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On page 137 of Puritans' Progress, by Arthur Train (Scribers'; 1931), is the story of the only known American Lodge that ever attempted to become a public utility.
"In 1816 Pearl's Museum in Philadelphia [the cradle of American ornithology] installed a mysterious looking apparatus devised by a certain Dr. Kugler for the making of 'carbonated nitrogen' advertising, as an added attraction to the 'velocipede,' two headed calf and pickled mermaid, that on certain nights 'the hall would be illuminated by gas-lights which will burn without oil or wick.' People paid, sniffed, marveled and forgot In 1820 the Masons built a hall and lit it with Dr. Kugler's newfangled gas, but the Lodge Works made such a stench that the public rebelled, candle makers and oil sellers organized a lobby, and the Masons' petition to be allowed to lay pipes and furnish gas to subscribers was rejected by the common council. So Philadelphia went gasless until 1837 although Boston adopted it for lighting in 1822, and New York the following year."
GAUDIN PARCHMENT, THE.
This small but interesting document is on parchment, 14 inches by 3 inches. It was given as a receipt for wages received by Estienne Gaudin, Master Mason, Orleans, France, and is dated September 30, 1414. It was written at about the same time as the Cooke MS., second oldest of existing Old Charges. It was presented by Bro. David Eugene Smith, author of the standard history of mathematics, and a professor in the mathematics department, Columbia University, to the Grand Lodge of New York, in January, 1930. A photograph with data was published in The New York Masonic Outlook, February, 1930, page 169. These old Operative Masonic documents are not uncommon in Britain or France, and therefore possess little historical value, but American Masons have a sentimental attachment to this one because (as far as is known) it is the oldest Masonic document in America.
During many years Dr. Smith, a man of means, accumulated the largest collection of rare documents and books in the world which have place in, or are relevant to, the history of mathematics, among them being some of the most ancient ever discovered, and from Egypt, Persia, China, India, and Japan as well as from Europe. There were swept into his collection so many documents either wholly Masonic, or possessing some connection with Masonry, that no exhaustive works on early Masonic MSS. can in the future be written without a search through them. Dr. Smith provided for the future housing of his collection in Barnard College and in Columbia University. (Note: Dr. Smith presented a collection of Masonic documents to the editor of this Supplement, who in turn passed them on to the Grand Lodge of New York, which housed them in the Grand Lodge Library, where they are open to inspection.)
GEMS, LORE OF.
George Frederick Kunz had an immense erudition of his own about the lore, history, use, etc., of precious stones, and because of his world-wide correspondence with experts in almost every civilized country was able to bring to bear almost the whole world's knowledge on a subject which, however romantic it may otherwise be, is for the researcher one of the most difficult and exacting. Out of this great knowledge he dies tilled into one book such facts as he believed non-technical readers most desired to know:
The Curious Lore of Precious Stones; J. B. Lippincott; Philadelphia; 1913. The field of his researches is described in his own description of his book: "Being a description of their sentiments and folk-lore, superstitions, symbolism, mysticism, use in medicine, protection, prevention, religion, and divination; crystal gazing, birthstones and talismans, astral, zodiacal, and planetary." It is significant for Masonic students that Dr. Kunz nowhere discovered any connection between the lore of precious stones and Freemasonry; but students of the Holy Royal Arch will nevertheless find in his chapter "On the High-priests' Breastplate" one of the most complete and authentic studies of that subject.
GILDS, SUPPRESSION OF.
In the Middle Ages a chartered or incorporated gild was in effect a small, self-contained, and quasi-independent government, with a monopolistic control of materials, production, wages, prices, working customs, marketing, etc. within its jurisdiction excepting only as by charter provisions or the King's law one of these prerogatives might be withheld or withdrawn. Such a gild made its own rules and regulations, held its own courts, punished offenders by ordering them from work for a certain number of days, levied fines, etc. When the gilds were suppressed it was these quasi-governmental rights which were taken from them; as voluntary societies they were permitted to continue, and still exist. The Mercantilist System set up in the Elizabethan period was an extension, to a certain extent, of the gild principle, for under it the government or some incorporated or chartered company was given a monopoly of some specified kind or area of commerce, or control of the economy of some colony. It was against Mercantilism, not against the long-defunct gild system, that Adam Smith wrote his Wealth of Nations; and by free trade meant not an absence of tariffs but the removal of government ownership or control over large units of industry and commerce; and he argued that if the government relinquished control commerce would not relapse into anarchy because "the law s of economics" would, like natural laws, operate of themselves.
