shows one of the most remarkable feats of operative Masonry ever accomplished by the hand of man, It is the facade of a strangely beautiful temple, the body of which was hewn out of the living rock by workmen long, long ago. Petra, the famous "lost city" of Syria, was in ancient times the capital of the Nabataeans, or Early Arabs, whose kingdom flourished between 300 B. C. and 200 A. D. It was annexed by Trajan in 105 A. D., attracting at the time a great deal of interest among Roman writers, Pliny among them, who wrote that "the Nabataei inhabit a city called Petra in a hollow somewhat less than two miles in circumference, surrounded by inaccessible mountains, with a stream running through it." (vi, 28.)
With the downfall of the kingdom and the scattering of its people Petra became lost, existing only in the dim memories of the Near East as a sacred city built by jinns and later removed by them into heaven. When Volney in 1787 was exploring about Gaza he learned from the Arabs that an ancient deserted city lay in the Wady Musa but was not able to visit its site. The Arabs, however, had been there, and one of his guides exclaimed to him, "Ah, how I weep when I behold the ruins of Wady Musa!" It was not until Burekhardt visited the place in 1812 that any European was actually able to verify the Arabs' report; and it was he, later seconded by Ritter, who identified Wady Musa with the Petra of the Nabataeans.
But even so very few travelers were able to make their way to it until in recent years, and then largely owing to the World War having taken so many Europeans into Syria. It has been reported that one soldier found a square and compass carved above the entrance to a Petra building; this is worthy of investigation by somebody in the Craft, for it would throw a new light on secret societies in the Near East. Thus far we have been unable to verify this or to find any brother sufficiently well informed to furnish a full account of the matter. Any information at all will be welcomed by THE BUILDER.
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EARLY FREEMASONRY IN NEW YORK STATE
HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK, by Ossian Lang, Grand Lodge Historian. Published by Grand Lodge of New York. May be purchased through National Masonic Research Society 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis. Blue Cloth, 225 pages, including index. $2.00 net.
The story of Freemasonry in the State of New York is as interesting as the history of a nation: all the elements are there, the dramatic surprises, the strifes and dissensions, wars, rebellions and insurrections, the presence of a manifest destiny throughout, the pervading sense of momentousness, and a climax of power and fame. It is a theme worthy of the pen of a Gibbons or Macaulay.
In the present volume, written under orders from the Grand Lodge of New York, Brother Ossian Lang has been obliged to content himself with a brief and solidly condensed account, paying most attention to matters of fact and of date, and more particularly such data as concerns what one may describe as the "political history" of the Craft in the Empire State. The treatment is terse, reserved, and often abrupt in its sudden transitions, sometimes too abrupt one may believe, at least for the reader not already familiar with the story in its entirety. There is a maximum of bare fact, a minimum of human appeal, and nothing at all of the developments in Masonic thought or ritual or what in general Albert Pike described as the "soul" of Masonry. The book is not a running narrative but more in the nature of a brief encyclopaedia. As such it is excellently done, and well informed. Brother Lang is in love with the theme. Also he writes as a scholar in search for the facts, with no favorite side to defend or cause to plead, which is very much to his credit.
The first chapter is a rapid account of the general history of Freemasonry designed to serve as a background for the story in hand; the second is an account of "Masonic beginnings in America."
"The oldest well authenticated Lodge in America was a St. John's Lodge known to have been at work in Philadelphia, in 1730, and presumably it could trace its existence to an even earlier year. Available records, dating from 1731, establish the fact of its operation beyond any reasonable doubt. This Lodge, like the old Lodge at York, in England, met sometimes as a private Lodge and sometimes as a Grand Lodge, self-constituted. Benjamin Franklin became a member of it, in 1731, was elected Junior Grand Warden in 1732, and Grand Master in 1734. As he published, in 173i, a reprint of the Anderson Constitutions of 1723, he must have been fully aware of the Regulations adopted in 1721. Quite evidently he never doubted the regularity of his Grand Lodge, though he was not so sure whether this would be 'countenanced' abroad, and he admitted as much, when he wrote, a few months after his election as Grand Master, that the Fraternity in Philadelphia seems to want the sanction of some authority derived from home to give the proceedings and determinations of our Lodge their due weight. Nevertheless, the "Pocket Companion for Free Masons," printed at Dublin, in 1735, includes in its list of lodges the following item:
"'116. The Hoop, in Water street, in Philadelphia. 1st Monday.'
"Thus it would seem that in Ireland at least the Lodge was recognized as Masonic." (Pages 7-8.)
THE FIRST DULY CONSTITUTED LODGE
Several of the oldest lodges in the land were organized before American Grand Lodges existed, or any Provincial Grand Masters had been appointed from England. These were "time immemorial" lodges; "'duly constituted' was applied to every lodge in possession of a lawful charter from a Grand Body of competent jurisdiction empowering it to work."
"The distinction of being the first 'duly constituted' Lodge in America, belongs no doubt to the First Lodge of Boston which was established on July 30, 1733, by authority of Henry Price, deputed Provincial Grand Master for New England. Price's authority has been questioned and is not altogether unimpeachable; nevertheless, the First Lodge in Boston was recognized officially by the premier Grand Lodge of England, and that ought to be good enough warrant for accrediting it as 'duly constituted' and the first of its kind in America." (Pages 10-11.)
