A Journal for the Masonic Student

Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society


Vol. 10 No. 3 – March 1924



By Bro. R. J. Meekren, Associate Editor, Canada

Here is a study, wise and luminous, of a question that has been pondered by multitudes of Masons. What is there in Freemasonry that has actually come down from antiquity? What is the soul, the inward essence, that gives vitality to the whole structure of symbols, legends and allegories, so many of which apparently speak a dead language to a modern man? After reading Bro. Meekren's answer it will be worth the reader's while to turn back for a re-perusal to a similar study of his, albeit confined to the legend of the Third Degree, published in this journal last June, page 177. Bro. Meekren is in England for some months where he is enjoying an opportunity to make researches at first hand in those fields in which he feels so much at home.

THE great difficulty in undertaking to write on a Masonic topic is that one never knows where to begin. I had it in mind to discuss the relationship of the Ancient Mysteries and primitive initiations to our Speculative Masonry, what use could be properly made of them in seeking light upon our own origins: and there was a strong temptation to begin with a disquisition upon symbolism, and the evolution of meaning in the use of traditional symbols. But had that been undertaken it would doubtless have involved a preliminary discussion of something else. And after all it behooves a Mason to keep himself within due bounds, even when writing articles for Masonic magazines! (Verbum sat sapienti!)

The earlier generation of Masonic students, perhaps even as far back as Dr. Stukely, were much impressed by the resemblances between Freemasonry and what they knew of the Ancient Mysteries. Dr. Oliver is a prominent case in point. Yet he is only one among many and is only typical of what, till comparatively recently, was not only the prevailing but practically the only school of Masonic scholarship, and one that even today, in spite of a general reaction to the other extreme, has exponents who must be treated seriously and with respect, however one may object to their arguments or disagree with their conclusions.

The earlier scholars were handicapped by mistaken ideas of what the Mysteries of Greece, Egypt and other Mediterranean peoples really were. There seems indeed to be the same ignorance in many quarters today, but while it was then unavoidable, now it is hardly excusable. It will not be necessary to set out in any detail for readers of THE BUILDER this type of speculation. All those who read at all about Masonic subjects must have come across it ad libitum if not ad nauseam. The Mysteries were taken to be occult or mystical schools of transcontinental philosophy. The myths of Osiris, Adonis, Baldur and the like were treated as consciously devised allegories, and the whole was interpreted by a literal reference to the Old Testament. The myths in their literary forms, and the notices of the Mysteries in the better known classics, were mingled together, all being supposed to be but variants of one original, that is to say of Freemasonry, which was originated by Solomon, or Moses, or Enoch, or even Adam. What was found in one place was freely transferred to fill up a gap elsewhere without any warrant in fact or original authority and the result described in purely Masonic terminology.

The story of Osiris has perhaps been the favourite one of such writers, possibly because it is known in such great detail. And this oft-repeated tale really has many resemblances to certain legends known to most Masons which it would be needless here to point out. But these are not all above suspicion. It is even possible that Masonic legend has been modified under the influence of Osirian myth. In the oldest versions of the former there is no mention of the Acacia, which figures so curiously in the account of the last Osiris, but Cassia definitely takes its place. It would have been very easy for learned brethren, full of the idea of a Masonry originating at the building of the Temple at Jerusalem or in the Wilderness of Sinai, or the Garden of Eden, to assume that "Cassia" was an ignorant corruption of "Acacia". One may note Mackey's scorn for the humble "Cassia" in his Encyclopedia. It would have been so easy to make the change — so easy indeed as to arouse our suspicions. In any case the Osiris myth in the form we have it in Herodotus and other Greek authors, the form used for comparison, is a very late one. That is, it was produced, or put together, or at least set down, in the Hellenistic age, in an atmosphere not essentially different from that of today, under the influence of eclectic learning and archaeological pedantry.


These myths, in their literary forms at least, had nothing much to do with the Mysteries. They would have to be used with the same caution and discrimination that would be needed if one were to reconstruct the Masonic ritual from articles and notes on the subject in Masonic periodicals. On the other hand, there was no deep mystical teaching propagated by the Mysteries nor did they possess any occult secrets. Though it was very natural that those making the first researches into the subject in modern times should have fancied that some transcendent doctrine, some wonderful teaching that the common herd was not able to receive, was hidden by the veil of secrecy. In late classical references there are undoubted hints to this effect, but whatever there was of that had been read into the Mysteries by just such earnest-minded initiates as produce the fine spun webs of symbolism in Masonry today, the sort of thing with which we are all familiar.

Originally and primitively the chief content of these secret religious institutions was not a common body of knowledge but a common emotion. There were instructions without doubt, but they would be of a simple straightforward type — rules of conduct and morality, of special tabus, of ritual requirements, very similar, one must suppose, mutatis mutandis, to the contents of the familiar charges of a Freemason.

Since the advent of the scientific and critical method in studying the problems of comparative religion a new field has been opened to the zealous Masonic symbolist. It is very easy to range through collected accounts of savage customs and tribal initiations to find analogies to Freemasonry. It has been discovered that in Australia the candidates (that is, the boys who are being "made men") are hoodwinked (they are not, as a matter of fact, completely blindfolded, but generally merely instructed to keep their eyes on the ground), that they receive an apron (I simply do not know what this refers to; in some other countries and among other races girdles or loin clothes are worn after initiation) and pass through a succession of degrees (which seems to refer to the fact that after the initiation the youth only comes by a gradual process to full rights in the tribe) and other like correspondences. This sort of thing is utterly misleading, not to say absurd. The real connection, if any exist, would not be in any such trifling and obvious matter, details that seem rather inherent in the character of the ceremonies and the nature of the human mind than marks of relationship. One parallel has been overlooked by writers of this class. Most savages mark or mutilate the body in their initiatory rites; in Australia, circumcision and the knocking out of teeth; elsewhere tattooing and cutting marks on back or breast are in vogue. A hundred years ago it was popularly believed that the Freemason was branded — though upon what part of his person was not known. Perhaps it is better not to proceed too far on this line of research, though there are legends of red-hot pokers or gridirons on which the victim had to sit! But let this remain, as it is, wrapped in mystery!


The comparative method has been of great value in many fields of investigation. It has been a key to unlock unsuspected treasures of relationships, and has led to the comprehension and elucidation of many puzzles. But the kind of procedure spoken of above only resembles the comparative method in the most superficial manner. By the one all the facts available are brought together and compared without preconception; in the other an artificial whole is built up out of isolated facts to fit a plausible hypothesis — somewhat like those skeletons of mermaids fashioned by the wily Oriental out of selected bones of monkeys and fishes. There is no value, for instance, in calling the oldest "medicine" man present at the "Borah" ceremonies a "Worshipful Master" — or the two next senior to him "Wardens". There is absolutely no parallel. Any group, society or institution tends to produce rulers or leaders — such analogies prove altogether too much. Or again, to make the statement, so often repeated, that various races and tribes in different parts of the world are acquainted with and use the Masonic signs is very unsafe to say the least. In the first place such statements are too general to be wholly reliable. Where definite cases are adduced the evidence is usually third or fourth hand, and in any case the original signs of Freemasonry seem to have been conventionalized forms of very natural and commonly used gestures, the differentiative feature being largely in a convention which is very familiar to every "York" Rite Mason at least. Under such circumstances there is nothing more easy than to make such assertions, and nothing much harder than to prove them. There is one sign, however, that appears to have been used at the emergence of Freemasonry into the historic period — that is, 1717 or thereabouts — which is now apparently obsolete in the Symbolic Degrees. This does seem to have been employed in divers times and places — such as in Ancient Egypt, Assyria, India, South America — as a significant gesture. Often represented as being made by divine personages. But what its meaning was is not clear, nor even if it meant anything like the same thing in the different places where it appears. And here again it may be merely a coincidence that it resembles a supposed Masonic sign. For this latter may have really been no more than the conventional form of a gesture most natural to human kind under the stress of certain emotions.

What then is the use of seeking for analogies to Freemasonry in the myths and folklore of ancient and alien peoples? The fault is not with the general method, but with the uncritical way in which it has too often been carried out. The idea is sound enough in itself. As a matter of fact, from the objective point of view, Freemasonry is a traditional survival. To the anthropologist it is as instructive as a living dinosaur would be to a biologist. The myth-making faculty has been supposed to be quite dead and utterly foreign to the minds of civilized men — whereas it is not. It has been, and is, flourishing like the Psalmist's "green bay tree" right in our midst. In Masonry we have a ritual whose origin is simply swathed in layers of myth, and yet still exerts a potent influence over the minds of those who come in real touch with it. Aside from the ritual itself there are all kinds of myths about it, and these have simply grown — they have not been invented by any one man — though it must be admitted that writers like Oliver, Morris et al. did much to tend and water a plant that really needs very little cultivation to grow and spread. Just as a minor instance: There was recently published in a Masonic periodical of repute a detailed exposition of a part of the last chapter of Ecclesiastes. When it came to the metaphor of the "silver cord" a purely mythical Oriental custom was adduced, to-wit, that it was usual to hang lamps by silver cords. Whatever the actual figure was in the mind of "the Preacher," and it is very probable it was a very definite and concrete one, it is impossible to believe it was anything so inane as this. This invention of reasons, what is called technically an "acetiological myth", is exactly on a par with mammoth bones being explained as Jonah's whale, or that the cross bill bird got its beak twisted by pecking at the nails that fastened our Lord to the cross.

It is now generally known that the Mysteries, properly so called, had their origin in a far more primitive, not to say savage, state of society than that of the highly civilized Greeks or Romans; that they were in fact survivals. Institutions similar to their hypothetical originals are to be found among most of the primitive peoples of the world, and they there appear a "totem ceremonies", tribal initiations, and the like. Now one feature that all these have in common is the working of magic. The bear or other totem is wakened in the spring by magical dances. The corn is ceremonially planted, the emu is imitated that it may increase, the sun is given new power by midsummer bonfires, or fiery wheels, or burning arrows. And here it may be noted that the primary reason for the secrecy which veils these things is quite practical. It is that they are dangerous. Originally they are open secrets, but it does not do to talk about them except at the proper time, which in the end comes to this that the only place to learn them is at the enaction of the rites themselves and so eventually they are mysteries to all but the initiated. For the spoken word is of great magical power, and of all words the name is the most powerful. To speak of the devil is to raise him. It may be here that we have a clue to the original meaning of the Lost Word.


Now where the ultimate origin of all this is to be looked for would be difficult to say. There are strange hints that it may be as far back as the Cro-Magnon cave artists, or even the earlier Aurignacian flint workers, but for our present purpose (and in the present space) it is fortunately as unnecessary as it is impossible to go into this. But it must, however, be emphasized that this magical outlook is an essential element in all the activities of primitive man, as much so apparently in the inter-glacial periods in Europe as it is today in Africa and Australia. When a savage wants to do anything he is as practical about it from his own point of view as we are, though he mingles with his material means purely magical rites and incantations. In a higher stage the two sides begin to be differentiated and the magic becomes venerable and awful and tends to be worked only occasionally, and by special persons. But to the primitive mind the two things have never been differentiated or distinguished, and magic is an affair of every-day life. The savage still mixes the expression of his desire or need in word and gesture with his action to attain the end in view. To him the former is as necessary as the latter (to some extent it may be so psychologically) and the root of all magic is the expression, by symbol, by song (that is, incantation), by dramatic dance of the individual and, still more, of the collective wish. In the tribal initiations the boys are taught certain things that it is supposed proper that men should know. And this to us seems the real practical purpose of the institution. To the savage this aspect is largely, if not entirely, incidental. The real object in his mind is to magically enable the boy — hitherto an indeterminate "woman-thing" — to become a man, to endue him with the powers a man must have, to separate him entirely from the influence of women and the things of his childhood.

Now as culture advances and tribes amalgamate into races and nations, and religion develops and emerges from undifferentiated magic — one cannot here go into the question of the origin of religion — all kinds of things may happen. The final result may vary all the way from the awful secrets of the initiation becoming the games of children to, on the other hand, the ceremonies becoming the property of a select and organized society. And where this last has occurred we get such secret organizations as flourish in parts of Africa and elsewhere. Or else we get such institutions as the Mysteries, of Demeter and Kore in Eleusis, of Dionysus in Thrace, of Zeus in Crete. In many cases they become, quite naturally, organizations of men of a certain class or occupation. The earliest and most universal of these last is perhaps that of magicians, medicine men, or shamans. Instances of these are to be found almost everywhere — in New Guinea, West Africa, South America, ancient Egypt and Babylonia. Of the last, part of the ritual is still extant on inscribed clay tablets. But though such ceremonies were perhaps more likely to become the machine and trades union of professional magicians, the undifferentiated magic of primitive man could quite easily find other lines of development and survival. As man, after having been a hunter, entered the pastoral stage, magic ceremonies were required to increase his flocks and herds, and as he became a tiller of the soil magic was again necessary to secure the fertility of his fields and to ensure the sun and rain necessary to his crops and to ward off destructive tempests. The far-famed rites of Eleusis were originally purely of this character. That their agricultural forms were later developed into a bond of union for all the Greeks, of whatever city or tribe, is a close and curious parallel to the evolution of Speculative out of Operative Masonry.

Another occupation that has always had something of the magical and uncanny about it is the craft of the metal worker. In the folk lore of Europe the blacksmith is always a character who is liable to do wonderful things, or who bargains with supernal or infernal powers on terms of equality. Wayland Smith is a well known hero of legend, and even Asa Thor was a smith and forged his own wonderful hammer. In the world over metals — and especially iron — have magical properties in themselves, they are "big medicine," and naturally the man who knows how to work them becomes invested with occult powers. The smiths of the Abyssinians, a caste apart, are also magicians. The gypsies of southeast Europe are fortune tellers and metal workers. The famous swords of Damascus were said to have been wrought with accompanying incantations and to have been tempered in human blood, while the swordsmiths of old Japan fasted and performed ceremonial rites of purification as a necessary preparation before beginning to forge a new masterpiece. And here incidently it may be noted that always in magical ceremonies the participants must divest themselves of everything of a metallic kind. And the root idea of this is probably that metal is a new fangled and disturbing element, and upsets the spirits and powers of the old primeval magic — the magic of bone and chipped flint. The special significance this may possibly have will be seen later.


So far we have found traces of primitive initiation rites becoming specialized and modified into what may be called "occupational" forms — agricultural, pastoral and shamanistic, and one still more specialized craft. But men as well as seeking food and making tools have always in some degree made shelters for themselves, that is, have been builders. And here we find ourselves deep in magic again. The spirits of the forest must be propitiated before a clearing can be made. The foundations must be marked out according to prescribed ritual — for luck. The earth must receive her due to ward off all the evil she might bring for the offense of violating the ground. Wherever we go, at whatsoever level of culture it may be, we find necessary observances and sacrifices to be made before it is safe to build, before the building is safe to use, before it is sure to stand. In Dahomey the pillars of the king's palace were dropped on living slaves in the holes dug to receive them. In the Pacific, prisoners were made to hold the corner posts of the chief's house and so buried alive. And as soon as people rise to a state of society complex enough to have specialized occupations, what is more natural than that those who follow the craft of building should become the custodians of the rites necessary for the safety of the structures they erect. The magic is as necessary as the technical skill. Of course this may remain in the gilds of magicians, as it apparently did among the Etruscans and the Romans, and as it still does among the Chinese. Yet in medieval legend it is always the Masons who build the child into the wall that their work may stand and the craft be honoured thereby. And possibly even today in southeastern Europe the passer-by may have his shadow measured by stealth that the rod may be built into the wall of the new house — by which he will be sure to die within the year. Or the mortar in which the first bricks are laid may be mingled with the blood of a young cockerel. That such things were done is certain. That the builders were ignorant of them is incredible.

It may be as well at this point to re-capitulate the conclusions thus far reached. No attempt, it will have been noted, has been made to give the detailed facts on which the argument has been based. But this is certainly not because the various steps have all been hypothetical in character, but rather that the evidence has been collected in such masses that it is difficult to know how to select from it, and most of it is reasonably accessible, though of course it is not to be found all in one place, nor collected with a Masonic reference. We may then, without much risk, assume the following propositions. First: that what we call the magical was indiscriminately mixed with the practical in the activities of primitive men, though to his thinking all was equally practical. Second: that this magic, or at least its forms, has survived in various degrees and combinations in all higher cultures even to our own. Third: that this primitive collective magic especially tends to survive in institutions and select societies of the "Mystery" type. Fourth: that with the increasing complexity of the social structure, and the division and sub-divisions of functions and occupations, such institutions show in some cases a tendency to become occupational. Fifth: that of these occupational institutions and societies that of magicians or medicine men is practically universal. From this by further differentiation emerge in all the higher cultures, two professions — that of priest and physician. Other early and fundamental occupations are the agricultural and pastoral. And then, probably later than these, as specialized crafts, the trades of the metal worker and the builder.


Now the term "builder" has been used intentionally because it is indeterminate. The type of building at any given time or place depends on two independently variable factors, both obvious — the material most available, and the level of general culture of the builders. But practically the material has always been wood, earth or stone. The skin tents of nomads and the snow houses of the Esquimaux need hardly be considered since they are exceptional. But whatever the material used, or chiefly used, the fundamentals of building, both practical and magical, would be very much the same. Whatever may be the variations in form to be found the underlying principles are constant. From these primitive beginnings, wherever a people have risen above the barbaric level the more specialized crafts of carpenter, bricklayer or mason have appeared. All three, but especially the first and the last, use some form of striking implement — some form of axe or hammer — both evolved from the original hafted celt of the cave man. Both the axe and the hammer are the world over regarded as being in themselves sanctities, full of mana or magic power.

