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A facsimile gives a Masonic student means to have in his own hands an exact reproduction of an original Masonic book or document. No editor, anno tator, or proofreader stands between him and the original, and he is therefore guaranteed against attributing to the original any error, word or annotation not belonging to it. Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, No. 2076, of London, began in 1889 the publication of the rarest and most important Masonic documents under the general title of Quatuor Coronati Antigrapha. Bro. John T. Thorp published a series entitled Masonic Reprints. Lionel Vibert published a facsimile of Anderson's Constitutions. Bro, Enoch T. Carson, of Cincinnati, Ohio, published a number of facsimiles of Masonic texts at his own expense (see page 180). These are specimens of a large number of facsimiles of which students may find copies in any of the larger Masonic Libraries.
From the end of World War I to the end of World War II Freemasonry was through no fault of its own drawn into the most public centers of European conflict, and had the misfortune to become, when war was loosed, one of the casus belli; as when one of Hitler's announced reasons for opposing Czechoslovakia was that President Benes was a Freemason; and when, later, Pétain tried over the radio to justify himself as against Daladier on the ground that Daladier was a Mason (see on this latter Pierre van Passen's great book, Days of Our Years; van Passen himself belonged to the Grand Orient of Franee). In consequence of these new world developments the question as to who is and is not a Mason has become more than one of idle curiosity; has indeed become almost a specialty, and apparently has established itself as a regular department in Masonic periodicals and books.
A roster of public men and of men of eminent fame in the arts and sciences of Europe, Britain, and this Continent would fill this whole volume; those here given are selected to show from how many quarters of the compass Masons come; and how Freemasonry appeals to nothing in a man except that he is a man; and that like St. John's New Jerusalem in the skies it opens its gates North, South, East, and West.
In an address to the Duke of Kent, Grand Master of England, April 30, 1941, the Pro Grand Master quoted "words used by the Prime Minister [himself a Freemason] the last time when he broadcast to the nation." (Churchill.) Irving Bacheller, author of Eben Holden, was made a Mason in Kane Lodge, No. 454, December 5, 1899. The Rev. S. Parkes Cadman was raised in Shekomenko Lodge, No. 458, Pleasant Valley, N.Y., June 18, 1892; and from 1909 was a Grand Chaplain, Grand Lodge of New York, until his death, July 12, 1936. Sir Walter Besant, famous for the books he wrote, notably the great series of volumes on the history of London, was made a Mason in Mauritius in 1862; it was Besant who first conceived the idea of forming the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and suggested it to W. R. Rylands, who started the movement.
Luther Burbank was made a Mason in Santa Rosa Lodge, Calif., August 31, 1921. His great forerunner, Charles Darwin, was not, it is believed, himself a Mason but most of the men in his family were, including his almost equally famous grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin. Rear Admiral Byrd is a member of Kane Lodge, No. 454, New York City; in 1930 the Lodge presented him with its Explorer Medal; he in return presented the Lodge with the U.S. flag he had carried over the South Pole.
William Jennings Bryan was made a Mason in Masonic Lodge, No. 19, Lincoln, Neb., April 15, 1902; he later affiliated with Temple Lodge, No. 247, Miami Fla. Irving Berlin, America's most popular composer, is a Mason; in the New York Masonic Outlook, page 11, September, 1930, he expressed a love and admiration for the Craft.
H. P. H. Bromwell, Colorado's most famous Mason, author of Restoration of Masonic Symbolry, a work of prodigious erudition, was made a Mason in Temperance Lodge, No. 16, Vandalia, Ill., in 1854. Edward Gibbon, historian, was a member of Lodge of Friendship, No. 3, a very old Lodge of which an excellent history has been published, in London; his Grand Lodge Certificate was dated December 19, 1774. Clarence Boutelle, it will satisfy many inquirers to know, author of Man of Mount Moriah, was made a Mason in Rochester Lodge, No. 21, 1885; and was a contributor to Masonic periodicals.
