A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 15 No. 6 – June 1929
A ROMAN CATHOLIC GRAND MASTER
Bro. A. J. B. Milborne, Canada
OF the many brethren who have occupied high offices in the Craft in Canada, none are more affectionately remembered than the Honorable Claude Denechau, a distinguished French Canadian, who rendered valuable public service to his fellow countrymen during the formative period of the country.
Claude Denechau was a Roman Catholic, and became a Mason under the early "Modern" regime in Lower Canada, and as appears from a Certificate issued by St. Paul's Lodge, Montreal, No. 12, of the P.G.L. of Lower Canada ("Ancients"), he was "haled" from Modern to Ancient Freemasonry on the 14th of January, 1800. He subsequently became a member of Merchants Lodge, No. 40, at Quebec, and was appointed Grand Junior Warden of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower Canada in 1805 during the Grand Mastership of H.R.H. The Duke of Kent. Appointed Grand Senior Warden in the following year, he served in that capacity until 1812, in which year H.R.H. The Duke of Kent resigned as Provincial Grand Master in order that he might accept the office of Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England ("Ancients").
The official Circular for the year 1812 records that the Hon. Claude Denechau was "elected" Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower Canada. This was an irregular proceeding for it was acknowledged that the appointment of the Provincial Grand Master was a prerogative of the Grand Master of England. It seems clear, however, that Denechau's election was merely an expedient to meet the situation which had arisen, and that steps were immediately taken to regularize his position by the application to England for a Patent. This Patent was not received until 1820, the delay in issuing it being no doubt due to the difficulties the United Grand Lodge of England was experiencing in putting its own house in order following the Union of 1813. Denechau's unconstitutional position was clearly recognized at the time, for in The Mason's Manual, issued on the 2nd March, 1818, by the Provincial Grand Lodge, it is provided that "the appointment of the Provincial Grand Master is a prerogative of the Grand Master of England, by whom ... a Patent may be granted... . The Grand Master shall be installed, agreeably to ancient usage, on the twenty seventh of December annually, provided his patent has been obtained." (Italics in the original.)
A Special Communication was held on the 12th June, 1820, after the Patent had been received, and the Hon. Claude Denechau was regularly installed as Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower Canada, a position he held until 1823 when the Provincial Grand Lodge was divided into two Districts, the Hon. William McGillivray being appointed P.G.M. for the District of Montreal and William Henry, and the Hon. Claude Denechau P.G.M. for the District of Quebec and Three Rivers. This office he held until his death in 1836.
The Grand Master's address, delivered by Denechau on the 27th December, 1821, is to be found in Graham's History of Freemasonry in Quebec, but it was not the last Charge given by him to the P.G.L. of Lower Canada, as the Quebec historian suggests, for there has recently come to light a later address contained in the printed proceedings of the P.G.L. of L.C., held on the 27th December, 1822.
As this address is of unusual interest, apart from its historical value, it follows:
It is with heartfelt pleasure that on again meeting you at the Anniversary of our Tutelar Saint, I have to congratulate you on the improving state of the Craft, and the progress it has made in this Province, since I last met you on a similar occasion.
The observations which I then thought it my duty to make on the neglect which to a culpable degree I found to prevail in the several lodges throughout the Province, have not been without effect and I have now to acknowledge the dutiful and corresponding spirit with which the Brethren have universally received the admonition, which I can only ascribe to a conviction on their part of its propriety.
Not only have the Brethren been more zealous and punctual to their Masonic duties and in their attendance to their respective lodges, but by the information I have received from the Deputy Grand Master, our numbers have considerably increased. This circumstance is the more gratifying as many of the Brethren recently initiated are from that class of our fellow subjects amongst whom prejudices against the Craft are industriously kept alive from an erroneous notion or rather pretext of the views we are supposed to entertain with respect to matters of Religion. The deception is gradually dispelling, and a steady perseverance in that probity of action which characterizes Masons throughout the world, and which in fact is the very essence of the principles of the Craft, will hasten the period when our most ancient and honorable Institution will not be less revered by our Catholic Fellow Subjects in this quarter of the Empire, than by our Protestant Fellow Subjects in Britain and elsewhere.
The great maxims of our Institution comprehend all that is valuable in Christianity, and while it embraces all that is charitable among every sect or denomination of Christians, it entertains nothing repugnant to those great truths in which every true Christian must agree. The practice of the Masonic Craft is by no means incompatible with the religious exercises of any sect of Christians or of Christian virtues that can be named.
Our duties are plain, simple and consolatory, to the Great and Omnipotent Architect of the Universe we owe our gratitude as the great basis and foundation of all the happiness we now enjoy, to the King, attachment and allegiance, to all mankind (and in a more especial manner to Brethren of the Craft) friendship Charity and brotherly love. From him who hath much wealth much charity to his poor and suffering fellow-creatures is required, and from him who hath little, not more is required than he can consistently with his other obligations conveniently spare, from the poor it requires honesty, industry and sobriety, a due respect for superiors and all those who are placed in authority over them.
Exempt from those scandalous persecutions, to which under the pretext of religion, the Craft has and still does labour in some countries, Masonry has at all times prospered under the powerful and protecting arm of the British Government, and accordingly our lodges are proverbially Loyal. The Craft we profess instead of debasing mankind tends to enlighten, and many are the Brethren of exalted rank and eminent character whose names are foremost in Patriotism, and whose devotion to their King and Country, evince that Loyalty may be justly considered as among the first of Masonic virtues.
It is our bounden duty, Brethren, collectively and individually as far as our influence may extend among our fellow subjects to inculcate principles of Loyalty to the King and obedience to his Laws as well as the most entire confidence in the wisdom and efficiency of his Government as exemplified in our present and unequalled constitution without which there can be no rational freedom.
To you Brethren, Officers of the Grand Lodge, who have served for the last year, I return thanks for your assiduity in the duties of your respective offices, and the assistance you have rendered me in the discharge of mine, and to you Brethren and Officers of the Provincial Grand Lodge installed this day, I enjoin a perseverance in the zeal and harmony which I have witnessed in the lodges for the last year, and desire that you will afford a like laudable example to your successors as you have received from those you have succeeded. In your several lodges you are to take care that the necessary labour be duly and fully executed, you are to be regular and careful that a proper decorum be observed, and that the advice and instructions necessary to form the perfect Mason, be from time to time attended to, and imparted so that the younger Masons may have frequent occasions to improve in the Craft and qualify themselves as officers in their several lodges. I must particularly call your attention to the Returns, and request that they may be regularly made at the appointed times to the Grand Lodge, and I am confident that this request will meet with a ready acquiescence on your part.
I take this opportunity of informing you, Brethren, that our Grand Master, His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, has been pleased to appoint by an Instrument under his hand and seal of the Grand Lodge of England, Brother McGillivray, to be Provincial Grand Master of the Lodges in Upper-Canada a Brother of distinguished merit, and I therefore desire that whenever he may honor any lodge in this Province with his presence, he may be received with the distinction and respect due to his Masonic Rank and Station.
(Signed) C. Denechau,
There is now on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Quebec a lodge which bears the name of Denechau. Founded in 1906, and drawing its membership from the French-speaking citizens of Montreal, it has had a steady and encouraging growth. The ceremonies are conducted in the French language. The translation formerly in use has been revised, with the result that the difficulties and harshness of a literal rendering have been removed.
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THE HIRAM ABIFFS OF OTHER RACES
Bro. D. D. Anderson, Island of Mauritius
THE legend of H.A. forms the kernel of Freemasonry; it is the peg on which all that the Craft teaches is hung. Let us very briefly sum up the tradition having not only the rendering as given in "Emulation" working, but where necessary, going outside it to other sources in order to fill in the picture.
H.A., the Master Architect, paid his devotions to the Most High ... I have so far no precise information as to where it was in the Temple; probably somewhere towards the W. where was situated the Holy of Holies. In the Ritual of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, it should be noted, he eventually tries to escape by the W. door. Emulation then states that he went to the S., to the N., and then to the E. Other rituals give a different path, but all that I have had access to agree in the main detail that death overtook him in the E. Another point of difference among the rituals are the working tools figuring in the tragedy. His grave was marked by a sprig of acacia. All the various traditions agree on this point. Some rituals stress the r....g of the corpse on the F. P. of F. and its subsequent interment as near to the Holy of Holies as possible. Others the finding on the body of the Mystic Name engraved on a gold triangle, which with the sprig of acacia, is placed in a coffer on the altar in the Holy of Holies.
Now although these last details appear so different, the underlying meanings are identical. We must realize that it has been for long a common belief that human spirits on death enter into plants. Acacia, more than any other, is associated not so much with the actual survival of the ghost, but with the idea of resurrection. What is more dead looking than the pod containing the seeds, yet what is more certain to sprout however adverse the conditions? The sprig of acacia thus symbolizes two distinct but complementary ideas, that of immortality in the abstract and that of survival of the soul in the concrete (if it is permissible to use such a word in this connection).
The Sacred Name engraved on the Triangle of Gold is another paraphrase of the same general idea, but advanced a degree further. Ever since the ancient Egyptians pictured Osiris as the All-Seeing Eye, the Triangle has served as the representation of God Almighty, no matter how different the name by which He has gone for the time being. The removal of the Golden Triangle is another way of describing the transference of the Vital Spark, the Blazing Glory at the c....e, the G. from the human corpse to the Holy of Holies, that is back to the Godhead. Consequently, whether you take the tradition of the actual body being taken to the sacred spot, or others of the Triangle or acacia being placed on the altar, the idea remains the same; an actual, positive step-up of H.A. from being a mere man to a being somewhat nearer to Divinity.
We are now in a position to analyze this extraordinary myth. Stripped of all its pictorial and descriptive trappings, a man who is above the average is killed by members of the ruck of mankind because of his superior relationship towards the Deity. But instead of being snuffed out, he is elevated to rank with the Gods, and as such continues to benefit the human race. The Masonic Ceremony forces this story in a peculiar way to the attention of every Brother, thereby linking up the impersonal external teaching with the internal personality of each of its members. It is therefore of considerable interest to inquire whether we can find the same teaching in any other ceremonial practiced either in the present or in the past.
We meet it at once as the underlying motif of the best known theology of our surroundings, the Christian religion. Let us here consider the one of its facets which is pertinent to our ends. The Christian story is of a Man superior in many notable respects (conception, powers, etc.), who by reason of this superiority and of His connection with His "Father," is put to death. He comes to life again, but there is already something more of the sublime, of the untouchable about Him, and He finally "ascends into Heaven," i.e. to the Godhead where He continues to benefit mankind. The whole matter is too well known to require more than this brief reference. We should realize its importance, however, as it is the only modern religion which uses the H.A. principle. It is not contained in any other. Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, the beliefs of the Parsees or those of the Jews; they all use other vehicles to carry the truths as they see them into the minds of man. Even in the creed of Islam, its chief actor does not die to benefit the genuine believer. In the past, however, we find a very different state of things.
The earliest trace of the Resurrection-God appears probably in the myth of Osiris. Originally one of the minor gods of Egypt, the Spirit of the Corn and no more, he wedded his own sister, Isis, who was the personification of nature. As time went by tradition changed him into a great and beneficent king and Isis into his queen; of her it was said that she discovered how to plant corn and taught the secret to her subjects. Osiris was possessed of a half-brother, Set, the God of Storm and Darkness. Bad brother Set killed him by luring him into his coffin by a trick, nailing on the lid and throwing it into the Nile. After many adventures Isis found the corpse, and with the help of certain other gods, revived Osiris, who thenceforth reigned as king over the dead in the Underworld, his particular seat being the Morning Star. All corpses were made to go through the adventures of Osiris, which course would then, by the concepts of imitative magic, ensure immortality for their respective disembodied spirits. Some authorities believe that an actual ceremony of initiation was made of the myth whereby the initiates guaranteed for themselves continuity after death.
In Babylonia, not long after, or perhaps even before, a different version of the same idea arose, which is summed up in the words of the Grand Old Man of the Euphrates, Ea. "Let one brother God be given, let him suffer destruction that man may be fashioned." The story goes that the great Mother, before the creation of the world, was Tiamat, the Womb of the Abyss. When the gods decided to bring the world out of the universal chaos, she opposed the scheme and was championed by a human-shaped monster, Kingu, also called in the tablets "her husband." Marduk, the leader of the pantheon, slays Tiamat and makes use of her body to form the arch of heaven. He gets hold of Kingu, who has hidden himself in Tiamat's womb, kills him and "created man out of the blood mixed with earth."
We have here the old collateral meaning of "blood" and "life," that we also find in Genesis, ix, 4. "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat" ... In the Tiamat-Kingu tale we find a supernatural being dying, but his spirit (the blood) continuing, and in its continuance being of use to mankind.
The passing centuries saw Babylon climbing the ladder of civilization and the modification of the older gods into newer guises. Ishtar, the nature goddess, is fertilized by her lover, Tammuz, who dies as a result of that act which is so violent as to mutilate him. From the union a son is born, who is the reincarnation of Tammuz. Each year he sacrifices himself, and were the tragedy not to occur there would be no subsequent crop to feed mankind. The myth in different forms flourished all through the Near East in early historical and classical times, the chief actors always being the same, although disguised under a host of different names such as Astoreth, Astarte, Aphrodite, Cybele, etc., and Adonis, Attis, Pygmalion, and many others.
More recently we have an almost historical person in the shape of Hercules. He was a man strong above all others, who died at the hands of his wife. It is beside the point that he burnt himself on a funeral pyre, as the cause of his act was the poisoned shirt sent him by his better half. His after-life is depicted in the story of the eleventh and twelfth Labours, which by various erroneous trains of thought have been transferred into his earthly life. In one of these he goes to the underworld to rescue the human souls in bondage; in the other he is wafted to the Isles of the Blest where he marries the Goddess of Eternal Youth; it would be laboring the point to analyze this further story of the dying god.
We have a disguised version in Celtic mythology. Taliesin, who claimed to be the chief architect at the building of the Tower of Babel, in his previous incarnation was pursued by a woman. To evade her he changed into a bird, but the woman, adopting the form of a hawk, was too quick for him, even when he changed himself yet again, this time into an ear of corn, for she promptly ate him up. On resuming her human form she found herself to be pregnant, the baby being Taliesin, a man above men.
All over the world the legend is found in some form or other, in the present and in the past, some with minor variations, others with distinct and even striking differences, but all built upon the substructure of the death of a supernatural being under unnatural circumstances, who by his resurrection to a heavenly life benefits mortal man. But when we have attained the end towards which we set out and have contented ourselves by finding that H.A. is not the solitary hero of a single system but rather a Saviour recognized by mankind throughout the ages, we find our journey of discovery but begun. Intimately bound up with him in his many personalities are the sprig of acacia (sometimes metamorphosed into an ear of corn), the tau cross, the lion, the morning star, the emblems of mortality and many another symbol of well-known import to the Freemason. As our French friends would say "it gives one to think," which, after all, is the essence of our Second Degree.
The following authors were consulted in the preparation of this article:
- Ward: Who Was Hiram Abiff?
- Fraser: The Golden Bough
- Driver: The Book of Genesis
- Stewart: Symbolism of the Gods of Egypt
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THE DEGREES OF MASONRY: THEIR ORIGIN AND HISTORY
Bros. A. L. Kress and R. J. Meekren
WE now come to the consideration of the second division of the evidence, the old lodge records.
It will, fortunately, not be necessary to bring forward very much that has not already been discussed, with the exception of the Aitchison's Haven minutes, which will have to be cited in their place. The great bulk of these records are Scottish; for, beyond York and Alnwick, none exist in England earlier than 1717, and none at all before 1700. Those of Alnwick beginning in 1701 apparently and those of York in 1712 .
This state of affairs, which Hughan found inexplicable , makes it essential that the question of the relation of Scottish to English Masonry before the Grand Lodge era should be fully canvassed before we can proceed with much hope of arriving at safe conclusions; for as Gould says, there is far more involved in the reply made to this question than at first sight appears . We have already had it before us, and we have sufficiently indicated our own views , but the point is too important to be left with a mere expression of opinion. The situation may be thus described; Gould as learned counsel presented an argument based on the brief provided by Lyon. The conclusions he reached seem to have been accepted by everyone as final. Fortunately, to continue the legal metaphor, there is no statute of limitations in such matters, and no judgment at the bar of scholarship is beyond reconsideration and revision.
Gould treated this question in the sixteenth chapter of his history. While it seems fairly certain that he had not then been converted to the theory of the existence of a plurality of degrees before 1717, yet he does not ever seem to have relaxed in the least his conclusion that Scotch and English Masonry were so different that, judging by some expressions, there was really nothing in common between them. As, for example, when he tells us that the "old Scottish Mason Word is unknown" and that there is nothing to show whether it was ever, before 1736, the same as anything used in England.
Owing to his discursive style of writing this chapter requires careful reading and close attention to disentangle the various steps of his argument. As a whole it makes a general advance over the terrain of Early British Freemasonry. First one feature and then another is taken up. This tends to conceal whatever weaknesses there may be in the argument on this particular point. For in one place we are promised further discussion later on, and then we are referred back to what was said earlier. The chapter should be re-read in conjunction with this criticism, so that our analysis may be checked . To give our own impressions quite frankly, it might be likened to a trial where a clever rogue is acquitted because there is insufficient legal evidence against him, although every one, judge, jurors and counsel, are quite certain of his guilt. Or putting it less figuratively, Gould so limited and restricted the significance of the facts that it was impossible to arrive at anything but a negative conclusion.
THE CHARACTER OF EARLY SCOTTISH MASONRY
The essentials of his argument seem to be the following: It is pointed out that the scanty traces of lodge activities in England prior to the eighteenth century seem to reveal only speculative (or more accurately, non-operative) bodies; with possibly, of course, some operative Masons in the membership. Only one exception to this rule exists, the operative lodge at Alnwick. But it is not properly included in the period as the existing minutes do not begin until 1701. Besides it was close to the Scottish border, and might well have been of Scottish derivation.
On the other hand, the comparative wealth of records in Scotland reveals an organization, wholly operative in character, though including a considerable number of honorary and non-operative members, in some lodges, indeed, a majority. Again there is just one exception, the lodge at Haughfoot. But this also is close to the border, and might have derived its ritual from England; and besides, like Alnwick, it is too late to be included in the period, as its earliest records do not begin till December, 1702. It is insisted that, in spite of possible inferences from the Old Charges, there is no proof, outside of Alnwick, that there ever was an operative lodge in England. Thus a presumption is raised in the reader's mind that these two exceptional cases in effect cancel each other out. The one really Scottish though in England, and the other having an English character though in Scotland.
As we have stated earlier , Gould went beyond Lyon in his interpretation of the phrase "the Mason Word." Lyon had said that it was evident, from the Dunblane record, that "this talisman consisted of something more than a word." This Gould refused to accept, standing on the literal meaning of the phrase.  The Haughfoot reference to a grip he dismisses summarily as abnormal . The reference in the Dunblane minutes to "the secrets of the Mason Word" is then evacuated of its apparent meaning by the following argument.
