A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 4 No. 5 – May 1918
THE INSTALLATION CEREMONY AND RITE
Bro. A. S. MacBride, Scotland
AUTHOR'S NOTE: It has been suggested to me by Brother Joseph Fort Newton, whose wish is to me a command, that I should write something on this subject for THE BUILDER. I am not aware of having any special qualifications for such a task, unless it be that, on last St. John's day (27th December), it was fifty years since I was first installed as Master of a Lodge; and that I had the good fortune to receive instruction, for two or three years, from a Past Master who had then an experience as a Mason of upwards of fifty years. If, in carrying out this suggestion, I appear egotistic to the reader, I hope he will keep in view the difficulty I would otherwise have of conveying to him my somewhat unique experience, in connection with this subject. For the sake of simplicity, allow me to arrange my remarks under two parts, first, my experience and information of this Ceremony and Rite, and second, the Form of Installation.
MY EXPERIENCE AND INFORMATION OF THIS CEREMONY AND RITE
MY first acquaintance with what is now known as the Installed Master's Rite was in 1867, when first installed as Master in the Lodge, Leven Saint John, Renton. It was in a somewhat peculiar and mysterious, albeit quite common manner in Scotland at that time, that I received this honour. To understand the circumstances properly, please present this picture to your mind's eye.
We are in a dimly lighted room in a small village inn, some 24 by 16 feet in size and of somewhat plain and simple aspect. Through the centre of the room runs a plain deal table to within 4 or 5 feet of the chair in the east. The forms ranged on each side are filled, or rather packed, with about sixty or more Masons, among whom are six or seven past-masters. There is more than the usual number of grey heads present, for it is Saint John's night, and strong associations of "Auld Lang Syne" have drawn them, some from a distance of five or six miles, to spend a few hours together; and then to wend their way homeward through the mirk and storm of a dark December night. These old members range from thirty to fifty years standing and they love their Mother-Lodge with the real "Perfervidum ingenium Scotorum." As usual on Saint John's night, the meeting for Installation has been preceded by a torch-light procession through the village. In an upper window of the inn a transparent picture of the venerable saint, with his long flowing beard, has been placed; with sufficient lighted candles behind it to make clear and life-like his striking figure and features, to the delight and wonderment of the villagers, old and young, who are congregated outside. The din and bustle of the entrance of the processionists having subsided, the Lodge is "opened" on the first degree. The Minutes of the Election are read and the Installing Master, who is also the Retiring Master, briefly addresses the meeting and calls on the Master-elect to come forward to the east. The Installing Master is a man above fifty years, of average stature, dark, stout, and somewhat round shouldered. He is not blest with a great store of knowledge and still less with the gift of expression; yet he has a rough dignity of manner, and the knack of giving to certain parts of the ceremony an impression of mystery and importance which, to the general audience, is perhaps all the more impressive in consequence of the very nebulosity of his phrases. The Master-elect is twenty-two years of age, fair, of medium height and, through exercise, spare in figure. By fortuitous circumstances he-has been unanimously elected into the chair. He feels as if he was a pretender being crowned, without the smallest right to the throne. His only claim is a popularity that attributes gifts and virtues to him which he devoutly wishes he possessed. By force of circumstances and not by choice he is in a position for which he has not had the requisite training and experience; and, consequently, feels somewhat disquietful and perplexed. The Installing Master reads the Charge from the book of the Laws and Constitution of the Grand Lodge, administers the "oath de fideli," invests the Master-elect with his apron and jewel; and then, forming a half-circle of past-masters in front of the chair (thus screening himself and the Master-elect from the brethren generally) he seizes the latter by the arm, in the same way as is now done in a Board of Installed Masters, places him in the chair and whispers in his ear the word of an Installed Master.
Such was the manner of my installation in 1867. The Lodge was all the time on the first degree, and I have often thought that neither Murray Lyon nor Gould would have suspected, from the minutes of that meeting, that a secret word and grip, not belonging to any of the ordinary Craft degrees, had been then and there imparted to the new Master without any of those present (except the past-master) being in any way aware of the fact. Both of these distinguished Masonic writers, it seems to me, have insisted too much on written evidence before acknowledging anything contrary to their preconceptions. Hence Gould in his history, vol. II, page 358, on this subject, quotes as follows from the "General Regulations and the manner of constituting anew Lodge": "The candidate . . . being yet among the Fellow Craft . . . having signified his submission to the charges of a Master, the Grand Master shall, by certain significant ceremonies and ancient usages, install him."- To this Gould adds the remark: "It is in the highest degree improbable not to say impossible that any secrets were communicated on such an occasion."
With the highest respect for the opinion of this admirable Masonic historian, I submit that my experience establishes the fact that it was neither "improbable" nor "impossible" to communicate secrets on such an occasion. In the old days, when the places of meeting were not so commodious and not so well provided with adjacent rooms as they now are, Masons would naturally adopt methods to suit their circumstances and to overcome their difficulties. Both Murray Lyon and Gould, at times, deny the existence of things outside the circle of their ken, and the lack of a little imagination has caused them to dogmatise on the unknown a dangerous thing for historians at any time to do. Notwithstanding all this, when we consider the fables that passed as Masonic history before they appeared in the field, we can well excuse any little slip that may become visible on the pages of their magnificent works. Their careful studies ushered in a new and better era in Masonic literature, and we can never be too grateful to them for the work they so well and so persevering accomplished.
The other parts of the Ceremony of Installation in 1867, were substantially the same in form as those now usual under the Scottish Constitution. At that time, however, a great deal of information was imparted in private. Every Entered Apprentice had his instructors, or intenders as they were called in the old times. These were appointed immediately after his initiation, and were responsible to the Lodge that he should show "suitable progress" in a knowledge of the Craft when "tried" in open Lodge, before being "passed as a Fellow-of-the-Craft. The apprentice and his instructors met frequently, and his instruction continues until he was "raised" a Master Mason, and in most cases for some time afterwards. These meetings were a great help to me and I continued them for several years, even after my installation into the Chair of Lodge Leven St. John. My principal instructor was a Past Master who had one of the most retentive memories in my experience, and who had been a Mason for upwards of fifty years. From him, as well as from others, I learned all they knew of the various degrees and of the Chair Rite, but, so far as my recollection goes, there was nothing beyond the single grip and word. The tradition of the visit to the Temple at Jerusalem by the Queen of Sheba was related at these private meetings, with a number of other stories; but not with any special reference to the installing of a Master. Numerous tales floated about and these were the common property of the Craft, irrespective of degree. The tradition regarding the Queen of Sheba may, by some clever brother, have been made the basis of a pretty little rite, just as the tradition of the death of Hiram was, I believe, shaped and moulded into the ceremony of the third degree by Dr. Desaguliers; but, when that was done, or by whom it was done, there does not exist, so far as I know, any evidence whatever.
Turning to our historians for information on this Rite we find very little real information. Gould in his History (vol. II, page 239) says: "There is no evidence to show that the degree of Installed Master was invented before the second half of the eighteenth century. Murray Lyon in his work (page 185) remarks: "Previous to the introduction into Scotland of Symbolical Masonry, advancement to the chief office in Lodges was unmarked by any ceremonial further than the exaction of an oath of fealty from the newly elected brother. Even after the operative element had been eliminated from Lodges, the form of installation or "chairing" that was at first adopted was exceedingly simple. On his election the Master was shown to the chair by the old Master, who invested him with the jewel of office, and gave the salute in which the brethren joined. With the introduction of "high Masonry" came the dogma that no brother could legally preside in a Lodge until his reception of the Chair degree. This step originally bore some resemblance to the chairing which is clandestinely practised in many Scotch Lodges of the present day (1873) a ceremony in which order and misrule are made alternately to predominate, in order the more impressively to inspire the novitiate with a sense of the dignity and responsibility that pertains to the president of a Lodge of Freemasons. This mock installation will now disappear before the Installed Master's ritual recently adopted by Grand Lodge."
It was in 1872, at the February communication, that the Grand Lodge of Scotland first recognised the Past Master's ceremonial of Installation. Previous to that date, it was generally conducted in Scotland in the manner I have here tried to describe as my experience in 1867. The reference of Murray Lyon to "order and misrule" I never had any knowledge of, although such a thing may have been common in some parts of the country. It should be noted that the whole ceremony of Installation in 1867 was conducted while the Lodge was on the first degree, in accordance with the Grand Lodge law then existing. In a copy of the Laws and Constitutions of the Grand Lodge dated 1852 this law is stated thus: "The installation of the whole of the office-bearers of a Lodge including the Master shall be held in a just and perfect Lodge, opened in the Apprentice Degree."
Preston in his "Illustration of Masonry," published in 1762 (edition 1801, page 86), says: "The new Master is then conducted to an adjacent room where he is regularly installed, and bound to his trust in antient form, by his predecessor in office, in the presence of three installed Masters." From this and the context of Preston's version of the ceremony it is evident that in his day the "oath de fideli" was not administered in the Lodge, as the above remark follows immediately after the reading of the charges. Today, in Scotland, the Lodge must be opened in the first degree, in which the Charges are read and the oath is administered. The new Master and the installed Masters then retire to another room where the Chair Rite is performed. In England the Lodge is opened on the second degree, and this is the only practical difference now existing in this ceremony as practised under the respective constitutions.
In an admirable little work by Br. R. E. Wallace James, Edinburgh, entitled "Digest of Scottish Masonic Jurisprudence," there are various interesting items on this and other subjects. It is therein stated: "An account of the early Irish practice in Caementaria Hibernica (vol. 1, p. 21) disclosed why in Anderson's time it was not necessary to exclude those who were not Installed Masters: In Ireland they retired behind the chair of the S. W. and faced the west. There are, indeed, good reasons for supposing that this secret ceremony is a survival of the ceremony practised before the Grand Lodge era, when a Fellow and Master of his craft was elevated above his fellows and authorised to become Master of the Work and Lodge."
From all this it seems to me apparent that the Installed Master's Rite, in connection with the ceremony of Installation, has been practised certainly from the middle of the eighteenth century and probably before that in the old operative Lodges; and that, like many of our ceremonies, it has been evolved from a rudimentary into its present more complex form a few years after the great speculative evolution in 1717.
In Scotland it is not recognized as a degree. It is sometimes called a "ceremony" and sometimes a "rite," for the Grand Lodge has always maintained that there are only three degrees in Masonry Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master and it holds that the "Mark Ceremony" forms a part of the Fellow-craft degree, and that the Installed Master's Rite is a part of the Installation ceremony.
THE FORM OF INSTALLATION
From a comparison of Preston's "Ceremony of Installation" with the ceremony as carried out today, it is evident that they are in all respects practically the same. We may safely take it as certain, also, that the ceremony, given with a fair amount of detail by Preston, was that which was in general use in England from 1717, or shortly afterwards. The differences between the 1717 and 1917 versions are purely verbal, and even in these insignificant; and it may safely be said that during this two hundred years not one single ceremony of our Craft has suffered less change so far as the exoteric part is concerned. Regarding the esoteric part, we have no data to guide us; and we can only assume, from the fact given by Preston of the new Master being conducted to an adjacent room and therein obligated, that secrets were then imparted and that, practically, these were the same as are now given to all Installed Masters in what is now known as the Chair Rite.
From an early part of my Masonic career I have been accustomed to lay out the work in which I was engaged in the form of a Plan. These plans gave the various sections and details of the work and, to my mind, established a coherence, clear and strong throughout, as well as affording help to the memory. The Plan of Installation work which I have used for upwards of thirty years is as follows:
|A.I.M.||Assistant Installing Master|
|I. M.||Installing Master|
|N. M.||New Master|
|R. M.||Retiring Master|
Section A — Preliminaries.
- Lodge opened 1st degree by R. M.
- Minutes of election read.
- R. M. hands over mallet to I. M. requesting him to take the chair.
- I. M. and A. I. M. take their places I. M. in chair; A. I. M. on his left; R; M. on his right.
- Introductory remarks by I. M.
- Praise. 100th Psalm. R. M. leads N. M. to altar facing E.
Section B — Charges and Oath De Fideli.
- R. M. presents N. M. to I. M.
- I. M. addresses N. M. in re the ancient custom of election and the qualifications of a Master; and asks if he conscientiously accepts of the position.
- I. M. asks A. I. M. to read Charges; receives N. M. assent to same. A. I. M. calls brethren to "order."
- Music. I. M. takes place at altar, facing W. opposite N. M. Oath de fideli administered.
- I. M. raises N. M. to the plumb. Music. I. M. returns to dais.
- I. M. intimates retirement with N. M. to confer honours of an Installed Master, and requests company and assistance of Installed Masters present; asks A. I. M. to occupy the chair, install minor officers, raise Lodge to the third degree and intimate when ready to receive N. M. A. I. M. calls brethren to "order." Music. Installed Masters retire in procession.
Section C — Installed Master's Rite.
- Form the Board.
- Prayer and Obligation.
- Dissolve the Board.
(Note — A Board of Installed Masters is not permanent in its character and is therefore not "opened" and "closed" like a Lodge. It is transient and is formed for a special purpose. When that has been accomplished it is naturally dissolved. Hence, I object to the terms "opening" and "closing," and prefer the words "forming" and "dissolving," in connection with a board of Installed Masters.)
Section D — Installation of minor office bearers.
- Names of office bearers, except Master, read from minutes of election. As name is read out each one takes position at altar highest office to the south.
- Oath de fideli administered.
- A. I. M. in front of dais, invests with jewel, etc. Each office bearer steps forward as called on. Duties and symbolic meaning of his jewel briefly explained; placed in his position in the Lodge; music interluded judiciously.
- Lodge raised to 3 degree.
Section E — Chairing of the N. M.
- Music. Procession of Installed Masters enters.
- Perambulation. I. M. leads N. M. to north-east, southeast, south-west, and north-west corners, and finally to the east and places him in chair.
- I. M. calls on brethren to acknowledge N. M. by salute on 3rd degree. Salute given. A. I. M. in the east, makes proclamation. Lodge lowered to 2 degree. Craftsmen admitted. Salutation of N. M. called for and given. A. I. M. in the west, makes proclamation. Lodge lowered to 1st degree. Apprentices admitted. Salutation of N. M. called for and given. A. I. M. in the south, makes proclamation.
- I. M. hands Lodge charter to N. M. for his personal custody.
- I. M. places before N. M. books of Laws and Constitutions of Grand Lodge and By-laws of the Lodge, with counsel and admonition.
- I. M. hands Mallet to N. M. Invokes T. G. A. O. T. U. to direct him in its use. A. I. M. calls for "Grand Honours" brethren rise and respond.
Section F — Address by the I. M.
- Advice to N. M.
- Counsel to new office bearers.
- Encouragement to brethren of the Lodge.
- Inspiration to all in the great work of Masonry.
The following is one of many addresses which it has been my privilege to deliver at Installations. It was given recently in Lodge Progress, Glasgow.
RIGHT WORSHIPFUL BROTHER: He is the true king who enthrones himself in the love of his people; he is the true Master who installs himself in the hearts of his brethren. He who loves most serves best, and he who would rule wisely must serve well. True service is the foundation of all real government.
In serving others we also do the best service to ourselves. The higher law of our being is: we must bless, if we are to be blest; we must forgive, if we are to be forgiven; we must lose, if we are to gain; we must serve, if we are to rule. We have it on the highest authority, that he who is the greatest amongst us is the servant of all.
The true master serves as a teacher, and his first duty is to teach his Lodge how to be independent of him. His function, like that of a window, is to transmit the light; the less the glass is seen the more light it lets through. The more a master loses himself in his work the greater will his influence be, and his influence will be greatest when he has taught his craftsmen to be influenced, least by him and most by truth. Do you wish to rule as a true master? Then first master and rule thyself. With the sharp chisel of discipline, cut and carve your heart and character into the form of the perfect ashlar; and every true craftsman will work to your pattern. Be good, and you shall do good. Be true, and you shall teach truth. The noblest service you can render the brethren who have placed you there, is to set them a good example.
Press on then, my brother, and through all the difficulties and disappointments, the toil and trial, and seeming chaos of human life, let the firm faith in a Divine Plan working in and through all, sustain and encourage you; for
"The smallest effort is not lost;
Each wavelet on the ocean tossed
Aids in the ebb-tide, or the flow;
Each raindrop makes some flow'ret blow;
Each struggle lessens human woe."
WORSHIPFUL WARDENS AND OTHER OFFICE BEARERS: In your respective offices, you will each find a sphere for being useful, and for doing good. Remember that while there must needs be diversity, there can be no disparity of office, in the true Mason Lodge. The real measure of a man is not the place he fills, but how he fills his place. There is no office in the universe too small for God, the Almighty. In the tiniest dewdrop He finds room for the exercise of His infinite skill, and the microscope reveals His greatness, perhaps even more than the telescope. Is there not room then, my brothers, in the humblest office of a Lodge, for the exercise of all the powers which we poor mortals possess?
"Honour and shame from no condition rise;
Act well your part; there all the honour lies."
MEMBERS OF LODGE "PROGRESS": We are apt sometimes to confound prominence with importance, and to imagine that that which bulks largest on our eye is of greatest consequence. The cornice of a building is prominent, but is it more important than the foundation that lies unseen in the earth? Is not the peasant that raises corn for our food of more importance to us than the prince in his palace? The people of a state are of greater consequence than their governors; the members of a Lodge are more important than their officers. We all stand together, and our duty is to fill our places wisely and well, like stones in a building, true and square to those below, around, and above us. In the perspective of the universe, in the measurements of eternity, there is no distinction between the position of the monarch with his sceptre and the beggar with his staff; between the master with his mallet and the apprentice with his gavel. The only difference recognised is in the use they make of their privileges and powers.
"There is no height nor depth in the eternal space;
Not humble work, but work ill-done, will bring disgrace."
RIGHT WORSHIPFUL MASTER, WORSHIPFUL WARDENS, AND BRETHREN ALL: It is a little over three years since men were everywhere boasting of the wealth and science, the culture and civilisation, of what they proudly called this enlightened twentieth century. The civilisations of Egypt and Syria, "the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome." had grown and flourished, faded and disappeared; but ours would go down the ages, prospering and progressing. Today, what do we see? Death and destruction unparalleled even in the darkest and most savage period of human history. Over the peaceful valley and fertile plain, through the burning sands of the barren desert, down in the depths of the sea, up in the clouds of the air, the messengers of hate speed, spreading ruin and desolation in their track. The lusts and furies of hell have burst their bounds, and the devil overruns the earth to work his will. Why? Brethren, it needs no angelic vision to see why. Our boasted civilisation was not built on the Square. The tie that held human society together was that of self-interest backed by force. The moment our interests diverged the bond was broken, and war ruthless war resulted. The ideal of a selfish world-dominance; the culture of force; the glorification of the brute, that obsessed and possessed the minds of men for the last two generations, have had their inevitable sequence; and now we see our culture and civilisation cracking like thin veneer under the iron heel of militarism, and the wealth we worshipped disappearing in the seething, melting pot of this terrible war.