The author of The Last Days of Pompeii, Lord Bulwer-Lytton, w as a Mason, a Rosicrucian, and wrote the poem, "The world may rail at Masonry." Davy Crockett was a Mason the Texas Grand Lodge Magazine published a photograph of his R.A. Apron but his affiliation remains unknown. Bolivar, the George Washington of South Ameriea, was made a Mason in Cadiz, Spain. Gran Martin, who won the independence of the Argentine, was made a Mason in England, founded a Lodge in Rio de Janeiro, and had a copy of the Book of 11, Constitutions translated into Spanish. Edwin Booth, the actor, was a member of New York Lodge, No. 330, N.Y.C. Sibelius, the composer of "Finlandia," is a SIason, and composed a musical accompaniment for the Degrees. Houdini, magician, was made a Mason in the afternoon musicians' and actors' Lodge, St. Cecile, No. 568, New York City, August 21, 1923; he accumulated an expert's library on magic, occultism, ete.; (see The New York Masonie Outlook; March, 1927; page 206; and The Master Mason; April, 1926; page 293).
William F. Kuhn, one of Kansas City's most eminent citizens, a son of Alsatian emigrants, born in Lyons, N.Y., April 15, 1849, grew up in Michigan among the celery farms, graduated from Wittenberg College, Springfield, Ohio, in 1871, taught a while; graduated from Jefferson Medieal College, Phila.; settled in Eldorado, Kans., for four years, then moved to Kansas City, where he practiced, taught medicine, and all the while had his heart in Masonry, having been made a Mason at Belle Center, Ohio; during his three years as General Grand High Priest he evangelized the Craft throughout the country "on the necessity for the Holy Royal Arch." Bro. David Eugene Smith aroused general interest when he presented the Grand Lodge Library of New York with a number of original documents written or signed by famous Eighteenth Century Frenchmen and Masons; one of them, a certificate which belonged to Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotin (it is not believed that he invented the guillotin or that it was named for him), carries a constellation of signatures once known over Europe (see The New York Masonic Outlook; February, 1929; frontispiece)- Arthur Nash, famous as the founder of the "Golden Rule Nash Business" in Cincinnati, was a Masonry-made man, became a Mason in Masonic Blue Lodge, in 1909, Waterville, Ohio; he will long be remembered in Cincinnati for the help he gave to the S2,000,000 Temple Fund. Wilbur D. Nesbit, author of the poems "My Flag and Your Flag," and "I Sat in Lodge With You" was a member of Evans Lodge, No. 624, Evanston, III., famous for its Masters' Lectures.
General Douglas D. MacArthur, like his father before him, is a Mason; like President Taft, he was "made at sight," the Grand Master of the Philippine Islands conferring that honor in January, 1936, at Manila, where the General affiliated with Manila Lodge, No. 1, thereby coming under a Grand Jurisdiction which admits Chinese and men of almost every other Asiatic nationality. touch is made of the fact that so many commanders in the Allied armies and navies are Masons, but it calls for no comment; Lodge life means more to army and navy men than to civilians.
Thomas R. Marshall, Viee-President for eight years, was a member of the Supreme Council, N.J., from 1911; from the time he retired from the Vice-Presidency until his death in 1925 he devoted the whole of his time to Freemasonry. Captain Frederick Marryat, author of MT. Midshipman Easy, with the British Navy in the War of 1812, became a Mason in Lodge of Antiquity No. 2, one of "The Four Old Lodges," while the Duke of Sussex was W.-.M.-. and Marryat became a Warden; he was in the most distinguished Lodge in the world, which had written in its books the names of Anderson and Desaguliers, and of which William Preston had been Master; Prime Minister George Canning, who fathered the Monroe Doctrine on our President Monroe, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, were among his Lodge mates the great two-volume history of the Lodge by Bros. Rylands and Firebrace is a gallery of men famous in Masonry as well as in the public life of Britain; Christopher Wren is said to have been a Master of it.
Lord Chesterfield was a Masons as were most of the men in the Stanhope family, and was once asked to be Grand Master of the Antient Grand Lodge; though author of Chesterf eld Ss Letters to his Son, a treatise on diplomatic manners and courtly behavior, there was no effeminancy in him, and he held many high offices of state, being once the Governor General of Ireland. (see Gould's History; Vol. II; page 159.) The Craft in Ireland then (as now) was starred with famous names the Duke of Wellington among them (Lodge No-494; Dec.7,1791), and Laurenee Dermott, creator of the Antient Grand Lodge.
