A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 2 No. 11 – November 1916
MEMORIAL TO JOHN PAUL JONES
By Bro. Geo. W. Baird, P. G. M., District of Columbia
THE bronze statue of the peerless John Paul Jones, with its marble pylon for a background, is situated at the foot of Seventeenth street, near the entrance to Potomac Park, in the City of Washington. It is the work of Mr. Niehaus, an American Sculptor of German descent, who used Houdon's bust for a model.
This memorial had its origin in the hearts of a grateful Congress, when they learned that our American Ambassador, at Paris, General Horace Porter, who was also President General of the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, had spent $35,000 in his search for and the identification of the body of John Paul Jones, and had refused reimbursement by the Government.
The body of the great Admiral was brought from France to the United States in a battleship, convoyed by a fleet of French war ships, and the obsequies were held at the U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, on the 24th of April, 1906. This date was chosen by the President of the United States, because it was the anniversary of Jones' battle with the Drake.
Though a man of small stature (five feet seven inches in height) the statue of John Paul Jones is of heroic size, about twelve feet in height. The marble pylon, the waters of the Potomac and the foliage beyond afford a beautiful background for the memorial. The sculpture is classic and his been pronounced exquisite.
John Paul Jones is represented as standing on the deck of his ship, in the uniform of his rank, his left hand resting on the pommel of his sword, his right hand clenched, his lips compressed and his gaze fixed on the enemy.
The pedestal was designed by Mr. Hastings and is decorated on two sides with a combination of sword, helmets and laurel branches, in high relief. A band of low relief runs around the pedestal, and has a number of Naval emblems for motives. In front the attic of the pedestal shows an Eagle in flight, carrying a wreath of oak leaves. In the rear is a relief showing John Paul Jones raising the stars and stripes on a U.S. Man-of-war.
At the obsequies the speakers were the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Navy, the Ambassador from France, (Monsieur J. J. Jusserand), General Horace Porter, (our Ambassador to France), and the Governor of the State of Maryland.
The officers of the French Fleet which had come to Annapolis, Members of the Supreme Court, Senators Members of Congress, officers of the Navy and Army and other distinguished men were present.
The only flowers in evidence were the laurel wreaths on the Casket, and the floral wreath containing a square and compasses which was sent by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. The casket was covered with the union jack, as is the rule for seafaring men.
No one could hear the speeches that day without a feeling of pride and shame: of pride for the man whose acts had been so potent in securing the recognition of the Republic: and of shame that he to whom the Nation was indebted full $60,000 for services rendered, should have been buried by charity in a foreign cemetery, and there remain, neglected by his countrymen, for a century and a quarter.
It was decided that day to inter the body of John Paul Jones in the crypt, under the Naval Academy chapel (then under construction), somewhat in imitation of the tomb of Napoleon, at Paris. The cost of the changes in the building, for this purpose, was estimated by the architects, to be $100,000; and, in declining the proffered reimbursement of $35,000 spent in discovering and identifying the remains, General Porter requested the Government to add the amount to the estimate, which would make the tomb so much more beautiful and imposing.
The refusal of General Porter to accept reimbursement is what determined Congress to show its gratitude in erecting a memorial to John Paul Jones, in the Capital City.
Senator Lodge, of Massachusetts, (a member of the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution), introduced a bill in the Senate, carrying $50,000 for a memorial statue of John Paul Jones.
The bill had such a ring of patriotism and the history and deeds of John Paul Jones had been so often repeated in the daily press and was so fresh in the public mind that no one thought it necessary to push that bill. The bill was committed and probably would have lapsed had not another, paraphrasing Senator Lodge's bill, been introduced in the House, by Mr. Driscol of N. Y. This bill differed from the Lodge bill in that it purposed making its memorial to "Commodore" John Barry "Father of the American Navy."
As John Barry was the eleventh Captain on the original Navy list, Congress could not declare him, in that Act, to be the "father." The Bill for the Barry statue was urged by the "Irish Societies" while that for John Paul Jones seemed to have no promoters, and as both bills were reported by the same Committee the same day, and were passed the same day, it is apparent that one helped the other.
John Paul Jones was made a Freemason in the lodge of Saint Bernard, at Kirkudbright, Scotland, in 1770, but he afterwards took his membership to that famous French Lodge, Neuf Soeurs, in Paris, of which Benjamin Franklin, Houdon, Voltaire, Helvitius, Elie DuMont, D'Estang and other famous men were members.
John Paul Jones began to go to sea when about 14 years of age. He was a Midshipman in the British Navy, from which he resigned because of the retarded promotion. He entered the Merchant Marine and was in command of a ship before he was twenty-one years of age.
He must have been a close student, for he seemed to be master of both French and Spanish as well as being a superior navigator. His letters are still in use, as models, at the Naval Academy. As a diplomat he was in the highest rank, at that time.
John Paul Jones joined an older brother, in Virginia, where he was living when war was declared. He was the first officer who received a commission in the Colonial Navy (as a first lieutenant). He was the first to aid the Continental Congress in creating the Navy and formulating its regulations. He was the first in command of a vessel of war; the first to run up the American flag on an American war vessel (the Alfred); he was with those first at sea with the flag, and was in at the first British warship striking colors and surrendering to an American warship; the first and only Naval officer named in an act of the Continental Congress, creating the flag — the Stars and Stripes. He was the first to run up the Stars and Stripes, on board an American war vessel — the Ranger. He was the first to carry this flag across the sea; the first to propose and to receive a salute to the Stars and Stripes from a foreign Nation, and, therein the first to receive recognition of the new Nation, the United States. He was the first to make a British war vessel (the Drake) strike her colors and surrender to the Stars and Stripes; the first and only Naval Officer to receive a vote of thanks from the Continental Congress, and the only one, during the Revolution, who never lost a warship in battle.
The Nation's Board of Admiralty said, and the Continental Congress printed:
"He hath made the flag of the United States respected among the flags of other nations."
The victory of John Paul Jones, in command of the Bon Homme Richard, over the Serapis, had more to do with the United States getting recognition from other Nations than any one act of that war.
John Paul Jones was the only Naval Officer, of any Nation, who dared carry a war up to a British port, so firmly were the Britons masters of the sea of that day.
John Paul Jones was the only American Naval officer who figured at all extensively in British History of the American Revolution.
At the close of the Revolutionary war the ships of the Navy were dismantled and sold and the officers and crews discharged. The Treasury was depleted; there was no money for salaries. John Paul Jones, however, was retained as Commissioner, in France, to settle the complicated affairs that existed: ships had mixed crews of French and Americans. Some of the ships had joint owners and some, with mixed crews, were owned entirely in the United States.
John Paul Jones contracted consumption and nephritis from which he died in Paris in 1792. His assets were not available and he was buried by the charity of noble hearted Frenchmen in a small Protestant cemetery where his remains lay for a hundred and twenty-five years.
The search for his body extended over a period of six years. It was found and turned over to the French Academy for identification, which, at first, would appear impossible. But the history of his burial, the perfect preservation of measurements, particularly of the head, compared with the Houdon bust, and the unmistakable identification of lesions in the kidneys from nephritis and in the lungs from tuberculosis, the color of the hair, and numerous other ways made the identification complete. The body had been preserved in alcohol, in an air-tight metallic casket.
Two years after his death the Navy of the Unites States was rehabilitated, when it was found that but few of the original officers were living. The regulations, prepared by Jones, were used and his original organization was continued.
John Paul Jones was a man of remarkable personality, dainty and particular in his dress and manners he was, at the same time, pugnacious. He was popular in the best of society. He was a welcome guest at the French Court, and Louis XIV made him a Chevalier, and presented him with a sword. He was as popular with ladies as with men.
The Marquis of Vaudreil said of him, "His talents are so wonderful and of such diversity that each day he brings forth new proofs of cleverness."
Franklin spoke of the "strange magnetism in his presence, and indescribable charm of manner."
The Captain of the Serapissaid he felt that he was fighting something superhuman in his battle with the Bon Homme Richard.
John Paul Jones would never sail in a privateer. In a letter to Jefferson he said, "I can never renounce the glorious title of a citizen of the United States," and also "I do not wish to engage in privateering. My object is not that of private gain but to serve the public in a way that may reflect credit on our Infant Navy and to gain prestige to our Country on the sea."
He also said, "If, by desperate fighting, one of our ships shall conquer one of theirs of markedly superior force, we shall be hailed as pioneers of a new power on the sea, with untold prospects of development."
These principles he lived and by them won renown and made his name immortal in the history of the Nation and of the world.
* * *
I love thine inland seas,
Thy groves of giant trees,
Thy rolling plains;
Thy rivers' mighty sweep,
Thy mystic canyons deep,
Thy mountains wild and steep,
All thy domains;
Thy silver Eastern strands,
Thy Golden Gate that stands
Wide to the West;
Thy flowery Southland fair,
Thy sweet and crystal air, -
O land beyond compare,
Thee I love best!
— Henry Van Dyke.
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MASONIC SOCIAL SERVICE — CHICAGO EMPLOYMENT BUREAU
By Bro. Arthur M. Millard, Chicago
THIS is the story of an organization of usefulness; an organization made up of Masonic bodies, reaching out for the fulfillment of their higher calling which lies before, and represented in its workings by men with high ideals; men with a vision of purpose and of progress, and inspired by the spirit of that which lies at the foundation of Masonry's teachings.
It is the story of an organization of effort — and of privilege — an organization whose work is open to all men of Masonic calling and whose privilege lifts them to higher planes of purpose and of action, to purer ideals and nobler impulse by the practical application of that spirit of love and of service, which they have found is the body, soul and spirit of the Masonic Institution.
It is the story of the Masonic Employment Bureau of Chicago, an organization which during the past few years has placed thousands in employment, has helped thousands to help themselves, has inspired the foundation of many other organizations of a like purpose and character, both in and outside of Masonry, throughout the United States and Canada, and which preaching by its actions the gospel of Brotherly Love and Relief, is pointing more clearly the way to the pathway of Truth.
The Masonic Employment Bureau commenced its career of finding jobs for Masons, and helping others to help themselves, in 1905, at a meeting of the representatives of a number of Chicago Masonic Lodges, called by a member of Wrights Grove Lodge who felt the need of applying his Masonry in a practical manner to those less fortunate than himself.
At this meeting, an organization was formed to be maintained, by such Masonic Lodges and other Masonic bodies of Chicago and Cook County as cared to join in its purpose, by a subscription fee of so far as possible five cents per member annually and for the purpose of securing employment for unemployed Masons in good standing, their widows, daughters and minor sons, at no cost to the applicant or those securing their services.
With wise forethought, it was decided that the government of the organization should be representative, that is, each Masonic body holding membership in the Bureau by contribution towards its support should be represented in the conduct of its affairs by a duly appointed representative (the officers being chosen annually from among the representatives), and as it has been worked out, this object has a two-fold purpose; first, to give the subscribing bodies a voice in the conduct of the Bureau, and second, to create an interest in its affairs and purpose by having the representative report back to the body from which he was appointed and arouse and enthuse in the members of that body a fraternal bond of helpfulness to those less fortunately situated than themselves.
The growth of the Chicago Masonic Employment Bureau, from its inception up to the present time, from a few to hundreds of interested brethren, has not been one of phenomenal progress, rather it has been that steady, persevering and persistent effort, which, meeting and surmounting the obstacles that beset its path, climbs steadily onward to achieve its purpose; but though in its infancy today, though it has but reached the foothills of the mountains of purpose, progress and achievement ahead, it stands an enduring monument, firm on the rock of applied Masonry, pointing out to the world about it the simplicity of service and the way which shall one day be accepted as the true and enduring principle on which to build a practical and applied charity in the onward march of progress and of civilization. But it must not be assumed that the sole object of the representatives concerned in the welfare of this Bureau is but a plan to secure jobs for the unfortunate unemployed, because it goes farther than that. It is true that the Bureau is organized for the direct benefit of the unemployed, but beyond that is the spirit of the work which is behind it all.
During the past few years the Bureau has secured not only representatives from nearly all of the Masonic bodies of Chicago, but also committees in those bodies, all of whom are working in unison on the broad platform of helping others. Now, these brethren are planning and carrying into effect a broader work and a greater purpose — they are building toward an ideal.
It is not enough to provide work for the unemployed, they are now providing work for all Masons, however high or low their station, in helping others to help themselves.
The Chicago Masonic Employment Bureau is going beyond the material and binding that to the spiritual. It is striving to become the big brother of humanity.
It is teaching the principle of putting aside self in service for others, and pointing the way to an applied Masonry, a Masonry which in its search for Truth applies the principles of Brotherly Love and Relief to all with whom they come in contact.
The spirit of the work of this organization of Chicago, the plans and ideals of the brethren who make it up, is not a thing apart but it is the spirit of Masonry pointing the way to a real brotherhood of service, to a universal work for the advancement of humanity; for representing as it does the unity of the Masonic bodies along certain definite lines, the principle upon which it stands and from which it receives and gives its inspiration, and to which it owes its origin, is that which lie at the source and is the fundamental law and principle of the teachings of the Masonic Order.
It is that which rises above the things of material life and stands on a higher plane, a plane of purpose and of progress, for while its object is carried out in the material realm below, its application is such as to instill into men's hearts and lives that touch of spirituality that fulfillment of duty, one toward another, that application of human sympathy and brotherly love, which brings them into closer communion and fellowship with Him above, under whose banner they are enlisted and under whose laws they are committed to serve.
* * *
THE YORK RITE
By Bro. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri
It has been stated that "A Rite in Freemasonry is a collection of grades or degrees always founded on the First three degrees." This definition is wholly misleading, and constitutes as grave an error as to call "The York Rite" as conferred in the United States, "The American Rite."
For the purpose of adding "more light" on the subject, we may state that in the United States there are two Masonic Rites, known as the York Rite and the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
Both are misnomers if the name of the Rite is to indicate its parentage or birth place. The York Rite was not born in the ancient city of York, neither was the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite begotten in Scotland.
The so-called York Rite is the result of an evolution in England from a One Degree Operative Craft of 1717, to a system of degrees of six or more as now practiced in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland and Ireland. The Scottish Rite was evolved from the Rite of perfection of twenty-five Degrees, by the addition of eight more at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1801, where the Mother Supreme Council was formed.
If either one of the Rites is to be known as the American Rite, the title probably belongs to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. To designate the socalled York Rite in the United States, as the American Rite, would be even more absurd than to call it the York Rite, for it is neither.
What is meant by the word Rite? A Rite is defined as "A custom of practice of a formal kind; a formal procedure of a religious or solemn observance." But such a religious or solemn procedure or observance must have a definite end or purpose. It must have a goal idea. A central idea which the ceremony of procedure is intended to convey. The ceremony may be brief or voluminous, plain or ornate, but the central idea must be maintained and attained, as in the Rite of Baptism, in the Rite of Marriage, in the Rite of the Holy Sacrament, etc.
The central idea or pivot around which all Masonic ceremonies or Degrees must revolve is the Loss, the Recovery, and the Interpretation of the Master's word. This goal idea must be the nucleus of a system of Degrees, and without which no system of Degrees can be called a Rite.
Any series of Degrees, however intimately connected, that does not contain this central idea of Loss, Recovery, and interpretation can not be called a Masonic Rite. This is the goal idea or pivot of the so-called York Rite. The number of Degrees in a Rite is merely incidental. It matters not whether there are three or thirty-three Degrees, provided the central idea, the end of all Masonic symbolism is present.
The Loss and Recovery with a positive interpretation, or the Loss and Recovery with a general or individual interpretation is the very essence of a Rite.
The Loss is symbolized in the Craft or Lodge Degrees, the Recovery is symbolized in the Royal Arch.
In the York Rite the interpretation of the symbolism of the Royal Arch is left to the individual interpretation of the Royal Arch Mason, or it finds its positive and special interpretation in the light of the new dispensation, as taught in the Masonic Order of the Christian Knighthood.
The Three Craft or Blue Lodge Degrees, the Royal Arch, and the United Orders of the Temple and of Malta are the essential grades of the York Rite. The Mark, Past, Most Excellent, Royal, Select Degrees, and the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross are not essential, nor essentially necessary to the York Rite, but they are great aids in the elucidation of the symbolism of the central idea of the Rite and they adorn and magnify the Rite. The Lodge Degrees, the Royal Arch, and the Masonic Orders of Christian Knighthood constitute the so-called "York Rite." To eliminate the Royal Arch would be like removing the keystone of an arch, and the whole fabric would crumble and fall.
In essentials, the York Rite is the same in the United States as it is in every province or Country in the British Empire; in other words, it is essentially the same in the Anglo-Saxon world. But each country has its own system. In the United States it consists of seven Degrees and three Orders; in Canada, of six Degrees and three Orders, although Canada has added the most excellent Degree in the Chapter and the Red Cross of the Commandery to harmonize, for the purpose of visitation with the United States; in England, it consists of four Degrees and two Orders; in Ireland, of five Degrees and two Orders; in Scotland the system conforms closely to that of Ireland. The most excellent Degree is unknown in the British Empire, except in Canada; in England, the Mark Master's Degree is under the control of a Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.
It will be noted that in the countries mentioned, the number of Degrees in the Rite varies, even the Degrees bearing the same name vary in the ceremonies of presenting the same truth. The Master's Degree in Pennsylvania varies much from the same Degree in the other States, yet symbolically it is the same. The Royal Arch in the United States, is more dramatic in its form than that of England or Canada, yet in essentials it is the same.
The Order of the Temple in the English Ritual is brief; in the Canadian Ritual it is more elaborate and has its military features; in the United States it is more wordy, possibly more ornate and dramatic, yet it is essentially the same in all these countries.
The Rituals of the Order of Malta in these countries are so near alike that a person that is conversant with one can readily use the other; even a casual observer can readily see that this so-called "York Rite" in essentials is the same everywhere where the English language is spoken. The Concordat adopted in 1910 by the Temple Powers of the World, emphasizes this great fact.
The name "York Rite" is an inexcusable blunder; at least an unfortunate mistake. There never was a York Rite. It is unnecessary to enter upon any discussion as to the claims of the York Grand Lodge or a York system of Freemasonry as the question has been settled beyond controversy. The name "York Rite" is an inheritance from the forefathers of Freemasonry in the United States, who were more skilled in ritual tinkering than in the history of Freemasonry. This becomes especially apparent, when one remembers that the ephemeral Grand Lodge of York never chartered a single Lodge in America. The Freemasonry of the United States began under the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, then under the Grand Lodge of England (Moderns) with Price as Grand Master. The Grand Lodge of England (Ancients) and the Grand Lodge of Scotland chartered Lodges in America, and it is reasonably possible, that before the union of the two Grand Lodges of England, the Royal Arch and the Masonic Orders of Christian Knighthood were conferred in this Country by the Military Lodges connected with the Irish Regiments stationed in the Colonies. To sum it all up, our so-called York Rite is the English Rite dressed in more fantastic clothing.
The name "York Rite" should be eliminated and the name English Rite substituted. In view of the foregoing facts as to what constitute a Rite, we in the United States are practicing or have formulated an American system of the English Rite; not an American Rite as it is frequently erroneously called, but a system of Degrees of the English Rite; it should be known as the English Rite, or Anglo-Saxon Rite.
* * *
A MASON'S PRAYER
Unto thy altars, Truth, we come;
We would commune with thee;
From errors of the heart and brain
Oh, keep our Order free.
Make us true seekers for the light
That springs from thee alone,
That we may lead a darkened world
To thy sister Reason's throne.
Help us to build our edifice
"Fair, fronting to the dawn,"
Not on a thrice denying saint
Who would his Lord were gone,
But on thy words wherever found
In tree or grass or rill;
And in the very soul of thee
We'll find our haven still.
Help us to travel unafraid
The path that thou hast shown,
For with thee standing by His side
A man's a host alone.
Help us to realize that time
"Makes ancient good uncouth,"
And for the blind who fain would see
Oh trouble the waters, Truth!
— Oscar A. Janes.
* * *
THE SUPPRESSION OF THE ORDER OF THE TEMPLE
By Bro. Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts
CIRCUMSTANCES have conspired to single out the Order of the Temple from the other orders of Soldier-Monks of the twelfth century for the particular notice of succeeding generations. Preeminent for their valor and their accomplishments during the days of their magnificent success, the bitter injustice and cruel suffering attendant upon the suppression of the Order has thrown around their name a dark shadow of tragedy. Not only so, but the added horror of the accusations made against them, the whispers of still more dreadful things circulated by envious, fearful, or malignant tongues, the unusual end of the proceedings against the Order, and the conviction of many members before the ecclesiastical courts have lent an air of mystery to the whole sad story.
The very mention of the word Templar brings to many minds the suggestion of romance and of mystery coupled with a vague sense of hidden crime and lurking horror. As a matter of fact there is really very little mystery about the fate of the Templars and it is perfectly possible to find out of what they were accused and to make a fair estimate of their probable guilt or innocence. This is of particular interest to Masons because large numbers of Masons in other than symbolic degrees have taken the name of the old Order, endeavoring to practice its principles and emulate its virtues and holding in everlasting remembrance the name of the last Grand Master.
Before proceeding to tell in detail the story of the fall of the Order, let us stop to review briefly the story of its growth.
In 1118, two Knights, Hugues de Payens, a Burgundian, and Godeffroi de St. Omer, a Frenchman, associated with themselves six other Knights for the service of the Holy Sepulcher, the protection of pilgrims, and the welfare of the Church.
These men took a step beyond that taken by the ordinary crusader, in that they undertook to give their whole lives to the service of the Church militant and to found an order of men likewise devoted to the same service. These eight men took an oath to the Patriarch of Jerusalem by which they swore to fight for Christ under the three fold vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience. It will be understood, of course, that the vow of poverty, while it debarred the Knight from having any personal possessions whatever, did not apply to the accumulation of riches by the Order or to the Knight's enjoyment of those riches, while the vow of obedience had reference only to his relations with his superiors in the Order.
King Baldwin I. of Jerusalem gave them for a residence a part of his palace next to the Mosque of Aksa, the so-called Temple of Solomon, from which they took the name of Knights of the Temple. At first they had no particular regulations or "rule," as it is commonly called, and no distinguishing dress. Their first idea appears to have been to make the Order a means of reformation by opening its ranks to men whose past was one of sin and failure and giving them an opportunity to redeem their souls through offering to Christ a service of constant danger. They, therefore, admitted to their number excommunicated knights, after they had obtained absolution from a Bishop, and other men of darkened past who desired an opportunity to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. This missionary idea was soon abandoned and the Knights chosen from candidates, who showed themselves worthy. It was unfortunate, however, in that it immediately laid the Order under suspicion of both the Church and laity because of doubts of the sincerity of such repentance.
