A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 16 No. 4 – April 1930
ROSICRUCIANISM IS FREEMASONRY
AN INTRODUCTORY SKETCH
Bro. H. V. Voorhis
There seems to be a decided interest in Rosicrucianism springing up among Masonic students. The mystery of the Rosy Cross, as it is more generally known, is apparently becoming more mysterious. (The terms Rosicrucian and Brother of the Rosy Cross are in reality synonymous, but the first term often intimates a reference to the "Order" itself, while the second connotes a relationship to the Rose Croix, now the Eighteenth Degree of the Scottish Rite of Masonry.) This revival of interest manifests itself every few years with added zest and is caused, usually, by a new investigator appearing upon the horizon with new (or at least more) facts; combined also with the a certain activity within the modern Rosicrucian societies.
Lately I have perused several important writings containing opinions on the existing complex and conflicting data related to this obscure subject. These show, to my own satisfaction at least, that the history of Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry has a common spiritual descent, a common mystery and at one time, during the early years of the two movements, had a common motive.
The mere mention of the word "Rosicrucian" in occult circles immediately produces an atmosphere of awe. Individuals who are the most sound logicians in every other branch of research, almost without exception begin to float on air, and, for the most part, enjoy it, as soon as this subject is broached. As Arthur Edward Waite has said:
Perhaps there has never been a realm of inquiry which has been colonized to such an extent by fools and knaves of speculation. If there has been one other, it is that which adjoins with no intervening boundary — I mean Emblematic Freemasonry.
The reason for this condition is not difficult to see. It is a condition of mind, resulting from the perusal of the many works on the subject by the great students who have written so deeply and voluminously on not only the subject of Rosicrucianism itself, but also on the outstanding men and, in a few instances, the women involved in the manifold workings of "The Order of the Rosy Cross."
It would almost seem that every person of note as an occult scholar from the year 1500 to 1800 (and possibly further) has been in some manner connected with the "Order." lndependent schools of or allied to Rosicrucianism have developed an individual literature partion to each school — thus complicating the development of a system rather than clarifying it. Says Waite:
The great spiritual symbolism which has come down to us through several houses of tradition, is not, I think, communicated in a plenary sense by any one school; it is rather the harmony of all.
A sentence once written in the thirteenth century by that unsurpassed thinker, Roger Bacon, can be applied very pertinently to Rosicrucianism. He said:
The subjects in question are weighty and unusual, they stand in need of the grace and favor accorded to human frailty ... for I am speaking of the sophistical authorities of the irrational multitude, men who are authorities in an equivocal sense, even as the eye carved in stone or painted on canvas has the name but not the quality of an eye.
The eminent English Mystic, Waite already quoted, says further:
The touchstone is always life, and for this reason antiquity per se is not a test of value. There would be no Hidden Mystery of the Rosy Cross if it had not suffered successive transmutations, adjusting a change of venture to a new heart of motive. I think, indeed, that it has died many times and has been as often reborn, even a little "nearer to the heart's desire."
Anderson, whose Book of Constitutions was first published in 1723, gives a source for Masonic origins of which many subsequent writers have availed themselves down to the present day. The representations made by these good brethren of earlier days do not bear critical analysis in some respects, in spite of the fact that we do not question their motives nor the sincerity of their beliefs. One statement concerning the origin of Freemasonry has to do with its beginnings in the Garden of Eden, for Anderson says:
Adam, our first Parent, created after the Image of God, the Great Architect of the Universe, must have had the Liberal Sciences, particularly Geometry, written on his Heart; for even since the Fall, we find the Principles of it in the Hearts of his Offspring, and which, in process of time, have drawn forth into a convenient Method of Propositions, by observing the Laws of Proportion taken from Mechanism: So that as the Mechanical Arts gave occasion to the Learned to reduce the Elements of Geometry into Method, this noble Science thus reduc'd, is the Foundation of all those Arts (particularly of Masonry and Architecture), and the rule by which they are conducted and perform'd, etc., etc., etc.
In the dedication of The Constitution, J. T. Desaguliers, Deputy Grand Master, takes pains to say that he needed not to tell his Grace of Montagu, to whom it was addressed,
... what Pains our learned AUTHOR has taken in compiling and digesting this Book from the old RECORDS, and how accurately he has compar'd and made everything agreeable to History and Chronology, so as to render these NEW CONSTITUTIONS a just and exact Account of MASONRY from the Beginning of the World to Your Grace's MASTERSHIP.
The views of Anderson, and those of later writers who followed him blindly, or elaborated upon the beauteous concepts of their times, are no longer accepted. In fact we are hard put to prove our existence prior to the Norman Conquest, and it is not until we reach the year 1390 A.D. that we first find documentary evidence — the Regius Poem, also known as the Halliwell MS., now preserved in the British Museum. A few of these early Old Charges are the only definite evidence we have.
Rosicrucianism, however, has numerous documents relating to its activities, and especially during the two centuries prior to the year 1717, when speculative Freemasonry established this date as the foundation stone of a new dispensation. If we accepted the evidence offered by Spencer Lewis, the Rosicrucian Order can be traced back to King Thothmes III, B.C. 1500. However, let us put aside this speculation as to very ancient origins and content ourselves with the later history.
It cannot be refuted that, in the century prior to the formation of the premier Grand Lodge of England, many eminent men were practicing Rosicrucianism, not only in England but also in Germany, France, Holland and possibly other countries.
The word "Rosicrucian" first appears in print in 1614, and shortly thereafter the so-called Order first took form as a permanent organization through a man known as Christian Rosenkreutz whose date of birth appears to have been about 1378, although his Fama and Confessio did not attract attention until two hundred and fifty years later upon its original publication. (1)
There is no exact period of commencement of the Rosicrucians as an Order, as there is in Freemasonry. Every well informed Mason recognizes the date 1717. There can be no misunderstanding that at that time the first Grand Lodge of Masons appeared. The best we can say about Rosicrucianism is that Rosy Cross literature appeared in German and Latin between 1614 and 1616 — affirming that a secret and mysterious Order had existed in Germany for some two centuries. These writings marked the entrance of Rosicrucianism into the daylight of contemporaneous criticism and attack.
To acquaint those interested with this branch of learning, Thomas De Quincy, in 1824, wrote a work entitled Historico-Critical Inquiry into the Origin of the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons. While this served as an excellent introduction to the subject, it was, to quote Waite,
A mere transcript from an exploded German savant, whose facts are tortured in the interest of a somewhat arbitrary hypothesis.
The first serious treatment of the subject in English, from an historical standpoint, was Hargrave Jennings' The Rosicrucians, Their Rites and Mysteries, 1870. It had gone into many editions and is still a so-called textbook on Roscrucianism. The two-volume edition of 1887 is considered the most desirable.
This treatment has been superseded by the Real History of the Rosicrucians, 1887, by Arthur Edward Waite and by another work written many years afterward on this subject from the pen of the same author (really his magnum opus), The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross, 1924. This book is a most exhaustive treatise, especially in the treatment of the material whereof this so-called "Order" is built.
There is at least one excellent work in another language by Fr. Wittemans, D.L., covering the history of the Rosicrucians — but, so far, it is not available in English.
In America a writer, whose work on this subject in connection with Freemasonry has been taken seriously, is Brother Ossian Lang, Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of New York State. A small pamphlet reprinted from the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of New York, 1918, written by Brother Lang, gives data purporting proof of a Rosicrucian derivation of Freemasonry.
In the recent work of Manly P. Hall, the subject of Rosicrucianism is taken up by the author in the chapter headed "The Fraternity of the Rosy Cross," by formulation of four postulates. The material has been carefully selected from a very wide range of works and excellently arranged.
Rosicrucianism first appeared in Germany (in the City of Cassel) in the latter part of the sixteenth century and came into public light, as already mentioned, in 1614. After arousing a great deal of interest in that country for about ten years, the mysteries of the Rosy Cross died down, and, because of the departure of several of the Rosicrucian adepts to India (2), the struggle for "thought freedom" was shifted to the Netherlands, where it had been going on slowly for a quarter of a century. Persons of the highest classes of society met in palatial structures under the Rosicrucian banner at both Amsterdam and The Hague in 1622. Some of these persons ran afoul of the law of the land and were hauled into court on various charges.
About this time, according to Wittemans, Frederic Henry, Stadtholder, who leaned toward the occult, and who no doubt saw a "writing on the wall," shifted his protection from Rosicrucianism to Freemasonry (3).
In France there was no Rosicrucian activity until about 1623, when, after a first public announcement, the Rosicrucians became embroiled in arguments with the Jesuit Fathers. Descartes and Abbe de Villars were about the only two flaming spots of French Rosicrucianism of this period and, as they have not the slightest connection with Freemasonry, we turn our attention to England.
Concerning Rosicrucianism in England, Wittemans remarks that:
The efforts of the Rosicrucians to erect a new spiritual temple of humanity, which failed in Germany, the Netherlands and France, were destined to be crowned with success in England. In the latter country the free development of human thought was not hampered by orthodoxy and, there, resulted in a spiritual movement that afterward found expression in Freemasonry, the universal temple of wisdom and fraternity.
Some time between 1614 and 1620, according to Waite, Robert Fludd, an English philosopher, physician, chemist, mechanic, anatomist, mathematician and astrologer, having been influenced by Maier became a "convert" to Rosicrucian thought.
He at once began writing on the subject and there appeared in 1616 his Apologia, a defense of Rosicrucianism. This was followed by a dozen or more other works on Rosicrucianism over a period of some twenty years. There are some (Dr. W. Wynn Westcott, for instance) who believe that Fludd was the first English Magus of the Brotherhood. At any rate, Fludd, together with Lord Verulam, better known as Francis Bacon, formed an English Rosicrucian Society in which Bacon, though secretly, played the principal role.
Bacon was 57 years old when Elias Ashmole, the famous English astrologer, was born and of whom we have positive proof of his being "made a Freemason" at Warrington in 1646. Bacon, however, died in 1626 at the age of 65 years, without, so far as we have any positive evidence, ever having been "made a Freemason."
Bacon is believed by many to have been the real author of the works attributed to Shakespeare and to have superintended the English translation of the Bible. He was the author of many works of a philosophical nature. His only connection with our story, however, is in relation to certain theories advanced by various writers that Freemasonry was either partially or totally shaped by him. To such Waite says:
The attempt to explain Freemasonry — Emblematical, Speculative and Figurative — as a new birth in time of the Order of the Rosy Cross has passed into desuetude, and yet there is evident — for it manifests now and again sporadically — a certain unsatisfied feeling, as if the last word still remained to be said. So also is there a feeling that in some way, occult and unproven, a shaping influence was exercised by Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, on the first beginnings of the Masonic Order. I do not suppose the last word has been said on this subject either, but it is clear to my mind that it must be one of negation. This thesis was started by Nicolai, in an appendix on the origin of Freemasonry attached to an Essay on the Knights Templar. The foundation is Bacon's unfinished romance The New Atlantis, written late in life and published posthumously.
This view is not taken by either Fr. Wittemans or the Rev. F. de P. Castells of England. Bro. Castells, who is engaged at present on works concerning the origin of the Masonic degrees, supports, with modifications and amplifications, the views of Mrs. Henry Pott as advanced in her Francis Bacon and His Secret Society. Fr. Wittemans says:
He [Bacon] ranks first among those who made Freemasonry heir to the Rosicrucian philosophy, at the time when the Masonic body underwent a reformation in the XVIIth century.
Manly P. Hall contributes this information:
Johann Valentin Andreae is generally reputed to be the author of the Confessio. It is a much-mooted question, however, whether Andreae did not permit his name to be used as a pseudonym by Sir Francis Bacon. Apropos of this subject are two extremely significant references occurring in the introduction to that remarkable potpourri The Anatomy of Melancholy. This volume first appeared in 1621 from the pen of Demoeritus Junior, who was afterward identified as Robert Burton who, in turn, was a suspected intimate of Sir Francis Bacon. One reference archly suggests that at the time of publishing The Anatomy of Melancholy in 1621 the founder of the Fraternity of R.C. was still alive. This statement — concealed from general recognition by its textual involvement — has escaped the notice of most students of Rosicrucianism. In the same work there also appears a short footnote of stupendous import. It contains merely the words: "Joh. Valent. Andreas, Lord Verulam." This single line definitely relates Johann Valentin Andreae to Sir Francis Bacon, who was Lord Verulam, and by its punctuation intimates that they are one and the same individual.
As Robert Macoy, the well-known Masonic writer, believed that Andreae was the true founder of Rosicrucianism, so, following the reasoning of Mr. Hall, indications appear that Bacon was responsible for even more than is generally suspected in the launching of our project. Further references along similar lines are found in Godfrey Higgins' Anacalypsis, and in the writings of the late Frank C. Higgins.
No matter which view one considers correct, it is most certainly a fact that Bacon lived at a time in which the minds of the forefathers of organized Masonry had their setting — a time in which it appears that English Rosicrucianism waned and Freemasonry assumed its outward role and continued on — and, according to Bro. Castells, soon worked out its role.
To go into this matter further would entail a complete review of Waite's, Castells', Mrs. Pott's and Fr. Wittemans' works, to say nothing of those quoted in this article. One must refer the reader to the writings of these individuals if interested in obtaining the latest views thereon. Wittemans' book, as indicated, is, unfortunately, not yet available in English.
The Rosicrucian connection with Freemasonry was considered in Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, of London, in a paper written by Dr. Wynn Westcott in 1894 (4).
Edward Conder, Jr., Waite, Van der Gon, Alting, Raemaekers, Mrs. Pott and Castells all agree that Bacon and Rosicrucianism certainly had something to do with Freemasonry just prior to its "revival" of 1717. But so many opinions have been expressed on various phases of the subject that to cite any here would be burdensome reading.
Fr. Wittemans estimates that over twenty thousand books and articles have been written on Bacon's alleged authorship of Shakespeare's plays. It would be natural to suppose that there would also be an extensive literature on the Baconian theory of Masonic origin. Just the reverse however, is true. Although there is a distinct school of the Bacon-Masonic origin theorists, it is supported by but few writers, and their contentions have received but meagre support.
Many writers endeavor to prove that the Rosicrucians used many symbols traceable to ancient Masonry. This department of our subject is even more confusing, especially to minds not trained in symbology, but it cannot be denied by anyone familiar with the "teachings" of both "fraternities" that many similarities do exist. Basing their judgment on things symbolic, De Quincy and Buhle believed that Freemasonry was Rosicrucianism modified by those who introduced it from Germany into England.
Because of changes in ritual after the formation of the premier Grand Lodge, before which time Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism were supposedly closely allied, and the organization of the present or modern Rosicrucian societies, which appear to lack descent from the original "Order," those differences have broadened.
The recent work of Bro. Castells (5) has again brought these questions to the fore among Masonic students. Coupled with the fact that the Rose Croix Degree has been drawn into the discussion, we have the outpourings of the English and American societies working under the banner and the name of Rosicrucianism, so that the present period promises some interesting research into these absorbing topics.
Freemasonry is defined as "a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated with symbols ... Truth is its center. It is founded on the purest principles of Morality, Brotherly Love and Charity," which Rosicrucians "have aimed to produce, in the crucible of spiritual alchemy, the perfect Man, who loves God above all, on whose heart the Christ has awakened and who has become a pillar of love and wisdom among his fellowmen," says Wittemans.
Where one "system" leaves off and the other begins cannot be precisely defined — like a mixture of water and glycerin, no one can tell by vision which is more in quantity. Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, it seems, were once entwined. Since that time each has perceptibly changed in both spirit and matter. If they were definitely separated once, much more must be known to determine their points of separation. Even now their forms are not easily separated. The teaching of each "system" is not a clear and defined thing. Students of either school fail to present a positive agreement in aims or objects — and even less, the students of both.
The writer has not set down the above in a disparaging sense, but just the reverse. He has read many works on both subjects and feels that studies of this nature are far more important than the grinding out of meaningless "joining Masons. " In fact, he feels that works such as Fr. Wittemans' are permanently valuable and hopes that this publication will be translated into the English language in the near future, so that it may take its proper place beside the work of Waite, Castells, Hall and others cited above. It is by far the most thorough and comprehensive work of its kind that has come to my attention and makes an excellent companion volume to Waite's The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. Its value, particularly to Masonic students, as well as to students of the Rosy Cross, lies in the great clarification it makes of the subject it covers.
(1) The Fama Fraternitatis, which is believed to have been written in the year 1610, but which apparently did not appear in print until 1614, although an earlier edition is suspected by some authorities. Manly P. Hall, An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic, Rosicrucian and Symbolic Philosophy, 1928.
(2) See the notes on the Latin pamphlet by Henrieus Neuhusius, 1618, in Waite's Occult Sciences, 1891, p. 210.
(3) Certain data in the work cited concern an ancient Masonic lodge in Amsterdam of great antiquity, have a bearing on this subject, and may bring out some interesting light on Freemasonry in the Netherlands.
(4) "The Rosicrucians, Their History and Aims, with reference to the alleged connection between Rosicrucians and Freemasonry," A. Q. C. vol. vii, p. 37.
(5) The works by the Rev. F. de P Castells referred to are his Antiquity on the Holy Royal Arch, 1927; the Origin of the Masonic Degrees, 1928; and The Historical Analysis of the Holy Royal Arch Ritual, 1929.
* * *
JOHN HUS: REFORMER AND MARTYR
Bro. T. M. Matejovsky
With A Foreword by Bro. J. S. Roucek
Our readers will recall the interesting articles contributed by Bro. Roucek last year upon the subject of Czecho-Slovak Masonry, and we are now further indebted to him for communicating to us this paper on the great Bohemian religions leader and reformer. Written in Prague, it was read last year before Shakespear Lodge in England, and the Lodge La Republique in France. As it plunges a little abruptly into the theme for readers unacquainted with the history of Europe in the medieval period, Bro. Roucek has written a brief introduction. Bro Roucek is now Professor of Social Science at the Centenary Junior College, Hackettstown, New Jersey.
THE following article by Bro. Matejovsky on John Hus is written primarily from the Masonic viewpoint. As such it has been delivered as a lecture in English and French lodges. Because my articles in THE BUILDER have been concerned with the development of Bohemian Masonry, I should like to write a few words of introduction, in order to make it easier for the reader to understand what Hus represents to us, from the viewpoint of the development of moral ideas, which we, as Masons, stand and fight for. Somewhere on the road toward our goal of Masonic perfection, John Hus stands in the shadow of Middle Ages, as a rock around which the waves of human passions roused by religious convictions are raging. But he is a rock which is also a milestone, probably one of the greatest, which marks the rough and difficult road from moral subjugation to spiritual freedom.
Our English literature does not concern itself very much with this figure, any more than it does with the history of Central Europe. Notice, please, that our best histories of this continent always emphasize the limit of their treatment, as, for example, "The History of Western Europe," as if the history of Central Europe was not connected, and very intimately connected, with the formation of Western Europe, and thus also of the United States. We find mention of Hus here and there, but the evaluation of this great personality is always limited to a few lines, which really mean nothing. The most popular of our historical university textbooks, for example, dismisses Hus with the following:
While his (Wycliff's) followers, appear to have yielded pretty readily to the persecution which soon overtook them, his doctrines were spread abroad in Bohemia by another ardent reformer, John Huss, who was destined to give the Church a great deal of trouble.
This present age of extreme nationalism recognizes that the foundation of our patriotic and nationalistic feeling lies in the historical memories of a certain people, based mostly on heroic figures connected with their past. From this limited definition our historians come to a conclusion that this nationalist movement started at the period of the French Revolution and culminated in the World War. To fulfill it, our nation entered the World War, and Wilson expressed it in his phrase, the "Self-determination of small nations." But we must emphasize that the Czechoslovaks have been trying to live their nationalistic life ever since the times of John Hus, the fifteenth century, as is demonstrated in the following article.
