A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 11 No. 11 – November 1925
PALMYRA AND THE PALMYRAINES
Bro. Major John W. Shuman, M.D., California
THIS is an exceedingly interesting account, the chief defect of which is its brevity, of a visit to "Tadmor in the Wilderness." The author was formerly (1922-23) Professor of Medicine in the American University of Beirut, Syria, known for short as A.U.B.
IN February, 1923, Captain Douglas C. Cruickshank, then the Professor of Pathology, American University of Beirut, late of the Canadian Army Medical Corps and a Mason, inveigled the writer into taking advantage of the Medical School's five-day-mid-year vacation and visit the ruins of Palmyra. (This is the French name; in Arabic it is Tudmor.) He insisted that we should look over at close range what remained of that wonderful city "in the wilderness" (Note 1), built hundreds of years ago by King Solomon the Great Builder and successfully sacked by the Romans long afterwards. As a sight-seeing place of Asia Minor it easily ranks third, with Jerusalem and Petri rivals for first place; although to the Mason Jerusalem stands first, for here Solomon, the wise one, built the first Temple and many other things.
From Beirut to Damascus, the most ancient thriving city in the world, across the two Lebanon mountain ranges, with the Wady Broca between, is seventy-five miles; we made it by auto without mishap and spent the night at the Victoria Hotel, famous as General Allenby's headquarters during his late campaign against the Turks. On such a journey as we were undertaking one usually goes armed on account of possible encounter with Cheeties (brigands); in a country whose chief product for centuries has been war, and whose by-products have been reported as massacre, rapine and pillage, we expected to meet trouble; but in this we were disappointed, we met only kind and courteous treatment.
From Damascus to Palmyra is about one hundred and sixty-five miles on the Mediterranean Bagdad Camel-Automobile route; and there are no gas stations! So we loaded in the necessary amount of petrol to motor us there and back. There are two roads, the high, a bit longer, and the low, a bit shorter, leading to Karratyne, a village situated about half way between Palmyra and Damascus. And thereby hangs a tale.
A party of Beiruters had preceded us to Palmyra by the high road. We took the low one and arrived at Karratyne at a little before eleven o'clock, when we called to pay a visit at the Sheikh's house (which is the custom) and were made most welcome. He was a Christian and had a son in the Collegiate Department of the A.U.B. (American University of Beirut). Our interpreter Zarhan, first year medical student, knew this lad, and made father and mother delighted with "news". A bounteous repast was soon spread, to which we did full justice as only hungry, healthy men would do when "called from labor to refreshment."
The kind old man offered a letter to the Mohammedan Sheikh of Palmyra, stating "there is no hotel in that place," and we could do nothing but graciously accept. That sealed letter was surely "the-magic-password." Thirty minutes after we had driven the car into the courtyard where Sheikh Mohammed stood, a freshly killed, dressed, and cooked sheep was served in the guestroom, through the door at his back in the accompanying illustration (Cut 1). He said: "Gentlemen, I beseech you to partake of our meagre repast; if you have wine bring it forth, for although we Moslems are forbidden to use it, that is no reason for our Christian guests to abstain." Just compare that with the hospitality of a U.S. prohibitionist!
Here it may be stated that if your digestion and sleep are disturbed by coffee and smoking tobacco do not go visiting in Asia Minor. For no business is transacted, no social or official call is complete and no meeting, however casual, is ever entered into or terminated without coffee and tobacco. The coffee in Beirut is like the Turkish, thick, black and sweet. As we went on into the interior of Syria the coffee seemed to get more bitter. In Palmyra it is the typical Arabic coffee, served hot as the hinges of Hades, an ounce at a time in the bottom of a big cup and quite bitter. After five or ten of these drinks you will understand why the Moslems don't have to drink alcohol! An ancient hubble-bubble (narghieh) was put at my disposal; and a large iron key to our room was given us, which I promptly threw on the ground. We felt that we were among brethren and our trust was not misplaced for all the time we were there not a thing of ours was molested; we ate, slept, moved, and had our being in this one-story mud (adobe) walled room of the Sheikh's when not on the hike; strangers in every sense of the word except for that bond of fellowship which binds mankind-brotherhood.
To the right of his father stands Sheikh Abdullah (Cut 2) detailed by his father to show us around and comfort us. It was just about this time (6:00 P.M.) that the two automobile loads of Beirut folks arrived, the acting President of A.U.B. in charge, accusing us of having eaten up their luncheon in Karratyne, and wanting to know where we intended to sleep. We replied, "Ask the Sheikh." Sheikh Mohammed, like the Karratyne Sheikh, had mistaken us for the "President" and his party (the letter said so) and he did not change his mind. I suppose our old army uniforms had more prestige than "white collars". At any rate we slept much warmer than we would have under a tent.
The ruins of the Great Temple of the Sun at Palmyra, with many bits of ornate sculpture about it, cornices, capitals, and curved ceilings, stand as majestic symbols of great craftsmen and things that were in the ages of long ago. What remains stands there still fighting for existence against the elements, to welcome the modernist and make him marvel. One column which still remains bears an inscription with the name of Queen Zenobia, who once ruled from Egypt to Babylon, and later graced the Roman Triumph of the Emperor Aurelian.
The illustrations numbered 2 and 3 show the Sheikh and four of his sons, and his guests. He was then sixty six years of age and looked after 2,500 souls, the "modern Palmyraines." They are the desert Bedouins, speak the pure Arabic language, and raise sheep and camels. Palmyra is now but an oasis in the wilderness. Water is secured from subterranean channels, which were cut there aeons ago by the hand of man. The aqueduct system flourished in that country many years ago and when a besieging army cut off the water supply of the forces they were attacking, it was not long before the flag of truce was flying. No. 3 shows the official photographer (Doctor C.), the "short soldier," third from the left. The French Arabian soldier is from the French garrison, located in Palmyra (the French mandate Syria now, the Turks used to) who had come to invite the Bogus-President and his party to the Commandant's mess that evening. He said that he would send an escort for us and the Sheikh. We waited until 7:30 P.M. and then escorted ourselves over to find that the real President and his crowd had "beaten us to it," so the tables were turned! We returned to our house. The Sheikh was indignant. He had prepared for us a real banquet which we were enjoying immensely when the Commandant with his aides burst in upon us with beaucoup apologies, a quart of Scotch, and-that was that! (Note 2.)
It will be noted that there are hints of foreign (Frangi) civilization out there in the manner of dress. Note that top coat, also the two overcoats worn instead of the native Abba. The smallest son was the songster, and sang for us many songs in Arabic in the usual nasal falsetto key, which sounded nothing like the "sweet songs of Araby," or "I'm the Sheikh," yet they were far more pleasant to the ear than "Yes, We Have No Bananas," "No One Can Love Me Like My Old Tomato Can," etc.
Another touch of the foreign was noted in the Sheikh's own bedroom; an idle, iron bedstead, which brought forth the story that when he was much younger and less wise, a young woman, the daughter of a prominent and wealthy French family, visited Palmyra, fell in love with the Sheikh, married him and took him to Paris to live. After four months the sands of the desert called him and she went back with him. They shipped that iron bed to Palmyra from Marsailles. But Palmyra as a steady diet for her was too tame; the bright lights of "Gay Paree" called her, and she went back home alone.
The Sheikh's father had one hundred descendants; our host had fourteen sons, the youngest a husky infant in arms. Three of his four young wives expected soon to present him with sons, for daughters don't count for much in the Orient. His eldest son was missing. He was in South America, I was told, to be married to a lady there, which grieved his father greatly for she was not of "the Faith." But, then, "like father, like son."
Abdullah was quite anxious to show us everything there was to be seen, more especially the Crusader Castle (see cuts 4, 5 and 6), which is a story in itself. I marveled how that Order of Knights Templar several centuries ago set out to conquer the world (especially Christianity's fountain Syria and Palestine) with the sword — and failed — just as Emperor William failed!
It was on a Friday, the Moslem Sunday, that Abdullah asked us if we wanted to swim. I said, "Yes, where is the tin cup?" for I had no idea that there was anything bigger to take a bath in. He took us for a swim in a subterranean warm sulphur river, artificial, a part of the aqueduct system, where we frolicked for two hours, having for companions the Cadi (judge) and Sheikh Beni Khallid, owner of 3,000 camels, the same number that Job had. Before going into the water I gave Abdullah my wrist watch to hold, and when I got out I noticed that it was on his wrist. I said, "Keep it for a souvenir, I carried it through America's part in the World War in France and am really tired of it, and I am just looking for a chance to get rid of it." He accepted. It is difficult to tip these folks; in fact, it is taken as an insult unless adroitly managed. That evening in the dark he slipped into my hand a bit of paper with a hard object in it, saying, "Just a little souvenir, but very old." After he was gone, and by the light of a tallow dip I discovered myself to be the possessor of an exquisite cameo of Zenobia's Dynasty.
The young men of the village love to play football of the European style. The ball they had was flat and the only thing they requested from us was "send us a bladder from Shem (Damascus)." We sent them one by the French Air-Post.
The Sheikh's second son had only two wives. He said he was "not rich enough to afford more as yet." He did ask, "Doctor, why does a big man like you only have one wife?" I answered, "Effendi, you have never seen my wife." I crushed him, however, when I remarked, "I have three children and you have only two!" They have no doctor in Palmyra and disease cuts them down young. Infant mortality is great there. A walk through the modern graveyard tells the story; the numerous little tombstones marking graves of babies. "On the square," the Sheikh would welcome a good, conscientious, well-trained, practical medical man. That man might not become rich in money but he would live and give and in the years to come he would have happy memories. We held a clinic while there, thereby attempting to return, in a measure, the kindness we had received.
All were interested in our telling, through our interpreter, of the A.U.B. and its work, and the Sheikh promised that before long Palmyra would be represented at the University. Last year, so Dr. Cruickshank writes, the Sheikh's second son visited Beirut and was quite chagrined at not being able to visit the "Pseudo-President." On this trip we had endured some discomforts, and hard ships, met with extremes of heat and cold, a snow blizzard, equal to any I ever experienced in northwest Iowa, when crossing over the Lebanons, and had been mired in the mud; but we had been received kindly, were not allowed to go hungry, and had slept in warm beds. A broken front spring and a ruptured tire were all the scars we could claim.
Note 1. I Kings, Chap. 9, verse 18, "and he built, ... Tadmor in the wilderness in the land." II Chronicles, Chap. 8, verse 4, "and he built Tadmor in the wilderness."
Note 2. D.C. just forwarded these photos to me, March 1, 1925. In Syria, "time doesn't really matter." One of their proverbs out there is "Tomorrow, Effendi, is also a day."
* * *
BROTHER COLONEL CERAN ST. VRAIN
A STUDY OF THE LIFE OF A MASONIC PIONEER OF THE SOUTHWEST
Bro. F. T. Cheetham, New Mexico
AS noted in the introduction to one of his former contributions to The Builder, Bro. Cheetham has in hand the preparation of a history of the Southwest to show the influence of Freemasonry in the development of that great American empire. This study of Bro. St. Vrain will serve as a chapter in that work. Its interest will be enhanced if it is read in conjunction with Bro. Cheetham's previous essays: "Kit Carson A Mason of the Frontier," The Builder, December, 1922, page 366 and "Governor Bent, a Masonic Martyr of New Mexico," The Builder, December, 1923, page 358. Bro. Cheetham, who may be addressed at Taos, New Mexico, will appreciate receiving any additional Masonic data bearing on his studies.
WHILE we inherited from the English our language and that great system of jurisprudence, known as the common law, we are largely indebted to the French for our liberty. They gave lavishly of their blood and treasure that we might become a free and independent nation. The name of the Marquis de Lafayette has throughout the days of our life as a nation been a household word among our people. Nor did the fostering care of our French godfathers end at Yorktown. From the day when Napoleon Bonaparte held his fastest frigate forty-eight hours, while our Minister, Robert Livingston, a brother Mason, penned that famous dispatch which culminated in the purchase of Louisiana, we were destined to become a great nation. Nor was this all, for while they aided us, for almost a nominal consideration, to acquire title to this vast stretch of country, they rendered most potent assistance in winning the Far West from all opposing contenders.
When our frontier soldiers, under the masterful leadership of George Rodgers Clark, wrested the Northwest, as it was then called, from the British, we acquired, as appurtenant thereto, the achievements of the intrepid French explorers and traders. Following closely upon the heels of the Revolution there sprang up along the waters of the great Mississippi and its tributaries a thriving trade with the outlying Indian tribes, which soon crept into that portion of the domain of the Spanish crown, known as Mexico. This trade was handled almost entirely by the descendants of La Belle France. As a natural consequence of this trade there soon sprang up such trading posts or centers as Kaskaskie, St. Genevieve and St. Louis.
These French traders purchased the greater portion of their goods at Philadelphia and while in that city they met and associated with members of the French lodges of Freemasons of that city, established by Bro. Lafayette and his men during the War for American Independence. These merchants in turn obtained dispensations and established Masonic lodges in western trading posts. These lodges were in their order as follows: Western Star Lodge, No. 107, established at Kaskaskia in 1806; Louisiana Lodge, No. 108, at St. Genevieve in 1807; and St. Louis Lodge, No. 3, in 1808. Among the membership of these lodges we find in Louisiana Lodge, No. 109, at St. Genevieve such names as Pierre Chouteau and Bartholomew Berthold, the founders of the great American Fur Company, and Stephen F. Austin, the "father" of Texas; in St. Louis Lodge, No. 3, we note among the members the names of Meriweather Lewis, former private secretary of President Jefferson, and Gen. William Clarke, the explorers. Such indeed is the background of our sketch.
Col. St. Vrain, the hero of this sketch, was born near the city of St. Louis about the year 1797. His father and uncle had fled from France during that dark period of the French Revolution, the uncle having been an heir apparent of French nobility. The father of Ceran St. Vrain settled on the Bellefontaine Road, just out of what was then St. Louis, and erected a fort, which was then, and until after Ceran's birth, on Spanish territory. Of his early years little is known. It is altogether probable that while a mere boy he ventured out into the plains and the wilderness with the fur traders of his time.
HE BECOMES A TRAPPER
In 1826 we find him a captain of a party of trappers leading an expedition down through New Mexico as far as the river Gila. It was on this expedition that Bro. Kit Carson made his maiden trip beyond the frontier. At this time St. Vrain was probably associated with William Bent, who, about 1824, had erected a stockade on the bank of the Arkansas near where Pueblo now is. Soon afterwards the Bents and St. Vrain erected another stockade near the junction of the Purgatoire River with the Arkansas. In 1828 St. Vrain, associated with William and Charles Bent, commenced the erection of a formidable fort, afterwards known as Bent's Fort or Fort William, on the north bank of the Arkansas River, a few miles east of the present city of Las Animas, Colorado. Due credit has never been given the founders of this citadel of peace, for the part it and they played in the winning of the Great Southwest.
It will be remembered that, arising out of the Louisiana Purchase, the territorial claims of the United States covered the entire watershed of the Red and Arkansas Rivers, which extended to within about fifteen miles of Taos, New Mexico; that by the treaty of Feb. 22, 1819, between the United States and His Catholic Majesty the King of Spain, in return for concessions in Florida the United States moved its western boundary backward some three hundred miles; that by this treaty the hundredth meridian was fixed as the west boundary of the United States, north to the Arkansas River, thence along the south bank of that stream to its source. This boundary was afterwards ratified by the infant republic, Mexico, which almost immediately had wrested its independence from Spain, by a treaty signed in Mexico City on Jan. 28, 1828.
It will therefore be plainly seen how quickly the Bents and St. Vrain saw and grasped the strategic importance of the site, so well chosen by them, on the international boundary, for a large and strongly fortified trading post, destined to do more than all the country's soldiers in the winning of the Far West. The greater proportion of the inhabitants of the country immediately south of the border was made up of roving tribes of unconquered savages, who were eager to trade their peltries and robes for the trinkets, firearms and other goods of the white man.
The policy of Spain had been to exclude almost altogether any American trade with its dominions in the Western Hemisphere. Mexico cherished the same hope and laid its duties with a view to making the American trade prohibitive and of creating a monopoly in favor of its central states. The result was that there soon arose in California and other outlying territories a great system of smuggling. But the founders of this great trading post proposed to keep within their legitimate rights; they planted their fort on the border so that the Comanches, Arapahoes, Utes and Apaches could migrate from their favorite hunting grounds, camp on the Arkansas near the fort, and exchange their products of the chase for the manufactured goods of the traders. If Mexico had any charges against the Indians for duty on goods carried by them across the border, it was up to it to collect from them. The fort was completed in 1832. Speaking of its appearance, Capt. P. St. George Cooke, who visited it in 1843, says:
"Over a smooth, gravelly second bank prairie we caught sight at several miles distance the national flag floating amid picturesque foliage and river scenery, over a low dark wall, which had a very military semblance. Very gradually and tediously we approached and then we were more surprised at the fine appearance and strength of the trading post. An extensive square with high adobe walls and two large towers at opposite angles and all properly loopholed. Our near approach was saluted by three discharges from a swivel gun, the walls being well 'manned.' The Colonel and suite were most hospitably greeted at the sally port by Messrs. St. Vrain and C (harles) Bent. The regiment marched on and encamped at the first grassy meadow a mile or two lower down. A number of officers partook of a good dinner at the post."
THEIR BUSINESS PROSPERED
The "Chinese Wall" erected by Spain and fostered by Mexico soon began to crumble before the pressure of this stronghold of commerce. Mexico soon discovered that if it did not let the traders in, its people would go across the border to trade. Before the fort was really completed St. Vrain and the Bents were able to make their way to Santa Fe with goods, as will appear from a letter written by St. Vrain to Bernard Pratte & Co. from that place on Sept. 14, 1830, as follows:
"San Fernando del Taos, Sept. 14, 1830.
"Messrs. B. Pratte & Co.
"Gentlemen: It is with pleasure that I inform you of my last arrival at Santa Fe which was the 4th of August. We were met at Red River by General Biscara the customhouse officer and a few soldiers, the object in coming out so far to meet us was to prevent smuggling and it had the desired effect; there was a guard placed around our wagons until we entered Santa Fe. We had to pay full dutys which amounts to about 60 per cent on cost. I was the first that put goods in the Customhouse and I opened immediately, but goods sold very slow, so slow that it was discouraging. I found that it was impossible to meet my payments, if I continued retailing. I therefore thought it was best to hole saile. I have done so. I send you by Mr. Andru Carson and Lavoise Ruel one wagon, eleven mules, one horse and 653 skins of Beaver, 961 Ibs. (nine hundred and sixty-one pounds), which you will have sold for my account. I do not wish the mules sold unless they sell for a good price. I am with much respect,
"Your obdt. servant,
"Ceran St. Vrain."