The American Craft, though the fact is overlooked or generally unknown, owes more to Ireland and the Antients, of which it was mother and exemplar, than to the Grand Lodge of 1717, because our rules, customs, and Ritual generally are of Irish origin; and if American students and Research Lodges will turn to the subject they will open up the richest of the unexplored fields of American historical research. When they do they will become acquainted with the author of one of the very few Masonic classics—classic when considered solely as literature the re-written version of the Anderson Constitutions composed by the gifted John Pennell, published by the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1730; Gould, with a harshness of judgment which too often was his weakness, described it as "little more than Anderson's publication [it was Grand Lodge's, not Anderson's, publication] brought down to date"; but Penned re-wrote the whole of it, and his Irish Brother, Dean Swift, could not have done it better, if as well.
Admiral George W. Baird, once Grand Master of District of Columbia and for years writer of its Foreign Correspondence Report, w ho had fought in the Mexican War, had supervised the installation of the first electric lighting on an Ameriean Naval vessel, who illustrated his letters with little cartoons in color of an amazing skill, discovered onee where a monument to a Mason had had its Masonie emblems defaced, and then went on to discover that there was at work a general endeavor to erase out of history and other records the Masonie membership of famous Ameriean public and military men; he became so wrathful that he began a nation-wide investigation at his own expense of time and money; it resulted in his publication in The Builder of a long series of "Memorials," which was in part later re-issued as one volume in the Masonic Service Association's Little Masonic Library but he was never able to prepare more than a portion of his overflowing material for print. (The Freemasons, by Eugene Lennhoff, one of the most powerful of Masonic books, is a gallery of hundreds of famous European Masons; Oxford University Press; New York; 1934. Famous Masons, by H. L. Haywood; Masonic History Company; Chicago; 1944, contains short biographies of one hundred famous Masons [famous for their work in the Craft], and long chapters on "Presidents Who Were Masons.")
Benito Mussolini and his collaborators developed a well-rounded philosophy for the Fascist party, which, though never collected or stated in one book, was a unified body of theory; it consisted of a statement of the Fascist program, an exposition of its theories along with a defense of them, an attack on what Mussolini called democracy, liberalism, parliamentarianism, etc. (he had Scarcely more than a vestige of knowledge about the United States or of demoeracy, and little more about England and France; excepting when hiding out in Switzerland he spent his life in middle-class Italian circles); and an attempt to make Fascist theory look like a continuation or fulfillment of what Mussolini believed the "ideology" of Rome to have been.
Regular Freemasonry had never had Lodges in Fascist Italy (there were a large number of irregular Lodges and of political clubs masquerading as Masonry) but Masonic ideas had infiltrated the country; there is no shadow of doubt that Mussolini shaped more than one of his dogmas with an eye on those ideas. (The greatest book, and most brilliantly written, thus far published on Fascism, is Goliath, by G. A. Borgese: Viking Press; N. Y.; 1937. Dr. Borgese is guilty of an error in one of his references to Freemasonry: he says that it has "an Eighteenth Century ideology"; Freemasonry was centuries old before 1700. It has no "ideology"; neither now nor ever.)
It is one of the pleasures of the warfares of the mind to admire one's enemy. Even Thomas Aquinas paid a soldier's tribute to Avicenna and Averroes. But no Mason can admire the books put out by the Fascist Anti-Masons, either Italian or French, because they are rehashes of three or four old Anti-Masonic books which the Rev.George Oliver reviewed and criticized in 1856. Prof. Robison had a mind like Marshal Pétain's, simple, amiable, and treacherous; the Abbe Barruel was credulous, his book consisting of scraps of gossip picked up in provincial papers. Yet the Abbe Gruber, Nesta Webster, Bernard Fa, Rosenberg the so-called "Black Balt," and the rest bring out the arguments and allegations of Robison and Barruel and state them and print them one after another after they had been stated and printed thousands of times ever since the days, incredibly enough, of our Revolution!
They are flat, stale, and unprofitable, and unutterably wearisome—the Abbe Gruber who had done the same chore of threshing the same straw for the Catholic Encyclopedia privately expressed his disgust, and regretted in his old age that he had not been more honorably-minded in his youth. Even a Mason could think up a better set of arguments against Masonry than the scribes to whom the Fascists paid the salaries, better, and certainly more original, and also a great deal more brilliant.