One of the illustrations shows the monument of John Hus in the Old Town Square at Prague. It is a symbol of that for which the Czechoslovaks fought, the memorial of the hero who represents today the ideal of Czechoslovak national life. That country "over there" is not yet afflicted with the "debunking" now so popular among the intelligentsia of America, and so Hus still represents the ideal for which President Masaryk, Dr. Eduard Benes and the Czechoslovak legionnaires fought during the World War! love of country, of freedom, of righteousness, of integrity in Church and State. The same ideal is alive in the hearts of all Czechs, at home and abroad, and they are about 500,000 strong in the United States, who see realized in him the loftiest conception of duty, patriotism and spiritual freedom.
Hus has no parallel known to history. Let us not depreciate the heroes of other nations, which can present many eminent personalities in their history. But Hus was a spiritual pioneer to a very marked degree, and his stand for truth, which he sealed at the stake, constitutes an era in the world's history. Where else can the duty of a Christian man be more magnificently summed up than in the famous saying: "Seek the Truth, Listen to the Truth, Learn the Truth, Love the Truth, Speak the Truth, Hold the Truth, Defend the Truth, until Death"? I dare to challenge any brother Mason whether he knows of any higher Masonic ideal. Hus perished in the angry flames of Catholic fury in 1415. But he stands for the defense of the truth, he passed on the torch that has lighted the revolt against ecclesiastical despotism, the struggle for spiritual freedom, which is so eminently the ideal of Freemasonry.
Let me call attention to an incident in the life of John Hus which is connected most intimately with our Masonic practice. The Council of Constance accused him of heresy. He answered: "I am ready humbly to retract anything that shall be proved to me to Scriptures."
For this conviction Hus died. Such a thing had never been known before, for any man to refuse unconditional obedience too the Pope or Council. Hus was, at that moment, the first in the Middle Ages to refuse to obey an authority till then supreme. And reason and conscience won. This is why he is called the torch which threw light into mediaeval darkness. But the smoke of the fire which burned his body drifted over foreign countries, and a very few years after his death Hussites made their appearance in Germany, in Holland, in Poland and even in England.
Thus the Bohemians took up as an inheritance from John Hus the fight for truth, respect for personal conviction, loyalty to freedom and a love of fraternity.
If such a busy man as Mussolini can busy himself to publish a book on John Hus in this country (it appeared last year), then, I believe, that we too can afford a little of our time to the consideration of the following article.
IT has been said that Jan Hus was a forerunner of the Reformation, but at the same time it has been pointed out that he is regarded as belonging to the Middle Ages. The Roman Catholic Church is anxious to insist that Hus died believing Catholic and that therefore the free-thinkers have no right to regard him as one of their spiritual fathers.
Thus the question arises as to whether the Freemasons should pay heed to Hus and whether any Masonic principles can be found in his teaching. It is undeniable that Hus cannot be dismissed as being a man of the Middle Ages because he lived in the years 1369 to 1415. Indeed, it was not so long ago that Monsignore Marmaggi, the Papal Nuncio, left Prague and his post precisely on account of Hus, BECAUSE he desired to do his best to prevent the Czechoslovak Government from taking part officially in the celebrations which are annually held in Bohemia on July 6th, the anniversary of the day when Hus was burnt at the stake in Constance. If in our days a diplomatic representative leaves his post — an entirely unusual occurrence in diplomacy — on account of Jan Hus, is it fitting to assert that the questions concerning him are out of date, and that there are more important matters with which we should occupy ourselves? The desire of the Roman Church is that no mention should be made of him; this means that the questions of Hus and of the results of his doctrine is still pregnant with significance for the thought of the modern individual and is still a painful question for the Curia.
Let us answer three questions: What does Hus mean to the Czech nation? What does Hus mean to Europe? What does Hus mean to the Bohemian Brethren?
WHAT DOES HUS MEAN TO THE CZECH NATION?
As regards the first question, let us admit that there is no generally accepted view on Hus, even amongst the Czechs. The majority of them, however, recognize his unique character and speak of him as one of the great men produced by their nation. The minority — the Clerical circles — likewise regard him as a great national figure, but consider him as the cause of the misfortunes which befell the Czech nation, as the cause of the long wars that "destroyed many monuments of art in Bohemia and brought about great bloodshed through which the Czech nation nearly perished." The Clericals describe him as a man who destroyed respect for authority by reason of his disobedience to Church authority and thereby brought his nation to within an ace of complete ruin.
The majority of the Czechs, however, are definite followers of Hus. Amongst these, two groups may be distinguished. One group regards him in the first place as the creator of the modern Czech language, and in the second, as the successful defender of Czech national rights in the University of Prague and the awakener of Czech national consciousness; the radicals amongst these admirers of Hus point out that the Hussite movement prepared the way for the emancipation of the peasants from the oppression of the feudal magnates and see in him a forerunner of modern democracy and modern Socialism.
In addition to this, the second group sees in Hus a great awakener of men's consciences, a great forerunner of the humanitarian movement which teaches universal brotherhood and the duty to seek above all the human being in every individual.
Neither of these groups looks for the scholar and the theologian in Hus, they are concerned above all for the moralist, the reformer and the pioneer. They place his personal merits above his endeavors as a scholar.
We have set ourselves three questions, and it is evident from the first question that if we solve it satisfactorily we immediately obtain the answers to the remaining two questions.
It is necessary to give a short account of Hus' life. We know little of his origin. The name Hus was really a pejorative nickname, but we do not know its true origin. The particular opinions regarding Hus are so divergent that we need not be surprised by the fact that two years ago Professor Pekar declared that Hus was not born in southern Bohemia, far from Prague, in the little town of Husinec, as has been generally accepted during the previous 500 years, but in the village of Husinec which is situated two hours' journey to the north of Prague. Let us note in passing that this assertion has remained without support. Hus, therefore, obtained his name from his birthplace, a small town in southern Bohemia.
He was a student at the University of Prague and had an unhappy time in his youth; in Prague he often was without enough to eat. In accordance with the views of that time, he became a priest. He was ever zealous in his studies, he obtained the degree of the university, and became first professor, and later rector, of the university. He was not therefore an ordinary professor nor even an insignificant scholar. His education was of the French type, for the University of Prague was established upon the model of the University of Paris in the year 1348. Its founder, Charles, King of Bohemia, was of French origin on his father's side; his father, John of Luxemburg, having married the last princess of the old Czech dynasty of the Premyslids, who had reigned in Bohemia for 500 years, up to 1306. In addition to this, Charles had been brought up in France, and at the time when he ascended the Bohemian throne he was no longer able to speak Czech, and was obliged to learn his mother's language once more. Having a Parisian education, he desired that his nation — he wrote this expressly in the foundation charter — should likewise make use of the best learning of the day. We mention this in order to show that Franco-Czech relations are not of recent date.
Several Czechs had studied in Paris before Charles, and all of them were eminent both as scholars and as moralists. Hus must therefore be considered as a flower of a branch of Czech culture that had been grafted with a shoot of French origin. It was at the end of the 13th century that the Czech first came into contact with the French; Czech historians prove that the Albigensians, who were of French origin, had settled in the very district where Hus was born. Thus Hus continued the old traditions which had been brought to Bohemia and had called forth in the Czech nation a certain kind of regionalism, the characteristic features of which are found by some sociologists to be still existent amongst those Czechs whose homes are situated in the neighbourhood of his birthplace. These characteristics consist in a serious view of life, a profound sense of genuine religion, a zealous democratic spirit, and a readiness to defend the truth, when ascertained, to the very death.
From Hus' letters we know that in his youth he liked comfort and soft clothing. What is the explanation for the fact that this man of lowly parentage suddenly became the spiritual leader of the nation?
Hus was an eloquent preacher, and owing to his abilities in this direction the archbishop appointed him preacher to the synodal assemblies, at which he, with the consent of the archbishop, admonished the clergy to live purer lives, and not to set the people a bad example. At that time the Church was very wealthy and consequently attracted into its ranks many men who were not fit to become priests.
When the Papal commissioner arrived in Prague to sell indulgences, Hus opposed him and thus came into conflict with the majority of the University professors, who were of German nationality. Charles, the founder of the University, had divided the professional staff into four "nations": Czech, German, Polish and Magyar. The Czech professors were in the minority; indeed nearly all the Czechs were members of a progressive minority. After this experience Hus and his friends succeeded in inducing King Vaclav to recognize the natural rights of the Czech nation, and the conservative foreigners thus found themselves in the minority.
Owing to the mediaeval structure of society, the religious services held in the churches were not conducted in Czech; the common people, whose language was Czech, could not pray in church, and Czech hymns had to be sung in the churchyard.
A number of influential citizens built in Prague a church to which they gave the name of "Bethlem" and obtained permission for sermons to be delivered in this church in Czech, so that the common people could sing hymns and pray there in their own language. Hus was the second preacher in the Bethlem church; he sacrificed his career at the University to the needs of the common people.
After Hus had delivered a sermon he used to write with a piece of coal the main points of his discourse on the wall of the church. This was a great novelty, and he aroused a considerable opposition by it, and also because he wrote tracts in Czech. He was not the first to do this; before him a Czech landowner, Thomas of Stitny, had written in Czech on spiritual matters, and had likewise been reproached by the scholars of the University for profaning learning. The theologians found fault with Hus for profaning theology. In our days one can find in Protestant churches many Scriptural inscriptions which speak to visitors even when the minister is silent; Hus was the first of whom we have record who sought in this way to win the congregation over to his views.
Hus had still a further connection with Western Europe. His friend Jerome, an eloquent and gifted orator, who had traveled through the whole of Europe, brought with him to Prague from England the works of Wycliffe. The reasoning of this forerunner of the Reformation interested Hus, and when the archbishop, who up till then had been his friend and protector, turned from him and ordered Wycliffe's books to be burned, Hus opposed him and began to defend Wycliffe's doctrine. When he did not desist from his arguments, Prague was placed under an interdict, and this meant the expulsion of Hus from Prague.
Thus an insignificant preacher and agitator of unknown origin became the leader of the nation.
Hus departed from Prague for the Czech countryside and there he preached sermons which had not been delivered in the churches. "He preached on pilgrimages, on marriages, under a limetree, between the hedges," said a contemporary chronicler. His sermons were of an entirely new character; it may be said that he preached practical Christianity, for he did not deal with theological problems, nor did he lay any stress on dogma.
Although Hus, up to this time a favorite at the royal Court, upheld the natural rights of the Czech element at the University, this does not signify a manifestation of Chauvinism, or of a desire for University emoluments. He remained a poor man, and as regards the rest, he preached and wrote: "I prefer a good German to a bad Czech," and in another place he wrote: "Accursed is the man who abandons truth for a piece of bread."
It is a well-known fact that at that time the Church was in a very bad condition; it was the period of Pope John XXIII, who was accused of having been a pirate on the high seas. Hence Hus appealed to the Council of Constance against the sentence of excommunication passed on him by the Pope. And when he discovered that the Council of Constance held the same view as the Pope, he appealed to reason.
For the journey to Constance Hus obtained a letter of safe conduct from the Emperor Siegmund, brother of the King of Bohemia. Today we know from the documents of the Council of Constance that his fate was sealed before ever he arrived in Constance. Even if he had submitted and had renounced his views, he was to have been incarcerated until death in a monastery somewhere on the Rhine. Hus' defense and examination before the Council of Constance was really only a game with loaded dice. He was imprisoned immediately on his arrival in Constance, and he was never to be released. He was never to return to Bohemia. A martyr's death at the stake on July 6th, 1415, was merely the last act in the tragedy of his living death in the monastery prison.
Why did Hus die a violent death when a large number of other zealous men who proclaimed the need for Church reforms died peacefully, like ordinary men, in freedom? Why were not Erasmus, Luther and Calvin condemned to die a martyr's death?
Today we know; for history has instructed us. Hus died a martyr's death because he did not keep secret the fact that he considered not only the Church, and the dignitaries of the Church, but also the representatives of the State, to be the cause of the corruption in the Church and in society. He regarded Emperor Siegmund as the chief offender. Hence it was in vain that he made an appeal to human reason, and to the Scriptures. Hus placed himself in opposition to the theocracy of Church and the absolutism of the State, and therefore he was doomed. Luther upheld feudal views, and therefore the Elector supported him against the Council of Worms. Calvin became a ruler, and therefore he did not die. Hus was in advance of Europe, and being isolated, died at the stake.
The Hussites, who comprised nearly the whole of the Czech nation, chose the chalice as the emblem for their banners, and hence they were known as Kalisnici; that is, "men of the chalice." However it was not a question merely of this symbol. Five years after the death of Hus the Czech nation assembled without arms to consider the methods to adopt for the defense of their convictions. It was not until the announcement was made that a crusading army was to invade Bohemia and that the entire nation, with the exception of young children, was to be exterminated, that the national leaders asked the University of Prague whether it was permissible for Christians to take up arms in defense of their religious convictions. The University decided that in this and similar cases it was a question not only of the right but also of the duty to defend one's religious beliefs. The reply of the University was incorporated in four principles known as the Articles of Prague.
The first Hussite principle was:
- the Word of God may be preached by all persons authorized so to do, laymen included.
- The Lord's Supper shall be administered to all persons, whether priests or laity, in the form both of Bread and Wine.
- Grievous offenses of all persons, not only of the laity but also of priests, shall be dealt with by the regular law courts.
- Seeing that great possessions and the powers of ruling princes have drawn the attention of priests from spiritual matters, the priests shall be deprived of this power and the bishops shall not be allowed to act in the capacity of temporal lords.
These articles must be understood from the point of view of their consequences. The first article signifies freedom of speech and religious conviction, which corresponds to the present-day freedom of the press and the right of presenting petitions. The second article signifies the democratization of society and the abolition of theocratic order. Laicization was strengthened by the third article, which demanded the democratization of the judicial system and of the administration. This article signifies also the abolition of class privileges. The secularization of property, which was proclaimed for moral reasons, signifies the separation of the Church from the State.
The Hussite Wars, which began in 1420, five years after the death of Hus, were of a defensive character, and their object was above all the establishment of peace and quietness; as we see from one of the three Hussite songs that have been preserved. The Hussite Wars were waged in defense of the new democracy which was coming into being, and of the new social order. For fifteen years the Czech nation defended itself and upheld its views. It did so not by reason of its military and numerical predominance, but because at that time it surpassed its rivals and adversaries in education. At this period the Czech people occupied a leading position in European education. This is not the statement of a Czech nationalist, and still less of a Czech Cauvinist, but of a German, Dr. Bezold, who wrote: "The Hussites not only defended their opinions, but also taught the rest of Europe, and particularly their neighbors the Germans, a lesson in religious, political and national tolerance." The chalice was the symbol of the new social order.
It was not a question merely of the new orthography of the Czech language (it was Hus who devised this new orthography) but for the stimulation of interest in spiritual matters amongst the masses of the Czech people. Hus was the first national teacher of the Czech people. Before his time education was exclusively in the possession of the nobility, and to a certain extent, of the wealthy burgher class. Owing to Hus, "Czech women had more learning than many a Church dignitary in Rome, " wrote Pope Pius II, Eneas Silvius. It was not a question merely of administrative measures, when, owing to the influence of Hus, the statutes of the University of Prague were altered in the year 1409, but of interesting the entire nation in the development of its one source of education. In consequence of this widespread interest in spiritual questions ordinary folk among the Czechs held open air meetings in order to discuss matters which hitherto had been reserved for the clergy and the nobility. The great assemblies of the Hussites constitute the first attempt in Europe to establish a parliament without class distinctions.
Hus defended his right to expound the Scriptures and the doctrines of Wycliffe not because he was a Czech but because he wished to be instructed by a world assembly; he brought his dispute before the bar of public opinion, and interested the whole of Europe of that time, on the question of the rights of conscience. When the young Frenchman Earnest Denis, late professor of the Sorbonne, presented his dissertation, in the year 1873, on John Hus, and discussed in it some of his political opinions, his teacher remarked: "Do you know that you would have been burned for these opinions, exactly like John Hus, if you had spoken in this way at his time?" The talented young scientist, possessing the French spirit, answered: "I know; but I know as well, that if Huss had not lived, I would be burned for these opinions at the present time."
This answer contains as well the answer for the second question, which I placed at the beginning of this lecture. The answer to the second question, what signifies Hus for Europe? is briefly, Hus was the pioneer of liberty, of conscience and of modern democracy.
As he appealed to the human reason, against the council at Constance, further so he appealed to the human right for everybody without exception. This is the reason why the Freemasons in Czechoslovakia give place to Hus among the spiritual fathers of Freemasonry.
If you ask me if any of the Czechoslovak lodges bears the name of John Hus, I must answer negatively. The oldest Czech lodge, which was established two days before the end of the world war, received the name "John Amos Komensky." This happened because the fourteen brothers who formed the first Masonic lodge before the war was yet ended agreed in this, that no one else could be more suitably chosen; so that this name would be placed on the shield of Czech Freemasonry. Because already, one hundred years earlier, it had been written of Komensky that he was the real father of modern Freemasonry.
The man who said this was not a Czech, but a German, a professor of the university at Yenna, near Weimar, the favorite residence of our great brother Goethe, and of the Masonic student and author, Charles Christian Krause.
One hundred years ago, the majority of the Czechoslovak nation slept still, not only in material obscurity but in spiritual slavery as well. Therefore the tenth Czech lodge adopted the motto: Veritas vincit, this was also the motto of Hussites.
Hus signifies a great regenerative movement, the beginning of Czech renaissance in the fifteenth century. He signifies as well the beginning of the new movement, of the new renaissance of the Czech nation in the last century.
One hundred years ago there came to Prague from Moravia, Francis Palacky, who became the great historian of the Czechoslovak nation. Palacky for the first time treated of the life of Hus in Czech history, and defended his name against clerical adversaries. It is a fact that it was the work of Palacky through which the national aspirations of the Czechoslovak people were awakened. Then years after the death of Palacky (who died a private scientist) there came to the university in Prague the young professor Thomas Garrigue Masaryk.
The latter was first designated as professor of philosophy, but soon after he began to occupy himself with the synthesis of problems, to which he gave the title "The Czech Question."
A part of these studies is a book which has the title John Hess. Masaryk not only discussed the teaching of Hus as a matter of history, written by Palacky, but deduced the consequences of his studies, which signify the regeneration of the Czech nation in the sense of Hus. The process of the transmutation is not finished yet, the struggle which Masaryk undertook for the political liberty in the year 1915, was begun in Geneva on the day of Hus, the 6th of July.
This was done wittingly and purposely. The Czechoslovak legionnaires, who fought for the political independence of their country, have done so under the ensign of the Hussite chalice. During the last year of the war, one of the Czechoslovak regiments in Siberia received the name "Master John Hus' regiment," and continues to bear this name today.
It can be said, that Hus awakened the Czechoslovak nation three times: The first time in the 15th century, the second time at the beginning of the 19th, and for the third time at the beginning of the 20th century. Led by the example of Hus, Palacky and Masaryk both insisted that the Czechoslovak nation should be so educated that they might deserve to stand among the most advanced nations of Western Europe, and to fight after the example of Hus for true liberty, and that Europe ought to consider the "Czech Question" as a part of the problem of European democracy. In this spirit the statesmen of Czechoslovakia defeated the Papal nuncio, Marmaggi, three years ago in Prague. Thus, have I endeavored to explain why the Czech Masons reverence and follow Jan Hus.
* * *
MASONIC CLUBS OF THE A.E.F. IN THE WORID WAR
By Bro. Charles F. Irwin, Associate Editor
FOR some years I have been deeply interested in the collection of data upon this subject. The effort has been unusually difficult by the seeming loss of interest upon the part of the men who were instrumental in creating and fostering the Clubs during the War. This may be accounted for to a degree by the stern necessity of recovering a professional and business standing upon return to civilian life.