Daniel Coxe (Brother Lang also spells it "Cox") was the first to receive formal deputation from the Grand Lodge of England to govern the Craft in the Colonies; his jurisdiction was defined as covering New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. His successors and their several jurisdictions are shown in tabular form:
"Consulting the published records of the Grand Lodge of England, we find that the only deputations to Provincial Grand Masters for various parts of North America, there mentioned, were the following:
"In 1729, by the Duke of Norfolk, Grand Master, to Mr. Daniel Cox, for New Jersey in America.
"In 1736, by the Earl of Loudoun, Grand Master, to Robert Tomlinson, Esq., for New England; John Hammerton, Esq., for South Carolina.
"In 1737, by the Earl of Darnley, Grand Master, to Richard Riggs, Esq., for New York.
"In 1742, by Lord Ward, Grand Master, to Thomas Oxnard, Esq., for North America.
"In 1747, 1748, 1749, 1750, 1751, by Lord Byron, Grand Master to Wm. Allen, Esq., Recorder of Philadelphia, for Pennsylvania in America; Francis Goelet, Esq., for the Province of New York.
"In 1752, 1753, by Lord Carysfort, Grand Master, to George Harrison, Esq., for the Province of New York.
"In 1754, 1755, by the Marquis of Carnarvan, Grand Master to Peter Leigh, Esq., Chief Justice of South Carolina, for South Carolina; Jeremiah Gridley, Esq., for all North America, where no Provincial is appointed.
"In 1758, 1759, 1760, 1761, 1762, by Lord Aberdour, Grand Master, to Grey Elliot, for the Province of Georgia; Benjamin Smith, Esq., Speaker of the House Assembly at Carolina, for Carolina." (Pages 12-13.)
NEW YORK GAZETTE MAKES FIRST PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT
The first public announcement of a duly authorized assembly of Masons was carried in the New York Gazette of Jan. 22, 1739, and reads thus:
"Brethren of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons are desired to take notice that the Lodge for the future will be held at the Montgomerie Arms Tavern on the first and third Wednesdays of every month. By order of the Grand Master.
"Charles Wood, Secretary." (Page 28.)
The oldest New York City lodge now existing is St. John's, No. 1, warranted in 1787. Four lodges outside of New York City can trace their history to days before the Declaration of Independence: Mt. Vernon, No. 3, at Albany; Master's, No. 5, Albany; St. Patrick's, No. 4, Johnstown; and St. George's, No. 6, Schenectady.
Sir John Johnson, son of Sir William Johnson, founder of the St. Patrick's Lodge just referred to, was the last Provincial Grand Master of the state, having been installed in 1771. Sir John was a Tory of the Tories, so that when the Revolution broke out he left for Canada to join the Royalists, taking his deputation with him.
Solomon's Lodge, No. 1, was the last to be warranted by Sir John's predecessor in office, under date of April 18, 1771, Robert R. Livingston, later Grand Master, being named as the first W. M. In the minutes of that lodge of date May 16, 1781, appears this item: "Ordered that the name of Benedict Arnold be considered as obliterated from the Minutes of this Lodge."
Chapter VII, on "Military Lodges," is very interesting as furnishing a clue to much that followed.
"The practice of granting warrants to Masons in the military and naval service empowering them to form Lodges in the regiments or other units to which they were attached, originated in Ireland. The premier Grand Lodge of England followed the precedent. Scotland also gave encouragement to the plan. After the Antients got under way, they, too, granted such migratory warrants. Wherever the warrant was, there was the Lodge. The very nature of the consequent instability suggests that the records of these traveling Lodges could not be kept accurately, and that the task of following their fortunes must prove an almost hopeless one. Nevertheless, the ambulant Lodges played an important part in the spreading of Freemasonry and left behind them in many places nuclei of stationary Lodges which would in the course of time receive due recognition from whatever lawful Masonic authority might be applied to for regularization."
"One of these was Washington, No. 10. "The great Lafayette, who is known to have been made a Mason in America, appears to have been initiated in this lodge named after his revered friend." (Page 49.)
A NATIONAL GRAND LODGE IS ATTEMPTED
American Union Lodge, organized under a military charter, started a move to organize a National Grand Lodge at a festival held on St. John Evangelist Day, 1779, which was attended by "Brother Washington." A petition was prepared for presentation to the Provincial Grand Masters, closing with these words:
"Considering the present situation of our lodges and Masonry in general, the necessity for the honor of the Craft, and the importance of enjoying the benefits of so valuable an institution, that some exceptions are made for checking the present irregularities, restoring peace and harmony to the lodges and for the reestablishment of the Order on the ancient respectable founder Union, which we conceive can never be done more effectively than by the appointment of a Grand Master in and over the United States of America.
"We, therefore, most earnestly request that the present Provincial Grand Masters in the respective said United States would take some measures for the appointment of a Grand Master in and over the said Thirteen United States of America.
