A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 6 No. 4 – April 1920
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird. P.G.M., District of Columbia
DAVID G. FARRAGUT
ADMIRAL FARRAGUT was born near Knoxville, Tennessee, July 5th, 1801. He died August 14th, 1870, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he was buried with Masonic honors. Later his body was removed to Woodlawn Cemetery in Brooklyn.
David Farragut entered the navy at nine. He became a midshipman at twelve and pursued his studies under Chaplain Charles Folsom on board the Washington while serving in the Mediterranean. Returning to the States in 1820 he passed his Naval examination and served in the Mosquito Fleet against the pirates in the Caribbean Sea. In 1825 he was promoted to Lieutenant; in September, 1841, to Commander, and in September, 1855, to Captain. In 1858 he took command of the Brooklyn and at the outbreak of the Civil War was awaiting orders at Norfolk.
He was the greatest genius of the War. He was not a fearless man, but a man who knew a good risk and had the courage of his convictions. Other officers thought it would be impossible to run a fleet up the Mississippi River past the forts, but Farragut heeded not. His tactics were new. Instead of heading up the middle line of the river he ran his ships so close to Fort Jackson that the yard-arms touched the parapets, and while this fort fired over the ships the one on the opposite fired short. His general attacks were successful rushes.
The statue of Admiral Farragut stands in Farragut Square in the City of Washington, D.C. It is of bronze, of heroic size, and was modeled by the wife of General Hoxie (nee Vinnie Ream). The metal from which the statue and the Cohorn mortars surrounding it were cast, was from the original propeller of the Hartford, the Admiral's flagship, and the castings were made in the foundry of the steam engineering plant of the Washington Navy Yard.
This splendid memorial was unveiled in the presence of an immense gathering, on April 25th, 1881. The flag used in the unveiling ceremonies has a history worth recording.
When Farragut's fleet had laid New Orleans under its guns, Congress in its wisdom and gratitude created the rank of Commodore for Farragut. Knowles, the old signal quartermaster on the Hartford, took a blue flag, a "number" from the signal chest, stitched a star in it, and it was flown, the first Commodore's flag in our navy. When Farragut was promoted to Rear Admiral, a grade created for him, Knowles stitched in a second star; and when Farragut was made Vice-Admiral, and later Admiral, Knowles added the necessary stars to the same old flag.
After the unveiling of the statue, Bartholemew Diggins, a member of Brightwood Lodge No. 24 in the District of Columbia, who had been in Farragut's gig crew all during the war, asked for that old flag and offered a new one for it. The Secretary of the Navy granted his request. Many years afterward, when Dewey returned from the Philippines, Diggins asked the writer, who was about to go to New York to malie arrangements for Admiral Dewey's reception, to present the flag to Dewey. The flag was duly presented, and it was the only Admiral's pennant ever flown by Farragut or by Dewey.
While Farragut's Masonic connection is beyond doubt, the writer has been unable to identify his lodge. Naval Lodge No. 87 was instituted at Vallejo, opposite the Navy Yard at Mare Island, and there are members of that lodge still living who greeted the Admiral when he visited there. Surgeon General John Mills Browne of the Navy, who was Grand Master in California, as well as Master of Naval Lodge, and also an active 33rd, was intimate with the Admiral in California, and remembered him as a Mason and a promoter of Masonry. He did not, however, remember the name of his lodge. This is but one more object lesson which teaches us the need of better records. The lodge which conducted the funeral at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has no record of the Admiral's affiliation. His son, Loyall, writes that some orders were conferred upon his father while he was a midshipman, at Malta, but he is not positive what those orders were.
David Farragut was one of those rare characters who could separate his duties, pleasures, cares and worries, not letting one encroach upon the other. He was industrious to a fault, and expected others to keep pace. He was an excellent seaman, which in his day was regarded as imperative. He was reserved and dignified, yet approachable, never letting a meritorious act of a subordinate pass without a word of approval, but was as careful to reprove one committing an error.
* * *
SOME PERTINENT FACTS ABOUT IRELAND
BY THE BELFAST PROTESTANT DELEGATION
We, the accredited delegates of the Protestant churches of Ireland, representing one million and one quarter people, beg to submit to the Protestant people of America the following statement:
We come here in the interests of truth and fair play, our views on the subject of the separation of Ireland from Great Britain having been grossly misrepresented by those engaged in the Sinn Fein propaganda. We have not come here to raise either political or religious strife, still less to entangle America in the domestic affairs of Great Britain. But we have come believing it is due to the churches and the cause which we represent to state the real truth about Ireland. The following article constitutes a simple statement of facts, the accuracy of which can be tested by any one who desires to do so.
(Mr.) Wm. Coote,
Member of Parliament for South Tyrone,
Chairman of Delegation
(Rev.) C. Wesley Maguire,
Donegal Square Methodist Church, Belfast.
Secretary of Delegation.
(Rev.) Louis Crooks,
Retar Knockbreda Episcopal Church, Belfast.
(Rev.) A. Wylie Blue,
May Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast.
(Rev.) Wm. Corkey,
Townsend Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast.
(Rev.) Frederick E. Harte,
Donegal Square Methodist Church, Belfast.
(Rev.) Edward Hazelton,
Falls Road Methodist Church, Belfast.
THE PLEA OF OVERTAXATION
IT IS STATED by Sinn Fein agitators that Ireland is overtaxed by Great Britain. Let us see how the matter stands. According to the official returns for 1918 — 1919 the fatal revenue contributed by England was $3,455,310,000. From this there was paid out of the British Exchequer for local expenditure in England $719,237,500, leaving a balance available for Imperial needs such as army and navy, consular and other services, of $2,736,072,500. Scotland during the same period contributed to the British Exchequer a total revenue of $486,605,000. She received back for local uses $97,637,500, leaving a balance for Imperial purposes of $388,970,000. Ireland with practically the same population as Scotland, contributed only $186,375,000, receiving back for local uses $110,807,500, and contributing toward Imperial expenditure a sum of only $75,567,500. It will be seen that while Ireland's contribution to the British Exchequer is much less than that of England or Scotland, she receives back a much larger proportion for her own internal uses. The enemies of Great Britain claim that Ireland's contribution for Imperial purposes represents a loss to her of $75,567,500. Surely, however, it will be conceded that as a part of the British Isles she ought to contribute something toward the protection of her coasts, policing of the seas and trade routes, payment of the huge war debt, and upkeep of National affairs generally. But apart from the question of obligation, is this sum a loss to her? Last year she received back $60,000,000 in war pensions, separation allowances, and gratuities to ex-soldiers, sailors and their dependents living in Ireland. Further, she received $21,500,000 as a bread subsidy, whereby the cost of every loaf of bread consumed in Ireland was reduced in price by six cents. Ireland also received last year more than $5,000,000 as out-of-work donation. These figures will illustrate some of the ways — and there are many others — in which she indirectly receives back much more than she contributed for Imperial purposes. The plea of overtaxation is therefore groundless, and the day on which Ireland should cut adrift from Great Britain would be to her a day of disaster and financial ruin.
THE PLEA OF OPPRESSION
Sinn Fein also declares that Ireland is denied any real voice in her own affairs. If Parliamentary representation be a test, how does she stand? Ireland, with a population let it be remembered roughly equal to that of Scotland, sends 105 representatives to the British Legislature, while Scotland sends only 75. Ireland's representatives are elected on a basis of one to every forty thousand of the people, whereas the representatives from England or Scotland are elected on a basis of one to every seventy-three thousand of the people. Thus the vote of one Irishman is almost equal to the votes of two Englishmen or Scotsmen, and the Irish vote has often been the controlling influence in the British Legislature.
In addition, the 32 counties of Ireland possess their own local Councils and again these counties are subdivided into districts, and by the same franchise, district councillors are elected. All such are Irishmen, chosen by the people to carry on local government in each county, and to strike their own rates of taxation within their own borders. No outside power can interfere with the local rates of the county. In twenty-seven of these counties all the county councils and most of the district councils are composed of Roman Catholics. To every office in their gift, these men invariably appoint only people of their own creed. Yet they are the first to charge the Protestant people of Ulster with bigotry. Thus incidentally the charge of Protestant ascendancy in Ireland is completely disproved. Ireland has indeed the fullest voice in her own affairs.
It is also stated by certain self-constituted envoys from America, who paid a flying visit to Ireland, that men and women are being brutally treated in Irish prisons. We wish to point out that in passing sentence on persons convicted of seditious offenses of a minor character, the various law courts in Ireland desired only to bind over such persons to be of good behavior for to say, twelve months, and to refrain from treasonable practices. On agreement, the prisoners were at once discharged. On the other hand, if they refused to give such an undertaking the alternative was a short term of imprisonment. Sinn Fein agitators, in order to pose as martyrs before the Irish people and their friends in America, refused to enter into recognizances and therefore elected to go to prison. When in prison they refused to eat good wholesome food, and proceeded to abuse the jailors and to damage the buildings. In Belfast they destroyed a whole wing of the prison, property valued at $10,000. On the complaint of the Sinn Feiners and the "American envoys" a government commission presided over by a distinguished judge, was set up to investigate the charges of alleged brutality to prisoners. The complainants refused to appear and make good their case, and the commission found the charges to be entirely groundless.
On the other hand, can any government abrogate its functions to the extent of tolerating the following state of affairs, now alas ! rampant throughout the south and west of Ireland? Sinn Feiners with blackened faces approach the dwelling houses of peaceable, law-abiding people, Catholic and Protestant alike. On the door being opened a revolver is pointed at the hapless occupier. The marauders shout "Hands up!" and the house is thoroughly searched for arms. Policemen and military officials and civilians have been brutally murdered in the discharge of their duty, and the criminals have gone unpunished, as no one will come forward to give evidence against them. For other offenses against the law it is practically impossible to obtain a conviction, the boards of Magistrates in the disaffected districts being notoriously Sinn Fein in their sympathies. Even if the magistrates desired, they dare not convict through terror of reprisal. Because of this, the government has been obliged in certain disaffected areas, to set up special courts over which preside two paid magistrates who possess no local interest and who can, therefore, discharge the duties of the law without fear. In the higher courts where trial by jury obtains, jurors have been afraid or unwilling to convict in the face of the clearest evidence and therefore in such areas, trial by jury has been temporarily suspended. The following illustrates the state of matters in the south and west:
A few months ago sixteen young Methodist soldiers were peacefully entering the Methodist church in Fermoy, County Cork, for purposes of worship. They carried their rifles, lest in their absence from barracks they should be stolen, but they carried no ammunition whatever. Suddenly they were attacked by a party of armed Sinn Feiners who foully murdered one of them in the doorway and wounded others. The ruffians made their escape in automobiles standing ready, and from that day to this, not one of them has been arrested.
THE PLEA OF DEPOPULATION
A favorite topic with Sinn Fein is that of the depopulation of Ireland, which they ascribe to the conduct of Great Britain. They conveniently ignore the fact that at the time of the Act of Union in 1800 the population of Ireland was 4,000,000, and that in less than forty years, under the Act of Union, the population increased to 8,000,000. The Union, therefore, cannot be the cause of depopulation. The factors causing depopulation were:
First — The desolating famine of 1846. The potato was the staple food of the people, and exhaustion of the soil through lack of fertilizers destroyed the crop for two disastrous years. In the overcrowded agricultural districts of the west this caused widespread havoc, and no government could avert the consequences of old and defective land economics and violated laws of nature. Even today it is the work of the congested district board by proper apportionment of the people to the soil and the soil to the people, and, by the general development of agriculture, fishing and railways, to make impossible any repetition of that tragedy.
Second — The inability of Ireland to compete with the vast volume of agricultural imports which, with open markets, began to pour in from overseas, caused many to seek brighter prospects across the ocean.
Third — The wide opportunities offered by the opening up of new lands in America and elsewhere drew multitudes of Irish people from their country. Those causes, so far as they belong to defective land laws, economic conditions and the social framework, it has long been the aim of legislation to remove.
WHAT THE BRITISH PARLlAMENT HAS DONE FOR IRELAND
In order to redress the grievances from which Irish tenants suffered, owing to defective systems of land tenure, the British government has advanced $700,000,000 at 3 1/4 per cent interest in order that the farmers might purchase their holdings. This low rate of interest wipes out both principal and interest in seventy years, so that after that time there is nothing further to pay. Three-fourths of the whole country is now so purchased and belongs to the peasant occupiers. There is no land system in Europe to compare with this. Scotland and England would gladly possess it.
The British government has loaned, through the district councils of Ireland for the building of laborer's cottages, the sum of $25,000,000 at 2.08 per cent interest. Between 50,000 and 80,000 of these cottages are now built. They are neat, four-roomed dwellings, built of stone, with slated roofs and with from half an acre to an acre of land attached. They are let to the laborer at the nominal rent of from 30 to 36 cents weekly. These weekly payments will at the end of fifty years clear off the entire liability to the British government. The cottages will then become the property of the district councils, to be held in trust by them for the laborers. The money derivable from the rents will then go to the relief of the rates in the districts in which they are set up. Is there any country today which can furnish evidence of greater beneficence to the workers on its soil? Neither England nor Scotland possesses a boon like this.
It is charged by Sinn Fein that Great Britain has prevented or retarded the development of Ireland. The preceding facts are part of the reply to this. In addition, the British government annually spends $1,250,000 for the development of what are known as the congested districts of the west of Ireland. This money is distributed by the congested districts board, consisting of official representatives of the government, local representatives, together with two Roman Catholic bishops and several Roman Catholic priests. Harbours have been built free of cost and curing stations erected for the furtherance of the fishing industry. Motor launches have been sold to the fishermen on the instalment system, payment being made as profits are earned, while experts have been brought from Scotland to teach the Irish how to fish profitably their own seas. Light railways have been built to carry the produce of land and sea to the proper markets, and fresh fish from the west coast of Ireland can now reach the London markets in twenty-four hours.
Ireland is no poverty-stricken land. Before the war the Irish people had on deposit in the Irish banks a sum of $380,000,000. Today after five years this sum. Has increased to the amazing amount of $760,000,000. A large proportion of this presumably belongs to the Sinn Feiners of Ireland. There is, therefore, no necessity to go outside of the country for money if the Sinn Feiners are really desirous of promoting industries. If further testimony is needed as to the prosperity of Ireland the words of the late Mr. John Redmond, spoken July 1, 1915, will suffice:
"Today the people, broadly speaking, own the soil. Today the laborers live in decent habitations, today there is absolute freedom in local government and local taxation of the country. Today we have the widest parliamentary and municipal franchise. The congested districts, the scene of some of the most awful horrors of the old famine days, are being transformed. The farms have been enlarged, decent dwellings have been provided, and a new spirit of hope and independence is today among the people. In town, legislation has been passed facilitating the housing of the working classes — a piece of legislation far in advance of anything obtained for the town dwellers of England. We have a system of old age pensions in Ireland whereby every old man and women over 70 is saved from the workhouse and free to spend their last days in comparative comfort."
THE PLEA OF SELF-DETERMINATION
It is claimed by Sinn Fein that Ireland is a nation, and as a nation possesses the right to secede from Great Britain and set up an independent government. We emphatically deny this claim and all Irish History is against it. Father McDonald, Professor of Theology, of Maynooth, the great training college for the priesthood in Ireland, deals with the claim. The words of Dr. McDonald may surely be expected to have weight with Sinn Fein.
In his recent book, "Some Ethical Questions of Peace and War," he denies that Ireland has the rights of a separate nation, and he plainly declares what all history makes evident, that she never was a nation, "if unity of rule and independence are requisites of nationhood." Ireland in ancient times was but a congeries of warring tribes that never combined for any common purpose.
In the year 1172 Henry II went to Ireland with the authority of a Bull issued by Pope Adrian IV, confirmed by another Bull promulgated by his successor, Pope Alexander III. He invaded Ireland for the purpose of restoring order, and the Irish chiefs submitted to him. This was the first occasion on which Ireland knew anything of real unity, and it was created for her by Henry II. Two centuries later, in 1395, in the reign of Richard II, the chiefs reaffirmed their submission, but in the reign of Henry VIII the allegiance of Ireland to England was emphatically confirmed by a Parliament which met in Dublin on June 12th, 1541, and which formally recognized Henry as King of Ireland.