Gilds were suppressed in 1791 in France, after they had officially existed since at least the Eleventh Century; in that year there were still 50 gilds in Paris, many of which owned their own halls. In Belgium gilds were destroyed and their property was confiscated in 1794. In the Netherlands, in 1798. In Germany, in 1869. In Austria-Hungary, in 1859. In Norway and Sweden, in 1846. In Italy, where various political governments acted separately, early in the Nineteenth Century. In Spain, in the same century, their more oppressive rules were canceled but in a new form as trade associations they were permitted to continue. Until the Chino-Japanese War many gilds in both countries continued as they had done since time immemorial. A gild system is impossible in an industrialized country.
GLASGOW ST. JOHN, LODGE OF.
The history of this ancient Lodge is told in Sketch of the Incorporation of Masons; and the Lodge of Glasgow St. John, compiled by James Cruickshank; Glasgow; 1879. The author-editor was ex-Deacon of the Incorporation and Past Master of the Lodge.
The Mason Marks on the Round Tower of Brechin have been dated at 1029. The original cathedral of Glasgow must have been constructed even earlier, because there is a record of its re-building in 1057. King David, while a Prince, began another re-building about 1115, and the Freemasons had it ready for consecration in 1133. It burned again after less than half a century (next only after war and pestilence fire was the dread of the Middle Ages) and was again rebuilt in 1181. The Freemasons received a Charter as a fraternity from William the Lion, and for generations had an ironclad monopoly of building work in and around the city. The Freemasons were incorporated, as were many other crafts, and received a Charter as such from the Borough Magistrates in 1551. Others, still in possession of the Lodge, were granted in 1616, and in 1626. The Minute Book begins in 1600.
The Masons of the Lodge aver that King Malcolm III gave à Charter to "our trusty and well-beloved friends, the operative Masons in the City of Glasgow" on October 5, 1057. (Workmen in any craft were frequently called "operatives.") William Murray Lyon, the premier historian of Freemasonry in Scotland, writes off the tradition of the Malcolm Gharter as apocryphal, and like other Masonic scholars of his generation who were in violent reaction to the fanciful constructions of Oliver, turned a jaundiced eye on anything earlier than 1600; yet even so he was compelled to state that, "There can be no doubt as to the existence of a Lodge among the Operative Masons who built the cathedral at Glasgow. . " (History of the Lodge of Edinburgh [Mary's Chapel] No. at, by William Murray Lyon; Wm. Blackwood &; Sons; Edinburgh and London; 1873; page 412.) Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee make claims to an equal antiquity.
The Revised History of Freemasonry, by R. F. Gould (Vol. I; page 330), revised by Dudley Wright, describes the Malcolm Charter of 1057 as "the noted fabrication" and declares that the "first of the genuine documents is the William the Lion Charter."
Upon careful analysis, Gould's paragraph turns out to be confused, as is also another paragraph on the same subject on page 302, where he plainly misconstrues the historical problems involved. Gould never mastered the ins-and-outs of the history of Masonry in Scotland, and it is necessary to check each of his statements against other sources. Any existing MS. may itself be of only 1600 or even (as Lyon guessed) of as late as 1700, and this copy may have been garbled or interpolated; at the same time there easily may have been an original, as it is known there was for the Regius and Cooke MSS.
The final solution of the problem of how old organized Freemasonry is in Scotland must await further research, especially in Fabric Rolls and Borough Records; until that is accomplished it is safe to assume that Freemasonry, Operative or Speculative has been in continuous existence in Glasgow since the Twelfth Century; also, we can be in certainty that no cathedrals or churches were put up unless builders were there to erect them, and since it was impossible to design or construct a Medieval building unless the workmen were organized to act as a unit (a fact often forgotten by iconoclastic present day historians) it can be taken that in the earliest period of Glasgow building there was a fraternity, or company, or Lodge of Masons.