Now as soon as more ambitious structures than mere temporary structures are attempted other tools are required — some form of measuring rod, or gauge, and some instrument to test angles. It is not at all necessary to suppose that these last were not independently invented and re-invented, many times, but the striking tools go back to the most primitive weapon of the earliest men of all, the rude hammer stone held in the hand.

So much then for the approach of this side. Let us now attack the problem in reverse. Our last step would indicate that it would be not only among masons that we should look for such survivals, but that they might also be expected among other crafts specifically connected with building. That this may actually have been the case in medieval times two facts tend to show. In Scotland, the "wrights," who included carpenters, bricklayers and plasterers and so on had an institution and a form of reception called the "brithering" that on the outside sounds very like a description of what seventeenth century Operative Masonry may have been. The other is that in France the Compagnonnage seems in very early times to have included other trades connected with building, besides masons, and what may perhaps be the oldest branch seems at first to have been confined to carpenters.

Now this helps to remove a difficulty which if not always clearly discerned has always been in the way of tracing back the Masonic Fraternity to remote antiquity. Why was it that the men concerned in one particular trade, and a highly specialized one too, should have become the custodians of ancient mystic lore? But when we realize that the institution may not have been originally confined to Masons only but was inherited, as it were, by them as being a sub-division of the whole craft of building the problem takes a new aspect; and we can see that while the medieval Freemason might even have developed and invented his undoubtedly new technique from the very beginning, that is, he need not have received his art directly from the stone masons of the preceding cultures of Rome and Greece (though a strong case can be made out for the hypothesis that he did) yet in any case he must have had a building tradition of some sort, behind him, in some style and material. The basis for the transmission of secret rites thus becomes pyramidal instead of columnar, a network instead of a single line.

That the rites of Freemasonry are archaic survivals seems to the present writer almost unquestionable. There are no real parallels to it among the usages of the trades gilds, and gilds merchant. The Compagnonnage offers only an apparent exception, for the admission of crafts unconnected with building is certainly of late date. The gilds, fraternities and like organizations of the Middle Ages were associations of convenience, for mutual profit and safety, exactly as are trades unions and manufacturers' associations today. With changing conditions they very generally disappeared. Freemasonry however still survives. Why? Surely only because it was more than a trades union — because of its ancient and magical initiation.

Here however two objections may be raised. It has been held by authorities of weight that the Third Degree and all it implies was invented and added to the "body of Masonry" by the scholarly brethren who were concerned in the re-organization of the Craft in 1717, or, in a variant of what is essentially the same hypothesis, by supporters of the Stuart cause in the seventeenth century. I have at some length given my reasons elsewhere for believing that Freemasonry as we know it is in its essentials of remote antiquity, though the present arrangement is certainly modern, as well as the greater part of the moral and symbolic explanations. One argument only need be touched on here. The legend of the Third Degree in its earliest known forms (as it is told today its archaic character is effectively masked) is not a thing that would be, or even could be, deliberately invented by civilized men — even with the aid "of sundry hints from the Targums," or the Kabbala, or anything else.


The second of the two objections that might be made is that there is nothing apparent of a magical character in Symbolic Masonry, and only the very slightest allusion to foundations in its ceremonies. But we could hardly expect anything else; anything that was very apparent could with difficulty have survived the successive expurgations and improvements to which our rites have been subjected in the last two hundred years. Yet even so the traces are more than a few. The non-use of metals occurs at once. This, according to the familiar explanation, is commemorative of the account of the building of the Temple without the sound of axe or hammer or any metal implement. This explanation is of course comparatively recent, but curiously this Biblical account is itself an instance of the same magical tabu. "To lift up a tool of iron" against a stone was to pollute it for religious use according to ancient Hebrew ideas. The force of the prohibition had broken down by Solomon's time, and yet, though the stones were wrought in the quarries, the form of the old tabu was in some sense preserved.

There is again the intense horror of old Masons generally (though not now universally it must be admitted) of any movement in the lodge "widdershins about," as the Scotch put it, that is, against the course of the sun. Another thing that might be mentioned is the very curious resemblance that the old "diagram" of the lodge (now rather inadequately represented by our charts and floor carpets) to the templum of the Roman augurs, and to the magic circles of medieval necromancers and others. But it is obvious that this is not an easy subject to discuss in public, and in any case would take too much space to go into it at all fully. The real argument is the resemblance in general of our ceremonies to primitive and magical rites.

Those to whom this is all entirely new may be inclined to doubt, and to ask why there should be such survivals. The full answer would be a treatise on social psychology, but as a short method of reply one might ask in return, Why is offering the hand a universally understood token of friendship and good will among us, or why is raising the hat an act showing respect? The circumstances under which these actions had an obvious meaning have long since passed away, yet they remain in full force as conventions. And our life is full of such conventions which are survivals of things that were once natural and obvious.

For any who, while admitting the existence of such survivals in custom, may yet doubt whether an organization existed secretly transmitting a system of such survivals could exist a very curious and interesting parallel can be pointed out; material has quite recently been collected to show that the witchcraft of the Middle Ages and even that of the New England states, was no sporadic superstition but was definitely though loosely organized (in a manner, by the way, remarkably resembling that of Masonic lodges meeting by inherent right) and that this organization was at times and in certain places so powerful that the authorities of Church and State had very good and practical reason to fear it. It appears in effect to have been the survival in full force of a primitive prechristian religion, whose deities were by the Church (very naturally) equated with the powers of darkness, and which in consequence more and more made a point that its adherents should in every way renounce Christianity utterly. And here it may be pointed out that the objection that the Church had to the Compagnonnage (in France) was that it concealed heresy, witchcraft and blasphemy — that is, enmity and antagonism to Christianity in itself. That Freemasons have been very freely accused, in some countries, of worshipping Satan is of course a ridiculous slander — and yet it is not absolutely invented out of whole cloth, for it was long popularly supposed, after the emergence of the Institution into publicity early in the eighteenth century, that Freemasons "raised the devil" in their lodges. This opinion of the populace may well have been passed along from times long anterior to the historical period of the Order, though it may quite likely have been kept alive by deliberate mystification on the part of convivial and jocular brethren.

The gilds died when their raison d'être ceased, when the conditions in society that had called them forth had passed away. Freemasonry on the other hand was not extinguished even by laws aimed, in part at least, specifically at its suppression as an organization. This suggests that the gild (of Masons) and the lodge were entirely separate and distinct entities, even where the membership was identical. And this further might prove a clue to the solution of some other puzzles. But what was it that continued to hold Masons together working and honourary, Operative and Speculative, in spite of legislation and social change? Perhaps the power of the magic of primitive man always lay in the social and collective emotion in which all the participants in the rites felt a mysterious bond of union with each other and with something, undefined and vague, greater than anyone of them. Perhaps after all we have done little more than re-name and re-classify these things. We refer it all to psychology instead of magic, while the original reality still remains as potent as ever.


This article has unfortunately been written away from the writer's library and notes. A few references have, however, been made from memory that are believed to be accurate as far as they go.

  1. The account of the "brithering" of the "wrights" is to be found in Lyon's History of the Old Lodge of Edinburgh. But the reference is given also in Gould's History.
  2. The best known authority on the Compagnonnage is Perdiguier, whose works, however, are very rare. The substance of his account is to be found in Gould's History. Lionel Vibert's monograph (A.I.C.) on the subject should also be consulted.
  3. Tyler-Keystone for March and April, 1915, under heading "The Sublime Degree".
  4. Most works on folk lore have references to this subject. The authorities quoted in the note to the article on the "Great Journey" in THE BUILDER, present volume, page 274, are all useful. The best collection of material on circumambulations is Simpson's "Buddhist Prayer Wheel".
  5. The Witch Cult in Western Europe (author's name forgotten!), published 1922.

On the Mysteries in general there has of late years been much written, but most of it rather scattered. Besides the Golden Bough, see Lang's Myth Ritual and Religion and Simpson's Jonah Legend. Miss Harrison's Themis and Cook's Zeus may be consulted.

* * *



If God is love, then love is God
From soul to source, the same,
For from His own sweet alchemy
Came the undying flame
Within whose glow is forged the bands
That bind man to the earth
And qualify him in its plan
For all he is of worth.

If God is love and man was made
By it to do and dare
It is by free will and accord
That nature's conscious prayer
Must answered be by him alone
As aspirations lead
Him onward in the chosen way
That will his merit plead.

If God is love, 'tis love alone
Gives value to the world;
Its soul, as such, could never be
If not with it impearled.
It gives man to himself as MAN
Refines his gold from dross
Without all creation would
Be but a total loss.

If God is love, the immanence
Of it pervades the space,
'Tis in the very heart of life
And thereby growth in grace
Inheres in him who beauty sees
In nature's wondrous plan,
E'en to its old intention that
Expressed itself in MAN.

— L. B. Mitchell, 32°

* * *

Thomas Carlyle once described the vaporings of a poor sentimentalist as "the moaning boo hoo of predetermined pathos." Isn't that pretty nearly the world's record for sarcasm!

* * *

"Time takes home those we loved — fair names and famous — To the soft, long sleep, to the broad, sweet bosom of death; But the flower of their souls he shall take not away to shame us, Nor the lips lack song forever, that now lack breath; For with us shall the music and perfume that died not dwell, Though the dead to our dead bid welcome, and we — farewell!

— Swinburne.

* * *


Translated from the French by Bro. A. L. Kress, Associate Editor, Pennsylvania

THE following translation has been made from the French Tradition of an old book, Life of Joseph Balsamo Known Under the Name of Count Cagliostro. The title page informs us that the book is an "Extract of the procedure instituted against him at Rome in 1790, translated after the original Italian, published at the Apostolic Chamber, enriched with interesting notes and adorned with his portrait." The French edition was published in 1791, was sold at Paris by Onfroy, and at Strassburg by one Jean George Treuttel. The identity of the writer is not disclosed.

The section presented here composes Chapter IV of the book and is entitled "Lodge of Freemasons Uncovered at Rome."

Without attempting to review the career of Cagliostro and his connections with 18th century Masonry, some explanation is necessary as to the purpose of the book. Cagliostro, propagator of "Egyptian Masonry," was arrested, tried and imprisoned by the Catholic Inquisition in 1790, because of his activities in propagating his rite. The Inquisition authorities caused the Italian edition of the above book to be printed. It is of course anti-Masonic and purports to be an exposé not only of "Egyptian Masonry" but of "Ordinary Masonry." While the book related chiefly to Cagliostro, this one chapter is devoted to exposing a regular lodge of Freemasons which the Inquisition raided in Rome. Cagliostro was not, however, a member of this lodge.

While the reader should keep in mind the fact that it is the "Inquisition-Biographer" speaking, the members of the Craft should find the narration of the customs of this old lodge interesting. Needless to say, the work has no value as to the facts concerning Cagliostro. (A.L.K.)


WE have already remarked that the government of Rome, in spying on the person of Cagliostro [1] had uncovered a lodge of Freemasons instituted at Rome, which was held in a house near the quarter known as Mount Trinity. The same evening, following the detention of Cagliostro, [2] justice made a descent on this house; but it was easy to see that the sectarians had been warned; for those who lived there had already looked to their own safety, and only the Masonic tools were found along with a large part of the papers and books relative to the sect, which might be of some importance. However, the little left behind, chiefly a register book, added to the testimony of various well-informed persons, suffice to make known the origin, establishment and circumstances of this lodge. The order of events would have made us place this recital in Chapter II, where we have given an abridged idea of Masonry in general; but it has been deemed more appropriate to report it here, rather than interrupt the personal history of Cagliostro. The reader must recall what has been said on this subject in Chapter II.

The founders of this lodge were seven in number, five Frenchmen, an American and a Pole; all already associated with foreign lodges "lamenting," it relates in the book of the lodge, "of living in darkness and being unable to make progress in true science, they decided to seek a place enlightened, sacred, far removed from all profanes which might remain forever hidden and impenetrable, and in which union, harmony and peace might forever reign." The place so recommended, which afterwards had the name of Respectable Lodge of the Reunion of True Friends, was the house of which we have spoken where the first assembly was held Nov. 1, 1787, and following once or twice weekly; sometimes also, but rarely, it met in another house.

From the first meeting they commenced to make proselytes; in the following, they received some men who had not yet been admitted to any lodge, and they affiliated also those from foreign lodges who might be introduced in their capacity as visitors. Shortly this lodge also provided visitors to foreign lodges and they were supplied with certificates and secret instructions which are not explained in the registers. They made no distinction as to citizenship, age, origin or of rank. They received young men, old men, married men, Italians, Frenchmen, Russians, Poles, English, etc., already associated with different lodges, such as those of Perfect Equality of Liege, Patriotism of Lyons, Secrecy and Harmony of Malta, Council of the Elect of Carcassonne, Concord of Milan, Perfect Union of Napless, of Warsaw, A'by, [3] Paris and others which are there named. The reception or affiliation of a large number of brothers are given, but their names, surnames and ranks were recorded in the books of the lodge. They indicated also by mysterious and ambiguous phrases those particulars which doubtless were held of such importance that they could not trust the detail and explanation even in the most secret registers.

To establish this lodge with some regularity, they believed it necessary from the commencement to be approved by and affiliated with the mother lodge in Paris. Towards this end, they asked and received from this lodge in fact the statutes, instructions and regulations for the internal and external guard of the lodge and for the conduct of its members. Every six months they sent to the mother lodge an exact and authentic register, not only of all the members and the grades and offices of each one, but also of all that which was accomplished and decided in each meeting. There was at Paris a representative of this lodge, through whom they carried on a continual correspondence with this Orient. They were warned also not to make use of the post for transportation of mail, but of stage coaches and carriages.

Instructions often came from the lodge in France to the one here regarding the internal and external affairs of the society as well as certificates and patents which some of the brothers requested with the prescribed formalities. Every six months there was sent with secret formalities from the mother lodge to the one here and then to others which were united with it, a word, known as the "mot de guet." [4] In this way every member of the lodge affiliated with the mother lodge in Paris was able to recognize everywhere his brothers as true Freemasons.

Every year or six months it was their duty to send a free gift to the mother lodge as a contribution to maintain the common center of Masonry. In November, 1789, this lodge requested from the one at Rome "an extraordinary free gift", for which all the brothers were taxed at least an ecu [5] each and they sent eighty ecus.


Besides the correspondence with the mother lodge, the one in Rome also kept in touch with the lodges at Lyons, Malta, London, Naples, Messina, Palermo and others in Sicily. The reading of letters from these lodges, done in the lodge by the Venerable, or Secretary, is noted in many places in the registers. Replies were also noted in the minutes; nothing indicated the precise object of this correspondence. It has also been proposed to call for a list of all lodges united with the one in Paris, to cause to be printed the rules and regulations and to receive women into this lodge. The result of the first proposition was not given. As to the printing, it was at first approved and afterwards suspended; "on account of the difficulties which exist in this country," these are the words of the register: with reference to the affiliation of women, they took some time to decide and to consider the difficulties in which the lodge might find itself in the different parts of the work. It mentions also in the register the record of three keys which protect the rules, the books of the great secrets and symbolic grades which came from Paris and official notices to the lodge, and most interesting discourses given in lodge either by the Venerable or by the Orator; among others described is one which has for a title: "Remus and Romulus."

There was nothing in this lodge, so far as grades, offices, ceremonies and rites of initiation which differed essentially from the practices already known of other lodges of ordinary Masonry. There are, as we have already said, several grades to which one may successively be raised: Apprentice, fellow, master, elect master and finally Scotch master. It appears that in this lodge only the first three degrees were conferred; and no person was admitted unless his qualities had been already known to the lodge, and unless he had been accepted by two unanimous ballots.

The apprentice, before becoming a fellow, and the fellow before becoming a master, had to be put to the test for a space of three months and give proofs of attachment and zeal for the order. The graduates were subject to a contribution proportionate to the degree which they received; and this contribution was more or less graded according to the property of the candidate. [6] For the degree of apprentice, one paid 20, 12 or 8 ecus; for that of fellow 7, 5 or 3 ecus, for that of master 8, 6 or 4 ecus. Freemasons of other lodges who wished to become affiliated with this one paid according to the master's degree. Besides this, each member paid quarterly one-half an ecu and monthly three paoli for the usual need of the lodge; then half an ecu monthly for Masonic repasts which were held monthly on the days and at the places where they met. Those who wished to be furnished with certificates or patents paid half an ecu; those who missed the meetings without notifying the lodge were fined three paoli; two (paoli) [7] if they gave notice of their absence; one if they arrived fifteen minutes after the hour fixed. Then at each meeting a collection was taken up, each one giving what he pleased.

