A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 14 No. 1 – January 1928
THE SHADOW OF THE VATICAN
Dr. Leo Cadius
THIS series of articles is written by a member of the Roman Church.
He is still a member of that Church and has no desire to leave it.
The articles do not touch on any matter of faith or doctrine, and while severely critical of the administration are in no sense an attack upon the church itself.
His purpose in writing them is the hope that the abuses he describes and the conditions which foster them may be removed.
Our purpose in publishing them is to give our readers an intimate inside picture of the actual working of the ecclesiastical machinery which may help them to judge to what extent the doubts and apprehensions that exist in the minds of many American Freemasons are well founded.
It is the author's opinion that the reforms he proposes would not only be to the advantage of Roman Catholics but would largely remove the suspicions of so many thoughtful non-Romanist American citizens.
THERE exists among the American non-Catholics a considerable amount of antagonism to the Roman Catholic Church. In the opinion of the average American Catholic this is due to inherited blind prejudice, to misinformation concerning Catholic doctrines and practices, to sectarian jealousy and similar causes. This is no doubt very frequently the case, but not always.
These articles propose to show that non-Catholic apprehension of the growing power and prestige of the Roman Church in this country is not altogether unjustified. Certain features of her present constitution render her a formidable menace to the freedom of the American Republics They are also an insult to the national self-respect of the American Catholics themselves. These objectionable features could be easily eliminated without doing violence to the original basic constitution of the Church which we Roman Catholics consider divine, that is, instituted by Jesus Christ, and for that reason unchangeable.
I am optimist enough to believe that if the Vatican could be induced to make concessions to the reasonable demands of modern democracy, national self-respect and national self-determination, a good deal of the opposition to the Roman Church would vanish. We might look forward then to a continuous period of religious peace and mutual good-will, and that is what every right-minded person desires. As matters stand at the present, the American Catholics themselves live in fear of religious persecutions which will curtail their freedom. Such a thing ought to be avoided. Why not discuss the problem openly and in all good nature and arrive at a mutually satisfactory understanding that will insure for us a permanent religious peace?
THE ITALIAN HEGEMONY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
According to our Catholic textbooks of theology, the Roman Catholic Church is a monarchy, an absolute monarchy; we may add the most absolutistic of all monarchies. All power and authority is concentrated in one person, the Roman Pontiff, more commonly called the Pope. He is surrounded by advisory boards of his own selection, the College of Cardinals, the various Congregations and Commissions. He is not bound by their findings. There is no Synod or Parliament to limit his powers. He may convoke an Ecumenic Council of all the Bishops of the Earth. They may unanimously pass a decision or define a doctrine. He can summo jure, by a supreme right, reject their unanimous decision and force them to subscribe to his own decision which may be diametrically opposed to theirs. It is true he is only infallible when he speaks ex cathedra. But he is to be obeyed whether he speaks ex cathedra or not. Very few of the papal decrees fall under the ex cathedral class. Most of them belong to the non-infallible category. But they are to be obeyed just the same. Any Catholic who presumes to oppose them will be excommunicated, if the Vatican finds it worth while.
The Pope's position is therefore assuredly a most favored one. To fill this most privileged of all offices has been for more than four centuries the cherished monopoly of a small body of Italian ecclesiastics, the Italian Cardinals. The Roman Catholic Church is a world organization, an international body if ever there was one but its supreme government is reserved to one race, the Italian.
The method by which the Italians have kept themselves in power has the merit of classical simplicity. Each Italian Pope, in creating new Cardinals, saw to it that his compatriots retained the majority in the Sacred College. This Italian majority would upon the demise of a Pope elect with unfailing regularity an Italian for his successor. This happy result was then credited to the Holy Ghost, who is believed to have a voice in the selection of Popes and Bishops, in fact, to guide and direct that selection. From the facade of St. Peter in Rome, then, the joyful news would be announced to an expectant world: habemus papam! "We have again a Pope!" Thanksgiving services would be held in every parish throughout the Catholic world.
The last non-Italian Pope was Hadrian VI, a native of Utrecht in Holland. He was a saintly, exemplary Pontiff, a shining contrast to his immediate predecessors and his immediate successors. He was unpopular with the Romans. This was in 1523.
The seventy years during which, in the fourteenth century, the Popes, all Frenchmen, resided in Avignon, through the connivance of the Kings of France, have been styled the Babylonian captivity of the papacy.
The four centuries of uninterrupted Italian domination, beginning in 1523, may be called the Egyptian bondage of the Church. It has been a period of tribulation during which she has become fettered and gradually stripped of her worldly possessions in almost every country. On the other hand, she has been spared the curse of a schism and by reason of her poverty has advanced spiritually so that, despite the colossal defection due to rationalism and religious indifferentism, her present prospects are splendid. It would be useless to discuss the merits or demerits of the Italian monopoly of the papacy. God alone knows on what side of the ledger the balance is to be looked for. One thing is certain, that such monopoly is unjust and unfair to the non- Italian nations.
As a curiosity it may be mentioned that the youthful but very energetic and flourishing church in the United States has so far been privileged to cast a single vote at the election of a Pope. That was the vote of Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, at the conclave in 1903, in which Pius X was chosen to succeed Leo XIII. It matters very little whether American Cardinals participate in a conclave or not. They, like all other non-Italian Cardinals, must cast their vote for an Italian candidate or waste it. Their vote, therefore, has only a complimentary and complementary value. That is all the power, or shadow of a power, the Holy Ghost, whom the Italian Oligarchy regards as its flunky.
It is significant of the incredible mental enslavement of modern Catholics — there prevailed quite a different spirit in the Middle Ages — that nowhere in the world does the Catholic press and Catholic public opinion dare to protest against the Italian mononoly.
THE SELECTION OF AMERICAN BISHOPS
While the American Catholics have practically no voice in the election of a Pope, the latter has everything, positively everything, to say in the appointment of American Bishops.
Until recently, in the case of a vacant bishopric, two ecclesiastical bodies were empowered to express a preference for a successor. They were the so-called irremovable pastors of the diocese and the bishops of the particular ecclesiastical province. Each body would select three names to be recommended to Rome.
For instance, when Archbishop Feehan of Chicago died in July, 1902, the twelve irremovable rectors of the Archdiocese chose, by secret ballot, three candidates to fill the vacancy. The bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Chicago, that is, the bishops of Alton, Belleville and Peoria, all in the state of Illinois, forwarded another list of three candidates to Rome. Bishop Quigley of Buffalo happened to be one of these three candidates. He was selected by the Vatican as Archbishop of Chicago. The Vatican was not required to consider these two lists, but quite frequently it would consult them.
This custom of sending names to Rome has been abolished. The Vatican has thereby taken from the American common clergy the last semblance of representation. As regards the American laity, it never had a voice in the affairs of the Church. In the place of according the American Catholics more freedom and respecting their wishes in the appointment of bishops, as would be in keeping with the spirit of the time, the Italian Oligarchy is steadfastly centralizing its power and tightening its stranglehold on the American Church.
At whose recommendation, then, does Rome choose the American bishops?
Influential members of the American hierarchy are, no doubt, frequently consulted. For instance, if a bishop of the ecclesiastical province of Baltimore dies, the Archbishop of Baltimore may succeed in placing his choice in the vacant episcopal chair. He may, and again he may not.
A certain American archbishop, now dead — let us call him Mulholland — was credited with having filled twenty-one vacancies in the American hierarchy with favorites of his. Most of them were poor episcopal timber, some of them utterly unfit. Hence the clergy humorously surnamed Mulholland "the episcopal abortion clinic," his nominees being thus delicately designated as abortive in regard to their high office.
Here is how Archbishop Mulholland filled a certain vacancy in his ecclesiastical province. The clergy and the laity of the orphaned diocese forwarded a monster petition to the Vatican that the Vicar General, a very able and popular priest, be appointed bishop. The "interference" displeased Mulholland who, moreover, entertained a dislike for the said Vicar General. He promptly used his strong influence with the Vatican to have a certain Father Fullrath appointed. The following trifling incident will shed light on Bishop Fullrath's character. Getting worsted once in an argument with a priest, he was so completely overcome by his temper that he spat in the priest's face. Now, even the fiercest anti-Catholic will not harbor so low an opinion of the Catholic episcopate as to consider such a man a typical bishop. This poor prelate is clearly insane, not far from a raving maniac. Still, he has been permitted for considerably over a decade to torment his diocese, clergy and laity alike. He may afflict them for another decade or more.
Religious orders and associations, notably the Jesuits and the Sulpicians, no doubt have had, and are still having, their fingers in the American hierarchic pie. These two organizations specialize in educational work. Naturally, they like to see pupils of theirs — who are not members of their organization however — promoted to bishoprics. The Sulpicians are an association of French, Canadian and American priests with headquarters at Issy, near Paris, France. At the beginning of the present century, over twenty American bishops were believed to be proteges of theirs.
European governments, European prelates, European noblemen, European noblewomen, sisters and nieces of Italian cardinals, European scholars and others are also believed to have placed favorites of theirs, usually naturalized American citizens, in American episcopal sees.
The following story is current among the American clergy. It was at the beginning of the world war that a certain important American bishopric adjoining the Canadian frontier became vacant. The Vatican was about to appoint for the post a certain native American prelate of German extraction. The British government got wind of the matter and intimated to the Vatican that it would regard the appointment of a German American to so influential a position right at the Canadian border as a distinctly unfriendly act. The Vatican yielded and appointed a man of non-German descent. The Kaiser's government duly learned of the affair and in turn protested to the Vatican. To placate the Wilhelmstresse, said German- American prelate was shortly afterwards promoted to a very important Archbishopric somewhat remote from the Canadian boundary.
The story may be fiction, but it could easily have happened. American Catholics see nothing wrong or unusual in the interference of European governments in the affairs of the American Church.
To sum it up: American and European prelates and monks, European monarchs, European statesmen, European scholars, European noblemen, European petticoats — all are credited with having placed favorites of theirs in American episcopal sees.
There is one class of people that is utterly innocent of ever having nominated American bishops. That class is composed of the common clergy and laity of the American Catholic Church — American Catholics, in short.
But why should their wishes be consulted? These innocent lambs will welcome with parades, banners and brass bands any and every shepherd whom the Vatican has been pleased to place over them at the recommendation of some known or unknown Tom, Dick and Harry, or Rosina, Peppina and Carmela, or — if persistent and widespread whispers are true at the recommendation of Simon the Magician.
An employee of the Chicago Tribune tells me that in the office of that great paper the following motto is hung up in a conspicuous place: "See to it that the sucker does not get an even break!"
That same motto could be displayed to great advantage in the Vatican, the seat of the world's greatest autocracy. An autocracy has always and everywhere bred suckers. Who could imagine a Czar, a Kaiser, a Sultan of the olden days, without an entourage of courtiers and sycophants? The Vatican, being the most absolutistic and most solidly founded of all autocracies, is naturally a paradise for suckers.
The Popes, of course, know it. Of the good and humble Pope Pius X (who died in 1914) the following incident was recorded by the daily press: Upon his accession to the papal throne, he had his three spinster sisters brought to Rome where he rented for them an apartment in the vicinity of the Vatican. A young Italian ecclesiastic immediately secured an apartment in the same building. The Pope heard of it and suspecting the Monsignore to be prompted by ambitious designs, he strictly forbade his sisters to associate with him or even to talk to him.
The leading element in the American Church is composed of the Irish Americans. They are, as everybody knows, gifted with a particularly keen sense of humor. The utterly ridiculous system by which American Bishops are selected could not fail to intimate to Pat some of its ludicrous possibilities. And thus the following naughty little story originated:
For the last fifteen years or so the Vatican has in the matter of the appointment of American Bishops been guided by the advice of Cardinal Simoni. This part of the story is by all accounts not fiction, however, but fact. The name Simoni, of course, is fictitious as are the other names in this little tale which, let us hope for the rest, is also pure fiction.
Cardinal Simoni, residing in Rome, has a spinster sister who presides over his household. Signorina Peppina is her name. she has a little pet dog, a French poodle, named Zambo. Next to her Most Eminent Brother, there is nothing so dear to Signorina Peppina as her little Zambo with his bright and sweet features. "Angel face" she calls him in the exuberance of her affection.
Somehow or other, American ecclesiastics who were anxious to be promoted to a nice bishopric, or, if they were already bishops, to an archbishopric, found it expedient to court the good-will of Signorina Peppina. In deference to the old admonition, "Love me, love my dog," they do not fail to extend their ingratiating attentions to cute little Zambo. They stroke caressingly his fur, tenderly pat him on his carefully groomed head, playfully kiss his paw. It is even claimed — a gross fabrication, no doubt — that the attitude of this little poodle occasionally decides the appointment. If he, for Heaven knows what reason, shows an aversion to a candidate, or his procurator, and distrustfully growls at him, his chances are doomed. While the glad wag of the tail and a friendly welcoming bark may secure the appointment to the bishopric or archbishopric.
The great and prosperous American Archdiocese of Cosmopolis becomes vacant. Bishop Murphy of X is one aspirant to the dignity, Bishop Stark of Y another, and there are fifty or a hundred more who are believed to have a prospect.
Bishop Murphy sends Monsignore Cashman to Rome to promote his candidacy, Bishop Stark sends Monsignore Longreen. Cashman arrives first on the ground and pleads his cause with so remarkable an effusion of golden eloquence that within a few days he secures the appointment for his master. Everything is arranged and the cable boy is getting ready to flash the important news to the United States that His Holiness, the Pope, has appointed Bishop Murphy of X to be Archbishop of Cosmopolis. Monsignore Cashman pays a farewell visit to Signorina Peppina. He carries with him a little box with exquisite jewelry, stones of the purest ray serene, an envelope containing a substantial block of thousand lire notes, and a suitable present for Zambo. All went well so far, but now something truly tragic happens. As he is making a deep farewell bow to the Signorina, he has the misfortune, big, heavy man that he is, of stepping on the snow-white, busy, silky tail of little Zambo who had been frisking and frolicking behind the Monsignore's feet and was at that moment scratching off the effects of a flea bite. That fateful flea bite! The poor poodle emits a succession of high-pitched howls that pierce like so many stabs the motherly heart of Signorina Peppina. The Monsignore offers his most profuse apologies. But the Signorina was disconsolate. And so, shortly, was the Monsignore, for the appointment of Bishop Murphy to the archepiscopal see of Cosmopolis was cancelled.
The same day on which this indescribable tragedy was enacted, Monsignore Longreen arrives in Rome. He calls at the American College and here learns to his most profound consternation that Bishop Murphy had been promoted to Cosmopolis. But his sorrow was destined to be short-lived, for the same evening he is advised at the headquarters of a certain religious order that the appointment had been revoked. Electrified by this great news, he sets out the next morning with hope-swelled bosom to the residence of Cardinal Simoni, and, needless to say, does not neglect to pay his respects to Signorina Peppina and her Zambo. For the latter he has a diamond studded collar, the masterpiece of a Paris jeweler. He acquits himself of his task with so fine and deft a touch that he readily obtains the appointment of Bishop Stark.
Bishop Stark, now Archbishop of Cosmopolis, takes possession of his metropolitan see. He enters the great city of Cosmopolis like a conquering hero. The valedictorian committees from his former diocese — in which he was, incidentally, extremely unpopular — and the reception committees from Cosmopolis fill several special trains. The press agent has done his stuff. The people of Cosmopolis see in their new archbishop a second St. Ambrose, in fact, a very close imitation of Jesus Christ Himself. Hundreds of thousands line the streets and shout their welcomes to him. The Mayor of Cosmopolis and the Governor of the State drop devoutly on their knees before him and reverentially kiss his ring. Fifty thousand Catholic men march in parade with flying banners, followed by a still larger number of pupils the parish schools, colleges and academies with flags and scarfs in the national colors. In a great public banquet the new Archbishop is feted by the most prominent citizens of Cosmopolis, representing all colors, races and creeds. All these honors would have been Bishop Murphy's if his procurator, Monsignore Cashman, had not stepped on Zambo's tail.
Moral to American Catholic ecclesiastics who nurse an ambition to climb higher in the hierarchy: Do not step on Zambo's tail.
THE CORPORATIONS SOLE
The Catholic Church in the United States is divided into 14 archdioceses and 91 dioceses. Most of them corporations sole, that is corporations in which all power is vested in one individual, the Archbishop, Bishop, respectively.
Some of them are financially strong. I inquired once of an official of one of the largest banks in Chicago about the credit of the Archdiocese of Chicago. "It is rated all the way from fifty millions to two hundred millions of dollars," was the reply. At another bank I was told that one hundred million dollars was a conservative estimate. Credit, of course, does not mean cash assets. The Archdiocese of Chicago has debts. They are covered many times over by the real estate value of the church property.
This large credit does not include that of the more than four dozen of religious orders, monks and nuns, that are conducting educational and charitable institutions in the Archdiocese. Their holdings represent an aggregate investment that runs easily into eight figures.
The legal title of the Archdiocese of Chicago is: Catholic Bishop of Chicago. It was created by a special act of the legislature of the State of Illinois in 1845. It is a privileged corporation. The Securities Commission of the State of Illinois has the power to investigate corporations operating in that state. But it has no power to investigate the corporation sole know as Catholic Bishop of Chicago. That right is reserved to the Pope of Rome.
The Archdiocese of Chicago has never issued a financial statement. No American diocese ever has so far as I know. If the clergy and the people want to obtain a glance of their financial standing, they will have to petition the Pope. Such petition has never been sent to Rome and never will be. Nobody dares to take the initiative. This applies presumably to every American diocese.
When the Pope picks out arbitrarily an Archbishop of Chicago, he appoints him thereby sole custodian of a gigantic credit conservatively estimated at one hundred million dollars. With this credit the new Archbishop can do as he pleases. He can use it for personal uses. It is all left to his conscience and his discretion. He is accountable only to the Pope, who will not investigate. And if he could be induced to order an investigation, he would no doubt let Zambo select the investigating commission.
Since its establishment in 1845, the See of Chicago has had seven Bishops or Archbishops since 1880. Of these seven, two have gone insane, the Bishops O'Regan and Duggan. In such a corporation sole there is always a vast financial credit at stake. It is all risked on the mental health and business judgment of one individual, the Bishop or Archbishop.
If I mention here the Archdiocese of Chicago as an example to illustrate a certain phase in the state of the Catholic Church in the United States, it is because I happen to be better acquainted with it than with any other American diocese. I have nothing to say about the present Archbishop of Chicago or his predecessors in office except that two of them became insane.
As we have seen, the Pope selects the American Bishops arbitrarily at the recommendation of Zambo or of God knows whom. The office of an Archbishop of New York, Chicago, Boston or Philadelphia may look like a big "job" to an ordinary mortal. It is quite a negligible position in the eyes of the Italian dignitaries at the Vatican. There are over a thousand dioceses in the world and many of them larger than New York with its Catholic population of a million and a half, not including the million Catholics of Brooklyn. The Pope cannot be expected to know the individual he chooses to fill a vacant American bishopric. He has to rely upon the recommendation of his advisers, a coterie of Italian ecclesiastics said to be centered around Zambo. If Zambo wags his tail at a candidate, the latter will qualify for office. He will be entrusted at the same time with the very considerable credit of a powerful American corporation sole to do with as he pleases. If Zambo growls at the candidate, he will not qualify.
By Zambo, of course, I mean the system. But, for all I know, the little French poodle may be very much of a reality. In an immense concern like the Catholic Church all possible things have happened and are likely to happen again.