In 1127 Hugues de Payens, who had been chosen Grand Master, went to Europe with the purpose of finding support for the Order. He was fortunate enough to enlist the interest and obtain the active patronage of St. Bernard. Bernard of Clairvaux, more commonly known as St. Bernard, was the greatest and most influential churchman of his time and one of the greatest of all times. Under his patronage the Order quickly obtained favor and support and grew in members and power.
St. Bernard drew up the "rule" or series of regulations governing the organization of the Order and the lives of its members. The original "rule" of St. Bernard was written in French. Unfortunately there are no early copies of it known to be in existence. There are however, later copies together with the translation into Latin known as the "Latin Rule" and additional statutes which were adopted from time to time.
It was vehemently asserted by the enemies of the Order, in later years, that there was a secret "rule" quite different from this which entirely changed the character of the Order, colored it with heresy, and stained it with sin. There is no evidence whatever that any such "secret rule" ever existed. Stories about it may be safely dismissed as idle gossip.
The French "rule" provided for the officers of the organization and defined their duties. It also carefully regulated the daily conduct of the Knights and provided for the support which they should receive from the common funds of the Order. It is interesting to observe that the "rule" provided that each Knight should have three horses and one squire. By favor of his commander, or prior, he might have four horses and two squires.
This effectually disposes of the legend that the great seal of the Order, representing two Knights mounted on one horse, was intended to indicate that in early days the Order was so poor that the Knights went to battle mounted thus in pairs. The second rider in the device is probably intended to represent either a wounded Knight who is being rescued by his brother in arms or a pilgrim being protected by a Knight of the Temple.
The Knights were not priests. That is to say, although under the three vows they were not in holy orders. Each priory or house of the Knights was provided with one or more chaplains. These chaplains were members of the Order of the Temple and were always in holy orders. The chaplains were exempt from ordinary ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Spiritually they were accountable only to the Pope; temporally only to the Grand Master. They were the sole confessors of the Knights, who were not permitted to accept the ministrations of religion from any but their own chaplains unless it was impossible to secure a chaplain's services.
The monastic custom of having the Bible read at meals was prescribed by the "rule" for the Knights, in consideration of the fact that they were laymen, and consequently uneducated, the Bible was read in the vernacular and not in the Latin which was customary in religious services. There is in existence an old French Bible of the Templars which shows evidences of the critical spirit on the part of the translator.
With this brief survey let us pass on to the opening years of the fourteenth century. The little band of eight Knights sworn to the service of the Holy Sepulcher and the protection of pilgrims had grown to be one of the great powers of the world. If its purpose and policy had been other than they were it might have shaken the power of any monarch in Christendom. It consisted of many thousand Knights besides the lay brothers and feudal servants of the Order. It possessed wealth far greater than that of any state in Christendom. This wealth was the result of the great stream of gifts which for two centuries had flowed steadily into the coffers of the Order, supplemented by the spoils of war, and husbanded with great financial ability. Kings, princes, and nobles throughout Europe had vied with each other in their great donations to the Order of the Temple. It owned literally thousands of estates all over Europe and wherever in the east the crusades had been successful.
The crusades being over and their immense expenditures having ceased, the enormous revenues of the Order were accumulating in its hands, and those were not idle hands, for the Templars were not content to let their gold pieces lie idly in their treasury. This was before the age of modern banking and the Templars, with their great wealth, their many establishments, and their connection with the Orient, made themselves the great international financiers of the age. Kings and merchants alike borrowed on good security and at ample interest the unused treasure of the Order. Oriental exchange, especially, was almost absolutely in their hands so that they acted as the great financial clearing house between Europe and Asia. Their establishment, commonly known as the Temple, at Paris was the center of the world's money market.
It is said that when De Molay came from the east, lured by the treacherous call to consult about the crusade, he brought with him 150,000 florins in gold and ten horse loads of silver. With due allowance to the difference in the purchasing power of money, the gold was probably the equivalent of three million dollars today. I have no way to guess the value of the silver, but it must have been very great. This, it will be remembered, was the ready money upon which De Molay could lay his hands at short notice.
The power of the Order matched its wealth. The Grand Master was a sovereign prince, recognized as a full peer of any monarch in Europe. The Knights, save those too old for warfare, were all soldiers trained to arms and owing no allegiance to any power but the Grand Master and the Pope. During the stormy years of the crusades, they, with the Knights of the companion Orders, formed the fighting edge of the Christian army. Combined with their lay brothers and the feudal array of their tenants they formed an army far superior to any other in existence.
That an Order possessed of such wealth and power should have been regarded with suspicion, and even fear, is only natural. It is entirely clear, however, from their entire history, and especially from their fate, that the Order had no policy in the political affairs of Europe either for its own advantage or that of any others. The Knights adhered strictly to the original policy of the Order. They had no enemies in Christendom and no friends outside of it. Their sole military and political purpose was the service of the church and the reconquest of the Holy Land. It must be remembered that while we know that the crusades were over in 1300 the men of that day did not know it. They fully expected that the crusades would be resumed, and the Knights of the Temple were maintaining their numbers and diligently increasing their wealth in order to be able to strike more effectively than ever before when the banner of the Cross should once more take the field against the Crescent.
In addition to all their wealth and power the Order had great privileges of two classes, lay and clerical. As lay nobles they held and exercised all the usual feudal rights in and over estates which had been given to them, with certain extremely important additions. The Order, being a corporation in the first rank of the feudal hierarchy, exercised in all its fiefs what was known in those days as high, middle, and low justices, that is, complete jurisdiction extending even to the infliction of the death penalty. Owing allegiance only to the head of their Order, the estates of the Knights were not liable for military service except to the Order itself. The estates of the Order were the permanent possessions of the corporation.
The greater part of the revenue of the kings of that age was derived from certain rights of taxation which were exercised on special occasions; for example, the passage of an estate by death or marriage from one holder to another involved certain payments to the king or over-lord which amounted practically to an inheritance tax. The marriage of children, the knighting of the noble's sons, or other events in the family of the noble were occasions for gifts to the king which were practically taxes. Other forms of taxation were laid from time to time on the feudal estates. But corporations do not die, do not marry, and do not have children, consequently the estates of the Templars were free from every kind of taxation, except for the benefit of the Temple itself.
This exemption from military service and from financial burdens struck at the very roots of the royal power as the state was organized in the middle ages. The Templars enjoyed all the benefits of the feudal system but bore none of its burdens. When an estate in France or England, for some reason, passed into the hands of the Templars it was to all intents and purposes taken out of the kingdom as effectively as if it had been swallowed up by the sea.
As an Order of military monks, the Knights enjoyed clerical privileges equally great.
That their spiritual affairs were in the hands of their chaplains, has already been pointed out. In addition to this, the Grand Master and others of the high officers possessed the power of disciplinary confession, but not of sacramental confession, a point important to be remembered in connection with later developments. The Order as a whole and its members individually were entirely free from the jurisdiction of bishops and other ecclesiastical authorities. They were accountable only to the Pope in person. They were not affected by general censures or decrees of the Pope unless they were especially mentioned. Their churches, of which there were great numbers on their various estates besides those attached to their houses, were not affected by ordinary excommunication and interdicts. No matter what ecclesiastical censures might hang over the people of the nation the activities of the churches of the Temple went on undisturbed. Excommunicated persons might be buried in consecrated ground belonging to the Templars, and this was not infrequently done. They possessed, by papal decree, the right to have churches not their own which were under interdict opened twice a year and services held for the purpose of presenting their cause and taking collections for the support of the Holy War. They collected the usual tithes from the churches on their estates but they did not pay any tithes, even for those churches, into the coffers of the Church.
The natural result of this condition was envy and hatred on the part of both civil and religious authorities. Civil authorities looked on with dismay while the broad lands of noble after noble passed by gift or bequest into the control of the Templars and ceased to contribute to the maintenance of the state, while the individual noble was filled with envy as he saw the Knights of the Temple enjoying privileges and powers so much greater than his own, and the law officers of the crown indignantly found their authority everywhere terminating at the boundary line of one of the Temple estates.
On the other hand the religious authorities, accustomed to control the lives and actions even of kings, were enraged beyond measure to find themselves utterly powerless before the Knights of the Temple. Entrenched behind the many privileges granted by a long line of Popes the Templar could and did snap his fingers in the face of the most arrogant archbishop or cardinal and the angry churchmen had to swallow his wrath and digest it as best he could, while he had not even the poor consolation of collecting revenues from the parishes in his jurisdiction which had passed into the hands of the Order. This sort of thing had raised tides of envy and hatred against the Order of which it seemed to be strangely unconscious.
Claims that the Knights abused their power and privileges were common. The picture of the Templar in Scott's Ivanhoe undoubtedly represents the widespread conception of the character and conduct of the members of the Order. That there were men like Scott's Templar could hardly be denied, but there is no reason to believe that they were typical of the Order generally.
One feature of the Order gave the opportunity for proceedings against it and the excuse for its undoing. The Order of the Temple was always a secret order. Its conclaves for business and for the reception of candidates were always closely guarded. It was as impossible for one not a member of the Order to get into meeting of the Knights of that day as it would be for like person to get into a meeting of one of our modern gatherings of Knights Templars.
This secrecy, as is inevitable, in all ages and especially in times of ignorance and superstition, like the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, bred all manner of suspicion. Men, and especially ignorant men, are ready to believe that evil things are done in places where they are not admitted and unfortunately there were too many who envied and hated the Templars and were ready to spread these whispered accusations. It was asserted that under cover of this secrecy the Knights not only lapsed into heresy and consorted with Saracens and other misbelievers but that they practiced idolatry and necromancy, that they performed the most blasphemous travesties of religion, and that they were given to licentiousness and practiced every conceivable crime, natural and unnatural.
We have now set the stage for the tragedy. Let us consider a little the persons and antecedents of the three principal actors. They were the Grand Master of the Templars, the King of France, and the Pope.
The Grand Master of the Templars, who had in been office since 1295, was Jacques de Molay. He was a simple, unlettered Knight, personally brave, confiding and unsuspicious, incapable of intrigue or treachery, not very clear headed or resourceful in the face of other than physical peril. His intentions were always good; his conduct under the severe trials to which he was subjected was sometimes weak. He was a man who could be easily deceived and could be worked upon through his reverence for the Pope, his respect for the King, and his honest desire to protect the interest of the Order and the welfare of his brother Knights.
The Knights generally were fighters and some of them were men of affairs, but they were not thinkers and they were not intriguers. It has been said that they were too stupid to be heretics but this is probably an extreme statement. They were rather simple minded single hearted gentlemen thoroughly loyal to the cause to which they had dedicated their lives and for which they were ready to die.
The King of France was Philip IV, commonly known as Philippe Le Bel or Philip the Fair, a name, by the way, which would better be translated, Philip the Handsome. Born in 1268 he ascended the throne in 1285. As his name indicates, he was a man of singular beauty, being said to be the handsomest man of his time. He was cold, self-contained, far-sighted, crafty, and unscrupulous. He possessed great ability and was absolutely remorseless in the choice of means and in the pursuit of his ends. It is said that he was never known to smile and those whom he crushed in the cold persistency with which he executed his purposes said that he was not a man at all, but that his beautiful body was inhabited by a demon instead of a human soul.
It must be admitted that from the point of view of the interests and prosperity of the kingdom he was a good king. In his day France was well governed and strongly consolidated and he left it on the whole in a much better condition than he found it. He had one supreme end in life and that was to make the royal government supreme in France. He was determined that the government should be independent of priests or noble and the king should have a free hand, not limited in the exercise of his authority by any powers within or without the confines of the kingdom.
To accomplish this he believed that two things were necessary. One was that the shackles imposed by the papacy upon the King of France, in common with the other monarchs of Europe, should be broken and the crown of France relieved from the domination of the Vatican. The other was that the feudal nobles should be brought into subjection to the crown and especially that the independent power of the Order of the Temple should be broken, their wealth plundered for the filling of the royal Treasury, their great estates restored to the usual condition of feudal dependency, and their resources of men and money made available for the purposes of the kingdom.
The Pope was Clement V. In order to understand the conduct of Pope Clement, it is necessary to go back a little. At a comparatively early period in the reign of Philip, Boniface VIII ascended the throne, in 1294. The predecessor of Boniface was Celestine V, one of the most singular popes who ever occupied the chair of St. Peter.
Deeply imbued with mysticism, he was a dreamer of dreams and a writer of strange books. The sanctity of his life and the strangeness of his somewhat unintelligible writings placed him on the narrow edge between condemnation as a heretic on one side and canonization as a saint on the other. Whether saint or heretic, he was utterly unfit for the difficult administrative duties of the papacy. He never wanted to be Pope and after a short and troubled reign he was induced to resign, and sought seclusion, which was really imprisonment, in a monastery, where he died in a very short time.
Boniface was certainly the leader in the movement which brought about the resignation of Celestine and was charged with being the author of the unfortunate old man's misfortune. At any rate, he succeeded him on the papal throne. There was quite a good deal of doubt in the minds of canon lawyers as to whether a pope could resign, and therefore a cloud rested on the title of Boniface, a cloud which was only partially dispelled by the death of Celestine. The enemies of Boniface, and he had many, declared that the death of his predecessor was not a natural one and that Boniface himself was responsible for it.
Boniface was proud, arrogant, and rash. He declared himself over-lord of all the monarchs of the world, and set the high water mark of papal pretension. On one memorable occasion, when there was a vacancy in the office of Emperor, the Pope appeared in public, brandishing his sword and declaring that he was Emperor as well as Pope. He claimed, and attempted to exercise, power to set up and pull down kings and even emperors.
Naturally, Philip the Fair and Boniface very soon found themselves engaged in a deadly conflict. Boniface laid France under an interdict and excommunicated King Philip and his family. The King, supported by a host of the clergy as well as the laity of France, appealed to a future Council of the Church. It is worthy of mention that this appeal was signed by the Order of the Temple. The appeal struck Boniface in his most sensitive spot. The question of whether or not a Council was superior to a Pope had not yet been settled and the assumption that it was his superior was unspeakably exasperating to the overbearing, tyrannical Boniface.
King Philip was far too aggressive to content himself with this appeal. Seizing an occasion when the pope was absent from Rome on a visit to Anagni, his native town, and comparatively undefended, the king sent his chancellor, William de Nogaret, and Sciarra Colonna, a great Italian noble who was on bad terms with the pope, to arrest Boniface. By whom Philip expected that the pope would or could be tried is not clear. The charges preferred were intrusion, that is to say, forcing himself into the papal chair without proper title, gross immorality, tyranny and heresy.
Boniface was actually arrested and treated with great indignity. Some authorities say that he was actually struck in the face by Colonna. The people of Anagni rose and overpowered the guard and released Boniface, but the shock of his arrest with the attendant humiliation and indignation caused his death within a few days.
He was succeeded by a somewhat colorless pope, Benedict II, who ruled only from October 27, 1303, to the seventh of the following July. He released France from the interdict and Philip and his family from excommunication, but his reign was otherwise unimportant.
Now came the question of the election of a new pope, in which Philip proposed to play an important part. His attention fell upon Bertrand de Got (Gouth). De Got came from a Gascon family and was an Aquitainian, that is to say, an English subject, for it must be remembered that at this time about half of what is now France belonged to the dominions of the English kings, either by descent from the Dukes of Normandy, or by virtue of the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry III.
De Got was Archbishop of Bordeaux. He had been an early friend of Philip, who knew the man thoroughly, but in the quarrel between Philip and the pope, he had sided with Boniface. Election to the papacy was not then limited to the cardinals, and the Archbishop of Bordeaux might well aspire to the tiara. He was extremely ambitious, hungering with all his soul for wealth, honor, and power. Philip knew his man and believed that as pope he might be controlled, especially if he was made to feel that he owed his election to the king.
Philip did not see the Archbishop personally, as has been claimed by many writers, but he did unquestionably have an understanding with him through intermediaries before using his influence to secure his election. Two questions were raised by King Philip. One was the question of the suppression of the Order of the Temple, for the interest of both church and state through the abolition of the power and privileges which made the Templars so objectionable to both. The other was the question of the heresy of Boniface VIII. King Philip threatened to bring pressure to bear which would make it necessary to call a General Council before which he would impeach the late Pope of heresy. In view of the great unpopularity of Boniface and of certain things said and done by him, there appeared to be great danger that the charge could be pushed home and the memory of the late Pope attainted of heresy to the great scandal of the church and disgrace of the papacy.
De Got was unscrupulous enough to agree to almost anything in order to be made Pope and he therefore agreed to co-operate in the suppression of the Order of the Temple if the king would agree not to press the charge of heresy against his predecessor. With this understanding King Philip supported his candidacy and he was elected Pope and took the title of Clement V.
As might be expected it very soon appeared that Bertrand De Got who wanted to be Pope and Clement V who was Pope, were not quite the same person. Like many another successful politician before and since the Pope had no intention of fulfilling pre-election promises if he could get out of it.
His first movement was to propose the consolidation of the Order of the Temple with the Order of the Hospitalers. This would then enable him to reorganize both bodies and amend their charters. This project was proposed in 1306, but was abandoned on account of the vigorous opposition of the Grand Masters of both the Orders. The Pope then proposed to reform the Order of the Temple, but moved slowly in carrying out the project.
King Philip was very impatient at the Pope's delay and continually pressed him to fulfill his promises of suppression under threat of a general Council and condemnation of Boniface VIII for heresy. He was not content, however, with insistence and threats. Through his agents he found two broken Knights of worthless character, Esquiau (Squin) De Florian, a Frenchman, and Noffo Dei (Deghi), a Florentine. These men claimed to have been members of the Order of the Temple and offered pretended confessions in which they charged the Order with heresy and various abominable practices. For all this they were well paid.
On the basis of this manufactured evidence Philip submitted formal charges to the Pope. The Pope received them, but continued to delay action. Philip's determination, however, was more than a match for the Pope's procrastination. He found means to force the Pope's hand through the intervention of William of Paris, Grand Inquisitor of France. The Grand Inquisitor had been King Philip's confessor and was entirely ready to lend himself to the King's desires. By virtue of his office he had power to take summary action in all cases of heresy within the kingdom and to take such measures as he saw fit to deal with them.
Philip submitted his evidence to the Grand Inquisitor who forthwith demanded of the civil authorities the arrest of all the Templars in France. Obviously this was a very serious matter. If the Templars had taken concerted action to resist such an arrest it would probably have been impossible. Assembled in their strong houses they might have stood siege until aid could have reached them from other countries and it would have been a very serious question whether Philip could have retained his throne. Plans were therefore laid for their capture by surprise and arrangements were made for the simultaneous arrest of all the Knights throughout the kingdom on the night of October 13, 1307.
The blow came like lightning from a clear sky. It is true that the Templars had been aware of the circulation of unpleasant reports. They knew that there were whispers of evil and De Molay had gone as far as to ask, in 1306, that an investigation be made into the conduct of the Order, but investigation was the last thing the King desired and no attention was paid to the request.
The apprehensions of the Templars were set at rest and their confidence was further deliberately strengthened by the treacherous conduct of the King. In 1306 King Philip had been assailed by a mob in the streets of Paris and saved himself from great personal danger by taking refuge in the house of the Templars which happened to be not far from the scene of disturbance. This obligation, however, rested lightly on his conscience. The Templars were accustomed to have a public reception of Knights in addition to the private initiation and King Philip attended such a public reception the spring of 1307. On October 12, the very day before that fixed for the arrest, De Molay was present by invitation, at the funeral of King Philip's sister-in-law and was assigned a place of honor among the participants in the ceremonies. It is not to be wondered at that the blow of October 13 was an entire surprise and was entirely successful. De Molay and all the Knights in the kingdom were arrested, their goods were seized, and their houses taken possession of, without the slightest attempt at resistance so far as we have any record.
The events which ensued are somewhat complicated and consist of two distinct sets of proceedings, first, personal proceedings against the individual Knights and second, proceedings against the Order as a whole and in all its branches.
Proceedings against the Knights were the first in time. They were begun with great vigor by the Grand Inquisitor of France, but there was some question about the Grand Inquisitor's jurisdiction. Particular rights and immunities of the Templars which have already been noted might be considered as placing them beyond the reach of proceedings not instigated by the Pope, or at least approved by him.
The Grand Inquisitor, however, would not allow himself to be troubled by questions of this sort and immediately proceeded to examine the arrested Knights under torture.
We must not forget that this was not an unusual proceeding. The examination of accused persons, and even of witnesses, under torture was the ordinary method of judicial procedure at that time. It was not a method confined to the Inquisition but was commonly practiced by the civil courts. It would have been very unusual if it had been omitted in this case. Horrible as it appears to us and useless as a method of ascertaining the truth, it was an every day occurrence in the 14th century and was absolutely relied upon as a method of getting at facts.
Torture was not confined to physical torment. The accused were promised clemency if they freely confessed the acts with which they were charged and named their accomplices. In the case of the Templars such promises were conveyed in letters under the royal seal. These letters were decoys pure and simple. They were either forgeries or deliberately written with intent to deceive and without the slightest intention of keeping the promises which they contained.
The accused were told that if they retracted these confessions they would suffer the pains of death in this world and of hell in the world to come. It was realized that men under physical torture will often say almost anything which may be suggested to them as a means of securing relief from their sufferings and these means were taken to prevent a retraction of these forced confessions.
Moreover the law of evidence in use in those days contained one provision which seems to us a peculiarly ghastly mockery. The confessions which were wrung from the lips of the tortured victims were taken down as uttered. Depositions thus obtained were taken to the victim after he had recovered from the first effects of the torture and he was asked to sign them. If he did thus sign them, aware that a refusal to do so would mean renewal of the tortures together with the before mentioned threats of death and damnation, confessions thus signed were held to be voluntary and not legally made under torture.
Naturally many of the Knights confessed. De Molay himself made a partial confession. Most of these confessions were afterwards retracted, but for the time being they stood.
The charges will be examined further on, but the principal things confessed should be noted here. They were:
Denial of Christ. Defiling the Cross by spitting upon it and by other methods too indecent to describe.
Indecent kisses which it was claimed the initiates were compelled to give the receiving officer on various parts of his body.
Sodomy. This, by the way, was a vice much more common in the 13th century than now and was ordinarily a part of any serious accusations made against either individuals or groups of individuals. It was one of the charges against Boniface VIII when he was arrested by De Nogaret and Colonna.
Idolatry. This was based on the alleged worshipof an idol, of which we shall hear more, and on the accusation that the cord which was part of the habit of every Templar was consecrated by this idol by being touched to it before the Templars put it on. Other abominations were vaguely referred to but these were the main points of the accusation.
(To be Continued.)
* * *
By Bro. Rabbi Eugene Mannheimer, Iowa
My Brothers: Mine it is to speak of the Trowel — that instrument which, occupying an important position in the work-chest of the operative mason is, as our ritual suggests, the especial tool of the Master Mason; made use of by operative masons to spread the cement which unites a building into a common mass, but utilized by the Free and Accepted Mason for the more noble purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of friends, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who can best work and best agree. What instrument could be of nobler significance? What implement of more glorious inspiration?
