The Masonic Trowel

... to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble emulation of who can best work or best agree ...

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

 Masonic quotes by Brothers

Search Website For

Add To Favorites

Help Me Maintain OUR Website!!!!!!

List of Contributors

PDF This File

Print This Page

Email This Site To ...

this is an interesting Masonic document, originally written in Latin, and purporting to have been issued in 1535. Its history, as given by those who first offered it to the public, and who claim that it is authentic, is as follows: From the year 1519 to 1601, there existed in the city of Amsterdam, in Holland, a Lodge whose name was Het Vredendall, or The Valley of Peace. In the latter year, circumstances caused the Lodge to be closed, but in 1637 it was revived by four of its surviving members, under the name of Frederick's Vredendall, or Frederick's Valley of Peace. In this Lodge, at the time of its restoration, there was found a chest, bound with brass and secured by three locks and three seals, which, according to a protocol published on the 29th of January, 1637, contained the following documents:
1. The original warrant of constitution of the Lodge Het Vredendall, written in the English language.
2. A roll of all the members of the Lodge from 1519 to 1601.'
3. The original charter given to the Brotherhood at the City of Cologne, and which is now known among Masonic historians as the Charter of Cologne.
It is not known how long these documents remained in possession of the Lodge at Amsterdam. But they were subsequently remitted to the charge of Brother James Van Vasner, Lord of Opdem, whose signature is appended to the last attestation of The Hague register, under the date of the 2d of February, 1638. After his death, they remained among the papers of his family until 1790, when M. Walpenaer, one of his descendants, presented them to Brother Van Boetzelaer, who was then the Grand Master of the Lodges of Holland. Subsequently they fell into the hands of some person whose name is unknown, but who, in 1816, delivered them to Prince Frederick.
There is a story that the Prince received these documents accompanied by a letter, written in a female hand, and signed "C., child of V. J." In this letter the writer states that she had found the documents among the papers of her father, who had received them from Brother Van Boetzelaer. It is suspected that the authoress of the letter was the daughter of Brother Van Jeylinger, who was the successor of Van Boetzelaer as Grand Master of Holland. Another version of the history states that these documents had long been in the possession of the family of Wassenaer Van Opdem, by a member of which they were presented to Van Boetzelaer, who subsequently gave them to Van Jeylinger, with strict injunctions to preserve them until the restitution of the Orange regency.
The originals are now, or were very lately, deposited in the archives of a Lodge at Namur, on the Meuse ; but copies of the charter were given to the Fraternity under the following circumstances: In the year 1819, Prince Frederick of Nassau, who was then the Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Holland, contemplating a reformation in Freemasonry, addressed a circular on this subject to all the Lodges under his Jurisdiction, for the purpose of enlisting them in behalf of his project, and accompanied this circular with copies of the charter, which he had caused to be taken in facsimile, and also of the register of the Amsterdam Lodge, Valley of Peace, to which Brother Hawkins has already referred as contained in the brass-mounted chest.
A transcript of the charter in the original Latin, with all its errors, was published, in 1818, in the Annales Maçonniques. The document was also presented to the public in a German version, in 1819, by Dr. Fred Heldmann; but his translation has been proved, by Lenning and others, to be exceedingly incorrect. In 1821, Doctor Krause published it in his celebrated work entitled The Three oldest Masonic Documents. It has been frequently published since in a German translation, in whole or in part, but is accessible to the English reader only in Burnes' Sketch of the History of the Knights Templar, published at London in 1840; in the English translation of Findel's History of Freemasonry, and in the American Quarterly Review of Freemasonry, where it was published with copious notes by Brother Mackey.
P. J. Schouten, a Dutch writer on the history of Freemasonry, who had undoubtedly seen the original document, describes it as being written on parchment in Masonic cipher, in the Latin language, the characters uninjured by time, and the subscription of the names not in cipher, but in the ordinary cursive character. The Latin is that of the Middle Ages, and is distinguished by many incorrectly spelled words, and frequent grammatical solecisms. Thus, we find bagistri for magistri, trigesimo for tricesimo, ad nostris ordinem for ad nostrum ordinem, etc.
