A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 5 No. 5 – May 1919
REPORT OF THE MASONIC OVERSEAS MISSION
Bro. Townsend Scudder, P.G.M., New York
JUDGE MOORE SAILS FOR EUROPE
UPON my return to New York, and on September 3, 1918, I wrote Judge Moore as follows:
September 3, 1918.
Honorable George Fleming Moore,
House of the Temple,
16th Street, Washington, D. C.
My dear Judge Moore:
Permit me to thank you for the courtesies extended to me while in Washington, and also enclose a copy of a letter written by me to Mr. Fosdick following up my last interview with him before returning to New York.
I trust that he will appreciate the wisdom of refraining from withdrawing our permit and thereby again tax the good nature of our fraternity without rhyme or reason. I wish the gentleman was more practical. He seems to be an idealist with theories as to what is best which perhaps do not square in all things with the conditions which have to be met. Such an attitude invites our respect, but it does not solve delicate problems.
Looking forward to the pleasure of seeing you again, and trusting our interviews may prove successful, believe me Sincerely yours,
Glen Head, L. I., N. Y. Townsend Scudder.
Judge Moore kept us informed of his progress. On several occasions he expressed the hope that we would see our way clear to sail with him. He sought other meetings with us, which we regretfully could not arrange. He had us advised of his approaching departure and of his address in New York just prior thereto and on October 7, 1918, we received the following letter, written on Cunard Steamship Company paper, advising us that he was actually on his way:
Sunday, Oct. 6, 1918.
Have tried to get Kenworthy and you over the phone a number of times.
We are sailing to Liverpool.
Paris address, care of American Express Co., Paris, France.
H. T. Stevenson.
It seems proper to insert a letter received from Brother Stevenson, dated September 5, 1918. Its use in its chronological order was not feasible because it would have broken in upon our narrative. It will be recalled that the only conference with Mr. Fosdick attended by both Judge Moore and me was held on August 30th, and that at this conference it had been decided that Judge Moore should go to Europe on his particular Masonic business, whether or no the Masonic Mission obtained passports from the government, but that up to the time of his departure he would not relax his efforts and would do his best in behalf of the Masonic Mission to obtain its passports so that the fraternity might carry out its overseas program, promising to join us in France and to work with us if we reached there before his return. So Brother Stevenson wrote from Washington, September 5, 1918, as follows:
THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE THIRTY-THIRD DEGREE
A. and A. Scottish Rite,
Southern Jurisdiction of U.S.A.
George F. Moore, Sovereign Grand Commander
Washington City, September 5, 1918.
Honorable Townsend Scudder,
Glen Head, N. Y.
Dear Sir and Brother:
Just a line to let you know that present indications point to the possibility, yes, probability, that early next week the difficulties and barriers that have been in the way of the Masonic Mission will be removed.
The Sovereign Grand Commander will be in New York for the next few days at The Clendening, 103d Street and Amsterdam Avenue, with a few friends. If you wish further light on the subject, I am sure he can give you the latest information up to the time he leaves the society. He will return, I expect, next Monday. Mr. Fosdick has been out of town for several days, and is due to return to his office Monday or Tuesday, and Mr. Jamieson believes that at that time everything will be straightened up satisfactorily to all parties.
I shall appreciate it if you will kindly return to me the copy of my report with such suggested amendments as you may desire to make in the same.
With fraternal greetings and best wishes, I remain,
Sincerely and fraternally yours,
Hugh T. Stevenson.
The contents of this letter encouraged us in the belief that my final conference with Mr. Fosdick held on August 31st had not been in vain, and that he realized the soundness of our position and the injustice of giving retroactive effect to the War Department's new rule excluding civilian organizations from war service overseas so as to exclude the Masonic fraternity from that service under its permit received from the government April 23, 1918, and at least three months before the new rule was decided upon.
The report to which Brother Stevenson referred, and the return of which he requested, was one covering our negotiations with him in reference to Masonic overseas service. A reading of this report did not satisfy us that Brother Stevenson attached the same relative importance to the various Masonic bodies which we did, and as we were working together as far as the government at Washington was concerned it did not seem worth while to waste energy over non-essentials. Accordingly under date of September 11, 1918, I answered his letter of September 5th as follows:
September 11, 1918.
Rev. Hugh T. Stevenson,
157 U Street, N.W., Washington, D. C.
My dear Mr. Stevenson:
Yours of September the 5th duly received, and I am returning herewith the copy of the report which you handed me. I do not feel at liberty to make any suggestions with reference to it, because our viewpoints are quite different and there is no reason why we should attempt to harmonize them. We are seeking a common end, only we go about it differently.
Glen Head, L. I., N. Y.
Sorry that due to absence from town I could not connect with Judge Moore. Kenworthy tried to make an appointment, but failed.
SHOULD MASONIC OVERSEAS SERVICE BE CONDUCTED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF GRAND LODGES OR OF THE SCOTTISH RITE?
Brother Stevenson told us that he had been sent by Judge Moore to talk over Masonic overseas service with Brother Kenworthy and with me before the judge knew that a permit to engage in that work had been given our Mission by the chairman of the Commission on Training Camp Activities of the War Department. It seems that Judge Moore had not read the minutes of the conference of Grand Masters, a copy of which I had sent to him on August 27th, but this copy he gave to Brother Stevenson to read on his way to New York to meet us. Brother Stevenson left Washington, as he told us, to promote the Scottish Rite's ambition to send representatives abroad and also to invite a member of the New York Committee to accompany the Scottish Rite delegation. Having learned from the minutes of the conference of Grand Masters that we had the War Department's consent and were thereby in a stronger position than was the Scottish Rite, also that our financial backing and resources exceeded its own, he suggested a joint undertaking in the form of a union of what he called "the higher bodies" and the several Grand Lodges. We, on the other hand, urged that the success of our overseas enterprise was dependent upon the heart of the fraternity being in it, that there was nothing higher in Freemasonry than the Symbolic Lodge, the foundation of it all; and that if the fraternity was to measure to its duty and full responsibility, if its conscience was to be satisfied, the head and directing force of the overseas enterprise must be the great body which embraced us all, the Symbolic Lodges acting through the forty-nine Grand Lodges of the United States; that here was the will to serve, and also the ability and the financial means to serve, because therein we are all embraced; that when the forty-nine Grand Jurisdictions undertook a work the entire Masonic membership in the United States was in it and back of it, including all Scottish Rite Masons, whereas when the Scottish Rite acted it represented itself alone and only about ten per cent of our entire membership. For these reasons, we urged that the Scottish Rite work through its lodge affiliations and not as a separate body, and we expressed our conviction that any different course, in the light of the government's attitude towards Freemasonry, would defeat the fraternity's ambition to serve our boys overseas.
We felt that we had won Brother Stevenson over to our viewpoint by the time we parted, he to return to Washington, but further to convince him if that should be necessary, Brother Kenworthy wrote him a letter under date of August 28, 1918, as follows:
August 28, 1918.
My dear Brother Stevenson:
I want you to know what a real pleasure it was for me to meet you Tuesday night and share in your conference with Brother Scudder.
I am satisfied your talk together will be productive of much good, and will lead in time to a solution of the perplexing problem which has given us all so much concern. When the rank and file of the Craft is troubled, it indicates their keen interest in the very grave question now before the Department. If it represented solely the idea of a few leaders of the Craft to put themselves forward, and perhaps in the way, we would not as a fraternity have to be interested, but every one of the 867 lodges in the state of New York has men 'over there,' as our returns show; in one instance as high as fifty Brethren, and running anywhere from two to a dozen and over throughout the state, and I am satisfied the same splendid record of loyalty will be shown by all of our 49 Jurisdictions.
It must be so, otherwise this office would not have been in contact with the hundreds of men we have been called upon to take care of by our sister jurisdictions.
During the past week, for example, forty men have been assigned by us to receive the degrees at the request of different Grand Masters from all over the United States. This has been going on for a year, and we are reading today of the valorous service of some of the men we have met, notably in the present great drive our Allies are making supported by the A. E. F.
These are the men from all of our jurisdictions whom we want to reach and offer our brotherliness to over there. They are far from home, and as Mr. Fosdick's report intimated, their furlough periods do not allow the home visits enjoyed by the French and English soldiers.
You know what it has meant, perhaps, in normal times, when you were abroad in a city or country other than England, to find a headquarters where you could read your home papers and hear your own language spoken. I have felt it repeatedly, and will never forget the sense of comfort the association brought to me.
How much more do our boys need all this and more, too, and how pre-eminently it is our duty to provide for them. Men from over there have told me the boys were clamoring for it, and are only awaiting the day when their hopes will be fulfilled.
The fraternity does not want to disappoint these men. You know that Masonry inculcates loyalty to state and nation from the 1d to the 33d, and because of this it has been a tremendous factor in meeting the needs of the nation today. Our men knew the duty expected of them and they are in the forefront as officers of the army and navy because of their ability, their loyalty, and their sense of duty to God and country.
May I add just a word more. you are so distinctively representative of the body politic of Masonry, and when I say that I mean its democracy, I do not want to see you obsessed by the idea and general misnomer of the higher bodies.
There are no bodies higher in Masonry than the body itself, and that is the great aggregation of Symbolic Lodges represented throughout the ignited States.
Our statistics show, January 1, 1918, a total of 1,869,645 Masons in the 49 states of the U.S.A.; of this number, 1,002,797 are allied with the Grand Lodges to which the N.M.J. owes allegiance.
To the Grand Lodges identified with the S.M.J. the total membership is 866,848.
The Proceedings of the S.M.J., 1914-15, page 399, shows an aggregate membership of the Rite of 84,248, or less than 10 per cent.
Likewise, in the N.M.J. Proceedings, 1917, page 40, shows a total membership in the Rite of 99,317, or less than 10 per cent.
We would not belittle our associations with the S. R. because of its numerical limitations, any more than we would exalt ourselves because of the numeral distinction it confers.
You and I would rather be allied with an army of nearly 2,000,000 men than to be the leaders of a division representing only 10 per cent of the army itself.
These figures of membership are irrefutable, and probably have not come under your observation before. They are not submitted for any other purpose than to emphasize to you the democracy of the Craft as represented by the ninety rather than the ten per cent., and to impress you, too, with the thought that our aim is to reach out and gratify the hopes and prayers of the nearly two million Masons of the United States for their brethren 'over there.' God bless you and bring success to our efforts.
Faithfully your Brother,
Robert Judson Kenworthy.
HOW ERRONEOUS IMPRESSIONS CAN BE GAINED
In justice to Judge Moore I deem it my duty to call attention to the misapprehension which seems to exist in the minds of some regarding real purposes and objects of his visit abroad which is sometimes so represented as to have it appear that he had gone abroad to engage in war relief work with our forces, having obtained from the government its consent thereto. As an illustration, I quote an extract from The Scottish Rite News, Volume VIII, No. 10, dated November, 1918:
Word has just been received of the safe arrival overseas of Illustrious Brother George F. Moore, 33d, Grand Commander of the Supreme Council; Illustrious Brother Sam P. Cochran, 33d, Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Texas, and Brother Hugh T. Stevenson, 32d pastor of the First Baptist Church in Washington, D. C. These three brethren constitute a committee appointed by the Supreme Council for the purpose of visiting France and undertaking the establishment of a special line of war relief work for the benefit of American soldiers, which is not now covered by the activities of the Red Cross, Y. M. C. A., and other similar institutions. The committee will also visit the Grand Masonic bodies of the various European countries with a view to reestablishing fraternal relations between those Grand bodies and the Grand Masonic bodies of the United States.
It is also announced that prior to their departure from the United States, Brother Moore, Brother Cochran and Doctor Stevenson were authorized and appointed to represent the Order of Odd Fellows in any work undertaken under the auspices of the Supreme Council. This additional financial support and co-operation on the part of the Odd Fellows of the United States, lend great importance to the work to be undertaken by the committee, and with the combined efforts of the Scottish Rite Masons and the Odd Fellows splendid results should come from the work to be undertaken.
While a careful reading of this article shows that the three brothers named constitute a committee appointed by the Supreme Council, it does not say that the government permitted them to go abroad to carry out the objects or the purposes for which they were appointed by the Supreme Council. Doubtless Brother Moore and his colleagues were constituted a committee by the Supreme Council to engage in a special line of war relief work, but they did not receive the approval of the government to engage in war relief work for the benefit of our soldiers. The article in question does not say that they did, but only implies it, and to that extent is misleading.
A similar error is fallen into by Brother Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master of Massachusetts, who writes as follows: (I quote his letter in full, but that part to which particular attention is directed is double-leaded.)
My dear Grand Master:
Your letter and telegram of recent date were duly received and have been given my very careful consideration. I appreciate the very great interest that you are taking in the matters to which your letter refers and your real Masonic desire to render practical and effective service. It is self-evident that the two millions of Masons in this country are not doing collectively what they ought to do to advance the interests of their brethren in the Service.
I have given these matters of assistance to the brethren in the military and naval service a great deal of thought and attention since I have been Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. We have been doing quite a bit to help, but far less than we are able and ought to do. I early adopted the plan of appointing special deputies with each military unit going from Massachusetts and containing members of our fraternity. I also named two or three special deputies in the naval service. These deputies are keeping me in touch with the Masonic situation in the places where they are stationed or located and are commissioned to render relief, to report to me how we or others can best render assistance or relief, and are enjoined to form Masonic clubs whenever it is practical to do so. I am constantly getting reports from these deputies and I am more and more convinced that this plan is a very wise one. It is only now and then that I get a report from a deputy suggesting anything that the Masons of Massachusetts can do to help out on the other side. We are raising a war relief fund to provide for those who may become in need through the war. We have built a theatre at Camp Devens and engaged in various other activities at that camp, which is the only one located in Massachusetts.
We are not in fraternal relation with any of the so-called Grand Lodges of France and this for the reasons set out in detail by my predecessors and also by me upon several occasions in my addresses before the quarterly meetings of our Grand Lodge. I shall be glad to furnish you with full and complete information as to our position relative to the Masonic recognition of any of the Grand Lodges in France if it should prove of special interest to you.
I attended the conference of Grand Masters held in New York in May when it was arranged that Judge Scudder and two associates should investigate conditions on the other side and report to each of the Grand Lodge Jurisdictions as to how assistance could best be given. I am also familiar with the situation relating to the holding up of the passports of Judge Scudder and his associates and the consequent inability to carry out the purpose embodied in the resolve adopted at the New York conference. Perhaps you are not familiar with the inside history of the failure of this Mission to carry out what it so earnestly desired to do. Perhaps also you have not been informed as to the history leading up to the recent sending across of Brothers Moore, Cochran and Stevenson, representing the Southern Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite. There is much that can be said regarding the sending of this latter delegation and the refusal to let the delegation headed by Judge Scudder carry out their proposed work that can not be properly said on paper. I hope that you are entirely familiar with all the details concerning these Masonic Missions.
I do not feel that such a conference as you suggest being held within the next thirty days would be productive of such good results as to warrant the holding of such a conference at this time. This conclusion is based upon all the information that has come to me from my own deputies and otherwise and from an intimate participation in the New York conference and consultation with those who have had to do with dealing with the War Department since that conference. There are many things that I do not understand and I am earnestly trying to be temperate in thought and expression regarding certain facts which have come to my knowledge.
I do not believe, my dear Most Worshipful Brother Schoonover, that the time is ripe for such a meeting as you propose, although I hope that you are assured of my hearty sympathy with the purpose you outline. There never has been a time in the history of the Order when such a glorious opportunity has been offered for translating Masonic teachings into living expression.
With high regard, I am
Leon M. Abbott,
The portion of Brother Abbott's letter to which particular attention is called is that which conveys the impression that both the Scottish Rite and the Mission representing the Grand Lodges seek to engage in the same kind of war relief work, and that the government granted to the former permission for this purpose and denied it to the latter, when, as a matter of fact, the purpose for which Brother Moore and his associates journeyed across the ocean had nothing whatever akin to the work proposed to be done by the Masonic Mission. (See Brother Moore's statement to Mr. Fosdick on page 96 of THE BUILDER.)
MR. FOSDICK INTIMATES HE HAS A SATISFACTORY SOLUTION
Returning now to my interview with Mr. Fosdick on the train on which we left Washington on July 26th, let us take up the story of my further dealings with him after that day.
It will be recalled that we parted with the understanding that Secretary Baker and he were to formulate a proposition for Masonic activities overseas, and submit it to me at a conference, of the time and place of which I was to be notified. It will also be recalled that I had suggested the inviting of Judge Moore to this conference for the purpose of satisfying the War Department that Judge Moore's interests and those I represented were in harmony.