This is not the place nor is it the time even were I capable of the task to assign the blame for this awful crime to this man, or to that people; what I want to emphasise is the broad, ugly fact that, for many years, the civilised nations have been like armed bandits watching each other with jealous eyes; and that, within each nation, the people have been divided into hostile camps political, religious, social, and industrial. Strife and unrest existed everywhere, and, alas! unrest and strife still exist everywhere today. Amid all this the human heart, sick and weary, for years has been longing and crying and now, more than ever, longs and cries for some neutral ground on which men may meet together in unity and peace. Brethren, there is only one spot I know of in this warring world that answers to this cry, and that is here in the Mason Lodge, where race, creed, sect and party are not recognised, and where men may be united together by the one, simple, grand Faith in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man. This unique position of our institution places on us Masons a great and grave responsibility. The highest interests of humanity demand that this neutral ground shall be jealously preserved and sacredly conserved, for brotherhood and peace. But, you may ask, how can this be when our imperfections and often our very honest convictions, separate and divide us? Brethren, if we be true Masons this problem will be readily solved. If we are true to the teachings of our Craft, we will agree to acknowledge our differences without contention; when we "tyle" the door of our Lodge, we will also "tyle" our hearts to all the antagonisms of the outer world; when we put on our bodies this emblem of innocence and badge of brotherhood, we will also clothe our souls with the spirit of fraternal affection; when we engage in the labours of our Craft, we will work in accordance with its Three Grand Principles of Love, Benevolence, and Truth; and will thus hand down to posterity our ancient heritage, "hele and unimpaired," to be a hallowed haven of peace, amid the storms and tumults of human life. Thus, if Masons be true to Masonry, each Lodge will be a centre from whence the influences of good-will and friendship will radiate through human society. The silent Forces of the Universe are the mightiest. The volcano may hurl its fiery bolts into the clouds, but the quiet power of gravitation brings them back to earth. The destructive forces are temporal and exhaust themselves; the constructive are eternal and inexhaustible. Before the Temple was built at Jerusalem there was a period of din, discord, and destruction. Rocks were rent and hills were removed, to provide a broad, level foundation for the building. Then, in reverent silence, the great structure was reared, and "there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building." And so, at last, will the mighty plans of The Great Architect of All be accomplished, and the glorious Temple of Human Brotherhood be established. Then shall the vision of the ancient Prophet of Israel be realized: "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it."
* * *
THE NOBLE NATURE
It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make Man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer in May,
Although it fall and die that night
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.
— Ben Jonson, 1674-1637.
* * *
Bro. Roscoe Pound
Dean, Harvard College of Law
3. MASONIC COMMON LAW
AS I said in the last lecture,  there is much to be said for a Landmark of visitation. On the other hand, four points may be urged against such a Landmark: (1) The serious differences among Masonic writers of authority as to the existence of an absolute right of visitation; (2) The pronouncements of important Grand Lodges to the contrary; (3) The obvious necessity of restraints upon visitation under the conditions of today, which give great force in this connection to what lawyers call the argument ab inconvenienti; (4) The difficulties growing out of legislation in Grand Lodges with respect to membership in clandestine bodies conferring higher degrees and the effect thereof upon one's rights as a Craft Mason.
Let us look at these in order.
(1) While Mackey lays down the right of visitation as a Landmark and says in his Principles of Masonic Law: "Every Master Mason who is an affiliated member of a Lodge has the right to visit any other Lodge as often as he may desire to do so," Doctor Morris lays down the contrary with equal positiveness, saying: "There is no question in our mind but that a Lodge has the right to prohibit intrusion from visitors at any and all times at its own discretion." Likewise Brother Moore, whose excellent papers on the Landmarks have been referred to heretofore says: "The very custom of asking permission to visit implies the power to refuse the visitor admission." He concludes, therefore, that there is a duty of hospitality, but not a right of visitation, that the duty is moral rather than legal, and hence that there is no unchangeable Landmark. In other words, visitation is an old institution of Masonic common law. But, since it falls short of a Landmark, the subject is open to regulation, and the circumstances of today call urgently for the regulation which has sprung up through Masonic legislation.
(2) Masonic decision and legislation have not regarded the right of visitation as a Landmark. Thus, in 1857, the Grand Lodge of England decided that "the Master and Wardens may refuse admission to any visitor of known bad character." According to Mackey's view the sole question would be whether he was in good standing in a regular Lodge. Brother Moore asks why he remains a Mason if he is of known bad character? No doubt a strong presumption arises from his good standing in another Lodge. Still a Lodge may not do its duty and such persons may remain unchallenged. If so, when we are told that another Lodge may refuse to receive them, the result is to deny Mackey's Landmark. In Massachusetts and in Kentucky visitation has been held not to be an absolute right, but to be a favor which the Master may grant or may refuse in his discretion. Michigan also rests the whole matter on discretion, holding that a Lodge may admit or exclude visitors as it sees fit. These holdings are wholly incompatible with the alleged Landmark and amount to a recognition of the proposition for which Brother Moore contends, namely, that there is no more than a moral duty of hospitality.
(3) This view of the so-called right of visitation becomes almost imperative under the conditions of visitation today. With the best of intention toward the honest Masonic traveler, we are compelled today, in view of the enormous increase in the number of Masons, to restrict more and more the hospitality we extend to the visiting brother. Imposters and Masons for revenue only, traveling about the country, have not only required us to adopt elaborate precautions in the way of boards of relief, extending even to an international Masonic relief association, but have also driven our Grand Lodges to enact somewhat strict rules as to visitation. Moreover, nearly everywhere, with the great growth of the Order, clandestine Masonry has grown also. And this growth of clandestine Masonry, rendered inevitable by the prosperity of legitimate American Masonry, has been aggravated by controversies as to the legitimacy of Scottish Rite bodies and by attempts of Masonic charlatans to peddle high degrees of other rites, with which our Grand Lodges in many jurisdictions have felt it necessary to deal by legislation. Thus in one of the great states of the union — a state which took an honorable part in the spreading of Masonry over the country — there is a so-called Grand Lodge made up entirely of clandestine and irregular particular Lodges, having for their sole raison d'être a claim that the legitimate Grand Lodge had violated the ancient Landmarks by declaring the Scottish Rite bodies of Cerneau origin to be clandestine. The propriety of such legislation has been much controverted and is not relevant in the present connection. It is enough to say here that the competency of Grand Lodges to enact it seems indisputable. Nothing with any degree of pretension to be a Landmark is violated and the question is simply one of expediency. Hence such schisms have no legitimate basis. None the less they do exist, and elsewhere clandestine so-called Grand Lodges exist with even less justification. Obviously some barriers beyond the ordinary examination by a committee become necessary under such conditions.
But the Grand Lodge legislation last referred to leads to greater difficulties in that as a result a Mason may be in good standing in one of two jurisdictions, each recognizing the other, and yet, if he were a member in the jurisdiction where he seeks to visit he would not be eligible to sit in Lodge. For example, in Iowa, if a Mason joins a Cerneau Scottish Rite body, the law of his Grand Lodge pronounces him a clandestine Mason. Also in Pennsylvania an adherent of the Cerneau Scottish Rite is not permitted to visit a Craft Lodge. Many other states have like legislation. In view of such legislation, Brother George F. Moore puts this case: "There is, we will say for example, a symbolic Lodge in session in the District of Columbia, where there is no law forbidding a regular Mason to sit with a Cerneau Scottish Rite Mason. Seated in this Lodge are two or three 'Cerneauites' and Brethren are present from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, and other states which have declared Cerneaus to be clandestine Master Masons. The visiting brethren from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa are prohibited by the Masonic laws of their own states from sitting in a Lodge with the Cerneaus. They are not aware of the presence of the clandestine Masons in the Washington City Lodge, and sit with them. Afterwards one of the Cerneaus meets one of the Iowa Brethren who had sat with him in the Washington Lodge, and the latter vouches for the Cerneau who is admitted because of this voucher in a Lodge in another state. Has not the vouching brother violated his obligation and the laws of his Grand Lodge?
Clearly the Iowa brother has violated his obligation, and the laws of Masonry in his own state by vouching for a "clandestine Mason."
That such a situation may arise innocently and may very easily arise is unfortunate. It puts the Masonic visitor in a most awkward position, and seems to require him either to be offensively discourteous, or to know thoroughly the Masonic legislation both of his own jurisdiction and of that in which he seeks to visit, or else to abstain from visiting. As Brother Moore justly observes in the paper already quoted from, we can hardly expect the visitor from a state where a Cerneau Scottish Rite Mason is deemed clandestine also in the Craft Lodges, to say publicly, if he visits in a jurisdiction without such legislation: "If there are any Cerneaus present I must not sit here with you because I make myself liable to Masonic laws of my own state." Very likely those who deny the concern of the Craft Lodge with the higher degrees would suggest to him that he inform himself at his peril before he visits. But what becomes of the right of visitation under such circumstances? What shall we say of the Cerneau in good standing as a Master Mason at home who claims by virtue of Mackey's alleged Landmark an absolute right to visit a Craft Lodge in a jurisdiction which pronounces him clandestine?
We have here a question similar to the class of questions now very common in the law of the state to which we give the name of Conflict of Laws. Some explanation is necessary. In most of the cases which come before the courts in Massachusetts, for example, the parties are American citizens residing in Massachusetts and the transaction or occurrence out of which the controversy arises took place in this commonwealth. But an increasing number of cases are coming before tribunals which involve a foreign element. One or both of the parties may be foreign; the transaction or some part of it may have taken place abroad; or one or both of the parties may reside in another state of the union or the transaction may have taken place in another state or with reference to the laws of another state. In such cases the court must ask whether and how far it is to apply the law of the foreign country or of the other state, and the principles by which it answers these questions are said to belong to the subject of Conflict of Laws. When the law was substantially the same in our several states and interstate business was not extensive the subject was of no great importance. Today, however, in view of the great volume of interstate business and of foreign trade, and in view of the increasing divergence in the laws of the several states due to the huge output of legislation and judicial decision in recent years; the subject has become one of great consequence as well as one of much difficulty. A like situation has arisen in Masonry. When Masonic law and custom was simple and alike in all substantial details in each of our states conflict of laws was not an item in Masonic jurisprudence. Today Masons are so numerous and so peripatetic and the law in most of our jurisdictions is becoming so minute, so detailed, and hence often so diverse, that serious questions of what the lawyer would term Conflict of Laws arise continually. Doubtless, so far as the lawyer's theories of Conflict of Laws are grounded on natural reason and not merely upon historical accident, they are available to the Masonic jurist where not in conflict with the Landmarks or with Masonic common law.
In general the lawyer holds that a man's status, opposition before the law, is governed by the law of his home. Yet if his home law puts him in a position unknown to the local law, it may not recognize the status, and even if the local law does recognize the status it does not follow that effect will be given to the legal results which it involves at home. If we may apply this analogy — on the theory that it represents natural reason and formulates human experience of the just way of solving a difficult problem — we may say that in the case put the Mason's standing as a Master Mason is determined by the law of his home jurisdiction, and yet the jurisdiction where he seeks to visit, recognizing this standing, is not bound to give effect to the legal result involved at home, namely, the right to visit. He is in good standing by the law of his home jurisdiction, whose Masonic competency is admitted. But the policy of the local law requires that we refuse to give to that standing all the results which it involves at home. If such a solution is admissible under Masonic law, it is surely expedient, and the practical necessity of some such solution is a strong argument against an absolute right of visitation.
Mackey's fifteenth Landmark is thus stated: "No visitor unknown to the Brethren present or to some one of them as a Mason can enter a Lodge without first passing an examination according to ancient usage." In commenting upon this supposed Landmark he adds that it "refers only to the cases of strangers who are not to be recognized unless after strict trial, due examination, or lawful information." Hence the visitor may be vouched for and the examination may be dispensed with. There is some warrant for the claim of a Landmark here in the pronouncement of the Grand Lodge of England that the Landmarks are contained in the Master Mason's obligation. But after all the requirement of voucher or examination is a necessary consequence of the fundamental principle of secrecy. If we put secrecy as the Landmark, voucher or examination are but common-law or customary modes of giving it effect. It is important to recognize this not only because the practice of American jurisdictions varies, but because the great increase in the number of clandestine organizations in recent times and the ever-growing tribe of imposters render legislation on the subject expedient if not imperative, and it would be unfortunate if we were hampered by a Landmark. As to the first point, it may be enough to say that some jurisdictions take the phrase "lawful information" to mean that he who vouches for another must have sat with the other in a regular Lodge, while in other jurisdictions satisfactory evidence will suffice although the brothers vouching and vouched for have never sat together in Lodge. This divergence is not inconsistent with Mackey's claim of a Landmark. But the continually increasing reliance upon cards, receipts for dues, or diplomas is not unlikely to encroach upon it very materially and emphasizes the desirability of confining the absolute and unalterable requirement to the broad principle of secrecy. Nevertheless, examination or voucher are the established customary practice and, as in other matters of Masonic common law, legislative innovation ought to proceed cautiously and with assurance of sound reason for any change.
Doctor Mackey states his sixteenth Landmark in these words: "No Lodge can interfere in the business of any other Lodge nor give degrees to Brethren who are members of other Lodges." As in so many other cases, Mackey seeks to make a case for this Landmark analytically. "It is," he says, "undoubtedly an ancient Landmark founded on the great principles of courtesy and fraternal kindness which are at the very foundation of our institution." But Landmarks cannot be deduced from general principles in this way. Philosophy and logic may confirm history, but they cannot demonstrate a Landmark in the face of history. The conclusive objection to this supposed Landmark is that it assumes the established system of permanent Lodges with local jurisdiction which dates only from the eighteenth century. The second argument which Mackey brings forward is universal recognition in Masonic legislation. He says: "It has been repeatedly recognized by subsequent statutory enactment of all Grand Lodges." The remarks of Brother Moore in this connection are very pertinent: "It is the 'statutory enactments' which have made the so-called Landmark, and not the Landmark which has produced the statutes." In other words, the legislation of our Grand Lodges on this subject is not declaratory of a Landmark, but Doctor Mackey after studying the legislation was able to deduce a general principle underlying it, which he sought to set up as a Landmark. Together with all other rules that presuppose our modern Lodge system, it can only be a rule of Masonic common law.
We have here, however, a very important and difficult series of questions of Masonic Conflict of Laws. Although courtesy and fraternal spirit obviate many difficulties that might else arise, it is evident that they may not be relied upon entirely. Legislation has dealt with the matter everywhere as between the particular Lodges of the same jurisdiction. But as men move about so frequently and in such large numbers and as the volume and detail of Masonic legislation increases conflict between the legislation or usage of different Grand Lodges becomes inevitable. Such controversies as those which have raged over the question of perpetual jurisdiction illustrate the possibilities involved. There must be some general principles by which we may be governed in the absence of legislation and by which we may be guided in shaping, interpreting, and applying legislation. The nature of the case calls for something more than courtesy and comity, and Mackey's principle of non-interference and of keeping hands off of those who are members of other Lodges while giving us some guidance is not sufficiently definite. No doubt it is dangerous to turn to the law of the land for analogies. If this is done too much an alien element may creep into Masonry which would be undesirable. But the problems of law are often the same, whether we look to the law of the state, the law of the church, or the law of a fraternal order. And, so far as the answers proceed on natural reason and not on history, so far as they are universal and not the results of special circumstance of the society in which they originated, the solutions arrived at in the one society, embodying experience in the attainment of justice in the elimination of waste and conservation of values by means of a rule — these solutions, I say, arrived at in one type of society may well afford valuable suggestions for the law giver in another type. Thus we may well supplement the principle of Masonic common law contained in Mackey's fifteenth Landmark with the further principles of exclusive competence of a sovereign to determine the status or legal position of those subject to its authority, of the independence of legal control from without involved in the very idea of sovereignty, and of recognition of rights duly acquired under the law of other sovereigns as a matter of comity, which human experience has established in connection with the legal regulation of the everyday affairs of life. But we must not be dogmatic. These are but principles by the light of which independent Masonic sovereignties may co-exist, as independent political sovereignties co-exist. Details are subject to legislation in which every jurisdiction ultimately must decide what it deems expedient.
The seventeenth Landmark in Mackey's system is thus stated: "Every Freemason is amenable to the laws and regulations of the Masonic jurisdiction in which he resides, and this although he may not be a member of any Lodge." In other words, it is said to be a Landmark that all Masonic bodies have jurisdiction over all Masons residing within their territorial limits, whether affiliated or unafflliated, and if affiliated, no matter where they hold their Masonic membership. This alleged Landmark, as a Landmark, is open to the conclusive objection that it presupposes a territorial jurisdiction in Lodges, something which did not come into existence till well along in the eighteenth century. Brother Moore goes further and denies that territorial jurisdiction over foreign and unaffiliated Masons is Masonic law at all. He says: "If a Mason in good standing in a Lodge chartered by one of our American Grand Lodges were guilty of a Masonic offense in France made so by the French law, he would not and could not be tried by a Lodge under the Grand Orient of France for the offense. Nor would a member of a Lodge under the Grand Orient of France, who has been guilty of a Masonic offense made so by our law, here be tried in one of our Lodges, and much more so is it the case where unaffiliated Masons are concerned. The status of the Mason is determined not alone by the fact of his having been a Mason and becoming unaffiliated, but also by the relations between the jurisdictions under which he became a Mason, and that where he resides and has committed some Masonic offense. Some years ago nearly all the Grand Lodges in the United States broke off fraternal relations with the Grand Lodge of the State of Washington, because the latter had recognized certain negro Lodges. While that condition existed does anyone for a moment suppose that an unaffiliated Mason made in Washington state but residing in Massachusetts, who had committed a Masonic offense in the latter state, would have been tried for it in a Bay State Lodge?"
Perhaps a follower of Mackey might answer the last question by saying that it might depend on whether, after the severance of relations, the Washington made Mason was recognized as a Mason at all. As the point was that the Washington Masons were communicating Masonically with clandestine Masons, such an answer might well be returned. But in any event Brother Moore's next observation must be conceded: "This alleged Landmark," he says, "illustrates very forcibly the danger of generalizing without noticing all the facts which go to make up the problem."
As a matter of common law, how far is there such a territorial jurisdiction over resident Masons, regardless of where made?
To understand Mackey's position and the position of Brother Moore, who criticizes Mackey and not only rejects the alleged Landmark — which undoubtedly we must do — but also denies that there is any such jurisdiction by virtue of territory at all — to understand the two positions, I say, we must turn to a burning question in jurisprudence generally as to jurisdiction over crimes.
There are four theories of criminal jurisdiction in the modern world. The first is the territorial theory, the theory of the forum delicti commissi, the theory that offenses are punishable and only punishable by the sovereign of the place where the offense is committed, without regard to the allegiance of the offender. This is the theory of Anglo-American law, and it is one to which our law has thus far adhered very obstinately so that it has given rise to some curious cases.