Brother Hawkins who prepared this article concluded, that of the authenticity of this document, it is but fair to say that there are well-founded doubts among many Masonic writers. The learned antiquaries of the University of Leyden have testified that the paper on which the register of the Lodge at The Hague is written, is of the same kind that was used in Holland at the commencement of the seventeenth century, which purports to be its date, and that the characters in which it is composed are of the same period. This register, it will be remembered, refers to the Charter of Cologne as existing at that time ; so that if the learned men of Leyden have not been deceived, the fraud---supposing that there is one in the charter-must be more than two centuries old.
Doctor Burnes professes to have no faith in the document, and the editors of the Hermes at once declare it to be surreptitious. But the condemnation of Burnes is too sweeping in its character, as it includes with the charter all other German documents on Freemascnry ; and the opinion of the editors of the Hermes must be taken with some grains of allowance, as they were at the time engaged in a controversy with the Grand Master of Holland, and in the defense of the Advanced Degrees, whose claims to antiqulty this charter would materially impair. Doctor Oliver, on the other hand, quotes it unreservedly, in his Landmarks, as a historical document worthy of credit ; and Reghellini treats it as authentic. In Germany, the Masonic authorities of the highest reputation, such as Heldermann, Morsdorf, Kloss, and many others, have repudiated it as a spurious production, most probably of the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Kloss objects to the document, that customs are referred to in it that were not known in the rituals of initiation until 1731; that the Advanced Degrees were nowhere known until 1725 ; that none of the eighteen copied documents have been found; that the declaimer against Templar Freemasonry was unnecessary in 1535, as no Templar Degrees existed until 1741; that some of the Latin exprossions are not such as were likely to have been used; and a few other objections of a similar character. Bobrik, who published, in I840, the Text, Translation, and Examination of the Cologne Document, also advances some strong critical arguments against its authenticity. Summing up the above' evidence, Brother E. L. Hawkins was convinced that on the whole, the arguments to disprove the genuineness of the charter appear to be very convincing, and are strong enough to throw at least great doubt upon it as being anything else but -a modern forgery. See Mackey's revised History of Freemasonry (page 780) and Gould's History of Freemasonry (1, 496), where the question of the authenticity of the document is examined, and it is classed among the doubtful manuscripts.
A Congress which is said to have been convened in 1525, by the most distinguished Freemasons of the time, in the City of Cologne, as the representatives of nineteen Grand Lodges, who are said to have issued the celebrated manifesto, in defense of the character and aims of the Institution, known as the Charter of Cologne. Whether this Congress was ever held is a moot point among Masonic writers, most of them contending that it never was, and that it is simply an invention of the early part of the nineteenth century (see Cologne, Charter of).
A republic in the northwestern part of South America. In 1824 Colonel James Hamilton was appointed by England head of the Masonic Province of Colombia.
The Republic of Colombia consisted at first of New Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela. In 1831, however, all these became independent and in 1861 Colombia was constituted by New Granada.
Concord Lodge, No. 792, was established by England in 1824 but its authority was withdrawn in 1862. A Scotch Lodge, Eastern Star of Colombia, was opened the same year as Concord Lodge.
On June19, 1833, the Grand Orient of New Granada was established at Carthagena and has continued work up till the present day. Towards a Grand Orient founded June 13, 1864, at Bogota for the southern states of the Republic, it maintained, with occasional interruptions, a friendly attitude. A Supreme Council of Colombia had existed at Bogota as early as 1825 but ceased work.
The present Supreme Council was created later.v The Grand Lodge of Colombia was opened on November 30, 1919, with all due ceremony by delegates from the four Lodges, Astrea, No. 56; Siglo XX, No. 61: Libertad, No. 54, and Luz de la Verdad, No. 46, at Barranquilla.
Three other Bodies, the National Grand Lodge of Colombia at Barranquilla, the Most Serene National Grand Lodge of Colombia at Carthagena and the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Colombia, at Carthagena, established in 1918, 1920 and 1922 respectively, are still in existence and all six, according to Brother Oliver Day Street, are more or less independent.
Lodges in the colonies of Great Britain are under the immediate supervision and jurisdiction of District Grand Lodges, to which title the reader is referred.