It happens that unlike the majority of symbols and rites a certain number of written data are in existence about the origin of the symbolism's of the two Globes.
The oldest Lodges did not have them. Notices of them appear in the Minutes of one Lodge, some years later in the Minutes of another; they are shown in some of the oldest tracing boards and not shown in others; these facts show that the use of the Globes came slowly into use in the first half of the Eighteenth Century. In one Lodge record it is stated in so many words that "they illustrate the universality of the Craft"; anywhere under heaven, anywhere in the earth, there is the home of Freemasonry! In the beginning of the Speculative system with the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717 it was expected that Grand Lodge would warrant Lodges only in London and inside a radius of ten miles from the City; it was not until the period of 1725 to 1730 that Warrants began to be issued (and then usually to men who had been made Masons in London) for "Lodges oversee." It is reasonable to assume that this planting of Freemasonry on the Continent and in faraway America must have inspired and stimulated Masons in and around London, must have given them a new emotion, because their horizons were unexpectedly pushed outwards over the rim of the world; if that assumption is valid it follows that the use of Globes began to spread among the Lodges in the period between 1730 to 1750. Globes were hand-made in 1725, and therefore were costly, especially those of glass or silver; in one Lodge book a set is inventoried at £100. Many Lodges received them as gifts from well-to-do members.
In the "Legend of the Craft" included in the Old Charges it is said that the secrets of the Liberal Arts and Sciences were preserved through Noah's Flood in two pillars. It is probable that early Speculative Masons pictured them as having been pedestals rather than pillars, similar to the pedestals they had in Lodge and in which regalia and the Secretary's records were stowed. These two ancient pedestals of the Old Charges were replaced by the two Great Pillars of Solomon's Temple, J and B. It appears that when the Globes first came into use they were placed in whatever spot was most convenient. Certainly there were not two globes on the Diluvian pillars. Solomon's Pillars were surmounted by Chapiters, and archeologists believe that they were made of strips of metal and shaped like baskets, and that resinous wood was piled in them for giving light after dark.
The replacing of the Chapiters by Globes on top of the Great Pillars may have come about for any one or more of at least three reasons: Globes were more convenient when thus off the floor and out of the road; they made the Pillars more pleasing to the eyes; the symbolism of the Globes and of the Pillars combined naturally and easily, etc.
Archeologists found near Herculaneum a villa in which the dining room had an astronomical ceiling which could be turned to make the painted stars inside correspond on any night with the actual stars outside. There are hints that the Egyptians had globes they had spherical geometry and astronomy. In the late Middle Ages globes were so common that the phrase "Terrestrial and Celestial Globes" passed into current speech. This has been used as an argument to prove that before Columbus set sail men knew of the sphericity of the earth; a few men unquestionably did know of it, but the Globes themselves prove nothing. Men who believed the earth to be fiat could have had maps of the flat earth put on a globe because it was more convenient; we print maps on flat paper but it does not prove that we believe the earth to be flat. It is probable that the Speculative Masoas used their Globes for no other purpose than maps; nothing is hinted in their Minutes of esoteric or occultistic meanings; but to them the mere map of the whole earth and the whole sky was something to excite the mind because it kept them alive to the fact that their Fraternity which had only a few years before confined itself to so modest a territory, had unexpectedly and almost miraculously burst its bonds, and was extending itself over the world.
The Globes belong to the subject-matter of the philosophy of Masonry, but thus far have received meagre attention from those who specialize in that branch of Masonic studies, though why this is true it is difficult to know, because that which the Globes symbolize is as massively overwhelming a fact as a range of the Himalayas.
Suppose that speculative Masonry had been confined, as it was first intended to a radius of ten miles from the center of London; if it had, it could easily have limited its membership to London citizens, of the white race, and members of some Christian church; when it became universal, as the Globes symbolize, such localism became impossible. It could not become universal without expanding to other countries, it therefore could not be confined to England, and other countries would stand on a par with England. It could not be confined to one race if it became universal because the world is occupied by three races with some sixty or so branches. It could not be confined to one religion, because there are scores of great religions in the world. This transformation of a local Craft into a world-wide Fraternity was an epochal event in the history of Freemasonry, and none more so; and since it is represented by the Globes they have a scope and power of meaning far outreaching the small attention they have thus far received.
