A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 12 No. 1 – January 1926
NEW MEXICO'S CHALLENGE TO AMERICAN FREEMASONRY
A SUGGESTION FOR THE COLLECTION OF MASONIC DATA
Bro. J. Heron Lepper, Ireland
BRO. LEPPER, as most readers of The Builder are aware is a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 E.C. He is also Past Superintendent of the Tabernacle of the Supreme Royal Arch Chapter of Ireland. The present article was his inaugural address at his installation in 1919 as Master of the Lodge of Research No. 200 under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. The suggested method of building up a mass of classified information accessible to Masonic students seemed so applicable to the circumstances and uses of the National Masonic Research Society that we have obtained permission to reproduce it here. We have to thank the officers and members of the Lodge of Research for their courtesy in granting this request and also Bro. Lepper himself, who most kindly acted as intermediary in obtaining it.
AS the time at my disposal tonight is extremely short, I will indicate in the fewest possible words a way in which, as it seems to me, each member of Lodge 200 could help the progress of Masonic Research, the main object wherewith our lodge was founded.
Fortunately my scheme does not need much explanation. It is this: that every one of us who in the course of his reading comes across any passage in any book which has a possible bearing upon a Masonic matter should copy out this passage and send it to the Secretary of Lodge 200 to be filed. Such extracts taken singly in themselves may not seem very important or add much to our knowledge, but I have no doubt but that in process of time they would prove very valuable to students in the aggregate.
Let me indicate a few of the sources whence they may be gathered, and give you a few examples of the kind I mean taken from my own note-books, and originally copied from many different sorts of books and manuscripts. To take one part of the field — books of travel and exploration are full of unrecorded material. My first instance is taken from Layard's Nineveh and Babylon, published in 1853:
"The Sidonians and other inhabitants of the Phoenician coast were the most renowned workers in metal of the ancient world and their intermediate position between the two great nations by which they were alternately invaded and subdued, may have been the cause of the existence of a mixed art among them. In the Homeric Poems they are frequently mentioned as the artificers who fashioned the embossed cups and bowls ... Homer particularly mentions Sidonian goblets as used at the funeral games of Patroclus." (Op. cit. page 192.)
To cull another example at random from books of travel, take the following from Sir Richard Burton's account of his journeys among the Mormons, where, by the way, he gives a most interesting account of the signs whereby the different tribes of Indians recognize each other:
"Mr. Little (a prominent Mormon) also recounted to us his experiences among the Indians, whom he, like all the Mormons, firmly believed to be the Children of Israel under a cloud. He compared the Medicine Lodge to a Masonic Hall and declared that the so-called Red Men had signs and grips like ourselves: and he related how an old chief, when certain symbolic actions were made to him, wept and wailed, thinking how he and his had neglected their observances. The Saints (Mormons) were at one time good Masons; unhappily they wanted to be better. The angel of the Lord brought to Mr. Joseph Smith (the founder of Mormonism) the last key-words of several degrees, which caused him when he appeared among the brotherhood of Illinois to 'work right ahead' of the highest, and to show them their ignorance of the greatest truths and benefits of Masonry. The natural result was that their diploma was taken from them by the Grand Lodge, and they are not admitted to a Gentile gathering. Now heathens without the gate, they still cling to their heresy, and declare that other Masonry is, like the Christian faith, founded upon truth, and originally of the eternal Church, but fallen away and far gone in error." 'City of the Saints'; London, 1861; page 426.
Mr. Fiennes Moryson was a gentleman who in the days of Shakespere made the grand tour of Europe, and happily published an account of his travels in the year 1617. Here is his description of some Masonic Rites, as practiced in Germany almost 400 years ago.
"This city of Dresden is very faire and strongly fortified, in which the Elector of Saxony keeps his Court, having been forty years past onely a village. When the first stone of the wals was laid there were hidden a silver cup guilded, a Booke of the Lawes, another of the coynes, and three glasses filled with wine the ceremonies being performed with all kinds of musicke and solemnity. The like ceremony was used when they laid the first stone of the stable." Fynes Moryson's Itinerary. Reprint Glasgow, 1907, Vol. 1; page 18.
Memoirs and published collections of letters also yield grist for the diligent copyist. Casanova, the prince of adventurers, was initiated into the Craft at Lyons in the year 1750, and what the arch-rogue thought of Freemasonry is so interesting that it seems to merit translation in full, but I have time to give only one short extract from his rather lengthy dissertation:
"No one person in the world can possibly know everything, but every man in possession of his faculties and who desires to make use of his moral force should seek to know as much as possible. A young man of good station who wishes to travel and see the world, and what is known as good society, and who on certain occasions does not wish to find himself inferior to his social equals and excluded from participation in all their pleasures, ought to have himself initiated into what is called Freemasonry, even if only to learn superficially what it is. Freemasonry is a beneficent institution which at certain times and in certain places may have served as a pretext for acts criminal and subversive of good order; but, good Heavens, what is free from abuse?
"To sum up, I advise every young man of good station who wishes to see the world to become accepted as a Mason; but I charge him to choose his Lodge carefully; for although bad company cannot make itself felt inside the Lodge, it may be there, and the candidate ought to avoid dangerous acquaintances." Translated from Casanova's Memoires, Paris, Garnier Frères edition, 1910; Vol. II.; page 276.
Passages illustrating the esoteric parts of our mysteries are also to be found in the most unexpected places. I had one interesting discovery in a book entitled: Old Time Punishments by William Andrews, F.R.H.S., 1890. As yet I have had no opportunity of checking the author's statement, or of comparing it with the original document whereon he bases it:
"In the curious ordinances which were observed in the reign of Henry VI for the conduct of the Court of Admiralty for the Humber, are enumerated the various offences of a maritime connection, and their punishments. In view of the character of the court, the punishment was generally to be inflicted at low-water mark, so as to be within the proper jurisdiction of the Admiralty, the chief officer of which, the Admiral of the Humber, being from the year 1451 the Mayor of Hull. The court being met, and consisting of 'masters, merchants and marines, with all others that do enjoy the King's stream with hook, net or engine', were addressed as follows:
"'You masters of the quest, if you, or any of you, discover or disclose anything of the King's secret counsel, or of the counsel of your fellows (for the present you are admitted to be the King's counsellors) you are to be and shall be, had down to the low-water mark, where must be made three times O Yes! for the King, and then and there this punishment, by the law prescribed, shall be executed upon them; that is their hands and feet bound, their throats cut, their tongues pulled out, and their bodies thrown into the sea.'" Op. cit. page 212.
The salt of the foregoing extract seems to me to consist in the fact of the punishment being incurred as a penalty for disclosing "secret counsel."
In making our collections we must not forget the daily press, and anything appearing in it with a Masonic flavor should be either cut out or copied; but be most careful to append the name of the paper and the date of issue. Otherwise the unhappy scholar who attempts to verify the reference will soon qualify for Bedlam; and nothing can be more pernicious or heartbreaking than an assemblage of loose quotations to which chapter and verse are not appended.
Now to conclude let me give you an idea of what can be gathered by those who read poetry as well as prose. In the year 1810 there was printed at the Newsletter Office in Belfast a volume of verse by a peasant poet named Andrew M'Kenzie, who lived at Donaghadee, and was, therefore, under the jurisdiction of the same great Masonic province that tonight is offering us its hospitality. M'Kenzie wrote a Masonic poem, and one of its verses runs:
"Let none to this temple of friendship repair,
But those who in dealing with men will be square.
May virtue's strict compass our actions confine
In the bonds of true masonry's precepts divine;
The level shall teach us no rank to despise...
The beggar's our brother, if upright and wise:
And oh till the hour-glass of time shall stand still,
May peace, love and harmony crown the Greenhill!"
To this poem the author appended the following note:
"Greenhill is an appellation given to a farm in Drumawhey, in the vicinity of Newtownards, where a respectable body of Freemasons hold their meetings. There no intemperance disunion or misbehavior, casts an odium on the ancient and honourable order; but men of fair and unblemished characters: associate themselves for the purpose of establishing the dominion of virtue."
The extract is chiefly interesting as showing that up till a hundred years ago lodges in the North of Ireland still could and did meet in private houses.
My last excerpt is a very short one, and is taken from a poem called The Picture of a Happy Man, by John Davies of Hereford (1565-1618):
"That striveth but with frail desire,
Desiring nothing that is ill;
That rules his soul by Reason's squire
And works by Wisdom's compass still."
If the writer of the foregoing lines was not a Mason he was well worthy of the honor; and the simple and noble words will have a very familiar sound to all of us here.
And now, brethren, my task is finished, and I have tried to indicate a way wherein each of us can help in collecting materials for future historians of the Order; and though it may not be given to us all to be Solomons, yet each of us may emulate David who prepared the way for the work of better men.
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In further illustration some stray notes from the Editor's own reading may be added. In the monumental extravaganza of Francois Rabelais are a number of phrases that have a curiously Masonic flavor. The square is mentioned a number of times, as "Thou fallest downright square upon the business," "My actions shall be regulated by the rule and square of your counsel," "out of all square, frame and order"; and "made shift to tope to him on the square." Panurge, in his great eulogy of debt, says it is "the whole cement whereby the race of men is kept together." The most curious thing is that these and other like phrases have no counterpart at all in the original French, but are evidently the additions of Sir Thomas Urquhart, who translated the first books of this work into English in the middle of the seventeenth century.
In a little work locally published entitled "The Customs, Superstitions and Legends of the County of Stafford," is the story of the murder of Kenelm, the boy king of Mercia. His body is discovered under a thorn bush, and is taken up and carried in grand procession and devout rejoicing to the Minster at Winchelcombe. The murderer, the servant of the boy's wicked aunt, dug a grave first, but the boy told him he was not to be killed there, "and to prove it stuck an ash branch into the ground, which grew and blossomed, and afterwards grew into a great tree." The place where the body was found was marked by a wondrous pillar of light.
Quite recently a discovery was made in the tower of the Parish Church of Chelsea, London. In the upper part of the tower a carefully formed cavity was discovered in which apparently a lighted candle had been walled in. It had gone out half burned for lack of air. Evidently a substitute builder's sacrifice. This last note will serve as a dreadful warning. It was taken from the columns of one of the London daily papers a few years ago, but which and when there is, alas, no record. So dangerous is it in these matters to put off making the full entry at the time, thinking that one will remember.
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PALESTINE IN 1923
Bro. Major John W. Shuman, M.D., California
FOLLOWING the hint we gave in the November number last year concerning the brevity of his article on Palmyra Bro. Shuman has contributed this account of a pilgrimage (in modern fashion) to the Holy Land itself. The accompanying illustrations are from photographs taken by Adeline D. Shuman.
WE did not think it fitting that we should leave Asia Minor without visiting the Holy City. So in the latter part of June, 1923, we drove by auto down the coast to Haifa: from thence on inland, over a stretch of the first "chicken wire" laid-in-the-sand road we had ever traveled upon, to this much visited, talked and written about capital of Palestine. No other country has been played up to the world so much and for so long a time as this. It matters not how many write about it, no two stories will be the same, nor will there be any great untruths in the telling.
Before this visit we had been living in Beirut, Syria, which is about 175 miles northwest of Jerusalem, and had there known many who had lived in Palestine for years; and as the time approached for our trip, our study of the Bible and the Baedeker became more intense. We not only had accompanying us a lady who "had visited there", but we employed Abu (a regular Cook's guide for twenty years) as our dragoman. We also had friends to visit in and about Jerusalem. Our trip therefore was under the most favorable circumstances. We also picked a time of the year when the country is not crowded with tourists and pilgrims — the month of June.
On the road to Jerusalem we did not stop at Sidon and Tyre, for we had been there before, and they were in Syria; we were anxious to see towns of "the land which the Lord gave the Jews". We had to stop at the frontier to let the French, who mandate Syria, "let us out" and the British, who mandate Palestine, "let us in". So it was late in the afternoon when we reached Nazareth.
Nazareth, the boyhood home of our Saviour, is not mentioned in the Old Testament; if it is, it is by another name. It is situated among hills, which are really the southern spurs of the Lebanons just before they sink into the plain of Esdraelon. During the time of Christ this city was of importance, with inhabitants of from fifteen to twenty thousand; only about three thousand, mostly Christians, live there now.
In Nazareth an incident happened which may have interest, it had at least for us; Madam for a long time had been on the lookout for a pair of ancient brass candle-sticks and could not find any that just suited her. In Nazareth, in the cavelike old Synagogue in which it is said that "Christ explained the Scriptures to the Rabbis", she sighted a pair such as she had desired. I whispered to Abu, "buy them ;" he answered, "It can't be done!" An old chap standing nearby overheard us and following me out said, "I'll get them for you, Effendi, for one Egyptian pound" (about $5.00). I answered, "I will give you 25 Piasters" (a little over 35 cents at that time) . He said, "but I am a poor man, my wife is dead and my children are sick." As I got into the automobile he climbed on the running board and whispered, "one pound Syrian ($1.25)?" I said, "Yes, but where are the candle-sticks?" He pulled them from under his dirty, ragged old aba, muttering blessings and that he had mistaken us for "wealthy Americans". With sand and lemon-juice as old brass will, they cleaned up handsomely, and grace her sideboard now.
After a night's rest in Hotel Galilee, under the usual mosquito-netting with which beds are canopied the year round in Syria and Palestine, we were on our way to the Sea of Galilee (Cut No. 1). We put to sea from Tiberias (Cut No. 7) in a boat similar to the one Peter used, bound for Bethsaida (the house of fish) an ancient town now in ruins, on the north shore. As the wind was head on the sail was useless, and the boatmen rowed. I removed my shoes after drinking a hat full of water from the sea, and then washed my feet from over the side of the boat, much to the ladies' chagrin and the boatmen's displeasure, for it tended to turn the boat sideways, to the side my feet dragged on. I did not experience, as Peter did, any difficulty in sinking my feet in the water!
Capernaum (Cut No. 2), like Bethsaida, is only a mass of stones and ruins, just as Jesus foretold concerning both these cities. A Catholic branch has a little "home" with a couple of Priests in attendance close by, who served us cakes and wine. Then having met our auto, we drove back past Mary Magdalene's old home and a number of other memorable places. Marked changes have taken place in this country; for in the Master's time, on Galilee's northwestern shores, there were many flourishing cities. The lake contained many fish, in fact, fishing was then an industry which is not true today. Another change may be noted; at Jacob's well (now called the city of Nabulus), where Jesus met the woman of Samaria, the women, as we went past, were filling their vessels with water as of yore; but instead of jars or earthenware pitchers they used gasoline cans, the kind of square tins so familiar to us who served in France during the late war.
It was at Nabulus that we stopped for a visit with the two or three hundred remaining Samaritans, still inhabiting the home of their fathers. The samples we saw reminded me of certain Indian tribes in our own land — just about to "peter-out" of existence! The High Priest (Cut No. 3), who claimed descent from Aaron — and I did not dispute him — showed us a scroll of parchment which he said was an "original writing by Moses". I couldn't read it so I believed him!
It was on the road from here to Jerusalem (Cut No. 4) that we passed a huge stone pile used by bandits to stop an automobile only an hour before, for loot; of which incident I wrote an account for The Lutheran a few months ago. (1) When we got into Jerusalem we were an hour late, and Cook's representatives were greatly relieved because they knew that Old Abu, our guide, was coming along with us and they were afraid that we had suffered mishap; but the only holdup we had had was caused by a punctured automobile tire!
Following a night at the Continental Hotel, we were ready to take in the sights. I will not tire you by following step by step our excursions around and through the town and surrounding country, but will pick out a few of the most interesting things. The Christian is interested, for the most part, in the semi-golden Jerusalem of the New Testament; few, if any of its landmarks remain, for the third temple (so history relates) was burned to the ground by Titus during the first century, fulfilling what Christ said during the last week of His earthly life, that "Jerusalem should be destroyed completely so that there should not be left one stone upon another." However, the guide would have us believe that we stood on the Temple site, and showed us the basement where Solomon is said to have kept his horses and chariots. On this site Omar's mosque, the most beautiful in the world, is erected, and is one of the most sacred places of worship for the Moslems. Under its dome is a huge black rock, said to be the very rock upon which Abraham went to offer up Isaac, his son. In a glass box nearby are a few hairs from the beard of the Prophet, Mohammed.
As we stood on this so-called site of the Temple looking eastward across the brook of Kidron, Olivet's hill was easily recognized; also the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of it, in which it is said traditional olive trees are still living and bearing fruit; this is very unlikely. Calvary, the place of the skull, is a subject of controversy, some placing it inside, others outside the present wall of the city. These, and many other landmarks that Christianity fain would claim, and over which endless controversy continues and many battles with sword ad powder have taken place, are in the possession of the Islamites. Even "The last footprint of Christ", in a rock upon Mount Olivet, has a little mosquelike structure over it, and a Moslem attendant. The Protestant is just as surprised to find that the portion in charge of the Christian is in the hands of Catholics; Roman, Greek, Russian and Armenian. The new "Garden Tomb" of Christ, just outside the city, however, is in the hands of Protestants. Abu, a devout Catholic, did not like us to visit this new tomb, for to his mind, "it was sacrilege"!
I must confess that I was more interested in recent rather than ancient history, in and about Jerusalem. Some of you may recall that it was Jerusalem that the Kaiser had hoped to have, as the ruling city of his "Kingdom to come" over the world; to this end he had enlarged the Damascus gate for a triumphal entry in order to permit automobiles to enter. He had "restorations" fairly well started, and a huge beautiful group of buildings upon Mount Olivet built; amongst the latter is a Lutheran church; on its ceiling he had had painted a picture of Christ, one of himself (more than life-size) and one of his wife, he and his wife supporting the first with their hands. This edifice I took to be a "New Temple". Outside, in the court yard of these, his official buildings, were two great bronze statues, one of himself and the other of his life. As already stated, Great Britain rules Palestine and these buildings are used as administrative buildings. I thought it strange that these statues and pictures should be allowed to remain; then I had another thought, the English after all have quite a sense of humor and I believe that they just let them stand so that folks from all over the world may come and see them and realize just what a dream William had.