Coming to the reign of Charles I, a Catholic Confederation met in Kilkenny on October 24, 1642. This was an assembly representing Roman Catholic Ireland, and one of its: decrees was to the effect that "All the inhabitants of Ireland and each of them shall be most faithful to our sovereign the King and his heirs and lawful successors." Fifty years after in the reign of James II the Patriot Parliament convened in Dublin in 1689, and presided over by the King in person, recognized him not only as King of England but as sovereign of Ireland.
Will Sinn Fein still assert that Ireland was a nation, and will it still be maintained that Great Britain has not fund never had any right to rule in Ireland?
Still it is asserted in the face of these facts that she possesses the right to what is called self-determination. There is much confusion of thought regarding this phrase, as if it implies that any community forming part of a larger whole, by its own will may break away and set up an independent government. Dr. McDonald has a good deal to say regarding this. He points out that self-determination of a portion of a country cannot be admitted unless no injury is to be done to the country as a whole.
Ireland is and has been for many centuries a part of the United Kingdom and her secession would disastrously affect the group of which she forms a part. When a large portion of the United States of America, including many of the Southern states, claimed the right of secession and self-determination, Abraham Lincoln denied the claim and the North carried on the great war to prevent secession, Lincoln held, and most people now admit rightly held, that the forming of an independent government in the South would spell disaster to the United States. The same applies to Britain today in relation to Ireland.
Assuming, however, that Ireland possesses the right to secede, this right equally belongs to that part of Ireland in which Unionists and Protestants predominate. There are two peoples in Ireland, differing in race, mentality and religion. If Ireland may secede from Great Britain, Ulster may secede from the rest of Ireland, choosing how she shall be governed. Lincoln, in American politics, faced the same kind of problem which faces Great Britain and Ireland, and he enunciated this principle:
"A minority of a large community who make certain claims for self-government cannot in logic or in substance refuse the same claims to a much larger proportionate minority among themselves."
Lincoln applied this in 1860. The majority in the state of Virginia decided to join with the South. In the western portion of the state was a large compact minority who refused to secede from the North. Lincoln recognized their right and created for them the state of West Virginia. On this analogy if Sinn Fein Ireland possesses the right to secede from Britain, then Protestant Ulster may claim the right to decide her own form of Government.
But the claim of Sinn Fein to part company from the United Kingdom cannot for a moment be allowed. Great Britain could not afford to let Ireland go. The war has made vivid the fact that if the Sinn Fein rebellion had succeeded and the German landing had taken place in Ireland, it would have been a deadly blow to Britain. An Ireland of Sinn Fein dreams would be a menace not only to the peace of Britain, but that of Europe and the world. With her limited resources and peculiar strategic position, Ireland would inevitably give rise to complex international situations. For Ireland's sake she must remain an integral portion of the United Kingdom. Left to herself, she would lapse into a state of internecine strife. Ninety-five per cent of Ireland's trade is done with Britain, and with the fiscal barriers which as an independent country she would immediately set up, her trade with Britain would perish. No other country needs the fruit of her agricultural industry, and Great Britain could draw supplies from European and other regions overseas. For Ireland's sake, as much as for Britain's interest, the union must forever abide.
SINN FEIN AND THE WAR
It is fair at this point to apply the test of the Great War to the record of Sinn Fein in Ireland. When the Allies in their fight for the higher freedom of the world were sorely pressed, Sinn Fein stabbed them in the back by raising rebellion in Ireland. Clear proof exists that this movement was carried out in concert with Germany. A shipload of German arms carried by a German crew and intended for the rebels, was intercepted off the Irish coast. Sir Roger Casement, who came straight from Germany in a submarine with assurances of help, was captured on the coast of Kerry. The rebellion, though in its main purpose frustrated, involved frightful destruction of life and property. It also realized Germany's wish to compel the retention of British troops at home. The words of Admiral Sims in "World's Work" of November, 1919, describe the subsequent activities of Sinn Fein:
"It was no secret the Sinn Feiners sending information to Germany and constantly laying plots to interfere with the British-American navies."
At the outset of the war, young Catholic Ireland responded hopefully to the call of duty. Who has not heard of the gallant Munster, Leinster and Connaught regiments, predominantly Catholic as they were? Sinn Fein, however with its bitter anti-British propaganda, killed voluntary recruiting, and following upon this came the crowning reproach. A fighting race was prevented from sending its full quota of men to join their hard-pressed countrymen in the Irish regiments. Against this dark background stands out the example of Ulster. In Ulster out of a population of 1,581,686, 75,000 men volunteered, while from the rest of Ireland with a population of 2,808,523, 70,000 enlisted. From the city of Belfast with a population of 400,000, 46,000 joined the colors. When it is remembered that in Ulster are the great industries which furnished so much of the war material, and that large numbers of men were needed to operate these, the contribution of the northeast is all the more striking. Ulster shipyards did 10 per cent of all the government work in the United Kingdom. Ulster made 95 per cent of all the aeroplane cloth used by the Allies. The Ulster Unionist members of Parliament pressed the government to apply conscription to Ireland, and there is no more thoroughly progressive body of men at Westminster than the Unionists of Ulster. In the matter of social reform they are alongside the best minds of the United Kingdom. Out of 22 members 18 of them are pledged to further for Ireland such a local option temperance measure as Scotland will possess next year.
Such facts will indicate something of the mentality and ideals of Protestant Ulster. It is not bigotry that desires to preserve in fact and form the integrity of the United Kingdom. It is not bigotry that fears the usurpation by ecclesiastical power of the inherent functions of the State.
WHAT IS WRONG IN IRELAND
It is freely admitted that in olden times Ireland suffered disabilities and wrongs at the hands of England. Let it be remembered, however, that it is only within comparatively recent years that humanitarian principles have begun truly to come to their own among peoples. In the olden days among all nations the strong hand was an argument freely employed. Whatever the wrongs Ireland endured, and often she was herself greatly to blame, for many years past the story of Britain's dealing with her has been one of a generous endeavor to enfranchise, to benefit, and to bless.
Let it also be remembered that Protestants in Ireland suffered from oppressive legislation and that Presbyterians united with Roman Catholics to oppose harassing evils. But the living fact today is that the descendants of those Presbyterians are among the staunchest defenders of the Union which Sinn Fein seeks to dismember.
The Highlands of Scotland in the olden times suffered from harassments comparable to those which vexed Ireland, yet today there are no more loyal regions in all the realms of Britain than the Scottish Highlands. The whole land of Scotland, paying four times the amount of annual contribution which Ireland pays, is unalterable in her adhesion to the integrity of the United Kingdom.
When we come to seek for the explanation of Ireland's troubles, we are brought face to face with obtrusive facts. In those regions in which the Roman Catholic church is dominant, the extraordinary authority of the priesthood over their people is often used in ways frustrating or retarding legitimate trade and industry. This takes effect in the southern provinces when Protestants, who throughout Ireland are the pioneers of industry, come under their ban. The following case will illustrate many others which could be given:
Some time ago there lived in a small town on the borders of Cavan and Longford a young merchant engaged in the grocery and provision trade. Wishing to develop his business he added a bakery branch and soon was known as the vendor of the best bread in the district. Eve was a Presbyterian, but the district was about eight-tenths Roman Catholic. He was not at that time a politician or a party man of any kind whatever. He only desired to live quietly and in a friendly fashion, developing his business. He was boycotted. One day a respected Roman Catholic lady customer called and requested to know the amount of her indebtedness to his store. He was surprised and sought an explanation, the time for payment not being due. She broke into tears, said she had no fault to find with him or the goods sold. She had done business with him and his predecessor for years. Her parish priest, she said, had ordered her to pay her account and never again to enter the store. She went on to say that after a private mass celebrated at her house, she was entertaining the priest and other guests to breakfast. The priest, looking at a loaf of bread upon the table, asked who had made it. On being told that it had been brought at the store of this Protestant merchant, he lifted the loaf and threw it on the floor saying that he would not eat in her house until she procured a "decent Roman Catholic loaf." He proceeded to forbid her purchasing further in this merchant's store. In the same manner this merchant lost dozens of his Roman Catholic customers and realizing that there was no hope of liberty to develop his business, he removed north. He is now, as the result of his energy, at the head of a large manufacturing business, giving employment to many people.
A story such as this with all its serio-comic revelation of the priestly mind, goes far to explain the lack of initiative and progress in southern and western Ireland.
There are in Ireland two claimants to civil power. There is, on the one hand, the State and on the other the Hierarchy of the Roman Church. Acting sometimes in accordance with the will of the State and at other times opposing that will, the Hierarchy evidences its consistent claim to be the dominating factor in civil as well as religious affairs in Ireland. Where power is, there lies the seat of government, and no state can toll erate the continued passing of its power into the keeping of any other authority. Let us illustrate briefly how the power of the Bishops rules in Ireland.
Michael Davitt, himself a Roman Catholic and a leader in Irish political life, was roused to an amazing protest against the Bishops' "eternal hungering after political influence and temporal power," and their "assumption of authority to dictate to laymen what they should think and do in the affairs of the nation."
The government in 1916, while the war was raging, and in order to achieve a settlement in Ireland, proposed to put the 1914 Home Rule Act into force, with the exclusion of six Ulster counties. This proposition was accepted by Mr. John Redmond and Sir Edward Carson, but was vetoed by the Hierarchy and the matter dropped.
In 1917 on the suggestion of the Prime Minister, Mr. Lloyd George, a convention of representative Irishmen was set up in Dublin to draw up a scheme of settlement of the Irish Question. This was a gathering of all creeds. The Sinn Feiners alone refused to attend, but in spite of their absence, it is admitted that this was an assembly representative of Irish life. After many months of meeting and at a point when fiscal policy was under discussion, a significant thing happened. When John Redmond was accepting certain moderate propositions, the Roman Catholic Bishops were insisting on drastic terms. Redmond arose and after referring to an amendment in his own name, proceeded:
"But when I came to the Convention this morning I found that I was opposed by three of the highest dignitaries of my own church, some of my political friends also disagreed with me, and though I believe I could carry a majority of the convention with me, it would split my party and I cannot see that any useful purpose would be served thereby. I would therefore ask leave to withdraw my amendment as I feel I can be of no further use in the matter."
Thus the only statesman southern and western Ireland possessed, against his own judgment, bowed before a will more powerful than his own. John Redmond walked out from the Convention and in a few short weeks his life drew to a close. The Convention came to an end. With such forces as Redmond and the Hierarchy divided against themselves, what hope was there of a settlement being reached?
In 1917 conscription had drawn to the colors even the middle-aged men of England, Scotland and Wales, and when these lands were being bled white it was proposed to apply conscription to Ireland. The Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church met and denounced the proposal. Archbishop Walsh called it an oppressive and inhuman outrage. The proposal came to nothing.
It may not be generally known that in Ireland the cost of Primary Education is altogether paid by the government, while for the most part control is in the hands of the clergy. On the part of Protestants, especially in Ulster, there is a strong desire to have the control of primary education placed in the hands of duly elected public bodies, such authorities having power to strike a local education rate. Reform of this kind is bitterly opposed by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, who resent any interference with their control of education. Owing to the extraordinary growth during recent years of the city of Belfast, and to the fact that during the war building operations had entirely ceased, it was found that the school accommodation was inadequate. On account of this, several thousands of children were left unfurnished with educational facilities. The city council formulated a scheme which was embodied in a Bill introduced into the House of Commons by a Belfast Unionist Labor Member, supported by all the Unionist Members from Ulster. The local Roman Catholic bishop, through his Parliamentary friends, opposed the bill so strenuously that being a private measure, it could not pass. Thus even the great predominantly Protestant city of Belfast is frustrated in its educational ideals by the representatives of Rome.
In face of the above facts, it will be evident that the problem of Ireland is one of deep and wide issues. It is not merely a question of Home Rule. From the statements in this article it will be evident that Ireland possesses the essentials of wide and generous liberty. She is not a Poland striving for freedom. It will also be noted how she dealt with the Home Rule scheme presented to her, and how it fared with a convention of Irishmen assembled to prepare a scheme of government for their land.
But Home Rule is not the vital question. It is a question of separation and this will never be conceded.
Sinn Fein in pressing its propaganda upon America, seeks to appeal to the sympathy of a freedomloving people. To this freedom-loving people we present our case.
In calling for America's aid for its cause, Sinn Fein reminds the people of the United States of the part Irishmen played in the War of Independence. Irishmen played a great part in achieving the victory of America's cause, but they were not the forefathers of Sinn Fein Ireland. Up to the forties of last century there was little more than a trickle of Roman Catholic emigration from Ireland to America. The Irishmen who stood with Washington were almost entirely Ulster men and their descendants, Protestants of Ireland, and they formed 38 per cent of his victorious forces.
We place our case with confidence before the jury of the American people. We ask that they do not allow themselves to be deflected from the path of impartial consideration of the subject. Believing, as we do, that the welfare of the future largely lies in their keeping, we desire the fullest and most intimate understanding between the peoples of America and Great Britain.
In this spirit we submit to the people of the great American Republic these few facts relating to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
* * *
THE COMMON GOOD
Bro. Joseph Fort Newton, New York
ONE OF THE supreme needs of our time, as its deepest thinkers agree, is a conception of the Common Good worthy of our human enterprise; the perception that the good of humanity as a whole actually exists — not as a dream, but as a reality — and that the good of any race, nation or class can only be realized in the community of interest and obligation. For that reason the ancient word is as true today as it was ages ago, and as true of a nation as of an individual: "Who seeks his own loses the things in common."
In one of his poems William Morris speaks of the problems of our day as a "tangled wood," until they are seen in the light of life's meaning as a whole, and
"looking up, at last we see The glimmer of the open light, From o'er the place where we would be: Then grow the very brambles bright."
Many great seers and thinkers have looked up seeking the meaning of life, the goal of its uprising passion and desire, the purpose of its organization in the home, in the state, in industry, in moral fellowship and spiritual faith; and thus have tried to point the way out of the "tangled wood" in which we wander.
Plato dreamed of an ideal Republic but his vision no longer satisfies us, because of its stratification of society into castes. There is the Augustinian vision of the City of God, written when the Eternal City was reeling to its fall — not to name our modern Utopias of many and various kinds — in which we see the human mind trying to form a worthy conception of the goal of human development. But all these dawns are dwarfed by the ideal that shone in the mind of the man of Galilee, to whom we owe a vision equal, alike in its nobility and grandeur, to our human undertaking. In nothing did the gentle Teacher more assuredly reveal His greatness than in His amazing faith in the communal redemption of humanity; His vision of mankind living by the law of love in a Beloved Community here, now, upon earth. He called it the Kingdom of Heaven, and He exhausted the resources of His incomparable speech — fresh as the dew and bright with colour — to make it real and vivid to men.
If the same ideal be set forth in the symbolism of Freemasonry, it is a vision of a living Temple — noble, stately, sheltering all the holy things of humanity — slowly rising in the midst of the ages; a Temple building and built upon, each workman not only a builder, but himself a living stone, foursquare and finely wrought, to be built into the whole; each generation of builders adding an arch, a pillar, or a spire — as the grey old cathedrals were uplifted, strong and piteous, matching the masonry of the mountains in their grandeur, each race of Masons building upon the foundations laid by their vanished comrades. In height, in depth, in breadth and beauty it is the noblest vision that has come within sight of our groping human mind, in that it flashes before even the dullest mind a vision of something immortal — a sequence of aim and obligation, of cooperative fellowship, which annuls the ephemeral and reveals the eternal in time.
Such must be our insight and faith, if our fraternal sentiment is not to evaporate in misty eloquence, or else be only a rope of sand; the faith that we are fellow-workers with the eternal Creative Goodwill, and therefore made to be not only Builders but Brothers, made to share the large innocence of nature and the unfailing love of God who cares more for a brother than for all possessions; and that if we do not live after the law of our highest nature, a veil falls over the beauty of the world, leaving us to wander alone or to struggle together in confusion and strife. For, if we are to have a philosophy, much less an ethic, of fraternity we must learn "that goodness is not merely some form of similar activity of self and neighbour, but is really an attitude of each to the other; the realization, indeed, of spiritual kinship and unity," [Self and Neighbour, by W. T. Hirst] — in short, that goodness is community, fellowship, mutuality, and that it takes two men and God to make a brother.
