A Journal for the Masonic Student

Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society


Vol. 10 No. 7 – July 1924



Bro. R. W. Bro. Sir Alfred Robbins, P.G.W.,

President of the Board of General Purposes, W.M. Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, etc., England

Sir Alfred Robbins was born at Launceton, Aug. 1, 1856. He has been a journalist and author since 1871, and has published a number of books and plays, among the former of which are Five Years of Tory Rule, 1879; The Marquis of Salisbury, a Personal and Political Sketch; Practical Politics, or the Liberalism of Today; The Early Public Life of William Ewart Gladstone, etc. From 1888 until a few months ago he was London correspondent of the Birmingham Post. He has been President of the Board of General Purposes of the Grand Lodge of England since 1913; was Grand Scribe of Supreme Grand Chapter, 1918; Grand Master Overseer of Mark Grand Lodge, 1915, and is now Worshipful Master of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research. He has published in THE BUILDER, English and American Brotherhood, July, 1918; Spurious, Imitative, or Associated Freemasonry, January, 1924; and an interview on The Basis of Masonic Unity, June last. The essay published below was originally prepared as a paper to be read before an English lodge of research, which will account for its being addressed to English Masons. Bro. Robbins was first minded to modify it for appearance here, but decided later to let it appear as first written, thinking that his American brethren would enjoy listening in on the discussion as it stands.

EVER since I have taken an active part in Freemasonry, whether in my own lodge or outside, I have felt that it would be well if Masonic study were extended in practical, as well as theoretical, directions. I have wished that, in addition to microscopically examining the myths of the past, systematic study should be given to the mysteries of the present. It would surprise most English Freemasons to learn that it is because of this decided desire that I in this place draw attention to the subject of Grand Lodge and Its Work.

An English Mason will be apt to smile at it being assumed that there is any mystery about either Grand Lodge itself, or the work it does, seeing that its transactions are open to the Masonic world, and a full record published for the information of every lodge within the English jurisdiction. But, with a little reflection, the point will be seen. Let us take the term Grand Lodge itself. In conversation among my brother Masons that term may be heard applied in four different significations, certain of them erroneous. When a brother says, I am told at Grand Lodge, he indicates that he has applied for information at Freemasons' Hall; when he proclaims, I shall appeal to Grand Lodge, he means that he will lay his case before the great body which holds its regular meetings in that building; when he observes, I have been to Grand Lodge, he alludes to his having been present at one of those assemblies; and, when he refers to a brother as a member of Grand Lodge, he is apt to fall into the very common error of using that term as equivalent to a Grand officer.

It is necessary at the outset, therefore, to have a precise definition of what Grand Lodge is. This is early supplied, and in very precise fashion, in the draft of a proposed Charter of Incorporation of Free and Accepted Masons, to be found in an unauthorized edition of the Book of Constitutions, published in London and Dublin in 1769, in furtherance of a movement for turning the Free and Accepted Masons of England into a chartered body — a movement popular for a short period, but doomed to oblivion.

The preamble of the projected charter declared, in the name of King George III, that the Society of Free and Accepted Masons have for Ages held frequent Meetings within this Realm, and have ever demeaned themselves with Duty and Loyalty to Us, and our Predecessors; with Reverence and Obedience to the Laws, and Kindness and Good-will to their Fellow-Subjects: and that the said Society appears to have been originally instituted for humane and beneficent Purposes, and have distributed from Time to Time to all without Distinction, who have had the single Claim of Wretchedness, Sums to a great Amount, collected by voluntary Contribution among themselves. It was then sought to set up by royal charter a Perpetual Society, which shall be called by the Name of THE SOCIETY OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS OF ENGLAND; and the Sovereign was expected to go on to declare, That the said Society shall consist of a Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Grand Wardens, Past Grand Officers, Provincial Grand Master, Grand Treasurer, Grand Secretary, Grand Sword Bearer, Twelve Steward, and of the Masters and Wardens of the several subordinate Lodges, who, together with those already enumerated, compose the Grand Lodge.

The present definition is supplied by the second Rule of the Book of Constitutions in the following terms:

The public interests of the Fraternity are managed by a general representation of all private Lodges on record, together with the Grand Stewards of the year and the present and Past Grand Officers, and the Grand Master at their head. This collective body is styled THE UNITED GRAND LODGE OF ANTIENT FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS OF ENGLAND, and is hereinafter referred to as 'The Grand Lodge.'

Its composition is determined by Rule 6, which, having placed in order of rank and precedence sixty-one different classes of present and Past Grand Officers, with the Grand Stewards of the year and such Past Grand Stewards as are Masters or Past Masters of private lodges, concludes by embracing: within the membership of Grand Lodge the Master, Past Masters, and Wardens of the Grand Stewards' Lodge and of every other private lodge, together, by Rule 7, with certain brethren of eminence and ability who have rendered service to the Craft, and who may, in certain circumstances, be constituted members of Grand Lodge — a privilege of Grand Lodge which has not been exercised for many years. This present arrangement, except in one important particular, follows closely the seventh of the Articles of Union which, in 1813 [printed in THE BUILDER, April 1924, page 117], united the two Grand Lodges of English Freemasons, this directing that the United Grand Lodge should be composed of Grand officers and the actual Masters and Wardens of all warranted Lodges, not more than one Past Master of a lodge being at that time allowed to attend, with certain exceptions for pre-Union Lodges, unless he had been delegated to do so by his lodge. The one particular now changed is as to the Past Masters, each of whom, after service for a full year as Master, can attend Grand Lodge so long as he continues a subscribing member of any private lodge.


This is how the United Grand Lodge of England is composed; and, when we come to consider its work, we find that from it all laws affecting the Craft emanate, and in every matter it has the final decision. These powers are very clearly defined by Rules 4 and 5 of the Book of Constitutions, necessary to be invoked whenever questions of Craft government or discipline are raised. The fourth Rule reads:

The Grand Lodge possesses the supreme superintending authority, and also has the inherent powers of enacting laws and regulations for the government of the Craft, and of altering, repealing, and abrogating them, always taking care that the antient Landmarks of the Order be preserved;

and the fifth Rule:

The Grand lodge also has the power of investigating, regulating, and deciding all matters relative to the Craft, or to particular Lodges, or to individual Brothers, which it may exercise either of itself or by such delegated authority as in its wisdom and discretion, it may appoint; but the Grand Lodge alone has the power of erasing Lodges and expelling Brethren from the Craft, a power which it does not delegate to any subordinate authority.

Grand Lodge, which originally was organized in 1717 specifically to arrange for the government of the Lodges in and about London and Westminster, has grown into a legislative, judicial, taxing, and administrative body directly controlling the affairs of over 3,900 lodges in full working, and situated all over the world. Of these lodges, just over 2,300 have their home in the Provinces of England and Wales; nearly 700 in Districts and other overseas places; and more than 900 in the Metropolitan area within a ten miles' radius of Freemasons' Hall. Beyond all these, one of the most striking evidences of the universality of English Freemasonry is furnished by the fact that sixty-nine of our lodges are in such scattered and thinly populated parts of the earth as to prevent their being grouped into Districts. Therefore, they remain under the immediate direction of the central Masonic authority at Freemasons' Hall, but subject, in specific conditions under Rule 147, to supervision by an Inspector appointed by the Grand Master.

To trace the growth of the United Grand Lodge of England, which today is continuous and even enormous, is most interesting and instructive. In 1717, four among the remaining old lodges in London joined together to constitute the original Grand Lodge of England; and, within a very few years, that body made rapid strides, although almost entirely, as, far as England was concerned, confined in its earliest period to London and the regions round about. The lodges at work under our jurisdiction, which at first were four, are now, as stated, 3,900, though that great number does not cover all which have existed under the Grand Master of England's warrant within the last sixty years, as is shown by the fact that lodges are now being consecrated which stand on the register of the United Grand Lodge of England bearing numbers over 4,600. The discrepancy between the actual and recorded number of lodges is accounted for in the main by the establishment, with the benison of the parent Grand Lodge, of independent Jurisdictions in various of our great Dominions, which, of their own free will, the overwhelming majority of the local lodges have joined. These figures of wonderful vitality tell an eloquent story of the spread of Masonry and the work of Grand Lodge. Without, indeed, being a world-wide Jurisdiction, in the sense of covering by its governance the whole universe, the United Grand Lodge of England is a world-wide inspiration, it being recognized throughout the world as the premier Grand Lodge, and entitled, as such, to the utmost respect.


The powers of Grand Lodge, it must never be forgotten, are extremely extensive and far-reaching, its decisions affecting even the uttermost ends of the earth. Its definitions of principle, its declarations of policy, its judicial pronouncements, are watched with extreme care not only by those directly affected by them, but by Masons in every part of the globe. These last may not understand all the difficulties which unavoidably occur in regard to a Grand Lodge that governs men not of the same country, the same language, the same race; but the premier Grand Lodge continues to be regarded by the Grand Lodges of other sovereign Jurisdictions as the world's leading Grand Lodge not only because of its age, but because of the steadiness of aim and sureness of judgment which, in the main, have distinguished it throughout. A Grand Lodge which has to direct the course of a great number lodges largely composed of brethren of other races, various languages, and religious beliefs different from those entertained by the great body of Freemasons in England, has special difficulties with which to cope, not always appreciated by members of similar bodies operating within a more restricted sphere. But there is compensation in the fact that the brethren who assist in the direction of affairs in our Grand Lodge are, for this very reason, impressed with a sense of more heavy responsibility than if they had to deal with those of their own country alone.

But in all this exists an element of danger which cannot be ignored by those having the good of the Craft at heart. One of the difficulties with which the administration of Freemasons' Hall is constantly faced is that the Masonic Parliament — as in great degree Grand Lodge can be described — is composed of an enormous number of members, the vast majority of whom never attend, some of whom attend with great rarity, while (though this is a temporary circumstance which will be removed when there has been completed the projected Central Masonic Home, inspired by the Grand Master as a worthy Masonic Peace Memorial) many of those who are qualified, and actually put in an appearance at Freemasons' Hall, find it always difficult and often impossible to obtain admission in the present cramped amount of room, hundreds being turned away from the doors on frequent occasions after proving their title to attend. But a serious trouble is that the administrators of the Craft can never depend for two consecutive Quarterly Communications on having an audience similarly composed to that of the immediately previous — or, indeed, any previous — Communication, and, therefore, possessed of knowledge of what had passed. Consequently, in a moment of passion or strong feeling, or influenced by a moving appeal, a vote sometimes is taken, participated in by hundreds who have never attended Grand Lodge before, and may never do so again. These do not know the enormous importance attaching to the decision; but they give their votes as readily and lightly as they would for or against a resolution at an ordinary public meeting. They do not realize that the effect of their decision may be felt in every part of the Masonic world, and that it may set a lasting example for good or ill. That example is set not merely for each lodge in our own Jurisdiction, but for every lodge which looks to the United Grand Lodge of England as not only the Mother Grand Lodge of the world in proven age, but as the premier Grand Lodge in length of experience and ripeness of wisdom.

It is not only since I was given the privilege by the M.W. the Grand Master of occupying my present office, or even since I became a Grand officer five years previously, that I have felt the danger, and the increasing danger, of the growing number of those qualified to attend Grand Lodge. Two years before I had been given my earliest Grand Rank, and at a period when I had no reason to anticipate ever to be so honoured, I contributed to a Masonic journal my opinions on Some Problems for Grand Lodge, and I placed in the forefront the point now emphasized. I then said:

Whether Grand Lodge, constituted in the present way, is not a growingly unwieldy body, which cannot fairly be expected properly to fulfill all the administrative, legislative, and judicial duties now cast upon it, is one of the problems which English Freemasonry at a very early day will be called upon frankly to face, and it will become an increasingly difficult one with every additional lodge that is placed upon the roll. Attempts to meet it have been made within the past few years (this was written in 1906), but these were so crude — and notably that for depriving the Wardens of the privilege of attending — that they had no result, except, perhaps, to suggest to the more timid brethren that they were insoluble. But difficulties exist to be overcome and this is one. Grand lodge, if it is to remain a living force, must be made — what it was obviously at the outset intended to be — a body truly representative of the active spirit as well as the acquired experience of the Craft; and any plan which may be suggested for securing this should be welcomed for full discussion.

It chanced to be my fortune to provide opportunity for that full discussion within a very short time after being appointed President of the Board of General Purposes, but I can scarcely claim that the opportunity was welcomed. In December, 1913, I laid before the brethren, on behalf of the Board over which I presided — which had given long and careful consideration to the problem — a detailed scheme for the reconstruction of Grand Lodge, the aim of which was to make it a representative body of definite size for deliberation and decision, and to afford to the Provinces, as well as to London, a fair share in the government of the Craft. A storm arose which prevented any calm decision on this great issue. A majority in London voted against the plan, which, admittedly, would have reduced the overwhelming influence of the Metropolitan lodges on the deliberations of Grand Lodge. The brethren of the Provinces and Districts, by a decidedly larger majority, voted in support of the scheme, which would have provided them an opportunity for effective participation in Grand Lodge work. But, before any final decision could be taken, the war broke out; and the plan passed into that back of beyond which is apt to be the refuge of all reforms that arouse temper and exhaust energy without securing immediate result. Yet it is certain that some Masonic statesman, possessed of great experience of affairs, a special knowledge of men, and a widely foreseeing outlook, and above all with the necessary courage and persistence to withstand public tumult and personal attack, will have to deal, and that before long, with this important problem.


It already has been said that the attendances of Grand Lodge have increased in recent years, and to such an extent, indeed, that hundreds of brethren qualified to be present are frequently turned from the doors for lack of room. Because of this latter fact, available statistics do not convey the whole truth. Let us take, as examples in proof, the figures of the two years 1913 and 1923. In 1913, the total attending the March Communication was 827; the June, 1,277; the September, 617; and the December, 753; or a grand total of 3,474; the number recorded in June being to a certain extent illusory, because a great many brethren simply passed through the Temple to record their votes in a contested election for the Board of General Purposes, and left before the regular business was taken. The numbers in 1923 were, March, 835; June, 1,353, but these in a larger and non-Masonic hall, specially engaged for that meeting; September, 2,209; and December, 931, or a grand total of 5,328. The very attendance in September — the largest at any Quarterly Communication from the inception of the Craft — was because it was the first held outside London; took place in so noble and extensive a building as George's Hall, Liverpool. It might be said at first view that the difference shown at the ordinary meetings between the two years, a decade apart, was not great; but this is sufficiently explained by the extremely cramped accommodation at Freemasons' Hall, which entails much discomfort on those who press their way within the doors, shuts those doors on many more, and prevents hundreds desiring to come from attempting to put in an appearance.

It is most useful to recall these facts because of the continuous and even startling growth of both the amount and complexity of the work performed by Grand Lodge. This can best be judged from a rapid glance at the manner in which it again and again has had to try to accommodate itself to its ever-increasing responsibilities. It discovered as early as 1735 that it could not effectively do the Fraternity's business by attempting to settle all Masonic affairs at the Quarterly Communication. Even ten years earlier it had been found necessary to set up a Committee of Charity to relieve Grand Lodge of the necessity for itself investigating petitions for assistance; and from that grain, of mustard seed has sprung the main part of the detailed administration of the Craft as we see it today.

In 1733, when it was found that the business usually brought before the Quarterly Communication had increased to such an extent as to be almost impossible to be got through in one night, it was resolved that all that portion which could not be effectively despatched by the Quarterly Communication should be referred to the Committee of Charity. That body therefore, had given over to it not merely the details of Grand Lodge business, as well as it previously assigned benevolent work, but such remaining part of Grand Lodge business as had not been disposed of at the full meeting. It was allowed to deal as it chose with disputed questions, and simply to report its decisions to Grand Lodge. After having possessed that extension of power for not more than three years, it recommended to Grand Lodge certain laws for the better regulation of Quarterly Communications and public assemblies, and these were voted to be necessary. Therein lay the germ of the present Rule 266 of the Book of Constitutions, which empowers the Board of General Purposes — a creation of much later date, coming into existence with the United Grand Lodge of England — to recommend to Grand Lodge whatever it deems advantageous and necessary for the benefit of the Craft. Thus the original Grand Lodge had only about come of age before, in a manner not intended or foreseen, there had been constituted by the Masonic authorities a body, wielding enormous administrative powers, greater, indeed, than those possessed today by any other body than Grand Lodge itself. Thus so soon, and with a very limited number of lodges — attendance at Grand Lodge then being virtually limited difficulties of travel to London lodges — it was found that the system of having a huge assembly to deal with detailed questions was one which for business purposes would not work, and delegation had to be begun.

The system of referring all details of administration, and even some questions of first importance, to the Committee of Charity continued until the Act of Union 1813; and the United Grand Lodge of England had no sooner come into existence than it carried the process of devolution to what can now be considered an extreme degree. It determined that the business previously dealt with by the Committee of Charity should be divided between no fewer than seven Boards or Committees. There were to be four Boards elected at each June Quarterly Communication, those of General Purposes, Finance, Works, and Schools, in addition to a Committee or Lodge of Benevolence, officially styled in much later days the Board of Benevolence; a Committee of Grand Lodge, usually known as the General Committee, and disappearing as lately as 1918; and an Audit Committee, composed of Grand officers of the year and twenty-four Masters of London Lodges, charged with auditing the Grand Treasurer's accounts. The Board of Schools speedily disappeared; the duties of the Board of Works were in a few years vested in the Board of General Purposes, as also, at later dates, were those of the Board of Finance, the Audit Committee, and the General Committee, while the Colonial Committee, a creation of later date, vanished long ago. We now have in Masonry, Grand Lodge as the ruling power of the Craft, the Board of General Purposes as the administrative and disciplinary body, and the Board of Benevolence as the distributing agent of a Fund, contributed to annually by every brother in England and Wales.