Two examples of the territorial theory of criminal jurisdiction as applied in Anglo-American law may be of interest in the present connection. In one well known case, an American editor in Texas wrote a libellous article concerning a Mexican. Afterward, going into Mexico, where his paper circulated, the editor was taken under process from a Mexican court and required to go before a Court of Conciliation and enter into a settlement with the person he had libelled. Thereafter he again libelled the Mexican in his paper and going once more into Mexico was prosecuted criminally for the libel. The American government insisted upon his release, asserting the principle of English and American law that crimes are only to be prosecuted in the territorial jurisdiction in which they are committed as a principle of universal law. In another well-known case, one person, standing upon the North Carolina side of the line between North Carolina and Tennessee, shot and killed another, who stood in Tennessee. The crime being complete in Tennessee according to the common law could only be prosecuted in that state. There could be no prosecution in North Carolina because the act did not take effect there. On the other hand, as the murderer was never in Tennessee, he could not be regarded as a fugitive from Tennessee justice and therefore could not be taken from North Carolina to Tennessee on extradition. This case shows strikingly the type of difficulties involved in the Anglo-American theory, difficulties which indeed are compelling our several states by legislation to adopt more liberal views of criminal jurisdiction.
The territorial theory grows out of our conception that there must be a trial by a jury of the vicinage where the crime was committed. Historically it is a feudal theory. Obviously, Mackey took it without question that the doctrine he found in our American law books was a principle of universal justice and so erected it as a Landmark.
A second theory is the personal theory, the theory of the forum ligeantiae or theory of the forum of allegiance. According to this theory, the sovereign to which the offender owes political allegiance has jurisdiction to deal with him for offenses done anywhere in the world. This is the Roman theory, and it is held very strongly in the modern world by France. Hence Brother Moore, whose studies in the Scottish Rite have led him to read the French authors, sees this principle of jurisdiction and rightly criticizes Mackey for overlooking it. But I think, with submission, Brother Moore is equally wrong in laying down that there is no territorial jurisdiction over Masonic offenses. The basis of my view that there is such a jurisdiction — not as a Landmark indeed, but as a matter of Masonic common law — will appear from the other two theories of criminal jurisdiction, which I am about to explain.
A third theory is the theory of self-preservation, the theory of the forum laesae civitatis, or theory of the forum of the injured state. According to this theory, if an offense, wherever committed, is an injury to any particular sovereign, if that sovereign can reach the offender, he may deal with him. For example, in a leading case a Frenchman in Switzerland forged German government securities. He then went from Switzerland into Germany. He could not be dealt with by the French on the theory of the forum of allegiance because he was not in France, and could not be dealt with by Switzerland on the theory of the forum where the crime was committed because he was no longer in Switzerland. The German authorities, however, dealt with his case on the theory of the forum of the injured state, and this solution has generally been regarded as proper in Continental Europe. I will speak of possible Masonic applications of this theory in a moment.
Finally there is the theory of cosmopolitan justice, the theory of the forum deprehensionis, or forum of capture, the theory that when an offense has been committed anywhere in the world, by any person, no matter what his allegiance, any sovereign in the world who happens to be able to reach him, may deal with him in order to prevent failure of justice. The Italians insist in this theory. The English and Americans cannot adopt it because of our requirement of jury trial and producing of witnesses in court. Our mode of trial is in the way of proof by deposition. But as no such difficulties are in the way of Masonry, there would seem no reason why territorial jurisdiction should not be admitted, so far as the self-preservation theory or the theory of a cosmopolitan Masonic justice may require. In other words, we may agree with Brother Moore in rejecting Mackey's alleged Landmark of a territorial jurisdiction and yet may claim that there is such a jurisdiction as a matter of Masonic common law, along with the personal jurisdiction for which Brother Moore contends.
Suppose, for example, a Mason made abroad or made in another state whether unaffiliated or retaining his old membership, advertised his Masonic membership generally and thereupon so conducted himself as to bring scandal upon Masonry. Here there is an injury to the local Masonic sovereignty. There is good ground for it to interfere, and the person is before it where he can be reached. Masonic discipline can be given the same publicity which he has given his membership. Are we to say this cannot be done? Again, why should we not hold here to a doctrine of cosmopolitan justice? In such a case the Masonic sovereignty on the spot may be far the best able to try the case and to apply the remedy. Are we to take so narrow a view of Masonic justice as to deny this jurisdiction? It seems to me that, if nothing prevents, the most liberal view is perfectly open in Masonic jurisprudence and hence that Masonic common law admits of both territorial and personal jurisdiction over Masonic offenses. But, mark you, the territorial jurisdiction ought to be over general Masonic offenses, over offenses which injure Masonry generally and hence are either a danger to the local Masonic sovereign or are within a principle of cosmopolitan justice, and not offenses against mere local regulations. As the lawyer would say, they ought to be mala in se — not mala prohibita.
Mackey is generally very sound as to Masonic common law, where his wide experience of what actually obtained in practice, his keen sense of justice, and his sound common sense were safe guides.
But how about Mackey's proposition as to territorial jurisdiction to try for non-affiliation? Brother Moore rejects this idea wholly. His argument is "If non-affiliation is a Masonic offense as is asserted by Mackey, every Mason wherever he may be, is liable to be tried by any Lodge in whose territorial jurisdiction he resides. This would, indeed, be a strange and, it would seem, unbrotherly proceeding. It is quite true that the duty of the Mason to remain a working member may be traced to the ancient Gilds, but to raise to the dignity of a Landmark the proposition that every man once initiated must keep his dues paid and thereby keep up his affiliation wherever he may be on the surface of the earth or if he does not or becomes unaffiliated by dimit, he is guilty of a Masonic offense for which he may be tried like a criminal wherever he may be found, seems quite unmasonic. The unaffiliated Mason, according to that principle, bears on him the mark of Cain and everyone who finds him can slay him! There is nothing to show this is a Landmark, and against such a position is the conclusive argument that the permanent local Lodge is an eighteenth-century institution."
Moreover Mackey's idea that non-affiliation is necessarily, inevitably, and unalterably a Masonic offense is not merely uncharitable, it is very unseemly. While bestirring ourselves to collect dues to meet the expenses of the Lodge, we are apt to forget some things of much more importance than the merely financial side of Masonry. Every organization, no matter how high its purposes, encounters this obstacle to the attainment of its ideals as it becomes prosperous. Unhappily we cannot attain great things spiritually without a certain material foundation. And it is very easy, in our zeal for the former, to forget that the latter is but a means and to make it consciously or subconsciously an end. At the end of the Middle Ages the church, with its wonderful spiritual heritage, very nearly forgot its essential character as something not of this world in the press of temporal interests which were but the byproducts of its true activities. The Reformation was the result. Let us not make the same mistake. For in our proper zeal to punish wilful evasion of the duties of membership in a Lodge, we may easily fall into the grave error of measuring too much by a money standard and may easily commercialize the Fraternity. We may grant that the unaffiliated are not exempt from Masonic discipline to the extent that their conduct, ascribed by the world at large to Masons, may endanger the good report of the Order, and yet we may not be bound to regard non-affiliation in and of itself as an offense. Mackenzie's language on this subject is noteworthy. He says: "That a Mason, by non-affiliation, does not relax his fealty to the Craft at large or exempt him[self] from censure for Masonic offenses from the Grand Lodge whence his certificate has been derived." I think we may well add that the Masonic jurisdiction where he resides may deal with him, at least in case his Masonic offenses committed in that jurisdiction are injurious in their effects to Masonry in that locality. But it is quite a different proposition to lay down that he must absolutely affiliate at all events, and that his failure to keep up the payment of dues so long as he lives is in and of itself to be branded as an offense.
Mackey's eighteenth Landmark has to do with the qualifications of a candidate. Mackey states these qualifications thus: "He must be a free-born man, and of full age; . . . he must not be mutilated, a woman, an idiot, or a slave." This alleged Landmark was considered in part in a former lecture. So far as it requires the candidate to be a man, free, free-born, and of the age of discretion by the law or custom of the place, we may accept it. But the requirement that the candidate be whole or unmutilated is not so clear. There is, indeed, more to be said for Mackey's position than some have perceived. It is not to be denied that primitive society looked upon the man who was not whole very differently from the way in which we now regard him. In civilized society there is a place for him. Serious physical injuries or physical defects will not prevent him from being a useful and a happy member of society. Very likely they may involve little more than inconvenience to the afflicted person. In primitive society the situation was very different. The man who was not physically whole was at least of no use to society and was very likely to be a serious incumbrance. If he was congenitally defective society in self-defense simply put him out of the way. If the defect was acquired later the defective man, if he was able to drag out a miserable existence, very likely had to associate with the women and children through inability to take a man's part in the community. He had no place in the men's house and hence primitive rites and secret societies were not favorably inclined toward him. Thus there was an immemorial prejudice against the physically defective which left traces even in so enlightened an institution as the Roman law and even in so unworldly an institution as the canon law. This immemorial prejudice against the mutilated or defective gains additional support in Masonry from the requirements of the operative art and from logical arguments based on the requirements of our ritual. Immemorial prejudice, growing out of the circumstances of primitive society, the practice of ancient rites, the requirements of the operative art, logical deduction from our ceremonies, and a certain amount of Masonic usage combine to make a formidable case. Most jurisdictions in the United States have accepted or assumed some requirement of wholeness, and our American Grand Lodge proceedings are full of discussions as to just what degree of mutilation will disqualify. Few things have been more debated in Masonic common law. But much as may be said for some such requirement as an ancient custom of the Craft, the practice in England is conclusive that the doctrine as to wholeness is not even universal Masonic common law. So far from admitting or regarding it as a Landmark, the English Masons have never insisted on physical perfection as so many jurisdictions do in America and our American distinctions and discussions are quite unknown to them. At most, therefore, this is but common law, and any jurisdiction which feels disposed to take a liberal view of the subject in the light of the conditions of modern civilized society and of the purposes and ideals of Masonry is clearly entitled so to do.
The remainder of Mackey's list of twenty-five Landmarks were considered in a prior lecture, and require nothing further.
It would be unjust to close this view of the leading principles of Masonic common law without a tribute to Doctor Mackey. It has been necessary to criticize his theories at many points. But this necessity of criticism should not blind us to the permanent value of his work in formulating the main ideas that underlie Masonic law.
Where he erred chiefly was in assuming too rigid a body of fundamental law. But this was a natural error for an American in the nineteenth century. American lawyers of that time believed that an ideal version of our traditional Anglo-American legal system was, as it were, ordained by nature; they believed that the sections of our American bills of rights simply declared universal and eternal principles inherent in the very idea of free government. Hence it was not unnatural for an American Mason of that time to assume that an ideal development of the generally received customs of the Craft in America was the eternal jural order in Freemasonry. We may reject this idea and yet recognize the invaluable service which Mackey performed for us by working out and formulating the leading principles of our customary law.
- "Masonic Common Law — Part I," THE BUILDER, April, 1917, p. 117. ↩
- "The Landmarks," vol. III, p. 211. ↩
- Idem. ↩
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Bro. H. A. Kingsbury, Connecticut
Many a Mason fails to realize that the Acacia, both in its occurrence as the Sprig of Acacia and its occurrence as the proper material of the Horns of the Masonic Altar, is a symbol an example of the symbolism of natural objects and, more specifically, an example of the symbolism of plants. Therefore, two suggestions for interesting study offered by Masonry are neglected far more often than they are heeded. This is hardly the place for the making of a full investigation of either of these two fields of research, and no investigation will be attempted. The most that will be endeavored is a brief review of certain phases of the significances of some few plants, with particular reference to the Acacia.
The practice of assigning certain symbolic meanings and peculiar significances to plants has come down to us from a time so distant "that memory of man runneth not to the contrary" and, although so far as present-day usage is concerned much has been lost, we moderns yet follow the practice to no inconsiderable extent. To cite but a few examples: the olive is recognized by us as the symbol of peace, the laurel of victory, the rosemary of remembrance, and the oak of sturdiness and strength.
The symbolistic systems of nearly all the ancient peoples included examples of the symbolism of plants. Among the Egyptians the names of women, except those of Egyptian queens, were, in the hieroglyphics, terminated, or accompanied by, a representation of a bouquet of the flowers of the papyrus. The bunch of papyrus was also the generic determination of the names of all plants, herbs and flowers. The bean symbolized unclean things a conception adopted by the Pythagoreans and, therefore, of particular interest to the Mason the apparent reason for assigning this significance to the bean being that the name of that vegetable, in the Hebrew, is the same, except for a difference in gender, as that of the nomadic people, which people were an abomination to the Egyptians.
Referring further to the conceptions of the Egyptians; the fig tree was, Portal in his "Egyptian Symbols" supposes, the symbol of marriage. The lily or lotus was the symbol of initiation or the birth of celestial light, indeed, on some of the monuments of Egypt the god Phree, the sun, is pictured as rising from the cup of a lotus; this symbolical meaning that the lotus is the symbol of the birth of celestial light was probably assigned to the plant by the Egyptians because of the fact that the flower opens at the rising of the sun and closes at the close of day.
In the legend taught in the Adonisian Mysteries, Venus placed the body of the dead Adonis on a bed of lettuce. In the Druidical Mysteries the mistletoe was a sacred plant. In the Grecian Mysteries the myrtle was of peculiar significance. In the Mysteries of Dionysus the ivy was a sacred emblem. And in the Egyptian Mysteries of Osiris and Isis the heath was held in veneration, this-being due to the following circumstance:
It is related, in a certain legend taught in the Mysteries of Osiris and Isis, that Isis, after a long search for the body of her husband, the god Osiris murdered by Typhoon, discovered the body buried on the brow of a hill; there was a heath plant growing near by. Hence, in the mysteries which Isis established to commemorate the death and resurrection of Osiris, the heath plant was adopted as sacred on the strength of the fact that it had pointed out to Isis, in her search, the spot where the body of Osiris lay concealed. Let us now consider the Acacia.
Among the Hebrews, in early biblical times, the Acacia or, as it is rendered in the Scriptures, the Shittah, was set apart from the other trees of the forest as the one from whose wood various objects having a special religious significance should be constructed. So that, as told in the Scriptures, Acacia was the wood from which were made the sanctuary of the temple, the Ark of the Covenant, the table for the shew bread, and all the articles of the sacred furniture that ought properly to be constructed from wood, including the Horns of the Altar. So, this tree comes to the Mason endowed with a special and peculiar importance and with a history that well qualifies it for that important place which it occupies in the symbolistic system of Masonry.
To the Mason the symbolic significance of the Acacia has a double aspect, as the tree is the symbol Both of Innocence and of Immortality of the Soul. Its character as a symbol of Innocence is dependent upon the two-fold meaning of the Greek word for Acacia as that word signifies both the Acacia and the moral quality of innocence or purity of life. It must be confessed that had not this conception depending as it does merely upon the double meaning of a word the sanction of Brother Albert Mackey, it might seem to some a straining after the symbolical hardly necessary or called for, in a symbolistic system so rich in clear and straightforward conceptions as is Masonry.
But, however it may be with the assigning to the Acacia the character of a symbol of Innocence, the preeminent symbolic significance of the Acacia that it is the symbol of Immortality of the Soul is both natural and beautiful, being based upon and derived from the fact that the Acacia is an evergreen.
As the evergreen never yields to the Changing Seasons or gives up its hold on Life under the attacks of Winter, so the Soul never yields to the Vicissitudes of Mortal Life or surrenders its existence under the attacks of Death.
The Acacia, then, presents to the Mason's attention an example of the symbolism of natural objects and so points the way to interesting fields of investigation; reiterates that lesson taught by every investigation of Masonic symbolism that practically everything in Masonry has a veiled significance not apparent at first glance, and not intended to be so apparent, but designedly so veiled in order that the Mason, to arrive at a basic knowledge of his craft, must exert himself and, finally, it presents symbolically one of the Great Teachings of Masonry Immortality of the Soul.
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A MASON'S PRAYER
Dedicated to Pleasantville Lodge, Pleasantville, New York on the occasion of the public installation of officers, by Linda Germond Baker, the daughter of a former member of Gavel, Bro. Gilbert A. Germond, who lived as he should and has gone to the Higher Temple.
To the Father of brothers, the Giver of good,
To the Master of nations, the Worker in wood,
To the great elder Brother who lived as he should
For power to be stewards to earn a "well-done,"
For love to be brothers and follow that One,
The Man among fishers, the carpenter's Son
For help to be Masons in heart and in deed,
For will to be craftsmen through life, quick to heed
The Grand Master's bidding, where'er it may lead
Till, when Masons ever, with honors so high
That man's sweetest thinking can them but espy,
We bring to the altar, with Hosanna cry, Our lives.
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CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN — NO. 18
DEVOTED ORGANIZED MASONIC STUDY
Edited by Bro. Robert I. Clegg
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE MEETINGS AND STUDY CLUBS
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for its foundation two sources of Masonic information: THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. In another paragraph is explained how the references to former issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may be worked up as supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course with the paper by Brother Clegg.
The Course is divided into five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is shown below:
- The Work of a Lodge.
- The Lodge and the Candidate.
- First Steps.
- Second Steps
- Third Steps.
- Working Tools.
- Religious Aspect.
- The Quest.
- The Secret Doctrine.
- The Grand Lodge.
- Ancient Constitutions.
- Codes of Law.
- Grand Lodge Practices.
- Relationship to Constituent Lodges.
- Official Duties and Prerogatives.
- The Constituent Lodge.
- Qualifications of Candidates.
- Initiation, Passing and Raising.
- Change of Membership.
- The Mysteries — Earliest Masonic Light.
- Study of Rites — Masonry in the Making.
- Contributions to Lodge Characteristics.
- National Masonry.
- Parallel Peculiarities in Lodge Study.
- Feminine Masonry.
- Masonic Alphabets.
- Historical Manuscripts of the Craft.
- Biographical Masonry.
- Philological Masonry — Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting a paper written by Brother Clegg who is following the foregoing outline. We are now in "First Steps" of Ceremonial Masonry. There will be twelve monthly papers under this particular subdivision. At the head of each installment will be given a number of "Helpful Hints" consisting of questions to be used by the chairman of the Committee during the study period which will bring out every point touched upon in the paper.
Whenever possible we shall reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles from other sources which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by Brother Clegg in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental papers in addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of references. Much valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to the attention of many of our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin should be used one month later than their appearance. If this is done the Committees will have opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance of the meetings and the Brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research Society will be better enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over and studied the installment in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PAPERS
Immediately following each of Brother Clegg's monthly papers in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin will be found a list of references to THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. These references are pertinent to the paper and will either enlarge upon many of the points touched upon or bring out new points for reading and discussion. They should be assigned by the Committee to different Brethren who may compile papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or in many instances the articles themselves or extracts therefrom may be read directly from the originals. The latter method may be followed when the members may not feel able to compile original papers, or when the original may be deemed appropriate without any alterations or additions.
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The Lodge should select a "Research Committee" preferably of three "live" members. The study meetings should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the Lodge called for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the Lodge routine) should be transacted — all possible time to be given to the study period.
After the Lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the Lodge over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This Committee should be fully prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All members to whom references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Clegg's paper.
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
- Reading of the first section of Brother Clegg's paper and the supplemental papers thereto. (Suggestion: While these papers are being read the members of the Lodge should make notes of any points they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion is opened. Tabs or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be distributed among the members for this purpose at the opening of the study period.)