More specifically, as the world now stands, we are faced by four great and urgent issues, if our civilization is to endure, much less fulfil its beneficent mission. Each of these issues demands a commanding vision of the Common Good, each is a challenge to the practical brotherliness of humanity, and if we are to meet them we must not lose "the glimmer of the open light." First, and chiefly, we must organize the goodwill of the world and make an end of war, otherwise war will leave the Temple of Man a charred and smoking ruin, as it has well nigh done today. Second, we must meet the threat of a corrosive anarchy with a profounder sense of communal fellowship and obligation, in which each counts for one and nobody for more than one, joined with a sense of the sanctity of the common will expressed in law, order, and the fair humanities of society.
Third, so long as distances were great, and races lived far apart, friction was not keenly felt, but today the world has shrunk to the size of a neighbourhood and many races mingle. Inter-racial relations will be an acute and vital matter in the days that lie ahead of us, doubly so in our Republic where one feels always the presence of racial suspicion. As a welter of rancors, as a wrangle of irritations it is hopeless; only brotherliness can solve it. Fourth, the tangle of industrial unrest is hopeless if its issues are left to be fought over by extremists, and the struggle may shatter a society already cracked by the shock of world-war, here, again, there is no hope save in a gradual deepening of communal interest and responsibility, until, at last, private interest and vested interest are subordinate to the Common Good. Inevitably, in the long last, the common good will replace selfish interest as the ruling motive, even in the market-place, as necessity dictated during the war.
Henceforth we must measure and interpret all human activities and institutions as they stand in the service of the Common Good; as they are related to the Temple whose builders we are. Not alone the Lodge, but the Church, the State, the Home, the organization of life in art, in science, in industry, in moral endeavour and immortal hope, have here their sanction and consecration. Not otherwise may we know the worth and meaning of our individual lives — so brief, so broken, so beshadowed — save as we see them in the fellowship of the large purpose of the Master Builder. So, and only so, are we redeemed from insignificance and futility, and our fleeting days endowed with epic power and prophecy. It is when we enlist as the fellow-workers of the Eternal that life reveals its own eternal quality, and we learn the final answer to all pessimisms, all cynicisms, and all scepticisms whatsoever.
The New Age stands as yet
Half built against the sky,
Open to every threat
Of storms that clamour by.
Scaffolding veils the walls
And dim dust floats and falls
As moving to and fro, their tasks
The Masons ply.
* * *
AT ONE WITH ALL THAT'S HEART
Bro. L. B. Mitchell, Michigan
To be at one with all that is that's heart
Would seem to be the mastery of the art
Of knowing well the mistress of the earth
That mothers us and holds for us its worth.
The nature realm is all at her command,
The beautiful is lavish at her hand;
We're quite at home within her mystic spell
Because she knows the needs of heart so well.
The span of life reveals her thought and care
And she so oft anticipates the prayer.
The while we live we motherly are blest
And find in her, repose at last, at rest.
O, it is grand to live the conscious part
Of this old world, at one with all that's heart!
* * *
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN — NO. 37
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 "Third 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 preceding 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.
MAKE THE "QUESTION BOX" THE FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
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 VITAL, PARTS OF THE BREAST" AND "THE GOLDEN BOWL AND THE SILVER CORD"
At the time you received your Third degree what particular impression did the method of reception make upon you? Did you look upon this particular part of the ceremony as simply a matter of routine, or did you endeavour to think out for yourself the true meanings of the words "friendship, morality and brotherly love"?
Can a man who lives a secluded life apart from his fellows be said to know the true meaning of happiness? Has the friendship of fellow-members of your own lodge and those of other lodges with whom you have come into close contact been a help to you since you became a member of the Fraternity? Has this friendship caused you to change your opinion of any of the fellow-members of your own lodge with whom you had but a speaking acquaintance prior to your becoming a Mason? Has your own mind been broadened by such friendships?
What is your conception of the word "morality"? Has this word been misused? Is a system of morality necessary to the advancement of the human race? Why?
What is the derivation of the word "morality"? What was probably the sense in which it was first used? What has it become to mean in Christian times? What is "righteousness"? Give a few concrete examples of which you may have knowledge. What is "right"?
"How can brotherhood be possible among us men?" asks Brother Haywood. What is his solution? What is our idea as to how it may be accomplished?
(The Study Club leader should, before taking up the next section, read or have some member recite the Scripture reading of the Third degree.)
What was the evident purpose of the men who introduced this reading at this particular place in our ritual? What were your own feelings when the words fell upon your ears for the first time during our ceremonies? Did they portend at the time of anything that followed in the ceremonies?
What is the usually accepted interpretation of this passage of Scripture?
What is Brother Haywood's interpretation?
Have you ever heard an interpretation other than the two here given? If so, what is it?
* * *
Vol. I "When the Almond Tree Blossoms," p. 138.
Brotherly Love, p. 121; Friendship, p. 286; Points of Fellowship, p. 572.
Bro. H. L. Haywood, Iowa
PART II — RECEPTION — THE GOLDEN BOWL AND THE SILVER CORD
THE VITAL PARTS OF THE BREAST
Upon our entrance we were received in a manner peculiarly impressive; we were told that as the vital parts of the body are in the breast so are the vital things of the human world to be found in Friendship, Morality, and Brotherly Love. How vague are these words! We have rolled them around in our mouths so much that they have become smooth as billiard bags; they have been used so often for merely oratorical purposes that they have grown nebulous and abstract; and because they have become smooth and vague we are prone to let them slip through our minds without depositing their meaning behind them, a thing fatal to an understanding of Masonry, the essence of which lies in these three wonderful words.
Man is by nature a social being. It has been proved that he can not exist as a sane creature except he live among his fellows, for his very personality itself is a social product; the language on his lips implies another to hear and to understand; his emotions and affections seek another in whom to find satisfaction. Not until the individual has found other human individuals who can feel with him, think with him, and act with him can he know the meaning of happiness. But it is a part of the tragedy of our lives that we are so clumsy in uncovering our own souls, and others are so inexpert in understanding our secret feelings, that our fellowship is never complete, so that the music of companionship is continually being disturbed by jangling dissonances of misunderstanding. With a friend, however, it is different; he is one with whom we can live in harmony, as if the two lives could mingle like two streams, his thoughts and our thoughts merging and the two spirits living as one. Such a union is one of the sweetest experiences in all the world and he who has found his friend may well congratulate himself as one who has discovered the pearl of great price. Little wonder that our prophets and seers have so often broken into rhapsody on this theme! that our literature may count as its richest treasures such utterances as those of Emerson, Black, Trumbull, Montaigne, Bacon and Cicero on this theme!
Morality has been stretched to cover so many meanings, it has been forced into the support of so many conflicting meanings, and been made fellow to so many crimes against reason, that we can hardly blame many for refusing to discuss it or even to think of it. But the word is necessary because the idea of which it is the sign is a real and necessary idea. If men misuse it there is all the more reason for our learning how to rightly use it.
What is morality? It is derived from a Latin word meaning "custom," and it is probable that the Romans fast used it in the sense of living according to the custom. In Christian times a richer meaning was poured into it so that it has come to mean "the life of righteousness." But what is righteousness? It is living the right way, doing the light things, thinking the right thoughts, a very Masonic behaviour. But what is right? We might answer that question in two ways; we might say that the right is that which gives us the fullest, completest life, for it is the purpose of morality to give us life and give it more abundantly; or, we might say that right is conformity to the law of our being. As the scientist seeks to learn the laws of nature and to conform to them, so does a righteous man seek to discover the laws of his own nature in order to conform to them; he obeys the laws of the body by living clean and simply, he obeys the laws of the intellect by thinking facts without prejudice or haste, and he obeys the laws of the heart by loving only that which he finds to be good and true.
Of Brotherly Love much more might be said, though space may not permit, especially that Brotherly Love which Masonry inculcates. How can brotherhood be possible among us men? We are all so unbrotherly, we are so selfish, we are so quick to take or give offense. The solution of this troublesome problem lies in the fact that the one cure for unbrotherliness is brotherliness. We love our enemies that they may cease being enemies. We make friends in order to have friends. Brotherliness is a creative force. Brotherhood is not a thing already made, it is a condition we must create, so that the very presence of unbrotherliness is a challenge to brotherhood to do its best. When our fellows in lodge act thoughtlessly toward us, and bruise and hurt us, it is not for us to retaliate; insofar as we are true Masons we shall love them even though they are not lovable; simply because the only way in which we can make men lovable is by loving them. Brotherly Love, therefore, is a task, a kingly task, quite the greatest, the most important, inside the whole compass of life. Indeed, we may say that one of the chief purposes of Masonry is to mobilize all men of good will in order that they may help to brother the world into a world-wide brotherliness.
THE GOLDEN BOWL AND THE SILVER CORD
The sacred sentences which fall on the ears of the candidate as he makes his mystic round are so heavy with poignant beauty that one hesitates to intrude the harsh language of prose upon such strains of poetry, solemn sweet. We may well believe that the men who introduced the reading here had no other thought than that the words might the better create an atmosphere in which the coming drama of hate and doom might all the more impressively come home to the heart of the participants. If such was their purpose neither Shakespeare nor Dante could have found words or sentiments more appropriate to the hour. There is a music and majesty in the twelfth Chapter of Ecclesiastes which leaves us dumb with awe and wonder and our hearts open to the impressions of a tragedy along-side which the doom of Lear seems insignificant and vain.
For generations the commentators of Holy Writ have seen in the allegory of this chapter a reference to the decay of the body and the coming of death; to them the golden bowl was the skull, the silver cord was the spinal nerve, "the keepers of the house" were the hands, the "strong men" the limbs; the whole picture is made to symbolize the body's falling into ruin and the approach of death. One hesitates to differ from an interpretation so true in its application and so dignified by its associations. But it must be doubted whether the sad and disillusioned man who penned the lines possessed either the knowledge of human anatomy implied by the old interpretation or the intention to make his poem into a medical description of senility. A more thorough scholarship has come to see in the allegory a picture of the honour of death set forth by metaphors drawn from an Oriental thunderstorm.
It had been a day of wind and cloud and rain; but the clouds did not, as was usual, dispense after the shower. They returned again and covered the heavens with their blackness. Thunderstorms were so uncommon in Palestine that they always inspired fear and dread, as many a paragraph in the Scriptures will testify. As the storm broke the strong men guarding the gates of rich men's houses began to tremble; the hum of the little mills wherewith the women were always grinding at eventime suddenly ceased because the grinders were frightened from their toil; the women, imprisoned in the harems, who had been gazing out of the lattice to watch the activities of the streets, drew back into their dark rooms; even the revelers, who had been sitting about their tables through the afternoon, eating dainties and sipping wine, lost their appetites, and many were made so nervous that the sudden twitting of a bird would cause them to start with anxious surprise. As the terror of the storm, the poet goes on to say, so is the coming of death, when man "goes to his home of everlasting and mourners go about the streets." Whatever men may have been, good or bad, death brings equal terror to all. A man may have been rich, like the golden lamp hung on a silver chain in the palace of a king; he may have been as poor as the earthen pitcher in which maidens carried water from the public well, or even as crude as the heavy wooden wheel wherewith they drew the water; what his state was matters not, death is as dread a calamity to the one as to the other. When that dark adventure comes the fine possessions in which men had sought security will be vain to stay the awful passing into night. "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity." The one bulwark against the common calamity, the Preacher urges, is to remember the Creator, yea, to remember Him from youth to old age; to believe that one goes to stand before Him is the one and only solace in an hour when everything falls to ruin and the very desire to live has been quenched by the ravages of age and the coming of death.
* * *
THE FRATERNAL FORUM
Edited By Bro. Geo. E. Frazer
President, Board Of Stewards
- Geo. W. Baird, District of Columbia.
- Joseph Barnett, California.
- Wm. F. Bowe, Georgia.
- H. P. Burke, Colorado.
- Joe L. Carson, Virginia.
- R. M. C. Condon, Michigan.
- C. E. Creager, Oklahoma.
- John A. Danlla, Louisiana.
- Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
- Henry R. Evans, District of Columbia.
- H. D. Funk, Minnesota.
- Asahel W. Gage, Florida.
- Joseph C. Greenfield, Georgia.
- Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts.
- H. L. Haywood, Iowa.
- T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
- M. M. Johnson, Massachusetts.
- P. E. Kellett, Manitoba.
- John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
- Harold A. Kingsbury, Connecticut.
- Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
- Dr. G. Alfred Lawrence, New York.
- John F. Massey, Pennsylvania.
- Julius H. McCollum, Connecticut.
- Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
- Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
- Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin.
- John Pickard, Missouri.
- A. G. Pitts, Michigan.
- C. M. Schenck, Colorado.
- Francis W. Shepardson, Illinois.
- Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
- Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
- Denman S. Wagstaff, California.
- S. W. Williams, Tennessee.
Contributions to this Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each writer who has contributed one or more articles to THE BUILDER. Subjects for discussion are selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today. Discussions of politics, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided, the purpose of the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal opinions of leading Masonic students. The contributing editors assume responsibility only for what each writes over his own signature. Comment from our Members on the subjects discussed here will be welcomed in the Question Box Department.
QUESTION NO. 15
What place ought the Masonic Lodge to fill in the Civic Life of the Community?
A Humanitarian Issue.
What place can the lodge fill in the civic life of the community?
The civil life of most communities is made up principally of religious and political activities, in neither of which is it our desire to become a party directly or indirectly, outside of these fields of activity there is little opening for the lodge in the smaller communities.
Were it otherwise we could wage eternal war on the encroachments of Rome, for example, or support any candidate for office who would use his every effort to keep separate the Church and State, and the "Little Red School House" safe for the Flag.
As it stands, practically every Mason directly, or indirectly through his family connections, is connected with some religious, social, or political organization working for the benefit of humanity.
There is a field in which the Masonic organization might become a power in the land; viz.: The organizing of America — of the world — in a fight to the finish against the "White Plague" — Tuberculosis.
Each brother might become a volunteer in the great war against this scourge of humanity. Each lodge a centre for the collection and classification of those affected. Each Grand Lodge or Jurisdiction a member of a National Masonic Anti-Tubercular League, whose funds would be spent, not for the benefit of Freemasons or their families alone, but for the benefit of the nation at large.
Over 67,000 young men were eliminated from our draft and over 22,000 from our camps on account of the "White Plague"; this 90,000 represent a large percentage of our national manhood, to say nothing of possibly a like number of our womanhood. What has been done for these youths? NOTHING — They were turned back into civil life, a horrible thought to contemplate.
Here was an opportunity for the Freemasons of America, the opportunity still exists to take every case and assume responsibility for its correction, alleviation, or cure. We could establish camps like our military training camps, well located, and of great capacity, or take over those already in existence before they are relegated to the dump pile, or scrap heap, and in these establish our National Masonic Tubercular Camps, where these suspects and those already affected could be systematically and scientifically handled, free of all expense to the individual, the community, or the nation, but carried on by the voluntary subscriptions of the Craft at large, or by assessments systematically collected from the brotherhood by all the Grand Jurisdictions through their dependent lodges.
We are continually being asked what we as Masons are doing for the benefit of humanity at large and the good of our various communities in particular? and I ask you what? With what pride we would point to such a scheme, or any such effort for the amelioration of the condition of our suffering fellow creatures, and give the world a concrete example of what we Freemasons mean when we speak of the "Brotherhood of Man."
— J. L. Carson, Virginia.
* * *
The "Disinterested Mind," A Problem.
The place of the Masonic Lodge in the civic life of the community is that of a community fountain from which flows Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice.
The public mind is seriously agitated. Labor strikes; doubtful condition of industrial investments; ever ascending scale of prices; active, pernicious efforts of the demagogue; economic and political uncertainties; these seem to be hastening the average community into a frenzy.
We must "sober up." Permanent solution can be the result of only sincere and dispassionate thought. We cannot depend upon the decision of a "disinterested" mind for we are all directly interested in the serious problems which confront us. We must bring our minds to a condition fit for discernment and decision.
