A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 11 No. 10 – October 1925
IDEALISM OF MASONRY
Bro. H. C. De Lafontaine, P.G.D., England
THE main purpose of this article is sufficiently indicated by the title, and the author has set forth what in his opinion Masonry should be and what it might be. But there is an additional interest to American readers, in that it will help them in forming a picture of some of the many differences in usage and custom between Masonry as it has developed on the two sides of the Atlantic, though, as the article demonstrates, the spirit is the same.
DR. JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, in his admirable and much-to-be-recommended book entitled The Builders, when discoursing on the subject, "What Is Masonry?" says: "Masonry is the activity of closely united men who, employing symbolical forms borrowed principally from the masons' trade and from architecture, work for the welfare of mankind, striving morally to ennoble themselves and others, and thereby to bring about a universal league of mankind, which they aspire to exhibit even now on a small scale." This is a quotation from a German Handbuch on Masonry, and you might say with some reason that these noble sentiments come from a tainted source; but, as a Mason, I cannot render myself so bigoted a person as to refuse to employ a definition which so aptly expresses the high aims and intentions of our system. Had our own Masonic intellectuality evolved a similarly expressive statement, I should not need to have borrowed from a foreign source.
There has been much talk about the League of Nations; indeed, there already seems to be a Wilsonian directness about the phrase. We, as non-political brethren, cannot deal with the question. We can only make large eyes and meditate on the disingenuous method of securing in the future universal and permanent peace by constituting a vast continent to be the arbiter of world decisions. A League of Nations is an idealism that is beyond the bound of possibility or probability; but, on the other hand, a League of Mankind, though again an idealism, is something that can be brought down to earth, that, indeed, is actually here, though men know it not and go on inventing impossible schemes, when they have already to hand in the inner teaching and the foremost principles of Masonry the greatest panacea for the softening and obliterating of this world's troubles that people have ever known.
"Amidst bitterness and strife Masonry brings men of every rank and walk of life together as men, and nothing else, at an altar where they can talk and not fight, discuss and not dispute, and each may learn the point of view of his fellow."
One sometimes hears the sentiment voiced, "Masonry is my religion," and one can sympathize entirely with such an expression of opinion. For Masonry in its highest essence "is Religion, a worship in which all good men may unite, that each may share the faith of all." "No part of the ministry of Masonry is more beautiful and wise than its appeal, not for tolerance, but for fraternity; not for uniformity, but for unity of spirit amidst varieties of outlook and opinion."
Masonry imposes no dogma, invents no shibboleth, imprints no creed. In its vast idealism, it embraces all peoples, tolerates all world-wide religions and narrow sects, holds out its hand to all who are groping in darkness for a way to light, and says benignly ill words, not strange to our ears, "Come, I will show you a more excellent way." I quite believe that many Masons do find in the higher teachings of Masonic science that which more nearly satisfies their spiritual yearnings than any carefully elaborated system of religious thought which, encrusted into rigidity by tradition, has come to be known as all that is necessary to the soul's health. One of the great powers of Masonry, and one of the chief factors in its stability is that it "seeks to free men from a limiting conception of religion, and thus to remove one of the chief causes of sectarianism."
I cannot, in leaving this ideal aspect of the Craft, forbear quoting a few sentences from The Builders, and if you know them already, I must apologize, but for myself I think we can never hear them too often. They come upon us like a rush of sweet, clean, invigorating air, fresh from the Atlantic, permeating all the recesses of our somewhat effete civilization.
"When is a man a Mason? When he knows that deep down in his heart every man is noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself. When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea even in their sins. When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself. When he can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response. When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of divine things, and sees majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be. When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellow man, with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song, glad to live, but not afraid to die."
"If Masons often fall far below their high ideal, it is because they share in their degree the infirmity of mankind. He is a poor craftsman who glibly recites the teachings of the Order and quickly forgets the lessons they convey; who wears the honourable dress to conceal a self-seeking spirit; or to whom its great and simple symbols bring only an outward thrill, and no inward urge toward the highest of all good. Apart from what they symbolize, all symbols are empty; they speak only to such as have ears to hear."
THERE IS A CHASM BETWEEN PRACTICE AND PRECEPT
It cannot be denied by anyone who has any power of observation that there is a wide divergence between practice and profession in Masonry. But this is common to every human institution, and must always be so, according to the nature of things. And nowhere is this more vividly illustrated than in the history of religion. The teaching is sublime, but the disciple, overburdened by human weaknesses, drags it down and endeavors to fit it to his own earthly ends. It is prone to all of us to make the most solemn professions with our lips, and to go away and belie the spirit of what we have said. And then men blame the teaching, and not the feeble human instrument. Masonry is founded on those two principles which go to make up the whole of religion, independent of any accretions which may have hidden them from immediate view or endeavored to strangle them out of existence, and these principles are, as you well know, love of God, and love of man, both reacting and interacting on each other. One is the complement of the other; you cannot separate them; they stand or fall together. We all respectably declare ourselves God-lovers, though in some instances, if the love that we show to a fellow man exemplifies our love to the Divine Being, the Divine Being must be a very neglected and solitary person.
The selfishness of humanity is the great hindrance to the realization of the inner strength of Masonry. Remember the five points of fellowship! They bind together brother Masons in the strongest bond of charity that can be imagined. You greet your fellow man as a brother, and in doing so you become his ally for life; your further actions touch every point in his life, domestic, civil, and religious. And yet who has not known many who have faller from grace, who have endeavored to interpret their vows and obligations in the manner in which people interpret the Bible, squaring precepts and texts to their own advantage, sheltering themselves under the much abused maxim "Autre temps, autres moeurs!" But these reflections need not make us despondent or reduce us to a condition of hopelessness — the lesson for us is to show a bright example, to make others see by our own lives and conduct that Masonry is not a simple medium for convivial entertainment, that it is not a benefit society, and that it is not an association for the enticement and beguilement of hoary headed veterans and down-cheeked youngsters from homestead or from amorous dalliance, but that it affords to all, if properly understood and consistently practiced, the right means for living an upright life, a life which may be said to be passed in the shadow of God's smile.
Having directed your thoughts to the ideals of Masonry, I now turn to mundane considerations, and proceed to note some details in the working and practice of Masonry. As to the forms in which our present Masonry is enshrined, opinion has varied from time to time as to the expediency of uniformity. From a general survey of the question I think anyone must see that any endeavor in this direction would be rather like an attempt to revise the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. And the result would be the same — many historical landmarks would be lost for all time, and a somewhat emasculated version of our ceremonies would have to pass muster. At a Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge of England, you may remember that a brother once brought forward a resolution advocating uniformity ritual. It met with no approval, and no one could be found to act as seconder. You cannot deduce from this too much, as possibly the same resolution at some other meeting of Grand Lodge, attended by another contingent of Masons, might have met with some support. Yet I do not hesitate to say that I believe that the majority of really working Masons are opposed to any attempt to reduce our ritual to one monotonous level of sameness.
I would suggest, however, to all private lodges such a measure of uniformity as enables the officers to work in harmony conjointly with the Master. To take only one instance to illustrate what I mean — a candidate, if he is paying due attention to the ceremony, must be somewhat mystified to be told by the Master that it was in this position that Moses prayed fervently, etc., and then to be told, when conducted to the Senior Warden's pedestal, that it was really Joshua who so prayed, and not Moses at all. It would be well that a Master should state the working he intends to adopt, and should suggest to his officers the practice of uniformity in working. But in the case of long standing oral traditions, the Past Masters of a lodge have much to say as to the regulation of the ritual so that the poor Master's constitutional authority vanishes into thin air. However, if Masters will be so weak as to come in danger of being snuffed out, they must blame their own supineness.
ANACHRONISMS ARE NOTED
Every candidate who takes a lively interest in Masonry will notice in the Craft degrees many anachronisms, many redundancies of speech, many misquotations, and not a few grammatical errors, and will he correspondingly shocked or astonished; but the way can be made smooth in this respect, and we cannot argue from this that a brand new ritual should be evolved which should endeavor to satisfy all parties. There is no doubt that Emulation  working has made great and astonishing strides, and is much in favor. Personally, I have always considered that, whatever the ritual, the question of paramount importance is to interest, to teach, to instruct the candidate. Avoid all parrot-like utterances, and do not say things like a machine, even if you do lose a match-box. Be natural, be easy, have your ritual at your fingers' ends, be able to play with it as you like, pause for effect at the proper moments, and never let the candidate see that you are at a loss for a word, quickly substitute another, if it is in a nonessential part of the ceremony. The candidate, the candidate, that is all you have to think of; not yourself; you must throw away every shred of selfconsciousness when you begin your work. Then you may succeed in doing justice to yourself, but not otherwise. A most unfortunate effect is sometimes produced by a Master suddenly stopping and again repeating what he has previously said, under the impression that he has not used the actual words. This breaks the continuity of the ceremony, jars on the candidate, and produces a feeling of nervous insecurity in the lodge. The intonations and inflections of the voice also have much to do with the effective rendering of the ritual. A persistence in one hard, dry, rasping note not only fatigues the listeners, but is wearisome to the speaker. But it is so easy to give advice. I think I might now fitly say, as was said to one of old, "Physician, heal thyself."
I have been speaking about the candidate, and this leads me to the consideration of a point on which I have always felt very strongly, and which I think deserves serious thought, and that is the training of young Masons. If I may speak from my own experience, my initiation meant nothing to me. The ceremony was shuffled over in a very perfunctory sort of way, with the result that I went away thoroughly unedified. You will, therefore, not be surprised to hear that it was two years before I presented myself for my Master Mason's Degree. It was then indelibly imprinted on my mind how different my entrance into Masonry might have been under other circumstances. According to the present method, it seems to me that you hatch your chickens, you then hide away the mother-hen, and the only nutriment you provide for the callow brood is a few scattered grains pressed down into the cracks of the earth by the greedy struggles of the fully fledged birds. The retort may be made that there are lodges of instruction for all Masons both young and old,  and I would not for one moment gainsay the usefulness of these organizations, nor decry the valuable work that they have done. Here the newly-made Mason may begin to take part in the purely ritual part of Masonry; his mind may also be further trained and enlightened by hearing the working of the various sections of the lectures. But, when all is said and done, this is only the fringe of the great enveloping vestment; the threshold, as it were, of that mighty temple not made with hands; the tiny candle which attempts to hold a light to the sun. Dr. Newton, in the preface to his book, has these words:
"Fourteen years ago the writer of this volume entered the temple of Freemasonry, and that date stands out in memory as one of the most significant days in his life. There was a little spread on the night of his raising, and, as is the custom, the candidate was asked to give his impressions of the Order. Among other things, he made the request to know if there was any little book which would tell a young man the things he would most like to know about Masonry. What it was, whence it came, what it teaches, and what it is trying to do in the world. No one knew of such a book at the time, nor has any been found to meet a need which many must have felt before and since. By an odd coincidence, it has fallen to the lot of the author to write the little book for which he made request fourteen years ago."
You will now see an additional reason for my having recommended this work to your notice at the beginning of my remarks. But even this book, admirable as it is in itself, does not altogether satisfy me. It seems to want directness, and it lacks practicality, a point I always judge to be of supreme importance. It has also the characteristic of being what I should call "high falutin". I say this not unkindly, but only as a concession to the beginner in Masonry. I therefore am still waiting for the manual which will be an adequate vade mecum to the neophyte in Masonry.
I ought here, however, to mention that a little work, excellent in its way, has during the past two years been published and put in circulation. What Is Freemasonry? is the title of this brochure, and the well known name attached to it, that of Bro. Crowe, vouches for its correctness and usefulness. I have many times given it to Entered Apprentices, and I hope they have profited by the information it contains. Lord Ampthill, in the preface that he wrote for the book, says:
"I seize this opportunity of repeating a suggestion which I have often made, namely, that there should be some brief discourse on Masonic history, Masonic principles, or on the administration and activity of the Craft at every lodge meeting. Let the Past Masters take it in turn to speak for five minutes and tell the junior members of the lodge something about these matters, or advise them what to read. Let the younger brethren be examined in their knowledge of these subjects after they have had a chance of reading." Also, "The precepts which have been handed down to us from the days when everything depended upon oral tradition, repeatedly emphasize the duty of imparting instruction over and above that contained in the fixed ceremonies."
This manual is really a step in the right direction; I cannot say it is all sufficing, but a notable point in its favor is that it contains a copy of a letter which is sent to every candidate for initiation in the old lodge. "Union des Coeurs," at Geneva. I have never read anything more suitable in tone and more felicitously expressed, and as Bro. Crowe points out, "it is suited both to candidates and newly-made brethren of every country." Lord Ampthill thinks that our own lodges should send out a similar letter.
I nevertheless abide by my previous statement — that I am still waiting for an adequate Masonic vade mecum; the book I have mentioned goes part of the way; Dr. Joseph Fort Newton's book goes a long part of the way; but there is still a longer journey.
MASONIC EDUCATION DESIDERATED
I have for some time thought that, besides lodges of instruction, there ought to be classes for those Masons who are disposed to take an interest in the science. And here we enter on the educational side of Masonry. These classes should be held weekly, or fortnightly, if possible, and should be presided over by experienced Masons. Occasionally an examination might be held to test the growth of knowledge on the part of the students. Some well-known Masonic textbook, if such a thing exists, might be made the basis of instruction, and a catechism might even be devised as a useful adjunct. You will be thinking that I am now plunging into a sea of utopian impossibilities, and that I am addressing Masons who have no business avocations to engage the most part of their time and attention. It is truly said, however, that the busiest people can always make time for further labors, and I honestly believe that such a course as I am suggesting would come as a positive refreshment to the continued poring over the hard arid facts of life, and would serve to recreate and enliven a sometimes jaded mind and body. At all events, let trial be made before the notion is swept into the dust-heap of wild-cat schemes.
As a proof of Masonry being an educational science, I may once more revert to words from Dr. Newton's book, which, I perceive, is fast obsessing my mind as being a useful foundation on which to build. He is quoting from Albert Pike's MS. Lessons in Masonry and the subject is the inner meaning of the three grips which occur in the ritual of Craft Masonry. The first the Entered Apprentice's grip, may be likened to the power and function of science. "Science, so far from proving the immortality of the soul, lays aside its instruments, unable to prove that there is a soul. Not by that grip can man be raised from a dead level to a living perpendicular. Logic," as personified by the Fellow Craft's grip, "then tries to demonstrate that the soul in its nature, is indivisible, indestructible so immortal." But not even "by that grip can man be raised to walk in newness of life. There remains," in the Master Mason's grip, "the strong grip of Faith"; "once we know that the soul is akin to God .... we have a reach and grasp and power of faith whereby we are lifted out of shadow into the light."
GRAND OFFICERS SHOULD NOT OVER-MEDDLE
As to the conduct of private lodges, one must speak with a becoming discretion, as I have no eyes of admiration for the newly-appointed Grand Officer who thinks he has a mandate from the Grand Master to oversee and correct what he judges to be irregularities and departures from the usual ritual. He blusters with a newly-acquired importance, and often through his own imperfect knowledge makes confusion worse confounded. At the same time I have always declared that Grand Lodge does not make a sufficient use of those whom it appoints to office. They might, those of them who have leisure for the same, be sent to visit Provinces and to collect information as to the work and progress of lodges, which, when tabulated, might be of great assistance to those working in the office at Freemasons' Hall. This is only one direction in which work might be done. Naturally, such visitation must be in no sense inquisitorial; that would be fatal; it must be in the nature of kindly friendship, sympathetic guidance, and counsel. Therein, I suppose, is the danger, that if such a system were instituted, square pegs might not fit into round holes.
There is one practice which even in the mildness of my nature I cannot avoid condemning, and that is the practice, seen in so many lodges, of saluting every officer after his investiture by the Master. I can find no authority for this, and I see no meaning in it. And strange to say, it is only too often a Grand Officer, who as Director of Ceremonies, shouts, "To older, brethren." Such a practice seems to me to harmonize but ill with the dignity of the ritual, and Grand Officers ought to know better than to give it countenance.
DIVISION OF LABOUR RECOMMENDED
I think a Master, if he presides over an actively working lodge, should endeavor to distribute the as widely as possible, and not to keep the lion's share for himself. He may be the best of Masters, but he imposes on himself a needless strain when in one evening he makes himself responsible for the three degrees, and he is not giving the Past Masters that opportunity of pleasant reminiscence which they sometimes so ardently desire.
After the lodge, in most instances, follows the meal, the pleasant symposium, where all can meet on a thorough basis of equality as at a common table, and exchange confidences, and make acquaintances which strengthen the Masonic bond. A pleasant and useful function, but by no means to be looked on as an integral factor in Masonry. To talk of it as the Fourth Degree is to lower oneself into an abyss of Masonic ignorance, appalling in its height, depth, and breadth! To hurry over work in lodge, in order to get to the dinner table, is to prove that for some Masonry means little else than a private feeding club! But, now as to the Fourth Degree! How can one discover a Fourth Degree, when, as Royal Arch Masons will know, and as others will come to know, we are expressly told that there is no Fourth Degree in Craft Masonry, but only a ceremony which is a completion of the Third, or Master Mason's Degree? I venture therefore to plead that this utter misnomer be once and for all abolished from periods of refreshment in any lodge. If, during its working, any lodge is called off, the brethren are called "from labor to refreshment", not "to attend to the work of the Fourth Degree".