It would not be easy to bring within a short space a full description of the detailed work done by these two Boards. But, if we glance at the accounts for the latest audited year, 1922, some information of the extent of their labours can be gleaned. The income of the Fund of General Purposes — which is under the direct administration of the body over which for eleven years I have had the honour to preside — was just over 42,000 pounds; while that of the Fund of Benevolence, controlled by the Board of that name, was just under. The manner in which the revenue is raised throws a flood of light on the inner working of the Craft. It is usually forgotten that, from the moment an incoming brother has paid for his Master Mason's Certificate, he contributes for the remainder of his Masonic life, even though it be of fifty years, not a single penny towards the upkeep of the central administration, except in an extremely slight and indirect way for the infrequent granting of dispensations issued in specific circumstances by the Grand Master. Therefore, if it were not for the great amount which comes from the registration fees paid by those who year after year enter the Craft, and the lesser, but still tangible, amount paid for the warranting of new lodges, Grand Lodge would not receive from the rents of its property enough to pay even its wages bill. In the case of the Fund of Benevolence, the contribution is a direct levy of quarterage on every member of a lodge situated in England and Wales, the whole contribution of a London brother going to the Central Fund, but only half that of a Provincial brother, while the Mason overseas, though in many cases receiving benefit from the Fund, does not contribute towards it. In addition to these Funds, there are the Building Fund established by Grand Lodge some fifteen years since, derived from a fee of -/6d per annum from every English brother; and the Masonic Peace Memorial Fund, organized at the instance of the Grand Master and under the authority of Grand Lodge, which is supported by voluntary contributions only.

It will be observed from these facts how very wide is the ramification of the central work, but even this far from exhausts the labour which has daily to be undertaken. The Grand Secretary's staff at Freemasons' Hall deals today with an income from all sources which is at the rate of a quarter of a million annually; and having within its charge not only lodges but chapters, it is concerned with the working of over 5,300 separate bodies. The record of each is kept separately from its consecration, and preserved for all time, entailing the employment of nearly twenty clerks in checking and entering the lodge and chapter returns. Three clerks are engaged exclusively on writing and registering certificates, while three are occupied from one and a half to two hours every morning in opening and sorting the many communications received by post; and five typists are constantly employed on Grand Lodge work alone. The Board of Benevolence deals with 200 to 400 eligible petitioners every year; and, in the same period under the direction of the Board of General Purposes, nearly 30,000 copies of the Book of Constitutions are printed and sold, as well as more than 3,000 of the Masonic Year Book. One other item of work constantly proceeding in the very busy central hive of Masonic industry is to be noted, and this is, that in 1923 — our last completed year — without counting the labour applied to the Masonic Peace Memorial Fund, no fewer than eighty-three meetings of various Boards and Committees were held at Freemasons' Hall.


Even these activities very far from exhaust the work performed by or under the auspices of Grand Lodge. At the Quarterly Communication, the duties to a large extent are ceremonial, and that is the feature which attracts many qualified Masons to see the pageant a least once in their lives. Grand Lodge, however, as have emphasized, has to deal with the administration of the Craft, as well as with what no huge assembly of varying size and composition should have to do the judicial work of the Craft. The last point affects every Mason, even to the most humble, as each brother among is, if he holds himself aggrieved by any Masonic authority — whether it be the Master of his lodge, the Provincial or District Grand Master under whom he is placed, or the Grand Master himself — has the right to appeal to Grand Lodge against the decision of any official, however high that official's Masonic standing may be. This is a highly valuable privilege, for it is the rock on which the liberty of the Freemason stands. It may be thought, from the comparatively rare instances of such matters coming into court, that the privilege is not often exercised. But that it is not more frequently used, while it is a tribute to the spirit of Masonic fairness and goodwill that runs through the Craft from end to end, is also a testimony to the great care exercised at Headquarters in dealing with questions of grievance. There are singularly few complaints from individual brethren of harshness on the part of those in authority; but, when that complaint is, with rarity, brought to Freemasons' Hall, the Grand Registrar, who, by the Book of Constitutions is the adviser of Grand Lodge, has the whole case laid before him, whether from a Province, a District, or a Private Lodge, or from the aggrieved person himself. It is examined from a legal, as well as Masonic, point of view by the Grand Registrar, who has always been a barrister of distinction, giving his services freely and voluntarily for the work. On the facts laid before him by both sides, this high official writes a judgment, which, however, is not accepted as such until confirmed by Grand Lodge, that body having the power to reject the ruling, a course that, naturally, has been taken only in extremely rare cases. The Grand Registrar also gives his advice on questions of discipline submitted to the Board of General Purposes concerning lodges or brethren within the Metropolitan area, or referred to it specifically by Provincial or District authorities; and of late years that body has solved a number of difficulties and soothed many a temper by refraining from exercising its powers until it has exhausted every effort of friendly enquiry and fraternal advice to bring differing brethren into harmony once more.

The activities of the Board of General Purposes furnish, indeed, the best example of the continuous and heavy work of the administration of the Craft, demanded by its daily increasing needs. It is a body composed of certain of the leading officers of Grand Lodge, with eight members nominated by the Grand Master, twelve elected by the London lodges, a twelve selected by the Provincial Grand Masters representing the Provincial Grand Lodges. It meets monthly, but its heaviest work is done by six committees, which sit with frequency. These Committees deal respectively with Finance; Colonial, Indian, a Foreign affairs; Procedure; Grand Lodge Premises; Officers and Clerks; and the Library and Museum Freemasons' Hall, together with all questions of publication. None but those in intimate touch with the Board can form any estimate of the amount of patient and skilled work given to the Craft by the brethren who compose these Committees; and the smooth working of the whole administration very largely depends on the skill and assiduity with which the Board, as whole, manages the Craft's concerns.


Incidentally, reference has been made to the Library and Museum of Grand Lodge; and I wish there we space to describe in some detail the work of this most admirable feature of Freemasons' Hall. It came in existence in the opening months of the reign of Queen Victoria; and, by gifts and subscriptions of many brethren — not aided much by any grant or allowance from Grand Lodge — it has now a magnificent collection in both Library and Museum, concerning which the one regret is that there is not sufficient room in the present building to display our wonderful and varied treasures to the full. Within recent years, the Board of General Purposes has arranged for such increase in the accommodation and arrangements of the Library and Museum, to which admission is free to every Master Mason, as to attract a greater number of brethren; and the results have been most gratifying. The number of readers in 1921 was 252, which rose to 599 in 1922, and to 646 last year; while that of visitors increased rapidly in the same three years from 1,322 to 2,339, and ultimately to 2,679. The growing appreciation of the Library and Museum thus displayed by the Craft is specially valued by the Board as an earnest of what is hoped for in the future, when more space can be given for both development and display. Excellent provision, I am assured, will be made for this in the Central Masonic Home projected by our Grand Master, which will give us a building worthy of the dignity and high importance of the Craft.

Sufficient has been said to enable you to judge with some precision not only what Grand Lodge is, but how, and to what extent, it works. Too many of our brethren seem to entertain the idea that Masonry is merely a matter of their own lodge, or their own Province or their own particular friends. They must always remember that the English Jurisdiction under the rule of the M.W. the Grand Master is an organization world wide in its reach, and as powerful an influence on Masonry outside as inside that vast domain. I have learned by experience the high regard paid by Grand Lodges of every Jurisdiction to the actions of the Grand Lodge of England. They watch our proceedings with extreme care, and regard our decisions with every respect. Yet the most striking evidence of the universality of English Freemasonry can best be illustrated by an endeavour to visualize the immensity of our own direct responsibilities. We have lodges at work in Bermuda and Bulawayo; Cape Coast Castle and Coomassie; Cyprus and Grand Turk; Funchal and Fiji; Mashonaland and Madeira; Melbourne and Montreal; New Providence and New Zealand; the Solomon Islands and Zanzibar.

These lodges in the outer parts of the world are homes not only of Freemasonry in particular but of civilization in general. They are the rallying points of Englishmen, the gathering grounds of those of our countrymen situated in sparsely populated parts. In these lodges men of the same race and tongue are afforded the opportunity — an opportunity which is eagerly embraced — for coming together periodically for common converse, Masonic, social and personal, fraternal and friendly alike. There is no organization which covers so wide a field, or does so much to preserve touch between Englishmen in the far parts of the world and their fellows, as Freemasonry. When dealing with such lodges and brethren, there is always brought home to me the enormous influence for good which is wielded by the Craft. We have granted the fullest amount of self-government, compatible with a strong central administration, in every part of the world wherein there are sufficient lodges to form a District; and we give the greatest degree of fraternal attention to every lodge which remains within our Jurisdiction because of being situated in so vast a territory that there are no local lodges with which it could become directly associated. In this work of devolution, Grand Lodge has not been content to preach — it has practiced, and that in regard to its own Quarterly Communications. In 1922, Grand Lodge resolved by an overwhelming majority that, while the Quarterly Communications should continue in the main to be held in London, that of September should be in such place as from time to time may be determined by the Grand Master. The first Province which had the privilege conferred upon it of welcoming Grand Lodge at a Quarterly Communication outside London was the numerically greatest of them all, that of West Lancashire, and the meeting at Liverpool on Sept. 5, 1923, was an unqualified success. This was not only because of the very large number attending, but of the proof afforded that, if the Provincial brethren were given the opportunity, they would appear more frequently in Grand Lodge. No fewer than 1,964 Provincial Masters, Wardens and Past Masters were present in the Liverpool St. George's Hall on that historic day, while several hundred applications for admission could not be granted because of lack of room even in that splendid building for all who wished to be present. And there is no doubt that a like success in its degree would attend any similar meeting of Grand Lodge whether held at York, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle-on-Tyne, or Bristol.


But, even when this is stated, all has not been said. The genesis of Grand Lodge has been dealt with; its methods of government described; its widespread ramifications detailed. There remains the crucial question, seldom sufficiently considered, of how its operations are guided. Every Mason knows that at the head of our affairs is the Grand Master, who invariably appoints a Deputy Grand Master, and if he [the Grand Master] be a Prince of the Blood, a Pro Grand Master, ranking next himself. In highest command, therefore, is the Grand Master, who appoints every Grand officer except the Grand Treasurer, he being elected by the Craft as a whole. The Grand Master's range of choice for these distinguished brethren is much wider than is generally supposed, as no necessity exists for them to be even Masters or Past Masters of lodges, but the selection of Master Masons is extremely rare. The Grand Master derives his power from Grand Lodge, which elects him only for a single year. Hence the vast and far-reaching power which he wields and exercises, largely derived from that gradual growth of practice generally known as prerogative, is checked by the necessity for his annual confirmation in office by the free vote of Grand Lodge. In the very exercise of the Grand Master's power is seen the essential difference existing between Grand Lodge and Provincial and District Grand Lodges. Grand Lodge, according to Rule 4 of the Book of Constitutions, possesses the supreme superintending authority; and one of the chief manifestations of this is the election of the Grand Master. But Provincial and District Grand Lodges, by Rules 77 and 94, emanate from the Provincial or District Grand Masters by Virtue of the authority vested in them by the patents of appointment from the Grand Master. That commanding authority appoints the Provincial and District Grand Masters, and by virtue of his patent to them Provincial and District Grand Lodges are set up. But Grand Lodge, by possessing the supreme superintending authority, which includes the annual election of the Grand Master, is the greatest power of all. Old writers on our national institutions were accustomed to dwell on the checks and balances automatically at work in the English Constitution to preserve the harmony of executive power with personal freedom; and they were specially accustomed to emphasize that not one of the Three Estates of the Realm was supreme, but that all must combine to ensure finality. In the end, however, the result in the main is the same. Both the country and the Craft possess a constitutional monarchy; central authority is enabled to control a widespread organization, which, in the absence of such an authority, would be certain to disintegrate. But all this would be of little or no avail unless there were absolute loyalty from the rank in file to the commander-in- chief. In the Craft this loyalty is freely given by lovers of freedom in its highest form. Here as elsewhere it is true liberty that secures loyalty's finest fruit.

It is gratifying when we turn from what termed the personal composition of Grand Lodge to its moral aspect, to find that its influence for good is in proportion to its size. In 999 cases out of 1000 laid before the Masonic authorities, their advice is accepted as given in a faithful and friendly spirit; and many a grievance is settled by a communication from Freemasons' Hall, which otherwise might rankle and tear a lodge asunder. The same is to be said in greatly increased degree respecting the actions of Grand Lodge. But, in this latter regard, it must always be remembered that a stone cast into the Mason pool here spreads its ripples over the whole world; and that is why it is ever to be borne in mind that a hasty decision, like a high explosive, may miss a fortress and wreck a cathedral.


Looking on the organization and administration of the Craft as a whole, it is apparent that, like the English people itself, Freemasonry has its Sovereign and its Cabinet; its central legislative authority and its local administrative assemblies; its self-governing dominions and its directly ruled units. The President of the Board of General Purposes, as being the direct choice of the M.W. the Grand Master, and as acting as Liaison Officer between the Grand Master and the Board, stands in the position of Prime Minister a Lord President of the Council in the Masonic Cabinet, and he exercises a general supervision of all the departments. The Grand Secretary is our Lord Privy Seal, and the Grand Registrar our Lord Chancellor, the latter dealing with all questions of Masonic law at equity of procedure. The Chairman of the Finance Committee can be considered our Chancellor of the Exchequer, carefully watching both sides of the balance sheet, with the various items of income and expenditure the duties of the annually-elected Grand Treasurer being in these times quiescent or, at most acquiescent. The Chairman of the Colonial, Indian and Foreign Committee stands in the place of the Foreign Secretary to the extent that the Board, by Rule 267 of the Book of Constitutions, conduct communications with sister Grand Lodges and brethren of eminence and distinction throughout the world. It chances that, at the moment, our Foreign Secretary is likewise our Lord Chamberlain, the Chairmanship of the Colonial, Indian and Foreign Committee being filled by the Grand Director of Ceremonies; and the delicately diplomatic touch, combined with authoritative suavity, demanded by each position is well combined in the present holder of both. The Chairman of the Procedure Committee — a body created within the past seven years which already has done very great service to the Craft in settling many disputed points, and formulating definite lines of practice — should resemble the ideal Primate of All England — zealous to prevent illegal practices and to stop the spread of false doctrine, but cautious in all things and non-committal on details of ritual, recognizing that our lodge work is the outcome of a compromise of the long-ago, and praying the extremists of both sides to recognize it as such, and not for comparative trifles to trouble the peace of Israel. The Chairman of the Library, Art and Publications Committee is our First Commissioner of Works — at least to the extent of half that Minister's office and power — with a touch of the Minister of Education thrown in, as under his supervision is the artistic as well as the literary side of the work at Freemasons' Hall. The Chairman of the Premises Committee takes over the remaining half of the office and powers of the First Commissioner of Works — to whose governmental title is added and Buildings — and the upkeep of our central premises is no light task to oversee. And the Chairman of the Officers and Clerks Committee is the only one among his fellows who has no direct counterpart in the Cabinet or the hierarchy, to him being given the suggestion of dealing with a staff for the whole body, instead of this task, as in the Government, being relegated as a right to the heads of the several departments. Added to all these is the President of the Board of Benevolence, who, from his position and his duties, deserves the historic and most honourable description of Grand Almoner.

If I have made it clear that English Freemasonry, as an organization, does not run on its own wheels; that its administration has to be steadily, systematically, and most carefully watched; and that discipline must be maintained if the brotherhood is to continue on the high plane it has now reached, I shall have succeeded in my task. Every English brother ought to be interested in the work that is being done, and should assist in that work in the best way afforded him. Masonry, after thirty-five years within it, I sincerely believe to be the best of brotherhoods; it should be our constant endeavour to make it a brotherhood of the best. This is only to be done by continuous cordiality of work; and it is because Grand Lodge sets so excellent an example in that direction, and should be made certain of doing so in the future, that I commend the considerations I have submitted, and ask all my English brethren to do the utmost in their power to strengthen the influence of those in authority in order to secure the most efficient, effective and lasting results.

* * *


Bro. Robert P. McColloch, Kansas

The following address, delivered before the Grand Lodge of Kansas, was so well accepted that arrangements were made to have it given to all district meetings and ultimately in every lodge. A reading of it will instantly make clear why our Kansas brethren desired to broadcast it so widely, for it is philosophical in its grasp of essentials, statesman like in the sweep of its vision, and effective in the frank straightforward manner in which it is phrased.

WHEN some of us were schoolboys we wrote upon the pages of our copy-books this saying of a wise man: Knowledge is Power. And some of us wrote the copy boldly; and others, timidly; and others wrote it with many a blot and blunder and labored use of pen.

From our schoolrooms we went out into the school life, there to translate our copy into terms of action. And some of us have done this boldly; others, timidly; and others with many a blot and blunder, just as in our school days we wrote the copy on the pages of our books.

