A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 15 No. 9 – September 1929
THE CITY OF PRAGUE AND BOHEMIAN FREEMASONRY
Bro. Joseph S. Roucek, New Jersey
THIS article by Bro. Roucek is based in part on a lecture delivered by a member of the Lodge, Adoniram zur Weltkugel in June last year. It forms an interesting sequel to the article which appeared in THE BUILDER for March and April of this year. Bro. Roucek, who is U.S. Representative of the Czechoslovak Grand Lodge, is becoming widely known as a lecturer and author on Czechoslovakia and on international relations. He is now Professor of Social Science in the Junior College. Centenary Collegiate Institute, Hackettstown, New Jersey.
IT is nearly always necessary to repeat certain facts when talking about the past. Hence it is to be expected that this article will also contain certain facts which are already known to the reader. But in order to understand the present and the future, it is always necessary to enlighten the darkness of the past and deduct from it the teaching for the future. Only the one who knows the history of our institution, can say that he knows what Freemasonry is and he will understand its endeavors, efforts, tendencies and aims. Just as a traveller, who covered a part of tiresome road stops for rest in order to look back over the way he has traversed and get a new strength to continue in his journey, so we, Freemasons, have travelled, also, a hard road, full of dangers, and it is well to pause sometimes, and look back, and question whether we have taken the right way, in harmony with the teaching and legacy of our forefathers, or whether we have not overestimated and without avail wasted our strength, and finally whether we may hope that we shall eventually reach the goal. It seems that now is the time when we should look back and draw new strength. This applies especially to the brothers of Czechoslovakia. From the evolution and history of Freemasonry in that country they can get consolation and comfort, new force and power to journey on, upon that difficult but also honorable voyage. It is with gladness and satisfaction that this discussion can be connected directly with that warrior for humanity, that teacher of brotherhood, the spiritual father of our Masonry, Jan Amos Komensky [Comenius]. Any scholar whose researches lead him into the rich literature of the origin and cause of Freemasonry and especially of Czechoslovakian Masonry, will always find himself coming back to the name of Komensky, which fact must convince him that this great man and teacher was the creator, or at least the co-creator, of the ideas which we, as Freemasons, accepted for our own, and which became the basis of our most idealistic efforts. Jan Amos Komensky laid — perhaps unconsciously — the foundation stone of the structure upon which Freemasonry works from the most ancient times till now, and adds thereto stone after stone, driven on by the hope that our descendants will sometimes finish the work the Structure of our Temple.
According to legend the stronghold of Prague was founded by the Princess Libuse, and she is said by the ancient chronicler to have made the following prophecy regarding its future: "Here I can see a great city the glory of which reaches to the stars." Every Czech has been nurtured with the hope since his childhood that one day this city would succeed in casting off the fetters which hindered it from spreading its wings and taking vigorous flight towards a glorious future. In 1918, with the suddenness of a thunderclap, the Hapsburgs were swept from their throne. Bohemia became the nucleus of the war-born Czechoslovak Republic and Prague leaped to a place among the world's capital cities.
Owing to its historical past which has linked it closely and inseparably with the destinies of the Czech people, Prague has become the head and heart of the nation, and is now the central stage of a new and brilliant development of the national, cultural and artistic life of the people. Since time immemorial Prague, by reason of its picturesque situation on the banks of the Vltava (the Moldau) and the slopes of its wooded hills, and from its many historical buildings, has been regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. In 1458 Aeneas Silvius (later Pope Pius II) named it "the Queen of Cities." Goethe likened it to "a magnificent precious stone set in the earth's crown." Humboldt placed it immediately after Constantinople and Naples. Rodin declared it to be the "Rome of the North." And to W. Ritter, the city was "original and unique in the world."
The history of Prague is for the most part the history of the nation and the State of Bohemia; there is not a stone in Prague which has not its historical significance, and consequently it is not strange that foreigners call the city a "museum of the Middle Ages." In the same way it is easily understood why every Czech and every Slav speaks with ardour and enthusiasm of "Golden, Slavonic Prague," and why those who feel jealous and hostile towards the Czech nation should have said more than once that the Castle of Prague, the Hradcany, ought to be demolished, so that the nationalistic feeling of the Czechs could also be destroyed with it.
It is this castle which, from the historical point of view, represents the idea of the Czech State. It towers high above the city. It is a castle, a citadel, cathedral and barracks, palace and national shrine. From whatever vantage point one gazes upon Prague, the Hradcany dominates it. Begun many centuries ago, it looks as if it would last forever.
Three hundred and more years ago the incident which precipitated the Thirty Years' War took place within the Hradcany. Here the discontented members of the Bohemian Estates were assembled in 1618, when they hit upon the bright idea of throwing the two lieutenants, go-betweens, or whatever they were, of the Hapsburg ruler, out of a window. So here you may see the very spot from which the Thirty Years War began.
In 1620 the "Winter King," Frederick of the Palatinate, passed this way with his English wife, paused to be crowned, and then after a short year's reign, fled from the country that had trusted him, when his army, and the cause he was called upon to stand for, went under in a sea of blood on the White Mountain. It is only about an hour on foot to the battlefield where the army of Protestant Bohemia, after retiring before the Imperialist host, made its final, fatal stand. Then the Jesuit-ridden Hapsburg entered Prague and laid his heavy hand on all Bohemia, almost to the undoing of its people. But it is a wonderful thing, that power of a strong nation, to survive treachery and oppression until the time comes when it can reassert itself.
Prague witnessed the sequel to the defeat of Bohemia on the White Mountain, the execution of Bohemian noblemen and other leaders on the open space between the Old Town Hall and the Church of Our Lady of Tyn. There were changes going on among the sleepy houses of Prague, for the victory of the White Mountain and the Imperialistic successes in the Thirty Years' War had brought to Bohemia a swarm of foreign adventurers, officers in the Emperor's army, who acquired the property of exiled Bohemian nobility and set about building palaces for themselves. They are interesting too, these palaces in Prague, and some of them have beautiful gardens, such as those of Furstenberg, Lobkowitz, Scoenborn, and Waldstein. Waldstein who rose no doubt on account of his ability, to high command in the Imperial Army and to a position of more real power than that of his imperial master; for which he was murdered by his own officers one night at Cheb [Eger], a place one passes through on the way from Paris to Prague.
So as Lutzow says: "When throwing a stone through a window in Prague you throw with it a morsel of history." If your outlook be academic, at your feet lies one of Europe's oldest universities, the Charles University, founded in 1348. Students of many countries and many nations flocked to Prague, witness to the fact of the city's central position in Europe, and soon the new university ranked with those still older institutions — Bologna, Paris and Oxford. The number of students increased rapidly, and by the end of Charles' reign there were some six or seven thousand of them. If you are one of those rare mortals who study history for the sake of applying its moral to the conduct of the world's affairs, then you have here a deep well from which to draw inspiration.
The prophecy of Libusa (which is pronounced as if spelled Libushay) has been fulfilled; her forecast of Prague's future place in the world has come true. In the days of Premysl Ottokar II, Prague held a high place as the capital of a great state. Ottokar is famed for his conquests, alliances and understandings with his neighbors. He acquired a preponderating influence in the councils of Prague. Charles IV rescued this city that he loved, and made it the rallying point of Central European culture.
Then followed the great era of Protestant Reformation with John Hus. He came to Prague from his humble home in Southern Bohemia, and received his M.A. Degree in 1396, and eventually became Rector of the University. John Hus was an ardent advocate of Church Reform. He paid for it; but the fire that consumed his body at Constance, Switzerland, in 1415, was reflected time and again, angrily, in the waters of the Vltava. The Hussite wars followed; religious dissensions, strife and turmoil, marked the following decades. Strange scenes must have been reflected in the Vltava in those stormy days, as the pageant of the history of Prague crossed the Charles Bridge. One day, with the beating of drums, a bevy of priests came from afar; they came into the market-place and there sold Indulgences. The Prager, distracted by the dissentions that rent the country, took to arms repeatedly. At last came a King of their own choosing, of their own race and faith, George of Podiebrad. He realized the importance of the capital of his native country, and from it he wove a web of treaties and agreements for the betterment of Central Europe, by the means of his League of Peace. Then Dark Waldstein formed great and ambitious plans, possibly not so altruistic as those of his spiritual kinsmen, the great men already mentioned.
And yet one after another these giants of Bohemia saw their plans brought to naught. Ottokar succumbed to the first Hapsburger that threw his shadow over Bohemia; the successors of Charles and George of Podiebrad could not stand against the forces of reaction. Waldstein perished at the instigation of a Hapsburger. Heavy banks of cloud came to obscure the fair prospect. But in 1918 the clouds rolled away again; again bright sunshine draws out the memories of Golden Prague and raises hopes of a glorious future.
Today Prague is the seat of the President of the Czechoslovak Republic, and also of the ministries and the majority of Central Offices. As the centre of culture it accommodates a Czech, a German, a Ukrainian and a Russian University; there are numerous institutions for the furtherance of knowledge of Slavonic, Latin, and Teutonic countries. It is becoming more and more the principal market of Central Europe. There are historical reasons for this. Ever since the Middle Ages, Prague has been the central market and meeting place between East and West. Nowadays Prague is one of the most important crossing-points of the great European railways. The best picture of the trade development in Czechoslovakia is the International Fair, held twice a year at Praha, from which every visitor will gain an objective view of the flourishing trade conditions of the country and its capital city.
The oldest Masonic Lodge of Central Europe was founded in Prague in 1727. The founder was the noted Count Frantisek Antonin Sporek. Sporek belonged to the richest noblesse of Bohemia; his father was a general in the Thirty Years' War, but Sporck did not follow the profession of his father. Though he was educated in the German and French languages, seeing the spiritual poorness of the town citizens and the peasants, among whom he lived, he established a printing press on his estate, in which he had printed educational books in the Czech language. It was a secret undertaking. The Czech people always loved singing. Among the oldest Czech prints is the Kancional of the year 1509; it was a book published by the Bohemian Brethren, which church was the spiritual mother of the English Methodists, the Dutch Remonstrants and Pilgrim Fathers. In the eighteenth century the Kancionals were prohibited and the publishers were punished cruelly at the instigation of the Jesuits, who had enormous influence on the state administration at that time. The persecuted found the book of religious songs, published by Sporck very useful, because it was printed in beautiful language and the accompanying tunes were old folk melodies. Sporck gave this book free to all churches of Bohemia.
The first Freemasons met in the palace of Sporck in Prague. They recognized each other by three stars put into a triangle. Their humanitarian activity was centered in taking care of orphans, who were many in Bohemia, and specially in Prague, during those war-times. But the activity of Sporck naturally angered the Jesuits who induced the government to confiscate his printing press, his library was carried off to a Jesuit monastery, where much of it was destroyed. Sporck was imprisoned; when released he was under the police surveillance. If the rich, educated aristocrat was persecuted in this way, we can imagine how fared the townsmen and the peasants.
No wonder then that twenty years later, viz., 1742-1747, the Freemasons of Bohemia — the court noblemen — were turning away from the Hapsburg dynasty, which was but a tool in the hand of the Jesuits. It was at the time when the Bavarian king was trying to get possession of the kingdom of Bohemia and Prague. But his policy failed, and the Freemasons were punished cruelly, at least such as belonged to the citizenry and lower class of the nobility. Vienna did not dare do much against the high nobility. Freemasonry disappeared.
It was not until 1780, during the reign of Joseph II, who was the only sensible and enlightened ruler of the Hapsburg family, that toleration was proclaimed. It meant, according to Joseph, that nobody was to be persecuted for his religious conviction. But it should be noted that even Joseph II did not betray his medieval convictions; he did not recognize the equality of Protestant and Jews with the members of the Catholic Church. The tolerance lasted only fifteen years. During the reign of Francis I, the lodges were abolished in 1758, and participation in their work was punished. The state employees had to take an oath that they never were and never would be members of secret societies. This requirement lasted until 1918.
It should be noted that the Sporck's brotherhood "Of the Three Stars" originated just one hundred years after the fall of Bohemian independence. It was in 1627 that the victorious Hapsburg abolished the old Bohemian Constitution and proclaimed the Renewed Ordinance, which abolished the old free election of kings; though on the other hand, the Estates retained the right to raise taxes and to administer the law. The Hapsburgs assured themselves of the loyalty of this new Parliament by removing all the non-Catholics from the country. The citizens had no civil rights. In 1727 Sporck founded his lodge. In 1827 began to be published the history of the Bohemian nation, one of the factors which reawakened the nationalistic feeling. In 1918 the dynasty of Hapsburgs fell, and from that time on, it has become possible to realize freely the aims of Sporck, after two hundred years.
The city of Prague has an outstanding place in the history of Freemasonry. Already in the old times, when the beginnings of Masonry took root, the word "Praha" was heard. The Templars, the forerunners of Freemasons, built in the old city of Prague at a little church of St. Vavrinec (Lawrence) a monastery and soon after even a Temple in the present Celetna ulice [Celetna Street]. In the fourteenth century the "Fraternity of the Hoop and Mallet" built, on the New City Square in Prague, a church in honor of the Body of Jesus Christ, and took part in the building of Strassburg Cathedral (1365-1404). As the old Viennese Goldenberg, as well as the Staronova synagogue in the Old City, were built by the workers' associations of the Middle Ages (gilds) according to the pattern of the Solomon's Temple. The immediate forerunners of the Freemasons in Bohemia were the Hussites and the Bohemian Brethren, "The Fraternity of the Hatchet" and the "Friends of the-Cross."
About the truth of these statements many historians are doubtful. We can, however, consider as the founders of Freemasonry in Bohemia the Bohemian Brothers, who gave us Komensky and the "Friends of the Cross," whose outstanding member, Baron Frantisek Antonin Sporck, was inspired in Holland, during his residence there, to suggest the foundation of the first Prague Lodge, "The Three Stars."
According to the two historians, Abafi and Svatek, the day of the foundation of this lodge was June 26, 1723. In the same year the "Constitutions of the Free Mason" was accepted in London, as prepared by the theologian, James Anderson, on the basis of Komensky's "Panegersie," as the ideal foundation of the Brotherhood.
The working meetings of the lodge were held mostly in the palace of Sporck situated in the so-called "Angelus Garden." The garden was named after the famous court physician to Emperor Charles IV, Angelus de Florentia. Sporck bought it, and had the old building in it renovated by a Prague builder, Kilian Diezenhofer, and the artist Vaclav Reiner. On the site of the building, which during the times of Emperor Joseph II served as the chief storehouse of tobacco, is now the Directory for Posts and Telegraphs. In 1926 a desk was placed there with the inscription: "In this place there used to be, about the year 1360, the Angelus Garden." (V techto mistech byvala kolem r. 1360 Andelska zahrada.)
It was probably the first botanical garden in Europe. Here lived for a time Cola di Rienzi, Tribune of the Roman People; and in 1356 the Italian poet Petrarca. In or about the year 1715 the house was bought by Baron Frantisek Antonin Sporck, who founded there in 1726 the Lodge of the "Three Stars." In 1736 a monastery of "Celestinek" was built there, which was abolished in 1784. After 1871 the building of the Central Postoffice was erected on the site.
The Hradcany is composed of a number of buildings about three large courtyards. The foundations of the castle, the oldest part of the mass of buildings were laid in the tenth century, and building has been going on at every epoch since then. In the middle of the castle courtyard is the beautiful cathedral church of St. Vitus, which was founded-by the Bohemian king, John of Luxemburg, in the year 1344. The Hradcany is not only the President's official residence, but in its various apartments, of which there are over seven hundred, are housed the Chancellery, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other Government departments.
In the illustration showing the Tyn Church the curious twin towers are especially to be noticed. The form that Gothic architecture took in Bohemia and Eastern Europe generally, was quite distinctive. The right hand tower is somewhat more massive in proportions. The same curious lack of symmetry is to be noted in other cathedrals, as at Notre Dame at Paris. It seems very probable that this was intentional, and had a reference to the two pillars set up by Hiram the Master Builder at the Porch of Solomon's Temple, of which the one on the right hand represented strength.
* * *
AMERICAN ARMY LODGES IN THE WORLD WAR
THE WAR TIME LODGES OF LOUISIANA, OHIO AND COLORADO
Bro. Charles F. Irwin, Associate Editor
WHEN a sudden national emergency such as the World War overtakes the nation, and our young men are rushed from their homes and peaceful pursuits to be concentrated in camps and cantonments and placed under intensive military training, the farthest removed from every experience they have had up to that moment; when thousands of these same young men awaken suddenly to the attractiveness of the Masonic Fraternity and storm the doors of the lodges nearby their home towns, are accepted and await their opportunities to obtain the coveted degrees; when the sudden demand which all this thrusts upon an average lodge working in the neighborhood of the same cantonment, a situation is created that is beyond the powers of that lodge to handle; what then shall a Grand Master and a Grand Lodge do?
This is far graver than a hypothetical question. It is one that strikes right down into the heart of our Institution. It raises a swarm of other questions, and among them is this: Which is the better, for a Grand Master to stretch his authority a little and grant a temporary dispensation creating a temporary Field Lodge to handle this emergency work; or to issue a dispensation to the lodges already constituted and working nearby the cantonment, empowering them to break some of the fundamental Landmarks of the Fraternity; and to enter, pass and raise candidates, irrespective of the solemn charges laid upon him, "never to depart from the landmarks of the Fraternity"?
This is quite an interesting problem, is it not? And yet it was the practical situation that confronted one of the finest Grand Masters in America and it gave to his Grand Lodge some of its most intensive thinking. What we write here regarding this situation is not to be taken as a criticism but as an earnest attempt on our part to give to the Fraternity an insight into one of the situations that arose in the war and to record it in this series for future Masonic Students to analyze and to draw conclusions.
Liberty Lodge, U.D., Situated at Camp Beauregard, Alexandria, La.
"Liberty Lodge, U.D." of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, was the child of a great emergency. It came into being as the effort of a great Mason to attempt to solve one of the most baffling problems that our Fraternity has had to face namely, shall we or shall we not have Field Lodges in times of national emergency?
When the local situation of so many states in which training camps were established is examined, invariably it is found that the entire social structure of the surrounding countryside is disrupted. Within a few weeks hundreds and thousands of young men are assembled within restricted areas and put to work; business swells to enormous proportions, and the demands upon the citizens in general and the business men in particular are beyond the imagination of all who have never witnessed the phenomenon.
Alexandria is a fine city in the State of Louisiana. Its social and business life is the equal of any other of similar size in the country. Suddenly in 1917 the government took leases on certain ground within a short distance of the city and soon barracks, warehouses and other structures were rising from the ground. And within a few weeks the railroads were bringing trainloads of young men out of civilian life through the city and depositing them in the new cantonment. The name of this cantonment was Camp Beauregard, named for the celebrated Confederate General. It was not long until the local-lodges of freemasonry discovered that hundreds of young men within the camp had knocked at the doors of lodges both within and without the state lines, and had been accepted by their lodges. Then the mail and the telegraph lines were burdened with the flood of requests from the said lodges for the local lodges to confer the work upon these candidates by courtesy.
There was one lodge of Masons in Alexandria, Oliver Lodge, No. 84, which is within the city proper, and there was Curtis T. Hines Lodge, No. 317, at Tioga, a neighboring town. These two lodges are made up of the typical men who constitute an average city lodge; largely business men, and men who carry responsibilities upon their shoulders. Their own business responsibilities leaped within a night to proportions they had never dreamed of. And yet upon all this burden was heaped this urgent call from all over the country to confer the degrees of Freemasonry upon the young soldiers.
They did not hesitate but with the characteristic open heartedness of genuine Master Masons, "went on foot and out of their way" to respond to the call. Special meetings were arranged for and night after night, even when heavy day's business cares had wearied them, relays of the membership of these two lodges armed floor teams and began their work.
Meanwhile Grand Master John W. Armstrong had observed all this situation. For through his office were flowing these floods of requests from other jurisdictions as well as from the lodges within his own.
He made repeated visits to Camp Beauregard as well as to the other military centers within his state. He consulted with the Masons on the ground who were bearing the brunt of the deluge. No one had any clear solution to offer to the problem he had to face, and it was a real one.
