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"PECULIARITY" OF FREEMASONRY.
In the period when Mitchell, Macoy, Morris were writing their books, Mackey was writing his earlier books, and Oliver and Preston were the staples of Masonic reading, "the peculiarity of Masonry" was a recognized subject, discussed in print, and the theme of many speeches and orations. Then came in American colloquial usage the corrupting of the word into a descriptive name for idiosyncratic, hard to know, ultraindividualistic men, or cranks; and with the loss of the word's meaning the subject of Masonic peculiarity fell out of discussion. Men accustomed to describe something or somebody hard to know, or unusual, as "peculiar," could not see that Freemasonry was peculiar in that sense.
It is unfortunate that a shift in speech occasioned the eclipse of one of the old, and important, and revealing Masonic subjects. From the first, Freemasonry had something which it itself had found out, which belonged to itself alone, which it had borrowed from no outside source, and never altered to suit outside demands, and which persisted unaltered through one change after another in circumstances. The doctrine therefore is a sound one; and it is a safe key to Masonic history, because what the historian of Speculative Freemasonry evermore is searching for is that in Freemasonry which from the beginning has persisted; and which though it has had to work under one set of circumstances or another has maintained its original identity from the beginning.
Belonging to the feet, from the Latin word pedes, meaning the feet The just man is he who, firmly planting his feet on tie principles of right, is as immovable as a rock, and can be thrust from his upright position neither by the allurements of flattery, nor the frowns of arbitrary power. Hence by this word is suggested to the Freemason certain symbolic instructions in relation to the virtue of justice. As in the case of Pectoral, this word was assigned, in the oldest instructions to the principal signs of a Freemason, having for its hieroglyphic; but in the modern lectures it is one of the Perfect Points of Entrance, and the hieroglyphic is no longer used. Some such curious old hieroglyphics were probably indications of foot or hand positions.
The pedestal is the lowest part or base of a column on which the shaft is placed. In a Lodge, there are supposed to be three columns, the column of Wisdom in the East, the column of Strength in the West, and the column of Beauty in the South. These columns are not generally erected in the Lodge, but their pedestals always are, and at each pedestal sits one of the three superior officers.
Hence we often hear such expressions as these, advancing to the pedestal, or standing before the pedestal, to signify advancing to or standing before the seat of the Worshipful Master. The custom in some Lodges of placing tables or desks before the three principal officers is, of course, incorrect. They should, for the reason above assigned, be representations of the pedestals of columns, and should be painted to represent marble or stone.
A Latin word meaning a Shepherd's Crook, and is so used by the Roman poet, Vergil, and hence sometimes used in ecclesiology for the Bishop's Crozier. In the Statutes of the Order of the Temple at Paris, it is prescribed that the Grand Master shall carry a "pedum magistrate sev patriarchal But the better word for the staff of the Grand Master of the Templars is baculus, which see.
The Demon of Calumny in the religious system of Zoroaster, Persia.
The Pelasgians were the oldest, if not the aboriginal, inhabitants of Greece. Their religion differed from that of the Hellenes, who succeeded them, in being less poetical, less mythical, and more abstract. We know little of their religious worship except by conjecture; but we may suppose it resembled in some respects the doctrines of what Doctor Oliver calls the Primitive Freemasonry. Creuzer thinks that the Pelasgians were either a nation of priests or a nation ruled by priests.
A Hebrew word meaning Division. A son of Eber. In his day the world was divided. A significant word in the advanced Degrees. In the Noachite, or Twenty-first Degree of the Scottish Rite, there is a singular legend of Peleg, which of course is altogether mythical, in which he is represented as the Architect of the Tower of Babel.
The pelican feeding her young with her blood is a prominent svmbol of the Eighteenth or Rose Croix Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and was adopted as such from the fact that the pelican, in ancient Christian art, was considered as an emblem of the Savior. Now this symbolism of the pelican, as a representative of the Savior, is almost universally supposed to be derived from the common belief that the pelican feeds her young with her blood, as the Savior shed his blood for mankind; and hence the bird is always represented as sitting on her nest, and surrounded by her brood of young ones, who are dipping their bills into a wound in their mother's breast. But this is not the exact idea of the symbolism, which really refers to the resurrection, and is, in this point of view, more applicable to Christ, as well as to the Masonic Degree of which the resurrection is a doctrine.