Out of the many Clubs that carried on the light of Masonry during the strenuous days of the struggle there are some that have been chronicled through the unselfish interest of members who gave, largely out of their own resources, the money to have printed booklets or pamphlets recording the origin and activities of their respective Masonic organizations. It has been our good fortune to receive copies of many of these pamphlet histories and from them to put in a consecutive form the series upon which we now enter.
Moreover we have had the added good fortune to become the depository of a number of the original minute books and membership rolls of some of these Clubs, and in the nature of the case the histories we shall display in the series of articles here begun will have an added value and importance.
In several instances the Clubs so nearly approximated to lodges that we hesitated for some time over the advisability of including their stories among our previous series that ran in THE BUILDER during the past two years. They, however, will find their place in this series.
In view of the fact that it is our intention to present the results of these studies in book form at some time in the future, it will be of great assistance to us in covering the field adequately if the former members of Masonic Clubs during the War would kindly assist us by suggestions, and especially by the supply of any written information they may possess. The loan of booklets, histories of particular Clubs, together with the loan of pictures and other records, souvenirs or mementos connected with the life of such Clubs, for the purpose of having cuts made to illustrate these articles, will be regarded by us as a most fraternal consideration. It will be convenient if those able and willing to assist in this way would send the material to the author of this series, and we undertake, upon the completion of our use of the loaned material, to return it safely to those who so kindly permitted us to use it.
The number of Clubs both at home and in Europe was so large that it will be necessary for us to compress the story of most of them and probably to publish more than one at a time. Frankly, there are a considerable number that are to us but names and locations. This list will be submitted to our readers as the series develops with the hope that some of their histories may come to us for use in our studies.
It is as a labor of love we enter into this work, and we trust that from it may arise a new department of Masonic study, productive of valuable and permanent additions to the history of the Craft. Let us not permit the memories of these spontaneous Masonic activities of the Great War to be thrown into the rubbish heap, to leave only myths and vague traditions to be handed down to the coming generations. Let us contribute our portion of known Masonic facts so that around the present studies may grow a body of genuine historical record to instruct and guide the Craft should emergencies arise of a like nature unfortunately in the future.
One of the anomalies of the history of Masonry during the World War is this, that the names of the brethren who were the active organizers and promoters of our Clubs during the War have in many cases passed into oblivion, while brethren who were apparently not identified with the war-time Masonic Clubs are now exceedingly active in fostering Masonic groups during peace time. Why is this so? Why have the war-time brethren permitted themselves to be thus shelved?
Another anomaly is this, that the bulk of the members and leaders in the war-time Clubs were enlisted men. Commissioned officers were few and far between as active Masonic workers. Today this is reversed, and men who have held or who now hold commissions from the government are the active Masonic Club leaders, while men who were enlisted soldiers have practically ceased to have any close connection with Club leadership.
An illustration of this is seen in the conferring upon our war-time General Pershing the honor of the 33rd degree of Scottish Rite Masonry, and yet I have endeavored vainly to discover a single Lodge or Club in the A.E.F. which was honored by the presence of the General during the War. This is not at all intended to reflect on our wartime leader of the forces, but merely to illustrate how the bodies here at home have overlooked their opportunities to confer upon the brethren who bore the light of the Craft in dark days the honors their services deserved. It would be a most pleasing task for those who have studied the wartime Masonic leadership among the Craftsmen in the A.E.F. to furnish for such serious consideration a host of names of Masons who did so much to encourage and strengthen the courage and velour of our Craftsmen abroad.
1. THE AMERICAN MASONIC CLUB OF NEVERS, FRANCE.
This Club receives our first consideration due to the fact that it comes first on the official register of Masonic Clubs during the World War. It was not the pioneer in Club life, yet its history is a most interesting one.
Nevers was the scene of much of the activities connected with the furnishing and refurnishing of motor transport during the war. At this post were located some of the largest motor assembly and repair shops of the A.E.F.
Among its personnel therefore were to be found men of a high degree of education and skill. And naturally among such a group of Americans the Craft would find a considerable representation. Upon the Roster of the Club are to be found men of the universities and colleges as well as men from the factories and technical trades.
Some years ago it was my good fortune to establish contact with Dr. Edgar Butler of Minden, Ida., who served the Club as its President. Bro. Butler is a successful dentist, and from his well-tested interest in the Craft during the War we are assured he is just as effective in his professional and fraternal activities today. Dr. Butler recognized the value of our researches into war-time Masonry and sent to us the original records and membership roll of the Club, to preserve with similar relics in a collected form and place, for future use by the Craft. What we have to say about this Club comes then from official sources and may be regarded as authentic. In addition to the valuable record furnished us by Bro. Butler, we were fortunate enough to establish a most delightful contact with Frank A. Starr of Richmond, Va., who served the Club most efficiently as its secretary during the War. We shall therefore have occasion to refer to his data as we go along.
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF
France, April 17, 1919.
Captain Frank is, Starr, Sec.,
Masonic Club of Nevers,
Dear Captain Starr:
General Pershing has received your letter of April 10th, requesting his acceptance of honorary membership in the Masonic Club of Nevers, and directs me to inform you that it is with pleasure that he accepts same.
The American Masonic Club of Nevers, France, was organized in April, 1918, and ran continuously until May or June of 1919, when possession of their Club rooms was surrendered by the fen members still remaining in Nevers. Only four or five members were left at this Post by that time. The requirement for Club membership was proof that the Entered Apprentice Degree had been conferred on the applicant in a regular Lodge of Free Masons. A nominal fee for membership was charged. The meetings were of a "get-together" type, and programs of a most pleasing nature were prepared and rendered. Occasionally there were musical programs, and generally refreshments were served. The refreshments consisted of chocolate, doughnuts, cakes and fruit. Music was furnished by the Engineers' Band.
The same characteristic that will appear in other Clubs was the custom here, namely short talks on Masonry by well-informed brethren. One of the especially interesting things about this Club was, that when refreshments were left over after the Club had been regaled, the local inhabitants, who were usually standing outside listening to the music, would be invited in to dispose of the surplus.
The programs seemed to have been greatly enjoyed by the members, and furnished them with topics for conversation upon adjournment. No distinction in rank was permitted to mar the harmony of these gatherings, and all met upon the level and were glad of the opportunity.
The Club rooms remained open all day. Usually someone was in charge to look after visitors. A generous supply of books, magazines and papers were on hand, together with writing materials for the use of members and guests.
From the fees and other financial resources a tidy sum was left in the hands of the treasurer. From this fund service was rendered to needy and worthy Masons and thereby was performed a most worthy fraternal service.
A member of the Club, a Major-Chaplain (whose name, sad to say, is not on record), was in the habit of holding Christian services in a small church in Nevers each Sunday. It was the sole Protestant Church in the city, and it was having a hard struggle to maintain an existence. This coming to the attention of the Masonic Club, at the suggestion of a member, shortly before the Club disbanded, the funds remaining were voted to be given to this church for the purpose of having memorial windows of stained glass placed in the church to the memory of American Masons who served in France. A committee was appointed to make a thorough investigation, consisting of Bros. Butler and Starr. Capt. Starr went to Paris, placed the memorial sum on deposit to be paid to the firm after the work had been done. These windows were not installed till after the Americans had returned home, and so the kindly memorials they gave to our Protestant friends of Nevers were never seen by those who made them possible.
While the movement looking toward the windows was on, it was suggested that the Club put on an entertainment and raise their gift to generous proportions. The idea was adopted and to commemorate the occasion, small aprons were made for distribution to friends and Masonic patrons. These were cut out of thin white leather, and were three inches wide and two and a half inches in depth. Upon the flap was printed, FIRST AMERICAN MASONIC CLUB, A.E.F.," and on the body of the apron, " NEVERS, FRANCE, FIRST ANNIVERSARY, APRIL 1, 1919. LT. EDGAR BUTLER, PRES.
This entertainment was a huge success. The aprons were auctioned off to the highest bidders. This occasioned great merriment, and was productive of a substantial sum. When the plungers had had their innings, the price came down, and the residue of the stock was disposed of at the price of five francs each.
The officers of the Club forwarded one of these small aprons to General Pershing together with a membership card in their Club. A reply was returned to them expressing appreciation for the gift.
From the report of the Overseas Masonic Mission, page 175, we read:
On April 14th (1919), Bro. Lay visited Nevers and the American Masonic Club at that place. He learned that the Club had raised a fund of over 5,000 francs for the placing of art glass windows in the Protestant Chapel at Nevers, as a memorial to the American Masons in the A.E.F., and attended the regular meeting of the Club on April 15th.
On page 179 of the same report is the following:
The fund raised by the American Masonic Club at Nevers for stained glass memorial windows in the Protestant Chapel at Nevers was turned over to the Mission. The glass was ordered and under its auspices and supervision was installed.
Among the papers read before this Club was one by Bro. Charles E. Smith, Y.M.C.A. Secretary, Camp Stevenson, France. Its title is as follows: "Points of Interest concerning the French Masonic Lodge and Lodge Rooms of the Grand Orient of France Located at No. 36, rue de l'Oratoire, Nevers (Nievre), France." In this paper are some data of sufficient value to the Masonic student to warrant reproducing it here.
The first point of interest is the inscription on a plate on the exterior of the building, which, literally translated, is: CHAMBER OF THE DUCOY or NEVERIANS, 1405-1789; CREATED BY PHILIP OF BURGUNDY. DEPARTMENTAL (STATE) PRISON, 1789-1862. INITIATIVE SYNDICATE OF NEVERS, 1862-1912.
Within this building to the rear is a room which was used for Masonic purposes. Suspended from the ceiling a short distance from the station of the Venerable Master is the letter "G." The room was originally used as a Chapel for the Counts, and later for the prisoners. It has been the Masonic Lodge Room since 1884. Descending to the basement you enter what proved to be the cell or dungeon which was at one time a room of torture. Hinges with chains attached, which were used to chain prisoners to the wall, when the building was used as a prison house, are still intact. On the ceiling are inscriptions freely translated as follows:
If curiosity has brought you here, pass on.
If you fear to have your faults revealed, you will fare ill with us.
If you are capable of deceit, tremble; someone will find you out.
If you care for distinction among men, pass on; they are not known here.
According to the French and other continental rituals, the candidate is first introduced into the Chamber of Reflection, and the above sentences are usually inscribed prominently on the walls, to give the keynote to the aspirant's meditations. He has also to write answers to several questions, and to give briefly his ideas about the fraternity and the motives that have led him to seek initiation.
The old dungeon of this historic building was obviously well adapted for this peculiar and impressive part of the French initiatory rites.
This Lodge was organized in or about 1789.
The following notice referring to the Club appeared in the New York Herald, Paris Edition, in 1918:
Masonic Lodge at Nevers, France,
January 8, 1918.
New York Herald,
Please publish the following notice in your Lost and Found column:
FOUND: Masonic identification tag, belonging to Bro George N Neill, member of Pittsburgh Lodge, No. 221. Bro. Neill can secure tag by corresponding with Capt. Frank A. Starr, Secretary, Masonic Club, Nevers, France.
Yours very truly,
F. A. Starr,
Capt., Commanding 118th Co., T. C.,
Secretary, Masonic Club, Nevers, France.
In 1929 I communicated with the Secretary of the above Lodge to discover whether or not Bro. Neill had ever recovered his tag.
A reply from the secretary of the Lodge informed me that Bro. Neill was no longer a member of the Lodge and his present address is not known. I am sure we would all be very glad to learn what became of the tag, and of Bro. Neill.
The rosters display the signatures of 295 members. Several pages of another register book torn from it are found among the Club records without designation. One hundred and seventy-six names are found thereon. They are not duplicates of the first list. Should they prove to be additional members of this same Club then its total membership must be placed at 471. However, there was another Club at Nevers for a time, the "Consistory Masonic Club of Nevers," and this may prove to be its membership list.
All in all, the brethren stationed at Nevers proved themselves active and united in a common zeal for the Craft and for works of beneficence and mercy. They cared for the sick and unfortunate of the Craft upon call and are one of the links in the golden chain which is lengthening year by year through all lands and among all races.
Bro. Starr tells us of an interesting testimony which I wish to pass on to the Craft at large. He says in a letter to me dated February 15, 1929:
Our Commander of Military Police in Nevers, who attended our meetings regularly, often stated that in all his dealings with disorderly, drunken or rough soldiers, at no time, to his knowledge, was one of them a Mason.
The highest credit should go to Bros. Butler and Starr for their willingness to assist these scattered relics of their former Club at Nevers, France.
* * *
THE REAL CAGLIOSTRO: HIS MEMORIAL TO THE FRENCH PARLIAMENT
By BRO. CYRUS FIELD WILLARD, California
ON the 19th of September, 1780, I arrived at Strasburg. A few days after my arrival, having been recognized by the Count Gevuski, I saw myself forced to accede to the solicitations of the City and of all the Nobility of Alsace, and to dedicate my talents in medicine to the service of the Public. I can cite among the acquaintances I have made in this city, M. the Marshal de Contades, the Marquis de la Salle, the Baron de Frasilande, the Baron de l'Or, the Baron Vorminser, the Baron de Diederik, Madame the Princess Christine and many others.
All those who have known me at Strasburg know what have been my acts and work there. If I have been slandered in obscure lampoons, the newspapers and some fair authors have rendered me justice. Let me be permitted to quote some passages from a book printed in 1783, having for its title, "Letters on Switzerland." The estimable author of these letters expresses himself thus in Vol. 1, page 5, and following pages:
This singular and astonishing man is admirable by his conduct and by his vast learning. His countenance announces understanding and expresses genius, while his eyes of fire read to the depths of one's soul.
He arrived from Russia about seven or eight months ago, and appears willing to settle in this city at least for some time. No one knows from whence he came, who he is, or where he goes. Liked, loved dearly, respected by the governors of the place and the principal people of the city, he is adored by the poor and the common people, and hated and slandered by certain people (doctors), Receiving neither money nor presents from those whom he has cured, he passes his life in visiting the sick, and above all the poor, while aiding them with remedies which he distributes free to them, and helping them with his purse so that they may have food.
He eats very little and mainly the pastry of Italy. He never goes to bed and sleeps only two or three hours, sitting up in an armchair, and in fact is always ready to fly to help the unfortunates, no matter what hour it may be, having no other pleasure than that of assisting his fellow man.
This incredible man maintains a state much more astonishing, for he pays for everything in advance, and no one knows where he derives his revenues nor who furnishes the money.
You will understand, Madame, that they have made violent jests at his expense; he is the anti-Christ at least; he is five or six hundred years old; he possesses the philosopher's stone and the universal medicine. In short he is one of those intelligences whom the Creator sometimes sends on earth clad in a mortal envelope.
If that is so, it is certainly an intelligence worthy of respect. I have seen very few souls as compassionate as his, nor a heart as good and tender. No one has more wit or learning than he has; he knows all the languages of Europe and of Asia and his eloquence astonishes and carries away even those who speak the least good of him. I say nothing of his marvelous cures; volumes would be necessary for that while all the newspapers will tell you of them. You should know that of more than fifteen thousand sick persons whom he has treated, his most furious enemies can reproach him with only three deaths, in which, moreover, he had no more part than I have.
Pardon me, Madame, if I stay a few moments more on this remarkable man. I have just come from his assembly room. How you would cherish this worthy mortal if you had seen him, as I have, run from poor person to poor person, dress their disgusting wounds, alleviate their pain, console them with hope, dispense to them remedies free, overwhelm them with favors; in short, heap on them gifts without any other purpose than that of helping suffering humanity and to enjoy the inestimable pleasure of being on earth the image of the beneficent Divinity.
Figure to yourself, Madame, an immense hall, filled with these unhappy creatures, nearly all deprived of any help and extending towards Heaven their feeble hands which they could scarcely raise to implore the charity of the Count.
He listens to one after another, forgets not one of their words, goes out for some moments and returns soon loaded with a multitude of remedies which he freely dispenses to each of these unfortunates, while repeating to them what they told him of their illness and assuring them that they will soon be cured if they faithfully execute his orders. But the remedies alone would not be sufficient: they must have bread to acquire the strength to support them: few of them have the means to procure it for themselves so the purse of the Count is shared among them and it would seem that it is inexhaustible.
Being more happy to give than to receive from them, his joy is manifested by his tenderness. These unhappy ones, penetrated with gratitude, with love and respect, prostrate themselves at his feet, embrace his knees, call him their Savior, their Father and their God The good man is moved to pity, tears flow from his eyes; he wishes to hide them but he has not the power to do so. He weeps and the assembly melts in tears, delicious tears which are the luxury of the heart and of which the charms cannot be expressed unless one has been happy enough to shed similar ones.
This is but a very feeble sketch of the enchanting spectacle I have just enjoyed.
The testimony which this author renders to the truth has nothing exaggerated in it.
One can question the curates of the parishes; they will tell of the good I have done for the poor of their district. One can question the corps of artillery and the different regiments which were then in garrison at Strasburg; they will tell of the numbers of soldiers I have cured. They can examine the apothecary with whom I dealt; he will tell of the quantity of medicine I have had him make for the poor people and which I paid him for each day in ready money. They can question the innkeepers; they will tell whether the inns and furnished hotels would suffice for the great concourse of strangers whom I attracted to Strasburg. One can question the jailers; they will tell how I have conducted myself towards the poor prisoners and the number of them I have had set free.
Let the chiefs of the city, let the magistrates, let the entire public say if ever I have caused any scandal and whether in my actions they have found one single thing contrary to the laws, to good morals or to religion.
If during my stay in France I have offended a single person, let him stand forth and bear testimony against me.
This is not intended to glorify myself. I have done good because I felt I ought to do it. But, after all, what benefit have I received for the services I have rendered the French nation? In the bitterness of my heart shall I say it: libels, lampoons and the Bastille!
For nearly a year I was at Strasburg when one evening on returning home, I had the agreeable surprise of finding there the Chevalier d'Aquino. (Note:The reader is asked to remember that it was the Knight of Malta, d'Aquino, whose acquaintance I had made at Malta and who accompanied me on my first travels in Europe. He had learned from the newspapers of my being in Strasburg and had made the voyage there expressly in order to see me and renew the ties of our former friendship.)
The Chevalier d'Aquino had seen the chiefs of the city and was able to tell them what he knew of my stay at Malta, and the distinction with which the Grand Master Pinto had treated me.
Shortly after my arrival in France, M. the Cardinal de Rohan had sent the Baron de Millinens, his master of the hounds, to tell me that he wished to know me. As long as it was only a matter of curiosity as to myself with the Prince, I refused to gratify it. But soon after when he sent to tell me that he had an attack of asthma and wished to consult me, I went in haste to his episcopal palace. When I gave him my opinion as to his malady, he appeared satisfied and begged me to come to see him from time to time.
In the eourse of 1781, M. the Cardinal did me the honor to come to my house in order to consult me on the illness of his relative, the Prince de Soubise. He was attacked with gangrene and I had had the good fortune to cure of the same malady the secretary of the Marquis de la Salle after he had been abandoned by all the doctors. I asked some questions of M. the Cardinal about the illness of the Prince, but he interrupted me by earnestly praying me to accompany him to Paris. He put so much courtesy and politeness into his solicitations that it was impossible for me to refuse him. I departed with him, leaving with my surgeon and my friends the necessary orders so that my sick people and the poor might not suffer in my absence.
When we arrived at Paris, M. the Cardinal wished to take me right to the Prince de Soubise, but I refused, telling him that my intention was to avoid all causes of altercation with the Faculty [of Medicine] and that I wished to see the Prince only after the doctors had declared his case hopeless.