Grand Master Armstrong at length came to a conclusion. It was this, that so far as the courtesy work was concerned, it belonged to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana to care for this and not one or two local lodges. Because the appeals that came for courtesy work came, not to the subordinate lodge, but to the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge.
His reasoning was sound; and his conclusion was that he would issue a dispensation creating an emergency lodge, to be known as "Liberty Lodge U.D." This lodge was to be maintained by Oliver Lodge, No. 84. It was to confine itself strictly to the working on the courtesy material from the cantonment. But at once he seems to have met with strong opposition from Oliver Lodge, No. 84, whose members seem to have feared that this would be creating a rival lodge, and thus they refused to consent to the solution. In their opposition were sown the seeds that later destroyed the Field Lodge. Fifteen Masons constituted the petitioners who presented to Grand Master Armstrong the request for the dispensation. The opposition to the emergency lodge, however, was not confined to the local lodge in Alexandria. It appears that strong influences within the Grand Lodge itself had lined up in opposition to the dispensation. Meanwhile the flood of requests kept coming in to the Grand Master's desk.
Liberty Lodge opened and began its-work, and strove to do its bit, working side by side with Oliver Lodge, No. 84, in Alexandria, supported by Curtis T. Hines Lodge, No. 317, nearby. Brothers might differ as to modes but they were one in action.
Meanwhile the time came for the Annual Communication of 1918, of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. It met and Grand Master Armstrong came before that body to make his accounting for his term of office. At the end of this story you will find copies of his address, together with other official papers that touch upon this lodge. If you will give his story a careful reading you will find the heart of this brother beating with a fervent regard for the young men within the camps. Further as you read the full address and consider his careful planning for the Masonic "Rest Room," which he opened in Alexandria for the comfort of military Masons, and discover its careful financing, you are compelled to the conclusion that this Grand Master was a sound thinker and doer.
But in spite of the masterly presentation of his solution to the hypothetical question with which this story commences, there were strong forces in Grand Lodge who looked at his solution from a diametrically opposite viewpoint. Who shall say whether or not they were right or wrong? The report of the Committee on the State of the Order became the spear point that struck at the Grand Master's action in issuing the dispensation. They based their adverse report upon several grounds:
- That Liberty Lodge was instituted with less than fifteen members.
- That Oliver Lodge, No. 84 did not approve of it.
- That the dispensation was made to run to December 31 1918, which was beyond the limitations of the term of Grand Master Armstrong's administration.
- That the granting of the dispensation was irregular, and illegal.
- That Oliver Lodge, No. 84, could handle the situation by Special meetings.
The report of this committee was approved, together with the resolution attached to it by the committee. The Grand Master succeeding Most Worshipful Brother Armstrong, namely, Brother George A. Treadwell, was directed to recall the dispensation, which, upon assumption of his office as Grand Master, he did. Thus ended Liberty Lodge U.D. But the problem was not yet solved. All that had happened was that the Grand Lodge of Louisiana answered the first part of our hypothetical question in the negative.
Meanwhile Oliver Lodge, No. 84, was working overtime upon the accumulated work thrust upon Louisiana by other Grand Jurisdictions. And here let us pause long enough to notice that some of the most strenuous opponents of Military Lodges were the first Grand Jurisdictions to flood Grand Jurisdictions with requests to perform the work upon candidates from their jurisdictions, by courtesy. The same thing prevailed in the Military Lodges that went across the sea. We have already seen in previous articles how these lodges received numerous requests from Grand Jurisdictions who had fought the idea of Military Lodges, requesting these same Military Lodges to confer the degrees on their candidates. And, so far as it was possible to comply, in every case the Military Lodges gave full service. The brethren back in Alexandria meanwhile were bending under this added burden that had been thrust upon them.
Grand Master Treadwell, the possibility of a special emergency lodge being denied him, had the other horn of the dilemma to meet, namely, shall a Grand Master under any circumstance disregard the solemn injunction laid upon him, and permit the removal of the Ancient Landmarks for a season. It is a serious situation in which to place a high officer in our fraternity.
His solution of the problem is evidenced by the step taken by our excellent Brother Treadwell.
At the end of this story you will find excerpts from the Proceedings of 1919, Grand Lodge of Louisiana, as well as a review of the same by the Correspondent within the Grand Lodge of Missouri, writing in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of that state for 1919.
In these documents you will find that Grand Master Treadwell proceeded to issue a dispensation to Oliver Lodge, No. 84, Alexandria, and to Curtis T. Hines Lodge, No. 317, Tioga, empowering them to open and carry on special meetings strictly for the purpose of doing courtesy work. Quoting from the Grand Master's own report:
The result of the visit the had gone to Alexandria to get first-hand knowledge of his problem was that I issued a dispensation permitting Oliver Lodge and Curtis T. Hines Lodge to initiate, pass and raise as many Candidates at one and the same time as could be conveniently and properly handled, to confer the second section of the Master Mason's Degree, when more than one Fellow Craft was raised, but the last in summary manner, so-called, and to confer more than one degree upon Candidates at one and the same Communication, all the above to apply to work for other lodges only. I am glad to report that all requests for Degree work made by the other Jurisdictions have been complied with very little delay, although since the last session of the Grand Lodge, Oliver Lodge, No. 84, has conferred 363 degrees by courtesy, and Curtis T. Hines Lodge, No. 317, 64 degrees.
The italics are mine. In other words, Grand Master Treadwell dared to remove the landmarks in order to solve the question.
The life of Liberty Lodge U D. was like the illustration in one of our lectures. "It blossomed, budded and sprang into fruit in a day." But the frost nipped its shoots and it fell into a sere and yellow age.
Nevertheless this short-lived Military Lodge was not without benefit to the Craft at large, for it carved out a path whereby Grand Lodges may, if they will, meet a similar emergency and do their part to solve it. The work done by Liberty Lodge was identically the same as that which was done in mass formation by the two regular lodges. It was the gesture of one type of mind which is flexible and dares to cut through precedent in order that a fine piece of work might be done.
Were there no records of other Military Lodges in existence, then the wisdom of Grand Master Armstrong might not be so clear. But the unimpeachable testimony of the Military Lodges I have already described in this series is proof beyond contradiction, that the Field Lodge had its place in the great war.
For the information upon which this history of Liberty Lodge U.D. is based, we are dependent on the reports and transactions of the Stated Communications of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for the years 1918 and 1919, together with the review of the same by the Correspondent of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, together with personal correspondence with officers of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana.
Proceedings of Grand Lodge of Louisiana, 1918, gage 30 seq.
The Annual Address of the Grand Master (Armstrong): "Liberty Lodge U.D."
The situation at Alexandria was such that it was imperative another lodge should be located at this place to take care of the enormous amount of work entailed on account of conferring degrees as a courtesy to lodges in this State and of Sister Jurisdictions, of those who were elected to receive these degrees by their respective lodges and are now located at Camp Beauregard.
The feeling in Oliver Lodge, No. 84, was against the establishment of another lodge at this time, but they realized that something had to be done to assist the lodge, as they had so much work of their own it was nearly impossible for them to do any more courtesy work, and this class of work increasing. The problem was solved by the granting of a dispensation for a Lodge, U.D., with power to do only courtesy degree work. This dispensation has been granted to Liberty Lodge U.D., the same to continue until December 31 1918, with the hope that by this time the war will be over or that a charter will be asked for. I have granted this dispensation without cost from the Grand Lodge, and Oliver Lodge, No. 84, is to maintain same without cost to Grand Lodge.
Proc. Grand Lodge, 1918, page 157, Report of Committee on State of the Order.
The Committee on the State of the Order presented the following report:
New Orleans, La., Feb. 6, 1918.
To the M. W., the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, F. & A. M.:
Your Committee on the State of the Order would report that we heartily approve the earnest solicitude of the Grand Master in his desire to facilitate our soldiers in receiving the degrees of our Order, but our information is that Liberty Lodge U.D. was organized with less than fifteen members and that Oliver Lodge, No. 84, the nearest lodge, did not approve of same. Furthermore, the dispensation was made to run to December 31, 1918, which is beyond the following Annual Communication for this Grand Lodge.
For all these reasons your committee agree that the granting of the dispensation was irregular and illegal and the same should be recalled. This situation should be handled by Oliver Lodge, No. 84, holding the necessary Special meetings to do the work. We append the following resolution:
Resolved, That the dispensation granted to Liberty Lodge U. D. be recalled by the Grand Lodge.
fraternally submitted, L. E. THOMAS, B. B. PURSER, W. B. MORRISON
On motion, the report of the committee was received and the appended resolution was duly adopted.
Proc. Grand Lodge of Missouri, 1919, page 49 Review by Correspondent of Proc. Louisiana, 1919.
He (G.M. George A. Treadwell) recalled the dispensation of a lodge (Liberty Lodge U.D.) created, as we understand it, only to aid the other lodges in Alexandria in conferring the multitude of degrees requested by other Grand Jurisdictions for soldiers at the nearby camp. He compensated this, however, by issuing a dispensation which would seem to meet the exigency. (Quoting from G. M. Treadwell's Annual Address): "The result of the visit was that I issued a dispensation permitting Oliver Lodge, No. 84, and Curtis T. Hines Lodge, No. 317, to initiate, pass and raise as many Candidates at one and the same time as could be conveniently and properly handled, to confer the second section of the Master Mason Degree, when more than one Fellow Craft was raised, but the last in summary manner, so-called, and to confer more than one degree upon Candidates at one and the same Communication, all the above to apply to work for other lodges only. I am glad to report that all requests for degree work made by other jurisdictions have been complied with, with very little delay, although since the last session of the Grand Lodge, Oliver Lodge, No. 84, has conferred 363 degrees by courtesy and Curtis T. Hines Lodge, No 317, 64 degrees."
In 1922, we notice in the list of lodges in the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, the following: " Alexandria, U.D.", which would seem to indicate that the brethren of Alexandria reversed their opinion as to the need for an additional lodge within the city of Alexandria.
I give here part of a letter from Wor. Bro. John A. Davilla, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, dated August 1, 1928:
John W. Armstrong was Grand Master during the year 1917 and that after the constitution of Camp Beauregard, as the training camp, just outside of Alexandria Oliver Lodge, No. 84 located at that point, was working nightly with different shifts of officers endeavoring to keep up with the heavy demands for courtesy work in addition to their own.
This lodge had already absorbed Solomon Lodge, No. 220, on the opposite side of Red River, and this work was centered upon
Oliver Lodge with only a little help from Curtis T. Hines Lodge No. 317, in the same parish, the location being not very distant.
Grand Master Armstrong visited Alexandria frequently and was willing to grant a dispensation for a new lodge at that point, but found that the officers and membership strongly in opposition to such a step which they felt would create a rival lodge finally. The Grand Master finally did grant a dispensation for Liberty Lodge U.D., limiting its powers to the work of conferring degrees by courtesy and fixing the time limit of the dispensation as December 31, 1918, which covered the term of his successor in office.
This Subjected him to some criticism at the hands of the Committee on State of the Order and upon their recommendation, the dispensation was recalled.
Ohio Military Lodge U.D. For the Ohio Division of the U. S. Army.
IN presenting this paper on the abortive attempt of the Ohio Masons in the Ohio Division of the United States Army to obtain from their Grand Master and Grand Lodge a dispensation to open and conduct a Military Lodge, I do so because it carries a lesson, that it may be hoped will be a guide to the Grand Lodges of America if and when the next national emergency arises.
The tragedy of Masonry during the World War lay in the unpreparedness of almost every Grand Lodge to meet and surmount the problems that a great war engenders. The fact that the usual procedure has become crystallized into rigid form under the close supervision of men who by age and temperament so often are not in close contact with the heart-throb of the Craft in the times of stress, the tenacity with which forms and traditions are held to, and the slowness with which new departures can be made, result in great hardship for the Craftsmen who in such times turn to their fraternity for its sustaining power.
Ohio's tragedy was due to many causes: to the opposition of a Grand Master who personally could not see any use in the existence of a Military Lodge within his Grand Jurisdiction; to the political undercurrent that swept the Ohio Division while in the southern cantonment, and which political upheaval swept the beloved General John C. Speaks out of his command of that division, and at the same time removed him from eligibility to serve as the first Senior Warden in the proposed Ohio Military Lodge U.D.; to the movement of the Ohio troops from its southern cantonment by the time the machinery of the Grand Lodge had adjusted itself to the war-time situation; and, finally, to the grave mistake the petitioners made in nominating and naming for their first Master and Wardens, men who held high military office in the division. This mistake was carefully guarded against in the case of North Carolina, where a Sergeant was named for the first Master of their Military Lodge. In times of national emergency men holding high military rank are so pressed with responsibilities and cares that in the nature of the case it is impossible for them to give a Masonic lodge within their command that attention that is vitally needed by the lodge. In every case during the past war where the Military Lodges took root and grew strong, the Master and Wardens were officers, or enlisted men, of the Junior Grades or at the most not above a regimental commander's grade.
The story of the steps taken by the Ohio Masons to prepare and present their case before their Grand Lodge are told in the Proceedings of 1917 and 1918, together with letters which I have received from officers of the Grand Lodge, and from Masons of influence in the State of Ohio. Being an Ohio Mason myself, a Past Master of an Ohio lodge, I have a special and personal interest in this story, and am trying to get it into permanent form so that it may be preserved among the other histories of military organizations of Masonry during the war.
In the Proceedings of 1917, Grand Master Joel C. Clore declares in his address to Grand Lodge:
I have received some informal requests for the establishment in the State of Ohio of Military Lodges, sometimes called Traveling or Army Lodges. I have answered these requests by stating that it would not be conducive to the best interests of Freemasonry, in my opinion to authorize such lodges. I have explained that the Grand Master has no power in the premises, but that the initiative would have to be taken up by the Grand Lodge. I am opposed to the idea no proper place can be had for the meeting of a lodge under conditions now existing in Europe where the men are engaged in actual fighting. No proper safeguard can be thrown around a lodge of Masons.
The fallacy of this line of reasoning is now, of course, apparent to all Masons in the light of the histories of our Military Lodges which have appeared in THE BUILDER. Such lodges were able to hold regular meetings in Europe, in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, to the happiness and welfare of the Craft serving in our armed forces in Europe.
However, Grand Master Clore, in spite of his own personal disapproval of Military Lodges, gave the information to the Grand Lodge in 1917, whereupon steps were taken to meet and solve the situation. The first step that was made is to be found in a resolution prepared and presented to Grand Lodge by Past Grand Master Charles J. Pretzman, ever an ardent friend of the soldier Mason, and a believer in the value of a Military Lodge under proper rules and regulations.
Worshipful Brother Pretzman offered the following resolution which was promptly referred to the Committee on Charters and Dispensations:
Resolved, That the incoming Grand Master be and is hereby authorized to grant, in his discretion, a dispensation for an Army or Traveling Lodge or Lodges upon such conditions and with such limitations as to jurisdiction as in his judgment may be advisable, and that all petitions prepared for that purpose and now in the hands of the Brethren present, be referred to the Committee on Charters and Dispensations.
This committee in due time brought its findings upon the floor of the Grand Lodge, and by the mouth of Bro. Campbell M. Voorhees made the following report:
Your Committee on Charters and Dispensations reports that it has had under consideration the petition for a dispensation for a new lodge with the Ohio Division of the United States Army, to be named "Ohio Military Lodge U.D.", praying for a warrant or dispensation to empower them to assemble as a legal body to discharge the duties of Masonry in the several degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason in a regular and constitutional manner, according to the ancient usages of the fraternity and the laws and rules of this Grand Lodge, with Bro. Frank W. Hendley, a Past Master of this Grand Jurisdiction, to be its first Master; Bro. John C. Speaks, to be its first Senior Warden; and Bro William V. McMakin to be its first Junior Warden. Said petition has been signed by some fifty brethren, members of the Masonic lodges of this Grand Jurisdiction, now in active military Service with the said division, presented to this Grand Lodge, and referred to this Committee on Charters and Dispensations, pursuant to resolution duly adopted. This committee has carefully considered said petition and the action of this Grand Lodge in reference to former petitions for dispensations for Military Lodges, and recommends that a dispensation be granted to our brethren with the Ohio Division of the United States Army for a new lodge to be named "Ohio Military Lodge U. D." under such general rules and regulations as this Grand Lodge has heretofore adopted or may hereafter adopt, and upon the payment of the fee prescribed by this Grand Lodge.
The Grand Lodge Proceedings goes on then to the discussion of the rules to govern such Military Lodges, as follows:
M. W. Bro. W. A. Belt:
Amendment to Section 3 of the Code. To the Grand Lodge of Ohio F. & A. M.:
The undersigned hereby propose the following amendment to Section 3 of the Code so that Section 3, as amended, shall read as follows:
Sec. 3. Each subordinate lodge possesses the inherent right to enact by-laws for its government, provided the same are not inconsistent with the Constitution, By-Laws Rules and Regulations of the Grand Lodge or the fundamental principles of Masonry.
And to that end that these shall be preserved inviolate, it is hereby declared that no by-law of a subordinate lodge shall be of any validity until approved by the Grand Lodge, provided that so much of the by-laws of a subordinate lodge as relates to and fixes the time of stated meetings thereof and the amount of annual dues, which shall not be less than $2.00, may be altered or changed without submitting the same to the Grand Lodge for its approval, and further, provided, that where a lodge adopts the Uniform Code of By-Laws recommended by this Grand Lodge, the Grand Master approve them, and as a part of such Uniform By-Laws, a lodge may provide for trustees and their election and such provision may be approved or disapproved by the Grand Master.
Fraternally submitted, Levi C. Goodale, Ike M. Robinson, Lewis P. Schaus, C. G. Ballou, W. A. Belt, F. B. Winter, Campbell M. Voorhees, Geo. D. Copeland
The copy of the rules and regulations above referred to it as follows:
RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR MILITARY LODGES.
The Committee on Charters and Dispensations having recommended that Dispensations be granted to Military Lodges, the undersigned, the Committee on Masonic Jurisprudence, respectfully report that they have had the same under consideration and recommend the adoption of the following rules and regulations.
- Dispensations for Military Lodges may be granted by the Grand Master upon the same petitions, certificates, and prerequisites as are required for the establishment of civil Lodges, except that the consent of other Lodges shall not be required, nor a Dimit from the Lodge to which the petitioner belonged, but always provided that said Dispensations shall in every case end with the present War, and provided further, that such Lodges shall have no right to confer degrees in any part of the United States or its dependencies, but only in foreign countries.
- Dispensations shall not be issued to any but Ohio Masons who are members of Ohio Lodges.
- No Military Lodge shall, on any pretense, initiate into Masonry any inhabitant or sojourner in any town or place at which its members may be stationed, or through which they may be marching, or any person who does not, at the time, belong to the armed forces of the United States, nor any period who at the time of his petitioning or at the time of his enlistment or selection was not eligible to petition an Ohio Lodge.
- Every Military Lodge under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Ohio shall so conduct itself as not to give offense to the Masonic authorities in the country or place in which it may sojourn; never losing sight of the duties it owes to the Grand Lodge of Ohio, to which communication is ever to be made and all dues and fees regularly transmitted.
- In case of the death, removal, resignation, or permanent absence of any officer of the Military Lodge, the Grand Master may supply the vacancy.
- Military Lodges shall make the same returns as civil lodges.
- Any Brother joining a Military Lodge shall not thereby forfeit his membership in the Lodge to which he formerly belonged, but such joining shall operate to suspend his payment of dues to the Lodge to which he formerly belonged and of the payment of Grand Lodge dues by said Lodge for him.
- At the close of the present war all members of such Miliary Lodges who were Masons before their connection with the same, shall immediately be restored to full membership in their respective Lodges; all persons initiated by said Military Lodge and members thereof at the close of the War shall receive certificates from the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ohio which shall clothe them with the same rights and privileges enjoyed by the holder of a dimit.
