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A group of some hundred islands belonging to the Leewat Islands in the West Indies. In 1760 the "Antients" Grand Lodge of England authorized a Lodge on Virgin Gorda Island known as Virgin Gorda Lodge, No. 82. Another was granted authority in l763 at Tortola and it third was chartered by the ` Moderns'' in 1765 At the Union of 1813 however, not one of the three was placed on the Register.
Brother John Ryan was appointed Provincial Grand Master in 1777. Lodges were also chartered in these Islands by the Grand Lodges of Scotlaud, Pennsylvania, Denmark, France and Colon.
Mention of Freemasonry in Virginia occurs in the Freemason's Pocket Companion by Auld and Smellie, published in 1765. Two Lodges are mentioned therein; Royal Exchange, No. 172, at Norfolk, and No. 204, in Yorktown, and they are said to have met "1st Tilursday, Dec. 1733" and "lst and 3d Wednesday; (from Aug. 1, 1755" respectively. It has been said that the eartier date is a mistake for 1753, hut probably 1733 is correct. Records also show that Norfolk Lodge was chartered on June l, 1741, for the same place and to hold its meetings at the same times as Royal Exchange Lodge. It is therefore probable that Norfolk Lodge was instituted in place of Royal Exchange Lodge. At the instigation of Williamshurg Lodge, No. 6, a Convention was held on May 6, 1777, to arrange the formation of 3 Grand Lodge of Virginia. On October 13, 1778, the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons was Constituted and John Blair was elected Grand Master.
The meetings were held in Williamsburg until 1784, when the Grand Lodge removed to Richmond. That same year, General LaFayette visited Washington at Mount Vernon and took with him as a present an apron worked by Madame LaFayette herself. This apron is now in the possession of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
Royal Arch Degrees were probably worked first in Virginia under the Lodge Charters. Some think that Brother Joseph Myers introduced the system when he settled in Richmond and began the Holy Royal Arch of the .Ancient and Accepted Rite which was taught in the State until 1820, when the English Degree was adopted. Brother John Dove said that substitutes had been in constant use since 1792 without evil results. It is therefore certain that Royal Arch Masonry was practiced in Virginia at that date. From 1820 until 1841 the Council Degrees were under the control of a Grand Council. December 17, 1841, by general agreement, they came under the Grand Chapter.
The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Virginia was established May 1, 1808, following a suggestion from a Convention of the "Grand United Chapter of Excellent and SuperExcellent Masons of Norfolk."
The new Chapter had no connection with the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States. At the annual Convocation of the Grand Chapter of Maryland in 1827 Grand High Priest J. K. Stapleton introduced the subject of the granting of the Select Degree independent of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter. Circulars were sent out to the Grand Chapters and South Carolina in her reply mentioned a Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem, established February 2(), 1788, by Brothers Joseph Myers, Barend M. Spitzes, and .A. Forst, and that the first named before his return to Europe had handed on his knowledge of the Degrees in the Cities of Virgillia and Maryland. In 1817 Companion Jeremy L. Cross established a Council of Select Masters in Richmond in December. The Grand Council of Virginia, formed in December, 1820, failed to flourish during the decade 1829-'39, the time of the Morgan excitements In I841 it was dissolved and the degrees were once again under the control of the Chapters.
The first Ecampment to be constituted in Virginia was Richmond, chattered May 5, 1823. No Dispensation had been issued. On September 17, 1847, this Charter and those of two other Encampments were annulled. This left Wheeling, No. 1, chartered ,September 16, 1841, the first existing Encampment of Virginia. There was, however, according to a memorial from Virginia to the 18th Triennial Convocation in 1871, an Encampment at Winchester as early as 1812 which worked under the protection of the Lodge there.