Following are the offices and posts of this society: first, the Venerable; second, the Vigilant, or First and Second Superintendent; third, the Terrible Brother; fourth, the Master of Ceremonies; fifth, the Treasurer; sixth, the Almoner; seventh, the Secretary; eighth, the Chief Expert. Every year they nominated by ballot new persons for these offices, or confirmed the old ones. The Venerable presided at all meetings, and in his absence the First or Second Superintendent or Vigilant occupied his place. The Terrible Brother received and conducted candidates at the time when they were admitted, and this name of Terrible was given him because he was the first minister of the terrors which inspired them; the Master of Ceremonies was charged with the instruction of novices passing the ballot, putting the box in circulation for the poor. [8] The Superintendent announced to the lodge those who wished to be introduced and conducted them from the door to the place to which their grade permitted them to be seated. The Orator or Chief Expert had the task of giving discourses on the occasion of receptions, or on the day of St. John, protector of Masons, of recalling to the brothers their duties on the occasion and instructing them on it. The Treasurer received all money from dues, contributions and fines, and the Almoner was the one who distributed the collection. The first had to render an account of his expenditures; the second was not obliged to, and distributed charity at his pleasure. Finally the Secretary examined certificates and patents, entered the actions of each meeting, and read the register of the preceding lodge for verification if correct.

Altercations, disputes and errors among the brothers were heard, decided and punished in the lodge. The usual penalties were pecuniary fines, penances (such as being kept away from the lodge without sword), [9] suspensions from office, or annulment. Those who violated secrecy were threatened with the indignation of every lodge, with persecution and death. However, it does not follow from this that these threats had ever been put into execution; one finds several instances of penances in the register, but without any explanation which brought them on.

The entire lodge was composed of two compartments which occupied two rooms of the house. The first was known as the "Chamber of Reflections." It was hung with black; on a table was a death's head, beneath which were two inscriptions with some French words not understood. The second [chamber] was called "The Temple"; it was decorated in various ways, according to the several ceremonies to be performed. However, there was always a throne where the Venerable was seated: on the walls were hung here and there various Masonic emblems; the sun, the moon, the stars and two columns on both sides of the throne: the brothers were ranged on both sides of this throne; they wore aprons of white skin; around the neck a band of white silk, in the form of a deacon's stole; gloves on the hands, and they held either a naked sword, mallet, compass or Masonic square, according to the different formalities prescribed by their rite. When the lodge was opened economic affairs of the lodge were discussed, gifts received from other lodges were exhibited, the acceptance or advancement of some brother was proposed. At nearly every meeting either a profane (it is thus Masons call whoever is not of their society) was initiated, or some brother apprentice was admitted to the degree of fellow or a fellow became a master.

Here are several ceremonies observed at the initiation of an apprentice. (Here follows a description of ceremonies not to be printed here.)


This is all that can be said about the lodge instituted at Rome. If its secrecy, mystery and chief object cannot perfectly be explained, we have already seen the cause ought to be attributed to the fact that the lodge was warned at the time that a search was to be made. Not only were the books and the most important papers hidden but the principal members had escaped and they alone perhaps know the enigma, we say, perhaps, for the lodge not being very old it would be surprising if knowledge of its secrecy, object and mystery had not yet been communicated to its members. As for the rest in summing up the ideas we have given in the course of this history on Masons, their rites, ceremonies, customs and principles, a little good sense suffices to realize that wickedness and madness characterize them.

Let us render thanks to Heaven that we were furnished the means of destroying the first attempts made to introduce this folly and wickedness in our august capital. The irrevocable word of a God-made man who has promised that, despite the snares of hell, the faith for which He has shed His precious blood will always be pure in the church of St. Peter; the efficacious protection of the Holy Apostles who have diffused, upheld and defended it at the price of a grievous martyrdom; the zeal of the Shepherd who personally watches over His flock and who spares no efforts which human wisdom can suggest, have preserved us so far and they have restored our tranquillity for the future against the attempts of these ravenous wolves. Please God, may all the rest of the world, convinced as it ought to be by the expressive ruins of the times, rid itself forever of this dangerous infection.


Translator's Note: It is evident that this was a regularly constituted lodge of Freemasons operating under the French Rite. Probably this lodge was under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of France, which founded the French Rite in 1786.

It is interesting to see that one lone American was one of the founders. Their purpose in organizing a lodge was well expressed. Despite the dangers of meeting in the city of Rome, seat of the Inquisition, they held meetings for over two years before being discovered. It should be noted they were duly affiliated with the Mother Lodge at Paris. Certainly they were wise in not using the posts for sending mail. The civil and religious authorities of that period had a bad habit of examining all letters. Louis XV of France made a regular practice of it.

The lodge must have prospered. We read that 80 ecus were sent as a gift to the Mother Lodge, each member giving at least one ecu. That would represent from 60 to 80 members.

The French use the word "grade" instead of "degree". Mackey states that the French Rite consisted of seven degrees, adding, as sixth, Knight of the East, and seventh, Rose Croix, in addition to the five given in the translation. It would be interesting to know if this Rite is so practiced today. He says it is or was practiced in France, Brazil and Louisiana. Note that two unanimous ballots were required for admission. The three months' probation between degrees was not a bad idea. One wonders just what proofs were required.

The sliding scale for initiation fees should be noted. As an ecu was approximately equivalent to sixty cents in our money, the first degree would have cost from $4.80 to $12, the second from $1.80 to $4.20 and the third from $2.40 to $4.80, or a total of $21, $13.80, $9.00 respectively for all three degrees. The total dues would have been

Fines would have been for absence without notice 30 cents; with notice 20 cents; lateness 10 cents; all in addition to a collection at each meeting for charity. What would some of the Craft think today if they were called on so frequently!

Note the designations of the officers. Venerable is the title given in French lodges to the Master; the First and Second Superintendents correspond to Senior and Junior Wardens; the Terrible Brother, so far as receiving and conducting candidates, to the Senior Deacon. The Almoner dispensed charity and visited the sick and needy. See Mackey's Encyclopedia under "Lodge" for further explanation.

Throughout the whole book the writer dwells constantly on three things: first, obligation and oath; second, blind obedience to superiors; third, the close union of the members. Just as in the next to the last paragraph the impression is constantly conveyed that the mystery and object of the order was with-held from the rank and file. It does seem rather thoughtless of the members of this lodge that they did not remain behind to be captured and so disclose their secrets. The fact that a lodge was founded "in our august capital" seems to have worried the biographer.

After all, how futile are any attempts to "expose" the Secrets of Masonry, when they rest in the hearts of Masons!


  1. Pronounced Kal-yos'-tro.
  2. He was arrested on St. John's Day, Dec. 27, 1789. Probably this same date was selected for raiding this lodge as it was generally known that Masons assembled on St. John's Day.
  3. English equivalent not known.
  4. Watchword, i.e., password.
  5. Aku, an old French coin worth about three francs, or sixty cents.
  6. i.e., ability to pay.
  7. An old Italian coin worth about ten cents,
  8. i.e., taking up a collection for the needy brothers.
  9. Original text not quite clear.

* * *


Bro. David E. W. Williamson, Associate Editor, Nevada

It has been known this long time that Napoleon I was a member of the Craft in France, but there has been much uncertainty as to where and when he was initiated. Bro. Williamson has had the good fortune to come upon an item of fact that throws much light on this question, and at the same time makes it evident how the great conqueror looked upon Masonry.

ON the 3rd of December, 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte, homeward bound to Josephine and Paris, fresh from dictating to humbled Austria the treaty of Campo Formio, and happy at having mystified the German plenipotentiaries gathered at Bastatt by his sudden departure, drove into the city of Nancy, the heart of Lorraine. It was a mere episode in his journey, scarcely worthy of a note in history and passed over in silence by his biographers, but it is of curious interest to Masons because it was reserved for a humble annalist of Lorraine to mention it and thus to prove that Napoleon belonged to the Craft more than six months before the time when it is generally believed that he was initiated.

During the late war Bro. Dr. John W. Grant,, of Reno, Nev., then Captain of the 164th Infantry in France, became acquainted with Charles Bernardin, Past Master of a lodge in Nancy, who presented him with a book, in two volumes, of which Bro. Bernardin is the author. Its title, translated into English, is, Notes to Serve as a History of Freemasonry at Nancy Up to 1805, and it should be better known than it is, for it contains a mine of information about the Masonic lodges of the Lorraine capital from their installation until the Revolution, with much of interest that happened after that period. Bro. Grant brought the two volumes back to the United States with him and from them is translated this, which Bro. Bernardin himself quotes from Collection Lorraine de M. Noel, in the library of Nancy, volume 1, page 617:

"We remember having had in hand the engraved plate which proves that General Bonaparte, passing through Nancy after having signed the treaty of Campo Formio, visited the lodge and, although but a Master Mason, was received with all the honours possible. Introduced under an arch of steel, the Master offered him the gavel. If my memory does not deceive me, the grandfather of M. Dumont was then one of the dignitaries of the lodge. That visit was made on Dec. 3, 1797. I was very young but I clearly recall the impression made by the conqueror of Italy at Nancy. Never was the city in a like agitation. All the houses were lighted up. He was invited to go to the theatre and as soon as it was known that he had accepted the invitation, the hall was invaded by sheer force and without payment. 'La Belle Arsen' was played and in the famous air 'Triumph, fair Alcindor,' Mlle. Rousselois substituted 'Triumph, Bonaparte.' All our poets — Blaise, Laugier, Gentiliatre — made couplets in honour of the general."

In corroboration of this, Bro. Bernardin writes:

"I cannot doubt the assertion of the celebrated historian of Lorraine, as he was himself a Freemason and a member of St. John of Jerusalem Lodge from March 5, 1810, and could very well have had in his hands the plate to which he alludes and have received an account of that visit from the mouths of those who assisted at it. I have found no trace of it in the archives of the lodge, but this is not extraordinary because the meetings had not been held for a year. It awoke immediately afterward and assembled on Dec. 9. Is it not just this visit that drew it from its lethargy? It is quite possible."

There is no question but that Bonaparte was at Nancy on the date given. His biographer, Bourrienne, tells us that he left Milan on Nov. 17, 1797, and travelled through Switzerland to Rastatt by way of Aix in Savoy, Berne and Bale. At Rastatt he was chief of the French legation but, announcing suddenly that he had received letters from the Directory summoning him to Paris, he left the congress without ceremony and proceeded to the capital of France. Nancy was on his road.


The question of when and where Napoleon was made a Mason has been often debated but it has come of late years to be assumed that the event must have taken place in Valletta, Island of Malta, and the general opinion has been well summarized in the Hawkins-Hughan Revision of Mackey's Encyclopedia of Masonry, which says: "It is said he was initiated at Malta between June 12 and July 19, 1798." Yet a study of Napoleon's movements should make this seem unlikely, even if we did not have the statement quoted from M. Noel about his visiting a lodge at Nancy on Dec. 3, 1798. He had long had his eyes on Malta, it is true, and only a month before he passed through the Lorraine city he had sent Poussielgue, secretary of the French legation in Genoa, to corrupt the knights, a mission that proved successful. Indeed, according to Hazlett: "It is related that Carrarelli, seeing the strength of the place when they entered, observed to the Commander-in-Chief, 'It is well we had friends to let us in.'" Napoleon took Valletta on June 10, 1798, and it is stated in the authoritative Life of Napoleon, by John Holland Rose, that he remained there only six days. Certainly the French fleet reached Cape Aza, Africa, on June 29.

These six days on the Island of Malta were busy ones for Napoleon and it does not appear probable that he could have been made a Mason at the moment. There would scarcely have been time. There was a lodge of Freemasons there, either active or dormant, it is true, because Clegg's Mackey's History (volume VII, page 2260) tells us that a lodge had been re-opened there under the old name of "Secrecy and Harmony" on July 2, 1788, the officers of which all were Knights of Malta. But this lodge operated under a charter from the Grand Lodge of the Moderns in London, Gould tells us in his Military Lodges, and it is impossible that an English lodge would have admitted to the Fraternity the chief of the armies of a country with which England was then actively at war.

If Napoleon could have been initiated at the age of twenty, the most likely period of his becoming a Mason would admittedly have been when he visited the Palais Royal before the Revolution. His poverty and lack of sociability, to which Mme. Junot testifies in her memoirs, would have made such an event unthinkable while he was attached to the Regiment Le Fere at Auxonne, taking into account the further fact that he was not in sympathy with his brother officers, who were royalists. He was transferred in the spring of 1791 to the Regiment Grenoble at Valence and his biographers all agree that at this time he "plunged into politics" and joined the Club of the Friends of the Constitution. Then he went to Corsica and he did not return until May, 1792, when, owing to the fact that he had to busy himself to obtain a commission in the army and also because of the persecution to which Freemasons were subjected in France in that year, he would hardly have sought membership. In May, 1795, we find him in Paris, where among his friends were the younger Robespierre, Carnot, the two Lameths and Generals Bernonville and Massena, all of whom are known to have been Masons. After his marriage to Josephine, in March, 1796, he went out on his Italian campaign, during which it is improbable that he would have been initiated, although there were, according to Gould's Military Lodges, eight lodges authorized in the French armies between 1790 and 1800.

From this glance at his career, then, there would be only the time he spent at Valence and Marseilles in 1791, or the months in Paris between May, 1795, and April, 1796, when he would have been likely to have been inducted into the Fraternity.

But whenever and wherever he may have been initiated, Napoleon never took his membership seriously. In none of his reported conversations at St. Helena does he speak as a brother of the Craft and he showed when he became Emperor that he regarded the Fraternity as something that might be fostered, but no more. All his brothers belonged, of that there is no doubt. He usurped control of the Grand Orient of France and made Joseph Bonaparte Grand Master, with Louis Bonaparte Associate Grand Master (Grand Maître Adjoint). Perhaps the appointment of Cambaceres in place of Louis, in 1806, may show some light on how Napoleon really regarded Masonry, for France at that time had many "table lodges," as they were aptly called, where dining was the principal attraction, and Cambaceres was famous in Paris as a bon vivant.

To return to M. Noel's mention of Napoleon's visit to the lodge at Nancy, the quotation from Bro. Bernardin has especial value because it is the first positive and definite date in which he is said to have visited a lodge. Bro. Haywood, in connection with this subject, kindly drew my attention to the exhaustive paper by Bro. J. E. S. Tuckett, in volume XVIII, 1914, of the Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, on "Napoleon I and Freemasonry." But Bro. Tuckett's splendid article does not begin to indicate when the great French military genius was made a Mason — that is, when he entered a lodge as a poor, blind candidate seeking light — and, no matter what side degrees he might later have joined, such as the Philadelphes, the Illuminate and the like, into the history of which Bro. Tuckett goes, he must first have been a Mason at the foot of the steps. French Masonry is not different from ours today in this respect and it is reasonable to believe that it was not different in the time of Napoleon. As summarized by Bro. Tuckett, himself, his conclusions are:

"(1) That the evidence in favour of a Masonic initiation previous to Napoleon's assumption of the Imperial Title is overwhelming;

"(2) That the initiations took place in the body of an Army Philadelphe Lodge of the (Ecossais) Primitive Rite of Narbonne, the third 'initiation' of the 'Note Communiquee' being an advancement in that Rite;

"(3) That these initiations took place between 1795 and 1798." -A.Q.C., VoL XXVII, 1914, page 115.

Close attention to the life of Napoleon and to the circumstances which would be favourable to his becoming a member of the Craft, it seems to me, will make my own conclusions on this point of the time of initiation more probable, as they certainly are more definite. At any rate, the statement of M. Noel will serve as a new point of departure for future investigators. It is definite, it is circumstantial, it is made by a man who was alive at the time, who was a member of the lodge at Nancy soon afterwards and whose membership and standing in the Fraternity are vouched for by M. Bernardin, a notable figure in Freemasonry in France.

* * *


Bro. Robert Freke Gould

As a means of assisting readers to possess themselves of as much information as possible about masons who were active in the War of the Revolution, arrangements were made with Gale & Polden, publishers, London, to republish the last chapter of Gould's "Military Lodges," which retails at $2.65 postpaid. The title of the volume in its entirety gives a complete description of the ground it covers: "Military lodges: The Apron and the Sword, of Freemasonry Under Arms; Being an Account of Lodges in Regiments and Ships of War and of Famous Soldiers and Sailors (of all countries) Who Have Belonged to the Society." Brethren who have made a special study of Freemasonry of the Revolutionary period will serve us all if they will check up each of the names included in Gould's list. It is probable that in a few instances he was misled, as regards the Lees, for example; it is improbable that any member of that family ever belonged to the Craft.

IN 1775, Washington was elected Commander-in-Chief of the American Army, and on the very same day that he received his commission the battle of Bunker Hill was fought, in which Major-General Joseph Warren, Grand Master of Massachusetts, lost his life. According to a national biographer, "this was the first grand offering of American Masonry at the altar of liberty, and the ground floor of her temple was blood-stained at its eastern gate."

General Washington was initiated in the Fredericksburg Lodge, Virginia, in November, 1752, and became a Master Mason in August, 1753. In 1779 he declined the office of Grand Master of Virginia, but accepted that of Master of Alexandria Lodge, No. 22, in his native state in 1788. As President of the United States he was sworn in — April 30, 1789 — on the Bible of St. John's Lodge, New York. In 1793 he laid the cornerstone of the Capitol, and is described in the official proceedings as "Grand Master pro tem, and Worshipful Master of No. 22 of Virginia". His death occurred in 1799, and he was buried with Masonic honours on Dec. 18 of that year. On the following day the news of his death reached Philadelphia, where Congress was sitting, and a national tribute was paid to his memory on the 26th of December. The Masonic Fraternity were among the chief mourners, and Major-General Henry Lee, a member of Congress and also a "brother", was the orator of the day. The now familiar words, "First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen," which so justly describe the estimation in which Washington was regarded by the American nation, were used on this occasion by General Lee in his address.

