A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 15 No. 10 – October 1929
THE CITY OF PRAGUE AND BOHEMIAN FREEMASONRY
Bro. Joseph S. Roucek, New Jersey
In 1729, the activity of the lodge was stopped temporarily, because Sporck, its founder and Master, was imprisoned. The Jesuits accused him of treason against the state. The process against him lasted seven years, and we must thank the influence of Frantisek, Duke of Lorraine, who meanwhile had become the husband of Maria Theresa, later Empress of Austria, and, himself a Freemason, intervened with his imperial father-in-law.
The lodge continued its activity in 1735. In 1738 Count Sporck died, exhausted spiritually and bodily. Count Ferdinand Paradis was elected his successor as Master of the Lodge. Under his rule political questions were introduced, which was hardly surprising in those stormy days. The Austrian-Bavarian War gave the Count an opportunity to support, with a part of the brethren, the Bavarian Elector, Karel Albrecht. But some of the members of the lodge were opposed to this, while yet others remained neutral. Hence the lodge was divided into three parts. Perhaps as a result of this two new lodges were founded in 1741, so that there were three lodges in Prague at that time. It was only after 1743, following many conferences and discussions, that these three lodges were united into one Czech Lodge, of the Three Crowned Stars, which was headed by Count Keunigl, a partizan of Austria. But not all the members of the three lodges agreed to this union. A part of them, especially those who belonged formerly to the Bavarian Lodge, nursed their national hatred in their hearts and the old traditions in their minds, and during the year 1743 formed a new lodge in the Old City, entitled Of the Three Pillars, which in 1752 was headed by Captain Schindler. According to the historian Svatek, the Lodge of the Three Pillars was an offshoot of the Lodge Of the Three Stars with an affiliated lodge in Litomerice, named Sincerite.
We shall turn our interest now to the Lodge of the Three Crowned Stars, whose Master in 1758 was still Count Kuenigl. The lodge worked according to the Ecossois, or Scottish [really the French] ritual, and devoted itself entirely to philanthropic objects and banned all political debate in its meetings.
Freemasonry at that time was persecuted in Austria, and hence in Bohemia also, and even though Francis I gave it some protection, it was not recognized as legal, and the meetings of the lodges in Vienna and Prague had to be held in secret. The Jesuits, as ever, were its worst enemies, and they attempted to brand the members of the brotherhood as enemies of both the State and the Church. The persecution went so far that a meeting of the Viennese Lodge was dispersed by soldiers, and eighteen members thrown into prison. This forced the lodge at Prague to be still more cautious. First of all, they concealed their archives, which explains the fact that we have so little definite knowledge of the activity of Bohemian Masonry at this period. We know, however, that the lodge continued to work in secret. A Papal Bull was published against the Craft on May 18, 1751, while in 1762 Maria Theresa prohibited Freemasonry altogether. This also accounts for the fact that Bohemian Lodges were not recognized abroad. To remedy this the Lodge of the Three Crowned Stars sent an application to the Lodge of the Three Grenades at Dresden in Saxony, asking for recognition. The application was signed by such outstanding representatives of the Bohemian aristocracy as Counts Clary-Aldringen, Luetzow, Martinic and Thun; Barons Skoelen, Goetz, Pracht, Furztenberg, Schmidburg, and many others. The Dresden Lodge gave a patent to the Prague Lodge as a "proper and perfect lodge," but a draft was demanded for 300 dukats. The new lodge worked only a short time, because in 1764 a secret society called the "Roses and Crosses, " with headquarters at Prague, was suppressed and its outstanding members sentenced to six years' imprisonment in Spilberk, Brno, Moravia. It appears that some freemasons were also members of this Society, and thus discord arose between the two lodges at Prague and Dresden, fomented by the sinister role played by a certain Masonic adventurer who called himself Johnson. He was subsequently expelled from the lodge. The lodge at Prague interrupted relations with Dresden, and attached itself by affiliation to a lodge founded in Northern Germany by Count von Hund, famous as the head of the then new Order of the Strict Observance, which claimed to be founded on the Templar Order of the Middle Ages. Every member or Knight of the Order was bound to the strictest subordination, hence the title "Strict Observance". Under its jurisdiction was Silesia and a part of Poland. At the request of the Lodge of the Three Crowned Stars Prague was promoted to the rank of a prefecture under the name of Radomskoy, and Baron Skoelen became the Master and named the other Bohemian prefectures.
In 1766, upon the festival of St. John, Prague was disturbed by wild rumors that the Freemasons were planning an uprising of the people, with the object of proclaiming Bohemia an independent kingdom. The rumor was quite unfounded, but the Lodge of the Three Pillars was surrounded by soldiers and proved, they were released. The renewed prohibition of Freemasonry in Austria, however, crippled the activity of the lodge for two years. Count Martinie, the Master, gave up his office, which was in 1769 by Count Kuenigl. Difficult times followed everywhere for Freemasonry. The lodges in Prague and in other Bohemian cities only barely managed to subsist. At that time most of the European governments were negotiating about the abolition of the Jesuit order, and having to fight for their own existence the Jesuits had no time to persecute the Freemasons, and the brethren could breathe more freely. After the abolition of the Jesuit order in 1773 we find there were four lodges in Prague. A famous and learned man, Count Ignae Born, Councillor of the Mint Office, resuscitated the Lodge of the Three Pillars, which was called from that time on the Lodge of the Three Crowned Pillars. This met in the Kutnohorsky Dum (the House of Kutna Hora), situated in the still existing chief square of the City of Prague, the Vaclavske Namesti [Wenceslas Square]. Besides this Count Born founded the Lodges of the Nine Stars and Honesty. The members of these lodges and some others founded, in 1773, the Orphanage of St. John the Baptist. The first director of this institution was a Professor of the University of Prague, Karel Seibt, a member of the mother lodge of the Three Crowned Stars. In this orphanage a very interesting character was employed, the quondam Jesuit, Ignac Cornova, who was the author of a prayer book for the Freemasons published in Prague in 1784, and translated into Czech in 1914, and still more recently edited by the Quatuor Coronati Coetus Pragenses (a society founded by Grand Secretary, Dr. Oskar Posner, of the Grand Lodge Lessing zu den Drei Ringen).
In 1780 Empress Alaria Theresa gave to the orphanage the Bredovsky Palace in Bredovska Street, where the of the Three Crowned Stars continued to meet until its dissolution.
The year of 1780 was a landmark in the history of the Prague Lodges. Maria Theresa died and Joseph II ascended the throne. All Masons in the Austrian dominions had great hopes in him, and for a while it seemed that he would fulfill these desires and wishes. In 1781 the freedom of the press was proclaimed, and later the Emperor announced that though he was not initiated into the secrets of Freemasonry, he recognized its humanitarian activity, and was willing to permit the formation of lodges. In consequence of this, lodges sprang up everywhere and soon, according to the historian Svatek, there was not a city in Austria where there was not a lodge.
In Prague there was formed the lodges Union and Truth and Unity. But this area of prosperity was short. The Emperor became reactionary and disappointed the hopes of a liberal regime. Under the influence of his advisers a centralizing policy was adopted, and the Emperor began to restrict Masonic activities. By a decree of December 16, 1785, he limited the number of lodges in individual cities and districts, and ordered the publication of the names of members of the lodges. For non-obedience to this edict very severe penalties were imposed.
These measures, which deprived Freemasonry in Austria of all rights, and put it under state Surveillance, caused bitter disappointment and was the occasion of internal dispute. The Grand Master — Provincial Count Stampach — gave up his office, and the Lodges of Prague were disturbed by excited scenes, when different viewpoints clashed, chiefly on the question whether the order should be obeyed or not. However, after a stormy meeting in the palace of Count Canal it was decided to submit to the decree.
After the first of January, 1786, in consequence of the royal decree, only three lodges remained: Truth and Unity of the Three Crowned Pillars, the Lodge of the Nine Pillars, and the Mother Lodge of the Three Crowned Stars. The newly elected Grand Master, Count Lazansky, announced the change to the Highest Burgrave of Prague and gave him the list of the members. On March 12, 1786, the Imperial Decree gave legal recognition to the "reformed" Freemasonry.
In the years of 1787 till 1791 Brother Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited Prague several times and on those occasions visited the Masonic Lodges. That beautiful work of Mozart, "The Magic Flute," originated partly in Prague, and, as it is known, Mozart took the ideal elements of Freemasonry into the fairy story of his opera.
This work of musical genius, however, proved also to be the swan song of Freemasonry in Austria, for the last year of Mozart's life was also the last year of any freedom for Masonry. With the death of Joseph II on February 20, 1790, began the period of rigid suppression of Austrian Freemasonry, and with it of Bohemian Freemasonry also.
Emperor Leopold II rescinded all the decrees of Joseph II in regard to the Fraternity as soon as he ascended the throne, and the members of the lodges, who were known to the authorities through the lists that had been furnished by the lodges, were all put under strict police surveillance.
His son and successor, Francis I, took even stronger measures, in which he was abetted by the Catholic clergy. As is well known, the clergy promulgated the reports that the French Revolution was the work of Freemasonry. In 1793 the number of the members was so reduced that it was almost impossible to continue the work of the lodges. In the first days of the year of 1794 the remaining members of the Prague Lodges decided to voluntarily cease their labors and to await the return of more propitious times. The Viennese Lodges followed suit, and thus the Craft itself forestalled the effect of a decree published in that year which absolutely prohibited Masonry in the Austrian Empire.
The Emperor let the three Prague Lodges know of his "highest satisfaction" with their decision, and "graciously" permitted them to continue the administration of their humanitarian institutions, not as Masons, but as private individuals.
In 1795 came a renewed prohibition of all Freemasonry in Austria, which prohibition, with a short intermission in 1848, lasted until the Revolution of 1918.
But even the most drastic prohibition cannot suppress the Masonic idea and thought. The faith and ideals remained hidden in hearts of a few brothers who notwithstanding all the persecution kept them alive secretly as a most precious legacy and bequest. A little spark of living fire persisted under the seemingly cold dead ashes, until the breath of a strong and mighty wind of renewed freedom blew the ashes away and fanned the spark into a new blaze, which now sheds its light in the liberated countries.
Returning to the past, a new lodge was created in Prague in 1811. During the occupation of Vienna by Napoleon I in 1809, a lodge was founded in that city under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of France, which survived until the Congress of Vienna in 1813. In 1811 Count Auersperg dared to found a lodge in Prague. Its existence was kept secret until 1814, when it was discovered and suppressed. At that time Pope Pius VII published a new Bull against Freemasonry, and, concurrently with this, re-established the Order of the Jesuits, while the well-known Chancellor Metternich of Austria introduced his famous police system, which suppressed even the least and most innocent expression of free thought. Bernard Bolzano, professor of the philosophical faculty of the Prague University, after whom one of the Czech Lodges is named, was a victim of the Metternich's reactionary system. It was only due to the intervention of Joseph Dobrovsky, also, a Freemason, that Bolzano was rehabilitated in 1826, and allowed his liberty under police surveillance. Various attempts of foremost Czech politicians and scholars to found associations and societies were ruthlessly suppressed. One of them, Amerling, succeeded later in getting official permission to found an educational Institute, Budec. His adherents played an important role at the Slav Congress, and during the Prague Revolution in 1848.
In February, 1849, Prof. Ludvik Lewis of Vienna revived, in Hotel Modra Hvezdu. (Blue Star), the Lodge Truth and Unity of the Three Crowned Pillars. But Prince Windisehratz brought it to a speedy end during the so-called "May Uprising." There followed a period of unreasoning persecution. In 1865 Lewis again attempted to obtain permission to found a lodge, and in 1868 a member of the Imperial Council, Dr. Foregger, supported the move. But it was all in vain.
That in the history of European Freemasonry Prague has had an important part, is evident from this brief account. The year 1918 brought a new era. As Schiller said:
Das Alte stürzt, es ändert sich die Zeit under neues Leben blüht aus den Ruinen! (What is old dies, the time changes and new Life blooms from the ruins! )
In the days of October in 1918, old masks fell off, the society Charitas, which had been formed in 1909, was transformed into the Lodge Hiranz Den Drei Sternen, which later became the mother lodge of Czechoslovakia. Freemasonry was freed from its shackles, and breathed freely in the new state. It no longer had to fear its most dangerous and strongest antagonist the despotic power of the State and the Church.
What has since transpired has been described in a preceding article. It would not be amiss, however, to turn to the future and see what it seems to promise.
After the war the whole world was in a psychological state which can be described as highly nervous and antagonistic. It is the duty of us all to work sincerely for the ultimate brotherhood of humanity, after so many years of misery and oppression. Is there not for all of us Masons, without distinction, in every country, a glad prospect of a broad and limitless field of humanitarian endeavor? In the case of the brethren in Czechoslovakia they must expend more energy, because there are so few of them to labor.
It is the time to end this discussion. At the beginning we used a simile that we are on a journey, and, resting, we are looking back on the road that we have covered. We may say that we have succeeded. If throughout our road has not been and will not be the same, yet the aim remains the same, and we know that at the end of the road we shall meet and tell each other our experiences. But now — forward, brothers, only forward; we must remember the tradition, we must remember all that has been done by our brothers before us. A great task is awaiting us; we must fulfill it with courage and good will. Let us hope that at some time our universal history will conclude with the statement that the main merit for the bringing together of all nations inhabiting this earth, for its cultural and economic development, belongs to Freemasonry which sowed the seed of universal love in the hearts of the peoples, and during that time realized the idea of reconciliation, harmony, concord, brotherhood and humanity in the sense of Jan Amos Komensky:
We are all citizens of one world, we are all of one blood. To hate a man because he has been born in another country, because he speaks a different language or because he takes a different view on this subject or that, is indeed a great folly. Desist, I implore you, for we all are equally human. Let us unite all our thoughts, so that all that separates us from God, or from one another, may disappear. Let us have but one aim in view namely, the welfare of humanity, and let us put aside all selfishness or considerations of language, nationality or religion.
Jan Malypetr, who appears in the group with President Masaryk in the illustration on a previous page, is one of the leading statesmen of the Czechoslovakian Republic. He is an exceedingly able man, and has had a most remarkable career. He began life as a farmer, from which he has risen to his present eminent position in the councils of the state. His private estate lies near Klobuky, a little village not far from the author's own birthplace, Slany, and they have been close friends for many years.
* * *
STATISTICS OF FREEMASONRY
Bro. Alexander B. Andrews, North Carolina
THE average man looks on a table of statistics with the same horror that he does an income tax blank or a complicated audit, which he is asked to explain to some one else. However, statistics are necessary for any business to know whether it is progressing or falling back, and in what proportion in either way.
Annually the several Grand Lodges compile statistics of membership, which in years past have been more or less noted by Masonic reviewers. In some instances several Grand Lodge reviewers have attempted to annually summarize the aggregate number of Masons, some in the entire world and some in the United States. It is regretted that very few reviewers have gone into detail of statistics, which have been kept up over a period of years. The recently inaugurated plan of Reviewer J. Edward Allen, Past Master, Wanton, North Carolina, who, since 1922, has compiled the annual review of that Grand Lodge, is well worth notice. In the review of 1928 he not only gives the table showing the statistics of Freemasonry in the United States, but also the membership figures of numerous bodies based upon Freemasonry as a prerequisite. In the same volume are statistics of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, and General Grand Chapter, R.A.M. (50 years); General Grand Council, R.&S.M.; Grand Encampment, K.T.; Supreme Council, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction; Supreme Council, Southern Masonic Jurisdiction and the Imperial Council of the Shrine covering 30 years, then immediately past.
While statistics chronicle the happenings of events, yet the working out of statistics on a percentage basis and diagraming on graph charts present these facts much more vividly.
Taking advantage of the work of Brother Allen we find the following compiled table of statistics for forty-nine Grand Lodges in the United States for the years 1924 to 1928, both inclusive:
FORTY-NINE GRAND LODGES OF UNITED STATES A.F. & A. M.
The interesting part of this table is the increase of 425,000 Masons in five years' time, yet the student in Masonry looks deeper and notes that the railings in 1928 were 48,000 less than in 1924, the suspensions for non-payment of dues were double in 1928 what they were in 1924 and net gain in 1928 was 47,919 as against 119,517 in 1924.
Is it possible on these statistics to forecast what will be the number of railings, deaths, suspensions, net gain, etc.. on December 31, 1929 (five months distant)?
How would such forecast be calculated?
While the actual statistics are interesting, yet the true perspective can better be shown by translating these same statistics into percentages which, when tabulated, show up as follows:
Percentages, Grand Lodge of United States, A.F. & A. M., 1924-1928
These percentages are interesting as showing the steady decline of the railings and net gain, while there has been a steady increase in the number of suspensions. This is very much more vividly brought to one's attention by a diagram of these percentages, which is set out on the diagram which appears on page 295.
An examination of this diagram shows very clearly the trend of the times. The affiliations are approximately 80 per cent of the demits and are a negligible quantity. The death rate is practically constant for the five years, 1.190, which is practically age 47. With the declining rate of initiates and the increasing rate of suspensions there has been a fall in the net gain. However, the net gain line shows that on the 1928 compiled statistics the net gain is apparently not declining as fast as it has done heretofore.
On these compiled statistics, by averaging the percentages upwards or downwards of (A) one year, (B) two years and (C) three years, it is possible to make a forecast of what will be the compiled statistics of the forty-nine Grand Lodges of the United States as of December 31, 1929, which statistics are hereinbelow set out and are as follows:
FORTY-NINE GRAND LODGES
Forecast for December 21, 1929
|1 Year||2 Years||3 Years||Average|
|Membership Forecast, Dec. 31, 1929||3,302,323||3,302,192||3,296,106||3,300,201|
* * *
THE DEGREES OF MASONRY: THEIR ORIGIN AND HISTORY
Bros. A.L. Kress and R. J. Meekren
WE will now return to more solid ground — the Book of Constitutions. Here we find that the Duke of Wharton when Grand Master used a new ceremonial devised for the formal inauguration of new lodges and the installation of their officers. The latter forms the basis of our present Installation Ceremonial. Now it is almost (though not quite) definitely said by Anderson that there were secrets connected with this formulary, that parts of it could not be printed. Whether any such part was peculiar to Installed Masters only does not appear . Certainly later on the most important sections of the Installation Ceremonies became, in all essentials, a degree, as we have already noted. Out of it, or rather an archaic variant of it, came the Past Master's Degree of the American Capitular Rite. And a certain significant part of this ritual, one which bears all the marks of antiquity, points to the ceremony having been originally conceived as a third and culminating degree, just as a number of the high grades show similar marks of being composed as a fourth, that is, as following our third, or Master Mason's, degree. We cannot be more explicit.