On Dec. 27, 1729, two Entered Apprentices from Kilwinning desired to join the lodge of Dunblane and be passed as fellows of Craft. This petition
... being considered by the members of Court [i.e. of the Lodge] they ordain James Muschet to examine them as to their qualifications and knowledge, who having reported to the Lodge that they had a competent knowledge of the secrets of the Mason Word, then the said Lodge, after entering them apprentiees pass them to be fellows of craft of this Lodge .
However (according to Gould ) this really means little (or nothing) because, even so late as 1735 the Kilwinning "ceremony of initiation was so simple" that two persons, in that year, were "received into Masonry by individual operators at a distance from the lodge," and "being found" in lawful possession of the word "were recognized as members of Mother Kilwinning."
CRITICISM OF GOULD'S ARGUMENTS
This seems to be the real substantial argument offered by Gould in support of his position. Naturally, clothed in literary form, with the aid of forensic rhetoric, and with its weak places concealed by the many breaks in carrying it through to a conclusion, it appears much more convincing than in this summary. Whether this last is really a just analysis and exposition or not, must be left to our readers to judge for themselves. To us it seems that the logical fallacies of the argument are so obvious as to scarcely need pointing out. We have just as much right to insist that the last mentioned incident proves that "possession of the word" at Kilwinning included the "secrets of the word" spoken of at Dunblane, as the reverse. We are in fact faced with the negative argument in an acute form. And when we consider the practical side of the question, it is seen that the inference last suggested gives the most probable result. Gould presumably understood the "benefit of the mason word" to mean the obtaining recognition as a mason among strangers. Upon reflection it will be obvious that a single word, with nothing leading up to it, would be totally inadequate for this purpose, unless, like military watch words, it were changed very frequently. Even then, there would have to be some rules as to how it was given. Gould appeals to universal silence. But the silence is not universal, for there are the exceptions. And as we have insisted at painful length, one positive instance is sufficient, logically, to overbalance the negative weight of an otherwise complete silence. Of course such a single instance must be "exceptional" as long as it stands alone. To so describe it does not reduce its force, as Gould seemed to think. To do that some other consideration would have to be brought forward to show why it should not be accepted. This indeed he tried to do by the suggested doubt raised by date and locality, but these have no weight unless we admit that the difference which he assumed between English and Scottish Masonry really did exist in this radical form.
Of course Gould  was too careful to state these conclusions positively, as being compulsorily required by the evidence; and we have always to bear in mind that the only alternative to this position which then presented itself was practically the acceptance of the traditional position of the antiquity of our present system and ritual. We have no desire to call in question the value of Gould's work. He cleared the ground and laid the foundations; we are only trying to continue the building where he left off. We are not demolishing any part of the structure he reared, but removing some of the scaffolding for which there is now no need.
We must go a little further, however. In the course of this argument Gould lay great stress on the date. The suggestion was that Alnwick, Haughfoot and Dunblane could tell us nothing of the state of affairs in the seventeenth century. This sounds impressive, but there is a kind of fallacy in it. Centuries, after all, are artificial periods. We may compare one with another, as wholes, just as we may compare one month with another. March is windy, April is showery. But the last week of March may be rainy and there may be high winds early in April. We cannot, without fallacy, separate the last years of the seventeenth century from the beginning of the eighteenth. There is this just kernel of truth in the suggestion created by Gould's classification of the evidence by centuries; that we can only infer the existence of a thing before the date of its being first definitely mentioned. Yet in this case such inference is sound enough when the whole nature of the phenomena is considered, and especially the intensely conservative and traditional nature of the institution. And we need only ask that a very few years of previous existence be inferred to carry things back over the fatal (artificial) line drawn between 1699 and 1700.
That there was a difference between English and Scottish Masonry we willingly admit, and Gould has the credit for having pointed it out. It was a difference of organization and function. Where we hold that he was mistaken, and indeed went beyond legitimate inference from the evidence, is in the assumption that this external difference implied equally great differences on the esoteric side. We know that very great differences of organization during the strictly historic period, even down to the present day, have not involved differences in ritual to the point of making recognition impossible. Variations exist now, and very likely existed then to an even greater degree than now, but that is not the same thing at all .
ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH MASONRY ESOTERICALLY IDENTICAL
Although Scotchmen will doubtless repudiate the idea with vigor, and perhaps with heat, historically the English speaking people of Britain have a common origin and culture. The Lowlanders of Scotland are ethnologically the same race in the main as the inhabitants of the north of England. That there was ever a division between them was a political accident, largely due, it is probable, to geography. The natural assumption is that Scottish Masonry would be derived from England. There is no need to go over in detail the minor features that are common. Just one thing may be mentioned, and that is the fact that a good number of copies of the MS. charges have been found in the possession of many of the old Scotch lodges. When therefore the argument against recognizable likeness and close relationship between the Masonries of the two countries has been countered, the original and natural assumption, that internally they were closely related, once more takes its place.
There is one more argument that may be brought forward. Scottish minutes go on speaking of the "Mason Word" years after Desaguliers' visit to Mary's Chapel, where he, a London Mason, was examined and "found duly qualified in all points of Masonry." This hardly bears out the minimal interpretation of the phrase insisted on by Gould; and, once we are free of that presumption, the possibilities are unlimited. Scottish forms, under the influence of extreme Protestantism may have been, and very probably were, subjected to a process of deletion in some places, each lodge being a law to itself, but not to the point of making intercommunication impossible . There may also have been a process of decay and atrophy. Gould gives a sketch of Scottish history, dwelling on the many invasions the country endured, most of them accompanied by complete devastation of towns and countryside alike; and the unexpressed suggestion is given that as the arts and crafts generally declined the esoteric side of Masonry would also decay and be forgotten. This does not necessarily follow. Men could remember and transmit signs and tokens and secret catechisms even though practically debarred from exercising their craft. The process of decay would probably, we think, affect England equally. It would be merely another example of the gradual change of institutions; and one of its effects might well have been that alleged fusing of two grades into one in some non operative lodges in England in the seventeenth century which Speth suggested.
We have thus given our reasons for refusing to admit that the external differences of organization and function in the two countries in the seventeenth century necessarily require us to postulate equally radical differences on the esoteric side. Our contention is that the attempt to prove such differences breaks down under critical examination. There must have been, in the nature of things this much we may assume geographical variations, both local and regional, just as there must have been secular changes in the passing of the years. But equally, on the other hand, the intercommunication, indications of which are everywhere frequent, and the conservatism which so strongly characterized members of the Craft, must have had a strong stabilizing effect. Like an army on the march, with scouting and foraging parties on the flanks, the vanguard far ahead while the rearguard lags behind, nevertheless the organization may be supposed to have retained coherence, and to have evolved along the same lines in different places and at different rates. We say supposed, deliberately, because it is not proved, nor can it be disproved beyond all shadow of doubt. The dictum of Huxley, quoted by Gould himself, regarding that "postulate of loose thinkers; that what may have happened must have happened," is a warning. Yet there is its converse, which Bro. Tuckett has more recently enunciated; the unconscious postulate that the critically minded often assume; that what cannot be proved cannot have happened — the pitfall of the negative argument, in other words . In view of all which we hold that we may assume, not only as possible, but to some degree probable, that the Masons of the two countries employed substantially the same ritual forms and possessed in essentials the same secrets. Upon this assumption we will proceed.
THE TERMINOLOGY OF THE OLD RECORDS
First we will recall that in our consideration of the Old Charges last month, we saw that they pointed to a definite dividing line between apprentices and the skilled Fellows and Masters. Further, it appears that (though far from consistently) there was a tendency to employ different terms for changing the status of the individual. An apprentice was "allowed" according to some versions, but a Mason was "made," and a Fellow was "received." Any interpretation of these vague indications by themselves is mere guesswork. But they may fit into a scheme suggested by other facts. The Schaw Statutes and the Orders of the lodge at Alnwick do give some further precision to the hazy impression received. According to the former the apprentice was "taken" by his master; "received" either by his master or the lodge, or by both for this is not clear and "entered" to the lodge — or in the lodge records for again it is not clear. On the other hand it is quite clear that a master or fellow was "received and admitted'' into the lodge; and this "admission" must almost certainly, from the way it is spoken of, have been formal in character.
At Alnwick  we saw that the apprentice was "entered" and "given his charge," while "Masons" were "made free," and apprentices at the end of their servitude were "admitted or accepted." Again we have the same vagueness as appeared in the Old Charges, yet an outline begins to appear, as in a clearing mist. Remembering, as we saw last month , that "Mason" was apparently used, sometimes, at least, as an inclusive term for the more particular designations "Master" and "Fellows," it begins to look dimly as if an apprentice was taken and allowed or entered, and at the end of his term was made free by being admitted or accepted as a fellow or master, or alternatively, made a Mason. At York the "Old Rules" of 1725 speak only of a "Mason" or "Brother" being "made," there being no reference at all to apprentices.
Coming back to Scotland  we find the Statutes "ordeined" by the Lodge of Aberdeen, in 1670, giving the conditions under which an "Entering prenteise" is to be "reciaved." "Master meassons" are said to be "made," and apprentices at the end of their time are to "receave the fellowship." The last is also spoken of as getting his fellowship.
"Mother" Kilwinning in 1643 wrote into its records the clause of the Schaw Statutes relating to the passing of fellows. In 1646 four persons, one a Mason of Paisley, were accepted as "fellow brethren to the said trade"; the meetings being described as "Courts of the Mason trade of the lodge of Kilwinning." This entry probably relates to what we should call affiliation.. The next item is to the effect that five individuals, who are named, were received as "prenteisses to ye said craft."
At Glasgow, on the first day of the year 1613, John Stewart younger, apprentice to John Stewart elder, was "entered" by the Warden and Brethren, "conform to the acts and liberty of the Lodge," whatever that meant precisely to the clerk who wrote it. The earliest extant minute of the Lodge of Dunblane is dated January, 1696. In December of that year the members "ordained" a scale of fees to be paid by those wishing to join; "at their entrey six punds, and att their passing thrie punds Scots, with the ordinar dues." Twenty years later, in 1716, it was enacted that "there be no meassons or uthers entered and past by the members of this Lodge at one and the same time," excepting only "such gentlemen" who could not be present at a "second diet." Instead, those "entered" were to be "first reported prentises, and their passing ordered by the Lodge thereafter according to qualifications." Evidently the "entering" was generally done by a group of members of the lodge at their own convenience, as was apparently quite customary in Scotland at the period, and possibly in England, too.
Dec. 27, 1720, is the first of the minutes of the admissions of fellows of craft that contain the peculiar reference to the square and compass which for a number of years was regularly used by the Secretary of Dunlblane Lodge. It is worth quoting in full:
Compared John Gillespie, writer in Dunblane, who was entered on the 24 instant, and after examination was duely passt from the Square to the Compass, and from ane Entered Prentiee to a Fellow of Craft of the Lodge.
While the date of this is later than the formation of the Grand Lodge in London, yet it is hardly likely that the ripples created by that event could have had much effect in Scotland in the short interval of three years. For the present, however, we will pass on as this calls for further consideration later. Only it may be said that the phrase can hardly mean anything aside from some ceremonial to which it was a veiled reference.
The Lodge of Peebles seems to have been deliberately founded by the members of the "Honorable company of Masons" of that place, who took
... into their consideration the great loss they have hitherto sustained by want of a Lodge, and finding a sufficient number of Brethreen in this Burgh, did this day [Oet. 18 1716] erect a lodge amongst themselves within the said Burgh.
This makes one wonder just what the "great loss" was that they had sustained. It could hardly have been a business or financial one, as the Company or Gild should have been sufficient for such matters. It seems as if it might be a curious parallel to the "Accepcon" in the London Mason's Company. However that may be, in December the same year, 1716, William Brotherstanes was "decently and orderly" entered; while Alexander Veitch, an "enter'd prentise, made application" to the lodge and was "received." Minutes of later years up to 1725 speak of Apprentices being entered, and other persons being "received and admitted," (apparently in most cases non-operatives who were made fellows at once. But this is not absolutely certain in every case.) A peculiarity of these minutes is that we are frequently told that these "enterings" and "admissions" were "decently and orderly" performed, which can hardly refer to anything but some ceremonial.
The minute book of the Lodge at Haughfoot begins in December of 1702, but the first ten pages have been torn out, and it is strongly to be suspected that they contained, if not a ritual, at least ritual memoranda. In 1704 William Cairncross "gave in his petition" to be associated with the lodge, and was examined and found to be a "true entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft." This shortened form of the usual term "Fellow of Craft" was used also at Aberdeen, whence it was probably transplanted to London by Dr. Anderson, and thence, through the medium of the Book of Constitutions, it has spread over the whole Masonic world.
On St. John's Day, 1706, "John Scott, brother of Sir James Scott of Gala, was orderly admitted to the Society of Apprentice and Fellowcraft." A year later a similar rule to that of Dunblane was made. The "meeting" having come
... to a general resolution that in time coming they would not, except on special considerations, admitt to the Society both of apprentice and fellowcraft, at the same tyme, but that one year at least should intervene betwixt any being admitted apprentice and his being entered fellowcraft.
Here we have another of the puzzling variations in terminology. It is practically certain that in this exceptional lodge (which has been taken by many students as exceptional in the sense of being sui generis) there were two ceremonies used throughout its existence. But the term "enter" is used for the higher grade and "admission" for the lower, the exact opposite to what we have been coming to accept as the normal terminology of the period.
We come finally to the minutes of the Lodge of Aitchison's Haven. These begin in the year before the earliest extant minutes of Mary's Chapel at Edinburgh, and the first entry records that "Robert Widderspone was maid fellow of Craft" in the presence of "John Fender the Warden," and seven other fellows of craft. No apprentices are mentioned. This of course does not prove that none were present, especially as the Warden was one of those who signed the Schaw Statutes which insisted that two apprentices were required at the admission of fellows of craft.
The omission was remedied on later occasions, however, as on May 28, 1599, "Johne Low was maid fellow of Craft in ye presence of Johne Fender Warden for ye present," followed by the names of six others, who are said to be "all fellows of Craft," and then comes "also of enterit Drentis Richart Petticrief [and] James Petticrief." So that the lodge was formed of seven fellows with the two apprentices that, as we have seen, were so insistently required by the Schaw Statutes.
The second minute in the book, January 11, 1598, records that "Alexander Cubie was enterit prenteis to Georg Aytoune." Two years later, Jan. 2, 1600, we find Alexander Culbie chosen by "Andro Pattene" as one of his intenders, the said Andrew being "enterit prenteis to Johne Crafurd his maister," having paid twenty shillings for "his boukin," or fee for registration, and given gloves to his "admitteris," who included six fellows and four apprentices.
These minutes favor the term "maid fellow of craft" for the higher status, but while frequently using the term "enterit" in regard to apprentices, this is varied by the expression "buikit," booked or recorded. This definitely raises the question, which has already hovered in the background, as it were, more than once; was the "entering" of an apprentice anything more than formal registration in the lodge records, in the presence of its members as witnesses? For the present we leave it without attempting an answer, though it may be noted that in some places mention is made also of the "buiking," or paying the fee therefore when fellows were "maid."
It is evident that where men's professional or occupational status is affected records must be kept. And as we have already noted, in Scotland membership in a lodge was as important to a working stone mason then as membership in a Trade Union is at the present day to the skilled workman in such trades as are fully "unionized." It is this that accounts for the fact that Scottish lodges not only made records, but preserved them also. But further than this, it also accounts for their general character. They are concerned mainly with those things that affected the rights and seniority of the members of the lodge, and for this reason it is only incidentally, and as it were by accident, that they ever tell us anything about those traditions and customs in which we are chiefly interested, all of which gives us an additional reason for being very wary of the negative argument here.
It shows the difficulty of the subject that Gould quite overlooked the significance of the record concerning William Cairncross at Haughfoot, quoted above. The phraseology irresistibly suggests that he was examined not only as an apprentice, but also as a fellow craft. But this once granted implies that this lodge was not ritually exceptional, but that there was a real community between it and the lodge in which Cairncross was entered and accepted.
Our developing picture is now a little clearer; the lines are still vague and misty, but like a composite photograph certain features begin to stand out. The difference in status between apprentices and full Masons, i.e., Masters and Fellows, which the Old Charges clearly indicated, seem, in Scotland, at least in the seventeenth century, to have been marked by certain formalities, generally referred to respectively, as entering, and admitting or receiving.
- Gould, History, Vol. iii, p. 13; and Rylands, A.Q.C., Vol. xiv, p. 6, for Alnwick. Gould, op. cit., p. 23, for York; also Hughan Masonic Sketches and Reprints, pp. 34-35. We have not been able to refer to the reproduction of the Alnwick minutes published in 1896. ↩
- Hughan, op cit., p. 19. ↩
- Gould, op. cit., iii, p. 10. ↩
- THE BUILDER, 1928, pp. 135, 170, 299, 332, 333; and 1929, pp. 19? 36 and 68. ↩
- Gould, History, vol. iii, Chap. xvi. The argument begins on page 10, is touched on in pages 12 and 13, taken up again at pages 29 and 30. From pages 48 to 56 is an outline of Scottish history and its bearing on the existence of the Mason's craft, concluded in pages 58 to 63. Pages 10, 29 and 30 should be read in conjunction with 62 and 63, so far as Haughfoot and Dunblane are concerned. ↩
- THE BUILDER, 1928, p. 332. ↩
- It is possible, however, that in his cryptic manner, Gould here only intended to convey the fact that nothing more than this was proven by the evidence. ↩
- Gould, op. cit., vol. iii pp. 29, 30 and 36. ↩
- Lyon, Hist. Edin., p. 417. ↩
- Gould, op. cit., vol. iii, p. 63. ↩
- Ibid., vol. iii, p. 30. Compare also vol. ii, p. 51. ↩
- Every institution must perforce adapt itself to the conditions of the society in which it exists. Thus we find that every organization of more than local scope will exhibit variations, and the wider it is spread the greater these variations will be. In Scotland the lodges retained the quasi-legal status of the gilds which it is possible that the English lodges had before the fourteenth century. And it is possible that in Scotland the lodges filled the place of gilds to some extent, as that form of organization arrived later in the northern kingdom than in England. The Statutes of Laborers in England undoubtedly had some effect on the general situation, although their frequent re- enactment proves that they were as difficult to enforce as some more recent laws of prohibitory character. But the law of Henry VI which definitely forbade the Masons "to confederate themselves in Chapters and Assemblies" would undoubtedly destroy any external authority that custom and usage may have given such organizations, and would tend to drive the lodges underground. This would quite naturally account for our finding so few traces of permanent lodges in England, and no records at all before the eighteenth century. Records are a constant source of danger to an illicit organization, and casual lodges would have no use for them in any case. ↩
- So late as 1764 such a revision seems to have been made. In the second edition of his History of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Chap. iv) Lyon gives the following excerpt from the minutes of the Old Lodge of Melrose, which remained independent till well on towards the end of the nineteenth century. The Melrose brethren, it seems, decided:
"That the Mason word be administered in a simple way and manner, free of everything sinful and superstitious, only word, sign and grip, and some simple questions to distinguish a Mason from another man, and all under a promise not to reveal it, under no less a penalty than to forfeit all right and title to every benefit belonging to the lodge, and to be held in abhorrence by every brother."