"The gathering greeted the proposition with enthusiasm and voted 'that the petition be circulated through the different lines of the army, and that a committee be appointed from the different lodges in the army, from each line and from the staff, to convene on the first Monday of February to take the foregoing petition into consideration." The proposed convention was held on the appointed day. There were ten delegates representing American Union, St. John's Regimental, Washington, No. 10, and the Masons of seven States. General Mordecai Gist, who later became Grand Master of Masons in South Carolina, was chosen to preside. An address was formulated asking the Provincial Grand Masters in America to help promote the establishment of a supreme Grand Lodge for the United States under one Grand Master General 'to preside over and govern all other lodges of whatsoever degree or denomination, licensed or to be licensed upon the continent.' Much discussion and correspondence followed the issuance of the address, but the dream was never realized. Georgia, the Carolinas, Maryland, and other States revived the idea from time to time, but it failed to commend itself to the Craft, which looked upon a centralization of power with suspicion." (Pages 54-55.)
In this same American Union Lodge, the most famous of all the military lodges, General Rufus Putnam was initiated, as was also Colonel John Brooks, later Governor of Massachusetts.
It is a singular fact, and often noted, that whereas in most of the other colonies lodges chartered by the Antient Grand Lodge of England were patriotic, those chartered by the Modern Grand Lodge were largely Tory, in the New York Colony the opposite was the case; Brother Lang explains this anomaly as follows:
"Although Freemasonry in New York issued from the premier Grand Lodge of England, all the Lodges formed under these auspices were essentially training schools of American patriots, while the Lodges constituted by the Antients, which formed the organization from which our present Grand Lodge, officially, derives its existence, were composed almost wholly of British soldiers and officials bent on preventing the success of the Revolution. In New England it was not so, nor in most of the other States. The fact that the city of New York was occupied by the British accounts no doubt for the difference." (Page 57.)
THE ANTIENT GRAND LODGE WAS DEMOCRATIC
The Antient Grand Lodge above mentioned was organized in England in or near the year 1751 as a rival to the already existing Grand Lodge, organized in London, 1717, and which came to be dubbed by its younger rival as the "Modern" Grand Lodge.
"In the British Regiments ordered to America to suppress the rising rebellion of the colonies, there were a large number of military Lodges which managed to leave a marked influence on Masonic development, particularly in the city of New York. The majority of these Lodges had been warranted by the Grand Lodge of the Antients, then better known as the Atholl Grand Lodge of England, the Duke of Atholl being its Grand Master at that time. The few Lodges holding warrants from Ireland or Scotland worked in close harmony with the Antients, the ritual and customs of the three Grand Lodges being very much alike, while differing in some points from the system of the premier Grand Lodge of England. Eventually the Antients gained the upper hand. Their principal merit was that they kept close to the humanity of the great middle class, preserved the original democracy of the Craft and saved Masonry from becoming an aristocratic institution, or a fraternity of snobs. That is the glory of the Antients, which nobody can deny them. They were a thorn in the flesh of the premier Grand Lodge, a thorn it needed to keep it from exalting itself above measure." (Page 59.)
The lodges organized in the city of New York under Antient charters were in a better position to work together than the lodges scattered "up state," so that it was a natural order of evolution for them to seek to form themselves into a Provincial Grand Lodge. This was done under a warrant issued by the Antient (or Atholl) Grand Lodge, dated Sept. 5, 1781, which warrant is printed in full. The Rev. William Walter was chosen Grand Master.
British troops evacuated the city Nov. 25, 1783. This had its effect on the Provincial Grand Lodge, composed as it was so largely of Royalists, and the Grand Master, himself a chaplain of De Lancey's 3rd Battalion, was forced to leave for Nova Scotia. He resigned, took affectionate leave of his brethren, and had the good grace to leave the Grand Lodge warrant behind. He was succeeded by William Cock, who in turn was followed by one of the first of the truly statesman-like leaders of early New York Freemasonry, Robert R. Livingston. Under Livingston's leadership, and with the old Atholl warrant as a basis, the first real sovereign Grand Lodge of the state was formed; and he governed it with so much wisdom that in the course of time every lodge in the state came under its jurisdiction with one exception, and no fewer than eighty-three lodges were added to the roll under his Grand Mastership. Livingston was a great man.
"At the inauguration of the first President of the Republic it was Robert R. Livingston who administered the oath of office to George Washington. In 1801 he was appointed United States Minister to France by President Jefferson, and he negotiated successfully for the Louisiana purchase. His services to New York and to the United States won him a high place in the affections of the people, and his death in 1813 was mourned as a public calamity." (Page 80.)
Apropos of the inauguration incident Brother Lang takes the opportunity to tell the story, never repeated too often, of the Bible on which George Washington took his oath of office.
"With the fact that Grand Master Livingston, by virtue of his office as Chancellor of the State, administered to George Washington the inauguration oath on April 30, 1789, there is connected an historical incident of keenest interest to the Fraternity.
"The marshal of the day was General Jacob Morton, who was Master of St. John's Lodge, No. 1, at that time, and later became Grand Master of the State. The honor of escorting Washington was accorded to General Morgan Lewis, who also became a Grand Master in later years.
"When Chancellor Livingston rose to perform the part of the program assigned to him it was found that no Bible had been provided. From the Federal Hall, on Wall street, where the inauguration of the first President of the Republic took place, to the meeting rooms of St. John's Lodge was a distance of only a few steps. General Morton went quickly and brought the altar Bible of the Lodge, resin a cushion of crimson velvet. Upon this Masonic Bible the first President was sworn." (Pages 80-81.)
Brother Warren G. Harding, still lamented, took oath on this same Bible on March 4, 1921.