Through the use of the trowel, spreading the cement, the single bricks and stones, once a chaotic mass, now stand united and solid, to form this noble edifice which we dedicate this day to the cause of God and Masonry. Through the symbolic service of the Masonic trowel, spreading the cement of brotherly love and affection, we, the individual members, once as separated and chaotic as these stones which house us, are as firmly bound together in a union which dedicates us one for all and all for one. . . What were this structure, which we solemnly consecrate, had not the trowel been honestly wielded, or if the cement and mortar should fail it? What were our brotherhood without the bond of love and affection to bind us close? And only as long as this bond continues to unite us, only so long will this Temple stand a true shrine of Masonry and of God. Only so long will our Brotherhood be a real brotherhood, worthy of its consecration and its vows.
Do we need this lesson? Does this thought require the especial emphasis we would wish to give it? Truly, none more. None to which mankind has beer. more impervious in all times and all ages.
Three thousand years ago, on Judea's plain, the prophet of the Lord proclaimed: "Behold, it shall come to pass in the latter day that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established at the top of the mountains and exalted above all hills. And all nations shall flow unto it. And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall there be war any more." For two thousand years, not the one seer alone, but all prophets and ministers of Judaism and Christianity together have united to emphasize the same ideal. They have urged and re-urged the truth on the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of all his children. Out of such conviction they have hoped to bring to dawning the day of universal peace.
But look about us today and see the result. Where is the brotherhood, the affection, the peace, the understanding? Do not bigotry, hatred, superstition, ignorance and jealousy flourish as ever before? Are not differences in creed, color and birth, on the slightest provocation, still found meaningless excuse for savagely warring nations, as for many of-their supposed superiors in culture? Does not the whole modern world panorama but demonstrate that whatever our lip service to the ideal of God's fatherhood and Man's brotherhood, whatever the hymns and prayers that have arisen from our temples, the songs and prayers were not from the heart but from the lips of man only?
As Master Masons, who have taken the obligations of the three degrees, brotherhood is our ideal. We have vowed to eradicate darkness, hatred, superstition and misunderstanding from out our own lives and from out the world as far as lay within our power. Recognizing no particular creed within our Lodge room, hailing as brothers the followers of all creeds who are worthy of such recognition, we have taught ourselves, and we hold before the world the constant example, that men of different creeds can stand and work together for a common purpose. Living in a world of discord, in which brotherhood, love, sympathy and justice are, all-too-often, nothing more than words, it is urgent beyond expression that we continually reimpress our vows upon our hearts and minds, that we may never lose them from our lives. Most urgent of all is it for us to spread their influence as far and wide in the world as our united power will permit, that thus we may do our share to end the reign of bigotry, hatred and superstition. Thus will we do our part to help hasten the dawning of the day when the glorious brotherhood and peace dream of the prophet shall be realized.
As men and Masons we understand that this task is not easy of accomplishment. But as men and Masons we have faith in God, in our fellowmen, in ourselves. We know that the attainment of the goal is the sure promise of the morrow. In this faith we live and labor on.
But note this one thing more, my Brothers. Those who wrote our ritual did not harbor the foolish notion that initiation into Masonry would in some mysterious way, in a single moment, through a single act, change the entire nature of the initiate, to make him in a moment the perfect servant of God and man that his obligations require of him. We are not told that as the result of entering the Masonic fraternity a man must be at once, so filled with the spirit of brotherhood that the spirit of false contention CAN never again find lodgment within his breast. We are told that it SHOULD never again be found within him. The demand is made of each of us who comes to this Altar to take the obligation, that he shall continuously thereafter strive to eradicate from his heart the prejudice, error and misunderstanding that may have filled him in the past, that at last the moment may come when he is a Mason in reality as well as in name. But the burden of making ourselves such true Masons is placed upon our own shoulders, and nowhere else. To us ourselves and to no others the task is assigned.
It is these high and noble purposes, my Brothers, of which the Trowels are here emblematic. These the ideals, of which they stand to remind us upon our Altar. As we consecrate these trowels anew, this night, unto their holy offlce, unto these same holy purposes may we, at the same time, re-consecrate ourselves. To these ideals may we vow renewed fidelity.
* * *
WATCH YOUR STEP
Yet in opinions look not always back;
Your wake is nothing, mind the coming track;
Leave what you've done for what you have to do;
Don't be "consistent," but simply be true.
— O. W. Holmes.
* * *
ARCHES AND ARCHES
Build as we may we shall not reach the sky;
Our little arches bend forever low
Beneath the eternal arch that curves on high,
Above the eternal depths we do not know.
— F. D. Snelling.
* * *
THE LODGE ROOM OVER SIMPKIN'S STORE
Brother Lawrence N. Greenleaf
Past Grand Master of Colorado
The plainest lodge room in the land was over Simpkin's store,
Where,Friendship Lodge had met each month for fifty years or more.
When o'er the earth the moon, full-orbed, had cast her brightest beam
The brethren came from miles around on horseback and in team,
And ah! what hearty grasp of hand, what welcome met them there
As mingling with the waiting groups they slowly mount the stair
Exchanging fragmentary news or prophecies of crop,
Until they reach the Tiler's room and current topics drop,
To turn their thoughts to nobler themes they cherish and adore,
And which were heard on meeting night up over Simpkin's store.
To city eyes, a cheerless room, long usage had defaced
The tell-tale line of lath and beam on wall and ceiling traced.
The light from oil-fed lamps was dim and yellow in its hue,
The carpet once could pattern boast, though now 'twas lost to view;
The altar and the pedestals that marked the stations three
The gate-post pillars topped with balls, the rude-carved letter G
Where village joiner's clumsy work, with many things beside
Where beauty's lines were all effaced and ornament denied.
There could be left no lingering doubt, if doubt there was before, The
plainest lodge room in the land was over Simpkin's store.
While musing thus on outward form the meeting time drew near,
And we had glimpse of inner life through watchful eye and ear.
When lodge convened at gavel's sound with officers in place,
We looked for strange, conglomerate work, but could no errors trace.
The more we saw, the more we heard, the greater our amaze,
To find those country brethren there so skilled in Mason's ways.
But greater marvels were to come before the night was through
Where unity was not mere name, but fell on earth like dew,
Where tenets had the mind imbued, and truths rich fruitage bore,
In the plainest lodge room in the land, up over Simpkin's store.
To hear the record of their acts was music to the ear,
We sing of deeds unwritten which on angel's scroll appear
A WIDOW'S CASE — FOUR HELPLESS ONES — lodge funds were running low —
A dozen brethren sprang to feet and offers were not slow.
Food, raiment, things of needful sort, while one gave loads of wood,
Another, shoes for little ones, for each gave what he could.
Then spake the last: "I haven't things like these to give — but then
Some ready money may help out" — and he laid down a TEN
Were brother cast on darkest square upon life's checkered floor,
A beacon light to reach the white — was over Simpkin's store.
Like scoffer who remained to pray, impressed by sight and sound
The faded carpet 'neath our feet was now like holy ground.
The walls that had such dingy look were turned celestial blue,
The ceiling changed to canopy where stars were shining through.
Bright tongues of flame from altar leaped, the G was vivid blaze,
All common things seemed glorified by heaven's reflected rays.
O! wondrous transformation wrought through ministry of love —
Behold the LODGE ROOM BEAUTIFUL! — fair type of that above.
The vision fades — the lesson lives — while taught as ne'er before
In the plainest lodge room in the land — up over Simpkin's store.
* * *
THAT WHICH ABIDES
A great character, founded on the living rock of principle, is, in fact, not a solitary phenomenon, to be at once perceived, limited and described. It is a dispensation of Providence, designed to have not merely an immediate but a continuous, progressive and never-ending agency. It survives the man who possesses it; survives his age — perhaps his country and his language.
— Edward Everett.
* * *
Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
— Cowper. The Task.
* * *
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN — NO. 2
Edited by Bro. Robert I. Clegg
Caxton Building, Cleveland, Ohio
Note. Evidence multiplies that this Correspondence Circle idea has met the desires of a great number of our Members. This did not surprise any of us. The remarkable — and unexpected — feature of the replies to Brother Clegg's September letter was the universal desire that the Society should from the beginning lead off in a definite Course of Study. The demand appears to be for something very like a Chautauqua organization. Our theory of co-operation between Study Clubs contemplated an interchange of queries and results between groups of Brethren undertaking to work out programs of their own, suited to local conditions. This, we felt, would make of the Society's office an headquarters, a forum, a radiating center, suggestions coming in and being forwarded everywhere that similar needs seemed to exist. We had hoped to add, from time to time, references and helpful plans for overcoming obstacles.
But to meet the present unexpected situation requires time and study. We shall not shirk the problem, but with your help, will tackle it confidently. Our friends must needs see that it will only be as they present their suggestions and problems that we shall be able (if at all) to think them through.
This much must be said, in order that the Society's attitude shall not be misunderstood. We can only work out the outlines of study, papers, etc., which this new plan will require, in co-operation with our own Members as individuals, or as voluntary Study Clubs. What is said must be considered as suggestive and advisory only. Those who go along with us do so for the sole purpose of self-improvement, even as we expect to be benefited by your efforts. As light radiates from its central source without producing friction, but generates warmth and fruition on far-distant bodies, so must we mutually agree that our united efforts — we supplying as best we can that which you will use — shall be always and ever a union with the single purpose of promoting a better understanding of Masonry, and between Masons. In a word we embark now into a new enterprise, but as before, with no ulterior motive whatever. We simply "think out loud" in an effort to help one another.
COMMITTEE READY FOR TOOLS
Your work has, by comparison, taught a number of the Brethren the baldness of the effort here, and encouraged them to try to better conditions. A Committee on Masonic Research and Education has been selected but has no tools with which to work. You would confer a great favor if you be so good as to cause me to be sent instructions regarding organization, and such literature as would be helpful during the formative stage. With best wishes, I am, Yours fraternally, E. M. Walker, Masonic Temple, Winnipeg, Man.
The October issue of The Builder has in the Bulletin section in the center a letter from S. H. S. His problems were analogous to yours. They are indeed so closely akin that I might venture in default of further particulars from you to repeat verbatim what I then said. If in any wise the answer to S. H. S. does not properly meet all the requirements I shall be willing, yes, anxious to serve you in every practical manner.
If your plans are local, and of such were my intentions in preparing the letter for the September issue (vide inside back cover), then the situation is less awkward for me to handle. I feel very diffident at making suggestions toward State organizations. Such a group of earnest students as was suggested in the September issue could very informally but effectively pursue research studies. Simplest of organizations is all that is necessary. For those who may consider something more formal I shall be very glad to assist in any way that is unobjectionable to the Masonic authorities.
With a very few books of reference and a supply of the various publications issued by the National Masonic Research Society you can easily make a start. During the initial stages and until your members get the swing of the movement you can use for discussion some of the papers that will be printed for that purpose in The Builder and in this Bulletin. Our resources will be at the disposal of the Society, as long anyway as they will hold out under pressure, and I am always ready to comfer with any of the members. Kindly call upon me again as you go along. I am keenly interested in everything you undertake in study club propaganda. How can I best serve you?
EARNEST STUDY TO BE ENCOURAGED
I am much interested in Bro. Clegg's proposition for group meetings, and request a list of the members of the Research Society in my location. If anyone else in this section should request a list please give him the preference as I am Secretary of Adelphi Lodge and don't feel that I can really afford the time and effort necessary for such a proposition, but feel the lack of real earnest study among the brethren.
I would much rather be an enthusiastic booster for some good leader than to have to do the leading myself, so even if some other brother requests later than mine please give him the preference.
We have over 500 members and are doing considerable work, so you can see the Secretary is fairly busy. Julius H. McCollum, Secy., 40 Shelter St., New Haven, Conn.
My heart goes out to the active Secretary of a big lodge. What a multitude of things come his way, all demanding prompt and systematic and continually courteous attention. Yet who has better chance to bring studious Freemasonry straight home to the members, old and new? Masters come and go but Secretaries commonly continue permanent as the famous pillars at the porch, greeting the guests, cheering sojourners, ever making programmes and seeing them duly executed.
Your letter was officially acknowledged forthwith. If there is anything that I can do now to start you off the more successfully please let me know of it.
AWAKEN THE HEART INTEREST OF MASONRY
I wish to make response to open letter from Robert I. Clegg for list of members of Research Society in my immediate vicinity for co-operative study of the neglected half of Masonry, the heart part. I very much commend your work. Yours very truly and fraternally, A. K. Bradley, Tioga, Texas.
You have indeed hit the spot. It is the heart interest we seek to encourage. Too much of Freemasonry has been allowed to push the research intimacy of it aside. Advise us oœ your progress. Easy as it is to start something, it takes vim to keep agoing Your letter rings so true that I shall expect further light upon your advance. Please keep us posted on your progress. Highly value your complimentary words.
HOW SHALL WE START SOMETHING?
I see in the September BUILDER something about clubs for the purpose of studying Masonry. I am writing for information and as to how to get started. Fraternally yours, A. G. Templen, Greeneville, Mo.
Your desire for information on the best way to make a start — is met fairly well in the Bulletin accompanying the October BUILDER. Other particulars as to local members were sent to you direct. Much more than these details are necessary and will be supplied in due course as my opportunities and the resources the Society are capable of dealing to the best of our respective abilities with the situation. We want to start right in all we attempt but we shall avoid all possible delays.
DENVER IS UP AND DOING
If there is to be a study club organized in Denver, Colo., I would like very much to become a member of it. I have been trying to get into something like this for a long time. Have been doing a lot of Masonic reading lately, but don't get out of it hat I should and am sure that what we need is some definite plan of study along some certain line. Very truly yours, W. A. Reynolds, 1079 So. Corona, Denver, Colo.
If there is not a study club organized in Denver it will not be because of any lack of the finest material for membership therein. Be sure and get my old and highly esteemed friend, Henry F. Evans, the secretary of Rob Morris Lodge, to join it. Where there is one like Evans there must be others of the same kind. In him is the true instinct of evangelism. He cannot help but be a missionary of Masonry. You won't have to interest him. Long ago he was vaccinated and it took for keeps.
A definite plan of study along some certain line is as you noint out essentially necessary. In the October issue I briefly resented an outline for the student of Freemasonry. Any one of the topics enumerated would require a lot of study before apoaching exhaustion.
But such an outline will not meet all the necessities of the case. What I am considering, and what I hope to make an actual start at in this issue, is a paper or two in some such convenient form as to be read at any study club. It ought to be complete in itself. Have plenty of references so that the diggers among us may go ahead with their own pursuit of the Masonic quarry, but independent of the literary frills so that every brother can understand and appreciate fully. But proceed along the lines laid down in the October issue. Make a start. Meantime we must as we are able provide for all the needs that are being so suddenly developed on the heels of that pioneering letter of mine in September.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS IN BUILDER
Note the series of questions running in The BUILDER. Would appreciate information as to how to procure answers to same. If published in book form please advise where same can be procured. I understand that there is to be a study club organized here as soon as Temple No. 4 can arrange and fit up a new home. Reply at your convenience appreciated. Yours fraternally, W. H. McEwen, 2106 Providence street, Houston, Texas.
The series of questions may be answered by referring to the book pages quoted in the articles published in the BUILDER. Perhaps you refer to the inquiry that once in a while waits in the correspondence columns. Such instances are few, very few. So I rather think your reference is to the lists of questions emanating from study clubs. The questions are really in the nature of a review, quickening the interest and impressing the memory with what has been the purposes of the book on which the questions are founded.
Why let the study club wait for a new home for the lodge? Lodge business is going on while the tenancy is fluid. Pending the change you might plan with your local brethren the initial meetings of a study club eminently deserving the excellent quarters that I hope are in store for you. Please start something. Surely there can be no better time. Can I help you?
AN EXCELLENT PLAN OF CAMPAIGN
Have read Bro. Robt. I. Clegg's letter on inside back cover of September number of BUILDER and it's just what I have wanted for a long, long time. Will you please send me a list of the members of the Society in this immediate vicinity so that I may write them calling their attention to Bro. Clegg's letter and arrange for a meeting in the near future?
As to the course of study we will want to pursue, I am afraid that we will in a way be obliged to begin with the ABCs of Masonry, but will write you in regard to this after we have our first meeting.
If you have on hand a supply of Bro. Clegg's letter that I may enclose in letters to Brothers who are interested in the study side of Masonry but are not at this time members of the Society, I would be glad to receive about five of same and through the study club they may be made to realize what they are missing by not receiving the BUILDER. Fraternally thine, J. A. Stiles, Morganfield, Ky.
Many thanks. All that we could send your way has been forwarded from Society headquarters. Do not fail to ask me for anything that will help you in making a start. I have in prospect the publication of just such papers as I fervently hope will meet your requirements. These will appear soon, perhaps a beginning may be made in this issue. Meantime it is most cheering to note how thoroughly you have caught the spirit of the enterprise. Your club is certain to be a success.
STARTING STUDY CLUBS BY WIRE
TELEGRAM — Will you please send me paper regarding lecture course of outline in September issue by Clegg? Will appreciate a prompt reply as subject to come before our Lodge September 18th. Wire me collect if I am too late. H. M. Marks, Jr., W. M., Lodge 148, F. & A. M., Ft. Worth, Texas.
All the available information went your way as quickly as possible. We hope that it was of service to you though probably too hurried to do what could have been done with a greater expenditure of time. The October issue of the BUILDER contained an article or two written with your telegram in mind. If they did not give exactly the data of which you were in search I trust you will write us again and go more thoroughly into details of what is wanted.
TEXAN TAKES HOLD IN FINE STYLE
We desire to get Masonic Lectures started in the various organizations here. I note "An Open Letter to our Members " Sept. 16th, The Builder. We desire a lecture once a month, given by our Masonic Club in their rooms, fostered by Master Masons. We may be able to start study units. We have a place to meet. The Brethren will come together on call of the Club the Third Tuesday in each month. The elements are all here. The Club has a small library already. We need something for that Third Tuesday and you can supply the need I'm sure. Cordially, K. Robey, Fort Worth, Texas.
Your letter in connection with the telegram from your neighbor, Bro. Marks, is conclusive that Masonic activity in your vicinity is most progressive. You have the opportunity in shape and are prepared to go on with the work. We hope to publish the very material of which you are in search and shall endeavor to time our labors so that they will fit in nicely with the Tuesday,s on which you hold meetings. Your plans strike my fancy very favorably. Every contingency seems anticipated. My heartiest congratulations on your perseverance and your foresight.
A STUDY CLUB OF ONE, PLUS
Kindly forward me such information as you may have at your command in compliance with Robert I. Clegg's suggestion in your September issue of the BUlLDER. I am much interested in such work and hope within a year or two to be in a position so that I can mingle with Brother Masons more than I am permitted at this time or for the last five years. In the meantime I can be preparing for the future as I have much time that can be devoted to study. Waiting your early reply, I am, Fraternally yours, Lem L. Gaghagen, Pelican Bay Woods Camp No. 2, Odessa, Oregon.
Your message somehow gives me the impression that at the moment you are too isolated for study club purposes with the companionship of many Masons. Consider yourself therefore a member-at-large, entitled to receive all the information that goes to any study club and participating in such long-range benefits as can possibly be deflected your way.
This Bulletin department should be of particularly direct help to you in maintaining a close acquaintance with the brethren. Many who cannot join study clubs must be cared for here. Their independent study will through the BUILDER have excellent vehicle for carrying the results of their investigations afield.
Let no brother lament that near him there can be no study club. He can, as does the good brother here, look ahead to the approaching and favoring prospects and in the meantime make the best possible use of our current advantages in the study of Freemasonry.
LOCAL AND NATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS
Enclosed find check to cover membership fee of Bro. J. R. Hunter. Will say in behalf of the BUILDER that we find it very helpful in our Club work and we hope that by the first of January, 1917, all our Club members will be members of the N. M. R. Society. Thanking you for past favors, I am, Fraternally yours, N. T. Roach, Winslow, Ariz.
The benefit from membership in a national organization is very evident. If it were only that we can spread our inquiries over the larger field, membership in the countrywide body is preeminently worth while. We need you, and in the proportion that our membership nationally is larger than is yours locally so do you get the greater outlook with us.
In every manner practicable we plan to make the contents of the BUILDER minister to the better knowledge of Masonry and your approval of it is appreciated warmly.
BOOKS, PROGRAMMES, MEMBERSHIPS
Upon the repeated solicitation of a number of the Brethren of the Craft of this city, I am making a canvass among the membership to ascertain whether or not it would be possible to organize a Masonic study club. With that purpose in mind I have approached one of our very brightest Masons to assist us in the work should we succeed in starting a club of that kind. He consented.
I now ask you, if I am not asking too much of you, to please send me such literature as is being sent out to such clubs in your state. Or state whether we ought to affiliate under the Research Society. I should like to have a study program or outline of work. Also what books, if any, we must purchase. Any information necessary to thoroughly start us to working will be appreciated. Kindly send me a couple of blanks for brethren who desire to join the N. M. R. Society. Thanking you in advance, I am, Yours fraternally, E. W. Cruss, 32°, 2314 Ave. M., Galveston, Texas.
For the reasons stated in the immediately preceding letter and my comments, it does seem highly desirable that you and your brethren should become members of the National Masonic Research Society. A further argument is that this body has already collected a fund of information that has been given the light of print in the BUILDER and in other publications. This data is available for all of you as members. In the first volume of the BUILDER, in Dean Pound's book oL the "Philosophy of Masonry," and in various other reprints, the Society has now at your command enough for alluring discussion at many meetings.
The October issue had a briefly expressed line of work laid out with a number of references to topics and to authorities. We expect to supplement this with a series of papers in this month's Bulletin. Such papers will not be too weighty but will be arranged for ready use at any study club. They will have a fund of references for deeper and further inquiries.
My own preference as to books is given in the October issue. If I could afford to buy but one book I would get Mackey's Encyclopedia, the very latest edition. I am doubtful about study club libraries; the individual member's own set of books is the thing to aim at. I do not profit by the sale of any book and therefore my opinion is all the more that of a buyer of volumes. Lodge libraries are usually stagnant. Perhaps study club libraries may not run into the same ruts. But anyway I have more faith in every member having his own books and slowly adding to their number. Please refer to what is said on the question of books here and there in the Bulletin of October.
FIRST AN ORGANIZATION, THEN FOR THE REST
In answer to the Open Letter in the September issue of the BUILDER I write asking for a list of the members of Research Society who receive the BUILDER at Onawa. I would like very much to get a Study Club started. Unless the list has already been sent I would like to have it. After we get an organization, we will no doubt need assistance as to topics and programs. I think the study club idea is the genuine fruit that should be the result of the Society and the BUILDER. Fraternally, Mark H. Dobson, Box 476, Onawa, Iowa.