Note. See History of the Lodge of Amity No. I37; by Harry P. Smith; published by the Lodge, Poole, England, 1937, and printed by J. Looker. This is a book excellently to be recommended because in the Minutes quoted by it are so many descriptions of Ritual, customs, etc. written at the time. On page 47 it is told that during a Degree there were exhibited "a pair of 18-in. globes, the perfect ashlar suspended from a Lewis [a species of clamp] and affixed to a winch, an armillary sphere, and a small philosophical [scientific] apparatus, as well as the usual ornaments furniture and jewels." The author makes it clear that in the earliest days symbols had been drawn on the floor with chalk; that later the same symbols were painted permanently on a cloth, or board, or were inlaid in wood or stone. By about 1765 actual objects were used in place of drawn figures. The same impulse which substituted actual objects for drawn figures, led to substituting actedout ceremonies in lieu of what had been an oral lecture. The reference to the two "18-inch globes" is one of many Minutes or other records which substantiate what was said in a paragraph above about the placing of the Globes.
The present Ritual with its Ceremonies, Rites and Symbols can be explained only in the light of its history and in this Supplement that history—as just above—has been drawn from Lodge records, most of them of the Eighteenth Century, and of these the majority are of English Lodges. Records and Minutes of early American Lodges would naturally have been preferred for the present purpose but they unfortunately are few in number.
"GOLDEN BOOK," ST. LAURENT'S.
The "Golden Book" is a manuscript of 198 sheets of letter paper, 8 x 10, in a number of tints, bound in crimson morocco, preserved in the Archives of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. It is printed in full at page 192 ff. in Ancient Documents Relating to the A. and A. Scottish Rite, edited by Juleps F. Sachse; Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia; 1915. It was written by Count De St. Laurent, a native of Bogota; and was found in Northern France. In it is his own record of his attempt to found a Supreme Council for the Western Hemisphere, in 1832, in a period when Scottish Rite Masonry in America was, like Ancient Craft Masonry, broken by the Anti-Masonic Crusade.
A number of other documents were afterwards copied into the manuscript. These latter are now infinitely more interesting than the Count's grandiose dream of becoming the head of the Scottish Rite for half the world, because among them are three of the very few written documents relating to the Masonic membership of Lafayette:
1. A translation of the letters patent by which the Thirty-third Degree was conferred upon him.
2. The Certificate of Lodge Lafayette.
3. A note in his own handwriting under the letters patent expressing his gratitude for the honor conferred. "This note is upon page 80 in the 'Golden Book' and is the only known Masonic autograph letter of Brother General Lafayette. It will be noted that this note was written by Brother Lafayette, May 10, 1834, just ten days before his death." (The document in full is given by Sachse on page 288.)
Because no record of General Lafayette's Initiation has been found, a number of writers (among them a few Masonic writers) have denied that he was ever regularly made a Mason. It is difficult to understand this reasoning. On October 6, 1824, the Grand Lodge of Delaware received him with a long procession and Grand Honors; on June 27, 1825, it made him an Honorary Member; in a return visit on July 25 to receive the honor he mentioned in his address that he had visited twenty-four Grand Lodges.
He had visited Illinois Masons at Kaskaskia, on April 20, of that same year. six days before that he had visited the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. In 1824 he had visited the Grand Lodge of Maine (for the text of his speech see Maine Proceedings; Vol. I, page 121). on October 8, 1824, he was made Honorary Member of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, and was accompanied by his son, Bro. George Washington Lafayette it was on that visit that the Legislature made him and his heirs citizens of Maryland for ever. In the same year he made a Masonic tour of New Jersey He visited the Grand Lodge of South Carolina in 1825. May 4, 1825, he visited the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, was made Honorary Member, and was entertained by Past Grand Master Andrew Jackson. His tour from beginning to end was a prolonged Masonic visit, and in all the branches of the Craft: to question his membership in the Order ceases to have any weight against the mass of so much Grand Lodge testimony.
Note. In his comments quoted on the Lafayette notation in the Golden Book Bro. Sachse describes it as "the only known Masonic autograph letter of Brother General Lafayette . . . " [It is not a "letter."] It is difficult to believe that in almost a year spent in visiting Masonic bodies over the nation Bro. Lafayette wrote no letter to any Mason, or about his Masonic plans. Somewhere a few of them must be in existence. The Laurent "Golden Book" is not to be confused with another "Scottish Rite Golden Book" one described by Folger.