All who are here assembled, either in youth, manhood, or age, were admitted to Masonic light and admonished to make advancement in Masonic knowledge. There was explanation of that elementary symbol, the Trestle Board, upon which the Grand Architect of the Universe had drawn the designs for speculative Masons to copy in the erection of their spiritual buildings. And, very like the schoolboys wrote their copy, some have traced these designs boldly; others, timidly; and others with hesitating hands, and careless use of the symbolic tools — the gauge, gavel, square, plumb, level. It thus has happened that there is much imperfect work. Now, Masonic knowledge is potential power. If in our lives, we had used our Masonic tools with better knowledge and the greater care we should have exercised such power for right thinking and right living that the world would now be a far better world than it is.

There is increasing desire that the great body of our Fraternity in the state [Kansas] may become more familiar with the fundamentals of our beloved Order. You who hear me are doubtless well grounded in these fundamentals, being exponents of the work, students of Masonic history and traditions, well acquainted with the Ancient Landmarks, Charges and Regulations. But it is a fact that too large a percentage of our members have but faint and imperfect conception of the truths which Masonry teaches by symbolism. Many, indeed, there are word and letter perfect in the work and lectures of the degrees, faithful in attendance, deeply concerned in all that affects our interests, who are either wholly uninformed or poorly informed as to the true significance of the things which they symbolically present to candidates, and to the younger of the brethren. These have not given the study to the history and traditions which would lead to a knowledge that the beautiful and impressive symbols are but caskets in which the verities of Freemasonry are encased. This condition furnishes occasion for my address. I entertain the hope that something may be said which will appeal to you, leaders as you are in your lodges; representative men and Masons of your several communities; and that will arouse you to the urgent need of a better understanding of Masonry, fundamentally. If this can be done you will, in your lodges, counsel your less informed brethren to make careful and comprehensive study of the Masonic truths as these are expressed in Masonic symbolism.

If something can be said touching basic principles of Freemasonry, others will occur to you, and out of this discussion there may come material, important and interesting, for your own use on similar occasions in your several lodges.


There are two recognized schools of Masonic thought: the historical and the traditional. The former conceives of Freemasonry as it is set down in the annals of time. The latter adds to this view that which has come down through the traditions of the human race. The historical school holds Freemasonry to be of comparatively recent origin, measured by authentic history, while the traditional school assigns it so far back even as the beginning of time, and man. There is, however, no serious conflict between the schools. Indeed, in many particulars, they blend. With the advance in knowledge, the discoveries made by archaeologists, the ability now possessed by scholars to decipher inscriptions written upon the walls of ancient temples and tombs, there is found such proof of the claims made by the traditionalists as give them substantial credence.

Every Mason should advance in knowledge of the Craft. To this end he should make thorough study of the Ancient Landmarks, Charges and Regulations, Anderson's Constitution, and such other documents and books as set forth the known facts of the beginnings of Freemasonry which have, by authority, been approved as authentic history. To this knowledge he should add the vast amount of information to be gathered from the numerous books written by distinguished and reliable members of the Order, who have traveled in all lands, investigated the Mysteries of the Ancients, the symbolism found in every country, studied the history and traditions of peoples and tribes, examined ancient shrines, temples and monuments, deciphered the curious inscriptions, symbols and signs found in every part of the known world. These students have made this exhaustive investigation and research for the purpose of proving that Freemasonry originated in the religious rites of prehistoric man. To such as these, equally with those who have given us the undisputed history, Masons are deeply indebted. It is to be hoped that some books of both schools are in your personal or lodge libraries. If not, then make use of that unrivaled collection of Masonic literature to be found in the library of the Grand Lodge of Kansas, accessible to every brother within this jurisdiction.

All of Freemasonry centers in a word. That word, in our language, is God. The equivalent of this word is found in every known tongue and in the vocabulary of every people of the most ancient time. And, coupled with this word, as it is found written upon the monuments of antiquity, are many of the signs and symbols which we, as Masons, know in relation to the word. These facts evidence a universal and age-old belief in a Supreme Being, the Grand Architect of the Universe, and its Supreme Ruler.

Here, then, is a sound basis for the deduction that Freemasonry is an institution having origin in antiquity, and a belief having universal acceptance. This conception of God is the only dogma of Ancient Craft Masonry. In the galaxy of our Ancient Landmarks it holds chief place. Everything in Masonic philosophy proceeds from it, returns to it. Truly, then, since these things are so, we may well claim for our Fraternity the designation of Ancient.

While a requirement of belief in one God such as I have mentioned is an unalterable Landmark of Freemasonry, it is one of striking elasticity. Every Mason has the right to make such interpretation of the dogma as is agreeable to his conscience and not in conflict with the original statement of Masonic faith. For myself, as for many of you, the interpretation is in terms of the Christian religion. But the right of interpretation which is yours, and mine, is equally the right of our brethren of other religious beliefs. It cannot be too often stated, nor too clearly put, that Masons of the Jewish faith, followers of Mohammed, disciples of Confucius, devotees of Buddha, adherents of any religion in which the idea of one God is fundamental are just as truly Masons as we ourselves. The time is past when Masons must be of the religion of the country where they have residence. Today, Masons are everywhere privileged to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences. It was always the rule that a Mason must be a free man. In the sweep of the centuries it has become true that he is free not only in body, but in his religious convictions. Thus, a Mason is indeed captain of his own soul.


In this connection a word as to that Landmark which makes The Book of the Law an indispensable part of the furniture of a lodge. It has been held at some times, in some places, that by the term Book of the Law is meant the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Such a construction strikes at the universality of Symbolic Masonry. For, since belief in God as Grand Architect of the Universe is the essence of our philosophy, and, since the individual Mason is free to make interpretation of that dogma in the light of his own reason and conscience, it follows that to the Jew the Pentateuch is the Book of the Law, as is the Koran to the Moslem, the Sutras to the Buddhist, the Vedas to the Hindu, the Books of Kings to the Chinese. For these, our Masonic brethren, their sacred books are Books of the Law, even as is the Bible to the Mason of Christian faith. In the lodges of these brethren their sacred writings must, by the Landmark, be always present, and upon the writings they assume Masonic obligations.

Closely linked with these Landmarks are two others! Resurrection to the future life, and the Equality of Masons. These are obvious corollaries. It is impossible to separate belief in God from that of the soul's immortality. And, concerning equality, it is a Masonic doctrine that we are children of one great Father. Upon these four cornerstones rests the whole of Masonic philosophy.

Built upon such Landmarks this philosophy could not fail of leaving its impress upon mankind, and of being an important factor in shaping individual and national life. In all the world movements towards the development of a broader, better, higher civilization it has been, as it now is, the common ground on which those may stand who desire God to be supreme in the lives of men, and who recognize unselfish service as the measure of genuine success.

While these ideals have from the beginning been present in Freemasonry, believed in and lived by Masons of every age and clime, there is need of giving them special emphasis and serious consideration. Today they are essential as powerful forces for the remaking of the world. Such they were in times past operating to lead peoples into larger life, greater happiness, fuller freedom; to establish governments upon the principle of equality; to declare the right of the people to rule; to secure religious and civil liberty. It is a fascinating story — the part played by Freemasonry in the development of free institutions.

But, I ask you, was there ever greater danger than now that the things coming so largely out of Masonic Idealism might be lost? World conditions are alarming, and Masons everywhere should take note of the trend of events, the possibility of the destruction of all that Masonry has wrought. We need not look beyond the limits of our own country for disturbing signs. Here, as elsewhere, two ideals, the one spiritual, the other material, are in conflict for supremacy. The one gives expression to faith in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The other proclaims there is no God; that man is wholly material; that human society is based on racial, caste, class, social conditons by economic interests; that there is no spiritual bond uniting man to man. In the philosophy, of the materialist there is no love for country, no regard for existing government, no recognition of nor gratitude for a legacy resulting from the suffering and sacrifice of patriotic sires. His philosophy denies the sacredness of marriage, the sanctity of the home, and bodly declares women and children to be the property of the state. The system wars on private property and individual rights. Its ultimate aim is the utter destruction of a government where there is liberty under law and the establishment of a social order in which unbridled license shall be the central idea of a materalistic code.

Such a philosophy is no part of our own glorious heritage. It had its rise in lands of autocratic rule and age-long ignorance and oppression. It may be the extreme rebound from such conditions. It is spreading in many lands. It is firmly established in Russia, gaining ground in Germany, France, Italy, and now is threatening the very foundations of the British Empire. To us Americans, who are feeling the impact of its assaults upon our spiritual ideal, there is call to battle for what is most precious to us in our traditions, our standards of government, our national life.


The fruits of this destructive theory of a social order are becoming more and more apparent here. Witness the waves of crime sweeping the country; the disregard for law, contempt of courts and all authority, lax enforcement of the laws; the growth of the divorce evil; the lack of reverence for home, parents, sacred ties and obligations; the clash of warring classes; the conflict of interests; the appalling increase in the use of drugs and narcotics; the tendency towards parentalism in government; the lowering of moral standards in business and public affairs.

To Masons who remember and cherish the thought that the principles we teach and seek to live are woven into our Bill of Rights and our organic law, the program of the Materialist must be abhorrent. When we reflect it was our illustrious brothers, Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, Marshall, who had a large part in formulating our system of government, and giving it judicial interpretation, and contemplate the possibility of the wreck of their ideals upon the rocks of materialism, we are struck with horror. Conspiracy against our government is conspiracy against Freemasonry. The wreck of one would be the wreck of the other.

Masons often give too narrow a meaning to the word, Work. We are apt to limit its scope to labors in lodges, the conferring of degrees, the things distinctively Masonic. We should give the word the broader and higher meaning. There is much more work for us outside lodges than within them. It is our mission to disseminate Masonic ideas, to diffuse Masonic light. These things are vastly more important than is the ceremonial by which we make a man a Mason. Out yonder where humanity is distraught; where strife, selfishness, suffering, are controlling affairs and lives; where God is being forgotten and man is losing faith in man; there lies our work. Humanity is in a vast melting pot out of which it must come, purified and chastened, or as dross, base, gross, savage. The peoples of the world are singing hymns of hate and chanting war cries. There is unrest, discouragement, dismay. Every man's hand is raised against his brother as he exclaims: Down Eros, Up Mars. All civilization is in a fluid state; a seething mass, lacking cohesion. Passion rules where love should reign.

This dire condition demands action. The world must have a leader. And one will come. It may be a statesman with world vision, a Man on Horseback, or a prophet with an ennobling message. May we not hope and work that it shall be the prophet who will come, a Masonic Prophet, who can give the world a Masonic environment, Masonic light! Our Fraternity stands for Justice, Truth, Equality, Mercy, Temperance, Relief, Friendship, Love, Harmony. If a Masonic leadership be offered and accepted at this fateful hour of world destiny, if Masonic principles are made the base of world character, there will be the transformation and transfiguration of the individual and the mass.

I have spoken of the growth of materialism. It has its leaders, advocates and preachers, everywhere. Listen now to a recent utterance of the high priest of the Material creed: Let us sit tight until the red world revolution breaks out. All we ask is that our foreign comrades give us five years more to prove the advantage of socialism over capitalism.

Such is the ultimate purpose of materialism. Heed it; meet it; defeat it! Joining itself to all other spiritual forces, assuming leadership, if need be, let Freemasonry prove itself the effective force and stabilizing agency for the preservation of the social order and the concert of the world in working out the problems of our civilization. Freemasonry is a force which, if energized, will broadcast Law, Liberty, Love until these shall become the basis of human society.


A book recently published, entitled, Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods, is of absorbing interest. It should be in every Masonic library. The author, J. S. M. Ward, an English Mason of high degree, is a notable traveler and student of mysteries.

As the title indicates, the book deals with ancient religious rites and ceremonies, and with signs, symbols, frescoes, tablets, inscriptions found on the walls of tombs and temples of antiquity. The similarity of all these with those of modern Masonic practices and symbols are strikingly presented and furnishes strong evidence for the argument of the author that Freemasonry is the root of all ancient mysteries and all modern religious systems.

Whether the reader agrees with the author or not he will be amazed at the amount of material gathered, sifted and logically arranged. He will admit that the conclusions drawn by the author are well supported by the facts shown, and that in this book there is a valuable contribution to Masonic literature.

Out of the mass of facts presented the author brings one conclusion which should challenge the attention of every thinking Mason. Briefly, it is this:

Our age is the Age of Mars, the Destroyer. The world is to enter a new age — that of the Perfected Man. There will be a great awakening of the spiritual in man. A new type of religious outlook will appear. The gross materialism now disfiguring human society will pass away.

But while we are moving towards a better world there are yet dangers, difficulties, it may be even the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Mars has yet several years in which to trouble men and nations.

In the new world, now in the travail of its birth, Freemasonry will be present, surviving any wrecks of empires, and even of our boasted civilization. Freemasonry will lay the broad foundations upon which the government, religion, social order will be built. In Freemasonry all humanity will be bound by the ties of fraternal love.

I affirm that the best citizenship to be found in any community, in any land, is Masonic citizenship. This is not said to arouse pride, but rather to stimulate humility. If we are such a citizenship what inspiring opportunities, what tremendous obligations are ours! What more exalted purpose could be conceived by us than that of leading the world from material to spiritual ideals, and rebuilding it upon our Landmarks of the Farberhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man!

Freemasonry and democracy are interchangeable terms. Democracy is the child of Freemasonry. But the democracy as thus originated is not that which is too often observed in our day. False teachers and leaders have cheapened the meaning of democracy so that its expression is often quite different from the Masonic idea. We need exercise caution because of this fact. It may happen in our zeal for increase in membership that we will lower the tests of fitness for membership. It is not my province to discuss our standards of physical fitness, but may I not urge the study of these standards as laid down by the recognized authorities? While maintaining, as I do, that Masonic citizenship is everywhere the best, I venture to say entrance to Masonic life and light should be accorded to men who meet the physical, intellectual and moral requirements prescribed for all who become members of a democracy, as it is interpreted by Freemasonry.

It is out of a love I bear Symbolic Masonry that I set out these matters in this order. In the conditions presented there is no reason for pessimism. The times and conditions call for good and true men. Masonic lodges the world over are made up of such men. By all the sacred traditions, by all the splendid achievements, by all the glorious history, it must not be that Freemasonry shall now fail to keep alive faith in God, faith in man! The Spiritual will yet triumph over the Material. God shall reign and men shall be brethren. Dedicating ourselves to a sublime purpose we will hold high the blazing torch of Masonry as we march to conflict with the forces of evil. And the majestic lines of Kipling shall be our battle cry:

God of our fathers, known of old.
Lord of our far-flung battle line —
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine —
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget — Lest we forget!

It drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe —
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law —
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget — Lest we forget!

* * *


Bro. F. E. Manson, Pennsylvania

The ruler of an ancient kingdom of the East, desiring to leave his domains in the hands of a worthy successor, placed in the rooms of each of his sons seven candles. One candle represented Truthfulness, another Consideration, still others Charitableness, Patience, Thoughtfulness, Fortitude and Self-Control. He explained to his sons carefully and repeatedly exactly what, these virtues were and how they combined to form character that would warrant his confidence. Furthermore, he told them that the candies would be kept burning so long as they displayed the virtues each represented, but would be extinguished when, they failed to do so, to be relighted, if ever, only when the virtues designated were possessed beyond the possibility of doubt.

For a time all seven candles in each room were kept burning, but as the sons grew older, one or two were extinguished in each room. As years went on others were extinguished but always after the king had fully explained wherein there had been failure. At last only a single candle burned in the room of the youngest son who, fearing that the king would choose a successor from among the people, resolved that more candles should burn. It so happened, too, that the toll of wars included the lives of all his brothers, leaving him the only son, a fact that caused him to redouble his efforts to have all the candles relighted.

After more than a year of effort to secure Self-Control he was delighted one day to find its candle relighted. He had concentrated all his effort to gain Self-Control, for he reasoned: If I can but control myself I can be truthful, considerate, charitable, patient, thoughtful and strong. Self-Control is the key to the whole situation, not only as it concerns myself but also the people whom I would rule. Still, the other candles were not lighted and he asked the king why they were not. He answered: I have relighted the candle of Self-Control, but you must relight the others as you conscientiously believe you attain to those virtues. If you relight any one of them before I am convinced you should, I shall extinguish it.

At first the prince was inclined to despair but thinking hard he reasoned that despair would be evidence of lack of Self-Control. He thought the matter over and studied himself until he ventured to relight the candle of Patience. Still studying he reasoned that it required courage to do so and relighted the candle of Fortitude. These three candles still burning argued that he had been honest with himself, his father and the people, so he ventured to relight the candle of Truthfulness. The candle of Charitableness had always burned, so he ventured to relight the candle of Consideration, but to his dismay found it extinguished, and lying beneath:

Charitableness is forgiveness but in the experience of a ruler there are times when forgiveness would be error, for without Consideration the throne, the kingdom and the welfare of the people might be endangered. Justice may be tempered with mercy, but justice must be done.

Long did the prince study this distinction, finally resolving to sit in the councils of the king and the courts of the people. As he sat he learned, and learning understood. One day in the absence of his father because of sickness be sat in his place and decided a question complex but vital, to the joy of the councillors who conveyed the news to the king. As the prince later passed the king's chamber he noticed the king was gone, and sounded the alarm. After search the king was found in the prince's chamber. He had lighted the seventh and last candle and expired beneath it. The prince reigned in his stead.

