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"OPERATIVE FRATERNITY OF MASONS."
"The Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers" is a flourishing and influential society of operative Masons in Great Britain which admits members by rites of initiation and divides them into degrees. It has been introduced into the circles of discussion in Masonic Research Societies by Bros. Dr. Thomas Carr and by C. E. Stretton, and in the American Fraternity has been popularized by Guild Masonry in the Making, by Bro. Charles H. Merz. One of the most scholarly works on it is The Builders' History, by R. W. Postgate; London; 1923. According to the traditions of the Society Dr. James Anderson began as an Operative Mason, was expelled, and in 1714 began to "make" non-Operatives, among them Payne, Entick, Montague, Desaguliers, etc.; and it vw as in this wise, 60 they argue, that Speculative Freemasonry was begun. This theory is contradicted by so many known facts (and of which there are many written records) that scholars cannot take it seriously; it contradicts, for example, the fact that the first Grand Lodge was started not by Anderson and Desaguliers but by Antiquity Lodge and three other Lodges much older than 1717 (or 1714); that Lodge Minutes record Accepted non-Operative members as early as 1640 (czrco); that trio. 4, one of the Time Immemorial Lodges, was composed wholly of Speculatives before the Grand Lodge was erected; etc.
Out of the general operative masonry (building, architecture) in Europe and Great Britain for a thousand years or so a number of separate movements, societies, organizations developed, and our own Speculative Freemasonry was only one among manss of these. There were separate and independent Lodges, some wholly Speculative and some wholly Operative (St. Johns' Lodges) which did not affiliate with any general society; there there the City Companies; there was the Compagnonnage in France, and the Steinmetzen in Germany; there were at least two Worshipful Societies of Operative Masons; there were a number of architectural clubs (dilettanti); etc., etc. In some of these, old Masonic customs, rites, symbols, and rules were perpetuated, but the fact does not mean that they were "older" than Speculative Freemasonry, still less that they were its originators. Mr. Postgate, whose book is faithful to the canons of scholarship and historical criticism (as many writings on the subject are not), believes that there was a Worshipful Society of Operative Masons in London after the fire of 1666, but that it disappeared; and he believes that the Operative Society now in existence dates no farther back than the early decades of the Nineteenth Century, a hundred years after the first Speculative Grand Lodge.
In Scotland Operative Lodges and Speculative Lodges both sought Charters from the Grand Lodge, and in so doing occasioned so much confusion, even after 1800, that the Grand Lodge had to clear it up by special legislation. In one case a Lodge was in reality two Lodges, one section being Operative, the other Speculative.
(Careless Masonic writers have confused the modern Society of Operative Masons, etc., w ith that Operative Masonry w hich is referred to in the Ritual and vt hich denotes the Freemasonry practiced in Lodges before 1717—more correctly, before 1600; the ts o have nothing in common. Bro. George Thornburgh made this blunder in his Freemasonry: Wheel Where, How (Little Rock; 1923), when, beginning on page 9 If,, he gives one of the rituals of the Modern Operative Society on the mistaken notion that it was a ritual used before 1717. Masonry Defined, "arranged" by G. S. Lippincott and E. P. Johnston [Memphis, Tenn.; 1925], perpetuates the blunder by accepting and quoting Bro. Thornburgh in full, beginning at its page 353.)
In one of the familiar versions of the Monitorial Lecture on the Apprentice Working Tools the Twenty-four Inch Gage is described as "an instrument used by operative masons to measure and lay out their work; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it symbolically for the more noble and glorious purpose of dividing our time." This is a somewhat modified reading of a text attributed to William Preston (about 1772) or to Masons of about his time. It has been learned by heart by millions of Apprentices slnce, and probably is more responsible than any other text anvv,-here used in Symbolic Masonry for the dividing of Operative Masonry from Speculative Masonry, for setting up the latter in opposition to the former, and for dividing the whole of Masonic historv into an indefinitely long "Period of Operative Masonry" and a two-centurv long "Period of Speculative Masonry And that custom of thus dividing the historv is itself responsible for the belief that "the Operative Masons" were stone-masons who cut and carved stones by hand, and did it for a living; and that belief in turn has made it difficult for Masonic students to explain how what Dr. Hemming defined as "a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols" could ever have developed out of day-labor u ith a stone axe and a chisel.