Soon after the completion of Bent's Fort this firm established a branch post at Taos, New Mexico, and later on at Santa Fe, both of which were maintained until the firm was dissolved by the death of Governor Bent, in 1847. In 1838 they erected a fort on the South Platte north of the site of Denver. This fort was called St. Vrain's Fort. Gen. Fremont speaks of visiting this fort on his first expedition to the Rocky Mountains. It was at the confluence of the Cache le Poudre River with the South Platte. Francis Parkman, who visited it in 1846, found it abandoned.
By this time the fur trade had suffered a great decline, the price of beaver having suffered a great slump on account of the discovery of a new way of making hats. The American Fur Company and the Rocky Mountain Fur Company found their trade unprofitable. The latter company went out of business entirely. Jedediah S. Smith, its most daring captain, had quit the northwest fur trade and engaged in the Santa Fe trade when he lost his life while blazing a new trail on the Cimarron. But the business of Bent & St. Vrain had been established with a view of working both ways. They worked as far north as Fort Lookout on the Missouri, and held the key to the Southwest. They later erected a fort on the Canadian River in northern Texas, known as the Adobe Fort.
THEIR TRADING POSTS BECAME A RENDEZVOUS FOR EXPLORERS
These trading posts became the rendezvous of the daring mountain men, trappers and explorers who penetrated the mountain forests, scaled the snow-capped peaks, blazed their trails through seemingly inaccessible passes, encountered both savage and foreign foes, and planted the American flag on the Pacific. A trading post of Bent & St. Vrain was like a safe haven in the midst of the trackless storm-tossed sea. When Marcus Whitman and A. Lawrence Lovejoy made their famous ride in the winter of 1842-3 in an effort to save Oregon to the United States, they availed themselves of the hospitality of several of these posts and it fell to the lot of Ceran St. Vrain to render substantial aid to Whitman in getting across the plains, for he, on learning of Whitman's desire to proceed across the plains, sent an express from Bent's Fort to their caravan at the Big Cottonwood and held it until Whitman could arrive.
In 1843, Ceran St. Vrain, believing that the course of empire was westward, associated with him one Cornelio Vigil, a progressive resident of Taos, New Mexico, and for invaluable and meritorious service to the Mexican Government in maintaining peace with the Indians on the frontier, made application to the Governor for a grant of land for colonization purposes, the petition for which, being translated, is in part as follows:
"That, desiring to encourage the agriculture of the country to such a degree as to establish its flourishing condition, and finding ourselves with but little land to accomplish the object, we have examined and registered, with great care, the land embracing the Huerfano, Pisipa and Cucheras Rivers, to their junction with the Arkansas and the Animas, and, finding sufficient for cultivation, and abundance of pasture and water, and all that is required for a flourishing establishment, and for raising cattle and sheep, being satisfied therewith, and certain that it is public land, we have not hesitated to apply to Your Excellency, praying you to be pleased, by an act of justice, to grant to each one of us a tract of land in the above mentioned locality."
The grant was accordingly made and the intent and purpose thereof is probably best shown by a deed made in 1844 to St. Vrain's partner, Charles Bent, which is as follows:
"DEED OF CONVEYANCE TO CHARLES BENT.
"The undersigned owners and possessers of the lands included from the waters of the Rio de las Animas and of the Huerfano, within the boundaries designated in the act of possession, for the purpose of effecting and procuring means to settle those lands, for which purpose we have solicited and obtained the concession of the Government; and of our own free will, we cede to M. Charles Bent, and to his successors, the one-sixth part of the land contained in our possession at said place, to which we hereby renounce all our rights, hereby obligating ourselves not to prescribe him in that which we hereby grant unto him; it being our voluntary act and deed, it being understood that we are to give to such families as may transport themselves to said place, lands free of charge, subject to the guarantees and benefits to each party, as may be agreed upon in order to protect the settlements to be formed; and by this extra-judicial document, which we execute on this common paper (there being none of the corresponding seal), we, thus, as our entire voluntary act, covenant; and this indenture shall be as valid as if it was duly authenticated; and by the same we may be compelled to observe and comply therewith; and in testimony whereof, we sign this in Taos, on the 11th day of March, 1844."
WAR WAS DECLARED
Within about two years thereafter, the diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico, long strained, reached a breaking point and war was declared between the two countries. The Army of the West was organized and placed under the command of Col., afterwards Gen. Kearney. It proceeded, in several columns, to march from the Missouri River to Bent's Fort, which was established as a rendezvous. There the little expeditionary force rested a few days, preparatory to the invasion of the enemy's country. We find that the men who had been forerunners of the flag stood ready to render any service in their power. Charles Bent served as chief intelligence officer and Ceran St. Vrain hastened to St. Louis to procure supplies and provisions soon to be needed. When the soldiers crossed the frontier, they found that the traders had accomplished by the arts of peace what they had expected to achieve by the shedding of blood.
Ceran St. Vrain left St. Louis on the 1st of September, 1846, with a cargo of goods for New Mexico. He was accompanied, among others, by a young lad of seventeen years, Lewis H. Garrard, who left behind a narrative of his thrilling experiences, published in 1850 under the title of Wah-To-Yah, or, The Taos Trail, which he dedicated to the hero of our story in token of the many acts of kindness by the latter. St. Vrain left Garrard at the fort and proceeded on to Santa Fe with his goods where they would be most needed. Soon after his arrival at that place the Taos Insurrection broke out and Gov. Chas. Bent was assassinated, under circumstances narrated in a former sketch[THE BUILDER, December, 1923, P.358.] St. Vrain, on learning that his friend and partner had been slain, enlisted the services of about sixty mountain men at Santa Fe and tendered his little command to Col. Price, who immediately proceeded with such force as was available to Taos to avenge the death of the Governor and other countrymen. St. Vrain was given a commission as captain and rendered gallant and meritorious service at La Canada, Embudo, and at the Taos Pueblo. At the latter place he came near to losing his own life in a personal encounter with the Indians. He served as court interpreter in the trials of the conspirators and was afterwards tendered the office of governor of the territory, which he declined.
ST. VRAIN SETTLED AT TAOS
After the restoration of order, Capt. St. Vrain settled down in Taos, New Mexico, known then as Don Fernando de Taos, where he had a store on the south side of the plaza in his business as a trader. In 1849 he was elected to, and served as a member of, the Constitutional Convention, convened at Santa Fe on Sept. 24 of that year.
During the years 1854, 5 and 6 the Ute and Apache Indians had given the people of New Mexico deal of trouble, waging constant war on the unprotected settlements and even came near annihilating a couple of companies of the First United States Dragoons in a fight in the Embudo Mountains near Taos. The civil and military authorities in Santa Fe decided to put an end to these troubles. Volunteers were accordingly asked for. Col. De Witte C. Peters, in his Life of Kit Carson, published in 1858, in speaking of this affair, says:
"The organization of the Mexican volunteers was made complete by the Governor of the Territory, who selected as their leader Mr. Ceran St. Vrain of Taos. This gentleman, although he had much important business which called his attention elsewhere, immediately expressed his willingness to accept the responsible position which, without solicitation, had been conferred upon him. The commission received by St. Vrain gave him the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Without delay he set about the difficult and important work that lay before him, bringing to bear upon the details that sound judgment, gentlemanly bearing and ready zeal which had long characterized the man. He had the good fortune to secure the services of Lieutenant Creigg of the regular army, whom he appointed as one of his aides-de-camp. Having completed his staff and other arrangements to place his force upon a military basis, he was ready to take the field.
"The appointment of St. Vrain as commander of the Volunteers, was hailed with delight throughout the territory. His great experience in the mountains, his knowledge of the Indian mode of warfare, and the respect which the people he was called upon to command invariably paid him, seemed to convince every thinking mind that something more than usual was to be accomplished. They felt that the wrongs of their country would be certainly redressed. The sequel will prove that the people were not doomed to disappointment."
Lieut.-Col. St. Vrain thereupon reported to Col. T. T. Fauntleroy who forthwith launched an expedition against the warlike savages. The command proceeded to Ft. Massachusetts, near the station of Garland, in Colorado; thence they pursued a westerly course to the head waters of the Rio Grande; from thence they crossed the Saguache Pass where they found the Indians encamped in a large village. They gave them battle and put them to flight with heavy loss. Col. Fauntleroy then divided his command, sending Col. St. Vrain with his command to the eastward across the main range where he again encountered the fleeing fugitives and inflicted upon them a terrible loss. Kit Carson, who accompanied this expedition as a scout, referring to it afterwards in his personal narrative dictated to Col. Peters, the MS. of which is now in the Newbury Library in Chicago, in substance said, that if the operations of this voluntary organization had continued a few months longer under Col. St. Vrain's direction, there would never again have been any need for soldiers in the Southwest.
The term of service of this organization having expired they were mustered out and Col. St. Vrain returned to his business at Taos. He erected and operated extensive flour mills and extended his business operations in all directions. In the first issue of the Rocky Mountain News, published at Cherry Creek [now Denver], Kansas Territory, in 1859, we find an item announcing that Col. St. Vrain had lately arrived at that place with a train load of flour from Taos.
ST. VRAIN ENTERED THE CIVIL WAR
When the Civil War broke out Col. St. Vrain, like Bro. Kit Carson, joined hands with the North and very promptly tendered his services to his country. When the call for volunteers came he helped to organize the First New Mexico Cavalry and was elected its first Colonel. Kit Carson was elected lieutenant-colonel. He was soon obliged, owing to poor health, to relinquish his command to the latter, with the consolation, however, that it would render a good account of itself. In this he was not disappointed. He continued to render valuable service to his country by keeping his mills grinding and supplying the various military posts of the Southwest with flour and other articles of subsistence.
Col. St. Vrain, like many other sturdy men of the frontier, was long prepared in his heart to become a Freemason, before he had had an opportunity to knock at the door of a lodge. He had been intimately acquainted and more or less associated with men like Charles Bent, Dr. Dayid Waldo, James Kennerly, and Col. Dodge, who had long been members of the Order. He therefore presented himself for initiation March 22, 1853; was passed April 16, 1853; and raised Jan. 28, 1855, receiving his degrees in Montezuma Lodge, No. 109, of the jurisdiction of Missouri, at Santa Fe. He demitted therefrom April 7, 1860, and together with Bros. Kit Carson, Peter Joseph, Ferdinand Maxwell, John M. Francisco, A. S. Ferris, and others he formed a lodge at Taos, under a charter from the Grand Lodge of Missouri, issued on the 1st day of June, 1860. This lodge was known as Bent Lodge, No. 204.
About the close of the Civil War, in order to better conduct his business for furnishing supplies to the Government, Col. St. Vrain moved to Mora, which was near Ft. Union, the principal military base of the Southwest. Col. James F. Meline, who visited New Mexico, in 1866, in his book entitled Two Thousand Miles on Horseback, in speaking of the Colonel, says:
"Mora is the residence of Lieutenant-Colonel Ceran St. Vrain one of the most distinguished of the band of early pioneer traders and trappers — Bent, Kit Carson, Bridger, Maxwell — who survives. Colonel St. Vrain's wealth in land is very great, and he owns under a Spanish grant, one tract of land a hundred miles square, bounded by the Snowy Range, the Rio de las Animas and the Arkansas. St. Vrain was, with Kit Carson, found on the side of his country in the hour of trouble, and threw the influence of his high personal character, great popularity, and immense wealth, in the scale of freedom against slavery." (pp. 109-110.)
Here he spent the most of his declining years. We learn from Albert D. Richardson, in his Beyond the Mississippi that, "after accumulating an ample fortune (he) went to New York City with a determination of spending his days. But he found life there insupportable, and soon returned to New Mexico, vowing he would never leave it again."
HE DIED IN 1870
He was gathered to his fathers Oct. 28, 1870. Speaking of his passing the Daily New Mexican, under date of Oct. 29, 1870, said:
"DEATH OF CERAN ST. VRAIN
"We received this morning, by telegraph, from Fort Union the painful intelligence, that Col. Ceran St. Vrain of Mora departed this life at six o'clock last night.
"Col. St. Vrain came to New Mexico more than forty years ago and has been one of its most highly and respected and influential citizens ever since. Possessed of good education, fine natural abilities, the highest style of courtesy and very good energy and enterprise, he at once engaged in merchandising and manufacturing, by the legitimate profits of which he has accumulated a handsome property. His upright dealing, fairness and courteous treatment of all with whom he came in contact won him hosts of friends, who will sincerely sorrow at his death.
"Every enterprise looking to the improvement of the country received willing and earnest support and sympathy from him, and many hundreds of honest poor men have been by him furnished with the means to start again, and repair the misfortunes of the past. In every part of this Territory there are men who will feel that in the death of Col. St. Vrain, not only has the country lost one of its best citizens, but that they have lost one of their truest and noblest personal friends.
"To the friends of the deceased we tender our sincerest condolence and commend his virtues and enterprise to the imitation of his thousands of acquaintances in the Territory."
The Rocky Mountain News of Denver, under date of Oct. 31, 1870, had this to say:
"Ft. Union, Oct. 31, 1870.
"Col. St. Vrain, the oldest pioneer of the Rocky Mountains died at his residence in Mora at six o'clock the 28th. The funeral took place on Sunday the 30th and was attended by Gen. Gregg and nearly all the officers of Ft. Union. Col. Starr of the 8th Cavalry with his troop acted as escort and the General and his staff as pall bearers. The regimental band furnished the music. He was buried by the Masons and as Col. of Volunteers with Military honor. Over 2,000 people were present. The Services were highly impressive."
A monument was erected over his grave with Masonic emblems — square and compasses — but the writer has been informed by Bro. Z. S. Lonquevan, who for many years resided at Mora, that the Masonic emblems have been defaced.
Freemasons should take pride in paying a tribute of respect and love to the memory of this worthy brother, who was born a Spanish subject, of French extraction, and yet whose loyalty to the country which adopted him was the admiration of all who knew him.
* * *
THE WALUM OLUM OR PAINTED RECORD
Bro. Charles F. Irwin, Associate Editor, Pennsylvania
THE beliefs and customs of the Red man are matters of deep interest to a great many American Masons, though the older and uncritical theories that a primeval form of Freemasonry existed among them is quite untenable. Bro. Irwin has drawn on the great store of material buried in forgotten books, and we hope that he may have something more to tell us later on.
IN recent years there have appeared in the issues of THE BUILDER a number of articles upon the American Indian. This is a department of American Research which appeals to me as a field to be carefully investigated, seeing that it belongs to the soil of this great continent, and there is one department of such a study which presents to the student a fascinating path along which to travel. It is the legends of the prehistoric wanderings of the various stocks of Indian. And in these legends there is ever to be the possibility of clues to the still more remote and fascinating mystery: the races of prehistoric Americans known as the MOUND BUILDERS whose traces abide to this day in earthern mounds, circles, and in fortifications, together with animal and bird effigies.
Generally speaking, there were four stocks of Indians in the United States:
- THE ALGONKIN FAMILY — They were a widespread family found stretching from Labrador in the northeast of the continent, westward through Canada to the Rockies and thence southward into the United States, thence eastward to the Atlantic seaboard from Maine to Florida.
- THE IROQUOIS FAMILY — They were found surrounding the Erie and Huron Lakes and through New York State, and eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland.
- THE CREEK FAMILY — Under this general name were embraced in a general way all the Indians in southern United States, such as the Muskogees, Seminoles, Creeks, Chocktaws, etc.
- THE CHEROKEES — This family presents some unique features and should be studied apart from all the others. They were found in the states of Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and later across the Father of Waters in Indian Territory and Oklahoma.
In each of these four main groups there grew up a body of tradition and lore in the form of legends and rituals that all point back to prehistoric migrations. In some particulars these traditions overlap and wherever this occurs we are provided with points at which to make critical comparisons. They make it imperative to accept as fact that great movements of aborigines took place in the dim past over large stretches of the continental area.
WHAT WAS THE ORIGIN OF THE AMERINDIAN?
Accepting as fact that such tribal and national movements did take place, we are led at once to this consideration: whence did they come? From what remote places did they depart and what were the routes they pursued in their migrations? Did they meet with other peoples who were still earlier. that they found dwelling upon the soil of our country? If so, who were these peoples and whence did they spring? We are restricted to narrow limits in conjecturing on these points. But by no means has the argument been mild. There have been two principal theories, first, that man is indigenous to the American soil and like Topsy "he just grew" here. That man emerged from the brute order into intelligence upon the western continent just as he did on the eastern hemisphere; and second, that man was not indigenous to the western soil but entered from other lands.
The former theory has not had serious consideration by archaeologists while the latter has given rise to some interesting groups of ideas. For example, we find among a large group of French and Spanish writers the theory that migrations took place from Phoenicia via Africa and the lost continent of Atlantis, arriving on the shores of South America and in time spreading up through Central America into the northern continent. The adherents of this theory hold as one of their prime reasons that the remains of the prehistoric peoples show a higher state of development in Central America than they do in the United States, and that this indicates that the genius of the ancient peoples for some reason had deteriorated as time elapsed and their migrations carried them farther from the sources of their original culture.
However, the theory that has appealed to the Nordic American supposes that in the dim past migrations took place from northern Europe via Iceland and Greenland, and that these Nordics took root in Labrador and northeastern America and in time spread to the west and south. An interesting offshoot of this theory has it that one chieftain of the Welsh, one Madoc, in the year 1100 A.D. left the shores of Britain and landed on the eastern American coast, and proceeded gradually to the westward where in the 18th and 19th Centuries their descendants, known as White or Welsh Indians, were to be found in the general territory of Oklahoma and Arkansas. There was heated controversy early in the 19th Century in the American press over this theory. It was, however, never seriously considered by American scholars.
THE MIGRATION WAS FROM ASIA
There remains but one more possible theory and that is that migrations took place at a remote time across the Behring Sea, or possibly on solid ground prior to some cataclysmic rupture of contact with Asia. Thence that they proceeded down the Pacific coast into American territory and grew strong in the Columbia River regions, whence the legendary migrations of the Indians proceeded.
So much for these explanations of the Indian and his ancestry. There is one point in all these theories, and that is that sooner or later the migrations became a progress "toward the east".
However the Indian entered the western world they were a migratory people compelled by economic, domestic, or political pressure to remove from one area to another and it was not until historic times that the bounds of the American Indians became fixed. And it is moreover true that there were certain national movements steadily to the eastward, or rising sun. The traditions of the Indians within continental United States all agree upon this point. There is one notable exception to this. The Cree Indians of Canada in their legend state that their forefathers came westward from Labrador — southwestward and westward. This series of legends stands out in bold contrast with the Algonkin and Iroquois and Cherokee legends. And this becomes more significant when you consider that the Cree and Chippeways belong to the Algonkin Family Stock. In fact, the language of the Crees is accepted by American archaeologists as the purest linguistic dialect of their parent stock.