This legend conveys a truth that all men may ponder. Whatever estimate we may place on our own character there will always be a difference of opinion between us and even our friends until we give emphasis to some virtue that to them wholly completes the man. Especially is this true if in public or prominent position we endeavour to serve others who naturally measure the quality of service by the completeness of character behind it. As Masons we are character molders or should be, and the legend to us should have intimate significance.

* * *


Bro. E. R. Turnbull, P.G.H.P., Illinois

In making this study of an exceedingly difficult subject, Bro. Turnbull has used every possible caution against errors, but even so (he asks us to say) it may be that some slips in fact have crept in; in that event he will be only too happy to be apprised of the same. Bro. Turnbull has had a rich experience in the Craft, as his record will show:

Past Master, Mt. Nebo Lodge, A.F. and A.M., No. 76; Past High Priest, Macoupin Chapter, R.A.M., No. 187; Past T.I.Master, Staunton Council, R. and S. M., No. 99; Past M.W. Master, Springfield Chapter, Rose Croix; First Lieut. Commander, Springfield Consistory, S.P.R.S.; member Knight Templar and Shrine; Past Patron, Carlinville Chapter, O.E.S., No. 802; Past Grand High Priest of Illinois; Committee on Fraternal Relations, Grand Chapter of Illinois.

Freemasonry in Mexico has had a long and turbulent existence. Numerous organizations, Masonic and quasi-Masonic, have sprung up, flourished for a brief period, and disappeared. The first reference to any organized Masonic activity is in 1806, when Arquitectura Moral [1] held its meetings in a little house in Mexico City, Calle de las Ratas No. 4. Its members were prominent Mexicans whose plans were to arrange for the day when the Spanish should be driven from the land. These meetings were soon brought to the attention of the Inquisition, the building raided, and the members vigorously persecuted.

From another source we learn that about 1810 [2] Masonry was introduced from Spain by civil and military officials of the Empire. The membership in these societies was confined almost entirely to persons of Spanish descent; very rarely were Mexicans admitted to membership. The ritual was that of the Scottish Rite.

Again, men of Anglo-Saxon descent together with the more educated class of Mexicans, not satisfied with the Spanish brand of Masonry, petitioned Grand Lodges in the United States for charters. The earliest record is that of Louisiana. [3] Two charters were issued, the first in 1816 to Los Amigos Reunidos, No. 8, at Vera Cruz; the other in 1817 to Reunion de la Vertud, No. 9, at Campeachy, Yucatan. Both soon became extinct. Further record of the first is unknown but the latter charter was forfeited Aug. 11, 1821.

The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania granted a charter, March 1, 1824 [4] to Hermanos legitimor de la luz del Papaloapan to be located at Alvarado, with Bro. Francisco Paula Lopez, as first Master; Bro. Jose Mari Guisasota, first Senior Warden; Bro. Jose Lucas de Aguibra, first Junior Warden. This lodge was constituted July 15, 1824, with eight members. On Sept. 4, 1826 the Grand Secretary reported that no return had ever been made by this lodge and on Feb. 6, 1837 the Grand Lodge declared the charter vacated. Nothing was ever heard from this lodge after it was constituted. However, these three lodges evidently maintained some sort of existence for several years, as we have a report that reads:

It must be borne in mind that the French Lodge Los Amigos Reunados, the English speaking Reunion de la Virtue and the Pennsylvania Dutch Lodge did not enter into the Confederation. [5]

The Confederation alluded to was the National Grand Lodge organized in the City of Mexico in 1825.

Another statement by the same writer, in speaking of the introduction of the Scottish Rite Supreme Council in 1859 reads:

It must ever be borne in mind that the National Lodge yet existed as also the three lodges which had not confederated with it. One French, one Dutch or German, an one conglomerated, composed mostly of foreigners. In or about the year 1850 the three lodges consolidated into one.

Is it possible that the ancient Louisiana and Pennsylvania charters were still in existence and being used unlawfully? Here is an interesting problem for some one with access to the Mexican archives. However the numerous warring faction probably preserved these as carefully as the Spanish preserved the Aztec picture writing!


The records of the Grand Lodge of New York [6] show that on Sept. 3, 1823,

The following petitions for new warrants were severally presented and read and the prayer of the petitioners granted, viz — From F. de Paula Lopez and others to hold a Lodge in the city of Vera Cruz, Republic of Mexico, by the name of Triunfo de la Livertad, recommended by Bro. Joseph Cerneau.

On Sept. 17 the Grand Lodge granted the necessary authority and named Bro. F. de Paula Lopez, Master Domingo Dufo, Senior Warden, and Pedro Landero, Junior Warden; the number assigned this lodge was 363. Continuing the record of Sept. 3 we find:

From John Barry and others to hold a Lodge in the City of La Guayra, in the Republic of Colombia by the name of La Guayra Lodge, recommended by Bro. Joseph Cerneau and others.

The endorsement on this charter read Mexico but that was erased and Colombia substituted.

In addition to these a third was granted:

On the 27th of December A. L. 5823 to Marie Radonieck, Master, Ramon Vallarine, Senior Warden, and Jose Marie Barrientos, Junior Warden, to hold a Lodge in the city of Panama in the Republic of Colombia, by the name of La Mejor Union No. 361

F. de Paula Lopez is named as Master of both the New York lodge at Vera Cruz in 1823 and that of Pennsylvania at Campeachy in 1824. Is it possible that this was the same man serving as Master in both lodges?

Two versions of the origin of the York Grand Lodge of Mexico are given, each being from parties who should have been in possession of the facts. The first is by Bro. George Fisher, [7] who gives the lodges as La Libertado, No. 1, La Federation, No., 2, and La Independencia, No. 3. Bro. Fisher stated that he was a member of No. 3 and its officers were Lorenzo de Xavala, W. M. (Senator from Yucatan); Gen. Vicente Fifisola (Native Italian), S. W.; and Juan de Dios Maygorga (Guatamalian Minister to Mexico), J. W., and that:

Bro. Jose Ignacio Estava was elected first Grand Master of Masons of Mexico; being the W.M. of Lodge La Federation, No. 2.

The other version is taken from the report on Foreign Grand Lodges made by Bro. Pinner to the Grand Lodge of New York in 1869. [8]

The knowledge of the condition of Masonry in that country is very limited. It is stated that, prior to the formation of the Republic of Mexico, a Lodge existed in that country, which worked according to the Scottish Rite. Early in the year 1826, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York, M. W. Stephen Van Rensselaer, received five applications for warrants for Lodges in the City of Mexico, through the United States Ambassador to Mexico, R.W. Bro. Poinsett. The Grand Lodge acted upon these petitions on the 10th of February, 1826, and warrants were granted for the following named Lodges: Tolerancia, No. 450; Luxe Mexicana, No. 451; Rosa Mexicana, No. 452; Federalista, No. 453; Independencia, No. 454. These charters were forwarded 'with government dispatches' in May, 1826. A number of Lodges soon sprung into existence, not only in the City of Mexico, but also in the country, and the number of members was then estimated at about 700, working both in the Spanish and English languages. Dissensions soon arose, one side adopted the Scotch Rite and the other the York Rite. In 1833 the lodges ceased to work altogether.

Stephen Van Rensselaer was Grand Master 1825-29, inclusive.


The same lodges are named in a letter by the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of New York, but the date of the charters appears to be two years earlier:

To M.W. Fredrick E. Young, Grand Master, Valle de Mexico, [9] P.O.B. 322 City of Mexico, Mex.

Dear Sir and Brother:

Replying to your letter of the 11th inst. permit me to say I find from the Records of the Grand Lodge, that on March 3, 1824, 'The Grand Secretary communicated that since the Quarterly Communication in June last the following new warrants have been issued.'

Included in the list of those is the following:

'On the 17th of September, A.L. 5823, to Francisco D.P. Lopez, Master, Domingos Dufoo, Senior Warden; Pedro Landero, Junior Warden; to hold a Lodge in the City of Veracruz, in the Republic of Mexico, by the name and style of Triunfo de la Libertad Lodge, No. 363.'

Subsequently the following other lodges were chartered:

450, Tolerancia

451, Luxe Mexicana

452, Rosa Mexicana Mexico

453, Federalista

454, Independench

On further investigation of the same minutes of Grand Lodge I find that on June 8th, 1832, a statement was made of Lodges in arrears for dues, with a recommendation that the charters be forfeited, and as an appendix to that report the Lodge at Veracruz and the five lodges at the city of Mexico were named, and the following resolution was adopted:

'Resolved, That the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge over Lodges in Michigan, Mexico and Columbia, be and is hereby transferred to the respective Grand Lodges within whose bounds they are situated.'


E. M. L. Ehlers,
Grand Secretary.

The credit for starting these lodges in the City of Mexico is generally conceded to Bro. J. R. Poinsett, U.S. Minister of Mexico, but this is undoubtedly an error.

Joel Roberts Poinsett was a native of Charleston, S.C. He was Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in 1821; [10] also a member of the State Legislature and of the U. S. Congress 1821-25. He was appointed U.S. Minister of Mexico by John Quincy Adams in June, 1825. On his arrival in Mexico it is said that he [11] aided in establishing lodges which were political centers. From the same authority we further learn that

Soon after arriving in Mexico, the Minister tells us, he found that five York lodges were in a formative state but had no regular standing, and, as he was a Mason of that Rite, a number of leading public men interested in them invoked his advice and aid.

However, it is not reasonable to suppose that he would ignore his own Grand Lodge in which he had taken such a prominent part and appeal to that of New York for authority to establish lodges in Mexico.


The records of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina do not bear out this supposition. At the quarterly communication of Dec. 15, 1826, a letter from Poinsett was read but, unfortunately, not preserved. In response to suggestions evidently contained in this letter the Grand Lodge adopted the following resoluton: [12]

That the Grand Lodge do constitute our worthy brother, Joel R. Poinsett, the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States near the Republic of Mexico, the Agent and Representative of the Grand Lodge, for the purpose of establishing friendly relations with the Lodges of the Republic. That our said Representative be authorized, in the name of the Grand Lodge, to visit and inspect the working of said Lodges, and, if deemed expedient, to grant dispensation for the constituting and working of Lodges according to the ancient landmarks, as fixed by this Grand Lodge; with a request that he will communicate to the Grand Lodge such information and advice as will enable it to promote the cause of Masonry in that country.

At the communication of the Grand Lodge in March, 1827, a letter, delayed in transit, from Bro. Poinsett was read: Mexico, 2d, June, 1826.

To the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South Carolina:

Most Worshipful Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 10 February, in which you informed me of the resolution of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina to present to the Grand Lodge of Mexico, through me, six copies of the Ahiman Rezon, in the name of the Grand Lodge South Carolina. Although I have not yet received the books, know that they are at Vera Cruz, and have communicated the intention of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina to this Grand Lodge.

The Grand Lodge of Mexico has, in consequence, requested to convey to you their grateful acknowledgments for this mark of your attention, and their earnest desire to cultivate the most friendly relations with the Grand Lodge of South Carolina. You will, I am sure, be pleased to learn that Masonry making rapid progress in this new country. The Grand Lodge of Mexico counts thirteen subordinate Lodges under its jurisdiction.

I have the honor to be,
Most Worshipful Sir,
Yours, most fraternally,
J.R. Poinsett.

Bro. Pinner said the charters were forwarded in May, 1826. All communication with Mexico at that time was by sea and letters from New York would require several weeks to reach that country. Poinsett's letter of June 2 showed a Grand Lodge with thirteen subordinates already in existence. The letter of the Grand Secretary fixed the date of the charters in 1824, over a year before Poinsett was appointed Minister to Mexico.

A third date is given for these charters. The following statement is taken from a well-known history but the author does not give his authority: [13]

During the year 1825 certain political clubs were organized under the name and forms of Masonic lodges of the York Rite, their founder being rector of a parish in Tabasco, and senator of that state. In opposition to them were the Scottish Rite lodges, organized between 1813 and 1826, and among their members were Negrete, Echavarri, Guerrero, and many prominent leaders, this party being in favor of restoring the monarchy.

That the Grand Lodge of Mexico was in active operation for some time and well known is shown by the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Texas for 1877 from which the following petition is copied: [14]

At a meeting of Ancient York Masons, held in the town of San Felipe de Austin, on the 11th day of February, 1828, for the purpose of taking into consideration the expediency of petitioning the York Grand Lodge of Mexico for granting a charter or dispensation for organizing a subordinate Lodge at this place, the following brethren were present: Bros. H. H. League, Stephen F. Austin, Ira Ingram, Eli Mitchell, Joseph White, G. B. Ball, and Thos. M. Duke.

On motion of Bro. Ingram, and seconded, Bro. H. H. League was appointed chairman, and Thos. M. Duke, secretary.

On motion of Bro. Stephen F. Austin, and seconded, it was unanimously agreed that we petition the Grand York Lodge of Mexico for a charter or dispensation to organize a Lodge at this place to be called the Lodge of Union.

On balloting for officers of the Lodge, the following brothers were duly elected: Bros. S. F. Austin, Master; Bro. Ira Ingram, Senior Warden; Bro. H. H. League, Junior Warden.

Signed, H.H. League, Chairman.

Attest: Thomas M. Duke, Secretary.

This petition was never forwarded because civil war had broken out and the rival Scottish (Escoseses) and York (Yorkinos) bodies soon lost all power and influence and Masonry degenerated into a political feud. To show the depths into which Masonry fell the following description is given:

After the Iodges had been established, crowds ran to initiate themselves into the mysteries of Freemasonry; persons of all conditions, from the opulent magnates down to the humblest artisans.

In the Scotch Lodges were the Spaniards who were disaffected towards the independent Mexicans who had taken up arms against the original insurgents through error or ignorance; those who obstinately declared themselves in favor of calling the Spanish Bourbons to the Imperial Throne of Mexico; those who disliked the Federal system; the partisans of the ancient regime; the enemies of all reform, even when reforms were necessary as the consequence of independence. To this party belonged the partisans of Iturbide, [15] those who were passionately devoted to monarchy and the privileged classes.

In the assemblage of the Yorkinos were united all who were republicans from conviction, and those who followed the popular current — the mass of the people having devoted themselves to this organization. It is enough to say, in order to mark the position of both parties, that among the Yorkinos figured, in great numbers, those who believed the name REPUBLICAN was not a mere imagination.

Some individuals of both associations had the same object and the same identical end, and only differed in the modes of making their principles triumphant.


Another account reads: [16]

At this date the principal party factions were, therefore, the Yorkinos, liberals or democrats, consisting of the revolutionists, the creoles, and mestizos, with but little education, and without administrative ability, as against the Escosesea — this being the name given to members of Scottish Lodges — including the clergy, the royalists, and all who believed in the government of the many by the few. At the elections held toward the end of 1826, the York lodges were victorious in the federal districts, though in Vera Cruz and a few of the less influential states the vote was against them.

Mexico suffered a very serious financial reverse in 1827 which caused the ministry (Escoseses) to become unpopular. A strenuous effort was made to regain the lost prestage by proclaiming the plan of Montana (named after a Lieut.-Col.), though its real leader was Nicolas Bravo, the Grand Master. Bravo attempted to carry out his plan by force of arms but was soon captured after a feeble resistance. [17]

This disaster not only left the Escoseses powerless, but eventually overthrew the Yorkino party. The latter faction, which now held the control of power, might have done good service to the republic by correcting abuses, introducing improvements, and securing peace and tranquility; but it consisted mainly of ambitious and unscrupulous men, by whom the national welfare was held in no consideration. Dissensions broke out among them, and soon paved the way for the downfall and extinction of the party.

Thus it will be seen that Masonry became popular only as a means of conducting political activity in secret. The principles of Masonry, as we understand them, were not then, and never have been, popular with the masses in Mexico. Soon after its introduction gorgeous forms and ceremonies in imitation of, and opposition to, those of the church of Rome were established. I again quote from Bro. Fisher: [18]

The Mexicans did not realize the Spirit of Masonry, although they were captivated with the forms, ceremonies, and the ritual, as the imposing and costly paraphernalia of the Lodges (that of the Grand Lodge cost over $3,000) and the Grand Lodge bore much similarity with that of the Roman Catholic Church, especially that of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Mexico, typifying the Pontifical and Levitical Orders of Priesthood, but these curiosities soon became an every-day occurrence, and hence obsolete; same as the religious festivities in Spanish America.

What became of the records, jewels, furniture, and other paraphernalia of the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter is generally not known but it is supposed that they are kept in trust by some of the brethren who occupied high positions in the fraternity.


About 1825 when civil war was well under way, nine prominent representatives of both Rites assembled in the City of Mexico and organized the National Rite of Mexico. Membership was limited to members of lodges of either Rite and six additional degrees were fabricated. This organization contained innovations and principles different from any other claiming to be Masonic and cannot be considered a member of the Masonic family.

The years that followed were filled with revolution and disorder and, as Masonry hath been always injured by war, bloodshed, and confusion, it is not surprising that all trace of these early lodges has been lost.

In 1843 another attempt was made to establish a lodge at Vera Cruz when the Supreme Council of France chartered St. John d'Ulloa; and again in 1845 when the Grand Orient of France chartered Les Ecossais des Deux Mondes in the City of Mexico.