We saw many narrow streets but I think that those in Bethany are narrower and have sharper turns than in any other city of the world. We demolished two fenders trying to negotiate a corner of its "main street". Most all streets of the towns of Palestine must be done on foot, or else astride an ass with the rider's feet dragging!
Everywhere we encountered tourist-traps, e. g., things made to sell to the tourist, beads, rugs, pictures, leaves of traditional olive trees, etc.; and all tourists are anxious to take back souvenirs of the Holy Country. A minister's wife was actually bottling up water of the River Jordan to take home for her "husband to baptize babies with"!
Speaking of the River Jordan (Cut No. 8), I don't think that I was ever more disappointed in my life than I was the morning I first saw this far famed stream; it was swift, muddy, narrow, and its banks were covered with stunted brush and weeds; the morning was hot and the air full of buzzing insects. A group of Russian peasant women, pilgrims, were camped close by; they washed and cooked with and drank this dirty water. I remarked, "the Missouri river has this one backed off the map for beauty, grandeur, cleanliness, and everything, the only difference being that it never had as good a press agent as the Jordan; David never saw and wrote up the Missouri." This little stream is the only river the Promised Land ever had, so it has been greatly loved and admired.
There is something wrong with my sense of appreciation, for when talking, a short time ago, with a man who had also visited Palestine, and he asked me "Did you enjoy the Dead Sea?" I answered "No, it was dead, dry and dusty." Said he, "But, my dear sir, it was so quiet and grand you could think and drink in the beauty!" Yes, I could think how nice a cold drink was going to taste as soon as I got back to the hotel — and it did! The Galilean Lake is beautiful and yields beautiful thoughts; the Dead Sea is sad, salty and silent and makes one yearn for other parts. It is 1,300 feet below the Mediterranean.
One evening we had dinner with an official of the British Government and his wife, most delightful people. Not being a politician, we were allowed to ask political questions. We inquired, "Just what does the English Government see in Palestine, and what does it expect to do with it?" His answer was characteristic, "We will just have to wait and see." What will the outcome be? For centuries Palestine has been a part of the "Riddle of the Ages". For the world traveler it is the best sight-seeing place in the world. At Easter time (and two separate and distinct Easters about two weeks apart are celebrated in that city) housing facilities are inadequate; and for a number of months each year, if you would visit Jerusalem you should make reservations early. To the Christian, Jew and Mohammedan, Jerusalem and its vicinity is the earthly fountain of their religion. He who reads and hears and does not travel, does not have his faith broken nor shattered by actual sights of the Holy Land. To him "it is a Paradise on earth", the one truly green spot in this world. Why Southern California has water to spare for that poor distressed wilderness! The dyed-in-the-wool Jew of Russia especially, and a few of those of the U.S. (though most of the latter know better) want to "go back and reconstruct the Temple, etc." Surely it is only a vision, for I saw many Jews that had gone back, with their Fords and American household goods and ideas with them, anxiously awaiting an opportunity to get back to the U. S. A.
As everyone knows, the Jews, from time immemorial, have "gone back" to reinhabit Palestine and its chief cities. Today this movement is termed zionism. It has a huge following in this country; this is also called the re-birth of the ancient capital of Jewry. The Chaluzim (Jewish pioneers) have made zionism a vital and dynamic thing, and they would have us believe in this country that today the suburbs of Jerusalem rival the works of Solomon. It was 40 years ago that the first pioneers started to go there; it is during the past four years that the movement has really gotten under way. As we drove through North Palestine American-made farm machinery was in evidence, and it was obvious that an attempt was being made to use the same although the "hand gleaners" were at work in the small fields just as in the days of Naomi and Ruth. However, the swift river Jordan offers plenty of irrigating and hydro-electric power, should there ever be a demand for it.
Palestine's civilization of today, its customs and ideas are not as they were in Abraham's time, but are an admixture of those of Egypt, Babylon, Italy, Greece, Crusade, Turkey, England, America, and, I opine, that like all other civilization, it will continue to change —
"The moving finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all your tears wash out a word of it."
Yet Americans, and not Jews, who had lived there many years and who do (from choice) continue to live there — as for example the American Colony — are quite happy in Palestine. They run a school, put up American visitors tavern-like, and have a splendid up-to-date American group of buildings with the U. S. Flag flying overhead. Theirs is a life where each is "safe under his own vine and fig tree, where strife cometh not".
How the native Palestinian feels is clearly shown in the following recent Associated Press report:
"The Mohammedan and Christian Arabs closed their shops today and ceased work on the occasion of the arrival of the Earl of Balfour as a protest against the famous declaration which he issued as foreign secretary, committing Great Britain to the support of the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine." (2)
The United States Consular Service makes it very pleasant and convenient for American visitors in any foreign country, but especially in Palestine. One example of this occurred on this trip; three telegrams from Beirut to our hotel failed to reach us in as many days; but another, through the Consulate, reached us in thirty minutes, calling us back to Beirut. Thus ended our pilgrimage.
(1) "Bandits and Massacres," The Lutheran, April, 1924. By John W. Shuman.
(2) Los Angeles Evening Press, March 25, 1925, Page 1; Foot of 2nd Column.
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A NEW INTERPRETATION OF HISTORY
Bro. Elmer Mantz, New York
THE author of this suggestive article foreshadows the study of the past from a new point of view. It has of course been recognized that free associations have been important factors in history, as for example the influence of the gilds in the Middle Ages, but so far history has not yet been written definitely from this standpoint, though we understand that Bro. Mantz contemplates further studies along this line.
"THROUGH the ages there have taken place in civilization quite a large number of revolutions of which no record has come down to us. Writers did not notice them, for they took place slowly, imperceptibly, without any apparent struggles; revolutions at once deep and hidden which shook the foundations of human society without any evidence on the surface of things and which remained unnoticed by the very generations that contributed to them. History can discern them only a long time after they have been accomplished, when, in comparing two epochs in the life of a people it perceives between them such great differences that it becomes evident that, in the intervening time, a great revolution has taken place."
Such are the words of Fustel de Coulanges, a profound historian of the middle of the last century. The validity of his statement is apparent in the writings of the best students of our own times, who speculate with interest, but never with dogmatic cocksureness, about the meaning of contemporary events. They realize that they can never be sure of what a thing is and what it means until it can be looked at from a certain distance, so that at one glance they can estimate its action and its importance in relation to other things. Within a hundred years the world has entered into a new stage of its history: "our times" began with a new industrial system that brought with it a new manner of living. In almost everything we are further from the people of 1800 than they were from the people of ancient Rome. Our political and private and industrial life is governed by conditions that have few true precedents. This means that we can interpret the "revolutions" of former times as the historians of a century ago could not do. They lacked the perspective that can be had only after an accomplished change.
MODES OF THOUGHT SURVIVE
Of course, no change is ever final, and we are linked to our forefathers by innumerable deeply-rooted ways of thinking that we can only rarely detect in ourselves, but that act in us with unfailing effect. By an irony of our human fate it happens that these inherited ways of thinking often result in prejudice, so that our contempt for certain things that are of the past is prompted by a way of thinking that is coeval with the things it makes us despise. The man who boasts of having unbiased judgment is either mad or foolish; or else he is a superman. And so the writing of history can never be a matter of the same unerring accuracy that characterizes mathematics. We can say only this much: that a conscientious historian can estimate the past better than he can understand the present, in spite of the paradox that he may know many more facts about the present than he can ever learn about the past. Only where there is perspective can there be judgment.
This fact accounts for the statement of Fustel de Coulanges and serves, too, as a sort of article of faith — a credo about history-writing: for through it we understand how the historian of today may feel confident that he can tell us certain things about the past that remained hidden from those who were alive in the epochs he studies. And yet, while historians have had ample time to get this perspective of the past, they have signally and, it might seem, unaccountably, failed to recognize one of the greatest "revolutionary" forces in progress. This failure may, however, be accounted for by the fact that they were blinded by certain historiographical tenets imposed by the times they lived in. The present article will attempt to analyze these tenets.
BROTHERHOOD IS A FACTOR IN HISTORY
The agency of progress referred to is fraternalism — not any particular group, but the thing in itself taken in the inclusive sense of all groups founded in the fraternal spirit and without reference to whether they were strictly secret societies or not. This article has reference to the historians of the modern age and their apparently inexplicable omission of fraternalism as a great agency of progress.
Everyone must have been impressed with the fact that histories belong rather to the realm of literature than to that of science. The complicated motives of human conduct and the thousand elements, spiritual or material, that have their influence upon us — all these constitute so immense a subject that historians have to restrict themselves to certain aspects only. Thus every historian treats of only a part of the real history of a period. But in addition to his selection of topics and materials he must make a selection of points of view: and it is this last that amounts to what we call the writer's "philosophy of history". In this article we shall try to explain the omission of fraternalism in general histories by an analysis of the various philosophies of history that have been widely accepted in modern times.
Christianity inspired the earliest of the modern historical schools with what has been called St. Augustine's doctrine of Providence. According to this God is conceived as the Maker of the world and of human fate, and the providential school told the story of God's acts in the world of men rather than those of humanity. It is quite evident that such a concept of history left no place for the idea of progress, God having preordained the whole gamut of human experience. Rather the doctrine of the fall of Adam required that all subsequent history should represent a penitence rather than a progress — a slow new achievement of the privileged position man had once held but had lost by his disobedience. In such history human agencies of scientific, political and economic progress simply cannot exist. The Essay on Universal History of the seventeenth century French bishop, Bossuet, is considered the classic in this field.
THE CHRONICLE IS DISCUSSED
Such was one kind of history-writing before the scientific renaissance that began with the 17th century and that is culminating today. Another sort that has been much derided in modern times but that really approached a scientific concept of history — was the "chronicle". Here we find no attempt at interpretation or explanation — only a bare record of events. In reality, the chronicle was not history, for history is an art of individualistic interpretation; rather, we should class the chronicle among the records and documents and conceive of it as material for the writing of history.
Why chronicle has been derided is not so much because it often set forth totally unauthenticated happenings as because it reported only the deeds of kings and prelates. The common man, economic circumstances, literary production and scientific discovery-all these were neglected by the chroniclers. And it is just these elements that are now considered all important. Thus, from the point of view of fraternalism, we may find interesting facts in the chronicles; but we never find that they recognized fraternalism as a particularly important factor in progress. But progress, as we have said in mentioning the providential school of historians, was not a fact at all in the minds of our forefathers of a few centuries ago.
THE PHILOSOPHICAL HISTORY FOLLOWED
The providential historians were followed, in the 18th century, by a brilliant but shallow and unbalanced school — that of the so-called "philosophers". Voltaire, Gibbon and Hume are its representatives. There is much that is beautiful and inspiring in their works; hut we of the present have no choice but to call them shallow as historians, for they left out of account too many elements that are of the utmost importance in our eyes.
They were a real school so far as the writing of history is concerned although they held various religious or philosophical beliefs as widely separated as deism, atheism and agnosticism. But they were united in a war against the Christian religion. It is this fact which accounts for their lack of balance. They could not see that a historian ought to be a historian first and a controversialist afterward, if need be. Since they did not approve of Christianity they were at liberty to write history from an independent standpoint, allowing the facts about the Church to speak for themselves. But they did not choose this course. What they did was to enter the field of polemics and bend their energy to combating Christian belief. In terms of history this means that they tried to show that the effect of Christianity and the Church upon humanity had been evil. It is for each honest student of these matters to agree or disagree with the "philosopher" historians, as he may feel disposed. But there can be no argument about the fact that the "philosophers" were hardly better, as historians, than the "providential" school they were fighting. Real history does not depend upon religion alone: it is a complex of many elements. The "philosophers" were too intent upon refuting the "providential" school to visualize the enormous range of human endeavor that must be studied by a true historian. Social forces such as fraternalism were unimportant to the "philosophers" except in their bearing upon the anti-Christian program that they had taken in hand.
It must seem to any well-read and honest student of the works of the "philosophers" that they were hardly historians at all, even though they recorded an infinite number of facts in a most interesting manner. We judge them so harshly because they were guilty — I believe, unintentionally — of a real blunder in method: they adopted a preconceived idea and fitted the facts of history into the framework of this idea. They assumed that the priesthood had intimidated and deceived mankind with the intention of gaining power and wealth. Having assumed this — which, in the nature of things, would have to be an exaggeration or a misinterpretation — they were incapable of treating facts historically, or, in other words, judicially and scientifically. The "philosophers" made their generalization before they put down the truth about the separate facts in history. The process should be just the contrary: if "laws of history", or generalizations, are to be worth the name, then they cannot be deduced; they must be induced. The modern classification of history-writing as a science is correct only if history follows the scientific method of proceeding from isolated facts to generalizations — which is what is meant by "induction". Therefore, according to any scientist of today — no matter whether he be Christian or anti-Christian — the method of the "philosophers" must seem faulty and their conclusions worthless as contributions to science.
FRATERNAL ASSOCIATIONS INFLUENCE HISTORY
The "philosophers" found it easy to generalize because their generalizations cost them little effort. And having gotten the habit of generalization they made an over-use of the method. From the point of view of the history of fraternalism the method seems to pursue a vicious circle. Fraternalism is a definite mode or process. It is not to be accounted for by a "providential", nor by a "philosophic", nor by a democratic, nor by an individualistic theory of history. Fraternalism refers to the small groups within the large groups of the state or the religion. It is a manner of accomplishment, however, rather than a separate element in society. The generalizing "philosophers" saw only the religion and the kingship on the one hand and suffering humanity on the other. Had they been less hasty, and had they taken the pains to investigate the workings and ideals of fraternalism, they might have discovered that human progress owes more to fraternalism than to their harsh and controversial attitude.
THE ROMANTIC SCHOOL ARISES
This same unscientific method of the "philosophers" was equally the method of their Christian adversaries such as Joseph de Maistre, Bonald and others. It applies also to the next large school of historians — the school of the "Romanticists". Romanticism amounted to an exaggerated cult of the individual. That seems to be its predominant characteristic. But, among other things, it was a temperamental interpretation of history, and, for that reason, was just as likely as the school of the "philosophers" to become enmeshed in generalizations. The romantic historians, like the "philosophers", re-wrote the story of humanity according to preconceived ideas rather than as the facts required it to be written. Guizot in France and Carlyle in England are outstanding representatives of this method. They make pleasant reading, but such reading tells us more about Guizot and Carlyle than about the real facts of history. If one were to sum up the romantic theory in a word, one would say that it attributes progress rather to the individual than to the Church, the kingship or the people. Our contemporary psychological school of biographers seems to be doing about what the romantic historians did, although for other reasons. The history of fraternalism, when it comes to be studied in an unprejudiced and scientific manner, will probably show that, while the genius has always been the inventor of things and of thoughts, the fraternal groups, more than any other agency, have perfected his labors and made them useful to humanity.
THE POSITIVE SCHOOL SUCCEEDS
One more group of historians must be mentioned-that which interprets history through the material circumstances of life in different parts of the world. No doubt they have called attention to things that were so close to everyone's experience that they could hardly be visualized with any perspective. And the mere mention of the name of Karl Marx, who wrote around 1847, is enough to show how powerful has been the influence of the "economic" school of historians. We remember, and we still read, Buckle's History of Civilization in England; and although this work was published almost seventy years ago it is still a convincing brief in favor of conceiving civilization as a product of economic circumstances. And histories of this sort are still being written, for the reason, principally, that the present history of the world is a history of wealth rather than of men.
The times may change. But even now we know well enough that, although men are influenced by economic circumstances, still human history must remain a history of men and not a history of things. The ultimate story of progress will not be exclusively a record of material circumstances any more than it will be one of the doctrines of priests, the deeds of kings, the accomplishments of genius or the aspirations and sufferings of the people without name — the "generations of men".
We believe that we get what we deserve. But we know that we get this only when we deserve it in the eyes of the world. And, from this point of view-which is the only criterion for the writer about verified facts -we are unworthy of notice unless we know how to ally our labors with the needs of the world.
Perhaps my readers need no further suggestion than this. The history of fraternalism is a part — and a most important part — of the history of human progress. And there is no doubt whatsoever that those who have recounted the vicissitudes of human effort have not yet applied themselves, in a consistent manner, to discovering the whole truth about a hidden but what I have reason to believe an almost omnipotent modality of progress.
A NEW SCHOOL IS NOT DESIRED
No real thinker would wish to endorse a "fraternal" school of historiography; it would amount only to one more exaggeration and deformation, after so many others. But every intelligent man would, I think, like to know in just what wise fraternalism has made progress possible. Until the history is written we can only suppose that fraternalism is so important in history. No one has proved the point so far.
But it is time to come back to Fustel de Coulanges and the beginning of the present essay: "There have taken place in civilization quite a large number of revolutions of which no record has come down to us ... revolutions at once deep and hidden which shook the foundations of human society...." With some of these, and perhaps with almost all, fraternalism has had something to do. The student of Masonry will not be at a loss for examples of this. Quite theoretically, then, and without going into any detail about the role of fraternalism in progress, we can state this much:
Those who have told the story of mankind have told it incompletely and from preconceived points of view. They have recounted the doings of God on earth and have made of their fellows the instruments or the victims of a divine providence. They have explained history as the mirror of the acts of kings, heroes and geniuses. They have told us that civilization springs like a plant, naturally and inevitably, from that soil of humanity, the people. They have, again, interpreted everything as material cause and effect, and have made music and poetry, philosophy and science, mere products of the air and the soil and the water — flowers of experience that blossom spontaneously on the bosom of matter.
We cannot subscribe to all this. All of our everyday experience tells us that, in human life, there must be a vehicle, a means, an instrument, an organization. Without these a genius is as worthless to society as a drunkard in a hurricane. The "revolutions" of which Fustel de Coulanges speaks have undoubtedly taken place; and they have taken place without society being aware of them. The priesthood, the kingship, the people, the genius, the ground we live on — none of these fully explains the mystery of progress. No single theory ever will. But it is very probable that common sense and historic fact will at last be reconciled through a scholarly and exhaustive history of the social influence of fraternalism.
