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COUNCIL OF COMPANIONS OF THE RED CROSS.
A bo dy in which the First Degree of the Templar system in the United States of America is conferred. It is held under the Charter of a Commandery of Knights Templar, which, when meeting as a Council, is composed of the following officers: A Sovereign Master, Chancellor, Master of the Palace, Prelate, Master of Despatches, Master of Cavalry, Master of Infantry, Standard-Bearer, Sword-Bearer, Warder and Sentinel.
COUNCIL OF ROYAL AND SELECT MASTERS.
United Body conferring RoyaI and Select Degrees. In some Jurisdictions this Council confers also the Degree of a Super-Excellent Master.
COUNCIL OF ROYAL MASTERS.
The Body in which the Degree of Royal Master, the eighth in the American Rite, is conferred. It receives its Charter from a Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters, and has the following officers: Thrice Iliustrious Grand Master, Illustrious Hiram of Tyre, Principal Conductor of the Works, Master of the Exchequer, Master of Finances, Captain of the Guards, Conductor of the Council, and Steward.
COUNCIL OF SELECT MASTERS.
The body in which the Degree of Select Masters, the ninth in the American Rite, is conferred. It receives its Charter from a Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters. Its officers are: Thrice Iliustrios Grand Master, Illustrious Hiram of Tyre, Principal Conductor of the Works, Treasurer, Recorder, Captain of the Guards, Conductor of the Council, and Steward.
COUNCIL OF THE TRINITY.
An independent Masonic Jurisdiction, in which are conferred the Degrees of Knight of the Christian Mark, and Guard of the Conclave, Knight of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Holy and Thrice Illustrious Order of the Cross. They are conferred after the Encampment Degrees. They are Christian Degrees, and refer to the crucifixion.
See Supreme Council.
COUNTRY STEWARDS' LODGE.
An old Eng1ish Lodge which met first at the Guildhall Coffee House and afterwards at Freemasons Tavern. It was known as No. 540, having been constituted in 1789. The members were made up of Freemasons who had served as Stewards at the "Country Feast of the Society," a festival held every several years after 1732. A special jewel with a green collar was assigned for their use by the Grand Lodge in 1789 and in 1795 they were permitted to line their aprons with green silk. As a result of this ruling they were frequently called the Green Apron Lodge, but in 1797 this ruling was withdrawn. The Lodge lapsed about 1802.
COURT DE GEBELIN, ANTOINE.
French author; a founder of the Rite des Philaletes in 1773; Secretary of the famous Lodge of Nine Sisters, Paris. in 1779. President of the Apolionian Society and author of Primitive World Analyzed and Compared with the ModernWorld. Although a Protestant his literary work secured for him the office of Royal Censor. At the time Voltaire was initiated into the Lodge of Nine Sisters, Court de Gebelin assisted and also presented a copy of his new book mentioned above and read that part of it concerning the ancient mysteries of Eleusis. He died in 1784 (see Lodge of Nine Sisters).
COURT OF HONOR.
The letters K.C.C.H., stand for Knight Commander of the Court of Honor. The Court of Honor is an honorary body between the Thirty-second and Thirty-third Degrees of the Southem Jurisdiction, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. It was established to confer honor on certain Brethren whose zeal and work for Scottish Rite Freemasonry have entitled them to recognition. This Court of Honor is composed of all Thirty-third Degree Freemasons whether active or honorary, and also such Thirty-second Degree Freemasons as the Supreme Council may select. In the Court of Honor there are two ranks, that of Knight Commander and that of Grand Cross. No more than three Grand Crosses can be selected at each regular session of the Supreme Council, but the Knight Commander rank is not so restricted. At least two weeks before each regular session of the Supreme Council, each active Thirty-third Degree member may no minate one Thirty-second Degree member for the honor and decoration of Knight Commander.
In addition to this he is entitled to nominate for this honor one candidate for every forty Freemasons of the Fourteenth Degree in his Jurisdiction, who has received that Degree since the preceding regular session of the Supreme Council. This does not mean that a Fourteenth Degree Freemason is entitled to the honor.