Any way that we can help you from headquarters, or anything that I can do personally, will be cheerfully done with all the speed and conscientiousness that is ours. Emphatically you are right. We are ready and must go forward. The accepted time is now. Please call on our facilities as if they were in very deed your own.
GRAND LODGE URGES MASONIC STUDIES
North Dakota Grand Lodge passed a resolution during the recent session of Grand Lodge favoring the aggressive pushing of Masonic study during this coming winter. We, in the library, are making every effort to get reading lists, study outlines, etc., with that in mind. We are advised that the N. M. R. S. has just such lists and outlines which may be obtained for the use of its members. If such is the case, may we hope to receive from you some assistance of this sort? Personally, I should be very glad to learn just what the resources of this sort are which are available for the use of the members of the association. Yours very truly, Clara A. Richards, Librarian in Charge, Fargo, North Dakota.
Let me ask you please to examine the present Bulletin and also the one that appeared in the October issue of the BUILDER. There was in the latter a reply to S. H. S. which gave with some degree of detail what I was venturesome enough to offer to one Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Education. I offered the suggestions with considerable diffidence. I again do so. If they contain anything of worth to the brethren of North Dakota and to the Librarian, I shall be abundantly repaid.
An outline of Masonic study is given in the October Bulletin and some references are given to books as well as topics. In general, and maybe for the bookish and scholarly Mason, this October outline would serve roughly as a guidepost at the very least.
It does not satisfy me. As the writer of it I have every right to criticise it. If we are to make Masonic study really attractive we must go a long way beyond the point of directing the other fellow's footsteps. Many must be led for a while. This calls for actual papers to be presented to the study clubs and so thorough and so interesting that everybody will go away afterward feeling that all could understand and also be inspired to do some digging on his own account.
Masonry has at its command the best men of our own generation. As their minds are gradually turned toward the literary delights of Masonic investigation we may count upon an unearthing of rare possessions. I therefore rejoice exceedingly in the activity planned by your Grand Lodge and I anticipate we shall be greatly benefited by your co-operation with us. I hope your Grand Lodge and its subordinate bodies will become allied with us in the most useful of studious associations among Masons in America.
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What we call degeneracy is often but the unveiling of what was there all the time; and the evil we could become, we are. If I have in me the tyrant or the miser, there he is, and such am I — surely as if the tyrant or the miser were even now visible to the wondering dislike of my neighbors.
— George MacDonald.
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A SIGNIFICANT CHAPTER IN THE EARLY HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY
By R.I. Clegg
I HOPE to present some facts of very general interest to the brethren. Whatever use may be made of them is a matter for each of you to determine for himself There are those who will value these details as most important contributions to the ever wondrous story of the Craft. Others will I daresay hold them as mere coincidences, incidents of only accidental import and of minor pertinence at best.
Be that as it may, the field is open to you all. Many hints are already available. Many more are doubtless waiting for you. It is the purpose of our organization, the National Masonic Research Society, the individual as well as the collective forces of the body, to take up these admittedly slender threads of testimony and her them into whatever cord of evidence is proper and practicable.
Two points of consequence should first be mentioned: First, It is impossible in a paper written for publication to say many things relative to the ritual that could readily and properly be communicated by word of mouth within the inner door of a Lodge. My brethren must therefore apply for themselves much of what I shall say, having the ritual constantly in mind, continually asking yourselves if the words written do apply in any wise to what each of you has experienced either as a candidate or as an officer in the conferring of the Masonic ceremonies. Please therefore add to what I shall here utter your own knowledge of the work. Much will in that way be made clear.
Secondly, in a paper such as this I must not be too technical. For those who desire to carry forward the study of the subject I shall elsewhere in the Bulletin of the Society submit a selection of authorities to be consulted. This list can easily be lengthened to elaborate proportions. Such an array of authors and of literary productions adds strength to any paper but if too freely quoted the effort becomes cumbrous and burdensome to speaker as well as to hearers.
I am convinced that the really interesting and instructive things to be said and to be treasured about Freemasonry need be neither tiresome nor appalling. Whatever success we may meet in our endeavors toward this end, successful or unsuccessful as any of us may be, we should honestly make the effort. Too often the study of Freemasonry is hidden behind a cloud of words or weakened by a poverty of facts.
Returning to our topic after thus clearing away the path, let me state my case briefly.
Today the blessings of education are about us. Common is the ability to read.
Suppose that the contrary was true. Assume that Freemasonry was active but that the common people were little informed as to moral truths in the manner that the church and Craft desired them to be known. It would under those conditions be a likely prospect that Freemasonry would attempt a means of bringing the instruction of religion to the masses.
To make the contents of the Book of Law vivid to the people there is no more striking method of presentation than the pictorial one employed by the devout peasantry and townsfolk of Oberammergau who for so many years exemplified the tale of the Christ on the stage. That Freemasons should have done this is by no means out of the question as I shall hereafter show to some extent.
Now carrying this picture in your mind's eye, the early Freemasons staging the episodes narrated in the Scriptures, permit me for a moment to take you a step further. After several scores, yes, hundreds of years, of such labor by the Craftsmen we find the people gradually acquiring a learning sufficient to meet their needs in the study of the Bible for themselves. Then there would be less necessity for the public instruction of the multitudes by Freemasons. The field properly tilled, the Craft would then in all probability withdraw.
But would it entirely abandon its dramatic presentations? Not necessarily. These very probably would in some form be continued. Spectacles and pageantry delight the eye and make a very vigorous appeal to the mind. Many who listen with dull ears are keenly alive to impressions upon the eye.
Did the brethren of old desire to select some most striking lesson to teach a great truth then what could they have preserved of more consequence out of the many known so well to them than the one acknowledged as the climax of the Craft degrees and which reappears in various forms in so many of the grades Masonic of every rite, old or new?
You may now ask for proof of these speculations. Backward we turn the pages of dramatic history. What do we find? Among the trustworthy chronicles brought down to our own times is the account of the city of London written by William Fitzstephen who died in 1191. He is quoted freely by Stowe who flourished some four hundred years afterwards. Well, what says Fitzstephen, the monk of Canterbury?
"London," says he, "instead of theatrical shows and scenic entertainments, has dramatic performances of a more sacred kind, either representations of the miracles which holy confessors have wrought, or of the passions and sufferings in which the constancy of martyrs was signally displayed."
Who took part in these staged moralities, these dramatic episodes of religion? The artisan corporate bodies. Stowe is unmistakable when in his "Survey of London" he enumerates the "Skinner's well, so-called for that the skinners of London held there certain plays yearly, played of Holy Scripture, etc."
Snell in his "Customs of Old England" points out a very noteworthy conclusion as to the origin of these religious ceremonials. "As far as can be ascertained, the earliest miracle play ever exhibited in England — and here it may be observed that such performances probably owed their existence or at least considerable encouragement to the system of religious brotherhood detailed in our opening chapter — was enacted in the year 1110 at Dunstable."
Incidentally, I may here allude briefly to the religious orders, such as the followers of Saint Benedict. The initiation of a member of the Order of Saint Benedict has been described by our late and greatly lamented Brother Gould. Further details may be found in the various histories of the Order. The ceremonial includes a dramatic teaching of the impressiveness of death and the hope of immortality.
Early artisans and merchants of England (legally chartered by the government to carry on their respective trades and professions) joined hands with the religious orders to adequately represent these Scriptural incidents. Each Craft took some important episode and we can readily understand that there was involved a lively trade rivalry, a competition that brought out a remarkably effective result.
Eventually these isolated plays, crude as they must originally have been, grew into pageants, each extending over several days, and the degree of elaboration meant an expense of labor and of money restricting these exhibitions to the larger centers of population and of wealth. Thus there came about the planning and the presentation of the four great cycles, those of Chester, York, Wakefield, and of Coventry. The cycle was a series of plays forming a compendium of history. Commencing with the Creation, the cycle proceeded to unfold the story of earth and the people thereof unto the times of the New Testament. Movable stages were devised so that the several sections of every locality could be reached and the halt or lame accommodated conveniently.
Says Archdeacon Rogers of the stage itself, as quoted by Snell: "A high scaffolde with two rowmes, a higher and a lower, upon four wheeles. In the lower they apparelled them selves, and the higher rowme they played, being all open on the tope, that all behoulders might heare and see them." Wood and iron were used in the construction of these portable stages. Trap doors were in the floor of the stage covered with rushes.
Roger Burton, the town clerk of York, has enumerated for us the various trades taking part in the Play of Corpus Christi in that city. It reads as if an inventory of all the industrial crafts. The cycles were a glory of the city and it became a point of honor not to be outclassed by any other city; or for any participating guild, or "mystery," to be outshone by a competitor.
Sometimes the sections of the play cycle were appropriately apportioned to some particular craft or organization. Thus there are instances where this aptness of assignment of duties is very marked. Take the scene where Noah is warned to undertake the making of the ark, this part of the representation being given to the "Worshipful Company of Shipwrights"; and then when the patriarch appears in the completed ark this was done by the Mariners, a special touch of realism and of trade propriety being afforded by this division of duties.
Towns were for the time being turned into theaters. The huge stage was drawn from one station to another. Again we may quote from quaint Archdeacon Rogers in what he says of Chester: "The place where they played was in every streete. They begane first at the abaye gates, and when the first pagiant was piayed, it was wheeled to the high crosse before the mayor, and so to every streete; and soe every streete had a pagiant playinge before them at one time, till all the pagiantes for the daye appoynted weare played; and when one pagiant was neere ended word was broughte from streete to streete, that soe they might come in place thereof excedinge orderlye, and all the streetes have their pagiantes afore them all at one time playeing togeather, to se which playe was greate resorte, and also scafoldes, and stages made in the streetes in those places where they determined to play their pagiantes."
Sometimes the elaborate arrangement of the plays so enacted by the craftsmen was by no means unworthy of mention in the same breath with our modern scenic triumphs. For example we are told that at one portrayal of the "Trial of Jesus" two stages or scaffolds were simultaneously employed. One of these displayed the judgment hall of Herod, the other was reserved for that of Pilate. Messengers on horseback passed between the two halls of judgment. By no manner of means was this an unambitious exposition of Biblical story, but one that compares quite favorably, as I am sure you will agree, with what has in our own times been attempted in that direction.
When the pageants passed from the churches into the streets for their rendition they gradually became less dominantly controlled by the churchly authorities and were the more closely governed by the civic and guild officers.
Pope Gregory held in the year 1210 that the priests must no longer participate in what had in his belief ceased to be an act of public worship.
Devotees of the church in a strict construction of the edict lost regard for the Craft plays but it is very significant for us as Freemasons that Manning who in his translation of a French manual upon sins denounced such representations and regarded it sinful to look upon them, yet held as allowable that the resurrection might be played for the confirmation of men's faith in that greatest of mysteries. Manning's prejudice was not universal. More than a hundred years later, in 1328, the Bishop of Chester counseled his flock to resort "in peaceable manner, with good devotion, to hear and see" these stagings of the Scriptures.
Moreover the Grey Friars of Coventry had a cycle of Corpus Christi plays of their own. These they exhibited outside the town. Exactly what was the reason for the selection of this place of portrayal is not clear. Shell records the conjecture that it was so chosen because of the competition of the trade guilds.
The fifteenth century found at York a famous preacher, William Melton. He declared that it was necessary to have certain changes made in the conduct of the pageants. Accordingly, the mayor, William Bowes, on the 7th of June, 1417, issued an ordinance that has some elements of interest for us. Among the various regulations we find "that no man go armed to the disturbance of the peace and the play, and the hindering of the procession, but that they leave their weapons at the inns, upon pain of forfeiture of their weapons, and imprisonment of their bodies, save the keepers of the pageants and officers of the peace." So were they duly and truly prepared.
Hone in his "Ancient Mysteries Described" tells of the practices followed in the church. These suggest the fount from whence the greatly embellished plays of the guilds were evolved. As for instance we may take "The Making of the Sepulchre," as it was termed. This custom, founded upon old tradition, taught that the second coming of Christ would be on Easter eve. Therefore Jerome conceived that the people should await until midnight in the church for the Redeemer's appearance.
The "Making of the Sepulchre" and the watching of it remained in England until the reformation. An account of it by Davies follows:
"In the abbey church of Durham, there was very solemn service upon Easter Day, betwixt three and four o'clock in the morning, in honor of the Resurrection; when two of the oldest monks of the choir came to the Sepulchre, set up upon Good Friday after the passion, all covered with red velvet, and embroidered with gold, and then did cense it, either of the monks with a pair of silver censers, sitting on their knees before the Sepulchre. Then they both rising, came to the Sepulchre, out of which with great reverence, they took a marvellous beautiful image of our Savior, representing the Resurrection, with a cross in His hand, in the breast whereof was enclosed, in most bright crystal, the holy sacrament of the altar, through which crystal the blessed Host was conspicuous to the beholders. Then after the elevation of the said picture, carried by the said two monks, upon a fair velvet cushion all embroidered, singing the anthem of "Christus Resurgens," they brought it to the high altar setting it on the midst thereof, the two monks kneeling before the altar, and censing it all the time that the rest of the whole choir were singing the aforesaid anthem; Which anthem being ended, the two monks took up the cushion and picture from the altar, supporting it betwixt them, and proceeding in procession from the high altar to the south choir door, where there were four ancient gentlemen belonging to the choir, appointed to attend their coming, holding up a most rich canopy of purple velvet, tasselled round about with red silk, and a goodly gold fringe; and at every corner of the canopy did stand one of these ancient gentlemen, to bear it over the said images with the holy sacrament carried by the two monks round about the church, the whole choir waiting upon it with goodly torches, and great store of other lights; all singing, rejoicing, and praying to God most devoutly till they come to the high altar again; upon which they placed the said image, there to remain until ascension day."
These early practices of the church are not extinct. Particularly at Christmas there are many observances to be found that remind us strongly of these ancient customs from whence the craftsmen of old drew the inspiration for their great public displays of theatrical skill.
You may ask if there is record of the Masons having taken part as an organization in the city cycles of pageants. There is a carefully prepared account still extant of the York pageants. This is entitled "The order of the Pageants of the play of Corpus Christi, in the time of the Mayorality of William Alne, in the third year of the reign of King Henry V. anno 1415, compiled by Roger Burton, town clerk."
There are fifty-four scenes, some of which are depicted by more than one class of craftsmen. For instance, the Pewterers and the Founders were associated in the rendition of the thirteenth scene. The first scene was assigned to the Tanners, and was "God the Father Almighty creating and forming the heavens, angels and archangels; Lucifer and the angels that fell with him into hell." So we go on to the eighteenth scene, alloted to the Masons. This was of "Mary with the child; Joseph, Anna, and a nurse with young pigeons; Simeon receiving the child in his arms, and two sons of Simeon."
You will be interested to learn that some of these old morality plays are even yet of record and are by no means trivial. In fact the conditions under which they were produced, and the time spent upon them for some hundreds of years, must have brought them to a very high plane.
Take the Cornish Mystery of the Crucifixion:
Jesus — Woman, seest thou thy son? A thousand times your arms Have borne him with tenderness. And John, behold thy mother; Thus keep her, without denial, As long as ye live.
Mary — Alas! Alas! Oh! Sad! Sad! In my heart is sorrow, When I see my son Jesus, About His head a crown of thorns. He is Son of God in every way, And with that truly a King; Feet and hands on every side Fast fixed with nails of iron. Alas! That one shall have on the day of judgment Heavy doom, flesh and blood, Who hath sold him.
John — Oh sweet mother, do not bear sorrow, For always, in every way I will be prepared for thee; The will of thy Son is so, For to save so much as is good, Since Adam was created.
Jesus — Oh Father, Eli, Eloy, lama sabacthani? Thou are my dear God, Why hast Thou left me, a moment alone, In any manner?
First Executioner — He is calling Elias; Watch now diligently If he comes to save him. If he delivers him, really We will believe in him, And worship him for ever.
(Here a sponge is made ready, with gall and vinegar. And then the Centurion stands in his tent, and says:)
Centurion — I will go to see How it is with dear Jesus: It were a pity on a good man So much contumely to be cast. If he were a bad man, his fellow Could not in any way Truly have such great grace, To save men by one word. (The Centurion goes down.)
Second Executioner — It is not Elias whom he called; Thirst surely on him there is, He finds it an evil thing. (Here he holds out a sponge.) Behold here I have me ready, Gall and hyssop mixed; Wassail, if there is great thirst.
Jesus — Thirst on me there is.
Third Executioner — See, a drink for thee here; Why dost thou not drink it? Rather shoulds't thou a wonder work! Now, come down from the cross, And we will worship thee.
Jesus — Oh, Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit; By Thy will take it to Thee, As Thou sent it into the world.
(Then Jesus shall die. Here the sun is darkened.)
You have here, my brethren, a story of the cross that for simple strength is not easily excelled. Not for a moment is it to be marvelled at that great throngs saw these spectacles. Theatrical skill in abundance was lavished upon them. Devoted craftsmen contributed freely of their means in money and histrionic ability. Great religious orders gave them literary aptness. Monks and Masons, Church and Craft, combined the best that in them was for the portrayal of the Scripture story from the creation to the cross, from the Fall to the risen Lord.
This co-operation of forces has curiously given some things in common to the Catholic and Protestant Churches and the Masonic organization. Think of the similarity of symbolism, particularly of colors as with blue, red, purple, white, etc. Consider the ritual of the Mass, its obvious teaching and the signs and ceremonies that are its accompaniment. Ponder over the joint uses of such words as warden, deacon, chapter, council, consistory, and so forth. Do these not tell us of the days when the brotherhood of Freemasons held up the hands of the church with dramatic fervor, with an ornate stage, showing the Scripture and saying its story in so simple and strong a style that the least informed might be made wise unto biblical truths and all fundamental philosophies?
This fact I hold to be one of the greatest significances of Masonic history, a heritage to be proudly possessed and passed onward.
* * *
NOTES FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
Readers of the Bulletin will have observed the suggestion made on the fourth page in the October issue for a "Course in the Study of Masonry."
Under the head of "Ritual" I mentioned several items for consideration. One of these was the "Mystery Plays of the Middle Age." Promptly I received a request that I say something further on this topic as at least one good brother had never thought of these plays in that connection. The above article was at once prepared. It is not intended to be comprehensive. Time for its preparation has been so limited that I have been unable to cover to my liking certain phases of the subject that demand critical attention. Yet it may serve for the present. And it may also provide a paper that can be submitted at any study club. Frankly do I admit that it is not my ideal of a paper for study club consideration. I shall have other papers and I hope papers of even more general appeal and perhaps more pertinent significance. When we get to the stage where we are receiving papers from study clubs everywhere we shall indeed have a finer quality of production.
To the good brethren who seek to pursue this subject further for themselves, and beyond the confines of the various Masonic publications, I have a few references to provide.
An excellent chapter on "Miracle Plays" is to be found in Snell's "Customs of Old England." (1)
Some few references are to be found in Stowe's "Survey of London."
I am especially fond of that volume in "Everyman's Library" entitled "Everyman, and Other Interludes, including Eight Miracle Plays." (2)
"Everyman," by the way, I have been tempted to reproduce in this Bulletin, and later may do so. It is a morality play in which the various attributes of manhood are personified and converse with the individual when he approaches his death. This exhibition of Wisdom, Strength, Beauty, Good-deeds, Fellowship, etc., in the shadow of death is of decided interest to the Freemason, and is peculiarly apt to the era of my paper of which it is indeed a valuable survival.
Hone's "Ancient Mysteries Described" (3) contains some curious lore upon old church customs. Allusion to one or two of the many cited by Hone is made in my paper.
The Encyclopedia Britannicahas an article on the Drama. About a column of it treats of the old miracle and morality plays. While you are looking through the Encyclopedia, glance at the articles entitled "Initiation" and "Mutilation." While these do not directly touch upon the plays here treated, they have marked interest to the student of primitive ceremonies. From the consideration of these peculiarities we may derive light upon society, secrecy in the earliest stages of its evolution.
F.H. Stoddard's "References for Students of Miracle Plays and Mysteries" (4) furnishes a bibliography that up to the date of publication, 1887, is ranked as full. The little volume, "Everyman," already mentioned, has in the introduction a very useful set of references.
The two volumes of Taunton's history of the "English Black Monks of St. Benedict" (5) can be consulted for some additions to the references I have made in the above text to what is said on the subject by Gould. R.I. CLEGG.
(1) [Snell] Charles Scribner's Sons, New York
(2) [Everyman] E. P. Dutton & Co., New York.
(3) [Hone] William Hone, London, 1823.
(4) [Stoddard] University of California Bulletin No. 8.
(5) [Taunton] Longmans Green & Co., New York.
* * *
THE MEASURE OF GOODNESS
Be good at the depths of you, and you will discover that those who surround you will be good even to the same depths. Nothing responds more infallibly to the secret cry of goodness than the secret cry of goodness that is near. While you are actively good in the invisible, all those who approach you will unconsciously do things that they could not do by the side of any other man. Therein lies a force that has no name; a spiritual rivalry that knows no resistance. — Maurice Maeterlink.
* * *
CHIPS FROM THE QUARRY
Human improvement is from within outwards. — Froude.
In this world a man must either be hammer or anvil. — Longfellow.
Architecture is frozen music. — De Stael.
Greek architecture is the flowering of geometry. —
Emerson. A Gothic church is petrified religion. — Coleridge.
* * *
A MAN'S MAN
Charles Bayard Mitchell
A man's man must be his own man. I mean by that he must have faith in his own integrity. He does not discount himself. He knows himself. He has surveyed his own estate and knows his limitations and boundary lines; but knows his powers, as well. He has studied himself. He has discovered within himself a duality; one side of him tending downward, and the other upward. He aims to be true to his better self. By restraining the evil and giving vent to the good within him, he has seen the better forces coming to the throne of his life. He can trust the scepter in the hands of his own better nature. He dares trust himself. He can trust his instincts. He yields quickly to his intuitions. He feels strong in the sense of his own integrity. He knows he is a true man — others may think what they please. He knows he rings true. When a great question is to be decided he dares take it to the bar of his own better judgment and abide its decision. His mind is superior to doubt and fluctuation. He can laugh at opposition. He feels within himself the power to will and to do. He dares to do what others fear. He initiates where others follow. He has a sublime confidence in his own power to carry out whatever he wills. He knows no timid lingerings. Neither doubts nor misgivings keep him back from the trial. He is larger than his vocation and superior to opinion. He is impervious to contempt and ridicule.
No man can be a man's man who is not his own man. Discount yourself and the world will take you at your own estimate. A divine self respect, a sane self-confidence, must mark the man who aspires to win the confidence of his fellow men.