DeWITT CLINTON ACHIEVED MUCH
Of the early Grand Masters DeWitt Clinton was the most famous; he was first elected in 1806 and retained office until and including 1819.
"DeWitt Clinton was a constructive statesman of remarkable ability and phenomenal popularity in his time. He was instrumental in establishing the foundation of the great education system of the State, and carried through the opening of the Erie Canal almost single-handed. These two achievements alone mark him as one of the master builders of the polity of the State. As Masons we owe him particular gratitude for his zeal for the Fraternity which, under his leadership, became a power for good in civil life. DeWitt Clinton died in 1828. His life was one of service to mankind. Honorable in all his dealings, wholly devoted to the advancement of the welfare of his fellowmen, he will ever be remembered as a true exemplar of Freemasonry by the Fraternity over whose affairs he presided as Grand Master for fourteen years."
The course of New York Grand Lodge history was anything but smooth. Way back in 1785 friction developed between the "city" lodges and the "country" lodges, resulting in the formation of a short lived secessionist Grand Lodge. Again in 1820 a similar move was made under the leadership of Daniel Tompkins; and still another, much more famous, was headed by the irritating and irritable Henry C. Atwood: Atwood, Folger, and Foulhouze, these were three of a kind, all stormy petrels of controversy, and lovers of a fight. The secession managed by them lasted until 1850 when a reunion was effected under brilliant circumstances. The "City Grand Lodge" under Tompkins once had the honor to entertain Lafayette in 1824 at the time of his revisiting the country.
The limitation of space makes it impossible to quote as one would wish from the chapters on the Morgan affair; the Anti-Masonic movement that followed it; or the effect of the Civil War; nor is there space for noting a number of interesting details, such as the laying of the cornerstone of the Egyptian Obelisk at Central Park, an object that has appealed to the antiquarian instincts of many Masonic scribes; and the laying of the cornerstone of the statue of the Goddess of Liberty in New York harbor in 1884. I shall however make space for one paragraph concerning the Civil War as having especial pertinency just now when we are beginning to feel the reactions after our own recent World War.
"It is interesting to note, in passing, that, after the war had ended, membership of the Lodges increased by leaps and bounds. This peculiar phenomenon is revealed again, in our day, when all Grand Lodges report staggeringly large afterwar gains in numbers. In 1861, there were, in the State of New York, 30,835 Master Masons affiliated with the regular Lodges; in 1871, that number had risen to 77,079. The increase in the population of the State, during this same period, was less than 40 per cent, while that of the Fraternity was almost 150 per cent. It is significant, too, that, after rising, in 1876, or about ten years after the close of the war, to 83,594, the membership fell off rapidly, due to non-affiliation, so that in 1881, or five years after the high-water mark had been reached, there were only 71,788 Master Masons in good and regular standing." (Page 150.)
There are chapters on Masonic Hall, Twenty-third street; Centenary of Grand Lodge; Masonic Home at Utica; War Work of the Craft; and Recent Developments, in which last is featured the very excellent work being done by the Grand Lodge's Bureau of Social and Educational Service under the exceptionally able directorship of Brother Sidney Morse.
In many ways the most interesting chapter in the book is that devoted to "Common School Beginnings and the Grand Lodge," the bulk of which, with the author's consent, may be here given:
MASONS HELPED FOUND PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM
"On April 9, 1805, the Legislature passed 'An Act to incorporate the Society instituted in the City of New York, for the establishment of a free school, for the education of poor children, who do not belong to, or are not provided for by any religious society.' No financial aid was given.
"The original intention seems to have been to include religious instruction in the course. The plan finally adopted was to set apart a period when representatives of different denominations might gather adherents of their faith in separate classes for instruction.
"In 1809, the first school building (at Chatham Street and Tyron Row) was opened with impressive services, DeWitt Clinton delivering an eloquent address on that occasion.
"At a quarterly meeting of the Grand Lodge, on Dec. 7, 1808, a committee had been appointed 'to devise and report to this Grand Lodge a plan for the education of children of poor Masons." This committee reported, in 1809, recommending that a fund be raised "sufficient to defray the expense of an establishment to consist of fifty children." In order to ascertain the probable expense of tuition, including all books and supplies necessary for the purpose, the committee had had several conferences with the trustees of the free school, who 'agreed to educate in their seminary fifty children constantly, for three hundred dollars annually, which is more than one-half less than would be required for their education in a separate school.'
"The Grand Lodge was asked to contribute eighty dollars a year, to make up the three hundred dollars required to carry the plan into effect.
"Each Lodge which contributed to the fund was to have the right of 'naming two children to receive the benefit of this charity.' Six places were assigned to the Grand Lodge School Committee, which was also given authority to fill 'all vacancies that may occur from the individual Lodge declining or neglecting to recommend as aforesaid.'
"On March 7, 1810, the Grand Lodge School Committee reported that on 'St. John's Day last' (Dec. 27, 1809), they had 'delivered over to the trustees of the New York Free School the said number of children; that the individual Lodges have each furnished the number contemplated in the said resolution, except in one instance, which vacancy was particularly filled by your committee, but for a short space of time only.' The committee further reported that 'from the declaration of the teacher of the said school, from information obtained from the parents and guardians of the children and from actual knowledge by visiting the said school, they are confident that they are making rapid improvement.'
