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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, U. S.
Of the 55 delegates who in the Convention held at Philadelphia in 1787 formed the Constitution of the United States, 20 are known to have been Masons then or to have become Masons afterwards :
Benjamin Franklin had been a Mason for fifty-seven years, had started as a memher of St. John's No. 1, Philadelphia, had been a Provincial Grand Master, and had been a member of the Lodge of the Nine Sisters in France.
George Washington had been a Mason since 1752, and in 1789, the year of his first inauguration, was Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge, Va.
Edmund Randolph had been made a Mason in 1774, in Williamsburg Lodge, and was Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Virginia in the year of the Convention.
John Blair, also a member of Williamsburg Lodge, had been Virginia's first Grand Master in 1778.
David Brearley was also a Grand Master in 1787, in New Jersey, that Grand Jurisdiction's first. William Richardson Davie, Jr., o.as raised in Prov. Grand Master Montfort.s' White Hart Lodge, Halifax, N. C., in 1792, and became Grand Master the same year.
Gunning Bedford, Jr., had been made a Mason in Lodge No. 14, Delaware, in 1782 ; and was to serve as Delaware's first Grand Master from 1806 to 1809.
Oliver Ellsworth had been a member of the Lodge at Prince Town, New Jersey, and was named in the Charter signed by Jeremy Gridley, Provincial Grand Master of New England.
Rufus King was a member of St. John's Lodge, Newburyport, Mass. He was to be defeated for the Presideney by James Monroe.
John Dickinson had been made a Mason in Lodge, No. 18, Dover, Delaware, Jan. 11, 1780. Dr. James McHenry, who was to be Secretary of War under Washington and Adams, was to become a Mason in Spiritual Lodge, No. 23, Baltimore, Md., in 1806. He established West Point. James McClurg was a member of Williamsburg Lodge, Virginia (one of three from it).
Jacob Broom had been a member and officer of Lodge No. 14, Wilmington, Del., since before 1780.
William Pierce was a member of Solomon'a Lodge, No 1 Savannah, Ga.
William Houstown also was a member of Solomon'a.
Daniel Carroll had been a member of St. John's Lodge, 20 Maryland, since May 8, 1781.
John Francis Mercer was to become a member of Corinthian Lodge, No. 54, Maryland, April 26, 1811, and be Governor of his State.
Dan of St. Thomas Jenifer, was to become a member of St Columba Lodge, No. 10, Maryland, in 1796.
William Paterson was to be Entered and Passed in one ceremony in Trenton Lodge, No. 5, in 1791, and Raised six months afterwards, while Governor of New Jersey.
Jonathan Dayton (the city in ohio was named for him) was a Mason in New Jersey, Lodge unknown. IIe attended a Grand Communication in 1788.
Twenty-three are known not to have been Masons. of other twelve there is some reason, oftentimes very convincing, to believe they were members :
Roger Sherman. A Masonic Apron said on good authority to have been his, is in the Yale University Library.
Robert Morris. George Washington presented him with a Masonic Apron in 1774.
Alexander Hamilton. The name Hamilton is in the list of Masons who attended American Union Lodge, Dec. 27, at Morristown, N. J.
Abraham Baldwin. No proof one way or another.
William Blount. He was invited to a Masonic banquet June 24, 1789, by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina.
James Madison. He walked in a Masonic procession, Oct 6, 1817, to lay the corner-stone of the present Uni-of Virginia, but so also did a number of non-Masons A James Madison was Initiated in Williamsburg Lodge December 22, 1774.
Nicolas Gilman. Either he or his father of the same name was Initiated in St. John's Lodge, No. l, Portsmouth, N. H., Mareh 20, 1777.
John Lansing Jr. There is evidence (though not final) that he was Master of Master's Lodge, o. 2, New York City, in 1784.
George Mason. He possessed a much-used copy of his own of Anderson's Book of Constitutions.
George Read. He or his father of same name was made a Mason in Lodge No. 3, Philadelphia, Deeember 7, 1782.