In ancient Rome, previous to the time of the Caesars, a few powerful politicians or military leaders would distribute the provinces among themselves and their henchmen. After a successful election, consuls like Sulla, Cinna, Caesar, Pompey, Lepidus would divide the spoils: "You take Spain, you Gaul, you Asia Minor, you Africa," and so on.
In modern Rome the Italian ecclesiastics distribute American ecclesiastical provinces and corporations sole ad libitum — all for the glory of God.
The little Fortnightly Review, published by Mr. Arthur Preuss at St. Louis, Missouri, plays sometimes the role of an enfant terrible in American Catholic journalism. It prints news that the other Catholic papers prefer to ignore. Mr. Preuss — for the rest strictly orthodox and rather conservative — may justly style himself the chronicler of the neglected truth.
In the number of Feb. 1, 1924, the Review had the following item:
A Petition With a Lesson
About the middle of December there was filed at the Massachusetts State House a bill that would take away from Cardinal O'Connell the custodianship of the church property of the Archdiocese of Boston and give the same to a board of trustees, to consist of the Archbishop of Boston; his vicar general; a member of the Knights of Columbus, to be elected by the grand knights of the diocese a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters to be elected by the chief rangers of that organization; and a woman, to be a member of the female auxiliary of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and to be elected by the presidents of the various branches.
The two clergymen, according to the bill, would hold their places permanently, but the other trustees would be elected for terms of two years each. The salary of the archbishop, as chairman of the board of trustees, would be $15,000 a year, that of the other trustees, $5,000 each. Another provision of the bill is that the present corporation sole shall immediately give an accounting to the new board of trustees of all church funds and all property! (See Boston Herald, Dec. 19, 1923.)
This bill, which was filed by Senator H. S. Clark upon petition of George F. A. McDougall, of Dorchester, a Catholic layman is a plain symptom of dissatisfaction, not to say distrust on the part of the Catholic laity of the Archdiocese of Boston, inspired largely, we believe, by the famous Keith bequest.
According to the Review, young Paul Keith, son of the founder of the Keith Theatres, bequeathed to Cardinal O'Connell of Boston real estate and personal property appraised by the Massachusetts Probate Court at $1,892,056.00. The actual value is more.
It would seem that some of the Catholics of Boston were curious to find out whether the Cardinal had appropriated the money for himself or turned it over to the Archdiocese. They will have to wait a long time before their curiosity will be gratified.
The bill introduced by Senator Clark was withdrawn by him shortly afterwards. The day is far off on which American Catholics will be granted an insight into their diocesan finances. They dare not displease the hierarchy. And each and every member of their hierarchy is chosen arbitrarily by a foreign autocrat, the Holy Father in Rome, in whose election not a single American citizen had a vote.
And little Zambo is the Pope's right hand "man" in the administration of the Catholic Church in the United States.
STATUS OF AMERICAN PRIESTS
As has been stated, the Archdiocese of Chicago is a corporation sole created by a special act of the legislature of the State of Illinois. The legal status of a priest is that of a servant of the corporation sole. The Archbishop can remove him from his pastorate as an employer dismisses a servant or other employee. If the pastor refuses to vacate the rectory, the Archbishop invokes the law. The civil court will issue an order, a writ of restitution, requiring the sheriff to eject the pastor. This is typical of the other American dioceses.
But there is the Canon Law of the Church that guarantees certain rights to the "common" clergy. One of these provisions specifies that the bishop cannot remove a pastor without a canonical cause and a canonical procedure. Such causes are heresy, unworthy conduct, inefficiency, physical disability, and the like.
The code of Canon Law is a most admirable collection of laws that every jurist will admire. In Europe it is more or less faithfully observed, because in most countries there exists an agreement between State and Church. The bishops have to watch their step.
In the United States it is different. The Church and State are separated. The bishops are unhampered as long as they keep in the good graces of Zambo, who is the Pope's unofficial plenipotentiary deputy, and consequently the Supreme Head of the Church in the United States. As far as this country is concerned, then, the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church is a farce. There are cases when it is observed. But these cases are the exceptions and exceptions merely prove the rule.
If an American pastor feels that he has been unjustly deprived by his bishop and resolves to defend his canonical rights, he will find that all the chances are against him. In the first place, he has to look for an ecclesiastical court of appeal. If he belongs to a diocese, not an archdiocese, then the archbishop of the particular ecclesiastical province is the immediate court of appeal. For instance, if a pastor of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, which belongs to the ecclesiastical Province of Cincinnati, wants to appeal, then the Archbishop of Cincinnati, as the metropolitan, is the judge to appeal to. But if the priest belongs to an archdiocese, for instance, Chicago, he has no immediate court to appeal to. It is true, according to Canon Law an archbishop is required, upon assuming office, to appoint a judge of appeal for his archdiocese. Some neighboring bishop would be the proper man for that office. He has to be approved by the Vatican and would then be the permanent judge of appeal for that archdiocese. But no American archbishop has taken the trouble of designating a judge of appeal. Nor has the Vatican seen fit to remind them of their duty. Hence a pastor of an archdiocese, having no immediate judge of appeal, will have to have recourse to the Papal Delegate in Washington. But the Delegate is a very busy man. Few priests have ever received any satisfaction from him.
AN UNEQUAL CONTEST
In litigation between bishop and priest, the bishop defrays the expenses from the diocesan treasury. in a prosperous diocese he can appropriate hundreds of thousands of dollars for that purpose, should it be necessary, and nobody is wiser of it. For, as has been said before, an American bishop issues no financial statement. He is accountable to the Pope only, who never investigates. The bishop can, at the expense of the diocese, hire the best legal talent both in Civil and Canon Law. He can engage the services of a detective agency to annoy the "rebellious" pastor.
The latter, on the other hand, has to search his own pockets for the necessary funds for the litigation. If he is impecunious, as most priests are, there will be no litigation. Few are familiar with Canon Law. The bishops do not encourage the study of it. If a litigant pastor makes one false step, overlooks the merest technicality, the case is killed. Canonists are scarce: to consult one it is not unusual for a priest to travel five hundred miles: the bishop can afford to summon one; many a bishop has a canonist for his secretary.
Litigation often lasts several years. During that time the bishop resides in comfort in his sumptuous mansion and lives on the fat of the land. The ousted priest is, pardon the expression, like a stray dog. No pastor in his diocese dares to take him in for fear of incurring the ire of the bishop. If the latter is known to be a favorite of Zambo, no bishop in the whole country dares to grant him an asylum.
If the Civil Law should favor him, he nevertheless cannot avail himself of it. For any Catholic, be he priest or layman, who presumes to cite a bishop in a civil court, is ipso facto excommunicated. A bishop may arraign a priest or layman before the civil court, but not vice versa.
He may plead the case before the court of public opinion, if he can succeed in arousing interest. Public opinion, however, usually takes it for granted that a bishop is good and just and will not discipline a priest without due cause. The general public has no idea what peculiar characters have slipped into the hierarchy by kissing, in person or by proxy, the paw of Zambo. It would be a miracle if it were otherwise — what can you expect under the Zambo system? Still, I am glad to state that, in my honest opinion, most of the American bishops mean to be just, and many of them are even kind-hearted. But some of our highest dignitaries are thoroughly detested by their clergy. The nearer to the Church the further from God is a good old Catholic saying that is not without a grain of truth. About these matters the general public is left in the dark. The daily press will not hesitate to publish facts, or even mere charges, that militate against a priest, but it will not dare to print anything unfavorable to a bishop.
THE SERVITUDE OF THE SECULAR CLERGY
The Catholic clergy is divided into two classes, the diocesan priests and the monks. The latter constitute about one-fourth of the total. These religious orders are little democracies embedded in the great world autocracy of the Catholic Church. They elect their own superiors. But the diocesan priests, and that means the great bulk of the American Catholic Clergy, have no voice in the selection of their superiors, the bishops. They have to accept whomsoever Zambo places over them.
To sum it up, the bulk of the American Catholic Clergy lives in a state of servitude or semi-slavery. When the padrone (bishop) is kind, just and prudent, this paternalistic form of government works admirably. Nothing better could be desired. But when he is an arrogant tyrant, he can mop the floor with his subjects. They will submit to it. There is no redress against him as long as he knows how to keep on the right side of Zambo. That is not difficult for a strong corporation sole with vast financial resources.
These American priests are at the mercy of their bishops who owe their powerful position to the Holy Father in Rome, the greatest of the world's autocrats. He appointed them arbitrarily at the recommendation of Zambo or of God knows whom. These American priests, generally well-treated, though often ill-treated, serfs — but always serfs — of the appointees of a foreign autocrat, are the principals of parish schools in which more than two million children of America are being educated. These serfs, subjects of the most absolutistic of foreign autocrats, are instilling into the minds of over two million American children the principles of democracy, equity and national self-respect.
(To be continued)
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THE MASONIC ACTIVITIES OF ROBERT BURNS
Bro. Albert Frost, England
W.BRO. FROST, who is P.P.A.D.C. of West Yorkshire, England, and has attained the thirtieth degree of the Scottish Rite (which means a great deal more in England than it does in this country), is an authority on the life and work of Robert Burns. Part of the substance of the present article appeared some time ago in the London "Masonic Record," but it has been re-written and a good deal of new information incorporated. As the birthday of the famous poet comes in January, a day much regarded by all Scots and those of Scottish descent the world over, the occasion is fitting. There were a number of valuable articles on the subject in the early numbers of THE BUILDER but there has been nothing in recent years, so the present article will, we believe, prove very interesting to our readers.
THE fact that the immortal Robert Burns was a "Son of Light" is well known throughout the Fraternity the world over, but that he was a very zealous and enthusiastic Mason is not so generally known. From the day of his initiation at the age of 22 to the time of his death, his interest in the Craft never subsided. Wherever he chanced to be located we find him identified with a lodge, as we shall see later. The "true spirit" was evinced in him from the commencement of his Masonic career, and with a fervor and magnetism which were characteristic of his sparkling nature.
He was initiated in St. David's Lodge, Tarbolton, on July 4, 1781 — a village a few miles distant from Alloway Kirk, Ayrshire, where he first saw the light of day. Whether the ceremony was conducted at the Bachelor's Club, or at the Cross Keys Inn, otherwise known as Manson's Tavern, is an open question. The brother who had the distinction of conferring the initiatory rites was Alexander Wood, a tailor of Tarbolton. The minute recording the event is brief to a degree — "Robert Burns in Lochly was entered an apprentice Joph Norman, M". He was passed and raised in the same lodge in October of the same year, the record being likewise brief:
Robert Burns in Lochly was passed and raised, Henry Cowan being Master, James Humphrey Senr Warden, and Alex Smith Junr, Robert Wodrow, Secy, and Jas Manson Treasurer and John Tannock Taylor and others of the brethren being present.
Probably "Taylor" is an error of transcription and should be "Tyler."
James Humphrey was a "character" in the lodge, possessing a remarkable genius for censoring Ministers of Religion, and a propensity for expressing adverse views on Theological subjects. Often did he find himself at grips with Burns, whose opinion is expressed in the "Epitaph on a noisy polemic":
Below thie stanes lie Jamie's banes
O, Death, it's my opinion,
Thou ne'er took such a bleth'rin' bitch
Into thy dark dominion.
Formerly there were two lodges in Tarbolton — St. David's and St. James', which became united under the name of St. David's in June, 1781, a month before Burns' initiation. The following year Burns and others seceded and reconstructed under a Charter from "Mother Kilwinning" St. James' Lodge, the present number of which is 135 — "Tarbolton Kilwinning, St. James'." The meetings were held at the Cross Keys, of which Bro. Manson was the Landlord and also the Treasurer of the lodge. If anything remains of this historic building it is but the ruins, which should at any rate have been preserved in memory of its glorious past, and particularly so in view of Burns' wish expressed so touchingly, and with an almost broken heart in his "Farewell" to the brethren:
And you, Farewell! whose merits claim,
Justly, that highest badge to wear!
Heav'n bless your honor'd, noble Name
To Masonry and Scotia dear!
A last request, permit me here
When yearly ye assemble a' —
One round, I ask it wi' a tear,
To him the Bard that's far awa.'
Masonic pilgrims from all quarters of the Globe turn their faces towards the commodious premises which the lodge now possesses, for in it there remains quite a collection of valuable relics of the Poet. The old Minute Book containing records in his own handwriting under his own signature. The Chair which he occupied as Master: the Gavel he used, and the Apron and Jewel which he wore. The Candlesticks are there, and an old Tyler's sword of the period. The Bible he presented to the lodge is preserved; but probably the possession most treasured is the letter he wrote from Edinburgh in August, 1787, regretting that it was beyond his power to be present, concluding with the verse:
Within this dear mansion may wayward contention
And withered envy ne'er enter.
May secrecy round be the mystical bound
And Brotherly Love be the center.
The reviving of St. James' Lodge called Burns into very early prominence, for within three years of joining the Craft he became the Deputy Master, often conducting the proceedings of the lodge:
Oft honour'd with supreme command,
Presiding o'er the Sons of Light.
Whether he attained to the position of R.W. Master is doubtful; it is more than likely that some local dignitary was the nominal head of the lodge, whilst the duties were principally conducted by Burns or some other officer of the lodge. Being so, it is quite permissible for the Minutes to be silent on the subject.
The congenial companionship of Burns and his unswerving devotion to the Order, became landmarks to the brethren. If any proof of his devotion is wanted take a single instance of his anxiety to assure the attendance at the Annual Meeting and Procession which were held on June 24 — Lodge Tarbolton, Kilwinning St. James'. Fearing his friend Dr. Mackenzie would consider his duty to his patients weighed heavier with him than his duty to the lodge, Burns addressed to him a note in verse as a reminder of the occasion, which had its effect:
Friday first's the day appointed,
By our Right Worshipful Anointed
To hold our grand procession
Our Master and the Brotherhood
Would a' be glad to see you.
Evidence of his good humor and congeniality is no where better expressed than in his address to the De'il." With affected seriousness he narrates the alarming consequences of collusion with that dreaded personage. The stanza runs:
When Masons' mystic word an' grip
In storms an' tempests raise you up
Some cock or eat, your rage maun stop
Or strange to tell
The youngest brother ye wid whip
Aff straught to hell.
His bursts of eloquence on many occasions were popular diversion at the festival board; his facetious improvisations a source of wonder and merriment to all the brethren — more particularly to those who came under his magic spell. When in serious mood, the poetry which made him famous sprang from his lip and heart like "fragrance on the breeze." There is scarcely any side of human nature upon which he did not exercise his innate genius. His poems are a library in themselves — and must be the envy of all psychologists, whose science will never be understood without some supernatural manifestation.
He possessed an insight which is given to few, but even he realized how men can so easily be misinterpreted. With the very best of intentions one may become the greatest offender.
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie' us
To see oursel's as ithers see us.
It wad frae many a blunder free us.
The social friendly honest man —
Whate'er he be
'Tis he fulfils, great nature's plan,
And none but he.
As a farmer in Mossgiel, Burns was a failure, and he decided to test his fortune in Jamaica where he had obtained a post as Book-keeper on an Estate. He took farewell of St. James' Lodge, Tarbolton, in a lyric so touching and so noble that by the time he got to the last stanza the tears were rolling down the cheeks of the brethren. It was sung to the tune, so popular at the time, "Good Night and joy be wi' you a'," and with such a pathos and passion as to produce a profound lasting impression:
Adieu! a heart-warm fond adieu!
Dear brothers of the mystic tie!
Ye favoured, ye enlightened few,
Companions of my social joy!
Tho' I to foreign lands must hie
Pursuing Fortune's slidd'ry ba',
With melting heart and brimful eye,
I'll mind you still tho' far away
There is a difference of opinion as to who was responsible for Burns being diverted from his intention to migrate to Jamaica. It is however more than likely that it was his staunch friend and counsellor Prof. Dugald Stewart who turned his thoughts in the direction of the Scotch Metropolis. With such an influential introduction to the brethren of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, Edinburgh, he was assured of a hearty fraternal welcome. His straightened circumstances were the means of his close friend Bro. Garvin Hamilton rendering him financial assistance in the publication of his poems.
_______ the poor man's friend in need,
The gentleman in word and deed.
The first edition was published in 1786 (Kilmarnock) followed by a second edition twelve months later. So successful was this issue, that Bro. William Creech, the publisher, was enabled to hand over to the Poet a sum of money which exceeded his vainest expectations. Smellie was the printer; Alex Nasmyth the painter and Bengo the engraver — all brother Masons. By this success the current of his life is turned and he
Takes a share wi' those that bear
The Mallet and the Apron.
From this time Burns became a deservedly popular member of the lodge. Hailed and toasted — on one occasion by the Grand Master as "Caledonia's Bard" — he grew in general favor. Without assuming affecting airs he bore his honors with dignity. His conduct and manners were commendable; his intellectual energies were stimulated and he merited the acknowledgments which were showered upon him. He always rose to speak with an ovation; his forcible and fluent language — almost invariably unpremeditated — met with general approbation.
It was no small distinction for Robert Burns to be appointed Poet-Laureate of the lodge. Although his innate genius would have found recognition in any sphere, it is very appropriate that many illustrious Freemasons of nearly a century and a half ago should discover this "Ploughman Poet," by whom they were not only immortalized, but who in no small measure ennobled and enriched the Order by his many references to it. There is a vein running through many of his later productions which nothing but Freemasonry could have inspired, and his association with the Brotherhood very materially assisted in the deveIopment of his talents.
Of his contemporaries we know but little. Lexicons and Encyclopedias make little mention of them. In his satires Burns himself gives us the best insight into the character of many of them. Even Lyon's Freemasonry in Scotland (1) makes but scant reference to them. Of their eminence, however, there is no doubt.
Amongst those who were proud to call Burns their companion and friend are Lord Elcho, Earl of Glencairn, Earl of Eglinton, Earl of Buchan, Sir William Forbes, Alex Cunningham, and many others whose names bespeak some importance in Scottish Freemasonry, and of whom short biographical sketches are to be found in "A Winter With Burns" published in the year 1846.
The photograph reproduced from the rare mezzotint is very interesting insomuch as it gives what may be taken to be a true representation of those present on March 1, 1787 — the great occasion of Burns' Inauguration, and typically depicts varieties of dignity and of expression and affability, presenting him in the light in which he was regarded by his brethren during the time he formed the center of attraction. The original painting is hung in the Freemasons' Hall, Edinburgh, and is well worth a visit to see.
Alex Ferguson, Provincial Grand Master of the Southern District at this time, and also Master of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, is seen in the photograph presenting the poetic wreath to Burns, who has been conducted to the Chair to receive it.
The figure and face of Burns are pronounced to be a most faithful likeness; his gracefulness and modesty are characteristically delineated. The D.C. is William Nicol, Professor of Languages, who gave Burns tuition in Latin, immediately behind whom stands Louis Gauvin, a French Tutor of high repute. He taught Burns the French language, and afterwards expressed his conviction that no ordinary pupil could acquire in three years what Burns assimilated in three months. Other Masonic luminaries depicted are, Grand Master Sir William Forbes on the Master's right; James Dalrymple; Sir John Whiteford; Lord Monboddo. In the forefront is Lord Napier who laid the foundation stone of the College of Edinburgh, in which ceremony the Craft took no small part. James Boswell, the biographer of Dr. Johnson, is seen with clasped hands in the center of the picture, whilst standing to the left is Nasmyth, the Landscape Painter. A prominent figure is Francis Grose the Antiquary, who is in conversation with James Gregory, the talented Physician. Scarcely any of these brethren escape notice in Burns' lyrics.
