A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 2 No. 2 – February 1916
ALEXANDRIA-WASHINGTON LODGE NO. 22
Bro. Charles H. Callahan, Virginia
GENERAL Washington, having resigned his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the American army, arrived at his home, after an absence of several years, on Christmas eve, 1783, and two days later received a letter from the Master, Wardens and members of a Lodge of Free Masons, which had just been organized in the little city of Alexandria, Virginia, under a warrant from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, felicitating him upon his safe return to private life. In reply to this fraternal communication Washington wrote on December 28th, as follows: —
"GENTLEMEN: With a pleasing sensibility I received your favor of the 26th and beg leave to offer you my sincere thanks for the favorable sentiments with which it abounds. I shall always feel pleasure when it may be in my power to render service to Lodge No. 39 and in every act of Brotherly kindness to the members of it. Being with great truth, your affectionate Brother and obliged humble servant, GEORGE WASHINGTON."
In the following June the General visited his Masonic Brethren in Alexandria and, according to the minutes, still extant, "was unanimously elected an honorary member of the Lodge."
In 1788 the Lodge surrendered its Pennsylvania charter, under which it had been known as No. 39, and applied to the Grand Lodge of Virginia for a new warrant. General Washington became the first Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22, under the Virginia Charter, which quaint and historic instrument still constitutes its badge of authority. Not only does this venerated parchment contain the name of Washington as Master, but also the autograph of Edmund Randolph, who was then both Grand Master and governor of the Commonwealth, and who subsequently served in the Cabinets of our first President as Attorney General and Secretary of State respectively. In 1805, by permission of the Grand Lodge, the name or title of the Lodge was again changed by adding the sir-name of its first Master, making it Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22. It has been claimed by some writers that General Washington lacked zeal in the cause and work of our institution, and a few skeptically inclined have contended that he was not even a member of the Masonic Fraternity. The fallacy of this contention is positively proven by the records of and personal letters from Washington to this Lodge. Indeed, the Charter itself is an eloquent and emphatic denial of the claim. Mr. Randolph, in wording the instrument, leaves no doubt as to the identity of its first Worshipful Master. After the usual preamble, it sets forth, "Know ye, that we, Edmund Randolph, Esq., Governor of the Commonwealth aforesaid and Grand Master of the Most ancient and honorable society of Free Masons, within the same by and with the consent of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, do hereby constitute and appoint our illustrious and well-beloved Brother George Washington, Esq., late General and Commander-in-Chief of the forces in the United States, etc." This settles beyond a doubt any question as to whether or not it was the renowned leader of the American Revolution, and the appointment also marks the beginning of the great patriot's official association with the Masonic Fraternity of his home town; an association which has made a little obscure organization, situated in what was then an old fashioned colonial hamlet, the most famous subordinate Masonic Lodge in America — a veritable shrine to which thousands of patriotic members of the Fraternity from all parts of the country annually wend their way and reverently view the cherished mementos of their illustrious Brother Washington, which hang upon its walls and rest in the alcoves of its sanctum.
The General's official connection with the Lodge raised it to a conspicuous place in the order from the very beginning of its existence, and, as a consequence, few noteworthy events have occurred in that vicinity in which it has not taken a prominent part. We shall, however, only refer to those that have in some way a direct association with the sage of Mount Vernon. On Friday the 15th of April, 1791, by invitation of President Washington and in the presence of his special commissioners Hon. Daniel Carroll and David Stuart and a large concourse of citizens, it laid the first cornerstone of the District of Columbia; and on the 18th of September, 1793, it acted as escort of honor to the President and assisted in laying the corner-stone of the Capitol of the United States. But the most important ceremony in which the Lodge has ever participated, and which is undoubtedly the most important of its character in the history of the American Fraternity, was the funeral of General Washington on December 18th, 1799. Few people realize how extremely simple and how truly Masonic were the obsequies of this great man. Washington's last illness was sudden and severe, lasting only twenty-four hours. There were four men at his bedside when he died, viz: Drs. Dick, Craik and Brown and Washington's Secretary, Tobias Lear. Three of these were members of the Craft; Drs. Dick and Craik were members of his own Lodge, Dick being the Master; and Dr. Brown was the fifth Grand Master of Maryland, while Tobias Lear joined the Lodge in 1803. The funeral ceremonies were arranged by a committee from the Lodge, consisting of Dr. Dick, W. M., Colonel George Deneal, J. W., and Colonels Simms and Little, members. The body was borne from the death chamber at "low twelve" and deposited in the main room on the first floor, and the funeral appointed for "high twelve" on the 18th. Five of the six pall bearers, Colonels Little, Payne, Gilpin, Ramsay an Simms, were members of No. 22, as were three of the four ministers present, one of them being the Chaplain Colonel George Deneal, J.W., commanded the military organizations in attendance while several of his subordinate officers were members of the Lodge. Owing to the late arrival at Mount Vernon of the Alexandric contingent, which was composed of the Masons, militic and a large concourse of citizens, the funeral cortege did not start until three o'clock; but the body was borne from its resting place in the State Dining-room to the front veranda at meridian, and there the assembled throng took a last view of the remains.
The procession moved first north to the "Ha-ha Wall," which borders the lawn (and which has been recently restored), then east to the walk in front of the mansion, then, by this walk, in a southerly direction, to the old tomb; the militia leading the way, followed by the Masons, the family and other mourners bringing up the rear. On arriving at the tomb, the procession divided column, facing inward; reversing the order of march, the family and relatives passed through the separated lines, forming an inner circle around the tomb; next came the Masons who arranged themselves in an outer circle around the family, while the militia filed back to the crest of the hill, forming a column facing east toward the river. "The ministers performed their divine services, the Masons their mystic rites and the militia closed the ceremonies with resounding volleys over the bier of the fallen chieftain."
The evening was far advanced and deep shadows fell upon the familiar landscape around the beloved home of Washington, before the Lodge, with its military and civic escort, took up its lonely march over the snow-clad hills of Virginia back to the little town of Alexandria, nine miles away. How distant these scenes now appear under the later splendor of man's achievement. Several hours were consumed by these devoted Craftsmen in their solemn march through the gathering twilight from Mount Vernon to Alexandria, while in this day of rapid transit tourists board a trolley car at Mount Vernon gates, and, almost paralleling the road over which the funeral cortege wound its way, make the trip in thirty minutes.
On the 12th of January, 1785, the General wrote in his diary: "Went up to Alexandria, attended the funeral of William Ramsay, ye oldest inhabitant of the city. Walked in the procession with the Free Masons; he, being a member of that order, was buried with their ceremonies." It was this William Ramsay who set apart in his will an half-square of ground for municipal buildings in Alexandria, reserving thereon a site for a Masonic Temple. Facing this plot on the west stands the old city hotel, Washington's headquarters while waiting for Braddock in 1755; from its steps in 1799-he held his last military review and gave his last military order, thirty days before he died. Facing it on the east is the equally historic Carlysle House, Braddock's headquarters in 1755, where Washington received his commission as Major on that ill-fated General's Staff, and in which also, during the conference of the five governors, holding at that time, was made the first suggestion of colonial taxation by the British Parliament; and in the old Court House, which stood on this square, Washington cast his last vote, in 1799 — in it also his will was recorded, January 20th, 1800. In 1802 the Lodge erected its first Temple on the site provided by Ramsay. It was but-a small structure, flanked then on either side, as the more modern and commodious one is today, by diverging wings of the City Hall.
Immediately after Washington's funeral his friends and relatives began to send, as presents to the Lodge, valuable mementos which had been among the cherished possessions of the General or in some way closely associated with him in life. So numerous were these gifts that in 1818 the City Council of Alexandria, to relieve the congested condition of the Lodge, set apart a room in the City Hall adjoining the Temple for the specific purpose of exhibiting the relics, and the Lodge appointed a custodian of this museum. In 1870 the old frame temple, erected in 1802 with the entire city hall, containing the museum, was burned to the ground. Fortunately, through the heroic efforts of the fire department and a number of Masons who were present and assisted in the rescue, most of the treasures were saved but some of the most valuable were either stolen or destroyed. Among those lost was the bier on which Washington was borne to the tomb, the crepe which hung on the door at Mount Vernon at the time of his death, a portrait of Martha Washington in her youth, Washington's military saddle, a settee, which stood in the hall of Mount Vernon, Washington's card table, numerous original letters of the General, the flag of Washington's life-guard; a bust of the celebrated Paul Jones, presented to Washington by LaFayette, the flag which flew over the "Bon Homme Richard" in her death grapple with the "Seraphis," presented by Paul Jones; and numerous other historic and highly prized acquisitions went down before the fire king.
Notwithstanding this serious loss, there is still remaining in the present Lodge room, which was erected in 1872 on the site of the old Temple, the most valuable collection of genuine Washington relics and heirlooms in existence, with the possible exception of the collection at Mount Vernon. There we see the Master's Chair, presented by Washington, in use for one hundred and seventeen years, now preserved in a glass case. In a niche in the wall, and occupying a space of about 2x3 feet, you are shown Washington's wedding gloves; farm spurs, pruning knife, a glove he wore when in mourning for his Mother, his pocket compasses, his cupping and bleeding instruments, a little pen-knife his mother gave him when twelve years of age, in his possession fifty-six years; a button cut from his coat at his first inauguration, a legging strap worn by Washington in the Battle of Fort Duquesne, (these were presented in 1803 by Captain George Steptoe Washington, a nephew the General and one of the executors of his will); Washington's Masonic Apron, embroidered by Madame LaFayette, with silk sash and inlaid box, presented to Lodge in 1812 by Lawrence Lewis, the General's nephew, who married his adopted daughter, Nellie Curtis. In the same case you see also a picture of Dr. Dick; Dick's medicine scales, and by their side Washington's medicine scales; a piece of Braddock's coat worn in the battle of Fort Duquesne, and other articles of great interest.
In another case is shown the little trowel w which Washington laid the corner-stone of the National Capitol, the representatives of the lesser lights used on that occasion and at Washington's funeral; Washington's bed-chamber clock, stopped by Dr. Dick at the moment of his death and presented to the Lodge by Mrs. Washington, its hands still pointing to the exact minute of his dissolution, ten-twenty, P.M. It is said to be the only piece of furniture in the room when the General died which has not been returned.
Hanging around the walls are numerous aprons of the General's contemporaries, some of them of elaborate design with the emblems of Masonry worked in silk, among them are Dick's and Craik's. Autographic letters of Washington, and rare old engravings of the Father of his Country and other important personages also adorn the side hall, while paintings of historic characters, from the hands of celebrated artists, embellish the Lodge room proper. Among these we shall only name a few. Probably the most interesting of all is the picture of the General himself, painted from life by Williams of Philadelphia, in 1794, for the Lodge. It is a gem of art. Notwithstanding it has hung in a glaring light for over a hundred years, its bold lines and rich colors are as striking and as fresh to-day, apparently, as they were when it received the last touch of the Master's brush 120 years ago. Unfortunately, being a pastelle, and, as we have stated, highly colored, this work cannot be satisfactorily reproduced in a halftone, and to be fully appreciated the original must be inspected at close range. The Lodge has a standing offer for this picture of $100,000.
Avoiding publicity, the Lodge has refused all applications to reproduce the picture until a few years ago. Permission was given to have it copied in oil for the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Brother Julius Sachse, in making the request for a copy, stated that his investigations of about fifty paintings of General Washington, many of them made from life, convinced him that the Williams was the most authentic likeness in existence. Not a blemish on the face of the subject has been concealed or omitted. The scar on the left cheek, shown as a dimple by others, the black mole under the right ear and the pock marks on the nose are clearly visible on the original of the Williams painting in the Lodge, and to a less extent in the reproduction in colors given in The Builder, which is made from the same plate as the frontispiece in Charles H. Callahan's book, "Washington, the Man and Mason," which is the first and only photographic reproduction in colors ever made.
The history of this great work is brief. The Lodge desiring a correct likeness of their illustrious First Master passed a resolution requesting General Washington to sit for the painting, obtained his consent and employed Williams, an artist of Philadelphia, to execute the work. At the time the painting was made, General Henry (Light Horse Harry) Lee, representing the Eighth Congressional District, in which Alexandria is situated, in the National Congress, being not only the official representative of their section but a member of the Fraternity, arranged for the sitting and introduced the artist to President Washington. After the work was completed and General Washington had approved it, Williams personally delivered the picture to the Lodge, who officially approved it and paid the artist for his service.
The next important canvas is a life-size painting in oil of Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax, Baron in Cameron, for whom Washington surveyed when a boy, from the famous brush of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Being the only picture of the old Lord extant, it has a two fold value, and has been estimated by art critics to be worth $150,000. Besides these we see La Fayette in Colonial uniform, by Charles Wilson Peele, the Pope Peele picture of Washington, a rich engraving of the Washington family by Savage (1798), a life size canvas of LaFayette in Masonic regalia, showing him in his old age, and many, many other unusual works of art, souvenirs and treasures that cannot be either properly described or even scheduled in an article of this kind. It is, indeed, a priceless collection, around which the fondest memories cling and in their association form an enduring fraternal link between the material present and that romantic past.
Upon the erection of the new Temple and City Hall no provision was made to restore the museum and these valuable heirlooms are now kept in a non-fire proof structure erected over a public market and heated by large cast iron stoves. Access to the Lodge itself is through another building by a winding stair and by no conceivable means could all of these treasures be saved from destruction if the combustible temple should fall a prey to a disastrous fire as the original did in 1870.
UNIVERSAL ELEMENTS IN MASONRY
True Masonry is universal. It knows no race but the human race. It recognizes no distinctions of class or divisions of society but the ability to serve mankind. It places humanity above nations and the ranks of royalty. It lifts all men to the high level of the sons of God, the brothers of men.
Masonry by lecture, symbol and drama represents truth, and truth is truth the world around, be it in the great universities of America or on the blood-drenched fields of Europe or in the darkest isle of the sea. Masonry is religious since it readily lends itself to the inculcation of those truths which bring satisfaction to the universal longing in the hearts of men. Recognizing the Supreme Architect of the Universe as Father and all mankind as one great brotherhood, Masonry places upon every man the sacred obligation of reverencing the Great Deity and of rendering service to his fellows. Thus in its ideals and purposes Masonry is universal and it is all but universal in its marvelous and benign influence.
Scottish Rite Masonry is the highest and best expression of the universal elements of Masonry. About its altar come men of every nation, of every rank, of every belief, to bow in reverence before the Great Spirit whom we have learned to know as "Our Father in Heaven" and to whom "alone we bow the knee." Here kindred spirits blend as we break bread together in token of our friendship, pledging ourselves anew to the common brotherhood. We drink the common cup symbolical of our mutual needs, binding ourselves again to charity and patience, to self-denial and virtue, to truth and honor. In this fellowship liberty is queen and with her scepter, jeweled with toleration and appreciation, she holds loving sway in every heart.
— Charles Henry Stauffacher, Iowa.
When you know, to know that you know; and when you do not know, to know that you do not know — that is true knowledge. — Confucius.
WASHINGTON, THE MAN AND MASON
Bro. Geo. H. Sawyer, Iowa
"Native goodness is unconscious; asks not to be recognized, But its baser affectation is a thing to be despised. Only when the man is loyal to himself shall he be prized."
Here and there on the world's calendar of time the finger of the Almighty has during its progress over the pages rested with peculiar significance and left its imprint indelible and unmistakable. These imprints mark the red letter days of history and of progress. Sometimes the day thus set apart by the Master Builder commemorates some deed or battle which he would have us recognize as a milestone of advancement on the highway which leads to that last great day when God shall be acknowledged in deed as well as word the Father of us all and when all men shall be as brothers.
But again this finger print is occasioned by the dedicating of a date as the birthday of some man or woman destined to perform a mighty service for God, humanity and the world. Strange it seems that the little month of February should commemorate the births of the two greatest men whose names adorn the pages of American history. Should any one presume to doubt that an All Wise God has from the very beginning guided this nation of ours, let him study with care the biography of Washington and of Lincoln and learn there the lessons that He would teach. Never should honor be paid the memory of one of these noblemen on his natal day without mention being made of the services of the other.