In 1847 the Grand Lodge of Mississippi [19], issued a dispensation to Quitman Lodge, No. 96, at Vera Cruz and the charter was granted in 1849. This lodge was unable to survive as the charter was taken up the same year it was issued.

A few feeble organizations claiming to be Masonic maintained a fitful existence until 1859, when James Lohse formed Lodge Union Fraternal, No. 1. Soon after, Lohse tells us, was formed [20]

Lodge Emules de Hiram to work in French. Later, as I had a great many German friends, I got together a number of them and formed the Lodge Eintracht. These all got charters from the Grand Lodge Neo Granadino, of Cartagena, Republic of Colombia.

Some three years later, in 1862, these three lodges joined and formed the Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico, with myself as the first Grand Master, a position I held until 1872.

Other authorities claim that Lohse divided Union Fraternal into three lodges and from these parts organized the Grand Lodge.

About this time a Scottish Rite Supreme Council was organized in Vera Cruz. The proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, 1884, state that:

In the year 1858, or 1859, Bro. Lafon de Ladebat went to Mexico with authority from Albert Pike (Of Washington, D.C.) to organize and establish Masonry on a sound basis in that country. Unfortunately Bro. Ladebat did not organize a Grand Lodge of Symbolic Masonry first, as instructed, but constituted the Supreme Council, with jurisdiction over the three degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.

From the same proceedings in 1897, the words of Bro. J. Q. A. Fellows, Committee on Correspondence, are authority, Bro. Fellows at the time being the Inspector General 33rd degree, Southern Jurisdiction, Scottish Rite:

The chairman of this committee well knows that, Bro. Charles Laffon, of New Orleans, then a member Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction, went to to establish Masonry and a Supreme Council in that country. We have yet to learn that there was a single lodge in existence in Mexico at that time. I know that he made a number of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General (Thirty-third Degree Masons), established the Supreme Council, and there being no affiliated Masons in the country — so I understand from his return — he made Masons, and created them Thirty-thirds. If there were lodges or Masons in Mexico at that time, he did not so report (and there may have been), I would like some proof of the fact.

We have now reached the limit of the subject and beginnings of a new era. The progress of Masonr through the Grand Logia Valle de Mexico and various Scottish Rite bodies to the present time is other story and cannot be told here.


  1. Mexican Masonry and the Men Who Made it. Light. June 15, 1916; Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Mas. Lib. Ass'n., Cincinnati, O.
  2. Gould's History; Vol. IV; Edition, 1889; page 174. T. S. Parvin, Report to Grand Lodge, Iowa, 1896.
  3. Letter from G. Sec'y., La., Nov. 8, 1923.
  4. Letter from G. Sec'y., Pa., Nov. 23, 1923.
  5. Notes on History G. L. Valle de Mexico, Freston, P.G.M., York G. L.
  6. Letter from G. Sec'y., N.Y., Nov. 1, 1923; also G. Hist., Nov., 1923.
  7. George Fisher, P.M. Temple Lodge, No. 4, Houston, Texas; G. Sec'y., G. L. Texas, 1839-40.
  8. Pro. G.L. Ill., 1869, App.; page 259
  9. Pro. York G.L., 1907; page 140.
  10. Letter from G.Sec'y., S.Car, Nov. 21, 1923.
  11. Amer. Antiquarian Soc., New Series, Vol. XXIV; Poinsett's career in Mex.
  12. Mackey's History of Freemasonry in S. Car.; page 209.
  13. History of Mexico; H. H. Bancroft, Edition 1914; page 405.
  14. Pro. G.L. Illinois, 1878: age CLXIX, appendix.
  15. Don Augustin de Iturbide, Emperor of Mexico, 1822-23.
  16. See note 13.
  17. See note 13.
  18. Masonic Review, Oct., 1858. Letter of Geo. Fisher to Rob. Morris, D. G. M., Ky.
  19. Letter from G. Sec'y., Miss, Nov., 15, 1923.
  20. Pro. Alabama 1922; app.; page 324. Letter of Lohse.

* * *


Bro. W. Mark Sexson, Oklahoma

In the article below the organizer of this new movement composed of girls from Masonic and Eastern Star families and their friends sets forth his reasons for founding the organization, and defines its field of action. Bro. W. Mark Sexson was born at Armica Springs, Missouri, on the 8th day of July, 1877. He was initiated, passed and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Bloomfield Lodge, No. 80, at Bloomfield, Indiana, in 1902. He was made Master of the Royal Secret, 32 degree, in Oklahoma Consistory, No. 1, at Guthrie, May 30, 1907, and was made a 33 degree Mason and coroneted an Honorary Inspector General of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, by its Supreme Council, at Washington, D. C., on Oct. 24, 1913. Bro. Sexson is also a Royal Arch Mason of Indian Chapter, No. 1, North McAlester; a Noble of the Mystic Shrine, holding active membership with India Temple at Oklahoma City, and honorary membership in Bedouin Temple, at Muskogee, and Akdar Temple, at Tulsa; a member of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, Grotto; and also a Past Master of South McAlester Lodge, No. 96, and Past Patron of South McAlester Chapter, No. 149, O.E.S. He is the present Associate Grand Patron of the Grand Chapter, O.E.S., and Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge, A. F. & A. M., Oklahoma.

SLOWLY rising out of age old planning, a new structure appears, proclaiming a new material out of which we may build enduring architecture. No doubt many have thought of it before, but few have expressed their thoughts in words. Today among those whose plans and dreams are wrought out a the hope of a new endurance, we find many timely and interesting words. President Coolidge speaking on The Miracle of Life said:

Men build monuments above the graves of their heroes to mark the end of a great life, but women seek out the birthplace and build a shrine, not where a great life had its ending, but where it had its beginning, seeking with a truer instinct the common source of things.

We call your attention in our first paragraph to a new consecration, involving the use of a material that the old world doomed to the slave block, but which we gradually discover to be one-half of our civilization. We refer to the girlhood of the nation, the wives and mothers of men tomorrow.

There is just enough of the human in every creature, even though endowed with a sense of the spiritual and the immortal, to build out of stone and mortar some local shrine around which he would perpetuate his thoughts in his kinsmen and his friends. Out of this innate desire to perpetuate himself has grown man's temples of religion and his schools of learning.

While engaged in building these, he struggles against a local power which appeals to his ambitions and sometimes hides the soul of his task so that as the ages pass the real purpose of his temple building is lost in the rubbish; but as we come to understand his purpose, why he thus toiled and wrought, it was in the hope of an immortality that might ever endure on the earth.

In the rejoicing and the gladness that comes to a generation that is permitted to leave its monuments of stone and marble, proclaiming its victory by some outward manifestation, it forgets that averse winds and storms may come and that while it rejoices in the handiwork of the hour, an enemy plants the seed of discord in the heart of childhood that plays around its foundation stone, and the proudest work of their hands falls before the sword and fire of the avenger; and great building periods are many times followed by social storms, in which civilization declines.

This might be called in America, among the Masons, the Age of the Builder. From one Coast to the other, and from Canada to the Gulf, we have found Masonic fraternities, and the Order of the Eastern Star, as well as other bodies identified with them, actively engaged in wonderful building enterprises. It is even beyond the average member to grasp the amount of time, money and energy that is being placed in these cathedrals, temples and lodges. We are all proud of the fact that we have been privileged to live in the Age of the Builder, when his dream has actually come true, and from every source the architect returns the builder's working tools back into the hands of the Master, for the work is almost done.


Yet, are we mindful of the fact that while these magnificent cathedrals and temples have been slowly growing out of the years past, which now in our own generation we see bursting forth in their completed glory, that in the sand and mortar, and the materials and the rubbish out of which they sprang, there has been playing, carelessly and freely, a generation of children? Of what avail shall it be to us to build if we do not teach the children who play about the foundation of the building to love the structure? Shall the child not know to love and honour the work of his father's hands? Or must he be compelled to go to some other place than the Temple itself, to find the part that his father has had in the making of a civilization which made his building possible? These are not idle questions, neither can they be dismissed by a single wave of the hand, or by throwing this article in the waste basket; for if we attempt to dismiss them in that way, they will become ghosts to haunt us in the night of despair and darkness.

Two years ago in McAlester, Okla., we organized the Order of the Rainbow for Girls. We did this because we wanted to take the girls of our own homes and their close friends and associates and chaperon them and direct their girlish activities. In asking the Order of the Eastern Star and the Masonic lodge to sponsor this movement, we did not feel that we were placing ourselves in the attitude of disturbing a landmark; we were only asking them to take the children, the natural growth and fruitage of their homes, under their protecting care during the most impressionable period of their lives.

Sometimes a task is thrust upon us — as truly this seems to have been — and we do many things that come about as a result of awakened activities and deeper interest in our general welfare. Just where these awakening periods have their beginning, we are not able to say. They are like the moral awakenings that come to the individual many times during his life. It is true that for centuries these two great Fraternities made rapid progress, without attempting to extend the program of their activities into junior work, and if other organizations had not emphasized the importance of child activities, we could have gone on indefinitely without turning our hand to the task.


The tendencies of the time in which we are living are those of discovering, if possible, a practical solution. Men and women are apparently tired of beautiful theories of human life; they do not want dogma and creed; they want to see the result of their teaching manifesting itself in practical every day things. They turned their attention to, not a new, but another, interpretation of the world's Greatest Character. They found Him seated around the table with His disciples, at the lunch hour, and out of that grew the noon-day clubs; the fraternal spirit of business men; that business and government has a soul; that both are the children of fraternal effort seeking expression in the natural lives of men. They found that the Greatest Teacher spoke of His Kingdom as a marvellous affair of Peace, Harmony and Unity, one that the gates of hell itself could not prevail against. It was a fraternalism that embraced the nations of the earth, a forecast and prophecy of every great international league or movement that the world might make toward universal brotherhood. It was an exalted ideal — a world converted into a great family and its foundation was in childhood.

The task of extending our fraternal activities into our homes is one that the age has thrust upon us and we can no more withstand it than we could withstand any other movement of progress.

From some sources it has been suggested that Masonry and the Order of the Eastern Star should begin to use the pruning knife and cut off these various organizations. We doubt not the sincerity of those who offer these suggestions, but we doubt their vision. For to do as they suggest would be to destroy the fertility of the field which we have been preparing, and to withhold our hand from it while an enemy sowed the tares out of which would spring up a growth and fruit that would be unfriendly to American prosperity and interests.

In a few short years Masonry has unconsciously entered the field of education; it could not remain on the outside of the great movements that were so vital to the life of our people. From the very beginning of our civilization, wherever opportunity presented itself, her voice was lifted in behalf of Liberty, Freedom and Equality. Her very life blood has been spent in proclaiming doctrines and teachings that were calculated to make men free to think and plan and build for themselves. Now that there has appeared here and there in our country growing tendencies to overlook and destroy American institutions, and especially unfriendly to free public schools, it was a most natural thing that this great Fraternity should lift its voice in protest against these evil tendencies and openly declare herself the friend of education; throwing aside that reserve which for centuries had been one of her characteristics, she enters boldly into the arena, publicly proclaiming herself the friend of every man and every institution that stands for the education of all of our citizenship.

You cannot talk of education and the possibilities of education, unless you include in your conversation the children of all of our homes. It has been a difficult matter to create enthusiasm over the possibilities that lay wrapped up in boys, the value of which would make the gold and silver of centuries as worthless as pewter; and we must learn that this is only one-half of our civilization, and if civilization is to save itself from many pitfalls, its conscience must be awakened to the fact that we must have a great and heroic girlhood. In our saner moments, when we are willing to sweep aside all things else, save the bare facts, face our problems as a great Fraternity should face them, we shall have an awakened conscience for we believe that the time is not far distant when a brother or sister of any fraternity shall absolutely know that the time, the talent, and the money spent at the altar of any institution that does not co-ordinate its interests with the girl, who will be the guiding hand of tomorrow, is eventually spent in vain.


In the Order of the Rainbow for Girls, now organized in twenty-four states in the Union, having over two hundred thirty sponsorships, which in less than two years offers a membership of twelve thousand throughout the United States, we propose at every opportunity possible to place in the hands of our girls a record of the activities of these great Fraternities; we propose that they shall know who has had part in the making and moulding of American civilization; that they shall love the buildings that have been erected by their father's hands, and that wherever there is a temple or cathedral, exemplifying the story of some ancient ceremony, beautifully proclaimed in its rituals, that its most significant and outstanding work shall be, not its ability to proclaim the past, or necessarily prophesy the future, but touch with its own hands the living, breathing present.

There are many valuable agencies in the Masonic Fraternity and in the Order of the Eastern Star which have grown up in the last few years, and which offer to the membership new opportunities, which will bring new vision.

Twenty years ago these movements would have been looked upon with a degree of suspicion; but today, almost every Grand Jurisdiction is emphasizing the necessity of lodge libraries and educational programs; national organizations have sprung up with no other thought in mind than to emphasize the literary and historical side of the institution in order to make it more attractive to a thinking age; and in this period when more young men and young women are entering colleges and universities than we really have room to accommodate it appears that our Fraternities are conscious of this new generation that will be thrust upon them, and they are setting forth in their program to be able to rise with the tide, not forgetting that those who are responsible for creating our first lectures were not unmindful of the possibilities of the work we are engaged upon and, therefore, defined it as a progressive science. Having associated with us in our organization some of the very brightest minds of the Fraternities, we shall take the intellectual drippings from this new sanctuary, the Masonic literature, art and architecture that shall certainly be claimed and designated as a result of these agencies, and through or own junior program present them to the girlhood of America.


As suggested in our own ritual, under the head, To Create Interest in Better Things, we are calling attention to our program covering a period of time from June 1 to Sept. 1. It is designed to take care of the vacational period and, therefore, not to conflict with the school girl's activities. At the same time it is so planned as to fit into her vacation and really furnish her an instructive program.

As a result of the interest in their possibilities, we hope to create a desire on the part of the sponsoring bodies, with our assistance, to provide for regional meetings where girls may have an opportunity of spending some of their vacation in the out of doors, chaperoned by Masonic and Eastern Star members and teachers. Not unlike other out-of-door camp life, save its method of teaching, it enters a field which has not been offered to girls and which will show the relationship that should really be sustained between them and the fraternity life back of them. This program is only designed as a beginning, being really the first ever opened under such auspices, and while it may be in many ways incomplete, we will be able to lay the foundation out of which will come, in years, a real Masonic education, the result of which will be a well defined Masonic life.


  1. Beginning of American civilization.
    1. History of Freemasonry and the Order of the Eastern Star.
    2. General history.
    3. Local history of the Orders in the Grand Jurisdiction in which the Assembly is located.
  2. Study of Literature and Architecture.
    1. Masonic literature and architecture as related to junior life.
    2. Masonic literature and architecture as related to character building.
    3. Masonic literature and architecture as related to local history of the Grand Jurisdiction in which the Assembly is located.
  3. Presentation of Masonic and Eastern Star heroes and heroines. (Designed to create a study in reverence and respect for superiors and those who have charge of affairs over us.)
  4. The Home and Religious life.
    1. The beauty and sanctity of the home as related to its surroundings; interior decorations; yard landscaping, etc.
    2. Primary lessons in woman's relationship to school and political life.
    3. Origin of free public schools. Designed to put the girl life back of the educational program provided by Masonic interests in the Grand Jurisdiction where the Assembly is located.
    4. Hospitals. Fraternal relationship to the sick.

* * *

Therefore, as we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight, or for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them: "See! This is our fathers did for us!"

— Ruskin.

* * *


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

EMINENT authorities, such as Gould, have named the place where Lafayette was initiated. These statements have been repeated but never verified. The writer just received a letter from Bro. Stith M. Cain, Grand Secretary of Tennessee, in which that well informed Masonic authority writes:

Your inquiry concerning what Lafayette said in his speech to the Grand Lodge in 1825, has been received.

The proceedings do not give his speech in full, but it is said that Lafayette made a feeling and appropriate reply in substance, as follows. In the synopsis of his speech the following appears: 'He had,' he said, 'been long a member of the Order, having been initiated, young as he was, even before entering the service of our country, in the Revolutionary War.'

Lafayette was induced to come to the United States by Silas Dean, our Commissioner in France. Unlike Von Steuben, De Kalb, Pulaski, or Kosciusko, all of whom came without condition, Marquis de La Fayette required a contract, the original of which is now in the library at Hartford. Dean's own letter concerning the matter reads as follows:

Contract signed Get. 7, 1776, by Marquis de La Fayette under which he came 'to aid the United States of North America' because of the justice of their cause.

The wish shown by the Marquis de La Fayette to serve in the troops of the United States of North America, and the interest he takes in the justice of their cause, causing him to long for occasion to distinguish himself in the war and make himself as useful as lies in his power, but is unable to rely on obtaining his family's consent to his service in foreign countries beyond the seas, unless he should go with the rank of a General.

I thought I could do my country and my constituents no greater service than by awarding to him, in the name of the Right Honorable Congress, the grade of Major General, which I beg the States to confirm and ratify and to issue his commission for him to hold and take his rank from this date with the Generals of the same grade.

His high birth, connections, the high offices held by his family at this court, his large estates in the Kingdom; his personal merits; reputation; disinterestedness and, above all, his zeal for the freedom of our provinces alone could induce me to promise him the aforesaid grade of Major General in the name of the United States. In faith whereof I have signed the presents, made in Paris this seventh day of December, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six.