(A Fascist Anti-Mason is also a man before he is a Fascist and ought to be able to keep hold of his own intellect, and be able to use it a little; the penalty he had paid in the eyes of his foes for failing to do so is the derisive one that his books were reviewed and answered a century before they were written. See The History of Masonic Persecution, edited by the Rev. Kxeorge Oliver; New York; James W. Leonard & Co.; 1850 It will be found as Vol. VIII in the Universal Masonic Library; in Vol. VII of the same collection see list of Anti-Masonic movements active in the 1850's.)
The word "fellow" derived from early northern languages; the central meaning which persisted from one language or dialect to another was that of associate, one in full and equal membership. There are indications that the word first entered our nomenclature in Scotland, but the status or grade thus named was as old as Freemasonry.
In Medieval Freemasonry an Apprentice served a long period of years as a learner or student. He was under oath to the Lodge to obey its rules and regulations; and he was indentured or bonded to a Master. Data belonging to the Transition period suggest that formal papers of indenture were drawn under seal and signed by the youth's father or guardian—one Scottish Lodge admitted a lawyer for that express purpose. During the years of apprenticeship the youth acted as a servant to his master, lived in a dormitory or in his master's home (whence the old "oaths of chastity," etc.), received food and clothing; but worked without pay, and if an Apprentice's work was sold his master received the money.
At the end of his term, usually of seven years, he was "released from his indentures" and was made a fellow, or full member, of the Craft. As regards his art he was a master mason; as regards his status or grade he was a fellow. He could have an apprentice of his own; was paid wages; had a voice and a vote and could hold office; he could go to other communities or to other countries to work. He was "free of the gild." Such a man was called "journeyman" very frequently.
This word itself may have carried two meanings at once, as words often do: in its French usage it meant "worker by the day"; it also probably meant "jour neying Masons," fellows who could travel; and in some periods newly-made fellows made it a rule to travel, working in one place after another in order to perfect their knowledge, during the first two years. The highest positions in the Craft, the best-paid and the most honored, were the officers, the Master of Masons in particular, supervisors, administrators, overseers, etc. Also, one experienced Mason might employ a number of Masons with their apprentices; he was the Master and they were journeymen. The word "master" therefore could mean a workman who had mastered the art, the chief officer of a Lodge, an employer, a supervisor, etc. As regards the art he was on a level with fellows; as regards official standing he was in a grade above them.
There was in Medieval Freemasonry a wealth of ritualism, ceremony, symbolism—this could be said with safety even if there were no records, because in the Middle Ages, when almost every special form of work was separately organized, the gilds and fraternities were saturated with ritualism and symbolism even the gilds of yeomen, often consisting of farm laborers, and at the bottom of social classes, had their rites; but in the sense of the word as now used there were no Degrees in Medieval Freemasonry. There were, however, the germs or beginnings of what became Degrees in Speculative Freemasonry; the apprentice was examined, sworn, charged, etc.; and it is almost certain that he was again sworn, charged, etc., before his raising to the status of fellow.
In the Medieval period there were in the Lodges practices and customs both operative and speculative, with the major emphasis on the former; during the Transition Period the movement was away from the operative to the speculative; after 1717-1735 only the speculative remained. The work of the Lodge was no longer organized primarily for sake of the daily work of the members; it became organized around the teachings, rites, ceremonies, symbols, fellowship. In consequence there came into existence three separate Degrees—in reality they are Lodges, because each meets separately, has its own officers, and conducts its own business, and in the By-laws and Minutes is described as a Lodge.
The first Speculative Lodges went to extreme lengths to conceal their esoteric work; the Grand Lodge kept no Minutes for a number of years, and the Minutes of a local Lodge consisted of only one or two bare entries. Few facts are known about the Ritual of that period. There were, however, at least two parts, or sets of ceremonies, one fot Apprentices, one for Fellows; a Lodge sat first as a Lodge of Appren tices, and then as a Lodge of Fellows.
There could have been no proficiency tests because in thousands of known cases a Candidate received the two ceremonies in one evening. After some fifteen years or so, separate Master's Lodges were set up; apparently these were for Worshipful Masters, Past Masters, and "virtual" Past Masters who had received a ceremony called ''passing the Chair." There was no official, uniform Work. As time passed the "amount of Ritual material" increased, and this must have been especially true f the Ritual of the Masters' Lodges. In the next stage, so the meagre records suggest, this Masters' Ritual was divided in two; one part becoming a separate Master Mason Degree, the other the Royal Arch Degree. The Master Mason Degree, connected faith the first two, came under the jurisdiction of the Lodge; the Royal Arch was made over to the Chapter. It may be that this outline of events was not true of some particular Lodge (a number of them did not have the use of separate Masters' Lodges) but it is a reasonable summarization of the few data and hints which are available.