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LANGUAGE OF THE RITUAL
EACH word in our daily speech has a history of its own, almost a biography, which, if a man wishes to discover it, lets a little window into times past, old ways of thinking, inventions, discoveries, adventures, romances, forgotten ideas. Allen Upward wrote a book once of 320 pages on the one word "idealism," and at the end left many things unsaid. Another man could write a similar book on any other word, except those that have been recently manufactured.
What a library might be thus written on the language of our Ritual! To the etymological historian all of its words would be so many thousands of windows, many of them of richest stained glass, opening back on such panoramas of the past as would amaze us. The philosophies of the eighteenth century would be there, the many colored gild life of the Middle Ages, theorems of the Arabic mathematicians, reveries of the kabbalists, guesses of the occultists, thoughts of Greek philosophers, visions of Hebrew prophets, the twilight mysteries of Egypt.
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THE WAYS OF WISDOM ARE BEAUTIFUL
As useful knowledge is the great object of our desire, let us diligently apply to the practice of the art, and steadily adhere to the principles it inculcates. Let not the difficulties we have to encounter check our progress, or damp our zeal; but let us recollect that the ways of wisdom are beautiful, and lead to pleasure. Knowledge is attained by degrees, and cannot everywhere be found. Wisdom seeks the secret shade, the lonely cell designed for contemplation. There enthroned she sits, delivering her sacred oracles. There let us seek her, and pursue the real bliss. Though the passage be difficult, the farther we trace it, the easier it becomes.
Union and harmony constitute the essence of Freemasonry; while we enlist under that banner, the society must flourish and private animosities give place to peace and good fellowship. Uniting in one design, let it be our aim to be happy ourselves, and contribute to the happiness of others. Let us mark our superiority and distinction amongst men, by the sincerity of our profession as Masons, let us cultivate the moral virtues and improve in all that is good and amiable; let the Genius of Masonry preside over our conduct, and under her sway let us perform our part with becoming dignity, let us preserve an elevation of understanding, a politeness of manner, and an evenness of temper; let our recreations be innocent, and pursued with moderation; and never let irregular indulgences lead to the subversion of our system, by impairing our faculties, or exposing our character to derision. In conformity to our precepts, as patterns worthy of imitation, let the respectability of our character be supported by the regularity of our conduct, and the uniformity of our deportment, then, as citizens of the world, and friends in every clime, we shall be living examples of virtue and benevolence, equally zealous to merit, as to obtain universal approbation. — Preston's Illustrations of Masonry, 12th Edition, 1812.
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MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird. P.G.M., District of Columbia
SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, Governor of Ohio, and State the first Grand Master of Masons in that State, was born in Connecticut in 1766. He was the nephew and namesake of Samuel Huntington who signed the Declaration of Independence. His uncle adopted him and brought him up as his son, and when he died made him his heir.
The elder Huntington gave his nephew all the advantages of his wealth and position, sending him to Yale after he had passed through school. He graduated at the age of twenty, after which he took up the study of law and was in due course admitted to the Connecticut bar. Here he received an appointment as "King's Attorney", a distinction now known in Great Britain and the British Empire as King's Counsel.
In the year 1800 he went west on a tour of inspection and decided to settle in what was known then as the "Western Reserve." This was the time of active settlement and organization of the new territory and he became the dominant public character of the new community. In 1801 he came to live permanently in what was soon to be the State of Ohio, bringing his wife, a highly accomplished lady, and their two sons with him. After a short sojourn in Youngstown they moved to Cleveland, where they occupied what was then the most pretentious dwelling in the place. It was a house of squared logs. He attended courts in Warren, Canfield and elsewhere, riding the circuits on horseback carrying his law books in his saddle bags, crossing swamps and swimming rivers, and meeting all the other difficulties of pioneer trails.
At thirty-five years of age he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Trumbull County Militia by the Territorial Governor of Ohio. When the Territory was organized as a State he was chosen as a member of the Committee that wrote its Constitution. He was also the first Senator from Trumbull County, and Speaker of the first Legislature that met at Chillicothe in An. which was in the beginning chosen as the Capital of Ohio. Later he was elected first Judge of the Supreme Court (he had already been Judge of the Court of Appeals at Cleveland) but resigned from the bench to take the office of Governor of the State, which he held for two years. When the War of 1812 broke out he was actively engaged, receiving the appointment of Paymaster of the Army. In the course of this charge he had to go to Washington and exert his utmost endeavors to secure funds to meet the demands of the soldiers for their pay. It is not too much to say that his success in this relieved a very serious condition that was undermining the morale of the forces engaged on the northern frontier.
His Masonic career was no less distinguished than his public life. From the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Ohio for 1920 we learn that he was made a Mason in Connecticut. There seems no doubt that he received the degrees of Lodge and Chapter at Norwich, his native place. As the old records of this lodge have been destroyed this cannot be verified. but he was certainly a Mason when he came west as he was named as a charter member of the first lodge organized on the Western Reserve, now Old Erie Lodge, No. 3, and was one of the signers of the petition for its charter to the Grand Lodge of Connecticut. In 1809 he was elected Grand Master of the newly formed Grand Lodge of Ohio. The first steps for the formation of this body were taken in 1808 when General Putnam was chosen as Grand Master. But the latter owing to the disabilities of age and ill-health, which he felt were drawing upon him, refused to serve, so that Bro. Huntington was actually the first Grand Master to be installed.
Samuel Huntington was a very well educated man outside of his profession. In his youth he had had the advantages of foreign travel, and among other accomplishments spoke the French language fluently. He died at Painesville June 7, 1817, and was buried in what is now called "Evergreen Cemetery" in that town and the monument shown in the illustration has been erected to his memory.
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First Master of the First Masonic Lodge on the Western Reserve
Bro. James J. Tyler, Ohio
THERE were by this time many Masons on the Reserve, and in the latter part of 1803, the same year in which Ohio was admitted as a state of the Union, and the fourth under the Federal Constitution, Judge Kirtland, together with a number of "Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons" residing in various parts of the then Trumbull County, met at Warren and agreed to organize and establish a lodge of the Order to be located at Warren. A petition was sent to the Grand Lodge of Connecticut as most of the petitioners were members of Connecticut lodges, praying for authority to form a lodge under its jurisdiction and protection. Bro. Samuel Tylee, of Hubbard, was appointed as their representative, and with the petition journeyed on horseback to New Haven where he presented it to the Grand Lodge then in session. On Oct. 19, 1803, a charter was granted and Bro. Tylee was appointed Deputy Grand Master for the purpose of proceeding to Warren to dedicate the new lodge and install its officers.
A letter received from Bro. William B. Hall, of Merniden Conn., states that the records of the Grand Lodge Communication of Oct. 19, 1803, contain the following reference to Erie Lodge:
The Grand Lodge was opened in the Third Degree of Masonry when a petition was presented from sundry brethren residing in the County of Trumbull, and State of Ohio, representing that the fraternity was numerous in that quarter; and there was no Grand Lodge in that State, that they had principally emigrated from the State of Connecticut, and that there was no Grand Lodge to whom they could, with so much propriety, apply as to this, under whose fostering hand, much the greatest part of them had derived their existence as Masons, praying for the formation of a new Lodge in the Town of Warren, County of Turmbull, aforesaid.
The petition was referred to a special committee who after taking the subject matter of the same into careful consideration. reported in favor of the petition, and recommended the adoption of a resolution that it was expedient to grant the prayer thereof.
After sundry remarks had been made thereon, the report was accepted, and it was ordered, that a charter be granted, and that our Worshipful Bro. Turhand Kirtland be the first Master, and the other officers confirmed in their respective appointments, agreeable to the prayer of the petitioners. The Lodge to be known and designated by the name of Erie, No. 47, and the authority given to them by virtue of this charter to continue and be in force for one year from and after the time when there shall be a Grand Lodge regularly constituted within and for the State of Ohio.
On March 16, 1804, at 2 p. m., Deputy Master Tylee, with the pro tem officers of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut appointed from among the brethren, opened the Grand Lodge and proceeded to "constitute, consecrate, and solemnly install the said petitioners and their said officers by the name of Erie Lodge, No. 47, Ancient, Free and Accepted York Masons." He then closed the Grand Lodge of Connecticut and at 5 p. m. the first meeting of the new lodge was held. The first officers of Erie Lodge, No. 47, were:
Turhand Kirtland, Worshipful Master. John Leavitt, Senior Warden. William Rayen, Junior Warden. Calvin Austin, Treasurer. Camden Cleveland, Secretary. Aaron Wheeler, Senior Deacon. John Walworth, Junior Deacon. Dr. Charles Dutton, Arad Way, Stewards. Ezekiel Hover, Tyler.
The choice of Judge Kirtland as the first Master of the new lodge was a well deserved one, not only because he had taken so prominent a part in the affairs of the Reserve but also because of his previous Masonic record. He was Worshipful Master of Compass Lodge, No. 9, of Wallingford, Conn., in 1783, 1789, 1795 and 1800, and he represented Compass Lodge at a convention held at the home of Bro. Brown, in New Haven, on April 29, 1783, for the purpose of forming the Grand Lodge of Connecticut. He was one of the signers of the first constitution of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, on July 8, 1789, twelve lodges being represented. He acted as Grand Junior Warden at a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut on Dec. 30, 1794, and he was present at the Communications of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut on Oct. 14, 1795; Oct. 18, 1797, and May 14, 1800.
Lodge attendance was beset with many hardships in a partially settled wilderness. "Searching old records, one often will find meeting nights adjusted to come in the full of the moon, so that brethren could have light to aid them in finding their way home." Where the lodge was organized and held its first meetings is not now known. "Tradition, having foundation no doubt in fact, says that they met in 1810 in the gambrel-roofed, red-frame building, in which the (old) Western Reserve Bank was first organized, that stood on the east side of Main street." Later, and during the war with Great Britain (1812-1815), they met at a tavern then standing on the west side and just back from Main street. "From this room they marched in procession, on the celebration of St. John's Day, in June of one of those years, to a log building then used as a school house, standing on the northwest corner of the park (Monumental)."
"Soon after this, probably in 1816, they removed to 'Castle William,' afterwards known as the Pavillion Hotel," located on the south side of Market Street. They continued to occupy this room until about 1829 when the lodge entered upon a period of inactivity lasting for over twenty-five years and brought about by the anti-Masonic tempest of 1826. The building was called "Castle William" after the first name of its owner, Bro. William Cotgreave. It was one of the most notable structures in Warren of the early days and was at first a log cabin built by Jacob Harsh in 1802. About the year 1807 Bro. Cotgreave, who had purchased the property, made an extensive but extremely homely addition, the lower story of which was made of logs in block-house fashion, while the upper two stories were frame gabled roof. "For many years, until the fire of 1846, in and out, round and about it surged much of the judicial, social, political, religious and literary life of the village." At first the lower story was used as a jail and the upper in common as a court room, church, Masonic hall and for public meetings, shows, balls, etc. In 1828, "Castle William" was purchased by James L. Vangorder and underwent extensive repairs. It was then known as the "Pavillion Hotel" and was the headquarters of seven stage routes which daily passed through the village.
Erie Lodge, No. 47, continued to work under the authority so granted, "until considering that greater benefits would arise to the Craft by the formation of a Grand Lodge for the State of Ohio, they on the 11th of March, 1807, at their annual meeting, appointed George Tod, John Leavitt and Wm. Rayen a committee to correspond with the other lodges of the state on the subject." At a meeting of the lodge, held Nov. 11, 1807, this committee reported that they had received communications in answer to theirs from lodges at Marietta, Cincinnati, Zanesville and Chillicothe, relative to the formation of a Grand Lodge. The lodge then elected George Tod and John W. Seeley delegates from Erie Lodge, No. 47, to meet delegates from these lodges in a convention to be held at Chillicothe on the first Monday of January, 1818. "Thus to Erie Lodge belongs the honor of being the first to suggest and first to take the initiative towards establishing the Grand Lodge of Ohio."
At this convention the six lodges then existing in the state were represented. They were located respectively at Marietta, Cincinnati, Worthington, Warren and Zanesville. The lodge at Worthington was represented by its W. M., the Rev. James Kilbourne, but for some reason, not now known, his credentials were not deemed sufficient and the lodge was not allowed a representative in the convention. (Rev. Kilbourne later held many offices in the Grand Lodge.) Robert Oliver, of Union Lodge, No. 1, Marietta, was made chairman and George Tod, of Erie Lodge, was appointed secretary. After deliberating for some days the convention unanimously adopted a resolution, proposed by Lewis Cass, of Zanesville, and seconded by Bro. John W. Seeley, of Erie Lodge, as follows:
"Resolved That it is expedient to form a Grand Lodge in this state."
In the election which followed, Rufus Putnam, the "Father and Founder of Ohio," was elected M. W. Grand Master and Bro. George Tod R. W. Senior Grand Warden. Among the papers of Bro. George Tod in the possession of the Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio, is a copy of the printed proceedings of this convention. The signature of Bro. Tod appears on the title page, which reads as follows:
State of Ohio
Published for the Society
Printed at Brothers Parcells & Barnes
A. L. 5808 — A. D. 1808
The delegates to this convention reported its proceedings at the annual meeting of Erie Lodge March 9, 1808, and at a meeting held Dec. 5, 1809, the lodge appointed Bros. George Tod, Samuel Huntington and John H. Adgate as their representatives to the first Grand Communication of the Grand Lodge to be held at Chillicothe on Jan. 2, 1809.
When the Grand Lodge convened, the Grand Master, Gen. Rufus Putnam, forwarded a communication declining the office to which he had been elected because of poor health, as follows:
"It was with high sensibility and gratitude I received the information that the Grand Convention of Masons convened at Chillicothe, in January last, elected me to the office of Grand Master of your most ancient and honorable society, but, however sensibly I feel the high honor done me by the Convention, and am disposed to promote the interest of the craft in general, and in this State in particular, I must decline the appointment. My sun is far past the meridian; it is almost set; a few sands only remain in my glass; I am unable to undergo the necessary labors of that high and important office; unable to make you a visit at this time, without a sacrifice and hazard of health which prudence forbids.
"May the great Architect, under whose all-seeing eye all Masons profess to labor, have you in His holy keeping that when our labors here are finished, we may, through the merits of Him that was dead, but now is alive, and lives forevermore, be admitted into that temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens: Amen. So prays your friend and brother, "Marietta, Dec. 26th, 1808. RUFUS PUTNAM."
This resignation was accepted, and in the election which followed Bro. Samuel Huntington, of Erie Lodge, became the first acting M. W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, and Bro. William Rayerl, the first Junior Warden of Erie Lodge, No. 47, was elected R. W. Junior Grand Warden.
Following his term as Worshipful Master, Judge Kirtland served Erie Lodge as Treasurer in 1807. His name does not appear in the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Ohio until the year 1815 at which time he was the delegate from Erie Lodge, No. 3, to the Grand Communication of that year. He also represented, by proxy, Meridian Orb Lodge, No. 10, of Painesville; Jerusalem Lodge, No. 19, of Hartford; Western Star Lodge, No. 21, of Canfield (later Youngstown), and Rising Sun Lodge, No. 22, of Ashtabula. "In accordance with the regulations of that period, a delegate was permitted to represent four lodges as their accredited proxy in addition to the one of which he was a member." Subordinate lodges availed themselves of this privilege in order to lessen the expense of their representation. Judge Kirtland was one of a committee of three appointed to draw up resolutions regarding the action of American Union Lodge at Marietta which had for a number of years previously ceased all connection with the Grand Lodge. He was elected R. W. Deputy Grand Master in the election which followed but was not present at the Communication of 1816.
After this time Judge Kirtland, now a man almost sixty years of age, does not appear to have taken an active part in the affairs of the lodge. He lived through the dark days of the anti-Masonic period which followed the disappearance of "William Morgan" of New York State (after his publication of a pretended exposition of Freemasonry in 1826) and saw Erie Lodge cease working in 1828 along with a majority of the lodges in the State of Ohio. He died ten years before the dawn of that brighter day when the lodge was reorganized in 1854 as the present Old Erie Lodge.
That we may have a just estimate of this active and influential man, we find him representing Trumbull County in the General Assemblies of 1814-15 and 1815-16 as State Senator. He was a justice of the peace at Poland for over twenty years. In 1813 he was elected a member of the Board of Directors of the Western Reserve Bank, chartered in the winter of 1811-1812. "This was the first bank established on the Western Reserve and it survived all other banks in the state which entered the field before or with it." It was the only one that continued solvent until the end of the State Bank organization and was reorganized as the First National Bank (now the Union Savings & Trust Co.) in 1863, under the National Banking Act of that year. Regarding the old Western Reserve Bank, one account states that "through its half century career, this corporation has not only made good quarterly returns, on paper, but has deservedly enjoyed a good repute among men."
Church services were early held at the home of Judge Kirtland at Poland, and in 1807 residents of Canfield, Poland and Boardman met in the latter village where Episcopal services were held. Judge Kirtland's name appears first on a list of twenty-one names of petitioners who, on June 20, 1809, drafted and presented to the bishop of New York State the following petition:
We, the subscribers, inhabitants of the town of Boardman. Canfield and Poland, in the county of Trumbull, and State of Ohio, being desirous to promote the worship of God after the order of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, having for some time met and attended divine service according to the established form of that church and finding ourselves under great inconveniences for the want of prayer books and sermons, to remedy which and to endeavor to procure the assistance of a worthy teacher, judge it best to form ourselves into a regular Episcopal society, investing the same with the proper officers, thereby putting ourselves in the proper situation to petition the Rt. Revd. Bishop of the State of New York, praying him to incorporate us and grant us such relief as in his wisdom he may deem meet and consistent.
A favorable reply being received, a meeting was held Aug. 12, 1809, at which Judge Kirtland presided as moderator. St. James' parish was organized and Turhand Kirtland was elected one of three vestrymen. This was the first Episcopal church on the Western Reserve and the second in the state, the first being organized at Worthington in 1804.