On the contrary, the honor can only be conferred on one who has received the Thirty-second Degree at least two years prior to his nomination, but the number of such Thirty-second Degree Freemasons who may receive the honor is limited by the number of tho se who have received the Fourteenth Degree in the Jurisdiction of the member making the nomination. Ho wever, if in the judgment of the Supreme Council there are o thers not so nominated who should receive the honor, the Supreme Council may elect without such no mination. The rank of Knight Commander or Grand Cross cannot be appfied for and if applied for, must be refused. The Court of Honor assembles as a body when called to gether by the Grand Commander, and is presided over by the Grand Cross named by the Grand Commander.
Politenes of manners, as the resuIt of kindness of dispasition, was one of the peculiar characteristies of the knights of old. "No other human laws enforced," says M. de Saint Palaye, "as chivalry did, sweetness and modesty of temper, and that politeness which the word courtesy was meant perfectly to expres" We find, therefore, in the language of Templarism, the phrase "a true and courteous knight" ; and Knights Templar are in the habit of closing their letters to each other with the expression, Yours in all knightly courtesy. Courtesy is also a Masonic virtue, because it is the product of a feeling of kindness; but it is not so specifically spoken of in the symbolic degrees, where brotherly love assumes its place, as it is in the orders of knighthood.
COUSINS, LES BONS,
or COUSINS CHARBONNIERS. A secret society of France in the eighteenth century (see Carbonari).
The sufferings inflicted, in 1743, by the Inquisition at Lisbon, on John Coustos, a Freemason, and the Master of a Lodge in that city; and the fortitude with which he endured the severest tortures, rather than betray his trusts and reveal the secrets that had been confided to him, constitute an interesting episode in the history of Freemasonry. Coustos, after returning to England, published, in 1746, a book, detailing his sufferings, from which the reader is presented with the folio wing abridged narrative.
John Coustos was born at Berne, in Switzerland, but emigrated, in 1716, with his father to England, where he became a naturalized subject. In l743 he removed to Lisbon, in Portugal, and began the practise of his profession, which was that of a lapidary or dealer in precious stones. In consequence of the bull or edict of Pope-Clement XXII denouncing the Masonic Institution, the Lodges at Lisbon were not held at public houses, as was the custom in England and other Protestant countries, but privately, at the residences of the members. Of one of these Lodges, Coustos, who was a zealous Freemason, was elected the Master. A female, who was cognizant of the existence of the Lodge over which Coustos presided, revealed the circumstance to her confessor, declaring that, in her opinion, the members were "monsters in nature, who perpetrated the most shocking crimes." In consequence of this information, it was resolved, by the Inquisition, that Coustos should be arrested and subjected to the tender mercies of the Holy Ofice. He was accordingly seized, a few nights afterwards, in a coffee-house--- the public pretense of the arrest being that he was privy to the stealing of a diamond, of which they had falsely accused another jeweler, friend and warden of Coustos, whom they had previously arrested.
Coustos was then carried to the prison of the Inquisition, and after having been searched and deprived of all his money, papers, and other things that he had about him, he was led to a lonely dungeon, in which he was immured, being expressly forbidden to speak aloud or knock against the walls, but if he required anthing, to beat with a padlock that hung on the outward door, and which he could reach by thrusting his arm through the iron grate. "It was there," says he, "that, struck with the horrors of a place of which I had heard and read such baleful descriptions, I plunged at once into the blackest melancholy; especially when I reflected on the dire consequences with which my confinement might very possibly be attended."
On the next day he was led, bareheaded, before the President and four Inquisitors, who, after having made him reply on oath to several questions respecting his name, his parentage, his place of birth, his religion, and the time he had resided in Lisbon, exhorted him to make a full confession of all the crimes he had ever committed in the whole course of his life ; but, as he refused to make any such confession, declaring that, from his infancy, he had been taught to confess not to man but to God, he was again remanded to his dungeon.
Three days after, he was again brought before the Inquisitors, and the examination was renewed. This was the first occasion on which the subject of Freemasonry was introduced, and there Coustos for the first time learned that he had been arrested and imprisoned solely on account of his connection with the forbidden Institution.
The result of this conference was that Coustos was conveyed to a deeper dungeon, and kept there in close confinement for seven weeks, during which period he was taken three times before the Inquisitors.In the first of these examiations they again introduced the subject of Freemasonry, and declared that if the Institution was as virtuous as their prisoner contended that it was, there was no occasion for concealing so industriously the secrets of it. Coustos did not reply to this objection to the Inquisitorial satisfaction, and he was remanded back to his dungeon, where a few days after he fell sick.