In the seven or eight centuries of Masonic history the phrase "Fellow of the Craft" has thus had a number of separate meanings: a craftsman free from his indentures of apprenticeship; a full member of the Lodge; a Master of the Mason art; a journeyman Mason (in both senses); in the first period of Speeulative Masonry, a full-fledged Freemason (he had been 'made a Mason"); in the later period, a Mason with a half-way status between Apprentice and Master; and the name of the Second Degree (or, rather, Lodge).
NOTE. The Constitutions of 1723 provided that Apprentices could be made Fellows—and—Masters only in Grand Lodge except by dispensation; this attempt to rob Lodges of their ancient right to make Masons was so vigorously protested that in 1725 Grand Lodge ordained that "particular Lodges" could "make Masters at discretion"; the Grand Lodge itself was then using "fellows" and masters" interchangeably. Scottish Lodges were a full generation behind England in adoptingatri-gradalsystem.
One of the possibilities is that what became the Masters' Degree had been a portion of the Felloweraft Work but that the latter had given it only as a lecture in interpretation of symbols on the Tracing Board, whereas in the Masters' Lodges it was enacted in full, and in costume. In 1764 Old Dundee Lodge Minutes have "made a Mason" and "raised a Master." They unquestionably distinguished between "Mason" and "Master."
President Millard Fillmore (1800-1874), a native of Cayuga County, N.Y., was bonded as an apprentice to a cloth-maker, and remained one for a number of years. (Historians of the old apprenticeship system overlook the use of it in America; it was continued here to a time within the memory of men still living.) He was almost wholly self-educated. A lawyer friend, Judge Walter Wood, tought his indentures, and took the young man into his offiee. In 1821 he moved to Aurora, N.Y. (a name to be made familiar in after years by Elbert Hubbard), and in 1823 was admitted to the bar in nearby Buffalo. He vwas married in Aurora, practiced law, and lived there until 1830. It was in that period that he became an Anti-Mason (Morgan disappeared, or was kid1laped, or murdered in 1826) in the political party of which he was to become one of the three national leaders, along with Thurlow Weed and William H. Seward. In 1828 he became a member (thanks to Weed) of the State Assembly, where he belonged to the Anti-Masonie minority.
While in the Assembly Fillmore proved himself no mere bigot, and he was one of the men who helped abolish the 18th Century British system of imprisonment for debt (the United States was a long time ridding itself of such anachronisms) and of religious tests for witnesses. In 1833 he was elected to the U. S. Congress; since with Weed and Seward he had by that time helped to vote the Anti-Masonic Party ("the hollow party") out of existence, he went to Washington as a man without a party, but in 1834 joined the Whigs. He sat in the house a total of eight years; as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee he helped to appropriate $30,000 to assist Morse in developing the telegraph.
In 1848 he was elected Vice-President; upon the death of Zachary Taylor he took the oath of office as President, July 10, 1850. He signed the notorious Fugitive Slave Law and the Compromise, both in 1850. Also, he experienced a change of heart about Freemasonry (he had broken with Seward and Weed) for he invited it to lay the corner-stone of the new wing of the Capitol, so that the nation was given the bizarre spectacle of a President originally sent to Washington as an Anti-Mason leading a procession of Masons. In 1852 he lost the Whig nomination, and, to the nation's astonishment, aceepted the nomination by the American (or Know-nothing) Party; it was a surprise to see a man who had begun his career as an avowed enemy of secret societies now head the American Party, which was a political secret society. Defeated, he retired from politics, lived in Buffalo (the city which was to become the residence of another President, Grover Cleveland!, was Chaneellor of its University, founded the Historical Soeiety there, and died there in 1874.
NOTE. That section of New York in which Fillmore was born must lie not under a star but under a poltergeist, for it has been the cradle of new religions and strange heresies and a number of weird personalities: The Anti-Masonie Movement, the Millerites, Mormonism Spiritualism, hypnotism as a religion, etc.; possibly beeause for generations it was the eross-roads of the nation for the great movements north and south and east and west and the focus of many conflicting streams of immigration.