In an ancient Bestiarium, or Natural History, in the Royal Library at Brussels, cited by Larwood and Rotten in a recent work on the History of Signs Boards, this statement is made:
The pelican is very fond of his young ones, and when they are born and begin to grow, they rebel in their nest against their parent, and strike him with their wings flying about him, and beat him so much till they wound him in his eyes. Then the father strikes and kills them. And the mother is of such a nature that she comes baek to the nest on the third day, and sits down upon her dead young ones, and opens her side with her bill and pours her blood over them, and so resuscitates them from death; for the young ones, by their instinct, receive the blood as soon as it comes out of the mother, and drink it.
The Ortus Vocabulorum, compiled early in the fifteenth century, gives the fable more briefly: "It is said, if it be true, that the pelican kills its young, and grieves for them for three days. Then she wounds herself, and with the aspersione of her blood resuscitates her children." And the writer cites, in explanation, the Latin verses:
Ut pelicanu fit matris sanguine sanus,
Sie Saneti sumus nos omnes sanguine nati.
As the Pelican is restored by the blood of its mother so are we all born by the blood of the Holy One, that is, of Christ.
Saint Jerome gives the same story, as an illustration of the destruction of man by the old serpent, and his salvation by the blood of Christ. Shelton, in an old work entitled the Armorie of Birds, expresses the same sentiment in the following words:
Then said the pelican
When my birds be slain,
With my blood I them revive
Scripture doth record
The same did our Lord
And rose from death to life.
This romantic story was religiously believed as a fact of natural history in the earliest ages of the church. Hence the pelican was very naturally adopted as a symbol of the resurrection and, by consequence, of Him whose resurrection is, as Cruden terms it, "the cause, pattern, and argument of ours."
But in the course of time the original legend mas, to some extent, corrupted, and a simpler one was adopted, namely, that the pelican fed her young with her own blood merely as a means of sustenance, and the act of maternal love was then referred to as Christ shedding his blood for the sins of the world. In this view of the symbolism, Pugin has said that the pelican is "an emblem of our Blessed Lord shedding his blood for mankind, and therefore a most appropriate symbol to be introduced on all vessels or ornaments connected with the Blessed Sacrament " In the Antiquities of Durhom Abbey, we learn that "over the high altar of Durham Abbey hung a rich and most sumptuous canopy for the Blessed Saerament to hang within it, whereon stood a pelican, all of silver, upon the height of the said canopy, very finely gilt, giving her blood to her young ones, in token that Christ gave His blood for the sins of the world
But Doctor Mackey believed the true theory of the pelican is, that by restoring her young ones to life by her blood, she symbolizes the resurrection. The old symbolog~ists said, after Jerome, that the male pelican, who destroyed his young, represents the serpent, or evil principle, which brought death into the world; while the mother, who resuscitates them, rs the representative of that Son of .Man of whom it is declared, "except ye drink of His blood, ye have no life in you." Hence the pelican is very appropriately asumed as a symbol in Freemasonry, whose great object is to teach by symbolism the doctrine of the resurrection, and especially in that sublime Degree of the Scottish Rite wherein, the old Temple being destroyed and the old Word being lost, a new temple and a new word spring forth—all of which is but the great allegory of the destruction by death and the resurrection to eternal life.
PELLEGRINI, MARQUIS OF.
One of the pseudonyms or false names assumed by Joseph Balsamo, better known as Count Cagliostro, which see.
That act which refers to a penalty.