As early as 1805 Judge Kirtland secured sufficient funds from the settlers to purchase a fine library for Poland, and this library was kept abreast of the times as long as he lived. His name is closely identified with the first attempt at establishing an institution of learning on the Reserve. A petition was sent to the territorial legislature in 1801 by the Rev. Joseph Badger for a charter to establish a college on the Connecticut Western Reserve. It was signed by Roger Newberry, John Leavitt, Judson Canfield, Col. Samuel Huntington, John S. Edwards, Turhand Kirtland, Edward Paine, Samuel Woodruff, John Young, William Hart, Henry Champion, Moses Cleaveland, Ephriam Root, Rev. Nathan Strong, Samuel Mills, Joseph Badger and Eliphalet Austin. This petition was not granted. After the admission of Ohio as a state, in 1803, the petition was renewed and a charter granted to the Erie Literary Society. The preamble of the act declares that:
Whereas it has been represented to this assembly by certain persons associated under the name of the Erie Literary Society, that a number of proprietors of land within the county of Trumball are desirous to appropriate a part thereof to the support of a Seminary of learning within said county, and that the intent of such donations cannot be carried into effect without the interference of the Legislature, by incorporating a board of trust for the reception and management of any property, real or personal, that may be given for said purpose and for the establishment and direction of such Seminary, as soon as funds sufficient shall be collected.
Be it enacted, That David Hudson, Eliphalet Austin, Henry Champion, John Leavitt. Martin Smith Ephriam Root, Harmon Canfield John Walworth, John S. Edwards, William Hart, Turhand Kirtland, Esq. Solomon Griswold and Rev. Joseph Badger, and their successors in office, be and they are hereby created a body politic and corporate by the name of the Erie Literary Society and as such shall remain and have perpetual succession, etc.
There was great rivalry regarding a site for the institution, and in a letter dated Nov. 26, 1807, signed by Judge Kirtland as trustee, states that:
The trustees were authorized to fix the place for the college and after advertizing for proposals and adjourning for several times, they affixt it at Burton and the subscribers together with the Inhabitants and proprietors of Burton have erected a house and almost completed it and have deeded their lands and given other security to the amount of seven thousand dollars exclusive of the building.
On a list of the amount which each subscriber was to pay in lands towards the college, appears the name of Judge Kirtland and the sum donated, $834.07, was the third largest subscription. Burton Academy, founded in 1804, was the first institution of its kind on the Reserve. Its building was destroyed by fire in 1810. The War of 1812 seriously interfered with the progress of the Academy and it was not until 1819 that a new building was completed.
Judge Kirtland was twice married. His first wife, to whom he was married Jan. 2, 1780, was Mary Beech, daughter of Moses Beech. She died at Wallingrord, Conn., Nov. 24, 1792. His second marriage was to Polly Potter, on Jan. 19, 1793. She was the daughter of Dr. Jared Potter, of New Haven, Conn. They reared a family of six children. One son, Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland, was a noted physician and naturalist, a graduate of Yale and a professor in the Western Reserve Medical College. He was at one time president of the Ohio State Medical Association. "In 1830 Jerusalem Lodge, No. 19, was represented (at the communication of the Grand Lodge) by Bro. Jared P. Kirtland."
At the advanced age of eighty-nine years, Judge Kirtland closed his life at Poland.
He was a man of great energy, character and ability and left at his death a large property. Of his life, "enough remains to show the unflagging and indomitable perseverance of the man, no complaints, no regrets, but a steady pushing forward amid untold trials and privations of those pioneer days." He was esteemed and respected by that large circle of active and influential men who led the tide of immigration into the wilderness and of whom it has been said:
These men were of a class by themselves, and stand pre-eminent among the pioneers of all preceding and succeeding times for the special qualities of hardihood and adventure, united with intellectual powers and capacities of the highest order. They not only introduced the plow-share into the virgin soil of the wilderness, but they brought with them the Bible and the spelling book, the artisan, the circuit preacher, and the school master, as co-ordinate parts of their enterprise.
It is well that such men should not be forgotten.
After the land that fell to Turhand Kirtland had passed out of the possession of its original owner, Kirtland Village became a Mormon settlement which, prior to their general exodus to Missouri in 1837, numbered about four thousand. One of the most permanent reminders of their occupancy is the Temple, which still stands at Kirtland. "In front over the largest window is a white tablet bearing the inscription, 'House of the Lord, built by the Church of the Latter Day Saints, A.D. 1834.'" This was the first Mormon Temple.
Rev. William Wick was the first minister of the Presbyterian Church at Youngstown. He was an intimate friend of his contemporary, Rev. Joseph Badger, the first Western Reserve Missionary. Rev. Badger, assisted by the Rev. Messrs. Lait and Wick, organized the First Presbyterian Church at Warren in 1803. "At candle lighting Mr. Wick preached."
The "History of Rising Sun Lodge," Ashtabula, Ohio, records that on "June 24, 1817 — St. John's Day — Bro. Joseph Badger delivered a sermon."
"June 24, 1824 — E.A. Degree conferred, after which Bro. Badger delivered a discourse."
The records of Jerusalem Lodge, No. 19, state that a regular meeting was held on May 23, 1820, at their lodge room in Hartford, Ohio. Twenty-six brethren present. Daniel Bushnell, W.M. — Rev. Joseph Badger, visitor." Rev. Badger was the first companion exalted by Western Reserve Chapter, No. 8. Ashtabula, Ohio, 1820.
Trumbull County was named in honor of Jonathan Trumbull, Jr, then Governor of Connecticut (1798-1809). He was the son of the original "Brother Jonathan" Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut (1770-1784) and one of the most distinguished men of his time. "No better name could have been selected for this Western Connecticut."
General St. Clair was a frequent visitor at, but not a member of N. C. Harmony Lodge, No. 2, Cincinnati. "Notwithstanding his brilliant and honorable career, he died poor. In the eighty fourth year of his life he undertook a journey (from Pennsylvania) to Youngstown, and was found dead on the road the next morning.... In the cemetery at Greensburg, Pa., a neat little sandstone monument was erected by a Masonic lodge with this inscription:
"The earthly remains of Major General Arthur St. Clair are deposited beneath this humble monument, which is erected to supply the place of a nobler one, due him from his country." On Aug. 15, 1913, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania "unveiled a 'nobler monument' in granite, an exact duplicate of the old sandstone memorial, except for the (above) explanatory inscription on the east panel." — THE BUILDER.
In 1811 Turhand Kirtland agreed to lease a farm in Poland to John Reeves "for 100 gallons of good whisky yearly."
In Whittlesey's "Early History of Cleveland" is a letter from Judge Kirtland to General Moses Cleaveland, Canterbury, Conn., dated July 17, 1800, Cleveland, Ohio, which states in closing:
"I have the pleasure of your brother's company at this time. He held his first talk with the Smooth Nation, at Mr. Carter's this morning. Appearances are very promising. I flatter myself he will do no discredit to his elder brother, in his negotiations with the aborigines.
"I am, dear sir, with much esteem, yours, "Turhand Kirtland."
Compass Lodge, of Wallingford, Conn., was instituted April 28, 1769, by St. John's Provincial Grand Lodge of Boston (warranted July 30, 1733, by the Grand Lodge of England, the R. W. Henry Price being the first Provincial Grand Master). The first independent Grand Lodge was Massachusetts Grand Lodge, March 8, 1777. The Grand Lodge of Connecticut was organized July 8, 1789, of which Compass Lodge was No. 9. Thus Judge Kirtland was a Mason under the jurisdiction of three Grand Lodges, Massachusetts, Connecticut and, after 1808, of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
Bro. Lewis Cass (1782-1866) was appointed Governor of Michigan, 1813, Secretary of War, 1831, and Secretary of State, 1857. He was a Grand Master of Masons in both Ohio and Michigan.
Bro. Putnam's grave is in the old Mound Cemetery at Marietta and is marked by a plain granite monument bearing the following inscription:
GENERAL RUFUS PUTNAM
A Revolutionary Officer
And the leader of the
Colony which made the
First settlement in the
Territory of the North-West.
Born April 9, 1738
Died May 4, 1824
Bro. George Tod was made a Mason in Erie Lodge in 1804. He was born at Suffield, Conn., 1773, and died at Brier Hill, Ohio, 1841. He was the father of War Governor David Tod.
At the time of the first meeting of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, (1808), the charter granted to Erie Lodge, No. 47, by the Grand Lodge of Connecticut (1803) was surrendered to the Grand Lodge of Ohio and a warrant of dispensation was issued Jan 11, 1809, under which the lodge continued to work until 181 when a charter dated at Chillicothe on the fifth day of January was received, constituting the lodge at Warren as Erie Lodge No. 3, of the Grand Lodge of Ohio. In the year 1828, Erie Lodge, No. 3, was represented at the Communications of the Grand Lodge held at Columbus by Bros. Rufus P. Spalding Francis Freeman and Edward Spear, but ceased working thereafter and its charter and records were consumed in 1833 when the house of Bro. Spear (standing on the ground now occupied by the Hippodrome building) was burned. On June 2, 1854, a warrant of dispensation was issued to a number of the members of Erie Lodge, No. 3, who were still living. This dispensation was under the title of Western Reserve Lodge which name was adopted because during the lapse of Erie Lodge No. 3, another lodge of that name had been established. Or Oct. 18, 1854, at the communication of the Grand Lodge it was "Resolved, That the name Western Reserve Lodge be changed to Old Erie, and that it be numbered three." The present charter of Old Erie Lodge, No. 3, bears the above date, and so "The lodge had restored to it the name, number and precedence to which of right they belong."
- Pioneers of the Western Reserve, Harvey Rice, 1890.
- Historic Towns of the Western States, Lyman B. Powell, 1901.
- Ohio and Her Western Reserve, Alfred Mathews, 1902.
- A History of Connecticut, George L. Clark, 1914.
- Historical Collections of the Mahoming Valley, 1876.
- History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, H. Z. Williams & Bro., 1882.
- History of Mahoning County, Geo. T. W. Sanderson, 1907.
- Biographical Cyclopedia of Ohio, J. Fletcher Brennan, 1879.
- History of the Western Reserve, Harriot Taylor Upton, 1910
- History of Trumbull County, Harriot Taylor Upton, 1909.
- Extracts, ibid, Warren Daily Tribune, 1924.
- History of Mahoning County, Joseph G. Butler, Jr., 1921.
- History of Wallingford, Conn., C. H. Davis, 1870.
- Early History of Cleveland, Charles Whittlesey, 1867.
- One Hundred Years of Baptist History in Warren, O., Wm. Kerr, 1903.
- Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Pub., Vol. X, 190 "Gen. Ed. Paine."
- Magazine of Western History, Vol. 1. "The Episcopal Church in Ohio."
- Trump of Fame, 1812-1816.
- Ohio Statesmen and Hundred Year Book, W. A. Taylor, 1892
- A History of Western Reserve College (1826-1876), Rev. C.C. Cutler, 1876.
- Western Reserve University Bulletin, Vol. XXVI, 1923, "The Derivation and Significance of the Term Western Reserve, F. C. Waite.
- A Memoir of Rev. Joseph Badger (with selections from his private journal), 1851.
- Diary of Turhand Kirtland, Mary L. W. Morse, 1903.
- Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, 1808-1847.
- History of Freemasonry in Ohio, W. M. Cunningham, M. A 1909.
- History of Compass Lodge, No. 9 (150th Ann.), 1919.
- History of the Lodge of Amity, No. 5, J. Hope Sutor, W. M 1879.
- Masonic Year Book and Directory, State of Ohio, 1894.
- History of Rising Sun Lodge, No. 22, F. & A. M., S. A. Pan coast, 1907.
- Records of Jerusalem Lodge, No. 19, F. & A. M., Hartford O., 1812.
- The Tri-state Mason, August, 1924, "When, Where and How Masonry Began in Ohio" (history of American Union and N C. Harmony Lodges), Henry Baer.
- THE BUILDER, Vol. V, p. 294, "An Old Masonic Headston. (Calvin Austin).
- THE BUILDER, Vol. VII, p. 36, Reference to Kirtland, O.
- THE BUILDER, Vol. VIII, p. 201, Major-General Arthur St Clair.
- Masonic News, July, 1924, "The Light That Never Failed."
- The Western Reserve and Its Medical Traditions (Dedicatory Address, School of Medicine), by Dr. Harvey Cushing, Harvar, University, Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1924
- History of Cleveland, 1796-1896, by J. H. Kennedy.
* * *
GILDS, COLLEGIA AND COMACINES
Bros. A. L. Kress and R. J. Meekren
THE question whether there may have been an organic connection between the Collegia of the Roman Empire and the Gilds of Medieval Europe is one that has been much discussed, though it cannot be said that full agreement has been reached regarding it. While perhaps true that the greater weight of Masonic scholarship is on the negative side, yet probably the affirmative has the larger number of adherents, and though some of these must be considered with due respect, not a few make up in the confident dogmatism of their assertions for the lack of real argument and historical knowledge.
The weakness of the links that have so far been suggested between the gilds and the collegia have been pointed out by a number of competent scholars, notably Bro. Lionel Vibert and Bro. H. L. Haywood. The skeleton of the argument usually advanced amounts to very little more than this: a certain form of social organization existed in Roman times called collegium, in a later period another form is found that is called a gild, and that where the latter is found the former presumably existed. Even were there no interval in time this would be a non sequitur, but as a matter of fact the obscurity of the Dark Ages lies between the two, during which the Roman power was shattered in the West of Europe, and the Medieval culture came painfully to birth.
Bro. Haywood has dealt faithfully with the collegia, and in the present state of knowledge has left very little more to be said. (1) It may however be added that the term collegium was not only applied to the mutual benefit and burial societies and all kinds of social clubs, trade organizations, and those associated for the purpose of worshipping some particular deity, but also to official bodies, and those the oldest and most fundamental in the Roman civic polity. The Pontifices had formed a collegium from the fabled times of Numa, the Augurs and Haruspices another. Even the two Consuls were said to form a college, in violation of the supposed rule that it took three at least to do so. The fact is that the word in Latin was as general in meaning as society or association is in English. To attempt to connect the collegia as a system with the gilds, which were almost, if not quite as general, is entirely beside the mark; if it could be done it would get us nowhere. what alone would be pertinent from the Masonic point of view would be to connect a college of architects or stoneworkers, a collegium fabri perhaps, with a gild of Masons. For the collegiate system as a whole may have survived and been simply merged in the gilds of a later date, or even simply turned into gilds by a change in language, and yet the gilds of Masons have been new entities; for it could not possibly be held that all the collegia survived, and that no new gilds were organized. That such a thing is conceivable is borne out by some quite recent discoveries, in North Africa of all unexpected places, which go to show that a complex organism that has hitherto been accepted as peculiarly Medieval, that is, the feudal manor, was in all its essentials, in full operation under the Roman Empire. This again emphasizes the danger of building an argument on silence or the simple lack of evidence.
However, collegium and gild being such inclusive and general terms, to say that the first survived and was transformed into the second, is little more than to say that men continued to have the impulse to associate themselves together just as they continued to occupy themselves in arts and crafts and commerce. On the other hand the one system may have disappeared, and the social order begun anew as a whole, and yet some one special organization might conceivably have survived — whether this could have been possible in the case of the building crafts is a question to be considered.
FREEMASONRY DERIVES FROM GREAT BRITAIN
When we come to discuss the lineage of the Masonic Institution it must be always remembered that historically it comes from the British Isles. Any line of descent must connect it with this restricted locale. With this in view one line of argument has been that the collegiate system came into Britain during Roman times, survived the invasions of Saxon and Anglo, and then blossomed out into Masonic gilds under the Norman and Plantagenet Kings. This supposition can, however, be almost summarily dismissed. Granting, what is not proved but may be allowed, that the collegia fabrorum existed in Roman Britain, yet all the evidence we have goes to show that after Rome withdrew, Roman culture gradually succumbed and finally disappeared. The invasions from the north and east were not the raids of chiefs bent on carving out kingdoms for themselves, but the steady pressure of immigrants who drove the natives further and further west, just as the Indians were displaced by the settlers in America. In this prolonged struggle, it lasted four centuries at least, the original Celtic population appear to have relapsed into barbarism as complete as that of their enemies. Their towns were destroyed and in all but one or two cases remained uninhabited. They reverted to the social state of tribe and clan, and the only arts that survived were those necessary to life. Certainly they had little opportunity to build in the strain of a continuous and destructive guerilla warfare.
Another line of descent has been suggested through the Eastern or Byzantine Empire. Here, of course, there is no doubt about continuity for it was not until the middle of the fifteenth century that Constantinople was taken by the Turks, and till this time the Empire had held its own; and though without doubt it was much changed, yet this was due to a process of continuous evolution. On the other hand it must be remembered that the east was Greek, not Roman, the population was Greek, the language was Greek and the culture also. Here was no case of a civilized people bringing new arts to barbarians, for all that the Romans had of art and science and literature they had in the first place learned from the Greek. But even supposing that the collegia had taken root in the Eastern Empire, the link that would again connect them with the West is very weak for the strain that must be put upon it. When Constantinople fell there was no emigration en masse, the population as a whole remained, subject to new masters, their arts suffered a decline, but there is no evidence that any organized bodies came to the West. Many individuals undoubtedly did migrate, scholars and artists, and perhaps artisans. Books and a living knowledge of the Greek language came to Italy and materially affected the Renaissance, but there is not the slightest indication of any movement that would have affected Craft organization, and the probabilities are strongly against it, as at that particular time the Western gild system was at the very height of its power and efficiency.
LOMBARDY AND PROVENCE
There is left only the south of France and the north of Italy. It is true that these are quite separate areas politically and racially. The one was probably largely of Etruscan origin, the other Greek — for it must be remembered that Marseilles was a flourishing Greek colony before Rome emerges into history. However, for our present purpose the two may be conveniently considered together. After Italy had fallen under the domination of Rome, the next step was to take the south of France under her wing; it was her first foreign dependency, and though many provinces were afterwards added to her empire, this was always known simply as "The Province," par excellence. It followed therefore that in the long and close association this whole idea became as Roman as Rome itself. Even today the Southern French can make shift to converse with their Italian neighbors across the Alps, though French and Italian are now two distinct languages. In the Middle Ages, when both dialects were much nearer the original Latin, there can have been very little difference between them. And here it may be noted that whatever may be true of this whole area will hold for any included district, such as the region about Lake Como, and that this possible contact between collegium and gild will include all that can be substantiated of the so-called "Comacine" theory. As has been pointed out in the text, there is independent authority that the appellation "Comacine" is not derived from Como at all, but was "Commacine" or "Commacon," that is, fellow or associate Mason.