* * *


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


JAMES MONROE, the fifth President of the United States, was a Mason. For many years no evidence was available to show his membership, but it happens that some time ago I had the good fortune to discover that he was at one time a member of Kilwinning-Crosse Lodge, No. 2, in Virginia, a fact shown by the lodge records. At about the same time, and independently of myself, Bro. William L. Boyden, Librarian of the Supreme Council, A. & A. S. R., Washington, D. C., discovered proofs to show that Monroe had been a member of Williamsburg Lodge, No. 6, Williamsburg, Va. This apparently contradictory fact may probably be explained by Monroe's having been a member of both lodges at different periods of his career.

James Monroe was born in West Walden County, Virginia, in 1758, of English ancestors, the first of the name having been an army officer under Charles I, who emigrated with other cavaliers to Virginia in 1657. James was educated in William and Mary College. After entering the army in 1776 he soon rose to a lieutenancy and was active in the campaigns of Hudson River and Trenton, where he captured one of the enemy's batteries and was wounded in the shoulder. In 1777 he was made aide-de-camp with the rank of major. It seems that his army experience terminated with the battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth.

After returning to Virginia he studied law under the supervision of Thomas Jefferson, then governor of the state. He was elected to the Virginia Assembly when but twenty-three years of age. He was sent to Congress in 1783, where he advocated an extension of the powers of Congress such as would invest that body with authority to regulate trade between states; this led to the Annapolis Convention and the subsequent adoption of the Federal Constitution.

In 1785 Monroe married Miss Kortright, a great beauty in New York, noted for many accomplishments. He was a delegate to the Virginia Convention to decide upon the adoption of the Federal Constitution; and in 1790 was elected a senator, having taken the anti-Federal side in politics. He was sent as Minister to France in 1794, and was there received with enthusiasm; but his marked sympathy with the French was not altogether pleasing to the State Department at home.

In the year that Washington died Monroe was elected governor of Virginia. At the termination of his term, he was sent again to France to join with the Minister, Livingston, in carrying on negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase, a bit of difficult diplomacy handled with great cleverness and which enabled this nation to come into possession of an enormous and fertile territory for the sum of $15,000,000. Later on Monroe was sent as Minister to England; and later still as Minister to Spain; in the latter case he was entrusted with the task of adjusting the differences with Spain in relation to the Louisiana boundaries, but he was not very successful in this and returned to England.

In 1811 he was again elected Governor of Virginia. In Madison's administration he was made Secretary of State. After the capture of Washington in 1814 Monroe was placed in charge of the War Department and seems to have conducted a judicious administration.

In 1817 he was elected President of the United States on what was then called the Democratic-Republican ticket. It was during his administration that the Navy Department was created by Congress, the War of 1812 having shown that the Army and Navy could not be managed well under one head.

During his administration a great deal of trouble arose among the Spanish Colonies in South America. South American buccaneers, under pretense of having commissions from their various governments, began to molest our commerce. They seized Amelia Island off the harbor of St. Augustine, and soon began to smuggle merchandise and slaves into the United States. The United States Navy soon broke up these depredations.

The condition of the South American republics excited much sympathy in the United States; many advocated giving them aid, and many others wished to extend them formal recognition.

The friction between old Spain and her South American Colonies was critical; smuggling, piracy and slave-trading were increasing. At about this same time General Jackson made war on the Indians in the Indian Territory and hanged many of the hostile chiefs on the grounds that they had been making war on this nation. Jackson seized the only Spanish fort in the disturbed part of Florida, giving as excuse that the officers were aiding the Indians in their hostility to the United States. Spain's Minister at Washington complained of Jackson's arbitrary acts. The final upshot of all these disturbances was that Florida was ceded to the United States on the consideration that the United States assume a debt of $5,000,000.

In 1822 Henry Clay advocated recognition of the South American republics, but without success; afterwards, however, a bill was passed, and in the next year President Monroe incorporated in his message to Congress the famous sentence reading, As a principle the American continents by the free and independent position which they have assumed and maintained are henceforth not to be considered the subjects for future colonization by any European powers. This came to be called the Monroe Doctrine.

The last year of Monroe's administration was signalized by the visit of Lafayette as the nation's guest. Out of office Monroe retired to his home at Oak Hill, Va. After his wife's death, in 1830, he moved to New York City, where he died in 1831. In 1850 his remains were moved to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Va., where a beautiful memorial was erected.

* * *


Bro. James H. Price, P.G.M., Virginia

In his Grand Master's Address, delivered to the last Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, Bro. James H. Price gave utterance to some suggestions for subordinate lodges of such pertinency and value that we asked his consent to republish them here.

GREATER attention should be paid to the condition of lodge rooms. Our meeting places should be comfortable, well ventilated and lighted, attractive and neatly kept. The most modest lodge room can be made homelike and restful at small expense. Walls may be simply decorated or papered; floors neatly carpeted; broken glass replaced and windows cleaned without seriously depleting the treasury. I have observed that in our attractive, neatly kept lodge rooms, and we have some beautiful ones in Virginia, there is a dignity and impressiveness about the work that has a wonderful appeal. Someone has very aptly expressed the thought in these words: Make and keep your lodge rooms and precincts worthy of the 'House Beautiful.' Ventilate well both ideas and atmosphere.

Greater care should be observed in the preservation of our records. These become more valuable as the years accumulate. It may not be possible in all cases to secure safes, or even fire resisting cabinets, but other means of protection are frequently available at little or no inconvenience. In one case, a Master informed me that the records of his lodge were made up of several unfinished minute books; that when a new secretary was elected he always provided himself with a new record book. Another lodge about to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary finds two years of its existence not covered in its available records, and the suggested explanation is that a beloved and faithful secretary, some time since called to his reward, had the misfortune to lose his dwelling by fire during his incumbency of the office and it is presumed that these records were destroyed at the same time. Secretaries might add a great deal of historical interest to their records in not confining themselves so closely to the printed forms, which, of course, cover the essentials, but we have no inhibition in our laws against a proper elaboration of lodge events of interest and importance.

In the present day, when sectional bookcases are so easily obtainable, each lodge should have at least the nucleus of a library. This Grand Lodge provides each lodge with four copies of its printed proceedings each year. Care should be taken to preserve in the lodge an unbroken set of proceedings covering the period of the lodge's existence. To these may be added at small cost certain standard books on Masonry, to which ambitious brethren may have access under proper rules and regulations. I have been unable to locate a copy of our latest proceedings even in some lodges.

In many cases, no insurance is carried on lodge property; in others, the protection is insufficient. A lodge through its officers should exercise the same prudence in the management of its affairs that the careful business man employs in his business.

Some of our lodges, particularly in the cities, have grown large and unwieldly. The personal touch with the membership is lost, and opportunities for good fellowship greatly lessened. It is not my purpose to suggest any standard, but my mind harks back to the good old days when you and I knew personally every member of the lodge; when his sorrows were ours, and when our hearts and tongues joined in promoting each other's welfare, and rejoiced in each other's prosperity.

Some of our officers represent commercial enterprises which deal with Masons only. I am convinced that this is a bad practiee, though it may be good business from the commercial viewpoint. It is a most difficult matter to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to Masonry the service and loyalty that is properly the right of the Fraternity.

The Master's duties include more than conferring degrees, and he should not confine himself exclusively to his sacred precincts in the East. Wardens should be encouraged to do more degree work, and the Master permitted to give more time to the supervision and direction of the lodge's activities. No brother, however humble, should fail to receive a word of greeting from the Master; and Senior Deacons should put a proper emphasis on the importance of the introduction and accommodation of visiting brethren. Opportunities for social intercourse should be given a place in the life of the lodge, and a roster of the widows and the orphans of our deceased brethren kept so that they may not be overlooked.

And, lastly, all degree work should be done with dignity and decorum, and made as impressive as possible. Candidates should be courteously treated, and not subjected to embarrassment or ridicule, or their minds filled with disturbing apprehensions. Our lodges, as a rule, are particularly free of levity, I am happy to say, and our work is splendidly rendered.

* * *


The Trail of the Red Serpent

OUR great American cities these days are writing diaries of crime. The increase of murders, robberies, burglaries, assaults, rapes, defalcations, official malfeasance, of betrayals of public trust, and of sex atrocities is so appalling as to shock the stoutest nature and give rise to the profoundest misgivings. What is to become of all this, this witch carnival, this Brocken of lesbianism, Sadism, atrocities, and so general contempt for the safeties and decencies of life? Must it gather power and volume like an overflowing muddy river, or can it be held up and curbed, so that once again in the great centers it will become safe for a citizen to walk alone on the streets at night?

In New York City — it is not mentioned as a horrible example, for other cities are as bad — 82 persons were indicted for murder in 1922 in Manhattan Borough alone; by another year this jumped to 126. In the latter year 702 were indicted for assault; 519 for burglary; 439 for robbery; 1,894 for grand larceny; 214 for forgery, and 76 for rape. In the whole city 350 homicides were recorded in 1922, an increase of 78 over 1918, and among these there were only four convictions of murder in the first degree. This number of homicides would be bad enough for the whole country, if we were well governed.

The picture grows darker still when to the volume of crime is added its increasing heinousness and daring. A little while ago the nation was shocked when two Chicago university students, one of them a disciple of Cellini and both of them devil worshipers, murdered a fellow-student merely for the fun of it, and then laughed in the face of the public; but that crime, diabolical as it was, could be matched by scores more, equally revolting. In several cities criminal gangs have their own Tammany-like organizations, their own lawyers, and their own political representation. In one city last Christmas — the fact was played up as a bit of interesting news in the dailies — several gangs collected a Christmas purse to divide among their members then in penitentiaries.

At the bottom of all this, and as making it possible, is an increasing general indifference to the duties of citizenship, because of which the machinery of government and politics becomes weak and political cynicism spreads everywhere. Rising from this, stratum above stratum, are secondary causes, almost too numerous to be mentioned.

A sick sentimentalism that feels more pity for the criminal than for his victims, more concern for his welfare than for the welfare of the public.

The demoralizing power of great wealth in weak hands.

The slackening or loosening of moral bonds.

The yellow press which, by its display of all the details of crime, fix ideas in weak minds.

Sex-mad theatres, movies, red magazines and popular novels. Failure of courts to punish.

The law's delays.

Criminal lawyers who uproot justice at the roots to save known criminals.

Abuse of the parole system.

The coddling of criminals.

Machine politics.

Spreading of the gang spirit among non-criminals, so that unofficial citizens try to take the law into their own hands.

The dope habit, bootleg liquor.

Concentrated poverty in populous centers.

The break-up of the family.

A general decay of religion, with its reverence, to quote the beautiful language of the De Molay ritual, for sacred things.

For all this there is no panacea, no patent medicine, no rapid cure, no reform scheme to work automatically but only a retrenchment in each individual of the old homely virtues, such as are enjoined on a Mason at the door of the lodge, such as have been taught in all the churches, in schools, and by the good and wise of every generation. There is no substitute for morality.

Why should not the Fourth of July, which has so long kept its face turned backward toward 1776, be transformed into a festival of patriotism with its face to the future? For the next few years it would be well if leaders in every community were to issue on that day a solemn call to every citizen to dedicate himself anew to his public duties; brass bands, fireworks, and picnics might be shoved into the background as not altogether appropriate just now, and in their place might be set a solemn altar of public duty before which we could all kneel in reaffirmation of the ancient pieties of the land, to the end that our dead of many wars, and our heroes of a hundred achievements of peace, shall not have died in vain.

* * *


In his address delivered before the Grand Lodge of New York, May, 1923, Bro. Arthur S. Tompkins urged upon his Grand Lodge that it launch an official Masonic journal of its own, and described the need for it in this fashion:

The subject of an official Grand Lodge periodical has engaged the attention of Grand Lodge for some time. There has been a well grounded feeling that an organization of our size, strength and character, the oldest and largest in the world should have a publication that would authoritatively present to the Craft in attractive form Masonic news and activities and reflect our attitude on the vital questions of the day. There are many so-called Masonic publications that do not correctly interpret Masonic thought and sometimes place our Fraternity in a false light before the world. Some of them fan the flame of intolerance, while true Masonry seeks to allay that spirit. Some of these publications represent Masonry as the foe of this class or this creed, when as a matter of fact Masonry is opposed to no creed or class, so long as there is nothing un-American or immoral in its teaching or activity, and to keep our Fraternity right before the world and to make known its true doctrine and to refute those things published in the name of Masonry that are not Masonic, as well as to keep our brethren informed on Masonic subjects, I believe that we should have official Grand Lodge publication.

At the same Annual Communication a Special Committee reported in favor of a periodical. The report was adopted, and a standing committee was appointed, with Bro. Harold J. Richardson as chairman. Since that time this standing committee has distributed gratuitously to all New York Masons three copies of a "Bulletin of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of New York", funds being supplied by Grand Lodge Trustees; and in the meantime has been preparing the way for the new official periodical. In the last "Bulletin" announcement is made of readiness to issue the first number of the new monthly, under the title of The New York Masonic Outlook, an appropriate and happy name for such a journal.

THE BUILDER extends to this new co-worker Godspeed and all good fortune, endless years of prosperity, and an overgrowing influence among the army of New York Masons; to Bro. Richardson and his committee it sends its congratulations upon a great and constructive piece of work well done, with every promise of greater work for the future; and to Bro. Tompkins the hope that this project will come in time to signalize his Grand Mastership and prove monumental aere perennius!

* * *


A survey of recent Grand Lodge proceedings shows that the old debate over the physical qualifications question will not down. It is a lucky Grand Lodge that does not have to argue this at least every other year; a fortunate Grand Master who does not have to pass on it in making decisions.

In reading the discussions as reported it strikes one that in the majority of cases it is not physical qualifications that are discussed, but disqualifications. Can a man with one eye be made a Mason? with a wooden leg? with a finger missing? with a stiff joint?

Liberals hold that the old rule requiring physical perfection is a holdover from Operative Masonry, and not at all necessary under a Speculative regime, and that if a man is physically equipped to take the work, nothing more should be required, seeing that the loss of a finger has nothing to do with character. The Conservatives stick for the perfect youth doctrine as a Landmark and contend that already the bars have been too much let down.

It might help a little toward the solution of this vexing problem if the whole basis for discussion were shifted to positive grounds, and the question raised, What are the physical qualifications required for Freemasonry? It is difficult to see how the negative question as to disqualifications can ever be answered until general agreement is reached on the positive side of the case.

The duties and obligations of a Mason make it rather clear what is demanded of a member in a physical way. He must be bodily able to perform his part of the initiation ceremonies. He must have at least sufficient health to fulfill his duties by way of lodge attendance, and possibly in filling office. He should not be suffering from a malady that may sooner or later make him a charge on the Order.

The last point, strange to say, usually is overlooked, even by the physical perfectionists who would exclude a man for the loss of a finger. Freemasonry is not a charitable organization in its nature, nor an insurance society; neither its fees nor its dues are arranged with any such thing in mind. In its scheme of things charity is arranged to care for the victims of misfortune — those brethren who meet up with an accident, or fall a victim of some acute disease, or through no fault of their own become thrown out of employment. A candidate for admittance to lodge membership should be in fairly good health and offer promise of being able to care for his family, physically and financially.

If this contention be sound the physical perfectionists should shift the focus of argument and enlarge the scope of their inquiries in order to reach a positive and inclusive agreement as to what is required of a candidate all the way round. Once that is done, the minor question as to what properly excludes a petitioner will be more easily adjusted.

If this is ever accomplished it will be found that, as in nearly all debates, both sides are right, at least in principle. From the point of view of the symbolical principles of Freemasonry and of the larger purposes of the Craft, the Conservatives are right, because according to the ground plan of the Order, our Brotherhood is to be composed of picked men, morally and physically; from the point of view of expediency and practical considerations, the Liberals are right, seeing that a missing finger need not at all incapacitate a man from carrying out all the obligations and duties of membership. As for the Landmarks, any reference to them for decision of the debate must be postponed until there is more general agreement as to what they are.

* * *


In his address delivered before the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, Jan. 7, 1923, the then Grand Master, Bro. Frank L. Wilder, gave expression to a noble conception of Freemasonry in words as beautiful as they are true:

In company with other Masonic organizations, we have tried to arouse among the membership a greater feeling of loyalty to Masonry, its history, lessons and traditions, to avoid all semblance of religious or class feeling and to keep constantly before them that our country was founded by Masons and that upon us rests a greater duty as the successors of the founders to keep alive American institutions and the American form of Government giving to every man without regard to race, creed or religious belief, his due as a man for an equality of opportunity in all things, and by setting the example for fairness, toleration and moderation. Then and then only will we be doing our full duty as Masons and for the community in which we live. It is because we are Masons that so great a duty of leadership is laid upon us. Are we equal to it or has the Institution passed into the things that were rather than something which is and will be? The answer is found in the record of the next few years.

* * *



SPECULATIVE MASONRY, ITS MISSION, ITS EVOLUTION AND ITS LANDMARKS, by A. S. MacBride, J. P. Published by George H. Doran for M. S. A. National Masonic Library. Blue cloth index, 254 pages, and Introduction by Joseph Fort Newton. $2.i5 postpaid.

