THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 7 No. 10 – October 1921
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird, P.G.M., District of Columbia
STEPHEN VAN RENSSELAE
STEPHEN VAN RENSSELAER, "the first of the Patroons" in the State of New York, was born in the City of New York, and was Grand Master of Masons of that State for four years. We excerpt the following from the History of the Grand Lodge of New York:
"Stephen Van Rensselaer, known as the Patroon, an American statesman, and patron of learning, was born in New York, November 1, 1769, the fifth in descent from Killien Van Rensselaer, the original patroon or proprietor of the Dutch Colony of Rensselaerwick, who in 1630, and subsequently, purchased a tract of land near Albany, forty-eight miles long by twenty-four wide, extending over three counties. He was educated at Princeton and Harvard colleges, and married a daughter of General Philip Schuyler, a distinguished officer of the Revolution. Engaging early in politics, at a period when they were the pursuit of men of the highest social position, he was, in 1789, elected to the State Legislature; in 1795, to the State Senate, and became Lieutenant Governor, president of a State convention, and Canal Commissioner. Turning his attention to military affairs, he was, at the beginning of the war of 1812, in command of the State militia, and led the assault of Queenstown; but the refusal of a portion of his troops, from constitutional scruples, to cross the Niagara River, enabled the British to repulse the attack, and the General resigned in disgust. As president of the Board of Canal Commissioners for fifteen years, he promoted the New York system of internal improvements; as Chancellor of the State University, he presided over educational reforms; and as president of the Agricultural Board, aided to develop the resources of the State. At his own cost, he employed Professors Eaton and Hitchcock to make agricultural surveys, not only of his own vast estates, but of a large part of New York and New England, the results of which he published in 1824; he also paid Professor Eaton to give popular lectures on geology through the State. In 1824 he established at Troy an institution for the education of teachers, with free pupils from every county. Widening the sphere of his political interests, he went to Congress in 1823, and served several terms, exerting a powerful influence, and securing the election of John Quincy Adams as President of the United States. After an active, useful, and honorable career, worthy of his high position, he died at Albany, January 26, 1839."
While the foregoing shows a splendid record, one to make the fraternity feel proud, it omits so much that the fraternity ought to know. Van Rensselaer received the degree of LL. D. at Yale in 1825.
The writer has always believed that teaching, particularly teaching the laws of nature, is the grandest occupation of man; that the laws of nature are the laws of God; that nature never makes mistakes; that she will make intelligent answer to every question intelligently asked, and will repeat her replies indefinitely.
So when Grand Master Van Rensselaer established the great Polytechnic Institute at Troy, omitted Greek and Latin from the curriculum, and made a point of applied mechanics and mechanical engineering, he laid a foundation for the skill and science that made the Republic grow, more than any peaceful move that has ever been made. It was the origin of the degree of mechanical engineering, and though the Institute was not the first to establish that chair, per se, it produced the graduates who were the first professors of M.E. in the colleges when establishing that degree. Early in the time of the civil war many of the Troy men entered the engineer corps of the Navy, which was the beginning of turning the art of marine engineering from a trade to a profession. A number of these left the Navy to be professors in colleges, and today there are recognized more than twenty kinds of engineers.
Washington had advised discouraging all immigration, save such as could bring us some useful trade or art, which made it imperative to produce machines to do the work of men. The wisdom of Grand Master Van Rensselaer may be appreciated when we consider this. He builded wiser than was dreamed of in our philosophy. Machine design, construction and operation has developed the Nation. By it the air is navigated; the surface and the depth of the sea, as well as the land are traversed. A factory girl now spins as much as several hundred girls did, when the work was all done by hand. Transportation has been rushed over iron rails, while other nations were using pikes. Machine design is today an exact science, instead of a tentative art, and for blazing the way to make this possible we must hail Grand Master Van Rensselaer as the pioneer.
He was lenient to the poor among the tenants on his vast estates, whose arrears, for rent, had aggregated about $400,000 when he died, which resulted in the complete breaking up of the estate. (See E. P. Cheyney's "Anti Rent Agitation," 1887).
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ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND FREEMASONRY
Bro. Dudley Wright, England
IN THE "GACETA" of the Spanish Government, dated 23rd February, 1826, the execution of a person accused of Freemasonry is thus referred to:
"Yesterday was hanged in this city Antonio Caso (alias Jaramalla). He died impenitent and sent into consternation the numerous concourse present at the spectacle; a terrible whirlwind making it more horrible, this taking place while the criminal was expiring. He came forth from the prison blaspheming, speaking such words as may not be repeated without shame, and although gagged, he repeated as well as he could 'Viva mi secta! Viva la Institucion Masonica!' So he was dragged by the tail of a horse to the scaffold. Notwithstanding the efforts which priests of all classes had made, they had not been able to induce him to pronounce the names of Jesus and Mary. After he was dead, his right hand was cut off, and dragging his body, they took it to a dung-heap. Thus do these proclaimers of liberty miserably end their lives; and this is the felicity which they promise to those who follow them — to go to abide where the beasts do."
In 1828 the French troops evacuated Spain, though without stamping out Freemasonry, for, in 1829, fresh signs of its existence in Barcelona being discovered, Lieut.-Col. Galvez was hanged and two other members of the Craft were condemned to the galleys for life.
In 1828, at Sligo, one Thomas Mulhern died. He was a zealous Freemason and an equally zealous member of the Church of Rome, treasurer of his parish church as well as officiating in the same capacity for certain Roman Catholic charities. In every respect he was regarded as one of the most attached and intelligent lay assistants in the Roman Catholic Church in his district. When he was seized with the illness which culminated in his death, his wife sent immediately for the parish priest, the Rev. M. Dunleavy, to administer the Sacraments, but that privilege was refused on the ground that the dying man was a Freemason. He was permitted to pass from this world without the consolation of these Sacraments and no Roman Catholic priest would consent to read the burial service over his mortal remains. His body, therefore, was committed to the earth without any religious ceremony, in the presence of several lodges in Sligo.
About the same time M. Motus, director of the Luxembourg Iron Works, died of a fever, the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church also being denied him on his deathbed, because he was a Freemason. He died at Mersch, where Catholic burial was refused him, and the body was conveyed to Fischbach, where he had lived. The priest there declared that he would not allow the corpse to be buried in any place other than that where unbaptized children were buried, to which the Burgomaster replied that he would cause the grave to be dug where he thought fit, and the deceased Brother was buried alongside the Burgomaster's daughter.
In 1828, the monk Fortunato de Saint Bonaventure wrote in his periodical "Contremine":
"The remedy for Freemasons is altogether simple: every time they attempt to assemble, meet them with the bludgeon, the memory of which would be very lively on the backs of some and on the imagination of others, and it would come some time to bring peace to the kingdom."
G.B. Nicolini, in his History of the Pontificate of Pius the Ninth, is responsible for the statement that "The Centurioni were a gang of robbers and vagabonds enlisted in bands after the revolution of 1831. They were headed by priests and monks, who preached to them that to kill a liberal was the surest passport to heaven. They did not wear any uniform, but were a sort of secret society, protected and paid for by the government."
The case of the famous liberator, Daniel O'Connell, has frequently been mentioned in Masonic journals and newspapers, but the full circumstances have not, as yet, been given at one time. O'Connell, the greatest orator, as well as the greatest lawyer and logician that Ireland ever produced, was initiated into Freemasonry in 1799 in Lodge 189, Dublin, of which he became Master in the following year. It is said that no one ever carried out the duties of his office with more brilliant success than he, who himself acknowledged that he felt deeply interested in his Masonic work, which was proved plainly by his unceasing activity. O'Connell was standing counsel to the Grand Lodge of Ireland in some tedious litigation caused by an unscrupulous Grand Secretary and the Irish Rolls bears his signature under date of 24th July, 1813, as Counsel representing the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Bro. William White, who was Deputy Grand Master of Ireland from 1830 to 1840, used to declare with pride that he had received his degrees at the hand of the great liberator. It is easy to conceive with what skill a man so highly gifted as he was would perform his work and how attentively the brethren would listen to that fascinating voice which bewitched the Courts of Justice and the Senate. In addition to his membership of his Mother Lodge, he was founder of a lodge in Trales, of which he became the first Senior Warden and a joining member of Lodge No. 13, Limerick. He afterwards withdrew from all his lodges because of the enforcement of the Papal Bull in Ireland and, on 19th April, 1837, the following letter from his pen appeared in the "Pilot" newspaper of London:
"To the Editor of the 'Pilot:'
"Sir, — A paragraph has been going the rounds of the Irish newspapers purporting to have my sanction, and stating that I had been at one time Master of a Masonic lodge in Dublin and still continue to belong to that society.
"I have since received letters addressed to me as a Freemason and feel it incumbent on me to state the real facts.
"It is true that I was a Freemason and a Master of a lodge. It was at a very early period of my life and either before ecclesiastical censure had been published in the Catholic Church in Ireland prohibiting the taking of the Masonic oaths, or, at least, before I was aware of that censure. I now wish to state that, having become acquainted with it, I submitted to its influence and many, very many, years ago unequivocally renounced Freemasonry. I offered the late Archbishop, Dr. Troy, to make that renunciation public, but he deemed it unnecessary. I am not sorry to have this opportunity of doing so.
"Freemasonry in Ireland may be said to have (apart from its oaths) no evil tendency, save as far as it may counteract in some degree the exertions of those most laudable institutions — deserving of every encouragement — the temperance societies.
"But the great, the important objection is this — the profane taking in vain the awful name of the Deity — in the wanton and multiplied taking of oaths — of oaths administered on the Book of God, either in mockery or derision, or with a solemnity which renders the taking of them, without any adequate motive, only the more criminal. This objection, which, perhaps, I do not state strongly enough, is alone abundantly sufficient to prevent any serious Christian from belonging to that body.
"My name having been dragged before the public on this subject it is, I think, my duty to prevent any person supposing that he was following my example in taking oaths which I now certainly would not take, and, consequently, being a Freemason, which I certainly would not now be.
"I have the honour to be,
"Your faithful servant,
At the next meeting of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, on the 4th May following, attention was drawn to the letter by Deputy Grand Master White, when two resolutions were proposed, the first that a committee be appointed to take into consideration the letter and to report on the same to a subsequent meeting of the Grand Lodge; the second, or, rather, the amendment, was that the Grand Secretary be instructed to write Mr. Daniel O'Connell to ascertain if he was the author of the letter in question, or, in other words, to make certain of the genuineness of the communication. The amendment was passed by a large majority, and O'Connell's reply to the query of the Grand Secretary was short, but to the point. He merely wrote in his own hand:
"I am the author of the letter above alluded to.
"28th May, 1837."
Thereupon it was proposed, seconded, and carried by the Grand Lodge of Ireland without a division:
"That Brother Daniel O'Connell formerly of Lodge 189 be excluded from all the rights and benefits of Freemasonry," the ground being the misleading character of the letter.
With regard to Dr. Troy, whose name was mentioned in Daniel O'Connell's letter, it has been frequently stated in the public press, particularly of the period at which O'Connell wrote, that Dr. Troy, the Archbishop, and Dr. Tuohy, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Limerick, were both respected members of the Order. The Freemasons Quarterly Review of 1842 said that "it was at a levee at the Duke of Richmond's court, when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, that the secret was discovered. As Dr. Troy was standing near the vice-regal chair, he happened, by mere accident, to make one of the old-cherished signs which was caught up by another brother, who immediately responded. An introduction took place immediately after and in the course of the conversation which followed, Dr. Troy said, 'You shall ever find me Brother Troy, but not as priest or bishop.' The Rev. John Thaer, a native of Boston, U. S. A., formerly a dissenting minister, but afterwards a Roman Catholic priest in Limerick, was also a Freemason.
The publicity given to O'Connell's letter seems to have instigated a series of petty persecutions, or, as they may be appropriately termed, "pin-pricks." On 27th March, 1842, to quote one illustration, the parishioners of St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church were publicly cautioned not to attend the Masonic ball to be held in aid of the Masonic Orphan Charity on the following Thursday "under penalty of exposure and denunciation from the altar" on the following Sunday, when the names of those attending would be duly published.
It was about this time that the Archbishop of Tuam addressed the following letter to the Rev. J.U. McDonough, a Roman Catholic priest in Canada:
"Rev. dear sir: — Having been informed by you that there are in Canada some misguided Catholics who would strive to justify the practices of Freemasonry, scruple not to assert that it was sanctioned by priests and Bishops in Ireland, allow me to tell you that this was never the case; and that these men are only aggravating their disobedience to the Church by the additional guilt of calumny. I have had extensive acquaintance, not only with the present race of ecclesiastics, but also with some of those venerable men of more ancient standing, some of whom are no more, and I can confidently state that neither in this city, nor in any other part of Ireland, was the bond of Masonry sanctioned by any portion of the clergy. That Freemasons' lodges were then more numerous and frequent than now, may be true; but their existence, in contempt and defiance of the repeated denunciations of the clergy, cannot be brought as an argument of their sanction of the same, more than the prevalence of other evils against which they do not cease to raise their voices, could be adduced as a proof of similar connivance."
In 1843, Francis Xavier Carnana, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Rhodes and Bishop of Malta, issued a Pastoral Letter against Freemasonry, which he ordered to be posted on the doors of, and read in, every Roman Catholic Church in Malta. The Letter, which is a vile document and speaks for itself, was as follows:
Nos Don Franciscus Xaverius Carnana, Venerabilibus Fratribus et Dilectis, Capitulo, Clero, Populoque Diocesis Melitensis, salutem in Domino Sempiternam.
"We feel it to be a duty of our pastoral ministry to conceal as much as possible such sins as may be committed by a few persons in secret, so that the bad example of these may not be known to, or followed by, other, to the scandal of the Church and corruption of good manners. Up to this period this policy has been followed by us, for our ecclesiastical doctrine teaches us through the Holy Spirit, to listen for a time silently, and meanwhile search diligently: audi tacens simul et quaerens.
"We now draw your attention to that iniquitous congregation, that detestable lodge; for we are at a loss by what epithet to denounce a meeting held in a building in an obscure corner of the city of Senglea. After long suffering, we are still grieved to see that the several means which, with evangelical prudence, we have hitherto adopted to overturn and eradicate this pernicious society have proved futile; so that at length we feel ourselves under the necessity of publicly, loudly, and energetically raising our voice to exhort, in the name of our Lord, all our beloved diocesans, to keep far away from this infernal meeting, whose object is nothing less than to loosen every divine and human tie, and to destroy, if possible, the very foundation of the Catholic Church. We also threaten with the thunders of that Church any persons who, unhappily for them, may belong to any secret society, whether as a member, or in any way connected with, helping or favouring, directly or indirectly, such society or any of its acts.
"We, with anguish of heart, heard long ago, almost immediately on its first assemblage, of the creation of this diabolical lodge, and being very desirous that the land under our spiritual dominion (these islands of Malta and Gozo) should continue in ignorance of what was doing under the veil of darkness, in an obscure part of the city of Senglea, by a few ill-advised individuals, and that none of our flock should by chance, or from motives of interest, be tempted to join this pestilential pulpit of iniquity and error — we have as yet only adopted the evangelical advice of secretly warning and admonishing, hoping always that the attacks made on the human and divine laws established among us might be foiled, and become harmless; but seeing now, that, in spite of all our silent workings, the meetings of this lodge still continue, we openly, and with all that apostolic frankness, characteristic of the Catholic clergy, in the name of God Almighty, and of His only true Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, and authorized as we are expressly by the papal authority, denounce, proscribe, and condemn in the most public manner, the instalment, union, meetings, and all the proceedings of this lodge of abominations; as being diametrically opposed to our sacred Catholic religion, as destructive to every celestial law, every mundane authority, contradictory to every evangelical maxim, and as tending to disorganize, put to flight, and utterly destroy whatever of religion, of honesty, and all good there may be in the Holy Catholic Faith, or among our peaceful citizens, under the deceitful veil of novelty, of a badly understood philanthropy, and a specious freedom.
"We therefore believe it to be our duty, most beloved diocesans, to address you under these deplorable circumstances; to encite you to entertain the most profound horror and the deepest antagonism for this lodge, union, or society, which endeavours, although as yet in vain, to vomit hell against, to stigmatize the immaculate purity of our sacred Catholic religion. Its pernicious orgies anticipate the overthrow of that Order which reigns on earth, promote an unbridled freedom of action, unchecked by law, for the gratification of the most depraved and disorderly passions. Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by their seducing language, which proffers humanity fraternal love, but, in reality, tends to discord, universal anarchy, and total ruin, the destruction of all religion, and the subversion of every philanthropic establishment. Their agents industriously hide their malignant intentions by deceitful and never-to-be-redeemed promises. The great solicitude evinced to conceal every action of this society under a mask will make you distrust its word, for honourable undertakings are always manifest and open, courting observation and inquiry; sins and iniquities alone bury themselves in secrecy and obscurity.