But, if we suppose a connection here between the two types of organization, we have yet to find a link to connect it with that of the Freemasons in Britain. The account given in the Legend of the Craft, recited with small variations in all copies of the Old Constitutions, is to the effect that it was first introduced by St. Alban, and later re-organized by Prince Edwin. As history this is of course negligible, but it may echo actual facts. St. Alban himself was a Roman soldier who was executed as being a Christian, and could not possibly have had anything to do with the organization of Masonry directly. But what may lay at the bottom of this story is that King Offa, when he built St. Alban's Abbey, very probably imported Masons to execute the work. Similar recollections may underlie the story of the assembly at York under Edwin. We know as a fact that Saxon England was converted by a mission from Rome. Among the missionaries were many with Gallic connections. Theodore of Tarsus was a Greek — Wilfrid was at Lyons for some years, and he was later an energetic builder of churches and is said to have taken about with him on his many wanderings a small body of skilled Masons, and probably other craftsmen, such as carpenters, lead and glass workers. There are in fact many references in the Chronicles of the period of the bringing in of Masons from Gaul, or what would almost imply such importation, the erecting of churches in the "Roman manner," that is in what we would call Romanesque style, of which the Lombardic, or so-called Comacine style, was a variety.
THE TRADITION OF CRAFTSMANSHIP
All this, however, indicates no more than a high probability that in the craft of building, and also in other trades, there was a continuous tradition from Roman times. A tradition in the literal sense that each individual in the chain, or rather network of transmission passed on the technique he had learned from his predecessors to those who succeeded him, modifications due to changed circumstances being at any time very slight, though the cumulative effect over a long period would undoubtedly be very great. But this is not at all the same thing as supposing the continuous existence of definite organizations. For an example, the cloth working industry in England in the Middle Ages was very highly organized, and many gilds were concerned with it. Today there are "Unions" of operatives and "Associations" of manufacturers, while the occupation in spite of the great changes in methods has had a continuous existence. But nothing is more certain than that the cloth workers' gilds died out completely, or remained here and there as picturesque survivals without power or influence, while the Unions and their later counterbalancing Associations were originated de novo in an entirely altered state of society. Thus it seems that the three forms of organization, collegium, gild and trades-union could have successfully existed in the same place, and been concerned in the same occupation, and yet each have been in origin quite separate and distinct. This may actually have happened in France where the same local industries in several cases can be shown to have continuously persisted since Roman times.
Now it is quite obvious that such an empty framework of possibility as is given us by these general considerations does not help us very much. In any case, as was pointed out above, we are not specially interested in the possible survival of collegia in general, but whether the collegia fabrorum, the special organization of Masons and builders survived, and before this particular case can be usefully discussed it is necessary to arrive at some fairly definite idea of what characteristics such an organization must have possessed if it were to be identified as the original of the later Masonic Institution. Rather, for practical reasons the matter must be put the other way about and we must by some kind of analysis try to select those marks or notes which distinguish Freemasonry not only in its present day forms but as far back as historical evidence will take us. This is by no means an easy task; there are many features of our speculative society now regarded as essential that have not always been so. Neither Grand Masters nor Grand Lodges fulfill the requirements, for before 1717 they had not been heard of. Possibly not even the office of Master of a lodge should be included, and almost certainly not that of Warden, in our sense of the title. The other officers are of course all of eighteenth century devising. It may be argued on the other hand that someone had to do the things now done by Master and Wardens, but there is a real difference in principle between their being done by whoever happens to be able to do them most conveniently, and assigning them to a special officer as his peculiar function.
Bro. Lionel Vibert, in his Freemasonry Before the Existence of Grand Lodges, gives a list of marks by possession of which the claim of anything to be the original of, or a form of, Masonry might be judged. In doing this, Bro. Vibert has put his finger on the weak spot in most arguments to prove the descent of Freemasonry from this or that preceding institution, and his attempt deserves the fullest credit, although the list in detail is not above criticism. Some of his ten notes appearing to be really duplications and others containing irrelevant or non-essential details, in the sense that they have not always been necessary. Such a list as this is almost equivalent to that of those other vague and elusive entities, the Ancient Landmarks. The difference would seem to be that in the Landmarks, as usually understood, it is sought to include everything now regarded as essential, while in the distinguishing marks are only to be included those features that Masonry has always possessed.
MARKS THAT DISTINGUISH THE CRAFT
To adequately discuss the matter would need far more space than can be given to it here, but some attempt must be made to tentatively formulate such a list. In what follows the set made out by Bro. Vibert has formed the point of departure.
- The Masonic Institution is concerned, either theoretically or practically, speculatively or operatively, with the trade or craft of building, and especially of building in cut and carved stone; though it is a question if the secrets of the fraternity or fellowship were always confined to stonecutters and setters.
- It has a peculiar local organ of protean form, for which the only known name is the ambiguous term "lodge," and of which the only persistent characteristics so far as can be discerned are that it must consist of a certain number of members of the craft met together for the purpose of forming one and that they must meet in a special place. The traditional number is seven or more, and the place is the top of a hill or the depth of a valley. Actually in practice six or even five members have apparently been held to suffice in an emergency, any place secure from intrusion or interruption by outsiders to fulfill the requirements
- There has always been an extensive set of signs and other means of recognition by which members could demonstrate their claims to the rights and privileges of the fraternity. These have undoubtedly varied a great deal, but have always apparently been grounded in, or derived from, certain element or principles which may be regarded as composing the essential and persistent matter in this point. As hints as to what these essentials may have been we will mention the left side, the number three and the square.
- That new members are admitted to the society by initiatory ceremonies carefully concealed from the profane. Just what is essential in the several details of these ceremonies, and in the way in which they should be grouped, is another dubious point, and one that cannot possibly be discussed in this place, but it may be remarked in passing that it is precisely here more than anywhere else that there seems to be some hope of throwing light on the real antiquity of the Institution.
- Members are bound by certain rules and customs, and are under obligation to perform specified duties. These again have varied a great deal, but three principle ones may be regarded as constant however expressed. Secrecy in regard to the mysteries of the lodge, the duty of upholding the honor of the Craft, and that of assisting a fellow member as far a possible.
- The employment of tools and implements of the operative trade as symbols, especially the hammer or mallet, compass and square.
- The possession of some form of legend or myth of origin.
These seven points can all be found in present-day Masonry and in pre-Grand Lodge Masonry, and can be discerned (though more and more fragmentarily) as far back as any historical record takes us. It may therefore be fairly taken that they will serve as criteria by which to judge the claims made for the organic connection of any preceding form of association with the one we know. How many of them would be required to establish identity may be open to question. One or two would call attention, three together might establish a prima facie case. But the first thing that appears, if this line of approach be justified, and at first sight a most surprising thing, is that Freemasonry has little or nothing in common with the gild system. The gild was very local, while the craft was general, in a sense universal. The gild was a permanent entity, part of the local body politic, the lodge was a casual, ephemeral, elusive thing. The gild was highly organized, the lodge had no essential organization at all apparently. The gild was monopolistic and very exclusive, not only as against outsiders but also against those of the craft from elsewhere. The gild did not possess and had no need for any means of recognition, which were obviously without use where all members were personally known to each other, and, so far as all indications go, the ceremonies that may have been used in admitting new members were in no way comparable or analogous to the initiatory rites of the lodge — even in their barest and simplest form — the two things in fact not being in the same category. In the case of regulations and laws there indeed appears to be a resemblance both in phraseology and content, but no more than the nature of the case would require and the fact that they are the production of roughly the same period; while in one special point they are at complete variance; in one the stranger craftsman was regarded with hostility, while in the other he was, if possible, to be given work, and if not to be assisted with money. And finally, there is no trace of any gild having a legendary history, or of any symbolic teaching of moral duties.
This apparently stops us in our search for origins at the very threshold, for if these considerations hold good the investigation of the gild system is irrelevant to our inquiry — unless we can discover some special feature about this one craft that distinguished it from all others. As a matter of fact there is such a feature, and one that has always existed in the nature of things; the occupations connected with building, especially in reference to large and important buildings, demand a certain mobility in those that follow them. Take for instance a small town; two or three carpenters, one or two masons or bricklayers, suffice for the normal needs of the community, for the building of new houses and repairing old ones. But the erection of a church, a palace or a bridge of any size, calls at once for more men than the locality can supply. Unlike any other occupation the work cannot be brought to the workers, nor can it be localized in any one place. It is precisely the migratory character of the occupation that provides a raison d' être for the differentia of the Mason's craft organization as laid down above. The means of recognition, the duty of receiving and cherishing strange fellows, the casual and inclusive character of the lodge, all fit in with this condition, which would tend to produce and maintain these specific features in all times and places. The conclusion then would appear to be forced on us that it is in the loose lodge organization in which the antiquity of the Institution is to be found. Though stable enough under the Grand Lodge system, the lodges originally seem to have been no more permanent than the waves of the sea, yet as alike in structure and function as are the waves, and as constantly reappearing. And this leads to the further conclusion that whatever connection the lodge had with the gild was purely adventitious.
How this might have come about is not hard to see. In the Middle Ages every man had a definite status and position in society, he was either serf or servant, tenant or vassal, of some lord, or else a freeman of some town or a member of a gild. In such a social organization the Masons would be forced into the gilds by the outer pressure of circumstances. In large towns they might form a gild of their own, in smaller places they would belong to one of the composite gilds of which there were so many; while for their own private purposes the lodge still sufficed as it always had. Just as today, Freemasons may join together in any place and form a club. The club fills certain social requirements and has no essential connection with the organization of the Craft. So in the Middle Ages the lodges bound the Craft together as a whole, but those Masons who had settled in specific localities conserved their status and interests in the community gild.
As a matter of fact we find that it is only in the very largest towns that Mason's gilds existed. Sometimes the various crafts connected with building would be united in one gild, but as often as not Masons would share gild membership with such incongruous trades as cobblers and the like, and even with the very wallers and rough-masons fellowship with whom all the old MS. constitutions so emphatically forbade. This in itself seems sufficient to show that the gild and the secret craft organization were two quite separate and distinct entities. In one case, in London, there appears a mysterious inner circle in the Mason's company called the Acception, (2) in which many have seen a lodge in some sense permanently organized, while in Scotland we actually find lodges filling the functions of local gilds. This may seem a discrepancy but in reality it supports the theory. The gild system was much later in establishing itself in Scotland than in England, and the peculiar local circumstances seem to have forced the lodges to become semi-public institutions, as in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Kilwinning.
But if the connection of the lodge, under whatever name it was called, with the gild was merely temporary and external and due solely to the circumstances of the time, and if the inherent nature of the occupation was the raison d'être of the lodge and all that it implies, then there is no logical reason to stop here — the same kind of institution may have existed behind, or lain underneath, the collegia fabrorum — and if so, there is of course no proof — it is only a possibility, then what has persisted from then till now has been the lodge and its mysterious rites and symbolic instruction, while collegium and gild successively came, in the state of society, fulfilled their function that called them forth, and disappeared when the circumstances that had brought them into being passed away.
(1) The Study Club. THE BUILDER for 1923. Vol. IX, p. 181.
(2) Gould's Concise History, p. 186; Conder's "Hole Craft," p. 14. See also A. Q. C., Vol. IX, p. 31, and Gould's large History.
* * *
BOARD OF EDITORS
Editor-in-Chief — R. J. Meekren
Louis Block, Iowa
Robert L. Clegg, Ohio
Gilbert W. Daynes, England
Ray V. Denslow, Missouri
George H. Dern, Utah
N. W. J. Haydon, Canada
R. V. Harris, Canada
C. C. Hunt, Iowa
Charles F. Irwin, Ohio
A. L. Kress, Pennsylvania
F. H. Littklefield, Missouri
Joseph E. Morcombe, California
Joseph Fort Newton, New York
Arthur C. Parker, New York
Jesse M. Whited, California
David E. W. Williamson, Nevada
* * *
NEW MEXICO'S LEADERSHIP
WE have received a copy of the report on the Tuberculosis Emergency by Bro. Francis E. Lester, acting in the capacity of a sub-committee of the Executive Commission of the Masonic Service Association, which was presented at the meeting held at Chicago in November last. This makes interesting, though in parts, painful reading. We wish that it would be possible to give it wider publicity.
Speaking of the actual situation in the Southwest Bro. Lester says: "Many [tuberculous Masons] die without asking help. Some die because no help is given. In some instances their home lodges reply to ... appeals ... that they are unable to help them. In one such instance a lodge pleaded that it had just built a $65,000 temple, which was not entirely paid for, therefore they could not assist their distressed brother." This rather reminds us of the Priest and the Levite who passed by on the other side in the Parable of the man who fell among thieves. Bro. Lester adds, "Evidently some of the brethren are of the opinion that their full duty is done when they shunt off their sick upon a Masonic Lodge a thousand or more miles away. Apparently, they feel that the sick brother's removal from their jurisdiction automatically absolves them from their obligations to him." On the other hand (and perhaps some of these home lodges will feel that they can share in the reflected honor to the Craft) "The Masons of El Paso alone expend $1,000 a month for relief of sick Masons and the members of their families, all of whom are non-residents, and have averaged that amount for the last thirty-four months." These El Paso brethren, however, are obviously not up-to-date. Had they applied that money differently they might have had a $65,000 temple more than half paid for. However, perhaps they are erecting one "not made with hands" of greater value still.
Some lodge secretaries we learn take the simple method of not replying to appeals. This saves a great deal of trouble. One lodge refused help because the brother in question was behind with his dues. It is strictly constitutional and legal to suspend a brother who does not pay his dues, and a suspended Mason has no claim on his lodge or on the Craft. The fact that he is ill and destitute of course does not enter into the legal aspect of the case at all. In another case the home lodge refused help when appealed to by a New Mexico lodge, and so the latter took it up with the sick brother's Elk's Club. Many Masons rather look down on this organization as an upstart and imitation society. However, they sent $250 to pay hospital bills. It must have been pleasant for the New Mexico brethren to make this request of an outside organization — "Please help this man because his Masonic Lodge won't."
At the close of the report Bro. Lester says in reference to the recent action of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico:
"New Mexico has waited for some other Grand Jurisdiction better qualified in point of numbers and wealth, with leaders of national reputation, to assume the responsibility of leadership. We have waited for the Masonic Service Association to act, as they were requested to do by the Grand Lodge of Texas last December. When all others failed, we were compelled to action.
"New Mexico does not seek to lead. We have but furnished the agency, the legal entity, to carry on this work. We ask for help in organization, and management. We will welcome as leaders the brethren of other Grand Jurisdictions. The plan of organization provides for participation of all Grand Lodges and of the higher bodies of Masonry, the Shrine and Eastern Star. Above all we ask the help of the Masonic Service Association in any way that you may decide to aid us."
The Grand Lodge of New Mexico may be comparatively weak in numbers and financial ability, but in true Masonic spirit she is strong, and has shown herself worthy of leadership. The rest of us may well be ashamed, and yet glad that there yet remains in the American Craft some realization of what Freemasonry essentially stands for.
* * *
THE NEW YEAR
IT is a strongly ingrained habit, perhaps instinct were the better word, for frail humanity to think that at the beginning of a new cycle or period of time — tomorrow, next week, or the beginning of a New Year — things can be improved, that we can act more wisely, more virtuously and be happier —
This touching trait, that even the most cynical and disillusioned feel when off their guard, is another evidence of what poets have so often told us that men and women are only children of larger growth. What magic do we look for in a point of time, quite arbitrarily chosen, that beyond it we shall be more heroic, stronger, more resolute — yet we go on pathetically making good resolutions which, in the drab reality of the old year, it seems that we shall be able to carry out easily in the bright atmosphere of the new. "Hope springs eternal — " and it is well that it is so for most of us, for few would have the courage to go on without the alluring glamour of what we desire the future to bring.
There is of course a certain psychological effect in saying that on Jan. 1 we shall begin to do this or cease to do that — it is similar to the tension in the racer's muscles at the words "Are you set?" when he waits for the measured rhythm of the "one-two-bang" of the starter's pistol. And again there is the taking stock aspect of the matter, so strongly emphasized by that apostle of common sense, Benjamin Franklin. It is well to look back and see what we have actually done — what was done amiss, too much by far usually — what was left undone — and how much was actually well done of all that was possible. And having struck a balance, to thus discover what faults and failings need remedy, and where and how our efforts may be best applied. This is all to the good.
But the "Do it now" signs that not long since were so frequently seen in offices and other places where men gathered for co-ordinated labor, showed that the time to change is the present, this very moment. "Tomorrow is also a day," say the orientals — and it is true, but it may not be our day. This day, this hour, this is ours and in it we have power to act, and it is now that we must begin the wearisome drudgery with the common gavel — most primitive of tools — to knock off the excrescences, to put away the vices and superfluities, if ever we hope that the rough ashlar of our life and character is to be made a squared and polished stone fit for the wall of the Temple.
Yet today is also the beginning of the New Year — then "let us here highly resolve," in Lincoln's famous phrase, that today and all the coming days we shall do the things we ought to do and leave undone those we ought not.
* * *
CO-OPERATION IN RESEARCH
AS if every man and especially every Mason had not enough resolutions to make on his own account we are going to suggest some more for the members of our Society as such; all good men and true and "right Masons" as the old phrase ran.
The emphasis in the past has been strongly laid on the value of membership in the N.M.R.S. to the individual Mason. For his subscription he was entitled to such and such privileges — to receive the official journal, THE BUILDER, to have his questions answered, to have book titles suggested, to be put in communication with other brethren, authorities in special branches of Masonic study, and all the rest. Now we suggest that our members — some of them do not need this exhortation and are excused from reading further — think also of what they might do for the Society. Let us first make clear that this is not an appeal for a membership drive or any other "stunt" for obtaining more funds. Financial lubricant is of course absolutely necessary for the wheels of the organization to run, but this is so obvious that we need waste no time in speaking of it. Also it is quite true that with a larger membership there would be a larger income, and more could be done — of the things that it takes money to do. But money is far from being everything, even in our commercial-credit type of civilization, and the things we have in mind are precisely those that can be done perfectly well without it.