M. the Cardinal was kind enough to agree to this and came back to me to say that the Faculty had declared he was better. I declared to him then that I would not go to see the Prince as I did not wish to usurp the glory of a cure which was not due to my own work (1).
The public having been informed of my arrival, there came so many people to see and consult me that I was occupied every day, during the thirteen days I remained in Paris, in seeing the sick, from five o'clock in the morning until nearly midnight.
I dealt with an apothecary, but gave away at my own expense a great deal more medicine than he sold. I call all persons who have had recourse to me as witnesses to this fact. If there is one single one of them who can say that they have ever made me accept the smallest sum of money, or presents, then I will consent to being refused any kind of confidence.
Prince Louis (de Rohan) took me back to Saverne, gave me many thanks and begged me to come to see him as often as possible. I returned to Strasburg immediately, where I recommenced my customary work.
The good that I did brought me in return various kinds of libels and lampoons, in which I was treated as anti-Christ, the Wandering Jew, Man of Fourteen Hundred Years, etc.
Having become tired of so many injuries and insults, I made the resolution to leave Strasburg. But various letters which the Ministers of the King had the kindness to write regarding myself, caused me to change this resolution.
It is important in this trial, I believe, to put beneath the eyes of the Judges and of the public these recommendations from those in so much more honorable stations than myself, since I have not solicited them directly or indirectly. Some are as follows:
Copy of a letter written by the Count de Vergennes, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to M. Gerard, Pretor (Judge) of Strasburg. Dated at Versailles, March 13, 1783.
I am not personally acquainted with M. the Count de Cagliostro, but all reports, during the time he has resided at Strasburg, are so favorable to him that humanity requires that he find there respect and tranquillity. His quality of foreigner and the good in which he excels so constantly and which he does so persistently, are vouchers which authorize me to recommend him to you and to the town-council over which you preside. M. de Cagliostro asks only tranquillity and safety; hospitality assures him these. Knowing your natural disposition, I am persuaded that you will be eager to make him enjoy them and such other pleasures as it is possible for him to procure.
I have the honor to be, Monsieur, your very humble and very obedient servant. (Signed) DE VERGENNES.
Copy of the letter of M. the Marquis DE MIROMENIL, Keeper of the Seals, to M. Gerard, Pretor of Strasburg. Dated at Versailles March 15, 1783.
The Count de Cagliostro has employed himself with zeal since he has been at Strasburg in comforting the poor and unfortunate and I have knowledge of several actions of this Foreigner which were full of humanity and which deserve that you accord him a special protection. I recommend to you therefore to procure for him, in all that concerns you and the town-council over which you preside, that protection and all the tranquillity which a Foreigner should enjoy in the dominions of the King, especially when he renders himself useful there.
Copy of the letter written by the Marquis de SEGUR to M. the Marquis DE LA SALLE. Under date of March 15, 1783.
The good conduct, Monsieur, that has been assured me that the Count de Cagliostro has constantly maintained at Strasburg, the estimable use that he has made of his learning and talents in that city, and the multiplied proofs of humanity that he has given to individuals attacked by various maladies who have had recourse to him, warrant that this Foreigner shall have the protection of the Government. The King charges you to see that he be not disturbed at Strasburg when he may judge it fitting to return there, but also that he may experience in that city the attentions which the services he renders to the unfortunate ought to procure for him.
(Signed) SEGUR (2).
The tranquillity which these ministerial letters secured for me was not of long duration. But it was on these letters and the orders of the King that I was pleased to consider France as the end of my travels. Could I believe that two years later the sacred rights of hospitality, so solemnly recognized and so nobly expressed in the letters written in the name of the King, would be invoked in vain by my unhappy wife and myself?
Having been persecuted by one class of men for a long time and these attacks beginning again, I decided to leave Strasburg, firmly resolved to expose myself no longer to the malicious attacks of this envious class. (3) I was in this humor when I received a letter from the Chevalier d'Aquino, in which he informed me he was dangerously ill. I left Strasburg immediately, but in spite of all the haste I was able to make I arrived at Naples only in time to receive the last sigh of my unfortunate friend.
A few days after my arrival I was recognized by the Ambassador of Sardinia and several other persons. Seeing that I would be again persecuted for taking up medicine once more, I made the resolution to go to England, and traversed the southern part of France with this purpose in view, arriving at Bordeaux on the 8th of November, 1783.
Being at the theatre in that city I was recognized by an officer of cavalry, who hastened to inform the town-council who I was. The Chevalier Roland, one of their number, had the courtesy to come in the name of his fellow-members to offer my wife and myself a place in their box at any time that we might like to come to the theatre.
The town-council and the public having given me the most distinguished reception and solicited me most earnestly to dedicate myself, as at Strasburg, to the service of the sick, I allowed myself to be persuaded, and began to give consultations and distribute remedies and sums of money to the poor. The crowds of people became so great that I was obliged to ask the town-council for soldiers to maintain order in my house.
It was at Bordeaux that I had the honor of making the acquaintance of M. the Marshal de Mouchi, M. the Count de Fumel, M. the Viscount de Hamel and other persons worthy of trust, who will testify as to the manner in which I conducted myself in that city.
The same kind of persecution which had made me leave Strasburg followed me to Bordeaux, and from that city I took my departure, after eleven months' residence, for Lyons, where I arrived during the last days of October, 1784. But I remained only three months in the latter city, and then left for Paris, where I arrived January 30, 1785. At first I stopped in one of the furnished hotels in the Palais-Royal district, and a little later I went to live in a house in the Rue St. Claude, near the Boulevard.
My first care was to declare to all the persons I knew, that my intention was to live quietly and that I did not wish to occupy myself any more with medicine. I have kept my word and have refused stubbornly all solicitations which have been made to me in this respect.
Princ Louis (de Rohan) has done me the honor to come to see me from time to time. I remember that one day he proposed to me that I make the acquaintance of a lady clled Valois de la Motte, and it was for this purpose:
"The Queen," said the Cardinal de Rohan to me, "is plunged in the most profound melancholy because some one has predicted to her that she would die in her approaching confinement. It would be one of the greatest pleasures to me if I were able to succeed in disabusing her of this idea and restore calm to her imagination. Madame sees the Queen daily and you would do me a great favor, if she should ask your opinion, if you would say to her that the Queen will be happily delivered of a Prince."
I consented willingly to what M. the Cardinal asked of me, since in obliging him I found myself indirectly exercising a happy influence on the health of the Queen.
Going next day to the hotel of the Cardinal I found there the Countess de la Motte, who, after saying many civil things to me, spoke to me thus:
"I know at Versailles a person of great distinction to whom someone has predicted, as well as to another lady, that both of them would die in confinement. One of them is already dead and the other is waiting with the greatest anxiety the time when she is to be delivered. If you are able to know, truly, what is to happen or if you believe it possible to be informed on it, I will go to Versailles tomorrow to make a report to the person interested on it. This person," she added, "is the Queen."
I answered the Countess de la Motte that all such predictions were follies and she should say to this person, moreover, to recommend herself to the Eternal, that her first confinements had been fortunate and this one would be so likewise.
The Countess de la Motte was not content with this reply; she persisted in trying to obtain from me something more positive.
I remembered then the promise made to the Prince de Rohan, took a very grave tone and said to the Countess de la Motte in the most serious manner possible:
"Madame, you know that I have some knowledge of medicinal physics; and I possess some on Animal Magnetism. My opinion is that an innocent person can work in such a case with more power than any other. Thus if you wish to know the truth, begin by securing an innocent person."
The Countess answered: "Since you have need of an innocent person, I have a Niece who is exceedingly so. I will bring her here tomorrow." I imagined that this innocent Niece was a child of five or six years and was very much astonished on finding the next day at the hotel of the Prince that it was a young lady of fourteen or fifteen years, taller than myself.
"Here," said the Countess to me, "is the innocent one of whom I have spoken to you." I had need to compose my countenance not to burst out laughing. But after all I succeeded in holding in and said to the young lady, Mademoiselle de la Tour:
"Mademoiselle, is it indeed true that you are innocent?" She replied with more assurance than frankness, "Yes, sir."
"Well, Mademoiselle, I am going in an instant to know if you are; so recommend yourself to God and to your innocence. Place yourself behind that screen, close your eyes and wish to yourself the thing you most desire to see. If you are innocent you will see what you wish to see, but if you are not innocent you will see nothing. "
Mlle. de la Tour placed herself behind the screen and I remained outside with the Prince, who was standing by the side of the chimney, not in ecstacy as Mlle. de la Tour has claimed, but with his hand on his mouth in order not to trouble our grave ceremonies with an indiscreet laugh.
Mlle. de la Tour being then behind the screen, I began to make some magnetic passes which lasted for some moments and then I said to her:
"Strike one stroke on the ground with your innocent feet and tell me if you see anything?"
"I see nothing," she said to me.
"Well, Mademoiselle," said I to her, and giving a hard blow to the screen, "you are not innocent then."
At these words the Demoiselle de la Tour, stung by this remark, exclaimed "That she saw the Queen."
I saw then that the innocent niece had been instructed by the aunt, who was not so innocent either. Wishing to see in what manner she would further play the role, I asked her to give me a description of the phantom that she saw. she answered that the lady was enceinte, that she was clad all in white, and she detailed her features, which were precisely those of the Queen.
"Ask this lady," I said to her, "if she will be happily delivered?"
She replied that the lady nodded her head and said that she would be delivered without any vexatious consequences.
"I command you," I said to her finally, "to kiss respectfully the hand of this Lady." The innocent one kissed her own hand and came out from behind the screen, well content to have persuaded us as to the matter of her innocence.
The aunt and the niece ate some sweetmeats, drank some lemonade and withdrew by a private stairway, a quarter of an hour later. The Prince saw me home and thanked me for what I had been kind enough to do in order to oblige him. Thus was finished a comedy as innocent in itself as it was laudable in its motive.
Three or four days later, being at the house of M. the Cardinal, and the Countess de la Motte being there, they begged me to renew the same sport with a little boy of five or six years, and I thought that I ought not to refuse them this slight satisfaction. Little did I imagine that a social joke would be denounced to the Public Prosceutor later as an act of sorcery, a profanation, and a sacrilege on the mysteries of Christianity.
The Prince having caused me to become acquainted with the Countess de la Motte, asked me what I thought of her. I have always had the opinion that I was somewhat of a judge of physiognomy, and so I replied to the Prince that I regarded the Countess de la Motte as a cheat and a schemer. The Prinee interrupted me, saying that she was an honest woman but in dire distress from poverty. I observed that if it were true, as she had told him, that she was the special protegee of the Queen, she would soon enjoy better fortune and she would not need to have recourse to any other protection.
The Prince and I remained each in his own opinion. He left a short time afterwards for Saverne, where he made a stay of a month or six weeks. On his return he came to see me at my house more often than usual. I saw that he was uneasy, pensive and distrait. I respected his secrecy, but every time that the question of the Countess de la Motte came up, I said to him with my usual frankness:
"That woman is deceiving you."
About fifteen days before he was arrested he said to me:
"My dear Count, I am commencing to believe that you are right and that Madame Valois is a cheat." Then he related to me, for the first time, the story of the Diamond Necklace, and made me aware of the suspicions that he had formed and of the fear that he had that the necklaee had not in fact been delivered to the Queen, all of which made me persist more than ever in my first opinion.
The next day after this conversation, the Prince told me that the Count and Countess de la Motte had sought shelter with him on account of the fear they had as to the consequences of this affair and they had begged him to give them letters of recommendation for England or for the neighborhood of the Rhine.
The Prince asked my opinion and I told him there was only one course to take and that was to deliver this woman to the Police, and then go and relate all the facts to the King or his Ministers. The Prince objected and said that the goodness and generosity of his heart was opposed to so violent an expedient.
"In that ease," I replied, "you have no other recourse than God. He must do the rest and I hope He may."
M. the Cardinal de Rohan, not being willing to give the Count and Countess de la Motte the letters of recommendation that they wished, they departed for Burgundy, and I have not heard anyone speak of them since then.
On August 15th I learned, as did all Paris, that M. the Cardinal de Rohan had been arrested. Some persons warned me that as I was a friend of the Cardinal I might be arrested also. Convinced of my own innocence, I replied that I was resigned and would wait patiently in my house the will of God and that of the Government.
On August 22d, at half past seven in the morning, a Commissaire, an exempt [under officer] and eight men of the police came to my house. The plundering began in my presence. They forced me to open my secretaries and writing desks; and elixirs, balsams and precious liqueurs all became the booty of the Bailiffs who were entrusted with the duty of escorting me.
I begged the Commissaire, M. Chenon, junior, to permit me to use my carriage, but he had the inhumanity to refuse me this slight relief. They dragged me away on foot, with the greatest exposure, half-way to the Bastille, when a hackney coach approaching, I obtained the favor of being allowed to get into it. The terrible drawbridge was lowered and I saw myself a prisoner.
My wife suffered the same fate. Here I stop, shuddering, and will conceal what I have suffered. I will spare the feelings of the reader by refraining from depicting a picture equally painful and revolting. I shall permit myself only one word, and Heaven is my witness that this word is the expression of the truth. If anyone would give me the choice between the last pain of execution and six months in the Bastille I would say without hesitation: "Lead me to the scaffold."
(1) Later on the Prince was given up by his doctors, and his case declared hopeless. Cagliostro then took charge and under his ministrations the patient made a complete recovery
(2) The Marquis de Segur was at that time Minister of War.
(3) The well known Baron de Gleichen, in his book, Souvenirs says that it was the members of the medical profession almost exclusively who carried on this persecution of libel and slander against Cagliostro. They did not like his curing people of diseases which had proved insusceptible to their science, and above all they objected to his doing it gratuitously.
* * *
Red-tape, Technicalities and Delay in the U.S. Veterans Bureau
Bro. Leonard G. Coop, Missouri
IN the March issue of "The Builder," under the caption "The Broken Men of the Great War," a short summary was given on matters pertaining to the Veterans Bureau and the disabled veterans, illustrated with a typical and concrete case (Joseph G. Bolland).
For the benefit of the reader who did not see the article above noted a brief digest of the claim may be in order, which will then be followed with the subsequent happenings in this particular case further to illustrate Veteran Bureau methods and stupidity.
Mr. Bolland (name is fictitious to save the family embarrassment) was a normal boy prior to service, he served his country faithfully and well, official records show that he was wounded in action.
He was treated by competent physicians from almost the day he was discharged for a mental condition which was undoubtedly caused from his experiences overseas.
One of the doctors who treated him, who had been the family physician for many years prior to the World War, gives very positive medical evidence (in affidavit form) which shows a serious mental disability existing practically from the day the veteran left the service; this physician was himself formerly employed by the Veterans Bureau, and made the affidavit while a member of the Rating Board in 1924.
Other doctors, practicing in the community where this veteran resided and who treated him at different times, have all given the Bureau the same testimony, the only dissenting opinion in his entire folder is the statement of one doctor who saw him for but a short time in 1923 at a general hospital, he knew nothing about the boy's history, and from the report in his folder quite apparently made a diagnosis largely upon what the veteran himself told him; and at that time he was suffering from a mental disorder.
After being discharged from this hospital, where he was a patient but a few days, he repeatedly tried to secure treatment from the Veterans Bureau, and finally wrote a letter to the writer of this article, stating he could not go on without treatment, and that he intended to end his life unless he could get some relief.
Treatment was denied by the Bureau; and in desperation he blew his head off with a shotgun, his last letter being a pitiful appeal for medical aid.
The veteran's folder was then sent to Washington and efforts were made to secure compensation for his estate, but to no avail, the Bureau going so far as to say in their decision of June 25, 1924:
"Evidence in the file does not show presence of a compensable rating — cause of death Gun Shot Wound in head by own hand — not due to service."
The case lay dormant for five years when the writer again took it up and induced the aged father to permit another effort to clear his son's name from the stigma that had been placed upon him by the doctor in 1923, who gave the diagnosis of constitutional psychopathic inferior.
This boy's pre-war history is so much at variance with such a diagnosis that the Bureau physician who knew him well both before and after service makes a very positive statement, which is on file, protesting such a conclusion.
The Bureau has been given every opportunity to make investigation of this case, the Director has been written to repeatedly, and the whole claim was carefully discussed with the Director's special personal representative, who called on the writer last January.
Numerous letters, much publicity, and efforts of prominent people have been made to have the Bureau correct such an injustice, the only result has been a letter dated Feb. 8, 1930, from Mr. H. H. Milks, Chief of Awards of the Veterans Bureau in Washington, which states in part:
"... the evidence in file — has been carefully reviewed and it is now held that the cause of the death of your son is DIRECTLY DUE TO AND PROXIMATELY the result of mental disease, which disability was held as incurred in service"
Mr. Milks then goes on to explain, by devious and complicated methods peculiar to the Bureau, that no compensation can be paid to the estate.
The question is asked Mr. Milks, that if this disabled veteran died from a disability contracted in the service, and he filed his claim in 1920, and there is no misconduct complication, why was he not justly rated under the laws in existence at the time of his death? Surely their own physician's statement, who was intimately familiar with this boy's entire history and condition, proves beyond the question of a doubt, that the veteran did suffer from a serious mental condition from the day of his discharge from the army.
As a sort of sop to the parents and also to have something to show the public that the Bureau was trying to be magnamimous, they offer the parents the princely sum of $20 per month dependency allowance for the loss of their son.
This has been refused by the bereaved parents, for they hold such an offer as an insult.
This Masonic family at present has from the Veterans Bureau, as its contribution to the memory of one who did his part willingly, and finally died (the primary cause of his death occurring in the service of his country ) only the stigma of an official diagnosis of constitutional psychopathic inferior.
It will be quite interesting to see the final outcome of this distressing case when suit, now pending for insurance benefits, is brought to trial in the Federal Court.
A substantial proportion of the Bureau's handling of claims is an outrage on the generous and sympathetic American people. I quote the words of one of the Bureau's own executives:
"... Bureau's negligence constitutes a crying miscarriage of justice and will subject the Bureau to ridicule and contempt by all thinking people...."
It would be difficult, if not well nigh impossible, to bring this doctor who gave the diagnosis in 1923 to account, but it should not be held impossible to hold strictly accountable every official in the Veterans Bureau from the Director down, who has been responsible for subsequent decisions and ratings up to date in this most pathetic case.
It is precisely such inexcusable carelessness (putting it charitably) or official maladministration of a trust (to put it accurately) which offsets the many good things that the Bureau has accomplished, and which brings the organization into ill-repute throughout the country.
The next illustrative case, which is here presented, is that of a nephew of a prominent Illinois Mason, and is particularly distressing, as the veteran is still living, though with but little to live for.
His name is Wm. J. Shackelford, and in addition to his many other disabilities, he is now blind, and quite sensitive about permitting his condition to become public property.
He is, and has been, in a hospital at one of the Soldiers Homes, and even the Bureau has considered him as "permanently and totally disabled" since March 26, 1927.
He only consented to allow his case to be used after much persuasion, and with the promise that his present location be withheld.
The Veterans Bureau has cause to know this case full well, for a large number of prominent persons in different parts of the country have voiced vigorous protests against the almost criminal delay, and the treatment accorded this blind, and otherwise disabled, veteran who had an excellent record in the Air Service.
A brief review of his claim, taken from official records (unless otherwise so stated) is as follows:
Enlisted in the Air Service August 9, 1918, in practically perfect physical and mental condition.
He had formerly been employed by Mr. Glenn H. Curtiss when the airplane business was yet in its infancy, and if this article happens to be read by Mr. Curtiss he may remember the young man who was with him when his first seaplane was launched in San Diego, California.
Mr. Shackelford was hospitalized three times for the "flu," during service in 1918 and also for bronchitis.
In June, 1919, his right leg was severely injured in an airplane accident. The official records show that he was in the hospital for 35 days for this injury.