Washington and Lincoln — what names with which to conjure. God intended the latter to supplement the work of the former and that their memories might be preserved in common, he caused their natal days to be in close proximity on February's meagre page. Washington born in honor and in plenty, and Lincoln in humility and poverty, teach us the lesson sorely needed in these latter days that patrician and plebeian, rich and poor, high and low, are distinctions not to be reckoned with in anything that pertains to things American. Then, too, how similar and yet how vastly different were these great Americans. Here again can God's plan be read. At a period in the world's unrest a man was needed whose heart beat in close accord with manhood's struggle for equality, and yet a man withal whose dignity, seclusion and apparent sternness of character forbade at all times a familiarity which meant anarchism and destruction. In witness of this note well the horrors of the French Revolution. But in Lincoln's time a purely local measure in a certain sense demanded a man who training, manner and method made him familiar almost to contempt. Austere dignity and seclusion would have made a Washington in Lincoln's time a farce and Lincoln in Washington time a national tragedy. To Washington the Father and Lincoln the Savior of our country we bow in humble reverence.
While as a nation we this day pay homage to the memory of Washington, is peculiarly fitting that Masons we meet in our various Masonic homes and in solemn quietude around our several altars contemplate the virtues of this man and Mason; this great character who exemplified every virtue which Masonry inculcates. So intimately are the history of Masonry and the life of Washington interwoven that they seem but the web and woof of the same fabric. The year 1732 marks the birth year of Washington, and about that date for the first time recognized Masonry makes its formal appearance on American soil in the form of established lodges. From that date until the present time Masons and Masonry have played important parts in the wonderful history of our republic. This is not the occasion for the lauding of this order nor does the institution need or demand public commendation. As we review the history of the past, however, we cannot but be grateful that Masons have been permitted under the providence of God to contribute as they have to liberty and progress as exemplified in the development of the United States. Let us be thankful that not one word in the obligation that we take nor one act in the mystic rites which we indulge conflicts in the slightest degree with our duty to God, our country, our neighbor, or ourselves, but rather fosters and impels the noblest and the best in the way of social, civic, and religious advancement.
Briefly let us call to mind a few of the events in the history of our country in which Masons and Masonry have played important roles. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 perhaps will for all time be shrouded in mystery and yet it is scarcely to be doubted that Masonic brothers wont to meet in the rooms above the Old Green Dragon Tavern of Boston could have lifted the veil of mystery had they been so disposed. It was a Masonic messenger in the person of Paul Revere who on the "18th of April in '75" carried the message flashed from the tower of the Old North Church on that historic night so many years ago. Bunker Hill was forever consecrated by the shedding of precious blood. Masonry here offered as its sacrifice the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts in the person of Gen. Warren, whose name is ever mentioned in every account of that memorable engagement. By a strange coincidence it happened that on the very day that Warren fell, another brother in the person of Washington received his commission as Commander in Chief of the American forces. The Declaration of Independence is acknowledged the world over to be the most profound exposition of civic and religious liberty that was ever penned by man. History and tradition inform us that among the signers of that era-forming document were several leaders of public thought to whom Masonic teachings were a constant source of inspiration.
On the roll of Masonic honor in connection with the Revolutionary War besides the aforementioned are to be found the names of the following whom we delight to designate as brothers: Benjamin Franklin, the astute diplomat and statesman; Baron Steuben, the Prussian drill master; Gen. Israel Putnam, the two Randolphs, Edward and Robert Livingston, Gen. Knox, and last but not least the great LaFayette, the companion and confidant of Washington who in the dark days of intrigue vindicated the character of his brother when wrongfully traduced. To him America owes a debt of gratitude beyond measure. To what extent the fraternal bonds buoyed up and encouraged these men during those long eight years can be understood somewhat by a review of the correspondence of the times.
On the 30th of April, 1789, Washington took the oath of office as the first president of these United States. The ceremony was a most impressive one. The oath was administered by Robt. E. Livingston, the Chancellor of the State of New York and the Grand Master of Masons in that state. The Bible on which rested the hand of Washington as he entered into that solemn engagement had been taken from the altar of St. John's Lodge No. 1 of New York City. Having taken the oath, Washington in reverence kissed the page of the sacred volume. The leaf whereon his lips had rested was then folded and after the ceremony the honored volume was returned to its cushion of crimson velvet on the altar where it remains until this day.
On two other memorable occasions in the career of Washington as President did Masonry play an historic part. On the 15th of April, 1791, with Masonic ceremonies was laid the southeast cornerstone of the District of Columbia from which point was surveyed the area comprising the federal grounds, the location of which had with deference been left to Washington; and again on the 18th of September, 1793, with the most elaborate and impressive of Masonic ceremonies Washington as Grand Master protem. laid the cornerstone of the Capitol building itself in the city which bears his name. At least eight brother Masons since the days of Washington have occupied the president's chair. From first to last the history of Masonry in America has been an honorable one.
But it is to Washington, the man, that we wish this day to pay our homage. Someone has said that the perpetuity of this nation depends upon the spirit and the manner in which the American people observe their patriotic days. If this be true it behooves us to look well to the charge that the rising generation lacks in these three essentials — restraint, respect and reverence. Lord Brougham has said that "The veneration paid to the immortal name of Washington will ever be a test of the progress which our race makes in wisdom and in virtue."
We have stated that Washington exemplified every virtue which Masonry inculcates. At the age of 20 he sought admission into the mystic order and soon after the attainment of his majority he was made a Master Mason. The teachings of the order impressed him deeply and his connection with it was intimate and constant. The story of his life is too well known to justify repeating. We can profit most perhaps by causing to pass before our eyes some scenes which tend to show the man and the virtues which were his.
The home life of Washington affords a beautiful picture of devotion to wife and mother. He was an ideal son and husband. What tribute could be greater? He was a man passionately fond of his home and nothing on earth would have been so in harmony with his conception of a happy and contented life as to have been permitted to have spent his days in the supervision of his beautiful Mt. Vernon estate. But during the forty seven years from the time of his majority until his death at sixty eight, public duties of the most exacting nature forced themselves upon him, and hardly did he retire to peace and quietude at any period but that some new duty confronted him, and when duty called, personal comfort and preference were laid aside. Extracts from letters written by him to personal friends at the close of the war breathe the satisfaction he felt at being able once more to live the private life. One of these extracts reads as follows: "The scene has changed. On the eve of Christmas I entered these doors an older man by nine years than when I left them. I am just beginning to experience the ease and freedom from public care which however desirable take some time to realize. I hope to spend the remainder of my days in cultivating the affections of good men and in the practice of domestic virtues. I have not only retired from all public employments but I am retiring within myself and shall be able to view the solitary walk and tread the paths of private life with a heartfelt satisfaction. Envious of none, I am determined to be pleased with all, and this, my dear friend, being the order of my march I will move gently down the stream of life until I sleep with my fathers."
But how soon this dream was shattered. There followed the stirring days of the Constitutional Convention and the eight years of the presidency. Again he retired voluntarily to private life, but once more came duty's call. Scarcely had Adams been seated in the president's chair when France assumed such a belligerent attitude that war clouds hung thick and heavy. Washington received and reluctantly accepted the command of the provisional army against France and repaired at once to Philadelphia to perfect plans for a military campaign. This was at the age of sixty five. Fortunately the sentiment of France changed and Washington was spared. But all this teaches well the lesson to man and Mason that when public responsibility seeks the man he has but little right to resist the call.
Two of many beautiful pictures tell the story of Washington's devotion to his mother. The fall of Yorktown had been accomplished. The war was over. His journey from New York to Virginia had been a continual ovation. At Fredericksburg he stopped to visit his aged mother. He allowed no pageantry or pomp to mar the scene. She was alone. Her aged hands were busy with household duties as he crossed the threshold. She smiled as she turned to greet him. A mother's embrace and kiss were more to him than the flying of banners and the blare of trumpets. Not a word was said of the mighty conflicts. To her he was not the humbler of Great Britain's power. He was the son for whom she had sacrificed and who in manhood's years had crowned her life with glory, not as commander-in-chief of the American army but by virtue of a pure and upright life. With a mother's solicitude and only as a mother can, she noted the furrows which seven years of the nation's sorrows had plowed deep upon his brow.
That evening a gala event was planned in the city in honor of Washington's presence. The distinguished men of this and other nations who had accompanied Washington to the city, together with the brilliant company of Virginia's best, were in the recreation hall. Mother Washington consented to be present although she said demurely that her dancing days were over. Leaning on the arm of her son she emerged among the happy group. A beautiful picture she made dressed in the plain but becoming gown of the Virginia lady of olden times. With quiet reserve and dignity she met the flower of Virginia society and the polished attentions of gallant French officers present. Courteous she was but with naught of haughtiness as their compliments fell upon her. At an early hour she retired saying simply that she wished the company much joy in their entertainment but it was time for old folks like her to be in bed. Again on the arm of Washington she left the room. To the army officers present who were familiar with the artificial distinctions of society life in the old world this scene was a revelation. With wonder unrepressed they said among themselves that any country which produced mothers such as that would never lack for illustrious sons.
In the spring of 1789 on his way to New York, the Federal Capital, where as President-elect he was to take the oath of office, Washington once more, ever mindful of filial duty, stopped at Fredericksburg to see his mother. He came to explain to her that again his country demanded his services but that he would soon return. With prophetic vision she interrupted: "You will never see my face again; my great age warns me that I shall not be long for this world. But go, George, fulfil the high duties which Heaven appears to assign you, and may Heaven's and a mother's blessings attend you." Washington hid his face on her shoulder and wept. Her prophecy was all too true. In a place of her own choosing near a ledge of rocks where she was wont to go for prayer, her body rests — a spot made sacred to American liberty by a mother's prayers for her son as he bore the nation's burdens.
Washington is said by some critics to have been stern, cold and unresponsive. Perhaps in a measure the charge is true so far as outward manifestation is concerned. But we must remember that this was a transition period from the artificial dignity and pomp surrounding power as manifested in office, and that growing desire to break from all such artificiality and to reduce all to the level of absolute equality in form and effect. Neither extreme is safe nor can long exist. One of the greatest secrets of Washington's power lies in this very element. But that underneath a stern exterior there beat a brother's heart let no one doubt. If doubt there be, read again the story of Valley Forge. During that awful winter Washington's headquarters were at the home of a Quaker minister. One day, 'tis said, this good old Quaker, while wandering in the woods, accidentally came upon the person of Washington absorbed in audible prayer. The minister is reported to have remarked after this experience that he never from that moment doubted for an instant the outcome of the struggle for such prayers must needs be answered.
"Oh, who shall know the might Of the words he uttered there? The fate of nations then was turned By the fervor of that prayer."
Perhaps the scene which tells most of his inner heart life is that enacted at Fraunces' Tavern in New York City December 4, 1783. The occasion was the gathering of the principal officers of the war to take final leave of their commander. "As Washington entered the room and stood before them for the last time he could not conceal his emotions. Filling a glass he raised it and said: 'With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you; and most devoutly do I wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.' And then, his voice trembling with emotion, he added, 'I cannot come to each of you, to take my leave; but shall be obliged to you if you will come and take my hand.' Gen. Knox stood nearest him. Washington grasped his proffered hand, and, incapable of utterance, drew him to his bosom with a tender embrace. Each officer in turn received the same silent, affectionate farewell. Every eye was filled with tears, every heart throbbed with emotion, but no tongue interrupted the tenderness of the scene. To those who had known him only as a stern commander, it was like Joseph's making himself known to his brethren; but to those who had met him as a brother in the lodge room it was but the renewal of the mystic grasp, and the well known silent embrace they had known before."
"Weeping through that sad group he passed, Turned once and gazed, and then was gone — It was his tenderest and his last."
Another virtue taught by Masonry is that of benevolence. To what extent this was exemplified in Washington's career let the following excerpt from a letter by him at the beginning of the war give testimony. This letter was written to the one in charge of his estate at Mt. Vernon and at a time when the demoralized condition of his army might well have demanded his whole time and thought. "Let," he said, "the hospitality of the house be kept with regard to the poor. Let no one go away hungry. If any of this kind of people should be in want of corn, supply their necessity, providing it does not encourage them in idleness. I have no objection to your giving my money in charity when you think it will be well disposed. I mean that it is my desire that it should be so." This together with the fact that for all his sacrificing service during the war he would accept nothing but his expenses puts to shame the graft and greed of public life today.
His eight years of the presidency having passed, how eagerly he sought the quietude of Mt. Vernon and the happy private companionship of his wife. In a letter he expressed it thus: "To the wearied traveler who sees a resting place and is bending his body to lean thereon I now compare myself." But political enemies forgetful of his services and sacrifices were seeking to malign him. To his everlasting credit and greatly to his comfort he was able to say that "conscious rectitude and the approving voice of his country" removed the sting of criticism.
Less than three years were allotted to Washington's life in private. His fatal illness began on the evening of December 12, 1799. The physician gave no hope. " 'Tis well," said Washington, "I am not afraid to die." At the foot of the bed, her face buried in the curtains, the faithful wife prayed in silence that the end might be a peaceful one. Her prayer was answered. "It is well, all is now over. I shall soon follow him. I have no more trials to pass through." Thus went out the life of Washington.
And his soul, naked and alone Appeared before the Great White Throne As pure and spotless, we believe As the leathern apron he'd received So many years before
With full Masonic ceremonials, together with the burial service of the Episcopal church conducted by his pastor and Masonic brother, his body was laid to rest in a tomb near which it now reposes. The Bible on which he had taken the oath of office as president was brought from the lodge room in New York and played a conspicuous part in the ceremonies of the day. Washington's war horse, riderless that day but carrying saddle, holsters and pistols, took its place in the procession.
What wondrous changes in these more than a hundred years since that far off funeral day. From a struggling nation among the humblest in history to a world power whose influence is second to none is the record of our rise. But in this very thing lies lurking our greatest peril. That the virtues of Washington and the ideals for which he and his compatriots fought may be preserved unsullied, let us here and now as citizens and as Masons rededicate ourselves to the service of God and humanity and thus in the truest sense do honor to his memory.
"God of our fathers, known of old Lord of our far flung battle line —
Beneath whose awful hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine —
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget — lest we forget."
* * *
Each host now joins and each a god inspires,
These Mars incites and those Minerva fires,
Pale flight around, and dreadful terror reign;
And discord raging bathes the purple plain.
Discord! dire sister of the slaughtering power,
Small at her birth but rising every hour,
While scarce the skies her horrid head can bound
She stalks on earth, and shakes the world around.
The nations bleed where'er her steps she turns
The groan still deepens and the combat burns.
—The Iliad, Book IV, Pope's Translation.
* * *
HEAR OUR PRAYER
From prejudice, bitterness, unkindliness, deliver me. Make me charitable in thought, slow to condemn, and may my heart and soul be free of the poison of malice, intolerance, bigotry and hate.
— John T. McCutcheon.
THE CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON
Hon. W. E. H. Leckey
On the appointment of Washington, far more than to any other single circumstance, is due the ultimate success of the American Revolution. Punctual, methodical, and exact in the highest degree, he excelled in managing those minute details which are so essential to the efficiency of an army, and he possessed to an eminent degree not only the common courage of a soldier, but also that much rarer form of courage which can endure long-continued suspense, bear the weight of great responsibility, and encounter the risks of misrepresentation and unpopularity. For several years, and usually in the neighborhood of superior forces, he commanded a perpetually fluctuating army, almost wholly destitute of discipline and respect for authority, torn by the most violent personal and provincial jealousies, wretchedly armed, wretchedly clothed, and sometimes in imminent danger of starvation. Unsupported for the most part by the population among whom he was quartered, and incessantly thwarted by the jealousy of Congress, he kept his army together by a combination of skill, firmness, patience, and judgment which has rarely been surpassed, and he led it at last to a signal triumph. In civil as in military life he was preeminent among his contemporaries for the clearness and soundness of his judgment, for his perfect moderation and self-control, for the quiet dignity and the indomitable firmness with which he pursued every path which he had deliberately chosen. Of all the great men in history he was the most invariably judicious, and there is scarcely a rash word or action or judgment recorded of him. Those who knew him well noticed that he had keen sensibilities and strong passions; but his power of self-command never failed him, and no act of his public life can be traced to personal caprice, ambition, or resentment.