I find in an old Masonic work, published in 1769, the following suggested by-law for lodges, and I quote it as containing a perhaps useful admonition for all, though the convivial side of Masonry is not now the mad carouse which in some instances it used to be. It runs:
"As nothing has a greater tendency to bring the Craft into disrepute than keeping late hours on lodge nights; the Master shall be acquainted by the S.W. when it is Nth o'clock, and shall immediately proceed to close the lodge; either of them failing herein shall forfeit the sum of ... and any member who is in the lodge (and not being a traveller or lodger in the house) remaining in the same house after Nth o'clock, shall also forfeit the sum of ... It is hoped and expected that no member will offend against this law, calculated to secure the honor and harmony of the lodge, to prevent uneasiness to our relatives at home, and to preserve the economy of our families."
GOOD MUSIC IS NEEDED IN LODGES
And lastly, as to music in lodges. I note that in Anderson's Constitutions there is, at the end of the book, an appendix, containing "Some of the Usual Freemason Songs." Amongst these may be found the Master's Song and the Warden's Song, both by Bro. Armstrong, as also the Fellowcraft's Song, by Bro. Charles de la Fay, and the Entered 'Prentice's Song, by Bro. Matthew Birkhead. Above the song is written "to be sung after grave Business is over." Then follows a collection of songs under this heading: "The following songs are not in the first book, but being usually sung, they are now printed." These comprise the Deputy Grand Master's Song; the Grand Warden's Song, by Bro. Oates; the Treasurer's Song; the Secretary's Song, and the Swordbearer's Song. It may be interesting to note, under this heading, that Mozart owed many of his impulses as a composer to his connection with Freemasonry. Indeed a short Masonic cantata, which was composed on Nov. 15, 1791, and performed a few days afterwards at the consecration of a new Masonic temple, is the last work which Mozart completed. I suppose it is not generally known that in the overture to Mozart's famous opera, "The Magic Flute," there occur three chords, three times repeated, with pauses between, given out by the wind instruments alone, and the rhythm of these chords is a musical expression of the knocks in the Third Degree. They occur again in the opera in the scene of the Temple assembly as a sign that Tamino, the hero, is accepted and appointed to undergo the tests. But this by the way of parenthesis.
All that I have spoken about, you will see, goes to prove, except in one or two instances, that music has been more especially prominent in connection with the convivial side of Masonry than with actual ceremonies in the lodge itself. I dare say I am somewhat hypercritical as to music, but I do say unhesitatingly that rather no music at all than music inefficiently performed. There is but little scope for music in the Three Degrees of our Craft ritual, though a skillful organist can by a well chosen and well modulated accompaniment considerably enhance the beauty of the Master Mason ceremony. The greatest scope for music is afforded by the consecration of a lodge. I have attended numberless consecrations, and I can only say that I have thought both the music then given and its general rendering pitiful and beneath contempt. I am afraid music is taken but little notice of by the ruling authorities in the Craft. It is curious to me that no Grand Organist has compiled or collected a selection of music worthy of the dignity of our Order. The only music I ever remember hearing in connection with Masonry which at all impressed me was at a rehearsal of the consecration ceremony by a London Lodge of Instruction. It was made a special feature of the occasion, and great pains had been taken to secure adequate talent. The result was most harmonious, which will not be so if I drag out to further length these reflections. I have endeavored to give them a certain degree of practicality, and I hope that which I have written may bear a little fruit in a greater devotion to our Order, and a fuller acquaintance with its sublime principles.
It may be thought that in the latter part of my remarks I have wandered altogether from my subject, but I would rather contend that the several points I have noted, if looked at and considered in the right spirit, do tend to the elevation and the proper presentment of the high ideals on which the Order is founded. I must confess that the recent great world struggle rather struck Masonry at its base, and caused one to have grave doubts and apprehensions as to its future. But through the providence of the Great Architect of the Universe, it has recovered its equilibrium, and now stands in a position of greater strength than possibly it has had at any period of its present form of existence. I feel that this very strength is a clarion call to consolidate our efforts in promoting peace and harmony and earnest good will amongst ourselves and the peoples of the earth. I think it is a wise decree that prohibits us from employing Masonry politically. If anyone has studied the history of Masonry in other countries, particularly in those where the Latin races abound, he will see that our Order has been made a screen to mask the most daring and appalling crimes. And yet, in view of this, I do venture to say that we do not actually live up to the high standard of our Masonic calling. Of course it will be understood that I am speaking of Masons in the aggregate, and not of individual and honorable exceptions. If I should seem severe or captious, I can only say that Masonic zeal perhaps tempts me to make over-heated statements, but as to their veracity I feel certain. Masonry if properly apprehended, opens the door to a new world — we pass from darkness to light — see to it that that light irradiates in an ever widening center, so that you may communicate wisdom and knowledge during your path through life!
NOTES (by the Editor)
- There are several forms of ritual followed in England among which those taught by the "Emulation" and "Stability" Lodges of Instruction are perhaps the best known. Those who would like more light on this subject would do well to consult Sadler's history of the former (if they can get hold of it) and Golby's "Century of Stability." The "Masonic Ritual Described Compared and Explained" by J. W. Hobbs would be very useful in this connection. ↩
- This of course refers to England where lodges of instruction are common. They are regularly organized and are open to all Master Masons. ↩
* * *
PAUL JONES, SCOTTISH MASON, AMERICAN PATRIOT
Bro. William M. Stuart
The author of this vivid historical story of Revolutionary days is becoming widely and deservedly known as a writer of American fiction, and we are glad to be able to introduce him to our readers, and to be able to promise them further productions of his pen.
Like the tale of a mythical god of old Athens reads the record of that courageous gentleman of the long ago, who though born in one of the lower stratas of Scotch society, attained riches, titles and honor; who came to walk with kings, but whose proudest boast ever remained that he was an American citizen.
Paul Jones, the son of a poor Scotch gardener, was born July 6, 1747, in Arbigland, parish of Kirkbean, stewartry of Kirkcudbright. It was on the estate of Lord Selkirk, a nobleman of distinction, whose castle was on St. Mary's Isle, that Paul first saw the light of day. Years after the future commodore of the American navy was to do the employer of his father an injury and then make ample reparation.
The youth of Paul Jones was spent on the shores of the Solway Frith across the channel from Whitehaven, which also he was to bring into the limelight of history.
Although the name has now become so familiar that it is difficult to think of him in other terms, it must not be forgotten that the famous sailor's birth name was not Paul Jones, but John Paul. Under that name he was at the age of twelve apprenticed to a Mr. Younger of Whitehaven, a merchant engaged in trading with America. Before he was thirteen John Paul sailed for Rappahannock, Virginia, in the ship Friendship. From the first he liked America. His elder brother, William Paul, had already settled in Virginia, and it was in his home that John stayed while on this first voyage to America.
A business failure on the part of Mr. Younger now induced that gentleman to release John from his apprenticeship, and the boy was therefore thrown upon his own resources. He, however, improved to the full such limited opportunities as he had. Filled to the brim with the thirst for learning, he studied late at night, not only navigation and kindred subjects, but French as well. In time he became a very good French student, and his scholarship in other lines was such that he did not have to blush when in the presence of the learned.
John was still but a boy when he shipped as third mate on a slaver hailing from Whitehaven. And in 1766 he secured a berth as first mate on the brigantine Two Friends, also engaged in the slave trade. At this time the business of slave trading was considered entirely respectable, but John Paul grew so disgusted with it that he left the business after the ship had arrived in the West Indies, and returned to Scotland as a passenger on another vessel. On the way over both the captain and the mate of the ship died of the fever, and Paul took command, bringing the brigantine safely into port. This act earned for him the appointment as master of the ship.
In the year 1770 he commanded the Betsy of London, a vessel engaged in the West India trade. John now entered into speculations and made considerable money. It was in this same year of 1770 that, being ever in search of Light, he was initiated in St. Bernard Lodge, No. 122, F. & A. M., of Kilwinning, Kirkcudbright, Scotland. This was on Nov. 27.
The next year John Paul renounced Scotland as his home, and in 1773, being called to Virginia to settle the estate of his brother, William Paul, he decided to stay there and set up as a planter. He now had some property, although it would appear that he never was a very rich man. It was also probably about this time that he decided to change his name by adding to his birth name that of Jones.
Until recently it had remained a mystery just what induced him to take this step. But a few years ago that indefatigable historian, Cyrus Townsend Brady, cleared up this point. It seems that during his lean years Paul had grown on very friendly terms with a gentleman of North Carolina by the name of Wiley Jones. Although Brady does not mention this point, it is exceedingly probable that the cause of this friendship was Masonry. Jones was of much help to John Paul when the latter sorely needed it, and in romantic gratitude Paul added the name of Jones to his own. Later Wiley Jones was instrumental in securing for John Paul Jones his first commission in the infant navy of the United States.
John Paul Jones seems to have been an enthusiastic and consistent Mason. Both before and during the Revolution he was a frequent visitor at the lodges in Boston, Philadelphia and New York. There is not the slightest doubt but that it was Masonry which first brought him to the attention of influential Americans. Later most of the officers who sailed with him on his various cruises were Masons, including the afterward famous Richard Dale, lieutenant on the Bonhomme Richard at the time of her battle with the Serapis. Dale and Jones were firm friends as well as Masonic brothers, and worked together in utmost harmony.
On Dec. 7, 1775, John Paul Jones received his commission as lieutenant in the Continental navy, being ordered to service on the Alfred. It is said that to him fell the honor of hoisting the first American flag over a ship of war. This was the celebrated Rattlesnake flag with the motto, "Don't Tread On Me."
Jones' first independent command was the schooner Providence of seventy tons burden and armed with four tiny guns. With this feeble force he made a very successful cruise in which he captured sixteen vessels and destroyed British property aggregating a million dollars.
Shortly after this, while in command of the Alfred he made another cruise and captured great stores of clothing, of which the patriots were then in much need.
Paul Jones was commissioned a captain on the very day that the stars and stripes were adopted as the national flag. Ordered to the command of the Ranger, a corvette of three hundred tons, he hoisted at her masthead on the 4th of July, 1777, the new flag. This particular ensign had been made from "slices of their best silk gowns" by the Misses Mary Langdon, Augusta Pierce, Caroline Chandler, Dorothy Hall and Helen Seavey, of Portsmouth, N.H., for presentation to Jones for this very ceremony. The ladies were present on the deck of the Ranger when the flag was raised.
This flag had a glorious history. It streamed over the Ranger when Jones set sail to carry to the King of France the news of Burgoyne's surrender; it still flew from the masthead of this famous ship when she captured the Drake; it received from the united French fleet at Brest on Feb. 14, 1778, the first salute by a foreign naval power; and it went down with the Bonhomme Richard after the desperate fight off Flamborough Head.
According to Augustus C. Buell in his history of Paul Jones: "When Jones returned to this country in February, 1781, he found Miss Langdon of 'the quilting party' a guest of the Ross family whose house was always his home in Philadelphia. By way of an apology he explained to her that his most ardent desire had been to bring that flag back to America, with all its glories, and give it back untarnished into the fair hands that had given it to him nearly four years before. 'But, Miss Mary,' he said, 'I couldn't bear to strip it from the poor old ship in her last agony, nor could I deny to my dead on her decks, who had given their lives to keep it flying, the glory of taking it with them.'
"'You did exactly right, Commodore,' exclaimed Miss Langdon, 'that flag is just where we all wish it to be — flying at the bottom of the sea over the only ship that ever sunk in victory.'"
After arriving at Brest with the message for the French king, Jones soon took the Ranger on a cruise destined to be famous. He fairly swept the English Channel and the Irish Sea of British commerce, causing the price of marine insurance to sky-rocket and himself to be denounced as a pirate, a blackguard and a traitor.
Knowing the harbor of Whitehaven like a book, he determined to surprise it and burn the shipping. Taking two boat crews, he landed in the night, surprised the forts, which appear to have had but small garrisons, then attempted to burn the fleet of merchantmen that fairly crowded the harbor. But here fortune turned against him. His torches had burned out. Running into a nearby house he secured some fire which he placed in the hold of a vessel warped to a dock. Soon this ship burst into flame.
But now the dawn had come up and the populace were aroused. Jones himself describes what ensued. He says: "The inhabitants began to appear in thousands, and individuals ran hastily toward us. I stood between them and the ship on fire, with my pistol in my hand, and ordered them to stand, which they did with some precipitation. The sun was a full hour's march above the horizon; and as sleep no longer ruled the world, it was time to retire. We re-embarked without opposition, having released a number of prisoners, as our boats could not carry them. After all my people had embarked, I stood upon the pier for a considerable space, yet no person advanced. I saw all the eminences round the town covered with the amazed inhabitants."
The raid had been but partly successful, yet it served to terrorize the inhabitants of the British coast towns and awaken them to a feeling for the coast-wise citizens of America, who for so long had been forced to endure the aggressions of the British navy.
It was ever in the mind of Paul Jones to secure as a hostage some prominent Briton, that his captivity might serve to mitigate the evil experienced by the Americans. With this end in view he approached St. Mary's Isle and saw through the clustered foliage the turrets of the castle of Lord Selkirk.
On the estate of this nobleman Paul had played as a little child. He knew every inch of the surrounding country. He held the family of Lord Selkirk in the highest respect, for the Lady Selkirk had in old times often befriended his mother. But he knew that if he could secure the person of the nobleman it would go a long way toward insuring the good treatment of American prisoners, such as were at this time languishing in that floating hell, the Old Jersey prison ship.
Choosing two boat crews of his most trusty men, Jones debarked from the Ranger, landed on the shore of St. Mary's Isle and proceeded up the broad driveway that led to the castle.
Coming very soon upon two countrymen, the Americans learned that Lord Selkirk was away from home. This was bitter news for Jones; but as the person of the lord was all he wanted, he gave the command to his men to right about face and march to the pier, but the men were inclined to revolt. They wished to loot the castle of the family plate that they knew it must contain.
Jones pondered their grievance. He well knew the mental processes of the average common sailor. In those days if a sailor could not make prize money or secure loot he was very prone to mutiny. Bitterly Jones resented being placed in the position of a plunderer, and at that of one who had befriended him in his childhood. However, he could not risk a mutiny at this time.
He, therefore, directed the officers of the party to proceed with the men to the castle and secure the plate, but on no account to permit any other pilfering, or any injury to the people of the castle. He then returned to the shore and awaited the return of his men.
The party, now fully satisfied, made its way to the castle, secured the plate and returned to the Ranger without doing any further damage either to property or person.
Later, when the plate was put up for sale, Jones, although he really could not afford to do so, purchased it and returned it to Lord Selkirk with an explanation and apology. His courtesy and thoughtfulness were acknowledged by Lord Selkirk in a letter which was printed in various papers, but which did not serve to lessen the storm of abuse showered upon Jones by the British public. The British had grown to fear him, hence they hated him.
This raid has been made the subject of a novel by Cooper, and The Pilot has had a popularity with the reading public that has continued to this day.
Shortly after this event Jones was attacked by the British man-of-war Drake near Carrickfergus. The Drake was a ship about equal to the Ranger in size and weight of metal, but was heavier manned.
It was late in the afternoon when the action commenced. It continued for over an hour. At the end of that time the Drake's rigging, spars and sails were cut to pieces, one-fifth of her crew had fallen, and she was completely helpless. She was therefore forced to strike. On the Ranger but two men were killed and six wounded. Jones carried the Drake into Brest harbor as a prize.
After the French alliance, Jones thought it probable that he would be able to secure a command sufficiently strong to work havoc upon the British shipping. Said he, "I do not wish to have command of any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way."
But he met with many discouragements. Franklin tried to aid him, but it was not until the summer of 1779 that he was enabled to secure a command that promised to be of any avail. Then he was given the Duc de Duras, an old, rotten East Indiaman, which he proceeded to turn into a warship. Many of her guns, forty in number, were rusty and positively dangerous. Her crew had to be raised among the off-scourings of the docks and wharves. Of her entire personnel, but seventy-five of the seamen were Americans. The rest were foreigners of various breeds, including even some Malays. The French government loaned him an hundred soldiers to act as marines. The officers were mainly American and included the brave, active and efficient Lieutenant Richard Dale, personal friend and Masonic brother of Jones. The flag that floated over the old ship, renamed the Bonhomme Richard, now in the harbor of L'Orient, was the same that Jones had raised on the Ranger in Portsmouth harbor.
In Jones' little squadron there were also four other vessels, the Pallas, Cerf, Vengeance, Alliance. The last named was a small, well-built American frigate with an American crew, but commanded by the Frenchman, Captain Landais, who had been given this command as a compliment to the French government. Landais was a half-insane, wholly-jealous crank, who bitterly resented having Jones rank him, and who proved when the crucial moment came that he was more of a menace than a help. The three other vessels were small affairs, thoroughly French throughout, but flying the American flag. With this polyglot and feeble command Jones started out to win honor for the flag and immortality for himself. And, strange as it may seem, he succeeded in doing both.
Sailing the temporarily quiet waters of the North Sea on the evening of Sept. 30, 1779, Jones on the quarterdeck of the Bonhomme Richard sighted near Flamborough Head a large fleet of merchantmen convoyed by two powerful ships of Britain's navy. The first, a fine new frigate of fifty guns, was commanded by Captain Pearson. This frigate was the Serapis. The second ship of war was the sloop Countess of Scarborough.