Such "reforms" might well have taken place in other lodges at an earlier date.↩
- A.Q.C. vol. x, p. 52. ↩
- Gould, Hist., vol. iii, pp. 14-15. The Alnwick Orders are dated Sept. 29, 1701, the "Gen'll Head Meeting Day" of the Lodge. The 5th Order has already been quoted, BUILDER, May, p. 141. The other relevant passages are:
"9th. Item. There shall noe apprentice after he have served seaven years be admitted or accepted but upon the Feast of St. Michael....
"12th. Item. Thatt noe Fellow or Fellows within this Lodge shall att any time or times call or hold Assemblies to make any mason or masons free Not acquainting the Master of Wardens
"13th. Item. That noe rough Layers or any others thatt has nott served their time or [been] admitted, shall work within the lodge ..."
We have here the term "accepted" equated with "admitted" and possibly with "make free" also.↩
- THE BUILDER, May, 1929, p. 131. ↩
- It will be more convenient to give the references in the text altogether here, as it would otherwise entail much quite needless repetition. For Aberdeen, Miller, Notes on the Early History and Records of the Lodge, Aberdeen, pp. 61-63. Also Lyon, History of the Lodge of Edinburgh p. 423. The same chapter contains extracts from the records of Kilwinning, Glasgow Dunblane and Peebles. For Haughfoot, Yarker, A.Q.C., vol. xxvi, p. 16 — and for Aitchison's Haven, Wallace-James, Ibid., vol. xxiv, p. 30. See also Gould, op. cit., vol. iii. ↩
* * *
A CONSIDERATION OF SOME OF THE DIFFICULTIES OF SQUARING THE CIRCLE
Bro. Charles H. Merz, Ohio
THIS paper is not intended as an attempt to set aside the commonly accepted ratio or any other, or to uphold the same; but it is written to set out, so far as opportunity permits, some of the difficulties attendant upon quadrature of the circle, and to show the rudiments of the complicated and tedious method commonly adopted of attempting the approximation of the true ratio between the diameter and the circumference.
The different methods of solving the problem of the quadrature of the circle are more than a hundred in number. The ratios of the circumference to the diameter are equally numerous. Some differences exceed eight hundredths of the circumference, while others vary as much as twenty-three hundredths.
In the mechanic arts the ratio of the diameter to the circumference is assumed to be as 7 to 22, which is accurate enough for many purposes, though it is claimed that the real ratio can never be exactly expressed in numbers. In ordinary mathematical work it is assumed to be as 1 to 3.14159215. One English mathematician has carried out the decimal to 607 places.
The ratio between the diameter and circumference is fundamental, and any error made in the beginning is carried into all the operations which depend upon it, and the same is true of any other possible errors that may occur in the additional operations to ascertain the relation between the circle and the square.
It is of interest to note that the Masonic apron is actually an ancient Egyptian mathematical problem, based upon the principles of the Operative Mason's Square, showing a quick and very nearly perfect manner of determining a squared circle, in which the peripheries of both square and circle are of precisely equal length. Correctly analyzed, it consists of two oblongs of 3 x 4 (at the top) and two oblongs of 4 x 5 (at the bottom).
These constitute a perfect square. Setting one leg of the compasses upon the intersection of the lines that divide the square and the free leg on A or B. we have a circle the circumference of which is equal to that of the square. Lines drawn from A and B to E will be of precisely the same length as the distance from E to F which is the vertical axis of the triangle E-C-D. The relation of this to the circle squaring problem is that A-E, B-E and F-E are the radii of a circle of almost equal perimeter to the whole square. In the square taken as the base and the triangle E-C-D as the vertical section thereof, we have the precise geometrical proportions of the Great Pyramid of Gizeh.
As there are comparatively few Masons who are familiar with that most admirable work written by the late Brother H. P. H. Bromwell, "Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry," I take this opportunity of presenting some of the facts stressed by him in this connection.
The circle, though in itself intractable by any mathematical method as far as actual precision is concerned, nevertheless comes to the aid of mathematicians as the sole key to unlock the treasure house of trigonometry and expose its exhaustless stores.
In all the processes in which the circle, or any part thereof, is directly involved, the ratio between the diameter and the circumference is the fundamental truth to be first ascertained — for the diameter is what may be termed the measure of the circle (i.e., the surface thereof). For it is always known or ascertainable by direct measurements. And the circumference is that which must conform, according to some ascertained ratio, which, if correct, makes all correct which it affects; but, if erroneous, infuses the error into all the results, and there it remains constantly present.
As for instance, in the case of the velocity of the rim of a revolving wheel, or the length of an arc; but not in that of the length of a radius, or of the spoke of a wheel, or the sine of an angle, for these last may be ascertained without knowing the length of any circumference, or without any circle at all. Furthermore, all proportions between the circumference and the parts of a circle, as chords, segments, sectors, etc., remain unaffected; and in calculating the diameter of one circle that shall be of twice or thrice the surface of another of a certain diameter or circumference, no harm can arise from an error in the ratio, for the operation only applies to the proportions between certain parts of one figure, or the corresponding parts in two or more figures.
But when it is sought to ascertain the area or the length of the side of a square, hexagon, or other regular polygon, or the several sides of an irregular figure, which shall be equal to or otherwise proportionately greater or less than a circle of a given diameter, the error, if any, in the ratio between the diameter and the circumference, enters at once into the work, and remains and propagates itself in every subsequent operation founded upon or involved with it in most cases increasing as it proceeds. For, in finding the content or surface, the circumference must first be known; and finding an equal square, triangle, or other figure, depends on first knowing the contents of the circle. If the ratio depended on be too great or too small, the circumference, and consequently the area or surface therein contained will be too great or too small. Hence in seeking a circle which shall contain a given surface say, equal to a square of five on a side if the ratio should be too great, as 3.16, a diameter shorter than is correct must be assigned to the circle, in order to bring the surface within the requirement of the ratio, that is, of the square.
The several methods of computing the surface of a circle of given diameter, depend on the ratio. One method is to multiply the circumference by half the radius, or one-fourth the diameter, which is the same as to multiply the diameter by one-fourth the circumference. No doubt a correct mode, if the ratio be the true one. Another method is to multiply the square of the diameter (the square circumscribed about the circle) by one-fourth the ratio.
Still another method is to multiply the square of the radius by the ratio. By any one of these methods, the same result is obtained, whether the ratio is right or wrong and the result will be right if the circumference be right, i.e., if the ratio between the diameter and circumference, on which the latter is computed, be right; and as certainly wrong if there be error in the ratio assumed for the purpose.
The conclusions reached by ninety-eight different authors, most of them skilled in mathematical pursuits, have shown very positive but very different conclusions concerning this problem, already subjected to centuries of continued dispute. The different methods of finding the ratio are not less than forty-four, and the different ratios proposed, not less than seventy-two. The number in which the proportion between the diameter and the circumference is greater than the commonly accepted ratio is about fifty-eight. The number giving a lower ratio than the "orthodox" is sixteen, and the number of those which agree with the orthodox ratio is twenty-six. Of the whole number, one hundred and seven bear date in this century. Now every specific numerical value assigned must be wrong, except one; if any of them, by chance, should happen to be right.
The "orthodox" ratio depends for its validity on what Bromwell calls "the process of exhaustion," that is, in the sufficiency and correctness of the work in the arithmetical computations of the area of a regular polygon having a sufficient number of sides to render it substantially equivalent to a circle. No one of the modes of dealing with a series of numbers or fractions, or known dimensions, of some part of a circle, or other figure, by multiplication, division, etc., carries with itself its own demonstration. Had such been the case, there never would have been any controversy. On the principle that several doubtful calculations make one good one, one of two solutions or both are accepted because they agree, not because either is correct. Is it possible in any such case that any one can say, before seeing the result, that the operation to be pursued is actually its own test and must be correct, or that it can be referred to a veritable test? Some of the conclusions examined are manifestly false, while some others afford nothing, except the assertions of the author, to show that the result is a ratio of anything.
If we take a polygon of four sides (a perfect square) and successively double the number of sides making it a polygon of eight, of sixteen and then or thirty-two on so on, the sides will eventually become so numerous and so short that the figure is so nearly a circle that the difference may be deemed of no consequence. However, at the same time the content or surface of each polygon must be computed at every increase of the number of sides, by means of two proportional triangles, involving multiplication, division, addition, extraction of the square root, etc., and the surface of the last polygon computed is accepted as the surface of the circle in question.
As every regular polygon (square, hexagon, polygon) may be considered as composed of as many isosceles triangles (equal sided) as it has sides the side of the polygon being the base and the two equal sides of the triangle meeting and forming an apex at the center of the polygon the circle may be regarded as a polygon of an indefinite number of sides, and consequently composed of a like number of triangles, each having two equal and two very long sides and an exceedingly short base, which is the same as the side of the polygon. Such a polygon may be regarded as having a thousand million of equal sides, and consequently composed of as many equal sided triangles. If accurately measured, such a polygon would doubtless furnish a very close approximation to the measure of a circle having a radius equal to either of the two equal sides of any such triangle. But one with a less number of sides, say 30,000, with a slight error in the computation of each triangle, might offer a grossly defective result. But it might be much worse in case of a million sides, with an error in each.
As it appears from principles not dependent on any ratio between the diameter and circumference, the circumference of a circle whose diameter is one is necessarily equal in figures to the area of a circle whose diameter is two, and whoever succeeds in finding the surface of the latter circle, is thereby in possession of the number which shows the true circumference of the former. Hence, the computation is made by ascertaining the area of a circle having a diameter of two. To accomplish this, a polygon of four sides is circumscribed about the circle, and another of four sides the corresponding sides being made parallel is inscribed within it. The outer polygon is the same as the square of the diameter, that is, its surface is equal to four, while the inscribed polygon (or square) is necessarily one-half as much, equal to two; the side of the inscribed square being to the side of the circumscribed square as the side of any square is to the line of its own diagonal so that the two squares (polygons) are in proportion to each other as any two adjacent squares inscribed in any other circles for it can always be seen that the diameter of any circle is the same as the diagonal line of its inscribed square. The object in taking two polygons is to secure a convenient basis of measurement which would be lacking if only one were used. In doubling the number of sides it necessarily comes to pass every time except in the case of the two polygons of four sides each that the angles of the inscribed polygon present themselves to the middle of the sides of the exscribed polygon and vice versa. By this a mean proportional as to surface, between corresponding parts of the two polygons, is also presented in geometrical form, susceptible of being computed by ordinary mathematical rules. The beginning of this series of duplications of the number of sides may be seen in the accompanying figure.
The forming and doubling the number of sides of these polygons is easy enough and the process may be continued until the sides become so minute that no farther division is practicable, but however far carried it would go but little toward finality, which is only to be reached by the computations. These give the measurements and demand the utmost accuracy and here is where the trouble begins. The principal cause of difficulty is error, which attends the work from first to last.
In order to reach the point at which the operator may intend to stop say at a polygon of 32,768 sides (the number usually adopted) no less than twenty-seven complicated processes each made up of several partial or ancillary operations must be accomplished. These are each simple enough, but they are not separate and independent, so that any error, from omitted fractions or other causes, will only affect the particular calculation in which it may occur, and there stop, but they are cumulative, as will be seen from what follows:
First, a simple expression of the surface content of a corresponding part of each of the two original polygons one being 2, the other 4. Then a multiplication of these parts together and extraction of the square root of the product, leaving a remainder. Then following twenty-seven operations, including thirty-six multiplications, involving sixty- eight numbers, each containing an endless decimal fraction; also thirteen additions, each of two of the same numbers, each with its fraction, being very nearly equal to, and slightly exceeding, so many multiplications by two, the finding of thirteen quotients, and the extraction of thirteen additional square roots, each root and quotient leaving a remainder. The entire process being one unbroken series of computations, every one dependent upon all which precede it to the last. Any deficiency or excess in the first computation (which leaves a remainder) is thus multiplied and remultiplied no less than sixty times, by a factor not less than 2.8 (and reaching 3.31; or more as an upper limit, and thirteen times by two. And besides this we have the addition of two of the larger factors together thirteen times, making it equivalent altogether to eighty-six multiplications by two in a series, each multiplying the former product. And this all relates back to the first remainder, it being the first of twenty-six following in succession, each on an average through forty-three multiplications, making more than one thousand one hundred multiplications in all.
It is easy to form a square and a triangle equal in area to each other; and the same is true of any two figures bounded by right lines however different their forms, for their lines are subject to direct and equal measurement, and these being known, the included surfaces are easily dealt with. But not so with the circle. This remarkable figure has something about it almost mysterious. While it is that by which all right lined figures may be proven as to their forms, and in many cases even to their contents, yet to ascertain its own content, that is, to find an equal square or other rightlined figure, has been a special object of search and the ever a present stumbling block of mathematicians of all ages.
It will be understood that the point raised in the article is theoretical rather than practical. All measurements are approximate, and in the case of the circle and other curved figures we have a second approximation. The first one is the determination of the radius of the figure, and the second is that in the calculations to determine the ratio between the radius or diameter and the circumference. And though, as has been shown, any error in these calculations is a cumulative one, yet the process adopted puts a limit to the error. In subdividing the sides of the inscribed and exscribed polygons shown in the second figure, it will be seen that the perimeter of the former increases at every step, while the latter decreases. Eventually each becomes approximately coincident with the circle. Thus every step in the calculations must fall between these limits and whatever error there may be cannot be great enough to vitiate the result for any practical purpose. Ed.
* * *
AMERICAN ARMY LODGES IN THE WORLD WAR
Sea and Field Lodge No. 5, Overseas, at Beaune, France
Bro. Charles F. Irwin, Associate Editor
TO enter into the story of this Field Lodge adequately, we are compelled to cover to some extend the entire field of the Educational Program within the American A.E.F. To most people the educational program of America within its military forces is a sealed story. And yet to those who participated in it, or who have in later years retraced the steps in the official literature of the U.S.A. and of the Y.M.C.A., the wonder of the story passes any limits that might ordinarily be established. After a thorough study of the official volumes published by the Y.M.C.A. as embodied especially in Chapter 34 of their "Service With Fighting Men," found in the second volume and covering some twenty-five pages, and after a similar study of the two volumes officially issued by the University at Befaune, together with an extensive correspondence with many of the men who were identified in this Educational Program, and modestly stating that I had myself some limited experience as a schoolman overseas, having one of the larger Post Schools with over 500 students and a Faculty of 35 instructors, I am in a position to appreciate the work the government set out to do and how well it was done.
Early in 1918, the Y.M.C.A. turned its attention to this problem. They secured Dr. Anson Phelps Stokes, Secretary of Yalta University, to draw up a comprehensive plan. Dr. Stokes arrived in France on Jan. 18, 1918, and made a thorough survey of the entire educational field. In February he submitted a report to the Chief Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. In his plan he made provision for teaching during the ante-Armistice period, and for teaching in the post-Armistice period. His plan was approved by General Pershing in a telegram dated Feb. 28, 1918, and by letter dated March 5, 1918.
It is of course impossible for me to go further into this part of the story. Suffice it to say that some 27,000 men were enrolled in the various divisional educational centers throughout the Army.
But in addition to this secondary school work, there was a provision made for men whose academic work had been interrupted by entrance into the war. Also others who desired to pursue post-graduate advantages while in Europe. This was made easier by the fact that the British and French Educational leaders were most sympathetic and enthusiastic about our educational program. They threw open their Universities and Colleges to our troops. This was accepted by our command, and thousands of American soldiers attended various universities in the above countries. In some of these, Masonic Clubs were formed, and their stories will be told in our subsequent series on Clubs.
But even with these opportunities there were thousands of others whom the service desired to aid. Consequently it was decided by the Educational leaders within the A.E.F. to form and open an American University along American lines.
At Beaune, France, there had been established during the war a great Hospital Center, about two miles square, containing more than 200 buildings. This was chosen as the site of the new American University. Ten miles away was Allerey, another hospital camp. Surrounded by 600 acres of farm land, it offered an ideal site for an Agricultural College. Within one month after the plan was adopted, the hospital buildings were remodeled to suit educational purposes, and one hundred and seventy-five new ones were erected.
On Feb. 7, 1919, Colonel Ira L. Reeves, former President of Norwich University, was appointed the local representative of the General Staff of the A.E.F. He became the Superintendent and Commanding Officer of the new University, and finally its President.
In collecting the specialists for a Faculty, the A.E.F. was found to contain 2,600 commissioned officers alone, who had been college professors, or who were equipped to teach in such a college. Consequently a faculty was selected, second to none on the continent or anywhere in our own country.
Students commenced to arrive on March 7, 1919. Soon 6,000 of them were at work on a wide range of studies. When in full action the University at Beaune had 240 courses, in 36 departments, with a total class enrollment of 13,243.
Amid such a great assemblage of Americans of College and University standing, it was natural that members of the Fraternity of Freemasons were to be found in large numbers. Indeed, contemporaneously with the appearance of the advance troops to man and condition the center, the Craft came to the front. The first attempt to foregather appears in the history of the "American Masonic Club," which was formed on March 30, 1919, just 23 days after the first students appeared. Perhaps this record has never been surpassed in the history of the Craft. Their Roster printed at Dijon, France, 1919, displays the names of 458 members. Among the officers of this club we find the name of Col. Ira L. Reeves as Honorary President. He is a member of De Witt Clinton Lodge, No. 15, N.Y.
In the 1920 Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of New York, on page 193, in the report of P.G.M. Townsend Scudder on the work of the Overseas Masonic Mission, we find this reference to the institution of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 5, at Beaune:
I instituted Sea and Field Lodge, No. 5, at A.E.F. University at Beaune, with Bro. Mark E. Penney of New York as Wor. Master, which sat ten times at the Temple of the Lodge Reveil de la Cote d'Or, of Grand Lodge, No. 1, rue de la Loge, Beaune, and conferred the degrees on 64 candidates. Its first session was May 3, 1919 and its last July 4, 1919, at Brest.... of the Masons made overseas, to date ... 8 (have dimitted) from No. 5 ... the warrants have been surrendered to you and are in abeyance and the untransferred material, consolidated with that of Sea and Field Lodge. No. 1.