The adversaries of Freemasonry have found, or rather invented, abundant reasons for denouncing the Institution; but on nothing have they more strenuously and fondly lingered than on the accusation that it makes, by horrid and impious cereLnonies, all its members the willing or unwilling executioners of those who prove recreant to their cows and violate the laws which they are stringently hound to observe. Even a few timid and uninstructed freemasons have been found who were disposed to helieve that there was some weight in this objection. the fate of Morgan, apocryphal as it undoubtedly was, has been quoted as an instance of Masonic unishment inflicted by the regulations of the Order; and, notwithstanding the solemn asseverations of wle most intelligent Freemasons to the contrary, seen have been found, and still are to be found, who seriously entertain the opinion that every member of the Fraternity becomes, by the ceremonies of his initiation and by the nature of the vows which he has taken, an active Nemesis of the wrder, bound by some unholy promise to avenge the Institution upon any treacherous or unfaithful Brother.
All of this arises from a total misapprehension, in the minds of those who are thus led astray, of the true character and design of vows or oaths which are accompanied by an imprecation. It is well, therefore, .or the information both of our adversaries—who may thus be deprived of any further excuse for slander, and of our friends—who will be relieved of any continued burden on their consciences, that we should show that, however solemn may be the promises of secrecy, of obedience, and of charity which are required from our initiates, and however they may be guarded by the sanctions of punishment upon their offenders, they never were intended to impose upon any Brother the painful and—so far as the laws of the country are concerned—the illegal task of vindicating the outrage committed by the violator. The only Masonic penalty inflicted by the Order upon a traitor, is the scorn and detestation of the Craft whom he has sought to betray.
But that this subject may be thoroughly understood, it is necessary that some consideration should be given to oaths generally, and to the character of the imprecations by which they are accompanied. The obsecration, or imprecation, is that part of every oath which constitutes its sanction, and which consists in calling some superior power to witness the declaration or promise made, and invoking his protection for or anger against the person making it, according as the said declaration or promise is observed or violated. This obsecration has, from the earliest times, constituted a part of the oath—and an important part, too—among every people, varying, of course, according to the varieties of religious beliefs and modes of adoration. Thus, among the Jews, we find such obsecrations as these: co yagnasheh li Elohim, meaning so may God do to me. A very common obsecration among the Greeks was isto Zeus or theon marturomai, meaning May Jove stand by me, or I call God to unfitness. And the Romans, among an abundance of other obsecrations, often said, dii me perdant, meaning May the gods destroy me, or ne vivam, May I die.
These modes of obsecration were accompanied, to make them more solemn and sacred, by certain symbolic forms. Thus the Jews caused the person who swore to hold up his right hand toward heaven, by which action he was supposed to signify that he appealed to God to witness the truth of what he had averred or the sincerity of his intention to fulfil the promise that he had made. So Abraham said to the King of Sodom, "I have lift up my hand unto the Lord, . . . that I will not take anything that is thine." Sometimes, in taking an oath of fealty, the inferior placed his hand under the thigh of his lord, as in the case of Eliezer and Abraham, related in the twenty-fourth chapter of Genesis. Among the Greeks and Romans, the person swearing placed his hands, or sometimes only the right hand, upon the altar, or upon the victims when, as was not unusual, the oath was accompanied by a sacrifice, or upon some other sacred thing. In the military oath, for instance, the soldiers placed their hands upon the signa, or standards (see Hand).
The obsecration, with an accompanying form of solemnity, vas indeed essential to the oath among the ancients, because the crime of perjury was not generally looked upon by them in the same light in which it is viewed by the moderns. It was, it is true, considered as a heinous crime, but a crime not so much against society as against the gods, and its punishment was supposed to be left to the deity whose sanctity had been violated by the adjuration of his name to a false oath or broken vow. Hence, Cicero says that "death was the divine punishment of perjury, but only dishonor was its human penalty." Therefore the crime of giving false testimony under oath was not punished in any higher degree than it~would have been had it been given without the solemnity of an oath. Swearing was entirely a matter of conscience, and the person who was guilty of false swearing, where his testimony did not affect the rights or interests of others, was considered as responsible to the deity alone for his perjury.