Henry Lee — father of the great Confederate General, Robert E. Lee — who was popularly known as "Light Horse Harry", commanded an independent partisan corps in 1778, and three years later joined the army of General Greene, in whose retreat before Lord Cornwallis "Lee's Legion" formed the rear-guard.

Ten lodges in all were at work in the American Army during the Revolution, the earliest of which, "St. John's Regimental," was granted a warrant by the Provincial Grand Lodge of New York, in July, 1775.

"American Union" in the Connecticut Line, though of later date, was the first lodge organized in the Continental Army, with which it is described as having moved as a pillar of light in parts of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Washington Lodge, in the Massachusetts Line — at whose meetings the Commander-in-Chief was a frequent visitor — was constituted at West Point in 1779. The first Master was General John Patterson, and the first Wardens Colonels (afterwards Generals) Benjamin Tupper and John Greaton.

Army Lodge, No. 27, in the Maryland Line, received a warrant from Pennsylvania in 1780. The first Master was General Mordecai Gist, and the Wardens Colonel (afterwards General) Otho Williams and Major Archibald Anderson.

No records of the American Field Lodges of the Revolution have been preserved, except a portion of the minutes of "American Union" and some returns of the "Washington Lodge". The latter merely inform us that in 1782 two hundred and fifty names had been borne on the roll of the lodge. The former are of a more interesting character. The principal officers of the army and the general in command are frequently named as visitors, and at all the banquets, while the first toast was "Washington" or "Congress", the second was invariably "Warren, Montgomery and Wooster", followed by the Dead March. Dr. Warren was the first man of distinction to lay down his life in the cause of American Liberty. Richard Montgomery was of Irish birth, and after serving at Louisburg, Martinique and Havana entered the American Army as Brigadier-General and was killed at the attack on Quebec in December, 1775. The services of David Wooster as a naval and military officer extended over forty years, through four years, with Spain, with France, with France again, and finally with England. He was mortally wounded, as a Major-General in the American Army, while leading an attack on the British troops in 1777.

There is an abundance of testimony to show that while Commander-in-Chief of the American Army, Washington both countenanced the formation and encouraged the labours of the army lodges, that he found frequent opportunity to visit them and that he thought it no degradation to his dignity to stand there on a level with his brethren.

In December, 1777, the army retired to Valley Forge, and it was there — according to evidence which seems to be of a trustworthy character — that General Lafayette was initiated. The French officer, though he had been received very warmly and kindly by General Washington, experienced much uneasiness from the circumstance that he had never been entrusted with a separate command. During the winter he learned that there was a lodge working in the camp. Time hanging heavily on his hands and the routine of duty being monotonous, he conceived the idea that he would like to be made a Mason. His wish, on being made known to the lodge, was soon gratified, the Commander-in-Chief being present and in the chair at the time of his initiation. [See note]

"After I was made a Mason," said Lafayette, "General Washington seemed to have received a new light. I never had from that moment any cause to doubt his entire confidence. It was not long before I had a separate command of great importance."

On the 27th of December, 1779 — the headquarters of the army being then at Morristown, New Jersey — "American Union Lodge" met to celebrate the festival of St. John. At this meeting a committee was appointed from the lodges in each line and the staff of the army, to consider the expediency of a General Grand Master being elected to preside over all the lodges in the Republic. There were present on the occasion thirty-six members of "American Union" and sixty-eight visitors, one of whom was General Washington.

The Masons of the various lines met three times in convention, and though the name of Washington as Grand Master designate does not appear in their address to the army, yet it was formally signified to the Masonic governing bodies of America then existing that he was their choice. The idea of a General Grand Master or Superintending Grand Lodge has often been revived, but on no occasion, except when it was first mooted by the army lodges of the Revolution, with the faintest chance of being carried into effect.

The principal northern forces under Washington were stationed on the banks of the Hudson, near Newburg, during the winter of 1782. So well established at this time had the camp lodges become, and so beneficial in their influence, that an assembly-room or hall was built to serve (among other purposes) as a lodgeroom for the military lodges. The scheme was entrusted to General Gates to carry into execution and all the regiments were called upon for their quota of workmen and materials. The building was used for the first time in the early part of 1783, and "American Union" met there in the June of that year preparatory to celebrating with "Washington Lodge," at West Point, the festival of St. John.

A venerable brother, Captain Hugh Maloy, aged 93, residing at Bethel, in the State of Ohio, was still living in 1844, who had been initiated in 1782 in General Washington's marquee. On that occasion also the General occupied the Master's chair, and it was at his hands that the candidate received the light of Masonry.

The following generals of the Continental Army were among the Masonic compeers of the founder and first President of the United States:

Richard Caswell, who led troops of North Carolina — of which state he was afterwards Governor and Grand Master — under General Gates, and was engaged at the disastrous battle of Camden in 1780.

Mordecai Gist, who fought gallantly for his country from the commencement to the close of the Revolutionary War, was Master of Army Lodge, No. 27, president of the convention of Masons from the military lines at Morristown, New Jersey, and, finally, Grand Master of South Carolina.

James Jackson, who served with distinction in the Continental Army, was afterwards Governor and Grand Master of Georgia.

Morgan Lewis, who accompanied General Gates as chief of the staff in the campaign of 1776 and commanded a division in the subsequent war with Great Britain in 1812-15, was Governor of New York in 1804 and Grand Master from 1830 until his death in 1844.

Israel Putnam commanded a regiment in the expedition which captured Havana and was a prominent figure in the war of the Revolution. His tombstone bears the inscription: "He dared to lead where any dared to follow."

Rufus Putnam, "The Father of the Northwest," was for some time chief engineer of the American Army and commanded a brigade under General Wayne in 1792. He was made a Mason in "American Union Lodge" in 1779, and elected Grand Master of Ohio in 1808.

John Sullivan, one of the most famous of the generals of the Revolution, was elected Governor of New Hampshire in 1786 and Grand Master in 1789.

Anthony Wayne, whose popular title was "Mad Anthony," won great renown by his capture of Stony Point (New York), only bayonets being used. He succeeded St. Clair in command of the Western Army and gained a brilliant victory over the Miami Indians in 1794. A monument to his memory was erected by the Masonic Fraternity at Stony Point in 1857.

The Baron de Kalb, mortally wounded at the battle of Camden, was buried with military and Masonic honours by his victorious enemies; Count Casimir Pulaski, the famous cavalry leader, killed at Charleston in 1779, and Benedict Arnold, whose unsurpassed gallantry and devotion during the earlier stages of the war were, alas, totally obscured by the infamy which characterized his proceedings towards its close.

Commodore James Nicholson (an active member of the Fraternity) was placed in 1776 at the head of the list of captains in the Continental Army, a position which he retained until the close of the war. His brothers, Samuel and John, were also Masons and naval captains. The former, who served with Paul Jones in the engagement between the Bon Homme Richard and Serapis, afterwards received the command of the frigate Deane, in which he cruised very successfully; Stephen Decatur was a member of the same lodge as Commodore James Nicholson, and like the latter a captain in the United States Navy from its first establishment. He commanded the Delaware sloop of war and afterwards the Philadelphia; Commodore Edward Preble, a member of the "Ancient Landmark Lodge" in Portland (Maine), entered the navy in 1779 and commanded the American Squadron at the bombardment of Tripoli in 1804; and Commodore Whipple, a member of "American Union Lodge" during its early days at Marietta, who burned the Gaspe in 1772, on of the most brilliant officers of the land or sea service.

The first field lodge after the Peace of Versailles (1783) was formed in the "Legion of the United States", commanded by General Anthony Wayne in 1793, and it is said that nearly all the members were killed in the Indian War. In 1814 some officers of the Northern Army applied to New York for a "marching warrant", which was referred to the Grand officers, and later in the same year a military lodge was established by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, to be held wherever the Master for the time being should be stationed in the United States.

General Andrew Jackson at various times commanded armies in the field, but is best known in connection with his decisive victory over the British at New Orleans in 1815, which put an end to the war. He subsequently became President of the United States and Grand Master of Tennessee.

General William H. Winder, who commanded on the losing side at Bladensburg, the other eventful battle of the same war (1814), was elected Grand Master of Maryland in 1821.

Generals Stephen Austen, the liberator of Texas, and "Sam" Houston, the recognized hero of the Texan War of Independence, were Freemasons; also Colonel David Crockett, backwoodsman and member of Congress, who fought on the same side and after a hard siege surrendered to General Santa Anna, by whose order he was put to death with the other survivors in 1836.

Two or more lodges accompanied the American Army during the Mexican War. The chief commanders, Generals Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor, were not members of the Craft, but the latter always entertained a high opinion of the Institution. Shortly after his inauguration as President of the United States, in 1849, he said that many of his personal friends and officers of the army with whom he had been associated were Masons, and that he should have been one himself had circumstances been more favourable to his joining a lodge, and he added, "I would do so now, but have got to be too old."

William J. Worth served during the last war with England and was present at the actions of Chrystler's Farm, Chippewa, and Lundy's Lane. In 1842 he commanded the army which defeated the hostile savages in Florida, and subsequently greatly distinguished himself in the leading battles of the Mexican War. A monument was dedicated to his memory by the Grand Lodge of New York in 1857.

John A. Quitman, Grand Master of Mississippi, commanded a division of General Scott's army, and when the City of Mexico was taken he was made its Governor until peace was proclaimed.

Field lodges were freely established on both sides during the late Civil War, but the experience of that great conflict was decidedly unfavourable to their utility. The practice was to issue dispensations, and when the regiments in which they were held were mustered out of the service, or the individuals to whom they were granted returned to civil life, the lodges ceased to exist. More than a hundred of these dispensations were issued during the war, the largest number granted by any single Grand Lodge being thirty-three, which was the case in the state and Masonic jurisdiction of Indiana. There are no lodges in the standing army of the United States, and for this a sufficient reason will be found in the fact that the few regiments of the regular army are generally — if not invariably — divided into small fractions, separated at widely different posts.

The brethren holding high military rank during the Civil War were very numerous, as may be imagined from the circumstance that "Miner's Lodge," No. 273, Galena (Illinois), consisting of about fifty members, alone supplied five generals to the Federal Army. Among them were John A. Rawlings (p. 89), Ely S. Parker, a Seneca Indian, and William R. Rowley, all of whom were on the staff of General Grant, together with John Corson Smith, who served through all the grades from private soldier to general officer, and has since been Lieutenant-Governor and Grand Master of his state.

The following brethren commanded armies in the field: George B. McClellan, Winfield Scott Hancock, whose bayonet charge at Williamsburg won from McClellan the compliment which became proverbial, that "Hancock was superb"; N. P. Banks, John A. McClernand, John A. Logan, George E. Pickett, who led the famous final assault on the Union lines at Gettysburg in 1863; Robert E. Patterson and Benjamin F. Butler, against whose life a plot was formed by Confederate prisoners, but given up on their learning that he was a Freemason

Among the Masonic veterans of the war General James A. Garfield was, and Major William McKinley now is [written in 1899] the President of the United States. Generals Robert Anderson, of Fort Sumpter fame, and Albert Pike, scholar, orator, poet and man-of-letters, were also of the Fraternity. The valuable library of the latter at Little Rock, Arkansas, was about to be destroyed by the Federal troops during the war, but General Thomas H. Benton (Grand Master of Iowa), in command of the Union forces, interposed, and by making the house his headquarters not only preserved the library but also the residence.

General Nelson A. Miles now commands the American Army and another general (and Mason), Russell A. Alger, has just vacated the office of Secretary of War.

Dispensations for the formation of military lodges were issued by the Grand Lodge of Kentucky and North Dakota during the late war with Spain. Many prominent officers of the army and navy who took part in that short conflict are Freemasons, and among them General William R. Schafter and Admiral Schley, the former of whom commanded the American land forces before Santiago de Cuba, and the latter the squadron which performed such brilliant service off the coast.

Note — Gould is very possibly in error here. The time and place of Lafayette's initiation are still undetermined. i.e., taking up a collection for the needy brothers.

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


DE WITT CLINTON was born in Little Britain, New York, March 2, 1769, a descendant from English, Dutch and Huguenot ancestors. He was educated at Kingston Academy and at Columbia University, graduating from the latter school at the head of his class in 1786.

Clinton had one of the most brilliant political careers of his period, which was a time of storm and stress, when many things were in the melting pot. He was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1797 and to the United States Senate in 1802, at which time he was only thirty-three years of age. While in the Senate he did much to attract the attention of the country to the aggressions of the Spanish on the lower Mississippi, a region that had not yet been made a part of the United States.

He resigned his place in the Senate to become mayor of New York City in 1802, which office he held continuously except for one or two years until 1815. During this term of office he occupied a seat in the State Senate, the holding of two offices being then not deemed an irregular thing. In 1811 he became Lieutenant Governor of the state and in 1812 was defeated for the Presidency of the United States, receiving eighty-nine of the two hundred and nine votes cast. In 1817 he was elected Governor of the state, was re-elected in 1820, was out of office during 1822-24, was again elected in 1824 and held office until his death in 1828, during which year he died at Albany.

It was during his term as governor that the Morgan episode occurred which caused so much agitation in Freemasonry by launching the anti-Masonic crusade, which worked so much damage to the Craft that at one time it appeared to be going out of existence. Governor Clinton instituted a vigorous investigation of Morgan's disappearance but he passed away before that mystery was cleared up, if, indeed, it may be said ever to have been cleared up. I have often thought that if Governor Clinton had given as much attention to Thurlow Weed, Thaddeus Stevens and other corrupt politicians he might have found opportunity for criminal charges of another nature.

Clinton was made a Mason in Holland Lodge, No. 16 (now No. 8), Sept. 3, 1790; became Secretary of his lodge in 1792; was made Warden in 1793, and Worshipful Master in December of that same year. In 1806 he was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York and served continuously until 1819. He was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in 1791 in Chapter No. 1; was elected G. H. P. in 1798 and was twice reelected. He was promoted to the dignity of General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter of the United States in 1816 and was re-elected year by year until 1826. He was also a Knight Templar, his Templar diploma being inscribed "The Castle of Holland Lodge Rooms, May 17, 1792." He became Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of New York in 1814 and continued in that office until his death. During the last twelve years of his life he was Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of the United States. In addition to all these Masonic honors he was also a 33d, A. and A. S. R., Northern Jurisdiction.

In his "History of Freemasonry in the State of New York" Bro. Ossian Lang speaks of him in this manner:

"De Witt 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. De Witt 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."

Clinton was first buried in Albany, New York, but his remains were afterwards removed to Greenwood.

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Chapters of Masonic History

Bro. H. L. Haywood, Editor


POPULAR assemblies of all male citizens for law making and law enforcing purposes were an old Saxon institution in England. Every town or shire had its own; the assembly (later on, court) of the shire met twice a year; the Witan-a-gemote, at which all the males of the kingdom were to assemble, was convened once a year. In the course of time these assemblies came to be made up of representatives, but originally every male citizen was supposed to be present in person. The gilds of Operative Masons, like all other gilds of the period, also had their own assemblies. Much is made of these in the Old Charges but the references therein are so meagre and at times so confusing that to date it has not been possible to quite make out just how the Masonic assemblies were organized and managed. R. F. Gould was of the opinion that the "assemblies" referred to in the Old Charges were nothing other than the general assemblies just referred to, but G. W. Speth and others of Gould's associates could not agree with him because they found so many evidences to show that Masons had their own craft assemblies like other gilds. It may well be that the Masons did have their own assemblies but held them at the same time and place as the general meeting of citizens in order to save time and inconvenience. For the present purpose it is not necessary to argue the point; the fact remains that Masons in old times had some kind of general, or central, assembly at fixed intervals at which matters appertaining to the Craft in general were taken up.

As population increased and the machinery of government became more complicated these assemblies were discontinued, at any rate one would so judge from the scant records available. By the time lodges began to be made up of Speculative members it appears that no assemblies were held at all, and that lodges existed independently of each other, with no central governing authority over them. Each of these autonomous lodges could make Masons at its own discretion, and according to the old rules, so that it was not necessary, as it now is, for a group of Masons to first secure a charter before forming themselves into a lodge.

Such is the picture we must keep before our eyes when we think of Masonry as it was in the beginning of the eighteenth century. Here and there, scattered about over the Kingdom, were independent lodges; in some cases the membership was wholly Operative, so that every member was engaged in the building trade; in other cases non-Operative members made up a portion of the membership, and in a few cases all of it. The general unity of the Craft was maintained by adherence to the old customs and by use of the Old Charges, which, in many cases one may suppose, functioned much as charters now do.


It was in the midst of such circumstances that the first Grand Lodge was organized in London, 1717. William Preston, whose Illustrations of Masonry did so much to shape the popular conception of Masonic history, says that after the London fire several Masonic lodges were organized in London and that Sir Christopher Wren was a kind of Grand Master of them all, and when Wren had grown too aged to look after the affairs of the Craft a move was set under way to organize a Grand Lodge. Inasmuch as the records show that Wren was a member of the Lodge of Antiquity, and therefore in the Craft, there is nothing improbable in Preston's account, but Preston has been so much in doubt for his accuracy in matters of fact that one must let the point rest in abeyance.