It was already growing dark; a finger of light streamed from the tower on Flamborough Head; the moon was shedding its soft radiance over the water; the light of the battle lanterns made plain the rows of portholes in the sides of the ships. Crowds of curious people had gathered along the heights to watch the expected fight. The merchant vessels scuttled for cover, but the warships came straight toward the challenger of the naval supremacy of England.
And now from the dark shadow with the double row of lurid portholes came a loud cry, "What ship is that?"
For answer Paul Jones gave a command and a heavy broadside rang out from the Bonhomme Richard.
Before the flash of the guns had died out an answering broadside crashed from the eighteen-pounder gun of the Serapis. Through the rotten sides of the Richard the heavy balls tore, splintering beams and tearing human flesh.
Then, too, there was other cause for apprehension on the part of Jones. Two of the old rusty cannon in the lower tier of guns burst with the first discharge, killing their crews and hurling pieces of metal everywhere, some of them even penetrating the deck above.
But the Richard surged slowly ahead while Jones tried to manoeuvre her into position for raking. Still firing heavy broadsides, the Serapis avoided her antagonist and came sweeping up on the port side. Soon the bowsprit of the Serapis got entangled in the rigging of the Richard and locked together the two ships swung side by side, the bow of each pointing in a different direction. Jones hastened to lash the ships together, for he well knew that his chance of success lay in making it a close fight. If he allowed the Serapis to chose her distance she could knock the rotten old East Indiaman to pieces with impunity.
And now the Pallas, another one of Jones' squadron, proceeded to attack the Countess of Scarborough. The other ships gave no aid. Rather, the crazy Frenchman, Landais, took himself off with the Alliance, while the other ships stayed at a safe distance.
The gloom of the autumn evening had fallen fast; it was now quite dark, except for the joint illumination of the moon and the ever-flashing broadsides of the ships. The roaring of the heavy cannonade echoed and re-echoed along the coast and far inland, filling the hearts of the peasantry with foreboding.
On the high poopdeck of the ancient ship stood Paul Jones watching the enemy pound his command to pieces under his very feet. For the decayed planking of the Richard offered but slight impediment to the flight of the heavy balls from the battery of the Serapis. Within an hour from the time the action commenced the main battery of the American ship was silenced, everything in the path of the terrible discharges from the enemy being blown either out or in. It is said that from this time on the balls from the eighteen-pounders of the Serapis went straight through the Richard without hitting anything, the planking and timbers on both sides having been cut asunder and hurled out of the way. The gundeck was a veritable shambles. And now the ship caught fire!
Almost immediately after this the ship's carpenter told Jones that in the hold the water was pouring in very fast. The old tub was sinking under their feet. And to add to the confusion, someone released the two hundred prisoners that had been held below deck on the Richard. These men came tumbling up the hatchways, adding tremendously to the hazard of battle, for they were all British seamen. And now among the mongrel crew of the Richard some began to cry for quarter, while even among the officers murmurs were heard that Jones should strike. Surely this was the time to try a man with a heart of oak. But Jones had a heart of steel and fire.
And now from the Serapis came the hoarse cry, "Have you struck?"
Immediately Jones sprang upon the rail and, funneling his hands, roared back through the sulphurous gloom, "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!"
Then, as though in an effort to blast that unconquerable spirit, the broadsides of the Serapis reopened with added intensity. Splinters flew in clouds, the flames secured a new start, masses of stifling smoke rolled up from below decks and almost strangled the men. All of which but served to stir Jones to new endeavor.
First he caused a rumor to be circulated among the released prisoners that the Serapis was sinking, and that the only salvation for both crews was to keep the Richard afloat. The terrified prisoners thereupon, rushed to the pumps and worked heroically, releasing for other duty many of Jones' men. Next he hauled two nine pounders across the spardeck, had them loaded with chainshot and grape, and opened fire on the mainmast of the Serapis, hoping to bring it down. Then he directed the fight in the tops and the rigging of the entangled ships.
About this time Jones stopped long enough to reprove one of the junior officers for indulging in profanity. "Don't swear, Mr. Stacey," said he. "In another moment we may all be in eternity, but let us do our duty."
In view of the fact that the British have always characterized Jones as a pirate, this seems rather strange language to use at such a time and place.
If the British had it all their own way below decks, it was not so either on the main deck or aloft. The French soldiers of the Richard had from the rigging of the American ship fairly swept the deck of the Serapis clear of men. Also, the Americans had speedily swarmed into the tops and upper rigging of the Richard and, crossing over into the rigging of the Serapis, had driven the topmen out and gained command, thus being able to fire directly down on the British deck and into the various hatchways that led to the gundeck below.
And now an old American tar, taking a bucket of hand grenades, crept out along a yard that hung directly over the main hatch of the British ship, calmly lighted the fuse of one of his missiles and tossed it down into the hole. Almost immediately there followed a terrific explosion, which tore up part of the deck of the Serapis and put many of the guns of her main battery out of commission.
It seems that the powder monkeys of this battery had accumulated behind each gun several surplus charges, while some had been broken open and the powder strewn along the decks. When the grenade exploded here the loose powder was ignited with disastrous results.
Now the Americans fairly rained grenades on the deck of the Serapis and even tossed them through the portholes of the ship. If most of their cannon had been rendered useless, they yet retained and could use a most formidable weapon. And now the Serapis caught fire. The Richard had been almost continuously on fire.
On the Richard the doctor came running on deck bawling that the water was gaining so fast in the cockpit that it already floated the wounded there. He advised an immediate surrender. "Tut! Tut! Doctor," smiled Jones amid all that reign of horror, "would you have me strike to a drop of water? Just help me a bit with this gun."
The crew of the Serapis growing desperate, attempted to board. They were beaten back. The crew of the Richard made a like attempt which also failed. But the continued hammering of Jones' two ninepounders against the foot of the mainmast of the Serapis bore fruit. The mast tottered and swept downward into the sea carrying the top of the mizzen mast with it.
For Jones things now looked brighter. But at this instant out of the gloom came the Alliance firing alike upon both the Serapis and the Richard. In vain the Americans shouted for the crazy Frenchman to hold his fire. Broadside after broadside he discharged, returning again and again to the attack. Many of the Richard's crew were killed by the missiles from the Alliance, the captain of which desired to make the Richard strike to the Serapis that he might have the honor of taking both ships.
Seeing that their calls were unheeded, the Americans of the Richard's devoted crew, now under fire from both friend and foe, turned again to their job. Lieutenant Richard Dale had been wounded, but in the excitement of the fight failed to realize it. Throughout the contest he was a veritable tower of strength to Jones.
The contest had now been raging for three hours. About half of the crew of the American ship had fallen; nearly two-thirds of that of the Serapis. The Pallas had captured the Scarborough. This fight could not go on forever; human endurance could not stand much more; nor were there men enough left in both crews to furnish food for powder for many more hours. Someone had to yield. Jones would not. Hence on the deck of the Serapis, the commander, Captain Pearson, tore down the British colors with his own hands.
The bloodiest fight in all naval history was over!
The perfidious Landais had at last sailed away with the Alliance. Lieutenant Dale led on board the captured Serapis a prize crew and sent Captain Pearson and his first lieutenant to the Richard. When Pearson handed to Jones his sword in token of surrender, he is reported to have made a remark to the effect that he would hate to fight with a halter around his neck.
The answer of Jones was characteristic of him; courteous, high-minded gentleman that he was: "Sir," said he, "you have fought like a hero; and I make no doubt your sovereign will reward you in the most ample manner."
Pearson's sovereign did just that thing; he made Pearson a knight. When a long time after this Jones heard about it, he remarked dryly, "He deserves it. And if I ever fall in with him again, I'll make him a duke."
In the morning after the bloody night battle it was soon found that the poor old Bonhomme Richard, which Jones had named in honor of his friend, Dr. Franklin, could not be saved. Therefore, the prisoners and the wounded were transferred to the deck of the Serapis, jury masts were rigged on the latter, and sail set for Holland.
Bow foremost the Richard sank into the sea, from her topmast still streaming the first Stars and Stripes ever hoisted over an American man-of-war.
Arriving at the Texel, Jones was commanded by the Dutch to either set the French flag over his ship, accepting a French commission, or give up his prizes.
Now one of Jones' famous sayings was that "I have ever looked out for the honor of the American flag."
On this occasion he lived up to that saying, as he always did. He refused to lower the American flag, choosing rather to give up his prizes. Deposing Landais from the command of the Alliance, Jones shifted his colors to that ship. After carefully refitting her, Jones put to sea in the teeth of both a howling gale and a whole fleet of blockading British ships and brought the Alliance safely through the English Channel to Corunna in Spain, and later to a French port. The five hundred and four prisoners that he had taken were afterward exchanged for a like number of patriots who had been languishing in British dungeons.
Jones was now not only a hero, he was the talk of all Europe. The French created him a Chevalier of the Order of Merit. He returned to America in February, 1781. Congress proceeded to pass a flattering resolution concerning him.
The end of the war found no command for him in the American navy, for the navy was temporarily abolished at the close of the struggle. Jones went to Russia and was commissioned by the queen a rear-admiral, later being promoted to the grade of admiral in command of a squadron in the Black Sea. In the Russian navy he displayed his genius as of yore, but he did not like the service. He eventually returned to Paris, where his health began to fail. He died July 18, 1792, being but forty-five years of age.
According to the historian Brady, to whom reference has already been made, there was found among the papers of John Paul Jones the following in his own handwriting:
"In 1775, J. Paul Jones armed and embarked in the first American ship of war. In the Revolution he had twenty-three battles and solemn recontres by sea; made seven descents in Britain, and her colonies; took of her navy two ships of equal, and two of superior force, many store ships and others; constrained her to fortify her ports; suffer the Irish Volunteers; desist from her cruel burnings in America, and exchange as prisoners of war, the American citizens taken on the ocean, and cast into prisons of England, as 'traitors, pirates, and felons!'"
Ever since being made a Master Mason Jones had retained his membership with the lodge at Kilwinning, but it does not appear that he received a Masonic burial in Paris. The Protestant cemetery in which he was interred was officially closed in 1793, and the location of his grave was forgotten. But a few years ago General Horace Porter, then United States Ambassador to France, caused a search to be made, the results of which were that the body of the hero was discovered, identified, and brought back to America on the deck of a warship more powerful than he had ever dreamed of.
At Annapolis his casket now rests, at the famous school where young fledglings of the Eagle's brood are taught technical details of the sea officer's trade, and filled with the heroic traditions of our navy. And among those traditions there are none more inspiring than those which cluster about the name of him who has at last been brought back home.
The urge of his fiery courage and unquenchable spirit has tended to animate thousands of young officers who have made the navy of the United states a thing known and honored throughout the world. It was the spirit of such as he and Lawrence which doubtless nerved the crew of the Cumberland to keep on firing while fighting a battle that they knew was hopeless; the spirit of never-say-die that kept them cheering for the flag above even as the ship sank into the waves.
And when many centuries shall have rolled by and our beloved nation, following along the path blazed by the inexorable law of decay and death, has sunk into the oblivion that cloaks the dust of Chaldea, Carthage and Palmyra, wise men of a strange new race, as yet ill the loins of the future, searching for the glory that was America, shall marvel exceedingly over the record of that dauntless man, who, when the way was dark and to all others the cause seemed lost, hurled back in the teeth of the enemy that indomitable cry of defiance and purpose:
"Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!"
* * *
WHAT WAS FREEMASONRY DESIGNED TO BE?
Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin
In a letter accompanying the following too brief article Bro. Shephard says: "Perhaps I have stressed brotherly love rather forcibly, but it seems to me it really needs stressing. I have met many brethren who admitted they did not believe in it. They were unwilling to practice what Freemasonry teaches." One wonders very much why such brethren ever joined the Order. It hardly seems possible that they could have truthfully answered the questions put to them before they entered the lodge, unless this attitude be due to disillusionment. It is as true of Masonry as of anything else, one only gets out of it what one puts into it, and only one who practices the fraternal precepts of the Craft can ever know what brotherly love may be.
THE Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons is the custodian of a system of symbolic teaching which had its origin in a remote antiquity. From the earliest records of humanity we find evidence of the use of geometrical and architectural symbols being used to teach basic moral and spiritual truths.
The advantage of this method of teaching is twofold. It makes a deeper and more lasting impression, not only on the mind, but on the heart and soul of the candidate and it precludes the dogmatism which verbal teaching has so often included, and which has obscured the vital and fundamental truths.
The symbols and allegories used by Freemasonry are all symbolical of basic moral and spiritual truths. The verbal explanations offered may be considered as commentaries. The symbol or allegory is always of greater value than the commentary. In fact the great design of Freemasonry is to build a Temple of Character by the use of the symbolic tools and implements, and every effort to arrive at a clearer conception of Freemasonry should have this purpose ever in view.
The enduring things in life are those that are true and vital. The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man are basic laws of nature, and our failure to recognize and obey them is the cause of all our economic, social and political strife and discord. Nature displays harmony, and mankind should subdue the passions of ignorance, prejudice and superstition, and improve themselves by building a character which is found to be square, level and plumb.
We profess Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth as our tenets. We explain our broad and comprehensive idea of Brotherly Love. It must be made more than lip service to be of value — we must make it an active principle of our lives.
The brethren who formed the Grand Lodge of England, in 1717, clearly defined the only basis on which a universal brotherhood can be established. To "Only oblige them to that Religion in which all men agree." Are we doing this today when we refuse to recognize Freemasons who have adhered to this basic principle more carefully than we have?
There is great difference of opinion among Masonic writers regarding the exact status of Freemasonry regarding religion. Some say it is not a religion. By "a religion" we infer one of several or many religions, and in such a sense they are correct.
No man can, however, participate in the forms and ceremonies and fail to have the highest emotions of his religious nature reached. Here he finds the vital truths of his particular religion, be they what they may.
Freemasonry is such a wonderful system of morality that it reaches the heart of the most humble initiate and is profound enough to make the greatest intellects its lifelong students.
The fact that it contains a whole philosophy of life and immortality and has hidden and veiled allusions to the details which each brother must work out for himself, makes it advisable for us to frequently revert to the vital and fundamental truths which differentiate it from all other institutions.
The Square of virtue includes, in its visible symbolic form, the lines which are symbols of the Level and the Plumb. It also includes in its Masonic application the basic duties of man to God by an upright life, and to our fellowmen by equality, or Brotherly Love. The point within a circle is capable of many interpretations and much speculation. When we consider that from a center there are radii which project as the spokes of a wheel, we can receive a most beneficial idea of how Brotherly Love conforms to a great law of spiritual development. The center symbolizes the Supreme God. Each radius symbolizes an individual. As the several radii draw away from the center they draw further away from each other. The only way we can do our full duty to God is by fulfilling our duty to our fellowmen, and likewise the only way we can do our full duty to our fellowmen is by doing it to God.
As builders of character we have to become proficient in the use of the tools and implements of the several degrees, and these are for use on our own character only. Not until we have thoroughly learned how to apply them are we given the Trowel, which is the first implement that in any way affects others.
By its use we may learn to actually practice the tenet of Brotherly Love, and consider every human being as a brother. True, he may err most grievously and appear to deserve our severest condemnation but who among us does not err, and are we not in a measure responsible for the environment which may have contributed to his errors? The poorest human creature is our brother, and even though his faults appear most grievous we must remember a most wise admonition, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."
The great design of Freemasonry is to build character. To live up to the tenets we profess ought to be of first importance. If Brotherly Love is not true we should cease to teach it. If it is true we are bound by every obligation of honor and duty to put it into practice.
Belief in a Supreme Being, whom Freemasonry designates as The Great Architect of the Universe, and belief in the Immortality of the Soul are the only basic religious tenets which can possibly unite men of every country, sect and opinion.
Belief in the tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth are as far as we may safely go in social relationship.
As individuals we must continually apply all the tools and implements so that we may complete our Temple and receive the reward, Truth — the long lost WORD. We must use the twenty-four-inch Gauge and Common Gavel; the Plumb, Square and Level; the Trowel and all they signify continually. Never let them rust for want of use.
When every member of a lodge has some such conception of the design of Freemasonry, our Fraternity will function as it was designed to do, and Plenty, Health and Peace will abound, and Peace and Good Will prevail on earth. So mote it be.
* * *
WHAT MASONRY IS NOT
Bro. George H. Dern, Governor of Utah, P.G.M.,
Associate Editor, Utah
MASONS generally like to hear or read a discussion of what Masonry is and what it stands for.
One of the ways of proving a thing is by elimination, and perhaps some light may be thrown upon the subject of what Masonry is by telling a few things that Masonry is not.
IT IS NOT A REFORMATORY INSTITUTION
In the first place, Masonry is not a reformatory institution. We make no pretense of going out into the highways and byways, picking up men who have strayed and fallen, making them members of our Fraternity and reforming them. That sort of work is highly commendable, and Masons, as individuals, may be proud to engage in it, but it is not the mission of Masonry. A man, to be eligible for Masonry, is required to come up to a certain standard, and we need not fear that the standard will ever be too high.
The brother who knows that a man who has petitioned for the Three Degrees has certain moral defects, but who says, "Well, he is a pretty good fellow in other ways, and perhaps Masonry will help straighten him out," and therefore permits the petition to go through, is not doing his duty.