GOLDEN CIRCLE, KNIGHTS OF THE.
About 1835 there were in the South an undetermined number of "Southern Rights" Clubs set up to send out slavers, to protect, and uphold, and to proclaim the slaveholding system. After they had flourished in separate centers, taking different forms, there crystallized out of them in 1855 a secret society entitled Knights of the Golden Circle, and the name of George C. Bickley, a native of Indiana, and later a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, was prominently connected with it. It appears to have in part been designed as a foil to the Know Nothing Party, the most ambitious of the impossible attempts to organize in America a political party in the form of a secret society. The first of the professed aims of the Knights was to protect slavery; its second, was to snake the South an independent nation; its third was to conquer Cuba and Mexico.
Its historian says that it furnished the means for "General" Walker to conduct his once-notorious filibuster in Nicaragua an episode Americans have forgotten because it is too painful to remember. The Knights did not stop with dreaming of an independent Confederacy in the South; they envisaged it as the maker of an empire which would expand to include Mexico, the West Indies, and countries to the Isthmus.
The society came to an end (apparently) with the Civil War; historians, if they will search its local minutes, will find there recorded month by month a procession of ideas and ambitions and schemes which illuminate one or two corners in the Civil War period; otherwise the Circle belongs to the archeology of dead and forgotten secret movements. There was never any connection with Freemasonry; Grand Lodges both North and South, as hundreds of Lodge minutes shows kept themselves remarkably free from involvement in secret conspiracies; so free that they maintained much Fraternal comity during the War, and resumed the whole of it immediately after the War. (See the rare little book, a collector's item: An authentic Exposition of the Knights of the Golden Circle, by a member of the Order; Indianapolis; C. O. Perrins; 1861.)
GOTHIC STYLE, THE.
An architectural style is a set, or system, of principles which include within themselves a structural form, and a mode of ornamentation; the last named never being added on, as by an afterthought but belonging to the principles. To discover a new set or system of architectural principles is so difficult, and is achieved so seldom, that it is doubtful if more than a score or so of styles of architecture have been discovered in the history of the whole world. Oftentimes what is called a style is not a style, but a modification of one, or is the use of some detail of one (Greek pillars, for example), or, like the gables on New England houses, is nothing more than a local fancy—a carpenter's trick and not an architectural principle.
Before the period of about 1140 A.D. in northern France churches and other public buildings (every people's architecture has been a style or mode or customary design of public, or communal, or monumental buildings) were constructed in Romanesque. The origin of this type was the old Roman town hall, or basilica, and it had been adapted for use in churches by employing flattened round arches, often set in colonnades. These Romanesque churches w ere made of white stone, and there were so many of them in France that a chronicler once described them as "the white cloak of churches," a phrase repeated countless times.
Suddenly—in fact, very suddenly—and beginning at a point in or near Paris, this Romanesque type was replaced by the Gothic style, which until Petrarch's time was called the French style. This Gothic became an enthusiasm, almost an obsession, and between (roughly) 1140 A.D. and 1250 A.D. no fewer than eighty cathedrals and some 500 large churches were built in it in France alone—one bishop even tore down a great basilica church (St. Peter's at Rome was then a basilica) only fifty years old, because his people demanded the wonderful new Gothic.
This was not a gradual piecemeal development of one detail after another out of Romanesque, but the discovery of a new formula, which itself was a single unity of principles, and bad to be understood as a whole or not at all. A comparable discovery, one making it easier to grasp the point of the Gothic discovery, was made here in America by Wilbur and Orville Wright, of Dayton, Ohio, during the first decade of the Twentieth Century. Their discovery was not aimed at by first modifying one piece of machinery and then another, nor did it come as the end result of a large number of experiments one after the other, but z as a feat of thought, and was discovered at once and as a whole.