December, 1919, he was again severely injured in an airplane crash, right leg broken, multiple cuts on face and head, also internal injuries.
The above are all of official record, with exception of an adequate record of the internal injuries, and undoubtedly his personal statement, and his present condition abundantly indicate that he suffered such injuries.
His eyes commenced to give him trouble after the airplane crash, and competent eye specialists claim that his head wounds could have been, and very probably were, the primary cause of his present blindness.
He consulted a physician soon after discharge regarding the condition of his eyes, but the doctor has since died and there are no records available, although the son, who is a lifelong friend of the veteran, and also a physician himself, distinctly remembers his father advising the veteran that he should go to an eye specialist. This statement is on file with the Bureau. Such evidence of course is irrelevant, immaterial, and absolutely of no consequence in the eyes of the Bureau; and judging from the remarks that the writer has heard hundreds of times in similar cases, it certainly will be sneered at in the Central Office of the Bureau in Washington.
The veteran who had an unusual amount of pluck, had an aversion to asking aid of anyone; he endeavored to make his way without assistance after being discharged from the Air Service. But after honest and earnest efforts had to give up entirely, and when his funds were exhausted he applied for relief to the Bureau, and filed a claim in 1926.
Mr. Shackelford served two enlistments in the Air Service. Character marked as "Excellent" on both of his discharges. He passed an examination for a commission, and was commended by Brig. Glen. Wm. A. Mitchell.
He now suffers from the after-effects of the following injuries, which are directly or indirectly due to injuries or illness contracted in the service "in line of duty": right knee crushed, right leg broken, internal injuries, left arm broken, six ribs fractured, chest trouble, frequent severe headaches, entirely blind in right eye, practically no sight in left eye. After a great amount of effort on the part of friends who became interested in him, his claim was finally allowed at one of the Bureau Regional Offices January, 1929, THREE YEARS AFTER HE HAD FILED HIS CLAIM.
Due to Bureau procedure it was necessary that his folder be then sent to the Board of Appeals in Chicago, Ill., later it was forwarded to the Central Office of the Bureau in Washington for further review, where it has been ever since. IT IS NOW 15 MONTHS SINCE THE REGIONAL OFFICE MADE A COMPLETE AND EXHAUSTIVE STUDY OF THE CASE AND GRANTED COMPENSATION, AND YET NO FINAL DECISION HAS BEEN MADE BY THE BUREAU IN WASHINGTON UP TO DATE OF WRITING THIS ARTICLE (MARCH 20, 1930).
If any final decision has been made, it is unknown to the writer, and it is known that the veteran has not received any compensation.
Let us look for a moment as to what has happened to the veteran during the past 15 months; this of course does not enter into Bureau calculations, for those responsible for the delay are steadily receiving good salaries, enjoy easy hours, have their day and a half off each week, besides holidays, and 30 days annual vacation; also sick leave, etc., etc.
Being without funds he was forced to return to a Soldiers' Home, a little later he was transferred to a Veterans Bureau Hospital for treatment, where he was a patient for about seven months.
His condition being chronic, with little or no hope for recovery, he was discharged from this Bureau Hospital and again returned to the Soldiers' Home for domiciliary care.
He had only been there a short time when he was sent for another examination to the Mayo Clinic; after this examination he was returned to the Home, where he has been in the Hospital ward ever since.
Unless this veteran had had unusual intelligence and marked staying powers, the numerous examinations to which he has been subjected since 1927 would have undermined his resistance to such an extent, that even if he had had no disabilities, the psychologic effort of being repeatedly told that he was disabled might well have brought on something that is quite familiar to all neuro-psychiatric specialists, namely, hypochondriasis.
Some idea of the examinations to which he has submitted since Dec., 1927, may be gained from the following brief resume; it does not comprise all, but will be sufficient to indicate, even to the lay mind, that this veteran has been examined beyond all reason. He now revolts at any more; who can blame him?
December 19, 1927 — Special eye examination at Bureau Clinic. Diagnosis at that time "Optic atrophy — nothing can be done to relieve this man's condition "
January, 1928 — General examination at Soldiers' Home.
April, 1928 — Special X-ray studies at Soldiers' Home.
October 17, 1928 — Special eye examination by outside specialist. This physician inadvertently stated that he had a "beginning optic atrophy." This will be referred to later.
October 23, 1928 — Exhaustive study of eyes by the Bureau consulting eye specialist, a physician of national reputation.
October 23, 1928 — Complete X-ray studies by an outside specialist.
October 24, 1928 — Complete and thorough general examination by an outside physician of standing and repute.
October- 29, 1928 — Special eye examination at a nationally known clinic.
October 30, 1928 — Special chest examination by a Board of three Bureau physicians.
November, 1928 — Examination by nerve specialist of the Bureau.
November, 1928 — Complete X-ray studies by the Bureau.
November, 1928 — Special orthopedic examination by Bureau specialist
November, 1928 — General physical examination by the Bureau.
1929 — Complete physical and mental examination, including X-ray laboratory, general, orthopedic, etc., at a Bureau Hospital where the veteran was a patient for seven months.
October, 1929 — Special and general examination at a nationally known clinic.
October, 1929 — Examination at a Soldiers' Home.
This list, with others not mentioned, will indicate that he has been very nearly "examined to death," and when the Bureau desired yet another one recently relative to his scars, he rebelled, as complete information was already in his folder, the special examination made for this purpose was most exhaustive as the writer can testify to (himself being present when it was made), it covered the length, width, and position of every scar.
It is quite likely that the Bureau will deny, or further delay, their decision on this claim because of the veteran's refusal to submit to more examinations. As a matter of fact he has come to the point where examinations only upset him, and he believes that further co-operation is futile.
There is practically no disagreement between any of the doctors, Bureau or otherwise, in their diagnosis of this totally disabled, blind veteran, furthermore there is no question of any misconduct disease.
A recent letter from the Bureau, which again denies compensation or service connection on his eye disability, gives the reason for denial as being the fact that the outside eye specialist on October 17,1928, stated in his conclusions that the veteran had a "beginning optic atrophy." This is so absurd and far fetched as to be ludicrous, were it not so tragic for the veteran himself.
The argument set forth by the Bureau has been answered by this doctor (whose statement had been made the basis for Bureau denial) in no uncertain terms, and any school boy with but a high school education could have readily seen that the one word detrimental to the claim, out of scores of pages in his folder, that is, the word "beginning" in the phrase "beginning optic atrophy," referred to previously, was clearly a clerical error, and was not borne out by this doctor's findings in this same report. As, for instance, it is said later — "DISABILITY AT THE PRESENT TIME IS 95% — HISTORY WOULD SUGGEST TRAUMATIC ATROPHY OF OPTIC NERVE — " (This was an examination for eyes only). Thus the plain intent and meaning of this doctor's report was nullified by the inadvertent use of the word " beginning. "
Due to absurd technicalities such as is thus shown above (as well as others) and constant procrastination by the Bureau (never intended by a grateful republic, nor by law) Mr. Shackelford HAS WAITED FOUR YEARS, AND UP TO DATE OF WRITING THIS ARTICLE HAS NEVER RECEIVED ANY COMPENSATION OR ANY INSURANCE BENEFITS.
The foregoing case has been discussed in some detail. However, a little reflection will indicate what the feelings of this discouraged and embittered man must be, who has been forced to put up with such outrageous treatment, and who even now is in a hospital, dependent upon the charity of his friends for even small personal necessities.
Furthermore, this case has been given at some length to illustrate the necessity for a very decided change in the attitude of the Bureau, and its methods, particularly in the central office in Washington.
The writer can cite a large number of instances, which have been thoroughly investigated, to show that there is imperative need for a drastic, nation-wide protest from all ax-service men and all others interested in those who made the Armistice possible.
It is wondered what good purpose will be served by adding a further plethora of new laws for veterans' relief when those already in existence are flaunted in the face of the people and the lawmakers of the country, as illustrated by the Bolland and Shackelford cases as shown in this and the previous article.
A suggestion for a "cure" was mentioned in my article in the March issue of THE BUILDER, and it is still contended that the method indicated might be used to good advantage, make an issue of these two claims, and see that those responsible for such decisions are punished, one or two cases thoroughly investigated, with definite action, will, in my opinion, do much to correct the conditions complained of.
One of the proposed bills, relating to veterans' relief was discussed in the last issue of THE BUILDER, and it is again suggested that the reader send for a copy of H. R. 9112, presented by Representative Robert G. Simmons of Nebraska, for it is believed that this is constructive legislation which if faithfully carried out will bring about changes for the benefit of all concerned.
* * *
BOARD OF EDITORS
R. J. Meekren, Editor-in-Chief
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
E. E. Thiemeyer, Missouri
David E. W. Williamson, Nevada
* * *
MASONIC CLUBS IN THE A.E.F.
WITH this issue we begin a new series of articles by Bro. Charles E. Irwin, who himself served overseas as a Chaplain. This deals with the various Clubs of Masons formed by and for members of the Craft in the American Expeditionary Forces in the World War. Naturally there were many more of these than there were of Army Lodges, for they could be formed spontaneously without any authorization from a Grand Lodge or Grand Master. For this reason the task of collecting information about them has been much more arduous, and the difficulties in some ways much greater. Bro. Irwin knows of the existence of a good many of which he knows nothing; more than the name. Very likely there are yet others of which no rumor has come to him. He has collected material relating to some forty, and of these it is planned to give an account of twenty or so in the succeeding months. These will naturally be typical, and those with the most interesting features will be chosen. But it is desirable that as complete records as possible may be made, and to this end, each of our readers who has any information to give, or who knows of any other brother who had anything to do with an Army Club of this kind, is urged to communicate with us. In a few years more it will be too late in many cases.
The material, documents, photographs, relics of one kind and another that Bro. Irwin has been gathering for a good many years is to form a permanent collection. It will be handed over to some permanent Masonic organization as a whole — probably to one of the larger Masonic libraries — and will be at the disposal of those interested in the Masonic aspects of the history of the Great War in perpetuity. This is peculiarly a case where the catch word, "Do it now," should be followed.
* * *
THE DISABLED VETERANS
THE articles by Bro. Coop in the March issue of THE BUILDER, judging by the letters we have received since it appeared, has roused a really remarkable amount of interest. Some samples of these letters will be found in the Correspondence Columns. It would seem that the men who suffered in the War have not been forgotten by the public at large, and that there is an instant reaction to any hint that some of them, for whatever cause, are being denied the assistance that it was the intention of the nation they should receive.
While it should not be necessary to do so, it may be as well to say here that THE BUILDER takes no responsibility whatever for Bro. Coop's statements. That rests entirely on his own shoulders. And also we shall be very glad to afford space to anyone who wishes to controvert what he asserts. There are always two sides to every question. However, we certainly should not have given Bro. Coop a hearing had we not been assured of his responsibility. We are convinced that he is working disinterestedly for a group of disabled veterans who have been denied, on technicalities, the assistance that was morally their due, and in particular for a number of individual cases. After trying to help them through the regular official channels and having become convinced that by these means nothing would ever be accomplished, he resigned his position in order to be entirely free to use other methods, one of which is publicity.
Let us say that the sort of thing that Bro. Coop is seeking in some measure to remedy is not peculiar to the United States, or to the present decade. It happens, and has happened, wherever relief of the sick, wounded and destitute is organized on a large scale. It happens especially when the organization is created by the State. Government departments tend notoriously to develop forms and procedure to an undue extent, and the power of discretion vested in officials tends continuously to be limited by precedents. The same kind of thing exactly has happened in other countries in regard to the treatment of disabled veterans. There must, of course, be rules and regulations, and these cannot be so perfectly framed that they will not, if rigidly applied, work injustice in some cases; letting some in who should not be aided and denying others who should be. There should therefore be someone, and there usually is someone, in theory, with discretion to override technicalities in these hard cases.
Again officials must not be wholly blamed for the "official attitude." They are usually good, kindly, decent citizens in their private lives. But they are so constantly meeting the fictitious and fraudulent claims of the parasitic class, which, like the poor, we have always with us, that in self defense they adopt an attitude of suspicion toward all claims. And they are subject to political pressure always. An economy campaign, for example, might result in the chiefs of the Bureau being told to curtail expenditures as much as possible. How could they otherwise do so except by making it harder for claimants to get their cases allowed?
During the War a certain prison camp in Germany was used for convalescent wounded prisoners discharged from hospitals. This naturally led to there being a very large percentage of men unfit for work. In 1917, some executive in Berlin, observing this high percentage, sent orders to the medical officer in the camp, that he had altogether too many sick. He took the hint, ordered a medical inspection, and passed everyone indiscriminately as fit for the heaviest manual labor. The theory being that whether they were or not, they would not appear on paper as in the disabled categories. One man without a foot was so passed; another was carried into a hospital that night and was dead before morning. This is an exaggerated example of the kind of thing that may happen anywhere, at any time, when delicate human adjustments are interfered with by outside influences with entirely different aims in view.
What actually are the facts in the present case we do not know, and do not presume to guess. But it is common experience in all countries, because it is so human, that government departments tend always to become autonomous, despotic, and in the eyes of their officials, ends in themselves, to which the functions they are supposed to fill come to be regarded as subordinate.
If the Veterans' Bureau has developed along these lines it is no cause for surprise, however much it may call for amendment. The number of proposed changes in and additions to the law creating the Bureau which are now being considered in Congress proves that there is some ground for dissatisfaction, and we are inclined to think that Bro. Coop is right in believing that they may well make matters worse. What really seems to be called for is a reviewing authority, entirely free from political pressure of any kind, to take care of the hard cases. Such a body was found necessary in Canada, where similar conditions existed, and has been the means of affording relief to many who were technically debarred, but whose claims were morally justified.
* * *
THE first thought of those with any regard at all to the proprieties of their mother tongue is that this word is a monstrosity, and that it may be as well that it should be attached to a peculiarly disgusting exhibition of cowardice and that thing and name be dropped into the bottomless abyss of oblivion. Unfortunately the word insists on floating like a cork, and a by-product of the war has become an additional horror of the peace.
In regard to cowardice, in itself it is a thing to be pitied rather than despised. There is a small percentage of people, a few men and some women, who simply are unable to understand fear, that is fear of physical danger. They are like fighting cocks or bull terriers, or other pugnacious animals. But the great majority of people are naturally and inescapably afraid in the face of danger, and the great majority of them again are quite capable of overcoming that fear, provided some adequate motive exists. In fact both the coward and fearless are in the nature of pathological cases, they are abnormal. Naturally, however, considering the history of the race, the one is despised and the other given that honor and worship due to heroes.
The kind of cowardice, however, that did fill all normal people with disgust, was that of the man who robbed himself in the virtues of the conscientious objector, and whose chief motive was not so much his fear, but his desire to be allowed to stay at home and make financial hay while the war-time sun was shining. With the customary confusions of thought fostered and concealed by using one word for several things, the obloquy rightly attached to these creatures was carried over to people who rather deserved honor because they would not fight. There were many such men, who were prepared to face risk of death, and did face it, and who suffered greatly, materially and morally, for their convictions. It was easy in war time to think them pigheaded and mistaken, it was still easier to cover them with abuse and believe them hypocrites and cowards, but it should be possible in peace time to do them justice.
Here as elsewhere we need clear thinking, the effort to do justice to those against whom we are prejudiced; "to render to every man his just due without distinction" as we are taught, and to seek diligently for the truth even if we are fearful it may not fit in with some of our pet ideas. Very difficult of course, most difficult indeed, yet nevertheless the duty of every Mason in such measure as he may.
We are in the habit of considering ourselves and our country as civilized, and as one of a number of countries in the world in the same category, in contra-distinction to peoples, races and tribes whom we class as uncivilized, barbarous or savage. But what exactly do we mean by civilized? In derivation it distinguishes, not race from race, but the town dweller from the rustic. Thus it implies not only material, but mental differences, and possibly moral ones as well — in the widest sense of the word moral. Civilization includes, then, the luxurious conveniences and other physical amenities with which our present culture is so richly endowed, but also, and really far more essentially, the knowledge, the saver fare, and intelligence which makes the material advantages possible, and in a sense worth while. It would take us too far afield to discuss the matter at all fully here, but the things that distinguish the really civilized community are, collectively, social justice, security of property and person, and individually, ability to meet and deal with other people politely (another word signifying a characteristic of the citizen or townsman) without needless friction, quarreling and bullying, and with it scope for the development of personal inclinations and abilities. The more civilized a people is the greater the degree of personal liberty, mental and moral, there will be, within the bounds of the conventions and regulations whose only purpose is to make it possible for numbers of people to go about their business without interfering with the rights of others to do the same.
The point of all this is that though the nations of the world we call civilized are such, to some extent, in their internal economy; they are no more than barbarian, at the very best, in their relations as state to state. That this condition of affairs is disguised to a very large extent does not make it any less real. The barbarian ideas of aggression, of plunder, of utter selfishness, exist in full force, though veiled under the politeness, and perhaps real friendliness, of the individuals who represent the different countries in their dealings with one another. The crude ideas that the gain of others must be our loss, and that the only way we can increase our wealth is to take away that of others is still in full force in almost everyone's mind. The most intelligent of us realize its utter fallacy in individual affairs, but few consider it in the relations of collective units.
Wherefore it is that nations, as individuals in all barbarous cultures, go armed to the teeth and feel insecure unless they have their weapons at hand. It is almost within the memory of those living that civilized men bore arms as part of their dress. And men do not wear swords or carry pistols for nothing. But is it not possible, that just as individuals have learned to disregard the "point of honor," and to laugh at the trifles that once demanded of every man, who would not be thought lacking in courage, to fight, that nations composed of men who have learned to live without deadly weapons among themselves, should, as such, learn to do without them collectively.
It is easy to dub everyone who thinks that this is not beyond the wit and wisdom of mankind to accomplish, a "pacifist," and thereby damn him as a traitor, a coward and a bolshevist, but it is hardly fair. But whether fair or not those who clamor for "adequate protection" in every country are unwise. Security based on military preparation has always been a bruised reed, a support apt to pierce the hand of him who leans upon it. If the history of the world teaches any plain lesson it is this. Rights of nations are parallel to rights of individuals, they are either limited by the rights of others or they inevitably clash. For one nation to seek a position of absolute security in this way means that no other nation is secure. It means this inexorably. We may be satisfied of the purity and benevolence of our own intentions, but we doubt those of others. Can we in commonsense, to speak nothing of justice, ask them to put an implicit faith in their neighbor that we refuse to ours?
* * *
SUPERSTITION AMONG MASONS
ON another page will be found a letter from a correspondent about a chain letter that has come under his notice. We agree with him that discussing the subject will probably have little effect, for those who are moved to pass the thing on either through fear of the misfortunes threatened to all who break the chain, or in hope of the good luck that is promised those who duly carry out the magical rite — for it is a magic charm or incantation — are naturally those who never read any Masonic books or periodicals, and are probably not even aware that there are any such.
Whether it is the same letter or not we do not know, but in the last ten years or so something of the sort has been cropping up here and there, almost continuously, and probably most of the Masonic journals in the country have at one time or another ridiculed or condemned those who help to perpetuate this chain of superstition. It is obvious that such a thing may go on forever, as long as the right kind of soil remains for its seeds to grow in. Just as a single plant louse on a rose bush may gender millions of descendants in a few days, under favorable circumstances, so this letter business may flare up whenever it comes into the right milieu. While, on the other hand, it is as hard to kill entirely as a weed that runs underground.
Those who permit themselves to be affected by its promises and threats never make any arithmetical calculations on it. We do not vouch for the absolute accuracy of the number, but if the chain were propagated without any break for ten removes, or generations, of letter writers, and there were no duplications, there would be 4,486,684,401 written in the last series. At the eighty-seventh remove, which is the number of the series of the letter that was sent to us, the figures would be staggeringly astronomical.