He is not doing his duty, first, because, as already stated, Masonry is not a reformatory. We have troubles enough of our own without deliberately dragging in more.
He is not doing his duty, second, because you cannot reform a man by making a Mason of him. If he is a bad Indian before he becomes a Mason he will be a bad Indian after he becomes a Mason. A man's character is not changed by repeating a few set phrases to him. It is not changed by what he hears, but by what he does. His character is formed by his past life, and he will always act in accordance with his past experiences. We are beginning to learn that a man does not make a deliberate choice every time a question comes to him. His actions today are determined by his actions of yesterday. His actions of yesterday were determined by his actions of the day before, and so on back to his childhood.
Psychologists sometimes explain this on the theory of brain grooves. The first time an individual is confronted by a certain set of conditions he makes a deliberate choice and acts accordingly. The act of making this choice makes a groove in his brain. The next time he is confronted by a similar set of conditions his mind has a tendency to follow this groove. It is the easiest thing to do, and the doing of it makes the groove a little deeper. The third time the same situation is before him it is still easier to follow the groove, and the groove is further deepened. As the process is repeated time after time, the groove gradually becomes so deep that the mind follows it instinctively and without any effort. Indeed, it requires a conscious and decided effort not to follow the groove. A fixed habit has been formed, which has become a part of his nature. He will always and unconsciously let his mind run in this groove, and he cannot help acting in this particular fashion unless by a determined and persistent effort of the will he acts otherwise and starts a new groove.
The Masonic Degrees may furnish him a temporary moral stimulant that will be beneficial if he acts according to the emotions that they arouse in him, but almost invariably that stimulant will soon wear off, and he will then be his normal self, and will live according to the actions of his past. If his life has contained hate and avarice and deceit and cruelty and slander and backbiting and lewdness, then those vices are a part of his make-up and they will show up in the future as they have shown up in the past.
And so if we think we are going to make a man over by giving him the Masonic Degrees we are sadly mistaken, for the thing is scientifically impossible. When we are considering a petition we should think only of the man's past, and not of his future, because his past will absolutely determine his future. If he is not a good Mason before he gets the degrees he never will be.
IT IS NOT A CHARITABLE INSTITUTION
In the second place, Masonry is not a charitable institution. That is, we are not banded together for the purpose of administering charity. It is allowable and proper for a lodge, if it has the money, to relieve the pressing needs of its distressed members, to help the families of deceased members when their necessities require, and even to contribute to other worthy purposes; but nowhere in the Ritual, code or by-laws is there anything that makes it obligatory upon a lodge to dispense charity under any conditions. In fact, our lodge dues are not generally figured on any such basis.
Now, this may be surprising to some of us, especially in view of the fact that one of our chief teachings is charity. The explanation is right here. We teach our members to be charitable. We bind ourselves, not as a body, but as individuals, to relieve the distress of others. It is the duty of every individual Mason to practice charity. Masonry, as an organization, is not a charitable institution but a teaching institution, and charity is one of its teachings. The Mason with a true understanding of his art therefore is not chagrined when other orders dispense greater sums in charity than do our Masonic lodges. He is only chagrined when members of other orders are more charitable than Masons.
IT IS NOT A RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION
In the third place, Masonry is not a religious institution. Members of every sect and opinion are eligible, according to our basic law, and we have no right to reject a man solely on account of his religious belief. We hear an enthusiastic brother say, once in a while, "Masonry is my only religion," but in so doing he hardly uses the word religion in the accepted sense. Would it not be more accurate to say that Masonry is a system of morality, which she teaches to her devotees? Masonry exacts no faith or dogmas from her members. She only requires them to be good men and true. Religious liberty and tolerance are vital Masonic principles. Let us not forget that while we fight intolerance in others we must also fight it in ourselves.
IT IS NOT A MONEY-MAKING INSTITUTION
In the fourth place, Masonry is not a money-making institution, neither for its members nor for itself. Men are not supposed to join Masonry for business reasons nor because they think they will reap a financial profit by so doing. Doubtless some do, but they are careful to keep the fact in the background, and they solemnly declare that they came uninfluenced by mercenary motives. If you know a man has put in his petition because he thinks it will help his business, you have an excellent reason for using the black ball.
Neither does Masonry exist to make money for itself. There are good reasons to believe it does not do a lodge any good to become extremely wealthy. Its ideals are apt to be higher while it is poor. It is like the early Christian monasteries. When they were founded they had a high ideal, and their very poverty helped them live up to that ideal. In the Middle Ages, when they had become wealthy, many of the monasteries and convents were dens of vice and debauchery. Possibly the same thing could be pointed out in the high life of today. Let us hope Masonry will never have to sigh for the time, as Riley says, "When we were so happy and so pore."
There are other things that Masonry is not. This little essay does not pretend to speak of them all. Neither does it undertake to tell all that Masonry is. Suffice it to say in brief that Masonry is an organization of high grade men with only one real mission, and that is character building. We may divide and subdivide as much as we please, but it all comes back to this, that we aim to develop the characters of our members, and we expect thereby to send a set of men out into the world who will have an uplifting influence upon everything they touch.
* * *
LINKS BETWEEN LODGE AND CHAPTER
Bro. N. W. J. Haydon, Toronto
THE connection between "Ancient Craft Masonry", as modern American Freemasons understand it, and the Capitular Degrees has always been more than ordinarily interesting to the inquiring member of the Craft. In this review of the origin of the separate ceremonies, which seem to have been more closely linked together in earlier days, our Associate on the Board of Editors, Companion N. W. J. Haydon of Canada, treats very interestingly the known links in the chain of history. There is still much more to be learned, though whether all the historic facts will ever become clear is somewhat doubtful.
AFTER a man has been received into a Masonic lodge, he is apt to become bewildered by several claims on his attention, not the least of which are those of the so-called "higher degrees". Finding himself almost at the bottom of the degree ladder, instead of the top as he had rather expected to be, he will — if he has the money to spare, and no one is good enough to advise him to digest first what he has already experienced — inquire as to what comes next and proceed with his travels. So the purpose of this paper is to help him discover what "next" is most natural, Masonically, and where to stop if he would profit by his experience.
There has been in all known Masonic history but one formal and authoritative declaration as to just what constitutes "Ancient Craft Masonry". This is to be found in the "Articles of Union" drawn up in November, 1813, and accepted as a basis for the healing of the Masonic differences which had for over sixty years (since 1751) divided our English predecessors into two hostile camps. Of these twenty-one Articles, the second reads as follows:
It is declared and pronounced that pure Ancient Masonry consists of three degrees, and no more; viz, those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellowcraft, and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.
But this article is not intended to prevent any Lodge or Chapter from holding a meeting in any of the degrees in the Orders of Chivalry, according to the constitution of the said Orders.
From which it will be evident that all other so-called Masonic degrees or ceremonies, of whatever title, can claim to be such only because their membership is confined to those who have passed through these original three.
EARLIEST KNOWN RECORD
Just when these "Degrees" became separate and secret ceremonies is still unsettled. The earliest known record of such is dated 1702, in the minute book of a lodge at Haughfoot, Scotland  and the others must have been revived prior to 1723, as they are mentioned in the First Book of Constitutions, of that date, drawn up by Dr. Anderson.
The whole history of our Order forbids any opinion as to the degrees being originated at this date, as the brethren were so opposed to anything new that even the changes in the Constitution, which made possible the present broad-minded basis of admission to membership, were sufficient to commence the bitter disputes referred to above.
The Royal Arch Degree was first conferred in lodges, the word chapter coming into official use in England about 1768, though Stirling Rock R.A. Chapter of Scotland claims a charter of 1743. The earliest known mention of it as a separate ceremony is found in an Irish work dated 1744 , but the statement there made is that this degree had been conferred "some few years" previously in York and in London and further, that it was conferred only on "Most Excellent Masons" who were "an organized body of men who have passed the chair and given undeniable proofs of their skill in architecture", so that this degree must have been originally a reward of Operative merit.
As the years passed this pre-requisite became a barrier to the support of Royal Arch Masonry, so we find that in 1768, at Bolton, in Lancashire, nine brethren were "installed" Masters in order to qualify them for the Royal Arch , thus making them virtual or honorary Past Masters as distinguished from those who were actual Past Masters, through service in the chair. The fact that nine brethren were so treated is evidence that the custom was much older than this record, and this method finally became a matter of routine as it is today.
An Irish scholar  has preserved for us the record in a Dublin newspaper of 1743, that in a celebration by a lodge at Youghal, there was a procession in which was seen "the Royal Arch carried by two excellent Masons" and a minute of the same lodge of two brothers "passing to the dignity of Royal Arch Masons. they being proper officers of this lodge".
AMERICAN EARLY RECORD
The earliest record of this ceremony being conducted in the American Colonies is that of a lodge at Fredericksburg, in Virginia, dated 1753, which states that on the same evening two brethren were "raised to the Degree of R.A. Mason" following which an Entered Apprentice's Lodge was opened.
There is much more interesting material available to fill in the above outline but, the present purpose being just to show the historical connection of the chapter with the lodge, the reader would gain more profit by making use for himself of the references given at the end of this paper.
The next question is whence was the material drawn for the Royal Arch ceremonies; has it any symbolic connection with the lodge; does it serve to complete the instruction given therein?
It will be remembered that, on becoming a Master Mason, one learned that, owing to the death of the Chief Architect, the plans were all awry because the knowledge that alone could make them serviceable was cut off. As a result there was received only that bare statement and further Masonic progress was based entirely on the hope that oneself or some other brother might regain that which was lost, thereby making possible the completion of the Temple, as existing in both the member and our Order as a whole.
CENTRAL IDEA OF OUR SYSTEM
This loss and recovery of some essential element of progress, generally termed "The Word," is the central idea of our Masonic system. The idea is not original with us as Words of Power were known and referred to many centuries ago, but we being Speculatives lather than Operatives see in it not some method of ceremonial magic, but a reminder of the perpetuation of life through the natural processes of death and renewal of our bodies. And, since familiarity has made us contemptuous of their divine character, we need to learn their correct use as they are the appointed pathway to that Temple of which all humanity are the ashlars.
Dr. Oliver tells us  that in his time the candidate, this exaltation, was addressed as follows:
Allow me to congratulate you on your admission into the sublime and exalted Degree of a Royal Arch Mason, which is at once the foundation and copestone of the whole Masonic structure. You may perhaps conceive that you have received this day a Fourth Degree of Freemasonry, but such is not the case; it is only the completion of that of a Master Mason.
It may be said, then, without passing the limits of due caution, that the completion of the lodge in the chapter is the finding of the lost Word of Power, embodied in one of the Names whereby the Great Architect is known throughout this material universe. But, because these Names are as infinite of variety as they are of potency, we use as a focus for our finite intellirence that ancient form preserved in the Hebrew scriptures, known as the Tetragrammaton, and revered for centuries by countless worshippers.
That this usage preceded the official separation we also learn from Dr. Oliver, as he tells us  "I have before me an old French engraving of the Ground Work of the Master's Lodge, dated 1740, containing the usual emblems and, on the coffin, is the 'True Word' in Roman capitals."
SEPARATION OF THE CEREMONIES
Just why or how this conclusion of the Master Mason ceremony came to be separated from it and worked up into a different name and condition is difficult to state in a few words. A natural theory is that the same influence which brought about an earlier change in Masonic methods, making it possible for lodges to pass and raise their own members instead of leaving that power in the hands of Grand Lodge alone, was also responsible, as our Order increased in numbers, for granting the Royal Arch to brethren who could pass the prescribed trials of skill and firmness, but were prevented by that same increase from passing the chair. Even if, as is certain, the working was less elaborate than it is today, the complete degree would be inconveniently long, especially with the ceremonial changes involved. So that as the growing popularity of the Craft brought in men who had to consider the value of their time, the blemishes of "short forms" and of "hearing the lecture on some-future occasion" could only be avoided by the actions of those who, out of respect for the ceremonies, finally brought about the division into two at the natural point of cleavage.
There is one more consideration that should be dealt with — what good will be served by joining the chapter and being exalted to the Royal Arch? If the Royal Arch truly contains the discovery of the Omnific Word or of the Ineffable Name, as it is also known, why is it that one sees the sign of the chapter on the persons of so many ordinary citizens?
Here we touch on the mystical side of things, for neither lodge nor chapter is like a College of Surgeons, which requires its students to prove their practical as well as their theoretical knowledge of its secrets and mysteries, before they are granted the honors and responsibilities of graduation in their degrees.
Our science can be learned only by experience in service and while that is coincident with our whole life, we should not refrain from entering upon it just because the end seems so far off. As a matter of fact we reap every day the slowly converging results of our efforts, some long past and forgotten, some recent, bnt the more we try to serve the more marked and speedy are the results. As Bro. Wilmshurst tells us :
The pursuit of "secrets" is certain to prove futile, for the only secrets worth the name or the finding are those incommunicable ones which discover themselves within the personal consciousness of the seeker, who is in earnest to translate ceremonial representations into facts of spiritual experience.
Since the purpose of all initiation is to lift human consciousness from lower to higher levels by quickening the latent, spiritual, potentialities in man to their fullest extent through appropriate discipline, no higher level of attainment is possible than that in which the human merges in the Divine consciousness and knows as God knows.
That being the level of which the Order of the Royal Arch treats ceremonially, it follows that Masonry, as a ceremonial system, reaches its climax and conclusion in that Order.
OTHER CHAPTER DEGREES
In Canadian chapters we have three ceremonies or degrees, the other two being known as the Mark Master and the Most Excellent Master, both of which precede the Holy Royal Arch and act as links between it and that of the Master Mason with their bases of history, symbol and mystery-teaching.
In England and its dependencies the Mark Degree has been a separate Institution, governed by its own Grand Mark Lodge since 1856, owing to its being refused recognition by that Grand Chapter as a separate degree, because of the terms of the Act of Union. There, too, it also consists of two parts, Mark Man and Mark Master, usually worked on the same occasion, the former applying to workmen who had gained some skill but were not yet able to work alone, and the latter to Fellowcrafts who had earned the right to travel in foreign lands and work as Masters . This recognition has now been granted officially and some changes of organization may ensue as a result.
In Scotland, the Mark is conferred in lodges, but the Royal Arch is not recognized by that Grand Lodge, while, in Ireland, both are serving Masonic interests.
The use of the Mark is, naturally, very ancient and widespread, as Operatives, being usually illiterate, had to use symbols for purposes of identification. Collections of Marks have been gathered from all parts of the world where stone has been worked, and ingenious theories devised by Masonic scholars to reduce their various shapes to a system. For the most part they consist of straight lines making an uneven number of angles, but curved lines have been found in Scotland  and India. Indeed, the theory has been advanced that our present alphabet, through its descent from Phoenician and Greek letter-systems, owes its origins to the marks used by operatives who built the temples of Egypt and its Colonies in Asia Minor .
Just when a distinct ceremony was first used is not definitely known. The oldest record of its working as such is dated 1769 , but the famous Schaw statutes of Scotland under date of 1598, require that when a Fellow of the Craft is received, his name and Mark must "be orderlie buikit" .
Symbolically, the granting of the right to use a Mark is akin to the Rite of Confirmation in the Church, and to the legal "coming of age". It was not granted until the apprentice had finished his term, passed his test, and been received as a Fellow of the Craft by his lodge. Then, no longer need his work be governed at every step by some more skillful Craftsman. He now stands on his own feet and accepts responsibility for his own acts. He is considered a man of mature years, sound judgment and good morals. His Mark is put on his work; on it he builds his reputation and, if his sons follow in his trade, they would frequently use his Mark, though with some slight difference. We, though Speculatives, still follow this custom, and every Mark Master is required to select and register his Mark and cut it on his "Chapter penny". Apart from this we emphasize the lessons of the Master Mason by regarding the Mark as made visible in personality and character, than which no man can go further.
MOST EXCELLENT MASTER
This degree is not worked in Great Britain but is peculiar to Canada and the United States, and the latter still work the ancient ceremony of "passing the chair" in memory of the old regulation as to Installed Masters.
While the phrase "Excellent Master" has a definite place and value in Capitular Masonry from its earliest times, it does not appear that there was also a special or distinct ceremony conferring such a title until much later. M. W. Bro. Mackey tells us  that originally "this degree was the sixth of the York Rite" and he adds that it was "the invention of [Thomas Smith] Webb, who organized the Capitular system of Masonry as it exists in America". As this first Grand Chapter for the United States had not come into being in 1798, and the original York Rite had ceased to exist by about 1789 at the latest, it seems more probable that Webb's "invention" was simply an adaptation of material already respectable with long use.
The legend of this degree is concerned with the Keystone, and in conjunction with the Mark, teaches the lesson of patience under injustice caused by official ignorance, and the final triumph of work properly done.
