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THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
volume 7 - number 5
Memorials to Great Men Who Were Masons
JAMES KNOX POLK
BY BRO. GEO. W. BAIRD, P. G. M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
JAMES KNOX POLK, the eleventh President of the United States, was a member of Columbia Lodge No. 31, Nashville, Tennessee. He was initiated in that lodge on January 5th, 1820, was raised in September of the same year, and later served as Junior Warden.
Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, November 2d, 1795, having descended from the Ulster-Irish, those sturdy people who had made up so large a portion of Washington's Army. His ancestors were named Pollock which was abbreviated to Polk. His father was a farmer who in 1806 moved to the valley of the Duck river in Tennessee.
After going through the common schools of Tennessee, Polk became a student at the University of North Carolina in 1815, from which he was graduated with honor in 1818, and at once was admitted to the bar. In 1825 he was elected to Congress, where he beeame a conspicuous figure in opposing the Administration of President John Quincy Adams. He was nominated for Speaker by the Democrats but was not elected. But a good man was elected, Mr. John Bell, and Polk became his substantial supporter. Polk served fourteen years in Congress and finally declined renomination. He served his state as Governor and was nominated for President in 1844, with a splendid running mate in George M. Dallas for Vice-President. His opponents were Clay and Frelingheisen, and to be elected over such giants of altruism, ability and integrity, is proof of his worth.
Polk's Secretary of State was James Buchanan, (Past Master of his lodge); the Secretary of War was William L. Marcy, and the Secretary of the Navy was the famous George Bancroft. The first question the administration had to settle was the Texas-Mexico affair. There are men living who think we did not “tote fair” with Mexico but President Polk, with his able cabinet, went deeply into it before making a move. The Nation was then small; our resources undeveloped, and with only the skeleton of an Army and very little Navy, the President felt we were on the defensive. He backed General Scott in his invasion of Mexico, and saw that a fair deal was made. Another problem to be faced was the dissatisfaction of the French over their sale of Louisiana, and their eagerness to recover it. Spain was also regretting having parted with Florida. The question of deciding on the national lines between Oregon and Canada presented the most acute issue the Administration had to meet but proved to be the least difficult as we had honorable people with whom to deal. Polk was alive to the planting of our flag on the forts in California and commended Commodore Sloat.
The principal measure which distinguished President Polk's term of office were the adoption of the low tariff of 1844; replacing the protective one of 1842; the establishment of the independent treasury system by which the revenues of the Government are collected in specie without the aid of Banks; the creation of the Department of the Interior, and the admission of Wisconsin as a state.
He said, when nominated in 1844, that he desired but one term, and in 1848 was big enough to stick to his word and decline renomination. President Polk retired from office in March, 1849, and died at his residence at Nashville, Tennessee, on the 15th of June following, at the age of fifty-four years. Though too young to have personal recollection of Mr. Polk, the writer clearly remembers hearing him discussed, and the impressions received by a child are the most lasting. He was of medium size, with a retreating brow, a sharp, penetrating eye, quick in his motions, and plain and unostentatious in his dress and demeanor. His character was unsullied, without a blemish.
James Knox Polk was buried in Nashville and the beautiful memorial shown herewith was erected over his grave. The inscription is:
James Knox Polk
President of the United States, born November 2d, 1795,
died June 15th, 1849.
The Mortal remains of James Knox Polk
are resting in the vault beneath.
He was born in Mecklenburg County
and emigrated, with his father,
Samuel Polk, to Tennessee in 1806.
The beauty of virtue was illustrated
in his life.
The excellency of Christianity was
exemplified in his death.
Wife of James Knox Polk,
1803 ‑ ‑ ‑ 1891.
* * *
By his public policy he defined.
established and extended the
boundaries of his Country.
He planted the laws of the
on the shores of the Pacific.
His influence and his Counsels
tended to organize the
on the principle of the
and to apply the rule of
Freedom to Navigation,
* * *
“Asleep in Jesus”
Sarah Childress Polk,
James Knox Polk.
Born in Rutherford County, Tenn.,
Sept. 4, 1803,
Died at Polk Place, Nashville, Tenn.,
August 14, 1891.
A noble woman, a devoted wife, a true
friend, a sincere Christian.
“Blessed are the dead
which die in the Lord.”
* * *
His life was devoted to
the public service. He was
elevated successively to the first
places in the State and Federal
Governments. A member of the
a member of Congress and
Chairman of the most important
Speaker of the House of
Governor of Tennessee and
President of the United States.
SIDELIGHTS ON MASONRY IN THE A. E. F.
BY BRO. CHARLES F. IRWIN, OHIO
FOR YEARS to come incidents will be coming to light which will reveal Masonic experiences in the army overseas. It is with a desire to contribute a few to this growing fund that I present the following. Having had a year's experience abroad as Chaplain and having been active in the propagation of Masonic fellowship, necessarily numerous occurrences came under my observation which have special meaning to the Craft. Some of these are humorous and some are connected with the more sombre side of army life.
In old Brittany there is an ancient city by the name of Vannes. It was in this city that one of the “Three Musketeers” later served the Church as Bishop. Also Vannes was Queen Anne's capital city before her domains were fused into the Empire of France by her marriage to the monarch of that country. Her former Parliament building is now used as a museum. It is filled with material of the greatest interest to the antiquary. But I was more especially attracted by a certain parchment I discovered one day within the showcase devoted to ancient Roman relics. Inquiry revealed the ignorance of the custodian as to its meaning or whence it came into their possession. It was a Scottish Rite Passport with the date 1783 upon it. I determined by hook or crook to secure a picture of it. But sudden removal to another post delayed this purpose several months. Finally in the spring of 1919, in company with Captain Henry Kuntzman, C.A.C., a brother Mason, I revisited this city. In company with a French friend and his family we went to the old palace. While the daughters claimed his attention in another room, the Frenchman pried open the showcase and removedthe parchment. This we pinned to the jamb of the old window and Captain Kuntzman took two exposures. Restoring the parchment, we returned to our post. Later development proved the films to be failures which was a great disappointment to us. I am sorry not to have taken a pen copy of the paper for it was in due form and had all the indications of a genuine passport. I am at present negotiating with certain Masonic friends in France, and hope eventually to secure a reproduction for future publication.
* * *
One spring morning in 1919, the long distance phone in headquarters called me and I found an urgent summons to come to Savenay, ten miles distant, at my earliest opportunity. A surgeon was in critical condition and was calling insistently for me. The nurse calling me was an Eastern Star, and the Captain was a Mason. I presented the facts to my commanding officer, himself the honorary president of our Camp Masonic Club. He immediately placed his own car at my disposal and with a pass permitting my travel, I set out. On arrival at the hospital I found this brother in a serious condition. Suddenly stricken down while in the discharge of his duty, his vocal cords were partially paralyzed and his case practically hopeless. Evidently he was loosing his moorings for a long journey. I was permitted but a few moments in which to converse with him. These were sacred moments. I whispered in the ear of a failing brother words which pointed beyond the grave. Before leaving I desired to learn why he had called for me when other chaplains were within a few steps of his cot. The Red Cross nurse told me that he had been stationed in Camp Montoir adjacent to our camp and was a frequent visitor at our Club. And as I was its president he had necessarily been brought into touch with my work among the Craft. In his dark moments when he felt the great event approaching, his heart turned back toward those hours when we had all met upon the level and parted upon the square and he felt that I would come very near to him. The next day he was carried to the hospital ship and I have never learned further concerning him. He came from a city in Indiana.
* * *
Turning the pages of my Masonic diary I come upon the following. It was my habit several evenings each week to visit the club held in the French lodge “Trait d'Union” in St. Nazaire. Thus I became intimately acquainted with many French brethren. One evening they instructed me in a Sign of Recognition used throughout their country, whereby one Mason might know another. As you know, our French brethren never display any emblems and thus their mode of ascertaining the presence of one of the Craft on train, or in cafe, or upon the crowded street is by means of this sign. Naturally this information fired me with zeal to experiment. It is our American characteristic. There was a prominent merchant in the city, unknown to me, except by sight. I had reason to surmise he was a Freemason. Walking up the avenue one afternoon, I spied the merchant approaching. Furtively I gave him the sign! But alas, he passed on and apparently did not see me or the sign. But in a moment or two I felt a touch on my arm. Turning I found myself looking into the face of this merchant. Smiling, he invited me to accompany him down the avenue. And soon I was in the midst of a most delightful group. He introduced me to several other business men and when we parted, it was with the understanding that I visit each of them in his own home. Most of the friendships formed which admitted me into the homes of the French came through these fraternal ties.
* * *
The “Loge Trait d'Union” of St. Nazaire is an ancient lodge established in the 18th century. St. Nazaire was the port of embarkation for the fleet which took Maximilian's army to Mexico. It is on the edge of Henry of Navarre's country. It has always been a progressive spot, although not one of the most important harbors. The Masons who compose this lodge are a group of most excellent gentlemen. They constitute the flower of the city. Inasmuch as the First Army was partly directed to this Port of Entry, the relations between the French and the American Masons ripened in 1917. In an unbroken progression this cordiality remained until the Port was emptied of American troops. I came in touch with these men in the winter of 1918-19. To this day those friendships abide. The correspondence between us keeps alive the brightest and the best of the experiences encountered while overseas. In July, 1919, when the word went out that Base No. 1 was to be closed and we were to scatter, tjhe brethren of this lodge, as a mark of esteem, presented me with a white lambskin apron. It is one which was in actual use. It is about six inches square. So far as I have been able to discover only one other apron was presented to an American by French lodges. It was to Capt. Robert Murphy, M. C., now stationed at Fort Sheridan, Ill.
* * *
The date May 11, 1919, is starred in my diary. Upon reading I find that on that sunny morning, at eight o'clock, 150 American Masons were the guests of the lodge “Trait d'Union.” A candidate was to be examined for entrance into Masonry. The opening of the lodge was very dissimilar from our American ritual. Also the examination of the candidate. The latter was introduced blindfolded and seated in the center of the room. For nearly three hours question after question was put to him. In this way his inmost thinking was revealed to the craft and upon this examination depended his Masonic future. I could not help but contrast it with the “one hand in the hopper” methods that prevail so largely in America. One incident on this day stands out clearly. The Venerable Master signified his desire for the American brethren to examine the candidate. At once our men got busy. The very first question put to him was this: “Do you believe in the existence of the everpresent God?” His reply was in these words: “My reason has not been able to find a satisfactory proof, although my heart replies most emphatically in the affirmative.” When the vote was taken as to his admission, in conformity to the expressed desire of the venerable Master that we vote, we did so. The candidate received a unanimous affirmative vote. He would have made excellent material for any American lodge. When you know that I am an old-fashioned Scotch-Irish Presbyterian you can know that his theology was “sound.”
* * *
French lodges reverse the direction of the square and compasses. That is to say, we always place the compasses above and the square below, the points of the compass extending in a downward path, and the arms of the square upward. But in French Masonry the direction is reversed. The points of the compasses point toward the sky and the arms of the square toward the earth. They do not have any fixed method as to elevating the points of the compasses above the square.
* * *
Another date comes from my diary. It is that on which the first news came to us of the death of Brother Theodore Roosevelt. Our Club in Camp Meucon, Brittany, was in session when a brother arose and reported that this illustrious Mason had entered “that house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens.” A motion was at once passed that our club communicate with Mrs. Roosevelt our deep sympathy for her in her sorrow. In a few weeks a most gracious card was received from her in which she expressed her appreciation of our thoughtfulness and our sympathy. I took this card to the Club and read it to the crowded room. For several moments we rose and stood in silence remembering that all differences cease at the side of the open grave. All were conscious that here was an American who placed his native land first in his thinking. He was loyal to its Constitution and to its Institutions. His Americanism endeared him to millions of his fellow citizens. Three names were heard on the lips of most army men overseas, when the catalogue of our great was rehearsed. They were Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt. The first and the last were Masons.
* * *
The grave of Lafayette always had a strange attraction to the Masons who visited Paris. At first the Parisians could not tell you where he was buried. At length they memorized his resting place for almost every visiting American would inquire, “Where is Lafayette buried?” After the formation of the Paris Dugout of the S.O.L., the membership took frequent opportunity to visit this sacred spot. On July 14, 1919, the great “Bastile Day,” a group of these S.O.L. Masons entered upon a pilgrimage to the Rue de Piepus 35, and standing beside the grave of this great man, connected in a peculiar way to their ritual, they laid wreaths upon the tomb, at the same time rendering a portion of their ritual. A picture was taken of this group by Brother Frank D. Lewis, Everett, Washington. Copies can be secured from him at a moderate cost. Especially every S.O.L. member and Dugout ought to possess one.
Occasionally we ran across crude tradition as to the devilishness of the Freemasons. One which I encountered most frequently among the peasants of Brittany was to this effect: Every time the Masons gave a banquet, they caught a small Catholic child and served it just as we would a succulent roast porker. I recall hearing this story while at the table of a wealthy, educated Frenchman, a counseller of a large French city. When I asked him the source of this and similar stories, he shrugged his shoulders, threw out his hands in their peculiar gesture, smiled and said, “le pretre.”
* * *
This brings to mind the evidences throughout France of the ecclesiastical opposition Masonry has encountered there. Our French brethren have had to fight for their existence. Yet in one hundred years every constructive piece of legislation in France has been introduced by Masons and fought through their House of Deputies. The separation of church and state fifteen years ago grew directly out of the efforts of Masonry. We felt the touch of the unseen hand even in the American Army. Personally I was advised soon after landing in France to lay aside my ring which shows the insignia of the Consistory. I can truthfully say the ring never left my finger. I cannot say that I felt personal antagonism at any time. Yet I had incidents come under my observation that proved conclusively that opposition did exist. The feeling engendered manifested itself in several places in the army. Unfortunately disputes even crept within army organizations and caused bitterness.
Traces of this bitterness were stated to have come to the surface at LeMans during the period of the return of troops. However I cannot personally vouch for the accuracy of this. In Base No. 1, the following came under my own observation:
The St. Nazaire Masonic Club desired to present a plan for the entertainment of our American Masons and Masonic women, also for our French brethren and their families. A committee interviewed the manager of a local theatre and secured his promise of the theatre for a certain evening. Shortly prior to that date they sought him again with the request that they be permitted to rehearse their play on his stage in order to familiarize themselves with its architecture. He showed much embarassment and confessed that he had heen visited by the local ecclesiastical authorities who stated that the American army would soon be gone and that if he permitted the American Freemasons to use his theatre that they would see that he was blacklisted and that would mean his commercial ruin. He gamely assured us he would keep his word. But this was not required of him. The play was given at “Liberty Hall” down on the docks.
* * *
Few can realize under what difficulties our clubs continued to work in France. The frequent transfers of military leaders robbed us of secretaries and other officers constantly. I recall one period when one club lost four secretaries in four continuous weeks. When you consider how much rests on the shoulders of the secretary you get a faint approximation of our difficulties. And for this reason we must ever praise the fidelity of the welfare workers who were stationed more permanently than the military. These brother Masons kept the fires burning on our club hearths and many a Masonic club owed its life and its vitality to these faithful men serving in the Salvation Army, Red Cross, and Y.M.C.A. The last days of these clubs always cast a shadow over the brethren who remained to the very last. To gather in rooms where a short time before music, merriment, and the interplay of the deepest emotions had prevailed, and to see the little handful of brothers sitting around sent us out saddened and yet comforted. The clubs had served their purpose. They had contributed to the welfare of the Craft abroad. And when the last moment came, when club records had been boxed and sent to Paris, when equipment had been disposed of mostly to our French brethren, we turned the big brass key in the lock and as we descended the stairway we whispered one to the other, “So mote it be.”
* * *
There is one church building in Paris that bears the Masonic symbols above the main entrance. It appears that the Masons who built the edifice desired to play a practical joke on the clergy. So they carved the symbols of their Craft in a very prominent place. When the church was completed the presence of the symbols was discovered and the Bishop ordered them to be destroyed. However, the Parisians love a good joke and they opposed the destruction of the Masonic marks. And today you can see them standing out above the main entrance. Our French brethren enjoyed calling our attention to this “bon mot.”
* * *
The Scottish Rite Consistory of Nantes exemplified their work on Easter of 1919. Hundreds of American Scottish Rite men availed themselves of the opportunity to view the French work. These brethren displayed a perfect familiarity with the work and their dramatic powers were of a high order. In this Temple is shown a Master Mason's apron made of colored beads. These are so arranged that the working tools of the first three degrees are shown. Early in the fourteenth century two French explorers came up this relic in a native village in the heart of Africa. It gives evidence of antiquity and no explanation has been supplied to tell how this apron found its resting place in such a remote spot.