- Discussion of the above.
- The subsequent sections of Brother Clegg's paper and the supplemental papers should then be taken up, one at a time, and disposed of in the same manner.
- Question Box.
Invite questions from any and all Brethren present. Let them understand that these meetings are for their particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the questions they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the paper If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them, SEND THEM IN TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in an endeavor to supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make special research when called upon, and will usually be able to give answers within a day or two. Please remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles away, and, by order of the Trustees of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it at our disposal on any query raised by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information should enable local Committees to conduct their Lodge study meetings with success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and communications from interested Brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not entirely clear to them, and the services of our Study Club Department are at the command of our members, Lodge and Study Club Committees at all times.
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HELPFUL HINTS TO STUDY CLUB LEADERS
Bro. Robert I. Clegg
From the following questions the Committee should select, some time prior to the evening of the study meeting, the particular questions that they may wish to use at their meeting which will bring out the points in the following paper which they desire to discuss Even were but five minutes devoted to the discussion of each of the questions given it will be seen that it would be impossible to discuss all of them in ten or twelve hours. The wide variety of questions here given will afford individual Committees an opportunity to arrange their program to suit their own fancies and also furnish additional material for a second study meeting each month if desired by the members.
In conducting the study periods the Chairman should endeavor to hold the discussions closely to the text and not permit the members to speak too long at one time or to stray onto another subject. Whenever it becomes evident that the discussion is turning from the original subject the Chairman should request the speaker to make a note of the particular point or phase of the matter he wishes to discuss or inquire into, and bring it up when the Question Box period is opened.
QUESTIONS ON "THE ALTAR"
What is the derivation of the word "altar"? What is an altar? What was the shape and the material of the altars found in the ruins of ancient Babylonian cities? Of those found in Assyria? Were the Assyrian altars plain or ornamented? Describe some of these. In what way did ancient Egyptian altars differ from those above mentioned? What sort of altars have been discovered in recent excavations in Palestine? Describe one found at Gezer. How was the presence of divinity indicated to the primitive Semites? What was the theory of the later Hebrew worship? How many kinds of altars were recognized by the priestly regulations? What were their uses? Where was the burnt-offering altar situated? Of what material was it composed? What were its dimensions? In what respect did the altar of the Temple of Solomon differ from this? What was the purpose of the "horns" on the altar? What custom developed from this purpose? Is there a sanctuary in Masonry? Why? Describe the altar in Herod's Temple.
Where was altar of incense situated? How did the altar of incense differ from the altar of burnt-offering? Describe the altar at Parion.
What is the proper shape and measurement of the Masonic altar? Is the altar in your Lodge the proper shape? How should the Lesser Lights be situated? How are they situated in your Lodge? If different from the manner described in the paper, why?
Where is the Masonic altar situated in American Lodges? In the French and Scottish Rites and European countries? What does the position of the altar in American Lodges symbolize? Of what should the altar remind us? Is the altar to us a place of sacrifice? Of prayer? Why?
Are all Masonic obligations voluntary? How many times before taking the obligation is opportunity to withdraw afforded the candidate?
Mackey's Encyclopedia: Altar, p. 50.
THE BUILDER: Vol. II. Situation of the Masonic Altar, p. 208; The Altar, p. 277. Vol. III. American form of the altar unknown in England, p. 68.
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Bro. H L. Haywood, Iowa
PART VI — THE ALTAR
THE word altar has its derivation from the Latin altus meaning high, and may be strictly defined as a base or pedestal used for supplication and sacrifice to gods or deified heroes. The altar is found from the earliest times in the remains of Babylonian cities. The oldest of these were square erections of sun-dried bricks. The chief material of those found in Assyrian mounds was alabaster and limestone. They were of many different forms one from Khorsabad, which is now in the British Museum, was circular in shape at the top, the base being of triangular form with pilasters ornamented with animal's paws at the angles. Another shown in a relief at Khorsabad was ornamented with stepped battlements, the equivalent of the familiar "altar-horns" in Hebrew ritual.
Ancient Egyptian altars were in the form of truncated cones, or cubical blocks of basalt or polished granite. These had one, and frequently several, hollowed out depressions in their upper surfaces which were used as receptacles for fluids used in offerings.
It is shown in recent excavations in Palestine that the earliest altars, or sacrificial hearths as they may be called, were circular spaces marked out by small stones set on end. At Gezer a pre-Semitic place of worship was found in which three such hearths stood together, and drained into a cave which may be supposed to have been regarded as the residence of the divinity. These circular hearths were later superseded by the Semitic developments.
To the primitive nomadic Semite the presence of the divinity was indicated by shady trees, rocks, springs and other landmarks and from this grew the theory that a numen might be induced to take up an abode in an artificial heap of stones, or a pillar set upright for the purpose.
The priestly regulations affecting altars are of a very elaborate nature and designed to the theory of later Hebrew worship the centralization of all worship at one shrine. These recognize two altars one for burnt-offerings and one for incense.
The first of these was situated in the center of court of the Tabernacle, made of acacia wood, five cubits square and three cubits high. It was covered with copper and was provided with "horns" at each corner, hollow in the middle, and with rings on the sides through which staves might be run to enable it to be carried. The altar of the Temple of Solomon was of similar shape though much larger.
In the early days of our era, before the complete development of common law, the hunted criminal, fleeing from his pursuers, would escape to a church and there lay hold of the horns of the altar; in that he found safety, and an opportunity to prove his innocence, if innocent he was. Out of this arose the beautiful customs of "sanctuary," the chivalrous unselfish harboring of the weak, the sorrowful and the afflicted. Is there not a sanctuary in Masonry? Certainly there is, for in the Fraternity itself, in the privacy of its inner fellowships, a brother will often find rest for his heart and protection from the bruisings of the world, while a man is no true Mason in whose nature there is not at least one inner chamber in which the weary may find rest and the weak may have protection.
Josephus describes the altar in Herod's Temple as fifteen cubits high and fifty cubits square, with angle horns, and an "insensible acclivity" leading up to it. It was made without any use of iron, and no iron tool was ever allowed to touch it.
The second altar was the altar of incense, which was in the holy place of the Tabernacle. It was of similar construction to the altar of burnt-offering, but smaller, being only two cubits high and one cubit square and was overlaid with gold. On this altar, an offering of incense was made twice daily.
The altar at Parion, where hecatombs were sacrificed, was of colossal proportions, each side measuring six hundred feet.
The Masonic altar should be cubical in shape, and about three feet in height, and should properly have horns at each corner to suggest, in the light of a hoary usage, that it is a place of refuge.
On the East, the South and the West should be placed one of the representatives of the three Lesser Lights, but never on the North, for that is the place of darkness. On its top, in due arrangement, should lie the three Great Lights. Thus equipped it may well be considered "the most important article of furniture in a Lodge room," and the ground whereon it stands as "the most holy place."
Its situation, in the French and Scottish Rites, and in European countries, is in front of the Worshipful Master, and, therefore, in the East. But in American Blue Lodges it is placed in the center of the room, or rather, a little to the East of the center.
With reference to the ideas embodied in the altar, let us remember, here and everywhere, that the Masonic life is not that which occurs in the Lodge room alone, for that is but its allegorical picture, its tracing-board; but it is that which a Mason should do and be in all circumstances, under the inspiration of the Fraternity and its teachings. Thus understood, the altar standing in the center of the Masonic Lodge is the symbol of something that must operate at the center of the Masonic life.
Often serving as a table whereon the worshipper may lay his gifts to God, the altar may well remind us of the necessity of that human gratitude which leads us to return to Him the gifts He has showered upon us. This is that teaching of stewardship found in all religions to remind us that our very lives are not our own, having been bought with a price, and that our talents are held in trusteeship to be rendered again to Him to whom they belong. Thus stated, I know, the matter may sound bold and even unappealing, but once we encounter a man who lives his life as a stewardship held in the frail tenure of the flesh, we see to what high issues the character of man may ascend; such personalities carry an atmosphere about with them as of another world, and radiate influences that are light and fragrance. Surely, a man who denies this in his practice, can never serve as a living building stone in Masonry's Temple!
More than a place for gifts and a place of sanctuary the altar has of old served as the place of sacrifice, and this usage is also recognized in our symbolism, for therein we are taught that the human in us, our appetites, our passions, yea our life itself if need be, must be laid down in the service of man and the glory of God. How otherwise could Masonry remain Masonry if it is "the subjugation of the human that is in man, by the Divine"?
Of the altar as a place of prayer, let us ponder the following paragraph of Brother Joseph Fort Newton, composed of those lucid sentences of which he is so incomparable a master:
"Thus by a necessity of his nature man is ever a seeker after God, touched at times with a strange sadness and longing, and laying aside his tools to look out over the far horizon. Whatever else he may have been vile, tyrannous, vindictive the story of his long search after God is enough to prove that he is not wholly base. Rites horrible, and even cruel, may have been a part of his early ritual, but if the history of past ages had left us nothing but the memory of a race at prayer, they would have left us rich. And so, following the good custom of the great ones of our-former ages, we gather at this altar, lifting up our hands in prayer, moved thereto by the ancient need and inspiration of our humanity. Like the men who walked in the grey years of old, our need is for God, the living God, whose presence hallows all our mortal life, even to its last ineffable homeward sigh which men call death."
The obligations of Masonry are never forced upon its novitiates. He who so desires is given the opportunity at many stages of his initiation to withdraw and proceed no further. Numerous times before reaching the altar the privilege of withdrawal is accorded him and his further advancement is always of his own free will and accord.
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POWERS AND PRIVILEGES OF A LODGE UNDER DISPENSATION
Bro. Charles R. Smith, P.G.M. Nova Scotia
FROM a perusal of Mackey's Jurisprudence, as also of Preston and some sketches of early Freemasonry, it is apparent that dispensations, as we understand them, for the formation of new lodges were neither necessary or the practice in ancient times. Mackey, generally recognized as a good authority, says "the old charges of 1722 define a lodge to be a place where Masons assemble and work;" and this definition is extended by his describing a lodge as "an assembly or duly organized society of Masons." And, by way of explanation, as it were, he goes on to say "this organization was originally very simple in its character, for previous to the year 1717, a sufficient number of Masons could meet, open a lodge and make Masons with the consent of the Sheriff or Chief Magistrate of the place." Apparently, according to Mackey, one, at least, of the important requirements in those early days was to satisfy those in civil authority that the proposed society was not dangerous to the Commonwealth or in any way antagonistic to the peace and welfare of the places in which they were to be located.
This statement, the latter part of which is largely supposition on my part is, to a certain extent, borne out by Preston who says "That prior to 1718 lodges were empowered by inherent privileges vested in the fraternity at large to meet and act occasionally under the direction of some able architect, and the acting magistrate of the county."
A short time after this a new regulation was made whereby it was provided "that the privilege of assembling as Masons should no longer be unlimited, but that they should be vested in certain lodges convened in certain places and legally authorized by the warrant of the Grand Master, and the consent of Grand Lodge." And just here it will be noted that the word "warrant" and not the term "dispensation" is used, and further, outside of the Ancient Landmarks which we are bound to assume were respected in those early days, no special authority was presumed to exist in the Grand Master alone for the regulation provided for "the consent of Grand Lodge" as well. It cannot, therefore, be claimed that the warrant here mentioned is the same as dispensation, as we understand it, or as taking its place but rather as being issued or granted solely for the purpose of giving the lodges some status and presumably to regulate them in their work.
Assuming then that what I have stated is correct, it would appear that in early times dispensations for the formation of new lodges were not issued or granted at all. In support of this it may be stated that in many of the Grand Lodges of the United States, at that time being Provincial Grand Lodges, holding principally under England and Ireland, as late as 1763 and even later Masons were permitted to meet and work without any dispensations whatever so far as the records show, but to whom warrants were afterwards granted by the Grand Master.
In ancient times, and even up to about fifty years ago, in the jurisdictions of Massachusetts and New York and I understand in Pennsylvania and Virginia as well, dispensations were not issued nor even charters granted, according to the present meaning of the term. A number of brethren simply applied to the Grand Master to be constituted into a lodge and he endorsed the application with his consent which was accepted as a sufficient warrant and thereupon the lodge was recognized in Grand Lodge. Again, in some instances a warrant was issued to a single individual Master Mason empowering him to be the first Master of a lodge and at such time and place as might be designated to gather and organize the brethren into a lodge to confer the degrees, and upon this being done the Grand Master issued his warrant of acceptance with recognition by Grand Lodge following as above stated.
I have made diligent search and enquiry both in this and other jurisdictions to ascertain with certainty the exact time when the practice of granting dispensations for the formation of new lodges was first adopted but, outside of what I have mentioned, my efforts have been in vain. Under these circumstances, and without knowing the early custom of the Mother of Grand Lodges the Grand Lodge of England the only conclusion arrived at is that in the early history of this ancient and truly historic organization members of the Craft "assembled" as already stated; that subsequently they received a paper, called a warrant, from the Grand Master which was recognized by Grand Lodge; that as the years rolled on and more care was taken the truly bright and splendid idea suggested itself of granting dispensations instead of warrants in the first instance; that the suggestion was adopted and carried into effect, and in that way the practice of granting dispensations, as we now have them, has been handed down to us to the present time. I may add, however, that so far as I can learn, from a very early period in the history of Freemasonry in Nova Scotia, if not always, it was the practice here, as well as in the other Canadian jurisdictions, to first grant dispensations as we now have them, these later on being followed by charters if the facts and circumstances justified, the Grand Master recommended and Grand Lodge approved. And this, I believe, is the universal practice in all regular Grand jurisdictions at the present time.
WHAT IS A LODGE UNDER DISPENSATION?
It appears to me, and Masonic law and authority bears it out, that a lodge U. D. is simply a group of Master Masons who are specially authorized by the Grand Master, whose creature it is, to initiate, craft and raise candidates, and their authority does not extend beyond this specified authorization and such other things as may be necessary to carry same into effect, and in addition the powers to conduct and carry on the business of the lodge. This group of Masons is entirely under the control of the Grand Master and the authority under which they meet and work may be suspended by him at any time until his action granting the dispensation is reported to and dealt with by Grand Lodge. They have none of the general powers of a chartered lodge until they have been granted a charter and duly enrolled as one of the constituent lodges of Grand Lodge.
PRELIMINARIES TO PROCURING A DISPENSATION
Although Part I, Chapter XV of the Constitution of our Grand Lodge deals pretty fully with what is necessary to be done in order to obtain a dispensation a few additional remarks may not be out of place. If seven (there may be more but never less than seven) Master Masons sign a properly prepared petition which may be obtained, if required, from the Grand Secretary, and submit same through the same official to the Grand Master, it is then for him to act upon it. And just here it might be noted that as the petition requires seven signers so, by the same token, the same number of important requirements must be set out therein or appear thereby. First, as already stated, there must be seven signers with the name and number of the lodge to which each belongs, and Masonic rank; Second, these must all be Master Masons; Third, they must all be in good Masonic standing; Fourth, good reasons must appear in the petition for the formation of the new lodge; Fifth, the proposed place of meeting must be designated; Sixth, the names of the principal officers, the Master, Senior and Junior Wardens, must be given; and Seventh, the petition must be recommended by the nearest lodge. And just here it may be well to pause a moment and consider some of these requirements.
GOOD REASONS FOR THE DISPENSATION
There is nothing wrong or unmasonic in the petitioners stating at length the grounds upon which they base their application, but at the same time the Grand Master is the only judge of the sufficiency thereof. A lodge U. D. being solely the creature of the Grand Master and brought into existence, if at all, by his act alone upon him rests the responsibility as to whether a dispensation should be granted or withheld. Sometimes, (not very often, it is true), Grand Masters refuse these dispensations, as they have an undoubted right to do, even after all preliminaries have been complied with and the necessary recommendations obtained. And while this is purely a matter for the Grand Master the question may properly be asked assuming everything is regular and in order, upon what grounds would he be justified in refusing? Now, recognizing that the M.W. the Grand Master of Masons of Nova Scotia, by virtue of his office, is the Master of Nova Scotia Lodge of Research, it is with some degree of diffidence that I attempt to answer this question. However, with all due respect, it would appear to me that time not opportune; material not sufficient; locality not desirable; outlook not favourable; not generally advantageous to the best interests of the Fraternity; too near an existing lodge and the possible, if not probable, effect of granting the dispensation of having two weak lodges where otherwise one strong one might exist, should be good reasons for refusing the dispensation. But, after all, it comes back to the Grand Master who, after obtaining the best information possible, will decide according to his best judgment, and for the best interests of the Order.
And should the Grand Master, in the exercise of his authority, refuse a dispensation his decision is final. There is no appeal.
THE NAMES OF THE PRINCIPAL OFFICERS
There are unquestionably a number of reasons why the names of the three principal officers of the lodge, the Master, Senior and Junior Wardens, should be stated. In the first place as these officers, and particularly the Master, represent the Grand Master in the work of the lodge it is not only natural but most requisite that he should know into whose hands he is placing the government thereof. Again, very frequently Grand Masters, in addition to the recommendations, make independent inquiry as to the efficiency and capability of these proposed officers and in order to do so they must of necessity know who they are. And lastly, as a lodge U. D. cannot elect officers it is Masonically requisite that these three principal officers be named in the dispensation.
RECOMMENDATION BY NEAREST LODGE
To obtain and present to the Grand Master the recommendation of the "nearest lodge" before any consideration will be given to the petition or dispensation will be issued is not only necessary but in this, like many other jurisdictions, is compulsory. One of the very few exceptions to this rule is the Grand Lodge of England which does not require the recommendation of the "nearest lodge," a recommendation from any lodge in good standing in the jurisdiction being sufficient. And with all due respect to England, for many and obvious reasons, I like our own custom, the custom practiced in, I think all the Grand Lodges of the United States and Canada, far better and trust it never will be changed. This recommendation, as I take it, must come from the "nearest lodge" or in the case of a city where there are a number of lodges, from all these lodges in good standing and holding their charter or charters from the same Grand Lodge. To my mind, at least, it would be just as absurd to obtain the recommendation of a lodge whose charter had been temporarily arrested, or was at the time under suspension, as to obtain the signatures of brethren as petitioners who were suspended Masons. It is submitted that the recommendation of such a lodge would neither be expected or accepted by the Grand Master who would require the recommendation of the nearest lodge in good Masonic standing when the same was given.