Elbridge Gerry. Reputedly a member of Philanthropic Lodge, Marblehead, Mass. The Lodge records are missing.
George Wythe. According to a newspaper report he visited York Lodge, Yorktown, Va., in 1781. For detailed discussion of the Convention and its members see treatise on "Freemasons and the American Constitution," by W.'. Howard A. Hanson ; page 83; Masonic Papers, VOI. I; Research Lodge, No. 281; Seattle, Wash.
COULTON, GEORGE GORDON.
From a time since which the memory of the present generation of the lovers of the lore and history of the Middle Ages runneth not to the contrary, G. G. Coulton (b, 1858) has been chief among the few specialists who have been able to write about each and every medieval subject for non-specialists; has done so with gusto, sweep, power, and in books of a fine literary quality. By Masons they are especially prized because the body of them as a whole is almost Masonic enough to be called a history of Medieval Masonry (a better name for it than the misleading and ambiguous "Operative" Masonry).
This is true in the largest sense of Art and the Reformation, which, if it be allowed that it does not include a study of the earliest texts of institutional Freemasonry, is, on the whole, and for non-specialist readers, the best book on Masonry as it was in its first four or five centuries. Though not written as a Masonic book (the substance of it was delivered as a series of lectures at Harvard University) it contains chapters on Masons and Monasteries (wherein the notion that the monks were architects, scholars, and learned men is exploded); Arcitect; Masons Marks; Modes of Recognition; Apprenticeship; Journeymen; Symbolism ; Architectural Administration and Finance ; Bankers (or Masons) Marks; etc. (His other books of a similar kind are : Life in the Middle Ages; Macmillan; New York; 1930. Medieval Panorama; Macmillan; New York; 801 pages. social Life in Britain from the Conquest to. the Reformation; Cambridge, England; 1919 ; 506 pages. Chaucer and his England; Methuen. From St. Francis to Dante; Duckworth. Five Centuries of Religion. The Medieval Village. Scottish Abbeys. The Medieval Scene. Papal Infallibility; 1932.
The history of Freemasonry in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries is difficult because,of the paucity of written records; the difficulty is complicated because in that period the Fraternity lived in a world shaken and confused, and even though at the same time awakened and inspired, by three very powerful cross-currents:
1. The Renaissance awoke in Italy, and passed rapidly into France, and later into England, bringing in "the new learning" and preparing for the Age of Enlightenment; a new ferment of thought, a new birth of the arts, the rise of a new style in architecture (the Palladian), etc.
2. The Reformation, first as it was begun by Luther and Melanchthon, then as it was completed by Calvin and Knox, and finally as it emerged in England in the form of denominationalism.
3. The Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation. This in itself had three aspects:
.(a) one directed inwardly toward itself by the Roman Church in order to reform its own abuses, thereby confessing that the Reformers' charges against it were true;
(b) an attempt of the Church to accept, or accommodate, or to digest the Renaissance without surrendering its theology because it found that it could not survive without using the New Knowledge for its own purposes; and
(c) a determined, organized, heavily-financed, shrewdly planned drive, or campaign, or war, first to undermine or to destroy Protestantism, and second to win back again its "lost provinces." The Masonic Fraternity did not alter in substance under the weight and drive of these three conflicting movements, but it became modified in many of its non-essentiaI particulars, in its nomenclature, in its form of organization, in the religious qualifications for membership, etc.