Now here we can begin to put things together. Back in the fog is the possibility of evolution of new ritual forms on the Continent, with echoes in Britain. Then we have the very definite Installation, that certainly later on became a degree (in our sense of the term) at the very time that the balance of the evidence points to the old two-grade system still holding the ground in the Grand Lodge circle. The possible inference is, that in England the earliest "three degree" system was Apprentice, Master or Fellow, and Master of the Lodge. And as a matter of fact the last of these has continuously remained at the apex of the ritual Sequence worked in the lodge, in spite of the legal fiction that it is not a degree.
INSTALLATION AND PAST MASTER
This inference is not particularly welcome, for it seems to complicate further an already too complicated affair. However, there it is and nothing is gained by ignoring it. Let us then proceed with the facts. This Installation business was apparently devised, or at least first used, in 1722. Between 1723 and 1730 another degree was slipped in. The Past Master's degree contains certain features that seem once to have been part of the ancient tradition of Masonry; again we cannot be explicit and must leave it to Past Masters to search and interpret for themselves. So also this later, inserted, grade contained nothing essentially new, for it was probably at first no more than a cutting in two of the Apprentice part. We may say then that the situation in 1728, or thereabouts, was roughly this. In some lodges, yet untouched by the novelties, there were two ceremonies employed, in others only one, combining the two, either in immediate sequence or "telescoped" together. While those lodges which were in the forefront of the new movement had three or four. Yet the Fellow of either kind of the older lodges had received everything that was communicated to the Installed Master of the last group, except perhaps some things that were absolutely new inventions devised to round out a ritual. This would account for the fact that the new system made its way under ground, as it were, and with no apparent disturbance; and anything that can account for so remarkable a phenomenon is indeed welcome, and by that fact alone commends itself as credible. To make the transition still easier, the first and second degrees of the new System were for many years (so it appears) invariably given together. Thus it was in effect little more than a change of nomenclature, the Apprentice of one lodge was equal to the Fellow Craft of another. The Fellow or Master of the first was the same as the Master Mason of the Second. As there were never any Entered Apprentices of the latter lodges (seeing they were all "passed" as Fellow Crafts on the same occasion as being "made" Apprentices) there could be no confusion in visiting and communicating.
But having suggested a "how" for the process we now have to seek a "why." Which is a harder (and more elusive) nut to crack. First we must assume that there was a keen interest in the ritual, on the part of some Masons at least; and the first step of these interested brethren would be (what it always has been since) the collecting and comparing variations. And as everything was fluid, and there were no authoritative standards, there would be probably a good deal of compilation; improving one tradition by the addition of bits from others. The old Catechisms, as we have noted, contain evidences of such a process antedating our period by an unknown number of years. The next step would be rationalization. To some extent this would be a necessary consequence of the compilation work, the pieces of the mosaic would have to be made to fit. But the open field for such enterprise would be the Legend. According to the probabilities indicated by the scanty scraps of evidence, this reached our ritualists in a form very like a folktale; the master was dead — the master was alive; the word was lost — the word was found. As a ritual myth this fairy-story inconsequence was of no moment — it had the logic of its species; that is, it closely conformed to the ceremony of which it was the verbal counterpart and accompaniment. But our brethren of the "Age of Reason" knew nothing of ritual myths; they took the story literally at its face value. It was for them a history that had become corrupted by transmission through dark ages of ignorance and superstition; and they supposed, quite confidently, that to apply the standards of reason to it, and to prune out the inconsistencies, would restore it to its original form. But even so they were cautious and conservative, and though a good deal was added bit by bit as time went on, the actual changes made in the original deposit were always the least possible. A dead man could not come to life, but his body might be exhumed and reburied; being dead he could not transmit the word and so it was lost, and a substitute had to be provided, and so on.
But this elaboration apparently led to a situation where the dramatis personae of the tale came to be represented by the officers of the lodge; and in the newer version of the story two of these also had the word but were debarred by a technicality from communicating it. It might then come about, in that spirit of serious make-believe which as had so much to do with the development of Masonic ritual, that the word communicated to the Master at his installation was taken to be the real word that had been lost. It would have a semblance of fitness if it was a word that he could not communicate either to the candidate or to the Fellows (i.e., Masters) of the lodge. Perhaps the better way to express it would be to say that it was taken to represent the word supposed to be lost. Outside of the make-believe they probably knew then, as Masons take for granted now, that the substitute word is in fact and in truth the real master's word, whatever symbolism may be attached to the idea of substitution.
THE PAST MASTER AND THE ROYAL ARCH
This of course is pure hypothesis, a speculation about what might have happened. And if it did happen, it could ever have occupied the whole field or been more than a rapidly passing phase. But it affords a framework on which several fragments of fact may be hung in what seems to be an ordered relation with the whole, and which otherwise are hard to place. For instance, there is the remarkably close and intimate connection of the Installed or Past Master with the Royal Arch. And incidentally, it appears that the original Royal Arch, by a subdivision like that hypothetically suggested for the original first degree, gave birth later on to the different "excellent" masterships, and the Orders of Red Cross and Knight Templar. But there is a still closer and more significant connection between the Past Master and the Royal Arch. It is very possible that the tri-syllabic phrase which is the culminating secret of the latter grade is derived directly from that word which was taken out of the "points" of the original Fellow and made the significant word of the Installed Master. We can hardly say much about it here, at if those who have received both words will look in the right places, a series of intermediate forms may be found at lead from one to the other by easy and natural stages.
But while evolution was working upwards it was operative also in the other direction. Possibly even sooner. It would be felt almost at once that this system was ill-balanced, and unsatisfying. The climax, instead of coming at the third stage (as by all symbolical analogy it should), came second, while the third grade in comparison was an empty husk. This would give a strong impulsion to follow any line by which the balance could be adjusted and bring the climax into its fitting place. The expedient of a division of the first grade would accomplish this with the least possible disturbance. But how would the idea of division arise?
SOURCE OF THE IDEA OF DIVISION
There were several things that might have suggested it. There was (on the basis of our previous conclusions) a precedent in the separation of the amalgamated two degrees in those places where such amalgamation or telescoping had existed. The investigations of our hypothetical zealous ritualists would very soon discover this corruption and seek to remedy it. The Haughfoot and Dunblane resolutions forbidding entering and passing at the same sederunt, may be taken as the results of such attempts at reform. 
But the discovery that a single ceremony had been really the decadent amalgamation of two distinct rites, would create a receptive state of mind for any suggestion that there had been further telescoping. Here a possible, and even probable, misunderstanding of the relationship of Masters and Fellows, as well as of "Master Masons" and "Fellow Crafts" would come in. To the brethren of this period, largely or entirely divorced from all operative connection, and in any case living at a time when, in all trades and crafts, the masters or employers and their journeymen had come to be quite distinct classes, the original equivalence of "Fellows" and "Masters" would be obscured. It would appear, from their reading of the Old Charges, that there were properly three grades. They had separated one into two, but to complete the reform required a further division.
A line of demarcation would be at once apparent. There were two words held sacred in the Apprentice grade, as there had been two in the Fellow's also. One of the latter had been taken into the new Installed Master (or alternatively, was eventually to be so transferred — the sequence does not affect the argument vitally) and so these two Apprentice words would each form the nucleus of the ritual of a degree. And, as we have seen, the first form of the division was actually more nominal than real. In 1745 in France we find the candidate still being made a Fellow at once, under the designation of Apprentice-Fellow (Apprentif-Compagnon); and that literally described the process. The ceremony and the secrets were the same as for the old Apprentice. The novelty was all in the added name. The candidate was told that the first word belonged to Apprentices, the second to Fellow Crafts, and that he was an Apprentice-Fellow Craft. But naturally the first part of the appellation was dropped in time, and more differentiation grew up in the re-duplicated ritual until by a series of additions, constructed by analogy, the Fellow Craft Part became a full degree. Though even after this had come about the two were still customarily given at the same time, with no longer interval between them than was required for a withdrawal from the lodge by the candidate to allow its being opened in the higher grade. But eventually, the same feeling that had caused earlier separation between Apprentice and Master would lead to a real interval being demanded by the two separated, and now autonomous parts of the Apprentice ceremony.
SIMPLE EXPLANATION INADEQUATE
We grant willingly that this reconstruction is speculative in the highest degree, but in formulating it we have endeavored to arrange all the scattered and fragmentary facts in such a way as to link them all together. We are also perfectly ready to believe that other causes and motives may have been at work, and influenced the final result. Indeed we are inclined to put it more strongly, and say that for such a complex result there must have been other causes involved. No theory that supposed deliberate and conscious invention can, in our opinion, ever be accepted as adequate. The history of such an institution as the Masonic Fraternity is a process, analogous to that of a living organism, and it is impossible in the nature of things that any simple, clear-cut theory should cover the whole ground.
The time has now come to make some brief recapitulation of the results of our discussion. This falls into two parts. The first is the attempt to discover the actual structure of the Craft in regard to grades or degrees at the critical point of the transition, that is, the year 1717, or better, the period between 1717 and 1730; the second is the more risky enterprise of reconstructing the process by which the traditional structure developed into the system now existing.
In regard to the first of these correlated efforts the really fundamental evidence upon which we have to adjudicate is that of the remaining minutes and records of the old lodges whose existence antedated the critical period of change. We venture to think that we have conclusively demonstrated from these records that two degrees, in the sense in which we have defined the term, were in existence everywhere that definite evidence of this kind is found; providing, that is, that it first be admitted that there was something of an esoteric nature initiatory ceremonies and secret means of recognition.
This conclusion is reinforced both by the dubious evidence of the Old Catechisms on the one hand, and that of the respectable but obscure MS. Constitutions on the other. These last, so interpreted, carry the two degree system back several centuries, and thus lead to the inference that this system was not only ancient, but general.
A MEDIEVAL EVOLUTION POSSIBLE
It does not of course follow that there were always two degrees in the distant past. While it is purely a matter of speculation in the utter lack of evidence, it is possible that the two-degree system was the result of an early Medieval evolution. Originally there might have been one initiation ceremony, coming at the end of the stage of pupillage, when the Apprentice became a free craftsman and his own master, in the limited sense that any man was his own master in those days. Medieval society tended strongly to restrictions, quantity production was undreamed of, and not only undesired, but would have been vigorously suppressed had it been attempted. The effort was made, both consciously and unconsciously, to prevent over production of anything, goods or workmen. This economic and social tendency tended toward the extension of the time of training by the addition of a period during which the young workman was neither properly an apprentice nor yet fully free of his Craft. The extra period of seven years prescribed by the Schaw Statutes before the Entered Apprentice could become a Fellow of Craft might be taken to indicate something of this sort, and it might be plausible to assume that in thus increasing the transition stage between the status of pupil and that of master, the initiation that marked it traditionally was cut in two, and part given at the beginning and part at the end of the period. But this is really outside the limits of our subject even were it anything more than mere speculation. The point that we regard as established is that modern Freemasonry inherited two degrees from the Medieval institution.
Subsidiary inferences from the same evidence point to modifications due to changing social and economic conditions. The restrictions of the older order were breaking down. Competent workmen came into existence who did not belong to the old organization. In compensation, many entered it who were not craftsmen at all, except in an honorary sense, in germ a symbolic sense too, it may be, and this led very naturally to a breakdown of the distinctions between the two grades, first by the elimination of the interval between them and possibly in places, by a further stage of decay, to an amalgamation of the two ceremonies into one. But, as there was no central controlling mechanism there was no uniformity, and all stages existed simultaneously in different places. This secondary conclusion we regard as practically established, but not quite so definitely or certainly as the primary one that the two-degree system was the traditional inheritance of the Craft.
In reconstructing the stages of the evolution from a two to a three-degree arrangement we start from quite solid ground. By applying the general results of modern anthropological researches to the content of the degrees — which of course has been no more than baldly stated — for obvious reasons — we are led to the conclusion that the present third degree is as archaic and primitive in its constituent elements as the first, while a comparison of rituals reveals that the second is merely an echo or duplication of the first, or more correctly, was no more than this in its inception, while the special characteristics it now possesses bear the obvious marks of the century in which they were invented. From this, it seems to a very high degree probable that the original two grades became three by the division of the first one into two parts.
The obvious practical difficulties presented by this deduction from the contents of the degrees are apparent only, as we have shown. The fact that the new first and second degrees were always given at the same time until long after the third degree system had become general obviated the confusion that would otherwise have been created. But the psychological difficulties are another matter. To answer the question "Why" is always harder than to show "how."
Our suggested answer is no more than a guess controlled by the facts. Up to this point we believe the conclusions reached are the most probable interpretations of the existing evidence. From here on we enter the realm of hypothesis, and for this reason have done no more than barely sketch our tentative explanation.
One new point was developed, which is that we do not have, as has been generally supposed since Gould wrote, any higher limiting date for the beginning of the evolution, for Anderson's Book of Constitutions only shows that the Grand Lodge began with two degrees, and does not prove that no incipient third degree could have existed outside that organization. While very little can be built on a mere possibility, it does negate any argument founded on a presumed impossibility, which may be very important sometimes.
THE NATURE OF SOCIAL EVOLUTION
In the evolution of a social organism, as in a physical one, every part has some effect upon the whole. Some more, and some less, naturally. Outstanding leaders, whether known to history or not, have left their mark more deeply than the rank and file that is inevitable. Payne and Anderson, Dermott and Preston, Webb, Mackey and Pike, to mention a few whose names are known to most Masons, undoubtedly had much to do with modifying the Masonic system. But only as the body was prepared to assimilate their ideas only as they took the lead along the general line of evolution along which the Craft as a whole was moving. So that on the whole we can say that even the greatest Masonic leaders and teachers have had less effect, much less effect really, than they seem to have had. And in view of all this we believe there is still plenty of room for other students to re-examine the facts and bring out fresh combinations, and further motives and movements that played their part in the final result, which we have so far missed.
We suggest that, in the nature of things, it is very probable that there should have been abortive beginnings parallel to the one that finally held the field. Just as a number of seeds sprouting together aid each other in pushing out of the ground, while later one or two will crowd out the rest, which finally die of inanition, or are thinned out by the gardener, so every development in a social organism is preceded or accompanied by similar or parallel movements looking to the same end.
In the first place it is not only probable, but almost inevitable, that some Masons of a curious turn of mind, and especially those of antiquarian tastes, should have speculated about the origin of the mysterious institution of which they had become members. The by-laws of the old Lodge of York  provided for an hour "to talk about Masonry. " Compilation of variants, and suggested explanations that had met with approval, would gradually well the ceremonies. The cold hand of logic could seize hold of the impossibilities in the ritual Myth of the Master. The word, once said to have been found, would be explained is a substitute; and this would open up a prolific field of speculation as to what the real word was, and whence it came and what it meant. And this again would fit in with speculations as to the origin of the Fraternity and its real purpose. The skit attributed to Dean Swift  proves that even in 1724, thirteen years earlier than Ramsay's famous oration, the hypothesis of an origin in the Crusades and some connection with the chivalric orders of soldier monks, was sufficiently widespread to be almost public property, and then there are the vague rumors of some entanglement with the hopes and plans of the partizans of the Stuarts. All these things show at least an active interest in the origin and meaning of the institution, which would form a fertile seed bed for definite formulations in ritual guise, once the idea of new grades or degrees was presented. Stukeley's "Order of the Book" may have been such an attempt at explanation and interpretation in ritual form for all we know; though equally it may have had nothing to do with Masonry at all.
But two organized interpretations did emerge eventually and have persisted and flourished till now, the Royal Arch and Ecossaism, the so-called Scottish degrees. The connection between the secrets of the Installed Master and the Royal Arch could only be explained in a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in America, or in private in England to Royal Arch Masons who were also Installed Masters, so all that can be said here is that in our judgment it is a very close and intimate one, and that the one developed out of the other. But the Installation of the Master of a Lodge came into existence earlier than any other development is known to have done. This presents the possibility that within the Grand Lodge organization it may have given the idea and the impetus which led to the division of the first degree into two to make a tri-gradual system. Though it remains possible that the idea, and the first essays along this line, came from outside that circle, and leaked into it against the will of its directing spirits.
If it be objected that this is all very hazy and unsatisfactory we can only say that tentative and hypothetical answers are all that the evidence will yield. We cannot get a clear-cut answer out of the disjointed and fragmentary facts. Any such answer stands self-convicted of going beyond the evidence.
Finally we would point out that these suggestions are not necessarily inconsistent with such other hypotheses as have been offered. That of Bro. Vibert, for instance, is quite compatible with them — it is only offering a double motive for what was done. Even Gould's theory of misunderstanding can be fitted in, if it be somewhat enlarged, and not confined to a misunderstanding of the phraseology of the Book of Constitutions merely. Doubtless there are other possible motives and reasons and causes that could be discovered and shown to be complementary. We hope others may follow along and pick them out of relations and connections in the evidence that we have failed to observe.
Coming now to the "very end," as signallers put it, we shall be very grateful for any suggestions, criticisms or corrections. We are hoping to republish these articles in book form, and would like to make them as useful and reliable as possible, in the hope that others may build on the foundations we using the work of our predecessors have laid. The task has been much greater than was anticipated when it was begun, and we confess that it is not without relief that we now bring it to a close.
- The passage referred to is at page 72 of the first edition and for convenience we cite the particular sentences which imply Something of an esoteric nature.
And the Candidate [Master-elect] signifying his cordial submission thereto [i.e., the Charges of a Master], the Grand Master shall, by certain significant Ceremonies and ancient Usages install him, and present him with the constitutions, the Lodge Book, and the Instruments of his Office, not all together, but one after another; and after each of them the Grand Master, or his Deputy, shall rehearse the short and pithy Charge that is suitable to the thing presented.
There is no indication here of anything not open to the members of the lodge. It is only the fact that, at some later time, the Installation did develop into a degree (in our sense of the word) that leads us to see any Special Significance in the passage.↩
- The "telescoped" ritual could very easily have grown up. In an operative lodge the non-operative entrant was an honorary member. For him the rules were naturally relaxed. The Apprenticeship was omitted; the forms might or might not be gone through, but in any case he came at once to membership and fellowship. Now gradually the number of honorary members increases, till finally the operative membership is extinct. During this change a tradition has grown up of some form of combination of the two ceremonies. After a while, the more curious and interested brethren begin to consider the symbolism or the ritual, and they come to feel that to omit apprenticeship has led to a loss of significance. They perhaps find out that in some lodges (possibly still in part operative) there are two distinct ceremonies, and they begin to urge a return to the old ways, as they understand them. But the old ways have suffered a "sea change." The apprenticeship as restored is purely Symbolical, and while the brethren of Haughfoot postulated the interval of a year, Dunblane was satisfied (as most lodges since) with simply a second meeting. ↩
- Gould. Hist. vol. iii, p. 159, Rule 13. Mackey was rather scornful of this rule, but in how many lodges in his day (there is little need to ask how many now) was any time set aside regularly to "talk Masonry?" See Mackey, Hist., vol. iv, page 1134, note 3. ↩
- Chetwode Crawley in Sadler's Masonic Reprints and Historical Revelations (1898), page 375 of the reproduction. Also Lepper and Crossle, History on the Grand Lodge of Ireland, page 457. ↩
* * *
AMERICAN ARMY LODGES IN THE WORLD WAR
Saxonia Lodge No. 1, "Somewhere at Sea"
Bro. Charles F. Irwin, Associate Editor
PROPERLY speaking, this was not a Lodge and perhaps ought not to be granted a place among those which I have described heretofore in this series of histories. But nevertheless in order to cover as completely as possible the period of the World War with the record of the Craft with regard to organized fellowship, I feel that I should present to our readers the story.