That the motives of those who follow the instructions thrust upon them are superstitious is certain. There can be no other. It is a vague fear of bad luck on the one hand, and the hope of good fortune on the other. Probably the fear is in most cases the stronger motive.
If it were a request that the recipient should send nine cents toward some altruistic object, and ask nine others to send nine cents each, and get nine more to do likewise, and so on, it would fall flat. It would die in the first or second stage — and yet how much money might be raised this way, say for tubercular relief, did people obey chain instructions in a good cause. It is the personal fear or hope which keeps the thing going.
And this raises a question. Chain prayers and the like have been passing from hand to hand in the profane world for many years. No one can say how old they may be in some form or other. They may go back to ancient Babylonia for all we know. But would Masons be found to do it in any other country but America? We doubt it. From what we know of the character of the Masonry of other countries, and the intellectual standards required of candidates, we doubt it very much.
Is it not rather symptomatic, a minor symptom undoubtedly, but nevertheless pointing in the same direction as others? Masonry is supposed to be a dispenser of light, initiation is professedly a path of illumination. Moral, intellectual and spiritual illumination. What kind of light have those brethren received who write chain letters for fear of bad luck if they do not? Were they ever susceptible of real initiation at all? In any case the fault is less theirs than that of the organization as a whole. Which means that all, in some measure, must shoulder part of the responsibility.
* * *
CHRONICLE AND COMMENT
A REVIEW OF MASONRY THE WORLD OVER
Fraternal Old Folks Homes
According to a recent report of the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the Oddfellows have forty-seven Old Peoples' Homes in this country. The Freemasons have thirty-eight, while the Knights of Pythias come third in order with twelve. These three societies together have 87 per cent of such institutions.
The Question of Investigation
In a report to the Grand Lodge of California, Bro. Jesse M. Whited, Associate Editor of THE BUILDER, discusses certain features of the process of investigating applicants. He notes a tendency to lay all the blame for the admission of unworthy individuals upon the Investigating Committees, while at the same time these committees are not impressed with the exceedingly important nature of their function, or the grave responsibility laid upon them.
Bro. Whited suggests additional machinery, a standing committee through which all applications must pass. In some places this has been done, officially or unofficially. In one Canadian lodge all proposals are unofficially and privately considered by the Past Masters; there is no by-law or regulation concerning this, it is merely a custom. If the Master and Past Masters approve, the petition is then presented to the lodge, and goes through the usual process. But the official investigating committees never report unfavorably, and no application has been blackballed for many years.
Investigation is necessary, if the Craft is to hold to its high standards, but it is a matter of convenience how the investigation is done. It seems certain from psychological reasons, and the conclusion is supported by experience, that duplication of machinery means the practical atrophy of one part or the other. Such a special committee as Bro. Whited proposes, or such an informal investigation as just described, will generally be followed by the reference to the regular committee of investigation becoming a pure formality. The only real cure is to arouse the members of the lodge to their personal and individual responsibilities And this should begin, as Bro. Whited says, with the presenting of applications. Younger members of the lodge might well be discouraged from exercising their rights in this regard for a year or two. Or at least, to talk the matter over with the Master or other senior members before acting. This would give an opportunity to impress upon the young brother his personal responsibility to the lodge and to the Craft as a whole, when he proposes a profane to become a Mason.
The Universal League of Freemasons
The annual Congress of the Universal League of Freemasons is to meet at Geneva this year. August 21st is the date set, and it will last for four days. An interesting program is promised.
Masonic Signs Among the Arabs
The Oklahoma Mason has the following item:
An interesting story of how by use of Masonic signs his paternal grandfather was saved from being killed by Arabs after having been wrecked on the Arabian coast is told by Gilbert Hart, of this city, a member of Phoenix Lodge of Namaqualand, No. 2082, O'okiep, South Africa. The story goes as follows:
The elder Capt. Gilbert Hart was in command of a whaler cruising the Indian Ocean some time in the fifties or sixties. After a tropical hurricane his ship was wrecked on the Arabian coast, a desert region with practically no shelter from the elements or wild beasts. The crew was partially wiped out in the wreck, and were entirely helpless against a party of Arabs, who came upon them and captured the few things they had salvaged from the ship. The Arabs were intent upon killing every man of the whites, but the Captain as a last resort gave the Masonic sign of distress. Immediately slaughter was stopped, the Americans were treated as friends and taken with the greatest care to the nearest port, Aden, where they embarked for America.
We suppose, when Bro. Gilbert Hart is said to be of "this city," that McAlester, Okla., where the Oklahoma Mason is published, is the one intended. It would be interesting to know more of this alleged adventure. Such stories are frequently published, and republished, but only in one instance have we been able to get first hand evidence of anything of this kind. Specifically we should like to know whether Bro. Hart received the story directly from his grandfather, or indirectly through other members of his family. Every successive stage in the transmission of evidence greatly increases the chances of inaccuracy and unconscious exaggeration of some points and suppression of others, even without any conscious desire to heighten the effect, or to tell an interesting story.
Educational Programs in Georgia Lodges
The Board of General Masonic Educational Activities of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, of which R.W. Bro. Raymund Daniel is chairman, is urging the reappointment of Educational Committees in each lodge. A questionnaire is being prepared with a view to the preparation of plans of co-operation between lodges in such matters.
To what extent the previous work has proved successful is not indicated. It is a very difficult task everywhere to move the mass of the brethren out of the rut of bad habits and the misapprehensions that have become stereotyped. Masonry is not the continual repetition of dramatic ceremonies. An uninstructed Mason, whatever degrees he may have "taken," is still at the threshold of his apprenticeship.
Finances of the United Grand Lodge of England
It will seem strange to American Masons, to whom Grand Lodge dues are taken as part of the eternal order of nature, to learn that the Grand Lodge of England has no other source of income than the fees for Warrants, Certificates, Registrations and so on. The large sums of money raised for what our English brethren speak of as "the Institutions" are strictly separate from Grand Lodge funds proper. It is a matter for wonder that the Grand Lodge has been able to function so long and so efficiently under an arrangement which has not been materially modified since the earliest days of the Grand Lodge system of organization.
It is expected that proposals will be made to increase the fees materially and to collect an annual per capita tax from the lodges. One shilling (twenty-five cents) has been suggested, which, while it seems very small will bring in a very considerable sum for administrative purposes.
A Significant Omission
The London Freemason gives the following interesting excerpt from the by-laws of Collagen Lodge, No. 4733, which it says is "in the best spirit of the Craft." Collagen Lodge is a new lodge, having been founded in 1925.
"As the Founders desire to preserve this Lodge in lustre and dignity, to cultivate and practise the Royal Science of Freemasonry with the zeal of those who fervently believe that it is founded on the purest principles of piety and virtue, they have reasonable hope that the Brethren will strive to work diligently and harmoniously together to further the best and truest interests of Freemasonry, and therefore they have omitted any mention of pecuniary mulcts or penal laws, being persuaded that all such enactments are unnecessary among the Brethren of the Collagen Lodge."
The Salvation Army and Secret Societies
It may be remembered by some of our readers that four years ago an order was issued by the head of the Salvation Army forbidding any officers of the Army to join a secret society. No organization was named, but it was fairly clear from the phraseology of the edict that Freemasonry was especially intended, and it was so interpreted, both by officers of the Army and others.
As a sequel to this we learn, from the London Masonic News, that an "incident" occurred at Chatham in Kent, in February last. It seems that General Higgins, the present head of the Salvation Army, paid an "official" visit to Chatham, and the use of the hall of the town council was granted for the proceedings. But those in charge advertised that the Mayor, Bro. H. F. Whyman, would act as chairman, and that he would be supported by the Mayor of the adjoining town of Gillingham, and the Mayor of the City of Rochester, who also happen to be Masons.
This was done without the knowledge or consent of the three brethren mentioned, a sufficiently discourteous thing in itself.
Bro. Whyman, as soon as the matter came to his attention, definitely refused to be present. He said that as a Freemason of forty-eight years standing, in a community in which there lived more than three thousand members of the Craft, he did not feel he could officially welcome the head of an organization which had so poor an opinion of the Craft. In his attitude the other two mayors concurred.
The grounds especially given in the Army order above referred to were that "officers" were obligated to give their whole time, thought, energy and emotion to the object of saving souls, and that membership in a Fraternal society, while possibly innocent in itself, was a distraction from the one object to which officers had devoted their lives.
Masonic Work in Hamburg
From the Hamburger Logenblatt we learn that the citizens have approved a bill providing for a loan of 1,880,000 Reich-Marks to the five Masonic lodges in the city, for the enlargement of the Masonic Hospital in Hamburg. Today the hospital has seventy-five beds if all are used. Room for 152 more beds will now be made. The X-ray department, operating rooms, confinement department, a sunbath and dwellings for janitors are to be newly rebuilt. The bathrooms and the heating plant are to be enlarged and brought up to date. Not having the money for these improvements, the five lodges asked the city for the support which was granted. The capital pays 4 per cent and is to be redeemed with 2 1/2 per cent premium, beginning July 1, 1932.
The Senate of Hamburg states that it is in the interest of the state to increase the number of beds in private hospitals in order to relieve hospitals operated by the state. It would seem that anti-Masonry has as yet little influence in Hamburg.
Some Sidelights on the Italian Situation
De Broederkelen publishes a communication from Bro. Gonsalves, a Netherlands Freemason resident in the South of France, where he is in close touch with Italian affairs. The following paragraphs are of especial interest.
On the occasion of the marriage of his son the king of Italy granted an amnesty to prisoners, but limited to major criminals. Those who had been condemned by a "special tribunal" did not benefit by this amnesty. And the "constitutional" king of Italy leaves the great hero of the World War to die in prison, the Brother Luigi Capello, ex-general in chief of the III Army Corps ...
The Pope is not willing to have a monument to the wife of Garibaldi erected in Rome. This does not astonish us. The Pope conforms to the tradition of intolerance, which is the basis of Vatican politics....
In the Piedmonese Alps the Foresters still exist, and form a Protestant sect, which has features of especial interest to Freemasons. In spite of interdiction of il Duce, Mussolini, they continue to use the French language to speak and write between themselves. Their journal l'Echo des Vallees issued its last number January 14, being suppressed by the Dictator.
The Foresters were persecuted in the year 1200, and were obliged to seek a refuge in the Alps, but they have never consented to give up their language or their convictions....
Have these "Foresters" anything to do with the origin, real or imagined, of the Carbonari?
Some Amazing Statements
In the South Australian Freemason for February last, is an address by the Rev. John Baptist Reeves, O.P., explaining "Why Catholics Stay Out of Freemasonry." From internal indications it might seem that the address was given in England, but this is not certain. Mr. Reeves is very temperate, almost friendly, in his language, which makes a curious contrast with the following paragraph:
All English Masonic Lodges by law, if not always by sympathy, are united to the Grand Orient, which is professedly and bitterly anti-Catholic. If English Masonry has become too indifferent to Catholicism to carry on the war to which, by its origin, it is pledged [italics ours] is that any reason why the church should treat it as though it were not Masonry at all? Should she encourage Catholics to enlist in a corps which, however cooled from its first fervour, is still part of a world-wide army whose constitutions are definitely anti-Catholic?
It would hardly have seemed possible that so much misinformation could have been crowded into so few sentences. It is a greatly enlarged edition of the famous definition of a crab. There is not a single statement in it that is not the diametrical opposite of the truth, there is not an implication that is not false and misleading. Yet Mr. Reeves is evidently speaking in perfect good faith, and is, we feel sure, quite innocent of any intention to be unfair. He goes on to remark:
If English Masons as a body would formally declare that they were radically different from Continental and historic Masonry [again the italics are ours] the Catholic Church would begin to regard them differently. She would begin to regard them as no longer Masons. So would Masons themselves the world over.
The italics are still ours. Could anything more absurdly wrong-end-to have been imagined? The tail wagging the dog, the nail driving the hammer, the baby begetting its father are alone in the same class. Historic Masonry is British Masonry. Historic Masonry, as an institution, has always been neutral, or rather indifferent to, religion. Anglo-Saxon Masonry has proclaimed formally and informally on every possible occasion, and through every possible medium, in season and out of season, that it has severed all connection with such bodies as it holds to have departed from the "original plan." What more it could have done is very hard to see. Finally there is no Masonic constitution, whether Anglo Saxon or European, whether of a Grand Lodge or of a Grand Orient, that so much as mentions any church; nor is there anything in any Masonic ritual practiced in any country which obligates Masons to oppose anyone or anything, or to obey anyone — beyond the narrow limits of the internal economy of the lodge itself. That is, just such subordination as must exist in every society, club, corporation, or any group of people that is not merely a crowd or a mob. A Mason is obliged to obey the moral law, but this surely cannot be what is intended.
The Mystic Shrine and World Peace
Bro. Leo V. Youngworth, who is Imperial Potentate of the "Ancient Arabic Order" of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in North America, recently said in an address:
"There are 600,000 Shriners in North America, and if they could be mobilized as a militant force in creating a sentiment for world peace, a real task will have been accomplished," he said. "Right must ultimately triumph and since peace is right, peace must triumph. The intelligence of the peoples of the earth must be poured into the channels of peace and harmony and thus war will vanish."
It is strange that it should be from the playground of American Masonry that the idealistic movements have their origin, and find an environment favorable to their growth.
* * *
The books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which include postage, except when otherwise stated. These prices are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though occasion for this will very seldom arise. It may happen, where books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make inquiries for second-hand works and books out of print.
* * *
MAD ANTHONY WAYNE. By Thomas Boyd. Published by Charles Scribner's Son. Cloth, illustrated, bibliography, index, 351 pages. Price, $3.50 net.
ANTHONY WAYNE is one of the Revolutionary characters who is believed to have been a Mason, but concerning whom we have no definite information to this effect. All I have been able to ascertain about him from a Masonic standpoint is limited to some references, for which I am indebted to my intimate friend and colleague, Bro. Wm. L. Boyden, Librarian of the Supreme Council, 33d, A.A.S.R., S.J., Washington, D.C. He informs me that Wayne is referred to as "Brother" by McClenahan in his History of Freemasonry in New York, Vol. 2, page 61, and Vol. 3, pages 528-29, and that the Grand Lodge of New York dedicated the monument over his grave in 1857.
The book before me has all the good external qualities one associates with books published by Scribner's. They are in keeping with the story that the author tells. Wayne was emotional and impetuous; stirred by the impending rebellion, he takes a place upon invitation of Benjamin Franklin, on the Colonial Committee of Safety, and leaves his young wife and three-year-old son to answer the call to public service. Martial blood in his veins did not permit him to sit in conferences; he did attend to his duties there, it is true, but he was also busy raising a regiment in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He became its colonel, and before long was facing the British Army in Canada. Promotion to brigadier-general followed in due course, though he was deprived of a major-generalship by a less deserving officer being advanced to that grade — a story not uncommon in the annals of the service. Had not the brave Arnold met a similar fate? But Wayne remained loyal, while Arnold's treason became a by-word.
Wayne's career in the Revolutionary Army is too well known to be repeated here — Brandywine, Monmouth, Stony Point and Yorktown are so closely associated with his name that any school boy can tell the story. The story ends with Wayne's entry (1782) into Charleston, S.C., so hard upon the heels of the evacuating British troops that they complained, "You come too fast for us ... you come too fast." Wayne relinquished his commission the following summer and returned to civilian pursuits, becoming a member of the minority party of the Pennsylvania Legislature. Here he encountered a situation that has a modern ring to it:
Another perplexing condition was the attitude of the smaller politicians, the people who had risen during the war, toward the officers of the disbanded army. Throughout the conflict many of the Congressmen and others had feared the revolution, if successful, would end in military control under its generals. And now they were equally jealous of the Society of the Cincinnati, the organization in which the officers of the war planned to perpetuate their friendships gained upon the field.
A gift of a plantation from the grateful people of Georgia took several years of close attention. He borrowed heavily, in the hopes that his slaves and the rice crop would enable him to rehabilitate himself. His close friend, General Nathaniel Greene, a Georgia neighbor, died from sunstroke while endeavoring to further his agricultural interests. Wayne became a citizen of Georgia in 1788, giving up his Pennsylvania citizenship, which had brought him nothing. He became Congressman from Georgia in 1791, defeating General James Jackson, the previous incumbent of the office, only to lose it because overzealousness of friends developed into frauds, causing the House to reject Wayne — but with no dishonour upon him — as not duly elected.
Bitter, disappointed and downcast, a door opened for his abilities. Indian troubles in the Northwest, accompanied by the defeat of Harmar and St. Clair, brought the appointment of Wayne as major-general and commander-in-chief of the army. The experiences of the period, involving the vicious attributes of pacifism and unpreparedness, hold lessons very applicable in the present hour of rising communism, bolshevism and all the ills that follow in their wake.
The campaigns of Wayne in the Northwest brought peace. He was the White Captain who never slept, the soldier who outwitted the Indians at every turn and who administered stinging defeat at the Battle of Fallen Timber, so recently commemorated by a special postage stamp. Returning to Philadelphia after a treaty of peace with the Indians, he was feted, wined and dined. The John Jay treaty with England sent him back to the border after some months to take over the frontier forts and posts. A return journey to the federal seat of government, to oppose preposterous charges filed by a subordinate, Wilkinson, hastened what was to be his final illness; Wayne died at Presque Isle, in Lake Erie, December 15, 1796.
Lives such as Wayne's, fraught as his was with struggles, rebuffs, hardships, disappointments, yet ultimate triumph withal, are an inspiration to those of us who are the heirs of what our forefathers bequeathed us in character, nationalism and high ideals. They strengthen us in our hours of depression, and carry us on in the face of the forces which would undermine and destroy our nation. The foes within are no longer native Indians, but the foreign vipers whom we have taken to our breasts, and who repay us for a liberty and freedom denied them in their own lands by trying to inject the doctrines of communism and kindred evils into our social and economic system.
J. H. T.
* * *
MARSHAL NEY: BEFORE AND AFTER EXECUTION. Compiled by J. Edward Smoot, M.D. Published by the Queen City Printing Co., Charlotte, N.C. Cloth, table of contents, profusely illustrated, index to documents, xii and 460 pages. Price $5.00 net.
TWO generations ago almost every one in the United States was familiar with at least the names of the Napoleon's marshals. Lives of Napoleon and histories of his campaigns were still eagerly read by boys, and the memory of the aid given by royalist France to the revolting American Colonies still east a glamour over the constant wars waged by the First consul, who made himself Emperor. But today there may be some question in the minds of readers, if not just who Michel Ney was, at least what happened to him. A reference to a standard encyclopedia will inform the inquirer, that Ney rose from the ranks to become one of Napoleon's most trusted generals. That he was the real hero of the fatal Moscow campaign. That after Napoleon's abdication in 1814, he was reconciled to the restored Bourbon regime, but when Napoleon returned from Elba he went over to his old master, with the troops under his command — an act, technically at least, of treason; for which, after the final defeat at Waterloo, and with the second return of Louis XVII, he was tried before the Chamber of Peers and condemned to death. It is further recorded that on December 7, 1815, he was shot in the Luxembourg Gardens.
Now while it would seem that this has all been implicitly accepted in Europe from that time to this as a final statement of facts, it appears that in America, in North Carolina particularly, there have always been rumors that the execution was a piece of stage work, that the actors only played a role, that Ney only pretended to be dead, and that a few days later he was on a ship bound for America in company with two other men, General Lefebvre-Desnouettes and Pasqual Lueiani, the latter a cousin of Napoleon's mother. That the two latter came to America is certain, and the descendants of Lueiani are still living. Desnouettes returning to Europe in 1823, was drowned when the ship he was in was wrecked on the coast of Ireland.