Bro. Mark E. Penney, the former Wor. Master of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 5, Overseas, made his final report to Bro. Townsend Scudder under date of April 19, 1920, as found in the 1920 Proceedings of New York, page 208, as follows:
"In submitting my report of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 5, Overseas, permit me to say at the beginning that the statements and discussions which follow are not offered as in any sense a justification, either of the request of the American Masons at Beaune for the greatest possible Masonic intimacy, or of your own action in granting one of the warrants issued by the Grand Master for the establishment of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 5, Overseas, at Beaune. The former, I venture to assert, needs no justification, and the latter is amply justified in the Grand Master's and your own desire to offer to the Masons of America a type of Masonic intercourse which, without the foresight of the Grand Master of New York, and magnanimous concern for the interests of the American soldier at home and overseas, would never have been achieved.
"Upon my arrival at Beaune I set myself to ascertain something of the status of Masonry in the camp, and to learn, if possible, the number of Masons assembled there. By personal inquiries I was soon able to gather a little group of sixteen officers and Y.M.C.A. Secretaries.
"We met in one of the unused barracks, and it was decided to advertise all over the camp, a meeting of all the Masons to be called at an early date. Each member of the group offered his services to distribute the notices to a section of billets, and the result surpassed anything that could possibly have been predicted. The meeting was called to be held in the largest mess-hall in the camp, and when I arrived there, not even standing room was available inside the doors, and large numbers of Masons stood around outside, crowding the doors and windows. This condition was not merely an incident of Masonic activity at Beaune, but in the highest sense typical of what took place there until the camp broke up. The 'American Masonic Club' was formed at that meeting, with the Commander of the camp as honorary President. The prestige of the Club soon gave rise to a desire on the part of non-Masons to associate with us, and this in turn, quite naturally and inevitably, gave rise to a desire on the part of the Masons and non-Masons alike for a Masonic Lodge. "I sent a telegram to the chairman of the Masonic Mission at Paris, requesting a visit from him, and asking him if a Lodge would be possible. In response to that telegram R. W. Bro. W. C. Prime, a member of the Masonic Mission, paid us a visit, fortunately on the date of the regular meeting of the Club. We did not know of his coming until he was upon us, his letter of advice having miscarried, and in spite of the fact that no notice of his visit had been given, he was enthusiastically greeted by upwards of a thousand of Masons, whom he addressed in the evening.
"At this time there were estimated to be in the vicinity of fourteen thousand men in camp, more than half of whom were students and teachers in the University which had been created there by the American Expeditionary Forces. This is a clear indication of the type of men who were interested in Masonic intercourse. Representatives were there from all the learned professions, and among the students were many young men who had left their studies where they were preparing to become lawyers, doctors, etc., and some who expected to enter studies leading to these professions upon their return to America. These students, and the officer-instructors were not required to do camp duty except in emergency, and thus had ample time to devote to Masonic work. As to the exact number of Masons in camp it was impossible to make a census, owing to the conditions of camp life, and the changing personnel. But a conservative estimate placed the number between three thousand and four thousand. At one time we had on our Club Roster the names of over twelve hundred Masons, and that in the earlier days of the camp.
"It was generally understood at this time that the duration of the camp at Beaune would extend throughout the summer and autumn, and perhaps even longer, and the Commander of the camp, in a personal conversation with Bro. Prime, in my presence, made the statement that, so far as anyone could foresee, the camp would remain for an indefinite period. Whisperings were heard that a renewal of hostilities might become imminent, in which case the American Camp at Beaune would continue until the American armies should be withdrawn from Europe.
"As a result of this visit and Bro. Prime's report thereof, I received, some days later, a notification from the Masonic Mission at Paris that we were to receive a warrant for a Lodge. In due time, Bro. Merwin Lay came to the camp, instituted the Lodge and installed the officers. The Commander of the Camp and his Adjutant gladly consented to act as Senior and Junior Wardens respectively. The cosmopolitan character of the Lodge may be seen when I point out that ten states were represented among the officers, and among those who attended the meetings of the Lodge, I was told by the examining committee, that during the course of the Lodge meetings every State of the Union was represented.
"The granting of the warrant for a Masonic lodge at Beaune raised the question as to a suitable place in which to hold the meetings. The buildings of all army camps, and consequently those at Beaune, were flimsy structures, inadequately lighted and heated, cheaply and hurriedly built, and in no sense adapted for the purpose of holding Masonic lodge meetings. The Commander of the Camp assured me that everything possible would be done to make feasible the holding of the Lodge in the Camp, but after careful investigation, the situation was considered hopeless. Moreover, it would be extremely difficult to procure proper furniture and keep it from being destroyed, or defiled, when accessible to strangers and enemies. In my anxiety to find a suitable place for meeting, I consulted the Master of the French Masonic Lodge in the City of Beaune, and asked him where a suitable building might be found in the city for our purposes. He immediately offered us the use of the French Lodge rooms, their furniture and equipment, without any reservation whatsoever in regard to time and nature of their use. The spontaneity of his offer, his willingness to be of service to us, and his cooperation during our stay at Beaune, are in no small degree responsible for the success of our work there.
"The French Lodge at Beaune operates under the jurisdiction of the Grand Loge de France. It bears the suggestive title of 'Le Reveil de la Cote d'Or.' It has been for sixteen years under the guidance of Worshipful Master, or as he is called, Le Venerable, Louis Barbier, a man of broad sympathies and high intellectual attainments. He has a profound knowledge of Masonry in France, both as to its historical and philosophical expects. Through his efforts, the French Masonic Fraternity at Beaune occupies a status which is exceedingly gratifying to him, and which procured for us a welcome and a prestige socially and fraternally, which we could not otherwise have attained.
"In bringing this report to its conclusion, permit me to express the hope, in which I voice the desire of almost every Mason who had anything to do with our work at Beaune, that some means may be found whereby a closer relation may be brought about between the Grand Jurisdiction of which this French Lodge is a member, and that of American Masons in general, and those of the State of New York."
In the final settlement of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 5, we find that 52 members were transferred from the roster of the Lodge to that of the consolidated Sea and Field Lodge, No. 1. An appended list of the names of the members of this Lodge may be found in the Proceedings of New York, 1920, page 202, together with a tableau of the full staff of officers. For the benefit of the reader this latter is here printed together with the names and jurisdictions of the Lodges in each case.
- W.M. — Mark E. Penney, Konosioni No. 950, Syracuse, N. Y.
- S.W. — Col. Ira L. Reeves, DeWitt Clinton No. 15, Northfield, Vt.
- J.W. — Capt. Waldo P. Hair, Woodlawn Park No. 841, Chicago, Ill.
- Treas. — Lt. Terrence W. Gilbert, Rising Light No. 637, Belleville, N. Y.
- Secy. — Arch Paterson, A.E.C., Englewood No. 690, Chicago, Ill.
- S.D. — Joseph H. Ford, District of Columbia.
- J.D. — William H. Leet, Ohio.
- S.M.C. — Lt. I. Weinstein, Evergreen No. 51, Tacoma, Wash.
- J.M.C. — Maj. Spencer A. Merrill, West Point No. 877, N. Y.
- S.S. — Lt. E. T. Stretcher, Imperial No. 159 Portland, Ore.
- J.S. — Pvt. A. R. Davis, Lakeside No. 739, Chicago, Ill.
- Marshal — Maj. E. H. Whitehead, Cornerstone 247, Osmond, Nebr.
- Chapl. — Henry B. Monges, Durant No. 268, Berkeley, Calif.
- Tiler — James A. Davis, Flora No. 204, Flora, Ill.
- O. of W. — Lt. F. S. Wheeler, Burlington No. 100, Burlington, Vt.
There are several observations we wish to make regarding these New York Lodges, which illustrate the entire field of Masonic activity in the A.E.F. They touch largely upon the persistent question of French Masonry. And one of these observations concerns the difficulties which faced every one of the group of Masonic leaders when they contemplated the institution of a lodge in France. In some cases military red tape made it inadvisable to attempt to open or conduct Masonic meetings within military reservations. In other cases the inadequacy of location and buildings wherein to conduct the ceremonials of the Craft were met. In every one of the four overseas Lodges of New York the last resort was to the generosity of the native Masons. And without fail our American Craftsmen bear testimony to the unexcelled generosity and unflagging hospitality of our French brethren. Not only in the metropolitan Lodges in Paris, but also in the rural cities and sowns scattered throughout the country, the American Masons met with this high type of men. Their Lodge rooms were thrown open for our use without money and without price. There was no intrusion, and no attempt to secure entrance within our tiled bodies, except upon invitation extended by our own American Craftsmen. In every case the French Masons who appeared before our altars were men of faith and devotion to the highest and most ancient of the landmarks of the Fraternity. Only direct contact with the conditions in France under which Freemasonry must struggle for existence can prepare the American mind to draw conclusions as to the particular cast their indigenous Masonry shall take.
In the particular case of the Sea and Field Lodge at Beaune, the environment made for a high type of thinking and living. The results were happy. The American Military Lodge that found so brief a stay within the bounds of the Educational Center of Beaune drew to itself younger and older American Masons of the very strongest character. The larger proportion of our troops stationed at Beaune were there for the purpose of continuing the educational discipline which had been interrupted when our youth was called to the colors. These young soldiers were filled with the American characteristic ambition to take the fullest educational benefits offered them. And today scattered throughout the United States are men of the professions and of business who trace back to the days at Beaune much of their inspiration and their training.
The experiment at Beaune proves that a Republic based upon an enlightened intelligence has within itself a vital influence that dares to break through conventionality and to blaze new trails for the coming generations. This was a unique experiment among all nations. A great nation pausing with its allies while an Armistice stays the actual conflict turns its attention to the intellectual needs of its men in arms and out of its resources of men and material brings into being an educational center that ranks second to no old established institution in our own or any other land. The meetings of this Field Lodge were all held in the same Lodge room at Beaune with the exception of the last meeting it ever held. This communication was held at Brest on July 4, 1919, while the bulk of the students who had trained at Beaune awaited sailing orders for home.
Wearied of the delays and restless with the exuberance of young life, there appeared to Worshipful Penney and the other officers of the Lodge the advisability of gathering their members together, with other Masons, into a farewell meeting. Accordingly the notice was issued and a large body of Masons assembled. Bro. Prime in a recent letter to me calls attention to this unique meeting and praises it in highest terms.
Thus the roll of New York Lodges in military service during the World War has been called. There was a historical booklet issued by the American Masonic Club at Beaune which presents vividly and artistically the ability of our soldier artists of the Craft. The reproduction of the cover design will be found on a previous page.
The Warrant under which Sea and Field Lodge. No 5, at Beaune, operated was identical with those of the other Sea and Field Lodges. For the benefit of readers who have not had access to my former stories of these Sea and Field Lodges, it is reproduced here.
SIT LUX ET LUX FUIT
William S. Farmer, Grand Master.
I, William S. Farmer, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York, do, by these presents, appoint, authorize and empower our Worthy Brother Mark E. Penney to be the Master, our Worthy Brother Ira L. Reeves to be the Senior Warden, our Worthy Brother Waldo P. Hair to be the Junior Warden, our Worthy Brother Terrence W. Gilbert to be the Treasurer, our Worthy Brother Arch Paterson to be the Secretary, our Worthy Brother Joseph H. Ford to be the Senior Deacon, and our Worthy Brother William H. Leet to be the Junior Deacon of a Sea and Field Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, to be by virtue hereof, constituted, formed and held at Beaune, France, and elsewhere overseas as may be convenient and necessary, which Lodge shall be distinguished and known by the name and style of Sea and Field Lodge, No. 5, Overseas, at Beaune, France. The said Master is hereby authorized to appoint subordinate officers of said Lodge and said Lodge is authorized to adopt all such by-laws and regulations for the governance of its proceedings, and labor as may be necessary and requisite, subject to my approval and Subject as hereinafter set forth.
And further, the said Lodge is hereby invested with full power and authority to assemble on all proper and lawful occasions and to elect and confer the three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry or any or either thereof upon candidates who have actually enlisted or been drafted or commissioned officers in the United States Forces in the present great war, on payment of Twenty Dollars; conforming in all respects and at all times to the provisions of the Book of Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York and to the standard ritual prescribed thereby as also to do and perform all and every such acts and things pertaining to the Craft as have been and ought to be done for the honor and advantage thereof.
Membership or officership in said Lodge shall in nowise impair or affect existing membership or officership in a regular chartered or warranted Lodge
Said Lodge shall have a seal and shall have and keep all books required to be kept by regular Lodges in the State of New York the same and all records to be surrendered to the Grand Lodge on the termination of this Warrant.
This Warrant shall terminate at the pleasure of the Grand Master.
Given under my hand and Private Seal at the City of New York in the United States of America, this Fourteenth day of December in the year of our Lord, One thousand nine hundred and eighteen, and in the year of Masonry, Five thousand nine hundred and eighteen.
William S. Farmer
* * *
MASONS' MARKS FROM AFGHANISTAN
Communicated by Bro. N. W. J. Hayden, Associate Editor, Canada.
AS an addendum or appendix to the article that appeared in the May number of THE BUILDER, the following notes by Bro. J. T. Thorpe in the Transactions of the Lodge of Research, No. 2429, of Leicester, England, will be of interest. The accompanying illustration is from a pen and ink drawing made from a photograph and is substantially accurate so far as the inscription is concerned. This, and the following remarks upon it, Bro. Thorpe has most kindly given permission to me to reproduce:
"These Masons' marks were found by Bro. Lt. Col. W. N. Hay, C.I.E., on a scarped rock in the Afghan fortress of Spin Baldak, after its capture.
"The basis of the marks is a five pointed star, or triple triangle, known by the name of Pentalpha from the Greek pente (five) and alpha (letter A), because it shows that letter in five different positions. This figure is quite a common Masonic emblem of considerable antiquity, being typical of the bond of Brotherly Love that unites the whole Fraternity.
"Mediaeval Masons considered it a symbol of deep wisdom and it is found among the architectural ornaments of many of the ecclesiastical edifices of the Middle Ages. It has also been employed for many ages throughout the East as a charm to resist evil spirits, and it was, perhaps, with this object in view that these particular marks were cut.
"At the five points of the Pentalpha are five sets of three tens and, in the center of the figure, a pentagram and five triangles, all of which are of significance and interest to every Mason who has been exalted to the Supreme Degree of the Holy Royal Arch.
"In addition to the geometrical figures, there are in three of the four corners of the group certain Afghan characters which when translated and written in English letters, read as follows:
- Top left corner — Arnjad Khan.
- Top right corner — blank.
- Bottom left corner — Mahomed Aslam.
- Bottom right corner — Attaulla.
"These were probably the names of the Afghan Masons who were employed at the erection of this fort."
In 1909 Bro. A. J. Dawes made an interesting communication to Quatuor Coronati Lodge Notes and Queries, A.Q.C. vol. xxii, in which certain alleged occurrences were cited which suggest that a recognizable Freemasonry might exist among the Pathans and other tribes in Afghanistan. The most interesting was the following: "Some years back an Afghan Sirdar demanded admission to a Lodge in India, proved himself, and was admitted. To the interpreter who was put at his service, he expressed surprise at the accuracy of the working and wondered how Masonry had spread to England.
This, if true, is very interesting and curious. But without further proof it would hardly be safe to accept it.
* * *
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
* * *
ST. JOHN'S DAY IN SUMMER
OF course all Masons know that the Fraternity has two patron saints, St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. Perhaps no one knows definitely how or why these two saints came to be considered the particular guiding geniuses of Freemasonry. There were other saints who were patrons of particular lodges and there seems to be no real reason why St. Michael, for example, was not accepted as a patron as readily as the two Sts. John. Possibly the London Masons who were the fathers of the Grand Lodge accepted the Sts. John as their patrons, or it is even conceivable that some of the lodges may have had one of them and others the other saint. The acceptance of both would thus partake of the nature of a compromise.
Some of the country lodges seem to have revered one and some the other, while there were others who accepted both. At least one lodge paid particular attention to St. Michael.
It is doubtless more than a mere coincidence that the Saints Days adopted by the Masonic Fraternity should coincide with the equinoxes and the solstices. St. John Baptist's Day, for example, comes very close to the summer solstice; they falling on June 24 and 21, respectively. St. John the Evangelist's Day is on Dec. 27, and the winter solstice on December 21. St. Michael's Day comes in September, very close to the fall equinox. These days were venerated in sun worship, and particularly in the Mithraic sect. At least one authority accuses Christianity of setting the date of its Christmas festival on Dec. 25 to correspond with the festival of the solstice celebrated by the followers of Mithraism. Mayhap some of our Masonic students see in this coincidence a reason for believing that Freemasonry is a descendant of Mithraism. They can reach such conclusions as best suit their convenience. There is no present reason for quarreling.
The thing that is interesting at this time is not the historical significance of these Saints Days, but the fact that it was almost an universal custom for lodges to hold their annual meetings on one of these days. There were other meetings, of course, but those gatherings at which all Masons were expected to be present took place on these days. Thus, one of these days was the date of the General Head Meeting Day, or the occasion of the General Assembly. Officers were elected for the ensuing year and were installed on these days.
Today the Grand Lodge of England celebrates both Saints Days.
American Grand Lodges are still following the custom so far as to mentioning the Sts. John as the patrons of Freemasonry, but the ritualistic reference to them is about as far as we go. There is no presence of St. John's Day meetings, as a general rule. There is no attempt upon the part of subordinate lodges to install on either day, in spite of the fact that St. John's Day in Winter, Dec. 27, is close enough to the end of the calendar year to satisfy almost anyone.
It is unfortunate that the lessons ritually taught by the references to our patron saints are not more deeply impressed by some formal observance of the days that have been set aside as theirs.
We decry innovations in the body of Masonry; we protest against ritual changes; and still we let such important and ancient customs as the celebration of St. John's Day lapse.
E. E. T.
* * *
INTOLERANCE AND TOLERATION
MOST words of social import and significance are very difficult to define. Technical terms, with which are to be classed those used in the various sciences, are clear and definite as a rule. But the great majority of words that are used to express human relationships are vague and general in meaning, and depend for their exact significance upon the context, upon the way in which they are used.
It follows that while they are clear enough, and adequate enough for purposes of describing the situations, actions and events of human life, they are little adapted for argument or discussion. Reflection will show that this must be so. When we use a given word in reference to some social relation or attitude, it is limited by the circumstances described, and still more by those that are understood. When we use it generally there are no limitations, and first one meaning and then another may be uppermost — which leads straight into ambiguity of expression and confusion of thought. An example may make this clear. We all know what the descriptive term "honest" means. We understand perfectly what an "honest man" is. But an "honest woman" means, or may mean, something quite different. Again it is said "honesty is the best policy." This is perfectly clear when a certain background of social ethics and beliefs is understood, and because the background is usually taken for granted the statement seems unquestionable. But when this background is questioned or denied, uncertainty at once arises. What is honesty as a policy? What kind of policy is honesty? Is it the honesty that keeps within the law? Or is it the honesty of him who loves his neighbor as himself? And a policy is good or bad, according to the end in view — and what is the end to which honesty is to be the means?