- Origin of the English Rite of Freemasonry, by W. J. Hughan. ↩
- A Serious and Impartial Enquiry, etc., by F. Dassigny, M.D. ↩
- Caementaria Hibernica, by W.J. Chetwode Crawley, LL.D. ↩
- Origin of the Royal Arch, by Rev. Geo. Oliver, D.D. ↩
- The Necessity of the Royal Arch, by M. Ex. Comp. William F. Kuhn. ↩
- The Meaning of Masonry, by W. J. Wilmshurst. ↩
- By-Ways of Freemasonry, by Rev. J. T. Lawrence, M.A. ↩
- A Treatise on Masons' Marks, by Charles A. Conover. ↩
- Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. 3, page 189. Kenning's Cyclopedia of Freemasonry. ↩
- Concise History of Freemasonry, by R. F. Gould. ↩
- Mark Masonry, by W. J. Hughan. ↩
- Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey, M.D. ↩
* * *
THE STORY OF FREEMASONRY IN COLORADO
Bro. George B. Clark, Colorado
ATTENTION has been directed to the fact that the authority exercised by the Grand Lodge of Colorado was obtained from that delegated to it by the lodges forming the Grand Lodge. Those lodges derived their authority by reason of a warrant or charter of Constitution granted to them in regular form by the Grand Lodges of Kansas and Nebraska. This question may be asked: from what sources came the authority exercised by the Grand Lodges of Kansas and Nebraska?
The Grand Lodge of Kansas was erected March 17, 1856, at Leavenworth, by representatives of three lodges all chartered by the Grand Lodge of Missouri, viz:
No. 1 — Smithton Lodge, No. 140, at Iowa Point, chartered May 30, 1855.
No. 2 — Leavenworth Lodge, No. 150, at Leavenworth, chartered May 30, 1855.
No. 3 — Wyandotte Lodge, No. 153, at Wyandotte, chartered May 30, 1855.
The Grand Lodge of Nebraska was erected Sept. 23, 1857, at Omaha, by representatives of three lodges all chartered as follows:
No. 1 — Nebraska Lodge, No. 184, at Bellevue, chartered Oct. 3, 1855 by Illinois.
No. 2 — Giddings Lodge, No. 156, at Nebraska City, chartered May 28, 1856, by Missouri.
No. 3 — Capital Lodge, No. 101, at Omaha, chartered June 3, 1857, by Iowa.
The Grand Lodge of Iowa was erected Jan. 8, 1844, at Iowa City, by representatives of four lodges all chartered by the Grand Lodge of Missouri, viz:
No. 1 — Des Moines Lodge, No. 41, at Burlington, chartered Oct. 20, 1841.
No. 2 — Iowa Lodge, No. 42, at Bloomington, chartered Oct. 20, 1841.
No. 3 — Dubuque Lodge, No. 62, at Dubuque, chartered Oct. 10, 1843.
No. 4 — Iowa city Lodge, No. 63, at Iowa city, chartered Oct. 10, 1843.
The Grand Lodge of Illinois was erected April 6, 1840, at Jacksonville, by representatives of six lodges chartered or under dispensation as follows:
No. 1 — Bodley Lodge, No. 97, at Quincy, chartered Aug. 30, 1836, by Kentucky.
No. 2 — Equality Lodge, No. 101, at Equality, chartered Aug. 29, 1837, by Kentucky.
No. 3 — Harmony Lodge, No. 24, at Jacksonville, chartered Oct. 2, 1838, by Missouri.
No. 4 — Springfield Lodge, No. 26, at Springfield, chartered Oct. 8, 1839, by Missouri.
No. 5 — Far West Lodge, No. 29, at Galena, chartered Oct. 10, 1839, by Missouri.
No. 6 — Columbus Lodge, U.D., at Columbus, under dispensation from Missouri.
The Grand Lodge of Missouri was erected April 24, 1821, at St. Louis, by representatives of three lodges all chartered by the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, viz:
No. 1 — Missouri Lodge, No. 12. at St. Louis, chartered Oct. 8, 1816.
No. 2 — Joachim Lodge, No. 25, at Herculaneum, chartered Oct. 5, 1819.
No. 3 — St. Charles Lodge, No. 28, at st. Charles, chartered Oct. 5, 1819.
The Grand Lodge of Tennessee was erected Dec. 27, 1813, at Knoxville by representatives of nine lodges all chartered by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, or perhaps more properly by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee. This was accomplished at the direction of and under orders from the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. The following participated:
No. 1 — St. Tammany Lodge, No. 29, at Nashville, chartered Dec. 17, 1796.
No. 2 — Tennessee Lodge, No. 41, at Knoxville chartered Nov. 30, 1800.
No. 3 — Greenville Lodge, No. 43, at Greenville, chartered Dec. 11, 1801.
No. 4 — Newport Lodge, No. 50, at Newport, chartered Dec. 5, 1806.
No. 5 — Overtor Lodge, No. 51, at Rogersville, chartered Nov. 21, 1807.
No. 6 — King Solomon Lodge, No. 52, at Gallatin, chartered Dec. 9 1808.
No. 7 — Hiram Lodge, No. 55, at Franklin, chartered Dec. 11, 1809.
No. 8 — Cumberland Lodge, No. 60, at Nashville, chartered June 24, 1812.
No. 9 — Western Star Lodge, No. 61 at Port Royal, chartered Nov. 21, 1812.
The title Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee was assumed in 1801.
The Grand Lodge of Kentucky was erected Oct. 16, 1800, at Lexington, by representatives of five lodges, all receiving authority from the Grand Lodge of Virginia.
No. 1 — Lexington Lodge, No. 25, at Lexington, chartered Nov. 17, 1788.
No. 2 — Paris Lodge, No. 35, at Paris, chartered Nov. 25, 1791.
No. 3 — Georgetown Lodge, No. 46, at Georgetown, chartered Nov. 29, 1796.
No. 4 — Hiram Lodge, No. 51 at Frankfort, chartered Dec. 11, 1799.
No. 5 — (Solomon) (Abraham) Lodge, U.D., at Shelbyville, under dispensation.
The authority of the Grand Lodge of Colorado is thus traced in a regular manner and in a direct line to that of the Grand Lodges of virginia and North Carolina. The establishment of Masonry in these and the other colonies is another story. Suffice it to say here that Masonry was established in North Carolina directly from the Grand Lodge of England in two lodges and then, through the appointment by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England of Joseph Montfort as Provincial Grand Master for North Carolina, by the chartering by him of some nine or more lodges. After the Revolutionary War, these lodges, in 1787, threw off the English connection and erected the Grand Lodge of North Carolina as a sovereign Grand Lodge which functions to this day.
Masonry was established in the Colony of Virginia independently by the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland and Ireland. No Provincial Grand Master ever functioned for Virginia, its lodges receiving charters from and reporting direct to the Mother Grand Lodges over seas. At the time of the Revolutionary War in 1778, nine of these lodges declared themselves independent and erected the Grand Lodge of Virginia.
From this very small beginning of 52 members in three lodges at the time of the formation of the Grand Lodge of Colorado in 1861, the progress has been steady and very satisfactory. At the present time, according to the returns as of July 31, 1925, there are 31,159 members in 145 lodges, an average of 215 Masons to each lodge.
GREAT NAMES ARE MENTIONED
In every branch of human endeavor there are some names that stand out over and above the others, some names that are remembered for personal excellence or great activities while the names of the others are lost. Colorado Masonry has some such names, those of personages who have loomed large in Masonic affairs and whose names and deeds it is well to remember.
The first great name in Colorado Masonry is that of its first Grand Master, John M. Chivington. Great, not because of being Grand Master, but great because he made it safe for people to come to Colorado and enjoy life. It is to Col. Chivington, who taught the Indian that the trails must be kept open for the white man to come and go in peace, that the honor goes. A minister of the church he was, but also a soldier, and one whom the Indian feared and respected.
It is well to remember here at this time the name of Allyn Weston who gave us our Ritual, which Ritual stood the severe test of a frontier civilization.
The next great name to remember is that of Henry M. Teller, for so many years Grand Master of Masons in Colorado, who carried the name of Colorado into high places as United states Senator and Cabinet Member, and whose ability carried the Craft through trying periods.
The greatest Masonic project of our times, the George Washington Memorial Building now under construction at Alexandria, Virginia, is the result of a suggestion given to the Masonic world by a Grand Master of Colorado, Roger W. Woodbury. It was he who proposed a national memorial service for our first President, out of which came as a direct result the great memorial building. Thus the suggestion of our Grand Master was the inspiration for two of the greatest Masonic gatherings ever held in the United States. The first was the occasion of the centenary of the death of Washington, held at Mt. Vernon in 1899; the second was when the cornerstone of the Washington Memorial Building was laid. And no doubt the third and largest will be held when the building is completed and dedicated.
Most of us have read that famous poem, "The Lodge Room Over Simpkins' Store." Have we realized that its author, Lawrence N. Greenleaf, was recognized as the poet laureate of Freemasonry, that his fame as a Masonic poet was nation-wide? As Grand Master of Colorado, as editor, as writer of correspondence reviews, and in his many other activities he should be remembered by all Colorado Masons.
One of the greatest Masonic students of the country wrought among us for many years and we are even yet slow to appreciate his greatness. Coming generations will read the works of Henry P. H. Bromwell and perhaps find the secrets that he tried to tell but which we of today are but beginning to suspect.
But time presses, we must hurry on. We can but point out a few names here and there and trust the future biographer to tell the greatness of these Masons. There is E. LeN. Foster, who has given years and years of himself in the service of his brethren through the upbuilding of a Benevolent Fund. There is Robert D. Graham, student and probably the greatest Masonic lecturer on the platform today, who is proud to point to a Colorado lodge as his home. Great and wise Masons said that Uniformity of Work in the Ritual was impossible of accomplishment — yet it was accomplished and the one responsible for it was William W. Cooper, then Grand Lecturer and now Grand Secretary. The last name we shall propose for coming generations to remember, is that of the most loved of Colorado Masons of recent years, Charles H. Jacobson, for so many years Grand Secretary.
These are by no means all the great names produced by Colorado Masonry but rather just a few, a few who will never be forgotten. Nearly every lodge can tell of men whose activities are worth recording yet who worked in the comparative quiet of their own communities, satisfied that their fame should travel no farther.
THE ROYAL ARCH IS ORGANIZED
With the coming of the parent body of Ancient Craft Masonry to Colorado, came also the concordant orders of Royal Arch Capitular Masonry, Royal and Select Cryptic Masonry, Knight Templarism, and the Scottish Rite. Unlike the lodge system these other bodies are governed by national organizations; and original jurisdiction is maintained over all territory not served by a state body of that Rite. These central national bodies had been in existence many years before Colorado was made into a territory and naturally they claimed jurisdiction there. In a new state these bodies are generally established in regular order. First comes the lodge, then the Royal Arch chapter, then the commandery of Knight Templar, and finally the council of Royal and Select Masters. The Scottish Rite may be established at any place in the series when there are sufficient members to justify it.
We have seen that the Grand Lodge was established in 1861. We next see that the Royal Arch appeared as early as 1863. As exclusive jurisdiction over Colorado territory was held in the General Grand Chapter it was to this body that petition must be made for the establishment of chapters of Royal Arch Masonry. Dispensations were issued by the General Grand High Priest at various times for the formation of five chapters in Colorado and each temporary organization was perfected into a chartered chapter in due time. In this way regular authority was given to five chapters located as follows:
At Central City and numbered 1
At Denver City and numbered 2
At Pueblo and numbered 3
At Georgetown and numbered 4
At Golden and numbered 5
In 1872, while there were but three chapters chartered, an effort was made to form a Grand Chapter, but due to one of the chapters declining to take part nothing came of it. At this time a suggestion was made that the three chapters in Colorado and the two chapters in Wyoming combine to form a Grand Chapter, but this movement was over-ruled by the General Grand High Priest as not being possible under the laws of the General Grand Chapter.
Under the date of April 22, 1875, the General Grand High Priest gave his consent to the formation of a Grand Chapter in Colorado. Representatives of the five chapters met in convention on May 11, 1875, and perfected the organization of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Colorado on that day with five chapters and 282 members. This meeting was held in the Fink Block, corner of 15th and Holladay (now Market) Streets, Denver, Colorado. Wm. N. Byers, of Denver City, was elected Grand High Priest, and Ed. C. Parmelee, of Georgetown, as Grand Secretary. This branch of Masonry has advanced steadily from 5 chapters averaging 56 members each in 1875, to 51 chapters with 8,064 members, an average of 158, as of July 31, 1925.
For the benefit of the student the following table is submitted of the data as they appear in the records of the General Grand Chapter:
|No.||Date of Dispensation||Date of Charter|
|Central City||No. 1||March 23, 1863||Sept 8, 1865|
|Denver||No. 2||April 1863||Sept. 8, 1865|
|Pueblo||No. 3||May 24, 1871||Sept. 20, 1871|
|Georgetown||No. 4||Aug. 12, 1872||Nov. 15, 1874|
|Golden||No. 6||Dec. 8, 1873||Nov. 25, 1874|
All participated in the formation of the Grand Chapter of Colorado May 14, 1875.
KNIGHT TEMPLARISM IS ESTABLISHED
Knight Templarism first appeared in 1875, as is evidenced by a dispensation issued to members at Denver City under the date of Jan. 13, 1866, by the Grand Master of Knights Templar of the U.S.A. to form a commandery there. Following this, under date of Nov. 8, 1866, a dispensation was issued, authorizing the members at Central City to form a commandery. Eight years elapsed and the next dispensation was issued Aug. 17, 1874, for the formation of a commandery at Pueblo. There being now three commanderies in Colorado it was deemed wise and proper that a Grand Commandery should be formed. Sanction was given by Grand Master J. H. Hopkins on Feb. 10, 1876, and the representatives met by agreement at Denver on the following day. On March 14, 1876, the Grand Commandery of Colorado was established. The first Grand Commander was Henry M. Teller, and the first Grand Recorder was Ed. C. Parmelee. From the small beginning in 1876 of three commanderies with an average of 42 members, progression has been steady to the present count as of July 31, 1925, of 36 commanderies with 4,771 members, an average of 133 members each.
CRYPTIC MASONRY IS ESTABLISHED
Cryptic Masonry first made its appearance in Central city in 1871, when the Grand Master of the Grand Council of Illinois issued a dispensation under date of Nov. 9, 1871, to several Companions to form a council there. The charter was granted Oct. 23, 1872, as Central City Council, No. 54, on the Illinois register. This council continued with varying success until 1875, when it ceased to function. Nothing further was done until 1891, when through the efforts of Companions J. C. Johnston and Henry Dowson the Cryptic Masons of Denver were gathered together to form a council. A dispensation was issued by the General Grand Master under date of Jan. 16, 1892, to 23 members to institute Denver Council, No. 1. The charter was granted by the General Grand Council, Oct. 26, 1894, to 93 members. In rapid succession dispensations were issued and charters granted establishing councils in Trinidad, Durango, Pueblo, Canon City, Akron, and Gunnison. The latter two, however, were not constituted, having failed to complete their organization.
A convention was called according to agreement to meet in Denver on Dec. 6, 1894, for the purpose of organizing a Grand Council. There were represented at this convention Denver Council, No. 1, of Denver; Rocky Mountain, No. 2, of Trinidad; Durango, No. 3, of Durango; Akron, No. 4, of Akron; Canon City, No. 5, of Canon City; and Pueblo, No. 6, of Pueblo. The charter of Akron Council had not arrived at this time but, by vote, its delegate was seated as regular. Organization was perfected and the Grand Council of Colorado erected in form on this date, Dec. 6, 1894. A disagreement arose between the new Grand Council and the General Grand Council over the manner and form of the organization of the Grand Council of Colorado. This condition existed until July 30, 1898, when all differences were adjusted and the Grand Council cf Colorado became a full member of the family of the General Grand Council of the United States.
From the start of 5 councils with 191 members, or an average of 38, progression has been slow but steady until at the present time, July 31, 1925, there are 14 councils with 2,454 members, an average of 175 to each council.
THE SCOTTISH RITE IS ESTABLISHED
About the time that the chapter and the commandery were being established, those interested in the Scottish Rite began the agitation for the introduction of that branch. The idea is generally prevalent among nonMasons that the Scottish Rite is one branch of Masonry in which a Mason receives at one time all the degrees from the 4th to the 32nd, inclusive. As a matter of fact this Rite is composed of several bodies, separate and distinct, yet all reporting to one common body. These bodies are known as:
The Lodge of Perfection, conferring the degrees of 4th to 14th, inclusive.
The Chapter of Rose Croix, conferring the degrees of 15th to 18th, inclusive. The Council of Kadosh, conferring the degrees of 19th to 30th, inclusive.
The Consistory, conferring the degrees of 31st and 32nd.
The Scottish Rite is administered in the United States in two jurisdictions, the Northern with headquarters at New York City, and the Southern with headquarters at Washington, D.C. Colorado is in the Southern Jurisdiction.
The first body of this Rite to be established in Colorado was the Delta Lodge of Perfection, chartered Jan. 26, 1877, followed by the Mackey Chapter of Rose Croix, chartered April 11, 1878. For ten years there were the only bodies chartered, but the degrees beyond the 18th were made available by "Communication", this ceremony being generally performed by the representative of the national body, who at that time was Bro. L. N. Greenleaf.
Denver Council of Kadosh received its charter Sept. 3, 1888, followed very shortly by Colorado Consistory, on Oct. 17, 1888. Colorado now had its full complement of Scottish Rite bodies. These four bodies were all numbered 1 and located in Denver. In 1918 a second series of bodies of this Rite were chartered in Denver, and in 1919 a third series in Pueblo. The first returns available for Colorado Consistory for 1889, show 53 members; while the latest returns as of Dec. 31, 1893, show 5,368 members for the three consistories.