It would appear that the gathering was more of an informal character typifying a free and easy style. Whether in the ordinary lodge meetings the brethren were so placed is questionable, but if the manner in which the Minutes of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge were kept is any criterion, then we should imagine that informality was the order of the day, for although it is on record that the W.M. proposed Burns as a joining member on Feb. 1, 1787, yet there is no subsequent minute of his appointment to the Poet-Laureateship a month later. The first mention of his having held the office is recorded in the Minutes dated Feb. 9, 1815. The omission may be accounted for by the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge not being singular in its slackness.
The Minutes for many years prior to the period of Burns' attendance are brief to a degree, and this may account for the infrequency of the allusions to him who was not then the distinguished Poet he afterwards became. It will not, however, be denied that the Inauguration did actually take place, as the lodge has unimpeachable testimony from the brethren who were present on the occasion, and saw him wear the jewel of his office — evidence of the event.
It may be noted that prior to the publication of Freemasonry in Scotland (1) an interesting correspondence took place on the subject of the Laureateship between the Author and the Secretary of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, which goes to show that Lyon preferred to go into print with a distinct bias against Burns' appointment, rather than sift the evidence provided, with the result that not only was Burns depreciated but the lodge also. Why this should have been so is not easily comprehensible. If Lyon had any doubts on the generally accepted connection of Burns with the lodge they could have been removed at the time — instead of which we have a "History" which so far as Burns is concerned is not impartial; making isolated statements that do not convey the actual facts to the reader. The Secretary of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, Bro. H. E. Peacock, wrote to Lyon at the time of the preparation of his History:
It is my duty to inform you that there is ample evidence of the Poet's association with this Lodge, to which Lyon replied: I recognise the satisfactory nature of the evidence, but your delay prevents my being able to submit a slip of my remarks — the printers being close up to that particular part of my MSS.
If this be the sole reason why Lyon so summarily dismisses Burns from his History then it is still more difficult of comprehension.
W. J. Hughan states:
On March 1st, 1787, Bro. Burns was invested as Poet-Laureate of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, No. 2, Edinburgh — the painting to commemorate the event having been executed by Bro. Watson, a member of the same lodge.
So great a Freemason as Hughan must have had sufficient grounds for his assertion.
If further evidence be needed it is provided by the Minutes of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge under date Jan. 16, 1835, which state:
It was proposed by R.W. Bro. M'Neill, Master, and seconded by W. Bro. Turnbull, Substitute Master, that it was expedient that the honorary office of Poet-Laureate of the Lodge, which has been in abeyance since the death of the immortal Brother Robert Burns should be revived, and that James Hogg the Ettrick Shepherd, on whom his poetic mantle has fallen should be respectfully requested to accept the appointment as the highest tribute to his genius and priorate worth which the brethren had it in their Power to bestow.
Neither can the records contained in that priceless little volume, A Winter With Burns, be discredited. The narrative rings so true, and it was so widely circulated at the time that it was rather late in the day — 27 years afterwards — for Lyon to doubt its accuracy, and at a time when very few of his contemporaries were alive.
Alexander Ferguson, the hero of the Song of the Whistle (the original manuscript of which was sold by auction in Edinburgh in March, 1887, for two hundred and thirty guineas), was the brother who conferred upon Burns the title of Poet-Laureate. The lodge Minutes dated March 1, 1787, bear witness to this — signed by himself and also Charles More, Deputy Master, and John Mellor, Advocate. J.W., William Dunbar — writer to the signet, was Senior Warden, and afterwards in some "tattered rhymes," Burns himself mentions the Laureateship in the following lines:
Latin Willie's reek noo raise,
He'd seen that nicht Rab crowned with Bays.
I have dwelt on this aspect of the Poet's Masonic career at some length because my researches leave me with the confirmed opinion that the incident is well authenticated; but notwithstanding this it is a pity that there should have been left room for doubt.
Incidentally, I may mention that there is in the Library of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge A Collection of Masonic Songs and Entertaining Anecdotes by Garvin Wilson, Poet-Laureate of the Lodge St. David. This was published in 1788 and dedicated to the Rt. Hon. and Most Wor. Lord Elcho — Grand Master of Scotland 1786-1787.
Therefore it may be that whilst the office was not officially recognized by the Grand Lodge of Scotland it was a title not uncommonly given as an honorary one to those who made the entertainment for the brethren.
Let us follow the Poet a little further afield. Proud as Tarbolton is that Burns was their offspring, yet that pride is shared by others also, Edinburgh probably taking first place; afterwards Kilmarnock, where he became a joining member of Lodge St. John Kilwinning. Whilst it has been stated by one writer that Burns' poem commencing "Ye Sons of Old Killie" had reference to Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, it will not now be denied that it bears direct reference to Kilmarnock, of which "Killie" is an abbreviation. Bro. William Parker is W.M. and proposes Burns as an Honorary Member, which is unanimously received. Burns is called upon to make acknowledgment, and that spontaneous effusion is the result:
Ye sons of old Killie assembled by Willie,
To follow the noble vocation
Your thrifty old mother has scarce such another
To sit in that honoured station.
Ye powers who preside o'er the wind and the tide,
Who marked each element's border
Who formed this frame with beneficent aim
Whose Sovereign statute is order!
Another brother of the Kilmarnock Lodge is Tam Samson, a worthy old sportsman, who confides to Burns his fears that his end is near at hand, and expressed a wish to die and be buried on the Moors. On the inspiration of the moment Burns composed the Elegy:
The Brethren o' the mystic Level
May hing their head in wofu' bevel
While by their nose the tears will revel
Like ony bead
Death's gien the Lodge an unco devel,
Tam Samson's dead!
Tam was not altogether pleased at being numbered amongst the dead, whereupon Burns promptly added the "Per Contra":
Go, Fame, an' canter like a filly
Thro' a' the streets an' neuks o' Killie,
Tell ev'ry social, honest billie
To cease his grievin'
For yet, unskaith'd by Death's gleg gullie,
Tam Samson's livin!
For nine years afterwards the worthy Samson lived to revel in the limelight into which the Poet had thrown him.
Burns visited the "Ancient" Lodge at Stirling, but the page in the attendance register bearing his signature is missing, which is taken as conclusive evidence of his visit. He was also a joining member of Loudoun Kilwinning Lodge Newmilns — on the nomination of Garvin Hamilton. In October, 1786, he attended a Lodge at Sorn and later at Irvine. In 1787 along with his friend Robert Ainslie he was admitted a Royal Arch Mason at St. Abb's Lodge, Eyemouth — at an "encampment" specially convened to do honor to the Poet.
At other lodges he was not an infrequent visitor. The last five years of his life were spent at Dumfries, where he was made a Freeman of the Burgh. In 1788 he became a member of St. Andrew's Lodge held in that town which he attended with regularity, taking part in the ceremonies and subsequently attained to the Chair of Senior Warden. His last recorded attendance is within three months of his death. The Minutes state that Burns was "the most distinguished brother, the Lodge has been privileged to receive within its portals."
Although no mention is made of his decease, it is more than likely that the brethren paid a last appropriate tribute to the memory of so distinguished a brother. The Apron he wore and the Gavel he used, together with the Minute Book, by some unknown means got into the auction room. Fortunately they were rescued by the timely intervention of Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, Grand Master 1873-1881, who presented them to Grand Lodge, where they now form part of an interesting collection of Masonic relics.
Far from uninteresting is the incident of his affection for "Highland Mary" — Mary Campbell. To her memory he subscribed some of his most beautiful inspirations. The Bible he presented to her was inscribed with his Masonic Mark. After finding its way to Canada it was sent back home to be deposited in the Monument erected to the Memory of Burns on the Banks of the Doon, where it is now to be seen. The Burns' Family Bible is in possession of the Trustees of the Monument, by whom it was purchased 26 years ago (1900) for 1,500 pounds, and is now one of the most valued treasures of Alloway Cottage.
Undoubtedly Burns' connection with Freemasonry in Edinburgh was the most interesting era of his life. Certain it was that during this period his genius was appreciated and rewarded. Of his consummate love for, and interest in, the Order, there remains no shadow of doubt, and had it not been for his revolutionary political views, openly expressed whilst being in the Excise, and his disgust of conventional prejudice, he would have risen to a great height in the social sphere without the loss of his most ardent admirers. There is always the possibility of being wrong in viewpoints, no matter how convinced one may be that he is right. In Burns' case he was probably wrong. In any event, he had the courage of his convictions:
A fig for those by law protected!
Liberty's a glorious feast!
Courts for cowards were erected
Churches built to please the Priest.
Burns died prematurely at the age of 37, on 21st July, 1796, at his residence in Dumfries, and his remains were interred in a humble grave. Afterwards they were transferred to the Mausoleum in the same churchyard. Shortly before his death he wrote:
The pale moon is setting beyond the white wave
And time is setting with me.
A lodge bearing the name of "Robert Burns' Lodge," constituted before the union in 1818, probably gives some significance to the fact of the monument being erected to the Poet's memory in 1820 — 24 years after his death. At Doon Brig, the vicinity of his birthplace, the foundation stone was appropriately laid by Sir Alex Boswell, "Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, of the most Antient Mother Lodge Kilwinning," at which ceremony the Masonic Lodges in Ayrshire were without exception represented. A full account of this is given in "Preston's Illustration of Masonry."
A good edition of Burns' Poems is that published by the Oxford University Press, edited by J.H. Robertson, in which they are placed in order of popularity, and it is significant that the "Address to the De'il," "Tam Samson's Elegy," and the "Lament for Earl of Glencairn" are amongst those considered to be his highest achievements.
In the vale of human life
The victim sad of fortune's strife
I thro' the tender gushing tear
Should recognize my Master Dear
If friendless, low, we meet together,
Then, Sir, your hand — my friend and Brother.
(1) This is the short title. The work is generally cited as History of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel), No. 1, by David Murray Lyon.
* * *
A PRAYER IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH
O Thou unknown, Almighty Cause
Of all my hope and fear!
In whose dread presence, ere an hour
Perhaps I must appear!
If I have wander'd in those paths
Of life I ought to shun –
As something, loudly, in my breast,
Remonstrates I have done -
Thou know'st that Thou has formed me
With passions wild and strong!
And list'ning to their witching voice
Has often led me wrong.
Where human weakness has come short,
Or frailty stept aside,
Do Thou, All-good — for such Thou art –
In shades of darkness hide.
Where with intention I have err'd,
No other plea I have,
But, Thou art good, and Goodness still
Delighteth to forgive.
— Robert Burns
* * *
THE MAN, BURNS
THAT Robert Burns lived his life as well as made poetry about it and that he was accepted by his own people, not only in the form of a cult since his death, but also during his lifetime are two things that are remarkable about him. Primarily a lyric poet, his songs dealt with life as he lived it and those who heard them responded. He was closely in touch with reality and his verse was not moulded in accord with any preaching fashion. For this reason, perhaps, it is ageless. He was a moralist at heart, though his behavior caused much scandal among the conventional and straitlaced. He appeals to all who set reality above hypocritical propriety and respectability, and because of this he will probably be read and appreciated as long as the English language is spoken.
The following brief notes on the life of Burns are drawn entirely from the Cambridge Edition of Burns' works. It is in no wise original work but purely a condensation of the material contained in the introduction to this volume of his poems. For this reason, as much as any other, it must be read with more understanding than is generally accorded to a biographical sketch. Readers must remember the times in which Burns lived, the conditions surrounding his life, and then judge, not by present day standards, but by the standards of the time. It is impossible to make allusions to this phase of Burns' life in the space allotted and the fairness of the readers must be trusted to make up for any lack of explanatory material.
Robert Burns was born on the 25th of January, 1759, and was the eldest of seven children. His father, William Burness (or Burnes), and his mother, Agnes Brown, came of yeoman stock — one a native of Kincardinshire, the other of Ayrshire. William Burness began life as a gardener, and was plying his trade in the service of one Fergusson, the then Provost of Ayr, when, with a view of setting up for himself, he took a lease of seven acres in the parish of Alloway, and with his own hands built a two-roomed clay cottage. In December of 1757 he married Agnes Brown, his junior by eleven years. She was red-haired, dark-eyed, square-browed, well-made, and quick-tempered. He was swarthy and thin; a man of strong sense, a very serious mind, the most vigilant affections, and a piety not even the Calvinism in which he had been reared could ever make brooding and inhumane.
The Scots peasant lived hard, toiled incessantly, and fed so cheaply that on high days and holidays his diet consisted largely in preparations of meal and vegetables and what is technically known as "offal". He was, however a creature of the Kirk; the noblest ambition of Knox was an active influence in the Kirk; and the parish schools enabled the Kirk to provide its creatures with such teaching as it deemed desirable. William Burness was a very poor man, but he had the right tradition; he was a thinker and an observer; he read whatever he could get to read; he wrote English formally, but with clarity; and he did the very best he could for his children in the matter of education. Robert went to school at six; and in May of 1765 a lad of eighteen, one John Murdoch, was engaged by Mr. Burness and four of his neighbors to teach, and accordingly began a little school at Alloway. Murdoch was an intelligent pedagogue, especially in the matter of grammar and rhetoric; he trained his scholars to a full sense of the meaning and the value of words; he even made them turn verse into its natural prose order and substitute synonymous expressions for poetical words. One effect of his method was that Robert, according to himself, "was absolutely a critic in substantives, verbs, and participles," and, according to Gilbert, "soon became remarkable for the fluency and correctness of his expression, and read the few books that came in his way with much pleasure and improvement."
Robert had had about two and one-half years of Murdoch's tuition when the school broke up and Robert and his brother fell into their father's hands, and for divers reasons, Gilbert says, "we rarely saw anybody but the members of our own family," so that "my father was for some time the only companion we had." It will scarce be argued that this sole companionship was wholly good for a couple of lively boys; but it is beyond question that it was rather good than bad. The elder Burnes conversed with the boys on all subjects as if they had been men and was at great pains, as they accompanied him in the labors of the farm, to lead the conversation to such subjects as might tend to increase their knowledge or confirm their virtuous habits.
Robert was a voracious reader and no book was so voluminous as to slacken his industry, or so antiquated as to damp his research, with the result that before he was very far in his teens he had a competent knowledge of ancient history with something of geography, astronomy, and natural history. At thirteen or fourteen Robert and Gilbert were sent to Dalrymple Parish School to better their handwriting. The summer after the writing-lessons at Dalrymple, Robert spent three weeks with Murdoch at Ayr, one over the English Grammer, the others over the rudiments of French. This latter language he was presently able to read, for the reason that Murdoch would go over to Mount Oliphant on half-holidays, partly for Robert's sake and partly for the pleasure of talking with Robert's father. Thus was Robert schooled. It is plain that in one, and that an essential particular, he and his brother were exceptionally fortunate in their father and in the means he took to train them.
The next years form a period of stress and hardship. Shortly before the breaking up of Murdoch's school the elder Burns had leased a farm at Mount Oliphant. The land was the poorest in Ayrshire, and inasmuch as the venture was started on borrowed money things did not progress as well as they might. To add to the difficulties the generous master died about 1775 and the Burns family fell into the hands of a factor. According to Robert Burns this factor is pictured in the "Tale of Twa Dogs." Fortunately the lease had only two more years to run and in 1777 William Burnes removed his family to Lochile. The nature of the bargain was such as to throw a little ready money in his hand at the commencement or the affair would have been impracticable. The next four years the family lived in comfortable circumstances and at this place Robert's gay and adventurous spirit began to free itself. His admirable talent for talk found fit opportunities for exercise and display. The reaction set in and he took life as gallantly as his innocency might, wore the only tied hair in the parish and was recognizable from afar by his fillemot plaid. He was made a "Free and accepted Mason", founded a Bachelors Club, and took to sweethearting with all his heart and soul and strength. He had begun with a little harvester at fifteen, and at Kirkoswald he had been enamoured of Peggy Thomson to the point of sleepless nights. His love rarely settled upon persons who were richer than himself, or who had more consequence in life. To condescend upon one's women is an ideal to some men, it certainly was so with Robert Burns. Apparently he held it was an honor to be admired by him; and when a short while hence (1786) he ventured to celebrate, in rather too realistic a strain, the Lass of Ballochmyle, and was rebuffed for his impertinence — it was so felt in those unregenerate days — he was, 'tis said, extremely mortified.
It is no more than natural that this period should see the beginning of his poetry. The wonder is that so little of it was deemed too good for the fire. His loves during these Lochlie years, whether plain or pretty, were all goddesses to him, but it was not until after this period that he began rhymiing to any purpose. We are assured that his Lochlie love affairs were all "governed by the strictest rules of modesty and virtue, and from which he never deviated until his twenty-third year."
It was natural and honorable in a young man of this lusty and amatory habit to look around for a wife and to cast about him for a better means of keeping her than farm-service could afford. In respect of the first he found a possibility in Elison Begbie, a Galston farmer's daughter, at this time a domestic servant, on whom he wrote (they say) his "Song of Similes," and to whom he addressed some rather stately, not to say pedantic, documents in the form of love-letters. For the new line in life, he determined that it might, perhaps, be flax-dressing; so, at the midsummer of 1781 he removed to Irvine, a little port on the Firth of Clyde, which was also a center of the industry in which he hoped to excel. Here he established himself, on what terms is not known, with one Peacock, whom he afterwards took occasion to describe as a "scoundrel of the first water, who made money by the mistery of Thieving"; here he saw something more of life and character and the world than he had seen at Mount Oliphant and Lochlie; here, at the year's end, he had a terrible attack of vapours; here, above all, he formed a friendship with a certain Richard Brown. According to him, Brown, being the son of a mechanic, had taken the eye of "a great man in the neighbourhood", and had received "a genteel education, with a view to bettering his situation in life." His patron had died, however, and he had perforce to go for a sailor. He had known good luck and bad, he had seen the world, he had the morals of his calling, at the same time that "his mind was fraught with courage, independence, and magnanimity, and every noble and manly virtue"; and Burns, who loved him and admired him, not only "strove to imitate him" but also "in some measure succeeded". Brown was Mephisto to Burn's Faust and "here", says the Bard, "his friendship did me a mischief, and the consequence was that soon after I assumed the plough, I wrote the enclosed Welcome." This enclosure, to Moore, was that half-humorous, half-defiant, and wholly delightful Welcome to His Love-Begotten Daughter, through which the spirit of the true Burns — the Burns of the good years: proud, generous, whole-hearted, essentially natural and humane — thrills from the first line to the last.
Burns returned to Lochlie in March, 1782. The prosperity of the preceding years was coming to a close and through a quarrel that went to the courts the elder Burnes was dispossessed. Thus was the quarrel ended and with it ended the career of William Burness. He died in February of 1784. Robert and Gilbert secured another farm — Mossgiel — in Mauchline Parish, two or three miles from Lochlie in the late days of 1783 which would seem to show that in spite of the serious state of the affairs of their father, the family credit was not impaired.