Almost the only source of knowledge we possess of the formation of the first Grand Lodge are the pages of Anderson's Constitutions, 1738 edition. Therein one may read the account which follows, the words of which are so familiar to every student of Masonic history:

"After the Rebellion was over, A.D. 1716, the few Lodges at London.... thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the center of Union and Harmony, viz., the Lodges that met,

"1. At the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul's Church yard.

"2. At the Crown, Ale-house in Parker's-Lane, near Drury-Lane.

"3. At Be Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent-Garden.

"4. At the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel-Row, Westminster.

"They and some old Brothers met at the said Apple-Tree, and having put into the Chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge), they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro Tempore in Due Form, and forthwith revived the Quarterly Communication of the Officers of Lodges (called the Grand Lodge), resolv'd to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast, and then to chuse a GRAND MASTER from among themselves, till they should have the Honour of a Noble Brother at their Head.


On St. John Baptist's Day, in the 3d Year of King George I, A.D. 1717, the ASSEMBLY and Feast of the Free and Accepted Masons was held at the aforesaid Goose and Gridiron Ale-house.

"Before Dinner, the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) in the Chair, proposed a List of proper Candidates; and the Brethren by a Majority of Hands elected Mr. Anthony Sayer, Gentleman, Grand Master of Masons, who, being forwith invested with the badges of Office and Power by the said oldest Master, and install'd, was duly congratulated by the Assembly who pay'd him the Homage."


There were doubtless several Time Immemorial lodges in or about London, but either only four of these were invited to participate in the formation of Grand Lodge or else for some reason the names of other participating lodges were omitted from the records. According to the Engraved List of 1729 the lodge which met at the Goose and Gridiron was constituted in 1691. This old lodge made several removals after 1717, and once or twice changed its name; it moved to Mitre Tavern in 1768 and commenced to call itself Lodge of Antiquity, No. 1. This lodge was neither large nor influential until in 1774 it had the singular good fortune to elect as its Master the famous William Preston, who gave it prestige and power. When all lodges were re-numbered after the Union of the "Antients" and "Moderns" Antiquity was unjustly given rank No. 2, the precedence having been granted to a lodge formed under an "Antient" charter in 1735.

The second of the "four old lodges", which was meeting at the Crown Tavern in 1717, lacked vitality from the beginning; after moving about from place to place it died out entirely in about 1736, and was struck off the engraved list in 1740. In 1752 a number of brethren, none of them having been members of the lodge originally, petitioned that it be resuscitated, but inasmuch as Grand Lodge did not deem them able to carry on their application was rejected.

The third lodge among the old four met in Apple-Tree Tavern, in which place the first Grand Lodge was planned. Mr. Anthony Sayer, first Grand Master, was a member of this body. It also moved about, and in 1723, so we are told by Anderson, received a new charter, why, it is impossible to say. For some reason, perhaps because of this, it was in 1729 shifted down the list to eleventh place. In 1740 it was moved up to tenth place, and in 1756 was given sixth place. In 1768 it changed its name to Lodge of Fortitude, and in 1818, after uniting with Cumberland Lodge (organized in 1753), it adopted the title Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge, No. 12.

Of the original No. 4, Bro. A.F. Calvert, to whose The Grand Lodge of England I am especially indebted in this particular connection, gives this interesting and condensed account:

"From 1717 to 1736, original No. 4, which became No. 3 in 1729 and No. 2 in 1740, was the premier Lodge of the period of the Revival. It is considered probable that the members of Nos. 1, 2 and 3 were composed for the most part of working masons and brethren of the artisan class, and those lodges were operative lodges, while No. 4 may be considered the speculative or gentleman's lodge par excellence, and all the leading men in the Craft in the early days sprang from it. While the brethren belonging to the other three old Lodges were unimposing both as to number and social position, No. 4 had a roll of seventy members, and among the persons of rank and Masonic eminence belonging to the society were the Duke of Richmond, who established the Committee of Charity, Lord Paisley, the Duke of Queensberry, Lord Waldegrave, Sir Richard Manningham, Count La Lippe, Baron des Kaw, Sir Adolphus Ongleton, Earl de Loraine, Sir Thomas Prendergast, Lord Carmichael, Count Walzdorf, Marguis des Marches, Mr. William Cowper, Grand Secretary, and Bros. George Payne, Desaguliers and James Anderson.

"The other three Lodges, with their membership of about fifteen each, were of small account in comparison with the Old Horn Lodge, which during the first twenty years of the existence, of Grand Lodge may be said to have been responsible for its policy and development. Then the decline which has been experienced by so many old Lodges, after a period of exceptional prominence and prosperity, set in, and after about 1735 a falling off was discernible in its membership, its attendance at Grand Lodge, and its contribution to the Charity which it had been largely instrumental in founding. In 1746, the members of 'Lodge No. 2 at the Horn, at Westmr.' were required to give their reasons for absenting themselves from the general meetings of the Society 'for a considerable time past', and on 3rd April, 1747, it was decreed that the Lodge 'be erased out of the Book of Lodges.' For four years the order was in force, but on 4th April, 1751, we read in Grand Lodge minutes:

"'Bro. Lediard informed the brethren that the Right Worshipful Bro. Payne, L.G.M., and several other members of Lodge lately held at the Horn, Palace Yard, Westminster, had been very successful in their endeavours to revive the said Lodge, and that they were ready to pay 2 gs. to the use of the Grand Charity, and therefore moved that out of respect to Bro. Payne and the several other L.G.M's who were members thereof, the said Lodge might be restored, and have its former rank and place in the List of Lodges, which was ordered accordingly.'

"But the restored Old Horn Lodge as an independent body failed to recover its former prestige and prosperity, and after a further twenty-three years of abortive endeavour, it appeared to be on the verge of extinction. But in 1774 the Somerset House Lodge, which had been formed by Bro. Dunckerley on H.M.S. Prince in 1762, removed to H.M.S. Guadeloupe in 1764, revived at a 'Private Room, Somerset House,' in 1766 and numbered 279 in the List for 1767, was in a flourishing condition. Its list of members included the names of such notable Masons as James Heseltine, William White, James Galloway, Rowland Berkeley, Rowland Holt, Hon. Charles Dillon, the Duke of Beaufort and the Duke of Buccleuch. It was a liberal and regular subscriber to Grand Lodge Charities, its influence was powerful in the Grand Stewards' Lodge, and its founder, Dunckerley, exercised a positive genius in Masonic generalship and organisation. The Lodge in 1774 possessed every enviable attribute with the exception of antiquity, and that advantage it acquired by absorbing the original number and immemorial constitution of the Old Horn Lodge which, with its roll reduced to fifteen members, was then creeping to collapse."


Mr. Anthony Sayer, the first brother ever elected to the distinguished office of Grand Master, as we now understand that term, is a dim and pathetic figure who in such glimpses as we are able to gain of him through the mist of time appeals to our sympathies more than to our admiration. In 1717 he was installed Grand Master "by the said oldest Master Mason present"; two years thereafter Desaguliers appointed him Grand Warden, so that, whatever his shortcomings may have been, he was evidently a man of some position at the first. Five years afterwards he appealed to the Grand Lodge over which he had once presided for charity, but there is no record to show what relief he received, if any. In 1730 he was summoned before Grand Lodge to explain why he had assisted in the irregular constituting of lodges. On April 21 of that same year he again appealed for help and received £15 from the General Charity. But in August of the same year he was again summoned to answer complaints against his irregular conduct; Grand Lodge minutes contain the following entry under date of Dec. 15, 1730:

"Brother Sayer likewise attended to answer the Complaint made against him, and after hearing both parties, and some of the brethren being of Opinion that what he had done was clandestine, others that it was irregular only, and the Lodge was of opinion that it was irregular only; whereupon the Deputy Grand Master told Bro. Sayer that he was acquitted of the Charges against him and recommended it to him to do nothing so irregular in the future."

Bro. Sayer's star was evidently in eclipse. During or shortly after 1733 he became Tyler of Old King's Arms Lodge, No. 28. Shortly thereafter he received charity from this lodge. He died in 1742, receiving a Masonic interment at which a number of distinguished Masons were present. It has been conjectured that Bro. Sayer may have been one of the old Operative Masons who never became a whole-hearted supporter of the new regime; if so, this may explain his irregularities. In any event his conduct shows that in its early years the new Grand Lodge met with many difficulties from within as well as from without, and that the new order of things had to win its way against the feeling that its very existence was an innovation in the ancient methods of the Craft.

Bro. George Payne, the second Grand Master, proclaimed June 24, 1718, was a man of different stripe; from his activities one may guess that unlike Sayer he was one of the most zealous leaders in the work of re-organizing the Craft from an Operative basis to a Speculative one, and there is no doubt but that to him Masonry is indebted more than one can say. Of his private life little is known save that he was a Secretary to the Tax Office and of some substance. His popularity among the brethren is shown by their electing him Grand Master a second term in 1720, to succeed Dr. Desaguliers, of whom more anon. According to Dr. Entick it was Payne who first interested the English aristocracy and nobility in the Order, which, if the statement is well founded, was in itself sufficient give him a great name in our annals in view of the farreaching results that ensued when a "noble brother" became placed "at the head" of Grand Lodge. Payne was especially interested, it would appear, in readjusting the old constitutions to the new uses of the re-organized Fraternity, and it was he who made, in 1720, the first draft of the General Regulations afterwards incorporated, with some alterations, in Anderson's Constitutions of 1723. He was faithful and active up to the very end of his life and served as a member of the committee appointed to have charge of the revision of the Constitutions made in 1756.

But the most influential of the first Grand Masters was the third, Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers (see Bro. Dudley Wright's article on another page), whose influence was so great that Mackey gave him the credit for creating Speculative Masonry, which, if it be an excessive statement, does not much exaggerate our debt to this remarkable man. He was the son of a French Protestant refugee who fled from religious persecution after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Desaguliers was made, in 1714, a fellow of the Royal Society, to which learned body he made contributions so valuable that he became a personal friend of Sir Isaac Newton and on at least two occasions was called to lecture before the king. Of his Masonic activities Bro. Calvert gives this account:

"In the year of Desaguliers' Grand Mastership (1719-20) 'several old Brothers that had neglected the Craft returned to their Masonic allegiance; a few Noblemen were initiated into the Order, and some new Lodges were constituted.' The Grand Master himself 'forwith reviv'd the old regular and peculiar Toasts or Healths of the Free Masons.' In 1721, on the occasion of the Festival, Desaguliers made 'an eloquent Oration about Masons and Masonry,' and seven years later he obtained the consent of Grand Lodge to his proposal 'that, in order to have the Grand Feast conducted in the best manner, a certain number of Stewards should be chosen who should have the entire care and direction of the said feast, together with the Grand Wardens.' To invent after-dinner speeches, introduce Masonic orations, and revive the once of the Stewards, was to render practical service to the Craft, and by securing the attendance of many eminent Masons and enlisting some noblemen as members, Desaguliers was instrumental in placing the new authority on a broader and more popular basis. Sayer was a nonenity whom chance elevated to the Grand Chair; Payne was a man of substance and intelligence who was zealous for the advancement of the Order; Desaguliers himself, of the three, lent real distinction to the office of Master. And the fact reiyiains that Masonry languished until the third Grand Master enlisted the interest of some noble brothers in the society, and in 1721, when the Duke of Montagu accepted the Grand Mastership, Masonry 'rose at one bound into notice and esteem.' In that year Desaguliers visited the Lodge of Edinburgh, and was affiliated as a member of the Scottish Fraternity. On the subject of this memorable event, we read in Lyon's History of the Lodge of Scotland:

"Att Maries Chapell the 24 of August 1721 years — James Wattson present Deacon of the Masons of Edinr., Preses. The which day Doctor John Theophilus Desaguliers, fellow of the Royall Societie, and Chaplain in Ordinary to his Grace James Duke of Chandois, late Generall Master of the Mason Lodges in England, being in town and desirous to have a conference with the Deacon, Warden, and Master Masons of Edinr., which was accordingly granted and finding him duly qualified in all points of Masonry, they received him as a Brother into their Societe:'"


Of Dr. James Anderson, whose name is known wherever Masons assemble, and who shares with Desaguliers the most prominent place in the sun of early Masonic fame, not much is known with certainty, though Thorpe, Vibert, Robbins and a number of other English brethren have searched high and low for every possible scrap of information. He was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, but moved to London where he served for many years as a Presbyterian minister, and where he was chaplain to the Earl of Buchan. It is not known when or where Anderson was made a Mason, but it was perhaps in Scotland for he was evidently familiar with the terminology of the Scottish Craft, some of the terms of which he introduced into English lodges. His Masonic fame rests on his Constitutions, the first edition of which was published in 1723, the second in 1738. According to the latter edition his own account of this transaction appears in this wise:

Sept 29, 1721. "His Grace's Worship and the Lodge finding Fault with all the Copies of the old Gothic Constitutions, order'd Brother James Anderson, A.M., to digest the same in a new and better method."

Dec. 27, 1721. "The Duke of Montagu appointed 14 learned Brothers to examine Brother Anderson's Manuscript, and to make Report."

March 25, 1722. "The Committee of 14 reported that they had perused Brother Anderson's Manuscript, viz., the History, Charges, Regulations, and Master's Song, and after some Amendments had approv'd of it; Upon which the Lodge desir'd the Grand Master to order it to be printed."

The manner in which, and the reasons for which, he brought forth a second edition in 1738 are given in the Minutes of the Grand Lodge of England, Feb. 24, 1735:

"Bro. Doctorr Anderson, formerly Grand Warden, presented a memorial Setting forth, that whereas the first Edidon of the General Constitution of Masonry, compiled by himself, was all sold off, and a Second Edition very much wanted; and that he had spent some Thoughts upon Some Alterations and Additions that might fittly be made to the same, which was now ready to lay before the Grand Lodge for their approbation if they were pleased to receive them.

"It was Resolved Nemine con that a Committee be appointed consisting of the present, and former Grand Officers, and such other Master Masons as they should think proper to call on to revise and compare the same, that when finished they might lay the same before the Grand Lodge ensuing for their approbation.

"He further represented that one William Smith, said to be a Mason, had without his privity or Consent pyrated a considerable part of the Constitutions of Masonry aforesaid to the prejudice of the said Br. Anderson it being his Sole Property.

"It was thereupon Resolved, and Ordered That every Master and Warden present shall do all in their Power to Discountenance so unfair a Practice, and prevent the said Smith's Books being bought by any Members of their respective Lodges."

At this remove in time it is almost impossible for us to avoid reading back into those early events our own ideas of Freemasonry, but it is pretty certain that the few brethren who first met informally in the Apple-Tree Tavern in 1716, and then again in a more formal manner at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in the following year, had no far-reaching plans wherewith to bring into existence a world-wide fraternity. Some of them, like Sayer perhaps, had no thought save to place the old Craft on more secure foundations, leaving it unchanged in its nature; others, it may be, had schemes for a new order of things; but it is most probable that the majority were interested only in the affair of the moment and were content to let things take their course. In any event those brethren, to whom we look backward with an interest that would now amaze them could they know of it, builded better than they knew, so that as a result of their efforts there are today some millions of us over the world bound together by the Mystic Tie. The old Freemasonry, in which there had long been a mixture of Operative and Speculative elements, was once and for all made wholly Speculative, though many of the old usages were retained; a new form of organization was devised which time has tested to the full; and from some now unknown fountain of genius there was brought into the world an art and a philosophy of life that today attracts the best and wisest. Of these things we can be certain, even if the actual course of events renaain obscure, and of these things we can be proud, for there have been few more epoch-making events in the last five hundred years than the establishing of the first Grand Lodge in London, 1717.


Mackey's Encyclopedia (Revised Edition)

Accepted, 10; Anderson, 57; Antiquity, Lodge of, 65; Book of Constitutions, 112; Desaguliers, 207; England, 242; Freemasonry, Early British, 283; Gilds, 296; Grand Lodge, 306; Grand Master, 307; Hall, Masonic, 314; Lodge, 449; London, 452; Preston, William, 579; Revival, 622; Speculative Masonry, 704; Wren, Sir Christopher, 859.


Ars Quator Coronatorum. Author's Lodge Transactions, I, II, III. Builders, The, Newton. Concise History of Freemasonry, Gould. Constitutions of the Freemasons, Anderson, 1738 edition. Evolution of Freemasonry, Darragh. Four Old Lodges, Gould. Grand Lodge of England, The, Calvert. History of Freemasonry, Gould. History of Masonry, Findel. Mackey's History of Freemasonry, Clegg. Minutes of the Grand Lodge of England, edited by Songhurst. National Dictionary of Biography. New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Waite. Origin of the English Rite, Hughan. Preston's Masonry, Oliver. Short Masonic History, A, Armitage. Story of the Craft, Vibert. Tradition, Origin and Early History of Freemasonry, Pierson.

