A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 2 No. 8 – August 1916
THE STORY OF "OLD GLORY" — THE OLDEST FLAG
By Bro. Jno. W. Barry, Iowa
[Missing, non-sequential, non-standard footnotes and plate references as found.]
JUST what suggested to Washington either the Cambridge flag or the stars and stripes can never be known because he never referred to the matter in any way. Yet several theories are advanced, each claimed, to be the one. In No. 18-A, the flag of the Philadelphia Light Horse Troop is shown. Preble says: — (14)
"This is the first known instance of the use of stripes to represent the colonies." Abraham Markoe was captain of the Philadelphia Light Horse Troop. King Christian VII of Denmark, of which country Markoe was a citizen, forbade his subjects taking sides against England under pain of confiscation of all their property. Captain Markoe decided to resign and in doing so presented this flag, which the .. Troop used June 23, 1775, in escorting both Washington and Philip Schuyler as far as New York on their way to take command of the army at Cambridge. Whether this flag suggested the stripes to either Washington or Schuyler must be forever unknown. But because it is thought to have done so, the flag is carefully preserved between glass plates — the treasure of this famous troop whose organization is still as young and vigorous as when founded in 1774. The Light Horse has participated in nearly every presidential inauguration from Washington to Wilson and in other national functions — often under the banner given them by their first captain.
Another theory assigns Washington's arms (Fig. 19, Color Plate) as the real origin of both the stars and stripes. However, Washington never in any connection referred to his arms as even remotely connected with the flag and did not use it until very late in life, and then for the most part only as a book mark. Still another theory is that the flag of Rhode Island was the real inspiration. However, this theory is seldom referred to because of other suggestions of an earlier date.
Finally there is a theory that John Adams took the idea of the stars from the constellation Lyra, which in the hands of Orpheus meant harmony — hence the wording of the resolution "representing a new constellation" — but John Adams never said so — and other record, there is none. Preble after citing the Philadelphia Light Horse flag as suggesting the stripes, says (15) that the first known suggestion of stars appeared in the Massachusetts Spy for March 10, 1774, and was written for the anniversary of the Boston Massacre.
"A ray of bright glory now beams from afar, The American ensign now sparkles a star Which shortly shall flame wide through the skies."
But here again theory alone is the only basis for belief. Whether the flag of the English East India Company was known to Washington is as much a theory as any of the others, the presumption being in its favor only because it was an old and well known flag and almost the exact counterpart of the one Washington did raise at Cambridge "to the joy of the British" at Boston. But why look beyond Washington for eliminating the King's Colors and substituting the stars of an independent nation? Washington raised the Cambridge flag — it was his idea, no matter from what source suggested. Later, in Philadelphia with independence in sight, he knew the flag would have to be changed and had his drawing of it. He asked George Ross who could do it, and was taken to the widow of his nephew, John Ross, a fellow patriot. The idea was Washington's as much as were the plans for the battle of Trenton or Princeton or Yorktown.
It is a striking coincidence that Columbus discovered America while looking for India and then the flag of the United states 300 years after should find its prototype in the flag of India.
PEACE — PEACE AND THERE WAS NO PEACE
Peace was declared in 1783, but there was no peace in reality until after the war of 1812. Not only were English troops maintained on American soil, but England refused to send a minister to the U.S. and John Adams, our minister to England, received unjust snubs at every turn as his only recognition and returned to the U.S. in utter disgust. Following England's lead, most of the nations also refused trade arrangements with us. Finally our condition became so bad that our surplus products rotted where they grew. Conditions became much worse than during the war, for owing to the policies pursued toward us by foreign countries, our manufacturers, small as they were, were utterly destroyed. The states not only declined to live up to the Confederation, but were at such enmity with each other as to actually resort to the use of arms, and blood-shed was but narrowly averted. A reign of anarchy worse than the French Revolution that followed, was everywhere predicted. Could the states be saved from themselves? Lord Sheffield, predicting dire anarchy, suggested that "in case of the renewal of hostilities, a few stout frigates cruising on the Coast would be all sufficient — that it would be wise to send a consul to EACH state. (16)
Josiah Tucker, Dean of Gloucester, wrote: — "As to the grandeur of America and its being a rising empire under one head, whether republican or monarchial, that is one of the idlest and most visionary thoughts ever conceived by writers of romance — They are a disunited people to the end of time, suspicious and distrustful of each other, they will be divided and subdivided into commonwealths and principalities." (17)
That such foreign comment was more than justified may be judged from a letter Washington wrote from Mt. Vernon to Knox, Dec. 26, 1786, thus: — "I feel my dear General Knox, infinitely more than I can express to you, for the disorders that have arisen in these states. "Good God! Who besides a Tory could have foreseen or a Briton predicted them?" (18)
Before the so-called peace, every effort was made to show how much better the English soldiers fared, and after peace, the English parliament spent over $30,000,000 to reimburse American Tories who had left the United states and no opportunity was lost to contrast this munificence with the almost nothing Congress was able to do for the Revolutionary soldiers and sailors. Was the flag they carried to victory world renowned to go down in the strife miscalled peace, as "Rebel Stripes"? Truly the warfare of peace was more deadly than the cannon shot and shell. But the wiser council prevailed, and finally the Constitution was adopted and the stars and stripes came triumphant even through that strife called peace. Instead of the prophesied division, two new stars and two new stripes were added to the flag May 1, 1795, to represent Kentucky and Vermont.
FROM THE CIRCLE TO THE "OBLONG SQUARE"
The bill for the flag change originated in the Senate and on Jan. 7, 1794, the House considered the bill in a long debate, which contrasts sharply with the adoption of the original thirty word flag resolution June 14, 1777. The most effective argument in favor of the change was the importance first of notifying the world at large by the STARS in the flag of the nation, that so far from division, there were new states ADDED, and second the great importance of not offending the new states. In Fig. 20, Color Plate, the flag change is shown. — So the circle of 13 stars became the oblong square of 15 stars — a step in advance, to the utter discrediting of the pessimists.
This is truly a flag of "passing" — a coming of the nation to the vigor of young manhood — a passing from the small petty jealousy of strict construction to the broad national policy embodied in the Louisiana Purchase. It is the flag under which real peace and union were achieved through the war of 1812; the flag that inspired Perry to outdo Caesar's famous message, "I came, I saw, I conquered," with his: "We have met the enemy and they are ours." But while its material achievements are great almost beyond compare, yet its chief claim to distinction must ever be regarded as that of converting the minds of the people from the idea of a mere loose aggregation of sovereign and independent states to that of one great united and happy commonwealth.
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER FLAG
The thought is crystalized in The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key. His brother-in-law, Chief Justice Taney, says that the scene described is no mere fancy but exactly what Key saw and felt while the battle was fought and when it was won by his countrymen. Key had gone out to the British fleet under a flag of truce to get his friend Dr. Barnes released, and was himself then held as prisoner until after the battle.
The picture here shown in No. 21 is from a photograph of the actual Star Spangled Banner flag in 1774. This was a large flag, being 29 feet hoist and 40 feet fly before relic hunters shortened it to 32. It has 15 stripes each two feet wide and 15 stars each two feet from point to point. It can't be said the enemy "never touched it," but you ought to have seen the flag of the English Admiral Cochrane.
Strangely enough, the music to which the star Spangled Banner is sung, like the music of "America," is from an Old English song entitled "To Anacreon in Heaven."
ESTABLISHING "OLD GLORY"
In 1794 when the proposed addition of two stars and two stripes was under discussion, a few opposed it and asked what would be done when there would be twenty new states. This statement though ridiculed as the objection of a dreamer, yet by 1816 it was near fact, so that this time it was proposed to ESTABLISH the United states flag in some form that would represent all the states all the time. Congressman Peter Wendover of New York introduced a resolution in December, 1816, with this in view. After pages of discussion the matter was referred to Captain Samuel C. Reid famous as the commander of the General Armstrong during the great sea fight in the harbor of Fayal. Such was the man who was asked to design a flag to represent ALL the states ALL the time so that Congress might ESTABLISH the flag once and for all. He designed the present flag meeting the requirement as follows:
- For the original 13 states, the original flag of 13 stars and 13 stripes.
- For the new states already admitted, one additional star for each.
- For future states, one star for each to be inserted July 4th following its admission.
The sample flag was made by his wife, Mrs. Reid, and presented to Congress. 'Twas ever thus, enduring stars are made by women. Betsy Ross, the widow of a man killed in the services of his country, made the first starry flag and Mrs. Samuel C. Reid, the wife of a man who risked his life in one of the most daring battles in naval annals, made the last and they each used colors never known to run. So mote it ever be. Though the change did not become effective until July 4, 1818, yet Congress in compliment to Mrs. Reid hoisted the new flag over the Capitol April 13, 1818.
The flag Mrs. Reid made is shown in Fig. 22, (Color Plate) exactly as adopted. Though the wording of the new law provided for increasing the stars above 13, yet Congress made no provision then or since for the arrangement of the stars. The twenty stars in Mrs. Reid's flag were formed into "one great star," says Preble, "and such was the arrangement for many years by the Military Department whereas the Navy Department adhered to arranging the stars in parallel lines." Finally the Navy arrangement by agreement with the Military Department, has come to be the only one in use, and Old Glory today is an "oblong square" of stars six deep and eight wide.
THREE VARIANTS OF THE FLAG
In the great seal of the United states and in the great seals of many of the individual states a variant of the flag is used. This is also true in battle flags knows as "company colors."
THE FLAG IN THE SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES
The seal or arms of the United States is, on one side, really a form of the flag and is held equally sacred. It is the emblem of authority on all documents of state.
"As well might the Judas of treason endeavor
To write his black name on the disk of the sun
As try the bright star-wreath that binds us to sever,
And blot the fair legend of 'many in one.' "
July 4, 1776, Dr. Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the first committee appointed to prepare a seal for the United states and finally after several other committees had worked on it, it was adopted June 20, 1782. Wm. Barton and Secretary Charles Thompson gave the designs the final touches and as a whole the seal is a composite — the work of many patriots. The all seeing eye in the triangle above the pyramid is from Dr. Franklin as also the words at the top meaning "God has favored the undertaking" and at the bottom "a new series of ages." Contrast the six years and the many pages of discussion to adopt this seal with the thirty word resolution of June 14, 1777, adopting the stars and stripes.
In state seals our own Iowa is the best example — using "Old Glory" unchanged.
THE FLAG IN THE SEAL AND COVENANT OF IOWA
Old Glory celebrated on the 4th of July, 1847, by adding a star of the first magnitude, representing Iowa which on Dec. 20, 1846, had become a state. In token of her sincerity in this solemn engagement, Iowa took as her seal and covenant the beautiful design shown in Fig. 23 — an eagle guarding the flag as her sons then did, do now and promise always to do. In it you see the citizen soldier, his right supporting Old Glory, the liberty cap resting thereon, his left grasping his gun, which is to signify
That Old Glory will wave o'er the land of the free,
Just so long as it is the home of the brave.
Here in the "East" as a background is the Father of Waters with the good ship Iowa under way.
"Thus, too sail on O ship of State;
Sail on O Union strong and great,
Humanity with all its fears —
With all the hopes of future years
Is hanging breathless on thy fate."
Before referring to the third variant, it might be well to give the origin of the name "Old Glory."
"OLD GLORY" — WHENCE ORIGINATED THESE WORDS?
Often have you heard the name "Old Glory" and it is frequently asked "Whence originated these words?" If you should go to Essex Institute, Salem, Mass., you would see there carefully cared for the particular flag to which the name "Old Glory" was originally applied. You would see also the portrait of a sea captain with which is framed a letter, acknowledging an unusual service. The letter and picture are endorsed as follows: —
"My Ship, My Country, and My Flag, Old Glory,"
Signed — "William Driver." (21)
Until 1837, Captain Driver followed the sea, sailing out of Salem, Mass., where he was born. In 1831 while in command of the ship Charles Doggett he rendered an unusual service in the Southern Pacific, in recognition of which, he was given the beautiful flag which inspired the name "Old Glory." In 1837 he quit the sea and moved to Nashville, Tenn. On gala days "Old Glory" was always to be seen on his house. When the war begun in 1861, many efforts were made to capture this particular flag. In February, 1862, the Union troops under Gen. Nelson captured Nashville. Horace N. Fisher aid to General Nelson tells the story as a participant. (22) He says: —
"Capt. Driver, — an honest-looking, blunt-speaking man, — was evidently a character; he carried on his arm a calico-covered bedquilt; and, when satisfied that Gen. Nelson was the officer in command, he pulled out his jackknife and began to rip open the bedquilt without another word. We were puzzled to think what his conduct meant. At last the bedquilt was safely delivered of a large American flag, which he handed to Gen. Nelson, saying, 'This is the flag I hope to see hoisted on that flagstaff in place of the d — d Confederate flag set there by that d — d rebel governor, Isham G. Harris. I have had hard work to save it; my house has been searched for it more than once; my wife devised a safe hiding place for it by quilting it into this old calico bedquilt.' He spoke triumphantly-with tears in his eyes.
"Gen. Nelson accepted the flag with manly emotion and ordered it run up on the State House flagstaff, when all heads were uncovered and the troops presented arms; he swore that that very flag should stay there, night and day, as long as he was in command at Nashville."
During 1862 William Driver wrote a series of letters which were published in his old home paper, The Salem Register, (22) referring so often to the United States flag as "Old Glory" that he himself became known as "Old Glory Driver." (23) The name he gave it fits so well that our flag is now known everywhere as Old Glory, the greatest symbol known among nations.
NOT UNTIL 1912 WAS THE EXACT FORM OF OLD GLORY MADE DEFINITE
Up to 1912, there was a wide variation in the United States flags. The record demonstrates that both use and uniformity as to the flag in the various departments have been of very slow growth. The navy alone acted promptly in the use of the early flag. After Congress adopted the stars and stripes June 14, 1777, there was a long correspondence between Washington and the "Board of War." (24) It was thought that our army "should carry a variant from the marine flag." (24) The correspondence shows that the flag finally agreed upon as army colors, was ready for distribution in the fall of 1782 but does not show just what the "variant" was. But from Washington's letter of Sept. 14, 1779, it probably was a serpent across the stripes of the flag adopted June 14, 1777. While the flags were never distributed, yet up to 1916 they have never been located. (25) So the flags used during the entire Revolution might be called "personal" in that they were not furnished by the government. Regimental or company "colors" have usually combined features of the flag. As heretofore indicated no definite specification had been made for the arrangement of either the stars or the stripes. This resulted in such a variety of designs that in 1837 Holland asked its representative in this country to advise just what the United States flag really was. (26) Other countries made similar requests. Finally Gen. Schuyler Hamilton in 1851 was directed to investigate. This resulted in the first careful study of our flag and was published in 1852 in the form of a history of the flag. Still the desired uniformity did not obtain and all through the Civil War there was a variety of flags and colors. As recent as 1912, investigation showed 66 different proportions and forms in use by the executive departments of the government. (28)
Finally, Oct. 29, 1912, President Taft signed an "Executive" order (27) embodying the recommendations in the report which had been agreed upon by representatives of the various departments of the government. This order is very specific, defining minutely all details of the flag — but still sanctions the old custom in the Navy of using only 13 stars in the "small boat" flags. (29)
MASONRY'S PART IN THE GREAT SYMBOL — OLD GLORY
The natural desire to avoid hemp collars resulted in the "Secret Pact" in Congress and prevented a record of many things now desirable to know. So it is in Masonic history of that time, the exclusive character of Masonry and the loss of most of the scant records made, bar out forever many things the craft would now like to know. Yet enough remains to show that Masonry was the generator and supplied the current for the varied activities both civil and military during the Revolution which gave the world the great symbol of that "new constellation," the United States.
IN THE BEGINNING
The most loyal subjects of the king — such were our brothers in all the years immediately preceding 1776. But there was a force among them generating those impulses which impel men to yield their lives rather than their honor, and to make the regularity of their own behavior the best example for the conduct of others less informed. At both their meeting and parting they were exhorted to meet upon the level and act upon the square. When therefore their king began that unwise policy of treating them as below the level of Englishmen, and so far from acting on the square as to actually deny their rights under the English Constitution, they petitioned, they remonstrated, and being spurned, they rebelled. Perhaps their position has never been better stated than by Edmund Burke right in the English Parliament. He said: —
"The Americans will have no interest contrary to the grandeur and glory of England, when they are not oppressed by the weight of it. . . I confess I feel not the least alarm from the discontents which are to arise from putting people at their ease; nor do I apprehend the destruction of this empire from giving, by an act of free grace and indulgence, to two millions of my fellow-citizens, some share of those rights upon which I have always been taught to value myself. . . Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government, — they will cling and grapple to you and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood that your government may be one thing and their privileges another; that these two things may exist without any mutual relation, the cement is gone, the cohesion is loosened, and every thing hastens to decay and dissolution."
THAT OCEAN TEA PARTY AT BOSTON
Mistaking the attitude of the Americans, as well as that of their king, The English East India Company had offered to refund the tax by selling tea at a less price in America than in England. The King insisted on his claimed right to tax without consent. So Burke's resolution of conciliation was voted down in England Parliament by 270 against 78. The issue was joined: England claimed the right to tax without consent; the Americans denied such claim. England said: "Land the tea" — A gathering Dec. 16, 1773, in "The Old South-Meeting House" said "No." A messenger had been sent to Milton to urge Hutchinson, the King's representative, to order the tea back to England. Long after dark his refusal was delivered by Rotch the messenger. At once Adams announced: "The meeting can do nothing more to save the Country." (30) When the church doors opened there were 40 to 50 men disguised as Indians, "and" says Avery, "in two or three hours 342 chests of tea valued at about 1800 pounds sterling were emptied into the sea." The smoothness of the performance suggests a master playwright and many rehearsals. When the work had been completed the crowd quietly dispersed, and before daybreak Paul Revere was riding fast to Philadelphia with the glorious news that "Boston had at last thrown down the gauntlet for the king to pick up."
WHENCE CAME THESE INDIANS?