"A recommendation was added that ten dollars be allowed for each one of the children 'under the particular care of the Grand Lodge,' to be expended in supplying them with proper clothing.
"The working arrangement between the New York Free School and the Grand Lodge received the endorsement of the Board of Trustees of the Society on June 4, 1810.
"Suggestions submitted by the committee for raising a special school fund were by vote of the Grand Lodge referred to 'the Worshipful Masters of the different Lodges in this city, with full power to revise and alter the plan proposed or offer any other in lieu thereof to this Grand Lodge, and whenever they shall be ready to report, they inform the Most Worshipful, the Grand Master thereof, that a special Lodge may be called for the purpose of considering the said report, and determining thereon.'
FIFTY POOR CHILDREN ARE EDUCATED
"On Sept. 6, 1809, this committee composed of Masters reported endorsing the plan for educating fifty poor children whose fathers were or had been Freemasons. Each of the twenty-two Lodges then active in the city was to pay ten dollars per annum.
"In a report under date of June 3, 1812, the Masonic School Committee 'suggested to the consideration/of this Grand Lodge the propriety of establishing a school on the Lancaster plan to be under the entire management of this Grand Lodge.' This suggestion was not adopted.
"On Dec. 1, 1813, W. Brother Vanderbilt, from the School Committee, reported that The number of scholars of the different Lodges, and of the Grand Lodge, were entirely filled up, amounting in the whole to fifty, and that the children were making suitable improvement in their learning, and recommended the different Lodges to provide the children they sent to the school with comfortable clothing.' The Grand Lodge approved the recommendation and authorized the School Committee to raise money by individual contributions 'for the clothing of the Masonic Charity Scholars.'
"In the winter of 1815, the School Committee suggested that, 'as the inclement season of the year is approaching, if every Lodge could spare the sum of sixteen dollars, for purchasing a pair of shoes, one pair of stockings, an overcoat and hat for each scholar, it would not only add credit to the fraternity, but give considerable relief to those distressed children.'
"At the start, the Free School had been supported entirely by voluntary subscriptions and donations. As the Legislature began to recognize the value of the institution it granted sums of money, and allotted a part from the State School Fund. The amount raised by voluntary subscriptions diminished year by year, and the amount received from the state and city increased proportionately.
"About the end of the year 1817, the support of the school by the Masonic Fraternity ceased. The reason given was that the Free School was now firmly established and under the patronage and supervision of the State.
"The co-operation of the fraternity with the School Society was an important factor, morally as well as financially, in shaping: the character of the undertaking. It did much to develop the spirit of democracy which gave New York City its great common school system." (Pages 92-95.)
H. L. Haywood.
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A NOTABLE DEPARTURE IN MASONIC PUBLISHING
SYMBOLISM OF THE THREE DEGREES, by Oliver Day Street. Blue Cloth, $1.25. Published by Geo. H. Doran, New York City. May be purchased through Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society.
IT has been the misfortune of Masonic books in this land to be published, with few exceptions, by individuals or by private or small concerns, often from worn plates, and with poor bindings. This condition has been responsible as much as any other fact for the general character of Masonic literature which, in the lump, and ignoring a few scattered shining exceptions, has been a shame and a scandal. Any man who has gone through a Masonic library with its shelves filled up by antiquated badly edited books of a low grade of scholarship, and innocent of literary value (this is speaking in the large), has not needed to seek farther for one of the principal reasons why Masons have not read more about Masonry. It is a wonder that Masons have read as much as they have.
Such individuals or small concerns as have produced Masonic books have often done so at a loss or else have been unable to advertise or otherwise market the titles, thereby being unable to give the authors a fair reward. This state of things has served to discourage competent writers who are no more able than men in other lines to work for nothing, and should not be expected to; has left open the doors for ill informed scribes and for cranks, and thus has been indirectly responsible for the general lack of understanding of Masonry among Masons.
The obvious way out was to persuade some of the large and responsible publishing houses of the nation to enter the Masonic field, not as a chance for commercial exploitation, but as a legitimate method for bringing into existence the kind of literature we deserve. To that end the National Masonic Research Society last winter sent its editor-in-chief to visit a number of the most responsible concerns in the East in order to lay before them the general situation and to offer the co-operation of the Society. He conferred with the officials of six of the best companies in person and corresponded with several others, in each case proffering the assistance of this Society to insure high standards of authorship, to decide on new titles most badly needed, and to acquaint the Craft and Masonic authors together with the new arrangement, and all this without making any exclusive agreements or other conditions that would shut out or discourage individuals or small concerns.
The first of the large publishing houses to avail itself of this opportunity has been the George H. Doran Company, of New York. That firm has already launched the National Masonic Library and placed three or four titles on the market, of which more anon. The volumes of this series are uniformly bound, but may be purchased separately. In paper, print, binding, editing and general make-up they are on a par with high class works in other fields; in price they are lower than the same books could be published by firms with less in the way of resources. One of the most satisfactory results of this arrangement is that authors will be paid the usual royalties, thus making it possible for the first time for the Craft to command the use of its best minds and writers.
It was an appropriate thing that the first volume to be marketed in the National Masonic Library was Brother Oliver Day Street's Symbolism of the Three Degrees, a book formerly published by this Society, and already standard. Brother Street's book has made its own way to the front. The matter was first delivered as lectures before various Masonic bodies in Alabama; was then published serially in THE BUILDER; was next published in an inconspicuous way by the Society, the demand for which was so steady that a second edition was printed, and at last, because of the ever increasing demand for it, was made over to the Doran Company for inclusion in the new National Masonic Library.