* * *


Grand Master of England, 1719;
Deputy Grand Master, 1722, 1723, and 1725

Bro. Dudley Wright, Associate Editor, England

JOHN THEOPHILUS DESAGULIERS, the third and the most renowned of the Grand Masters of England, was born at Rochelle on the 12th of March, 1683. His father, the Rev. John Desaguliers, was a French Protestant clergyman, who fled to England with his son when the latter was about two years of age in consequence of the persecution engendered by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. It is said that the son was concealed in a barrel an thus smuggled on board the refugee vessel. The father took orders in the Established Church of England and, after a brief residence in Guernsey, became minister of the French Chapel in Swallow street, Piccadilly, known afterwards as the Theistic Church. Later he also opened a school in Islington, where his more renowned son became an assistant.

The future Grand Master of English Freemasonry matriculated at Christ Church College, Oxford, where he gained his Baccalaureate in Arts and entered into Deacon's Orders, both in 1710. His bent, however, lay in the direction of experimental natural philosophy, and the same year that witnessed his ordination saw him installed as lecturer on this subject at Hart Hall, Oxford (now demolished), in succession to Dr. Keill. Two years later — on May 3, 1712 — he proceeded to the degree of Master of Arts, and on Oct. 14 of the same year he married in the church of Shadwell, Johanns, daughter of William Pudsey, of Kidlington, Oxford. According to the Oxford University Registers he graduated as Bachelor and Doctor of Civil Law on March 16, 1718. In the Lists of Fellows of the Royal Society, from 1719 to 1744, the year of his death, he is described as LL.D. This is, undoubtedly, a mistake — one copied, by the way, by Robert Freke Gould, Calvert and others — as Oxford does not confer this degree, but it does confer the degree of "D.C.L.", one which is highly prized by the alumni. His wife had pre-deceased him, as she was buried at St. Anne's, Westminster, on July 21, 1753.

Desaguliers gave up his residence in Oxford in 1713, when he removed to London, Channel Row, Westminster, where he remained until that thoroughfare was pulled down to make way for the construction of the new bridge at Westminster. He is said to have been consulted repeatedly by Parliament upon the design of Westminster Bridge, in the execution of which Mr. Charles Labelye, who had been for many years his assistant, was appointed supervisor. He also erected a ventilator in a room over the House of Commons at the request of the House of Commons.

His attainments in the realm of natural philosophy were such that he was styled by Dr. Priestley "an indefatigable experimental philosopher", while he numbered among his patrons Sir Isaac Newton. On July 29, 1714, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society — then, as now, and as it has always been, regarded as the blue ribbon of scientific attainments and honours. Desaguliers, however, had the very unusual distinction of being elected as a honourary Fellow, or its equivalent, inasmuch as he was excused from paying his subscription by reason of the number of experiments which he showed at the meetings of the Society. He was, indeed, the first to introduce the reading of lectures in experimental philosophy in the metropolis. He was also elected a member of several foreign academies and a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris. Smiles says that his "lectures were much admired and he had so happy a knack of illustrating them by experiments that he was invited by the Royal Society to be their demonstrator". Subsequently Desaguliers was elected to the office of Curator of the Royal Society, which post he held to within a year of his death. There does not appear to have been a stated salary to this office, but remuneration was accorded him corresponding with the number of experiments and communications which he made to the Society, these sums varying from 10 pounds to 50 pounds. Maty in his Index to the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, gives him as the author of fifty-two papers read before the members, the list covering exactly three quarto pages.

In 1741, Desaguliers was awarded the Copley Medal of the Royal Society as an acknowledgment of his successful experiments, while he also received recognition from Boerhaave, who heard him lecture in Holland in 1730.

From the Annals of Dunfermline, by Dr. Ebenezer Henderson, we learn that on Aug. 26, 1720, Desaguliers was made a free honourary burgess of Dunfermline. It would appear that this honour was conferred upon him at the instance of Sir Peter Halket, Provost of Dunfermline from 1705 to 1734, who was his friend. Dr. Desaguliers was in Scotland in 1721 on business connected with the Edinburgh and District Water Supply, and it is on record that in August of that year he visited the Lodge of Edinburgh (St. Mary's Chapel), No. 1.

Dr. Robison, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh in 1773, referred to Dr. Anderson (the author of the first published Book of Constitutions) and Dr. Desaguliers as "two persons of little education who had aimed at little more than making a pretext, not altogether contemptible, for a convivial meeting". The second part of the insinuation is amply disproved by the serious work which both undertook in the organization of the Constitutions of the Order. As to the first, Dr. Anderson was an acknowledged scholar of his time, and the work done by Desaguliers for the Royal Society, apart from his other achievements, is sufficient to disprove the statement.

Each volume of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society for fourteen consecutive years contains articles from the pen of Dr. Desaguliers, all of which, as will naturally be assumed, bear evidences of considerable research. In addition, between 1711 and 1735 he published the following works:

A Course of Mechanical and Experimental Philosophy, first published in two volumes in 1734, a second edition being called for in 1745, and a third in 1763.

A Dissertation Concerning Electricity, published in English and French in 1742.

A Treatise on Fortification (translation), published in 1711.

Fires Improved, published in 1715. Nichols in his Literary Anecdotes says that this was a translation from the French and involved him in some dispute with Edmund Curll, the publisher, who was associated with the Rawlinsons, whom he admitted to a share in the book. Curll, in order to promote the sale, had puffed it in a very gross manner, which induced Dr. Desaguliers to publish a letter in a periodical called "The Town Talk", then being published by Sir Richard Steele, in which he informed the public that whenever his name hereafter "was or should be printed with that egregious flatterer, Mr. Curll's, either in an advertisement or at the title page of a book except that of Fires Improv'd, he entirely disowned it".

Physics-Mechanical Lectures, published in 1717.

The Motion of Water and Other Fluids (translation), published in 1718.

A System of Experimental Philosophy Prov'd by Mechanicks, published in 1719.

Mathematical Elements of Natural Philosophy, published in 1721, new editions being issued in 1726 and 1737.

The York Building Dragons, or a full account of a most horrid murder to be committed the 14th of February next, published anonymously in 1726.

An Account of the Mechanism of an Automaton.

The Newtonian System of the World, an allegorical poem, published in 1728.

A Course of Experimental Philosophy, published in 1724, a new edition being issued in 1725. Smiles described this as "the best book of the kind that had appeared in England".

An Account of Reflecting Telescopes, contained in his Appendix to Dr. Gregory's Elements of Catoptrics and Dioptrics, published in 1735.

He appears to have published only one item in the realm of theology, a Thanksgiving sermon preached at Hampton Court before George I in 1717.

He contributed an Introduction to the English edition of Dr. Nieuwentyt's Religious Philosopher, in the form of a letter to the translator, John Chamberlayne, F.R.S., in the course of which he wrote:

"When an atheist has the impudence to call himself a philosopher, and some well-meaning persons that have not much worked into Nature are apt to be prejudiced against the study of it; as if the Philosophy and vain Deceit against which the Apostle has warned us had been the contemplation of the works of the Creator: Whereas it was only the Sophistry of the Schools, contrived to disguise Error and defend the system of superstitious Heathen Divinity.

"He that reads Nieuwentyt will easily see that a Philosopher cannot be an Atheist; and if it were true, that a smattering in Physics will give a proud man a Tincture of Atheism, a deep Search into Nature will certainly bring him back to a Religious Sense of God's Wisdom and Providence."

On his arrival in London in 1714, he was appointed Chaplain to the Duke of Chandos (who previously had extended his patronage to Dr. Kiell), who presented him with the living of Stanmore Parva, of Whitchurch, in Middlesex. In 1717 he lectured before George I. at Hampton Court, in addition to preaching the sermon already mentioned, when he was rewarded with a benefice in Norfolk of the annual value of £970, which was afterwards exchanged by George II., before whom he also read his lectures, for a more valuable living in Essex, and the appointment as Chaplain to Frederick, Prince of Wales, the son of that monarch. Desaguliers also lectured before other members of the Royal Family. In Cooke's Preacher's Assistant he is described as Chaplain to the Earl of Caernarvon, which was the title of the eldest son of the Duke of Chandos, while, in 1738, he was appointed Chaplain to Bowles' Regiment of Dragoons. It should be mentioned that Desaguliers was also the inventor of the planetarium, an instrument for determining distances of heavenly bodies.

According to Dr. Oliver, Desaguliers was initiated into Freemasonry, in the old lodge that met at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St. Paul's Churchyard, one of the four lodges subscribing to the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, and known now as the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2, but the date of his initiation cannot be traced. He was installed as Grand Master on June 24, 1719, and during his year of office Anthony Sayer, Past Grand Master, held the position of Senior Grand Warden. On the occasion of his installation the custom of drinking toasts was introduced. Desaguliers also officiated as Deputy Grand Master in 1722, 1723 and 1725. It is of interest to note that Desaguliers and George Payne, his predecessor in the office of Grand Master, were two of the officers who constituted the lodge held at the Castle, Highgate, on June 27, 1731, believed now to have been amalgamated with the Lodge of Friendship, No. 6.

The Boston (U.S.A.) "Evening Post" of Oct. 6, 1739, contained the following news item:

"London, Friday, 1st June, was interred in Bunhill Fields, the corpse of Dr. Anderson, a Dissenting Teacher, in a very remarkable deep grave. His Pall was supported by five Dissenting Teachers and the Rev. Dr. Desaguliers. It was followed by about a Dozen of Free Masons, who encircled the Grave; and after Dr. Earle had harangued on the Uncertainty of Life, &'c, the Brethren, in a most solemn dismal Posture, lifted up their Hands, sigh'd and struck their Aprons three times in Honour to the deceased."

According to a passage in Cawthorn's poem, "The Vanity of Human Enjoyment," Desaguliers, in his later years, experienced a reverse of fortune. The lines run:

"Can Britain, in her fits of blindness pour
One-half her Indies in a Roman —— ,
And still permit the weeping muse to tell
How poor neglected DESAGULIERS fell?
How he who taught two gracious kings to view
All Boyle ennobled, and all Bacon knew;
Died in a cell, without a friend to save,
Without a guinea, and without a grave!"

If Desaguliers did encounter any misfortune — and there is no record or evidence beyond these lines that he did — it was evidently not of the dire character which the poet, in his exaggeration, would lead people to imagine. Desaguliers did not die in a cell. He passed away on Feb. 29, 1744, at the Bedford Coffee House over the Great Piazza in Covent Garden, whither he removed on the demolition of Channel Row, Westminster, and, so far from being without a grave, he was buried in the Savoy on the 6th of March following. It is scarcely plausible that the members of Grand Lodge, who befriended their first Grand Master, Anthony Sayer, when misfortune overtook him, even though he had previously incurred their displeasure, would permit so distinguished a successor as John Theophilus Desaguliers to suffer want or privation. Notwithstanding the fact that he is described as being unattractive in appearance, short in stature and thick set, as well as extremely short-sighted, Desaguliers was one of the most forceful personalities of his time, and his influence upon the Craft was both important and enduring.

He had four sons. The first, named after his father, John Theophilus Desaguliers, was born on March 7, 1714, baptized at St. Andrew's, Holborn, and died on Aug. 19, 1716. The second son, also John Theophilus, was born in Channel Row on Aug. 18, 1718. He took Orders in the Established Church and was Vicar of Cratfield and Laxfield in Suffolk, where he died at the age of 34 on Nov. 28, 1752. He was buried on Dec. 7 following in Cratfield Chancel under a stone by the vestry door. His third son, Jean Isaac, was born in Oct. 17, 1719. He had for his godfathers John, Marquess of Caernarvon, son of the Duke of Chandos, and "Mons. le Chevalier Newton" (Sir Isaac Newton); and for godmother, Cassandra Cornwallis, probably a relative of the Chandos family. His fourth son, Thomas, was born on Feb. 5, 1721. His godfathers were Thomas Parker, Earl of Macclesfield and Lord High Chancellor of England, and Archibald Campbell, Earl of Islay. His godmother was Theodore, Countess of Clifton and daughter of Lord Clarendon. He became a Major-General in the army and Equerry to George III.

In the Byrom Papers, issued through the Chetham Society, there are several references to the exhibition of Dr. Desagulier's inventions. The following notice, which appeared in the "Daily Courant" of May 2, 1722, is also of interest:

"The Proprietors of the Engine for Raising Water by the Help of Quicksilver, do hereby give Notice to such Gentlemen as are desirous to see what Quantity of Water can be rais'd by that Means, to what Height, and by what Power; that there is an Engine set up in Dr. Desagulier's Yard, at his House in Channel Row, Westminster; where any Gentleman may see it perform from Three to Five in the Afternoon, every Wednesday and Friday during the months of May and June next, 1722, beginning on Friday the 4th of May Instant."

* * *

Who takes the last highway must thread alone.
The way is dark for him, and reft of sight.
He goes as goes a pilgrim into night,
His errand and his destiny unknown.

And he, this pilgrim, with his staff and scrip,
Whom we can reach with no assistant arm,
Sets on his journey with unqivering lip
And the stout heart that feared no mortal harm.

So we who knew him, and to whom were known
His gentleness and courage to endure,
Know, through the sahdowed way he treads alone,
His step still moves unfaltering, and as sure.

* * *



THE Associated Press carried recently an item that must have caught the attention of many Masons across the land. It was to the effect that a certain artist, once nationally known, had passed obscurely away in a great city, that the body had been buried in Potter's Field, and then after a time had been exhumed and re-interred in a cemetery, the "costs having been defrayed" by a small group of artist friends "and the Masonic Fraternity." Perhaps the reader will feel, as did the present scribe, a little thrill when reading those words, "and the Masonic Fraternity." It is good to think that the Mystic Tie holds fast to a man even after he has been buried in Potter's Field, that neither death nor misfortune can break it, or any other power.

But after all, and on second thought, the words may perhaps cause a Mason to feel a bit ashamed. Where was this man's lodge while he lay ill in the free wards of the city hospital? Why was he permitted to die alone? Why was it left for his dust to feel the strong grip of the Lion's Paw? Why did not his brethren sit at his side when he underwent "the body's masterful negation"?

The thing gives one pause and raises many questions about lodge conditions in the present day, especially in this land where so many of them have outgrown all possibility of giving the human touch to an individual lost in a throng of members. If a lodge exists for any reason under the sun it is that a brother shall not have to lie alone in a free ward, or die by himself, or be buried in Potter's Field.

The incident cited here may possibly be out of case, for it may have been this brother's own fault that he passed on unattended, and under a cloud; or else an attempt may have been made, but unsuccessfully, to help him. One may hope that the latter possibility was the fact, but even so there is no doubt but that there are a great many lodges that make no attempt to keep track of their members, and that many a time, when he needs it the most, a man's being a Mason means nothing to him at all. Such things should not be.

It is one of a lodge's chief duties to keep in touch with everyone of its members, a thing not at all impossible seeing that at least once a year he makes himself known when paying his dues. Where is he now living? What is he doing? Is he in need? If a lodge cannot answer such questions about each and every man on its list there is something wrong with it; it is probably engrossed with affairs of no importance at all as compared with such matters.

In many cases lodges grow neglectful of the individual because they are so large, but it is probable that in more cases still the negligence is due either to indifference or to a lack of method. It should not be a hard thing for a Worshipful Master, upon whose shoulders responsibility for attending to these matters ultimately lies, to know something about every brother in his lodge. Those that are shut in by accident or illness should be visited; the aged should be remembered in all possible ways; those out of employment should be assisted to find work, and if any have fallen away, and display no interest in the Craft, they should be reminded of their obligations, and that a man should either take his part or demit. If any are not worthy of these services they are not worthy of membership.

In addition to the personal work on the part of lodge members and officials, one of the best methods for keeping contact is to have an annual roll call. Once a year all the members could be summoned to lodge; the Secretary could call off each name on his books, and the Worshipful Master could ask for information concerning any brother not immediately accounted for. In this wise all the members would be trained in their lodge duties and the risk that some brother lies in a free ward unattended, or is on his way to Potter's Field, could be reduced to the vanishing point. If a lodge is too big to do such things it is too big to exist; it should break itself up into smaller and less unwieldy units. To know that in all the membership not one brother is forgotten; that the one individual has not been overlooked by the ninety and nine, is a far finer thing, and infinitely more Masonic, than the pride of large numbers or the boast of magnificent temples.


One need not be a doctrinaire pacifist in order to hate war. Many men who do not believe that any group of pacifists have as yet discovered a feasible method for putting an end to organized bloodshed nevertheless pray and work for the disarmament of the world with as much earnestness as any pacifist. Our human race has been an armed camp long enough. There is a wiser philosophy than government by force; there is a better law than the law of the jungle.

Men argue that if any one nation were to disarm itself, especially if it be rich in land and money, such an act would invite rather than allay further strife, because the instinct for plunder remains strong among some peoples; others believe that Europe cannot for some time afford to stand defenseless before Asia, with its overwhelming populations; it may be that there is some point to these arguments, but even if so the fact is neither here nor there. Preparedness against possible outside attack is one thing, war among civilized nations is quite another.

There was a time when all the scourges of human life were believed to come from heaven. The plague was due to the anger of a god; a fire was a visitation of Providence; death came by supernatural decree; shipwreck, as the old-fashioned insurance policies still describe it, was an "act of God". All this meant that these things were mysteries; men did not know what caused them, therefore they felt no responsibility for them and made no intelligent effort to stop them.