William Burness had paid his children wages during his tenancy of Lochlie and the elder four, by presenting themselves as his creditors for wages due, were enabled to secure a certain amount of "plenishing and gear" wherewith to make a start at Mossgiel. It was a family venture, in whose success the Burnesses were interested all and severally, and to which each one looked for food and clothes and hire (the brothers got a yearly fee of 7 pounds apiece); and, as all were well and thoroughly trained in farming work, and had never lived other than sparely, it was reasonable in them to believe that the enterprise would prosper. That it did not begin by prospering was no fault of Robert's. He made excellent resolutions, and what was more to the purpose, he kept them — for a time. He "read farming books" (thus he displays himself ), he "calculated crops", he "attended markets"; he worked hard in the fields, he kept his body at least in temperance and soberness, and, as for thrift, there is Gilbert's word for it, that his expenses never exceeded his income of 7 pounds a year. It availed him nothing. Gilbert is said to have been rather a theorist than a sound practician; and Robert, though a skilled farmer, cared nothing for business, and left him a free hand in the conduct of affairs. Luck, too, was against them from the first; and very soon the elder's genius was revealed to him, and he had other than farmer's work to do. Robert could do his work, and prided himself on the straightness of his furrows; he was, however, scarcely cut out for a successful farmer except, it may be, under certain special conditions. He was bursting with intelligence, ideas, the consciousness of capacity, the desire to take his place among men; and in Mauchline he found livelier friends and greater opportunities than he had found elsewhere. Being a Scot, he was instinctively a theologian; being himself, he was inevitably liberal-minded; born a peasant of genius, and therefore a natural rebel, he could not choose but quarrel with the Kirk — especially as her hand was heavy on his friends and himself — and it was as a Mauchline man that the best of his anticlerical work was done. Then, too, he was full of rhymes, and they must out of him; his call had come, and he feel to obeying it with unexampled diligence. It is from Mauchline, too, that his affair with Betty Paton over and done with, and, to anticipate a little, his affair with Jean Armour left hanging in the wind, he starts on his career as amorist at large.
In the November of 1784 Elizabeth Paton bore him a daughter — "the First Instance", so he wrote above his Welcome, "that entitled him to the Venerable Appellation of Father." The mother is described as very plain-looking, but of an exceedingly handsome figure; rude and uncultivated to a great degree, with a strong masculine understanding, and a thorough, though unwomanly, contempt for any sort of refinement; withal, so active, honest, and independent a creature that Mrs. Burns would have had Robert marry her, but "both my aunts and Uncle Gilbert opposed it," in the belief that "the faults of her character would soon have disgusted him." Thus it was that the marriage was not concluded.
It was at Mossgiel that the enormous possibilities in himself were revealed to Burns; and it was at Mossgiel that he did nearly all his best and strongest work. The revelations once made, he stayed not in his course, but wrote masterpiece after masterpiece, with a rapidity, an assurance, a command of means, a brilliancy of effect, which makes his achievement one of the most remarkable in English letters. In all of his work, however, he had the good sense to concern himself with the life he knew. The way of realism lay broadly beaten by his ancestors, and was natural to his feet; he followed it with vision, with humor, with inspiration and sympathy, and with art; and in the sequel he is found to be one in the first flight of English poets after Milton, Chaucer, Shakespeare.
Elizabeth Paton's child was born in the November of 1784. In April of that year, a few weeks after the general settlement at Mossgiel, he made the acquaintance of Armour the mason's daughter, Jean. She was a handsome, lively girl; the acquaintance ripened into love on both sides; and in the end, after what the dates prove to have been a prolonged and serious courtship, Jean Armour fell with child. Her condition being discovered, Burns, after some strong revulsions of feeling against — not Jean, one hopes, but the estate of marriage — gave her what he presently had every reason to call "an unlucky paper," recognizing her as his wife; and, had things been allowed to drift in the usual way, the world had lacked an unforgotten scandal and a great deal of silly writing. This, though, was not to be. old Armour — "a bit mason body, who used to snuff a guid deal, and gey af'en tak' a bit dram" — is said to have "hated" Burns; so that he would "reyther hae seen the Deil himsel' comin' to the hoose to coort his dochter than him." Thus a contemporary of both Armour and Burns; and in any case Armour knew Burns for a needy and reckless man, the father of one by-blow, a rebel at odds with the Orthodox, of whom, in existing circumstances, it would be vain to ask a considerable living. So he first obliged Jean to give up the "unlucky paper", with a view to unmaking any engagement it might confirm, and then sent her to Paisley, to be out of her lover's way. In the meanwhile Burns himself was in straits, and he had half a dozen designs in hand at once. Mossgiel was a failure; he had resolved to deport himself to the West Indies; he had made up his mind to print, and the Kilmarnock Edition was setting, when Jean was sent into exile. Worst of all, he seems to have been not very sure whether he loved or not. The tangle which resulted from this doubt on his part is interesting, but too lengthy to be detailed here. It ended by the deserter finding himself deserted and his pride, inordinate in a peasant, was cut to the quick. In effect, his position was sufficiently distracting. He had made oath that he would not marry Jean; then he had practically married her; then he found that nobody wanted her married to him — that, on the contrary, he was the most absolute "detrimental" in all Ayrshire; when, of course, the marriage became the one thing that made his life worth living. He tried to persuade old Armour to think better of his resolve; and, failing, ran "nine parts and nine-tenths out of ten stark staring mad." He took occasion to refer to Jean (to David Brice; 12th June, 1786) as "poor, ill-advised, ungrateful Armour"; vowed that he could "have no nearer idea of the place of eternal punishment" than "what I have felt in my own breast on her account"; and finally confessed himself to this purpose: "I have tried often to forget her: I have run into all kinds of dissipation and riot ... to drive her out of my head, but all in vain." Long before this, however — as early, it would seem, as some time in March — his "maddening passions, roused to tenfold fury", having done all sorts of dreadful things, and then "sunk into a lurid calm", he had "subsided into the time-settled sorrow of the sable widower", and had lifted his "grief-worn eye to look for — another wife". In other words, he had pined for female society, and had embarked upon those famous love-passages with Highland Mary.
Little is known about Mary Campbell, though she forms an interesting episode in the life of Burns. The speculation and theorizing which have run rampant concerning her makes interesting reading, but one cannot advance one theory and reject the others. Space will not permit of this, and it is sufficient to say that they were never married.
By this time the end of Mauchline, and of much besides, was nearer than he knew. Probably sent to press in the May of 1786, the Kilmarnock Volume was published at the end of July. Most of, if not all, the numbers contained in it were probably familiar to the countryside. Some had certainly been received with "a roar of applause"; Burns, who was not the man to hide his light under a bushel, was given to multiplying his verses in MS. copies for friends; he had been "read into fame" by Aiken the lawyer; so that Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was, in a sense, as "well advertised" as book could be. Its triumph was not less instant than well-deserved; the first issue, six hundred copies strong, was exhausted in a month. But Burns himself, according to himself, and he was ever punctiliously exact and scrupulous on the score of money, was but 20 pounds in pocket by it; the Kilmarnock printer declined to strike a second impression, with additions, unless he got the price of the paper in advance; and for some time it seemed that there was nothing but Jamaica for the writer, Local Bard and Local Hero though he were; so that he looked to have sailed, in mid-August, and again on the 1st September, and at some indeterminate date had "conveyed his chest thus far on the road to Greemock", and written that solemn and moving song — far and away the best, I think, and the sincerest thing he left in English — The Gloomy Night is Gathering Fast.
But for one or another reason, his departure was ever deferred; and, though on the 30th October (some ten days, it is surmised, after the death of Mary Campbell), he was still writing that, "ance to the Indies he was wonted," he'd certainly contrive to "mak' the best o' life wi' some sweet elf," on the 18th November, "I am thinking for my Edinburgh expedition on Monday or Tuesday come s'ennight " In effect, an "Edinburgh expedition" was natural and inevitable.
He reached the capital on the 28th November, and was hospitably entertained by Richmond — to the extent, indeed, of a bedfellow's share in the clerk's one little room in Baxter's Place, Lawnmarket. Through Dalrymple of Organefield he got access to Lord Glencairn and others — among them Harry Erskine, Dean of Faculty, and that curious, irascible, pompous ass, the Earl of Buchan, and Creech, the publisher, who had been Glencairn's tutor, and who advertised the Edinburgh Edition on the 14th December. He saw everybody worth seeing, and talked with everybody worth talking to; he was made welcome by "heavenly Burnett" and her frolic Grace of Gordon, and welcome by the ribald, scholarly, hard-drinking wits and jinkers of the Chrochallan Fencibles. He moved and bore himself as easily at Duglad Stewart's as in Baxter's Place, in Creech's shop, with Henry Mackenzie and Gregory and Blair, as at that extraordinary meeting of the St. Andrew's Lodge, where, at the Grand Master's bidding, the brethren assembled and drank the health of "Caledonia and Caledonia's Bard — Brother Burns." To look at "he was like a farmer dressed to dine with the laird"; his manners were "rustic, not clownish"; he had "a sort of dignified plainness and simplicity."
What is really wonderful is the way in which Burns kept his head in Edinburgh Society, and stood prepared for the inevitable reaction. Through all the "thick, strong, stupefying incense smoke", he held a steady eye upon his future. In the long-run his magnaminity suffered a certain change. The peasant at work scarce ever goes wrong; but abroad and idle, he is easily spoiled, and soon. Edinburgh was a triumph for Burns; but it was also a misfortune. It was a center of conviviality — a city of clubs and talk and goodfellowship, a city of harlotry and high jinks, a city, above all, of drink; a dangerous place for a peasant to be at large, especially a peasant of the conditions and the stamp of Burns. He was young, he was buckishly given, and he was — Burns.
After residing some months in Edinburgh he began to estrange himself, not altogether, but in some measure, from the society of his graver friends.... He suffered himself to be surrounded by a race of miserable beings who were proud to tell that they had been in company with Burns, and had seen Burns as loose and as foolish as themselves. It is evident that the distractions and the triumphs of Edinburgh continued the work which the mistakes and follies of Dumfries were to finish ten years later.
The Edinburgh edition floated — Burns cleared about 450 pounds from it — he fell in with Mrs. M'Lehose; he instantly proposed to "cultivate her friendship with the enthusiasm of religion". This affair lasted for some time and seems to have been one sally of these years which was wholly honest and straight. It must be confessed that this was due to the woman and not to the man.
Very early in 1788, Jean Armour — brought some time in the preceding summer "pop, down at my feet, like Corporal Trim's hat" — was expelled from her parents' house and took refuge at Tarbolton Mill. There Burns found her on his return, and thence he removed her to a house in "Mauchline toun," to the particular joy, a short while after, of Saunders Tait. A very perplexing series of circumstances follow. The Edinburgh widow and the reunited Jean Armour occupy his affections alternately. Some time after 7th March, 1788, he escorts Jean to a place of seclusion, and the affair is closed when he marries her on April 7th.
Meanwhile he had taken Ellisland, a farm in Dumfriesshire, of Miller of Dalswinton, with an allowance from his landlord, a worthy and generous man, of 300 pounds, for a new steading and outhouses. His marriage at last made formal and public on the 5th August, 1788, the bride and bridegroom appeared before the Session, acknowledged its irregularity, demanded its "solemn confirmation," were sentenced to be rebuked, etc., and were finally "absolved from any scandal" on the old account. It was not until November, however, that Burns and Jean set up their rest in Dumfriesshire; and even so, they had to go, not to their own farmhouse, it was not ready for them until August of 1789, but to a place called "The Isle," about a mile away from it. By the end of July, 1789, Burns had resolved to turn his holding into a dairy farm to be run by Jean and his sisters, and to take up his gaugership in earnest; and on the 10th of August he learned from Graham of Fintry that he was appointed exciseman for that district of Dumfriesshire in which Ellisland is situate. The work was hard for he had charge of ten parishes and must ride two hundred miles a week to get his duty done. He developed into an officer at once humane and vigilant and it is told of him that he could always wink when staring would mean black ruin to some old unchartered alewife (say), hiss first year's "decreet" — his share, that is, of the fines imposed upon his information — was worth some fifty or sixty pounds.
He was unable, however, to overcome the amorous ways of his youth and while he married Jean in the April of 1788, Anne Park bore him a child just ten days before Jean was delivered of his second son (in wedlock) — on; the 9th of April, 1791. Jean was magnanimous, and while no one knows what became of Anne Park, it is; known that her child was nursed with Jean's own. It is furthermore worthy of note that Anne Park is the last of Burns' mistresses who has a name. It is known that this was not the last, and he kept up his trick of throwing the lyric handkerchief till the end. All through his last illness he is tenderly solicitous about his wife, be it remembered; yet the deathbed songs for Jessie Lewars are the best of those closing years.
Whatever the sequel, it may fairly be said for Ellisland that Burns and Jean were happy there, and that it saw the birth of Tam o' Shanter and the perfecting, in the contributions to Johnson's Museum, of the Vernacular Song. The last we know, was Burns' work; but he had assistants, and they did him yeoman service.
The story of the Dumfries period is one of decadence; and, even if it were told in detail, would tell us nothing of Burns that we have not already heard or are not all too well prepared to learn. In a little town, where everybody's known to everybody, there is ever an infinite deal of scandal; and Burns was too reckless and too conspicuous not to become a peculiar "sock-shoy" for the scandal-mongers of Dumfries. That he fought against temptation is as plain as that he proved incapable of triumph, and that, as Carlyle has wisely and humanely noted, the best for him, certain necessary conditions being impossible, was to die.
The precisian has naught to do at this grave-side; and to most of us now it is history that while there was an infinite deal of the best sort of good in Burns, the bad in him, being largely compacted of such purely unessential defects as arrogance, petulance, imprudence, and a turn for self-indulgence, this last exasperated by the conditions in which his lot was cast, was not of the worst kind after all. Yet the bad was bad enough to wreck the good. The little foxes were many and active and greedy enough to spoil a world of grapes. The strength was great, but the weaknesses were greater; for time and chance and the necessity were ever developing the weakness at the same time that they were ever beating down the strength. That is the sole conclusion possible. And to the plea, that the story it rounds is very pitiful, there is this victorious answer: that the Man had drunk his life to the lees, while the Poet had fulfilled himself to the accomplishing of a peculiar immortality so that to Burns death came as a deliverer and a friend on the twenty-first of July, 1796. This sketch may well be concluded with the following verses from his own Epitaph:
Is there a man whose judgment clear
Can others teach the course to steer,
Yet runs himself life's mad career
Wild as the wave?
Here pause — and, through the starting tear,
Survey this grave.
The poor inhabitant below
Was quick to learn and wise to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow
And softer flame;
But thoughtless follies laid him low,
And stained his name.
Reader, attend! Whether thy soul
Soars Fancy's flights beyond the pole,
Or darkling grubs this earthly hole
In low pursuit;
Know, prudent, cautious, self-control
Is wisdom's root.
* * *
Bro. S. Pfrimmer, Indiana
SITTING in the little library of Pisgah Lodge, No. 32, Corydon, Indiana, the first week in May, 1927, browsing through the annual reports of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, I came across Past Grand Master Gay's Review of the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Montana for 1925. Bro. Gay wrote with seeming enthusiasm and approval as follows: "The splendid report on the subject of 'Compass or Compasses?' is given by Bro. R. J. Lemert, which concludes with the following recommendation which was adopted:
"This is perhaps the ancient symbolism of the Square and Compass, and we should not destroy or becloud it by over-anxiety to conform to the etymologies of the outer world. Much of the most Sacred symbolism of our institution has been lost forever through the honest but unskilled tinkering of amateur ritualists. Let this Grand Lodge not add to the confusion within the Temple.
"For these and other reasons, with which the committee was not willing further to burden the Grand Lodge, it was recommended that the word 'Compass' be once again given sanction in preference to 'Compasses' wherever it appears in our work, written or unwritten."
At once the question arose, why should Reviewer Gay refer to this action of the Grand Lodge of Montana with such enthusiasm and apparent approval? Upon inquiry, I was informed that the Grand Lodge of Indiana had a few years ago adopted a ritual which used the word "Compass" instead of "Compasses," but a record of this action had failed to appear in the Grand Lodge report. This at once opened up a field of investigation. I had been giving the degree lectures for forty-nine years, always using the word "Compasses" and had never had its correctness questioned. I did not know what practice prevailed in the Masonic world and for the purpose of discovering this I wrote to the Grand Secretaries of the Grand Lodges with which Indiana has fraternal relations. I have received sixty-eight answers. Of these sixty-two Grand Secretaries answer that the word in use in their Grand Jurisdictions is "Compasses." Six say "Compass." I am giving a list of the Grand Jurisdictions with answers and comment, if any:
Alabama — Compasses.
Alberta — Compasses.
Arkansas — Compasses. "Compass" is the nautical instrument for steering.
Arizona — Compass.
British Columbia — Compasses
California — Compass.
Colorado — Compasses.
Connecticut — In Connecticut the preferred terminology is the plural, Compasses.
Delaware — Compasses.
District of Columbia — Compasses.
England — I return your letter of the 4th of July with the word "Compasses" inserted therein, this being the method of description in the English Jurisdiction. P. Coville Smith, Grand Secretary.
Florida — Our Monitor gives it Compasses.
Georgia — Compasses.
Guatemala — Compasses is called in this Jurisdiction.
Idaho — Compasses.
Iowa — Compass.
Ireland — In reply to yours of the 29th ultimo, the Masonic Emblem referred to is known under the Irish constitution as the Compasses. H. C. Shellard, Grand Secretary.
Illinois — Compasses.
Kansas — Compasses.
Kentucky — Compasses.
Louisiana — Compasses.
Maine — Compasses.
Manitoba — Compasses.
Maryland — Compasses.
Massachusetts — Compasses.
Michigan — Compasses.
Minnesota — Compass. I am well aware that the best authorities sanction the word "Compasses", and I am personally of the opinion that the same is the only correct designation.
Missouri — Compasses (Monitor).
Mississippi — Compasses.
Montana — Compass.
Nebraska — Compass. Although the authorities seem to be nearly all against us.
Nevada — Compasses.
New Brunswick — Compasses.
New Hampshire — Compasses.
New Jersey — Compasses.
New Mexico — Compasses (Monitor).
New South Wales — Compasses.
New York — Compasses.
New Zealand — Compasses.
North Carolina — Compasses.
North Dakota — Compasses.
Nova Scotia — Compasses.
Ontario — Compasses.
Ohio — Compasses. Past Grand Master Belt, Chairman of the Ritual Committee for Ohio, in answering the question "Compasses" says, "I never heard any other from anywhere on earth."
Oklahoma — Compasses
Oregon — Compasses always in all work.
Pennsylvania — Compasses.
Prince Edward Island — Compasses.
Quebec — we invariably give it in the plural, Compasses, as distinctive from a Mariner's compass.
Queensland — Compasses.
Rhode Island — Compasses.
Saskatchewan — Compasses.
Scotland — Compasses.
South Australia — Compasses. The great Oxford dictionary supports this usage.
South Carolina — Compasses.
South Dakota — Compasses
Tasmania — Compasses.
Tennessee — Compasses.
Texas — Compasses.
Utah — Compasses.
Vermont — Compasses.
Victoria — Compasses.
Virginia — Compasses, never Compass.
Washington — Compasses.
Western Australia — Compasses.
West Virginia — Compasses.
Wisconsin — Compasses.
Wyoming — Compasses.
After completing this survey, the compiler turned his attention to Masonic dictionaries and encyclopaedias.
The first volume of Oliver's Universal Masonic Library (30 volumes) is a Masonic Dictionary. In this dictionary, the word "Compasses" only is used, and this seems to be true in all of Dr. Oliver's writings, so far as I have been able to discover.
Albert G. Mackey, in his monumental work, Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, seems invariably to use the word "Compasses." The following quotations from this work are given under the heading:
COMPASSES. As in Operative Masonry the Compasses are used for the admeasurement of the architect's plans, and to enable him to give those just proportions which will ensure beauty, as well as stability to his work; so, in Speculative Masonry, is this important implement symbolic of that even tenor of deportment, that true standard of rectitude which alone can bestow happiness here and felicity hereafter. Hence, are the compasses the most prominent emblem of virtue, the true and only measure of a Mason's life and conduct.
