A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 6 No. 9 – September 1920
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird. P.G.M., District of Columbia
JOSHUA BARNEY, an American Naval officer, whose Masonic history is recorded in the History of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, page 96, was born in Baltimore in 1759 and died in Pittsburg in 1818.
During the War of the Revolution he was appointed a Master's Mate in the Navy, and ordered to the sloop of war The Hornet. In 1776, when only 17 years of age, he was promoted to a lieutenancy for gallantry on board The Wasp which vessel had captured the brig Tender in Delaware Bay.
His next ship was the Sachem, and he was later placed on board a prize ship as Master, was captured by the Perseus, but soon afterwards exchanged.
In 1777 he joined the frigate Virginia which vessel ran aground and was captured before she could get afloat. Barney was again exchanged, after which he joined a privateer which sailed for France and, on her return, took a valuable prize and reached Philadelphia in 1779.
His next ship was the Saratoga, of sixteen guns, which captured the Charming Molly and two brigs. Barney led the boarders who boarded the Molly and was placed in command of one of the prizes, but the next day they were all retaken by the Intrepid, a frigate of seventy-four guns. Barney was sent to a prison in England where he remained for a while, but managed to escape and made his way back to Philadelphia, where he arrived in March, 1782.
He was given command of the Hyder-Ali, of sixteen guns, and in this vessel encountered the General Monk just outside the capes of the Delaware, and after a hot fight captured the Monk, twenty guns. For this the Pennsylvania legislature presented him with a sword. He was ordered to command the Monk, and sailed for France in November, 1782, where he received the money loaned by the French Government and brought it back to Philadelphia. He then heard of the preparations for an armistice. Barney was commisioned a Captain in the French service, in 1795, but gave up his command in 1800 and returned home.
For want of funds with which to pay salaries the Navy was dismantled at the close of the war, all of the officers except John Paul Jones were mustered out with their crews. John Paul Jones, a good French scholar, remained in France as Commissioner to settle the accounts arising out of mixed American and French crews, questioned ownership of prizes, etc.
When war was again declared, in 1812, Barney was appointed by Congress to command the flotilla of the Chesapeake and its tributaries. He took part in the fight at Bladensburg (in defense of Washington City) where he was severely wounded. Congress voted him a sword and the legislature of Georgia gave him a vote of thanks.
Barney was buried in the First Presbyterian Church cemetery in Pittsburg, but his body was afterward removed to the Allegheny cemetery, in a circular enclosure which was called "Mount Barney," and at the head of the grave there was erected a modest stone shown in the frontispiece.
The (District of) Columbia Historic Society in 1910 induced Congress to consider a bill to name one of the little public circles in Washington, near the eastern branch of the Potomac "Barney Circle," but the bill, like many others, expired on the calendar after being reported. Like many other such bills it had the merit to be approved by all the members, opposed by none, but not reached.
Joshua Barney was always a gentleman: like so many seafaring men of his time he was fearless, but unlike many of them he was religiously inclined, never indulging in profanity nor excesses of any kind, evidently observing the tenets of Masonry.
The inscription on the modest little memorial is now nearly illegible. It reads:
Commodore Joshua Barney, U.S.N., Born in Baltimore
July 6, 1759. Died in Pittsburg December 1, 1818.
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A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF MASONIC HISTORY
Bro. H. L. Haywood, Iowa
This essay was written at the request of the Committee on Masonic Research of the Grand Lodge of Iowa and is being published in pamphlet form by that Committee under the title "A Vest Pocket History of Freemasonry." It is intended to be given by lodges to newly-raised candidates. Prepared for such purpose, it does not attempt to be inclusive, though it is more than a mere introduction to the subject. The author makes no claim to authoritativeness or to finality, yet the view-point of the whole is supported by the most notable of modern writers. The rich and varied story of Freemasonry in America is barely mentioned and other equally important chapters of the great History of Freemasonry have been entirely omitted. The Research Committee has announced that other pamphlets intended to cover omitted subjects with equal simplicity and informality will follow.
Modern scientists have given us a new method for studying the past. We do not interpret the history of the Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, or any other ancient people, as once we did. All the records have been newly judged. We may be thankful that the records of Freemasonry have been likewise critically examined because we have gained thereby a clearer account of the beginnings of the Order. The books left us by the earlier Masonic writers are usually admirable in spirit and purpose but their historical portions must be received with caution: historians, archaeologists, philologists, and other scientists have given us so many new facts and have disproved so many time-honoured traditions, that we must learn to read Masonic history with a new mind. In this brief and simple account of the matter the writer has attempted to follow these scholars as closely as possible.
But this does not mean that the present, or any other modern account of our history, is to be accepted as final. Far from it. It is too early to write such a history. In spite of all our discoveries much fog still hangs over our beginnings. The records since the organization of the first Grand Lodge in 1717 are usually reliable and fairly complete, but for the history prior to that date such facts as we have are mixed up with a vast deal of myth and guesswork. One must feel his way through the dark, and it is therefore better to remain content with the facts, few as they are, than to yield to the influence of any one of the — numerous fantastical theories which trace Freemasonry back to every nook and corner of ancient times; back to Noah's ark, for example, or to the creation of the world. In the present essay, modest as is its scope, an attempt will be made to indicate what we may safely believe concerning our ancestry; but even so this account is not in any sense offered as the last word on the subject.
Also it is wise to leave alone those enthusiastically held theories, which are usually as vain as they are numerous, that trace our Fraternity's beginnings to magic, or to some other form of occultism. Most of us are content to achieve results by familiar and natural methods; but there have always been men who have believed that back of the normal forces of Nature there are hidden mysterious forces which are known only to a few of the initiated, and they have tried to use these "forces" as a short cut to power. Instead of digging gold out of the ground as sensible men do, they have tried to create it by the transmutation of iron, or copper, or tin; instead of building up health of the body by the means known to all of us: simple living, rest, exercise, and the like, they have sought the Elixir of Life; instead of learning wisdom as all of us men are obliged to learn it they have hunted around for the Philosopher's Stone. There have been many societies in existence in the past for the purpose of teaching to initiates the so-called "secrets" of this kind of thing, and these societies are called "Occult Fraternities" because what they have practised is "occultism." There were many such fraternities in ancient times and in the Middle Ages, and some of them possessed a certain amount of wisdom and true lore; some of them, no doubt, contributed something to the evolution of Freemasonry; but it is all wrong to suppose, as some do, that Freemasonry was created by these occultists or that Freemasonry itself is a form of occultism. It is nothing of the kind, for it has grown out of, and is builded upon, the same normal experiences of everyday life.
In Egyptian mythology there is a story singularly like our legend of Hiram Abif. Confucius spoke of a "square and compass man," and Mencius, another great Chinese teacher, sometimes talked like a Mason. There is much said in Hebrew tradition about builders. Amid the Pompeiian ruins was found a pedestal on which were engraved certain familiar symbols. In Peruvian architecture archaeologists have discovered series of three, five and seven steps. Among the American Indians there have been secret societies that have used symbols and rites something like our own. Once was when these fragments and hundreds more like them out of antiquity were accepted as certain proof that Freemasonry has existed from time immemorial. This cannot be disproved but a more reasonable reading of the facts suggests to us that these were merely accidental likenesses. Masonic symbols, most of them at least, as has already been said, are natural and human, and of such a character that early mankind came upon them naturally and inevitably. There was no need that a Masonic institution exist in order that men express themselves so. Such symbols grew up out of the human mind as grass springs from the sod. The causes which create secret societies in modern times created secret societies in ancient times. Ancient fraternities and teachers of symbolism prepared the way for modern Freemasonry and contributed many elements to the making of its philosophy and ritual, but it is going too far to say that our Order can trace a straight line of ancestry back to ancient Egypt, or beyond. Looking back upon early movements of this kind the Freemason of today can say, "That which our Fraternity is now trying to do those early brethren were trying to do, and what they did helped make it possible for our Fraternity to come into existence; by studying them I can the better understand Freemasonry as it now exists."
The first of these early anticipations of Freemasonry to claim our attention, is the Men's House, of which Professor Hutton Webster has given us so exhaustive an account in his "Primitive Secret Societies." According to this excellent authority the primitive tribe was in reality a secret society, at least so far as the men were concerned. At the centre of the village stood a large building; in this the unmarried men had their quarters; the chiefs and elders held their deliberations; and it was here that the boys, when they were come of age, were initiated into the secrets of the tribe. These secrets were probably the knowledge of the arts of war, of the arts of the chase, and of the revered traditions. The initiation was an arduous ordeal, barbaric in character, and sometimes so severe as to cause death. The youth who shrunk from it was sent back to live with women and children. This ancient institution is of interest to us because it exhibits in a very early form the human necessity for initiation and for secret organization.
The next manifestation of what we may call the human instinct for Freemasonry (using the word here in a broad sense) occurred in the Ancient Mysteries, of which examples were found among most of the early nations. Of these the best known are the Egyptian, built up around such myths as those of Isis and Osiris; the Greek, more especially the Eleusinian; and the cult Mithraism, which gained such a hold on the Romans, especially the soldiers, as to prove a powerful rival to Christianity. These cults, as needs not be said, differed among themselves in many important respects but some things they had in common. Meetings were held in secret; the candidate was symbolically clothed; he participated in an acted allegorical drama, the centre of which was a dying and a rising again; the new member was bound to his fellows by a solemn obligation; the rites and teachings had a religious foundation; and each member always stood ready to lend assistance to any fellow at any time. In some of the early cults of this kind the candidate was briefly taught a certain kind of knowledge; in a few cases the organization achieved fame as a centre of philosophical and scientific teaching, as those of Egypt for example, to which Plato, Pythagoras, and other great Greek thinkers went seeking light.
It does not appear that the early Hebrews had any such cults in their midst though the Levites, and in some cases, the Schools of the Prophets, approximated to the secret society in their forms of organization. The only famous Jewish cult, the Essenes, came at a later day. The first mention of the Essenes as a distinct sect was made a century and a half before Christ. Essenism was a religious order, the members of which practised celibacy, taught a puritan morality, and lived in common, sharing all things equally. Their influence was so vital a leaven that it carried many of their teachings and much of their language into popular usage. "Much of the Sermon on the Mount," says one authority, "is expressed in the phraseology of the sect." Certain of their tenets, no doubt, passed over into that stream of tradition later inherited by Freemasonry but our Order did not originate with the Essenes, though some have argued in behalf of such a theory, the learned Dr. Krause, for example.
Other cults could be mentioned: the Druses of Mt. Lebanon, for example; the Druids, who flourished during the early Dark Ages; the Culdees, that fraternity of Ireland about which so little is known; the Pythagoreans, founded by the followers of Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher. It may be that Freemasonry owes something to some one of these, or, it may be, to all of them, but if so the indebtedness is too slender to warrant further discussion thereon.
There is another of these obscure cults, however, about which a word may be said; we refer to the Dyonysian Artificers, a fraternity which, if our very slender sources of information are to be trusted, was organized about the rites and emblems of architecture. According to Strabo, an old Greek historian, and fairly reliable, this fraternity originated in Greece but later migrated to Phoenicia, which lies just west of the country inhabited by the Hebrews. This fraternity, it appears, soon possessed such a monopoly of the building trade in that country, that when King Hiram of Tyre, a great Phoenician, undertook to build for King Solomon the latter's royal temple at Jerusalem, lodges of the Dyonoysian Artificers were sent to Jerusalem to do the work. Afterwards these Artificers migrated into Italy, whence they carried with them traditions concerning the building of Solomon's Temple, some of which, it is believed, may have been preserved until this day. Also, it is worthy of note, the Dyonysian Artificers probably had something to do with the rise of the Builders' Collegia in Rome. Of these Collegia more must be said.
A Collegium ("Collegia" is the plural) was an association of not less than three men, organized for some specific purpose under the laws of Rome. They began to be fanned during the first century of our era, and they reached their greatest development during the fourth century. Most of them were Burial Clubs, and existed in order to give the member a respectable interment; others were strictly religious in nature, as in the case of the first Christian societies, which were Collegiate in form; others still were strictly social in nature, like our Shrine; and then there were a great many of miscellaneous character about which nothing need be said. The Collegia which interest us most were those organized by men engaged in the building trades. Each branch of that trade had its Collegia, and these Collegia, aside from their purely fraternal and charitable features, no doubt preserved the secrets of architecture. Members were received by ballot; were admitted through an initiation ceremony based on religion and much like our own; there was a common treasury to which each member paid annual dues; each member was placed under oath to keep the secrets of the organization; and the ritual was usually based on a religious myth which had to do with the death and the rising again of some god. The Masonic reader, as we need not say, already sees the points of similarity with modern Freemasonry and we may agree with all our Masonic scholars in looking upon the Collegia as the Freemasonic lodges of their day and as having contributed much to that long stream of evolution which culminated in our modern Fraternity.
When the Barbarians swept down upon Rome the Collegia, like all other organizations and institutions in the Empire, suffered beyond description; most of them went out of existence entirely and others lingered on, changed beyond description. Among those that suffered most were the architectural bodies, for, according to such slender evidence as we possess, they were almost completely destroyed, so that it appeared that architecture, or Masonry as it used to be called, was a lost art. And yet, at the end of the Dark Ages there began to appear in Europe the most marvellous buildings that have ever been erected by the wit and ingenuity of man. Who preserved the builder's intricate and difficult art during that long lapse from civilization? For a long time the historians of architecture were at a loss to explain this mystery but of late there has grown up a hypothesis which more and more claims the allegiance of learned men. It is called the Comacine Theory, and thus far the ablest and most exhaustive presentation of it has been made by a woman, Leader Scott, in her volume entitled "The Cathedral Builders." According to this reading of the matter, a guild of architects fled from the Barbarians at the time of the Roman invasion and took refuge on the fortified island of Comacina in the midst of Lake Como, which lies in Lombardy, and which region was at the time the one free place in Italy. These master builders preserved the secrets of their art and passed it on to their sons, generation after generation, until such time as the new rulers of Europe were themselves sufficiently civilized to demand suitable houses and beautiful public buildings. Then it was that the Comacini began to spread their influence about. They organized schools in which youth were taught the rudiments of letters and something of building, and they superintended the erection of walled towns, of highways, palaces, and cathedrals. As the arts of peace gained on the arts of war these builders became more and more in demand until they had spread over much of Europe, and even as far as England, and perhaps as far as Ireland. "They were the link," writes Leader Scott, "between the classic Collegia and all other art and trade guilds of the Middle Ages. They were Freemasons because they were builders of a privileged class, absolved from taxes and servitude, and free to travel about in times of feudal bondage."
As time went on through the Middle Ages, other kinds of guilds were established, as in the Roman Empire, and along with these others, the various branches of the building profession gradually became organized; quarrymen, stone-cutters, wallers, plasterers, etc., each group had its own guild. But gradually it came about, owing to causes operating at the time, which causes cannot be here explained through lack of space, that the majority of these builders' guilds became purely local in nature, and therefore stationary. The builders' organization in one city was distinct and separate from the similar organization in an adjoining city; workmen were not permitted to move about at will seeking employment because the feudal system did not permit it. Among all these organizations was one guild, descending from the Comacine Masters, which stood apart from the rest; this was the Cathedral Builders. To erect a cathedral was an art in itself which required peculiar skill and special knowledge of architecture and therefore the mere local craftsmen were unequipped to work on these and similar structures; accordingly the Cathedral Builders were exempted from the municipal and feudal restrictions and were permitted to move about from place to place. Many of our scholars believe it was from these particular guilds that Freemasonry has descended and some of them, G. W. Speth for example, believe that the word "Freemason" came into use because these builders, or "masons," were "free" to move about from town to town.
Be that as it may, it is certain that Freemasonry traces back to the medieval builders' guilds that which is most characteristic of itself, its system of symbolism organized about the arts of architecture. The Masonry of these guilds was "operative," that is, it was engaged in the actual building processes, and in that regard was fundamentally different from our own symbolical variety, which is called "speculative"; but in most other regards the modern speculative lodge is strikingly similar to the associations of operatives. Like us the Each community had its own building traditions. But operative masons had lodges, and usually a well-guarded building in which to meet; they convened in secret; they were governed by masters and wardens; members were admitted by initiation, and were taught to make themselves known to each other by grips and signs; and the candidates were instructed by a system of symbols and emblems. When a youth presented himself for membership he was carefully examined, then admitted as Apprentice, or learner, and his name was entered on the books, whence our term, "Entered Apprentice." He was then placed in charge of a Master Mason, lived perhaps in that brother's home, and remained under his tutelage for a period of years, usually seven. At the expiration of this term he was examined, he had to produce a masterpiece, and, if found worthy, was initiated as a "Fellow of the Craft," or Master Mason, the two terms being interchangeable in those days. These guilds had certain traditions sometimes kept in writing, and they used "charges" to the candidates; some of these interesting old documents are still extant, and the curious reader will find a well edited collection of them in W. J. Hughan's little book, "Ancient Charges." These documents are quaint in form, uncritical in their account of the origins of Masonry, and in many other ways on a level with their age; but in respect of morality they inculcated a standard far in advance of their times. No modern Mason has any cause to feel ashamed of this ancestry.