- At the close of the present war it shall be the duty of the Master or other Officer having the Dispensation records, jewels, papers, and other property of such Lodge in charge, to forthwith deliver the same to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
The above is respectfully submitted. ALLEN ANDREWS, BARTON SMITH, O. P. SPERRA, F. S. HARMON, B. F. PERRY NELSON WILLIAMS, CHAS J. PRETZMAN.
With this action on the part of Grand Lodge, the way was open for the presentation of petitions for Military Lodges within the Ohio Division. But in the meanwhile he internal cleavages along military lines had taken place and temporarily the matter was laid aside by soldier Masons.
In the 1918 Proceedings of Grand Lodge we find two notations that tell the final story of the Ohio attempt for a Field Lodge.
The Grand Master reported:
Notwithstanding the Grand Lodge at its last Annual Communication authorized the Grand Master to grant Dispensation for Military Lodges, none have been granted, for the reason that no petition has been received for the same.
At the same communication, the Committee on Charters ad Dispensations reported:
Inasmuch as petitioners for a Military Lodge failed to comply with the rules thereof, and the Grand Master not having signed a dispensation, the petitioners for same having removed to different camps, we recommend that a note to that effect be made in the minutes of this Grand Lodge and the papers in the case be retained by the Grand Lodge.
The original papers accompanying the original petition for the Military Lodge, not being in conformity with the proper form, had been returned to the southern cantonment to the original petitioners. In the meantime by the rearrangement of troops and stations, many of the original signers had left the southern cantonment and thus entirely new petitions would have to be made out. But the time for the great move across the seas had come, and no further opportunity was present for the Ohio Masons to prepare and forward their petitions to the Grand Master.
Thus the opportunity for Ohio to have had a Field Lodge dissolved into the air.
But this whole procedure has conducted to one excellent result. The way has been prepared in Ohio for any further or future movements by Ohio Military Masons to prepare their case and present it to their Grand Lodge. Ohio has crystallized in concise form a set of rules and regulations that will become, not only for her own membership but for other Jurisdictions, that can be resuscitated in time of national emergency, and rapidly set up an Emergent Lodge for the comfort and care of her Masonic brethren serving their nation in its armed forces.
The First Colorado Cavalry Lodge.
THE history is presented not as the record of an actuality, but as a Military Lodge that existed only as a hope, and an attempt that never attained fulfillment. Its story reveals a cross section of the insurmountable obstacles which made it impossible for the Grand Lodge of Colorado to complete the plans which it had put forward to meet the needs of soldier Masons in the exigencies of war. It points to the situation that will confront the Grand Lodges of America should a like great emergency arise. Owing to the organization of the national forces in time of need there are states whose quota will be so small, relatively speaking, that their identity as state troops will be merged in larger groupings of men from other states. In such a case what should be the procedure for a Grand Lodge to take when the petitions are received from their members in the army for the forming of Military Lodges?
Shortly before the declaration of war by our President, in 1917, the service men of Colorado found themselves gathered in the camps in their state preparing for an intensive course of training for war. As we would expect, the pride of Colorado rested in the cavalry troops of their state. For what else should we look for in the western country than men who had a natural love and aptitude for the saddle. In these cavalry regiments appeared almost immediately a desire on the part of the Masons enrolled to obtain from their Grand Lodge permission to form and carry on a Military Lodge. To show the attitude of mind on the part of the Grand Master I will quote from the columns of THE BUILDER for December, 1917:
The following communication from M. Wor. Bro. L. D. Crain, then Grand Master of Colorado:
In answer to your inquiry I desire to say that the Grand Lodge delegated the right to the Grand Master to institute such Military Lodges as in his judgment he might think were for the interest of the Craft. Up to the present time no Dispensation has been issued to such Lodges. There is, however, a movement on foot to organize a Colorado Lodge in one of the Units now in the service of the Government. There is one obstacle in granting a Military Lodge for Colorado Masons; we are not sure that enough Colorado men will be located in the same place, regiment or division, to support a Lodge. It is a question which has not apparently been opened, if a Military Lodge formed by the Grand Lodge of one State, can justly take soldiers from another State in the Lodge. Without discussing the point I will say I must be reasonably assured that enough Colorado material will be available to form a Lodge and to maintain it before I will look with favor upon the organization. As mentioned before a Military Lodge is now forming in one of the Camps, but no Dispensation has as yet been issued.
So much for the attitude of mind of the Grand Master. It displays a fine discrimination and good judgment as to the situation that confronted his Jurisdiction. But going back into the summer months, in the Colorado Proceedings of the same year, we find:
The formation of a military lodge was authorized by the following:
Resolved, That this Grand Lodge hereby approves the issuance of Dispensations by the Grand Master, at his discretion, for the formation of Military Lodges to be formed by Master Masons in good standing, residents of Colorado, and in the military service of the United States; provided the said lodges shall be formed and governed and shall meet, transact business, work and make reports under such rules and regulations as may be formulated by the Grand Master, which shall conform as near as the circumstances may permit to the Book of Constitutions of this Grand Lodge.
This action on the part of the Grand Lodge was produced by the reception of a petition from certain brethren within the ranks of the first Colorado Cavalry, to-wit:
PETITION FOR DISPENSATION FOR A NEW LODGE,
Presented to the Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M., of Colorado, September 18, 1917.
Camp Baldwin, Denver, Colorado, September 7, 1917.
To the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Colorado:
Your petitioners respectfully represent: That they are Master Masons in good standing and soldiers in the First Colorado Cavalry in the United States Service, soon to engage actively in war in defense of the primal principle of Masonry-Democracy.
In this manner we will be deprived of our active participation in Masonry, and its restraining influence and of the last honors of Masonry to those who may not survive this acid test of their belief in that principle.
It is impossible to form a permanent Lodge such as is contemplated by the Grand Lodge Constitutions, owing to the provisions therein concerning territorial jurisdictions. The history of Masonry is full of instances where Brethren in the Army have been granted special dispensations to hold Traveling Lodges with some of the powers of regular Lodges, which could meet in Lodge capacity at or near their camps or posts and perform some of the functions of regular chartered Lodges.
It is unnecessary for your petitioners to dwell upon the wholesome influences with which not only the members of such a Lodge, but also all the members of the regiment would be surrounded by the establishment of such an Army Lodge in the First Regiment of Colorado Cavalry. Nor need we point out the service which would be rendered by this Grand Lodge to the Colorado Soldier-Mason in the amelioration of the vicissitudes of the soldier's life, not alone by affording him opportunity to continue his life as a Mason, but added thereto his life as a Mason under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Colorado.
Such a Lodge indeed should be limited to members of the regiment and as members of such regiment could not have opportunity to obtain the Masonic Degrees at their stations, there would be no conflict of jurisdiction with that of any other Grand Lodge.
The expenses incident to such a Lodge have been provided for by pledges of donations to be paid by the petitioners signing this petition, upon the Issuance or the Dispensation prayed for.
There is attached hereto the certificate of the Grand Lecturer of the M. W. Grand Lodge of Colorado, as to the proficiency of the Brethren nominated herein, to be Worshipful Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden of said Lodge.
Certificates of each of the petitioners whose names are signed hereto, properly endorsed, certified by the Grand Secretary of the M. W. Grand Lodge of Colorado, are presented herewith
We, therefore, pray that a Lodge be established by Dispensation in the First Regiment of Colorado Cavalry with the powers of regularly chartered Lodges, under such limitations as the Grand Lodge may deem best.
We recommend that Brother William L. Hogg be appointed Worshipful Master, Harry D. Smith Senior Warden, and Dean E. Martin, Junior Warden of this Lodge, and that said Lodge be named "First Colorado Cavalry Lodge," under Dispensation.
This petition was properly introduced into the business of the communication of Grand Lodge in September of 1917, whereupon it was referred to the Committee of Jurisprudence consisting of: George W. Musser, Charles H. Dudley, and Robert M. Simons. This committee reviewed the whole situation and in due time brought back to the Grand Lodge session the following report:
Report of the Committee on Jurisprudence.
The Committee on Jurisprudence presented the following report which, on motion of M. W. Brother George W. Musser, duly seconded, was adopted:
To the M. W. Grand Lodge, A.F. & A. M., of Colorado:
Your Committee on Jurisprudence, to whom was referred the petition of Brother William Leonard Hogg and others for a Dispensation for the formation of a Military Lodge, to be known as "The First Colorado Cavalry Lodge," respectfully report as follows:
That said petition be referred to the incoming Grand Master with recommendation that the petition be granted and the Dispensation issued upon presentation to the Grand Master of such evidences of the good standing of the petitioners and other facts as may be required by him.
We recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
"Resolved, That this Grand Lodge hereby approves the issuance of Dispensations by the Grand Master, at his discretion, for the formation of Military Lodges, to be formed by Master Masons in good standing, residents of Colorado, and in the military Service of the United States, provided the said Lodges shall be formed and governed and shall meet, transact business, work and make reports under such rules and regulations as may be formulated by the Grand Master, which shall conform as near as the circumstances may permit to the Book of Constitutions of this Grand Lodge."
Respectfully submitted, George W. Musser, Charles H. Dudley, Robert M. Simons, Committee
With this favorable consideration the brethren within the first Cavalry set to work to realize their great masonic desire. But in the meanwhile forces were at work that brought their anticipations to nought. The War Department, in its broad and Comprehensive policy of army organization found it necessary to dismount the cavalry and to rearrange its component parts so that the first Cavalry of Colorado was broken up into smaller units and lost its identity. But a number of the brethren strove even with this calamity to gather some action out of their ruined plans. The story comes to us in official form as told in the Proceedings of 1918 of Colorado. Grand Master L.D. Crain, in his address before the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in 1918, refers to the situation in the following words:
The Grand Lodge, at its last Annual Communication, authorized the Grand Master to issue Dispensations to Military Lodges under such regulations and requirements as might seem wise to him. Colorado Masons in the Cavalry Service of the National Guard, which organization was assimilated by the National Army, petitioned the Grand Lodge for a Dispensation to form such a Lodge. This petition was turned over to me with the instruction from the Grand Lodge as given above. Before the proper steps could be taken to form this Lodge, the Cavalry was ordered to California. Again, before the organization was completed, this unit was entirely disbanded, its members being assigned to various other branches of the Service. I was then asked to issue my Dispensation to a "Colorado Military Lodge" in place of a "Colorado Cavalry Lodge." This I agreed to do under certain conditions. The conditions were as follows:
First, that I be assured that enough Colorado Masons would be in a unit or division to maintain a lodge.
Second, that I be given reasonable assurance that there would be sufficient Colorado men in such divisions to furnish candidates for work, and that only such candidates would be considered by this Lodge.
The reason for my second condition is this Even in time of war I believe territorial jurisdiction should hold. If, therefore the Military Lodges be permitted to assume jurisdiction over material from another Grand Jurisdiction, then such Grand Jurisdiction through its Military Lodge could claim jurisdiction over Colorado soldiers, and this I could not accede to as their right.
The conditions imposed were such that the Brethren interested could not comply with, and the Military Lodge was not formed.
I believe it is a question if the interest of the Craft will be greatly or at all benefited by such Lodges. As Masonic Clubs perhaps, they would contribute to the pleasure of the members. In such cases purely social clubs composed of Masons would be quite as useful.
In the Correspondence Report of Alabama for 1918, the writer takes notice of the Colorado Proceedings and especially the Grand Master's address and places in quotations these words found in that address: "The Grand Master was empowered 'at his discretion' to issue warrants." If you couple this with the closing words of that same address as found above it may be that the brethren from Colorado faced the same situation that confronted petitioners from several other of the states where those in authority were not predisposed toward the whole proposition of Military Lodges.
However that may be, our comrades from Colorado were unable to realize their great desire for a lodge to accompany them into the military service and were compelled to fall back upon their own initiative and to take advantage of all the Masonic opportunities that came across their paths wherever they found themselves during the war.
We have presented this brief resume of the steps taken looking toward the formation of a Colorado Military Lodge in order that as complete a history as possible may be put on record of all that was attempted along these lines during the war.
Closing with the same thought with which this article began, we point out that to some of the Grand Lodges within states where their National Guard is not large in numbers there will inevitably come, through the plans of organization of the military forces of the Government, this same splitting up of local military organizations into smaller units attached to regiments and divisions made up of soldiers from a number of states. Thus their problem as to army lodges is immeasurably more difficult than is the problem of the more thickly populated states.
* * *
THE DEGREES OF MASONRY: THEIR ORIGIN AND HISTORY
Bros. A. L. Kress and R. J. Meekren
BEFORE proceeding to a final summing up of the results of this discussion it may be well to consider a general objection to the conclusions which seem to have emerged. And it is not an objection that can be merely brushed aside, for the point raised therein fairly demands consideration.
All these catechisms that have been put in evidence are evidently, what in several cases is explicitly stated, examinations, means by which, as it is alleged, one freemason of the period could demonstrate his status to another, and be at the same time assured of that of his interlocutor. On the "Single Degree" theory of Hughan, Lyon and Mackey and their followers, no difficulty is here presented, but, if two or more degrees be assumed as being an integral part of the original deposit of Masonic tradition, the question arises: How did it come about that questions relating to a superior grade were mixed in without discrimination with the general demand, the answers to which would be common knowledge to all grades of Masons?
The general lines on which this difficulty may be solved have been indicated, but the matter is too important to be left with a merely incidental treatment, although a complete analysis would take too much time to be practicable, and could hardly be made intelligible except to those who had copies of all the documents before them.
We will, to begin with, refer once more to the Catechisme des Francs Maçons. As we have it reprinted in the work L'Ordre des Franc-Maçons Trahi, it is interspersed with notes, which may have been in the original publication, but some of which certainly seem to be due to the compiler of the later work. Disregarding these breaks in the continuity of the sequence of questions and answers, we are struck at once by two obvious things. The first is that three degrees, Apprentif, Compagnon and Maître, are refered to, each having secrets peculiar to it while the second peculiarity is that the special secrets of the two higher grades are mingled quite indiscriminately with those that are common to all Masons, including Apprentifs. This catechism as a whole, and those published by Prichard, are more complete, and cover more ground, than any of the documents we have been considering, or else they have been more subject to the process of development. It is probable that both the alternatives are true. There are indications in some of the older forms to lead us to suspect the incorporation of parallel variations. This, with elaboration and explanation, would seem to account for much of the contents of the two more developed forms — though this development in each case was independent. In Prichard we find three definitely separated parts, but in the Catechism we find a most curious inconsequence. Questions of a general character seem to form the main texture or background, while interspersed here and there are questions proper to one or other of the higher grades, and there are several that have different answers according as the one answering is Apprentice, Companion or Mastery . From which the necessary conclusion is that, however illogical and inconsistent it may seem, the lack of any sharp segregation of matter pertaining to a higher grade does not prove that there was no such specific allotment.
EARLY CONFUSION OF GRADES ACCOUNTED FOR
The hypothesis of a "telescoping" of grades, or that of a regular custom of conferring both at once, would each quite account for such confusion. In the one case the distinction would have more or less broken down, and in the other, there would be no practical need to keep things separate and distinct. Of course, as "telescoping" would be merely a further stage of decadence, following on after the habit of accepting candidates as fellows immediately after their entry, all the confusions in the Catechisms could spring ultimately from the same root cause.
Now the distinction between Apprentice and Fellow seems to have been almost entirely lost in the Grand Mystery and its two parallel versions, although these seem to be otherwise much fuller and more complete and more orderly in arrangement than any of the others. It would be feasible to suggest that some such arrangement was followed in the old Lodge of York at the beginning of the eighteenth century, if we may judge from its extant minutes.
In the Examination the distinction is clear, though, from the obscure description of the ceremonies with which the catechism is prefaced, it would seem to derive from a locality where there was no interval between grades, and this supposition is strengthened by the fact that the answer to the first question combines the Apprentice's and Fellow's response in one, although at the end the two grades are definitely differentiated. Its companion document, the Mystery of Freemasons, has also a mixture of grades at the beginning, and likewise at the end differentiates them, even more clearly than the Examination. The editorial note:
There is not one Mason in a Hundred that will be at the Expense to pass the Master's Part, except it be for Interest,
might point to the existence of an attempt at reform by reintroducing a real interval, as was done at Dunblane and Haughfoot, and, as we may guess, possibly in London, too — if we suppose these versions to have come from that locality.
The Dumfries-Kilwinning MS. tells us least of all, though it may be interpreted as suggesting some such intermixture as we find in the last two documents, but on the whole it seems to be rather incomplete. The Confession, confused as it is, definitely describes two degrees, though the author seems to remember little of the higher one. We could suppose that he had been well coached by his Intender during the year's interval of which he speaks, because the latter, being liable to a fine if his pupil were found not to he fully instructed, saw to it that he learned his lesson.
In the Chetwode Crawley MS., in spite of its exasperating brevity, there is no confusion at all. The questions belonging to the Fellow-Craftsman, who is the same as the Master Mason, or Mason Master, are quite distinct in the short catechism that is given, and follow in order those of more general character which were taught to the Apprentice. The Sloane MS. we are inclined to believe is a compilation by a non-Mason, and also that the material used by its author related to a two-degree system, and that, either by a pure mistake in copying, or else by being interpreted in the light of some knowledge of a more developed arrangement, it has been given the superficial appearance of referring to three grades under the names we are now so familiar with. Either explanation is possible. This brings us to the deferred question regarding the date of the Trinity College MS., and the inferences consequent thereon.
A POSSIBLE EVOLUTION BEFORE 1717
We have said that in our own opinion it is most probable this manuscript is later than the date endorsed upon it. But it remains that it is not certain that this is so; and even supposing that it is, the question arises, how much later? That is, was it later than 1723 or 1730? For while it undoubtedly refers to three degrees, under what are practically the same names that we use today , there is very little else that is recognizable. Its affinities seem to be much closer with the other Catechisms than to any later ritual forms. Can we then suppose it to represent a first sketch of a tri-gradal system? Or an independent line of development?
Another question; assuming the date to be erroneous, are we to give credit to the remainder of the endorsement — and accept it as having belonged to some member of the Molyneux family, with the inference therefrom that it is of Irish origin?
To use a theatrical simile, the "spot-light" has hitherto been on the Grand Lodge of London. In the Book of Constitutions, the official records, newspaper allusions and so on, students have had definite and connected material to work upon. It was therefore natural enough to assume that all modern Masonry was transmitted through the "four old lodges" of the English metropolis. Though the earlier extreme view, that pre-Grand Lodge Masonry had dwindled almost to a vanishing point or rather four vanishing points and then revived, and from thence spread out all over the world, is now fully recognized as untenable, yet, owing to the obscurity and uncertainty found elsewhere, attention is still pre-eminently drawn to the only place where the series of events is comparatively clear. But this needs conscious correction; we have got to keep in mind the fact that Masonry did exist elsewhere. In Scotland, Ireland and York certainly; elsewhere in England almost certainly, and in France (and also the Low Countries) very probably. The erudite French historian, Albert Lantoine, cites the Jesuit father, Louis Maimbourg, author of a history of the Crusades, as referring to the Freemasons "as a society that is believed to have been founded at the conquest of the Holy Land." And Maimbourg died in 1686 . This is only one of several references which point in the same direction. We quote this one because it is not very generally known. These indications may all be very doubtful and uncertain, but to quote Lantoine again, where there is smoke there is probably fire. Once we can free our minds of the natural bias that makes it difficult to realize that Masonry once existed and propagated itself very well without the elaborate machinery of Grand Lodges and Warrants and Charters, we can see that, so far from the existence of the fire being impossible, it is really highly probable; and though the evidence in itself may not be rated any higher on this account, yet its implications will seem much more in accord with the probabilities of the case. But it is no part of our present affair to argue for or against the existence of Freemasonry prior to 1717 in any particular place or country, we merely wish to draw attention that it did certainly exist elsewhere than in London, and that there is nothing in the world to force us to believe that all ritual evolution took its rise in the "regular" lodges under the new Constitution. Indeed, it is inherently probable, when we think of it, that innovations would be more likely to rise outside the new organization. Here again we may be very easily misled by the complex of inferences based on the older views that still hold their ground, though those views have themselves been rejected. The idea may still hold its place in the back of our minds that, like Athena, the Grand Lodge sprang forth fully armed, and clothed in the aegies of authority, on St. John's Day in the year 1717, all out of the empty blue, without generation or antecedents.
