A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 13 No. 2 – February 1927
EFFECTS OF ANTI-MASONRY ON THE MASONIC FRATERNITY, 1826-1856
Bro. Erik McKinley Eriksson, Iowa
IT is inevitable that the Masonic Institution should have been seriously affected by the great wave of anti-Masonry which followed Morgan's disappearance. However, during the years which have intervened little has been done to determine just what happened to the Fraternity, though there has been much generalizing. Anti-Masons, even at the present time, glibly dispense the information that organized Freemasonry was exterminated and point to the disappearance of Masonry in Illinois as proof. They might also point to the fact that the Grand Lodge of Michigan became defunct for a time and that the Grand Lodge of Vermont was practically suspended for ten years. But setting forth such facts does not prove their contention for there were twenty-three other Grand Lodges which did not become defunct and which did not suspend.
Masonic historians have also failed, thus far, to make a thorough study of the effects of anti-Masonry. They, too, have been content with generalizations such as "[anti-Masonry] was disastrous to the growth and progress of the Institution." What apparently happened in a few Grand Jurisdictions has been accepted as sufficient evidence to prove that anti-Masonry almost exterminated the Masonic Fraternity in the United States. They have pointed to the decrease in the number of lodges represented at the annual communications as illustrative of the devastation wrought by the anti-Masonic movement. But, in so doing, they have failed to consider that there might have been other factors than anti-Masonry operating to bring about a decline in Masonic strength during the period following the Morgan affair.
When one studies the situation in each Grand Jurisdiction separately he becomes convinced that anti-Masonry, though a factor of great importance, was not by any means solely to blame for the low state to which the Masonic Institution fell during the decade of the thirties. In some jurisdictions Masonry was in a low state before 1826 due to internal troubles of various kinds. In the case of most of the Grand Lodges, the percentage of lodges represented at the various communications before 1826 was not high. The development of anti-Masonry, of course, brought about a further decline in attendance.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE CHOLERA EPIDEMIC
Furthermore, in explaining the situation, especially in the thirties, there was a factor that seems entirely to have escaped the historians, and that was the prevalence of cholera in the country. During the period beginning about 1830 the whole western world was swept by an epidemic of cholera that brought death to many and created a great fear among the people. It is impossible to determine just how much effect this epidemic had in causing lodges to die because the members feared to congregate. Nor can its influence in causing non-representation at the communications of the Grand Lodges be determined. Conversely, it is impossible to think that cholera did not have a harmful effect on the Institution, aiding in producing conditions which have heretofore been attributed to anti-Masonry alone.
Still another factor that must be given consideration was the financial depression and panic which occurred during the period. Whether due to the "removal of the deposits" from the Second Bank of the United States or to manipulations of the Bank, the fact remains that, beginning late in 1833 and extending into the spring of 1834, there was a widespread depression. Then followed a few years of "good times" characterized by an orgy of speculation. In 1837 a panic occurred which gripped the whole country. In some localities its effects were felt well into the decade of the forties. The resultant difficulty of securing money must be recognized as a factor in aiding Masonry's decline and delaying its recovery. Members could not pay their dues to local lodges, and these lodges could not discharge their obligations to the Grand Lodges.
THE EFFECT IN NEW YORK STATE
Since the Morgan affair occurred in western New York it is obvious that the effects of the ensuing anti-Masonic excitement would first be felt there. In New York the ground was well prepared before 1826 for the coming of anti-Masonry, as has been pointed out.  To compare the small representation at the Grand Lodge communications in the thirties with the representation in 1827 does not tell the story, for 1827 was an unusual year in New York Masonic history. A comparison with earlier years gives a more accurate view. An examination of the Grand Lodge Proceedings as early as 1817 reveals an unhealthy condition existing at that time in the Masonic Institution in the state. There were 293 lodges on the list but of these only 30 were represented at the annual communication on June 4, 1817. There were 10 lodges listed as having "Ceased to Work" while 16 were listed under "Warrant Surrendered." There were listed 47 suspensions for non-payment of dues and 5 expulsions of un-Masonic or immoral conduct. At least 17 warrants for new lodges were issued during the year, indicating that even that early an over-rapid expansion was taking place.
In 1818 only 28 lodges were represented, and it was apparent that some action was necessary. Therefore in 1819, the "dead timber" was eliminated and the lodges were renumbered. So rapidly had new lodge been created that there still remained 323 on the list of which 82 were represented. By 1821 the lodges were again in a low state. While 79 were represented, 179 others were reported as in arrears for two years or more! In 1822 there were represented 110 lodges an in 1823 there were 112 represented. In the latter year internal dissensions came to a head and the Grand Lodge was split. The result was the formation of a City Grand Lodge and a Country Grand Lodge, whose rivalry in the following years was a factor of prime importance in preparing the ground for anti-Masonry.
Each Grand Lodge tries to outdo the other in chartering new lodges with the result that in some localities too many lodges were created to be properly supported. Likewise, as a result, unworthy candidates were admitted who were among the first to secede from the Fraternity after the anti-Masonic excitement began. The Country Grand Lodge, the stronger of the two, at its annual communication in 1824, granted warrants for 30 new lodges. In the same year, at its annual communication, the City Grand Lodge created 11 new lodges. At the communications the following year the Country Grand Lodge granted 46 new warrants while the City Grand Lodge granted 12.
Meanwhile efforts were being made to reunite the Grand Lodges with the result that on June 7, 1827, they were merged. The interest aroused in the proposed merger resulted in an extraordinarily large representation, for at the communication of the merged Grand Lodges there were present the representatives of 228 lodges. It is significant that, at this merged communication, 14 petitions for warrants for new lodges were granted. It is very evident from this that anti-Masonry had not as yet affected the Masonic Institution. Seemingly, Masonry in New York was, in 1827, at the peak of prosperity, yet, it should be noted that there were 84 lodges which had made no returns since 1822.
POLITICAL ENEMIES OF CRAFT
From the evidence presented it should be clear that anti-Masonry alone did not bring about the decline in Masonic strength in New York. There can be no question but that anti-Masonry, once organized so as to combine religious fanatics and political opportunists, such as Thurlow Weed, William H. Seward and Millard Fillmore, exercised a devastating effect on the Fraternity, but it is just as certain that the Masons of New York were, to some extent, to blame for their own troubles.
By early 1828, it was apparent that the anti-Masonic movement was having an effect on the Masonic Institution. In fact, from the time of the beginning of the Morgan investigations and trials, there had been public renunciations of Masonry by members in western New York. A group of these gave encouragement to political anti-Masonry by holding conventions at Le Roy on Feb. 19 and July 4, 1828.
THE EFFECT WITHIN THE FRATERNITY
The attendance at the Annual Communication of 1828 was only slightly affected, as there were 130 lodges represented, as compared with 142 represented in the two Grand Lodges in 1825. However, during the year 1828 only 3 warrants for new lodges were issued and these were the last for some years. There were 103 suspensions for non-payment of dues and 8 expulsions for un-Masonic conduct as compared with 38 suspensions and 9 expulsions in the combined lodges in 1825.
After 1828, the effects of anti-Masonry, on the individual Masons, on the local lodges and on the Grand Lodge began to be more apparent. Early in 1829 occurred the first organized movement looking to the surrender of the local lodge charters. On Feb. 20, a circular was issued by 76 Masons of Ontario County recommending to the lodges and chapters of western New York "the expediency of returning their charters." On March 13, six lodges of Monroe County, including that at Rochester, surrendered their charters to the Grand Lodge in "acquiescence to public opinion." However, contrary to a rather general opinion, this example was not widely followed. On May 5, 1829, delegates from 19 lodges in Cayuga and Onondaga Counties held a meeting. Instead of adopting the course taken by the Monroe County Masons, they drew up an address disclaiming all knowledge of the Morgan affair prior to Morgan's disappearance and denying all the charges made against the Fraternity. They declared, "We venerate Masonry for its antiquity, we admire it for its moral principles, and we love it for its charity and benevolence." The following resolution was also adopted:
Resolved, That in the opinion of this convention it would be inexpedient and improper to take measures for the surrender of Masonic charters, and that our brethren be respectfully advised to adopt no measures in relation to that subject.
Similar action was taken by a convention of 114 delegates representing 14 lodges and 5 Royal Arch Chapters of Chenango, Cortland and Madison Counties, held Sept. 2, 1829. Complete figures show that, during the whole period of the anti-Masonic excitement, only 76 lodges, out of the 484 existent in 1825, surrendered their charters.
Forty-three fewer lodges were represented at the 1829 Annual Communication than were represented the previous year. The fact that the dues of 23 lodges were remitted, shows that many Masons were not paying their dues, though only 22 individuals were reported during the year as suspended for that reason. It should be noted in passing that in 1829 the anti-Masons made unsuccessful attempts to secure the passage of laws by the New York legislature forbidding "extra judicial oaths" and barring Masons from serving on juries when one party in a case was a Mason and the other was not.
THE GRAND LODGE VISITORS
In 1830 there was a further decline in the Grand Lodge representation, as is shown by the accompanying chart.  At the annual communication that year a system of Grand Lodge "Visitors" for each county was inaugurated, it being the duty of each "Visitor" to visit all the lodges in his district, to examine into their condition and to receive the surrender of their charters, jewels and other property if they wished to give them up. Action was also taken to remit the dues of delinquent lodges under certain prescribed conditions which had to be complied with by December, 1830, in order to prevent forfeiture of their charters.
At the 1831 session, the Grand Lodge hesitated to take drastic action against delinquent lodges. It contented itself with passing a resolution declaring that lodges which had not met for a year or more should forfeit their warrants if they did not meet before June, 1832. A resolution was also passed requiring lodges in arrears for ten years or more to make returns by the time of the next annual communication or forfeit their warrants.
In the June, 1832, communication of the Grand Lodge, the threatened drastic action was taken. The warrants of 5 lodges were forfeited because a "citation" of the last annual communication had not been answered; 84 lodges which had made no returns since 1822 also had their warrants forfeited. The Grand Secretary was likewise instructed to demand the warrants of 23 lodges which had not met for over a year. This form of procedure was also followed in later communications so that, by 1836, no less than 338 lodges had had their warrants forfeited by the Grand Lodge; 45 of these later forfeitures occurred in 1833, 89 in 1834 and 92 in 1835. While this drastic action cleared out the dead lodges, it was not without its complications, for, out of all the warrants ostensibly surrendered or forfeited, only 54 had been collected by the Grand Secretary in 1836. The scattering about of the old warrants presented excellent opportunity for the development of clandestine Masonry and for a time constituted a serious problem.
THE TURNING OF THE TIDE
So far as anti-Masonry was concerned, the year 1836 marked the turning point for the Masonic Fraternity in New York. At the communication in June of that year, the Grand Secretary, James Herring, made a significant report in which he reviewed the events of the past ten years. He called attention to the fact that anti-Masonry in the state was rapidly dying out and that "the revival of Masonic labors and usefulness begins to be manifest." As concrete evidence of this there was presented the petition of Ark Lodge, No. 160, to be restored, which petition was granted. Later in the year two other lodges were revived.
In 1837 Masonry in New York was well on the road to recovery when its progress was interrupted by another split in the Grand Lodge growing out of an attempt to discipline certain Masons of New York City for promoting a Masonic procession on St. John's Day (June 24, 1837) without authority. From this time on, the lack of prosperity in the New York Grand Lodge cannot be blamed on anti-Masonry but must be attributed chiefly to the strife among the Masons themselves. However, the Panic of 1837 must not be overlooked as a factor in hindering the recovery of Masonry in New York. But in spite of these factors, additional lodges were restored, and in 1839 the first new lodge since 1828 was granted a warrant. By 1843 there were 93 lodges in the state and the number was increasing rapidly.
In reviewing the anti-Masonic period in New York, several facts stand out as especially interesting. Out of 53 counties in the state, the lodges in 29 counties were entirely extinct in 1836, either through surrender or forfeiture of warrants. Even in New York County, where anti-Masonry made little headway politically, only 22 out of 43 lodges were alive in 1836. Altogether, there were at that time only 71 lodges left in the state, and 14 of these were not in good standing. As a result of the decline in the lodges the Grand Lodge resources dropped from $5,301 in 1827-1828 to $1,631 in 1835-1836. It is apparent that hundreds of Masons in the state, if they did not openly secede, at least allowed their membership to lapse. But many others dared to defy their persecutors and kept many local lodges, as well as the Grand Lodge, alive and functioning during the period. Great credit must be given to General Morgan Lewis, a veteran of the Revolution, who was Grand Master, 1830-1843, and to James Herring, the Grand Secretary, 1829-1845. The leadership of these two men during the period was of inestimable benefit to the New York Masons.
ANTI-MASONRY IN VERMONT
From New York, as has been pointed out,  anti-Masonry spread to the neighboring states. In no state were its effects more noticeable than in Vermont. By 1828 the excitement had produced enough effect to reduce the Grand Lodge attendance from 52 in 1827 to 39 in 1828. When the annual communication was held at Montpelier, in October, 1829, 40 out of the 68 lodges then under charter were represented. In only 13 of them had there been any initiations during the year.
At this communication two important things were done. One was to elect Nathan B. Haswell of Burlington as Grand Master and Philip C. Tucker of Vergennes as Deputy Grand Master. The former served continuously until 1847 with Tucker as his Deputy and then was succeeded by the latter. It was these two men who were chiefly instrumental in bringing the Masonic Institution in Vermont through the period of anti-Masonic persecution. The other important action was to issue the famous "Appeal to the Inhabitants of Vermont ..." This was a pamphlet of twelve pages, written by Philip C. Tucker, and signed by those present at the communication. Two thousand copies were printed and distributed. The "Appeal" traced the development of the anti-Masonic movement, enumerated the charges made against the Masonic Fraternity and then proceeded to deny them in toto. Though the list of signers included many of the most important men in the state, including Governor Samuel C. Crafts and ex-Governor Martin Chittenden, not to mention numerous others, it did not allay the spirit of persecution.
With the complete triumph of the political anti-Masons in the state elections of 1831, the condition of Freemasonry became more critical. In the Grand Lodge, on Oct. 11 of that year, a resolution was introduced to the dissolution of the Grand Lodge, but after a heated debate the proposition was defeated by a vote of 99 to 19. However, a recommendation was made to the lodges to hold only two meetings each year, "one for good order and discipline and instruction in Masonry, the other for the yearly choice of officers."
THE POLITICAL FACTOR
The bitterness with which the presidential campaign of 1832 was fought in Vermont was probably responsible for the decline in the representation at the annual communication from 39 in 1831 to 10 in 1832. It was noised abroad that at the next session of the Grand Lodge in 1833 another attempt would be made to secure its dissolution. This resulted in 34 lodges being represented. On Oct. 9, 1833, a preamble and resolution calling for the surrender of the local charters and the dissolution of the Grand Lodge was introduced. Again there was heated debate but when the vote was taken the resolution was defeated 79 to 42.
After the adjournment of the Grand Lodge, the Grand officers, on Oct. 21, 1833, published an address to the people of the state. They reviewed the history of Masonry in Vermont and pointed out that of 73 charters issued since 1794, there were 68 still in force. They charged that those who sought to secure the surrender of charters were not animated by "an honest intention to pacify public opinion," but had "far less honorable motives." They denied that the Masonic Institution had interfered with politics or religion, and closed by warning the people of the dangerous precedent that would be established by the success of the movement to exterminate Masonry.
Only 7 lodges were represented in 1834. The chief business consisted of drawing up and adopting six resolutions, including a reaffirmation of a resolution passed at the previous communication giving lodges permission to surrender their charters, "a measure calculated to relieve [those] who wished to retire from Masonry." At this session the time of the annual communications was changed from October to January, and, as a result, no meeting was held in 1835.
THE EMERGENCY MEASURES TAKEN BY GRAND LODGE
On Jan. 13, 1836, the Grand Lodge met at Burlington, with only nine Grand officers present. These proceeded to elect officers and then passed the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Grand Master, Grand Treasurer and Grand Secretary, with such of the Grand Lodge as may make it convenient, are hereby authorized to attend at the hall of such Lodge on the 2nd Wednesday of January, A.L. 5837 and adjourn said Lodge to the 2nd Wednesday of January, A.L 5838, and thereafter biennially.
This instruction was complied with, and the form of the Grand Lodge organization was preserved until Jan. 14, 1846, when a convention was held at Burlington on the invitation of Grand Master Haswell, sent privately to trusted Masons in the state. Forty-three delegates attended the meeting on the date set. After the convention had considered the matter of reviving the Grand Lodge, the meeting was dissolved, and the Grand Lodge was declared to be opened, with ten lodges represented. With this beginning the recovery of the Masonic Institution in Vermont proceeded slowly but surely.
THE MOVEMENT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Up to 1829, anti-Masonry had hardly made itself felt in New Hampshire. In fact, each year from 1826 to 1828 inclusive, new lodges were chartered, so that the total number rose from 40 in 1825 to 52 in 1828. Three of these were listed in 1826 as being extinct. However, in 1829, no new charters were issued. It was reported to the Grand Lodge that some lodges had been seriously affected by the anti-Masonic excitement. This was reflected in the decreased representation at the annual session at Concord on June 9 and 10. Thereafter the attendance declined until in 1835 only 13 lodges were represented. No action in regard to delinquent lodges was attempted until 1837. At the annual session of that year it was resolved that the lodges should make returns and be represented at the next annual communication or else forfeit their charters.
When the Grand Lodge met in 1838 it was not ready to enforce its decree in relation to delinquent lodges. However, it did revoke one charter while another was surrendered. In 1839 another charter was surrendered. At the 1839 annual session it was reported that 26 lodges had made no returns for periods varying from six to eleven years. But it was left to the 1840 annual session to take the action threatened in 1837, for 26 lodges were declared to have forfeited their charters. Having pruned the dead branches, the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire proceeded on the road to recovery so rapidly that by 1856 it had become stronger than ever before.
THE EFFECT PRODUCED IN MAINE
Up to 1829 there was no tangible evidence that Freemasonry in Maine had been affected by anti-Masonry. Between 1825 and 1829 there were ten new lodges chartered, raising the total from 48 in the first mentioned year to 58 in 1829. At the annual communication at Portland, Jan. 15, 1829, it was reported that three new charters had been issued within the past year. However, at this communication, the Grand Lodge representation was only 23 as compared with 38 in 1828. Further evidence that anti-Masonry was making itself felt is seen in the fact that 18 lodges were reported to have "unsettled accounts" as compared with one so reported in 1827.
At the 1830 communication, official notice was for the first time taken of anti-Masonry when a report was submitted by a committee on "the subject of the peculiar duties of Masons at the present time." The committee advised against the issuance of a public address for the purpose of vindicating Masonry and urged Masons to "quietly let the tempest take its course" endeavoring "to vindicate the sincerity of their profession by a well-ordered life and conversation."