It would be in order now to turn to the Steinmetzen, a powerful German association of builders, or to the Companionage, a French association of travelling Masons, because all our Masonic historians believe that we owe many things to these two great fraternities; but the reader must be referred to Gould's four volume "History" for a full account of these; the restrictions of space compel us to hasten on to the causes which led in the sixteenth century to a breakup of the old builders' guilds in general and the Cathedral Builders in particular. Our attention will be confined to England because that country became the home of the evolution of Freemasonry from this time on.
A long drawn out Civil War exhausted the people in spirit and finance. The monasteries, long-time patrons of architecture, were dissolved. Puritanism came on the scene with an intense hatred for architecture and its demand for plain barn-like structures. Simon Grynaeus, a contemporary of Martin Luther, rediscovered Euclid's treatise on geometry and published it to the world, thereby "giving away" many of the trade secrets of the Masons. For these, and for many other less important reasons, the Cathedral Builders rapidly declined in power and prestige and were finally driven to engage in domestic architecture in order to make a livelihood; and to maintain their dwindling lodges they gradually came to admit members who had no intention of engaging in actual Masonic work. These latter were called "accepted" Masons, and their Masonry was called "speculative."
What led these "accepted" Masons to join the Craft? Something of a mystery hangs over the matter but it is supposed that these men, most of whom were well-to-do and some of them, like Elias Ashmole, were learned, were attracted to the fraternity by its wealth of ancient lore, its marvellous system of symbolism, its fine traditions of brotherhood, its inherent democracy, its morality, and its noble spirit. At first the Speculative Masons were in a minority; but in time, at least in the neighbourhood of London, they came to equal, or even outnumber the operatives; and at last they gained complete control and transformed the whole Fraternity into a speculative system.
Before going on to narrate this story it will be wise for us here to digress a moment in order to say a word about two or three other sources from which modern speculative Masonry undoubtedly derived certain elements. I refer to the occult societies which more or less flourished in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries such as Kabalism, Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, etc. We owe many things to these cults; some of our writers think we owe so much that they ask us to believe that Freemasonry was created in these circles. The present writer has no desire to underestimate our indebtedness in this instance but he believes that in occultism we find tributaries rather than the principal current. The operative Masons were not occultists; the occultists were not operative Masons; how then did the former come to be influenced by the latter? This is still a moot question but there are good reasons to believe that the non-operative Masons who were accepted in the seventeenth century were, many of them, more or less attached to schools of occultism, and that they brought some of it with them when they entered the Order. The reader who feels a keen interest in the matter is referred to such writers as Albert Pike and A.E. Waite and to the scholars who contributed to the Transactions of the Quatuor Coronate Lodge of Research. All these men, especially the mystical and erudite Waite, have gone into the question thoroughly and have a right to speak. A mere word about two or three of these occult groups will suffice for our present purpose.
In the first centuries of our era the Egyptian city of Alexandria was a great intellectual melting-pot. To that centre Greeks took their philosophies; Egyptians carried their mythologies; the Jews their Old Testament, along with learned interpretations thereof; members of the Mystery Cults took their religious allegories; Christians their Gospel; and the common man carried with him an unquenchable curiosity to know about things mystical, occult, magical. Men were often very learned and almost always superstitious to a degree, and miracles were expected as a matter of course. Because of this extraordinary jumbling of things not a few thinkers undertook to fashion new religions and philosophies which would include all the various cults, creeds, and theories. Out of Alexandria there came astonishing mixtures of thought; including certain occult systems, among the most prominent of which was Hermeticism.
This school traced its origin back to the so-called "Thrice Greatest Hermes," who was, it seems, in the hazy beginnings of Egyptian mythology, bookkeeper to the other deities. About this Hermes myth these occultists wove a mass of legend, theosophy and magic, all of which was set forth under a rich veil of symbolism. Just what these men were intending to say or to do by means of all this it is not possible or necessary for us to say, but it does concern us that Hermeticism lasted long in the world, that it exerted a wide influence, that much of it was inherited by later schools, and that many of its symbols, such as the square and compass, triangle, oblong square, gauge, plumb-line, circle with parallel lines, etc., have found place in the system of Masonic symbolism. It may be that a few of these came to us direst from Hermeticism through the speculative Masons who were accepted by Masonic lodges before the era of the first Grand Lodge.
Kabalism is another school of magic and theosophy to which Masonic historians have paid attention. For some time prior to Jesus many Jewish scholars were in the habit of interpreting the Old Testament allegorically and mystically. A number of Jewish rabbis who found their way to Alexandria carried these speculations with them, and later fused them with a number of pagan and possibly Christian elements wherefrom they built up the strange system called Kabalism. Needless to say many symbols were employed in the four or five books accepted as authoritative (the word "Kabala" means "accepted") and among these a Mason would be interested in the Lost Name, Solomon's Temple, the Shekinah, etc. Kabalism existed in out-of-the-way places during the Dark Ages and was brought into Europe by Arabian metaphysicians; falling upon a credulous and magic loving age it was eagerly studied, even by Christian theologians, and it is very probable that certain of its speculations and a few of its symbolisms found their way into the stream of Masonic traditions. At any rate Masonic historians so believe, and most of them number it among secondary Masonic sources.
Out of the mingled currents of Hermeticism and Kabalism was born, early in the seventeenth century, another school of occultism known as Rosicrucianism and so named, probably, because its members were called "Brethren of the Rosy Cross." What was meant by this name is now lost. The Bible of this cult was a strange German book issued in 1614 and called "Fama Fraternitas," which volume has been attributed by some scholars, Dr. Begeman for example, to a Protestant theologian, Dr. Andrea by name. The "Fama" declared that Rosicrucians were of the Protestant faith, honoured king and country, sought the Philosopher's Stone, and searched for the Elixir of Life. One encounters familiar symbols in Rosicrucian pages, such as the globe, the compasses, square, triangle, level, plummet, etc. It is difficult and often impossible to follow out the traces of this esoteric cult but it appears that its waters often washed the Masonic shores; just how much we are indebted to it must be left to future scholarship to decide. As yet we know so little about the whole subject that it is wise to avoid positive statements.
One is tempted to go more thoroughly into these matters. Freemasons, for some reason or other, always have been, and even now remain, peculiarly susceptible to the appeal of the occult; we have had some experience in this country during recent years that prove this. No doubt a learned dustman can find particles of gold buried away in the debris of occultism and the true gold, even in small quantities, is not to be despised; but the dangers attendant upon trifling with the magical are a heavy price to pay for what little we can gain. Those who have, with worn fingers, untangled the snarl of occult symbolism, tell us that these secret cults have been teaching the doctrine of the one God, of the brotherhood of man, and of the future life of the soul; all this is good but one doesn't need to wade through jungles of weird speculations in order to come upon teachings that one may find in any Sunday School. It behooves the wise student to walk warily; perhaps the wisest thing is to leave occultism altogether alone. Life is too short to tramp around its endless labyrinths. Moreover, there is on the surface of Freemasonry enough truth to equip any of us for all time to come.
Thus far we have rapidly traced our evolution from the beginning, down through the Roman Collegia, through the medieval guilds, into the beginnings of Speculative Masonry; we have glanced at a few of the currents of occultism from which we have received something; it is now in order to turn to the Grand Lodge era; and we can turn to it not without a sense of relief because we can, except in matters of minute detail, walk upon the solid ground of fact.
By the opening of the eighteenth century Freemasonry had almost lapsed out of existence; it was not dead but it was exceedingly dormant, and what few lodges were scattered here and there over England, Scotland and Ireland, had little in common except the name and the tradition of a great fraternity. In Scotland it came to pass that one man could make a Mason of another merely by giving him the so-called "Mason's word"; in Ireland conditions differed radically from those that obtained in England; what condition Freemasonry was in on the continent it is hard to say.
But the time for a great awakening had come and the first gleams of a new day brightened the horizon in the year 1716 when certain members of a few lodges in or about London "thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the centre of Union and Harmony." How many of these "Old Lodges" were concerned we do not know, but Dr. James Anderson, a Presbyterian minister, whose story of the period is "the only official account we possess of the foundations of the Grand Lodge of England, and of the first six years of its history," gives us the names of four, those that met in the following places:
- The Goose and Gridiron Ale-House.
- The Crown Ale-House.
- The Apple-Tree Tavern.
- Rummer and Grapes Tavern.
To quote Anderson, whose "The New Book of Constitutions" was issued in 1738:
"They and some other old Brothers met at the said Apple-Tree, and having put into the chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge Pro Tempore in due form, and forthwith revived the Quarterly Communication of the Officers of Lodges (called the GRAND LODGE) resolv'd to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast, and then to chuse a Grand Master from among themselves, till they should have the Honor of a Noble Brother at their Head.
"Accordingly, on St. John Baptist's Day, in the 3d year of King George I, A. D. 1717, the ASSEMBLY and Feast of the Free and Accepted Masons was held at the aforesaid Goose and Gridiron Ale-Hause.
"Before Dinner, the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) in the chair, proposed a List of proper Candidates; and the Brethren by a Majority of Hands elected Mr. Anthony Sayer, Gentleman, Grand Master of Masons (Mr. Jacob Lamball, Carpenter, Capt. Joseph Elliott, Grand Wardens) who being forthwith invested with the badges of Office and Power by the said oldest Master, and install'd, was duly congratulated by the Assembly who paid him the Homage.
"Sayer, Grand Master, commanded the Masters and Wardens of Lodges to meet the Grand Officers every Quarter in Communication, at the Place that he should appoint in the Summons sent by the Tyler."
George Payne became Grand Master in 1718 and caused "several old copies of the Gothic (i.e. manuscripts) Constitutions" to be "produced and collated," a fact which shows that they earnestly desired to adhere to the old traditions. Rev. J.T. Desaguliers was elected Grand Master in 1719, and George Payne received a second term in 1720. During the year several manuscripts — copies of the old Constitutions, probably — were burned "by some) scrupulous Brothers, that these papers might not fail into strange Hands." In 1721 Grand Lodge elected to the Grand Mastership John, Duke of Montagu, "the first of a long and unbroken line of noble Grand Masters — and the society rose at a single bound into notice and esteem." So popular did the Order become that the learned Dr. Stokely, writing January 6, 1721, complained that "immediately upon that it took a run and ran itself out of breath through the folly of the members."
At first the Grand Lodge, the formation of which is above described, claimed no jurisdiction except over London and its immediate environs; but it was possessed of such vitality that there was nothing to stay its growth every whither. In 1721 twelve lodges were represented at the Quarterly Communication; by 1723 the number had increased to thirty. Gradually lodges outside London came into the jurisdiction and the Grand Lodge itself chartered new organizations here and there, one of which was the lodge in Madrid in 1728, the first on foreign soil.
But the growing authority of the Grand Lodge at London was not unchallenged. In 1725 the old lodge at York began to call itself a Grand Lodge. In 1729 Irish Masons instituted a Grand Lodge of their own; and the Scotch followed in 1736. Moreover, rivals sprang up in England itself so that at one time there were no fewer than four bodies operating as Grand Lodges and claiming full sovereignty as such.
One can easily lose himself in the details of the story of all this Masonic organization and re-organization; in the present connection we can safely ignore all except the account of the famous schism of 1753. A number of Masons in London, mostly Irish, rebelled against the Grand Lodge there and finally set up a Grand Lodge of their own, averring that the older body had departed from many, ancient landmarks. Calling themselves "Ancient" Masons they dubbed the others the "Moderns" and undertook a vigorous campaign which was, engineered by an exceedingly able man, Lawrence Dermott, who served as secretary of the "Ancient" Grand Lodge for thirty years and was tireless in furthering its aims. It was he who published in 1756 its first book of laws, called "Ahiman Rezon," which title is supposed by some to mean "Worthy Brother Secretary." Dermott adopted the expedient of army lodges whereby men in service in every part of the world could be inducted into the Fraternity, and this in itself added power to the "Ancients," or Atholl Masons as they also came to be called, owing to the fact that the Duke of Atholl was made Grand Master.
For a long time there was constant strife between the two camps, but by the first decade of the nineteenth century overtures began to be made by one Grand Lodge to the other committees were appointed, and the spirit of unity began to win its way. In 1813 a great Lodge of Reconciliation was held, at which meeting there were 641 lodges of the so-called "Moderns" represented, and 359 "Ancients." From this famous assembly Masonry emerged cleansed of all its feuds, united and triumphant.
Some time during the first quarter of the eighteenth century Masonry was introduced into America; at least, the earliest known records bear such a date. With the organization of the Grand Lodge in England Masonry received a new impetus and spread rapidly over the colonies, north, south and west. Some American lodges were organized under warrant from the "Moderns," others under the "Ancients," and this fact in itself accounts for some of the variations in our rituals and customs. Washington, Lafayette, Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Chief Justice Marshall, such were the names in early nineteenth century American Masonry; and from Revolutionary days until the present when such men as Theodore Roosevelt are proud to own their affiliation, the Craft has drawn to itself many of the noblest leaders of the nation. The Order played a secret but important part in the Revolution, made itself vitally felt in the terrible years of the Civil War, and at the present labours without fear, fatigue, or failure in behalf of such principles as form the very structure of our nation. What Masonry is to mean in the future no man knows, nor can know, but it is still filled with undying youth, and it so happens that in the very autumn in which this is being written a great Masonic Service Association has been launched by a large number of Grand Lodges through their representatives at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Of all these things it is impossible to write; nor is it possible to say anything of the Higher Grades, or of the work of the great individuals who have played such a part in the formation of American Masonry, and through it of the nation; such names as Albert Pike, Theodore Sutton Parvin, Albert Mackey, and many others of similar repute, would shine in any roster of great men.
Freemasonry is in its very nature profoundly religious but it is not a church, for, though it is friendly to all churches that preach the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, and the Immortality of the Soul, it teaches no theological dogmas of its own. It is not a political organization, whatever its enemies may allege, but it is vitally interested in the public life of the land and never sleeps in its efforts to keep American governmental life as pure as possible. It preaches no program of reform but nevertheless lends itself to every effort made to lift the burdens of life from the common people, and it evermore holds before its membership the high ideals of service and of mutual helpfulness. It is a great body of picked men, in this country two million strong, who are bound together by sacred and serious obligations to assist each other, by means of fraternity, and through the teaching instrumentalities of ritual, to build in each man and in society at large a communal life which is not inadequately described as a Holy Temple of Human Souls.
Such, in brief, is the Story of Freemasonry. What a story it is! It began in a far fore-time in a few tiny rivulets of brotherly effort; these united into a current that swept with healing waters across the pagan centuries; many tributaries augmented its stream during the Middle Ages; and in modern times it has become a mighty river which sweeps on irresistibly. And now, if we may venture to change the figure, its halls are the homes of light and life; therein men may learn how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Well may one unclasp his shoes and uncover his head as he enters a Masonic lodge; a symbolism white with an unutterable age is there, and voices eloquent with an old, old music, and a wisdom drawn from the thought and travail of a thousand generations!
* * *
The following books are recommended to the reader. Except in the cases of Oliver, Preston and Hutchinson the authors belong to the modern school of Masonic scholarship as described in the opening pages of this essay. All these volumes may be borrowed from Masonic Libraries. Except when out of print they may be purchased through the ordinary channels of the book business.
- *"Concise History of Freemasonry" by Gould.
- "Old Charges of Freemasonry" by Hughan.
- "Hole Craft of Freemasonry" by Conder.
- "History of Freemasonry" by Findel.
- "Antiquities of Freemasonry" by Fort.
- "Spirit of Masonry" by Hutchinson.
- "Morals and Dogma" by Albert Pike.
- "On the Mysteries" by Plutarch.
- "Illustrations of Masonry" by Preston.
- "Signs and Symbols" by Oliver.
- "Masonic Symbolism" by Mackey.
- "The Cathedral Builders" by Leader Scott.
- "The Guilds" by Toulmin Smith.
- * "The Philosophy of Masonry" by Pound.
- * "Freemasonry before the Era of Grand Lodges" by Vibert.
- "Study in Mysticism" by Waite.
- "Primitive Secret Societies" by Webster.
- * "The Builders" by Newton.
- * "Speculative Masonry" by MacBride.
- Transactions of the Lodge Quatuor Coronati.
- * Mackey's "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry."
- Waite's "Secret Traditions in Freemasonry."
- The bound volumes to date of * "THE BUILDER," published by the National Masonic Research Society at Anamosa, Iowa.
The titles marked by (*) are especially recommended to beginners.