Receiving no call to this conference from Mr. Fosdick up to August 2d, I sent on that day the following:
August 2, 1918.
Honorable Raymond B. Fosdick,
Chairman Commission on War Training Camp Activities,
War Department, Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Fosdick:
Not having received a telegram or letter from you with reference to my return to Washington to attend the conference which you suggested, I have assumed that it has not been possible to arrange for it. I am just writing to let you know that I am at Glen Head, Long Island, awaiting your summons which I hope will come at an early date. you will appreciate that the uncertainty is disconcerting to all men involved.
Glen Head, L. I., N. Y.
A telegram from Mr. Fosdick, dated August 6th, was duly received by me as follows:
WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM
Received at Glen Cove, N.Y.
20 NYAG 64 Govt
Nr Washn DC 6 Aug
Honorable Townsend Scudder
Glenhead LI NY
Can you give me any information about meeting of Masons in Cleveland last week and plan that was projected for work among the troops by the Masonic fraternity. We have no information about matter here but it has been suggested that efforts of New York state delegation might wisely be coordinated with the Cleveland plans.
Raymond B. Fosdick
To it, on August 7th, I made the following reply:
August 7, 1918.
Honorable Raymond B. Fosdick,
Chairman Commission on Training Camp Activities,
War Department, Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Fosdick:
Your telegram has been received. The reconstruction and the re-education of United States soldiers and sailors and Masonic participation therein was a matter submitted by New York at the conference of Grand Masters held in New York in May, and it was resolved that it be referred back to the several state Masonic Jurisdictions for action, it being urged that each jurisdiction commit itself to this work as each might determine, more particularly as the matter of re-education and employment was one pertaining to the states individually where each state could look out for its own.
The Ohio meeting, extensively advertised in the newspapers, was doubtless made up of Ohio representatives of the fraternity, and I have no doubt were acting on the very matter referred to Ohio as well as to the other states by the meeting of Grand Masters in New York. I reach this conclusion because New York received no notice or invitation to this meeting, which, of course, it would have received had it been something more than a local meeting.
I have complied with your suggestion that I write to the President. The letter was mailed yesterday, and I assume will be taken up with you in due course. I would gladly send you a copy, but I feel it would not be proper so to do until the President has acted or made the letter public.
I am more keen than ever for a proper and satisfying solution of the matter of Masonic overseas service. On every side the inference is being drawn that there has been some hostile influence at work and the Masonic fraternity through this influence is being discriminated against. It will be very difficult, I fear, to overcome this impression, which has disturbed and worried me, and makes exceedingly difficult my efforts to satisfy the impatient and hotter heads in the fraternity.
Glen Head, L. I., N. Y.
To the meeting, subject of the foregoing telegram and my letter of August 7th, the following newspaper article from the New York Globe of August 1st probably refers:
MASONS LAUNCH PLAN TO AID DISABLED VETERANS
Cleveland, Aug. 1. — The resources of Masonic bodies throughout the world will be used to assist soldiers and sailors disabled on the battlefields of Europe, if a movement launched here last night by representatives of every branch of Masonry wins the approval of the War Department and of the higher Masonic bodies of the country. The meeting formed the War League for Masonic Service.
The efforts of the fraternity would be to assist disabled men to become self-sustaining before, during or after vocational training given them by the government. Tentative plans call for the use of Masonic employment under research bureaus, hospitals and buildings and funds, thus utilizing a complete organization, which would be ready at the first request for help.
Under the plans each of the 3,000,000 Masons in this country will be asked to devote time and effort in the work.
No further word was received from Mr. Fosdick until August 20th, when I received from him this telegram, dated that day:
WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM
Received at Glen Cove, N.Y.
36 NYAG 31 Govt
Nr Washn DC Aug 20 1918 130PM
Judge Townsend Scudder
Glen Head, LI NY
Matter proceeding to what I believe will be a satisfactory solution. You will probably hear from us in a few days.
Raymond B. Fosdick.
To this telegram I sent, on August 22d, the following reply:
August 22. 1918.
Honorable Raymond B. Fosdick,
Chairman Commission on Training Camp Activities,
War Department, Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Fosdick:
Thank you for your telegram. I shall be indeed happy to hear the details of the prospective solution of the problem.
I appreciate your courtesy.
Glen Head, L. I., N. Y.
Eight days later, on August 28th, nothing further having been heard from Mr. Fosdick, I sent him the following letter, a copy of which I sent to Brother Stevenson for Judge Moore:
August 28, 1918
Honorable Raymond B. Fosdick,
Chairman Commission on Training Camp Activities,
War Department, Washington, D. C.
My dear Mr. Fosdick:
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram that 'Matter proceeding to what I believe will be a satisfactory solution. You will probably hear from us in a few days.' This news was indeed cheering, the more so because the situation has grown extremely acute and inferences are being drawn and speculations indulged in which are proving disturbing in the extreme.
In perfect frankness it is my judgment that the safest and best way out will be the issuing of passports to the Masonic Mission, their relief work overseas to be confined to the recreation centers, and trust to the good judgment of the mission to determine whether the Masonic fraternity can render real worth while service. I can assure you that excepting it can, it will withdraw from the field, and I can further assure you that its judgment that it cannot render such service will be accepted by the fraternity at large and the implications will end.
When we discussed the Masonic plan of Service overseas, I pointed out to you the advantage of our plan in that if the work proved worth while the scope of the work could be enlarged, and all others desiring to participate could do so either through their workers or with their funds.
This has been presented to all the Masonic Jurisdictions in the United States, and I can say it is satisfactory to them. In this connection I find that there is no divergence of views between the mission which New York, with the approval of the Masons of the United States, is seeking to send overseas and the work which Judge George Fleming Moore, of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, is contemplating. He, too, is seeking to render effective service, and comes in with us and we with him as one in the common enterprise, and it is my thought because his work will mean a larger enterprise that this will necessitate the enlarging of the mission to cover the two or three men whom he seeks to have accompany him. After all, nine persons are not so many when representing an organization with two million active members and as many inactive ones. We hardly feel that it is probable that others will want to join the preliminary mission because Judge Moore is the only one who has expressed that wish since all were advised of our undertaking. The others are awaiting the report of the mission and its determination whether the work is worth while before setting in motion machinery necessary in connection with the support of the work, and at this point let me emphasize again that what the Masonic fraternity does it pays for itself and does not solicit funds from the public. We will engage in no drives, so from this standpoint will not be a disturbing factor.
There is on the ground in Washington a gentleman in whom we place confidence and with whom we feel you can talk this matter over to advantage. My reference is to the Rev. Hugh T. Stevenson, 157 U Street, N. W.
Pardon the length of this letter, but the importance of the matter treated is great, and I have not lost my sense of proportion even in these times, and over and above all things I want to prevent a controversy which is smouldering now because there is a strong sense that an injustice has been done and that governmental favors are being showered on some while even justice is being denied to others not less worthy, and this is an unwholesome condition.
Glen Head, L. I., N. Y.
Following this letter, Brother Stevenson arranged the meeting of August 30th with Mr. Fosdick, the one at which was present Mr. Jamieson, the account of which has been hereinbefore set forth.
INTERVIEW WITH MR. TUMULTY
Unable to determine what was the source of the opposition to Masonic overseas war relief work, and being anxious to get in touch with a practical man whose good judgment I felt could be relied upon and who would have a keen interest in avoiding complications and controversies which were susceptible of being used in a political way, I decided to call upon Mr. Tumulty and give him the story of the Masonic efforts in Washington to secure passports for its overseas mission and of the obstacles and disappointments which we had encountered.
I took advantage of my presence in Washington awaiting the conference with Secretary Baker, which Mr. Fosdick had promised to arrange, to meet Mr. Tumulty and discuss the Masonic enterprise.
I began my story by calling his attention to the original ruling of the Secretary of War which had excluded the Masonic fraternity from camps and cantonments as far as social service therein was concerned, and recalled to his memory the agitation which this ruling had occasioned and our fraternity's final success in smoothing the matter over and closing the incident.
I then told him of my coming to Washington in the early spring to lay before the Committee on Training Camp Activities the Masonic fraternity's plan to render service overseas, and the discussion that I had had with Mr. Fosdick, culminating in his letter approving our plan, bearing date of April 23, 1918. I told him of our return to Washington to take up our passports, of the opposition which for the first time we had met in the passport bureau, and of our subsequent dealings with the Third Assistant Secretary of War, and of my more recent interview with Mr. Fosdick. I added that I was now awaiting word of an appointment to meet Secretary Baker, that I had grave misgivings whether Secretary Baker would appreciate the importance of the Masonic matter, preoccupied as he was by the mass of things that he had to consider, and that I hoped that the question of Masonic activities overseas might reach the President as I felt confident that, with his knowledge of history, his breadth of vision, and sense of justice, he would go into the matter thoroughly, and that whatever decision he reached would be a satisfying one which could be accepted by the fraternity whether it was favorable or unfavorable to us. I again resort to the form of a dialogue. Only the substance, however, of our ensuing conversation is given, but as so given it covers the ground.
Tumulty: "Why do you bring this matter to me?"
Scudder: "Because you are a practical man, Mr. Tumulty, and I flatter myself that I am a practical man. In my efforts with Mr. Fosdick I have felt that I was dealing with an idealist. I have not felt at all that he appreciated how serious the matter was with reference to which we have been negotiating. I think that he does not grasp the fact that the members of the Masonic fraternity will resent an arbitrary refusal to permit them to serve as other organizations are serving. I think that he does not realize that such a refusal will invite speculation as to its causes. You and I know that there is a rivalry between the Masonic fraternity and the Knights of Columbus, and the Knights of Columbus seem able to obtain from the administration anything that they wish in the way of opportunities of service, not only with our forces in Europe, but here in the United States; yet the Masonic fraternity, many times more numerous, hundreds of years older, and fully as zealous to serve, has received scant consideration. I fear that all of this will invite the inference, from these favors shown — the Knights of Columbus and the inability of the Masonic fraternity to receive any recognition, that the present administration is hostile to the Masonic fraternity, and that such hostility may be attributed to the close relationship which seems to exist between the administration and the Knights of Columbus."
Tumulty: "What have I to do with all of this?"
Scudder: "I do not know, probably nothing, but you are a practical man and you do see, I am sure, whither this trends."
Tumulty: "If the Knights of Columbus have put any obstacles in the way of the Masonic fraternity's service, it has been done by some little fellow. It never would be countenanced by the men at the top, and the President would never stand for it a moment. Why, suppose the Masons were to ask to investigate my office, I would not oppose it. I would tell them, 'Here are the keys, go through everything.' We cannot afford to have a controversy between the Knights of Columbus and the Masons. I will take you in to see the President and you can go over it with him. I know he will not stand for an injustice. I do not believe that the Knights of Columbus are responsible for your troubles, for such action would be the height of folly on their part."
Scudder: "I hardly feel that I can present the matter to the President properly by word of mouth, and I also feel that whatever decision the President may reach should come to the public in his own words and not through my interpretation of them."
Tumulty: "Then write the story out just as you have told it to me, but as briefly as possible. I will see that the President reads it. You can rely upon me to do the best I can to get the matter straightened out, and if there is anything which you see that I can do, let me know."
Scudder: "I told Mr. Fosdick when he spoke of enmity existing between the Masons and the Knights of Columbus and said that there was fighting on the other side without sending over more discordant elements, that I had no doubt that the leaders of the Knights of Columbus would urge him to let the Masonic Mission sail were I to lay the facts before them."
Tumulty: "I have no doubt they would. I will speak to Mr. Flaherty about it."
Mr. James A. Flaherty is the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Evidently he was spoken to by Mr. Tumulty, and evidently he recognized the propriety and desirability of having the Masons carry out their overseas program, because at an interview with Mr. Fosdick after my conversation with Mr. Tumulty, Mr. Fosdick told me that Mr. Flaherty, as I understood him, had called upon him and had urged him to permit the Masonic Mission to sail.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE PRESIDENT
Having framed my letter to the President with the view to obtaining his decision upon the application of the Masonic fraternity for permission for its overseas mission to go abroad, I wrote a letter, dated August 5, 1918, to Mr. Tumulty, set forth below, enclosing that to the President:
August 5, 1918.
Honorable Joseph P. Tumulty,
Secretary to the President of the United States,
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Tumulty:
I am sending herewith enclosed in harmony with your suggestion a letter to the President dealing with the question of Masonic overseas relief work. I regret the letter is so long, but found it difficult to shorten it and present the ease adequately. I appreciate that you realize the importance of a satisfying solution of the matter and a setting at rest of the speculation now going on over the country as to why the situation is as it is.
Thanking you for your courtesy, I am,
Very sincerely yours,
I received from Mr. Tumulty the following, dated
The White House,
Personal. Washington, August 8, 1918.
My dear Judge Scudder:
I have your letter of August 5th, and shall bring the enclosure to the attention of the President. I shall be glad to do all I can to help in this matter.
Mr. Fosdick's letter is herewith returned.
J. P. Tumulty,
Secretary to the President.
Hon. Townsend Scudder,
Supreme Court of New York, Brooklyn, N. Y.
LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT
August 5, 1918.
To His Excellency,
The President of the United States of America,
The White House, Washington, D. C.
The appeals of the Young Men's Christian Association, the Knights of Columbus, and others affirm the great need of money and of workers to cheer, comfort and sustain our boys overseas as some substitute for home leave denied them by distance. It is urged that this service is necessary to the morale of our men. The Masonic fraternity is ready, willing and able to do its share of this work in the city recreation centers abroad, but finds its way blocked because it is not a 'recognized relief organization.'
The prerequisites to such recognition by the government have not been disclosed to us. Already there are with our colors fully 100,000 Masons, a number greater than the entire membership of other fraternities permitted to engage in the work denied to Freemasonry. It has an equal number of sons of Masons in the service.
From these, and from its membership at home, there is beside the Young Men's Christian Association, the Knights of Columbus, and the others engaged in cheer and comfort work.
The fraternity is perturbed over its inability to meet this demand of its own people, perturbed over its inability to give to its members satisfying reasons why the government, after approving Masonic participation in the relief work overseas, withholds the passports without which the Masonic Mission cannot sail.
Masonry seeks to be efficient and helpful; it would not engage knowingly in an inconsequential work; it has accepted as worth-while the overseas service of civilian organizations like the Young Men's Christian Association, the Knights of Columbus, the Moose, because of their drives to raise funds with which to carry on their work have not been curbed, because the government seemingly deems them 'recognized relief organizations.'
Masonry modestly but confidently invites a review of its service to humanity not only in the past, but also since this terrible war was forced upon us, as a test of the justice of its claim to equal recognition as a 'relief organization.'
The public is told by the Young Men's Christian Association, the Knights of Columbus, and others, to stimulate the flow of money to their coffers, that all these organizations can do is small in comparison with what needs to be done to maintain the morale of our boys overseas. Then why should the two million Masons in the United States be denied permission to take direct part in this overseas service, more particularly since the funds Masonry devotes to social service and charitable uses come from the fraternity and not the public?
Masonry has no quarrel with any organization serving overseas; to their funds it has contributed freely, but it does not understand its exclusion from such service.
It is humiliating to the oldest, richest, and numerically the strongest brotherhood, for ages renowned for its charity and its work of uplift, to be denied permission to work overseas for the benefit of our sailors and soldiers alongside of the Moose, the Knights of Columbus and the Young Men's Christian Association for no other assigned reason than that the Masonic order is not in the view of the United States government a 'recognized relief organization'.
I take the liberty of enclosing a letter received by me from Raymond B. Fosdick, Chairman of the Commission on Training Camp Activities, promising the support of the War Department in our projected overseas Masonic relief work. It is in view of this letter that the Masonic fraternity is at a loss to understand the refusal of the government to permit the Masonic order to engage in this projected relief work.
The Masonic fraternity seeks through you, Mr. President, the recognition to which it believes it is entitled to enable it to join in overseas service.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
No reply was received from the President until over seven weeks had elapsed from the time my letter was mailed. During this period we were negotiating with the Y. M. C. A., and also holding interviews, and corresponding, with Mr. Fosdick.
At one of my interviews with the latter, I remarked that the President was taking a long time to give us his decision, and that we had expected an earlier answer to our letter. To this Mr. Fosdick replied that the President had given our letter to the War Department for the draft of a reply, and that it was a very difficult letter to answer.
Thereafter I received the reply of the President, dated September 25th.