ATTEMPTS TO STEM THE TIDE
In 1831 the Grand Lodge by-laws were amended so as to provide for holding the annual communications at Augusta, in the hope that the decline in representation would be halted. In this hope the Masons of Maine were doomed to disappointment, for the representation declined until in 1837 only the representatives of one lodge together with the Grand officers were present at the annual communication on Jan. 19. At this session the charter of one lodge was declared forfeited. But the lowest point of Masonic activity in Maine had not yet been reached. When the time arrived for the annual communication on Jan. 20, 1842, not one lodge was represented. Neither was the Grand Master present, so the various Grand offices with the exception of that of Grand Secretary were filled by Grand officers pro tem.
It was not until 1844 that Freemasonry in Maine may be said to have definitely started on the up-grade. At the annual communication at Augusta on Jan. 18 there were represented 19 lodges. Among these were one which had surrendered its charter in 1836 and the one whose charter had been forfeited in 1837. As the representatives of both were allowed to vote this amounted to virtual restoration, though formal restoration did not take place until later. It was decided to again hold the annual communications at Portland. Action was also taken to restore such lodges as desired it. Thereafter, satisfactory progress toward complete recovery was made, though quite slowly at first. When the Grand Lodge, on July 4, 1845, broke the ground for the "Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad," it was evident that the spirit of persecution in Maine had melted away.
- J. Hugo Tatsch, THE BUILDER, August, 1926. ↩
- This chart will appear at the conclusion of the article. ↩
- Erik McKinley Eriksson, THE BUILDER, December, 1926. ↩
(To be continued)
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AN ANTI-MASON ON MASONRY
The Rev. David Barnard thus expressed himself in 1847 in a letter to a religious periodical of the day:
Masonry is a harlot. For the Bible and the Shaster, Christ and the Koran, are equally indifferent to her. Masonry does teach and bind by solemn oath and under awful penalties to keep secret both murder and treason.
Further on he propounded the following theses on the subject, which he undertook to defend and prove: "That Freemasonry is profane and blasphemous; that Freemasonry conflicts with the laws of both God and man, and is in its principles and practice murderous; that Freemasonry is Deism, and its secret and avowed purpose the destruction of religion."
— Masonic Review, March, 1847]
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FUNDAMENTALS IN FREEMASONRY
Bro. C. H. Briggs, P.G.M., Missouri
This article takes up the discussion of the question that was introduced in the January number under the heading of "A Lay Brother's Conception of God." M. W. Bro. Briggs writes from what is generally known as the "Fundamentalist" point of view. He is a prominent Minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a Past Grand Master of the State of Missouri, for which in this matter he therefore speaks with some authority.
IN his petition the candidate states that "he is a firm believer in the one living and true God." The open Bible is before him when he is obligated. He is told that it is one of the Great Lights; that it is God's inestimable gift to man — that it is to be the rule and guide of his faith and practice. He is also taught that no Freemason should ever engage in any great or important undertaking without first invoking the aid and blessing of Deity. He is taught that the All-Seeing Eye pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart and will reward us according to our merits. The oath with which he concludes and binds each obligation is a solemn appeal to a personal God to whom he acknowledges his accountability. Some ten or twelve years ago Prof. Leuba of Bryn Mawr College told us that half the professors in the leading Universities and Colleges of this country do not believe in a personal God. When a writer in a religious paper referred to him as an atheist he indignantly denied the implication, but said he did not believe in a personal God who answers prayer. Freemasonry does. He would not be an eligible candidate in Missouri. Freemasonry is founded upon a firm belief in the God of the Bible. Each Freemason is left to his own interpretation of the teachings of the Bible concerning God, but when he rejects the authority of the Bible concerning God it is time for him to retire from the Order. In the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, 1888, pp. 46-49, we find a case in point. A brother was expelled from Montrose Lodge, No. 408, for "denying the Divine authority of the Holy Bible," for "Non-belief in the existence of Deity." His own statement at his trial was that he did not believe any part of the Holy Scriptures or Bible as a revelation from God — that he did not believe in the God of the Bible. Judge Noah M. Givan, Past Grand Master, presented the Report of the Committee on Appeals and Grievances sustaining the action of Montrose Lodge in expelling the brother and this "Report was adopted by a rising vote with entire unanimity and great enthusiasm." The report quoted with approval Mackey's statement that "it is a landmark that 'a Book of the Law' shall constitute an indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge." Mackey defines the "Book of the Law" as "that volume which, by the religion of the country, is believed to contain the revealed will of the Grand Architect of the Universe."
It may be urged that Mackey and the Grand Lodge of Missouri are narrow, that other Grand Jurisdictions may hold that the Bible is only a symbol, and in no sense authoritative. There may be a breadth at the cost of power. Someone has defined the Platte as a river "one mile wide and one inch deep." The last time I crossed the Platte at Grand Island, Nebraska, in July, 1925, I saw only sand in its channel. Mackey says:
In all Lodges in Christian countries the "Book of the Law" is composed of the Old and New Testaments; in a country where Judaism was the prevailing faith the Old Testament alone would be sufficient, and in Mohammedan countries, and among Mohammedan Masons, the Koran might be substituted.
Mackey's reasoning is sound, it is Masonic. It is essential that we have a "Book of the Law" which contains a revelation of God. As I have already said each Freemason is left to his own interpretation of the "Book of the Law." His belief in God does not depend upon Nature only, but he believes in a God who has revealed himself to men. He is required to pray to this God, and he owes his personal accountability to the "All-Seeing Eye Whom the Sun, Moon and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions," and who "pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our merits."
Our Masonic traditions lead us back to Solomon's Temple, the first permanent building reared by human hands to the worship of the one true and living God. King Solomon believed in a God who reveals his will to men. He believed in a personal God who is interested in his children. He believed in prayer and we have in the Bible a sublime prayer which he offered at the Dedication of the Temple and which is a part of the Ritual of the General Grand Chapter of the United States in the Most Excellent Degree.
Men who have only vague and misty conceptions of God are welcome to build on their fog banks a more sublime system of morals than that of Freemasonry if they can, but let them be consistent and not demand that we shall forsake the Rock on which our Fraternity has always rested. But they tell us they cannot reconcile Genesis with Geology. We can. We are acquainted with many Oriental Legends of Creation. They are of interest only to scholars and can never be made popular But from the East there comes one poem which is immortal. Before he is brought to light the Entered Apprentice hears these words: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said "Let there be Light: and there was Light."
The man who does not believe this is not a proper subject for advancement in the mysteries of Freemasonry. He may be an excellent Theosophist, a sincere Buddhist, an honest Fire Worshipper and withal a moral man, but he cannot be a Freemason in the truest sense of that term. The poem from which we have quoted reveals the progressive creative processes until Man made in God's image stands forth to fulfill his mission of winning dominion over the things God had made.
It is only the shallow thinker who sneers at Genesis as unscientific. Can modern Geology find earlier traces of vegetable than of animal life? And yet we are confident that vegetable life is older than animal life, because animal life feeds upon vegetable life. Genesis is scientific in that it tells us that vegetable life preceded animal life. How comes it that Moses was a geologist three thousand years in advance of his day? Freemasons who believe that in the Bible we have God revealed can readily believe that the God who gave Moses on Nebo's lonely height a view of the Land of Promise could have unfolded in panoramic form creative processes to the inspired seer chosen to give Genesis to mankind.
The order given in the first Chapter of Genesis is the exact order unfolded by Modern Geology as an angel might have viewed it from a standpoint beyond our world, the slow unfolding of the mighty drama which found its culmination in man. That poem which opens the book of Genesis is more than three thousand years old and gives us all we know of the origin of the world and of man.
He who accepts the teachings of Freemasonry that God is revealed in the "Book of the Law" finds no difficulty in believing that Divine inspiration gave that immortal poem to the author of Genesis. He who does not believe in inspiration and yet wants to be a Freemason may try to fit a round peg into a square hole, but I cannot help him.
There are those who cannot adjust their theories of evolution to the teachings of Freemasonry concerning the Bible. Perhaps no term in common use today is more confusing than evolution. To say you are an evolutionist conveys no definite meaning until you indicate the kind of an evolutionist you may happen to be at that particular moment. We may apply to evolution what Mark Twain said about Geology, which he told us was was a very interesting science because it gave such wholesale returns from such trifling investments of fact. This is not a treatise on evolution. We are interested in it here only as it bears upon Freemasonry. But in this connection Bryan's unanswered challenge may well be considered: "Of the million species of life that science claims to know today show me a single instance where you have ever crossed the line between species and produced a new and fertile species."
I am waiting for that challenge to be fairly met before I reject the account of Creation given in Genesis. The great American philosopher, Josh Billings, in his lecture on Milk put the problem in about these words, "The mule is half hoss and half jackass, and there kum to a stop, Nature discovering her mistaik." For thousands of years men have been using mules and still have to cross the ass with the horse to get a mule. And that useful animal still remains "without pride of ancestry or hope of posterity." In their eagerness to explain things without God men are often as easily convinced as was the Irishman when he found a Government blanket marked "U.S." "Sure it is mine. It has my initials, 'U' for Patrick and 'S' for McCarty." In a sketch of Edison in a magazine a year or two ago we were told how he explained the origin of life in our world. "It must have come as a spark from some other world." So Tyndal in that famous Belfast address in 1874 prolonged the "vision backward across the boundary of experimental evidence" to discern in matter "the promise and potency of every form or terrestrial life." He admits the lack of evidence and throws no light upon the question "How came that promise and potency there?" He only darkened counsel by words without knowledge. He was consistent with his deterministic philosophy, which Darrow holds today, when he told the inmates of a British penal institution that they were where they were because of offenses against the social order which they could not help committing and society could not help punishing them. That was Darrow's plea for those Chicago criminals two or three years ago — that infinite forces coming out of the past had driven them to their crime.
Freemasonry believes in a personal God who is a free spirit, and who has made man in his image — a free spirit who is responsible to God for his conduct. The deterministic philosophy cannot be harmonized with Freemasonry. Harry Emerson Fosdick in the Ladies' Home Journal a year or two ago tried to adjust the relations between evolution and religion. He succeeded to his own entire satisfaction but I could not discover how immortality began in his long chain of life. Evolutionists are fond of ridiculing what they call the Carpenter theory of Creation, but even that seems more rational than what I must call their Hermit Crab theory — that God-if there is a God — watched the slow development of life until the human body was evolved and then slipped into it an immortal spirit. Here is where evolution is weak. We may concede that man's physical structure has been developed from the lower orders of life and therefore his body is subject to the same general laws of birth, growth, nutrition and decay. We even think we see reason developing in the higher orders of animal life, but when we come to man's moral nature there is a chasm which no theory of evolution can ever bridge. Conscience, the sense of right and wrong in choices, the recognition of the spiritual realm, the sense of God and the things of God — all these separate man from every other form of terrestrial life and confirm the record of Creation given us in Genesis, which Freemasonry has always accepted, and which it will surrender to plausible theories unsustained by evidence.
The papers reported that Darrow before going to meet Bryan in Tennessee went to the Metropolitan Museum to hunt up proof of evolution especially as shown by prehistoric remains of the horse. Not long before an Eastern College professor told us that the horse proved evolution. The modern horse has one toe to each foot. We have geologic remains of the two-toed horse, the three-toed and the four-toed, and at last a little five-toed horse hardly a foot high. Here is the proof cries this wise man. "Tell it to the marines, the sailors won't believe it." The modern horse may have been developed from that little animal with five toes to each foot, this was evolution within the lines of species which we all recognize, and not development across lines. Embryology is the strongest argument offered for evolution but when closely scanned it only proves the harmony of the Creator's work:
One God, one Law, one Element And one Far-off Divine Event To which the whole Creation moves.
Huxley in his "Study of Zoology" said:
So definitely and precisely marked is the structure of each animal that in the present state of our knowledge there is not the least evidence to prove that a form in the slightest degree transitional between any two of the groups, Vertebrata, Annulosa, Mollusca, and Coelenterata either exists, or has existed during that period of the earth's history recorded by the geologist.
A few years ago Dr. T. H. Morgan of Columbia University said:
We are teaching too much on the subject of evolution and comparative anatomy. The result has been that the young student loses his faith in God and theology. This tendency is very prevalent in Western Universities. It is time to call a halt in our emphasis upon the theory of evolution. We must remember that its sole foundation is comparative anatomy and that the data which forms its basis is questionable.
DID GOD MAKE MAN?
"A Lay Brother" in giving us his "Conception of God" uses this language:
The Bible says somewhere that God created man in his image and likeness. I do not think so, but I think that man created God in his image and likeness.
In this he agrees with Col. Robert G. Ingersol, who used to say "An honest God is the noblest work of man."
Ingersol's sneer was as shallow as it was irreverent. Man never made an honest God. Referring to the Greek Pantheon, Bishop Hendrix of Kansas City used to say "There was not a gentleman on Olympus." Men are incapable of making gods nobler and better than themselves. Our "Lay Brother" is dreaming when he says:
If we desire to trace the rise and development of religion we find first that man worshipped forces which he did not understand. We come later to idol worship and the anthropomorphic deities.
A consistent evolutionist who thinks man has developed from the amoeba, must of course find the origin of religion in the lowest and crudest superstitions. But he is begging the question. If we accept the Bible as a revelation of God, which is a fundamental truth in Freemasonry, we have an account of man's creation, and we find him a worshipper of the one true and living God. If we reject the authority of this "Book of Law" we are in absolute darkness concerning beginnings.
The writer has a consciousness of personal identity continuous for at least seventy-four years (except as interrupted by sleep), but there lies back of that a period of several years of which he has no knowledge in the strict sense of that word. He believes what his parents have told him and is content.
So our knowledge of human life in this world is made known to us in history, more or less uncertain. Palaeontology and Archaeology may throw much light upon the ages behind us, but no art or skill of man can lead us back to beginnings. No less devout and reverent a Bible scholar than Dr. George Adam Smith told a group of young preachers that the Twenty-third Psalm could not have been written by David because it presents too lofty a conception of God for that benighted age. The trouble with him was that as an evolutionist he was adjusting the facts to his theories instead of testing his theories by the facts.
The claim of evolutionists that religions began with the lowest superstitions and were gradually refined and improved until Monotheism came late in human history through evolutionary processes is not only unproven, but is contradicted by the history of religions. Every great religion the world has ever known is loftier intellectually and nobler morally in its earlier stages than in its later history. I need not trace at length the history of Brahminism, Buddhism and Mohammedanism — they all show this tendency of human nature to corrupt rather than to improve religions. The mission of the Hebrew people was not to give Monotheism to the world, but to preserve the primitive revelation of God which was dying out all around them. When Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees, all around him were men who shared the same faith in God — his own kindred, Pharaoh in Egypt, Abimelech, King of Gerab, and Melchisedec, King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God. These leave no successors that we can trace in their faith in God. When Moses is closing his career the only trace we can find of that faith is a torch going out in the darkness, a back-sliding prophet who loved the wages of unrighteousness-Balaam, the son of Beor, who was slain among the Midianites in Moses' last campaign.
In the rotunda of the Congressional Library at Washington there are some great bronze statues to the leaders of the world's intellectual life. One honors a Jew who was probably the world's greatest expert in religion. His letters, still extant and widely read, reveal a fuller knowledge of Judaism, Christianity and Paganism than we find in the writings of any other man. Writing of men who corrupt religion he says:
When they knew God they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful: but became fain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts and creeping things.
I have said man never made an honest God. He cannot create characters better than he knows. Shakespeare does not give us a character that in moral elevation is the equal of Saul of Tarsus. Milton's Satan in "Paradise Lost" is a demigod. Byron's Satan in Cain is a "Brocken" shadow of Byron. The Nazarene cannot be worked into fiction. Wallace's attempt is the weakest part of Ben Hur. The only perfect pictures of the Devil in the world's literature are found in the Bible. One is in the third chapter of Genesis, one in the Book of Job, and if you want another you can find it in the record of the temptation of Jesus given in the Gospels. Beecher said the Book of Job is the greatest drama ever written. It is the boldest flight of the human imagination I know.
God, Satan and men are introduced as characters and all sustain their parts. There is nothing like it in literature. One of the speakers throws out this challenge, "Canst thou by searching find out God?" That challenge man has never met. God is known only because he is revealed. Telescope, microscope and spectrum analysis deal with matter only. God is a Spirit. Man has a body, but he is a living soul made in the likeness and image of God. Hence he can know God for God can reveal himself to his child.
Freemasonry holds that the Bible is God's inestimable gift to man. Man has never discovered God. But he to whom God is revealed finds confirmation of his faith on every hand. To him "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork." Kepler as he grasps the great laws which govern the movements of heavenly bodies cries out, "I am thinking God's thoughts after him." We know God through the Bible or we do not know him. All human speculations concerning him which are not based upon a revelation he has given us and which we find in the Bible, are but guess work.
Freemasonry made American institutions. The leading spirits in those strenuous times were members of our Fraternity. The judicial oath with which men are inducted into office, qualify as jurors, or as witnesses, make a legal conveyance of real estate, or a return to a tax assessor, are man's solemn appeal to Almighty God to whom he acknowledges his responsibility. When Washington was inducted into office as President the oath of office was administered by Chancellor Livingstone, Grand Master of New York, and Washington kissed the Bible brought from St. John's Lodge. While Church and State are separate in this country, yet our Constitution recognized Sunday. Truth is of two classes. Astronomy, Chemistry, Geology, Biology are terms we use to classify what man has learned by the study of Nature. Here man is left to his own unaided process and here he is fulfilling the Divine command given at the beginning to win dominion over the earth and nature. He can weigh worlds, measure interstellar spaces, harness steam and electricity, but he cannot discover God. God is known only as he is revealed and Freemasonry finds in the Bible the revelation of God which each Freemason is left to interpret for himself.
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FREDERICK FACT OR FABLE?
Bro. A. L. Kress, Pennsylvania
Readers of THE BUILDER doubtless are aware, from Bro. Willard's articles in the October and November issues and my translation of Lantoine's article in the June issue, that Masonic writers are not agreed as to Frederick the Great's exact connection with the Scottish Rite. Whether or not he ever was its head is an historical question which probably has little appeal to most Masons, even those who belong to the Rite. Practically, the question has not the least bearing on the present or future destinies of that body. Bro. Willard asks, if we find Frederick was head of the Rite, what of it? I, in turn ask, if we find he was not, what of it? The answer to both is — nothing. However, there are some of us who appreciate that from Anderson down there has been too much "romancing" in Masonic history. To us such questions as this have an historical appeal. For my part, I do not know if Frederick was its head or not. I suspect he was not. I am open to conviction that he was, but hardly on the basis of what Bro. Willard offers as evidence. It is clear that he must be held not to have been it head unless positive proof is shown that he was. An historical inquiry or discussion, so long as it is impersonal and friendly, should clarify the situation.