"Fathers of families, and you, also, to whom is entrusted the education of youth, be diligent and be careful of your precious charge; see that they be not contaminated by this plague spot, which, although now confined to one domicile, yet threatens to spread the pestilence amongst us; scrutinize the books they read, examine the character of their associates. It is a well-known practice of this secret society to seduce over youth, under the specious pretext of communicating to them, disinterestedly, scientific knowledge. Flee, then, O beloved diocesans, as from the face of a venomous serpent, the society, the very neighbourhood of, and all connection with these tutors of impiety, who wish to confound light and darkness, trying, if possible, to obscure the former, and make you embrace and follow the latter. You cannot possibly gain anything good from disturbers of rule and order, who show no veneration for God and His religion, no esteem for any authority, ecclesiastical or civil: — men, deceitful and fashioning, who, under a show of social honesty, and a warm love for their species, are stirring up an atrocious war with all that can render human society honourable, happy and tranquil.
"Consider them as so many pernicious individuals, to whom Pope Leo XII, in his often-repeated Bulls, ordered that none should give hospitality, not even a passing salute.
"Instead of such persons, bring around you honest and just men, who give 'unto God that which is God's and unto Caesar that which is Caesar's,' endeavouring to do their duty to God and to their neighbour.
"Finally, we absolutely prohibit persons of any grade or condition from having any connection with this lodge, from cooperating, even indirectly, in its establishment or extension. We order them to prevent others from frequenting it, or giving to its members a place of meeting, under any pretext. We place every one under an obligation to denounce to us all persons who may belong to this lodge in any capacity, either as members or agents of a secret union, founded by the devil himself.
"Datum Valettae, in Palatio nostro Archiepiscopali, die 14 Octobris, 1843."
It should be explained that the lodge referred to was the Union of Malta, No. 407, which was constituted in Bermola in 1832, although the first minute extant is dated 3rd November, 1840. It was removed to Senglea in 1843, where, as evidenced in the foregoing remarkable epistle, it aroused the ire of the Roman Catholic Bishop. On the publication of Bishop Carnana's Apostolic Letter, the secretary of the lodge wrote to the Chief Secretary of the Malta Government, lodging a formal complaint, in which communication he said:
"We make our proceedings in this matter officially known to you, not as a Fraternity of Freemasons, well knowing that as such we are not recognized by the government, but as British subjects entitled to be protected by the law from molestation."
The following communication was also sent to the Grand Secretary of England:
"Dear Sir and Brother:— The Right Reverend the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Rhodes and Bishop of Malta, Don Francis Scaverius Carnana, having recently issued a pastorale, the object of which was to prohibit and suppress the meetings of Freemasons and other secret societies, and which pastorale is more particularly directed against the Union Lodge, 588 established at Senoea, one of the suburbs of Valetta, Malta, holding their warrant from the United Grand Lodge of London:
"A meeting of the brothers was held at their lodge on Monday, the 13th instant, when the following resolutions were unanimously passed:
"1st. That in consequence of the publication of a pastorale by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Malta on the 14th ultimo, tending to bring into disrespect the Masonic body and endeavour to suppress their meetings, it is imperiously necessary to appeal to the United Grand Lodge in London for such assistance and aid as the circumstances of the case may, in their opinion, call for.
"2nd. That the original document, if procurable, together with a translation of the same, be forwarded to the Worshipful Pro Grand Master, for his perusal, with as little delay as possible.
"3rd. That, knowing the feelings of her Majesty's Judges to be opposed to the proceedings of Freemasons, no attempt at redress shall be sought in the Malta courts of law.
"In pursuance of the above resolutions, we beg to forward for the perusal of the Worshipful Pro Grand Master copy of the original document, and a translation of the same, praying that effectual assistance from him which the case so manifestly urges.
"By order of the W. M., at the united request of the officers and brethren of the Malta Union Lodge,
"Acting Secretary.v "To Brother Wm. White G.S.,
"United Grand Lodge of England, London.
"Malta, 15th November, 1843,
The answers to those communications have hot, however, been placed on record.
Although in his Encyclical Letter, Qui pluribus, dated 9th November, 1846, Pope Pius IX did not refer to the Freemasons by name; it is undoubtedly to that body that his fulminations are directed when he says:
"For you already know, Venerable Brethren, that there are other deceits and frightful errors with which the children of this age contend against the Catholic religion, and the divine authority and regulations of the Church, and endeavour to trample under foot all laws, as well of the Church as of the State. Such is the tendency of those wicked enterprises which have been undertaken against this Roman See of Blessed Peter, in which Christ laid the impregnable foundation of His Church. Such is the aim of those secret societies which have emerged from their obscurity to devastate and destroy all that is most venerable, both in the Church and in the State, and which have been repeatedly anathematized and condemned by the Roman Pontiffs, our predecessors, in Apostolic Letters, which anathemas, in the plentitude of our Apostolic authority, confirm and command to be diligently obeyed."
It is interesting to know that these "secret societies" are in this Encyclical Letter placed on the same level of iniquity as "those most crafty Bible Societies, which, reviving the old device of the heretics, do not cease to put forth an immense number of copies of the books of the Sacred Scriptures, printed in various vulgar tongues, and often filled with false and perverse interpretations, contrary to the rules of the Holy Church, which they continually circulate at an immense expense and force upon all sorts of persons."
It is interesting to note that, notwithstanding the many Papal Bulls and Encyclicals, the register of the Grand Orient of Lusitania has the names of the Archbishop of Evora and D. Januaire, Bishop-elect of Castello Branco, as being present on the occasion of the election of a successor to the Comte de Tomar, Grand Master.
The Popes, from the time of Leo XII have condemned all secret societies, but, apparently, despite the specific character of the condemnation, this prohibition did not extend to societies limited in membership to members of the Roman Catholic Church, or formed for the propagation of aims sanctioned directly or indirectly by the authorities of that Church. History records the formation of many such societies, originating after the date of the first sweeping condemnation. About 1850, or earlier, there was formed in Portugal a secret society which was called the Order of St. Michael of Ala. This Order, according to the first article of its Statutes was essentially secret, militant, and political. It had for its aim, according to its articles, the maintenance of the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman faith, and the restoration of the Portuguese legitimacy. One of its political means of action was recourse to arms when necessary. Its members took an oath or obligation to preserve inviolably the secrets of the members and the things done in and out of lodge. The Order consisted of several degrees: Novices, Chevaliers, Commanders, Grand Cross, Master, and Grand Master. Each group of Novices, with its Chevalier, formed a College; a group of Chapters, with a Commander, formed a Chapter; a group of Chapters, with a Grand Cross, formed a Province, of which the Masters and Grand Master were the Superiors. This elaborate constitution notwithstanding the fact that the Popes and Catholics generally accuse Freemasonry of being secret and say to Freemasons, "If the acts which you practice in association are innocent, why do you stipulate for secrecy?" Or, as Dr. Cullen, in his Lenten Pastoral of 1859, said: "As secret societies are the cause of the greatest evils to religion, tending to promote impiety and incredulity, and are most hostile to the public good, the Catholic Church has solemnly excommunicated all her children who engage in them. Hence, no Catholic can be absolved who is a Freemason, a Ribbonman, or enroled in any other secret society."
On the 11th February, 1857, at a meeting of the Grand Lodge of England, presided over by the Earl of Zetland, Grand Master, the Earl of Carnarvon moved: "That the Grand Lodge having seen with regret the antagonistic position assumed by the Roman Catholic Church towards Masonry, desires the Board of General Purposes to draw up a statement of the principles of the Order, that the same may be sent to the Masters of all lodges under the Grand Lodge of England in Roman Catholic countries, to be used by them as they shall think fit." After much discussion, however, the motion was negatived, and if comment may be made upon the outcome, may it not be said that the negative decision was a wise one. The Earl of Carnarvon, however, speaking at Stonehouse the following month, said that at Malta, the Mauritius, Trinidad, and Hong Kong Freemasons had been deprived of their civil and religious privileges and had been interdicted from baptism, marriage, and burial by the Roman Catholic clergy.
In 1857, Freemasonry was introduced into the Republic of Ecuador by the Grand Orient of Peru, which organized lodges in Guayaquil and Quito. Three years later, the Dictator, Garcia Moreno, sought admission into the Fraternity. His application was refused on account of his notoriously immoral character; and, in revenge, he called in the Jesuits, who ruthlessly suppressed all the lodges. Moreno was assassinated in 1875, but twelve months elapsed before the population were able to shake off the oppressive yoke of the priesthood.
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And Right is Right;
And Right is Might.
In the full ripeness of His Time,
All these His vast prepotencies
Shall round their grace-work to the prime
Of full accomplishment
And we shall see the plan sublime
Of HIs beneficent intent.
Live on in hope!
Press on in faith!
Love conquers all things,
— John Oxenham
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Gratitude is expensive
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LITTLE WOLF JOINS THE MITAWIN
Bro. Alanson B. Skinner, Wisconsin
Brother Alanson B. Skinner is one of the most widely known of the younger anthropologists and his numerous books and scientific articles have secured for him an international reputation. He has traveled extensively and made detailed studies of the Indian race from the Isthmus of Panama to Hudson Bay. With the natural instincts of a Mason seeking "more light" he has joined numerous Indian fraternities and participated in their rites. He is the recognized authority on the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin and has published three interesting works covering their material culture, social organization ceremonies and mythology. His book on the "medicine ceremonies" of the northern forest Indians has just been published by the Museum of the American Indian of New York City. His services have been given to the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the American Indian and to the Public Museum of Milwaukee. In the last named he is now Assistant Curator.
In the article that follows, Brother Skinner relates an account of one of the initiatory ceremonies that he has experienced. In explaining the article he states that his story is a combination of two or three experiences rather than of one, though for the convenience of the article he has written it as of one continuous episode.
IN THE LODGE OF THE MASTER
MATCIKINEU, the Terrible Eagle, sat dozing in the dusk in his round rush-mat wigwam. The fire smouldered, but random drafts slipping in through the swinging mat that covered the door encouraged little dancing flames to spring up, and these illuminated the far interior of the lodge, so that it was possible to observe its furnishings down to the mustiest cranny. Around the inner circumference of the wigwam ran a broad, rustic bench, supported by forked sticks and thickly strewn with balsam boughs on which lay bearskin robes. The inner wall of the home was hung with woven reed mats, bearing curious, antique designs in angular figures and conventional floral motifs. Over Terrible Eagle's head, on smoke-stained poles, swung several mat-covered oval bundles, festooned with age-blackened gourd rattles, war clubs, and utensils and weapons of unusual portent. These were his sacred war and hunting bundles, packets of charms whose use and accompanying formulae he had obtained personally from the gods, while fasting, or purchased at a great price from others more fortunate than he. For Terrible Eagle was a renowned partisan or war leader, a hunter, and the greatest of all Matc Mitawuk, or Masters of the Grand Medicine Society, a secret fraternal and medical organization, to which, in one form or another, nearly every Indian of influence in all the Great Lakes and Central Western region belongs.
The door covering was quietly thrust aside and Anam, a wolf-like dog, trotted in to curl up by the fire, while after him, first dropping a load of faggots from her shoulders, stumbled Wabano-mitamu, the Dawn Woman, wife of Terrible Eagle, who crouched down grumbling to enter the lodge and turned on her time-gnarled knees to drag kindlings in after her.
Roused by the noise, Terrible Eagle stretched and yawned, then reached over his head and took down a calabash shell rattle, and began to shake it gently, while Dawn Woman shoved aside the birch-bark boxes that cluttered the floor, stirred up the fire in the round, shallow pit where it was glowing, and set among the hot embers a large, round, deep, pointed-bottomed kettle of brown earthenware, the base of which she screwed into the ashes by a quick circular motion of the rim. Into this she poured some water from a birchbark pail; when it began to simmer she added a quantity of wild rice, smoked meat, and as dried berries, which she stirred with an elaborately carved wooden paddle. The random swish of Terrible Eagle's rattle now began to articulate itself in the form of a tune, the motif of which might have been borrowed from the night babblings and murmurings of a woodland trout brook. It rose in hissing cadences like the prattle of water racing down the stony riffles; it fell to the purring monotone of a little fall burbling into a deep pool. Then, suddenly, Terrible Eagle raised his voice in song — a song without meaning to the uninitiated — without merit to the ears of youths and lovers — yet a song potent with the powers of manitous and ancient as the pine forests.
"Ni manituk, hawatukuk, ke'neaminum" — "You, my gods, I am singing to you!"
"Ohwa, kina, ketcinau!" "Look you, old fellow," cried the Dawn Woman, squatting beside her cooking, "why do you sing that sacred song? There is no need to rehearse the chants of the manitous when ice binds the rivers and snow blankets the land! When new life dawns with the grass blades in the spring, then we will need to refresh our memories; not now, while the gods sleep like bears."
"Kistapimin — silence, — old partner! You do not know everything! Even now there comes one seeking the knowledge of the path our brethren and fellows have trod before us. Listen!"
The lodge was hushed; outside the heavy silence of the Wisconsin forest in midwinter oppressed the ears. Then came the crunch and squeak of approaching snowshoes slipping over the crusted drifts.
"N'hau, Dawn Woman! Prepare the guest place, spread robes behind the fire, dish out a bowl of soup! Some one of our people desires to enter!"
The noise ceased before the doorway, and Terrible Eagle, now hunched before the fire, paused, before dropping a hot coal on the tobacco in his redstone pipe, to bid the guest to enter.
"Yoh!" came the hearty response, and a tall, dark warrior, bareheaded save for a fillet of otter fur around his brows, ducked under the doorway and silently passed around the fire, on the left, to the guest place, where he seated himself, tailorwise, on a pile of robes. He was clad in a plain shirt of blue-dyed deerskin, deepIy fringed along the seams; in flapping leather leggings; high, soft-soled moccasins; and a leather apron handsomely embroidered with colored porcupine quills, wrought in delicate, flowered figures. He bore no weapon, and on his swarthy cheeks two round spots of red paint were seen in the firelight.
After the newcomer had devoured a bowlful of steaming stew with the aid of a huge wooden ladle, he lay back among the robes, puffing comfortably on a long-stemmed pipe with bowl of redstone, filled and lighted for him by the old man. As the cheerful odor of tobacco and kinnikinick permeated the lodge, the stranger began to speak. He informed the old people that his name was Muhwase, the Little Wolf, of the Wave clan of the Menominee; that he had come all the way from Matc Suamako, the Great Sand Bar village on the Green Bay of Lake Michigan; that the young men had opened their war bundles and danced preparatory to going to war against the Sauk, but that the latter had heard the news and fled southward; and ended with all the gossip and tittle-tattle of his band.
It was not until Dawn Woman slept and the stars were visible in the winter sky through the smoke hole of the lodge, that Little Wolf went out abruptly; he returned bearing a huge bundle which he dumped on the floor at the feet of Matcikineu and silently took his place on the lounge once more.
With trembling hands the old man undid the leathern thongs, unwrapped the bearskin with which the bundle was enclosed, and spread before him an array of articles that brought an avaricious sparkle to his red-rimmed eyes.
"Nima, nekan! Well done, my colleague!" he exclaimed. "These are valuable gifts, and in the proper number. Four hatchets; four spears; and four knives of the sacred yellow rock (native copper); four belts of white wampum; and four garments of tanned deerskin, embroidered with quillwork; and much tobacco. Surely this gift has a meaning?"
"Grandfather! You to whom nothing is hard," replied the visitor, "It is true that I am nobody. I am poor — the enemy scarcely know my name. Yet I am desirous of eating the food of the Medicine Lodge, as all the brethren have done who have passed this way before me!"
"N'hau, my grandson! I shall call together the three other Pushwawuk, or Masters, for their consent. What you have asked for may seem as nothing to you — yet it is life. These songs may appear to partake of the ways of children — yet they are powerful. I understand you well — you desire to imitate the ways of our own ancient Grand Master, Ma'nabus, who was slain and brought to life that we might gain immortality! Good! You have done well; in the morning I shall send invitation sticks and tobacco to summon the leaders here, that your instruction may begin at once!"
It was an hour after sunset. In the rear of Terrible Eagle's lodge sat Matcikineu and three other old men, with Little Wolf at their left. Before them lay the pile of valuable gifts, and on the white tanned skin of an unborn fawn stood the sacred towaka, or deep drum, hollowed by infinite labor from a short section of a basswood log, holding two fingers' depth of water, to make its voice resonant, and covered with a dampened membrane of tanned buck hide. Across its head was balanced a crooked drumstick, its striking end carved to represent a loon's beak. Before the drum was placed a wooden bowl-in the shape of a miniature log canoe, heaped with tobacco, and four shishikwunun, or gourd rattles with wooden handles, which shone from age and usage. A youth tended the fire and kept the air redolent with incense of burning sweet grass and cedar. Dawn Woman and Anam, the dog, guarded the door.