* * *
My diary supplies the following items: In compny with a group of fellow Masons, I left Brest for a run up-country. While passing through a small village we were attracted by the appearance of the local church. Within the entrance we found the usual bas relief plaster casts of the Apostles. What attracted me was the peculiar posture of the hands and feet of each apostle. Suddenly it dawned on me that they were on the step and under the due-guard and sign of Masons of several degrees. I called the group together and we took some exposures of them. These films were handed later to a Frenchman to develop. These particular exposures were entirely missing. Even the negatives had sought passage to Ethiopia
ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND FREEMASONRY
BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, ENGLAND
THE FREQUENT intervals, now for nearly two hundred years, the heads of the Roman Catholic Church have been launching their papal thunders against Freemasonry alleging that it is not only anti-Christian, but Atheistic in its constitution, that at its doors lie the many wars which have taken place during that period, and that it has been responsible for the innumerable revolutions that have disturbed nations, and the myriads of seditious plots which have been hatched, particularly since 1717, when the Mother Grand Lodge of the world was first organized. These statements, unsupported by any evidence that would be accepted in any court of law conducted on constitutional lines, have been accepted as veridical by the sheep of the flock, who have passed them along, until, finally, they have made their appearance in the bigoted press with even more embellishments than the now proverbial story of the Russians passing through England during the last war.
All these allegations can be disproved at once an examination of the Constitutions of the Craft of Freemasonry, which differs from all other societies in that it imposes a test on all applicants for admission into the Order, i. e., subscription to a belief in the existence of the Supreme Being and in the immortality of the soul. That is the test for admission into Craft, from which the member can, if he wishes his candidature is accepted, pass into the Royal Arch and Mark Masonry. But when he seeks admission in some of the so-called "side" or "higher" degrees, finds his way barred unless he declares himself to of Christian faith, and in more than one of these has to assert, without equivocation, that he is a Trinitarian. The result is that whilst in Craft, Arch, Mark Masonry, Jews, Christians, Mohammedans, Buddhists, Parsees, and others may be admitted, that is possible in all branches of Masonry.
Apart from this Theistic declaration, no candidate is accepted unless he declared his allegiance to the law of the land, nor unless he declares that he will never be concerned in plots and conspiracies against the peace and welfare of the nation, and that he will behave himself conformably with the laws of his country.
Yet, in spite of these explicit obligations, which have to be taken by all, without exception, we find Popes and Prelates who, during the last two centuries, have been repeating times innumerable that Freemasonry in every country is engaged, if not solely, at least principally, in a warfare against Church and State. The papal denunciations have been repeated parrot-like by the lesser lights and believed in by the multitude, who are inhibited from seeking authentic information at the fountain head.
Thus, for instance, Monsignor Dillon, D. D., in his "War of Antichrist with the Church," says:
"Every secret society is framed and adapted to make men the enemies of God and His Church, and to subvert faith; and there is not one, no matter on what pretext it may be founded, which does not fall under the management of a Supreme Directorate governing all secret societies on earth. The one aim of this Directorate is to uproot Christianity and the Christian social order, as well as the Church from the world - in fact, to eradicate the name of Christ and the very Christian idea from the minds and the hearts of men."
Monsignor Dillon obliges by giving the names of one or two of the "Grand Directors" to whom he refers as governing the whole of the secret societies of the world, the Craft of Freemasonry included. Only one name need concern us in this investigation; it is that of the late Brother John Yarker, a very distinguished scholar, who held many important offices in what are known as the "higher degrees," but who never attained rank in the United Grand Lodge of England. He was also a member of and held high office in certain quasi-Masonic bodies not recognized by the Grand Lodge of England. Now has any one of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, who repeats this absurd statement about a Grand Directorate as set forth by Monsignor Dillon, considered the position for a moment? John Yarker is said to have been Grand Director during part of the time of the Grand Mastership of the late King Edward VII, and the present ruler, H. R. H., the Duke of Connaught. Can any man in his right mind imagine either of these exalted personages receiving and obeying instructions from John Yarker, or, indeed, any other individual? The assertion is so ridiculous as to carry with it its own refutation.
The statement is also made repeatedly by Roman Catholic controversialists that Freemasonry is international and that members of English lodges are at liberty to enter, and fraternize with the members of, any and every lodge throughout the world. Freemasonry is international up to a point. There are certain landmarks set forth in the Ancient Charges which must not be departed from, if Freemasonry in its original institution, so far as can be ascertained, is to be upheld, and no English Freemason is to be permitted, under pain of expulsion, to enter any lodge where those ancient landmarks are not observed. Freemasonry may be described as a religious institution, but not as a religion. Its most ancient landmark is the recognition of, and belief in, the existence of a Supreme Being. It was the deletion of this fundamental tenet on the part of the Grand Orient of France and other Jurisdictions, which led to the United Grand Lodge of England and other Masonic Grand Bodies, to cease communication with them, and to prohibit intervisitation, which ban holds good at the present moment.
Since the constitution of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, many eminent members of the Roman Catholic Church have held office in the Grand Lodge of England. Some have even been appointed to the highest possible position - that of Grand Master. Among others, we have the name of Robert Edward, Lord Petre, who was regarded as the head of the Roman Catholic body in this country in his time, and who was Grand Master from 1772 to 1776, presiding over a Society against which the thunders of the Vatican had been launched at least twice before that time, thus proving that in England, at any rate, the Papal fulminations had been of no effect.
A writer in the "Weekly Register" (a Roman Catholic organ) in 1865, said:
"Cardinal Wiseman, with his natural kindness of heart, never spoke unkindly of English Freemasonry, and two of his predecessors (then known as Vicars-Apostolic) were active members of London lodges. Two members of the present English Hierarchy are understood to have been initiated in their early days and I can vouch for two influential members of English Chapters (meaning Canons) being also Freemasons." It is an open secret, also, that the Papal Bulls are equally ineffective in their prohibition in many instances at the present day.
Sir Charles Cameron, Deputy Grand Master of Ireland, in his annual statement to the Grand Lodge of Ireland, in 1919, made the following announcement:
"It is an extraordinary thing how common is the opinion that Freemasonry is opposed to the Roman Catholic religion. We know that a great many members of that community formerly belonged to our Order. I had the pleasure of meeting three Roman Catholic judges - Judge Keogh, Lord Morris, and Lord Justice Barry - at Masonic dinners on several occasions, about some forty or fifty years ago - before some of you were born. We know that the Roman Catholics have seceded from us because they were obliged to do so by the direction of their Church, but many of them have told me they would like to become Freemasons if they were permitted to join the Order. There are thousands of Freemasons in purely Roman Catholic countries. Ninety per cent. of the French population are members of the Roman Catholic Church - nominally, at all events - and still Masonry flourishes in France, and also in other Roman Catholic countries. In Ireland, at all events, we are a non-political body in every sense of the word, and equally non-sectarian."
It is somewhat tedious, however, to wade through the mass of misrepresentations which present themselves on every occasion when the Roman clergy venture upon expositions of Freemasonry. Monseigneur de Segur in his work, "La Franc-Maconnerie," says that in order to be admitted to certain Masonic lodges, it is indispensable that the candidate should bring with him a particle of the Adorable Sacrament, which he must procure by some means or the other, and that the fist act of initiation consists in trampling on it. He assures his readers that this horrible rite is performed in several lodges of Paris, Marseilles, Aix, Avignon, Lyons, Chalons, and Laval, cities and towns where the greatest piety exists and which are, above all others, the nuclei of Roman Catholic life and devotion in France. He describes a Masonic Mass, celebrated in Rome, on an altar lighted by six candles of black wax. Each member was obliged to take with him a consecrated Host, and all these Hosts were placed in a receptacle on a table, while every new candidate trod on a crucifix, spat on it, and, finally, drawing his dagger, struck repeated blows on the sacred pieces.
Many will shudder involuntarily when these lines are read, and would that it were not necessary to write them, for no Freemason would, or could, if bound by his undertaking, ever be a party to the reviling of any faith or creed or to such a dastardly outrage as Monseigneur de Segur describes. Let him be assured that whatever may have been the organization to which such horrible fiends belonged, it certainly was not Masonry.
In subsequent instalments of this article the various Bulls, Allocutions, and Encyclical Letters of the Popes on Freemasonry and other Societies will be given, with details of the oral examinations of, and the tortures inflicted by, "the Holy Office of the Inquisition," together with particulars of other persecutions of Freemasons by the "Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."
The question as to the cause of the hostility of the Church of Rome towards the Masonic Order has often been the theme of discussion and debate, with the attainment of no definite result. It may not be possible to fix with accuracy the date of the origin of the Masonic Craft, but few today would dispute its continuance through the Middle Ages in the Craft or Trade Guilds of England and other countries. Religion figured largely in the proceedings of these Guilds, many of their ceremonies taking place in the Guild Chapels. The Guildsmen were devout Roman Catholics, which accounts for the fact that the waning power of the Guilds is distinctly traceable in its origin to the period of the Reformation. The occasional references and allusions to the "Masonic Society" in various writings also date their commencement to the same period. These references became increasingly numerous until 1717, when Freemasonry became an organized constitution, to be honoured, shortly after its establishment in this manner, with the promulgation of a Bull by Clement XII. The Guilds performed "misteries"; their membership was limited; oaths had to be taken on admission and on certain occasions afterwards; their proceedings were conducted in secrecy, but the Roman Church issued no Bull against these societies. But when Freemasons did these things, they were wrong; nay, more, they became a menace to Society and to the Church. The Church of Rome raises no objection secret societies when they are composed of its members - they have always existed in the Catholic Church, they exist today - but when conformity to the Roman Church and its doctrines is not made a test for admission, then the society is inimical to the morals and well-being of the nation.
Lawrie (the pseudonym of Sir David Brewster in his History of Freemasonry, states that "in order to encourage the profession of architecture, the bishop of Rome and the other potentates of Europe conferred on the Fraternity of Freemasons the most important privileges; and allowed them to be governed by law customs, and ceremonies peculiar to themselves." This condition of things, however, did not last, and he goes on to point out that "in after ages, when Masons were more numerous, and when the demand for religious structures was less urgent than before, the bishops of Rome deprived the Fraternity of those very privileges which had been conferred on them without solicitation and persecuted with unrelenting rage the very men whom they had voluntarily taken into favour, and who had contributed to the grandeur of their ecclesiastic establishment." Possibly, however, the reason for the inhibition is due less to the cause assigned by Lawrie that "secret associations, indeed, are always a terror temporal and spiritual tyranny" than to the personnel of the new organization. For it must not be forgotten that two of the most active workers in the early day of the history of the Grand Lodge of England - before the issue of the first Papal Bull against Freemasons or the inauguration of any concerted opposition to the Craft - were Dr. J.T. Desaguliers and the Rev. Dr. James Anderson, the former the son of a French refugee Hugenot minister and the latter a Scotch Presbyterian minister, neither of whom, in private life, could have any sympathy with, but rather opposition to, Roman Catholic claims and pretensions.
The earliest Masonic inhibitions were not, however, the work - directly, at any rate - of the Church of Rome. Most writers give the date of the initial prohibition as 1735, with Holland as the venue. Llorente in his History of the Inquisition, assigns an earlier date. Llorente may be regarded as a reliable authority, since he was secretary of the Inquisition at Madrid from 1789 to 1791 and, therefore, had access to original documents and records. He says:
"The first severe measure against Freemasons in Europe was that decreed on 14th December, 1732, by the Chamber of Police of the Chatelet at Paris: it prohibited Freemasons from assembling, and condemned M. Chapelot to a penalty of 6,000 livres for having suffered them to assemble in his house. Louis XV commanded that those peers of France, and other gentlemen who had the privilege of the entry, should be deprived of that honour, if they were members of a Masonic lodge. The Grand Master of the Parisian lodges being obliged to quit France, convoked an assembly of Freemasons to appoint his successor. Louis XV, on being informed of this, declared that if a Frenchman was elected, he would send him to the Bastille. However, the Due D'Antin was chosen and, after his death, Louis de Bourbon, prince of Conti, succeeded him. Louis de Bourbon, due de Chartres, another prince of the blood, became Grand Master."
Masonic persecutions took their rise in Holland in the year 1735. The States-General became alarmed at the rapid increase of Freemasons, who held their meetings in every town under their government; and as they could not believe that architecture and brotherly love were their only objects, they resolved to discountenance their proceedings. In consequence of this determination, an edict was issued by government stating that though they had discovered nothing in the practices of the Fraternity, either injurious to the interests of the Republic, or contrary to the character of good citizens; yet, in order to prevent any bad consequences which might ensue from such association, they deemed it prudent to abolish the assemblies of Freemasons. Notwithstanding this prohibition a respectable lodge having continued to meet privately at Amsterdam, intelligence was communicated to the magistrates, who arrested all the members; and brought them to the Court of Justice. Before this tribunal, in presence of all the magistrates of the city, the Master and Wardens boldly defended themselves; and declared upon oath that they were loyal subjects, faithful to their religion, and zealous for the interests of their country; that Freemasonry was an institution venerable in itself and useful to society; and that though they could not reveal the secrets and ceremonies of their Order, they would assure them that they were contrary to the laws neither of God nor man, and that they would willingly admit into their Order any individual in whom the magistrates could confide, and from whom they might receive such information as would satisfy a reasonable mind. In consequence of these declarations, the brethren were dismissed, and the town secretary requested to become a member of the Fraternity. After initiation, he returned to the Court of Justice and gave such a favourable account of the principles and practices of the Society that all the magistrates became brethren of the Order and zealous patrons of Freemasonry.
In the same year - 1735 - several noble Portuguese, with more foreigners, instituted a lodge in Lisbon under the Grand Lodge of England, of which George Gordon was Master, but no sooner was the slightest suspicion entertained of its existence, than the clergy determined to give the clearest evidence of their hatred to the Order by practical illustration.
The Elector Palatine of the Rhine also prohibited the Order in his States and arrested several members at Mannheim, in consequence of their disobedience.
Masonic assemblies were also abolished in France in 1737 under the pretext that beneath their inviolable secrets they might cover some dreadful designs hostile to religion and dangerous to the kingdom.
The Grand Lodge of England, regarded by all Freemasons as the Mother Grand Lodge of the world, was not founded until 1717, but Joseph Lavallee in his Histoire des Inquisitions Religeuqes d'Italie, d'espagne, et de Portugal, says that, in 1710, Nicholas Augustan de Seras, merchant, of Cette was charged before the Inquisition at Vallodolid with being a "sorcerer Freemason," and that in 1722 one John Lilburn was brought to the auto-da-fe at Lisbon on the same charge, it being stated that he had assisted at nocturnal meetings where the demon Gamaliel presided in person and that he (Lilbum) had drank and eaten in company of other demons brought from the infernal regions, with whom he had afterwards signed a pact, promising to be their servant and to perform all that they should order him to do.
Freemasonry, also, was not under the ban of the Church when its introduction into Tuscany led the Grand Duke Gian Gastone to prohibit it. His death on 9th July, 1737, caused his edict to be neglected. This demise, however, had another result as well. The clergy represented the matter to Pope Clement XII, who sent an inquisitor to Florence, who made a number of arrests, but the offenders were set at liberty by the new Grand Duke, Francis of Lorraine, who declared himself the patron of the Order and participated in the organization of several lodges. At this time the Papal Court began to make a stir about Freemasons. We find the Pope in consultation with Cardinals Ottobone, Spinola, and Zondedari, and the Inquisitor of Florence, and on 28th April, 1738, Clement XII issued his famous Bull on the subject. In this document the only accusation brought against the Craft is its secrecy, but this was sufficient for the creation of a new heresy, furnishing the Inquisition with a fresh subject for its activity.
The Bull was as follows:
"The Condemnation of the Societies or Conventicles De Liberi Muretori, or of the Freemasons, under the penalty of ipso facto Excommunication, the Absolution from which is reserved to the Pope alone, except at the point of death.
"Clement, Bishop, servant of the Apostles of God, to all the faithful of Christ, health and apostolical benediction.
"Placed (unworthy as we are) by the disposal of the divine clemency, in the eminent watch-tower of the apostolic see, we are ever solicitously intent, agreeable to the trust of the pastoral providence reposed in us, by obstructing the passages of error and vice, to preserve more especially the integrity of the orthodox religion, and to repel, in these difficult times, all danger of trouble from the whole Catholic world.
"It has come to our knowledge, even from public report, that certain societies, companies, meetings, assemblies, clubs, or conventicles, called De Liberi Muretori, or 'Freemasons,' or by whatsoever name the same in different languages are distinguished, spread far and wide, and are every day increasing; in which persons, of whatever religion or sect, contented with a kind of affected show of natural honesty, confederate together in a close and inscrutable bond, according to laws and orders agreed upon between them; which, likewise, with private ceremonies, they enjoin and bind themselves, as well by strict oath taken on the Bible, as by the imprecations of heavy punishments to preserve with inviolable secrecy.
