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ANTI-SEMITISM AND MASONRY.
Ever since the inventior of writing the race of authors has had a share of individualities, eccentrics, wild men and madmen as much as any other art or calling; the tribe of Masonic authors, one must fear, has had more than its share but it is doubtful if among them there ever has been a more incredible man than the Frenchman, Orllie Antoine. This impossible man was bom on May 12, 1825, in the Department of Périgeux, not many miles from Bordeaux. He grew up a tall young man with a French beard and a wild light in his eyes, and studied law. But instead of practicing that respectable profession he devoured travel books by the hundred, and therein was his undoing because he decided to become an adventurer. In 1858 he took to himself the title of Prince de Tounens, crossed over to Southampton, and from there took ship for South America.
The southern third of Argentina and Chile was at that time occupied by some fifteen or twenty Indian peoples, untouched by the White man, among whom the most powerful were the Araucanians, a warrior folk somewhat like our own Apaches, and famous for the fierceness of their battles; Charles Darwin accused them of being cannibals (but erroneously).
This people, along with a number of their neighbor peoples, long had had a legend that some day a white man would come, and would be their leader and paramount king, and would sweep the Spanish invaders out of the land. Orllie had read about this in a book, and he set out to be that white man; indeed, while still on the boat he crowned himself King of the Araucanians with the title of Antoine l e, and drew up a very detailed code of laws by which he intended to govern the tribes whom he had never seen, in a country of whose location he was ignorant.
He succeeded in his amazing coup ! By 1860 he was sending from the central fortress of his chiefs heavily ribboned documents to "neighboring chiefs of state" in Chile and Argentina. His official title was "King of Araucania and Patagonia." For a narrative of the adventures and excitements of his reign a reader must consult the history books of South America, because there were too many of them to be crowded into a paragraph.
During one period he was captured by the Chileans, thrown into a prison at Santiago, was rescued by a French consul, and returned to France. For six years he made his living as a joumalist in Paris, but in spare time continued in the campaign for a "French empire" in Patagonia which resulted finally in his being returned to Patagonia in a French warship. It was in that period, probably, that Orllie became a Mason.
In 1865 the Pope excommunicated Freemasons in France. As soon as Orllie discovered his own name in the blacklist he appealed to the Vatican, but without success. To prove that he was not an atheist, as the Pope had alleged that every Mason was, he composed a book of Masonic prayers and published it. The title (translated) was Masonic Prayers, by the Prince O. A. De Tounens, King of Araucania and Patagonia; it contained thirty-two prayers, and sold for twenty-five centimes.
He died in 1878. His rightful and legitimate title (far more legitimate than half the crowns in Europe) he bequeathed to his heirs. It never became operative again because the Christian soldiers of Chile and Argentina massacred the Indian peoples and left nobody to govern.
NOTE, Orllie Antoine was in no sense a crank or a fanatic but a cultivated, intelligent man who made friends and supporters among the first men of France. His memoirs possess the genuine sparkle of literature, and would make somebody's fortune if they were tumed into a biography in English. For a brief epitome, written on the spot whers Orllie once reigned, see chapter in This Way South-ward, by A. F. Tschiffely; W. W. Norton & Co. ; 1940. The same writer was author of Tschiflely'a Ride, an account of a famous joumey on horse-back from Patagonia to Washington, D. C.
ARCHEOLOGY AND FREEMASONRY.
Archeology underwent at about the turn of the century a transformation which turned it from an almost ecoteric specialty or hobby, engaged in by a small number of experts, into a large and ever-expanding profession which has covered the world with a network of activities, and is about to take its place alongside histcry and literature as one of the subjects for every well-read man to know. This transformation came about when a number of very highly specialized sciences and forms of research found in it a center and a meeting place. In consequence, archeology is now being carried on by a combined corps of specialists or experts in philology, in the history of art, in geology in paleontology, in philology, in ethnology, in chemistry, in geography, of experts on documents, of symbologists, of specialists in ethnic literatures, and of technologists who manage and carry on the work of expeditions, explorations, and excavations.
The public is not yet aware of the immensity of the findings, or to what an extent those findings are already effecting fundamental revisions in the writing of political, religions, and social history. Archeology has not absorbed antiquarianism on the one hand, nor historical research on the other, but it has become so dove-tailed into both that it is impossible to draw sharp boundaries between them. Masonic research under a havy debt to this new archeology ;especially is so, when antiquarian and historical research are added to it. In it Masonic students possess new bodies of facts which belong to their own field.