(A number of the books listed by Brother Haywood are out of print and second-hand copies unobtainable. Readers are referred to the monthly list published in the book review section of THE BUILDER for such books as are procurable through the Anamosa office. — Editor.)
* * *
(Compiled By Bro. Robert I. Clegg, New York)
|Name||Lodges 1914||Lodges 1918||Members 1914||Members 1918|
|Grosse Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland am Berlin (National Grand Lodge of German Free masons at Berlin)||141||151||15,273||15,215|
|Grosse Loge von Preussen, genamet "Royal York zur Freundschaft" am Berlin (Grand Lodge of Prussia. "The Royal York of Friendship" at Berlin)||78||81||7,936||7,980|
|Grosse Loge von Hamburg (Grand Lodge of Hamburg)||61||62||5,372||5,300|
|Grosse Landesloge von Sachsen am Dresden (National Grand Lodge of Saxony at Dresden)||34||38||5,001||4,892|
|Grosse Mutterloge des Eklektischen Freimaurerbundes am Frankfurt a-M (Mother Grand Lodge of the Eclectic Masonic Union at Frankfurt-on-the-Main)||23||25||3,496||3,318|
|Grosse Loge "Zur Sonne" am Bayreuth (Grand Lodge "Of the Sun" at Bayreuth)||37||40||3,536||3,670|
|Grosse Freimaurerloge "Zur Eintracht" am Darmstadt (Grand Lodge of Freemasons "Of Concord" at Darmstadt)||8||8||727||700|
|Freie Vereingung der funf unabhangiger Logen Deutschlands (Free Union of Five Independent German Lodges)||5||5||1,433||1,328|
|Grosse National Mutterloge "Zu den drei Weltkugeln" am Berlin 150 (National Mother Grand Lodge "Of the Three Globes" at Berlin)||150||156||16,894||16,346|
* * *
Men best show their character in trifles, where they are not on their guard. It is in insignificant matters, and in the simplest habits, that we often see the boundless egotism which pays no regard to the feelings of others, and denies nothing to itself.
* * *
A LODGE MEETS ON A HIGH HILL
Bro. Alfred J. Mokler, Wyoming
While our ancient brethren met "on the highest hills and in the lowest valleys" such meetings in these modern times are rarely heard of. Under a dispensation issued by M∴ W∴ Brother Arthur K. Lee, Grand Master of Masons in Wyoming, a Special Communication of Casper Lodge No. 15, A.F. &A.M., was held on the summit of "Independence Rock" located about forty-nine miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming, of which the following interesting account, written in advance of the meeting, is given.
ON THE Fourth of July, 1862, there were nearly a thousand men, women and children congregated at Independence Rock, the most of whom were traveling toward the setting sun, seeking fame and fortune, but not a few of these thousand souls who were there were on their way back from the new and wild country, retracing their steps to the "settlements," where the hardships were not so many, where hostile Indians were not to be found, and where life was more secure.
Independence Rock is in Natrona County, about forty-nine miles southwest from the City of Casper. It was the resting place for the emigrants in the early days, and it was here they all stopped for a few days to repair their wagons, rest their horses, mules and oxen, mend and wash their clothing, administer to the sick and weary, sometimes to bury their dead, and to do such other things that they could not do while traveling over the rough and rugged country in a "prairie schooner."
When the travelers who were headed for the Far West, that is to say, the Oregon country, reached Independence Rock, they estimated that they were half way between Westport, or Independence, near where Kansas City is now located, and the Pacific Coast, the distance being about 2,000 miles from their starting point to their destination.
On the particular day mentioned, which will have been fifty-eight years ago this coming Fourth of July, among the hundreds of people who had gathered at this interesting and historical spot on the desert, there were about twenty men present who could and did prove themselves as Master Masons, and it was decided by these men to hold a Masonic meeting on the summit of the rock, this being the first time that a Masonic meeting was to be opened and closed in form in what is now the State of Wyoming, and a communication from Asa L. Brown, a Past Grand Master of Washington Territory, to Edgar P. Snow, Grand Master of Masons in the Territory of Wyoming in 1875, thus explains how the meeting was planned and carried out:
"We had just concluded our arrangements for a celebration on the rock, when Capt. Kennedy's train from Oskaloosa, Iowa, came in, bringing the body of a man who had been accidentally shot and killed that morning. Of course, we all turned out to the burial, deferring our celebration until 4 p.m., at which time we were visited by one of those short, severe storms, peculiar to that locality, which, in the language of some of the boys, 'busted the celebration.' But some of us determined on having some sort of a celebration, as well as a remembrance of the day and place, and so about the time the sun set in the west, to close the day, about twenty who could vouch, and so to speak, intervouch for each other, wended their way to the summit of the rock, and soon discovered a recess, or, rather depression, in the rock, the form and situation of which seemed prepared by nature for our special use.
"An altar of twelve stones was improvised, to which a more thoughtful or patriotic traveler added the thirteenth, emblematical of the original colonies, and being elected to the East by acclamation, I was duly installed, i.e., led to the granite seat. The several stations and places were filled, and the Tyler, a venerable traveler, with flowing hair and beard of almost snowy whiteness, took his place without the western gate on a little pinnacle, which gave him a perfect command of view for the entire summit of the rock, so he could easily guard against the approach of all, either ascending or descending. I then informally opened Independence Lodge, No. 1, on the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason, when several of the brethren made short, appropriate addresses, and our venerable Tyler gave us reminiscences of his early Masonic history, extending from 1821 to 1862. It was a meeting which is no doubt remembered by all of the participants who are yet living, and some of those who there became acquainted, have kept up fraternal intercourse ever since."
In connection with this meeting, it may be stated that the jewels the officers wore were cut from tin cans, the square and compasses, as emblems of the fraternity, were cut from a pasteboard box, and the Holy Bible which rested on the altar, was a volume of the "Old and New Testaments, Translated Out of the Original Tongues," it being published in the year 1857. The volume was presented by Mrs. Jannette Parkhurst and R. P. Parkhurst to Edwin Bruce, and Edwin Bruce in turn presented it to Mr. Brown at Plattsville, Wis., August 15, 1858.
The records kept of the meeting, the officers' jewels and the emblems that were used were wrapped in a piece of oilcloth and placed in a crevice of the rock, there to remain for future ages, and about twenty years afterward a man named Gus Lankin found them, all of which were in perfectly good order and well preserved. Lankin turned them over to Tom Sun, whose ranch home was not far distant from the rock, and Mr. Sun presented them to Rawlins Lodge, No. 5, A. F. and A. M., where they remained for a number of years. It has been said that a provision was in the minutes to the effect that the Masonic lodge nearest to the rock should be the custodian of the records, emblems and jewels, but whether this is true cannot be absolutely stated, but whether true or not, they did not remain in the custody of Rawlins lodge, for James Rankin, a member of Rawlins lodge, without consent, took them to Cheyenne, where they were kept in the Masonic Temple, and later consumed by fire when the Temple burned. The Bible evidently was taken by Mr. Brown to his new home in Washington, and was later presented by him to the Masonic Grand Lodge of Wyoming, as indicated by the writings on the fly leaf in the book. The Bible was also in the Temple when the fire occurred, but it was among the few articles that were carried out of the building, and it was picked up in the street and returned to the custodian of the Temple without being damaged, except by the smell of the smoke. This highly-prized Holy Book is now in the possession of Grand Secretary Joseph M. Lowndes at Lander, and no doubt always will, as it should, remain the property of the Grand Lodge of Wyoming.
The writer had occasion to visit Independence Rock several times during the summer and autumn of 1919 in connection with some incidents he is preparing for his "History of Natrona County," and he is positive that he located the recess, or depression, on the summit of the rock where this meeting of Masons was held fifty-eight years ago, and one evening while standing in this depression the thought occurred to him that to hold another Masonic meeting on this same spot would be one of the most impressive meetings that could ever be held. The matter was brought before the Masonic Grand Lodge meeting held in Casper on October 8–9, 1919, and many of the members of that body enthusiastically approved the proposed meeting, declaring that they would not fail to attend, and it was their opinion that it would undoubtedly be one of the largest gatherings of Masons ever held in Wyoming.
Later on, at a meeting of the local lodge, the Grand Master was requested to grant a special dispensation to hold a meeting on Independence Rock on July 4th, 1920. This dispensation being granted, Brothers A. J. Mokler, L. A. Reed and J. J. Svendsen were selected as a committee to make appropriate arrangements for the memorable event, and while all the details are not yet perfected, it is proposed that the occasion shall be not only a Masonic affair, but the Fourth of July as well will be celebrated on this historical rock, and the wives and daughters of all Masons, together with the city and county officers, will be invited to attend the celebration.
The beautiful Sweetwater River is hard by, and it is an ideal spot for camping and picnicking, and quite a number of people contemplate going out the day before to enjoy the outing, as well as to avoid the fatigue of a long drive in one day, and it is proposed by this "advance guard" to take with them some fireworks and illuminate the rock and the sky in that vicinity as it was never illuminated before. There are others who will go out on the morning of the Fourth and remain over until the next day, and they will also celebrate the day and the evening in a manner befitting the occasion.
The Masonic meeting will be held promptly at 1 o'clock in the afternoon in the depression on the summit of the rock, which, of course, will be attended only by those who can prove themselves as Master Masons. The lodge will be opened, the dispensation will be read, the charter of the local lodge displayed, the Master will state the object of the meeting and an address will be made by Hon. William A. Riner of Cheyenne, but on account of the limited time no other addresses will be made, but a bronze tablet, with an appropriate inscription, will be cemented into the rock near the station of the Worshipful Master with impressive ceremonies.
Not only will prominent men and Masons from the State of Wyoming be present on this occasion, but a number from other States will be there. Automobiles will be driven from Laramie, Rawlins, Shoshoni, Lander and Thermopolis, and at least 100 autos from Casper will be there, and all the Masonic brethren who come to this city desiring to make the trip will be amply provided for.
The drive from Casper to Independence Rock will require between three and four hours. The roads are good, flags will be stationed along the route in order that strangers or those who have never been there may not lose their way, the scenery is beautiful and you pass by many intensely interesting and historical spots. There are two routes. If you care to go over the old Oregon Trail on the northwest side of the river, you cross the bridge about a mile west from the city; you pick up the old trail after traveling about three miles; seventeen miles out you go through Emigrant Gap, going by the way of Poison Spider and Poison Spring Creek, traveling over the old trail, almost in the very tracks that were made in 1842 to 1869, nearly forty miles, and along this forty miles it is estimated that there is a human grave every half mile of the route. The clearest idea and best description of this trail that has ever been printed is thus written by Capt. Chittenden:
"This wonderful highway was in the broadest sense a national road, although not surveyed or built under the auspices of the government. It was the route of a national movement — the migration of a people seeking to avail itself of opportunities which have come but rarely in the history of the world and which will never come again. It was a route every mile of which has been the scene of hardship and suffering, yet of high purpose and stern determination. Only on the steppes of Siberia can so long a highway be found over which traffic has moved by a continuous journey from one end to the other. Even in Siberia there are occasional settlements along the route, but on the Oregon Trail in 1343 the traveler saw no evidence of civilized habitation except four trading posts, between Independence and Fort Vancouver.
"As a highway of travel the Oregon Trail is the most remarkable known to history. Considering the fact that it originated with the spontaneous use of travelers; that no transit ever located a foot of it; that no level established its grades; that no engineer sought out the fords or built any bridges or surveyed the mountain passes; that there was no grading to speak of nor any attempt at metalling the roadbed; and the: general good quality of this 2,000 miles of highway will seem most extraordinary.
"Father De Smet, who was born in Belgium, the home of good roads, pronounced the Oregon Trail one of the finest highways in the world. At the proper season of the year this was undoubtedly true. Before the prairies became too dry, the natural turf formed the best roadway for horses to travel on that has probably ever been known. It was amply hard to sustain traffic, yet soft enough to be easier to the feet than even the most perfect asphalt pavement. Over such roads, winding ribbonlike through the verdant prairies, amid the profusion of spring flowers, with grass so plentiful that the animals reveled in its abundance and game everywhere greeted the hunter's rifle, and finally, with pure water in the streams, the traveler sped his way with a feeling of joy and exhilaration.
"But not so when the prairies became dry and parched, the road filled with stifling dust, the stream beds mere dry ravines, or carrying only alkaline water which could not be used, the game all gone to more hospitable sections, and the summer sun pouring down its heat with torrid intensity. It was then that the trail became a highway of desolation, strewn with abandoned property, the skeletons of horses, mules and oxen, and alas! too often with freshly made mounds and headboards that told the pitiful tale of sufferings too great to be endured.
"If the trail was the scene of romance, adventure, pleasure and excitement, so it was in every mile of its course by human misery, tragedy and death. Over much of its length the trail is now abandoned, but in many places it is not yet effaced from the soil and may not be for centuries. There are few more impressive sights than portions of this old highway today. It still lies there upon the prairie, deserted by the traveler, an everlasting memorial of the human tide which once filled it to overflowing. Nature herself has helped to perpetuate this memorial, for the prairie winds, year by year, carve the furrows more deeply and the sunflower blossoms along its course, as if in silent memory of those who sank beneath its burdens.
"But if the trail, as a continuous highway of travel, has ceased to exist, the time will come, we may confidently believe, when it will be reoccupied, never to be abandoned again. It is so occupied at the present time over a large portion of its length. Railroads practically follow the old line from Independence to Casper, Wyoming, some fifty miles east of Independence Rock; and from Bear River on the Utah-Wyoming line to the mouth of the Columbia. The time is not distant when the intermediate space will be occupied, and possibly a continuous and unbroken movement of trains over the entire line may some day follow. In a future still more remote there may be realized a project which is even now being agitated, of building a magnificent national road along this line as a memorial highway which shall serve the future and commemorate the past."
For greater comfort and the saving of time it is not advisable to go over this route on this occasion, the better road, the shorter route and easier traveling being the southeast side of the Platte River. The scenery is just as beautiful and interesting, and there is no chance whatever of picking up a trail leading to some other place than your desired destination.
Just outside the city limits to the right of the road you pass the Standard and Midwest refineries, where 3,000 men are employed and the plants are in operation every twenty-four hours of the day during the whole year 'round. Ten millions of dollars have been expended in the erection of these plants, and thousands of gallons of gasoline and other products are produced every day, and these products are distributed to nearly every state in the Union.
Less than a mile further on, to the north, on the bank of the river, was located Fort Casper in the '60s, where Lieut. Casper Collins, in 1865, lost his life, being killed by the Indians, while attempting to rescue a number of soldiers who had gone out in an attempt to save a train of emigrants from being massacred. The City of Casper was named after this brave young soldier. The hills to the left of the road is where the Indians gathered in great numbers in the hope of finding the soldiers at Fort Casper off their guard so they could swoop down and destroy the fort, drive away the stock, take the supplies and kill the soldiers. A great many skirmishes occurred on these hills and in the valleys, and during the years that the fort was located here hundreds of Indians were slain, and no small amount of soldiers also met their death.
Twelve miles out from the city, on the north bank of the river, where Poison Spider Creek empties into the North Platte, is where the first cabin was built in what is now the state of Wyoming. In the early winter of 1812 Robert Stuart, with his six men, built this cabin with the intention of spending the winter there, but in less than a month after the cabin had been built and their store of meat had been gathered, the party was scared away by a band of marauding Indians. In the "glade" on the south side of the road is where Stuart's men killed the deer, elk and bear for their winter's supply. There was an abundance of buffalo on the plains north of the river, and many of these were also added to their larder.
After traveling about fifteen miles you approach the Platte River canyon. There are some places in this canyon where the river is fully 100 feet below the road and the water goes tumbling and roaring over the huge rocks in the bed of the stream in impetuous rapids and foaming cascades. To the left of the roadside great rocks are piled in the most fantastic crags and precipices, rising like gigantic walls and battlements to a height of hundreds of feet. Passing out of the canyon, the river is of a glassy smoothness and placidity, and far ahead you view delightful valleys, carpeted with green sward.
Eighteen miles out you pass a monument, which, from the inscription, would indicate that it is on the old Oregon Trail, but the Oregon Trail is far to the north, on the opposite side of the river. The Jim Bridger Trail, which was seldom traveled, and long since every trace of which has been obliterated, was in this vicinity. The board of county commissioners some day will move this monument to Independence Rock, which is on the Oregon Trail, and the proper location for the marker.
After passing numerous ranches along Bates Creek you cross the Platte River on the government bridge. This bridge was built by the reclamation service in connection with the Pathfinder irrigation project. Near here you can see the huge cleft in the rock at Alcova, where the rapid-running stream in countless ages cut a canyon through stone several hundred feet deep. At Alcova, about a mile off from the road to the left, is the wonderful hot springs, where the hot water comes boiling out of the rocks as though it was heated from the flames of a furnace.