The Richmond Encampment was also established at an early date and continued its work without a Charter until 1823. Sir J. G. Hankins, Grand Recorder of the Grand Commandery of Virginia states that either Jeremy L. Cross or Jarnes Cushman proclaimed the Winchester body as the Grand Encampment of Virginia in 1823. It did not last very long and probably when it ceased to exist authority over the Encampments in the State reverted to the General Grand Encampment. In 1845 it was resolved to form a new one but the consent of the General Grand Encampment was not obtained, which was somewhat irregular. In 1871, however, application to withdraw from the General Grand Encamplllent was refused.
On December 18, 1874, the McDaniel Lodge of Perfection, No. 3, was granted a Charter at Norfolk. At Richmond three other bellies of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern .Jurisdiction, were chartered: Pelican Chapter of Rose Croix, No. '9, April 10, 1884; Saint Omar Council of Kadosh No. 1, May 22, 1889, and Dalcho Consistory, No. 1, at Richmond, September 6, 1889.
See Weeping Virgin.
VIRTUTE ET SILENTIO.
This Latin motto By Virtue and Silelwee, and Gloria in E:rcelsis Deo, meaning Glory to God in the Highest, are of the Royal Order of Scotland.
In a Circular published March 18, 1775, by the Grand Orient of France, reference is made to two divisions of the Order, namely, Visible and Intisible Masonry. Did we not know something of the Masonic contentions then existing in France between the Lodges and the supreme authority, we should hardly comprehend the meaning intended to be conveyed by these words. By Invisible Masonry they denoted that Body of intelligent and virtuous Freemasons who, irrespective of any connection with dogmatic authorities, constituted "a Mysterious and Invisible,Society of the True Sons of Lights ' who, Scattered over the two hemispheres, were engaged, with one heart and soul, in doing everything for the glory of the Grand Architect and the good of their fellow-men. By Visible Masonry they meant the congregation of Freemasons into Lodges, which were often affected by the contagious vices of the age in which they lived.
The former is perfect; the latter continually needs purification. The words were originally inventet to effect a particular purpose, and and bring the recusant or nonconforming Lodges of France into their Obedience. But they might be advantageously preserved, in the technical language of Freemasonry, for a more general and permanent object. Invisible Freemasonry would then indicate the abstract spirit of Freemasonry as it has always existed, while Visible Freemasonry would refer to the concrete form which it assumes in Lodge and Chapter organizations, and in different Rites and systems.
The latter would be like the Material Church, or Church Militant; the former like the Spiritual Church, or Church Triumphant. Such terms might be found convenient to Masonic scholars and writers.
The visit of a Grand Master, accompanied by his Grand Officers, to a subordinate Lodge, to inspect its condition, is called a Grand Visitation. There is no allusion to anything of the kind in the Old Constitutions, because there was no organization of the Order before the eighteenth century that made such an inspection necessary. But immediately after the Revival in 1717, it was found expedient, in consequence of the growth of Lodges in London, to provide for some form of visitation and inspection. So, in the very first of the Thirty-nine General Regulations, adopted in 1721, it is declared that "the Grand Master or his Deputy hath authority and right not only to be present in any true Lodge, but also to preside wherever he is, with the Master of the Lodge on his left hand, and to order his Grand Wardens to attend him, who are not to act in any particular Lodges as Wardens, but in his presence and at his command; because there the Grand Master may command the Wardens of that Lodge, or any other Brethren he pleaseth, to attend and act as his Wardens pro tempore" (Constitutions, 1723, page 58).
In compliance with this old regulation, whenever the Grand Master, accompanied by his Wardens and other officers, visits a Lodge in his Jurisdiction, for the purpose of inspecting its condition, the Master and officers of the Lodge thus visited surrender their seats to the Grand Master and the Grand Officers.
Grand Visitations are among the oldest usages of Freemasonry since the revival period. In the United States of America they are not now so frequently practised, in consequence of the extensive territory in which the Lodges are scattered, and the difficulty of collecting at one point all the Grand Officers, many of whom generally reside at great distances apart. Still, where it can be done, the practice of Grand Visitations should never be neglected. The power of visitation for inspection is confined to the Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master and those holding official proxies for the purpose.