But as rapidly as men learned that the plague was a disease caused by bacilli, and that by their own actions they brought the terrible death upon them, the plague became a crime — that is to say, it became a matter of conscience. If the official custodians of public health nowadays grow careless in their duties they are held for malfeasance and punished as criminals. So with fires, wrecks, crimes and all such evils. Having learned how they are caused we consequently know how they may be averted and therefore are guilty of crime if we permit them to occur.

The all significant thing today as regards war is that peoples are very rapidly discovering its causes. They are learning that there is no necessity for it in the nature of things, so that if it happens some group of men are guilty of wrong or of unwisdom. Such men bring a calamity upon us that is not necessary, therefore they become guilty of sin, and war is a crime.

In the moment that we see how war can be averted, we become inhuman if we permit it. All this, one can believe, was made evident by the recent World War, the recoil of which is still shaking the Western Hemisphere to the very foundations of its civilization. We did not accept that vast carnage as a providential decree, giving us an opportunity to prove our courage or to win the glories of martyrdom, but we looked upon it all as a hideous mistake.

There was some talk for a time of hanging the individual most charged with responsibility for it as a common criminal. The World War was a crime by men against mankind, the most terrible crime, perhaps, ever perpetrated; at any rate it appears that an increasing number are coming so to regard it. This does not mean that the millions who fought in it were criminal (to hold such a vicious opinion is one of the vices of extreme pacifism) or that millions of brave men died for nothing; their sufferings will not be in vain, nor will the silent agonies of countless widows and orphans go for nothing. God of dreams! such a thing could not be! But what it does mean is that in the light cast by the very fires in which our old world was destroyed we suddenly saw, as by an apocalypse, that such a war, or almost any other war, need not be at all.

The League of Nations has become, in this country, an issue of partisan politics, therefore it cannot very well be discussed in a Masonic journal. Nevertheless this may here appropriately be said of it that behind it all, and acting as the motive power among those who continue to labor for it, is the conviction, not often consciously apprehended or clearly defined, that since war can be averted the nations should take counsel together how to do it. It matters very little in the long run if the League proves impotent or if such a method must be entirely discarded in favor of something entirely different, or if we learn at last that its purposes can best be carried out by more local and gradual means; what matters much is that the attempt at organizing the League is a moral gesture, indicating that at last the responsibility for war has been accepted as being on the conscience of the civilized world.

In what way can Freemasonry help to bring home to men this fact, that among civilized nations war is a crime? By continuing to do what it is doing with more effect and on a larger scale. Our Fraternity is already the greatest peace society in existence, albeit it does not teach peace as a dogma or mention the subject in its rituals or its constitutions; but its teachings are such and its influence in each individual life is such that, in proportion as its principles are translated into action, war must cease. If men must be brothers so must nations.

It is more difficult for two populations to compose their differences than it is for two individuals to learn to live in peace, but it can be done, however difficult it may be, and it must be done. If Freemasonry does not mean all this it is difficult to know what it means.

Why then cannot all Freemasons the world over unite in a League of Brothers in order to put an end to war? The one great obstacle in the path of such a purpose is the fact that as things now stand the various Masonries in the world are not united. AngloSaxon Masonry is diametrically opposed to Latin Masonry. The Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Orient of France do not recognize each other. The Grand Lodges of America cannot enter into formal relations with foreign Grand Lodges, and so it goes.

Is there a way out? Can Freemasonry be made, in deed and in truth, a world-wide fraternity? We do not know what the future may hold for us but at the present moment one would have to answer this in the negative, and that for a score of reasons, the most inclusive of which is that many Grand Lodges would first be compelled to reorganize both their machinery and their principles, and that is not to be expected. However, surely it is possible, laying official recognition aside, for us even now to seek grounds for universal agreement so as to unite the influences of world-wide Freemasonry.

Freemasonry has an unofficial power as well as an official; there are a score of ways in which Masons may seek intellectual and moral agreements above technical disagreements. Is it a dream? Perhaps it is. But so is universal brotherhood, universal peace, and all the other ideals worth striving for. It is a task for our statesmen and leaders whose earnestness and purposes may well rise to meet such an opportunity — an opportunity to help bring home to the conscience of men how stupid and needless is a battlefield.

* * *



THE WISDOM OF THE EGYPTIANS, by Brian Brown, published by Brentano's, New York. Third volume issued in the Wisdom of the Ages Series. Lay be purchased through the National Masonic Research Society, St. Louis. Blue board, black cloth back; 294 pages; illustrated; price $2.65 postpaid.

"In ancient times the land that is now called Egypt was called by the people, then inhabiting that part of Africa, 'Kam,' a word that means 'black' or 'dark-colored' and referred to the dark color of the muddy soil in their land. To the Hebrews this name was known as 'Kham,' or 'Ham,' and in the Bible the Egyptians are referred to as 'Sons of Ham' or 'Children of Ham.'

"These people had a god called 'Ptah' to whom they raised a temple — the temple was called 'He-Ka-ptah' or House of 'Ka'-of 'Ptah.' This name, that was in the beginning confined to 'Memphis,' gradually spread to other parts of the Nile Valley, and by degrees the whole country became known as 'HeKapath' to other people with whom these people had contact.

"The Greeks changed the name into 'Aiguptost and the Romans changed it into 'Aegyptus,' so from these names we get the name in its present form — 'Egypt'."

These Egyptians were the first great people of antiquity — perhaps one had better say, the first people of greatness. At a time when the Tiber rolled through a wilderness, when Greece was peopled by barbarians, and while the Hebrews were wandering Bedouins on the desert, they had already built up a civilization, the achievements of which and many of the arts of which continue to fill us with admiration after four thousand years. They taught the Babylonians the a b c's of organized life; they helped give shape to the religious genius of the Hebrews; they taught the philosophers of Greece many things; in their decline they laid their hand upon the culture of Rome, and long after their greatness had become a memory the dreams of their theologians and the arts of their scientists gathered themselves together into a stream of influence that poured like a Nile River across the Middle Ages, so that today much that is living and active in our modern life derives from them.

Literate Freemasons have felt a peculiar interest in Egypt these many years, and that for many reasons. In the period when it was believed that Freemasonry had originated among the Ancient Mystery cults the Egyptian Mystery of Isis and Osiris was a favorite object of study. Those who believe that much in our present ritual was borrowed from medieval occult and mystical sources are concerned with the Egyptians because Gnosticism, Hermetism, Alchemy and other such esoteric teachings of days long past may be traced, many things in them, to the people of the Nile. Because of such Egyptian influences in Freemasonry (real or assumed) these same brethren look back to the Egyptian cults for the first meaning of many Masonic symbols, an excellent example of which was furnished readers of these pages by Bro. Thomas Ross in an article published September, 1922, page 265.

To all such Masons Brian Brown's Wisdom of the Egyptians is a book to be recommended more than most books because it assembles in convenient compass just such things out of the old Egyptian teachings one is most interested to know, and that with reason and sanity, a thing not always to be said of popular works on the subject. The book is beautiful in its typography, well arranged and composed in a style of intelligibility; its only lack — a sad one — is that it carries no index. May this oversight cost the author many bad dreams!

Chapter I furnishes a condensed but running narrative of Egyptian history, not very much weighted down with the unavoidable tables of names, dates and dynasties. Chapter II follows with a similarly condensed account of the religion of the Egyptians — religions one ought to say, seeing that those old people had as many faiths as we, and differed much among themselves on every doctrine, as witness their belief in a life to come, the various versions of which are well summarized by Mr. Brown. Chapter III deals with The Ptah-Hotep and the Ke'gemini, the two oldest books in the world, written, so it is believed, respectively four thousand years and three thousand five hundred years before Christ. These old writings are hard to understand — impossible to understand to most of us — but they have a curious interest; much out of them is quoted in this chapter. In Chapter IV most readers will find the greatest interest, for it tells all about the famous Book of the Dead, which wasn't a book at all in the strict sense but a collection of scattered texts, written through a course of many centuries by many hands and in many places, the general purpose of which would appear to be to furnish worshippers with the appropriate magic for dealing with the world to come. The present scribe once tried to read the Book of the Dead (in translation, of course) but couldn't get much out of it; if any brother has made a more successful attempt, congratulations to him!

Those who have gone through G. R. S. Mead's beautiful work on Thrice Greatest Hermes, with its enticing hints of hidden wisdom and its suggestions of Hermetism in our Masonic mysteries, will gain much from Chapter V, which is devoted to Hermes Trismegistus, who was not a man at all, but Thoth, official scribe of the Egyptian gods:

"To him was attributed as 'scribe of the gods' the authorship of all sacred books which were thus called 'Hermetic' by the Greeks. These, according to Clemens Alexandrinus, were forty-two in number and were sub-divided into six portions, of which the first dealt with priestly education, the second with temple ritual, and the third with geographical matter. The fourth division treated of astrology, the fifth of hymns in honor of the gods and a text-book for the guidance of Kings, while the sixth was medical. It is unlikely that these books were all the work of one individual, and it is more probable that they represent the accumulated wisdom of Egypt, attributed in the course of ages to the great god of wisdom."

Chapter VI is exceptionally interesting to a Mason; it is on "Egyptian Magic" and explains some of the ancient emblems and amulets used in those far-off days. From this a paragraph or two may be quoted:

"Next to the scarab, the ancient Egyptians attached much importance to the Eye Amulet, which, from the earliest astral mythology, was first represented by the point within the circle was associated with the god of the pole star, which, from its fixity, was taken as, a type of the eternal, unchangeable as time rolled on, and thus a fitting emblem of fixity of purpose, poise and stability. Later it was one of the hieroglyphic signs of the sun-god Ra, and represented the one supreme power casting his eye over all the world, and instead of the point within the circle is sometimes represented as a widely open eye. This symbol was also assigned to Osiris, Isis, Horus and Ptah; the amulet known as the Eye of Osiris being placed upon the incision made in the side of the body — for the purpose of embalming — to watch over and guard the soul of the deceased during its passing through the darkness of the tomb to the life beyond.

"It was also worn by the living to ensure health and protection from the blighting influence of workers in black magic, and for the stability, strength and courage of Horus, the wisdom and understanding of Ptah, and the foresight of Isis."

Chapter VII gives "The Vision of Hermes," and Chapter VIII tells "The Story of the Book of Thoth."

This ends the tale of the volume, the telling of which should have made it abundantly plain that a man will receive much for his $2.50. By way of extra measure a bibliography is included, almost unique of its kind in that it contains only words in English. With the author's permission we shall steal the whole list for the benefit of Ye Gentle Reader:

The Book of the Dead, three volumes, translated by E. A. Wallis Budge, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, two volumes. Translated by E. A. Wallis Budge; G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt, by Prof. James H. Breasted, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York; History of Egypt by Prof. James H. Breasted; Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. A Short History of the Egyptian People, by E. A. Wallis Budge; E. P. Dutton & Co., New York. Egyptian Literature, by E. A. Wallis Budge, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York. The Ptah-Hotep and Ke'Gemni, translated by Battiscombe Gunn; John Murray, London, and E. P. Dutton & Co., New York. The Religion of the Ancient Egyptians, by George Steindorff, Ph.D.; G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems, by Wm. T. and Kate Pavitt, Wm. Rider, London. Egyptian Magic, by E. A. Wallis Budge; Kegan Paul, Trench Trubner & Co., Ltd., London. Ancient Egypt and Assyria, by G. Maspero; D. Appleton & Co., New York. Life and Times of Akhnaton, by Arthur Weigall; G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. The Kings and Gods of Ancient Egypt, by Alexander Moret, translation by Mme. Moret; G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. The Glory of the Pharaohs, by Arthur Weigall; G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. Personal Religion Before Christianity in Egypt, by Prof. Flinders Petrie; Harper & Bros., New York. First Steps in Egyptian Language, by E. A. Wallis Budge; E. P. Dutton & Co., New York. Hermes and Plato, by Edward Sehure; John M. Watkins, London. Thrice-Greatest Hermes three volumes, a translation of the Extant Sermons and fragments of the Trismegistus Literature, by G. R. S. Mead, B.A.; John M. Watkins, London. Ancient Egyptian Legends, by Margaret A. Murray, John Murray, London, and E. P. Dutton & Co., New York. Egyptian Scarabs, by Percy Newberry; J. Constable & Co. London. Myths and Legends of Egypt, by Lewis Spence, in the Myths and Legend Series; Frederick A. Stokes Co., New York.

* * *


THEODORE ROOSEVELT, by Lord Charnwood. Published by The Atlantic Monthly Press. May be secured through the National Masonic Research Society. Cloth, 232 pages, with chronology, index and frontispiece. S2.50 net.

Lord Charnwood made a comfortable place for himself on American bookshelves when he published, in 1916, his Abraham Lincoln, the best biography of Lincoln, so one may agree with many critics, ever written by a foreigner. The fine qualities of restraint, clarity, precision of thought and delicately balanced judgment which gave its distinction to the Lincoln are in the new book, although the subject is different in every way.

The author is a type of the English scholar-politician which Roosevelt himself so much admired, conspicuous in this land, alas, by his absence. He graduated from Oxford in 1887 and has since been a tutor in Balliol, his college; a member of Parliament, and Mayor of Litchfield. He is a humanist with a systematic knowledge of the past but with his eyes fixed, like those of Lord Morley, of whom he sometimes reminds one, on the present; also he has a first-hand knowledge of this country, which he first visited in 1887, and a broad vision of international relations. It is this combination of scholarship, first-hand knowledge and detachment of view that gives to his book a quality not found in any of the other Roosevelt biographers, notable among which have been Bishop, Hagedorn and Thayer. There are some things in it that remind one of Thayer's Life of John Hay, and others that call to mind Trevelyan's American Revolution. Like the last named work there is in the volume an underlying purpose to interpret the American and English people to each other. Lord Charnwood's manner of writing, as well as the motive that led him to compose another work on a distinguished American, is best set forth in his first paragraph, which reads in this wise:

"This fugitive study of a memorable life may at several points help to make clearer issues which are momentous still. If it is written with no desire to give offense, but no obsequious fear of doing so, it may contribute to frank and sympathetic discussion between two great peoples. Above all, it may arouse more interest in a powerful and a noble man, whose fate it was for a considerable while to rivet and indeed fatigue the attention of civilized mankind, then to undergo eclipse, and to die when the eclipse was total; and it may do this last while the recognition of greatness in the modern world continues to be peculiarly needed. It can claim to do no more. Candidly my reason for writing it is this, that, having been invited to do so, I am disabled from refusing by a boyish hero-worship which I conceived very long ago for Theodore Roosevelt — then and ever since unknown to me."

If the reader who follows after this to the end of the volume never experiences quite the glow of satisfaction that recommended Lord Charnwood's Lincoln to him, if the Roosevelt does not altogether hit the bull's-eye, the reason lies, perhaps, in the fact that the author's inviolable restraint is not quite so effective in the presence of such a figure as Roosevelt as it was when dealing with the almost canonized fame of one, of whom Roosevelt once described himself as a disciple. Roosevelt gave an impression more than individual; he was many men in one, a crowd, almost a tumult, in whom the cosmopolitan stir of our national life found a home and a voice, many voices, in fact, confusing to outsiders but easily enough understood by his compatriots. There was a gusto in the man, a multitudinousness, like that in one of the great figures of the Renaissance. Much of that escapes out of Lord Charnwood's study, but even so the portrait is authentic as line drawings may often be. The principal interest of the book is in Roosevelt's public activities, all of which are interpreted and appraised from an international point of view.

Theodore Roosevelt was a Mason. He was initiated in Matinecock, New York, Jan. 2, 1901, when governor of the state; was passed to the Second Degree March 27 of the same year, and was raised April 24 following. An account of his raising appeared in the Masonic Standard for April 27, 1901, interesting enough to be republished here in full:

"The lodge room of Matinecock Lodge, 806, at Oyster Bay, was last Wednesday night filled to its utmost capacity as distinguished gathering of Masons as ever assembled in this state to do any Masonic work. There were probably 500 brethren present. The 3d was conferred on Bro. Fellowcraft Theodore Rooosevelt.

"R. W. Edward M. L. Ehlers, Grand Secretary, presided as Master. The candidate passed a perfect examination in open lodge. R. W. Frank E. Half, D. D. G. M. of the 1st District, and R. W. Theodore A. Taylor, G. Treas., assisted the Master in the first section. The song, "The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation," was sung by Bro. Leonard E. Auty, of Hope Lodge, 124, East Orange, N. J., was most effectively rendered, and the musical selections by W. Bro. Harry Alton Russell, Org., added much to the impressiveness of the work. Bro. Dr. Root, of Matinecock Lodge, a warm personal friend of the candidate, acted as Senior Deacon.

"In the second section, M. W. John Stewart, M. W. Wm. A. Brodie and M. W. John W. Vrooman, Past Grand Masters, rendered valuable assistance. The Grand Master, M. W. Charles W. Mead, raised the candidate. The historical lecture by M. W. Wright D. Pownall was an eloquent and ornate explanation of the symbolism of Freemasonry.

"After the work of the degree, R. W. William L. Swan presented Bro. Roosevelt with a Masonic Monitor, and R. W. Edward M. L. Ehlers presented him with a Master Mason's certificate. A banquet followed the meeting.

"The visitors from this city went to Oyster Bay on a special train and returned at 10:40 p. m.