* * *
THE SPIRIT OF MASONRY
It is one of the most difficult things in the world for one to be just, while suffering from injustice. It is not an easy thing to permit one who attacks another's reputation to go on with his own reputation apparently unsullied. It is not a simple matter to be non-partisan when one is being held up to scorn by partisans. It is not a pleasant thing to stand aside, inactive, while designing persons are telling lies about us. But the man who can be JUST under trying conditions, and the man who can refrain from showing resentment when assailed, and the man who can still be non-partisan when subjected to partisan attack, and the man who can resist the temptation to talk back when he knows that some one is Iying about him — all of these men are exemplifying the spirit of Masonry. — John W. Hill, 33°.
* * *
THE SWEETNESS OF LIFE
There's night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things; there's likewise a wind on the heath. Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die?"
— George Barrow.
* * *
By Joseph Fort Newton
YES, it is London. Had I been set down here from anywhere, or from nowhere, I should have known that it was old London town. Here all things turn to the left, as they do in the Inferno of Dante — there is no mistaking the place. And speaking of the Inferno, the English way of handling baggage gives one a clear idea of what that place must be like.
How quiet London is. Compared with the din of New York and the hideous nightmare of the Chicago loop it is as quiet as a country village. There are no sky-scrapers to be seen, but the scene spread out like a panorama from the top of Primrose Hill is not to be forgotten! Yes, it is London, the greatest city in the world, and not another like it. But which London is it? Well, that depends upon what London you are looking for.
There are many Londons, my dear reader. There is the London of the Tower and the Abbey, of Soho and the Strand, of Buckingham and Downing Street, to say nothing of Piccadilly. There is the London of the story-book; of Whittington and his Cat and Goody Two-Shoes and the Canterbury Shades; of Shakespeare and Marlowe and Chatterton; of Nell Gwynne and Dick Steele and poor old Noll — aye, the London of all that is bizarre in history or strange in romance.
They are all here, with much else in this gigantic medley of past and present, of misery and magnificence. Sometimes for me it is hard to know which holds closest, the London of Fiction or the London of History, or that London which is a mingling of both — the London of Literature. Anyway, as I see it, Goldsmith carouses with Tom Jones, and Harry Fielding discusses philosophy with the Vicar of Wakefield; Nicholas Nickleby makes bold to introduce himself to Mr. W. H. Thackeray and to ask his favor in behalf of a poor artist, the son of a hair-dresser in Maiden Lane; and Boz, as he passes through Fleet Street, is tripped by an Artful Dodger and falls into the arms of St. Charles Lamb.
No doubt my London is in large part a dream, not to say a fool's paradise, but it is most enchanting. Slowly it works its ancient spell, and he who does not love it is fit for stratagems and spoils — not fit for anything, I had almost said. There is no denying, I am in love with London, and can drink as much tea as any Englishman who ever coveted his neighbors goods. Here is the center of the world, so far as I am concerned, the great old city of the motherland of all my fathers — everywhere the hauntings of history, a scene to stir the soul of one who loves England equally for its fiction and its fact.
Yesterday I visited the Abbey and attended the afternoon service — an hour I can never live long enough to forget. How can I express my feeling as I stood for the first time in that grey old pile thinking of the mighty dead who sleep there — thinking how those pillars have stood through all the nights and days, through storm and calm, peace and war, for ages. Truly, "time, the white god, makes all things holy, and what is old becomes religion." I sat facing the Poet's Corner, where Tennyson and Browning sleep side by side, as they should in the eternal fitness of things, and the effigy of Shakespeare has the bust of Burns nearby. If one cannot pray in Westminster Abbey, where men have prayed for centuries, and where the echo of voices long hushed still cling to its arches, he cannot pray at all — unless it be on the wide and eloquent sea!
Today I went to St. Paul's and heard the Archbishop of Canterbury preach, and after the service wandered for two hours in the recesses of the cathedral. Descending into the crypt one looks upon the tomb of Nelson, the mighty lord of the sea, and the sleeping place of Wellington, the great commander of the English race. Lord Roberts rests a few feet away. Here sleep the great artists — as the poets are honored in the Abbey — among them Wren who built St. Paul's, a famous Mason. Who can measure the influence of such a building, enshrining as it does so many historic memories, the dust of great men, and the tradition of ages of patriotism and prayer? It stands for order in the stl eets, for order in the land, for order in the secret places of the soul!
From St. Paul's it is not a far walk across London Bridge to Southwark Cathedral — hardly less interesting and far less known. In this parish stood the Globe theatre, in which Shakespeare made himself and England famous, and there is a recumbent figure of the poet in alabaster — the gift of Americans. His younger brother lies buried there in company with Massinger and Fletcher. Indeed, it had been a place of literary renown long before Shakespeare, in the days of Gower, who rests there, and Chaucer, whose Canterbury pilgrims set out from the Tabard Inn, once close at hand. Also, in this parish was born John Harvard, founder of our great university, and there is a chapel in his honor in the cathedral. And so my story might go on endlessly.
Old London is the keeper of a great history, but the London of today is athrill and athrob with the stir of history in the making. How impressive to step out of some grey old church — like that of St. Bartholomew, or the Temple where poor Noll found rest at last — into the teeming, tragic London of today; from the peace of the past into the tense air of the greatest war in all the annals of time. If the London of old is hallowing, London of today is thrilling — sometimes terrifying. There is a sense of a vast tragedy only a few miles away, and here one is behind the scenes, so to speak — soldiers and sailors everywhere; armies of nurses, Red Cross emblems, ambulances, hospitals, and so forth.
How striking the contrast as one steps out of the quiet of the past where "the eternal ages watch and wait." Indeed, just now England is a world of women nurses, messengers, porters, tram and bus conductors, very conscious and important in uniform and badge and brass buttons. Manifestly the English woman is finding herself and she likes it. Bright-eyed, capable, and cheerful, she is doing things she never dreamed of doing before. Even women doing their ancient work as house-wives feel a new distinction, I dare say, and dust their rooms for the good of the country. They have learned their worth to the nation in a new way. Will they be willing to go back to the old ways after war? Can they do it? What will be the result? Will not England be permanently different?
Such questions have followed me ever since I landed. At Hyde park entrance the other day I saw one of the shrieking sisterhood which I thought were extinct — I wish they were. Maybe I shall live long enough to forget that sight, but I doubt it. Hideous is a mild word. Fact is, my profession will not allow me to say what I really feel. Those poor, half-crazed creatures have set their cause back fifty years in England, and injured it everywhere. Had I been shaky on the subject of suffrage, that harangue, and still more the wild-eyed fanaticism of the ranter, would have sent me away with a vast disgust. Heaven help a cause that has such advocates.
But she and the like of her are forgotten when one sees the heroic spirit of the multitudes of women who work and endure, counting their sorrow as only one item in a measureless common woe. And they are so brave and gay withal. Indeed, London is unnaturally gay and many are puzzled by it, knowing not what it means. Almost every reporter who has interviewed me — and they have been legion — has brought up the subject. Yet it ought to be very easy to understand. A man who had been in the trenches told me that there men learn to live a moment at a time — they may not be alive more than a moment. And the reaction, he said, an explosion of "insane gaiety," to use his words. Pent up feelings must find vent, and it is no wonder that the theatres are crowded every night — and the more rollicking the play the greater the jam.
Frankly, I was not prepared for the feeling against America which exists in England today, and I am amazed at it. It is widespread, and is sometimes so intense as to verge on anti-Americanism. My English friends assure me that it is not so in a way that really matters, but I know better — and Americans living here confirm my impression. Perhaps it is not so with those who are discerning, but with the man-in-street it is different. He feels, however wrongly, that America betrayed humanity in behalf of dollars. It is not so much that the president kept us out of the war, but the appalling way in which he did it, that hurts.
Further, the American government is a continuing entity to English people. They do not divide it into presidential terms or personalities, and the feeling against America will continue whatever the future may be in our politics. Therefore it behooves us to do all within our power — on both sides of the sea — to see that such a feeling does not gather force and grow; for, surely, the last and worst calamity that could befall humanity would be an estrangement between the Empire and the Republic having one language, one tradition, and one common ideal of civilization. But I am off my subject and had better go back to London.
The newspapers here interest me very much. They are small now, to be sure — except Old Thunderer, the Times— owing to the price of paper and the lack of labor. They are poorly printed, as compared with our papers — certainly the religious papers are abominably printed. But they are better written by far. They serve the news up after their fashion in more compact form, but in a much more lucid style, and some of the war correspondents — Phillips Gibbs more than any other, methinks — are very remarkable. Also, the editorial page has more influence than with us, though it has suffered decline, I am told, on this side. Men of letters write more frequently for the daily press than with us. Certainly the press, both in London and in the provinces, has been very kind to me in every way.
I am bound to say that religious conditions in England are most distressing and confounding. The churches are empty, for the most part, and have little influence — the state church emptier than the rest, if possible. Perhaps I should have said church conditions instead — for some of my thoughtful friends tell me that there is more religion outside of the church than inside. Carlyle thought it was so in his day. Anyway, I have attended three religious conferences since I came, representing three branches of the church, and the tone of bewilderment and discouragement was common to all. They know not what to do, and the ministers are all the time trying to explain the war and "to justify the ways of God to man" — with not much success, I must admit. It makes me think of a student in the University of Michigan, after three visiting ministers had each discussed the question of the existence of God. He said that up until that time he had never had any doubts, but that now he was a little uncertain. I am much in his case, as to the explanations I have heard so far.
There is a vast unbridged — and seemingly unbridgeable — gulf between the church and what is called the working classes; and it widens every day. What the end will be is hard to know. If the war did not save dear old England from something like revolution, it at least postponed it. Perhaps the shaking the war has given the churches will wake them up, before it is too late. For surely the people are as religious as ever they were, but the churches no longer express their religion. There are exceptions, of course, to all these statements — thank heaven — but I am speaking of the general condition.
And the City Temple is an exception to anything on earth. It is wonderful — all that I expected and more. It has been full from top to bottom at every service a sea of faces below and clouds of faces in the galleries. What a sight! What an opportunity! What a crushing responsibility! If anybody ever tells me that an English audience is unresponsive, I shall be ready to fight him. It is not so. I never had such a response, much less such a welcome, in any strange place in all my life. And if anything had been lacking at the Temple, it would have been made up by the Masons at their brilliant banquet and reception in my honor. That, too, was a scene never to be forgotten till all things fade in the dark. Of this more anon.
— — o — —
MASONIC LIGHT UPON MEXICO — A REPLY
By Bro. John Lewin Mcleish, Ohio
(Through the courtesy of the Editor of The Builder I have been privileged to peruse advance sheets of Bro. Eber Cole Byam's article, "Mexican Masonry, Another Side," written for the October issue of the magazine. Brother Byam presents so strong a brief against the Mexican Revolution which he italicizes as an I.W.W. Revolution, incidentally condemning Mexican Masonry and condoning Mexican Catholicism, that I am sorely tempted to plain speaking. Realizing fully our Masonic Doctrine of Tolerance, I shall stress the fact that any allusions herein made apply strictly to Catholicism in Mexlco, and I shall support my arraignment by references easily obtainable to those seeking More Masonic Light Upon Mexico.)
IN 1494 Pope Alexander VI divided the undiscovered regions of the earth by an imaginary line of longitude running through the Atlantic Ocean from pole to pole, three hundred and seventy miles west of the Azores. He gave the Portuguese unlimited sway over all the countries that they might discover to the east of that line, and pledged himself to confirm to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, the right to every isle, continent and sea where they should plant the flag on the western hemisphere. — (Mexico and the United States, by G. D. Abbot. Putnam.)
The Catholic Conquistador Hernan Cortez and his little band of mail-clad men brought only the sword and the cross to the New World. They took freely of the Emperor Montezuma's gold, enjoyed his hospitality, and in return began "a holy war" ruthlessly destroying the monuments, history, literature and records of a splendid Aztec civilization quite equal to that of the effete Spain from which they had come.
A Jesuit historian, Abbe F. S. Clavigero, in his History of Mexico, says: "The Spaniards in one year of merciless massacre sacrificed more human victims to avarice and ambition, than the Indians during the existence of their empire devoted in chaste worship to their native gods."
A more recent authority, L. Gutierrez de Lara, in his "The Mexican People: Their Struggle For Freedom," says: —
"In Mexico on the other hand, the invading Spaniards found not barbarism, but a feudal civilization, private ownership of land in place of communal ownership, and serfdom in place of nomadic liberty. With fire and sword they laid waste a civilization in many respects superior to their own: and the fighting elements among the natives, once subjugated or exterminated, the serfs fell perforce into the most abject servitude of their new masters. . . Spain brought to Mexico an arrested civilization and a fanatic Romanism embittered and perverted by the fierce conflict with Islam. The Holy Inquisition set its bloody fangs in the heart of the people: persecution, fire and torment quenched all liberty of conscience and the soul of Mexico lay degraded and shackled as even her body. The ignorant priests went so far in their hatred of all enlightenment, that emanated from any other source than the Vatican, that they burned to ashes the invaluable library in the Imperial Palace of the Aztecs, destroying at a blow the records of the culture beyond their comprehension."
The Pope's proclamation in 1494 set the precedent for the later policy of the Vatican to "Catholicize" the world, was the forerunner of the latter day slogan of the Cardinals, "We shall make America Catholic." Witness the Council of Trent convened by Pope Paul II in 1545 legislating "a body of canons that were to subject all mankind for all ages to the will of one man in the papal chair."
The Conquest successful, Spanish civilization fastened a firm hold upon Mexico. To quote from Wilson's Mexico: — "Many of these wretched people were formally reduced to the condition of absolute slavery, and some were even branded as such with the owner's initial by a red-hot iron, women as well as men, while the middle class, the real backbone of the nation, perished from the land."
Now quoting from my own article, "Mexican Masonry," published in Light of June 15, 1916:
"At the inchoation of the nineteenth century Mexico seemed hopelessly enslaved under the harsh rule of Roman ecclesiasticism expressing itself through the puppet personalities of Spanish Viceroys, representatives of a king and cortes utterly subservient to the Pope of Rome. For three hundred years this sad condition had persisted in Mexico. In consequence the clergy were stupendously rich, and seemingly fortified in an impregnable position. What was left of the natural resources of the country after supplying the priests and mother,country went to the enrichment of the Viceroy and the Spanish satellites making up his court. For the native-born was abject misery, slavery, dire poverty. Through the country the dread Inquisition flourished and held sway. Its wretched victims filled to overflowing the great military prisons like San Juan de Uloa with their disease-disseminating, vermin-infested, dark dungeons, veritable hellholes. So unutterably cruel were the penalties attached by the Inquisitors to failure to pay the clerical tithes, or any utterance against the existing order, a breath of what they might consider heresy, that wonder is the SYSTEM held sway as long as it did. However much the native-born contributed to their taskmasters, it was never enough. Overseas, decadent Spain was in dire,straits: Upon the Viceroys it devolved to pay the upkeep of the Court of the Bourbons, to meet the endless demands of the CLERICAL OCTOPUS fattening upon both countries."
A Roman Catholic Bishop, Las Casas, protested strenuously against the Spanish cruelties crossing the Atlantic twice to show convincing evidence that a continuation of the policy inaugurated by Cortez could only result in utter extermination of the Aztecs as a race and nation.
Let us now take more testimony from a Catholic Authority. Let a French Abbe, the Catholic Chaplain of Napoleon's Expeditionary Force to Mexico, speak to you from his book, "Mexico as It Is," published in Paris in 1867. Says this very reverend father, Abbe Emanel Domenech:
"Mexican faith is dead. The abuse of external ceremonies, the facility of reconciling the devil with God, the absence of internal exercises of piety, have killed the faith in Mexico. It is in vain to seek good fruit from the worthless tree which makes Mexican religion a singular assemblage of heartless devotion, shameful ignorance, insane superstition, and hideous vice. . . The idolatrous character of Mexican Catholicism is a fact well known to all travelers. The worship of saints and madonnas so absorbs the devotion of the people, that little time is left to think about God. . . If the Pope should abolish all simoniacal livings, and excommunicate all the priests having concubines, the Mexican clergy would be reduced to a very small affair. Nevertheless there are some worthy men among them, whose conduct as priests is irreproachable. In all Spanish America there are found among the priests the veriest wretches, knaves deserving the gallows, men who make infamous traffic of religion. Mexico has her share of these wretches. Whose fault is it? In the past it has been Spanish manners. . . climate. In the present it is the episcopate. . . Priests who are recognized as fathers of families are by no means rare. The people consider it natural enough and do not rail at the conduct of their pastors excepting when they are not contented with one wife. They make merchandise of the sacraments, and make money by every religious ceremony, without thinking that they are guilty of simony, and expose themselves to the censure of the Church. If Roman justice had its course in Mexico, one-half of the Mexican Clergy would be excommunicated. . . The well-instructed priests, disinterested and animated by a truly apostolical spirit, holy souls whose religious sentiments are of good character constitute an insignificant minority. . . One of the greatest evils in Mexico is the exorbitant fee for the marriage ceremony. The priests compel the poor to live without marriage, by demanding for the nuptial benediction a sum that a Mexican mechanic, with his slender wage, can scarcely accumulate in fifty years of the strictest economy. This is no exaggeration. The consequences of the excessive demands for perquisites in general are as lamentable to public morality as to religion."
It was just such esoteric knowledge of the evils of his brother clergymen that led Miguel de Hidalgo, a Mexican priest, to foreswear his vows and seek MASONIC LIGHT in Mexico City in 1806. From the time he sounded the slogan of revolution against the puppet Viceroys of Rome and Spain, to the ultimate triumph of Juarez, the enforcement of the Laws of Reform, through the successive revolutions of Madero, and Carranza, the fight has been for the one great principle of compelling the separation of Church and State.
If as Bro. Byam says, "The Church in Mexico was stripped and had the melancholy satisfaction of witnessing the chagrin and rage of the strippers because the booty was so much below their calculations," WHY NOT?
Nearly naked and poverty stricken came the priests to Mexico to kill and plunder the poor natives and amass fabulous wealth during the three hundred years of their undisputed sway. When the worm turns at last, to drive them from their piratical strongholds, to give back to the State that which the Church took by right of might and the Inquisition, is it other than the enforcement of a good law "Naked ye came and naked ye go"?
Again Bro. Byam says: — "Latin American Masonry is atheistic, revolutionary and contentious, and in Mexico it has become anarchistic and murderous."
I do not agree with Bro. Byam at all. Only in one of the twenty-seven states of Mexico was the Great Light absent from the altar and this I believe in Monterey, during the mastership of General Reyes. In regard to his statement concerning Bro. Castellot, I again quote from the New Age, the official organ of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, of January, 1915: — "Scottish Rite Masonry in Mexico is under the leadership of Dr. Joseph G. Castellot, formerly President of the Mexican Senate."
Permit me now briefly to epitomize from my article.Mexican Masonry, already referred to:
"Our first authentic Masonic record in Mexico may be traced back to a little house in Mexico City, Calle de las Ratas No. 4 where as early as 1806 the Masonic Lodge then known as "Arquitectura Moral" held regular meetings. . . Although the SYSTEM crushed the Moral Architect Lodge not at all did they preclude the spread of Masonry. In 1813 was established the first Grand Lodge under the Scottish Rite, having for its Grand Master Don Felipe Martinez Aragon. A number of subordinate lodges sprang up through the country. In 1816-1817 there were working under charter from the Grand Lodge of Louisiana these lodges, "Friends United No. 8," and "Reunion By Virtue No. 9." In 1824 the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania gave charter to a lodge working as "True Brothers of Papaloapam No. 191." . . . Factional fights and internecine strife were but natural in an order embracing men of the fervent, effervescent disposition of the native Mexicans. The time seemed ripe for a schism. It so happened that the American Minister to Mexico, Mr. M. Poinsett, was one of the high authorities of York Rite Masonry in his native land. For many symbolic lodges who petitioned him Bro. Poinsett secured a Charter under the York Rite of the United States through the Grand Lodge of New York. In 1828 there were as many as 102 York Rite lodges in Mexico working under this Charter. Out of the jealousies of the two active Rites Scottish and York emerged still a third, the Mexican National Rite, composed of York and Scottish Rite Masons. Although the York and Scottish Rites had taken a considerable part in the shaping of the Republic's welfare, it remained for the youngest of Masonry's Mexican daughters to openly formulate a definite platform. In 1833 the Mexican National Rite set forth its policy as follows:
"Absolute Freedom of Thought, Freedom of the Press, Abolishment of the Fueros (Privileges) of the Clergy and of the Army, Suppression of Monastic Institutions, Destruction of Monopolies, Protection of Arts and Industries, Dissemination of Libraries and Schools, the Abolishment of Capital Punishment, and Colonial Expansion."
All of these high principles and others were embodied in the Laws of Reform enacted and put into the Mexican Constitution by the greatest of the Masons of the Mexican National Rite, Brother Benito Juarez. They are the same principles for which First Chief Carranza is fighting today.
Says Brother Byam: — "The laws of Reform were not aimed at securing freedom of worship, but at the spoliation of the Catholic Church."
Even were his statement just, and I cannot for one moment admit that it is, may we not answer that when the Mexican State says to the Roman Catholic Church, "Take that thine is, and go thy way," is it the fault of the State that "Naked they came and Naked they go"? On the contrary, "We are satisfied: that is a GOOD LAW."
Naturally the Laws of Juarez did not at all appeal to the Vatican as you may see from reading a summary of their intent. They were:
1. Laws establishing liberty for all opinion, liberty of the press, and liberty of faith and worship. 2. Laws granting to the members of all denominations the right of establishing schools and colleges. 3. Laws permitting the intermarriage on terms of religious equality of Catholics and Protestants. 4. Laws permitting civil marriage. 5. Laws permitting the burial of Protestants in Romish lands where Protestants have no cemetery of their own in which to bury. 6. Laws establishing public schools for secular education that shall be free from the control of the Romish priesthood.
Said the Pope, joining with Bro. Byam, in condemning them, "They are contrary to the doctrines, rights and authority of the Catholic religion. Let it be understood that the Roman Catholic Church declares such laws as these, wherever they may be enacted, to be null and void." (See Christian World, Vol. XIX, pp. 312-314.)
Now to consider that portion of The Laws of Reform appertaining directly to the Roman Catholic Church. William Butler, D. D., summarizes them in his "Mexico In Transition," published by Hunt & Eaton, New York, 1893.
"The complete separation of Church and State. "Congress cannot pass laws establishing or prohibiting any religion. "The free exercise of religious services. The State will not give any official recognition to any religious festivals save the Sabbath as a day of rest. "Religious services are to be held only within the place of worship. "Clerical vestments are forbidden in the streets. "Religious processions are forbidden. "The use of church-bells is restricted to calling the people to religious work. "Pulpit discourses advising disobedience to the law, or injury to any one are strictly forbidden. Worship in churches shall be public only. "Gifts of real estate to religious institutions are unlawful, with the sole exception of edifices designed exclusively to the purposes of the institution. "The State does not recognize monastic orders nor permit their establishment. "The association of the Sisters of Charity is suppressed in the Republic, and the Jesuits are expelled and may not return. "Matrimony is a civil contract and to be duly registered. The religious service may be added. "Cemeteries are under civil inspection and open for the burial of all classes and creeds. "No one can sign away their liberty by contract or religious vow. "Education in the public schools is free and compulsory."