THE PRESIDENT'S LETTER
The White House,
Washington, September 25, 1918.
My dear Justice Scudder:
I have delayed answering your thoughtful letter of August 5th so that I might have time to consult with my colleagues in the War Department and give the question which you raise my own careful consideration.
The offer of the Masonic order to bear its share in the work which is being done for the troops overseas is not only in accord with the splendid loyalty with which the country is supporting the war, but it is in line with its own generous traditions as a fraternity. My first inclination would therefore be to accept at once an offer conceived in so fine a spirit of service. However, there are considerations of a military character which have to be taken into account in passing upon a matter of this kind.
I find that General Pershing has repeatedly asked the War Department to limit as far as possible the number of private agencies serving with the American Expeditionary Forces. The reasons are not difficult to discover. In the movement of troops from point to point, either along the front or in the rear, such considerations as transportation, the congestion of roads and knowledge of the movements of troops, make it necessary to limit not only the number of non-combatant personnel, but the number of non-military organizations that have independent contact with the army. These and other factors affect in similar fashion the situation in the training and rest areas where more static conditions prevail.
I am sure you will agree with me that General Pershing's judgment on these matters ought to be respected. Up to the present time the War Department has authorized for overseas service, in addition to the Red Cross, only the Young Men's Christian Association, the Knights of Columbus, the Jewish Welfare Board and the Salvation Army. The Knights of Columbus have been recognized not as a fraternity, but as sustaining the same relationship to the Catholic church which the Y. M. C. A. bears to Protestantism. No other organizations have been authorized, and I believe that the judgment of the War Department in declining to add to the number of these agencies overseas is sound. Mr. Fosdick's letter of endorsement, to which you call my attention, was written last April, before the policy of the American Expeditionary Forces on this matter was fully understood by the War Department.
I have written you somewhat at length because I am anxious that you and the great fraternity which you represent should realize that the inability of the government to accept your generous proffer of service in the way you indicate is not due to any lack of appreciation. Permit me to express my own personal thanks for your offer and for the fine spirit behind it.
Cordially and sincerely yours,
Honorable Townsend Scudder,
Supreme Court of the State of New York, Brooklyn, N. Y.
The foregoing letter of the President crossed, in the mail, one of mine, dated September 24th, to Mr. Tumulty, as follows:
September 24, 1918.
Honorable Joseph P. Tumulty,
Secretary to the President,
Washington, D. C.
My dear Mr. Tumulty:
Appreciating the multiplicity of things pressing upon you, I hesitate to add to your burden but find myself embarrassed by my inability to explain the failure to receive a reply to my letter of August 5th addressed to the President upon the subject of Masonic service in large recreation centers overseas.
I was informed that this letter had been sent to the War Department, and perhaps has been overlooked there. It is this thought which prompts me to write now. I will be appreciative if the matter can be taken up and disposed of, and if my presence in Washington can assist, I can come upon the shortest notice.
Glen Head, L. I., N. Y.
To this letter I received the following acknowledgment:
The White House,
Washington, 26 September, 1918.
Dear Justice Scudder:
Before the receipt of your letter, the President had already made reply to your letter of the 5th of August. The reason for delay arose out of the fact that the President was in consultation with the War Department and the Bureau of War Training Activities.
J. P. Tumulty,
Secretary to the President
Hon. Townsend Scudder,
Glen Head, L. I.
The President's letter of September the 25th having put an end to our hopes of serving independently overseas, our negotiations with the Y. M. C. A. were pushed more vigorously in the hope of reaching a working agreement with it whereby we might take over some feature or features of its work. This work would be conducted under the Y. M. C. A. emblem alone, but within the premises there would be a tablet upon which would be inscribed words to the effect that "this Hut is supported by moneys contributed by the Masonic fraternity of the United States." The Y. M. C. A. said that, as far as was practicable, their secretaries in charge of such huts should be Masons, and in doing this there would be little difficulty, inasmuch as of the Y. M. C. A. secretaries serving abroad about half of the total number, among them some of their most efficient men, were Masons.
We also emphatically stated to the Y. M. C. A. officials that there was not the slightest intention on the part of the Masons that there should be in such huts, nor would there be, any conferring of Masonic degrees, or other activities peculiar to Freemasonry as a secret society.
A statement to this same effect had been made by us to Mr. Fosdick before he granted us the permit of April 23, 1918, and the same fact had been made clear to Mr. Keppel and to Mr. Tumulty in our interviews with them after the hold-up in the passport bureau. Although supported by moneys contributed by the Masonic fraternity, the facilities offered were to be open to all men in the service, as has ever been our purpose from the time when we made our first appeal to Washington for permission.
We accordingly sought further interviews with officials of the Y. M. C. A. and began a discussion of the practical workings of our plan invited by the letter of Dr. Watson, dated September 24, 1918, and appearing on page 65 of THE BUILDER. The head officials of the Y. M. C. A. with whom we were dealing were busy men, whose duties often compelled absence from New York, with the result that there were delays in getting together. Time ran along and we were soon in the midst of the fall political campaign. As Freemasonry does not concern itself with politics, we were very cautious during the campaign, lest the refusal of the administration to permit our fraternity to carry out the plans which it had formulated upon receiving the War Department's consent to engage in overseas relief work, if it became publicly known, be injected into the campaign in some form or other, and made a political issue.
The campaign over, the drive in the interest of the United War Work Campaign began, and again we were embarrassed lest the refusal of the government to permit Masonic service overseas should, by becoming public, in some way lessen the enthusiasm of people who otherwise might have contributed more liberally to the war work service.
Up to this time the President's declination of our offer of service abroad had not been imparted by Judge Scudder, recipient of the President's letter, to more than a half dozen persons in the United States, and these are Masons who received this information under the seal of strict secrecy.
On November 11, 1918, however, the armistice was signed, and from our viewpoint the objections raised by the President in his letter of September 25th, even if sound on that date, which we did not feel them to be, were no longer so, now that the great war was over in fact, if not theoretically. Accordingly we framed another letter to the President, which we forwarded to him enclosed in the following letter, dated November 11th, addressed to Mr. Joseph P. Tumulty, the Secretary to the President, thus again availing ourselves of Mr. Tumulty's offer in his letter of August 8th, in which he said: "I shall be glad to do all I can to help in this matter."
November 11, 1918.
Honorable Joseph P. Tumulty,
Secretary to the President of the United States,
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Tumulty:
May I again solicit your good offices and request you to present to the President the letter which I herewith enclose?
Perhaps you have noticed that no public mention has been made of the contents of the President's letter to me dated September 25, 1918. This is due to the fact that I have considered the matter as still pending, and in this I have felt justified because it seemed to me the situation changed shortly after the President wrote, and that it would be but a little time before it would not be improper again to address him upon this same subject. I admit also that I was fearful that some men who had given this subject only superficial consideration, might take the matter up and seek to make of it a political issue, and I also feared that a few might be influenced by it in a way to affect, even if only very slightly, the campaign under way to raise money for war relief work.
I am hoping that now, in light of the changed conditions, the President will be able to see the matter our way, and I also hope that his decision may be reached and communicated to me before I leave for the West on November the 22nd to present my report to a conference of Grand Masters of Masons of all the states in the Union. Needless to say, it is my earnest hope that the report may be a satisfying one.
Thanking you for your courtesy, believe me,
LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT
The following is the letter, dated also November 11th, addressed to the President and enclosed in that to Mr. Tumulty of even date:
November 11, 1918.
Permit me to acknowledge the receipt of your kindly letter of September 25th, and to thank you on behalf of the Masonic fraternity for your expressions of appreciation of the offer of our brotherhood to bear its share in the work which is being done for the troops overseas. Failure to make an earlier acknowledgment was due in part to the belief that events abroad soon would work changes which would justify the government in issuing passports to the Masonic mission so that the fraternity could respond to the incessant and increasing appeals for its ministrations overseas, and in part to the fear that the reasons for the government's refusal to permit the fraternity to serve overseas, if not fully understood, might add to the difficulties of the complicated situation of our country at a time when a successful emergence from that situation demanded sympathetic confidence and unity, and so we have hoped to keep the matter an open one as long as possible.
Loyal citizens, anxious most of all to aid in the prosecution of the war to a successful conclusion and to press upon the administration nothing which could in the slightest degree embarrass it, we bowed to the decision declining to grant us permission to engage in overseas relief work, hoping and believing that this privilege would be accorded us when conditions changed through the defeat of the enemy. Today that defeat is accomplished. American statesmanship, personified in your leadership, and American arms, in the valor and sacrifices of our men and women, have done their full share in producing this righteous result. Quite naturally our thoughts turn now to the world's reconstruction and to the part in it to be taken by our boys overseas, and feeling that they need our help now more than ever, we again turn to you and ask that the Masonic fraternity be permitted, by activities abroad, to share in the work of bringing cheer to our boys who, now that their main fighting work perhaps is over, will be eager to return to those they left at home, and to whom the hours will be long and dreary in their policing work. The Masonic fraternity can be of help to them.
We venture to suggest that most of the reasons advanced in your letter of September 25th seem hardly applicable to the situation as it now is. We assure you also that if the Masonic fraternity is permitted to engage in this overseas service it will confine its activities to the recreation centers, unless the military authorities invite it to serve elsewhere.
We feel justified in addressing you again in this matter because of its great importance in the eyes of upward of two million Masons in our country, and because of the changed conditions overseas. We do not want to importune you, but it happens that very soon a report will have to be made to our Masonic jurisdictions in the United States on the efforts made in behalf of our fraternity to obtain governmental consent to its engaging in overseas service, and of the result of those efforts.
Conscious of the disappointment and sorrow this report will cause if made of the situation as it now is and without this final appeal and your decision thereon, I respectfully submit anew the prayer of the Masonic fraternity for permission to serve and minister to our boys overseas, and ask that, in considering it, you read also the letter written by me to Mr. Raymond B. Fosdick under date of September 2, 1918, a copy of which I take the liberty of enclosing.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Accompanying the foregoing letter to the President was a copy of our letter of September 2d, addressed to Mr. Fosdick.
This was so sent to the President because, in the first place, it had not been acknowledged, much less answered, by Mr. Fosdick, and, in the second, because it set forth our views of the logically untenable position of the government in our matters and should, we thought, be before the President when he framed his answer.
September 2, 1918.
Chairman Commission on Training Camp Activities,
War Department, Washington, D. C.
My dear Mr. Fosdick:
Lest the point which I endeavored to make clear in our last interview escape your mind due to the multiplicity of matters you are called upon to consider, I venture to commit it to paper, prompted also so to do by my very earnest desire that the Department should have every assistance that I can give it in our joint effort to reach a just solution of the question we are considering.
Permit me then to remind you that the consent given the Masonic fraternity to engage in overseas service was given on April 23, 1918, and not very many months after similar consents were given to other civilian organizations. The Masonic fraternity is not making a new application for a new consent, but is relying upon that already given.
It now seems that in June your Department reached the conclusion that it was not wise to multiply agencies overseas engaged in relief work, and since then has declined to issue permits to organizations seeking to enter the overseas field.
Assuming this decision is wise, why should it be construed retroactively so as to exclude from the field one agency only holding the Department's consent, the Masonic fraternity? The Masonic fraternity has acted in good faith. Upon obtaining the consent of your Department, it presented the matter to its integral and allied parts and started in to, and already has, collected large sums of money to carry on its work, all upon the faith of the Government's approval of its purposes. Surely it is but normal to expect misgivings and discontent if at this late date the government by an arbitrary retroactive application of its June rule excludes one, and only one, agency holding the Department's consent to engage in overseas relief work. I do not have to can your attention to the unhappy situation we were in when the Masonic fraternity was excluded from camps and cantonments, albeit another secret society, strictly sectarian in addition, was admitted to them. That, however, has been smoothed over and the Masonic fraternity has forgotten the incident; but I look forward with dread to the situation which will develop if the government now revives that unpleasantness in so conspicuous a way, as will be the revocation of the consent it gave the Masonic fraternity in April. In effect, the denial to the Masonic Mission of the passports it needs will be tantamount to such a revocation.
Seemingly the government can say with propriety to civilian organizations now seeking to engage in relief work overseas that no permits had been granted since the date when the new order of things was decided upon, and should any question ever be raised with reference to the Masonic fraternity's activities the answer is complete that it received its permit at least two months before this new order. I can see no other solution that is logical and in harmony with the theory of our institutions, and fail to see how the Department can justify a retroactive construction of its present rule. Surely so to do will invite the conclusion, since the Masonic fraternity alone will be affected, that the present administration is hostile to the Masonic fraternity and not in sympathy with its patriotic desire to serve, a conclusion I cannot accept.
The issuing of passports to the Masonic Mission enlarged to include Judge Moore and his two assistants, answers the letter of August 5th, addressed to the President and puts an end to a difficult situation. I trust our difficulty will be solved that way.
Very sincerely yours,
(Signed) Townsend Scudder.
Glen Head, L. I., N. Y.
The answer of the President was dated November 20th, the envelope containing it was postmarked Washington, November 25th, and came into my hands after I reached home from the Iowa Grand Masters' Conference.
THE PRESIDENT'S SECOND LETTER
The White House,
Washington, 20 November, 1918.
My dear Judge Scudder:
I have given earnest consideration to your letter of November 11th, and have been glad to seek advice on the matter from Secretary Baker and his aides. I am sorry to have to inform you that even under the changed conditions in France it would be inadvisable to add to the number of non-military organizations serving with the American Expeditionary Forces. As I told you in my former letter, five organizations the Red Cross, the Young Men's Christian Association, the Knights of Columbus, the Jewish Welfare Board, and the Salvation Army representing the generosity and loyalty of the American people, have been directly recognized for service with the troops overseas. In addition, the American Library Association and the Young Women's Christian Association have placed their special facilities at the disposal of the organizations above mentioned. Everything that money and brains can provide is being done for our troops abroad. Indeed, the American Army is distinguished by the attention that is given to matters of comfort and recreation.
To General Pershing and his associates, therefore, as well as to the officials in this country who have intimately studied the conditions overseas, there appears to be no legitimate reason for adding to this work, and the confusion and extra burden upon the military authorities which would be created by the necessity of arranging for the separate personnel and relationships of new organizations seem to furnish excellent reasons for limiting these societies to their present number. If it were merely a matter of adding one more agency to those already in the service, I am confident accommodations might be made. I am informed, however, by the War Department that within the last three months it has been necessary to decline the applications of eight organizations to work with the American Expeditionary Forces overseas. It would be impossible to make an exception in the ease of the Masons without accepting the offers of the eight other societies, with obviously unhappy consequences.
As I told you in my letter of September 25th, it is always difficult to seem to refuse an offer that is conceived in so fine a spirit of service as is shown in your thoughtful and generous letter to me of November filth. I am confident, however, that you will concur with the position which we have been obliged to take and will see in it only an endeavor on the part of the War Department and the government to support General Pershing in the difficult tasks which confront him.
Again let me assure you of my warm personal appreciation of the generous offer of the Masonic fraternity.
Cordially and sincerely yours,
Honorable Townsend Scudder,
Supreme Court, State of New York,
Mineola N. Y.
ARGUMENTS ON PRESIDENT'S LETTERS
The question of the participation of the Masonic fraternity in overseas war relief work having passed through many official hands and bureaus until it at last reaches the President of the United States, the final arbiter in governmental matters, it is both logical and proper that to his decision we shall all look for the reasons actuating him in his refusal to indorse our request for permission to engage in independent service as desired.
These reasons are set forth in his letter of September 25, 1918.
Requests of General Pershing to the government of the United States to limit as far as possible the number of private agencies serving with the American Expeditionary Forces, and reasons for such requests, to wit:
Considerations of (1) transport of troops, (2) congestion of roads, (3) knowledge of movement of troops.
Justice and fair dealing require that the permission granted us be not revoked unless good and sufficient reasons be advanced for such action.
For these reasons we must revert to the President's letter of September 25th.
Let us first note that the requests of General Pershing were to limit "as far as possible" the number of private agencies. This must be construed as limiting as far as possible, not in the sense of the power of the government to refuse any and all applications, which power is, of course, absolute, but to its refusal provided that the calls from abroad for service were not so urgent as to make a refusal of an offer of service which would meet a real and widespread demand disheartening both to the large number of soldiers calling for such service, and also to the nearly 2,000,000 active Masons eager and able to supply the need.
The Department had already committed itself to the position that there was plenty of room for our activities.
This, then, brings us to the reasons for General Pershing's requests.