SQUARE AND COMPASSES: These two symbols have been so long and so universally combined to teach us, as says an early ritual, "to square our actions and to keep them within due bounds," they are so seldom seen apart but are so kept together either as two great lights, or as a jewel worn once by the Master of the Lodge, now by the Past Master.
Again, we find this:
The Bible, square and compasses are technically said to constitute the furniture of a lodge.
GREATER LIGHTS: The Bible, and the Square and Compasses.
Bro. William L. Boyden's Little Masonic Dictionary says,
COMPASSES: one of the most prominent of the emblems of Masonry.
SQUARE AND COMPASSES: the badge of the fraternity.
The furniture of a lodge, the Bible, Square and Compasses.
GREAT LIGHTS: the Bible, Square and Compasses.
Bro. Charles H. Merz, author and editor of the Sandusky Masonic Bulletin, in his unique book, Ask Me, Brother, says the furnishings of a lodge are
The Holy Bible, Square and Compasses.
The word "Compass" may be used only to indicate the cardinal points; as a geometrical instrument, the word in Masonry is always "Compasses."
One of the important products of Masonic learning in the last century was Bro. Mitchell's Common Law of Masonry, and in an inserted Dictionary of Masonic terms uses the word "Compasses" only.
A letter from the Grand Librarian of the Grand Lodge of England, the oldest Grand Lodge in the world, says:
In reply to your letter, the use of the word "Compasses" (in the plural) by Freemasons of the English Constitution is in no way a use peculiar only to the Craft. It is the proper English designation of this particular instrument used by many professions and trades besides its symbolic employment by Freemasons. The word "Compasses" is, however, really an abbreviation, for colloquial conveniences of the full name which is "a pair of Compasses", just as the word "Scissors" describes, for shortness sake, a "pair of Scissors", another instrument which like the Compasses consists of more than one distinct part and so may rightly be denominated in the plural.
The Secretary of Grand Master's Lodge, No. 1, in the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of England, says:
So far as my observation and research have gone the word "Compasses" is always used and not "Compass."
The Secretary of St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Boston, Massachusetts, reputed to be the oldest lodge in America, writes that they use the word "Compasses" and he presumes they have always done so.
Bro. Lionel Vibert, Editor of Miscellanea Latomorum and Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, says:
The facts are pretty clear. Compass in the singular means for us the Mariner's compass. The emblem is the Compasses.
We now turn to "the etymologies of the outer world." Chamber's Encyclopaedia has:
COMPASS, Mariner's is the name given to the instrument by which sailors are enabled to steer their course on the ocean and out of sight of land.
Much more is given, but no reference to the mathematical instrument.
And then says,
COMPASSES, instrument for transferring and marking off distances, or for drawing circles. etc.
The International Encyclopaedia has four pages devoted to "Compass" — not once referring to the mathematical instrument — and follows this with
COMPASSES, a mathematical instrument for transferring or marking off distances (and for this purpose often called "dividers") or for drawing circles. The common compasses or dividers are composed of two rods or legs joined together by a pivot joint at one end and pointed at the other.
The Encyclopaedia Americana says:
COMPASS, MARINER'S: an instrument to ascertain directions at sea by means of the attraction of the earth for a movable magnet or a set of magnets.
Considerable space is given to a discussion of the subject, but no reference is made to the geometrical instrument. But this is followed by another heading:
COMPASSES: mathematical instrument used for describing circles, measuring lines, etc.
The Funk and Wagnalls Standard Encyclopaedia says:
COMPASS or Mariner's compass, a magnetic instrument used to indicate the direction of a ship with respect to the magnetic N. and S. Iine.
This discussion continues for four columns. No reference is made to the architectural instrument.
COMPASSES, instruments for transferring and marking off distances or for drawing circles, etc.
The following letter was written to the Editor of the Standard Dictionary:
Under the word "Compass" in the Standard Dictionary, you provide for thirteen definitions. You use twelve of them in defining things other than the mathematical instrument. After the number 7, you say, "see Compasses." And then in regular alphabetical order you say, "Compasses, noun, plural. An instrument consisting of two branches or legs, etc."
Are we not justified in concluding that you mean that "compasses" is one of the few nouns that have no singular? Chambers International, Funk and Wagnalls, The Americana, Mackey's (Masonic) Encyclopaedias, as well as Oliver's (Masonic) Dictionary, all confirm this view. While Webster's, the Century and Stormonth's dictionaries practically do so.
I shall be greatly obliged to you for a reply.
To which the Editor replied:
Yes, compasses and scissors are words in the same class. "Compass" singular has a totally different meaning.
The Century Dictionary defines "Compass" under 10 headings. Under number 8, it says:
A mathematical instrument for describing circles or for measuring figures, distances between two points, etc.; commonly plural. Compasses consist of two pointed legs, etc. and then quotes Milton —
"In his hand He took the Golden Compasses, prepared In God's eternal store, to circumscribe This Universe and all created things."
Webster's Dictionary devotes 10 headings to the definition of "Compass." Nine of them refer to other things than the geometrical instrument. After number 8 it says:
8 (usually plural). An instrument for describing circles transferring measurements, consisting in its simple form of two pointed branches or legs, joined at the top by a pivot; called also pair of compasses. Compasses have generally one pen or pencil point, those with two sharp metal points for measuring are specifically called dividers.
Then in regular alphabetical order comes this:
COMPASSES, noun, plural. An instrument for describing curves, measuring, etc.
GEOMETRY OR MASONRY, ORIGINALLY SYNONYMOUS TERMS
Bro. H. L. Haywood's pamphlet, The Walrus and the Carpenter, which is included in the Dollar Masonic Library, gives us a glimpse of the mathematics of Masonry. Writing of the Forty-seventh problem of Euclid and its reputed discoverer, the Great Pythagoras, Bro. Haywood says:
There is more substantial evidence to show that he founded a School of mathematics to make special studies of the righted-angled triangles. That theorem which showed up in Euclid as the forty-seventh proposition was attributed to him — in itself sufficient to establish ever enduring fame for any man. This proposition, you will recall holds that the sum of the squares of the two shorter sides of a right-angled triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse. For ages before Pythagoras the Egyptians had known on the basis of a rule of thumb that any triangle, the sides of which are in units of 3, 4, and 5 is a right-angled triangle; it is possible that Pythagoras generalized this into his own theorem.
The importance of this theorem in the history of mathematics, and even in the history of exact thinking in general, cannot be exaggerated. "No proposition in the whole of mathematics has had such a distinguished history," writes Bertrand Russell one of the greatest of all living mathematicians. "Everything in geometry, and subsequently in physics, has been derived from it by successive generalizations."
This problem at once becomes intensely interesting, and important to every Master Mason. The symbolism of Masonry being so closely connected with the mathematical sciences, I wrote to the Department of Mathematics of a number of Universities and Colleges asking what name they applied to the geometrical instrument used in describing circles. Here is the result so far as obtained:
Amherst College — Compasses.
University of Arizona — A pair of Compasses. A pair of Dividers. This is not a magnetic Compass.
University of Arkansas — Compasses.
Birmingham-Southern University — Compasses.
Brown University — Compasses.
Cambridge (England) University — Compasses.
University of California — Either but Compasses more common.
Chicago University — Dividers or Compasses
Columbia University — This is known as Compasses, i.e., an instrument often called Compass, but "Compasses" is scientifically correct, the magnetic needle, a circle or space being a Compass. The above is also referred to often as a pair of Compasses.
University of Colorado — Plural drawing instrument for measuring, describing circles, etc. (Webster).
Connecticut Agricultural College — Compasses.
Dartmouth University — Compasses.
University of Delaware — Compasses. Compare the word scissors.
Earlham College — Compasses.
George Washington University — Compasses. See Funk & Wagnalls, or any other good dictionary. J. T. Erwin.
University of Georgia — Compasses. R. P. Stephen.
Hanover College — Usually plural.
Howard Payne University — Dividers
University of Illinois — Pair of Compasses. Not Compass.
Indiana University — Compasses.
Indiana Central University — Compasses.
Iowa State University — Dividers or Compasses.
University of Kansas — Compasses.
University of Kentucky — Compasses.
University of Maine — Compasses.
University of Manitoba — A pair of Compasses.
U. S. Military Academy — Pair of Compasses or Compasses.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Compasses.
University of Michigan — I prefer the plural Compasses, or a pair of Compasses.
University of Minnesota — This looks like a pair of Compasses.
University of Missouri — Compasses.
University of Montana — Compasses. See dictionary.
U.S. Naval Academy — Compasses. (See Webster.)
University of Nebraska — Compasses.
University of Nevada — Compasses.
University of North Dakota — Compasses.
University of Notre Dame — An instrument used in drawing, for describing arcs, circles, etc., is called "Compasses". An instrument used in surveying, for determining courses and directions from a magnetic needle is called "Compass".
Oakland City College — Compasses.
Oberlin College — The term applied to the above is Compasses or a pair of Compasses. Ohio State University — Compasses.
University of Oklahoma — Compasses.
University of Oregon — Compasses
University of Pennsylvania — Pair of Compasses.
Princeton University — Compasses (or Dividers).
Purdue University — If used in drawing, "a pair of Compasses". If used in measuring, "a pair of Dividers".
Rollins College — Compasses.
Rose Polytechnic Institute — Compasses.
University of South Carolina — Compass
University of Southern California — Compasses.
University of Tennessee — Compasses.
University of Utah — Compasses.
Taylor University — Compasses.
University of Vermont — Compasses.
University of Virginia — Compasses.
Wabash College — I would call the above "Compasses" or "a pair of Compasses." University of Washington — Compasses is technically correct. I prefer the term "a pair of Compasses".
Western Reserve University — Compasses.
West Virginia University — A pair of Dividers or Compasses.
Wyoming University — (Pair of) Compasses.
Yale University — Pair of Compasses or Dividers.
DIVIDERS is given in dictionaries and by mathematicians as synonymous with COMPASSES.
The following excerpts are taken from Brothers and Builders, Bro. Joseph Fort Newton, and will form a fitting conclusion to this article:
THE HOLY BIBLE
Upon the Altar of every Masonic Lodge, supporting the Square and Compasses, lies the Holy Bible. The old, familiar Book, so beloved by so many generations, is our volume of Sacred Law and a Great Light in Masonry. The Bible opens when the Lodge opens; it closes when the Lodge closes. No Lodge can transact its own business, much less initiate candidates into its mysteries unless the Book of the Holy Law lies open upon its Altar. Thus the book of the Will of God rules the Lodge in its labours, as the Sun rules the day, making its work a worship.
The Holy Bible lies open upon the Altar of Masonry, and upon the Bible lie the Square and Compasses. They are the three Great Lights of the Lodge, at once its Divine warrant and its chief working tools. They are symbols of Revelation, Righteousness, and Redemption, teaching us that by walking in the light of Truth, and obeying the law of Right, the Divine in man wins victory over the earthly. How to live is the one important matter, and he will seek far without finding a wiser way than that shown us by the Great Lights of the Lodge.
The Square and Compasses are the oldest, the simplest, and the most universal symbols of Masonry. All the world over, whether as a sign on a building or a badge worn by a brother, even the profane know them to be emblems of our ancient Craft. Some years ago, when a business firm tried to adopt the Square and Compasses as a trade-mark, the Patent Office refused permission, on the ground, as the decision said, that "there can be no doubt that this device, so commonly worn and employed by Masons, has an established mystic significance, universally recognized as existing; whether comprehended by all or not, is not material to this issue." They belong to us, alike by the associations of history and the tongue of common report.
Nearly everywhere in our Ritual, as in the public mind, the Square and Compasses are seen together. If not interlocked they are seldom far apart, and the one suggests the other. And that is as it should be, because the things they symbolize are interwoven In the old days when the earth was thought to be flat and square, the Square was the emblem of the Earth, and later, of the earthly element in man. As the sky is an are or a circle, the implement which describes a Circle became the symbol of the heavenly, or skyey spirit in man. Thus, the tools of the builder became the emblems of the thoughts of the thinker — and nothing in Masonry is more impressive than the slow elevation of the Compasses above the Square in the progress of the degrees. The whole meaning and task of life is there, for such as have eyes to see.
In our study of the Square we saw that it is nearly always linked with the Compasses, and these old emblems, joined with the Holy Bible, are the Great Lights of the Craft. If the Lodge is an "Oblong Square" and built upon the Square (as the earth was thought to be in olden time), over it arches the Sky, which is a circle. Thus, Earth and Heaven are brought together in the Lodge — the earth where man goes forth to his labor, and the Heaven to which he aspires. In other words, the light of the Revelation and the law of Nature are like the two points of the Compasses within which our life is set under a canopy of Sun and Stars.
* * *
Bro. L. F. Strauss, Massachusetts
IN the May number of THE BUILDER last year appeared an article entitled The Essenes; in July was published Freemasonry and the Essenes. These two articles constitute a kind of introduction to this one. In Freemasonry and the Essenes attention was called to Masonic terminology and nomenclature of Hebrew-Aramaic origin. A repetition here of this list may be of interest; furnish food for thought.
Adonai — Lord; used by the Jews in place of Jehovah, the name of God.
Adon Hiram — Adoniram — The Lord is exalted.
Ahiah — I Kings iv, 3
Ahiman — Rezon. Derived from a very old and obsolete Hebrew word and used as title to a book of instruction in the Grand Lodge of York. [Actually it first appears as the title of the Constitutions of the "Ancient" Grand Lodge in London, compiled by Lawrence Dermott. Ed.]
Balgulkal — obsolete Hebrew
Cedars of Lebanon
Pentalpha — Solomon's Seal
Seal of Solomon
Shield of David
Signet of Serubbabel
Tomb of Adoniram
Twelve Lettered Name
Two Lettered Name
To this list of Masonic terms we will add the word Ain Soph, one of the most important figures in the Zohar (crown of the Kabala). This term Ain Soph was referred to in an article entitled the Freemason's Vision of God, by W. W. Covey Crump, a clergyman of the Church of England and Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge. This also appeared in THE BUILDER for last May.
Now what is, what means, what is contained in the Kabala? We will give a brief outline of the "idea" as reflected in the minds of recognized "authorities."
Webster's Dictionary, abridged definition: Esoteric Theosophy.
Encyclopedia Brittanica: An interesting exposition is here given; four lengthy pages. But — in the opinion of Strauss — after reading these four pages, the average reader, even the scholar, will know as little or as much as before. This selection of the information given in the Encyclopedia Brittanica may be of value to the innocent reader:
In the Middle Ages, especially during the first period of the Renaissance and again at the period of the Reformation this Kabala was something of a factor, especially in the minds of Pico di Mirandola, Johann Reuchlin, Cornelius Agrippa, Theophrastus, Paracelsus, Robert Fludd, etc., etc. Through Mirandola's power of persuasion Pope Sixtus wanted Kabala taught to divinity students of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Some points given in the Encyclopedia Brittanica should be of interest to students of Philosophy and Theology, and to seriously minded members of the Order of Free and Accepted Masons.
Article in the Catholic Encyclopedia, "A little scratched will serve" (Bacon-Shakespeare). We will give a few significative excerpts:
- Its application has greatly varied in course of time and it is only since the eleventh and twelfth centuries that the term Kabala has become the exclusive appellation for the system of Jewish religious philosophy which claims to have been uninterruptedly transmitted by the mouths of the Patriarchs, Prophets, Elders, etc., ever since the creation of the first man.
- Several of its doctrines recall to mind those of Pythagoras Plato, Aristotle, the Neo Platonists of Alexandria, the oriental or Egyptian Pantheists and the Gnostics of the Earliest Christian Church [Capitalization is by Strauss].
German Encyclopedias; Brockhaus and Meier: one-fourth of a page. Contents — Negation.
La Grande Encyclopedie: In the opinion of Strauss this Encyclopedia is the fairest, the best, the most impartial published in Europe or America. On our "subject" we find six large pages.
The true Caballe dates in reality, as we will see later, only from the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries. But its origines are very ancient.
Why print "Does not date in reality only from the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries" and then "But its origins are very ancient"? Should not origines constitute a kind of beginning?
The Gnosticism of the Jews is found already in the Old Testament, and the foundation of its metaphysical theory and the colors in which it is clothed. Everyone knows what an important part is played by Wisdom in the different books of the Bible in Proverbs, the Book of Job, the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Siraeh and in the Wisdom of Solomon. [The last two mentioned being in the Apocrypha.]
One of the most striking proofs of the influence exercised by secrets, doctrines and mystical ideas upon the Jews of Palestine towards the end of the second Temple is furnished by the sect of the Essenes.
The Glory, or the Word, which under the influence of Plato and the Stoics became with Philo the famous Logos or the Word.... [The italics are by Strauss.]
The Zohar was earlier considered as a very ancient work. It was usually attributed to Simeon ben Jochai (2nd Cent.) but today there is no doubt that it was born in Spain at the end of the thirteenth century, etc., etc.
Wrong; the name Zohar saw then the light of day, but contents, doctrines, propounded were transmitted orally centuries B.C.
La Grande Encyclopedie gives a very lengthy and learned exposition of the doctrines, the idea found in the Kabala. Time and space does not permit here an elaborate presentation or a critical view.
Encyclopedia Universal Ilustrade Americana Europea says of the Kabala that it was:
- An oral tradition among the Jews that explained the sense of the Holy Scriptures.
- In the ancient Jewish literature the whole body of religious doctrine with the exception of the Pentateuch.
- At the beginning of the tenth century of our era the cabala was considered as a secret science, a system of Theosophy.
This Spanish-American Encyclopedia devotes four full pages and, strange as it may seem, gives an impartial presentation of the case.
Nueva Encyclopedia Italiana. Two pages. Presentation is not deliberately unfair, principle of hypothesis is strongly accentuated, contents not of sufficient value (opinion of Strauss) to be given space in THE BUILDER, or time in the mind of the reader.
The Encyclopedia Americana: Presentation free from bias. Four pages.
Cabana designates the mystic law of the Jews and the practice based thereon.
Historically considered the Cabala antedates by many centuries the work devoted to the exposition of its theorists and the inculeation of its practices, etc., etc.
Indications are plentiful in both the Apocrypha and the pseudo-Epigrapha, notably in the Enoch books and the Testaments of various Bible heroes pointing to the acceptance and currency of Cabalistic concepts at the time these extra canonical books were composed, etc.
Jewish of the late pre-Christian, and Christian Gnosticism of the early Christian centuries may be looked upon as its predecessors.
The Neo Platonic and Pythogorean character of the book's theorizing is evident. To some sectaries the affirmation of the treatise seemed too strongly anthropomorphic. They therefore posited between God and Universe a Mediator the PRINCE of the WORLD, to whom they imputed all acts of creation and to whom they referred the corporeal description of God found in the Bible....
In brief, the main contentions of the Kabala are these: God is unknowable in His own essence. He is the EN SOPH the limitless, infinite. He is the HIDDEN OF ALL HIDDEN. He is the negative as far as he is cognizable by man, etc., etc [Capitalization is by Strauss.]
The Americana gives quite a philosophical interpretation: A knowledge, an understanding of the real, the inner, meaning of the Kabala cannot of course be expected.
Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings. Six large pages. Selections follow:
The famous admonition of Sirach not to see that which is too wonderful for thee, etc., etc.
This would seem to imply a tendency to Esoteric doctrines on the part of the Essenes.
Kabalism denies the "Creatio ex nihilo" and the possibility of knowing God, etc., etc.
Presentation is fair, free from "conscious" bias; good intention but Christian Orthodoxy — "Fundamentalism" — color the vision.