Extending his hands over the sacred articles before them, Terrible Eagle began a prayer of invocation, calling on the mythical hero and founder of the Medicine Lodge, Ma'nabus, on the Great Spirit, the Sun, and the Thunderbirds, the good God Powers or manitous of air and earth, and also upon the Evil Powers who dwell in and under the earth and waiter hidden in the dismal places of the world, to appear in spirit and accept the tobacco offered them and dedicate the fees presented to the instructors.
When the prayer was ended, all those gathered in the wigwam ejaculated "Hau," and the other three elders commenced to smoke and listen, while Terrible Eagle began the instruction by relating the history of the origin of the Medicine Lodge. Taking the drumstick in his hand, Matcikineu gave four distinct strokes on the drum and recited in a rhythmic, but solemn tone, hushing his voice to a whisper when it became necessary to mention any great Power by name.
He told how Mate Hawatuk, the Great Spirit, sat alone in the Heavenly Void above the ever extending sea and willed that an island (the world) should appear there; how he further willed that there should spring up upon this island an old woman, who was known as "Our Grandmother, the Earth," who was the earth personified. He recited how the Earth Grandmother, through a divine mystery gave birth to a daughter; how the Four Winds, desiring to be born as men, entered this daughter's body and how, when the hour of their birth came, so great was their power, the mother was torn to death and they were not born. This made women forever after liable to death in travail.
Then, related Terrible Eagle, our Earth Grandmother gathered up the shattered pieces of her daughter, and placed them under an inverted wooden bowl, and prayed, and on the fourth day, through the pity of the Great Spirit, the fragments were changed into a little rabbit, who was named Mate Wabus, or the Great Hare, since corrupted into "Ma'nabus," who was to prepare the world for human habitation.
The Rabbit grew in human form to man's estate, when he was given as a companion and younger brother a little wolf, but the Powers Below, being jealous, slew the wolf brother. Then, Ma'nabus in his wrath attacked them, and, being the child of the Great Spirit, they could not resist him. In fear the Evil Powers restored his younger brother to life, but, since he had been dead four days, the flesh clave from his bones and he stank, and Ma'nabus, in sorrow, refused to receive him and sent him to rule the souls of the dead in the After World at the end of the Milky Way in the Western Heavens. Hence, human beings may not come back to life on the fourth day.
At their wits' end to appease Ma'nabus, the Evil Ones called on the Powers Above who are of good portent. They erected a Medicine Lodge on the high hilltops, oblong, rectangular, facing east and west. The Power of the Winds roofed it with blue sky and white clouds. The pole framework was bound with living, hissing serpents instead of basswood strings; the food for feasting was seasoned with a pinch of the blue sky itself. Then the Powers entered. The gods of Evil took the north side where darkness and cold abide; the good Powers Above sat on the south. Then they all stripped off the animal natures with which they were disguised and hung them on the wall of the lodge, and all appeared in their true forms, as aged persons.
In council, guided by the admonitions of the Great Spirit, they decided to give to Ma'nabus tho ritual of the lodge, with its secret — long life and immortality for mankind — as a bribe to cease his molestation. But Ma'nabus refused to receive their message, until the otter volunteered to go and bring him, when he came, and was duly instructed and raised, by being slain and brought to life again, thus showing the great potency of the Powers who opened the lodge.
"This very ceremony, just as it was given Ma'nabus and later transferred to his uncles and aunts, the Indians, with its rites, rituals, formulae, medicines, and secrets, is the same," concluded Terrible Eagle, "as we perform today, as all the brethren and fellows have done who passed this way before us, since the Menominee came out of the ground in the dim mystical past."
As he ended the old man struck the drum four times, crying, "My colleagues, my colleagues, my colleagues, my colleagues!"
When Terrible Eagle had concluded his part, there was a recess for refreshment and relaxation, which lasted until each had smoked. Then another old pushwao or master, took up the work. He related to the candidate the identity of the Powers Above and Below who had given the Medicine Lodge to mankind through Ma'nabus. There were, he said, four groups of Evil Powers, who sat on the north side of the lodge. First were the Otter, Mink, Marten, and Weasel; second the Bear, Panther, Wolf, and Horned Owl; third the Banded Rattlesnake, the little Prairie Rattlesnake, the Pine Snake, and the Hognosed Snake. The fourth group was composed of lesser birds and beasts. The Upper World, which had not offended Ma'nabus, was not so well represented, and was composed of various predatory birds, such as the Red Shouldered and Sparrow Hawks. These sat on the south side, and in ancient days human lodge members had been seated according to the nature of their medicine bags.
The skins of any of these animals might be used as containers or sacks for the secret nostrums of the craft, but the Dog and Fox, which were formerly associated with the Wolf, had by their cunning and their custom of eating filth and carrion, become too closely associated with witchcraft and were now taboo.
The old master then told the candidate that each of these animals had severally donated some special power to aid mankind. Thus the weasel gave cunning and ferocity in war and the chase; the snapping turtle, probably one of the vague fourth group of Evil Powers, had given his heart which beats long after it is torn from his bosom to grant long life. Each animal had four songs sung in his honor during the session of the lodge, said the elder, and the third instructor would teach these to the candidate.
The old master informed his pupil that in his opinion the Medicine Lodge and its rites were found far to the east, in the country by the Great Sea where the dawn rises, for he had once met a party of warriors from the far-off Nottowhy or Iroquois, who spoke of a society and its ritual given them by the animals, which had for its object long life and immortality for men.
Dawn Woman now fetched steaming rice and fat venison, marrow bones, and dried berries, and the little party feasted. The hour was very late; yet none thought of sleep. After the feast the third elder did his part.
He selected a calabash rattle, and, sometimes rattling, sometimes drumming an accompaniment, taught the songs of the lodge to Little Wolf. There were songs of opening and songs of closing, as well as the animal songs, each repeated four times — the sacred number — and each in groups of four. Each was made obscure and unintelligible to eavesdroppers by the addition of nonsense syllables. Some, indeed, were so ancient and so clouded by vocables that nothing but their general meaning was remembered even by the brethren. These passed for songs in a secret magic language. Some chants were in other languages, particularly Ojibway, and all ended with the mystic phrase, "We-ho-ho-ho-ho," which meant, "So mote it be." The songs had titles, but these names, too, were magic, and often gave no inkling of the meaning or wording of the song, and most of them avoided naming the animals or gods to which they referred, except by circumlocution or by merely mentioning some prominent characteristic or attribute of the creature.
There were songs for the "shooting of the medicine" — an act which was so secret and mysterious that the candidate was as yet kept in the dark as to its meaning, — and others for dancing, for thanksgiving, and for dedication.
When the third elder had ended his synopsis of the songs, which the candidate had later to purchase and learn at leisure, the fourth and last past master took him in hand. His part, he said, was short, yet important. He showed the neophyte certain paraphernalia which the candidate would be ceremonially given when the proper time and place were at hand. The articles the eider had provided were the tanned skin of an otter, the nostrils of which were stuffed with tufts of red-dyed hawk down; the under surfaces of the four feet and tail were adorned with fringed rectangles of blue-dyed doe leather, embroidered with conventional flower designs in colored porcupine hair and quills. This was to be the medicine bag of the new member. Through an opening — a slit in the chest of the otter — one could thrust one's hand and find in the little pouch made by the skin of the left forefoot of the animal a small sea shell, called the Konapamik, or medicine arrow, by which the essence of all the sacred objects contained in the bag was ceremonially "shot" or transferred to the bodies of a members' lodge brethren during the performance of the ritual.
The otter skin contained three other medicines. These were sacred, blue face paint, the color of the sky; a mysterious brown powder holding a seed, wrapped in a packet with a fresh water clamshell; and another mixture of pounded roots called "the reviver," or "apisetchikun."
The clamshell was a sacred ancient cup, in which the accompanying powder and seed were placed with a little water and given to all candidates to drink. The mystic seed was supposed to be the badge of the Medicine Lodge and was to remain in the candidate's breast, forever, even until he had followed the pathway of the dead along the Milky Way to that bourne from which no traveler returns, eternal in the heavens.
The apisetchikun, or reviver, was a powerful drug for use at all times when life ebbed low, through sickness or magic.
"These then," said the last instructor, "are the ways and sacred things of Ma'nabus, given us Indians to have and to use, as long as the world shall stand!"
So saying, he in turn retired, and the party rolled in their blankets to sleep before the sun could look in through the smoke hole of the wigwam.
It was the season when buds burst and the young owls, hatched while the snow was yet on the ground, were already taking their prey. The discordant croaking of the frogs came as a roar from the marshlands. The arbutus was blooming.
Perched on the top of a warm, sunny knoll was an oblong, dome-roofed structure of poles, covered with bark and rush mats. It was oriented east and west, and its length, a full hundred feet, contrasted oddly with its breadth of twenty.
It was the evening of the fourth day of the Mitawiwin, or Medicine ceremony. The preceding three days and nights had been spent by the four masters, led by Terrible Eagle, in preparing Little Wolf within a room formed by curtaining off one end of the lodge proper; in giving him his ceremonial sweat bath of purification; and in hanging the initiation fees — four sets of valuable goods: clothing, robes, weapons, copper utensils -on the ridgepole at the eastern end of the lodge, and in dedicating them.
As the sun set the four old men and the candidate entered the lodge, followed by the men and women of the tribe who were already members of the society. Going in at the eastern door the procession filed along the north side, and passing once regularly around, the people seated themselves on the right of the door, with the candidate on the west side of them, next to Terrible Eagle.
The night having largely passed in quiescence and instruction, towards dawn an officer of the lodge approached Little Wolf and stood before him, facing the east. Thrusting his hand into his medicine bag he drew forth his sacred clamshell cup and the powder containing the seed, which he compounded into a drink, while he sang a song called "What Otter Keeps."
"I am preparing the thing that was hung (the little seed), and that which was hung shall fall!"
When he had finished and Little Wolf had swallowed the draft, this officer retired, and another came forward and took his place, singing. As he ended, he stooped over, coughed, and retched violently until he cast forth a sea shell; this he held in the palm of his hand, and, chanting, displayed it to the east, west, south, and north, and then caused Little Wolf to swallow it that it might remain in his body forever, the Symbol of immortality, and the badge of a lodge member. When this had been accomplished the assistant gave place to a third, who sang his four songs and painted the candidate's face with the sacred, blue paint. Then a fourth and last assistant came before the candidate and the masters, bearing an otter skin medicine bag, which he laid at Little Wolf's feet, while he sang four songs concerning Ottel, the most famous of which was entitled Yom Mitawakeu, or "This Medicine Land," but which held no reference to otters whatever!
Now the old men conducted the candidate four times regularly around the lodge, while they related to him somewhat of the story of the ancient Master Ma'nabus, whom he now represented. On the last circuit Terrible Eagle led him to a seat near the western end of the lodge and there placed him with face toward the east, remaining with the candidate, standing behind, and holding his shoulders.
The men and women seated around the walls of the lodge sat tense. The silence was unbroken, save for the woods' noises outside; the great dramatic moment had arrived.
The four assistant masters, who had just performed before Little Wolf, now assembled in the east, facing him, and the first, taking his medicine bag in his two hands and holding it breast high before his body, sang to the rapid beat of the drum a song entitled "Shooting the New Member." At its end he gave the usual sacred cry of "We-ho-ho-ho-ho," blew on the head of the otter skin, and rushed forward as though to attack the candidate.
In front of the neophyte impersonator of the ancient hero the attacker paused and jerked the head of his otter upward, crying savagely, "Ya ha ha ha ha!" The magical essence of the bag supposedly striking the candidate, he staggered slightly, but was steadied by his faithful friend, only to meet the feigned attacks of the second and third assistants, at each of which he reeled once more. But the charge of the fourth fellow was so violent that the candidate fell flat on the ground. Stooping, the last man laid the medicine bag across the back of the apparently unconscious brother, to be his thereafter. At a sign from Terrible Eagle the four assistants approached the prostrate candidate, and, raising him to his feet, shook him gently to remove their shots and restore him to life.
And now all was rejoicing. Steaming earthen kettles, filled with delicious stews and soups of bear and turtle flesh, partridges, and young ducks, were carried in. Laughing, jesting, and good-natured banter filled the lodge until the last wooden bowl was scraped clean, when the utensils and scraps were carried out and the drummer struck up a lively dancing tune. After the men and women had had each four sets of songs, a general dance took place, wherein the members circled the lodge, the new brother among them, shooting each other promiscuously with jollity, vying with each other to rise and point their bags or fall prone on the earth. All the time a loud and lively chant was sung:
"I pass through them! I pass through them! I pass through even the chief!"
"Ye Gods take part, invisible though ye be beneath us!"
When all was over, and Keso, the sun, was almost noon high, the four assistants took down the initiation fees from the ridgepole and distributed them to the four old masters and the others who had taken prominent part in the ceremonial, and all the Indians filed out of the western door, singing:
"You, my brethren, I pass my hand over you! I thank you!"
Muhwase, the Little Wolf, watched the last of his erstwhile companions strike their camps; saw the coverings stripped from the lodge structure; saw the last party vanish in the brush.
He was a Mitao! A member of a great fraternal organization, who might travel westward to the foothills of the Rockies, north to the barren lands, south to the countries of the Iowa and Oto, east to the land of the Iroquois, and find brethren who had traveled the same road, or at least one fundamentally similar. He had shown his fortitude and fidelity, those two great cardinal virtues of the Medicine Lodge, and he had come through the sacred mysteries alive and in possession of the secret rites that had been handed down by word of mouth since the days when the Menominee first came out of the ground!
* * *
LEARNING BY DOING
The best way to learn how to do a thing is to do it.
If you would learn, to run an automobile, get behind a steering wheel and put your foot on the brake.
If you would learn how to play baseball, put on a mitt and take your turn at bat.
Thomas Edison says we learn how to do more things in the first six years of life than in all remaining years.
The reason for this is that as children we aren't afraid to tackle anything.
If we would apply the same will power to our tasks in later life that we applied in learning to walk we could make a success of everything.
In tackling a new job the only way to proceed is to roll up your sleeves, and do the job itself. It will do you little good to discuss the job abstractedly. In three hours of actual conflict with the problems you will learn more than in three weeks of conversation with your predecessor.
Military men recognize this principle. Officers spend the best part of a life-time studying the art of war as an abstract proposition. One year of actual warfare teaches them more than a life-time of study. In the roar of the battle the "peacetime" general is retired.
We are beginning to recognize this principle in our educational system. Purely academic studies are being supplemented by practical work in elementary, high school and college curriculums.
— The Advance.
* * *
"The inner side of every cloud
Is bright and shining;
And so I turn my clouds about
And always wear them inside out
To show the lining."
* * *
THE COMACINES — THEIR PREDECESSORS AND THEIR SUCCESSORS
Bro. W. Ravenscroft, England
IN PASSING from these four worthies, it may with safety be said they were undoubtedly the patron saints of the most important section of the building communities during the splendour of medieval operatve masonry, and until the period of its decay. We come now to what may be considered the central and most important part of our study, and shifting the scene from Rome — that city of splendour, with its teeming population, many times larger than in the present day, its pomp, luxury, and pride — we find ourselves on a little lonely, but very lovely island, in what is perhaps the most lovely lake in all Europe, the Island of Comacina in the Lake of Como. It is, I believe, the only island the lake possesses, and rising abruptly from its blue-green waters, covered with foliage, all but uninhabited, it rests on the bosom of the lake in spring like an emerald gem.
On every side the shores of the lake slope sharply up and up, rich in foliage of varied tints and plentifully dotted with villages, all picturesque and all teeming with associations of the past in architecture, legend, and old customs, which survive to the present day; while away to the north-east over Bellagio and beyond lie the snow-topped mountains which link on the scene to the great Alpine ranges. To stand on an elevated part of this little island, so near the mainland, yet so far removed from the sound of human voice or industry (its silence, indeed, broken only by the song of birds, a not too common thing in Italy at the present day, however plentiful such may have been in the days of St. Francis) and to look east west north south — whether bathed in glorious sunshine with every detail reflected in the water of the lake as in a mirror, or when the black clouds roll up from the mountains and sweep down upon the lake, the thunder breaking on the stillness and echoing from hill to hill — is a thing not to be forgotten; and then to think of its story, of the past, equally characterized with sunshine and tempest, and the great influence the men of this tiny island exercised on Western Europe, is to realize that here is one of the rare spots where Nature and man have combined to put their indelible mark.