PROCEEDINGS AFTER DISPENSATION GRANTED
At the place designated in the dispensation, and at a time arranged by the petitioners, they assemble, when the dispensation is read by the Grand Master if personally present, if not then by the District Deputy or some other brother deputed by the Grand Master, and delivered into the hands of the Master. The Master and Wardens named therein immediately take their stations, when the Master appoints the other officers of the lodge from among the petitioners, for, until a charter is granted, in reality there are no members except the petitioners. Of course it is generally understood who these officers are to be, but as a lodge U. D. cannot elect officers there is no formal election. Once the Master and Wardens assume their respective stations and the Master fills such other offices as are necessary the lodge is ready to proceed with the work it is authorized to do, following as nearly as may be the order of business of a chartered lodge. And just here I might remark that an installation ceremony is not only unnecessary but would be highly improper and unmasonic. The installation is a ceremony belonging to chartered lodges only, and while it is true the Master acts in that capacity in the lodge U. D. he is not installed as a Past Master until regularly elected as a Master of a chartered or warranted lodge. As a matter of course it is customary and the proper thing to do to elect the Master named in the dispensation as the first Master of the lodge when chartered, thereby advancing him to the rank of Past Master. But if not a Past Master already the mere fact of his being Master of a lodge U. D. carries no such rank with it and neither does it entitle him to a seat in Grand Lodge nor, while under dispensation, is the lodge recognized by nor has it any representation in that Grand Body. And should the Master or Wardens, during the time the lodge is U. D., die, remove from the district, or otherwise become incapacitated from acting, the Grand Master fills their positions. Being the founder of the lodge he is its sponsor as well, and while U. D. he holds full and absolute control not only as before indicated but even to the removal of the Master and Wardens, or any of them, should he so decide.
POWERS OF A LODGE UNDER DISPENSATION
As already stated a lodge U. D. has the power to make Masons but not members. By this I mean that candidates who are here made Masons do not receive Grand Lodge certificates of membership nor are they enrolled as members of the fraternity until the lodge is chartered. Again, not only under our constitution but also under the constitutions of many other Grand Lodges, signing of the by-laws is necessary to membership. Lodges U. D. have no power to make by-laws so this is another reason why candidates initiated, passed and raised in these lodges while Masons are not members. And here it might be asked: what would become of these Masons suppose the lodge ceased to exist or was never chartered? My reply is they stand in the position of unaffiliated Masons to whom the Grand Secretary shall, upon the authority of the Grand Master, furnish certificates entitling them to affiliate with other regular lodges.
Now, while these lodges have no power to pass bylaws until chartered they do have the right to pass necessary resolutions fixing or changing the time and place for holding their meetings and other such like matters, and these resolutions, as far as they go, have the effect of by-laws until a charter is granted. But if any change is going to be made in these resolutions, or any of them, notice thereof should be given at least at the previous meeting as also on the summonses to the members for the meeting at which the changes are to be considered and dealt with.
As a matter of course, and as already indicated, these lodges can receive and act upon petitions for membership upon which the Master and Wardens have the right to vote, the other petitioners being allowed to do so as an act of courtesy only. I understand that in this, like some other jurisdictions, once a brother has received his third degree, he is allowed to vote on petitions for membership. But from the very best information I have been able to obtain, that is wrong and irregular. Only the members have that right and as the petitioners are really the only members, until charter is granted, that privilege is restricted to them as above stated. This, to a certain extent at least, is borne out by Section 18, Chapter XV of our constitution which provides "for all members voting."
It is an unsettled question whether lodges U. D. have the right to receive applications for affiliation. I do not know what the practice is in England but in Pennsylvania, where they have a very old and most excellent Grand Lodge, and in Massachusetts and Maryland these applications cannot be received. On the other hand in New York and Virginia, and probably in some other jurisdictions, the opposite practice prevails, so it is rather hard to lay down any hard and fast rule in the premises. At the same time, considering the very limited powers and prerogatives of such lodges, I would rather agree with the Grand Lodges of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia that applications for affiliation should not be received. This question however is settled for us in Nova Scotia by the language of Section 3, of Chapter XV of the Constitution, which permits lodges U. D. to receive applications for affiliation.
A lodge U. D. has no seal, cannot have one until chartered, and has no power to grant dimits for that is a right which belongs to warranted lodges alone, and then only subject to the regulations of Grand Lodge. In one jurisdiction, the name of which I will not now mention, they allow members to resign from lodge U. D., but that I consider is not only irregular but contrary to Masonic law as we understand it.
In conducting the business of the lodge, besides the three principal officers before mentioned, it is necessary to have, at least, a Secretary whose duties are the same as in a chartered lodge, two Deacons and a Tyler. These officers are not elected but appointed by the Master and presumably are selected from the list of petitioners, but after the lodge gets to work and new material is being brought in I know of no law, Masonic or otherwise, which would prevent the Master filling up the other vacancies from among the new Masons for, after all, they are simply assisting in the work of the lodge. But let me say again that even if these new Masons are appointed to hold office that does not make them members of the lodge U. D. nor if they did not have the right before does it give them the right to vote on petitions for membership.
The lodge has also the right to an Investigating Committee which, like all other committees, is appointed by the Master from among the petitioners for the lodge. The Master may appoint the same committee to hold office while the dispensation is outstanding or he may select a new committee on every application or group of applications received at any one meeting. And taking into consideration that it is never known for how long or how short a time the dispensation may run I would favour the appointment of new committees as above suggested.
Again it will be noted that the lodge being the creature of the Grand Master, and with very limited powers, has no power to consolidate with another lodge; for to do so would be to exercise powers it did not possess, and neither under any circumstances can it give a recommendation for the formation of a new lodge and, if my view be correct, only those in good standing can give the same.
The lodge has the right to receive visitors, but the greatest care should be exercised in seeing that none are allowed to pass the portals except those properly vouched for by a member of the lodge, or by presentation of documentary evidence and after passing a thorough examination.
The duty of guarding the lodge, as well as seeing that the work is carried on "decently and in order" and in accordance with Masonic law and usage devolves, almost entirely, on the Master of the lodge who may be called upon for a strict account of his stewardship. In his absence the Senior Warden, and in the absence of both the Master and Senior Warden, the Junior Warden presides and the procedure, whoever is presiding, is about the same as in a chartered lodge.
But while the Master, by virtue of his office and the authority in him vested, although not a Past Master, can confer the degrees the Senior and Junior Wardens, unless they are Past Masters, possess no such powers. And should degree work have to be done they must call upon a Past Master, and under no circumstances can they do it themselves, for that would not only be most irregular and unmasonic but contrary to the very words of our Constitution and decisions.
In case the lodge ceases to exist, and it does cease to exist if the membership falls below seven, or if the dispensation is withdrawn, or if Grand Lodge refuses a charter the regalia, funds and effects pass to the Grand Master who in turn hands same over to Grand Lodge whose property they become.
STANDING OF PETITIONERS AFTER CHARTER GRANTED
While it is perfectly regular for any Master Mason in good standing to sign a petition for the formation of a new lodge the best opinion appears to be that the Master or present officers of a chartered lodge should not be petitioners. This view is held in many large jurisdictions and I think is in conformity with our practice in Nova Scotia. Under our Constitution an officer cannot dimit during his term of office, and if he signed a petition for a new lodge and charter were granted while he was holding office he could not complete his membership therein as, in my opinion, he should do if one of the original petitioners for the new lodge. The fact of a Master Mason signing a petition does not affect his standing in the mother lodge while the dispensation is outstanding for he does not thereby become a member of another lodge. For, although a lodge U. D. is called a lodge it does not become such until regularly chartered. But, inasmuch as under our constitution, unlike that of England, Scotland, Massachusetts and some other jurisdictions, dual membership is not permitted once a charter is granted the petitioners should apply for dimits to their mother lodges and enter into full membership in the new lodge which they assisted in bringing into existence and of which they will become charter members. Bear in mind, however, that I express no opinion as to this being Masonically compulsory for it may just be possible, and Masonic authorities differ on the question, that after charter is granted the petitioners may return to their mother lodges. Should they fail to become full members of the new lodge and do not return to their mother lodges (if they can do so) they may render themselves subject to whatever pains and penalties might be involved in membership of some kind in two lodges at the same time.
I want to add just a few additional words about lodges recommending petitions for the formation of new lodges. Our constitution, section 4, Part I, Chapter XV, provides that such recommendations shall be given only where "by examination or in some other satisfactory manner the recommending lodge is in a position to, and does vouch that the proposed Master and Wardens are capable of conferring the degrees, etc." This is good as far as it goes, but inasmuch as a large amount of responsibility rests upon these officers in imparting their knowledge to the uninitiated, in some jurisdictions, Grand Masters will not entertain these petitions unless and until the recommending lodge certifies that the proposed Master and Wardens have exemplified the work of the three degrees in open lodge in a satisfactory manner and have also shown efficiency in conducting the general business of the lodge. This, certainly, does away with any guess-work or favouritism and affords a guarantee which any Grand Master would like to have.
When asked to prepare a paper upon "new lodges under dispensation," with my somewhat lengthy experience as Grand Master, I said to myself "that is easy"; but upon reading more fully and delving into the matter more carefully, probably more carefully than I ever did as Grand Master, I found that there was a lot more in the subject than I had before thought or anticipated. And in endeavouring to do something like justice to the matter, and I do not claim to have done full justice, I have corresponded with and sought information from a large number of Grand Secretaries as well as from eminent Past Grand Masters of other jurisdictions with whom I was personally acquainted. And I wish to acknowledge the kindness, fraternal spirit and promptness of these well-informed and distinguished brethren in not only coming to my assistance with information they possessed but also in forwarding books and Masonic literature bearing on the question, so if there is any merit in this paper, and it is not for me to say there is, it is very largely due to this information and assistance so willingly and cheerfully supplied.
And now, brethren, while fully realizing that this paper is much more lengthy and has involved more work than I anticipated, still if it will be of any benefit to the Craft, as my hope is it may be, I will be more than repaid for the time and trouble spent in its preparation.
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THERE IS NO SPOT ON OUR FLAG
Bro. A. W. Armstrong
> There is no spot on our flag.
Look to it well.
Spare not a star set in its blue,
Nor a stripe, neither red nor white.
Look it carefully through.
Every thread carefully scan.
Keep down pride that will rise,
With voice of praise to the skies
As the emblem of Freedom floats into view.
There is no spot on our flag.
Look to it long.
Take much time to think and pray,
Keep our flag in view night and day.
Our country is strong.
Its honor we'll prolong.
Let not burning tears flow,
Though the heart be all aglow,
Blinding the eyes to duty, nor search delay.
There is no spot on our flag.
No stain, thank God!
Our plaint ascends to the Throne,
For Liberty, and that alone,
No stain shall mark the sod,
To bring disgrace to God.
Our flag beneath the Cross,
Kept pure from every dross,
Is what all hell would hate, all heaven see.
There SHALL BE NO SPOT on our flag
Our cause is just;
Where'er across the sea,
Our flag shall chance to be,
In God be our trust,
Our swords and scepters rust;
And, when the war shall cease
Then, then will triumph peace,
Emblem of Liberty, flag of the true and free.
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MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird, P.G.M., District of Columbia
THERE are few more interesting characters than John Sullivan, and few who have been less honored. John Sullivan was the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire. He was born in the State of Maine, in 1740, of Irish parentage, and died in New Hampshire in 1795. A compatriot of the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution recently wrote the writer from Elmira as follows:
"It is true that the Government has never demonstrated, even at the time or subsequently, its sense of gratitude to John Sullivan. A careful study of the history of the times convinces me that the Congress at that time had deteriorated in its personnel — that politics of the approbrious variety had begun to assert itself, and that Sullivan was not given a square deal."
At Elmira, New York, there was a memorial erected by the State to commemorate the final victory of John Sullivan over the Indians, which, from poor construction, neglect and vandalism, was badly mutilated and which was replaced by the obelisk shown in the accompanying cut; but the general Government has never memorialized the great Sullivan.
During the convention of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Denver, in 1902, Chairman Dunleavy, in his address of welcome, said:
"The roll of honor in the War of the Revolution shows such names as General Moylan and General O'Sullivan who led the retreat successfully across Long Island, and in whose honor today the National Congress is contemplating a memorial in New Hampshire."
This appeared following the editorial in the National Hibernian (the official Organ of the Society) which quoted the address of Archbishop Ireland which originated the movement for a memorial to an Irishman in the Revolution, viz:
"At a recent banquet given to the French Delegates in New York by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Archbishop Ireland gave utterance to the following noble sentiments:
" 'I charge you, Sons of St. Patrick, to see to it that in Washington City, near the statues of Lafayette and Rochambeau, there be erected a monument to some Irish soldier to commemorate the part Ireland took in the Revolutionary War.' "
As Sullivan was the only general officer in that war who was Irish and famous there was hope that this soi disant Irish Society would determine on a memorial for him. But for some reason not disclosed, they asked an appropriation of $50,000 for a memorial to John Barry instead. While Barry (who was the eleventh captain appointed in the Colonial Navy) was a creditable officer, he was not a soldier nor the peer of Sullivan, which gave us the impression that it was not Ireland they wanted to commemorate.
The records of the War Department do not show there was ever a general officer named O'Sullivan, as Mr. Dunleavy called it, but there is a full record of John Sullivan whom he no doubt referred to.
John Sullivan practiced law in Durham, N.H., and served in the first General Congress where he was regarded as a man of sterling qualities, and without a vice.
He and his brother led a force against Fort William and Mary, near Portsmouth, and captured 100 barrels of powder, (which was afterwards used at the battle of Bunker Hill,) 15 cannon, a lot of small arms and stores, etc., which was the first armed hostility committed in the Colonies.
John Sullivan was appointed a Brigadier in 1775 and commanded at Winter Hill, in the siege of Boston; served in Canada, and conducted the retreat from that Colony, after the death of General Thomas. He was promoted to Major General in 1776 and was credited with the preservation of the Army on Long Island. He was taken prisoner, but exchanged for General Prescott.
On Christmas, 1776, he commanded a division on right; he commanded the right at Brandywine, and defeated the enemy at Germantown. He repulsed the enemy at "Butts Hill" and defeated the Indians under Brant, and the Tories under Sir John Johnson at Newtown near the present site of the city of Elmira.
Sullivan resigned from the Army because of ill-health and again took his seat in Congress. Later he was Attorney General of the State of New Hampshire and was President of the Senate.
In the trouble of 1786 he saved the State from anarchy by his intrepidity, good management and tact, and secured the ratification of the Federal Constitution. Later he was a Federal Judge in New Hampshire, which office he held at the time of his death.
Brother Sullivan was initiated in St. John's Lodge in 1767 and became the first Grand Master of Masons in New Hampshire. He was buried with Masonic honors at Berwiek, but his body was afterward reinterred in the Congregational Cemetery near Portsmouth.
The memorial was erected to his memory at Newton, on the centenary of the battle at that place, but, as we have said, it was neglected, and mutilated by vandals, and later gave place to the present obelisk.
A letter from Elmira says: "It might be of interest to make a comment on the vandalism. A boy of supposedly good family in Elmira was openly accused of having mutilated the original tablet years ago. This contemptuous attitude and lack of veneration for those who founded our country has continued into manhood. The same individual today is among our prominent pacifists and is one of the editors of a New York publication now under the ban of the Post Office Department for disseminating seditious literature."
* * *
Bro. H. L. Haywood, Iowa
What are landmarks? We find ourselves confronted by a problem of such complexity that we might fill up a volume with our discussions, but space and the further demands of our studies compel us to a brief and simple treatment of the theme.
You may divide and sub-divide a drop of water into particles ever so microscopic but at last you will reach a point where a further division of your particle will give you, not a speck of water but a gas, oxygen or hydrogen. This smallest particle in which matter may be thus divided without losing its identity the scientists call a "molecule." Suppose we use this as an analogy of the analysis of Masonry. We may divide Masonry into elements, stripping away one thing after another, but our elements will still be "Masonry"; but if we go far enough in our "stripping away" process we shall come at last to a point where any further division will destroy the identity of the Craft and Masonry will cease to be Masonry. We shall have reached the "molecules." These Masonic molecules are the landmarks.
One might use another analogy, suggested by the word itself, which literally means a "land marker," one of the most lucid definitions which I have ever seen is that furnished by MacBride in his "Speculative Masonry," a beautiful and wise book which I hope you will sometime read. He says: "In all ages stones, pillars or other things have been erected to show the boundary lines between different countries, between the territories of different tribes, and the possessions of different individuals. These stones (and other objects, natural or artificial H. L. H.) were called landmarks and, as their preservation was of importance, severe penalties were attached to their illegal removal and alteration.
"In Speculative Masonry, landmarks are certain established usages and customs, occupying the position which usage and custom do in a community. Politically, they are termed 'common law'; Masonically, they are termed 'landmarks.' "
But it does not follow, as MacBride himself warns us, that because a landmark is an established use or custom, therefore an established use or custom is a landmark. "It must, in addition, perform the function of a landmark; that is, to mark out, more or less clearly, a boundary or dividing line between two territories or possessions.. . . It has doubtless been a custom with Masons, from the time of Moses, to blow their noses, but that custom does not make the blowing of the nose a landmark.
"From these observations, the landmark in Masonry may be defined as certain established usages and customs that mark out the boundary lines of the Masonic world, in its internal divisions and in its external relations to the outer world."
In the last analysis MacBride's analogy with the "landmarks" and my own analogy with the "molecules" mean the same thing at bottom, like "the vital organs of the body," are absolutely essential to the existence of Masonry as Masonry. If our Masonic writers have disagreed widely on the subject it is not so much because they attach different meanings to the word as that they differ among themselves as to just what these "vital elements" are.
"The first use of the term (landmark) appears to have been in Payne's 'General Regulations' published with Anderson's Constitutions of office in 1718, first term, and again in 1720, Preston's 'Illustrations of Masonry' a standard work these many years, clearly uses the word landmarks as synonymous with established usages and customs of the Craft — in other words what I have called Masonic common law." (I am quoting Roscoe Pound here, our present day Dean of the Harvard Law School and American authority on Masonic jurisprudence. See his article in THE BUILDER, July, 1917.) In 1819 the Duke of Suffolk, Grand Master of England at the time, defined landmarks as the authorized ritual. Dr. George Oliver used the term without defining it in 1820. In his "Historical Landmarks of Freemasonry," published in 1846, he uses the word in a figurative sense "as the phrase 'beacon light' for example, is used in Lord's 'Beacon Lights of History.' " Four years afterwards, in his "Symbol of Glory," he attacks the problem without much success, coming to the conclusion that what landmarks are and what are landmarks has never been clearly defined. But in 1863 he makes bold to name at least forty landmarks, divided into twelve classes, even though, in this book, "The Freemason's Treasury," he still contends that "we have no actual criterion by which we may determine what is a Landmark and what is not." But this attempt to make out a list is itself significant for it proves that Oliver had come under the influence of Mackey's famous classification. Mackey's great "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry," a reference work that you should keep on hand, was originally modelled on Lenning's "Encyclopedia" published in 1824. Neither Lenning nor the French "Dictionary of Masonry" published in Paris the following year, attempts a list of landmarks, and Mackey himself, in the earlier editions of his Encyclopedia, devoted but twenty-four lines to the subject. But in the 1856 edition he comes forth with his list of twenty-five which "obtained for a time a universal acceptance." Inasmuch as this tabulation may be readily found in the easily accessible Encyclopedia there is no need to reprint them here, but the theory on which he based his classification is of importance to our study: "The landmarks are those ancient and universal customs of the order, which either gradually grew into operation as rules of action, or if at once enacted by any competent authority, were enacted at a period so remote that no account of their origin is to be found in the records of history. Both the enactors and the time of enactment have passed away from the records, and the landmarks are therefore of higher authority than memory or history can reach."