The explicit invocation of God, as a witness to the truth of the thing said, or, in promissory oaths, to the faithful observance bf the act promised, the obsecration of Divine punishment upon the jurator if what he swore to be true should prove to be false, or if the vow made should be thereafter violated, and the solemn form of lifting up the hand to heaven or placing it upon the altar or the sacred victims, must necessarily have given confidence to the truth of the attestation, and must have been required by the hearers as some sort of safeguard or security for the confidence thev were called upon to exercise. This seems to have been the true reason for the ancient practise of solemn obsecration in the administration of oaths.
Among modern nations, the practice has been continued, and from the ancient usage of invoking the names of the gods and of placing the hands of the person swearing upon their altars, we derive the present method of sanctifying every oath by the attestation contained in the phrase "So help me, God," and the concluding form of kissing the Holy Scriptures (see Oath and Oath, Corporal).
Now the question naturally occurs as to what is the true intent of this obsecration, and what practical operation is expected to result from it. In other words, what is the nature of a penalty attached to an oath, and how is it to be enforced7 When the ancient Roman, in attesting with the solemnity of an oath to the truth of what he had just said or was about to say, concluded with the formula, "May the gods destroy me," it is evident that he simply meant to say that he was so convinced of the truth of what he had said that he was entirely willing that his destruction by the gods whom he had invoked should be the condition consequent upon his falsehood. He had no notion that he was to become outlawed among his fellow-creatures, and that it should be not only the right, but the duty, of any man to destroy him. His crime would have been one against the Divine law, and subject only to a Divine punishment.
In modern times, perjury is made a penal offense against human laws, and its punishment is inflicted by human tribunals. But here the punishment of the crime is entirely different from that inferred by the obseeration which terminates the oath. The words "So help me, God," refer exclusively to the withdrawal of Divine aid and assistance from the jurator in the case of his proving false, and not to the human punishment which society would inflict.
In like manner, we may say of what are called Masonic penalties, that they refer in no case to any kind of human punishment; that is to say, to any kind of punishment which is to be inflicted by human hand or instrumentality. The true punishments of Free nasonry affect neither life nor limb. They are expulsion and suspension only. But those persons are wrong, be they mistaken friends or malignant enemies, who suppose or assert that there is any other sort of penalty which a Freemason recreant to his vows is subjected to by the laws of the Order, or that it is either the right or duty of any Freemason to inflict such penalty on an offending Brother. The obsecration of a Freemason simply means that if he violates his vows or betrays his trust he is worthy of such penalty, and that if such penalty were inflicted on him it would be but just and proper. "May I die," said the ancient, "if this be not true, or if I keep not this vow." Not may any man put me to death, nor is any man required to put me to death, but only, if I so act, then would I be worthy of death. The ritualistic penalties of Freemasonry, supposing sueh to be, are in the hands not of man, but of God, and are to be inflicted by God, and not by man.
Brother Fort says, in the twenty-ninth chapter of his Early History and Andiquities of Freemasonry, that:
Penalties inflicted upon convicts of certain grades during the Middle Ages, were terrible and inhuman.
The most cruel punishment awaited him who broke into and robbed a Pagan Temple. According to a law of the Frisians, such desecration was redressed by dragging the criminal to the seashore and burving the body at a point in the sands where the tide daily ebbed and flowed (Lex Frisionum, title xiu).
A creditor was privileged to subject his delinquent debtor to the awful penalty of having the flesh torn from his breast and fed to birds of prey. Convicts were frequently adjudged by the ancient Norse code to have their hearts torn out (Grimm, Demtsche Rechts-Alter thumer, page 690).
The oldest death penalties of the Scandinavians prescribed that the body should be exposed to fowls of the air to feed upon. Sometilnes it was decreed that the victim be disemboweled, his body burnt to ashes and scattered as dust to the winds. Judges of the secret Vehmgericht passed sentences of death as follows: "Your body and flesh to the beasts of the field, to the birds of the air, and to the fishes of the stream." The judicial executioner, in carrying into effect this decree, severed the body in twain, so that, to use the literal text, "the air might strike together between the two parts." The tongue was oftentimes torn out as a punishment. A law of the early Roman Umpires known as Ex Jure Orientis Calsareo, enacted that any person, suitor at law or witness, having sworn upon the evangelists, and proving to be a perjurer, should have the tongue cut from its roots. A cord about the neck was used symbolically, in criminal courts, to denote that the accused was worthy of the extreme penalty of law by hanging or decapitation. When used upon the person of a freeman, it signified a slight degree of subjection or servitude (pages 318-20, 693 and 708).