The New International Encyclopedia:
The designation for a mystical system of philosophy, which arose among the Jews at the beginning of the common Era, as a reaction against the sober and austere form assumed by Rabinnical Judaism. It attained a great vogue after the twelfth century, spread among Christian scholars in the 15th and 16th centuries and still prevails among the Jews of Eastern Europe though now dying out, etc., etc.
More than "a little scratched," therefore will not serve.
Now again, what is the Kabala?
When L. F. Strauss became a member of the Ancient or Modern "Order of Free and Accepted Masons," when he studied and examined carefully what had been presented to his physical ears; when he did what is generally expected from a scholar — such as he is supposed to be — made some extensive researches; Strauss rubbed his eyes to ascertain whether he was dreaming or was really awake. Next he examined his intellect and then scrutinized his "NOUS" (Supraconscious self) to make sure that everything was all right in the upper story of L. F. Strauss.
Masonic nomenclature, Masonic symbolism taken, borrowed, "stolen," from what might be called the innermost shrine of Judaism. A shrine, the existence of which, in the opinion of Strauss, was no longer known or recognized, was in fact, decried and rejected by official Christianity. L. F. Strauss, through strange exceptional course of events had been made to see that what is called Christianity may be likened unto a jewel taken from this innermost shrine or unto a child reared and trained for its mission by the Builders, the Guardians of this Shrine.
As L. F. Strauss had intimated in previous articles, a society and organization known in history as the Essenes, but whose real name, whose self-designation was Banaim (which term means Builders or Masons) was the Builder, the Providential Guardian of this Sacred Shrine.
A number of secular, half-informed critical historians, make Jesus an Essene; John the Baptist is universally recognized as a member of these Essenes, John the Evangelist shows himself a member of this order by his presentation of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul informs us that he had sat at the feet of Gamaliel, a distinguished, a prominent member of this brotherhood. In Paul's presentation of the figure of Melchizedek there stands revealed a definite knowledge and a willing, joyful, acceptance of Essenic, that is Kabalistic, Weltanschauung philosophy, theosophy religion. There cannot be a doubt in the mind of a careful unbiased student that St. Clement and Origen, two of the most prominent Church-fathers, and some other leaders of primitive Christianity had been initiated into Essenic Kabalistic wisdom.
Upon the table upon which this article is written lies a book recently discovered, and considered a treasure, by L. F. Strauss. A treasure, because this book is in a way a star witness. In its presentation of Masonic lore this book affirms, confirms, the main view and interpretations of L. F. Strauss. The author of this book is Albert Pike, in whose memory a Masonic monument has been erected in Washington. The title, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
This book by Albert Pike is a great work, a wonderful, a most marvelous presentation of the garb, the dress in which were, are, clothed the doctrines, the ideals of Ancient and Modern Freemasonry. Albert Pike in the opinion of L.F. Strauss had not only entered the outer court, but his mental eye had been opened, he had a distinct inner vision of a glorious temple, and even of an inner shrine, which, in the opinion of L. F. Strauss, Albert Pike had actually tried to enter.
Albert Pike in this book makes many favorable references to the Essenes; in one place he has even given the name, the word Banaim, without seeming to recognize its significance and relation. He refers to the connection of our two Johns with the Order of Essenes, its teachings and activities.
This book by Albert Pike contains with appendix more than a thousand pages. In this short article a full presentation of the "case," the Weltanschauung, of our author (a recognized leader in Freemasonry) cannot of course be given. We will also state that on some points the belief, the philosophy, the Weltanschauung of L. F. Strauss is somewhat different from the interpretation given by Albert Pike. The latter's references to some Graeco-Roman sages, especially to Pythagoras, produced an inner and outer smile, in the mind and upon the lips of L. F. Strauss.
What interests us, however, in the work of Albert Pike, are his many references to the subject now under consideration, the Kabala. In a way this Kabala constitutes the foundation, furnishes the basic principles of the Masonic doctrines, ideas and ideals presented to the reader. As this book contains, as already stated, more than a thousand pages, a few quotations only can be given.
Kabala consecrates the alliance of the Universal reason and the Divine Word...
Kabala contains a doctrine of logical, simple, absolute....
Kabala contains a source of many doctrines....
Kabala furnished the material for the Roman de la Rose. KABALA gives to MASONRY secrets and symbols....
Kabala an entire perfect, unique theology in the secret traditions.
Kabala in active realization, the magic of words, is "Hermeticism."
Kabala taught the unity of God and embodied a pure Philosophy.
Kabala teaches the emanation of all from infinite light. .
Kabala the Ancient of Days existed before everything... .
Kabala the Hebrew traditional philosophy....
Kabala the supreme Being in the Unknown Father. . . .
Kabala the Key of the occult sciences and gave birth to the Gnostics.
Kabalistic doctrines known to the Templars....
Kabalistic and Hermetic Rose Croix....
Kabalistic books furnished the doctrine of the Hermetic philosophers.
Hermetic Philosophy, whose principles and teachings, ideas and ideals, in the opinion of Strauss are in accord with the doctrines given in Kabala, existed (again in the opinion of Strauss) thousands of years before the Kabala was conceived.
This Universe, this world of ours (again in the opinion of Strauss) existed much longer than the average man imagines. Continuing quotations from Pike:
Kabalistic doctrines concealed under its emblems in the Apocalypse.
Kabalistic doctrine, like Masonry, tends towards spiritual perfection
Kabalistic doctrine of emanation, the origin of the Christian Trinity.
Kabalists have chiefly studied the question of the nature of Deity and the beginning of the Universe. . .
Kabalists' opinion concerning souls is Platonism and comes from the Chaldeans.... [Nix! Strauss.]
Cabalistic clavicules, Ezekiel and the Apocalypse have occult explanation.
Cabalistic expressed the perfect number, 10, by a Tau cross....
Albert Pike gives us also numerous references to the Zohar (in a way the crown of the Kabala). These references are too lengthy and too significative to be given in this brief article.
In correspondence with our Bro. R. J. Meekren, L. F. Strauss was given the information that Bro. Pike had obtained his knowledge about Occultism and the Kabala largely from Maurice Constant, whose nom de plume was Eliphas Levi.
This caused L. F. Strauss to investigate Eliphas Levi, and Strauss was pleased and feels grateful to his informant.
After a brief investigation he will say this: Eliphas Levi was one of the few favorites of Fortune who had come near the ideal expressed by Nietsche in Also Sprach Zaratsushtra, near the position in store (ultimately) for the members of the Genus homo, near the position recognized by the great ones, the Philosophers, the Prophets of the race; of which position Bulwer Lytton gives us a vivid glimpse in his strange book entitled Zanoni: a position to which Campanella refers in some of his writings. [See Sonnets, translated by J. A. Simonds and Civitas Solis.] This Campanella spent thirty years of his life in a dungeon, the prisoner "Our Holy Father the Pope" and the Holy Inquisition.
The philosophy, the theology, the doctrines enshrined, stored up in this position, could be given or to a selfish untutored world in a form veiled, very much veiled. The Platonists, Origen definitely informs us, when called upon to choose, preferred to express the selves in too veiled a manner rather than too plainly or openly.
Giordano Bruno has seen far and deep. Had expressed himself too openly? And was he therefore punished by "Providence"?
Jacob Boehme, one of the greatest of seers, was, harmless; because his vision is beyond the reach, above the understanding of the multitude and the intellectual critics.
Cosmic Consciousness by Maurice Bucke, contains most valuable information for those already initiated.
This book, La Clef Des Grands Misteres, is a most markable presentation of a wonderful world, of a subject usually called Occultism, Mysticism, occasionally even Spiritualism. Our author presents his ideas, his interpretation of this strange world in three hundred and fourteen pages.
"Eliphas Levi" had glimpses of a superworld which glimpses disclosed to him a realm, strange and wonderful; but he, in the opinion of Strauss, was not a trained philosopher, did not fully realize the meaning and interpret correctly the scientific cosmic significance of the things he saw with his inner eye. A few extracts:
One very important from first part:
God Himself creates Himself eternally, and the Infinite which He fills with His work is an infinite and incessant creation.
This word "infinite," like most people's clothes, covers a multitude of "sins", or rather misunderstandings, errors, mistakes.
The second part of this book is devoted to a something our author calls a supplement, and is entitled Articles Sur La Kabbale.
A few excerpts which Strauss thinks of interest:
Catholic Dogma is derived from, based upon the Kabala, but carefully veiled and modified.
The word, God, expresses an ideal unknown in itself but well known under the diverse ideas which man makes, conceives, and expresses under the name, God.
The Kabala which is the Mother of Exact Sciences, does admit a doubt when authorizing a hypothesis and speaking the religious sense and the name by which Man expresses his idea of the Infinite and the Invisible, the Kabala, we declare predicates His necessary existence because the verb indicates Being, as reflection indicates body .....
Kabala distinguishes between the real Being of God and the human conception or idea, to which is given the name Adonai or Jehovah. . . .
It is for this that the Kabbalists have distinguished the real being of God from the idea of him in the [mind] of man.
Eliphas Levi was born a member, a son of the Catholic church. He remained a good Catholic, not, of course, in the eyes, the judgment, of Our "Holy Father the Pope." Some of his views will not be endorsed by American Protestants.
Protestantism, for instance, is able to produce enthusiasm only rarely and in isolation.
Protestantism is a religious negation rather than an affirmation.
Predilection, prejudice, ideas instilled into our mind during our childhood, continue as a force, as a factor, in our opinion, our interpretation, even in the mind of an Eliphas Levi.
Men who are too good or too liberally minded are disabled [lit. out of the conflict].
Sad but true!
Truth is set in the concourse [put where all can see] but those who find her are condemned to silence, otherwise everything would be ended.
Endorsed by Strauss.
It is for this that it mras said by the Christ, "I speak in parables that seeing they should not see, and hearing they should not understand. Otherwise they would be converted and would be saved."
Satis, satis! Enough, enough.
Eliphas Levi is considered, by our Editor, to have been the teacher, the guide of our good brother and recognized leader, Albert Pike. Ergo, the words of both should be of interest to the brothers of the Order of Free and Accepted Masons and to the readers of THE BUILDER.
But frankness! What will, what would be, the benefit derived from the reading of the works by these great authors for the large majority of living members of the genus homo, even if or when these readers are also members of our Masonic Society?
The things presented, the ideas, the doctrines, the subjects discussed are so strange, so mysterious, so incomprehensible to the mere intellect. We are here reminded of the sage's declaration, Wer den Dichter will verstehen muss in Dichter's Lande gehen. Who would the poet understand must travel to the poet's country. In fact, in the opinion of L. F. Strauss, the ideas, the doctrines, the subjects presented by Eliphas Levi, or Albert Pike, are about as strange, as mysterious and incomprehensible as are, to the large majority of our brothers, the ceremonies, forms, and nomenclature used in our lodges. Why this opus and modus operandi? What justification, what purpose? We mentioned the declaration by Plato and Origen. But have we not also the words of the Master given in the sermon on the Mount, "Do not give that which is holy to dogs. Cast not pearls before swine;" and the words of the Apostle Paul: "You are still babes and cannot stand strong meat" (or shall we say "drink?"). Why this secrecy?
The time for revelation, for publication had not yet come. In correspondence with our editor, this brother was informed that Arthur Waite (in the opinion of Strauss a great writer, a great student, a great theosophist, a good Mason) had secured in his (our Editor's) mind, an improved appreciation, a higher valuation, of our present subject, "The Kabala."
Arthur Waite has written many wonderful books of interest to searchers after Truth and especially of special value to members of Masonry. Will here recommend:
The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, The Occult Sciences, The Real History of the Rosicrucians and The Secret Doctrines of Israel, i.e., The Kabala.
We might here also mention the great work published a few years ago by a noble Frenchman, P. Vulliaud, of one of whose books our Editor expressed in correspondence a favorable opinion. The book now in our mind is entitled La Cabbage Juif. A "great" work, two large volumes. La Cabbage Juif presents a learned exposition of Mysticism, in general, and Jewish Esoteric Occultism in particular. A brilliant description of a most marvelous temple. Our Frenchman, in the opinion of Strauss, even saw an inner shrine which he, our Frenchman, failed to enter.
The second half of the second volume is devoted to a learned, a scholarly refutation, of the claim of Masonry, to a connection, a relation, with La Cabbage Juif.
The idea! La Cabbage Puff, the divinely revealed wisdom that has furnished to the Holy Roman Catholic Church some of its most important dogmas and doctrines! How preposterous! What a presumption! we must here, of course, take into consideration that our noble Frenchman was born a Catholic, wished to be considered a faithful son of his Church, and did not want to offend Our Holy Father, the Pope, in his official court.
This present article is intended as a kind of introduction to a subject — the Kabala. L. F. Strauss here wishes to call again attention to the three other introductory articles published in THE BUILDER, one in the month of May, the other in July, the third in the December edition.
For the benefit of the forgetful reader, or new readers of THE BUILDER, the writer wishes to emphasize a few points: the nomenclature, the symbolism, used in the Masonic Lodge, is taken from a something called The Kabala.
An organization known in history by the name Essenes, are the fathers of this Kabala. The popular name of these Essenes was Chasidim, the self-designation was Banaim, which name or word means in English, Builders, Masons.
Kind readers recall, reflect: Maha Banaim.
As a kind of "reference" to the reliability, the trustworthiness, of this Kabala, Strauss will reiterate: The heliocentric doctrine "quoted" in the July number was an integral part of the Essenic secret doctrines.
A doctrine of evolution which contained features recognized by William James, but which was not elucidated on account of not yet being scientifically established, was also a part of Essenic teachings.
In the textbook not yet written, this kind, this form, these basic principles of evolution — wie die gute Mutter schafft — as Goethe said — will be given in the textbooks, the school books of future generations.
As scientific astronomical progress made possible and assured acceptance of heliocentric doctrine, and prevalent theories of the doctrine of evolution — although considered still by some unbiblical — so, the progress made in modern astronomy, the discoveries, the doctrines of Theodor Fechner (whose main work has been translated by Strauss), whose strange metaphysics the Encyclopedia Brittanica calls the master key to "Modern Thought." (This should read "future" thought in the opinion of Strauss.) Some features in the doctrine of Relativity make possible and advisable the publication of some of the secrets, some of esoteric doctrines enshrined in a work called the Kabala, the fountainhead, the textbook of Free Masonry.
So in a subsequent article L. F. Strauss intends to give in plain language, with simple words, some highly interesting Kabalistic doctrines.
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BOARD OF EDITORS
R. J. Meekren, Editor-in-Chief
E. E. Thiemeyer, Research Editor
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. Littlefield, Missouri
Joseph E. Morcombe, California
Arthur C. Parker, New York
J. Hugo Tatsch, Iowa
Jesse M. Whited, California
David E. W. Williamson, Nevada
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THE VATICAN AND ITS SHADOW
WE begin the New Year and the new volume of THE BUILDER by presenting the first installment of "The Shadow of the Vatican." Our readers will now be able to judge for themselves what the character of these articles really is. There seems to be no object in repeating what was said on this subject last month as to the reasons that have led us to publish them, but it may be as well to insist once more that we take no responsibility for the author's statements. We are satisfied that he is in a position to know what he is talking about, and we have every ordinary everyday assurance that he is a man of probity and honor, but this does not absolve our readers from making their own judgment upon his work.
One condition in his Church upon which he strongly animadverts seems, according to recent news items, to have been removed, formally at least, and that is the Italian dominance in the College of Cardinals. We say formally for the fact that the new appointments now place the Italian Cardinals in a bare minority will obviously not end their power of control. But it is a step towards an administrative reform, and it is not impossible that the shadow of these articles has gone before, and had something to do with the inauguration of the new policy. This is not at all impossible (we will not venture to say improbable) as they have been read in manuscript by several influential churchmen, and have been much talked about privately.
We say again that it is our belief that the revival of administrative autonomy in different countries, and especially, of course, in America, in the Roman Church, would remove as a consequence most of the features that rouse the apprehensions of Protestants and nonRomanists generally. As things now are this Church is not only extra-national, but is also highly centralized and ruled absolutely from a foreign country; and this again, not only in matters of faith and doctrine, which in itself might be tolerable, but also in matters of administration down even to minor details. And this it is that inevitably makes everyone who does not accept the Papal claims either in spiritual or temporal affairs justifiably suspicious.
But there is one thing that must be constantly borne in mind and that is that this condition is one for the action of the citizen and not of the Mason. It is the neutrality of Freemasonry in regard to religious creeds that is the chief count in the indictment against it, for this neutrality is feIt to be more dangerous than hostility. Masons as such must never be tempted to leave this impregnable position. As citizens they must act as their duty dictates according to the best information they can obtain.
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THE T.B. SITUATION
THOSE who have taken the trouble to read the pages of the Northeast Corner during recent months will have gathered that the obstacles confronting the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association have been increasing rather than diminishing, and becoming more and more insurmountable as time went on. As the Grand Lodge of New Mexico was the prime mover in the formation of the Association it was felt by the Board of Governors that before any final steps were taken a full report of the whole situation should be presented to the Grand Lodge at its next communication.
Several courses of action are possible, but it seems obvious that with the general refusal of the other Grand Lodges of the country to cooperate it will be useless to try and continue along the present lines. and trying to meet the need through the agency of an official national organization.
Under the circumstances it will be best to defer all comment until after the report of the Association has. been considered by the Grand Lodge of New Mexico. But it may be as well to recall here what THE BUILDER undertook to do in support of this cause, and the reasons for so doing. When the Association was organized the first step was the essential one of bringing the situation to the attention of the Masonic Fraternity and making the need for some action in the matter as widely known as possible. Two avenues were available, and both were attempted. The first was the regular official channel of correspondence with the Executives of the various Jurisdictions. The other, intended to gain the support of the members of the Craft at large, without which no official action could be either decided or continuous, was the medium of the Masonic Press.
Unfortunately comparatively few of the Masonic periodicals of the country were willing to give much space or emphasis to the subject. An occasional paragraph would appear here and there; gradually to become more and more infrequent, until latterly all mention of the subject has been entirely dropped with very few exceptions. In saying this we are merely stating a fact without the least intention of making any criticism. We presume for one thing that, as in the case of the Grand Lodges, the Association failed to convince the editors and proprietors of the various Masonic Journals. The reasons for this failure are doubtless complex. They may be the same as those which caused the majority of the Grand Lodges to withhold support or they may be quite different, we do not know, and not knowing do not presume to judge. We suspect however that they were widely different in different cases.
Another condition entered into the situation. Of only a few Masonic periodicals can it be said that they have a truly national circulation, and of those few we believe that there is little question that THE BUILDER is most evenly distributed throughout the whole country. Besides that, its readers comprise the most thoughtful and influential members of the Craft.
It seemed therefore, once the need was made clear, that it was our duty as Masons to use our exceptionally favorable position to support the movement, and it was for this reason that we placed a certain amount of space in our pages at the disposal of the N.M.T.S.A. so that their message could be fully presented to our readers in any way that seemed to them most fitted to produce results. For the contents of the Northeast Corner the Editors of THE BUILDER have no responsibility, other than the general one of giving this opportunity to the Association to approach our readers. We have fully supported the work in its general aspects in the editorial columns, and have from time to time emphasized those features of the problem that seemed to us most essential.