Mackey's list, as I have already said, was almost universally accepted for a time, but various authorities have never tired of attacking both his definition and list, Pike, for example, demolishing the whole outfit in his most Pikeish manner. And there is no question that both his criteria and his table are open to criticism; nevertheless it will be well to remember that other authorities, for whom Roscoe Pound may speak, contend that, "all defects to the contrary, his list may still stand in its main lines as an exposition of our common law."
Of all the lists proposed by various writers there is neither room nor need to speak but it may well be worth our while to cite a few examples, grouping them according to the three general points of departure, suggested by Pound the Historical, the Legal and the Philosophical.
A. The Historical. From this point of view the scholar attacks the problem by undertaking to show what are the essentials of custom, usage, law, principles, etc., that have grown up in Masonry's historical development, and what have been considered landmarks in the past by constituted authorities, such as Grand Lodges, Codes, Constitutions, etc. Writing from this point of view, Vibert ("Freemasonry Before the Existence of Grand Lodges," p. 4,) gives in a rough classification ten points, all of which he considers essential to Masonry, and which he uses as touchstones to determine what Masonry has borrowed from other societies, and what it has originated itself.
Pike seems to approach the problem from the same angle, as we may read in an article published in the Iowa Proceedings for 1888: "Perhaps no more can be said with certainty in regard to them than that they were those essential principles on which the old simple Freemasonry was builded and without it could not have been Freemasonry the organization of the craft into lodges, the requisite for admission into the fellowship and the methods of government established at the beginning.... There is no common agreement as to what are and what are not landmarks." Hextall goes further by saying that the original landmarks were the building secrets of the operative Masons, while Hughan agrees in the main, saying that "a landmark must be a regulation, or custom, which can not be abrogated (cancelled) without placing offenders outside the pale of the Craft; and all landmarks should practically ante-date the Grand Lodge era (1717)." He mentions belief in God, secrecy, and male memberships as belonging to this category.
B. The Legal point of departure. Those who set out from this angle undertake to discover "a body of universal unalterable fundamental principles which are at the foundation of all Masonic law." Josiah Drummond takes this position: "If landmarks are anything else than the laws of the Craft, either originally expressly adopted or growing out of immemorial usage, the term is a misnomer." With this position Hawkins, editor of an Encyclopedia, is in accord. After quoting Justinian's definition of an unwritten law as "what usage has approved" he writes: "Now the Old Lectures of the Craft are its unwritten laws, either sanctioned by ancient custom, or, if enacted, at a period so remote that no trace of their enactment can now be found." It will be seen that Hawkins somewhat combines the Legal and the Historical points of view, as indeed, others also do, for law can not well be divorced from history.
C. The Philosophical. The point of view here has never been better expressed than by Crawley: "The ancient landmarks of Freemasonry, like all other landmarks material or symbolical, can only preserve their stability when they reach down to sure foundations. When the philosophical student unearths the underlying rock on which our Ancient landmarks rest, he finds one sure foundation in the triple dogma (fixed teaching) of the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, and the Life to come. All laws, customs, and methods that obtain amongst us and do not ultimately find footholds on this basis, are thereby earmarked as conventions and conveniences, no way partaking of the nature of Ancient landmarks." Of the same opinion is Dr. J. F. Newton: "Manifestly, by a Landmark we must mean, if it is to have any meaning at all, a limit set beyond which Masonry can not go, some boundary within which it must labor.... So, and naturally so, the landmarks of Masonry are its great fundamental principles." Of these he names four: universality; a Mason's organized fellowship and right to that fellowship anywhere; qualifications; secrecy.
Roscoe Pound, approaching the subject from all three points of view, at once offers a list of seven: (1) belief in God; (2) belief in the persistence of personality; (3) a "book of law" as an indispensable part of the furniture of every lodge; (4) the legend of the third degree; (5) secrecy; (6) symbolism of the operative art (of building); (7) that a Mason must be a man, free born, and of age.
Other students differ, as do also the Grand Lodges that have legislated the matter. Horsely names five; Woodford, eighteen; J. T. Lawrence, five; Findel, four; Crawley (as we have seen) three; John W. Simons, fifteen; Rob Morris, seventeen; the Grand Lodge of West Virginia, seven; of New Jersey, ten; New York, thirty-one; Nevada, thirty-nine; Kentucky, fifty-four. T. S. Parvin, no mean authority, will not risk one. (Josiah Drummond took him to task for that!)
This list might be indefinitely extended but already, I am afraid, if you are the "plain man" I take you to be, you will have begun to feel confusion over the whole subject, a feeling with which I can sympathize for I do not believe that anybody, however learned, can produce a list of landmarks to satisfy all. Even so, however, whether we can define it or not, there does exist that which is essentially Masonry, and with that all agree, for, as Pound says, "a nation of unalterable, fundamental principles and groundwork and a 'body of Masonry' beyond the reach of innovation can be traced from the revival (when the first Grand Lodge was organized) to the present." If your own Grand Lodge has decided the matter for your state you are obliged to accept its classification landmarks; if not, you may make up a list to suit yourself. Meanwhile it must be remembered that other societies, even society as a whole, have been no more successful in discovering the "fundamentals" than Masonry itself. For example, how many theologians can agree on a list of essential Christian doctrines? How many moralists can agree on a code of ethics? How many jurists can agree on the body of the common law? We can feel the landmarks, even as we can "feel" the bones present in our bodies; and just as bones can perform their functions even when we can not see them, so with landmarks, the bony frame-work of our Craft. Moreover, we can roughly approximate to the landmarks, and that is usually sufficient for practical purposes just as we make shift with our poorly defined body of common law.
The motive behind the search for the landmarks is usually the attempt to discover that which is peculiar to Masonry, that which is its own unique possession, and which may be described as its "individuality." Can we discover this "unique" element in our Fraternity and thus get at the root of all the landmarks? Our teachings may be found in other societies, the church for instance; ceremonies, rites, allegories are used by other secret bodies; our very symbols are not all our own, for many of them have been used since antiquity. My own theory, offered for what it is worth, is that the thing "peculiar" to us is the manner in which we have combined and assembled these teachings, rites and symbols, and the manner in which we have organized ourselves to impress them on the minds of men. However, many things we hold in common with other societies, our method of presenting these things is all our own; and that is a matter of very great importance.
* * *
THE REFUSAL OF THE GRAND LODGE OF ILLINOIS TO RECOGNIZE THE GRAND LODGE OF PANAMA
Upon the return of the Secretary, Brother Schoonover, from his visit to the Grand Lodge of Illinois on the occasion of the recent Annual Communication of that Grand Body, he handed in to the Editorial office a report of the Committee on Correspondence of the Grand Lodge of Illinois on the recognition of the Grand Lodge of Panama. This report was published on pages 31 and 32 of the January number of THE BUILDER and called forth a reply from Brothers Melvin M. Johnson, P.G.M., and W.H.H. Odell, P.D.G.M., of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, in defense of the legitimacy of the Grand Lodge of Panama, which was published in the March number of THE BUILDER.
In justice to Brother Charles H. Martin, Chairman of the Committee on Correspondence in 1917 of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, we wish to inform our readers that the report printed in the January BUILDER was not the report on the Grand Lodge of Panama which was adopted by the Grand Lodge of Illinois, but one of two such reports which were prepared by the Illinois Committee and submitted to the Grand Master and his advisory board some days prior to the convening of the Grand Lodge, and was rejected by the advisory board for the following:
"To the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Illinois:
"Your Committee on Foreign Correspondence, to whom was referred the application of the Grand Lodge of Panama for fraternal recognition, and an exchange of representatives, would fraternally and respectfully report, that there is nothing in, nor accompanying said application tending to show whether or not the said Grand Lodge of Panama possesses the qualifications essential to a Sovereign Grand Lodge of Ancient Craft Masons, as heretofore uniformly insisted upon by this Grand Lodge as a condition precedent in order to recognition. From other sources, however, it is learned that the first essential in order to regularity of formation is entirely wanting, to-wit: 'Legitimacy of origin of constituent Lodges uniting to form a Grand Lodge.' It appears that six Lodges, (possibly seven), holding charters from the Grand Lodge of Venezuela, (or the Supreme Council of Venezuela), united in the organization of this Grand Lodge of Panama, and that possibly one Lodge has since its organization been chartered by it. If those Lodges contributing to form the Grand Lodge of Panama were in fact chartered by the Grand Lodge of Venezuela, which as above intimated does not clearly appear from the evidence at hand, it is to be observed that the Lodges contributing to form the Grand Lodge of Venezuela, originally were chartered by the Grand Orient of Spain. The Grand Orient of Spain was formed from and by Lodges of the planting of a Supreme Council.
"Neither the Grand Orient of Spain nor the Grand Lodge of Venezuela has ever been recognized by this Grand Lodge, and the Grand Lodge of Panama, of necessity can be no more regular than the Mother, (Venezuela), and Grand-mother, (Grand Orient of Spain), of the Lodges of which it was formed.
"On the other hand, if the Lodges contributing to form the Grand Lodge of Panama, were in fact chartered by the Supreme Council of Venezuela, the irregularity is still more glaringly apparent, as this Grand Lodge has time and again given approval to the doctrine that there is on earth no tribunal nor power competent to form or warrant a Lodge of the original plan except a regular, sovereign Grand Lodge. In one report, so approved, the following language was used:
" 'We utterly deny that any body save a representative Grand Lodge can by warrant or charter create a Lodge that has any claim whatever to the name of Masonry, or that can administer its rites.'
"According to this rule, repeatedly announced, and uniformly adhered to by this Grand Lodge, neither the Supreme Council, the Grand Orient of Spain, nor the Grand Lodge of Venezuela are, or ever were, competent to form or bring into being a Lodge of the original plan, and hence not a single Lodge contributing to form the Grand Lodge of Panama can be regarded as a regular Lodge of Ancient Craft Masons.
"Your committee therefore recommends that the request of the Grand Lodge of Panama for recognition and an exchange of representatives be respectfully denied.
"Charles H. Martin,
"Committee on Correspondence.
Through a misunderstanding between Brother Schoonover and the Editor, the second report above mentioned was published in our January number and we take pleasure in calling the attention of our reader to the matter at this time.
* * *
WOMEN AND FREEMASONRY
Bro. Hal Riviere, Georgia
To a certain extent, a Masonic lodge is a school in that it endeavors to teach men how to build upright characters. This teaching is done through the medium of symbols and allegories, employing in a symbolic sense the working tools of Operative Masons and the customs and practices of the builders' art, in order to impress important lessons vividly upon the minds of the brethren. We have good authority for so teaching because we read in the Holy Scriptures that Jesus taught by parables and allegories. Indeed, it is said that without a parable spoke he not unto them. That is the reason why so few understood his meaning and why he had to explain his sayings even to his disciples. Just as so many failed to understand him, so many men who have been made Masons do not understand its lessons and failing to understand, do not live up to its teachings. Such men sometimes bring discredit to our Order. Whenever anything deserving of censure is found in the conduct of Masons, lay it to human frailty, and not to the fault of this great institution.
Upon a few occasions I have heard of women who were prejudiced against Masonry on account of the inconsistent actions of some member, saying that if that man were a Mason they had a poor opinion of the Order. I know a young lady who will not attend church saying she does not believe in religion because there are hypocrites in the church and persons in active church work who are not so good as she is. That young lady is a stenographer but I have not heard of her giving up her position although she knows that some stenographers are improper in conduct. We do not judge all stenographers by the standard of the worst, neither should we judge the church or Masonry by the low standards set by some of their members.
Some women have expressed an objection to Masonry on account of its secrecy. Perhaps that prejudice comes from the fact that they have been told that women are not admitted as Masons because they cannot keep a secret. That assertion is absolutely untrue. Whether or not women can keep a secret has nothing to do with their exclusion from our lodges. Membership is limited to men because it was the ancient practice. Present day Speculative Masonry is founded upon the customs of the ancient stone masons and we faithfully carry out their practices. They were the men who built the famous edifices of olden times, including the magnificent cathedrals that the invading armies of Germany have damaged so greatly. The labors of a stone mason were very arduous and exacting and it took a man in possession of all his strength and members to do such work. These men traveled about from place to place as need required and were forced to undergo many hardships; so of necessity, only men were so employed. Even men with fingers, hands or feet missing were not accepted as apprentices to learn the business; hence the exclusion of women at that time and also today, because we follow the ancient customs.
One intelligent women said to me, "I don't believe Masons have any secrets. It's all a bluff. Besides if those secrets are so valuable in helping men to be better, why don't you tell them to everybody so all people may be helped?" Christ said, "Cast not your pearls before swine," meaning that we should not set valuable truths before people unable to understand or unwilling to make the proper use of them. Ability to understand a truth is a matter of education and training and it is only to those who come seeking that these lessons are taught step by step. Scatter our secrets broadcast and they would become commonplace and carry no weight even with those capable of understanding them.
Masonry keeps secret no knowledge not possessed by the outside world but the methods of teaching that knowledge and presenting it in graphic, impressive form are secret as are also the various signs, grips and pass-words. Possession of these secrets is a tie that binds the brethren together and the beautiful ceremonies of the lodge keep before them the principles which the Order inculcates.
The prejudice which some women have had is giving way as the beneficial effects of the Fraternity are seen. That some prejudice exists, I must admit; but that the various reasons given for such prejudice are true, I must deny. There is more to this business than pique because someone says a woman cannot keep a secret; neither can one charge it entirely to "sour grapes" because women are not made Masons. The real reason is deeper; it is ingrained in the female nature and is the result of thousands of years of training, custom and practice. I discovered it myself and after I have revealed it to you I believe you will say that I am right. In order that you may be able to judge intelligently I shall present the evidence in detail and then announce my conclusion. In doing so I must make a hasty review of the progress of the human race from savagery to civilization.
Did you ever see children playing on the floor with building blocks? Have you noticed their delight when some figure is made? There is no mother who has not run at the excited, delighted call of her babe as he balanced one piece upon another and made various figures in his play. His delight was on account of his having accomplished something that he did not know was possible. That little scene typifies the beginning of architecture in the very dawn of civilization.
Architecture has probably had a greater influence in directing the progress of the race than any one thing. We are so used to seeing buildings of every shape and size that we probably think they always existed just so; but the art has grown slowly and each new process has been worked out with toil and difficulty. Imagine the delight of the primitive man as he produced his simple architectural figures! Can't you picture the first man who ever made a square hut? See him in his delight calling to a friend and showing him that each side of his house is exactly as long as every other side. No doubt this friend breathlessly listened and learned as he was taught how the thing was done. Later other men were taken into their confidence and bound to secrecy, thus forming the first secret society and possibly the first labor union.
As knowledge increased, primitive men, being unable to write, gave permanence to their thoughts and poetic and artistic tendencies through the medium of architecture, building pyramids, temples, obelisks and cathedrals that are veritable poems in stone. Can you doubt that the tools with which they fashioned those works of art came to have a high value in their eyes and that they early attached symbolic meaning to them? The square, level, plumb, compasses, rule, line, etc., seem very simple and ordinary to modern people but who can realize the time and study spent in perfecting them?
Although the origin of these tools is lost in remote antiquity the discovery of the square was certainly as important as the discovery of wireless telegraphy. The men who first intelligently employed the plumb and level, could we but know their names, deserve mention along with the inventors of the telephone and telegraph. Though we know nothing of those individuals we do know that early, secret societies were formed, guarding the knowledge possessed by primitive peoples. Each tribe and nation had its secret society among its men who came together in the Men's House to discuss all their tribal affairs and to teach their traditions and practices to the boys as they came to the proper age. The initiation ceremonies were the most important event in the life of every boy, who from the time the ceremonies began, forsook the company of his mother, sisters and-other women of the tribe and thenceforth associated only with the men.
It is a peculiar fact that almost every nation, both ancient and modern, contains more women than men, and all have had to face the problem of dealing with the surplus women. We call women the weaker sex but few of us believe that weaker sex business; though it took a modern Kipling to express the feeling in words man has always known, that "The female of the species is more deadly than the male." In dealing with the problem of surplus women various methods have been employed. In his day and time King Solomon tried to solve the problem by marrying all of them.
In ancient times, as among primitive peoples today, the men met the suffragette question by strategy. They conspired in the Men's House against the women, inventing plans to play upon their superstition and to keep them within due bounds. The time of the tribal initiations was a favorite time for such practices and when the boys came to the proper age, solemn warning was given the women to keep within doors while the ceremonies took place. Processions were headed by the priests and medicine men, and the women were terrified by various apparitions, mysterious noises and ghostly stories. They were required to prepare and set out food as an offering to the spirits which the men took and served later at their lodges. These ceremonies sometimes lasted several days and as the women during all that time, like Tam O'Shanter's wife, were "Nursing their wrath to keep it warm," is it any wonder that they came to be violently antagonistic toward secret societies? In addition to those practices, among some nations the men spent practically all of their time at the Men's House, sleeping and eating there; it was only a disgraced man who would sleep at home and eat with the women.
So you now understand why some women are antagonistic to Masonry. Present day civilization has not succeeded in stamping out the old antagonism engendered in them by thousands of years of superstitious awe fostered by the men to maintain control of the women. But in our enlightened day such feelings should cease. It is an atavism, a reversion to type that is not complimentary to the one who feels it. So, if there be one among our women readers who has opposed lodge attendance, when lodge night comes again and friend husband begins to move uneasily and look furtively toward the door and his hat, let her take the said hat and say sweetly, "Now dear, (or Tom or Daddy, or whatever may be his official title) this is lodge night; go on down there and learn to attend to your Masonic duties like a true Mason." And if he wants to attend a called communication occasionally and stay out until midnight, let her comfort herself by thinking of the Fiji Island women whose husbands stay out at the Men's House all night, every night.
Yes, you can send your men to the lodge in full confidence that they will return none the worse. No institution has ever done more for the moral and mental improvement of men than Masonic lodges, and if you will encourage your men to cultivate an interest in their lodge, enter actively upon its work, study its history and philosophy, the practice of the virtues which it inculcates, will impress those virtues upon their characters, and being better Masons, they will become better husbands, fathers and brothers. If women could realize to what an extent Masonry has made for their safety and the betterment of their lives they would encourage the men in lodge attendance and work. Working in secret and without desire for publicity, the Order has thrown a protection about the women of this nation that has done much for their safety. Little as they may think of it, many a woman owes the fact that she is living in a happy home surrounded by loved ones, to the delicate ministry of this great Order which, when a man becomes a Mason, throws the whole protecting force of a great membership about the female members of his home.
For your own protection, encourage your men to become good, active Masons. It will help them to be better men by holding before them the highest of ideals. If a man be studiously and philosophically inclined it will open up for him a new world and lend an; added interest to the study of history, science and religions. Our Order invites no man but welcomes every worthy man who comes earnestly seeking to help and be helped. But remember that Freemasonry is no reformatory, nor house of correction. Brethren, pay particular attention to the quality of the material that petitions for membership. Investigate thoroughly. Be sure of the character of him whom you elect to receive the degrees in your lodge. In doubtful cases give the lodge the benefit for it is better that an occasional worthy man should suffer exclusion than that unworthy men should creep in to hinder our work and render of no account that which we have so carefully builded.