The "Sons of Liberty" met at the Green Dragon Tavern where St. Andrew's Lodge also met regularly. This was the lodge of Paul Revere and Joseph Warren. It was a "North-End Lodge" whose secret meetings alternated with the "High Sons of Liberty," who controlled ALL the early Revolutionary movements. The men WERE the SAME in BOTH. (31) The record of that lodge on Nov. 30, 1772, showed only seven members present and in the record is this statement: "N. B. Consignees of Tea took up the brethrens' time." On December 16, the night of the Ocean Tea Party, the secretary after noting that the lodge closed until the next night, makes the T entry thus: — "On account of the few members in attendance" (32) and then fills up the page with the letter "T" made big. Gould says (33) this record is the only one of that now famous Ocean Tea Party at Boston.
A DIGNIFIED MASONIC EVENT
That Ocean Tea Party was as dignified a Masonic event as the laying of a Corner stone — as indeed in very truth it was. Here is what that eminent authority John Fiske says of it:
"For the quiet sublimity of reasonable but dauntless moral purpose, the heroic annals of Greece and Rome can show no greater scene than that which the Old South-Meeting House witnessed on the day (night) when the tea was destroyed." (34)
Avery says: "An authoritative answer to the oft asked question, 'Who emptied the tea'? has never yet been given. (35) But Bro. Paul Revere was well on his way to Philadelphia before morning."
But "Listen my brothers and you shall hear of another ride of Bro. Paul Revere." Grand Master Warren had sent Bro. Paul Revere to notify the Minute-Men at Lexington and Concord and to warn Bros. Hancock and Samuel Adams upon whose head the British had set a price. On that memorable April 19th, when the signals were displayed in Old North Church, Paul Revere was arrested just out of Lexington but William Daws and Dr. Prescott, a "High Son of Liberty," who had joined him, escaped and reached Concord in time to arouse the Minute Men and prevent the capture of the military stores there. Thus the members of St. Andrew's Lodge otherwise referred to as "High Sons of Liberty" or "North-End Mechanics," under the leadership of Paul Revere, later Grand Master. and Grand Master Warren had defeated the first effort of the English to enslave them. They had passed the "south and west gates."
"THE EAST GATE"
Preparations for "Bunker Hill" were at once begun. Profane history describes Deputy Grand Master Richard Gridley as a skillful engineer and artillerist" and he was chief engineer in planning the defenses on Bunker Hill and Dorchester Heights. Here, what England proposed, she was about to perform. The caviling at the "East Gate" was heard and Grand Master Warren soon fell a martyr in the cause of human liberty. But his death was as the blood of a martyr in stimulating thousands of his brothers to yield their lives rather than their honor even as he had done. A monument was erected by Charlestown Masons in 1794 "to commemorate his labors, his fidelity and his untimely death." It was replaced by Bunker Hill monument in 1857, inside of which a model of Warren's monument was placed.
If the action of St. Andrew's Lodge were not merely typical of the generative force actuating patriots everywhere, then it would be but small evidence upon which to base Masonic claims in establishing Old Glory. But the fact is the leaders were nearly all Masons and so steps were at once taken to organize army raveling lodges. St. John's Regimental Lodge had already been organized in N.Y. but the first one in the Continental Army was American Union Lodge organized in the "Connecticut Line" but because working in of Massachusetts, its warrant was issued and signed by Richard Gridley D.G.M. Feb. 15, 1776. This is the same Gridley who was chief engineer of the army at the time. Of the ten or more military lodges, the only one whose record has been preserved in anything approximating entirety is American Union. In 1859, the Grand Lodge of Connecticut published the American Union record almost in full from Feb. 15, 1776, to April 23, 1783, (38) — its last meeting as a military lodge. These army lodges were primarily officers' lodges — if you please, Masters' lodges seeking to find the right. On page 16, is a list of the members to Oct. 11, 1779, of American Union Lodge. This list is an exception to every other list of names in the record in that the first name and title are given. Almost without exception they are all officers. So far then, here are the members of St. Andrew's Lodge and other Boston Masons assisted by Connecticut Masons, organizing an army lodge that together they may divide themselves in parties and go in quest of the Hessian ruffians. So by the record, Masonry was in the struggle for liberty in the beginning.
FOR MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS THEY LABORED
The work of Masonry was sustained and dignified throughout the entire Revolutionary period. The army lodge was to the officers a confidential club and to the sick and wounded the "Red Cross" though under a different MARK. Scant as are the records of American Union Lodge, yet so many clues are suggested that to follow out all of them would far exceed the scope of this effort. Therefore only a few meetings will be noted here.
ST. JOHN'S DAY, JUNE 24, 1779
At Nelson's Point near West Point, N.Y., on June 24, 1779, American Union Lodge met to celebrate St. John The Baptist's Day. (39) After opening, the lodge marched to the "Red House," General Patterson's Headquarters, where says the record, "Lodge opened in ample form." Then followed a list of 99 members and visitors. Continuing, "after the usual ceremonies, the Lodge retired to a bower in front of the house, where being joined by his Excellency George Washington and family — an address was delivered by Bro. Hull." This kind of education bound the officers to UNION of effort — the cause for which they were risking their lives.
- Vide Preble p. 252.
- Vide page 251
- Vide Spencer and Lossing's Complete History of the United States.
- Avery VI p. 386.
- Avery VI p. 397
- Vide Preble p. 721.
- Vide Preble p. 339
- Vide Essex Institute Historical Collections July 1901. p. 261.
- Essex Institute Historical Collections January, 1911.
- Vide Gherardi Davis' Colors of U. S. Army 1785-1912.
- Vide address R. C. Ballard Thruston National Year Book, Society of The Sons of The Revolution for 1915, p. 260.
- Vide address R. C. Ballard Thruston National Year Book Society of The Sons of The Revolution for 1915, p. 264
- Executive Order Vol. 1637, Oct. 29, 1912, Wm. H. Taft.
- Vide No. 1637 Oct. 29, 1912, Wm. H. Taft.
- Vide address R. C. Ballard Thruston National Year Book the Sons of The Revolution 1915, p. 265.
- Vide Avery V. 5, p. 166.
- Vide Centennial Memorial of St. Andrew's Lodge, p. 112.
- Vide Same, p. 113.
- Vide Gould's American Addenda, p. 347.
- The American Revolution, John Fisk.
- Vide Avery V 5, p. 167.
- Washington the Man and Mason.
- Vide Lossing.
- Vide Record of Freemasonry Grand Lodge Conn., V. 1.
- Vide Vol. 1 Conn. Grand Lodge, p. 30-1-2.
* * *
DEATH THE LEVELLER
The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not. substantial things;
There is no armor against fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill:
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or late
They stoop to fate
And must give up their murmuring breath
When they, pale captives, creep to death.
The garlands wither on your brow;
Then boast no more your mighty deeds;
Upon Death's purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds:
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb;
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet, and blossom in their dust.
— James Shirley.
* * *
The reason why we feel one man's presence, and do not feel another's, is as simple as gravity. Truth is the summit of being: justice is the application of it to affairs. All individual natures stand in a scale, according to the purity of this element in them. Men of character are the conscience of the society to which they belong.
— R. W. Emerson.
THE POLITICAL PSEUDOMASONRY OF SPANISH AMERICA
Bro. F. De P. Rodriguez, Cuba
II. THE BLACK EAGLE CONSPIRACY
What the Lodge of Lautaro was for South America, the Black Eagle Society purport to be for Cuba, but unhappily it failed. Not any General History of Cuba has ever been written by a Mason; it is for that reason that no one conversant with the underlying principles of our Institution, has purified our local branch from the calumny of political conspiracy thrown on her by pro-Spanish historians. During the colonial period, however, that task could not be undertook, reasons: Masonry was forbidden; the Catholic priests, supported by the Spanish government, were against us; and, better yet, we Cubans were not at liberty to bring Spain to the pillory. After Cuba got her deserved freedom, thanks to the American Eagle, the time arrived to defend ourselves and wipe out from our faces so unbecoming spot.
Mexico and Cuba were during the XVIII century, and the first quarter of the XIX, very tightly related, the island of Cuba was not then self-supporting; our political metropoli was Mexico; from that vice-royalty came to us periodically galleons filled with gold and silver to keep us alive. The Cubans of yore were, therefore, used to refer to Mexico for all their needs, rather than apply to the Mother Country so far situated. After Mexico got her freedom Cuba longed for her's, and even our conspiracies came from there, witness that Society denominated the Black Eagle, originally ascribed to the Masons and which we shall describe presently.
Although Mexico was ahead from us in many undertakings, she was not so in matters Masonic. Mexicans got their lodges in 1813 from Spain, and in 1825, through the American Minister Poinsset, from the United states. We Cubans began to be familiar with the Square and the Compass since 1762, when the English took Havana, introducing into the city an Irish Army Lodge, which lasted as long as the British remained with us, about nine months. Frenchmen expelled from Haiti, brought their lodges with them to Santiago soon afterward, and ever since 1804, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Louisiana chartered regular lodges in Cuba, which in 1818 started the SPANISH GRAND LODGE OF THE YORK RITE, doomed to an early death, as she was under bann by Captain General vives in 1824, and totally disappeared in 1829; two lodges, nevertheless, meeting irregularly until 1859 when together with a new one chartered by South Carolina, founded the actual Grand Lodge of Cuba.
The best History of Cuba is undoubtedly that of Pezuela, (1) but even so good a writer, when he comes to describe the political situation of Cuba in the first quarter of the XIX century, classifies Masonry as one of the Secret Revolutionary Societies conspiring against the Government, but of course, he could not prove it.
The historian Zavala emits the following opinion: (2) "After the failure of the Soles Conspiracy (the first of Cuban Revolutionary Clubs) several of its members and sympathizers emigrated to Mexico, constituting there another Society named JUNTA PROMOTORA DE LA LIBERTAD CUBANA. The Society was constituted on July 4th, 1825, and its object, as stated in the Proceedings, was presented so: "The undersigned, at a meeting held on the extinguished Convent of Balem . . . & have started a Junta under the name of Protectora de la Libertad Cubana, the object of which will be to obtain from the Govelnment of the Federation (Mexico), which we completely trust, that THE AZETECAN EAGLE WILL HIGHLY AND MAGESTICALLY FLY OVER OLD CUBANACAN (Cuba)."
Calcagno, a Cuban contemporaneous writer, says: (3) "CHAVEZ (Jose de) a native of Havana, friar of Belem, in 1810 constituted in Mexico the Lodge of the Black Eagle." (4)
The late Dr. Vidal Morales, one of the best of Cuban authors, states in his splendid work: (5) "At the end of General Vives period of Government, J. J. Solis, informed the Authorities of the revolutionary plans of the GRAN LEGION DEL AGUILA NEGRA, the name of a York Rite Lodge, the Chief Officer of which in America was the President of Mexico, Gral. Guadalupe victoria, and in Europe a physician of London. The members of the said Society called each other Indian. The name of the lodge comes from the Eagle that symbolizes the 32d of the Scottish Rite."
These words are almost verbatim those used in the Proceedings of the Process to several members of the Society, as instructed by a Spanish Military Committee. Whoever is acquainted with the manners of conducting the investigations in matters political or religious in Spain, or in her colonies of yore, has to be reminded how the depositions were obtained: by torment or by the lash, in thorough medieval style. The Jesuitic proverb: "All means are justified provided the end is attained," was closely adhered to and no wonder how malicious the judges were in connecting Masonry and Politics.
Now, allow me to go deeper into the mentioned paragraph of the Proceedings. To any Masonic Student it is plain that lodges are local groups and nobody can be the Grand Master or Chief of any Lodge in any country but of a collection of lodges named Grand Lodge or a similar name. Next, President Victoria, of Mexico, although a convinced Cuban sympathizer, was never the Grand Master of the Mexican Masonry in either of her branches (escoceses or yorkinos) while he ruled the country; during the period from 1824 to 1828, the Grand Masters of the two Mexican Grand Lodges of the time being were Generals Bravo and Guerrero respectively.
The European physician, named as the Chief in the old world, is another lie. The late R. F. Gould in an article upon the "Medical Profession and Freemasonry" (6) mentions among all English Masons of the medical profession, during the possible years 1797-1850, only Robert Thomas Crucefix, who, every Masonic scholar knows, never presided over any Revolutionary Society. He was a distinguished man, but even in the Grand Lodge of England, to which he belonged, he only attained the Office of Grand Junior Deacon; not being blue blooded he could not expect even a wardenship.
As to the Eagle which symbolized the Society, why choose the 32d? It would have been the same the 30d, 31d or 32d, all are represented by Eagles, but two-headed, not single-headed, as that used by the revolutionaries. The Eagle adopted by them was that of Mexico, the one that the Aztec legend mentions as appearing in Tenoxtitlan, posed upon a cactus, devouring a serpent, the same that was adopted as the Mexican National Emblem.
Let us now examine some other statements found the Proceedings of the Process, to which those poor eople were subjected; (7)-they said: "J. J. Solis was a young man 26 years old, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, carpenter by trade, who was initiated into Masonry by Lucas Arcadio Ugarte, Secretary of the Patriotic Society of Cuba (the principal Society of its class in the country and of pro-Spanish proclivities). According to Solis deposition, several days after his initiation, Ugarte told him that the Society had changed its object, the Aguila Negra's only purpose was to gain members to work on behalf of the independence of the country." This deposition, as can be easily seen, is a mix-up of falsehoods, undoubtedly forged by the Spanish soldier's Committee. Ugarte was an aristocrat of those times, Secretary to the Board of Aldermen of the City, and a conspicuous Mason, and it does not seem probable that he would try to deceive a humble carpenter in any fashion whatever.
More yet about the deposition of Solis: "The members did not offer any obligation, they only signed the By-Laws, their main purpose was the independence of Cuba." Among the papers added to the Proceedings is printed Instruction for the use of the Deputies of the Several states, signed by one JICOTENCATL, of the Grand Orient of Mexico, (8) 1825. Searching in Mexican Masonic History, I easily found out that the Mexican National Rite was the only one that had a Grand Orient at that time, but as the Grand Lodge, which had to be previously established, was not founded until 1826, how could there be a Grand Orient in 1825?
Added to the Proceedings is also found a soi disant Constitution, snatched from one Miguel Vazquez; see here the purpose of the Society as mentioned in the said Constitution: "The Order had for her object the affording to good patriots the means of obtaining the liberty of America, wherever a member found himself, either in Mexico, Havana or London; of this Lodge which could not be confounded with any other, all persons could be members, provide they were not European; there were no degrees nor distinctions of any kind, and they had no Temples or Halls to meet in." How can this apply to the Cuban Masonry of the epoch that styled herself SPANISH GRAND LODGE OF THE YORK RITE? How can be explained the presence among the members of hundreds of Spaniards and of Cuban Noblemen, both occupying the principal offices of the Grand Lodge? Is it not plain how the judges (sic) mixed up their pleasure falsehoods to impeach Cubans?
I have examined at leisure the Proceedings in search of things Masonic, commencing with the series of pass and sacred words, assured to be those of the 33d degrees of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, which appear carefully separated and with large characters of hand writing. From this examination I draw the conclusion that either I have been deceived when I obtained my degrees from a regular lodge, and from legally constituted subordinate bodies of a most regular Supreme Council, as are those of Cuba, or the soldierjudges tried to make dupes out of the whole population of Cuba, to whom they assured that the ones found by them were true Masonic words. There is not a single one among them that resembles ours; more yet, they are in plain Spanish vernacular.
Now as to the principal Pass Word: Both members situate one in front of the other, their right hands resting on the left shoulder of the other, the following dialogue issuing:
1 — You are a beautiful Indian. 2 — Courageous, also. 1 — Persevering, besides. Come ye students of Masonry and honestly tell to which of our degrees the words belong.
But the most curious of all things is the Sacred or Principal Word or Phrase, which I joyfully append:
"GENERAL BEHEADING TO ALL, LET NOT ANY EUROPEAN REMAIN ALIVE, NOR ANY WHITE PERSON UNFRIENDLY TO US, LET NATURAL RELIGION BE THE ONLY ONE ACCEPTED, LET US RIDICULIZE THE CLERGY, AS THEY DEMORALIZE THE PEOPLE, EXTORTING FROM THEM ONE-TENTH OF THEIR INCOMES, LET US DESTROY CATHOLIC HIERARCHY AND THE BUILDINGS BELONGING TO THE PRIESTS, THAT NO TRACE OF THEM REMAIN FOR FUTURE REFERENCE. LONG LIVE THE INDIANS."
Let any honest man come forward and say whether that was Masonry. If the Conspiracy was started by white people, how could they be enemies of their own race? I once more claim that the above mentioned Proceedings were a malicious falsehood developed by dishonorable judges, completely outside of Masonry.
Being convinced that Masonry had nothing to do with that Conspiracy, I shall now, as a historical research, discuss the final result and sentence of that famous Process, followed against several members of the Black Eagle, who happened to be also Masons, by a most bigoted Spanish Court. I must, nevertheless, call the attention of my readers to the fact that the Court discriminated in their sentence between Masonry and Conspiracy; the succeeding historians not regarding afterwards so important difference. Remember too that the meeting of Masonic lodges was regarded as a crime by the Spanish laws of the time. Be careful in the reading:
"WHEREAS: We are ordered to proffer charges as FREEMASONS, against several persons already imprisoned, as members of the Conspiracy denominated LA GRAN LEGION DEL AGUILA NEGRA, the only charge resulting against them is to have affixed their signatures to various Masonic documents, during the years 1825, 1826 and 1827, for which they were indicted . . . and although other members were also accused, their prosecution was ordered to be conducted separately as they are indicted only as conspirators."
One of the principal paragraphs of the Public Prosecutor in his Report reads like this: "The subscribing Auditor having examined this Proceeding followed to find out the crime of Masonry committed by several persons, states that their presence in lodge meetings has not been proved, which fact, if proved, will have brought to them the full penalties specified in the last Royal Decree, (9) but as they continued in participating in Masonic practices after the year 1824, as proved by their having signed documents as these added to this Proceeding. . . ."