I am sure when Brother Byam carefully considers these wise enactments he will admit "The Laws of Reform are Good Laws, Just Laws."
Three years the Mexicans under Juarez fought for the Laws of Reform. Says De Lara, in his "The Mexican People :"
"But the fight was destined to be bitter and prolonged, for against the limited resources of the Constitutionalists were pitted the millions of the Church and against the calm statements of the constitution were pitted the inflammatory, seditious harangues of every priest in the country. . . The Church indeed, leaning strongly upon her fundamental policy of psychological debauchery, exploited every device known to the science of class rule, in order to counterbalance the simple, mighty appeal to the people of the great Constitution of 1857. Her priests throughout the land proclaimed "a holy war" characterizing the struggle as one against the enemies of God. The soldiers marched to battle bedizened with scapularies and crosses, bearing aloft flags and banners inscribed with the sacred images and symbols of religion. Those who fell were extolled as martyrs in the holy cause — the peers of the first Christian martyrs under the Roman Empire."
None the less right triumphed. The Clerical forces were utterly routed. Before President Juarez had full time to perfect the magnificent reforms he had in mind, the Clerical Conspirators prevailed upon France, Spain and England to press their claims for debt. As Napoleon the Little had foreseen Spain and England withdrew in disgust when they fully understood the full conditions of affairs in poor Mexico. Only the French remained to establish by force of arms the Empire of the Pope's puppet, Maximilian. I make this statement advisedly, and quote from the letter of Pope Pius IX to his Austrian fugleman as given in "Mexico a traves de los siglos," Vol. V, p. 671, sic: —
"Your Majesty is fully aware that in order to remedy the wrongs committed against the Church by the recent revolution, and to restore as soon as possible her happiness and prosperity, it is absolutely necessary that the Catholic religion, to the exclusion of any other cult, continue to be the glory and support of the Mexican Nation: that the Bishops have complete liberty in the exercise of their pastoral ministry: that the religious orders be reorganized and re-established, according to the instructions and powers that We have given: that the estates of the Church and her privileges be maintained and protected: that none have authorization for the teaching or publication of false or subversive documents: that education public or private be supervised and led by the ecclesiastical authorities: and finally that the chains be broken that until now have held the Church under the sovereignty and despotism of civil government."
Of how well Maximilian obeyed his Papal Master you may read in history. In 1866 Napoleon III ordered the withdrawal of the French Army of 50,000 men under Marshal Bazaine, leaving the Pope's puppet to pay the penalty with his life for his numerous Black Decrees and an unblushing effrontery in trying "to Catholicize" the Republic of Mexico.
I have touched more in detail upon points herein merely mentioned in my series, "Masonic High Lights of the Struggle for Mexican Independence," in The American Freemason of April and May, 1916, and October, 1916, to which I respectfully refer Brother Byam. Also to Light of May 15th, 1916, and June 15th, 1916.
A careful examination of the records will show that before the enactment of the Laws of Reform the Roman Catholic Church actually owned $200,000,000 of property from which and other sources the Church derived an annual income of not less than $20,000,000. How did they get it? You will remember that the priests who came over with Cortez possessed only a scanty wardrobe and their crosses backed by the mailclad men and the Holy Inquisition. "Naked they came and naked they go." It is a just law.
I have shown that Mexican Masonry had no clandestine origin.
Now relative to the claim of Bro. Byam that the late revolution was an I. W. W. and Socialists' Movement. Again I emphatically differ.
Matters were running along nicely enough in Mexico as long as President Diaz held true to his Masonic Vows, and kept in force the Laws of Reform. When having married a second time, he succumbed to the relatives of his young wife Senora Carmelita Diaz — all Catholics, . . when he lifted the barriers and allowed the Catholic Clergy some of their old Fueros or Privileges, Trouble Brewed in Mexico as it always will there and everywhere when the black-robed members of the Third Sex are allowed to play Politics.
Says De Lara, in "The Mexican People":
"Never for a moment since Diaz came into power in 1876 had the spirit of revolt ceased to fire the hearts of the people. Its manifestation had been repressed but the spirit lived on and grew stronger with the passing days. . . Mexico under Diaz was no place for revolutionists. . . A movement such as this which had for its avowed object the enforcement of the Constitution of 1857 in general, and the restoration of the agrarian democracy in particular called for prompt suppression at the hands of Diaz and the Scientificos. Such a suppression was not altogether easy matter. Up to the year 1910 literally millions of dollars were expended by the Mexican government to stamp out the revolutionary organization. At the same time the Scientists played into the hands of the Roman Church, with the result that Mexico was fined more than a million dollars in the matter of the restitution of the long cancelled Pious funds formerly paid by Mexico to the Church in California for the upkeep of the missions to the Indians."
Now let us listen to William R. Tourbillon, speaking on "The Curse of Mexico" in The New Ageof September, 1913:
"The Catholics in Mexico as in all parts of the world diligently seek and acquire special influence over the boys and girls, and over the sisters, wives and mothers of men. They especially direct their attention to the sisters, wives and mothers of men who are least religious so that they are able to dominate even where the head of the house is not a Catholic. . . The Cathlic Party knowing that General Diaz could not abolish the Laws of Reform as Chief of the Liberal Party, whose program was and is bound up with these very laws, worked with all the influence in their power to secure the aid and influence of the women in the families of Porfirio Diaz and his Cabinet. During the life of the first wife of President Diaz this influence was very small and Diaz stood firm in his convictions. His second wife, Mrs. Carmelita Romero Rubio de Diaz, a most devout Catholic, allowed herself to fall under the influence of the Church, which is ever ready to gain a foothold in some way or other, and through her dominated Diaz and the Government. Mrs. Diaz tried in every way possible to influence her husband. The Catholic Church through this influence gained many advantages, and even General Diaz was rapidly becoming a Mocho.
"Several years before the late Madero revolution materialized, and even during the time the late assassinated President, Francisco I. Madero was going through the country lecturing about the great principles of the Liberal Party, a great many Liberals, feeling the necessity that Mexico had for the preservation and enforcement of the Laws of Reform, and knowing that the Catholic Party was attaining greater and greater influence hoped and wished secretly for the success of Don Francisco I. Madero. President Diaz had been so long in power and had become so old that he did not realize the truth and strength of the movement that a few Liberals helped to blow into a great flame and secure his downfall. These Liberals knew that the great Catholic Party was regaining control and they were determined to stop it. After the loss of thousands of lives the Madero revolution triumphed."
I only wish space permitted the inclusion of the whole of this very convincing and authoritative narrative. As it is I shall abstract only enough to show the sordid conspiracy which caused the present dire state affairs in Mexico directly due to "The Catholic curse."
"The Catholics knew that with the late President Madero in power they could not dominate. Above everything they demand their former power. They are working with determined will to have the Laws of Reform revoked, and to that end nothing can stand in their path. . . The principles of the Madero Government were based on Masonic ideas. . . The principles of Masonry were deeply instilled in the heart of Madero and his Government. Based on these principles Madero spared the life of Felix Diaz who had forfeited it at Vera Cruz, where he was defeated and taken prisoner by General Beltran after his first revolt. . . President Madero with the help of Vice President Pino Suarez, (both Masons of the highest degrees,) believed, and what is more to the purpose put into practice even in the machinery of the Government, practical Masonry. His was a Masonry that meant enlightenment for the people — a Masonry that did not speak but acted, having always in view the advancement and education of the masses, with absolute faith in his brethren to carry out all the principles contained in the Masonic Code. The Catholics in Mexico, on the other hand, have been, were, and are today opposed to uplifting the masses. Their interests have been and are today joined with the 10,000 who own practically the whole of Republic of Mexico against the 12,000,000 that are the tools of the few. The 12,000,000 have always been kept by them where we now find them, for the priests know that if through Masonic principles the populace receive light, the Catholic Church would soon lase its hold over them."
I ask you to read the following arraignment by William R. Tourbillon and then tell me if you agree with Brother Byam that "the Mexican Revolution is an I.W.W. Revolution."
"Madero represented honor and truth. His Government despised treachery and cunning and unfortunately for him he had faith in all men. The Catholic Party stands guilty today of a base combination and they are morally guilty of the assassination of President Madero and Vice President Suarez. They lent their moral aid to its accomplishment. They are responsible for the present revolution in Mexico, because of their intrigues with Huerta and Diaz.
"With Madero's Government, Masonry stood for everything that is absolutely true, fair, honest and above-board, and the Catholic Party forsook all this, thinking they could gain more power."
"Out of a clear sky the revolt in Mexico City started. The Catholic Party began its intrigue through General Mondragan, who was afterwards made Minister of War. Mondragon through his friendship with the Colonel of the Government Boys' School "Aspirantes" induced the Colonel and the boys to join him. They united with another regiment, went to the military prison, freed General Reyes . . and released General Felix Diaz. The band separated into two parts, Reyes going to the National Palace and in the fight that ensued lost his life. Felix Diaz and Mondragon went to the arsenal which surrendered after a sham fight, and they took possession. All this had been prepared.
"Huerta came to the President and Vice President and reiterated his loyalty. He was Commander-in-chief. All the troops in Mexico were put under his command. . . The army under Huerta, President Madero's trusted friend, shot, at everything but the enemy. He was a part of the plot. The Roman Catholic Party had joined hands with him.
The conspiracy was carried out in every particular.
The farce had to be well played. Failure for the Roman Catholic Church, Huerta and Diaz was impossible. Diaz knew that the troops under Huerta would not shoot at him or his troops All had been arranged before hand by the Catholic Party.
"After the tenth day, Huerta personally invited the President's brother Don Gustavo Madero to dinner. . . Don Gustavo was seized and bound. He was sent to the arsenal, the enemy stronghold, where without any trial he was shot to death.
While Huerta did this, Huerta's aid, General Blanquet two blocks away from the National Palace, with a group of soidiers made prisoners of President Madero and Vice President Pino Suarez in the palace. Huerta the trusted friend and General of Madero and Saurez became President.
"Huerta held them prisoners in the palace for two days before they were killed. . . After the second day and at eleven o'clock at night, Huerta ordered that Madero and Pino Suarez should be silently taken from the palace in a closed automobile and sent to the penitentiary. When they arrived there, they were taken out to the wall at one side of this prison and met by a captain and twelve soldiers. Vice President Suarez was first shot. He had three bullets through his head and the brain in the back part of it was all destroyed. The twelve men were ordered to shoot Madero, but, recognizing the President, refused to do so. . .
"The Captain then struck Madero over his left eye with his pistol, knocking him senseless to the earth, and then the coward shot him from behind, the bullet going through his brain and coming out between his eyes. When President Madero was seen last, just before lowering his body into his grave in the French cemetery, his left eye was swollen; it was red and blue from the blow.
"Huerta, in order that no witnesses to this bloody murder might survive, had the twelve soldiers shot, and the Captain promoted to be a Colonel. During all that night Huerta did not leave the National Palace.
"This is the man, Huerta, to whom the Catholic Party of Mexico 'representing the Machos,' gave their assistance, friendship and money. Will they give him and his deeds the holy blessing of the Pope?"
Remember the facts stated are given on absolute authority. If Bro. Byam wishes more Masonic Light on this period I respectfully refer him to Hon. Luis Manuel Rojas, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, Valley of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, during that period, a true Mason who exhausted all the Masonic machinery at his disposal at that time to save the lives of his brothers Madero and Suarez.
President Taft to whom he repeatedly appealed by telegraph, had already imparted instructions to the American Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson, and relying upon his timely intervention referred Grand Master Rojas to him. Now I quote once more from Bro. Tourbillon:
"The Grand Master after the conference with Mr. Wilson, knew that the Ambassador was carrying out a policy that up to today has had no satisfactory explanation. Henry Lane Wilson, representing in Mexico the American Government, which since the days of its independence has despised treachery and cunning, and has never been a party to anything that is not absolutely true and above-board, allowed himself to become the tool of the Roman Catholic Party of the Mochos, of Huerta, Diaz, Leon de la Barra, and Mondragon. Ambassador Wilson therefore could have requested, could have demanded, could have secured the lives of Madero and Suarez, while he walked arm in arm with Huerta and the combination. . . Ambassador Wilson would not listen to the plea of Mr,s. Madero and Mrs. Suarez to save the lives of their husbands; he was implored and humbly besought by them to interfere, as they knew it was in his power to do. . . Mr. Wilson knew that Madero and Pino Suarez were to be taken prisoners, for the representatives of the treacherous plot met in the American Embassy. but he did not advise either Madero or Pino Suarez to escape
"One word from Ambassador Wilson would have been sufficient to have delivered them to one of the battleships which were then in Vera Cruz harbor. . . Nor was Mr. Wilson moved by the Grand Master's appeal in the name of all Master Masons in Mexico, made to him as a Master Mason, to save the lives of brother Master Masons."
Perhaps our Ambassador had conceived the same contemptuous opinion of Mexican Masonry as that voiced by Brother Byam in his article.
I have presented the facts supported I think by sufficient authority. If Brother Byam wishes more I have plenty at hand. I too lived some years in Mexico, part of the time in Mexico City where I had the privilege of daily meeting General Agramonte, Judge Andres Horcasitas, J. Mostella Clark and other Masons active in those days: also much time in interior Chihuahua where I saw daily for myself the oppressiveness of conditions for the masses. In our mines and smelter we employed many hundred men with whom I came in daily contact.
I have gone some length into this reply, because I cannot but regard Bro. Byam's article other than an excellent brief for Mexican Catholicism. Much more I might say did space permit but as Bro. Denman Wagstaff says sapiently:- Masonry does not fight Catholicism . . she tolerates it because of her great Charity for all things. The Roman Church is continually attacking Masonry. Very unchristian like I should say. We are not intending to attack or storm the Vatican. There is nothing therein contained that we need or want or prize. We not only do not covet our neighbor's goods, but being plain truth-tellers, we are in addition constrained to confess that "there is nothing there which would be of use to an American."
* * *
THE SUBLIME ACHIEVEMENT
By Bro. Henry Banks, P. G. M.. Georgia
IN all times, in all climes, and among all nations, wherever the banner of Masonry has been unfurled she has had her enemies. Though her pathway down the ages has been strewn with the most fragrant flowers of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, though the lives of the best and purest among the Sons of Men have been magnificent monuments to the grandeur of her mission, yet her enemies have not failed to decry her merits, nor ceased their efforts to destroy her usefulness. While the Masons of this glorious century — this century of soul liberty — have the freedom to erect her Temples and worship about her altars, the spirit of enmity still exists, and adverse criticisms of her methods are freely offered by those who are ignorant of her mission, or blind to the rich fruitage of her labours.
When we consider the antiquity of Masonry, the dangers through which she has so safely passed, the persecutions of bigotry, superstition, and fanaticism she has so successfully met and repelled, and behold her today with the glory of her centuries clustering about her brow, and the years of labour resting so lightly upon her unbowed form, standing upright and stately with all the vigour of her early youth, her feet as elastic to run errands of mercy — knees as supple to bend in prayer for a Brother's need — breast as faithful to receive and keep a Brother's whispered words, hands as ready and strong to support a falling Brother, and lips ever whispering words of cheer and comfort to the ear of distress — we stand with unshod feet and uncovered head at her mystic portals and fain would lay the laurel wreath of well-earned fame upon her pure white brow.
The flight of time has not dulled her ardour nor made sluggish the blood that richly courses through her veins. The finger of the ages has been powerless to mark the years of passage upon her beautiful face. Her form unbent by the burdens she has borne; her eyes undimmed, catch the sign of trouble, and her ears are quick to hear the plaintive cry of distress, while old Father Time, with all his perseverance, has not yet accomplished the task of unweaving the meshes of her hair, or weaving one silver thread among its golden tresses. Although her pathway down the ages has been marked by magnificent monuments of glorious achievement and gems of precious truth sparkle about her feet, yet she has not been, and is not now, free from detraction. The mystery and secrecy that hedge her in and veil her beauties from the prying eyes of the world is no barrier to the performance of her mission.
She came into the world at the cry of distress, uttered in man's need. No blare of trumpets or flaunting banners heralded her coming, but secretly and silently, as the dews distilled upon Hermon, she came from the loving heart of God to take her place as one of His mighty factors in the building up of the waste places in His moral kingdom, and to bless man by the beneficent power of her secret, silent influence. Masonry, with her beautiful ritual, impressive ceremonies, and the glory of centuries clustering about her brow, stripped of her moral character, would lose her greatest charm, her most precious jewel. For Morality is her foundation, Truth and Virtue her pillars, and Brotherly Love the high priest that ministers at her altars. To be good men and true is the first and most important lesson taught within her sacred walls. Every step of the candidate, from his preparation to the last solemn scene, as he passes through her beautiful ceremonies and is inducted into her mysteries, leads along a pathway strewn with fragrant flowers of truth, while diamonds of virtue sparkle about her feet, illuminating the mind with moral light, flooding the heart with a celestial glow of divine principles, inspiring the soul and leading up to a higher plane of holy, upright living. The trowels in our hands are rusty from lack of use, for the cement of brotherly love has not always been spread with generous hand. The hours of relief have been so destitute of service that we have well-nigh lost the gauge's use, while from lack of labour our arms have become too weak to wield the gavel in preparing the rough ashlars for the Great Builder's use. Wrong and error stalk among us, and ofttimes unseemly tread our chequered floor.
The mission of Masonry in the world is to fight the wrong and defend the right. Is she needed? Is her mission ended? Coming in answer to man's need for moral help, she has come to stay. Until there are no wrongs to right, no sin to fight, no distress to help, no woes to heal, no lessons of purity and righteousness to teach; when, by the practice of our secret art, the original design shall be restored to the trestle board, and man is faithfully working it out, then, and not till then, will her mystery be revealed and her mission be complete.
The power of faith threw its mysterious shield of protection about the forms of the Hebrew children as they walked unscathed amid the roaring flames of the seven-times-heated furnace. It parted the waters of the Red Sea for the passage of the Children of Israel. It was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night as they wandered for forty years. Its mysterious healing power was felt by them as they looked upon the brazen serpent uplifted in the wilderness. Its mystic power is felt as it flows in rhythmic measure through the songs of the sweet singer of Israel, and, like a thread of gold, it will be woven in the robes of righteousness we shall wear around the throne of God. As with such mystery God has clothed His wondrous works in nature and in grace, and through them showered blessings upon the world, so shall Masonry, His servant, continue her blessed work among the erring sons of man.
The prayer of every Mason's heart should be that all men were Masons. and all Masons true. Then white-winged peace would hover over all lands, nations would learn war no more. Swords would be beaten into plough-shares and spears into pruning-hooks, brotherly love would prevail and every moral and social virtue would cement us. If we so pray let us so live; and, renewing our allegiance to the grand principles of Masonry, study more earnestly her great light, making it the only rule of our faith and practice, and the man of our council, and so move among our Brothers and the world that they, seeing the beauty of Masonic holiness as it shines in our words and deeds, may be constrained to exalt Masonry to the high and honoured place she so richly deserves. Thus we will speed the glad time when the sublime principles of Masonry will cover the earth as the waters cover the deep, and the glorious sway of her power shall girdle the globe with kindness, love, and truth.
* * *
THE LAMB-SKIN APRON
Light and white are its leathern folds,
And a priceless lesson its texture holds.
Symbol it is, as the years increase,
Of the paths that lead through the fields of Peace.
Type it is of the higher sphere,
Where the deeds of the body, ended here,
Shall one by one the by-way be
To pass the gates of Eternity.
Emblem it is of a life intense,
Held aloof from the world of sense;
Of the upright walk and the lofty mind,
Far from the dross of Earth inclined.
Sign it is that he who wears
Its sweep unsullied, about him bears
That which should be to mind and heart,
A set reminder of his art.
So may it ever bring to thee
The high resolves of Purity.
Its spotless field of shining white,
Serve to guide thy steps aright;
Thy daily life, in scope and plan,
Be that of a strong and upright man,
And signal shall the honor be,
Unto those who wear it worthily.
Receive it thus to symbolize
Its drift, in the life that before thee lies.
Badge as it is of a great degree,
Be it chart and compass unto thee.
— Fay Hempstead.
* * *
KEEPING THE PEACE
Our duty is not only to keep the peace, but to make a peace that is worth keeping. For the kind of peace that the world needs cannot be had for the asking. It comes high, but it is worth the price.
— Samuel M. Crothers.
* * *
THE LAMP OF FELLOWSHIP
RUSKIN lighted his Seven Lamps of Architecture and set them on golden candlesticks, the better to show us that the laws of art are moral laws, whether they are used in building a cathedral or in making a character. If we would build for eternity, he tells us that we must obey Him whose mountain peaks and forest aisles we imitate in our temples. Martineau lighted five Watch-night Lamps, in a noble address, and urged us to keep our souls awake looking for the dawn in "this solemn eve of an eternal day which we call Human Life."
But there is another Lamp without which all lights flicker and fade as we walk together in the dim country of this world — the Lamp of Fellowship. Indeed, one may sum up the whole of life, and of religion, in the one word Fellowship — a deep and tender fellowship of the soul with the Father of all, whose inspiration and help are the supreme facts of life; and then, turning manward, to fill all the relations of life with the spirit of sincere and sympathetic fellowship. What more than this can the best man do, how better can he serve his fellow pilgrims who journey with him the old-worn human way?
"Fellowship is heaven,
Lack of fellowship is hell."
By the same token, if the soul of Masonry is its Symbolism, its heart-throb is felt in its Spirit of Fellowship. Its history is gray with age. Its philosophy is profound. Its philanthropies are beautiful and benign. Its ritual is rich in suggestion, eloquent with echoes of those truths that have haunted the mind of man since thought found a throne in the brain. But the heart of Masonry, its vital force, its divine fire are in its Strong Grip by which men of every land, of every creed, of every shade of temperament and thought are brought together on the five points of Fellowship!
Fellowship — that is the word which utters, so far as any word may utter, the deepest reality and the highest aspiration in the heart of Masonry. This is the mystery which its rituals labor to express and which its symbols seek to interpret and unfold — a mystery, as Whitman said, more profound than metaphysics, by which man is united with his Fellows in Faith, Freedom, and Friendship. For this Masonry exists — to assert the fact, to spread the spirit, and to promote the practice of Brotherhood — that man may learn that it is what he shares that makes life worth living, and that "he who seeks his own loses the things in common.”