I am indebted to Dr. Santo Monti of Como for some interesting notes he kindly lent me, relating to the island, from which, by his permission, I extract the following: "The isle itself, called Cristopoli by the Longobards, measures about a mile in circumference, 'and has a long, glorious, and sad history. . . . There were monuments which dated as far back as to the fifth century of our era. Now the island is nearly abandoned, uncultivated, and contains a few vestiges of the old fortifications and the churches. The population of the island must have been extremely numerous then, according to the chronicles; the churches thereon were not less than nine (chapels and oratories included). One of them was dedicated to S. Euphemia with a chapter of twelve canons, including Bishop Litigerio, in 1031. Of all these churches only the remnants of three are left. One of them is at the east end of the isle, it has been heightened a story and actually serves as a barn or shed for the cattle; the ancient part of it inside as well as outside is of well-wrought stone, so closely combined (especially inside) that it seems of a single piece. The portion of the outside wall is decorated with semicireular arches alternately supported by 'Mensolac' and vertical cords, with capitals of cubicular form and square bases. Under the last of these arches there is a window. The church with the north facade finished in two equal absides, with a window towards east in each; outside the choir presents a sole semicircle (which contains the two absides).
"The second remnant, little rising above the earth, is that of a very spacious edifice called the Dome, and the spot where it stood still conserves the name, but no other traces remain of it. Judging by the foundation it must have been solidly constructed. A little farther toward the north are the vestiges of the third, consisting of the choir, which, semicircular in shape, is decorated with the cord design (vertically) composed alternately of stone and 'terra cuite.' The bases of these cords is simple flat stone. The inside of the edifice is filled with debris. In one of these nine churches, probably in the one dedicated to S. Euphemia, there was a marble slab 1.84 x 0.70 metres, in round characters comparatively well executed considering the period. It was in praise of Bishop Agrippino, of the first half of the seventh century. When the island was devastated and the church and other buildings destroyed in 1169, the above named slab was transferred to the opposite shore, where it found a place in the parochial church on the main altar, where it served as a desk thereupon. A few years ago it was taken away and moved into the basis of the said altar, where the inscription can be read without any difficulty."
This Agrippino was consecrated in 606. He prepared for himself a tomb in the church of St. Euphemia on the island, and was buried in it in 620.
Dr. Monti concludes from the foregoing and other evidence in his possession that the remains of the churches in the island are previous to the seventh century. It has been my good fortune to pay two visits to this island, the second of which was on Saturday, June 1, 1907, and one was gratified subsequently to learn what Dr. Monti had to say respecting the little sanctuary, the discovery of which occasioned my second visit and subsequent correspondence with him.
ISOLA COMACINA AND THE COMACINES
The history of the island is very little known to English-speaking people, albeit a tragic one, and it may be of interest here to give a few details, without pretending to do more than that. We are first introduced to the Island of Comacina as a very strongly fortified place, built by the Gauls, and afterwards rebuilt by the Romans, as a defence against the people of Grisons, one of the Swiss cantons lying north of the Lake of Como, and at no great distance therefrom.
About the year A.D. 480, when the Emperor Zeno sat upon the throne of the East Theodoric the Ostrogoth, practically master of Italy, took a good deal of interest in the island on account of its beauty and habitableness, and, as we are told, extended it.
Probably this extension meant further fortification, since it would have required a considerable amount of strength to render it the desirable spot for habitation which Theodoric would require it to be. Not only so, but being in a convenient situation some twenty miles from Como, and surrounded by water, it had from time to time become a storehouse of treasure, so that we read it had within its walls a vast accumulation of wealth.
The next association is with the great General Narses, through whose action or inaction, as the case may be, the island fell to the Lombards.
It came about in this way:
Narses, an eunuch, short of stature, bent and ugly, was at the age of sixty selected by Justinian, the Emperor of the East, and placed in command of the army in Italy as a General, although he had never seen service before. And, notwithstanding this, he showed such marvellous skill and discernment as to skill and discernment as to thoroughly justify the extraordinary step the Emperor had taken. Indeed, after having been once recalled to Constantinople, he was found to be the only man capable of carrying on the wars in Italy against the barbarians, and in a second campaign he practically mastered the kingdom. Goths, Huns, and Vandals had successively been beaten back or amalgamated; and when Narses was a second time recalled, the only hostile nation on the horizon was the Lombard. Narses was apparently recalled because, through the failure of means of support for his army from the capital, his taxes on the people bore so heavily that they petitioned the Emperor to remove him from the command.
Narses refused to obey the order of the Emperor (then Justin II) to return, and hence the story that the Empress Sophia cried: "I know what to do with the old eunuch: he shall be confined to his proper place in the women's quarters, and forced to spin wool with the maids."
On receiving this insulting message, Narses is said to have replied: "Then I shall spin such a coil for the Empress as she will never unravel so long as she lives."
Whether or not Narses took his revenge by inviting the Lombards to come into Italy is uncertain, but doubtless, if their coming was not due to his action, it was more or less encouraged by his inaction.
This was in the year 568, when Narses was ninety years of ago The Imperial Captain Francilio held the city of Como, together with the Island of Comacine and the surrounding country, for the Empire, and one of the fast results of the attitude taken by Narses was a Lombard attack upon Como under Alboin, which for some time it sustained; but when, after a time, it fell, Francilio retired to Comacine, where, with considerable bravery, he entrenched himself. This also was in the year 568.
Francilio appears to have kept his hold on the island until the year 584, when, being again attacked by the Lombards, under Antaris, who naturally found in this little fortress holding by the Empire, when all around was slipping away, a menace to the security of his kingdom. After a six months' siege, the island fell into their hands, and Francilio, having secured honourable terms, retired to Ravenna.
The fall was accomplished by a fleet of boats, which surrounded the island and starved out the garrison.
The Lombards had called the island Christopolis, because, like Christ, it had become the refuge of the hopeless, a very sanctuary of the destitute and fugitive, gentle and simple. The vast treasure stored in it by many cities fell into the hands of the Lombards.
About the close of the sixth century we find Comacina again undergoing a siege. This time it is held by an insubordinate chieftain, one Gardulf, Duke of Bergamo, who, having been already subdued once, rose in arms against his King, Agilulf, who was in some sense the founder of the Lombard Kingdom. Agilulf besieged and captured the island, took the Duke prisoner, and, contrary to all expectation, spared his life, partly from chivalrous, and partly from diplomatic considerations.
In the year 686 a conspiracy was made against King Guiniperto, the sixteenth King of Lombardy, by one Alahis, to drive him from the throne. While the King was gone to the chase, Alahis stirred up sedition in the royal city of Pavia, whence the King was obliged to withdraw to the Island of Comacine, where be fortified himself strongly. But the partners to the conspiracy made a voyage to the island unknown to Alahis, and besought the King to pardon them for the wrong they had committed; and Alahis being at that time absent from the city, the conspirators restored Guiniperto to his former position.
Guiniperto reigned over Lombardy until the year 700, when at his death the succession of his son Liutperto was disputed by Regimperto, Duke of Turin and cousin of Guiniperto. Liutperto was a minor in the care of Arisprando, a faithful warrior. With a large body of troops Regimperto defeated Arisprando at the Battle of Novara, and usurped the throne, which soon passed to his son, Aribert II (701-712). (One authority says this man was the son of Alahis, who had recently died.) He took Liutperto prisoneer and put him to death, and Arisoprando fled to Comacina.
Here he was pursued by Aribert, and, dismisting his own forces, fled into Bavaria, whereupon the island was levelled by the soldiers of Aribert. The latter took vengeance on Arisprando by blinding his wife and children, and depriving them of their ears and tongues, but allowed one infant, Liutprando, to escape with his father, thinking him to be too young to be dangerous. Little did he imagine what the sequel would be, for Arisprando, collecting forces in Bavaria, descended into Italy like a bolt from the blue, and defeated Aribert at the moment when his power seemed to be at its zenith.
The latter hurried to Pavia, seized as much gold as he could carry, and in his flight was drowned by the weight of his treasure in attempting to cross the River Ticino. Arisprando then ascended the Lombard throne, and, dying shortly after (712), bequeathed it to his son Liutprando, who became the most illustrious of the Lombard Kings, and about the year 718 rebuilt Comacina.
An interval of peace for the island may then have set in, for the star of Charlemagne was in the ascendant, and the time for the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire was drawing near.
Indeed, intervals of quiet must have been periodically enjoyed, or the devastation with which the island was overthrown time after time could not have been effaced so thoroughly as it evidently was. Moreover, it is stated that Charlemagne restored it, and probably from that time onward for a considerable period the Comacine Guild would be able to mature and develop and exercise its ever-widening influence in both East and West. Final peace for Comacina, however, was not to be, and its downfall was brought about in a quiet incidental way.
Milan had grown in pride and splendour, and in her imperial haughtiness she was pressing hard upon the smaller cities of the neighbourhood, particularly Lodi and Como
Secretly two of the men of Lodi laid their case before the Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, who swore to avenge their wrongs. On their return these ambassadors were treated as fools, for no one believed in the promise of the Emperor, and all judged that, in consequence of what they had done, the yoke of Milan would be heavier than before. But, although delayed, the Emperor's threat was ultimately carried out with a vengeance on Milan, which awed and terrified the whole of the district, and Lodi and Como, for the time at least, were relieved of the oppressor.
Comacina took side with the Milanese, and hence incurred the bitterest hatred from the men of Como; thus, when the opportunity came, they took their revenge. They had already sacked the island in 1124, had seen their own city destroyed in 1127, and rebuilt in 1152; and now, about the year 1160, or shortly after, they attacked Comacina again, setting fire to it after a desperate struggle. Still the islanders would not come to terms, and so the neighbouring country was put to fire and sword, as also Borgo di Menagio.
For this and other things the Milanese besieged Como, when the latter was succoured with provisions by the confederate lands of the Lario, to the great detriment of the islanders, who forbade them the passage. Moreover, the siege of Como was shortly raised, and then they reassembled their forces and took their revenge on the islanders severely, capturing also the fortress of Nesso. The hour had come for vengeance, and Como took care it should not pass unheeded, while at the same time the blow should be dealt so effectively as to remove all possibility of recovery. A decree was obtained from the Emperor that it should never be rebuilt, and practically that decree has held good to this very day.
Dr. Monti says it was in 1169 the final blow was given. And so its tragedy closes, and, indeed, except for the one church now standing on the island, it has remained desolate, probably much in the condition in which it is found today — destitute of inhabitants, save the one cowherd who looks after his few head of cattle, and shorn of all dwellings except the one ruined chapel now used to house both cattle and cowherd.
What a thrilling story could be told if only details of the history of this stubborn little island were available! And how strangely it reflects in miniature the way in which throughout the Middle Ages, especially in Italy, the arts of peace and the horrors of strife flourished side by side.
Frederick II or his successor, Rudolf I, gave the island to Leo, Bishop of Como, in the year 1253, with conditions restricting him not to fortify it; and in 1467 the people of Como restored the ancient church on the island in honour of St. John the Baptist, and placed in it a marble having a badly-constructed inscription, which, translated, runs as follows:
"It is in the year 1160.
"When the island was destroyed there was a great pestilence. The ancient church being restored saved the lives of those bringing sacred gifts when overwhelmed by a hailstorm. The first day of May saw the commencement of the work, and the last day put the finishing touch to it, in the year 1400 — add 67 and all will be understood."
This garbled sentence probably refers to two, if not more, different periods, and it is translated from Ballarini's Compendio delle croniche dena Citta di Como, published in Como 1619.
How far the present church on the island can be identified with this restored building it is difficult to say, but the present building dedicated to St. John the Baptist is, according to Dr. Monti, of the sixteenth century.
Paulus Jovius, in 1559, wrote concerning the Island of Comacina, and the following is a translation of what he says: "Over against this portion of the Salarian shore there stretches an island facing it lengthwise, displaying as one sails by the ruins of an ancient city, [destroyed] by order of the people of Como, that the Larian people, warned by this punishment, might be admonished to preserve their fidelity to their parent city of Como. This city was famous in the time of the Goths, who had such confidence in its fortifications that they stored in it the treasures of all their nation."
Paulus Longobardus writes in his History "that the Isle of Comacina, in the Larian Lake, was captured and overthrown by Aripertus, King of Lombardy, when Arisprandus, who had brought up and trained Liutperties, the boy-king, had by chance fled thither after his defeat in the battle by Novaria. However, after the arrival of Charlemagne, who overthrew the kingdom of Lombardy, I found the island restored. From this island our family of the Jovii derives its origin, and there are extant evidences of the wealth of our ancestors — to-wit, the Church of Mary Magdalene in the town of Stabium, distant over against the island across the Eudipus by the very short passage of two stadia. These ancestors of the Jovii contributed fields from their estates with pious liberality for the succour of the needy and of travellers, and for 600 years there had remained in our family the uninterrupted privilege of nominating the prefect and priest.
Moreover, we bear today also on our coat of arms, as proof of our descent, the castle of the island, superimposed an the Larian waters, with the addition of the Roman Eagle, with which Fredericus Ahenobarbus honoured our family, just as lately we have added the Columns of Hercules, by the gift of the Emperor Charles I, who looked with extremely favouring eyes on our zealous efforts.
"After the destruction of Milan, however, the people of Como, aided by the resources of Ahenobarbus, in revenge for the recent treachery of the islanders, completely devastated the island, ordering the inhabitants to remove to Varena, adding the decree, for a severe public example, that no one should ever build again on the island. And so it has remained for 400 years, hideous with its enormous ruins; and today, with merely the church remaining, which was spared through superstitious awe, it remains a habitation for the rabbits."
And who were the masters who lived at Comacine? Mention has already been made of the survival of the Architectural College in Rome after the other guilds had been suppressed, and to this college probably belonged some at least of the nine martyrs to whom we have been alluding. But when Rome fell under Goth and Vandal, and reached a condition such as is pictured by Gregory the Great, there was no further call for the fraternity in Rome, and, accordingly, about A.D. 460 they, being now entirely Christian, fled, and travelling northwards, settled themselves in the district of Como, choosing for their headquarters the Island of Comacina, where they fortified their position, and in the sixth century held their own against the Lombards for twenty years before being subjugated; while in the twelfth century again they held their independence until overthrown by Como, and condemned to desolation by Frederick Barbarossa.
It is, of course, impossible to fix the exact date of their coming to Comacina, but it is noteworthy that it was in 480 that Theodoric interested himself in the island, and caused building work to be done upon it. This is the more suggestive, since it points to the probability, not only of a connection between Theodoric and the Comacine masters, but also suggests their association with Ravenna. Further, it is clear that when Belisarius entered Rome, after it was besieged by Totila in A.D. 547, he found people willing to help with the rebuilding, but none skilled to guide them.
Documentary evidence, dating back to A.D. 643, refers to them as the Majestri Comacine, and although it is not certain whether this appellation located them on the island or is intended to apply to the district around Como, it is clear that by this time they were a compact and powerful guild, capable of asserting their rights, and that the guild was properly organized, having degrees of different ranks and Magistri at their head. Now, when we consider that during what historians have generally regarded as the Dark Ages, between A.D. 500 and 1200, there was a perfect and consistent link between the old and the new, and a perfect and consistent development of architecture — be it Lombard Byzantine, as at Ravenna and Venice; Romanesque, as at Pisa; Lombard Gothic, as at Milan; Norman Saracen, as in Sicily and the South, each style having its individuality, and yet at the same time its relation to the other — we can form no other conclusion than that to a well-organized body of men such order must be attributed.
Moreover, when we further consider that in the twelfth century the round arch prevailed in Italy, Germany, France, and England, with details having wonderful similarity and practically Lombard in character; that in the thirteenth century, when pointed arches mingled with the round ones in Italy they did so in all the other countries mentioned; and that the art of church building was in full power when other arts and commerce were but just beginning, we are forced to the conclusion that nothing short of a sound organization can have brought about such a result. And our conclusion that to the Comacine Masters are mainly due the mighty achievements spread throughout Western Europe is borne out by fact. To them can be traced the churches of S. Ambrose at Milan, the cathedral at Monza, S. Fidele and S. Abbondio at Como, S. Michele at Pavia, S. Vitale at Ravenna, S. Agnese, S. Lorenzo, S. Clemente and others at Rome, as well as the more ornate cathedrals of Pisa, Lucca, Milan, Arezzo, Brescia, etc., and the cloisters and aisles of Monreale and Palermo. Through the Comacines architecture and sculpture spread to France and Spain, Germany and England, and there developed into new amd varied styles, according to the exigencies of climate, material, etc. It was from these brethren at Como that Gregory sent artificers to England to accompany St. Augustine, and Gregory II sent such to Germany with Boniface, while Charlemagne fetched them into France to build his church of Aix le Chapelle, the prototype of French Gothic, and, as some say, modelled on S. Vitale, Ravenna.