After his recovery, he was again taken before the Inquisitors, who asked him several new questions with regard to the tenets of Freemasonry-among others, whether he, since his abode in Lisbon, had received any Portuguese into the society. He replied that he had not. When he was next brought before them, "they insisted," he says, "upan'my letting them into the secrets of Freemasonry; threatening me, in case I did not comply." But Coustos firmly and fearlessly refused to violate his obligations.
After several other interviews, in which the effort was unavailingly made to extort from him a renunciation of Freemasonry, he was subjected to the torture, of which he gives the following account :
I was instantly conveyed to the torture-room, built in form of a square tower, where no light appeared but what two candles gave; and to prevent the dreadful cries and shocking groans of the unhappy victims from reaching the ears of the other prisoners, the doors are lined with a sort of quilt.
The reader will naturally suppose that I must be seized with horror, -when, at my entering this infernal place, I saw myself, on a sudden, surrounded by six wretches, who, after preparing the tortures, stripped me naked, all to linen drawers, when, laying me on my back, they began to lay hold of every part of my body. First, they put around my'neck an iron collar, which was fastened to the scaffold; they then fixed a ring to each foot; and this being done, they stretched my limbs with all their might. They next wound two ropes round each arm, and two round each thigh, which ropes passed under the scaffold through holes made for that purpose, and were all drawn tight at the same time, by four men, upon a signal made for this purpose.
The reader will believe that my pains must be intolerable, when I solemnly declare that these ropes, which were of the size of one's little finger, pierced through my flesh quite to the bone, making the blood gush out at eight different places that were thus bound. As I persisted in refusing to discover any more than what has been seen in the interrogatories above, the ropes were thus drawn together four different times. At my' side stood a physician and a surgeon, who often felt my temples, to judge of the danger I might be in-by which means my tortures were suspended, at intervals, that I might have an opportunity of recovering myself a little Whilst I was thus suffering, they were so barbarously unjust as to declare, that, were I to die under the torture, I should be guilty, by my obstinacy, of self-murder. In fine, the last time the ropes were drawn tight, I grew so exceedingly weak, occasioned by the blood's circulation being stopped, and the pains I endured, that I fainted quite away; insomuch that I was carried back to my dungeon, without perceiving it.
These barbarians, finding that the tortures above deseribed could not extort any further discovery from me; but that, the more they made me suffer, the more fervently I addressed my supplications, for patience, to heaven. they were so inhuman, six weeks after, as to expose me to another kind of torture, more grievous, if possible, than the former. They made me stretch my arms in such a manner that the palms of my hands were turned outward ; when, by the help of a rope that fastened them together at the wrist, and which they turned by an engine, they drew them gently nearer to one another behind, in such a manner that the back of each hand touched and stood exactly parallel one to another; whereby both my shoulders were dislocated, and a considerable quantity of blood issued from my mouth.
This torture was repeated thrice; after which I was again taken to my dungeon, and put into the hands of physicians and surgeons, who, in setting my bones, put me to exquisite pain. Two months after, being a little recovered, I was again conveyed to the torture-room, and theremade to undergo another kind of punishment twice. The reader may judge of its horror, from the following description thereof :
" The torturers turned twice around my body a thick iron chain, which, crossing upon my' stomach, terminated afterwards at my wrists. They next set my back against a thick board, at each extremity whereof was a pulley, through wich there ran a rope, that catched the ends of the chains at my wrists. The tormentors then stretched these ropes, by means of a roller, pressed or bruised my stomach, in proportion as the means were drawn tighter. They tortured me on this occasion to such a degree, that my wrists and shoulders were put clut of joint. The surgeons, however, set them presently after; but the barbarians not yet having satiated their cruelty, made me undergo this torture a second time, which I did with fresh pains, though with equal consistency and resolution. I was then remanded back to my dungeon, attended by the surgeons, who dressed my bruises; and here I continued until their auto-da-fé, or gaol delivery. On that occasion, he was sentenced to work at the galleys for four years.