So far as we can gather from letters received during the whole period that the Northeast Corner has been a regular department of THE BUILDER, a majority of our readers have approved this action. Indeed if the proportion of our correspondents who favored it to those who did not is at all representative of our readers as a whole it would not be too much to say that the latter form a minority quite negligible in point of numbers. And such objection as has been offered has not been disapproval of the T.B. Campaign itself or of any doubt of the pressing nature of the problem, but solely on the grounds that it was not appropriate in a magazine expressly devoted to Masonic Research.
The force of this we concede. We can only repeat what we said on this point at the very first, that though this is not a matter of research, yet we are all Masons before we are students, and our Masonic duties have the prior claim upon us. It seemed then, as it seems now, a matter of obligation that we should do whatever lay in our power to help. And in any case, if this subject has proved to be of interest to any substantial number of our readers, it would be justified on that score alone, even if they were not a majority. It is hardly possible to make everything that appears in THE BUILDER of equal interest to every one of our readers. Any reader of any periodical must inevitably find some of its contents dull ,or uninteresting, and the only practical ideal is to arrange it that everyone may find something that appeals to him in each issue.
Before leaving the subject we may add that we have received unofficial information that the work of the N.M.T.S.A. has at last borne some definite fruit. We understand that at the recent meeting of the Grand Lodge of Texas an assessment of twenty-five cents per capita was levied for the relief of tubercular Texas Masons. Restricted in scope as this action is it is yet a great step in the right direction and we congratulate the Texas brethren on having taken it. If only every other Grand Lodge would follow this example and proceed to make adequate provision for their own tuberculars the problem will be solved in what after all may prove to be the most satisfactory way. Providing of course that the tubercular Masons now in the "Tuberculosis Triangle" are transported back to their own states as soon as provision has been made for them. This is essential, for it must never be forgotten that the problem is not an academic one, but that hundreds of our brethren are slowly dying of disease and privation in the Southwest and that the pressing and urgent need is to provide them some adequate relief. If the means so far suggested to this end will not serve, others must be devised.
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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
Francis E. Lester, Vice-President
Wilbur L. Elser, Executive Secretary
Alpheus A. Keen, Secretary
John W. Bowman, Treasurer
Robert J. Newton, Editor, Publicity Director N.M.T.S.A. Las Cruces, New Mexico.
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THE TUBERCULOSIS TRIANGLE
Bro. Robert Jessup Newton, New Mexico
THE following article is reprinted from the "Journal of the Outdoor Life." It is a general presentation of the problem by one who is thoroughly familiar with all its aspects. Whether national or local sanatoria are the better means for meeting the need, or whether a combination of both, the point that it is necessary to grasp is that it is a national and not a local question. If every state and every city was equipped to took after its own people, the need would be met of course, but what is to be done with the sufferers already in the Southwest?
PLACE a ruler upon the map of the Southwestern United States and draw a line from San Antonio to Denver, 815 miles; then a second line from Denver to Los Angeles, 850 miles, and a third line from Los Angeles back to San Antonio, 1,220 miles, and you have enclosed within a vast triangle approximately 350,000 square miles of mountains and valleys, high tablelands, or mesas, and deep canyons, deserts and irrigated valleys, ranging from sea level to peaks more than two miles high. This great empire is the "Tuberculosis Triangle," famous throughout the whole world, as the "Promised Land" of health and healing to the unfortunate victims of the Great White Plague.
Even before the days of the gold rush to California and, in fact, more than a century ago, the migration for health began. It is continuing and increasing today. The biographies of many men who later became prominent in the history of the Southwest show that they came as health-seekers. The pioneers of this pilgrimage sought the semi-arid climate of Southwest Texas and the old Spanish city of San Antonio, and as the passing of years brought settlements and safety throughout the entire "Triangle," those who followed after them pushed on to the Pacific Coast and spread out over the whole of this vast area, until today there is scarcely a town in Western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California and Colorado, which has not its quota of health-seekers.
The belief that tuberculosis is curable prevailed five hundred years before Christ. Hippocrates wrote that, "phthisis, taken early, can be cured." The belief that change of climate is beneficial existed at least as far back as the first century of the Christian era. Celsus, a Roman writer who lived in the first half of the First Century, A.D., author of a comprehensive encyclopedia, of which only the eight books De Medicina have come to us, in which he gives an account of the whole medical system of the time, recommended change of climate and life at sea. Galen, a celebrated Greek physician, born about A.D. 130, long the supreme authority in medical science, advised a dry hill country. Another writer of ancient days said, "If you have a phthisis go into a high mountain, take a cow and live on the fruit of the cow."
There is a deeply grounded belief in this country, among sick and well, that consumptives can be cured, or their lives prolonged, if they will go to the Southwest. That popular faith in the healing virtues of the climate of the "Tuberculosis Triangle" is well-founded, is proven by the experience of many thousands who are now living in this and region. Concrete evidence of the restoration to health of many thousands exists in the cities and towns they have built in the Southwest, for the growth and development of many communities from sleepy Mexican villages, or Indian pueblos, into live and hustling American municipalities is largely due to the consumptives who, having recovered their health, had sufficient intelligence to remain within the confines of the "Tuberculosis Triangle."
Many of these cities and towns with a real appreciation of what has made them grow and prosper have capitalized the experiences of their citizens and advertised their climate as their greatest asset. While this advertising and publicity is addressed to the wealthy and the well-to-do, it has equal drawing power for the poor and the indigent and has helped to develop and intensify a problem that has assumed serious proportions and that is becoming more serious every year.
The poor man with tuberculosis, and most of them are poor, believes that if the climate of the Southwest is good for his well-to-do brother of this "Grand Lodge of Sorrow," it is equally good for him. So he sets forth with the high hope and optimism, which is symptomatic of tuberculosis, and often with a wife and several children, to "chase the cure." He proposes to seek "light work" or to "rough it," little realizing that there are fifty or more candidates for every "easy" job, and that ranch work is strenuous and impossible for a man who is A.W.O.L. from the hospital and the grave. So they start out like the seekers of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and to most of them the search is fruitless. They come to grief and after a year or more of suffering, prolonged beyond the time they would have lived at home, for it is hard to die even of tuberculosis in the Southwest, they come to journey's end in a ward of some county hospital or poor farm where they find shelter f or the last few months or weeks of life.
THE NUMBER OF TUBERCULOSIS MIGRANTS
How many have come in a century of migration will never be known. How many come every year? How many are now living in the Southwest? No one can say. Estimates can be made but they would be only estimates. Even the number of those who die cannot be given, for complete and accurate death records are not kept in all places.
In a survey made by the United States Public Health Service in 1913 and 1914, facts were secured from health authorities, county and municipal officials, charity societies, hospitals and every agency having any contact with the tuberculous. Definite information could be secured only about those who, because of indigency, were forced to appeal to some agency for help and Who were a liability to Southwestern cities and towns. Little information could be gathered about those who were an asset to these communities, those who brought capital and new life into the business of the Southwest.
It was estimated, by the Public Health Service investigators, that there were 30,000 consumptives in Western Texas, 27,000 in New Mexico and 20,000 in Southern California. No estimates were made for Arizona and Colorado. Just prior to this survey the National Tuberculosis Association estimated that 10 per cent of the population of the Southwest was tuberculous, or had come to the West because some member of their family was afflicted. The number of deaths of tuberculous migrants does not give any real idea of the number of living cases in the Southwest for hundreds and thousands go home to die.
Study of the death records by the Public Health Service investigators in 1913-1914 of three principal cities showed an increasing number of migrants coming to these cities each year during the preceding ten years and led to the following conclusion:
"The actual number of cases migrating is increasing, and this in spite of the dissemination of information regarding the curability of the disease in other climates and the erection of large institutions for its treatment in the East."
Ten years later Miss Jessamine S. Whitney, an investigator for the National Tuberculosis Association, came to the same conclusion. This would seem to indicate a continuous increase in the number of sick coming to the Southwest during the past twenty years.
On Feb. 6, 1926, the United States Census Bureau stated that the approximate population of the territory embraced within the "Tuberculosis Triangle" on Jan. 1, 1920, was 2,912,000. If the estimate made by the National Tuberculosis Association more than ten years ago is applied to the present population of the "Triangle" there would be more than 300,000 people living in this territory because they or some member of their families have, or have had tuberculosis.
CLASSIFICATION OF MIGRATORY CONSUMPTIVES
The migratory consumptive has been divided into four classes by one of the writers of the Public Health Reports. The consumptive of wealth and ample means is placed in the first class, for he often becomes an asset to the community in which he locates. The second class is composed of those who have only moderate means, and who, if they recover, may also become, in time, productive citizens of their adopted city. Indigent consumptives, both those Who are indigent when they arrive and those who may become indigent after their arrival, are placed in a third class, and the fourth class is composed of the tuberculous tramps.
Those of the first and second class may again be divided into three subdivisions of hopeless, doubtful and favorable cases. The hopeless, rich or poor, should never make the journey. But who is competent to say which cases are hopeless when every Southwestern city and town has a number of more or less prominent citizens who proudly tell you of their coming to the Southwest "on a stretcher" and who have recovered their health. The doubtful cases may do well, if no unforeseen contingency, physical or financial, arises, while the favorable cases might have fared equally well at home.
Of the indigent cases there can be only two classes, doubtful and hopeless, for chances for recovery are in direct proportion to the amount of aid which may be extended to the patient by some agency and also to his physical condition. Within the geographical "Tuberculosis Triangle" there is an economic Triangle and its three points are money, intelligence and climate. He who wins into the first Triangle of tuberculosis must also be able to enter into the second, for without money and intelligence to use it climate is of no avail.
Consumptives of the first and second class do not enter into this tragic problem unless through a change of circumstances they "graduate" into the third and indigent class. They have contributed much to the building up of the West. Their money, initiative and intelligence have built cities and towns.
There are those who claim that this influx of capital and of people more than offsets the cost of caring for the indigents who come. This might be true if a balance could be struck somewhere and the profits, if any, devoted to the care of the indigents. While this is the oldest part of the country in history, it is new in modern civilization and lacks the public institutions supported by general taxation that are long established entities of northern municipalities. It also lacks the highly-organized, completely financed charity societies to aid the public welfare work. Therefore, the care of these cases is a problem that defies solution.
(To be continued)
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THE STUDY CLUB
A pamphlet on "How to Organize and Maintain a Study Club" will be sent free on request, in quantities to fifty.
CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS FOR STUDY CLUBS
THERE have been numerous requests in recent months for a draft of a Constitution and By-laws suitable for adoption by Study Clubs. In answer to these correspondents we are publishing herewith such an outline. It is a modification of the Constitution and By-laws of an organization now functioning and comes well recommended by the brethren in that group.
The fact that it is short and permits of much elasticity is very much in its favor. It must be borne in mind that a Study Club should not be overburdened with officers, committees and general organization. It must be flexible and informal to as great a degree as is possible.
ARTICLE I — NAME
Section 1. The name of this Club shall be ................
ARTICLE II — OBJECT AND PURPOSE
Section 1. To seek further light in Masonry.
Sec. 2. To study and familiarize ourselves with the Allegoric and Symbolic meaning of the Masonic Ritual and the history of Freemasonry from such books as authorized and originate from constituted authority.
See. 3. To report on assigned topics which will be followed by discussions at regular intervals.
ARTICLE III — MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. The membership of this Club shall be limited to all Master Masons in good standing of the ______ Masonic District, who are desirous of gaining further knowledge in Masonry.
Sec. 2. All Masters and Past Masters are Honorary Members of this Club.
ARTICLE IV — OFFICERS
Section 1. The officers of this Club shall be a President, VicePresident, Secretary, treasurer, Study Director and Assistant Study Director.
ARTICLE V — DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Section 1. The President shall preside at all the meetings.
Sec. 2. The Vice-President shall assist the President and preside in his absence.
See. 3. The Secretary shall keep a faithful and accurate record of the proceedings of all the meetings. Attend to all the correspondence of the Club. Receive all moneys collected from the members and pay same to the Treasurer and take his receipt therefor.
Sec. 4. The Treasurer to receive all moneys from the Secretary and pay out same by order of the President with the vote of the members present.
See. 5. The office of the Secretary and Treasurer may be combined until such time as their duties require separation.
Sec. 6. The Study Director and Assistant Study Director shall assign Study Topics and prepare questions for discussion.
ARTICLE VI — DUES AND FUNDS
Section 1. Each application for membership shall be accompanied with a fee of $1.00.
Sec. 2. The dues of the Club shall be ten cents per month per member payable at each regular meeting.
See. 3. Additional funds of this Club may be derived from assessments, if, when, and as necessary, by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present.
ARTICLE VII — MEETINGS
Section 1. The place of meeting shall be at the .......... in unless otherwise specified by a majority vote.
See. 2. The regular meetings of this Club shall be held on the ____ of each month. The meetings shall be called to order at 7:30 p. m. and closed at 9:00 p. m.
See. 3. Special meetings may be called at the order of the President. Special meetings not to exceed more than one in any calendar month.
ARTICLE VIII — ELECTIONS
Section 1. The election of Officers shall take place at the .......... regular meeting in December and they shall be installed the same evening.
Section 1. Robert's Rules of Order shall govern the business procedure in this Club.
Section 1. This Constitution may be amended only at a regular meeting and by a two-thirds vote of the members present, provided such amendment be presented and read at the regular meeting next previous to being voted upon.
It is quite possible that in most places even this form of constitution is more complex than the need will call for. For example, the President and Director might in many cases profitably be combined as well as that of Secretary and Treasurer. Article IX is quite possibly unnecessary; the business of the Club outside of the study and research work will naturally be very slight, and no questions of order will be at all likely to arise. In regard to the discussions on topics assigned no rules are required but those of the ordinary courtesies of debate. They must naturally be as free as possible to give everyone the fullest opportunity of contributing his quota to the discussions. This is the end to be constantly kept in view, that every member is to take his part in the proceedings, and nothing calculated to hinder this should be admitted.
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The Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan, through its Committee on Masonic Study and Research, is continuing the work which began so auspiciously this fall. The outline program for the work of the present season was published in full in THE BUILDER. We have the detailed outlines for all of the topics, including January, on file in this office and will be very glad to furnish them to those who were interested in this work.
It would be well to publish these more detailed outlines in full in this department but their nature makes it inadvisable to do so.
The outlines are valuable aids to Study Clubs who find themselves confronted by the problem of what to study, though it must be borne in mind they are prepared to meet the needs of a specific Grand Lodge and may need some modification before being entirely suitable for use in a subordinate lodge owing allegiance to some other Grand jurisdiction.
Once more we congratulate the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan upon the efficiency of its Masonic Study and Research Committee.
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RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN GLENDALE
We are just in receipt of advice from the Glendale Masonic Research Club that the Worshipful Master of one of the two lodges interested in this organization has seen fit to appoint members of the club on the Lodge Committee on Masonic Education. This may constitute a tip for the Masters of other lodges.
This live wire organization has accomplished much in the seven months of its existence and the plan calls for a presentation of their latest activities in a forthcoming number of THE BUILDER.
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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.
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LABOUR AND REFRESHMENT. Edited by J. S. M. Ward, M.A. Published by The Baskerville Press, Ltd., 161 New Bond St., London. 1926. Cloth, table of contents, index, illustrated. Price $4.00.
"THE purpose of this book," the editor informs the reader, "is to indicate subjects which will appeal to various types of men, and to show how such subjects can conveniently be compressed into a reasonable space." The purpose has been accomplished, and the subjects dealt with range from an enquiry as to whether the Christian Mysteries are extinct to a discussion, contributed by Bro. V. S. Stevens, of the meaning of Brotherhood in Freemasonry, with two pieces of fiction thrown in for good measure.
The Rev. W. A. Wigram, D.D., contributes two papers, one concerning the Ancient Mysteries in Modern Greece, and the other dealing with the migration of Phoenician deities, as well as a review of Bro. Ward's book, "Who Was Hiram Abif," which has already been dealt with in these columns. "What Is Freemasonry" is the title of another chapter in which W. Bro. H. V. Watch, of Sydney, Australia, develops an effective parallel between the teachings of the Craft and the hidden mysteries of nature and science.
Bro. R. V. Harris, the Historian of the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, is responsible for an article on the Early History of Freemasonry in Canada, and although it contains a mass of dates and facts the writer has succeeded in presenting his information in an interesting and connected narrative. We notice one slight error, Lieut. Guinnett, the first Provincial Grand Master of Quebec, held his commission in the 47th Regiment, not the 27th, an error which can safely be attributed to the printer. In asserting that Lodge No. 156, warranted in 1755 by the "Moderns" in the 8th or King's Regiment, was the first military lodge warranted by that body, does Bro. Harris disregard the lodge established by it in 1750 and attached to the 31st Foot because it did not actually possess a documentary Warrant? Bro. Harris refers to the service held in the Recollet (not Recollect) Church on the installation of the Duke of Kent as Provincial Grand Master of Lower Canada, but so that an incorrect inference may not be drawn from this fact it should be borne in mind that this building, which was the property of the Recollet Fathers, was used jointly by the Protestant and Roman Catholic communities at that period.
To turn to Bro. Ward's own contributions to the volume. Bro. Ward is an enthusiast in the endeavor to connect the modern Craft with the past, and in searching for the "missing links" catches at every straw to bolster up his ingenious theories. He appears to be a disciple of that early school of Masonic writers whose works, in the light of modern criticism, are no longer acceptable, and the strained parallels and overdrawn coincidences which he puts before the reader with such frequency are not only unconvincing but irritating. It is to be regretted, too, that a writer of his attainments should permit himself to fall into those inaccuracies which, with but little care, he could avoid.
In his discussion of the descent of Freemasonry through the Companionage, Bro. Ward relies on the Livre du Compagnonnage, published by Perdiguier in 1841 (this was the second edition, not the first, which appeared a year earlier), but supports the claim that it possessed the Hiramic Legend. His quotation from Gould in rebuttal of the belief that the legend was introduced into the Companionage from Freemasonry does not carry conviction, and Bro. Ward's witness-in-chief (Perdiguier, 3rd Edn. 1887) himself expresses the view that it was borrowed from the Craft, while Saint Leon (1901) gives the whole text of the legend, which is clearly taken from a French translation of a contemporary English Lecture. Bro. Ward tells us that the guilbrette is really the greeting known to all Master Masons, but the similarity is not very profound, nor is it conceded that the guilbrette was actually given to a deceased companion. Much is made of the "howling" at the funeral of a companion, but this was not a practice confined to the Companionage, nor was it common to all three branches for the Sons of Solomon (which included the Masons) did not howl at all. No reference is made to the use of soubriquets to designate the various classes forming the Companionage, and with this practice in mind, the use of the word "Louveteaux" as applied to sons of companions loses the significance which it is suggested it possesses.
In "The Passing of the Operatives" Bro. Ward strongly sustains the contention put forward a few years ago by Bro. Clement Stretton, and rejected from lack of evidence, that the Modern Operatives possessed and had worked continuously from the pre-Grand Lodge era the original rites of the Craft. The production of a Minute Book of the Warrington Operative Stone Masons' Society, founded in 1832, is not evidence of the earlier existence of the Operative Ritual, and will fail to convince the critics of the merits of Bro. Stretton's views as Bro. Ward scornfully anticipates.
A. J. B. M.
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SPLENDOR. By Ben Ames Williams. Published by E. P. Dutton & Co., New York. Cloth, 570 pages. Price $2.65.
IN general it may be said that readers of fiction are divided into two classes: those who read solely for the story and those who seek the motive which may lie beyond the printed page. In other words, there are readers of lines and others who endeavor to read between the lines. Unfortunately the readers in the latter class are as few as the worth while books which are at present being produced for them.