By recalling the periods of the entrance into the War of America, we must fasten upon the date of April 6, 1917. From this date all our American interests in the War officially begin. By this point we are able to measure the promptness with which various elements with in our American Masonry responded by the gathering together of draftsmen for mutual fellowship.
Among the very first contingents of the military forces to be ordered to overseas duty were the 18th Engineers, 17th Engineers, numbers of Casuals, journeying to Europe for future assignments, newspaper men, and the Masons of the ships crew. I have several very interesting stories connected with this occasion.
Saxonia Lodge was in reality an evening's social fellowship on the part of Freemasons traveling on the Cunard Liner Saxonia during the month of August in 1917. With the close of the evening's entertainment the "Lodge" ceased to exist and became most pleasant memory. But within its short career it demonstrates the elements of fellowship which later on sprang into existence throughout the A.E.F.
The story comes to us from two sources. From an article which appeared in some Masonic periodical, the name of which was unfortunately not attached to the page in my files. I regret exceedingly my inability to give due and public credit to this paper. Nor is the name of the author given. It is a fragment cast up upon the shore out of the mass of material being slowly rescued for the Masonic History of the great struggle. The second is contained in a letter written to me by my good friend and Brother, Alsa C. Howard, late of the regular army, and a most indefatigable Masonic student and worker. His manuscripts which he alas so generously submitted to me through the years contain a great mass of incidents of especial interest to Masonic students, for Bro. Howard journeyed around the world with the Army, and turned every opportunity that presented itself to make Masonic contacts to full account.
I might say that in addition to these two accounts, another very close and intimate friend presented me some years ago with one of the Menu cards used on the occasion of the Saxonia Lodge Incident. He was a Chaplain in the service, and it fell into his hands years ago. I refer to Dr. W. A. Atkinson, of Rochester, Penna. Unfortunately two pages are missing, those which contained the menu on the occasion, and gave the story of the incident. The story has been recovered but the menu unfortunately is lost. Being a British Liner I have no doubt that the refreshments were in line with the liberal characteristics of that people.
The story of the Saxonia Lodge therefore is pieced together from the sources that are at hand.
The first is entitled "A Lodge of Inherent Right." I quote:
In the pages of the American Mason (Philadelphia), the following relation is given which is of unusual interest in more than one particular. Especially is the narrative notable as showing that a body of Masons, thus thrown together, re-assumed an inherent right delegated to Grand Lodges under ordinary circumstances, and constituted themselves into an "Occasional Lodge" as was the custom of our Masonic forbears.
The Nineteenth Engineers, Railway, was recruited largely from among the employees of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and in company with the Eighteenth Engineers, Railway, from the Pacific Coast, sailed from New York on August 9, 1917. The big Cunard Liner "Saxonia," then used as a troopship by the English authorities, on which we were sailing put in at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and there joined the convoy which was being formed. Quite a number of passengers, both civilian and military, were on board other than the two regiments mentioned.
A few days out from Halifax the present writer had occasion to be discussing Masonic matters with Brother William H. Ingram, Secretary of Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343, Paris, France. It was suggested that as a large number of those on board were wearing Masonic emblems it would be a very appropriate matter to hold a meeting of all Masons on board for the purpose of discussing Masonic matters in general. The idea was deemed quite practicable, so steps were immediately taken to carry it into execution. A number of the ship's officers were found to be Masons, which facilitated matters very much. Suitable space and cooperation were provided.
Brother Howard Clarke, Major, M.C., and myself had sat in Lodge together, as had Brother Clarke and Brother William H Nelson, Captain, Eighteenth Engineers, Railway. With that trio acting as an examining committee all the members were tried and examined according to Masonic standards, and the evening of August 19, 1917, selected as the date for the meeting. The aft smoking room had been well prepared for the occasion and well in advance of 8 P.M., the hour set for the opening, all were present.
The authority for this meeting was that old Masonic regulation that permit three Past Masters, when assembled, to hold Masonic communication. Brother L. A. Nutter, P.M., Gate City Lodge No. 522, Kansas City, Mo.; Brother E. C. Boddy, P.M., Corinthian Temple No. 805, Rochester, N.Y.; and myself, a Grand Lodge official, believed we were well within our prerogatives in holding this meeting. Among those present the following members of the Nineteenth Engineers were recognized:
- Clarke, Leon L., Colfax No. 378, Lowell, Indiana.
- Cline, Thomas S., St. Johns No. 2, Middletown, Conn.
- Harrell, C. H., Manassas No. 182, Manassas, Virginia.
- Holm, John L., Lansing No. 33 Lansing, Michigan.
- Joseph T. Cedwyn, Peter Williamson No. 323, Seranton, PA.
- Kline, Ben. W., Logan Lodge No. 490, Altoona, PA.
- Kauffman, Reginald Wright, Mt. Horeb Lodge No. 528, Phila., Pa.
- Kraft, R. W., Golden Rule Lodge No. 159, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- Mallam, T. S., Logan Lodge No. 490, Altoona, Penna.
- Miehe, Wm. J., Naphtali Lodge No. 25, St. Louis, Mo.
- Medley, John E., St. Johns Lodge No. 115, Phila., Pa.
- Murbaek, C. F., Superior Lodge No. 179, West Unity, Ohio.
- MacColman, D., Concordia Lodge No. 13, Balto, Md.
- Pettry, B. L., Odell Lodge No. 115, Madison, W. Va.
- Wells, Frank H., Mt. Pickering Lodge No. 446, Chester Springs, Pa.
- Welch, William, Mercer Lodge No. 50, Trenton, N. J.
- Wightman, Frank A., Mountain Lodge No. 28, Altoona, pa.
and many others whom the writer did not happen to get the names and addresses of. The number assembled was just about the most enthusiastic crowd that the writer ever met with.
The following officers were elected and installed:
- W.M. — I. A. Nutter, Gate City Lodge No. 322, Kansas City, Mo.
- S.W. — Alsa C. Howard, Hancock Lodge No. 311, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
- J.W. — Wm. H. Nelson, Green Lake Lodge No. 149, Seattle, Wash.
- Sec. — Wm. H. Ingram, Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343, Paris, France.
The name "Saxonia" was proposed and unanimously selected for the name of the Lodge, in honor of the ship on which we were at the time sailing. After opening of the Lodge a number of speeches were made by various brethren present upon Masonic topics. They were well received. A novel feature of the meeting, and commented upon at that time, was the fact that all present were wearing life belts fastened around them and automatic pistols in their belts.
My second informant, Bro. Howard, has the following story to tell of this unique event.
"SAXONIA," LODGE NO. 1. A.F. & A.M.
"Whenever indulging in Masonic reminiscences the present writer always recalls with pride and much gratification the formation and organization of Saxonia Lodge No. 1, A. F. & A. M. This occurred on board the big Cunard liner 'Saxonia' when in the danger zone, on August 19, 1917. Saxonia Lodge No. 1 was formed as the result of a Conversation between Bro. Wm. H. Ingram, of Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343, Paris, France, and the present writer, one afternoon while in mid-ocean.
"The suggestion of a meeting of all the Masons on board for the purpose of cementing the ties of brotherly love and for discussing matters of Masonic interest was warmly received, and steps were immediately taken to bring the thought to fruition.
"Brothers Howard Clarke of Corregidor No. 3, Manila, P.I., Wm. H. Nelson, of Green Lake Lodge No. 149, Seattle, Wash., and myself, had sat in Lodge and could thus vouch for each other. With this nucleus to start with the members of the Craft on board were strictly tried and duly examined according to Masonic customs and usages.
"The after smoking room, through courtesy of the ship officials, was prepared and tendered us for the meeting; accordingly at 8.30 P.M., August 19, 1917, 56 earnest brethren of the Craft from among the officers of 17th and 18th engineers, U.S. Army, and the ship officers duly assembled therein for this auspicious event. After being called to order the following officers were elected and installed:
- W.M. — L. A. Nutter, P. M., Gate City Lodge No. 522, Kansas City, Mo.
- S.W. — Alsa C. Howard, P. G. C., Hancock Lodge No. 311, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.
- J.W. — Wm. H. Nelson, Green Lake Lodge No. 149, Seattle, Wash.
- Sec. — Wm. H. Ingram, Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343, Paris, France.
- Trs — E. H. Taylor, West Cheshire No. 2977, Birkenhead, England.
- M.C. — A. H. Rostron, Minerva No. 2433, Birkenhead, England.
- Chpl. — Howard Clarke, Corregidor No. 3, Manila, P. I.
- Mshl. — Geo. M. Rice, Arcana No. 76, Seattle, Wash.
- S.D. — Wm. J. Miehe, Naphtali No. 25, St. Louis, Mo.
- J.D. — G. A. Kendrick, King Solomon No. 60, Auburn, Wash.
- S.S. — Wm. Ballyn, St. John No. 673, Liverpool, England.
- J.S. — C. A. Pauson, Fidelity No. 120, San Francisco, Calif.
- I.G. — F. Murback, Superior No. 179, West Unity, Ohio.
- Tyl. — T. H. Darrow, Lakeside No. 42, Sand Point, Idaho.
- Org. — Demon H. Evans, Green Lake No. 149, Seattle, Wash.
"The Lodge was then opened in due and ancient form.
"After opening Lodge, by way of introduction, each member arose, in turn, and gave his name, residence and home Lodge. It was interesting as well as surprising to meet with members of the Craft from such widely separated places as Paris, France, and Manila, P.I.; and from Fort William, Canada, to Needles, in southern California.
"Several of the brethren then gave impromptu remarks upon matters of Masonic interest. No degrees were conferred. One interesting feature of this meeting, unique in Masonic history, too, was the fact that all members present were wearing cork life preservers and had automatic pistols attached to their belts. This fact, to those present was but an illustration of that 'being duly and truly prepared'; it may be said also to show that even the dangers of a German submarine could not prevent the assembling of loyal Masons.
"The formation of this dodge also affords an excellent illustration of the freedom to travel in foreign countries as known in Freemasonry, and that in accordance with the teachings of the Craft, its members in times of trial and trouble never forget the lessons of the early degrees as exemplified by the legend of the widow's son.
"Among those present Bros. A. H. Rostron, of Minerva No. 2433, Birkenhead, England, who won Congressional recognition by the manner in which he drove his ship through ice floes to the rescue of the 'Titanic' survivors; and Bro. Reginald Wright Kauffman, Mt. Horeb Lodge No. 528, Philadelphia, Pa.; Bro. Hugh Wiley, Fort William Lodge No. 415, Fort William, Canada; the latter two being well-known magazine writers.
"Saxonia Lodge No. 1 was held under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of England, the Saxonia being a British ship. There is a provision in the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of England, so I understand, which provides that three Past Masters, or Grand Lodge officials, may meet and after strict trial and due examination, hold masonic communication. This is also in accordance with masonic custom from time immemorial. Therefore Bro. L. A. Nutter, P.M. of Gate City Lodge No. 522, Kansas City, Mo.; and Bro. E. C. Boddy, P.M., Corinthian Temple 805, Rochester, N.Y.; and myself were acting well within our rights and privileges."
From the minutes of this interesting meeting aboard the Saxonia, I glean the following:
SAXONIA LODGE NO. 1
Not forgetful of that great Masonic virtue Charity, a collection of $56.00 was taken up, which was turned over to Brother Rostron, to forward through his own Lodge to the Grand Lodge of England for use of same in charity work. A pretty gavel and plate was made by the ship's carpenter which was used in the Lodge meeting, and afterwards presented by the Lodge officials as a committee to Bro. Rostron at his station on the bridge of the ship. Attractive roster cards, as well as membership cards, had been prepared by Bro. Warm Ballyn, of St. Johns No. 673, Liverpool, England, Chief Steward of the Saxonia, and were his contribution to the enjoyment of the meeting. It is not known to the writer if there has ever before been a similar use of the Cunard Stamship Company's Menu Cards.
There being no further business the Lodge was closed in due and ancient form. Thus the organization and disbanding of Saxonia Lodge No. 1 came and went. It has passed into history, leaving a lasting and deep impression in the memory, of at least one of its members which as stated before, is recalled with great personal gratification.
Thus the historians whom we have come upon. There remains the Menu Card referred to above, a cut of which appears with this article. The face of the Menu is in colors presenting a fine view of the Chamber of Deputies in Paris, France. The name of the Lodge follows, together with the list of officers. The back of the card presents in fine colors a plaque displaying the letters "R F." that is, the Republic of France, together with the words Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite. The whole being topped by the words "Cunard Line." Upon the inside faces of these backs is found a Roster of the Masons who were present at the meeting, and a brief invitation in the following words:
"SAXONIA" LODGE NO. 1
Of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons
Somewhere at Sea,
18th August, 1917.
Dear Sir and Brother:
You are respectfully requested to attend the Masonic Duties of this lodge on Sunday, the nineteenth day of August, 1917, at 8.30 P. M. prompt.
L. A. Netter, W.M.,
Wm. H. Ingram, Secry.
One more word in connection with this history. Within recent time I have met with one of the former soldiers of the 18th Engineers, and he informs me that it was current rumor on the Saxonia that only commissioned officers were in attendance at this event on the Saxonia. Which if it should prove to be true would detract from the full value this gathering had, as a meeting of the Masons upon board the ship. In this respect it falls far short of the historic meeting on the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico the year before at which ALL MASONS met upon the level and parted on the square.
In this story you have therefore one of those rare Masonic events when a group of like minded Craftsmen, finding themselves in close proximity, find a way whereby they may pass a few hours in those scenes which delight the Masonic heart wherever it may beat.
Amid the war's alarms and its terrors Masons manage to find a period wherein they may lay aside for the moment their military cares and yield themselves to the social fellowship of the Fraternity. And the incident merits being recorded among the many Masonic stories that we are endeavoring to recover and to perpetuate in this series of papers.
LIBERATION LODGE NO. 8, BORDEAUX, FRANCE.
I SHOULD hasten at once to correct any erroneous impression the above heading might give to the casual reader. This Lodge was not an American Lodge. The sole reason for giving its record in this series is because of the prominent place American Masons in the A.E.F. had in bringing it into life. My purpose is to indicate to the Masonic Student that there are fields in Masonic Research that transcend the strict lines of our American System and wherever these lines cut across the established life of our own system it is valuable for the student to have this material at hand.
In my wide survey of the Masonic situation during the World War it has been my privilege to come in contact with American Masons of all types of temperament and experience. Among this number very shortly after the war was my introduction by way of correspondence with Brother Alsa C. Howard at that time in the regular service. Bro. Howard at the entrance of our country into the war was a Sergeant in the U. S. Army. He was commissioned and at first held the rank of Lieutenant. He was promoted, in France, to the grade of Captain, then Major. Upon the return of our country to peace time conditions, he returned to his rank of Sergeant and my last intercourse with him, he was still holding that rank.
As an old Army man Bro. Howard was able to visit all parts of the world and always took occasion to visit Masonic bodies. For that reason he has a world-wide friendship with Masons of many lands.
While stationed in Bordeaux during the war, Bro. Howard became associated with a number of British Masons who were in that city in civil, diplomatic and military service for their King and Empire. Bordeaux has been closely associated in history with the British Empire and has always been regarded as a point of unusual value to the interests of the Island Government. The finest reciprocal friendship exists between the native French population and these Englishmen.
Bordeaux moreover was one of the first points in France to come under the survey of our government when it was definitely decided that America should enter the war. Its fine harbor and facilities for the erection of huge warehouses, made it inevitably one of the great ports of entry for American men, munitions and supplies. In fact during 1918-19 the great system of depots that sprang into existence at Bordeaux and the vast harbor improvements speak a brilliant word for the genius of the American engineer.
Early in the fall of 1917 American troops began to appear in Bordeaux. The 15th Engineers, a group from Pittsburgh, were the first on the ground. These were shortly relieved by detachments from the 18th Engineers and others, until at last a stream of American troops began to enter the port. Thousands became attached to the permanent personnel of the city and the adjacent camps.
Now among these thousands of Americans swarming in and about Bordeaux were large numbers of Craftsmen and inevitably they drew together until Masonic Clubs flourished in camps, single organizations, the city itself, and in 1919 in the University of Bordeaux.
The contact with the French and the British Masons came in due time and many an evening was spent in fraternal and social fellowship.
My material at hand, to deal with this situation and to tell to my readers the story of Liberation Lodge, is quite abundant and comes from all three sources, American, British and French. For general purposes I shall confine myself however to correspondence with Brother Howard and with Brother W. Hennessey Cook, an official of Lloyds, now located in Paris. Bro. Cook was the representative of the great British Company in Bordeaux during the war and was very prominent in fraternal activities. For purposes of continuity I shall reserve much of his material to the closing words on Liberation Lodge, for he has furnished me with a pen sketch of the post-war activities of this Lodge.
To understand the situation we must go back to the year 1910. At that time a large and scattered group of British Masons sojourning in France, started a movement whereby they might have Lodges in which to satisfy their craving for Masonic intercourse. As is well known the regular French Masonic organizations were not recognized by the English Grand Lodge. Consequently these scattered groups of British Masons conceived the idea of having a system in France that should be regarded by their own Grand Lodge as regular.
From a pamphlet they issued some years ago over the signature of the Grand Secretary, Bro. G. L. Jollois, they display the various steps by which they came into existence. The story is long and cannot all be given here. Suffice it to say that their organization is now known as La Grande Loge Nationole Independente et Reguliere pour la France et yes Colonies Francais, i.e., The National Grand Lodge of France. They have received recognition from the Grand Lodge of England and from a number of our own American Grand Lodges.
Were I to wander from my role as historian, and enter the field as an interpreter of Masonic movements, I might indicate where my sympathies lie with regard to this system of Lodges in France. I might also be compelled to call the attention of the Masonic world to some of the strange idiosyncracies of Grand Lodges who have recognized this system in France, who are yet at the same time supersensitive with regard to "Invasion of Territory," "courtesy toward other Grand Lodges," and such "Landmarks." But the Masonic world is full of inconsistencies and so it does not become me to enter the controversial ranks. Only this to say, that very frankly, the origin of this system of Masonry in France is plainly, according to our standards, an invasion of the territory of another nation. The results however of this new system are happy so far as the nonFrench residents in France are concerned. But I cannot leave this trail without remarking that the desire that animates the Italian Masons residing in Pennsylvania and the non-English group in New York, and the alien group in Louisiana or Mississippi, is the same as the identical feeling that our British friends had in France when they originated the "National" Grand Lodge of France, which, when one thinks of it, is an absurdly inappropriate title. I am not placing any strictures upon this group nor indicating any personal bias one way or the other. But I am laying a background for the reader to study as this story unfolds.