Twelve miles west from Alcova and only a short distance to the south is the wonderful Pathfinder dam and reservoir, which required the federal government five years to build, employing the best engineering talent obtainable, dozens of skilled mechanics and several hundred laboring men, together with machinery that cost an immense fortune. This most wonderful piece of masonry cost more than a million and a half dollars.
Traveling about ten miles from Pathfinder dam you view Independence Rock, and to the west, to the south and the north the whole country is of wild and varied scenery, dominated by immense mountains, rearing their distant grandeurs and originality of views, all of which fills the traveler with awe and delight.
Independence Rock is an isolated mass of black granite, nearly one mile in length from north to south, more than one-half mile in width from east to west, 193 feet in height at the north end and 167 feet high at the south end. It resembles a large bowl turned bottom-side up, standing out on the plain, near the foothills of the Rocky Mountain range. Sweetwater River, one of the prettiest streams in the whole western country, flows immediately to the south of the rock.
The Indians came to this rock more than a century ago to paint their picture writing on its smooth surface.
There is no record of the exact date of the first white men to pass this way, but Rev. Samuel Parker, who was there on the 7th of August, 1835, says, "this rock takes its name from the circumstance of a company of fur traders suspending their journey and here observing, in due form the anniversary of our national freedom." Capt. Bonneville was here on or about the 14th of July, 1832, but the exact date cannot be definitely stated. I judge, however, from his notes, it must have been about this date, for he says: "On the 12th of July we abandoned the main stream of the Nebraska (now the Platte), which was continually shouldered by rugged promontories, and making a bend to the southwest for a couple of days, part of the time over the plains of loose sand, encamped on the 14th on the banks of the Sweetwater, a stream about twenty yards in breadth and 4 or 5 feet deep, flowing between low banks over a sandy soil, and forming one of the forks or upper branches of the Nebraska. Frequently the plains were studded with isolated blocks of rock, sometimes in the shape of a half globe, and from 300 to 400 feet high. These singular masses had occasionally a very imposing and even sublime appearance, rising from the midst of a savage and lonely landscape." Capt. Bonneville was preceded by Nathaniel Wyeth, who was there during the month of May of the same year. Dr. Marcus Whitman and his bride, who were making their wedding tour as missionaries to the Indians on the Pacific coast, and Rev. H. H. Spalding and his young wife, were at the rock in 1836. These were the first white women that crossed the Rocky Mountains, and, of course, were the first white women to set foot on Independence Rock. The wagon in which they traveled is said by some writers to have been the first wheeled vehicle that crossed the continent, but this is a mistake, for Bonneville's party in 1832, "passed the crest of the Rocky Mountains and felt some degree of exultation in being the first individuals that had crossed north of the settled provinces of Mexico, from the waters of the Atlantic to those of the Pacific with wagons."
John C. Fremont, with Kit Carson as his guide, was here on the 1st of August, 1842, but remained only a few hours. He continued his journey up the Sweetwater, crossed the Continental Divide, camped on the west side of South Pass, and in due time approached the loftiest part of the Wind River chain, and on August 15, with great difficulty and danger, ascended the highest pinnacle of the range, named it "Fremont Peak," and after remaining on the summit of this peak for an hour, returned to his camp in the evening, and the next morning commenced to retrace his steps, and again arrived at Independence Rock on the evening of August 22. It was on this date that he chiseled his name, with the emblem of Christianity, on the rock, regarding which he says:
"Here, not unmindful of the custom of the early travelers and explorers in our country, I engraved on the rock of the Far West the symbol of the Christian faith. Among the thickly inscribed names, I made on the hard granite the impression of a large cross, deeply engraved, which I covered with a black preparation of India rubber, well calculated to resist the influence of wind and rain. It stands amidst the names of many who have long since found their way to the grave, and for whom the huge rock is a giant gravestone."
There are some people who claim to have seen Fremont's name and the black cross, "the symbol of Christian faith," (which he engraved on the rock), but after many hours of diligent search through hundreds of names I gave up hope of finding it, and came to the conclusion that Col. Coutant was correct when he wrote in his "History of Wyoming" that "on July 4, 1847, there was a grand celebration at this rock by more than a thousand people, who were on their way to Oregon and California. During the day the enthusiastic American citizens loaded old wagon hubs with powder, to which they fastened a fuse, and exploded them in the crevices of the rock. By this means a large piece of the granite, weighing many tons, was detached and turned over on the ground, and I have been of the opinion that the Fremont cross is on the detached piece of rock and was thus covered from view."
Fremont's name and the cross, which he chiseled on the rock, and is undoubtedly forever hidden from the eye of man, was destined to effect his political fortunes after he returned to the "States." He was a candidate for the presidency in 1856, being the first candidate the Republican party had nominated for the nation's chief executive. He was bitterly opposed by the Know Nothing party, and as religious rancor was very strong in those days, his opponents charged that he was a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and they offered as proof of their charge the inscription on Independence Rock, and in a campaign pamphlet entitled: "J. C. Fremont's Record Proof of His Romanism," it continued: "Imitating other Roman Catholic explorers, and those alone, in his expedition to the Rocky Mountains in 1842, he made on the Rock Independence the sign of the cross, a thing that no Protestant explorer ever did or ever would do. See his own words in Congressional Document 166, of 1845." It was claimed that this Christian emblem was one of the factors that contributed toward his defeat, and this "Register of the Desert," 'way out on the plains, became an issue in national politics.
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN — NO. 40
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 HIRAMIC LEGEND"
In conducting the study meetings the Chairman should endeavour to hold the discussions as closely as possible to the text and not permit the members to speak too long at one time, or to stray onto another subject.
Whenever it becomes evident that a discussion is turning from the original subject the Chairman should request the speaker to make a note of the particular point or phase of the matter he wishes to discuss or inquire into, and bring it up when the Question Box period is opened.
Who was Edwin Booth? What is his opinion of the Hiramic Legend?
Give your own opinion on the Legend in your own words.
Are Masonic authorities agreed as to its origin and interpretation.
What have Pike and Vibert to say of its introduction into our ritual? When does Gould believe it to have been made a part of our ceremonies? Are other Masonic scholars in agreement with these brethren? What do MacBride and Newton have to say on the subject?
How was the Legend accepted by eighteenth century writers? Was their position held to by later writers? What are we to infer from findings of more recent times?
Had the Jews a tradition of the Grand Master's death? Can we deny positively that the Legend is not historically true?
What is the belief of other writers, who do not agree with the historical theory? What do they believe the drama to have had its inception? What are the assertions of Speth and Marks?
Is there any good evidence to support the Templar theory? What were the theories advanced by Speth, Carr, Pike and others?
What is Brother Haywood's theory? Does this theory seem logical to you?
Do all writers agree as to the interpretation of the Legend? How many theories were offered by Oliver? What were they? What were some other theories advanced?
What is Brother Haywood's present day interpretation?
After receiving the Third degree how did you interpret the drama?
* * *
Vol. I. — Symbolism, The Hiramic Legend, and the Master's Word, p. 285.
Vol. III. — The Four Hirams of Tyre, pp. 81, 113, 157, Cor. 350; Masonry and King Solomon's Temple, pp. 101, 137, 172.
Vol. IV. — Symbolism of the Three Degrees, p. 291.
Vol. V. — What a Master Mason Ought to Know, p. 129.
Hiram Abif, p. 329; Legend of the Third Degree, p. 487.
* * *
Bro. H.L. Haywood, Iowa
PART V — THE HIRAMIC LEGEND
"In all my research and study, in all my close analysis of the masterpieces of Shakespeare, in my earnest determination to make those plays appear real on the on the mimetic stage, I have never, and nowhere, met tragedy so real, so sublime, so magnificent as the legend of Hiram. It is substance without shadow — the manifest destiny of life which requires no picture and scarcely a word to make a lasting impression upon all who can understand. To be a Worshipful Master and to throw my whole soul into that work, with the candidate for my audience and the lodge for my stage, would be a greater personal distinction than to receive the plaudits of people in the theatre of the world."
When so accomplished a judge and critic as Edwin Booth can speak like this of the Hiram Abiff tragedy we humbler students may be forgiven for approaching such a theme in awe if not in silence; in truth, I may confess that I should not dare to write a line on the subject were it not absolutely necessary to the scope of our studies. The majesty of the drama is not the only deterrent; its origin and its interpretation have engaged our best scholars for many years but they have not yet reached an agreement; many of them remain as wide apart as the poles nor is there any hope for an early uniformity of opinion. Therefore I shall be compelled to lay out for review such varying hypotheses as seem most reasonable leaving to you, my reader, the privilege of forming your own conclusions.
It is generally agreed, however, whatever may be our theory of the origin of the drama, that it was first introduced into the ritual, in its modern form (that is, since the Grand Lodge era) not more than two hundred years ago. Pike describes it as "a modern invention." Vibert calls it "a comparatively late addition" to the ritual, and Gould went so far as to fix on 1725 as the most probable date of its introduction into our ceremonies. But while, as I have already said, there is general agreement on this, some scholars, and they not the least inconsiderable, contend that the drama could not have been invented outright in 1725 even if it was amplified or improved, and they believe that the story of the great martyrdom must have existed in some form long before the eighteenth century. MacBride believes that "there are traces of the Hiramic Legend in connection with the British Craft Lodges prior to 1717." Newton holds that it was in the possession of the French Companionage long before that date and that they "almost certainly learned it from the Freemasons." Even Gould, who is so conservative in his opinions, writes that "the traditions which have gathered round Hiram's name" have "come down to us from ancient times."
Eighteenth century writers usually accepted the legend as being based on actual history, even in details; from this position the pendulum swung to the opposite position, one writer going so far as to say that "nowhere in history, sacred or profane, in no document, upon no monument, is there a single shred of authentic historical evidence to support the Masonic legend," while another affirms that "in spite of diligent search no reference to the Hiramic legend has hitherto been found in Jewish writings." We are now in process of reaction from this extreme negative position as is proved by Brother Max Montesole's brilliant article published in the Transactions of the Author's Lodge (vol. 1, p. 28) in which he shows that the name Hiram Abiff in Hebrew literally means "Hiram, his father" or "Hiram, his Master," and that the term as such is found in II Chronicles 4:16. This means that the record tells first of a Hiram of Tyre, Solomon's architect, and then of a second Hiram, the former's son or pupil, which leaves us to infer that the first Hiram may have died or been killed.
That this latter supposition is not a modern one is proved by a sentence in one of the oldest Jewish writings in which we read that "all the workmen were killed that they should not build another Temple devoted to idolatry, Hiram himself being translated to heaven like Enoch." This is doubtless only a Rabbinic legend but it proves that even in the Jews of ancient times, there had descended a tradition of the Grand Master's death. In view of this it will not do for us to deny that the story may be historically true. Other writers, however, have not agreed with this historical theory but prefer to believe that the drama was devised during medieval times. If so it must have come into existence some time before the fourteenth century, for Speth asserts that there are references to it (veiled) in certain of the Old Charges, and Dr. Marks, a learned Hebrew scholar, declares that he found an Arabic manuscript of that date which contains the sentence, "We have found our Lord Hiram."
Some scholars have argued that the drama was brought to Europe by the Knights Templar. Others have seen in it a literary result of popular interest in the Temple which was so frequently the theme of books and speeches in seventeenth century England; but a diligent search among this literature has failed to unearth a single reference to Hiram Abiff. (A.Q.C. vol. 14, P. 60). Speth considered that the legend may have originated among early builders as a parabolic story suggested by the old custom of sacrificing a human being under the cornerstone of a building. Pike was of the opinion that it was invented by seventeenth century occultists for the purpose of concealing their teachings. Carr traces it back to a legend still found in operative lodges while others hold that it was made out of the whole cloth by Anderson or Desaguliers, while still others have seen in it a kind of political allegory devised by Oliver Cromwell (of all men!) or some other republican, as a blast against Royalty.
In the presence of so bewildering an array of theories we may ask to be excused, may we not, from offering any theory of our own? Notwithstanding we may set one down and offer it for what it is worth, even if it would be impossible to furnish such evidence as would convince a jury. To me it seems reasonable to believe that the core of the drama came down from Solomon's day; that it was preserved until medieval times by Jewish, and especially Kabbalistic literature; that it flowed into the traditions of the old builders because it was so intimately related to the story of the Temple, around which so much of their symbolism resolved; that it was inherited by seventeenth century Masons, in crude form, and along with the mass of other traditions; that it was elaborated and given its literary form by the early framers of our present ritual; and that it was adopted by them because it embodied so wonderfully the idea which they wished to set in the centre of the Third degree. As I said above, this theory can not be proved by documentary evidence, but it is the opinion toward which the drift of all our data has led me.
The confusion which may have been occasioned by this review of the theories of origin will not be lessened, I fear, when we turn to interpretation, for here also we find a multitude of counsellors, and few agreeing. To make this diversity as plain as possible I set down a table of the theories, with their author's name in brackets, when known; there are fourteen of them (I borrow the list from Bro. Hextall) but even more could be added by a little search,
- Real and actual death of Hiram Abiff. (Oliver.)
- Legend of Isis and Osiris (Oliver.)
- Allegory of setting sun. (Oliver.)
- Death of Abel at hand of Cain.
- Expulsion of Adam from Paradise. (Oliver.)
- Entry of Noah into the Ark. (Freemason's Magazine.)
- Mourning of Joseph for Jacob. (Oliver.)
- An astronomical problem. (Yarker.)
- Death and Resurrection of Jesus. (Oliver; also Pike, in part.)
- Violent death of King Charles I. (Oliver.)
- Persecution of the Templars. (DeQuincey.)
- Political invention by Cromwell. (Oliver.)
- A parable of old age and death. (Oliver.)
- A drama of regeneration. (Hutchinson.)
It is highly significant that a majority of the theories were born in Bro. Oliver's learned and fertile brain; he devoted a life time almost exclusively to the study of Masonry, and he was a man of unusual intellect. Yet see how bewildered he became in the presence of the drama! how impotent he was to discover any one fact or event to which it might refer! Is not this in itself a solution of the problem? For why should we persist in thinking that the legend derives its meaning from any event whatsoever? Why may we not believe that it is simply a dramatic parable a great experience of the soul in its struggle against adversaries, in its apparent defeat, and its ultimate moral victory? Whatever it may have originally me this, surely, must be its meaning now.
Hiram Abiff is the type of every Christ-like man who lives as an apostle of light and liberty, for his experiences as set forth in the drama are just those experiences, in one degree or another, which attend every such man who stands true to his principles. Adversaries, whether men or circumstances, seek to undermine his courage and betray his soul; they may even encompass his death and apparent defeat, but he lives while they die, for the man who stands true to his loyalties, whatever betide, has that within him which contumacy can not kill or death destroy. Such man is inconquerable even in mortality, and on his lips we might place, without any incongruity whatsoever, the magnificent exclamation of the heroic Fichte:
"I raise my head to the threatening rock, the raging flood, and the fiery tempest, and cry, 'I am eternal and defy your might; break all, upon me; and thou Earth, and thou Heaven, mingle in the wild tumult and all ye elements, foam and fret yourselves, and crush in your conflict the last atom of the body I call mine,' my WILL, secure in its own firm purpose, shall soar unwavering and hold over the wreck of the universe!"
* * *
Bro. Gerald A. Nancarrow, Indiana
O Universal Heart! O Universal Mind!
How wonderful to know
That I can look within and find
A Dart of Thee
O Universal Sire! My Father and my Friend!
How sweet it is to be
Living censer and daily send
Incense to Thee.
O Universal Light! O Universal Fire!
Let me so fan the spark
That this my part shall high aspire
With fire for Thee.
With fire to burn and cleanse and purge
My heart of all its hate and lust;
With fire to fill, yea surge on surge,
My life with Love and Truth and Trust;
With fire to make to grow within
My soul a fairer place for Him;
With fire to teach me I am kin
To God and Man and Seraphim.
* * *
A SURVEY OF MASONRY IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES
Bro. Oliver Day Street, Junior Grand Warden, Alabama
Seldom a week passes that we do not receive several inquiries from members of the Society concerning the status of Masonry in some foreign country. Brother Street, who is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Correspondence of the Grand Lodge of Alabama, has made an exhaustive study of this subject during the past several years, and is fully qualified to write thereon. In our issue for March, 1919, we published the results of his investigations of the Masonry of France and Switzerland, and in the April, 1919, number may be found his recommendations to the Grand Lodge of Alabama relative to lodges of Scottish Rite origin in countries where Masonry of that Rite prevails, the Grand Orients of Belgium and Italy, and the Grand Lodge of Chili. In an early forthcoming issue we shall publish the results of his latest researches on Masonry in Mexico. Brother Street's report to the Grand Lodge of Alabama at its last Annual Communication is given herewith.