THE SCOPE OF THE ARTICLE DEFINED
This study confines itself to the second of the four great Indian Stocks, namely, the Algonkin. This family was widespread: In Canada we find the Crees, Chippeways and Montagnais. In the United States, the Pottawottomies, Miami, Peoria, Pea, Piankashaw, Kaskaskia, Menominee, Sac, Fox, Kicjapoo, Abnaki, Mogegan, Massachusetts, Shawnee, Minsi, Unami, Unalachtigo, Nanticoke, Powhatan, Blackfeet, Gros Ventres, and Cheyennes. In all these general groups we find certain linguistic, traditional and internal indications pointing to a common origin.
Our means of information are several.
- The early Missionaries, such as Heckewelder and Loskiel of the Moravians; Brainerd of the New England Puritans; and the Jesuits of the Roman Church, rank among the first.
- The first explorers, traders, interpreters, and government agents.
- The records of conferences and treaties between Whites and the Redmen, at which time the Indians often referred to historical matters in arguing their claims to certain sections of the country, and in order to settle rank and precedence among the representatives of various Indian nations.
Among the later archeologists, especially of the early 19th Century, there appears a man whose career and whose personality present some of the strangest aspects to be found among American scholars. I refer to Prof. G. S. Rafinesque. This interesting character was born in Galata of French parentage, Oct. 22, 1783. His father died while Rafinesque was quite young and consequently the responsibility of his training fell upon his mother. She permitted him very largely to work out his own career. In 1802 Rafinesque came to the United States where he remained two years. In 1804 he sailed to Europe and settled in Sicily. Here he married and maintained an unhappy domicle until 1815, when he returned to the United States to make it his home, leaving his family behind him. He made Philadelphia his home, where, except for a short experience as Professor of History in Transylvania University in Kentucky, he pursued his erratic course until his death in 1840 amid squalor, poverty and misery.
Rafinesque early turned his attention to botany and became an expert in that science. His attainments, however, reached out into other departments of learning. He was a Latin and Greek scholar of parts, he was master of several modern languages, he was interested in the science of the time, and for a period posed as a medical practitioner.
He accumulated a mass of manuscripts on diverse subjects, for he was an indefatigable worker. Many of these were lost in a shipwreck during his second ocean voyage to America, and after his death his remaining manuscripts were scattered and most of them lost. He seems to have been shunned by most of our leading scientists of the day, although he belonged to a number of their societies; however, Asa Gray took cognizance of some of his botanical papers and prepared a criticism of them.
RAFINESQUE FIRST PUBLISHED THE PAINTED RECORD
Now during the period that Rafinesque was on the staff of the University in Kentucky, he claims to have secured, in 1820, from a "Dr. Ward of Indiana" access to a number of wooden symbols or ideographs together with a manuscript on which were certain legends of the Lenni Lenape Indians. He seems to have done little with these discoveries until 1833, when he published what he called a translation of the ideographs and the Chants. He arranged these in three column series somewhat similar to the manner on the Rosseti Stone. He called his translation the "WALUM OLUM" or Painted Record of the Lenni Lenape Indians.
This document consists, as has been said, of three columns. The first is a series of pictographs, the second of dialectic chants, and the third his own translation of the two into literal English. It purports to be a metrical legend of the migrations of these Indians in prehistoric times and of their contacts with other nations which are thus brought into view. It did not receive consideration to any considerable degree on the part of contemporaneous scholars until Squier secured possession of the original manuscripts and produced an independent copy of the pictographs, chants and translations which he incorporated in a paper he read before the New York Historical Society in 1849. Brinton, into whose hands the original manuscript had come subsequent to the death of Rafinesque, and who loaned them to Squier, has stated that Squier's copy of the symbols is very careless and in a number of places is inaccurate; also that his Indian chants wander from the original manuscript in several places. My own conclusion after close study of this point is that Brinton is the safest translator for the student to follow.
I give at this time a brief example from each of the Cantos, producing the ideograph, metrical chant and literal English translation of the same.
This Canto deals with the Creation. There is considerable similarity to the Biblical record in this Canto. The surmise is made by several scholars that this is a proof of the recent origin of the legend and indicates the influence of the missionaries on the Indians. In rebuttal the widespread appearance of this legend wherever the Algonkin stock existed refutes this claim; in divergent form this legend existed in each of the subdivisions of the family. Moreover, Heckewelder gives us an enlarged version of the legend and this version corroborates the WALUM OLUM in most of its statements. In reply to this it is fair to state that charges are made that Rafinesque borrowed freely from the manuscripts of Heckewelder. Brinton seems inclined to believe that the legend is genuine although it may contain some influences of the missionaries.
1. Say ewitalli wemiguma wekgetaki.
At the first-all-see water above land.
2. Hackung kwelik owanaku wakyutali kitaneto-witessop.
On the earth, an extended fog, and there the great Manito was.
3. Sayewis hallemiwis nolemiwi elemamik kitanitewit essop.
At, forever, lost in space, everywhere, the great Manito was.
4. Sohalawak kwelik hakik owak awasagamak.
He made the extended land and the sky.
From the II Canto, The Deluge:
1. Wulamo maskanako anup lennowak makowini esso-pak.
Long ago there was a mighty snake and brings evil to men.
2. Maskanako shingalusit nigini essopak shawelendamep eken shingalan.
This mighty snake hated those who were there greatly disquieted those whom he hated.
3. Nishawi palliton, nishawi machiton, nishawi matte lungundowin.
They both did harm, they both injured each other, both were not at peace.
4. Mattapewi wiki nihanlowit mekwazoan.
The mighty snake firmly resolved to harm the men.
1. Pehella wtenk lennapewi tulapewini psakwiken woliwikignu wittank talli.
After the rushing waters (had subsided) the Lenape of the turtle were close together in hollow houses, living together there.
2. Topan-akpinep, winen-akpinep, kshakanakpinep, thupin akpinep.
It freezes where they abode, it snows where they abode, it storms where they abode, it is cold where they abode.
3. Lowankwamikek wulaton wtakan tihill kelik meshautang sill ewak.
At the northern place, they speak favorably of mild, cool, (lands) with many deer and buffaloes.
4. Chintanes-sin powalessin peyachik wikhichik pok-wihil.
As they journeyed, some being strong, some rich, they separated into housebuilders and hunters.
1. Wulamo linapioken manup shinaking.
Long ago the fathers of the Lenape were at the land of spruce pines.
2. Wapallenewa sittamaganat yukepechi wemima.
Hitherto the Bald Eagle band had been the pipe-bearer.
3. Akhomenis michihaki welaki kundokanup.
While they were searching for the Snake Island, that great and fine land.
4. Angomelchik elowichik elmusichik menalting.
They having died, the hunters, about to depart, met together.
1. Wemilangundo wulamo talk talegaking.
All was peaceful, long ago, there at the Talega land.
2. Tamaganend sakimanep wapalaneng.
The Pipe-Bearer was chief at the White River.
59. Wonwihil lowashawa wapayachik.
At this time, from the north and south the whites came.
60. Langomuwak kitohatewa ewenikiktit.
They are peaceful, they have great things who are they?
From these fragments the reader will discover that we have a very important document that reaches back beyond the discovery of America by Europeans and that touches very closely upon the era of that mysterious people who inhabited the American continent in primeval days.
The WALUM OLUM frequently refers to a race, as the "Tellegwi". According to the account, this people occupied the central portion of the continent — where now the states of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are found. They also stretched well into Pennsylvania.
The remains of their name is found in the Allegheny Mountains and River. The Tellegwi were a warlike race, possessing considerable civilization, cultivating their fields, with highways and walled cities. Scientific investigations carried on by the Ohio Archaeological Society have recovered to us considerable of the domestic and cultural life of this lost people. The Lenape legend ascribed to them these qualities and declares that the Iroquois nation and themselves joined hands and for years fought bitterly with the Tellegwi and at last expelled them from their homes and country and drove them southward down the Ohio Valley. There are reasons for believing that the Cherokee Indians are the lineal descendants of these Tellegwi, and if so, are the genuine First Families of America.
The Walum Olum supplies the American archeologist with a text which, supplemented by other aboriginal documents, furnishes us with considerable information as to the beliefs of the ancient American Algonkin stock.
The Indian of that day had a trinity of objects of worship: Light, Winds, Totemic Animals.
LIGHT WAS WORSHIPPED
They worshipped the Light. They did this under three forms: the Sun, Fire, and the Hare.
Brainerd, "Life and Journal," says "Others imagined the sun to be the only deity, and that all things were made by him."
Among their festivals, the fifth was held in honor of "fire." They personified fire and called it "the grandfather of all Indian Nations." They assigned to it twelve divine assistants, represented by so many actors in the ceremony. This has very clear reference to the twelve moons or months of the year, the fire being a type of the heavenly blaze — the sun. [See Loskiel, Geschichte, etc.] Both sun and fire were material emblems of the mystery of Light. Out in the Fair Grounds at Newark, Ohio, is found one of the remarkable enclosures of the Mound Builders. It has but one opening. In the center of the immense enclosure is the dirt effigy of some great winged creature. It is flying straight toward this one opening. In the summer of 1917 my family gypsied with our auto through southern Ohio and we encamped in this enclosure over night. At daybreak my children stood on the top of the effigy and looked across its body toward that one opening and discovered they were gazing straight at the sun as it rose over the eastern hills.
The son and fire became the body or fountain of deity [Brainerd]. Something "all light," a being in whom the earth and all things in it may be seen, a "great man, clothed with the day, yea, with the brightest day, a day of many years, a day of everlasting continuance." Light was also worshipped under the symbol of the Hare. [Brinton.] The Delawares applied to the Hare the appellation "Grandfather of the Indians." [Loskiel.] Like the fire, the hare was considered their ancestor, in both Light was meant, their word for "hare" was identical with their word for "brightness and light." Now the "Light" worship among the Delaware Indians has an immediate bearing on several points in the Walum Olum. No compounds are more frequent in that document than those with the root signifying "light", "brightness".
WORSHIP GIVEN TO THE FOUR CARDINAL WINDS
The Indians worshipped the four cardinal points. This worship was parallel with that of Light and very probably was a part of it. These four cardinal points appear as the four winds, they bring the rain and sunshine, they rule over the weather. Brainerd observes "after the strictest inquiry respecting their notions of the Deity, I find that in ancient times before the coming of the white people, some supposed there were four invisible powers who presided over the four corners of the earth."
BELIEF HELD IN THE SOUL IMMORTALITY
They had a general belief in a soul, spirit, or immaterial part of man. Their words for soul were:
tschipey - root - to be separate or apart.
tschitschank - root - the shadow.
After death the soul went south. It enjoyed here a happy life for a certain term of years, then could return and be born again into the world. In certain ecstasies this soul had power to recall its former existences, both mundane and purgatorial.
Thus we learn that the Aboriginal American, especially of the Algonkin stock, had dim memories of an exceedingly ancient lineage, extending over vast reaches of land and sea; he had developed a religious cult that found place for the invisible forces of the spiritual world. God had a meaning to him and he found in himself a spiritual nature. Moreover, he projected life beyond the limits of the physical world and discovered certain great virtues inherent in his cosmogony. As time stretches out, the origins of man on the American continents will appeal increasingly to the archaeologist. Trend of opinion is assigning to him more ancient epochs than was formerly granted. Meanwhile, the student of American life will find it profitable to investigate the legends of these Lenape Indians and their observations recorded by early whites who lived among them.
Squier's paraphrase of the Walum Olum, as found in Drake's Aboriginal Races of North America, is given here at length.
CANTO I. The Creation
- At the first there were great waters above all the land.
- And above the waters were thick clouds, and there was God the Creator.
- The first being, eternal, omnipotent, invisible, was God the Creator.
- He created vast waters, great lands, and much air and heaven;
- He created the sun the moon, and the stars;
- He caused them all to move well
- By His power He made the winds to blow, purifying, and the deep waters to run off.
- All was made bright and the islands were brought into being
- Then again God the Creator made the great Spirits,
- He made also the first beings, angels and souls
- Then made He a man being, the father of men
- He gave him the first mother, the mother of the early born
- Fishes gave He him, turtles, beasts and birds.
- But the Evil Spirit created evil beings, snakes and monsters
- He created vermin and annoying insects.
- Then were all beings friends.
- There being a good God, all spirits were good -
- The beings, the first men, mothers, wives, little spirits also.
- Fat fruits were the food of the beings and the little spirits:
- All were then happy, easy in mind, and pleased.
- But then came secretly on earth the snake (evil) god, the snake-priest and snake worship.
- Came wickedness, came unhappiness,
- Came then bad weather, disease and death.
- This was all very long ago, at our early home.
CANTO II. The Deluge
- Long ago came the powerful serpent (maskanako), when men had become evil.
- The strong serpent was the foe of the beings, and they became embroiled, hating each other.
- Then they fought and despoiled each other, and were not peaceful.
- And the small men (mattapewi) fought with the keeper of the dead.
- Then the strong serpent resolved all men and beings to destroy immediately.
- The black serpent, monster, brought the snake-water rushing, everywhere destroying.
- The wide waters rushing, wide to the hills, everywhere spreading, everywhere destroying.
- At the island of the turtle (Tula) was Manabozho, of men and beings the grandfather -
- Being born creeping, at turtle land he is ready to move and dwell.
- Men and beings all go forth on the flood of waters, moving 18 afloat everyway seeking the back of the turtle (tulapin).
- The monsters of the sea were many, and destroyed some of them.
- Then the daughter of a spirit helped them in a boat and all joined, saying, come help!
- Manabozho, of all beings, of men and turtles, the grandfather!
- All together on the turtle then, the men then, were all together.
- Much frightened, Manabozho prayed to the turtle that he would make all well again.
- Then the waters ran off, it was dry on mountain and plain and the great evil went elsewhere by the path of the cave.
CANTO III. Migrations
- After the flood the true men (lennapwi) were with the turtle in the cave house.
- It was then cold, it froze and stormed, and
- From the northern plain, they went to possess milder lands, abounding in game.
- That they might be strong and rich, the newcomers divided the lands between the hunters and tillers (wickhichik, elowichik ) .
- The hunters were the strongest, the best, the greatest.
- They spread north, east, south, and west.
- In the white, or snow country (lumowaki), the north country, the turtle land and the hunting country, were the turtle men, or Linapiwi.
- The Snake (evil) people being afraid in their cabins, the snake priest (Nakopowaj said to them, let us go away.
- Then they went to the east, the snake land sorrowfully leaving.
- Thus escaped the snake people, but the trembling and burned land to their strong island (Akomenaki).
- Free from oppressors, and without trouble, the Northlings (Lowaniwi) all went forth separating in the land of snow ( Winiaken ) .
- By the waters of the open sea, the sea of fish, tarried the fathers of the white-eagle (tribe?) and the white wolf.
- Our fathers were rich; constantly sailing in their boats, they discovered to the eastward the Snake island.
- Then said the Head-beaver (Wihlamok) and the Greatbird, let us go to the Snake land.
- All responded, let us go and annihilate the snakes.
- All agreed, the northlings, the easterlings, to pass the frozen waters.
- Wonderful! They all went over the waters of the hard, stony sea, to the open snake waters.
- In vast numbers, in a single night, they went to the eastern or Snake island; all of them marching by night in the darkness.
- The northlings, the easterlings, the southerlings ( Shawanapi), the Beaver-men (Tamakwapis), the Wolf men, the Hunters or best men, the priests (Powatapi), the wiliwapi, with their wives and daughters and their dogs.
- They all arrived at the land of Firs (Shinaking), where they tarried, but the western men (Wunkenapi) hesitating, desired to return to the old turtle land (Tulpaking).
CANTO IV. Chronicle
- Long ago, our fathers were at Shinaki, or Fir land.
- The White Eagle (Wapalanewa) was the path leader of all to this place.
- They searched the great and fine land, the island of the snakes.
- The hardy hunters and the friendly spirits met in council.
- And all said to Kalawil (Beautiful Head): be thou chief ( sakima ) here.
- Being chief he commanded they should go against the snakes.
- But the Snakes were weak and hid themselves at the Bear Hills.
- After Kalawil, Wapagokhas (White Owl) was sakima at Fir land.
- After him Jantowit (Maker) was chief.
- And after him Chilili (Snowbird) was sakima. The south, he said -
- To our fathers, they were able, spreading, to possess.
- To the south went Chilili; to the east went Tamakwi.
- The Southland (Shawanaki) was beautiful, shoreland abounding in tall firs.
- The East Land (Wapanaki) abounded in fish, it was the lake and buffalo land.
- After Chilili, Agamek (Great Warrior) was chief.
- Then our fathers warred against the robbers, Snakes, bad men, and strong men, Chikonapi, Akhonapi, Makatopi, Assinapi.
- After Agamek came ten chiefs and then were many wars south, east, and west.
- After them was Langundowi (the Peaceful) sakima, at the Aholaking (Beautiful land).
- Following him Tasukamend (Never bad), who was a good and just man.
- The chief after him was Pemaholend (Ever beloved), who did good.
- Then Matemik (Town builder) and Pilwihalen.
- And after these in succession, Gunokeni, who was father long, and Mangipetak (Big Teeth).
- Then followed Olumapi (Bundle of sticks), who taught them pictures (records)
- Came then Takwachi (Who shivers with cold), who went southward to the Corn land (Minihaking).
- Next was Huminiend (Corn eater), who caused corn to be planted.
- Then Alko-ohit (The Preserver), who was useful.
- Then Shiwpowi (Salt man) and afterwards Penkwonowi (The Thirsty) when
- There was no rain, and no corn, and he went to the east far from the great river or shore.
- Passing over a hollow mountain (Oligonunk) they at last found food at Shililaking, the plains of the buffalo-land.
- After Penkwonowi, came Mekwoehella (the Weary), and Chingalsawi (the Stiff).
- After him, Kwitikwund (the Reprover), who was disliked and not willingly endured.
- Being angry, some went to the eastward, and some went secretly afar off.
- The wise tarried, and made Makaholend (the Beloved) chief.
- By the Wisawana (Yellow River) they built towns, and raised corn on the great meadows.
- All being friends, Tamenend (the Amiable) lit beaverlike, became the first chief.
- The best of all, then or since, was Tamenend, and all men were his friends.
- After him was the good chief, Wapikicholen (White Crane).
- And then Wingenund (the Mindful or Wary), who made feasts.
- After him came Lapawin (the White) and Wallama (the Painted ) and
- Waptiwapit (White Bird), when there was war again, north and south.
- Then was Tamaskan (Strong Wolf) chief, who was wise in council, and
- Who made war on all, and killed Maskensini (Great Stone).