I am unable to get the distinctions between Bro. Willard's brand of research and my own to which he takes exception. In his case he simply quoted from an American writer while I translated from a French writer. He presents no new facts, no personal research. In this respect, his article carries no more weight than Lantoine's. Moreover, to a disinterested person, his disparaging remarks concerning Lantoine and what he characterizes as Lantoine's "alleged history," hardly strengthen Bro. Willard's case. The whole tenor of Lantoine's history is one of impartiality and fairness.
What are the points on which Bro. Willard rests his case ? Briefly they are:
- Frederick could have dictated and signed the 1786 Constitutions.
- Frederick was recognized as head of the Rite because:
- The Albany Lodge of Perfection was instructed, in September, 1770, to transmit a list of its members to Berlin.
- The charter for a Chapter of Prince Masons at Kingston, Jamaica, Circa 1770, stated it conformed to regulations adopted by nine commissioners at Berlin.
- A toast was drunk to Frederick in a Lodge of Perfection at Philadelphia, Sept. 20, 1785.
- Solomon Bush addressed a letter to Frederick, as head of the Rite, from the Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection in December, 1785. (The Constitutions are supposed to have been signed by Frederick in May, 1786.)
- Mackey said Myers et al., were deputies of Frederick II.
- Dove said Da Costa and Myers had been appointed through Frederick.
I might say here for the benefit of students of the Scottish Rite that this Isaac Da Costa apparently first appears on the scene of American Masonic history at Halifax, N.S., in 1760. In that year he wrote the Master of St. Andrews Lodge at Boston. (See Proceedings, G. L. Mass., 1733-1792, p. 442.)
Apparently this is all the evidence, if it can be called that, known to substantiate a tradition current in the last half of the eighteenth century that Frederick of Prussia was head of the Rite of Perfection. Even the most enthusiastic advocate of the story must agree it is rather meagre data on which to establish such an historically important fact. Incidentally we can rule out the statements of Mackey and Dove as being mere repetition, as second-hand evidence and so incompetent.
The various memoirs and other accounts of Frederick's last days seem to disagree as to just how active he was in the year 1786. Suppose we accept Bro. Willard's data that Frederick, so far as his physical condition, could have presided over a convention to prepare the 1786 Constitutions, and that he could have been head of the Rite of Perfection. What of it? He could have written the Declaration of Independence or freed Cardinal De Rohan in 1786 after the Diamond Necklace affair. But we know he did not. Historical proofs imply something more than possibilities. Admitting that the Lodge of Perfection at Albany was instructed to send a list of its members to Berlin, does this prove any connection of Frederick? It does not. As far as Solomon Bush's letter addressed to Frederick, of which Bro. Willard calmly tells us, "it makes no difference whether there ever was a reply" to it or not, no critical writer would think of accepting it as establishing as a fact Frederick's headship. It makes all the difference in the world whether there ever was a reply. The Duke of Sudermania once wrote another famous letter to the hero of a Masonic fable, Charles Edward, saying he understood the latter was head of the Rite of Strict Observance. The difference between his letter and Bush's, however, was this: each understood a pretentious figure was head of a pseudo-Masonic Rite. In Charles Edward's case he received the letter and replied that he had nothing to do with it. Frederick never received Bush's letter and never replied. Who knows what he might have said!
One could build up a hypothetical case that there was a General Grand Master for the United States around 1780-1790 who was George Washington, from actual Masonic minutes, resolutions, letters, etc. A far better case could be made for him as such than for Frederick. But we know Washington was not. Apparently Bro. Willard does not realize how isolated early Masonic lodges were and how credulous our early brethren were. He should realize that he has against him the weight of critical historians. He quotes Gould in part for his own purpose. Why not go further and quote Gould where he says (Vol. III, p. 383, Am. Ed. History):
According to the legend ... Frederick the Great ... in 1786, revised the regulations, transformed the 25 degrees into 33, and vested his personal authority in the Supreme Council of the 33°. Previous writers have spared me the pains of proving that all this is pure fiction....
Bro. A. E. Waite, of Ramsgate, England, is unquestionably the greatest student and historian of the high degrees. In his New Encyclopedia, under Frederick, he characterizes his headship of the Rite as fiction, and as such says it has been abandoned by the Ancient Accepted Rite for England. But it will be better to quote his own words:
It is certain that he [Frederick] was made a Mason surreptitiously during the life of his tyrannical father; that he was quite sympathetic towards Masonry when he ascended the Prussian throne; that at the foundation of the Grand Lodge of the Three Globes he became its patron; ... and that as a general result no difficulties impeded the growth of the Order within his dominions ... But his active interest had ceased if indeed he could be said to have had any, beyond the fact that it seemed worth his while to join in secret because it would have been so highly displeasing to his father had the fact come to be known.... His was the last type of mind to be concerned in Masonry on its own merits.
It follows that Frederick the Great is of very moderate importance from any Masonic point of view, and if some Supreme Councils still produce him in the Chair of the Thirty-third Degree represented by the Grand Master therein, the fact is of no consequence and makes for nothing. The case of the forged Charter is much too bad for its long lost cause to find a forlorn hope therein. Finally the Scottish Rite at its best, here and in America, is much too important to need that dubious aid. I believe that any claim on the Charter has been abandoned long since in England. Its title to existence as the custodian of the Rose-Croix Grade is a living thing, and even if Frederick the Great — false poet and shallow moralist — had inscribed the instrument foisted upon him with his own hand, it would be merely a scrap of parchment at this day.
My own opinion on the subject is as follows:
- Until facts are presented to prove Frederick's headship, the story must be rejected.
- These facts must consist of either the authentic original of the 1786 Constitutions signed in his own hand or else some official document emanating from Frederick showing his official connections as head of the Rite.
- The multiplicity of "certifications" with which one is confronted in early documents of the Rite of Perfection are entitled to little or no consideration from present day historians. In other words, they often were "certified" for a purpose.
- The fact that Frederick's death brought no notice from Lodges of Perfection, no expression of sorrow, is significant.
As I understand it, the National Masonic Research Society exists for exactly the purposes Bro. Willard states in his conclusion — to develop a school of American Masonic research and to offer a medium through THE BUILDER for the exchange of Masonic light solely to determine the truth about our Order. I can cheerfully go along with Bro. Willard in his frank wish to get at the facts on any Masonic subject. The question of Frederick's relation with the Rite could be dealt with differently than any writer has, tying it up with the 1762 and 1786 Constitutions. An article from Bro. Willard, or some other student of the Rite, which would trace these documents concisely, simply and chronologically, would prove interesting. If we are to develop an American school of Masonic research, let us begin by throwing into the discard the timeworn, shop-worn tales of bygone writers and re-examine for ourselves, original documents and facts if we can find them. There is too much "hash" in American Masonic writings, too much dependence on secondhand knowledge. Frederick, fact or fable, is a good place to start.
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"All the experience of human life in history goes to show that mankind will not be obedient long to any law of self-restraint and self-denial unless it is imposed upon their conscience by a supernatural authority they believe divine."
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"I go from life," said the statesman orator Cicero, "as from an inn, not as from home."
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MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird. P.G.M., District of Columbia
HENRY MOORE TELLER
HENRY MOORE TELLER was born in Granger, N.Y., on May 23, 1830. His forbears were Dutch and his father a farmer in comfortable circumstances who provided him with an excellent education. Bro. Teller graduated from Alfred University, N.Y.; was admitted to the bar in 1858. In 1861 he journeyed to Colorado and resided there until his death on Feb. 23, 1914.
Because of his prominence as a legislator his biographers usually lay much stress upon his political career. He was in his early days a Democrat, but declined the overtures of an appreciative clientele and refused to become a candidate for office until after Colorado was admitted to the Union. From 1862-1864 he was Major-General of the Colorado Militia. In 1876 he was elected to the United States Senate on the Democratic ticket and served his country in this capacity until 1882, at which time he reluctantly surrendered his seat in the Senate to accept the post of Secretary of the Interior under President Garfield. After Garfield's assassination he continued in office under President Arthur. In spite of his unwillingness to leave the Senate he gave his new post his undivided attention, and his administration is acknowledged to have been a decided success.
He was retired from his seat in the Cabinet on March 3, 1885, and the next day resumed his seat in the Senate. He served as Senator from Colorado until 1909 and held many important posts, including the Chairmanship of the Committee on Pensions, Patents, Mines and Mining, as well as membership on several other committees. He was regarded by his constituents as the best advocate of the silver miners and an authority on public lands. His party politics suffered a change in 1891 and his re-election was on the Republican ticket. In 1896 he withdrew from the Republican National Convention and was returned to the Senate in 1897 as an independent Silver Republican.
Biographers generally neglect to mention that Henry M. Teller was not only a legislator, but also a prominent Mason. He joined the Craft in Colorado and upon him was conferred the honorary 33rd Degree. He also served a term as Grand Master of Masons in Colorado.
We are told that Bro. Teller was a good politician. He was easily approached, a good listener, and quite capable of reaching decisions without delay. That he enjoyed such a long term in office speaks well for the service he rendered to his supporters.
The only thing that can be said with certainty relative to Bro. Teller's ancestry is that he came from Dutch stock which had long been in New York. It seems possible, however, that Wilhelmus Teller, who was born in Holland in 1620 and migrated to New York in 1639, was the first member of the family to set foot on American soil. This early settler had such an interesting career that even a presumption of the direct descent of Henry M. Teller makes it worth repeating.
Shortly after Wilhelmus Teller arrived in New York he was sent to Fort Orange by Governor Kieft where he served as a corporal, and was later elevated to the position of "watchmaester" of the fort. Except for brief periods, one of which was occupied with a trip to his native land, he lived in Albany from 1639-1692. During the year 1692 he moved to New York and continued his business as a trader of more than fifty years standing until his death in 1701.
Teller was one of the early proprietors of Schenectady in 1662 and although he never lived there permanently he was one of the five patentees mentioned in the town's first patent dated 1684. Records show two residents named Teller who were probably his descendants.
In conclusion it seems that Bro. Teller's record in public life and his career in the Craft entitles him to a seat in the Masonic Hall of Fame.
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THE FIRST WASHINGTON MEMORIAL
Bro. F. Benson, Illinois
MANY people have doubtless encountered structures similar to the one illustrated on this page; the writer recalls one not very far from a town in central Missouri. It stood some distance from the road at the foot of a steep cliff which formed the bank of a quiet stream. Among the natives it was known as the old lime kiln, and formed a rendezvous for hiking and picnic parties. The subject of the present article is more than that however; and while its usefulness may be principally as a marker and gathering spot for the members of the community, it was never intended for such a prosaic purpose as the burning of lime. In present day usefulness it may resemble the Missouri example, but there the similarity ceases. This great stone monument, for such it is, occupies a prominent place on the summit of South Mountain, near Boonsboro, Md., and differs further in that it was erected to occupy a commanding position. This monument was virtually built in one day, July 4, 1827. At 7 o'clock in the morning of a day almost a century ago, all the inhabitants of Boonsboro – there could not have been very many of them, for the town contained only twenty-nine houses two years later — proceeded in a body to a point then known as Blue Rocks to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Some of the men had fought in the Revolution under the Stars and Stripes, and doubtless it was to some one of these that the idea of the monument occurred. At any rate, when the day was done, a pile of stones fifty-four feet in circumference and fifty feet high was left as a mark of the loving labor of the community. Thus was erected the first monument to the memory of George Washington. It is true that work on the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon place at Baltimore was commenced some years earlier, but the shaft was not completed until 1829, and the old cairn-like structure on the summit of South Mountain enjoys the enviable reputation of being the first memorial to the first President of the Republic.
From its mountain height the monument overlooks three counties, including a part of Washington's historic trip up the Potomac; the scene of the famous tragedy of John Brown; the battlefield of Antietam, and a portion of the old National Road. Originally a white marble tablet bearing the inscription, "Erected to the memory of Washington, July 4, 1827, by the citizens of Boonsboro," was set in the side. This memento has since disappeared and efforts to trace it have met with failure.
Time has left its imprint on the work of a loving community and today the structure lies in ruins. It fell into decay during the first half century of its existence, but the citizens of Boonsboro restored it in 1882, but a short time afterwards a stroke of lightning wrecked it. A movement for its restoration was initiated and the matter was brought before Congress, but no action was taken and at the present time the first Washington monument lies a shapeless pile of stone.
There is no need to remind readers of THE BUILDER that Washington was a Mason. For those, if such there be, who are not familiar with the details, it may be said that Washington was enrolled under the banner of the, Ancient Craft in Fredericksburg (Va.) Lodge, being initiated an Entered Apprentice on Nov. 4, 1752; passing to the degree of Fellowcraft on March 3, 1753, and raised Aug. 4 of the same year. From the beginning he took an active part in the affairs of the Fraternity. When Lodge No. 39, of Alexandria, Va., which had been working under a charter from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania concluded to unite with the Grand Lodge of Virginia, "General Washington" appears in the charter of the Alexandria Lodge, No. 22 (Virginia Charter), as Worshipful Master. His influence was felt not only in his own jurisdiction, but in many of the territories of colonial America. In the voluminous correspondence preserved to us may be found letters to and from most of those who enjoyed preferment and were interested in the general welfare of the Fraternity. Another American patriot who was Grand Master of Massachusetts carried on correspondence with him, and at his death addressed letters of condolence to Martha Washington. Paul Revere occupies a recognized position in the hearts of all Americans and doubtless enjoyed the friendship and brotherly love of General Washington. He it was who signed, as Grand Master, the fraternal address sent by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts to Mount Vernon in March of 1797 on the occasion of Washington's definite retirement from public life.
There has been an unfortunate tendency to elevate Washington to a level far above human attainment. Doubtless some of the incidents related in popular story books and other sources equally authoritative have some foundation in fact, but the national hero is constantly treated with a reverence and awe which has withdrawn him behind a veil of sanctity. This seems to be a kind of survival from the days of hero worship, but surely the time has come when worship should give way to respect and veneration, when we should admire a man for his actual accomplishment without creating a mythology about him. The deeds of George Washington speak for themselves. There is no reason to embellish them with fables. In the phrase of the day, he was a success, both as a soldier and a statesman, but more than that he was a man, and a Mason.
That in his own time he was not supposed to be of entirely different clay from that of other human beings is shown, perhaps more clearly than would otherwise be possible, by the fact that Feb. 22 was not celebrated as a national holiday until after his death. There is reproduced herewith a photographic copy of the proclamation of President Adams which created the holiday we now annually celebrate. The reproduction shows the proclamation as it appeared in J. Russell's Gazette, Boston, Jan. 16, 1800. Of more interest to the Masonic public perhaps is the photograph of a notice from the same paper, reading:
GRAND FUNERAL PROCESSION
Information is hereby given, that the Grand Lodge of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in ample form, will pay due funeral honors to the memory of the preeminently enlightened ornament of the Craft, Brother George Washington, on Saturday, the 22nd of February, 1800.
The solemnities will commence at 10 o' clock a. m., and all Free and Accepted Masons in the Commonwealth, and all visiting Brethren sojourneying therein at the time, are hereby invited, and enjoined to assist in the same. The Brethren are to be clad in plain white aprons, and to wear white gloves.
A grand procession will move from the Old State-House, in Boston, at half past 11 o'clock, to the Old South Meeting House, where an eulogy will be pronounced by the Hon. Br. Timothy Bigelow; after which the funeral relict will be deposited under the stone chapel, with ancient honors.
The officers of lodges are requested to bring with them their respective jewels, shrouded in black crepe.
Dated at Boston,
15th of January, A. L. 5800.
By direction of the Most Worshipful Samuel Dunn,
Grand Master of Massachusetts.
Dan'l Oliver, Grand Secretary.
This was a commemorative service, the actual obsequies having taken place in December of the previous year. Just what the "funeral relict" here spoken of may have been does not appear.
It was after his death that his people awoke to a realization of what he had been, and scarcely a month elapsed before this proclamation was promulgated bidding Americans remember always the birthday of the Father of his Country.
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THE OUTLOOK ON MASONIC EDUCATION
Bro. F. H. Littlefield, Executive Secretary, Missouri
DEVELOPMENTS during the past year, and particularly since the opening of the winter season in Masonic educational work in various grand jurisdictions, forcibly emphasize the correctness of the viewpoint of the National Masonic Research Society that such educational work is primarily a problem for each grand jurisdiction and that no educational movement can be really successful unless it is developed through the effort of the individual Freemason and the subordinate lodge, fostered and supported by a definite policy on the part of the Grand Lodge.
The marked differences in Masonic usage, teaching, ritual, etc., among the 49 jurisdictions of this country have made it apparent to thinking men of the Craft that little can be accomplished except along the lines noted. In other words, there is no single panacea for the present Masonic condition of lack of genuine Masonic knowledge among the great majority of the members of the Order.
Insistent and heavily increasing demands in the past several months made upon the National Masonic Research Society for educational material and letters received telling of results accomplished, unmistakably bear out the belief of the guiding spirits of the Society that effort within the grand jurisdictions under the conditions already referred to produces the greatest return.
Strongly corroborative of these views are the results in the grand jurisdictions of Iowa, California, Ohio, Oklahoma, New York, Pennsylvania and others which could be named within which educational work is being carried on along the lines indicated.
Particular proof is embraced in the splendid report made at the last assembly of the Grand Lodge of Ohio by Bro. C. S. Plumb, of the Ohio State University, chairman of the committee appointed to make a survey of Masonic education in that grand jurisdiction. It is a masterly review of what has been accomplished and what is in prospect as well as a historic resume of educational effort in Ohio.
It is made perfectly clear in this very able report at its very beginning that in Ohio Masonic education is no after-thought, nor is it a following after a fashion of the moment. Injunction upon the subordinate lodges in behalf of educational work is embodied in an article of the Constitution which emphasizes the necessity for the subordinate lodges being supplied with useful books and enjoins upon such subordinate lodges introduction into the meetings, as often as is possible, of lectures and essays on Masonic polity and the various arts and sciences connected therewith.
Especially strong, too, has been the effort in recent months in California under the direction of Bro. Reynold E. Blight, to stimulate the desire for further light within that jurisdiction and similarly gratifying evidences are to be found not only in the several jurisdictions already mentioned but still others as well. Very elaborate indeed is the machinery provided for instructing the Craft by Pennsylvania, New York, Oklahoma and other Grand bodies, and there is no question but that the near future will bring to the surface further indications of progress in many other grand jurisdictions. In Michigan, in North Dakota, in South Carolina much additional proof is to be found of what can be done in a jurisdiction thoroughly alive to the possible accomplishments of sincere effort.
It has indeed been most encouraging to those in charge of the affairs of the National Masonic Research Society to receive from practically all parts of the country tangible evidence of the growing, the accelerating increase in interest in Masonic education, not merely among individuals but among groups of Masons as well, and also in the Councils of the governing bodies of the Craft.