Now to facts. The National Grand Lodge was instituted in November, 1913. It came through certain French Masonic groups that had agreements and understandings running back many years, together with this group of very active and fine British sojourners. By forming a concordat with the various elements involved they emerged as a Grand Lodge system. So far as I can untangle the story a few scattered French Lodges, some of which were in Paris, were taken into the system and practically reorganized with British Masons either in office or behind the whole movement. Among these Lodges were the following: "Brittanic Lodge," Paris; "Jeanne d'Arc Lodge," Rouen; "Le Centre des Amis," Paris; and "Loge Anglaise" No. 204, Bordeaux (English Register).
This Lodge was founded in 1732, figuring as No. 363 on that Register, in 1766. Its number was changed to 298 in 1770; in 1780 to 240; in 1792, to the number 204. In 1803 it passed under the government of the Grand Orient of France, and so remained until 1913, when it once more returned to the Register of the Grand Lodge of England. These things should be kept in mind in order that the American Masonic Student may be guided in his research into the French problem.
White in France during the war I noticed in the several newspapers printed for English-speaking soldiers notices of certain Masonic functions and events that puzzled me. Such for example as one that referred to the Lodge Jeanne d'Arc" at Rouen. In this notice the Installation of Officers for the ensuing year (1919) were given in full, which is a thing that is never done with our French Brethren on account of the persecution they meet constantly from the Roman Catholic Church. The entire roster of names proved to be military men in the British Army.
In later years the movement has been gradually to turn the Lodges over to native French Masons, who are therefore producing a distinctive French Grand Lodge. But during the war it must be borne in mind that the British practically offered and dominated the few Lodges in the "National" Grand Lodge system.
And this brings us to Bordeaux, and to Liberation Lodge No. 8.
I shall now quote Bro. Howard's story, that his view of the situation may be recorded, he being one of the foremost Americans concerned in the incident. He says:
"The 18th Engineers, Railway, U. S. Army, with whom I was serving, immediately after arrival overseas, was sent to Bordeaux, France, for duty, in preparation of existing dock facilities and the construction of new docks, wharves, and storage space. This was in August, 1917. I thought that a club where Masonic matters might be discussed, ties renewed, new friendships formed, conferences held, oversight of sick and needy Brothers arranged, was practical.
"I discussed this with a number of Masons in my regiment, and as a result searched for a suitable location for a club center. I visited the "English Club" composed of resident Englishmen, and made inquiry regarding a suitable location. Some of them became very interested in our idea, and introduced me to Bro. Wm. Hennessey Cook, P.M. of Canada Lodge No. 3527, London, England. He entered heartily into our project. He however broached the situation with regard to International Freemasonry, and believed that instead of our forming a Masonic Club, that if a Lodge were instituted composed of the Masons of the three great nations, France, Great Britain and America, it would be a larger and finer achievement.
"I agreed to the suggestion and we consulted together how best to place the situation before the three groups of Masons. Bro. Cook carried the suggestion to the Grand Lodge of England; to the National Grand Lodge of France; and to the Grand Lodge of Aquitaine at Bordeaux. I tried by correspondence to put the matter in a clear light before the Grand Lodges of America."
Howard here discovered what my readers know he would encounter. He mentions a meeting of Grand Masters where the matter must have been brought to their attention and of course there was no agreement on the suggestion. Thus the American situation was an unbroken refusal even to discuss the proposition.
In the meanwhile, to return to Howard's recital:
"Our plan met with a hearty approval by the Grand Lodge of England, and the National Grand Lodge of France. Some American Grand Lodges interposed no clear objections, such as New York, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, and perhaps some others; I do not recall. Others, like California and Oregon, viewed our desire with disfavor.
"With the English and French Grand Lodge ("National" Grand Lodge of France) authorities in agreement as to the formation of a new Lodge, an application was made in due form to the Grande Loge Nationale for a charter, which was granted and a date set by that body for the consecration and installation ceremonies. The following named Master Masons, in a meeting regularly called for the purpose on the evening of September 17, 1917, in due form petitioned the Grand Lodge (of France) For a charter for the new Lodge, named Liberation No. 8. The Roster of those present and whose names were attached to this petition were as follows:
- William Hennessey Cook, Canada No. 3527, London, England.
- Alsa Chester Howard, Hancock No. 311, Est. Leavenworth, Kan.
- Frank Ralph Pearson, Charter Rock No. 410, Berkeley, Calif.
- Theodore Gustave Lechten, California No. 1, San Francisco, Calif.
- Ralph Bushnell Aitken, Roseville No. 432, Roseville, Calif.
- Austin G. Marsh, Ely No. 29, Ely, Nevada.
- John Howe, Canby No. 147, Canby, Minnesota.
- John William Clay, Hollenbeek No. 319, Los Angeles, Calif.
- Donald McVicar Wallace, Temescal No. 314, Corona, Calif.
- Willie Willard Graham, Verde No. 14, Jerome, Ariz.
- Benjamin Taylor, Francis Drake No. 396, San Francisco, Calif.
- Herbert Preston, Trinity College No. 1765, London, England.
- Irwin Harold Reimers, Yosemite No. 99, Mereed, Calif.
- Alfred E. Middlehurst, Reno No. 140, Hutchinson, Kan.
The following named Master Masons were chosen to occupy the several stations in the new Lodge, as follows:
- William Hennessey Cook — Worshipful Master.
- Alsa C. Howard — Senior Warden.
- Frank Ralph Pearson — Junior Warden.
The elections were unanimous and without contest. Election was by acclaim."
A pause here by us to see where we are. We find that there are 14 names attached to the petition. And of these names 12 are members of American Lodges. And of the three leading officers elected to the three leading stations, two bear the names of American Lodges. Hence our inclusion of this event among the American Series of Field Lodges during the War. Howard continues:
"Lodge Anglaise No. 204, Bordeaux, France, stood sponsor for us before the world in the founding of the new Lodge, mentioned from hereon as Liberation No. 8.
"On the afternoon of December 8, 1917, members of the Grand Lodge of England, the Grand National Lodge of France, and of the Grand Lodge Provincial d'Aquitaine, and a large number of brothers, met at the beautiful Salle Franklyn, Bordeaux, and consecrated Liberation No. 8 in due and ancient form. The consecration ceremonies were begun by M. Wor. G. M. F. Eigau, Provincial Grand Lodge d'Aquitaine, who opened his Grand Lodge, announced the object of the meeting, officially received the Grand Lodge Nationale, and then vacated all Stations to the Grand Lodge Nationale for the further conducting of the ceremonies.
"Wor. Bro. Edmund Heish, Grand Junior Warden, Grande Loge Nationale, acting for the Grand Master, installed Bro. Wm. Hennessey Crook as W.M.; Very Wor. Douglas Magnus Nicholson, Grand Treas., installed the present writes [Bro. Howard] as Senior Warden; and Wor. Bro. F. Eigau, installed Bro. Frank R. Pearson as Junior Warden. This was the most impressive installation ceremony that the writer has ever witnessed, and no doubt the other members present were as deeply impressed with the stately dignity and the solemnity which characterized the ceremonies throughout.
"The other Stations were filled at a subsequent meeting. The consecrating ceremonies were then concluded in due and ancient form and then the newly constituted Lodge closed. After the closing of the Lodge all present were invited to a banquet such as only the best French chefs can prepare. Speeches, toasts, and a rapid interchange of wit marked this most auspicious occasion at the hour of "high Twelve" (I am sure Bro. Howard slips here, for it must have been "low Twelve." However after that splendid banquet we forgive him, I am sure!) the Lodge was closed.
"There were present Masons from eight or nine countries."
The Lodge seems to have flourished under this set of officers. They did considerable work. Quite a number of Americans were initiated, passed and raised, most of them, however, only to discover upon their return to America that their several Grand Lodges refused to recognize their regularity. In some cases known to me these were healed by proceeding along the same road that other brothers have traveled as though they had never been made Masons before.
Bro. Howard was transferred to other parts of France in the course of time and lost personal touch with the Lodge. With the exception of the following note from him, his story ends:
"Some time after the consecration of liberation No. 8, Bro. Cook informs me that the Lodge was going strong. It had at that time some 12 candidates waiting for the degrees. Fourteen applications for the degrees were also waiting." Howard then proceeds: "At the next meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge I was elected Grand Master of Ceremonies. Later I was presented with a very beautiful 'Founder's Badge,' or jewel."
Turning now to Bro. Cook, former Master of Liberation No. 8, I quote from a letter dated Nov. 26. 1928, in which he says:
All I can do today is to give you a very few brief words on developments which have taken place in Liberation Lodge No. 8, Bordeaux, since 1918. Obviously on the termination of the war, all those Brethren who had joined and who had returned to the U.S.A., ceased to be paying members, and for a time the funds of the Lodge were hardly sufficient to carry on the work, and by the most careful economies, the W.M., Brother Preston, has succeeded in carrying on the Lodge through troubled waters.
At that time the Lodge numbered only about 22 paying members, whereas, during the war it had a roll call of about 60. Since then members have steadily increased and today they number about 38 paying members.
The various Masters who succeeded one another have shown considerable aptitude and even their good example has served to emulate interest from Norwegian and Danish Brethren.
At the beginning of this year (1928) there was a demand made to the Grand Lodge (National Grand Lodge of France), to enable the Lodge Burdigala to work with a French translation of the English Ritual. I understand that quite a large number of the members of Liberation are also members of the Burdigala and assist in the propagation of masonry in the French language.
In any case I can assure you that the Masonic keenness is fully developed by the two Lodges in Bordeaux and that they frequently send representatives to Paris to take part in other Masonic meetings which are taking place there.
I have but a few more mentions made of this Lodge in paragraphs from various Masonic friends scattered throughout our land. In a letter dated December 12, 1928, my friend, Bro. William C. Prime of New York, says:
William Hennessey Cook, who was Master of Liberation No. 8 in 1918, was then as I remember it, Manager of Lloyd's Bank, Bordeaux Branch, but was afterwards transferred to Paris, where he is now either a manager or submanager of the head office of Lloyd's Bank in Paris. Liberation Lodge was organized under the stress of the war by the influence among others of Americans temporarily located in or near Bordeaux, with Britons in charge, naturally. From my point of view it was and is entirely regular, as one of the other Lodges of the Grande Loge Nationale which was founded in 1913 under the auspices or wing so to call it, of the Grand Lodge of England, and with its kindly influence. It was a weak group and is not strong now, although no French Jurisdictions are numerically strong as compared with American. It organized a Lodge in Rouen, one in Nice, and several elsewhere, which I think dropped after the War, because the English-speaking men who formed them, mostly service men, British or Irish, moved out. I cannot tell you just now how many (American) jurisdictions recognized them. The Grand Lodge of New York has done so within the past year. I know that Iowa and New Jersey and several others did during the War and so far as I know have not withdrawn recognition.
In a paragraph from the Temple Bulletin (a publication I much regret to have no further designation to identify), entitled "Blue Lodges of the Trenches," I find the following:
Among the many beautiful evidences of Masonic Brotherhood in the trenches in western France, the founding of a new English speaking Lodge, by American soldiers of the A.E.F., is of significant interest. "Liberation" Lodge No. 8, was consecrated by French and English officers of the Grand Loge Nationale, Independent and Regular for France and the French Colonies. During the installation the Worshipful Master wore an apron used two hundred years ago in the Lodge where the ceremony took place, probably the oldest Masonic apron in existence.
William Hennessey Cook was installed as W.M., and Lieut. A. C. Howard, who had been instrumental in organizing the Lodge, became S.W.
At the meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge, F. & A. M., held February 2, the following Grand Officers were elected in the Temple recently acquired in the city of Bordeaux: G.M. Bro. Eigau; Deputy G.M., Bro. Gendron; G.S.W., Bro. Cook; G.J.W., Bro. Maura; G.M.C., Bro. Howard; G. Chapl., Bro Perche; G. Org., Bro. Preston.
It will be of keen interest to the Craft to learn that the U.S.A. is represented in the Grand Lodge by Brothers Cook, Howard and Preston, who are also officers in the new English-speaking Lodge "Liberation No. 8."
In the Report of the Overseas Masonic Mission page 175 I have come upon this note:
Returning to Bordeaux with Brother Collins (April 6) from Camp de Souge, he (Prime) attended a session of Liberation Lodge at the Masonic Temple, occupied by the Loge Anglaise, founded in 1734 (1732) under dispensation of the Grand Lodge of England, and at various times thereafter, holding obedience to the Grand Orient, or the Grand Lodge of England, but now holding obedience to the Grand Loge Nationale, and being one of the constituent lodges which formed that grand body in the autumn of 1913.
He took part in conferring the Masonic degrees on 4 members of the A.E.F. in the afternoon, and on 8 in the evening. He also conferred with Capt. John D. Hatch and associates regarding the establishment of a Masonic Club in Bordeaux, which was shortly after established with the zealous aid and support of Brother Collins.
One other clipping is in my files. It is a part of a letter written to Bro. James G. Frey, editor of the American Tyler Keystone of Battle Creek, Michigan, by Bro. Jesse R. Aver of Michigan:
I moved from Is-sur-Tille to Bordeaux July 1, 1918, I found no Masonic Club and few Masons, at first, but a little investigation developed a Lodge under the Grand Lodge of England, meeting in an abandoned old church down town. The Master was agent for a British bank and some barriers had to be broken down before I could talk to him privately. But once identified and satisfied I had no ax to grind, the traditional British reserve thawed and several American Brothers had the pleasure of seeing the British work.
From this group of testimonies gathered through the years from such diverse and scattered sources I have tried to reconstruct for you this story. The Lodge was heavily officered by American Masons from its origin to their transfer out of the Bordeaux area and by their efforts they were instrumental in aiding to a very large degree the launching of this Lodge, which has ever since been at work under the Constitution of the National Grand Lodge of France. It is the sole example thus far discovered by me in my wartime researches where American Masons in the A. E. F. or elsewhere participated personally and actively in the formation of a Lodge holding allegiance to a Grand Lodge not American.
As to the regularity of the process from an American standpoint there can be little doubt but that these brethren transgressed seriously their American Grand Lodge Laws. From a British and French standpoint there was no irregularity, as is attested by the recognition of the lodge by both the Grand Lodge of England and the National Grand Lodge of France. It is further strengthened by the later recognition extended by the several American Grand Lodges as already mentioned.
The record is written and the story thus brought to all Masonic students interested in knowing and preserving the movements of the Craft in times of war.
Special appreciation is herewith extended to those brethren who made possible the collection and elaboration of the portions of the story as given.
* * *
IF PYTHAGORAS RETURNED
Bro. Cyrus Field Willard, California
IF this celebrated hierophant, "our ancient brother, Pythagoras," should reappear in our time, he might have need to put his great and powerful intelligence in touch with modern scientific learning.
So a French writer, Armand Bedarride, declares in an article he has written for the high-class French Masonic magazine, Le Symbolisme, edited at Paris by Oswald Wirth. This article is entitled "The Letter G — What Pythagoras Would See."
As the modern discoveries concerning electrons are taking us back to the old Hermetic philosophy: "As above, so below" we cannot agree that Pythagoras did not know what we know now, only perhaps using different terminology yet the article contains such interesting Speculations and is so suggestive of other thoughts, that I have deemed it best to offer readers of THE BUILDER some of the thoughts contained herein although it is too long to give in full.
Bedarride thinks that Pythagoras would abandon many of the hypotheses that were accepted in his time, as a consequence of the insufficiency of knowledge of the phenomena of nature. He thinks Pythagoras would learn from our mathematics, our physics and our astronomy, and would be amazed at our chemistry. But after that he could unhesitatingly assert that the innumerable operations of the universe, better scrutinized now, continue to be written in abstract formulas only more learned and more numerous, that the contemporary mind finds it more and more the case that nature "geometrizes" and its point of view will be enlarged, in place of being struck with decay.
Nothing enters into the domain of geometry and of arithmetic more than the exterior forms and the internal arrangements of crystals, each substance exhibiting certain determinate dispositions. It is also true that certain of them present several exceptional properties. If we do not yet know the cause of them, we may be certain that the cause some day will appear, marking the outlines of a new law or of an unexpected discovery.
"In passing let us salute the cube," he says, "the fundamental base of all construction." The cube, which serves as the image of our cubical stone, is the crystal of mineral salt. It is also the connecting link by which the chemical symbolism of our predecessors in hermeticism is joined to the geometry of our ancestors, the stone cutters. If in positive chemistry a salt is the product of the action of an acid on a base, alchemically it is the action of sulphur on mercury, the prototype of the effect of the active on the passive and the symbol of regulated and balanced wisdom, of Jachin and Boaz.
Moreover this active and passive relation is indeed that of the chemistry of our laboratories; only the greater part of those who work there with so much merit and who sometimes succeed in becoming illustrious, care but very little for the philosophical power of symbolical tradition and of hermeticism.
In passing we may be permitted to recall that eminent Scientists have not had for alchemy, even the operative kind, that disdain that a great many of the specialists of our time have manifested for it, and above all the profane who believe themselves to be Scientists because they have rubbed themselves up against a few books of science. The great Berthelot, or the eminent chemist Dumas, have not considered the transmutation of metals and the synthesis of gold as scientifically impossible. It is generally known among chemists that the English chemist, Sir William Ramsay, announced that he had made gold from the baser metals, and future discoveries may show that it can be done cheaply.
But our Mason, in the search for truth, like the hermit of the Tarot, armed with his lantern, has a great deal more to see.
He will observe that human beings are "constructed" according to a plan which resides in a latent state in the grain or in the egg; he would not admit probably the existence of a force coming from without in order to put this plan to work but he would assert that this immanent force or property "geometrizes" in its turn.
The morphological variations produced artificially or the experiments in artificial fecundation, like those of Messrs. Yves Delage and Bolm, however interesting they may be from the point of view of the influence of chemical factors, would not contradict for him the principle, for the scientists themselves assert and recognize that
... the egg is like a star launched by an initial force in the midst of a system of stars in movement. The trajectory will be influenced and modified by the stars whose sphere of action it traverses and yet, if something may have been changed in its mass or its initial movement, it has not been what it is; it is the same way with the egg, but whatever one may do, this egg contains its "potentiality," to employ the technical expression, and we will never see a bird come out of the egg of a frog. That which changes is only the superstructures and not the formal types. [Remy Collin].
The artificial modifications are then only the consequences of the variable conditions in which one can cause the organizing and natural constructive tendency to act, but they imply and require this fundamental tendency which is realized by the indeterminate forms. Besides, the evolution of the embryo in the egg, and its passage through diverse animal types to stop at last at that of its own species, is the best proof of it.