Indeed, the whole arrangement of human life exists that man may learn three things: the law of right, love of God, and love of man. After long ages of tragedy we are beginning to learn the first lesson, that a world in which poison makes men strong and food destroys them is not more unreal than a world in which falsehood makes great characters and righteousness issues in ignoble spirit and unworthy life. How far we have failed to learn the other two truths of love of God and love of man, the human scene makes pitifully plain. Yet learn them we must, else the story of men will be blurred with blood and blistered with tears till whatever is to be the end of things, with never any hope of a better day to be.
Here lies the divine mission of Masonry, to fulfill which we must make deep research into our history, and still more into our hearts, using every art at our command, every influence we can invoke, joining our hands in one high service, the while we light the Lamp of Fellowship and learn to "live in the eternal order which never dies."
This is the work on the Trestle-board for Brethren everywhere,
For never was there greater need for level, plumb, and square,
For trowel with cement of love to strengthen and unite
The human race in Brotherhood, and usher in the Light!
* * *
Truly, "the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglee," and not a few of our pet schemes have suffered wreck during the year, much to our regret. Nevertheless we have made progress, and we believe that our Members will agree not only that The Builderis far and away a better journal than it was a year ago, but that the Society is not far from a solution of the hardest problem which any group of Masons ever set themselves to solve — how to induce Masons to study Masonry alike in its deeper aspects and its wider practical application.
Our Brethren abroad are amazed at the advance made, and even those among us who hold aloof, waiting for tangible results, must admit that something has been done that has never been done before. Looking forward, the tokens are most encouraging, in the response to the Study-Club program as well as in the general feeling that the Society is an honest and firmly established movement having the good of the Order at heart, free from fads and bent on serving the cause to which every true Mason is devoted. Criticism has given way to co-operation to a degree unexpected even by the most sanguine, and the omens for the future are friendly and full of promise.
So far, of course, only the corner-stone has been laid, but it is a good beginning, and we feel that the spirit and intent of the Society have won the intelligent confidence of the Craft. Something has been achieved in the field of original research, as our pages bear witness, and more will be accomplished in the days to come. Nothing would be easier than to edit an erudite journal filled with learned essays to be read by the few and filed away for reference, had that been the purpose of the Society. But our first concern is to reach the rank and file of the Craft, as far as possible, and to enlist them in the study of Masonic truth, the practice of Masonic principles, and a better use of the Fraternity for the service of humanity.
Many plans are afoot for the new year, but our chief aim will be to push to successful issue the Study-Club program, in every part of the land. How difficult the problem is, how novel and fascinating withal, the Correspondence Bulletins reveal, and the letters which threaten to swamp Brother Clegg show that the Society did not misread signs of the times or the needs and feelings of the draft. If we have only scratched the surface of the field, we at least know how rich a soil we have to till, and if we do the thing that needs to be done the harvest will take care of itself. The motto of England these days would not be a bad motto for us, "Every man do his bit, and stick to it."
* * *
LET US GIVE THANKS
Soon will come the day when we shall be called to offer thanks, as a people, for the old sweet fashions of nature, for the miracle of seed-time, summer and autumn harvest, for the necessity which impels industry and the stores of material for use and beauty. No man, surely, can think back over the year and not be moved to gratitude for the joys of life, for home and family and the dear love of comrades; yea, even for the sorrows that subdued him to sobs and welded him in love and pity to his kind. Thankfulness is the fruit of thoughtfulness, and if we cannot be thankful for all things we may learn to be thankful in all things — albeit saddened unutterably by the vast shadow of woe that hangs over the world. May we not also give thanks for the great order of Freemasonry, whose mission is not to tear down but to build up, to bless not to hurt, and whose labors in behalf of a better world never stop, never tarry, never tire? Indeed, yes, and with all our hearts, the more so in a day when men are divided by sect and party and clan and every tie is needed to keep the world together. Humbly let us give thanks, trusting One who in a way beyond our reckoning brings good out of ill, and makes the woe of man to serve His awful will.
* * *
STEPS TO THE CROWN
FROM over the sea comes a neat, well-dressed little book named "Steps to the Crown," from the busy heart and tireless pen of Brother Arthur Edward Waite a man the very thought of whom is like a fragrance brought from afar on friendly winds. This time it is a series of Aphorisms, a form of writing to which one is tempted to say his style does not easily lend itself, did we not recall those fine and deep sayings scattered like bits of star-dust through his book of poems. Terse, pithy, picturesque, they begin with the worldly-wise Counsels of Caiaphas after the fashions of this world, and bring us at last, as the writer always brings us, to the white steps that lead to the Places of Sanctity; and they speak many kinds of wisdom in one spirit of love. Meanwhile, we tread the thresholds of many sanctuaries, in the shadow of a Secret Light, if happily we may learn the consolations of the Greater Law and the Path of Union. At random we gather a handful of these aphorisms, after this manner:
Except a man use simple words, he shall not in the last resource escape from being intelligible.
Intellectual tolerance is not incompatible with the enlightened hatred of a good many current opinions.
The world, as a going concern, is for sale to those who can buy, but no good-will goes with it.
The fly walks on the ceiling, and yet it has never affirmed that the world is upside down.
The number of the schools is infinite, but the truth is one. A single clear intuition is better than a score of reasonings.
Subtlety and duplicity can teach us much, but not to escape either death or immortality.
Return tickets are not issued for any of the great journeys.
From day to day we pronounce the Lost word with our lips, but it remains lost until we utter it in our hearts.
Herein is a Garden of Nuts in which he who seeks will find what he seeks, and no more. Knowledge runs but wisdom lingers, and he that is in haste loses what is most worth while. Always it is the heavenly-minded man who is the teacher of the truest worldly wisdom, for that he sees through the show and sham of things to the realities that await our coming. Who opens this little volume will find a log-book of past voyages, in cipher which has been here and there decoded; and if the cipher spells out fragments of strange legends, it also gives hint that "the secret of getting on in the world is that of passing quickly through it."
* * *
THE MASTER MASON
"Help me to do my work this day — my best;
And lead me in my blindness;
With strength of truthful purpose fill my breast
Sufficient to withstand temptation's test;
And fill my heart with kindness."
Such is the brief and wise prayer in which every reader will join who opens "The Confessions of a Master Mason," by Brother C. F. Whaley, who dedicates his pages "to the man who believes in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man; to the man who believes himself to be his brother's keeper; to the man who walks the four-fold path of right thinking, right speaking, right acting and right living." Nearly fifty years ago, unsolicited, he sought admission into the ancient craft of Masons, and after many days he now sets down what Masonry has taught him of the meaning of life and how to live it. Truly, it is a wise and gracious little book, one to ponder over betimes, giving us a lecture in prose and a legend in poetry; brotherly withal, and of bright and pure spirit; reverent and religious, as witness its evening prayer when the shadows fall:
"Thou great and loving Father:
I know full well my failures of today;
I say it to my sorrow.
Teach me some better, nobler way,
Be Thou my help in every need, I pray;
Bide with me yet tomorrow."
* * *
THE RELIGION OF AMERICA
Years ago, wounded by a great sorrow, George H. Fitch sought the "Comfort Found in Good Old Books," whereof he told in a volume of that title, of which we made note in these pages. Now he would lead us further, if so that we may find the vital force in the new religion of democracy as revealed in the "Great Spiritual Writers of America" — Emerson and Whitman its prophets, Lowell, Whittier and Markham its poets. Why not Lanier, too, whose "song was only living aloud, his work a singing with the hand?" One misses that golden voice in this heavenly choir. And what a choir it is: Emerson, Whitman, Irving, Cooper, Poe, Longfellow, Thoreau, Mark Twain, Whittier, Hawthorne, Bret Harte, Howells, and, by no means least, dear Edwin Markham who is not only a poet, but is himself a poem. 'Tis a most useful and inspiring book for a young man, opening the door into the best that has been thought and sung and dreamed under "the wide and starry sky" of this new world; happy is he who enters and finds there a "city of the mind built against outward distraction for inward consolation and shelter."
* * *
Fortunately, as we suggested, the series of articles in the Masonic Standard, by Brother Frank G. Higgins, in which he presents Masonry as a survival of the ancient Cosmic Science, have been gathered into an attractive little book; and may now be studied by the Craft. These papers are designed to be an elementary course of instruction in the secret learning of antiquity, which the author holds is the real, albeit long-lost, secret of Masonry, if not the reason for its existence. Such learning was deemed too disturbing to be spread broadcast in olden times, but he feels that the day has arrived, in view of the interest in the deeper side of Masonry, when this hidden lore should be brought to light and put before the rank and file of the Order. He frankly admits that this venerable science, so presented, looks like what he calls a "stupendous cut-out puzzle," to piece together which has been his pleasant lifework; but when it is put together it reveals a consistent and commanding philosophy which will stand the test of scientific examination. Masonry, he tells us, has wrought a great work in the world despite its almost total oblivion of what was once its principle reason of being, and the inference is that, once it recovers its long-buried learning, it will move forward to greater service. As space permits only a brief notice, we reserve a more detailed review until a later issue, albeit not without expressing sincere appreciation of a brilliant student and a most lovable and brotherly man.
* * *
We regret to announce that, owing to the war regulations of the British Empire, it is impossible to secure the books mentioned by Brother Baxter in his "Course of Masonic Reading" in our last issue. It is only another evidence of how our peaceful labors are to be shadowed by the dark cloud of war.
* * *
"Away with funeral music — set
The pipe to powerful lips -
The cup of life's for him that drinks
And not for him that sips."
- Unpublished Stevenson MSS.
* * *
BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS
Great Spiritual Writers Of America, by G. H. Fitch. Elder & Co., San Francisco.
Steps to the Crown, by A. E. Waite. Rider and Co., London. $1.00.
The Beginning of Masonry, by F.C. Higgins. Pyramid Publishing Co., Masonic Hall, New York. $1.50.
Story of the Ancient Craft; Its Lessons in Verse, by O. B. Slane, Wyoming, Ill.$.25.
Freemasonry and Medieval Gilds, by Ossian Lang. Grand Lodge of New York.
The Relation of the Liberal Churches and the Fraternal Orders, by E.C. Coil. American Unitarian Association, Boston. Free on request.
The Cloud upon the Sanctuary, by Karl von Eckartshausen, edited by A.E. Waite. Rider and Son, London. $1.00
Poems of Rupert Brooke, Introduction by G. E. Woodberry. John Lane Co., Boston.
Le Symbolisme, Edited by Oswald Wirth, 16 rue Ernest-Renan, Paris.
* * *
TRULY A MAN
He is truly a man who makes justice his leader in the path of inquiry, and who culls from every sect whatever reason approves of. — Akbar, 1578.
* * *
THE QUESTION BOX
A TOKEN OF MEMORY
Suppose each man who entered our Order should receive, as a token of memory, the Bible on which he took his obligation as a Mason, how much it would mean to him in after years! Having on its fly leaf his name, the date of his initiation into the different degrees, the names of the officers who conferred the degrees, it would be a sacred thing to him and to his family; a treasure to be handed down from generation to generation. What would it mean to a son to plight his Masonic vows on the same Bible on which his father, and perhaps his grandfather, had plighted their vows before him? How many memories would cling to such a book, making it doubly dear for itself and for its associations! Is not this suggestion worthy of thought?
* * *
From time to time there come letters from Brethren expressing regret, if not dissatisfaction, on account of certain penalties of obligations. While one may not write freely of such matters some things may be said: (1) The points complained of are manifestly of modern origin, and had no place, so far as we can learn, in ancient craft Masonry. In olden times the oath of a Mason, if we may judge from those which come-down to us, was a very simple thing, consisting of one or two sentences. The language used was very simple, and it is in some respects unfortunate that it should have given place to an elaborate form for which there is no authority either in history or in reason. (2) A study of the punishments attached in ancient English law to the crime of high treason is very enlightening, if one has eyes to see, regarding the history of the things objected to. (3) In some Lodges — especially in Scotland — the candidate is told that, while the old form is preserved as a symbol, the real penalties that affect and influence the human soul are moral: the penalties of being branded and forsworn as a dishonored man and Mason, of receiving the well merited contempt and score of good men; of suffering the horrors of an outraged conscience, and of incurring the retribution of the Deity whose presence is invoked.
* * *
THE OLD CHARGES
Two Brethren ask if the Old Constitutions which the Society is issuing is in fact the earliest copy, and as rare and unique as is claimed. Certainly not, if by copy is meant manuscripts of the Old Charges; but it is the earliest printed copy. Of this edition Brother Hughan says in his "Constitutions of Freemasons": — "The earliest printed Constitutions of the operative Masons were issued in 1722. The title runs — 'From the old Constitutions belonging to the Ancient and honorable Society of the Free and Accepted Masons; taken from a Ms written about five hundred years hence. London: Printed and sold by J. Roberts, in Warwick-lane, 1722.' We have been favored with a perusal of this work, and can testify to its exclusively operative character. The Obligation taken by the apprentices accords with the Harleian Ms. (1942, British Museum.) The ancient charges were read to the initiate, who then subscribed to them as follows: 'All these articles and charges which I have now read unto you, you shall well and truly observe, perform, and keep, to the best of your power and knowledge, so help you God, and the true and holy contents of this Book.' " (Hughan, pp. 12,13. Incidentally, this is an example of the simplicity of the oath of an operative Mason, while showing that the Constitutions of 1722, although to be classed with the old operative Constitutions, belongs to the period of transition.
* * *
Editor Builder: — Kindly advise, through The Builder, if a Brother Mason can inform the Master that he wishes a certain candidate rejected, and in the absence of the objecting Brother, is the Master duty-bound to cast a black-ball against the candidate for the E.A. degree. Is not the objecting Brother obliged to state his reasons for the objection?
M. B. Slemmer, Centreville, Md.
An objection to advancement in your jurisdiction has the same effect as a black-ball. As to whether this applies to a candidate who has been elected to receive, but has not yet received, the Entered Apprentice Degree, the Maryland code does not state. Neither does it state whether objections must be made in open Lodge. or privately to the Master, nor if it is necessary for the objector to make known his reasons.
* * *
Dear Sir and Bro.: — I have read that in a shop window of a certain Swedish city the notice appears: — ENGLISH SPOKEN, AMERICAN UNDERSTOOD.
This would seem to predicate some distinction in the linguistic accomplishments of the two great families of the Anglo-Saxon race. It hardly seems to me, however, to justify either the Anglicisation or Americanisation of the quotations from Scottish documents, given in the otherwise excellent article by Brother G. P. Brown in your January issue.
The genealogical reference, to begin with, is wrong, as the poet's father was not even an Ayrshire man, and the baptismal record must surely be misquoted, as the family name was not Burns, but Burness.
No Scottish Scribe could be guilty of writing Lockly for Lochlea when entering the abode of the initiate in the minutebook, and the town which had the honour of receiving the poet into the Royal Arch degree was not Leymouth, but Eyemouth.
Under the sub-title of "The Sweet Singer," the omission of the word "air" between "with" and "benign" in the first line of the second quatrain spoils the whole rythm of the piece.
Rodk. H. Baxter, England.
* * *
Dear Brother Newton: — Here is my trouble, as briefly as I can state it. The Grand Lodge of our state has never adopted a uniform ritual. Each Lodge, so long as it does not violate the ancient Landmarks, is permitted to put on the work according to its own particular wording and interpretation. This, naturally, has resulted in there being a wide variance in the work in different parts of the State; and in the remote districts has brought about a sad state of affairs. To counteract this, our Grand Lodge created a committee to formulate a standard method of conferring the degrees, which, if adopted, should make the ritual uniform throughout the jurisdiction. As a member of that committee, I hope the report will be adopted. But we anticipate opposition, and in order to meet it we want accurate information as to the number of states in which uniform work is being used, and also some data as to the methods employed in promulgating it to the lodges; and I have, therefore, taken the liberty of writing to you for some information to assist us in getting our report adopted, which result, we feel, is very vital to the future welfare of Freemasonry in this state.
1. Does Iowa have an official uniform Blue Lodge Ritual?
2. How is it taught to the various lodges? In other words, do you use a printed cipher, do you promulgate it by specially trained lecturers, or what method do you employ?
3. What is your opinion as to the advantage of having the ritualistic work of a state absolutely uniform?
4. Tell me, if you know or can possibly find out, in your doubtless extensive records, how many Grand Lodges in the United States of America have a uniform ritual, and what are their various methods of teaching it to the subordinate lodges.
While I know that you are interested in the philosophy of Masonry rather than the forms and phrases by which the degrees are communicated, I believe you will for that very reason realize that there is very little hope of having a man grasp a great truth of any kind when the language by which it is presented to him a foreign tongue.
Therefore, we, of the committee on work, feel that if we can succeed in having a common language, or a common method of conferring the degrees adopted by the Grand Lodge, in a verb few years; from that one thing alone, the standards of Masonis ideals, ambitions and purposes will have advanced at least one hundred per gent in our state.
Knowing that you are interested in the welfare of Masonry everywhere, I call on you for assistance because in the short time, I cannot otherwise get the information, and I assure you that the time you devote to your reply will be more than well spent.
J. A. D.
Here is a situation as novel as it is important and it raises many interesting questions which are too large to be discusses in a brief answer. First, as to information: (1) Yes, the Grand Lodge of Iowa uses a uniform ritual which it recognizes as the "ancient Webb work," not only the teaching of which, but its preservation and dissemination being enjoined on a Board of Custodians, and all innovations or changes in the ritual are strictly forbidden. As stated in its Constitution, (Art. XI), "In conferring the degrees of Masonry, the subordinate Lodges are enjoined to a strict adherence to the work as authorized and taught in this jurisdiction." (2) The ritual is taught to the Lodges by a Board of specially trained district lecturers. Ciphers are forbidden. (Code, 297.) Schools of instruction are held annually at strategic points in the jurisdiction, to which the Lodges of the surrounding district are invited; thus uniting good fellowship with good instruction. (3) There is no debate as to the essentials of Masonry, its fundamental principles; on these matters all are agreed. Masonic fellowship, of course, is deeper than but the ritual is a medium, a vehicle, through which Masonic truth is conveyed; and if the medium is chaotic, the teaching will be uncertain and ineffective. Dignity, impressiveness and teachability are all on the side of uniformity of ritual. But, strictly speaking, there can be no such thing as absolute uniformity — there will always be variation of emphasis and interpretation, just as no two artists can give exactly the same interpretation of a Shakespeare play. So that uniformity of ritual need not mean monotony, unless the ritual is repeated after the manner of a parrot or a phonograph — and that is an awful possibility whether the ritual be uniform or not. There is no doubt that, if your Grand Lodge adopts a uniform ritual, the effectiveness of Masonry will be many times increased in your jurisdiction. Let this action be followed by a like emphasis upon the study-side of Masonry, inducing the masters and brethren to study the degrees, live with them until they become living realities to their minds and heart, and the influence of Masonry will be still further increased. (4) As to the Grand Lodges United States which employ uniform work, the facts are as follows:
|State||Work||Communicated by||Cipher Keys|
|Alabama||Uniform||District Lecturers||Not mentioned in Code|
|Arizona||Uniform||Grand Lecturer||Not mentioned in Code|
|Arkansas||Uniform||District Deputy Grand Masters||Prohibited|
|California||Uniform||Grand Lecturer||Not mentioned in Code|
|Colorado||Uniform||Grand Lecturer||Furnished to W. M. and Wardens|
|Delaware||Uniform||Com. on Work||Prohibited|
|Dist. of Columbia||Uniform||Grand Lecturer||Not mentioned in Code|
|Florida||Uniform||District Deputy Grand Masters||Prohibited|
|Georgia||Not uniform||Not mentioned in Code||Prohibited|
|Idaho||Uniform||Grand Lecturer||Furnished to Master|
|Illinois||Uniform||District Grand Lecturers||Prohibited|
|Indiana||Uniform||Grand Lecturer||Official cipher authorized|
|Kansas||Uniform||District Lecturers||Furnished certain officers|
|Kentucky||Uniform||Inspectors appointed by Grand Master||Not mentioned in Code|
|Louisiana||Uniform||Two Grand Lecturers||Prohibited|
|Maine||Uniform||Temporary Grand Lecturers||Not mentioned in Code|
|Maryland||Uniform||Grand Lecturer and Com. on Work||Not mentioned in Code|
|Massachusetts||Uniform||Grand Lecturer app. by Grand Master||Not mentioned in Code|
|Michigan||Uniform||Grand Lecturer||Furnished by Grand Secretary|
|Minnesota||Uniform||Board of Custodians, five in number||Prohibited|
|Mississippi||Uniform||Grand Lecturer and Deputies||Not mentioned in Code|
|Missouri||Uniform||District Lecturers||Not mentioned in Code|
|Montana||Uniform||GM, GS and DGM, Custodians||Not mentioned in Code|
|Nevada||Uniform||Grand Master||Not mentioned in Code|
|New Hampshire||Uniform||District Grand Lecturers||Prohibited|
|New Jersey||Uniform||Grand Instructors and Dist. Deputies||Prohibited|
|New Mexico||Uniform||Grand Lecturer and Deputies||Prohibited|
|New York||Uniform||Grand Lecturer and Assistants||Prohibited|
|North Carolina||Uniform||Grand Lecturer and Assistants||Prohibited|
|Ohio||Uniform||District Lecturers||Furnished Master|
|Pennsylvania||Uniform||District Deputy Grand Masters||Prohibited|
|South Carolina||Uniform||District Deputy Grand Masters||Not mentioned in Code|
|South Dakota||Uniform||Grand Master or his appointee||Not mentioned in Code|
|Texas||Uniform||Grand Lecturers||Not mentioned in Code|
|Utah||Uniform||Grand Lecturers and Deputies||Not mentioned in Code|
|Vermont||Uniform||Grand Lecturers and DDGM||Official cipher permitted|
|Virginia||Uniform||Grand Lecturer and Division Lecturers||Not mentioned in Code|
|Washington||Uniform||Grand Lecturer and Deputies||Prohibited|
|West Virginia||Uniform||Grand Lecturer and Deputies||Prohibited|
|Wyoming||Uniform||Grand Lecturer||Not mentioned in Code|
* Masonic Code of this jurisdiction has been requested, but has not been received.
** Only in essentials.
*** Except Carson Lodge No. 1.
* * *
Dear Brother: — The questions raised in an interesting letter quoted by the editor in a recent number of The Buildersurely ought to evoke many answers. The question as to whether Masonry has a world mission commensurate with other outward expressions of organized activities is highly debatable. Its intrinsic character, forbidding those activities which have a special sectarian or political bias, prevents its engaging in lines of outward demonstrable service. Due observation, however, must be taken in connection with this that there is no legitimate barrier to its active participation in social reform, or to taking a united stand as a revolutionary party should emergency arise. To fail indeed to respond in conscious deliberate activity when a people's rights or liberties were affected would be to violate its teachings, betray its heritage and disown its traditions. But would a study of our social status reveal such causes as would justify any such stand of the body politic of Masons? An investigation that would afford one the opinion of the individual Masons of these United States would not, I believe, reveal anything that would approximate unanimity as to what ought to be at the present hour its social or world mission. We would find without question certain disgruntled folk who call for Masonry's unflinching opposition to some provincial issue or other, but can we sanely and wisely point the common cause or grievance that would cement in unity our Masonic Statesmanship, and crystallize the Masonic forces for one specific aim and purpose? We seriously question it. To ascertain then what is the decided modern mission of the craft one would have to look other than in fields political or sectarian or probably international. Imperative indeed is the need of declaring the modern mission especially if there be five out of ten instead of one in ten as quoted in the letter who have no real or profound interest in Masonry.