Among these are such as: masses of data about the Ancient Mysteries in general and about Mithraism in particular; about the Collegia; about the origins of the gild system ; about the beginnings of European architecture; about the documents, customs, and practices of the earliest stages of Freemasonry; about the earliest Medieval social and cultural system in which the earliest Freemasonry was molded; about the arts, the engineering, and the mathematics of the period when Freemasonry began ; and about rites, societies, symbols, etc., which aritedate Freemasonry or were in action in other parts of the World ; about the Crusades ; and about the earliest present time larger part of the findings of archeology are in the form of reports of archeological societies or expeditions, in archeological joumals, and in brochures and treatises not often found in bookstores. Only a small portion of this material has any bearing on the origin and history of Freemasonry ; but that portion is decisive for many questions and in the future must be included among the sources for Masonic history and research.
ARCHITECT AND MASTER OF MASONS.
Medieval Freemasons were organized as a body when employed on a cathedral, a castle, an abbey, or any other large building. This body, or Lodge, though its own officers were members of it, and though it as a body made many decisions, was not a soviet, or commune, nor was it a "democratic" body working through committees, but it worked under and was sworn to obey a chief officer, or Master of Masons (called by a number of titles). This Master of Masons, however, was not an architect, but rather was a superintendent ; the making of plans and specifications was done by the Lodge itself, and in many places it had a separate room or building for that purpose.
In the course of time, however, the development of architectural practices brought about a divorce between the making of plans, designs, and specifications, and the carrying on of the daily work called for by the plans. The modem oflice of architect came into use.
This architect might have his own quarters at a distance from the building; he need not be a member of the Craft ; after he had made the drawings, models, and plans, the Craftsmen were then to carry them out under a Master who had become merely a superintendent of workmen. It is impossible to mark the new system with a date but the beginning of the office of architect as a profession may be signalized (in England) by the career of Inigo Jones (z.d) This transition to an entirely new basis for the art was essentially brought about by an intellectual advance, which can be best described briefly by comparing it with a similar revolution more than 2,000 years before. In Egypt many trained workmen were employed by the state or by cities to do surveying, to measure the water allotments for irrigation, to lay off building sites, etc. This called for geometry, and especially for trigonometry ; but the Egyptians had their knowledge of these things only in an empirical, piecemeal, rule-of-thumb form, and did not try to dissociate geometry from surveying and empirical measurements and calculations. The Greeks discovered that these surveying forrnulas and rules could be divorced from surveying land, could be cast in abstract form, and could then be used for countless purposes. They transferred geometry from the land to the mind; found it to power certain necessities in thought; made of it a system of principles; perfected it as a pure science. what had begun as land-surveying became geometry.
The Medieval Mason is comparable to the Egyptian surveyor. He was trained, rather than educated ; was an apprentice rather than a student ; and was taught how to perforrn certain given tasks. These were empirical. He did not dissociate them from the style and structure of the type of building on which he was working. Then came the discovery that there are a number of principles, formulas, and processes which hold not for one type of building but for any building. Then architecture became independent, free, an art, a science, and men could study it in universities and learn it iu architects' oflices. In both cases there was, as it were, a transition from an Operative (or empirical) Craft to a Speculative one.
An account of the rise of the profession of architect is invariably given in any one of the modem standard histories of architecture. See in addition The Cathedral Builders in England, by Edward S. Prior; E. P. Dutton & Co.; New York; 1905. The Builders of Florence, by J. Wood Brown; Methuen & Co; London; 1909. Notes on the Superintendents of English Buildings in the Middle Ages, by Wyatt Papworth. An Historical Essay on Architecture, by Thomas Hope ; John Murray; London. Medieval Architecture. by Arthur Kingsley Porter. The Guilds of Florence, by Edgcumbe Staley. Westminster Abbey and the Kings' Craftsmen, and Architecture, both by W. R. Lethaby. Gothic Architecture in England, by Francis Bond ; B. T. Bostfood; London; 1905. A Short History of the Builcling Crafts, by Martin S. Briggs, Oxford; 1925. The Master Masons to the Crou>n of Scctland, by Robert Scott MyIne; Scott & Ferguson; 1893.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014