As a matter of fact it is very doubtful if the year 1717 can be assigned with anything like accuracy as the date of the founding of the Grand Lodge. There was a meeting of the same four lodges in 1716 which seems equally entitled to the honor. Such a movement must have had some antecedents, some incubation at least, even though we can do little but speculate about it. The New Articles in some of the later versions of the Old Charges point to some earlier attempt to reorganize and reform the Craft. While on the other hand it could quite well be asserted that the Grand Lodge proper did not really take form until 1723, when the first records begin and the first Grand Secretary was appointed; and that previous to this there had been, not a Grand Lodge, but a General Assembly of the London Masons; either as a genuine tradition, or as a conscious attempt to reconstruct it on the basis of the Old Charges, as they were then understood. However, the point is not one that is of much consequence for our present purpose, attention has been drawn to it for one reason only, and that is to emphasize the fact that we are dealing with a living social organism at a period of accelerated evolution. And we specially wish to emphasize evolution.
THE CAUSES OF THE EVOLUTION
It is now time to gather up the various threads of the whole course of the discussion and see what answer can be given to the final question; how and why did our present tri-gradal system come into being? The conclusion we have reached is that prior to the transition period, which is represented not delimited — by the symmetrical figure 1717, the Mason's fraternity, on its esoteric side, had two distinct grades which, as we have defined the term, were "degrees." We have made no attempt to determine their content, except to indicate that the first of them comprised the essentials of our present E.A. and F.C., and that the second contained the germs of our M.M. This question, in spite of its great intrinsic interest, does not come within the scope of our inquiry, except as it bears upon the question of origins and development. It is plainly obvious that the two things are really closely and organically connected, and that the limitation is an artificial one, but such restrictions have to be made in order to make investigation possible. There is just one observation to make before we pass on, the significance of which is greater than may at first appear. The three degree system which appears definitely in London in 1730, had in fifteen or twenty years spread all over the Masonic world so completely and so silently and with so little disturbance that for more than a hundred years thereafter no one ever so much as dreamed that any such radical change had taken place. Which fact, when all its bearings and implications are considered, is in itself proof that, frowns the inside, the change was nothing like so radical as it would appear.
Starting then with the traditional Operative two degrees, with their origin rooted in an indefinite past, we find that in 1730 there was certainly a third degree arrangement in being. We also have unequivocal proof that the old and the new methods overlapped — the old system existing in scattered survivals long afterwards; while conversely it can be confidently asserted that the three degrees must have existed before 1730; for aside from various allusions of earlier date, there is the general argument that such developments must always antedate their first publication in the nature of things. Hitherto it has been assumed, as we confess we had done previous to this investigation, that a higher limit had been set in 1723 by the Book of Constitutions, which refers definitely to the old system. But we have now to accept the full consequences of the fact that the circle of lodges that formed and adhered to the Grand Lodge in the first years of its existence did not comprise the whole Craft, and were probably, in point of numbers, an insignificant minority. Thus the field in which the evolution played its part is indefinitely extended; and it becomes possible, and even probable, in the light of social experience, that so far from the Grand Lodge being a hotbed of experiments and innovations it was a conservative factor from the beginning. More definitely, we might say that while in the field of legislation and regulation it had to innovate by the necessities of its existence, it balanced this by checking so far as was possible any changes in the traditional ritual. Thus, if we had to select any name as that of a probable "ritual tinker," it would be such a man as Dr. Stukeley, in his independent lodge at Grantham, rather than Payne, Desaguliers or Martin Clare. But this desire to ascribe epoch making changes to individuals is, while natural, liable to lead us into error. Such developments are always anonymous, they grow by imperceptible changes, here a little and there a little, and the whole passed on from group to group and generation to generation. It is understood that we are speaking of the genuine article and not the manufactured imitation.
POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT OUTSIDE GRAND LODGE
Now we have described the Grand Lodge as being under the spotlight, while the rest of the stage is in darkness; but this spotlight gives only a relative illumination unfortunately. Still we do have here a series of events that are more or less connected, whereas elsewhere we have only vague outlines in the obscurity. The Trinity College and Sloane MSS. are such disconnected facts, they may or they may not antedate 1717, they may or may not point to ritual evolution before that date. What we wish to insist upon is that exact dating is not possible, and further, that it fortunately is not very important whether the developments were earlier or later, for the really interesting and significant thing is the order in which they happened, and the operating conditions, causes and motives which brought them about. We shall therefore refrain from bringing together here all the scattered allusions that point to Masonic activity prior to 1717 or 1716, especially as most of them have already been mentioned, and point out some general considerations, which, though indirect, will help us to a realization of the extent of that darkened stage at the centre of which the Grand Lodge, in none too brilliant illumination, played its part.
The first of these is the extraordinary rapidity with which "regular" Masonry spread, not only in England, but in other countries. No one can contemplate this fact without having it borne in upon him that, even with American "quantity production" methods, it would have been impracticable to have made Masons enough in the lodges that are known to have existed to have founded the new lodges that were constituted under the London authority in the years succeeding 1717. The only answer is that there were already Masons, and probably lodges, who enlisted themselves in the new organization. And this not only in England, but in Europe also.
Now we are not now concerned with the propagation of Masonry or its origin in different countries, though, like the question of the content of the primitive ritual, it is a subject very intimately connected with our problem, and we have perforce to touch upon it. A suggestion has previously been made that there may have been a very practical, and even interested motive, for men of the higher classes of society entering a widespread fraternity in such troublous times as continued with brief intermissions, from the reign of Charles I to that of Queen Anne. As Hurree Chunder Mookerjee put it, when he was initiating Kim into the secrets ("quite unofficial") of his pet invention, the Sat Bhai, it might enable a man to "get his second wind" in an emergency. A Mason might find shelter and assistance when it was a matter of life and death. Let us remember in this connection that the percentage of Masons among soldiers, sailors, travellers, explorers and pioneers, has always been, and still is, very much higher than among other classes of men. And we have to remember also that, according to the custom of the time, it was of frequent occurrence for gentlemen to go abroad and serve as volunteers at their own expense in the continually recurring wars on the Continent. And besides this, the French kings had whole regiments, recruited entirely, officers and men, from Scotch and Irishmen, most of them political exiles. And so far as the Scots were concerned, the law of averages, as we have previously noted, makes it incredible that some Masons should not have been found among these migrants. What happened in the army besieging Newcastle in 1641 might have been repeated — without record remaining any number of times elsewhere.
There are also some further facts to be considered. It was in France preeminently that the "high grades" later on had their rankest development; but Ireland was not far behind in the invention or adoption of new degrees and orders; and secret societies, it may be remarked, have always flourished among the Irish, as among the people of Sicily and China. Now if the Trinity College MS. suggests the possibility of ritual development in Ireland previous to 1717, we have to recall that already in 1745 there was in France a degree or order of Ecossais Masonry . But this was not its beginning, for the first French Grand Lodge  added to Anderson's General Regulations, which it adopted in full, an additional one expressly denying the claims of Maitres Ecossais to dominate and supervise any lodge of which they were members, or even, as it would seem, merely visitors. Such a claim, which in spite of this new legislation was apparently often admitted by the lodges, must have had a history behind it. If Masonry was (as has been generally supposed) first introduced into France under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of London this phenomenon is quite inexplicable. But if we assume that there had been an earlier importation, by Scottish and Irish exiles (there were Maitres Irlandais as well as Maitres Ecossais) the later confusion and dissension could be explained as the inevitable conflict between the democratic ideas of "regular" Masonry and those of an autocratic development of the older and looser organization.
Very tentatively we would suggest that there is a possibility — a possibility merely — that not only before 1717, but earlier still, even perhaps in the seventeenth century, there existed in France, among the Stuart partisans in exile, the germ of what was later known as Maçonnerie Écossaise. A germ only; bearing the same relation to the swarm of "Scottish," "Perfect" and "Elect" degrees that developed out of it that an egg does to the hatched chick. It is certain that the first definite appearance of what is now a heavily stressed feature (far too heavily stressed one might think) in the rituals of English speaking Masonry, both American and British, a feature that has never been incorporated into the Master's grade as worked in European countries, is first found in the Ecossais and Elu degrees . We refer to the section concerning rewards and punishments. And we have also to remember the persistent tradition in early Continental Masonry of some relationship with Jacobite aims and pretensions. This has been denied many times as baseless, and baseless it may be for all we know definitely, yet so much smoke does seem to argue at least a little fire.
JACOBITE INTERPRETATION OF THE LEGEND
There is a theory of the origin of the legend of the third degree which at one time had many upholders. This was that the legend was devised as a veiled and allegorical account of the "martyrdom" of Charles I. We certainly hope that no one will suspect us of wishing to revive this, but it must be pointed out, that just as the Masonic myth could be interpreted in the Order of Rose Croix as an allegory of the death of Christ, the Word Incarnate, so it could also have been interpreted as referring to the king slain by traitors, as loyalists naturally regarded them. Psychologically we can easily appreciate that it would be very natural for dispossessed men, followers of a king in exile, whether Charles or James, or both in turn, to so interpret such a legend, and further that to them would it be most likely to occur that the story was deficient in the particular point which would be uppermost in their minds justice and vengeance.
Having said this, let us enter a caveat. We ask no one to accept any of these suggestions, nor have we adopted them ourselves except so far as to recognize their being possibilities, perhaps only barely such, but still possibilities. None of all this is really essential to our further argument, we have canvassed the subject only to draw attention to that wider background upon which the evolution of the primitive degrees took place within the circle of Grand Lodge Masonry. The background we do assert was there, and it was neither inert nor inactive. To such as would deprecate such hypothetical reconstructions as useless, we would say that the facts known to us do not lead to positive conclusions, and that like indeterminate equations in algebra the only thing to do is to work out all possible solutions to the problem. Such hypotheses have this use, that they may lead to the discovery of further facts that either support or negative them, and so help us to more solidly founded results.
Should anyone feel shocked at the suggestion that new degrees might have been in existence prior to 1717 it might be said that there is distinct evidence that one important modification had taken place in the legend long before the death of Charles Stuart. We refer to the curious fact that the earliest printed English translations of the Bible, those of Tyndale and Matthews, transliterated the name and title of the architect of the Temple as Hiram Abi, whereas the earlier manuscript versions, like the later printed ones, all followed the Vulgate in rendering the second word as "his father," or some equivalent phrase. When we remember that these two translations were condemned, and so thoroughly sought out and destroyed by the authorities that they are now exceedingly rare, it becomes to a very high degree probable that it was during the twenty years or so of their currency, roughly between 1530 and 1550, that this peculiar phrase was adopted into Masonry.
Two things only do we carry over from this discussion. One practically certain, the other possible. The first is that extraneous material was at some time incorporated into the legend of the Master from so-called Ecossais Masonry, which definitely fits in with the view that the evolutionary process within the Grand Lodge circle was affected by what we have called the background. The other is, that evolution may not have been unilateral, but may have proceeded along different lines in different places, and also that it may have begun earlier than has hitherto been supposed. And here there is one thing that may be referred to again because it is like a fixed point in a fog. It has no known antecedents, or consequents, that we know of. This is Stukeley's "Order of the Book"; mentioned once in his diary, and then silence. It is brought up simply because it shows that the possibility of creating new orders and degrees was in the air, even if the possibility that there had been any development in France or Ireland be summarily rejected.
- After some general questions comes a word assigned to the Apprentices, followed by one belonging to the next higher grade, which is given in response to the question: "Are you a Companion?" Then follow questions about the lodge of the kind that seem everywhere to have been common to the Apprentices, and then some description of the forms of initiation. Then a second time comes the question: "Are you a Companion?" followed by one about the letter "G." which we are informed a Master answered differently from a Companion. Then comes the Apprentice's greeting, including the statement that he is ready to work from Monday till Saturday, and then a question about wages for which each grade has its own answer. Then is followed the demand: "Are you a Master?" and several others which have different answers according to grade. Indeed the latter part of the Catechism seems to be little more than a disconnected series of catch questions set down as they came to mind. ↩
- The terms used actually are "Master," "Fellow Craftsman" and "Enter Prentice." ↩
- Lantoine, Histoire de la Francmaçonnerie Française, pp. 104, 132. ↩
- L'Ordre des Franc-Mac1ons Trahi. In a note to the preface the Abbe Perau speaks of "un certain Orde qu'ils appellent les Ecossois, superieurs, a ce qu'on pretend, aux Francs-Maçons ordinaires, & qui ont leurs Ceremonies & Leurs Secrets a part." ↩
- Lantoine, op. cit., p. 195. ↩
- Compare Mackey Encyclopedia under "Elu." ↩
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OPERATIVE VERSUS SPECULATIVE FREEMASONRY
Bro. Charles Comstock, Tennessee.
The following article was published in The Lamplighter of Chattanooga, Penn., for May and June, 1929, we are reprinting it by permission as we believe it will be of interest to many of our readers. Bro. Comstock, the author is Secretary of the Historical Committee of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee.
THE BUILDER one of the leading Masonic journals of today, published under the auspices of the National Masonic Research Society, has for some months past contained a series of articles relating to "Origin and History of Masonic Degrees," contributed by some of our foremost research workers. They have gone into the merits of former discoveries by such noted historians as Albert G. Mackey, Robert Freke Gould, Lionel Vibert and D. Murray Lyon, as well as others of more recent times, and are giving to the Craft a thoroughly complete account of the findings of our illustrious predecessors along the arduous way of Masonic historical investigation.
The writer who has been a member of the above Society since its inception in 1915, desires briefly to present to the Craft in Tennessee, and even beyond our borders where this article may find its way, certain cited facts concerning the relationship between Operative and Speculative Masonry which come not through the usual channels of our historical research.
First, we respectfully tender the statement that there are, or, at least until quite recently, have been, Operative Lodges still maintaining an active existence in the Mother Land, which claim a continuous record both written and unwritten, since the Grand Lodge of All England was established at York, England, under the supervision of Prince Edwin, as Grand Master, in the year 926 A.D. Masonic historians generally agree that whatever may have been the status or origin of this traditionally important Masonic Assembly, whether it was duly constituted as a supervising Grand Lodge, or merely as a General Assembly of the Craft, en masse, it did exert at times the authority of a governing body, and that it also functioned as a private lodge, receiving applications and entering such new Brethren as were approved. This old Lodge continued its operations for more than eight and one-half centuries, its latest record bearing date, by authentic account during the year 1791, A.D. For nearly seventy-five years, it performed the functions of an Operative Grand Lodge, under the title, "Grand Lodge of All England," after the formation of what is known as the "Constitutional Grand Lodge," or the Grand Lodge of "Moderns," at London, in 1717. During the forty years subsequent to the establishment of the Grand Lodge of "Antients," sometimes known as the "Athol Grand Lodge," while the two rival Grand Lodges followed a course of ofttimes bitter antagonism, the old Operative Grand Lodge, without contention with either of the younger bodies, pursued the even tenor of its course, in the supervision of the Craft acknowledging its obedience.
The most rational and lucid account of the facts and conditions affecting the relationship between Operative and Speculative Masonry, during the primitive days of the latter, when its ceremonials and regulations were being evolved from the customs and practices of the Operative Society, is set forth in a valuable contribution to our modern Masonic literature, entitled, "Guild Masonry in the Making," compiled by Brother Charles H. Merz, of Sandusky, Ohio, a member of the Speculative Craft in that Grand Jurisdiction, and who is also a member of one of the Operative or Guild Lodges still functioning as late as the present century in various parts of England. On June 2, 1912, at Leicester, England, Dr. Merz became regularly indentured as an apprentice to the Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers, (York Division), to learn their Art, etc. This occurred in Lodge Leicester, No. 91, established at Leicester, England, in 1761, under the authority of the Grand Lodge of All England, which is known historically to have issued charters to certain Operative Lodge during that year, even as it had for many years, and doubtless so continued until its records were closed in 1791.
Brother Merz passed through the simple ceremony of initiation practiced by the Operative Lodges, which he describes as substantially comparative to our Speculative ceremonial, and there can be no logical doubt that our present Entered Apprentice ceremonial was based on this ancient work of the Operative Craft. Furthermore, Brother Merz sets forth the regulations of Guild Masonry, which he informs us is divided into two branches, one known as "Square Masonry," performing such work as may be founded on the basis of the square or rectangle, and one designated as "Arch Masonry," covering the construction of circular or arch work, so often found in the ancient Temples and Cathedrals of bygone centuries. Each of these branches of the Operative Craft is divided into seven degrees, covering the various grades of workmen; the Entered Apprentices, one grade of Fellows of the Craft; two grades of Super-Fellows; the fifth is styled Intendent of the Craft of Free Masons; sixth, the Degree of Passed Master of the Craft; and seventh, the governing officials, composed of the Three Grand Masters, representing the two Kings and the Chief Architect.
Our modern Masonic historians have expressed grave doubts as to the Operative Society having had but one Degree, common to all grades of Craftsman. This, in the light of Brother Merz' instructive revelation, is evidently a misconception, and he cites excellent authorities to refute that assumption. He avers that we, as Speculative Masons, are much more deeply indebted to Operative Masonry for our Ceremonials than many of our leading Craftsmen realize; and that our present day ritualism is much older than the transition period from 1717 to 1723. On this hypothesis, it is highly logical to conclude that founders of our present Speculative System of Degrees, found enough material in the Operative ceremonials of those days to form the basis of not only the symbolic Degrees, but also of the Royal Arch and its preparatory grades. After long years of participation in the ceremonials of our present system and dilligent research into the antecedents of our Craft work, the writer is convinced that the suggestions of Brother Merz regarding the origin of our Speculative Degrees, are devoutly worthy of our earnest consideration. His work is highly illuminating. He states that the Grand Lodge of England, as recently as 1911, issued a circular letter admitting that "The ritual of Freemasonry, so far as the first and second Degrees are concerned, is, in part, no doubt, derived from the ceremonies of the Operative Guilds." The symbolism of Speculative Masonry finds its counterpart in the revelations of Operative Society, which presents in frequent instances a clearer conception of their hidden significance. In the transition from the Operative to the Speculative form, much that should be clear, became obscure in the effort to separate Speculative Masonry from the customs and practices of the Operative Society, and make it thereby a more distinctive organization. Brother Merz advances the thought that those venerated Craftsmen who developed our Speculative system of ceremonials, while they had been initiated in the Operative Society, did not attain the Seventh Degree, the grade of the three Grand Masters, and therefore they were not in possession of important mysteries and symbolic interpretations which should have been introduced into the Speculative teachings, and which would have greatly clarified the deeper significance of our ritualism. It is undeniably true that beneath the customary explanations of our Masonic symbols and emblems, is concealed a more profound spiritual interpretation which is only realized by those who may be said to "have advanced far toward perfection" in their fervent search after Truth and At-onement with Infinite Wisdom; after that which was (not) lost, only concealed within the depths of our inner consciousness, until the "scales of doubt and darkness shall fall from our eyes and the wise purposes of the Divine Architect be displayed in all their splendor."
The Operative Craft deposited beneath the foundations of the stately edifices they erected a store of spiritual wisdom and understanding which our Speculative Builders should zealously strive to discover and bring to light, that the Craftsmen of far off futurity may profit by the knowledge and understanding of those whose genius and skill passed the test of the Chief Architect in the days when Masonry was young in point of time.
We live in a "rapid" age, whose whirling activities too often leave us little time for reflection, and frequently cause us to lose sight of that which is, in our eagerness to attain knowledge of what may be. Freemasonry, with its beautiful revelations and deeply hidden interpretations, is worthy of our thoughtful consideration. Not alone in impressive ceremonials, highly valuable as a means to an end, we may find revealed the sublime teachings, the inspiring conceptions of the Mystic Builders' Art. That "we reap what we sow" is distinctively true of those who follow the winding way of Spiritual Craftsmanship. The highest realization of Masonry's "Hidden Mysteries," comes to the inquiring mind of him who fervently gives himself to the ennobling cause of Brotherhood, without the hope of recompense. Through secrecy, silence and darkness, lies the way of attainment, and to each earnest seeker who selfishly follows the rugged path of accomplishment and willing service, comes at last the ample compensation for his labor.