The final paragraph of the sentence says: "We condemn J. J. Solis, Miguel Vazquez, J. Gonzalez Avila .... (and others) to the penalty of ordinary death on the infamous garrote, their property to be confiscated for the benefit of His Magesty the King, on account of being convicted of performing Masonic acts. during the years 1826 and 1827, and of having been initiated into the so-called GRAN LEGION DEL AGUILA NEGRA, the object of this last Association being the freedom of the American Colonies." "Lucas Arcadio de Ugarte, convicted of having signed and having procured the affixing of other signatures to a Certificate or Diploma of the degree of Rose Croix (18d), extended in the year 1825, and of having kept under his care Masonic documents, seals and other Masonic paraphernalia, is sentenced to eight years at hard labor in the Ceuta Penitentiary (Africa)."
Happily the first of king Ferdinand VII's children (afterwards queen Isabella II) was born in those days and, as customary on such occasions, a general pardon or amnesty was granted for most crimes or offenses, and the Masons fared out better than they expected: none were garroted and Bro. Ugarte did not spend his forced vacation at Ceuta.
As the only practical result of so infamous a trial two documents remain attached to the Proceedings, which I have carefully examined and hope some day they may be donated for the Library and Museum of our Grand Lodge. They are: one, the Certificate of M. M. granted to Miguel Vazquez. by his Lodge! Hermanos Desenganados No. 53, and the Diploma of RoseCroix extended to J. J. Solis by Sabiduria Chapter No. 1, on the 3d of December, 1825. It is beautifully engrossed on parchment, colored, and, although nearly a full century old, remains as fresh as when issued. That document, as customary then, commenced so: "In the name of the Most Holy and Indivisible Trinity &," which is no longer the style of the Rite.
My task is now ended — temporarily only — as my investigations in old Cuban Masonic lore needs to be continued; but my satisfaction is so far complete because I have been able to prove that Cuban Masonry never conspired; the Masons individually, surely did so, but the Fraternity never.
Can American Masons show on their shields, as we do, the having been imprisoned and sentenced to death for being Masons? We Cubans, more than once, became acquainted with damp dungeons, only to be more firm adherents of our convictions; that is an honor and glory that nobody can snatch from us. More yet, it is not far the date (1870) when we had a Grand Master shot without trial, only for being the head of the Craft in Cuba!
If so has been our history and our sufferings, why disdain us because we do not speak English? Oh, Lord, have mercy for our detractors!
(1) Pezuela — Historia de la Isla de Cuba. Madrid. 4 Vols.
(2) Zavala — Ensayo Historico sobre las Revoluciones de Mexico.
(3) Calcagno — Diccionario Biografico Cubano. Havana.
(4) The date is wrong.
(5) Dr. Vidal Morales — Iniciadores y Primeros Martires de la Revolucion Cubana. Havana.
(6) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. VII, page 145.
(7) I have examined the original Process in the Government Archives in Havana
(8) Note the orthography, it is purely Spanish; no Mexican ever spelt it so, but Xicotencatl.
(9) What could this full penalty be if they were already sentenced to death?
* * *
As is water in a dish, Be it square or round, Shaped according to that form, By that nature bound;
So is man by those with whom Keeps he company Shaped and moulded good or ill For eternity.
- Imperial poem of Meiji Era
* * *
THE CITY INVINCIBLE
I dream'd in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth.
I dreamed that was the new city of Friends;
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love — it led the rest,
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
And in all their looks and words.
— Walt Whitman.
THE SYMBOLISM OF THE MASONIC COLOR, BLUE
By Bro. Henry P. Jones, Tennessee
If we consider the importance that has been attached to colors throughout the ages, and the herald-like duty they have ever performed, we must inevitably reason that Masonry, the greatest and most universal of ancient institutions, must also have been launched upon its lengthening career, under a color, or colors, in harmonious keeping with its teaching. To ferret out this color, however, and discover its original symbolism, is, we fear, a task made impossible by the gloom of intervening centuries. And so, leaving the beginning, veiled, as it should be, in darkness and mystery, we must even acknowledge the decree of comparatively modern ruling and usage as authentic. But here, too, we are left partially in dobt. A color has been handed down to us, but the symbolism, if in truth there existed any, has gone so long unheeded, that it is lost in the impenetrable folds of the past. Thus are we forced, as a last resort, to apply the test of our own reason and imagination to our knowledge of fundamental Masonry, and accept the result as a possible solution.
"At the revival of 1717," says our learned Brother, Dr. Oliver, "it was directed that the symbolical clothing of a Master Mason was 'skull-cap and jacket yellow, and neither garments blue.' " The symbolism, however, of this "symbolical clothing," was probably known to a few only, and was never recorded. But the Doctor continues: "In 1730, it was regulated by Grand Lodge that the Grand Officers should 'wear white leather aprons with blue silk; and that the Masters and Wardens of particular Lodges may line their white leather aprons with white silk, and may hang their jewels at white ribbons about their necks.' " Of course we do not know how long Blue had been recognized as a Masonic color, but here perhaps, we have the first definite step toward its establishment as the ONE TRUE color; for, having been once permanently adopted by Grand Lodge, it would as a natural sequence, creep gradually into subordinate lodges, until it came to be looked on as the legitimate color of the Order. Thus, in brief, may we account for it. But, having the color, we cannot so easily determine its proper symbolism. And yet, methinks this should not be difficult, if we go about it thoughtfully.
Certainly, it is commonly known that Blue has in all ages been deemed an emblem of the abstract qualities, Truth, Secrecy, Sincerity, and Fidelity; but to us it should mean something more. Let us see. Studying closely the various figurative meanings that have been attached to the five fundamental, or prismatic colors, in the past, we find that, as a general rule, they may be reduced to these: green, the symbol of generative, or self-contained force, or the germ of life; youth, freshness: yellow, the symbol of the result of accumulation or long dulation; ripeness, or the full measure of resources, activity, or years; age; decay: blue, the symbol of mild, unresisting virtue; morality: purple, the symbol of royalty or sovereignty; the director or governor of physical force; wisdom; knowledge: red, the symbol of physical force or agressiveness. Taking these symbolisms of the five colors collectively, and considering them as a wnole, they may be said to represent to us the five primary essentials, necessary to the existence of a perfect human being, namely: the germ of life, the germ of death, moral initiative, mental initiative, and physical initiative. The five colors themselves, rightly blended into one, produce perfect white for it is a well known scientific fact, that when pure, or perfect white light is received into a proper body or a prism, the rays are broken, disintegrated, and applied in such a manner that there emanates from the prism in their stead, these five fundamental colors.
Let us pause a moment now, and collect the threads of our explanation into one; an easy task if they are all plainly before us. As pure light received into the proper body and correctly utilized, results in the colors, or symbols of the five essentials to a perfect man, so the True Light or Word of God, received into the heart and properly utilized, results in the harmonious working essentials themselves; the germ of life developing in fulness and perfectness, and bending gradually and fearlessly to the germ of death; moral initiative, opening to view unspotted petals, tinted with celestial hue; mental initiative, growing up in the midst of finite creation as a part of it, and thus adding to its beauty a form and texture common to no other work of the Supreme Architect; and physical initiative, developing naturally and unshackled at every point — the mountain stream rushing joyfuily along, with crystal depths unchoked by dams, unmurked by hand of man. Thus should Blue, our own suitable color, and the symbol in our illustration, of moral initiative, represent to us the perfect moral man — the result in truth, of a proper reception of the Great Light in the true heart.
We should not confine ourselves, however, to the narrow realms of pedantic Science, in our search for light.
"Blue: 'Tis the life of heaven,'"
Yea, the silent, spreading canopy that shelters all alike, 'neath mystic folds receding up through endless space; the end of all man's hopes and dreams — unmeasured home of unheard strains of wheeling spheres. A fit symbol indeed, of the universality of Masonry; of the mystic veil that curtains off our lives from all past and future Time; and finally, of "that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," which we all hope at last to attain, for
"The cloudcapt Towers, the gorgeous Palaces,
The solemn Temples, the great Globe itself,
And all which it inherit, shall dissolve."
(If we venture to add a note to so excellent an article, it is in the hope of provoking further study of this interesting subject. The use and meaning of color in the Bible is a delightful theme, although, so far as we now recall, the late Dr. Delitzsch, of Leipzig, seems to have been almost the only one who treated colors in the Bible symbolically. In his "Iris," fortunately now in English dress, he treats the subject at some length. Also in "Chapters on Symbolism," by W. F. Shaw, there is a suggestive discussion of "The Symbolism of Color," (Part IV), from which we read: — "Blue is sometimes the color of the sea, and always the color of the sky by day, when free from cloud. As such it is symbolical of Heaven, and of the things of Heaven, Truth, Knowledge, Faith. Thus the Tabernacle which was made after the pattern of things in heaven, and was a figure of the true Tabernacle, the House not made with Hands, eternal in the heavens, had its hangings of blue and purple, and scarlet, and the loops of the curtains were blue. (Ex. 26:1, 4)" Blue had an important place in the attire of the High Priest of the Tabernacle, on his breastplate and ephod, the robe of which was blue, (Ex. 28:30- 39:22), reminding the wearer that he was a priest of the God of Truth (Psa. 31:6) and the God of knowledge (1 Sam. 2:3) and that it behooved his lips to keep knowledge (Mal. 2:7). "When Moses and Aaron and the elders went up into the Mount, it is said they saw the God of Israel, and there was under His feet, as it were, a paved work of sapphire stone (Ex. 24:10). Now the sapphire is a stone of a blue color." To which the author adds the words of Delitzsch: "Sapphire-blue is the color taken by that which is most heavenly, as it comes down on the earth, the color of the covenant between God and man. Blue passes almost universally as the color of fidelity. Even in Middle High German bla is symbolically equivalent to staete (steadfast), and staetekeit — steadfastness." (Iris, p. 28). So much by way of suggestion. Perhaps Swedenborg has something to teach us here, as in so many things, if some Brother will dig into that mine and reveal the ore. — The Editor.)
JOSE RIZAL AS A MASON
By Bro. Austin Craig, Manila, P.I.
(INTRODUCTORY NOTE — I count it as one of my opportunities for Masonic service to have been able to introduce to the Scottish Rite form of Masonry Bro. Craig, the author of the following article. Past Master of a Lodge in Oregon before coming to the Philippines, he was already interested in the Craft when, about the time I was beginning to establish the Rite in Manila, I first met him. He was among the first to receive at my hands the degrees above the Third, and his continued interest in the Rite is shown by his activity in securing Letters Temporary for the new Lodge of Perfection of which he is now the Master. Combining a real devotion to Masonry with the historian's love of accuracy, a rather remarkable capacity for collecting material and an attractive literary style, Bro. Craig gives promise of becoming one of the foremost writers of the Craft. He has handed me a copy of his article — not for publication but for my own use; but I feel that it is too meritorious to be so kept, and that I ought to make it accessible to as many ass possible of our brethren of the homeland. CHARLES S. LOBINGIER.)
With all brevity and simplicity possible shall try to put before you the few particulars which I possess about what unquestionably was the greatest influence informing the character, so worthy of emulation, of that upright man and true Mason who today is being honored throughout Magellan's archipelago for having so well prepared the way for the new Philippines dedicated to the principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
From childhood Rizal's ambition was to travel in foreign lands, probably because his mother's half brother, who had heen educated in British India, was a great traveler, and to the same uncle perhaps he owed his first idea of Masonry. There is a story that this Jose Alberto Alonso belonged to a Pandacan lodge whose master was the British Vice-Consul, the more credible that it would explain the repeated honors he received under the regency of General Prim and during the reign of King Amadeo, — an epoch so Masonic, to accept the contention of its critics, that even to a Bishop for Cebu all its appointees were sons of the widow.
But whether there was such a family predisposition, or the abusive attacks on Masonic principles current during his student days in books like "Capitan Juan" had had an effect in his case different from what their authors intended, or some other cause not yet come to light was responsible, certain it is that the late Tomas G. del Rosario, president of the Rizal Monument commission, used to tell how the martyr-hero was his companion in the famous Lodge Acacia of the Gran Oriente de Espana at an earlier age than was customary and at a time when as yet few Filipinos had been accepted into the Craft.
Rizal's Berlin associates, or perhaps the word "patrons" would give their relation better, were men as esteemed in Masonry as they were eminent in the scientific world — Virchow, for example. And so imbued was he himself with the Square men's principles that after his brief visit with Doctor Blumentritt at Leitmeritz, the Austrian professor promptly wrote the Manila Jesuite that their former pupil had "fallen into the snares of the abominable Masonic sect."
It was a young man who made no secret of his interest in the free, i.e., Masonic, countries of the world who came home to find a governor general in the Philippines who, his enemies claimed, was utterly dominated by the Masons that surrounded him. Perhaps had it been otherwise the author of "Noli Me Tangere" would not have been given as a bodyguard a Spanish army officer, Lieutenant Taveil de Andrade, who is said to have shared his views, nor have received the timely notice which enabled him to make his escape out of the country when an authority greater than the governor's threatened him.
Next he lived in London in daily association with a distinguished countryman, eminent in the law, who had been deported from Manila to Guam in 1872 and rescued thence by Hongkong brethren, but Doctor Regidor most emphatically assured me that Rizal never visited, much less belonged to, any London lodge.
*Address before Nilad Lodge, Manila, at its annual observance of Rizal Day, Dec. 30, 1915.
In 1889 his home was Paris, and there, probably through the influence of Dr. T. H. Pardo de Tavera, who was a member, in company with a prominent business man now in Manila, also a physician, he joined a French Lodge whose hall was at Rue Cadet 23. Thereafter, and Hon. Mariano Ponce is my authority, he joined the Filipino students' lodge, "La Solidaridad," of the Gran Oriente Espanol which after years of rivalry had outlived the Gran Oriente de Espana and, under the Professor of History in the Central University, was giving special attention to Spain's backward colonies across the seas. Here he was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, and became an enthusiastic worker. The manuscript, in his own handwriting, of an address on "Masonry" before this lodge is still preserved in Spain, by Eduardo Lete, of Saragosse.
In November of 1891 the Tyler's Register of Vistors to St. John's Lodge, Scotch Constitution, of Hong-kong, received the signature "Jose Rizal, Temple du honeur (lodge) de Les Amis de L'Honeur Francaise" as may still be seen, and he visited several times. There were formed the friendships which permitted him so promptly to become a practicing physician in the British colony and which led, through the Hong-kong office, to the agricultural colony concession in British North Borneo.
And when the arbitrary deportation to Dapitan came, it was Frazier Smith, Pastmaster of St. John's Lodge and editor-in-chief of the daily Hongkong Telegraph, who compelled the Spanish Consul to declare for his government that the man whom the British Colony had so highly esteemed was not being ill-treated in exile. Nor should he have been with Captain Ricardo Carnicero, reputedly a member of the universal family, as his jailer.
His enemies have always attributed Masonic membership to Governor General Blanco who permitted Rizal to start for Cuba as a volunteer surgeon for the Spanish Army's yellow fever camps there, and it was his removal, through a promotion usually supposed to have been purchased by those who were not his friends but wanted a vacancy for a tool of theirs, that made possible the tragedy of Bagumbayan Field. Of Rizal's fellow passengers on the Spanish Mail steamer which took him to Barcelona, only Juan Utor y Fernandes, Thirty-Third Degree and former Grand Secretary of the defunct Gran Oriente de Espana, another brother and a Mason's son, showed even bare civility to the famous "filibusterer" till his skill as a surgeon compelled recognition.
I shall pass over the opportunities to escape, rumored to have been offered in Barcelona and again on arrival in Manila, but Rizal's return voyage from Spain as a prisoner saw an effort at Singapore, by Antonio Regidor and other brethren of London, Filipino, Spanish and English, to free him through habeas corpus proceedings. These alleged that in the Philippines Freemasons were treated as outlaws and that the prisoner was being held without any judicial process, with no prospect of fair trial and for nothing that civilization called a crime. But the mail steamer was loaded with Spanish troops and under the royal flag had to be regarded as a government vessel over which the British authorities could have no jurisdiction.
In the death cell of Fort Santiago, nineteen years and one day ago, occurred a conversation which has been reported by those favorable to one side; but the memory of the single man who made up the other side and died so soon thereafter demands scrutiny for any possible inaccuracies in this biased version. One mistake certainly was made in attributing to him the declaration that his Masonic membership was in London, an error which would shake confidence in the rest of the report without the added doubt created by having two different versions of his reputed retraction of his errors, whose original has never been seen by any disinterested person. However, had Rizal felt impelled to renounce his Masonry to free his family from further persecution or to give legal status to the woman whom those incredible times of tyranny would not permit him to marry till he had renounced his political principles, still he would have been but following the order's teaching which subordinates its claims to the duties owed to God, one's family, one's neighbors and one's self. The Mason and friend of Rizal, Pi y Margall, had vainly humbled himself to ask pardon for the prisoner in his filst vislt to the govelnment palace since he had left it as the ex-president of the short-lived Spanish Republic, and there only remained for the Gran Oriente Espanol to place in its hall a tablet to Rizal's memory as tonight the doubly worthy and worshipful Lodge Nilad is doing rlndel the symbolic name of his great novel in his native tongue he having been its honorary Master.
Do I need to recall how, since the dawning of the better day, that on the first anniversary of the Great Filipino Mason's martyrdom there were in the American Army of liberation those who paid the military tribute of reversed arms to the memory of the Philippines' addition to the long list of their brethren who in every country where light has come out of darkness have shown the way by following the example of the ancient builder and sacrificing life before integrity?
And it is too recent to need more than merest mention that a President of the United States who had studied in the same ancient school publicly declared, "In the Philippine Islands the American government has tried, and is trying, to carry out exactly what the greatest genius and most revered patriot ever known in the Philippines, JOSE RIZAL, steadfastly advocated."