There is nothing of miraculous nor of the supernatural in this, but a growth following the "Plan," whatever be the sense that one gives to the "Plan"; and even if it were considered as proceeding from the action of the environment, for this action would apply itself always on all object having its own vital spontaneity.
If the zoological order amply instructs us, the botanical order also gives us subjects for meditation with the regular insertion of the leaves on the stalk, following a spiral which determines the "foliar cycle" of each plant; the disposition of the leaves of each plant can express itself by a numerical formula plainly characterized. Geometry; arithmetic.
* * *
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
* * *
THE boss has gone to the country, hurray! The fact that he has left his trials and tribulations behind and that they constitute a few worries is insignificant. The joy in his departure more than compensates for the tasks it is necessary to perform. The playful mood of the mice whose watchful cat is away prevails at present in the editorial office. The joy in the departure of the ogre who watches over the destinies of this journal more than compensates for the disagreeable tasks which he has left behind. In reality this is not quite a true statement of affairs because the boss to whom reference is made is not and never has been a boss in the literal sense of the word. He says that it is impossible for him to be bossy and I believe he speaks the truth. Throughout the years of our relationship it has been more of a collaboration than anything else, with him doing most of the collaborating. The years of close association with him have been most pleasant, but it is a new experience for me to be intrusted with the make-up of thirty-two pages of magazine. I am enjoying the novelty of the situation and hope that I shall do nothing to betray the trust he has reposed in me.
Quite frankly, this is not an editorial, but an effusion of a sort that is hard to define. I am not making use of the customary "we", but am adhering to the personal "I" because this is, after all, a personal expression. That may, in itself, constitute a breach of trust, but under existing conditions I am ready to shoulder the burden and take all of the blame.
As has been indicated, it is a new experience for me to be completely in charge of any one issue of THE BUILDER. I hope that the qualifications I possess, largely through the efforts of the aforesaid boss, are equal to the task, but that is not what I really wanted to say. I first came to know THE BUILDER nearly five years ago. It seems nothing like that long since I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Bros. Haywood and Meekren, who were co-operating in the editing of this journal at that time. Masonry was very new to me then and I had all the enthusiasm for it that youth usually has for new things. I was sadly in need of someone to direct that enthusiasm into channels where it would do some good. Bro. Meekren became my guide and counsellor. I shall leave it to others to judge how successfully he fulfilled the task he set for himself. Interested as I was at that time in finding out everything I could about the Fraternity it was only natural that I should soon come to take an active interest in the affairs of the National Masonic Research Society. For almost two years I acted in an unofficial capacity. I was willing to assist in any way possible and soon found myself thoroughly wrapped up in the work that was being done. In November of 1926 I became connected with the Society as a sort of glorified office boy. No mention was made of the fact, so far as the pages of the journal were concerned, for some months, largely because Bro. Meekren and I were busily engaged in one of our most important collaborations. We were endeavoring to find a title that would be sufficiently high sounding to be applied to the sort of thing I was to do. Finally it was determined that "Research Editor" would not be too much of a prevarication so I was officially announced as Research Editor of THE Builder. I have not yet determined the precise nature of the work to be done by that officer, but have come to the conclusion that the duties are largely composed of those things that the Editor-in-Charge dislikes doing. One of his dislikes that he has never been able to successfully load onto my shoulders is the writing of editorials, but more about that later.
The work I have done on THE BUILDER is made up of almost everything. I have had my hand in the Study Club work undertaken by the Society. I have messed with dummies and made up a few of them; I have read proof, sometimes inefficiently, I am afraid; written articles, some of which were good; read books and written reviews, most of which were not so good; and from time to time I have laboriously penned editorials, all of which, if the truth is told, were rotten and which accounts for the fact that the Editor-in-Charge has not been successful in delegating this task to me. Through all of this, however, I have never had complete control of any one issue of the magazine until the present time. If you don't think that this experience is a joyous one you are just "c-a-r-a-z-y" as the flapper would say.
This, then, is the climax after three years of official connection with the National Masonic Research Society. I have been temporarily elevated to the Master's seat, and after Wink into oblivion, for with this issue I officially retire.
So it is, then, that I say "Hurray" and that I am having the most fun of my brief Masonic career, and so also with a deep-seated regret I say "Au Revoir". I use that term hopefully because I do feel that it will not be good-by. I sincerely hope that I shall be allowed to continue in as much of the same capacity as I have occupied during the past three years even though it is unofficial.
I should be most ungrateful if I did not take advantage of this opportunity to use these pages to pay a few debts. I have made many friends during the past few years. All of them I prize most highly and it is not at all a pleasant task to even contemplate bidding them adieu. Though it may happen that I shall no longer be known as one of their active associates I hope that they will always consider me as one of their friends. Officially our friendship is severed because I shall no longer be officially connected with Masonic Research, but unofficially I have found a hobby and I expect to ride it. Our unofficial friendship then is only beginning.
One of the most pressing debts that I owe is to the work itself. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I feel that it has added tremendously to my equipment and that it has enabled me to face the world much more competently than I could have done without it. Can I say more except. that perhaps the greatest thrill I have received in many years was to have one of my contributions read before that august body known as Quatuor Coronati Lodge? In the short space of four years I attained that goal of Masonic students and have most pleasurable memories of the fifteen months I spent in preparing the document. Now I have attained what I consider one of the most exalted positions in the realm of Masonic Research, that of Editor-in-Charge of THE BUILDER. True, it is only temporary, but the thrill to me is none the less because of that fact. I owe these two joyous experiences to the work itself which made the opportunities for me, so I say that I owe it a great debt.
But above all that I owe an even greater one to a man. That this obligation can be paid by a few lines written and published behind his back is to be doubted, more than that, it is impossible. I cannot, however, resist the temptation to say something about my relations with him whom I have facetiously called my boss, Brother Robert J. Meekren, the Editor-in-Charge of THE BUILDER. He is away at present on a much deserved vacation and his absence makes me appreciate all the more the many kindnesses he has done me. It is under his tutelage that I have done all of my work as a Masonic student, if I may be conceited enough to apply that title to myself. Without his guidance what ever I may have accomplished in this interesting field would have been impossible. As a babe in arms in research work he guided my footsteps along paths that proved to be short cuts and enabled me to accomplish much that I would have been unable to do without him. I recall the fatherly advice he gave me early in my venture into this strange realm. How frequently he counselled me and kept me from making a veritable fool of myself only he and I will ever know. Is it any wonder then that I look up to him as the one man most responsible for the measure of success I have attained in the field of my hobby?
In addition to all of these things I have always found Bro. Meekren ready to indicate evidence to me that would controvert views I had formed, or which would substantiate them, and this was equally true whether we were in agreement or otherwise. He has what I consider an uncanny faculty for citing evidence in such a way that you aide forced to form your own opinions instead of being guided by conclusions that he has reached through years of patient study. He may not agree with your opinions but he can always see the merit in them. He may cite sufficient evidence to cause you to change your views, but never have I heard him say that I was wrong even though we differed. This feature of his scholarly character is perhaps best illustrated by an article appearing elsewhere in this number. Bro. Castells has replied to a critical review of his latest work on the ritual of the Royal Arch. This review was written by Brother Meekren. Our English brother has been able, as I see it, to find few places in which he could pin Bro. Meekren down. Whenever in doubt about a point in argument, Bro. Meekren carefully phrases his work so that he makes no positive statements. Unless he has incontrovertible evidence to support a conclusion, that conclusion is cited only as an opinion and not as a fact. A difference between Bro. Castells and Bro. Meekren is clearly shown in the article above mentioned for in one place Bro. Castells says that he knows he is right. I venture the assertion that if Bro. Meekren held to a similar opinion he would have said that he believed he was right, which is entirely a different thing.
However that may be, there is another thing about my boss which demands notice. He is the most pleasant man to work with that it has ever been my pleasure to meet. I shall not elaborate on that statement, but say in summing up that he is a gentleman the "like of which there is no whither" to use the vernacular.
I have not come so closely in contact with the Executive Secretary of the Society, but I am deeply appreciative of many considerations he has shown me.
And so it happens that the joy of editing one number of THE BUILDER in its entirety is tinctured with sadness over an impending departure. From the dust did I come and to the dust I must shortly return, but before I do so I must wish each and every member of the society the best the future can possibly offer; to the Society, health, good luck and prosperity; to the new friends, many of whom have become old friends by now, a long useful and prosperous life with the personal hope that they will remain my friends for many years to come. The wishes I have for those with whom I have come into daily personal contact, among them the Editor-in-Charge and the Executive Secretary are too intimate to be put into words, but I feel sure that they know me well enough to realize the sincerity of unexpressed thoughts.
I have really been writing of my hopes, aspirations, as they lived in the past with some thought of the future, but to me it seems like writing my own death notice. I am reminded of the meteor, a flash of brightness and then oblivion and thus has my official life as a Masonic Research Worker struck me; a bright spot in my life with seeming oblivion in the future. I sincerely hope that it will be brighter than the prospects at present indicate.
Ernest E. Thiemeyer
* * *
THE recent headlines in the press of the country regarding the disappearance, the search, and the final location of the Transcontinental Air Transport liner, City of San Francisco, offers an opportunity to the Masons of this country, as well as to other citizens, to be of vital service to the country at large. It is not customary for THE BUILDER to comment upon matters which seemingly have no Masonic connection. We feel, however, that there is a definite tie between the unfortunate circumstance in New Mexico and many of the things for which Masonry stands. In the first place, air transportation is perhaps the infant of the great industries of the country. Airplanes are running on schedule and maintaining effective communication between distant points, but no one can fail to see that this mode of travel is still in the primitive stages of its development. It has taken rapid strides forward, perhaps outgrowing its swaddling clothes at a too youthful age. Regardless of anything that might be said on that score, the fact remains that air transportation is, or should be, a symbol of progress.
Somewhere in the Masonic ritual there is a phrase which says that Freemasonry is a progressive science. Generally that phrase is taken to allude to the several steps a candidate undergoes in his initiation. In other words, in the ordinary sense it means the same progressive development that we find in retracing from its inception any age worn path. There is another meaning to the word " progressive, " however, or it may be better to say, there is an added meaning. The word means "going forward." May we not say, therefore, that this same phrase might reasonably be interpreted to mean that Masonry stands for anything progressive or for the advancement of human knowledge, understanding, or convenience? If we accept this latter interpretation, there is every reason why we should comment in the pages of a Masonic journal upon the unfortunate crash of the City of San Francisco.
The newspapers have been making it "screamer" news for almost a week. It will doubtless be ten days to two weeks before this calamity finds itself removed from the front pages of the daily press. We are accustomed to think of the newspapers of this country as standing for everything progressive. Perhaps they do, but their attitude in this air disaster, as in other of a like nature, has tended to discourage, rather than encourage, progress.
Although the airplane is now rounding out its first quarter of a century of existence, it is still far from being a perfect machine. The railroads of this country, which have been in existence for more than a century, still have calamities. Every few months one sees in the paper an account of some wreck. Unless the accident happened in the immediate vicinity of the newspaper, a train wreck in which eight passengers or eight people were killed would receive less attention than the murder of some prominent gangster. Perhaps a column heading with a half column of letterpress, or even a full column, would be the most that would be seen in the ordinary news journal.
It seems to us that the death of eight people in an airplane is of no more consequence to the world at large than the death of eight people in a train wreck. The contrasting method of treatment, however, is immediately apparent. An airplane flies into the wastes of Arizona and New Mexico, is lost for four or five days, and the newspapers of the country are emblazoned with "screamers," and anywhere from two to four columns of news on the first page devoted to it. Is the airplane receiving a square deal? At least one writer does not think so.
One more thing. During the last few months it seems to the writer that the newspapers' hype contained more reports of airplane accidents than has been the case for several years past. These accidents have always been played up as news, given a prominent place in the paper so that you and all could read. The effect on passenger travel by airplaine could hardly help but be unfavorable. Still, any thinking person could not fail to realize that in spite of all this publicity, airplane travel is still one of the safest means of transportation known to the world today. The writer recalls two major steamship disasters during 1929. The sinking of the Vestris was the first and the sinking of the San Juan about sixty miles from San Francisco was the second. If memory serves right, there was a total of nearly two hundred lives lost in these two wrecks. They were headline material for a few days, and then sank into oblivion. While figures are not available, I should be willing to wager that there have not been two hundred deaths in airplane accidents in the same period of time. I am willing to offer odds of a million to one that in commercial air transportation there have not been fifty lives lost during the past year. I think it would be a safe bet that there are fewer deaths per passenger mile in air travel than by any other mode of modern transportation. In spite of the large number of airplane accidents reported, remarkably few of them have been in commercial service. A few unqualified pilots carrying sightseeing passengers locally have crashed. Some injuries and a few deaths have resulted, but the major portion of airplane accidents are due to pioneering effort in the field of air development. They occur either in stunt flights, such as endurance contests and airplane derbys, or other forms of long distance flying, or in test flights of other nature. There, again, is an unfairness apparent in press reports.
A discussion of this kind could be carried to an interminable length. The result would always be the same, that the press of the country is not treating air transportation fairly and squarely. Freemasonry being, as has been indicated, a progressive science, let us as Freemasons make it a part of our business to acquaint ourselves as thoroughly as possible with the statistics of commercial air transport. We would thus become qualified to do our share in dispelling any unfavorable effect created by the yellow journalism being practiced in this connection. Let us be really and truly progressive and do what we can to further the progress of the nation.
E. E. T.
* * *
CHRONICLE AND COMMENT
A REVIEW OF MASONRY THE WORLD OVER
Masonic Hotel for New York
The Tyler-Keystone some time ago reported that the new Masonic hotel in Philadelphia is progressing so nicely that the Masonic Club of New York has decided to erect one. The plans call for a building 25 stories high, to cost about $2,000,000. The new hotel will be located at 134 West 4th Street.
Brother Burton E. Bennett
Readers of THE BUILDER will regret to learn that Bro. Burton E. Bennett passed away at his home in Seattle, Wash., on August 26th. Bro. Bennett was quite widely known for his Masonic work and a number of his literary products have appeared from time to time in THE BUILDER. Aside from Masonry he had many interests. He was very closely identified with the growth and development of Alaska and the Northwest.
Born in Central New York in 1863, he received his early education at Brookfield Academy from which he graduated in 1881. The Degree of Bachelor of Science was conferred upon him by Cornell University in 1885. From other institutions he received the Degrees of Doctor of Science and Doctor of Civil Law, He was the orator of his class at Cornell, one of the Woodford orators and a senior editor of the Cornell Daily Son.
Following his graduation from college Brother Bennett read law with E. H. Lamb of Waterville, N.Y., and with S. M. Lindsley of Utica. He was admitted to practice before the bar of the State of New York in 1887. His career as a lawyer in New York State was limited because he moved to Seattle in 1888 and bee came an important figure in civic affairs and political life in the Northwest. He served as park commissioner for Seattle for several years. In March of 1893, with the beginning of the second Cleveland administration, he was given control of patronage and became a power in the Democratic party. He is credited with being the Democratic dictator in all things political throughout this administration. In 1895 he wits appointed United States District Attorney for Alaska and was present during the great gold rushes. As District Attorney in that territory he made a notable record, successfully prosecuting a number of important criminal cases. Of 101 cases handled during his last term he secured 99 convictions. In 1898 he was the Alaskan delegate to the International Mining Congress.
That he did not neglect religion is shown by the fact that he was the first Chancellor of the American Episcopal Church in Alaska.
Bro. Bennett returned to Seattle in 1900 and in 1901 he was appointed Pan-American Commissioner by Governor Rogers of Washington. Aside from his Masonic writings he is well known for many articles on Western and Alaskan history. At the time of his death he was a member of Ionic Lodge, No. 90, F. & A. M., of Seattle, in which lodge he had held membership for thirty years. His contributions to Masonic literature ranked him as an authority on Masonic history. Much of his earlier work was polemical in regard to the Scottish Rite. We feel sure that readers of THE BUILDER will regret with us the passing of Bro. Bennett.
Recent Scottish Rite Congress in Paris
Prom April 29th to May 4th the leaders of the Scottish Rite the world over met in Paris. This congress was to have been held in Buenos Ayres in 1927, but economic conditions in Europe made it impossible for representatives of the continental Scottish Rite bodies to be sent to South America. As a result the Supreme Council of France extended an invitation to hold the congress in Paris which was accepted.
Many of the most noteworthy members who were present at the last congress in 1922 have passed on since that time. The then Vice-President of the United States, Brother Thomas Riley Marshall, who was a member of the delegation from the Northern Jurisdiction: the great student of ritual and symbolism Count Goblet d'Alviella, Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite in Belgium; and Brother Maillefer, the past President of the Swiss National Legislature, are among those who have passed on.
The continental bodies were represented fully. The two American jurisdictions sent their Grand Commanders. Canada and several South American states also sent delegates. Two newcomers to the circle of Supreme Councils, both organized since 1922, were represented for the first time, being the Supreme Council of Vienna and that of Roumania.
The International League of Freemasons
This organization of individual Master Masons held its annual convention this year at Amsterdam, Holland, on the 13th, 14th and 15th of September. In the few years of its existence it has accomplished a great deal in the way of ameliorating the evil effects of the War upon Freemasonry as a universal brotherhood. Any regular Master Mason is eligible to membership. Its objects are the realization of the ideal of universality within the Craft and the propagation of the idea of universal brotherhood of man and peace between nations. Further information may be obtained from Brother Eugen Lennhof, 53 Bocklinstrasse, Vienna, Austria. The annual membership dues are about one dollar.
Quasi-Masonic Organizations in England
In the July number of THE BUILDER there was a brief notice of the fact that the Masonic authorities in England were perturbed over the introduction of a fraternal organization "imported from America." Further information has since come to hand. As we suspected, it turns out that the definition of a quasi-Masonic body in England differs materially from what would be understood by that term in America, Incidentally it may be remarked that the particular organization in question is said to be the Order of Moose.
In the Report of the Board of General Purposes presented at the Quarterly Communication of the United Grand Lodge in June the President, R. W. Bro. Sir Alfred Robbins, made this statement:
The Board ... adheres to the practice Grand Lodge has always observed of permitting the Brethren to belong to other bodies which, though they may have certain ceremonies associated with them, are clearly Benefit Societies ... While, therefore, Grand Lodge has never opposed or obstructed the existence of purely benefit Societies ... it is bound, in order to preserve the Antient Landmarks, to call serious attention to the creation of imitative or quasi-Masonic bodies, which restrict their membership to those who take a certain vow, and thereupon participate in a secret ceremony, each unknown to and unrecognized by the United Grand Lodge of England.
It is another demonstration of the fact that Freemasonry necessarily develops along different lines in different countries and under different conditions. In other words, it can only be understood in the light of its history. Our natural impulse is to think our own way best, always. So it probably is for us, in our circumstances.