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A Controversial Triangle
LAST March the Master Mason of Washington, D.C., published an article by the Rev. E. deP. Castells under the title "Masonic Research in England." It was piquantly written, being a running criticism of Masonic Research in England, of the Research Lodge, their members and of finials, and especially of the oldest and best known of them; Quatuor Coronati Lodge.
The article was later reprinted in the London Freemason, preceded by some severe comment. In a later number of the Freemason some correspondence between the Editor and Bro. Castells was quoted, in which it must be admitted the latter appeared to be somewhat lacking in candor. In the July number of the Master Mason an editorial explanation was published from which it appears that Bro. Castells was asked by them to write an article, and that, so far as the Master Mason was concerned, there was no thought or desire of criticizing the scholarship of Masonic students in England.
The Freemason, however, was not wholly satisfied, apparently holding that a definite apology was in order from the Master Mason for having published the insinuations which appeared in the original article, against Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and against its Secretary in particular.
It might be said on behalf of the Master Mason and the American readers of the article, that these veiled reflections would be a sealed book to them. Their real import would not be apprehended for lack of knowledge of the circumstances, and the article therefore did not convey the same meaning to its American readers that they must have done to our English brethren.
To those who were more or less familiar with the state of affairs in England, the article appeared to have been written solely to vent the author's displeasure with Quatuor Coronati Lodge. Fair criticism is one thing; veiled innuendos, mixed with very faint praise, are another. And the personal attack on the genial brother who for many years so ably and competently held the exceedingly responsible office of Secretary is, as the Freemason says, "ridiculous" in its content. We wish we could believe it ridiculous in its intent also.
For the benefit of those of our readers who do not know much about the brother so unfairly attacked, we would say that during his long tenure of office he has ever been ready to afford information and advice to those who applied to him, with the utmost courtesy and patience, often suggesting facts and arguments that might tend to support views with which he personally disagreed. A more candid and impartial scholar it would be hard to find in any field of learning. And with his scholarship went a zealous interest in the practice of Masonry; he having for many years given of his time without stint in labor for the benevolent activities which so distinguish the Craft in England. What motive, outside some petty jealousy or personal pique, could lead anyone to attack him is indeed hard to imagine. But, undoubtedly, it will prove another case of the "engineer hoist with his own petard."
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MILES PRENTICE — SOLDIER AND MASON
Bro. A. J. B. Milborne, Canada.
A COMPARATIVELY unknown but captivating figure who passed across the stage in the latter half of the eighteenth century was Miles Prentice. Coming to Canada with General Wolfe's Army, he was present on the Plains of Abraham when the battle was fought which decided the fate of the City of Quebec and brought an end the domination of the French in Canada.
Quebec capitulated on the 18th of September, 1759, and a Minute Book which recently came into the possession of the Grand Lodge of Quebec records that a meeting of the brethren in the Regiments forming the garrison was held at Simpson's Coffee House on the 28th November of the same year "as soon as convenient after the surrender of this place to His Britannic Majesty's Arms." It was decided to form a Provincial Grand Lodge and Lieutenant John Price Guinnett of Lodge No. 192 I.R. (Warranted in 1748) held in the 47th Regiment became the first Provincial Grand Master.
Following the end of active military operations Prentice took his discharge from the Army, turned tavernkeeper, and became the proprietor of the Sun Tavern in Quebec, then located on St. John Street.
The Sun Tavern quickly became the rendezvous of the Masons of the City and garrison. Existing records show that meetings of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Canada, the Merchants Lodge No. 1 and St. Andrews Lodge No. 2 were held there. It is not improbable that St. Patrick's Lodge of which Miles Prentice was a member, also met at the Sun.
The first Canadian newspaper, The Quebec Gazette, made its initial appearance on June 21st, 1764; the prospectus, according to tradition, having been set up in the printing office of Benjamin Franklin. It was published both the English and French languages, with the exception of the following advertisement which was printed in English only:
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN That on Sunday, the 24th being the Festival of St. John such strange BRETHREN who may have a desire of joining the Merchants Lodge No. 1. Quebec may obtain Liberty, by applying to Miles Prentice at the Sun, in St. John Street, who has Tickets, Price Five Shillings for that Day.
Miles Prentice appears on a list of Protestant Housekeepers contained in a Certificate given by General Murray in 1764. He continued to occupy the Sun Tavern until 1771 when he acquired the property now occupied by the City Post Office upon which stood the house erected in 1688, and said to be the first built of stone in the City. Many romantic stories have been woven around this old house — Le Chien D'Or — so named because of a gilt carving over the front door of a dog gnawing a bone, and now incorporated in the present building. Prentice converted Le Chiex D'Or into an hotel and boarding house which became known as "Freemasons' Hall."
In 1775 the City of Quebec was once again besieged, this time by the American forces under Generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold. The British garrison consisted of only three hundred men, and the citizens were quickly mobilized to assist in the defense of the City. An existing Orderly Book kept by Capt. Anthony Vialar records under date of the 19th September, 1775, that "Mr. Miles Prentice is appointed Sergeant Major to the British Militia and is to obey and be obeyed as such." Freemasons' Hall was made the headquarters of Colonel McLean, and the defence of the City was no doubt planned in its lower room, for the Orderly Book makes frequent reference to meetings there of the officers of the garrison. The besieging army launched its attack on the night of December 31st, 1775, and at first it seemed that the City would fall under a stroke similar to that conceived by Montgomery's former chief Wolfe. The defenders, however, were thoroughly prepared. Fire was opened on the attacking force as it reached the foot of Cape Diamond, and Montgomery fell at the first volley. His body was recovered the next day and its identity definitely established by Prentice's wife; Montgomery having been a frequent visitor at the Sun Tavern when a Captain in the 17th Regiment. Sir Gilbert Parker, in his work Old Quebec, writes that the identification was made by the "widow Prentice," but it is clear that Miles Prentice lived for many years after these stirring times.
With the death of Montgomery the hopes of the expedition were crushed, although Quebec was not relieved until the next spring, when British warships brought reinforcements and much needed supplies.
Judge Henry, a volunteer in the American forces, who was captured during the assault, records in his Diary, that Miles Prentice was in charge of the prisoners; and under the date of the 20th February, 1776, the Orderly Book above referred to contains the following order:
Mr. Miles Prenties is appointed Provost Martial to this Garrison with the rank of Lieutenant as given him by General Wolfe in the last War. The guards are to assist him with whatever partys he may demand from them.
At a meeting of St. Andrews Lodge No. 2, Quebec, held on September 12th, 1776, Miles Prentice, who was then the Master of St. Patrick's Lodge, was present as a visitor. It is recorded that the Lodge was informed that
... our Sister Lodge of St. Patrick had instructed her Officers to apply to the R.W. Prov. Grand Master to request that a Grand Lodge may be called ... and ... that the W. M. would wait on him in Company with the Master of this Lodge for that purpose, if it should be agreeable to us.
The object of the meeting was to request
... that the Grand Master would be pleased to appoint his Deputy in place of our late worthy Deputy Grand Master John Aitken, who is called by the Grand Architect from Sublunary Lodges to one more Perfect and Glorious.
It was the funeral of this Deputy Grand Master which is so vividly described in the First Campaign of the Brunswickers in Canada in the Year 1776.
A few years later, in 1782, H.M. frigate Albemarle, 28 guns, under the command of Captain Horatio Nelson, visited the port of Quebec, and there ensued a romantic episode which might have changed the whole course of Nelson's career. Robert Southey, in his Life of Lord Nelson, writes that at Quebec;
Nelson became acquainted with Alexander Davison by whose interference he was prevented from making what would have been called an imprudent marriage. The Albermarle was about to leave the station, her Captain had taken leave of his friends and was gone down the river to the place of anchorage when the next morning, as Davison was walking on the beach, to his surprise he saw Nelson coming back in his boat. Upon enquiring the cause of his reappearance Nelson took his arm to walk towards the town, and told him he found it utterly impossible to leave Quebec without again seeing the woman whose society contributed so much to his happiness, and then and there offering her his hand. "If you do," said his friend, "your utter ruin must inevitably follow." "Then, let it follow," cried Nelson, "for I am resolved to do it." "And I," replied Davison, "am resolved you shall not." Nelson, however, on this occasion was less resolved than his friend and suffered himself to be led back to the boat.
The object of Nelson's affection was the youthful and accomplished niece of Miles Prentice, a daughter of one of his old comrades in arms, Sandy Simpson, a Highlander in Wolfe's Army. It is quite probable that Nelson made her acquaintance at a function held at Freemasons' Hall which at this period was the centre of the social activities of the Quebecoise.
Miles Prentice died in 1790 or 1791; for James Thompson, one of Fraser's Highlanders, to whom he was related, wrote that in 1791, shortly after the death of her husband, Mrs. Prentice took up her residence with the Thompson family. It may be added that it was this same James Thompson, a veteran of Louisburg and Quebec, who in 1827, as the oldest Mason in the City, was called upon by Earl Dalhousie to give the three mystic taps of the mallet when the corner stone of the Wolfe and Montcalm monument was laid. He died in 1830 at the age of 98.
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BOARD OF EDITORS
R. J. Meekren, Editor-in-Chief
E. E. Thiemeyer, Research Editor
Louis Block, Iowa
Robert L. Clegg, Ohio
Gilbert W. Daynes, England
Ray V. Denslow, Missouri
George H. Dern, Utah
N. W. J. Haydon, Canada
R. V. Harris, Canada
C. C. Hunt, Iowa
Charles F. Irwin, Ohio
A. L. Kress, Pennsylvania
F. H. Littlefield, Missouri
Joseph E. Morcombe, California
Arthur C. Parker, New York
J. Hugo Tatsch, Iowa
Jesse M. Whited, California
David E. W. Williamson, Nevada
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MILITARY LODGES AND JURISDICTION
IN this month's installment of Bro. Irwin's series of articles on Army Lodges is a very interesting account of the abortive attempt made by Colorado Masons to form a Military Lodge among the Masons called up for service in that state. As the author remarks, it brings out very clearly one aspect of the difficulties presented by such an emergency, that of the question of jurisdiction.
It is evident that it was generally assumed by those jurisdictions which established Military Lodges, simply taking it for granted indeed, that such lodges, though working outside their territorial limits, should not accept (aside from "courtesy work" naturally) candidates whose normal civil domicile was within those limits. It seemed a natural emergent extension of the territorial theory, so natural indeed that the possibility even of any order line of action never seems to have occurred to any Masonic authority concerned. Yet it was certainly not the only solution possible.
There is little doubt that an overwhelming majority of American Masons assume that the rule of exclusive territorial jurisdiction is a landmark, although it does not appear in that formidable list compiled by Albert Mackey, which by many is accepted as a complete statement of Masonic fundamental law. Of course, as everyone knows who has read the history of the Craft in America to any purpose, it is nothing of the sort. It is a peculiarly American development, based originally on a practical compromise to keep peace between lodges which regarded their " territory " very much as placer miners regard their claims, as a potential source of wealth.
The Military Lodges of the eighteenth century, those chartered by the Grand Lodges of Ireland and of the Ancients especially, which did so much toward spreading Masonry throughout the world — including America — were hampered by no such rules. Had they been, the work they did would have been quite impossible.
All law must be to some extent a compromise. It can only provide for the average cases that occur under existing circumstances. When these last change the law must change, too, or become a dead letter — there is no better way out. The change may be by the way of interpretation and extension, which is naturally the first thing tried, or by formal amendment.
Strictly speaking, territoriality long ago was logically nullified as an absolute principle by the compromise of "concurrent jurisdiction" in centers of population of considerable size.
A further extension of that adaptation to circumstances could theoretically have been easily applied; not as between lodges but as between Grand Lodges. They could say; so far as the government services are concerned (for it need not be confined to the military and naval forces only) all Grand Lodges will recognize concurrent jurisdiction. That is a man in any government service of such a nature that his place of residence depends on the orders of his superiors, shall be considered as domiciled in tile United States, and at liberty to petition any regular dodge holding under an American Grand Lodge.
It is, in itself a perfectly feasible extension of the idea of concurrent jurisdiction, with which everyone is familiar. It is perfectly definite. There could be no mistake as to who would come under the rule and who not; and it is as suitable for the normal circumstances of peace as for the emergencies of war. Though in peace time the problem is not so pressing there is no doubt that a very large percentage of Masons in such government services as we have in view experienced great difficulties in obtaining residential qualifications when they sought to enter the fraternity.
We have, however, very little hope of any such arrangement being made; though we suggest it as a topic for discussion at the next Grand Masters' Conference. It is not the impracticability of a suggested new rule that prevents its adoption, for no matter how simple and workable it may be, had it a clear field, that is precisely what it never does have. It has to run the gauntlet of inertia, preconceived ideas, mental habits, not to speak of suspicions, fears, jealousies and sheer stupidity.
Bro. Irwin's articles should be the occasion of a reconsideration of all the problems involved, and it must be remembered that an emergency is a test of our habits and mode of life, both for individuals and organizations. The Military Lodges of the war years showed up a good many things in our established methods and ideas which might be improved. We hope that some real discussion of these problems may result.
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SCHOOLS OF MASONIC RESEARCH
THE title is ambiguous, but it cannot be helped. We are not proposing to discuss institutions of learning founded (and possibly endowed) to conduct researches into Masonry, or to teach the methods appropriate to such tasks. While we would be glad enough to write of such schools did they exist (or were there the least hope that in a thousand years they might exist — outside of dreams) it is the other usage of the word which we have in mind at present. And here lies the reason that the ambiguity, now we hope happily cleared away, could not be avoided. We propose to examine the idea of Schools of Research concerned with Freemasonry, because it is becoming more and more frequent among American Masonic writers and publicists to use the phrase. We shall therefore seek an answer to three questions: What are schools of research? Are there schools of research? Should there be schools of research?
This sounds something like the opening of an old fashioned doctrinal sermon, but our readers may be reassured, we shall not go on to "seventeenthly."
A "school of thought," "a school of philosophy," "the Aristotelian School" or "the school of Thomas Aquinas," are casual examples of a well know usage of the word. The basic idea being that of a teacher and a group of disciples or scholars. By a legitimate transfer it is used to denote a group so much alike in their opinion and ways of thinking that they might all be the followers of some one teacher, although in actual fact no such person ever existed. Is there anything like this in connection with Freemasonry?
There obviously is. We can properly speak for example of a traditional school, an occult school, or a historical school of Masonic thought. We can with propriety describe a Masonic author as of the "Andersonian" school, or of the school of Dr. Oliver, of that of Pike and Mackey, and in doing so we shall be following correct usage and our meaning will be perfectly clear. But a school of thought is not quite the same thing as a school of research. Indeed when the latter phrase is considered its meaning becomes less and less definite. Either it means the same thing as a school of thought, or else it means a certain distinct technique. Now as there are schools of painting which depend on certain methods of using pigments so it might be thought that something analogous would be found among research workers. But is there? The more one thinks of it the more difficult it is to see in what it could lie. One can be careful or careless, accurate or inaccurate, thorough or superficial, but those characteristics surely are not marks of a school but of quality of work.
Let us then leave this question and proceed to the next in search of further light. Are there schools of Masonic Research, as distinct from schools of thought? One man may be a careful, accurate scholar and yet belong to a mystical school, another can be careless and superficial and follow a realistic or critical school, so that it is something other than this that we are looking for.
It is said that in England there is an Authentic and an Anthropological School of Research — no one has yet ascribed any kind of school to America. Does this help us at all? "Anthropological" seems to mean something, though not very distinctly. But what does "authentic" mean in such a connection? Surely not that it is the correct or true one, with the implication that all others are incorrect and false. We say surely not, because the author who first coined these terms was most insistent that the authentic school was too limited, and needed to be complemented by others, and also because he was himself the founder of what is known as the anthropological school as well as the inventor of its name. One might suspect that the alliteration had something to do with the choice of the term authentic, and that under it lay a rather vague concepion of research confined strictly to authentic written documents. But if so would it not be much better to say so? Why not have called it simply Historical Research? After all our self-styled anthropological researchers use documents; some among them have made some first hand observations and explorations, but even they depend largely on the work of others, as recorded in books and manuscripts. In so far as they use documents they are in the same boat, in regard to technique, as those they dub the Authentic School; documents can be used properly or improperly. They have not suggested that the other group use any but proper methods in this regard, and we cannot suppose that they mean that they themselves use their sources in a way that is improper. But if not, where is the contrast or distinction?
It seems then that though there are said to be schools of research — on the other side of the Atlantic — and though there is a differentiation of subject matter, no really clear idea is conveyed nor any very useful distinction made by the terms employed. But we do seem to be raising a suspicion that the answer to the first of our questions is in the negative — or that to ask what a school of research is, is strictly speaking a question without meaning. But if this suspicion is correct then the third question goes by the board also. If "There ain't no such animal," what is the use of asking if there ought to be?
What we can do is to come back to a more correct use of terms. We can have our legendary, our symbolical and our historical schools of Masonic authorship, such designations are clear. We can have our mystical, our theosophical, our practice schools of interpretation, or of thought. Such distinctions can be made as needed. Then we can have a division of subject matter, such as the history, and the pre-history of the Institution. We can treat it archaeologically, comparatively, and psychologically. There are many divisions possible, and all of them might be useful in appropriate circumstances. But so far as the working of these different fields goes, research could only be good or bad in the various degrees of these opposing terms, positive, comparative and superlative. All truth is one, and all research should be directed to that one truth, whatever the angle of approach, or however its scope may be limited for the sake of convenience. And so, while we will always, till the millenium, have schools of thought, or of opinion, or of interpretation, there can never be more than two kinds of research, the good and the defective.
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OUR pessimists take the position that because there have been wars in the past, as far back as history extends, therefore there must be war in the future. The future, it is true, remains unknown to us, but while these dismal prophecies may be fulfilled, it must be remembered that the prophets will be partly responsible for the event. That is, it is this cynical or despairing attitude which is itself one of the chief obstacles to attempts to establish permanent peace. Peace is a state of mind primarily, maintaining world peace a problem of group psychology. There is no inherent law of nature to make war inevitable. Certainly the fact that nations have fought in the past is not a cause of which the inexorable effect is that they must fight in the future. Human action is much too complex in its springs and motives for that.
While our civilization is not the only one that has ever existed, while it is an open question whether it is the highest form that has yet emerged, it is distinguished by certain features that have never previously existed except in the merest embryo. In mechanism, in complex organization, in rapidity of communications, in its means of applying the forces and potentialities of nature, it is unique. And this results in a set of conditions that have never previously existed. Our civilization has the means in its hands of committing suicide. The difference between past wars and a future war lies in two points. A war cannot in future be isolated, once started it will involve the whole world; and the means of destruction are now so adequate that once they are loosed they will probably result in the downfall of a whole organism of civilization.
Freemasonry has a certain status in this matter. As a world wide Fraternity which creates and establishes a state of peaceableness between men of all races and countries, it is logically involved in the larger issue. The Craft cannot act as an organization, that is not its method. But it can act through the influence of Masons individually; and as we have said, the cause of peace is ultimately a matter. of change of heart in individuals.
But we need some clearer distinctions, we need to be freed from mental slavery to catch words and slogans. One of these is, "no treaty can compel nations to remain at peace." Of course it cannot. Neither can a contract bind a man to do as he agreed. But an honest man keeps his word. On the whole nations have far more often kept their agreements than they have broken them. It is not the armed force of the United States that causes the nation indebted to her to make payments on those obligations. There are many other motives and forces at play besides the crude one of the possibility of the use of armaments.
Another distinction that we need — it is far more generally appreciated in Europe — is that between public and private war. Granted that, in such a general agreement as the recently proclaimed Peace Pact, some one of the nations that is a party thereto might run amuck, might start a war of the old type for its own private national ends, the pressure of world action, not necessarily at all of armed intervention, could soon bring it to its senses. With this new idea of "private war" the old theories of neutrality go by the board. The other nations are not the impartial witnesses of a duel, but are all directly interested in the cessation of a dangerous nuisance.