"We, therefore, resolving in our minds the great mischiefs which generally accrue from these kind of societes or conventicles, not only to the temporal tranquillity of the State, but to the spiritual health of souls; and that, therefore, they are neither consistent with civil nor canonical sanctions; since we are taught by the divine word to watch, like a faithful servant, night and day, lest this sort of men break as thieves into the house, and like foxes endeavour to root up the vineyard; lest they should pervert the hearts of the simple, and privately shoot at the innocent, that we might stop up the broad way, which from thence would be laid open for the perpetration of their wickedness with impunity, and for other just and reasonable causes to be known, have, by advice of some of our venerable brethren of the Roman Church, the Cardinals, and of our own mere notion, and from our certain knowledge and mature deliberation, by the plentitude of the apostolical power, appointed and decreed to be condemned and prohibited and this by our ever-present valid constitution, we do condemn and prohibit the same societies, companies, meetings, assemblies, clubs, or conventicles, De Liberi Muretori, or Freemasons, or by what other name they are distinguished or known.
"Wherefore all and singular, the faithful in Christ, of whatever state, degree, condition, order, dignity, and it preeminence, whether laity or clergy, as well seculars as regulars, worthy all of express mention and enumeration, we strictly and in virtue or holy obedience, command that no one, under any pretext or colour, dare or presume the aforesaid societies, De Liberi Muretori, or Freemasons, or by whatever other manner distinguished, to enter into, promote, favour, admit, or conceal in his or their houses, or elsewhere, or be admitted members of, or be present, with the same, or be anywise aiding and assisting towards their meeting in any place; or to administer anything to them, or in any means publicly or privately, directly or indirectly, by themselves or others, afford them counsel, help, or favour; or advise, induce, provoke, or persuade others to be admitted into, joined or be present with these kind of societies, or in any manner aid and promote them; but that they ought by all means to abstain from the said societies, under the penalty of all that act contrary thereto, incurring excommunication ipso facto, without any other declaration: from which no one can obtain the benefit of absolution from any other but us, or the Roman Pontiff for the time being, except at the point of death.
"We will, moreover, and command, that as well bishops and superior prelates, and other ordinaries of particular places, as the inquisitors of heretical pravity universally adopted, of what state, degree, condition, order, dignity, or preeminence soever, proceed and inquire, and restrain and coerce the same, as vehemently suspected of heresy with condign punishment for to them, and each of them, we hereby give and impart free power of proceeding, inquiring against, and of coercing and restraining with condign punishment, the same transgressors, and of calling in, if it shall be necessary, the help of the secular arm; and we will that printed copies of these presents, signed by some notary public, and confirmed by the seal of some person of ecclesiastical dignity, shall be of the same authority as original letters would be, if they were shown and exhibited. Let no one, therefore, infringe, or by rash attempt contradict this object of our declaration, damnation, command, prohibition, and interdict; but if anyone shall presume to attempt this, let him know that he will incur the anger of Almighty God, and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul.
"Dated from Rome at St. Mary's the Greater, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord, 1738, the fourth of the calends of May (28th April, N.S.) in the eighth of our pontificate."
The Bull was fixed up and published at the gates of the palace of the Sacred Office of the prince of the Apostles and in the usual and accustomed places of the city by Peter Romolatius, cursitor of the Most Holy Inquisition.
Less than a week afterwards - on the 4th May, 1838 - the Bishops of Siga, Cambysopolis, Trachis, and Olena - titular bishops in England - published an episcopal denunciation of Freemasonry, stating:
"We enjoin that the Catholics be discreetly warned against entering into the Society of them who are vulgarly called 'Freemasons,"' and, in April, 1842, the bishop of Olena promulgated an injunction to be observed in the London district declaring that by a response of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, 5th July, 1837, it hath been declared that "a confessor cannot lawfully or validly, grant sacramental absolution to men belonging to the Society of Freemasons, who are incorporated under, and mutually bound by, the obligation of an oath of secrecy, unless they absolutely, positively, and forever, abandon the aforesaid condemned society. This rule must be implicitly followed, where the penitent is avowedly associated with the body of Freemasons, or where, in confession, he declares himself to be a Freemason."
In the year following the promulgation of the Bull - on 14th January, 1739 - the Cardinal Secretary of State issued an edict pronouncing irremissible pain of death, not only on all members, but on all who should tempt others to join the Order or should rent a house to it or favour it in any other way. This decree was issued in the name of the High Priest of the God of Peace and Mercy! It was as follows:
"EDICT - Joseph Cardinal Firrao, of the title of St. Thomas in Parione, and of the Sacred Roman College, Cardinal Priest.
"Whereas the holiness of our sovereign lord Pope, Clement XII, happily reigning, in his Bull of the 28th April last, beginning In eminenti, condemned, under pain of excommunication reserved to himself, certain companies, societies, and meetings, under the title of Freemasons, more properly to be called conventicles, which, under the pretext of civil society, tempt men of any sect and religion, with the strict tie of secrecy, confirmed by oath on the sacred Bible, as to all that is transacted or done in the said meetings and conventicles; and whereas such societies, meetings, and conventicles are not only suspect of occult heresy, but even dangerous to the public peace, and the safety of the ecclesiastic state, since if they do not contain matters contrary to the orthodox faith, to the state, and to the peace of the commonwealth, so many and strict ties of secrecy would not be required, as it is wisely taken notice of in the aforesaid Bull; and it being the will of the holiness of our said lord, that such societies, meetings, and conventicles totally cease and be dissolved, and that they who are not constrained by the fear of censures, be curbed at least by temporal punishment.
"Therefore, it is the express order of his holiness, by this edict to prohibit all persons of any class, state, or condition soever, whether ecclesiastical, secular, or regular, of whatever institute, degree, or dignity, though ordinarily or extraordinarily privileged, even such as require special mention to be made of them, comprehending the four legations of Bologna, Ferrara, Romagna Urbino, and the city and dukedom of Benevento; and it is hereby forbidden that any do presume to meet, assemble, or associate in any place under the said societies, or assemblies of Freemasons or under any title or cloak whatsoever, or even be present at such meetings and assemblies, under pain of death and confiscation of their effects, to be irremissibly incurred without hopes of grace.
"It is likewise prohibited, as above, to any person soever to seek or tempt anyone to associate with any such societies, meetings, or assemblies, or to advise, aid, or abet to the like purpose, the said meetings or assemblies, under the penalties abovesaid; and they who shall furnish or provide a house, or any other place, for such meetings or conventicles to be held, though under pretext of loan, hire or any other contract soever, are hereby condemned, over and above the aforesaid penalties, to have the house or houses, or other places where such meetings and conventicles shall be held, utterly erased and demolished; and it is the will of his holiness that to incur the abovesaid penalty of demolition, any human conjectures, hints, or presumptions, may and shall suffice for the presumption of knowledge in the landlords of such houses and places, without admission of any excuse soever.
"And because it is the express will of our said lord that such meetings, societies, and conventicles do cease, as pernicious and suspect of heresy and sedition, be utterly dissolved; his holiness does hereby strictly order that any persons as above, who shall have notice for the future of the holding of such meetings, assemblies, and conventicles, or who shall be solicited to associate with the same, or are in any manner accomplices or partakers with them, be obliged under the fine of a thousand crowns in gold, besides other grievous corporal punishments, the gallies not to be excepted, to be inflicted at pleasure, to denounce them to his eminence, or to the chief magistrate of the ordinary tribunal of the cities, or other places in which the offence shall be committed, contrary to this edict;with promise and assurance to such denouncers or informers, that they shall be kept inviolably secret and safe, and shall farther obtain grace and immunity, notwithstanding any penalty they themselves may or shall have incurred.
"And that none may excuse himself from the obligation of conforming under the borrowed pretext of only secret, of the most sacred oath, or other stricter tie, by the order of his said holiness, notice is hereby given, to all, that such obligation of any secret, or any sort of oath in criminal matters, and already condemned under pain of excommunication, as above, neither holds nor binds in any manner, being null and void and of no force.
"It is our will that the present edict, when affixed in the usual places in Rome, do oblige and bind Rome and its district, and from the term of twenty-one days after, the whole ecclesiastical state, comprehending even the cities of Bologna, Ferrara, and Benevento, in the same manner as if they had been personally notified to each of them.
"Given in Rome this 14th January, 1739."
In July, 1738, the Chief of the Inquisition in Lisbon, having learned of the existence of Freemasons in that city, applied to several persons whom he believed to have knowledge of their proceedings, with the object of ascertaining definite information on the point. The first to whom he appealed was Charles O'Kelly, professor of theology, at the College of Corpo Santo, who stated that in a restaurant in the Rue de Remolares, belonging to an Irishman named Rice, there was held a Masonic lodge, attended by several individuals, many of whose names he gave, declaring at the same time that they were excellent Roman Catholics, judging by their constant attendance at the services held in the Church of Corpo Santo. The persons indicated were questioned, when they at once admitted their membership of and frequent attendance at the lodge in question, declaring that there was nothing in the Masonic ceremonies contrary to their religion, but that as they were good Roman Catholics they would obey the Holy Father and abandon Freemasonry, since the Pope had condemned it. The following were, at the same time, denounced by them to the Inquisition: Hugh O'Kelly, a retired Irish Colonel and Master of the lodge at that time; Lieutenant Denis Hogan of the Alcantara cavalry; Thomas French, merchant; James O'Kelly, dancing master to the royal family; Michael O'Kelly, his brother, owner of glass works; Charles Carroll, merchant; Sergeant-major Charles Mardel, a German engineer; and three Dominicans, Fathers Patrick O'Kellan (or Kinide), Tilan, and Leynan. They were all questioned and their replies, which are on record, are of interest to the Masonic historian. The Master, Hugh O'Kelly, who was interrogated three times, declared that Freemasonry had existed in Portugal since 1733, having been introduced into that country by a Scotsman named Gordon; that he had been initiated two years previously, but had only attended a lodge entirely composed of Roman Catholics, which was known as "La Maison Royale des Francs-Macons de la Lusitanie," which had no connection with the Protestant lodges, of which he knew nothing; that their meetings were held on the first Wednesday of each month; and that their discussions were limited to subjects of general interest, economical and recreative questions; that the lodge practised three degrees, Apprentice, Companion, and Master, but that meetings in two other grades - Excellent Master and Grand Master - were held once in every year; that they observed the festival of St. John, but that, in obedience to the pontifical interdict, the lodge had been dissolved and that the majority of the members had abandoned Freemasonry. A minority had, he believed, affiliated with a Protestant lodge, but their names were unknown to him. Thereupon, the Inquisition abandoned its pursuit of Roman Catholic Freemasons but sought to obtain further information with respect to the Protestant lodges. (To be continued)
FREEMASONRY AND PRESENT DAY PROBLEMS
BY BRO. LORNE J. ELLIOTT, CANADA
FREEMASONRY AND MODERN LIFE
MODERN MASONRY is but brotherhood gathered into lodges; and though we pride ourselves in the claim that ours is the greatest as well as the most ancient of human institutions, I suggest that its degree of superiority exists chiefly for ourselves, resting perhaps in some slight degree of fact, but not so as to render unworthy by comparison the other great organized brotherhoods. In spirit all true brotherhood is Masonry. It is well for us to concede and appreciate that fact.
It may also be well to recognize some limitations of the service of Masonry. It can never take the place of the great religious brotherhoods. Let me suggest to Masons that our order finds its place of best service in being; supplementary to organized religion. Our Order has no place for the family, the wife, the child, the mother, the sister. We offer no salvation for the degraded - the deeply sinning. We may relieve, but we do not receive the poverty stricken. With such admissions to make - and yet they cannot truly be called admissions, for they grow out of the very purposes of the Order, - we must bow in reverence and humility before the great efforts of man through his churches and religious societies to teach high spiritual conceptions of life to the young, to share the grand ideals of love and truth with the other members of our families, to bring to the fallen the grace and knowledge of salvation, and to give a welcome and uplift to the poor and downtrodden amongst men.
An idea of Masonry that excludes a gracious recognition of these broader services of religion fails in brotherhood, and may I add that in modern life when there is a strong call to men to seek personal pleasure and pursue the phantom of excitement, such recognition of the services of religion demands an active aid to, perhaps an injection of new and more virile blood into, the forces of religion, not for the propagation of sectarianism, but for the furtherance of the human and spiritual service for which nearly all such bodies stand. Freemasonry can never displace the church in the life of the family and of humanity in general. Its members ought not to allow their Masonic allegiance to displace a wider religious brotherhood.
Religion is in part a peculiar reverent sensing of and seeking after association with an Infinite Personality. Through such association, man truly and abundantly lives and moves and has his being. Masonry aims to bring together in fellowship mature men who are not strangers to such a sense and yearning, that they may extend their speculations in the great mysteries of life, establish faith in man and among men and then go out to practice those virtues and further those principles which flow therefrom. In the everyday world the value of such an aim is beyond query. Freemasonry is intended to exemplify faith applied to human relations. The church is essentially a mission to redeem - Freemasonry seeks only to preserve and develop the already fit.
I have spoken of religion. I turn now to education. One of our troubles is that active religion among men of our limited natures must take on some form of sectarianism. In a practical sense that is not wrong, since those who believe alike can best act together. But that beliefs must be real and reasonable there must be minds in some way trained to comprehend. Otherwise the heart-sensing and seeking I have referred to as religion will be buried under a cloud of superstition and fear. The churches early recognized this and were amongst the first to afford educational facilities and to endeavour to give that advantage to all, the poor as well as the rich. It would be out of place to single out any one church as especially helpful. The church to which I belong has a worthy record in this regard during its short history; but I may quote regarding another branch as follows: "One of the cardinal requirements of democratic Calvinism has always been elementary education for everyone." - Joseph Shafer, in "The Origin of the System of Land Grants for Education." I refer to this for a purpose. Education in its true sense - the leading out of the powers of man to discover, to invent, to understand, to direct, to accomplish for the increasing welfare of the race, materially, intellectually, spiritually - is the great power for human good in equalizing broad opportunities and happiness in a highly conceived sense, and in bringing the minds of men to comprehend themselves, the Infinite Personality to whom they are related, and the illimitable possibilities that lie about them. I fear today we are being led into the error of attributing to the agitation of more recent bodies all the advances of modern life. To the efforts of philanthropically minded men in all ranks of life - to the brotherhood organizations including particularly our churches - as much as to any other influence is attributable that greatest driving power as it is also the truest evidence of human progress - public education.
Now, what does public education involve? Its benefits are especially for the poor or those of only meager means. To their children it widens the perception of life's possibilities: it brings to the individual the power of increasing his store of knowledge; it enlarges his power of accomplishment.
But there is also a tremendous resultant of which today we are feeling the doubtful as well as the beneficial results. Public Education increases the power of organisation to propagate ideas and enforce demands. Increased cohesive power in this regard will be in proportion to the extension of general education. This, it must be admitted, was not the original purpose of its advocates - but in a vague way it must have been foreseen, and it assuredly is very clearly demonstrated today as an inevitable product. It appears as one of the springs whence flows the power of present day labour organization, for evil as well as for undoubted good.
Two circumstances are worth noting:
(1) A great many of those to whom public education comes unsought refuse or are inapt in availing themselves of its privileges to anything like a complete degree.
(2) Our public education does not go far enough. The result is, masses of men pass into life bearing a sense of inequality and natal unfairness, and so hold a grudge against the successful - especially the highly successful men of gifts and attainments. Added to these are those who have the rudiments of power to gather new ideas but have not learned the vastness of the ocean of truth that must be explored in order that the real nature of truth may be known and truth itself assimilated. These offer a fertile field for the agitator and the extremist. It is so easy to obscure the tremendous progress of the civilization of today as compared with conditions of, let us say, one or two or five centuries ago. It is so easy to suppress the fact that neither evolution nor revolution can greatly increase the happiness of the immediate generation of toiling of men - that progress of any kind comes only as a result of steady and long continued effort assisted by life-giving rains that come, not at our beck and call, but nevertheless come; and that if it is the permanent advantage of humanity that is sought, that comes first the blade - then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear; the corn itself again falling into the ground as a step in a further evolutionary process. It is so easy to exasperate the unsteady mind with a recital of injustice, so easy to obscure the truth as to the nature of progress and so natural that the unprepared mind, especially in mass thinking, should be led to rush to the ready-made panacea to which the cocksure fanatic is always ready to point. The need is for a broader, deeper, better adapted public education.
To us as Masons whose traditions are those of liberty and brotherhood, of meeting upon the level and paring upon the square, to whom the search for light is real, the subject is of more than passing interest.