The Masonic lodge affords a place for all good men to learn to subdue their passions. There contending minds may meet on the level; there the searching rays of the Great Light may expose the selfishness, the prejudice, the avarice, the vices which now threaten the security of our established institutions; there those discordant passions now within us may be dissolved; there both wisdom and courage are inspired by the Grand Master.
The lodge is useless to the community unless those fortunate citizens who enjoy its privileges will by counsel and example extend its beneficent influences beyond the tiled precincts of the lodge room. With his own passions subdued, his mind free from prejudice, his ambitions stripped of personal interest, the Mason is in position to counsel, to influence and to lead, not only in normal conditions but in times like the present. Whenever those Masonic cardinal principles have found a permanent place in the life of the community, the lodge will indeed have performed its function as a pure and beneficent fountain and a solution for our present threatened crisis will have been afforded.
— C. E. Creager, Oklahoma.
* * *
You ask, "What place ought the lodge to fill in the civic life of the community?" My view is none, as a lodge, save to so impress the lessons of Masonry on its votaries that they will be better citizens in all respects. We are an unique organization. Our basic principles include all good in religions, politics, (in its highest sense) and personal life, but in no particular should they ever be specific. Each mind views each question from a different angle and each Mason should be permitted to be active in all civic affairs according to his personal views. The lodge should be his resting place, free from all mention of religious or political (civic if you prefer the term) questions.
This is the Virginian conception of Masonry's mission and has been for more than 150 years. Agitation for what is termed "a progressive science," west of the Mississippi is the great reason we are to a man determined to be led into no entangling alliances. I know this view will not please those we deem misguided Masons, who want General Grand Bodies and progressive movements in Masonry like the Masonic Service Association, and I doubt if this article will appear in the discussion at the triennial or be published in THE BUILDER, but you asked for my views and I give them frankly, and assure you that they are the views of Virginia to a man, so far as I am informed. We hold that the mission is to teach Masons to "walk uprightly in our several stations in life before God and Man." We do not interfere as to how he does it in either case.
— Jos. W. Eggleston, P. G. M., Virginia.
* * *
Education in Civic Duties.
The Masonic lodge in any community should fill its natural place as a source of all that is law abiding and elevating and be practically an institution that would evolve the highest type of citizenship. Men who would be able to draw the fine distinction between honor and honesty, men who would be able to discern the fact that the probity and morality of a community and a nation is only a reflex of that of each individual, men who will fearlessly stand for the right and who will not hesitate to express their opinions by speech and ballot.
A Mason, in his community, ought to stand for everything that will promote good government, administered in the interest of all the people and primarily as means to that end he should be an advocate of ample facilities for free public education, unrestricted and unhampered by the powers or doctrines of any church or creed.
Our lodges are prone to regard the conferring of degrees as the main reason for their being. In fact in this day of popular Freemasonry, they would appear to be degree mills pure and simple, when as a matter of fact part of the time should be devoted to the direct education of the membership upon lines indicative both of their civic and Masonic duties.
— John A. Davilla, Grand Secretary, Louisiana.
* * *
The Masonic Lodge, in my opinion, should fill its ancient place in the civic life of the community.
We may well strive to make our Fraternity do its work as well as did our elder brethren. They had a wonderfully broad experience and vision, even if a less specialized training than we have. Care must be taken, lest in trying to improve Masonry, we ruin it.
Franklin and Washington were often sorely tried, yet they did not drag Masonry into politics nor endeavor to make it a fraternal insurance association.
By training and inspiring men, Masonry has made the Revolutionary War and the United States Government a success.
Masonry is a progressive moral science. It is a course of ancient hieroglyphic moral instruction. That is its work and place in society.
Masonic principles, pure as crystal, were taught by the Great Teacher of men in the little Roman province of Judea. He pleaded with us, not that we work upon others but that we rebuild ourselves. He pleaded, not for organization, not for laws, not for a plan of governing others, but for the strength to govern ourselves. He taught and exemplified love and helpfulness. He taught us to forgive the sinner, the wrong doer, the persecutor. He admonished us to love one another and our enemies as ourselves.
Masonry advocates no particular religious creed but it teaches the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. It teaches the nobility of work and the justice, inevitability and mutual benefits of proper wages.
The Masonic lodge should teach all these things as principles and inevitable truths to be understood, absorbed and worked into the lives — of its members, not as a propaganda to be enforced by its organization.
Asahel W. Gage, Florida.
* * *
Get Facts Before Members.
Inasmuch as membership in every Masonic lodge includes the men of the community who are selected for their high moral qualifications, it goes without saying that they, both as individuals and collectively, should take a commanding place in all activities tending towards civic righteousness.
Never in the history of the world is this more important than at the present time when Bolshevism, class hatred, social unrest and a total disregard for law and order dominate the activities of a no inconsiderable element of the populations of most of the so-called civilized nations of the world.
The entire membership of every Masonic lodge should be actively identified with and take a commanding part in all movements, not only in the community but also in the State, Nation and the world at large, that tend towards the maintenance of public order, respect for the law, good living conditions for all, universal and compelling education (especially in the United States of not only all children but of all alien adults), of universal military training as a prerequisite for adequate preparedness, and finally of all movements of a constructive nature tending towards the higher moral, intellectual and social uplift of the community.
If such agencies are already in operation every Mason to the extent of his time and ability should identify himself with as many of the same as possible and render actual constructive service.
If such agencies are not in operation it should be the duty of Masons as individuals or as a lodge to organize such in their respective communities. By this I do not mean to indicate that these agencies should be designated as Masonic to the public but the Masons of the community should so direct their activities and take such a commanding part in the conduct and maintenance of the same that the other elements of the community would at once recognize that the membership of the Masonic lodge of their center is a vital and necessary part of every organization and movement for their betterment and uplift.
In the present condition of labor agitation and strikes together with the lack of cooperation between capital and labor the Mason and his Masonic lodge can do much towards bringing about a harmonious relation between the opposing factions. The vital necessity of maximum production to relieve the high cost of living and the fair proportion of profits to be apportioned between capital and labor together with the vicious circle resulting from strikes with consequent loss of production, loss of capital, loss of wages and consequent still higher cost of living can be presented with mathematical accuracy to every capitalist and laborer. If the two million Masons in the United States would take an active part in fearlessly and accurately presenting the exact situation, through their own agencies or civic agencies already organized, to every capitalist and every laborer in this broad land and use their united strength to the end that equitable dealings and absolutely good faith be maintained by all parties — the laborer, the capitalist and the public — strikes wou not only soon be a thing of the past but harmony and contentment would quickly prevail.
Masons as public spirited citizens can and should accomplish this result.
To sum up — the Masonic lodge, through its membership, should be the vital moving force for all that is best in the moral, social, civic and intellectual uplift of the community in which it is situated.
— G. Alfred Lawrence, New York.
* * *
"What place ought the Masonic lodge to fill in the civic life of the community?" The most intimate and closest possible, varying only with the different conditions and wants of that community. The lodge which lives under the idea that it is accomplishing the work prescribed under its charter by conferring a degree now and then, in a cloister-cell seclusion, and neglecting its duty to its community is neither a Masonic lodge, nor any other thing which is worthy of respect or consideration. The highest honor which can be conferred on a Masonic lodge is the civic crown of leaves, and the highest aim of its existence is to make Masons so that they can go out into their community and as a lodge become a civic asset; their influence felt in every good cause, the special guardians of the purity and integrity and efficiency of our public schools, taking up public work which can only be properly carried on by some influential organized institution, such as undertaking the working out and carrying forward of what is known as the Infant Welfare work of every community, as we do in Duluth, where we have the organization, the doctors, the nurses, the milk stations, the free clinics four times a week, free prescriptions, free everything in connection therewith, for instance, or the work of the Atlanta brethren in looking after the deformed children of their State, and other ways suitable to the needs of the community.
The field is so wide that every lodge can find something to do; the brethren of the lodge will feel that it is living for something, is accomplishing something Masonic, for Masonry is Work and Action. There is however, one rock to avoid, on which many split — don't go into partnership with anything, or anybody, neither church nor any other institution; pick out something you can swing alone and go to it alone; get on you overalls, don't scatter, don't depend on the women show them you can do something without them. Use the rules and landmarks of Masonry, if you know what they are, to guide you in all good works, and the closer you can get to the great public heart the better Masons you are, the wider your service to the public the better you are following out the tenets of the Order and the more sparkling the jewels of devotion and love of humanity you will be entitled to wear.
— T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
* * *
A Hidden Force.
The Masonic lodge, with its carefully chosen, worthy and well qualified, duly and truly prepared membership, should be the active, enlightened conscience of the community.
I do not think the Masonic lodge, as a body, is intended to or should take any part in public affairs. Such activities usually result in strife and dissension. If any worthy work is to be done there is almost always an outside organization at hand to take it up. The Masonic lodge membership should give it their personal and financial assistance but as a body it should not enter into competition. To my mind, the Masonic lodge will exert a greater and more lasting influence for good if it remains a silent, hidden, educative force which manifests only through the devoted activities of its individual members and then, not as Masons, but as men and citizens.
— John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
* * *
Fight for Principles.
It is quite difficult in a few words to define the place of a Masonic lodge in civic life. As Masonry can best be taught by means of symbols I would say that it should be as a great shining light whose burning radiance is as constant and eternal as truth. Our ancient brethren built their lodges either upon the hilltops or in low vales that they might detect the approach of enemies from all sides in the distance. Might we not say that it was significant also of a more important truth: that the principles upon which these lodges were founded and the lessons they taught should be seen and known by all men.
A Masonic lodge in a community should be evident by what it stands for and by what it teaches. It should be a source of knowledge having the confidence of all good people. If we study the history of Freemasonry as it is associated with that of civilization, we will readily see that Speculative Masonry is a result of civilization. We cannot conceive of Masonry in a barbarous country. Such a state of society has never been capable of introducing and maintaining its abstract principles of Divine Truth. We are told there are no Masonic lodges in Russia. This will account in a great measure for the lack of freedom in that country. Wherever Freemasonry abounds education will flourish and the banner of freedom will wave. With the advent in any country of a condition of civilization, Freemasonry has appeared, "grown with its growth, and strengthened with its strength," and in return has proved by a reactionary influence a patent instrument in extending, elevating and refining the civilization which gave it birth, by advancing its moral, intellectual and religious character.
The activities of a Masonic lodge in a civic community vary with the time in the life of a nation in which it exists, but at all times it should defend against all enemies, the eternal principles of liberty, justice and truth — upon which it is founded. I feel that we are slowly but steadily approaching a crisis, not in the life of one nation only, but of many — nations, and that the time for a Masonic educational campaign is here. The public at large should be enlightened as to what Freemasonry is, what it teaches, and what it means in the lives of men and nations, and especially should the younger generation be trained in the elementary principles and virtues which will prepare their minds and hearts for the reception of the greater lessons — the abstract principles of Divine Truth. While membership in a Masonic lodge is not essential to good citizenship, every Mason knows how hopeless our citizenship and the world would be without the principles upon which Masonry is founded and upon which it lives.
There is an erroneous idea in the minds of some that Freemasonry is a "secret society," and that there are within its teachings many and mysterious wonders which it would conceal from the world. The public should know the purpose and teachings of Freemasonry and that the secrets are only to safeguard to its members certain rights and privileges, essential to the Fraternity. They should know that the moral principles and the verities upon which Masonry is founded are applicable in every day and hour of a man's life, whether he be in the service of God and his fellowmen, at his usual vocation, or at refreshment and sleep. Why not make the Masonic Service Association both instructive and constructive, and through it, carry an educational campaign into every community?
— John F. Massey, Pennsylvania.
* * *
Endorse All Valuable Institutions.
If we use the word civics broadly it will include politics, municipal, county, state and national elections as well as charities, hospitals, Red Cross, libraries, clean streets, etc.
That a Masonic lodge as such, should dabble in politics is abhorrent. On the other hand no better expression of the broad principles of Masonic charity can be shown than by the support of all such worthy objects as tend to the physical, moral or spiritual betterment of the community.
It is well known that if a large number of people, closely allied, become imbued with a spirit; desire or principle, automatically that spirit, desire or principle will so permeate the community or section where they live that it will become the ruling atmosphere and that one who is unfamiliar with the section will feel such influence when coming into it.
I believe this is the place the Masonic lodge should take in the community. Such a spirit permeating the lodge would work like a leaven in the community and would wield a powerful influence. This spirit should show expression in the endorsement of all institutions for civic or civic betterment not only the institutions of brick and stone but institutions in the broadest sense.
— Julius H. McCollum, Connecticut.
* * *
Insist Upon Justice.
The Great War, in which all the world was engaged, is indeed ended; but the spirit of great unrest, which has come because of that war, is active throughout the whole world. And even in this fair land of ours there are not wanting those who, as they look into the future, can see nothing but disaster for all these institutions which we hold most dear; and there are some who can see no ray of hope. But we who belong to the Ancient Craft, as the returns come to us from all over the country, find that as never before men are besieging the doors of our lodges, seeking entrance into our time-honored institution. It is difficult for us to find time to initiate the great numbers who are knocking at our doors. This state of affairs brings with it privileges and also responsibilities. Responsibilities which affect not only the welfare of Freemasonry, but which are fraught with profound meaning for the welfare of our own country and for the welfare of the world at large.
In the various divisions of our Order there are many high sounding titles which, if they were coined today would seem to be absurd. But they come down to us with the fragrance of the life of a distant past clinging about them, and the ages have read into them a meaning which is peculiarly fine and strong. But among all the titles which Masonry has to show, the one which is of most worth in this age of the world is the simple one of Brother. When we pass the portals of the lodge, all titles which are worn outside in the world slip from us and it makes no difference what rank the member may hold outside of the hall, or what station he may occupy, he is, within the lodge room, simply one of the brethren.
Our martyred President once said that no great question is ever settled until it is settled right. So in this present time of unrest there is great need of an institution so big and so strong that it shall be able to say that all these questions which are now causing discontent can only be settled in one way. And that is the right way, the just way, the way in which brethren should settle all questions which arise among themselves. Therefore, it seems to me that Freemasonry, with all that Freemasonry means and implies, is an absolutely necessary thing in the world today, and that its principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth are the most necessary principles upon which the lives and actions of men should be based. Therefore, we, as members of Masonic lodges, should in our communities, in our states, in our nation, stand for the principles of sanity and righteousness; and should endeavor to see that no profiteer on the one hand, who is possessed of great wealth, shall oppress his neighbors; and that no Bolshevik on the other shall be able to pull down and destroy the splendid fabric of our Government. We should, as rapidly as possible, bring within our Order all good and worthy men of our communities, and then we should, not as members of a political party, but as citizens of the Great Republic, strive to see to it that perfect justice is meted out to all men alike.
— John Pickard, Missouri.
* * *
In the Charge of the Entered Apprentice degree we read:
"Man is a social being and it was not intended he should spend his life with his thoughts concentrated upon himself; hence, in the social capacity, men should endeavor by kind and friendly acts, to promote the happiness of one another."
Our lives must, or should, be spent in helping others, as well as ourselves, helping them upward — "hitch your wagon to a star" someone has said — giving them the hand of Fellowship to aid in pulling them out of the quagmire of doubt, ignorance, misery and squalor into which they have fallen, into a higher and purer mode of thought and living. For people live on the plane of their mental vision.
The onward march of the human race toward Godhood requires the thoughts and efforts of the best and strongest people. Masonry is not a selfish organization. Great caverns — cesspools of evil, have been explored, cleansed and purified through the efforts and influence of Masons. It has always been a great, uplifting force in the world, striving for the bettermen of the world's personal, social and civic conditions — the purification of society — teaching men to look toward the Light that leadeth into the realms of purity, use fulness and peace.
This warfare against the BAD and for the GOOD has ever been waged by Masons. From the earliest days of the Order, Masonry and its kindred Orders, by whatever name they have been known, and in whatever age or country found, have been continually and consistently arrayed to increase the power of the people for GOOD. Bolshevism and mob-rule have never found any place or favor among Masons. The Brotherhood has worked by law and rule in contradistinction to the anarchial methods of the mob and the debasing influences of tyranical government.