In America we have not fully realized the significance of the occupation of the Ruhr by France. In effect there was an invasion by an armed force. There was no war, no fighting, yet the invader was absolutely defeated, and withdrew without having gained a single point of the demands made, and in a distinctly worse position. It was passive resistance on the one hand, and world opinion on the other, that produced the result, the amazing result of vanquishing an army without fighting, and without any formal or organized action.
It is in the study of the conditions, the entirely new conditions, which spring from the interdependence of al] civilized communities, that the cause of peace can be furthered. It is in the realization that war is not only useless, but also incredibly stupid, that mankind can free itself of the collective fear psychoses, and it is here that Masonry could properly do its part.
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THE PROPER SPIRIT
Many members of the Research society carefully preserve THE BUILDER as it comes out each month, and quite a good number have them bound. But Bro. John Riekmo of Minneapolis is so proud of his complete set that he has taken photographs of it, copies of which he sent to the Editor. Under the circumstances we could not do less than make mention of it, in the hope that it may bring about a reformation of the habits of such of our members who let THE BUILDER go the way of other magazines.
An indoor view would have been more appropriate perhaps, but the one taken in the open air reproduced better, the others being rather dark.
We congratulate Bro. Rickmo on a possession that is going to be more and more valuable as time goes on. Even now it is not at all easy to make up complete sets.
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CHRONICLE AND COMMENT
A REVIEW OF MASONRY THE WORLD OVER
Florida Deals with Quasi-Masonic Organizations
The Grand Lodge of Florida, following another edict of M. Wor. Bro. Brandon, adopted the following amendment to their regulations:
The organization of any club or society by the members of the particular Lodges under the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge, using the name "Masonic" or other term indicating connection with Masonry, which club or society becomes affiliated with or under the control of any central power or authority or body, exercising control over such club or society, is prohibited, and all club or organizations of members of any of the particular Lodges in Florida are hereby directed to at once withdraw their affiliation with any and all central powers or bodies exercising control over them in any manner.
Any member of such club, society or organization failing to withdraw therefrom within a reasonable time hereafter, shall render such member subject to charges and trial.
Whether this would be held to prohibit the formation of Study Club or like organizations in connection with the National Masonic Research Society we do not know. If so, we naturally would regard it as regrettable, although it is evident that under the circumstances at present existing something had to be done. It is too bad, however, that the lodges themselves should not be encouraged to use their own initiative in dealing with such abuses.
The Presentation of the Apron in Florida
From the current volume of the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Florida, we learn that the following edict issued by M. Wor. Bro. Leroy Brandon was approved:
I have found that some of the Lodges have been making an actual presentation of a lambskin apron to the candidate in the Entered Apprentice degree. This is a very natural mistake, probably caused by the language used immediately following the symbolic presentation of the apron on page 19 of the large Monitor, where it says "or the following may be given," then giving the form to be used for the actual presentation of the lamb-skin apron which is followed by the words "take it....," which naturally gives the Lodges the idea that an actual presentation of a lamb-skin apron could be made to the candidate in the Entered Apprentice degree, but these words are misleading as it was never intended that the actual presentation to the candidate of a lamb-skin apron for his own should be given at this time, and I hereby order and direct that such practice be discontinued and that only the symbolic presentation of the apron using the short form as on page 18 of the large Monitor, and that the actual presentation of the lamb-skin apron with the long form of presentation as used on page 19 of the large Monitor be not made until the candidate has been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason and shall have been examined in open Lodge and found proficient in the work of the Master Mason's degree.
This is a concrete instance of the divergence of American Masonic usages from the original traditions, and from the practice of the rest of the Masonic world. From the exclusion of Apprentices and Fellowcrafts from the lodge, it is a logical step to assume they are not yet Masons, and consequently to refuse them aprons. It has even been suggested that the ritual presentation should be deferred till the candidate is raised. Logic without knowledge has been the cause of many fearful and wonderful modifications of the ritual.
The Rights of the Profane
What rights has a man of "lawful age, free born" and so on, in regard to the Craft? An editorial article in the Orphans' Friend and Masonic Journal, official organ of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, in dealing with the question of the selection of candidates makes the following statement:
Every man who comes within the requirements laid down by Masonic law has the right to petition for and receive the degrees .... no Master Mason ... has the right to defraud an applicant of a legal and moral right that is his.
We have the impression that the view here plainly stated has come to be accepted more or less definitely by a very great number of American Masons, but it is not very often that it is stated so clearly or so responsibly. Without venturing an opinion as to what may be the rule in any particular jurisdiction, and while we are in full accord with the writer in regard to the abuses for which he seeks a remedy, it must be said that what may be termed Masonic Common Law, recognizes no rights as pertaining to a profane Whatever his qualifications it remains an act of grace and favor if he is admitted into the Craft and given membership in a lodge. He has not (according to the original usage and custom) even the right to petition. No Mason is bound to act in the matter; and where its freedom of action has not been curtailed by specific regulations, no lodge is obliged to receive a petition presented to it.
Report of the Educational Foundation Committee Grand Commandery, Knights Templar, Alabama
The report of this committee recently received shows that there is need for more funds of this character in the United States. The growth of all worthy funds seems to be slow and this is no exception The report for the year ending April 15, 1929, shows a total of $42,955.26 distributed in loans. There is a balance in the fund of $3,270 86. Collections on loans amounted to $2,162.25. During the year covered by the report 63 young men and women have received assistance from the fund. The total number of students helped thus far in the history of the fund is 245. We gather that none of the administration expense is deducted from the principal received for the support of the fund but is provided for by a special appropriation for a contingent fund. At any rate the trustees should be congratulated for being able to carry out the work they have done at a total expense of only $152.55 for the fiscal year.
There are other Educational Funds being built by the Knights Templar; we trust that they are all functioning as successfully and efficiently as the report on the Alabama fund shows.
In this connection it is worthy of note that the following resolution was enacted by the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of West Virginia:
Resolved: That the R. E. Grand Commander be requested to issue a General Order: That Commanderies shall indicate on bills for Dues, the item:
For Educational Foundation $1.00. In accordance with the action of the Grand Encampment at Detroit in 1928. See proceedings page 205.
The above resolution was adopted and is herewith promulgated as General Order No. 1-.
An Interesting Opinion
The fact that the Henry L. Palmer Lodge of Milwaukee disagrees with the attitude of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin in relation to Masonic Education is clearly illustrated by the following comment to be found in the Palmer Templegram for July and August:
"In contrast to the attitude of Palmer Lodge on this subject, it is evident that the Grand Lodge is not yet impressed with the urgency and need of Masonic Education. The usual about 2½ cents per capita allowance was granted to the Wisconsin Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Research, but a very nominal amount for the establishment of a Wisconsin Grand Lodge Library was denied. Henry L. Palmer Lodge, No. 301, F. & A. M., continues to hold the rather unusual distinction of spending more for Masonic Education than does the Grand Lodge for the entire balance of over three hundred lodges in Wisconsin. This, to some, may appear to be a strange relationship, but it has the very decided advantage of leaving the kind and character of Masonic Education in the hands of the individual lodges. The right of individual lodges to govern their own affairs has always been a strong point in Wisconsin's Masonic affairs. With the continuous increase in the number of the Wisconsin Masonic Lodges asking to be placed on the mailing list of our publication in order that they may profit from our own way of 'doing things' is a very hopeful sign that we are functioning somewhat like the leaven in the loaf. We are quite satisfied to serve in this role and, no doubt, are slowly but surely creating a sentiment which will ultimately bring a real Masonic harvest."
A Difference in Usage and Etiquette
The South Australian Freemason carries the following brief article:
"Some brethren occasionally, through want of thought or knowledge that they are doing so, overstep the bounds of prudence. They smoke whilst in regalia. This is contrary to Grand Lodge edict. More than once has attention been called to it by Grand Officers and through the columns of the South Australian Freemason. Hence it is necessary again to draw attention to it by a Grand Officer and to mention the matter through the columns of this paper. A large gathering of brethren, representative of many of the lodges in the South Australian Constitution, attended the installation in connection with Adelaide Lewis Lodge in the Port Adelaide Temple on March 26. In responding at the social board in behalf of the Grand Master and Grand Lodge V.W. Bro. A. C. Weber, G.L., who on that occasion was the representative of the Grand Master, mentioned that prior to entering Lodge he had observed brethren with aprons on in the corridor smoking. He reminded the brethren generally that they must not smoke with their Masonic aprons on. 'Brethren,' he remarked, 'it is the command of the Grand Lodge that you must not do so.'"
Payne County (Oklahoma) Masons Practice Their Preachings
The seven Masonic lodges in Payne County, Oklahoma, have organized the Payne County Masonic Hospital Association and through the cooperation of the voters of this community have secured a 99-year lease upon what was formerly the Cushing Municipal Hospital. The building was erected in 1922 after bonds in the amount of $65,000 had been voted. An election was held a few months ago to determine the advisability of changing the hospital to a Masonic institution, and at the time it was voted to lease the hospital, complete with equipment and furnishing, to the Masonic Hospital Association of Payne County, for a term of 99 years at the rate of One Dollar per year. Application has been made to make the hospital a member of the American Hospital Association. The favorable acceptance of this application will assure the maintenance of a high standard for this new Masonic institution.
The National Masonic Research Society through its journal THE BUILDER takes this opportunity to congratulate the lodges and the Masons of Payne County.
To Smoke or Not to Smoke in California
The reported ruling of the Grand Lodge of South Australia forbidding smoking while clothed Masonically has had a reaction in California. Possibly it would be better not to use the word reaction. Frankly we do not know where the idea started, but now it is certain that South Australia forbids the practice and that California is discussing the question seriously.
The question in California differs somewhat from its overseas contemporary. In America the problem is whether or not to smoke in lodge rooms. There are many lodges in Missouri which forbid the use of the weed in its lodge chambers, but they do not attempt to prohibit the members from smoking in the ante-room even though they are "clothed." The custom is so deeply rooted in the lodge to which the writer belongs that we were not allowed to smoke in the lodge room even when we were holding instruction in the ritual work.
Whether we go so far as our Australian brethren, or whether we only limit the decree to smoking in lodge rooms, it seems that sufficient respect is due the solemn work being performed and to the sanctity of the lodge hall to cause every lodge of its own volition to forbid smoking in the chamber whenever the lodge is in session.
The Mexican Settlement
According to the accounts in certain quarters the settlement of the religious controversy in Mexico has been a complete triumph for the Roman Catholic Church. It appears, however, that the victory was not so complete as the publicists of that church would like to have us believe. According to information the terms of the present agreement are identical with those offered to the church in 1928 by President Calles. At that time the Pope and his Mexican bishops refused absolutely to accept them, believing that if the priests would continue to refuse to say mass a religious revolution would take place which would force the government to terms. There was a rebellion, in due course, as we know, but it did not have the expected result.
It is perfectly obvious that the Roman Church in accepting the agreement realized that it was losing ground in Mexico by failure to continue religious services. Also that their religious strike was gaining for them the disfavor of the outside world.
The Roman Question in England
The controversy over the Roman Church and the education of the children of America has been one or perennial recurrence. In fact the idea of intermittence contained in those words may be a false one and cause the opinion to be advanced that it is not recurrent at all, but ever present. Be that as it may, however, the fact remains that this country of ours is not the only one enveloped in the folds of the political aspects of religious education. The Modern Churchman, an English publication, had this to say on the subject:
Everyone was aware that when the solution of the Irish Question had liberated Catholic energies for political mischief we should witness a revival of intrigue and agitation. The Roman Catholic hierarchy has begun its campaign by issuing a questionnaire to certain Parliamentary candidates in the subject of Catholic schools, according to the results of which the faithful will be instructed to vote. As the Catholic vote in certain constituencies (especially in Lancashire) is a possibly decisive factor, some candidates have been rash or prudent enough to make promises which afterwards perhaps, they will see cause to regret. Dr Somers, a distinguished Roman Catholic, ventured, in a letter to the Manchester Guardian, to criticize the episcopal policy, and called down upon his head the epistolary fury of his co-religionists But if there are liberals among Catholics who will be offended, there are many more amongst other Nonconformists who will resent bitterly this introduction of continental methods into English politics.
"Suffer the little children," said Jesus. The priests have taken Him at His word, and over the souls of children they will wage a virulent and irrenconcilable warfare, knowing full well that weeds of superstition must be planted early if they are to make a luxuriant growth.
England's Masonic Charity Again
The English Craft propose to erect a Hospital and Nursing Home on their premises at Ravenscourt Park. The plan is to raise $1,250,000 as an endowment for this new English Masonic Institution It is hoped that this sum will be sufficient to preclude the possibility of any special festival being held for the Hospital, thus assuring the three enterprises at present functioning of the same clear field they have enjoyed in the past. i'he Masonic Record (London) devotes considerable Space to the method of distributing gifts. For example fifty guineas ($250) will qualify one as a Patron; twenty-five guineas as a Vice-Patron. Naming of beds and wards are limited to Provincial, District and Lodge contributors.
The way in which the English Craft supports a charitable undertaking is illustrated to some extent by the following paragraph:
"The privilege of naming a bed after a lodge can be secured by the contribution of $5,000 in individual and other gifts on a lodge list. We heard W. Bro. the Rev. Joseph Johnson, P.A.G. Chap., put it very simply and attractively before the Merchant Navy Lodge, No. 781, at the Abercorn Rooms, E.C., on a recent evening. He said that should this lodge with its membership of upwards of 300 desire to name a bed it could be done very simply, e.g., if 60 brethren contributed $50 each during the ensuing years which meant an average in round figures of 35 cents per week for that period, that would provide $3,000, and if 60 other brethren contributed $25 during the same period, an average of approximately 16 cents per week, a further $1,500 would be provided; and then if the lodge out of its funds would make three annual grants of $165 each, thereby making the lodge Patron of the Hospital, the balance would be provided and the $5,000 would be raised. The case was put so forcibly that a number of members of the lodge there and then made substantial promises in the hope that the lodge would be induced to name a bed, and one visitor spontaneously promised $250, which promise Bro. Johnson has gladly passed on to the hospital authorities. It is within the reach of most brethren to have some share in this great movement, and it is gratifying to know that many lodges are giving the matter generous consideration."
American Masonic Lodges could learn a lesson from their English brethren.
Royal Masonic Institution for Boys
Following closely upon the heels of the report of the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls comes an account of the 131st Anniversary Festival of the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys. When figures are cited American Masonic Charity becomes appallingly meager. Here is a Grand Lodge with not many more than 250,000 members raising $375,000 for its girls' institution and then shortly afterward raising more than $410,000 for its boys' school. American Masons couldn't raise $75,000 to $100,000 to purchase a Tuberculosis Hospital and there are some 3,000,000 of them.
More Coals for the Fire
The $410,000 contributed at the R.M.I. Boys' Festival brings the total of Masonic Contributions this year to over $1,285,000. The London Freemason says this is a remarkably generous response when it is remembered that there has been a General Election, that the business of the country has been affected, and that the appeal for the Freemasons' Hospital's $1,250,000 has now been fully launched.
They don't do charity by halves in English Freemasonry.
Emulation Lodge of Improvement
It is only in America that the natural but devastating tendency to seek uniformity in matters of ritual has had its full scope. In England, as most of our readers know, there is really no official standard form. For although a ritual was approved at the time of the Union between Ancients and Moderns in 1813, yet no one now knows exactly what it was. Two Lodges of Instruction, generally known for short as Emulation and Stability — their full titles being rather cumbersome — each claim to present it in substantial purity — but they differ between themselves.
There have been many printed rituals, claimed by their publishers to present accurately the forms used in these two Lodges of Instruction, but they are officially repudiated by the Preceptors as inaccurate, and without authority. Now comes a correspondent of the London Masonic News who has the temerity and audacity to assert that every preceptor of Emulation has a printed book which he refers to in private.
It is sad but true — not only in England, but much nearer home. The fact is that the written word will always supersede unaided memory. Peoples who have no means of making permanent records develop a technique of memorizing and transmitting their traditional songs and tales and histories, and maintain them with wonderful tenacity. But universal literacy inevitably destroys this gift in the long run. The habit of referring to the written word is too convenient, and sooner or later it invades every Sanctum Sanctorum, whatever we may pretend.
Masonic University and Its Lesson
At the installation of America Lodge No. 3368 held at Freemason's Hall, London, on Monday the third of June Bro. the Rev. H. Gathorne Crabtree struck a keynote in his address. He said he was made a Mason in Quetta some twenty years ago. Masonry had taught him much. It was a revelation to him when he found in his Mother Lodge Englishmen, Scots, Irishmen, Hindoos, Brahmins and Moslems, all joining in the same ceremonies, and all recognizing the same G.A.O.T.U. It was a binding link stronger even than the Flag. He had found the same features in Lodges in Hong Kong and Shanghai and in all a visitor was received as a Brother. They found the same thing in England, particularly in a Lodge such as the America. If only the English-speaking Lodges of the world could get to work the peace of the world would be assured. Masonry was going to do far more as a body than they could do as individuals. It was a great ideal.
We agree as to the greatness of the ideal, but why limit it to English speaking Freemasonry?
Freemasonry and World Peace
In Europe the opinion is general and strong that Freemasonry is properly concerned with the great problems involved in the maintenance of the peace of the world. Not only has the International Masonic Association [the A.M.I.] so declared itself, with unanimity on the part of its members, and not only has the more recently organized Freemasons League put the solution of this problem in the forefront of its objects, but nearly every Grand Lodge or Grand Orient has likewise formally expressed the same opinion.
English speaking Masonry has avoided the subject; from a vague fear, we may suppose, that it might be considered a political question. While the Masonic periodicals of, all European countries frequently contain articles on every aspect of the complicated problems, historical, psychological and practical, of the attempt to banish "private" war, between civilized countries, those of the United States rarely allude to the subject. It is all the more noticeable to find several of them recently commenting on an address made by Senator S. M. Shortridge, delivered at the centennial celebration of the Congress Street Methodist Protestant Church in the District of Columbia.
After all there seems nothing to be afraid of, the ideal of Freemasonry is Universal Brotherhood, and universal brotherhood would automatically eliminate war. Surely it is possible to work for this great aim, properly ours, without fear of en. tangling ourselves in political intrigues and partisanships.
Masonry in China
Bro. Frank M. Henry, a thirty-second Mason, whose home is in China is a member of three Blue Lodges in that country — a past master of Hykes Memorial Lodge, (Massachusetts Constitution); Union Lodge No. 1951, (English Constitution); and Lodge Caledonia No. 1300 (Scottish Constitution) and also of Tientsin Mark Master Masons No. 704, (English Constitution). He states that is no Chinese grand lodge or subordinate lodges in China, as the lodges are run by the foreign population for foreigners, and no native-born Chinese can get in, as their oaths mean nothing. Membership of the lodges there shift, as the foreigners are shifted from one city to another. While he was master of his lodge there, he had seven or eight changes in the list of officers
Bro. Henry's statement in regard to Chinese Masons must however be modified in the light of information from other sources. There are lodges which have Chinese members, who in several cases have served as Master's with honor and distinction. And the assertion that the oath of a Chinese means nothing is far too sweeping a generalization to be true even if we had no other information to prove the contrary.
There has been much comment of late regarding the sentence imposed by the Cuxhaven Court on March 27 on General Ludendorff. The former German War Lord was ordered to pay a fine of 800 marks or to serve one day's imprisonment for every 50 marks. His offense was libel committed against a photographer named Sparr.
The libel was contained in a pamphlet, entitled "The Destruction of Freemasonry through the Disclosure of Its Secrets." Among the revelations in this publication was a photograph of a meeting at Saint Quentin in 1916 of the "Field Lodge of the Rising Light on the Somme." With the exception of one man in civilian dress the group shown in the picture consisted of German officers who were said to be Germans acting as spies for the enemy.