Three years ago, when the government of the Philippine Islands had temporarily at its head another of our ancient and honorable fraternity the remains of Brother Dimas Alang were given more decent interment thar his predecessor in that high office of sixteen years before had accorded them, and the Rizal Monument became the Rizal Mausoleum after the belated public and Masonic funeral honors had been rendered. There in death rests the Martyr, with his story known and his memory honored by Masons wheresoever dispersed, — another link in the grreat chain which binds together the world-wide brotherhood.
THE WINDING STAIRWAY
By Bro. Rogers H. Galt, Tennessee
(The following lecture on the second section of the Fellow Craft Degree was submitted to the Board of Custodians of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, and is being considered by them with a view to its adoption as a part of the text-book of that Grand Body. By the kindness of Brother Howell E- Jackson, 33d Hon., and a member of the Board of Custodians, it is offered to us for publication in The Builder, that it may have the wide hearing which it so richly deserves. It is exceedingly well-conceived and wellwritten, and is an admirable discussion not only of one section of one Degree, but a fine treatise on Masonry in general. It is with great pleasure that we present it to our readers, knowing that it will have a responsive hearing. — The Editor.)
The second section of this degree sets forth the scope and aims of Freemasonry. To become familiar with these is the duty and privilege of every Fellow Craft; and although no one can grasp them completely in a few minutes, or even in many hours, nevertheless every brother may derive from this symbolic lecture a fund of valuable information for future study and contemplation.
We view Masonry under two denominations: Operative and Speculative. We work in Speculative Masonry; our Ancient Brethren wrought in both Operative and Speculative. They worked at the building of King Solomon's temple, and many other sacred and Masonic edifices.
By Operative Masonry we allude to a proper application of the useful rules of architecture, whence a structure will derive figure, strength and beauty; by Speculative Masonry we allude to a proper application of those moral and spiritual rules whence our minds and consciences will derive a heavenly strength and beauty.
By Operative Masonry we learn to control the materials and forces of nature, to build by the square, and to maintain a due proportion and just correspondence between all the parts of an edifice; by Speculative Masonry we learn to control the passions, act upon the square, keep a tongue of good report, observe secrecy, practice charity and maintain patriotism. It is so far interwoven with religion as to lay us under obligation to pay that rational homage to the Deity which constitutes at once our duty and our happiness.
Many of the customs and traditions of the Ancient Operative Brethren are followed by Speculative Masons of to-day; and this evening we may with profit imitate one of the ancient ceremonies. There were employed in the building of King Solomon's temple eighty thousand Fellow Crafts, who were under the supervision of our ancient Grand Master. On the evening of the sixth day, tradition tells us, their work was inspected, and all who were found worthy, by a strict attention to their duties, were invested with certain mystic signs, grips and words, to enable them to work their way into the Middle Chamber of the temple. On the same day, and at the same hour, King Solomon, accompanied by his most trusted officers, repaired to the Middle Chamber to receive them. His Secretary he placed near his person; the Junior Warden he placed at the Southern outer door, and the Senior Warden at the Western inner door, with strict injunctions to suffer none to enter except such as were duly qualified by possessing the mystic signs, grips and words previously agreed upon; so that when they did enter, King Solomon knew them to be faithful workmen, and there remained nothing to do but to pay them their wages and record their names, admonishing them of the reverence due the sacred name of Deity. He then suffered them to depart in peace, until the time should come for the beginning of another week's work.
We are now about to work our way into a place representing the Middle Chamber of King Solomon's temple, and should we succeed, I have no doubt that we shall alike be rewarded as were they. At the beginning of our journey we pass through a long aisle representing the porch of the temple, and between two columns lepresenting the two brazen pillars which King Solomon caused to be set up at the entrance. The pillar the right was called — — and denotes — — ; the one the left was called — — and denotes — — ; taken together, they allude to the promise of God to David, "in strength will I establish thine house and kingdom ever."
These pillars were eighteen cubits in height, and were surmounted by capitals five cubits in height. The capitals were ornamented with wreaths of net-work, leaves of lily-work, and chains of pomegranates. The net-work, from the intricate connection of its parts, denotes Unity; the lily, from its extreme whiteness and purity, denotes Peace; the pomegranate, from the exuberance of its seeds, denotes Plenty. To us, as Specative Masons, they teach important lessons. Plenty, in that though some may possess more than others of this world's goods, yet every man who has health and the ability to labor may have his own plenty; Peace, that here, on the broad level of Brotherly Love, the high, the low, — the rich, the poor, — meet with one common purpose and one single aim, the exaltation and perpetuation of each other's friendship and each other's love; Unity, being bound together by the indissoluble bond of fellowship in our glorious fraternity.
Passing between these columns, we arrive at the foot of a flight of winding stairs, representing those winding stairs which, the Holy Bible tells us, led from the ground floor to the middle chamber of King Solomon's temple. You stand here, my brother, as a man just starting forth on the journey of life, with the great task before him of self-improvement. The labor required in the faithful performance of this task is great, but the reward is magnificent. The labor is that of gaining self-control, of divesting the mind and conscience of all the vices and superfluities of life, and of developing the body, mind and spirit; the reward is the perfect character, as designed by the Great Architect upon the spiritual, moral and Masonic TrestleBoard.
The stairway consists of three divisions. The first explains the great purpose in the labor of life; the second explains the use of one's own self in self-development; the third explains the use of the world, which the Deity has placed around us, in the perfection of our characters.
The first division, consisting of three steps, alludes to the three great lights in Masonry, which have already been explained to you. These steps allude also to the three principal officers of a lodge: the Worshipful Master in — —, the Senior Warden in — —, and the Junior Warden in — — . They allude, further, to the great luminary of the solar system, the sun, as seen from its three principal points of observation. It rises in the east with mild and genial influence, all nature rejoicing at the approach of its beams; with increasing strength it attains its meridian in the south, invigorating all nature with its animating radiance; with declining strength it sets in the west, leaving mankind to rest from his labors. This, my brother, is but a type of the three principal stages in the life of man — infancy, manhood and old age. The first is characterized by a blush of innocence as pure as the tints which gild the eastern portals of the day: the heart rejoices in the unsuspected integrity of its own unblemished virtue: it fears no deceit, for it knows no guile. Manhood succeeds; with increasing strength man attains the meridian of his powers; but when old age comes on, his strength decays; enfeebled by sickness and bodily infirmities he lingers on, until death finally closes his eventful existence. Thrice happy is he if the setting splendors of a well-spent life gild his depar-ting moments with the gentle tints of hope, and close his short career in peace, harmony, and brotherly love.
So shalt thou live, my brother! And what if thou withdraw in silence from the living, and no friend take note of thy departure? All that breathe will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh when thou are gone; the solemn brood of care plod on, and each one, as before, will chase his favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave their mirth and their employments, and shall come and make their bed with thee. And as the long train of ages glides away, he that goeth in life's green spring, he that goeth in the full strength of years, and he bowed down by age, shall one by one be gathered to thy side, by those who in their turn shall follow them. Ponder this well, my brothel, and "when thy summons comes to join the innumerable caravan which moves to the pale realms of shade, where each shall take his chamber in the silent halls of death, go not like the quarry-slave at night scourged to his dungeon; but, sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave like one who wraps the drapery of his couch around him and lies down to pleasant dreams."
You will now take with me these three steps, arriving at the second division of the stairway, which consists of five steps. These allude to the five senses of man: hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. The proper use of these senses, and of the other human faculties, enables us to sustain our lives, ward off dangers, enjoy all the legitimate pleasures, and contribute to the comfort and happiness of others. Their improper use, consisting usually of an over-indulgence, but sometimes of too harsh a self-denial, tends in either case to an impairment of their proper functioning, and hence to an enfeeblement of the entire system. Speculative Masonry warns us, on the one hand, not to degenerate to the level of brutes in seeking only a beastly gratification of the senses; and, on the other hand, not to despise or neglect any faculty, but, using them one and all as a means of self-development, to attain thereby to the fulness of true manhood.
Of these senses three are deemed peculiarly essential among Masons: hearing, seeing, and feeling; for by the ear we hear the — — ; by the eye we see the — —, and by the hand we feel — — .
The five steps also allude to the five Orders of Architecture; a knowledge of which was invaluable to our Ancient Operative Brethren. These are the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite. Each order is distinguished from the others by the shape of its column, there being great variety in richness of ornamentation. To us as Speculative Masons they teach the important lesson that we should so develop our faculties that each one, in his separate calling, may attain that skill and proficiency which our Operative Brethren displayed in the art of Architecture.
Of these five orders, the Ionic, Doric and Corinthian are most esteemed by Masons. These allude to the — — .
You will now take with me these five steps, arriving at the third division of the stairway, which consists of seven steps. These steps allude to those branches of learning which were anciently called the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences: Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy. You may be familiar with these, my brother, from the experience of every-day life. You may even have studied them in institutions of learning, and have gained a knowledge of their inner secrets and a mastery over their intricate processes. It is not the function of Masonry to expound them to you. It is, however, one of the great purposes of Masonry to teach you the due and proper attitude toward these and all other phases of intellecr tual activity. Knowledge is of little worth, unless wisdom be coupled with it; and Masonry endeavors to teach man to use his knowledge wisely.
The arts and sciences may be regarded as treasuries of the intellectual wealth of the world. They are filled with a coin which man must needs have in order to purchase his daily bread. More and more, as civilization progresses, does it become impossible for man to perform any labor successfully without systematic thought; and science, my brother, is nothing but systematic thought. Hence Masonry enjoins you, for your own advancement, to pursue with diligence a study of the sciences, and of the arts dependent upon them.
Moreover, it is not merely for your own sake that such study is recommended. It may happen that any man — perhaps you, my brother — may through scientific knowledge make some discovery or invention which will bring untold comforts and blessings to your own posterity and to the whole human race; it may be that through your command of grammar and rhetoric, some literature, some eloquent oratory, may be given to the world, to guide and elevate all mankind. Hence, for the good you may do to others, Masonry calls upon you to proceed ever forward to the improvement of your mind.
Finally, my brother, for the sake of your duty to the Deity, Masonry commends to you the highest intellectual efforts. Have not the sciences revealed to us many of nature's most intimate secrets, and many of the grandest conceptions of the Universe? Have not the arts enabled us to control and to employ some of the most gigantic forces of nature? Have not these accomplishments inspired us with reverence for the Creator far beyond that of the untutored savage? And by their very limitations, have not our studies proved to us how insignificant is our knowledge and our power compared with that omniscience and omnipotence which has designed, and now governs, the universe?
It has been said of old, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament declareth the work of his hands," and again, "When our telescope sweeps the midnight sky, we do but think the thoughts of God after Him."
So, my brother, should the sciences and the arts have a three-fold Masonic value to you; to improve yourself, to enable you to help others, and to inspire you with a due reverence for the Deity.
You will now take these seven steps, arriving at the top of our symbolic stairway. From here, my brother, look back, and consider the lesson of life which Masonry would teach you. From the first division of the stairway yoU learn the great principle which is to give purpose to your life — Brotherly Love. From the second division you learn the second element in Masonic self-improvement: the Manly Development of your Faculties. From the third division you learn the third element: the Illumination of Knowledge with Wisdom.
My brother, is your spirit humble before the tremendous problems of life? Masonry can give help and advancement to the humblest of the humble. Is your spirit ambitious, viewing the splendid opportunities of life? Masonry can offer to the most ambitious a field for inconceivable success and triumph. Broad indeed is this, the field of Masonic activities. With its vast extent backward, to the dim horizon of the past; with its comprehensive sweep around us, to every part of the modern world; with its grand, alluring avenues to the limitless expanse of the future: embracing the citadels of labor, of science and of art; the heights of philosophy, of morality, of religion; the gardens of charity, of brotherhood, of love; bounded only in breadth by the ever-widening capacities of man, in length by the endless duration of time, in richness by the infinite love of God! The scope of Masonic activities, my brother, is indeed the whole world, which you are summoned to meet with the true and noble spirit of a Mason.
In King Solomon's temple even an unworthy workman might ascend the flight of stairs to the inner door; so you, my brother, though you have ascended, may not be worthy. Yet bear in mind that as the unworthy workman in the temple, not knowing the mystic signs, grips and words, could not pass the door into the Middle Chamber, so you can never pass into the inner chamber of that spiritual and Masonic temple, eternal in the heavens, until you have secured those spiritual signs and tokens which none but a worthy Speculative Mason may obtain.
We are now at a place representing the outer door of the Middle Chamber of King Solomon's temple.
* * *
Duty, courage, self-discipline these are the laws that make a man. Either one without the other two is incomplete. A man who knows his duty, but has not the courage to do it, is a failure. Equally so if he have not the discipline of mind and heart and hand to do it effectively.
— J. F. N.
DISCUSSING THE PREVIOUS QUESTION
By Bro. R.I. Clegg, Ohio
"HE WAS NOT A MASON, BUT A ROMAN CATHOLIC."
So saysThe Builder, on the authority of theNational Cyclopedia of Biography, and in reference to William J. Florence, erstwhile the Bernard Conlin of Albany, N. Y., and the able associate of such actors as Booth and of Jefferson.
He was indeed buried at St. Agnes Church in New York city and the interment may have been conducted with all the rites customary to the Roman Catholic Church, but that does not make Florence out to be a believer in that form of Christian faith any more than it proves him to be other than a Mason.
Why, it seems but the other day that on the sudden death of a member of my lodge I called that evening to express my sympathy directly to his daughters and widow. Somehow they had the impression that when a Mason died, his brethren insisted upon taking charge of the funeral and performing a Masonic ceremonial at the interment. I was told how distasteful that would be to them because they were Roman Catholics. Of course I assured them that we performed no Masonic ceremony wherever it would not have been acceptable. The subject was dropped forthwith and I tendered the assistance of the lodge in straightening out the brother's affairs as owing to his unexpected death it was only to be anticipated that business matters would need quick attention and careful adjustment. My offer was gratefully accepted. On leaving I was surprised somewhat but much gratified to receive from the family a frank acknowledgment that to them Masonry had been given a new meaning. They had expected a very unpleasant interview because they feared that I would have suggested a course of action at the funeral that would have been objectionable. They went further and asked me if I would not like to have the lodge represented at the funeral! To this well meant courtesy I promptly assented and we took part as pallbearers in the solemn services desired by that family in their sorrow. But that Roman Catholic interment no more made a Roman Catholic of him who was dead than it so made of any one of those who, as his unaproned brethren, bore his body to that place appointed for the final rest of the departed.
In default of other facts I think the passing of Florence was under somewhat similar circumstances if indeed there was any indication at all of Roman Catholic connections.
Enough of that angle of the case. Let us go on to another one of far greater interest to me. Was "Billy" Florence a Mason?
Well, listen to this: "On Sunday, the 21st of April, 1867, the Lodge of Perfection held a special meeting at the Metropolitan Hotel at two o'clock in the afternoon for the purpose of conferring the Ineffable degrees by communication upon Bro. William J. Florence who was 'about to depart for Europe,' as the minutes say. There were present Ill. Bro. McClenachan and one other member of the Supreme Council for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, two from the Southern, and a number of members of Aurora Grata. The degrees of the Council, Chapter, and Consistory were conferred upon brother Florence before his departure." This citation is from page 47 of Brother Brockaway's "One Hundred Years of Aurora Grata," a book that to my mind has more really instructive historical material about the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite than volumes of far greater pretensions.
It will be taken for granted that if Florence was made a member of the Scottish Rite he was some Mason. I trust this will be the case because I have not yet heard from all my inquiries and at the moment therefore I cannot say where Florence received the first three degrees.
However, I can make up for the want of evidence about his Blue Lodge affiliations by adding an item or two concerning his connection with another body that is exclusively made up of Masons. The trip mentioned above was the one that preceded the establishment of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in the United states. Brother Florence, as I think I can now fairly call him, came back from Europe with what my good friend Brother Brockaway says "were monitorial, historical and explanatory manuscripts" and he communicated the secrets of the Order to Dr. Walter M. Fleming of Aurora Grata Consistory. It was determined to confer the rite only upon Freemasons, and a number of brethren received the "work," as far as it had then been perfected, on June 16, 1871. An organization was effected and officers elected on September 26, 1872.
Passing on to October 21, 1876, we find Brother Florence as the Illustrious Deputy conferring the secrets of the Mystic Shrine for the first time in the city of Cleveland, mine own town. The fortunate two to receive this honor at the Euclid Avenue Opera House where Brother Florence was to be found on that occasion were Samuel Briggs and Brenton D. Babcock. On the following day Brother Florence at the Kennard House conferred the attributes of the Order upon three other Clevelanders. This led to the speedy formation of Al Koran Temple, the which name being according to our records of the local Shrine selected in deference to the wish of the Illustrious Deputy who had requested it as an honor to him personally.
I also find that on the records there is mention that on March 19, 1880, we in Cleveland were again honored by a visit from the Illustrious William J. Florence and that on this occasion an afternoon observance was held and that "the festivities of the occasion will long be remembered by the participants."
But we may learn much of Brother Florence from William winter's "Wallet of Time," a book by the way that happens to be omitted from the list of references in The Builder. Winter had a lively regard for Brother Florence. He devotes a chapter of eulogy to him. There seems to be no manly, jovial, kindly, histrionic and literary virtue that in goodly measure was not exhibited by Brother Florence according to the estimate of winter. So lavish is the biographer in dealing with his subject that the readel cannot but quickly concede that Brother Florence waS an exceptionally loveable personage, exceedingly admirable as an actor and magnetically attractive as a man. Let us read together the epitaph composed for him by winter and then you will I am sure agree with me. It is copied from page 238.
Here rest the Ashes of
William James Florence
His Copious and Varied Dramatic Powers, together with the Abundant Graces of his Person, combined with Ample Professional Equipment and a Temperament of Peculiar Sensibility and Charm, made him one of the Best and Most Successful Actors of his Time, alike in Comedy and in Serious Drama. He ranged easily from Handy Andy to Bob Brierly, and from Cuttle to Obeureiser. In Authorship, alike of Plays, stories, Music, and Song, he was Inventive, Versatile, Facile, and Graceful. In Art Admirable; in Life Gentle; he was widely known, and he was known only to be loved.
He was born in Albany, N. Y.