The new edition has passed under Brother Street's revision; carries an index; and includes a new introduction by the editor of THE BUILDER. It is invaluable for use by Study Clubs, especially in the beginning of their work, and should be carefully studied by every brother who has any share in conferring degrees. It is scholarly but simple, adequate but not too long, and serves admirably to give one his first glimpse into the height and depth and length and breadth of our marvelous Ritual.
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THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes over his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our 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.
LODGE, GILD, FRATERNITY, CRAFT
Reading the last few installments of "Chapters of Masonic History" in the Study Club I get perplexed to understand the difference between a lodge, a gild, a fraternity, and a craft. Won't Brother Haywood please make this clear in one of his future chapters?
The word "lodge" was sometimes used by the Operative Masons to signify the room or hut in which the workmen assembled, and sometimes of the organized body of the workmen themselves. "Gild" was used in a very loose way throughout the Middle Ages, but was properly the recognized organization of workmen employed in any given trade in a community; many gilds had their own officers, courts, and laws, regulations, and customs, and in some cases were almost identical with town government. A gild was a local organization and had no rights outside the town's range of official control. Individual Masons might be at work in a town without having a lodge; and a lodge might be in operation without being a gild, or having anything to do with a gild. Gilds were sometimes called "mysteries," "societies," "associations," or "companies." A present day analogy so far as this looseness of meaning is concerned is furnished us by our word "company"; we speak of a company of persons at i public meeting; a grocers' company; of entertaining "company" in one's home; of John Smith & Company, etc.; and we use other words to the same general end, as "concern," "enterprise," "firm," and many others. "Fraternity" was used during the Middle Ages in the same broad way, but was more generally applied to associations of persons organized for purposes larger than trade, usually of a religious or charitable character. "Sodality," "brotherhood," and "gild" were similarly used. A "craft" signified all workmen engaged in any one trade or calling; particularly those engaged in some form of handiwork, as "The craft of tinners," "the craft of carpenters," and so on. In "Chapters of Masonic History" an attempt has been made to let the context show the meaning intended each time in the use of each of these terms. The most important distinction to keep in mind is that between "Freemasons" and "Gild Masons"; the latter were those working inside the limits of some one town, and belonging to the local gild; the former were gangs or lodges of men employed on cathedrals and other ecclesiastical buildings, and therefore free to move about from place to place. There has been much debate about this point, but it appears reasonably certain that some such general difference between the two branches of the craft of builders must have existed.
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RELIGIOUS AFFILIATIONS OF PRESIDENT AND MRS. COOLIDGE
Can you inform us through your pages if President Coolidge is a Protestant? The question has come up in our Study Club. I hope the inquiry will not seem disrespectful of our national chief, who is much admired among us.
The information sent to THE BUILDER by a reliable correspondent is that President Coolidge is not a member of any church but attends the Congregational church with Mrs. Coolidge. He is not a member of the Craft, but is friendly disposed toward it, as witness his helping to lay the cornerstone of the Washington Memorial.
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"PROLEGOMENA TO THE STUDY OF GREEK RELIGION"
Please give me the name of the publisher of Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, by Jane Ellen Harrison, several times referred to in THE BUILDER.
The copy used by us is of the second edition. It was published by the Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. England; the price was four dollars. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York City, are American agents for this firm.
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"GRADED LESSONS IN MASONIC HISTORY"
Please recommend a list of books on Masonic history for a beginner. Put them in the order for the proper reading of them. What I want is something like the graded lessons we had in school.
Ye editor's little Vest Pocket History of Freemasonry was designed for the kindergarten grade; follow it with Story of the Craft by Vibert; Symbolical Masonry, Haywood; The Builders, Newton; Freemasonry Before Existence of Grand Lodges, Vibert; The Evolution of Freemasonry, Darrah; Concise History of Freemasonry, Gould; Mackey's Revised History of Freemasonry, Clegg; The History of Freemasonry, Gould. Your "graded lesson" idea is a good one. Many titles might be added, but it is believed that the above list, if it is carefully followed, will put any student into possession of an authentic and valuable knowledge of the history of the Craft. Keep us posted about your progress.
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COMMANDER OF AMERICAN LEGION A MASON
Please inform me through THE BUILDER if the new commander of the American Legion belongs with us. Just now I can't lay my hand on his name, but you will be able to supply it.
Brother John R. Quinn received his degrees in Delano Lodge, No. 309, F. & A. M., California, in January, 1911. He served his lodge as Junior Warden in 1921. He is also a member of Pyramid, No. 11, Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots. He is a graduate of the University of California; belongs to the Democratic party; and is an Elk.
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WHEN WAS ROMAN CHURCH FOUNDED?
Will you please be so kind as to give me at your earliest convenience the following information: When was the Roman Catholic Church founded and where? Who was the first pope? In what book or books can I find this information'
B.L.McK., New Mexico.