The history of the Study Club movement, for such we must continue to call it until a better name is provided, will one day provide interesting material for a series of articles or perhaps a book, and while it would be very difficult to ascertain quite definitely when the first group of Masons arranged to meet together at intervals for the purpose of improving themselves in Masonry by reading and discussing books on the subject, it is to the brethren of Cincinnati, Ohio, we believe, that the real credit of initiating the modern Study Club movement is to be assigned. An account of this was given by Dr. T. M. Stewart in an early number of THE BUILDER, while another Ohio Mason, Bro. Robert I. Clegg, Vice-President of this Society and a member of the editorial board of THE BUILDER, has been particularly prominent in the movement. In Masonry, as in everything else, the fundamental law holds good, that in the long run it is impossible to get something for nothing. Either you pay for what you get, or else what you do get proves to be worth nothing. Knowledge (and this includes Masonic knowledge for there is no exception to the rule) is not a kind of liquid that can be poured out of one vessel into another. The part of the recipient is just as active as that of the instructor if he is to profit by what is taught, otherwise it is like water poured on the back of the proverbial duck. And here it is that we come up against the rock bottom elements of the situation. The first and well-known factor is the need for instruction, for more light, together with the fact that more and more are the thoughtful and zealous members of the Craft realizing it. If Masonry is more than a wonderful system of gymnastics, veiled in signs and illustrated by steps, grips and words, as a well-known formula has been wittily paraphrased, it is time that the brethren were being shown. If there is any meaning, anything behind the forms it is time that Craftsmen set out to search for the secrets that have been lost. But how is the search to be prosecuted? Several directions have been explored and it will be worthwhile to consider the reports that have been brought back. The simplest is that of meeting together and propounding questions and trying to answer them. It is obvious, however, that, if all are on the same dead level of ignorance, little progress can be made beyond an acute realization of the lack of knowledge. And if no other expedient is tried discouragement soon sets in and the attempt comes to an untimely end. The second way is that of lectures and addresses, but though some progress may be made there are rocks ahead on which the laudable enterprise may well suffer shipwreck. Whether the lecturers are chosen from within the group or come from outside they will usually fall into one of two classes. If they are more or less eloquent and pleasing speakers they will rouse a certain amount of interest and enthusiasm, but sooner or later it will be felt that no real advance is being made, and like the good seed that fell by the wayside, the interest that sprang up so easily will soon wither and die. If on the other hand the lecturer knows his subject and really has something to say it will probably be above the heads of his hearers, for in order to understand and benefit by it a groundwork of elementary knowledge at least is necessary. For example, suppose the speakers at two conventions got mixed, and that an audience of engineers were given a paper on the proper methods of auditing municipal accounts, while the accountants were being told about the results of the latest experiments in testing different kinds of steel for structural purposes. The absurdity of the situation is obvious. But the average Mason it must be confessed, even if he has a real thirst for information, when listening to one who has more to say than the platitudes and generalities which form the stock-in-trade of so many speakers is very much in the same position as a schoolboy still in the first arithmetic listening to a professor of mathematics lecture a class of post-graduate students.
It is for this reason that these two methods generally fail when tried without any supplementary work or preparation. It is not possible to jump to the top of the tree of knowledge at a single bound, and it may seem quite unapproachable. Yet with a ladder, it is not hard to take the first step, and having taken that to take another, and another, till at last the summit is attained.
The elementary work therefore has to be done, and it is better done systematically. Here it is that the courses of study that have been prepared by the National Masonic Research Society have their place. They form a veritable ladder by which the inquiring brother may safely climb to gather the fruit of the tree of knowledge.
These courses are definitely adapted to the policy for which the National Masonic Research Society has always contended. They are available to the individual member of the Order, to study groups voluntarily formed, to subordinate lodges and even for the use of grand jurisdictions. They provide the basic qualifications upon which study may be pursued, with references to thoroughly established works of the Masonic field and the application is left entirely to the conditions prevailing in any specified locality. Such application is not made by the course as prepared by the National Masonic Research Society but is left entirely to the known principles, theories and fundamentals of each jurisdiction. Because of this fact we believe that the movement inaugurated twelve years ago by this Society is showing in most effective manner that the methods then outlined are not merely correct from the theoretical standpoint, but from the practical as well, and leave no opportunity for differences of view which might come from a system calculated to apply to all grand jurisdictions alike.
* * *
ROLLIN C. BLACKMER
In Dr. Blackmer the Research Society has lost a zealous and untiring supporter, and the Craft generally a student of much more than ordinary qualifications. A resident of St. Louis for many years, he was born in Vermont, and received part of his education in Canada; attending Stanstead Wesleyan College for one year, and taking his medical course in Montreal in the Bishop's College Medical School, which was afterwards amalgamated with that of McGill.
For nearly thirty years Dr. Blackmer was a member of the faculty of Barnes Medical College in St. Louis, holding the chairs of medical jurisprudence and obstetrics. In the course of his professorial duties he wrote and revised several medical textbooks.
The only Masonic work published by him is "The Lodge and the Craft," a very valuable textbook of Masonry, which might be shortly described as a commentary on the Monitor of the three degrees. Besides this there are manuscripts for works of a more recondite character on the origin of Masonic symbolism, which we may hope will some day be published. They have been bequeathed, we understand, together with his extensive collection of Masonic books, to the library of Forest Park Lodge, No. 578, of which he was a charter member and a Past Master. Of his many other affiliations it is not necessary here to speak; one feels that perhaps, owing to his modesty, his merits were not fully appreciated, at least so far as granting the more conspicuous honors of the Craft imply appreciation. To those who knew him he was liked and respected, and it is with a real sense of loss that we here record that a brother and a scholar has gone from us.
* * *
A good Mason could not forget God. No man could be a Mason unless he promised to help the poor and necessitous. Schemes of philanthropy were the very jewels of the Order. What other Order so stressed personal morality? Members were pledged to that by most solemn vows. Of course, they were not exempt from criticism and just criticism. As in every other institution, even the Christian Church, there were those who disgraced the Order to which they belonged. They were not all Israel who were called Israel. The Order was better than some of its members, and needed no defence, but some of the members needed to be reminded of the great principles for which the Order stood.
* * *
Freemasonry should never become common. Its perpetuity and its value rests upon the intelligence and personal morality of its membership and a daily exemplification in their lives of its cardinal virtues. Let us heed well the points of fellowship and not only put forth the hand to save a falling brother, but to assist him to rise to higher planes of life and usefulness.
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EARLY MASONRY IN THE PROVINCES OF EAST AND WEST FLORIDA
Bro. Philip C. Tucker, Florida
THE Masonic History of the Floridas began in 1768, at the time of the struggle between "The Moderns or English Rite" and "The Scottish or Antients" for supremacy in the American Colonies. The Grand Lodge of Scotland, sitting at Edinburg in that year, upon "A Petition received", commissioned, as "Provincial Grand Master for the Southern District of North America", James Grant, General and Commander-in-Chief of his Brittanic Majesty's Forces in the Provinces of East and West Florida, March 15, 1768. And granted to him and Associates, a charter for "Grant's East Florida Grand Lodge", to be constituted and erected at St. Augustine, East Florida. This was just one year before Dr. Joseph Warren of Boston, Mass., was commissioned by this same Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand Master for Boston and forty miles thereof.
This edifice was duly erected and continued to function there regularly until 1783 or the spring of 1784, when "The Floridas" (which, by the Treaty of Ghent between England and Spain, had been exchanged for the Bahama Islands) passed into the possession of the latter country, whose laws were inimical to the Fraternity; so "Grant's Grand Lodge of East Florida" fell into a moribund state through the fleeing from the country of all its members. The only records of this lodge in existence are those preserved by its only child, "St. Andrews, No. 1," of West Florida, now in the archives of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. This lodge was chartered, May 3, 1771, upon a petition from "Francis Dowman and ten other Brethren" who had been members of Lodge No. 108, of the Registry of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, held in his Majesty's 31st Regiment of Foot (then in garrison at St. Marks, West Florida, but soon to leave that Province).
This Charter was signed by James Grant, Grand Master Mason, for the Southern District of North America; William Drayton, Esq., Deputy Grand Master Mason, for the Southern District of North America; Alexander McKenzie, Grand Warden; Frederick George Mulcaster, Esq., Junior Grand Warden; and "The Seal of the Grand Lodge" was appended thereto in the presence of David Yates, Esq., Grand Secretary, and John Faley, Grand Clerk. This lodge had been duly erected at Pensacola, in West Florida, and had functioned there regularly until the invasion and reduction of that place by Spanish forces in 1781, forced its members to flee to the Colony of South Carolina, where, in the city of Charles Town, they found harbor. From that city they wrote as follows to "Grant's Grand Lodge of East Florida":
February 9, 1782, Charles Town, South Carolina. To the Master, Wardens and Brethren, etc.
That we have our Charter and Minute Book, with records from our first meeting; and that Past Master, John Simpson; Master Thomas Underwood; Junior Warden H. Beaumont; Senior Steward Thomas Pashley; the Secretary, George Boles; and Tyler William Duncan of our Lodge and twenty-eight members are with us, and we wish to erect our edifice upon these shores.
The Master and Wardens of St. Andrews Lodge, No. 1, late of West Florida "Grant's East Florida Grand Lodge" then in session at St. Augustine, East Florida, replied on the 14th of March, 1782,
Authorizing them to constitute and hold a Lodge at Charlestown, South Carolina, under your Charter until such time it shall please God to restore you to the ancient seat of your Lodge in West Florida, provided you have the Master and a sufficient number of members to form a Lodge.
John Forbes, Deputy Grand Master.
David Yeates, Senior Grand Warden.
Henry Young, Temporary Grand Warden.
John Nagle, Grand Secretary.
The Provinces of Florida remained Spanish Territory until 1819 and colonization from the adjoining territory of the United States was always discouraged under the colonization laws of Philip II which prevailed under the Spanish Crown. Still there was a slow infiltration from that section, and among them were men who laughed at the prevailing laws.
MASONRY UNDER SPANISH RULE
As early as 1806, the Grand Lodge of South Carolina chartered a lodge at St. Augustine (under the very eyes of the garrison) by the name of "St. Fernando", as the following quotation from a letter written to Past Deputy Grand Master, Gad Humphries, in the late fifties show:
It sticks in my mind that it was instituted two years before my initiation, which took place in 1808, and that its warrant was issued by the Grand Lodge of Georgia. And I think Samuel Betts was its first Master.
This was written by Bro. Segui, a native of St. Augustine, Fla., then living in Texas.
This lodge was suppressed in 1811 by the Spanish Government. Past Grand Master, Samuel Pasco, in his address on the History of the Grand Lodge delivered in 1905, says that
Bro. Segui has confused two Lodges, as he and Bro. Wm. O. Girardieau in 1862 recovered from the family of the late Charles Seton, Esq., of Oldtown near Fernandina, Florida, the Charter, Jewels and Aprons of St. Fernando Lodge dated 1813, of the Roster of the Grand Lodge of Georgia. Bro. Seton, when this later lodge was suppressed, was made the custodian of its furnishings and after his death his family cherished them until, fearing their loss through the ravages of Civil War, presented them to the Grand Lodge of Florida through Bros, Pasco and Girardieau.
The records of both the Grand Lodge of South Carolina and Georgia of those early days have been lost, and, therefore, these facts cannot be corroborated.
THE TRANSFER TO THE UNITED STATES
When the Floridas became United States Territory, through purchase from Spain in 1819, the Masonic spirit soon revived. News of the transfer of government prompted some of the brethren of the extinct lodge of St. Fernando of St. Augustine to petition the Grand Lodge of South Carolina for a charter for a new lodge. This was granted in 1820, under the name of "Floridian Virtues Lodge, No. 28, of St. Augustine", and was duly erected, Squire Streeter being chosen as its first Worshipful Master. It received "An Act of Incorporation" from the Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida at its second session held at St. Augustine under date of July 2, 1823, with Squire Streeter, Worshipful Master; Antonio Alvares, Senior Grand Warden; and John Whalen as Junior Grand Warden.
Royal Arch Masonry was introduced into the Provinces as a distinct Order, by a charter issued by DeWitt Clinton, Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the United States, to Squire Streeter, Ede Van Ervan, Daniel S. Gardner, William Robertson, C. Zully, Ant. I. Triay, George Murray, Caleb Luddington, James Stewart, James L. Tringle, and their associates, named "Union Mark Masters Lodge", dated March 25, 1822, at Albany, New York.
Bro. Thomas Brown, P.G.M., remarks "That it is a Masonic curiosity in that the General Grand Chapter of the United States should assume the authority to recognize an "independent Mark Masters Lodge in another jurisdiction". The right to "Mark and Pass" under the Old Customs was often conferred upon "Blue Lodges", and the following letter written from Charles Town, South Carolina, September, 1783, by the Worshipful Master of St. Andrews Lodge, No. 1, late of West Florida, to the Grand Lodge at Pennsylvania, Pa., shows that this authority was enjoyed and practiced by them:
Bro. John Troup had been a long time since "an Antient Master Mason" and has some months since been raised to the Sublime degree of "Royal Arch Mason" and a Knight of the Red Cross in our lodge, late St. Andrews of West Florida.
George Carter, Master.
This brings us to the end of the days of the separate Provinces of the Floridas, as the population in 1822 having increased to 5,000 American-born males, Congress of the United States organized it into a Territory of the first grade with duly organized government. General Andrew Jackson had been appointed Governor of the Provinces March 10, 1821, and in June the exchange of flags between the Spanish Governor Generals and himself had been accomplished so that it had become a part of the Republic. A resume of the growth of Masonry under this flag will be taken up in a future article.
* * *
Bro. James J. Tyler, M.D., Ohio
BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD states in THE BUILDER, July, 1925, page 205, regarding Abraham Whipple: "In 1788 he joined the famous Ohio Company and settled in Marietta, where he died May 29, 1819. He is interred in the cemetery at Marietta with many of his pioneer brethren; but as far as I have been able to discover no memorial has ever been erected to Whipple himself."
Concerning the latter days of this famous Mason, David Fisher, his great-grandson, says in a paper published in the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Publications, Vol. 2, page 172:
At the capture of Charleston, S.C., in 1778, Whipple was taken prisoner and with his companions remained such to the close of the war, because the British saw no way to preserve their commerce from the bold seaman. At Chester, Pa., where he was confined as a prisoner, he hired a house for the use of his sick men, and in 1786 petitioned Congress to refund his expenses, stating that, in order to perform this act of humanity, he had been obliged to mortgage his little farm. He says: "The farm is now gone, and having been sued out of possession, I am turned out into the world at an advanced age, feeble and penniless, with my wife and children, destitute of a house or home I can call, my own, or have the means of hiring. This calamity has arisen from two causes, viz.: In France, Charleston and Chester I expended in the service of the United States three hundred and sixty guineas, besides the sea stores for a number of gentlemen sent by the commissioner in France to the United States in my care, for which I have received nothing; and secondly, my having served in the United States from June 15, 1775, to December, 1782, without receiving a farthing of wages or subsistence from them since 1776. My advances in France and Charleston amount to nearly $7,000 in specie, exclusive of interest. The repayment of this, or a part, might be the means of my regaining my farm, and snatch my family from misery, want and ruin." The result of this petition was his being paid for his expenditure in France only, and this payment in "Continental" paper money, which he was obliged to dispose of at eighty per cent discount to keep his family from suffering....
In April, 1788, he emigrated to Marietta, and after "Mad Anthony's" peace with the Indians in 1796, he removed to a farm of about twelve acres on the Muskingum river, a few miles from Marietta, sixty-three years old, broken in health, with no other means of support. He and his aged partner lacked even comfortable food and clothing. In 1811, when he was seventy-eight years old, he was granted a pension of $30 per month.
In 1802 he commanded the first rigged vessel (the St. Clair) built on the Ohio, and had the honor of conducting her to the ocean.
Commodore Whipple lived to be eighty-five years of age, dying May 29, 1819; his wife died the year previous.
He was not present, June 28, 1790, when W.M. Jonathan Heart of Fort Harmar reopened American Union Lodge, No. 1, at Campus Martius, Marietta.
Mr. Nahum Ward, who had the honor of entertaining the Marquis De Lafayette in his home at Marietta when that famous General was traveling down the Ohio in 1825, erected a white marble monument over the grave of Abraham Whipple in the old Mound Cemetery on which can be read the inscription:
to the memory of
COMMODORE ABRAHAM WHIPPLE
whose name, skill and courage
will ever remain the pride and boast of
In the late Revolution he was the
First on the sea to hurl defiance at
gallantly leading the way to wrest from
the Mistress of the ocean, her scepter,
and there to wave the Star-Spangled
He also conducted to the sea the first
square-rigged vessel ever built in Ohio
Opening to Commerce
resources beyond calculation.
* * *
BOARD OF EDITORS
Editor-in-Chief — R. J. Meekren
Louis Block, Iowa
Robert L. Clegg, Ohio
Gilbert W. Daynes, England
Ray V. Denslow, Missouri
George H. Dern, Utah
N. W. J. Haydon, Canada
R. V. Harris, Canada
C. C. Hunt, Iowa
Charles F. Irwin, Ohio
A. L. Kress, Pennsylvania
F. H. Littklefield, Missouri
Joseph E. Morcombe, California
Joseph Fort Newton, New York
Arthur C. Parker, New York
J. Hugo Tatsch, Iowa
Jesse M. Whited, California
David E. W. Williamson, Nevada
* * *
RECENTLY we have had a number of requests for prayers suitable both for the regular proceedings of the lodge, to be used alternatively to those that are to be found in the Monitors and other manuals in use by members of the Craft, and also for special occasions. It would be very useful if such forms could be collected and we suggest that brethren who have such material at their disposal would send us copies, with information, where possible, regarding authorship or origin.
* * *
AS announced in the advertisement on the inside front cover we are taking a new step forward in the organized educational work of the Research Society. A new Syllabus of study has been carefully prepared in the light of twelve years' experience in this work. It is so arranged that it will serve equally as a guide for the student working alone as for an organized Study Club, Research Association or lodge that wishes to use it. Besides this we are now in position to give much more assistance to such groups than has been possible in the past.
We will have more to say on this subject later, but one point may be insisted upon here, and that is the elasticity that the new plan will allow. The Research Society is not undertaking to teach or interpret Masonry, but only to act as a guide. The object in view is to bring the student to the point where he can judge for himself between fact and opinion, and learn how to use the sources of information for himself.
The course is based upon a number of books very widely known in the Fraternity whose authors are generally considered to be authorities in their several departments, and the list given may be added to if so desired. It follows that there cannot possibly be any conflict with the arrangements of any Grand Body that is undertaking educational work within its own jurisdiction for the Syllabus can be adapted in any way necessary to fit in with any special requirements.