Our public education is producing leaders and listeners. Some are certain to be extremist by nature. Such men are not infrequently well-intentioned according to their view point. They are generally narrow in concept, lacking in patience; non-normal in perspective. They have seized some partial but important truth; all other related qualifying truths are rigidly excluded. They may be extreme Capitalists or Red Socialists. It matters little which. The narrowness of view, the self-centred sufficiency of their attitude, their impatience of moderate opinion and action are the same. The one declares desire for change to be heresy; the other that the capitalistic theory of economics must be ruthlessly destroyed. The great mass of the people provides the soil for their labour. But what has that to do with education? Very much. A century ago - to fix a safe point of departure - the lack of general education was due, in no small degree, to a tenderness as to taxing property. No such tenderness is evident today - the day of universal suffrage and the graduated income tax. We may forget complaints on that score as being relatively imaginary. The voting power today is in the hands of the multitude. It is going to elect leaders to satisfy it. Public education is preparing those leaders. If the mass of voters be reasonably sound in judgment and understanding of facts and principles, reasonably satisfactory results will follow. Leadership tends to pass into the hands of the extremist. The moderate man is the regulating influence. The extremist knows that; and is today seeking to gain control of the educational organization of the land. A certain radical, of some ability in expression, on the occasion of his election as a popular representative made the confession - or boast - that he has been teaching in the public schools for the express purpose of educating the children in the facts of the falsehood of the capitalistic doctrine and that he intends to continue to do so. He invited an election crowd of admirers to be present when he stands in the legislature and points his accusing finger at the Minister of Education and to support him in what he has to say. No one would deny the propriety of stating such a case in the legislature of any country. It is a very proper place to discuss the matter. But can we permit our schools to become seats of propaganda, not seats of learning; places of agitation, not places of education; affording opportunities to the well- or ill-meaning fanatic rather than the clear thinking educationist? Education is the leading out of the mind; to develop power; not the training of it in onesided opinions; to grasp basic principles that the ages have established, not to adopt the mere reasoning of the teacher; to learn the uses as well as the danger of experiment; in other words to fit the youth to think and decide, not to fill him with ready-made statements, class prejudices and untried opinions. Even the powerful Lenine has said, "Those who are engaged in the formidable task of overcoming capitalism must be prepared to try method after method until they find the one which answers their purpose." The attack is being made upon our schools and must not be overlooked. Through it we will learn of weaknesses to be remedied. But we must guard the true purposes of our national education, and make and keep our schools broad, generous, free, undivided and unprejudiced.
I will say further along practical lines that we must do the following:
(1) Keep our nation's schools from being halls of propaganda. (2) Teach the certainty and sacredness of human progress along evolutionary lines - if the spirit of men is kept pure. (3) Establish in the minds of the children a strong national love - not a hatred of other nations, but a reverence for our own - without which there can never be a true international spirit. (4) Teach definitely that law and order are fundamentals of progress and social happiness. (5) Teach morality - nay, even religion in its universal sense (6) Extend the period of compulsory school attendance, gradually, making the later years a period of specializing in intellectual, mechanical, business, scientific or agricultural pursuits, according to the capacity and tendencies of the child. The lengthened period, if better adjusted to the needs of the child, will in the end pay in mental qualities, efficiency and intellectual attitude of the developed man; and at the same time will be another element in forcing that further readjustment of family earnings which is undoubtedly necessary for the more poorly paid families of today. (7) By wise and sympathetic measures prevent our teachers from linking up with class propagandist organizations, since that must interfere with the true nature of the education they are intended to impart.
Labour unionism, one of the greatest of modern educational forces, has its open points of criticism. Unfortunately a great deal of such criticism is of the usual destructive character. Some labour leaders perhaps understand that sort best, yet the reception given the Premier of Canada last summer when he seriously gave constructive criticism augurs well for the growing statesmanship of the saner leaders of labour in Canada. The educational power of labour, as well as the future influence upon statesmanship necessitate a more generally sympathetic public attention to labour unionism in the future than has been accorded in the past. I must not dwell upon that, as I desire to be more particular in dealing with certain matters.
UNREST AND SOCIALISTIC PROPAGANDA
I do not pretend to go to the root of the subject of social unrest - a condition which strikes to the heart of modern life. The very recent English Miners' strike with its threatened accompanying results is an illustration fresh in our minds. Some elements may be looked at.
I assume it will be admitted that a large body of workers live from hand to mouth. At times poverty is very real. These do not generally give expression or direction to general unrest; but in great upheavals they become recruiting grounds for the direct action of the revolutionist. The interests of social stability, as well as the spirit of Masonic charity and justice demand that scientific methods should be adopted to correct this hitherto constant menace. Assurance against unemployment and sickness are expedients under consideration until a more thorough-going cure is applied.
Another, probably larger, group of mankind have the voice and power organized, audibly to set forth and effectually to develop a class-conscious dissatisfaction. The spearhead of these is found in the labour unions of modern life. Public education, the gift of "government of the people, by the people, for the people," has made possible the wide communication and appreciation of ideas, the invention and organization of forces and the discovery of methods of resistance and attack, which must either lead to progress or reduce to disaster; must either produce an advanced industrial and social order by evolution or revolution or destroy the good we have in the attempt. The ruthless surgeon's spirit of "Kill or cure" is manifest and frightens the world today. There is as well the more unobtrusive physician's method that tries to diagnose the ailment, and by assisting nature to restore the healthy action of the body instead of aiming at an artificial mode of life.
Now what is the great human malady? A few have more than enough - a great many far too little. Some arrogate to themselves the privilege of commanding; others unwillingly must obey. There are inequalities in life, in the distribution of the profits of industry; in the distribution of the honers of the people; in the enjoyment of social position and fellowships; in all that men seek in life, inequality is rampant, and men, born as brothers, free and equal, cry out against it in all its forms.
We at once admit that inequality exists; let us particularize a little. It exists not only in the financial and social rewards that come to men; it exists in men themselves. We might imagine financial equality; we could not have a realized social equality in the world today. We may hope for financial equality of reward for work done - we could not have equality in management. We may suggest equality of compensation for all sorts of service - we could not have equality of service itself. We plant two seeds, the one grows puny, the other strong. We give two boys equal business education; one becomes a wealthy merchant, the other, a very poor one. We allow two boys to choose their own paths in life - one becomes a jockey the other a minister of the gospel. Two boys decide to become artists. Both receive adequate training in the art of expression in line and colour. One has the gift of reproducing on the canvas, life in its beauty and truth. He serves humanity as humanity desires him to serve. For his service he is accorded his living. The financial rewards that come to him are in proportion to the appeal his work makes to human-kind. The other loves his art, determines to pursue it, but his work is dead and nearly useless. Are his rewards to be the same? The world's method of continuing the one and discontinuing the other is apparent.
You and I meet a darky porter and a young lecturer in our university. In our eagerness for equality we endeavour to bring them together in intimacy and permanent friendship. Their financial rewards for services rendered are likely about the same. The probabilities are our efforts will be in vain. Social equalities arise more from similarity of life and thought than from likeness of earnings. Those whose association together gives natural pleasure soon find companionship and social equality; and even where financial ability enters into social consideration, it does so more because of mutual ability to afford mutual pleasure than from mere adoration of money possession.
Men are not equal in ability, equal in training, equal in industry, equal in quantity, quality or usefulness of service; and so far the world has gone on the principle of making the individual reward proportionate to the world's estimate of the value of the individual service. In many cases the estimate has been harsh and crude, but in large measure has been based upon a real and fundamental principle, and that fundamental principle has not been equality of reward.
Let us trace the matter a little further. Suppose there were equality of reward - so that the manufacturer who invests and directs his capital and furnishes opportunity for useful employment of many who are workers, but only workers with things, not creators of method or plan, or organizers of brain and brawn, or furnishers of capital to be risked in the venture of industry and trade, were to receive nothing for his superior services, one would forthwith necessarily wipe out all our system of credits on which so much of commerce is carried on, and, with all the financial methods and gains involved, would pass the usefulness of personal thrift and savings and industry and energy beyond the standard expressed in the standard wage. And what would be that standard wage and who would fix it? At best it would be an equal division of the product of a certain period. But that product would still depend, (1) on the stored-up savings of the past to support mankind in its efforts at production; (2) on the individual adaptation of men to their work; (3) on individual initiative and invention, and, (4) on individual industry and energy, exercised without hope of reward for expert or extra service - the most capable being expected to surpass his fellows voluntarily; the lazy to do his best, the unfit to do what he could - all receiving alike. It is suggested that in a pure democracy, so-called, all would do their best in the common interest, since the interest of all would be the interest of each. Only a plausible agitator would seriously argue this - but let us see: How does such a principle operate in a case where there is absolute equality of right and interest? Today the poorest adult, as well as the richest; the most ignorant, as well as the wisest, has a vote and is eligible for membership in parliament. If the best judgment of all the people were brought to bear upon public matters in the common interest, what would we expect as to the quality of our popular representatives and public confidence in them? Yet in no phase of modern life is there more of distrust dissatisfaction and unrest. Nevertheless there is absolute equality. We, democracy, fail to produce results because when the common interest is submitted to our care, we are not interested, we do not act on our best judgment. We do not act on the knowledge we have, that the interest of all is the interest of each. Would we do better in industry on a basis of equal reward for labour, good, bad or indifferent? Why should we be expected to? There would be democratically elected overseers, I presume, superintendents and managers - more elected representatives democratically chosen - who would regulate, reprimand, fix employment and service, and if need be deprive the constituent of part of the supposed equal distribution of the products of labour - more local politicians - an extension of control and lessening of the liberty of the individual in occupation, employment and decision. To say the least a recital of even these facts suggests repelling difficulties.
These same elected managers would necessarily dictate the kind of employment, the places and changing of places of labour. A friend of mine recently returned from the coast says that the climate there is so pleasant that men have been hanging around unemployed hoping for a chance to work so that they may continue residence there - and that, when the farmers of the west were calling for help. With equal remuneration and an equal right to choose place and sort of employment and an absolute right to have such employment provided for all at all times, I suggest a great majority would seek the kindlier climates, the more congenial occupations, since none would need take thought for the morrow, that onerous duty being entrusted to the impersonal shoulders of "the State" - let "the government" look after that! Either that or else we must be regulated in all things by elected managers whose decisions, arbitrary as they must be, would be subject to the whim and change of public opinion.
The advocate of compulsory equality must admit that only a system of inequality of reward would drive men to reach out for greater opportunities at the cost of greater personal effort and inconvenience. Such it was that peopled these vast western prairies under northern skies; such it is that impels the prospector, the miner, the forest-ranger into undiscovered lands; such it is that calls the capitalist, large or small, to invest his savings or profits amid the risks of trade and industry. Inequality of reward is crude and often unfair, even cruel; but I suggest that equality of reward is equally crude and much more inefficient.
After all do men really desire equality? Or is the spirit of envy to which perhaps none of us is wholly a stranger, one of the effective causes of the outcry against the present system? One thing is certain, until men really and truly desire equality at any personal cost they are not ready to receive it. Are we ready to welcome the unskilled to an equal participation with skilled? I have heard speakers say the ditch digger has a harder job and is entitled to as much remuneration, at least, as the bank manager. It may be so - through I suggest that at least one element other than unpleasantness of employment or useful nature of service enters into the fixing of individual rewards, namely the number of human beings whose lives are directly touched (and the immediate depth of that touch) by the service rendered by the individual. My quarrel just now however, is not with the claim so made, but with the supposed general value of the illustration. Let us take another - I would ask is the inapt and unskilled labourer around the shops entitled to as much reward as the highly expert machinist? Let the latter answer. Moreover in this country with its opportunities, I venture the suggestion that there are more unskilled than skilled, yet that in the majority of cases fair opportunity has been afforded to become fitted for better positions.
One is tempted to inquire into the causes of inequalities. This paper is already growing to too large proportions seriously to develop that phase. Suffice it is to say that there are certain features of modern life which are impressed with the stamp of the public problem; such as (1) the poorer light and food conditions of the child in the poverty-stricken home; (2) parental illness, and (3) enforced unemployment due for instance to industrial depression. There are others. There is a growing tendency toward some paternal action by the state to deal with such handicaps: and "in the increasingly complex nature of civilization and economic development where the individual becomes more and more an atom in great movements the state must tend towards a greater paternalism" - but not so as to imbue either young or old with a sense of needlessness of self-reliance. A moderate course must be taken, and those who seek human welfare must be prepared to face a steadily increasing absorption of incomes to meet these growing recognitions of human brotherhood. But there is another feature regarding profits and inequalities of financial returns. There is a tendency to forget that the man engaged in industry and making large profits gets out of his profits only what he uses - the rest goes into business in one form or another and so serves humanity. For him to put all his profits into wages would mean that the business could not by his efforts grow, nor its service be extended.
Here we touch two interests, both for the public good, but in a measure in mutual conflict. If too much is taken from the gross value of the product to enlarge the business and its community service, personal wrong is done the worker; while if nearly all over cost be given in wages, the business and its service cannot expand and the very existence of industry is imperiled. No fund can in such case be stored up either for expansion or against the day of inevitable loss. It must be apparent to reasonable men that no hard and fast fixed rule or rate of profits, even, is possible unless at the same time there be a guarantee to the investor against loss. Experiments have recently been made in regulating profits and while they have proved far from successful and in some measure injurious, nevertheless they had some temporary regulating value to meet temporary needs and have been worth while as experiments. This, however, has been demonstrated, that a great deal must be left to the judgment of capable, successful men in the management of business and the appropriation of the proceeds of production. The radical declares, of course, that means employers (grouped under the impersonal term "Capital") will simply continue to squeeze and defraud the worker, individually helpless to defend his rights. There is enough truth in this to make it plausible. It, however leaves out of consideration some pertenent and influential facts.
(1) Employers are men with hearts, men who have proved their mental capacity by their own success. (2) Their fellow-employers desire peace and good-will in industry as a condition of further success and increasingly by example, by competitive force in finding workers and by social and business impressions upon one another must exercise a powerful influence upon the conditions of employment. (3) The spread of public education and the extension of general information and of knowledge and of efficiency and of understanding as well as of sane organization will enable the great mass of men who must be employed to present their needs intelligently as well as fairly and more and more, by degrees, to take a part in the democratic administration of business.
Then, too, the spur afforded to diligence and effort by fear of not having enough on the one hand or by hope of success on the other cannot be gainsaid. Some assert that mere pleasure in useful service is sufficient. Unfortunately habits of industry are not formed that way. Men like to make their way by free and independent individual effort. But consider times of prosperity. The over-rich tend to become indolent, i. e., they work no harder than their needs require. Does not the same rule apply to the labourer - and especially to the naturally indolent? Observations of men during the recent period of prosperity have borne testimony to the slackening of even reasonable effort as the sense of individual need for steady, intensive, service was relaxed. The indolent rich pays the penalty - his riches take to themselves wings - while the loser becomes perhaps a disappointed, but not necessarily a useless, worker. The indolent worker who has become satisfied and said to his soul "take thine ease" he too pays, in the end the penalty. Are we to create the condition but remove the penalty? The needs of the individual are very personal. To the vast majority of men they furnish a useful spur to the certainty of steady effort. Is there then to be no chance, no improvement, in the condition of the mass of workers? The answer is to be found in history. He would daringly pervert the truth who would assert that conditions of labour have not improved. I venture the assertion that the conveniences and opportunities enjoyed by the workers of today rival those of the reasonably well-to-do of, say, two centuries or even two generations ago: Schools, postal service, railways and street transportation, cheap enough for all, sewage systems, water works, lighted streets, electric lights in homes, cheap books, the public press, a simplified and cheapened system of administration of justice - manhood and womanhood, suffrage, etc. These are but suggestions of the progress of the past in which all the people share. I suggest such progress - changes from former conditions have brought comfort, conveniences and power formerly little to be hoped for by the multitude of men. Steady, persistent progress in invention and organization, increasing production tremendously have made these blessings so common that they are almost despised in the harsh criticisms of the hour. To all that, the critic answers that the needs of men have increased proportionately. That is not true. Man's needs are no greater - but he has become accustomed to having his whims satisfied. Further objection is raised that the rich have enlarged their wants and opportunities as well. That is true - but it does not rebut the evidence of actual world progress. Jealousy prompts the criticism, as a supposed demonstration of fatal defects in our ecomonic system. Further with the increase of wealth and wants of the rich have come also tremendously enlarged opportunities of the poor to become well-to-do or even rich; likewise greatly increased risks for the owner of wealth that he may lose it. Wealth now is obtained by the hazard of investment in productive effort rather than by inheritance of lands or by conquest as it once was. Greater production has benefitted the worker as well as all mankind by increasing comforts and conveniences and evening up opportunities. Such a retrospect gives unbounded hope for a future, if men bend their energies toward steady development and industry rather than towards freedom from work as an end in itself or towards engendering and fixing distinctions of industrial organizations.
It has, however, been questioned whether greater production has lessened liability to and danger of unemployment with consequent suffering. "The lift has been from bare necessities to comforts and comforts have come to be considered necessaries." The fact that such necessary comforts are generally available does not assist the man or the family of the man who cannot find a market for his powers. Here at least is a place where organized labour and the public-spirited employer should find ample ground for common thought and cooperation.
The splendid changes of the past, invention in industry, and discoveries in organization have just nicely begun.