In the despondency of long-continued failure, in the elation of sudden success, at times when his soldiers were deserting by hundreds and when malignant plots were formed against his reputation, amid the constant quarrels, rivalries, and jealousies of his subordinates, in the dark hour of national ingratitude, and in the midst of the most universal and intoxicating flattery, he was always the same calm, wise, just, and singleminded man, pursuing the course which he believed to be right without fear or favor or fanaticism; equally free from the passions that spring from interest and from the passions that spring from imagination. He never acted on the impulse of an absorbing or uncalculating enthusiasm, and he valued very highly fortune, position, and reputation; but at the command of duty he was ready to risk and sacrifice them all. He was, in the highest sense of the words, a gentleman and a man of honor, and he carried into public life the severest standard of private morals. It was at first the constant dread of large sections of the American people that if the old Government were overthrown they would fall into the hands of military adventurers and undergo the yoke of military despotism. It was mainly the transparent integrity of the character of Washington that dispelled the fear. It was always known by his friends, and it was soon acknowledged by the whole nation, and by the English themselves, that in Washington America had found a leader who could be induced by no earthly motive to tell a falsehood or to break an engagement or to commit any dishonorable act. Men of this moral type are happily not rare, and we have all met them in our experience; but there is scarcely another instance in history of such a man having reached and maintained the highest position in the convulsions of civil war and of a great popular agitation.
* * *
You do not know it — nay — for if you knew, Your soul would burst the bounds of time and space To stand here crying in the market-place, Crying to those who know not what they do. Of all your country's loving children, you The best could serve her in her desperate case — You whom no power could force to aught of base, Whose life was but the passion to be true. Ah, to what end your spirit's high emprise, Schiller's white flame, Goethe's Olympic calm, If after you come men of low surmise, Men who belie your truth without a qualm, Who think to enjoy — God's love! — a place in the sun, With all around black Hell and faith fordone!
— R. R. Morgan.
* * *
If there's only one thing that I can say That you might be likely to carry away; It is, that your Masonry of worth will be In proportion as you take it seriously.
— L. B. M.
* * *
It's no "market cart" with the physical fare That alike by us all must be won; But a vehicle laden with mysteries rare, — A "chariot of the sun."
— L. B. M.
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird, P. G. M., District of Columbia
THE fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and Grand Master of Free Masons of the State of Virginia. The splendid bronze statue shown in the cut was presented to the Nation by the Bar Association: It is the only statue in the parking of the Capitol Grounds in Washington. It rests on a cubical marble pedestal, on the west side of the building, at the foot of the terrace.
It shows the great Jurist sitting in his chair, clothed in his Judicial robes. The marble base has basso-relieves, in the white stone, one of which shows young America being led by Victory to swear fidelity at the Altar of the Union: another shows Minerva dictating the Constitution to young America.
It is a beautiful work of art, executed in Rome by the famous sculptor, Mr. W. W. Story. No one has ever uttered a word of adverse criticism on this sculpture.
What Blackstone was to law givers of England, and what Moses was to the Children of Israel, John Marshall was to the legal fraternity of the Republic of the United States. He was the fourth Chief Justice, chronologically, but the first in ability. The example he set, the logical rulings he made and the words he used to express his decisions will ever be held as models for future generations.
In the day of John Marshall the people were guided by the law: they possessed intelligence and altruism, and the law was executed with the assistance of the people, and with promptness.
John Marshall was born in Virginia in 1755 and died in Philadelphia in 1835. He was the eldest of 15 children of Colonel Thomas Marshall, the distinguished commander in the battle of the Brandywine. His ancestry, on both sides, was English. John Marshall was an unusually bright student, possessed with a wonderfully retentive memory: at the age of 12 he could recite the whole of Pope's writings, and he was familiar with Shakespeare, Milton and Dryden. He was a fellow student of Monroe, in Westmoreland. He began the study of Law at the age of 18 years.
In 1775 he joined a Military company, and was soon in the field. He took part in the battle at Dunmore and Great Bridge with his company of Culpeper Minute men. He became a lieutenant in the Eleventh Virginia regiment in 1776, and marched north, taking part in the battle at Iron Hill, when he was promoted to be a captain. He was in the engagement at Germantown and Monmouth and went through the hardships at Valley Forge. In the darkest hour he was bright and cheerful, being able to see the funny side of everything, and earned the reputation of a humorist. He was frequently detailed as Judge Advocate, and secured the warm attachment of Washington.
He attended the lectures at William and Mary College and was admitted to practice law in 1780. Possessed with a warm, genial nature, but with determination, he made hosts of friends, which lasted through life. In 1783 he married Mary Ambler; and in 1788 he was chosen a member of the Virginia convention to act on the constitution drawn up by the Philadelphia convention assembled, and took a conspicuous stand, by the side of James Madison, Edmund Pendleton and other advocates, making a masterly defense of the constitution against all its assailants. In three famous debates on the subjects of taxation, the Judiciary and power over the militia, John Marshall showed powerful logic and massive faculty of reasoning, which led to the adoption of the federal plan Government.
John Marshall was reselected and continued to sit in the assembly during the sessions of 1789-90-91. Virginia was the headquarters of the States Rights party whose views were represented in the National Cabinet by Thomas Jefferson. The question whether the U.S. Constitution should be strictly or liberally construed was the point at issue: Marshall supported the Federal view with the calmness and moderation of tone which ever characterized him, but with all the vigor his friends had expected.
In 1792, his biographers say, "he retired from the body, without leaving an enemy behind, and devoted himself to his law practice until 1795."
But, for a fact, during that time John Marshall was particularly active in Freemasonry, being Deputy Grand Master in 1792, and Grand Master in 1793 and 1794.
If another object lesson is needed to prove the wisdom of selecting a Grand Master for his worth and usefulness to the Craft, rather than promoting vigorously by seniority, as is becoming the practice, we have it here. John Marshall was elected from the floor of the Grand Lodge to be Deputy, and at the next election was made Grand Master. So great a man brought us great credit and honor.
But during all that time he was frequently at the side of Washington, and his constant supporter. During the period of his Grand Mastership he defended the proclamation of neutrality occasioned by the conduct of the French Minister, Mr. Genet; he also advocated the administration of Washington with his pen and secured the passage, by a meeting of the citizens, of a set of resolutions approving it, which he had drafted. When he had retired from office in the Grand Lodge he sat again in the House of Delegates, taking part in the violent discussions on Jay's treaty.
Washington offered John Marshall the position of Attorney General, which he declined. Marshall later declined the office of Minister to France: When the French Government refused to receive Mr. Pinkney, the President prevailed on Marshall to accept the Ministry, when he successfully negotiated with the Directory in relation to the obstruction thrown in the way of the commerce of the United States.
Pages could be filled with glowing accounts of the public services rendered by Past Grand Master John Marshall, but space does not admit. He afterwards-served in Congress; was appointed Secretary of War, and then Secretary of State and in 1799, the year Washington died, President Adams offered him a seat in the Supreme Court which he declined. In Congress he became the administration's principal reliance though he did not approve of the alien or the sedition laws. In 1801 he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, where his record was brilliant. He published a "Life of Washington," five volumes; a History of the American Colonies, and other valuable books.
Personally John Marshall was ungraceful in appearance, "tall, meagre and emaciated; his muscles relaxed and his joints so loosely connected as to destroy harmony in his movements." But he was, socially, a great favorite, and the centre of attraction in polite society. He was an unaffected Christian, and liberal in his views. He possessed great wit, and was fond of a joke.
In looking over the biographies of great men we find little or no mention of their Masonic ties: ties which, we think, have had so much to do with their ability to adapt themselves to their surroundings; to recognize the inherent rights of their fellow man and to set an example in altruism. Whether these biographers have made this omission intentionally or not it is hard to say. But of all the memorials to great men, in the Capitol of the Nation, there is but one that intimates the hero was a brother and that one was erected by the Fraternity.
* * *
"ONCE IN A WHILE"
There's a nice little isle
Called "Once in a while,"
Where most of us will go
When our work is done,
And our race is run,
And our lamp is burning low.
We don't write home
Only "Once in a while,"
For there's nothing much to say,
We've lost the touch
That means so much
To the old folks far away.
We go to church
Perhaps "Once in a while"
Because it's our duty to.
We like the choir,
But of the sermons we tire
So we don't always sit it through.
We're on time at the office,
Well, "Once in a while,"
It's awfully hard, you know,
The train is late
As sure as fate,
Or old Big Ben is slow.
We keep a date
Not even "Once in a while,"
What's a half an hour or more?
We jog along
As if nothing was wrong
And wonder why they're sore.
We go to lodge,
Yes, "Once in a while,"
When there's nothing else to do.
The work is the same
So we're hardly to blame
If we leave before they're through.
— J. T. Wray, W.M.
MAKING A MASON AT SIGHT
Bro. Wildey E. Atchison, Colorado
The prerogative of the Grand Master to make Masons at sight is described by Dr. Albert Mackey as the eighth of the Twenty-Five Landmarks of Free Masonry. To quote Dr. Mackey:
"It is a technical term, which may be defined to be the power to initiate, pass and raise candidates, by the Grand Master, in a Lodge of Emergency, or as it is called in the Book of Constitutions, 'an Occasional Lodge,' specially convened by him, and consisting of such Master Masons as he may call together for that purpose only; the Lodge ceasing to exist as soon as the initiation, passing, or raising has been accomplished, and the Brethren have been dismissed by the Grand Master
"In 1731, Lord Lovell, being Grand Master, he 'formed an Occasional Lodge at Houghton Hall, Sir Robert Walpole's House in Norfolk,' and there made the Duke of Lorraine, afterwards Emperor of Germany, and the Duke of Newcastle, Master Masons.
"The initiation, passing and raising of Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1737, was done in an 'Occasional Lodge,' over which Dr. Desaguliers presided, but this cannot properly be called a 'making at sight,' because Dr. Desaguilers at the time was a Past Grand Master, and not the actual Grand Master at the time. He most probably acted under the dispensation of the Grand Master, who at that time was the Earl of Darnley.
"In 1766, Lord Blaney, who was then Grand Master, convened an 'Occasional Lodge,' and initiated, passed and raised the Duke of Gloucester.
"Again in 1767, John Salter, the Deputy then acting as Grand Master, convened an 'Occasional Lodge,' and conferred the three degrees on the Duke of Cumberland.
"In 1787 the Prince of Wales was made a Mason 'at an Occasional Lodge, convened,' says Preston, 'for the purpose at the Star and Garter, at Pall Mall, over which the Duke of Cumberland (Grand Master) presided in person.'
"It has been said, however, by those who deny the existence of this prerogative, that these 'Occasional Lodges' were only Special Communications of the Grand Lodge, and the 'makings' are thus supposed to have taken place under the authority of that body, and not of the Grand Master. The facts, however, do not sustain this position. Throughout the Book of Constitutions, other Communications, whether Stated or Special, are distinctly recorded as Communications of the Grand Lodge; while these 'Occasional Lodges' appear only to have been convened by the Grand Master for the purpose of making Masons. Besides, in many instances, the Lodge was held at a different place from that of the Grand Lodge, and the officers were not, with the exception of the Grand Master, the officers of the Grand Lodge. Thus the 'Occasional Lodge' which initiated the Duke of Lorraine was held at the residence of Sir Robert Walpole, in Norfolk, while the Grand Lodge always met in London. In 1766 the Grand Lodge held its Communication at the Crown and Anchor, but the 'Occasional Lodge' which in the same year conferred the degrees on the Duke of Gloucester, was convened at the Horn tavern. In the following year, the Lodge which initiated the Duke of Cumberland was convened at the 'Thatched House' tavern, the Grand Lodge continuing to meet at the Crown and Anchor.
"But, without doubt, a conclusive argument may be drawn from the dispensing powers of the Grand Master, which has never been denied. No one has doubted, or can doubt, the inherent right of the Grand Master to constitute Lodges by Dispensation, and in these Lodges so constituted, Masons may be legally entered, passed and raised. This is done every day. A constitutional number of Master Masons applying to the Grand Master, he grants them a Dispensation, under authority of which they proceed to open and hold a Lodge, and to make Masons. This Lodge is, however, admitted to be the mere creature of the Grand Master, for it is in his power at any time to revoke the Dispensation he had granted, and thus to dissolve the Lodge.
"But if the Grand Master has the power thus to enable others to confer the degrees and make Masons, by his individual authority out of his presence, are we not permitted to argue that he has also the right of congregating a proper number of Brethren and cause a Mason to be made in his sight? Can he delegate a power to others which he does not himself possess? And is his calling together an 'Occasional Lodge' and making, with the assistance of the Brethren thus assembled, a Mason 'at sight; that is to say, in his presence, anything more or less than the exercise of his dispensing power, for a temporary period, and for a special purpose? The purpose having been effected, and the Mason having been made, he revokes his dispensation and the Lodge is dismissed. If we assumed any other ground than this, we should be compelled to say that though the Grand Master might authorize others to make Masons when he was absent, he could not do it himself when present. The form of the expression 'making Masons at sight' is borrowed from Lawrence Dermott, the Grand Secretary of the Athol or Schismatic Grand Lodge; 'making Masons in an Occasional Lodge,' is a phrase used by Anderson and his subsequent editors. Dermott, commenting on the Thirteenth of the Old Regulations, which prescribes that Fellow Crafts and Master Masons cannot be made in a private Lodge, except by the Dispensation of the Grand Master, says:
"'This is a very ancient regulation, but seldom put in practice, new Masons being generally made at private Lodges; however, the Right Worshipful Grand Master has full power and authority to make, or cause to be made, in his Worship's presence, Free and Accepted Masons at sight, and such making is good. But they cannot be made out of his Worship's presence without a written Dispensation for that purpose. Nor can his Worship oblige any warranted Lodge to receive the person so made, if the members should declare against him or them; but in such case the Right Worshipful Grand Master may grant them a warrant and form them into a new Lodge.'
"But the fact that Dermott uses the phrase does not militate against the existence of the prerogative, nor weaken the argument in its favor. For, in the first place, he is not quoted as authority, and secondly, it is very possible that he did not invent the expression, but found it already existing as a technical phrase generally used by the Craft, although not to be found in the old Book of Constitutions. The form there used is 'Making Masons in an Occasional Lodge,' which is of the same signification.
"The mode of exercising the prerogative is this: The Grand Master summons to his assistance not less than six other Masons, convenes a Lodge, and without any previous probation, but 'on Light' of the Candidate, confers the degrees upon him, after which he dissolves the Lodge and dismisses the Brethren."
I have discovered several instances of the prerogative having been exercised by the Grand Master in Pennsylvania.
Brother Joseph Eichbaum, Grand Master of that state in 1887, initiated, passed and raised a Candidate at an Emergent Communication on April 23rd of that year, in Philadelphia. He said the initiate was a young man with whom he had been in almost daily intercourse and closely associated with for some fourteen years and whose moral character he was fully prepared to vouch for. He claimed the right to be unquestioned, although the exercise of it possibly injudicious.
Brother Michael, Grand Master of Pennsylvania in 1893, called a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge on May 3rd of that year for the purpose of making a Mason at sight, and on June 13th, five weeks later, he visited Lodge No. 59 for the same purpose. His principal reason for exercising the prerogative was "in order that it might not be said that it has become obsolete by non-use."
In 1894, Brother Richard C. McCallister, Grand Master of Masons of South Dakota, granted Coteau Lodge No. 54 at Webster, a Dispensation to confer the three degrees upon Governor Sheldon, waiving the usual time. The Grand Master states that he was present and witnessed the conferring of the three degrees, which was done in a very satisfactory manner. "Although I am very well aware that Masonry regards no man for his worldly wealth or honors," he states, "in this case I fully believe the Candidate possessed both the internal and the external qualifications, and accordingly granted the Dispensation."