The best general source of information on subjects connected with the Roman Church is the Catholic Encyclopaedia, to be found in almost every public library; to this may be added A Catholic Dictionary, Addis & Arnold, published by B. Herder, 1917; and Question Box, Conway, published by the Paulist Press, 120 West 60th street, New York City, reviewed in THE BUILDER, July 1923, page 218. All these works appear to have been officially sanctioned. It is impossible to give your first question a definite answer because the Roman Church came into existence through a gradual evolution. In the beginning churches were small and widely scattered, and control was almost entirely local; after a time, when the new religion had made headway in the countries about the west end of the Mediterranean, they became grouped in districts and usually placed under the control of a bishop, the word meaning "overseer"; there were exceptions to this, of course, some local churches maintaining their independence. The power and influence wielded by the bishops became in time more or less centralized in the bishop of Rome, as was natural, owing to Rome's supremacy among cities. The word "pope" was originally a childish name for "father" and was used indiscriminately of all priests a custom still in vogue among Greek Catholics in many localities. The Christian Church as a whole became divided into East and West when the Roman Empire split, and customs and traditions differed much as between the rival branches. In the West, of which Rome continued to be the center, "pope" came to be used as a title for all bishops; it was Pope Gregory VII, at the Roman Council of 1073, who first formally forbade any but the Bishop of Rome to employ the title. It is impossible to name the first pope because it is undecided just when we are to think of the papacy, strictly so called, as beginning, but the Roman Church itself cherishes the tradition that Saint Peter was the first pope, and reigned in 67, being followed in order by St. Linus, 67-79; St. Anacletus, 79-90 etc. The first definitely fixed date of a Bishop of Rome is St. Soter, 165-74.
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KING SOLOMON AND THE IRON WORKER
I note that in your explanation to the picture of King Solomon and the Iron-worker, in your May issue, you state "...but the King waves them all back in order to seat the toiler on the throne. It is an artist's conception of the principal idea symbolized by the Masonic apron." Unfortunately this is not correct and I am glad that you did not add to it by reprinting the very improbable prose version of the so-called "Rabbinical Tradition" on which the picture is based.
Will you let me quote first some particulars relative to the history of this picture which appear in the Transactions for 1906-07 of the Lodge of Research of Leicester, England, from the pen of Bro. C. A. Brockaway, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who writes:
"In April, 1859, Mr. Joseph Harrison, Jr., of Philadelphia, responded to the toast 'The Mechanic Arts' at a banquet in his city. In the course of his remarks Mr. Harrison said, 'The Great Jehovah himself was the first great mechanic; and when our first parent was compelled to earn his bread in the sweat of his face, so stern a necessity compelled him to turn mechanic, and he thereby became the first human promoter of the mechanical arts. Adam could not till the soil with his bare hands, and we can imagine him pointing a stick against the rough surface of a stone and thus, by mechanical means, making the first rude instrument to aid him in his new vocation.' After referring to Noah, the Tabernacle builders, Solomon and Hiram as mechanics, Mr. Harrison went on to say: 'I remember reading a story in my early boyhood that impressed itself so strongly on my mind that I have never forgotten it. I wish I could find it now. I do not remember the exact words, but the matter ran somewhat in this wise' — and then in his own words Mr. Harrison repeated the legend of the Iron-worker and King Solomon.
"Mr. Harrison was a mechanic whose inventive skill and executive ability had won him fame as an engineer and a very large fortune. After a twelve year stay in Russia, where he built and operated for the Czar a railroad from St. Petersburg to Moscow, he returned to the States in 1854 and commissioned Christian Schussele to portray on canvas the legend of the Ironworker and King Solomon, which he had treasured in his mind from boyhood. The painting, about three by four feet in size, was completed in 1864 and hung in the gallery of the Harrison mansion in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. It drew forth such enthusiastic admiration that in 1871 Mr. Harrison engaged Bro. John Sartain to make a steel engraving from it for distribution among his friends. The size of this plate is 25 by 36 inches and is now the property of his son, Mr. Theodore Harrison."
Then follows a description of the coloring, etc.
"The smith's wife and child (in the lower corner of the picture) were injected into the legend by Mr. Harrison, no doubt for dramatic effect, in a poem which he wrote to accompany the painting, which is much to be preferred to the prose version.
"After making the plate for Mr. Harrison, Sartain engraved a much smaller one for Wm. A. Bradley & Co., Philadelphia, and this plate is now the property of the Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., of New York. This small engraving is the one commonly seen."
Mr. Brockaway concludes his article by giving Mr. Harrison's poem, which has none of those statements referred to above as highly improbable, that are made in the prose version. Such a one for example is that in explaining his seeming intrusion the smith quoted the legend of the marriage of Vulcan and Venus as a reason why the King should honor him. Even if a man in his position in those times was sufficiently well acquainted with the traditions of the Roman pantheon, it is incredible that a devout Hebrew or Phoenician would show so little judgment as to refer approvingly to the gods of another nation, foreign to that of the ruler who could condemn him to death without a hearing, and in the temple of that ruler's deity. Solomon had not embarked on the diplomatic career that ended so disastrously for his nation and himself, which involved so many foreign wives with their appropriate forms of worship. It is also the case that the Roman nation at that time was still too young to have built up the pantheon we have become familiar with in our classical reading, though it is hard to limit what they might have borrowed from Greece and Etruria.