According to American ideas a quasi-Masonic body is one that requires Masonic connection as a pre-requisite for membership. Unless an organization makes some such claim to Masonic status we regard it as outside the purview of Grand Lodge authorities. It is true that in certain states edicts were issued in recent years condemning the Klan, and forbidding Masons membership therein; but this was regarded as exceptional. It was based partly on the claims made by Klan organizers that it was a Masonic institution, but chiefly for the practical reason that in those states the members of the Klan were guilty, or were generally believed to be guilty, of law-breaking, and usurping the functions of the regularly constituted civil authorities. This gave a fully sufficient reason on Masonic grounds to forbid membership in the Klan to Masons, entirely apart from the fact that it was an oath bound fraternal society with secret ceremonies of initiation
The American position is thus logical and consistent. The freedom of the individual Masons to join any society or fraternity he pleases is not interfered with except on the grounds that it is not an illegal or law-breaking organization, which clearly brings it within the scope of Masonic discipline; or that it does not claim a Masonic character, in which case it must have the approval of the Masonic authority to whom the individual owes obedience.
On the other hand the position taken by the Grand Orient of the Netherlands, and possibly other European Grand Lodges, is equally logical and consistent. Here the individual Mason is forbidden to join any other society whatever without express permission. The English rule is, as usual, a practical compromise that doubtless works very satisfactorily but which can with difficulty be logically justified without artificial and historically questionable distinctions.
It is certainly far from being a general principle of distinction that is advanced in the report. Organizations that qualify under English laws governing insurance as Benefit Societies undoubtedly do form a distinctive group, but the distinction is an extraneous one. This is minimized as much as possible in the cautious phraseology of the report: "... bodies which, though they may have certain ceremonies associated with them, are clearly Benefit Societies"; and a contrast is suggested with other bodies, "imitative or quasi-Masonic" confined to those "who take a certain vow, and thereupon participate in a secret ceremony." This suggestion is not wholly unjustified for there are Benefit Societies and Benefit Societies in England, ranging all the way from mutual insurance associations pure and simple to such fraternities of respectable antiquity as the Odd Fellows, Orangemen and Forresters, in which (we believe) the benefit feature is optional, and which in all other respects are "imitative or quasi-Masonic" bodies, as these are defined in the report.
This definition, logically developed, implies that Freemasonry is the one only original society in the world to have vows and secret ceremonies, a position that no one would be less likely to maintain as a general proposition than those responsible for the report. It is very probable that the Odd Fellows did to some extent borrow from Masonic ritual usages, but it is not certain that they were, in the beginning, purely imitative. It has to be remembered that they were already in existence before the Masonic ritual had taken its present form, and that there were many other clubs and societies contemporaneous with the revival of Masonry which had elaborate rituals and oaths of secrecy. And so far as later organizations are concerned they may have imitated the Odd Fellows equally with the Masons.
But though the principle of distinction laid down is not a logical one, and is obviously ad hoc, devised to meet a particular case, American Masons must not misjudge the situation. As Salvador de Madariaga put it in a recent work, the Englishman thinks in terms of action. His judgments are never theoretical but always confined to the particular problem to be dealt with. And according to Senor Madariaga the Englishman is generally right, practically. We may assume therefore that there are in all probability good and sufficient reasons for the action taken, which it is better under the circumstances not to make fully explicit, but which are perfectly appreciated by those on the spot.
A New Persecution of Italian Freemasons
During the past few years THE BUILDER has contained many items regarding the Masonic situation in Italy. Last month there was a report reprinted from the London Freemason of May 25th regarding the growing blindness of Domizio Torrigiani, the former Grand Master of Italian Masons, who, through persecution, was exiled to the Island of Ponza. There have been many conflicting reports regarding the relations between Torrigiani and the present Fascist regime and the things that they were doing to help his blindness. No complete report is available and it is most difficult to get any accurate statements because of the strict Fascist censorship. We are informed that the Grand Secretarv of the Grand Lodge of New York, Brother Kenworthy, has twice written directly to Mussolini requesting permission to send a physician to Brother Torrigiani. He has not received a reply.
In addition to this the Freimaurer Zeitung of Vienna for July and August, 1929, reports that the Fascists have unexpectedly begun a new persecution of Italian Masons. Many of the former leaders of the Craft in Italy who somehow were missed in previous persecutions have been sent into exile with no knowledge of any wrongdoing and without the benefit of a court trial. Among those deported is the one time Deputy Grand Master, Brother Guiseppe Meoni, who not long ago, upon the request Of a commission of Fascists, was arrested and sentenced to five years in exile. Brother Ulise Bacci, who has an international reputation not only for his Masonic activity but as the author of a fundamental text on Italian Freemasonry, the title of which, translated, is, The Book of Italian Freemasonry, and who was Grand Secretary of the dissolved Grand Orient of Italy, met with the same fate as Brother Meoni. Brother Bacci is an old man. He has lived in retirement ever since the dissolution of Italian Freemasonry.
There are now some forty brethren in exile on the Island of Ponza. The Commander of the Supreme Council, Guiseppe Leti, left Italy and found a new home in Paris. So far as is known this alone is the cause for his son's having been sent to exile for five years without court proceedings and solely on the order of the administration. The younger Leti was a chemist by trade and had never been active in Freemasonry. General Bencivenga, a past President of the Press Union is in exile on the Island of Ustica. The Past Grand Commander, Ettore Ferrarri, a celebrated sculptor, has doubtless escaped exile only because he is 86 years old and his opponents are evidently ashamed to persecute such a celebrated and famed old gentleman. The Manchester Guardian reports that he is living at home nominally under police protection, the fact being that he is actually guarded and can leave his home only by special permission from the police department.
Some More of Italian Freemasonry
The Antwerp Metropole reports the following news from Italy relative to Mussolini's persecution of Masons:
"Mussolini could only reach an accord with the Vatican after having annihilated the Masonic Order. King Humbert, in 1895, made a move for reconciliation. He gave orders to accomplish this to Prime Minister Crispi who asked for a respite. After a few days the Prime Minister reported that he had taken up the question of reconciliation with the Grand Master of the Grand Orient who sent the following message to the King: "When the King of Italy makes an attempt to reach an accord with the Holy See we shall bring all Italy against him." It is reported that the King was very angry but that he dropped the matter entirely."
This incredible story is a good example of the tactics of the enemies of Freemasonry in Europe.
A Freemasons' Hospital in Hamburg
In the last legislative session of the Senate of the City of Hamburg, a bill was introduced providing for a loan of approximately $470,000.00 to the five Masonic Lodges in the city for the enlargement of their hospital.
This hospital today has a capacity of 72 beds. This loan will provide an additional 162 beds and will enable the Masons of Hamburg to rebuild the X-ray Department, operating rooms, confinement department and to erect a sun-bath and dwellings for janitors. The regular bath department and heating plant are to be enlarged and brought up-to-date.
The Lodges did not have money for these necessary improvements. They decided to ask the city for support and secured it on most favorable terms. The loan bears interest at the rate of 4% per annum. It is to be redeemed in installments beginning July 1st, 1932, with a 2½% premium. The Senate of the City of Hamburg went on record as feeling that it was to the interest of the state to increase the number of beds in private hospitals so that those operated by the government might be relieved of congestion.
* * *
THE STUDY CLUB
Are You a True and Loyal Builder?
A Personal Letter With Seven Pertinent Questions
Author of "Our Ancient Fraternity and Present Day Problems"
Dear Brother Hiram:
If you and I were to meet on the five points of fellowship I could not make this message to you more personal and intimate than it is intended to be. I am addressing you as an individual man and a Mason. You and I are traveling together on the level of time toward the light of truth. We are brothers, united by that mystic tie that binds us as kindred souls, no matter how far our bodily separation may be. Therefore, I feel free to speak to you openly, yet intimately on a subject nearest to my heart and which, I trust, also may be equally near and dear to you.
You and I were told, upon being admitted to the fellowship of our great fraternity, that we should become true and loyal builders, not of any earthly edified but of a "temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." I propose that we pause for a moment to take stock of ourselves and enquire how far we have obeyed this admonition.
With sincere regret, I confess that I had been enjoying many benefits and some honor from my fraternity for many years before I was awakened to the realization of how far short I came from being a true and loyal builder, rendering a fair and just return in personal service for the benefits I had been receiving. Like many others, I did not then appreciate that paying my dues and fees was far from sufficient to earn the privilege of becoming a true and loyal builder. Only through a personal service, that is more than money and without price, can one obtain this high honor and rare privilege.
Upon being called upon to investigate and undertake a certain task on behalf of the Order, my eyes were opened to the serious shortcoming from which our fraternity is suffering, due to the fact that so many of its members simply become passengers, but never lend a hand either to sail or steer the craft.
Without going into the details of the discoveries I made in my study of current conditions and present problems in our Order, I think you will readily see the principal points if you will give sincere and open-minded answers to seven questions that I propose for your consideration.
HAS FREEMASONRY FULFILLED YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
Being a secret order with a traditional requirement that every candidate must "sell himself" on the value of membership, without invitation or persuasion by anyone already within the fold, naturally, you must have had a fairly definite conception of the benefits you expected to gain before you decided to seek admission into a Lodge. While you were informed, doubtless, that the benefits you would derive would be social, spiritual, mental and moral; rather than material; yet I am sure you must have expected genuine aids toward self-improvement and advancement, otherwise you never would have knocked upon the Lodge door.
Have you found what you were seeking? Have you really learned how "to improve yourself in Masonry?" Are you satisfied with what you have gained by being made a Mason?
ARE MOST MEMBERS OF YOUR LODGE ACTIVE AND REGULAR IN ATTENDANCE?
IF you are able to answer this question affirmatively, you may congratulate yourself upon belonging to an exceptional Lodge. According to the best statistics available, in the average Lodge, about fifteen per cent of the members are active and regular in their attendance, while only a small group, probably, less than five per cent of the membership, are actually active in conducting the customary programs of their Lodges.
Surely there is justification for an inquiry as to why eighty-five per cent of our membership fail to maintain their interest in our activities. The fees for enrolling in a Lodge are by no means trifling, so it certainly is a serious question as to why about six out of every seven men who become Masons seem so indifferent with regard to the privileges for which they have paid their good money.
Are Masonic activities losing their appeal to the average man? The fact that the records of gains in membership throughout the country show a steady decline during recent years, so that, unless there is a change in the near future, the time will soon come when our fraternity will be losing instead of gaining ground annually, is something that can not be lightly overlooked or easily answered by those seriously concerned with the welfare and progress of our fraternity.
ARE YOUR LODGE ACTIVITIES AS ATTRACTIVE, INTERESTING AND HELPFUL AS THEY MIGHT BE?
IF your routine consists chiefly of ceremonials and official affairs, with an essential smoker, ladies' night or other social entertainment to relieve the monotonous grinding of the "degree mill," your answer to the above question will depend upon your type of temperament. It can not be gainsaid that there are men who never tire of Masonic ceremonials, always discovering new beauty and deeper meaning in our marvelous ritual. The majority, however, whether unfortunately or otherwise, are not so enamoured of our ritualistic ceremonials that they do not become monotonous and tiresome after a while.
Therefore, if your Lodge carries on the customary program of the average Lodge of today, it may be safely predicted that your average attendance will be similar to the vast majority of all Lodges throughout the country.
While the rate of increase in Lodge membership has been steadily declining in recent years, the reports of average attendance indicate a still greater falling off. And this ebbing tide of interest in routine Masonic meetings has not been stemmed by the frantic efforts of many Lodges to introduce vaudeville stunts, moving pictures, minstrel shows and other entertaining features to compete with similar outside attractions which, it is assumed, are drawing members away from their Lodge meetings.
It is improbable, however, that any ordinary Lodge ever will be able to compete successfully against the theatres night clubs or other commercial concerns, conducted exclusively for entertainment purposes.
Since ordinary men, who comprise the rank and file in our Lodges, soon become bored by routine ritualistic meetings, and since it seems impossible to hold these members in line by socials, shows and entertainments, the big question is whether there is any possible plan to stem the tide of decreasing attendance and declining membership. Possibly we may find an answer to this question by going back to the beginning and studying the earlier activities of our brethren, in the days when the average Mason would as soon think of going without eating as missing a regular meeting of his Lodge. It is not so long ago that the average attendance in most Lodges was more than a majority of their enrolled membership.
ARE YOU AWARE THAT FREEMASONRY WAS FOUNDED AS AN EDUCATIONAL FRATERNITY?
IT is difficult for me to see why our ritual does not impress upon every Mason the dominating educational objectives of our institution. There is no questioning the fact, that, originally and up until fairly recent times, the outstanding activity of every Lodge was to aid its members "to improve themselves in Masonry." In brief, the emphasis of all Masonic programs used to be upon self- development, through definite cultural and educational activities. Just how and why the emphasis was shifted from this original motive to its present stress upon social and entertaining features, is a matter that would require more discussion than the purpose of this message requires. I am sure, however, you will not deny that it would be the extreme of exaggeration to characterize the activities of the average Lodge today as either educational or cultural.
That modern Masonic programs have been affected or infected by the spirit of the Jazz Age does not appear to be a debatable question. It is a serious problem, however, whether jazzing up our activities has proven really attractive and interesting, even to the rank and file of our fellowship, who were supposed to be immune and indifferent to all cultural or educational influences. Certainly, the records showing a decrease in growth and a steady decline in attendance do not indicate that the shifting of emphasis from educational to entertaining programs has been altogether effective.
HAS MODERN MASONRY DEPARTED TOO FAR FROM THE ORIGINAL EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES?
YOU will have no doubt as to my answer to this question. I hope, however, you will consider the conditions in Masonry as you have observed them in your own Lodge and in whatever other Masonic circles you have traveled and form your own conclusions from your personal experience and observations. If you are satisfied that the present trends of Masonic activities are in the right direction, I have no desire to upset your complacent attitude. But, if you believe, as I sincerely do, and as many students and observers of Masonic tendencies also believe, that there is vast room for improvement in the programs of most of our Lodges today, I trust that you will give careful consideration to our proposed remedy.
It is our contention that the entire structure of Freemasonry is designed to emphasize its cultural character. In every degree, the ritualistic teaching is predominantly educational. To admit this is not to deny the social, ethical and moral teachings. Rather it is to stress the fact that true education, genuine self-culture, must include social, ethical and moral instruction.
In urging that Masonic programs should place greater stress upon educational activities as a means of overcoming the declining trends in membership and attendance, you will note that we can not be charged with advocating any innovation or recommending any departure from the traditional interests and activities of the fraternity. On the contrary, our plea is for a return to the ancient ideals upon which the greatness of our institution has been established.
Let it not be implied, however, that I am pleading for any sort of a backward step. Neither, should it be understood that I am objecting to the social and entertaining activities of- our present day programs. My sole objection is to permitting our social and entertaining features to dominate or crowd all educational activities entirely off the program. When we do this, I claim that we are going contrary to the traditional and true spirit of our great fraternity. Likewise, I maintain, that eliminating the educational emphasis of freemasonry is a serious mistake that hinders rather than helps the progress of the Order.
Finally, I boldly believe that most men are seeking in Freemasonry today the same ideals our ancient brethren were seeking when they founded the fraternity. I believe that men are as eager for self- improvement today as they ever have been. I believe that our candidates today have a real desire to "improve themselves in Masonry," consequently they are disappointed and drop out when they find, so frequently, that their Lodge program offers neither incentive nor opportunity for any truly cultural activity.
By the way, please bear in mind that I am not advocating that Masonry should compete with any existing educational agency or institution. I am not urging that our Lodges attempt to provide inferior substitutes for the many excellent ways and means provided in every community for obtaining a practical education or special training in any of the arts and crafts. I hold that to "improve yourself in Masonry" means a definite and distinct type of education that can not be obtained outside of our Craft because no other institution is designed to provide true Masonic education.
If you are ready to grant my contention that the present declining trends in our Order might, possibly, be arrested by introducing the right kind of a program for Masonic education, your next query naturally will be regarding the ways and means for introducing more educational and cultural factors into our Lodge programs.
HOW MUCH PERSONAL SERVICE ARE YOU RENDERING TO YOUR FRATERNITY?
THIS question, brother Hiram, that I now put up to you is the very question I asked myself after I made a study of our ancient fraternity and its relations to our present day problems. When I discovered what appeared to me to be a wrong trend in our present Masonic programs, I came face to face with the proposition of what I could possibly do as a single individual to counteract a tendency that seems to have developed considerable headway and appears to be supported by the majority of Masonic opinion, despite the plain fact that Masonry is not maintaining its usual progress under its present program.
My personal answer to the question was a resolve that I would devote as much of my time and effort as possible to helping formulate and foster a broad program of Masonic education, designed to appeal to the interests of all types of ordinary Masons from the rank and file in our Lodges. In a previous issue of THE BUILDER, my suggestions for a proposed educational program have been set forth. No pretense is made that our proposed program is free from faults and shortcomings or is adequate to meet all the demands of the situation. But it is a start in the direction toward what I sincerely believe must be the remedy for the present declining tendency in our fraternity.
If you agree in general with my contention that the greatest need in modern Masonry is again to place the dominant emphasis upon educational or cultural activities, you surely should share in this mutual endeavor.
As you are aware, the only way that any worthy cause may be developed into a movement is through the recruiting of individuals who, first, believe in the worthiness of the cause, and next, resolve to do their part toward its advancement. Which brings us down to our final question:
WILL YOU DO THREE THINGS FOR THE CAUSE OF MASONIC EDUCATION?
UNLESS you are earnestly and enthusiastically in favor of advancing the cause of Masonic education and sincerely believe that it is not only possible but absolutely necessary to devise and develop an educational program that will appeal to the rank and file of Freemasons, of course, you are not expected to accept this invitation. But, if you are in general agreement with the matters which have been set forth in this article, I am sure you will be glad to do these three things for the advancement of the cause we are advocating.
First: Spread the gospel of Masonic education by speaking a word in its favor whenever you can either find or make an opportunity to do so. If you are able to address your Lodge and explain the advantages of putting greater educational emphasis into your programs, by all means do so. If you have the ability to deliver a convincing address and can visit neighboring Lodges of your locality, you certainly may be assured of interested audiences, but, the least you can do, if you are really in earnest about the importance of Masonic education, is to speak a word in season or out of season to your brethren whenever you are able to do so. This word-of-mouth recommendation of one brother to another, you will find, ultimately will become a most effective method for advancing our common cause.
Second: Advertise the advantages of Masonic education by distributing printed circulars and booklets that will be supplied to you on request. We are planning to reprint certain extracts and articles from THE BUILDER and also prepare other leaflets setting forth this subject from various angles.
Third: Join with other brethren in all sections of the country in forming sort of a "boosters club" to work together for the cause of Masonic education. In such an association, which might be called The Loyal Builder's League, all the friends of our cause may pass along their ideas and exchange their experiences for the mutual benefit of all who may be interested. In due course of time, we believe this association of workers for the cause of Masonic education may become a most influential and helpful force.