The Craft has enjoyed in late years the leadership of a number of wise and learned teachers some of whom have ranked high as scholars and others have been famous for their eloquence; among these Bro. A. S. MacBride has a place all his own, unique and distinctive, for he possessed learning without being a professional scholar, wrote a style of grace and attractiveness without being a literary man, and became a great speculative teacher at the same time that he devoted the larger part of his available energies to active work as an officer in lodge. It is the blend of experience, knowledge and practical experience that sets its mark upon his wise and quiet book, Speculative Masonry, a long time out of print, but now restored to circulation by the Masonic Service Association as a new title in the National Masonic Library. For this the Association deserves the thanks of Masons everywhere, because there are few Masonic books in our language better to read, or more to be recommended, especially to the newly made Mason, who too frequently runs afoul of books bizarre as to theory and lacking in literary appeal.

The Lodge Leven St. John (Scotland), of which Bro. MacBride was made Master in 1867, was constituted in 1788 on a movable charter that enabled it to hold meetings in various towns in its neighborhood. Almost from the beginning it employed the practice, now unfortunately almost everywhere abandoned, of appointing instructors, or intenders, to every newly raised brother to the end that he might learn something about the Craft of which he had become a member. Bro. MacBride himself attributed his own zeal for Masonry to the two old brothers by whom he was taught the meaning of the mystery hidden away in our history, rituals and symbols, and that zeal did not abate in more than fifty years. During the second year of his Mastership he began a system of lectures by way of instruction, starting first with his officers, and later extending the course to all members of the lodge. After seven years in the chair he resigned, only to reassume the office for a period of five years beginning with 1879. He was called to the chair a third time in 1887 and continued until 1896.

After removing to Glasgow, Bro. MacBride became active with Lodge Progress of that city, a temperance body, of which he was made Master in 1900, and which he faithfully served as Past Master for ten succeeding years. In addition he was active in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Dumbarton, and in the lodge Quatuor Coronati as well, having joined that research body in 1893.

The lectures delivered during this long term of years were embodied in Speculative Masonry. The volume is divided into three general parts, beside an Appendix in two parts. Part I covers The Mission of Speculative Masonry, in five chapters on The Mission Generally Considered; The Law of the Square: The Quarries, or the Selection of the Material; The Lodge, or the Preparation of the Material, and The Temple, or the Consummation of the Mission. Parl II contains a condensed resume of Masonic history under the general title of The Evolution of Speculative Masonry, in seven chapters: Origins Ascribed to Masonry; Ancient Symbolism and Mysteries; The Roman Collegia and Medieval Guilds; The French Companionage; The German Stein-Metzen: The Old British Lodges; and a Summary. In Part III the Landmarks of Speculative Masonry are passed in rapid review, attention being paid to the substance more than to the formal details of that vexing theme, and according to the following scheme of chapters: The Nature and Divisions of the Landmarks; Misconceptions Regarding the Landmarks, and The Landmarks and Progress. In the Appendix he returns to a reconsideration of a few points in The Mission of Speculative Masonry, and The Evolution of Speculative Masonry.

Among the topics treated in these seventeen chapters that are of general interest are The Law of the Square, Antiquity of Masonic Symbolism, what modern Freemasonry has in common with older fraternities, The Qualifications of a Candidate, the powers and duties of lodge officers, The Principal Points in 'Entering,' 'Passing' and 'Raising,' etc.

Throughout all these pages Bro. MacBride has managed to weave into one unified whole the history, symbols and teachings of the Order, so that a reader is left, as is too often not the case in other books, with ` philosophical comprehension of Freemasonry in which past, present and future fall into just proportions anti perspectives. It is in this philosophical comprehension, one may believe, that the book finds its focus: other volumes furnish more facts, or go at greater length into an interpretation of the ritual, or engage more space in arguing details, but the volumes err few indeed in which all these elements are better fused together or more wisely adjusted one to another.

Of this, and of the character of the man behind the book, Bro. Newton writes (in his Introduction) with his accustomed eloquence:

No wonder such a method, used in a true Masonic spirit of mutual good will, and made effective by a fine practical capacity, attested its worth and wisdom in rich results. It was the rare pleasure of a lifetime to visit Lodge Progress — which, in 1917, conferred upon me the honour of Honorary Membership — to meet its members, and to join with them in paying homage to one of the wisest Masonic teachers of our generation, whose work had won, and will win increasingly, the lasting gratitude of the Craft. The genius of Masonry had wrought itself into his very nature, and when I saw him there was in him a ripe, mellow, old-gold beauty of character such as Carlyle felt in Chalmers, 'as of the on-coming evening and the star-crowned night.' Today, among things for which to be thankful, I am grateful that I was permitted to know him, sit in lodge with him, and tell him in the presence of his brethren how much his fellow-workers on both sides of the sea honoured his life and valued his labour in behalf of our gentle Craft.

* * *


IL LIBRO DEL MASSONE ITALIANO, by Ulisse Bacci. Seconda Edizione; Editrice Vita Nova, Roma, 1923. Not translated in English. May be obtained from Enrico Schioppo, Vicolo Benemilli, in Via G. Verdi, Torino, Italy. Price, in Italian currency, 37 fire, or about $2.

In Italy, where there is a real need for members of the Craft to assimilate the inner doctrines and true history of their great brotherhood, there is only one book in the language of that country which presents a trustworthy account of Masonic history. The work to which we refer is Il Libro del Massone Italtano, by the incomparable veteran of the Craft, the Illustrious Bro. Ulisse Bacci, than whom there are few — if any — living Freemasons equally competent to write on the history of Masonry in Italy. But his great work spreads far beyond the borders of his country; it embraces the entire history of the Craft, from its origins, so far as they are known, hence through the long stages of its development and subsequent transformation into the speculative fraternity it is today. The author has devoted the greater part of his long life to the service of Italian Masonry, having been for many years behind the scene in high official positions and in closest touch with all that took place in public or private for over half a century. During most of that time he has been Grand Secretary and now, for many years, Secretary-General, of the Grand Orient of Italy, the parent body of Freemasonry in Italy. An indefatigable defender of the Craft, he has been a source of inspiration to thousands of its members. This book was originally issued in two volumes; the second edition, recently published, has been carefully revised, brought up to later date and compressed into a single volume of about a thousand pages with some interesting illustrations.

With intimate knowledge of the best authorities, the writer treats of the origin of Masonry and its relation — if any — to the analogous fraternities of antiquity and of the Middle Ages. He passes in review a large number of extinct cults, philosophies, rituals, sects and mysteries whose names and esoteric doctrines have come down to us through the ages, down to the latest apparent connecting link — the stonemasons' gilds or Operative Masons. He shows that from — or in imitation of — these societies there arose the so-called Free and Accepted or Speculative Masons which date only from the foundation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Passing to more recent times, the book tells of the landmarks of Anderson and Desaguliers and the famous Carta of Colonial. The interesting legend of King Solomon's Temple has not been overlooked; the constitution of the modern lodge, Masonic secrets and the various ceremonials, are (with, of course, the necessary reticence) portrayed by a master hand. From this stage he traces the gradual extension of the Order over the world.

The second part reviews the growth of Freemasonry and particularly the origin, life and accomplishment of the Craft in Italy, from 1733 to the election of the present Grand Master, Domizio Torrigiani. A number of interesting, historic documents are reproduced; there are sections relative to the Carbonari and other sects in the old Italian States; to Mazzini, Garibaldi and the Giovane Italia. Important is the history of the schism of 1908 in the Supreme Council, which led to the formation of the National Grand Lodge of Italy — an offshoot of the Grand Orient. The inner facts of the breach are brought out. The patriotic stand of Italian Freemasonry during the World War also receives due notice.

Not only is this book the only general history of Masonry in the Italian language, but it is the only source from which reliable information concerning Masonic activities in Italy can be gathered. It is scrupulously fair, judicial in style, and altogether a work that will compare favorably with more ambitious efforts published in other languages. The reader cannot fail to be deeply impressed with the wealth of instruction which he will gain from a perusal of the book.

Frank G. Bellini.

* * *


The World's Best Epigrams, by J. Gilchrist Lawson. Red cloth, 231 pages. $2.15 postpaid.

The World's Best Humorous Anecdotes, by J. Gilchrist Lawson. Red cloth, 275 pages. $2.15 postpaid.

Stories and Poems for Public Addresses, by Rev. A. Bernard Weber. Green cloth, 215 pages. $1.60 postpaid

All three are published by George H. Doran. May be purchased through the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis.

Of the making of speeches there is no end. (That is the trouble with many of them.) Since such things must be it is meet that orators be given all the help possible, for the sake of their audiences as well as themselves, therefore Mr. Lawson has bent his efforts in that direction, with a view to furnishing first aid. One may judge that he has succeeded fairly well, especially with his collection of epigrams which, unlike many such collections, is not a republication of matter in old books, about wornout topics but a file of sparks from present day wit, and on subjects this side of senility. One may gain a rapid impression of the range he has covered from his Table of Contents: Abbreviations, Advertising, Advice, Aeroplanes, Ambition, Ancestors, Art, Astronomy, Automobiles, Baldness, Baseball, Bible, Birds, Birth Control, Blue Laws, Books, Borrowing, Buncombe, Business, and so on to Wages, War, Waste, Weather, Women, Work, Worry, Writers.

Under each such head are grouped epigrams drawn from periodicals, numbering from one to 200 or so, in such fashion as this:


Very frequently rich parents make poor parents. — Greenville News.

We are the posterity our forefathers worried about. Can you blame 'em? — Detroit Journal.

These father-and-son banquets are a great improvement on the conferences the two used to have in the woodshed. — St. Joseph Gazette.

Mr. Lawson's The World's Best Humorous Anecdotes is built on the same plan, and according to the same specifications. The anecdotes may be judged by a specimen or two:


No, said the editor, we cannot use your poem.

Why, asked the poet, is it too long?

Yes, hissed the editor, it's too long, and too wide, and too thick!

— St. Louis Republic.


Office Boy — A man called while you were out, sir. He said he wanted to thrash you.

Editor — And what did you say to him?

Office Boy — I said I was sorry you were out, sir.


Judge Ben B. Lindsey was lunching one very hot day, when a politician paused beside his table. Judge, said he, I see you're drinking coffee. That's a heating drink. Did you ever try gin and ginger ale? No. said the Judge, smiling, but I have tried several fellows who did.

— Selected.


I rose with great alacrity
To offer her my seat;
'Twas a question whether she or I
Should stand upon my feet.

— Cornell Widow.

There are about a thousand of them, all of this type, and very few old timers. Mr. Webber's book was very evidently prepared for use by preachers, and therefore is more serious in tone, albeit he has filled up the last forty pages of his book with some fairly good humor, suitable for general purposes. His stories and poems are distributed under such heads as Anger, Assurance, Bible, Bible School, Cheerfulness, Children, Christ, Christian, Christmas, Church, Communion, Confession, etc.

* * *


THE NEW DECALOGUE OF SCIENCE, by Albert Edward Wiggam. Published by The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis. May be purchased through National Masonic Research Society. Cloth, 288 pages. $2.15 postpaid.

Mr. Wiggam is a new John the Baptist come out of the scientist's laboratory, the last place in the world from which such an apparition might be expected to emerge. Fed on a diet of modern scientific theories, infinitely more stimulating than locusts and wild honey, he thunders a host of warnings at the President of the United States, representative of the people of the land, and of all other civilized peoples beside.

His book was not written for morons, sentimentalists, mollycoddles, honeyfuglers, or any other of the thin-skinned gentry who dread an intellectual cold plunge. Let them avoid it as they would the plague! But if one is tough-minded and likes to have face hurled in his face, Mr. Wiggam's book will keep him awake at night, it is so thrilling, so hard hitting, so challenging. One can search up and down all the library shelves in the world for a really scientific work written in such a style. It is science with boxing gloves on.

The central idea in the volume, out of which all the other ideas pour like lava from a volcano, is that science has proved up a host of important facts about human nature which are one and all calmly ignored be politicians and statesmen. Mr. Wiggam sets out to awaken these rulers of men to their oversight, and to the perils that await them if they continue to live in a fool's paradise of ignorance.

The book suffers from over-emphasis, and from other faults more serious, especially in the chapters devoted to philosophy, in which field, one may guess, the author is not completely at home; but such faults do little to insulate the reader from the flow of electricity which steadily pours out from its pages.

To a Mason the most interesting chapter is that entitled The Duty of Humanizing Industry, because it is a fearless and trenchant examination of many of the ideas on which our own doctrine of brotherhood rests; its point is that man is not a docile peace-loving being, to be coddled into being good, but a rather untamed wild creature, full of unorganized passions and atavistic impulses, so that no tame milk-and-waterish method is ever going to make him behave. If he is to be captured and civilized other methods must be found, more forceful in character, and more rich in content than sentimental appeals and moral suasion. In this, as in all his other arguments, Mr. Wiggam believes that science is able to point us to a more excellent way. One of the most arresting characteristics of the whole volume is its fervent religiousness, a thing that will give pause to those who assume that science must necessarily do away with faith and worship.

* * *

I greet you as members of a Fraternity whose efforts to teach morality and practice charity, in its broadest sense, has made it one of the most potent factors in the advancement of Christian civilization that has existed in any age. Its mission is peace and good will. In the most remote parts of the earth, where-ever civilization has penetrated, our lodges have been organized, and today are engaged in the noble work of teaching freedom: and truth and love and morality and benevolence, by our beautiful system of Symbolism so clear to us all. For the accomplishment of these purposes mystic chains bind together peoples of all nations in one common brotherhood.

— Leslie H. Swan, P.G.M. Oklahoma

* * *


The feeling that there is far more in Masonry than lies on the surface, and that it has in its keeping something mystic and possibly occult, is so deeply rooted in multitudes of Masonic minds that no amount of rationalism appears able to dislodge it. Those who have that feeling in its richest form, who are most certain of its validity, and who endeavor the most to give expression to it, can find no agreement among themselves as to definition and dogma, and possibly never will, until the end of all things Masonic has come; but not for that reason will the conviction be abated or Masons cease to feel something unutterable in our rituals, something, like the Lost Word, that is found and at the same time lost. The mere fact that Masonic teachers, often the most intelligent, return again and again to the attempt to give expression in words to something they are never able to express is itself a kind of proof of the essential soundness of their faith.

One thing will evermore remain certain. All the Masonic rituals in existence, the whole great train of them, are shot through and through, like a cloud dyed with the colors of sunset, with spirituality and religiousness. The lodge itself is a symbolical representation of the world, its floor the earth and the seas, its covering the cloudy canopy of heaven; and all that stands in the lodge, along with all that is done in it, represents the great experiences and facts of human existence, so that it is literally true, as Goethe said long ago, that a Mason's ways are a type of existence.

But in Masonry man's existence is not merely reproduced, as though in a photograph; everything belonging to us is surrounded by the tokens of the Eternal Presence, and set in the light of Immortality, and suffused with spiritual meanings to the end that all things human be caught up and transfigured and transformed, so that the most humdrum experience of the most humble human being is given its link with Everlastingness and with God, and a man's daily life is set to the music of the Unseen, its shadows filled with stars, its prose translated into the Poetry of the Soul.

Consider the testimony of a little boy, and how he taught his father the central truth of our Mysteries:

The crimson was fading into cold October gray as I came upon him — twelve years old, his garden fork under the hill of potatoes he had started to dig, his face upturned, his eyes following far off the flight of the wild duck across the sky.

'He who from zone to zone,' I began, more to myself than to him. 'Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,' he went on, as much to himself as to me.

'Father,' he added reflectively as the bird disappeared down the dusky slope of the sky, 'I'm glad I know that piece.' 'Why?' I asked. 'I see so much more when the wild ducks fly over.' 'How much more do you see?' 'I see the wild ducks and God flying over together.'

* * *

Hypocrisy is the homage that vice and wrong pay to virtue and justice.

* * *


Our Two Greatest State Papers

Bro. Gilbert Patten Brown, New York

IN all time properly founded nations and institutions have had constituted authority for their existence. Never in the history of man has there been a greater or more unique document drawn as a governing charter for the guidance of the children of men than the Declaration of Independence. The next greatest document in human history for man's welfare is the United States Constitution. These two great state papers have at last found a resting place for all time to come. To quite an extent they are outcomes of the Mayflower compact of 1620, in that the Pilgrim Fathers were forerunners of our great system of free government.

The Continental Congress of 1776, when the Declaration was written and signed, was presided over by a Massachusetts Mason, John Hancock, who had been a member of the Craft sixteen years. Several other veterans of the Fraternity there assembled were the following: Dr. Matthew Thornton, had been a member of the Craft thirty-one years; Benjamin Franklin, had been a Mason forty-six years; and William Whipple, had worn the lambskin for twenty-four years. So we might go on enumerating the Masonic status of many of the signers. The Constitutional Convention of 1789 was presided over by a Virginia Mason, George Washington, who had been a member of the Craft thirty-six years. Many well-known Masons also took part in the framing of the Constitution, including Rufus King, Roger Sherman, Alexander Hamilton, David Brearley, Benjamin Franklin, and George Clymer.