Some eminent Brethren of the Fraternity insist that the penalty had its origin in the manner in which the lamb was sacrificed under the charge of the Captain of the Temple, who directed the Priests: and said, "Come and cast lots." "Who is to slaughter?" "Who is to sprinkle?" "Go and see if the time for slaughter approaches?" "Is it light in the whole East, even to Hebron?" and when the Priest said "Yes," he was directed to "go and bring the lamb from the lamb-chamber"; this was in the northwest corner of the court. The lamb was brought to the north of the altar, its head southward and its face northward The lamb was then slaughtered; a hole was made in its side, and thus it was hung up. The Priest skinned it downward until he came to the breast, then he cut off the head, and finished the skinning; he tore out the heart, subsequently he cleft the body, and if became all open before him; he took out the intestines etc.; and the various portions were divided as they had cast lots (see the Talmud, Joseph Barclays LL.D.) .
"In London, at the beginning of the 14th Century a man convicted of treason in the court of the mayor, was bound to a stake in the Thames during two flows and two ebbs of the tide. " (Tyburn Tree, Its History and Annals, by Alfred Marks; Brown, Langham & Co.; London. Liber Custumorium; ed. by Riley; Vol. I; page 150.)
" 1557. The VI day of April was hanged at the low water mark at Wapping beyond St. Katharine's 7 for robbing on the sea. " (From Machyn's Diary.)
In Holinshed's Chronide, and referring to the Sixteenth Century: "pirates and robbers by sea are condemned in the court of admiralty, and hanged on the shore at low water mark, where they are left till three tides have overwashed them. "
In 1530 Parliament directed that Richard Roose be boiled to death. (See page 21, Burough Customs; by Selden Society; also pp. 73, 74.)
From Holinshed's Chronicle: "Such as having walls and banks near unto the sea, and do suffer the same to decay (after convenient admonition) whereby the water entereth and drowneth up the country, are by a certain custom apprehended, condemned, and staked in the breach, where they remain for ever as parcel of the foundation of the new wall that is made upon them, as I have heard reported. "
(Note—Much that is now done by local, state, and national governments such as building highways, bridges, sea walls, dykes, schools, sewers, the removal of garbage, police and fire protection, etc., was in the Middle Ages the responsibility of individuals, churches, fraternities volunteer associations, and other private and semiprivate agencies.)
The Laws of Henry I mention scalping and flaying as punishments. (For Chapter on "Drawn, Hanged, and Quartered" see page 27 of Tyburn Tree.)
There were three modes of "drawing": dragging along the ground on a sled or without a sled to place of execution; dragging on ground by horses until victim was dead; tying between horses which pulled in opposite directions. When Wm. Loughead was drawn to Tyburn sharp stones were laid in the path.
In 1238 a man was accused of attempting to assassinate Henry III. In the first place he was drawn asunder, then beheaded, then his body was divided in three parts, each of which was dragged through one of the greatest cities of England and afterwards hung on the robbers' gibbet. (See Chron. Majora, by Matthew Paris; III, p. 497.)
A typical form of punishing a heretic by the Church w as to tie him to a stake; heap branches around him; fire them with him looking on; hoot at him when he began to scream; to disembowel him; to cut or pull out his tongue (the "agent of heresy"); to scatter his ashes.