The Grand Wardens possess no such prerogative. The Master must always tender the Gavel and the Chair to the Grand or Deputy Grand Master when either of them informally visits a Lodge; for the Grand Master and, in his absence, the Deputy have the right to preside in all Lodges where they may be present. But this privilege does not extend to the Grand Wardens.
Every Brother from abroad, or from any other Lodge, when he visits a Lodge, must be received with welcome and treated witch hospitality. He must be clothed, that is to say, Furnished with an Apron, and, if the Lodge uses them as every Lodge should, with Gloves, and, if a Past Master, with the jewel of his rank. He must be directed to a seat, and the utmost courtesy extended to him. If of distinguished rank in the Order, the honors due to that rank must be paid to him.
This hospitable and courteous spirit is derived from the ancient customs of the Craft, and is inculcated in all the Old Constitutions. Thus, in the Lansdowne Manuscript, it is directed "that every Mason receive or cherish strange Fellows when they come over the Countrey, and sett them on worke, if they will worke, as the manner is; that is to say, if the Mason have any moulde stone in his place on worke; and if he have none, the Mason shall refresh him with money unto the next Lodge." A similar regulation is found in all the other manuscripts of the Operative Masons; and from them the usage has descended to their speculative successors. At all Lodge banquets it is of obligation that a toast or sentiment shall be emphasized "to the Visiting Brethren." To neglect this would be a great breach of decorum.
The English Constitutions (Rule 149) state that "the Master and Wardens of a Lodge are enjoined to visit other Lodges as often as they conveniently can, in order that the same usages and customs may be observed throughout the Craft, and a good understanding cultivated amongst Freemasons."
VISIT, RIGHT OF.
Every affiliated Freemason in good standing has a right to visit any other Lodge, wherever it may be, as often as it may suit his pleasure or convenience; and this is called, in Masollic law, the Right of Visit. It is one of the most important of all Masonic privileges, because it is based on the principle of the identity of the Masonic Institution as one universal family, and is the exponent of that wellknown maxim that "in every clime a Freemason may find a home, and in every land a Brother." It has been so long and so universally admitted, that we have not hesitated to rank it among the landmarks of the Order.
The admitted doctrine on this subject is, that the right of visit is one of the positive rights of every Freemason, because Lodges are justly considered as only divisions for convenience of the universal Masonic family. The right may, of course, be lost, or forfeited on special occasions, by various circumstances; but any Master who shall refuse admission to a Freemason in good standing, who knocks at the door of his Lodge, is expected to furnish some good and satisfactory reason for thus violating a Masonic right. If the admission of the applicant, whether a member or visitor, would, in his opinion, be attended mith injurious consequences, such, for instance, as impairing the harmony of the Lodge, a Master would then, we presume, be justified in refusing admission.
Out without the existence of some such good reason, Masonic jurists have always decided that the right of visitation is absolute and positive, and inures to every Freemason in his travels throughout the world (see this subject discussed in its fullest extent in Doctor Mackey's revised Jurisprudence of Freemasonry).
The representative deity of darkness in Vedie mythology, and the antagonist of Indra, as the personified light. Vitra also represents ignorance, superstition, fanaticism, and intolerance, the opponents of Freemasonry.
"Vivat! vivat! vivat!" is the acclamation which accompanies the honors in the French Rite. Bazot (Manuel, page 165) says it is "the Cry of joy of Freemasons of the French Rite." Vivat" is a Latin word, and signifies, literally, "May he live"; but it has been domiciliated in French, and Boiste (Dictionnaire Universel) defines it as "a Cry of applause which expresses the wish for the preservation of anyone " The French Freemasons say, "he was received with the triple vivat," to denote that "He was received with the highest honors of the lodge."
VOGEL, PAUL JOACHINI SIGISMUND.