John Quiney Adams also was an Anti-Masonic leader but after he left the Presideney, John Adams almost became one in 1801. As it turned out in the end the whole country found that it had formed a wholly erroneous opinion of the Craft, taking it to be something it never was; for this the Craft itself was partly responsible because it published nothing by which the nation could know itv character and purposes. Masons who still (a few of thernx take the grounds that Masonry should maintain a eom plete silence forget that both a people and a government have a right to know what they are harboring in the form of a powerful society of three million men.
In Masonic principle and in the Landmarks there is nothing to forbid a Lodge from working in any language of its choice Lodges under England, Ireland, Scotland, and almost every American Grand Lodge have done so; but there are circumstances, as in time of war, when the question of the language used is raised because it i8 the language of an enemy people and when it is thus raised it may be carried to court because it may involve a Charter, and a Charter involves property. The classical case in America was that of Schiller Lodge, No. 66, of Newark, N. J. During World War I the Grand Lodge of New Jersey ordered discontinuance of German; Schiller Lodge conformed for a period, then in 19191 and on its own authority, resumed the use of German, whereupon the Grand Lodge revoked its Charter and took possession of its assets valued at $8,000. The Lodge sued; the case was carried to the New Jersey Court of Appeals and Errors, and the Grand Lodge was there sustained. A number of fundamentals in both Masonic and Civil law were recognized, or defined, or employed in the case, among them being:
  • 1. There was a provision in Sehiller's Charter to permit its use of German. A Charter is an official recognition of a Lodge's sovereignty, but that sovereignty is limited; a Grand Lodge ean for cause suspend or revoke a Charter; therefore no Charter of itself stands in absolute perpetuity, nor is inalterable, nor releases a Lodge from the superior authority of Grand Lodge.
  • 2. When a Grand Lodge takes due and regular action in governance of Lodges the mandate is one that every Lodge is to obey. Schiller Lodge disobeyed, and for that reason its Charter was revoked, and on that ground the Grand Lodge defended itself in Court; the Lodge raised the general question of language, prejudice, ete., but this was declared irrelevant by the Court.
  • 3. Since the question of language is not covered by any Landmark (except negatively) a Grand Lodge is free to permit, to refuse, and to reverse itself at will if eireusnstanees ordain, or if eireumstanees change.
  • 4. The Landmark of Peace and Harmony can be invoked on the question of language. If a single Lodge holds out against each and every sister Lodge it, not they, has destroyed Peace and Harmony. The question of the language to be used in Schiller Lodge was decided at the moment of Grand Lodge action; it was not in the power of the Lodge to rescind an action by Grand Lodge, as it itself knew; when therefore it became recalcitrant it disturbed Peace and Harmony.
  • 5. Peace and Harmony is maintained in Freemasonry not by compromise, evasion, indifference, or appeasement but by the even and uncompromising enforcement of the laws, regulations, and rules; when a Grand Lodge revokes the Charter of a recalcitrant Lodge it is not itself destroying Peace and Harmony but is acting to preserve it.
  • 6. In a dissenting opinion Justiee F. Minturn took the ground that Schiller's menibers were Germans, therefore a minority, and he appealed to the right of minorities. The Court held that its members were Ameriean citizens, not a minority, and that there can be no "minorities" in Masonry.
  • 7. The dissenting Justice also argued that the property of Schiller belonged to its members; the Court ruled that the members own and use it conditionally; and by the terms on which a Lodge exists its property reverts to Grand Lodge if its Charter is revoked.
  • 8. Students of Masonic jurisprudence find in the Schiller Lodge case a profoundly interesting set of subjects and questions. The most interesting subject is the coincidence at many points of Masonie law and civil law, and the fact that any Masonie law or mle may be a law or a datum in a civil Court; the most interesting question lies in the fact that in this as in almost every other case both the Court and the attorneys were troubled because the Craft has never adopted an official definition of Freemasonry.

George Franklin Fort was born in Atlantic County, New Jersey, in a Methodist parsonage, November 20, 1843. When he was eight years of age his uncle, also named Geo. F. Fort, was Governor of New Jersey (from 1851 to 1854); and John Franklin Fort, of the same family, was Governor from 190S1911. Fort had a range of learning such as no other American scholar then possessed.