Dr. Smoot is not the first to write on the subject. The Rev. James A. Weston wrote a book, now very scarce, Historic Doubts as to the Execution of Marshal Ney. Just when this was published does not appear, though Dr. Smoot makes very copious extracts from it. But at least, from these extracts, it appears that there was a continuous tradition that Ney lived for many years in North Carolina and finally died there.
Dr. Smoot believes that he has definitely proved that this tradition was based on fact. As to that the present writer would not care to say more than that he has presented a very strong case. It might have been made even stronger, or rather, more effective, by a different arrangement of the material. There is much that seems rather irrelevant to the main issue, though interesting in itself; which was probably the reason for inserting it.
That the first chapters should recount the life and career of Marshal Ney is natural and proper. The author's prejudices in favor of France and Napoleon are obvious, and also natural. But there is another side to these questions, and to the historical student some of the comments will prove either irritating or amusing, according to his disposition. Two points might especially be noticed. According to the authorities followed by Dr. Smoot, chiefly Guizot's France one judges in this case, the rupture after the Peace of Amiens, was all England's fault, "in demanding Malta, which," as he puts it, "according to the signed treaty, had been returned to the Knights of St. John, its rightful owners." Now this is no place to go into an exceedingly complex historical question, but a few points may be recalled. It was Napoleon himself who had taken the Island from the Knights, the English had taken it from him. England was perfectly willing to restore it to the Order of St. John, if the Order was permitted to be powerful enough to maintain its sovereignty and independence, but objected to French domination in disguise. The English government of the moment was a peculiarly inefficient and stupid one in a period when English governments were distinguished for stupidity, under a rather stupid king, and there is no doubt that Napoleon jockeyed the British ministers into a false position.
The second point is the description of Sir John Moore's brilliant and daring strategy in the Peninsula campaign in 1808. Once again Dr. Smoot may be excused, because very few historians, even yet, do justice to it, although it has been cited in military textbooks, almost as a stock example, of the havoc a small force can do if it can cut the line of communications of its opponents. As one military writer has tersely put it, Sir John Moore with thirty thousand men, disorganized completely, and in reality defeated, so far as the ends of the campaign were concerned, an army of three hundred thousand, commanded by Napoleon himself. However mad the adventure seemed to the world at large, Napoleon was under no misapprehensions as to Moore's object or of his success.
But this is entirely aside from the main theme of the book. We must now come to America, where in 1816 there appeared a man who called himself Peter Stuart Ney, who after 1819 engaged in the occupation or profession of teaching country schools, for the most part in the western counties of North Carolina, up to 1846, when he died, rather suddenly it would seem, of some unspecified complaint, and was buried in the churchyard of what is known as the Third Creek Presbyterian Church.
About this mysterious individual certain facts may be accepted without question. He was a French refugee, he had been a scholar, and not only a soldier, but an officer of high rank, and one whose many sears witnessed to long service in the European wars. And he was accustomed to mingle in the highest and most cultivated society. All these things were obvious even to casual acquaintances.
In addition to this, his height, physique, complexion, color of hair and eyes were all consistent with his being Marshal Ney, and he was also a splendid horseman and a most skillful fencer, for both of which the Marshal was noted.
This Peter Stuart Ney was very reticent about his past life, but he seems to have let fall now and then, to those he knew best, various hints as to who he was, and occasionally when, as it appears he sometimes was in the last years of his life, under the influence of liquor, he made some direct categorical assertions that he was Marshal Ney. And on his deathbed he is reported by respectable witnesses to have replied to a requests that he reveal the secret of his identity by saying, "I am Marshal Ney of France."
It is very certain that the friends of Peter Ney believed him to be the Marshal, and for that matter people generally wherever he had lived for any length of time. Dr. Smoot, born and brought up in this locality, inherited the tradition, and naturally his treatment of the evidence is that of an advocate. This has had some disadvantages, for it has caused him to neglect a full discussion of the bearings and implications of the evidence he has collected, as well as to ignore almost completely possible objections and counter arguments. Practically the only one mentioned is that based on the scholastic acquirements of Peter Ney. The latter knew at least sufficient of mathematics and of the Latin and Greek languages to ground his pupils in their rudiments. While on the other hand it is asserted that Marshal Ney, whose father was a cooper, and of peasant origin, and who left School before he was fifteen, was practically an illiterate man. Dr. Smoot's reply to this is on the whole acceptable, though it is possible that those who have raised this objection have exaggerated both the lack of education of the Marshal, and the erudition of Peter. And between 1783 or thereabouts, when Michel Ney left school, and 1819 when Peter Ney began to teach school, there is a considerable gap. Whatever his schooling, Miehel Ney must have had an unusual mind, and to such ordinary rules do not apply.
But between the two men stands the execution. Marshal Ney was certainly tried for treason against the Bourbons, condemned to death and shot. It is very hard to believe that this was all a make-believe. The execution was in a sense a public one, though the place and the hour at which it took place were not those which had been given out. However so much dodging of publicity as this amounted to could be explained by the fact that popular feeling was against it. Here especially one must find fault with the presentation of the case. The accounts of how this affair was stage-managed — if it was so managed — are scattered all through the book. Where we would naturally expect to find all the evidence pieced together in a connected narrative, with some attempt to fill the gaps and to discount difficulties, there are only a few allusions, and a general assumption. After relating the Marshal's life up to the execution, the author proceeds in Chapter XI to defend his hero's patriotism, and then in the next proceeds to the alleged flight to America. This inadvertence may be due to the fact that the execution is the part of the story most deeply wrapped in mystery, but for that very reason it called for full discussion, for it is the gap that must be bridged to connect Peter Ney with the Marshal.
Later on we get more details, in the depositions of various witnesses and in the quotations from Weston's work. Roughly the story is that a squad of Ney's own men were assigned to shoot him. That when he gave the word to fire he dropped, while the men aimed high, or else that their muskets were loaded with blank. In one account he is said to have been provided with a bladder of red fluid to simulate blood. It is also hinted that the Masonic Fraternity and the Duke of Wellington had some part in the affair. Whether there is any proof of Ney's Masonic status outside of this assertion is not known to the present writer, but it is not in itself at all improbable that he was a Mason. The Duke of Wellington was certainly one; that is, he had been initiated in Ireland as a very young man. But he had so little interest in the Craft that in later life he seems to have entirely forgotten all about it. In any case it is not likely that in his position he would have wanted to know anything about such a plot, even though he may have been sympathetic, and willing unofficially that the evasion should be carried out. One great difficulty is that it could not have been arranged without the knowledge and complicity of a considerable number of people. And it would be most remarkable that none of them should ever, in later years, when it was quite safe, have let the secret out. Yet apparently nothing ever emerged in France, it is said that when the Marshal's grave in the cemetery of Pere la Chaise was opened nothing was found but an empty coffin.
The reader must make his own judgment, but the tale is a most interesting one whether true or not. It is a pity, a very great pity, that Dr. Smoot could not have had the assistance or collaboration of someone who had served an apprenticeship to the trade of bookmaking, for it is on one side a trade, as Robert Louis Stevenson always insisted. With better technical arrangement of the material, and in the present vogue of biography, the work might quite well have been made a "best seller." But the author has devoted much time and labor to the difficult task of collecting evidence, much of which in a few years would have been irrevocably lost, and in doing this he has performed a most meritorious service to those interested in a most intriguing historical problem.
* * *
BOLIVAR, THE LIBERATOR. By Michel Vaucaire; translated from the French bay Margaret Reed. Published by Houghton Mifflin Co. Cloth, Illustrated, index, 197 pages. Price, $3.50 net.
MORE and more the attention of North Americans has been directed to our neighboring South American republics. Merchants and bankers found this necessary when desirable accounts were laid in their laps as a result of the European upheaval brought about by the World War. The efforts of General John J. Pershing toward the settlement of the Tacna-Arica dispute and the visits of President-elect Herbert Hoover and Lindbergh also contributed their part. From a Masonic standpoint, we have had our thoughts directed to South America by the official visit to that continent by R.W. Bro. Sir Alfred Robbins, P.G.W., President of the Board of General Purposes, United Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of England, of which we shall learn more when his book, English Speaking Masonry, appears this winter.
Three books on Simon Bolivar, the Liberator of South America, have appeared this year. The first I have had the pleasure of reading is the Houghton-Mifflin publication by Michel Vaucaire, whose work the translator, Margaret Reed, has very faithfully presented in English. The imprint of Houghton-Mifflin on a book is a hall mark of merit, and is assurance that the volume deserves consideration. The present work is no exception to this statement.
The reader will soon realize that the book is not written by a native of the United States; it has the verve, flair and style of a Continental European. The volume starts out with a dash and vigor that is maintained throughout the entire book; there is no background sketched in by which the reader unfamiliar with South American history can orient himself. Yet perhaps this is as it should be, for the subject of the work was such an unusual and tempestuous mortal himself that the conventional method of biographical treatment would not do justice to the man. A gibe at the United States — of which more later — adds to one's wish that he knew more of Bolivar in particular and South America in general, because one should like to verify the assertions and representations of the author by reference to other sources. Be that as it may, the book is worth reading, even though we may have some doubts in our minds on certain phases of treatment given.
My attention was attracted to the Vaucaire work because I knew that Bolivar was a brother of the Craft, as was also Miranda, another patriot of Latin America. Contrary to what seems to be the accepted practice among biographers of great men, Vaucaire actually mentions Bolivar's Masonic membership. The passage is worth quoting, not only for the single fact it presents, but also as an illustration of the author's style:
One afternoon, when he had gone into his cabin to arrange the many things which he had brought from Europe, Bolivar came across his Freemason's diploma. He unrolled the great printed sheet, which showed a curtain hanging in an antique temple. It bore the different symbols, level, trowel square, compass, the three points and the mallet, also crouching sphinxes. Bolivar recalled his introduction to the Lodge at Cadiz, whither he had been drawn by curiosity rather than conviction. He had taken oath to accept no legitimate government in his country save one elected by the free vote of the people, and to strive with all his might to establish a republican system.
He laughed over the Masonic ceremonies in which he had taken part, and where he had met too many tricksters and not enough fanatics. In Paris he had been raised to Master. Take it altogether, this association, with its childish airs of mystery, might yet have a practical use. He replaced the certificate at the bottom of a trunk and thought no more about it.
This was about the year 1806, just prior to Bolivar's arrival at Boston, en route to his native land of Venezuela. He had visited Rome during the winter, where he refused to kneel and kiss the slipper of Pope Pius VII, who smiled placidly. Bolivar's independence is also shown in one Of his later proclamations, wherein he declared: "Venezuela is a Christian country; it is therefore necessary to convoke an ecclesiastical assembly to pronounce on the free practice Or the Faith and on all religious questions."
The exploits of Bolivar cannot be told in a few words; it is little wonder that it takes thirty-two volumes to embrace the documents which he wrote in his short life. Married at nineteen, he was bereft at twenty-one; though devoted to the memory of his Teresa, his life was filled with many amours, one of his mistresses forsaking her English husband, James Thorne, to accompany the Liberator into the field, and to remain with him to his death; an idealist, yet a brilliant military tactician; a Dictator by wish of the people, he was also devoted to the concept Of a government by the people. Yet note this fact — one in which many a Mason feels inclined to concur when considering the antics of Grand Lodges in executive session — unduly influenced by zealots blind to everything but their own worship of crossed t's and dotted i's — Bolivar "knew that an absolute democracy was much more dangerous than the worst despotism." He favored a Senate of educated men, for he had learned from his experiences in the field how a people suddenly freed from oppression are unaccustomed to power.
Bolivar was active from 1810 to 1822 in the struggle for South American independence from Spain. He not only freed his own country, Venezuela, but also New Granada (Columbia), Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia — though it must not be forgotten that Jose de San Martin inaugurated the campaign for Chilean and Peruvian independence. Bolivar established schools, hospitals and encouraged newspapers and journals. Yet later he found it advisable, we are told, to prohibit "all Masonic lodges, veritable hotbeds of conspiracy. Secret societies were forbidden. The universities, which were becoming centers of opposition, were closed. Bolivar revised the list of studies and excluded every branch that might, among feather-headed young people, give rise to ideas harmful to the commonweal. They were replaced by the history of the Catholic religion, and additional courses in Latin and Canon Law." It makes one wonder what kind of Freemasonry was practiced in South America in those days.
One is tempted to relate some of the terrible experiences which were encountered by the patriots in their struggle for independence; as we read of the horrible atrocities, we feel thankful that the history of the Thirteen Colonies is free from such strife and hatreds. Anglo-Saxon temperaments could never have consented to the blood-curdling horrors which Bolivar encountered and also perpetrated. Quartering, hanging, burning, flaying and similar tortures are mild when compared to some of the things the author relates. To set them down in this review would be impossible, the book should be read to get the story. Let it suffice to say that whole towns were wiped out, and buildings and bodies burned; worshippers were massacred in the presence of the Holy Sacrament; prisoners were put to cold steel, as powder and bullets were scarce; all patriots over seven were ordered killed when captured. Liberty was secured at a terrible price.
In June, 1826, Bolivar summoned the American republics to a Congress to be held at the Isthmus of Panama. Commenting upon this, the author says:
The United States would consent to be present only if Bolivar would renounce his projects on Cuba and Porto Rico, which the Washington Government did not wish to see become independent republics, but preferred to seize from Spain at a later date. Neither would the United States hear any talk of the abolition of slavery; she wished to keep her distance from these states, the rebels of yesterday.
The conference was a lamentable failure.
At Washington the papers spread a hundred lies about Bolivar's intentions. Plots were discovered in Mexico hatched under the influence of the United States. There was a universal feeling in South America that this first-born republic, which sought to have helped the younger ones, was, on the contrary, only trying to encourage discord and to foment difficulties so as to intervene at the appropriate moment.
This quotation is included for whatever it may be worth. It has a value to us because it is the viewpoint of a European; but more so, it reflects the spirit which animates similar utterances that have come to our ears in recent times. It gives pause for serious thought.
Simon Bolivar has been well termed the George Washington of South America. With the irony that is so commonly a part of a great man's life, the Liberator was both honored and despicably used by those whom he served the most. Today, with a century behind him for reflection, the South American republics cannot honor Bolivar too much. Truly, indeed, the story of his life has much of interest for us; it holds both admonition and inspiration.
J. H. T.
* * *
QUAKERS IN ACTION; RECENT HUMANITARIAN AND REFORM ACTIVITIES OF THE AMERICAN QUAKERS. By Lester M. Jones, with an Introduction by Rufus M. Jones. Published by the Macmillan Co. Table of Contents, illustrated bibliography, xx and 226 pages, price $2.10.
"QUAKERS IN ACTION," written as a doctorate thesis, is a sketch of the reaction of American Quakerism to the impact of the World War and of its resultant activity in Europe and the United States. The outbreak of the conflict in 1914 came as a greater shock to the Friends than to any other section of the community as a result of their peculiar tenets. Basically opposed to the settlement of disputes by armed force, American Friends appear to have accepted the comfortable view, so lucidly expressed by Norman Angell in the Great Illusion and so widely held during the early years of the twentieth century, that the ramifications of modern industry and commerce had rendered war between the great powers impossible, and to have relaxed their insistence upon the principle of peace to such an extent that they were becoming "just one more Protestant sect" with little or nothing to distinguish them from other Protestant bodies. From this state of lethargy they were aroused by the challenge of the war to a revival of their spiritual and religious life and a reconsideration of the attitude to the world at large which might best reveal and commend to others their view of human relationships, and especially of the unchristian character of the decision of disputes by resort to physical force. This reconsideration of their position led the Quakers "to supplement their traditional attitudes to the problem of war and other conflict groups, which were often negative and passive, by positive and constructive efforts to get at the underlying causes of war and to destroy the seeds of conflict in economic, racial, and international relations before they have a chance to germinate." These positive and constructive efforts are, as the title indicates, the subject of Dr. Jones' thesis.
As they studied the question in the light of the great conflagration it became clear to the Friends that the real cause of war was the spirit of self-seeking and mutual animosity in which individuals and groups approached their various problems. The positive and constructive effort which the Quakers sought must therefore be to give an example of the conduct of human relations in a spirit of service and brotherly love which might, by its contrast with the visible results of the war spirit, commend the better way to the heart and conscience of warsmitten humanity. Accordingly in April 1917, coincidently with the entry of the United States into the struggle and the feverish war preparation which resulted therefrom, a small group of Friends met, appropriately, in Philadelphia, and adopting as their motto "in time of war prepare for peace," began to organize a service of healing.
Even while the war still raged the Friends undertook to assist in the work of reconstruction in the devastated areas of France, especially in getting the land under cultivation and restocking the farms with a view to increasing the food supply. But it was in the post-war period that their real opportunity came. Then they were able to extend their activities to Germany, Austria, Poland, and Russia, and to prove that they were ready, not merely to assist their country's allies, but to regard all who needed help as their brethren, regardless of racial, religious, or political distinctions. In Germany their chief service was the supplementary feeding of the children to counteract the disastrous influence of underfeeding and restricted diet, with the consequent prevalence of tubercular trouble. In Austria they rendered aid to children under school age, to the professional and pensioned classes on whom the war and currency inflation had pressed most heavily, and to agricultural settlers, and organized the fight against tuberculosis. In Poland their chief activity was connected with the re-settlement of the returning refugees and their re-establishment on the land. In Russia the Friends again encountered the refugee problem and rendered most devoted and efficient aid in coping with disease and famine. Everywhere they sought, not merely to bring help to the needy, but to reveal the fact that they were actuated not by sentimental or charitable feelings alone, still less by partisan motives, but by the basic principles of service and brotherly love.
Then when their work in Europe was concluded, the Friends turned their attention to conditions in their own country, realizing, as Tennyson realized and pointed out in Maud, that a state of nominal peace may be in reality one of veiled but even more deadly and soul-destroying conflict in the social and economic spheres. A committee of fourteen, the Social Order Committee, was selected and divided into groups to study the most obvious and pressing problems of American life. These groups were to investigate the Women's Problems, the Farmers', Educators', Property, and Business Problems, and the list of topics indicates the range and thoroughness of the investigation. On the findings of this committee the Friends will seek to base a positive and constructive programme to give effect to their principles; and already a beginning has been made in the extension of relief to the women and children of the West Virginia mining districts and in the business life of the Friends themselves.
In reading the book one is inclined at first to feel that the author has not made the most of his subject; that the treatment is too restricted and restrained, the barest outline of facts and figures being given for the various fields of activity and the human element, the characters of the several actors in the story, omitted; while the style, though clear, is lacking in literary grace and charm. Reflection, however, will modify this view. Although the title of the book is Quakers In Action, the real subject is that of the SPIRIT OF QUAKERISM in action, and as Rufus Jones points out in the Introduction "the sympathetic reader ... will catch many hints of the informing spirit and will feel that the book contains the story of this new philanthropy." It is, perhaps, fitting that in a book dealing with such a subject the human element should be avoided and literary graces eschewed, that the new spirit of the Society of Friends should be expressed through the plainest of Yeas and Nays.
To a freakish humor it might appear a quaint commentary on Quaker principles that this new spirit and new humanitarian activity among the Friends should be the direct outcome of war. That the Quakers should be aroused from a state of apathy and a comfortable acquiescence in life as it was by the impact of the European conflict might seem to lend weight to the Bernhardian view of war as a healing medicine employed by God to refresh the jaded spirit and renew the failing idealism resulting from long-continued peace. But such ideas, though they may flash momentarily across the reader's mind, will not survive a sympathetic study of the volume. The United States suffered comparatively little from the war, it is on the other side of the Atlantic that its effects may be gauged, and the pictures of war affected Europe given by Dr. Jones is not one of a refreshed spirit and a renewed idealism but of stunted diseased childhood, of dull apathy under a burden of evils that has crushed and not arouse the life of the spirit. Such energies as survived the long strain of the war had perforce to be devoted to securing a bare subsistence, and the urgent need for reconstruction tended to emphasize material considerations as the dominant idea in life. The spiritual and ideal elements are the contributions of the advocates of peace not of the proponents of war.