This organization was instituted at Ha1ifax, North Carolina. December 30, 1912, and comprises in its membership Worshipful Masters and Past Masters of Colonial Lodges. No application on the part of such Brethren was ever to be required but whenever such a Brother shall present himself and pay the fee he is to be initiated without ballot and that no objection shall debar him except for nonaffiliation with some Lodge. The first lesson of the Order was to honor the Fathers by perpetuating and building up their Colonial Lodges and not only to glorify the early guardians of Freemasonry on the Continent of America but to -also listen to the call for service, fidelity and faith, and to be pledged to a higher consecration and a more vivid realization of duty.
When Auraria, or Denver as it later came to be called, sprang up in consequence of the discovery of gold in Jefferson Territory, the Brethren in the town applied to the Grand Master of Kansas for a Dispensation to open a Lodge. This was granted on October 1, 1859. While their request for a Charter, granted on October 15, 1862, was being considered by the Grand Lodge of Kansas they resigned the Dispensation from that State and as Denver Lodge accepted one, and in due course received a Charter,
December 11, 1861, from the Grand Lodge of Colorado. The Grand Lodge of Colorado was organized by representatives of Golden City Lodge, No. 34; Summit Lodge, No. 7, and Rocky Mountain Lodge, no. 8, who met on August 2, 1861. Brother Eli Carter of Golden City presided over the Convention and Brother Whittemore acted as secretary. A Constitution drawn up by a Committee composed of Brothers J. A. Moore, C. F. Holly, and S. M. Robbins was submitted and approved. John M. Chivington was elected Grand Master and O. A. Whittemore, Grand Secretary. The first Chapter in Colorado was Central City, No. l, in Central City. Its Dispensation, dated March 23, 1863, was granted by the General Grand King. On May 11, 1875, a Convention was held at Denver City by authority of Elbert H. English, the General Grand High Priest, and the Grand Chapter of Colorado was duly established. Companion William II. Byers was the first Grand High Priest, Companion Irving W. Stanton, Deputy Grand High Priest, and Companion Francis E. Everett, Grand Secretary. The General Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters issued a Dispensation to Denver, No. l, at Denver, on January 16, 1892, and a Charter on August 21, 1894. Denver, No. l, with Rocky Mountain, No. 2, and Durango, No. 3, met and organized the Grand Council of Colorado on December 6, 1894.
In the year 1866 a Commandery, namely Colorado, No, l, was established by Dispensation dated January 13. On September 10, two years later, a Charter was granted and it was constituted on January 26, 1869. With Central City, no. 2, and Pueblo, No. 3, Colorado, no. l, organized a Grand Commandery which was opened on March14, 1876. A Lodge of Perfection, Delta, No. l, was chartered at Denver on January 26, 1877; a Chapter of Rose Croix, Mackey, No. l, on April 11, 1878; a Council of Kadosh, Denver, No, l, on September 3, 1888, and a Consistory, Colorado, No. l, on Oetober17, 1888.
The secret societies of negroes claiming to be Masonic are quite extensive, embracing Grand Lodges in practically every State (see Negro Masonry).
Wemyss, in his Clavis Symbolica, the Latin meaning Symbolic Key, says: "Color, which is outwardly seen on the habit of the body, is symbolically ised to denote the true state of the person or subject to which it is applied, according to its nature." This definition may appropriately be borrowed on the present occasion, and applied to the system of Masonic colors. The color of a vestment or of a decoration is never arbitrarily adopted in Freemasonry. Every color is selected with a view to its power in the symbolic alphabet, and it teaches the initiate some instructive moral lesson, or refers to some important historical fact in the system. Frederic Portal, a French archeologist, has written a valuable treatise on the symbolism of colors, under the title of Des Couleurs Symboliques dans l'antiquité, le moyen âge et les temps modernes, meaning Symbolic Colors in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Modern Times, which is well worth the attention of Masonic students.
The Masonic colors are seven in number, namely: 1, blue;
2, purple;
3, red;
4, white ;
5, black ;
6, green;
7, yellow;
8, violet (see those respective titles in this Encydopedia).
About the Church of God as well as the Bodies of Freemasonry has clustered a rich store of symbolism.
Their foundation is the same. Writers through the centuries have found peculiar significancies galore in the various features of church construction and adornment. Among these the symbolism of colors has been prominently mentioned. Bishop William Durandus, was born at Puy-moisson in Province about the year 1220 A.D., and died at Rome in 1296.
A book of his dealing freely with symbolism was finished in 1286 and from it we take the following item to illustrate the early ceremonial symbolism of colors:

On festivals, curtains are hung up in churches, for the sake of the otnament they give; and that by visible, we may be led to invisible beauty. These curtains are sometimes tinctured with various hues, as is said afore; so that by the diversity of the colours themselves we may be taught that man, who is the temple of God, shoud be ordained by the variety and diversity of virtues. ,'A white curtain signifieth pureness of living ; a red, charity; a green, contemplation; a black, mortification of the flesh: a livid-coloured, tribulation. Besides this, over white curtains are sometimes suspended hangings of various colours: to signify that our hearts ought to be purged from vices: and that in them should be the curtains of virtues, and the hangings of good works. We must not overlook the authorities whose comments on the symbolism of colors are not in complete accord with the findings of Bishop Durandus and with those who have accepted and continued his conclusions. While an exact meaning may not universally have been applied to the individual colors there is found a striking correspondence with several of them.
Anyway, a difference in the symbolic meanings does not destroy or even impair the circumstance that colors have long been and are now freely employed as Symbols. The preface to English Liturgical Colours, by Sir Wm. St. John Hope and E. G. Cuthbert F. Atchley, published in 1918 by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, refers to the discussion of the subject in 1860 in the Ecclesiologist (volume xxi, pages 133--i), by a writer over the initials J. C. J, who, after showing the considerable variety of the colors recorded, and that no strict rule for their use was possible, pointed out that
In early times richness of material seems to have been the chief point aimed at: a good deal being left to the fancy and taste of the donors, most of all to the bishops, sacristans, and clergy. This commentator arrives at the foullwing conclusion:
First of all then, it is quite clear that the English did not bind themselves down to the so-Called ecclesiastical colours. By this I do not mean to say that they never had particular colours for particular days, but that they allowed themselves much more liberty than modem Rome allows to her members.
Of the growth of such symbolism and the outcome, Messrs. Hope and Atchley have this to say on page viii :
As soon as churches began to acquire more vestments than a set for everyday use, a second set for Sundays, and a best set for festivals, it was natural that different colours should be appropriated to the various festivals and several classes of saints, and the choice of the colour was determined in each country in western Europe by the prevailing ideas of fitness. In point of fact, however, there was a fairly general unanimity in the schemes which developed everywhere outside the Roman diocese, while within that a scheme of another type gradually took shape. No colour has any essential and necessary meaning, consequently a "teaching sequence" rests on purely arbitrary conventions.
Durandus and other Writers have explained at length from Holy Writ and elsewhere how ''each hue mysteriously is meant''; but it is perfectly easy to put together quite as plausible a set of reasons for precisely the opposite or any other signification. At the same time it is not to be denied that there are a few quasi-natural symbollical meanings which have obtained for so many centuries that they have now become common ideas of Western Europe. Such are the use of black or dark colours for mourning and sadness, of white as a symbol of purity and innocence, and of bright red for royalty; as well as the ideas connoted by such phrases as "in the blues," and the like. Medieval writers, as is shown in Essays on Ceremonial, differ widely among themselves in the significance that they attribute to different colours, and no certainty is anywhere to be found.
A round pillar made to support as well as to adorn a building, whose construction varies in the different orders of architecture. In Freemasonry, columns have a symbolic signification as the supports of a Lodge, and are known as the Columns of Misdom, Strength, and Beauty. The broken column is also a symbol in Freemasonry (see the titles Supports of the Lodge and Broken Column).
In Freemaconry the Senior Warden's Column represents the pillar Jachin while the Junior Warden's Column represents the pillar Boaz. The Senior Warden's Column is in an erect position and the Junior Warden's placed horizontally during labor, these positions being reversed during refreshment.

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

This site is not an official site of any recognized Masonic body in the United States or elsewhere.
It is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion
of Freemasonry, nor webmaster nor those of any other regular Masonic body other than those stated.

DEAD LINKS & Reproduction | Legal Disclaimer | Regarding Copyrights

Last modified: March 22, 2014