A distinguished Masonic writer of Germany, who was born in 1753. He was at one time co-rector of the Sebastian School at Altdorf, and afterward First Professor of Theologv and Ecclesiastical Counselor at Erlangen. In 1785 he published at Nuremberg, in three volumes, his Briefe die Freimaurerei betreffende or, Letters concerning Freemasonry. The first volume treats of the Knights Templar; the second, of the Ancient Mysteries; and the third, of Freemasonry. This was, says Gloss, the first earnest attempt made in Gerrnany to trace Freemasonry to a true, historical origin. Vogel's theory was this, that the Speculative Freemasons descended from the Operatives or StoneMasons of the Middle Ages. The abundant evidence that more recent documentary researches have produced was then wanting, and the views or Vogel did not make that impression to which they were entitled. He has, however, the credit of having opened the way, after the Abbé Grandidier, for those who have followed him in the same field. He also delivered before the Lodges of Nuremberg, several Discourses on the Design, Character, and Origin of Freemasonry which were published in one volume, at Berlin, in 1791.
A Doctor of Medicine, and Professor and Senator at Dresden. He was a member of the advanced Degrees of the Rite of Strict Observance, where his Order name was Eques à Falcone or Knight of the Falcon. In 1788 he attacked Starck's Rite of the Clerks of Strict Observance, and published an essay on the subject, in the year 1788, in the Acta Historico-Ecclesiastica of Weimar. Voigt exposed the Roman Catholic tendencies of the new system, and averred that its object was "to cite and command spirits, to find the philosopher's stone, and to establish the reign of the millennium." His development of the Cabalistic character of the Rite made a deep impression on the Masonic world, and was one of the most effective attacks upon it made by its antagonists of the old Strict Observance.
Those who worship Vishnu, in white garments, and abstain from animal food. Believers in the third member of the Trimurti according to Hindu mythology, in him who was believed to be the preserver of the world, and who had undergone ten Avatars or incarnations, to wit, a bird, tortoise, wild boar, andro-lion, etc., of which the deity Krishna was the eighth incarnation in this line of Vishnu, and in which form he was supposed to be the son of Devanaguy and reared by the shepherd Nanda.
His full name was Jean Frangois Marie A rouet de Voltaire. This French philosopher, historian, dramatist, and man of letters adopted the name of François Marie Arouet de Voltaire though only the first words were his by baptism, the father, a notary, being François Arouet. Whence the name of Voltaire was derived has been the cause of many perplexing specullations. One of the most famous of French writers, he was born at Châtenay, near Sceaux, November 21, 1694. His early life was loose and varied.
In 1728 he became infatuated with a Madame du Chatelet. his literary works cover some ninety volumes. In 1743, the French government despatched him on a mission to Frederick the Great, by whom he was held in high favor, and in 1750, at the request of the King, he made his residence in Berlin, but five years later they quarreled, and Voltaire moved to Ferney, Switzerland. His literary talent was most varied, and in invective he had no equal. During his exile in England he imbibed deistical theories, which marked his life. He was charged with atheism. Voltaire was easily misunderstood. While he attacked the fashionable atheism of his time, as well as Christianity, his real fight, broadly slashing as it was, and never any too courteously outlined or defined, was prohably against all persecution and oppression by any and all pampered orthodoxy. He was initiated in the Lodge of the Nine Sisters, at Paris, April 7, 1778.
Benjamin Franklin and others distinguished in Freemasonry were members of this famous Lodge. Franklin at the time of Voltaire's initiation was a visitor only but subsequently became Worshipful master of the Lodge (see Nine Sislers, Lodge of the). Voltaire's death, on May 30, 1778, gave rise to a memorable Lodge of Sorrow, which was held on the succeeding November 28.
VON STEUBEN, BARON FREDERICK WILLLIAM AUGUSTUS.
Born November 15, l730; died November 28, 1794. Famous General, who came to America from Prussia through the influence of Benjamin Franklin in 1777 to train and organize troops of the American Revolution. He brought with him his Masonic affiliation credentials with the rank of Past Master, to Holland Lodge, and also became a member of Trinity Lodge No. 10, both of New York City (see New Age, November, 1924; History of Freemasonry in the State of New York, Ossian Lang, pages 75, 81; Masonry in the Formation of our Government—1761-1799, Philip A. Roth, page 81; Builder, volume ii, page 21).