It is really wonderful how little seems to be known of these Comacine Masters, and, indeed, until Leader Scott drew attention to them, what little was known appears to have been confined to a small circle. This is what the late Rev. Charles Kingsley says in his lecture on the Roman and the Teuton (1891): "Then follow some curious laws in favour of the Masters of Como, Magistri Comacines, perhaps the original germ of the great society of Freemasons, belonging, no doubt, to the Roman population who were settled about the Lake of Como, and were hired on contract (as the laws themselves express) to build for the Lombards, who, of course, had no skill to make anything beyond a skin tent or a log hall."
Mr. T.G. Jackson, R.A., in his review of Le Origini dell' Architettura Lombarda (Architectural Review for August, 1907) says: "Signor Riviera traces a reminiscence of the old Etruscan art which preceded that of Rome, coexisted for a long time with it, and to which there is good reason to think Roman art owed a much larger share of its peculiar character than has been generally admitted. In Germany it is recorded that Bishop Rufus of Treves brought artificers from Italy to repair his cathedral — possibly among them were members of the mysterious Guild of Magistri Comacine, of whom so little is known with exactitude."
There is indeed so little known with exactitude, but a great deal may be, and, indeed, chapter and verse can be given for a large part of what we claim for the Comacines. We have already noted that they were called into England, Germany, and France, and there is no reason to doubt that to a very large extent, whenever some building of importance was wanted in Western Europe one of the lodges of Comacines was applied to. The notion so common amongst us that the great cathedral and church builders were the ecclesiastics may be true in the sense that they promoted these works, but that they were the chief architects, except in rare instances, cannot be borne out by the facts of the case. Doubtless some were admitted to the Guilds of Craftsmen as lay members, while others qualified as architects, but in the main skilled and properly organized workmen were called in. They were even summoned back to Rome, and, indeed, their hand is to be found in all the great buildings of the ages between A.D. 500 and 1200, and in many after that.
A really good illustration of this it fell to my lot to find. The interesting church of S. Ambrogio at Milan has a very fine atrium, and on the outside there is a tablet with this inscription:
AVSPERTO DA RIOSSONE ARCIVESCOVO DU MILAN DAL DCCCLXVIII AL DCCCLXXXI ERESE QVEST ATRIO
Which in English reads, "Auspert of Bissone, Archbishop of Milan from 868 to 881, built this atrium." But Leader Scott says, Look amongst the foliage and you will find the real name of the architect, "Magister Adam." So on two occasions I did look with all the care I could bring, and, not withstanding two of the custodians of the church, one of whom had been there for forty years, told me there was no such person as Magister Adam concerned with the building, but that Auspert built the atrium, my search at the last moment, and just as I was giving it up as vain, was rewarded, not where Leader Scott said exactly, but not far off. There on the top of one of the shafts of the main entrance to the church were the letters indeed, "Magister Adam," but upside down.
It was no small pleasure to fetch one of the men who had denied Magister Adam's connection with the church, and to see the undisguised surprise with which he regarded my discovery, and the truly amusing way in which he reluctantly abandoned his scepticism. The explanation of the "Magister Adam" being upside down may be that, according to some critics, the atrium of St. Ambrogio was rebuilt some two hundred years after his time, and that in replacing this particular stone it got put in the wrong way up. But this is only one case among many — for instance, on a monument in Sta. Maria in Trastevere one reads the name of "magister Paulus,"* and on the Palazzo Ragione in Milan there is a little equestrian statue of the Podesta Oldrado, dated 1233, by Benedetto Antelami, chief of the Comacine masters. I quite believe that careful research would demonstrate the custom of calling in the guild to prepare the design as well as to execute the work. Moreover, it is a significant thing that, after the removal of the lodge of Lucca to Florence, on December 14, 1321, no great work in architecture arose either in Lucca, Pistoja, or Pisa, while all the great Florentine buildings date after this time.
One word as to the development of architecture under the Comacines. The Romans had evolved an art in which architectural treatment largely masked real construction, especially when the latter was in cement or brick. Their adornment was superficial, and it was for the Comacines to develop the style which chiefly in Italy became a treatment of real arches (round) on real columns (the latter often taken from older Roman buildings) and slightly pitched wooden roofs, which they afterwards developed internally into barrel vaults. Then came upon them the side influences from the East and South, that from the East bringing the Dome and Byzantine ornamentation, and that from the South (Saracenic) developing into the Italian Gothic or Pointed styles, which matured into the completeness of our Northern cathedrals both in France and England, until the whole succumbed to the enormous sweep of the Renaissance, which appropriated all the Roman orders, together with the vault and the dome, and ultimately supplanted the architecture of the Middle Ages.
*This tomb is to a Cardinal who died in 1407, and on it is written "Magistri Paulus fecit boc hopus." Magister Paulus must therefore have probably worked this work after 1407, the date of the Cardinal's death.
(To be continued)
* * *
YOU'VE GOT TO STOOP TO LIFT
There's lots of good in this here world,
And lots of folks are fine;
They want to straighten what is knurled
For me, and mates of mine.
They'd like to help us, but a few
In one great error drift:
They never seem to see that you
Have got to stoop to lift.
Some female taxis to the slums
To labor for the Lord
And shows her satins to the bums,
Who satins can't afford.
If we don't fully understand,
Or care, then she is miffed;
But, when you lend the helping hand,
You've got to stoop to lift.
There is no satin-slippered way
To reach a human heart;
You cannot be the finer clay
And us a thing apart.
To raise men up it will not do
To pray, and let them shift.
Your Christ got down, and so must you—
You've got to stoop to lift.
— Douglas Mallock
* * *
THE STUDY CLUB
The following paper is one of a series of articles on "Philosophical Masonry," or "The Teachings of Masonry," by Brother Haywood, to be used for reading and discussion in lodges and study clubs — From the questions following each section of the paper the study club leader should select such as he may desire to use in bringing out particular points for discussion. To go into a lengthy discussion on each individual question presented might possibly consume more time than the lodge or study club may be able to devote to the study club meeting.
In conducting the study club meetings the leader should endeavor to hold the discussions closely to the tenet of the paper and not permit the members to speak too long at one time or to stray onto another subject. Whenever it becomes evident that the discussion is turning from the original subject the leader should request the members to make notes of the particular points or phases of the matter they may wish to discuss or inquire into and bring them up after the last section of the paper is disposed of.
The meetings should be closed with a "Question Box" period, when such questions as may have come up during the meeting and laid over until this time should be entered into and discussed. Should any questions arise that cannot be answered by the study club leader or some other brother present, these questions may be submitted to us and we will endeavor to answer them for you in time for your next meeting.
Supplemental references on the subjects treated in this paper will be found at the end of the article.
* * *
THE TEACHINGS OF MASONRY
Bro. H. L. Haywood, Iowa
PART IV — THE MASONIC CONCEPTION OF EDUCATION
THERE were no schools when Freemasonry came into existence. Medieval Europe had much learning but no great public institutions for the diffusing of it. There were a few seminaries where men might receive an "education" for the priesthood, and there were, here and there, a few monasteries, nunneries, brotherhoods, lay organizations, and what not which dispensed to a handful of young people the rudiments of knowledge. Of schools as they now exist, and have existed for two or three hundred years, there were none. Nor was there in any community a daily press, or weekly periodicals, or a library, or cheap books, or a learned society, or a correspondence school.
Before you begin a discussion of the subject endeavour to define your own conception of "education." Could you tell how youths were educated five hundred years ago? What was a nunnery? A monastery? A lay brotherhood? A seminary? When did printing first bring knowledge into the reach of the poorest?
But there was such a thing as education, often of a high type, and sometimes of a degree never afterwards excelled for the Medievalists gave us the greatest architecture that has ever been known, and some of the greatest pictures, and much wonderful sculpture, not to mention the flowering out of the religious spirit: these gifts could not come from an ignorant and debased people, such as the medievalists are by many often supposed to have been. To erect a St. Mark's or a St. Peter's, to build such a city as Venice, or to paint such pictures as those of Tintoretto, or to conceive the ideal and spirit of the Franciscan Movement required a trained intelligence, a directed and fruitful genius, which can only come from that discipline of the human nature that we know as "education."
What was the greatest thing produced by the Middle Ages? ("Medieval" means "Middle Ages"). What did the church of that day have to do with education? Does the church still foster education? By whom were most of our American colleges founded? How was a cathedral built? What kind of an education did that process require?
If the people had no schools whence came such an education? The answer to this question is found in the system of apprenticeship which was in universal use with those guilds and brotherhoods that built Venice, and erected the cathedrals, and painted the pictures, and created the sculptures. Instead of going into a public school the youth went into a guild. Instead of studying from a teacher who sits behind a desk with a book in his hand, the medieval student learned from a master in the very operations of work. Instead of receiving a diploma on sheepskin he was given the means of proving to anybody that he was himself a master workman, entitled to receive a master's wages wherever he might go.
Put yourself into the place of some medieval architect entrusted with work on one of the huge cathedrals which became at once the wonder and despair of all subsequent builders. You had to have skilled workmen. You were compelled to find men who knew how to hew stone properly out of a quarry, how to dress it in the rough, how to read plans, how to solve geometrical problems, how to carve, to erect scaffoldings, to round an arch, throw up a spire, and also, in many cases, how to organize and direct other workmen. Where would you find such men? You would draw from the ranks of intelligent youths such as gave promise of skill and you would very carefully have them trained in all these processes, and, because many of these processes were valuable trade secrets, you would take great care to bind these youths to you in a secrecy from which knowledge might not escape clandestinely to the outside world.
The necessity for educating youths into the extremely difficult arts of fine building was one of the causes which led to the founding of Freemasonry. Because of this necessity the trade union grew into a lodge. Members were bound together by solemn ties, and local organizations were compelled to affiliate themselves together into a wide Brotherhood of workmen.
The student was called an "apprentice," or "learner," for such does the word mean in nearly all languages. There were no books wherewith to teach him, so his masters taught him by means of the work itself, and the tools and practices used in the work. And since these students had to live together in closest unity it was necessary also to train them in morality, for without morality there can be no permanent association. And because these young men were to work on religious buildings being erected by religious organizations it was inevitable that religion should come to have a central place in the scheme of education. In all this we have the beginnings and the conditions out of which Freemasonry arose.
When Operative Masonry reached that stage in its history wherein it became transformed gradually into Speculative, or Symbolical Masonry, learning, or knowledge, or enlightenment (one may use any of these terms), had come to be at the core of it. But since the knowledge of actual building arts was no longer of any purpose to the members of the Fraternity the old "work" was gradually transformed into symbols and allegory, and the "apprentice" in the new order of things was set to learn the art of building manhood and brotherhood.
Is apprenticeship still in use? Where? By whom? Would you like to see it return into practice? What was a guild? How did the guild differ from our modern "trade union"? Were the early builders "ignorant stone masons"? How did they secure the knowledge to do what they did? What did a "lodge" mean to them? What did initiation mean? Why was the lodge kept in such secrecy? What was a trade secret? In what way did the necessity for educating youths to be builders bring about the organization of Operative Masonry? Why was the teaching of morality so important in Operative Masonry?
In the early eighteenth century when the old Operative Craft was made over into the Symbolical institution as we now know it, it happened that one of the major prophets of the new day, William Preston, was burning with an enthusiasm for education. There were schools in England for the sons of a few rich, but no school for the masses, and among those young men who found their way into the transformed Masonry there were few with any education at all. Preston said, "Let us then make the lodge into a school room. While we are making Masons of these youths let us at the same time give them the rudiments of knowledge." So he worked out an elaborate system of lectures in which were set forth something of all the subjects between the five senses and the fine arts. The Second degree as it now stands is to a great extent the result abiding memorial of that noble endeavour. When Freemasonry first came into existence in the form recognized as such by us it was very largely an educational institution. When it found its great rebirth in England during the Grand Lodge era it rapidly became a centre of knowledge. It has searched for "light" from the beginning; it has always inculcated in its devotees a desire for "more light" — today it continues to hold up as its ideal of human perfection the man of "enlightenment." Therefore this emphasis which to we place on the need for light is not a hatched-pseudo-emphasis, but a passion deeply rooted in very nature of our Order, and inseparable from it.
What does the Second degree mean to you? What can you tell about Preston? Could you now improve the Second degree how? How could the modern lodge be made into a school?
What is true of Masonry's attitude toward education, is equally true of its attitude toward that institution which is the custodian of education, the public school. Those who wonder why we should keep so watchful an eye upon every educational enterprise any time satisfy their wonder by a careful study the birth, the growth, and the culmination of our Fraternity.
It would be quite useless, to many another essayist has learnt to his sorrow, to attempt to fashion a definition of education, for it is one of those fundamental profound conceptions which defy analysis and escape words: but even so it is a thing that we recognize without understanding it and describe without defining. There was a time when by "education" men referred to a fixed body of knowledge, inherited from past times, crowned by tradition and approved by authority, which was gotten into the minds of students by a certain fixed method. This quantum of knowledge was supposed be invariably suited to all minds, whatever their cast or bent, and the boy who could not master it was thereby catalogued among the dunces, or the shirks. There was a great deal more truth in that old conception of education than the present day reformers are willing to admit but even so it is a conception which we must abandon. There is no such thing as a quantum knowledge the acquirement of which constitutes education, for education, so the psychologists have made us see, is quite another kind of thing.
A human being comes into this world quite helpless and quite ignorant. He is so dependent on others that the word "baby" is almost synonymous with the word "helplessness." He cannot talk, or read, or walk, work, or feed, or clothe himself — a being more abjectly helpless it would be hard to imagine. An adult man, if he be normal in all ways, must be able to work so well that the world will pay him money for it. He must be able to make his wants felt, his thoughts known, and his qualities appreciated. He has a wife to cherish, a family to support, a home to maintain. He must know something of the functions of citizenship. He must be able to take his place with his fellows in all the thous and activities of normal life.
Do you know what Masonry has done toward upholding our American school system? What agencies are at work to tear down that system?
It is education that bridges over the wide gulf between the helplessness of the babe and the manifold richness of the adult nature. Parents, insofar as they are tutors of their own children, schools, books, teachers, and the individual's own experience, are all so many instruments of education, and it matters little how a man secures education so long as he is an adult able to fulfil all his normal functions in the various relationships of life. What particular kinds of knowledge a man must have, whether it be Latin and Greek, literature, science, philosophy, civics, what not, depends on the nature of any particular man and upon the conditions under which he has to live his life. Anything is good education that enables us to be happy in our life environment.
From this it will be seen that education is by its own inherent nature a social thing. It is something that prepares a man to live with his fellows, to work with them and for them, to understand them, to get on well with them. It is a thing that makes possible the fulfilment of the fragrant saying to the effect that it is a good and beautiful thing for brethren to dwell together in unity. And since education is by its nature a social thing, a thing fraught with all the fates of society, then it is perfectly self-evident that education must be defined and managed by society itself, and for society's own good. To permit any group to turn education into an anti-social engine, so that it functions against all in the favour of a few, is as foolish a thing as to turn loose upon society all the hordes of confusion, anarchy, and war.
It is because of this fact that Freemasonry is so keenly interested in and concerned for "the education of all the children of all the people." The "Temple" which the Craft is building is nothing other than the human family living happily together. The equality and democracy for which it has ever stood is nothing other than its preaching of the fact that men and women are by nature brethren and should live together as such. If there are any educational agencies, or any types of education, upon which Freemasonry wages a tireless war, it is because those agencies are promulgating an education which teaches men that we are not all brethren, and that it is not wise for us all to try to live together in harmony. Any institution which insists upon democracy as Freemasonry insists upon it must everlastingly be concerned much with the institutions of education. Like schools, like people.
An institution which demands so high an educational ideal on the part of the outside world should, so it would seem, itself set a shining example. This is the whole pith and contention of the National Masonic Research Society. There is no known way whereby, through a kind of magic, we can find light in Masonry. If a man wishes to learn something of history, he studies it; so, if a man would learn Freemasonry he must study it. Initiation is no occult process whereby, without the exercises of his own faculties, and minus the necessary acquisitions of knowledge, a man may be conducted into the full glow of truth, Masonic or otherwise. Those who would become real Masons must work to that end — the light does not come miraculously but at the end of a toilsome way. There is a vast deal — far, far more than most men dream — of knowledge and truth hidden away in our traditions, our history, our customs, our laws, and, above all, in our incomparable ritual, but a man can no more become possessed of that treasure without working for it, than he can come into an understanding of Greek without studying it. Masonic Research does not mean a delving into the dust bins of antiquity for rare lore — it means a digging out of Masonry that which there is now in it for truth, and for light.
These sentences may sound like broad generalizations, but if so, they are generalizations of facts that are real enough. To some of us it seems a sin and a shame that hundreds of lodges do not scruple to push a man from one degree to another until he has had them all, and all the badges that go with them, without so much as an effort made to tell him what it all means, without so much as a step taken toward leading him into a realization of all that he has experienced. No wonder that there are so many Masons who have nothing of Masonry save the name!