(The literature is so vast that it is best to enter it through one or two special studies, such as : The Movement Toward Catholic Reform in the Early XVI Century, by George U. Jourdan; John Murray; London; 1914; the chapter on Reuchlin is especially well considered, and it is a help to the study of indirect Jewish influences in the Eighteenth Century Craft, which though slight are interesting. The Renaissance, The Protestant Revolution, and the Catholic Reformation, by Edward M. Hulme; The Century Co.; New York; 1914. "Reformation" is a misnomer for the rise of Protestantism ; it began as a reforrnation under Luther and under Henry VIII, but by the time it had worked itself out in the Nineteenth Century it was seen to have been a religious revolution ; the Roman Counter-Reformation was by contrast merely a reformation because it altered only abuses and details, leaving Roman Catholic fundamental doctrines as before. See also Art and the Reformation, by G. G. Coulton. )
When one or more Degrees are conferred on a Candidate from another Grand Jurisdiction, when that Candidate purposes to become a member in a Lodge of that Grand Jurisdiction, and when such Degrees are conferred on official request from that Grand Jurisdiction, the Degrees are said to be conferred "by courtesy."
The custom is as old as American Freemasonry, but it did not begin to attract attention or be discussed in Grand Jurisdictions until after 1900 when, owing to the industrialization of the country, so many men became nomads, seldom having residence in one community for more than one or a few years ; the question came up for speciaI attention, and for obvious reasons, during both World Wars. A report made to the Grand Secretaries Conference, at Washington, D.C., in February, 1942, showed that the custom had become almost universally accepted. Pennsylvania alone conferred no Courtesy Degrees. New York came next in conservatism, for it confers them only on special dispensation from its Grand Master. Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Nevada, New York, Wyoming, and Ontario in Canada conferred the Second and Third Degrees only. Fortyone Grand Lodges were conferring any one of the three, or two or more. Ten Grand Lodges make a charge of some kind; the others do not. The great majority of Grand Lodges conform to the rules of initiation, passing and raising according to the Rules obtaining in the Candidate's home Jurisdiction. (For details in full see Grand Lodge Bulletin; Grand Lodge of Iowa; Cedar Rapids; April, 1942; page 167.)
COUSTOS, JOHN, LODGE OF.
The history of John Coustos, a native of Switzerland, a resident in London, a lapidary by trade, is amply told in an article beginning at page 247; but the extraordinary career of this extraordinary man wiII gain in reality and significance if to the biographical account is added a description of the Lodge to which he belonged in London, which among other Lodges was as extraordinary as he was, among men, not the least of its extraordinariness being that its history consists of three histories though it did not omit a communication or alter its by-laws.
This tripartite history is set forth in a book, as extraordinary in its own way as the Lodge was in another: Two Hundred Years of Freemasonry: A History of the Britannic Lodge, No. 88, by William Sanderson; George Kenning & Son; London; 1930. It was never a large Lodge, yet for many decades it was one of the largest on the Grand Lodge List ; in 1730 it had 63 members, two others had 64, "the others were much smaller" !
In its first period the Lodge was virtually a Hugue-not body. In 1758 Henry IV of France, in the Edict of Nantes, and in atonement for the St. Bartholomew Eve massacre, gave French Huguenots their liberty. When this Edict was'revoked in 1685 Huguenots fled for safety to the ends of the earth, many coming to America, where in Westchester County they estabIished the now wealthy small city of New Rochelle; but the largest number of them crossed to England, among them being the future Dr. Desaguliers, architect of the Grand Lodge System of Speculative Masonry, whom, as a small child, so he said, his father had hidden in a barrel. These Huguenots became completely at home in Masonry ; and until about 1773 they comprised a majority of the members in Britannic Lodge.
In that year began Britannic History II, called its Royal Period, because during the years until 1817 it had so many members belonging to Royal Families and the Nobility in general, including two English Kings, three Kings of Hanover, five Royal Dukes; and it had the Earl of Moira as ''perpetual Right Worshipful Master"-for which the only parallel is the Prince of Wales Lodge, No. 259, founded by Arthur, Prince of Wales, in his own household.
In its third incarnation, and after a transition period, the Lodge took an entirely new turn, and became an engineers Lodge. From the History one has the impression that it continues to be one.