This discovery was the aero-dynamic formula; and it seas in essence not a mechanical one but a mathematical one, and neither of the men w as a mechanic. Whoever it was who found out the Gothic style, one man or a group, at one stroke or over ten or twenty years, similarly discovered a formula, the Gothic formula; and just as aeroplane designers, once they had the aero-dynamic formula to work with could make planes of any possible size, speed, power, and for any possible purpose, so could the possessors of the Gothic formula design buildings large or small; cathedrals or churches or monasteries or halls.
If histories of architecture in four or five modern languages be placed side by side on a series of shelves, and if their contents be compared one with another, it will be found that they are concerned with public and monumental structures, capitols, churches, libraries, museums, hospitals, palaces, etc. and that they describe or discuss these public and monumental structures in the terms of the architectural styles they embody. The building of such structures is one of the fine arts.
That fine art is always what historians mean by architecture. This distinction between a building which only a trained artist can erect and the simple structures which any workman can construct was as clear to men in the Middle Ages as it is now. Medieval men had numberless simple homes, cottages, barns, storehouses, factories, shops, sheds, bridges; in every village were carpenters, stone-masons, wailers, and bricklayers able to build them. But these local workmen were not then, any more than now, architects. To build a church, cathedral, gildhall, castle, town hall it was necessary to call in from outside builders trained and skilled in architecture, or building as a fine art. The evidences everywhere indicate that these latter workmen were called Freemasons; they indicate also that these Freemasons were in gilds or fraternities apart from the small gilds of local workmen, just as at the present time local carpenters and bricklayers are not members of the American Society of Architects.
In another respect, however, the art of architecture of the present time differs fundamentally from Medieval architecture. The present day architect begins with schooling instead of with apprenticeship.
He goes to college to study geometry, mechanics, draftsmanship, design, the history of his art, etc., and remains there until he has mastered a set of abstract formulae and general principles of construction; after he has set up his own office he is free to make his choice among five or six architectural styles when designing a building. In the Middle Ages the beginner was not sent to a school but was indentured in an apprenticeship; he was not educated in abstract principles and formulae but was manually trained to produce given pieces of work, and wherever he might go, he knew he would have those same given pieces of work to do. From the middle of the Twelfth Century until about the time of Henry VII the only style, or type of building, known to either architects or the public, was the Gothic. No two Gothic buildings were ever exactly the same, but their component parts were always made the same way—the pointed arch, the buttress, the column, the rose window, the fan vault, the tower, etc.; therefore the training of an apprentice consisted of drilling him in the knowledge and skill of making or designing those particular component parts of a Gothic building.
In the Middle Ages each trade or craft was locally organized as a gild, fraternity, society, etc.; in each instance the technologies, or making or mixing of materials, use of tools, etc., were a trade secret. The local stone-masons, carpenters, wailers, paviors, roofers likewise had their own local organizations, and in them preserved their own trade secrets. The Freemasons had societies, fraternities, lodges of their own, apart from local builders; the methods and principles of architecture, which at that time was necessarily Gothic architecture, were their great trade secret. To call them Gothic builders is therefore only another way of saying that they were architects, though the latter term was not then used.
The Gothic builder was trained in one style only, and would therefore have been at a disadvantage in competition with a modern architect, who had been educated to understand the principles of design in each and every established style. But the scope for a Gothic builder's ingenuity, talent, and skill was not therefore a narrow one; because the Gothic itself, above any other style ever discovered, was unbelievably fertile, flexible, comprehensive, and difficult; so much so that it overflowed, and elements of it were adopted by local builders, and even by designers of gold work, cloth designing, and even in writing. The mastering of it called for such an amount of knowledge that Gothic builders stood in a class apart, not in respect of their art alone but as men of great attainments in things of the mind, of characters of independence, of culture. Such men as Suger, Arnolfo, William of Sens, Henry Yevele were among the most eminent of great men of their own or any other time.
The local masons, carpenters, and other workmen in the building trades were illiterate, parochial, thoroughly trained but trained only for simple types of work; it would be impossible to believe that Speculative Freemasonry with its philosophy and its arts and sciences ever could have arisen among them; and as a matter of fact there is nothing to indicate that anything belonging to culture, science, thought was ever produced by them. It was among the Freemasons, or Gothic builders, that Speculative Freemasonry arose; it was they in particular, and not masons or builders in general, who are denoted by our use of the phrase "Operative Masons."
GOULD'S HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY.