* * *
"Shall I ask the brave soldier, who fights by my side
In the cause of mankind, if our creeds agree?
Shall I give up the friend I have valued and tried
If he kneel not before the same altar with me?
From the heretic girl of my soul should I fly,
To seek somewhere else a more orthodox kiss?
No, perish the hearts, and the laws that try
Truth, valor, or love, by a standard like this!"
— Tom Moore.
* * *
THE ATTACKS ON FREEMASONRY IN AUSTRIA
Bro. Theodor Hilm, Austria
CONDITIONS in Austria in recent years have been of much interest to Freemasons, but little has been permitted to become known because of the necessity for extreme secrecy as to membership, even to the adoption of Masonic names by members of the Craft — aliases as it were — that their true identity might not become known to those interested in creating difficulties for the Institution. In this brief article some little light is thrown on some of the conditions prevailing in that country and also on the work which zealous members of the Craft are accomplishing.
IT seems to be an endless campaign, the fight of the day with the night, of the good with the evil, of the truth with the lie. Where are the stronger forces? Where shall lie the victory? The millennium, when Christ will reign and Satan shall be bound, is it still far away? Are the efforts of those who are striving onwards and upwards, are they in vain? Is it a natural law that when the glory of the light has ended, the forces of the darkness will begin to act? Will those who bear the light, will they make it shine, all powerful, omnipotent, or will they stumble and fall and extinguish the flame?
Unity is strength. This has always proved true; it is of greater importance now than ever before. Masonry today is almost divided into two camps, Anglo Saxon and Latin, but the battle it has to fight is the same all the world over, as it meets with the same type of opponents. Does that not mean preparing the way for the enemy? Or are there hidden influences? Divide et impera, divide and govern, a stratagem of ancient Rome — has Rome ever forgotten it? Parts are more easily defeated than is the whole. Hungary and Italy are good examples. Who is to come next?
There is a singular coincidence in the ways of war. The same kinds of soldiers are used, national troops on business, Field Marshals, like Mussolini, visible to all eyes, commanding. The wise General Staff in the background gives the necessary directions. And Mussolinis, small and tall, appear everywhere. Austria has her share, though there is paper war only. Michl, an Austrian Pan-German, is accusing us as originators of the World War, of the murder in Sarajevo. His recent voluminous pamphlet has been much noticed in Austria and Germany and has found a wide circle of believers. Numerous attacks have followed. The most important perhaps, and of more recent date — where the General Staff even appeared on the scene — was an article in the "Reichspost," the official paper of the Roman Catholic party, the mightiest in Austria.
This article, which appeared on April 4, 1925, is entitled "The Secret Brothers." It tells first of the successes of Freemasonry in Austria, how the Viennese Grand Lodge, founded Dec. 18, 1918, with fourteen lodges and a thousand members, shows today sixteen lodges and 1,500 members and is principally interested in educational problems. This, it says, it learns from the Narodny Listy, a leading Prague journal, while the Viennese Press, where the lodges have widespread connections and wield a power as never before, does not speak about these successes. The article says it is as if the lodges did not exist and did not have influence in every form of local government and legislation. The Press is silent, it says, hiding by this silence the proceedings which go on behind closely drawn curtains, concealed from the eyes of the mortals which do not belong to the secret fraternity.
In the general turnover after the war the lodges succeeded in getting official acknowledgment, according to this writer, for at that time nothing appeared so urgent in legislation as to grant this permission. To speak the truth, the article says, the lodges had never had great troubles before for, disguised as humanitarian associations, they were doing their work and their members were only obliged to go to the near Pressburg for the ritualistic assemblies. Now, having free course, says the writer, it was presumed they would come out of their secret corners and tell the world what they had to say, what gifts they had to bestow on mankind.
But things happened differently, according to the article in question. A festival meeting was held on the first of June, 1919, in the palace of Archduke Ludwig Viktor — a great triumph, with 600 brethren present, all in Masonic clothing. "Now we are trusting the future," an orator declared. "If we have been taken until now as some kind of valets of the King of Hungary, as mere harmless, peaceful dreamers, what an error, we are not quite so harmless. Now the way is free, as there are kings no more." In the same meeting the Grand Master proclaimed: "Now a real Masonic activity will begin!" Nevertheless, the "Reichspost" says it is hidden, the brothers disguised as philanthropists, as popular educators and orators, acting in a hundred changing forms, always one aim in view which they are concealing now, just as they did then. They are not mere dreamers, the article asserts. "Masonry intends and will bring war!"
And thus the article goes on, accusing us as antagonists of Christendom, of religious education, as promotors of dangerous school reforms. The 1,500 brothers, it says, in sixteen lodges, is a small number, but the number does not make it. This secret society, which wants to stay secret in the full freedom it has been granted, does not boast itself in sumptuous temple buildings like their American brethren, but has a predominating influence in a very powerful political party, according to the "Reichspost," while the social democratic Austrian workman has become its plaything. The real leaders of the workmen are losing their power under the sway of Freemasonry, it declares, adding that one of the most important political facts is found in the influence of an uncontrollable international secret society on Austrian socialism which, it says, must seriously be taken into account.
The article was reprinted in full in the "Wiener Freimaurer Zeitung," of April, 1925, as it supplied a welcome occasion to show that erroneous opinions prevail in many quarters. As a reply it was stated that Grand Lodge has by no means to shun the light of the day, that it is quite unpolitical, that it has none of the alleged aims in view, that it has nothing to do with government or legislation.
There is only one idea which the Grand Lodge is eager to serve, and that is the idea of peace, mutual understanding and reconciliation. On numerous occasions Grand Lodge has openly and repeatedly declared its principles, and in the six years of its life has supported officially many institutions for the furtherance of peace. It was specially active in propagating the Pan-European idea as a means to enable the League of Nations to become more efficient than it is at present and in this way to seek permanent peace on this continent. With regard to our alleged attacks on religion and education it remains to be said that the lodges are formally and conscientiously bound by the "Ancient Charges" which form an essential part of our Constitution. The lodges have among their members adherents of many parties, conservatives and progressionists, and this being the case, it is not true that they could decisively influence a political party.
In the writer's opinion the continual attacks are very much to be deprecated, as we are rapidly approaching a new state of things, a new age, and the occasion will need the co-operation of all forces which could serve the public weal. Of course, if our aspirations are intentionally misunderstood, we can do nothing more than strictly follow the way marked out by the principles of our Order and patiently endure the assaults from whatever side they may come.
* * *
BOARD OF EDITORS
Editor-in-Chief — R. J. Meekren
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. Littklefield, Missouri
Joseph E. Morcombe, California
Joseph Fort Newton, New York
Arthur C. Parker, New York
Jesse M. Whited, California
David E. W. Williamson, Nevada
* * *
IT is rather quaint that at this late day in the greatest and most civilized country in the world, particularly remarkable (neglecting aeroplanes, gramophones, jazz, wireless, evolution, etc.) for the enormous number of daily papers and magazines that are published and the still more enormous number of people who read them, that an editor should have to rise up and remark that he disclaims all official responsibility for the opinions of his contributors. The primary function of THE BUILDER, the one for which it was started and to which it has always remained steadfast, is to provide members of the N.M.R.S., and the Craft at large, with accurate and trustworthy information about Masonic subjects. Some subjects are controversial and in these cases the only possibility is to present both sides of the question as brethren able to do so can be prevailed upon to write about them The fear of truth and knowledge, even knowledge about the other side, is certainly not Masonic.
* * *
WHAT DOES IT STAND FOR?
A the present time a great many Masons are asking the question "What does Freemasonry stand for as an Institution?" Also it would be useless to ignore the fact that many brethren think it ought to stand for something — that it ought to advocate patriotism or public schools or Americanization or law enforcement. Well-intentioned brethren say, "What is it good for if it doesn't stand for something — if it doesn't take a stand for something?" Not perhaps in these words or exactly by the same mental steps. Many pass from an idea that is legitimate to one that is not; from a conception of what Masonry is, or at least should be, to one which is quite foreign to its spirit and intent.
How is this to be judged? To give a concrete example, it is quite within the bounds of Masonry's traditional functions for a Grand Lodge to build a home or a hospital or a school, and endow or maintain it. It would be, we think, though perhaps some would disagree, quite proper for a lodge to maintain a bed in a local hospital, to assist deserving young people with the expenses say of going to college, to contribute to the relief of families in poverty or other distress — without any Masonic claim on the part of the recipients of the benevolent or charitable action. But on the other hand it would not be proper for a Grand Lodge to recommend the building of a hospital or the founding of a university by the state or city, and still less so for it to consider ways and means by which a State Legislature or City Council could be induced to undertake such projects, or the people led to support a demand for them, however laudable the proposals might be in themselves.
From this illustration a principle emerges quite clearly. Any action which is wholly confined to the Order, over which it has complete control and which remains entirely due to its own volition, and within its own hands, and which is also, of course, in conformity with the tenets of the Institution, is legitimate. But as soon as such action involves the consent or cooperation of the community at large, or sections of the community, it becomes illegitimate. No matter how laudable a proposal may be, no matter how necessary it may seem, if it be one requiring the action of the community as a whole, or in the persons of their constitutional representatives, it becomes a political question. It is a political question even if the majority in the community were overwhelmingly in favor of it, even if opposition to it be quite non-existent. The mere fact that it involves political action in Council chambers or legislative halls, or even that it requires the support of non-Masons, puts it outside the class of things in which Freemasonry can act as an Institution, and into that other class in which Masons must act! or refrain from acting, as individuals, and each according to his own opinion and conscience.
But it will be worth while to consider the matter further, and ask the question what the true function and purpose of Freemasonry really is. In. a large measure Bros. Shepherd and Dern have answered the question in their brief but pithy articles that appear in the present issue of THE BUILDER. That they have approached the question from the opposite standpoints of the affirmative and negative has not prevented them from reaching essentially the same conclusions. Masonry is an association of Masons, and its function is primarily just that, to enable Masons to associate together, learn to know each other, help each other, teach and inspire each other. An institution of civil engineers, a learned society of students or scientists is founded and conducted on exactly the same principles, their particular functions, the reason for their existence, is to afford means for an interchange of ideas and information. An association of master-builders does not bid for contracts as such, neither does a society of architects enter a competition for the design of some great building. In each case individual members compete or bid, yet no one thinks or says that their organization has no use. Freemasonry is symbolically a society of architects and builders engaged in erecting spiritual habitations; the Great Architect has charge of the Temple. It is Freemasonry's function as an Institution to teach the Apprentice and train the Craftsman — but the work is done by each individually as he finds employment in the world.
* * *
LEADERS OF THE BLIND
DR. WILLIAM F. KUHN, whose death was such a great loss to the American Craft, was responsible for the following clever parody of a well-known definition of Freemasonry. He said that to many Masons it was apparently "a beautiful system of gymnastics illustrated by signs, steps, grips and words."
It would be quite possible to take this seriously and give it a meaning quite other than its apparent one — the one intended. For gymnastics properly mean education as a whole, not merely physical training, the ordinary meaning in colloquial English, and Masonic education is symbolically illustrated by steps and signs and words, when the inquiring Craftsman begins to look beloved the surface. But of course what Bro. Kuhn wished to emphasize was that in so many lodges no one ever did look below the surface, and his adaptation of the traditional formula was intended as an ironical rebuke to those ritualists who are also literalists and have not perceived that the letter alone killeth, that the meaning, the spirit, alone maketh alive.
Louis Block, Past Grand Master of Iowa, is responsible for the following anecdote:
"Here is what actually happened not long since in a certain lodge not a thousand miles from here. The Grand Master was paying the lodge an official visit. He had been duly received and welcomed, conducted to the East, and seated beside a leading Past Master of the lodge. He returned the gavel to the Master of the lodge and the work proceeded.
"'Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth — '
"Said the G.M. in an undertone to the P.M.: 'Listen to this, for I want to ask you some questions.' 'All right.' ... 'in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble and the strong men shall bow themselves — '
"G.M. to P.M. 'What does that mean?'
"P.M. to G.M. 'I don't know.'
"'...and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail.'
"G.M. to P.M. 'What does that mean?'
"P.M. to G.M. (irritably) 'I don't know. I never did know! I haven't the slightest idea what any of it means!'
"Many, many times he had recited it — many more he had heard it recited. Yet to him it meant no more than does a Latin prayer to a worshipper who knows no tongue but English...."
If such ignorance, which in this case could have been so easily remedied — any public library would have the material, any clergyman could (we hope) have explained the passage — is to be found among the rulers of the Craft, whose duty primarily is to give instruction, what are we to expect of the rank and file?
But there is not only ignorance of the meaning of Masonic teaching and the truths underlying the symbols, but also of the legal and executive side of the Institution. To see the number of questions that are referred to our Grand Masters and their Deputies that could be answered at once by consulting the constitutions, the code or regulations of the jurisdiction, is enough to make one wonder if aspirants for office have the least idea of the qualifications they ought to possess. The fact of the matter probably is that the ritual bulks so large in lodge activities, and requires so much effort on the part of the average officer, that knowledge of the constitution and Masonic law, and even often enough the by-laws of his own lodge, is thrown into the shade, and simply forgotten. There are many Worshipful Masters, unfortunately, who hardly know how to put a motion properly and are quite unable to properly decide any point of order that may arise. And there are very many more who have no idea what the functions and prerogatives of the Master of a lodge really are, even in executive matters. It is most deplorable where such conditions exist, and shows the great need for the stimulation of a desire to learn more than the bare forms on the part of every Mason. Without that desire little improvement is to be looked for.
* * *
ALANSON B. SKINNER
The following letter speaks for itself:
I am attaching a news clipping from the Fargo Forum containing an account of Bro. Alanson B. Skinner's tragic death near Tokio, N.D., on Aug. 17. Bro. Skinner had a very interesting article in THE BUILDER several months ago and I later received a most interesting letter from him with reference to Masonry and the Chippewa-Ojibway tribe, or rather that was the subject discussed.
I am sure that the country and Masonry has lost a most valuable citizen and brother through his untimely death.
S. S. Hynes, North Dakota.
From the clipping it appears that Bro. Skinner met his death in an automobile accident while engaged in prosecuting his archeological researches. From 1919 to 1924 he had been employed by the American Museum of Natural History, and was Curator of the Milwaukee Station. His Masonic affiliations were also in Milwaukee. At one time he was on the board of Associate Editors of THE BUILDER and it is with very great regret that we learn of his death.
* * *
WHAT IS SYMBOLISM?
Bro. R. J. Meekren
A SUBJECT that perennially crops up among Masons whenever they are discussing the more serious aspects of the Institution is symbolism. It might well appear, judging by the flow of books and articles on the symbols and symbolic teaching of Masonry, that the subject must be worn quite threadbare, yet even a casual acquaintance with what has been written will show that this is not the case, indeed it will often appear that the would-be expositors are more in need of explanation than the symbols of which they treat. It would, therefore, seem that it might be better to attack the problem from a different angle, for a problem Masonic symbolism has certainly become. To adopt the words of Paul the Apostle, it is foolishness to some and to others a cause of stumbling and misapprehension.
Mackey, whose explanations of Masonic symbolism, in spite of much that is questionable, are probably still the best and safest, speaks of a "Science of symbolism," and he would define Masonry as a "system of morality developed and inculcated by the science of symbolism." Strictly speaking, in the present day sense of the word, there is no such thing, and what it is proposed to do in the present article is to approach the subject from the strictly scientific point of view.
Those who are at all acquainted with the story of the development of our modern science, the really great achievement of our civilization, are aware that the great strides that have been made in all directions in recent years have been in part due to the breaking down of the old water-tight compartments that separated one science from another. The comparative method has been the potent apparatus by which so much has been done in the latest investigations, especially in subjects dealing with man himself, individually and collectively. It fact, many subjects not long since regarded as quite insusceptible to scientific treatment have been elevated into sciences properly so-called through the application of this method alone. The problems of the different forms of religion among the various races and peoples of the earth have very largely been elucidated by comparing them together, and obscure survivals in one explained by cases where the custom or belief was still in full force. And later still much has been done by considering them in the light of psychology. Nothing is actually isolated in the world, we have to distinguish and separate, analyze and abstract, in order to deal with the raw material of knowledge, the multitudinous phenomena of the world around us. This is the only way in which we can deal with it, and our minds are formed innately and by habit to so function. But when this has been done, if we forget (as it is so very easy to do) that our subject, our generalization or abstraction, is intimately connected with other things at every point we lose all sense of balance and proportion, and what knowledge we have gained becomes in truth more or less falsified because we have lost the reality of its place and connection in relation to the whole.