Soon, ho wever, after he had commenced the degrading occupation of a galley slave, the injuries which he had received during his inquisritorial tortures having so much impaired his health, that he was unable to undergo the toils to which he had been condemned, he was sent to the infirmary, where he remained until October, 1744, when he was released upon the demand of the British minister, as a subject to the King of England. He was, ho wever, ordered to leave the country. This, it may be supposed, he gladly did, and repaired to London, where he published the account of his sufferings in a book entitled The Sufferings of John Coustos for Freemasonry, and for refusing to turn Roman Catholic, in the Inquisition at Lisbon, etc., etc. London, 1746; 8vo , 400 pages. This work was reprinted at Birmingham in 1790. Such a narrative is well worthy of being read. John Coustos has not, by his literary researches, added anything to the learning or science of our Order; yet, by his fortitude and fidelity under the severest sufferings, inflicted to exhort from him a knowledge he was bound to conceal, he has shown that Freemasonry makes no idle boast in declaring that its secrets "are locked up in the depository of faithful breasts."
The title of an officer in a French Lodge, equivalent to the English Tiler.
COUVRIR LE TEMPLE.
A French expression for the English one to close the Lodge. But it has also another signification. To cover the Temple to a Brother, means in French Masonic language, to exclucle him from the Lodge.
COVENANT OF FREEMASONRY.
As a covenant is defined to be a contract or agreement between two or more parties on certain terms, there can be no doubt that when a man is made a Freemason he enters into a covenant with the Institution. On his part he promises to fulfil certain promises, and to discharge certain duties, for which, on the other part, the Fraternity bind themselves by an equivalent covenant of friendship, protection, and support. This covenant must of course be repeated and modified with every extension of the terms of agreement on both sides.
The covenant of an Entered Apprentice is different from that of a Fellow Craft, and the covenant of the latter from that of a Master Mason. As we advance in Freemasonry our obligations increase, but the covenant of each Degree is not the less permanent or binding because that of a succeeding one has been super-added. The second covenant does not impair the sanctity of the first.
This covenant of Freemasonry is symbolized and sanctioned by the most important and essential of all the ceremonies of the Institution. It is the very foundation-stone which supports the whole edifice, and, unless it be properly laid, no superstructure can with any safety be erected. It is indeed the covenant that makes the Freemason.
A master so important as this, in establishing the relationship of a Freemason with the Craft-this baptism, so to speak, by which a member is inaugurated into the Institution-must of course be attended with the most solemn and binding ceremonies. Such has been the case in all countries. Covenants have always been solemnized with certain solemn forms and religious observances which gave them a sacred sanction in the minds of the contracting parties. The Hebrews, especialiy, invested their covenants with the most imposing ceremonies.
The first mention of a covenant in form that is met with in Scripture is that recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, where, to confirm it, Abraham, in obedience to the Divine command, took a heifer, a she-goat, and a ram, "and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another" (see Genesis v, 10). This dividing a victim into two parts, that the covenanting parties might pass between them, was a custom not confined to the Hebrews, but borrowed from them by all the heathen nations.
v In the Book of Jeremiah it is again alluded to , and the penalty for the violation of the covenant is also expressed.
And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof,
The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land which passed between the parts of the calf
I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their live; and their dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven, and to the beasts of the earth" (Jeremiah xxxiv, 18, 19, 20).
These ceremonies, thus briefly alluded to in the passages which have been quoted, were performed in full, as follows. The attentive Masonic student will observe the analogies to those of his own Order.
The parties entering into a covenant first selected a proper animal, such as a calf or a kid among the Jews, a sheep among the Greeks, or a pig among the Romans. The throat was then cut across, with a single blow, so as to completely divide the windpipe and arteries, without to uching the bone. This was the first ceremony of the covenant. The second was, to tear open the breast, to take from thence the heart and vitals, and if on inspection the least imperfection was discovered, the body was considered unclean, and thrown aside for another. The third ceremony was to divide the body in twain, and to place the two parts to the north and south, so that the parties to the covenant might pass between them, coming from the east and going to the west. The carcass was then left as a prey to the wild beasts of the field and the vultures of the air, and thus the covenant was ratified (see Hand, also Oath and Penalty).
COVERING OF THE LODGE.
As the lectures tell us that our ancient Brethren met on the highest hills and lowest vales, from this it is inferred that, as the meetings were thus in the open air, the only covering must have been the overarching vault of heaven. Hence, in the symbolism of Freemasonry the covering of the Lodge is said to be a clouded canopy or starry-decked heaven. The terrestrial Lodge of labor is thus intimately connected with the celestial Lodge of eternal refreshment. The symbolism is still further extended to remind us that the whole world is a Freemason's Lodge, and heaven its sheltering cover.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014