SCOTTISH RITE MASONRYTo the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge A∴ F∴ &A∴ M∴ of Alabama:
IN VIEW of the action taken at our last Annual Communication relative to the attitude of this Grand Lodge towards Scottish Rite Symbolic lodges and brethren of Scottish Rite origin in foreign countries, appearing on pages 86, 87 and 88 of our printed proceedings, we submit for the information of Grand Lodge and of our brethren generally a list of Supreme Councils outside of the United States recognized by the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, viz., Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Central America, Chile, Colon (Cuba), Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, England and Wales, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Scotland, Serbia, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela.
It should be borne in mind that there are two Supreme Councils in Italy. The one above referred to is that at the head of which is Rev. William Burgess and whose address is Piazza del Gesu 47, Rome.
There are also two Supreme Councils of the Scottish Rite in Argentina. The one recognized by the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States is that at present or lately presided over by Dr. J. A. Golfarini and which had its seat at 1242 Calle Cangallo, Buenos Ayres.
The Supreme Council of Mexico is recognized by the Northem Jurisdiction of the United States and Brother John H. Cowles, Secretary General, expresses the opinion that the Southern Jurisdiction will soon do likewise.
Our information is that there are no Symbolic lodges holding under the regular Supreme Councils in the following countries, namely, United States, Canada, England and Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, and doubtless others of which we are not advised.
* * *
FOREIGN MASONRYTo the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge A∴ F∴ &A∴ M∴ of Alabama:
Your Committee on Foreign Correspondence, acting under the within named resolution adopted at your Annual Communication in December, 1918, beg leave to report:
The first step taken by us in executing your command was to prepare and dispatch to the various bodies of the world, claiming to be Masonic, the following Circular of Inquiry:
GRAND LODGE A∴ F∴ &A∴ M∴ OF ALABAMA
CIRCULAR OF INQUIRY
At its last Annual Communication held December 4th-5th, 1918, the Grand Lodge of Alabama adopted the following resolution:
"Whereas, After a year and a half participation in the world's greatest war we find American troops, among whom are many American Masons, stationed in various countries of the world and meeting — in all but fraternal association — friends and allies from almost every country and clime in the world; and,
Whereas, The Masonic Fraternity of many of these countries are not recognized by the Grand Lodge of Alabama as regular Masons, although some of them are recognized as regular by a considerable number of other American Grand Lodges; and,
Whereas, Masonry should be universal, and Masons from all climes and all countries should meet as brothers, unless their organization be such as to make this impossible or undesirable; therefore,
Be it resolved, That the Committee on Foreign Correspondence be required to inquire into and report as soon as practicable on the matter of the recognition of those Grand Bodies with whom we are not in fraternal relations, and the desirability of extending recognition, and entering into a condition of brotherly comity with them."
This resolution was prompted by a genuine desire on the part of our Grand Lodge to establish fraternal relations with all the regular Masonic Powers of the world. To facilitate this aim information is sought by appealing directly to each Power. It is hoped that the following will be furnished as fully and expeditiously as possible:
- Time, place and circumstances of the formation of your Grand Body, and the number of lodges participating therein.
- Whence the lodges uniting to form your Grand Body derived their charters, so far as possible to give. The territory over which your Grand Body claims jurisdiction.
- A brief history of the subsequent development and growth of your Grand Body and its present status, number of lodges, membership, etc.
- The exact title of your Grand Body and the Rite or Rites it administers or controls.
- Whether your Grand Body controls any degrees other than the first three of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master, and if so what they are.
- What, if any control, your so-called higher Bodies have over the first three degrees.
- Whether your Grand Body is the only one claiming to exercise legitimate Masonic authority in your territory. If not, please name all others regardless of Rite. whether regarded by your Grand Body as regular or not. Kindly give the names and addresses of their chief officers and the Rite or Rites they practice.
- If any are not recognized by your Grand Body please note briefly the reason why you do not recognize them.
- What relation or understanding exists between your Grand Body and the bodies of other Rites.
- Any other matter you deem of interest or importance.
It is our desire to make this survey of the Masonries of the world complete and accurate.
Please help us.
Truly and fraternally yours,
Oliver D. Street,
Chairman Foreign Correspondence Committee,
We have received many replies but they were not as numerous nor, in many instances, as enlightening as we could have desired. However, we have learned much concerning the Masonries of the world which we did not previously know. This we shall endeavor to spread before you in what follows, as succinctly and clearly as possible, and with such recommendations as appear to us warranted by the facts.
We have given as far as we are able, in each instance, the Grand Lodges recognizing the particular Grand Body under consideration, but we are aware that this information is very far from complete. It is accurate as far as it goes, because in compiling it we have confined ourselves to the list published by each Grand Lodge showing the Grand Lodges recognized by it. These lists are, however, themselves incomplete. Lists published by Grand Lodges purporting to show Grand Lodges recognizing them have been ignored, as they frequently overstate the case as greatly as the other class of lists understate it. On this subject a great lack of knowledge exists, many Grand Secretaries and correspondence committees being unable to state what Grand Bodies are recognized by their respective Grand Lodges. This is one of the first things we attempted to do when we became chairman of this committee, to compile a list of Grand Bodies recognized by the Grand Lodge of Alabama, and it is greatly to be desired that this work be carefully done for each Grand Lodge.
* * *
From the best information we have been able to obtain there are two rival Masonic Grand Systems in Argentina. One of these is the Supreme Council of the A. & A. S. Rite, formerly domiciled at 2310 Calle Cangallo, Buenos Ayres, but later at its Central Temple, Bartolome Mitre 2520. It was at last account presided over by Vincente Biagini 33°, Sovereign Grand Commander, and its Grand Secretary was Juan M. Caime 33°.
The rival Supreme Council 33°, A. & A. S. Rite, is or was lately located at 1242 Calle Cangallo, Buenos Ayres, and was presided over by Dr. J. A. Golfarini. Relations between the two bodies have been very acrimonious. In a letter to us from Grand Secretary Caime, the Golfarini body is denounced as composed of expelled Masons and in a later letter from the same source their expulsion is attributed to their having "stolen the funds of the Order." They were also charged with germanophilism. Brother J. W. Norwood, in Light, vol. 2, p. 105, pronounces the Golfarini body as the "regular Argentine Scottish Rite," but the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia in 1917 recognized a Grand Lodge apparently affiliated with the Supreme Council of which Caime is Grand Secretary. Brother George W. Baird, in a report rendered by him to the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia 1916 (page 105), obviously confuses these two bodies. In case of each of these Supreme Councils, there seems to be a Grand Lodge affiliated with, if not appendant to it. Late in 1917 announcement was made that all the rival Masonic bodies had been harmoniously united but this was indignantly denied by the Caime body in January, 1918, and their determination declared never to unite with the Golfarini body. Our Circular of Inquiry addressed to these various bodies failed to elicit any reply.
The Golfarini body is recognized by the Southern Supreme Council of the United States, A. & A. S. Rite and by the Grand Lodge of Cuba and Victoria. Some body is recognized by Tasmania but we cannot figure out which it is.
In view of the uncertain state of Blue Masonry and of the bitter controversy among the Masonic factions of Argentina, we recommend that it be
Resolved, That no action be taken at this time by the Grand Lodge A∴ F∴ & A∴ M∴ of Alabama touching Freemasonry in Argentina.
* * *
Until since the signing of the armistice on November 11, 1918, all Masonic meetings were forbidden in Austria but this did not prevent Austrian Masons organizing and holding lodges at Pressburg, Hungary, and its vicinity. On December 8, 1918, as we learn through the International Bureau for Masonic Affairs, Switzerland, 14 of such lodges, holding under the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary and practicing St. John's Masonry, assembled and formed "provisionally" the "Grand Lodge of Vienna." Its constitution, according to its Deputy Grand Master, Adolph Kapratch, and its Grand Secretary, Henry Glucksmann, is modeled upon that of the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Hungary, which latter is sponsoring the new body. The address of its officers is "Vienna I, Dorotheergasse 12." Though we have been for many years in fraternal correspondence with the Symbolic G. L. of Hungary we think this new body should not be recognized until it has proved its adherence to true Masonic principles and practices.
* * *
The Masonic body in this country which first demands our attention is the Grand Orient, of which Brother Charles Magnette, distinguished lawyer and member of the Belgian Senate, is Grand Master.
No extended history of Masonry in Belgium is necessary. Prior to 1814, the Belgian lodges were appendant to the Grand Orient of France. Next they belonged to a union of Belgian and Dutch lodges. The Grand Orient was formed February 25th, 1832, and has enjoyed a continuous existence since. The government of the Grand Orient is vested in a body of delegates chosen by the several lodges. The delegates elect, from among themselves, the grand officers for a term of three years. It now boasts 23 lodges and about 2,500 members.
The Grand Orient controls only the first three degrees, leaving only the so-called higher grades to the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite. As regards doctrine and practice, the Grand Orient of Belgium is in practically the same category as the Grand Orient of France. No lengthy discussion, therefore, of its right to recognition is necessary; what we said in our report last year concerning the Grand Orient of France being equally applicable here. The following grand jurisdictions at least recognize the Grand Orient of Belgium, viz: Arkansas, Canada, Cuba, Maine, Maryland, Queensland, Utah and Victoria.
We, therefore, recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Grand Lodge A∴ F∴ & A∴ M∴ of Alabama hereby recognizes the Grand Orient of Belgium as a regular, sovereign and independent governing body of Symbolic Masonry and the Grand Master is requested to arrange for an exchange of representatives.
* * *
IV . BULGARIA
We learn through the International Bureau for Masonic Affairs, Switzerland, that a so-called Grand Lodge of Bulgaria was formed at Sofia on November 27, 1917. This seems to have been the work of a single lodge "Zaria" at Sofia. It claims jurisdiction over all the "lodges, hearths, and brethren of the First to the Third degree" throughout the kingdom. The lodge "Zaria" was founded by the Grand Lodge of France and its action in setting up independently was with the approval of that Grand Body and, as claimed, "in perfect agreement with the brethren, members of the Masonic hearths dispersed over the different districts of the Bulgarian fatherland." The new body is dedicated "to the glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe," and pledges itself to follow "strictly" the "fundamental principles of Universal Freemasonry." In fact no exception can be taken to its declaration of principles. It will use "the statutes, general rules, rituals and mementos," of the Grand Lodge of France until its own can be elaborated. It appeals for general recognition. The Grand Secretary's address is Dr. N. Semenoff, Rue Asparouli 31, Sofia.
Bulgaria has in the recent war so discredited all things Bulgarian and it appearing that this so-called Grand Body has been formed by a single lodge, we do not recommend its recognition.
* * *
The Masonry of Denmark belongs to what is known as the Christian group, that is to say, those receiving as candidates only professors of the Christian religion. The group also embraces the Grand Lodges of Norway and Sweden and the Grand National Lodge of German Freemasons at Berlin. The Grand Lodge of Denmark is the sole governing body of Craft Masonry in that country. Its chief peculiarities are its Christian character and the fact that the king of Denmark is ex officio head of the Order, but these clearly do not affect its Masonic character. Denmark is recognized by New York, Cuba, Victoria, Western Australia and doubtless others. We, therefore, recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Grand Lodge A∴ F∴ & A∴ M∴ of Alabama recognize the Grand Lodge of Denmark as a sovereign governing body of Symbolic Masonry and the Grand Master is requested to arrange an exchange of representatives.
* * *
The only Masonry which concerns us in this country is that of the three degrees controlled by the Grand Orient of the Netherlands. This body is much older than the Grand Lodge of Alabama and its Masonic character and regularity has never been questioned in and quarter. The Grand Body is in fraternal correspondence with Montana, Canada, Cuba, District of Cofumbia, Louisiana and Philippine Islands. It would border on presumption for us to "recognize" this Grand Body, but in order to keep the record straight we recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Grand Lodge A∴ F∴ & A∴ M∴ of Alabama hereby expresses its appreciation of the Masonic character of the Grand Orient of the Netherlands having its seat at The Hague, and the Grand Master is requested to arrange an exchange of representatives.
* * *
For our purposes it is useless to extend our researches back of the year 1859. Beginning in 1735 and extending to 1820, many lodges and grand bodies were formed in the various States of Italy but in 1820 all of them had been suppressed. From 1821 to 1856, says Brother Robert F. Gould in his History of Freemasonry, "not a lodge existed in any part of what is now the Kingdom of Italy." The one important fact that stands out during the early and confused period from 1735 to 1821, is that Freemasonry in Italy had its origin from England.
THE GRAND ORIENT
In 1859, some Masons at Turin constituted themselves into a lodge, working the modern Italian rite, or as Brother Gould declares "pure English Masonry." In December, 1861, the representatives of twenty-two lodges met at Turin and on January 1, 1862, the Grand Orient of Italy at Turin was proclaimed with the Chevlier Nigra as Grand Master and General Garibaldi as Honorary Past Grand Master. Only three degrees were recognized and the organization, says Brother Gould, in most respects "followed the arrangement of the Grand Lodge of England." At this period the Grand Orient was subject to the charge of meddling in politics, but its activities in this field have been greatly reduced in recent years. There ensued during the ten years from 1863, a period of struggle with bodies of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in which the latter achieved much of a victory. In 1873, however, all the rival bodies and factions became united in the present Grand Orient of Italy. Under it Brother Gould says that "the quality of Italian Masonry has improved at the expense of its quantity" and that "unworthy members and disreputable lodges have been relentlessly weeded out."
A letter addressed December 18, 1918, to the International Bureau for Masonic Affairs, Neuchatel, Switzerland, relative to Masonic conditions in Italy, brought the following reply:
In reply to your favor of December 18th, relative to Freemasonry in Italy, I beg to inform you that there exists in Italy the following regular and recognized Bodies:
- The Grand Orient of Italy, Palazzo gia Giustiniani, via Dogana Vecchia n. 29 p. p. Roma.
- The Supreme Council at the same address.
- The Grand Lodge of the Symbolic Rite, same address.
Grand Master of the Grand Orient is Bro. Ernesto Nathan, past Mayor of Roma.
Besides these regular Bodies, there are in Italy several Grand Lodges that are not recognized by any jurisdiction of other countries. There is a Grand Lodge in Florence, another at Naples; they are practicing rites of a rather occultist and mixed character, borrowed of rituals fallen long ago into desuetude."
We also sent to the Grand Orient a copy of our Circular of Inquiry and received as a reply copy of a communication it had dispatched to the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. From this and other documents we learn that the Grand Orient is dedicated "To the Glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe" and has for its motto "Liberty — Equality — Fraternity."
Concerning the Supreme Council headed by the Rev. William Burgess and the Most Serene National Italian Grand Lodge (see infra), the Grand Orient over the signature of its Grand Master, Ernesto Nathan, says:
Whether in our Country we, and we only, are recognized as the Italian Masonry, both by the National and Local Authorities as by people at large, you can easily ascertain, apart from my statements, by asking information on the subject from your Ambassador or your Consuls in Italy. When the promoter of the latest schism, the Evangelical Pastor, Rev. Fera, died, it was broken up by an agreement in which the schismatic lodges, in all their desirable elements, were taken over and incorporated with ours; part of its skeleton, in its grisly eloquent significance, remains yet, the skull animated by the brains of another Evangelical Pastor, the Rev. William Burgess, who unfortunately has to live down the scandals of a so-called Masonic Government manned by somewhat doubtful characters, mixed up in the corruption of Caillaux and Bolo Pasha; some now in prison awaiting judgment, some trepidantly free or in prudential exile. The poor remnant may continue to exist, it certainly will not flourish, useful in its way to prove a rule by its exception.
A distinguished New York brother, an Italian by race and thoroughly familiar with Italian Masonry, writes:
New York, August 11th, 1919.
George A. Beauchamp, Esq.,
Grand Secretary A∴ F∴ & A∴ M.∴,
Right Worshipful Brother:
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your valued favor of the 6th inst. and of a copy of your proceedings and as per your suggestion I am writing today to Brother Oliver D. Street, of Guntersville, to inform him that the National Grand Lodge of Italy is a clandestine body formed some years ago by a few secessionist members of the Grand Orient of Italy, the only legitimate Masonic organization whose diplomas have been always accepted by all foreign jurisdictions and specially by the Grand Lodges of Louisiana, California and New York where several Italian Masons, myself included, have affiliated.
The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, Charles Smith, signed also an edict against the admission of Masons belonging to the so-called National Grand Lodge of Italy and you can peruse the same in the Proceedings of this Grand Lodge of 1912–1913. The Edict is still in force in this jurisdiction.
I hope therefore that your Grand Lodge not only will not ignore the application of the Grand Lodge of Italy, but will consent to the application sent by Past Grand Master Nathan for the official recognition of the Grand Orient of Italy.