But the Committee on Jurisprudence did not approve of this action and made the following reference to it in their report, which was adopted by the Grand Lodge:
"In reference to the Dispensation granted for conferring the degrees out of time upon Governor Sheldon, the committee is of the opinion that this prerogative of the Grand Master should only be exercised in case of the greatest emergency, and only when the Candidate shows himself by examination, to be fully proficient as required by our by-laws and usages. The facts in he case reported did not, in our judgment, justify the exercise of such power."
Brother J.L. Spinks, Grand Master of Mississippi n 1895, gives the following account of having been made a Mason "at sight:"
"On June 1st, at sea, in Ship Island Harbor, and within the state of Mississippi, by virtue of the high power in me vested as Grand Master of Masons, in and for the state of Mississippi, organized and opened a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, and with the consent and assistance of the Brethren present erect, conferred the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, upon Captain George Maddrell, master of the British Steamship County of York, giving him in full the lectures of each degree, after which the Lodge was dissolved."
He says further:
"That anyone can or will question the right, or rather the prerogative of a Grand Master to do this, I do not for a moment suppose. That many do question the propriety, I am fully aware, as I have had many requests from many Brethren for full particulars, and from the tone of some of their letters, one would infer that I had committed the 'unpardonable sin.'
The Committee on Masonic Law and Jurisprudence, to whom the matter was referred, reported as follows:
"We have given such consideration to so much of the Most Worshipful Grand Master's address, as was possible under the circumstances. It is a question which must be considered as one of law and expediency. Under the first branch, we find that as late as 1875 the Grand Lodge adopted the 'Blue Lodge Text-Book,' containing Brother Mackey's Twenty-Five Landmarks, one of which is declaratory of such a prerogative residing in the Grand Master. In the present edition of the Text-Book there is a declaration of the 'Fundamental Principles of Masonry,' in which the Grand Master is declared to have certain prerogatives among which we find enumerated this:
"'To make Masons at sight, with the consent and assistance of the Masons he assembles into a Lodge.'
"As a question of expediency, your committee is unanimous in the opinion that if the prerogative exists, it ought not to be exercised under any circumstances whatever. And in expressing this opinion we do not wish to be misunderstood as criticizing the act of the Grand Master, for if he has the prerogative, it certainly is discretionary with him whether he will exercise it or not. We concede this right to the Grand Master, and while not approving the act, we cannot deny to him the right and if he has the right it surely is discretionary with him whether he will exercise it or not."
The matter was on motion recommitted to the same committee, with directions to further examine the question, and report at the next Annual Communication, at which time they reported, in part as follows:
"We are not insensible to the fact that in this Grand Lodge and in a number of others, the doctrine that the Grand Master possesses powers and prerogatives which are not subject to the control of the Grand Lodge, has been maintained, and we give due weight to the learning, zeal, and Masonic character of the large number of eminent Masons who have sustained the claim but notwithstanding the great array of names which may be cited against us, we fail to find in the arguments presented, a single reference to any Ancient Law, which gives, as we conceive, even by implication, to the Grand Master the right to set aside a law of the Grand Lodge, and without so doing he cannot make a Mason at sight. But, granting, for the sake of the argument, that he formerly possessed such a prerogative, we are confronted by the fact that every Grand Master, in modern times, is obligated at least thrice, to support and maintain the Constitution and Regulations of the Grand Lodge, and we think, therefore, that if they do not confer upon him the power of setting aside their provisions regarding the initiation of Candidates that he must be deemed to have waived whatever prerogatives he may have anciently possessed, by assuming the obligation of office. He is not above the law, but, if possible, more than any other Mason, bound to support and maintain it in all its integrity. Without entering into argument to demonstrate that the Grand Master is a Constitutional officer, it seems very clear to us that he is at least bound by the maxim in Masonry that 'those things which are not permitted to a Mason are clearly prohibited.' (Drummond, History of Masonry, page 552.) It is not permitted now, nor has it been since 1717, to make a Mason except in a Regular Lodge, nor since 1753, until due inquiry has been made as to his character, nor without the unanimous consent of the members of a Lodge, which qualification is not the subject of a Dispensation.
"Our conclusion, therefore, is that the prerogative of making a Mason at sight does not exist, and has not since 1717, or, if those who contend for exploded Masonic History, prefer it, since 1663, and we recommend the adoption of the following:
"Resolved, That it is the sense of this Grand Lodge that the prerogative of making a Mason at sight does not exist by virtue of any Landmark or Ancient Regulation, and is not conferred by the Constitution or Laws of this Grand Lodge."
In commenting upon the above resolution of our Mississippi Brethren, Brother Lawrence N. Greenleaf, Past Grand Master of Colorado, and Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Correspondence, says:
"From 1862 to 1875, the Constitution of this Grand Lodge, among other powers of the Grand Master enumerated in Article IX, contained the following:
"'It is his prerogative to make Masons at sight, and for this purpose may summon to his assistance such Brethren as he may deem necessary.'
"'In 1875 the revised Constitution was adopted and the above paragraph no longer appeared. Under 'Grand Master,' section twelve reads as follows:
"'The Most Worshipful Grand Master shall have and enjoy all the powers and prerogatives conferred by the Ancient Constitutions and Usages and Landmarks of Freemasonry.'"
(In the Book of Constitutions as revised by the Grand Lodge of Colorado in September, 1914, this section is now numbered 19.) Brother Greenleaf says further:
"While the prerogative has never been exercised in this district, it has nevertheless been deemed to exist. The report of the above committee is a valuable contribution in support of the negative side of the question, but we are not wholly convinced of its correctness.
"If it shall be shown that the prerogative referred to is an inherent right of the Grand Master, neither the Grand Lodge of Mississippi nor any other Grand Lodge can dispossess him of that right. 'Usage,' whether for 120 or 200 years, certainly must enter largely into the determination of the question."
Brother Thomas J. Shryock, Grand Master of Masons in Maryland in 1897, exercised this prerogative and says:
"By virtue of the authority in me vested as your Grand Master, I convened an 'Emergency Lodge,' and made 'at sight,' His Excellency Lloyd Lowndes, Governor of Maryland, a Mason. An erroneous idea has arisen in the minds of many of the Fraternity as to the ceremony of making a Mason 'at sight,' and to erase this wrong, and perhaps damaging, impression, I deem it but proper to say that in the making of a Mason 'at sight' by the Grand Master, the Candidate is required to pass through all the forms and ceremonies incident to the conferring of the three degrees, in the same manner that an applicant does in applying to a Subordinate Lodge. The impression of some, that the Grand Master, by virtue of his authority, touches a man on the shoulder and creates him a Mason, is entirely erroneous, and as I know that this impression does exist to a certain extent, I think it proper to here state, so the Craft may understand it throughout our Jurisdiction, that such is not the case. The making of a Mason 'at sight' is one of the Landmarks of the Fraternity, the prerogative of the Grand Master, and I have on two occasions exercised that prerogative, as much for the purpose of not allowing it to become dormant as for any other reason.'"
William Howard Taft, Ex-President of the United States, was made a Mason "at sight," shortly before his inauguration in 1909. The ceremony took place at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Cincinnati, on February 18th of that year, of which the following account appears in the review on Foreign Correspondence in the Colorado Grand Lodge Proceedings of 1910:
"The ceremonies were simple and brief, the entire meeting, from its opening to its close, taking only one hour.
"Promptly at the appointed hour the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Ohio arose and made the announcement that by virtue of the power and authority vested in him by the Grand Lodge of Ohio, he declared the present Convocation of Master Masons to be an 'Occasional Lodge,' convened for the purpose of conferring upon Mr. William Howard Taft the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, and he declared such Lodge open, directed the Senior Deacon to perform his duty, and then called upon the Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge, Rev. Paul R. Hickok, to invoke the blessing of Almighty God.
"Brother William B. Melish, Past Grand Master, as Master of Ceremonies, then escorted Mr. William Howard Taft into the room and presented him at the altar, declaring him to be a legal resident of the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, and stated that he introduced him at his request, it being his desire to receive the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.
"The Grand Master, after propounding the customary questions and receiving the required answers, obligated the Candidate in the Entered Apprentice obligation, and then instructed him fully in the unwritten work of that degree.
"The same procedure followed with the Fellow Craft and Master Mason degrees, the final statement being made that the details of the Master's degree would be exemplified in full form in the evening by Kilwinning Lodge, and that he would then have full opportunity to learn that part of the work more fully.
"The charge appertaining to the Master's degree was then read.
"The Grand Master then made proclamation that William Howard Taft, having received the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, he declared him to be a Master Mason in good and regular standing.
"After congratulations and welcome to the recipient, he delivered an address setting forth the appreciation of the honor conferred after which the benediction was pronounced and the Grand Master then proclaimed the purpose for which the 'occasional Lodge' was convened having been effected, he declared the Lodge closed and dissolved."
Brother George Fleming Moore, Editor of theNew Age, in the March, 1909, issue of that magazine, says:
"Before he was nominated for the Presidency, Secretary Taft expressed a desire to become a Mason and really made application 'of his own free will and accord.' The proper initial steps were taken to make him a Mason 'at sight' and Brother William B. Melish, an eminent Mason of Ohio, and a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of that State; Levi C. Goodale, another Past Grand Master, and Jacob H. Bromwell, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge, joined in a petition addressed to Charles S. Hoskinson, Grand Master of Masons of the State of Ohio, asking that the three degrees conferred in the Blue Lodge might be given to William Howard Taft, and that he might be made a Mason 'at sight.'
"In this petition it was shown to the Grand Master that Mr. Taft had been compelled by official business to be absent from his home in Ohio for a long time. and that this had interfered with his initiation into the Fraternity."
The following article on this subject appeared in the June, 1909, issue of theNew Age:
"The public press gives the information that President Taft has received notice of his election as an honorary member of a Lodge instituted in London, on June 3, 1909. The Duke of Connaught, who is a brother of King Edward VII, and Grand Master of Masons in England, has granted the Dispensation to carry out the arrangements.
"The President recently attended a meeting of Temple Lodge of Washington, D.C., and saw the third degree conferred. He was introduced by Grand Master Simpson of the Grand Lodge of the District, who had seen him made a Mason 'at sight' in Cincinnati, and was received and welcomed by T. C. Noyes, Worshipful Master of the Lodge, in the following words:
"Brother Taft: Along with Masons throughout the civilized world, the 8,000 Masons of the District rejoiced when you became a Master Mason. That was not so much because of your distinguished attainments, not so much because of your high official position, but because we knew that Masonry had come into its own.
"Masonry stands for the binding together of man to man, of men to men, of peoples to peoples, of nations to nations, all in one great Brotherhood of men under the Fatherhood of God. Your whole life, Sir, both private and public, had been Masonic before you took the degrees your private life was Masonic, your public life was Masonic, your smile was Masonic.
"We therefore rejoiced that you had finally come into the Brotherhood and had actually been made a Master Mason by taking the degrees, had become one of us in fact, as you had been in spirit, all through your life. It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to this Lodge, to invite you to a seat in the East."
"President Taft responded, in part, as follows:
"Worshipful Master, I appreciate in full your very cordial welcome. I am conscious that my introduction into Masonry needed some support and I attribute it to the spirit of mercy and charity that I am sure is found in a reception such as you have given, in order to justify the brevity of my initiation."
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GOD AND MAN
God is not a looker-on At the life of anyone, But a bearer of all grief, And a sharer in relief. God can never stand aloof In reproach, denial, reproof; God is under every ban, God is part of every man.
— E. G. Cheyne.
MASONRY AND RELIGION
Bro. Charles C. Smith, Iowa
I feel that, in discussing a subject of this kind, it is necessary to define briefly what we understand by the term religion. There is perhaps no social force among men that is quite so ubiquitous as the religious force. Like the law of gravitation, it is found in all the realms of human experience. There is no human sphere in which its voice and language are not heard. Travel back into the dim dawn of the past and you find the evidence of its presence there. Plutarch, the Roman sage and traveler, on returning from his journeys, declared that he had seen cities without walls, that he had seen cities without libraries, that he had seen cities without the public bath, but that nowhere had he seen a city without its temples of worship. It might seem from this that a definition is unnecessary. Yet in spite of its universality, in spite of the voluminous literature written on it, there is really no subject of human importance about which people are so unreasonable, so fanatical and so ignorant as this subject of religion.
The poet, looking into the future, has mentioned "a far off divine event toward which all nature moves." But what is it that compels man to take his place in the procession of these events? Matthew Arnold, a pessimist and almost a skeptic, after studying the entire field of human history, was forced to declare that "there was a power, outside ourselves, which makes for righteousness." Now this power may not be a part of ourselves, yet it becomes of human importance only as it comes to expression in and through man. Now, it does not matter especially what you call that force, or what you call its source. I hold that, at least so far as man is concerned, the activity of this force within man is religion. Religion then must be a participal something provoked by a fundamental influence. Thus I would offer as my definition; Religion is the searchings of finite beings for the Infinite Being with the view of becoming like the Infinite One in ethical character.
You will see at once that I do not confine religion to the churches. I am a hearty and thorough believer in the churches. No institution has had, or is having, so large a part in moulding ideals and shaping the destiny of man as the churches. Nevertheless, with all our various denominations, and with the various organizations within our denominations, religion is not circumscribed by our churches. Religion is as broad as humanity. The churches have no corner on it. I suppose many good people will look at me with eyes askance when I give religion such a broad interpretation. Nevertheless, I am convinced, that religion must take this view of herself before she can realize her own ideals. And the quicker our churches recognize it the better.
There is a tendency for many to us to mistake the overt expression of a force for the force itself. When we speak of thunder we think only of a loud noise. We speak of lightning and we see only a zigzag streak of light or perhaps a barn burning. Likewise when we speak of religion many of us think only of the churches, as if the two terms were synonomous. And this applies also to Masons and Masonry. Too often we mistake the organized Lodge for the spirit and teaching of Masonry. There are many Masons who have been made such "in a just and lawfully constituted lodge of Masons," but who have never been "duly and truly prepared" in their hearts. They fail to discriminate between the organized Lodge and the aim and ideal of Masonry; between the "white leather apron" and that for which it is emblematic.
It has been said that Masonry is not a religion. This is without doubt correct, especially in the popular understanding of religion. It has no creed that must be believed. It offers no dogmas about either God or man or the universe that must be accepted. In fact, when Free Masonry is "duly tiled," religious creed and dogma can gain no admittance. Nevertheless, Masonry does have some of the religious ear-marks. In whom does she put her trust but in God? Are not the virtues which she fosters and demands in her members the same virtues that religion emphasizes? Was not Free Masonry born of the feeling of Ought? It is unfair if not criminal to accuse her of sordid and selfish motives when she talks about, and strives for, the brotherhood of man. Nothing but the feeling of Ought is responsible for her existance. There may be individual Masons, and even whole lodges, whose motives are sordid, but if so they are positively out of harmony with Free Masonry as such.
If our above definition of religion be true, is not the development of virtue, upon which Masonry insists, a religious work as much as, of not even more than, the believing of certain creeds? It appears, therefore, having cleared our minds of the misconceptions of both religion and Masonry, that while Masonry is not a religion she is vitally connected, in fundamentals, with religion. It is a branch upon the tree of religion. There are many other branches, of course. Masonry, like the churches, lives, moves and has its being in the broad principle of religion. Masonry without religion is like a branch severed from the vine. The particular lodge that is not permeated with the religious spirit is not true to Masonry as such. The individual Mason whose ideal of manhood does not possess a mind and heart like unto the mind and heart of the barefoot Carpenter of Galilee, has not incorporated into his life the fundamental aim and spirit of Free Masonry.
Not only is Masonry religious in her foundation. She also appears religious in her ideals. This is clear in comparing her ideals with the ideals of our churches. We look for the designs upon the trestle board of both Masonry and the churches, and, perhaps to our surprise, find plans and specifications regarding the same building. Each is clearly endeavoring to build a structure of brotherhood. The plans may not be executed by the same methods, but the finished product is the same. They are laboring on different sides of the building, perhaps.
But even the methods are becoming more and more the same as we understand one another better. Already is the church beginning to insist that her members square their lives by the Square of Virtue, that they "walk uprightly in their several stations before God and man," and that they meet all mankind upon the common level of brotherhood. Likewise, Masonry is about to see that before she can reach her own highest ideals she must have the enthusiasm of religious zeal, and the driving power of the conviction of religious duty.