There has been one defect in the Study Club of the past — the lack of any close coordination between the local groups and the Society. In future it is to be made a rule that the Study Club, or other bodies that take up the course, shall become subscribing members of the N.M.R.S., or better, that every individual in them do the same. Such membership will provide a link through which more complete cooperation can be brought about.
The growing demand in the Craft at large for more light than is afforded by the formal instruction in the lodge is very encouraging, although during the past twelve months and more it has resulted in an increasing burden on the staff of the Society. It has at last reached such proportions that additional assistance has become absolutely necessary. We are very glad to announce that Bro. E. E. Thiemeyer has been appointed Research Editor and will from now on take this work specially in his charge. Bro. Thiemeyer's name will be quite familiar to readers of THE BUILDER as he has contributed several very valuable articles to its pages. The range of scholarship and originality of thought these displayed will be a full guarantee of his ability to adequately carry out this important work.
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"THE MAJORITY IS ALWAYS RIGHT"
HAD we been asked to make a generalization on the subject, either from the lessons of history or personal experience, we should have said "The majority is never right," subject always to the proviso that such sweeping generalizations are themselves never right — except very approximately.
The heading was observed in one of our exchanges, and the conflict between the prepossession and the uncompromising statement gave food for some serious thought. It rather reminds one of that maxim of successful store-keepers: "The customer is always right" and the unvoiced addendum "especially if he be wrong."
The practice of democracy has produced a dogma, "Vox Populi Vox Dei," but it is to be feared it is largely a myth. Does anyone seriously believe that the larger part of any given group of people, especially when they outnumber the remainder by only one or two, is granted plenary inspiration, and made infallible as his followers believe a certain Bishop and Pontiff to be when he speaks ex cathedra? This seems to be ascribing a magical power to numbers such as the Cabbalists never dreamed of. How can anyone believe it who has sat on a large committee appointed to arrange some matter or draft some regulation, and after discussion in which no one seemed able or willing to understand what the others meant, has seen it come to a muddled compromise through sheer fatigue. When things are really done in an assembly it is almost invariably because someone has thought the matter out beforehand, and has secured support for his ideas from influential members, forming a group that has "swung" a majority. Or else it is due to an able and competent presiding officer who keeps everyone to the point, and checks all excursions into by-paths, and herds the mob (without their realizing it) into the way he thinks they should go.
What then is the foundation for the semi-religious dogma above referred to? Some, the Mussolinis and their followers for example, would say none. They insist that all that "stuff" is just "the bunk." They say this of course because they do not believe in democracy — if the principles underlying the latter were true their theories and practice would stand condemned. The real answer would be, that (it is what mankind is always doing) a sacred principle, to be devoutly accepted as of faith, has been projected from a purely practical way of getting things done — no more sacred or divine in itself than the method of carrying bricks up a ladder in a hod, or removing earth in a wheelbarrow. It must be remembered that democracy as a form of social organization is a pure-bred mongrel, a thorough-going compromise. There are two extremes, autocracy and anarchy; and both are very stable. Let a community, or a group get into one or other of these conditions and it is exceedingly hard to get it out again. Democracy is a balance between the two which tries in varying proportions, according to conditions, to combine advantageous features of each and to avoid the disadvantages of both. No perfect way of doing this has yet been evolved. There is no doubt that with a race of perfect men anarchy would be the ideal form of organization. There would be no need for government, laws or regulations, for everyone would do what was right and think of others as well as himself — But we are far from that — very far. Despotism is efficient, for that reason armies and ships are so ruled. They have to be, or come to an inglorious and untimely end.
What then does democracy try to do? The cynic might say, make a mixture of oil and water; and there would be some truth in it. Really democracy is only workable among people who have attained considerable powers of self discipline — who are really on the way to that ideal where anarchy would be the most efficient state. That is something at least. Democracy in theory aims to allow everyone to have a voice in what is going to be done, and yet ensure that in spite of this something will be done. As in practice it is impossible to get everyone to see things in the same way it is necessary to arrive at approximations. And as in most questions to be decided, the every-day matters of ways and means, and rules and regulations, some decision, any decision, is generally better than none, it is a practical way out of the maze of conflicting views to decide by counting noses, or "Ayes," or the "usual sign of voting," and that the minority should acquiesce and loyally accept it. It is the chief rule of the game, tacitly accepted by all who undertake to play.
But when it comes to weightier matters, matters of conscience, of morals, or policies for the distant future, the majority is almost invariably wrong; because the majority have not thought about it, because they accept things as they are and as they are used to them, because they cannot see much beyond their noses, their eyes being focussed on their own affairs close at hand. It therefore happens that men have always had to stand out against the majority, to fight it, to go down fighting, to be licked, and condemned as cranks, rebels, uncomfortable, impossible, never-to-be-too-much-abused disturbers of the peace and the commonwealth. Their reward will be to have a future generation erect monuments to their memory and make glowing speeches about them — perhaps.
So as it is all a matter of compromise, one who is in the minority can adopt one of a number of attitudes. If the matter is one of expediency only, then accept the majority decision and try to make it go — and to avoid the temptation to say "I told you so" if it doesn't. If it is a matter of conscience, protest and get out. If somewhere between, and things in this world are seldom clear cut with neatly printed labels stuck on them, then some attitude between the two may be in order. It depends on the circumstances — and the man. But a democratically governed society can only run by " the loyal acceptance by its members of the chief rule of its existence, which is that the decision of the majority must be acted upon as if it was right. On the other hand, it is well to realize what we are doing, and not to make fetishes and false gods of "sacred principles" which have no real existence, and are only the enlarged shadows of that lubricant of social and corporate activity — compromise.
* * *
AN EVIDENT MISAPPREHENSION
IN a recent number of one of our South African contemporaries, the Masonic Journal, published in Johannesburg, there is an article by Bro. B. H. Allen which touches us rather closely. Perhaps the evident misunderstanding of the position of American Freemasonry therein apparent might have been ignored, only he quotes THE BUILDER as his authority.
The passage referred to is very brief and may even have been further condensed in publication so that we cannot be sure that it fairly represents the author's meaning. He says, or is made to say:
I have seen articles in THE BUILDER which make no attempt to deny that the Order is being used for political purposes, and openly advocate the admission of women.
If this is really what Bro. Allen intended we should very much like to have chapter and verse, as we have no recollection of anything published in our pages that could be fairly so described. There are brethren, not only in America, who seem to think that Masonry should "do something" or "stand for something," with a more or less hazy idea of political action in their minds, and it would be perfectly proper for us to publish articles on the subject should it at any time come to be of sufficient interest or importance. Likewise there exists in America (as elsewhere in the world) a "Co-Masonic" Order, which receives women to membership, and we might be perfectly justified in publishing articles about it. But anyone who should jump to the conclusion in such case that the Fraternity in this country was contemplating political activity, or the admission of women, would be simply and quite ludicrously mistaken.
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THE NORTHEAST CORNER
Bulletin of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association
Incorporated by Authority of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, A.F. & A.M.
Masonic Temple, Albuquerque, N.M.
OFFICERS AND BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Herbert B. Holt, Grand Master, President
Richard H. Hanna, Vice-President
Jaffa Miller, Vice-President
Alpheus A. Keen, Secretary
FRANCIS E. LESTER, Executive Secretary, Las Cruces, New Mexico
JOHN W. TURNER, Treasurer
ARIZONA — Lloyd C. Henning, Holbrook.
ARKANSAS — Claude L. Hill, Grand Master, Booneville.
CONNECTICUT — Fred A. Borland, Past Grand Master, South Manchester.
FLORIDA — Cary B. Fish, Grand Master, Sarasota.
GEORGIA — Dr. J. P. Bowdoin, Past Grand Master.
IDAHO — Will H. Gibson, Grand Master, Boise.
KENTUCKY — G. Allison Holland, Grand Master, Lexington.
MINNESOTA — Albert F. Pray, Grand Master, Minneapolis,
MISSISSIPPI — John R. Tally, Grand Master, Hattiesburg.
MISSOURI — Wm. W. Martin, Grand Master, Doniphan.
MONTANA — Dr. W. J. Marshall, Missoula.
NEW JERSEY — Benjamin F. Havens, Junior Grand Warden, Trenton.
NEW MEXICO — Herbert B. Holt, Grand Master, Las Cruces.
NORTH CAROLINA — Dr. J. C. Braswell, Past Grand Master, Whitakers.
NORTH DAKOTA — Dr. J. S. Lamont, Dunseith.
OKLAHOMA — Gilbert B. Bristow, Past Grand Master, Roosevelt.
RHODE ISLAND — Howard Knight, Past Grand Master, Providence.
SOUTH CAROLINA — Charlton DuRant, Grand Master, Manning.
SOUTH DAKOTA — L. M. Simons, Grand Master, Bellefourche.
TENNESSEE — Andrew E. McCullagh, Grand Master, Maryville.
TEXAS — Dr. Felix P. Miller, El Paso.
UTAH — Fred M. Nye, Ogden.
VERMONT — Christie B. Crowell, Grand Master, Brattleboro.
WASHINGTON — Morton Gregory, Grand Master, Masonic Temple, Tacoma.
WISCONSIN — Fred L. Wright, Past Senior Grand Warden, Milwaukee.
WYOMING — Frank S. Knittle, Grand Master, Casper.
ORDER OF THE EASTERN STAR, GENERAL GRAND CHAPTER — Mrs. Clara Henrich, Most Worthy Grand Matron, Newport, Ky.
Robert J. Newton, Editor, Publicity Director N.M.T.S.A. Las Cruces, New Mexico.
WHEN WILL THE DOOR BE OPENED?
MASONS suffering from tuberculosis, or who have a sick member of their immediate family, are vitally interested in the project for hospitalization of Masonic consumptives. They have been reading for sometime in the Masonic and daily press that a movement is under way to build a Masonic Sanatorium and too often they have gained the impression that the institution already exists. With that idea uppermost in their minds they write applying for admission, confident in the belief that the Fraternity will help them in their hour of need.
The National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association is receiving letters from sick Masons in all parts of the country. A few of them are quoted to give an idea of the need:
A New Jersey brother writes:
I write as a prospective inmate of your sanatorium. I am a retired minister. Is your "lodge" a going concern in the sense that it is open to outside Masons? I do not ask anything from a free fund. Should I go to you I will pay my own way with the understanding that it is confined to $1,000 a year, or at that rate till cured, or crossed the flood. I am willing to spend $2,000 for a cure. I presume that my lodge will give me some help.
A Florida brother:
I am writing to make application for the admittance of a sister of a Master Mason to your institution. In sending the application for admittance, please state how soon it will be before the sister is admitted. Also let me know just what the cost will be for admittance for six months. I am asking this so as to be prepared to take care of the cost for the term.
A North Dakota brother:
My son is not a Mason, but I want to place him in some hospital. He has had tuberculosis about six months.
A Missouri brother:
Recent physical examinations and advice were to the effect that I was tubercular and that I may need treatment and a change in climate. I shall be pleased to have some information sent me. regarding the sanatorium as to location, requisites for becoming a patient, fees, etc.
A Tennessee brother:
I have been directed to write you regarding any facilities for the accommodation of members afflicted with tuberculosis that may be provided or available in the West, and how I should proceed to obtain such benefits as may be offered. I have only a slight but acute infection which requires immediate steps to check or control. I have been advised to give up my position immediately and take measures to obtain a cure while this may be accomplished if acted upon promptly. I am a man of family and have been dependent upon my salary for living and have no means of consequence to permit the rest cure recommended.
A Michigan brother:
A young man of this city has some tubercular trouble and his family is not able to do very much for him. He has been very active in the De Molay organization of this city. One of these DeMolay boys is in my employ and he states they are very anxious to do something for him. I would thank you to let me know whether we could get this young man into the sanatorium. If so, what would the expense be?
A Massachusetts brother:
Will you kindly send me the rates and conditions of your sanatorium? I am a Mason and at present in the ____ Sanatorium.
A Louisiana brother:
I have just learned that there may be some chance of my receiving treatment.... I have just recently had a set-back, having a light hemorrhage, and feel that it is absolutely necessary to enter some institution as soon as possible. I am no longer able financially to take care of myself, having been sick for quite a while, and the members of my lodge have been very nice to me. They took care of me in a Convalescent Home here in El Paso two months, March and April. During that time I made such good improvement I tried to go back to work but had to go back East to find work. Went back and rested a month and started to work and only worked ten days and started a hemorrhage. The doctor there advised me to return at once to this country and go into a hospital as soon as possible. I must do something as soon as possible. I am running very short of funds and realize I must save as much time as possible. How soon can I be given consideration, or treatment, should my lodge sanction or recommend same?
Another Louisiana brother:
The wife of one of the members of one of our local lodges tells me that she will have to go to a tuberculosis sanatorium for treatment. I will appreciate it if you will advise me of such an institution and the cost of treatment and hospital expense.
An Iowa brother:
I am writing to seek such information as is available concerning your institution and entrance therein.
An Ohio brother:
Are you receiving Masonic brethren for tuberculosis treatment, and what are your rates and conditions governing the admission of afflicted brethren? I am writing this as one of the trustees of ____ Lodge. We are at present maintaining a brother at Asheville, N.C.
Another Ohio brother:
I have a son about 24 years old and a daughter 20 years old who are afflicted with lung trouble, which has developed within the last two months. I am anxious to get them some place where this trouble can be stopped before it gains too much headway.
A Pennsylvania brother, a physician:
I have under my care the son of a deceased brother Master Mason who has active tuberculosis of the lungs. The family are interested in getting him into a Masonic sanatorium for treatment. This young man needs immediate hospital care.
A Texas brother writes:
I am in pretty bad condition with lung trouble and just recently have been spitting up blood, and am going to have to go some place for a rest cure, and was wondering if there is a Masonic Sanatorium I can get in. I have a mother and widowed sister with two small children dependent upon me and have lost so much time the past two years on account of not being able to work regularly I haven't got anything saved up. However, I have a married sister in San Antonio that will take care of my mother and sister if I could get in a sanatorium some place. I think I would be able to leave it and get a job out in the mountains of New Mexico telegraphing in two or three months' time at the most. I have a regular job here as dispatcher but this climate is too much for me. Would appreciate an early reply advising me if there is a place I can get into and if so what steps I will have to take.
Another Florida brother:
I have a son at El Paso; he has been sick for some time. I have sent him money from time to time until now I do not know what to do for him — I am financially embarrassed. My son is of age, but he is not a Mason. I want to get him in this hospital if possible. If he can be admitted give me the procedure in the case.
The question that is uppermost in the minds of many Masonic consumptives today is, "When will the doors of the Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatorium be opened?"
The answer to that question must be given by the healthy, happy, well-to-do American Freemasons. They hold the keys to this "Door of Hope" in their hands.
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MORE CASES FROM ARIZONA
Physicians Advise Him to Come Southwest
Brother No. 104, Grand Lodge of Montana:
This man now living at Eugene, Ore., but coming to Phoenix upon advice of physicians. Both lungs affected. Needs the high, dry climate of this country. Proper hospitalization is what he needs beyond a doubt.
Father TB — Son Also
Case No. 106, former citizen of New York State.
This man is tubercular, thirty years old, living on the desert ten miles from Phoenix, Ariz. He is a Protestant, sent here from Rochester, N.Y., by the Elks and Eagle lodges. His mother died when he was three years old and his father passed away three years ago with asthma and T.B. His grandfather was a Mason, but his father unable to be on account of his health. The Associated Charities of Phoenix are paying him two dollars a week in order that he may have a little to eat.
Needs Hospitalization — Wife Will Support Boys
Brother No. 126, Grand Lodge of Kansas.
Residing at Camp Curio, health seekers' camp on the desert about ten miles from Phoenix. Came to Arizona this spring, 1926. Worked for a while on laundry wagon; health giving way has had to stop work; has appealed to Arizona Lodge, No. 2, and with their assistance is endeavoring to secure financial aid from home lodge. Has wife, two boys, ages 8 and 12 years, whom the wife could support if husband has hospitalization which he needs very badly.
Same Old Story — No Masonic Hospital
Brother No. 140, Grand Lodge of Connecticut.
Came to Phoenix suffering with T.B. contracted in the mills of the East. His wife was his means of support all the time he lay sick. He fought bravely for his life but gave up the battle and died after twelve years or more of sickness. He certainly should have had proper hospitalization and undoubtedly would have recovered in such a case.
On the Road to Recovery
Brother No. 143, Grand Lodge of Kentucky.
Came to Phoenix in May, 1925, suffering with T. B. Received some aid from Arizona, No. 2, as well as relatives in Kentucky. Arizona sunshine arrested his T.B. sufficiently by May, 1926, to allow him to do light work.
T.B. and No Work
Sister No. 144, Grand Lodge of Oklahoma.
Member of Scottish Rite and Shrine. Here for his wife's health, she being a T. B. Arrived in Phoenix about Aug. 1, 1926. Has not asked for financial assistance. Seeking work. Mrs. ____ needs hospitalization.
Another Hospital Case — No Hospital
Brother No. 145, Grand Lodge of Michigan.
Came to Phoenix in June, 1926, for his health; has wife and one child with him here. Has not asked for Masonic aid as yet but has very limited means. Needs hospitalization.
* * *
THE PRECIOUS JEWELS
Bros. A. L. Kress and R. J. Meekren
We now have to take up the second of the three jewels mentioned in the two lists that we have been considering, namely that given us by Prichard and that found in the anonymous Confession. It may be well to quote them again for the sake of clarity, as the last two installments of the series we were led into a discussion of operative technical methods in order to obtain a fuller understanding of the place of the first named jewel.
Prichard, then, said that the "movable" jewels were "The Trasel Board, the Rough Ashlar and the Broached Thurnel." The Confession that the jewels of the lodge are the "Square Pavement, a dinted Ashlar, and a Broached Dornal." It is the Ashlar that now falls for discussion.
It will be recalled  that among what may be called the primary versions of the old Catechisms that remain, the two just mentioned are alone in offering any explanation of the purpose of the things spoken of as jewels; and just as we came to the conclusion that the Trasel Board and the Square Pavement were ultimately the same, so in this case, too. Prichard calls the Ashlar "rough" while the Confession says it was "dinted," but both alike say it was used for making and testing the working tools of the Craft. The first saying "it is for the Fellow Craft to try their jewels upon," evidently referring to the "Square, Level and Plumb Rule" which had in an immediately preceding clause been spoken of as the "Movable Jewels," while the Scottish version says it is "to adjust the square and make the gages by."
Now a rough ashlar — in the sense at least of a stone in its native state as taken from the quarry — is an impossible standard for such a purpose, so that we may confidently assume some error or confusion in Prichard's account. What seems to be intended is some kind of test block set up in the stone shed, or the "working lodge" of the Mystery, by which the wooden instruments, all more or less likely to get out of truth, might be tested and adjusted; or new ones expeditiously made.