- Messissuwi (the Whole) was next chief, and made war on the Snakes (Akowini).
- Chitanwulit (Strong and Good) followed, and made war on the northern enemies (Lowanuski).
- Alkouwi (the Lean) was next chief, and made war on the Father-snakes (Towakon).
- Opekasit (East Looking) being next chief, was sad because of so much warfare.
- Said, let us go to the sunrising (Wapagishek), and many went east together.
- The great river (Missussipi) divided the land, and being tired, they tarried there
- Yagawanend (Hut Maker) was next sakima, and then the Tallegwi were found possessing the east.
- Followed Chitanitis (Strong Friend), who longed for the rich eastland.
- Some went to the east, but the Tallegwi killed a portion.
- Then all of one mind exclaimed, war! war!
- The Talmaton (Not of Themselves) and the Nitilowan all go united (to the war).
- Kinnehopend (Sharp Looking) was their leader, and they went over the river.
- And they took all that was there, and despoiled and slew the Tallegwi.
- Pimokhasuwi (Stirring About) was next chief, and then the Tallegwi were much too strong.
- Teuchekensit (Open Path) followed, and many towns were given up to him.
- Paganchihilla was chief and the Tallegwi all went southward.
- Hattanwulaton (the Possessor) was sakima, and all the people were pleased.
- South of the lakes they settled their council fire, and north of the lakes were their friends the Talamaton (Huron?).
- They were not always friends, but conspired when Gunitakan was chief.
- Next was Linniwolamen who made war of the Talamaton.
- Shakagapewi followed, and then the Talamatons trembled.
- All were peaceful long ago, at the land of the Tallegwi.
- Then was Tamaganenu (weaver Leader) chief at the White River.
- Wapushuwi (White Lynx) followed and much corn was planted.
- After came Walichinik, and the people became very numerous.
- Next was Lekhitin, and made many records (Walum Olum) or painted sticks.
- Followed Kolachnisen (Blue Bird), at the place of much fruit or food.
- Pematalli was chief over many towns.
- And Pepomahemen (Paddler), at many waters (or the great waters).
- And Tankawon (Little Cloud) was chief, and many went away.
- The Nentegos and the Shawanis went to the southward
- Kichitamak (Big Beaver) was chief at the White Lick.
- The Good Prophet (Onowatok) went to the west.
- He visited those who were abandoned there and at the southwest.
- Pawanami (Water Turtle) was chief at the Talegahonah ( Ohio ) river.
- Lakwelend (Walker) was next chief, and there was much warfare.
- Against the Towako (Father Snakes), against the Sinako (Stone or Mountain Snakes), and against the I,owako (North Snakes).
- Then was Mokolmokoni (Grandfather-of-boats) chief, and he warred against the snakes in boats.
- Winelowich (Snow Hunter) was the chief at the north land.
- And Likwekinuk (Sharp Seer) was chief at the Allegheny Mountains (Talegachukang).
- And Wapalawikwon (East Settler) was chief east of the Tallegwi land.
- Large and long was the east land;
- It had no enemies (snakes) and was a rich and good land.
- And Gikenopolat (Great Warrior) was chief towards the north.
- And Hanaholend (Stream Lover) at the branching stream (Saswihanang, or Susquehanna).
- And Gattawisi (the Fat) was sakima at the Sassafras land.
- All were hunters from the big Salt Water (Goshikshapipek), to the again sea.
- Maklinawip (Red Arrow) was chief at tide-water.
- And Wolomenap was chief at the strong falls.
- And the Wapanend and the Tumewand were to the north.
- Walitpollot (Good Fighter) was chief, and set out against the north.
- Then trembled the Mahongwi (The Iroquois) and the Pungelika (Lynx-like or Eries).
- Then the second Tamenend (Beaver) was chief and he made peace with all
- And all were friends, all united under this great chief
- After him was Kichitamak (Great-good-beaver) chief in the Sassafras land.
- Wapahaky (White Body) was chief at the seashore.
- Elangonel (the Friendly) was chief, and much good was done.
- And Pitemunen was chief, and people came from somewhere.
- At this time from the east came that which was white (vessels?).
- Makelomuch was chief and made all happy.
- Wulakeningus was next chief, and was a warrior at the south.
- He made war on the Otaliwako (Cherokee snakes or enemies) and upon the Akowetako (Coweta snakes).
- Wapagamoski (White Otter) was next chief, and made the Talamatons friends.
- Wapashum followed and visited the land of Tallegwi at the west.
- There were the Hiliniki (Illinois?), the Shawani, and the Kenowiki.
- Nitispayat was also chief and went to the great lakes.
- And he visited the Wemiamik (Beaver Children, or Miamis) and made them friends.
- Then came Rackimitzin (Cranberry-eater), who made the Tawa (Ottawas) friends.
- Lowaponska was chief and visited the Noisy place
- And Tashawinso was chief at the seashore
- Then the children divided into three parts, the Unamini (Turtle tribe), the Minsimini (Wolf tribe), the Chikimini (Turkey tribe).
- Epallahohund was chief, and fought the Mahongwim, but failed.
- Laugomuwi was chief, and the Mahongwi trembled.
- Waugomend was chief, yonder between
- The Otawili and Wasiotowi were his enemies
- Wapachikis (White Crab) was chief, and a friend of the shore people.
- 56 Nenachipat was chief towards the sea.
- 57 Now from the north and south came the Wapagachik (White comers).
- Professing to be friends, in big birds (ships), who are they?
- Brinton: Lenave and Their Legends.
- Brinton: Library of Aboriginal American Literature. Vol. 5. 1885. Phila.
- Beach: Indian Migrations in his "Indian Miscellany."
- Halo: Indian Migrations as Evidenced by Language. 1883. Chicago.
- Lacombe: Dictionnaire de la langue des Cries. 1874. Montreal.
- Howse: A Grammar of the Cree Language. 1842. London.
- Shea: Province of Maryland. George Alsop.
- Shea: American Historical Magazine. Vol. 2.
- Guss: Early Indian History on the Susquehanna. 1883. Harrisburg.
- Heckewelder: History of Indian Nations.
- Jones: History of Objibway Nation.
- Jones: Relation des Jesuits 1637.
- Haywood: Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee. 1823. Nashville.
- Loskiel: Geschichte des Missions.
- Ettwein: Traditions and Language of the Indian Nations. 1788.
- Drummond: Articles in American Philosophical Association. 1872.
- Drummond: Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society.
- Brunner: The Indians of Berks Co., Penna. 1881. Reading.
- Richardson: John Richardson's Diary. 1844. London.
- Schoolcraft: History and Statistics of the Indian Tribes.
- De Schweintz: Life of Zeisberger.
- Williams: Key Into the Language of America.
- Adair. History of the Indians
- Brinton: Myths of the New World.
- Brainerd: Life and Journal.
- Brainerd: Pennsylvania Historical Society Bulletins. 1848.
- Harrison: A Discourse on the Aborigines of the Valley of the Ohio. 1838.
- Gallatin: Transactions American Antiquity.
- Drake: Aboriginal Races of North America.
* * *
THE CLAIMS OF THE MODERN OPERATIVES
Bro. R. J. Meekren
THIS article was partly written two years ago at the request of Bro. Haywood, while the author was in England where he had the privilege of seeing and hearing a good deal at first hand on the subject. It has been completed with a view to presenting the other side of the case so ably advocated by Bro. Springett in his article that appeared in the Augustand Septembernumbers of The Builder, Bro. Wonnacott very kindly furnishing additional information for this purpose, and permission to use his name.
SOME time within the first decade of the present century — I put it thus indefinitely for so far I have not been able to learn exactly when or how the first announcement was made — the members of the Craft in England were intrigued by statements that lodges of Operative Masons were still in existence, and working the original initiatory rites as handed down from a remote past.
Clement Stretton, a North of England Civil Engineer, claimed to be one of the three chief masters of this organization. Dr. Carr became one of his disciples, and wrote his descriptive pamphlet, The Ritual of the Operative Freemasons, and later Dr. Merz in this country published Guild Masonry in the Making, while John Yarker acted in support by various statements and references in certain of his works. The claims made by these brethren were naturally heard with mingled feelings by Masonic scholars. It is not easy to mentally adjust oneself to facts that appear to undermine the very presuppositions of all one's previous work. An analogous case in science was the discovery of radio-activity, which necessitated an entire revision of the accepted physical hypotheses and an abandonment of the older theory of indestructible and inert atoms as the substratum of matter.
The first impulse, and a perfectly normal and sane one, is to doubt such alleged discovery, and to put it to the most searching tests. This Masonic students did with the claims of the "Operative" Masons: yet on the other hand they showed a perfect willingness to be convinced, and many of them took a great deal of trouble, and were willing to agree to any possible conditions that might be laid down for an examination of the records said to be in the possession of the Operative Society. In short, it cannot be said that these claims met with an intolerant or prejudiced examination; and if the weight of Masonic scholarship has finally rejected them it is due to a continued refusal, or inability, to produce any tangible evidence. It is certainly curious that not only have the ritual secrets of the Guild been communicated freely to Speculative Masons, but in the works of the brethren above mentioned they have been published to the world at large, so far as it may be interested; while inspection of minute books and accounts has been consistently refused on various pretexts.
THE CLAIMS MADE BY THE OPERATIVES
It may be as well to recapitulate the more or less official statements and claims of the modern Operative or Guild Masons, the full title of whose society is "The Worshipful Society of Freemasons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers."
It may be noted, by the way, that while the name of the society indicates that it includes all these occupations connected with building, yet apparently only the stone masons are actually admitted into the lodges, though Carr does say that a Fellow will exchange the apprentice grip with a bricklayer, but will go no further. The operative craft, according to the accounts given, is divided into two, the arch and square masons, and a man must belong to one or other exclusively, except that the masters are free of both, and form the link that unites the two branches into one organization, for the lodges of the lower degrees are separate for each. The Apprentice is not considered a member of the society, though obligated and entrusted with certain ritual secrets. When he has served his time he becomes a Fellow, from which degree he may advance to Super-Fellow, and from that to Super-Fellow Erector. Then he may become a Superintendent and after that a Passed Master. From the Passed Masters on is annually chosen to be one (the junior) of the three Masters who rule the society. This position is filled annually, the second and third Masters holding office for life or until they retire.
The ceremonies of the first grade correspond to those of Entered Apprentice in Speculative Masonry, and Fellow to the Fellow Craft. Super-Fellow and Erector parallel Speculative Mark Masonry, while the degree of Master Mason is said to be an imitation of the annual ceremonies connected with the election and installation of the Third Master, who is said to represent H.A.B., only the ceremony is used to retire the occupant of the office at the end of his term and give an occasion to install his successor, instead of being an initiation into a higher grade. From the accounts given us there is one idea specially worked out in the ritual of each of the first four grades, which is that the candidate is made to emblematically represent the stone, in its rough and polished states and as marked and set in its place in the building.
The Operatives give a very detailed account of the origin of present day Speculative Masonry. They lay all the blame on Dr. Anderson, who it would seem, poor man, has still another set of sins to answer for in addition to those that have been laid at his door by modern scholars, of unreliability in his historical accounts and his liberalizing tendencies in religion. By this account he was Chaplain to the old Lodge of St. Paul's (this same account, by the way, is the authority that there was such a lodge) and that he irregularly admitted sundry gentlemen as honorary members of the Craft. For this he was expelled, and in consequence proceeded to set up a Speculative lodge in conjunction with those whom he had irregularly introduced (who included, it is said, Dr. Desaguliers, Sayer and George Payne) and from this clandestine Speculative lodge the Grand Lodge of 1717 shortly after arose. Dr. Carr says:
"In 1717, under the influence of Dr. Anderson and his friends, some Operative Freemasons with some of these non-Operative, Accepted or Speculative Freemasons, belonging to four lodges in London, met and formed the first Grand Lodge, a combination in which Speculative Masonry instead of Operative Masonry was the primary consideration. Architecture and Operative tools became symbolical, but the ritual was based on the Ritual of the old Operative Society, of which, indeed, it was largely a reproduction.
"The Apprentice Degree and the Fellow Craft Degree were founded on the corresponding degrees of the Operative System.
"Later on, when a Master's Degree — not a Master of a lodge, but a Master Mason — was added, Anderson and his friends invented a ceremony based on the Operatives' Annual Festival of Oct. 2, commemorating the slaying of Hiram Abiff at the building of King Solomon's Temple.
"The real Secrets and real Ritual of the Operative Master's Degree could not be given, as but few knew them, namely, only those who had actually been one of the three Masters, Seventh Degree, by whom the Operatives were ruled, and Anderson had certainly not been one of these; his function having been that of Chaplain, although it is quite possible he had been admitted an Accepted member of the Craft some years previously in Scotland."
Now of course if Operative Masonry did consist of a two-branched seven-degree organization, and if Sir Christopher Wren was chief Master of the lodge that built St. Paul's Cathedral when Anderson was Chaplain, then this account might be accepted; but as this complicated organization of the Craft is one of the very points at issue it must be held in doubt till the matter is decided.
THE OPERATIVE CONTENTIONS CRITICIZED
There are three lines of criticism which may be followed. The strictly historical is one. The time and occasion when modern Operative Masonry was first heard of, the development of its claims, the attempts of qualified students to find out more about it, the constant evasions of Bro. Stretton, and his refusal to meet direct, straightforward inquiries concerning the alleged continuous records. There is in the possession of Bro. Wonnacott, Grand Librarian of the United Grand Lodge of England, a collection of letters from Stretton to a prominent member of the Craft now deceased, covering a period of about five years. In these letters one can see a gradual evolution of the claims and characteristics of the Guild organization; to use Bro. Wonnacott's own phrase, one "can almost see it grow"; and by comparing dates, it is even possible to see what books Stretton had been reading. In one important point he flatly contradicted himself. One of the earlier letters gives a long, circumstantial, half-jocular, account of the initiation of the landlady of a public house where the meetings were held, into the first degree, so that she could be free to enter the lodge with refreshments when required. As the Operative ritual requires the candidate to be stripped naked this was somewhat embarrassing, as Stretton was at pains to explain. Some years later he repudiates the idea that ever under any circumstances could a woman be admitted. Masonic students in England are personally aware of all these circumstances and so far it has not seemed to them worth while to actually collect the facts concerning these claims. But for the coming generation, and for those at a distance it would be well if some qualified brother should take this task in hand.
Another line of approach is through a criticism of the Operative ritual itself in the light of all the facts known about the Speculative ritual forms, and a third would be a consideration from a technical point of view of the alleged Operative trade secrets and methods of planning and laying out buildings. To deal with these two aspects of the question we need no more evidence than is furnished by the writings of the partizans of the Operative claims.
We may start with the title itself. We have already pointed out the contradiction between a Society of Rough Masons, Plasterers, Bricklayers and others that does not admit any man of these trades to more than a first degree, which is expressly stated to be exterior (that is, the apprentice is not a member of the Society) so that though the Slater or Pavior may be given the apprentice grip and word he does not really belong. Bro. Merz in his Guild Masonry in the Making alludes to a number of instances of Guilds or Companies composed of a group of crafts including masons. He also gives in full the charter given by the Bishop of Durham to a Guild in that city in 1638. The curious thing in this (it is not a charter of constitution, but of confirmation) is that in the preamble it speaks of the Society having formerly existed under the name of Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaytors, Pavers, Playsterers and Bricklayers — the title is mentioned twice, the second time to say that "from henceforth and hereafter" it is to be "in deed and name one body politiq ppetuall and incorporate by the name of the Company society and fellowship of freemasons, roughmasons, wallers, etc." That is the freemasons are from thenceforward to be a part of this civic corporation. How this can be evidence of any esoteric organization is hard to see. All such guilds and companies composed of like (and in some cases unlike) occupations were formed for purely local and sectional reasons, to make rules for the occupations concerned, to inspect work done and, especially, to prevent the employment of "furriners," men without the freedom of the city. Again all the old MS. Constitutions insist that there must be no consorting with roughmasons or layers — probably much the same class of workmen as wallers, yet according to the modern Guild rules they are allowed to enter as apprentices. Yet the old "Charges" are claimed as being really Guild documents! They certainly are operative documents, but the assumption of the term operative by a modern organization gives the latter no claim on them except by confusion of thought.
WERE THERE SEVEN DEGREES?
The next point is the hierarchy of seven grades or degrees. We must all heartily agree with Bro. Merz that the medieval Masons could have devised and worked a seven degree ritual, but the question is not whether they had the ability but whether they actually did so. If the modern Operatives did not appeal to the Old Charges and the other records of the Craft we could have little to say, for it is hard to prove a negative. Such an organization might have existed, might have been perpetuated, but it would be something quite other than the organization that we know did exist. But if they bring the records of this last as evidence for their claims it seems they can only be disallowed, for the Mason craft of which we have documentary knowledge possessed three ranks and two grades, or if not two then only one. This last is to some extent still an open question — but the bearing is the same, however decided. There were three ranks known — the Masters, employing other men, the Fellows and the Apprentices. In degree, either all ranks were included in one esoteric grade or the Apprentice grade was one step and Master or Fellow another.
DEGREE TITLES SOUND MODERN
The titles of the seven Operative degrees give the impression of modernity rather than antiquity. Super-Fellow and Super-Fellow Erector are very clumsy titles — not such as would stand the wear and tear of centuries. A "banker" or "setter", a "layer", "cutter", or "carver" are terms that could be and have been used. But the prefix "super" applied to fellow is not easy to say, it does not run smoothly. It also suggests some forgotten side degrees of the middle eighteenth century Speculatives, such as Super-excellent Master, a much more euphonious title, by the way, than Superfellow, though it has been practically discarded for the more sonorous Most-excellent. The sixth grade is called Passed Master, which composes the body of Harodim. Passed or Past Master is a simple, smooth sounding phrase that might be of any age, only there is no evidence in any documentary record that it was actually used until after the crucial year of 1717 and the formation of the Speculative organization. So far as can be gathered it meant (however spelled) either one whom we would call a Past Master, or what we intend when we say one has been raised a Master. The terms pass and raise were at first used indiscriminately for either or both the Speculative degrees of Fellowcraft and Master Mason. Harodim is again a curious term. It is not impossible, of course, that it might have been used in medieval times, but it is quite certain that we first hear of it in connection with Speculative Masonry. It sounds very much like a bit of the learned pedantry that marked the period in which the latter was organized. Until some record of its previous use can be adduced it rather points to modern invention than immemorial usage.