With best thanks in advance for your interest, I beg to remain,
Very respectfully and fraternally yours,
Past District Deputy Grand Master of the
Grand Lodge of the State of New York.
From the foregoing it will be perceived that at the address "Palazzo Gia Giustiniani, via Dogana Vecchia n. 29 p. p.," Rome, there are three Masonic bodies working in apparent concord, to-wit: (1) the Grand Orient, (2) the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, and (3) the Symbolic Grand Lodge. Our information is that the Grand Orient and the Supreme Council are entirely independent of each other, though working in harmony. The Supreme Council disclaims in favor of the Grand Orient and the Symbolic Grand Lodge all jurisdiction or control over the first three degrees and restricts itself to the 4th to 33rd degrees of the Scottish Rite.
It is also our information that the Symbolic Grand Lodge is not independent of the Grand Orient but that the latter exercises final control over the first three degrees though only mediately through the Grand Lodge. In other words, the sovereign governing body of Symbolic Masonry in this system is the Grand Orient and not the Grand Lodge.
The Grand Orient system of government is not well understood by Masons of English-speaking countries, but the difference between that system and our own, that of independent Grand Lodges, is a difference only of policy and organization and not one of principle. Many distinguished Masonic authorities have contended that this difference is nevertheless so radical as to preclude the recognition of Grand Orients by Grand Lodges. However, after exhaustive discussion and a long struggle over the question, the practices of Grand Lodges have not been in accord with this contention. Many Grand Lodges now and have for many years recognized Grand Orients. The true inquiry now seems generally to be, Does the body in question teach and practice genuine Freemasonry? If this question can be answered affirmatively, then the form of its government is not regarded as controlling. Of course a body claiming to be Masonic and seeking recognition as such should be able to show that its origin, even if irregular, was not clandestine, or at least an established and fixed status as a Masonic body must be shown for such a length of time as reasonably to warrant the conclusion that it was not of clandestine origin.
We feel confident that tested by this standard it can not be said that the origin of the Grand Orient precludes its recognition.
The Grand Orient is recognized by Nevada (conditionally), Minnesota, New York, Canada, Cuba and probably by British Columbia, District of Columbia, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, and others.
We have sought for reasons why the Grand Orient of Italy should not be recognized as a legitimate Masonic body. We find only one of any plausibility and that is the Grand Orient has invaded the jurisdiction of at least five American Grand Jurisdictions and established lodges at Denver, Colo.; Boston, Mass.; Newark, N. J.; Philadelphia and Pittsburg, Pa.; and at Collinsville, Ill. But these actions were taken many years ago and the Grand Orient is not now establishing and has not for many years established any lodge in North America.
In the above action, it cannot be denied that the Grand Orient committed a serious mistake and breach of fraternal courtesy, — one that has no doubt for many years prevented its recognition by the Grand Lodges of North America generally. At the same time it must be conceded that the Grand Orient did not thereby breach a Masonic landmark, the doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction is not a landmark but has proved itself an extremely wise policy which is being more and more generally adopted every day. It can not be truthfully or logically said that a Grand Lodge by invading the jurisdiction of another Grand Lodge absolutely puts itself outside the Masonic pale. It may be that the Grand Lodge whose jurisdiction is violated would be justified in withdrawing fraternal intercourse, but other Grand Lodges are not bound to do likewise, though they may do so as a moral protest where a contumacious spirit is manifested. The officials of the Grand Orient have, however, several times given assurances of their desire to put an end to this condition, but the fact must be recognized that these lodges are in existence and the Grand Orient can not incontinently abandon them and their members to a Masonic death. We believe that if American Grand Lodges and especially those which have been invaded will take up the question and deal with it in a more fraternal spirit the difficulties can be solved. It may not be amiss to say here that Alabama recognized the Grand Orient in 1867 and that this recognition has never been formally withdrawn, though exchange of representatives has been allowed to lapse.(Alabama Cor. Rep. 1916, p. 204.)
THE MOST SERENE NATIONAL ITALIAN GRAND LODGEYour committee has received a communication from this Grand Lodge dated at Rome, Italy, Piazza del Gesu 47, which reads as follows:
TO THE GLORY OF THE GRAND ARCHITECT OF THE UNIVERSE THE UNIVERSAL MASONIC FEDERATION OF THE A. & A. S. RITE THE MOST SERENE NATIONAL ITALIAN GRAND LODGE
Orient of Rome, 8th July, 1918.
To the Grand Lodges and Gr∴ Or∴ of the U∴ M∴
We beg you to call your attention to the fact that the Italian National G∴ Lodge is the only Masonic Body working the Blue Rite, which is recognized by our Supreme Council for Italy.
Our Supreme Council of the A∴ & A∴ Scotch Rite is the only Supreme Council recognized by the Supreme Councils in the United States of America.
The National Italian Gr∴ Lodge is recognized by the Gr∴ Lodge of the District of Columbia which has its seat in Washington and indeed by various Gr∴ Lodges in the United States of America, as may be seen by a glance at the list of Gr∴ Lodges with the names and addresses of the Grand Secretaries printed on page 159 in the Annual Report for 1917.
Br. Palermi has recently been elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in Italy.
Please to nominate your Grand Representative in our Gr∴ Lodge and to let us know the name of a Brother to be nominated our Grand Representative in your Grand Lodge.
Raoul V. Palermi,
December 18, 1918.
Raoul Palermi, Esq.,
National Grand Lodge,
Piazza del Gesu 47,
Very dear Sir:
Your letter of July 8th, 1918, addressed to the Grand Lodge of Alabama, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, has been referred to me as Chairman of its Committee on Foreign Correspondence.
I beg to advise you that your letter does not contain sufficient information to enable us to judge of the regularity of your Grand Body. I should be pleased to have a brief history of its origin and development and of its present status. I infer that it is a component part of the Supreme Council of Italy. Am I correct in this conclusion? If so, kindly advise me something concerning the history of your Supreme Council and who is its present head. I should also like to know what control the Supreme Council exercises over your Grand Lodge.
It is difficult to secure reliable information here and I am, therefore, compelled to appeal to you. Could you supply me with a printed copy of your constitution and of your ritual of the three blue degrees?
I must frankly say that until we are fully advised our Grand Lodge can not extend recognition to your Grand Body. I trust, therefore, that I may have an early and full reply.
Oliver D. Street,
Rome, 30 January, 1919.
Oliver D. Street, Esq., Chairman, etc.
I received your letter of 18th December, 1918, for which I thank you.
For your information I beg to give you the following details:
In Italy there has existed since the beginning of the year 1875 a Supreme Council, Anc. & Acc. Scottish Rite. This Supreme Council was legally recognized at the Congress of Washington in the year 1912 by all the other Supreme Councils. Our Supreme Council was presided over at that time by Brother Saverio Fera. Brother Saverio Fera died at the end of 1916. He was succeeded by election by Br. Leonardo Ricciardi, of Naples. Brother Leonardo Ricciardi in May of 1918 resigned, forced by old age and sickness. After election his place was taken by Br. William Burgess of Rome.
Up to this time all the degrees, the three blue degrees included, were given in the name of the Supreme Council to which all the lodges had sworn obedience. To conform to the old Landmarks the Supreme Council decided to create a Grand Lodge and to give to this institution the exclusive and independent administration of the blue degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Masonry. The Grand Lodge had its first meeting in March, 1919.
The Grand Lodge is composed of the Worshipful Masters of all the lodges together with a delegate from each lodge, this latter to be elected every two years by each lodge. The administration of the Grand Lodge is confided to the Grand Master and his officers, elected by the Grand Lodge, "one third of them every two years." The only connection between the Grand Lodge and the Supreme Council is that the Supreme Council promised not to have under its jurisdiction lodges up to the third degree, and to oblige its members to be also members of one of the lodges under the obedience of the Grand Lodge. On the contrary, the Grand Lodge promised, to observe always the following landmarks:
1. The old rites, tokens, pass and secret words. 2. The three blue degrees. 3. The visiting rights. 4. The belief in the existence of the Grand Architect of the Universe. 5. The belief in a life after this earthly one. 6. Having the S. L. in the lodge opened at the chapter of S. John, and the giving of the oath on the S. L. 7. The autonomy of every lodge. 8. The necessity of having Masonic meetings and the performance only of Masonic work in lodge. 9. The governing of a lodge by a Worshipful Master and two Wardens. 10. The control by the Grand Master as head of the Grand Orient and the Grand Lodge and his right to preside over every lodge and meeting. 11. The right of appeal from a condemnation by a lodge to the Grand Lodge. 12. The governing and installing of lodges only in its jurisdiction. This with the exception of one lodge at Salonica and three at Tunis. 13. To treat only with those Grand Lodges who are observing rigorously these old landmarks.
The Grand Lodge of Italy and its Colonies has been formed by the lodges in the described way and has elected Br. Raoul Palermi as its Grand Master. It is governed absolutely independently by its Grand Orient. One of the lodges under the jurisdiction of our Grand Lodge in Rome is an English-American Lodge working in English under the name of "Anglo-Saxon Lodge." It numbers several Americans as members.
Neither the Supreme Council nor the Grand Lodge have ever invaded foreign jurisdictions by founding lodges or triangles in lands where there are existing regular Masonic powers. We have never had nor will ever have lodges in America.
In the year 1908 a part of the Italian Masons who did not like to observe the old Landmarks, especially those numbered 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 13 above mentioned, detached themselves from the Supreme Council and founded an absolutely irregular Masonry with its own Supreme Council and its own Grand Orient, giving themselves very strange regulations and not observing at all the old Landmarks. They have special lodges for socialists, for atheists, and so on. The election of their Grand Master is made directly by the lodges, they have no real Grand Lodge, only a Grand Orient, which is under the control of their Supreme Council, and what is still stranger is that their Sovereign Grand Commander is elected with interference of the Grand Orient. They have founded lodges in England, in North and South America, so that in Pittsburg and other cities several American citizens have got their grades. Their paper "Rivista Massonica" states that they have lodges and are founding lodges everywhere out of the Italian jurisdiction.
Their symbols and rituals are reduced to a minimum, and their principal occupation is to meddle in politics and to have influence on the government. Their lodges are not independent and they oblige their lodges to put influence on the members to vote in political elections as indicated by the Grand Orient.
They have tried directly and indirectly several times to fuse themselves with our Grand Lodge; but up to the present, inasmuch as they do not promise and solemnly declare to observe the old Landmarks, we cannot join them. For these reasons it is absolutely false that we have fused with the Grand Orient presided over by Ernesto Nathan, or with their Supreme Council presided over by Mr. Ferrari. It is with these, as we call them "The Masons of the Giustinian palace" (where they have their seat), that you have been in correspondence.
I avail myself of this opportunity to express my sincere regards and hope that we may enter as quickly as possible into good and brotherly Masonic relations.
Raoul V. Palermi,
Piazza del Gesu, Rome.
It is significant that this Grand Body, though seeking our recognition, gives no account of the circumstances or causes leading to its creation. It would seem that, if conscious of the correctness of their action in forming a new Masonic system in the face of one already established, they would not fail to give a circumstantial account as to why they took such steps. Their silence when they should and naturally would speak argues strongly against them.
From this letter, however, we gather some facts. This Fera Supreme Council is of recent origin, it does not claim to date further back than 1876. Our information from other and reliable sources is that it is much more recent than this; that in fact the year 1908 witnessed its formation by a faction of schismatics seceding from the Grand Orient. Our investigations lead to the conclusion that this secession was not caused by any Masonic principle involved but probably by personal pique or ambition. At the head of the seceders was Saverio Fera, who proceeded to organize another Supreme Council and appendant thereto the "Grand Lodge of Italy for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite," which in due course was "created" by said Supreme Council into "The Most Serene National Italian Grand Lodge," by which name it is now known. Until 1818, the blue degrees were given in the name of the Supreme Council, to which all the lodges had sworn obedience. Its first meeting as a pretended independent Grand Lodge was held in March, 1919. So far as we can learn only one Grand Lodge has recognized the Serene National Grand Lodge, namely, the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands.
By some undivinable means, the Fera (now Burgess) Supreme Council has succeeded in obtaining the recognition of the Supreme Councils (Southern and Northern) of the United States of America, but according to the information we have some of the leading Scottish Rite bodies of this country refuse to recognize Fera and his Supreme Council and Grand Lodge. (4 American Freemason, p. 13.)
In 1912, Saverio Fera, Grand Master of the Serene Grand Lodge of Italy, visited New York but the Grand Master of that jurisdiction refused to receive him officially. The Scottish Rite bodies of New York also refused to receive him as a visitor, notwithstanding that Fera's Supreme Council, of which he was Sovereign Grand Commander, is recognized by the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States. A very anomalous situation was thus presented, the Scottish Rite Masons of New York choosing to follow the lead of the Grand Master rather than that of their own Supreme Council. (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1914, p. 89.)
The Correspondence Committee of New York in its 1914 report rebuked Grand Master Saverio Fera for claiming that it alone represented regular Italian Freemasonry and for charging that all other Italian Masonic bodies practiced Masonry for political purposes only. The New York Committee expressed the opinion that "Ancient Craft Masonry in Italy was identified with the Grand Orient of Italy beyond doubt." (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1915, pp. 52, 58; Ib. 1914, p. 89.)
GRAND LODGE AT FLORENCE
The official title of this Grand Body seems to be "The Serene Grand Lodge of Italy for the Scottish Rite." Our Circular of Inquiry forwarded to it at its late address, "18 via Petrapiana," was returned "missent." If it is acknowledged by any Grand Body outside of Italy, we are not aware of the fact. It is, however, evidently in good standing with the Grand Orient, as a deputation from it attended the installation in 1918 of Ernesto Nathan as Grand Master of the Grand Orient. Gould's History (1887) shows the Grand Orient of Italy at Florence to have removed to Rome in 1873 and there became a part of the Grand Orient and we have been unable to ascertain how and why another Grand Lodge or Grand Orient sprang up there. We have not sufficient knowledge to enable us to venture any opinion concerning this Grand Body.
We reach the conclusion that the Grand Orient of Italy is entitled to recognition and we therefore recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, by the Grand Lodge A∴ F∴ & A∴ M∴ of Alabama that the recognition extended by this Grand Lodge in 1867 to the Grand Orient of Italy be and the same is hereby renewed and the Grand Master authorized to arrange for the renewal of an exchange of representatives.
Our conclusion is that the Most Serene National Italian Grand Lodge is irregular and schismatic and is not entitled to recognition. We recommend the adoption of this resolution:
Resolved, That the Grand Lodge A∴ F∴ & A∴ M∴ of Alabama views the so-called "Most Serene National Italian Grand Lodge" as a schismatic body and all Masonic intercourse with it and with bodies and Masons of its obedience is interdicted.
In reply to our circular sent to the Grand Lodge of Norway we have received a very full and interesting reply in a beautiful handwriting in English. From it we learn the following:
Until June 24, 1891, Masonry in Norway was administered by a Provincial Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Sweden but on this date the National Grand Lodge of Norway was formed by King Oscar II, the then head of the Grand Lodge of Sweden.
The first lodge in Norway was St. Olaus, formed in 1749. In 1818, it united with the Grand Lodge of Sweden. The Provincial Lodge of Norway was formed in 1870. Grand Lodge now has under its jurisdiction 1 Provincial Lodge at Droutheim, 12 St. Johns' lodges and 3 St. Andrew's lodges. There is also 1 Stewards lodge. The total membership of its subordinate bodies is about 5,900.
The Grand Lodge of Norway works according to the Swedish Rite and controls the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master, and in addition, 8 so-called "higher degrees." It seems to be governed by a "Supreme Council." During the war this body "decided not to enter into connection with any new Masonic power." It is stated by its Grand Secretary, however, that "when peace is restored this decision is likely to be altered." In view of this general policy, we think no steps towards recognition or exchange of representatives should be taken at present.
It may be proper to add that Norwegian Masonry belongs to the Christian branch of the Craft and rigorously eschews politics.
There is also a Provincial Lodge working under the German Grand Lodge "Zur Sonne" at Beyreuth. It has three subordinates and is recognized by the Grand Lodge of Norway as regular Masonry.
"Besides these," to quote from the letter of the Grand Secretary, "there work here some other so-called lodges. St. Olaf, the Maria, (for women), and perhaps one or two more which are not recognized and have no intercourse with our Grand Lodge as they are working according to rites which cannot be acknowledged by us as Freemasonry." Norway is in correspondence with New York, Cuba, Philippine Islands, and doubtles others.
* * *
Masonry had an early introduction into Sweden, that is to say in 1735. There it experienced quite chequered history, being swept along in the tide of the so-called Strict Observance or Templar system of Masonry. From the influence of this misfortune it has never escaped, but finally there was evolved the so called Swedish Rite consisting of nine degrees, named 1st to 3rd, St. Johns; 4th and 5th, St. Andrew's, an 4 degrees of so-called Knights.