First, however, we will make a digression – the reason for it may appear later. Scholarship today is slowly and reluctantly following commerce and manufacture in becoming an affair of team-work. In earlier ages the various trades were individual. The local blacksmiths made everything that was needed of metal, the carpenters all that was required of wood, and so on. Such division of labor as existed was of the simplest kind — the smiths became gold, copper, sword, white and black. The carpenters divided into several kinds of joiners, cabinet-makers, ark-wrights and the like. So with commerce — did a merchant want certain goods, he went to where they were made and brought them back himself on his own pack horses or his own boats. Was there a great fair somewhere, he took his goods to it and sold them direct. More and more has that simple state of affairs died out — even the farmer, the last great producer to admit the change, is becoming a specialist — and today men buy and sell things they never see, they handle goods that have come by routes they hardly know, and dispatch them by others as obscure to customers who are but names. Money, too, does not return from the transaction, but only written promises, often by some unknown person, to pay other persons something, somewhere at some time. It is wonderful when one mentally stands back and looks at it all as it really is, and not as part of the habitual shell or track of his own life — but this must not detain us from our survey. The student, however, lagged behind. He still went about his business in the old way. True, as new sciences sprang up, he was obliged to specialize, but nevertheless he tried to know everything in his own field. However, with the press to print his discoveries, with philosophical and scientific societies to assist him in publication, It has become obvious (not too rapidly) that if one man finds out something new it is better to explain it to everyone else concerned, that after it has been tested and confirmed everyone may go on from that point to new researches. This is perhaps putting the matter rather clumsily — using very thick lines for the sketch — but such a development has been going on.
Now there is no real use in "kidding" ourselves about Masonry. It is naturally of great interest to Masons, that is to some Masons — or would it be better to say to those who are Masons and not merely members? — but even in America where the Craft is, numerically, stronger than anywhere else in the world we are but a bare 3 per cent of the population. Masonic problems therefore cannot be regarded as being from the world point of view of very great importance. Be it fully understood that we are not here considering the possible influence Masonry may have on the world at large, direct or indirect, but are merely attempting to estimate its place in the world of scholarship as a subject for research and study. Nevertheless, even if its importance is limited it has certain advantages and attractions to the student. In the first place there is more room than in most other fields of research, there is still much pioneer work to do, still many parts of the terrain uncultivated and scarcely even explored, and in those that are, there still remains plenty of room for more workers.
Again Masonry can be made, and in its modern form was designed to make, a starting point into many other fields of study. We have been stressing this aspect lately, but it can hardly be over-emphasized. It is generally admitted that in these days of universal education the great mass of people are not, strictly speaking, educated at all. They have learned their daily business — out of school. In school they learned to read and write and how to add and subtract figures, the rest is a confused mass of vague recollections and a lively prejudice against all intellectual pursuits as a deadly bore. They have learned to read, but not to enjoy reading; they have learned to write, but not to write down their opinions or judgment of any subject. However, we are not here concerned with the deficiencies of the modern systems and curricula of our schools, we desire merely to point out their admitted results in order to bring out the practical value of the fact that the Masonic system was developed in such a way as to make it a possible starting point for self-education — of education, not as it is now-a-days so generally and lopsidedly understood, a training to make more money, but in its true sense of developing the mind so that the individual can get greater and truer satisfaction and enjoyment out of life. That is to say the Masonic Institution offers its initiates (among other things) another intellectual opportunity, such as too many of us failed to see or grasp at school or college, of entering the magic realm of pure intellectual pleasure, where we may exercise the powers of the mind, hunt for obscure facts, puzzle out tangled skeins of tradition as intricate as any murder mystery — a delight that grows greater as the years pass, that never gets stale and that no reverse of fortune can take from us. Once started on such an enterprise we find the need for bricks to erect our theories, we dig clay in the pits by Zarthan or Zeredatha — but like the Israelites in Egypt discover the need of straw. This we have to go and seek in other fields, and the further we go the wider the prospect; and in the end, like Saul, having set out to seek for a few donkeys we find a Kingdom.
Having made this lengthy detour we will now scramble back to the path on which we set out. Limited as the field of purely Masonic research may be, yet it is large enough and full enough to give any man full scope to his powers, and it has gateways like the Temple opening to every point of the compass.
Much of the work that needs to be done can be done by co-operation. As we have been dealing in figures and metaphors let us consider the intelligence department of an army. It is its eyes and ears and brain. Information comes in from hundreds of sources, official reports, civilian rumors, spies, diplomatic agents and many others. Much of it is utterly useless by itself, much unintelligible, trivial, doubtful, misleading — but sorted out and pieced together it enables the general officer commanding to make his plans not altogether blindly and in the dark. The National Research Society has the machinery, by no means fully utilized, to become an intelligence department for the Craft; from which as from an unlimited bank credit, checks may be drawn at will. It is for this reason that we reproduce Bro. Lepper's article in the present number. He has outlined the plan of action simply and directly; it could not possibly be bettered. In this way the members or the Society can actively help in the work. A number of brethren have been doing this, but with everyone helping remarkable results might be achieved.
Bro. Lepper confined himself chiefly to extracts and quotations from books. Of these we receive very few, but, such matter would be of the greatest value when classified and filed. Such extracts should always of course be fully identified. Not only the title of the book and the author and the page, but also the edition, date and publisher; where any of these are not given, as unfortunately is sometimes the case, the fact should be noted.
Another very desirable class of information would be titles of books that have been read that might directly or indirectly interest the Masonic reader, with a brief account of the subject-matter, enough to tell what it is about. Here again author and publisher should be mentioned.
Any account of old lodges, old minutes, by-laws, or other documents might be described, their condition and custodians.
Clippings from newspapers or magazines; of these we get a good many sent us, and on this head we will lay the least stress. An editorial office is usually cluttered up with exchanges, and clipping these forms a never-ending occupation for the leisure moments of the staff. Clippings should always be identified — name of periodical, place published and date.
Pictures and portraits are desirable, though perhaps in general not so likely to be called for unless of peculiar interest.
Lastly we may suggest that copies of addresses on special subjects, or notes for talks to Masonic gatherings would be very useful. Many brethren get material from us for these, but few have ever thought to send us any intimation of how they used it. It would be of great advantage oftentimes to a brother who had to speak at short notice, to have not only material, but also outlines of how it could be used.
All such matter as this could be sent in, and anything else that may suggest itself as possibly of interest. Even if, as will doubtless happen, much comes in duplicate there will be no harm done, and some statistical information may even be drawn from it that at some time would be valuable.
On such lines as these the work of the Society would become definitely co-operative. There would perhaps be less super-eminence for the individual student here and there working alone, but there would be an increased feeling of solidarity, of common interest, and also of greater efficiency. From all these points of view it seems quite worth while to ask our active members to add to their list of things to be done in the New Year this of making a note of any item of possible Masonic interest as we have suggested above and passing it on to us. Naturally there will be a good deal of duplication but it will be better to receive the same information from several quarters than not to have it at all.
* * *
EARLY CRAFT SYMBOLISM
Bro. R. J. Meekren
To begin with it is necessary to state very plainly that practically nothing is known about the private, or as it might be termed, the esoteric symbolism of the Medieval Masons. It has been shown in the two preceding articles that so far as their abilities went our Operative predecessors might have had a system of symbols of any degree of complexity they desired. They recorded in carved stone, not once nor twice, but hundreds and thousands of times their possession of constructive imagination, of spiritual insight and perhaps even the mystical temper that fully qualified them as a group to work out a system of philosophy, veiled or clothed in allegory and set out by emblems and symbols. Those who are inclined to dismiss this possibility by speaking of them as mere ignorant workmen have not fully appreciated the realities of the situation. As has been intimated, the organization contained in its ranks precisely the same kind of men who in our own day are the true leaders of civilization — artists, sculptors, engineers, scientists. There is not the least indication that the proportion of men of genius has varied much in the few thousand years about which history is able to tell us anything. Even prehistoric man seems to have had mental powers quite equal to the average today. Civilization, our own as well as those that have preceded it, is the result of social organization and corporate activity. It is all a matter of the opportunity afforded by the environment. The men who invented the sling or the bow and arrow rank mentally with those who in our day have made telegraphs and telephones, automobiles and aeroplanes. The actual result depends on what the individual was given to work with — measured that way the most stupendous inventions in the history of the race were of the individuals who first discovered the uses of a sharp edged stone or how to light and feed a fire. The Medieval Mason, even the obscure workman, would probably have surprised many of those who incline to dismiss with uninformed contempt his claims to a real share in the secrets and organization of the Fraternity to which he belonged. The Masons were men of their age naturally, as we are of ours, they labored under the limitations of the state of society in which they lived, as we also do. We do not easily realize these limitations in our own case, though we very plainly see (or think we see) theirs — which in their day they also took as a matter of course, and as part of the eternal scheme of things. For example, most of them probably could not read or write. To us to be ignorant of letters is to be quite uneducated. It was not so then. We have multitudes of books, and learn a great deal from them — their books were scarce, and as much valuable works of art as intended for use; while society was built up on a system of oral and traditional teaching. In our dependence on books we have lost very largely the organization and mental habits of the earlier system, and it is difficult for us to realize how very efficient it was within its limits. If the Masons could not read neither could the great lords, princes and kings who employed them. Yet there is not the least doubt that the majority of them, both kings and craftsmen, were quite capable men and as fully adequate for their various jobs as those who fulfill equivalent functions in the world of today.
But having thus noted the possibilities what can we say of the actualities? Very little indeed. All we have to go on are a very few contemporary allusions, a few Masonic devices on tombstones, in stained glass windows and the like; the MS. Constitutions or Old Charges, and precarious deductions from post Grand Lodge lectures and catechisms. A most unpromising outlook and it is little wonder that enthusiastic writers have turned to Hermetic, Rosicrucian, Kabbalistic, Neo-platonic, and other mystical and more or less esoteric systems to fill out the gaps in our knowledge of the inside of Operative Freemasonry.
In these studies we have up until now dealt with symbolism in the most general way. The primary object was to show that the principles and modes of thought underlying the use of symbols, even of the most abstruse or recondite nature, are exactly the same in kind as those involved in all the ordinary usages of speech and representation, in which one thing is put for another, part for whole, individual for species and the like; that the differences to be noted in the varying meanings of the word, and of those other words more or less synonymous with it, are differences of degree and not of kind, of quantity rather than essential quality. Now however that we approach the esoteric side it may be as well for the sake of clearness and brevity to define and distinguish the various grades. Without any underlying symbolical intent we may suggest three of these, and following ordinary usage quite closely we may designate them as devices, emblems and symbols proper. It would be possible to borrow from the mathematicians and devise new characters entirely, as letter S = symbolism in general, and then distinguish our grades as S1, S2, and S3. The advantage of this kind of symbolism is its precision. The characters have no associations at all, or at least none related to the assigned meaning — it is always necessary to refer back to the definition or assumption with which the argument began. But though there is a symbolical logic, the method is not a literary one, and the first suggested terms will serve our purpose. A "device" then may be defined as a distinguishing mark pure and simple. The attributes that are given to effigies of Christian saints and statues of pagan deities are devices, so are coats of arms and crests, seals and trademarks, including Mason's marks. They are labels, pictographs, or ideographs, telling us who or what is represented.
An "emblem" goes further than this, though the border line is not very distinct. An emblem is a device or attribute that is not arbitrary, but that is used to recall some idea or thing through a remembered association with it. Thus in the lectures of the Third Degree the sun and moon and stars are emblems, for their representations simply serve to recall the phraseology of that part of the ritual. The emblems of mortality are in like case, though they verge closely on what we shall call symbolism proper. This latter we shall apply when the meaning goes beyond a simple and direct association. Perhaps the easiest method of definition here will be by example. The square and compasses as used ordinarily in the form of a personal ornament or badge, is a device pure and simple. It is equivalent to saying or writing "I am a Mason," or "this is Masonic." The working tools used on old tombstones or in Medieval representations of Masons are in the same class. Although working tools will easily become emblems to the Mason, as they recall various associations of Craft experience. The square (with us) designates the Master, and insofar is an emblem. In old usage the Master was known rather by the compasses. Together, according to certain conventions, these two implements are emblematic of the first three degrees. This use being more than a mere device, as it depends on certain important associations with the particular arrangement, puts them in this case into the class of emblems. But the square and compasses are also used as symbols when the primary associations are extended, and we talk of the square of virtue or of keeping within compass of the circle of our duties to God and man.
EARLY MASONIC DESIGNS DISCUSSED
The period over which we have to glance is an extended one, from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century. It might be possible to go back further — the emblems on the eighth century tomb shown on page 345 in the November number of THE BUILDER last year, are evidence of this — but little would be gained by doing so. No collection of Masonic devices of this kind has ever been published, and they have to be sought in many different quarters. The window from Or San Michele at Florence (reproduced on page 314, October, 1925) is a good example, showing trowel mallet and chisels, compasses and level. The axe in the center is rather a carpenter's tool. In the window from Chartres, of which a sketch is here shown, we have a very interesting collection. The trowel, square, "common gavel", or stonemason's hammer, finishing or "bush" hammer with a series of sharp parallel edges cut on the face, what is apparently intended for a hod or mortar board, a "common" square, and a "moul square", or templet for curved work, a triangular level and besides these there seems to be the representation of the base and capital of a column fully cut, two detail drawings or profiles of vault ribs or "mould stones", and the drawing of a column with base an capital. But illuminating as this is as to the technic methods and tools in use at the time, it can hardly be supposed to be symbolical in our restricted sense o the word. It is probably most correctly to be termed a Masonic device pure and simple, though it may be considered as verging on the emblematic.
There are quite a number of Medieval drawings or paintings in existence showing masons at work, and portraits or effigies of Master Masons; three such were given in THE BUILDER last year (August, 229, 230) and there are others to be found in some editions of Gould's History and more in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. Where the Master Mason or Master of the Work is shown we find generally that he is distinguished particularly by the compasses. If he has the square, he almost always has the compasses as well, but he is frequently shown with the latter alone. In some cases he is shown holding the model of a building, presumably one elected or designed by him, and in one case at least the plan of a church is shown among the emblems.
Many of the Medieval gilds took to themselves, or had granted to them, coats of arms. Those of the Mason's Company of London are well known, and appear to have been used, sometimes with a heraldic "difference", by the Masons generally all over Britain. The chevron, originally engrailed (i.e. with a wavy border) is a regular and frequently used "charge" in coats of arms, but may here have been taken as suggesting a square. In later representations it was shown plain, thus more closely approximating the working tool. The gilds, and many individual masters also used seals, and of these many are still extant, the greater number of them show stone hammers, compasses and levels, the square seems not to be used so much.
The seal of the Masons of Cologne shows three crowns above two pairs of crossed hammers and crossed axes respectively, in allusion to the crowned martyrs presumably, though these sculptor masons were supported to be four in number, according to the usual version of their story at least. An individual Mason's seal from Strasburg shows a shield charged with a "bend dexter" (i.e. a diagonal band from the upper left-hand corner to the lower right) on which are three stone hammers, which seems to be an echo of the arms of the Masons' gild of the same place, in which also appears a bend with two hammers, while the shield is also charged with a level, of very workman-like form, and a pair of compasses slightly opened. Seals of carpenters' gilds also generally show the compasses and square, with an axe. Tilers and plasterers show trowels and their special form of long-pened hammer. The tilers are also fond of using the ladder as a device.
TOOLS GENERALLY USED AS DEVICES
In all this there is little that has the appearance of symbolism — they are apparently devices and nothing more. It is still the custom in Germany to put on a skilled workman's tombstone some of the implements of his trade, and they are much the same devices as we see in the Medieval examples. For a carpenter, saw, hammer, plane and compasses; for a mason, hammer, and square and compasses; a plasterer, trowel and hod; a blacksmith, hammer and tongs; for a fireman, helmet, axe and pike pole. In France the carpenters use the square and compasses as commonly as the working Masons. There is one Medieval example, the seal of the Masons of Tours, one of the towns where the Compagnonage was strong, which shows a serpent of gold intertwined with a rule, square and compasses. This looks mysterious and symbolic, but may very likely have some local reference like the three crowns of Cologne mentioned above. The very curious "mark" of the Magdeburg Smiths may also be mentioned here, described by Gould (following Berlepsch's Chronicle of the Trades) as being used in opening and closing their meetings. It was drawn in chalk on the table, and rubbed out at the close. It reminds one of the diagram of the lodge; but the analogy is not very close, though in both cases the diagram seems, in part at least, to have symbolized the organization itself.
On the other hand the processes and implements connected with building seem so naturally adapted to serve as symbols of morality that it seems hardly credible that the Masons should not have so used them to some extent. It is possible that a close and critical study of these old designs might give some clue in this direction though in the present state of our knowledge we are forced to admit that there is but the very slightest indications of it. One other point may be touched on in passing. The statement has been made, and often repeated, that numbers of Medieval statues and other representations of human figures are posed in positions corresponding to certain gestures familiar to present day Freemasons. For example, it is said that there are such figures over the main entrance of the Minster at York, and that certain statues placed in niches flanking a side entrance of the Cathedral at Florence stand in "Masonic attitudes." This is exceedingly doubtful. The attitudes of the last mentioned figures are fully to be accounted for by the ritual gestures used in the Catholic Church. The statues are mitred and in ecclesiastical robes and presumably represent bishops in the attitude of giving benediction. In any case this would hardly be symbolism but rather realistic representation.