In the actual ceremonies themselves as they have been described to us there are many minor points that seem to indicate an evolution from the Speculative ritual used in England at the present time. Some of these points indeed are even used by the supporters of the "Guild" claims as evidence for their contention. The mere fact of resemblance proves nothing one way or the other, nor does it follow that the more developed is necessarily the original, it may be an evolution from the simpler form. For instance, Bro. Carr in a paper read before the Author's Lodge  makes a point of the fact that in an Operative masters lodge three mountains intimately connected with Hebrew history are referred to, Moriah, Tabor and Sinai. Then he observes that in the special form of opening the lodge in the English Grand and Provincial Grand Lodges the Grand Wardens are said to have their stations on Tabor and Sinai respectively. The argument is that because the Speculative ritual does not go on to place the Grand Master on Moriah this ceremony is an imperfect reflection of the Operative form. So it might be if there were nothing else to consider. But when we remember that this Tabor, Sinai form is peculiar to England, and that it is restricted to Grand Lodge, we have to hesitate, because to fully appraise the problem we must remember that other Speculative ritual traditions are of equal value to the post-Union ritual of England, if indeed they are not of even greater weight, when we are trying to work back to early eighteenth century forms. Briefly we know that the oldest catechisms referred to high hills and to the Valley of Jehosaphat. This was quite sufficient to have been the germ of the Grand Lodge formula and the Operative addition could have well been a still further evolution, put in conjunction with their method of placing the officers in just the opposite positions to those they have in Speculative Masonry, that is West-East-North instead of East-West-South. But all the earliest ritual evidence, which must almost certainly take us behind the supposed Andersonian innovations, goes to show that the Master's place was always East and the Warden's (for at first there seems, at least in some places, only to have been one) in the West.
OTHER POINTS CRITICIZED
In the Operative system a great deal is made of the great secret of the 3-4-5 sided triangle, and each of the three Masters has a rod of proportionate length, so that with the three such a triangle can be made. This Operative grade is equated with the Royal Arch. In the English form of this degree each of the three principal officers bears a scepter, and at a certain point in the ceremonies a triangle is formed with them, an equilateral triangle. Here again just from these facts alone the derivation might have been one way or the other. The Operative theory is that the Speculative ritual framers had a vague inkling of the formation of a triangle but did not know its significance. But we know, curiously enough through Bro. Yarker himself who laboriously made a beautifully written copy for the Library of the Grand Lodge of England and another for Quatuor Coronati Lodge, that a form of lectures used by Speculatives at the end of the eighteenth century contained this great Operative secret, so that it was quite well known to the Speculative Craft late in the eighteenth century. An argument based on this being unknown to them must fall to the ground in the light of this evidence.
Another point is made of the length and complexity of the Operative ceremonies, and the references to technicalities and trade secrets. But inherently this would seem to point rather to invention than to tradition. A ceremony is no place for practical instruction. The apprentice was not taught in a class but as he worked. At the end of his apprenticeship he was a master of his craft, he knew all the trade secrets and operations and had the manual skill to employ them.
A ceremony is described of stretching a cord between the stations of the three principal officers so as to make a triangle, and then the measurement of the three angles together must make three right angles. The three angles of any triangle must always equal two right angles, though to measure the angle made by a stretched cord would be difficult enough to do with any accuracy — and as useless as difficult.
The symbolism of the Pole Star and the Swastika again sounds very like a borrowing from modern researches; one would guess that the framer of these rituals had read Bro. Simpson's work on the Buddhist Prayer Wheel, and other works of like content that were published in the late nineties of the last century or the first years of the present one; that he was acquainted with the various theories advanced by Masonic scholars, such as the old one that the Royal Arch was originally part of the third degree — a hypothesis that seems the less tenable the more closely it is considered in the light of known facts; or the opinion that the "Lodge" is derived from the "Guild," which brings many unnecessary difficulties in its train; or the very common supposition that Craft ceremonies are ultimately of Hebrew origin, which has led to so much learned darkening of counsel by multitudes of words.
These points we have been considering are not of course conclusive, but taken together in the light of the constant refusal to submit any of the documentary evidence which is said to be in the possession of the Operative Society they certainly make a strong case for rejection of the claims made for its continuous existence, in its present form, from time immemorial. It is difficult to get over the extraordinary facility with which esoteric and ritual secrets have been published while such commonplace things as minutes and books of account have been withheld. The story that they are in a secret vault that only the Masters can enter, and from which they cannot be removed, is not very convincing. Bro. Carr is of the Master's Grade, yet he has apparently never seen them, at least he has never said so publicly, nor has he ever dwelt on the point, although it has always been the first one to be raised by every serious student when confronted by the Operative claims.
- Transactions of the Authors Lodge, p. 191, London 1915. ↩
- These lectures were in MS. and belonged to the old Lodge of Lights. The whereabouts of the original is not now known. In their particular form these lectures can be dated by a reference, dragged in quite ridiculously, to Sir Peter Parker, who was Deputy Grand Master from 1787 to 1802. ↩
* * *
Bro. Gilbert W. Daynes
IN the course of the ceremony of raising a Mason to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, as practiced in England, the attention of the candidate is drawn to certain emblems [of mortality] which it is hoped will guide his reflections to that most interesting of all human studies, the knowledge of himself. The maxim, "Know thyself," was no new maxim when the ritual of our Masonic ceremonies was expanded and perfected, during the eighteenth century. We know that, far back in the dim distant past, the heather oracles made use of it. Its origin has been ascribed to one who has been universally recognized as the founder of Greek geometry, astronomy and philosophy — Thales of Miletus — who flourished during the sixth century B.C., and was the chief of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. Chilon of Sparta — another of the seven — makes use of the maxim in his writings, and the saying was also inscribed over the entrance of Apollo's Temple at Delphi. Right down the ages this axiom has been quoted and its eternal verity demonstrated. Christian sages have held it in the highest esteem, and we find many passages in the V.S.L. which point out, in clear and unmistakable terms, its sterling worth. For instance, are we not told in Chapter XVII of St. Luke, verse 21, that "the kingdom of God is within you?" There can be no surer way to that haven of eternal happiness and peace than by learning to "Know thyself ."
Coming down to more recent times we find Alexander Pope clothing this maxim in poetic language thus:
"Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man."
Later on, in the same poem, the maxim is again brought into focus, and we read:
"That virtue only makes our bliss below,
And all our knowledge is, ourselves to know."
It is not surprising, therefore, that Freemasonry, in its system of morality, should point out the desirability for its members to acquire such a knowledge. Many may say that the principle enunciated is self evident, and that it is therefore not necessary to lay stress upon it. It may be true that the advantage of knowing yourself is obvious; but, as the acquisition of that knowledge is by no means easy, and the search after it neglected in so many cases, is it not well that we as Masons should have this truth brought continually to our notice as we listen to the ceremony of the Third Degree? It is to our profit that we should be made to realize the help and guidance that a knowledge of one's self can give, for, as William Hazlitt so truly tells us, "There is nothing that helps a man in his conduct through life more than a knowledge of his own characteristic weaknesses which, guarded against, become his strength." It is for want of such knowledge that men go astray, and utilize their faculties for ignoble ends. There must be no straying into bypaths from the Road of Conscience and Reason; and the precept, "Know thyself," is the best and surest guide, or signpost, to the true road to follow.
Nor is it surprising that this maxim should find its place in the ceremony of the Third Degree, in which are gathered together the fruits of those Degrees which precede it. The Master Mason should consider this charge to "Know thyself," a standing rule of conduct of life, and strive diligently to perfect himself in the necessary knowledge. By the study of ourselves — the sum of wisdom — those tenets which form the basis of Freemasonry can be observed. By a searching knowledge of ourselves we may hope to steer the bark of this life over the seas of passion without quitting the helm of rectitude, and so subdue our passions and prejudices that they may coincide with the just line of our conduct. As Francis Bacon correctly has it, "knowledge is power." Just as knowledge of outside matters will give to the man who acquires it a power over his more ignorant fellowmen, so also will knowledge of one's self give us a power over those unworthy feelings which tend to be uppermost in most human beings. It is by means of such knowledge that man realizes that he does not live merely for himself, but is part of one vast humanity.
There is no better method of grasping and taking to heart those great Masonic principles, which the brotherhood would instill into all its members, than by following the maxim, "Know thyself." Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth will become real factors in a Mason's life. The spirit of Love, as defined in the V.S.L., becomes a standard for attainment; Charity, in its fullest sense, wells up and fills the heart; and Truth comes to the front, thrusting falsehood and dishonor into the abyss. By acquiring knowledge of yourself the shackles of ignorance and prejudice may be struck off, and the garments of goodness and humility donned. Fortified by such a knowledge all matters are put to the highest test, and only the good retained; also, the voice of conscience becomes strengthened and more audible to declare the true way. In short, it cannot be too strongly brought home to every Mason that it is by introspection that the mind is guided into the right channels; and that by a thorough knowledge of one's self the Mason is given strength and courage to practice, outside in the world, those beautiful principles and tenets he is taught within the lodge. The truth of the maxim is brought home by its practice, and thus we are made to feel that more wisdom cannot well be crowded into less room than in those two short words, "Know thyself." The immortal Shakespeare must have understood the true inwardness of this precept, for, in Hamlet, when Polonius is expounding certain principles of character to Laertes, he concludes thus:
"This above all — to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
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THREE DATES IN VERMONT MASONRY
Bro. Herbert H. Hines, Vermont
NORMAN WILLIAMS 1791-1868
Registrar of Probate, Secretary of State for Vermont, State Senator, Clerk of Windsor County Courts, Master of Warren Lodge, Woodstock, Vt., at the time of its dissolution. Was made an honorary Mason in 1856 for fidelity throughout the Anti-Masonic period.
JACOB COLLAMER 1791-1865
Lawyer, Congressman, Postmaster General under President Taylor; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Vermont. United States Senator. Made an honorary Mason in 1856 because he "would not and did not desert" Freemasonry when it was "assailed the fiercest, and when weak-minded and faint-hearted brethren were swept away before the blast." (Records of Woodstock Lodge, No. 31.)
YOUNGER Masons often find themselves governed by curiosity. They have not yet learned the answers to all the questions, and very often face the symbolism of the ancient landmarks with a great deal of bewilderment. It very often seems that a strange, solemn voice is asking, "In your present blind condition, what do you most desire?" No answer comes until a familiar voice whispers, "Further light in Masonry." As long as further light in Masonry is the desire, curiosity leads in many directions. The following account may be taken as a sample of some of the results of investigation on the part of one whose Masonic experience is still so limited that he feels uncomfortable outside the northeast corner. It may also be a warning that not enough of the older brothers assisted in bringing him to Masonic light.
There are three questions that come to one before he has gone very far into the history of the Vermont lodges: (1) Why did the old lodges disband? (2) Why were they reorganized? (3) What does it mean today? The first question is the most difficult to answer; the second is largely left to our imaginations; while the third is answered in the spirit of the Craft today. It might be thought as centering around three dates: 1832, 1850 and 1925. It takes us back to one of the most unstudied periods in American history. Yet to us, interested in preserving the ancient landmarks that anti-Masonry more nearly defeated than we like to think, the years from 1826-1845 are of unusual interest.
HOW ANTI-MASONRY BEGAN
When we turn to our most reliable information we read that a dissolute, shiftless bricklayer in Batavia, New York, a man who had "failed in everything else ... thought to make money by betraying the secrets of an order which his presence polluted." That he was foolishly arrested on a trumped-up charge and afterwards taken by a few Masons, with or without his consent, who "got him out of the country, and apparently paid him to stay out." There should have been no attention paid to him. But "rumors of abduction started." It was said that he had been "thrown into Niagara," or otherwise killed. There is "no proof that he was ever killed." The Governor of New York made every effort to detect and punish any possible murderer. The wild rumors, however, soon reached Vermont and quickly penetrated to every village and hamlet within its borders.
In the future historian's unprejudiced analysis of the causes of anti-Masonry, the part played by William Morgan will be as insignificant as that of the killing of an already unknown man in a forgotten city of Central Europe in the real causes of the Great War. Today we know how it was seized for political propaganda by Thurlow Weed and his "pack of unscrupulous politicians"; of Weed's statement: "It's a good enough Morgan until after election," and how it spread like a prairie fire, and about as disastrously. Politically it centered in the election of 1832 in which the Democrats renominated Andrew Jackson (at the convention which first inaugurated the two-thirds rule); the National Republicans nominated Henry Clay, while the anti-Masons, the first in the field, presented a former United States Attorney-General, William Wirt. In his speech of acceptance, Mr. Wirt said that he had not been in a Masonic lodge for many years; that he had never taken the Third Degree, and that he had not known that anything was wrong with Masonry until he had read certain pamphlets printed in New York. The party, aided by the pen of Horace Greely and popular frenzy, was particularly powerful in Western New York and Vermont, where Mr. Wirt was heralded as the Moses who would lead the country through the Red Sea of Masonry.
The results of the election were that Henry Clay, a Mason, was defeated; Andrew Jackson, another Mason, was elected, while the only state of the twenty one to give its electoral vote for William Wirt was Vermont. It is rather hard to explain why the supposedly conservative state of Vermont was so carried away with the movement, but the center of the excitement for New England was in Central Vermont. For several years almost all local and state officers were non-Masons, for it was the election issue that it was the duty to keep Masons out of office. At several state elections no governor was chosen. The elections in the legislature went to thirty or forty ballots, and on one occasion no governor could be elected.
WHAT THE MOVEMENT EFFECTED
From old diaries, and from older men who heard the story from the generation before them, we learn how the excitement rose to white heat, affecting business, dividing towns, splitting families and churches. Masons were not allowed to serve in courts, not even on the jury. The demand was that they should not be allowed to vote. Masonic clergymen were forced out of churches by dramatic methods. At funerals, Masonic relatives would sit in one room and the anti-Masonic relatives in the other, and at the grave the factions would stand on opposite sides. Lodges speedily surrendered their charters. The Grand Lodge was declared by the Masons themselves to be unnecessary. Morgan's book was sold on the trains and in stores for twenty-five cents a copy. Caravans traveled from town to town giving exhibitions of the degrees. One day, in the Windsor County court house, 300 received the Third Degree by proxy.
There had been in the shire town of Windsor County a certain Joe Burnham who had disappeared and had been pronounced dead. Later he returned to the town in perfect health. The anti-Masons said that he had really died but that he had been raised to life in Masonry. A five-act play was presented in a large hall entitled, "The Tragic Raising of Joe Burnham," and the newspaper of that week says it was accompanied by broken heads, black eyes and bloody noses." Local people who had been named in the play brought suit for slander, which went through several courts before it was finally settled. A copy of this play sold not long ago for $750 to a book dealer who again sold it at a considerable profit.
Everything was done to make Masonry ridiculous. Stones were thrown through church windows at ministers; anti-Masonic almanacs were distributed; conventions were held in churches of almost all denominations. At church services ministers asked, not for converts to religion, but for men to renounce Masonry. There is one record of a man acquitted for a serious crime on the grounds that being a Mason he was not a responsible citizen. Masonry was held to be a "secret combination at war with free government," to contain "illegal oaths," to "shield criminals from punishment," while such epitaphs as "kidnappers" were among the mildest sort used. The result was that by 1833 the Vermont Legislature reported with satisfaction the very small number of lodges and the diminishing ranks of Masonry.
BIGOTED HOSTILITY DEVELOPED
In the beginning, some newspapers, as the Vermont Courier, were very tolerant, and committed the heresy of suggesting that the anti-Masons were without "good sense, reason or sound prudence," and that Masons seemed to be qualified for public office. The chief opposition in Central Vermont came from a paper called "The American Whig, Vermont Luminary and Equal Rights, published by the Windsor County AntiMasonic Committee." In the files of this paper is the record of one of the most unreasonable and intolerant attacks ever made by one body of citizens against another, and printed at the very center of this "bitter and baseless persecution." Certainly in Vermont history there is nothing to compare with it since the land grant struggle of the early pioneers. Among the signed articles are numerous "withdrawals" from Masonry. The following is a sample, from the issue of Jan. 7, 1832:
"Feeling conscious of my accountability to God, and duty to my country and posterity I cannot (consistently) any longer forbear stating to the public my former and present views of the Masonic Institution. I was made a Mason in Faithful Lodge, Charlestown, N.H., about the year 1809 or 1810, and was raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason. At that time, being in an atheistical state of mind, I expected to find light which would be of great service to me, but being disappointed in each step, I was told that the light was in the higher degrees. You must go further to obtain the desired object. During this time, while undetermined about going further, in the higher degrees, our agent returned from a visit to the Grand Lodge of the state. Among other things our agent told us that there was a brother under trial for un-Masonic conduct and would probably be expelled from the lodge, simply for the crime of stating that the degrees in Masonry above the third were merely nominal. As I was convinced that the first three degrees were such, it struck my mind forcibly that the man told the truth. Therefore I concluded not to follow the phantom any further but determined to search for light from some other source. Soon after this I was led to examine the Bible (for I had hitherto much neglected it) — I found a glorious light — viewing Masonry by this light I found it to be total darkness and I could no longer have any fellowship with it. I could not rest. Whenever I heard of Masonry I became excited. I rejoiced at Morgan's exposition — the snare of Masonry was now broken — it was the handmaid of infidelityits oaths and obligations are profane. Therefore I renounce it as dangerous to civil and religious rights and privileges."
The same paper one week published a list of Masons living in a nearby town. The next week there was a communication from one of the men mentioned who said that while he had been a Mason he had not attended lodge for six years; had not in that time spoken to a Mason, and would not do so. Another denial of Masonry has this paragraph:
"I believe Freemasonry is a moral, charitable, benevolent and literary institution. But its morals are heathenish. its benevolence selfish, its humanity cruel, its literature childish, its religion anti-Christian. destructive and anti-republican. It is said that Masonry is of divine origin, that it descended from Heaven. Here I believe is some mistake. It came from the other place and I guess 'twill go there again."
A sample of how anti-Masonry perverted every possible representation of the Order is seen in the following poem. It was written by a Prof. Dean, and very widely circulated under the title "The Freemason's Dream." The last verse read:
"My heart in devotion, it swells to an ocean
To see all Freemasons in union agree;
We will meet them in glory, and there tell the story,
Where troubles and triais forever shall flee."
This was changed to read:
"My heart in dejection, it swells to reflection
To see the corruption of Freemasonry
Could I meet them in glory, I'd there tell the story,
And warn the Freemasons from its thraldom to flee."
But the warning was hardly necessary to the few lodges and members that were left in this part of the state. In most towns a faithful few had hidden the records and working tools, sometimes in a hole on a hillside, or under the floor of a barn where it would be accidentally discovered years later.