Do you agree with the definition of education given in the paper? Do you believe yourself to be an educated man? What has education to do with democracy? Why is there a vital relationship between the principles of Masonry and the principle of public education? How can Freemasons set a good example to the outside world?
The following references will furnish much interesting material on the subjects touched upon in the preceding paper by Brother Haywood.
These references should be assigned by the Study Club 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 supplemental papers of their own, or when the originals may be deemed appropriate without any alterations or additions.
The notes or papers thus prepared should be read at the opening of the study meeting, before the paper by Brother Haywood is taken up.
Mackey's Encyclopedia (Revised Edition):
Apprentice, p. 70. There are twenty-one references under this head which should be noted with the one treating of "Apron," p. 72; "Initiation," p. 353, and "Mysteries" and "Mysticism," pp. 496-500. All contain most suggestive information relative to the instruction and meaning of the first steps in educating the candidate. See also "Preparation of the Candidate," p. 578, and "Preparing Brother," p. 578.
Bridge Builders of the Middle Ages, p. 117.
Comacine Masters, p. 161
Fellow, p. 261 Fellow Craft, p. 261; Fellow Craft Perfect Architect, p. 262. These references should be read with the one dealing with "Degrees," p. 203, and "Desaguliers," p. 207. Of the latter to whom we may not unreasonably credit some service in the science of the Second degree, it has been said that he "taught two gracious kings to view all Boyle ennobled and all Bacon knew."
Gilds, p. 296.
Lodge, p. 449. On pages 449-452 there are twenty-two references to the word "lodge" or the Masonic terms of which it is a part. It is not surprising that the word dealing with congregations of Freemasons solemnly convened for work and worship should have so prominent and frequent a use by the brethren.
Preston, p. 579. See also "Prestonian Lecture" and "Prestonian Lectures" on p. 582; "Harodim," p. 319. Preston, a most methodical student and writer, laid down the monitorial portion of the work which was later concisely arranged by Thomas Smith Webb whose biography on page 841 should therefore be read in conjunction with that of Preston.
Roman Colleges of Artificers, p. 630.
Travelling Masons, p. 792.
* * *
* * *
OUR STUDY CLUB PLAN
"The Bulletin Course of Masonic Study," of which the foregoing paper by Brother Haywood is a part, was begun in THE BUILDER early in 1917. Previous to the beginning of the present series on "Philosophical Masonry," or "The Teachings of Masonry," as we have titled it, were published some forty-three papers covering in detail "Ceremonial Masonry" and "Symbolical Masonry" under the following several divisions: "The Work of a Lodge," "The Lodge and the Candidate," "First Steps," "Second Steps," and "Third Steps." A complete set of these papers are obtainable in the bound volumes of THE BUILDER for 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1920, and and the remaining papers of the series may be had in the 1921 bound volume which will be ready for delivery early in December. Single copies of 1921 back numbers are not obtainable, our stock having become exhausted.
Following is an outline of the subjects covered by the current series of study club papers by Brother Haywood:
THE TEACHINGS OF MASONRY
General Introduction. — A. Reasons for a course explaining what the "teachings of Masonry" mean. — B. How one can arrive at his own Philosophy of Masonry. — Conclusion. The Philosophy of Masonry is not a study of philosophy in general, but such a study of Masonry as a philosopher gives to any great intellectual problem.
- The Masonic Conception of Human Nature.
- The Idea of Truth in Freemasonry.
- The Masonic Conception of Education.
- Masonic Ethics.
- Masonry and Industry.
- The Brotherhood of Man.
- The Fatherhood of God.
- Endless Life.
- Brotherly Aid.
- Schools of Masonic Philosophy.
This systematic course of Masonic study has been taken up and carried out in monthly and semi-monthly meetings of lodges and study clubs all over the United States and Canada, and in several instances in lodges overseas.
The course of study has for its foundation two sources of Masonic information, THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia.
HOW TO ORGANIZE AND CONDUCT STUDY CLUB MEETINGS
Study clubs may be organized separate from the lodge, or as a part of the work of the lodge. In the latter case the lodge should select a committee, preferably of three "live" members who shall have charge of the study club meetings. The study club meetings should be held at least once a month (excepting during July and August, when the study club papers are discontinued in THE BUILDER), either at a special communication of the lodge called for the purpose, or at a regular communication at which no business (except the lodge routine) should be transacted — all possible time to be devoted to study club purposes.
After the lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the lodge over to the chairman of the study club committee. The committee should be fully prepared in advance on the subject to be discussed at the meeting. All members to whom references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with their material, and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Haywood's paper by a previous reading and study of it.
PROGRAM FOR STUDY CLUB MEETINGS
- Reading of any supplemental papers on the subject for the evening which may have been prepared by brethren assigned such duties by the chairman of the study club committee.
- Reading of the first section of Brother Haywood's paper.
- Discussion of this section, using the questions following this section to bring out points for discussion.
- The subsequent sections of the paper should then be taken up and disposed of in the same manner.
- Question Box. Invite questions on any subject in Masonry, from any and all brethren present. Let the brethren understand that these meetings are for their particular benefit and enlightenment and get them into the habit of asking all the questions they may be able to think of. If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them, send them in to us and we will endeavor to supply answers to them in time for your next study club meeting.
The foregoing information should enable study club committees to conduct their meetings without difficulty. However, if we can be of assistance to such committees, or any individual member of lodges and study clubs at any time such brethren are invited to feel free to communicate with us.
* * *
When my sun of life is low,
When the dewy shadows creep,
Say for me before I go,
"Now I lay me down to sleep."
I am at the journey's end,
I have sown and I must reap;
There are no more ways to mend—
Now I lay me down to sleep.
Nothing more to doubt or dare,
Nothing more to give or keep;
Say for me the children's prayer,
"Now I lay me down to sleep."
Who has learned along the way—
Primrose path or stony steep—
More of wisdom than to say,
"Now I lay me down to sleep?"
What have you more wise to tell
When the shadows round me creep?
All is over, all is well....
Now I lay me down to sleep.
* * *
"BY BEING A MAN"
THE MASON who studies carefully all that is said and done at the entrance to the lodge, when the candidate seeks admission thereto, will find food for long reflection. Indeed, in the whole circle of ideas suggested by the Ritual, not another one is more worthy of the carefullest thought than that which is taught by the entrance ceremony, because in that ceremony the Fraternity declares, in the plainest words and actions, what it requires, by way of qualification, of its devotees. What it requires is much, far more than most Masons perhaps have ever realized, but even so it may be summed up in this, that Masonry demands of candidates sound manhood, nothing more and nothing less.
For consider. It is not demanded that the candidate be rich, or that he be famous, or learned, or that he be of one race rather than another, or that he be old or young: nor is he asked if he believes in any one or the ten thousand creeds which vex men's minds, or if he belongs to this school of philosophy rather than to that. He gains admission by none of these things, but "by being a man," and by possessing the attributes and qualifications which normally go with being a man."
By manhood is meant force of character; good judgment, ability to work, to carry responsibilities, to fulfill one's duties; manhood is the salt of the earth, the hope of the world, the foundation of government, the guarantee of progress, and the salvation of man. the race is not to be saved, if ever it is saved, by opinions, theories, dogmas, and creeds, but by men and women who together know how to use good sense, wisdom, and experience. The special abilities that give men prominence, and the gifts and graces that lend them distinction, are all secondary to that. And what is true of the world at large is true of that world within the world, Freemasonry. The Order can do all that is its mission to do if it have enough manhood within its borders: without manhood it can do nothing.
* * *
THE HIGH FEES DANGER
Every advance carries with it its own dangers, in Masonry as well as in the world at large. In the great advance now being made by the Fraternity there lurks one of these dangers which a wise Mason will do well to consider. This advance means, in the majority of cases at least, the shouldering of debts for ambitious building enterprises, the raising of fees for initiation, and the increase of dues. In some instances brought to the attention of the writer Blue Lodges have raised their initiation fees to one hundred dollars, and a few to one hundred and fifty dollars: along with these high fees naturally go high dues of fifteen, twenty or twenty-five dollars a year. Consider what this means! How can a man who works for three dollars a day afford to pay one hundred dollars initiation fees? If he already chances to be a member of the Order how can he afford to pay yearly dues of fifteen or twenty dollars? The thing cannot be done, and this means that as the Fraternity raises the bars of entrance in just that proportion will it shut out an ever increasing mass of otherwise worthy men.
Those who uphold the tendency to increase fees beyond a reasonable limit urge that it helps to shut out undesirables, and that the Fraternity is growing too rapidly anyhow. But that is not the point. Among the laboring classes are men quite as worthy of membership and quite as capable of Masonry as can be found in any other classes; and if these men chance to be already in the Order it is working an unjust hardship on them to raise the annual dues beyond their ability to pay.
Moreover, and this is the gravest matter of all, this action which shuts out a large class of American life endangers the genuine democracy and equality of the Order. As things now stand, the Order appears to be quite as rich and powerful in the goods of this world as is healthy for it.
At the entrance to the lodge the candidate is made to understand by the way in which he is clothed, and by the state of his pockets, that it is his manhood and not his possessions that count; and that it is out of his manhood that real Masonry is to be built. What an inconsistency it is to tell him this at the door and then to tell him the exact opposite at the secretary's desk!
* * *
"WHEN I HAVE TIME"
When I have time, so many things I'll do
To make life happier and more fair
For those whose lives are crowded now with care;
I'll help to lift them from their low despair,
When I have time.
When I have time, the friend I love so well
Shall know no more those weary, toiling days;
I'll lead her feet in pleasant paths always,
And cheer her heart with words of sweetest praise,
When I have time.
When you have time! The friend you hold so dear
May be beyond the reach of all your sweet intent,
May never know that you so kindly meant
To fill her life with sweet content,
When you had time.
Now is the time! Ah, friend, no longer wait
To scatter loving smiles and words of cheer
To those around whose lives are now so dear;
They may not need you in the coming year—
Now is the time.
* * *
THE PAPAL INDEX
A GREAT many Protestants believe that the famous Index Expurgatorious of the Roman Catholic Church is now a thing of the past, and soon to be buried, like the coat of mail and the castle moat, in the merciful oblivion of everlasting forgetfulness.
Such, unfortunately, is not the case. The Index is now what it has ever been, and as vigorously used. Indeed the late Pope, Leo XIII, took pains to have it overhauled, its bureau reorganized, and its constitutions revised and republished. These Leonine Constitutions are published herewith for the benefit of the faithful in our own fold who may have curiosity about such things.
This copy has been taken from an excellent work on the subject: "The Censorship of the Church of Rome," by George Haven Putnam, Litt. D., and published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2-6 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y. The author, who is a man of great erudition, and has had a lifelong penchant for such researches, has canvassed his subject to the last limits of detail and interest, and he who would produce anything to supersede it must be prepared for great labours. Not the least admirable of the many admirable traits of Dr. Putnam's two volumes is his good humoured fairness, his desire to prove loyal to the truth as well as to his theme; to an intelligent man, himself experienced in the history and art of publishing, this has been doubtless no easy virtue while dealing with such materials as comprise the history of The Censorship of the Church of Rome.
The task of prohibiting publications not favourably received by the lords of the church is performed by a bureau known as the Congregation of the Index. The description of this body may be left to the pen of Dr. Putnam who, on page 427 of his second volume, writes as follows:
"The Congregations date in their final organization from Sixtus V (1585). The series now comprises eighteen. These Congregations might be compared in the nature and in the exercise of their functions to the standing committees of the United States Senate, excepting that their decisions do not have to be referred to any general body for action. These decisions are final unless disapproved by the pope. The pope retains for himself the official headship of the Congregation of the Index on the ground that the work of this Congregation has to do directly with matters of doctrine. The working body of the Congregation of the Index comprises ten or twelve members with votes, including always a group of cardinals. In addition to these voting members, there is a varying number of consultors (advisers) who are called in as experts in different divisions of knowledge, but who have no votes in the decisions arrived at. The Congregation which bears the name Propaganda is charged with the responsibility of receiving and sifting miscellaneous business, referring each division of such business to its appropriate Congregation. The Congregation of the Index has from the outset been conducted under the influence and under the practical control of the Order of the Dominicans. The secretary, who bears the name 'commissaries' and who is always a Dominican, has the general responsibility for the selecting and the shaping of the business of the Congregation. It is to the commissaries that suggestions are submitted by ecclesiastics or others concerning books which, in their judgment, call for the consideration of the Congregation. The commissaries is also himself under obligation to submit titles of doubtful books of which he has personal knowledge."
GENERAL DECREES CONCERNING THE PROHIBITION AND CENSORSHIP OF BOOKS
OF THE PROHIBITION OF BOOKS
I. OF THE PROHIBITED BOOKS OF APOSTATES, HERETICS, SCHISMATICS, AND OTHER WRITERS.
- All books condemned before the year 1600 by the Sovereign Pontiffs, or by Oecumenical Councils, and which are not recorded in the new Index, must be considered as condemned in the same manner as formerly: with the exception of such as are permitted by the present General Decrees.
- The books of apostates, heretics, schismatics, and all writers whatsoever, defending heresy or schism, or in any way attacking the foundations of religion, are altogether prohibited.
- Moreover, the books of non-Catholics, ex professo treating of religion, are prohibited, unless they clearly contain nothing contrary to Catholic Faith.
- The books of the above-mentioned writers, not treating ex professo of religion, but only touching incidentally upon the truths of Faith, are not to be considered as prohibited by ecclesiastical law, unless proscribed by special decree.
II. OF EDITIONS OF THE ORIGINAL TEXT OF HOLY SCRIPTURE AND OF VERSIONS NOT IN THE VERNACULAR.
- Editions of the original text and of the ancient Catholic versions of Holy Scripture, as well as those of the Eastern Church, if published by non-Catholics, even though apparently edited in a faithful and complete manner, are allowed only to those engaged in theological and biblical studies, provided also that the dogmas of Catholic Faith are not impugned in the prolegomena or annotations.
III. OF VERNACULAR VERSIONS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE
- As it has been clearly shown by experience that, if the Holy Bible in the vernacular is general permitted without any distinction, more harm than utility is thereby caused, owing to human temerity all versions in the vernacular, even by Catholics, are altogether prohibited, unless approved by the Holy See or published under the vigilant care of the Bishops with annotations taken from the Fathers of the Church and learned Catholic writers.
- All versions of the Holy Bible, in any vernacular language, made by non-Catholics, are prohibited and especially those published by the Bible Societies, which have been more than once condemned by the Roman Pontiffs, because in them the wise laws of th Church concerning the publication of the sacred books are entirely disregarded.
Nevertheless, these versions are permitted to students of theological or biblical science, under the conditions laid down above (No. 5).
IV. OF OBSCENE BOOKS.
- Books which professedly treat of, narrate, or teach lewd or obscene subjects are entirely prohibited, since care must be taken, not only of faith, but also of morals, which are easily corrupted by the reading of such books.
- The books of classical authors, whether ancient or modern, if disfigured with the same stain of indecency, are, on account of the elegance and beauty of their diction, permitted only to those who are justified on account of their duty or the function of teaching; but on no account may they be placed in the hands of, or taught to, boys or youths unless carefully expurgated.
V. OF CERTAIN SPECIAL KINDS OF BOOKS.
- Those books are condemned which are derogatory to Almighty God, or to the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Saints, or to the Catholic Church and her worship, or to the Sacraments, or to the Holy See. To the same condemnation are subject those works in which the idea of the inspiration of Holy Scripture is perverted, or its extension too narrowly limited. Those books, moreover, are prohibited which professedly revile the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, or the clerical or religious state.
- It is forbidden to publish, read or keep books in which sorcery, divination, magic, the evocation of spirits, and other superstitions of this kind are taught or commended.
- Books or other writings which narrate new apparitions, revelations, visions, prophecies, miracles, or which introduce new devotions, even under the pretext of being private once, if published without the legitimate permission of ecclesiastical superiors, are prohibited.
- Those books, moreover, are prohibited which defend as lawful duelling, suicide, or divorce; which treat of Freemasonry or other societies of the kind, teaching them to be useful, and not injurious to the Church and to Society; and those which defend errors proscribed by the Apostolic See.
VI. OF SACRED PICTURES AND INDULGENCES.
- Pictures, in any style of printing, of our Lord; Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels and Saints, or other Servants of God, which are not conformable to the sense and decrees of the Church, are entirely forbidden. New pictures, whether produced with or without prayers annexed, may not be published without permission of ecclesiastical authority.
- It is forbidden to all to give publicity in any way to apocryphal indulgences, and to such as have been proscribed or revoked by the Apostolic See. Those which have already been published must be withdrawn from the hands of the faithful.