But to return; we intimated above that there was a natural fitness of builders' tools to symbolic employment. It would of course be possible to draw moral lessons from other crafts. The potter and his wheel have been so employed — imagery and allegory drawn from these was used by Jeremiah, Isaiah and St. Paul, and also by the Persian poet Omar. The operations and implements of husbandry have so been used, as notably in several of Our Lord's parables. Metal working again lends itself to such treatment — the silver seven times tried in the fire, the iron forged and welded on the anvil. Still of all occupations that of the builders seems to be most frequently employed. The Chinese, as has often been repeated, used level, square and compasses in a figurate sense for different virtues. The plumb line in Amos is used as a symbol of justice. Square-ness is a common metaphor in many languages for dependable honesty and morality. The level represents impartiality like the balances as well as social equality; the compasses symbolize knowledge and prudence. By them accurate measurements are taken, and by the exact knowledge thus obtained conduct may be guided. In several extant allegorical drawings the compasses are put in the hands of the figure of Christ, denoting His creative power, as Master Builder of the World, and He is Himself spoken of in the New Testament as the chief headstone of the corner.
THE WORKING TOOLS "MORALIZED"
This is all so obvious and natural that in an age that was devoted to symbolism, and among men whose occupation largely consisted in designing symbols, it is hard to imagine how they could have failed to see and adopt these possibilities of their own craft implements. That they did so is actually indicated by a few well known examples. There is the inscription said to be at Bale accompanying figures of two of the crowned martyrs, which translated runs as follows:
The Square possesses science enough
But use it always with propriety.
The level teaches the true faith
Therefore it is to be treasured.
Justice and the compass' science —
It boots naught to establish them.
The gauge is fine and scientific
And is used by great and small.
According to Gould the same couplets are also found, in more modern phraseology, on the chest or ark belonging at one time to the Hamburg Masons.
Then we have the much quoted inscription at Melrose in conjunction with a shield bearing two partly opened crossed compasses and three fleur-de-lis:
Sa gays ye compas evyn aboute truith and laute do but
doute be haulde to ye hende qo johne mordo.
which might be rendered:
As goes the compass undeviating around
So without doubt do truth and loyalty;
Look well to the end quoth John Mordo.
Then there is the quotation from a German work of 1623 by J. V. Andreae, a German scholar of note, the pertinent part of which is translated as follows:
...can none foresee his end
Unless on God is built his hope
And if we here below would learn
By Compass, Needle, Square and Plumb
We ne'er must overlook the mete
Wherewith our God hath measured us.
And lastly we may mention the brass square found in rebuilding Baal Bridge at Limerick, Ireland, which seems to have been a foundation deposit or something of the kind. It is said not to be adapted for actual use, the arms being only four and a half inches long. On it is the couplet, which also has been often repeated,
I will strive to live with love and care
Upon the level by the square.
together with the date 1517. The spelling here is of course modernized. There is, it must be confessed, some doubt about the real age and genuine character of this relic. Still these quotations indicate that the Operative Masons did apparently "moralize" their working tools, and though so scanty in quantity the inherent probability of their doing so is so strong that it is difficult to refuse to accept the conclusion pointed at.
SYMBOLISM ORIGINATED IN THE CRAFT
The quotation from Andreae given above raises a question as to the origin of such symbolism. Certain Masonic writers have very confidently asserted that the Operatives borrowed all they ever had from Rosicrucian and Hermetic sources. On page 384 of THE BUILDER for 1924 is reproduced a wood cut illustrating a 1547 edition of Vitruvius' work on architecture, from which the architectural explanations in our lecture are largely taken. In this drawing a great many tools and instruments are shown, most of them apparently pertaining to laboratory work, though the level, square, compasses and templets can be allotted to mason craft. The theodolite or levelling instrument is rather for engineering than building, however. Such designs a these are frequently to be found in Hermetic works, and it has therefore been assumed that their use there was symbolic, and that naturally these philosopher and mystical scientists must have first originated the symbolical use of the Operative implements often included. This is rather putting the cart before the horse. The other half of this argument is that the Operative Masons being mere workmen, common, ignorant, uneducated men, could not have done this by themselves. Of this latter premise we have already sufficiently disposed, and all we have to ask now is who was the more likely to see the symbolic possibilities of these tools — the men who used them every day or those whose knowledge of them was but casual an theoretic? It is far more likely that the would-be Rosicrucians borrowed these from the Masons than vice versa. In strict truth there is no necessity to suppose that there was borrowing either way. If, and there are known Medieval examples of this, a preacher in a sermon uses metaphorical language based or building or mason's craft there is no need to suppose either that the preacher was a Mason or his hearer specially interested in that subject. It is as likely that he got his inspiration for such figures of speech or allegorical language from the New Testament, or from the Shepherd of Hermas, as anywhere else; and as we have already noted, the symbolism is so apt, so natural that it appeals to every mind at once without any special knowledge. An example of such esoteric symbolism as this is to be found in Le Pelerinage de l'Homme (The Pilgrimage of Man) by Guillaume de Guileville, printed at Paris in 1511 but written in 1330. This was brought to the attention of Masonic students in a paper by W. H. Rylands published in A.Q.C. in 1900. In this work appears a wood cut showing a "gallows" square with the long arm perpendicular and the short one horizontal, the angle being at the top. On the lower end of the long arm is the letter P, at the angle, A, and at the end of the short arm X. Besides these initials are smaller letters against each one, spelling the words respectively proximo, anime and XPO, the first two meaning "neighbor" and "soul" or "spirit", while the latter is an abbreviation for the Greek Christos. Then, roughly parallel to the line between the two extremities of the arms of the square come the words pax triplex, "threefold peace." The three initials also spelling Pax. In verses accompanying it an explanation is given, which is roughly that X, for Christ, is set above or on high in the most prominent position (the phrase in the original is en eschauf faut and there may here be a double meaning intended, the word also meaning scaffold and may obscurely allude to Christ on the Cross) then the soul of man attains peace by faith in Christ, and having peace with God is naturally also at peace with his neighbor.
Thus the square sets forth a rule of right living by which "the peace that passeth understanding" is attained. This is very interesting indeed, and could we be sure that the idea came from Craft sources would surely settle the question as to the existence of moralizing on the working tools. Unfortunately there is nothing to show this, and it rather seems that this "square," so-called, is simply regarded as part of a Latin cross, the cross of crucifixion. Although if this be so, it is curious that it should be thus taken only in part, and it is legitimate perhaps to suspect that the monk who set it forth saw the craftsman's square in the cross.
DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE CONSIDERED
We have two more possible sources of information yet to consider, both documentary. One is the group of old MS. called variously "Charges" or "Constitutions" and the other are the old catechisms. These latter unfortunately are all, with one possible exception, Sloane 3329, later than 1717, the year of the inception of the Grand Lodge organization of the Fraternity — and the date of this document is doubtful, it may be later though is possibly earlier. The question of its age has been discussed most frequently with a view to its contents, so that much of the argument is open to the suspicion of unconscious bias. But the consideration of these documents must be left for future consideration. The "Old Charges" are most of them undoubtedly pre-Grand Lodge, and some are very old. Their character is well known to most readers of THE BUILDER, one of them, the York Roll, No. 1, was reproduced in the December number for 1923 (Vol. IX, p. 371) They are all very much alike in content, and from the point of view of our inquiry very disappointing, for there is practically nothing to be found in any of them that can by any means be made into an allusion to symbolism. There is the curious phrase in the so called Charter of Scoon and Perth Lodge, which according to Gould combines features of the Old Charges with items of local interest, "soe long as the Sun ryseth in East and Setteth in the West." As Gould remarks this reference "to the glorious luminary" will at least arrest the attention of the Masonic student, but the meaning of the figure is so clear and obvious, that the members of the lodge who subscribed to the document; bound themselves and successors to observe it forever, that it will hardly serve as a foundation for any Speculative theory.
Then there is the provision in the Melrose MS. No. 19, that no Master or fellow should in dealing with "Loses" (Cowans) "let yms know ye privilege of ye compass, Square, levell and ye plum-rule." This sounds as if it might refer to Speculative teaching were it not immediately followed by the injunction that instead they were "to sett out their plumming to them ...," which makes it clear that it was simply the technical use of the implements that was to be kept from the unskilled workmen. A modern trade's unionist would quite understand the rule, and acts upon it. The half-skilled laborer who is allowed to fill in a wall builds to a line that is put up for him, he is by no means encouraged to put one up for himself.
The question that must now be asked is what are we to conclude from the absence in these old and well accredited documents of any reference to symbolism? An argument from silence can never be quite conclusive, for it is a form of the negative argument which can only be absolute when every conceivable source of information has been examined, and such completeness is itself impossible. What we have to ask is first whether the source of information, the document or witness, would most naturally have mentioned the point in question had it existed; that is would we have to seek some special reason for the silence in such a case. This means that the purpose of the informant must be appraised. In our particular case this purpose seems clear. The documents in question give us a mythical history of the Mason craft as an introduction to a code of rules or charges to be observed by Masons. The history is designed to heighten the esteem of its members for their organization by showing its antiquity, and also their respect for its laws by the wisdom and eminence of the rulers who ordained them. And generally the information was for the benefit of new members, which is as clear from the phraseology as also from certain rubrical directions. Would it not therefore have been most natural, this being the purpose, that any other instruction there was to give about symbolism should also be included? This is hard to say. We can fall back on the negative feature and say not necessarily so. Yet it is hard to say it would not have been natural to have included such information had it existed. On the other hand, that there was other information is certain, for there is no technical instruction which must have been given to the apprentice, and is alluded to. To this it may be said that this instruction could not have been imparted ceremonially but only day by day in actual work. But again it is practically certain there were secret means of recognition which in general are not distinctly alluded to in the old charges, and it can well be argued that the symbolism was imparted in the same way as these last. It is, therefore, perhaps safest to take the position that this evidence is quite neutral for our present inquiry. How then are we to sum up what has gone before? Much of the evidence cited above could be accounted for by purely personal ideas — that John Murdo, for example, knew of no craft symbolism but took what to him was a natural figure to express a moral sentiment. Little as we may like such an inconclusive answer it seems to be all that we can so far safely assert, whatever else may seem to us possible or probable.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
What was the real status, mental and social, of the Medieval Freemasons?
Are the old designs and representations found on tombs and in ornamental carving susceptible of symbolic interpretation? Why should metaphors. and figures of speech be so easily adapted to moral interpretation?
Why did the designers of the illustrations Hermetic and other books include craft implements among them?
Should the evidence of the Old Charges be properly regarded as neutral in respect to the possibility of esoteric symbolism among Operative Masons?
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TWO NEW HISTORIES
FREEMASONRY IN MANITOBA 1864-1925. By William Douglas, P.D.G.M., Manitoba. Published by the Research Committee of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, A. F. & A. M., Winnipeg, Manitoba. May be purchased through the Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Cloth, 12 mot, 266 pages illustrated. Price, postpaid, $2.65.
AN attractive volume like the one under consideration is a delight to the reviewer of Masonic literature. It immediately impresses one as a real book, because binding, format and printing give a feel to the volume which begets confidence in its contents — a confidence that is fully justified when one reads the text. It is a book which a Masonic bibliophile is inclined to slip under his arm and forget to return to its owner. Bro. William Douglas' history comes like a ray of sunshine because of it I can truly say the good things earnestly desired, but denied me, when examining other recent Masonic histories of the current year.
It is apparent, from even a cursory examination of the volume, that the author has a real sense of values. The table of contents clearly indicates that a definite and progressive outline was adhered to, and in his introduction Bro. William Douglas shows how discriminatingly he selected his material:
It is quite possible to divide the subject matter to a greater extent, but the purpose of presenting the authentic history of Freemasonry in Manitoba can be well served by following this outline. I have purposely refrained from quoting too freely from Lodge minute books, as otherwise we might obtain a somewhat formidable volume. My purpose has been to glean from the early minute books the story of the Craft, and I have endeavored to co-relate the facts and present the story in readable form.... Where reference is by quotation the text has been closely followed and statements of historical facts, not generally known, are supported by references to the sources from which the information was obtained.
A proper setting for the story Bro. Douglas unfolds is given in a brief sketch of early Northwest history. Needless to say, the Hudson's Bay Company played an important part in the development of Manitoba, Verandrye having established Fort Rouge at the junction of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers in 1738. Fort Garry, the nucleus of the present city of Winnipeg, was built in 1821. In 1859 a store was erected by McKinney and Co. on a location outside of the control of the existing trading companies. This firm was soon followed by other enterprises, among them the first newspaper of the Red River Settlement — "The Nor'-Wester," which made its appearance Dec. 28, 1859. The issue of Nov. 2, 1864, announced the meeting of Northern Light Lodge to take place Nov. 8, which was followed by the first regular meeting on Nov. 14, held under a dispensation obtained from the Grand Lodge of Minnesota May 20, 1864. An early writer states that no opposition was encountered in the community except that of the Roman Catholic priests and a few anonymous writers who feared to make their identity known. The lodge continued to meet until April 16, 1866; to tell more of its meagre history, developed to the fullest advantage by the able author, would rob the reader of the book itself of an entrancing hour. Yet the following should be quoted:
It is opportune to recall the fact that the founders of Northern Light Lodge when that Lodge met at Fort Pembina, over the International Boundary line, and by whom Freemasonry was introduced into this Province, were of the military profession. It was originally a military Lodge. All the members who subseribed to the petition for the dispensation to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota were United States soldiers belonging to the squadron drafted for duty at Fort Pembina. The revival of Freemasonry in Fort Garry took place in 1870 by the institution of Prince Rupert's Lodge, and it is an interesting coincidence that all the charter members subscribing to the petition, and requesting letters to permit the Lodge to become regular and properly instituted, were British soldiers of the Wolseley Expedition.
The revival of Freemasonry at Fort Garry brought a request for a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Canada, which was granted Nov. 21, 1870, to nine petitioners in the name of Winnipeg Lodge. Its early history is closely interwoven with the development of the territory, itself of romantic interest, and skillfully set forth by Bro. Douglas in his book. The lodge assumed its present name, "Prince Rupert's Lodge," in 1871.
The lodge was soon followed by two others, Lisgar Lodge, at Lower Fort Garry, 1871, and Ancient Landmark Lodge, Winnipeg, 1872. The three lodges, with a membership not exceeding two hundred, formed the Grand Lodge of Manitoba in 1875, which held sovereign power not only over the Province of Manitoba, but of the entire Northwest territories, embracing Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Yukon district.
A most interesting chapter in Freemasonry in Manitoba is the one dealing with the Schism of 1878, concerning which additional items can be gleaned from the Correspondent Reports of the period. It had its origin in questions of "work" or "ritual." Says the author:
While the question of "ritual" has been blamed for all the trouble which arose at that time, it might safely be inferred that additional motives were contributory to the trouble. Almost a half century after the occurrences took place it is somewhat dangerous to offer conjecture, and we will accept the evidence as it was left to us by the brethren who took part in all that happened. The reader can make his own deductions, and read what lessons he may choose from what is submitted in the evidence.
Peace was restored in 1879, when the "regular" and the "schismatic" Grand Lodges formed through previous difficulties were reunited. The question of ritual did not enter into the written articles of settlement but was disposed of "by the adoption of a resolution confirming all the Lodges of the jurisdiction in whatever work they had been using as their ceremonial, and at the same time granting to new Lodges the right of choice between the two systems as they themselves deemed most suitable." The subject was reopened after a fashion in 1889, and again in 1908; but it is now at rest.
Another interesting chapter, one dealing with history a bit a request for a lodge at Gibraltar, in which provision was asked for ultimate removal to "some city in Morocco." The Board of General Purposes recommended the granting of a charter to "Al Moghreb al Aska Lodge," No. 16. The action brought protests from the Grand Lodges of Scotland and England, and the charter was accordingly held in abeyance for six months. Yet the story did not end there; but the reader is referred to the book for the outcome of the incident. It is extremely well told by the author.
All in all, the volume is one which will hold the reader's interest from cover to cover; I know I shall read it more deliberately at the first opportunity. It is not a dry presentation of purely Masonic facts; the author has a knowledge of Northwest history which is sketched in at opportune places in a manner which gives a fascinating background to the story. He has the accomplished writer's sense of values which enables him to put in a bold stroke here, and a light touch there. The text appeals not only to the Mason interested in the development of Freemasonry in general but will also grip the attention of the critical historian among non-members of our ancient and honorable Fraternity.
Would that there were more Craft historians like Bro. William Douglas! As a Masonic writer, he has added to the laurels which are undoubtedly his as a member of the Board of General Purposes of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba; Past President of the Past Masters' Association of Winnipeg; Past District Grand Master, and Secretary of St. John's Lodge, No. 4, Winnipeg. His is the most interesting and valuable Masonic book of 1925 that I have reviewed.
Jacob Hugo Tatsch.
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EARLY AND HISTORIC FREEMASONRY OF GEORGIA, 1733/4 — 1800. By William Bordley Clarke, P. M., Solomon's Lodge, No. 1, F. & A. M., Savannah, Georgia. 1924. Cloth, 8 vo., illustrated, 139 pages; index. Published by King Solomon's Lodge, $3.15.
BROADLY speaking, the history of Freemasonry in America is still a terra incognita. Such sparse accounts as are found in general Masonic histories are either too meagre to suit the exacting demands of the serious student, or are looked upon with suspicion because of statements which are known to be erroneous in the light of later discoveries. Many valuable facts are hidden away in Masonic proceedings of Grand Lodges, local lodge histories and in Masonic periodicals; but these are not available to the average reader, and when reference can be had to them in Masonic libraries, the material is only found accidentally, because complete indices have not been compiled. Of all the representative Masonic libraries in the United States, the Iowa Masonic Library is the only one which has had an appropriation granted for this work, which is now under way.
It is this regrettable state of affairs that causes a book like Bro. Clarke's to stand out like a pillar of fire at night. It truly illumines a dark corner of American Masonic history. Bro. Melvin M. Johnson, P.G.M., Massachusetts, author of Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, was in communication with Bro. Clarke when he prepared the manuscript of his book. With typical Masonic courtesy, Bro. Clarke permitted Bro. Johnson to incorporate some of his newly discovered Georgia material in the latter's book, edition of 1924, and in return Bro. Johnson aided Bro. Clarke with valuable suggestions. Assistance is also acknowledged from other brethren, notably fellow members of King Solomon's Lodge, No. 1, of Savannah, Ga.