After all the mere seeking after equality of results as distinguished from the progress of general human happiness is a poor motive in the affairs of men. I must quote a paragraph from Booker T. Washington's story of his life, "Up from Slavery." He says: "The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality" (and, of course, social equality is just as much for the black as the white) "is the extremist folly" (i.e., I take it as an agitation looking to immediate fulfilment) "and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle" (not quarrel and hatred, of course) "rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all the privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of those privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera house."
There are to be changes of course-development. The question is not so much "are we to expect change" as "how should we prepare for the changes that are to come and how ought they to be brought about."
Two words are on the lips of men today. One is heard much more than the other. They are Evolution and Revolution.
"We Masons pride ourselves upon the past. We refuse to break it. We expect progress, but we venerate our traditions. Our ritual points to the past for inspiration to face a hopeful future only part revealed. What part or lot have we in new times, new methods, a much talked of new era?
A great American jurist, Judge Street, in his work "Foundations of Legal Liability," pays this tribute to English-speaking peoples: "Our veneration for precedent has without doubt retarded progress: but it has given a priceless treasure in the law reports - that continuous record extending over more than six centuries of the reasoned decisions of the English judges. It furnishes indubitable evidence of the law-abidingness of the English-speaking people, a feature which is indelibly stamped upon every aspect of their civic and political life." There are those whose methods incite the wish to destroy at one fell swoop the entire structure of precedent and experience. Revolution, admitted or unacknowledged, is their way towards progress. On the other hand it would be hard to find a man of sane mind who does not desire real substantial progress. Change is not necessarily progress; and we allow to pass too easily the unjustifiable statement that things are so bad that anything would be better than what we have.
Let us consider:
1. No revolution gains anything for its own generation. It took twenty years of war and blood to work out the French Revolution; and generations to reestablish a stable government of peace and order. When that time came there was a reasonably free democracy of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, but the generation that began it passed away in blood and tears.
The southern states of the United States rebelled to establish their idea of state freedom, involving negro slavery. The North took up the quarrel with negro freedom its impelling ideal. It took more than a generation of war, followed by heart anguish and bitterness, to bring liberty to the slave. It was worth while if there was no other way. My present point is that the generation that aims at reforms by war or revolution gains nothing but sorrow. Even on the question of negro slavery it may well be questioned whether cooler judgment and greater patience would not have accomplished negro freedom in the United States in the way in which the British Empire freed its slaves, and that with less sorrow and bloodshed even for the negro himself.
2. No popular revolution for reform that I am aware of has brought anything of gain to the human race comparable with what might have been gained by patient, steady, moral pressure of earnest men imbued with high ideals.
Let us look at the French Revolution. No one questions that subsequent French history is superior to what preceded. But listen to the Historian Guizot in the following excerpts:
"The liberty of the Press existed solely for the revolutionary papers."
"It has been our sad fortune to witness more than once those revolutionary explosions which are the fatal work of certain audacious men, fanatic or corrupt solely intent on the success of their views."
"The priests had constantly the honour of awaking in the breast of the revolutionary leaders the most violent passions."
"Let us have no more of Jesus," exclaimed one of the jury in the revolutionary tribunal. "He commanded to obey the laws, Marat crushed them to pieces."
"Let us make Terror the order of the day" another expression of the time.
"We are stopped," said the jury, "by the forms prescribed by law ... the loquacity of the accused renders the discussion very long ... will the trial then be interminable? Why witnesses? The whole of France accuses them....
"An actress was borne in triumph to the altar in the church of Notre Dame. . . .,
"The words, guillotine, national razor, patriotic abridgment, ordinary jokes of the Mountain, resounded in the streets."
"The revolutionary tribunal was in operation from March, 1793: The registry of condemnations had reached the number of 577. From June 10th to July 27th, 1794, 2,285 unfortunates perished on the scaffold. Fouquier-Tin-ville comprehended the thought of Robespierre. For the dock he had substituted benches upon which he huddled together at one time the crowd of the accused. One day he erected the guillotine in the very hall of the Tribunal ...160 accused persons had been brought from the Luxembourg prison under pretence of a conspiracy in prison ... the judges sat with pistols ready to hand: the president cast his eyes on the lists for the day and called the accused. "Dorival, do you know anything of the conspiracy?" "No." "I expected you would make that reply; but it won't succeed. Bring another." "Champigny, are you not an ex-noble?" "Yes." "Bring another." "Guidreville, are you a priest?" "Yes, but I have taken the oath." "You have no right to say any more. Another." "Menil, were you not a domestic of the ex-constitutional, Menon" "Yes." "Another." "Vely, were you not architect for Madame?" "Yes, but I was disgraced in 1789." "Another." "Gondrecourt is not your father- in-law at the Luxembourg?" "Yes." "Another," "Durfort, were you not in the body-guard?" "Yes, but I was dismissed in 1789." "Another." "So the examination went on . . . sometimes errors were evident in the lists." "I am not accused," said a prisoner one day. "No matter: what is thy name? See, it is written now, Another." The Marechale de Mouchy was old and did not reply to question. "The citoyenne is deaf," said the registrar. "Put down that she has conspired secretly," replied Dumas. It became necessary to forbid Fouquier-Tinville to send more than sixty victims a day to the scaffold.
The guillotine and grapeshot were too slow. One conceived the idea of crowding the condemned into ships with valves.
So runs the story of the Terror of the French Revolution.
In 1917 we talked of a "peaceful" revolution in Russia. The idea is now buried in a record of massacre, terror and famine.
3. The fact is revolutions are not bloodless-they are inevitably accompanied with fear, suspicion, jealousy, vengeance, hate, terror, demoralization. And further, in the end it takes a real and ruthless tyrant and undemocratic usurper to bring a semblance of order out of chaos. This it is which makes Wells excuse Lenine and Trotsky, who have filled their land with horrors in the name of a sort of Democracy. There is little doubt their present conduct is the inevitable, invariable incident of revolution.
What have we to learn from this? Much, especially if we turn to the other side of the picture. There is little doubt, instead of the Revolution, France might have made great constitutional gains, all too grudgingly and too slowly accorded, it is true. England, aided no doubt by the Wesleyan revival, and steadied by the British spirit of compromise and adaptation avoided revolution. And who would exchange the Democracy of our Empire won by common sense and earnest give and take, for the democracy of a France, that came through blood and terror, tyranny and defeat?
In these days the word "revolution" is too flippantly used. We hear far too much of the eventual good that flowed from the French Revolution and far too little of the terrible cost at which it was purchased. When men of the British race stop to think of the path of Revolution and remember that Revolution is not the British way, they will abhor the flippant use of the word and look to the steadier, surer, and after all, in the end, speedier method of evolution, developed on growth of knowledge, established in precedent, proceeding by the true method of all progress, from the known to the nearest unknown.
But what has Freemasonry to do with the situation? Something at least-perhaps a great deal. I suggest that the man who has not in his life, somewhere, either in present fellowship, or in stored up experience, a definite brotherhood connection, is not an approximation of his best self, either in thought or in action. We live in faith. There can be no progress without faith. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Today we hear "Faith without works is dead." What may be the works of Freemasonry? To generalize, they are to inculcate the principles of good citizenship and to uphold liberty, justice and law. These are so general I have indicated lines of thought for Masons. I look to the time when under other leadership will be a Masonic Association, for citizenship and public and social service - not polities at all - but useful service in the public interest. For instance, this fall a worthy young man of special attainments was unable because of lack of funds to take advantage of a scholarship he had won. An appeal was made by some one interested in his line of activity. It would have been worth while to organize th Masons interested through our Association to get behind him. That is a mere illustration. The luncheons we have held, open a field for such a service organisation without multiplying evening meetings; and thereby may be provided that avenue of effort so many of our young men look for but think they do not find in our Order today. The possibilities for work and service lie before us in splendid breadth. I can only suggest that out of such a beginning may come a real brotherhood grip upon the social and economic movements of our time.
"Faith without works is dead." May I state the converse - Works without faith have no enduring life. So with more immediate pertinency to the body of my paper I turn to the spirit service of Masonry. We need today to discover and teach the value of the individual. The sense of individual littleness is too strong upon us today. A man does his work. He produces. His product is of value to the human race. But that is not all. The individual must learn the significance of his own character quality on the circle of his own family and acquaintances, in furthering good-will, honour, truth, and charity. This personal possession is perhaps the richest endowment a man can have. Easy to say; hard to really accept. Yet its acceptance is the mortar into which are laid the foundation stones of world happiness.
In the second place, the individual must learn to have faith in Humanity. No man has a right to believe less in the average of his associates than in himself. The following paragraph is rich in human worth and religious depth:
"BELIEVING IN HIM"
"There is no greater calamity can come to any man than that he should lose his faith in his fellow man. When that happens with any, in anything like completeness, not only does the joy and zest of life go, but any possibility of real and abiding usefulness goes also. When you hear any man questioning and doubting the sincerity and goodness of his fellows, do not scold or censure him, but pity him as you would a lost soul, for, unless some speedy help come to him, that's what he is indeed. There is no greater peril facing the world today than that of the breakdown of men's faith in one another: In such a day as this, it is so easy to magnify and multiply the instances of perfidy and bad faith in such a way that it seems as if there were no longer any goodness and soundness at the heart of things at all. To resist such a tendency and to call to our help every influence that can aid us to resist it, is the part of wisdom and the way of society. We may set it down as a rather sure rule that we will help the world, in this day or in any day, only to the extent to which our faith in our fellow man remains strong and vital and unconquerable. And life will have joy and sanity and satisfaction only in the same degree and way."
Those are the words of a Christian writer, writing as such. None the less striking are the more mundane sentences of a great lawyer, Sir Henry Maine, in his book, "Ancient law":
"The strong disinclination of most men to regard morality as advancing seems to be especially powerful when the virtues on which Contract depends are in question and many of us have an almost instinctive reluctance to admitting that good faith and trust in our fellows are more widely diffused than of old.... From time to time these prepossessions are greatly strengthened by the spectacle of frauds unheard of before the period at which they were observed and astonishing from their complication as well as shocking from their criminality. But the very character of these frauds shows clearly that before they become possible the moral obligations of which they are the breach must have been more than proportionately developed. It is the confidence reposed and deserved by the many which affords facilities for the bad faith of the few so that if colossal examples of dishonesty occur there is no surer conclusion than that scrupulous honesty is displayed on the average of the transactions which in the particular case have supplied the delinquent with the opportunity."
The great lessons men need to be ever re-learning are Reverence and Faith. Faith not necessarily in the sense of creeds but in the spirit sense of real recognition of the predominant place of ever living Personality. A combination of reverence for and faith in personality - experienced from the religious standpoint in what we term fellowship with God, and seen in the practical sense in man's struggle towards light and right - this combination will never be destructively critical but will always be Masonically constructive. Here is the great and ancient service of Masonry. It pledges it membership to nobility of character, charity in judgment in order that it may establish and perpetuate a society of men in whom those who know them intimately can believe and trust. Conceive the extension (in some lessening but nevertheless actual degree) of that trust to relate itself lodge to lodge and man to man in the widening reaches of our Order, and one senses Masonic possibility, nay, the actuality for human good.
In a world so thought-tossed as ours, with the problems I have touched upon and a hundred others, the potential value of Living Brotherhood can be gloriously imagined. If the Masonic body can learn its own value as, at least, a school of right human relations, it will have taken the second regular step towards the fuller redemption of Modern Life, and the ushering in of the day of Good Will to men and of the Happy New Year to all.
Who bides his time, and fevers not
In the hot race that none achives,
Shall wear cool wreathen laurel, wrought
With crimson berries in the leaves,
And he shall reign a goodly king,
And sway his hand o’er every clime,
With peace writ on his signet ring,
Who bides his time
THE PERSONNEL OF THE SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
BY BRO. H.R. PARTLOW, ARKANSAS
IT IS CONCEDED that the Declaration of Independence, as a document, may be looked upon with favor for its literary excellence. It readily responds to any analytic method used by literary critics, and for the right use of words it is a model. This matter has been a subject for much comment by literary critics and, upon close investigation, one discovers that the words are especially selected with a view of carrying force and conviction to the mind of the reader. A study of the words used show that the selection is nearly altogether taken from pure English words - words which have been and are now in general use for forcefulness. While this instrument contains over 15,000 words there is not a single example of improper use. The sentences are well arranged for vigor, emphasis and impassionate discourse. The style is clear; all phrases or clauses are placed so there can be no doubt as to construction; every sentence is completely dominated by the central thought and all subsidiary matters are subordinated and dependent upon this central thought; no parenthetical expressions to switch thought away from the main subject. It is an instrument in which all modifiers, clauses and phrases are used so as to give emphasis to the subject matter. No stilted or exaggerated style, and free from figures of speech which might deter the thought from the central idea. The thought division is perfect and preserves unity throughout. Each subsequent division grows out from its predecessor progressively until the climax is reached. The whole instrument abounds in earnestness and force, and aside from the principles of right and justice therein enunciated, it is a document of literary excellence and would have a permanent place in our language as a classic.
The literary merit, however, is easily accounted for. The personnel of those who composed the Declaration of Independence comprised the most scholarly men of the time. It may be doubted whether any political body, past or present, comprises so large a proportion of educated men advanced as to age to give them much experience and judgment. The number who had regularly graduated from the colleges of Europe and America was twenty-seven, Harvard college alone furnishing seven. Also, many of them visited and studied at the fountainhead of British constitutional liberty. Robert Conrad says that twenty-five studied in the institutions of the mother country. Twenty other members, though not regularly college graduates, possessed an academic education equal, if not superior, to the ordinary courses given in the universities at that time. The remainder were men of good common-school educations. All were men of extensive reading, enlightened views, and enlarged sagacity. There was not one uneducated member. In view of this the literary merit of the document is easily accounted for. Many of the signer notably Dr. Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams and John Hancock, possessed rare qualifications as writers on political subjects.
The last line of the famous document says: “We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.” When one considers that every member, except Samuel Adams, “the poor gentleman,” possessed considerable wealth, nearly all had ample competence without having to work. All had something to lose and nothing to gain, except liberty and freedom, and for that they mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
All of the fifty-six signers, except eight, were native born, grew up in an environment conducive to develop ruggedness of character, independence of thought, and self-reliance. Of those born on foreign soil, Ireland furnished three, England two, Scotland two, and Wales one. Of the native born, nine were from Massachusetts, two from Rhode Island, four from Connecticut, three from New York, four from New Jersey, five from Pennsylvania, two from Delaware, five from Maryland, four from South Carolina and nine from Virginia.
A man's pursuit in life has much to do with his thinking and affords much to judge of his expressions, either oral or written. Twenty-four of the signers were members of the legal profession, a body of whom it may be said that they have been the original assertors and faithful champions of constitutional liberty in all countries. The lawyers of this country were very active in helping and assisting in organizing the large army of the late war. Thirteen of the signers were planters or farmers, nine were merchants, five physicians, one a clergyman, one a mariner, and one a surveyor. A majority were professional men.
Much has been recently said of the relative strength of intellect between men advanced in age and young men. It has been claimed by Dr. Osler, for instance, that a man's usefulness is entirely extinct at a given age. This leads one to enquire into the respective ages of the signers at the time of their deliberations. The youngest member, Rutledge, was twenty-seven; the oldest, Dr. Franklin, was past seventy. The mass of signers were in the most vigorous season of life forty-two out of the fifty-six being between the ages of thirty and fifty years. Only three were thirty years of age or less. Eleven were between the ages of thirty and thirty-five; ten from thirty-five to forty; ten from forty to forty-five; ten from forty five to fifty; three from fifty to fifty-five; two from fifty-five to sixty; four from sixty to sixty-five; two from sixty-five to seventy, the oldest being the venerable Franklin, in his seventy-first year. The average of the signers was forty-three years and ten months. The ardor of youth was tempered with the cautious experience of age.
The longevity of the signers has often been discussed by students of history. The average age of the signers at the time of death was eighty-six years and four months. Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, the last and oldest survivor, was at the time of his death ninety-five years old. Was it a portion of their earthly reward that they should be spared to see the development of a Iiberty of which they had planted the seeds? All were eminent men and leaders in the various walks of life. Not one of all that sacred band died with a stain upon his honor. The annals of no history can claim such a political body. Why should not every schoolboy and schoolgirl be made acquainted with the history of these men and let the famous band be cherished as in the tradition of William Tell, if such be a tradition?
It is said that on the bank of Lake Geneva stands a little chapel, erected and dedicated early in the fifteenth century, to William Tell, and that its walls and ceiling are covered with frescoes and paintings, representing certain exploits of the noted patriot. Also, that annual pilgrimages are made to this chapel by Swiss patriots to pay homage to his memory. It is not certain that William Tell ever lived but, if not, the tradition or legend is sacred to the heart of every Swiss citizen and is an inspiration for patriotism.
The exploits of the signers are and should be revered in America with the same sacredness as the exploits of William Tell. The principles of the Declaration of Independence should be as familiar to every schoolboy and should be as sacred as any classic in the English language.