"There were present:

"M. W. Charles W. Mead, Grand Master, R. W's Charles Smith, of Oneonta, as D. G. M.; James B. McEwan, of Albany, as S. G. W.; John Salisbury, as J. G. W., Theodore A. Taylor G. Treas.; Edward M. L. Ehlers, G. Sec., Rev. George R. Van De Water and Rev. John Laubenheimer, G. Chaps., James A. Beckett, of Hoosick Falls, G. Mar.; Isaac Hersch and Wm. E. Wilkinson, G. Stewards, James H. Rollins, S. G. D., Wm. H. Whiting, G. Lect.; Alex. A. Clark, G. Lib.; W's Martin B. Cohn of Adelphi Lodge, as G. St. B. Andrew Ferguson, G. Tiler also M. W's James Ten Eyck, of Albany, P. G. M.; George W. Fortmeyer and Hamilton Wallis, P. G. M's, of New Jersey; Fredk. S. Stevens, Luke A. Lockwood and John H. Barlow, P. G. M's, of Connecticut; R. W's Wilmon Whilldin, Charles S. Crisp, James T. Hanrahan, Townsend Scudder, Charles W. Drake, Fredk. P. Morris. Fredk. J. Milligan, and scores of visiting Masters and Past Masters."

* * *

The Arch

The arch at its simplest is a wonderful contrivance; it is a bow always tending to expand. If you bend a piece of cane into an arch between two piles of books, the books have to be heavy enough or they will be pushed asunder by the elastic bow. An arch is perfectly safe, and, indeed, inactive, as long as it is imprisoned, but let the restraining forces be an ounce too little and it will break out like water through too weak a dam, and a moving arch is as terrible as a flood. The mediaeval builders, when they had found their theory of construction, did not lock up their arches in great masses of masonry, like the Roman architects, but they set arch to fight arch, until two, four, eight or a dozen were balanced on one slender pier. They cross like the jets of a fountain, and spread like the branches of great trees so that old writers really thought that the architecture had been suggested by avenues in a wood.

— W. R. Lethaby.

* * *



Which is correct, "compass" or "compasses", "chapiters" or "chapitres", "Knights Templar" or "Knight Templars"?

W.P.B., New York.

Mackey's Encyclopedia gives only "compasses", using it also in the compound "square and compasses." This is preferable to "compass", though the latter is used in some jurisdictions. Webster gives "compass" but says the word is generally employed in the plural form. One speaks of a "pair of compasses." "Chapiter" is archaic and means "capital" when used in architecture; it is pluralized as "chapiters." Mackey gives "Knights Templar", the form used generally, though in some instances "Knights Templars" is employed; "Knights Templar" is more in accord with the grammatical rules for forming plurals of compounds.

* * *


Where can I find a book about all the foreign Masonic bodies? Being a member of Grand Lodge I am always interested in discussions about these things, and would like to read up on it.

D.Y.U., Georgia.

Unfortunately there is no such book available, at least so far as we know. However, you will find just what you need in the Grand Lodge Proceedings of Alabama for 1923, in which is embodied a very complete account of foreign Grand bodies written by Oliver Day Street. It is a report so valuable that it should be issued separately in book form. Bro. George A. Beauchamp, Montgomery, Ala., is Grand Secretary. Perhaps you may be able to secure a copy from him, at least as a loan.

* * *


Couldn't THE BUILDER give us a department about the affairs going on in all the Grand Lodges? It would be of the greatest value. Where can one find such a thing?

S.L.P., Ohio.

It would be most desirable but physically impossible, because of lack of space. What you wish for you already have to hand in the Fraternal Correspondence Reports issued as a part of Grand Lodge proceedings by all Grand Lodges, save two or three. These are prepared with great care by the chairman of the Committee on Fraternal Correspondence (other names are used) usually appointed by the Grand Master; they often run into two or three hundred pages and consist of a condensed account of the transactions of every Grand Lodge in the land, and many foreign Grand bodies as well. In the whole scope of Masonic publications there is not a more valuable source of knowledge than these reports. They should be widely read, especially by the young Mason, who would gain from them a most comprehensive understanding of the Craft, especially in such reports that include comments and interpretations made by the writers, many of whom are among the wisest heads in the Fraternity. Ask your Grand Secretary for a copy of your last Grand Lodge proceedings; you will find the Fraternal Correspondence Report near the end of the volume.

* * *


A brother made a statement in a talk before our lodge that seemed rash to me. He said he had learned from an old book he owned that in the early days Masons didn't believe that any such a building as Solomon's Temple had ever existed; was all an allegory or something like that. What can you tell me about this?

H.K.L., Oregon.

The statement was about as rash as anything could well be. The Book of Kings, which contains a full account of the building of Solomon's Temple, is a document of the highest authenticity to which historians attach the same value they give to other ancient records. Perhaps, your friend had seen a copy of Manual of Freemasonry, written by Richard Carlile, who was born in Devonshire, England, 1790, and died there in 1843, after having spent nine years of his life in jail. Several of his so-called exposés of Freemasonry were gathered together and published in book form in 1845. On page 4, of Part I of that poor volume, he says, "My historical researches have taught me that that which has been called Solomon's Temple never existed upon earth; that a nation of people called Israelites never existed upon earth, and that the supposed history of the Israelites and their Temple is nothing more than an allegory." You will find a note about this man on page 168 of Mackey's History of Freemasonry by Clegg. It is a strange fact that Masons sometimes can't tell the difference between such a book and an authentic volume on Masonry; the present writer found a book circulating among the members of a city lodge and being read as giving an explanation of Freemasonry whereas it was nothing else than a so-called exposé that had been written nearly a hundred years ago by an anti-Mason.

* * *


In a late issue of THE BUILDER you ask, "How do you examine visitors?" This suggested to my mind some things I had seen that I did not think were proper for examinations and am sending a few rambling remarks. I am a member of Highland Lodge, No. 835, Buffalo, New York, and for years have watched committees in different lodges try to examine visitors.

You cannot be honest to yourself and your lodge when you vouch for a brother on a slight examination, neither can you be honest to all visitors by holding them to a strict rendering of the ritual, for a large per cent have never learned it. Always give your lodge the benefit of the doubt on examination. A visitor must always prove he has a right to visit. It is not up to the lodge to admit him because he has a card showing payment to date. He must show he has received Masonic light, and has absorbed enough light to reflect the same to any examiner at any time. An examiner can not be an instructor and examiner at the same time and for this reason he should, in a dignified manner, work with the visitor to prove his right to visit, not to try to impress on the visitor his superior knowledge. Never tell a visitor he is not correct. Take what you get. Work from that to anything else he may advance and in this way you will often be surprised how the rusty visitor will refresh himself.

Thirty per cent of the visitors do not have their credentials signed and feel vexed when you tell them they are no good as identification. Can you examine such a one and be honest to your lodge?

Another class coming into my state where Grand Lodge demands Grand Lodge certificates from visitor will tell you their state does not issue any and you probably have had a dozen from same state. They have never asked their Secretary for one.

Another class is the fellow who wears a pin, has located in your town, wants to visit and asked one of your members to bring him out and then, finding the member has no rights to vouch for him, feels peeved that he can not get in because he was not told he would have to bring credentials and be examined.

You will often have the pompous visitor who starts in with a request to the Tyler for a committee. He don't care how they come because he is right. You ask for credentials. He shows his Shrine card as a life member; next Scottish Rite; life member Grotto; life member Tall Cedars; life member, etc., but Blue Lodge card two or more years behind. He does not pay much attention to Blue Lodge; has too much to do in Upper Bodies and is shocked that life member cards will not admit him without an examination. When you try to explain that if he is dropped in Blue Lodge for not paying his dues the life membership cards are of no use and he loses his standing in the Upper Bodies, he thinks you are crazy. Will probably tell you he was a member of Blue Lodge before you were born!

Then you run into the true Mason. Rusty to be sure, but a Blue Lodge man. Tells you he has not had a chance to visit in years — sailor, railroad man or night worker, as the case may be, but will try and prove he has a right to visit, and if he can not it is entirely his fault for not getting around more regularly. You feel at home at once and go after him in a way that makes him feel he is among friends who are trying to help, not hinder.

In the grips, words and signs he will probably get twisted, but by keeping at it you will be able to tell if he received them from a lodge or got them elsewhere, and nine out of ten times he will prove himself. Never say, "That is not the proper grip or word." Wait for him to work it out for himself, and if he cannot and proves to be the exception, simply tell him you cannot vouch for him. You are not supposed to tell him why. His instructor should do that for him, not his examiner. It is better that ninety-nine rusty Masons be turned away than that one clandestine be allowed to enter your lodge.

How many acting on committees know from what Grand bodies members are eligible to visit in their own Grand Lodge jurisdiction? How many have access to records showing nonaffiliated or members under charges or know how to get this information?

I think in too many cases it is like what one of our traveling members ran on to in the oil country. Examiners asked business? "What lodge are you a member of?" "So and so." "Who travels for such and such belongs to that lodge." "Do you know him?" "Yes." "I guess he is O. K., Bill, let's take him in." This actually happened in my own state.

In closing, I think it pays:

  1. See that the visitor's credentials conform to your Grand Lodge's requirements, and are properly signed.
  2. Tyler's obligation.
  3. Enough floor work to satisfy examiner and brothers acting with him.
  4. Be sure to get all signs and grips, or brother visiting may not be able to give grip and word on opening of lodge.
  5. Remember that the states are full of clandestine and nonaffiliated Masons who are always looking for someone to vouch for them. Be honest with your lodge before you show favors to visitors.

These being from the sidelines and having no official standing, I will sign,

Fraternally yours,

The Agitator.

* * *


Whenever I meet brethren from another country, I always like to hear of the various differences between their methods and ideas and ours. Possibly you may be interested in the same way so I enclose a copy of the "Traditions" of my mother lodge; these are given to every brother when he has taken his Third Degree. The object is to obtain some measure of uniformity in the lodge. If our American brethren consider it a matter of general interest I shall be glad to read their comments through THE BUILDER.

L. F. Hemmans, England.

The "Traditions," a copy of which follows, are kept pasted in the by-laws. American brethren will find it of value to compare the customs obtaining in West Wickham lodge with those found in the average American lodge; it would be worth while in this connection to have some comments on the etiquette (or possible lack of it) in lodges on this side the water.

  1. Morning dress means ordinary dark clothing with dark tie. With evening dress a white tie must be worn; but a dinner jacket, not being full evening dress, requires a black tie.

    The apron must be worn outside the coat or jacket, but inside the evening dress coat.

    White gloves must be worn with morning or evening dress, except by the Candidates and the Principal Officers when communicating or receiving the G.
  2. All Brn. entering or leaving the lodge must square it; for this purpose it is not necessary to go right round the lodge.
  3. "Masonry" is "an art founded on the principles of Geometry;" the science we practice is "Freemasonry" and should always be spoken of as such.
  4. The "manner usually observed amongst Freemasons" is with the hand raised perpendicular and not horizontal. (B. C. 75.)
  5. During the prayers and at the reference to the Deity in the Ancient — Charge, the S. of Reverence is adopted, i. e., with the thumb parallel to the other digits; at the close the hand is dropped and not drawn. During the Obl. the S. of Fidelity is adopted, i. e., with the thumb in the form of a square; when the Candidate has sealed his Obl. the hand is drawn.
  6. A Candidate for Passing and Raising is required to give proof of proficiency by answering certain questions (B. C. 183 and 195). If he cannot pass this test he may be required to wait until the next convenient Meeting before receiving the Degree. The proposer is responsible for giving his nominee the necessary instruction.
  7. When answering the question, "How do you demonstrate...?" the reply must be given without any movement of the hand or feet.
  8. II Degree: — in the H. S., not only is the L. A. placed at a right angle, but the thumb is also and is pointed over the L. S.
  9. III Degree: — in the S. of S., the f...d is s...n with the palm of the hand and not with the tips of the fingers. In the fifth P. of F. the hand is laid flat on back.
  10. No s ... n in any Degree is complete until discharged.
  11. The practice performing with the electric switch at the W. M's solemn allusion to the Morning Star is modern, theatrical and most disconcerting. The lights must not be restored until after the Candidate has left the lodge.
  12. A Brother visiting a lodge must not give "Hearty Good Wishes" on behalf of his lodge unless he be the W.M. or specially authorized by him.
  13. Closing the Lodge: — during the words "May God preserve the Craft," the I.P.M. alone raises his hand, the other Brn. keeping up the S. of F.
  14. The Festive Board: — it is quite unorthodox and irregular to speak of this as "The Fourth Degree."

    No Masonic sign should be used when toasting a Brother.
  15. A Brother who has ceased to be a subscribing member of a lodge is precluded by B. C. 152 from visiting any one lodge more than once until he again becomes a subscribing member of some lodge.
  16. Wearing Masonic emblems on the watch-chain is a form of advertisement not favoured by members of this lodge.

* * *


BRO. MITCHELL enjoys the distinction of having been appointed by his Grand Lodge to be poet laureate of the Craft in Michigan. During the present month he will reach his seventy-fifth milestone, having grown venerable in Freemasonry, the spirit and ideals of which he has often wrought into verse, which is characterized by a rugged forthright sincerity. By way of helping his Michigan brethren to celebrate the diamond jubilee of his pilgrimage in this life THE BUILDER sends him a friendly hail, and Ye Editor has ventured to inscribe to him a little poem after this wise:


The craft of song has small repute
Among the worldly wise;
They cannot find a worth at all
In what your arts devise:
Why not, they say go till the fields
Or build the wails of trade!
That labor of a man is best
By which some gold is made.
If you who sing should cease your art
Or hold your craft in doubt,
The soil itself would break in songs,
The stones would cry them out.
The Hidden Powers that wrought the soil,
The gold, and everything,
By equal force compel the bard
His fragile rhymes to sing,
And to the need for bread they made
Another need belong,
For while the flesh may crave for bread
The soul must crave for song.
So he who sings has right to gold
As he who builds a wall,
For what is not with music built
Is never built at all.

* * *


In the world-wide realm of Masonry it is hoped that some brother of the National Masonic Research Society may be able to name the author of "Enough for Me — A Mason's Creed," printed on page 367 of the December BUILDER. For many years, until it has become much worn, I have carried the clipping from the discarded magazine in an inside vest pocket. I furnished a copy for The Bulletin, De Molay Consistory, Clinton, Iowa. It appears on page 280 of the May, 1923, issue of The New Age. Your further publicity is greatly appreciated and I trust the author may be revealed.

John T. Boylan, Minnesota.

* * *


In the January BUILDER I notice that W.B.B., of N.Y., speaks of the organization of some so-called Blue Lodges in Missouri that had the purpose of extending slavery into Kansas.

I remember well these pro-slavery times, and having lived in a neighborhood in Illinois that was not only anti-slavery, but much more so anti-Masonic, I have not the least doubt had these so-called Blue Lodges been really connected with Masonry, it would have been noised abroad in that community very quickly, and very noisily, as we heard everything that anybody can imagine against Masonry.

N. C. Pike, Minnesota.

* * *


Attention is called to page 42 of THE BUILDER for February, 1924. In the middle of the first column appeared a sentence a part of which read as follows:

"At the inauguration of the Grand Lodge of New York." This was a regrettable slip; it should have read "the Grand Lodge of York," which was organized, as the reader will recall, in 1725. The Drake referred to by Bro. Fenger was Francis Drake, an historian who was made a Mason at York September. 1725. In the speech referred to he connected Freemasonry with Euclid and Archimedes as experts in geometry and spoke of the it work in that science as having been the basis "on which the learned have built at different times so many nobler super-structures." This remarkable address will be found in its entirety in Masonic Sketches and Reports by W. J. Hughan. Our apologies to Bro. Fenger.

* * *


"History of the Eastern Star," by Kennaston.

"Caliph of Bagdad," by Sylvanus Cobb, Jr.

"Genius of Freemasonry," by Buck.

Vol. I, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum.

Vol. XXXII, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum; both must be complete, and with St. John's Cards.

"Records of the Hole Crafte and Fellowship of Masons," by Edward Conder.

"Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry," by H. P. H. Bromwell.

"History of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite," by Robert Folger.

Send description and prices to Book Department, National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo.

* * *


To judge by our correspondence on the subject eight or ten times as many Study Clubs have been formed this year as ever before. The Study Club is no longer an experiment.

* * *

Bro. H. S. Bennett, Willow Bunch, Sask., Can., has done a splendid piece of research work in preparing a Masonic glossary. We hope to publish this in book form this winter.

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Alas the poor editor! What would you do if you were to receive such a request as this? "Please tell me at your earliest convenience the names of all the Masons in the Revolution. Also give me a brief history of each and every degree used in Freemasonry, along with an explanation of all their symbols, emblems and allegories. If it isn't too much trouble I need also a little information about foreign Masonry." It is difficult at times to maintain the pleasing fiction of editorial omniscience.

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The steady stream of calls for books on speech making indicates that we are raising a bumper crop of lodge orators. May their tribe increase, and may they each and all remember the words of the old gentleman who, when arising to give a talk, began by saying, "Gentlemen, I do not intend to make a speech. I wish to say something."

Which reminds me. I am now off on a two weeks' speech making tour through the East and into Canada. If my correspondence is a little delayed, remember the pleasing words of Ovid: Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim. (No! that is not giving away any Shrine secrets.)

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Have you any second-hand Masonic books to sell, or copies of THE BUILDER for any month in 1918?