July 26, 1831
He died in Philadelphia, Penna.,
Nov. 19, 1891.
By virtue cherished, by Affection mourned,
By Honor hallowed and by Fame adorned,
Here Florence sleeps, and o'er his sacred rest
Each word is tender and each thought is blest.
Long, for his loss, shall pensive Memory show,
Through Humor's mask, the visage of her woe;
Day breathe a darkness that no sun dispels,
And Night be full of whispers and farewells;
While patient Kindness — shadow-like and dim —
Droops in its loneliness, bereft of him,
Feels its sad doom and sure decadence nigh —
For how should Kindness live, when he could die!
The eager heart, that felt for every grief;
The bounteous hand, that loved to give relief;
The honest smile, that blest where'er it lit;
The dew of pathos and the sheen of wit;
The sweet, blue eyes, the voice of melting tone
That made all hearts as gentle as his own;
The actor's charm, supreme in royal thrall,
That ranged through every field and shone in all —
For these must Sorrow make perpetual moan,
Bereaved, benighted. hopeless and alone?
Ah, no! for Nature does not act amiss,
And Heaven were lonely but for souls like this.
It is to be noted that Mr. Winter gives Brother Florence's middle name as "James," but elsewhere I find it "Jermyn." In many places I also note that Brother Florence is mentioned as an honorary thirty third, as for example the very interesting history of Irem Temple states that he and Brother Fleming were "Honorary Sovereign Grand Inspector Generals, 33d, of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite." I see Brother Fleming's name so listed in Brother Homan's pamphlet but I do not discover the name of Brother Florence there.
And while we are discussing the Shrine can any one tell us how much of the early rite as exemplified in this country is not the work of Brother Florence? How far is it a translation from the Arabic and how much is it of Billy Florence? To answer this question does not mean a reference to any analogous ceremony of European origin on the continent, for this is by no means unlikely. In fact a well-known degree of such origin may have had a similar far East start to what the Shrine is attributed. So much of Brother Florence is to my view the Shrine at its best that it seems probable that, ingenious playright that he was, the Order has profited by his ability. To what an extent this has been the case is a matter upon which it is very desirable that all possible light should be shed.
But let us not forget our main objective. Brother Florence at the time of his death may or may not have been other than what The Builder's Cyclopedian reference claims him religiously to be, but we won't admit, will we, that he was anything but typical of the Shrine membel ship at its perihelion, a hearty whole-souled Fleemason, sunny and serene?
* * *
'TILL IT BE MORNING
"Man has walked by the light of conflagrations and amidst the sound of falling cities, and now there is darkness and long watching 'till it be morning. The voice even of the faithful can but exclaim: 'As yet struggles the twelfth hour of the Night; birds of darkness are on the wing, spectres uprear, the dead walk, the living dream — Thou, Eternal Providence, wilt cause the day to dawn.' " — Carlyle.
* * *
I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.
— Emily Dickinson.
THE CAPITULAR RITE
By Bro. Asahel W. Gage, Illinois
THE Masonic Truths taught by the Chapter Degrees are practical, and applicable to the problems of our everyday lives. The instruction is not dogmatic, but is so broad that any good Mason can find in it personal help and encouragement. From time immemorial Biblical Stories have been used to illustrate Masonic Truth which can not be written. No credit is claimed for the following thoughts. On the contrary it is claimed that their antiquity, the fact that they have stood the test of time, proves their truth and their value.
MARK MASTER'S DEGREE
Tradition teaches that the order of Mark Masters, at the building of the temple of Solomon, was selected from the great body of Fellow Crafts.
There were two classes of Fellow Crafts engaged in the work. The larger division was composed of the younger and inexperienced men who were not in possession of a mark. They proved their claim to reward by another token and after the middle chamber was completed, they were there paid in corn, wine and oil, agreeeable to the stipulation of King Solomon with Hiram King of Tyre.
The smaller division was composed of the higher class of workmen who labored in the quarries. They finished the stones, or as we say, "hewed, squared and numbered them." In order that each might be enabled to designate his own work, he was in possession of a mark which he placed upon the stones prepared by him. Hence, this class of Fellow Crafts were called Mark Masters and they received their wages from the Senior Grand Warden supposed to have been Adoniram; the brother-in-law of Hiram and the first of the Provosts and Judges. These Fellow Crafts received their pay in metal, at the rate of a half shekel of silver per day, equal to about twenty-five cents. They were paid weekly at the sixth hour of the sixth day of the week, that is to say on Friday at noon.
The degree of Mark Master is, historically considered, of the utmost importance since by its influence each operative mason at the building of King Solomon's temple was known and distinguished. The disorder and confusion, which might otherwise have attended so immense an undertaking, was completely prevented not and not only the craftsmen themselves, but every part of their workmanship was distinguished with the utmost nicety and perfect facility. If defects were found, the overseers by the help of this degree were enabled to ascertain the faulty workman and remedy all deficiences, without injuring the credit or diminishing the reward of the industrious and faithful.
The Mark Master degree is also important in its symbolical signification. It is particularly directed to the inculcation of order, regularity and discipline. It teaches that we should discharge all the duties of our several stations with precision and punctuality; that the work of our hands, and thoughts of our minds and the emotions of our hearts, should be good and true, such as the Great Overseer and Judge of Heaven and earth will see fit to approve as a worthy oblation.
The Fellow Crafts degree is devoted to the inculcation of learning. The Mark Master's degree clearly shows how that learning can most usefully and judiciously be employed for our honour and the profit of others. It holds forth to the despondent the encouraging truth that although our motives may be misinterpreted, our attainments underrated, and our reputation traduced, there is One who will make the worthy stone which the builders reject the head of the corner.
PAST MASTER'S DEGREE
In the Masonic revival of 1717, men of remarkable learning and ability removed much of the rubbish which had accumulated through the dark ages. Their luminous minds and searching labors brought to light old truths and disclosed new beauties in Masonic symbolism.
In order that the Three Degrees might be more generally understood, higher degrees were gradually developed which explain and apply the moral lessons taught in the original degrees, but leave ancient landmarks unchanged. These new or higher degrees were conferred only upon those who had proved that they would appreciate and honor them. To be eligible for the Royal Arch Degrees a brother must have been installed into the office of Master "and fulfilled the duties thereof with the approbation of the brethren of his lodge."
Interest in the Masonic Fraternity grew, and many brethren seeking further light in Masonry had not passed the chairs. This requirement to advancement was not removed but a new degree was established wherein the candidate elected to the Royal Arch Degrees, is symbolically instructed in the important lessons of the Master's Chair.
The Past Master's Degree teaches that he who would rule, whether over a nation, a family, or even himself, must embrace every opportunity for development so that he may be qualified; for he that thoughtlessly assumes a task for which he is not prepared, must necessarily share in the unhappy consequences.
MOST EXCELLENT MASTER'S DEGREE
The Hebrew Scriptures say little about the actual completion of the Temple of Solomon, although their accounts are very complete of the dedication. As an illustration of the growth of man or a character, the completion and the dedication may be treated as one ceremony.
The allegorical figure of the completion is broadened and its application extended to details by substituting the keystone, which simply locked or "completed" one of the component arches for the copestone which completed the temple.
When the temple was completed and, amid music and rejoicing the ark safely seated under the wings of the Cherubim; then the Lord manifested himself as a soft cloud, and in his pleasure descended as a fire out of heaven and consumed the offerings. The assembled multitude were wildly enthusiastic in their exultation. Naturally King Solomon was pleased with the Masters who had so successfully completed his work and in his gratitude received and acknowledged them as Most Excellent Masters. He empowered them to travel, receive master's wages and charged them to dispense light and Masonic knowledge or, if they chose to remain, offered them continued employment.
The Most Excellent Master's degree develops in a wonderful manner this great Masonic lesson: — Our own temple must be erected, a fit and proper abode for divine good and truth, then after we have deposited therein these sacred treasures, we will be filled with exaltation and joy and be received and acknowledged as Most Excellent Masters.
ROYAL ARCH DEGREE
The wonderful Scriptural story of the Temple for the manifestation and worship of God, is of intense interest and immeasurable value to the builder of individual character.
The children of Israel possessed only a temporary tabernacle from the Egyptian captivity until the reign of Solomon. David, the Second King of Israel, desired to build a temple as a fixed place of Worship, but being a man of war, with hands stained by blood, he and his people were compelled to continue in the use of the portable tabernacle.
Solomon, David's son, a wise and good King, was allowed to build an abode for the ark and a fixed place of worship, a magnificent Temple to God's Holy Name. In later years, however, Solomon became conceited and placed his reliance in his own wisdom and power and neglected the One True God. He loved the things and pleasures of the World. This love of pleasure and comfort, this following after "strange Gods," this worship of practical things, resulted in strife, discord and dissension among the Twelve Tribes of the children of Israel.
Upon the death of King Solomon, ten tribes revolted and they were led by idolatry to destruction. The two remaining tribes of Judah and Benjamin, although almost as faithless, still had a succession of Holy Men and Prophets, who labored earnestly to bring the people back to the One True God.
Some years later, about 602 B. C. the people and their Kings, having persisted in their sins and refusing to humble themselves before God, were conquered by Nebuchadnezzar. Thousands of the people were carried captive to Babylon and the country required to paytribute.
The rulers placed over the Israelites left at Jerusalem were faithless. The people continued in their sins. They refused to pay tribute as agreed and renounced the authority of the Chaldeans over them. About 586 B. C., Nebuchadnezzar again descended on Jerusalem and after an eighteen months siege, captured, sacked and destroyed the city, tore down its walls, burned its temples and carried the surviving Princes, Priests and Master Builders captives to Babylon.
There is a tradition which tells how the conquerors, as an insult to the Israelites and in derision of their God and the potence of their religion, bound the prisoners in triangular chains. History indicates that instead of suffering all manners of humiliation at the hands of the Chaldeans, the Israelites had many opportunities for advancement and enlightenment. A great many of their wonderful symbols and fascinating legends are the result of their contact with the learning and the culture of Babylon. Many of the captives attained High Rank and great influence in the Chaldean government. They were allowed to own and hold property and some acquired considerable wealth. When Cyrus liberated the Israelites, after seventy years of captivity, many preferred to remain with their possessions in Babylon.
Large numbers however returned to Jerusalem and began the rebuilding of the Temple. The conditions and prospects were most discouraging. Zerubbabel the Prince of Royal Blood, Jeshua the High Priest and Haggai the Prophet, directed and encouraged the people as they labored when occasion permitted and fought when necessity required. As the work progressed, many of the Israelites, who had been unwilling to make the ]ong trip from Babylon, repented and struggled into Jerusalem in small parties. On account of the enemies' efforts to get in and ruin the work, it was necessary that these journey stained sojourners be most care-fully examined, in order that none but the true descendants of Israel be admitted.
While this work was going on and the rubbish and the ruins of the First Temple were being cleared away, many interesting and valuable discoveries were made.
One not trained to think according to the principles of geometry might thoughtlessly pass over the fascinating details of thiS wonderful story. But to those interested in discovering the great principles and truths of every day experiences, these details are full of meaning and are of intense interest.
* * *
Happy is the man whose thoughts will bear
The rigid test of the unerring square,
Who through this world unswervingly hath trod,
Steadily advancing towards his Maker and his God.
Seeking by acts of Charity and Love,
To gain admission to that Lodge above;
Knowing that the stone in the rubbish cast
Shall crown our Maker's work at last.
THE INTERIOR OF THE BUILDING
By Bro. G.F. Allen, New Zealand
(From the Transactions of the Masters and Past Masters Lodge, No 130, Christchurch, New Zealand, we venture to select the following excerpt from a very timely and suggestive address having to do with a matter of deep importance. Meditation, in our day, is almost a lost art we fear, because our life is so distracted and so thronged with all manner of things; but we need to be reminded of it ever and again, and of the necessity of building great truths and valid ideas into our inner life. Character is a growth. In silence the wonder proceeds. Like the Temple of Solomon, no sound of hammer is heard thereupon. As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is, and he who makes the truths of Masonry the themes of his innermost thought will be fortified — against many ills. — The Editor.)
The Temple of King Solomon as we have learned to know it was a structure of unsurpassed magnificence. Encompassed with frightful precipices, it was surrounded by a wall of great height, exceeding in its lowest part 450 feet, and constructed entirely of white marble. It was surrounded by courts, the first for the Gentiles, the second for the Children of Israel, both men and women, and a third for the priests. From this, steps led to the Temple proper, consisting of the porch, the sanctuary, and the Holy of Holies — the first entered through a gate of brass, while the sanctuary was approached through a portal furnished with a magnificent veil of many colours, and the Holy of Holies by doors of olive, richly sculptured, inlaid with gold, and covered with veils of blue, pulple, scarlet and finest linen. In this last was kept the ark, with its overshadowing cherubim and its mercy seat. One only could enter, the High Priest, and that only once a year. Thus constructed, it was dedicated by Solomon with solemn prayer and seven days feasting, during which time a peace offering of twenty thousand oxen and six times that number of sheep was made. Thus did our first Grand Master, the Hebrew King, whose subjects were themselves unskilled in architecture, celebrate the completion of the Temple designed by Hiram the builder, after the Phoenician models of the time.
Of the exteriors of Freemasonry I need say but little. We are all justly proud of our ceremonials, with their attendant display of symbolism, in fabrics worthy of the occasion. To the young Freemason they, very properly, make a strong appeal, and give some indication and promise of the depth and scope of those profound truths underlying the teaching of our system of morality; while by the Master Mason of more seasoned judgment, they are looked upon as suitable forms of adornment for the grand truths he has found in his quest for Masonic advancement.
It is the interior we are considering, particularly the hidden depths of our own natures, as designed, furnished and ornamented by the guiding principles of the Craft. In short, it is the mind of the ideal Mason that we are to deal with, and especially with those factors that influence and determine the mental attitude of us all to our brethren. While our daily actions indicate to others what sort of men we are, and at every turn help, in a definite manner, to make or unmake those with whom we associate, it is left entirely to us, as individuals, providing we are working in a suitable mental atmosphere and with the proper mental working tools, it is left largely to us, I say, to mould and vitalize that tremendous power which is the dominating influence in all we do in thought, word, or deed. Some of us fortunately discover this power early in life, others later, while others, more fortunate, seem almost to inherit it. In your own study of all that makes for character you will recall those, in this city, who posses,sed that power and wielded it with conspicuous success, to the comfort and happiness of those with whom they came in contact. What was at the back of it? How can we obtain the same influence and use it with the same grand results?
What does Freemasonry teach us with regard to the securing of this control of mind and the formation of this mental attitude? We are reminded that the Temple was built in silence. We are told, "The heart must be made to conceive before the eye can be permitted to discover," and that "in this perishable frame resides a vital and immortal principle, which will enable us not only to trample the king of terrors beneath our feet, but also to lift our eyes to that bright morning star whose rising brings peace and tranquility to the faithful and obedient of the human race." And, finally, "Nothing short of indefatigable exertion can induce the habit of virtue, enlighten the mind, and purify the soul." Thinkers of to-day are devoting much time to the discussion of means by which we may secure that mental attitude which will develop such an interior illumination as will make our lives really worth the living, both to our neighbors and to ourselves. Amongst these, many of the American writers stand out with conspicuous distinction. R. W. Trine says: — "It is through the instrumentality of the mind that we are enabled to connect the real soul life with the physical life." "The thought life needs continually to be illumined from within." "When one becomes thoroughly individualized he enters into the realm of all knowledge and wisdom, and to be individualized is to recognize no power outside of the Infinite Power that is at the back of all. When one recognises this great fact, and opens himself to this Spirit of Infinite Wisdom, he then enters upon the road of true education." While Browning says:- "Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise From outward things, whate'er you may believe. There is on inmost centre in us all, Where truth abides in fullness."
What then are we to do to discover this "inmost centre"? First we must believe in the existence of such a part of our being. We must also believe that this is the source of all good, and that it is, in a more or less developed degree, part of the being, also, of all our brethren, and is daily producing good. Then will come longings in solitude and silence for strength to attain higher standards of perfection in legard to our treatment of our fellow men, particularly in regard to giving their sometimes unaccountable actions a more charitable interpretation, for, remember, a dog may growl, and a fool may find fault, but it is the master mind that finds "good in everything." After this phase will come the essential determination that these higher states of mind shall be ours.
Meditation on such lines may take place without the use of any fixed or formal type of sanctuary. It may be secured in the home; in the Lodge room during some of our stimulating ceremonies, or in the depths of our mountain grandeur. No matter where it takes place one thing is absolutely necessary: it must occupy a fixed and regular portion of our every-day life. Brethren, most of you realize what is meant by athletic training, and know full well that this cannot be attained by spasmodic efforts at varying intervals. Have you fully realized that mental effort, whether moral or intellectual, is entitled to an equally reasonable form of training, if its full strength and beauty are to be developed? Do you think that a mental attitude of love and optimism, exercised for a few days in an intense, form, and succeeded by uncontrolled impulses of antagonism, impatience, pessimism, or any other form of degeneration and enervation, can result in the development of our central control in its fullest splendor? If the interior of the building is to shed an inspiring influence on all who come within reach of its power, our meditations, our determinations, and our optimism must be exercised as directed by the teachings of the twenty-four inch gauge, which unmistakably exhorts us to observe that, while part is to be spent in labour and part in charity, part must be spent in prayer to Almighty God.
May I venture to state that it is in this latter respect that the majority of Freemasons fail most conspicuously in their duty to themselves. Prayer in many parts of the world to-day is being much better defined and much better understood. Are there not many types of minds and just as many types of prayer for each that the world could not possibly do without? But in contrast to the prayer to outward authority, is not that growing form of prayer which appeals to the centre of our being, that germ of spirituality, that vital principle, which has been planted in the human breast, also to be considered worthy of regular use? Further, is not this form, with its absence of dogma and creed, a far reaching and world embracing form, that is essentially Masonic in character? And, brethren, if our form of prayer is but the act of mentally expressing daily a wish that we may always do to others as we wollld that they should do to us, and the sincerity of it is undoubted, then is that not, in truth, a very real form of prayer? If, however, in the firm conviction that our motive is right and true, and with the further securing of that buoyancy which comes from a full realization of the fact that good and joy only can result from our actions, if in this manner we optimistically set about our daily round of benevolence and charity in its hundred varying forms, have not the noblest forms of prayer beeli practised and the greatest form of interior decoration been secured?