The making of too many Masons is something to be seriously deprecated and protested against for observation and experience convinces that this promiscuous Mason-making process is not for the good of the order. In making the Mason we have often missed the most important thing, namely, that we are consecrating a man who would be forevermore as the noblest among men, clean of heart and mind, a builder of the empire of truth, a lover of fraternity and fellowship. Here I believe we have the clue to the modern mission of Masonry — the creation of that sublime and lofty character that will express the potential human goodness, that will in its journeyings, business, and pleasure, as a result of Masonic culture and training, react upon the world for its uplift and betterment. Into the order those who can give of the riches of their heart, and who would delight to their good in the treasures of the craft, should be welcome; but he who intolerantly and arbitrarily views those who differ with him, should never be admitted. Masonry is not a reformatory. It is a university and ought to perform a like service for the world. To mingle with men of many minds, of many viewpoints who religiously adhere to the search for truth and who practice fraternity as dictated by the religious spirit of the universal man, is the Mason's privilege and solemn duty. How shall we welcome the advent of the two-hundredth anniversary? By re-emphasizing the knowledge of Masonry's character upon the two millions of American Masons. By returning to the rigid observance of allowing only those qualified according to Masonic requisites to come into the Order. By more urgently endeavoring to establish the true fraternity that we would hold up as exemplary for the emulation of the world. By persistent endeavor to educate the vast number in the Craft in the ethics and philosophy of the Order. By humbly confessing our forgetfulness in thought and practice of things once solemnly enjoined upon us and a rededication of the Craft to the cause of humanity through the service of the man who is a Mason.
Robert Tipton, Iowa
* * *
WILLIAM J. FLORENCE
Dear Bro. Newton: — Your incautious statement in "The Builder" for last May that "Billy" Florence was not a Mason has brought out protests from my good friends Clegg and Somerville, who both refer to my "One Hundred Years of Aurora Grata" published in 1908 as authority for the claim that Florenge was a Mason. So it seems to be my "move."
As to his being a Mason:
(1) Bro. J. Henry Williams, P.G.M., Penna., is authority for the statement that the records of Pennsylvania show:
Mount Moriah Lodge No. 156, Philadelphia. William J. Florence, Comedian, Age 22; Initiated, Crafted, and Raised October 12, 1853, by dispensation. Admitted November 22, 1863. Suspended December 22, 1867. Restored to good standing December 26, 1871. Admitted M. M. January 23, 1872. Deceased November 19, 1891.
(2) Bro. George B. Orlady, P.G.M., Penna., states that he sat in lodge with Florence and can vouch for his being a Master Mason.
(3) Bro. George B. Wells, P.G.H.P. and present Grand Secretary of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania, writes that the Chapter records show:
Zerubbabel Chapter No. 162. William J. Florence, Marked June 10, 1854; Most Excellent June 10 1854; Royal Arch June 12, 1854. Sojourner. (That is, not affiliated.)
(4) Dr. Saram R. Ellison, Recorder of Mecca Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., New York, tells me that William J. Florence, Comedian, Age 25, received the Orders of Masonic Knighthood in Pittsburgh Commandery No. 1, at Pittsburgh, Pa., June 13, 1854, being entered as a "sojourner." I have written to Bro. David M. Kinzer, Recorder of Pittsburgh Commandery, for his confirmation of this, but have not had an answer from him. I shall probably see Bro. Kinzer at the session of the Supreme Council, 33d, at Pittsburgh next week, and if he confirms this I shall so advise you.
(5) I copy the following from the minutes of Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection of Brooklyn, of which I am the present T.P. Master:
At a special communication of Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection held at their rooms, Halsey's Building, on Tuesday evening, April 16, '67, Ill. Bro. C.T. McClenachan 33d proposed Bro. W. J. Florence, Age 40, Occupation Actor, Residence Metropolitan Hotel. Refers to Ill. Bro. McClenachan and Ill. Chas. Brown, M. D., which was on motion received and referred to Ill. Bros. Willets, Smith and McClenachan for investigation, who immediately reported favorably and recommended his election. The T.P.G.M. then ordered a ballot and Bro. Florence was declared duly elected. Bro. F. being about to depart for Europe and wishing to receive the degrees of the A. & A. Rite, permission was given Ill. Bro. McClenachan to confer the degrees upon him as soon as convenient and wherever his judgment might digtate.
D. G. Smith, G.S. K.S.A.
Acting upon above authority Bro. McClenachan conferred upon Bro. W.J. Florence the degrees from 4th to 14th inclusive at Metropolitan Hotel on 21st April, '67, in presence of and assisted by Ill. Bro. Wilson Small 33d, A. T. C. Pierson 33d S.J., Ill. Gabrial McCowan 33d of the S.J., Chas. Brown, M. D., 32d, Thos. J. Leigh 32 and D. G. Smith 32nd, Secretary of Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection.
D.G. Smith, G.S. K.S.A.
This minute is probably erroneous as to the degrees conferred. It is evident to me that all of the degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-second were conferred at this special communication, from the following facts: (a) When the degrees of the Scottish Rite were communicated, as they were in those days, all of the degrees excepting the Thirty-third were usually communicated at one session; (b) It was common in Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection, Council of Princes, Chapter of Rose Croix and Consistory at that time to confer the degrees "from the 4th to the 32d inclusive," notwithstanding the jurisdiction of each of these bodies over but a part of the Scottish Rite series; (c) The Secretary, Bro. Smith, had himself received the degrees by communication at the fifth communication preceding the one he here records, and had become Secretary on April 9th but twelve days before the reception of Florence, and this was the second communication at which he acted as Secretary. It is probable, therefore, that Bro. Smith did not know just exactly what did occur; (d) At the rendezvous of Aurora Grata Consistory of April 23, 1867, but two days after the reception of Florence, there is entered under receipts, "W.J. Florence, $55 for degrees." Fifty-five dollars was the fee for the degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-second at that time. From these facts I feel sure that Florence received the Thirty-second degree.
It will be observed that according to the Pennsylvania record Florence was not in good standing in his Symbolic Lodge at the time of his reception in Aurora Grata. But don't you know that in those crude days, when they used to say "Once a Mason, always a Mason," they were often so ignorant of the fundamental principles and eternal truths of Masonry that even officers of a lodge would sometimes say "the" where the Standard Work was "a!" Billy Florence was always in good standing as a man.
As to his name and religion:
Bro. J. Harry Conlin, a nephew, tells me that "Uncle Billy's name was not Bernard Conlin, but William Jermyn Conlin, but that he used his stage name of William J. Florence, and was known among his friends as Florence. Bro. Conlin does not believe that his name was actually changed to Florence by legal process. Florence married a Catholic, who declared that upon his death bed he became a Catholic. Bro. Edwin D. Washburne, 33°, tells me that he was in the house when Florence died, but was not actually present at his death. Bro. Washburne says that to his knowledge a Catholic priest was present with Mrs. Florence when Florence died. The widow took charge of the funeral arrangements, and services were held at St. Agnes (Catholic) Church. The Conlin family made no energetic objection to this, as they wished to avoid "talk," as Bro. J. Harry Conlin expresses it. The body was buried in Greenwood (Protestant) Cemetery, Brooklyn, N. Y., in a plot purchased by Florence himself for the family burial plot. Bro. Conlin says, "Uncle Billy was no more a Catholic than you are," — meaning me.
Now please don't say again that Florence was not a Mason, because there is too much against you to sustain that statement!
Very truly and fraternally
Chas. A. Brockaway, 33°, New York.
* * *
THE ROLL OF HONOR
Dear Sir and Brother: — In reply to your inquiry of the 12th instant, I beg leave to say that, so far as I have been able to verify, the following list of Presidents of the United States were Brother Masons:
John Adams. James Madison.
John Quincy Adams.
William H. Harrison.
James K. Polk.
James A. Garfield.
William H. Taft.
From the late General Robert H. Hall, U.S.A., I learned that General Grant was a fellow craft Mason; initiated and raised in a frontier lodge, when a second lieutenant; Gen. Hall got his information from a brother who was present at the initiation. Just before the death of General Hall, I wrote to ask the name of the lodge and date of the initiation, but received no reply. I took the matter up with the surviving frontier lodges located where Gen. Grant had been on duty when on the Pacific Slope and also with the surviving Army Officers who were with him in his youth, who were Masons, but could not get the verification I sought.
I do not, however, regard this as proof that General Grant was not a Mason, for so many lodges have gone out of existence, and records have been badly kept in many lodges; many records lost, and, what is quite as bad, searches are difficult and inconvenient.
I once wrote the Secretary of a lodge in the West, inquiring the Masonic record of an officer in the Army. The Secretary searched but did not find his name: later I found name and date in Gould's History, again wrote the same Secretary, who then looked and verified.
My record of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence are:
John Hancock, Grand Master in Mass.
Josiah Bartlett, Grand Master in Mass.
William Whipple. *
Matthew Thornton. *
Samuel Adams, St. Johns lodge, Mass.
John Adams, St. Johns lodge, Mass.
Robert Treat Paine. *
Elbridge Gerry. *
Stephen Hopkins, St. Johns lodge, Providence, 1729.
Roger Sherman. *
Philip Livingston. *
Oliver Wolcott, * St. Johns lodge, Hartford, Conn.
Francis Lewis. *
John Witherspoon. *
Francis Hopkinson. *
Robert Morris. *
Benjamin Rush. *
Benjamin Franklin, G.M. in Penna.
George Ross. *
Richard Henry Lee. *
Francis Lightfoot Lee.
Those marked * are taken from one Library of Masonic History, Vol. IV. The others I have verified from Lodge Records. I have made many searches, without being able to verify all of those marked *; but without the records there have been good traditions, if any traditions are good.
A direct descendant of Matthew Thornton is positive Matthew Thornton was initiated in an Army lodge, but there exists no records at all of that lodge.
A descendant of Josiah Bartlett (signer) feels sure that her ancestor was not a Mason, and knows that there were two Josiah Bartletts; while members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and the Editor of "Light" are certain the Josiah who was Grand Master is the veritable Josiah who signed the Declaration of Independence. This Bartlett record, however, is the only one which has been questioned.
The records in Military Lodges have rarely, if ever, been carefully kept, and very few of our Military lodge records have ever reached any Grand Lodge.
Of the Signers 13 were Congregationalists; 34 were Protestant Episcopalians; 2 were Quakers; 5 were Presbyterians; 1 was a Baptist and 1 a Roman Catholic.
All were born in the United States, excepting nine, as follows: Thornton, Smith and Taylor, in Ireland; Lewis, Morris and Gwinnett, in England; Scott, Witherspoon and Wilson, in Scotland. Charles Carrot was a native of Maryland, and though recently it is claimed he was a "life long friend of Washington" there is no history nor tradition to prove it. There is no intimation of their acquaintance until after Washington became President, and was invited to present the premiums at the Jesuit College in Georgetown, where Bishop Carrol was president.
During the War of the Revolution there were about 500,000 Scotch (Presbyterian) — Irish in the Colonies who were "the Irish in the Revolution."
George W. Baird, P.G.M. Dist. of Columbia.
* * *
SYLVANUS COBB: MASON
In the March number of The Builder, Brother W. A. G. asked for information regarding some of Sylvanus Cobb's stories. It was my privilege to have seen Mr. Cobb many times and to know his famous twin brothers, Cyrus and Darius. The following is a short sketch of his busy life, taken from a biography, written by his daughter, and "Dedicated to the Masonic Fraternity."
Sylvanus Cobb, Jr., was the son of Sylvanus Cobb and Eunice Hale Waite, born in Waterville, Me., June 5, 1823, and was publicly "dedicated to God" by "Father" Hosea Ballou on June 26th.
His parents moved to Maiden, Mass., in 1828, and lived in the Parsonage House, still standing, and celebrated as the birthplace of Adoniram Judson. They moved to Waltham, Mass., in 838; and while Sylvanus was attending High school, he went to Brooklyn, N. Y., and enlisted in the United States Navy in Feb., 1841, easily passing for a man of 21 years. He was honorably discharged from the Navy three years later, and on June 29th, 1845, he was married to Mary Jane Mead in East Boston, Mass.
In 1846, with one of his brothers, he founded "THE RECHABITE," a great temperance paper, and three years later went over to the "WASHINGTONIAN." James Ed. Polk, Daniel Webster and Henry Clay were among the hundreds who were publicly named in these papers as "rum drinkers." From the Washingtonian, he went to the "WAVERLY MAGAZINE" as associate editor. As a member of the "Sons of Temperance" he was a public lecturer for several years from 1869.
He began to write continued stories in 1850, the first being "The Prophet of the Bohmer Wald" published in the "FLAG OF OUR NATION." Began to write for the New York Ledger in 1856, and in thirty-one years, he wrote 122 Long stories, 862 short stories and 2143 "scraps," in all, 89,544 pages. On May 19th, 1887, he wrote in his diary: "Wrote a sketch, 'Jack's Romance' and will now pull up for awhile." The "pull up" was for the last sweet rest.
From 1852 until his death, July 17, 1887, he was actively engaged in civic, political, military, temperance, patriotic musical, literary, masonic and religious work. In July, 1863 he was unanimously elected Captain of the Norway, Me., Light Infantry and became intimately associated with "private" Hanibal Hamlin of a Bangor, Me., company. At this time, he was also closely associated with Andrew Wilson and Sen. Clark of New Hampshire on a regular tour of campaign speaking. While living in Norway, Me., he held many town offices, school committee and was chief engineer of the Fire Department.
After the war, he became a resident of Hyde Park, Mass. and was annually elected moderator. On March 7th, 1870, he while moderator, allowed 47 women to vote at a regular Town meeting, and declared himself for women's suffrage. This was the first event of the kind in the country, and caused universal interest and comment. On March 24th, 1870, he was elected first commander of Hyde Park Post, G. A. R.
Among his many friends were Gen. N. P. Banks, Benj. P. Shillaber, (Mrs. Partington) Hanibal Hamlin, Andrew Wilson, William Wirt Virgin and Harry Rust, all prominent in National and public life. Ralph Waldo Emerson once criticised his stories as "yellow" literature; but on being persuaded to read one of Mr. Cobb's stories, apologized and said, "In sentiment and language, that story was not only unobjectionable, but elevating." In such a long, busy life does it seem possible that Mr. Cobb could find time to do more, yet look at his Masonic record:
On Thursday, May 11th, 1854, he wrote this in his diary: "Went down to the Village, and became initiated as a 'Free Mason' in the Oxford Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. Am now an Entered Apprentice. Like it much." Oxford Lodge No. 18 was at Norway, Me. He was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on Thursday, May 18th, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, Thursday, June 8th. He was elected senior deacon August 31st, and held that office in '54, '55 and '65; was secretary in 1863, Worshipful Master in 1858 '59, '61, '62 and '66. He demitted from Oxford Lodge, Oct. 17 1867, and joined Hyde Park Lodge, April 15th, 1869. He served as secretary in 1872 and '73, and represented his lodge by proxy in the Grand Lodge from Dec. 15th, 1881, until his death.
Received the degrees of Mark Master and Most Excellent Master in King Hiram Royal Arch Chapter of Lewiston, Me., May 20th, 1859; and was exalted to the Ineffable degree of Royal Arch Mason on June 10th. He was a charter member of Norfolk Royal Arch Chapter, Hyde Park, Mass., and served as Excellent King for two years. Was elected Most Excellent High Priest in Sept., 1873, treasurer in '78 serving for six years and chaplain for two years. Elected Grand Scribe in Grand Chapter Dec. 7th, 1884, and at the same time was appointed by the Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania as Grand Representative near the Grand Chapter of Massachusetts.
He received the degrees of Select Master, Royal Master, and Super Excellent Master in Dunlap Council No. 80 of Lewiston, Me., April 7th, 1864. He was one of the petitioners for the dispensation which was granted to Hyde Park Council, in 1872; and was constituted as one of its charter members in 1873. He was Right Illustrious Master in '72 and '73; Principal Conductor of the Work in '77, '78 and '83; Thrice Illustrious Master in '79 and '80; treasurer in '84 and until his death. Grand Chaplain of the Grand Council of Mass. in '79 and '80, and was elected Grand Principal Conductor of the Work December 8th, 1880.
He received the order of the Red Cross in Boston Commandery, March 29th, 1872, Orders of Temple and Malta May 2, 1872. He was one of the petitioners for a dispensation which was granted to Cyprus Commandery, Hyde Park, Mass., in 1873. He was a charter member from Oct. 12, 1873, and served as Prelate from that evening until the day of his death, excepting one year, beginning May, 1878, when he served as Eminent Commander.
He received the 32d of A. & A.S.R. on April 24th, 1874, and at the time of his death was a life member of Boston Lodge of Perfection 14d; Giles F. Yates Council of Princes, 16d; Mt. Olivet Chapter Rose Croix 18d; and Massachusetts Consistory of S.P. of the R.S. 32d. In Boston Lodge of Perfection, he held the office of Grand Orator in '80 and '81; and Junior Grand Warden in 1883. He was also a member of Mass. Convention, High Priests, and Mass. Union of Templar Commanders.
Could his speeches, made at Masonic banquets and social gatherings, have been preserved, they would have been invaluable as illustrations of his love for the order. These and many anecdotes and experiences were always given extemporaneously, and live only in the hearts and memories of his brothers. They were sometimes deep and pathetic, often bright and witty, always clean and pure. His suppression on such occasions of everything bordering on coarseness was proverbial.
He wrote the following sketches for the "Liberal Free Mason" all based upon facts: "A Reminiscence," "The Templar's Wife," "Story of a Sleeve-button," "The Sign of the Red Cross" and "An Effective Token." Besides many sketches of this character, he wrote not a little on the subject of Masonry, his best and well known Masonic stories being "Alaric," "The Mystic Tie of the Temple" and "The Key-stone." The first of these Masonic stories was written in 1858: "A Sicilian Story of Early Times." "The Mystic Tie of the Temple" is based upon the early Masonic struggle and is considered by many as his best Masonic story.
Louis S. Brigham, Randolph, Vt.
* * *
Dear Brother: — A friend of mine who is a Mason was visiting, this summer, in Colorado, and on one of the sight seeing trips in the mountains between Manitou and Colorado Springs on what is known as The High Drive, came across an old lady about seventy-five years of age, who runs a small curio shop, and whom he understands is located the year round at the same point.
She claims to be the youngest member of a band of seventh women who were given the Masonic work during the Civil War somewhere in New York State — she thinks she is the only one of the seventy now living.
My friend, in connection with another Masonig gentleman asked her a great many questions and she could intelligently and Masonically answer them — he was greatly surprised and likewise the writer. My friend is informed that her husband, now dead, was a Mason — he was called "Captain Jack," and this woman goes by the name of "Captain Jack."
Light on this subject through the columns of "The Builder" will be very much appreciated.
Asa D. Hurd, Mo.
* * *
THE BALTIMORE CONVENTION
Dear Brother Newton: — Ament the article, "The Baltimore Convention," in the Correspondence section of "The Builder" for September, Brother Anderson in his communication quoting from memory and hear-say, there is some excuse for having places names and dates wrong.
Through the courtesy of our Grand Master, Thomas J. Shryock, I am sending you for the archives of "The Builder," a copy of the printed proceedings (very scarce) of that important Convention.
By referring to the printed proceedings you will see that, in pursuance of a recommendation of the Masonic Convention held at Washington, D.C., in March, 1842, the Delegates assembled in Baltimore on the 8th day of May, 1843, and adjourned sine die on May 17th, having previously adopted a resolution recommending that the next meeting of the Grand Masonic Convention be held in the city of Winchester, Va., on the second Monday in May in the year 1846.
A report was adopted at the Baltimore convention endorsing "the establishment of a Grand National Convention possessing limited powers, to meet triennially to decide upon discrepancies in the work, etc., etc." Whenever thirteen or more Grand Lodges should agree to the proposition, the Convention should be permanently formed.
In pursuance of the recommendation of the Convention, representatives from the Grand Lodges of North Carolina, Iowa, Michigan, Virginia, District of Columbia and Missouri assembled at Winchester, Va., May 11th, 1846. Only eight delegates appearing, the Convention adjourned without transacting any business. (From Schultz's History.)
As this convention is frequently mentioned, it may prove interesting to our members to know who composed and attended the Baltimore Convention. Members of the convention were:
Thomas Clapham, Portsmouth, N. H.
Charles W. Moore, Boston, Mass., R.W.G. Secretary. (Editor Free-Mason's Monthly Magazine.)
William Field, Pawtucket, R. I.
Ebenezer Wadsworth, West Troy, N.Y., R.W.P. Secretary.
Daniel A. Piper, Baltimore, Md., G. Lecturer.
Nathaniel Seevers, Georgetown, D.C., G. Lecturer.
John Dove, Richmond Va., R.W.G. Secretary.
John H. Wheeler, Raleigh, N.C., M.W.G. Master.
Albert Case, Charleston, S.C., M.R.G. Chaplain.
Lemuel Dwelle, Augusta, Ga., G. Lecturer.
Edward Herndon, Gainesville, Ala., P.G. Master.
Thomas Hayward, Tallahassee, Fla., P.D.G. Master.
John Delafield. Jr., Memphis, Tenn., G. Lecturer.
John Barney, Worthington, Franklin Co., Ohio., G. Lecturer
S. W. B. Carnegy, Palmyra, Missouri, P.G. Master. (Representative expense contribution credited to his name.)
Joseph Foster, St. Louis, Mo., S. G. Warden.
W. J. Reese, Lancaster, Ohio, M.W.G. Master.
Charies Gilman, Baltimore, Md., M.W.G. Master.
Hiram Chamberlain St. Charles. Missouri, R.R.G. Chaplain.
Joseph K. Stapleton, Baltimore, Md., D.G.G.M. G.G.E.U.S.
R. W. E. Cruben, Louisiana.
R. W. F. Billon, Missouri, P. G. Secretary.
R.W. Edward John Hutchins, P.P.D.G.M., South Wales
R.W. Cornelius Smith, S.G.W., Maryland. The Officers of the Convention were:
R.W. John Dove, M. D., of Virginia, President.
R.W. Rev. Albert Case, of South Carolina, Secretary.
Rev. Bro. W. E. Wyatt, of Maryland, Chaplain.
Gustav A. Eitel, Baltimore, Md.