Like all wide spreading movements, the causes and encouragements of anti-Masonry were complex and very diverse. In some parts the Morgan affair was a subterfuge, a political plot under a thin disguise. In other towns internal trouble in the lodge defeated its purpose. "Immoral conduct of the members, lack of ability to enforce discipline in the lodge, the brethren will not meet upon the level or part upon the square, obligations are disregarded," these are the reasons for the abandonment of the lodge in the shire town of Windsor County as early as 1827. This was not an exceptional case, but a sample of the pernicious purposes undermining the Craft. It is undoubtedly true that Vermont Masonry had flourished more than was good for itself. Many had become members for political influence. Many knew nothing at all about the Order, never had attended a meeting since they had been made members, and were ignorant of its principles. It could be said of the lodges as it was said of the first Grand Lodge in England, "It ran itself out of breath through the folly of its members."
It was also the time of many revival movements of an emotional type that took Masonry as its chief point of attack. It was the time of many fanatical excitements such as phrenology, mind-reading, magnetism, hypnotism, and many such movements, most of which were half fraud. The new immigration brought social unrest; the spoils system caused political dissatisfaction. Anyone with a loud voice could get an audience. It was as true then as now:
"The whole world loves the quiet men
Who sit all day as still as owls;
But 'tis needless to mention,
It gives its attention,
To the man who gets up and howls."
Twenty years passed, and in 1850 in Windsor, and gradually all the other towns and villages of Central Vermont, little groups of a dozen or fifteen men quietly came together of their "own free will and accord" for the reformation of their lodges. They were men beyond middle age. They had no banquets, parades or public services. They were willing to make sacrifices, to endure hardships, to work hard, to face possible local criticism and personal risk. There was not a "cowan" among them. No one in those days talked about "watch-fob Masons." Masonry had been purged until there were no members who were Masons only in name. They had not come together for social purposes, for they could have found that in other places with less personal risk. There must have been some deeper purpose behind their reorganization. Sometimes it is only when a man takes a long journey away from home that he truly comes to appreciate its love and care. Often a man can judge his business best when he is away from it. A certain man who lived in a situation where for three years he could not attend church, came to a new appreciation of its necessity and worth through its enforced absence. Something like that moved these men of seventy years ago.
They could only have been men who knew their work well. Through the years, the old truths, of which their work was but the symbol, must have haunted their minds, for they lived not with the monthly repetition of the work but with the ideas of what it meant. It must have seemed to them that they were living in the ante-room when they should have gone on into the lodge; that there was confusion among the workmen, that their column was broken and the temple incomplete. They had been spending their years in the North and its darkness was unnecessary. As earnest workmen they had set out in "friendship, morality and truth," but they had been betrayed by those whom they had trusted, their hopes and creative purposes had been put to death and thrown into an unmarked grave. Their enemies had said that Masonry was dead, but these few men believed that there was still something that could not be defeated, and which could yet be raised from the level of death to the perpendicular of life. Once they had known "how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." Then their society had been torn by jealousy, hatred, unkindness and unbrotherliness. Now they faced the problem of living together. "The only cure of unbrotherliness is brotherliness," was their conviction. Here in the teachings of our Craft were the basic principles of tolerance and charity and truth, and the cement of brotherly affection. And on this they built their Order anew, and we honor them because they came through with it.
To us of 1925 many truths come out of these tragic experiences. Perhaps we are reminded to be more careful in the selection of candidates. Perhaps it means that we should be sure that every man of us is trained in the work, knows its meaning from study, and is fully acquainted with the history and the symbols. But there is a greater lesson, one that Vermont Masonry will never have to learn again, and it goes to the very heart of our fraternal purpose. If these fast fading events mean anything at all, they tell us in unmistakable terms that Masonry is not a search for a word. One may know the word and not have the spirit. Masonry is not something that can be voiced in a few words. Its secret is not a combination of syllables. It is true of Masonry, as of the highest religion we know, "not he that nameth the name, but he that doeth the will." Masonry cannot be exposed in a book. It is as safe and deep as character. If it had been false at heart it could not have lasted. It lives in its truth.
* * *
THE DUTIES OF THE STEWARDS
IN the early days of Speculative Masonry lodges made much of their "feasts," and other gala events. Such affairs were carried on by the lodge itself, as one of its regular duties; and their stewards were chosen for the express purpose of superintending them. Nowadays it has generally come to be the custom to leave the planning for all forms of sociability to special committees or clubs, as if the social hour were something apart from, or even opposed to, the proper work of a lodge. In addition to this emasculation of the scope and duties of the lodge, the special committee method has a further defect in that it leads to extravagance, clannishness, and sometimes to results still less dignified. A sensible way out is for the lodge to recover control of its own social life by placing all responsibility for it once more in the hands of its stewards.
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MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird. P.G.M., District of Columbia
FRANCIS ASBURY ROE
REAR ADMIRAL FRANCIS ASBURY ROE was born in Elmira, N.Y., in 1823. Of his early life little is known, but at twenty-two years of age he received an appointment as Midshipman in the United States Navy. Five years later it is recorded he was raised a Master Mason in Union Lodge, No. 95, in his native town.
Of all the officers whom I have met he was remarkable for a sincere and sublime religious faith. He believed so simply and completely in the Divine Providence that in times of danger he was absolutely fearless, and in this confidence would often do things that in another man would have been pure foolhardiness. He was a very reserved and reticent man, and had but few intimate friends. He was abstemious and rigidly moral in all his habits, so much so that his presence and example were at times embarrassing to many of his fellow officers.
His first service was on board the old sloop of war John Adams, in which vessel he served three years on the west coast of South America, in rough water and fresh breezes. The John Adams was very low between decks, and the berthing space very cramped, and altogether the vessel was badly ventilated and uncomfortable; but in those days a seafaring man did not expect the comforts of home.
His next ship was the Yorktown, on the west coast of Africa, where though still only Midshipman, he did the duty of lieutenant. Later he was with Commodore O. H. Perry at the blockade of Vera Cruz, in the sloop Boston, and was wrecked in that vessel in Eleutrera Sound in 1847. Next he served in the Alleghany, an experimental steamer, and later the same year went for a course in the Annapolis Naval Academy. In 1848 he graduated, after which he was absent from active service for a period of eleven months. His next service seems to have been on the mail steamer Georgia, after which he was appointed to the famous old brig Porpoise as lieutenant and executive officer when she was commissioned for the Behring Sea exploring expedition, and later in the China Seas. It was during this cruise that the Porpoise had an action with a fleet of thirteen pirate junks, all heavily armed, in Koulan Bay. As a result of the battle six of the junks were sunk or destroyed and the remainder dispersed with heavy loss.
After this he served on another exploring expedition in the Vincennes, through the Sea of Japan and the Kurile Islands and along the north coast of Siberia. This expedition was chiefly for surveying and charting purposes for the benefit of navigation, as those coasts were almost unknown to geographers and seamen alike.
During these years Roe was continuously in service, receiving some promotions, though frequently they were unduly retarded. The present writer first knew him as first lieutenant of the Pensacola in 1861, at the Washington Navy Yard. This vessel was another experimental steamer, but full rigged in addition to her engines. She was armed with a heavy smooth bore battery. Her commander was ordered to join Farragut's fleet off the Mississippi River Passes. To prevent her doing this the Confederates erected batteries at four points on the Potomac. The President was very anxious and visited the ship several times, encouraging everyone on board. Roe seemed the only one not in the least disturbed by the prospect, and in the event his attitude was justified. The ship ran safely by the batteries at night, and though she was subjected to a brisk fire from them all not a shot hit her, nor did she fire a gun in reply. When she reached her destination it was found that she drew so much water that it was impossible to get her over the bar of the Mississippi until she had been greatly lightened. However, she was finally floated over and Farragut was ready to go up the river.
Like most officers Roe was known to his men by a nickname. He had a very dark skin, black eyes and a very black beard, and he was naturally called "Black Jack." After the Pensacola had got by Fort Jackson which was effected with very little damage, she ran into a fleet of armed river boats which put up a stiff and determined fight. Their shells were bursting freely, doing much execution. Stationed on the wardroom ladder, passing up ammunition, was a coal-heaver named Eagan, and as "Black Jack" rushed past the hatch, trumpet in hand, shouting some order, Eagan said, "Howly Jaze, Oi hopes the firrst shell that burrsts over the ship will take the seat of the trousers off of him," and it was scarcely a minute later when the fragment of a shell actually did this to Roe, taking a good deal of skin and flesh besides. He fell forward, was picked up and taken to the sick bay, and as he was carried past, Eagan said, "Howly Mother, it's lucky Oi did not wish it was the head of him."
Roe was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in July, 1862, and was ordered to command the Katadin after the fall of New Orleans, and was in the fight at Grand Gulf when the army was landed to garrison the place. Here Roe witnessed some pillaging on shore, by soldiers and officers, which greatly outraged his feelings, for if there is any one thing impressed on the mind of a young navy officer it is respect for civilian inhabitants and their property rights. He reported this pillaging to the Secretary of the Navy, knowing it would get thence to the Secretary of War and come back to the commanding army officer for action. This actually did occur, but instead of the letter going to the Division Commander it reached the Department Commander, Maj. Gen. B. F. Butler. The latter replied to the War Department in such caustic terms respecting Roe as would have made many an officer challenge him. But Roe, satisfied with having done a Christian act, as well as one that he regarded as his duty as an officer, said that to read between the lines would condemn Ben Butler in the estimation of any officer or honest man.
In 1864 Roe commanded the paddle wheel gunboat Sassacus in North Carolina Sound, and very promptly destroyed two blockade runners. The Confederates then sent out their new iron-clad Albemarle to meet the Sassacus. An engagement took place on May 5, 1864, which was very hotly contested. The Albermarle, iron-clad, had the advantage of almost complete protection for her guns and crew, while the Sassacus had that of speed and steam power. There were many killed on board the latter ship, and for a while it looked serious. However, by skilful handling Roe caught the iron-clad across his bow, and sending his ship ahead full speed, rammed his opponent, which so damaged her that she began to take in water fast and was glad enough to escape up the nearest river. However, with a parting shot she put a shell into the Sassacus' engine room and burst one of the boilers, doing much injury. Altogether it was one of the hottest naval duels in the Civil War.
Roe afterwards commanded the Madawaska; and later the Michigan on the Great Lakes. In this last vessel he was called to quell the miners' riot in Marquette which saved the town. He was in command of the Tacony at Vera Cruz at the time of the capture and execution of Maximilian, and as senior officer prevented the bombardment of the city by the foreign war vessels assembled there. After this he was fleet captain under Admiral Rowan on the China Station. His last cruise was on the Lancaster off the coast of Brazil. In 1875 he was on duty at the New London Naval Station and on special duty at Washington from 1879 to 1880, and he was at about this time member of the Board of Examiners at Annapolis. In 1880 he was promoted to the rank of Commodore, and from 1883 to 1884 was Commander at the Government Naval Asylum at Philadelphia. He was retired from the service at the end of 1885 with the rank of Rear Admiral.
The writer saw a good deal of Admiral Roe in 1896 and enjoyed many intimate conversations with him. He was just as serious as when a young man. He said that in all his service he had never had a nickname, and, while we smiled inwardly, we thought of Dennis Eagan and the seat of his trousers.
Admiral Roe died in Washington on Dec. 28, 1901, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The writer has always regarded Roe as a great man, and is happy to think that we may claim him as a Mason. He was a true and sincere Christain, who never intruded his creed on others; one who ever set a splendid example; who was as ready to reward a generous or righteous act as to condemn a fault; who enjoyed a glass of wine but detested intemperance; and who loved a generous and manly man. He was buried in a grave adjacent to that of his old shipmate and lifelong friend, Rear Admiral Earl English, and over his remains the beautiful granite monument shown in the engraving has been erected.
* * *
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
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CHANGE is the universal law and the theme of every age. It comes no less to THE BUILDER than to other established institutions, and it comes now in this announcement of a successorship in its editorial chair.
Bro. R. J. Meekren, known to readers of THE BUILDER and as well to students of Freemasonry, is now in charge of the editorial affairs of the National Masonic Research Society and its official journal.
It is, in reality, scarcely necessary to introduce Bro. Meekren to our members, for his pen and the results of his research have already done that. Rather is it necessary to give something of the occasion therefor and of the retirement of Bro. H. L. Haywood, who has been obliged to leave this work because of the state of his health.
A serious illness during the summer made his physicians insistent that he reduce the physical demands upon him, and it was upon consideration of this advice that he decided to take the step of severing his active connection with the National Masonic Research Society.
Bro. Haywood has been identified with THE BUILDER from its inception, assisting Bro. Joseph Fort Newton during his occupancy of the editorial chair and afterwards becoming more and more responsible for the editorial management of THE BUILDER until in 1921 he was placed in complete charge. During his incumbency he became well known personally and by correspondence to a very large number of Masons in every part of the country, indeed of the world, while his literary abilities were patent to all. His resignation is, as already noted, because of his physical condition and the necessity for preserving his health by lightening his duties.
Bro. Haywood's illness came while the August number and the September and October numbers as well were in preparation. Hence the absence of the formal announcement until the present issue.
In selecting Bro. R. J. Meekren to take charge of the editorial duties of the Society, it is my firm belief, developed through intimate association with the man amid particularly trying circumstances, that THE BUILDER and the work of the Society will maintain that constant progress forward and upward which has been the record of the years which have passed, despite the difficulties that are inherent in such efforts as those to which this Society and THE BUILDER are dedicated.
And having made this announcement, may I not add the assurance on my own behalf that nothing that it is possible to do with the resources at command will be left undone by this Society in the advancement of the cause of education in Freemasonry.
INSTRUCTION IN MASONRY
IT is well periodically to stop and take stock and balance our accounts, whether physical, commercial, mental or moral; whether as individuals or as organizations. At the present time the vaccination of "Education" has taken in the body corporate of Masonry. Most of the Grand Lodges in this country, including Canada, are doing something definitely in this way, either using the machinery of the Masonic Service Association, or through Masonic Service Committees and Educational Boards of their own; many of tavern making regular appropriations for carrying on the work, in some cases of very considerable amounts.
This is all very much to the good. It shows at least that a need is recognized, that there is something lacking in the general condition of the Craft, and also a desire to find and apply a remedy. Yet a general survey of what is being done might lead an innocent bystander (which THE BUILDER, of course, is not) to suppose that the doctors agreed only in disagreeing, and that the patient had no more chance of recovery than Nature and Providence might extend.
This however is merely in passing. There is no intension here of criticizing or even of making suggestions. Freemasonry in each section of the country has, to a very considerable extent, special characteristics, peculiar conditions and its own particular problems. A variety of treatment of the one we are considering is thus inevitable, and very largely desirable, at least in the experimental stage. What it is proposed to do here is to briefly review the question in its more general aspects. For this no apology will be needed as members of the National Masonic Research Society are naturally interested in the subject, both from their own personal requirements and through desire to be of use to their brethren.
It may be of advantage to consider the matter under different heads, as it is so extensive that it really is hard to see the forest for the trees. First we may briefly ask what indications are there that there is a need for education, what deficiency is to be found in Masonry and among Masons to make it a desirable or necessary thing? The answer to this is very much under our notice, and there is little need to cite chapter and verse. The large number of members who have little or no interest in the Order, the questioning of the younger Masons who want to know what it is all about anyway. A feeling that the Institution has grown to an enormous size and is yet apparently without definite purpose or object. Both the instructed and the uninstructed feel that Masonry means something, stands for something, if only it were known what it was. Those we have called the instructed have worked out more or less satisfactory conclusions for themselves. They feel, and experience tends to show they are right, that only a small minority of the uninstructed will find out things for themselves, and they feel that there should be some machinery for teaching the others, and so prevent them from swelling the great class of the lapsed and indifferent. About this there is nothing new, the point of especial interest here is that the demand for education is not a "high brow" affair at all, it is not to make the members of the Craft scholars and students, but to make them Masons, to give them the instruction necessary to Larry out their Speculative vocation. Those who have it in them to become students usually do so in spite of difficulties and discouragements. Yet, a complete scheme of Masonic education must regard them as well. There is no reason for needless difficulties to be put in their path, and their natural use in the organization is to instruct their brethren. An educational system must arrange for the training of teachers.
The second heading that we may take up is the subsidiary question whether the Masonic system contemplates anything of the nature of education, and if so, by what method was it supposed to be carried out?
This again is a question of which the answer is right at hand. The most superficial acquaintance with the ritual will indicate an affirmative answer. The lectures of the several degrees are obviously designed to instruct. The Entered Apprentice is informed in the charge given to him that in his leisure hours he is "to converse with well informed brethren" that he "may improve in Masonic knowledge." But the charge given to the newly passed Craftsman goes beyond this and "earnestly recommends" to his consideration the 'study of the liberal arts and sciences," showing that not only was the Mason expected to devote time and attention in learning about Masonry itself, but also to "polish and adorn his mind" with general knowledge, as well as to "learn to subdue his passions" and "divest his heart and conscience of all the vices and superfluities of life." While the machinery for this is not obscurely indicated; not only is the neophyte to converse with well instructed brethren as he can find or make opportunity, but again and again it is emphasized that it is the Master's place to afford light and knowledge to the uninformed and give his lodge good and wholesome instruction. But it is not all thrown on -the Master of the lodge, it is the duty of every Master Mason "to correct the errors and irregularities" of the uninstructed. How are the Masters to teach unless they are first instructed themselves? The word "Master" with us implies primarily the idea of control, of authority, but as it came into Craft usage in mediaeval times it first of all connoted that of teaching and instruction. The Master directed and controlled by virtue of his ability to teach. It follows then that the organization of Masonry fully provided for instruction, for the education of those who entered it. But Master with us has come to be but a formal title, all Masons receive it after a few short weeks, while yet in fact they are but very newly Entered Apprentices, and the Masters of lodges being chosen from such a class it is no wonder that in general they are little qualified to instruct. It would be something if they could be made to realize that it is their duty to do so, and if not qualified personally, to arrange that competent brethren should take their place in this respect.
Having thus seen that the original Institution both contemplated education and provided means to put it into effect, we may next ask what should be the position of Grand Lodge Committees, Research Societies, Study Clubs and other like organizations? That is, should we acquiesce in the present state of things, scrap the old machinery and provide new, or should we seek to return to the old ways and use the newer methods to supplement and strengthen the old? Here again to ask the question is in the minds of most Masons to answer it. The old machinery is perfectly good and fully adequate were it used. The unit organization in the Craft is the lodge, and everything should be done in and through the lodge. Educational Committees should direct their efforts to this end, Study Clubs should be regarded as stop gaps and not as permanently desirable institutions, or at least as supplementing and not as supplanting the functions of the lodge in this regard.