Now, if Masonry ever feels that the churches have often failed, I would call her attention to the material with which the churches are compelled to build. They must deal with "the old man in his dotage," with the "young man in his nonage," with the libertine, the intemperate and all vulgar classes which Masonry refuses to admit into her fold. Not that Masonry wishes such to perish, but that she has no place for them. In this is found the answer to that old question; Is the Lodge good enough without the church? Most emphatically it is not. That Mason who is not in hearty sympathy with the church, even with all her faults, and who does not lend her his support, both spiritual and material, is not as good a Mason as he ought to be.
On the other hand, if our churches feel that Masonry is exclusive and secular, I would call their attention to the fact that for her to be otherwise would be to weaken her social force and to lower her high standards. The advanced guard must not be held back by too much dead weight. There is needed just such an exclusive social force as Masonry. The stronger will be that force the more it is supported by the church. To oppose her is like the hand opposing the foot, for we are only members of the same body.
Masonry and religion must not grow suspicious of one another, therefore. Society needs both, and in this need they are closely related. They should toil on, in harmony and peace, side by side. They should march up life's incline arm in arm, ever ascending until they reach that temple above, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, into whose inner chamber each may enter where each shall receive, from the Supreme Architect of the Universe, a Master's wages.
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THE CLASP OF A VETERAN'S HAND
There's a warmth in the clasp of a Veteran's hand Which the world can never feel; And a depth in the tone of a Veteran's voice Which his words do not reveal. There's a friendly beam in a Veteran's eye, And a cheer in his pleasant smile, Which enlivens the heart and makes one feel That the old world is worth while.
He is taught by the test of experienced years What the nature of men requires; And has learned by the use of the Veteran's Gauge To measure the hearts desires. He is loved by his brothers in Masonry, For his heart is ever true; And he reaches the souls of his fellow men As no other one can do.
Then here's to the health of our Veterans all, And the hope that many years May be granted them ere Life's shadows fall And the light of heaven appears. There is ever a spark in a Veteran's heart Which keeps Love's embers aglow, And a warmth in the clasp of a Veteran's hand Which the world will never know.
— Nelson Williams, P. G. M., Ohio.
* * *
THE ONLY LIGHT
There's only one great light That can bring the dawn of day; All others show the night Where the sombre shadows play. So the brightest moral light That shines for the greatest good, And that makes the old world bright Is the light of brotherhood.
There's only one great light That reflects its warmth and cheer, All others leave but blight Where flowers might appear. So the sweet, soul warming rays In their gleams from heart to heart Give Deity the highest praise And man his noblest art.
There's only one great light That never, never fails, Its dawning greets the sight Of the salt 'neath rended sails. So the dangers we may scan As we sail the sea of time, And the best way blazed for man In a brotherhood Divine.
— L.B. M.
THE SQUARE AND THE CROSS
Bro. A. S. MacBride, Scotland
(One of the most delightful of recent Masonic books is that entitled, "Speculative Masonry: Its Mission, Its Evolution, and Its Landmarks," by Brother A.S. MacBride; a series of lectures delivered in the Lodge of Instruction in connection with Progress Lodge, Glasgow, Scotland. The lectures follow the well-established conclusions of Masonic scholarship, as revealed in the work of Gould, Speth, Crawley and Pike, but they give the results of that learning in popular and suggestive form, with many exquisite studies in symbolism. One of the most interesting chapters in the book is that on "The Law of the Square," which the writer discusses under five heads: the law of the Square in Nature, in material building, in moral building, in relation to the Circle and, finally in relation to the Cross. We give here an excerpt from the study of the Square and the Cross, having already reviewed the book in our Library column.)
MASONS, generally, do not associate the square with the cross; yet essentially they are the same. The cross is composed of right angles, or squares. It is found on rocks chiselled in the prehistoric ages and in graves carved on rude pottery buried with bodies whose very bones in the course of thousands of years have crumbled into dust, and on the top of which lie the ruins of periods and of peoples of whom history has not the faintest trace. It is found thus, not in an isolated spot, but in regions scattered far apart. It is the most universal of all symbols. In the Hindu temples, in the Egyptian pyramids, in the ruined altars of America, and in the churches of Christendom, ancient and modern alike, it occupies a conspicuous position.
The cross — with a circle round it — is associated with the earliest known relics of humanity, with the most ancient carvings and records of India, and with coins and medals belonging to a pre-Christian age in France and elsewhere.
In all kinds the cross is formed of right angles, and the circle is implied where not shown. In the Latin and Greek forms generally the circle has disappeared, but it is still found at times, particularly in paintings, where it is shown as a halo of light behind the cross. As the craftsman in making the cross has first to form the circle and from its center work out the limbs, the circle must always be assumed to be present, even where it does not appear. The oldest form always has the circle. In the Egyptian form, the circle is placed on the top, and the vertical limb is lengthened, evidently to form a handle. To the Egyptians this circle symbolized the generative, or productive power, in nature. It is the transverse section of the egg, which was also used sometimes in its upright shape, in the form of a loop or oval. We find the Hindus representing the same idea, also by a loop, but in every case the circle, or loop, is associated with the cross. The basis of Gothic architecture is the cross, the triangle and the loop, all of which are inter-related. The cross and triangle form the base of the plan, and the loop forms the plan for the windows, doors, and sometimes the roof.
Laying aside details not helpful to our present purpose, let us turn our attention to the general ideas connected with this symbol. The ancients of Asia, Africa and Europe considered the circle as the symbol of the Divine One circumscribing Himself, so as to become manifested to us. The limitations of human nature demand this restriction, for, otherwise, we could have no knowledge of Him. Without the limiting circle we gaze on boundless space, incomprehensible and void of any idea to our minds. We must have form before we can have ideas. The blank page of a book conveys nothing. Draw on it a flower, or an animal, and an idea is presented to the mind. Thus, the Divine One circumscribed Himself in His Creation and for our sakes clothed Himself in a garment of matter, so that he might be manifested to us. The material universe is everywhere a circumscribing of the Infinite and the cross symbolizes the Divine manifestations of Power, Light, Life and Love.
The first Divine manifestation symbolized-by the cross is that of Power. The two lines of the cross, intersecting at right angles in the center and extending to the utmost limits of the circle, represent the two great central forces which dominate all matter and which we have already considered in the law of the square in nature. If we work with these forces the Divine Power in them will manifest itself by working with us. If we work against them, it will manifest itself by destroying our work. They work on the square . . . and we must therefore work on the square if we are to have the Divine Power with us.
The second Divine manifestation symbolized by the cross is that of Light. Darkness is infinite and expresses nothing. Light is circumscribed that it may be manifested. It comes out of darkness and is lost in darkness. The energy from the sun comes to our earth through the boundless ether: cold, silent, and in darkness. Did it come in the form of direct Light the whole heavens would be a blaze and we would see nothing else. Not until it impinges on our atmosphere does it burst into light. In the same way, electricity is unseen in the wire until it meets with the resisting carbon. Coal-gas, the common candle, and the lamp, are all enveloped in darkness until they manifest their light in almost essentially similar, although apparently, different conditions. In all these varied conditions, however, light manifests itself on the square. The energy from the sun strikes our atmosphere at right angles and bursts into light. A rope, stretched out with one end fastened and the other end shaken by the hand, appears to have waves running from end to end. In reality it is moving up and down, at right angles to the line of progress. Science tells us it is in this way light moves. It works on the square, and the circle with the square, or cross, is a fitting symbol of the manifestation of material light.
But this symbol is particularly representative of moral light. That only can be light morally that is true and square. Beliefs and doctrines that do not accord with the right angle of our conscientious convictions, can never give light.
The third Divine manifestation symbolized by the cross is that of Life. Through all nature there are two great elemental principles variously called the active and the passive, the positive and the negative, the male and the female. The various units of atoms, molecules, vegetables and animals possess one, or both, of these principles. In the inanimate kingdom, the term "polarity" and "affinity" are employed to indicate the action of these principles and the relation of the one to the other. In the animate kingdom the word "sex" is used for the same purpose. In both kingdoms everywhere we find these two elemental principles at work. The formation of a crystal and of a crystaloid, the building of a tree and of a man, all seem to proceed along the lines of two main forces working at right angles — that is, working on the square. The atoms, which form the basis of the material creation, have their positive and negative poles. According to the latest scientific discoveries, they are the product of electricity and something called protyle, the one being active and the other passive.
But it is for the spiritual truths which this symbol reveals and yet conceals that it is of greatest importance to us. In the frescoes of the pyramids we see it in the hands of the god, as the symbol of regeneration. The dead one is shown lying on the ground in the form of a mummy, and the god is coming to touch his lips with it and revivify his body. Ages before Egyptian civilization dawned, it was carved on pottery, and buried with human bodies along with food and weapons, the evidence, even in that early period, of a faith in a resurrection and a life beyond the tomb.
It is a somewhat saddening and peculiar fact that this sacred symbol should have been associated with, what appears to us to be, a vile and most degrading worship. While the phallic cult may have originally been the recognition of a Divine purpose running through all the arrangements for the propagation of life, and of the symbolic lesson therein of a spiritual regeneration, yet the broad fact remains that the multitude saw in it the reflex of their own animal passions. It brought ruin on the Greek and Roman empires. Had the glory of art, the abundance of wealth, the grandeur of philosophy, or the culture of the intellect, possessed any power of salvation, these peoples would have survived. But salvation is neither possible to the individual nor to the community that is impure. If you worship the brute, a brute you will be. If you would be divine, worship the Divine.
The fourth Divine manifestation symbolized by the cross is that of Love. From the degrading associations of phallic worship this symbol had to be purged and purified by blood and sorrow. For many years it was an instrument of tyranny for the infliction of cruel and intense suffering. There can be little doubt but thousands suffered on it whose only fault was in being too good to be understood. The divine soul everywhere is at first misunderstood. His language is heaven-born and his earth-bound hearers cannot interpret it. Hence the thorny crown of derision. The good are not allowed to pursue their quiet path. They are dragged into the full blaze of fame and their pains and punishment become their glory. Love's best work is most likely to be rejected and despised. . . . Suffering is the perfecting process of the perfect ashlar. Insensibility is the sign of degradation. Capacity for suffering is the mark and insignia of rank in the scale of evolution. The higher the love, the deeper the sorrow. Through tribulation the higher forms of life are born.
* * *
WHY NOT TRY
Scowling and growling will make a man old; Money and fame at the best are beguiling; Don't be suspicious and selfish and cold, — Try smiling.
Happiness stands like a maid at your gate; Why should you think you could find her by roving? Never was greater mistake than to hate, — Try loving.
— John Esten Cooke.
THE SECRET OF WASHINGTON'S POWER
Bro. Gilbert Patten Brown, Mass.
WASHINGTON is a man for the present need of the nation and its individual citizens. And this is the reason: He saw through the superficial things of his time into the profound truth of all time. His character and work were controlled and shaped by that truth, and he sought to make it the controlling force in the new-born nation. Acknowledgment of the wisdom and power of God, trust in His providence, obedience to His law, formed the foundation upon which Washington began to build this republic.
The "Father of his Country" knew that the great achievements of his life were not his own. "If such talents as I possess," he said, "have been called into action by great events, and those events terminated happily for our country, the glory should be ascribed to the manifest interposition of an over-ruling Providence. I was but the humble agent of favoring heaven, whose benign influence was so often manifested in our behalf, and to whom alone the praise of victory is due."
He had more religion than he had creed. He was a mighty man of prayer. One of the most interesting Washington relics is a Book of Prayers written out by hand, as a man would sit down and write intimate letters to a dear friend. All those prayers begin with a revelent address to the Almighty, and have characteristic endings: "Let Thy favor be extended to all my relations, friends, and all others whom I ought to remember in my prayers." Paine wrote and talked. Washington prayed and fought. The name of Jesus appears often in these prayers, which were evidently intended for daily use, morning and evening, and were called by Washington his "Daily Sacrifice." A few extracts reveal their spirit:
Sunday Morning: — "I yield Thee humble and hearty thanks that Thou hast preserved me from the night past, and brought me to the light of this day, and the comforts thereof, a day which is consecrated to Thine own service and honor." Monday: — "More and more direct me in Thy truth, and defend me from my enemies — especially my spiritual ones. Pity the sick, the poor, the weak, the needy, the widows and fatherless, and all that mourn or are broken of spirit."
Tuesday: — "I beseech Thee to help me to render Thee deserved thanks and praise — for food, raiment, health, peace, liberty and a better life through the merit of Thy dear Son's bitter passion — prosper all my lawful undertakings — let me have my directions from Thy Holy Spirit, and success from Thy bountiful hand."
Wednesday: — "Let my bed put me in mind of my grave, and my rising from there of my last resurrection."
The prayerfulness of Washington is well established by the evidence of his personal and official papers. Frequently, in his public addresses and private letters, we find ejaculatory prayers. He was often in attendance at meetings of Divine worship conducted by Chaplain Evans and others amid the hills of Valley Forge, and at those fraternal gatherings in the Temple of Virtue.
Lord Brougham said that Washington was "the greatest man of our or any age." Gladstone placed him in "the highest group of statesmen"; Everett declared his genius was "the genius of patriotism"; Webster admired him for a "symmetry where mind and heart, conscience and will were equal"; Choate spoke of his "moderation and immense reserve"; Curtis finely affirms that "Hamilton was the head, Jefferson was the heart, John Jay the conscience, but each of these separate qualities may truthfully be said to have even more signal expression when they were all united in the single character of Washington."
Citizens of this generation must do as Washington did — reach up by the power of prayer and take hold of God's almighty power. The government of this nation, the conduct of public and private business, the molding and exalting of national character, the preservation of our dearly bought and deeply cherished institutions, are things we cannot delegate to others. They belong in very distinct manner to each of us.
* * *
WASHINGTON'S BELIEF IN DIVINE PROVIDENCE
A contemplation of the complete attainment, at a period earlier than could have been expected, of the object for which we contended against so formidable a power, cannot but inspire us with astonishment and gratitude. The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition, were such as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving — while the unparalleled perseverance of the armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement, for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle. — Farewell Address of General Washington to the Armies of the United States, Rocky-Hill, Near Princeton, New Jersey, November 2, 1783.
* * *
WHAT MASONRY IS
The end, the moral, and purpose of Masonry is, to subdue our passions, not to do our own will; to make a daily progress is a laudable art, and to promote morality, charity, good fellowship, good nature, and humanity.
— James Anderson, Golden Remains.
THE FORTY-SEVENTH PROBLEM OF EUCLID
Bro. C. C. Hunt, Grinnell, Iowa
The Master Mason will readily recognize this proposition as one of the emblems of the Third Degree. He will also recall the monitorial explanation of it there given, and possibly feel that it is an explanation which does not explain. He may not question the legendary history of it as given to him, but he does not understand why it should have been selected as a Masonic emblem, nor how it teaches Masons to be lovers of the arts and sciences. In fact there are many Masons who are not mathematicians and do not even know what the proposition is, and on this point the monitor is silent.
It is the object of this paper to briefly consider the history of the proposition and offer a few suggestions as to its Masonic significance. In doing this we may reach the conclusion that some of the monitorial statements are not historically true, or at least that they have not been proven. We will find, however, that the value of its symbolism does not depend on the truth of the historical statements given in the monitors, but is inherent in the proposition itself.
This will be hard for many Masons to understand. Through association of ideas, we are accustomed to think that the traditions which cluster around a central truth, are essential parts of that truth, and when critical investigation attacks the truth of the tradition, we feel it is an attack upon the truth itself. It is this trait of human nature which is the underlying cause of all religious persecution, and we are by no means free from it as Masons, though it is contrary to the fundamental principles of Masonry.
As members of the Masonic Research Society, it is our duty to search for the truth, no matter how much it may conflict with our preconceived notions or with traditions. If we but search aright, we will find that these traditions are but the outer garments with which time has clothed the truth, and that they are not its essential essence.