Voting in Lodges viva voce, or by "aye" and "nay," is a modern innovation in America. During the Grand Mastership of the Earl of Loudoun, on April 6, 1736, the Grand Lodge of England, on the motion of Deputy Grand Master Ward, adopted "a new Regulation of ten rules for explaining what concerned the decency of Assemblies and Communnications." The tenth of these rules is in the following words: "The opinions or votes of the members are always to be signified by each holding up one of his hands; which uplifted hands the Grand Wardens are to count, unless the number of hands be so unequal as to render the counting useless. Nor should any other kind of division be ever admitted among Masons" (Constitutions, 1738, page 178). The usual mode of putting the question is for the presiding officer to say: "So many as are in favor avid signify the same by the usual sign of the Order," and then, when those votes have been counted to say:
"So many as are of a contrary opinion will signify the same by the same sign." The votes are now counted by the Senior Deacon in a subordinate Lodge, and by the Senior Grand Deacon in a Grand Lodge, it having been found inconvenient for the Grand Wardens to perform that duty. The number of votes on each side is communicated by the Deacon to the presiding officer, who announces the result. The same method of voting should be observed in all Masonic Bodies.
VOTING, RIGHT OF.
Formerly, all members of the Craft, even Entered Apprentices, were permitted to vote. This was distinctly prescribed in the last of the Thirty-nine General Regulations adopted in 1721 (Constitutions, 1723, page 70). But the numerical strength of the Order, which was then in the First Degree, having now passed over to the Third, the modern rule in the United States of America, but not in England, is that the right of voting shall be restricted to Master Masons. A Master Mason may, therefore, speak and vote on all questions, except in trials where he is himself concerned as accuser or defendant.
Yet by special regulation of his Lodge he may be prevented from voting on ordinary questions where his dues for a certain period—generally twelve months— have not been paid; and such a regulation exists in almost every Lodge. But no local by-law can deprive a member, who has not been suspended, from voting on the ballot for the admission of Candidates, because the sixth regulation of 1721 distinctly requires that each member present on such occasion shall give his consent before the candidate can be admitted (see the above edition of the Constitutions, page 59).
And if a member were deprived by any by-law of the Lodge in consequence of non-payment of his dues, of the right of expressing his Consent or dissent, the ancient regulation would be violated, and a candidate might be admitted without the unanimous Consent of all the members present. And this rule is so rigidly enforced, that on a ballot for initiation no member Can he excused from voting. He must assume the responsibility of casting his vote, lest it should afterward be said that the candidate was not admitted by unanimous consent.
It is a rule in Freemasonry, that a Lodge may dispense with the examination of a visitor, if any Brother present will vouch that he possesses the necessary qualifications.. This is an important prerogative that every Freemason is entitled to exercise; and yet it is one which may so materially affect the well-being of the whole Fraternity, since, by its injudicious use,impostors might be introduced among the faithful, that it should be controlled by the most stringent regulations.
To vouch for one is to bear witness for him, and in witnessing to truth, every Caution should be observed, lest falsehood may Cunningly assume its garb. The brother who vouches should know to a Certainty that the one for whom he vouches is really what he Claims to be. He should know this, not from a casual conversation, nor a loose and careless inquiry, but from Strict Trial, due examination, or lawful information. These are the three requisites which the instructions have laid down as essentially necessary to authorize the act of vouching. Let us inquire into the import of each.
1. Strait Trial. By this is meant that every question is to be asked, and every answer demanded, which is necessary to convince the examiner that the party examined is acquainted with what he ought to know, to entitle him to the appellation of a brother. Nothing is to be taken for granted— categorical answers must be returned to all that it is deemed important to be asked; no forgetfulness is to be excused; nor is the want of memory to be considered as a valid reason for the want of knowledge. The Freemason who is so unmindful of his obligations as to have forgotten the instructions he has received, must pay the penalty of his Carelessness, and be deprived of his contemplated visit to that Society whose secret modes of recognition he has so little valued as not to have treasured them in his memory. The strict trial refers to the matter which is sought to be obtained by inquiry. While there are some things which may safely be passed over in the investigation of one who confesses himself to be "rusty," because they are details which require much study to acquire and constant practice to retain, there are still other things of great importance which must be rigidly demanded.