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FURNISHINGS OF A LODGE
Albert Pike was one of the most profound students of Masonry the world has ever known. His chosen work was in perfecting and beautifying the degrees of the Scottish Rite. It is not generally known that he also rescued from oblivion the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason Degrees as practiced by that Rite, which is the standard used in most Latin countries today, where the York Rite has not obtained. His studies demonstrated to him the necessity for exactness in the form of physical furniture to be used, in order to crystalize the symbolic teaching of the Craft, and avoid permitting the whims and vagaries of "tinkerers" from engrafting onto the Fraternity modern "conveniences" which would, in a short time, detract from if not entirely destroy its teachings.
It affords a Colorado Mason considerable pleasure to note that great ritualist, in 1886, confirmed the ritual compiled from original sources by him in 1872, showing, among other regulations, the following, which have been restored in Colorado.
The Altar shall be square (a cube). The Pedestals at the stations of the three principal officers to be of the three principal Orders of Architecture. The Lesser Lights to be "lighted candles" (not electric lights); the Candlesticks to be three feet in height. That the apron should be square, of white lambskin, the flap cut to a point in the center, and entirely plain, without emblem or device; the width and depth of the apron to be fourteen inches. The officers to wear "scarfs" of light blue silk. The jewels of officers to be of silver. In balloting, the box to be placed upon the Altar and each brother to salute the Master as he approaches to deposit his ballot.
A curious reason is noted concerning the shape of the apron — in addition to the outline of the 47th Problem; lying in the fact that a line drawn from the point of the flap when raised, to each of the lower corners of the square; and the lines of the flap, when lowered, extended to the lower corners, produces the outline of the five pointed star, known as the "Seal of Pythagoras" or sign of health and life, upon which we are raised; and which in old Lodges, we are told, was always depicted "on the center."
This is very interesting, particularly in view of the fact that the Colorado Regulations have been called radical, and "new-fangled." In our humble opinion, Albert Pike is a pretty good authority to tie to, and Colorado Masons should be proud to be in the front rank by adhering to the work as practiced in its primitive simplicity, and as such, is rich in imagery and symbolic significance. A Mason who does not know the reason for such things is a good deal like a good blacksmith writing a physician's prescription. The blacksmith may be all right, but we prefer to decline taking the prescription. There is a library on the fourth floor of the "Temple," and when one-half of the books contained in it have been read, the student may assume to know something. The old story of the party masquerading in the lion's skin is amusing as well as instructive.- -Rob Morris Bulletin.
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MOCKED BY THOSE THEY LOVE
My God! When I read o'er the bitter lives
Of men whose eager hearts were quite too great
To beat beneath the cramped mode of the day,
And see them mocked at by the world they love,
Haggling with prejudice for pennyworth
Of that reform which their hard toil will make
The common birthright of the age to come
When I see this, spite of my faith in God
I marvel how their hearts bear up so long.
— James Russell Lowell.
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Bro. Joseph Fort Newton, England
UNFORTUNATELY I have had to neglect my duties as Ambassador of late, or at least to omit my reports, for which I beg forgiveness. The fact is that I have been spending every odd hour in the great military camps, speaking to the men, visiting with them, and seeing something of their life. My work has been chiefly among Canadians and Americans, our New World men who are the finest in the world,such erect, upstanding fellows they are, too, clear-cut, forthright, with something of the large, free and liberal air of the fogless spaces of North America.
In one thing the Canadians are ahead of us. They have organized camp colleges, where their men, many of them, like our own, college men, continue their studies — for which they receive due credit in the colleges and universities at home. They are real colleges, too. I have visited two of them, to deliver addresses at the close of a term, and I find them doing thorough work, especially in science and agriculture and the more practical branches. Naturally the literary side is not so much emphasized, but it is by no means neglected. These colleges, of course, have the approval of the authorities — not only approval, but encouragement,and I see no reason why our people should not wake up to the possibilities of such a work.
Two days ago I went to speak to the great American camp, the name and location of which I must not give too accurately. It was a delight to see those boys, who are so responsive to all high things. I spoke in a large moving-picture theatre, which was packed and jammed; then it was emptied, only to be filled again, and I talked another hour. They actually did it a third time, and by the end of the third hour I was "all in," as you can imagine. Another crowd was waiting, but I was not equal to the task. They are from all over the Union, from Texas to New York, and a more wholesome set of boys I never saw in my life. Not only physically, but morally — which is quite as important in war — they are admirably cared for by those in command.
Among those in the camp I visited were the survivors of the Tuscania, and it was good to see men who had gone through that ordeal. And funny, too, for they were togged out in every kind of rig — by the kindness of a camp of English Tommies near by — because those who did not lose their clothing, had it ruined by the sea-water. Hence their plight, awaiting the arrival of a new outfit. But they were in fine spirits. As one of them put it, they lost everything except their nerve, their courage, and their determination to get the scalps of the Huns. Indeed, the attack has put new iron into their blood and made them more anxious to have a "go" at the enemy.
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Please do not be upset by the silly and outrageous dispatch published on that side as to what I recently said about American soldiers in London. It was twisted out of all likeness to what I had in mind. What I did say was, seeing the conditions here, to ask of British friends to give our boys the same protection from liquor and evil women which our own government and people give them at home. In America, even in those places where liquor is sold, it is a criminal offense to sell it to any one wearing the uniform of the Army or Navy. Of course we cannot enforce such a regulation on this side. And so I asked our friends here to help us in the matter. Most of our boys are proof against such things — thank God — but not all of them; and at a time when every man is needed, we must not allow wastage through wine, women and disease.
For, to say no more, if the Government has a right to conscript a man, take his time, his strength, and his life if need be, to do a great work, it has a right to conscript his conduct — and in other matters actually does so — to keep him fit to do the work he is sent to do. Hence our regulation as to selling liquor to men in uniform. Surely it is a sound principle, both from the point of view of morals and of military efficiency. It is folly to train a man, equip him, and send him five thousand miles, and then have him rendered incapable of doing his bit. Such was the first point of my protest, which the dispatch forgot to mention.
And the second was equally practical, namely, that with the food situation as it is, it is not fair to allow a twenty per cent increase in the output of brewery supplies on this side. In ordinary times such an item would be insignificant, but just now it is as large as a tourist elephant with baggage. It does not set well with our people to have wheatless days, sugarless days, meatless days, to save food for the Allies, only to have a part of the food thus taken from their plates made into liquor. Of course our English friends do not realize the feeling in America in regard to the matter, else they would not do such a thing; and I wanted them to know the facts in the case-how, in a country two-thirds of which is dry, our people would not think kind thoughts about England under such circumstances.
And, as you well know, it is a part of my work as a kind of unofficial, fraternal Ambassador to help these two peoples to understand each other, and to thing kindly one of another. Indeed, I can see no security for the future peace of the world unless England and America do stand together, and that depends not upon what diplomats do, but upon what the people think and feel. If you can find in these lines an ambassadorial report, well and good — I am so hard pressed that I can not write more at the moment.
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By this time you will have received Brother Ravenscroft's article on the Comacines, also Brother MacBride's article on the Installed Master's Lodges. I have the promise of two other articles at once, one by Brother Calvert who wrote the history of the Grand Lodge of England, and an article on Freemasonry in the War -that is, what the English Lodges are doing in war service, and so forth. I shall try to get an article from some one who knows, as to Freemasonry in Belgium — but I fear we cannot learn much about it. I wish I could do more, but I am still unwell and have a hard time to keep going.
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HOW ABOUT THIS?
AS these words are written there is the urge and surge, the stress and strain of the greatest mortal conflict in all history. Raging across France, a torrent of Hun hatred is stemmed but not yet stopped in sayagery by a slowly stiffening sturdy array of perhaps weary though unwilted and undaunted heroes. They are our Allies. Are we theirs?
Well, are we? Yes, I mean you and me, we Freemasons of the acknowledged Excelsior among the nations. What are we doing? Where are we at? Isn't it our move? Say, here's a thing or two we can get under way while we think out some method or agreement on other matters on which we may not all see alike.
We will say nothing to anybody about peace. We are out to win. We will win. Victory, nothing less. First of all, victory! And we don't want the British or anybody else to hand it to us on a platter. We don't ask them, we should not expect them, to pull everything or anything out of the fire for us. We can do our share. Nothing less shall be done by us. When we are not willing to take our own part we don't deserve help from our friends. We must be more than willing to help. We have the will power and we will set it to work.
We can do more than buy bonds and stamps. We can persuade others to do likewise. Those of us as ritualists or after-dinner speakers have now the chance for which we have long been in training. Lesser lights can spread the illumination. Let it be known that we are all very willing to serve on any or all committees.
A real Mason should do a lot more than acquire bonds and stamps. These are excellent investments. We are mighty poor Masons if our patriotism does not get by the purchasing point. Can't we be patriots unless we are bought? Well, that is what it amounts to if we are content to stop at the stage of making a mere profitable investment. Figure it out for yourself, and then get busy.
Look over your stock of books. Pick out all that you can spare and then hand them to the nearest library for shipment to the cantonments abroad. Many a book you and I can spare easily. Cull them out. They will do a wonderful amount of good in cheering those on their road to risk their lives for you and me.
Having picked out all the books for which you have no further use, now select a few more from your collection. There is of course no especial merit in giving away only the books that are useless to you. A true Mason will do more. Give some books of special worth for you may be sure that someone will value them for the reasons that gave them worth to you. If honest to goodness you cannot find in your heart to give away a certain book, then buy another one for the purpose of giving it away. You can then retain your copy and you will enrich every one who reads your gift and you will enjoy your own copy so much the more.
Of all the splendid enterprises that are under way in your neighborhood we need not undertake to mention them in detail. All sorts of relief work is in progress. Do your bit. Do it good naturedly. Do it often.
Above all, be of good cheer. Be a booster, Help, don't hinder. Hustle, don't handicap. Clear the way, don't litter it up. We are a big nation. We are gaining momentum. We cannot afford to meddle or tinker with things in a fussy or frivolous or fault-finding fashion. This is no time to heave a wrench into the machinery or pour acid or emery into the bearings. When a friend is carrying our basket of eggs we won't scare him into dropping them. We must wish him well. We must hope all kinds of good luck for him. Yes, we must earnestly and ever pray for him and all who act on our behalf.
For the President of the United States we pray. For him we pray the stalwart and stately statesmanship of Brother George Washington. We pray for him the governmental genius of Brother Thomas Jefferson. We pray for him the philosophical serenity of Brother Benjamin Franklin. We pray for him the judicial prudence of Brother William Howard Taft, and we do pray for him the intrepid manly courage of Brother Theodore Roosevelt. Amen.
R. I. C.
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There is a balm for bitterness, there is a cure for pain,
There is a solace for the heart whatever hurt it feels,
There is an altar where a man can build his faith again
And feel the very hand of God upon him when he kneels.
The woodland way, the woodland world, is waiting heavy hearts,
God's hospital among the trees beneath the sky and stars;
And in that hospice in the woods the hurt of old departs
And leaves no mark upon the man but badge of honest scars.
When doubt assassinates your faith, when hope shall hope no more,
When with the load of little things or larger things accurst,
Get out beneath the evergreen beside the singing shore
And find the world still the world it has been from the first.
— Douglas Mallock.
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Edited By Bro. H. L. Haywood
The object of this Department is to acquaint our readers with time-tried Masonic books not always familiar; with the best Masonic literature now being published; and with such non-Masonic books as may especially appeal to Masons. The Library Editor will be very glad to render any possible assistance to studious individuals or to Study Clubs and Lodges, either through this Department or by personal correspondence; if you wish to learn something concerning any book — what is its nature, what is its value, or how it may be obtained — be free to ask him. If you have read a book which you think is worth a review write us about it; if you desire to purchase a book — any book — we will help you get it, with no charge for the service. Make this your Department of Literary Consultation.
"FREEMASONRY IN AMERICA PRIOR TO 1750"
BEFORE a building can be erected materials must be collected; by the same token it is facts that compose a history and often is it that the gathering of facts is the larger half of the task. Brother Melvin Johnson's book, recently published under the above title by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, of which he was Grand Master at time of writing, is not a history, but it contains materials enough for many; histories.
Prior to 1717 there were no "duly-constituted" Lodges of Freemasons; with very few exceptions, all were Freemasons "at large." Not being under the jurisdiction of any Grand Lodges most of the bodies in existence before 1717 were very careless in keeping records for which reason the labyrinth through which the historian must make his way are enough to drive one mad. But there were some records, scattered miscellaneously through old books, manuscripts, etc., and through all these dismembered materials Brother Johnson has made his way, gathering together with loving care all such data as may be of permanent value. These data are now put into permanent form and made ready for nation-wide circulation, the better for students who are to come; and it is a book which such students will do well to get, for it will save them from a deal of labor and innumerable slips of fact and theory.
There is here, needless to say, no room for any detailed review of the contents of a book in which the contents are so necessarily broken as in the present case, but the reader will be interested to know that Brother Johnson's researches have led him to grant the palm of priority to Massachusetts rather than to Pennsylvania. The author is himself a citizen of Boston, and "no mean citizen of no mean city," and it may be that the Philadelphians will hope to detect some bias in his arguments; if so they must make good their contention by undermining the facts on which Brother Johnson has built his argument. Those facts, as tabulated by him, are as follows:
- The first Freemason definitely known to be in the Western Hemisphere was Governor Jonathan Belcher of Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1705.
- The earliest use in America, in writing or in print, of the word "Freemason," so far as is now known, was in the "Boston News Letter" for January 5, 1718-9.
- The first Lodge meetings in America of which we may speak with any degree of definiteness were held in King's Chapel, Boston, in 1720.
- The first known American newspaper account relating to Freemasonry was published in Boston, May 25, 1727.
- The first known Warrant, Deputation, Commission, or other authority, issuing from the Grand Lodge of England or its Grand Master (or from any other Masonic organization or officer, for that matter) to be exercised in America was that (April 13, 1733) by virtue of which Hemy Price founded a Provincial Grand Lodge in Boston, July 30, 1733.
- The first particular Lodge in America to be duly constituted was the First Lodge in Boston, July 30,1733.
- The first Lodge in America to be registered by the Grand Lodge of England in the official list of Lodge was the First Lodge in Boston.
- The first Masonic officer in the Western World to have jurisdiction over the whole of North Americ was Henry Price, whose authority was extended thus broadly in August, 1734.
- The first exercise of any Masonic authority in America of the right to grant provincial Masonic powers was the appointment of Benjamin Franklin as "Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Pennsylvania," February 21, 1734-5, by Henry Price, "Grand Master of His Majesty's Dominions in North America.
- The first independent Grand Lodge in America was Massachusetts Grand Lodge, which organized and declared its independence on March 8, 1777.
Prior to 1733, there had been meetings of Brethren in Boston, Philadelphia, and elsewhere in the Colonies. Before 1721 such meetings had been regular. After 1721 they were neither regular nor duly-constituted until that of July 30, 1733. Therefore, in studying organized, duly-constituted Freemasonry in America, it more than ever seems certain that Henry Price was, as he said himself, the founder of duly-constituted Masonry in America and that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is the first among her equals of the Western Hemisphere.
If some advocate for the priority of Pennsylvania cares to make a reply we shall be glad to place the columns of THE BUILDER at his disposal.
(Editor's Note: "Freemasonry in America Prior to 1750", in substantial blue buckram binding, 225 pages, may be obtained through the Secretary's office. Price $1.36, postpaid.)
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THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.
THE FRENCH LODGE "LES NEUF SOUERS" (THE NINE SISTERS)
In Gould's "Recollections of My Life," he refers to the French Lodge "Les Neuf Souers" at some length. It seems to have been a cradle of Liberty and the means by which Benjamin Franklin was enabled to secure the influence of France in behalf of the American Colonies in their struggle for Liberty. As it was, as the name implies, a Lodge of unusually brilliant men, I thought perhaps a short history of the Lodge and its more noted members might have been published and it was to ascertain this and, if possible, to secure an English edition of the book, that I wrote you.
— C. P. Lyndall, California.
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There was an ancient Lodge in Paris by the name of "Les Neuf Souers" (The Nine Sisters.) In 1897 Louis Amiable published at Paris "Une Loge Maconnique d'Avant 1789. La R.L. Les Neuf Souers." The book contains 399 pages.
In December, 1904, there was published in the New Age Magazine, an article by S.H. Amo (George F. Moore, then editor of the magazine, now Grand Commander of the Supreme Council) entitled "Les Neuf Soeurs (The Nine Sisters) An Old-Time French Lodge."
It was in this Lodge that Voltaire was initiated, Benjamin Franklin taking a prominent part in the ceremony. Franklin affiliated with this Lodge and for two years was "Venerable ∴ (Master) of the same. On the death of Voltaire he acted as Senior Warden of the Lodge of Sorrow held in his memory.
This Lodge held Franklin in such esteem that it struck a medal in his honor, of which a copy, supposed to be the only one now in existence, belongs to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mecklenburg. John Paul Jones was also a member of this celebrated Lodge. The Library of the Supreme Council here, possesses a copy of the book by Louis Amiable.
— Wm. L. Boyden, District of Columbia.
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For its peculiar interest to our members at this time, we reprint the article mentioned by Brother Boyden, from the December, 1904, issue of the New Age Magazine:
On the day before his death Louis Amiable finished his work entitled Une Loge Maconnique d'Avant 1789. La R. L. Les Neuf Soeurs.
He died at Aix on January 23, 1897. Formerly Mayor of the Fifth District of the City of Paris, Councillor of the Court of Appeal at Aix-en-Provence, he was a distinguished lawyer, scholar, author, and Freemason.
Among his writings are L'Egypte Ancienne et la Franc-Maonnerie, Le Mission de la Franc-Maçonnerie. He published other works about Freemasonry, and from his history of the "Nine Sisters" we derive the facts given in this paper. It appeared in 1897, but has not been translated into English.
The Lodge, Neuf Soeurs, was founded in 1776 by the great astrotomer Jerome de la Lalande (Lelande) and nine other Masons. The nine brethren were:
- Abbe Cordier de Saint Firmin.
- La Changeux.
- Abbe Robin, Canon.
- Chevalier de Cubieres.
- Fallet, Secretary of the Gazette of France.
- De Cailhava.
- Chauvet, of the Bordeaux Aeademy of Sciences.
- De Parny, Equerry of the Queen.
The Abbe Cordier de Saint Firmin was born at Orleans in 1730 and died at Paris in 1816. He was one of its most zealous members, and was connected with the Lodge during the whole of his long life. He was an "Ecclesiastic" but was described as a "man of letters" in 1806 on the Tableau of the officers and members.
In 1762 he published a tragedy entitled Zarakma, and in 1793 a comedy La Jeune Eslave ou Les Francais a Tunis (The Young Slave, or the French in Tunis). He wrote, and read in the Lodge, numerous historical and other papers.
Voltaire was initiated as a Freemason on the evening of March 7, 1778, in the Lodge Neuf Soeurs. Lalande presided, assisted by the Count de Strogonoff (Privy Councillor and Chamberlain of the Empress of Russia), as Senior Warden.