But this is not a word about which confusion is likely to arise, because that kind of conduct termed honest is very nearly unanimously agreed upon by all men. Even the dishonest prefer as a rule to imagine they are really honest, and they certainly desire honesty in other people. There are other terms in which this substantial agreement does not exist; "religion," for example, is one of them; and most words that are used in connection with religion are likewise variable in meaning; among them "intolerance."
It is very necessary in any discussion to define the terms we use; so much argument and dispute is at bottom little more than a logomachy, a fight about words, or their meanings. And in the case of words with a wide range of meaning it is almost always necessary to know something of their derivation and history in order to fully understand their use. "Intolerance" is evidently derived from "toleration," the privative or negative prefix "in" makes it equivalent to "the state of being not tolerant." Now when one word is derived from another it is natural to assume that the thing designated by it is also derived, or is at least later in time. But this does not follow. It may be, and often is the fact, that it has merely been distinguished later. Things that have never been questioned are often things without names, for language is a severely practical affair. Words are not invented for the sake of theoretical completeness, they come into existence only when needed to describe something new, or something newly seen. And this is the case with "intolerance." Until toleration became an important attitude, its opposite was nameless; although it is not too much to say that the thing called intolerance is not only the natural state of humankind, but of all organisms of whatever kind. For it is merely an aspect of the instinct of self-preservation, the tendency of an organized whole to persist and maintain itself in the presence of forces that would disrupt it. If this view be correct, then toleration can never be complete, it must always be a partial attitude on a background of native and inherent intolerance.
Now should any one be inclined to deny this (with or without vehemence) he is requested to recall that it has been premised that these words have very general meanings, and that certain propositions may be true of them in one sense and untrue in another. What we are trying to do here is to get at some underlying principle of general application, and not merely to speak in vague generalities.
Tolerance, as a social attitude, is very closely connected with religion, or rather, with the strife between the adherents of different religious creeds. It is one of the stock arguments of the Rationalists ( and a very telling argument, too) in their attacks on the Christian religion or religions. The argument is that the Christian religion introduced religious intolerance into a world previously quite innocent of it. Of course this is obviously not true in so sweeping a form, for no community has ever been tolerant of the infringement of established usages and customs, and no state has ever tolerated rebellion or treason.
But it may be said that we do not usually call these attitudes intolerant. And this may be admitted; for the point is, not whether they are called by the same name, but whether they are the same kind of thing. John Smith and Thomas Jones may be sons of the same mother in spite of bearing different surnames.
Let us, however, confine ourselves for the moment to religious intolerance. It is asserted that the three great monotheistic religions, the Jewish, the Christian and the Mohammedan, are alone in being intolerant, and that of the three the Christian is intolerant par excellence. This belief — for it is believed — is founded on a misapprehension. Other religions are quite as intolerant, only not about the same things. In fact it is only from the Christian point of view that this seems to be so, for the Rationalist opponents of religion are only members of Christian churches turned inside out — their hostility to religion and to belief in God being only a reaction from some form of Christian faith, and presupposes such faith. From the general point of view of the history and. evolution of religion the intolerance of Christians is seen to be only a special case.
In all organized religions, ritual has a prominent place — in most it has the only place, it is religion in fact. Only in the three religions above mentioned has it a competitor in creed or belief. It is necessary to make this quite clear. In most religions there is no creed — the gods worshipped are indifferent as to what is believed about them. They are interested only in what their worshippers do, or leave undone. Any neglect of the proper offerings, any infringement of tabu will anger them. Consequently, such things are not tolerated. But opinion or belief about the gods has no consequences good or bad, and so that is regarded with indifference, that is, tolerated.
But on precisely the same grounds, socially and humanly, a monotheistic religion cannot tolerate polytheism. Where there are, en hypothesi, a number of deities, a few more are easily assimilated. When the Great King of Babylon, or of Ninevah, conquered a city or a tribe — the gods of the vanquished were added to the celestial court of the conqueror's supreme god, just as the captive kings became his slaves. But a monotheism cannot do this, it must, to maintain itself, deny the existence of other gods. Hence, creed becomes of equal or greater consequence than ritual.
It is impossible here to show in detail how, in the necessity of the case, this emphasis on creed became still stronger in the Christian churches. The fact that it did is undeniable; and this is sufficient for our purpose, which is to see why intolerance took the form of persecution of heresy and heterodoxy among Christians.
The reason is not very far to seek, and it is a perfectly natural and human one. Men naturally transfer or "project" their own interests into the realm of the divine. They assume their deity to be as interested in ritual as they are, if ritual to them is important. Equally if "right belief" is the chief thing to them, they may suppose God will punish those who believe wrongly. The mystic knows, of course, that neither is intrinsically of any real importance; only as some ritual and some belief, of some kind, is necessary for men to live and act together. The reason then that wrong belief, heresy, must be combatted and extirpated, is because it is a menace to what is orthodox, whichever orthodoxy it may be. Heresy and infidelity are each a menace, because belief is subject to discussion and argument. Hostile argument shakes it. Those who are absolutely sure they are right are not intolerant of other beliefs. But churches have to consider the mental babes as well as the strong men, and policy is determined by the need the former have for milk, as they are always greatly in the majority.
An inherited belief must in the first place be imparted dogmatically. There is always a shock to the youthful believer to learn that his creed can even be questioned. The cogency of the arguments advanced against it does not matter, it is the psychological effect of the attack. Consequently no church has ever willingly permitted its creed to be discussed; it is only to be taught and expounded. Thus from the human and sociological viewpoint, Christian churches are intolerant by necessity — the necessity of self preservation and perpetuation. When to this is added the desire for dominance which is so strong in many people, and the desire for conformity which characterizes all communities — and each of these phenomena is ultimately sprung from the same root, self preservation — we are able to understand, even while we deplore, religious persecution in whatever form it appears.
Now when in any state or nation there are found two or more creeds, and the adherents of these creeds find that no one is able to abolish or suppress the others, a situation is created that necessitates a compromise, and this compromise is what is usually known as religious toleration. It is a choice of evils so far as the churches are concerned, because the mere co-existence of another creed in the community has the same effect as hostile criticism. It undermines the faith of the "true" believers insensibly. The eventual and natural result is that indifference towards religious creeds which is the distinguishing feature of so many people in all countries where religious toleration has existed for some generations. This indifference is frequently regarded as a virtue, as marking a higher stage of development. Really it is nothing of the kind. It merely means that religion and creed are regarded as of minor importance. The same people who are religiously tolerant are often fiercely intolerant on other matters which are important to them. As a matter of fact intolerance has very largely been transferred from the religious to the political sphere, because the state now has the dominant place, and has enforced peace on the rival creeds. Therefore, it takes the place the creed did originally, and is defended in the same blind, instinctive way. This attitude, however, is not called intolerance, but patriotism — though we must remember, too, that from the inside religious intolerance is zeal and devotion. It is always hard to realize how we appear to other people.
The tolerant attitude may thus be due merely to indifference, but it may also spring from a wider knowledge and more comprehensive understanding. And we find as a constant phenomenon that the degree of intolerance exhibited is in inverse proportion to the intellectual level. The greater the ignorance the more intolerant an individual or community will be found. And this again is inevitable, for the ignorant have not the aids and resources that knowledge gives. The highest type of mind can see that all creeds and all attitudes have their reason, and some basis in truth His view is comprehensive, and so needs not be in tolerant.
This is the tolerance which is the ideal of Freemasonry. Not that it has ever been realized, or that Freemasonry alone has upheld it. But it is founded, not on indifference to beliefs, but on a conviction that all beliefs held by good men are expressions of the same, or parts of the same, fundamental verities. Yet Masonry has its intolerance, too. It cannot tolerate bad moral character in its membership, because immorality (in the general sense) is disruptive of an association of such a character — far more than it is of a church, for the churches aim at converting and raising the sinner. In this respect Freemasonry is on a distinctively lower level.
There is no intention in all this to try to change the ordinary denotation of the word "toleration." It came into being to describe a religious compromise, and as has been observed, language is purely practical. All that has been attempted is to show why intolerance is not only natural, but inevitable; and also to show why, to those who exhibit it, it seems necessary and right. Further it is to point out that toleration is not always a virtue; it may even be a vice. Only when it springs from knowledge and sympathy has it any moral value. We may even say that none but a being who is omniscient and omnipotent could be absolutely tolerant; and that in measure as we are weak and ignorant we must be intolerant, physically, mentally and morally. True tolerance, in our sense, the Masonic sense, is not easy — it is the crown of a lifework of self-improvement and knowledge, of sympathy and understanding.
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THE WISCONSIN CONFERENCE
READERS of THE BUILDER will recall that last year a Conference of Masonic Librarians and Educators was held at Cedar Rapids, a similar gathering having taken place the year before at Detroit. Continuing the example of Michigan and Iowa, the Masons of Wisconsin arranged for the third Conference at Milwaukee, which was duly held on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of last month. The Grand Lodge Committee on Research and Education undertook the responsibility, with the active approval and concurrence of M.W. Bro. Fred L. Wright, Grand Master of Wisconsin, who indeed officially welcomed the delegates at the opening session.
Each of these Conferences has been a great success, and each has been an improvement on the previous one. Though there is nothing in the way of any organization to perpetuate them, they have proved of such value to those who participated in them that we may confidently expect them to be continued. Two or three jurisdictions are in friendly rivalry as to which shall undertake the calling of the fourth one in 1930.
In the Conference just held, more time was allowed for discussion than has been given before, and as a result this proved a more prominent and important feature. Even so, there was not time for all the papers that were prepared.
The Wisconsin Committee on Research is to publish the papers and discussions, and as soon as possible they will be presented in THE BUILDER.
As one of the delegates, the Editor must congratulate the Committee on the completeness of their arrangements and the efficient way in which everything was managed. The kindness and hospitality of the Milwaukee brethren were beyond praise. On the social side the Conference was a succession of banquets and festivities, Henry L. Palmer Lodge being the host one night and the Grand Master another. Aurora Lodge, No. 30, which follows a modified form of the old French rite in the German language, called a special meeting so that the delegates might be enabled to witness their mode of working. The first degree was exemplified, and it made the deepest impression upon all the visitors. The ceremony was characterized throughout with striking dignity and with all the old traditional formality and courtesy.
Among those present at the Conference were the Grand Master of Missouri, M. W. Bro. Byrne E. Bigger, who gave a paper on Grand Lodge Publications. Bro. Robert I. Clegg, Vice-President of the National Masonic Research Society, and Bro. C. C. Hunt, its General Secretary, discussed respectively the subjects of Masonic Education, Its Matter and Methods, and the Place of a Library in Masonic Education.
The program as arranged is given on a later page for the information of our readers.
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MASONIC EDUCATION IN MONTANA
ABOUT eighteen months ago the Grand Master of Montana, M. W. Bro. William J. Marshall, invited the cooperation of the National Masonic Research Society in a proposed educational movement in his jurisdiction. As matters developed the plan adopted was that the Research Society was authorized to approach the lodges in the state directly and urge upon them the organization of Study Clubs and the adoption of some definite program, preferably to begin with the Syllabus prepared by the Society as a first course in Masonic Education.
We were rather glad, in deciding to accept this task, that Montana is comparatively weak Masonically speaking, at least so far as numbers go; there being only a hundred and thirty odd lodges in the state. It meant a great deal of extra work of an experimental kind. Practically all of it fell on the shoulders of Bro. Thiemeyer.
Recently we have been obtaining reports of the result, primarily to present to the Grand Master. The figures are rather remarkable. Montana may be said to have "started from scratch" so far as education was concerned. In the first place the percentage of replies is unusually high, for a great many lodge secretaries are very poor correspondents outside of necessary official communications — and some are poor at that if rumors from Grand Secretarial offices are to be believed.
Many lodges were unable to do anything, not from lack of will or interest, but from sheer force of physical circumstances. The percentage of lodges which took up some form of educational work is approximately 50 per cent, which those who have experience in such matters will agree is very gratifying — small as the figures may seem to those who know nothing of the heartbreaking obstacles met with in any such enterprise.
There was no attempt to exert compulsion. We strongly advised against this; for such work has little value unless it be undertaken voluntarily, and with a real interest in learning more about Masonry. The work having been done by the advice and with the countenance of the Grand Master, and not by command, it will undoubtedly have deeper and more lasting effect.
We hope next month to present a detailed account of what has been done, as a study of what may be possible elsewhere.
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J. HUGO TATSCH
It will be of interest to members of the Society that Bro J. Hugo Tatsch, who is one of the best known Masonic students of America, and whose work is well and favorably known abroad, has resigned from the Curatorship of the Iowa Masonic Library at Cedar Rapids. This, it will be generally felt, is a great loss to the Library, as it is doubtful if there is anyone in the United States better fitted for such a position.
However, the position has to be frankly faced that in Masonry, or at least in the field of Masonic education and research, the laborer is not (apparently) regarded as worthy of his hire. The same ability and effort in other occupations will bring many times the financial remuneration. In fact Masonic study is by force of the indifference and misapprehension of the great body of the Craft confined perforce to those brethren who have independent means of livelihood or to those few who are indifferent to or willing to forego material success.
Bro. Tatsch, who is a Captain in the U.S.A. Reserve, is for the time being taking a course at Leavenworth, Kan. When this is completed we understand he intends to go to New York, where there is no doubt that his talents and special knowledge will be in request. This change will not affect his connection with the Research Society we are happy to say, and he will remain one of the Associate Editors of THE BUILDER.
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According to the rules of the Order we may not ask a man to become a member of it. How then are the members to spread abroad the Masonic faith? By deeds, not words. True, the Masonic faith is contained within the covers of the V.S.L., the guide of and to Masonic life, which should be exemplified in actions, not only on lodge night but in every act and deed of the daily life. The teaching and training in the lodge should receive exemplification outside. Hence the lodge work must not consist solely in degree conferring. Degree confirming must take an equally prominent place in the curriculum. The lodge is not only the place for the demonstration of ritual but it is also the place of instruction in fundamentals.
— South Australian Freemason.
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THE STUDY CLUB
THE MASONIC STUDY CLUB FORUM
Conducted by Bro. Herbert Hungerford
You Are Urged to Help Make This a Real Forum
All brothers interested in any phase of Masonic Education, especially those who believe in fostering the Masonic Study Club movement, are invited to send criticism, comments and, particularly, practical suggestions for furthering this movement. Those who are willing to help organize Round Table Discussion Groups or other Masonic Study Clubs in their Lodges or their districts are invited to send for Membership Blanks, etc., which will be supplied free of cost.
Herbert Hungerford, General Campaign Manager,
The Masonic Study Club Campaign, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
WHY does the Masonic Study Club movement progress so slowly? This is a key question. Its answer will disclose just what those who are attempting to foster the Study Club movement are up against. Let us face the facts frankly and fearlessly. Let us not dodge any feature or phase of the situation.
We know that there are many thousands of Freemasons who believe that the most vital problem of our Fraternity today is teaching our newly-made brethren the fundamental principles of Freemasonry and encouraging them in practicing these principles. In fact, I doubt if any thoughtful observer or leader in the Craft will dispute the claim that the educating of more of our members in the genuine art of Freemasonry is the paramount problem of our Fraternity today.
We know, likewise, that a fair percentage of our newly-made brethren will gladly avail themselves of an opportunity to learn more about the fundamentals of Freemasonry, providing they can obtain this knowledge without too great an expenditure of time, money and effort. From my personal observation, I believe, that at least seven out of ten newlymade Masons would be glad to enroll for at least a primary course of studies or discussions of the fundamentals of Freemasonry.
This does not imply that more than a small minority of our brethren are very seriously concerned about digging deeply into the study of Freemasonry or would be willing to devote any great amount of time, money and effort to Masonic Study.
The enthusiasts the "dyed-in-the-wool fans" of the Masonic Study movement seem to think that any brief and superficial study of the history, symbolism or teachings of Freemasonry is scarcely worth while. Here is where we, who are undertaking this present campaign on behalf of the Masonic Study Club movement, do not entirely agree with our more learned brethren. We hold to the old principle that creeping comes before walking and walking before running. We believe that many of those who enroll for our admittedly superficial introductory courses of Masonic Study are more likely thereby to acquire a taste or desire to dig more deeply into the lore and principles of the Craft. Likewise, we believe that even a little Masonic Study is better than none at all.
We heartily approve of the endeavors of our learned brethren to develop more Masonic scholars, but we also insist that what might be termed the kindergarten class of Masonic students are deserving of due consideration.
One answer to the question which opens this discussion, therefore, is that one of the factors which has hindered the progress of the Masonic Study Club Movement, heretofore, is the fact that the courses of study recommended usually have been "over the heads" of the rank and file. Even the so-called elementary courses have been too elaborate and deep for most of us.
But, this is not the real answer to the question. Getting right down to the "brass tacks" of the situation, the reason why more Masonic Study Clubs have not been organized is due to the fact that most of those who profess to believe in the value and importance of such clubs, simply talk about their views as to the advantages of Masonic Study and, likewise, deplore the lack of interest on the part of their brethren in this matter. But, how infrequently do these critics, these Masonic Study talkers, ever lift a finger in actually starting a Study Club? Answer this question honestly and you will find the real reason why there are only hundreds instead of thousands of Study Clubs.
To give a pertinent and practical illustration of this point. Since the writer began his series of articles on "Our Ancient Fraternity and Present Day Problems," more than two hundred brethren in all parts of the country have written to express their approval of our viewpoint that the stimulation of more Masonic Study Clubs is the most practical solution thus far proposed for the problems briefly reviewed in our series.
If each brother who has thus expressed approval will actually do his bit to form at least one Study Club, we surely will make a flying start in getting our present Study Club Campaign under way.
COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS
As stated in my announcement, I am anxious to conduct this department as a real forum, filled as fully as possible with comments and contributions from brothers from all sections who are interested in furthering the Study Club movement and are willing to pass along their views and, especially, their experiences for the benefit of their brethren.
This is written before our first announcement could reach many of our readers, consequently few comments and contributions have been received, excepting those from brethren who wrote me regarding my series on "Our Ancient Fraternity and Present Day Problems," which series was sort of a fore-runner for this forum. So, although some of the comments are not directly concerned with Masonic Study Clubs, selections are presented from the letters of several correspondents, because, indirectly at least, all problems of the Craft are concerned with Masonic Study.
W. Bro. Daniel B. Robinson, 5020 W. 23rd St., Cicero, Ill., President of the West Suburban Masonic Standard Club of the 17th Masonic District of his state, sends a mimeograph outline of the program used in his Lodge during his term as Master, in the year 1927. We present a Topical Outline of W. Bro. Robinson's Course.