To begin with, the book is an agreeable surprise in binding and format. One is so accustomed to seeing shoddy work and poor make-up in local lodge histories that a volume printed at a home establishment and measuring up to all requirements of metropolitan book-making is a rarity deserving of special mention. Attractively bound in blue cloth, imprinted in gold on both binding strip and front cover in type rarely found in a blank book manufacturer's establishment, the volume looks and feels like a book. The text is printed on laid paper, and the type display is perfect. Apparently, Braid & Hunt, Inc., the Savannah printers of this volume, do not have the dread of italics which obsesses the average printer, judging from several years' experience of book-making and magazine editing.
Opening with a preface which gives the reader a setting for the book itself, and which also reveals the modesty of the author, we come upon a bibliography which indicates the wide field of study entered upon when the text was prepared. It is singularly free from unauthoritative titles, such as a novice would use to clutter his work. The Masonic books utilized as authorities are all of recent years and recognized as reliable.
The early history of Freemasonry in Georgia is inseparably interwoven with the settlement and development of the colony. Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, was also the founder of Freemasonry within its limits. Bro. Clarke immediately disproves the assertion that Masonry had its birth in Georgia within a few days after the founding of the colony. He quotes from the Minutes of the Grand Lodge of England for Dec. 13, 1733 (Q.C.A. Vol. X, p. 235), in which it is shown that our English brethren of that day approved of sending distressed brethren to Georgia, where they might begin anew to restore their broken fortunes. Georgia was originally colonized by men of means in 1733; it was not until 1736 that "distressed brethren" arrived. The first lodge in Georgia was established in 1734, Clavel and Ragon to the contrary notwithstanding. These writers give the date as 1730, undoubtedly copied from the first edition of Webb's Freemason's Monitor. Webb corrected the error in his 1802 edition, but Clavel and Ragon, who wrote later, apparently did not use the 1802 or subsequent editions of Webb's book. The charter granted to the lodge at Savannah was not issued by the Grand Lodge of England until 1735. Bro. Clarke refutes the story that Roger Lacey, the first Provincial Grand Master of Georgia, was in the colony prior to 1734, and shows conclusively that he did not arrive until 1736.
Solomon's Lodge, No. 1, of Savannah, through which Freemasonry in Georgia had its origin, did not come into actual possession of its charter until the same year. Oglethorpe, who had been in England, landed at Savannah Feb. 5, 1736, and all appearances indicate that he brought the charter with him at that time, and that the lodge was regularly constituted between Feb. 6 and 16. Tradition states that Oglethorpe was the first Master of the lodge, but no records are extant which actually prove this, though the belief has existed since the eighteenth century. The lodge possesses no records from 1734 to 1756. Parts of its minutes of 1756 and 1757 are extant, but from 1757 to 1785 they are missing entirely. From 1785 down to date they have been preserved intact. A roster of the lodge, begun in 1757, was discovered a few years ago, and one of its pages, of which a photographic reproduction is shown in the volume, gives a list of names of the lodge founders, together with the dates when they were made Masons.
Bro. Clarke's narrative is convincing in its calm and dispassionate presentation of facts. Practically every statement carries its authority with it, making the book a delight for the critical reader. The author has not only traced the history of King Solomon's Lodge, which is practically the history of Freemasonry in Georgia from 1734 to 1785, but has also shown the civil and military activities of the brethren who composed the membership of King Solomon's Lodge. The lives of the four Provincial Grand Masters, Roger Lacey, Gray Elliott, Noble Jones and Samuel Elbert, are presented in excellent detail, and the historical events in which the colonial brethren participated are given in such a manner as to show that Freemasonry was a vital force in the life of the colony. For instance, we find records of the campaign against the Spaniards in Florida, who had been massing troops to destroy the Georgia settlements; Indians were creating trouble, and jealous Charleston merchants were doing what they could to destroy Savannah trade. Oglethorpe defeated the Spaniards, forever removing the menace in that direction; Captain Noble Jones, of King Solomon's Lodge, met the Indians and disarmed them; Bro. James Habersham saved the colony from economic destruction by securing a modification of labor restrictions. The perusal of this volume is not only an enlightenment in Masonic lore, but also brings knowledge of colonial history such as we do not find in the average school text books. Jews and Roman Catholics were active members of the Craft in Georgia, although at first they had been barred from entering the colony.
To mention all of the valuable features of the book reviewed would be equivalent to its reproduction in these columns. The subject cannot be dismissed with a few words; the interested student must read the book itself. It contains six pages of illustrations and a folding plate reproducing in reduced facsimile the 1786 charter of King Solomon's Lodge, issued by the Grand Lodge of Georgia formed Dec. 16 of that year. Mention should also be made of the chapter on the "Beginning of the Royal Arch in Georgia," for this state claims the distinction of having the second oldest record of the Degree in America, the lodge having the Royal Arch apron of Benjamin Sheftall, Worshipful Master in 1758. All indications support the belief that the Warrant of King Solomon's Lodge was used as authority to confer the Royal Arch Degree in Georgia in 1758.
The fact that a table of contents is lacking in the volume does not seriously detract from its worth, for each chapter heading carries a resume of the text which follows; yet the publication of chapter titles and resumes in the proper place would correct the book's only defect from the reader's point of view. Twelve pages are set aside for an index, without which no book should ever be issued. Take heed, ye scriveners of the future, to this statement! And when preparing the index, do not content yourselves with listing a name or a place without giving a word or two concerning the subject with which they are concerned. A staggering array of page numbers following a name only adds to a reader's bewilderment (and irritation) unless some explanatory word accompanies the figures.
The author of this most commendable volume is a young man both in years and in Freemasonry. Initiated in 1917, he was elected Master of King Solomon's Lodge five years later. In February of this year he was made a life member of his lodge in recognition of his unusual services. Life membership was also conferred upon him three years ago by the Commandery of which he is a member. He is an architect by profession and has made valuable literary contributions on other subjects, notably on the history of the Lutheran Church in Georgia. It is brethren such as Past Master William Bordley Clarke upon whom the Craft rely for accurate accounts of Masonic history in America.
Jacob Hugo Tatsch.
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SYMBOLISM FOR ARTISTS, CREATIVE AND APPRECIATIVE. By Henry Turner Bailey and Ethel Pool. Published by the Davis Press, Worcester, Mass. May be purchased through the National Masonic Research Society Book Department, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Blue cloth 289 pages, illustrated, Bibliography. Price, postpaid, $5.15.
THIS is really a dictionary of symbols and emblems which have been or may be used. There is of course nothing especially Masonic about the compilation though some Masonic symbols are included, but it should nevertheless be a very useful work of reference to all Masonic students interested in the symbolic and emblematic side of the Institution. Some of the illustrations are very interesting, but too many have been so much reduced that it is almost impossible to distinguish the significant details.
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THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE
WHY NOT CALL IT "MASONIC CULTURE"?
Your paragraph on page 51 of the February issue of THE BUILDER entitled "A Vocabulary Wanted," gives me an idea. Would not "Masonic Culture" be the proper way to describe "Masonic Education"? Webster's dictionary takes in a good deal of our Masonic ideals in its definition of the word "culture."
"Culture. (Kul'ture) Act of cultivating, cultivation, physical improvement, refinement of mind and manner, to cultivate, to educate, to till the human thoughts, to foster, to cherish, to civilize mankind, to produce more and better fruit."
Swan P. Eckberg, Ames, Iowa.
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STUDY CIRCLE OR STUDY CLUB
For several months past I have read with considerable interest the articles contained in your Study Club section. We have for the past year maintained an organization in my own lodge, which originally had the designation "Study Club." Because of the confusion arising from the application of the word to other organizations affiliated with the lodge, we have changed our title to the "Study Circle."
Undoubtedly THE BUILDER, through its Study Club Department, has an influence on the nomenclature of such organizations. Because we have experienced confusion in my lodge, and because other lodges who form study circles may experience the same confusion, may I be so bold as to suggest that you change the name of your department to the "Study Circle"?
We should like an expression of opinion on this suggestion. There has been a feeling among a good many readers of THE Burden that the name "Study Club" was not altogether satisfactory for a number of reasons. The suggestion made in this letter has much to commend it.
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As is the case in every organization there are times when opinions differ as to the rights and wrongs of things. I would be greatly obliged if you would answer this question:
Is the Craft at Labor or Refreshment when the brethren leave the lodge room to attend the funeral service of one of the brethren?
The observation regarding the differences of opinions is very just, no matter how perfect mankind becomes there will always be room for such differences.
In respect to the specific question all authorities unhesitatingly agree that the conducting of the funeral ceremonies of a brother Mason is to be regarded as part of the work of the lodge. According to old custom, which is not always carried out now, though it ought to be, when the brethren leave the lodge room they take with them the Three Great Lights. Also according to old custom no one could leave or join the procession without specific permission from the Master, obtained through the medium of the marshal or director of ceremonies; which parallels another old custom, now it is to be feared going out of use in many jurisdictions, that no one can leave or enter the lodge room without leave asked and specially given. It follows that the answer to the question is unhesitatingly that the lodge is not at refreshment under such circumstances but at labor.
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CHARLES CARROLL OF CARROLLTON
Here is a query that I would like to make through the Question Box Department. Is there, or has there ever been any indication, belief or tradition that Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, was a Mason?
Most writers seem to agree that he was not, supposing that his well known Catholic connection precluded all possibility of Masonic membership. However, a brother of my acquaintance owns an old apron to which his grandfather many years ago attached a note reading about as follows: "I wore this apron and sat in the Grand Lodge of Maryland with the Marquis Lafayette and Charles Carroll of Carrollton." (Signed but undated.) Knowing the present owner as I do my own opinion is that Carroll was a Mason, although I fully realize that the fact is not historically established. All that I have in mind in writing this letter is the placing of a hint or clue in the hands of such students as may be in position to investigate further.
Can any of our readers furnish any information on this point?
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Since you claim to be seeking for criticism: The public should refuse to purchase any book having the leaves uncut, and journals having articles interrupted and spaced rather spasmodically at intervals from cover to cover are in the same class. For this reason disfavor with THE BUILDER is growing more with each issue. It takes what good there may be in an article out of it. Since there are no advertisements carried in THE BUILDER, the practice is entirely inexcusable. That's that.
Such straightforward criticism as this is very refreshing. Not all booklovers would agree about uncut books but no reader can enjoy having to seek another page to finish the article he is reading. However, contrary to the generally received opinion of the uninitiated this defect is not entirely due to advertisements. There are a number of other reasons which appear to make it necessary. In the case of THE BUILDER the principal motive is the necessity of avoiding waste of space on the one hand and extra expense in resetting type on the other. It is impossible to judge beforehand exactly how much space an article will take, nor do such articles as appear in THE BUILDER lend themselves, like journalistic "stories," to the cutting out of lines or paragraphs. To shorten them means nearly always a certain amount of rewriting, which further means resetting, entirely aside from the question of the author's feeling in the matter.
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THE CROSSED PILLARS
Can you, without undue trouble, help me with any information as to the symbolism of the two crossed pillars and the cube as depicted in aprons of the Fifth Degree of the A. & A.S.R.?
C. B. M., Canada.
Your question about the two crossed pillars in the Fifth Degree (Perfect Master) of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is a very interesting one, and not at all easy to solve. The revised rituals seem to have dropped these pillars from their designs altogether, nor are they mentioned in the explanations given in the ceremonies of the Degree. As these revised rituals were largely the work of Albert Pike, and as he, to a very great extent, rationalized the teaching of the degrees, it is probable they were dropped because they were too much of a mystery to be explained.
Apparently in the earliest forms of the ritual of this degree there was a chart laid on the floor of the lodge upon which these two pillars were drawn crosswise along with other symbolic devices, and the candidate in approaching the altar had to step over the representation of the pillars after a peculiar form, which might possibly be supposed to have been suggested by the form of working the Third Degree generally used in Canada, and which was also used in France where the degree under discussion undoubtedly arose.
Fellows, in his "Mysteries of Freemasonry," explains them as referring to the equinoxes. Fellows, however, was strongly inclined to explain everything in Freemasonry by astronomical references. Personally, I think that such explanations are invented after the fact and were not an originating cause of the different forms and emblems. There are several things about this degree, especially in the opening and closing ceremonies, which lead one to think that when it was invented it was regarded as a fourth degree immediately succeeding that of Master Mason.
The original "Scotch" Degree, or Scotch Master, seems to have sometimes been called "St. Andrew's Masonry." Or at least the St. Andrew's Degrees which appeared in various places seem to have been variants of Scotch Master. I am, therefore, strongly inclined to think that the placing of the two pillars in this position was originally drawn with the idea of bringing in a Scottish association of ideas by thus forming them into a St. Andrew's cross.
The color green, which is the peculiar color of this degree, is again very prominent in Scottish Freemasonry. Not only the Scottish Freemasonry of the French variety, but also from the Masonry actually practiced in Scotland; green being the color of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
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We have in this community a man who wears a Masonic emblem, says he is a Mason, and claims to belong to a lodge in Colorado. However, he states that their lodge admits women and their official magazine is called "The American Co-Mason," published at Larkspur, Col.
The claims he puts forth as to the origin of their lodge are numerous, but he is not sufficiently posted in the matter himself to give any definite data, his strongest argument being that it was all thoroughly explained to him on his recent trip to Colorado when he received some degrees which he claims are those of the Royal Arch; but from what I am able to draw out of him, these degrees differ materially from ours.
There is no doubt but that it was all explained to his satisfaction and he is thoroughly convinced that our lodges will soon initiate women and ultimately recognize their lodges. Hoping for this end he is continually preaching their propaganda and loaning their magazine which quotes from THE BUILDER, Masonic Service Association, etc. If you can give me any information as to the justice of their claims and their rights in wearing our emblems it will be highly appreciated.
It is rather difficult to correctly estimate the rights and wrongs of the question you raise. In the minds of the public at large the square and compasses are quite identified with the Masonic Order, but as a matter of fact they have been used in various other ways by other bodies; for instance, in Europe the carpenters and other wood-working trades often use them as badges, and in Germany they are sometimes apparently used merely as an ornamental decoration to buildings.
In some states of the Union there are local ordinances making it an offense for anyone to wear the square and compasses who is not a member of the Masonic Order. This does not seem altogether a good thing, as it means that the State becomes the judge as to the regularity of the Masonic Order, which is a thing with which it has nothing to do.
Co-Masonry seems to have originally started in Europe, its central body is, I believe, located in France and from there it has spread all over the world. There is, however, a separated branch or order whose headquarters are in California, but about this I know very little. It might be a subject of some interest to find out just what the origin of Co-Masonry is, whether it was invented by a number of people with no previous connection with the Institution, or whether a number of Masons unlawfully and irregularly initiated women into the Order. In any case so far as our Jurisdictions are concerned it is irregular and spurious.
There is a growing feeling among better informed brethren in this country today that American Masons depend altogether too much upon the wearing of badges and buttons. At the very best such outward marks, visible to the whole world, are merely indications that the person so distinguished may be a Mason. Unfortunately too many uninstructed brethren get into the way of assuming that because a man wears a Masonic badge he is a Mason, and it is this that is at the root of the demand that it should be illegal for anyone not a Mason to wear one. But this demand entirely ignores the fact that Masons have perfectly adequate means for distinguishing each other without any badges at all, and if they live up to the tenets of their profession and the points of their entrance that they will be quite sufficiently known as Masons to the world.
S. J. C.
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"SCOTTISH" AND "YORK"
Is the Masonic Order in any way affiliated with an organization called "The American Fraternal Union"?
What is the origin of the Scottish and of the York Rite of Freemasonry? Is the Scottish Rite as we have it in other countries? How is it that there are two Jurisdictions of the Scottish Rite in this country? Was that caused by the Civil War as was the division of some of our churches? Which is the larger Jurisdiction and of what states are each comprised?
In Wisconsin (Northern Jurisdiction) one must be a York Rite Mason to be eligible to the Scottish Rite: is this a ruling of the Northern Jurisdiction or is it only local?
Is it true that Florida has a law prohibiting negro lodges from calling themselves Masons?
We have no information about the American Fraternal Union, but it is not in the least probable that it is in any way affiliated with the Masonic Order. Strictly speaking, Masonry, that is Blue Lodge Masonry, can have no affiliations with any external organization.
You ask what is the origin of the Scottish and York Rites. It is a long story to tell the origin and in many respects questions regarding it are still a matter of controversy, or at least full agreement has not been reached by those interested in the subject. The origin of the Scottish Rite is the clearer of the two. In its present form it was evolved out of the Rite of Perfection at Charleston in 1801 where the first Supreme Council was formed. In 1813 the Supreme Council of the Northern Jurisdiction was formed, which thus answers your question as to whether this division was due to the Civil War. The Northern Jurisdiction was given all the territory north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi Rivers, the remainder of the United States being under the Southern Jurisdiction. This answers the question as to their relative size.
By the York Rite is usually meant the American system of degrees consisting of the Blue Lodge, the Chapter and Knights Templar, but the term is vague in meaning and very loosely used as a rule. The origin of all these degrees is veiled in obscurity, and the story of the variations in their order of succession has never yet been fully written. You will find a good deal on the subject in Gould's "Concise History." The generally received opinion is that Webb had a good deal to do with the succession of degrees in the Chapter, Council and Commandery.
If the Wisconsin rule of which you speak means that the candidate for the Scottish Rite must be a Knight Templar it would appear to be a purely local requirement. In general a Master Mason is eligible for the degrees of the Lodge of Perfection and so on through the various bodies of the Scottish Rite.
The office of the Grand Secretary of Florida has no information regarding such a law as that of which you speak.
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BOOKS WANTED AND FOR SALE
Two of our correspondents have copies of Piazzi Smyth's "Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid." One of these is very scarce first edition the other is the fourth edition.
Bro. A. H. K. has Vols. VI, VII, VIII, IX and X of THE BUILDER he wishes to sell.
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YE EDITOR'S CORNER
This is from a Grand Lodge report:
"The requests for rulings were so numerous that the Grand Master wondered whether the Master and Wardens of the lodges ever read the Constitution and laws of the Grand Lodge. Of course they do not; it is so much easier to get the Grand Master to look up authorities for them." In other words, to let George do it. But there is always a reaction — letting George do it will inevitably in time give George the power and control – he becomes the only one who can do it.