The Abbe Cordier de Saint Firmin having obtained permission to speak, declared that he presented Voltaire for initiation, saying that such an assembly of literary men and Freemasons should be flattered by the wish expressed by the most celebrated man in France to be admitted into the bosom of the Lodge. He also expressed his hope that the great age and the feeble health of the illustrious Neophyte would be carefully regarded during his reception. Lalande, the Venerable Master, appointed a committee of nine members to receive and prepare the candidate. This committee consisted of the Count de Strogonoff, Chairman, de Cailhava, President of Meslay, Mercier, Marquis de l'Ort, Abbe Brignon, Abbe Remy, Fabroni and de Fresne. The candidate was introduced by the Chevalier de Villars, Master of Ceremonies, and entered the hall accompanied by Benjamin Franklin and Court de Gebelin.
The candidate's answers to the questions on philosophy and morality put to him by Lalande were of such a character that the Venerable Master could scarcely restrain an outburst of applause.
King Louis XVI was a Freemason. On the first of August, 1775, the Lodge le Militaire-des-Trois-Freres-Unis was founded "at the east of the court," for the king and his two brothers, the Count of Provence and the Count d'Artois.
The king disliked Voltaire, and was greatly irritated because of his initiation and the respect shown him by the Lodge of the Nine Sisters, and for the imposing funeral ceremonies which were celebrated on November 28, 1778, in honor of his memory.
It was on this occasion that the Abbe Cordier Saint Firmin, who had proposed Voltaire for initiation, announced that Madame Dennis and the Marchioness de Villette wished to be admitted and to witness the funeral ceremonies. Their request was granted.
Before the Lodge closed the annual request for a contribution to assist the poor students of the university was made, and the Abbe Cordier Saint Firmin proposed that five hundred books should be deposited with a notary to be used in promoting the education of the first poor child born afterwards in the parish of Saint Sulpice.
At the banquet which followed the ceremonies, Benjamin Franklin was present, and represented "the Thirteen States of North America."
Louis XVI was, as we have said, a Mason, and hence did not wish to set the Civil Law in motion against the Lodge. But through Masonry he tried to strike it a heavy blow.
The Chamber of Administration of the Grand Orient complained that the Lodge had permitted women in the hall of the Grand Orient at the time of a ceremony for which all the brethren present had put on their Masonic regalia. Complaint was also made of the publicity given to a Masonic festival at Auteul, and of the publication in the national and foreign doings of the Lodge. Most important, however, was the alleged reading during Masonic labor of literary works which were said to be nonMasonic, and so bad that complaints had reached the ministers of religion and the police.
The reasons given for disciplining the Lodge were that these things might serve as a pretext for a general persecution of all the Masons in France, which, though very unjust, might have the appearance of being well founded.
Lalande demanded the right to answer the charges in writing. Then the antagonists of the Lodge hesitated and wavered. By a vote of 10 to 1 the affair was ordered terminated.
Still the Lodge was vexed and annoyed by petty complaints for several months. It held a Lodge of Adoption, and the Abbe Cordier de Saint Firmin, prominent and zealous as usual, secured some candidates — two ladies — who were initiated on that occasion.
The charter of the Lodge was about to be arrested, Lalande suspended as Master for six months, and the Abbe for a like period for his part in the affair, and all the other members for twenty-four days. The decree was actually made arresting the charter and suspending the members for various periods. The Grand Lodge, however, reversed this action as to all the Brethren except the Abbe Cordier de Saint Firmin, who was made the scapegoat. Finally "the good Abbe issued unhurt from this judicial test."
There were twenty-one "Ecclesiastics" who were members of the Lodge which initiated Voltaire and which honored him by the funeral ceremonies six months after his death.
Cordier de Saint Firmin, who participated in the foundation of the Atelier, was not only zealous, but was considered as the "general Agent" of the Lodge.
Long before that time (1778) the Bulls of Pope Clement XII (1738) and of Pope Benedict XIV had been issued. In these pronunciamentos the fraternity of Freemasons had been formally and solemnly condemned.
"But then there existed in our country a Gallican Church which did not receive orders from the Jesuits, nor was it the slave of the Roman court.
"'Our Abbes were better Gallicans than to feel themselves smitten by the Papal Anathemas which had not been 'officially registered' in France, and were devoid of all legal effect."
Pierre Nicholas Le Changeux was born at Orleans January 26th, 1740, and died in Paris October 3,1800. He was a man of letters and a savant. At the age of twenty-two he published an important work, Traite des Extremes du Elements de la Science de la Realite (Treatise Concerning Extremes or Elements of the Science of Reality.) It was remarkable for original thought and philosophical ideas. In 1773 he published his Bibliotheque Grammatical ou Nouveaux Memoires Sur Le Parole et Sur l'Ecriture(Grammatical Library or New Memoirs on Speech and Writing.) Le Changeux was a physician, a physiologist, and a botanist. He published the results of his investigations from 1778 to 1782 in the Journal of Physics of the Abbe Rozier, another very zealous Freemason, who was, from its origin, one of the principal members of the Grand Orient.
Science owes to Le Changeux the apparatus for registering meteorological variations. He announced this invention in his two works published in 1781, Le Barometographie et autres Machines Meteorologiques and Meteorographie l'Art d'Observer d'Une Manner Commode et Utile les Phenomenes de l'Etmosphere. He appears as Junior Warden (Second Surveillant,) in the Tableau of 1783, and is described as "of the Academy of Arts of London."
The Abbe Robin, who is third on the list of the founders, was, to use our American phrase, also a charter member of the Lodge. There were several ecclesiastics who bore the name of Robin, and hence their biographies have been confused by many authors. We do not know where he was born, nor when he was initiated, but we know that in 1779 he published a work with the title Recherches sur les Initiations Anciennes et Modernes (Investigations of Ancient and Modern Initiations.) This book evinces great zeal for Masonry, but is not strong in its learning, especially in that which relates to the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt. The author also worked on the hypothesis that Freemasonry had its origin in Chivalry.
There is reason to believe that the Masonic relations between the Abbe Robin and Benjamin Franklin caused the Abbe to be appointed Chaplain to the French Exposition which was sent to America.
In 1782 the Abbe published his Voyage dans l'Amerique Septentrional en 1781 et Campagne de l'Armee de M. Le Comte Rochambeau (Voyage in North America), and in 1807 published a three-volume work with the title Voyage dans l'Interieur de la Louisiana, de la Florida occidental, et dans les iles de la Martinique et de Saint Dominigue pendant les annees 1802, 1802, 1804, 1805, and 1806. After his return to France he resumed his place in the Lodge of which he had been one of the founders. His name appears as an honorary member on the Tableau of 1806.
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PAPISH BULLS AGAINST FREEMASONRY
I would like to know when the Catholic church issued its edict against the Masonic Fraternity. A Past Master of a local Lodge has stated that "his reverence," James Cardinal Gibbons, was a member of the Fraterrity and became a Knight Templar, before such an edict was passed. From what I have read the Roman church fought the Fraternity long before Gibbons was born.
— E. E. H., Maryland.
In Brother Albert Pike's famous reply to the letter of Pope Leo XIII, called "Humanum Genus," we find the following:
"The Bull In Eminenti of Clement XII dated 27th April, 1738, confirmed and renewed by that beginning Providas of Benedict XIV, 17th May, 1761;
"The edict of Pius VII, in 1821, and the Apostolic edict Quo Graviora of Leo XII in 1825; with those of Pius VII in 1829; Gregory the XVI in 1832, and Pius IX in 1846, 1865, etc.
"The title of Bull In Eminenti by Clement XII is 'condemnatio Societatis seu Conventiculorum de Libre Muratori, seu the Free Masons,' under the penalty ipso facto incurred, of ex-communication; absolution from it, except in articulo mortis, being reserved to the Supreme Pontiff."
You are quite right about these Bulls being old when Cardinal Gibbons was born. We think, however, that your informant is mistaken as to the Cardinal having taken the Masonic degrees. He was born of Irish parents in Baltimore, in 1834, but shortly afterward removed to Ireland where he remained until about seventeen years of age. He was a clerk before he became a Romish student, and took his first orders of priesthood in 1861.
Pike says that by a Papal brief, issued in January, 1760, the Father Joseph Torrubia, pro-censor and revisor of the Inquisition, was authorized to procure initiation into Masonry, to take all the oaths that might be required of him, and to use every means possible to acquire the most complete knowledge of the membership of the Freemasonry of Spain.
In March, 1751, Torrubia, having taken, "without sinfulness," the oaths required and having been initiated, put into the hands of the great Inquisitor the ninety-seven lists of membership of Lodges at that time in existence in Spain, and in consequence of this, the King of Spain, Ferdinand VI decreed, on July 2, 1751, the complete suppression of the Masonic Fraternity, and prescribed the punishment of death without any form of preliminary procedure against all who should be convicted of belonging to it.
The anti-Masonic Congress at Trent, in 1896, (only twenty-two years ago,) was convened with the approval of the Pope, and was attended by two hundred or more Bishops. A report of this meeting may be found in Brother Baird's article on "Freemasonry in France," in the April number of THE BUILDER.
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MASONRY IN THE PHILIPPINES
We are taught that all Masons are brothers and that Masonry binds all nations together into one common family. The black and white squares can be seen upon the floors in the Lodge rooms of all Lodges working under the jurisdiction of Spain, Portugal and Scotland, but I am sorry to say we only see them upon the canvas in America. These black and white squares signify that Masonry recognizes all Nations whether black or white, brown or yellow, and I used to think Masonry was universally recognized the world over but I have found out by actual experience that I was mistaken.
Masonry was founded upon the best laws the world has ever known and we teach them to our candidates but, Brothers, do we practice what we teach? No, I must say we do not. In November, 1916, when I left Manila there were six Lodges there working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. There is one Lodge in Manila working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, another one working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Portugal and a large number of Spanish Lodges. There are two different jurisdictions or Grand Lodges in Spain, one is recognized by England and Scotland and the other is considered clandestine. The Grand Lodges of Spain and Portugal are not recognized by any of the Grand Lodges of the United States,* and of course when the Americans first went over to the Philippines they were forbidden to visit or hold Masonic intercourse with either of these Lodges. One can hear all kinds of rumors why we do not recognize these Lodges, but the only one that I heard that may have had any grounds for its utterance was that they did not have the Bible in the Lodge room. Under the Spanish law it was worth a man's life to try to bring the Bible to the Islands. Missionaries tried several times to do so but they were confiscated in the Custom House, the men were imprisoned, and death would have been preferable to the treatment they received.
[* According to the List of the Masonic Grand Lodges of the World, issued by the Masonic Relief Association of the United States and Canada, the Grand Lodge of Portugal, "Grand Orient Lusitania Unido Supreme Council," is recognized by the Grand Lodges of Arkansas, Canada and North Carolina, and the Grand Spanish Orient is recognized by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. — EDITOR.]
When General Aguinaldo was captured, one of his Aids was given a Bible. He was very much delighted over it, he said he had often wanted a Bible, but had never seen one before. The Lodges had to meet in secret, meeting first in one place and then in another and often going out of the city and meeting behind haystacks. They were hunted down like criminals because they were trying to meet as a Masonic body and learn some of the blessed truths that our Bible teaches. Under these circumstances would you condemn them if they did not always have the Bible with them?
Since the Americans entered the Islands in 1898, there is no excuse for not having the Bible and I want to say that they always do have one. It was no farther back than 1914 that one of the Padres in the northern part of Luzon gave a picture show and the price of admission was a copy of the New Testament which the American Bible Society had distributed to the people and after the show he called all the people to an open space and made a big bonfire and burned all the Testaments. These people are just as true Masons as we are and it is only some petty technicalities of Masonic rules that keep our Grand Lodges from recognizing them. The Grand Lodges of the United States recognize the Grand Lodges of England and Scotland.
The Grand Lodges of England and Scotland recognize the Grand Lodges of Spain and Portugal and I know of no logical reason why we should not recognize them.
A great many Officials in the Philippines, Judges of the Supreme Court and many of the other Judges and Officials including the great warrior General Aguinaldo are numbered among the Masons. I have sat in the Blue Lodge and in the Chapter with Vice Governor Martin and I had the pleasure of being present and seeing Gov. Gen. Harrison raised a short time before I left there. There was present that night in the East, Masters and Past Masters and leading men of the Islands, of all the prominent Lodges in the Islands working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the Grand Lodge of Spain, and the Grand Lodge of Portugal. This kind of a gathering would have been impossible a few years ago. It was through the untiring efforts of Judge Hervey and a few more broad-minded men of his type that the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands was organized and this gathering made possible.
The fourth Lodge organized under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands was organized for and composed of Filipinos, except three or four Americans who organized it. They open their Lodge and do all their work in English and they are doing remarkably well.
It was hard to make the Filipino people understand that the Grand Lodge was organized for them because they were not asked to help organize it. Owing to the Masonic Laws the Americans could not hold Masonic intercourse with the Spanish or Portuguese Lodges so the only way to effect a union was to organize a Grand Lodge and then invite them to come in and join it, and this is what they did. They did not recognize them officially but they tolerated them, that is they visited them and invited them to visit our Lodges. The leading members of the Portuguese Lodge and a good many of the leading men of the Spanish Lodges were in favor of coming into our Grand Lodge but there were a good many that were not. They were so long under the Spanish law where there was nothing but greed, graft, gain and oppression that their first thought was some kind of a trick to get them to become subject to our Grand Lodge, but when they were told there were only six Lodges under our jurisdiction and they could easily get twenty Lodges to come in, with each Lodge having the same power, they did not know what to say.
Masonry is doing more today to teach the Filipino the American ideals of Democracy than any other organization. By its untiring, unselfish motives it is aiding our Government more than you have any idea in moulding and guiding the thoughts and lives of that little body of leading men who are working out the destiny of the Islands.
In behalf of Masonry at large and especially in the Philippine Islands, I earnestly hope that every Grand Lodge in the United States will encourage the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands by recognizing them and do everything possible to encourage them in their broad views of Masonry and thus help our weaker Brothers.
— C. W. Cowgill. Illinois.
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DEGREE WORK BY MILITARY LODGES
I have reviewed with much interest the position taken by the various Grand Masters in relation to granting dispensations for Lodges in the Army and particularly authorizing such Lodges to initiate candidates.
Personally I do not favor such dispensations, but in view of the fact that in some cases the same are being granted, it occurs to me that where initiation is permitted it should be only after the petition has been submitted to the home Lodge of the soldier for determination. That is to say, his home Lodge should pass upon his qualifications and if found to be a proper candidate for the mysteries of Freemasonry it should then request the Army Lodge to confer the degrees. This would, I believe, be a very important safeguard against the admission of undesirable material.
— A. M. Jackley, Iowa.
THE FIRST DEGREE
The first degree is essentially a degree or condition of purification. It is the first step the candidate must take if he would climb the mystic ladder that Jacob saw in his dream.
If we believe in evolution, and most of us do, we must recognize that the path of our evolution is along the lines of our inner unfoldment, the evolution of our latent goodness. There is a germ of goodness, of pure gold, in the breast of every human being, which by cultivation and education can be developed into light and power.
Just as the oak is in the acorn, so is the masterman in the average man of today. And as culture is necessary to develop the acorn into the oak, so is education and cultivation necessary to unfold the goodness that is latent in every man.
The three degrees in Blue Lodge Masonry exemplify the ascent of man from the unregenerate and materialistic being to a regenerate master-man the master-builder of character and manhood. It is Jacob's ladder or the evolutionary path of man.
But for man to rise into a higher and nobler manhood, he must needs make the first step, or take the First Degree, which is that of purification. It is through purification only that man can come or grow into mastership.
To become a master-man, master over our thoughts, emotions and acts, we must cultivate the latent faculties within ourselves and overcome the base, the mean and evil within us.
That is why we are taught, first of all, to "divest ourselves of all metallic substances." The metallic substances" or base metals are the base passions, vices and degrading habits that have become part of us. If man is to be refined, to become better, he must give up, get rid of, and divest himself of his baser self, which is not his real self, but the accumulated rubbish within his temple.
Just as much as it is necessary to remove the dross in order to uncover the gold, so is it absolutely essential for man to rid himself of his dross to uncover the gold or goodness within himself.
We are also taught "not to daub with untempered mortar." Masonry abounds in symbolic emblems of the builders art to "imprint on the mind wise and serious truths" and illustrate moral and practical lessons. Just as in the construction of a temporal building the use of "untempered mortar" would endanger its stability, so are we admonished that, in the building of our temple of manhood and character leading to a successful life, we "do not daub with untempered mortar," or base and degrading thoughts and acts. Every thought and deed enters into the construction of our manhood, like so many bricks in the construction of a structure. Then how careful we as builders or Masons should be in the construction of our manhood. Shall we choose well tempered mortar of love, kindness, forgiveness, or shall it be the selection of "untempered mortar" of hate, anger, and would pull our structure down?
The common gavel teaches us to "divest our hearts and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting our minds as living stones, for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." The "gavel" is our will-power, directed by our minds. It is through our will-power directed by our enlightened minds that we can free ourselves from undesirable conditions.
Man is dual, being both good and bad. There is constant struggle between the good and the bad in man. The evil in him does not give up without a struggle. If he is a slave to some passion, it takes strength of will-power and the repeated exercise of it for that man to free himself of his vice. In proportion that we exercise our will-power, our "common gavel," for good, for our upbuilding, do we further increase this will-power, obtain strength of mind and develop manhood and character. This will enable us to be successful in our chosen walk of life. Remember, therefore, that the "gavel" is your free-will, and it is a "common gavel," for it is "common" to all. Every man is endowed with this inestimable gift by God.
How careful we must be in our living, if we are to prove worthy to wear the lamb-skin or white leathern apron, as an emblem of our innocence! "The lamb has in all ages been deemed an emblem of innocence; he, therefore, who wears the lambskin is constantly reminded of that purity of life and conduct which is so essentially necessary to his gaining admission into the Celestial Lodge above where the Supreme Architect of the universe presides." Let the white leathern apron always remind us that our lives must be blameless, spotless and free from sin and wrong-doing.
Power or force is in itself unmoral; but it becomes moral or immoral depending on the direction of its application. Our thoughts and acts are moral or immoral depending upon what uses we put them to.
Thus we see that the First Degree abounds in symbolic language which is positive in its instruction. It teaches a positive philosophy, a positive living of a life. The symbolic language in its literal sense has no meaning, and it never was intended for the craft to stop short at its literal application. Those who originated the institution of Freemasonry used this symbolic language to hide from the profane and yet reveal to the initiated profound truths and practical instruction for our rule and guide in our daily living. The lessons in this degree are eminently practical. It is practical to be good, to be free from vices and passion; for it lead to power, to health, to a long and successful life. And it is impractical to be a slave to vices, to degrading habits; for they sap our strength, our manhood, leading to disease, failure and untimely death.
Therefore we see that the First Degree is the first step a candidate should take, and that is Purification. Have you taken this first step? If not, why not?
— Bro. A. W. Witt, in the Kansas City Freemason