- Can it for a moment be urged by reasonable men that twenty-five, or, at the most, fifty Masons going to leave areas would too greatly strain the transport facilities carrying hundreds of thousands?
- And, as we clearly and emphatically pointed out that, inasmuch as we would not be engaged in canteen work, there would be no question of a great quantity of supplies destined for us. Surely the shipment of leading newspapers and periodicals from the
- As our activities, once we had reached the several leave areas, would be confined to
- As to the movement of troops, this means, if anything, that the presence of our Masonic brethren might add to the number of spies seeking to report to Germany on these vital matters. If, however, the government could, as it did, countenance the securing in the United States by advertisement hundreds of secretaries for the Young Men's Christian Association and the Knights of Columbus and permit their departure for France, surely they could, with no less safety and propriety, have permitted the sailing of fifty Masons, volunteers, with records unimpeachable and open to inspection, and who would be men picked for their ability, patriotism, and discretion from the ranks of a fraternity for ages renowned for its devoted loyalty.
In the President's letter of September 25th he states that up to that time the War Department had authorized for overseas service, in addition to the Red Cross, only the Y. M. C. A., the K. of C., the Jewish Welfare Board, and the Salvation Army. Yet in Mr. Fosdick's letter to the Secretary of State dated May 6, 1918, he says: "We have already approved the issuance of passports to two other fraternal organizations, and I am sincerely hopeful that no objection will be interpreted in the case of Judge Scudder's Commission."
To what maternal organizations does he refer? The Masonic fraternity was not one of these. Why was it discriminated against?
Lastly, the President says that Mr. Fosdick's letter of endorsement was written before the policy of the American Expeditionary Forces in this matter was fully understood by the War Department.
The military reasons adduced for General Pershing's requests to keep civilian organizations out of France have been analyzed and answered.
Remains, then, one point, viz., that the government, having ruled against permitting to go abroad any organization save those enumerated in the President's letter of September 25th, no permission could be granted to the Masonic fraternity not granted to other applicants.
The vice inherent in this argument lies in the fact that the permission granted the Masonic fraternity had already been given before the formulating of the Department's policy. On the Department's own showing there was more need for service than means for filling it. Were complaint made by any organization other than ours that permission not granted to it had been issued to the Masonic fraternity, the answer is conclusive that the Masonic fraternity, by its application earlier made, had been accorded permission to proceed overseas before the Department's later ruling, whereas such other organization had lodged its application after it.
The force of this argument was recognized by Mr. Fosdick when, in his interview with Judge Scudder on August 31, 1918, he said, touching this argument, "I had not seen it clearly in that light. Why, that will let us all out, will it not?"
If, however, this did "let all out" and opened the way to granting our passports, what becomes of the ground of refusal, the Department's ruling, later again advanced as reason for refusing passports? Consider Mr. Fosdick's own telegram, dated August 20th, to Judge Scudder: "Matters proceeding to what I believe will be a satisfactory solution." Satisfactory to us it could be, as he well knew, only if it ended in the granting of the passports, so that his telegram must be taken to mean that he believed our desired aim was about to be achieved. If so, what, we again ask, becomes of the famous ruling? And what changed Mr. Fosdick's views again later? Certainly, it looks as if this ruling were to be invoked or ignored as might suit the exigencies of the occasion.
This ruling, therefore, seems to us to be fully disposed of as a sound reason for holding up the Masonic Mission, and we are brought back to the military reasons as affecting the Masonic Fraternity's offer of service. If these reasons be sound and incontrovertible, there is nothing more to be said. If, however, they are not, as in our opinion heretofore set out, properly applicable to us, permit should issue to our Mission pursuant to the promise of April, because of our unique position of priority of application as stated.
The President's second letter, dated November 20th, again declining to grant us the desired passports, even though at the time when it was penned the armistice had been signed and the war virtually terminated, discloses no new facts upon which to base such refusal, but only conclusions. It furthermore states that within three months prior to the date of the letter, that is, after August 20th, the War Department had declined the applications of eight organizations to work with the American Forces overseas, and, consequently, could not "make an exception in the case of the Masons without accepting the offers of the eight other societies," thus again entirely ignoring the fact, so often urged upon the authorities at Washington, that the permission had already been granted to the Masonic fraternity in April, prior to the much-invoked ruling of the Department, whereas the eight societies mentioned had lodged their applications long after such ruling had been made.
Thus was the argument contained in our letter of September 2d, addressed to Mr. Fosdick, of which a copy, as stated, was sent to the President, ignored by him even as it was ignored by Mr. Fosdick.
The names of two other organizations, the American Library Association and the Y. W. C. A., are in the President's letter of November 20th for the first time mentioned as participating in war relief work for the benefit of the American Expeditionary Forces. We are happy in the thought of our soldiers and sailors receiving the benefit of their facilities. But how were these societies able to go abroad? How did they receive their passports in the face of the celebrated ruling, so often invoked as reason for refusing passports to the Masonic fraternity to go overseas? They are not mentioned in the President's letter of September 25th. If they were admitted to participation before that date, why were they not enumerated? If after it, where, again, was the ruling which excluded the Craft?
The conclusion drawn by your Mission is that the Masonic fraternity's efforts to engage independently in overseas war relief work were secretly opposed and thwarted by influences hostile to us.
What these influences are is unknown to us. Conclusions on this point of identity, deducted from the facts set forth in this our report, can be drawn at will by our readers.
All of which is respectfully and fraternally submitted.
Dated, December 31, 1918.
Chairman, Masonic Overseas Mission.
Erastus C. Knight,
William C. Prime,
Oscar F. R. Treder,
Of the Mission.
ENDORSEMENT OF THE MASONIC MISSION'S EFFORTS BY THE MASONIC FRATERNITY IN THE UNITED STATES
The foregoing report was first made orally, including the reading of the government correspondence except the President's letter of November 20th, at the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in the United States, held at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on November 26, 27, and 28, 1918, and the following resolution was thereupon unanimously adopted:
RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED AT A CONFERENCE OF GRAND MASTERS OF MASONS IN THE UNITED STATES, HELD AT CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA, ON NOVEMBER 26, 27, AND 28, 1918:
Whereas, At the meeting of the Grand Masters held in the City of New York on May 9, 1918, the request novas made that the Mission appointed by the Grand Master of Masons in the state of Nero York, to go overseas and engage in war relief work for the benefit of the boys smith the colors; likewise undertake in this work to represent the sister jurisdictions attending that conference, assenting thereto and joining in said request; and
Whereas, Thereafter said Mission began negotiations with the governmental authorities at Washington, D. C., having for its object and purpose the accomplishment of the will of the fraternity to engage in overseas work for the benefit of our soldiers and sailors; and
Whereas, A report has been made to this meeting of Grand Masters by Past Grand Master Townsend Scudder of the efforts made by said committee or Mission to carry out the will of the Masonic fraternity in the United States in the matter of its engaging in war service and relief work; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, First, that the report of the aforesaid Mission, presented to this conference of Grand Masters, be, and the same is hereby ratified, adopted and approved; be it further
Resolved, That just so soon as the aforesaid report is completed by the closing of the transaction so far as the government is concerned, through the receipt of the reply of the President to the letter of November 11, 1918, referred to in said report, that said report be then printed and a copy thereof forwarded to each of the jurisdictions accepting and adopting the same, including those jurisdictions who have already signified their approval of this work; be it further
Resolved, That the thanks of this body of Grand Masters be tendered to Past Grand Master Scudder, and his associates, for the able and conscientious manner in which they have conducted the work entrusted to their care; for the report made by Past Grand Master Scudder, and for his devotion to the cause which we all represent.
There having been reviewed before the Grand Masters' Conference in Iowa the negotiations with the Y. M. C. A., culminating in the proposal of co-operation contained in the letter, dated September 24, 1918, of Mr. C. R. Watson, speaking for the Y. M. C. A., which letter is given in full in the foregoing Report, the following resolution appointing Past Grand Master Townsend Scudder the agent and Commissioner of said conference and participating Grand Jurisdictions in carrying out such overseas service as might thereafter be undertaken, was unanimously adopted:
Be It Resolved, That Brother Townsend Scudder, Past Grand Master of New York, and the Chairman of the Commissioners appointed by the Grand Master of New York to undertake the overseas work among the soldiers and sailors of the American Expeditionary Force, be, and he is hereby, appointed and designated as the agent and commissioner of the conference and the Grand Jurisdictions here represented, and those which may hereafter adopt the Constitution of the Masonic Service Association of the United States, to take charge of the overseas work contemplated and embodied in the constitution this day adopted.
FURTHER NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE Y. M. C. A.
It will be recalled at this point that, coincidentally with our negotiations with the government, we had been conferring and corresponding with the Y. M. C. A. with the view to making our Masonic fraternity's labors more efficient through mutual co-operation, beginning with an interview on April 26, 1918, at the Y..M. C. A. headquarters in New York (see page of this Report), followed by our letter, dated April 27th, to Mr. C. V. Hibbard. The reply thereto finally accepting our offer of co-operation was contained in a letter of Mr. C. R. Watson, dated September 24,1918, hereinbefore set forth in full.
The tone of the President's letters having convinced us that it would be useless to urge further our cause with the governmental authorities, the course for us to pursue which, it seemed to us, would lead most speedily to our desired goal, was thought to be that of continuing our negotiations with the Y. M. C. A. in the effort to reach a working agreement with it at the earliest possible moment. Mr. Fosdick, too, had more than once suggested that we connect with one of the agencies recognized by the government and already engaged in overseas war relief work.
At the interview of April 26th our offer to serve in co-operation with the Y. M. C. A. was not received with either the enthusiasm or encouragement looked for by us. At that time the thought had not entered our minds that the government would seek to tie our hands after granting us permission to serve overseas. When, however, we began to encounter obstacles in Washington, and when it was suggested to us that the government's subsequent opposition was to us as an independent war relief agency and was not because of objection either to the personnel of our Mission or to the Masonic fraternity as a whole, we sought with the Y. M. C. A. a union which would place our work under its auspices, direction, and control, stipulating, however, in respect to such features of the Association's work as we might take over that the secretaries who should conduct them' be, as far as possible, Masons, and that, in the furtherance of the work, the Y. M. C. A. would consult with our Mission in an advisory capacity. To the Masonic personnel the Y. M. C. A. made no objection, and frankly admitted that perhaps half of the Association's secretaries, and many of its most efficient men serving in such capacity abroad were Masons. They, nevertheless, hesitated to accord us the privilege of having the Masonic name identified with the work, notwithstanding the fact that it would be exclusively supported by money contributed by the Masonic fraternity, alleging as reasons for such hesitancy difficulties in the matter of bookkeeping and the fear that too many other organizations might seek to serve in a similar manner, thus dislocating their system and perhaps rendering it inefficient. We succeeded, nevertheless, in finally winning the objectors over to our point of view, with the result that the members of our Mission have been accepted as secretaries by the Y. M. C. A., after having passed all the tests and complied with all the rules laid down as conditions precedent to becoming secretaries, and at this time, December 31, 1918, the applications for passports have gone to Washington, where they await action. As soon as these are received, the Mission, under the Y. M. C. A. control and regulation, will sail for Europe to organize the work assigned to it.
Three of the original members of the Mission, Brothers Knight, Treder, and Thorne being now unable to leave home, Brothers Thomas Channing Moore, George S. Goodrich, and Merwin W. Lay have taken their places.
All of which is respectfully and fraternally submitted.
Dated December 31, 1918.
Chairman, Masonic Overseas Mission.
William C. Prime,
Thomas Channing Moore,
George S. Goodrich,
Merwin W. Lay,
Of the Mission.
* * *
THE INFLUENCE OF THE MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION
If this Association had been in existence at the beginning of the war, Masonry would have had an entirely different voice in the administering of its affairs during the war and would have had a vastly different position during the period of reconstruction which is now upon us. We do not attempt to say why Masonry should do this or that. There are others in authority with a great deal more judgment and business ability to form these organizations than you will ever find connected with any newspaper. Newspapers are printed to point out the good or bad in a proposition and if the Masons will take up the theories as expressed through the several Masonic newspapers throughout the United States, then a good many of the dangers can be alleviated and more of the virtues of Masonry will be put into practical use. We have not said that the editors of the Masonic publications are better Masons than their brothers, but they have more time for serious thought, and when they put their theories Into print, they do so with the just conviction that they are trying to aid and not to tear down. The Masonic Service Association is an exceptionally good proposition and today its representatives are working throughout the entire world among the American soldiers in particular and other Masonic soldiers with whom it is their pleasure to come into contact. If we are able with a central organization of this kind to do so much in so short a time, what might we have been able to have done had this Association been brought into existence several years ago.
— Texas Freemason.
* * *
Do you know that there are more than 700 Red Cross Canteens in operation at piers and railroad terminals in the United States, with more than 50,000 women serving?
Do you know that 2,339,000 canteen services were performed in one month, and that there were distributed:
- 1,000,000 sandwiches.
- 3,500,000 cigarettes.
- 1,000,000 postcards.
- 100,000 pieces of reading matter.
- 328,000 bars of chocolate.
- 96,000 free meals served to men in transit.
Also large quantities of candy, fruit, cakes, pies, ice-cream cones, stamps, soap, matches and comfort kits.
* * *
Long ailments wear out pain, and long hopes, joy.
* * *
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
WILLIAM HOOPER, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a member of the Masonborough Lodge in North Caroline (see Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina for 1912, page 74). Grant Master Andrews, in a private letter to the writer, says: "William Hooper was a devoted and zealous Mason, and Joseph Hewes was also a Mason."
Hooper was born in Boston, in 1742. His father was a clergyman, born in Scotland in 1702 and who dies in Boston in 1790.
William Hooper developed a literary talent at an early age; graduated from Harvard University in 1760 studied law under Judge Otis and, after being admitted to the Bar, moved to North Carolina where he soon be came prominent as a jurist.
He took an active part in the suppression of the "Regulators," an insurrectionary mob. By his advice decisive measures were resorted to which were follower by a battle in which the "Regulators," 3,000 in number were defeated by the Militia.
Hooper was elected to the General Assembly in 1773 and took the lead against the new laws initiates by the Tory party for the regulation of Courts of Justice, published over the nom de plume of Hampden which had the effect of arousing the people to the importance of the issues involved.
In 1774-75-76 he was a delegate to Congress. He was the author of the resolutions designating a day for fasting and humiliation for the whole country (July 20th) and, on July 4th, 1776, he signed the Declaration of Independence.
His home was fired upon by a sloop of war in the Cape Fear river.
Hooper was a Federal Judge in 1786 and one of the judges who decided a controversary between New York and Massachusetts in relation to territorial rights.
In 1767 Hooper was married to Miss Annie Clark, of Wilmington, a sister of General Thomas Clark, of the Army. The union was blessed with two sons and a daughter. He died at Hillsboro in 1790 and was buried there, but in 1903 his remains were removed to the Guilford Court House Battle Ground, near Greensboro N. C., and there interred, where the beautiful monument shown as the frontispiece to this issue of THI BUILDER was erected.
* * *
Happy the heart that keeps its twilight hour,
And, in the depths of heavenly peace reclined,
Loves to commune with thoughts of tender power,—
Thoughts that ascend, like angels beautiful,
A shining Jacob's-ladder of the mind!
— Paul H. Hayne.
* * *
The Red Cross has arranged with French institutions forthe training of nurses to teach prevention and cure of tuberculosis in affected homes in France.
* * *
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN — NO. 28
Edited by Bro. H. L. Haywood
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 Haywood.
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 Haywood who is following the foregoing outline. We are now in "Second 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 Haywood 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 Haywood'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 Haywood's paper.
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
- Reading of the first section of Brother Haywood'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 Haywood'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.
QUESTIONS ON "THE OBLONG SQUARE" AND "DUE FORM"
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 a few 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 the period of time devoted to the study meeting. 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 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 open.
I. In what particular does the Fellow Craft's approach to the East differ from that of the Entered Apprentice? What is the significance of this variation? Prior to the time of reading Brother Haywood's article in this issue of THE BUILDER did you ever try to discover the origin and meaning of the term "oblong square"? If so, what did you learn concerning it?
What is Mackey's definition? What reference does he find in it? whence does he seek to trace this reference? What inference does Brother Haywood take from Mackey's deductions?
II. What other interpretations are cited by Haywood? What objections are advanced to these interpretations? How are squares classed by Brother Hunt? Do you agree with him in his deductions? If not, why not? How is Brother Hunt's theory supported by Irwin?
III. What theory does Brother Haywood advance as to the possible manner in which the "oblong square" was handed down to us? What lesson does he think the framers of our present-day ritual intended to convey when they retained the phrase?