She passage quoted at the beginning of the above paragraph differs slightly in its wording from others, but is sufficiently representative. A number of hIasonic students have respectfully suggested, and with a century of usage in mind, that the hIonitorial Lectures could be profitably revised. They were written by William Preston or by other Masons of his generation and therefore are not Landmarks; any Grand Lodge could alter them without being guilty of innovation. Dean Bro. Roscoe Pound made the same suggestion in his Lectures on the Philosophy of Freemasonry The passage in question about Operative and Speculative makes clear why he made it. It defines "Operative" as if it meant workmen in contemporary building trades, whereas the word denotes the Freemasons prior to the Sixteenth Century. It implies an opposition, at least an antonymic contrast, between "Operative" and "Speculative" w here in fact the former was the ancestor of the latter. It decries "Operative" as something less noble than "Speculative"; no Freemason could agree to that without denying the v hole philosophy of the Craft which is that only in work is a man noble, and that one form of it is as ancient and as honorable as any other.
l. " Speculative " is found in a few of the oldest documents and may very possibly have had a Masonic warrant for the peculiar use to which it is put in Masonie nomenclature. The word " Operatively appears to have come into English at the period of enthusiam for the Latin language; it is a Latin word transliterated. Operatus is from opus, to work. Obviously such a word can have scarcely any meaning for Masonic history, because every Medieval Mason worked, there were many types of these workers, quarrymen, tilers, wallers, setters free masons, sculptors, etc. but the word does not denote the one group among so many of which Speculative (or Symbolic) Freemasonry is the perpetuation. Because of this looseness of connotation and its internal ambiguity the word is a nest of confusion. "Medieval mason" would serve better; it would be better still if not one but five or six terms and term-phrases were used instead of it.
2. To set up " Operative " as the antonym of " Speculative " is to imply an opposition between the two; it establishes an eAher-orfflther a given Freemason or a given Lodge was Operative or it was Speculative. This in turn creates the problem of trying to explain how stonemasons ever developed into Speculative asons. To say that the " Operative " Lodges " accepted " non-Operatives into membershup cannot explain it because it merely restates the question, which is: Whv did "non-Operatives" accept membership? What attracted them to a Lodge of stone-masons?
3 Let the following hypothesis zbe used as a presupposition: That about the middle of the Fourteenth Century, in a county south of London where an extraordinary amount of Freemasonic work was done over an extraordinarily long period, instead of disbanding the Lodges when the buildings were completed, as had been done heretofore the Freemasons continued one or two of the Lodges for their own sake; and that it was this having a Lodge for its own sake (and not merely as a temporary convenience) that was the true beginning of what is now the Speculative Fraternity. First, such a Lodge might easily accept into membership a number of local men who were not in the builders' craft, but who had become greatly interested in the ideas and teachings of the builders. Second, it might continue to be composed largely of "operatives," and yet these same "operatives" might have maintained the Lodge, not as a convenience to them in their daily work, but oeeause of their own interest in those same ideas and teachings. By this time the ideas and teachings as well as the form of organization had long since become crystallized as a Fraternity, and had taken the form (from old customs) of symbols, emblems, rites, ceremonies (more than we have now, probably) rather than the form of books, lectures, studies. If anything like this was the case (the writer, for one, believes it was) then such a mid-Fourteenth Century Lodge was neither " operative " nor " speculative " but something other than either, or than the two combined, for which the only name is " Freemasonry " itself. If this occurred, it occurred in England; after it occurred many Freemasons did not belong to any Lodge of that kind, and in other countries they had no Lodge of that kind; and as for men in the builders' craft of other types, the quarrymen, stonemasons, wailers, ete., they continued as before, and have continued ever since. A mass of data and a weight of sound reasoning support that hypothesis; even if they do not prove it they at least make "operative" a useless, misleading term, the want of which would make us the richer.