In the Study Club for January of last year  an operative regulation was quoted from the Melrose MS. No. 19 of the Old Charges, to the effect that no Master or Fellow was to let any "Lose" or Cowan, "know ye privilege of ye compass, square, levell and ye plum-rule." In the context it was clear that this meant the methods of using these implements; the devices and short cuts of what would now be called "shop practice." But the probability is that not only did the "privilege" include the knowledge of their use, and the right to use them without interference, but also, as in the case of the "mouldsquares" that were discussed last month,  of how to make them, or, at the least, of how to "adjust" them.
Thirty or forty years ago when machinists and fitters were still accustomed to make their own tools instead of buying them, no laborer was allowed to use or keep any, beyond perhaps a hammer and a cold chisel or so. If he acquired them in any way they would mysteriously disappear. No skilled man would ever dream of showing him how to "true" a square, nor even allow him to watch the process; and if he ever undertook to try to make one for himself, as did occasionally happen, the news flew mysteriously through the shop and there was a buzz like that of angry hornets in every corner — and always, in some way or other, his enterprise was brought to an untimely end.
THE FORTY-SEVENTH PROPOSITION OF EUCLID
Some Masonic writers have laid considerable stress upon the 3:4:5 triangle as a highly treasured operative secret and a few seem to suppose that it would be used in making the squares. In certain special circumstances this formula might be convenient in setting out a right angle approximately on the ground, as for foundations, though in most cases other methods would be better. The qualification, approximately, is used advisedly, as apart from the fact that the most refined and delicate measurements are correct only within certain limits, there are in this particular method multiplied chances of error. Three different measurements have to be very accurately made, and then very accurately applied. On the other hand there a number of ways of drawing one line perpendicular to another which may be found in any elementary text-book of Geometery and which all have the advantage that no measurements have to be made at all as they depend entirely on drawing circles of any convenient radius. It has only to be tried to become perfectly obvious. And if practically a difficult and inconvenient mode of drawing one line at right angles to another it is much more a perfectly impracticable way of making one edge at right angles to another, as any attempt to make a square will show.
This 3:4:5 triangle, too, has also been loosely spoken of as if it were the same thing as the forty-seventh proposition of the first Book of Euclid. It is of course only one very special case covered by this famous proposition. It is hardly to be doubted indeed that the properties of a triangle with sides that bore this numerical ratio to each other were known ages before Pythagoras. What he was so elated at discovering was not the particular and special case, but the general truth that in any right-angled triangle, no matter what were the lengths of the sides, the square erected on the hypotenuse was equal in area to the combined area of the squares on the other two sides.
When it comes to making material objects with angles of a certain size, geometrical methods are quite unsuitable, for they are intended only for drawing lines on a plane surface. The normal methods for obtaining a concrete angle, edge or surface, depend on the use of some other object, already manufactured, as a gauge or standard. Ultimately, and at the beginning, of course, some standard has to be fashioned without this aid, and speaking generally the various ways in which this may be done are essentially the same as the methods of testing its accuracy when it is made. Even the construction of geometrical figures depends on the use of some object with a straight edge by which right lines may be ruled.
The "straight-edge" indeed lies at the foundation, both of all the constructive arts and of the exact sciences; and it will aid us to realize its importance to craftsmen who had to make their own measuring and testing appliances to understand the principle by which it, or a plane surface, may be corrected to any required degree of accuracy. If we take a piece of thin card and cut it across with a pair of sharp scissors and then try the edge thus produced against a ruler, we will find that it is really a complex series of curves that we have produced; and if we go on trying to cut a straight line "by eye" it will be found that though it may be possible to come closer to the straight line represented by the ruler, that very obvious variations from it still remain. We may arrive at a closer approximation by noting the places where the card touches the ruler and cutting them away with the scissors until the limit of accuracy practicable by this rather crude method is obtained.
But suppose we have no standard to begin with. Let us take the piece of card and cut it as nearly straight as can be managed without any guide, and lay it on a piece of paper and using it as a ruler draw a line along the cut edge. Then if we turn the piece of card over and apply the edge to this line the inequalities will at once be apparent. By a process of cutting away the places where the edge is too "high" it will be possible by continued trial to rule a line with the card in one position and turn it over and draw another and have the two lines coincide, if the pencil is not too sharp. Though this line on close examination will be found thicker in some places than others. If the card be replaced by some other material, such as a thin piece of wood or a piece of sheet metal, it is possible in this way, using appropriate means to "work the edge," to produce a ruler of any desired degree of accuracy.
It is not necessary to suppose that this was the actual method employed, it is only an illustration of the principle underlying the testing of a standard straight-edge. And where an edge or surface can be tested it becomes possible to remove inequalities and thus make a closer approach to the theoretical straight line or plane. The essential thing in every possible method is the comparison of one approximation with others, and the final result, no matter how far and how carefully the process is carried, is always a mean or average between the errors either in different surfaces, or different parts of the same surface.
Now all the principal testing tools of the mason depend on the "straight-edge" or "rule," which is in and by itself a very fundamental one in this craft. The square consists of two straight edges at right angles to each other, the level and plumbrule are straight-edges in combination with a line and plummet hanging in the one case at right angles and in the other parallel.
THE POINTS OF THE SQUARE
Two of the curious questions and answers relative to the square in the confused account of Operative Masonry in Scotland given in the Confession might be in part interpreted as embodying this idea. They were quoted in the Study Club article for February of last year.  The first passage seems to show a distinct appreciation of the fact that the essentials of the level were to be found in the square. It may be as well to reproduce the significant part of the second one. We are told there are five points in the square, which are as follows:
The square our master under God is one: the level's two: the plumbrule's three: the hand rule's four: and the gage is five.
This might possibly be thus explained, the square used for its normal purpose is the first point. If a plumbline be hung on top of the "blade" of a square the stock can be set level by adjusting it so the line will coincide with the edge of the instrument. In the same way the blade can be used as a plumbrule. It can also obviously be used as a straight-edge, if that be what is intended by the term "hand rule." And finally, should we venture to suppose, pace Mackey, that the edge of the square was sometimes graduated in feet and inches, it would serve also as a gage or measuring instrument. Of course the interpretation of such a cryptic utterance as this apart from any living tradition will always be no more than guesswork. It would be possible to interpret it quite plausibly, by assuming the word square to be used in two senses — i.e., the word "square" in the question, "How many points in the square?" might refer to the "form" of the lodge; and in that case the answer would simply enumerate the working tools present or represented within it. The only reason for preferring the first, and, it must be confessed, more complex explanation, is that it fits in fairly well with the explanation that the author gives of the previous question and answer, where it is said that the three iron pins driven into the wall give both square and level.
A word may be said here regarding the accompanying cut in which are collected typical forms of mason's working tools from different sources and over a wide range of dates. We have already discussed the rather dogmatic assertion made by Mackey in his Encyclopedia about the true form of the mason's square. Not only will it be seen that the square with limbs of unequal length is found represented from Roman times to the end of the 16th century — it did not seem worth while to look for later examples — but we must say also that so far we have not come across a single case, earlier than the purely emblematic jewels and designs of the eighteenth century in which the limbs are equal, with one exception, the famous brass square found in the foundations of Baal's Bridge, which, whatever it was, was not an actual working tool.
Neither does there seem to be any reason in the nature of things why a square with graduations marked upon it should be proper for a carpenter but tabu to a mason. One swallow does not make a summer, but in Fig. 11 there is represented an indisputable example. It does not definitely appear however that Peter Ashton was a Mason, though evidently a person of some local importance in his day and place.
The curious square-headed form of compasses, of which two examples are shown, appears sporadically in different places and periods. The level from Strasburg is essentially of the same type as that shown in the hands of Elias Dryham on a previous page.
ADJUSTING THE LEVEL AND PLUMBRULE
We have said that all these implements were made of wood. It is of course possible that squares were occasionally made with a metal blade, and that the level and plumbrule may sometimes have had metal fittings, such as, possibly, a guard to keep the plumb bob from swinging loose, or clamps to re-inforce the joints, but such additions would make no essential difference to the character of the appliances.
The plumbrule was simply a piece of wood, with a hole cut in one end to give the "bob" room to swing freely while yet the line hung close to the side of the wood. It is still used by bricklayers and masons in Europe and is generally about four feet long and four inches wide. The level took a greater variety of forms. One that was very common was triangular; sometimes it was made like the letter A. Sometimes again it was simply a short plumbrule mortised into a straight edge like all inverted T. When it took this form it was frequently braced on each side, thus combining both the T and the triangle. Sometimes the braces were curved, thus forming the prototype of many modern Senior Warden's Jewels. A very unusual and highly ornamental form is shown in the illustration, already referred to more than once, which was reproduced last month.  In this the plumbline is suspended from a support in the form of a miniature arch.
If in making a plumbrule a line be drawn along the board parallel with the edge, and the cord suspended at a point on the line at the top, it is obvious that when it coincides with the line previously drawn that the edge of the instrument is perpendicular. But the line may not be truly parallel. In order to test it, we set up a stone, or a post by it, and when this is in position we turn the rule upside down and suspend the cord as before. If it coincides with the line again the instrument is accurate, and our post set truly plumb. But if not the variation is double the error, and by halving this distance a point is obtained that should be correct. The post or stone can then be reset to the new standard and the process repeated until as high a degree of accuracy has been reached as we please, or as is practically possible.
The adjusting of the level is done on the same principle, only all that is necessary is to turn the testing edge of the tool end for end, the error then showing itself doubled as before. When the plumbline marks the same point in either position the instrument is "set." It is obvious that if there be a horizontal or perpendicular surface at hand these tools could be very readily adjusted and corrected. As they were always subject to many risks of injury through rough usage we can see that it might have been very useful to have a carefully squared stone accurately set level and plumb for the purpose. In all machine shops standard surface plates and straight-edges are kept by which those in every day use "at the benches" may be periodically tested, and if necessary, "trued up."
MAKING A SQUARE
In these two implements, the plumbrule and level, we have obtained our straight edge and we have only to discover a certain point with which the swinging plumbline must coincide to give the desired result. With the square we have a more complex task. There are two edges which must not only be quite straight, which in itself is not so hard, but must also be at right angles to each other, which adds very considerably to the difficulty. We say two edges: the modern tool has four, both the inside and outside edges being "trued." That of the medieval masons seems sometimes to have had only the inside angle square, the outside being obviously quite different. The square shown in the hand of William de Warmington is an example. An even better one was shown last month.  Naturally it adds to the difficulty of the task to get four straight edges into this particular relationship, and for the mason's work we may judge only the inside angle was required. A carpenter would find the outside angle in many cases more useful than the inside, and it is very likely that he made his own square to suit his special requirements; for it is very possible that the mason's tools were frequently made by the carpenters working on the same job — there would always have to be carpenters to do the wood work, make centers for the arches and so on. Still though they may often have done this for their associate craftsmen, yet the masons would have had to be able to do it for themselves, in their own fashion, if the need arose. A carpenter would of course use his plane to get a true edge, but the mason would naturally have no tools for working wood. However, there are always more ways than one of doing a thing. As an example a case may be cited of an elderly, highly skilled machinist who made himself an inlaid bookcase in his spare time. One day he showed it to a carpenter of his acquaintance, and the latter greatly admired the very exact fitting of the many tiny pieces of wood, but was highly amused when told how the work was done. The machinist having no great skill with carpenter's tools had used a file!
Now the mason who wanted to make a true straight edge out of a piece of wood would have an obvious means of doing it, if there were at hand a worked stone with a flat surface; he could rub the edge down on the stone. If the piece of wood were fairly straight to begin with and not too thick this would be a much more expeditious method than might be supposed and would give very satisfactory results.
The square would be made of a thin strip of wood, the blade, mortised into a thicker piece, the stock. The latter would have its edge made quite true before the blade was inserted. When this was put in it could be tested in the same way as we did the piece of card, only, as the angle has to be "right" as well as the edge, the procedure will be to apply the stock to the edge of a flat surface (such as that of the standard block we have supposed that the ashlar might have been) and to draw a line. Then it would be turned over and another line drawn from the same starting point. This process gives not only the error in the edge, but the divergence from a true right angle. By cutting, scraping or rubbing, the thin edge of the blade can be gradually worked down so that a second line drawn on reversal will coincide with the first. The edge of the blade is then straight and the angle true.
- THE BUILDER, October, 1926, pages 314-5.↩
- THE BUILDER, January, 1926, page 27.↩
- THE BUILDER, January, 1927, page 25.↩
- THE BUILDER, February, 1926, page 56.↩
- THE BUILDER, January, 1927, page 25.↩
- Ibid. January, page 25. It appeared as an illustration to the article by Bro. N. W. J. Haydon on St. Alban's Abbey in the August number, 1925, page 239. In addition to the level specially mentioned in the test of the present article the exceptionally large pair of compasses in the hands of the Master of the work is to be noted; as also the peculiar form of the square. This seems to be intentional and not merely carelessness on the part of the artist, for in all the other technical details close observation is evident. The outside angle of the square seems to be a right angle however, only not parallel with the inside one. In the one shown in the hands of the effigy of Master William of Warmington, of some two centuries later, this is not the case, the outer angle being distinctly obtuse. This is reproduced from the same article.↩
The illustration of the statue of Elias Dryham is from a photograph very kindly sent to us by Bro. Ravenscroft.
* * *
The first record we have of any lodge located at Nauvoo is to be found in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Illinois in 1842, where we find, under the head of Visiting Brethren, the name of Timothy Foot, Nauvoo, U.D. Then in the Grand Master's Address is the report that he had issued a dispensation to George Miller, Master, John D. Parker, S.W., and John N. Scovill, J.W., and others to form a new lodge in the city of Nauvoo, Hancock County, Ill.
There appear to have been objections to this action of the Grand Master, especially on the part of Bodley Lodge, No. 1, of Quincy, but it is not very easy to find out exactly on what grounds. From various reports we may gather however that there was a too great desire to increase membership with little regard for the quality of the Candidates, and probably springing from this a tendency to interfere with the secrecy of the ballot.
The following is the only return ever made by the lodge. It is unique in the descriptive list of rejected applicants. The Mormon prophet's brother appears as Senior Warden, and other members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, as Heber C. Kimball, also appear.
Return of Nauvoo Lodge, U.D.
Held at Nauvoo on the first and third Thursdays in each month.
George Miller — Master.
Hyrum Smith — Senior Warden.
Lucius N. Scovil — Junior Warden.
William Clayton — Sec'y pro tem.
Newell K. Whitney — Tr.
Charles Allen — S.D.
Heber C. Kimball — J.D.
William Felshaw — Steward.
Hyrum Clark — Steward.
Samuel Rolf — Tyler.
Past Masters — Asahel Perry, Daniel S. Miles, Hezekiah Peck.
Master Masons — 243.
Fellowcrafts — 4.
Entered Apprentices — 9.
Dead — Vinson Knight, M.M., on the 31st of July, 1842; E. P. Merriam, M.M., on the 14th day of September, 1842; Wm. Wrightman, M.M. on the 24th day of September, 1842.
Daniel Avery, 44 years of age; 5 feet 11 inches high; a stout, athletic man; dark complexion; dark skin; dark eyes; heavy beard; hair partially gray; nose of the aquiline form; slow spoken; a farmer; resides in Nauvoo; June 16, 1842.
Hiram Dayton, 44 years of age; occupation, a farmer; 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high; thick set; light complexion; light hair; blue eyes; quick spoken and not plain; resides in Nauvoo; on the 7th day of July, 1842.
Nathan A. West, 34 years of age; 6 feet high; well proportioned; round shoulders; brown hair; blue eyes; dark complexion; moderate speech; thin face; occupation, a carpenter and joiner; resides in Nauvoo; on the 7th day of July, 1842.
Samuel Brown, 41 years of age; 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high; light complexion, blue eyes; black hair; by trade a boot and shoe maker; resides in Nauvoo; on the 21st day of July, 1842.
Expelled — John C. Bennett, M.M., about 38 years of age; 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high; dark complexion; dark eyes; Roman nose; lost his upper front teeth; quick spoken; good language; by profession a physician; residing in New York; for gross un-Masonic conduct; on the 8th day of August, 1842.
Initiated — 285.
The number initiated was certainly a very large one for the time and place, and especially for a new lodge. It is interesting to note that in one of the committee reports it is suggested that the lodge is altogether too large, and if continued that it should be divided into three or four.
* * *
THE ARISTOCRACY OF FREEMASONRY
Among Freemasons, the number of those who cultivate their minds and adorn them with true knowledge, and who are industriously occupied in their search after truth, is certainly very small. In general, nine-tenths of those who are styled "Freemasons," have no right to the name beyond the titles they acquire.
It is truly a privilege equally rare and valuable, to have acquired distinct ideas of things; to have penetrated the mystic darkness which surrounds us, and to have eyes to see the Light invisible to the mass, which "shineth in that darkness."
If there really existed a lodge, whose members were all men of superior genius and talents, enlightened philosophers, who never advance a step without full evidence before them, and who preserve as a precious deposit the pure and unalterable charge of truth, by the discovery of which the human mind becomes capable of being elevated, it would be the most respectable body of men of which we can well conceive. Such a lodge would indeed deserve the title of true elect; of adepts, in the full sense of the word; of oracles, if not infallible, at least most worthy of being listened to, by those over whom credulity, error, superstition and prejudice do not exercise their tyranny.
It seems, in truth, if we judge at first glance, that the idea we have just expressed, is not altogether destitute of reality. There are philosophical Freemasons who compose a species of firmament, consisting of stars of different magnitude, with here and there one shining with unusual brilliancy. In fixing our attention upon this vast luminous region, we find this brilliancy obscured by nebulous stars and opaque bodies. The number of those glittering with borrowed rays, is almost infinite. Meteors composed of light and ofttimes mischievous exhalations, form a deceptive spectacle, which is soon dissipated. It is no easy task, therefore, for the new initiate, among the larger number of guides who present themselves, to discriminate between those who deserve to be listened to or followed, and those who do not. He in the end finds that many so far from meriting the title of chiefs, possess scarcely the qualifications necessary for good sub-alterns. In the midst of this anarchy and confusion, a considerable time must necessarily elapse before he can make choice of worthy conductors.
If Freemasonry is aristocratic, its aristocracy is that of the mind and of moral worth. In this sense, it knows not how to be democratic. "All are not Israel that are of Israel"; "many are called, but few are chosen." The throng of false brethren, of the half-instructed, of showy yet superficial minds, of plagiarists, of the ignorant as well as of the crafty and unprincipled, serve to confuse and disorganize the well-intentioned plans and "works" of the wise, good and true, to nullify all Masonic government and laws, engender and perpetuate corruption and "innovation, which is treason, and saps the foundation of the venerable fabric."