IV. Describe the "due form" assumed by the candidate in the Fellow Craft degree. In certain jurisdictions whenever the signs are given the brethren must also be "on the step" of that particular degree at the same time. It is held that the signs cannot be properly given unless this is done. The brethren thus place themselves in "due form" to give the signs. Try this, and see if the body is not thus brought into the proper position to facilitate giving the signs properly Then try giving them without first being "on the step." Possibly you will thereby discover the reason for practising such "forms."
Define the words "form" and "formality." What is a "formalist"? What is "formality"? Is "form" necessary in our every-day business and social life? Is it necessary in Masonry? If so, for what purpose? Why do we use the term "due form"? Is a candidate expected to comply with these "due forms"? What does his compliance signify?
Form, page 269; Form of the Lodge, page 269; Oblong Square, page 526.
THE BUILDER: Vol. I. — Formalists, p. 11.
Vol. II. — Oblong Square, pp. 62,127, 173, 221, 224, 228.
Vol III. — Due Form, May C. C. B. 3.
Vol. IV. — Due Form, June C. C. B. 3; Oblong Square, pp. 219, 237, 269.
* * *
Bro. H. L. Haywood, Iowa
PART III — THE OBLONG SQUARE AND DUE FORM
I HAVING discussed the approach to the East in its First degree connections there is no need that we go into the matter here, though the Fellow Craft's approach naturally falls into this place. But there is one problem associated with this rite which we did not touch upon in the earlier section, and as it occurs in both the First and Second, it may be fitly studied here. I refer to the Oblong Square. This has long been one of the standing puzzles of Masonry, and that because "oblong square" seems a contradiction in terms, and because no scholar has thus far traced its origin. What it really means is still a mystery, though we may make our guess as other students have done before us.
Mackey defines it as "a parallelogram, or foursided figure, all of whose angles are equal, but two of whose sides are longer than the others," (rectangle). Following Pierson he finds in it a reference to the ground-plan of the lodge room and this, in turn, he seeks to trace to the shape of the world as known to the Ancients. From this point of view, we may infer, he saw in the candidate's adjusting his feet to an (not the) angle of an oblong square an indication of his willingness to stand to and abide by all the laws, rules and regulations of the Craft.
II Others have seen in the oblong square a reference to the try- square, one of the working tools, when made "gallows" shape, with one arm longer than the other. To this it may be objected, first, that our working tool is properly a stone-mason's try-square with the two arms of equal length and not divided into inches; and secondly, that the "gallows" square interpretation cannot explain the allusion to a "perfect square" in the Third degree.
Others, again, find in it a suggestion that the stones or bricks used in a wall of masonry are almost never cubes, but bodies longest in their horizontal dimensions, the better to overlap; they say the candidate is to adjust himself to the oblong square because he is himself to be builded into a wall that must stand while the ages last. But this seems a far-fetched explanation, and, also, does not explain the "perfect square" of the Master's Degree.
Brother C. C. Hunt, a member of the Masonic Research Committee of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, has given another interpretation, one that seems to me most reasonable:
What then, is the oblong square of Freemasonry? I believe it to be a survival in our ceremonies of a term once common but now obsolete. My reading has convinced me that at one time the word 'square' meant right angled, and the term 'a square' referred to a foursided figure, having four right-angles, without regard to the proportionate lengths of adjacent sides. There were thus two classes of squares, those having all four sides equal, and those having two parallel sides longer than the other two. The first class were called 'perfect squares' and the second class 'oblong squares.' In time these terms were shortened to square and oblong respectively, and that is the sense in which they are used at the present time, so that when we speak of an oblong square, we are met with the objection that if it is a square it cannot be oblong, and if it is oblong it cannot be square. This is true in the present sense of the term, but Freemasonry still retains the older meaning."
In support of this, so far as America is concerned, at least, Brother C. F. Irwin of Ohio, produced a letter written by a certain Dr. S. P. Hildreth, of Marietta, Ohio, on June 8, 1819, in regard to the fortifications near his city: "On the outside of the parapet, near the oblong square, I picked up a considerable number of fragments of ancient potter's ware." Brother Irwin contends that if this term was thus in use in Ohio in 1819 it must have been in use further east much earlier.
III. If oblong square was so used by Masons prior to the seventeenth century it may be that the Speculatives received at that time (they were accepted earlier but not in such numbers) brought with them, as an inheritance from other orders of symbolism, the perfect square; and it may be that the framers of our ritual meant to signify that as the candidate in the preparatory degree is to try himself by an oblong square, the Master Mason, as befits the adept of perfection, must adjust himself to the perfect square. Thus read, the symbolism as found variously in the three degrees, is really a recognition of the fact that the Masonic life is necessarily progressive.
IV. Of the obligation of the Fellow Craft there is no need to speak inasmuch as the general topic of obligations was dealt with in an earlier section; but it may be wise here to add to the previous discussion a very brief comment on that "due form" in which the oath is made. As the details are necessarily secret they must be passed by, though it may be said that all the postures seem to be arranged about the square, thereby suggesting that in order to keep the covenant a candidate must be "square" through and through, and in every limb of his body, so that not one faculty or organ shall be permitted to violate those principles and secrets of Freemasonry to which the candidate obligates himself.
In ordinary every-day life, we make a distinction between form and formality. The man who overvalues the manner of doing things, or who does not put his conscience into his forms, we call a formalist, and that rightly. He may have the veneer of a gentleman but the heart of a cad; he may perform the external functions of morality but remain all the while like one of those white-washed sepulchres of which Jesus speaks. Formality is pretense, mockery, unreality. But our abhorrence of formalism must not blind us to the necessity of form, for the manner of our behavior is itself a kind of language and speaks with "the voice of the sign" about the realities of character. I may love or admire you greatly but if I do not express my regard through actions which you can understand you may live and die in ignorance of it. We lift the hat, shake hands, step aside for ladies, surrender our seats to the aged, observe the propriety of dress, etc., and all because manners is so essential a form of social communication that, as Emerson says, if they were lost to the world some gentleman would be obliged to re-invent them.
Now it needs to be observed that while Masonry must not become formal lest it die, and while it must ever be as clean and natural as the blowing clover and the falling rain, yet must it use forms, and nowhere are they more manifestly needed than in taking the obligation. In that connection as in others we call them due forms because they are due to the Order in the nature of things, and they are nothing other than the candidate's manner of expressing to his brethren his whole-hearted determination to keep to the last letter all the duties, principles and secrets to which he therein binds himself.
* * *
HOUSTON MASONIC RESEARCH SOCIETY
I hand you herewith copy of the Constitution and By-Laws adopted by the Houston Masonic Research Society which was organized at Houston, Texas, Jan. 25, 1919, with the following officers: C.A. Dunlay, President; J. Dixie Smith, Vice President; P. E. Bullington, Treasurer; E. R. Ramsey, Secretary; Fred J. Burkey, Librarian; I. Tiras, Reporter; J. P. Richardson, Program Committee; N. C. Daubon, Entertainment Committee, and L. E. Leverson, Captain of the Guard.
We have at present thirty-five paid memberships and the names of a great many others who have attended our meetings but have not gotten their names on the list as they have not paid.
Bro. Benjamin C. Allen of Brotherhood Lodge No. 986, Chicago, III., who is temporarily located at Camp Logan, Houston, made us some very interesting remarks at the last meeting and promises to give us some prepared papers in the future.
We expect to take up your regular course of study just as soon as preliminary arrangements can be made.
E. R. Ramsey, Houston, Texas.
CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
THE HOUSTON MASONIC RESEARCH SOCIETY
Realizing the necessity for still more light in Masonry the Masons of Houston, Harris County, Texas, hereby associate themselves together into an organization for Masonic study and research.
The name of this society shall be The Houston Masonic Research Society.
The object of this Society shall be the improvement of its membership in the History, Science and Mysteries of Free Masonry.
The Society shall be composed of such Master Masons in good standing as shall have expressed a desire for still more light in Masonry, shall make application for membership and be elected thereto by a majority vote of the members present.
Sec. 1. The Elective Officers of this Society shall be a President, a Vice President, a Treasurer and a Secretary elected by a majority vote of the members present at the first stated meeting in January of each year, and the said officers shall compose the executive committee of said Society.
Sec. 2. The appointive officers of this Society shall be a Librarian, a Reporter, a Captain of the Guard, a Chairman of Program Committee and a Chairman of Entertainment Committee.
Sec. 3. The duties of the elective officers shall be such as usually appertain to their respective positions, and in the absence of one or more of them shall automatically place the responsibilities of presiding over the meeting of the Society upon the officer next in order as above mentioned. The newly elected officers shall assume their duties at the next meeting following the annual election. The duties of the appointive officers shall be such as usually appertain to their offices.
The meetings of the Society shall be semi-monthly on the First and Third Thursday evenings of each month at such time and place as may be announced.
Sec. 1. The dues of the Society shall be One Dollar per annum in advance.
Sec. 2. An entrance fee of One Dollar shall be charged of all new members.
Sec. 3. The revenues derived from the dues, entrance fees, and from all other sources, shall be applied to the running expenses of the Society and shall be disbursed by the Treasurer only upon order from the Society and when countersigned by the President and Secretary.
The President shall appoint such committees as may be from time to time deemed expedient.
This Constitution and By-Laws may be amended at any stated meeting of the Society by a two-thirds vote of the members present.
C.A. Dunlay, Chairman.
J. Dixie Smith.
* * *
The Red Cross has shipped 13,500,000 yards of material for refugee garments to France. France now serves as the base of supplies for all Red Cross supplies to Europe, and from the huge Red Cross storehouse in that country the materials will be distributed to the recently liberated areas of Europe.
* * *
Equality is the life of conversation; and he is as much out who assumes to himself any part above another, as he who considers himself below the rest of the society.
* * *
Because of the Red Cross an enlisted man convalescing at Vichy can live on nothing a day and never want for a thing, from vaudeville and movies to hot baths and lunches.
* * *
WHAT A MASTER MASON OUGHT TO KNOW
Bro. Hal Rivierre, Georgia
A young son of the Old South stands in the State Capitol before a case in which are lovingly and tenderly preserved some of the war-torn battle-flags of the Lost Cause; tears blur his sight and cast a halo around those dear-loved, honored emblems while voices from the dead past seem to speak to him words of wisdom that encourage and strengthen him for the battles of life. He passes on more erect and with a firmer step, fired with zeal and determination but withal, humble and reverent in his heart.
The past is filled with messages of counsel and comfort to men who open their hearts to receive them and it would be hard to find a man in the whole world whose heart-strings will not vibrate when touched by some hand from out the long-unheeded past. Time adds a sanctity to that which is good and true and even error, when well established by long practice, takes on the appearance of right and is hard to be overcome.
It is this quality of old age, of venerableness, together with the natural beauty of the system and the eternal truths upon which it is founded that gives Freemasonry such a hold upon the hearts of those who are most intimate with its history and philosophy; for Masonry must be studied to be appreciated; but it is with tender hands that we should reach into the past to uncover the eternal principles upon which it is founded and it is with reverent hearts and minds that we should think and meditate on them; for the ways of Masonry are the ways of God. One cannot fully travel those ways very far without feeling as Moses felt when he saw the burning bush and heard the voice of God saying, "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."
Freemasonry is so broad in its scope that there are few lines of thought which it does not bring the Masonic student to consider. As to the past, it is bound up with history, religion and philosophy; as to the future, it is a prophecy of that ideal state where present day snarls and contentions in regard to sociology, ethics and religion shall resolve themselves into that harmony which brotherly love, relief and truth only can bring; then will all men practice that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree. And when one endeavors at the completion of the Third degree to sum up in one brief hour the things that a Master Mason ought to know, he must of necessity present an outline only, and leave time and the earnest efforts of the candidate to fill in the details. Much must remain unsaid.
An extended lecture might well be given upon any one of a number of subjects. The ritualistic work, or the ceremonies employed in the opening and closing of the lodge and in the conferring of the degrees offer an attractive and entertaining theme. The history of this great Institution is so highly interesting that many men have given years of study to it; they have searched in foreign lands, learned dead languages and dug in the long-hidden remains of forgotten cities in order to discover, if possible, the connection between modern Masonry and those ancient initiatory ceremonies which have left their impress so plainly upon our Order today. The philosophy of Masonry has engaged the attention of some of the master minds of the past two centuries and it is in itself a subject of great interest. A little book, "The Philosophy of Masonry," by Brother Roscoe Pound, Dean of the Harvard Law School, presents in attractive form the best that has been brought out on this subject and it is earnestly recommended to your attention. No doubt you remember how insistently you have been reminded all during your short Masonic career that the Freemason is a seeker, a seeker for Truth. So, as a Freemason, you are or should be a seeker for Truth. Unless you realize that the lessons of these degrees which have been conferred upon you have a personal message for you, unless you search out their hidden meaning, take them to your own heart, apply them to your own life, work them out in your own experience, what has it profited you to become a member of this great Fraternity?
To the young Masonic student the one best aid in his search is "The Builders," a book written by Brother Joseph Fort Newton. It is intensely interesting and presents in small space the fundamentals of Freemasonry. Having read this book one possesses a knowledge of the Order far greater than that of the majority of Masons and should he care to search further into this beautiful subject the way is made plain.
Whenever I assist in raising a candidate to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, one question invariably comes to my mind, "What induced you to become a Mason?" I remember that the application you signed and which was read before the lodge stated that you came seeking for knowledge and a sincere desire to be of service to your fellow creatures. But printed applications do not always reveal the true state of mind of the applicant, so the question I would have you answer honestly for yourself is "What induced me to become a Mason?" Perhaps you cannot give a satisfactory answer in words. No matter; we shall know just the same as your actions as you go in and out among us will reveal your state of mind was it mere curiosity that prompted you to seek membership in our noble order? Well! your curiosity satisfied, you will go on your way and our question will be answered. Was it a desire for business, social or political influence which you hoped to gain by the display of a Masonic or higher degree emblem? Again we shall have our answer for time will reveal it to us and let us hope that you may receive your just reward.
Among our Ancient Operative brethren a man desired to become a Mason so that he might be free to pursue a calling that carried great privileges; free to go about and seek work; free to travel even in foreign countries and work for and receive a far more satisfactory wage than was paid to men of other callings. For in a day when most men were serfs bound to a lord and unable to leave his possessions, the Operative Mason was indeed free and enjoyed privileges greater by far than those accorded any other class of workmen.
Though men in civilized countries today are not bound to a lord as men were under the old feudal system, they are bound by the ties of ignorance, selfishness, prejudice and vice to a life as destructive to true happiness and usefulness as ever men were in the olden days. But in your new character as a Master Mason you have thrown off the shackles that' bound you to a life of servitude; established in the ways of virtue, filled with knowledge, wise in the beautiful simplicity of a pure heart, you are free to gavel in a country foreign to those still struggling with the fetters which you have cast aside; a country where the practice of Justice, Moderation, Toleration, Simplicity and Brotherly Love precludes the necessity of any man-made laws and guarantees to the inhabitants thereof the wages of a master workman. Travel, my brother, travel! Leave the West, the place of darkness and ignorance where brute force reigns, and travel toward the East, the source of Light and Life. Seek your Lord if perchance he may be found. Is he here? The brightness everywhere reveals the beauty of His handiwork. Everywhere His power and glory are displayed. Things unseen and unthought of in the West are revealed in the East and you know your Lord is; but you find him not here. Retrace your steps and in the West where the sun of Light and Life set, the land of the dead, seek. Delve beneath the rubbish of doubt and ignorance and intolerance and prejudice under which the dead are buried; raise the dead from the level of mediocrity to the living perpendicular Truth. That which you raise is not what you seek but is the nearest approach to it that man can hope to obtain the Godin-man that was lost, buried beneath the cares, ignorance and superstition of the world. This is the substitute for that for which men seek and with which he must be content until in the course of spiritual progress he stands before the Great Architect of the Universe; for no man can see God and live, yet no man can really live until he finds God within his own heart; until he can descend in spirit to the level of those lost to all higher instincts and find the Divine Spirit buried beneath the degradation of sin and ignorance. For there is hope for a man even though seemingly dead to all noble impulses that he can be raised from the depths and that the Divine Spirit may be revealed in his new life.