As to religious conviction, they were men of fixed thought and action. Many of them were men of deep piety and all were temperate in both thought and action. In addition to intellect there must be another element added to man's makeup to constitute a mature man - a man with balanced judgment and a man of force and action, and that is character. He must have laid his foundation deep and builded well to make the useful citizen necessary for public trust. Hardships, plain and simple living, ardent study, and patriotic environment educated and prepared these men for the duty before them and well did they perform the same.
At least twenty of the signers were Masons and, without in any way seeking honor for the institution, it may be said that the principles enunciated in the famous document are in every way compatible with Freemasonry.
It is well, now and then, for every American citizen to consider well the privileges and advantages of his government as compared to other governments. A man who advocates the abolishment of the principles of the government is a dangerous citizen, and these very principles are likely to be subverted by reason of class legislation. The hope of bringing our people from a chaotic condition to one of order and refinement is up to the two million Masons in America, for if they keep faith with the tenets of the order they will make public interest and love of government above any and all selfish movements.
BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD, IOWA
Maker of sod and of seraphim,
Mother of men and of stars,
What is the secret, cryptic, dim,
You lock behind your bars?
What is the Voice behind your words
Which murmurs round the grass and stones?
Behind the wind, the call of birds,
I hear its mystic overtones.
The waves of noon are on the wheat,
The light is laughing round the corn;
Beyond them all what splendors beat
Which never yet to sight were borne!
In spirit-wise some presence runs
Across the lake and in the sky;
Its light is not the light of suns,
Nor is its beauty for the eye.
Around the hills, along the streams,
Strange things are beating round the air;
Elusive, dim, their ghostly gleams
Disturb, surround me, everywhere.
The earth is more than all we see;
A larger sky the sky surrounds;
Some more than earthly witchery
The flesh enchants, the heart imbounds.
Beyond our present sense of mind
The soul has strange affinities;
It flies from time and space to find
What unrevealed divinities!
Can there be souls unincarnate
Which play about my bodied soul?
Are these their voices, glad, elate,
Whose laughters round my being roll?
Are theirs the hands which beat the chimes
That sound within my spirit's cells,
And theirs the secret call of rhymes
Which ring in me like hidden bells?
In days of pain, in hours depressed
I lie inert among the clods;
In happier times, with flesh at rest,
I find myself among the gods.
Above those fields and shining hills,
About the lake's high wooded cape,
Some presence all my being thrills,
I hear a Voice, I see a Shape.
He liveth long who liveth well,
All else is life but flung away;
He liveth longest who can tell
Of true things truly done each day.
Be wise and use thy wisdom well,
Who wisdom speaks, must live it too;
He is the wisest who can tell
How first he lived, then spake, the true.
- Horatius Bonar.
THE STUDY CLUB
WITH THIS issue of THE BUILDER we are deviating somewhat from the former make-up of this Department, having discontinued the “Correspondence Circle Bulletin.” Henceforth this Department will be found immediately preceding the Editorial Department, as in this number.
As announced in the April issue, the first and second divisions of the Main Outline of our “Bulletin Course of Masonic Study” were completed in that issue, and we now enter upon a study of “Philosophical Masonry,” or “The Teachings of Masonry.” This series will comprise some fifteen or sixteen papers by Brother Haywood and will probably be completed late in the Fall of 1922, after which will begin a new series on some other phase of Masonry.
As our study club plan is being inaugurated in many new districts each month we are constantly in receipt of inquiries from interested brethren as to whether they should take up the plan in their lodges or study clubs with the articles in current issues of THE BUILDER, or endeavor to start with the first papers in the Course, which were printed in 1917. We are recommending to these brethren that they begin with the article in the current number of THE BUILDER, as each article is complete in itself and written in language to be easily grasped and understood by the youngest Master Mason.
We are contemplating the reprinting of former papers in manuscript form on the multigraph for the convenience of the members of lodges and study clubs desiring them in some other form than the bound volumes of THE BUILDER, so that those who may wish to do so may begin their study meetings with the first papers of the Course. We have personal knowledge of lodges that are using one of the first papers at one meeting and the current paper at their next meeting alternately.
We shall be glad to answer inquiries from brethren who may desire information relative to these earlier papers in manuscript form. Among the papers to be thus reprinted are the following:
Approaching the East.
The Anchor and Ark - The Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid.
The Book of Constitutions - Sword Pointing to the Naked Heart.
Builders and Building Tools.
Entrance and Reception.
The Hour Glass - The Scythe - Emblems of Mortality.
The Hiramic Legend.
The Lost Word.
The Lion's Paw.
The Letter G.
The Liberal Arts and Sciences - The Ammonitish War - Corn, Wine and Oil.
The Middle Chamber in Speculative Masonry.
The Northeast Corner.
The Oblong Square and Due Form.
Physical and Mental Preparation.
The Two Pillars.
The Golden Bowl and the Silver Cord.
Signs, Tokens, Words; and the Rite of Salutation.
The Weeping Virgin - The Temple.
The Winding Stairs.
The Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice.
The Working Tools of a Fellow Craft.
HOW TO ORGANIZE A STUDY CLUB
Simply select a committee of several “live” members of your lodge - such committee may consist of three or more brethren - and set apart one meeting night each month for the study meeting. These meetings may be held either at a special communication, or at a regular communication at which no business except the regular routine should be transacted.
Inquiries will be welcomed from all brethren desiring further details of the Study Club plan. When writing for such information, please give the name and number of your lodge.
The following references to THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia will furnish much interesting material upon the subjects touched upon in the following paper by Brother Haywood. These references should be assigned by the Study Club Committee to different brethren who may compile papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or in many instances the articles themselves, or extracts therefrom, may be read directly from the originals. The latter method may be followed when the members may not feel able to compile original papers, or when the original may be deemed appropriate without any alterations or additions.
The notes or papers thus prepared should be read at the opening of the study meeting, before the paper by brother Haywood is taken un.
Vol. I. - The Philosophy of Masonry, pp. 7, 31, 64, 78,106.
Vol. II. - Reflections on the Philosophy of Albert Pike, p. 9; Masonry: Its Philosophy and Influence in War Time, p. 181.
Vol. III. - Religion and Philosophy, p. 234.
Vol. V. - Symbolism in Philosophy, p. 102; Freemasonry as Philosophy, p. 266.
Mackey's Encyclopedia - (Revised Edition):
Antiquity of Freemasonry (and Freemasonry's symbolic expression of religious ideas), p. 66.
Definition of Freemasonry, p. 202.
Ethics of Freemasonry, p. 252.
Exclusiveness of Freemasonry, p. 256.
Mysteries, Ancient, (the priesthood of olden times teaching secretly by symbols the world's first philosophies), p.497.
Oaths, their purpose, their reasonableness and their justification, p. 522.
Primitive Freemasonry, Fundamental features of the Institution, p. 384.
Religion of Masonry. The religious aims and practices taught by its philosophy, p. 617.
Secrecy and Silence, p. 675.
Speculative Freemasonry, and its Moral, Religious and Philosophical Doctrines, p. 704.
Symbolism, the Science of, as an investigation of the meaning of Masonic symbols and the uses of their interpretation as a practical and impressive means of the moral, religious and philosophical instruction of Freemasons, p. 754.
See also references under the following headings: Symbol; Symbol, Compound; Symbolic Degrees; Symbolic Lectures; Symbolic Lodge; Synbolic Machinery; Symbolic Masonry, etc., on pages 751 to 755. Note also Emblem, p. 240, and Token, p. 789; Badge, p. 913, and Apron, p. 72.
THE TEACHINGS OF MASONRY
BY BRO. H.L.HAYWOOD, IOWA
PART I - INTRODUCTION
WHAT is this all about? This is a question I asked myself many times during my initiation experiences. It is a question, brother, which you doubtless asked yourself, and so has every other man who has forged on to the end of the Third degree. The language of the ritual, stately and beautiful as it usually is, is to most of us a mystifying speech; and the stations and stages of the dramatic actions are equally bewildering to the novice. Therefore is it that we ask the question, "What is it all about?"
After we have become familiarized with the ritual, and have learned something of its drift and its meaning, we discover that the Fraternity itself, as a whole, and apart from any mystery in any one part or detail, is something almost too complex to grasp. A member grows so accustomed to the goings on of his home lodge, that he loses his first sense of strangeness, but even so he hears ever and anon such things of the antiquity, the universality, and the profundity of Freemasonry as it exists in history and in the great world, as to make him feel that for all his familiarity with one Masonic lodge he is very much in the dark about the Masonic Fraternity in its entirety.
What is Freemasonry? What is it trying to do? How did it come to be? What are its central and permanent teachings? It is to answer these questions - and they are such questions as visit the mind of almost every Mason, however indifferent he may be - that the philosophy of Masonry exists. To learn "what it is all about," in the whole more especially than in the part, it is for this that we philosophize about our mysteries.
"How would you answer the newly-initiated brother who asks the question, "What is this all about?" Did you ask yourself that question? How did you answer it? What advantage is there in trying to learn what Freemasonry means in the largest sense? What is meant by "the philosophy of Masonry"?
Why do we philosophize about it? How many reasons can you give for the necessity of philosophizing about it? Have you ever read a book explaining Freemasonry?"
The individual who secures membership in a Masonic lodge becomes thereby the heir to a rich tradition; that to which initiation gives him access is not something put together in a day, and it will profit him little if he makes no attempt to enter into his patrimony. He must learn something of the history of Masonry; of its achievements in the great nations; of its outstanding teachers, and what they have taught, of its ideas, principles, spirit. Initiation alone does not confer this knowledge (and could not): the man must himself strive to make his own the inexhaustible riches of the Order. He must be taught the larger purposes of the Fraternity to which he belongs.
There is no authorized interpretation of Freemasonry. The newly initiated brother does not find waiting for him a ready-made Masonic creed, or a ready-made explanation of the ritual - he must think Masonry out for himself. But to think Masonry out for one's self is no easy task. It requires that one can see it in its own large perspectives; that one knows the main outlines of its history; that one knows it as it actually is, and what it is doing; and that one knows it as it has been understood by its own authentic interpreters and prophets. It is not easy to do this without guidance and help, and it is to give this guidance and help that such studies exist as this new series on which we are now embarking. In the series of Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles which we have been following for the last three years we have been confined to the ritual. For the next year we shall have a larger field, and one that includes the ritual only as one among many other items of interest.
"What is Brother Haywood's first reason for the study of the teachings of Freemasonry? How much of Freemasonry can a man learn from initiation? How else can he learn? What would you give as "the larger purposes of the Fraternity"?
"Why should one try to think Masonry out? Could you, unaided by books or another person, write an intelligent and intelligible answer to the question, "What is the meaning of Masonry?"-
There is still another reason for a study of philosophy, or as we here more familiarly describe it the teachings of Masonry. Our Fraternity is a world-wide organization with Grand Lodges in every State and practically every, Nation. In this country alone it is a vast affair of some two million members and forty separate and independent Grand Lodges. To sustain and manage and foster such a society costs the world untold sums of money and human effort. How can Masonry justify its existence? What does it do to repay the world for its own cost? In one form or another these questions are asked of almost every member, and every member should be ready to give a true and adequate answer. But to give such an answer requires that he shall have grasped the large principles and be familiar with the outlines of the achievements of the Craft, and this again is one of the purposes of our philosophizing on Masonry.
How can we arrive at a philosophy of Masonry? How are we to learn the authentic interpretation of the teachings of Masonry? What is the method of procedure whereby one who is neither a general scholar nor a Masonic specialist may gain some such comprehensive understanding of Masonry as has been called for in the preceding paragraphs? In short, how may a man "get at it?"
One way to "get at it" is to read one or two good Masonic histories. There is no need to go into detail or to read up on the various side issues of merely antiquarian interest; that is for the professional student. There is only need to get the general drift of the story and to catch the outstanding events. To learn what Masonry has actually accomplished in the world is to gain an insight into its purposes and principles, for, like every other organization, it has revealed its spirit through its actions. From a knowledge of what the Order has been and what it has done in the past one can easily comprehend its own present nature and principles, for Masonry has never had need to break with own past! The Masonry of today does not make war on the Masonry of yesterday. Its character emerges clearly from its own history as a mountain stands out above a fog; and what it has ever been - at least in a large way - it is now, and doubtless always will be.
This same history forges ceaselessly on evermore renewing and making itself. It is going on today and the process is one that keeps publishing itself to the seeing eye, for, after all, there is not much that is secret about the rich and tireless life of the Fraternity: indeed, this life is constantly revealing itself everywhere. Grand Lodges publish their Proceedings; men engaged in the active duties of Masonic offices make reports of their functionings; students of the Craft write articles and publish books; Masonic orators deliver countless speeches; special Masonic conferences, whatever be their nature, make known their business; most of the more important events get into the daily papers; there are scores and scores of Masonic papers, bulletins and journals, weekly, monthly and bi-monthly, and there are many libraries, study clubs and learned societies everywhere endeavouring with tireless zeal to make clear to members and profane "what it is all about." So it turns out that to learn this for one's self one does not need to take any one man's word for it; he can look about, and listen, and read up a little, and thereby form his own conclusions. It is amazing, when one looks into it how much of the labour going on in the Craft is designed to make clear, and to propagate and enforce the principles and teachings and spirit of our great Order. To learn what are these teachings asks of us no rare talents, no "inside knowledge," but only a little effort, a little time.
What would be your estimate of the money cost of Freemasonry to the United States? to the world? How many Masons are there in the United States? in the world? How many lodges are there in the United States? What does Masonry give in return for its cost? What reasons other than those given by Brother Haywood can you give for a study such as this?
How many Masonic histories can you name? Whose is generally considered the best? What advantage does a Mason derive from reading such a history? Would a knowledge of Freemasonry's own past be of any help to a lodge worker in present day affairs and problems? What is the character of Freemasonry as it "emerges from its own history"? What is there secret about the Order? If a man were to ask, How can I find out what is going on in American Freemasonry? how would you answer him? Can you name half a dozen Masonic periodicals? Have you ever read the Proceedings of your own Grand Lodge? How many can you name of the "few great ideas" about which Masonry constantly revolves? What is the difference between an "idea" and an "ideal"? How can a member learn what are these "great ideas"? Where and how are they taught? Did your initiation cause you to think about life differently?
To the novice the Masonic world seems very confusing, it is so many-sided, so far-flung, so clamorous with voices and the din of action; but this, after all, need not frighten us away from an attempt to grasp that world with a comprehensive understanding, for all of Masonry constantly revolves about a few great ideas. These ideas confront one at every turn - what becomes more familiar to an active Mason than such words as "Brotherhood," "Equality," "Toleration," etc., etc. - so that the youngest Entered Apprentice need have no difficulty in getting at them. If he does get at them, and if he learns to understand them as Masons understand them, they will help him greatly to gain that comprehensive and inclusive understanding which we have been calling the philosophy of Masonry.
Nothing has been said as yet of the great teachers of Freemasonry. In the older days there were Anderson, Oliver, Preston, Hutchinson, etc.; then came the philosophers of the middle years, Pike, Krause, Mackey, Drummond, Parvin, Gould; Speth, Crawley, and others, and in our own day Waite, Pound, Newton, etc, etc. In the writings of these men the great and simple ideas of Freemasonry become luminous and intelligible, so that he who runs may read.
In addition to all this the member may take advantage of those interpretative devices which are a part of the Craft itself, the lectures and monitorial explanations built into the ritual of all the rites and degrees. None of these are infallible - nor are any of them made compulsory to believe but even when they stray farthest from the original meaning of our symbols they are always valuable in reviewing the ideas and ideals of multitudes who have originated or used them.
Thus much to show why we should strive to make for our own mind a philosophy of Masonry, and in how many ways one may arrive at that philosophy. There remains only one word in caution. A study of the philosophy of Masonry is not a study of Philosophy; the Masonic student as such has little interest in Plato and Aristotle, in Neo-Platonism, Mysticism, Scholasticism, Rationalism, Idealism, Pragmatism, Naturalism, etc. Masonry touches upon the circumference of each of these and the other major philosophical systems, no doubt, but there is no such thing as a Masonic philosophy any more than there is such a thing as a Masonic religion. We speak of a philosophy of Masonry in the sense that we speak of a philosophy of government, or industry, or art, or science. We mean that one studies Masonry in the same large, informed inclusive and critical way in which a political economist studies government or an astronomer studies the stars. It would be a blessed thing if more of our members were to lift up their eyes from the immediate and often petty affairs of their own lodge room in order to gaze more often on those profound and wise principles which are to our Fraternity what the laws of nature are the universe.
Can you name a great Masonic teacher not mentioned in article by Brother Haywood? Whom do you consider the greatest interpreter of Masonry? Can you tell the differences between the groups mentioned by Brother Haywood? What is idea at the bottom of present-day Masonic thinking? In way does the ritual explain itself? What is a "philosophy"? What does the word mean? What means the phrase, "A Philosophy of Freemasonry"?