- No books of indulgences, or compendiums, pamphlets, leaflets, etc., containing grants of indulgences, may be published without permission of competent authority.
VII. OF LITURGICAL BOOKS AND PRAYER BOOKS.
- In authentic editions of the Missal, Breviary, Ritual, Ceremonial of Bishops, Roman Pontifical, and other liturgical books approved by the Holy Apostolic See, no one shall presume to make any change whatsoever; otherwise such new editions are prohibited,
- No litanies — except the ancient and common litanies contained in the Breviaries, Missals, Pontificals, and Rituals, as well as the Litany of Loreto, and the Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, already approved by the Holy See — may be published without the examination and approbation of the Ordinary.
- No one, without license of legitimate authority, may publish books or pamphlets of prayers, devotions, or of religious, moral ascetic, or mystic doctrine and instruction, or others of like nature, even though apparently conducive to the fostering of piety among Christian people; unless issued under license, they are to be considered as prohibited.
VIII. OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS.
- Newspapers and periodicals which designedly attack religion or morality are to be held as prohibited, not only by the natural, but also by the ecclesiastical law.
Ordinaries shall take care, whenever it be necessary, that the faithful shall be warned against the danger and injury of reading of this kind.
- No Catholics, particularly ecclesiastics, shall publish anything in newspapers or periodicals of this character, unless for some just and reasonable cause.
IX. OF PERMISSION TO READ AND KEEP PROHIBITED BOOKS.
- Those only shall be allowed to read and keep books prohibited, either by special decrees, or by these General Decrees, who shall have obtained the necessary permission, either from the Apostolic See or from its delegates.
- The Roman Pontiffs have placed the power of granting licenses for the reading and keeping of prohibited books in the hands of the Sacred Congregation of the Index. Nevertheless the same power is enjoyed both by the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office, and by the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda for the regions subject to its administration. For the city of Rome this power belongs also to the Master of the Sacred Apostolic Palace.
- Bishops and other prelates with quasi-episcopal jurisdiction may grant such license for individual books, and in urgent cases only. But if they have obtained from the Apostolic See a general faculty to grant permission to the faithful to read and keep prohibited books, they must grant this only with discretion and for a just and reasonable cause.
- Those who have obtained Apostolic faculties to read and keep prohibited books may not on this account read and keep any books whatsoever or periodicals condemned by the local Ordinaries, unless by the Apostolic favour express permission to be given to read and keep books by whomsoever prohibited. And those who have obtained permission to read prohibited books must remember that they are bound by grave precept to keep books of this kind in such a manner that they may not fall into the hands of others.
X. OF THE DENUNCIATION OF BAD BOOKS.
- Although all Catholics, especially the more learned, ought to denounce pernicious books either to the Bishops or to the Holy See, this duty belongs more especially to Apostolic Nuncios and Delegates, local Ordinaries, and Rectors of Universities.
- It is expedient, in denouncing bad books, that not only the title of the book be expressed, but also, as far is possible, the reasons be explained why the book is considered worthy of censure. Those to whom the denunciation is made will remember that it is their duty to keep secret the names of the denouncers.
- Ordinaries, even as Delegates of the Apostolic See, must be careful to prohibit evil books or other writings published or circulated in their dioceses, and to withdraw them from the hands of the faithful. Such works and writings should be referred by them to the judgment of the Apostolic See as appear to require a more careful examination, or concerning which a decision of the Supreme Authority may seem desirable in order to procure a more salutary effect.
OF THE CENSORSHIP OF BOOKS
I. OF THE PRELATES INTRUSTED WITH THE CENSORSHIP OF BOOKS.
- From what has been laid down above (No 7), it is sufficiently clear what persons have authority to approve or permit editions and translations of the Holy Bible.
- No one shall venture to republish books condemned by the Apostolic See. If, for a grave and reasonable cause, any particular exception appears desirable in this respect, this can only be allowed on obtaining beforehand a license from the Sacred Congregation of the Index and observing the conditions prescribed by it.
- Whatsoever pertains in any way to Causes of Beatification and Canonization of the Servants of God may not be published without the approval of the Congregation of Sacred Rites.
- The same must be said of Collections of Decrees of the various Roman Congregations; such Collections may not be published without first obtaining the license of the authorities of each Congregation, and observing the conditions by them prescribed.
- Vicars Apostolic and Missionaries Apostolic shall faithfully observe the decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda concerning the publication of books.
- The approbation of books, of which the censorship is not reserved by the present Decrees either to the Holy See or to the Roman Congregations, belongs to the Ordinary of the place where they are published.
- Regulars must remember that, in addition to the license of the Bishop, they are bound by a decree of the Sacred Council of Trent to obtain leave for publishing any work from their own Superior. Both permissions must be printed either at the beginning or at the end of the book.
- If an author, living in Rome, desires to print a book, not in the city of Rome but elsewhere, no other approbation is required beyond that of the Cardinal Vicar and the Master of Apostolic Palace.
II. OF THE DUTY OF CENSORS IN THE PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF BOOKS.
- Bishops, whose duty it is to grant permission for the printing of books, shall take care to employ in the examination of them men of acknowledged piety and learning, concerning whose faith and honesty they may feel sure, and that they will show neither favour nor ill-will, but, putting aside all human affections, will look only to the glory of God and the welfare of the people.
- Censors must understand that, in the matter of various opinions and systems, they are bound to judge with a mind free from all prejudice, according to the precept of Benedict XIV. Therefore they should put away all attachment to their particular country, family, school, or institute, and lay aside all partisan spirit. They must keep before their eyes nothing but the dogmas of Holy Church, and the common Catholic doctrine, as contained in the Decrees of General Councils, the Constitutions of the Roman Pontiffs, and the unanimous teaching of the Doctors of the Church.
- If after this examination, no objection appears to the publication of the book, the Ordinary shall grant to the author, in writing and without any fee whatsoever, a license to publish, which shall be printed either at the beginning or at the end of the work.
III. OF THE BOOKS TO BE SUBMITTED TO CENSORSHIP.
- All the faithful are bound to submit to preliminary ecclesiastical censorship at least those books which treat of Holy Scripture, Sacred Theology, Ecclesiastical History, Canon Law, Natural Theology, Ethics, and other religious or moral subjects of this character; and in general all writings specially concerned with religion and morality.
- The secular clergy, in order to give an example of respect towards their Ordinaries, ought not to publish books, even when treating merely natural arts and sciences, without their knowledge.
They are also prohibited from undertaking the management of newspapers or periodicals without the previous permission of their Ordinaries.
IV. OF PRINTERS AND PUBLISHERS OF BOOKS.
- No book liable to ecclesiastical censorship may be printed unless it bear at the beginning the name and surname of both the author and the publisher, together with the place and year of printing and publishing. If in any particular case, owing to a just reason, it appears desirable to suppress the name of the author, this may be permitted by the Ordinary.
- Printers and publishers should remember that new editions of an approved work require a new approbation; and that an approbation granted to the original text does not suffice for a translation into another language.
- Books condemned by the Apostolic See are to be considered as prohibited all over the world, and into whatever language they may be translated.
- Booksellers, especially Catholics, should neither sell, lend, nor keep books professedly treating of obscene subjects. They should not keep for sale other prohibited books, unless they have obtained leave through the Ordinary from the Sacred Congregations of the Index; nor sell such books to any person whom they do not prudently judge to have the right to buy them.
V. OF PENALTIES AGAINST TRANSGRESSORS OF THE GENERAL DECREES.
- All and every one knowingly reading, without authority of the Holy See, the books of apostates and heretics, defending heresy; or books of any author which are by name prohibited by Apostolic Letters; also those keeping, printing, and in any way defending such works; incur ipso facto excommunication reserved in a special manner to the Roman Pontiff.
- Those who, without the approbation of the Ordinary, print, or cause to be printed, books of Holy Scripture, or notes or commentaries on the same, incur ipso facto excommunication, but not reserved.
- Those who transgress the other prescriptions of these General Decrees shall, according to the gravity of their offence, be seriously warned by the Bishop, and if it seem expedient, may also be punished by canonical penalties.
We decree that these presents and whatsoever they contain shall at no time be questioned or impugned for any fault of subreption or obreption, or of Our intention, or for any other defect whatsoever; but are and shall be ever valid and efficacious, and to be inviolably observed, both judicially and extrajudicially, by all of whatsoever rank and preeminence. And We declare to be invalid and of no avail, whatsoever may be attempted knowingly or unknowingly contrary to these, by any one, under any authority or pretext whatsoever; all to the contrary notwithstanding.
And We will that the same authority be attributed to copies of these Letters, even if printed, provided they be signed by the hand of a Notary, and confirmed by the seal of some one in ecclesiastical dignity, as to the indication of Our will by the exhibition of these presents.
No man, therefore may infringe or temerariously venture to contravene this document of Our constitution, ordination, limitation, derogation, and will. If any one shall so presume, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God, and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at St. Peter's in Rome, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-seven, on the 25th day of January, in the nineteenth year of Our Pontificate.
A. CARD. MACCHI.
A. Panici, Subdatary
De Curia: J. De Aquila Visconti.
Registered in the Secretariat of Briefs,
SCHEDULE OF INDEXES
Schedule of Indexes Which Were Issued Under the Authority of the Church, or Which, Having Been Compiled by Ecclesiastics, Were Published Under the Authority of the State.
1526 — London, Henry VIII, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
1543 — Paris, the Sorbonne.
1544 — Paris, the Sorbonne.
1545 — Lucca, the Inquisition.
1546 — Louvain, Theol. Faculty, Emperor Charles V.
1549 — Cologne, Synod.
1549 — Venice, Casa.
1550 — Louvain, Theol. Faculty, Emperor Charles V.
1551 — Valentia, Inquisition.
1552 — Florence, Inquisition.
1554 — Milan, Arcimboldi.
1554 — Valladolid, Inquisition.
1554 — Venice, Inquisition.
1558 — Louvain, Theological Faculty.
1559 — Valladolid, Valdes.
1559 — Rome, Paul IV.
1564 — Trent, Pius IV.
1569 — Antwerp, Theological Faculty of Louvain.
1570 — Antwerp, Theological Faculty of Louvain.
1571 — Antwerp, Theological Faculty of Louvain.
1580 — Parma, Inquisition.
1583 — Madrid, Quiroga.
1584 — Toledo, Inquisition.
1588 — Naples, Gregorius.
1590 — Rome, Sixtus V.
1596 — Rome, Clement VIII.
1607 — Rome, Brasiehelli.
1612 — Madrid, Sandoval
1617 — Cracow, Szyskowski
1624 — Lisbon, Mascarenhas.
1632 — Rome, Capsiferro.
1632 — Seville, Zapata.
1640 — Madrid, Sotomayor.
1664 — Rome, Alexander VII.
1670 — Clement X.
1682 — Innocent XI.
1704 — Rome, Innocent XII.
1707 — Madrid, Volladores.
1714 — Namur and Liege, Hannot.
1729 — Koniggratz, Bishop.
1747 — Madrid, Prado.
1754 — Vienna, Archbishop and Emperor.
1758 — Rome, Benedict XIV.
1767 — Prague, Archbishop.
1790 — Madrid, Cevallos.
1815 — Madrid, Inquisitor-General.
1835 — Rome, Gregory XVI.
1841 — Rome, Gregory XVI.
1865 — Rome, Pius IX.
1877 — Rome, Pius IX.
1881 — Rome, Leo XIII.
1895 — Rome, Leo XIII.
1900 — Rome, Leo XIII.
"No two schedules of Church Indexes or even of papal Indexes could be prepared that would be in precise accord with each other. An Index of one date would be reissued some years later with a later date, but sometimes without change of text; in the majority of instances, these later issues carried with them supplements in which were summarised the prohibitions of the years succeeding the original issue. The above schedule, which may be taken as approximately complete, is intended to cover only those Indexes which were issued under the authority of the Church and the State, and which, having included, in addition to the classified lists of books condemned, separate 'constitutions,' decrees, or briefs, may be accepted, at least for purposes of reference, as constituting each a separate Index publication."
* * *
PUBLICATIONS WANTED, FOR SALE, AND EXCHANGE
We are constantly receiving inquiries from members of the Society and others as to where they might obtain books on Masonry and kindred subjects, other than those listed each month on the inside back cover of THE BUILDER. Most of the publications wanted have been out of print for years. Believing that many such books might be in the hands of other members of the Society willing to dispose of them we are setting apart this column each month for the use of our members. Communications from those having old Masonic publications will also be welcomed.
Post office addresses are here given that those interested may communicate direct with each other, no responsibility of any nature to he attached to the Society.
It is requested that all brethren whose wants may be filled through this medium communicate with the Secretary so that the notices may then be discontinued.
By Bro. George D. MacDougall, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada: "History and Cyclopedia," by Oliver and Macoy; "A Concise Cyclopaedia of Freemasonry," by E. L. Hawkins; "Masonic Facts for Masons," by W. H. Russell: "Genius of Freemasonry," by J. D. Buck; "The Traditions, Origin and Early History of Freemasonry," by A. T. C. Pierson; "Illustrations of Freemasonry," by Wm. Preston; "The Spirit of Freemasonry," by Wm. Hutchinson.
By Bro. D. D. Berolzheimer, 1 Madison Ave., New York, N. Y.: "Realities of Masonry," Blake, 1879; "Records of the Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons," Condor, 1894; "Masonic Bibliography," Carson, 1873; "Origin of Freemasonry," Paine, 1811.
By Bro. Ernest E. Ford, 305 South Wilson Avenue, Alhambra, California; Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, volumes 3, 6 and 7, with St. John's Cards, also St. John's Cards for volumes 4 and 5; "Masonic Review," early volumes; "Voice of Masonry," early volumes; Proceedings Grand Council of California for the years 1877, 1878 and 1879; Transactions Supreme Council Southern Jurisdiction for the years 1882 and 1886.
By Bro. Henry H. Klussmann, 310 Monastery St., West Hoboken, New Jersey: "The Masonic Eclectic," volumes 1 and 2, published by Masonic Publishing and Manufacturing Co., New York, N. Y.; "The Historical Landmarks and Other Evidences of Freemasonry," by George Oliver,.D.D., published by Masonic Publishing Co., Wm. T. Anderson, 3 East 4th St., New York, N. Y.
By Bro. David E. W. Williamson, P. O. Box 754, Reno, Nevada: Perdiguier's "Livre du Compagnonnage," and W. H. Rylands' "Freemasonry in the Seventh Century," quoted in Gould's "Concise History of Freemasonry."
By Bro. H. Sandelands, 9258 91st St., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: "The Spirit of Freemasonry," by Wm. Hutchinson; "Signs and Symbols," by Dr. G. Oliver; "Symbolical Teachings of Masonry and Its Message," by T. M. Stewart; "Sidelights on Freemasonry," by J. T. Lawrence.
By Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin, "Catalogue of the Masonic Library of Samuel Lawrence," "Second Edition of Preston's Illustrations of Masonry."
FOR SALE OR EXCHANGE
By Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin, "Stray Leaves from a Freemason's Note Book," by George Oliver. This volume also contains "Some Account of the Schism showing the presumed origin of the Royal Arch Degree." Univ. Mas. Lib. edition. Price $3.00. "Lights and Shadows of Freemasonry," by Robert Morris. (Fiction and anecdotes.) Price $3.50.
* * *
MASONRY'S RIGHT OF WAY
Bro. L. B. Mitchell, Michigan
They come to us in numbers now where once there was but one,
The trail that leads up to our doors seems fairly overrun;
And so the question comes to us, how can the Craft today
Be popular and still maintain its old-time mystic sway?
A new and faster age is here and we're of it a part
And there's so much in this old world that tends to win its heart
Away from what once seemed to be held more in Brotherhood,
And from what we have always taught to be man's highest good.
So let us welcome to the Art all who are qualified;
The things that they most need should not be to them now denied;
They've nowhere else to go to find what we in Truth can give,
Our mission is to teach to them that Brotherhood must live.
And much within the past has come to us to do and dare,—
To help to keep this world of ours in fairly good repair,
And it may come to us again as in our country's past
When it was ours to forge the dies that were for freedom cast.
So in these days of dire unrest we're finding but our own
To help to build the Temple walls that henceforth may be known
As that one place where truth and love in altruistic sway
Displayed the beauties of its Art by its own right of way.
* * *
There is no greater sign of a general decay of virtue in a nation, than a want of zeal in its inhabitants for the good of their country.
* * *
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.
GEORGE B. FOSTER
Brother Block's article on "The Finality of Masonry" aroused my curiosity to know something about Mr. George B. Foster to whom he refers.