John Coustos was a respected, honored member of it in the Huguenot period, though, as said above, he was a Swiss by birth ; and he was respected for his skill, and intelligence as much as for his manhood. King George II had personally secured the release of Coustos from the Inquisition at Portugal. In 1746 Coustos published his sufferings, which, it should be noted, is not a vague and heavy pious tale like a chapter in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, nor a self-pitying, sentimental, "begging" book, but a clear, factual, and very manly history of one of the most unjust and agonizing tortures a man ever survived-and for no other reason than that he was a Mason! He published a second edition in 1788.
CREEK INDIANS, PROV. G. M. TO.
In American history and in American Masonic history in particular, there occasionally are men and events so incredibly fantastic, so fabulous, that were they not proved by indubitable evidence they would defy creduIity. Prominent among such events in American Masonic history, and one recommended to Masonic researchers in Georgia, was the extraordinary Grand Lodge appointment of General Bowles. Bowles was born in America, 1763, and at thirteen ran away from home to join the British army at Philadelphia. After losing a commission by a breach of discipline, this wild, young d'Artagnan went off and joined the Creek Indians, married a woman from that very intelligent people, became a war leader, and commanded the Creeks when they assisted the British to attack the Spaniards at Pensacola in 1780. After returning from a visit to England he was captured by the Spaniards, sent to Madrid, and then to Manila, escaped, was recaptured and sent to Havana, where he died.
While he was in England he was made an Honorary Member of Prince of Wales Lodge, No. 259 (see under ROYALTY AND ENGLISH MASONRY) where H. R. H. Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV) was Master. At about the same time he was appointed by the Grand Lodge of England (Modern) to be "Provincial Grand Master of Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians under the Grand Lodge of England, and his name appears as such in the Calendar of that period." (See Prince of IVales Lodge, No. 269, by Thomas Fenn; London; 1890; page 23. Bowles probably was made a Mason in a British Army Lodge during the Revolution.)
CURRIER & IVES MASONIC CHART.
In 1944 the Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa received from Alexander B. Andrews, P.G. M., North Carolina, a copy of a Currier & Ives print of a Tracing Board, entitled The Masonic Chart. Nathaniel Currier (1813- 1888) was a Iithographer in New York City; at the time of the great fire of 1835 he hit upon the scheme of publishing a lithograph of it in fuII colors to sell like newspapers. From then on he followed with one print after another of catastrophes, public events, famous scenes and personages, etc. In 1857 he took his employee James M. Ives (1824-1895) into partnership; from then on, Currier & Ives did for America what the Japanese print-makers had done for Japan, except that their lithographs were not works of art, though at the time they were better than newspaper cuts and as artistic as contemporary magazine illustrations.
Bevore Ives died in 1895 the collection of a complete set became a popular hobby; after 1900 the nowfamous prints became a collector's item, and ever since have been increasing in cost. They are in reality contemporary documents in picture form, because the firm made it its first principle to to have every detail true to facts, and in consequence the prints as a whole are a faithful record of buildings, towns, events, costumes, vehicules, weapons, etc., for two generations of a period in which such details are almost as remote from mid-Twentieth-Century America as the Eighteenth Century is.
About l943 a New York City publisher issued a portofolio of Currier & Ives in a full eolor printing of unprecedented excellence, and made the collection as complete as possible ; but neither it nor other collectors knew of The Masonic Chart. It is therefore a Masonic treasure, rare as being a Currier & Ives original print, and rare among Currier & Ives prints themselves.
It is one of the most complete Tracing Boards in existence, extraordinarily well arranged, and contains about forty emblems and symbols. Of these, five raise questions which ought to inspire research by Masonic students: a comet; an apron with rounded corners and colored edging; a shoe; and a ram. The Chart was printed in 1876.
Note: It happens that the oldest known specimen of a Lodge Tracing Board is in the Tho:
Carmick Manuscript; 1727, belonging to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. A reproduction will be found in the Appendix of Early Freemsonry in Pennsylvania, by Henry S. Bonneman ; Philadelphia; 1931. By comparison with the Currier & Ives Tracing Board it is as crude as a troglodytic pictograph, and was done free-hand. At the top is the legend, ''This figure represents the Lodge." The figure is a triangle, 3,5 inches across the base, and a vertical height of 5 in. At the upper point is the word "wardin" ; the lower left hand angle is marked "fellow Craft" ; "Enter Prentice" is across the base ; ''Master" is at lower right angle. A pendulum is suspended from the vertex, and its blob is marked E, S, W.