It is in this way that at least a beginning will be made in our practice of real charity and benevolence, and it is from such a course of action that the true Masonic spirit will spring. These great principles al e at the command of the whole world. It is our proud boast that our Order contains men of all nations, thinkers of every race, and adherents to almost every known creed. These are statements that are no less puzzling to the outside world than they are true to the duly initiated. Wherein lies the possibility of such magnificent facts?
To my mind the solution will be found from our own observation this evening, truths well known to the founders of our Order, though hidden at every turn to the casual observer, in a marvelous wealth of symbolism. The solution will be found from the fact that all who have truly witnessed the interior of the Temple, and felt its comforting, its strengthening, and its immortal influence, realize that within the compass of its environment, is a training ground of SUpreme importance, whereon sooner or later the human race will discover its hitherto unrealized position in the designs of the Great Architect.
Finally, with millions of years in the hidden past behind us, and an unthinkable eternity ahead, we find that our life is squeezed into the briefest shadow of an existence. What room, in this, for fears and failures? At this particular juncture of events, with, let us hope, i the tide of sorrow and pain already nearing its ebb, should we not strive, more than ever, to make our comparatively infinitesimal existence a period of perfect peace and happiness? There are many of us who, unable to represent truth and justice on the sterner fields of battle, are left behind With ever increasing responsibilities so far as the future of the Craft is concerned. We shall have to fill the gaps in forces guarding the interests of progress at home. The nation is about to rise to a level of attainment never before dreamed of, and to us are entrusted all the factors that go towards securing and safeguarding, for the younger generation, the attributes of a more perfect existence. If we are to unite in the grand design of being happy, it is to the interior of the building that we must look for the prospects of success. And it is our duty, more than ever, to see that the influences that govern the proper furnishing and illumination of the great centre of our being are so thoroughly appreciated and so faithfully applied that "the light from th at Blazing star" will truly enlighten the earth and dispense its influence to the whole of mankind.
In short, let us "think well" of the great power emanating from the sanctuary of our own individuality, and in so doing, practice benevolence and charity first towards that germ of spirituality in our natures; then shall we discover, quite scientifically too, the true road to the practice of benevolence towards our fellow men, and by that means, so illuminate the interior of the building that all the world shall know how truly the Freemason comprehends the full significance of the terms "brotherly love, relief and truth."
* * *
Judge not; the workings of his brain
And of his heart thou canst not see;
What looks to thy dim eyes a stain,
In God's pure light may only be
A scar brought from some well-won field,
Where thou wouldst only faint and yield.
The look, the air that frets thy sight
May be a token that below
The soul has closed in deadly fight
With some infernal fiery foe,
Whose glance would scorch thy smiling grace
And cast thee shuddering on thy face.
The fall thou darest to despise, -
May be the angel's slackened hand
Has suffered it, that he may rise
And take a firmer, surer stand;
Or trusting less to earthly things
May henceforth learn to use his wings
And judge none lost; but wait and see,
With hopeful pity, not disdain;
The depth of the abyss may be
The measure of the height of pain
And love and glory that may raise
This soul to God in after days!
— Adelaide Anne Procter.
* * *
Darling Mother, truest friend;
Man's best refuge in the strife,
May this day bring joy unbounded;
To your sacred, patient life.
May your every hope be granted,
Even to the end of time;
And reward in Heaven dated,
For your after life, sublime.
Darling Mother, truest friend;
Man's best ally in life's fight,
May this day bring peace unbounded,
And sweet memories at night.
May your every move be guarded,
By God's loving, glorious light,
Shining ever in your pathway,
Making radiant, the dense night.
— H. H. Hering, Chicago.
* * *
THE NINE CLASSES OF EMBLEMS
Incense which glows with fervent heat,
Acceptable sacr ifice to Him,
The type of purity so sweet,
And savior of the race from sin.
Be not a drone in nature's hive,
A useless member to the state;
Be up and doing — be alive,
The virtue, industry-, cleate.
The constitutions guarded
By the Tyler's sword,
Reminds us to be guarded
Ry action, thought and word.
Justice demonstrated thus,
By sword and naked heart,
Will surely overtake us
If we fail to act our part.
And tho' secrets may be hidden
From the eyes of mortal men,
Yet, that All-seeing Eye unbidden,
Will penetrate the hearts of them.
The sun, moon and stars obey,
And under His watchful care,
Even comets of reel and sway,
And hearts of men go up in prayer.
Ark and anchor of our hope,
Wafting us over troubled seas,
Guided by the star of hope
We're safely moored to realms of peace.
Problem of Euclid! I have found it,
Shout "Eureka!" in Grecian tongue,
Joy of heart in triumph round it,
Secured at price of hecatomb.
How swiftly run the sands of life
In Time's great hour-glass here on earth,
How rapidly the closing strife,
The frosted leaves of hope and mirth.
The all-devouring Scythe of Time,
Which cuts the brittle thread of life,
Nor youth, nor manhood in its prime
Escapes its ravages so rife.
The spade and coffin last of all,
The curtain falls on earthly form,
But Faith lifts up the darkened pall,
Bids hope and joy outride the storm.
— Odillon B. Slane, Illinois.
* * *
The Human Touch
FOR the third and last time, so he threatens, a dear Brother sends us a letter, begging us to remember what befell us on a day when we thrice denied a certain request. Frankly he declines to be responsible for what may happen to us should this letter go into the waste basket with the other two. In Dante's Inferno, he reminds us, the penalty inflicted on every sinner is that he must forever repeat his sin, whatever it may have been. Should we be so unlucky as to descend "to those hot depths that shall receive the goats who will not so believe," — and he seems to have grave forebodings in the matter — of course our worst punishment will be to listen to our own sermons and read our own editorials through all eternity! Merciful heaven, have pity! Therefore as a kind of foretaste of what may be in store for us "down yander," he asks that we letThe Builderaudience hear the following passage from a recent, address, which he is good enough to say contains more real poetry than some of the poems we have printed:
"Outwardly the world has undergone immense and bewildering transformation, but in its essential conditions human life remains what it has always been. Sunshine is the same, and starlight, and the course of the seasons, the milk in the breasts of women and the blood in the veins of men. The great river channels hardly change with the centuries; and those other streams, the life-currents that ebb and flow in human hearts pulsate to the same great needs, the same great loves and terrors. Hunger and labor go on as of old, and seed-time and harvest, and marriage and birth and death. No doubt this is one reason why the oldest and simplest occupations of man come home to us so closely, and touch us so deeply. Any trade that lies near to nature, like that of the hunter, the herdsman, the husbandman, the builder, has power to stir our pulses with ancestral instincts and memories, and touch us to poetry. As Stevenson said, these ancient things — the tilling of the soil, the tending of a flock, the building of a house — have upon them the dew of the morning of humanity. For the same reason, a road across a desert, a sheltering roof against a storm, or a hearthfire glowing in the darkness, can stir the human heart as symbols of human fellowship in common necessity. Just so, our great books are classics, not by accident, but because they tell of these elemental things which are like the sky and the wind, like bread and milk, like the kisses of little children and the tears we shed beside the grave. When a poet sings of these old human realities his song never grows out of date, because they are a part of the common heritage of mankind."
Our Brother adds that had we written a thousand pages, we could not have said any more. Perhaps not, unless it had been to point out that herein lies one of the great, enduring secrets of Masonry — its instinct for the old, the universal, the poetie, its genius for making use of simple things that were beautiful in the grey world's early morning; its Human Touch. Think it down and up, search your own heart and testify if it be not so that there is more real wisdom in this instinct than in all the dry and juiceless knowledge that men mistake for wisdom, and the dusty truth that is half untrue. By as much as Masonry keeps its heart warm with the old humanities, by so much will it teach us a truth that is truer than the knowledge that makes us sad, using the simple poetries of life as emblems of the highest realities which are not far off, but very near, even in our hearts.
"High thoughts and noble in all lands
Help me; my soul is fed by such.
But ah, the touch of lips and hands -
The human touch!
Warm, vital, close, life's symbols dear,
These I need most, and now, and here."
* * *
THE MEASURE OF A MAN
Masonry, being an exact science, and coming to us adown the ages from a time when mathematics had mystical meanings, has much to say about numbers and measurement. The numbers Three, Five and Seven, that so frequently occur in our ritual, had for the Oriental mind an eloquence which we do not fully appreciate. Hints of this meet us in our New Testament, especially in the strange and solemn visions of the Apocalypse. In that book Three is the signature of Deity. Four indicates the world of created things. Seven denotes peace and covenant, while Ten is the symbol of completeness. In the ancient days numbers indicated words, suggested thoughts, revealed truths. As Ruskin studied the Basilica of St. Mark, finding in each column or statue a history and a lesson, so we may study the ancient structure of Masonry.
What did Plato mean when he said that God is the great Geometrician, and that by the art of measurement the soul of man is saved? Wherefore should Masonry make use of number and measure, if it be not to show us the Measure of a Man, since what we think of God, of life, of the world, comes back at last and always to what we think of Man. The old Greek thinkers saw this in an early time, and set it forth in their incisive and vivid manner. "Man is the measure of all things," said Protagoras. "No, said Plato, "God, the Divine Mind, is the measure of all things." Then came Aristotle, one of the noblest thinkers whose genius ever glorified humanity, and with his profounder insight united the two, when he said: "It is the perfect man, in whom the thought of God is clear, who is the measure of all things." Here again it is a matter of Measurement, and in that fine art lies the secret of knowledge and of life.
No doubt this was what the Seer on Patmos meant by his vivid and detailed description of the Holy City, as though he would have us know that it is no phantom city but a reality. So real is it that his guide carries a reed with which to measure the city, and register how high its towers rise in the units of human reckoning, Then he pauses, as if some one had asked him how our earthly cubits can form a calculus for that which is outside of Time; and he adds a parenthesis to resolve the doubt, "according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel." Man is a citizen of two worlds, but he has no skill to realize the Unseen world save by the aid of the world of sense. As often as he tries to ponder, in reverence, what is the nature of the Supreme Architect, he finds himself thinking of Him by the help of those moral qualities which he sees, dimly enough, in the best men he has known. If he asks, wistfully, about the life to come, the only answer is one expressed in the ideas and images, the forms and colors, of the life that now is.
He cannot help himself; there is no other way for him to think. Unless truth, justice, goodness in man be the same as truth, justice and goodness in God, then we know not anything, nor can we ever learn; and we ought in honesty to enclose the word God in quotation marks. They are the same, in quality at least, however much they may differ in degree; and this is the basis of all our higher human life. Our age-long tragedy is that our race has measured its life by the animal rather than the angel calculus. Masonry asks us to measure up to our highest, that is, to the Angel within us, with which agree all the sages who, as Dante says, teach us "how man can make his life eternal." Long ago Ovid said, "It is the mind that makes the man, and our measure is in our immortal souls." And Plato laid down the principle of true living when he wrote: "The right way is to place the goods of the soul first in the scale, and in the second place, the goods of the body, and in the third place, those of money and property." Any other order is an inversion of values, and ends in tragedy.
Well may the ancient singer pray that we may so number our days, that we may attain to this true wisdom, if so that the beauty of the eternal may be upon us, and the work of our hands be established. When shall we become that which we are? cried Maeterlink. Such is the Doctrine of the Measure, so eloquently taught by Masonry, and he is wise who has ears to hear and a heart to heed.
"Held our eyes no sunny sheen,
How could God's own light be seen?
Dwelt no power divine within us,
How could God's divineness win us?"
* * *
Ye editor appreciates very much the articles by Brother Clegg, of Ohio, Discussing the Previous Question, and they are written at our request. Our writers and readers — the editor not less than others — need the service of a wholesome, conservative, kindly critic, and no one is better fitted for that labor than Brother Clegg; the more so because he adds so much information while correcting errors. It is worth-while work, and anything from his pen will be widely read and enjoyed.
The book of "Personal Recollections of Lincoln," by Henry B. Rankin, written at our request, and which we had the honer to edit with an introduction, has now come from the press. Lovers of Lincoln will find it worth reading, we are sure, alike for its contents and its style; and if we mistake not it will have to be reckoned with by anyone who may write about Lincoln in days to come.
* * *
Elsewhere in this issue we print a letter from a member of the Society having to do with the Rite of Memphis. We give it for what it is worth, as so much information, not as indorsing the Rite itself, for the existence of which we can see no reason at all, since philosophy, comparative religion and the symbolism of Craft Masonry can and ought to be studied in our own Lodges. Nor can we see anything to be accomplished by multiplying the degrees of Masonry to infinity.
* * *
With head bent down and shoulders stooped,
And slow, home-keeping eye
Fixed on the rails, a silent shape,
The track-walker goes by.
A five-mile strip of grimy stones
Edged with an iron band
Is all his world. June snows
That drift in daisies o'er the land
He heeds not, nor red autumn leaves
That rustle down the air;
Rail, bolt and bar to keep in place,
That is his only care.
He quits the track ten steps before
The rushing train shoots past;
Then stoops, while still the pebbles whirl
And makes a loose bolt fast.
The ruin hid in sudden flood,
Slow rust, and silent frost
'Tis his to fend; and men ride by
In cushioned ease, at cost
Of his long march, and lonely watch,
Nor give a backward thought
To the bent shape and plodding feet
Whose care their safety bought.
Morn is to him a sentry-beat
To tread mid heat and rain;
His noon, a place to turn and start
Back through the night again.
A ceaseless traveler all his days,
New lands he ne'er may roam;
In yonder orchard is his house,
Here, 'twixt the rails, his home.
Unmourned, unmissed, he dies, to find
The last lone miles all trod,
That, whoso walks a railway track
Aright, has walked with God.
— Wm. Hawley Smith
* * *
A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF MASONRY
FROM South Australia comes a very brilliant little booklet entitled "A Bird's-Eye View of Freemasonry," and with it a gracious letter from the author, Brother Alfred Gifford. The essay is published under the patronage of the Grand Lodge of South Australia, and the Masters and Wardens' Association, to serve as a kind of brief introduction to the study of Masonry; and for that purpose it is admirably written and arranged. From the letter we read that the author has just learned of this Society and its work, and he wishes to know more details, the more so because the Brethren of that Jurisdiction have it in mind to organize for the study of Masonry. From afar we send them greetings, and bid them good-speed in their undertaking, the while we suggest that they co-operate with this Society, that our members may share with them, and they with us, the fruits of their labors.
Everywhere the need of Masonic study is made manifest — in Australia not less than in America — and it will continue to be so, because thoughtful men who want to get something done while they live will not be content with the mere conferring of degrees. The idea that a Lodge should meet only for ritual work, as is now so much the case, is a reflection upon Freemasonry, as well as upon the intelligence of its members. In the impressive Charge after initiation, all Masons are urged to make "a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge," and men, especially young men, are beginning to think that they ought to set about to obey that charge. When they undertake to do so, however, no end of difficulties lie in the way, as Brother Gifford admits — the chief difficulty being that so much of the "information" offered is what Ruskin called "deformation."
Hence the deeply felt need for brief, lucid, authentic surveys of the field of Masonic history and thought — such as led the Grand Lodge of Iowa to ask ye editor to write The Builders — and a like necessity prompted Brother Gifford to write his very delightful and accurate little booklet, for the benefit of those seeking "Masonic knowledge in tabloid form." His essay is divided into six short chapters — the whole brought within thirty pages — Laying the Foundation Stone, Where the Architect's Plan Came From, Where the Materials were Quarried, The Antiquities it Enshrined, The Relics of Pre-historic Times Preserved, and the Basis of the Whole Structure. Seldom have we seen a more tempting outline, and the regret is that the author did not fill it out more at length, because he writes so incisively, with firmness of touch, and in full accord with the best results of Masonic research.
All history, he tells us, begins in myth and legend, and Masonic history is no exception: but the day has come when we must sift facts from legend. Whatever the origin of Freemasonry, its practical value remains the same. The Nile blessed Egypt whether the origin of it was the Mountains of the Moon, or a Lake in Central Africa; so of the fertilizing stream of Masonry. None the less, the author goes far back in search of the source of the stream, picking his way carefully amidst many guilds and cults and rites, and finds it in the right place — finally tracing it to that age-long search for God, that found natural expression in symbols which are the universal language of mankind. Space does not permit us to point out what he found along the way, much as we should like to do so, but we may mention some matters of interest. For example:
"Masonry is also a museum. As in a museum we find fragments and relics of pre-historic times, so we find in Masonry. . . In the care with which we insist that an initiate should have neither money nor metal about him, Masonry goes back to the most ancient days, when the presence of any metal substances were supposed to be abhorrent to spirits. Traces of this are found in Africa and India today. It probably dates right back to the time when the age of bronze was displacing the stone age. Hence we find stone knives used in sacrifices and sacred ceremonies, long after they had been discarded elsewhere. Both in India and Africa instances are found where the natives, before worshipping, are careful to divest themselves of all metal substances. An interesting trace of the same thing is found in the building of King Solomon's Temple, where the stones are traditionally said to have been placed in position with wooden mauls. It is only in the light of such researches as those of Dr. Fraser, in "The Golden Bough," that the reason becomes clear. The idea was not to secure silence, but to exclude metal from contact with the stones, after they had become holy by being placed on the holy ground of the temple. This is only one of the many relics found in our ritual."