MASONIC STUDY CLUB PROGRAM OF PRAIRIE STATE LODGE
- The Beginning of Free Masonry in America
- Masonry's Place in the Early History of America
- The Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man
- The Bible
- What and Why Is Masonry
- The First Degree (Symbolical)
- The Second Degree (Symbolical)
- The Third Degree (Legendary)
Bro. M. E. Gore, 51 Main St., Orange, N.J., also sent us a ritual designed to stimulate interest in Masonic Study Clubs, which we regret went astray in the mails. We hope to receive another copy from Bro. Gore for our next forum.
Bro. Philip Crossle, Assistant Secretary of The Lodge of Research, Dublin, Ireland, writes a most interesting letter which, if space permitted, we would like to quote in full. But we must confine our extract to the first two paragraphs of Bro. Crossle's letter, which give the keynote of his comments. Later we hope for further contributions from Bro. Crossle telling us something of the particular methods of his Lodge of Research.
I have been reading your recent series of essays in THE BUILDER with great interest. Much of what you say about the inner meaning of the teachings of our Antient Fraternity appeal to me so much that I feel your Study Club Forum, if conducted according to your practical point of view, would be of inestimable help to Masonic students who are not carried away by fanciful theories so prevalent these days.
The inner meaning of the symbolism of Freemasonry, as I endeavor to insist upon with my brethren here, must be based upon something more sublime and practical than a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbolism, a definition which has never appealed to me as embracing the foundation upon which our Antient Fraternity stands.
W. Bro. Franklin H. Reeder, P.M. of Colonial Lodge of Philadelphia, Pa., makes an excellent comment upon Freemasonry and Business, from which we quote the following brief extract:
When the question arises as to whether Freemasons should show preference to fellow members, it is easily answered by your own heart. If you are a true Mason, you will have a due regard for the rights of others, more especially our brethren in Freemasonry. As it takes not only push but pull to advance materially, we should always help a brother, when knowing him to be worthy and his cause just. Holy Writ informs us that If any provideth not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. The Quakers look out for each other and no one ever sees or hears of a Quaker begging. The Knights of Columbus always give preference to a Roman Catholic, and the children of darkness are wiser than the children of light. Masons should stand up more for Masons. Any true Mason will consider every other Mason worthy, unless proved otherwise, and will give him a reasonable amount of preference over a non-Mason and will do so as a privilege, and not as an obligation; and no true Mason would take advantage of such consideration and wrong his brother. One who would violate such confidence reposed in him should be regarded as an unworthy and false brother and should be treated as such.
Bro. G. A. Kenderdine, Iowa City, Iowa, takes a slightly different attitude, as shown by the following extracts from his most interesting letter:
I have been following your series in THE BUILDER with a great deal of interest. Many of your suggestions I agree with, and others, I think are counsels of perfection, but not practicable.
Let me ask this question squarely, in respect to business ethics. Can we, or should we, as an ethical proposition, expect from a brother Freemason in dealing with him, any greater degree of honesty, or service, than one can reasonably expect elsewhere? In other words, if a man is absolutely honest in his business dealings (and there are very few who don't draw the long bow sometime, as we all know. Must of us are guilty of at least gilding the lily and painting the rainbow when presenting a business proposition) but, as I say, if we are dealing honestly and giving a good quid pro quo, what more would another Mason have a right to ask or expect of us or we of him in dealing?
I don't think Masonry should be considered an exclusive virtue, although there are many who wear our badge, as someone has said recently, for the purpose of being called Rabbi, Rabbi, and being asked to eat in high places, there is no question about that. There is a growing tendency among people to prize their Masonic membership as a badge that, at some time at least, they were respectable in their community and to wear it as a sort of certificate in that direction with no intention of working at any of the duties or responsibilities of the Craft.
Masonry seems to be more popular than ever in point of men wanting to get into it, for the reason that I have expressed. Certainly interest in the average lodge is dying down and, despite the increase in the number of brethren holding proficiency certificates, the time will come when these badge-wearers will have to receive their degrees from teams of semi-professionals at least, who may have to be hired to take time from their other secular employment in order to perform this work.
Dr. A. J. Caldwell, Amarillo, Texas, Past Potentate of the Shrine, writes a most vigorous and pertinent letter from which we quote a few paragraphs:
In every age of recorded history, when an organization becomes creed bound, and therefore, ossified, a few progressive Entities have deserted the sinking craft and sought so-called "Salvation" in the life boats of progressive thought and a greater appreciation of truth. Within the organization of Masonry there is an ever- increasing number who are becoming dissatisfied with a few rudiments of Geometry; a few unimportant traditions, the meaning of which is imperfectly understood or totally unknown, and a few maxims of morality that have been preached and practiced for thousands of years.
Unconsciously or otherwise, the organization has and is building within itself a Robot or Frankenstein monster that is both certainly and surely causing its disintegration. Physical and mental inertia must be speedily overcome, in part, if this so- called Accepted Institution remains and functions, during the oncoming centuries.
We are deeply interested and greatly concerned that we, as an organization, assist a great number within the pale, toward acquiring not only further Light but more Light than we are now giving.
Space will not permit quotations from many other interesting and helpful comments, but we wish at least to make mention of a number of brethren whose letters have given us much encouragement. Also, we want sincerely to thank each of these brothers for their promise of cooperation and support in our Study Club Campaign and give each writer the assurance that we will be grateful to have them report fully regarding their efforts and experiences in fostering or organizing Study Clubs in their localities. Letters pledging support for the Masonic Study Club Campaign have recently come from the following brethren, and with such support the spread of the movement is assured:
- Prof. O. W. Dynes, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.
- Mr. Edson Davis, 191 N. Harris Ave., Columbus, O.
- Mr. C. W. Sehulz, Rex Hotel, Duluth, Minn.
- Mr. Alex Vanna, 1146 13th st., San Diego, Cal.
- Mr. E. C. Parmenter, Belmont, Vt.
- Mr. Raymond Williams, 845 S. National Ave., Fort Scott, Kans.
- Mr. Ernest w. Gruss, R. No. 6, Pox 317, Houston, Tex
- Mr. Samuel Pfrimmer, Corydon, Ind.
- Mr. W. M. Strom, Greenville, Texas.
THE EASIEST WAY TO ORGANIZE A MASONIC STUDY CLUB
With Keypoint Programs for Discussion and Study, Historical, Symbolical and Ethical
Bro. Herbert Hungerford
THAT graded courses of study must be provided which are adapted to the various ages, interests and tastes of all classes of students is a sound pedagogical principle which, I believe, should be applied to Masonic Education as well as to all other branches of knowledge.
To some Masonic scholars it may seem a sad situation that most members of our fraternity can only be interested in a superficial or extremely elementary study of the fundamentals of Freemasonry. Yet, this is a real condition and not a fancied theory. Therefore, we must face the fact that the introduction of Masonic Study into the average lodge should begin with what we might call the Primary Grade possibly, in many cases, kindergarten would be a better term.
Likewise, if we make Masonic Study appeal to the rank and file, we must accept the condition that the average Mason will not be willing to permit studies of any sort to interfere with or distract from the time and attention he devotes to the movies, sports, and other recreational and social affairs. Furthermore, the average Mason will become bored and drop out of the meetings if there is too much red tape officialism, or if the discussions go into matters too deep and mystical for ordinary understanding.
Keeping these plain, common-sense factors in mind, the easiest way to introduce Masonic Study into a Lodge is to begin without any great hurrah or whooperup speechmaking.
STARTING OUT IN THE RIGHT WAY
Experience has shown that many a time an enthusiastic Masonic orator has stirred up so much interest that a large group has begun a Masonic Study Club which, after just a few meetings, has entirely petered out, leaving those who started the club disillusioned and, perhaps, bitter over the indifference of their brethren towards "the deeper interests of life in general and Freemasonry in particular."
In every Lodge, I believe, it will be possible to discover a few members who will take a fairly keen interest in the hidden mysteries of the craft. But it is almost impossible to find out just who these members are by any check-up of the membership.
Experience indicates that the best way to discover the genuine Masonic students of any Lodge is to begin your Masonic Study Club work with a brief series of informal discussion group meetings, taking up at each meeting a topic of the most universal and elementary nature. For a few meetings of this character it will be possible to maintain the interest of quite a large number of members. But one important objective of these introductory discussions meetings will be to discover or develop a few genuine Masonic students who are likely to get together and take up more advanced work in Masonic Study.
On the other hand, my personal opinion is that every member who attends any of these introductory discussion group meetings will receive considerable benefit, so that the courses would be well worth while, even if none of the members should be encouraged to pursue the more advanced study of Masonic subjects. But, in most cases, I am sure you will find that your introductory discussions will start a number of the brethren on the way towards the keen enjoyment to be gained from digging more deeply into Masonic problems.
In presenting the following outlines for our Seven Keypoint Programs on Masonic History, Masonic Symbolism and Masonic Teachings, no apology is made for their incomplete and somewhat superficial character. It would be impossible to cover these subjects completely in seven short programs.
The reason we have arranged for seven meetings on each general Subject is obvious to all members of the Craft. The term, Keypoint, refers to the idea that each discussion is intended merely as a key to the door which opens up a broad field of information.
GROWING YOUR OWN STUDY COURSES
The brief topical outlines we present herewith are simply offered as seed-thoughts to enable each discussion group to "grow it's own" study course. We make no pretense that our outline programs are the best. On the contrary, our strong hope in offering them is that they will bring forth many suggestions and ideas for their improvement.
To change our figures from the seed-thought idea to what may be regarded as more of a Masonic comparison, our introductory outline programs are merely the rough framework for our proposed structure. We expect to modify and improve the construction of the programs in accordance with the suggestions for their betterment which we hope to draw from the experience of our well-informed brothers from all parts of the country.
Accordingly we not merely invite but most earnestly urge every interested reader to send his comment or criticism. Do not hesitate to point out any flaw or weakness that you may find, or to suggest any change or correction that you think would be an improvement. We shall gratefully welcome all comment from every possible source.
These Introductory Keypoint Programs actually will be arranged and constructed by the readers of THE BUILDER. At the outset we merely offer the topical headings for the seven meetings of each course. We propose, from month to month, to present a more elaborate outline of questions, items of interest and suggested references for the successive topics of each of the three general programs.
In brief, these Keypoint Programs will be conducted through this department of THE BUILDER and it is hoped that a goodly number of our readers will help us knock off the rough corners and construct a fairly smooth working course or rather, three courses to be used as the best possible introduction to the study of the main phases of Freemasonry.
The best possible way, and by far the most practical plan, to aid us in developing this Study Club Campaign is for every brother interested to get together a study club group and follow the program with us. It is not necessary that your discussion group be numerous or your plans elaborate. To simply get a few interested brethren to meet once a month and discuss together the question presented will be better than to attempt a more elaborate and formal organization.
Our references will be confined to the most popular and easily procured books on Masonic subjects, which may be found in any good library. It will be unnecessary for any member of the introductory discussion group to purchase any text-books, since all the data actually required will be given in THE BUILDER. Of course, it is hoped that the discussion will encourage some members of the group to read more Masonic literature, but that objective will be gained, usually, when the leader of the group conducts the discussions so enthusiastically as to stimulate deeper interest in the subject on the part of some of those participating in them.
Bear in mind that all the abundant resources of information of The National Masonic Research Society are available to every Study Club discussion group. All you have to do is to ask and you will receive advice or information on any Masonic question.
Finally, brethren, don't overlook the point that this puts the problem of fostering the Masonic Study Club movement up to you. If you really believe that more Masons ought to be better informed with regard to the principles of the institution, you are the one who should start the ball rolling. You can do it now with the least possible expense and effort. Instead of going about criticising the Craft for being indifferent or ignorant regarding the real fundamentals of Freemasonry, let us put a little action in the place of mere talk and we shall at least start things on the way towards the betterment of our beloved brotherhood.
Seven Keypoint Introductory Programs, Arranged for Round Table Discussion Groups
- Primitive Origins of Masonic Activities.
- Legendary Forerunners of Freemasonry.
- Early Records of Operative Freemasonry.
- The First Grand Lodges of England.
- Beginnings of the Craft in America.
- Patriotism, Persecution and Progress.
- Historical High Spots of the Past Fifty Years.
- The Origin, Development and Importance of Symbolism.
- The Major Symbols of the First Degree.
- The Minor Symbols of the First Degree.
- The Major Symbols of the Second Degree.
- The Minor Symbols of the Second Degree.
- The Major Symbols of the Third Degree.
- The Minor Symbols of the Third Degree.
- The Prime Importance of Character Building Through Self-Denial, Self-Control and Self-Culture.
- A Reverent and Reasonable Faith in the Fatherhood of God.
- The Practice of Brotherly Love in all Human Relationships.
- The Belief Life is Eternal and the Soul of Man is Immortal.
- The Profession and Practical Exemplification of the Spirit of True Democracy
- The Practice of Universal Tolerance, Unlimited Charity and Constant Loyalty.
- The Ultimate Triumph of Truth and Righteousness.
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The following is the program of the Milwaukee Conference referred to on a previous page:
INFORMAL CONFERENCE OF MASONIC LIBRARIANS AND
Egyptian Room, Scottish Rite Cathedral, Milwaukee. Wis.
May 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 1929
Henry A. Crosby
Chairman of the Conference
Thursday at 9:00 A. M.
Address of Welcome — M.W. Fred L. Wright, Grand Master
The Purpose of the Conference — Herbert N. Laflin
Opening of the Conference — H. A. Crosby
What Is Masonic Education? What Is There to Teach? What Can Be Taught, and How? — Robert I. Clegg
The Purpose and Possibility of Masonic Education — A paper by Prof. Roscoe Pound
The Place a Library Occupies in Masonic Education — C. C. Hunt
Thursday at 2:00 P.M.
The Small Masonic Library — A paper by J. H. Tatsch
The Possibility of Cooperation With the American Library Association — John T. Jenkins
The New York Grand Lodge Library – A paper by H.L. Haywood
Masonic Research; Its Methods and Possibilities — R.J. Meekren
Friday at 9:00 A M.
The Masonic Library and Its Relation the Social Welfare of the Community — Clara A. Richards
Study Clubs — E. E. Thiemeyer
Speakers' Contests — Frank T. Lodge
Speakers' Bureaus — Frank S. Moses
Friday at 2:00 P.M.
Education of a Corps of Masonic Speakers — W.C. Wicker
Grand Lodge Publications — Byrne E. Bigger
Masonic Journalism — F. H. Littlefield
Recapitulation of Successful Methods — Oliver Day Street
A thirty-minute period is provided for general discussion of each of the topics and this program is subject to additional numbers.
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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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THE OFFICERS OF THE LODGE. By Frank T. Lodge. Privately printed, paper, 64 pages.
THE author, M.W. Bro. Lodge, is a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Michigan, and there is a brief foreword from the Grand Master for 1928, M.W. Bro. F. H. Newton. It is being distributed by the Grand Lodge Service Commission of Michigan. But though especially written for the brethren of that state, it contains little or nothing that is not equally applicable in any other jurisdiction of the United States.
Manuals and Handbooks for the guidance of lodge officers we have had before, and many of them are most useful. The present work is on somewhat different lines, for the author tries to keep in view, or perhaps more accurately, to develop, the symbolical aspects of their relative positions in the hierarchy of the lodge and their stations and functions, combining with this, brief sketches of their particular duties and the special qualifications demanded to carry these out in the best way. It is prefaced by a short introductory chapter touching on a few of the "high spots" in the evolution of Freemasonry from an Operative Craft to a Speculative art. The next chapter is devoted to the lodge, in part of which the formal description in the lectures is discussed and certain features specially elaborated, and part is devoted to lodge "atmosphere." Bro. Lodge evidently feels quite strongly that the lodge with swollen membership that has become a characteristic of American Masonry is not, in practice, an unmixed blessing, and he describes with approval the small lodges of England and Europe where every member is the close friend, as well as brother, of all the others. In this the reviewer is in the heartiest accord, and he is glad to find so influential a Mason as Bro. Lodge saying plainly that
... a large increase in the number of lodges and a corresponding decrease in the membership of each lodge would mean far greater strength and value to the Masonic institution, and we cannot too deeply deplore the tremendous increase in the expense of running each lodge which has seemed to make these modern American methods necessary.
He goes on to point out that a few very large lodges have, by special effort and devoted work, managed to maintain a high level of fraternal feeling and usefulness, but it is admitted that such as these are very exceptional.
The last chapter is headed Suggestions, and it is interesting to note the author's regret that the old Masonic formalities of the "Banquet" have been so utterly and completely forgotten in America. It is indeed a great loss. The simplest food eaten together formally, as a fraternal rite, is far to be preferred to the most elaborate meal served as in a hotel, where the only object is to "get outside" as many of the good things as possible. Bro. Lodge also regrets the old time toasts — as probably do most American Masons who have been guests of English lodges where they are still given. He describes certain old customs, not Masonic, that used to be observed. The Masons of the eighteenth century seem merely to have adapted the common usages of the day, and thus made them distinctive of the Craft. Even the use of military phraseology, "charging," "handling your weapons," "firing" and so on, was quite common practice, and is referred to in the popular songs and drama of the period.
With one point in the brief sketch of the history of drinking toasts that is given, it is impossible to acquiesce, and we believe Bro. Lodge must have been badly misled by some inaccurate, not to say untrustworthy, authority. Treacherous attacks, attempts at assassination, and the like, at feasts have never been common, either among the early Teutonic races, from whom these drinking customs were directly derived, or among any other race. Such abuse of hospitality has always been exceptional, and though the early legends and history of most peoples contain instances of it, it is almost always a crime so dreadful that the guilty party was thenceforth accursed of gods and men, till Nemesis brought him to an unhappy end. This point, in such tales, may easily be overlooked by modern readers, for primitive story tellers never moralize, never offer judgments on their characters. The moral is in the story itself as a whole.
Another error, of less consequence, is to speak of the right as the dagger hand. The right was the sword hand, the dagger was used in the left. Except of course, that like the table fork in eating, if used alone it would probably be in the right hand. Toasts were only drunk kneeling when they were to some person to whom special loyalty and service were due. The true loving cup has three handles, not two. It was held, while drinking, by two of them, and when passed to the next man, he took it by the unoccupied handle first and then by one of the other two. If this were done in the same way each time the cup would be rotated on its axis once for every three drinkers. Loving cups and bottles were always passed "sun-wise" round the table.
In regard to inviting all Installed or Past Masters to sit in the East, this would not be pleasant or comfortable for them as American lodges are Usually arranged. But in other countries it is held to be highly improper for brethren of this rank to sit anywhere else, and lodges are furnished accordingly, with ample and comfortable seating arrangements in the East.
With practically all of the author's suggestions we heartily agree; the restoration of these lost formalities and courtesies would go far to help us regain that intimate fraternal atmosphere we have lost in the lodge and vainly seek in the "higher" orders and the various "playgrounds" of Masonry. We hope that Bro. Lodge's work will be widely disseminated, and as widely read.
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CAUSERIES INITIATIQUES POUR LE TRAVAIL EN LOGE D'APPRENTI. By Edouard E. Plantagenet. Published by V. Gloton, Paris. Paper, index, 190 pages.