If you are willing to do these three things and thus do your bit toward helping devise and develop a practical program for Masonic education, the next step is to enroll. But, bear in mind that our program is not cut and dried. It is still in the making so we welcome suggestions from every source that may enable us to make our plans more attractive, interesting and helpful. Therefore, please write me freely and frankly, letting me know just what co- operation we can give to help you in doing your bit for this cause. Address your letter to Herbert Hungerford, Scarsdale, N.Y.
* * *
BROADEN WHOSE PROGRAM?
Bro. Cyrus Field Willard, California.
BROTHER Herbert Hungerford has an article of peculiar suggestiveness in "The Study Club" department in the September BUILDER entitled "Shall We Broaden Our Program of Masonic Education," etc., in which he says:
"Consequently we are anxious to have every Mason interested in this question (Masonic Education) present his views and offer criticism of this proposition, regardless of whether his views are in accord with or opposed to the program outlined."
Having devoted six years as a member of the Committee on Masonic Education of the Grand Lodge of California, it is a fair presumption that the writer is somewhat interested in this subject. Furthermore it is possible that he may have obtained some Masonic education for himself in these six years of experience which might be of value if passed on to those now coming forward in the Masonic world.
It may be necessary to go back to fundamentals and assert that the Masonic organizations, which to my mind only include the Blue Lodge, the Scottish Rite, the Royal Arch and the Royal and Select Masters, are supposed to be, from their very nature, educational and also individualistic in their teachings to develop the individual. These organizations are necessarily opposed as organizations to collectivism and mass action. They are also opposed to any religious test for membership such as is required, contrary to the universality of Masonry by one organization claiming to be Masonic, which requires of its members a belief in Christian Trinitarianism and which the writer, whose family in Massachusetts became Unitarians, could not join.
This is a primary matter of education which goes to Article 1 of the Old Charges, "Concerning God and Religion." What Masonic educator dares to speak of it or to tell the newly-made Mason that such is not a Masonic organization any more than the Shrine is. The strictures of Dr. Ernest Crutcher on the conduct of the Shriners in the public streets of Los Angeles at the time of their last convention and of which city he has been a resident for years are such that the necessity of teaching the newlymade Mason that the Shrine is not a Masonic organization is most apparent. To get that information to the public is the next step.
But really the matter of Masonic education is a matter which affects the member of the Blue Lodge. He is first a member of that Lodge, no matter what appendant degrees he has taken. He is subject to the discipline of the Grand Lodge of which he is a member or within whose jurisdiction he may reside while retaining membership in another Grand Lodge.
There are two methods of education, one by the eye (reading) and the other by the car (oral instruction and lectures).
Oral instruction has always been recognized as being something which the older brethren are supposed "to be as ready to give as you will be to receive it." The Worshipful Master is supposed to "set the Craft on work and give them the necessary instruction whereby they may pursue their labors." How many Masters who come "up the line" simply because they are "good fellows" can give any such information.
Scotland, to whom we in America owe as much as to England, had a custom of appointing for every new member one who was called "an intender" out of the elder brethren who took the new member in hand and instructed him in the meaning of the symbols, rites and ceremonies of the secret work so that the new member might get a Masonic education. Masonic education is obligatory, whether the "jazz" member likes it or not. Because we have been negligent in not providing an educator for each new member is no reason why in each Lodge such a practice, sanctioned by ancient usages, should not be established.
The Grand Lodge of California adopted the recommendation of its Committee on Masonic Education three or four years ago that every new member should be required to attend some educational meeting during the year after he became a member. The writer was instrumental in having this put in practice in San Diego where there are some sixteen Lodges in and adjacent to the city, by having the Master of each Lodge notify the newly-made Mason that he must attend the meeting of what was termed "The South Gate," where addresses were made by well known Masons and questions were answered by them and others. This was called the "San Diego idea" and was more or less discussed throughout the State and in other jurisdictions. It was successful in giving Masonic education by being obligatory to those who would not otherwise have received it.
Then one of the Grand Masters took a forward step by making it obligatory for the Master of every Lodge in the State to hold an educational meeting once a month on subjects sent out by the committee, to be addressed by a speaker or speakers of local talent.
Here is where the committee fell down. It did not recognize that it was necessary to supply literature to the one or two reading Masons in every Lodge who got their education through the eye and who could speak to their fellow Masons. Although it gave references to literature, yet the average man did not know where to go to get this literature.
As the normal schools in every State educational system educate their teachers and the school system would not amount to much without the teachers, so Masonic education cannot amount to anything unless there are provisions to educate Masonic educators. Where California fell down was in not having a traveling library system whereby libraries could be sent to each Lodge as has been so successful in Iowa, Washington and other States where the reading Mason and he who was to deliver an address before the Lodge could get the information necessary to make his speech authentic.
Our experience with the newly-made Mason in California has only emphasized the saying "Catch them young." We found them hungry for knowledge about Masonry. They want to know and this is the main idea of Masonic education, to supply the average Mason with knowledge about the institution of which he is a member and of which ordinary literature gives him no accurate information.
Thanks to Brother Robert I. Clegg I received at the same time as THE BUILDER a copy of "Proceedings of the Third Informal Conference of Masonic Librarians and Educators in May of this year at Milwaukee," and I would suggest it might be a good idea of reprinting it seriatim in that magazine. There is one idea which seemed to me of great value and that is to have the public library in each city carry a group of Masonic books.
There is always such a thing as "Grand Lodge politics" and while it is not possible sometimes, as we have found in California, to get traveling libraries going to each Lodge when asked, yet it would be easier in many instances to get the public library in the city or town to put in a few Masonic books. There is no need for the introduction of Masonic Education into the Lodge. It was there from the beginning. It is for the rank and file to demand their birthright, for the sacerdotal class in all ages and all bodies, even Grand Lodges, have always sought to keep the multitude in ignorance that their own schemes might be forwarded.
* * *
The books Reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which always include postage. These prices are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though occasion for this will very seldom arise. Occasionally it may happen, where books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make inquiries for second-hand works arid books out of print.
* * *
THINGS A FREEMASON SHOULD KNOW. By Fred J. W. Crowe. Published by George Kenning and Sort, London. Cloth. 95 pp., illustrated. Price $1.85.
THE 1929 edition of this standard work has just come to my desk. Though primarily intended for brethren under the English Constitutions, the well written volume contains much that will interest us on this side of the Atlantic. The book has the c onservative tone and the atmosphere of painstaking accuracy which marks the writings of the Quatuor Coronati brethren, and because of this, American reviewers of English books have no hesitancy in recommending the volumes to our readers.
There are eight chapters, treating of history, Old Charges, certificates (or, as we call them here, diplomas of membership), rulers of the Craft, sister Grand Lodges, literature of Freemasonry, English regalia and the English Masonic charities. With most of these we are more or less familiar; but mention must be made of three of the subjects treated, namely, literature, regalia and the charities.
Those who join with me in my admiration and veneration of William James Hughan will rejoice in this deserved tribute:
First on the list (of brethren whose names are world-famed as Masters of the Craft) I unhesitatingly place the name of William James Hughan, because without his work as pioneer in the authentic school of Masonic history, and the ever-ready assistance and advice so freely given, the work of those who followed in his footsteps would have been impossible.
Brother Crowe also gives praise to Robert Freke Gould, Henry Sadler, Laurie and Lyon of Scotland, Dr. Chetwode Crawley of Ireland; and to Brothers Songhurst, Thorp and Vibert and brethren who are still laboring in the literary quarries of the Craft. Neither does he forget Oliver and Preston of early days, nor Woodford, Whytehead, Speth and Dring, names more familiar to us than the prophets of Israel. At least, I can call the roll of English writers better than I can name the characters of Old Testament history!
We in the United States are not sticklers for correct regalia and jewels; on the other hand, we feel we are "putting on swank," to borrow an overseas expression, when we turn out in anything but the simple cotton aprons to be had at the Tyler's desk. We stretch a point on installation night, and may wear our Past Master's aprons and jewels, but even then we feel overly conspicuous. In England, however, it is expected that the brethren wear the regalia of the rank which they have attained, and to also wear the proper jewels, being careful not to commit breaches of etiquette by wearing the jewels of the so-called higher degrees (Templar and Scottish Rite) in a Craft lodge. Brother Crowe's chapter on regalia will prove interesting reading to Americans.
Great stress is laid by our English brethren upon their three great Grand Lodge charities, the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys, and the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution. There is also a Freemasons' Hospital and Nursing Home. These institutions are supported by lodges and individual brethren, funds being raised by outright grant, bazaars, etc. The information given by Bro. Crowe is of more than passing interest to us.
The book is well illustrated, half-tone illustrations printed in enameled paper appear frequently. A picture of the Pro-Grand Master, the Right Honorable Lord Ampthill, G.C.S.I.. G.C.I.E., graces the volume as a frontispiece. Then, too, we meet R. W. Bro. Sir Alfred Bobbins, who endeared himself to us and brought us closer to our brethren overseas by his never-to-be-forgotten visit in 1924; Hughan, Gould and Sadler are also shown.
In fine, this little volume, so packed with vital information, is recommended for inclusion in every Masonic library.
* * *
FREEMASONRY: ITS VISION AND CALL. By the Rev. Joseph Johnson, with a foreword by Sir Alfred Robbins. Second edition. Published by the Masonic Record, Ltd., London. Cloth table of contents, 166 pages. Price $2.15.
WHEN last April we reviewed the first edition of Bro. Johnson's work, rather belatedly received by us it must be said, we expressed the opinion that it was a worthy addition to serious Masonic literature and expressed the hope that it would be as widely read as it deserved. We did not suspect that within six months it would have been found necessary to issue a second edition, or more accurately speaking, a reprint. In the past, Masonic works have more often than not been put out in very small editions, and generally at a loss both to the author and the publisher. There are indications of a turn of the tide. A number of instances have occurred in recent years where the demand for a Masonic book necessitated a second edition, and in one case, that of Dr. Joseph Fort Newton's Builders, the sales have risen to the level of a "best seller."
One of the most talented Masonic writers in America, Bro. J. E. Morcombe, recently raised the question as to whether there really was such a thing as a Masonic literature. True, there have been thousands of books published on Masonry, but how many, or better, how few of them, could be classed as literature? It must be confessed that there are not too many works that could be properly so classified. Bro. Morcombe referred, of course, to works in English. There is an extensive Masonic literature in German, and a very considerable one in Dutch, not to speak of other languages. The two specifically mentioned stand at a very high average of merit.
Bro. Johnson's work is undoubtedly to be classed as serious literature, and what is more, it appears to us to be one of the ablest expositions of the attitude of English speaking Masonry in relation to religion and morality, and on this ground alone is worthy of careful consideration. But it is more than that, it opens up countless vistas and possibilities of service to humanity and moral advancement. A better work to put in the hands of a young Mason would not be easy to find. In it he will find extensions and developments of the significant symbolism revealed to him in the lodge. It is our hope that this second edition will meet the same response as the first.
* * *
JOHN JACOB ASTOR: LANDLORD OF NEW YORK. BY Arthur D. Howden Smith. Published by J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia. Cloth, 292 pages Index: Illustrated. Price, $3.65.
MASONS generally will recognize the subject of this most interesting biography as a Mason; but beyond the words, "He was a Master Mason in Holland Lodge No 8," there is nothing in the book under review bearing upon Astor's Craft activities. As one well known American Mason recently remarked, it is to be hoped that some day biographers will recognize a prominent man's fraternal connections, and will consider them at least as important as his taste for a strong cigar, or his preference for coffee with cream in it. When such a biographer appears on the scene, the craft of Masonic book reviewers will rise up bodily and invoke heaven's choicest blessings upon him. There was good reason, seven or eight decades ago, for omitting any reference to Masonic affiliations — for the subject of a biography fell in the readers' estimation if he was a Mason because of the bitter anti-Masonic feeling which followed the Morgan affair, but in this day and age, when we honor a man for his adherence to the Fraternity at a time when it took courage to be known as a Mason, there is no excuse for omitting complete accounts of Masonic affiliation. Astor was not only a Master Mason, but was Master of Holland Lodge and left a printed address which he gave in his official capacity; in addition, he was Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge F. & A. M of New York 1798-1801. Associated with him as Grand Master and Grand Wardens were Robert R. Livingston, Jacob Morton and De Witt Clinton, respectively.
Yet this criticism is but a minor matter, for the book is one of the most fascinating biographies it has been my fortune to read. It appeals to one because it not only presents Astor's good qualities, but also emphasizes and does not apologize for his weaknesses and faults. In this book we meet face to face a gruff old German, whose exasperating stubbornness was no different from that of thousands of his kind. Astor was superior to them because he had imaginative powers and vision, coupled with a tenacity of purpose that one cannot help admire even in the face of Astor's heartlessness.
Born in Waldorf, Germany, in 1763 — an immigrant to London at sixteen — saved $75 and funds for a suit of clothes in four years — spent $25 for the journey from London to Baltimore and New York at twenty — an attentive ear while fur traders' talk furnished the motive for a vocation when a venture as a dealer in flutes fails — these were the prelude to his real work as a dealer in furs and in real estate. "Say what you please of our John Jacob, hate him as you may before we are done with him, his life was as packed with an essence of romance as a nut is with meat." So says the author; all who read the book twill agree with him. Forest runner — trader in fur and tea — a ship owner — an apostle of empire — these were activities which we of today remember when Astor's name is spoken. Washington Irving (who was an intimate friend of Astor's in his time), has preserved the romance of the Pacific Northwest in his entertaining. though none too accurate, Astoria. Little do we think today that Portland, Seattle and Spokane are in a territory once under the British flag; the War of 1812 is rarely spoken of in terms of Pacific Coast history, yet its influence is still evident to the keen student. Those who have been privileged to live in the Far West and have communed with the red gods who still live in the far-reaching territory once the domain of the Hudson's Bay Company, the Northwestern Fur Company and the Pacific Fur Company trappers, will be thrilled by Mr. Smith's treatment of the historical events of the Northwest. They were all part of the prelude to "covered wagon" days. We meet Jim Bridger,.Pierre Chouteau, Marcus Whitman, Rev. Henry Spalding (whose daughter was the first white woman born west of the Rockies, and whose grandson, my friend of many years, is a brother of the Craft) and others. To dwell upon them here would rob the reader of his enjoyment of the book.
Those whose interest in Astor lies more in his activities as "Landlord of New York" will find this phase of his life extensively treated. He profited greatly through his foresight in the panic of 1837, though he paid heavily in health as a result of the strain which the trying times brought upon him. He turned to more intellectual diversions, and gathered about him such men as Henry Clay, Fitzgreene Halleck, Washington Irving, Samuel Ward, Daniel Webster and Peter Cooper.
Through all of the book we are not permitted to forget that Astor was human. Let me quote from the concluding text in which the author paints a picture of the man:
"An arrant individualist, selfish, narrow-minded, quite blandly anti-social, he went after whatever he sought and took it by fair means or foul — and whoever didn't like it was welcome to a battle.... In his features you might trace meditation, courage and masterful resolve — and coldness, indifference and acquisitiveness. But never brutality, intolerance or stupidity. In the final analysis, he was simply the product of a period and an environment.... Hove he would have hated himself had he been able to view some of his acts objectively, as we can, through the perspective of time!"
Libraries and individual brethren who are rounding out their collections with the biographies of great men who were Masons will find John Jacob Astor: Landlord of New York, a book highly deserving of a place on their shelves. J. H. T.
* * *
THE HOLY BIBLE: A New Masonic Edition. Published by the Oxford University Press, American Branch. Grained leather, with stiff covers, 6 x 4½ inches, 283 pages. Price $2.15.
THIS edition has been prepared especially as a presentation Bible. It has a page for the record of the dates of Initiation, passing and raising and the signature of the Master and Secretary of the lodge, with supplementary pages for other details, the individual brother will like to have for remembrance. This is practically identical with the previous presentation editions published.
The Masonic Concordance has been omitted with the result that the volume is not too large to be conveniently carried in the pocket. There is no need to say anything of the make up, the quality of the paper, the printing or the binding, for these are all up to the recognized standard of the Oxford Press.
The custom of presenting Bibles to Candidates upon being raised is constantly spreading, and we do not think that a better one for the purpose could be adopted.
* * *
NEW BOOKS RECEIVED
OUR FACE FROM FISH TO MAN. By William K. Gregory. With a Foreword by William Beebe. Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons. Cloth, table of contents, profusely illustrated, bibliography, index xl and 205 pages.
The scope of the book is fully indicated in the title. It covers the evolution of the human face, by pointing out the stages of development that every feature, both exterior and internal, has passed through. The author, who is Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at Columbia University, does not seem to mind how much embarrassment the facts he has collected will give to anti-evolutionists. The style is semi-popular, but it is not a book for the casual or superficial reader. However anyone with a fair amount of general knowledge of scientific subjects will have no difficulty in following the argument, or appreciating the facts upon which it is based.
* * *
MUSSOLINI: THE WILD MAN OF EUROPE. By John Bond. Published by the Independent Publishing Co. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, 206 pages. Price $2.65.
The author asserts that his sketch of the career of the Italian dictator has been written disinterestedly, without fear or favor; that he has had no special consideration, nor any injury, from the Fascist regime, and that the purpose of his work is to enable ordinary Americans to learn the real facts in the maze of distortions of the truth found in the propaganda of paid apologists, and the rancor of victims of the regime. However, there is little doubt that Mr. Bond's sympathies lie with the latter — and perhaps it is hardly matter for wonder. One does wonder a little, however, how it was written in Rome, or rather, by what channel the MS. was safely conveyed from Rome to America.
* * *
HEGEL'S SCIENCE OF LOGIC. Translated by W. H. Johnston and L. G. Struthers, with an Introductory Preface by Viscount Haldane Published by the Macmillan Co. Cloth, two volumes. Analytical table of contents, table of categories, list of English works on Hegel, 404 and 487 pages. Price $10.35.
It is to be feared that most students of philosophy who do not know German, have only read about Hegel; never a wholly satisfactory way of finding out what an author really said. Logic is usually taken either as a method, or a discussion of the basis of reasoning. Hegel seems to have given it almost the content of Metaphysics. This is the first complete translation that has been published in English, though the work has been discussed and quoted for more than a hundred years.
* * *
THE FRATERNITATIS ROSAE CRUCIS. By R. Swinburne Clover. Published by the Theosophical Publishing Co. Frontispiece, table of contents, addenda, xxiv and 221 pages.
An advance notice of this work appeared in THE BUILDER for February, in which the publishers generously offered to supply gratis any Masonic library with a copy on application. The author undertakes to answer the questions, when and where did the Rosicrucian Fraternity originate? By whom was it founded? And whether it was reborn from older organizations or not. The work is written apparently from the standpoint that the Fraternity has had a continuous existence till the present and is still active. The author disagrees with the recent work of A. E. Waite upon the same general subject.
* * *
LAFAYETTE AND THREE REVOLUTIONS. By John Simpson Penman. Published by the Stratford Co. Table of contents, illustrated with 21 plates, bibliography, index, xiv and 362 pages. Price $5.20.