There had been learned men before him in Ameriea but they had been specialists; Kiropp Lake, Henry Charles Lea, George Park Baker, Roseoe Pound and other scholars of the same encyclopedic sweep came afterwards. His family reported that he had seventeen languages in addition to his own; learned Europe by traveling over it and by studying its history in the places where the history had occurred; he attended Heidelberg University, studied law, returned home and was admitted to the bar in 1866, and began to practice.
But it was for history, archeology, and antiquarianism, not law, that he had a passion, especially the history of the Middle Ages, which at that time was not the well-explored familiar period of history it is now. He wrote and published treatise after treatise on Medieval subjects; this outpouring by one of the most brilliant and learned men went unnoticed in America because Americans knew almost nothing about the Middle Ages, and felt no need to take an interest in them. The one exception to this national apathy was the Masonic Fraternity, which had spent some four or five centuries of its existence in Medieval times, and in origin, form, and tradition was more Medieval than modern. Had not publishers permitted Fort's books to go out of print he would by this time be a name almost as well known as Mackey, and far better known than Findel whom he surpassed at every point.
Fort was made a Mason in Camden Lodge, No. 15, Camden, New Jersey. Charles S. Peiree, the father of Pragmatism, the philosophy which William James was to make the American philosophy, lived only a short distance away; it would be interesting to know if Peirce was a Mason, because he also was one of the band of men of encyclopedic scholarship whom America has so wholly neglected. In 1870 Fort demitted to help form a new Lodge, Trimble No. 117, at Camden, and was Master the following year. Also he was member of Cyrene Commandery, No. 7; Van Hook Council, No. 8; Excelsior Consistory, Camden; Honorary Member of York No. 236, Yerk, England, and Representative of the United Grand Lodge of England near the Grand Lodge of New Jersey. He published many Masonic treatises, brochures, and books on Operative Architects, Builders Marks, Etc.
But it was into his great Early History and Antiquities of Freemasonry that he poured his knowledge of the earlier periods of the Craft. As against Oliver, who had an uncritical mind, and was a reader of books but not a trained scholar, and who could not tell the difference between a fable and a fact, and whose books preceded his, Fort insisted on exact learning and upon not going farther than records and proofs and sound reasons could carry him. As against Gould, Hughan, Lane, etc., who were to follow him, he refused to cut the history of the Craft down to written documents, and saw, as neither Gould nor Hughan ever was able to see, that any history of Freemasonry must be a history of the whole of it, including its philosophy, ritual, symbols, along with Lodge records and Lodge officers; must take in Freemasonry now as well as Freemasonry in the Eighteenth Century, must not omit the two centuries of Freemasonry in America from the scope of it, as Hughan did, and must not set the High Grades to one side as if they had no place in Masonic history.
The only easily available source of information about the biography of Fort is in two articles published in The Builder: "George Franklin Fort, Masonic Historians by his brother, John Henry Fort; June, 1918, page 171. "The Masonic Writings of George Franklin Fort, " by Oliver Day Street, author of 5ymbolis7n of the Three Degrees; July, 1918; page 210.
The Early History and Antiquities of Freemasonry, by Geo. F. Fort; Fortescue & Co.;
Philadelphia; 1878. This edition contains a weighty treatise by J. F. Garrison on "A Contribution to the History of the Lost Word."
Of the four old Lodges of London known to have met in 1716 to discuss the formation of a Grand Lodge and in 1717 met and elected a Grand Master, two are still active: Lodge of Antiquity (see history of it by Rylands and Firebrace) and the Lodge about which Rev. and Bro. Arnold Whitaker Oxford wrote: No. 4: An Introduction to the History of the Royal So7nerset House and Inverness Lodge (Bernard Quaritch; London; 1928). Other old Lodges still at work were, as Old Dundee Lodge very probably was, of Time Immemorial origin but did not participate (as far as any records show) in the formation of the Grand Lodge. Those which did participate must have agreed among themselves that each Time Immemorial Lodge would ever remain independent in some very real sense; Preston insisted upon this independence for Antiquity when he led a secession of a majority of its members; Bro. Oxford still insists upon it for No. 4. The fact, at least as it is generally believed to have been the fact, that many more old Lodges were at work in London and in England before 1717 than was once believed, makes the place of Antiquity and No. 4 the more distinguished among Lodges; they are the oldest existing Lodges of Speculative Free masonry not only in England but in the whole world where by "Speculative" is meant the Grand Lodge system.