THE author is well known in French Masonic circles, and though the present work is written, naturally, as a commentary on the symbolism of the French ritual, there is much in it of great value for Masons everywhere. Indeed, perhaps, of greater value to them for it would give them an entirely new viewpoint of many familiar things, and thus reveal still greater depth of meaning. As the title informs us, it is concerned entirely with the initiation in the first degree. Other similar "causeries" are in preparation, we are given to understand, for the second and third grades. The first "talk" is on Masonic Education, and the author says some very good things. For example:
It is evident that what we are to understand by Masonic instruction cannot be in any sense assimilated to the teaching, of every kind, that society offers to every man desirous of culture, and anxious to increase his knowledge. If this were not so it would be impossible to conceive how Freemasonry has been able to build itself up; we would be unable to explain the deep rooted causes of its persistence, and we should have to admit that its universality would have been unable to withstand the solvent action of its cultural mediocrity, and its inferiority as an educational institution.
This translation is a free one, but it gives the author's meaning. He goes on to say that
Under these conditions it is obviously erroneous to pretend that it is in our power, or that we have any mission, to seek, didactically, to influence the political opinions or philosophical [and religious] opinions of the neophyte who has entered our ranks.
Which gives a rather different impression of French Masonry than that so often presented in America.
Every man has his limits and is subject to the laws of his own being, a prisoner of the prejudices inculcated by his education; how then shall the neophyte be freed from this servitude merely by passing from the street into the Temple?
Here once more we have presented to us that essential difference between American Masonry as a whole and that of Europe. The former is taken, by the majority at least, as a social affair merely, as a kind of amusement. The European Mason incurably believes that it means something, and should accomplish something.
But what should it accomplish and how? M. Plantagenet's answer is doubtless largely personal — there is no orthodoxy in Masonry. He finds it in initiation. This implies, of course, much more than the mere performance of a ceremony.
The profane declares "I would be instructed." The ritual responds, "Give him light." Let us not confound these two terms. It is quite possible to illuminate without instruction, just as it is possible to be instructed while remaining a miserable prisoner of darkness.
A story is told of a Polish traveler in pre-war days who, vexed by the questionings of German customs officers on the French frontier, said to an English fellow passenger: "The French know nothing, but they understand everything. The Germans know everything and understand nothing." This kind of difference between people can often be observed, though such generalizations can never, at the best, be more than rough approximations. The difference is one of intelligence, which is not at all the same thing as knowledge of facts. But in the present case the reference is to much deeper levels. Perhaps the author would not agree with the description, but it seems that his understanding of Initiation is the gaining of an experience that is really mystical. The apprehension of something beyond the world of sense. But this experience, while the emotional reactions produced by the ritual in the Candidate's mind and heart will aid, is ultimately only gained by his own effort, by meditation on the symbols offered to him. Other symbols might serve equally well; there are many roads.
The ceremony of reception, in effect, teaches us that the character of Mason is only acquired little by little, and never by privilege of age or seniority, or by the prestige of degrees, but solely by patient effort after perfection.
The ritual shows the stages and indicates the direction to be taken, teaching the apprentice how
to work upon the plane which is proper to his condition; by which labor he will elevate himself to a higher level before he is aware.
The explanations of the various symbols is different from those to which we are accustomed, for the interpretations of European Masonry have developed from those of the eighteenth century very much on a line apart from that taken in America. But the final effect is much the same. It only goes to show once more that symbols have no definite meanings — they are suggestive, and consequently never exhausted.
The book contains also a translation of the first Book of Constitutions, the author maintaining, and (as the reviewer thinks) proving, that previous translations into the French language have been inaccurate and misleading. Like most French Masonic writers he insists that the first of the "Old Charges," "Concerning God and Religion," is the universal foundation law for Masonry, and not later modifications made in Anglo-Saxon countries. The argument is one that has never been fairly met by those who would force their own religious conceptions upon Masonry.
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THE VATICAN-ITALIAN ACCORD. Discussed by Count Carlo Sforza, Charles Clinton Marshal and John A. Ryan, D. D. Pamphlet No. 56 of the Foreign Policy Association. Paper, 31 pages.
THE discussion was the one hundred and sixteenth of the Luncheon Debates of the Foreign Policy Association of New York, and took place the sixteenth of last March, while the new concordat between the Pope and the Italian dictator was still "front page" news. Count Sforza's reputation as a diplomat and patriot hardly needs mention. Mr. Marshall is even better known in America, since his Open Letter to Governor Smith, while Dr. Ryan is the well known Roman Catholic controversialist and apologist.
One judges from Count Sforza's address, though delicately and diplomatically phrased, that he is none too well assured as to the outcome of the newly ratified bargain between church and state in Italy. He insisted that those Italians who had, in the past, opposed the Papacy as a temporal sovereignty were, according to their lights, faithful sons of the church.
Mr. Marshall took the view that the assertions freely made that the arrangement was a private and domestic affair, not touching the interests of the rest of the world, were quite erroneous, and that the whole world might in fact be very much affected by it. His contention was that, so far as claims go, the Italian government, that is, Mussolini, acknowledged the Pope's universal moral supremacy over all nations and peoples. That in fact it is an alliance between two absolutisms, between which not a shred of freedom is left to the Italian in his native land.
Dr. Ryan made a very clever defense of the new treaty, belittling those points in which others see potential mischief, and by a series of skilfully arranged comparisons sought to give the impression that the Roman church was to get no more in Italy than any church has in the United States. All that he said is doubtless quite true, but the entirely different constitutions and traditions of the two countries make any such point for point comparison quite misleading.
The set addresses were followed by a debate which was opened by Mr. James P. Roe, whose pamphlet on Fascism, Masonry and the Vatican in Italy was reviewed in these pages last month. As was to be expected he defended the Fascist regime and sought to show that Mussolini had gained by it far more than he paid. In this most competent observers in Europe seem to agree with him — it being thought that the dictator has probably lengthened his occupancy of supreme power, for few believe Fascism is permanent. But political prophecies are notoriously dangerous — for the prophet's reputation.
The pamphlet is to be recommended to all those interested in the future of international developments, and of the part the Papacy aspires to play therein.
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THE GOD OF SCIENCE. By Arvid Reuterdahl. Published by the Arya Company. Cloth, table of contents, index, xvi and 312 pages. Price $3.15.
THIS is a very curious work. At first one is inclined from general appearances to class it as one of the many freak books that are published as the gospel of some new cult, or way of life, or mode of healing. In spite of the fact that it is printed in clear type on good paper, the impression persists that it belongs in this category. Analysis seems to point to this being due to improper balance of the black and white on the page. For the large type used should have been leaded, and it demands wider margins. In addition to this the text is overcapitalized to an extraordinary extent. This seems to have been done with the idea of giving emphasis, but emphasis has entirely been lost. The same may be said about the use of italics. A further disfigurement to the pages is the inclusion of references in the text, between brackets. It would have been much better to have followed the usual convention and put them in small type as footnotes.
Added to these external features which tend to prejudice the would-be reader against the book, there are difficulties in the arrangement and style. Apparently the intention was that the presentation should be popular — at least to some limited extent. It seems, as so often happens when men of deep erudition attempt to popularize their theories, to fall between two stools. Much of the detail given would be unnecessary were the work intended only for the expert, but at the same time it is too abstruse to be easily grasped by the intelligent but unlearned reader (it is quite certain that Dr. Reuterdahl is not writing for the unintelligent) and the result is that it is not at all easy to follow the main course of the argument.
This has not been written with any idea of belittling or derogating from the real value of the work. Indeed exactly the reverse. The shell may be hard but it is distinctly worth the effort to crack it to get at the kernel within. Naturally, the appeal will be comparatively a limited one. In the first place only the intelligent need attempt to read it, and it will certainly be easier for those with some knowledge of the methods and results of modern scientific research. And secondly only those who are really interested, for whatever reason, or from whatever point of view, in the question of ultimate origins and the real relation of man to the universe will find it worth the effort of reading. But for those so qualified it is indeed an important contribution to the subject.
Dr. Reuterdahl approaches the subject from a rather unusual direction. He is a physicist and mathematician of unquestionable standing, although he is not in the fashionable mode, the scientific bon ton of the moment. For there are fashions in science as in everything else. This is not only natural, but practically inevitable. Scientists are human beings, and like gold diggers they flock to any point where a "strike" has been made. When that ground has been thoroughly worked and exhausted, some new line will be taken. This produces satisfactory results in the long run, but it is always well that there should be some who refuse to follow the crowd, who stand somewhere apart and give us perspective by considering things from another point of view — which in a few years may quite possibly itself become the fashionable one.
The author's main contention in the present work is that we must infer the real existence of God from the very nature of the world, taken as a whole. That such an inference is as proper and as inevitable as the accepted inferences regarding the existence of atoms and their constituent particles, protons, electrons, and so on. But as has been said, this main thesis is continually being obscured by the introduction of detail of scientific investigations and resultant hypotheses. It would not be fair to say these have no place in the argument, but it might be said that they are somewhat misplaced. Which is to say that the argument suffers from its arrangement, or perhaps more accurately from its presentment.
The first step undertaken is really a resumé of the history, or progress of speculation and investigation into the nature of matter, leading up to the present status where the theory of its being really hypostatized energy is generally held in some form or other. In this the point is emphasized that our conclusions on these points are all inferences based on observed phenomena. Having thus linked up matter with energy, the latter is then similarly discussed, and the nonsensical nature, in the literal sense, of all mechanistic or materialistic theories of the universe is stressed. No theory, the author insists, and the present reviewer would agree that he does so with justice, that regards the universe as some kind of self-winding clock is logically tenable. Energy, at least in the various physical forms, mechanical, electrical, chemical and so on, is constantly being degraded into heat; so that if there be not a constant and infinite supply of new energy flowing into the system, everything must eventually come to a stop, a permanent equilibrium devoid of all motion — a dead world in fact. No dodging of the issue is possible. And the fact that the clock is running down implies that it must have been started, at some time. Or probably that time began when it was started.
Many scientists evade this issue by saying that questions of ultimate origins are without significance. Which, so far as any specialized branch of science is concerned is perfectly true. But for science as a whole, for mankind in general, they are not insignificant. Upon such questions depend our conclusions as to whether the world and all in it, including men, are merely machines, or whether there be something more behind the physical and material world.
The next stage in the argument is the distinction of levels of energy ranging from the purely physical up to what the author calls "deific." At bottom the argument seems to rest on the old dilemma; is the higher to be understood in terms of the lower, or the lower in terms of the higher. At bottom, that is the fundamental question, the parting of the ways.
All through the book there is much keen, and effective criticism of the views and theories with which the author disagrees. The atheists, agnostics and sceptics — the various modern cults, Einstein and the various hyper-geometrics and super-mathematics, are touched on, and searchingly criticized, and dismissed.
One cannot help but feel that a deeper acquaintance with theology would have led to more respect for it. Theologians, one uses the past tense as there are very few today, were not fools. And no honest exercise of the intellect is wholly valueless. It is evident that when Dr. Reuterdahl (and the same is true of hundreds of other writers ) inveighs against theology — dogmatic and intolerant — that they are not speaking of theology, of which they evidently know little, but of popular presentations of various religious creeds, whose preachers are anything but theologians.
The final conclusions reached by the author seem to be as follows: Personality persists — the life or mental energy in each one of us is not merely emptied into an infinite reservoir of energy, like a bucket of water thrown into the sea; but though it becomes more intimately at one with the whole, it yet retains its own entity. The Deity, who is this containing reservoir, is not an abstraction, a pantheistic inclusion of the whole universe, because It — Dr. Rueterdahl objects to anthropomorphic pronouns here — is more than the universe. While very little is said as to the character of this scientific God, it is to be gathered that It is the source and origin of everything, and higher and greater than everything — including man. And from that, most of what is enshrined in the creeds of the world Theisms would seem to follow by logical inference.
In spite of all its difficulties it is a book that should be read by everyone who has been so much affected by the results of modern science as to wonder whether anything "scientific" can be advanced in favor of religious faith, or its essential content.
From one or two references one might suppose that the author is a Mason, but of this the reviewer has no certain knowledge.
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THE MAGIC ISLAND. By W. B. Seabrook. Published by Harcourt, Brace & Company, New York. Cloth, table of contents, appendix, 386 pages. Illustrations by Alexander King. Price $3.70.
Mr. Seabrook is an enviable person; he is able to go out into strange places and see and hear almost unbelievable things. Most of us, even if we were able to travel at will to the ends of the earth, would see nothing but exteriors. We should take with us our habits, prejudices and inhibitions, that would raise an insurmountable barrier which could not be broken through either from without or within. The Magic Island is Hayti, that beautiful mountainous island which until recently was an independent republic of a people of negro blood. This democratic government ruled entirely by blacks has existed for well over a century. The famous Christophe, who was the central character in John Vandercook's recent book Black Majesty, was the first independent ruler of the island. Until this negro made himself a throne through revolution the island was the property of France. Christophe declared its independence, and it has to this day remained a sovereign state, though the U.S.A. is now exercising a not very clearly defined protectorate over it.
Mr. Seabrook spent several months in Hayti endeavoring to learn something of the customs and religions of the people. Possibly due to his vivid style, perhaps to his unusual powers of observation and his complete lack of prejudice and preconception, he has succeeded in some inexplicable way in catching the very soul of the island . The reader cannot help but feel that Hayti is an island pregnant with mystery and teeming with the magic of primitive peoples. It is, in very truth, a Magic Island.
Strictly speaking the book does not fall into the category of Masonic works. It contains, however, a discussion of a peculiar type of religion that should appeal to every Mason because of strange resemblances to Masonic ritual that are to be found in some of the ceremonials. For apparent reasons it is not desirable to indicate these parallels in this review. Doubtless this statement will be taken in some quarters as additional support of the contention that Masonry practices devil worship, witchcraft, and the like. But those who are interested in seeking parallels between Masonic ceremonials and primitive religions will find much valuable material contained between the covers of Mr. Seabrook's work.
The book is divided into four parts, really it falls into two divisions. The third and fourth sections dealing mainly with those things that any cultivated, humanly sympathetic traveler might have seen. The cultivated society of the capital, the government that receives stability from the American occupation at the price of going in leading-strings. Such things are — perhaps needs must be — but it seems too bad that it should be accompanied by the introduction of hitherto unknown racial prejudices. One cannot help feeling glad that the Haytians show a proper resentment at this, and that they have a fair chance of maintaining their self-respect, if they will only be true to their own culture. Their own by adoption, of course, for theirs is a thoroughly Latin, or more specifically French culture.
The French cultural antecedents of the island account, perhaps, for the peculiar mixture of custom that is now prevalent. The primitive African nature survives along with the veneer of French civilization and strangely enough they are not working side by side, but are so completely interwoven that an entirely new culture has developed. The written language of the island is French, but the spoken tongue is Creole. The description of this tongue which forms a small part of The Magic Island should be valuable from a linguistic point of view. Mr. Seabrook's analysis is brief, but he furnishes references which will enable one to pursue a study of this blending of French with the savage African tongues if he feels so inclined.
But, as has been said, this part of the book, interesting as it is, might have been observed and set down by any visitor; the first part must surely be unique. If the cultivated classes are maintaining their culture in one way, the masses are preserving their savagery in wholly another. Mr. Seabrook is quite possibly the first person without negro blood in his veins to have been initiated into the mysteries of voodoo. It is true that sundry anthropologists and administrators have become members of the secret societies of Africa, but voodoo is not the same. It is a religion, evidently an eclectic religion. The slaves imported into the island in the old days of the French regime came from many tribes and races, and they were all superficially Christianized. The result has been a melange of many elements, that has become systematized into something quite new, though it is more pagan than Christian.
Mr. Seabrook is not a scientific anthropologist, or student of comparative religion. He is a literateur with a gift of vivid description, a boundless tolerance and apparently a complete lack of any social or religious prejudice; and with that the art of gaining the confidence of people who have the best of reasons to be suspicious and reserved with strangers.
The elements of Voodoo and Haytian witchcraft, which are not at all the same thing, it seems, will not be new to students of these subjects, though their details and the new combinations in which they appear will doubtless be welcome. The sexual characteristics seem to be strongly pronounced, as would be expected; though that is but following the fashion of the moment, as do the hideous drawings with which the book is illustrated. It may be that they will, as presumably was the intention, heighten the effect of uncanniness and horror found in the text, but they certainly add nothing to our knowledge, as do the photographs reproduced in the appendix.
The mass of the blacks belong to either the witchcraft or voodoo sects. Both are strictly forbidden by law, but the government is beginning to take a charitable view and to overlook the legal code, thus permitting both religions to function with no more than an outward show of secrecy. This attitude is, of course, unofficial; its strength, or weakness, rests in the constables who are not immune to the persuasive powers of silver. Good Catholics, and many Christians of other denominations, would doubtless be horrified at some of the ceremonies. They are basically primitive but intermingled with their elemental character is much that is borrowed from Christianity. The Christian doctrines were, of course, brought to the island by the missionaries of the Roman Catholic Church during the French occupation, and many religious bodies have sent missionaries since. Perhaps what has actually happened in Hayti has occurred in other places that have been fruitful fields for missionary enterprise. It may be that elsewhere the missionary work has been more effective, and that what is found in Hayti is only an example of incomplete Christianization; but whatever may be the solution, the fact remains that there are Christian ceremonies grafted on to primitive religious rites in a most unusual manner, in both the voodooism and witchcraft of Hayti. This situation mayhap represents one of the sports so frequently encountered in any evolution. Instead of following the normal religious development, and finding Christianity absorbing the characteristics of its more primitive forerunners as we do in other countries, the process is reversed and the primitive has swallowed the Christian.
Reading a description of the rites practiced in these cults would incline one to the opinion that the witchcraft of Medieval Europe had come to light again. Certainly many people who did not completely understand the mental attitude of the Haytian negro would accuse them of practicing Satanism. Mr. Seabrook shows quite clearly, however, that this is not so. What has actually happened is that the primitive religions and the Christian ceremonies have been grafted into each other forming a religion different *tom either of its forebears, but partaking of the nature of both of them. The conglomeration is a queer one and would be interesting aside from the rites which recall some of Masonic symbolism. The old fertility rites which came over into the Christian religion are found working side by side with their more modern children.
The student of these subjects will find the work of value, he will know how to distinguish the observed facts from the author's explanations, and to estimate the value of the latter. It is very strong meat, and hardly meet for babes. And those with definite religious beliefs of their own will find it a challenge that may be wholesome, if it sets them to thinking about the realities and foundations of their own creed. M. T.
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THE OUTLINE OF TEMPLE BUILDING. By Frederick G. Mueller. Privately printed, stiff paper, profusely illustrated, 16 pages.