To accomplish these results it is necessary to begin in the homes of the people. These are the centers of social and civic life. Masonry urges its votaries to use their influence in everyday life, wherever they may be, for the propagation of the social virtues, the sacredness of the home, the purity of womanhood and an upright conduct in all the varied relations of life. It teaches the power of prayer, the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.
Our teachings are that as lodges Masons do not meddle in politics; neither do they discuss these subjects in their meetings. But there is no reason why the improvement and betterment of social and civic conditions as such should not be profitably considered, plans worked out, committees appointed, money raised for relief, and various phases of civic work developed and fostered by and in the Masonic Order. In these days of great unrest when the world is torn and bleeding from the horrors of the most awful war in history; when strong men's minds tremble and reason is dethroned, is it not Masonry's duty to mankind to stem the tide of evil when it is at its flood and use its great power to check the dreadful miasma that spreads its poisonous germs through the very air we breathe? It has ever been the cradle and bulwark of human liberties; its emblems have been worn by thousands who have suffered and died in this latest debacle that others might live; and the crosses that mark their graves in a foreign land will forever bear witness of a devotion to duty and the cause of right and justice, that carries our minds back to Calvary; and their spirits, ever hovering about and around us will be calling to us, their brethren,
"to lay aside the staff and take up the Sword and Buckler, and manfully fight our way, and with valor run our course;" promising that if we do, "the Almighty, who is a strong tower unto all those who put their trust in Him, shall evermore be our strength and confidence."
— S. W. Williams, Tennessee.
* * *
A School Only.
Any answer to the questions regarding the functions of a Masonic Lodge which are to be of any real value to Freemasons, must be based upon the teachings of Masonry.
"Masonry consists of a course of ancient hieroglyphical and moral instructions, taught according to ancient usage, by types, emblems and allegorical figures" and is "a regular system of morality veiled in allegory." Its function is to teach this peculiar system to the individual who is qualified to receive it and so desires. The function of the lodge is to carry out this feature of Freemasonry. All other activities of a lodge are of secondary importance and are not included in the Masonic system.
Freemasonry teaches morality to the individual, and the individual improves himself in Masonry by using the tools and implements of Freemasonry on himself (not others).
Of the many reform movements which have been advocated, the only effective method is the individual one. If we learn to subdue our own passions we are doing constructive work for higher community life — for civilization.
The lodge, as now organized, functions in two ways. When opening or closing, or when initiating, passing or raising candidates it is actually symbolical, and the officers, form and ceremonies are all symbolical; but when it is transacting routine business it is simply an organization of Freemasons. In its symbolic character it teaches the basic truths of morality, but in its character of an utilitarian organization it may function as anything from a convivial club to a reform society.
Experience seems to teach us that the closer we hold to the real functions the more we may hope to accomplish. The Mason who has learned to square his actions by the Square of Virtue will be a blessing and an inspiration to the community in whatever capacity he may be permitted to serve. He will be more efficient in political, social, industrial, and economic life by acting as an individual, than it would be possible for him to do if the lodge took upon itself functions which ancient usage does not seem to warrant and good judgment seems to reject.
The lodge is a school of instruction in morality and open to those who apply of their own free will.
It teaches only basic morality.
It does not teach dogmatically.
The closer it holds to these functions, the greater will be the respect of the profane, and the greater the good to the community.
— S. H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
* * *
Discuss Civic Questions.
This is an important and at the same time a difficult question. Surely none will maintain that it should take no part in questions or matters of public interest, and it is equally certain that there is a boundary line beyond which Masonry should not go in dealing with public affairs. I believe no man is quite wise enough to lay down a rule that will fit all cases. Much must in every case be left to the enlightened discretion of the Worshipful Master and of the particular lodge. It might often happen that one lodge could with entire propriety participate in a public matter while another lodge at the same time should have nothing to do with it. A lodge might at one time take a hand while at another time it would be inexpedient, if not wrong, for the same lodge to do so.
As a general rule, I believe Masonry should take an active interest in all questions having for their aim the improvement of public morals, health, and social and intellectual conditions, taking care never to attempt to bind the conscience of its members on any question, but always bearing in mind that liberty of thought and speech is one of the cardinal principles of Freemasonry.
From considerations of expediency, for the sake of the harmony of the Craft, it should as a general rule refrain from dabbling with any question after it has become a subject of acrimonious dispute in the arena of religion or partisan politics.
In all cases, discussion and action should be conducted with a fraternal and tolerant spirit, becoming a band of brothers "among whom no contention should ever exist except that noble contention or rather emulation of who can best work and best agree."
With these general rules to guide us, I believe that few questions will arise where any doubt will exist as to the propriety or impropriety of Freemasonry's taking a part in a public question.
I believe Freemasonry in the past has been unduly conservative on this subject, especially in the English-speaking jurisdictions. On the other hand, there is no doubt that at times in some other jurisdictions, it has been too radical.
In short, Freemasonry should make of itself a School of Instruction not only to its members but to the community upon every civic question that may arise, barring those that are properly classed as religious or partisan political controversies.
— Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
* * *
THE CRYPTIC DEGREES
Bro. Gustav A. Eitel, Maryland
But from whom did Henry Wilmans receive the Select Degree, his power to confer it, and to transmit the same to others? This is one of the many unsolved problems regarding the origin of our Masonic degrees.
There were found among the Eckel papers, recovered some years since, the Rules and Regulations of a Lodge of Perfection founded by him in Baltimore in the year 1792, the year that he established a Grand Council of Select Masons in the same city. As his name does not appear in the list of the many Inspectors of the Rite of that period, and from the fact that in both documents he is styled "Grand Inspector General," while the other Inspectors of that period are styled Deputies, and from the further fact that he was in possession of the 25th, then the highest degree known, while the others appear to have been in possession of degrees only to the 24th, leads to the supposition that he may have derived his powers from the same source as Stephen Morin — the Council of Emperors of the East and West, France.
Brother Wilmans was of an ancient and prominent family of Bremen, Germany. It is not known when he came to this country, but we find him and his brother Charles Henry engaged in the shipping business on Gay street, Baltimore, in 1790.
His Masonic record, like a meteor, was brilliant but transient. In addition to the positions mentioned that he occupied, we find him in 1793 as the Charter, or First, Master of Concordia Lodge, No. 13; in the same year Deputy Grand Master, and in the following year Grand Master of Masons in Maryland.
He presided at the Communication of the Grand Lodge December 18th, 1794, and delivered an able address, when his name disappeared entirely from our records, but I have ascertained from other sources that he died in 1795 at the early age of 44 years, and was buried in the graveyard attached to Zion Church of this city. If, as many believe, the degrees in question originated in the Rite of Perfection, until we can ascertain where he received his powers as Inspector General of that Rite, we shall perhaps not know the true origin of the Select Degree.
In 1817 the Grand Chapter adopted a resolution permitting "all Chapters to open and hold Chapters of Select Masters and confer the degree upon such as they may deem worthy." Prior to this Eckel, and perhaps Wilmans, also conferred the degree in like manner on those they deemed worthy and who had advanced to the degree of Mark Master.
In the new Constitution, adopted in 1824, the Select was made one of the regular series of degrees and conferred after the Most Excellent, and it was retained as such until 1852, when it and the Royal Master's degree were worked together in Councils specially convened for the purpose upon Most Excellent Masters, just before the conferment of the Royal Arch upon them.
The Royal and Select were conferred in special Councils, as stated, from 1852 to 1872, with much pleasure and profit to the Craft, when, for the purpose of being in "unison with the great majority of Grand Jurisdictions of our country," the Grand Chapter adopted a resolution forbidding the conferring of any other degrees than Mark, Past, Most Excellent and Royal Arch. Independent Councils of Royal and Select Masons were then organized, representatives from six of which on May 12th, 1874, formed in the city of Baltimore a Grand Council for the State of Maryland.
P.S. — Since the foregoing pages were prepared for the press I have most unexpectedly become possessed of some facts referring to Henry Wilmans that I deem of sufficient interest to record in connection with my remarks on Cryptic Masonry.
On April 28th, 1788, the Grand Lodge of Virginia warranted a lodge in the City of Baltimore, known as Baltimore Union Lodge, No. 21, and which had more or less vitality until 1795. Grand Secretary Brother George W. Carrington has recently discovered in the archives of the Grand Lodge of Virginia the returns of this lodge for the years 1792 and 1793; upon the first mentioned is a memorandum to the effect that on March 12th, 1792, Henry Wilmans, Past Master of Lodge No. 13, Charlestown, appeared as a visitor; no jurisdiction is mentioned, but believing that the Charlestown here named was intended for Charleston, S.C., I consulted Bro. Theodore H. Emmons, of Boston, who kindly investigated the subject for me and found that there was a lodge known as St. John's, No. 13, at Charleston, S.C., date of organization not known, but prior to 1789. There can be no doubt therefore, I think, that this was the lodge of which Wilmans was a member and Past Master, and that he must have resided some time at Charleston prior to coming to Baltimore. I have traced him to Baltimore as early as 1790. In the latter part of 1792 he founded in the City of Baltimore a Lodge of Perfection and sometime during the same year a Grand Council of Select Masters; and the probability is that he was at the time affiliated with the lodge at Charleston, and continued so until April 13th, 1793, when he became the founder and first Master of Concordia Lodge, No. 13, Baltimore.
It would therefore seem that he was in possession of the degrees of the Rite of Perfection while residing at Charleston, but the question is did he receive them and obtain his powers as Inspector General from the Inspectors then residing at Charleston, or did he obtain prior to leaving Europe? I am inclined to the latter supposition for the reason as stated in my address, that in the two documents in my possessions, he is styled Grand Inspector General; while Myers and Spitzer, as well as nearly all the Inspectors of the Rite Perfection at that date, in this country, were styled Deputy-Inspector General. As his name does not appear upon the list of the Inspectors residing in the country at that period it would seem that he never affiliated with them, but exercised his powers of Inspector independently of them.
While it would now appear certain that the Select Degree was known at Charleston prior to its introduction into Baltimore by Wilmans, I see no reason to modify my critisisum of the claims of the Companions of South Carolina that the Royal and Select degrees were known and worked at Charleston as early as 1783, and that rituals of the same were deposited in the Council of Princes of Jerusalem in 1788 by Jos. Myers; there being, as stated, no evidence whatever other than the unsupported statement of the Companions of South Carolina, of their recollection of events that occurred forty-one and forty-six years previously, of the existence of the Royal Master's Degree earlier than 1807.
And it is quite certain that there was no connection of the Royal and Select Master prior to the organization of Councils of such by Jeremy L. Cross in 1819. If there was any deposit of a ritual of Cryptic Masonry by Myers in 1788, it was that of the Select Degree only; and it is possible that he obtained it from Henry Wilmans, who about that time came from Europe, and this gave rise to the story of the Berlin origin of the degree, as it is well known that, at that time, Berlin was regarded as the headquarters, and Frederick the Great the patron, of all the high degrees of Masonry.
Companion George W. Warvelle, of Chicago, a few years since thoroughly investigated the origin of the Royal and Select Degrees, and in his conclusion repudiates the claim to the paternity of these degrees by the Supreme Council of the Southern jurisdiction. He believes that the Select Degree was formulated and introduced by Henry Wilmans and that the Royal Master's degree was formulated and introduced by Ebenezer, Wadsworth of New York about the year 1807.
COLUMBIAN COUNCIL, No. 1, NEW YORK
We excerpt from the printed history of Columbian Council No. 1, of New York City, that it was "the first permanent body formed for conferring the Royal Master's Degree." "It was organized September 2nd, 1810, by Thomas Lownds and fifteen other Royal Master Masons." "It was a self-constituted and independent body, owing allegiance to no one, untrammelled by landmarks, constitution or laws save those of its own creation, with inherent powers to confer the degrees in its possession or to form other councils for that purpose."
"Little is known of the so-called orders which were associated with the Royal Master's Degree in the work of the council. They must have appealed to its founders, for it was evidently the purpose of Thomas Lownds and his associates to adopt these ritualistic waifs and give them dignified standing by providing for them 'an house of habitation forever.' Their task of putting the new organization on a firm footing however was infinitely complicated by the fact that they did not have unchallenged authority over the Royal Master's Degree, with which the council started, nor over the Select Master's Degree, which they subsequently added to the list.
"For some inexplicable reason the Select Master's degree did not figure in the council's work until 1821, and it was obviously not the intention of the brethren to use it when the council was formed. For three months the Royal Master's was the only degree conferred?"
Then for a number of years several Orders were also conferred. However, "The Royal Master's was the only regular degree, the others merely being what for want of a better term are called 'appendant orders.'
"The Super-Excellent degree appeared for the first time in Columbian Council at the meeting of December 22nd, 1817, when four candidates received it. After the order of Knights of the Round Table had been dropped from the list the following spring, the Royal Master's and Super-Excellent Degrees constituted the entire ritualistic work of the Council until December, 1821. On November 25th of that year Thomas Lownds created a council of Select Masters of Twenty-seven and conferred the degrees on ten candidates. This council was merged with Columbian a week later."
In the Ohio Grand Council Proceedings of 1880, we find Companion John D. Caldwell presented "some facts of Masonic history bearing upon the Royal and Select Degrees." In his "sketch" he arranges the early Inspectors General and Deputy Inspectors General in chronological order, with a brief statement of their "appointment" and "authority," and of the work of each in establishing lodges and councils.
As these are the authorities on which the Scottish Rite adherents base their claims, and, as all our Masonic writers and historians quote from or refer to them, we present from the "sketch," et literatum, all that refers to the Royal and Select degrees.
Companion Caldwell uses the caption, "Whence Came We?" and says:
"What is the origin of Cryptic Masonry in America? When answered properly there will be no occasion to carp at carpet-baggers. Active-brained and persevering peripatetics have brought to our doors as a continent, as a south, as an east, and a west, the fragrant juicy fruit that we now relish, although we have improved it by grafting.
"What England had in 1717 of Scriptural incident of Masonic ritual went to France, and France and Germany built on the story, and back came to England the ineffable and sublime degrees, Royal Arch, Knights Templar,. and Royal and Select Degrees.
"In 1761 Stephen Morin, a Hebrew, learned in these rituals, received from united Masonic authorities in France a patent as Inspector-general of the Rite of Perfection — twenty-five degrees — and repaired to St. Domingo, where he practised the Rite and appointed Deputy Inspectors. These Deputies were Brother Henry Andrew C. Francken, also a Hebrew, Deputy Inspector General for Jamaica and the British Leeward Islands, (or, as he claimed by his patent, for West Indies and North America); and Moses Michael Hay Brother Col. Prevest for the Windward Islands and the British army.
"Companion Francken, whether authorized or no came with his rituals and patent as Inspector to Albany, New York, and organized in that place four bodies of the new Rite: 20th December, 1767, Ineffable and Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection, Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem, Rose Croix Chapter, Albany Sovereign Consistory.
"In 1769 Francken appointed in New York two Grand Inspectors: Dr. Samuel Stringer and Sir William Johnson.
"Brother Moses M. Hays, an opulent and learned merchant, a Hebrew, a resident of Kingston, Jamaica was appointed by Francken (some say by Morin) a Deputy Inspector for North America. Hays appointed Isaac De Costa Deputy Inspector; also, Solomon Bush of Pennsylvania, and others, Thrice Illustrious Inspectors.
"A Lodge of Grand Elect and Sublime Masons was held at Philadelphia, June 25, 1781, where attended as Inspectors Simon Nathan, for North Carolina; Barend M. Spitzer, for Georgia; Solomon Bush, for Pennsylvania; Isaac De Costa, for South Carolina; Thomas Randall, for New Jersey; Samuel Myers, for Leeward Islands; Moses Mendall Seixas, and Moses M. Cohen. This body met in the City of Brotherly Love in 1782 and 1785. Col. Augustus Prevest, also P. Le Barber Dupleisis, a refugee from West Indies, long afterwards a prominent Mason in Philadelphia, and Joseph M. Myers, Inspector General of Maryland.