For centuries the orthodox punishments for treason were:
1. Drawn to gallows.
2. Hanged, then let down alive.
3. Bowels removed.
4. Next, to be burned
5. Head cut off.
6. Body divided into four parts.
In his East London Besant writes: "Next to Wapping Old Stairs is 'Execution Dock'; this was the place where sailors were hanged and all criminals sentented for offenses committed on the waters. They were hanged at low tide on the foreshore, and were kept hanging until three tides had overflowed their bodies . . . The prisoner was conveyed to the spot in a cart, beside him his own coffin, while the ordinary sat beside him and exhorted him. He wore the customary white night-cap and carried a Prayer Book in one hand, while a nosegay was stuck in his bosom. " Captain Kidd was hanged there, March 23, 1701. Shakespeare mentions executions in the rough sands In a number of cases executions were postponed be cause of low tide. (See Old Dundee Lodge, by Arthur Heiron; p. 77.)
A visitor to England in 1598 left it on record that about 300 pirates were hanged each year. The cruel and inhuman form of these punishments was often condemned, especially among craftsmen in the gilds who always had a better sense of justice and more humanity than the so-called "upper" classes, or even some sections of the clergy; when these protests began to have weight Chief Justice Coke argued against them in favor of severe penalties in his Institutes (Part III; 1644; page 210), and gave what he took to be Biblical authority for each of them, but refused to explain why the Sermon on the Mount (he lived in "Old Testament England") possessed no authority.
The last to suffer the penalties for treason executed in their plenitude of horror were the Scots in 1745. The last bloody execution was in 1820. Writers eareless in statement or ignorant of history describe these penalties as "medieval"; they were later than that, and began in England along with many other cruel and inhuman practices when the Tudor Kings (and Queens) attempted to set up a royal despotism on the pattern of the Kings of France, though it did not stop with the Tudors but was continued (with temporary breaks) until George III, whose ambition was to be "a monarch in fact as well as in name." The Middle Ages, at least in England, were far more humane—between 1200 it.D. and 1500 A.D. England was probably the most civilized and humane country in the world except China.
For this, the great number of gilds and fraternities of craftsmen were responsible, because men who work, and who enjoy their work, always are more humane than men who prey upon others. Many examples of the oaths used by the Gilds and City Companies have been preserved; they are short, simple, direct, and the penalties assessed were of the same sort that have always been used by Freemasons: fines, reprimand, suspension, expulsion; w here the churches burned and the kings hanged, the craftsmen expelled—their Eden was the opposite of Adam's, who was blessed when in idleness but when expelled had to suffer the "curse" of labor, whereas the craftsmen's Eden was work, and idleness was a curse.
The two types of punishment, one for heresy and one for treason, became conventionalized, and at last were used merely as an emblem to represent the general idea of penalty.
The use of penalties in the form of some such emblem began in Speculative Lodges at least as early as 1700 (as the Old Catechisms show) but always were emblematic only, since the only penalties practiced were what they are now (except for fines, no longer permitted). It is easy to understand that if in an emblematic drama it was necessary to heighten the effect of the idea of penalty (penalty in general) the natural form would be that which had been in conventionalized and orthodox use for many years. The principal tenets, or beliefs demanded by Masonic law, are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth; to be faithless to them is for Masons a heresy The Ancient Landmarks are the law; to be treacherous to them is treason.
NOTE. AS to the form given to one set of the emblematie Pp's. it is significant that they correspond, as a key to a lock, and point to point to a drama, or tragedy; the two obviously are hemispheres of the same whole. When and where did the ritualistic Pps. originate? Perhaps if that question is ever answered by Masonic research it avlll give the date of the origin of a drama in which every Mason feels a keen, intellectual interest. For a remarkable book on the whole subject of penalties see A History of Penal Methods, by George Ives- Stanley Paul & Co.; London; 1914.
In the English system this is one of the Working-tools of a Master Mason, and is intended symbolically to remind us that our words and actions are observed and recorded by the Almighty Architect, to whom we must give an account of our conduct through life In the American system the.peneil is not specifically recognized The other English Working-tools of a Master Mason are the Skirrit and compasses In the French Rite "to hold the Pencil," or in French, tener he crayons is to discharge the functions of a Secretary during the Communication of a Lodge.
Called also the Supplicatory Sign. It is the third sign in the English Royal Arch System. It denotes that frame of heart and mind without which our prasers and oblations will not obtain acceptance; in other words, it is a symbol of humility.
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