If we bring Freemasonry back to aristocracy, or (to resume our former figure), consolidate in the firmament of Freemasonry, exclusively those stars that shine with their own proper lustre, with the substantial light of wisdom, enduring power, and the beauty of virtue, shall we not then finally have what we seek for? Will we then have secured respectable repositories of the genuine and solid science and royal art, which they change not nor adulterate in any respect, but which they preserve with care, and communicate to "the faithful and accepted" of the "holy empire" as integral and pure as they themselves possess it? So we fondly hope and truly believe.
— The Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, Vol. VII (1847).
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The books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which always include postage. These prices are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though occasion for this will very seldom arise. Occasionally it may happen, where books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make inquiries for second-hand works and books out of print.
TWO NEW BOOKS OF MASONIC FICTION
HAND TO BACK. By Wnt. M. Stuart, P.M., Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., New York, N.Y., 1926. Cloth, 264 pages. Price $2.15.
TOLD THROUGH THE AGES. By J. S. M. Ward, M.S., P.M., etc. The Baskerville Press, London, 1926. Cloth, 238 pages; illustrated 10/6
IT is remarkable that two books of most excellent Masonic fiction should appear simultaneously. This occurred in December, when the Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., of New York, produced Bro. Wm. M. Stuart's Hand to Back, and the Baskerville Press, of London, brought out J. M. S. Ward's Told Through the Ages. Each volume consists of twenty stories.
The name of Bro. Stuart is well known to readers of American Craft periodicals, as his entertaining tales have appeared in contemporaneous journals for several years. He has also written much for non-Masonic publications. Bro. Stuart is a Past Master of Morningside Lodge, No. 65, Canisteo, N.Y., and an active participant in the community activities. He is also a member of the Society of Colonial Wars, something which the readers of his stories and articles will suspect from the entertaining accounts he has written of Freemasonry in the Revo utionary War. The story of the American Craft in the building of the Great West is now receiving his attention, and we can expect appropriate stories during the coming months.
A number of the stories show an intimate knowledge of the United States Postal Service, something readily explained when we bear in mind that the author is also postmaster of his town. It is his faculty of making the background realistic which makes the reader feel that the characters, places and occurrences are actually real. One feels that he is living through the incidents related.
To list and describe each story in detail would deprive interested brethren of the pleasure which comes from reading something new. Let it suffice to say that the scenes are laid in colonial America, the Far West, in the Philippines and in settings such as are also familiar to the resident of an average American community. They are all distinctively American, and as such will meet with a hearty response in the hearts of American Masons.
The book is the first collection of Masonic stories to be offered to the reading public in many years, and I predict that their popularity will exceed that enjoyed by High Twelve and Low Twelve, by Bro. Edward S. Ellis, P.M. — two volumes which are always dispatched by librarians when Masonic stories are asked for.
Bro. Ward's venture into the field of fiction comes as a surprise, but a most agreeable one, it should be said, to those who know him as a leader of the antiquarian school of Freemasonry. His Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods is recognized as the most authoritative treatment of the subject covered, even though more conservative brethren do not accept all of his premises or conclusions. He has also written other books which have enjoyed a wide distribution, and as Secretary of the Masonic Study Society of London, has edited some interesting Transactions containing articles on the archaeological study of the Craft.
Bro. Ward's book is unique. Beginning with "At High Noon," a tale of the Palaeothic Age, 100,000 B.C., one is carried through ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece, early Britain, the Roman Empire, Roman, Saxon, Norman and medieval England, down through later centuries into the present era with a series of stories which are truly fascinating. Any Mason, interested in the legendary and authentic history of the Craft, will have his emotions stirred by the capably written tales, and will receive an urge to refresh his knowledge of the ancient times in which the scenes are laid. The volume brings memories of youthful days when barn lofts or herb-hung attics were the rendezvous of bookish inclined school-boys on rainy days, as they pored over Ivanhoe, The Talisman and other books by Sir Walter Scott, and the less classical but equally interesting historical novels of George Alfred Henty. Just as these authors have blended fact with fiction, so has Bro. Ward taken well known fragments of history and surrounded them with a texture of skillfully woven words, making the familiar incidents stand out in life-like settings, giving the effect that one beholds when looking at photographs through a stereoscope. Again I am tempted to mention some of them, but I forbear, because I wish the reader to enjoy the warmth of feeling which came over me when I first lost myself in the volume. (Tell it not in Gath, nor whisper it in Askalon, but I was missing from church the Sunday morning the book fell into my hands.)
The Craft is fortunate in having such a book available. It will whet interest in Masonic study and research and will lead to further exploration of the "untrodden paths of Masonic research," to borrow W. Bro. Gilbert W. Dayne's expression. Though much will have to be presented to convince the majority of recognized scholars that Freemasonry, as we know it today, goes back of the XII century, it is nevertheless true that workers in the more ancient fields have the good will of those who may not agree with them — a display of Masonic ethics as it should be. Yet no matter where we may stand on the specific questions, we all agree that Told Through the Ages is an interesting, fascinating and stimulating volume, and we bespeak a generous distribution and a wide reading for it.
J. H. T.
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THE BIRTH AND GROWTH OF THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND, 1717-1926. By W. Bro. Gilbert W. Daynes. Published by the Masonic Record, London. Cloth, index, table of contents, illustrated, 187 pages. Price, postpaid, $2.10.
THE Masonic Fraternity the world over should feel a vital interest in the United Grand Lodge of England for at least one reason. The mere fact that something over two hundred years ago, two hundred ten to be exact, there was held in London, at the Apple-Tree Tavern, in Charles Street, Covent Garden, a meeting of the members of four Masonic lodges, and that this gathering laid the foundations upon which is built the present Masonic organization, should be adequate reason for an interest in English Freemasonry. From this modest beginning have grown all the Grand Lodges of the world today, although, strictly speaking, the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland, and their descendants, are independent in origin. It is true of the United States, and possibly of other countries as well, that there is no widespread knowledge of what the Fraternity is or was. A vast majority of Masons know nothing about the history of their own jurisdiction to say nothing of the premier Grand Lodge of the world.
It cannot be truthfully said that the blame is entirely theirs. In extenuation there may be one excuse advanced. The Craft as a whole has never had a clear and concise presentation of English Grand Lodge history. The information has been available for many years, it is true, but it has been locked between the pages of massive volumes, or buried in the depths of articles from which the story has had to be rebuilt and bit by bit pieced together to make a unified whole. Scholars have taken the pains to acquaint themselves with the essentials of English Masonic history. The ordinary member rarely feels inclined to put forth the necessary effort. Unsatisfactory as such an excuse may sound, it doubtless accounts, in large measure, for the lack of knowledge of this subject which is prevalent in the Craft today.
Fortunately for the Order as a whole it can be stated without fear of contradiction that this excuse cannot be advanced in the future. Bro. Gilbert W. Daynes has removed the cause for our ignorance, and it is to be sincerely hoped that the brethren will take it upon themselves to destroy the all too evident effect. The Birth and Growth of the Grand Lodge of England is a short treatment of the story which is both scholarly and popular.
A sufficient guarantee of the scholarship displayed is to be found in Bro. Daynes' membership in Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076. It must be confessed that a heavy burden rests upon the shoulders of those men who are today following the trails blazed by such as Gould, Speth, Rylands, Hughan and the others. But in this case the task has been made even more difficult. Bro. Daynes is one of the junior members of the exclusive Q.C. inner circle and has not only the reputation of those who have gone before, but of those who are still spreading the gospel of light to uphold. There can be no higher tribute paid to the scholarship of this work than to say that the author has lived up to the best traditions of No. 2076. It might appear from this that the book is one of those heavy works which, in the hands of the layman, are dull and uninteresting reading. Such is far from being true. With surprising case the author has struck a balance between scholarship and popularity which offers a clear refutation of an oft repeated fallacy that a scholar can not write for the entertainment of his readers. In less than two hundred pages Bro. Daynes has told his story. That in itself should be a guarantee that there is none of the involved argument which often makes the work of a scholar painful reading to the novice. The book moves with almost startling rapidity and every paragraph contains something of interest.
It might seem from what has been said that the book was faultless. This, however, is not entirely true. The errors are few and far between, and fortunately do not illustrate a type of mistake too often found in modern Masonic works. There is a class of Masonic writers who might be called pseudo-scholars, although it must be confessed that this is rather a harsh designation; they are students beyond doubt, but they have a failing for seeing more than the evidence warrants. Such mistakes might be called errors of commission so far as scholarship is concerned. On the other hand occasionally the most painstaking investigator will trip up where really he knows better. Either he fails, in his work, to give due notice to the opinions of others or is so firmly convinced that his idea is correct that he neglects entirely the other side of the argument. This type of error is as likely to be misleading as the other, but since it represents a neglect of evidence it might be termed an error of omission. It is in the latter category that two errors found in Bro. Daynes' work may be classed. Neither is particularly serious, and even if the uninformed reader is led somewhat from the straight and narrow path, he will have no great difficulty in getting back.
A surprise greeted the writer when be read on the first page that:
if one would consider its (Freemasonry's) origin and trace its development through the Operative Masons of Medieval England to the present day, it is necessary to hark back many hundreds of years, and, groping in the mists of antiquity, seek for its birth certainly before the Norman Conquest, and who knows how much earlier. (The italics are ours.)
While in the opinion of the writer Bro. Daynes is entirely correct in this assertion, there have been opinions expressed which would cause it to be considered a bit too positive. The earliest objective proof of the existence of the Masonic Fraternity, namely the Regius MS. is dated circa 1390. When the age of the Fraternity is carried beyond this date our evidence becomes inferential. Doubtless space was a major consideration with the author; the early Craft history was outside his thesis and may account largely for his dogmatism and brevity. One or possibly two short sentences could have made the statement less positive and still left room for his readers to reach other than this particular conclusion.
Again we read somewhat farther along, that in 1725 there is
….clear evidence of three degrees being worked, but certainly not universally. The minutes of the Philo Musicae et Architecturae Societas refer to certain Brethren having been 'Regularly pass'd Masters' between December, 172'4, and February, 1725, and is the earliest known reference to the three distinct degrees.
This passage was read two or three times in an effort to follow the argument to the conclusion without success. In the first place, it is fairly common knowledge that in the early days Master and Fellowcraft were synonymous terms. The phraseology would, as a result, seem to indicate Second Degree rather than Third. That, however, is a minor point. The writer has carefully read the minute mentioned, and there was considerable doubt as to whether or not it did mean three degrees. The text indeed does refer to Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master, but there is no evident distinction between being "pass'd Master" and "pass'd Felloweraft."
Aside from this there is Gould's essay on the subject (A.Q.C. 1903). A forecast of what was to come appears in his paper on The Degrees of Pure and Ancient Freemasonry (A.Q.C. 1903).
What is now generally regarded as the earliest evidence of the degrees of Masonry having been communicated in three distinct steps will be found in the minutes of the Philo-Musicae et Architecturae Societas, London, which commence on the 18th of February, 1725, and terminate on the 23rd of March, 1727.... It will be sufficient ... to ask the reader to hold his judgment in suspense as to whether the documentary evidence supplied by the records of the Musical Society is conclusive on the point of three distinct degrees having been worked in 1725, the inclination of my own judgment being to quite a contrary effect. Also ... it will be convenient to remark that if three distinct steps of Masonry were known and practiced by any lodge or set of brethren in 1725, there is not a particle of evidence from which we might infer a priority of communication to a probationer either of what is now the first degree or the second. (Gould, Essays on Freemasonry, p. 214.)
The paper of Bro. Gould on Philo-Musicae et Architecturae Societas is devoted entirely to a disclaimer of such a three degree system.
It may be well to quote from the above essay. The liberty of avoiding certain typographical peculiarities has been taken for convenience:
Old Regulation XIII – ‘Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellowcraft only here [i. e., in the Grand Lodge], unless by a Dispensation.
At the close of 1724, or very early in 1725, four brethren were 'Regularly Pass'd Masters in the Lodge of Hollis Street' (this is the reference in the minutes to which Bro. Daynes refers); and in February, 1725, 'A Lodge was held consisting of Masters Sufficient for that Purpose in Order to Pass [certain brethren] Fellowcrafts.'
... Next to be cited is the following law enacted by the Grand Lodge: November 27th, 1725. — 'A motion being made that such part of the 13th article of the General Regulations (see above) relating to the making of Masters only at a quarterly Court may be repealed, that the Master of Each Lodge, with the consent of his Wardens and the majority of the Brethren, being Masters may make Masters at their discretion. Agreed Nem Con.' (Gould, Essays on Freemasonry, p. 242.)
It would be profitable to follow Bro. Gould's arguments, but it will have to be passed with an expression that he makes, in the writer's opinion, a case which cannot be overridden without so much as a comment. A few conclusions that become apparent on the surface will not, however, be amiss. The fact that a private organization was working Fellowcraft and Master work outside Grand Lodge may be waved aside with the assertion that this body was not regular in its working. They were censured for the practice and their treatment as clandestine may or may not have had some influence on the early demise of the Society. It seems strange that a lodge of Masters would have to be called to pass Fellowcrafts if they were two distinct degrees. The phrasing of the amendment to Old Regulation XIII would seem to indicate that Fellowcraft and Master meant the same thing even in November, 1725, eight or nine months after the date of the minute. If, however, two degrees were meant at this time, the Grand Lodge had granted power to subordinate lodges to make Masters, and held unto itself the power to make Fellowcrafts. This would not seem strange if the Fellowcraft Degree was the highest in the system, but why should subordinate lodges be permitted to make Entered Apprentices and Masters, the lowest and highest grades, while the intermediate degree could be conferred only at Quarterly Court? On the surface it seems unreasonable.
While this criticism has run to some length, we must not lose sight of the many good points of Bro. Daynes' work. Praise is due to him for the careful manner in which he has avoided the confusing of "Ancient" and "Modern" in his discussion of the two Grand bodies. The common practice of Masonic scholars is always confusing to beginners, and if my own experience is an index, the novice gets very little out of the discussion until he begins to think sub-consciously of the proper body when each term is used. Even then the effort, though slight, must be made to keep them straight. The expedient adopted by the present author is most simple and might well be accepted by those who will follow. The "Modern" Grand Lodge is called the premier Grand Lodge in all cases where confusion might arise.
While on this subject of the two Grand Lodges it is well to add that Bro. Daynes carefully avoids giving the impression that the "Ancient" Grand Lodge was a schismatic body. It has been a common practice among American writers to consider them as something closely approaching clandestine, and the attitude is generally taken that the premier Grand Lodge made great concessions in recognizing them. The author makes it very clear that there were in existence old lodges, survivals from the Operative days, which had never joined with the first Grand Lodge. It seems evident that it was from these bodies and some Irish Masons that the new Grand Lodge was formed. Under such conditions the "Ancients" can hardly be called clandestine. They had never relinquished their rights to govern themselves to the premier Grand Lodge and consequently were just as regular as the four Old Lodges which formed the above organization. That they were recognized as such is clearly shown by the regulation passed by Grand Lodge to the effect that no Masons, members of new lodges, should be recognized as regular unless such new body was constituted by the Grand Lodge. This opinion is coming into more and more general acceptance today, and it is a tribute to the fairness of Bro. Daynes that he has taken some pains to back the assertion with evidence, even in a work where the simple statement may have been allowed to pass on a plea of lack of space.
In following the growth of the United Grand Lodge of England from its inception in 1717, the author has devoted the greater part of his work to a discussion of pre-1813 history. The rise of the premier Grand Lodge, followed by the Grand Lodge of "Ancients," together with a discussion of the controversy between them is carefully and fully covered. The so-called Grand Lodge of All England and the Grand Lodge of England South of the Trent come in for their share of the discussion. Opportunity is found to carry to some length a description of the difficulties experienced by Lodge of Antiquity and the development of what is now No. 2 on the Grand Lodge rolls into a kind of Grand Lodge in agreement with the Grand Lodge of All England (York). Aside from the period from 1717 to 1730, approximately speaking, there is probably no period in Grand Lodge history which holds more interest than the years just preceding the Union in 1813. Bro. Daynes has given a concise but adequate description of the events which took place immediately preceding the Union and has included a most interesting description of the actual meeting at which the Union culminated. From 1813 to the present day the book has been divided into several different fields in preference to following an exact chronological table. The history of Masonic literature, clothing, charities, etc., is discussed separately and individually. To the writer it seems that this arrangement is most satisfactory. It does away with the necessity for carrying all of the details relating to these matters in mind through the entire discussion. It has the further advantage to those who are interested particularly in only one or two phases of this development of collecting the information in one place.
If the American Craft will give The Birth and Growth of the Grand Lodge of England the consideration it merits, the present cordial and friendly relations will be more strongly cemented. There will be an understanding of the English Craft such as Masonry on this side of the Atlantic has never before enjoyed. We can recommend the work in the highest terms, for we believe that it is one that no Masonic student can possibly afford to neglect or to be without.
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MASONRY OF THE OLDEN TIME IN THE COMBER DISTRICT. Paper, 92 pages, illustrated. Price, postpaid, $1.40.
THE HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES OF FREEMASONRY IN SAINTFIELD, COUNTY DOWN. Paper, 96 pages, illustrated. Price, postpaid, 80c.
Both privately printed by the author, W. G. Simpson, P.M., etc.
IT is exceedingly interesting to discover the marked differences that existed in the Masonic Fraternity in different countries. Such differences of course still exist, but it is natural to suppose that this is due to the other people having made "innovations" and having departed more or less from "the original plan." This naive attitude of mind receives something of a shock when the fact is brought out that as far back as we can go there always were those variations, and that it is very doubtful if the Masonry of any country has made greater changes in what it originally received than any other.
In this picture of eighteenth century Irish Masonry we see quite distinctly that the Craft in the Emerald Isle bore quite a different complexion from that in either England or Scotland. And this quite apart from any ritual differences that may or may not have existed.
On the whole the average Freemason in Ireland was a much poorer man in worldly goods than his English brother, and this in itself made a good deal of difference in many ways. The same comparison might be made between Scotland and England, yet Scottish Masonry had its own strongly marked character. To generalize, which perhaps is not altogether safe, it may be said that the old Scottish lodges had a strongly marked operative character, which gave them a tradition of independence and self-sufficiency that they long retained — the Grand Lodge in actuality seeming to be rather a Federal than a Sovereign body. English Masons having put a "noble brother" in the position of Grand Master, all the Craft seemed concerned only to show him (and his position) respect and obedience. Irish lodges were apparently much more rebellious, much more inclined to discover grievances yet they had not that spirit of independence that seemed to make it so easy for the old Scottish lodges to sever their connections with the Grand Lodge and go their own way calmly and soberly until the new organization made overtures to them and offered inducements for reunion.
County Down is the most southeasterly of the Province of Ulster, and the district to which Bro. Simpson's investigations particularly refer lies about fifteen or twenty miles south of Belfast. Ulster was "colonized" in the time of James I of England by settlers from Scotland, and it is very possible, as the author thinks, that Freemasonry as it existed then in North Britain was introduced by the newcomers. However, the records upon which these works are based do not go back further than the last decades of the eighteenth century, when the Grand Lodge organization had become firmly established.