"Dr. Frederick Dalcho, having left the Western army as lieutenant, after the conclusion of the war by the treaty of Greenville, in 1795 repaired to Charleston, South Carolina, a great centre for the French Masons after their dispersion resulting from the revolution in West India Islands. Here Isaac De Costa had in 1783 organized a Grand Lodge of Perfection; and here Myers, Spitzer, and Fort conferred the Sublime degrees on Col. John Mitchell, late of the United States army, and by Mitchell on Dr. Dalcho, May 24, 1801. Abraham Jacobs, a Hebrew teacher of New York, who was initiated in St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston, in 1782, here received the Sublime degrees.
"In 1801, May 31st, the Dela Motta Supreme Council — the first appearance of a governing body of the A. and A. Rite — was formed in Charleston, South Carolina.
"In 1801, July 5th, a Grand Council of the Princes of Jerusalem was formed in same city, Brother Abraham Jacobs, Sublime Grand Master. 'Twas he that in organized a similar Grand Council at Savannah, Georgia.
"In the archives at Charleston was the ritual of the Royal and Select Degrees, the Select Master of 27, and similar rituals were in possession of the Inspectors in the Northern States.
"In 1804 and 1805 Inspector Jacobs was at work in New York, conferring the Sublime degrees, conferring them upon Thomas Lownds, who was conspicuous afterwards as a Masonic ritualist.
"In 1807 Joseph Cerneau, a Jew from Jamaica, organized a Grand Consistory in New York City, and in 1814, 22d January, this Consistory actually formed and elected Grand Officers of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar.
"In 1806, 6th August, Abraham Jacobs organized the Sovereign Consistory in New York City. In 1808, 19th and 26th November, he conferred the Select Master of 27 (the Royal Master Degree perhaps) on the celebrated John J.J. Gourgas, who was long at the head of A. and A. Rite, Supreme Council, Northern jurisdiction. Thus M. M. Hays, who went to Boston, and in 1802 was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a few years, had the Cryptic degrees. Solomon Bush had them in Philadelphia; the Sublime Lodge at Albany; the Stringers and Yates had them.
"Now, while the Council degrees are depreciated as mere side or detached degrees, what shall be said of the additional degrees above the twenty-five of Perfection, the only ones in practice up to the year 1802, when the Thirty-third degree was announced, for the system established known as Scotch Rite had then no existence, either in Europe or America? It substantially had American birth at this late day; while the rituals of Select Master of 27 were in existence a quarter of a century anterior to 1802. America then turns carpet-bagger, and sends to Paris in 1804 Count de Grasse Tilley, one of the founders of the Supreme Council at Charleston, in February, 1802, with a 'curiosity,' a 'novelty,' the Ancient and Accepted Rite, an entire new Rite of thirty-three degrees; and the novelty was by the Grand Orient of France incorporated in the College of Rites.
"When the Supreme Council in 1802 announced its organization, with the schedule of their regular degrees, they mentioned 'other degrees in the possession of individual Inspectors, not in the Rite, but isolated, — as Select Master, or the elect of 27; Royal Arch, as given under the Constitution of Dublin; six degrees of the Masonry of Adoption; Scottish Fellow Craft; Scottish Master; Scottish Grand Master; with the Thirty-third, aggregating fifty-two degrees, which are conferred in different parts of the world, and communicated generally free of expense to those brethren who are high enough to understand them.'"
The theory of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, origin of the Council degrees was printed in our 1910 proceedings, from the account by Companion Zimmerman Davis, Grand Recorder of South Carolina, (1909.)
The account, however, was taken from the History of Companion J. Ross Robertson (1888) and from Dr. Albert G. Mackey.
As presenting the other side of the contention it is reprinted here.
Much discussion has taken place as to where, when and by whom these degrees were instituted. It generally is conceded that they had their origin on the Continent of Europe, and were introduced into this country during the latter part of the eighteenth or early in the nineteenth century, and were originally side degrees of the Rite of Perfection, which was founded between 1750 and 1760 in Paris, France, by a number of Masons who styled themselves "The Sovereign Princes and Grand Officers of the Grand and Sovereign Lodge of St John of Jerusalem." The cryptic degrees were honourary or side degrees conferred by Inspectors-General of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The proceedings of the Supreme Council of A. and A. Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, held on December 4, 1802, contains the following:
"On the 21st of January, 1802, a warrant of constitution passed the seal of the Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem, for the establishment of a Mark Master Masons' Lodge in the city of Charleston, South Carolina. Besides those degrees which are in regular succession, most of the Inspectors are in possession of a number of detached degrees, given in different parts of the world, and which they generally communicate, free of expense, to those brethren who are high enough to understand them, such as Select Masons of Twenty-seven, and the Royal Arch as given under the Constitution of Dublin," etc.
In his History of the Scottish Rite, Charles T. McClenachan says:
"The Royal and Select Masters degrees were side or detached degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. In the Southern States of the Union, the Supreme Council initiated, chartered and fostered Councils of Royal and Select Masters; and as rapidly as they were self-sustaining they became independent."
Among the Inspectors-General for the New World by the Grand Consistory of Princes of the Royal Secret, convened at Paris in 1761, was one Stephen Morin, who was present at a consistory held in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1769, and about that time gave the degree to one Brother Francken at Jamaica, who conferred similar authority upon Moses Hayes, of Boston, who likewise invested Moses Cohen and Isaac DaCosta with like authority, the latter being designated as Deputy Inspector General for South Carolina. Cohen, under his authority as Inspector General, gave the degrees of "Select Masons of Twenty-Seven" to Abram Jacobs, of Charleston, as is evidenced by a diploma to that effect dated November 9, 1790. (Brother Josiah H. Drummond, of Portland, Maine, who so efficiently added to Brother J. Ross Robertson's work on the Cryptic Rite by his "History of All Grand Councils in the United States," and to whom I am greatly indebted for much of the material in this paper, says that this is the first document known which contains a reference to these degrees.)
There were, therefore, for at least half a century, three distinct authorities which claimed the right by antiquity of conferring the degrees of Royal and Select Masters — first, by the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite; second, by the Grand Councils of the Rite in various States of the American Union; and thirdly, by certain Grand Chapters of Royal Arch Masons, which claimed then, as many claimed as recently as 1888, that the Cryptic Degrees should be given within the bosom of a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons.
In 1827, at the Annual Session of the Grand Chapter of Maryland, the Grand High Priest, J. K. Stapleton, submitted documents upon the subject of the institution of the Select Degree, independent of the Grand Royal Arch Chapters, which were referred to a committee, which recommended that a circular be sent to the several Grand Chapters regarding the matter. When this circular was received by the Grand Chapter of South Carolina it was referred to a committee, which made a report, from which the following extracts are made:
"The committee appointed at the last stated convocation of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter in May last, to take into consideration and report upon the propriety and expediency of the different Grand Royal Arch Chapters of the several States respectively assuming jurisdiction and authority over the Royal and Select Master's Degrees, and to which committee were referred the proceedings of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Maryland upon the subject, respectfully ask leave to state that they have made extensive and careful investigation into the subjects referred to their consideration, and they offer the following statement as the result of their enquiries:
"They have ascertained that the respectable brothers and companions, Dr. F. Dalcho, Dr. Isaac Auld, Dr. James Moultrie, Sr., and Moses C. Levy, Esqr., with many others, received their degrees in Charleston in February, 1783, in the Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection, then established in the city (Charleston), of which body three of the above named brothers are still living, venerable for their years and warm attachment to the glorious cause of Free Masonry, and highly respected and esteemed in the community where they have so long and so horrorably sojourned, and they are still members of the same sublime body. Your committee have further ascertained that at the original establishment of the Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem in this city, on the 20th of February, 1788, by the Illustrious Brothers Joseph Myers, Barend M. Spitzer, and A. Forst, Deputy Inspectors General from Frederick II., King of Prussia, Brother Myers then deposited in the archives of the said Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem certified copies of the said degrees from Berlin in Prussia, which were to be under the future guidance and fostering protection of the above named presiding body. The above named three respectable brethren and companions are, and have steadily been, members and officers of the said body Princes of Jerusalem; their evidence, therefore, must be conclusive upon these points. Your committee are informed that the above named Brother Myers, previously to his return to Europe, while pursuing his mercantile concerns, resided some time in several of the cities of Virginia and Maryland, where he communicated a knowledge of the degrees in question.
"The committee further states that the Grand Officers and the Sublime Council of Inspectors-General have been since 1783 steadily in the habit of conferring the degrees in question under their authority in the Southern and Western States. Your committee have seen and perused the first copy of these degrees that ever came to America, and old copies of charters that have been returned by Councils in States where Grand Councils have been formed, and the bodies surrendering have taken other charters for conferring the degree from such Grand Councils of Royal and Select Master thus formed.
"From these statements the Grand Royal Arch Chapter will readily perceive that these degrees have been under a regular and independent Masonic protection and authority for more than forty-six years, and that they were thus circumstanced in the United States of America at a period long antecedent to the establishment of Grand Royal Arch Chapters, or even of Chapters of Royal Arch Masons, in any part of the world."
In corroboration of the above statements made in the report of the committee we have the following:
1st. A manuscript record of Brother Peter Snell, who was, in 1827, a member of the Supreme Council, contained the following memorandum:
"Supreme Council Chamber, Charleston, S.C., February 10, 1827: I hereby certify that the detached degrees, called 'Royal and Select Master,' or 'Select Masons of 27,' were regularly given by the Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection (No. 2 in the U.S. of A.), established by Brother Isaac DaCosta in Charleston in February, 1783, one of the original members of which M. I. Brother Moses C. Levy, is still alive, and a member of it to this day, without ceasing to be so for a day. And further, that at the first establishment of a Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem in Charleston, in February, 1788, by the Illustrious Inspectors-General, Joseph Myers, B. M. Spitzer and A. Forst, Brother Myers (who succeeded Brother DaCosta after his decease) deposited a certified copy of the degrees from Berlin, Prussia, to be under the guidance and fostering protection of the government of the above Grand Council of the Princes of Jerusalem."
2nd. There is extant a ritual of the Select Degree purporting to be made in 1803 by J. Billeaud. Bro. Drummond has examined it, had it copied, and has no doubt of its genuineness, and that it is a copy of the ritual then in use. It came to him from Companion Wilmot G. DeSaussure, of South Carolina, who had it from Bro. John H. Honour, for a long time Grand Commander of the Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, to whom it came from his predecessor in that office, among the archives of that Supreme Council. He (Bro. Drummond) says: "There is no reference in this ritual to any governing authority whatever, nor to any degrees of Masonry save the third degree. it recognized no permanent body whatever, but it is a ritual of a 'detached' or 'side' degree in every respect."
3rd. Bro. Drummond also has (in 1888) a copy of a ritual of both degrees bearing the certificate of Moses Holbrook, dated February 10, 1829, in nearly the same words as the one above attributed to Bro. Snell. By a certificate, dated a few months later, it appears that Bro. Holbrook adopted that of Brother Snell.
So much for the early introduction of the Council Degrees in South Carolina. We learn from Drummond and Dr. Mackey that Cryptic Masonry was gradually more or less widely disseminated throughout the United States as Grand Councils were organized in Connecticut in 1819, in Virginia in 1820, in North Carolina in 1822, and in New York in 1823, while single Councils were formed in various States which had no Grand Council.
* * *
DEATH — THE PORTAL
By Bro. Gerald Nancarrow, Indiana
O Death, I see thee in the distance
Not in the shape long-taught;
No frightening pictures of the grave
To me by thee are brought.
Thou, O Death, I see a lovely arch,
A portal for the Soul
To pass and reach a higher plane
Of evolution's roll.
Thou openest not the doors of night
To bear my spirit down;
Nor past thy pillars do I see
A dazzling jewelled crown.
But upwards still beyond thy heights
There gleams another arch;
And far above, through others still,
I see the path of march.
Ah Death! Thou art not a gate to shun
Or cause my soul to fear,
If, in this stage, I have grown one day
Of God's eternal year.
* * *
Masonry, when rightfully understood, is "A system of pure morality," emblematically taught. This wonderful code of morals comprehends man's duty to himself, his fellowman, his God. Pledges to the faithful performance of these duties are taken by every Mason under the most solemn circumstances. This institution of Freemasonry, which has stood like the Pyramids of Egypt immovable among the changing events of the ages, speaking its message of justice and liberty to every generation.... While monarchs have been crowned and dethroned, nations overwhelmed, and the earth itself peopled and destroyed, this institution of ours has stood unchanged and unchangeable in its mission for blessing the world. If this has been our glorious service in times of peace and war in all the ages of the past, who is prophet enough to forecast the invaluable service to be rendered by our honorable order in this age in which all the nations of the world have undertaken to become brothers?
— J. H. Pace, Grand Orator, Texas.
* * *
HOW THE MASONIC LODGE CAN CONTRIBUTE TO COMMUNITY LIFE
THE QUESTION as to what place the Masonic lodge should occupy in the civic life of the community is most important. The time calls for practical cooperation for the benefit of mankind. If we are to follow the teachings of Freemasonry our duty is to shape the lodge work so that it will tend to that end. If we sit back and allow our interest to become centered in the dead-waters of the past, if we become unresponsive to the pressing calls of the present, we will lose place in the world because of our lack of flexibility, and of not being useful in the crisis that confronts us in this day and generation.
We live in times seething with unrest, misunderstanding, and untried propaganda. Hostile camps are being formed. Class is being ranged against class. Parties are getting farther apart instead of closer together. There is opportunity for us, out of this industrial chaos, to secure permanent gain. There is need for all the influence that can be brought to bear to "steady the boat." Much radical action is being advocated. It should not be necessary to tear down present industrial structures, neither should we refuse to build anew to meet changing conditions. If proper perspective is maintained we should see clearly, each of us, his own shortcomings and realize that he may not be altogether right nor the other fellow all wrong. Proper guidance will show that nothing is to be gained by keeping our eyes glued on past injustices and that the best results can be secured only by constructive, cooperative procedure.
In our Masonic lodge work there is need for more than mere exemplifying of the ritual. There is need for a broader education. Unless designs are lead to give this broader education, our full duty is not being done to the incoming candidate. There are three well known lines of Masonic study:
- The antecedents of Freemasonry, its mythology, its symbolism.
- The history of Freemasonry, tracing the course of its development from the earliest days to the present.
- The interpretation of Freemasonry, its missions, its ideals, its service to mankind, ministering to the individual and through him to society.
This third course, on account of its practical nature is the one, that it seems to me, most stress should be laid upon at the present time. Much can be learned from our history and our antecedents, but the call of the hour is for service, for action, and not for moralizing.
"A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and ready hands."
If our study time is to be given to the interpretation of the mission, the ideals, and the practical service of Freemasonry it will, undoubtedly, produce activity that will redound to the general good. The interpretation that each Mason figures out is what will count and what will be of worth to that individual and through him to society.
To my mind, what Freemasonry needs now is not a rehearsing of moral platitudes, no matter how high-pitched the thoughts may be, but a series of clean-cut statements that will show the potentialities, and the real use of the craft. We need to know what part the institution holds or will hold in the thought and action of the day, and what part it should take in the seething turmoil of unrest round about us. We need to know whether we are bound together for a purpose or purposes worth while. We need to know, too, granting our aims and ideals are right, if we are properly organized to efficiently carry them out.
Freemasonry's main objects are: to make men friends, to refine and exalt their lives, and to deepen their faith. If the questions that are troubling the communities today are ever to be settled, it must be in an atmosphere of mutual recognition and respect. A proper settlement can never be made in an air of hostility and mistrust. Our Masonic organization can help furnish this required atmosphere. Within the four walls of our Masonic lodge rooms are gathered men of every walk and station of life. They meet upon the level and they part upon the square. Surely such men, before the Masonic altar, and under lodge auspices, could meet and discuss questions of moral and social import affecting the life of the community without arousing anger and distrust, and after hearing such discussion could go from the meeting better informed and better than ever able to pursue as citizens, that even course which alone will keep us off the shoals. Does it not seem that there is opportunity for the Masonic lodge to be a real steadying influence and serve a broader and more useful purpose? If questions of moral and social import are to be discussed within the environment of our lodges much education could be accomplished. Education and enlightenment are what are most needed today. Our institutions could fulfill no more useful function than in furnishing the means for this.