As Dr. Jones points out, the actual achievements of the Friends, though of very considerable magnitude in themselves, were relatively small in comparison with the need and the other efforts to relieve that need; it is the motive that actuated those achievements that is great and important. The ideas by which the Friends were inspired were not new in themselves. They were drawn from the Scriptures, and were set forth centuries before the Christian era in Buddhist parables like the story of Dighavu and such of the Buddhist maxims collected in the Dhammapada as the 5th, that "hatred does not cease by hatred at any time, hatred ceases by love," and the 223rd "Let one overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good. Let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth." What the Friends did was to make these ideas effective within the range of their activity, and offer to Europe and the United States the spectacle of men and women basing their actions upon the principles of service and brotherly love. History works slowly, and the effect of this vision of the Quakers In Action may not be visible for generations, but one cannot lay down the volume which chronicles their doings so simply and unaffectedly without the feeling that a wonderful force has been liberated upon the world.
E. E. B.
* * *
BUILDING THE AMATEUR OPERA COMPANY. By Ralph H. Korn. Published by Karl Fischer, Inc. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, 76 pages. Price, $1.50 net.
THIS is a companion and continuing handbook to How to Organize the Amateur Band and Orchestra, which was reviewed in THE BUILDER for June last year. The author is an enthusiast, though his enthusiasm keeps its feet firmly on the ground. One might say that his text is the saying ascribed to Wagner, addressed in the first place to his own people: "If you want an art of your own you can have your own art," but which Mr. Korn thinks is equally applicable to America. And why should it not be? In Wagner's day music in Germany, and especially operatic music, was Italian, just as American music is European. Whether the parallel would work out to the end lies hidden in the possibilities of the future, but it is at least reasonable to suppose it might.
The author insists that all art is based on and receives its impulse from the interest and love of the amateur. Much as professionals of all kinds may consciously or unconsciously look down on the amateur, yet without the latter's support and patronage in mass the professional would be without profession and livelihood. But the contention goes further. It is the amateur who does the pioneering, who breaks the ground, who lays the foundations, and from whose ranks the first professionals come.
The book is written in a similar vein to the former one, in intimate, familiar style, with humorous comments and asides. Nevertheless all the whole complex business of organizing orchestra, chorus, ballet and the rest are fully, if briefly, covered. For those who love real music, and who would like to see a school of American composers come into existence, and an appreciation of opera made general throughout the country, the book may be recommended. Even if they have not themselves the faintest idea of starting anything themselves, it will give them a new view of possibilities, and this in turn may lead more or less indirectly to a bringing of the desired state of affairs to pass. Americans are the richest people in the world, and on the whole know least how and on what to spend their wealth. While art, whether musical, pictorial or plastic, is not necessarily an antidote to materialism, yet it is a refinement Of life, it does open more avenues of interest and enjoyment, and it may be made to serve the highest spiritual aspirations.
This was the opinion of the ancient Greeks, and it may be we have to learn from them here as in so many other things.
* * *
SPURIOUS LODGES IN COPENHAGEN
Translated From the Nordiske Frimurer-Tidende.
WITH the kind assistance of a Danish Brother the Editor has from time to time tried to account for the connections of the various illegal so-called Masonic Lodges and Grand Lodges which have from time to time appeared in Denmark, partly with some success, inasmuch as our Danish Brother has several times found it necessary to present charges through the N.F.T. But it has not always been very easy. There has been a buzzing of elaborate foreign names, especially when they were needed to show the genuineness of these Masonic societies; it has not been clear to the Editor whether it could be shown that they had been legally chartered by Italy, Switzerland, France, England or the United States. So far as can be remembered, all these countries have at least been named. One thing seemed nevertheless certain; not one of the sources could lay claim to be considered regular.
The Editor has received from a Danish Brother some copies of the Danish newspaper, Morgenbladet, wherein one, Mr. A. Henry Heimann, over his name and under the heading, "Spurious Freemasons in Copenhagen," has written a whole series of articles about Freemasons. This newspaper heads the articles with a caption of its own, "Morgenbladet exposes a large Masonic Order in the city. It is founded on spurious charters." The author informs us that in Denmark there is also a branch of the international organization, "Le Droit Humaine" (or Universal Co-Masonry) but his criticism is not directed against this association, which admits both men and women, for they honestly and truly admit that they are not recognized by any regular Masonic organization. But the other orders he does not handle with silk gloves. Space does not permit any extensive report here, but the author mentions among other things that the "Danish Grand Lodge" and its charters are purely and simply frauds. In its organ — it has its own, Frimurer-Tidende — this [Grand] Lodge explains the genuineness and origin of its charters much as follows: It grants full Sewers to create a "Highest Council" of 33d of the old and ancient Scottish Rite in Denmark — pertaining both to the Cerneau system as well as to the system of Morin, in addition to several other Masonic Rites and Systems. All this authority, contrary to all Masonic rules, is given to one individual person (who appends the high-sounding term "Kadoseh," i. e., Holy, to his good northern name Hansen). The best thing about the patent is its title: "Grande Oriente Italiano degli Antichi ed Accettatis Liberi Muratori, Zenith di Roma." But Italian Freemasonry did not recognize it. The Grand Lodge is furthermore in possession of a patent from a not entirely unknown lodge-manufacturer, Theodore Reutz, who, on his part, had it from the rather doubtful American "Grand Master," Harry Leymour [Seymour?], and also from a defunct organization in Spain. But the Danish Grand Master is not satisfied with this. He is also Master of the following "Patents" and "Rites": Order of Asiatic Brethren; Knights of the Light in Denmark, 8th degree; Ordo Templis Orientes; Fraternitas Lucis Hermetica; The Martinist Order; den Korbralistiske Orden [Kabbalistic Order?] of Rosenhuset; Order of the Knights of the True Light, 7th degree; Ordo Cure Rosoe Crucis, 9th degree; Societas Alchemica in Denmark (7); Grand Lodge of the Rite of Lindenborg, 6th degree; Den gamle Illuminatorden (?) 12th degree. These glorious orders together form the "Danish Grand Lodge," says the author. This is considerable, thinks he, and it is not surprising that Mr. Hansen-Kadoseh "has the right to wear angel wings and to glide on the rainbow."
The whole thing is a curiosity; but it is a crime that people should be fooled into paying big fees to join this "Order."
But this will have to be enough. The Order threatens the rather outspoken author with prosecution. If the threat is carried into effect, there may be occasion to speak more about these events. The author is said not to be a Freemason, but he pays due respect to the two rightful institutions, the Danish Grand Lodge, and the three Humanitarian lodges working under the Hamburg Grand Lodge.
* * *
THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE
THE PROBLEM OF THE DISABLED VETERAN
I believe the needy soldiers of the recent war will be greatly benefited by such articles as the one appearing in THE BUILDER, March issue, entitled "The Broken Men of the Great War."
Is it asking too much to request further information on government aid to our veterans?
Mrs. C. L., Missouri.
* * *
Permit me to express my appreciation of the article captioned "The Broken Men of the Great War" in the March issue of THE BUILDER.
I believe that such articles will help to obviate the reproach implied in the phrase, "Lest We Forget."
May we have further articles on our crippled soldiers.
* * *
Having carefully perused the article on "The Broken Men of the Great War," I believe the article worthy of much consideration and well worth while. Different persons who had read the article stated that you were to be congratulated for giving space and services to the cause and join me in hoping that we may hear more on the same subject.
* * *
The March number of THE BUILDER is exceptionally fine. I appreciated the article of Bro. Coop on disabled veterans for he is only touching the rim of one of the darkest pictures following the war. Incompetency in the U.S.V.B., due to the employment of second-rate physicians, is true, and bureaucracy, due to politics, has de-humanized the Bureau. Every claimant is regarded as a "panhandler" as soon as his feet cross the threshold. The aim seems to be, make it as nearly impossible as you can for any claim to pass. It is the "pound of flesh" over again.
All the other articles maintain the high standard of THE BUILDER.
* * *
THE ORIGIN OF THE ODD FELLOWS
In a recent discussion about fraternal organizations and their borrowing from the Masonic Fraternity, it was stated by one brother that the Odd Fellows were founded as a result of a split in a Masonic lodge in Manchester, England, about the beginning of last century. I questioned this, and asked his authority. He said he had seen it so stated in a Masonic magazine. I seem to have some recollection that there was something about this in THE BUILDER a few years ago, and that it was there said that the Odd Fellows were first organized in London about the year 1740. Can you tell me anything about this?
The question was asked as to the origin of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in THE BUILDER for 1923, page 319. It is there stated that "the first lodge of Odd Fellows was Loyal Aristarchus, No. 9, meeting in London, organized in 1746," and goes on to mention the tradition or rumor that the Odd Fellows were organized "by a number of disgruntled London Masons in 1730 or 1740, largely for convivial purposes."
The Manchester Unity, however, which did come into being at "about the beginning of last century," undoubtedly did have much to do with the later expansion of Odd Fellowship, and there is perhaps some excuse for its being regarded as the origin of the various orders existing today.
A recent paper read by Pro. Col. F. M. Rickard in Quatuor Coronati Lodge, confirms the earliest record of the Odd Fellows organization as being dated in 1745, and mentions the tradition about the "disgruntled London Masons." The author seems to be of the opinion that at first the Odd Fellows were formed into independent clubs, without any central organization. Whether these clubs had any common bond, of usages, ceremonial and the like, as the independent Masonic lodges had before the adoption of the Grand Lodge system, there is no way of telling, but it is very possible. It is also very probable that the first of these clubs antedated the first existing record. Finally, Bro. Richard is apparently inclined to suggest that Odd Fellowship had an independent root in the past in the various societies and guilds for mutual help in sickness and ill-fortune that undoubtedly existed in previous centuries.
* * *
In THE BUILDER for November, 1929, I note under the leading "Forced Charity" an editorial article in which you mention that a correspondent asserts "that a large percentage of the funds [for the English Masonic Charitable Institutions] are brought forth by social pressure exercised by lodge officers upon those who do not seem to be inclined to contribute as liberally as they should."
The writer of the article does not, I am glad to say, agree with this statement and I can assure you in a long and wide experience as a Charity Representative and as one who has mixed freely with brethren in all parts of England, I have never heard any brother complain of being unduly pressed to give to any of our institutions or other charities.
If there is any undue pressure upon American Masons for financial contributions it is not for charitable purposes, but to pay for magnificent and luxurious temples. Masons are builders, naturally, but Speculative Masons are presumed to be properly more interested in a "house not made with hands".
* * *
FREEMASONRY IN THE CIVIL WAR
In addition to the information given in the March number of THE BUILDER, I should like to submit the following taken from the History of Freemasonry in Ohio from 1791, by John G. Reeves, 33d Grand Historian of Ohio, page 154 of volume 3:
"In Winchester there was a regular Lodge of Masons, Hiram Lodge, No. 21, officered by Confederate Soldiers or citizens on parole, to whom the desire of Major McKinley was communicated. His petition was received, he was elected, and on May 1, 1865, the degree of E.A. was conferred upon him by J. B. T. Reed, a Confederate Chaplain, who was Master of the Lodge, and on the following evenings the F.C. and M.M. degrees were conferred upon him.
"After his return home Major McKinley took a dimit from Hiram, No. 21, and affiliated with Canton Lodge, No. 60, Canton, Ohio, and when Eagle Lodge, No. 60, Canton, Ohio, was organized, he became one of its charter members, and continued his membership therein until his death."
And on page 153: "On application of Eagle Lodge, No. 431, of Canton, of which Bro. William McKinley was a charter member, the name of the Lodge was changed to William McKinley Lodge, No. 431."
Herman Bauling, California.
* * *
I am enclosing a copy of a ridiculous chain letter that has appeared in our locality recently. This is one of three received within two weeks. It is amazing to think of the foolishness and superstition of those who "fall" for this kind of thing. What a dreadful waste of time and energy it is. Would an editorial on the subject do any good? Probably not.
The letter contains a brief prayer which is well enough in itself, though a little indefinite. It is said to be written in "compliance with a Masonic request." It is added that "It is said by Masons in the ancient times that all who did not pass the prayer would be in danger of misfortune," and the recipient is exhorted: "Do not break the chain."
In a kind of postscript, it is said the chain was begun by "an American Colonel in the army of France and must go three times round the world without a break." It has been "translated in all languages." Each recipient must send his nine copies within twenty-four hours. One gentleman of the name of Dubellich Love owes his fortune to following these instructions. A Mr. Dealsyde of Victoria "obtained the first prize in the National lottery" by the same means, while we are warned by the fate of Franciscus Montle Lours, who "did not take this seriously," and, sad to relate, "his firm was ruined nine days after receipt of the present letter."
Last of all follows a list of names of those who have passed it on, beginning with one Lean (the American Colonel of the army of France?) and ending with McCausland, who signs the present exemplar. Too many of these are good Anglo-Saxon surnames. There are some German ones, a few French, some that might be Italian or Spanish, and a number of extraordinary nondescripts, which are probably misspelled. There are eighty-seven in all. It is perhaps a waste of space to describe this amazing document at so much length, but as a curiosity of Masonic folklore, if it may be so termed, it seems to have some claim to be recorded.
* * *
HISTORY OF THE ALBANY SOVEREIGN CONSISTORY
In the "Historical Sketch of Albany Sovereign Consistory," by Bro. Isaac Henry Vrooman, Jr., which appeared in THE BUILDER last month appears the following statement:
A Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem was established at the same time, but unfortunately there are no early records available.
I enclose a brief sketch taken from the Masonic Mirror, Boston, May 5,1827, the original of which is in my possession, which seems to provide a new link in the history of this interesting subject. It will be noted that the Mirror took it from the Albany Masonic Record.
The account of the establishment of this Council mentioned by our esteemed correspondent is as follows:
Copied, verbatim from the Masonic Mirror, Boston, May 5, 1827.
(From the Albany Masonic Record)
Unitas Concordia Fratrum.
LUX EX TENEBRIS.
The Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem which forms the subject of this notice, was originally established by authority emanating from Thr. III. Br. Henry Andrew Francken, D. G. Inspector General, &c., who received his high powers from Thr. III. Br. Stephen Morin, appointed the 27th Aug. 1761 Inspector General over all lodges &c. &c. in the new world, by the G. Consistory of S. Princes of the R. S. convened at Paris at which presided the King of Prussia by his deputy Chaillon de Johnville. The authority of this G. Council has been duly recognized by the Supreme Council of the 33rd, &c. for the United States of America.
This G. Council is now in a flourishing condition, owing principally to the exertions of Thr. III. Brs. Giles F. Yates and James M. Allen.
They held their annual convention at the G. East in the City of Albany, on the 8th day of the 11th month Shevat 5587 (5th of Feb. 1827). Bro. G. F. Yates declined a reappointment as G. Sov. The election of officers then took place and the result was as follows:
- John W. Bay M.D. of Albany, Esq. M. G. Sov
- James M. Allen, M.D. of Skaneateles, Onondaga County, E. Sub. G. Sov.
- John G. Van Deusen of Palatine, Montgomery county, M. En. G. Warden.
- D. F. Lawton, of Saratoga Springs, En. G. Counsellor.
- Giles F. Yates, A. M. of the city of Schenectady, III. G. Chancellor.
- Rev. Nathan N. Whiting, A.M. of Ballston, Saratoga County, III. G. Priest.
- Eli Savage, of New Hartford, Oneida county, III. G. Recorder.
- Nathaniel Calkins, of New Hartford, Oneida county, III. G. M. Finances.
- Alinos Matthews, of Mayfield Montgomery county, III. G. M. Ceremonies.
- Samuel H. Drake, of Saratoga Springs, III. G. Herald.
- Loris Putnam, of Saratoga Springs, III. G. Pursuivant.
- Collins Odell, of Mayfield, Montgomery county, III. G. Guard.
At this convention there was a full representation of the five Lodges of Perfection under the jurisdiction of this G. Council, and Warrents passed the seal of said Council for the creation of a new Lodge of Perfection at Clarkson, county of Monroe, and for another at Amber, county of Onondaga. Of the former III. Brn. Simon B. Jewett, Esq. of Clarkson, county of Monroe, Elihu Mather, Esq of Gaines, Orleans county, and Gen. Jacob Gould of Rochester, and Samuel B. Bradley, M.D. of Greece, Monroe country were appointed officers; and Ill. Brn. David S. Van Rensselaer, Killin H. Van Rensselaer, and Samuel Selkrig, Esqs, of Amber, County of Onondaga, were appointed officers of the latter.
A system of "Mandates and Decrees" for government of this G. Council, and of the Lodges and Councils under its jurisdiction, was unanimously adopted.
Virtus junxit more non separabit.
* * *
THE DECLINE OF THE WEST
In the January number of THE BUILDER is a review of Oswald Spengler's great book, The Decline of the West, signed by E.E.B., and I cannot refrain from offering some reflections upon his estimation and criticism of the work because its perusal shows that the writer is a person of a quite exceptional education and apparently of scientific importance. I feel entitled therefore to regard his attitude as one corresponding to the views of the highly intellectual part of the American public, and seeing that not even a man of E.E.B.'s lofty conception is able yet to estimate properly the consequences of the Great War, I must try to rectify his ideas just in a few lines, and before the very same public.
Spengler does not see the "Decline" only, but in literal translation of his title the "Destruction," of Europe, the occident; and in fact he deals with the "destruction" of occidental, European, civilization. In order to understand the trend of his thought, it is necessary to know, what lucky America did not know, and consequently did not care for, when it left the Central Powers a prey to the political, economical and military ambitions of individuals and nations; and this fundamental point is the absolutely incontestable fact that Germany and Austria, with their bodies and brains, formed a wall against Asiatic unculture, and brought European culture in general as well as in its detailed results, to those Asiatic peoples, which only geographically, but most certainly not ethnographically or culturally, belonged to the circle of European civilization; and which still do not belong to it. This wall has been torn down by the war and by the treaties of peace.
I am learning from my American friends, and from the reading of your authors, that America is beginning to remember that her people are Europeans, and that consequently her spiritual and cultural fate is tied to ours. There are two classes of Americans able to understand Spengler thoroughly: those who acknowledge themselves to be of this European race threatened and shaken to the roots of its civilization by the powers of Asiatic un-culture let loose upon Europe; and those who come over to live in Germany or Austria long enough to see how fearfully hard we and our children are fighting daily and hourly, and in every smallest detail of daily life, against the destruction of our civilization. And then you will see that the struggle is not at all limited to a sort of local particularism, or to the differences between South-Germans and Prussians. We fight for European civilization, and I write these few lines with the intention to point out the following conclusion: Masonry is an important part of civilization, and so we European Masons are fighting against the destruction of culture. It is a fight, in which America is much more involved than she is aware of!
This letter, from a country which in some ways has suffered the most severely from the after effects of the war, will be of interest to all who read the review of Spengler's great work that our correspondent refers to. The point of view is well worth considering.
* * *
FREEMASONRY IN EGYPT: A CORRECTION
There was a word omitted in my article on "Freemasonry in Egypt" last month, which changed the sense of an important sentence entirely. This was on the first page (p. 66), second column, at the end of the third paragraph. The sentence should have read "The Prince was not disciplined on account of his ignorance of Masonic law, etc." His name did not appear at all in the lists of the brethren suspended, and so on. On page 67, in the last line of the second paragraph of the second column, a wholly unnecessary and gratuitous "been" was somehow inserted, which makes nonsense of the concluding sentence.
R. C. Wright, Oregon
We regret these two errors. The first was a mistake in the copy and the second was overlooked in the proof reading.