(See THE BUILDER for August, last, page 222.) George Burman Foster was a professor of theology in the University of Chicago until his death a year or so ago. He became the theological storm center at three separate times: first, by his publication of "The Finality of the Christian Religion"; second, by the publication of "The Function of Religion in Man's Struggle for Existence"; and third, by the heresy trial in which his brother Baptists of Chicago tried to oust him from his ministerial fellowship on account of certain things said in the last mentioned book.
* * *
The frontispiece of THE BUILDER for August last has interested me much. But what is meant by "Mopses"? I see that it has some reference to "female Freemasons," but what is the connection?
L.B.D., District of Columbia.
The word refers to the dog. If you will return to the picture you will note that one of the ladies is handing a dog to the candidate. That animal was used by those androgynous lodges as a sign of faithfulness, and it was that use which won for them the sobriquet "mopses." The term, so it is supposed, came from the German "mops," which means a pug dog.
* * *
I have never been able to get clear in my mind just what is meant by Masonic Jurisprudence. Perhaps you can help me out. Also, maybe you can recommend a book or two on the subject so that I can get posted.
Masonic Jurisprudence has to do with all matters pertaining to Masonic Law, and to such customs and usages, the Landmarks for example, as have to do with Masonic law. Mackey's Manual of Masonic Jurisprudence may be recommended as, perhaps, the best work on the subject. THE BUILDER has published a number of articles on Jurisprudence, notably the series prepared by Bro. Atchison which ran through Volume III, beginning with the January issue; and the articles by Bro. Roscoe Pound, on pages 105 and 211 of the same volume, and pages 117, 136 and 317 of Volume IV.
* * *
THE "FOUR OLD LODGES" AND WHAT BECAME OF THEM
Oftentimes I have wondered whatever became of those "Four Old Lodges" which figured so conspicuously in the rise of modern Speculative Masonry? Did they go out of existence? Were they absorbed by other bodies? If they are still working they should be famous shrines for Masons the world over, and I think we should hear more about them.
G. L. C., Indiana.
Fortunately for us Bro. R. F. Gould devoted one of his most valuable essays to this very question. This essay was read at an installation meeting of "Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge, No. 12," on March 5, 1900, and may be found in its published form in his "Collected Essays and Papers Relating to Freemasonry" which was published by William Tait, 1913. The following paragraph, on page 186 of that volume, answers your query:
"All Four of the Time Immemorial lodges have had their mutations of fortune. Antiquity seceded, became a Grand Lodge and eventually returned to the fold. Original No. 2 is dead. Fortitude and Old Cumberland has lost its rank; and the Royal Somerset House and Iverness was erased from, but after a lapse of a few years restored to the roll. Nevertheless, the three lodges which survive, gven if they were at the bottom of the list of lodges instead of where they are, would always have connected with them associations which belong to no other lodge, so that if they have not priority of rank they stand in priority of estimation over all other lodges. It is somewhat remarkable that no histories of these lodges have been written. But the fame of Old Antiquity, the vicissitudes of Fortitude and Old Cumberland, and the galaxy of worthies who were members of Somerset House and Iverness, may yet, let us hope, serve as founts of inspiration from which future chroniclers may draw freely, and as freely record in lodge histories the eminent services rendered to Freemasonry by previous generations of distinguished Craftsmen, whose names adorn the rolls of either of the three still surviving lodges of Immemorial Antiquity; or, to vary the expression, the three living English lodges, of whose existence "the memory of man runneth not the contrary."
* * *
THE CRYPTIC DEGREES
I had an argument with a Brother Mason which we have agreed to leave to you to settle. I said that the Cryptic Degrees of Masonry included all those that belong to Royal Arch Masonry. He said that the term refers to only three of those degrees. Is he right, or am I?
G. J. H., Georgia.
Unless we mistake your inquiry you are neither one right, for the term "Cryptic Degrees" should be used only of the two degrees known as Royal, and Select Master. The word "Crypt" comes from the Greek term "Krupto," which means "to hide," and it was early used of a vault or underground cavern, such as the catacombs where the persecuted Christians were wont to hide. Accordingly, Cryptic Masonry is that which has to do with the vault. There was a vault, it seems, under Solomon's Temple; stones were hewn out there, it is probable, and much of the work done in preparing stones for the building was carried on in it.
* * *
BOOKS ON THE CROSS
Can you recommend a book on the cross as a symbol?
L.B.T., North Dakota.
Of the making of such books there has been no end. The French savants have devoted more time to the subject than any other group of scholars: if you read in that language write us again and we shall give you a list of titles. In English you will very probably find what you are looking for in the two following volumes: "The Cross in Tradition and History," by W. W. Seymour, Putnam's, 1898, and "The Cross in Ritual, Architecture and Art," by George S. Tyack, William Andres and Company, London, 1900.
* * *
FREE AND ACCEPTED AMERICANS
Can you tell me something about "The Free and Accepted Americans"? I think they were a kind of secret political body in the early days of the last century, but that is as much as I can learn about them.
This organization was formed about 1853 as a native American patriotic secret society. Its founder was a man named William Patton and its first meeting was held in a stable, the second in Convention Hall, New York City. In 1855 there were fifty-nine temples in New York City and Kings County. It later was absorbed by the Know Nothing party and did not survive the Know Nothing movement. Its original name was American Brethren. It was afterwards known as Wide Awakes but the most common name was the Templar's Order of the American Star, Free and Accepted Americans. The form of the name indicates that many of its members or at least its founders were Masons but I have nothing to show that the organization itself was ever affiliated with the Masonic Order. See McMaster's History of the United States in chapters dealing with the period.
* * *
SOME PERTINENT COMMENT AND A REPLY
In an entirely friendly spirit, but none the less emphatically, I must make protest against the third paragraph of your editorial on "A Pressing Masonic Need" in the May issue of THE BUILDER. I am surprised that you should use such a word there as "evil," where it is so uncalled for.
In your second paragraph, you use the word "shame" in the positive degree to describe a condition of mind, and rightly so. The cheerful ignorance of very many highly placed brethren, let alone the undecorated masses, is only equalled by their careless attitude in these matters.
In your fourth paragraph, you use the word "evil" in the superlative degree, and rightly so. With many of us in Canada the term "American Masonry" is becoming a synonym for all that is inaccurate, unreliable, and fanciful to the limit, both in work and word. Your presses seem to turn out "literature" somewhat as Lenin's print rouble notes; you know the results.
But you have no justification for using the word "evil" in the comparative degree — or any other — to describe the condition so well set forth in your third paragraph. It might be styled "regrettable," but I do not concede even that, for why should the young man be blamed for having less wisdom than his fathers? What opportunities have United States Masons had to develop Masonic scholarship? Your field of original research is much more limited than that of your English and European brethren; you have of native origin, only that referred to by Bro. Parker in your issue for last November ("Freemasonry among American Indians"); of imported subjects you have little besides the quarrel as to seniority between the Grand Lodges of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, which is of only local interest at present, and the various methods of work due to brethren, immigrants from the British Isles and Europe, uniting as best they could in territories where no Grand Lodge had previous jurisdiction, and without any standard save their memories and good intentions.
Again, why is it "unfortunate" that "the chief treasure of Masonic learning" is of English origin. It will then be equally unfortunate that your best racial stocks, with their genius for self-government are also imported from Anglo-Saxon origins, and that you have strayed so far from the standards of your only true American (Indian) predecessors.
You put the cart before the horse in stating that "the Masonry of England is so very different from ours that . . . their books are misleading to an American reader." That fault is more properly a reflection upon American ritualists. Our "Emulation" work which dates from 1814 at least, is still available for comparison and realignment but to assure themselves, since 1776, that
"Daughter am I in my Mother's house
But mistress in my own"
your leaders have "improved" the work much as the villiage choir did Handel. The actual fact now is that the Masonry of the United States is so very different from that of England that your books are misleading to an English reader, and that has application as between your own Grand Lodges, too.
I must, however, admit the truth of your closing sentences in this objectionable third paragraph. The editions of our good books are too small for all but contemporary readers, and always will be so long as the degree mills work and men have the conviction that Freemasonry is but a pleasant social order with some funny trimmings. Even in 1878, the learned author of Kenning's Cyclopedia writes that our literature is often "a drug on the market," which would indicate that the proportion of those who take Masonry seriously, to the general membership who don't, was no greater then than it is today.
I think Most Wor. Bro. Schoonover, in support THE BUILDER, is doing just what you ask for, and that from your readers — helped thereto by your united efforts, past and to come — will appear those able to carry on the ideals set up by Quatuor Coronati. But if it takes three generations to make a gentleman, how long will it take to make a scholar in a line of thought that is not associated with commercial or professional needs? I think you will admit that this requires a type of mind and circumstance that your young nation has not yet produced.
N.W.J. Hayden, Ontario
If any of the words in the editorial in question can, by any fair interpretation, be construed to mean that I have described English Masonic literature and scholarship an "evil" then all those words are at once and in toto recalled and recanted: but of course that was not the point of the paragraph at all. The "evil" lies in the fact that we American Masons are so largely compelled to depend on a Masonic literature that is foreign to us. What would your English brethren say, Brother Haydon, were they suddenly to be deprived of their own literature and as suddenly made dependent on American books and writers? American Masonry is in many ways quite different from the English variety, and I can well imagine that English Masons, under such an imagined condition, would feel like walkers in a fog as they would try to make their way through the chapters written about American Masonry and by American Masons. Some of us, by dint of keeping everlastingly at it, have gotten English Masonry more or less straightened out in our minds, but the great majority of American Masonic readers are in a different way: some of the very best books ever written on Masonic themes are shut to them simply because they can't find their way about in the fields of English Masonic life. It is that state of affairs that is the "evil," not the fact that we have access to English literature. As to that literature THE BUILDER has been second to none in recommending it, and using it, and praising it, and promoting it.
I do not believe for a moment that the mere fact that we are "a young nation" (we are young only in a certain very restricted sense as your Gilbert Chesterton once pointed out in a valuable essay) has anything to do with our Masonic scholarship, any more than it has had anything to do with our American scholarship in other lines. The fact that Henry Charles Lea was an American did not prevent him from writing the best histories of the Inquisition (see what Lord Acton says about them) that have ever been written, and the fact that Motley was born here did not make it impossible for him to write a history of the Rise of the Dutch Republic. We have the same facilities for Masonic scholarship that we have for any other scholarship; also, I believe we have here and there in the great body of American Masonry many minds quite as capable of the highest performances in the subjects in question as minds bred by any other nation.
Why then this "evil" about which I wrote? Why haven't we something adequate by way of a national Masonic literature? I believe it is because American Masonry some eighty or ninety years ago took a certain "set," or fell into certain ruts, one of the results of which is that it has been indifferent to, and often actually hostile to, any attempt to spread abroad the true light concerning Masonry's own history and character. To this very day, and in some Grand Jurisdictions as well as in subordinate lodges, the mere suggestion that something be done by way of encouraging Masonic study and Masonic literature will be greeted with a great hue and outcry, as though some unhappy brother were about to abolish the ancient landmarks. It is because our traditions have so long looked in a very different direction that we have no body of Masonic literature worthy of us, and little encouragement to anybody to try to produce such a literature.
You say that we have little Masonic background and few Masonic traditions. Is it your thought that all Masonic literature should be antiquarian in its nature? It does not seem so to me. We need first-class histories of the Masonry of each and every one of our Jurisdictions; we need a reliable one-volume history of Masonry in the United States; and we need a general clearing up of origins as a whole: but we also need, and as badly, a body of literature that can describe, appraise, and interpret Masonry as it now exists, here and abroad.
If you wish me to say that "the Masonry of the United States differs very much from the Masonry of England," instead of vice versa, very well; it is merely a matter of words. The fact remains that, for one or a thousand reasons, the difference is there: and by token of that fact is it that we need a literature that understands conditions as they are here and addresses itself to our own Masonic mind in such a way that we can understand "what it is all about."
* * *
THE FIRST RECORDED FREEMASON
In Brother Dudley Wright's article in the June issue of THE BUILDER it is suggested, in the second sentence, that Sir Robert Moray who was initiated five years prior to Ashmole — which would be in 1641 — was the first speculative brother of whom we have record. It may be of interest to know that in "Two Centuries of Freemasonry," published by M∴ W∴ Brother Ed Quartier-la-Tente, of Switzerland, there appears on page twenty-one this statement:
"At a fairly early date non-professionals had themselves received into the guild of Masons. The first of whom history makes mention was a Scotchman, Mr. John Boswell of Auchinleck, who signed the notes of a meeting of the lodge of Edinburgh on June 6, 1600."
The writer then gives us a little more information about Sir Robert Moray by stating "The first to be admitted on English territory was also a Scotehman, viz. Robert Moray, a general of the Scotch Army, admitted May 20, 1641, by members of the ancient lodge of Edinburgh who were serving in the Scotch Army. As Moray was not a member of the guild, he at once became a Master."
There is much to interest United States brethren in this book of Brother la Tente, but if he issues a second edition I hope he will rectify the numerous errors of proof-reading which should have never been allowed to pass.
N. W. J. Haydon, Ontario.
* * *
SPIRITUALITY AMONG THE EARLY BUILDERS
In the June number of THE BUILDER appears an interesting and instructive paper on "Emblematic Freemasonry," by Brother Arthur E. Waite, and while one feels indebted to him for the courteous way in which he differs in some of his conclusions from what certain of us hold, it is rather astonishing to find him drawing those conclusions.
One such, and perhaps the principal one of which I am thinking, is contained in the following words of Brother Waite:
"In Dionysian Architects, Roman Collegia, Comacines and Building Guilds of the Middle Ages I have failed to discover any traces of an art of building spiritualized."
Now if Brother Waite means that in these he has failed to find the Legend of the Third Degree it might be difficult to show that he is wrong. But although that may be a very important part of our speculative system it is not the whole, and many good Masons are of the opinion that it has no great antiquity and that without it our system could still be one veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. And, if so, I venture to suggest that there is abundant evidence that the Medieval Builders spiritualized their art. Naturally I turn to the Comacine Masters in whose columns at Wurzburg Brother Waite only sees evidence that the Cathedral Builders were acquainted with Holy Scripture.
Now whether they derived their information with regard to the Temple of Solomon from Scripture or from other sources surely the association of mystical names with them indicates a purpose quite outside of mere historical fact or architectural development.
And what of their use of the Lions, especially in positions architecturally wrong where they carry columns on their backs — or of their grotesques — meaning nothing unless something spiritual? Why do they carve on their lodge at Assisi a rose in connection with the open compasses? What do they everywhere mean by their interlaced work which, if for ornament only, would come very near being a vain repetition?
I do not wish to labour the point but I think I could show by many more illustrations that throughout the work of the Comacine Masters there are evidences of a spiritual teaching.
As regards Leader Scott who, as Brother Waite says, was the first authority on the Comacines, may I mention she was Mrs., not Miss Baxter, and she had, I believe, a brother who was a Freemason of some learning, so that her knowledge of modern speculative Masonry was not exclusively derived from Italian sources, as Brother Waite suggests. I think this brother, if I remember aright — I have not the book at hand for the moment — wrote one or two chapters of the "Cathedral Builders."
W. Ravenscroft, England.
* * *
THE OLDEST LODGE SECRETARY
A party sent me a clipping from THE BUILDER for June 1921, to the effect that Brother Edward F. Chase of Siloan Lodge No. 780, A. F. & A. M., of Chicago, Illinois, was the oldest active secretary in the United States if not in the world, and that he was born February 25th, 1831.
Now my father-in-law, Robert Vickers, a member of Virginia City Lodge No. 1, Virginia City Chapter No. 1, and Virginia City Commandery No. 1, was born February 15th, 1830 making him a year and ten days older than Bro. Chase.
He has been secretary of the Chapter and recorder of the Commandery for over twenty years and still holds said positions and I think you will not find more neatly and better kept record, than his.
He very seldom misses a meeting and walks from his home to the lodge room more quickly than lots of younger men.
Geo. E. Gohn, Montana.
* * *
AN APPRECIATION OF BROTHER BLOCK'S ARTICLE IN THE AUGUST ISSUE
I have just finished reading "The Finality of Masonry" by Brother Louis Block, P.G.M., in "THE BUILDER" for August. In my opinion this is the most valuable constructive contribution to Masonic thought that has been published for a long time. Especially is it valuable under the conditions created in the fraternity by the "making" of so many Masons during the past five years, whereby the fraternity is confronted with problems that seriously threaten its influence in society. We have too many brethren whose conception of Masonry does not extend beyond the word of the ritual, and who are therefore unable, even if they desire, to exemplify in their lives, the spirit of Masonry. It is the spirit, not the word alone, that makes Masonry a living force needed now more than ever before in my Masonic experience for the salvation of Masonry itself.
It would be well if Brother Block's contribution were read in every Masonic lodge in the United States. At the earliest opportunity I shall present it to the School of Instruction in this Masonic District.
Frederick E. Manson, Pennsylvania.