Most heartily we recommend this little booklet, regretting only its tantalizing brevity, not only for its spirit and contents, but also for its fresh and happy style and the tokens which it betrays of wide and fruitful reading. It stimulates inquiry by suggesting much more than it tells, closing with the beautiful legend of the two Brothers whose mutual love and thoughtful unselfishness is said to have consecrated the spot on which the temple of Solomon was built, as follows:
"Once, so the legend runs, there lived in far Judean hills two affectionate brothers, tilling farms that were separated only by a strip of pathway. One had a wife and a houseful of children; the other was a lonely man. One night in the harvest time the elder brother said to his wife: "My brother is a lonely man. I will go out and carry some of the sheaves from my side of the field over on his, so that when he sees them in the morning his heart may be cheered by the abundance." And he did so. That same night the other brother said to his workmen: "My brother has a houseful, and many mouths to fill. I am alone, and do not need all this wealth. I will go and move some of my sheaves over to his field, so that he shall rejoice in the morning when he sees how great is his store." And he did. And they did it that night, and the next, in the sheltering dark. But on the third night the moon came out as they met face to face on the separating strip of pathway, each with his arms filled with sheaves. On that spot, says the legend, was built the Temple of Jerusalem, for it was esteemed that there earth came nearest to heaven. To seek God through brotherhood is our ideal. We have no desire to keep it secret. Masonic history traced to its source is found to flow out of the divine in man."
* * *
THREE MASTER MASONS
Unfortunately we cannot recommend so unreservedly a little book called "Three Master Masons," by Brother Milton A. Pottenger, as it seems to us to be far-fetched and fanciful in some of its interpretations of things Masonic. It is excellent in spirit, like the man who wrote it, for whom we have the highest regard; but it lacks the mark of real Masonic learning so evident in the pamphlet noted above. There is wide latitude, as we are aware, in the interpretation of Masonic symbols, and this is as it should be, since each man is permitted to read into them such meaning as they seem to have or hold. Nevertheless, the field of Masonic symbolism is not a playground of fancy, and just because it is an arena in which the mysticism within us may have free play, it ought to be the more carefully guarded from what is too odd, eerie and fantastic. The plan of Brother Pottenger's book is well suited to his design, purporting to be a meeting of the author, in his journey through the world, with three Master Masons, two of whom are deeply versed in the esoteric philosophy of the craft. Personally we are suspicious of such characters, but the author finds them both inspiring and instructive, and they have many interesting things to say, whether we agree with them or not. We are unable, for instance, to find the dogma of reincarnation in the symbolism of the cable-tow, and we could wish that the phallic aspect had been emphasized less, or at least in better proportion. Howbeit, we have enjoyed reading Brother Pottenger's book, and we are sure that no one can read it without getting good out of it.
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ARE YOU A MASTER MASON?
"The first time a newly raised candidate hears that question, he probably answers, Yes. But now that you hear it after thought as to what it means — Are you a Master Mason? Some years ago, a gentleman visiting scenes of interest around Richmond, Va., asked his colored hack driver if there were any of the Poe family about Richmond. "Yes, boss," said the negro, whose color rivalled that of Egypt's night, "dat is my name — Poe." "Well," said the visitor, "are you related to Edgar Allan Poe?" "Why, boss," answered the black man, "I is Edgar Allan Poe." Those who are most ready to claim that they are Masters are not always most entitled to be considered as such."
Four More Steps in Masonry, by John L. Travis.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
A Welsh Masonic History.London Freemason.
A General Grand Lodge.Masonic Home Journal.
Must Nature Perish, by A. Churchward.London Freemason.
The Working Tools of Entered Apprentice, by F. C. Higgins.Masonic Standard.
Short History of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, by J. L. Carson.Virginia Masonic Journal.
Ireland's Share in the Formation of the A. & A.S.R., by J. L. Carson.Virginia Masonic Journal.
The Significance of the Word "Blue," by G. L. Barker.The New Age.
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A Bird's-Eye View of Masonry, by Alfred Gifford.
The Poetry of Meredith, by Alfred Gifford.
The Philosophy of Arnold Bennett, by Alfred Gifford.
The Mystery of Pain, by Alfred Gifford.
Langdale Masonic Ms.by R. H. Baxter.
A Masonic Reading Course, by R. H. Baxter.
A Masonic Poem, by R. H. Baxter
The Third Degree, by R. H. Baxter.
Historic Notes on Freemasonry, by R. H. Baxter.
Notes on the History of the Masonic Ritual, by R. H. Baxter.
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High Tide, poems selected by Waldo Richards. Houghton Mifflin Co. $1.25.
Philosophy of Wang Yang-Ming, by F. G. Henke. Open Court Co., Chicago. $2.50.
Oriental Consistory Magazine, bound volume 7, 1915.
International Encyclopedia of Prose and Poetical Quotations, by Walsh. J. C. Winston Co., Philadelphia. $3.50.
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THE QUESTION BOX
Ye editor has it in mind to call to his aid a number of Brethren known to have specialized in different fields of Masonic Research, and to ask the privilege of referring to them questions having to do with their field. This for two reasons: first, that the Society may have the benefit of the researches of as many Brethren as possible, in behalf of accuracy point of view, and variety; and, second, because he wishes to have time for other labors — for one thing, to finish his study and interpretation of Albert Pike — which he cannot do unless he is relieved of some of his present burdens. There are but two conditions involved in answering questions in these pages: that they should be as brief as accuracy and lucidity permit, and that authorities should be given when they are needed.
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BROTHERHOOD OF THE WISE
At last we have gotten in touch with Brother Churchill, to whose lecture on The Brotherhood of the Wise reference was made in these pages some time ago, and he will have many interesting things to tell the Society. Not, however, until he has made further investigations, as he intends to do shortly — setting out on a new journey into the little known and dangerous fields of his explorations. He has arranged that his lecture may be sent to us for publication, in case he does not return, as life insurance is classed as a most hazardous risk in that part of the world. The Brotherhood of the Wise is not found in Samoa, as we were led to believe, but in the region of the Polynesian people in the Pacific, among the very savage and altogether cannibal people of the Melanesian race in New Britain, which is the next archipelago east of New Guinea. Traces of it are found, at intervals, along the chain of islands for some thousands of miles as far, probably, as New Caledonia. Its resemblance to Masonry is purely collateral, of course, rather than direct; and Brother Churchill thinks it highly probable that at some indefinitely remote epoch a more or less esoteric Brotherhood of men of the better sort existed, that cherished a wider view of life than was within the scope of the Cowans of the period and that it had some system of recognition by visual and tactile gesture speech. We hope for Brother Churchill a safe return from his journey, and the Society will await his findings with eager interest and expectation
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FRANKLIN AND WAR
Brother Editor: Is it true that Franklin taught the doctrine of "peace at any price?" I have heard it so stated of late, and I cannot bring myself to believe it. Perhaps you can clear the air.
— O. W. J.
Franklin hated war. Who does not? No man in our day hated war with a more utter hatred than the late Lord Roberts, a noble Mason he was, too. Repeatedly Franklin made use of the saying, "There never was a good war or a bad peace," which, like other proverbs, may be not only absurd, but wicked, under certain circumstances. He did however vehemently repudiate this proverb when confronted by the possible application of it to a treaty of peace between the Colonies and Great Britain which might impugn their loyalty to their allies; as witness his letter to his English friend David Hartley, under date of Feb. 2nd, 1780. (See Bigelou's Franklin, Vol. 2, p. 498). So far as we are aware, he never gave over the use of his proverb, but he reserved the right to throw it to the winds betimes, knowing that all aphorisms are liable "to crumble before specific moral tests."
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Four Brethren have asked for suggestions in the study of Masonic signs, their origin, meaning, and so forth. It is a most fascinating subject; for even among primitive peoples from earliest times there seems to have existed a kind of universal sign language employed by all peoples. Among widely separated folk the signs were very similar, owing, perhaps, to the fact that they were natural gestures of greeting, warning, or of distress. (See The Builders, p. 140, note). Intimation of this is found in the Bible (1 Kings, 20:30-35). The German explorer Leichhardt has published his meeting with native tribes in Australia and the interchange of signs in which subsisted a Masonic character. Among North American Indians a sign-code of like sort was known. (Indian Masonry, by Wright, Chap. 3). See also the account of the experience of Haskett Smith among the ancient Druses, in an interesting paper published in the Transactions of Coronati Lodge. (Vol. 4, p. 11). Kipling has written of the subject in his story of "The Man who Would be King." For further reading, see the essay by Brother Gould on "The Call of the Sign," in his "Essays on Freemasonry," — a book of great value and authority.
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Looking into the different modes, manners and customs of various religious organizations in their observance of Maundy Thursday festivities, I notice that in the Greek Catholic Church, in addition to the usual ceremony of washing the pilgrim's feet and annointing his head with oil, "The consecration of the Holy Myron takes place." I should like to ask you to enlighten me as to what the Holy Myron is, as well as any other light that you may be able to threw upon the original observance of this feast by early religious societies.
— P. J. F.
Myron means oil, coming from the Greek word meaning any juicy substance. The holy oil is consecrated, since its efficacy is supposed to last from one Maundy Thursday to another. See Catholic Encyclopedia, article on "Holy Oil," also article on "Maundy Thurselay." For further information as to this feast and its rites in various religious societies, see the splendid article on "Feasts and Fasts," also the article on "Feetwashing," in Hasting's Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics; which traces the observance through all ages and sects.
Was George D. Prentice, the Kentucky poet, a Mason? Also, can you tell me if his poems have ever been published in book form? I have some of his verse, and what I have makes me want more.
— W. J. B.
Answering the last question first, we may say that "The Poems of George D. Prentice, With a Biographical Sketch by John J. Piatt," was published by Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati, in 1887, and could no doubt be secured at second hand — we got our copy after that manner. There is also an appreciation of Prentice to be found in that brilliant book called "The Compromises of Life," by Henry Watterson. As to the first question, in the sketch by Mr. Piatt we read: "Prentice was a Mason, and his body, removed from his son's home to Louisville, was permitted to lie in state during one day in the Masonic Temple, where thousands of his fellow-citizens — men, women, and children — thronged to take their last look at his familiar face. He was buried with Masonic honors in Cave Hill Cemetery." (pp. 44-45).
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THE GOSPEL RECORDS
In a lecture which I heard you deliver last winter, in speaking of the method of oral instruction used by the Jews at the time of Jesus, and before, you said that the story of Jesus was preserved somewhat as Masonic "work" is handed down from mouth to ear for some time before it was written down. Where can I find a fuller account of it?
— L. A. N.
You will find it a very interesting subject, if you look into it. At least a century before the time of Jesus the Halacha or Haggada came into existence, by which is meant a voluminous literature carried in the memories of the Rabbis, obeying the principle, "Commit nothing to writing." This was repeated over and over again to disciples until it was engraved upon their memories letter-perfect, and hence the term for Rabbinical instruction was Mishnah, repetition. Such was the Jewish method, and it was natural, if not inevitable, that the Apostles, being Jews, should adopt it in teaching and preserving the story and words of Jesus; the more so, because the prejudice against writing anything was carried over into the early church. For a detailed account of this method as used by the church in finally giving the tradition of Jesus written form, see the chapter on "The Evangelic Records" which serves as an introduction to that noble book, "In The Days of His Flesh," by David Smith. (Doran Co.)
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May I have your help in this: What books would you recommend that will give me a fair idea of the Guilds of the Middle Ages which transmitted their operative knowledge through the centuries to the early records of Lodges in England? And what records have we of the Dionysian Architects as being derived from Egyptian sources?
— F. A. H.
(1) English Guilds, by Toulmin Smith, is an authority on Guilds in general, but we think the book of most interest in preparing this part of your paper would be "The Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masonry," by Conder. It is a study of the Mason's Company, of London, tracing it, from the records, far back into the cathedral-building period. But are you sure that modern Masonry was derived from Guild-Masonry? We doubt it. Guild Masons were quite distinct from Freemason, as we read the record, at least until the latter began to decline. (SeeThe Builders, pp. 118-19). Guild Masons were often employed by Freemasons to do rough work, and if found reliable and intelligent enough, were sometimes admitted to the order, but the two bodies were distinct. Freemasonry, as we hold, descended, rather from the great fraternity of architects and artists who built the cathedrals. (SeeThe Comacines, by W. Ravenscroft). We trust that Brother Hatch will emphasize the distinction between guild-Masonry and Freemasonry. (2) The Dionysian Architects cannot be connected, directly, with Egyptian sources, but only indirectly, since the Mysteries of Bacchus which they celebrated were a modified form of the Egyptian Mysteries, having the same theme and much the same form.
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THE LION OF JUDAH
Will you explain to me the meaning of the following, "And an unshaken confidence in the Lion of the Tribe of Judah"? This question has been asked several times in my hearing, and I have never heard it explained.
— L. R. H.
No doubt most Masons, especially in Christian lands, identify the Lion of Judah with Christ, as is their right, and they have the authority and example of Christian symbolism for so doing. (SeeMonumental Christianity, by Lundy, pp. 287-94). This interpretation was emphasized by men like Hutchinson (in hisSpirit of Masonry) and others who gave a decidedly Christian meaning to the Third Degree of Masonry. But the symbolism of the Lion is much older than Christianity — like the Cross, and most other symbols employed by Christianity — having in the Egyptian mythology the same position which the Bull had in the Mithraic system. It was a symbol of strength, originally, it would seem, of the heat of the sun and its power to bring about the resurrection of nature in spring. (See Lundy, as above cited, also theSign and Symbols of Primordial Man, by Churchward, to name no others). In the Egyptian story it was the lion-god, with his strong grip, who raised Osiris from the dead. We feel like putting the question, Why are we admonished to have an unshaken confidence in the Lion of the tribe of Judah?
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I am interested in Masonic regalia, not in wearing it, but in knowing how it came to be what it is, what it means and the like. If not too much trouble, I would thank you to cite me to something to read on the subject.
— A. C. A.
The following will tell you about all that is known of the origin and use of regalia, in the Blue Lodge, and from the point of view of history. The chapter on "Our Regalia" in that valuable little book, "Things a Freemason Ought to Know," by F. J. W. Crowe; similar chapters in "The Perfect Ashlar," by Lawrence, and in "Masonic Jurisprudence and Symbolism," by Lawrence. There are a number of essays on the subject in the transactions of the Coronati Lodge, if you have access to its volumes. Going farthur back, you might read the essay of Brother Higgins on "The Apron," which will show what meanings attached to the badge of a Mason in an earlier time.
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THE MITHRA AGAIN
Continued interest in the Mysteries of Mithra is curious. As has been said, the Mithra was the religion of the Roman army, because of its emphasis upon the military virtues; and as such spread all over the empire. So powerful was it indeed, that it was the most serious rival of Christianity at one time. To the references already given, we venture to add the following. If our Brethren who are interested have access to the works of G. R. S. Mead, especially his "Echoes from the Gnosis," they will find there some of the original materials, so far as they have been preserved; in Vol. 5, "The Mysteries of Mithra," and especially in Vol. 6, "A Mithraic Ritual." We of today can hardly realize the meaning and service of such cults to the ancient world, appealing as they did to the mystical, the dramatic, and the patriotic in humanity. There were many abuses, of course, as there are in everything; but the ministry of The Mysteries was, on the whole, benign. The saying of Gibbon applies here: "All religions are equally true to the believer, equally false to the philosopher, and equally useful to the politician." We quote from memory and may not be exact, but the last clause is what we had in mind — for the mystery-religions of antiquity were used by Roman politicians for their ends.
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The Brother who asks what we think of the Illinois judge who decided that Bacon wrote the plays of Shakespeare, asks too much. The dignity of this journal, and the proprieties of the profession to which we happen to belong, forbid us to say out loud what we really think. The case calls for strong speech. Not only did the judge make himself superlatively ridiculous, but he did not add to the general confidence in the courts. (See the chapter on this subject in the new "Life of Shakespeare," by Sir Sidney Lee). We know what Bacon wrote; we know what Shakespeare wrote — and we know that he wrote it — and the two are so world-far apart and unlike as to make the controversy absurd. We wonder what would have been the decision of the court had a little volume called "Translation of Certaine Psalmes into English Verse" which Bacon wrote and for which he accepted responsibility in 1625, been introduced in evidence. To say that a man who could be guilty of such a translation wrote Hamlet — well, it is like expecting a kangaroo to turn archangel over night. In spite of reflections on Mr. Justice Shallow which will not down, we should accept the decision of the Illinois jurist as adding to the gayety of nations, in the same spirit in which Shakespeare set down the bad law enounced by the delightful Portia — that "wise young judge."
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Brother Editor: — I should like to know something about Russian Masonry, if there is such a thing, and wish you would inform me if it is not too much bother.
— B. G. L.
Freemasonry is said to have been introduced into Russia as early as 1731, by the Grand-Lodge of England, and there is reported to have been a Lodge in Petrograd in 1732. Howbeit, the first Lodges to be tolerated openly were the Lodge of Silence in Petrograd, and the "North Star" at Riga, in 1750. Masonry made little progress in Russia, says Thory, until 1763, when Empress Catherine II declared herself a Protectress of the Order. In 1765 the Rite of Melesino, unknown in any other land and introduced by a Greek of that name, made its advent in Russia, along with the York and Swedish Rites; and in 1783 a Grand Lodge was formed, which, rejecting the others, adopted the Swedish system. For a time Masonry flourished. But the Empress, becoming alarmed at the trend of affairs in France, and suspecting that Masonry was involved in that disturbance, withdrew her protection from the Order. In 1797 Paul I, at the behest of the Jesuits, interdicted the meeting of all secret societies, which edict was renewed by Alexander in 1801. But in 1803 M. Boeber succeeded in removing the prejudices of the Emperor against the Masons; the Emperor himself joined the Order, and the Grand Orient of Russia was established, of which Boeber was made Grand Master. Suddenly, however, in 1822, Alexander issued a decree ordering all Lodges closed — and this is the period dealt with by Tolstoi in his "War and Peace." Masonry has had little open history in Russia since that time. (See "Freemasonry in Russia and Poland," by Ernest Friedichs.)
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"THE ETHICS OF THE BALLOT"
Dear Brother Newton: Wor. Bro. Middleton's questions open up the most irritating of all subjects relating to Lodge government and discipline. The ballot should always be discussed in the abstract. Our brother asks for an abstract discussion, and presents a concrete case. We presume that his case in point is a New Jersey one, but from several years experience as Master of a very active Lodge and as an inspector, I must say it sounds familiar.