Gould's History of Freemasonry, by Robert Freke Gould; Revised by Dudley Wright; under the supervision of Melvin M. Johnson and J. Edward Allen; Charles Seribner's Sons; New York, N. Y.; six volumes; blue cloth; full page illustrations, a number in full color; volumes separately paginated; general index in Volume VI; 2587 pages.
The frontispiece of the work is a reproduction in full color of George Washington in his regalia as Worshipful Master, by John Ward Dunsmore, one-time President of the National Academy, the original of which was painted on commission from the Board of General Activities, Grand Lodge of New York: it is a document as well as a painting because the artist posed his model in the actual regalia and on the dais of the Alexandria-Washington Lodge room, Alexandria, Va., of which Washington was Master at the time of his first Inauguration. In its binding, format, paper, and press-work the History is another of the solid, dignified masterpieces of the printer's art for which Scribner's have long been famous.
In the original Edition Gould himself wrote a chapter on the Masonic history of each of the States in America. These chapters were as sound as a writer working in London and with only a bare outline knowledge of American Masonry could make them; but they were never satisfactory, and as new data were discovered here they became increasingly unsatisfactory as years passed. Brothers Wright, Johnson and Allen deleted Gould's own chapters wholly, and in their places had new histories prepared by living American writers, one for each State. As far as American Masons are concerned this makes the History a new work. (Thomas Jefferson is included in the portrait gallery of Masonic Presidents; there is no known evidence of his having been a Mason, and there is much evidence in his private correspondence of his dislike of secret societies and fraternities.)
The History was completed and published by Gould (and his collaborators) in 1887; his reading for it must therefore have begun as early as 1875, or even 1870.
At that time what little was known about the Ancient Mysteries, the Collegia, the Essenes, and the (Duldees was confined to a few scattered references in ancient writings, most of them Greek or Roman. Since that time archeologists have unearthed hundreds of thousands of inscriptions and thousands of manuscripts, in consequence of which the history of those subjects has been wholly re-written; and Gould's first chapter is out of date. Thus, his three pages on the important subject of the Roman Collegia are based on Massman and Coote: the former published his Libellus in 1840, the latter his Romfans of Britain in 1878; neither is any longer of worth. Chapter 4 of Volume I on "The Craft Guilds of France" likewise has lost much of its weight by subsequent discoveries in historical research; these have been so revolutionary that the picture of the French gilds as painted by Gould has been altered out of recognition.
Gould did not have a true sense of proportion. Of six volumes only one is devoted to the general history of Freemasonry properly so called; Gould himself explained that this was for lack of space; if so it is difficult to see why he devoted one whole chapter to "The Quatuor Coronati" and spent more than sixty pages trying to prove that Wren was not a Mason, when neither subject was worth more than a footnote. He omitted almost the whole of the very important history of Freemasonry in the West Indies, in the French and Indian War, and his few pages on the history of Colonial Freemasonry in America are too slight a sketch to have any usefulness for American students.
Worse still (in the sense of a lack of proportion) he built his account of the origin and early development of Speculative Freemasonry around the single Grand Lodge of 1717, as if the Antient Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and early American Masonry had been of secondary importance. ]
Gould himself was not an expert on manuscripts or on the general archeology of documents, and his judgment therefore is sometimes faulty, and at other times uncertain, many of his paragraphs concealing a confusion of thought under sentences dogmatic in form.
One instance is found in his pages on early Freemasonry in Scotland; another is found in his discussion of the Leland MS. In his History he dismisses the latter as a forgery, at least, as apocryphal; but in an essay published later he admits that George Fleming Moore had almost convinced him of its authenticity.
Since Gould completed his work three events of massive importance have occurred: a sudden and unprecedented increase of knowledge of the Middle ages, accomplished by historical research, and more especially by documentary discoveries; the almost unbelievable enlargement of knowledge of ancient tunes made by archeologists since 1885; and the publication of histories and Minute Books of 200 or so of the oldest Lodges, a new source of information, and one which was not available in Gould's time, and one which compels a number of revisions of his theories of the early periods of Speculative Freemasonry. Gould's Hurtory has not lost its usefulness; for some purposes it is as useful as ever; but it is necessary for students to check each of its pages against the new knowledge.
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