This brings us to the last aspect of our general problem — of what should the Masonic curriculum consist? Masonry is not a school such as our schools are today, but rather more like one of the old European universities where instruction was given, but the students pleased themselves as to what they took and when they took it. We cannot force members, if they lack interest, to learn more than the bare rudiments of the lectures. Instruction must be given in such wise that it will invite interest and encourage discussion and study, and only so can it be successful. A scheme of Masonic education must be based on the elementary instruction in the ritual, beginning with acquiring the bare forms, in the teaching of which the lodge machinery is still functioning. After these are learned the next step is obviously explaining their surface meaning. There is so much that is archaic in our formularies that there is need for a considerable amount of what we may call "textual commentary," the explanation of obsolete words and phrases, the pointing out that the ritual does actually mean something. From this would naturally spring instruction in the duties of the individual Mason, explanations of what Masonry should mean in his own life, and what he should make it mean to the world at large. That is the ethical and sociological side. With this is closely connected the symbolism of the Craft, for this is chiefly intended to teach and emphasize the moral side. After this would come history. Much of the preceding cannot be fully understood without knowing how it came to be, that is, its history. History when thus taught is intensely interesting, though when handed out in heavy indigestible chunks nothing is more calculated to dampen and extinguish any interest the enquirer may have had. These then it would appear are the lines which general Masonic instruction should follow. The "higher" education, the instruction of the instructors is another matter altogether. If the majority of Masons had the elements it is probable that there would be no problem at all, for the way would be open for those capable to go on and qualify themselves to be Master Masons in the original sense of the term, and fully competent to teach and guide their less well informed brethren.
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THE MASONIC TEACHING
Masonry teaches man to practice charity and benevolence, to protect chastity, to respect the ties of blood and friendship, to adopt the principles and revere the ordinances of religion, to assist the feeble, guide the blind, raise up the downtrodden, shelter the orphan, guard the altar, support the Government, inculcate morality, promote learning, love man, fear God, implore His mercy and hope for happiness.
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"Loyalty to one's country is an essential qualification in Freemasonry, and those only are acceptable who cheerfully conform to every lawful authority. Disloyalty in any form is abhorrent to a Freemason, and is regarded as a serious Masonic offense."
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THE STUDY CLUB
THE SYMBOLISM OF MEDIEVAL ARCHITECTURE
Bro. R. J. Meekren
ONE point about the Masonic Institution will be assented to by all students, that there is a real organic connection between the Speculative fraternity of today and the Operative organization of the past — but regarding the question how much of Operative usage and tradition has survived there have been, and still are, wide differences of opinion. At the least during the period of transition (say from 1680 to 1730, more or less) the old must have been mingled with new material, the new expanding and the old fading out until it was all gone — except the name, and some technicalities much changed in meaning; while at the highest we may suppose the essentials of the old were all retained and only changed in detail and by the addition of formal Speculative explanations. Between, these two extremes must lie the opinions of everyone at all conversant with the facts. It follows, therefore, that our present symbolism must either be derived from the medieval craft of Masonry or else have been borrowed from other and extraneous sources during the period of transition just mentioned, or even later still.
Of course the present system (or aggregation) that we possess may be of mixed origin in any proportion of the two elements, original and borrowed, and as the matter is too complex to deal with except one step at a time we will now confine our attention to the tangible symbolism in the architectural monuments erected with such loving care and patience by our Operative predecessors.
The supposition that medieval Masons recorded hidden doctrines in the symbols they carved in stone is incredible on the face of it. Any such teaching that the Craft may have possessed was quite easily and safely transmissible through the organization of the lodge, there would be no need to record it publicly, even if under a veil. As a matter of fact we find that the emblems and devices actually used were such as were either commonly or traditionally known and employed, or else such as might easily be understood by obvious allusion. For instance, the fox preaching from a pulpit is as plain a denunciation of clerical rapacity as the bishop being dragged down to hell in a fresco of the last judgment still existing in an old church at Salisbury is a reminder that high position, even in the church, is no passport to salvation.
It has often been asserted that the old churches of Europe are full of symbolism, books written in stone for those able to read. That they are full of significance is undoubtedly true, and it may also be the fact that people today have generally lost the key to understanding them, but it does not follow that because we need special study to interpret the meaning that it was so when they were built. An inscription in Greek is unintelligible to most among ourselves today — to the citizen of old Athens it was as clear as the headlines of a newspaper. Among the people of Europe, in the thirteenth century say, there was perhaps no larger percentage who could read at all than among us who can read Greek or Latin, and to them generally written inscriptions would be as unintelligible as their emblematic and symbolic representations are apt to be to us. But when we go back and laboriously attempt to interpret these last we are faced with an added complexity that did not exist when they were newly carved. Most of these devices were conventional, at least to the extent that they were generally recognized and understood. Such a device stood for such an idea, as to us the symbol + means "add" or % means "percent." We do not think when we see these and like characters of what they may have meant in the first place, or how they came to mean what they do to us, we glance at them and take their face value and pass on. But in deciphering the symbols of a forgotten language it is quite different, to get at any meaning at all we must dig into their history and when we have found that we really know too much to easily realize their content at any given time.
SYMBOLS BECOME ORNAMENTAL
The key pattern, honeysuckle, etc., may once have been symbols, but became decoration merely. There were many emblems and motifs carried over into church decoration from non-Christian sources through folk tradition, but these were either given new meanings, or their meaning was forgotten. The maze, or labyrinth, from being probably the ground laid out for a heathen ritual dance, became a means of a minor form of penance. On the other hand the medieval Mason had a sense of humor, and frequently indulged in mystification, and sometimes concealed his meaning. The architect of the Pharos, the great lighthouse of Alexandria, is said to have carved his own name on a great stone in the base and then covered it with cement in which was cut the name of the King — expecting the cement eventually to disintegrate when his name would remain. The story is doubtful but the Mason who carved a grotesque and evil looking dragon set in the gable end of a building at Glastonbury, which when seen from the side appears as the profile portrait of the Abbot of the time, certainly recorded his opinion of his employer — but he played safe for it is impossible to see the carving from the side except by climbing a ladder, or getting on the roof of another building, where an abbot would be hardly likely to go.
Recent investigation into the habits and customs of the so-called white Indians of Central America show that they have a highly developed picture writing, but that also certain individuals draw or paint pictures with no symbolic import, but from pure artistic impulse. Certain individuals among the Esquimaux have also been found who drew or carved most realistically animals in groups or singly, with no ulterior purpose but the pleasure of delineation. Pre-historic men, or at least certain pre-historic races, notably that called after the hamlet of Cro-Magnon in the south of France where their remains were first discovered in any quantity, seemed to have had the artistic instinct abnormally developed, almost comparably with the classical Greek or his Mycenaean predecessors. Yet it is possible these drawings and carvings had a magical purpose. That at least is the accepted theory. But such care and skill was not necessary for magic, cruder work would have served. We may suppose that this was the purpose but that the magician lost himself in the artist — just as the Greek sculptor carved statues of the gods, but made them ideal human beings.
Other races, however, such as the Azilians, showed little depictive ability — and went in for geometrical patterns. The purpose of their inscribed and painted pebbles is most obscure. Perhaps it was no more than a semi-serious play on the part of child-men. It is hard to say. But if one takes pebbles and a paint brush and undertakes to mark them with dots and lines and circles, or if one takes wet clay and a piece of pointed stick and attempts some kind of simple decoration it will be found how easily certain forms supposed to be symbols can be formed, how they will come of themselves practically, circles with dots in them, triangles, parallel lines, crosses and so on. The combinations of simple lines that give any effect as a pattern motif are not so many but that almost any child will hit on most of them. It is for this reason that it is so impossible to say whether the origin of a given device was in a pattern or ornament, or was a symbolic representation. The cross is an example. Found practically everywhere and at all times, it seems almost everywhere to have been venerated as a very sacred, or at least significant, symbol. Yet no combination of lines is simpler or more obvious, a geometrical pattern can hardly be designed without the cross appearing in it somewhere, openly or concealed, and the original association which made of it a most sacred symbol is even yet not agreed upon by those most competent to judge.
Returning now to Christian Churches, we must, to begin with, clearly grasp why they were in the first place built at all. Every religion has sacred or holy places, most have sacred buildings, and these have varied in character according to the religion. A mosque is primarily a place where individual worshippers can pray, and secondarily where the Koran can be read and expounded. A Greek temple was the house or shelter of the cult image of some deity — the ritual all took place outside. Churches were first built as places where the sacrament of the Eucharist could be celebrated; and until the Reformation we may generally say that this was always the fundamental idea underlying the planning of churches. The evolution of the cathedral from the simplest form of basilica reflects the evolution of sacramental doctrine, though very likely the growing complexity of structure may have had an obscure, unconscious, reaction and stimulated the very advance in dogma by which it was caused. However, to trace this out in detail would take us too far afield and into controversial subjects besides; but in order to understand the Medieval churches and cathedrals this much must be borne in mind, that both priests and people, employers and builders, believed quite simply and literally that the sacred edifice would shelter the very presence of God, not spiritually only but in a sense physically, not only sacramentally but bodily. That every day, at the altar, the sacrifice of the cross would be symbolically yet really re-enacted, and that the bread and wine would become daily the flesh and blood of Christ. Believing this a number of things naturally and inevitably followed. Perhaps the very first would be the arrangements whereby the congregation of the faithful could see and worship, but with this would follow also that nothing could be too good for such a place. The costliest materials, the most skilful craftsmanship, the richest ornaments. But though the artist is always making new combinations, and going to nature for new elements of design, yet always (at least in the earlier schools) he starts with something traditional. Sometimes old symbols can be pressed into use, sometimes they have lost all meaning as we have seen and are simply pattern elements, but whichever it was it beautified and glorified the House of God. Thus we find that one of the first types used to represent the Lord was the old mythological figure of Orpheus.
Orpheus, it has been fabled, descended to Hades and by the power of his music obtained the release of his dead wife Eurydice; so he was taken to represent the Christ who saves men from death and hell. Another pagan figure adopted was Apollo, in the guise of the good shepherd, that is as carrying a lamb. Here we have an example of the inextricably tangled strands that go to the making of a symbol. Both the shepherd and the lamb represented the Saviour as taken directly from scriptural parable and metaphor. But Apollo had been regarded as a Saviour god, he represented the sun, and thus was equated with the sun of righteousness, and in addition the ram was an animal sacred to the sun, the stories of the golden fleece, or the purple lamb of Atreus, are in part sun myths. So that in this symbolic figure were many lines of association which made it full of significance to the converts to the new faith to whom these tales were as familiar as Bible stories are to us — or should we say to our grandfathers and grandmothers? There was the added advantage, during the first centuries, that such symbols were noncommittal — the unbeliever would see in them nothing to cause comment or remark. In the Christian sense they were secret symbols; later when it was quite safe to be a Christian newer devices took their place, and these earlier ones were modified in form and emphasis and gradually fell into the background.
In the mosaic design from North Africa, here reproduced from Mr. Lethaby's work on Medieval Art, we have probably part of the floor of a very early church. From the colors it is evident that the arches springing from the vases are intended for fountains, the wavy border being also a conventional representation of water. The deer drinking at the two streams of water springing from the holy mount refer to the Psalmist's verse, "As the hart panteth after the water brook, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God." The peacocks strangely enough were an early Christian symbol of the Resurrection, from a supposed fact of natural science (as then understood) which no one ever troubled to verify, that the peacock's flesh was incorruptible. It may be conjectured that this very beautiful bird when first introduced from the East was thought of as representing, or being like, the fabled Phoenix. The stories about the latter and its rebirth in fire show that originally it was the sun represented as a bird. The spreading tail of the peacock again and its many "eyes" was possibly connected with "thousand-eyed Argus" who was a personification of the starry sky. These two associations would have been enough to account for what was believed about the peacock in an unscientific age, which held also that the terrible unicorn was tame and docile in the presence of a virgin, and that the pelican pierced its own breast to feed its young.
Again the streams of water at which the two deer are drinking, the fountains and the wavy border, all have undoubtedly a reference to baptism; the border may also have reference to the four rivers of Paradise, while the two streams flowing from the mount would remind the believer of the rock in the wilderness that Moses struck to give water to the people. The rock or mountain was constantly referred to Jehovah himself in the Old Testament; "The Lord is my rock and my fortress," "O Lord, my rock," "Be thou my strong rock," are but a few instances from the Psalms, while the sacred mountains, Sinai, Horeb, Zion, and later the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Transfiguration would also be brought to mind. But the associations or meanings of the symbol are even yet not exhausted. The two streams would recall inevitably the mingled water and blood that flowed from the Saviour's side when pierced by the centurion's spear, a detail even yet dwelt on in many popular hymns.
In the first centuries the cross does not seem to have been much used as a symbol by the Christians, and when used at all it was more frequently in the form of the Greek letter "Chi" — that is X, the St. Andrew's Cross. This was the first letter of the word "Christos" and was most frequently used in the still familiar "Chi Rho" monogram. There was a natural reason for not emphasizing it, for it was still a common and peculiarly dishonorable mode of execution, reserved for slaves and especially atrocious criminals. But in Western Europe it was different. The late Baring Gould collected evidence to show that all the peoples of Western Europe, Celt and Teuton alike, used the cross as a sacred symbol, and he showed also that it is probable that its use in the church spread from West to East. That is, in the West it formed a link between the new and the old faiths. It does not mean that heathen ideas were necessarily carried over, but that the symbol being familiar and sacred, and being capable of a purely Christian meaning, was naturally employed, just as in preaching to the unconverted it was necessary to use their own terms for God, heaven and so on, in order to be intelligible to the hearers. With symbols as with words the form persists but the meaning changes.
When we come to the churches of the great period of the Middle Ages, in the full development of Gothic architecture, we find that they are filled in every available part with sculptured and painted symbolism of this kind. To enter a church, to walk around it, was to pass in review the representations of every fundamental point of Christian faith, and much else besides. On the facade, above the main entrances, the Last Judgment was often depicted, as a warning to both those in and out of the Church's fold. In the porch, or in the west end of the nave, would be types of the initiatory rite of baptism, such as the Ark, the Israelites passing through the Red Sea, the baptism of our Lord, St. Peter sinking in the sea. On the screen separating nave from chancel was the crucifix; over the high Altar, the Ascension, or the Lord in glory surrounded by angels. The Annunciation, the Nativity, would be depicted, the Wise Men from the East. The genealogy of the Lord in a "Jesse Tree," and everywhere the representations of saints and angels, martyrs, confessors, those who had defined or supported the faith, with many allusions to their stories. Virtues and vices allegorically and symbolically represented, the seasons of the year, and the characteristic occupations carried on in each — the whole of life and of history as known to the builders was set forth in such wise that the simple and unlearned could understand.
But the question arises, who devised all this? The only answer that seems possible is that it must have been those who had the churches built. Here again we must remember that whether priest and congregation, bishop or noble, all were at one on the matter. And the builders, the masons, were not a caste apart so far as religion was concerned, they had the same faith, and the same ideas about religion as their employers. Those who provided the funds, knew, as those today who consult an architect, something of what they wanted. They knew which saint they wished to dedicate the church to, they had an idea of the size they could afford, they doubtless referred to other churches as having this or that point they would like included. Then with these indications the master would sketch a design. The final plans would be a result of consultation and discussion between all parties concerned. When it came to details the same process seems to have been gone through. We will say that a doorway is in question. It has been decided between the Master and his employees that a certain subject shall be treated, let us suppose the "Last Supper", or as it would then have been thought of, the "Institution of the Holy Eucharist." The Master would depict this to one of the craftsmen, who in his turn would make sketches and discuss them with the Master, and then after the general outline had been decided on he would proceed to do the work. Over the doorway might be a relief showing Christ and the Twelve sitting at table. Or it might be arranged as a series of separate statues, the Lord in the central position, with the chalice and paten, the statues of the Apostles on each side, each with his distinguishing attribute. Over each there would be a canopy, while under the brackets supporting each statue might be some allegorical or symbolic device worked into the design, that would have some reference to the person represented. Here if anywhere would be found the expression of individual ideas. But whatever these were they would be in accord with the general scheme outlined. In certain places, as in mouldings, the carvings on the misereres, or in the gargoyles, the craftsman might let himself go, and introduce satyrical or humorous subjects — but these would in general be as obvious in intention as are comic supplements or political cartoons to us. Sometimes again frankly pre-Christian devices with the old pagan intent were inserted, but these would be in the nature of traditional survivals of which there are so many examples in all the higher religions as well as in traditional Christianity. This will be touched on in a succeeding article.
The evidence thus far examined has led to is that the medieval church builders systematically employed symbolism, of a specifically didactic character. It ranged from bare conventional signs to the highest flights of artistic representation in sculpture and painting, and it was designed with the conscious purpose of recalling the tenets of the Christian faith, and of other points regarded as interesting or edifying to the worshippers, and lastly, that there was nothing secret about it, that it was intended to be, and doubtless was, as obvious in meaning as the advertisements on our billboards.
For a general view Medieval Architecture by A. Kingsley Porter is one of the best works on the subject. A smaller, but most excellent work, is W. R. Lethaby's Medieval Art, from which the illustrations in the article have been taken.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
What was the real character of the symbolism found in the churches built in the Middle Ages? Was there any esoteric meaning attached to the symbols employed? If there were such hidden meanings by whom were they intended and for what purpose? How much of the original meaning clung to old pagan symbols when used with a Christian reference?
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Bro. Emerson Esterling, Oregon
To many of us the pursuit of happiness, and the escape from sorrow, is the desideratum of our mortal existence. Our great national institution of government makes mention of this in our worthy Constitution. Blindly seeking after this coveted condition, we only too quickly find that with it comes, to our way of thinking, that opposable state, sorrow.
But the philosopher, seeking not pleasure nor happiness, perhaps receives fully his lot; for he takes in hand and peruses the garment of Hertha, spun from the spindle of the Fates, the cloak of ideas, woven from the black and white threads of eternity, and finds that one lends to the other, and that without the blinding light and abject blackness we would know nothing of the gray of our consciousness.
Seeking, and partially reaching the heights of joy and happiness, eschewing, but overtaken by the depths of sorrow, we come to know.
Albert Pike writes, in his Morals and Dogma: "All the true Initiates have recognized the usefulness of toil and sorrow. 'Sorrow,' says a German poet, 'is the dog of that unknown shepherd who guides the flock of men.'"
We who have taken the degrees of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and who have taken it for more than the form and pretense of ritual, know it to be verily a Lodge of Sorrow, for to the true philosopher life itself is a sorrow, for with his vision he can see ahead, behind, beyond, and in the range of his vision looms up "what might have been," "what might be," and all around he sees only what is — and it is no wonder that many saw Christ weep, but none saw Him smile. No wonder that the great Abraham Lincoln carried the woe of a nation on his shoulders and the sorrow and suffering of humanity in his face — he saw!
However, we must consider the contagious effect of personality. The chronic grouch, the person who has a biased view of things, and whose perverted influence is extended to others, is not to be confused with the man who has found wherein lies the true happiness, who has sounded humanity and the universe to his mental capacity, and who comes forth with an understanding of better things, and then accosted with the grim realities of this fallen race of mankind, expresses a sorrowful sympathy.