My brother, human life is not such a simple affair that man can live it alone. All men need assistance; hence, we as Masons are banded together to render mutual aid and encouragement. It is the duty of a Mason to assist a distressed brother in every possible way; to go upon an errand of mercy that his necessity be relieved even though it require great personal sacrifice and inconvenience. In the black hours of the American Revolution when our country was in deep distress, groaning under the unjust practices of an oppressive government, our soldiers fought and marched even barefoot and over frozen ground that the necessity of their distressed country be relieved; and the Father of his Country, our illustrious Masonic Brother George Washington, seeing their privation, himself beset by foes, criticized, maligned, hampered by those who should have rendered every assistance, the Father of his Country constantly sought Divine guidance through the medium of prayer. Can we doubt that he remembered his brother Masons when in devotion to Almighty God? If "the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much in its workings" what a power would be the united prayers of the millions of Masons throughout the world if they would only remember their brethren when on bended knees before the Great Architect of the Universe.
It is in times of trouble and despondency that men most feel their dependence upon each other. The knowledge that a secret can be confided to a brother to be kept inviolable within his breast, that his advice and counsel can be sought is of much comfort to one in distress. This feeling of confidence does much to draw Masons together. The hand that wields the trowel to spread liberally the cement of brotherly love and affection will never be raised in anger against a brother Mason nor will the tongue speak evil of him, but will rather speak words of counsel and comfort, warn him of approaching danger and vindicate his character when wrongfully traduced.
These generous principles should extend further, especially to the families of the brethren. It should be the particular care of every Mason to guard the honor and reputation of the female relatives of a brother, to heed their cry of distress and to render them such assistance as his ability will permit. In addition to the duties which you owe to the brethren, you have a proper relation to maintain towards the Grand Lodge of the State and to your own particular lodge. It now becomes your duty to stand to and abide by the constitution, laws and edicts of the Grand Lodge, and the bylaws, rules and regulations of your own lodge. The latter you have signed and a copy has been presented to you. Make yourself familiar with them that, through ignorance, you may not cause confusion among the Craft. The constitution, laws and edicts of the Grand Lodge are to be found in the official 'Grand Lodge publications, copies of which may be procured from the Grand Secretary for a small sum. In some Grand Jurisdictions this information is contained in the official monitors of these Jurisdictions and, in addition, these monitors contain several of the lectures of the degrees which explain many points which will be of interest to you. A study of the monitor of your Grand Jurisdiction is most essential to one who would gain even a superficial knowledge of Symbolic Masonry for in it are given many symbols and their explanations, and as much of the work of the degrees as is proper to be written.
The lodge needs you; your frequent attendance at regular meetings will encourage the officers; your advice and counsel will be of great assistance in carrying on the business of the lodge; the display of a proper fraternal spirit will bring to you and to your fellows a feeling of affection and satisfaction that will do much to smooth the rough road along which all men are traveling. It should be your desire to become so familiar with and proficient in the work of the lodge that you be qualified to fill with dignity any station to which you may be called; while inordinate ambition and striving for honors are out of place in Masonry, nevertheless, honors come to him who is most faithful in the discharge of the responsibilities laid upon him.
Every Mason is familiar with the expression, "There should be Wisdom to contrive, Strength to execute, and Beauty to adorn, every great and important undertaking." Nothing of importance has ever come to pass without earnest thought and planning, yet many serious plans and excellent designs have been wasted and lost through lack of energy, strength and action to put them into effect. To accomplish great things there must be a harmony between the Wisdom that contrives and plans and the strength that executes. That harmony is the Beauty in the great trinities of accomplishment. Wisdom, Strength and Beauty are symbolized by three columns, the Ionic, Doric and Corinthian placed respectively in the East, West and South, and these are said to be the supports of the lodge.
In the account of the building of the Temple of Solomon as recorded in the Bible, Solomon sought aid of Hiram, King of Tyre. Besides sending laborers to assist in the work, Hiram sent a second Hiram, a man skilled in working brass and precious metals, to supervise the laborers and to make the works of art which the Temple was adorned. Now this second Hiram was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphthali but he was a resident of Tyre. No doubt well-schooled by his mother in the traditions and idealism of the Hebrews and by experience and training skilled in the practical art of the Tyrians he was able to interpret the plans of Solomon and secure their execution at 1 he hands of the Phoenicians. He was the Beauty or Harmony between the Wisdom of Solomon and the Strength of Hiram of Tyre. It was by this famous trio that the magnificent Temple of Solomon was built and it is by the great trinity of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty that all things good and desirable are accomplished. The co-operation or harmonious working of Wisdom and Strength generates a power that will accomplish any desired result; but if undirected Force relying upon itself alone step in and try to gain advantage, then law is defied, confusion results, faith is lost and harmony is slain; and though Wisdom comes to the rescue and casts aside the evil consequences of such rashness the memory of the disaffection is never effaced and the confidence that is restored contains a reservation; it is a makeshift, a substitute for that harmony which previously prevailed. Man cannot speed up the Divine Laws; he must sow before he can reap; he must reap before he can eat; he cannot appropriate that which is not his without sooner or later paying the price. If through ignorance or in defiance of the laws that determine his spiritual progress he attempts to gain unworthy ends or to circumvent the processes of nature the accumulated consequences of his violation crush the Divine Spirit within him and it becomes lost, buried beneath the rubbish of sin and degradation. When in this condition though all human means fail to restore the Divine Spirit to its rightful place as directing current of his being, there is still power to prevail over the consequences of sin; the helping hand of friend and brother may fail; the power of the intellect and the accumulated knowledge of years may awaken no response; but at the touch of the Master Spirit of the Universe, that which was lost is found; that which was dead is quickened into life.
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UNCLE SAM'S WOUNDED BOYS WANT MUSIC
An appeal for musical instruments of every variety, to be distributed among the convalescing soldiers and sailors, is being made by the Bureau of Musical Activities of the American Bed Cross. Sometimes music seems to be the thing these boys want more than anything else in the world. They want not only to hear it, but to produce it. Many of the men have marked talent, and the opportunity to give expression to their moods is a powerful constructive factor in their battle for complete recovery of mental and physical health. Its value in shell shock cases and nervous disorders brought about through the horrors witnessed, cannot be overestimated.
Musicians and teachers may also render a great service in their own specialized calling, to these sick and wounded boys by acting as instructors in their leisure time. Sometimes a man's period of convalescence is the only leisure he has ever had for the developing of a talent. Such a man is most grateful for expert instruction and the knowledge of the joy imparted to a fellow lover of music, in making possible for him even slight expression, should be a great satisfaction to the real musician. Advanced students in music could also be of service and benefit themselves through the experience gained in teaching.
All inquiries will be answered by Capt. Uriel Davis, Associate Director of Music, American Red Cross, 44 East 23d street, New York City. Inquiries may also be made at your local chapter.
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In the Farmers' Almanack for 1823, published at Andover, Mass., the following was printed under the heading, "Character of a Freemason": "The real Freemason is distinguished from the rest of mankind by the uniform unrestrained rectitude of his conduct. Other men are honest in the fear of the punishment which the law might inflict; they are religious in expectation of being rewarded, or in dread of the devil, in the next world. A Freemason would be just if there were no laws, human or divine, except those which are written in his heart by the finger of his Creator. In every climate, under every system of religion, he is the same. He kneels before the universal throne of God, in gratitude for the blessings he has received, and in humble solicitation for his future protection. He venerates the good men of all religions. He disturbs not the religion of others. He restrains his passions, because they cannot be indulged without injuring his neighbor or himself. He gives no offense, because he does not choose to be offended. He contracts no debts which he is not certain that he can discharge, because he is honest upon principle." — Rob Morris Bulletin.
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THE COLUMN OF BEAUTY
Bro. Edward B. Paul, P.G.M., British Columbia
It is not often that the Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty is described in language so true and so appropriate as in the following article, written by a Past Grand Master of British Columbia. The lessons which he draws from one emblem in the lodge room will surely inspire other brethren to look for other meanings, equally wide-reaching and profound in every symbol and emblem of our Craft. THE BUILDER believes that each and every article of furniture in the lodge each and every word and act of the ritual has a meaning and lesson of its own, always beautiful and always practicable; for this reason it urges upon all Masons to make a more thorough study of our symbols.
IN the Charge to the Brethren, usually delivered after the ceremony of the Installation of Officers, the lessons of Freemasonry are described as being "chiefly veiled in Allegory and illustrated by Symbols." Here the word "chiefly" is not used without intention. It seems to indicate that Allegory and Symbolism are the principal vehicles for the conveyance to the Initiated of the most important Masonic truths truths which it is the duty of every Freemason to try to discover and understand.
It must be granted that many symbols are explained in the course of our ceremonies; but the explanations of some of them are necessarily incomplete, and others receive merely passing mention. A great deal is left to the assiduous study of each individual Freemason, who is responsible, in proportion to his ability, for the elucidation of whatever seems to him lark and doubtful. He ought, therefore, to study carefully every act in our ceremonies, and every symbol in our lodge room, for the purpose not only of "improving himself in Masonry," but also of adding, as far as in aim lies, to our general store of knowledge. It is probable that he may, thus, be able to take a step nearer to the Truth, and guide his brethren forward, it may be only a short distance, on the right path. But even, should he himself err, it is more than probable that his mere attempt would, by indicating some new line of thought, be a suggestion to his more able brethren, who, avoiding his errors, might reach the goal which he had missed.
The subject of my article is one of the symbols which are conspicuous in our lodge room, and which, without audible speech, but, nevertheless, with silent eloquence, proclaim lessons of the highest importance o the Craft. I refer to the Column of Beauty.
As is only natural in a society whose profession is Masonry, most of its symbols are taken from the Science and Art of Architecture. Prominent among these are the three columns of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, placed respectively in the East, West and South, reminding us that there are three requisites for the erection of any great or important edifice: 1, It must be wisely planned; 2, it must be strongly built; 3, it must be pleasing to the eye.
John Ruskin, in the "Stones of Venice," asks, What are the possible Virtues of Architecture?" and answers his own question in the following words:
In the main we require from buildings, as from men, two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well; then, that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it, which last is another form of duty."
In another place he says: "We require of any building
- That it act well, and do the things it was intended to do, in the best way;
- That it speak well, and say the things it was intended to say, in the best words;
- That it look well, and please us by its presence, whatever it has to do or say."
It is that latter point which, applied to the moral structure we are called on to erect, is one of the duties laid down for us in the clearest way by Freemasonry, to which I now ask your attention.
And I would, here, in parenthesis, emphasize the fact that it is not for us to choose which of the lessons of Freemasonry we are to learn, picking out some of them as important, or, as is often said, "practical," and passing over others as trivial and unworthy of consideration. Believe me, brethren, there are many lessons taught by our beloved Craft which are vital to our characters as Freemasons, and which we can neglect only at the risk of building up one side of our natures at the expense of another.
The G. A. O. T. U. has laid his plans on the Trestle Board for the guidance of mankind. Those plans are of a two-fold nature:
- Those relating to the material or physical phenomena by which we are surrounded, and which, in comparison with the grandest efforts of human architects in any age are as the contrast between perfection and mediocrity, between the infinite and the finite, and
- Those relating to the moral conduct of mankind which we find in T. V. O. T. S. L.
But The Most High, while laying down general rules for our guidance, has, in His wisdom decreed that each individual shall construct his own spiritual edifice. In his hand are placed the pencil, skirret and compasses, wherewith to draw his own plans. Happy is he who has Wisdom to plan his life and to build up his character in Strength and Beauty so as to merit the approbation of his Divine Master!
A wisely conceived plan must recognize the architectural virtues referred to above. Man "must do his practical duty well, and he must be graceful and pleasing in doing it." He must, therefore, contemplate the columns of Strength and Beauty before he can determine the nature of the spiritual building he ought to erect.
First, and briefly, the fabric must be strongly supported by Morality and Virtue. As, in Architecture, an edifice must, above all, be built of sufficient strength to resist all possible stress, so, in "Moral Geometry," a Mason's character must be of sufficient strength to withstand temptation, however powerful. It must be "steadfast, unmovable."
But Masonry requires of us more than strength. It also demands beauty. Beauty is defined in the Century Dictionary as "that quality of an object by virtue of which the contemplation of it directly excites pleasurable emotions. The word denotes primarily that which pleases the eye or ear, but it is applied also to that quality in any object of thought which awakens admiration or approval; as, intellectual beauty, moral beauty, and so on."
But it is impossible, in a short definition to convey an adequate idea of the Theory of Beauty; and it would be beyond the scope of this lecture, even if it were desirable, to discuss that theory at length. Let us, in stead, at once proceed to ascertain, if we can, the practical teachings of the Column of Beauty.
One of the first lessons we have to learn is to appreciate the great work of Creation. Do we ever properly estimate the wealth of beauty the G.A.O.T.U. has lavished on the world around us? Or have we not become so accustomed to it that we are insensible or only partially alive to the countless beauties of form and colour which God has spread before our eyes, and the exquisite harmonies of sound with which He regales our ears. Think what the world would be like without those blessings the colours of the flowers, the perfect forms of leaves and stems, the songs of birds, the laughter of children! In humble gratitude, therefore, let us cultivate those faculties which enable us to value the glorious architecture of the Most High, lest it may be said of us that we have "eyes, but see not; ears, but hear not; and hearts without understanding." Carlyle has said: "Man always worships something; always he sees the Infinite shadowed forth in something finite; and indeed can and must so see it in any finite thing, once tempt him well to fix his eyes thereon." The contemplation of the wondrous works of Creation, therefore, lifts up the mind of the observer from the Earth, which is God's footstool, to humble adoration of the Great Creator, whose infinite Wisdom and Goodness are proclaimed by every object He has made.
How often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other's note,
Singing their great Creator."
The beauties of Nature have a refining effect on the minds and characters of men. There is much truth in the saying of a wise man of Ancient Greece that "Men's spirits are susceptible to certain influences, diffused like streams or currents by fair things or persons visibly present green fields or children's faces, for instance into the air around them, and which, with certain natures, are like potent material essences, conforming the seer to themselves, as by some cunning physical necessity." In other words, the mind of a man, who is surrounded by beautiful objects, if he be in a proper frame of mind, will imbibe their beauty, and become, in its turn, beautiful.
The masterpiece and crowning glory of Creation, distinguished from all other objects, animate or inanimate, by its perfect adaptation as an instrument used by the most perfect finite intelligence for the government of the world, is the Human Body. There is a passage in Carlyle's "Lectures on Heroes" in which this thought is brought out with such exquisite beauty that I cannot refrain from quoting it, although only part of it is pertinent to the subject immediately under discussion:
But now if all things that we look upon are emblems to us of the Highest God, I add that more so than any of them is man such an emblem. You have heard of St. Chrysostom's celebrated; saying in reference to the Shekinah or Ark of Testimony, visible revelation of God among the Hebrews: 'The true Shekinah is Man!' Yes it is even so; this is no vain phrase; it is veritably so. The essence of our being, the mystery in us that calls itself 'I,' — ah, what words have we for such things? — is a breath of Heaven; the Highest Being of ours is it not all a vesture for that Unnamed? 'There is but one Temple in the Universe,' says the devout Novalis, 'and that is the Body of Man. Nothing is holier than that high form. Bending before men is a reverence done to this Revelation in the Flesh. We touch Heaven when we lay our hands on a human body!"
Worshippers of every nation, in all times, have devoted their wealth and skill in order to make their temples and churches beautiful, and worthy of the Deity in whose honour they are erected. Do not the inspired architecture and inimitable workmanship of the stately cathedrals of Europe the work of our ancient brethren bear eloquent testimony to the reverence underlying the erection of those glorious temples erected to the Most High? The devout cannot conceive of any edifice too rich or too beautiful for the services of their God- Any neglect or mutilation of their churches has always been regarded as sacrilege.
If such reverence is bestowed on inanimate creations of man's intellect, it seems strange to think that the "one Temple in the Universe" is so frequently neglected and abused. Is it because the true meaning of the Body of Man is not understood? No doubt that is the explanation. The Chrysostoms, Novalis and Carlyles of this world are few, and spiritual insight such as they had is rare. But we cannot fail to be impressed with their utterances, especially seeing that they give us a loftier idea of man, and show us his relationship to the Divine. Assuming the actual truth of the statement of Novalis that there is "nothing holier than that high form," are we not moved to regard our bodies in a new light? Should they not be the objects of our diligent care? Must not every act of omission or commission that tends to mar their beauty be avoided? Exercise and cleanliness now become solemn duties, while intemperance and excess should be shunned as desecration of the "emblems of the Highest God."