4. If by "operative" is denoted the fact that in the Middle Ages thousands of men worked in the building craft as a means of livelihood, the use of the word may be admitted but it has no value for custodians of Freemasonry because, as already repeated, there were many types or grades of such workmen, and the word does not denote the one type of them who discovered Freemasonry as described in the paragraph above; it is of a piece with the famously ambiguous statement by Hughan to the effect that Speeulative Freemasonry was an "outgrowth" of architecture. It is admitted that there was for centuries a elass of builders called Freemasons (and at the time); it is admitted that they made of the building art a profesion as a means of livelihood, but it does not follow that they were therefore quarrymen and stone-eutters who did nothing but cut stones and put them into place. Bro. A. E. Waite was haunted by the question as to how a gild of "horny-handed laborers" working at day rates could ever have found out the profoundly wise and extraordinarily fruitful philosophy which he found in Speeulative Masonry. R. F. Gould's answer to that question was to say that the laborers " accepted " "gentlemen " into their ranks (why?) and that it was these "gentlemen" who transformed Operative into Speculative.
Any student who has thoroughly familiarized himself with English society in the Fourteenth Century and especially with the " gentlemen~t of that period, finds it impossibly difficult to imagine them sitting down once or twice a month with a eirele of Arthur Waite's " horny-handed laborers " or Gouldas " operatives, " they would have been in disgrace with their own class of which the first principle was that a " gentleman " is too exalted a personage to associate with mere working men on equal terms. A few eccentrics among the aristocrats might have done it- a few curious antiquarians like Elias Ashmole might have done it out of curiosity and as a sort of intellectual adventure- but there never eould have been enough of these to create a fraternitv, nor could they have fathered that Freemasonry which is now a world Dower and was one of the issues in World War II; even as late as the 1880'8 Gould could not forgive Preston for having been a " journeyman printer," or Laurenee Dermott for having been (of all things in the world!) a ' journeyman house painter."
Both Gould and Waite were misled by the word "operative." The Medieval Freemasons from among whom came the group which established the first permanent Lodge were "operatives" in the sense already given of having (most of them) made a living by their art, but they were not hornyhanded laborers. The Freemasons who understood, cor.ceived, designed, eonstrueted, and ornamented the Gothic cathedrals and other great Gothie buildings were thinkers, scholars, artists, sculptors, arehiteets, carvers and talented above other men of their times as well as users of the stone axe and the setting maul. If they were "operatives" so vvas Inigo Jones, so vwas Palladio, so was Sir Christopher Wren; and were quite as capable as any Twentieth Century Lodge member of knowing the menning *' of dividing our time " as well as how to measure and lay out their work.
ORANGE SOCIETY, THE.
The Orange Society (see page 739) was formed in the County of Armagh in 1795, in consequence of a clash between Protestants and Roman Catholics in which blood had been shed. Its avowed purpose was to protect Protestantism, but its secondary purpose of supporting the British Government in Ireland was so often predominant that the two purposes sometimes became confused. Its putative founder was a Mason, but neither then nor after did Orangeism have any connection with Freemasonry, a fact officially and publicly later recognized by the British Parliament. At the Grand Orange Lodge formed in Armnagh in 1796, Thomas Werner was elected its first Grand Master (like the Odd Fellows before them the Orangemen borrowed much in their nomenclature and their form of organization from Freemasonry, which Masons did not encourage but could not prevent). The officers of an Orange Lodge were Master, Secretary, Treasurer, Committeemen; they used a ritual, modes of recognition, oath. The Society was named for William of Orange. (It needs to be remembered that in Ireland until about 1800 and in England until about 1840 many Masons were Roman Catholics.) The earliest ritual consisted of the Orange and the Purple degrees. A set of rules was adopted in 1798, in which same year side orders, side degrees, other offshoots were disavowed. In 1800 each Lodge elected its own Master; these Masters sitting in Grand Lodge elected the Grand Master.