A PRESSING MASONIC NEED
IF THERE is any one thing that cries out loudly for some attention from our Masonic leaders it is the sad state of Masonic literature in this country. When one considers the size and power of our Order, and of the heaving restless life now fermenting in it, it is a cause for wonder that nobody has yet discovered that what we call our “literature” is the darkest disgrace imaginable. Not that it is wanting in quality or power, for much of it is beyond cavil, but that the whole thing at present is in such a dilapidated state! Let us consider!
It is safe to say that nine of the ten books to be found in the private possession of Masons have come from the pen of the old school of writers who, though they were as admirable a group as one could imagine, are now very much outgrown. I myself have a huge respect for the indefatigable Dr. Oliver, to use an example or two, but I know that no real Masonic scholar of the last ten years ever dreams of referring to Oliver as an authority! The Craft owes a vast debt to the patient genius of Preston, but Preston's pages are so outgrown by the advancement of Masonic learning that he belongs to the ancients. The same thing can be said of a score of the men belonging to that familiar group. The same thing cannot be said of Mackey for, after the middle of his life, he came under the influence of modern scholarship, but everybody knows that Mackey has to be supplemented by later writers, unless one wishes to endanger his whole conception of Masonic history. I myself am firmly convinced that the prevalence of queer and quaint ideas as to the origins of Masonry, and the dogged refusal to change any of the fixed ideas about the same, are due to the fact that so many of the Masons who do read books, read only the works of the old school. It would be a great shame if we were to discard this old school to which our indebtedness is immeasurable, but it is a still greater shame that so few have ever discovered how obsolete are many of their opinions.
This, however, is not in itself the worst evil. A greater evil consists in the fact that the bulk of the really worth while books that we do get come from England and are written by Englishmen. If the reader will glance back through the files of this magazine he will discover that except for references to Pike and Mackey, the great majority of references are made to, and quotations are made from, that group of Masonic scholars who made up the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, or other men who belong to the same school of thought. To that school belonged Gould, Crawley, Speth, Hughan, etc., with whom none of our own men, except T.S. Parvin, Pike, Drummond and Mackey, can for a moment compare. The writings of these men are now the chief treasure of Masonic learning. But unfortunately they were all Englishmen, and the Masonry of England is so very different from ours that in many cases their books are misleading to an American reader. And what is far worse, their books are either too expensive for the average man to purchase or they are entirely out of print. I was amazed not long ago to discover that out of a list of some thirty of the best of their books, about twenty are unobtainable. So that, though they gave us a Masonic literature we can be proud of, it is unhappily become a Masonic literature that is unobtainable.
But the worst of all evils consists in this: That much of the Masonic literature we have turned out in this country is utterly vitiated by ignorance or by faddism. Visit some large Masonic library; go down the shelves to note the books written by Americans; and then observe how many of those books are most palpably the work of crude amateurs who knew little of their subject: and how very many of them offer us some wild theory that only a faddist can bear to read! It is a crying shame, that an Order which numbers two million Americans, and they the pick of the lot, should have so much to answer for by way of foisting onto the reading public such an array of shyster stuff as would bring the blush to a Romanist medievalist!
What we need is for somebody, or somebodies, with the ability and with the means to lay the ground plans for a real and worth while American Masonic literature. To do that would cost less than the erection of one Temple and would count far more. It would pave the way for a new school of writers who would ever keep before themselves the aims of scholarship and the needs of our own Masonry. It would give us a number of readable books that would gradually but inevitably replace the trash which so often passes as Masonic scholarship.
There are a dozen men in this country now living who, were the means at hand, could do for us what the Coronati group did for England: why doesn't so man, why don't some group of men, give their Masonic bequests toward such a purpose? We should have enough temples if they did, and we should have something without which our temples do not possess their full value. For the men who will do this there awaits an enviable name and fame!
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THE BUILDER has under way the preparation of a short Masonic glossary, to be published in several parts. The purpose of these brief studies will be to make clear the meanings and usages of a number of the words and phrases in commonest use among Masons, such as, for example, the following: Cowan, cable tow, hoodwink, tyler, clandestine, heal, purge, jurisdiction, etc.
In order that the list may be a complete representation of the terms most frequently used, we are asking you to send us the words and phrases you wish to have defined. When writing, put “Glossary Editor” on the outside of the envelope. Do this now, before you forget it - this is the first and only call.
EDITED BY BRO. ROBERT TIPTON
THE BALMY DAYS of the first weeks in March did much to infect us with spring fever. As they arrived our longing to roam the country came as an irresistible temptation. We know of a very pretty stream, not far distant, where there is an enviable round of pleasure in store for the disciple of Ike Walton, and we are patiently waiting the arrival of that day when dry roads, fair skies, and consent of law permit us to cast a line again. 'Tis the spring fever no doubt that impells this urge to live in the great out of doors.
Speaking of the great out of doors naturally brings to mind some of those great apostles of the out of doors, and especially at this time of the heralding of the passing of that grand old man among American naturalists - John Burroughs. Turning to the “Summit of the Years” we find this genuine and spontaneous outburst of the soul of a nature-loving man: “The longer I live the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and wonders of the world. I hardly know which feeling leads, wonderment or admiration.” And no doubt we are thereby won to a desire to see things through his keen eyes. And again this wooing utterance: “I have not been a hermit; but my temperament and love of solitude and a certain constitutional timidity, and shrinking from all kinds of strife, have kept me in the by-paths rather than on the highways of life.”
Only a nature lover could say that he has loved the feel of grass under his feet and the sound of runnins streams at his side. “I am in love with this world,” he buoyantly declares. In view of these utterances we are rather surprised one morning when we read the following from the pen of one who himself we are confident, judging from his writings, is a true nature lover: “Was he (Burroughs) a nature lover? Yes, in a serene, unemotional, married life sort of way.” To which we append: “Is married life then, indeed, but prosy?” “He (Burroughs) was too self-centered, too scientific, too surgical,” continues our genial friend, which makes us further ruminate as to whether those little animosities and prejudices that exist among musicians, and not a little discoverable among medical doctors, is not found in considerable degree among nature lovers. But enough: good John Burroughs, one of America's greatest naturalists and friend of Roosevelt, has gone the way of all flesh, but his works in which still breathes the soul of him live after him, to sweeten the way of life and make those who will yet read him, wiser and better. As an admirer of Burroughs says, so we re-echo, “Of John Burroughs his friends and relatives are able to remember that there were no gray days in his life. For him the sun was always shining. His soul was wrapped up in nature and he loved all lovable things of - this earth,” No American, they say of him, lived a more helpful or wholesome life.
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The balmy weather and mellowing sun did much those early March days to dry out the upper portion of our garden, and one day we were consentingly allured to leave our study and go and dig in it awhile. The morning hour is one that usually finds us devoted to books or writing, and to turn our back completely upon our work made us, we confess, feel a little guilty. Usually when we succumb to the call of the garden we rummage the garret for old clothes that we might wear, but this particular morning we didn't evince our usual desire. Instead we took a few books out with us. We no doubt must have presented an interesting picture. We do not dress immaculately, and we were certainly not garbed as gardeners should be garbed, and to be seen with hands begrimed, making occasional perusals of a book of Criticism we had, while a fork or rake rested on one's knee probably proved very amusing to the casual passerby. But what a lovely time we had! The feel of the soil was good for one's soul, and the work in the open air with an occasional whiff of smoke-savored breeze, - sure harbinger of spring in our part of the country, - how it seemed to compel expansion of one's self ! And then there were some visitants whose presence richly crowned the morning, and they too were harbingers of spring. The two little, chatty children (members of my own household, by the way) who visited us intermittently were stirred by recollections of a former spring, when the disciple of Walton, with their assistance, would diligently hunt for the unsuspecting earthworm and our finding of one that morning was as the capitulation of an adventure. The youngsters did not seem at first to enjoy the feel of the wriggly creatures in their hands, and so kept dropping them, only, however, to pick them up again.
We have on the north side of our garden again another symbol of spring, - a tree “that lifts its leafy arms to pray.” Some day its aspiration will be rewarded, and it will be a thing of beauty. (No doubt this will bring to mind Joyce Kilmer's “A Tree that Looks at God All Day,” from which we took the above quotation.)
As we were resting awhile from our digging and were telling our prattling inquisitors of the mysteries of seed time, there chanced to visit the tree a gaily bedecked cardinal. His merry, cheery whistle at once acquainted us with his presence. He impudently cocked his eye at us as if inquiring why we were not laboring to discover for him a choice morsel. The children and I, catching what we interpreted as a suggestion, enthusiastically went to work to look for Mr. Earthworm, whom we soon found, and with dispatch threw to where the cardinal could obtain it, feeling free of any intervention of the earthworm's pleasure on our part, for predatory purposes. It was a morning indeed when we could have joined Pippa in her song:
The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his heaven-
All's right with the world!
Awe have so delighted ourselves with ruminating and suggesting the joy of that morning that one might think that we were little interested in aught else, but we remarked awhile ago, you recall, our taking with us a book of Criticism into which we spasmodically dipped, and from which we turned feeling that after all there was greater joy, at least for us, that day in turning the soil and watching it transform in color from black to brownish hue. There was something really wonderful in that transformation. Some unseen majestic wand was being passed over it, and there was a response that charmed us.
In the Chandogya Upanishad one may read, “All this universe is Brahma! from him it does proceed; into him it is dissolved; in him it breathes.” Of a surety the ineffable Presence is felt, but an external expression that knows no quiescence, with harmony resplendent, a throbbing pulsating one in many, even the Spirit of the Universe, is speaking to us. If the world is an illusion as the Vedenta suggests, it is a glorious one, or if the shadow of the something behind things, then that something must be wondrous grand, and worthy of man's worship. The quiet basking in the presence of nature's beauty we believe would do much to dispel the world's diseases and sorrows.
Green grasses here and there are projecting their speary heads, and Ruskin with his dilations about grass being the symbol of Humility and Cheerfulness comes back to us. “There are also several lessons symbolically connected with this subject,” says Ruskin, “which we must not allow to escape us. Observe, the peculiar characters of the grass, which adapt it especially for the service of man, are its apparent humility and cheerfulness. Its humility, in that it seems created only for lowest service, - appointed to be trodden on, and fed upon. Its cheerfulness, in that it seems to exult under all kinds of violence and suffering. You roll it, and it is stronger the next day; you mow it, and it multiplies its shoots, as if it were grateful; you tread upon it, and it only sends up richer perfume. Spring comes, and it rejoices with all the earth, - glowing with variegated flame of flowers, - waving in soft depth of fruitful strength. Winter comes, and though it will not mock its fellow plants by growing then, it will not pine and mourn, and turn colorless or leafless as they. It is always green; and it is only the brighter and gayer for the hoar-frost.”
* * *
We now come to consider our Critic and musical writer, James Gibbons Huneker, whose few books shared our interest with gardening the beautiful spring morning. He was a man of such versatility that the awesome impression that one received after reading him was that he must have known everything, in the way of books. His versatility was as charming as it was rare, and his cosmopolitanism amply testified to by his knowledge of a wide range of literature and of those of the specie literati was truly marvelous. He knew the spokesmen of peoples as they are represented in Literature, Art, and Music, but peculiarly, his judgments upon the great of the Literati were generally opposite of what has come to be the accepted judgment of most people. The popular literary idol was always subjected to severe handling by this critic. He, probably, was one of the great modern affirmative forces that reveal the necessary province for the Iconoclast.
There is something overbearing and supercilious about the iconoclastic's judgment of great men or those who have come to be considered great ,and this something, too, frequently subjects them to be relegated to: a place where we consign all muck-rakers, fault-finders, and their ilk.
In Huneker's treatment of Tolstoy, for example, if one had not read Tolstoy, and was introduced to him for the first time through the essay on Tolstoy or Dostoevski, one might be led to think that Tolstoy was a huge pretender. Huneker at times seems to enjoy peeping in through the window of the homes of his subjects, not for the sake of gaining a proper perspective, mind you, but to discover some small discrepancy in character, that he might parade it before the world as the evidence of inconsistency between preachment and: practice. Tolstoy, for instance, is reported to have smoked a cigarette after every one had gone to bed, and this is seized upon as a bit of evidence to be used as an indictment for inconsistency. Was it Brander Mathews that told us a short while ago that Harriet Beecher Stowe had one time imbibed a little too much wine during a call on one of her friends ?
It is true that Huneker, while pointing out this apparent contradiction in Tolstoy's life regarding what he stood for and what he practiced, has the grace not to use it to disparage Tolstoy, but he cites this little thing, as he confesses, as testimony of Tolstoy's humanity. And so from genius to genius, and would-be geniuses, this man flits like a butterfly, not seeking the nectar, however, primarily, but stating with apparent delight those limitations and idiosyncrasies that are ever the part of man because he is human.
One is inclined to think, after a treatment of Dostoevski, that one can only write truly the experiences of the Race as one is compelled to share them unto the fullest. So far indeed there is probably more than a modicum of truth, but this is no ground for disparagement of those who endeavor to tell what their faculties of observation reveal. But back to our garden. Because this man has said in criticism of Tolstoy, that the Moujk is not the ultimate critic of art, but those who live in the artistic realm. Very true, but tnuch that goes for art in the artistic realm can not be appraised as art by the commonest of men, and we have a conviction that if the artistic norm is attained there ought to be something of appeal that is universal in its content. These intellectuals, with their Bohemianism and their highbrow proclivities, far in our consciousness from common folk who dig in gardens, appear to us as but a group of neurotics.
* * *
It is a good thing to turn from one to whom Iifer and men are simply things for analysis to one who shared its hopes and knew its sorrows. America is richer because of her having known the noble ministry of Doctor Frank Gunsaulus, and the city of Chicago that was the seat of spiritual and humanizing efforts, is considerably the poorer for his passing. But as with Burroughs so with Gunsaulus, - his works embodying his genius so redolent with prophetic instinct and comforting and uplifting in import lives after him. With his passing which was a personal sorrow, we took down from our book shelves his “Paths to the City of God” (a gift of his of long ago) and scanned again and again fond passages contained therein. Then it was that the full force of what a mutual friend said of him recentlt dawned upon us with renewed force. Said Dr. Newton: “A God-endowed preacher whose mysticism was at once the inspiration and the illumination of his multifarious activity, - it is a story of which America ought to be proud. He was the first citizen of his day, if not the most distinguished - the incarnation of its genius an the prophecy of its future.”
There is a fine passage in his sermon on meditation that wonderfully reflects the secret of the greatness of his work: “Why is one thing done - one product - nobler than another? Why is the statue from the chisel of Thorwaldsen finer than a piece of marble upon which just as many hours by just as sharp chisels have been as laboriously spent? Why is the Declaration of Independence greater than so much paper written over far more beautifully by a writing master? Why! Behind the statue of Thorwaldsen is a vast eventide of meditation. Ideas and sentiments, thought and passion - the whole inner life stands behind, making it noble with the deliberate grandeur of the soul. It is more than it seems, because Isaac has gone out to meditate at eventide and the high converse of his spirit has made its path in every pure white chisel course. The Declaration of Independence is the very shrine to which the spirit of America meditating at eventide, in darkness smitten with noon, or in twilight hours of freedom, has brought the fruitage of its meditation; and ideal life has given to it imperishable worth.”
It was he himself that told us a few years ago that the three great moral forces of Chicago at one time were Robert Collyer, Jenkyn Lloyd Jones and David Living, and now comes another noble spirit discerning in him the greatest of his generation because of his great moral energy to which we reverently add our Amen.
A good character is, in all cases, the fruit of personal exertion. It is not inherited from parents; it is not created by external advantages; it is no necessary appendage of birth, wealth, talents, or station; but it is the result of one's own endeavors - the fruit and reward of good principles manifested in a course of virtuous and honorable action. - J. Hawes.
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our “Bulletin Course of Masonic Study.” When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.
MEMBERS OF PRESIDENT HARDING'S CABINET
Will you please inform me through THE BUILDER how many of the men in President Harding's Cabinet are Masons, and the lodge to which each one belongs ?
J. E. H., Virginia.
Attorney-General Harry M. Daugherty. Profession - Attorney at Law. Born Washington Court House, Ohio. Age 61 years. University education. Practiced law Washington Court House, Ohio, 1881-88. Elected to state legislature in 1888, serving five years. Chairman state Republican executive committee 1912, also twice chairman state Republican central committee of Ohio. Campaign manager for Harding at Chicago convention.
He and his family are members of the Broad Street Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio.
Brother Daugherty is an Entered Apprentice of Fayette Lodge No. 107, F. & A. M., Washington Court House, Ohio, and we are informed that he has taken steps to have the remaining degrees conferred in a Columbus, Ohio, lodge as soon as possible.