As an example, a very simple and obvious one we distinguish in our own bodies various members and organs. In this case we are not likely to forget the connection we are not likely to deem the hand an entity apart from the arm to which it belongs, or the brain that directs it according to sensations received by the eye or ear. But a mountain is as much a part of the earth as the hand is of the arm, or the earth part of the solar system. The abstract formulae of mathematics or chemistry are no more than representations of the normal, usual or habitual way in which things behave, as much so as when we generalize about our fellows in saying one is generous, or another irascible, or another virtuous. Usually we prefer to say, speaking of inanimate things. the invariable mode of action rather than habitual. But we cannot logically use this or like terms absolutely, for our knowledge is based on a quite limited amount of experience, and we are never likely to be able to demonstrate that there are not minute variations in the reactions of material objects. Human beings, and even animals, as individuals, show much variation, but in the mass can quite well be covered by cut and dried rules as statistical research has shown. So many individuals in a thousand will die in a certain time, so many will be born, so many get married and so on. It is true that the rates are variable from place to place and time to time, but we are dealing with groups of individuals all of whom are highly variable in themselves. If such groups can be so accounted for in useful fashion, if they exhibit a tendency to act as a whole according to a rule or law, much more will groups of individuals or units whose variations are very small, such as the supposititious systems of molecules that form the material objects of every-day life according to the accepted hypothesis of physical science. The point is that the tendency of thought is always to make absolute and invariable entities out of limited generalizations. We speak of justice, or fortitude, and immediately that principle of action or disposition of mind assumes a separateness and distinctiveness that it has not really got in itself. This is true all through the whole field of experience, from a boy's interest in batting averages to the business man's rules for disposing of routine matters in his office, from the infant's first distinctions of distance between the toy offered to it that it can grasp and the electric chandelier for which it reaches in vain, to the biologist's classifications of living organisms into groups and families and varieties. And so in dealing with Freemasonry, those who are seeking further light, once they have acquired the rudiments of the subject as taught in the lodge, can hardly have it too often impressed upon them, that Masonry cannot be understood fully as an isolated fact. Its history cannot be properly understood in ignorance of the secular history of the countries and communities in which it has appeared, its laws cannot be appreciated without reference to the science of jurisprudence in general, its objects, its raison d'etre must be interpreted in the light of social organization in general, and so too with regard to its symbols.
THE MEANING OF THE WORD DISCUSSED
As a first step it may be useful to see what the word symbol actually means. Generally of course everyone knows its signification, but the history of a word and its use often gives fresh light upon it. Webster's dictionary tells us it is "the sign or representation of something moral or intellectual by the images or properties of natural things," gives as synonyms, emblem, figure, type. A sentence from Samuel Taylor Coleridge is quoted in further elucidation: "A symbol is a sign included in the idea it represents — an actual chart chosen to represent the whole, or a lower form or species used as the representative of a higher in the same kind." It is also used in place of letter, or character, as in algebra and mathematics generally.
The word itself is pure Greek, transliterated without any change but the dropping of the case ending. Symbolon. (the Greek letter "u" is usually represented by "y" in English) is "a sign by which a thing is known or inferred," it is used generally in Greek in the sense of sign, mark or token. Sumbola, symbols, in Greek, were the same thing as the Latin Tesserae hospitalis, pieces of bone, coins, or other objects broken in two, part being kept by each of two parties as a pledge and proof of friendship. In principle these were essentially the same thing as the medieval "tally," which was a piece of wood split in two, after various notches had been cut on it, as a mutual record of an account. Or the original form of cheque in which the paper was torn in two, the fitting together of the two pieces being a proof of its genuineness. The derived meanings of the word in Greek thus came to be the half of anything, a corresponding part, a ticket, a permit or license, a verbal signal, a watchword, any distinctive mark, such as the "Confession of faith" in the Christian Churches, or the outward sign of a conception or idea.
An allied word Symbolaion had the meaning of "a mark or sign from which a conclusion is drawn" and came to be used for a covenant, contract or bond. Both of these words were derived from Symballein, which is literally "to throw together," a word used in very many ways, as to meet together, to fight. But among the secondary meanings are those of guess, conjecture, interpret, understand, compare, reckon, compute and agree upon.
From all this we can see the line of development of meaning in this term, from things put together, compared together, to things taken as representing other things with which they have previously been put, compared or associated. There is nothing mystical, abstruse or far fetched about all this. It is a matter of every day usage. Limiting the meaning of the term in accord with ordinary usage, to objects or representations of objects, that are taken to mean some other thing or group of things not so easily described or depicted, we can still find plenty of symbols in every day use wherever we choose to turn. Some are very modern, as for example the trademarks of manufacturers, the badges of societies, and some very ancient, as the letters of the alphabet. As is well known the latter were in their origin pictures of actual objects, which were conventionalized into pictographs such as were many of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, and then by further simplification becoming ideograms, like the characters of Chinese writing. How far we should be justified in calling such designs, or graphs, symbols in the stricter sense above defined, is open to question, but when these characters ceased to be taken as representing an idea but were used to designate a specific soul, they certainly became symbolical. The letter "A" in Greek is Alpha, from the Semitic, Aleph, which meant ox. The original form of the letter was a drawing of a bull's head. In the course of transmission, after it had become purely symbolical, the letter got turned upside down. "B" is Beta in Greek, which is from the Semitic Beth, a house, and was originally an outline drawing of a house.
This process, however, does not altogether fit the definition given by Coleridge, as here we have the greater representing the less, instead of the reverse, as he postulates. Yet though the sound of the letter "A" is a simpler and a lesser thing than Aleph, the ox, of which it is the first phonetic element, yet as a whole the use of alphabetic writing is an enormous advance on pictographic or ideographic. In any case whether the meaning ascends or descends the principle of using one thing to stand for another is the same.
SYMBOLS ARE NOT OBSOLETE
Modern symbolical devices, such as the use of a wheel in design for the badge of an automobile association, of a wing to represent an aviator, or a word made up of the initial letters of the full name of a firm or company, all these are too much in evidence to need more than a bare notice in passing. Arbitrary designs or trademarks would not, in the restricted sense, properly be called symbols, but rather emblems or tokens (in the general sense). though whether there are many such things as purely arbitrary marks or devices is doubtful. In the minds of those who adopt them there is usually some connection or association that would tend to bring them into the class of symbols properly so-called. And here we reach the psychologic aspect of the subject. Though by usage we limit the word symbol to an actual object, or the representation of an object visible and tangible (or at the least a reference in words to such an object as being real and actual) which is taken to mean something else, yet we must not allow ourselves to be led to isolate the process of symbolizing from the other mental processes or modes of expression in which one thing is compared or associated with another and then used to represent, describe or suggest it. Such rhetorical devices for example as metaphor, simile, allegory and like figures and modes of speech are psychologically exactly the same kind of thing as symbols.
WORDS ARE SYMBOLS
As a matter of fact, many, perhaps the majority of words are the fossilized relics of forgotten analogies, metaphors and symbolisms. For example, take the word cylinder, which to most men will at once recall an essential part of an engine. It is derived from a root meaning to roll, and from that root was named a form of solid that would easily roll, a roller that is. This is perhaps a secondary development, but let us take the word pipe, which probably makes most people think of another mechanical artifact, a hollow piece of metal usually. The root of this word is the same as that of "peep," a chirping or whistling noise. This is itself probably onomatopoeic, that is, derived from a conventionalized spoken reproduction of the kind of sound intended. From this it is applied to a musical instrument devised to make such sounds, such as the flute, whistle, or panpipes, and as these were all essentially pieces of wood, metal or other material with hollow ducts, the word finally comes to mean such objects for whatever purpose formed. Take another word at random, the word "attend" will do. A meaning that will perhaps first occur to mind is that of being "present at," not however just being present somewhere, but at a special kind of occasion, nearly always implying the presence of other people as well. The root of the word means simply to stretch. From mechanical or physical stretching it is applied metaphorically to a stretching or tension of the mind, to pay attention to something. From this it passes to the sense in which one gives attention to another person, as a physician attends his patient, and from that to attending a meeting, or a church service where attention will be given to the proceedings. This sort of thing could be illustrated from half the words that might be found in the pages of a dictionary, and very likely if we knew more of ultimate derivations from the great majority of words in all languages. Figurative and symbolical language is especially the province of the poet and orator, but every metaphor and simile, even of the most commonplace character and used by most matter-of-fact people, is of the same kind thing. Either original or secondhand symbols are our counters of conversation, and even in the driest and most precise of technicalities may be traced what originally were fresh and poetic comparisons and analogies. Except for an irreducible minimum of purely imitative word is probably the most of our words were thus formed, and even the former really follow the same principle, as to imitate a bird's note, a dog's barking, a cow's lowing, brings those creatures to mind, the characteristic call or cry of each standing as a representative of the individual. Some words in use among us are patently thus originated — as the names of a chickadee and bob-o-link and whippoorwill.
SYMBOLISM BASED ON ASSOCIATION OF IDEAS
Indeed the principle thus seen to be the underlying ground of symbolism is possibly the characteristic mode of operation of our minds. Some psychologists have referred all thinking to the association of ideas. This as a theory is probably not now very widely accepted, but it, does undoubtedly have a large place in our mental processes and it includes the kind of comparison that we are specifically dealing with. Psycho-analysts would have us believe, not without considerable warrant in fact, that we are all of us symbolists without knowing it, that our dreams are elaborate and intricate systems of symbols representing unconscious and repressed tendencies and wishes. Whatever judgment may be passed on this theory such explanations it least again bear witness to the universality of the principles involved, for even if they import a symbolic meaning into phenomena in which it really does not exist, it at least is an instance of the faculty of symbolizing, of setting one thing to mean another.
The net result then of this preliminary survey is to show that the use of symbols is a normal resource of humanity in the expression or recording of thoughts and ideas. If this be so why is it that so many are moved to impatience and even disgust with the elaborate symbolical explications of Masonry that form such a considerable part of the literature of the Craft? This is a question that could only be fully answered in detail, but in general this aversion and impatience are probably very frequently due to a feeling that these intricate systems are either not true, or if true are of no importance. Such an impression is, we must confess, in many cases more than justified. But the fault lies not with the employment of symbols but with the manner or purpose of their employment. We do not quarrel with language or condemn its use because some people tell us lies, or others bore us with uninteresting relations of unimportant events. The fundamental trouble with most of the elaborate interpretations of Masonic symbols is that their authors have tried to read something into Craft teaching that was not properly there. Perhaps it is not quite accurate to say properly there. It was Adam Weishaupt who said in defense of his system that no one had propounded an explanation of Masonry or an account of its object that received the consent of anyone else and that in such a confusion of opinions he felt quite justified in adding another. The truth must be confessed that Masons have never been agreed just what the teaching of Masonry really is, or perhaps more accurately, what it should be; and every would-be Masonic prophet and teacher has assumed, or attempted to give the impression, that his explanation was the original and authentic one, and was concealed in the symbols of the Fraternity by the mythical sages who founded it.
THE POWER OF SYMBOLS
However, these brothers are not to be condemned without deliberation; the ground of their offending may turn out to be a trivial matter, or one of detail only. One of the essentials of symbolism, of metaphor and simile, is suggestiveness, which means, worked out in fact, that everyone has suggested to him not wholly what the speaker or teacher has in mind, but largely what he has of his own to bring to its interpretation. In technical language, and most of our everyday language is the same kind as what is strictly called technical, suggestiveness, vagueness, is as far as possible eliminated. When a surgeon speaks of making an incision, or of the articulation of a joint, though the words were originally figurative, in usage they have come to designate very definite ideas. So when the mechanic speaks of a rivet, a bolt and nut, or the exhaust of an engine; again all these words were originally applied figuratively but understood very precisely. So also in such everyday words and phrases as eating, getting up, cutting, and hundreds of others, the meanings are so clearly defined that we all probably have about the same mental reaction to them, that is, they have the same import to the hearer as to the speaker. But when one describes the heat of summer, and says the "air in the streets was like the blast of a furnace," we all realize that he means it was very hot, but we all picture it differently according to our own experience. One who knows furnaces will conceive it differently from one who knows only the kitchen fire.
It would be easy to select scores of illustrations from literature of this kind of thing. Certain metaphors become fashionable, and then they start on the downward path, and may eventually desiccate into technicalities. In general it is unsafe for anyone to use a figure or a symbol that is out of his own experience, the chances are a thousand to one he will not get it quite right. That has been one great fault of many writers on Masonic subjects. They have attempted to develop the allegorical use of Craft symbols with no knowledge of operative Craft technique; as, for instance, when Mackey speaks of the squaring of stones being less skilled work than that of setting them and therefore left to the apprentices, whereas in fact it is rather the reverse. It is easily seen that here he was constructing a supposed technical fact out of the allocation of working tools to the three degrees in Speculative Masonry. Some such errors are even to be found in our rituals, as where in one degree something is said to be done "on the point of the chisel under the pressure of the mallet." This almost reminds one of the famous definition of a crab, that it is a red fish that walks backward. A chisel is a tool with an edge not a point, and a mallet gives rather an impact than a pressure.
This kind of mistake is more likely however to be made in the secondary development of a symbol or group of symbols than in the original choice, and for a good reason. A symbol or emblem (we are still using the words in their widest sense) is first adopted to express some idea, and to express it intelligibly; for by this time it should be clear that the primary function of symbolism is to express, to reveal, not to conceal. Medieval craftsmen were at one in this with Greek sculptors and primitive picture writers. One universal kind, that in a restricted sense might not be allowed the name symbol, is the attribute. An object which serves as a label. For instance a statue of a woman with a bow and quiver is Artemis, with spear and helmet probably Athene. A naked man with a harp is Apollo, with club and lionskin Hercules. So the Medieval artist put in the wheel of St. Catherine, the lamb of St. Agnes, the keys of St. Peter. This is quite elementary and due to simple association of such objects in the story of the person represented, but it leads on to the symbolic representation of abstract ideas. Before the writer lies a plate showing insignia adopted for the Army of the United States. For the medical service is a winged staff with serpents twined round it — the attribute of Aesculapius, the god of healing. For foreign service is a partial view of the statue of Liberty, for the musical service a conventional lyre, for the engineers a castle, for aviation a perspective outline of a flying plane. This last and several others not mentioned are on the first or pictographic level merely. The second of those mentioned suggests that those who have been on foreign service will have seen the statue of Liberty. The castle of the engineers represents one of their chief functions, the designing of protective works. We see in this modern instance a great variety of reason for adopting the specific designs, and this has always been the case. The choice of an emblem or symbol is due very largely to accidental circumstances, which also accounts for the fact that the same object can represent different ideas, as the anchor is the badge of naval service and also an emblem of hope. And on the other hand the same idea can be symbolized in many different ways. We may have an inflamed heart for charity, or a woman caring for little children. A torch or a lamp or a book may represent knowledge. The torch again may mean truth. Justice is represented by the balance, and also by the sword. The one thing is that there should be some direct or indirect association that gives an intelligible and natural connection between the thing represented and the object representing it. This, of course, is contrary to the received doctrine that symbols were chosen to conceal secret doctrines from all but the initiated. That they have never been used in this way would, of course, be going too far. But even here the general rule holds good? the symbol must be obvious in meaning to those in the secret. The appropriateness of a symbol depends on a common experience. The pictographic aeroplane is obvious in meaning to all of us today. The more subtle symbol of the statue of Liberty would be clear on reflection to most Americans, but might be very obscure or unintelligible to people in other countries. The staff of Aesculapius requires a knowledge of ancient mythology to appreciate fully, though it of course has become almost as conventional as the letters of the alphabet.
The symbol then is intelligible naturally and obviously to the group with the same kind of experience as the one who chooses it. If the early Christians used the fish as a secret sign it was obvious to them, it had references to baptism as well as representing in a kind of picture puzzle a confession of faith. Jesus Christ the son of God, the Saviour. For the initials of this phrase in Greek, Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter, spell Iethus, the word for fish. The drawing of a fish therefore became at once a symbol of the faith and a token of recognition.
The conclusions then that we must come to are that Masonic symbolism, in the first place, is no mystical or abstruse thing apart from everyday life, but rather quite normal and inevitable; and secondly that the primary meaning of these symbols is an obvious one so long as we keep in touch with reality. It may not be always obvious to the uninitiated because he has not had the same experience. It may not always be obvious to the uninstructed Mason because the original fitness of the choice may have lain in a state of affairs now passed away. To understand such as these wider knowledge is required parallel to that necessary for the full explanation of the badge of the medical service, or how "B" came to represent a certain consonant. But after this it must be remembered that the advantage of symbolism is in suggestiveness, and that everyone brings some new element to its interpretation, every one if he looks can see some new shade of meaning. For those who like definite statements we can conclude by saying that the primary, simple and obvious meaning is the authoritative and authentic one, so far as these qualifying words apply, but that any meaning the individual can find for himself is also just as legitimate so long as it is in accord with the primary significance.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
For the purely Masonic aspect of the subject Mackey's Symbolism of Masonry and Haywood's Symbolical Masonry are recommended. The latter work is the result of two years' intensive research in which about everything ever written on the subject was examined. Mackey's Encyclopedia also has much on the subject under appropriate headings.
The psychological aspect has been extensively discussed in recent years by the psycho-analytic school. Dreams and Myths by K. Abraham, Dreams and Totem and Taboo by Freud, the originator of the method, and a Brief Outline of the Freudian Theory by Barbara Low. Readers are, however, warned that they may find much in books on this subject to repel them.
On characters and symbols used in writing, the article on alphabets in the Encyclopaedia Britannica may be consulted. Of modern symbols there is a useful list in Symbolism for Artists by H. T. Bailey and Ethel Pool.
On the symbolism of primitive magic Tyler's Primitive Culture and Frazer's Golden Bough will be found useful as an introduction to the subject, more especially as they are written with quite other purposes in view.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
What is a symbol? On what principle are symbols chosen? How and by whom are they selected and why are they employed? Is symbolism as a means of expression obsolete? What is it real function?