The author has sought to correct the rather one-sided view of Lafayette's life and efforts. A very young man when he aided in the American War of Independence, he played a great part in the struggle for liberty in France, both at the time of the Revolution, and later in the Revolution of 1830. The author may perhaps be excused for not mentioning Lafayette's Masonic connection as he has not undertaken a complete biography. In spite of this omission the work is a valuable addition to our knowledge of this noble partisan of freedom.
* * *
EAST AND WEST OF JORDAN. By Albert Field Gilmore. Published by the Stratford Co. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated by 15 plates, index, xii and 191 pages. Price $3.15.
The author states that his book is based on his experiences during a visit to Palestine, Syria and Egypt two years ago. It appeared first (for the most part) as a series of articles in the Christian Science Monitor. There are very rapid changes and developments going on in what used to be thought of as the changeless East. How far these changes are more than superficial remains to be seen. But, for those who cannot go to see for themselves, the impressions of travelers are the main source of information. The chapter on the prospects of industrial development is especially interesting.
* * *
GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY. By Wolfang Nobler. Published by Horace Liveright. Cloth, Illustrated by diagrams, index, xii and 401 pages. Price $4.15.
Dr. Kohler is an opponent both of the fashionable "Behaviorism" and the "Introspectionism" that preceded it. Both, in his opinion, being founded on a too narrow conception of the machinery of the brain. Gestalt psychology takes into consideration the innate faculty of the senses to apprehend forms as wholes. Behaviorists defend their doctrines with a passion that reminds one of Fundamentalists in religion. The author comes among them as a Modernistic iconoclast — and is treated by them accordingly.
* * *
A NEW WORK BY SIR ALFRED ROBBINS
We have received an advance notice of a work by Sir Alfred Robbins to be published shortly by Ernest Benn, Ltd., London, under the title English Speaking Masonry Bro. Robbins, as is well known, is president of the Board of General Purposes of the United Grand Lodge of England, a position he has held for over sixteen years. He is also, as most of our readers know, a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076.
In recent years Bro. Robbins has made a number of visitations to foreign jurisdictions as a sort of ambassador. He has thus come in personal contact with the leaders of the Craft in the United States, parts of South America, and some European countries. This double qualification of scholarship and official experience gives promise that the forthcoming work should be of the highest value. We gather that it covers the whole ground, from the transformation of a craft organization into a world-wide institution of fraternal benevolent, and — possibly — educational character, dealing, as the title indicates, with its foundation, development and special characteristics in all English speaking countries.
* * *
READING WITH A PURPOSE
The American Library Association is constantly enlarging the field covered by their Reading with a Purpose Courses. There are some six or eight titles now in the course of preparation in addition to those that have been recently published. The list of titles now deals with fifty-two subjects. The fact that the A.L.A. sponsors the preparation of these brochures and that they have selected men who are nationally known in their respective fields to compile them constitutes a double guarantee of their value.
The latest titles to be published are the following:
- Advertising, by Earnest Elmo Calkins.
- Geography and Our Need of It, by J. Russell Smith.
- Prehistoric Man, by George Grant MacCurdy.
- The Young Child, by Bird T. Baldwin.
- Mental Hygiene, by Frankwood E. Williams, M. D.
- Economics, by Walton H. Hamilton.
- Journalism by Willard Grosvenor Bleyer.
* * *
In the July number of THE BUILDER there appeared a review of Bro. F. de P. Castells' new book on the Royal Arch. Bro. Castells has taken exception to some of the statements in that review, as appears in the following communication:
IN reviewing my book, Historical Analysis of the Holy Royal Arch Ritual, you admit that the word "authentic" as applied to one particular group of men engaged in Masonic Research is "an ill-chosen word," and you suggest that "critical or historical" would be more suitable for as there are so many workers on that field, no one has a right to monopolize a term which may be equally applicable to others.
Your suggestion, however, does not meet the case, because if the brethren who have hitherto used the designation of "authentic" are to adopt the description proposed by you, they will be making an invidious distinction implying that they alone are "critical or historical." For instance, there is my book, of which you say: "It is really an analysis of the Royal Arch Ritual." If it be not critical and historical, how else will you characterize it?
You have been quite fair in stating my views. I hold with Dermott, 1756, and with a host of eighteenth century Masons, that the Royal Arch is, "the root, heart and marrow of Freemasonry," and that it is founded on historic fact. But you are neither fair nor accurate in other respects. And yet I should not complain for some of our "authentic school" friends will feel that you have been far too lenient with me and that you have "blessed me altogether," for you say:
Bro. Castells is entitled to the credit of having compared the various types of Ritual actually in use. Generally, such studies have been undertaken on the basis of one ritual form only. And again,
The symbolical interpretations suggested by Bro. Castells are often worthy of consideration; they are sometimes striking and almost always ingenious. And yet again,
In one respect we must heartily agree with him; the lectures of the three Principals and especially of Ex Z in the English Ritual, certainly do need drastic revision, etc.
The marvel is that after having said so much in my favor you part company with me. You state the good results I obtain by my method and you can see that the authentic school, however much it may have accomplished, gives no promise of ever solving the problem of our origin; and yet you will not assist me. The Authentic School has recklessly set itself against the view held by Dermott in 1756 about the Royal Arch, and I am out to vindicate that view which is at least two Sentries old, cost what it may.
Believe me, I have no personal animus against the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, or against your own National Masonic Research Society; or against any other Masonic Study Circle anywhere. On the contrary, I say: "God bless them all!" But I can see that the "Lodges of Research" are working within too narrow limits, which is unavoidable if Royal Arch matters are to be ventilated in Royal Arch Chapters only. As a rule such Lodges are looking for the object of their quest in the Mason's Craft, whereas "the genuine Freemasonry" is confessedly something radically distinct from the Craft. Naturally they cannot find anything but the "substitutions" effected two centuries ago or very little more.
The Lodges of Research are working on a line parallel to the one I am following and so the two can never meet, and yet what they are searching for is all the time very near them. My one aim is to discover the origin of Freemasonry, and in this respect I know that I am on the right track. The genealogies which fill so many pages in the Transactions of some Lodges of Research, seldom extending beyond 1717, have no charm for me. And the claims of many quasi-Masonic bodies which we euphemistically call "the Higher Degrees" leave me cold.
And now as to the points at issue between us. In my book, I refer to the American (meaning, of course, the Ceremonies practiced) of the xviiith century and you argue that there is no Ritual "either in print or in manuscript" of such sort. You even venture to say that if it existed "there are two or three who would travel a thousand miles or more to see it." I confess that what I possess is only an English reprint, without date, which I have deduced from the internal evidence to belong to the close of the xviiith century. It is in this way that I conclude that this printed Ritual "represents" the working of the Royal Arch which obtained in America "one hundred and fifty years ago."
Let us see, then, whether this assumption is justified or not. You say "there seem to be Royal Arch Rituals of the last decade of the xviiith century." I can mention only one, viz., the Deptford Ritual now in the Freemasons' Hall, London, which Bro. Sadler assigned to 1797. There are other Rituals in manuscript which may be a few years older. But please note, that when you say "the last decade of the xviiith century," you virtually say "one hundred and forty years ago." Now, inasmuch as "Exposures" are only of any value when they relate to some well-established practice, which has become fairly general, I claim that a Ritual which was paraded one hundred and forty years ago as that in use among the Freemasons, may safely be considered to represent the practice of at least ten years earlier, that is to say, one hundred and fifty years ago. This should be a great relief to you, for you will not be required to undertake a 1000-miles-long pilgrimage.
Gould should be a warning to us not to be too skeptical about the antiquity of Freemasonry. He argued that the Royal Arch was something concocted about 1738 because the earliest reference to it took him to 1740 or thereabouts. Now, however, we have one document of 1725 (only eight years after 1717) where the name of some of the practices of the Royal Arch are mentioned. In consequence, Gould's "Authentic theory" (if I may so call it) has been given up.
Moreover, while you find fault with me for referring to the practice of one hundred and fifty years ago, you yourself write: "It would seem that about the end of the eighteenth century there were the widest variations in the Royal Arch as practiced in different places."
Quite so, the modern Royal Arch Chapters were bent on simplifying; hence "the variations." But in alluding to this you appear to know a great deal about the practice of nearly one hundred and fifty years ago! I suggest that you form a Chapter of Research to investigate such things; by doing so you would steal a march on us on this side of the Atlantic, where obvious things hinder.
Unfortunately I am not in a position to state what relation my American Royal Arch Ritual bears to those you name. But it is not the same as that of Elder Bernard in Light on Masonry published in 1829, because it contains an addendum of three years earlier. What I am surprised at is that after giving such ample quotations you are unable to identify it. There is Webb's Ritual, you say, but Webb "stood at the dividing line between the centuries." He was initiated in 1792, but you suspect that he did not transmit the Royal Arch Ritual of his Mother Chapter; your words are:
Even if its accuracy be questioned (which is at least open to question), etc.
It does not seem very probable that he remodelled those of the Chapter and the Commandery.
"Open to question" ... and "seems very probable" are too indefinite expressions to base an argument on, for unfortunately you do not give the grounds for your suspicions. If Webb became "the law and the Gospel" for American Masons, as you put it, I should feel inclined to believe that he re-enacted the Royal Arch Ritual substantially as he found it at the time of his exaltation.
As to the interrogatory at the Banquet between the M.E.Z. and the P.S. with which English Royal Arch Masons are familiar, I have stated that it was taken from the "sections," or Lectures; and you hasten to explain to your readers that, "the only authority for these 'sections' is Carlile's expose of 1825."
As a matter of fact, however, Carlile's Sections are not the only questionnaire of the sort; and our interrogatory follows the Deptford Sections which are at least thirty years older than Carlile's and somewhat different.
A scholar who enjoys a high reputation in the Authentic School once said: "If anybody should say that the Sections are not as old as the Royal Arch itself, I should challenge him to assign any date to them." I will not go so far as this, but I believe they are very ancient.
And now about "the Keystone." My view is that the use of this term in the plural, Keystones, is decidedly wrong, and you dissent from me because you say:
If there be any point that emerges from the scraps of information we have about the pre-nineteenth century Royal Arch symbolism, it would seem to be that originally there were three Vaults and three Arches.
Again, "If there be any point .... it would seem to be," are too indefinite expressions for any argument. And "pre-nine" teenth century" would seem to mean one hundred and fifty years ago!
I do not deny that at one time some Rituals spoke of three Vaults and three Arches. Carlile's Exposure (1825) is one of these. But do you know of another? The Deptford Ritual, which is fully thirty years older, knows nothing of this; it only speaks of one Vault. And in this respect, the Old American Ritual appears to have conformed to that of Deptford.
The Triplication of the Vault and of the Arches was a fanciful variation of our Masonic legend. The tradition about a unique Vault is extremely ancient. We all know how as early as 364, Philostorgius mentioned its discovery, but in this account there is nothing to suggest three Arches. The tradition was kept alive through the Middle Ages but not by Christian workers for whom it had no importance. It is from Manasseh ben Israel in El Conciliador, written in Spanish and published in 1632, that we have the mediaeval version; but again he only speaks of the one Vault which had been built by King Solomon, and there is no suggestion of three Arches. If, therefore, there was only one Arch (whence the name Royal Arch in the singular) there can only have been one Keystone, as I maintain.
Manasseh ben Israel was no ordinary Jew; he was an ardent Kabbalist, and his book helps to establish my view that it is from the Kabbalists that the Freemasons have derived all the chief elements of the Masonic Ritual (Q.E.D.). Oliver in his Origin of the Royal Arch has quoted the passage about the Vault from Lindo's English translation of El Conciliador, and I can vouch for the accuracy of the translation for I have read the original.
You say that on this point: "Carlile is supported by numerous Masonic designs, many of which are of the eighteenth century." That these designs are "numerous," I do not deny; but that "many" are of the eighteenth century and that they support Carlile, I cannot allow. There is one which dates from 1789 which was the subject of a brochure by Bro. Speth, but that one has no suggestion of either three Vaults or three Arches. I visited the Freemason's hall Library to see if I could discover the "many designs" you speak of, but I was unsuccessful. I came across one of 1801 by Finch on which was depicted one Vault with Arches. And I saw one of the Jewels said to have been worn by the "Nine Worthies" of the Antients on which there is the outline of three Arches, which do not necessarily imply three Vaults. These "Nine Worthies" were appointed in 1792, and in the Jewel was designed at the time of their appointment, that might possibly be the approximate date of the invention of the notion, which was obviously designed to make the tradition to harmonize with the existence of three Principles. In this same way the Select Masters speak of the Vault as having nine apart meets with nine Arches; a very pretty idea but quite unhistorical.
May I hope that after this elucidation you will try to help me in my self-imposed task of clearing up the problems of the Royal Arch? I have nothing to gain but everything to lose by trying to vindicate the old conception of the Supreme Degree against the opinion of the men who now direct operations in some of the Lodges of Research. Their successors, however, will do me justice.
F. de P.C.
* * *
THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE
COLLEGE DORMITORIES FOR MASON'S DAUGHTERS
Some seven or eight years ago the writer had occasion to spend Easter Sunday in Austin, Texas. Our Texas brethren will know without being told that the University of Texas is situated in this beautiful city, it is for others, not so well informed, that mention is made of this fact. It was in connection with the University, or more particularly the chapter of my college fraternity at the University, that the trip was made. If I may be permitted some purely personal expressions, I should like to say that my impression of the institution and the surrounding college life was anything but pleasant. I thought the school one of the worst equipped I had ever seen and my visits were not narrowly limited. At that time I had seen the campuses of some dozen or so of the larger middle western universities. The University of Texas was from the fraternity standpoint supposed to compare favorably with the other schools. But it did not.
With these impressions still in mind it was a pleasure to read in the current issue of the Texas Freemason that the Fraternity had erected a splendid girls home in Austin for the daughters of Masons. There have been numerous dormitories built for men at various educational institutions, but so far as I know this is the first time that the Masons have thought enough of their daughters to provide suitable living quarters for them.
In commendation of this work of our Texas brethren I wish to say only one thing: That the need for properly supervised dormitory facilities for women is acute at any co-educational institution. We think enough of our boys to take care of them, but the girls are left to struggle for themselves and believe me or not, it is some struggle.
* * *
THE FIVE-POINTED STAR
Will you please inform me in regard to the following. On the Masonic Chart there is a coffin with a five-pointed star on the side. Why is the star placed there and what is its significance?
We presume our correspondent refers to a chart in the Monitor used in Georgia, of which unfortunately we have no copy at hand. However, the many Monitors that have been published all follow each other very closely, and are all directly or indirectly to be traced back to the original one published by Webb. The "Hieroglyphic" emblems are derived from The True Masonic Chart of Webb's disciple and successor, Jeremy E. Cross, whose designs have been copied with very little change, over and over again.
The frontispiece of The True Masonic Chart is a design called the "Master's Carpet," which includes all the emblems of the symbolic degrees. It was intended, and in early days was used, as a design painted on cloth or canvas, and laid down on the floor of the lodge before the station of the Worshipful Master to illustrate the "lectures" when delivered to the candidate. There is in this well-known design a coffin in the foreground, and in later reproductions a five-point star or pentagram appears on the lid. In the original design of Cross it does not appear in this place, though it is found above the letter G. between the two pillars, and under the "All-Seeing Eye."
Following the "Master's Carpet" and the title page, came a series of plates each with several emblems or designs, intended to recall different points in the three degrees. The eighth of these showed the "chequered pavement" with a five-point star in the center. The seventeenth, dealing with the Master Mason, shows the star again, all by itself, under the legend "Second Section." The twenty-fifth plate gives the "Emblems of Mortality," and among these is the coffin, upon which is not a star, but a pentagram — though of course the outline of the pentagram is that of the star. All these separate designs have been recopied hundreds of times. In most of the later reproductions the pentagram has become a star.
Sixty years before Jeremy Cross published his Chart, there had appeared various works in France containing designs of similar import, though widely different in arrangement and detail. Two of these were reproduced in THE BUILDER for 1927, at pages 87 and 120, respectively. In each of these will be found a five-point star, relatively in the same position — between the pillars — as in the "Master's Carpet." In the earlier one the star contains the letter G. in the later one the letter appears below. In each the star is irradiated with flames issuing from between the points — the obvious reference being to the "Blazing Star" mentioned in the first lecture.
From these facts we have to infer that the five point star is among the oldest of our symbols. In the form of the pentagram it was used in ceremonial magic, and it has various occult meanings. In Masonry there seems little doubt that its primary significance was not so much in its being a star, as in its having five points. The fact that Cross put it as the symbol for the second section of the third degree, and repeated it in connection with the emblems of mortality, should be a sufficient hint to intimate to what it referred.
In the "Master's Carpet" and the French designs, it would seem to have a somewhat extended meaning, though derived from the primary one. Briefly we might say it refers to the final illumination that is only received symbolically in the lodge, but which in its reality will come after the faithful Master Mason has finished his labors, and has received admission to the Celestial Lodge above.
* * *
THE SYMBOLISM OF THE KNOCKS
I would like to have your opinion as to the symbolic meaning of the knocks given by the W.M., S.W. and J.W. in the opening and closing ceremonies (three knocks in rotation, three times in the third; two knocks in the second, and one knock in the First Degree).
One might say, with the man who saw the giraffe, "there ain't no such animal," but this would not be particularly helpful. There is a brief paragraph in Mackey's Encyclopaedia which mentions the use of hammer or mallet to call the workmen to labor, or to signify the hour of refreshment among German stone masons in the Middle Ages. This is taken from the Statutes of the Steinmetzen, which are given in full in Gould's History in Chapter iii, and are worth referring to.
The custom was a natural and practical one. Bells, gongs, trumpets, drums, and nowadays factory whistles, have been used everywhere and always to summon people to assemble for every kind of purpose. To use a hammer in this way in the stone-shed, or lodge, was a most obvious thing to do. It is quite likely, too, that some differentiation may have been made in the method of knocking, for different purposes, though less probably to indicate the position of the one doing it, as has been suggested by some authors.
Doubtless this use of the officers' gavels in our Speculative lodges is a survival of a genuine tradition. The distinction in regard to degrees is not so old, but it was a very natural development to indicate these by the number of knocks.
If any symbolism is to be looked for, it is in the number three, though it is intimately connected with the symbolism of the gavel. But whatever there might be of this has never yet been worked out. Here is an opportunity for our symbolists.
* * *
UNIQUE ST. JOHN'S DAY
On June 24th of this year, a St. John's Day festival was held by Chattanooga Lodge, No. 199, Chattanooga, Tenn. The present secretary of the lodge, Bro. John B. Hurley, read the minutes of the meeting held on June 24, 1869. The then secretary of the lodge who compiled those minutes was present in the person of Bro. Capt. A. J. Gaghan. He has been a member of Chattanooga Lodge for sixty-two years.