This photograph was headed, "Example of Masonic Lack of Principle." To it was attached a commentary, in which it was stated that the civilian in the group was a Frenchman and an Entente Spy. He was, however, the German Herr Sparr, whose presence in the picture was more or less accidental.
Being unable to prove his statement, the ex-Dictator, through his lawyer, exhausted every legal resource in order to escape punishment. First, he pleaded that his offense was political and was covered by the amnesty of 1926. Alternatively, he urged that his accusation was a collective one, which referred to the entire body of Masons, and could not be regarded as stigmatizing an individual. Finally, he attempted to prove that he should have the benefit of immunity conceded in certain circumstances to persons who "in defense of the public interests" utter statements which would otherwise be punishably libelous.
These pleas were all examined in the judgment and found wanting. The Court pointed out that thousands of copies of the pamphlet had been sold after the promulgation of the Amnesty Law. Moreover, with specific reference to Herr Sparr's presence in the group Ludendorff had written of a "dishonoring of the field-grey coat of honor," which aroused "anger and shame."
South African Masonic Briefs
R.W. Bro. Sir Robert Gilmour of Liberton and Craigmillar, Past Grand Master Mason of Scotland, laid the foundation Stone of the Suburban Masonic Temple at Rondeboseh, on Wednesday, 20th March, 1929. Sir Robert was assisted by the District Grand Master (Rt. Wor. Bro. Thos, N. Cranstoun Day ), Rt. Wor. Bro. J. Murray Wilson, D.G. Master of Scottish Freemasonry of the Cape of Good Hope, Western Prov.; Wor. Bro. W. J. Gibbon, Deputy D. G. Master, E. C.; and Officers of the District Grand Lodges of the English and Scottish Constitutions. The proceedings were conducted under the Claremont Lodge, 931 S.C. which was opened at 4 p.m., and adjourned for the ceremony, after which the procession returned in inverted order and the lodge was closed.
Rt. Worshipful Brother William B.M. Vogts has been honored by the Supreme Council of the Higher Degrees in the Netherlands by the appointment of Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°. He is a member of the thirtieth degree in the English and thirty-second degree in the Scottish Rite. He commenced his Masonic career as an English Mason, being an initiate of the Frere Lodge, Aliwal North, and is serving his fifth quinquennial term of office as Provincial Grand Master of the Transvaal.
G. E. N.
Deportations of Anti-Facists in Italy
A Correspondent of the well known English journal, the Manchester Guardian says that deportations of anti-racists are on the increase. "Deportation" being, of course, a euphemism for transportation to the island prisons where those who have offended Mussolini are herded. The communication is so important that we give it in full.
Freemasons especially are being arrested and deported. Ettore Ferrari, Past Sovereign Grand Commander, who is now 86 years old, is under surveillance in his home and is not allowed to leave it without police permission. The Vice Sovereign Grand Commander, Giuseppe Leti, a lawyer, has fled to Paris, and as he is out of reach Fascism has, for no reason whatever imprisoned his son, Francesco Leti, and sentenced him to five years deportation. Francesco Leti is not even a Freemason; he was a chemist in Rome, interested only in his science. He has been punished for being the son of his father.
Signor Torrigiani, the Grand Master of the Italian Freemasons, has for a long time been a deportee on an island. He has suffered greatly from persecution. As he has already lost one eye and the other is in danger he has been permitted to go to a clinic. General Bencivenga, a deputy and past president of the Italian Press Association, is also in detention on an island.
There remained in Rome as representative of Freemasonry the Vice Grand Master, a lawyer named Giuseppe Meoni. Lately he has been thrown into prison, and, not by order of any tribunal but soley on the proposal of a Fascist commission, has been deported to an island for five years. Recent arrests include writers, lawyers, and doctors, among them Signori Guastalla, Lenzi, Pavoni, Cosmo, and other well-known persons.
The Special Fascist Tribunal has just condemned Signor Ferrini, a lawyer, to deportation for four years and eight months, and Signor Mazzotti for three years and four months, on the charge of having sent news and information "to the other anti-Fascists of Paris on the situation in Italy." Any criticism of the Fascist regime is considered a crime. Persons suspected of talking of the fall of the lira and the grave economic situation in Italy are being mercilessly deported.
Senator Benedetto Croce, the greatest of Italian philosophers justly regarded as the greatest thinker in Italy, criticised the agreements with the Vatican in a long speech in the Senate. The censorship forbade the newspapers even to publish a summary of the speech. A score of writers and Turn University students signed a letter expressing their admiration of Signor Croce. The postal censorship opened the letter, and on the next day all the signatories were arrested. Among them was the son of the Deputy Treves. Some of the arrested persons are still under arrest and some have even been deported.
The belief is widespread, especially in financial quarters, in the inevitable collapse of the lira, but anyone who ventures to speak of it is deported at once.
A Proposal for an Organization of Lodge Secretaries.
We reprint below a letter addressed to the Masonic News (London) together with the editorial comment thereon:
"From time to time I have had conversations with Brethren who are Secretaries of their lodges and have found the interchange of views on lodge procedure, charity organizations and Masonic administration generally has been very useful. Now it occurs to me that if a 'Lodge Secretaries' Association' was formed it would be very helpful to some of us less enlightened Brethren and I believe that the Craft and our Institutions would benefit materially through it. In my view, in such an association as I suggest any discussion on ritual should be absolutely abandoned.
"I should welcome the opinion of any Brother who is Secretary of his lodge regarding my suggestion."
Clearly the author knows not of the Fratres Calami Lodge, 3791, limited in membership to Lodge Secretaries, which supplies this very need. Conferences on points affecting Secretaries take place at every meeting, when ordinary talkee-talkee is banned, The Lodge meetings are held in London.
Obviously any lodge composed of lodge secretaries would be an impossibility in most American jurisdictions. The Secretaries' Associations which exist in many large centers of population may serve the same purpose. Would it not be better if the discussions which take place in those Associations could be held behind the tiled doors of a lodge?
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THE STUDY CLUB
Shall we Broaden Our Program of Masonic Education to Reach a Rank and File of the Craft?
Bro. Herbert Hungerford
WE know what the "wise boys" among our brethren will say to this proposition. Not long ago I had a talk with one of them, a newly elected young Master, about this matter. Quoth he:
"You are all wet, old man, and wasting your time trying to interest the average Mason in anything about education. It simply can't be done, because nine men out of ten join a lodge for the fun and fellowship they expect to get out of it. They may be dumb, but they know what they want and what they don't want, also. They simply will not stand for anything labeled educational. Even studying their part in the ritual is too much of a tax upon the minds of many candidates. Try to put more educational features in your lodge programs and you will drive most of your members to the movies or other places of amusement. Give them lots of lively and light entertainments and plenty of good feeds and you'll get them out; but try to get the average Mason interested in anything educational and you'll see what will happen to the attendance at your lodge meetings. As everybody knows, when there is a good feed at Third Degrees, the attendance will be doubled or trebled over ordinary meetings."
This sounds fairly plausible. Apparently it represents a common viewpoint, judging from the lack of anything of an educational nature in most lodges. The indifference which most of our brethren display towards every effort to encourage the discussion of any educational question — such as the one we are now discussing, for example — tends to confirm the view that education is a dead issue in Freemasonry.
Do Our Present Programs Hold Over Members?
It may seem presumptions, therefore, for anyone to challenge this viewpoint or question the correctness of this opinion. Yet this is exactly what I venture to do, and I am basing my criticism of this commonly accepted notion upon the plain question: Are our grand balls and banquets, our smokers and beef-steak dinners, our official pow-wows and our routine ceremonials really attracting the interests and maintaining the attendance of the majority of our membership?
All available statistics indicate a distinctly negative answer to this question. In fact, the most optimistic data show that not more than twenty percent of the Freemasons throughout our country are regular attendants at lodge meetings or take any active part in Masonic affairs. If this condition upholds the viewpoint that almost exclusive emphasis should be placed upon the social and entertaining features of Freemasonry in which most lodges have indulged in recent years, I must be vastly mistaken. I am aware, of course, that other reasons may be assigned to account for the proportionately small attendance at lodge meetings, as for instance, the claim that many men simply take the Blue Lodge Degrees in order to make their way into some of the various auxiliary orders. But, it appears to me quite logical to place the burden of proof upon those who claim that our present-day programs are exactly suited to the temperament of our times.
WHY MEN BECOME MASONS
Every candidate coming into Masonry avows that his principle purpose in seeking admission into a lodge is to learn self-control and self-improvement. Surely this is the plain and clearly stated meaning of the candidate's answer to one of the first questions asked during his initiation.
Possibly one explanation of the distressing fact that over eighty per cent of those initiated into our lodges so soon discontinue regular attendance or active participation in lodge affairs, may be the failure of their lodge to provide anything in its program that the average man might regard as an aid to self-control or a means of self-improvement.
The monotonous routine of our degree mills, the dry-as-dust dullness of our big back-patting official affairs, and the standardized socials of the average lodge program evidently are not sufficient to satisfy the cultural aspirations of some of the eighty percent of our membership who drop out of Masonic activity about as soon as they "get their degrees."
No pretense is made that the cultural aspirations of most of us are very lofty. Yet, I believe, that we do possess some desire to subdue our baser passions and improve ourselves as much as possible without taking too much time or trouble about it. Few of us are dominated by any all consuming desire for self-culture. We are seeking the pleasant paths and broad roads to knowledge. Most of us are unwilling to make any serious sacrifice to acquire information or improvement. We prefer, as far as possible, to take our educational lessons in small doses, carefully sugar coated.
After admitting this, you have not eliminated the fact that the average man is an aspiring being. In various ways, feeble though they may be, he is always trying to improve. Among those who seek admission into Freemasonry, I am convinced, this universal desire for self improvement is above the average.
Personally, I cherish no illusions that elaborate or studious educational programs are likely to become popular in our lodges. Frankly, I confess that it would be difficult for me to become keenly interested in highly intellectual activities or in the Culture that is always spelled with a capital C.
On the other hand, although my own observation and experience in the field of Masonic Education has been limited, it has been sufficient to convince me that the vast majority of our members are chiefly interested in the educational aims, which originally were the dominant features of all activities of our ancient brethren. I contend that modern Masonry has made the mistake of swinging too far away from the ancient educational ideals in catering too much to the pleasure-seeking tendencies of the present day.
There seems to be plenty of evidence of a fairly general feeling among the Craft that everything is not altogether satisfactory in our programs now-a-days. But modern Masonic activities are so diversified and so complex that it would be impossible, it seems to me, to devise a limited or particular plan for Masonic Education that will meet the needs and requirements of so many and varied types of lodges. To confine a program for Masonic Education to Study Clubs or Lecture Courses means restricting our educational activities to a proportionately small percentage of our membership.
The response or reaction to my own efforts on behalf of Masonic Education has thoroughly sold me on the necessity of attempting broader and more diversified programs than we have been generally advocating heretofore. In brief, my personal answer to the question we have propounded is unqualifiedly in the affirmative.
SHOULD MASONIC EDUCATION BE DEMOCRATIC?
I am very little disturbed over the fear expressed by some of our brethren that to further broaden our program of educational activities would mean spreading out our efforts so thinly that the results would be hardly deserving of the term educational. Possibly, I may be too deeply concerned about reaching the rank and file and interesting them in at least a few elementary educational activities. Likewise, it may be that my personal temperament is at fault in the matter of the slight interest that I take in Masonic Research or Education as an intellectual pastime to be indulged in chiefly by the Cultured Minority who classify themselves as the Intelligensia of the Craft. If my attitude toward Masonry is thoroughly Democratic, it seems to me that the institution itself contains ample authority for such an attitude. If the main principles we profess as Masons are not thoroughly in accord with Democratic ideals, then I have misconstrued the meaning of our ritual.
The only way to give a definite understanding of exactly what I have in mind in proposing that we broaden our program of Masonic Education, is for me to outline a number of the principle activities which I would classify as educational and which, I believe, might be attempted, in some measure at least by every type of Masonic lodge.
I do not mean to suggest, of course, that any lodge should attempt the entire program proposed, but that each lodge should select and carry out some of the suggested activities, adapting them to the particular requirements of the lodge.
AN EDUCATIONAL COMMITTEE IN EVERY LODGE
First and foremost, I would advocate the appointment of an educational committee in every lodge. It seems to me entirely reasonable that along with the social, entertainment, financial and other standing committees of every duly organized and well regulated lodge, there certainly should be an educational committee whose particular duties would consist in doing everything possible and practical in the furtherance of the cause of Masonic Education among the members of the lodge.
In fact, I think the first step toward the definite introduction of Masonic Education into any lodge, invariably, should be the appointment by the Master of a Committee on Masonic Education.
The second important effort that I believe all those interested in the cause of Masonic Education should put forth is to urge and encourage Masonic speakers everywhere to devote more attention to this cause. It seems to me that many of the topics discussed by Masonic speakers are trivial as compared to the question of the whys and wherefores of Masonic Education.
Please bear in mind that I am not advocating any dry-as-dust discussions or-lectures of the purely academic side of education. Rather, I am urging that Masonic Education should always be considered from the practical standpoint of showing how the great teachings of our ancient Fraternity should be adapted and applied to the solution of the modern problems, with which all men and Masons are necessarily concerned. Let it be said, too, that the first effort of every Masonic speaker should be devoted to the verification of his facts. Too many speakers are careless in this regard and consequently depart unconsciously from the truth.
A third effort that should be encouraged in every possible way is to interest more of our members in reading books on Masonic subjects. We should do everything possible to provide easy, inexpensive ways for distributing and circulating literature among our brethren. It seems to me that it might be a good thing to adopt and uphold the slogan "A Library in every Lodge."
Societies committed to the cause of Masonic Education, such as the National Masonic Research Society? it seems to me, should provide suggestions and material-for broad gauge educational programs to meet the varied requirements of every type of lodge and to appeal to the interests of all classes in the Craft. Instead of devoting our attention mainly to the interests of Masonic scholars, I believe, we should also spare no pains or efforts to discover and devise the ways and means of appealing to the educational interests of all Freemasons from the highest to the lowest in aspirations and attainments.
READING COURSES AND KEYBOOKS
Another activity that should be undertaken, in my opinion, is the publication of what might be termed keybooks or primers on various Masonic topics, the idea of each keybook being to open up the doors to a wider interest in and knowledge of the subject treated upon. These brief booklets, outlining the elementary principles of various Masonic subjects, should be published inexpensively and sold at low prices to all Masons who may be induced to purchase and read them. Personally, I am not greatly in favor of publishing booklets for free distribution because it is my impression that most folks regard anything that costs them nothing as being worth exactly what it costs.
As a means of encouraging more widespread reading of Masonic books, periodicals, and keybooks, I believe, a variety of reading courses could be outlined covering all phases of Masonic Education. These reading courses should not be elaborate or expensive but simply suggestive plans whereby an ordinary Mason could derive the most benefit from reading a few books on any Masonic subject in which he might become interested.
I believe that there are thousands of our members who have the ability as well as the desire to speak on behalf of the cause of Masonic Education but do not know exactly how to go about preparing a brief and interesting talk on this topic. I would recommend, therefore, that topical outlines and material for short addresses on various subjects connected with Masonic Eduction, should be provided at a nominal cost for all speakers requesting such assistance.
A NATIONAL MASONIC LECTURE SERVICE
In addition to providing material for such brief addresses, a major effort on behalf of Masonic Education should be to encourage the planning and conducting of Lecture courses covering all phases of this subject. There ought to be, in my opinion, not only a way of rendering assistance to those who desire to conduct a lecture course to local-talent speakers, that is the members of the lodges of a particular community, but there also should be some sort of a clearing house or national lecture bureau in which the outstanding student and lecturers on Masonic Education could be brought into touch with interested audiences. In other words, this national Masonic lecture bureau should, of course, work both ways; that is, it should supply the requests of those who are conducting Masonic Educational lecture courses and wish to obtain the services of speakers of outstanding talent outside of their own community. Likewise, the bureau in due course of time should be able to develop a wider field or forum for Masonic speakers of unusual talent.
That any program for Masonic Education, either narrow or broad, should provide plans and programs for round table discussion groups, almost goes without saying. These topics for discussion should cover the widest possible range and should, of course, appeal chiefly to the interests of ordinary Masons.
In addition to these introductory, elementary, or kindergarten courses of study, there should be study outlines, lesson questions, and text books for all grades of Masonic Study Clubs.
It will be noted that little attempt has been made in the foregoing to elaborate the various suggestions as to the channels of interest or the methods of Masonic study that have been recommended. Neither is it professed that these suggestions are complete or comprehensive. Doubtless, many other avenues for Masonic Education will be opened up and many other methods will be devised, providing the general policy of a broad gauge program should meet with approval among our readers. Our attempt has been to suggest a fairly wide variety of Masonic activities which, we feel, should be justly classed as educational, with the aim of enabling our readers to compare the respective advantages of this broader program with the present policy of confining the scope of Masonic educational work to a lore limited, yet more definitely instructive class of activities.
I have endeavored to present my views which, of course, are entirely in favor of the broader program. But I do not profess the authority to speak for the Craft at large or for any others excepting a scattering number of brethren throughout the country who have written to me expressing their approval of other articles in which I have advocated a somewhat similar policy. Consequently, we are anxious to have every Mason interested in this question present his views and offer criticism of this proposition regardless of whether his views are in accord with or opposed to the program that has been outlined. Likewise, we are particularly anxious for further suggestions on any phase of this program or any ideas for its improvement from those who may, in general, favor its adoption.
Our sole interest is that we may discover or devise a program of Masonic Education that will really meet the needs of present day problems in our Craft. Personally, the writer's experience has compelled him to conclude that our means and methods and program of Masonic Education in the past have been too narrow and inadequate to meet the requirements of modern Masonry. Yet we do not feel sufficient confidence in our own proposals to give clear assurance that our plans and program will fully solve the problem. In fact, the one point on which we feel the greatest degree of certainty is the idea that the only way to work out a program that will completely solve the educational problems of modern Masonry is to find some way to stimulate suggestions and draw upon the experiences of interested members and well informed brethren from all parts of the Masonic domain. In other words, the only program that will surely solve our present day problems will be the one that is developed from the consensus of opinion of Masons everywhere who are interested in the cause of Masonic Education.
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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 allways 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 uncorks and books out of print.
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ROBERT BURNS AND HIS MASONIC CIRCLE. By Duddley Wright. Published by Cecil Palmer, London. Cloth, table of contents, 181 pages Price $2.15,
THE statement can be made, almost without fear of contradiction, that American Masons are more familiar with the writings of Bro. Dudley Wright than with those of any other English author. Those American Masons who have read his previous works will welcome the present volume of Robert Burns. The book is written in the usual readable style but (more's the shame) is not documented. The easy readability that is characteristic of Bro. Wright makes for his works a wide popular appeal. This, of course, is highly desirable, because it will help to increase the number of reading Masons, which proportionately is so deplorably small. Possibly Bro. Wright feels that documenting his works would lend an atmosphere of scholastic stiffness to them, and for this reason omits page and line reference. Agreeing fully that documentation does give a book a heavy appearance, one cannot help but feel that the advantage to scholars of following this practice would amply repay the trouble and overbalance what objections might be raised.
Of course, Burns lived over a century ago. It is not surprising therefore that so much has been written about him; particularly is this true when due consideration is given to the popularity of the works of the Scotch Bard. There are many biographies and numerous accounts of his Masonic connections. For this reason we should not expect to find anything very new in the present volume. New to this reviewer, however, was the controversy over Burns as Poet Laureate of Canongate Kilwinning Lodge. That Burns had held this office had always been taken for granted.
It seems that the lodge records make no mention of the appointment at the time it was supposed to take place The appointment of James Hogg, the Ettriek Shepherd, as Poet Laureate is recorded in later minutes in terms that seem to verify the fact that Burns was his predecessor. Here is one place where the lack of documentation is a nuisance.
It is a matter of common knowledge that Burns was a member of several Scotch lodges. The number ran to seven, I think. Bro. Wright makes brief mention of them. It seems too bad that more space was not devoted to this section of the work. Surely there is enough of interest to be found to make the filling of many more than 35 small pages possible, particularly when the type is so large as that used in the present volume.