Lastly, the Column of Beauty suggests beauty of character. It is not enough that a man act morally and virtuously. He ought to do every duty in the most graceful and pleasing manner possible. The ancient Greeks and the Romans used the same words for expressing "manners" and "morals." And that there is a close affinity between them cannot be doubted, if we grant that the best manners are those which come straight from a man's heart, in his endeavour to please his fellow men or save them from pain; to communicate to them whatever joy or happiness he may possess; and, in his own sorrow, to abstain from adding even by a passing sigh to the great total of the world's unhappiness. How many an act of intended kindness is spoiled by tactless manners, converting it, sometimes, even into an offense! How often a refusal can be softened by the considerate manner in which a request is denied! What tragedies occur from the inability, or, from false shame, the unwillingness of people of kindly and loving dispositions to express the love which they feel for their nearest and dearest who, perhaps for years, have longed for words of affection!
How different the manners of the heart from the superficial tricks of the body and tongue that are sometimes mistaken for good manners! Like garish ornaments on an ill-planned and badly constructed building, which try to conceal the viciousness of the architecture, such manners often try to hide an unworthy and insincere character. Good manners ought not to be the monopoly of any class. They are within everyone's reach, for they are the natural concomitant of a beautiful disposition.
Let us, therefore, see to it that our plans are drawn with the view not only to the acts which morality and virtue require of us, but also to the manner in which we are to perform these acts.
Let us see to it that in our speech we use words and tones calculated not only for the purpose of avoiding offense to our brethren, but also of conveying to them pleasure and happiness.
Let us exercise tact, which, in its best sense, may be defined as that spiritual delicacy of feeling which is sensitive to every susceptibility and emotions of our fellowmen.
Let us cultivate our senses so as to better appreciate the beautiful things with which we are surrounded. By so doing we shall be drawn insensibly nearer and nearer to Him from whom flows every good and perfect gift.
Let us see to it that we keep our bodies clean and wholesome, and fit dwellings for clean and beautiful souls.
Then only shall we be doing the duties required of us by Freemasonry when she commands us to build with Beauty as well as with Strength.
It may be asked how can we attain to such high [deals. Freemasonry in another symbol, suggests the answer. As, throughout the degrees, we were accompanied by a brother who guided our steps through dark paths, giving us instruction and counsel during our pilgrimage, so we are accompanied throughout our lives by a companion who never leaves us, who tells us what to do and say, and how to do and say it. The Romans called that companion a man's genius. To us he represents the Spirit of God, or Conscience, to whose whispers we ought to lend our ears, not in slavish fear, but with lively gratitude. If, as we, in the degrees, followed our guide trustfully and obediently, we act and speak as our Heavenly guide prompts us, we need fear no danger, knowing that with such leading we are sure to be conducted along the right Path, and be worthy of the great Fraternity to which it is our high privilege to belong.
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RED CROSS OFFICERS WHO WILL DIRECT PEACE PROGRAM
The national officers who will direct the activities of the Red Cross on a peace basis were elected at the annual meeting in Washington. The War Council, appointed by President Wilson in May, 1917, formally retired on March 1, and the affairs of the organization were transferred to the new administration.
Dr. Livingston Farrand, former president of the University of Colorado, who was appointed chairman of the Central Committee to succeed former President William H. Taft, actively assumed his duties on that day. The national officers elected were Woodrow Wilson, president; William H. Taft and Robert W. de Forest, vice-presidents; John Skelton Williams, treasurer; Alexander King counselor and Dr. Stockton Axson secretary.
To serve with Dr. Farrand the following members have been selected for the Central Committee:
Willoughby Walling, of Chicago; Robert Lansing, Secretary of State; John Skelton Williams, to represent the Treasury Department; Major General Merritte W. Ireland, Surgeon General U.S. A., to represent the War Department; Rear Admiral William C. Braisted, Surgeon General, U.S.N., to represent the Navy, and Alexander King, to represent the Department of Justice.
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OPEN THE DOOR OF YOUR HEART
Open the door of your heart, my lad,
To the angels of Love and Truth,
When the world is full of unnumbered joys
In the beautiful dawn of youth.
Casting aside all things that mar,
Saying to wrong, "Depart!"
To the voices of hope that are calling you
Open the door of your heart.
Open the door of your heart, my lass,
To the things that shall abide;
To the holy thoughts that lift your soul
Like the stars at eventide.
All of the fadeless flowers that bloom
In the realms of song and art
Are yours, if only you'll give them room;
Open the door of your heart.
Open the door of your heart, my friend,
Heedless of class or creed,
When you hear the cry of a brother's voice,
The sob of a child in need.
To the shining heaven that o'er you bends
You need no map or chart,
But only the love the Master gave;
Open the door of your heart.
— Edwin Everett Hale
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STUDIES IN BLUE LODGE SYMBOLISM
Bro. H. L. Haywood, Iowa
What are symbols? The simplest answer is to say that they are the storehouses in which wise men of the past have accumulated their wisdom. The assemblage of many symbols in our fraternity means that the fraternity is in itself a storehouse of the wisdom of many wise men. Wisdom can never be learned or taught by one man working alone; it is only when many men join their knowledge together that the truth is found. Many men in the past have wrought to discover truth; they have embodied their truths in symbols; in our Order these symbols are assembled together so that the wisdom of many wise men has been placed at our disposal; is not that a great privilege? is it not a fine opportunity for those who desire to learn?
What do these symbols teach? It is not curious lore; it is not occultism; it is not information; it is the wisdom how to live; the purpose of Masonry as a whole is to teach men how to live and to help them to live and to learn how to live more and more. Each one of us needs to learn how to live; therefore Masonry has much to give to each one of us; we can help each other to learn how to live, therefore Masonry helps us to help each other. The symbols give us their wisdom, their light, their truth; we can receive this wisdom from them and we can then teach it to others. We can transform the dead symbol into life; that is the highest way to learn.
Why did the wise men of the past store their wisdom in symbols? Because, so we believe, symbols are forms of expression that never die. Language grows old and passes away; truth embodied in a language may become buried in the tomb in which the dead language lies. Books are not for the many; one cannot carry a book about with him in his mind. Institutions grow old and die; moreover, they cannot always be carried from country to country; truth embodied in institutions may become dead or lost to many. The teachers themselves have died and they could not themselves bring us their truth. There are many that cannot understand learned language; they need something very simple; they need to think in pictures; to think in pictures helps us all, because the mind seems to work that way. Symbols live on long after languages have died; symbols survive the wreck of institutions; they survive the teachers who have poured wisdom into them; they bring the truth to us in pictures so that all can conceive it; symbols are a deathless and universal language, the easiest to learn of all forms of language, the hardest to forget, the most packed with meaning. In teaching through symbols our Fraternity reveals itself as a very wise teacher. If the meaning of a symbol is often hidden from us that is to stimulate us to hunt for its meaning; hunting for its meaning develops our faculties; and the development of our faculties is one of the purposes and aims of wisdom.
To the man who has neither the eyes to see nor the will to work, Masonry seems to offer little; to him who will take the trouble to learn it has much to offer. Masonry holds rich gifts in its hands; are you willing to receive those gifts? You may if you are willing to study, to work, to develop. We have only that which we strive for; we possess only that which we earn; when truth is poured into a passive mind it is soon lost from that mind; when it is won by an active mind it becomes a part of that mind; when truth has become a part of the mind then is the mind truly cultured, for culture is that wisdom which has become a part of ourselves. Masonry helps to culture us by stimulating us to apply our mental powers to the study of those symbols in which many wise men have hidden truths so profound, so illuminating, so helpful, so packed with life. We ourselves, in this present hour, can best understand what symbols mean and how their meaning is to be discovered if we will turn to a few of them. Our selection may appear arbitrary, at first glance, but the meanings we shall win will fit themselves together into one lesson, into a truth that is one truth, the truth that wisdom is the learning how best to live, and that God helps each of us how best to live.
The beginning of wisdom is to develop ourselves; most of us have never discovered what are the possibilities of our own minds; we live poorly and meanly because we permit the highest powers to lie dormant; one is learning the wisdom of life when he strives to develop each power of himself to the uttermost. Of this the apron is the symbol. It means work; not manual work alone, but mental, and spiritual, and moral work also. The divinity of work; the divine necessity of work; the divine results of work; this is the truth taught us- through the apron. We are told that it is an older and nobler symbol than the Star, the Garter, the Roman Eagle. It is. God has been working from the beginning; to work is to do what God does; to do what God does is life. The apron teaches us one of the secrets of the divine life. It is not fame; it is not possessions; it is not pride, or lust for place or power; it is none of these things that deserve to stand as that which is the highest. The apron is higher than the symbols of these things because it is the symbol of the effort to develop ourselves; we can work on ourselves; we can work through ourselves; while we are working on and through ourselves we are then working to help others; to help others is God-like because God is always helping others. God Himself, in a certain deep sense, evermore wears the apron because He evermore works, works to help us, works to give us more and more life for evermore. What we make of ourselves is more important than what others make of us; how we use and develop ourselves is more important than what we possess or what reputation we may have. To work; to make the mind work, to make the body work, to make all things work together to give us life and to give others life, that is according to the will of God and the will of God is our life and our peace. He who wears the apron on his heart will become God-like because God's own heart is filled with labor on the behalf of all His worlds and all His children.
Many times our work asks of us that we sacrifice our ease, our pleasure, our place, or our money; he who is not willing to sacrifice the lesser for the sake of the greater has not yet learned wisdom; he does not yet know to live. Sacrifice is not to lessen our lives; it is to increase our lives; it surrenders the petty things in order that the greater things may more completely possess us; he who has become willing to give up the lower in order that the higher may be in him has learned wisdom, for wisdom is to learn how best to live.
The cross which appears so often through our ritual and in so many different forms has many different degrees of meaning but the one meaning running through all forms of the cross is that he who would learn to live must learn to surrender willingly the things that hinder life. Sacrifice, if we will but learn it, is our friend; it gives us more life and what gives us more life gives us more love and love is in itself friendship. The cross sometimes breaks the body in order that the soul may have its way; the cross sometimes bruises the mind in order that the spirit may more richly live; the cross helps while it seems to hinder; it heals when it seems to hurt. To learn to know when to sacrifice, how to sacrifice, what to sacrifice, and for what to sacrifice, that is wisdom, and wisdom is to know to live.
But life is not complete in any one of us; life lives in all men and each needs the life of all; when we share with others our life we are helping them to live; when we help others to live we become God-like because God continually gives life to all. Friendship is just the habit of giving our life to others; when we give our life away we possess more of it; the more we give the more we receive. This is the meaning of the clasped-hands, one of the most divine and beautiful of all our symbols. The life in me clasps hands with the life in you; my life joins its forces with your life; that makes more life. Brotherhood is the enrichment of life not for one's self alone but for all; brotherhood is God-like because God is the Great Brother of all men. His hands are clasped with ours and neither disaster nor death can break that clasp. When we clasp our brother's hand we clasp God's hand because God lives and works through our brother; when he clasps our hands he clasps God's hands because God lives and works through us. Brotherhood makes life rich, beautiful, and divine; brotherhood is the clearest revelation of God that we have. Brotherhood is love expressed toward our fellows; it is therefore divine because God is love.
Our system of symbols would be very incomplete if they did not give us this highest wisdom that God is love. The All-Seeing Eye reminds us that God sees far into the most secret depths of each of us; this means that God lives in us a part of our very selves else He could not know what is in us; God is love because He lives in each one of us. The altar reminds us that we can always and everywhere meet with God; He is never away from our hearts; He is never away from home; the human soul is His home. While we work, while we play, while we think, above all while we love, we are with Him; each moment can have its own altar; each place may have its shrine; the whole world is a meeting place between man and God; the whole earth may become an altar. The raising of the master in our third degree reminds us, depicts for us in an unforgettable symbol, that God is also eternal life; the master went into the grave but God went in after Him; we never die; there is no death; there is only change; we go on from life to life, ever and forever, and God ever helps us to go on from life to life. To know that God lives in us and that God is love helps us to lose all fears, the fear of disaster, of disgrace, of death; for where love is fear cannot be. The same eternal life which lived in the slain master lives also in us; God is continually willing to raise each of us from all our graves; from the grave of sloth, the grave of selfishness, the grave of hatred, of fear, of sorrow, of death. "Now have we eternal life"; always will we have eternal life. God is life and God is eternal. God is our life; therefore we are eternal.
Can there be, could there be, a teaching more wonderfully beautiful than this? Can you anywhere find a higher wisdom than this? This is the highest wisdom that we know how to live; God is our Life; to learn to live is to love God. Masonry teaches us that God is love; it teaches us how to love God. Masonry as a whole is one great symbol of men dwelling with God and God dwelling with men.
* * *
THE HANDCLASP OF TODAY
Bro. L. B. Mitchell, Michigan
We can never know what life is
But we do know that 'tis love
In a world where so much strife is
That alone can merit prove;
There's no moral height above it,
'Tis the qualifying plane,
Man is glorified to love it,
'Tis the limit to attain.
Human Love, "head of the corner"
In the alchemy of man,
Is thereby the chief adorner
Of all loves within the plan,—
Love of virtue, love of beauty,
Love of all things in its role
In their glorious unity
Makes for quality of soul.
There is not of earth, a mortal
That behind a creed can hide,
Love alone leads to the portal
Where realities abide.
Love, the scandalized for ages
By negation's soulless way
Waits to fold their telltale pages
In the handclasp of today.
* * *
MASONRY AND THE WORLD-FLUX
WHAT part is Masonry to play in the new World? It is a new World. Thinking men everywhere admit it. Things which loomed large against our former peace horizon have lost their stature. Contrasted with the great, united purpose of winning a great war they have faded. A new horizon has been lifted up before us — or perhaps we have been lifted up where we have begun to get an aeroplane vision, and find that looking down vertically upon what was large before has betrayed its smallness, while real problems, heretofore viewed only as a hazy background, have become the commanding elements of the landscape.
We must enlarge the idea of the "melting pot." We applied it only to America. It was a vision of a polyglot people made one. Today we challenge the efficiency of that melting pot. The war has shown that we did not work hard enough to keep the fires of liberty always burning under it. And now the whole world is in a state of flux. Our own ideas — and some of our ideals — are being tested and tried by this world heat which the fires of war have developed. None may yet know the temper of this new metal which has begun to run. Some of the scum has run off into pools by themselves. Some of us are afraid that they represent the metal — or should we spell it mettle? — which is to be. To believe that would be cowardly.
Will we not have to make the answer to our first question? Masonry is in the new melting pot, along with the other influences. The dross is melting out of it, too.
What is our Fraternity, viewed from this aeroplane height? As we glance over the surface of our America we cannot see Masonry as an entity. It is scattered everywhere. But this is no cause for discouragement! Why should it not be so? We are gathered into fourteen thousand or more little groups — our lodges. We are collected into forty-nine other larger groups — our Grand Jurisdictions. And only for a few months have we really caught a vision of thinking together! The vision is spreading. It has reached thirteen Grand Jurisdictions already, and they have approved the Masonic Service Association of the United States. The conception of a National Masonic Consciousness came during the war. It will flower in the new Peace. To think together, and to work together in time of distress and danger is new, to Masonry. We had not thought it necessary.
Now we know that our Masonic thought has been polyglot, too. That was why some of our brethren were afraid that a National Voice for Masonry would be a harsh, discordant voice. Now they are beginning to see what a melody it will be. Why? Because it is tuned to the service of humanity. To think about the big things, to work together to bring them about, and to speak as one! It cannot be other than a melody. To deny it is to deny any efficacy at all to our ceremonies. All that we need to do is to apply our ritual to this new world. The world may be in a flux, but the cool, calm, melodious voice of American Masonry will play a part in opening the gates through which the dross and base metal will run off. It is playing a part. Whether we will or no, men trained to think as true men will come to think alike in principle — they have thought that way for a long time past. Guided by the sterling principles of free-thought, free-speech and free-conscience, illuminated by righteousness and morality, they are bound to think together.
Who are these who are thinking together? Are they men of one class, or of one creed, or of one political allegiance (using these last words in a narrow sense of the term)? No! They are men of all classes. Even the lodge whose officers clothe themselves in evening dress has plenty of soft collars and flannel shirts in evidence. The man who works with his hands is not ashamed to meet in lodge with the man whose hours are spent in mental labor. From all walks of life they come, thinking enough of their Fraternity to wear their best clothes to harmonize with the richness of its teaching, and knowing that the welcome will not be tainted by Masonic snobbery, for Masonic snobs are few and far between.