In our associations with each other we meet a kindred soul whom we learn to love and honor. We are told that he is the descendant of a great and honored name in history, and we say that the spirit of his forefathers has fallen upon him. Then some critic appears and shows that there is no proof of his illustrious ancestry, or perhaps entirely disproves it. What of it? Is he not the same friend we knew before? Has his soul lost any of its greatness? May not the spirit of a great soul have descended upon him, though his physical blood does not literally flow in his veins? We are told that the spirit of the prophet Elijah descended upon Elisha and centuries later appeared in John the Baptist. Yet there was no blood relationship between them. So it is with the proposition we are now studying. Its tradition and its history are both interesting, but its truth and the richness of its symbolism are not affected thereby.
In Euclid'sElements of Geometrythere are thirteen books, and the subject we are considering is the forty seventh proposition of the first book. It is not a problem but a theorem, and is so called by Euclid. A problem in geometry is something to be done, as a figure to be drawn, while a theorem is something to be proved. This proposition is to prove, as Euclid states it, that "In any right-angled triangle, the square which is described on the side subtending (opposite) the right angle is equal to the square described on the sides which contain the right angle." The sides containing the right angle are called respectively the base and perpendicular, while the side opposite the right angle is called the hypothenuse.
Our monitors state that "This was the invention of our ancient friend and brother the great Pythagoras." This statement has been denied by many students of the subject. It has been claimed that this proposition was known to the Egyptians long before the time of Pythagoras, and that he learned it from them and carried it into Europe and Asia. We have no proof either for or against this claim. Pythagoras himself wrote nothing, and we know of his teachings only through the writings of his disciples. Vitruvius, a celebrated Roman architect of the time of Augustus Caesar, attributes the discovery of this proposition to Pythagoras. Plutarch quotes Apollydorus, a Greek painter of the 5th century B.C., as authority for the statement that Pythagoras sacrificed an ox on the discovery of this demonstration. Proclus credits Pythagoras with the first demonstration, but asserts that his proof was different from that given in Euclid. In fact so many writers, both ancient and modern, have attributed this proposition to Pythagoras that it is commonly called by his name, "The Theorem of Pythagoras."
On the other hand, the properties of the triangle whose sides are respectively, 3, 4, and 5, were certainly known to the Egyptians and were made the basis of all their measurement standards. We find evidence of this in their important buildings, many of them erected before the time of Pythagoras. We also find that this triangle was to them the symbol of universal nature. The base 4, represented Osiris, the male principle; the perpendicular 3; Isis, the female principle; and Horus, their son, the product of the two principles, was represented by the hypothenuse 5.
May we not find an explanation of this apparent discrepancy in the statement of Plutarch that Pythagoras discovered the demonstration of the general proposition, but that the particular case in which the lengths of the sides are 3, 4, and 5, was earlier known to the Egyptians? Plutarch also thinks that the case in which the base and perpendicular are equal (as in the sides of a square) was likewise known to the Egyptians. This is called the classical form in Masonry and is the form usually found on the Master's carpet. Both these forms are rich in symbolism, and if known to the Egyptians, as they probably were, would naturally lead to the belief that the general demonstration was also known. Nevertheless it may be true, as claimed by so many writers, that to Pythagoras we owe the demonstration of the general proposition, which proved the theorem true for all possible cases. It was the delight of this philosopher to discover a universal principle underlying a concrete fact, and he must have attached a deeper meaning to the general truth than the Egyptians did to the special cases known to them. With him the science of numbers was the essence of all truth, and having discovered a proof for the general proposition, he set himself the task of finding right triangles whose sides can be expressed in numbers. Heron of Alexander and Proclus are authority for the statement that Pythagoras discovered the following method: Take any odd number for the shortest side; subtract one from the square of that number and divide the result by two; this will give the medium side; add one to the medium side and the result will be the hypothenuse or longest side. This is true as far as it goes, but it does not give all the right triangles which can be expressed in numbers.
The numerical symbolism of Pythagoras is an interesting study in itself and is closely allied to much of our Masonic symbolism, but that is outside the province of the present paper. It is simply mentioned here, because, while it is probably not true that he was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason as stated in our monitors, yet there is so much resemblance between his teachings and that of Masonry, that we can understand how the error might have occurred.
The monitor also states that Pythagoras celebrated his triumph in the discovery of this proposition by the sacrifice of a hecatome (one hundred oxen). We can see how this may have been an outgrowth of the statement attributed to Apollodorus above. Ovid denies it and Hegel laughs at it, saying, "It was a feast of spiritual cognition, at the expense of the oxen." The strongest argument against it, however, is the fact that Pythagoras taught the doctrine of the transmigration of souls and forbade animal slaughter. However, when we consider that among many of the ancients the sacrifice of a number of oxen was their method of expressing their gratitude for a great triumph, we can understand how the tradition arose, and accept the fact of the joy without caring for the truth of the sacrifice.
Why should the discovery of this demonstration have been considered a great triumph? Because it is of the utmost importance to the science of geometry. Dionysius Lardner, in his edition of Euclid, quoted by Mackey, says, "Whether we consider the 47th problem with reference to the peculiar and beautiful relation established in it; or to its innumerable uses in every department of mathematical science, or to its fertility in the consequences derivable from it, it must certainly be esteemed the most celebrated and important in the whole of the elements, if not in the whole range of mathematical science. It is by the influence of this proposition and that which establishes the similitude of equiangular triangles (in the sixth book) that geometry has been brought under the dominion of algebra; and it is upon the same principle that the whole science of trigonometry is founded." The Encyclopedia Britannica calls it "One of the most important in the whole of geometry, and one which has been celebrated since the earliest times ;" and adds, "On this theorem almost all geometrical measurement depends, which cannot be directly obtained."
What is its significance in Masonry? Our monitors tell us that it teaches Masons to be lovers of the arts and sciences. Since it is so important a proposition in the science of mathematics, we can understand why it should be adopted as a symbol of scientific investigation, and to such an investigation all Masons are pledged in their search for truth, the great object of Masonic study. But has it not a deeper meaning? Dr. Lardner says it is the basis of the application of algebra to geometry. Algebra is the application of symbols to mathematics, and Masonry is the application of symbolism in character building. The Britannica says that mathematical measurements which cannot be directly obtained depend on this proposition. Yes, and as applied to Masonry, the highest truths of morality cannot be directly obtained. They must come to us indirectly through the medium, principally, of symbolism.
There is no apparent relation between the numbers 3, 4, and 5 and 5, 12, and 13, for instance; but when we raise these numbers from the first to the second power (that is, square them), we obtain 9, 16, and 25 in the first case, and 25, 144, and 169, in the second. In this form we notice in each case that the sum of the first two squares is equal to the third, and that the numbers in which we could at first see no relation are the sides of right angled triangles. So it is in life. Measured on the level of our lower natures, there is no relation between our own desires and our brother's needs. We are connected, it is true, as the sides of a triangle are connected, but there is no reason why we should not use him for the accomplishment of our own selfish purposes, irrespective of his welfare. It is only when we square our lives by the square of virtue, and our selfish desires are raised to spiritual purposes, that we perceive that our own welfare is intimately connected with that of our brother. His misfortunes are our misfortunes, and we can no more injure him and not be ourselves harmed thereby, than we can strike off our right hand and be none the worse by reason thereof.
We are traveling upon the level of time to our eternal destiny. We cannot stand still, but must constantly go forward. Shall we also go upward? All the time there is a spiritual force striving to lift us to higher levels. We may refuse to avail ourselves of it and remain in the depths of our lower nature; or we can accept it and allow its divine influence to shine in our lives. The base represents our earthly nature on the level of time; the perpendicular is the divine spirit striving to manifest itself through us. When these forces are squared to each other, their union becomes a constant onward and upward movement to the throne of God Himself. Pythagoras himself recognized this symbolism when he said that early in life he came to the place where two ways parted. One was easy and pleasant traveling; the other was rugged and tended upward. It necessitated hard climbing. Which was the way that led to life? All who travel there and find these two paths, know that he should choose the upward path, but the other seems so much more pleasant, and many are inclined to walk therein. They will try it a little while, and then return to the better way. But there is no turning back on the level of time. The farther they go on the lower level, the wider apart become the two ways, and the harder to cross from one to the other.
How often we have heard Masons say that there is no moral lesson to be derived from the 47th proposition of Euclid, and that it is not to be described as the symbol of any moral truth. Have they forgotten that there is not an observance or symbol of Masonry which has not a deep significance? Significance for what? Certainly as Masons it would have no especial significance for us unless it aided us in attaining the great purpose of our Order, "the uprearing of that spiritual temple, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." It may well be that the significance is not recognized by us, but that by no means proves its nonexistence. It may be buried in the rubbish of preconceived opinions, and it only needs diligent digging to bring it to light.
We have here suggested but a few of the many applications of this symbol in the hope that it will stimulate others to more diligent research.
* * *
WASHINGTON IN GLORY — AMERICA IN TEARS
(Lines on a picture over 100 years old, at Alexandria, Virginia. The objects seen in the painting are mentioned in the poem. The jewels referred to are Washington's fraternal jewels. The name of this picture is, 'Washington in Glory — America in Tears.")
Washington in Glory — America in tears,
Such the heavenly vision as the picture now appears,
Washington in Glory — an Angel standing by,
Beckoning from earthly scenes to mansions in the sky.
Washington in Glory — a shaft of light is here —
Widows and orphans weeping, an Indian crouching near;
Washington in Glory — through the endless years,
Immortal is the story, America reveres.
Washington in Glory — America in tears,
The scythe of Time is cutting the brittle thread of years,
Washington in Glory — sands of time are through
The hour-glass of the nation, again inverted, too.
Washington in Glory — while Liberty still appears
Her staff supports Old Glory while Patriotism cheers;
Washington in Glory — and through the endless years,
Immortal is the story, America reveres. Washington in Glory —
America in tears, Cherish, in song and story the hopes of coming years.
Washington in Glory — our country's laws abide,
Not the "Constitution falling" nor "jewels laid aside,"
But Washington in Glory — with all that name implies
In all its naked splendor looking upward to the skies;
Washington in Glory — and through the endless years,
Immortal is the story, America reveres.
— Odillon B. Slane, Illinois.
* * *
The clasp of two hands is literally a physical contact of two pieces of human flesh. Woefully secular and lifeless it can be! We all know the flabby, the clinging, the nervous, the icy hand grasp. Yet who has not sometimes rejoiced in the grasp of a hand that conveys life and love? Two souls are here united by a physical contact which gives birth to new aspirations and new certainties. Two human beings are here linked hand to hand in mutual respect, mutual trust, and mutual encouragement.
— Richard C. Cabot.
THE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL
NO doubt most of our Members know something of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association, organized in 1910 with Brother Thomas J. Shryock, for thirty years Grand Master of Maryland, as President, and Brother John H. Cowles, Secretary General of the Scottish Rite in its Southern Jurisdiction, as Treasurer. Although only five regular meetings of the Association have been held, forty-two Grand Lodges, the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Etite, the General Grand Chapter, the Grand Council, and a large number of grand bodies have officially endorsed the plan. Representative in form and national in scope, the Association is composed of two delegates from each constituent Grand Body. Its objects, as set forth in its Constitution, are as follows:
"First, the collection of a fund to erect and maintain a suitable Masonic Memorial to George Washingtont in the form of a Temple in the City of Alexandria, Virginia, provided that at least one floor therein be set apart forever as Memorial Hall, to be under the control of the several Grand Jurisdictions in the United States of America, members of this Association.
Second, To provide a place where the several Grand Jurisdictions, members of said Association, may perpetuate, in imperishable form, the memory and achievements of the men whose distinguished services, zealous attachment, and unswerving fidelity to the principles of our institution merit particular and lasting reward; to create, foster, and difluse a more intimate, fraternal spirit, understanding and intercourse between the several Grand Jurisdictions and Sovereign Grand Bodies throughout the United States and her Insular possessions, members of the Association; to cherish, maintain and extend the wholesome influence and example of our illustrious dead."
The title to the Memorial Temple, it may be added, is to be vested in five trustees elected by the Association and appointed in accordance with the laws of Virginia. In this fire-proof structure, when it is completed, the Alexandria-Washington Lodge will deposit the priceless heirlooms in its possession, an account of which Brother Callahan gives elsewhere in this issue. They are among the most precious relics, both patriotic and Masonic, now remaining among us, and it would be something worse than folly to allow them to be exposed to destruction by fire, as they are now, when it is within our power to protect them and hand them down to future ages.
As a perpetual memorial to the first President of the Republic, who was the greatest man and Mason this land has known, such a plan should appeal to every patriotic Mason. Surely he is a poor Mason, and no American at all, who can visit Alexandria-Washington Lodge, or Mount Vernon, and not feel his heart beat with solemn joy and pride that he lives in a land that is free from the curse of kings, and where the voice of the common people is heard. When one stands beside the grave of a man who was greater than any king the world has known, for that he refused a crown, or sits in the old Lodge where he was wont to meet his fellowmen upon the Level, one sees to what fine issues our mortal life may ascend, and why the whole world pays homage to Washington.
But this movement means more than building a monument to the past. It looks also to the future. It is a great school for the propagation of patriotic thought and sentiment, and the Temple which it is to build will become a mecca and a shrine for American Masons for all time to come. Not least among its benefits will be the establishment of a permanent representative Association, which will bring together in annual conference the leaders of the two great Rites of the Order to deliberate and council upon topics of universal interest and importance to the Craft. Any Mason, any Lodge, any Masonic body is entitled to membership in the Association on payment of one hundred dollars, and we trust that many of our members will take advantage of the opportunity and also induce their lodges to do so.
* * *
NEW LIGHT ON LINCOLN
Some years ago, while studying Lincoln and Herndon, we went to Springfield, Illinois, to explore the treasures of Lincoln-lore in that city. Of course we found much of value, very much, but we also met one of the most remarkable men it has ever been our joy to know. By chance, as the saying goes, we called on Mr. Henry B. Rankin, and we shall not live long enough to forget our interviews with him in his beautiful home. He gave us more insight into the real Lincoln than all the books we had read then or have read since, and we fain would tell our readers something about him.
Rankin was one of the "Lincoln boys" who grew up in the valley of the Sangamon, before the sturdy race of pioneers had disappeared, and saw Lincoln for the first time in 1846. His mother was a friend of Ann Rutledge, the sweetheart whom Lincoln loved and lost, and he heard the story of the courtship with many details not familiar to others. Later he was for several years a student in the "Lincoln & Herndon" law office — entering it in 1856 and remaining until the breaking out of the war — and enjoyed an intimate fellowship with both men, who were at once his teachers and his friends. He was also well acquainted with Mrs. Lincoln — whom history has treated so harshly — with whom he used to read French, and in whose home he often visited.
Having learned so much from Mr. Rankin, we urged him to write his reminiscences of Lincoln. After some hesitation he agreed to do so, and at our suggestion he kept on adding pages to it, rewriting and elaborating as one fact suggested another, until, at last, after six years, he has finished. He then placed the manuscript in our hands to edit and publish, asking us to write an introduction. The work is now done and will be published by the Putnams of New York in the early spring. It is not a biography, still less a history, but a series of musing memories and flashlight pictures, often discursive but always illuminating, recorded by a man who, in the gloaming of his years, would fain add a touch to the portrait of a great soul whom he revered in youth and whose memory is a precious possession. If time has softened the outlines of years ago, it has also brought the deeper interpretation which comes with the calmer light of eventide.
Ye editor, as one of the biographers of Lincoln, thinks he knows something of the literature of the subject, but this book has in it much not to be found elsewhere — some things that will have to be reckoned with in the final account of a life which, were it not a matter of history, would be regarded as one of the great romances of the world. Here are pictures of the background of the life of Lincoln, of the atmosphere and environment of his early years, of the growth of his personality and genius, such as one can find nowhere else. A man of exquisite spirituality, the writer brings to his record a keen, discriminating insight, joined with a great veneration, and the total impression is such a sense of the living Lincoln as one has hardly felt before.