It is this last group who will find welcome relief from the usual type of best seller in Ben Ames Williams' Splendor. I seriously doubt the possibility of Mr. Williams' work becoming a member of the most popular class, though more readers who were capable of enjoying the work would help to subject it to this distinction and would consequently elevate the plane of American fiction.
The story as it appears in print is nothing as compared to the unprinted background from which it rises. I have always admired Mr. Williams as a spinner of yarns, and he has told his tale with the usual facility in the work under discussion. It is more of a character sketch, better, a group of such sketches, than a tale, though it has a plot which is ample and well worked out. Perhaps not in precisely the same station in life, nor under the same conditions have each of us seen this drama of life unfold, nevertheless we all know the characters in the tale as friends. Mr. Williams has pictured each of them with such clarity that they are easily recognized. Doubtless this contributes, in no small measure, to the enjoyment of the book.
There are so many phases of the book which are worthy of more than passing mention that another volume could be written in describing it. Among other things there is a picture of and a tribute to the world of journalism such as has appeared before in cases all too rare. The period in which the action takes place — from about 1870 to the present day — is one which is interesting because of the revolutionary changes which have taken place. The newspaper world felt this transition; it was reflected in transportation systems, and in modes of private travel as well — the horse, the bicycle and the automobile. The family life of the world at large was influenced materially by the change in lighting equipment, from gas to electricity. Other things there are, but we have accepted all of this as a matter of course, and it is only when we have a rare moment of contemplation that we realize the wonders which have taken place in the past half century.
There is a certain Splendor in this march of progress. Mr. Williams has presented it in an intangible way, the more charmingly because of the intangibility. One sees the hero of his tale as a son of a blacksmith, enjoys with him the sparks which fly from the anvil into the neutral gloom of his father's shop, and becomes a part of this childish splendor. We continue to live through the trials, and tribulations of an ordinary, it might almost be said mediocre, existence; through youth with its ambitions, love and marriage; through a fatherhood, the joys of which are marred by death and a frustrated ambition; through manhood and its joys in the life of the children and its grief as they part for college, and later marriage. One cannot help but see a renewal of the more youthful happiness in the joys of grandchildren. But behind all of this stalks the terror of a decline — comes the day when there is no longer forward progression in the business world and a backward step sets in. There is nothing unusual in all this as it is pictured on the pages of a book, but behind it all is a certain something, which comes to mind time and time again. It is ephemeral; it has no lasting quality; it cannot be mirrored in cold black letters; there is a warmth, a satisfaction, a joy in the life we see. This is Splendor.
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SOME THOUGHTS ON BUDDHISM. WHY I BELIEVE IN BUDDHISM. By Alice Leighton Cleather.
DID JESUS VISIT INDIA AND TIBET? By Basil Crump. Privately printed.
THOSE who without knowing much about the subject are interested in Buddhism will find considerable material in small compass in the first two of these little pamphlets, the first of which has a number of illustrations — chiefly of different art types of the Buddha from various oriental countries. The author has especially studied the cult in China, where according to the ordinary authorities, it exists only in a debased form. She however presents an entirely different picture.
In the second pamphlet her subject leads naturally to a revelation of part of her own personal experience. Like so many other devotees of this religion she was directed towards it, apparently, by the works of Madame Blavatsky. Dissatisfied with an inadequate presentation of Christianity which she, in company with thousands of others, finds repellent, and not inclined to look for the underlying reality and truth in her hereditary faith, she found eventually a spiritual home in the system founded by Sakya Muni. The upholders of narrow and unspiritual dogmatic systems have much to answer for, even though they are so certain that their orthodoxy is the only path to salvation. On the other hand if the earnest seekers after truth would work as hard to find out the truth about Christianity as they do to master exotic cults, they might find that what they sought for was right at hand. Still it is only too natural to reject the gold when it is presented in the form of an unattractive ore, to throw away the chaff without stopping to sift out the good grain.
The third pamphlet contains a discussion of the claims that have been made at various times that Jesus, previous to his three years' ministry in Palestine, had visited India and Tibet; and had thence derived much, if not all, of his teaching. The author rejects the Tibetan part of the story entirely, on the authority of the explorer Sven Hedin, with whose views he seems to agree. In regard to India be appears inclined to leave the question undecided, admitting the case is not proved, but evidently feeling that it may be true nevertheless. This is only natural, as if the central figure of the Christian religion could be shown to have been taught by the occult schools of the far east, Christianity could be made out to be only an adaptation or secondhand version of the true religion. This conclusion would not, however, necessarily follow, even if the truth and antiquity of these legends were demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt. And that they ever will be, or can be, seems highly improbable.
The general tone of the pamphlet is to be commended. Too many writers of the author's school of thought indulge in mere assertions, just as so many Masonic writers have done — and still do. Mr. Crump however does endeavor to limit himself to the evidence and to go no further than it warrants. But in reality the problem he deals with is very complex, and it is possible to account for the traditions without admitting their historical truth.
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DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP. By Willa Cather. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York. Cloth, 303 pages. Price $2.65.
WHEN Imperialism meets Republicanism, or more precisely, when Monarchy meets Democracy, there is likely to be a struggle; not merely a wrestling match where the pinning of the shoulders for a matter of five seconds or so constitutes a victory, but a matching of grips where victory means life, and defeat, oblivion. Such was the stage which was set for Monsignor Jean Marie Latour, when he was sent as a missionary priest to the New Mexican wilderness of 1861. The territory which was to constitute his parish, or diocese, had for centuries been under Spanish control, and was accordingly a part of the Episcopal see of Mexico. There was no mere battle, but a war, in which the first victory only foreshadowed other struggles to come. The first task to confront Father Latour was to establish himself in his new charge. But there is no need to tell the story, let those who may be interested seek information in the original.
The book is less of a tale than the picture of a character; and one sometimes feels that the two-fisted, hard-drinking, heavy-weight champion of the Lord, Father Joseph Valliant, should have been the hero instead of the gentle Monsignor Latour. The latter seems out of place in the roughness which surrounded him, and perhaps would have been better qualified for a village cure in his native Auvergne. The will of God, published through a committee of Cardinals, ruled otherwise however, and it was not until late in life that Father Joseph donned his own mitre. Perhaps some day we shall have the story of how he carved his diocese from the wilderness to the north; and what a story it will be!
On the whole, however, there is little complaint that can be made of the story given us. If, at times, Miss Cather falls into the attitude of a highly devoted member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin, it is not often enough to be irritating, and her ability as a skillful story teller overshadows it all. The writing throughout is in her best style; simplicity without ornamentalism and yet relieved of monotony, could characterize the technical side of the work. As a piece of writing it is her best work.
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HAPPINESS. By William Lyon Phelps. Published by E.P. Dutton & Co., New York. Cloth, 49 pages. Price $1.10.
THE pot of gold at the rainbow's foot, which, in many cases, symbolizes happiness, has no real place in this short essay by Dr. Phelps. It will take no more than an hour to read, but one can spend many pleasant days contemplating the material of which it is composed. Coupled with Dr. Phelps' definition, which is really not a definition of happiness, but a description of a happy person, and which reads as follows: "The happiest person is the person who thinks, the most interesting thoughts" should be another one, "The City of Happiness is in the state of mind." The elaboration of the first of these definitions composes the subject-matter of the essay, which is in Dr. Phelps' most pleasing style. No further recommendation should be necessary.
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THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE
The stamps I received from the readers of THE BUILDER the last year helped me to have a year of much joy.
I am still flat on my back but free from pain.
At Christmas time most of the post offices will use what are known as pre-cancelled stamps, the kind with cities names printed over the face of each stamp.
I would be happy to have you and your friends save them for me. All I ask is that they do not peel them off the wrapping paper or cut into the perforation teeth at the sides.
James H. Cooke, P.O. Box E, Carmel, Cal.
Unfortunately this letter was not received in time to insert in the December number, so that we fear the stamps on Christmas parcels this year, unless already saved, will have been permanently filed in the W.P.B. or its domestic equivalent. However, we are very glad to know that readers of THE BUILDER have remembered Bro. Cooke during the past year and trust they will not forget him in 1928.
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THE BIBLE IN MASONRY
Could you give me any information concerning the time when, and circumstances attending, the introduction of the Holy Bible as the Great Light in Masonry?
C. J. W., California.
At the beginning of last century, Webb placed the Bible with the S. and C. under the two heads of Great Lights of Masonry and Furniture of the Lodge. Browne's Master Key, published not long before Webb's Monitor, spoke of it only as part of the Furniture, as also Preston in his Illustrations of Masonry. A work published in 1760 which might be described as an illicit ritual, has in its account of the initiation an address by the Master to the Candidate in which the Great Lights include the Bible, but in the appended lecture or catechism, these are called Furniture, and the Great Lights are said to be what have since been called lesser lights. Lesser lights are not mentioned, so far as we recall, before the publication of Webb's Monitor. Instead three "Fixed Lights" are spoken of which seem to have been explained as three windows to the lodge, E., S. and W. In 1730, another illicit ritual speaks again of the Furniture as in the 1760 Lecture, the Great and Fixed Lights are also the same.
These Great Lights were spoken of in France, and presumably elsewhere in Europe, but not the Fixed Lights nor the Furniture. About 1730 in Scotland, or precisely, in the old Lodge of Dumfries, there is some evidence that the B. S. & C. were described as the three pillars of Masonry. A description also of the Bible as the foundation or support of the ladder of the Theological Virtues is also met with, in the latter part of the 18th century.
In France the Holy Book was not the Bible but the Book of the Gospels — or possibly the New Testament. There are indications that this was also the original practice in the British Isles, especially before the Reformation. But it is very possible it persisted in places into the 18th century.
In primitive or pre-Grand Lodge Masonry the candidate was probably required to take two or three oaths or solemn promises. The first was to abide by and keep the ancient charges. This he promised with his hand on the book as they were read to him. Another was to be a loyal law-abiding citizen, and to aid and assist his brethren. The third was an obligation to secrecy. This last was probably in quite a different form from the others, and the book may not have figured in it at all.
It has been suggested that the book on which the first oath was taken was the Book of Charges itself, this however needs more evidence, as it does not seem very probable in itself.
In conclusion it would seem that the Bible, or the Book of the Gospels, whichever may have been used, was introduced first not as a symbol but simply as an additional sanction to the oath. That once admitted as part of the necessary furniture of a lodge it finally came to be regarded as the Great Light was under all the circumstances inevitable, but the process has never yet been fully traced.
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THE RELATIONS OF SWEDISH MASONRY
I am in receipt of your kind letter of July 21 and will say that I will be pleased to see those letters you mention published in THE BUILDER, and the sooner the better.
Only a couple weeks ago I received a letter from the secretary of Michigan Consistory, A. & A. S. R., dated April 28, 1927, and a letter from the secretary of Zion Lodge, No. 1, enclosing a letter from the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Michigan dated June 20, 1927.
The contents of these letters I think ought also be published for the information of American Masons. For that reason I enclose copies of these two letters and submit them to you for publication with the letters that have already appeared in THE BUILDER.
Referring to the statement in the first letter I would like to add that I heard from a man last week, that the Grand Lodge of Sweden is in fraternal relations with the Grand Lodge of New York, U.S.A. If such be the case — and that can be investigated then — I would like to know why is not and can not the Grand Lodge of Michigan be in fraternal relation with the Grand Lodge of Sweden. It seems to me that the Grand Lodge of Michigan should have the same right to such fraternity as the Grand Lodge of New York.
Eric H. Peterson
Mr. Herbert L. Smith, Secretary.
New Masonic Temple,
Dear Bro. Smith:
I am in receipt of yours of the 29th instant with copies enclosed of letters from Bro. Eric H. Peterson.
The fact is that the Grand Lodge of Michigan is not in fraternal relations with the Grand Lodge of Sweden, in fact then are very few if any of the Grand Lodges in the United States that are in fraternal relations with the Grand Lodge of Sweden. Consequently, I do not see any way to help Bro. Peterson out. It is unfortunate, indeed, the condition he is in if he is going to continue his residence in Sweden. Of course, if he comes back to this country or removes to any other country where we have fraternal relations with their Grand Lodge, he could speedily be taken care of. I very much regret the situation he is placed in, but as above stated, I know of no way to help him out.
Sincerely and fraternally yours,
Lou B. Winsor, Grand Secretary,
Grand Lodge of F. & A. M., Michigan.
* * *
Mr. Eric H. Peterson,
Dear Bro. Peterson:
It is true that ALL FREEMASONS do not recognize each other as FREEMASONS. Whether or not Freemasonry fails because of this is a debatable question. No doubt that is the original intention, and is yet, and it is gradually working to that end. It is something akin to the saying of the great Roosevelt, who said, "I do not believe in war, but suppose the other fellow does not believe as I do?"
Perhaps it is also true that "All Grand Jurisdictions of Freemasonry in the world should take it as their duty to communicate with each other and to recognize each other." But suppose one or more Grand Jurisdictions does not so think? The membership in either is helpless, is it not? I am sure that the spirit of Americanism would gladly take, and no doubt has taken, steps to be in fraternal relationship with all Grand Jurisdictions throughout the world. Here is where the great "slogan" of "Brotherly Love" comes in on the part of our great American Freemasonry. Brotherly love for all mankind is the basic principle upon which American Freemasonry is founded. BUT suppose our brotherly love is not acceptable? Does that minimize Freemasonry here in America? There is no doubt that Scottish Rite Masonry of Michigan and the United States desires fraternal relationship the world over. Our "Brotherly Love" to all mankind does not entitle us to visitation in other jurisdictions where we have no fraternal correspondence. We may have charity for our neighbor, but he may refuse our admission to his household....
Walter N. Glass, Secretary,
Michigan Sov. Cons., Valley of Detroit.
The Grand Lodge of New York appears to be in fraternal correspondence with most of the European Grand bodies with the exception of those in Latin countries and Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Consequently it would seem that Bro. Peterson's informant was in error on this point.
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THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA AND THE ORDER OF ST. JOHN
In regard to the article in the December issue of THE BUILDER about the Knights of Malta. I am a member of the Knights of Malta, as well as a member of the National Masonic Research Society, and I thank you for the space you have given in THE BUILDER for information about the Knights of Malta. However, I will say that I have never heard anyone addressed as His Eminence, which is the first question asked. The next question raised is to the proper title of address of the members in the United States; the only one I have ever known given is Sir Knight Companions for the members, and Sir Knight Commander and so on for the officers.
The Grand officers are addressed as Grand Sir Knight. I enclose an application blank, which has some history of the Order on it, any of which you are welcome to publish, as well as anything in this letter. Any further information that I can give you will be glad to do so.
R. P. Myers, Pennsylvania.
Bro. Myers has misunderstood the subject of Bro. Bennett's questions. The further communication that immediately follows will show that the latter has found the answer to them himself, at least in part.
In the historical notes on the form sent by Bro. Myers it is claimed that the English branch of the Order is the sole legitimate existing "Language" and that the American Order of the Knights of Malta was instituted by the Scottish Branch of the English "Language." The claim may be based on facts, but we would warn our readers that it would hardly be safe to accept it without satisfactory evidence. The American Order even if legitimately descended has apparently been affected by the Masonic Order of Knights of Malta as it has practically the same officers, with presumably the same functions. The existing branches of the Order of St. John, Roman Catholic and Protestant both, do not have these officers and have nothing like a ceremony of initiation. Bro. Bennett says in his letter that:
The Knights of Malta, known officially as "Knights of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem," is the oldest military order in Europe. It was founded in 1048.
The Order is governed by what is known as a Grand Master. It consists of seven chapters, six of which are in Europe and one in the United States. The American chapter was recently established in New York City with ten charter members. Cardinal Hays, Archbishop of New York, is the head of the chapter.
It is stated that the American chapter is the first one to be established in three hundred years.
There are two Protestant branches of the Sovereign Order of Malta, one in England and one in Germany. None can become members in Europe of any of the branches of this Order except nobles of long and high degree. It is the most exclusive, and the most important military order in the world. The doors of the oldest and highest of the European nobility open as if by magic to all members of the Knights of Malta.
In Masonry a degree known as the Knight of Malta is conferred in a Commandery of Knights Templar.
The Purpose of the Roman Catholic branch of the Knights of Malta is to raise funds for charitable uses. The Great War has caused such great changes in Europe, especially among the old nobility, that the Grand Master of the Order, with the sanction of the Pope of Rome and his advisers (probably at their suggestion), thought it necessary to establish a chapter in the United States, to elect to it American multimillionaires so as to obtain funds for charitable purposes, and thus making them "cousins" of the old European nobility.
A further letter has been received from Bro. Bennett with additional information regarding the advertising the Order of St. John seems to be obtaining recently. He writes:
Mention of the Order of Malta, or reference to it, is lately being made in many publications. It is surprising how widespread this is, it almost reaches the plane of propaganda.
Last night I took up the December National Geographic Magazine, and in the leading article, "Pageant of Jerusalem," was the following:
"Taking a car, we rode down the Bethlehem road toward the citadel. On the right, high above the Opthalmic hospital, flies the flag of the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. [Also known as the Knights of Rhodes and the Knights of Malta.] Eight hundred years ago noble knights and occasionally fair ladies set forth from England, France, Germany, Austria and other parts of Europe to wrest the Holy Land from the Saracens, and under the flag of the Knights played a great part in the history of the city.
"Today the Grand Priory in the British Realm is living up both to the traditions and motives of the Order: Pro Fide (for the Faith) and Pro Utilitate Hominum (for the Service of Man). It maintains the eye hospital to which people come from all parts of Palestine, Transjordiana, Syria and even Irak."
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ARMY AIR CORPS MASONIC CLUB, HAWAII
This communication from a small group of Masons, isolated in the midst of the Pacific Ocean, is exceedingly interesting. It could be wished that brethren nearer home would make as good use of their opportunities to make an advance in Masonry.
Twenty-four hours "as the ship flies," but seven days by steamer from San Francisco, in the vast waters of the Pacific, are situated the Hawaiian Islands. In this group of Islands is the Island of Oahu, and as a possession of the United States, Old Glory flies on the tropical breezes. Following this beautiful flag, as thousands of Master Masons do, there is a group of Flying Hirams stationed on a small island called Luke Field in the heart of Pearl Harbor.
These flying brothers, isolated from the larger portion of Oahu Island, dwell in unity as Master Masons and have formed a club known as the "Luke Field Masonic Club." They meet once monthly at a dinner and discuss subjects of interest and enjoy the good fellowship of their brethren.
The club's membership numbers sixty or more members, and enjoys the prestige of having as a member the Past Commander, Major P. E. Von Nostrand, 32°, and Post Adjutant Lt. Leon E. Sharon, 32°.
Surely in this remote district this brotherly companionship out of military formality can be appreciated by all.
The Editor's articles in THE BUILDER have served, on several occasions, as excellent subjects for discussion and general comment.
The present officers of the club are:
President, Bro. O. R. Kelsey; Vice-Presidents, Bro. Boyd Ertinne and Bro. Alfred Granger, while the Secretary and Treasurer is the present writer.
Wallace H. Williams.
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THE HOLY CROSS AND SIGMA CHI
Bro. G. N. Black did not find the reply to his letter by E. E. T. particularly helpful as he was already aware of the facts stated therein. He still thinks that there may have been some connection between the members or some of them, of the Danish Lodge Hellige Kors (Holy Cross) in the Island of St. Croix and the founders of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, and he would like to get into communication with any members of the latter who are interested in seeking for its origins. This Danish lodge was instituted in or about the year 1775, and its history is quite fully treated in a paper by Bro. Rasmussen in A.Q.C., vol. 37.