2. Due Examination. If strict trial refers to the matter, due examination alludes to the mode of investigation. This must be conducted with all the necessary forms and antecedent Cautions. Inquiries should be made as to the time and place of initiation as a preliminary step, the Tiler's oath of Course never being admitted. Then the good old rule of "commencing at the beginning" should be pursued. Let everything go on in regular course; not is it to be supposed that the information sought was originally received Whatever be the suspicions of imposture, let no expression of those suspicions be made until the final deeree for rejection is uttered. And let that decree be uttered in general terms, such as, "I am not satisfied," or "I do not recognize you," and not in more specific language, such as, "You did not answer this inquirz ," or "You are ignorant on that point." The candidate for examination is only entitled to know that he has not Complied generally with the requisitions of his examiner. To descend to particulars is always improper, and often dangerous. Above all, never ask what the lawyers Call "leading questions," which include in themselves the answer, nor in any way aid the memory, or prompt the forgetfulness of the party examined, by the slightest hints.
3. Lawful Information. This authority for vouching is dependent on what has been already deseribed. For no Freemason Can lawfully give information of another's qualifications unless he has himself actually tested him But it is not every Freemason who is competent to give lawfull information. Ignorant or unskilful brethren cannot do so, because they are inceapable of discovering truth or of detecting error.
A "rusty Freemason" should never attempt to examine a stranger, and Certainly, lf he does, his opinion as to the result is worth nothing. If the information given is on the ground that the party who is vouched for has been seen sitting in a Lodge, Care must be taken to inquire if it was a "just and legally Constituted Lodge of Master Masons." A person may forget from the lapse of time, and vouch for a stranger as a Master Mason, whets the Lodge in which he saw him was only opened in the first or Second degree Information given by letter, or through a third party, is irregular. The person giving information, the one receiving it, and the one of whom it is given, should all be present at the time, for otherwise there would be no certaintv of identity.
The information must be positive, not founded on belief or opinion, but derived from a legitimate source . And, furthermore, it must not have been received casually, but for the very purpose of being used for Masonic purposes. For one to say to another, in the course of a desultory conversation, "A. B. is a Freemason," is not sufficient.. He may not be speaking with due caution, under the expectation that his words will be considered of weight. He must say something to this effect, "I know this man to be a Master Mason, for such or such reasons, and you may safely recognize him as such.'' This alone will insure the necessary care and proper observance of prudence.
Lastly, never should an unjustifiable delicacy weaken the rigor of these rules. For the wisest and most evident reasons, that merciful maxim of the law, which says that it is better that ninety-nine guilty men should escape than that one innocent man should be punished, is with us reversed; so that in Freemasonry it is better that ninety anal nine true men Should be turned away from the door of a Lodge, than that one Cowan should be admitted.
The French Freemasons thus call some of the proofs and trials to which a candidate is subjected in the course of initiation into any of the degrees. In the French Rite, the voyages in the Symbolic Degrees are three in the first, five in the second and seven in the third. Their Symbolic designs are briefly explained by Ragon (Cours des Initiations; pages 90, 132) and Renoir (La Franche-Maçonnerie, page 263): The voyages of the Entered Apprentice are now, as they were in the Ancient Mysteries, the symbol of the life of man. Those of the Fellow-Craft are emblematic of labor in the search of knowledge Those of the Master Mason are Symbolic of the pursuit of crime, the wandering life of the criminal, and his vain attempts to escape remorse and punishment. It will be evident that the ceremonies in all the Rites of Freemasonry, although under a different name, lead to the same Symbolic results.
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