IT is very curious, indeed, considering the enormous number of Masonic Temples that have been erected in the United States, and the unsatisfied desire for yet more in localities as yet not appropriately provided, that practically nothing has been published that would be of assistance to building committees and architects in planning, constructing and financing such edifices.
Bro. Mueller is himself an architect and has come up against the problem himself, and has presented in compressed form the result of his experience. He starts from the very beginning, the organizing of sentiment among the members of the lodge or lodges and other bodies concerned in favor of building when that is called for. Then follows a brief discussion of the formation of holding companies or corporations, to assume the responsibilities of financing, erection and maintenance. Follows a brief notice of the kind of architect, and his qualifications, who should be employed. The next stage is to make up a schedule of the various purposes for which the building is to serve, as a basis for the plans. The requirements of the site, the design, and the equipment are then touched upon, and after that the all important question of finance. To this more space is given than to any other heading. The last pages deal with the engineering, contracts and supervision of erection.
There is included a very interesting chart which shows at a glance every point that a building committee will have to keep in mind and the relative sequence of each. It would serve admirably, with modifications, as an advertising poster in a temple "campaign."
The pamphlet should be of real service, but it can only be regarded as a stop-gap. What is needed is a work of some size dealing with all the problems here mentioned in greater detail, and with full reference to actual buildings embodying various solutions, and the experience based upon them. Such a book is needed, but it is doubtful whether sufficient demand could be found for it to make the writing more than a labor of love, and the publishing a desperate venture. So probably it will not be written just yet.
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HOW TO ORGANIZE THE AMATEUR BAND AND ORCHESTRA. By Ralph H. Morn, with an introduction by Willem van Hoogstruaten. Cloth, illustrated, x and 117 pages. Price $1.60.
MANY Masonic bodies have bands and orchestras, and more would like to have them. For the latter the present work will give information quite invaluable, and very probably not without value to the former.
The author confesses quite frankly that the several chapters of his book were written in the first place as a series of articles for publication in a periodical devoted to music. This came to an untimely end before all the articles had been "run." This must have been post hoc and not propter hoc, for the articles should have kept the magazine alive had that been possible!
The author further says that he decided not to recast his material for publication in bookform, and we believe this was a happy decision, for the familiar and at times humorous style makes the chapters readable even for those not- intending to undertake the formidable task of creating an amateur orchestra or band. Incidentally a very great deal of what is said applies equally well to choir and chorus work.
The almost universal distribution of gramophones and wireless sets should lead to an increase in musical interest generally. But there is always a something lacking in such means of transmission even at their best. While the really musical will always desire to produce music themselves. And of course, there is no substitute for a band, for marches and parades.
The several chapters of the book cover the formation of an amateur band or orchestra and the various things that are necessary to make it successful, including the conduct of rehearsals and the special qualifications of the functionaries, from conductor to publicity man; the various pitfalls to be avoided are discussed and many hints given to make it easier to "put it over," all of which are evidently based on experience, and one can well believe, dearly bought experience, on someone's part. It is a book that everyone who has the idea in mind that a band or orchestra might be an excellent addition to the activities of his lodge or commandery, or of his community, should be read and re-read. And having done so, if he has not been warned off by the difficulties to be met, he will probably want to have it by him as a chart to help him avoid the shoals and reefs that such an organization is bound to encounter on the human and social side. For it is these that wreck amateur choirs and orchestras, and not lack of musical ability.
The book is well printed on good paper, and the proof reading has been most carefully done, which too often is not the case in such handbooks.
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NEW BOOKS RECEIVED
ERNST og FALK, Samtaler for Frimurere. By G. E. Lessing. Translated, with notes, into Danish by P. A. Fenger. Published by Levin & Munkspuard, Copenhagen. Stiff paper, index, 77 pages.
This is a Danish version of Lessing's well known Masonic Dialogues, Ernst and Falk. Bro. Fenger has been a contributor to THE BUILDER in the past, his last article appearing in the tenth volume.
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CAGLIOSTRO. By Johannes von Guenther. Translated by Huntley Paterson. Published by Harper & Bros. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, xii and 445 pages. Price $3.65.
A rather sensational novel based on the usually accepted accounts of the life of Cagliostro. The Masonic connections of the mysterious adventurer are elaborated, though the author has rather curious ideas about Masonic Lodges and their organization. As fiction, with a vague background of fact, the work will interest many readers.
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THE HOLY KABBALAH. By A. E. Waite. Published by Williams & Norgate, Ltd., London, also by the Macmillan Co., New York. Cloth, analytical table of contents, illustrated, index, xxvi and 686 pages. Price $7.75.
"A study of the Secret Tradition in Israel," critical and interpretative. The author avoids the Scylla of credulity and the Charybdis of scepticism. The work will be indispensable to those who want to know what the Kabbalah really was, and how to estimate it and its value to humanity.
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WITCHCRAFT IN OLD AND NEW ENGLAND. By George Lyman Kittredge. Published by the Harvard University Press. Table of contents, notes, index, x and 641 pages. Price $6.25.
An exhaustive study of witchcraft among the English people. The author disagrees equally with recent writers who believe in the objective reality of witchcraft and demonism, and those who consider it to have been an organized secret religion. He corrects a number of erroneous, but widely accepted opinions; among them that James I was responsible for a recrudescence of the persecution of witches. The real facts seem to be that he discouraged it as much as he was able. The notes, which take up nearly one-third of the volume, will be most valuable to the student seeking for first-hand materials on the subject.
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PHEIDIAS. By John Galen Howard. Published by the Macmillan Co. Cloth, table of contents, x and 287 pages. Price $2.65.
A very unusual piece of work for the present day. It is the life story of the great Greek sculptor in blank verse, as related to his friend Pantarkes of Olympia. The author has utilized all the fragmentary biographical notices of his hero, and accepts that version of his death which makes him the victim of the jealousy of the Athenians, like Socrates. The Epilogue is from the imaginary Pantarkes himself, and describes Pheidias' defense against the charge of sacrilege before the court of the Areopagus. While the modern reader is not accustomed to blank verse as the medium of a story, in this case he will be well advised to read it. It gives intimately the spiritual evolution of an artist, and could only have been written by an artist.
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DE LEERLINGSINWIJDINGEN DE LEERLINGSGRAAD. BY Dr. W. H. Denier Van der Gon. Published by the Maconnieke Vereeiniging tot Bestudeering Van Symbolen en Ritualen (Masonic Association for Study of Symbolism in Ritual). Paper, table of contents, index, 171 pages.
A study of the symbolism of the Apprentice Degree in the Rite of the Netherlands.
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HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE HOLY ROYAL ARCH RITUAL. By the Rev. F. deP. Castells. Published by A. Lewis, London. Cloth, table of contents, index, 119 pages. Price $2.75.
A discussion of the Royal Arch ritual from the point of view of its significance in the light of what is known of its history. It naturally refers especially to the English Royal Arch, though the author exhibits wider knowledge of American rituals than is apparently possessed by many other British Masonic writers. In a sense the present book is a sequel, or at least the complement, of the earlier work, The Antiquity of the Holy Royal Arch, which was reviewed in THE BUILDER some time ago. To a considerable extent the author's views seem to be peculiar to himself.
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THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE
SOME FRIENDLY CRITICISM
I have received both your letters and I thank you very much for what you say. I am also emboldened to make one or two observations in regard to THE BUILDER, or rather the form in which it is presented. In doing so I hope what I say will not be construed as petulant fault-finding, indeed I am sure it will not, as it is with the intention of making things easier for the vast army of readers of the journal you have the responsibility and honor of conducting.
The first observation I have to make is in respect of notes to articles; these are assembled at the end of the article and to consult them necessitates often turning over several pages, resulting in a break of the continuity much greater than if the notes were inserted at the bottom of the page to which they referred. The next observation is in respect to the splitting of articles. Rarely is an article or installment of any length brought to a conclusion in the same position of the journal as it begins, and I hesitate to estimate the time lost in hunting up the continuation and in turning back again carefully to avoid skipping anything.
Having said this I feel I must add that there is no department of THE BUILDER in which I do not take an interest, and I find it difficult to say which I admire most.
I note that the "Ancients" are still regarded as schismatics by at least one of your contributors, whose interesting article is flawed by a term proved years ago to be wrong. I refer to Bro. Bennett's article on DeWitt Clinton, page 262, September, 1928.
The Editor would endorse every suggestion made by Bro. J. H. and would gladly adopt them if —
Unfortunately he is not omnipotent (which may seem a strange confession) and things often have to be done as they can. There are difficulties, technical and other, in the way of attaining the most desirable "make up" for THE BUILDER, but we live in hope that they may be overcome.
In regard to the second matter brought up, the explanation is fairly simple. Most American Masons who read have read or consulted the works of Mackey and Gould. Both these authors, and their followers, took the older view that the Ancients were schismatics and rebels. Very few American Masons whether they read or not, have ever heard of the later work of Sadler, and his convincing proof that the old orthodox view was wrong headed and unjust, and in the first place merely propaganda for one party. Consequently it is not surprising if even otherwise well informed brethren should take the view so emphatically presented by two writers who are held in such high estimation as authorities in Masonic history. But it is to be hoped that gradually the real facts will soak into the consciousness of those who aspire to write for the information of Masonic readers.
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As a Mason who was in the War I have been keenly interested in Bro. Irwin's articles. I did not have the luck to come across any military lodge, but I can realize how delighted I should have been had the opportunity been afforded me of visiting one; and still more of belonging to one.
Nevertheless, while I fully approve of military lodges, in peace time as well as war for that matter, I cannot help sympathizing with Bro. Allen C. Terhune, whose letter to the Grand Master of Kentucky is given at page 106 of your April number. It seems to me that the crowd of candidates put through could not have been properly assimilated. Had I been a member of a military lodge I should not have cared to see more than one or two candidates at a meeting, and they the pick of those offered. A war time lodge is a godsend to Masons in military service, but I cannot see why such a lodge should be a degree mill any more than in peace time; I do not approve of degree mills anyway. Indeed I believe that young men in the army were attracted to the Fraternity by mistaken ideas of its objects, and with motives that verged closely on the improper and interested, and that in consequence many of them who succeeded in gaining admission were bound to be disappointed.
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PRESENT DAY PROBLEMS
The articles of Brother Hungerford are timely and instructive. Surely, every brother is deriving benefit from them. His assertion that the final aim of Freemasonry is the brotherhood of man cannot be wrong. This is in keeping with the teachings of all the great teachers of all time.
Whether the discussion of political subjects within the portals of the lodge would work for good or ill, is very hard to say. It should work for the better, for certainly, the whole framework of civilization depends upon politics, and the better every citizen understands them, the better will our political house be. Study is the great necessity of the day.
The article of Brother Shepherd in the March number was also very good. We cannot learn too much of the origin of things.
Among the newer books that throw light on the origin and development of Masonic signs, symbols and ceremonials are The Lost Continent of Mu, The Problem of Atlantis, Bison of Clay, and Village Life in England. The Lost Continent of Mu is especially instructive and every Freemason could read it with profit.
Frank S. Fair, Washington.
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Bro. G. R. Kenderdine, of Iowa, seems disturbed by what he calls fundamentalism in my article published in the April BUILDER. The Standard gives as the primary definition of fundamental, "Relating to or fulfilling the purpose of a foundation or ground work; indispensable; primary; essential; basal."
Certainly, I believe in fundamentals. "If this be treason make the most of it." It was reported that the engineer who built a California dam some years ago did not go down to bed rock at every point. He was not a practical fundamentalist. His modernism cost hundreds of lives.
Bro. Kenderdine thinks many Grand Lodges are not in accord with Missouri in requiring from petitioners a "firm belief in the one living and true God," and doubts whether Missouri today would reaffirm the stand it took forty years ago in a case I cited. Well, only a few years ago it did reaffirm that position. In 1927 we adopted a special report on Recognition of Foreign Grand Lodges, drawn up by M.W. Bro. Joseph S. McIntyre, Grand Master in 1923. This report has already been quoted with evident approval by many correspondents of other Grand Lodges. In my work as correspondent for Missouri, I have already reviewed the proceedings of thirty-eight Grand Lodges and have failed to notice any dissent from our position. I quote only one item of that report:
"Fifth: That every candidate initiated under said Jurisdiction shall have and express an unfaltering belief in a Supreme Being as the Father of all Mankind, the G.A.O.T.U., and shall also have and express a belief in the immortality of the soul."
Bro. Kenderdine is unfortunate in his selection of great names to illustrate his views. Their greatness lay in other fields. Long before his death Burbank stood in a California pulpit and told us that Jesus of Nazareth was a rebel against the religion and government of his day. He was incapable of intending a double-barrelled falsehood, but he did not know enough about Jesus of Nazareth to know how to tell the truth about him. Jesus was not a rebel against either the religion or government of his day. Edison's pre-eminence in his field no man dare challenge. But when in answer to a question as to the origin of in our world he said it must have come as a spark from some other world we smiled and said "Shoemaker! Stick to your last."
"Mark Twain" was made a Freemason in his early years. If it was true as reported that in his later years he undermined the faith of his good wife so that at the end she drifted out into the unknown without hope, we doubt if in those years he could have qualified for membership in a Missouri Lodge. The writer has Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma in his library. Easter Sunday, 1928, on the invitation of his Scottish Rite brethren at Joplin, Mo., he conducted their Easter service. The local Commandery of Knights Templar attended in uniform, and the service was open to the public. The speaker quoted freely from Albert Pike in his discourse and if he in any way transgressed the bounds of propriety a complaint to that effect has never reached his ears. Freemasonry rests upon certain great fundamentals. The writer has installed many Worshipful Masters but in every instance he has required the Master elect, before his installation, to assent to this principle.
"You admit that it is not in the power of any man or body of men to make innovations in the body of Masonry." Fundamentals do not change. The forty-seventh problem of Euclid is the same as it was in the days of Pythagoras, and the law of gravitation has not been amended since Sir Isaac Newton's day.
If Modernists want something new let them organize and develop the Grand Imperial Order of Snollygosters, but Ancient Craft Masonry is good enough for me.
C. H. Briggs.
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LIGHTING THE CANDLES
In further reference to the subject brought up in my letter which was published in the Correspondence Columns of the April number of THE BUILDER, I would like to add that our Grand Secretary holds that the candles are lighted according to rank of officers, the highest or Master's candle first then the Senior Deacon's then the Junior's and are extinguished in the reverse order. He holds that the Great Lights are arranged first in opening, then the Lesser lights, while we have been in the practice of lighting the candles first.
I should be very much pleased to have you use this letter for publication as it would be interesting to learn what is the custom or the ruling in other jurisdictions on both of the questions raised; what is the order of lighting and extinguishing the candles, and also whether the candles are lighted before opening the Bible in opening the lodge and whether the Bible is closed first or candles extinguished in closing.
It will be remembered that last month Bro. C. C. Hunt asked the very pertinent question if anywhere the candles or tapers were explained as representing the three principal officers of the lodge. Bro. Hunt we believe is right, in intimating that in none of the official rituals of American Jurisdictions, and we believe it is equally true of those of the British Empire, and also in those of at least some German lodges, the explanation is equivalent to that given by Webb in his Monitor that the candles or tapers represent the sun, moon and Master of the lodge. However, there is an undeniable connection between these lesser lights and the Master and Wardens, for they are placed in the same quarters as the stations of those officers, which brings them together in a symbolic interpretation. But this can only be said to be implicit in the ritual, at most, for it is nowhere given expression.
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FASCISM AND MASONRY
In the issue of May, 1929, I read the review by Bro. S.J.C. of Fascism, Masonry and Italy by James P. Roe. My highest esteem to Bro. S.J.C., and I certainly do want to thank him for the way he upheld Italian Masonry. What Bro. S.J.C. says is the truth and the best comment I have seen published. Bro. Roe is quite wrong in many places in regard to Italian Masonry. I am much surprised at Bro. Roe's writing in defense of Benito Mussolini's action towards the Italian Masons, and especially about the way he links Mussolini and the Roman question and Masonic activities together.
Enclosed here with you will find a circular letter of which M.W. Bro. Domizio Torrigiani, Grand Master of the Italian Masons, wrote to Mussolini and the Italian government making a protest against the injustice of killing and destroying Italian Masons and Masonic temples throughout the country. I would like to know what Bro. Roe and the Italian Historical Society thinks of this circular and about the martyred Italian Masons who are now living in exile.
The protest referred to was addressed to His Excellency, the President of the Ministerial Council, by M.W. Bro. Domizio Torrigiani and was published at Rome as an eight-page pamphlet under date of Sept. 18, 1924. This was at the beginning of the dreadful persecution of which Italian Masons have been victims. THE BUILDER has published from time to time articles on the subject. The one that appeared in July, 1925, is worth referring to in this connection, as well as those in August and September of 1927. It is only too easy for us to forget what our Italian brethren have suffered, merely because they belonged to the hated Fraternity.
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The article in the May number of THE BUILDER on Masonic Statistics was an excellent one. It is just the sort of thing we need, to give us definite information instead of vague impressions. Why could it not be made an annual event, a statistical review brought up to date?
In your article last month on Masonic Statistics you intimate that it is a pioneer effort. May I draw your attention to the fact that M.W. Bro. A.B. Andrews prepared some very interesting statistical charts covering the period from 1876 to 1926. These were published as an Appendix in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina for 1928.
J.T.S., North Carolina.
I read the article in your last number concerning Masonic Statistics, and while it is very interesting I wondered whether it was worth the time and trouble. Just what purpose can such information serve? You seem to intimate that they would be useful, I should like to know just what you had in mind.
The Editor has to confess that he was not aware of Bro. Andrews' elaborate tables and charts when the article was written. As so often happens, as soon as it was beyond recall they were brought to his attention. However, Bro. Andrews' charts, which covered a more extensive period, and included data about other Masonic bodies, were not designed to bring out quite the same relationships as those accompanying the article. But had he known about this previous work, the Editor would have given the credit which was due to their author.
The question asked by Bro. G.S.R. is not an easy one to answer definitely. It might be evaded by saying that the most useful advances in knowledge seemed perfectly useless from the practical standpoint when first made, and that if it were not for investigations made out of pure disinterested scientific curiosity our civilization would probably not have advanced very much beyond that of the stone age. But while it is profoundly true that we can never tell what value any definite bit of knowledge may prove to have eventually, yet there is one conclusion that can be drawn at once from the three charts; and that is that the number of demitted Masons appears to be no more than it normally should be, and that the loss by suspension is relatively a small one.
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THE LETTER "G"
In reference to the article by Bro. Strauss in the May number of THE BUILDER, I note that Mackey says in his Encyclopedia that it is uncertain when this symbol was introduced into Masonry, and he suggests that it was later than 1730. He also points out that it has no important significance except in the English and German languages, that is, from a Masonic point of view. But he also shows that at its first adoption it was taken to refer to Geometry, the "fifth science," and in this connection he quotes Hutchinson as saying that to restrict it to a reference to Deity is to deprive it of part of its Masonic significance.