Henry C. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture. Profession - Editor and Publisher. Born Rock Island, Illinois. Age 64 years. Collegiate education. Farmer and live stock breeder in Iowa, 1887-91. Editor, manager and publisher of farm publications from 1893 to present time. Bank director. Member United States live stock industry committee. Secretary Corn Belt Meat Producers' Association for fourteen years. Long interested in Y.M.C.A., being a member of the International Committee.
Brother Wallace is a member of Pioneer Lodge No. 22, A. F. & A. M., Des Moines, Iowa.
Edwin Denby, Secretary of the Navy. Profession - Attorney at Law. Born Evansville, Indiana. Age 51 years. Ex Congressman. Practiced law in Detroit, Michigan. Joined navy in Spanish-American war. Joined marines in 1917; became sergeant, retired as major, January 1, 1919. Member Fifty-ninth to Sixty-first Congresses. President Detroit Charter Commission. Episcopalian. Home in Detroit, Mich.
Brother Denby is a member of Oriental Lodge No. 240, F. & A. M., Detroit, Michigan.
Secretary of Commerce Herbert C. Hoover. Profession - Mining Engineer. Born West Branch, Iowa Age 46 years. University training. Wide experience in geological and mining enterprises, United States and abroad. Chairman American Relief Committee, London, 1914-16; Relief in Belgium, 1916-18. United States Food Administrator, 1917-19. Honored and decorated by foreign nations for war services. Received 10% votes Republican National Convention for Presidential nomination. Near East Relief, 1920-21.
Secretary Hoover is a Quaker and a member of the Friends Order of Salem, Oregon. Not a Mason.
Secretary of the Treasury W. A. Mellon. Profession - Banker. Born at Pittsburg, Penna. Age 66 yearn University education. Entered banldng business 1874. President of Mellon National Bank, 1920 to present Active in industrial and financial developments in western Pennsylvania. Trustee University of Pittsburg, and with his brother founded Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. Identified with many charitable and welfare organizations.
Secretary Mellon is a member of the Presbyterian Church. He is not a Mason.
Secretary of Labor James J. Davis. Profession - Labor Leader. Born Tredegar, Wales. Age 47 years. Went to Pittsburg, Penna., with parents at age of four. At eleven years of age began work in steel mills, becoming a puddler. Removed to Elwood City, Indiana, 1893. Held city and county offices there. In 1906 he reorganized the Loyal Order of Moose, of which he is now the head. Member of Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, and has always been active in union affairs. Secretary Davis is a Scottish Rite Mason, Knight Templar and Shriner.
Postmaster-General Will H. Hayes. Profession - Attorney at Law. Born Sullivan, Indiana. Age 41 years. Graduate of Wabash College. Prominent in county, state and national Republican politics during last twenty years. Member law firm of Hays and Hays. Bank director. Chairman of the Republican National Committee since 1916. Presbyterian. Member Sullivan Lodge No. 263, F. & A. M., Sullivan, Ind. K. T., Scottish Rite and Shrine, Indianapolis.
Secretary of State Charles E. Hughes. Profession - Jurist. Born Glenn Falls, N.Y. Age 68 years. University training. Practiced and taught law in New York, 1884-1900. Conducted insurance investigation, New York legislature, 1906-06. Governor of New York, 1907-08 and 1909-10. Associate Justice United States Supreme Court, 1910-16. Republican nominee for President, 1916. Practiced law since in New York. Conducted government aircraft investigation, 1918. Protestant. Not a Mason.
Secretary of War John W. Weeks. Profession-Banker. Born Lancaster, N.H. Age 60 years. Graduate United States Naval Academy, 1881. United States midshipman, 1881-1883. Member of firm of bankers and brokers, Boston, 1888-1912. Member of Congress, 1906-13. United States Senator, 1913-19. Candidate for Republican Presidential nomination, 1916; received 106 votes. Served in Massachusetts naval brigade ten years, and in volunteer navy during Spanish-American War. Protestant. Not a Mason.
Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall. Profession - Farmer, rancher, miner and lawyer. Born Frankfort, Ky. Age 69 years. Educated in country schools. Served in New Mexico legislature and as associate justice New Mexico Supreme Court sines 1912. Protestant. Not a Mason.
* * *
“LANDMARKS” OF TEIE GRAND LODGE OF MASSACHUSETTS
How. many “landmarks” are recognized by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and what are they?
E. E. R., Massachusetts.
The Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts define “landmarks” as follows:
“The Landmarks are those ancient and universal fundamental principles of the Craft which no Masonic authority can alter or repeal.”
The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts recognized the following landmarks:
“a. Monotheism, the sole dogma of Freemasonry.
“b. Belief in immortality the ultimate lesson of Masonic philosophy.
“c. The Volume of the Sacred Law, an indispensable part of the furniture of a lodge;
“d. The legend of the Third degree.
“f. The symbolism of the Operative Order.
“g. A Mason must be a freeborn male adult.”
The above list of landmarks is not declared to be exclusive.
* * *
GENERAL ISRAEL PUTNAM A MASON?
Was General Israel Putnam, of Revolutionary fame, a Mason?
He is so said to be a Freemason by Brother Sidney Hayden, on page 375 of “Washington and His Masonic Compeers.” His Brother, Rufus Putnam, it may be pointed out, was a very active Freemason and the first to be elected as Grand Master of Ohio. A chapter, from page 311 to page 334, is devoted to General Israel Putnam in Cornelius Moore's “Leaflets of Masonic Biography.” This essay says much of General Putnam's military services but little of his Masonic connections. On page 333 we read:
“Putnam was a Freemason - a tried and true one. History has not told us specifically when or where he was initiated, and the Craft in Connecticut have been tardy in searching out the facts. It is well known that he belonged to the Order, and was connected with a lodge located at or near Pomfret, in the vicinity of which he resided. The lodge has long since ceased to work, we believe, and the records are probably lost; but the fact that the brave old general was a member of it comes down to us unquestioned.”
Brother Moore certainly had no doubt of the Masonic membership of General Putnam. What he says of the Connecticut connection led me to inquire of a Brother in that state whose opportunities and qualifications make him easily first as a source of information on such matters. In response he kindly says of the foregoing quotations:
“I have no data to show that General Israel Putnam was a Fre emason in any Connecticut lodge. I do not believe that any lodge existed anywhere near Pomfret during the years when Putnam would have been likely to have been made a Freemason.
“According to the biographies, he was born in 1718, died in 1790, and had a paralytic shock in 1779 which probably finished his activities. The only other lodge in that locality is Moriah Lodge, No. 15, which was located, at first, at or near Windham but this was not instituted until 1790. Hence I do not believe it possible that he was a member of any Connecticut lodge.
“There was a military lodge, 'American Union,' formed by dispensation in 1776 and which lasted throughout the Revolution, but I don't believe the records contain any reference to Putnam. I am inclined to doubt if he ever was a Freemason.”
The reference made by my able correspondent to American Union Lodge suggested a reference to the few facts obtainable from that historic institution. The Worshipful Master, Jonathan Heart, settling at Marietta, Ohio, the old charter was used at the formation of a local lodge, now No. 1 on the Register of that state. An examination of the historical address delivered by Past Master Toler at the Celebration on February 19, 1915, of the 139th anniversary of the founding of the lodge, discloses no mention of Israel Putnam though we note the initiation of his brother Rufus and of other notable brethren. While there so far appears on record no documentary evidence of the when and where of General Israel Putnam's initiation there has ever existed a strong tradition to that effect and the earnest expression of that conviction by Brothers Moore and Haydon is at least some evidence of the fact. Beyond that stage we await the patient persistence of the Masonic historian to yet unearth the necessary testimony demonstrating the Masonic standing of this sturdily bravo and highly distinguished American. So near and dear was he to Washington, that loyal supporter of the Fraternity, that we must find it on that account alone the easier to think of him as a Craftsman. R.I.C.
SUGGESTIONS FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL PROGRAMS
The evening of Feb. 22nd, Illustrious Lodge No. 63, A. F. & A. M., put on a program which I had arranged shortly before. The next issue of our local paper contained an article on the occasion. I sent a copy of the paper to P.G.M., W. N. Kendrick of Spring Valley, Minn., who has the Washington Memorial matter in charge for Minnesota. A few days later he called me up asking me to have 350 reprints of this article printed and sent to him as he wished to send one to each lodge in Minnesota.
In having these reprints, I thought perhaps it might be of a benefit to both the lodges and the National Masonic Research Society if notice was made where the articles came from which worked in so nicely on an occasion of this kind, so I had the matter added to the article. The article reads as follows:
(From Plainview (Minn.) News, Feb. 25, 1921)
A good representation of Masons assembled at the lodge rooms Tuesday evening to commemorate the birth anniversary of George Washington. The new player piano purchased by the Eastern Star furnished entertainment until the hour for the regular program.
Dr. E. E. Smith had arranged a very interesting and instructive program by choosing articles dwelling upon Washington, from Masonic publications and had them read by members.
The first, “Washington, the Man and Mason,” was read by J. H. Wichman. This article told of Washington's character, his public activities and the part taken by him in the Masonry of his day.
“Washington's Masonic Connections,” read by Tom Askew, was devoted mainly to facts concerning the standing of Washington as a Mason.
Rev. Prescott read “The Religion of George Washington.” This told of his being baptized in the Presbyterian church and of the influence of religion upon his life.
J. W. Seay read an article, “Alexandria-Washington Lodge “ of which lodge Washington was Master at the time he was President. This article contained a history of the lodge and also told of the relics in its possession which are connected with Washington. Among them are a life size painting of La Fayette in full regalia as he appeared when presiding over that lodge; a portrait of Washington painted by Williams for which the lodge has a standing offer of $100,000; another picture, the property of Washington, valued at $150,000; and a great many personal effects of this great man together with lodge equipment used by him.
The last number on the program was “The Memorial to Washington,” read by B. E. Rohweder, explaining the plans and accomplishments of the committee in charge of raising the memorial fund.
A reproduction of the Williams portrait of Washington was exhibited and proved of much interest. The picture marks the scar on his face, the mole under his ear and poc marks on his nose.
C. W. Donaldson brought a unique relic which had been handed down in his family. It is a contract, in the handwriting of Washington, between him and Jas. Donaldson stating the terms upon which Donaldson was to work for Washington.
At the conclusion of the program all present signed up for a donation for the memorial fund.
Articles taken from “The Builder,” published by the National Masonic Research Society, Anamosa, Iowa:
“The Memorial to Washington” - issue of July, 1916.
“Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22,” “Washington, the Man and Mason,” “Williams Portrait of Washington” - issue of February, 1916.
“The Religion of George Washington” - issue of February, 1918.
“Washington's Masonic Connections” - issue of May, 1920.
I wish to extend to you my personal thanks for the fine articles you are presenting in THE BUILDER. There are many articles that I have in mind that will be used at future times as substance for a program on special occasions. The majority of lodge members are not readers of Masonic publications and when such articles are presented, create merited interest and attention. I am going to work in your articles on “Great Men who were Masons” at some future occasions.
The article enclosed, published in our local paper, will put matters before our people who are not members of the order and will perhaps clear up some ideas held by certain folks. We are too much given to hide our light under a bushel while others are continually striving to force themselves into the limelight. And from appearances, they are succeeding very well indeed.
E. E. Smith, Minnesota.
* * *
THE CRYPTIC DEGREES
In the April, 1920, issue of THE BUILDER appears Part II of “The Cryptic Degrees” by Bro. Gustav A. Eitel, in the course of which he quotes, on pages 102-103, from the Ohio Grand Council Proceedings of 1880 portions of an article by Companion John D. Caldwell, as follows:
“In 1761 Stephen Morin, a Hebrew, learned in these rituals, received from united Masonic authorities in France a patent as Inspector-general of the Rite of Perfection - twenty-five degrees - and repaired to St. Domingo, where he practiced the Rite and appointed Deputy Inspectors. These Deputies were Brother Henry Andrew C. Francken, also a Hebrew, Deputy Inspector General for Jamaica and the British Leeward Islands, (or, as he claimed by his patent, for West Indies and North America); and Moses Michael Hays, Brother Col. Prevost for the Windward Islands and the British army.
“Companion Francken, whether authorized or not, came with his rituals and patent as Inspector to Albany, New York, and organized in that place four bodies of the new Rite: 20th December, 1767, Ineffable and Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection, Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem, Rose Croix Chapter, Albany Sovereign Consistory.
“In 1769 Francken appointed in New York two Grand Inspectors: Dr. Samuel Stringer and Sir William Johnson.”
Since this account contains certain errors which should be corrected, I desire to call your attention to the following:
In the Proceedings of the New York Council of Deliberation, A. A. S. R., for 1906 will be found a photographic reproduction of the original minute book of Ineffable and Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection of Albany, N. Y., from the “Memorandums,” at the beginning of which, the following is taken:
“About the 7th October, 1767, Messr. Pfister & Gamble were Introduced at New York, to Mr. Henry Andrew Francken, who a day or two after, by Authority invested in him, Initiated them in the 11 Degrees of Ancient Masonry, from the Secret Master being the 4th to the Perfection, which is the 14th and Known to be the utmost Limits of Symbolick Masonry.
“About a week after the above date Mr. Francken Conferred on them the 2 first Degrees of Modern Masonry or Masonry Revived, and proposed to them, that if they chose he would erect A Lodge of Perfection at Albany and appoint Wm. Gamble Master thereof (protempore) until Sr. William Johnson should have the refusal of it. they thankfully accepted of his offer. on which gave them a Draft of a Constitution, whereof a fair draft was to be made when they arriv.d in Albany & five Brethren should be Initiated into the 14th Degr....”
From this it will be seen that Henry Andrew (not Henry Andrew C.) Francken did not come to Albany and organize four bodies of the Scottish Rite, but that certain Albany Brethren ourneyed to New York, where they met Brother Francken. He showed them his commission of authority and initiated them into the degrees from the fourth to the sixteenth inclusive. He also gave them a draft of a Constitution (or Warrant) of which a “fair draft” was made in Albany by Brother William Gamble, who was a civil engineer, and sent to New York, where it was signed and sealed by Brother Francken on December 20, 1767. A reproduction of this document will be found in the June, 1920, issue of THE BUILDER, page 160, in my article on “The First Lodge House owned by a Masonic Lodge in America.”
A Council of Princes of Jerusalem was apparently organized at the same time, but there is no record of any Rose Crois Chapter or Consistory. The present Albany Sovereign Chaptex of Rose Croix and Albany Sovereign Consistory, S.’.P.’. R.’.S.’., received their Warrants on November 16, 1824, from the Southern Jurisdiction, later being transferred to the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.
Apparently, Sir William Johnson never took a very active part in the work of the lodge, for he did not receive the fourteenth degree until April 12, 1769, when a special meeting oi the lodge was held for that purpose at Johnson Hall, in Johns town, N. Y., under special Dispensation from Brother Francken and there is no record of his having been made a Grand InsDector. Isaac H. Vrooman. Jr.. New York.
* * *
WHERE IS THE OWNER OF THIS RING?
The Secretary of the Scottish Rite Bodies, of Freeport, Ill. is making a careful search for the owner of a Scottish Rite ring found by a German prisoner of war, in a camp near Bordeaux France. The ring is marked “Wm. Pogle, March 16, 1918,” and doubtless belonged to an American soldier serving in the A.E.F. “over there.” The ring will be returned to the owner under certain conditions. We wish this notice to be given as wide pubIicity as possible to assist in locating Wm. Pogle, who, doubtless will wish to recover his ring, if for nothing else than the sentimental association of its loss and recovery through army service.
Walter B. Erfert. Sec'y. Masonic Temple. Freeport. Ill.
* * *
THE LETTER G
In reply to the inquiry of J. W. McC. on page 26 of the January number of THE BUILDER, may I suggest that the letter G is the anglicized form of the third letter of the Greek alphabet-gamma.
It is a pity it was not left in its original form, which was too plain to be misunderstood.
C. Sturgeon Medhurst. China.
ESTABLISHMENT OF A “COLLEGE” LODGE
The institution of the Richard C. Maclaurin Lodge A. F and A. M. took place on the evening of December 15, under the direction of the Deputy Grand Master of the Second Masonic District, Guy H. Holliday, at Odd Fellows Hall, Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Professor Frank Vogel, in charge of the Department of Modern Languages, was appointed Master and will be assisted by Professors Vannevar Bush and W. H. Timbie of the Electrical Engineering Department. They will be assisted by some of the student members of the Technology Masonic Club. Major R. H. Pendleton and Captain H. F. Clark of the Military Science Department were appointed treasurer and secretary respectively.
This is the first Masonic lodge to be instituted in any educational institution in this country and, as far as known, it is the first of its kind in the world. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has granted its approval of the request of the Technology Masonic Club to confer the first three degrees of Freemasonry upon the alumni members of the faculty and students who may be elected to receive these degrees.
The lodge has been named after the late president of the Institute, Richard C. Maclaurin, who was a past Master of his lodge in New Zealand.
- The Technology Review, Massachusetts.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014