The Constitution has not been much of a rambler, but the Declaration of Independence has been quite a wanderer. It has moved about in five different states, visiting ten different towns and cities. Early in the spring of 1777 it was brought back to Philadelphia from York, Pa., where it had been hidden for fear the British might destroy it. During the War of 1812, the then Secretary of State, James Monroe, ordered it taken from the city and Mrs. James Madison eared for it herself. Monroe at the time had been a Mason thirty-eight years. On Feb. 28 last, the Shrine in the Library of Congress was officially dedicated as a fitting place for these two great state papers, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. One year ago Congress appropriated $12,000 to make a safe place to preserve the Declaration of Independence. Here between two pillars on the second floor of this beautiful building there is a niche cut in the wall about 6 ft. x 4 ft., where behind glass rest these documents. Mr. Herbert Putnam, the Librarian, of that old New England family which gave to the Revolution two distinguished Masons, Generals Israel and Rufus Putnam, had the matter in charge. Here the tourists may see at any season in the year the Declaration and the Constitution of these United States of America.

* * *


Our democracy means that we have no privileged class, no class that is exempt from the duties or deprived of the privileges that are implied in the words American citizenship. The law of American life ... must be the law of work, not the law of idleness, not the law of self-indulgence or pleasure, merely the law of work.... It is a disgrace for any American not to do his duty; it is a double, a triple disgrace for a man of means or a man of education not to do his duty.

— Theodore Roosevelt.

* * *



How can I obtain a copy of Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry, by H. P. Bromwell? I am informed that his daughter has copies for sale but I do not have her address.

N.W.J.H., Canada.

Bro. Bromwell's book was originally published by the Grand Lodge of Colorado; later, it was turned over to his daughter, Miss Henrietta Bromwell, 646 Williams street, Denver, Colo. Letters to Miss Bromwell have elicited no reply. Can any reader give further information about this much sought for volume?

* * *


Do New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Iowa recognize South Africa Masonically?

C.O.S., Pennsylvania.

New Jersey and Delaware do not recognize any South African Grand Lodge. Iowa has not extended formal recognition to any, but the Iowa principle is that unless recognition has been refused it is presumed to exist, except in cases where very few Grand Lodges have granted recognition, so that in a given case an issue would have to be raised. Maryland recognizes South African Grand Lodges of English origin.

* * *


Grand Rapids Chapter, No. 7, Royal Arch Masons, Michigan, during the year 1923 made a record which, I believe, is not to be equalled anywhere in the country as a thing of its kind. Under the able direction of the High Priest, with the assistance of his officers, and with the loyal support of the Companions the Chapter exalted six teams of three brothers each and one team of a father and twin sons. Five of these teams are members of Malta Lodge, No. 465. I would like to know, and so would the officers of Grand Rapids Chapter, No. 7, if this record can be squalled anywhere in the United States. Correspond with the High Priest, Lewis A. Mack, 213 Grand Rapids National Bank Building, Grand Rapids, Mich.

George W. Leedle,

Grand Lecturer of Michigan, R. A. M., Marshall, Mich.

* * *


The question has recently arisen in our lodge whether an E.A. is entitled to Masonic funeral services, and the question has been answered Yes and No, therefore I am appealing to your valued Question Box for an answer to the following questions: Is an E.A. entitled to Masonic funeral services? If not, does this not conflict with the Apron Lecture, also with what is said to the candidate in the N.E. Corner?

E.C.W., Utah.

Your first question is answered by your own Grand Lodge Code, Section 214 reads in this wise:

No man shall be buried with Masonic honors unless he was at the time of his death a Master Mason in good standing.

This is the general law of the Order. Mackey refers to a passage in Preston's Illustrations:

No Mason can be interred with the formalities of the Order unless it be by his own special request communicated to the Master of the lodge of which he was a member, foreigners and sojourners excepted; nor unless he has been advanced to the Third Degree of Masonry, from which restriction there can be no execution. Fellowcrafts or Apprentices are not entitled to the funeral obsequies.

A wag might wish to know how a deceased brother is to communicate with the W.M., but that is neither here nor there; the rule, as stated by Preston, holds. As to whether this conflicts with the Ritual, that must be a matter of private opinion, but it would appear not to do so. In the nature of things the Ritual cannot express rules on such matter, seeing that its substance deals with the symbolical side of Masonry; such institutional practices as burial are more properly defined in Codes and by-laws.

* * *


On page 328 of THE BUILDER, December 1923, is an item concerning the religious affiliations of President and Mrs. Coolidge that were correct at the time but now stands in need of revision. To that end permit me to quote a paragraph from The Continent, a Presbyterian organ, under date of Nov. 1923:

Specific information as to President Coolidge's church relations was forthcoming when the Congregational National Council at Springfield elected Mr. Coolidge its honorary moderator. As The Continent noted recently, the President, though reported by his newspaper biographers not to be a member of church, did partake of holy communion in the First Congregational church at Washington the Sunday morning next following his accession to the presidency. Dr. Jason Noble Pierce, pastor of that church, now states that his open acknowledgment of a Christian allegiance on the President's part was indeed a new act and ensued upon a special personal invitation from Dr. Pierce himself to participate thus in the service. Mr. Coolidge was assured that under the Congregational conception of the sacrament this was a specially appropriate way to confess the Christian faith. When, however, the Congregational Council recognized the President as openly identified with the church, Dr. Pierce asked him to unite directly as a church member, and Mr. Coolidge agreed. He thus becomes integrally joined to the visible body of Christ.

James J. Tyler, M.D., Ohio.

* * *


What was the date of the death of H.A., and what date do Masons celebrate the death of H.A.? What means, You are now permitted to extend your researches into the hidden mysteries of nature and science?

J.W.N., Saskatchewan.

The question you ask, What was the date of the death of H. A., and what date do Masons celebrate the death of H.A.? is an interesting one which I do not recall ever having been brought up. In fact, I have never heard of our Fraternity celebrating or officially recognizing any date whatever in memory of that occasion, though we might well do so.

Unfortunately there are several complications which prevent our determining a satisfactory answer. I expect you have in mind some specific day of the year. First of all, authorities are not agreed as to the chronological records of that period; secondly, the Hebrew months were lunar months instead of solar and so do not correspond with ours, and transposition in terms of our months must be more or less inaccurate; and lastly we have conflicting traditions as to when H.A. was slain. So you see how involved the answer is. I offer the following as an approximation:

The Bible furnishes us the only account of H.A. we have, aside from our traditions. According to the Ussher chronology, Solomon began the Temple in 1012 B.C. and completed it in 1004 B. C. Some modern scholars, relying on the Assyrian records, place these dates as 966 B.C. and 957 B.C. Using the former, H.A. would have come up to Jerusalem in the year 1012 B.C. The Temple was begun on the second day of the second month of the Hebrew sacred year, which has been computed to correspond with April 21, the Biblical or Hebrew running from March to March. It was completed and dedicated to the Most High God in the year 1004 B.C., which, according to Hebrew chronology, was the Year of the World 3000. This date appears on the coffin plate in the Tracing Board used in the Third Degree in English lodges.

Turning now to I Kings, Chap. 6, Verse 38, we read the house was finished in the month Bul, or eighth month of the Hebrew year. But in I Kings, Chap. 8, Verse 2 it tells us the Ark was brought in in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.

I would use the latter for the time of completion. Our traditions tell us the Temple was completed on the eighth day of the seventh month, when the Ark was brought in. The computation, then, would be something like this:

1004 B. C. 7th month 8th day.

1012 B. C. 2nd month 8th day.

5 months 6 days elapsed over 7 years.

This would be roughly about 154 days according to the Hebrew lunar months. Adding 154 days to April 21, the day of beginning, would give Sept. 21 for the day of completion. Perhaps there was some significance to its being ended on an equinoctial day.

We have one tradition that tells us H.A. was slain on the very day set for celebrating the cope-stone, which I should consider the day of completion of the Temple, and this, as near as we can compute, was Sept. 21. So I should say he was slain on Sept. 21, then.

The Leicester group of Operative Masons, organized by the later Clemont E. Stretton, who style themselves The Worshipful Society of Paviors, etc., observe Oct. 2 as the date of H.A's death, though I do not know how they computed this date. You should not confuse this body with our own Society, their claims being as yet unproved.

As to your second query regarding the meaning of 'You are now permitted to extend your researches into the hidden mysteries of nature and science', to be quite candid it is meaningless. It is one of the ponderous, high-sounding sentences which found their way into the Ritual towards the close of the 18th century probably due to the labors of William Preston. He and others sought to make the lectures more scientific. I can give you no practical, helpful interpretation of it. Probably those who incorporated it had nothing definite in mind. It was a generality which sounded well. There are some who would tell you it referred to a search for Truth or Light, or Knowledge or the Lost Word, but all these depend on your own personal conception of Freemasonry.

A. L. Kress

* * *


How is the A. & A. Scottish Rite governed in Canada? Is there a Supreme Council for the Dominion, or are the degrees of the Rite governed by the Supreme Councils of England Scotland and Ireland, and if so, which of the three Supreme Councils is in preponderance approximately? What are the rules governing admittance of candidates to the higher degrees of the A. & A. S. R.? Are there any special requirements or qualifications for admittance to the 14°, 18°, 30° and 32°? Furthermore, what rules govern elevation to the 33°? These questions also refer to the Dominion of Canada.

A.L.P.J., Washington.

Your inquiry was referred to the Secretary General of the Supreme Council, S.J., and received the following reply:

The first question is, How is the A. & A. Scottish Rite governed in Canada? Is there a Supreme Council for the Dominion, or are the degrees of the Rite governed by the Supreme Councils of England, Scotland and Ireland; if so, which of the three Supreme Councils is in preponderance, approximately? In answer wish to say that there is a separate Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Dominion of Canada.

The other question is, What are the rules governing admission of candidates to the higher degrees of the A. & A. S. R.? Are there any special requirements or qualifications for admission to the 14°, 18°, 30° and 32°; furthermore, what rules govern elevation to the 33°? These questions also refer to the Dominion of Canada. In answer I wish to say that we are unable to give information referring to Canada or other Supreme Councils, but in our Jurisdiction (Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America) the only Masonic requirement for admission to the Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is that the applicant must be and remain an affiliated Master Mason in a regular Symbolic Lodge. There are no special requirements or qualifications for admission to the 14°, 18°, 30° and 32° other than the possession of the preceding degrees. The rules governing elevation to the 33° in our Jurisdiction may be outlined as follows:

At the regular odd-year sessions of our Supreme Council, each Sovereign Grand Inspector General (Active Member) may nominate to receive the 33°, with the rank and dignity of Inspector General Honorary, 32° brethren of the Jurisdiction who have attained the age of thirty-five years and who have had conferred upon them the rank and decoration of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor at least four years prior, in the proportion of one for the first one hundred and one for each additional two hundred and fifty 32nds made in his Jurisdiction since the preceding regular odd-year session of the Supreme Council; and election of the brethren thus nominated is by unanimous vote of the Supreme Council. Election of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, Active 33rds, that is, Active Members of the Supreme Council (of whom in our Jurisdiction there cannot be more than one in each state) occurs only when there is such a vacancy in a particular Jurisdiction (state). Such election is after nomination in executive session of the Supreme Council and by unanimous vote; is from the Inspectors General Honorary resident and affiliated within the particular Jurisdiction (state), and is for life.

H. W. Witcover.

* * *


The critical comment on my new book, Ex Oriente Lux, which appeared in the May number of THE BUILDER, was evidently dictated by a spirit of kindliness and sincerity, and I thank you for it.

It seems to me, however, that whoever wrote it failed to take into consideration the declared aim and purpose of the book.

Ex Oriente Lux is not an attempt to dogmatize as to the origin or history of the great Institution, Freemasonry; nor is it an attempt to define points of authorized Masonic or Rosicrucian belief, because, of course, there is no such thing; nor to urge the acceptance of certain philosophical or metaphysical theories, Rosicrucian or otherwise. Its aim was to present to the reader certain Provocations to Thought.

The thinker and student of the Western World is habituated to the so-called scientific method of teaching, and he is distrustful of everything which cannot be concreted for him into definite form and outline. Teaching by symbols is teaching by provocation. It makes its appeal to intuition and is characteristic of the methods of the East.

Such a bringing together of complementary concepts is like reviving the letter of man's thinking by an infusion of the spirit which giveth life. This I have attempted to do in Ex Oriente Lux.

In Masonry, the East and West come together. The universality of Masonry is no mere figure of speech, nor is it an idle boast.

Into the language, ceremonial and symbolism of the Operative Builders' Art, which was perfected in the West (and which grew and developed along with the growth and development of a civilization which was largely material in its aim and achievements), there was brought the concept of a far-reaching Purpose, a Divine Program, a Holy Doctrine, which men must learn to interpret and execute if they are to fulfill the designs of the great Source and Author of life.

Clothed in the poetic language of the East, this concept seems to us vague and mystical; the "scientific" mind has misunderstood it, preverted it and rejected it; but, when embodied, as it has been in Masonry, in the symbols of the Builders' Art, it can be apprehended as a great inspiration, and used as a guide and corrective of man's labors.

Our Ritual says: Tools and implements of architecture and symbolic emblems most expressive were selected by the Fraternity to imprint on the mind wise and serious truths, and thus through the succession of ages have been transmitted unimpaired the most excellent tenets of our Institution.

This does not mean that the Fraternity grew up around a collection of tools, implements and symbols, which came to have a fanciful speculative meaning as many generations of men thought about them. It asserts purpose on the part of the Fraternity which selected them; purpose before the symbols and tools were adopted, and purpose in their adoption.

That this purpose was really a Divine purpose, made known as such to men, and apprehended and accepted by them as such, is the claim of Masonry. Our Ritual begins the formal setting forth of the symbology — intended to be conveyed under the figure of the Building of the Temple of Solomon — in these words:

We read in the holy writings that it was decreed in the wisdom and council of Deity aforetime, that a House should be built, erected to God and dedicated to His Holy Name.

The impressiveness and magnitude of this projected program is seen when we examine it in the light of the words of Isaiah:

And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's House shall be established in the top of the mountain — and all nations shall flow into it, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; neither shall they learn war any more.

What House is here meant by those — whoever they may have been — who first taught the Operative Masons to make use of such language in setting forth the symbolism of the building of King Solomon's Temple?

It is to be a Spiritual House; a House not made with hands eternal in the Heavens; a House in the walls of which the mind of each individual initiate (divested of all vice and superfluity and perfected for the builder's use), shall be a living stone. This is the language of mysticism.

It is the language and symbolism of the East, and not of the West. It undoubtedly alludes to that plan for the future of Humanity, which exists as A Hidden House in the thought and purpose of Deity, and which can take concrete form, as a perfected social system, or civilization, only when man, the workman, learns to interpret it aright and to build accordingly.

The so-called scientific, non-intuitive thought of the West cannot easily grasp the significance of such symbolic language as this. Only its poets and transcendentalists (Goethe, Whitman, Emerson, Browning, etc. ) can approach the concept of Humanity coming to be one great Temple of the Living God (where each individual is a Living Stone); or of Humanity as constituting a social body for the Soul of God, when at last it shall reach the maturity of the Divine Purpose.

The West needs the East, as the East needs the West, for a full vision of Truth; just as analysis needs intuition, and intuition needs analysis, for a correct interpretation and wise application of the Truth after it is seen.

I believe that the concept (afforded in Ex Oriente Lux) of Man as a unit of consciousness will prove to be a key for the understanding of the symbolism of Masonry, and that the discussion of Hermetic principles, which I there make, ought to lead to a closer and more thorough examination of the language and symbols we have inherited, and also to the question as to how and why the ceremonies of Masonry came to be so loaded with meaning that only the most exalted and far-reaching interpretation can satisfy them or relieve them of the charge of absurdity and inconsistency.

Alfred H. Henry, Yakima, Wash.

Thank you for this clear explanation of the purpose of your book, Bro. Henry, and for the gracious manner of meeting the criticism embodied in the review of Ex Oriente Lux (May 1924, page 156). But after all, why should you designate belief in God as peculiar to the East? Have we not had the Christian religion in this Western World for nearly two thousand years, and does it not everywhere teach the doctrine of the All Father? Why is it necessary to connect Freemasonry with the Orient merely to explain the religiousness in it? Is not religion as native to the Occident as to the Orient? And as for parables, symbols, and all that, are they not as widely spread in the Western Hemisphere as in the other side of the globe? Furthermore, your letter does not meet the principal point of the review, which is that you give no proofs to back up your theory that Freemasonry has been somehow derived from Rosicrucianism. In one of your early pages you quote with apparent approval a far-reaching sentence from Mercury: Freemasonry did not 'spring' from Rosicrucianism. Yet, in a perfectly legitimate manner, the Rosicrucian Fraternity was the parent of genuine Freemasonry. (Italics ours.) As said in the review such a theory stands in violent opposition to the whole structure of Masonic history, as that has been worked out by our historians, and it is therefore necessary to furnish proof of it.

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Bro. W. J. Songhurst, Secretary Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, London, has kindly called my attention to two errors in my Study Club article of March, 1924, page 83, in the last sentence of the paragraph at the top of the page, right side. He points out that inasmuch as the rank of lodges under the Union was determined by lot there was no injustice in giving the Lodge of Antiquity second place, he is quite right. Also he called an attention to an error difficult to explain in my saying that the lodge given rank of first place had been chartered by an Ancient warrant of 1735. Of course there could not have been such a thing seeing that the Ancient G. L. was not then in existence.

H. L. H.

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Ye Ed. makes way for the cartoonist this month. Who say there is no such thing as Masonic humor? The punchful pictures displayed herewith are reproduced — without permission from Masonic News of Detroit, a monthly work of art, wit, and wisdom, one of the very best Masonic journals published anywhere