Obviously it would be unfair to tell in detail the contents of this remarkable book in advance of its publication, except to say that it corrects a number of errors in the popular mind. Here we see the real Lincoln in the setting of his life, as he grew up among the hardy, wholesome, self-reliant pioneer folk, with many snapshots and some full length portraits of the friends who, like the friends of St. Paul, "were a help" in the making of the man. We are glad to have had a part in the writing and publication of a book which, if we mistake not, will be a permanent contribution to our knowledge of a man who was a child of the South, a leader of the North, and the one mighty soul of his epoch who embodied the prophetic genius of this republic.
* * *
THE TWO PILLARS
Looking back down the ages, we can see a few pillars still standing, despite the ruin wrought by time. Socrates and Plato stand under the blue Grecian sky, half buried in the rubbish of a once noble civilization. Just so, looking back over our own history, we see two lofty characters towering above all others. If our nation should fail and fall, as others have done before it in the weary round of glory and decay, the lives of Washington and Lincoln would remain standing despite the ravages of time and change, to mark the place where once stood the greatest and freest of republics. Washington was born at the top, Lincoln at the bottom, but they meet on the same level of honor, courage, disinterestedness, and practical capacity — having little in common save their faith in the republic and the fact that both were born in the shortest month. No two men were ever more maligned in the days of their public activity; no two were ever more be praised after death. Time transformed both of them, and is doing for them what they would have desired — the measure of their hard fortune in life being the measure of their good fame in history. Byron's tribute to Washington and Lowell's ode to Lincoln show them in their true characters, and as such they have been accepted by the world as the best contributions America has made to the greatest purposes of humanity.
* * *
Of unusual interest is an essay in the latest issue of the transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, by Brother Wynn Westcott, on "Freemasonry and its Relation to the Essenes." Its interest lies, however, in what it does not tell us. After an elaborate and scholarly investigation, the writer can find scarcely any resemblance, much less relation, between our Fraternity and a tiny sect or cult of monastic Pharisees, of a communistic kind, inhabiting the wild region near the Dead Sea in southeastern Judea. They vanished long ago, taking their story with them into oblivion, and the few bits of information about them that remain lend little encouragement to those ardent Brethren who would reckon them among the ancestors of our Order. Josephus and Philo, two Hebrew historians contemporary with the Essenes, knew very little about them, apparently, and seemed to care even less. Where so little is known there is a rich field for conjecture, and we have been told, as if it were a fact, that both Jesus and his forerunner were of that cult, having learned their teachings from it. If the essay by Brother Westcott abates by one jot or tittle the ingenuity of Brethren who seek to make up in fertility of invention what is manifestly lacking in actual knowledge, it will have served a useful purpose.
* * *
O MYSTIC ART
O mystic art, come to my heart,
Come, whisper sweet to me;
Come very near, to me make clear
The art of Masonry.
O mystic art, I crave a part,
Some little gift from thee;
Let it be mine, of rare design
Because 'tis Masonry.
O mystic art, somehow impart
The secret rare to me;
To thee I turn, of thee
I'd learn, - My teacher, Masonry.
O mystic art, hast thou no part
Thou can'st reveal to me?
Must I pass on without the song
That rings to Masonry?
O mystic art, must mine own heart
Make answer to my plea?
If so I plead for what I need
For apprehending thee.
— L. B. M., Michigan
* * *
WASHINGTON, THE MAN AND THE MASON
OF books about Washington we have many, very many, and yet it can hardly be said that we have a really adequate picture of the man and his life. Indeed, it requires some exercise of the imagination to call up the men of that far time and make them live before our minds. Our historical fiction, when it is true to the facts, may help us; but too often, when it is not a mere panegyric, it feels commissioned to be iconoclastic. And as between the eulogists and the dealer in barn-yard biography and back-stair history, there is little to choose. Changes in manners and customs make it difficult to recall the men of those days. Those knee-breeches and powdered wigs, those shoe-buckles and ruffled shirts work a spell so peculiar that we feel that the men who wore them belonged to another race.
So they did. They were in fact English gentlemen in "blue and buff," even if Ben Franklin did insist on wearing woolen hose. The stately Miltonian style in which they conversed was so unlike the more familiar speech of our day — to say nothing of our slang, which is language in misery — that we seem to live in another land. Why, a love-letter of that time reads like a passage from an oration by Edmund Burke or an article by Dr. Johnson. When we translate the letters of Washington and Lafayette into simple language, they are full of friendship and tender humanity, with now and then a glint of fun, but they must be translated before we can see their beauty. Once we get behind these differences of custom and speech we find Washington and the men of his time to have been very real folk, less remote and much easier to know.
Indeed, one thing which we very much like about "Washington, the Man and the Mason," by Brother Charles Callahan, is its emphasis upon the more intimate and personal aspects of the great life which it seeks to portray. No effort has been made by the author to write a complete biography of Washington, and for that task he was not fitted. Moreover, no such effort was needed, since his public career has already many times been critically investigated and minutely recorded. But too often the detailed analysis of his official life has overshadowed his private life, with its rural pastimes and rustic occupations, in which, the author holds, we find best illustrated the beautiful simplicity of his character. Therein he is right, and to this task he sets himself, giving a delightful history of Mount Vernon estate from the acquisition of the original grant by John Washington, the immigrant, down to the present time. One gets here, by the aid of story and illustration, a new conception of that great old colonial home to which Washington returned again and again with gladdened heart after the turmoils and vicissitudes of his public service, and which remains to this day our noblest patriotic shrine.
But the real intent of the volume, of course, is to give in brief form the history of Washington's connection with Masonry and, in particular, his relation to Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, of which he was the first Master. The data in this branch of the work has been gathered with diligence, and sifted with care, unfounded tradition being cast into the discard; and the record as we have it here — taken with the "Washington Masonic Correspondence," recently published by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania — should forever hush the mouths of those who have been wont to say that Masonry was of little account in the life of our first President.
The last chapter of the book is a story of the organization and growth of the Washington Masonic National Memorial Association, by which the volume is published, and to which the net proceeds of the sale of the book are applied. The volume sells for $5.00, and may be ordered through the Research Society, or directly through the treasurer of the Association, Brother John H. Cowles, 16th and S. Streets N. W., Washington, D. C.
* * *
Of interest, too, is the volume by Brother Sidney Hayden on "Washington and his Masonic Compeers," albeit published in 1905. The first half of the book is devoted to the life of Washington himself in its Masonic relations, and the second half to sketches of some of his friends and fellow-workers, such as Henry Price, Peyton and Edmund Randolph, Franklin, Wooster, Edwards, Sullivan, Jackson, Putnam, Gist, and others. The sketches are rather brief, laying emphasis upon the Masonic services of the men discussed, and altogether it makes a volume interesting and worth while. Not yet has been told the whole story of the influence of Freemasonry in our revolutionary period, and its silent, moulding force in giving shape to the organic law of this republic. It will be told some day, or at least such part of it as can be printed, and men will look with a new veneration upon an Order which, more than any one influence, gave form to the greatest of all republics. Our young men should study the Masonic life of Washington, and learn from it that -
"Ere mature manhood marked his youthful brow He sought our altar and he made his vow - Upon our tesselated floor he trod, Bended his knees, and placed his trust in God! Through all his great and glorious life he stood A true, warm Brother, foremost e'er in good; And when he died, amid a nation's gloom, His mourning Brethren bore him to the tomb!"
* * *
CHIPS FROM THE QUARRIES
Very modest is the title which Brother Wm. F. Kuhn gives to the almost forty little essays which he has brought together into a tiny volume, called "A Small Basket of Chips From the Quarries." The subtitle is more accurate when it describes the little book as "some practical thoughts on an everyday working Freemasonry." Four of the essays included in it were published in The Builder, the expositions of the Scripture readings of the Second and Third Degrees, the brief article on The Future, and the essay on Hysteria in Freemasonry — if some of our friends will pardon "a reference to an allusion." Therefore our readers know the quality of this little book, and its pointedly practical emphasis upon the useableness and usefulness of Masonry as an influence, yea, as an instrument, for human good. Most heartily do we commend this wise and straightforward book, and we are sure that many of our readers will want to own it.
* * *
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Where We Got the Ritual of the Knights Templar Degree, by J. L. Carson.Virginia Masonic Journal.
About Albert Pike,Scottish Rite Herald, Dallas, Texas.
America's Oldest Mason, by G. P. Brown.London Freemason.
Ancient Signs and Symbols, by Bro. Mehaffy.New Zealand Craftsman.
History of Colored Masons in Louisiana.The Plumbline.
The Vehmgerichte, by E. J. Wittenberg.Bulletin Los Angeles Consistory.
The Symbolism of the Universe, by B. R. Baumgardt.The New Age.
The Lodge Room Floor, by F. C. Higgins.Masonic Standard.
Freemasonry and Peace, by J. H. Fussell.The Trestle Board.
Freemasonry and its Relation to the Essenes, by W. W. Westcott.Transactions Quatuor Coronati Lodge.
* * *
A Basket of Chips from the Quarries, by W. F. Kuhn, Rialto Bldg., Kansas City, Mo., 75 cents.
Washington and His Masonic Compeers, by Sidney Hayden. Macoy Co., New Yorkr $1.75.
Rockefeller Foundation,Annual Report, 1913-14.
Socrates, Master of Life, by W. E. Leonard. Open Court Pub. Co., Chicago, $1.00.
The Near East From Within, Anonymous. Funk & Wagnalls Co., New York, $3.00.
The Star Rover, by Jack London. Macmillan Co., New York, $1.50.
Old Familiar Faces, by Theodore Watts-Dunton. Herbert Jenkins, London, $1.50.
* * *
WASHINGTON'S PROPHETIC VISION
When we consider the magnitude of the prize we contended for, the doubtful nature of the contest, and the favorable manner in which it has terminated, we shall find the greatest possible reason for gratitude and rejoicing: this is a theme that will afford infinite delight to every benevolent and liberal mind, whether the event in contemplation be considered as a source of present enjoyment, or the parent of future happiness; and we shall have equal occasion to felicitate ourselves on the lot which Providence has assigned us, whether we view it in a natural, a political, or moral point of view.
The Citizens of America, placed in the most enviable condition, as the sole lords and proprietors of a vast tract of continent, comprehending all the various soils and climates of the world, and abounding with all the necessaries and conveniences of life, are now, by the late satisfactory pacification, acknowledged to be possessed of absolute freedom and independency; they are from this period to be considered as the actors on the most conspicuous theatre, which seems to be peculiarly designed by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity: here they are not only surrounded with everything that can contribute to the completion of private and domestic enjoyment, but Heaven has crowned its other blessings, by giving a surer opportunity for political happiness than any other nation has ever been favored with. A Letter from Washington to the Governors of the States, June 18. 1783.
* * *
I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection; that He would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large; and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field; and finally, that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion; without an humble imitation of Whose example, in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation. — Letter from George Washington to the Governors of the States, June 18,1783.
* * *
In Being's floods, in Action's storm,
I walk and work, above, beneath,
Birth and Death,
An infinite ocean;
A seizing and giving,
The fire of Living:
'Tis thus at the roaring Loom of Time I ply,
And weave for God the garment thou seest Him by!
THE QUESTION BOX
(More and more it becomes clear that the Question Box is to be one of the most interesting and valuable features of The Builder. There is no reason why it should not be so. It is a kind of Open Lodge where we can chat, compare views, and swap ideas, talking of a number of details that do not lend themselves readily to elaborate and formal discussion. As said before, it is a kind of free-for-all forum, as though we were gathered about the great fire-place in the House of Light at the Sign of the Square and Compasses; and we are happy to have our Members feel at ease and join in the conversation as the spirit moves them. )
A SWEET-SCENTED NAME
Not only do our Members readThe Builderclosely, but many of their ladies also read it, whereof we are made to know from many lovely letters that reach us betimes. A number of ladies have written to thank us for the sketch of Father Taylor, "and I am not a Methodist either," one of them adds. Another asks where she can find a story called "A Sweet-smelling Name," which she has been unable to locate. It was written by Fedor Sologub, a Russian writer whose stories have recently been translated into English, and gives title to a book of his stories which is now published with an introduction by Stephen Graham. Sologub does not rank with Tolstoi or Gorki, but he has something to say, and the story of "A Sweet-scented Name" is one of his best. (Published by Messrs. Constable, London, $1.25 net).
* * *
A STAR ROVER
Indeed, the ladies read more than men do. For that reason, while we hold that woman has a right to the ballot, if she wants it, we are half afraid for her to have it, lest she disfranchise the men — on an educational test. Here is a lady who read "The Harbor," by Poole, and agrees with us that it is a brilliant story, and now she wants another equally good. Well, try "The Star Rover," by Jack London, (Macmillan Co.) If it is not a masterpiece, it does not miss it by many inches. Certainly it is the best thing London has done so far, showing his mastery of his art, his richness of imagination, observation, and invention, and it has passages the like of which it would be hard to find in recent literature. There are many stories within this story, many hints, glimpses, intimations, and dim memories of things half-remembered, like faint echoes from the caves of the mind. Read it, and you will understand.
* * *
While speaking of the ladies, we may also reply to a Brother who asks us to suggest a topic for an address to a mixed audience of Masons and their ladies. Why not talk of Lady Masons alleged to have been initiated into the Order? (See a paper by Edward Conder before the Lodge Quatuor Coronati, Jan. 11th, 1895).Look up what Hutchinson, Preston and others have to say about Masonic secrecy, as it is related to women. Read the interesting chapter in "Sidelights on Freemasonry," by Lawrence, (Chap. XXVII) entitled "Ladies on the Level," and the glimpses there given of the antecedents of the Order of the Eastern Star. If you particularly want any thrills, you might get the story called "Love and the Freemason," by Guy Thorne. by this time you will have abundant materials for an address, with room for sense and nonsense, the while you discuss the question: Should women be admitted to the Order? The best answer to the question, of course, is that to be inferred when we ask another: Why should they?
* * *
THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN
My dear Brother: — The article by Brother Lobingier on Masonry in "The Temple of Heaven" interested me greatly. I wonder whether you or many of your readers noticed any significance in the following words: "The Great South Altar, the most important of Chinese religious structures, is a beautiful triple circular terrace of white marble whose base is 210, middle stage 150, and top 90 feet in width, each terrace encompassed by a richly carved balustrade." Divide each of the above figures by 30, and we have in this temple of heaven used more or less accidentally for a Masonic temple, the old sacred numbers 7, 5, 3. Perhaps it was only a coincidence, but it is interesting.
R. P. Clarkson, Canada.
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Brother Wm. B. Melish, Executive Director of the Masonic War Relief Association of the United States, writes that he recently received a contribution of $137.25 from the most unique Masonic Lodge in the world — the "Roof of the World Lodge," located at Cerro de Pasco, South America. The Worshipful Master says that they try to keep very much alive up there on top of the Andes, and adds: "We have had visitors from almost every jurisdiction in the United States, and have acquired some little fame for having held (as far as we can find out) the highest Masonic meeting in the world, at an altitude of 17,575 feet above sea level." With right they claim to be high-up Masons.
* * *
THE OBLONG SQUARE
Dear Brother: — The Standard Dictionary defines "oblong" as something longer than it is broad. Also a Square as an instrument to measure or lay out right angles, consisting usually of two legs or branches at right angles to each other, in "L" shape. Now this L-shaped square is the oblong square used in Freemasonry, and its appropriate naming serves to distinguish it from the equilateral or perfect square of the Master Mason. Moreover, we Masons know what we mean by an "oblong square," and if others do not know what does it matter? With sincere good wishes for the Society and its Builder,
I am, Fraternally yours,
Wm. A. Montell, Maryland.
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I have somewhere seen a statement to the effect that the Masons organized the first total abstinence society ever started. Can you help me find it?
— H. B. R.
Perhaps the following statement from "The Mission of Masonry," by Madison C. Peters, (p38) is what you have in mind: — "The first total abstinence society on record, was formed by Masons in Italy, one hundred and sixty-eight years ago, the Xerophagists — men who do not drink — under which name they met to avoid the Bull of Pope Clement XII, in 1738." The little book by Brother Peters was published in 1908.
* * *
"LET THERE BE LIGHT."