There is much in these old minutes that is very reminiscent of American Freemasonry, though the connection is probably indirect, the fact may be taken as strengthening the belief that the Grand Lodge of "Ancients" in London was very largely of Irish origin and followed Irish customs. Among these family resemblances may be put the great vogue of the Royal Arch, Knights Templar and other degrees now obsolete.
One of the traditional habits of these brethren was that of appearing in public processions. This was of course also an early custom of the Senior Grand Lodge in London, but one very soon discontinued and forbidden. The Grand Lodge of Ireland, apparently always much influenced by what was done in England, similarly ordered their discontinuance to the indignation of the country lodges. Really one cannot see what possible harm there could have been — the procession habit has survived in the United States and Canada both. Lodges take charge of the funeral ceremonies of their deceased members, and not infrequently go to church as a body. The habit of "walking," however, would be too strenuous for American Masons. It appears that Masons in County Down at least "made a day of it" on the twenty-fourth of June, the feast of St. John the Baptist. They assembled early in the morning and opened the lodge. Absentees, without reasonable excuse, were fined. Several lodges might combine, marching with fife and drum and in full regalia, to a common rendezvous where they would go to church, after which they would repair to some suitable place for refreshment, which seems often enough to have been a picnic. The affair was a public entertainment and the procession was accompanied by a crowd of the uninitiated of both sexes. It really seems that it would have been better to have regulated rather than have forbidden this undoubtedly very ancient custom. Some of the lodges would march as much as twenty miles in the day!
These old lodges were strong on the administration of justice as they understood it. It was customary to "chose" committees at the election of officers whose duties were to "roole and govern the lodge." It is not said whether the Master and Wardens were necessarily members of these committees or not, but the custom throws light on the pre-Grand Lodge organization of Masonry. These committees exercised legislative, administrative and judicial functions. Cases of a more serious character were brought before a board consisting of the Masters of several lodges, which would indicate the probability that the Master was ex officio a member of his own lodge committee. But his present sacrosanct position had not then been fully developed, for he like any other member of the lodge was liable to fine and censure, and even to temporary deprivation of office.
Just as there was rebellion at the suppression of public processions, so was there at the innovation of the formation of a Grand Chapter, and the prohibition of the old usage working the Royal Arch on the authority of a Craft warrant. One can sympathize with the feeling that these lodges had that their ancient privileges were being interfered with. Doubtless the growth of central authority has made for respectability and outward propriety and a greater approximation to uniformity of usage, but many desirable things may have been lost in the process.
The relationship of the Irish Craft direct or indirect to that of the United States make these works, small as they are in compass, very interesting to the American Mason, and the abundance of first hand information they contain will be of much value to the student interested in the early customs and their origins of our Fraternity.
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WORLD WAR DEBT SETTLEMENTS. By Harold G. Moulton and Leo Pasvolsky. Published by the Macmillan Company, New York. Cloth, table of contents, index, 435 pages including appendices. Price, postpaid, $2.15.
THIS book deals entirely with government debts incurred during the recent war. The authors have not attempted to discuss the future of debt settlements or to make any statements as to the capacities of the various governments to pay. It is a concise treatment endeavoring to show the present status of debts and how they originated. It covers a wide field and includes not only American settlements, but the negotiations of foreign powers as well. There is collected in the appendices a valuable list of documents treating with reparation and other debts. These instruments are quoted in their entirety and would form a valuable guide to the understanding of war debts by themselves. The additional data supplied by the authors makes the situation intelligible to anyone who cares to read it.
War debts present a vital problem in government today. There is probably no question as controversial as this one and since the United States is the principal creditor it is of the utmost importance to the people of this country. It is not only an interesting problem, but one which everyone is duty bound to investigate. The present work gives an answer to almost any question that might arise and aside from making interesting reading is a valuable book for reference.
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THE BEST LETTERS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON. J. G. De Roulhac Hamilton, Editor. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1926. Cloth, index, table of contents, frontispiece, 299 pages. Price, postpaid, $2.65.
THE letters a man writes are often a most valuable index to his character; this is true particularly of those he writes to intimate friends and members of his family. This collection of letters of Thomas Jefferson has for its principal object the portraying of the man as he was and makes, as a result, an interesting character study of one of the outstanding personages of early American history. Incidentally it furnishes no little information about the period in which Jefferson lived.
Of particular interest are the letters to Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Adams. The long friendship of Jefferson and President Adams was interrupted by a quarrel which was afterwards overlooked and a revival of friendly relations resulted. The progress of this break and its healing are clearly traced in this work of Mr. Hamilton.
The collection covers almost every phase of life during the period, literature, philosophy, government and family relations come in for their share of consideration. The book is of interest to Masons because of the numerous letters it contains which were written by Mr. Jefferson to outstanding characters of the time who were members of the Fraternity.
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NEW BOOKS RECEIVED
History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, by J. Heron Lepper and Philip Crossle, published by the Lodge of Research, Dublin.
The House of God, by Ernest H. Short, published by the Macmillan Co., New York.
English Men and Manners of the 18th Century, by A. S. Tuberville, published by the Oxford University Press, New York.
An Outline Introduction to the History of Religions, by Theodore Robinson, published by the Oxford University Press, New York.
Civilization or Civilizations, by E. H. Goddard and P. A. Gibbons, published by Boni and Liveright, New York.
Albert Pike Year Book, by Claire C. Ward, published by Macoy Publishing Co., New York.
Benjamin Franklin, the First Civilized American, by Phillips Russell, published by Brentano's, New York.
Hand to Back, a Collection of Masonic Stories, by William M. Stuart, published by Macoy Publishing Co., New York.
Told Through the Ages, by J. S. M. Ward, published by the Baskerville Press, London.
Labour and Refreshment, by J. S. M. Ward, published by the Baskerville Press, London.
Erlauterung der Katechismen der Johannis-Freimaurerei, Vierter-Teil, Historisch-dogmatische, Darstellung, etc., by Robert Fischer, published by Verlag des Vereins deutscher Freimaurer, Leipsig.
Aus der Werkstatt des Engbundes, privately printed by the Lodge Baldwin zur Linde, Leipsig.
Der Verein deutscher Freimaurer und Seine Gegner, by O. Bischoff, published by Verlag des Vereins deutscher Freimaurer, Leipsig.
Werdandi und Freimaurerei, by Alfred Abendroth, published by Alfred Unger, Berlin.
Iamblichus' Life of Pythagoras, translated by Thomas Taylor, published by John M. Watkins, London.
The Decline of the West, by Oswald Spengler, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
The Secret Tradition in Alchemy, by A. E. Waite, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
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THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE.
THE FIRST GRAND MASTERS OF OHIO
I noticed an error in the article by Bro. Tyler in the January number of THE BUILDER. On the first page, toward the bottom of the first column, it is stated that Lewis Cass was the first Grand Master of Ohio. This is most emphatically not so — General Rufus Putnam, of American Union Lodge, Marietta, was the lucky individual to win this exalted post when the Grand Lodge was formed in January, 1808. Here is the correct line-up of our earliest Grand Masters: General Rufus Putnam, elected January, 1808; Governor Samuel Worthington, elected January, 1809; General Lewis Cass, elected January, 1810-11-12.
I was rather startled when I read the story of good Bro. Tyler and saw what be had to say with reference as to who was elected first Grand Master of Ohio. Therefore I felt constrained to write these few lines, calling your attention to the same. While but a relatively small misstatement, I feel that you appreciate anyone taking enough interest and time to bring to your attention such errors, however slight.
Henry Baer, Ohio.
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It is with regret that I note the error in my article in the January number of THE BUILDER. I agree with Bro. Baer that errors should not be permitted to creep into published articles. What I intended to convey was that "General Lewis Cass was the third Grand Master of Ohio and the first Grand Master of Michigan."
I have carefully brought this out in previous articles: (1) "Michigan's First Grand Master," Masonic News, September, 1925; (2) "An Early Ohio Masonic Record," THE BUILDER, Vol. 10, page 357; (3) "Turhand Kirtland," THE BUILDER, December, 1925, and January, 1926. In the number for January, 1926, is a cut of General Rufus Putnam carrying the information that he was the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
In Bro. Baer's letter he states, "Here is the correct line-up of our earliest Grand Masters: General Rufus Putnam, elected January, 1808; Governor Samuel Worthington, elected January, 1809; General Lewis Cass, elected January, 1810-11-12."
This information is in error as the second Grand Master was Governor Samuel Huntington — a member of the lodge at Warren, Ohio.
James J. Tyler, Ohio.
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WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH MASONRY?
The editorial in THE BUILDER for last October entitled "Towards the East," was of particular interest, in that it expressed what is, to the writer's mind, a very great question, i.e., "What is the matter with Masonry?"
The writer has been making a study of Masonry for more than a quarter of a century, one year of that time being spent in the Orient among many tongues and many peoples. He has had the pleasure of receiving all the degrees in both Rites save that of the 33°. He has been visiting, meeting and talking to and with Masons of high and low degree for many years. "The greatest Masonic School" he ever attended was two years spent in the U.S. Army during the recent Titanic struggle "To Save the World for Democracy," in which school he came in closer contact with man and with Masonry than was ever his privilege before.
The first and chief reason for the apparent general apathy is that Masonry is not being taught as it should be taught; the Institution has become a diploma mill, issuing "special indulgencies" in lodge hardware, for the principal purpose of gaining numerical strength and financial ability to erect temples of stone and bronze.
The second reason is that the foremost and most potent thought today in the mind of those who seek admission is, "What can I get out of it and what will it do for me?"
The third reason is, this is a material age in the thoughtforce of the world at which time humanity is selling this birthright for a mess of pottage and two doves for a farthing.
In the next place it is the writer's opinion that not one man in a million ever fully grasps the lessons intended to be taught by Masonic teachings and obligations. The present state of teaching is in keeping with Priesteraft, Ritualism and Sacerdotalism. A few there be who see the light and seek to travel toward the East, but they are seriously handicapped at every step.
Masonry is not now, neither indeed has it ever been, a handmaiden to the church. It never has been a hot-bed of fanaticism, and whenever and wherever the crumbling creeds of Christendom have laid their blighting fingers upon the structure of Masonry, its teachings and activities have been lulled into a somnambulistic sleep.
Until the method of imparting the real meaning of Masonry to the candidate within the gate is changed, so long will the status of the rank and file be no more than "I too belong."
We have "kidded" ourselves into a mild condition of "fearthought" regarding the ravages of Roman Catholicism. When we teach the oncoming Masonic brotherhood that the church in every name and form extant upon the face of the earth today is, in its last analysis, the sworn enemy of the real teachings of Masonry, then we shall begin to see the light. We must not forget that there has never been in any age a time in which there could be a homogeneous mixture of clericalism and Masonry. Those of us who have studied this question know full well that clericalism is a political hierarchy using the subterfuge of creed and dogma to delude its multitude of benighted followers. We cannot pass on to the other fellow something we do not possess. Thousands of us within the portals have never seen or recognized the light, how can we?
Masonry in its teachings today is not altogether a constructive force, only partly so; and so long as we kow-tow to the "Reporters for the spiritual kingdom" and be led, directed and governed thereby, we shall continue to meet at the full of the moon, pay dues and close in due and ancient form. How can we advance when from the throne of central hierarchy there is handed down our prepared thought with directions thereon "to take ye all of it, and while these retire let others come"? The truth of the matter is Masonry is asleep at the switch and is being slowly but surely brought under the dominant rule of a central ecclesiastical and political hierarchy. The writer has no hesitancy in giving as his opinion that Masonry has reached its acme in this century as to its effectiveness, and there is "nobody to blame" except those on the inside who have been taught for generations to "fear God," and incidentally everything else, including man. How can we reasonably expect anything different from what we have?
We appreciate THE BUILDER. It is doing much good among those who read and think constructively, which, in all probability, is less than 5 per cent of the mass mind of the age. May it continue to grow and in the last analysis the harvest be an hundred fold.
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In a recent issue of THE BUILDER my attention was arrested by an article entitled "The Spiritual Significance of Masonry," by Bro. Silas H. Shepherd (November, 1926), which, as a Master Mason interested in diffusing light and information to the Craft, I desire to comment.
I have not the slightest doubt of the author's sincerity and good intentions, but since he has failed altogether to depict the "spiritual significance" of Masonry, I do not think it fair to the Craft that they should be left with this erroneous statement. The article simply iterates and reiterates what almost every Mason has read or heard said heretofore. It tells him what he should do, at least it nearly does so; but it does not tell him how it is to be done. The reference made to the experience of gaining admission being emblematic of an experience that all "must" go through sooner or later, probably refers to death. It is quite obvious that even this statement, as it stands, contains no spiritual explanation nor interpretation. It might be a fact that one should maintain his integrity and the duty that he owes to his co-creatures even unto crucifixion. Jesus has already set this example, and He has already demonstrated the truth and fact of resurrection. But, to say that everyone "must" go through the experience of death is simply holding fast to a false and erroneous belief and keeping Masons in darkness. Because the Bible refers to death as an enemy. It also says that it shall be overcome. Jesus demonstrated the truth of this. Even Masonry itself, symbolically, teaches that the Christian dispensation demonstrated the resurrection. Proving that life is not gained through death, but by overcoming death. Why not, therefore, explain life and its immortality?
Further on this article states that Masonry not only stresses a "belief" in God, but a trust as well. And again it says that Masonry does not attempt to interfere with the peculiar religious faith of its disciples, "except so far as relates to their belief in God," and what necessarily results from that belief. Do we trust, do we merely believe, or should we know? What are the "necessary results" from a belief in God?
It is impossible to merely believe a fact. A fact is the Truth. God is a fact. God is not believable from a trust which might be a blind faith. God is knowable to spiritual discernment. There is no other discernment because God is omniscience. Intelligence therefore is the cause of discernment, and discernment is the proof of intellectual effect. Since God is spirit, He can only be discerned spiritually. When a fact is discerned there is no place for trust nor belief. The Master, Christian, Essene or Mason said, "The spirit of God is within you." Anything so intimate as to be within us, we should know something about it, shouldn't we?
Farther on in the article it says that "we must be industrious spiritually," but it doesn't tell us how this is to be accomplished. Here again the reader is given a message without any direction. Certainly these things were not the intention of the writer thereof, and certainly to say that something must be done spiritually and not to explain how it is done, conveys no "spiritual significance," which is the title of the article under which this statement is made.
Again it is said that our bodies are temporary shelters for our souls, and after passing through the "experience necessary" (here again it is vague), the dust returns to its mother earth and the soul returns to God who gave it. Here is evidently entertained the old erroneous belief that man is a product of mud, to which he must return. What a delightful mission man would have if such were the fact. What a wonderful incentive to follow all these instructions given in this article upon the holding out of the glorious reward of returning to mud or dust. Since this article seems to admit that "soul is not matter nor mud," and seems to give soul spiritual quality as distinguished from that which is said to return to dust, then since there is but one spirit there must be but one soul. Otherwise, has anybody ever found out whether God had enough souls to go around, and what would happen if he ever ran short of souls, or didn't happen to get one back again? This perfectly logical question in itself should make apparent immediately the ridiculous situation of the infinite being contained in the finite. What are we going to do with the proposition that man is the image and likeness of God, admitting that God is spirit and that Spirit's likeness must be necessarily spiritual, and that spirit is infinite and everlasting, and that its image and likeness, or its reflection, can be conceived into a mass of mindless matter or mud and be returned to dust? How are you going to explain this? The answer is that you are not going to. You can't.
We Masons declare that the Bible is the rule and guide of our faith, just as is stated in the article referred to. If this be true, if we really mean this, then should we not know something about the Bible? It might be said that the Bible is the record of creation, the truth about God, the Creator, and man's relation to Him; together with the essence of the rules whereby to demonstrate and put into practice the One Infinite principle. Certainly these truths should be taught to the Masonic Fraternity. I have often wondered why so great a body as Masonry did not institute a lecture course and have authorized brethren to go abroad and expound and explain the spiritual significance of Masonry, because, unless a man understand a law by which he agrees to be governed, how is he going to conduct himself lawfully? What would you think of a man who said that he knew the multiplication tables and then was unable to tell you the product of twice two? You would at once hold that man in ridicule. What then do you suppose is the general regard toward a Mason who does the same? Doesn't it leave him an unprepared prey for his enemies? Is the Fraternity doing justice toward its perpetuation by permitting this vital thing to go unattended to?
How many Masons know the Ten Commandments and live accordingly? How many are there that know the Sermon on the Mount, grasp its spiritual import and demonstrate its Deific efficacy? How many who are holding office in Masonic organizations today have gotten there through a most ruthless and selfish desire to glorify their egotism? "You shall have no other gods before me." Don't these men make their quest for personal glory their god? Masonic organizations all over the country are commercializing and making a god out of money. The Masonic Fraternity is being bled for every cent it will possibly yield. This is dangerous. Bad material is allowed to enter because their trust is not with God but with money. This is the thing that reduced the Roman Empire to nothing. Nothing is always the natural state of false conception.
There is a great deal more that might be said, but if we have come to the point of enlightening our brothers by interpreting Masonic symbols and allegory, according to their "Spiritual Significance," then let us do it in fact and not mislead them further.
Frank C. Hickman, Michigan.
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MASONRY AND SUNDAY OBSERVANCE
I am glad to inform you that I have had much pleasure reading THE BUILDER. I should like to again impose on your generosity by asking questions.
- What is the duty of a Master Mason in regard to the Sabbath Day?
- Is it all right for the General Purpose Committee to meet on Sunday to transact financial business?
I cannot get a satisfactory answer from our elder brothers. The Holy Bible is the foundation of Masonry, therein we are taught to keep sacred the Sabbath and our ancient brothers consecrated the Sabbath for the worship of God.
Can you get a worthy brother to give us something in THE BUILDER on the subject? In these days it is, I believe, very important for us as Masons to respect the Word of God and His Commandments.
John R. Jones, Canada.
The questions propounded by Bro. Jones is of a distinctly religious nature and as such could not be satisfactorily answered by any one brother to the satisfaction of all. Many Grand Lodges have ruled that lodges could not meet on Sunday except for the purpose of conducting a funeral or for attending church in a body. There seems to be no reference to committee meetings.
Because of the variety of religious beliefs represented in the membership of the Masonic Fraternity it would be impossible to state just what a Mason's duty on the Sabbath is. We could hardly expect a Mahommedan, for example, to have the same ideas as a Christian. Neither could we expect the same attitude on the part of Jew and Gentile.
In the face of these difficulties, and the fact that our ritual teaches that the only religion of the Fraternity is an "unfeigned belief in the one living and true God," it would appear that a Mason's duty in this respect is to follow the teachings of his church, whatever that may be.
E. E. T.