On October 17, 1861, Grand Master Coolidge, Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, chartered Fraternal Army Lodge, No. 4. Worshipful Joseph B. Knox, Master of Morning Star Lodge of Boston at the time, was named its Worshipful Master. It was one of many military Lodges in both armies of the Civil War, including local Lodges in the zone of conflict, which faithfully carried into practice the claims of the Mystic Tie; as then, at New Bern, N. C., No. 4 recovered the possessions of St. John's Lodge, No. 3, sent them back to Boston for safe-keeping, and returned them after the war. Innumerable instances of a like kind, carried on through fours years, completelyproved the teality of the Masonic spirit; hundreds of civil and military leaders (Wm. McKinley among them) were drawn into the Craft because of it; and it led to such an increase in Masonic growth and influence that the Civil War Period was a turning-point in the history of American freemasonry. Also it drove completely out of the nations memory the stupid allegations made during the craze of Anti-Masonry from 1826 to 1850. (For a detailed history of No. 4 see A Centennial History of Morning Star Lodge, No. 4, by Edward S. Nason; Worcester, Mass.; 1894.)
A. In the Middle Ages and until about 1500 the Operative Masons were not organized as Speculative Freemasons are. The builders as a whole, including the numbers of special types of them such as Freemasons, wallers, setters, tilers, quarrymen, etc., were everywhere subject to the general laws of the gild system. In some periods and in some places they had a local gild of their own. If a cathedral (or abbey, or priory of large size) was to be built they formed their organization on the spot; a Master of Masons (called by different titles) would be secured by the foundation or administration behind the building enterprise, and he would sign an agreement; this done he would send out a call for workmen, so many of one sort, so many of another; if houses for them and their families were not available they would build them; they would build a dodge room or building for their own use, and also, in most instances, a second room or building in which plans were drawn, models were made, etc.
The Freemasons among the total number of workmen would have meetings in the Lodge room or building, when the need for one arose, or possibly at fixed times, their officers presiding. From then until the building was completed, in ten, twenty-five, or even fifty years, the Freemasons thus had their own local organization. There is no evidence of any national or general organization with a single center, but there is evidence in Masonic traditions and in the text of labor laws that a local organization would send delegates to assemblies, which appear to have been called only at need.
Yet there was such a thing as Masonry in general. Apprentices received everywhere the same training, same at least in general outline though it is known that in detail it differed an experienced Craftsman could tell a workman's origin by his use of a stone axe. The modes of recognition were such that any regular Freemason could prove himself to be one not only at any place in his own country but also in foreign countries.
If a workman came seeking work, a certain form of ceremony was used to greet him, to examine him, and to employ him; if no employment was to be had he was given hospitality for a night and received advises as to where work could be found. On the whole, and allowing for a certain flexibility in the word, Operative Freemasonry was a fraternity without a single, over-all organization and center. This held true even where local Freemasons became units in a local City Company and where two or three other trades or crafts might be in the same Company; for in such organizations each member craft had its own customs, members, officers, meetings inside the Company. In the period between the dissolution of the gilds and the first Grand Lodge of Speculative Masons in 1717, permanent Lodges became established, each one a center for Freemasons who might work privately, not in organized groups, for shorter or longer period, over a surrounding area. Apprenticeship, the old rules and regulations and customs, modes of recognition, and ceremonies were the same in these separate Lodges, though they had no Grand Lodge. Operative Masons had in use a number of names for themselves, and might call themselves a brotherhood, "the lodge," a society, a company, an assembly, a fraternity, a modality, a corps, etc.; any one of these terms might refer to workmen of every type in architecture as a whole, or it might refer to the Freemasons only.
See The Cathedral Builders in England, by Edward S. Prior; Seeley and Co.; New York; 1905. This is one of the few non-Masonic books in which a historian of Masonry attempts to discover or to describe the general form of organization of the Craftsmen. He accounts for the extraordinary unity of Freemasonry in Britain and Europe together, by their training, modes of recognition, traveling, and believes that much working for the Benedictine Monastic Order also played a part. The unity of monasticism (he could have included the Orders of the Temple and of Malta) may have had a share, but it could not have been a large one because the dissolution of the monastic orders did not affect the unity of the Masonic fraternity.

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