I am far enough away from New Jersey to attempt an answer to those six questions:
- The cube was cast by a Mason, and we must consider the cause of rejection just.
- He probably did well to keep his reason to himself, especially in view of the prominence of the petitioner, and the special efforts that would likely have been made to cause him to change his ballot. It is possible that his reason, if stated, would have injured the petitioner more than a quiet rejection.
- He evidently did not think it his duty to report to the committee. He may have been a member of the committee, anyway.
- There is no evidence that either the Lodge or the petitioner was badly treated. The Lodge certainly owes more Masonic consideration to a member than to a petitioner, no matter how prosperous, popular and prominent the latter may be.
- If the rejection of this profane was not made an issue, and is not further discussed by the members, neither the Lodge nor the petitioner was harmed. We must still presume that the rejecting brother knew what he was about. The Lodge did not solicit the petition, and the applicant had no right to be certain of election.
- A cube is always to be expected — not feared. The cubes are in the box for a purpose. Friendship should have no more to do with a Masonic ballot than should any other sort of prejudice.
Now to ask Bro. Middleton — and others — some questions:
- Is petitioning a right or a privilege?
- Is it advisable to appoint investigating committees?
- Where such committees are appointed is there not a tendency to depend too much on their reports?
- Why is the Masonic ballot secret?
- Why is it unanimous?
- When the ballot is declared "not clear" is not the action of the Lodge unanimous, as well as when "clear"? What has the number of cubes to do with it?
- Do "post mortem" discussions pay, either in the Lodge or out of it?
The proper answers to my questions numbers four, five and six — and every Mason should be able to answer them properly, — will form a complete answer to all the questions Bro. Middleton asks.
When I hear Masons discussing the result of a ballot, my advice is always, "Forget it."
Wm. A. Stewart, W. Va.
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THE 47TH PROBLEM
The question has often arisen in my mind during the delivery of the third section of the Master's lecture, "What value does the candidate get from the figure of the 47th Euclid as shown on the chart?" I have never been able to see that he gets any whatever.
The Master calls his attention to it as being the invention of "our ancient friend and brother, the great Pythagoras," and glibly recites the story of what a tantrum of delight and enthusiasm the philosopher indulged in when he had at last, presumably after a prolonged search, arrived at the goal of mathematical demonstration of this now famous theorem.
Whether Pythagoras was in fact the original propounder and demonstrator of the problem or not, or whether or not he almost suffocated the gods and goddesses of Olympus with the odor and smoke of bull-meat in celebration of his triumph, are questions of no particular interest here, the problem itself is what I wish to discuss in its relation to the mysteries of Masonry. This triangle comprises within its three lines the most interesting train of harmonies and logical relations to be found in the mysteries of nature, and their study is fraught with a vast plentitude of both diversion and instruction for the inquiring mind. Then why is it passed over so lightly in our work, without any attempt at explanation of its properties or hint of the suggestions of infinite harmony of relation it conceals?
If our old-time mathematician stopped with the proving of the problem as we have it represented generally in our modern mathematical text-books and on the Mason's chart, he had no sufficient reason for the "carrying on" that he is credited with; if he saw that he had discovered a mathematical and logical chain extending infinitely, of which the three, four, five figure is but the first link, then he was justified in shouting to his lung capacity. As an isolated example it has no large value, though a true one. I must believe, then, that he must have made the comprehensive discovery, and that the real significance of it was lost to later times.
But let us get down to the problem in its full demonstration:
First, it demonstrates that of every right-angled triangle whose altitude (meaning here its shortest side) is odd and all its lines integral, the square of the altitude is numerically equal to the lineal sum of the roots of the squares of the other two sides;
Second, that the base of every such triangle is constantly even and the hypothenuse odd;
Third, that the difference of length of base and hypothenuse is constantly one unit of the standard of measurement used;
Fourth, that the sum of the lengths of the three sides bears a regularly and constantly decreasing ratio to the square content of the "oblong square" or right parallelogram of which the base and altitude are the roots;
Fifth, that the base and hypothenuse of every such triangle through an infinite series increase in length constantly and regularly by multiples of the length of the base of the first or three, four, five figure.
Now let us examine the first figure, with the form of which we are all familiar.
The base and hypothenuse added numerically equal the square of the altitude, and their difference is one.
The sum of the three sides is equal numerically to the content of the "oblong square."
The second figure of the series, altitude 5, has for its base half of the square-less-one of the altitude, or 12, which is three times the length of the base of the first figure, or that base increased by twice its length. The hypothenuse remains one unit the longer. The sum of the lengths of the three lines is reduced to one-half the area of the parallelogram.
The third triangle takes as its base again one-half of the square-less-one of the altitude 7, or 24. The base is increased by twenty units, or is six times the length of the original, corresponding to the sum of the numerals denoting the sequence of the odd numbers in the order of their progression from three, the first odd number having the powers of a factor. The sum of the three lines is now 56, one-third of the area of the parallelogram.
The fourth figure will have for its sides 9, 40 and 41; sum of lengths 90; area of "oblong square 360; ratio 1 to four, or a fraction having for its denominator the ordinal of the odd number 9. These laws operate unvaryingly throughout the infinite series.
Now let us pass to the higher numbers without proving our propositions consecutively:
Every odd number is one greater than twice the numeral of its order of sequence. What are the dimensions of the right-triangle of the tenth order? The altitude of this triangle is 21. Its base is found by multiplying the base 4 by the sum of the series of ordinals 1-10 inclusive. This sum is 55 (found by the simple arithmetical process of multiplying the sum of the extremes by the number of terms and dividing by two. ) The product is 220, the base; and the sum of the two longer lines is 441, the square of the altitude. The sum of the three lines is 462, and the area of the parallelogram 4620. Ratio 1 to 10, the corresponding ordinal.
Try now first finding the base which, with its corresponding hypothenuse, determines the altitude required to fulfill the conditions of the Pythagorean problem. Take, for example, the fifteenth order. The sum of the series of numerals 1-15 is 120. This into 4 gives 480, the length of base for that order. 480 plus 481 is 961, the square of 31, the required altitude.
All the triangles of the lower orders are easily verified by mental methods. If in doubt as to the correctness of those of the higher the proofs are still not difficult. I am sure that every interested Mason can find in this problem an ample source of diversion and instruction to convince him that it deserves much more attention in our work than it receives, if we may say that it receives any in fact.
Other right-angled triangles follow the principles of this in a general way, but none with that precision and unvarying harmony of relations of the Pythagorean theorem. Let each Masonic student make his own application of the truths it imparts. Yours fraternally
D. Frank Peffley, Washington.
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THE HOUSE OF LIGHT
Dear Sirs and Brethren: — In "Sun Dials and Roses of Yesterday," Alice Morse Earle tells of early sun dials in England which were known as Masonic sun dials.
Whether they were so or not I think the "House of Light" should have one, and under separate cover I am taking the liberty of sending you a suggestion for one.
I also wish to congratulate you on "The Builder." It is getting better with each issue. Brother Newton's answers to questions and book reviews alone are worth the cost of the publication. The May issue came in this morning and I spent a very pleasant hour with it. I particularly enjoyed the article by Bro. Waite and the correspondence by Bro. Rugg. I believe both are familiar with James Morgan Pryse's volume, "The New Testament Restored."
One thing more. Why can't the Hierophants at "The House of Light" arrange to have yearly conventions of the "Sons of Light" at Anamosa? Elbert Hubbard conducted such conventions for the benefit of the "Immortals" and I think we could surpass his in attendance and interest.
We would have no difficulty in regard to speakers with such men as Newton, Buck, Rugg, Graham, Shepherd, Schenck, Lemert, Clegg and Stewart — not to mention a host of others. Possibly the TK would meet with us and we could at least talk with him individually. Such a yearly convention would be a wonderful stimulus to all of us and I'm sure the students of the deeper things of Masonry would eagerly grasp such an opportunity to commune with the Hierophants and each other.
Trusting you can see your way clear to plan for such a yearly gathering and with all kind wishes, I am,
Yours sincerely and fraternally,
John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
P. S. — Some time ago you published an article on the obelisk which was removed from Alexandria to New York City. This was interesting, but I'd like to see an article on the Masonic aspect of the Great Pyramid Gizeh. Prof. Piazza Smyth in "Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid," Adams in "The House of the Hidden Places," McCarthy in "The Great Pyramid Jeezek," and Coryn in "The Faith of Ancient Egypt" are very interesting, but I'd like to see the subject worked out from a Masonic stand point. Don't you know of a good man who could do this for us?
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THE RITE OF MEMPHIS
Dear Brother: — The Rite of Memphis is a branch of Masonry devoted to the study of Philosophy and Comparative Religion and the explanation of the ritual ceremonies and symbols of ancient Craft Masonry. As organized in the United States, it does not confer or work the three symbolic or fundamental degrees, but receives into fellowship only Master Masons in good standing. The organization has been in existence in the United States since 1857. The late Brother John Yarker was its Sovereign Grand Commander in England. The ritual work in this country was at one time co-ordinated with the Scottish Rite of 33 degrees, but was later restored to its original ninety-five degrees. Perhaps you will admit the following statement of its spirit and aims by Brother Yarker:
"1st. The Rite of Memphis is open to all regular Master Masons of any constitutional Grand Lodge; is unsectarian in its teaching and exacts no other qualification from its candidates but probity and honor.
"2nd. The fees which it exacts are of moderate amount, and it is governed by elective assemblies, after the manner of the Craft. Thus the Masters of each series by election become members of the Mystic Temple, and those of the Supreme Body or Sovereign Sanctuary.
"3rd. The ceremonies, from the 4th to the 90th, are based upon those of the Craft universal. They explain its symbols, develop its mystic philosophy, exemplify its morality, examine its legends, tracing them to their primitive source, and deal fairly and truthfully with the historical features of Symbolic Masonry.
"4th. As a system it opens up the study of the immense lore of the ancient Jews, Egyptians, Persians, Hindoos, Babylonians, and other ancient races, and may claim kindred relations to the learned societies of all countries. Many of its degrees and lectures deal with these abtruse subjects, and that in an impartial manner, offering valuable suggestions to the advanced student.
"5th. It proposes to instruct the neophytes by degrees, and at intervals, with all known Masonic Science and a knowledge of the various Rites which have sprung up in the past from the learned speculations of Masonic students. In this relation it transmits and concentrates the knowledge and wisdom of the mysterious fraternities of the middle ages.
"6th. Possibly the only High Grade Rite which has been chartered by a Grand Lodge of Symbolic Masonry, it is absolutely the most perfect and thorough development of the Craft Systern, the most comprehensive, accurate, and valuable of all Rites, and the most complete in its ceremonies, through which it seeks to extend Masonic Knowledge, Justice, Charity, Morality, and fraternity, and to enforce all those great qualities which distinguish the Masons of all time."
As a paragraph in a recent issue ofThe Builderwas so inadequate, if not incorrect, in its allusions to this Rite, I doubt not that you will publish this brief memorandum from the pen of Brother Yarker.
Ellis B. Guild, New York.
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THE COLOR, BLUE, AS A MASONIC SYMBOL
Brother Editor: — The translucent hue of the heavens by day holds a special charm for mankind. There is reason to believe that from ancient times this color has been held in high esteem, not only for its intrinsic beauty, but also for some special symbolism.
Sapphire is the oldest jewel name in the Aryan and Semitic languages. It is one of the oldest words of any kind coming down to us from the distant past unchanged. The word is essentially the same in English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Persian, and in fact in all languages of the white race. As applied to a jewel, it represented, until very recent years, not a special mineral, but a stone of a special color. This is evidence that from a remote period blue has been held in exceptionally high esteem. When we consider the fondness of uncultured peoples for reds and yellows, this ancient esteem for the color, blue, is the more remarkable. As such jewels were worn, not only for ornament, but also as "charms," bringing good luck to the possessor, it is probable that this color symbolized some attribute of great importance.
We are familiar with the employment of colors to represent emotions. Red is associated with anger and violence, green with envy and jealousy, white with purity, black with wickedness, and blue with downheartedness. For some of these associations we can discover a natural appropriateness. For others the relationship is not so apparent. Yellow usually has a distasteful significance; yet yellow is the color of the standards of royalty. While "to feel blue" is to be downcast, yet the emblematic anchor of hope is usually colored blue.
It is a peculiarity of language that a word may have more than one meaning. In many cases one word has come to do duty for two or more quite different originals. This is true of our word, blue. While it originally meant "livid," it has been made to include the pellucid color of the noonday sky. In one case it is associated with unhappiness and dissolution, and in the other with mystery and beauty. In common speech, the Teutonic word, blue, has displaced all others; and such words as cerulean, sapphire and azure are left to rhetoric and poetry.
Blue as a symbol associated with the heavens suggests ideals connected therewith that link the present with the past. When man first began to wonder about the forces of nature, he personified what he did not understand, and held in reverence and awe the imaginary beings whose acts he supposed them to be. Of all nature the most impressive and constant event is the daily miracle of the rising of the sun, bringing light to mankind. Early man considered the sun a Being, kindly disposed toward him. The sun was worshipped, and after him the moon, and then the stars, and finally they were all grouped together as the Heavenly Ones.
Through this Star Worship, some knowledge of Astronomy and some concept of the Universe was arrived at. And from contemplation of the order and harmony of the Universe, the priesthood eventually reached the idea of a Supreme Being Creator and Ruler of all things. This is the highest ideal of life that man has ever entertained, and it was reached long before the dawn of history.
This higher knowledge, which concerned both religion and science, seems to have been confined to those initiated into the priesthood. In the literature of the Egyptians it is hinted at guardedly. Among the Chaldeans less caution may have been observed; for races that came in contact with the Chaldeans carried away some knowledge of the subject.
In such reverence and esteem was this higher wisdom held, that worship and aspiration have been associated ever since with the heavens. The empyrean was the abode of the gods, and the statues of the gods were sometimes painted blue. Even in our own times and among our own people, holy pictures generally have a background of blue. In Astrology and the mystic cults, blue represents esoteric wisdom.
An important factor of Freemasonry is its attitude toward knowledge. It is referred to in each of the degrees, and one degree is entirely given to its consideration. Knowledge is such an important factor of Freemasonry that to draw attention to it is much like pointing out that light is of the sun. Freemasonry is concerned with all aspiration. It is a looking upward. And it is eminently appropriate that the color of the noonday sky, traditionally associated with the knowledge and ideals that tend toward progress, should be the color representative of Symbolic Masonry.
Joseph Barnett, California.
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THE LAND OF LEMURIA
In the June issue of The Builder, page 189, a brother who signs himself "E. P. H." inquires regarding the basis for the theories regarding the ancient continent of Lemuria, the prehistoric Aryan invasion of India, and the personality of Rama said to have been the leader of the invading whites. He says these matters were referred to in a lecture read before his lodge, and that he is unable to find any other references. In your reply you assume that the authority of the writer of the lecture must nave been "Rama and Moses," or "The Great Initiates," by Edouard Schure, and you express regret "that the lecturer did not give his authority, and also that he did not indicate in how far his narrative could be substantiated and how far not."
I have no doubt that the lecture referred to by E. P. H. is one of my own, that entitled "the first Initiations," and issued by the Masonic Lecture Bureau as the third number of its first series. Inasmuch as nearly 600 lodges, in every part of the world, now have in their possession this lecture, in addition to more than twice that many which have used it in the past, it is manifestly impossible for me to reply to the inquirer personally, and l hence crave the use of your columns for that purpose.
In the lecture referred to, the entire matter is presented for what it is worth. The statement is made that "There is no absolute historical evidence upon which to base the theory of Lemuria, but there are legends regarding this most ancient contment, which are found in the literature of many peoples." I have always been scrupulously careful to avoid misleading my auditors; and if E. P. H. has reached a different conclusion as to my attitude, it is to be feared that he failed to give close attention to the reading of the lecture in question, as well as to the preceding one, entitled "the Beginnings of the Human Race."
It is hardly practicable to attempt to give any large number of authorities in lectures intended for reading before lodges, although some seven or eight works are cited in the lecture reterred to. On referring to my files, I discover that I consulted more than eighty books in the preparation of the two lectures dealing with Atlantis, Lemuria, the Hyperboreans, the early Aryans and Vedic India. Of these the more important are the following, which, it will be observed, cover a wide range:
"The Geographical Distribution of Animals," and "The Malay Archipelago," by Alfred Russel Wallace.
"Oriental and Linguistic Studies," by W. D. Whitney.
Sundry writings of N. M. Prejvalski, and of Sven Hedin.
"Geschichte des Alterthums," by Ed. Meyer.
"Vedische Mythologie," by Hillebrandt.
"The Bible in India," by Louis Jacolliot.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed.: see index, under "Rama," "Lemuria" and "Aryan."
"Sketch for History of the Dionysian Artificers," by H. J. DaCosta.
"Rama and Moses," by Edouard Schure.
"Atlantis," by Ignatius Donnelly.
"The Lost Lemuria," and "The Story of Atlantis," by W. Scott-Elliot.
"The Story of Vedic India," by Z. A. Ragozin.
"Les Religions des Peuples Non-Civilises," by Reville.
"Recits et Commentaries sur les Vedas," by Ramatsariar.
"La Religion Vedique," by A. Bergaigne.
"Histoire Philosophique du Genre Humain," by Fabre d' Olivet.
"History of Creation," and "The Pedigree of Man," by Ernst Haeckel.
"L'Inde Antique," by Alfred Le Dain.
"Prehistoric Times," by Sir John-Lubbock.
"Man and His Forerunners," by H. v. Buttel-Reepen.
"The Childhood of Religions," by Edward Clodd.
Sundry writings of F. Max-Muller.
"La Legende des Symboles," "Philosophiques, Religieux et Maconnique," by Marc Saunier.
"Timaeus" and "Critias," by Plato.
"Prehistoric Times," by Sir John Lubbock.
The works of Diodorus Siculus, of Strabo and others of the ancients will be found to contain interesting material germane to the subject.
R. J. Lemert, Helena, Montana.