* * *
A "VADE MECUM"
THE KEYS OF FREEMASONRY. By Charles E. Green. Published by R. S. Sampson, Perth, Australia. May be purchased through the National Masonic Research Society Book Department, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Cloth, illustrated, index, 163 pages. Price, postpaid, $2.00.
THE author states in the preface that much contained in his book was first given in the form of lectures and addresses delivered in various places in Western Australia, but this would not have been evident from a perusal of the work itself, as in many similar cases it is.
It is rather a difficult book to classify. Arranged in the form of a connected sequence, largely a historical sequence, it yet has much of the character of a compendious encyclopaedia. While it is to a considerable extent (and quite frankly) a compilation, yet the author's own thought is everywhere in evidence. The larger part of the book is devoted to just Freemasonry, the Blue Lodge, yet considerable space is given to the so-called higher degrees, and their relationship, historical and symbolical, with the Craft is worked out.
One chapter is in effect a select descriptive bibliography of Masonic literature. Another is devoted to Masonic collections. There is much useful and interesting information in the appendix. The extent of the author's reading is in evidence on every page and the style, though unadorned, has a simple directness about it that is pleasing. In short, it appears to be a most excellent little book for the purpose for which it was written, an elementary manual for the ordinary Mason who would like to know more about the Craft, but has no access to Masonic libraries and has not the means to purchase many books, or the time to read them. Practically every aspect of the Institution is touched upon, including all the historical points on which there have been or still are serious controversies. The author evidently relies a good deal on Bro. J. S. M. Ward, more so perhaps than is really safe, as the enthusiasm of this writer often leads him to leap to his conclusions over very wide gaps in his argument. Bro. Green also adopts the "one degree" theory of pre-Grand Lodge Masonry, though the evidence for two grades is almost overwhelming. He has also evidently read the late Bro. Stretton's works and has inserted his rather unconvincing diagram of the supposed method of raising large stones by the Operative Masons. Bro. Stretton, by the way, an engineer by profession, ought surely to have devised something more practical. In truth mediaeval Masons did not use large stones as a rule. It was even one of their boasts that their tremendous vaults and arches were built of stones that a man could carry up a ladder on his shoulder; although of course the derrick and crane were used by them as it was by the Romans. He also reproduces the present day "Gild Mason's" division of the Craft into Square and Arch Masons, of which there is no trace whatever in medieval or ancient records. It is simply a technical fact that it is no harder to cut the voussoir of an arch than a square ashlar. It is of course more difficult to build an arch than a wall, but that there were ever two classes of mason setters has yet to be shown, except the division still existing between skilled and unskilled.
Such points as these however can hardly be called blemishes, as the author is entitled to present his own opinion on the points at issue; they are mentioned only to caution readers of the book that there is a difference of opinion about them, and that the consensus of Masonic scholarship is rather against than for the point of view presented.
A reproduction is given of the famous (or should we say, notorious) drawing in the possession of the Grand Chapter of Scotland supposed to be by the Italian artist Guercino. That the composition can be anything more than a sketch, is obvious at a glance, supposing it to be by a competent artist; and on this supposition it can hardly be intended for a real composition as the recumbent figure is so utterly out of proportion to the others. It has never been clearly stated on what grounds it was assigned to Guercino or to so early a date as 1665. Nevertheless, in view of the claims made for it, it is very interesting. and the author is to be thanked for making it accessible tin the Craft at large.
The make-up leaves something to be desired, and although the small type brings the book down to a convenient pocket size. yet it would probably be more readable were it larger. Wit offer this as a suggestion should the author contemplate a second edition.
* * *
THE HEBREW HERCULES
THE STORY OF SAMSON AND ITS PLACE IN THE RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT OF MANKIND. By Paul Carus. Published by The Open Court Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. May be purchased through the Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1960 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Boards, 188 pages, illustrated, index. Price, postpaid, $1.10.
THIS little work arose out of a friendly controversy between Mr. George W. Shaw and the author regarding the relationship between myth and history. Dr. Carus takes the view, very generally accepted, that historical characters, that is to say people who actually existed, often attract to themselves and their stories legendary details from pure myths. An instance is given of this, where Alexander the Great has become the hero of quite mythical romances to the complete exclusion of his real achievements. In like manner Dr. Carus is willing to allow that there may have been a swashbuckling hero of the tribe of Dan who bore the name Samson, or Shamshon, but holds that the stories preserved in the Book of Judges are almost wholly, if not entirely, mythical.
The name of the hero fits in well with this as it is derived from Shamash, a word for sun, and literally would appear to signify "sun-like." This, of course, though it fits the myth theory, is no evidence, as many real men have borne names derived from the sun and other natural objects among all races, and names of the same kind were common among the Hebrews.
The author compares the Samson story, which is admittedly a fragment preserved by Post-exilic scribes and editors of the sacred scriptures, with the legends of Hercules, Izdubar, Dagon, Melkarth, Adonis and Osiris, and shows striking parallels between them. Samson is not a builder, but his death in the destruction of a temple is not without interest, and perhaps significance, especially if the author is at all right in his guess that the original unmutilated story gave an account of his resuscitation or resurrection.
There is a great deal of material collected in the work, much of which is of indirect interest to Masons, but it must be acknowledged that the style affects the reader as somewhat scrappy. And though professedly written as a popular work, yet a great deal is taken for granted the absence of which might well leave those unfamiliar with these subjects in a state of doubt as to the precise bearing of the facts alluded to. Also the author evidently has small sympathy with the Hebrew point of view. In fact he compares the tribe of Dan to gypsies and equates the Philistines with modern civilized communities, and assumes that the real Samson, if he ever lived, was only an ancient rowdy or tough, whom the Philistine police very properly sought to suppress. This prejudice, however, does not affect the value of the book as a contribution to the subject of solar heroes and demi-gods. A closer analogy would perhaps have been the conflicts between the nomad Indians of the plains and the white settlers. Only in the ancient case both Philistines and Hebrews were immigrants and had an equal right, or no right, to the territory they occupied.
* * *
THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE
REGULATING THE INTERVAL BETWEEN DEGREES
The Lodge le Progres of Honolulu was founded in 1841, chartered in 1842 as a subordinate symbolic body of the Supreme Council of France, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
Le Progres, as number 128, was carried upon the roll of the parent body at Paris to the year 1895, when it came into the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of California as number 371.
For upwards of a generation the Lodge le Progres endeavored to operate as a "Scottish Rite Blue Lodge." Its authorizations were derived from the Supreme Council of France and were altered only as a friendly concession to York Rite Masonry coming to the then Kingdom of Hawaii.
Before the writer is a copy of the "General Regulations of Scottish Masonry for France and Her Dependencies," published in 1846. As a contribution to the problem or question of the element of time in acquiring the "further" — not "higher" — degrees, the following Regulation, being Article CCCXXV, is submitted:
"The delays between each of the three first degrees are fixed as follows:
"From the proposition to the reception, three months;
"From the reception to the 2nd Degree, five months;
"From the 2nd Degree to the 3rd, seven months; in all fifteen months.
"Nevertheless, in case of urgency, attested by an express resolution of the lodge, and signed by the five highest officers, and clothed with the seals and stamps, the above fixed delays can be abridged. This resolution should be submitted to the Secretary General's office of the Rite, charged to transmit it to the Lieut. Gr. Com., or to him who fills his office. who alone has the necessary power to grant dispensations, of which the benefit can only accrue upon certificate of payment of the cost of such dispensations into the hands of the Treasurer of the Holy Empire."
Article CCCXXVIII reads:
"The advancement in degrees is asked for by the Senior or Junior Wardens for those of the Apprentices or Fellowcrafts who have completed their time and who appear to them to merit this favor, by their instruction, their assiduity and their regularity."
In your issue of June, 1925, just to hand, I notice an article headed "Should a Grand Lodge Regulate Advancement to the Higher Degrees?" and I perused the varying answers from quite a number of the American Grand Lodges.
The Grand Lodge of Queensland is the baby Grand Lodge in the world, and I think I am safe in saying that the control of admission to the Higher Degrees is entirely outside its jurisdiction. The difficulties met with in your parts are, however, provided for by regulation in the Higher Degrees themselves.
In this State of Queensland it is impossible to enter Royal Arch Masonry within twelve months of being raised as an M.M. A Royal Arch Mason can then take some of the "side degrees," such as the Royal Ark Mariner, Red Cross Council and the Cryptic Series almost any time he likes: but when it comes to the really Higher Degrees, such as the Rose Croix or 18°, then so far as the Scottish Rite is concerned, a Mason must have proved himself by long and active service both as a Mason and as a Royal Arch Mason before his admission would be considered. In the Rose Croix Degree the members are all elderly and those who have won their spurs, and also very select.
Then again, it is provided by Constitution that a further five years must elapse before he can be admitted into the 30°. So you will see how we are safeguarded in Queensland. If you can publish this in your next issue of THE BUILDER it may do some good.
Leslie P. Marks,
Hon. Sec'y, Supreme Council S.C.,
* * *
THE EVOLUTION OF THE LODGE
I wish to thank you for your notes on the evolution of the lodge. When I was made a Mason (in 1874) the lodges in this jurisdiction were always opened on the E.A. Degree, and every Entered Apprentice had the option of joining the lodge at the time of his initiation, and thus becoming a contributing member with all the privileges and responsibilities of membership. He might remain unaffiliated if he chose to do so. Two who took their degrees with me did not join the lodge, because they were about to go to California. They visited the lodge two or three times after receiving the degrees, and were recorded as visitors from the lodges of the Holy Saint's John. I was sorry when our Grand Lodge amended its regulations, and ordered that the work of the lodge should be done on the Third Degree, and none but Master Masons admitted to membership.
There are many good things in THE BUILDER this month. Long may it flourish.
J. Vroom, New Brunswick.
* * *
GENERAL GRAND LODGE
I would like to know the history of the attempts to form a General Grand Lodge of the United States and the causes of failure. Where can I locate this information?
Some mention of this will be found in Masonic histories, both general and those dealing with Freemasonry in the older States, but for some reason or other historians seem rather to have shirked the subject.
There have been many attempts to form such a General Grand Lodge, beginning as early as 1779. On the 27th of December, 1779, American Union Lodge, attached to soldiers of the Connecticut line while stationed at Morristown, N.J., adopted a resolution for the appointment of a General Grand Master over all the lodges in America. On Feb 7, 1780, a committee met at Morristown with delegates from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. They endorsed a resolution for the formation of a General Grand Lodge. Meanwhile, in January, 1780. the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania elected Washington Grand Master of the United States and notified other Grand Lodges of its action, requesting their approval. For reasons not known the thing came to naught. In 1790 Georgia started agitation for a General Grand Lodge. In 1799 South Carolina renewed it. North Carolina made the proposition again in 1803. Prior to Washington's death, the plan always was to elect him the first General Grand Master.
In 1806 plans were made for a convention in Philadelphia in 1807, and another in Washington in 1808, neither of which met. Another unsuccessful effort was made to hold a convention in Washington in 1811. The Grand Lodge of North Carolina again proposed a convention to be held at Washington in 1812, which failed to meet. In 1822 such a convention did meet there, presided over by Henry Clay. Nothing came of it.
At a convention held at Baltimore in 1843 for the purpose of adopting a uniform ritual, some discussion was given to the question, and they agreed to meet again in 1845 and 1847. But once more, no results were forthcoming. Further conventions were held at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1853 and at Washington in 1855 and Chicago in 1859. Like their many predecessors, they failed to accomplish their purpose.
The psychological moment for a General Grand Lodge passed by at the time when the several states agreed to form the United States. Had the latter not taken place just when it did, it is a grave question whether it could have happened after say, 1800. So with a General Grand Lodge. The feeling of individual independence has always been too strong for any of our Grand Lodges to sacrifice any sovereignty whatsoever.
* * *
THOMAS R. MARSHALL
In your account of the funeral of the late Thos. R. Marshall you say "It was conducted by the A.&A.S.R." This is only partially true. The Rite held their services at the home and Ancient Landmarks Lodge, No. 319, took charge on the entrance of the cortege to the cemetery and conducted the services at the commital. Bro. J. Clyde Hoffman, W.M., is shown at the head of the casket in the picture.
Fred A. Lorenz, Indianapolis, Ind.
* * *
ORIGIN OF THE EASTERN STAR
I have before me a "Manual of the Order of the Eastern Star," published in 1872. On the title page it is said to be "Arranged by Robert Macoy, National Grand Secretary," and in the Introduction, which gives a brief account of the various "Adoptive' degrees conferred on women in France and other countries, I find the following:
"Many systems of Adoptive Masonry have, from time to time, been introduced in the United States, with varied success none of which, however, seemed to possess the elements of permanency, except the Order of the Eastern Star, which was established in this country during the year 1778."
In a copy of an address given by Dr. Robert Morris, before the Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star of California, in April, 1876; Dr. Morris claims to have originated the Order of the Eastern Star in 1850.
Can you advise me which is correct? Was Bro. Macoy in error in his statement that the Order was introduced in this country in 1778?
The Order of the Eastern Star, in its present form, was really the creation of Robert Morris, but he apparently took as the basis of his structure an adoptive side degree of the same name, and one would judge from outside indications of very similar content. This degree had no organization and was conferred by any Master Masons who possessed it upon their female relatives. There may have been individual chapters in some places of more or less permanent character, and it is barely possible that it, or some degree like it, was introduced as early as 1778, though without some confirmatory evidence it would not be wise to put too much confidence in the statement you quote. Substantially, however, the Order, as an independent institution, was started in 1850, though the ritual and organization seems to have been quite radically recast and simplified in 1855.
* * *
PRESIDENT HAYES A BAPTIST?
Referring to the matter on page 288 of the September issue of THE BUILDER regarding denominational affiliations of the Presidents:
My parents were ardent Baptists, and the Hayes-Tilden campaign was on when I was a grown-up lad. My father made quite a point of the statement that Rutherford B. Hayes was a Baptist, and in that connection I have a rather vague memory of having been told that while Governor of Ohio, Hayes taught a class in a Baptist Sunday School.
Of course this is not authentic proof of anything, but I should say that Baptists in Columbus should know positively.
I notice that Harding's name was omitted from the list.
* * *
WHO SHOULD GIVE INSTRUCTION?
Is it proper for anyone but a Master or Past Master. or possibly a Warden to deliver any of the monitorial lectures or present aprons or working tools? My understanding of the matter is, that it is an unwritten law that none but the above mentioned officers should do these things, but the Master can delegate anyone to perform any of these ceremonies.
I will be glad to know if there ever has been a ruling made on this point, and what that ruling may be or whether it is or is not proper for any but the above mentioned officers to perform the ceremonies in question.
W.B.M., New York.
In the first place every state has its own independent Grand Lodge to regulate such matters, and whatever rule or decision any one of them may have arrived at is usually based on local customs or the ideas of influential members of the Craft in that jurisdiction.
Arguing from first principles it is quite certain that all instruction is the responsibility of the Master. He either gives it personally or selects qualified brethren to do so in his place. Consequently, unless there is a well recognized rule or decision to the contrary in the jurisdiction, the matter would appear to be entirely in the Master's own hands. Actually there is a great variety of usage, and it would take altogether too much space to attempt to cover the whole ground, but it would be hard to think of any system of allocation of the duty of giving charges and instructions that is not followed somewhere.
* * *
Some time ago I wrote for you an article dealing with brethren who had been for very many years useful, notable and active in our Masonic Fraternity.
Please let me call your attention to the September issue of the Bulletin, issued at Redlands, Cal., by our good Bro. J. H. Logie. He instances a case of Dr. A. W. King, a member of Redlands Lodge, No. 300, who, on Aug. 21, 1925, became one hundred years old. Some months ago he attended lodge and delivered the charge of the Third Degree. He was Master of his lodge in 1859 and for some years thereafter.
Robert I. Clegg, Associate Editor, Chicago, Ill.
* * *
YE EDITOR'S CORNER
Have you heard the story of the substitute? When Morrison was playing Faust — some of you have seen the play — he was taken sick, and he had to use a substitute. Faust was a very tall, slender fellow. The substitute was a short, fat fellow. In the last scene where the devil departs into hell, he goes through a trap door. The substitute got along all right until he came to that part, and as he was descending into the infernal regions, he was so fat he stuck in the trap door, and those below stage pulled on his legs and tried to pull him through, and those above tried to shove him through, but they couldn't do it, so there he stuck. It got pretty amusing, but realistic to one of the boys in the gallery. The boy in the gallery did not know why the actor could not get through, but jumped to his own conclusion, and got on to his feet and yelled, "Thank God, hell is full." This was one of Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn's stories.
* * *
This extract from an address by Bro. I. E. Newsom, Grants Orator of Colorado, is worth repeating, though the view spoken of is not altogether a new thing:
"The modern view of religion does not require that the devotee shall remove himself from all contact with the world in order that he may thereby commune with God. This view is well expressed in the following poem:
"The parish priest
Climbed up a high church steeple,
To be near God
That he might hand
God's word down to the people.
"In sermons grave
He daily wrote
What he thought sent from heaven;
And dropped this on
The people's heads,
Two times one day in seven.
"In rage God said
'What meanest thou?'
The priest cried from the steeple
'Where art thou, Lord?'
The Lord replied,
'Down here among my people."'