What does it mean to our Country, to the World, if you please, to have nearly 2,000,000 men of every walk in life meeting on the level? They will all be on the level, when they learn to think together. "Thinking together" does not mean that any is deprived of his opinion! No, it means that preconceived opinions are tried by the fires of necessity. Out of it all will come certain agreed fundamentals. That will not mean abandonment of principles. It will mean the application of principles to a modern need. When men meet together on the level, and learn to think together on those great problems which today seem to be dividing us into those who believe in permitting stinking cesspools and those who do not, what will be the effect? When that National Masonic Voice speaks, will it not help to settle these problems, and eliminate these cesspools?
An example comes to mind. A young man had been thinking along socialistic lines. He wondered whether even anarchism, after all, was not the real measure of human equality. He inclined to the belief that because he was not rich, he had not had a square deal. He sought admission to Masonry, and by his own later confession his only real reason was the promptings of curiosity. There was a hesitancy in the lodge. It seemed doubtful to some whether he should be admitted. "Peace and harmony prevailing" was remembered. The petition laid over for a month for further investigation. More interviews were quietly conducted. The young man's mind was in the melting pot. The committee finally reported favorably. Election followed. The fires of Masonic tolerance were burned under the young man's mental melting pot. The dross was skimmed off. Today his opinions are balanced opinions. He appreciates the meaning of "equality" better. Brotherhood means interdependence, and not the law of the mob. He is a changed man. Masonry made him think. He will help to bury the cesspool of irresponsibility from now on. He will help to cover it up.
Many members of our Fraternity are like that young man. Perhaps they have worn the Square and Compass for a long time. But they are just beginning to think, in the sense of applying Masonic principles to a confused and war-torn world. They must think. They must save the world for civilization! They must become missionaries, each to his own little group. Missionaries of true manhood, true brotherhood, true Democracy. The war against the Hun is won. The war in behalf of the Brotherhood of Man has just begun. The dangers are greater than the Hun could command, with all his frightfulness. The winning is more necessary, because it must be a winning of the hearts of men.
The hopes of the world are being pinned to a League of Nations. So be it, if it is founded upon Justice and Truth.
As Masons, we can’t help that ideal. A League of Masons, in behalf of the Service of Humanity is ours. Its consummation is sure. Thirteen Grand Lodges have seen the vision of it, and have acted. Many more see the vision, and wait only upon their Annual Communications to act in like harmony. It will be an American League. It will be able to help to control the world currents of thought, if it thinks rightly itself.
To this event the ages ran,
Make way for Brotherhood,
Make way for Man."
"The Service of Humanity" means to give. It means for each Grand Lodge to contribute. Money, yes, in very smell amounts, considering the work to be done. But over all, and above all, and beyond all, MEN! Men of vision, with great hearts, pure minds and a will to accomplish.
Our hope is in heroic men,
Startled, to build the world again."
Men willing to assume the responsibilities of leadership, and forget honors. Men who will think honestly, in behalf of a humanity suffering tortures such as always come in times of flux. Men willing to brave the ordeal of fire, that the work of the melting pot may go on until it is finished. Men who believe that the mettle and the temper of the new world metal will be good in the sight of God. G.L.S.
* * *
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.
BOOKS ON THE SCOTTISH RITE
I am a member of Mississippi Valley Consistory, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, of East St. Louis, and am interested in securing a "monitor" of the Rite, if anything authentic is obtainable. I have McClenachan's "Book of the Rite." Is there anything better?
We do not know of any "monitor" of the Scottish Rite except as may be contained in the Ritual which is furnished to each Consistory. In addition to this there is the book by McClenachan for the Northern Jurisdiction, and Pike's "Morals and Dogma" for the Southern Jurisdiction. Both of these works are accessible to any Mason who might desire them. Another work used in the Southern Jurisdiction is "Liturgy of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry," by Albert Pike. We know of no similar work published for the Northern Jurisdiction, though there has been some interesting matter connected with the history of the Rite prepared by several Northern Jurisdiction brethren.
"Morals and Dogma, First to Thirty-Second Degrees," may be obtained through John H. Cowles, Secretary General, 16th and S Sts., N.W., Washington, D. C. The price is $2.50, postpaid. Your Blue Lodge and Scottish Rite affiliations should be mentioned when writing Brother Cowles for a copy of this work. C.C.H.
* * *
PROCEEDINGS GRAND LODGE OF MAINE 1820-1918
We have in our lodge library a duplicate set of the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Maine. These Proceedings are bound, with the exception of the last few years' copies. They are complete from Volume I to the present date. Could we dispose of them through the Society?
Josiah H. Cobb,
430 Preble Street,
South Portland, Maine.
Here is a rare opportunity for a wide-awake lodge librarian to secure this complete set of the Maine Grand Lodge Proceedings for the library of his lodge. The set comprises 26 volumes in addition to the Proceedings for the year 1918, and contains the history of Masonry in Maine covering a period of 99 years, the first issue of the Proceedings being published in 1820. Any brother interested should communicate direct with Brother Cobb at the address above given.
* * *
THIRTEEN GRAND LODGES NOW MEMBERS OF THE MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES
How many Grand Lodges have become members of the Masonic Service Association of the United States since the Cedar Rapids Masonic Conference was held last November?
|Georgia||Nov. 27, 1918|
|Alabama||Dec. 8, 1918|
|Texas||Dec. 5, 1918|
|South Carolina||Dec. 11, 1918|
|Minnesota||Jan. 15, 1919|
|Florida||Jan. 22, 1919|
|North Carolina||Jan. 22, 1919|
|Utah||Jan. 22, 1919|
|Tennessee||Jan. 30, 1919|
|Connecticut||Feb. 6, 1919|
|Louisiana||Feb. 6, 1919|
|Arizona||Feb. 11, 1919|
|Mississippi||Feb. 19, 1919|
* * *
MASONIC BOOK-PLATES WANTED
I am sending you under separate cover a cgpy of a small book on the subject of Masonic book-plates, recently published by a personal friend of mine, Mr. Winward Prescott, instructor in English at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Prescott is not at the present time a Mason, although steps have been taken within the last month to qualify him to write of Masonry with the authority of a member of the Craft; hence the many inaccuracies of his explanations of some things connected with the institution. He has asked me to send the book to you, instead of sending it himself, because of my membership in the National Masonic Research Society. At the time he was writing the book, he did not know of my being a Mason; consequently he did not include my personal plate in his catalogue. I have ventured to inserts a copy of that plate, although it bears no Masonic emblems.
Mr. Prescott's attention was first called to Masonic bookplates by Brother A. W. Pope, of Newton, who published two small pamphlets on the subject some years ago. Both were collectors of ex-libris, and, on Brother Pope's death his widow placed his collection in the hands of Mr. Prescott for sale. Mr. Prescott, having heard much about this particular part of the collection, purchased it himself and set about the task of arranging and listing it. The result of his labor is the little volume I am sending you. He fully realizes its shortcomings, and can plead in justification the small amount of knowledge there actually is in America concerning ex-libris, and the small circle of his acquaintance with Masons. It is his desire to obtain a full collection of American Masonic ex-libris, in order to make a later edition of his book a more authoritative handbook on a very interesting subject. He therefore requests the courtesy of a notice in THE BUILDER, together with a request that any brother who may own a book-plate send him three copies of it, writing on the back the principal features of his connection with Masonry. These plates may be sent to me, or to him at P. O. Box 3066, Boston, Mass.
Charles V. Briggs,
126 Glenville Avenue,
(Mr. Prescott's interesting little book was reviewed by Brother Haywood in the Library Department of the July, 1918, issue of THE BUILDER. — Editor.)
* * *
A NATURAL LODGE ROOM
I am sending you a description of a natural lodge room that may be of interest to the readers of THE BUILDER.
Thomas Crowell, Massachusetts.
It is probably not known by many Masons that there is a natural lodge room that is the only one in the world which was built entirely by Nature. It is situated on the mountain called Owl's Head beside Lake Memphremagog on the border line between Vermont and Canada, and at its summit, 3,500 feet high. It is called Owl's Head Lodge Room which is hidden away in the clefts of the hills, was discovered eighty years ago by a very ancient lodge (Golden Rule Lodge of Stanstead, Canada) across the Lake from Vermont. They became very enthusiastic over it and applied for a charter permitting them to work the Third degree of Masonry. The charter was granted in 1853 by the Grand Lodge of Canada and once a year, on June 24, which is St. John's day, they climb the mountain and perform the ceremony.
There is only a trail to the lodge room and the sides of the mountain in places are almost perpendicular, but the venerable Masons gladly endure the hardships of the ascent, and rain or shine the annual pilgrimage is made. The lodge room is a wonderful place. Its walls are of sheer rock, towering up 500 feet. Its floor, made of moss, is as level as an ordinary pavement and softer than carpet. The seats for officers are of natural stone and were placed there by Nature. The roof is the sky. It is perfectly tiled and the points of the compass are right, the room runs east and west.
The climb is a tedious one and is generally reached by noon. Many prominent Masons, old and young, go. The sky is blue, at the foot of the mountain is stretched the most beautiful lake ever seen, and away from the lake rolls the green fields until they are lost in the foothills of Quebec. Conforming with ancient Masonry the service on the mountain is held in the afternoon and the old customs are carried out to the letter.
* * *
WAS WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE A FREEMASON?
If in past days Freemasonry suffered from having its history written either by panegyrics or by enemies it would seem that in these days there is no less danger of it suffering from the circulation of uncritical enthusiasts, who see in every allusion, to a phrase or even word found in the ritual a proof that it was copied therefrom. It would be easy on such premises to maintain that every writer of note whoever lived was a Freemason. There are and have been many philosophers and theologians who hold views and ideas very similar to those inculcated in Freemasonry, but it does not necessarily follow that they had any connection either direct or indirect with the Order. Plato taught much that is common to Christianity, but Plato was not a Christian, nor were the ethics of Christianity derived from Plato, but from Moses. Neither did Plato learn from Moses, nor Moses from Confucius. The "Truth" is universal, and the Revealer of all Truth has spoken to men at sundry times and in divers manners, nor has his revelation been confined to any one channel — not even Masonry. If this be true of ethics, how much more true is it of the mere use of wolds and phrases. Have Masons, for instance, the monopoly of aprons? Must a man never mention pillars except he be a Mason? Have scholars outside of our ancient and honorable Fraternity never heard of Pythagoras? Did nobody but ourselves ever wear gloves? The truth is that, unless a word or phrase is peculiar to Masonry, and can belong to nothing else whatever, its use by any writer cannot connect him with Freemasonry. For instance, when we find an inscription that speaks of meeting "on the level and parting on the square" we can hardly go wrong in ascribing it to a Freemason. But the expression "a square deal" has now become quite common outside the Order, and is used by people who lmow nothing about Freemasonry.
All these remarks apply to quotations from Shakespeare which appeared in the February number of THE BUILDER. Aprons were and are worn by almost every class of skilled mechanics, as well as by bar-tenders, domestic service, store keepers, and careful housewives. Leather aprons, made from sheepskins and known in the trade as basils are worn by tanners, curriers, blacksmiths and shoemakers as well as by Masons. According to Shakespeare leather aprons were formerly worn by bar-tenders or "tapsters." And it is these that are meant in Brother Clegg's quotations from Henry IV, "Two leather jerkins and aprons." In the Roman Plays — Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus — aprons are always spoken of with contempt as the lodge of servitude and ignorance — "Mechanics slaves with greasy aprons," "You have made good work, you and your apron-men," are, as a glance at the context will show, purely ironical. "Here Robin, an I die I give thee my apron," is spoken by a drunken armourer's assistant.
The word Craft and Master are terms used in the Middle Ages for all kinds of mechanical trades. A craftsman meant a mechanic, and master a master mechanic. To the use, however, of the word "Master" or "Craft's Master” for a man who had learned his trade there was one exception. The "Master" in Masonry was the Master of the lodge. The members of the trade were called "Fellows," or "Fellows of the Craft," hence shortly "Fellow Craft." "In ancient times, no brother, however skilled in the Craft, was called a Master Mason until he had been elected into the chair of the lodge."
The use of the word Mason — "the singing mason building roofs of gold," "Who builds stronger than the mason?" are quite likely to have been written by a man who knew nothing of Freemasonry. Everybody knows that stone buildings are erected by masons. The only one of all the quotations collected by Brother Evans that might seem to show an acquaintance with Masonic mysteries is the description of Antony in "Antony and Cleopatra” as the "triple pillar of the world," and that does not mean three pillars but one pillar of three clustered shafts. How much “King Edward’s Mysticism" has to do with Freemasonry can be gathered by quoting the whole of Prince Clarence's speech:
He harkens after prophecies and dreams
And from the cross-row placks the letter G
And says a wizard told him that by G
His issue disinherited should be:
And for my name of George begins with G
It fellows, in his thought, that I am he "
I wonder if the G. R. stamped upon articles that are the property of the British Government had a Masonic origin!
The superstition that men born deformed or maimed were subject to the curse of God, was only held by Freemasons in common with other people in ancient times. "Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" A man maimed or deformed was regarded as a debased specimen of man made in the image of God. It is only in Freemasonry, however, that the old idea lingers, probably on account of Mackey having given it as a "Landmark."
Most of Shakespeare's allusions to "gloves" are derived from the iron gauntlet of Knights. To throw one's glove on the ground was challenge to mortal combat, which challenge was accepted by picking up the glove. This is what is meant by the "gage of battle" and "honour's pawn."
The following quotation from 2 Henry VI ii:5 seems to me to have a far greater Masonic significance than any quoted by Brother Clegg:
'So many hours must I tend my flock
So many hours must I take my rest
So many hours must I contemplate
So many hours must I sport myself "
On the whole one would gather that so far as we have gone there is not sufficient evidence produced to show that our author was a Freemason, any more than that he was a lawyer, or a printer, or a classical scholar-all of which have occasionally been claimed for him. He was a man amongst men, one who had studied and who knew humanity, and has portrayed it as no other writer. His ubiquity has caused him to be claimed by many classes of men as "one of themselves." His thorough knowledge of "all sorts and conditions of men" in an age when men lived very wide apart from one another is wonderful. Had he lived a century or so later one might have argued that association in a society such as Freemasonry is might have given him his marvelous insight into human nature. But the time of Shakespeare is a time in the history of the Craft of which we know almost the least. We are certain that lodges then existed but that is all. But research along the line of Brother Clegg's paper is not useless. We may yet find enough evidence to tell us whether the Craft had many or any members of rank and affluence, or whether there was any bond of union between the then existing lodges, or whether that age was what it is generally considered now to have been, the age of the Craft's obscurity.
E.L. Pickford, D.D.G.M., Canada.
* * *
NO SPECIAL PRIVILEGES SHOULD BE GRANTED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO SECTARIAN ORGANIZATIONS
After a careful review of the report on the Conference of Grand Masters recently held at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the report of difficulties experienced in securing from the War Department permission to provide recreation for Masons in the Service, I beg leave to offer a suggestion:
If our Government is to be consistent its principles must be applied strictly to the Army and Navy, as well as to all of its official business. Which is to say, our government being nonsectatian should not champion any faith, but stand firmly for the principles which are very dear to us all. The difficulties experienced are fundamental, and occasioned by well-meaning people in their effort to advance the interests of their religious faith, without seriously considering the consequences. In my candid opinion if antagonism and complications are to be avoided in the future there should be but one organization in the Army and Navy that is strictly non-sectarian, under whose auspices any church, order or society might hold their special meetings or communications and for which purpose no funds should be available, except from the particular Church or Society. The funds for the principal organization should be used for all the soldiers alike irrespective of creed, etc. Under such an arrangement there would be no special privileges, and this arrangement would certainly conform to the principles which we as Masons and as citizens may well be proud.
A. M. Jackley, Iowa.
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Not understood, we move along asunder,
Our paths grow wider as the seasons creep,
Along the years we marvel and we wonder
Why life is life? And then we fall asleep —
Not understood, we gather false impressions
And hug them closer as the years go by,
Till virtues often seem to us transgressions,
And thus men rise and fall and live and die —
Not understood — how trifles often change us.
The thoughtless sentence or the fancied slight
Destroy long years of friendship and estrange us,
And on our souls there falls a freezing blight — Not understood.
How many cheerless, lonely hearts are aching
For lack of sympathy — Ah, day by day
How many cheerless lonely hearts are breaking,
How many noble spirits pass away —
Oh, God! That men could see a little clearer,
Or judge less harshly where they cannot see —
Oh, God! That men would draw a little nearer
One another, they'd be nearer Thee —
— Author Unknown
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There are now about 17,000,000 adults and 9,000,000 junior members of the American Red Cross.