So, we find in the woof and warp of the mantle of life both black and white threads, interwoven, interlinked, under and over, around and about and side by side — and, wearing this mantle throughout our mortal existence unto the portal of death where we must shed all and stand naked and alone, we must accept the texture, for the self-same hand that formed us out of the dust of the earth fashioned our mantle, of sorrow and Joy.
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A MASONIC CREED
The Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, by their Grand Officers and Representatives in Grand Lodge assembled, at an annual communication thereof, in accordance with existing Constitutions and Laws, do establish and promulgate the following
As an expression of the simplest form of the faith of Masonry, not exhaustive, but incontrovertible and suggestive, the following is
The Masonic Belief
There is one God, the Father of all men. The Holy Bible is the Great Light in Masonry, and the Rule and Guide for faith and practice. Man is immortal. Character determines destiny. Love of man is, next to love of God, man's first duty. Prayer, communion of man with God, is helpful.
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DOGMA AND SCIENCE
WHAT IS DOGMA? By Edouard LeRoy. Translated by Lydia G. Robinson. Published by the Open Court Publishing Co., Chicago, III. May be purchased through the Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange Bldg., St. Louis, Mo. Boards, 6x4, 89 pages. Price. postpaid, 60c.
THIS is a remarkable little book. It goes right to the very root of the question with no redundant argument or superfluous illustration, while yet the author's thesis, or rather, as he insists, his question, is put so clearly that it seems difficult to comprehend how he could have been misunderstood. Yet misunderstood he was, and his little essay was the cause of a prolonged controversy in the French press, not only in theological and philosophical journals, but also in the popular magazines and newspapers.
Mr. LeRoy is a Roman Catholic, and apparently both sincere and devout in his religion. But he is also a philosopher and fully abreast with scientific and literary culture. His question is addressed to the authorities of the Roman Church, and though he asks a question he apparently puts them in a dilemma — which may account for the hostility his article roused, and the fact that when republished, with some of the letters it elicited and the author's replies thereto, it was put on the Index as a book forbidden to the faithful.
The reason for the question raised may be given in the author's own words. "I desire above all," he says, "to make better known the state of mind of these contemporaries who think, the nature of the questions they ask themselves, the obstacles that hinder them and the difficulties that perplex them ... The experience of cultivated non-Christian circles (I might even say a personal experience) has demonstrated to me that the proofs brought forward as traditional have no effect on intellects accustomed to the discipline of contemporary science and philosophy." And further on he says, "Let no one think such a task profitless or superfluous ... we [i.e. defenders of dogmatic teaching] are not listened to or understood. What we say has no response and carries no weight. We exert ourselves in [a] silence and in a void, without even giving rise to any criticism or refutation." And again he says, "Today denial does not attack one dogma any more than another. It consists above all in a preliminary and total demurrer ... it is the very idea of dogma which is repugnant, which gives offense."
By a dogma, he means a point or article of faith held and taught by the church, and his argument holds good of any dogma of any church, and two of the three given in illustration are held by all orthodox churches. He shows that understood purely and simply as intellectual propositions they are not only impossible to demonstrate but that they are positively meaningless. He then shows that historically dogma is negative, it is not this or that is to be believed, but such and such a thing is not to be believed. Only in the historical setting have the dogmas of Christianity any intelligible meaning from the philosophical point of view. But beyond this they have a practical meaning, as in one of his illustrations, "God is a person," teaches negatively that God is not simply a law, a hypothesis, an abstract force. But positively it implies that the believer must act as in a personal relation towards the mysterious being we call God.
The discussion of this subject will prove of great value to thinking Masons who really want to know quite clearly what the "belief in God" that is a prerequisite to membership in the Fraternity really implies.
The translator is to be congratulated on the successful rendering of the original into exceedingly clear and idiomatic English. We could wish that she had gone on and included some of the ensuing controversy.
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DEMOCRACY VS. AUTOCRACY
THE VISIBLE OF THE INVISIBLE EMPIRE. "THE MAELSTROM." By Edgar I. Fuller. Revised and edited by Geo. La Dura. Published by the Maelstrom Publishing Co., Inc., Denver, Colo. May be purchased through the Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Cloth, illustrated, 178 pages. Price, postpaid, $1.60.
THE author was at one time Executive Secretary to Edward Young Clarke, Imperial Giant, Imperial Wizard Emeritus, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, but has very fully and completely renounced the organization. This and the title will give the reader a very fair inkling of what to expect. Incidentally one would remark that publisher or author, or whoever was responsible for the allegorical picture that comes before the Foreword, seems to take the Maelstrom to be a kind of cyclone, tornado or aerial disturbance of some kind. The word of course simply means "millstream" and was applied to a once famous and much dreaded whirlpool caused by tidal currents off the west coast of Norway. This error is perhaps trivial enough in itself, but one feels in a way that it may be really typical of the whole work.
The book is in brief a very fierce and bitter accusation and denunciation of the Klan, its founders, its leaders and all its ways and works. If a tithe of what the author alleges is true his indignation would be more than justified, but the critical reader, failing other sources of information, would be inclined to suspect that righteous wrath has run to seed in rhetoric. It certainly seems that a more restrained account would carry greater conviction.
The author gives us an account of the founders of the present day Klan, and the men who now control it, and it is no pleasant picture that he draws. There are included portraits of Simmons and Clarke which might be those of any ordinary prosperous American citizen. Certainly these illustrations would not give us by themselves the impression that the first showed the features of a man "characterized by physical laziness, mental inertia and moral insensibility from childhood," of a minister of the gospel "discontinued, while yet on trial because of his inefficiency and unreliability, with grave rumors as to his moral conduct." Nor does the other look like a confessed white slaver, a renegade Presbyterian church worker and habitual drunkard. Yet on the other hand the author alludes casually to newspaper reports that would fully bear out his characterizations. Into these personalities, however, it is hardly worth while to go. The Klan and its activities are of interest to Masons, negatively in the first place, because of the persistent propaganda put out to lead the public to think that there was some connection between the two organizations. Secondly, it is of interest to individual Masons as citizens of the United States, because its machinery is so diametrically opposed to the ideals of democracy on which the Republic is founded. Secret tribunals are a natural resource of a people oppressed by a despotic and tyrannical government, but they have no place in a free country. The Klan as a pretentious make-believe would be only a source of mirth, but when it tries to make its hidden autocracy effective it becomes a legitimate object of apprehension and reprobation. At the very best it is a short cut to reform that would lead still deeper into the quagmires of injustice and corruption.
One of the most amusing things about the Klan is the amazing nomenclature in use, and the even more amazing crudity of its rituals. It is a cause of wonder how anyone with enough education to be able to read and write can stomach it. It evidently subsists on racial and religious prejudice, and its promoters find their fishing the better the more they can trouble the waters. We can fully recommend the book as a counter-irritant to anyone at all inclined to become a Klansman.
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THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE
ETIQUETTE FOR GRAND OFFICERS — AND OTHERS
I read with interest an anecdote in the October BUILDER, narrating that a Grand Master on an official visit was seated in the East during the reading of a passage from the Old Testament, in the course of which he repeatedly asked a Past Master seated beside him, "What does that mean?" The Past Master replied irritably that he did not know. The moral is that Past Masters really ought to know more things than they do know.
This is, I suppose, incontestable; but the anecdote calls to my mind a problem in politeness which is occasionally perplexing. I have not found in any of the standard books of etiquette directions on how to shut up a Grand Master; nor, frankly, do I think I would act upon the knowledge if I had it. One shrinks from the exercise of stupendous powers. Besides, one ought never to get irritated at a Grand Master any more than at an organist. Most of us could not fill either job. But just what ought you to do if you are visiting a lodge and some Worshipful Brother seated next to you persists in chattering to you during the work; or if you are entertaining a visitor and he converses so continually that even the candidates as they pass by cannot but hear him? You don't want to be a solemn ass; but conversation, when it is neither time nor place for it, is one of the crimes it takes two to commit; so if you talk back to your amiable neighbor many can see that you and he are talking and some can hear you.
If you happen to be seated in the East when this occurs everybody can see that you are talking.
My own solution of the difficulty is a compromise — no doubt a cowardly one. At most stages of the proceedings I do answer back, under the continual fear or perhaps hope — that the Master will gavel us into silence. But when the Scripture is being read, I would not pay attention to anybody seated beside me, were he a Grand Master or the best of grand good fellows. I don't think my regard for the Bible is superstitious or fanatical, but when the word of God is being read to me, I consider it up to me to pay attention to it and not to anything or anybody else.
I have even noticed conversation going on during prayer. That surely is boorish as well as irreverent.
Would it not be well once in a while to suggest to officers, kindly, that during the work they ought to sit up straight and pay attention; and might we not remind Past Masters, respectfully, that when seated in the East they are conspicuous and are setting an example? Let all the brethren remember that it is the lodge at work, not merely certain performers doing the work. If that were more fully realized perhaps the work would seem more interesting.
There is a time for conversation, for catechism by Grand Masters, for speechmaking and for all that promotes sociability. The Master has power to allot the time for these things as he deems best; the brethren, whatever their station, should govern themselves accordingly. At least, that is the way it seems to me.
C.H., New York.
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THE RELIGION OF PRESIDENT HAYES
The evidence as to the religion of President Hayes that would probably be regarded as most authentic, is his own diary, in which he wrote on May 7, 1890: "I am not a subscriber to any creed. I belong to no church. But in a sense satisfactory to myself and believed by me to be important, I try to be a Christian, or rather I want to be a Christian and to help do Christian work." Again, on Jan. 8, 1893, nine days before his death, he wrote: "I am Christian, according to my conscience, in belief, not, of course, in character and conduct, but in purpose and wish; not, of course, by the orthodox standard. But I am content and have a feeling of trust and safety."
These extracts and many others from Hayes' diary are printed in the two-volume "Life," by Charles Richard Williams (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914) which was written at the request of General Hayes' sons and principally in the family home at Fremont, Ohio. Hayes' mother was a New England Congregationalist; when they moved to Ohio his parents united with the Presbyterian Church. Hayes went to Kenyon College (Episcopalian) but apparently only because it was the nearest. The President's wife was, as is well known, a zealous Methodist and he always went with her to church. His biographer, Williams, says: "His widowed mother's pride in him was unbounded, and she never had fault to find with him except that he did not make public avowal of the Christian faith and unite himself with some church. While he felt himself to be a Christian in all essential respects, he never united with any church. There were declarations of belief in the orthodox creeds that he could not conscientiously make."
Similar statements, though much briefer, are found in the "Life," by William Dean Howells (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1876).
Charles E. Harrison, New York.
Referring to the statement in your October issue that President Hayes was a Baptist. President Hayes and his wife were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
On retiring from the Presidency, he made his home at Fremont, Ohio, and the Methodist Episcopal Church in Fremont is largely indebted to President and Mrs. Hayes for its beautiful church edifice.
President Hayes and my father were close friends and frequently discussed religion. One day I overheard my father say, "Hayes, I know you belong to the Methodist Church, but what is your religious belief?" He replied, "I am a Christian; there are very few of us." Another statement he made and which I overheard, "It is not related that Christ ever smiled. He seems to have had no sense of humor."
Frank H. Howe, Ohio.
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I wish to call your attention to an article appearing on the Editorial page of the January, 1925, issue of THE BUILDER, to the effect that Mark Twain was an atheist. In a publication known as "Masonic Events," whose business office is located at 186 N. LaSalle street, Chicago. Ill., I read another article which leads me to believe that Mark Twain was a member of Polar Star Masonic Lodge, No. 79, St. Louis, Mo. These two articles conflict with each other. Which is correct?
The editorial in the January issue of THE BUILDER was based upon the biography of Mark Twain. written by Albert Bigelow Paine, who is the authority for stating that Twain in his later years was an atheist. We have no other authority for the statement than that contained in the Paine biography. This statement, however, is not inconsistent with the statement that Mark Twain was a member of Polar Star Lodge, No. 79, St. Louis, because his membership in Polar Star Lodge was at a time prior to the period in which it is averred by Mr. Paine that he became an atheist.
During this latter period of his life he was no longer a member of Polar Star Lodge; therefore, his religious beliefs could not be called in question.
THE BUILDER does not accept responsibility for the statement in the Paine biography, but simply in its editorial saw in the distress of that great humorist probable confirmation of the statement made by his biographer.
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The article by the undersigned in your September issue on "Facts About Stephen Morin" seems to have elicited considerable interest as shown by the receipt of a number of letters by him.
The most important was one from Henry A. Alexander, a prominent attorney of Atlanta, Georgia, who in his letter dated Sept. 22, says:
"Referring to your article 'Facts About Stephen Morin' in the September, 1925, number of THE BUILDER, in which in the third paragraph you refer to Abraham Alexander, the first Secretary-General of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, may I correct your impression that he was not a Jew.
"The pertinent facts are that Mr. Alexander, my great-great-grandfather, was a native of London and a Jew.
"Without compensation he served the Jewish congregation of the House of God of Charleston, South Carolina, as its minister from 1764 to 1784, and this service is still commemorated in the ritual of that congregation for the Day of Atonement. He is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Coming Street in Charleston and his descendants are Jews."
To this most interesting letter to all Scottish Rite Masons I replied, saying I was very much pleased to learn that there were descendants of this noted brother, Abraham Alexander, now living in the United States, and asked for more details of his life, as Albert Pike was able to find out but little concerning him save that he was employed in the Charleston Custom House, was an Englishman and, as his informant expressed it, "a fine caligraphist." I further suggested to Mr. Alexander that he give me all the facts concerning his illustrious ancestor that he cared to communicate for publication as a separate article, to which I have as yet received no reply.
Cyrus Field Willard, California.
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MASONRY AND THE HOLY BIBLE
I am taking the liberty of mailing you a copy of "The York Rite Trestle Board," a little sheet published by a few earnest and enterprising brother Masons of the City of Mexico in the interest of York Rite Masonry in this Republic. It is the practice of the Grand Master to address the Craft by a monthly letter. This second letter of our present M. W. Grand Master occurs to me as about as fine a statement of real Masonry and its purpose as I have ever seen.
Especially apt is his statement with reference to the "Holy Bible as the nearest means we have of learning the Will of God, and as the best Guide, upon which to base our faith and our conduct." Here is a conception, upon which all honest men can agree whether in the lodge or out of it.
E. S. Banks, Sec'y,
Tampico Lodge, No. 10, F. & A. M., Tampico, Mexico.
The paragraph from which Bro. Banks quotes, reads in full thus:
Masonry has for its fundamental principles and tenets only those principles upon which all good men may agree without argument and without contention. Such is the belief in one Supreme Being, the Father and Creator of all things; such is the belief in the immortality of the soul, that part of Man which most nearly resembles the God he worships; such is the belief in the Holy Bible as the nearest means we have of learning the Will of God, and as the best guide upon which to base our faith and our conduct. To these great fundamentals we add the practice of benevolence, of charity and of tolerance, the belief in individual responsibility, in the free education of all men and in freedom of thought for all mankind.
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BOOKS WANTED AND FOR SALE
Would anyone having a copy of "Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid," by Piazzi Smyth, that they are willing to dispose of, communicate with Bro. George Meyer, care of the Editor?
Bro. G. F. Winemiller has a complete set of THE BUILDER from January, 1915, to date, for sale.
Mrs. Louise Todd Plum, daughter of the late Bro. Irving Todd, of Hastings, Minn., wishes to sell her father's Masonic library. This consists chiefly of a collection of proceedings of various Grand Masonic bodies which had been made very nearly complete. A very valuable set, which might especially interest any Masonic body contemplating the formation of a library. There are in addition some two hundred volumes of a miscellaneous character, some of them very scarce.
Bro. O. M. Henderson has about seventy Masonic works to dispose of. A list will be furnished to those interested. Among these books are such items as the following:
- Lexicon of Masonry. Mackey, 1866. $2.00.
- Traditions of Freemasonry. Pierson, 1865. $2.00.
- Symbolism of Freemasonry. Mackey, 1869. $1.50.
- Encyclopedia of Freemasonry. Mackey. $4.00.
- Antiquities of Freemasonry. Oliver, 1856. $2.00.
- Illustrations of Masonry. Preston, 1856. $2.00.
- Revelations of a Square. Oliver, 1855. $1.76.
- Mnemonics. [Morris.] $2.50.
Bro. Wm. A. Theobald would like to obtain a copy of the Scottish Rite Liturgy of the first Three Degrees. If any of our readers have a copy to dispose of, or know where such could be obtained they would be extending a fraternal favor in letting him know. Letters may be addressed in care of the Editor of THE BUILDER.
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YE EDITOR'S CORNER
Bro. Robert I. Clegg writes to point out an error that was overlooked in the September number of THE BUILDER, and one that is sufficiently obvious, at least when pointed out. The portrait illustrating his article entitled "More Patriarchs of the Craft" is that of Bro. John Barker, not Harry Tipper.
Qui s'excuse s'accuse, say the French, and Ye Editor is neither going to excuse nor accuse himself. The mistake occurred, it is now corrected, and that's that.
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In a little work published some time ago giving a brief outline of Biblical history from the Masonic point of view, together with topographical and archeological details of the Orient — it would perhaps be unkind to mention the exact title — occurs the following gem: "The Sphinx is a gigantic monument with the body of a lion and the bust of a woman, probably the image of an ancient king."
However one reads this it would seem that kings were curious animals in those days.
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And yet another correction! A friendly critic writes to point out that the poem we quoted last month is all wrong, and also (which under the circumstances is worse) that the true version appears in the first volume of THE BUILDER on page 137. Ye Editor will "save his face" by pointing out that this is a very good concrete example of how variant forms of a story, a proverbial saying, or a traditional ritual can arise. If such mistakes can be made when the original is on record and easily accessible, much more so are they likely to occur when this is not the case.
Here is the original form of the poem:
"The parish priest of austerity
Climbed up in a high church steeple,
To be nearer God so that he might hand
His word down to the people.
And in sermon and script he daily wrote
What he thought was sent from heaven
And he dropped it down on the people's heads
Two times one day in seven.
In his age God said, Come down and die.
And he cried out from the steeple
Where art Thou, Lord? And the Lord replied
Down here among my people!"
The breaking up of the poem into stanzas, and the dividing of the first and every succeeding alternate line into two are minor details and do not affect either the rhythm or the sense. But note how the "austerity" of the priest has been changed into a geographical designation of similar sound. The most curious change, however, is adding "r" to the word "age" and the consequent complete change of the end of the line in order to produce sense. Those who wonder how discrepancies have got into the Masonic Ritual can see the process here in plain view. It is now the turn for some one else to discover neither version is right. But this will not affect the moral.