In 1799 the British Parliament enacted a Combination Act (amended in 1800) which prohibited "all societies the members whereof are required to take an oath not authorized by law . . . " In conformity with this " desperation legislation, " hastily concocted as a defense against French revolutionism from the east and Irish rebellionism from the west, the Orange Society dissolved its Lodges. The Society was revived in 1828. Its great feast day was July 12, anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, and Orange Lodges celebrated it with public processions. Masonic Lodges did not join in them, but in other local, municipal processions Orange and Masonic Lodges might be in the same parade.
In 1832 the British Parliament held public hearings to investigate activities of Orangeism, at which time the Society had 200,000 members. The Orange Grand Lodges of England and Ireland already had dissolved; others were dissolved later. A detailed picture of the whole of Orangeism is made clear in the Parliamentary Report of the Hearings of 1835, and it is one of the principal sources used by Orange historians. The Masonic Fraternity suffered as an innocent by-stander by the dissolution of the Orange Society because as a result of Parliamentarythearings the Secretary of War forbade secret societies in the army and navy, and though the Act of 1799 had exempted Freemasonry by name the army command, always cautious after Parliamentary action, made sure of not courting possible trouble by forbidding Army Lodges of Masonry, thoughthey had been peaceablyatworl;, and supported by officers from generals and admirals down since early in the Eighteenth Century.
There were about 300 Orange Lodges in England in 1835, and about 40 in the army. In 1847 the Society enjoyed a resurrection. It was very strong in Canada. The Loyal Orange Institution of the United States was set up as a branch of the parent bodies.
(Literature is abundant. As said above, the item of first importance in bibliography is the document, to be found in any large law library, entitled Report from the Select Committee Appointed to Inquire, etc., into Orange Institution in Great Britain, and the Colonies with the Minutes of Evidence, printed by the House of Commons: lS35. Bee alan The Secret Societies of Irele y E. B. C. Pollard; London; l9Z2. Famous Secrct Societies, by John Herron Lepper; London.) The British acts suppressing secret societies are not considered by legal authorities of the first rank to have been very sound law. They doubt if a voluntary society, of aims innocent of criminal intent, which accepts reputable members anywhere, is in violation of law merely because its professed tenets may be at variance with the policies or doctrines of the political party in power; they believe that in such a society, if its members, acting on their own responsibility, not directed from headquarters, at one time and place perform a criminal act, those members, not the society, and not as members but as citizens, are responsible before the law. They cite in support of this view the fact that condemned criminals who may belong to a Roman Catholic or to a Protestant Church are not aspersed upon those churches. Also, the British Parliament could not have condemned free associations or secret assemblies in principle without violation of Magna Carta, nor secret meetings in practice without condemning its own executive sessions, and committee meetings en camera.
ORDERS, THE HERALDIC.
The term "Order " was one of the key-words of the Middle Ages, and continued to be prominent in thought and language until the Eighteenth Century—the United States and Canada were the first of civilized nations in which the term had little or no place in either thought or language. Throughout the later Middle Ages, the term had three separate connotations: Order denoted a status, a usage, as preserved in the phrase "the lower orders, " corresponding roughly to " estate " in French. It also denoted the Orders of the Templars, of Malta, of the Teutonic Knights, and was somewhat similarly used of ranks, grades, or degrees of position in the Church hierarchy. And again it referred to systems of badges of honor, founded and authorized by kings, popes, emperors, etc. Among the last named were the Order of the Holy Ghost of 1200 A.D.; the Order of the Thistle founded in 800 A-D-; of the Star of the Blessed Virgin of 1022 A.D.; of St. George of the Garter of 1845 A.D.; of the Golden Fleece of 1429 A,D. of St. Michael of 1448 A-D-; etc Some features inherited from these, or reminiscent of them, are found in the seals and coats of arms used by Masonic Bodies.