The Grand Lodge of Sweden was formed in 1759. It now controls 28 St. John's lodges; 13 of St. Andrew, and 4 provincial lodges. Its total membership is 16,645. No other Masonic body claims jurisdiction within to boundaries of Sweden.
The Masonry of Sweden seems to be a very peculiar product. It requires a belief in Christianity. The king and princes of the reigning family fill by right its chief offices and its teachings are said to be a mixture of the Freemasonry of England, of the "Scots" degrees, of Templarism, Rosicrucianism and the mystic doctrines of Emmanuel Swedenborg. So far as we have learned the only Canadian or American Grand Lodge recognizing it is that of New York. Brother Gould pronounces it a "mere soi-disant connection of the great Masonic families," and Brother G. W. Speth declares that it has "hardly a vestige of Masonry left" as the same is known and practiced in England.
There is no doubt that the Swedish royal family, and therefore presumably Swedish Freemasonry, was in full sympathy with Germany in the late war. The Swedish government even allowed itself in the most shameless manner to be used by Germany as a tool.
With the present lights we do not advise that any steps be taken looking to the establishment of fraternal relations between that Grand Body and our own. The following Grand Bodies and no doubt others are in correspondence with Sweden, viz.: Arkansas, New York, Cuba, District of Columbia, Louisiana and Western Australia.
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THE CHOICE OF A LEADER
FOR THE MOMENT the eyes, not only of this nation but of the whole world, are concentrated upon the choice the American people are about to make in the matter of their national leadership for the next four years. International relationships have caused this focusing of attention abroad, as to who will be the next President of these United States. Foreign interest is largely concerned about his being a man who will have a proper and just appreciation of international problems, but the concern of the American people is, primarily, that he shall be a man of thorough understanding of the vital problems that are confronting us as a people. That he shall be an idealist of world vision is vitally necessary, but he must likewise be a practical man; one whose knowledge will not mislead him into thinking that the world can be greater than the nations who compose it. He must be first, a man whose soul burns with an unquenchable fire to lead these United States in the fulfilment of their mission. Here on this continent men are striving in experiment with the noblest form of government yet conceived of by the mind of man. And to the preservation of such representative government until fully proved and found wanting and against the innovations proposed by those whose chiefest lessons have been learned from a nation, where mobocracy parades under the name of democracy, he must be unqualifiedly committed.
The surest warrant that the new leader can have that a league of nations for the world is possible or practical is by welding into an undivided Americanism the many peoples represented within these shores. That the blending of these many peoples into one is among the mighty challenges that the new leader will confront, none can gainsay, and knowing the nature of the problem, he must determine that the American people once and for all obliterate the menace of hyphenism that has so audaciously re-emerged — if it ever were submerged — since the close of the great war. In the new leader the world must be able to read unquestionably the sovereign will of a people who pride themselves on but one nationality, one language and one flag, and that All American.
To the new leader will fall the task of coordinating the respect of all inhabitants of this land for constituted authority. Men and factions everywhere must discover in him the uncompromising opponent of all lawlessness and disorder, and the disintegrating forces that always accompany war and continues its demoralizing work in the aftermath ever menacing free institutions, must be determinedly stopped by a persuasion if possible but by coercion if necessary.
While elevated to the position of chief executive by partisan favor let him bear in mind that he is President of the United States in whose hands is the welfare, comfort and happiness of the poorest and humblest of the citizenry, as well as the interests of the rich and powerful.
The Presidency has hitherto been invariably held by Americans of comprehensive understanding of the American people's needs, and the wisest revealed their capacity to thrust aside party provincialism or powerful patronage whenever there were grievances to be adjusted or the ideals of righteousness were to be preserved. The White House when one or two of the beloved leaders occupied it, was a place where the great Father of a people lived, and where rich or poor, learned or unlearned could find sympathy, pity and redression of wrongs. And on the exercise of these virtues on the part of the new leader depends the future prosperity of these United States. Bolshevism and its kindred ills will be best eliminated by first understanding of its basic causes, and next determined action for the elimination of those economic injustices that permit the fanatic visionaries, demagogues and agitators to prevent the right thinking on public issues of such large masses of the American working people. Let our leader then be possessed of the wisdom that will permit him to see that policies of repression and suppression have always according to the testimony of history brought about insurrection, and be the clarion spokesman for justice everywhere and thus lend his power sense of right towards preventing evil strife.
By virtue of free speech and a free press, and freedom of worship, the progress of the American people has been almost a continuous success for over a century and a quarter. It is the subterranean discussion that has everywhere ultimately brought out red disaster.
Let our leader be one who believes thoroughly that the heart of the American people is sound, and that when things are right they will accept them, that when they are wrong they will reject them. One language, one law with freedom of speech and press and worship. A just wage for all who work, commensurate with the unquestionable assurance of happy living. Respect for authority and the redression of wrong through legitimate means — these are the great fundamental rights guaranteed under the American flag and they are the eternal principles of right on which the new leader must stand.
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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 order such books direct from the publishers instead of through the Society. In many instances the books may be found in stock at local book stores.
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A NEW COLLECTION OF POEMS BY EDWIN MARKHAM
"Gates of Paradise," by Edwin Markham. Published by Doubleday. Paste & Co.. Garden City, N. Y. Price $1.75.
A NEW collection of Edwin Markham's poems, under the title "Gates of Paradise," is announced by Doubleday, Page & Co. In commenting upon the human appeal of Markham's verse John Galsworthy said, "I measure poetry by its power to cause emotion and surprise. I want poets who are themselves moved by truth and beauty and so stirred by the spectacles and contacts of life that the birds within them simply must sing." And this is the kind of poet Edwin Markham is. In this new book he sings because he must; because his heart is full of the beauty of life, and its sadness; of laughter, and tears behind the laughter.
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A BOOK FOR THE MUSIC LOVER
"America's Position in Music," by Eugene E. Simpson. Published by The Four Seas Company, 67 Cornhill St., Boston, Mass. Price $1.00.
A book of value to the lover of music, and indeed to all who are interested in America's progress in the arts, is Eugene Simpson's "America's Position in Music." The only volume of its sort, it deals with the sources of our nationalistic music and the development of tendencies in the Indian and Negro elements, in the compositions of today. Particularly valuable is the bibliography at the end of the volume which gives a comprehensive summary of American composers and their chief works.
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"Untimely Papers," by Randolph Bourne. Published at $1.60, postpaid, by B. W. Huebsch, 225 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.
The notable essays of this leader among the younger publicists of his day and a fragment from an unfinished work on the State. A fresh scrutiny of his profound, brilliantly presented material confirms the opinion that our country lost one of its most significant thinkers through Bourne's death. The volume includes "Twilight of Idols," his indictment of the American pragmatic attitude, and the perhaps even better known paper, "The War and the Intellectual," an illuminating examination of the springs of political conduct in times of stress.
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A TIMELY TREATISE ON AMERICANISM
"Back to the Republic," by Larry E. Atwood. Published by Laird & Lee, 1732 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill.
We are delighted to call the attention of the readers of THE BUILDER to this little book. Its author, Harry E. Atwood, has given the American people a timely treatise in this work. As its pertinent title suggests, it is a call to reconsider the things on which this government was founded; the experiences and observations of those who wrote its Constitution, and the hope actuating them, that in the following of the Constitution as it was then written would be the safeguard of the nation from anything like mob rule or autocratic tyranny.
We could indeed desire that it be placed in the hands of all graduates from our collegiate institutions, as it is a handbook of immeasurable worth in contenting the present tendencies of mass movements to dominate in national affairs. The Republic, or the golden mean in government is forcefully set forth and cannot but exercise a restraining influence upon those who are forever declaiming upon the rights of the people, thereby meaning but the rights of a certain class. The keen insight of the Fathers of this nation is admirably presented and their attitude in the forming and shaping of the Constitution is discovered to be in the light of what they knew to be the past experiences of peoples in experimentations with popular government.
* * *
A CHALLENGE AND A PROMISE
"Vanishing Landmarks," by Leslie M. Shaw. Published by Laird & Lee, 1732 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill.
A book which contains both a challenge and a promise is from the pen of Leslie M. Shaw, ex-Secretary of the Treasury. It is a pertinent arraignment of present tendencies towards having a rule of the classes. Mr. Shaw reveals himself to be an old-fashioned American, possessed of that fine idealism that prompted the founders of this Republic to lay the nation's foundation on a wise and safe basis.
This little volume is full of homely illustrations, and he drives home the great truths which he is promulgating in a very pointed fashion. It is the work of a fertile mind, aware of all present possibilities, dangers and limitations. Mr. Shaw's statesmanship is indelibly stamped on the work. We here thank the friend who brought it to our attention, and urge its reading by members of the Craft.
THE RISE OF A FREE CHURCH IN A FREE STATE TOLD IN THE LIGHT OF AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT
"Young People's History of the Pilgrims," by William Elliott Griffin. Published by Houghton, Mifflin Co., 4 Park St., Boston, Mass. Illustrated. Price $3.00.
Dr. Griffin is widely known as a popular and authoritative writer of history and folklore of various countries, and has been unusually successful in interesting juvenile readers. This book, the keynote of which is struck in the subtitle given above, treats of the Pilgrims in England, Holland and America, giving especial fulness and emphasis to their Dutch experiences, which do not usually receive the attention that they deserve. The conditions and surroundings of the Pilgrims which influenced and actuated them, are vivedly presented, as well as the many things which could not have failed to interest the boys and girls of the time. Dr. Griffis writes so enthusiastically and picturesquely that this volume holds an important place among the special books of the tercentenary year.
SEPTEMBER BOOK LIST
The following list embraces practically all the standard works on Masonry which we are able to secure and keep in stock for the accommodation of individual members of the Society, Study Clubs and Lodges.
We are finding it more difficult each year to procure new or second-hand copies of the earlier works on Masonry of which, owing to the limited market for them at the time of their publication, but a small number of copies were printed.
We are continually in search for additional items which will be listed in this column whenever it is our good fortune to secure them.
It is suggested that the latest list be consulted before sending in orders and that no orders be made from lists more than one month old, since our stock of these books is limited and a book listed this month may be out of stock by the time next month's list is published.
Since the publishers are constantly increasing their prices to us the following prices are subject to such changes.
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
- Philosophy of Freemasonry, Pound. $1.25
- Freemasonry in America Prior to 1759, Melvin M. Johnson, P.G.M., Massachusetts. $1.35
- 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
- Concise History of Freemasonry, Robert Freke Gould. $4.50
- Collected Essays on Freemasonry, Robert Freke Gould. $7.50
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.
* * *
Catch not at the shadow and lose the substance.
* * *
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.
* * *
THE SEAL OF SOLOMON
Can you give me any information covering the six-pointed star styled "The Shield of David" or "The Seal of Solomon"?
A. S., New York.
Brother J. W. Horsley says, in Volume XV of the Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, that in many rites and societies both antecedent and subsequent to the establishment of Craft Masonry, the two very distinct, yet often confused symbols known as the Seal of Solomon and the Shield of David are prominent and expressive.
The names of Solomon's Seal (from its supposed use by our Grand Master Solomon) or the Hexagram, or the Hexapla (from its form,) are usually given to a hexagonal figure formed of two interlacing equilateral triangles which form the six-pointed star. It was also called the Ineffable Triangle when bearing the Ineffable Name in Enochian characters, and was thus used especially with a dualistic interpretation. The signet of Solomon, by which he was supposed to have had power over spirits, was considered to have been engraved with this figure. By this signet Solomon was supposed to have enlisted the services of Genii or Djinns, in the construction of the Temple, and its potency there are frequent allusions in the Thousand and Nights. Thence it became a symbol widely found in Oriental countries, not only amongst the Jews, but also in Brahman Buddhist temples, and in places as far apart as the Cave of and walls in Barbary.
Under Christianity, and in Christian art, its magical character was lost or repudiated; but it was adopted as a religious symbol typifying the two Natures perfectly conjoined in the Person of Christ, and it also gained the name of the Epiphany Star. Thus everywhere in church architecture, in glass windows or their traceries, and on tombs, we find it used. One of the simplest examples is the west window of the north aisle of St. Nicholas Church at Guildford: a plain circle containing six trefoils which are arranged in two triangles, each containing three trefoils. Again, to take an example from the Early Decorated period, the window in the Bishop of Winchester's Palace at Southwark, was a wheel containing two intersecting equilateral triangles, around which were six sex-foiled triangles, the hexagon in the center containing a star of six great and six smaller rays.
In one order, derived from, or based upon, Masonry, it is not only delineated but is also ritually formed by the use of six lights placed so as to indicate the points of two interlacing triangles. The lesser lights are here taken to represent the Patriarchial, the Mosaic and the Christian Dispensations; the three greater lights to typify the Creative, the Preservative and powers of the Most High.
It is not known that the Greek mystics used the Hexapla as they did the Pentalpha, or Pentagram; but from at least the days of the Talmudists the figure was rendered most expressive, and no doubt was thought more potent, by the addition of the Hebrew word AGLA in the centre of the figure, and at the intersecting points of the triangles, this word being formed of the initials of the words Ateh (to Thee), Gibur (Strength), Leolam (forever), and Adonai (O Lord) — an ascription of praise, or a confession of faith, which, however, was frequently taken as an affirmation — "Thou art strong in the eternal God."
The next stage was to invest the symbol with talismanic powers of the highest order, and to ascribe to it the power to extinguish conflagrations, to preserve the wearer from wounds in battle, and generally to be prophylactic against all dangers. In medieval and post-medieval times the Jews used it chiefly as a safeguard against fire, placing it on houses, and especially on breweries; whence in Germany it came to be a common sign of a beerhouse.
In modern Hermetic Magic the Hexalpa refers to the sun and planets, and again it is the sign of the Macrocosm or Universe.
The Shield of David is different from the Seal of Solomon in that it has five points instead of six.
* * *
THE WORKS OF CHURCHWARD
What is your opinion of the works of Churchward, "Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man" and "The Arcana of Masonry"? Can you refer me to any works along the same line that are superior to these?
Churchward, unfortunately, cannot be very highly recommended, and for various reasons, chief among which is his lack of painstaking scholarship. He builds on unstable foundations and often permits his imagination to run riot. This is not utterly to condemn him, however, for there is much of interest and value in his pages.
Very little is known of "primordial" man, and no one volume, so far as the present writer knows, covers the "signs and symbols" as far as they are known. A student is wise to trace the symbols through the various encyclopedias and to select out his materials from the standard works on early man, such as the following:
- Dawkins — "Early Man in Britain. "
- J. Geikie — "Prehistoric Europe."
- A. Lang — "Magic and Religion."
- Lubbock — "Prehistoric Times."
- Schraeder — "Prehistoric Antiquities of the Aryan Peoples."
- Tylor — "Primitive Culture."
- Frazer — "The Golden Bough."
For the "arcana," or occult side of Masonry, we have often recommended the various works of A. E. Waite, and gladly do so again, especially his "Secret Tradition" and his "Studies in Mysticism"
* * *
ANDREW JACKSON'S LODGE
In the June number of THE BUILDER it is stated that President Andrew Jackson was a member of Philanthropic Lodge, located at Clover Bottom, Tennessee. It has been believed by many of the Craft that he was made a Mason in that lodge, but it is certain that he received his degrees in old Greeneville Lodge, at Greeneville, Tennessee.
Some years ago I took up the matter with the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, by whom the dispensation for a lodge at Clover Bottom was issued, and the Grand Secretary informed me that he was in possession of all the records of that lodge but there was no account in any of them of the degrees having been conferred on Andrew Jackson. Greeneville Lodge was the third lodge chartered in Tennessee, and was at the time of its dispensation No. 3 of North Carolina. After the organization of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, Greeneville Lodge was given the same number it previously carried.
I have been a Mason nearly fifty-eight years and have a very distinct recollection of hearing some of our oldest members speak of being present when Andrew Jackson received his degrees in Greenville Lodge. At that time Jackson was living in Jonesboro, Tennessee, twenty-five miles east of Greeneville. At that time Greeneville Lodge was the only lodge east of Knoxville and the only one to which Jackson could petition. While all of our lodge records were lost in the Civil War, we have the statements of some of our oldest members to the effect that Jackson received the degrees in Greeneville, and there is not the least doubt as to this. He was a member of Greeneville Lodge at the time of his death in 1875.
Andrew Jackson served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee during the years 1822–23, at which time he was a resident of Nashville.
Several Tennessee lodges have charters signed by him, among them being Rising Star Lodge No. 44, located at Rutledge, and Rhea Lodge No. 47, located at Jonesboro.
John M. McKee, Past Grand Lecturer, Tennessee.
* * *
THE SECRETS OF FREEMASONRY
The articles in past numbers of THE BUILDER on the above subject open up to the Masonic student an almost boundless realm of thoughtful investigation. It is a realm of beauty, of variety, of depth and intensity, and one where the principles of logic may be applied and developed to a high degree by an earnest study of this interesting subject.