Freemasonry should in no sense become a political party, nor yet a society for social reform. Our main strength in past has been that we have announced no political or religious dogma. Each member has been entitled to his own opinion and it seems to me that it would be a great mistake if the discussions were allowed to end in definite resolutions being passed and in the definite laying down of guiding lines to be followed. This should be most strictly avoided. What is suggested is the mere hearing of discussion, so that after having heard it the members could be better informed but perfectly free to form their own opinions.
It is true we have gone on for a good many years without attempting this. It is well to remember that this rule was handed down to us from a time when it was a greater crime to think certain things than to commit a murder. We are living in a more tolerant time. This system of suppression and reproof has banished from our lodges everything but mere form. We deplore the fact that members, many of them, will not attend the meetings and bear the burden of their membership. What else can we expect from men of information and intellect, if the habit of the usual lodge meeting is to be continued and nothing of real mental food is there provided for them? We must get beyond the mere rehearsing of moral platitudes. Too often we are led to believe that by merely stating them we are doing our duty. We sometimes take great credit to our institution because such as this is heard within its precincts. We are apt to believe that having voiced these moral truths our full weight and influence is being cast. If we would fill a useful place in these reconstruction days, it seems to me our lodges must become the meeting place for men who are thoughtful members of society. They must be educational centres and clearing houses of opinion as to all that tends to the welfare of the community.
This is the day of many new "isms" and "panaceas." One needs to be careful what course he follows. There is grave danger of deflection from the proper course. The present discontent plainly indicates that there are real ills to be corrected in every community. No one doubts, for instance, the necessity for a just distribution of wealth. The method of accomplishing this just distribution should be intellectually sought. We have heard a great deal about democracy. There is much demand for really democratic government, the referendum and the recall. Latterly, many thinking men have come to the conclusion that it is just as necessary to make democracy safe for the world as it is to make the world safe for democracy. More than anything else in the world there is need for education and enlightenment.
Before determining whether these advanced theories are what is wanted, one might well study the individual. Probably the individual you know best is yourself. How much direct governmental authority should be invested in me? Have I been properly educated to exercise such authority? Do I take the time to study the more complex questions or do I rely on someone else to study them and then instruct me? Am I always cool and deliberate where vital questions are concerned? In short do I always think and act rightly? There are many, doubtless, just as strong or just as weak or weaker than I. What about these men? Do they or can they always be trusted to think rightly on these questions? Consideration along these lines will, doubtless, convince most of us that knowledge and education on every-day subjects that affect the life of our community are necessary.
Some will say that we cannot discuss such problems in lodge. It would violate the ancient customs. The rules laid down by past generations should not be a confining influence today. They may have been necessary in olden times, but times, like everything else, change. In a time like the present one would hardly think it right or proper to bring together men of superior intellect, establish between them an intimate relationship and then say that within that relationship each man should be a nonentity. If Masons cannot meet and discuss matters of moral and social betterment without harmful friction the fault is not in the discussion but in that they are not of the quality for the making of Masons.
Coming back to the question as to what place the Masonic lodge should hold in the life of the community, it seems to me that it almost amounts to asking what work have we to do. One of the first works, it seems to me, we should do is to make use of our splendid equipment and organization as an educational force. There need be little fear of arousing antagonism if we allow men to voice their own opinions. Under Masonic discipline and control this would be unlikely. Any man who would fall away from the Craft because it took a stand for education in order that its members might stand "foursquare" might well be let go as a source of weakness rather than strength. We should aim to catch the spirit and the impulse of the age. As yet it may be but a blind groping towards the universal brotherhood of man. The harvest of all time is surely ripening and this is not a time to sit smugly in sweet content and rehearse sweet sayings. Unless Freemasonry can do more than this, unless she can give her members added strength of head, heart and hand, she will be more or less of a nonentity. This educational influence will not be in any sense a cure-all nor furnish the ultimate solution. It would help men to see that there is something better in life than materialism. After the refining process of discussion our members would be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, constructive rather than destructive. They would exercise a tremendous influence over the community in which they live. Such a course would lead to the better understanding between man and man, and consequently to greater respect and sympathy one for another. It should develop the principle of love instead of hate for our fellow-men. Would it not, also, point unerringly to the light just breaking in the East, the dawn of a better day?
— P. E. Kellett, Canada.
* * *
Masonry is a fraternal association in which nothing can place one man lower than another save ignorance, debasement and crime. Let no man among us think more highly of himself than he ought to think — let each man esteem others better than himself, esteeming each brother highly for his work's sake. And whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.
— Geo. W. Laidley, P. G. M., West Virginia.
Inﬂuence is exerted by every human being from the hour of birth to that of death.
* * *
Edited by Bro. Robert Tipton
The object of this Department is to acquaint our readers with time-tried Masonic books not always familiar; with the best Masonic literature now being published; and with such non-Masonic books as may especially appeal to Masons. The Library Editor will be very glad to render any possible assistance to studious individuals or to study clubs and lodges, either through this Department or by personal correspondence.
It will be our aim to publish in this Department each month a list of such publications as we may be able from time to time to secure for members of the Society. However, a book listed herein this month may be out of stock next month, and further copies unobtainable, and for this reason it is recommended that when ordering books or pamphlets from these lists the latest monthly issue of THE BUILDER be consulted, and no orders be made from lists more than thirty days old.
In the monthly reviews the names and addresses of the publishers of the books are given in order that our readers may orber such books direct from the publishers instead of through the Society.
THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF SOLOMON'S TEMPLE
"Without Sound of Hammer," by Edgar L. Vincent. Price may be obtained from the publishers, The Methodist Rank Concern, 150 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.
WE ARE glad to possess this little book of devotional essays. They are such as will warrant making mellow the hearts of those who have become stony and hard. We are glad to recommend its being read, too, as none can read it without being the better for having learned the justice of these little lessons.
The significance of Solomon's Temple from a spiritual standpoint is set forth in a very charming manner in the first essay or two; and from there on the little book travels many labyrinthine walks exploiting the temple that man is to create.
It is wise, gentle, inspiring and comforting.
* * *
OLD LEGENDS IN DRAMATIC FORM
"The Seven Who Slept," by A. Kingsley Porter. Published by Marshall Jones Company, 212 Summer Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Price $1.50.
A play by A. Kingsley Porter, entitled "The Seven Who Slept," has recently come to our desk, and has afforded us no little pleasure. Those who enjoy the working over of old legends, in story or dramatic form, will appreciate the reading of this work. The preface by the author affords a fine treat in intellectual gymnastics. There is something whimsical in his treatment of the indispensability of great illusions to the happiness of man. We find it rather difficult, however, to enter always into the thought that those things which are deemed by the author to be illusory are so.
Nevertheless the frankness with which Mr. Porter analyzes the tendencies among men to take refuge and comfort by assuming things to be illusory, urges us to commend heartily the reading of his work by all who enjoy keen and subtle observations and criticisms of life. In one place he seems to designate the ancient religion held by Rome and Greece as huge illusions, of which there is no trace whatsoever left in the world.
He emphasizes the eternal necessity of illusion in the forward march of the race by indicating that with the dismissal of the pagan cultists there must needs come upon the scene another illusion to take its place.
Man hates vacuity, hence his imagination conjures up for him some will-o'-the-wisp that he can follow until the futility of following is impressed upon him by the promise of greater happiness through the following of yet another will-o'-the-wisp. We are persuaded that the orthodox philosopher and theologian, if there are such folks in the world, will take exception to what Mr. Porter has designated as illusions, but his case is well stated and a fine humor seems to pervade the essay which will warrant its reading with deep interest. It will leave one in a mood provocative of deep reflection upon much that pertains to human happiness.
* * *
AN ARGUMENT FOR THE FORUM IDEA
"The Trial of William Penn and William Mead," by Dawn E. Seitz. Price $1.00. Published by Marshall Jones Company, 212 Summer St., Boston, Massachusetts.
Mr. Seitz has accomplished a splendid work in resurrecting this notable trial from the musty records of the past. It has particular significance today, when freedom of speech, press and conscience are being placed in some jeopardy. It will be a revelation to many, in as much as it will reveal the slowness by which justice evolves so as to be meted out to man without favor or prejudice. It may, indeed, be read with some profit in connection with the notable exclusion of the socialist from the New York legislature. Another service which it is calculated to give, and will give, if read thoughtfully, is to convince us that while men may be punished, deported or even executed, ideas which they may have held will persist. Things that are, are not always as they should be, and such little books as the author has given us may deepen the conviction that the Forum idea must spread.
A place must be furnished where men can air their views and state their case without fear of arbitrary interruption that serves, as we believe, to drive them into subterranean passages, there to become as smouldering fires that will ultimately burst forth into insurrection. Our zeal for the protection of our heritage may at times become so illy proportioned that instead of averting the disaster we but hasten it.
From what we gleam of the author's intent, the record of this trial is offered to the public in the interests of justice and common sense in dealing with new problems that tend to affect and change our old ways.
* * *
A NEW TRANSLATION
"Six Theosophic Points, and Other Writings," by Jacob Böhme. Translated by John Rollesten Earle, M. A. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 220 West 42nd St., New York, N.Y.
John Rollesten Earle has done a splendid piece of work in his translation of the writings of Jacob Böhme. Though the writings are frequently in a difficult strain and consequently hard to understand, their message is so vital that students of the religious life who have the mystic bent will find in them a great comfort.
The consciousness of God is the all pervading thing. While the visionary flights of the author impress us with characteristics that belong to the fanatic, nevertheless we are in the company of one who is aware that the Eternal Presence is such as men can continually commune with. The delicate, frail shoemaker who protested against the intolerant Lutheran dogmatism of his day may serve again to give us, in this day, when we are facing the tremendous claims made by eminent men for spiritualism, a sane sense of spiritual values. The book is written, as the author tells us, to aid those who are desirous to "grow in the right man."
The simplicity of his great love attested to in the manner in which he sought his revelations will continue a source of inspiration to those who seek a consciousness of the presence of God in our earthly life.
In quiet fields he sought in deep prayer the Will of the All-Wise Father and, as a noted Church historian says, he came away always with a clearer sense of Peace and Joy.
Böhme's influence is one with the other great mystics who have breathed into the world and into the hearts of men a clear longing for spiritual happiness and union with God.
* * *
MYTHOLOGY OF ALL RACES
We desire to draw attention to the publication by the Marshall Jones Co., 212 Summer St., Boston, of the Mythology of All Races, in thirteen volumes. As near as we can judge from the announcement it is one of the greatest works of research by eminent scholars that has been entered into for some time.
A little later, it may be our privilege to review a number of these volumes and present their contents in elaborate form. We would advise our readers to communicate with the Marshall Jones Co., in regard to this set of books, if they are interested.
* * *
We build statues of snow, and weep to see them melt.
— Walter Scott.
* * *
APRIL BOOK LIST
Publications Issued by the Society
- 1915 bound volume of THE BUILDER. $3.75
- 1916 bound volume of THE BUILDER. $3.75
- 1917 bound volume of THE BUILDER. $3.75
- 1918 bound volume of THE BUILDER. $3.75
- 1919 bound volume of THE BUILDER. $3.75
- 1722 Constitutions (reproduced by photographic plates from an original copy in the archives of the Iowa Masonic Library, Cedar Rapids.) Edition limited. $2.00
- "The Story of Old Glory, The Oldest Flag," by Bro. J. W. Barry, P.G.M. Iowa, red buffing binding, gilt lettering, illustrated. A story of the flag and Masonry. $1.25
- "The Story of Old Glory, The Oldest Flag," paper covers. 50¢
- "Further Notes on the Comacine Masters," W. Ravenscroft, England. A sequel to "The Comacines, Their Predecessors and Their Successors," a Masonic digest of Leader Scott's book "The Cathedral Builders" and containing the latest researches of Brother Ravenscroft which present a very logical argument for the connection of Freemasonry of the present day with the Roman Collegia and traveling Masons of the early times, paper covers, illustrated. 50¢
- Symbolism of the First Degree, Gage, pamphlet. 15¢
- Symbolism of the Third Degree, Ball, pamphlet. 15¢
- Symbolism of the Three Degrees, Street, 68 pages, paper covers. The lessons and symbols of each degree traced to their origin, in every instance that it has been possible to so trace them. Brother Street gives many explanations of our symbols in this little book on which our monitors but vaguely touch. 35¢
- Deeper Aspects of Masonic Symbolism, Waite, (pamphlet). 15¢
Publications from other sources, kept in stock at Anamosa.
- The Builders, a Story and Study of Masonry, by Brother Joseph Fort Newton. Formerly Editor-in-Chief of THE BUILDER. $1.50
- Mackey's Encyclopaedia, 1920 edition, in two volumes, black Fabrikoid binding. $15.00
- Symbolism of Freemasonry, A. G. Mackey. $3.15
- Masonic Jurisprudence, A. G. Mackey. $2.65
- Masonic Parliamentary Law, A. G. Mackey. $2.15
- Freemasonry in America Prior to 1759, Melvin M. Johnson, P.G.M., Massachusetts. $1.35
- Concise History of Freemasonry, Robert Freke Gould. $4.50
The foregoing prices include postage and insurance or registration fee on all items except pamphlets. The latter will be sent by regular mail not insured or registered.
* * *
The foregoing prices include postage and insurance or registration fee on all items except pamphlets. The latter will be sent by regular mail not insured or registered.
* * *
FAITH AND HOPE
Bro. Gerald Nancarrow, Indiana
Far down the endless flood of years
There stands a Bold Majestic Isle,
Where hearts aweary cease their tears,
And aching souls find rest awhile.
And on the headlands of this Rock
A blazing beacon never tires
Our deep and welling fears to lock,
And feed our dying spirit fires.
As to us in an endless wave
Its swelling beams illume the way,
We tread again the checkered pave
And all our journeyings are gay.
* * *
We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation, for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.
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.
MEMORIAL TO GEORGE WASHINGTON, THE MASON
The December, 1919, issue of THE BUILDER related something about a George Washington Memorial at Alexandria, Va. Not long ago I was in a lodge in Tennessee where some kind of an announcement was read regarding an Association taking the matter up, with the object of preserving for future generations the Masonic possessions of George Washington. What is the Society? Their address? The plan?
The George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association was organized ten years ago, at the suggestion of brethren outside of Virginia, who had visited Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 in Alexandria. They saw there priceless relics and mementos of Washington's Masonic life, preserved with loyal devotion by the lodge of which George Washington was the first Worshipful Master, but not kept in fireproof quarters.
Believing that these relics were properly the heritage of American Masonry, and that the Fraternity owed to itself and to posterity the duty of preserving these evidences of Washington's membership in and devotion to Freemasonry, agitation was begun to build a suitable memorial, in which these relics should be kept. The lodge acquiesced in the proposition, agreeing that if such a memorial were to be built in Alexandria by the Masons of America, they would turn over these relics to the Association in perpetuity, the consideration being that they should be housed in the memorial — as was entirely proper, since the preservation of the atmosphere of this lodge is in itself a memorial. No visitor ever sits in this lodge without feeling that the echoes of America's First Citizen's voice are whispering to him. The writer hopes that when the memorial shall have been built, the old lodge hall in which No. 22 met while Washington was its Master may be reproduced with historical accuracy, and such seems to be the consensus of opinion on the subject, in the Memorial Association.
From time to time reports of the progress of this Society towards its aims have been published in THE BUILDER. (See issues of July 1915, February 1916, April 1918, April 1919 and December 1919.)
At the recent annual meeting of the Association, held February 23–24, 1920, the plans for an intensive campaign for funds were working splendidly in a number of Grand Jurisdictions, and many more were about to start. The total amount of the fund raised thus far approximates $275,000.00, this amount being either in cash or investments, or in good pledges to the fund.
The objective is $1.00 per capita from every Mason in the United States. The larger part of this will be devoted to the erection of a suitable memorial, and the remainder will constitute an endowment for maintenance. Of the funds already in hand, the Committee on Ways and Means, acting in conjunction with the officers, appropriated $25,000.00, or so much thereof as may be necessary, for the purpose of obtaining a suitable plan. In due time it is expected that the plan will be presented to the Craft. Meanwhile the campaign is going on in as many States as it is possible to find individuals who are willing to devote the necessary time to make it a success, and it is hoped that every Grand Jurisdiction will be in motion during this year.