Your own error lies in saying that the King "waves away the other workers to seat the toiler on the throne." The seat of honor to be used by whomsoever should be found worthy was tweet to the throne, and therein we see the smith already seated when the King and the invited guests arrived. The hand waving is done simply to stay sudden death to the smith while he explains his intrusion. You will see, too, that the picture is by no means "an artist's conception of the principal idea symbolized by the Masonic apron," but is simply a portraiture of the rabbinical legend, as remembered by his patron, Mr. Harrison.
N. W. J. Haydon, Canada.
We were glad to receive this letter concerning an error in the May 1923 issue; such corrections are always thrice welcome. The picture referred to by Bro. Haydon, who, by the way, is now an Associate Editor of THE BUILDER, was used as a frontispiece, and was reproduced from a copy sent in by a member.
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SKETCHES OF HINTON AND WOLFSTIEG
Your August number suggested two personal references in which you may be interested. Bro. Haydon's communication of poor old Hinton's calculations (page 255) reminded me of his odd and interesting character. He was a Scotchman, I think, well educated, with scholarly tastes, and a keen mind, but a terrible bore. He was an albino with a great mane of snow white hair, and pink, myopic eyes. He was keenly interested in politics and a fiery protagonist of free trade which he was eager to argue about on every possible or impossible occasion. For the rest, he was a mathematician by instinct and training — a strange and awesome being to my non-mathematical mind — and by profession a musician. A few weeks before his untimely death he called upon me with reference to his desire to be initiated into University Lodge, a request that was not a little embarrassing, and during a two hours' conversation he unfolded his mathematical exposition of the V.O.T.S.L., which is given in outline in THE BUILDER as above mentioned. There was much more to it than is written down, and I was very much interested and urged him to write it all out and have it published, which he promised to do, and possibly this short article is the result. One cannot help thinking what great latent possibilities for Masonic research in a field but little trodden were here indicated. Had he lived and become a Mason and been well directed, he might have accomplished something of value.
The other reference was to Prof. Wolfstieg, whose bibliography you reviewed (page 250.) Perhaps you might like to use this information to fill in the bottom of a column somewhere or other.
Dr. August Wolfstieg was the librarian of the Prussian National Collection in Berlin from which position he retired some four years ago, after thirty-eight years of service. Before his retirement he had supervised the removal of the library to new premises and had re-classified it on modern scientific principles. It had become under his supervision one of the greatest juristic libraries in the world, being particularly rich in its collection of parliamentary publications of all civilized nations. He also accomplished a great work in his country through the library school which he conducted for fourteen years.
His services to the Craft were of the greatest importance. He was a collaborator in the publications of the Comenius Society (see THE BUILDER, January 1923, page 30), which has is issued many important works on Masonic symbolism. He was the compiler of the great Bibliography of Freemasonry in three volumes, reviewed in the August number. His latest work was in five volumes under the title of Werden and Wesen der Freimaurerei (Origin and Nature of Freemasonry). The first three volumes deal with "The Origin and Development" of the Craft, and form a clear and beautifully written history. They were issued in 1920, and two years later the second part dealing with the symbolism and philosophy of Freemasonry appeared. The whole work is a monument of the most painstaking scholarship.
This great work had been completed during his retirement to his home town of Wolfenbuttel, near Brunswick, but it was not his fate to see the last volumes when they were issued from the press. In May 1922 he wrote in the introduction to the fourth volume, "Since the author is a great sufferer, and half blind, Mr. Alfons Dirksen in Berlin had the goodness to read the proof and get together the index, for which I heartily thank him." And at the end of June of the same year, his publisher, Alfred Unger of Berlin, adds this "In Memoriam" at the commencement of the last volume: "My dear Friend, August Wolfstieg, severely tested by long physical suffering is permitted to suffer no more. Nor has he been permitted to live to see the appearance of these two volumes, which under the weighty title of The Philosophy of Freemasonry, which he himself selected quite recently, was to have been the close of his imposing work. The collected proof sheets were still in his hands, when, on the 27th May, 1922, death released him. In his collected work, Origin and Nature of Freemasonry, now in five volumes, and standing alone in Masonic literature, he has erected for himself the most splendid monument, securing a lasting fame for himself, and an enduring good for his grateful descendants."
It is to be hoped that this great work will some day be made available for the Masons of the English speaking world.
W. Harvey McNairn, Canada.
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YE EDITOR'S CORNER
Masonic education is now riding the crest of the wave. More manuscripts have been submitted to THE BUILDER during the past thirty days than in any previous three months. When a brother becomes interested enough to prepare an article it proves that the bug is getting into his system. Also, it appears that more new Masonic books are now under way, either in process of writing or publishing, than ever before. May the good work keep up. Some day we shall have a literate membership.
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Fidelity Lodge, Cleveland, Ohio, has changed its name to Warren G. Harding Lodge.
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A number of lodges are now presenting each newly raised brother with a year's membership in the National Masonic Research Society — Santa Paula Lodge, Santa Paula, Cal., for example. Inasmuch as the Society is an officially sanctioned noncommercial association of Master Masons, there is nothing in that to violate Masonic etiquette.
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Bro. Robert I. Clegg has gone abroad to visit places of especial interest to Masonic writers. Good luck to you, Bro. Clegg, and a profitable trip. No man is better deserving of such good fortune.
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The annual index for 1923, covering all items in every issue of the year, will be ready in two weeks. Heretofore an index has been mailed with each December copy, but for the sake of economy this year, copies will be sent only to those requesting it. Send in your name if you wish a copy.