The deeply religious Mason often in some manner connects the teachings of Masonry with those of his creed and, to his mind, its entire plan and purpose has been to metaphorically present the doctrines which his church taught him, and he is satisfied to rest contented that this is the whole scheme of Masonic teachings. It is through this means, undoubtedly, that many innovations have one by one crept into Masonic work. Beautiful indeed are they in their way, and accepted in good faith by earnest brethren whose doctrinal opinions they uphold. And yet, to the minds of those who go down more deeply into the underlying principles of this great system, they are innovations, pure and simple, although harmless, and owing to that widespread toleration of true Masonry they are even beneficial to those who accept them as a part of Masonic principles, but which they are certainly not.
The writer had labored among the Craft for a number of years before ever hearing of some of the things that are presented in the lectures of the Third degree in the jurisdiction in which he is now a sojourner.
Then, going a little deeper into the subject we might ask when were those things introduced into Masonic teachings, for their own constructive evidence plainly shows that they did not always belong there, nor are they introduced into Masonic teachings in countries where the brethren are of other faiths, yet whose Masonry is just as pure, perhaps even more so, than our own.
Then what are the fundamental principles of the Craft? What are the true secrets of Masonry?
One of the greatest principles of Masonry is undoubtedly Truth. "Truth is a divine attribute and the foundation of every virtue. To be good and true is the first lesson we are taught in Masonry."
And then the exercise of toleration (or charity) which exists more nearly universally among Masons than among others, is one of the absolutely necessary functions of Masonic teaching, for "upon this principle Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion and conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance."
Does not the learning of how to acquire that broad toleration taught by our beautiful system and the adherence to the simple principles of truth, constitute at least a part of the secrets of Masonry, and were they not shared although unxlsittingly in a measure, in that cosmopolitan lodge in India, made up of so many different religions described by Kipling in his "Mother Lodge"?
There are many secrets in mental and moral philosophy for which many generations of earnest craftsmen have striven for centuries, and while in a large measure they have gained much knowledge, the field is very large and very attractive, and the most earnest and the most tolerant seekers after light believe that the discovery of the sacred principles of truth are in direct line with the fundamental principles of the Craft and approved by the Supreme Architect of the Universe whose laws they study in the great book of nature spread open for their inspection.
Lewis A. McConnell, Colorado.
* * *
THE PURPOSE OF LEGENDS AND MYTHS
The history of the ancients is largely a matter of myth and tradition. Particularly is this true of early Masonic History. Examine the legendary origin of the order under a pedagogic microscope, carefully setting aside those statements not fully supported by documentary evidence, and you strip the skeleton of its flesh, leaving it is true the sinews of historical truth, but robbing the form of its comeliness.
The legends of the various degrees are not always capable of authentication, nor is it intended that they should be. They furnish the allegorical setting for the presentation of Masonic teachings.
So too, the myths of origin serve a purpose. The 47th Problem gains new interest with the story of "a worthy Scoller height Ewelyde" who taught the Egyptians "the science of Geometrie in practice, for to work in stones all manner of worthy worke that belonged to buildinge churches, temples, castells, towres, and mannors, and all other manner of buildings" and who delivered the ancient charge as related in the Dowland Manuscript. What a thrill there is in the words FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL as applied to the old English Lodges! They bring back visions of the Assembly at York and the renewal of St. Alban's Charter by King Athelstan at the behest of his brother (or son) Edwin "for love that he had to Masons."
These Legends of the Craft, together with those relating to Lamerch's Sons and the Pillars, Hermes, the Tower of Babel, Nimrod, the Temple at Jerusalem, Charles Martel and many others, should not be discarded because of historical inaccuracy. Presenting a Middle Ages conception of the Craft with its intermingling of Geometry, Architecture and Operative Masonry, which is the basis of Speculative Freemasonry, it was but natural that the author should incorporate in his narrative characters and places which he deemed of such importance as would most impress the reader. That he was possibly guilty of anachronisms does not really matter. He was actuated by a sincere desire to show that "the wisest and best of men in all ages have been encouragers and promoters of our art."
C. G. Culin, New Jersey.
* * *
WERE HEWN STONES ANCIENTLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE EVIL SIDE OF NATURE
To the list of books suitable for a Masonic library, as supplied by Brother Berolzheimer in the February number of THE BUILDER, I would like to add "Traces of a Hidden Tradition in Masonry and Medieval Mysticism" by (Mrs.) Cooper Oakley, 1900. The writer had peculiar facilities for producing this book, because of her acquaintance with European languages, and her ability to get into the depths of some older Continental libraries.
Another illuminating and valuable little work is "Masonic Symbolism" by A. H. Ward, 1913. It is very much worth having.
I have just finished reading Portal's "Comparison," and was surprised to read his statement that hewn stone was associated with the evil side of Nature, and his reference to biblical texts that seem to indicate that the Temple of Solomon was built of whole stones. (Exod. XX, v. 25; Joshua VIII, 30-31, and I Kings VI, 7.) Yet the Egyptians seem to have been masters of the art of dressing stones for their sacred buildings, and they taught the Phoenicians, from whom came the builders of the Temple at Jerusalem.
I would like further light on this.
N. W. J. Haydon, Canada.
* * *
FOR THE GOOD OF THE ORDER
The writer, who is a Past Master of his Blue Lodge, a Past High Priest of his Chapter, a Past Thrice Illustrious Master of his Council, a Past Eminent Commander of his Commandery, a Past Grand Master of the Grand Council, R. & S. M., of his State, for twenty-one years a Shriner, for twenty years a 32° Scottish Rite Mason and for nine years a K.C.C.H., desires to offer to the members of the Fraternity in general his views of edicts, or laws, which if adopted by the different Grand and Supreme bodies, would, in his opinion, tend to uplift the standard of Masonry in general throughout the country.
The Royal Arch Chapter should require the petitioner to have been a Master Mason for a period of twelve months prior to his applying for the Chapter degrees.
The Commandery should require the petitioner to have been a Royal Arch Mason for a period of twelve months prior to his applying for the Orders of Knighthood.
The Lodge of Perfection should require the petitioner to have been a Master Mason for a period of twelve months prior to his applying for the degrees conferred therein.
The A.A.O.N.M.S. (Shrine) should require the petitioner to have been a Knight Templar, or a 32° Scottish Rite Mason (either or both), for a period of twelve months prior to his applying for the Order.
The M.O.V.P.E.R. (Grotto) should require the petitioner to have been a Master Mason for a period of twelve months prior to his applying for membership therein.
The above suggested edicts apply more especially to the Grotto and Shrine, and I trust the members of these bodies will give these suggestions deep thought and such action as will bring about the best results.
If such edicts were enacted the Master Mason would have more thoroughly absorbed the teachings and lessons of the Blue Lodge and be better prepared for the Chapter, or Scottish Rite degrees; the Royal Arch Mason would, if he attended the meetings of his Chapter as he should, be much better prepared for the beautiful impressive lessons of the Commandery; the Knight Templar, or 32d Scottish Rite Mason would have had an opportunity to study the beautiful lessons taught him, thereby having them so thoroughly imbedded in his mind as not to lose any of their importance, when he entered the "play-ground," the Shrine. Too many, after having received the Entered Apprentice degree, set their eyes on a Grotto, or Shrine emblem, and overlook many of the lessons taught and solemn obligations assumed, in order to reach their goal — nay far too hastily.
R. Leslie Chiles, Tennessee.
* * *
NUMBERS VERSUS QUALITY
At the recent annual communication of the Grand Lodge Alpina of Switzerland, a striking address was delivered by the retiring Grand Master, Bro. Dr. J. Schwenter, from which the following is extracted:
In the industrial world we must reckon with three factors: capital, which undertakes; intelligence, which directs; and labor. These three factors are indispensable for the prosperity of the community: they must be maintained mutually, or the whole edifice will fall to pieces. If one of these withdraws its support, there will necessarily follow a catastrophe: it is not even necessary to demonstrate this fact by giving illustrations. But in this regard the Masonic principle of good-will, of reciprocal tolerance, the adaptation of one to another, is of great importance, even an absolute necessity. Freemasons may therefore be persuaded that today their existence is not a superfluity, but that, on the contrary, it is even indispensable, because the Craft helps to create a real union among members of the human race, in which love, and not hatred, rules.
We wish, therefore, tranquilly to remain faithful in the performance of the duties we have voluntarily undertaken; in our zeal as Freemasons we wish to continue our march in the way of progress for the good of humanity.
Is it necessary for our work that we should have a large number of adepts? That is a question to which only an affirmative answer can be given: from a material point of view a large number certainly has its advantages. A large society is, in this respect, stronger and more productive than a small one, but if we consider how Freemasonry may the better fulfil its mission, we must reply that it can only do so by placing it intellectually and morally on as high a level as possible. That is the reply to the question. When men, eminent from an intellectual and moral point of view, come in great numbers to our lodges, the increase in membership is then justified; but when such is not the case, when those who knock at our doors do not offer the desired guarantees in this respect, then the interest of our royal art demands that such postulants must stand to one side. If we have numbers only, we gain nothing; on the contrary, we lisk lowering the level of our Society, and by that means also we diminish and enfeeble our action and influence, and, consequently, also, our right of existence. It is possible that such refusal of admission may be contrary to our democratic sentiments, but we must not lose sight of the fact that our lodge is not an institution in which the private opinion of the majority must alone be the law. We must study the Masonic point of view, rather than that of the worlds and seek to establish that which we believe most conforms to truth, to duty, and to moralily. Brethren may, perhaps, seldom be unanimous on this point but all will form ideas which will respond to our ideal and act accordingly in the outside world. We are not a Society proceeding by a fixed vote to intervention in events, because, if we do that, we shall abandon the foundation on which Freemasonry has been built, and we shall then be regarded and treated simply as a political party. We must not forget that in our Society is enclosed the intellectual and moral worth of ideas and verities examined in the light of our teaching and that it is not in conformity with the character of our institution outwardly to act as a body in opposition to the representatives of positive opinions.
Dudley Wright, England.
* * *
THE TERMINAL TRIANGLE
By Bro. L. B. Mitchell, Michigan
Liberty of thought that has been to men denied
By that intolerance which ne'er with men divide
The right to read the way to human destiny
Save in the ways wherein its creeds may point the way.
Equality that means a tolerance that springs
From motive to accord to all the right of things
That by the Golden Rule may be worked out to give
That which is due to those who in its spirit live.
Fraternity, the word that holds all other terms
By which this old, old world in sorrow slowly learns
That men and nations in true Brotherhood must live
Before the wane, their dues, they can in full, receive.
* * *
Long ailments wear out pain, and long hopes Joy.
* * *
'Twas night-time; and welcome armistice
Had sounded recall to embattled legions,
Relaxed tenseness from the grip of guns,
Lifted deadly gas from poisoned valleys
And stilled the din of deafening cannonade.
Full weary of Earth's lengthened fratricide,
And the riot of mad colors
Which reddened soil with likeness to man's blood
And pat the verdancy of sod, by gruesome change,
Upon the faces of the dead
And, brain-fagged by the baffle in which I lay enclouded
When I sought for reasons why a world should be upheaved
And earth, and air, and underseas be made a space for feuds,
I thought to rest awhile and seek recovery
And such measure of forgetting
As would ease the pain and let me think somewhat
Of an ancient Master's vanguard, on a Holy Night,
As they canticled of peace, so seeming long ago.
It may be that I dreamed;
And yet, as waking has not followed,
With its change of scene and other sensing,
Perhaps it was not altogether dreaming
Or mere vagary
That chained me to the thought I now relate.
Did I say the scene was visioned in the night?
Perhaps it was; for other things were quite obscured,
And yet some lingering flashes
From near-gone torches of the day
Brought out the salient lines and marked the colors,
Like the varied ooze pressed out upon an artist's palette.
So, although the veiling night shut the farground out,
The closer things were quite accentuate and clear.
As motion on the landscape, though one be in reverie,
Commands attention and liberates from predisposing thought,
I found my gaze compelled, and this is what I saw:
There stalked among worn sleepers and the slain
On the Aceldema of warring states
Whence souls triumphant passed
To blessed bivouac or to the destiny
Of longer labor on the earth
A figure limned like Heaven's Norsemen
(For he was nude enough for sculptor's model,
And unashamed of strength by living God endowed,)
And he was spirited with fire that spoke
In eye and heaving nostril and all
Avenues of possible expression.
A splendid figure was he
And like another Daniel come for judgment.
Methought, in passing thence toward haunts
Where men unmartial most do congregate
Mid towns and toils where masses half forget
That staggering civilizations sway in trenches far afield,
All hesitant upon a soldier's fate,
His soul seemed greatly stirred
At sight of ivied walls, enclosing pious palaces,
And colored windows, toning light of fanes
By dimning art of medieval dreams,
And graceful domes that hinted higher life,
And proudly spired among more modest dwellings
As chief domiciles of God on earth,
And yet emprisoned Him in rood-screen
Except upon such days as lettered red
Upon the calendar; or else, proof-read
His gospel in such orthodox precision
As to make it seem, as phrased and emphasized,
Although designed to be a Book
For present times and problems yet to be,
A quite inadequate edition.
I saw the flushing Face of the Inquisitor
Who had trod the crimsoned soil where liberty of worlds
Was born, and giant souls gave up themselves
In awful ultimate of life or death
To vindicate the principles of righteousness,
And meanwhile, lived with very God Himself
The while they fought and were dismembered
Or were bidden back to battle once again;
And it evidenced a pitiful regret
Within him, as back he turned once more
From these enlarging views and sensings
Aggrieved, despoiled, and disenthralled,
Unto a world outgrown; — a sense
Of one who stands apart and comprehending not
How men of mind can think themselves
Content with dogmas quite diminutive,
And the pettiness with which an altogether human soul
Assumes to be the patron of its God.
I could sense his thought to be
Determinate that such a world
Should never be his home again.
Indeed, it could not be; because unstifled air,
And broad vision of life's big perspective,
And the communism of the melting pot
Of battle, in which all men count themselves
And rate their mates in terms of worth
And brotherhood, had somehow
Served to alter attitudes and outlooks
The while they gave to men expertness
In sizing real values and determinings
Concerning things that have a proper place in life.
This Titan, backward come from worlds of deed and daring,
Knowing men by manliness and envisabled
In things achieved, could never be agreed
To yield for human vote a test of brotherhood
Or make of ancient scroll a modern oracle
For settlement of any human right to kneel
And live upon the sacramental life of God.
I knew, — as passing clouds let fall
Revealing moonlight on the face
Of this commanding figure
And I saw disturbing evidence
Of his mighty discontent,—
That out of war had come an era
New and full of challenges
With which the Church must reckon
And for which sages of the Church must phrase
A gospel adequate, and stir up fusing fire
To put away its dross and weld the atoms
Of men's better selves into a closer brotherhood.
Within the pulsing frame
Of this herald of the newer time,
As many forms may blend in one composite,
I saw the larger growth of myriad men
Whose cubits were enheightened
By exercise Herculean, — a veritable host
Of men like-minded with himself,-
Who had dared the dangers of the time
And fallen into step with One who,
With redemptive will, had mounted Calvary
And looked thenceforward into life beyond,
Appraising life's essential in the willingness to die;
And these, or Galilean Saviour,
From such view sublime
Far-looking from the vantage of a cross
Beyond the boundaries of conventional horizons
Could never backward go, into the coma
And the chrysalis of crimping shell and narrow life.
In the deeper darkness of advancing night
My Titan vanished from the range of sight;
But I was left encaptured with convincing thought
That he had given me the text for action
In the readjusting days and policies
That must follow the disturbances of war.
This seems to be the sense of altered hosts
Who homeward turn from stirring scenes
In which uncovered souls have learned their likeness
And found the marks of common fatherhood and family;
The shrine at which they kneel
Must be a place where brothers, too, may bend the knee;
The phrasing of a future faith
Must lose archaic accent and exclusiveness;
The pristine graces of religion once again
Must vitalize and vindicate the thing
To which men listen eagerly or patiently
As having pleasing language for the soul.
It is the testing time of Christendom!
If the Church itself has been reborn
And come to better stature,
It will meet the challenge of the times
And keep the world in cadence with its steps
But if it lingers, like the wife of Lot,
And sets its heart upon a life
From which it parts unwillingly,
Fritters time with fashion's emptiness,
Or bars the way to heaven with building-blocks of phrase,
Fate will draft for it a name like "Ichabod,"
Monumenting glory gone;
And worlds will surely build a better shrine,
Bringing back to dwell therein,
The while they offer homage of a simple faith,
An almost EXILE, in the person of the King.
— CHARLES C. PIERCE,
Tours, France, March 20th, 1919
District of Columbia