Replying to a Brother who asks for a few lines that may be used by the Master or the Senior Deacon when the candidate kneels to offer prayer, the following suggestions have been made. Both are good, but not more than one should be used at the same time:
"Prayer is the offering up of the heart's desires to God for the things agreeable to Him, and which we most need. As we come into life a prayer is offered up for us, and as we pass out of life and earth's shadows grow dim and our eyes behold the shores of the eternal world, a prayer is offered that our soul may be renewed inside the gates of pearl. Then be not afraid to pray.”
"Be not afraid to pray — to pray is right; Pray, if thou canst, with hope; but ever pray, Though hope be weak or sick with long delay; Pray in the darkness, let there be light."
* * *
GENERAL GRAND LODGE
After reading the letters exchanged between Brethren Mikels and Shepherd, a Brother in Kentucky asks us to state the facts about a general Grand Lodge as proposed by Henry Clay while Grand Master of Kentucky. Brother Clay — a kinsman of ye editor, by the way — was very much in favor of a general Grand Lodge, and was the moving spirit in the Convention looking to that end held in Washington, D. C., March 9th, 1822, and wrote the Appeal in behalf of such a National Grand Lodge adopted by that Convention. The nature and purpose of the movement were misunderstood, if not deliberately misrepresented, by many. Brother Clay did not have in mind a national body exercising jurisdiction coextensive with the Union, embracing complete and universal control over the fiscal and detailed concerns of every Grand Lodge, subordinate Lodge and individual Mason in the country — that would manifestly be impracticable. The objects of the convocation at Washington were two: To acquire an elevated stand for the Masonry of the country, by uniting it, making it effective and influential; and, second, to preserve between the States that uniformity of work and that interchange of good offices, which would be difficult, if not impossible, by other means. As such, a National Grand Lodge would be composed, undoubtedly, of the ablest Masons in the Union, and so be a central point of Masonic intelligence and influence; and that was what Grand Master Clay wanted. ( See "History of Masonry in Kentucky," by Bob Morris, pp 232-241.)
* * *
THE OPEN LODGE
Dear Brother: — While in general I am more particularly interested in the History of Masonry, and would like to receive further light therein, I am especially interested in what seems to me to be the glaring weakness of our present system. That is, the average Masonic Lodge spends itself in a weekly round of ritualistic work, initiates, passes and raises candidates, dispenses a little charity within its own circle, at rare intervals assist some worthy cause outside its own door (Masonic cause, I mean) and then holds its annual meeting with the feeling that it has performed all its obligations. I don't believe it has. It seems to me that Masonry ought to stand for something better than a ceaseless round of ritualistic work and some spasmodic charity; that it ought really to live the principles it sets forth in the lives of its members; that there are calls sounding on every side, not especially from brother Masons, which it ought to answer. Just where a Masonic Lodge should begin, and how it should do this kind of work, I do not know, at present. Perhaps there are other Masons like minded with myself who, by correspondence, might devise a working plan which would put into effect the great working principles and precepts of the Order which, to my mind, are now for the most part lying idle and accumulating a fine lot of dust and cobwebs.
Charles O. Ford, Michigan.
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THE ROYAL ARCH
Dear Brother: — At this time of year our Chapter does not do much work in the way of initiating, and I have been thinking that we might have a series of talks by different officers dealing with the origin, history, symbols and ceremonies of the Chapter. I would be pleased to have your suggestions in the matter, both as to materials and plans of study. — W. F. E.
Certainly you can make use of your time most delightfully and profitably, as you have a mind to do, studying as you suggest. Of course, you will want the "Book of the Chapter," by Mackey (Macoy Co., New York, $1.60), and "The English Rite," by Hughan, which can be obtained from the Lodge of Research, Leicester, England, Brother J. T. Thorp, secretary. There are three brief but valuable chapters on the Royal Arch in "Sidelights on Freemasonry," by J. T. Lawrence, and of course the well-known chapters in the "History of Freemasonry and Concordant Orders," by Hughan and Stillson. The Bible, however, will be your chief text-book, and you will find the study of the period of rebuilding the temple fascinating indeed — a story to stir your blood, for that it tells of a heroic undertaking in face of almost overwhelming difficulties. The origin of the Royal Arch degrees is most interesting, and also their position in Masonry before the Lodge of Reconciliation, in 1813. But the great question is this: — Mackey held and taught — like Brother Williams, in his beautiful study of Royal Arch symbolism inThe Builder(Vol. 1, p. 51) — that symbolic Masonry is an allegory of life in this world, and that the Royal Arch has to do with life in the next world; with the progress of the soul in the life beyond. This interpretation — suggestive as it is, and worthy of long pondering — is hardly known in England at all, and we confess that it has never.satisfied us. Nor do we believe that it was so understood in the early days of the Rite. There is much to be said for it indeed, following as it does, chronologically, the drama of the Third Degree. But with some of us the chief meaning of the Third Degree is not its teaching of immortality after death, but its revelation of immortality here and now. Some time we hope to go into this matter more thoroughly than can be done in a brief note, setting forth another and, as we think, more practical view; but we would have Brother Evans and his Companions keep it in mind and discuss it in their course of study. Indeed, we should like to have the question discussed in these pages, and trust that the Brethren will take notice and govern themselves accordingly.
* * *
Dear Sir and Brother: — Your note to Brother W. A. Harper's query in the DecemberBuilderregarding the Katipunan, is misleading. The Filipinos can not be classed among primitive peoples like the tribes of New Hebrides. The Filipinos, properly so-called, are the descendants of the eight peoples (not tribes) who were converted to Christianity at the time of the Spanish conquest (before 1600). Before the coming of the Spaniards these were real peoples with a definite beginning of civilization. Through the co-operation of America, they are now being slowly welded into one people. But there are certain wild, non-christian, or pagan tribes, like the Ifugao or Bontoc, of whom your assertion is more or less true. But these can not be called Filipinos, but rather come under the broader classification of "Philippine Peoples," which includes also the Filipinos. It is a poor classification, but the best we have. The two pagan tribes (and I am sure that we should not say "peoples") have the institution of the "Mens' House," and it proves very useful among them. Both are far and away more advanced than the tribes of New Hebrides or other pagan peoples outside the Philippines in their general district.
However, this is only by the way, and in order that I may set the Filipinos in their true perspective. My real purpose in writing is to answer Mr. Harper's query re the Katipunan and the pamphlet regarding it.
In Blair & Robertson,The Philippine Islands: 1493-1898(Cleveland, Clark, 1903-1909), Vol. 46, p. 361, note, I cite this pamphlet, (The Katipunan, Manila, 1902), and say of its author "purporting to be by one Francis St. Clair, although it is claimed by some to have been written by or for the friars." Its author is really one J. Brecknock Watson, who is an Englishman and a convert to Catholicism. At the time of its publication, Watson was in the employ of, or was actually a lay-brother among, the Dominicans, for whom the pamphlet was compiled. The author himself told me that he was "Francis St. Clair" shortly after my arrival in Manila in February, 1910, when I went to the Philippines to take charge of the Philippine Library. James A. LeRoy, until his death one of the foremost authorities on things Philippine, says in his "Bibliographical Notes" (vol. 52, p. 188 note, of the series above cited) that the pamphlet was "published in order to put before Americans the friar viewpoint of the Filipino revolutionists." The work is, as might be expected, ultra anti-Masonic in character, and consists of translations into English from Spanish writers who were opposed to Masonry. By the enemies of Masonry, the Katipunan has often been designated "the fighting body of Masonry" in the Philippines, a statement which is as ridiculous as it is erroneous. "Francis St. Clair," at present an editor on the staff of theCablenews-American, is writing another book on the Katipunan (this time under his own name) from materials which he claims to have discovered. The book will be anti-Masonic in tone.
So much for the Pamphlet, which is utterly untrustworthy. Now for the Society. The full name of the latter was "Ang Kataastaasan Kagalanggalang Katipunan manga Anak nang Bayan," or "The Sovereign Worshipful Association of the Sons of the People." "Katipunan" simple means "society" or "Association" and is in constant use in the Philippines in connection with many clubs, etc. As an organization, the above society borrowed some of the trappings of Masonry, for some at least of its founders were Masons, but in no sense can the organization be said to be Masonry, nor did it have any connection with Masonry. Lodges were founded under a regional grand lodge and secret signs and passwords were employed. A Supreme Council was organized in 1892. The organization was generally restricted to the island of Luzon, although some few lodges were organized outside that island. It was, throughout its course, a Tagalog organization, and was extended but slightly among any of the other Filipino Peoples.
The organization was formed by men of the middle class, but it was distinctly for the masses, and when the notorious Andres Bonifacio obtained control it was opened to the ungovernable passions of the ignorant populace. The objects of the organization in the beginning was not revolution against Spain but protest against the friar abuses. But it is undeniable that Bonifacio fostered the idea of revolution, and worked actively for that end, and to him probably more than to any other man is due the violent propaganda against Spain that was waged in the Philippines as a prelude to the outbreak of the revolution of 1896.
I dare not take any more space to discuss this matter. I trust enough has been said to satisfy Brother Harper's query. LeRoy'sAmericans in the Philippines(Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, 1914), vol. 1, p. 79 et seq. should be consulted for a fuller description, as well as various citations in Blair and Robertson,ut supra.
Masonry in the Philippines dates back to about 1860, when a lodge was formed among the liberal-minded Spaniards. After a while some of the half castes were admitted and later lodges were formed among the Filipinos. Some Filipinos became Masons also in Spain. The movement was bitterly fought by the friars who had no wish to see modern liberal principles enter the Philippines. Many Masons were deported and some executed.
Upon the acquisition of the Philippines by the United States, Masonry was able to come out into the plain light of day. There is now a Grand Lodge of the Philippines, with five lodges, one of which is composed of Filipinos almost entirely; about nine Filipino lodges that work under a Spanish charter; one lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of Portugal; and two lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It is hoped that the day is not far distant when all these lodges will be enrolled under one grand lodge. The Chapter, the Knight Templars, and the Scottish Rite, all have local bodies in Manila; and there is a Sojourners' Association which gathers in Masons of all jurisdictions. The Filipino makes an enthusiastic Mason; and the Philippines offer a rich Masonic field.
Fraternally and cordially,
James A. Robertson, Ohio.
* * *
Dear Brother Editor: — In reading through the fascinating files of The Builder, two articles have caught my attention upon which I happen to have, from other sources, interpretations varying from those of your contributor. Will you courteously accord me the same generosity you have shown to former correspondents, if I briefly note these differences?
The first is pertinent to the article by Bro. Baird on "Ancient Evidences," as contained in your January issue. Prof. August Mau's "Pompeii," translated by Prof. Francis W. Kelsey of the University of Michigan, reproduces the same picture of the mosaic table-top, p. 391, but describes it as having been found in a tanner's establishment. May I quote: -
"In the same building four tools were found, similar to those used by tanners at the present time. One was a knife, of bronze, with a charred wooden handle on the back of the blade; two were scraping irons with a handle on each end; and there was another iron tool with a crescent-shaped blade.
"The garden on which the colonnade opened contains an open-air triclinium. The table was ornamented with a mosaic top, now in the Naples Museum, with a characteristic design. The principal motive is a skull; below is a butterfly on the rim of a wheel, symbols of the fluttering of the disembodied soul and of the flight of time. On the right and the left are the spoils that short-lived man leaves behind him, — here a wanderer's staff, a wallet, and a beggar's tattered robe; there, a scepter, with a mantle of royal purple. Over all is a level, with the plumb line hanging straight, symbolic of Fate, that sooner or later equalizes the lots of all mankind. The thought of the tanner, or of the earlier proprietor of the house, is easy to divine: Mors aurem vellens, Vivite, ait, venio,
"Death plucks my ear, and says,
'Live!' for I come."
The inscription quoted by Bro. Baird as having been found over the door of the house in question is mentioned by Professor Mau in connection with quite a different house (p. 379). "Near the Porta Marina (at the northwest corner of Insula VII, xv), a tufa block may be seen near the top of the wall, showing a Mason's tools in relief; above it is the inscription, Diogenes structor, 'Diogenes the mason.' This is not a sign — the inscription can hardly be read from below; it is, moreover, on the outside of a garden wall, with no house or shop entrance near it. It is rather a workman's signature; Diogenes had built the wall, and wished to leave a record of his skill."
The third paper in the series "Memorials of Great Men Who Were Masons," in the November issue ofThe Builder, also from the pen of Bro. Baird, (I hope he will not think me guilty of a personal animus), contains a reference to the sword presented to Washington by Frederick the Great. Henry Cabot Lodge has an article inThe Outlookfor August 26, 1911, entitled "An American Myth," in which he cites the story of the sword as an example of historical myth (p. 952). "Washington was never a Marshal of France, and there is no evidence that he was ever given a sword by Frederick the Great. Yet both stories have been widely believed; both crop up from time to time, are roundly defended, and then sink down, only to rise again, as smiling and as false as thev were in the bewinning.”
Somewhere else, only recently, I have seen the same myth more minutely discussed, but I can not now recall where. Perhaps some reader ofThe Buildermay happen to know. Fraternally yours,
Frederic Stanley Dunn.
(P. G. P., O. E. S. of Oregon; P. M., P. E. C.
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COLUMNS AND PILASTERS
Editor ofThe Builder: — It seems to me that the title of your splendid magazine should suggest a solution of the problem of how to get 1453 columns, 2906 pilasters, into King Solomon's Temple if it was only 90 feet long, 45 feet wide and 30 feet high, and also how to accommodate those two famous brazen pillar 60 feet high "within the outer porch." One sleepless night this solution occurred to me and, simple as it is, it seems the only solution and perfect in results. We know that God's chosen people used two or more measures bearing the generic name of "cubit" or measure of length. One was the measure of a man's forearm or 18 inches, but another was of two paces or six feet. If they used both how did they use them? Naturally small objects, interior decorations such as columns, pillars and pilasters, were measured by the smaller cubit and exterior dimensions and distances by the larger. Now to apply this rule draw a rough sketch of a building by the larger cubit and follow the Biblical statement and you will get a temple 60 cubits or 360 feet long, 30 cubits or 180 feet wide, and 20 cubits or 120 feet high. In its outer porch the 60 foot (by the smaller cubit) pillars would satisfy the taste of any architect and the interior would be gorgeous with the columns and pilasters, whereas in a building only 90 feet long and 45 feet wide they could not be stored as cordwood. My idea as to why this rule of estimate has not all along prevailed is that the subject of the Temple has been studied chiefly by clergymen interested in the religious bearing alone and who never had occasion to look into the mathematical problem at all.
Think of it in another light. Would a Temple of 90x45x30 feet have been classed as one of the wonders of the world in a generation when architectural display was the one characteristic of the age? Would a building no larger than the average small family apartment have excited the envy and avarice of a foreign potentate and induced him to inaugurate a military expedition with a million men to destroy and plunder such a building?
I am sure that, vast as were the expenditures of gold and other valuables, such a structure would at best have been famed as a gem or bijou of architecture, and at worst have excited ridicule and contempt.
Jos. W. Eggleston, P. G. M. Virginia.
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ROUGH SANDS OF THE SEA
Dear Brother Editor: — An interesting thing came to my attention not so long ago which I give for the benefit of the Craft. I am sorry that I cannot give the exact reference, as I do not remember whether I read it or heard someone tell the story. It is said that the poet Shelley, who met his death by drowning, was picked up on the seashore in the territory of the "estates of the Church," as they were known at the time. Biographies of Shelley state that, on account of quarantine regulations, all such bodies were to be buried in quicklime where found, although Shelley's body was burned. Now it so happened that Shelley was not a Roman Catholic, and that the area between the high tide mark and the low tide mark, literally the rough sands of the sea and just about a cable's length from the permanent shore, is regarded as being neither land nor sea — that is, it is a most dishonorable place of interment. I believe there is a reference in one of the Greek poets to a seaside burial which might throw further light on the selection of so curious a place, but I am unable to find it. Perhaps some other Brother may be able to locate it.
H. W. Ticknor, Florida.
* * *
THE WORKING TOOLS
Go, work on mind and matter now,
A Master raised to power art thou,
Impress on each and all you can
Wise Heaven's eternal Temple-plan.
As on a trestle-board portray
The great Design, from day to day,
And build, in silence rever'ntly,
The temple of Humanity.
— A.S. MacBride