If Burns' plural membership was not sufficient guarantee of his interest in the Craft, certainly there is much additional material to prove his activity. For some years he was a "Depute Master." He appears never to have lost an opportunity to commune with his brethren. The meeting at which Dugald Stewart made the acquaintance of the poet is a case in point. This assembly was held at Mauchline on July 25, 1787, and was, as a matter of fact, irregular, as the charter did not empower the lodge to hold meetings outside Tarbolton. The regular meetings were held at an inn, known as "The Cross Keys," Tarbolton, which was kept by a person of the name of Manson. According to Bro. Wright, Burns was such a zealous Mason that he frequently held meetings in his own house for the purpose of admitting new members into the Order. While this was known previously, the present writer does not recall precisely the source of the reference. Once more the lack of documentation must be deplored.
In view of these facts one is, perhaps, entitled to presume that the governing body of Scotch Freemasonry was not nearly so powerful in the latter part of the 18th century as it is today. No modern Grand Lodge would sanction for a moment such conduct on the part of its members.
The chapter dealing with Masonry's influence on Burns is very interesting, presenting as it does, two conflicting points of view. Bro. Wright seems to be an adherent to the more optimistic party. His contention, supported again by undocumented authority, is that Masonry enabled the poet to move in circles above his own social level; that it had a cultural effect Upon him which was reflected in his life and works. The other viewpoint is that the convivialities of the 18th century Masonry made of Burns a drunkard and destroyed his moral fiber. To the reviewer it seems that those who choose to follow the second of these two opinions are projecting modern standards back into the past It must be remembered that in the days of Burns it was no disgrace to become inebriated. Contradicting this view, however, are the statements of Burns' wife and brother to the effect that they never knew him to be intoxicated.
There are many other matters that might be discussed in the remainder of this book, but in view of the fact that there is nothing very new it does not seem necessary. The final chapters are devoted to other aspects of Burns' Masonry; his Masonic friends; his publishers; Gilbert Burns, his brother; his descendants; and so on. It is all interesting and all good reading, and it will be very useful as a compendium of what is known of the life, and especially the Masonic life, of one of the most romantic figures in the annals of the literature of Scotland.
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BIBLICAL ANTHROPOLOGY; Compared with and Illustrated by the Folklore of Europe and the Customs of Primitive Peoples. By H. J. D. Astley. Published by the Oxford University Press. Cloth, table of contents, bibliographical note, indices. Pages viii and 262 Price $4.75.
THIS work is partly made up of articles published in various periodicals, and truth compels us to say that, like so many books put together in this way, it suffers for it. Nevertheless the matter is all good, and it makes a very readable and not too erudite introduction to a subject of the greatest interest.
Taking the view that is now, in spite of fundamentalism, accepted by all Biblical scholars and theologians whose judgment carries any weight outside of their own communion, that the Scripture is a literature, not a book; that it has grown by a series of compilations and recompilations and editing, into its present form; and that in it, as fossils in the face of a cliff, we find the traces of many successive stages of religion, evolving from a very primitive stage to the highest; the author undertakes to show the connection of some of the relies of the oldest strata with the religious remains of other primitives. In this he is further exploring the field that was covered by Frazer in his Folk Lore in the Old Testament.
The author is a clergyman of the Church of England, belonging to the "Modernist" school of thought. There are a number of passages, and the last chapter especially, in which this is very obvious, and it tends to make the reader somewhat impatient. It is probably due largely to the fact already mentioned, that so much was contributed as articles to Anglican theological journals. It is rather unfortunate however, as the subject seems to demand an attitude more aloof from practical problems and the outlook of any particular communion.
This is here stated, not in criticism or derogation, but to forewarn the reader, so that he will be ready for such passages when he comes upon them, and not be unduly disturbed or irritated. For anyone who has no knowledge of the subject, but has had his curiosity aroused regarding it, will hardly find a better book to begin with. It covers the field of primitive religion very fully, with sufficient detail for purposes of illustration, but not so much that the beginner will lose his way, as he is apt to do in such comprehensive works as those of Frazer.
What has to be remembered, or for many people (even yet) to be learned, is that to accept the results of the modern science of Comparative Religion, and the hypothesis of religious evolution does not mean denial of a belief in God or his governance of the world. While it is true that many workers in this field have little faith in the objective reality underlying religion, this view does not necessarily or logically follow from such studies. This dispute is the old one between believers and non-believers, only on a different and wider field. What the conservative and reactionary element in the various denominations fail to realize is that the views they hold were once "modernist," were the result of reason applied to such facts as were known, and were opposed by the fundamentalists of their day.
Religion began back in the prehistoric past. There is no doubt that the Cro-Magnon cave artists of Europe had a definite and quite developed religion. And since then men have been seeking after God "if haply they might find him." And always the seekers have been in danger from the mass of conservatives who preferred to give a formal assent to traditional beliefs, which did not interfere with their lives and habits of thought. The one thing the majority of people resent is to be forced to re-think their fundamental beliefs.
Perhaps a word of warning may be advisable. When the reader is told of survivals of primitive belief and thought in higher cultures, as when in the present work a parallel is drawn between the ideas of certain primitive peoples and expressions used by St. Paul in his epistles, it must not be supposed that the latter use of the form meant the same thing as the earlier one. When a man removes his hat to salute a lady, or in the presence of the flag, or in any other circumstance where he desires to show deference he is not thinking of the origin of that action, or how it came to be a sign of respect. Such survivals of words, phrases and ceremonies, have a traceable history, but they have changed in meaning. And so it is with religious survivals. In general only those things survived that could be adapted to higher purposes in changed circumstances. M.
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TRIBAL INITIATIONS AND SECRET SOCIETIES. By Edwin M. Loeb. Published by the University of California Press. Paper, 40 pages.
THIS pamphlet is a useful resume of the subject of primitive puberty initiations and the secret societies of barbarous races. Mr. Loeb has found four principal elements in these ceremonies, namely:
- the use of the "bull-roarer"
- the impersonation of ghosts
- the death and resurrection initiation
- the mutilation by cutting
The object of the essay is to collect the references to these four elements and to show that they are very wide spread within the principal area covered, Australasia and Oceania.
But the same complex of elements is also found in Africa, and in part of both North and South America. As a matter of fact it was from his investigations among the Pomo Indians of California that the study had its origin. It has to be admitted though that in the American evidence the four elements have suffered some diminution in places, though enough remains to lead to the conclusion that such cases are to be interpreted as due to decay. In some places whistles of various kinds replace the bull-roarer.
As Andrew Lang pointed out long ago this curious instrument, which is a traditional toy in some parts of the British Isles, was probably used as part of the paraphernalia of the Orphic and other mysteries of the classical world.
Mr. Loeb concludes that the tribal initiation ceremony was derived from one centre, at a remote period, and that contrary to the views of various other writers, they have no casual relation to totemism or any particular type or system of reckoning kinship; rather that the evidence points to their being an older and more primitive element in the social organism.
The essay will form a useful starting point for anyone wishing to learn more of this subject, which has proved so attractive to Masonic students who are especially interested in the question of origins. It is a starting point only, for the treatment precludes any detail being given; for that the reader must go to the works cited; or best of all, to begin with, to Tylor's Primitive Culture and Frazer's Golden Bough.
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THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE
MASONIC HISTORY FOR THE BEGINNER
Can you advise me what book of Masonic History I should read? I would prefer one that contained no special pleading, but approached the subject in a purely scientific manner in an honest attempt to ascertain the facts. It seems to me that what we need is scholars such as those who have done so much for the criticism, "lower" and "higher," of the Bible; in consequence of whose work more is now known about the Bible than at any previous time in history.
We have to admit, with sorrow, that the book asked for has not yet been written. There are approximations to it, but probably no history will ever be written without some bias.
The monumental works of Gould and Mackey are essential to every advanced student, but they are too overwhelming for the beginner. They each have their defects, and each author had his own particular prejudices. Nevertheless they are each impartial in respect to the evidence, and generally on all points where their special bias did not come into play.
Undoubtedly the best work yet published for the beginner is the History of Freemasonry by Haywood and Craig. Perhaps the most readable book on the subject is J. F. Newton's Builders, a work that has served to give the initial impulse to seek further light to hundreds of Masons. But it remains that the work desired by our correspondent does not yet exist, and perhaps never will. History of that type must be sought each for himself, sifting the wheat from the chaff, in the many books, papers, essays and articles that have been and are being published,
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THE CHIVALRIC ORIGIN OF MASONRY
Since you advertise THE BUILDER as "an open forum for all the Craft" I am wondering if you will answer a question for a neophyte in Masonic research.
A Masonic speaker, who claimed to have a deep knowledge of things, recently made the statement that the Fraternity originated from a Military Order of some kind. I told him I always understood that it was an outgrowth of a purely operative mason's guild. But he insisted that the operative masons played a very small part. Which of us is right?
Probably the brother who made these statements derived them from one of the older works on the history and origin of the Craft. The myth has long since been thoroughly exploded by Gould and Mackey, yet even now it frequently reappears in articles and books; and especially in addresses given by Masonic orators. Our correspondent had better recommend this particular speaker to obtain and read Gould's Concise History, or Haywood and Craig's, A History of Freemasonry, or better still, to join the N.M.R.S. and read THE BUILDER.
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THE HOLY SAINTS JOHN
If possible I should like some light upon the connection of the two Saints John with Freemasonry. I have read all that Mackey has to say in his Encyclopedia, but I still feel that it has not been fully explained. The dedication of the lodge seems clear enough but I gather that in Mackey's judgment the dedication was originally to St. John the Baptist only, but he does not offer any explanation why in that case, St. John the Evangelist was brought in. But the point that is not touched on at all is the phrase, "From the Lodge of the Holy Saints John at Jerusalem." What does this mean? Or what did it mean? Traditionally the lodge at Jerusalem antedated the Christian era by hundreds of years. If it had been from the Lodge of Solomon, it would have been perfectly clear. I should be glad of some explanation of this.
This is not at all an easy question to answer briefly. From the various explanations given at different times and places, cited by Mackey we may deduce one thing, that the reference puzzled our eighteenth century and nineteenth century brethren as much as it does our correspondent. Mackey's own theory, of reference to observances connected with the solstices, has been widely (though far from universally) accepted, and probably has something in it. He is quite correct in saying that the oldest ritual forms mentioned only a Saint John, but it is not certain, as he thought, that this was St. John the Baptist.
The dedication of a lodge probably goes back no further than the post-Grand Lodge period, 1723, at the earliest, and more probably later. But the formal dedication of lodges to St. John was the interpretation of the much older phrase "The Lodge of St. John," which we find in the very earliest ritual remains still extant. It would seem that every lodge was St. John's Lodge, and the explanation may be that it was simply an allusion to a custom in older times, of an annual lodge held on a St. John's Day. It is a subject that might be further investigated with profit.
On page 203 of the July number of THE BUILDER appears the following statement by Bro. Curtis G. Shake:
"The lodge was finally instituted on March 13, 1809, the first legally constituted lodge of the order, or for that matter the first assemblage of Masons in the territory now comprising Indiana Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin."
W.M. Bro. Israel Israel, Grand Master of Masons of Penn. issued his dispensation June 18th, 1806, for Western Star Lodge No. 107 at Kaskaskia, Illinois. The lodge was instituted September 13th of the same year, June 24th, 1808, By-Laws were adopted and signed by eighty-four members. This lodge continued to exist until February 7th, 1829. The original dispensation is now in the office of the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Illinois.
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WHAT IS GOOD STANDING?
There is a matter that has many times occurred to me when I have visited lodges in different places. Methods of procedure in such cases vary a great deal. I find, generally, that in country lodges, and lodges in small out-of-the-way towns, that the good brethren lay chief stress upon the traditional and esoteric means of recognition, while documentary evidence comes, often as not, almost as an afterthought. In city lodges, however, and the Mason who visits much, comes much more into contact with them, the documentary evidence is the first thing demanded, and indeed without it one would generally get no further. I have no objection to that in itself; a receipt for dues duly sealed and signed is prima facie evidence, and it is a convenient substitute for the regular Grand Lodge Diploma, which is a most awkward thing to carry about. The point I am anxious to raise, and would very much like to see discussed, is by what show of right the officers of lodges have to insist that the receipt for dues should be for the current year?
As I have said, I take this receipt with the seal of my lodge, and the secretary's signature, and my own signature in the margin, as prima facie evidence, no more, that I am in good standing, or rather, that I have not been suspended. But the fact that it is last year's receipt does not show that I am not in good standing. For I maintain that a Mason is in good standing until his lodge has suspended him.
The reason that this matter has been forced upon my attention is that in my own lodge, which is an old one and "set in its ways," dues are payable at the end of the year and not in advance. Last January, for instance, I got my notice that my dues were due. I sent a check to the secretary, and in return he sent me a receipt showing that I had paid up till December 31, 1928. Now when I show this receipt, I am told "This is no good, you're not in good standing." It has taken a lot of explaining sometimes; and now I come back at them, and ask what business it is of theirs how my lodge manages its affairs. Our by-laws distinctly say that dues shall be paid either at the end of each quarter, or at the end of the year. They have been in force over a hundred years, and there would be a fine fuss if anyone suggested they should be changed. But this is not really the point, it is only the occasion and bringing it home to me personally. I offer as my opinion that a Mason is in good standing till his lodge, or his Grand Lodge, takes definite action to suspend or expel him — and that as a receipt for dues cannot possibly show at any time that a man has not been suspended or expelled, that it is ultra vires for an examining committee to take the date of a receipt into consideration; that a receipt, or diploma for that matter is proof only that at one time a man was in good standing, the rest has to be decided by other means; which means used with intelligence are quite adequate. Now I would like to know what others think about it.
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WAS HUMBOLDT A MASON?
In the April BUILDER, No. 4 of the current volume, Bro. C.S.P. makes inquiry about the Masonic affiliation of the Barons "Friedrich and Karl" von Humboldt. In your reply to this inquiry you state that "Apparently neither oft the brothers was a Mason." This had always been the opinion that I had held, though I never investigated the matter.
Back in the 1860's there was organized at Columbus, Ohio, a Humboldt Society. Its founders were a group of men of the highest type, who were of German extraction and who had had a German University education. The objects of the society were cultural, intellectual and social. The organization stood for everything that was of the highest, ethically and culturally, and also patriotically. Somehow I had always believed that the high and good repute of this society induced the charter members of what became Humboldt Lodge, No. 476, to adopt the name "Humboldt" for the lodge. As a student in 1880 and 1881 I lived at the home of perhaps the most prominent member of Humboldt Society, not Lodge.
One of the oldest members of Humboldt Lodge, and the son of the oldest living member of the now defunct Humboldt Society tells me I am mistaken in my surmise, and that neither one or the other, if not both of the Humboldt brothers, Alexander and William were Masons, that he had a book at home containing the evidence. Subsequently he told me he could not find the book.
The whole question was referred by me to a competent correspondent in Germany. I have just heard from him, He has investigated the records of his own lodge. Grosse Loge von Preussen, as well as those of the Grosse Loge zu den drei Weltkugeln. The record of both these lodges do not show that either of the Humboldt brothers were members of the Masonic Order. A member of the last-named lodge, a member of considerable standing as a Masonic author and historian thinks it probable that Alex. V Humboldt, the naturalist, was a Mason. He thinks he remembers of having read somewhere that Alexander, on his first trip to South America was raised in some South American Lodge. But this is by no means established. Nor is it certain that the father of the Humboldt brothers held membership in the Order. However, my correspondent has become interested, promises to continue his investigations and to let me know the outcome.
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THE T.B. PROBLEM IN THE SOUTHWEST
Possibly THE BUILDER is off the subject of the relief of tuberculous Masons, and relief too, of the brethren in the Southwestern States who are struggling vainly with a problem that is beyond their power to meet, yet which, faced with the spectacle of the dire distress of those who appeal to them for aid as Masons, they attempt to meet as they can. Perhaps the enclosed item from the San Antonio Express of July 2nd may be of interest to you. There are still Masons among those who are mentioned in it as being in need of help.
The clipping enclosed was an Associated Press report from San Francisco, and was as follows:
Jessamine S. Whitney of New York, statistician of the National Tuberculosis Association, estimated in an address before the National Conference on Social Work here today that there were 10,000 wanderers afflicted with the "white plague," being cared for by various relief agencies in Texas, Colorado, Arizona and California last year.
Miss Whitney declared that since most of these ailing wanderers preferred the smaller towns, the burden on the finances of the various communities was a heavy one.
Illinois, New York, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan were said by Miss Whitney to be the chief sources of these migrants. She declared the tide of migration was steadily increasing in the Southwest.
In communities like El Paso, Colorado Springs and Phoenix, said Miss Whitney, the financial burden is unusually heavy because of the unusual number of afflicted wanderers appearing for treatment. She quoted figures from Colorado Springs to show that in 1920 there had been 385 indigent tuberculous persons cared for by city agencies at a per capita annual cost to each resident of $1. By 1927, she said the number had increased to 436 at a per capita cost of $2 yearly.
Miss Whitney said there had been a slight sprinkling of tuberculosis migrants through Galveston, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth and Amarillo but not enough to create a social or financial problem. In El Paso, she said, 88 per cent of the clinic cases were tubercular migrants, in San Antonio, 18 per cent. The tuberculosis death rate in Texas is low, she said. The number of tuberculosis cases in the Denver clinic was given as 40 per cent while the corresponding figure in Colorado Springs was 66 per cent.
THE BUILDER is not "off" this subject, but there is no apparent prospect of doing anything at this time. We have said, and we still hold, that this problem must be solved in some way or American Masonry will be stultified, and will suffer accordingly. The law of the balance cannot be evaded.
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THE FIRST LODGES IN AMERICA
When and where was the first Masonic Lodge instituted in the United States? Who were the first officers in it?
Simple as this question may sound there is no answer to it. There is no record, and there is very little chance that any definite information will ever be discovered. The whole subject was very fully treated in THE BUILDER in 1924 and 1925, by Bro. Haywood. Any of the histories of the Craft may also be consulted for such facts as are known.
The first man we know positively to have been a Mason in America was Jonathan Belcher. According to his own statement he was initiated in 1704. He was born in 1681 in Boston, Mass, and was in England at the period he claimed to have been initiated, so that nothing is proved whether there were other Masons in America at the time. Daniel Coxe was appointed Provincial Grand Master of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but he is not known to have ever acted in his official capacity. Henry Price was appointed Provincial Grand Master for North America in 1733, and he did constitute lodges. Benjamin Franklin in 1730 stated there were several lodges in Pennsylvania. Some time later he was made a Mason in a lodge in Philadelphia, of the origin and constitution of which nothing is known. These are fair samples of the scrappy and incomplete knowledge we have of the early days of Freemasonry in this country.
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THE ROMAN CHURCH AND MASONRY
The following excerpt from a work of recognized authority, the Moral Theology of Scavini, may be of interest to readers of THE BUILDER:
Masonry is a secret society having as its aim a bitter fight against the divine authority of the church and the law. Its purpose is also to overthrow the constituted legal government. This sect has been damned by all the popes from Clement XII to our present ruler Pius IX. The penalty of excommunication is inflicted ipso facto upon all those who become members or attend meetings or participate in any of their functions. This applies also to all those who in any way give aid to the sect or he who lends favors to this sect and knowing their names or their doings does not denounce them.
Excommunication is also extended to those who read any book, statute or by-laws of such a society. This does not only apply to those who read such literature, but those also who hold such in their possession.
This excommunication is also imposed upon any one who defends such societies by writing or even word of mouth.
Alphonsus de Liquori wrote: "This sect some day will be the ruin, not only of the church, but all reigning monarchs. Those monarchs who do not take care will awake too late. These Masons, who do not have any love for God, certainly do not have any for Kings." (Vol. II, page 642.)
This is a clear exposition of the law of the Roman Church in regard to Masonry; and however individual members of that church may think or feel, when it comes to the point, by this law their conduct will be governed.
C.F., New York.