The word "Order" as employed in the phrase "Order of Freemasonry," or "the Order," is justifiable and correct, but its true Masonic meaning is peculiar to the Craft. It denotes the fact that degrees or grades of members and of officers help to constitute a fixed order, are inherent in the structure of Free masonry, and hence are Ancient Landmarks. Lodge work is accordingly "ordered," that is, a Master, a Warden, etc., cannot alter the duties of his station nor is a member free to carry on activities in a Lodge according to private whim or in violation of that fixed order which is typified by the "order of business.) (See page 740.)
OREGON SCHOOL LAW.
On November 9, 1922, the citizens of Oregon by a vote of 115,506 to 103,685 approved a law, one that came to be called the Oregon School Law, which made it mandatory on parents and guardians to send their children between eight and sixteen years of age to "a public school in the district in which such child resides. " The lass M as to become effective on September 1, 1926. The inspiration for the campaign for this law came from a resolution adopted by the Supreme Council, A. & A. S. R., S. J., May 20, 1920. It was endorsed in principle by the Grand Lodge of Oregon in the following month. A committee was formed of K. C. C. H., with Robert E. Smith, Portland, as chairman; Judge John B. Cleland, Past Grand Master, drafted it. The proposed law was opposed by the Roman Church, the Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church, minority groups in other churches, and by the Knights of Columbus. The last, headed by Frank J. Lonergan, and assisted by Archbishop Alexander Christie of Oregon, carried the law to the Supreme Court. It was declared unconstitutional. (See The Builder; June, 1923; page 166.)
"OUR LADY LODGE OF DUNDEE."
W.. Bro. William Harvey, of Dundee, Scotland, has written the history of one of the most interesting of Lodges. The following paragraphs are a precis of his narrative. After his return from the Crusades, David, Earl of Huntingdon, received as a present from his brother, the King, the small religious center which he called "my burgh of Dundee," and established a residence there. In 1178 he founded the Abbeyof Lindores,and presented it to a church dedicated to the Virgin, " Our Lady. " In 1248 a granddaughter founded a nunnery; then a house for the Red Friars and one for the Black Friars, a nunnery of Grey Sisters, and a cloister for Magdalenes were built one after another. This caps ital of piety and of celibacy was therefore for many years a focus of Operative Masonic activity; both King and Town Council enacted laws for the Craft's governance from 1424 to 1457.
"They were banded together into a Lodge which took the name of 'Our Lady'; and is the earliest authenticated instance in Scotland of a Masonic Lodge dedicated to a patron saint. When it came into existence is not known, but in 1536 it was a local authority and set the standard so far as service was concerned>; for in a building agreement it was stipulated that the work was to be carried on according to the "auld use and consuetude [custom] of our Lady Luge of Dundee . . . "
The written records show what Dundee Mason's hours and wages were. In summer the men commenced at 5:00 A .; at 8:30 one-half hour for breakfast; worked from 9:00 to 11:30; after a dinner, from 1:00 to 4:00 ("noon," as it then was, or customarily nine hours after sunrise) when they paused for a lunch; worked from 4:30 to 7:00—eleven and onehalf hours of working time. In winter they worked from daylight to dark without a rest, or a break for food. By 1560 " Our Lady Lodge " had a permanent building of its own, one "of considerable size." By this time the Reformation had come to Dundee and the title of "Our Lady" was dropped; in the rent rolls of 1581 it is referred to as "The Mason Luge." At some unknown date the Lodge, heretofore working independently, became a part of the local Gildry, and on March 11, 1659, this Mason Gild, or Company, was incorporated. It was during this period that John Mylne, of a famous Masonic family still active in Scottish Lodges, was Master Mason to King James the Sixth. Thus the old Lodge was lost by absorption into the Incorporation; but at some unknown date the nucleus of a Lodge was again formed, and by 1745 it was petitioning the Grand Lodge of Scotland for a Charter.
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