Across the lower part, in two rows, are black and white squares. Up each side are numbers. Inside the triangle are two crude figures, which one may guess to be the Great Lights and the officers---or, they may represent three Degrees. There are also a trowel, plumb, globe, square, compasses.
This Carmick Tracing Board is unlike any other ; it also carries the appearance of having been composed by the scribe himself. The fact raises an interesting question:
Lid an individual Mason now and then "arrange" or "interpet " or "revise'' the Ritual according to notions of his own? Strongly opinionated Americans did not hesitate to devise new theologies, political theories, etc., out of hand; they were in matters of thought blood-brothers to "Yankees in trade and to those "geniuses" in invention who turned out night-mare mechanical contraptions. It may be that a Lodge here and there was led into a sort of Freemasonry of its own making and according to ''opinions of one its "strong-minded" members [the words in quoting are taken from nomenclatures of early Eighteenth Century newspapers] If researchers were to track down these and sometimes cranky versions of Lodge Work in early American Lodges they could clear up pointa otherwise obscure.
Even now, and with the Ritual frozen down to the last syllable by Grand Lodges, a certain amount of this termite-like introduction of unauthorized and untrue elements into Lodge practice is not absent. The larger part of it is carried on under two forms: first, by paid, itinerant "Lodge lecturers" who preach theories of Freemasonry which are false to its history, to its Landmarks, and at violence with its scholarship; and, second, those Lodges which keep more and more stripping themselves of emblems, symbols, regalia, paraphernalia, furniture, etc., until portions of the Work go by default or cease to have any meaning. The more nearly a Lodge becomes a bare room, the more barren becomes its Work.
Raymond de Puy was elected first Grand Master of the Order which came to be called Knights of Malta in 1118; at the first Chapter General he promulgated the "Statutes and Customs." Thus as early as the beginning of the Twelfth Century "customs" was used in the sense of Iaw (among a few other uses) ; and one of its oldest legal definitions was : "An old and general usage that has obtained the force of law.'' It was this general usage which in feudalism gave villeins (or serfs) and cotters their one and only protection, either against fellow villagers or against the rapacity of the baron who owned them. The common law which grew up in England was not ''common'' because it was democratic or because the people had enacted it in common, but was common in the sense that it held good everywhere ; the customs of the gilds, monasteries, and companies became an element in this common law and helped to constitute it. The common or customary law became the foundation of government in England, and much of our own American law is an extension of it.
These facts are important to the history of Freemasonry beeause they show that the "customs of the Masons," so often mentioned in Craft records, were not customs in the sense of fashions or habits, though they also had fashions, fads, and modes among themselves, but were laws, in the sense of common law. In the written contracts which in the later periods of Operative Masonry were signed by the Masons it is usually stated or clearly implied that the contract should not work in violation of their "customs."
The Masons had such customs in the Thirteenth Century; their having them proves that even that early the Fratemity must have been already old because customs in the legal sense were of slow growth. Custorns could become obsolete, as may any laws, but it is interesting to note that among the customs which the Craft has had at one time or another were such as receiving no pay on one-half of the many holidays which (like other workmen) they took each year; having assemblies of their own apart from other types of workmen in the building trades ; going in procession ; having feasts at regular times; having ceremonial clothing; etc. Feasts, unfortunately, are fallen into disuse, but they were once a custom; it is obvious from the first Book of Constitutions that the Grand Lodge feasts were to be as much a part of the Grand Lodge duties as the Order of Business; the Grand Stewards whose function it was to supply the feasts were highly honored and for some years even had the prerogative of naming the appointive oflicers of Grand Lodge.
NOTE. Magna Charta began : "That the City of London have all ita ancient liberties or iranchises and its customs."
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