Hon. Louis A. Watres, Past Grand Master of Pennsylvania, Scranton, Pennsylvania, is President of the Association, and in active charge of the campaign: Lawrence H. Lee, of Montgomery, Alabama, is Secretary, and John H. Cowles, Past Grand Master of Kentucky, 16th and S Streets, N. W., Washington, D. C., is Treasurer.
The best review of Washington's Masonic career, conining photographs of the relics, many etchings of original documents, etc., is "Washington The Man and The Mason," by Brother Charles H. Callahan, of Alexandria, Virginia, at the present time a Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Virginia. The proceeds from Brother Callahan's book are devoted to the propaganda of the Association.
THE MIDDLE CHAMBER
Dear Brother Haywood:
I agree with you that the Middle Chamber of the Fellow Craft degree lecture was intended to symbolize the pay office — at least that was Preston's idea of it — although the ritual tells us that it was a part of the Senior Warden's duties to pay the Craft their wares, and he was placed in the West for that reason, while the Middle Chamber was certainly not in that part of the building. The Middle Chamber also was middle only with reference to one above and one below it — I Kings, VI, 6 — and only one dimension of it is given, its width, and a room that is wide only without length or height would be but a poor pay office.
I have been trying for some time to find a Hebrew scholar who would tell me that the word translated "chamber" might also mean court; for if the middle court was meant, it might have a Masonic meaning that would be truly enlightening. The temple of Solomon is the only building of the kind, so far as I can learn, that had a place set apart for people not of the faith of its builders. Its outer court was the Court of the Gentiles, while the one next within it was the Court of the Jews, and it was middle with reference to that of the Gentiles and that of the Priests, which was within both. Now if the 70,000 Apprentices and 80,000 Fellow Crafts were the non-Jewish residents of Palestine as would seem to have been the case — II Chronicles, II, 17 — and were perhaps as a reward for faithful service admitted to the Court of the Jews, that would mean emancipation — citizenship, a very substantial reward.
The Middle Court was also middle with respect to one below and one above it, for according to Ezekial's description there were eight steps going up from the Court of the Gentiles to the Court of the Jews and seven from the Court of the Jews to that of the Priests.
But I have not found a Hebrew scholar who will say that the word translated "chamber" might mean court. The most scholarly one I have found says it really means gallery and this agrees with Prof. Paine's translation, as you no doubt know.
Do you not think it is time that our lectures in all the degrees were rewritten? Comparatively little was known about the temple in Preston's time, and he evidently did not observe that the description of it in both Kings and Chronicles is for one looking outward, whereas our candidates are led to suppose they are to find the Middle Chamber inside the temple building. The right hand column is on the same side as the brazen sea, which was on the right over toward the southCKings VII, 39, Chronicles IV, 10 — so the candidate is really standing between the columns looking toward the courts, and with his back toward the temple building.
Then again Preston has not described the columns accurately, for each had two chapiters — one of five and one of four cubits — Kings VII, 16 and 19 — and it was the one of four cubits that was ornamented with lily work, probably the lotus of Egypt. Now of what was the lotus the symbol? Does it not at least suggest the winged sun?
I can find no winding stair of 3, 5 and 7 steps in any biblical description of the temple, though such a stair was undoubtedly a feature of far more ancient heathen temples. The three and the five would make the eight between the Court of the Gentiles and that of the Jews, but if there had been three steps by themselves anywhere in the temple I doubt whether any Jew would have set foot on them as three was the most sacred number. In the blue degrees of the Scottish Rite these steps are shown on the tracing board as in front of the porch, where they certainly were not.
C. A. Snowden, Washington.
Your letter about the Middle Chamber symbolism does not make clear to me just what your difficulty is, but I shall endeavor to answer certain of your questions in hope that I may somehow strike the center of your problem.
In the first place, we must remember that the original records are badly mixed up. The best Hebrew scholars that have ever lived have never been able to agree about many of the details. Therefore, if we find inconsistencies and improbabilities in our ritualistic interpretation we must not be surprised.
It is well to remember that the Temple was more than once destroyed and rebuilt, not to mention the numerous remodelings which were almost always going on: it is hard to fix on any one detail and say, "There! it is so and so in the Temple at such a time!" Anyhow, what matters it?
The word translated "chamber" means chamber: it does not in any way refer to "court," which is a different word in the Hebrew, and which Hebrew writers would never have misused, so familiar was it. The wall about the Temple proper was made thick and hollow: inside the hollow were partitioned little rooms, and there were three tiers, or stories, of these rooms: in them the priests and Temple attendants kept their paraphernalia. If "Middle Chamber" means anything, if such a thing ever existed, it was probably the second tier of rooms, as just now described.
I do not think that "our lectures in all the degrees" should be rewritten. Such a thing is impossible and undesirable, but I do believe that the lectures could profit greatly by some revising, and nowhere is revising more urgently needed than in the Middle Chamber lecture, which lecture, in our modern state of knowledge, sounds often like the production of a college sophomore.
As for the Pillars I have already told what little I know about the subject in previous issues of THE BUILDER.
You will find a good scholar's interpretation of all these matters in Charles Foster Kent's "Student's Bible" series, especially in the volume on the "Founders and Rulers of Ancient Israel." I am using these volumes as college texts and I find them excellent. Professor Kent is reliable as to erudition, and sound in his head, which last cannot always be safely averred of writers on the Old Testament: moreover, he incorporates several valuable bibliographies on these moot questions in the appendixes of his various volumes.
H. L. H.
* * *
Brother Haywood's articles on the symbolism of the various degrees in each number of THE BUILDER are a source of very great interest and profit to me. An idea has occurred to me, while reading his explanation of the story of Jephtha in the January number, which I am taking the liberty of passing on to you.
Is it not possible that the inclusion of this story is due to the word "shibboleth" in the sense of a catchword in general literary usage? You will find in the great Oxford Dictionary, as the third and figurative definition of the word: "A catchword or formula adopted by a party or sect, by which their followers may be discerned, or those not their followers may be excluded." The following examples are given:
1638, E. Norice, New Gespel 3. — "His followers sequestering themselves to such as were of their own way . . . gave themselves to mirth and jollity, . . . as if it were the only Shibboleth whereby to be diseerned from the miserable Legalists that held mourning and sorrow for singe." 1687, Dryden, Hind and P. 4:1076. — "For them...their foes a deadly Shibboleth devise." 1771, Wesley. Sermon xliv. — "But he is the Shibboleth. Is man by nature filled with all manner of evil?" 1784, Cowper, Letter to Newton, 21 Feb. — "The mere shibboleth of party." 1809, Scott. Familiar Letters (1894) 1. v. 146. — "Knaves and fools invent catch-words and shibboleths to keep them ('honest' persons) from coming to a just understanding."
The last two examples are of special interest to us, as both Cowper and Scott were, I understand, members of the Craft.
Does it not seem reasonable that the old ritualist, whoever he was, introduced the story of this barbarous chieftain, who crowned his cruel treatment of his enemies of his own race and religion and language by the murder of his own daughter as a human sacrifice, simply because of the catchword?
The meaning of the word, as given by the Oxford Dictionary, is also not without interest. It says:
"The word occurs with the senses 'ear of corn' and 'stream in flood': in the passage now referred to LXX (i.e. the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Bible) and the Vulgate (the Latin translation) give the former rendering: modern commentators prefer the latter, on the ground that on this view the selection of the word is naturally accounted for as the slaughter took place at the 'fords of Jordan.' "
The two meanings will thus account for the way it is "emblematically depicted."
W. Harvey McNairn, Canada.
* * *
PROCEEDINGS OF NORTH CAROLINA GRAND BODIES AND ARS QUATUOR CORONATORUM WANTED
To complete our files of the Proceedings of North Carolina Masonic Grand Bodies we are very anxious to procure any or all of the following named Proceedings:
Grand Lodge of North Carolina, 1787 to 1854, inclusive (Originals preferred.)
Grand Chapter of North Carolina, 1847, 1848, 1851, 1852 1853 and 1854.
Grand Commandery of North Carolina, 1891.
We should also be glad to purchase the proceedings of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 of London, England, from the time of organization, November 24th, 1894, to date.
R. L. Chandler, Secretary,
Pansophia Masonic Library,
Southern Pines, North Carolina
* * *
LODGES NAMED FOR ROOSEVELT
Theodore Roosevelt Lodge No. 1022, A. F. & A. M., Chicago, Illinois. Instituted April 9, 1919, and constituted October 21, 1919. The Secretary is Philip Sultan, 111 West Monroe Street, Chicago.
Roosevelt Lodge No. 650, F. & A. M., Cleveland, Ohio, constituted October 25, 1919. R. B. McHenry, 3148 Superior Ave N. E., Cleveland, Ohio, Secretary.
Theodore Roosevelt Lodge No. 697, A. F. & A. M., was constituted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 26, 1919. Samuel Eckels, 1319 Alton St., Pittsburgh, Secretary.
— Hubert S. Hopkins, Illinois.
* * *
In the Question Box for February I took particular interest in the query of "T. A. Jr., Texas," in which he inquired where he might obtain a bibliography of the best Masonic literature and the reply thereto.
I think I asked the same question from many brethren, and was greatly helped by many, particularly by the Iowa Masonic Library; but it is such a large subject that I am still a beginner.
In the course of my search for bibliographical data I have been fortunate enough to pick up quite a collection of old and valuable catalogues and bibliographical works, the most valuable of which are the "Masonic Bibliography" by E.T. Carson (1874) and "Catalogue of Worcestershire Masonic Library," with bibliographical notes by W. J. Hughan.
The bibliographical works which I possess, although perhaps somewhat meagre, represent several years search in second-hand bookshops with the assistance of several kind friends, as well as a considerable outlay of money.
Most of those in my possession deal with the older literature and are more for the use of the advanced student than for beginners. I believe the time is at hand when an up-to-date bibliography of Masonic literature should be compiled. If a complete work of this kind would not be practical on account of the few who might subscribe for it, then it would seem to me a work dealing with, let us say, 2,000 of the most important works would be very valuable.
Perhaps one of the lists of our "Traveling Library" might interest our Texas brother. I would also suggest that when I first became interested in Masonic literature I found intense interest in the current catalogues of the various Masonic publishing houses and bookdealers.
Sometime, when I have more leisure, it is my intention to compile a list of my catalogues which I believe will be of interest to some of the students interested in the study side of Masonry.
Our traveling library comprises books which, with the exception of numbers 8, 18, 22 and 24, may be easily obtained. The list follows:
TRAVELING LIBRARY OF THE GRAND LODGE OF WISCONSIN
- Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry in two volumes.
- History of Freemasonry and Concordant Orders, by Hughan and Stillson.
- The Poetry of Freemasonry, by Morris.
- A Concise History of Freemasonry, by Robert Freke Gould.
- The Arcane Schools, by J. Yarker.
- The Roberts Constitutions, 1722, published by the N. M. R. S.
- Philosophy of Masonry, by Roscoe Pound, LL. D.
- Ancient York Masonic Rolls, by James B. Bardwell.
- The Grand Lodge of England, by A. F. Calvert.
- Kenning's Cyclopedia of Freemasonry, by George Kenning, edited by A. F. A. Woodford.
- The Builders, by J. F. Newton.
- Masonic Jurisprudence, by Albert G. Mackey, M. D.
- The Symbolism of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey, M. D.
- Low Twelve, by Edward S. Ellis, A. M.
- Washington and His Masonic Compeers, by Sydney Hayden.
- Symbolic Teachings of Masonry and Its Message, by Thomas Milton Stewart.
- Symbols and Legends of Freemasonry, by J. Finley Finlayson.
- A Short Masonic History (two volumes), by Frederick Armitage.
- Speculative Masonry, by A. S. Macbride, J. P.
- Ancient Mysteries and Modern Masonry, by Rev. Charles H. Vail.
- Military Lodges, 1732–1899, by Robert Freke Gould.
- The Comacines, Their Predecessors and their Successors, by W. Ravenscroft, F.S.A. F.R.I.B.A.
- Indian Masonry, by Robert C. Wright.
- Freemasonry Before the Existence of Grand Lodges, by Lionel Vibert, I.C.S.
- A Concise Cyclopsedia of Freemasonry, by E. L. Hawkins, M. A.
- Sidelights on Freemasonry, by John T. Lawrence, M. A.
- Things a Freemason Should Know, by Fred J. W. Crowe, F. R. A. S.
- The Story of Freemasonry, by W. G. Sibley.
- The Four Old Lodges, by Robt. Freke Gould. Silas H. Shepherd, Chairman
— Committee on Masonic Research, Grand Lodge of Wisconsin.
* * *
THE ATTAINMENT OF PERFECTION
As Masons we accept unconditionally the fact that Masonry is a system of morality, peculiar only in its application. We must build character, we are told, and are given the necessary implements, i. e. Masonic teachings with which to perform this difficult task — for as St. Paul truly says, "There are warring members at continual conflict within us."
Now, we are living in a scientific age, and it seems to me that if the teaching of morality is to become more effective we must make the teaching scientific. We must use logic, reason and faith — not the blind faith that accepts what someone else has said or written, but only what appeals to our reason and common sense. The Buddha is reported as saying that we never should accept anything, whether uttered by a holy man or written in a sacred document, unless it appeals to one's reason and sense of justice.
Now how are we to make the teachings of morality scientific? In the first place we must accept the fact of the existence of law in our universe. No one denies that if you pick up a red hot poker, accidentally or not, the result is the same extreme pain. Therefore, we recognize the existence of a law which we designate as that of radiation or heat. When we violate it we are immediately paid as it were for our transgression. No one is foolish enough to jump off the roof of a ten-story building, knowing full well that the law of gravitation will immediately draw us to earth with the result of either losing our life or a badly fractured body. These things are apparent, so much so, that there is a general acceptance and obedience of physical laws.
But when we enter the domain of Ethics do we find the same recognition of the law of action and reaction? I'm afraid not. To be sure there is plenty of lip acceptance of the well known axiom: "Be ye not deceived, God is not mocked, as a man soweth so shall he reapeth." Why do men so willingly violate the law of morality? Is it because they do not believe in the above stated law — or is it because the effects of moral transgression are not always apparent? Perhaps it is because men lack faith. Now having faith is a tremendous thing — faith that expresses itself in action. We need not judge others by their actions — they judge themselves by what they do and say.
We must teach men that they can no more violate and evade the moral law, known by the Hindus as Karma, or the Ethical Law of Cause and Effect, than can a man put out both of his eyes and be able to read a newspaper. Men deceive themselves if they think that by being shrewd enough to cheat others and glory over their ill-gotten gains, they have escaped punishment of their misdeeds. I use the word punishment, not in the sense of a wrathful Deity who is waiting for one of His ignorant children to commit a misdeed and then to vent His anger upon him. Not so, but God has established laws, moral as well as physical, and any violations lead to disaster of one sort or another. His agents apportion to men in every life they live on earth the exact results of previous lives — for how else can you explain the justice of God if you find a child, or to put it more clearly, a soul encased in an earthly vesture, equipped with the brain of an idiot, while another has a perfectly normal body.
I ask my Masonic brothers to carefully ponder over what I have written. Perhaps I have stated somewhat crudely what I believe to be the true foundation of a Masonic edifice, built without hands. Man becomes perfect only by the knowledge and application of God's laws. May His Light shine upon us and all living creatures!
— Chester Green, Massachusetts.
* * *
The most important period to a candidate is that period of study and reflection in which he has opportunity, undisturbed, to assimilate those sublime lessons taught him upon entering into Masonic life. Without study and thought, he cannot assimilate. Without assimilation, he cannot grow in Masonic stature. It has been a common spectacle, growing more and more apparent with passing years, to see newly initiated Masons being importuned to seek other rites and ceremonies without having had time to become acquainted with even the rudiments of the sublime lessons placed before them for study as Entered Apprentices, Fellowcrafts and Master Masons. The whole drama of life as such is placed before them. It may be elaborated upon, but never increased in scope.
— A. E. Emerson, P. G. M., Washington.