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THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
volume 13 - number 9
Freemasonry and Fascism in Italy
TO weaken the unfavorable impression which the anti-Masonic bill had created abroad, Mussolini intimated in an interview with the American journalist, Karl H. von Wiegand, that Italian Masonry had conspired with French Masonry against Italy. "I asked Mussolini," writes Wiegand, "why he was taking action against the Masons." The Duce replied: "The law is directed not only against the Masons, but against all secret societies that constitute a peril to the peace and tranquility of the state. In Germany, in England and in America the Freemasons are a beneficent and philanthropic fraternity and union. In Italy they form a secret political organization. Worse than that, they depend entirely on the Grand Orient of Paris. I wish that the Italian Masons would become what the English and American Masons are, a non-political fraternal union for mutual aid."
Already before the proposed anti-Masonic bill had become a law, official hostilities against the Grand Orient were opened. Among other things, the January number of the Rivixta Massonica was suppressed.
The Grand College and the Grand Council of the Grand Orient deliberated in two long sessions on Jan. 18, 1925, how to meet the new situation. It was agreed upon to observe an attitude of watchful waiting and to confer dictatorial powers on Grand Master Torrigiani.
The President of the Supreme Council, Ettore Ferrari, addressed a circular letter to the brethren, exhorting them to stand pat. Similarly Grand Master Torrigiani issued a manifesto to all Italian Masons in which he vigorously protested against the proposed anti-Masonic bill.
THE ANTI-MASONIC BILL IS VOTED ON
After a parliamentary committee had put a few more sharp teeth into the bill, it came up for discussion in May, 1925. The discussion was a rather onesided affair, because more than two hundred members of the opposition were absent--had been absent, one and all, for over a year, recognizing that under the Duce's autocratic methods all parliamentary procedure had degenerated into a farce. But even among those present, partisans of the administration and "rubber stamps," all of them, there manifested itself a conspicuous lack of enthusiasm for the anti-Masonic measure. Hence they had to be labored with speeches. After some lesser luminaries had spent their rhetorical ammunition, urging the necessity of the proposed measure, the Duce himself brought up the heavy artillery.
He began by characterizing his mode of warfare: "First, I break every bone in the body of my adversary, then I take him captive.... I knew what I was doing when I introduced the bill. My principle is to be good to my friends and to do all the harm I can to my enemies. For that reason I intend to fight Masonry to the limit of my resources.
"This measure," continued the Duce, "proves the consistency of my whole life. Already fifteen years ago, when I was a member of the socialistic party, I could trace the activities of the Masons. Already then I thought little of democracy, of liberalism and of the so-called immortal principles. To the consternation of the socialist leaders I advocated the necessity of a general strike and of an armed revolution. That was the primitive youthful impulse of Italian socialism. Its armed insurrection after the World War was nothing but a piece of megalomania.... During my regency I have ascertained that Masonry has its men stationed in every sphere of the national life. It is monstrous that the highest officials of the state act as informants for the lodge (Masonry) and are dictated to by it. There can be no doubt that the most delicate institutions of the government, the judicial and the educational system and the army, have been under the influence of Masonry. Such a condition is intolerable and must cease. This law will show that Masonry has outlived itself and has no place in our country. Since Masonry is antagonistic to us and has attempted to cause a division in our ranks, we have a right to defend ourselves and to take the offensive, because an attack is the best form of defense. The law will be strictly enforced. Yesterday we may still have been drifting with the current, but now we are determined to swim against it. All the harm that this proposed measure might do us, it has already done. Moreover, Masonry across the Alps and across the sea will not hurt its own interests" [i.e., for the sake of the Italian Masons].
Although the attending members of the parliament --excluding the more than two hundred permanent absentees of the opposition--were accustomed to eat out of Mussolini's hand, nevertheless the majority of them balked at the severity and glaring injustice of the proposed high-handed bill. They voted against it.
But the Duce was not the man to countenance the defeat. He annulled the vote, "because there had not been a sufficient quorum." He resolutely set to work to bring pressure on the refractory parliamentarians, threatening them with all imaginable punishments. Having whipped them thoroughly into line, a second ballot was taken. This time these worthy representatives of a free nation voted unanimously in favor of it.
To become a law, the measure now needed confirmation by the Senate. It was a foregone conclusion that its passage by that body would be a repetition of the mock performance in the House.
The Grand Orient did not remain idle. On Sept. 6, 1925, a general meeting was called in the Palazzo Giustiani. Over 400 delegates were present, an unusually large attendance. Persecutions always have the effect of stimulating loyalty and attachment to a cause. Domizio Torrigiani was re-elected Grand Master for another term of six years and granted extraordinary powers in view of the precariousness of the situation. Giuseppe Meoni was confirmed as his Deputy Grand Master. In his inaugural speech Torrigiani declared that Italian Freemasonry would not, for any acts of terrorism, cease to protest against an illegal dictatorship that was bound to corrupt the Italian nation. With his characteristic promptness, Mussolini accepted the challenge. Two days after the meeting, on Sept. 8, he suspended two high government officials, Cavaliere Di Francia and Cavaliere Caccioli, from service. He charged them, together with a number of Masons who were employes in the Senate and Parliament building, with corruption. He did not go to the formality of substantiating these charges by proofs, that in his mind being superfluous.
TWO SUBSEQUENT SENSATIONS
Already the next day the Duce met with an unpleasant experience. He discovered that the disciplined Caccioli was no Mason at all. As early as ten years previously he had severed his connections with the Craft. More than that, he had been a staunch Fascist all along who had taken part in Mussolini's "march on Rome." In addition, he had secretly denounced his colleague, Di Francia, on account of his pro-Masonic stand and connived at his dismissal from service. And now he had fallen into the ditch he had dug for others. The non-Fascist press took gleefully notice of the tragi-comic incident and general hilarity reverberate throughout Italy.
Another sensation followed. The whip of the Fascist party was its general secretary, Signore Farinacci. He was the Duce's faithful lieutenant, or rather willing executioner, who shrank from no methods, no matter how brutal. And he was an insatiable Mason eater Two days after the disciplining of Di Francia had been announced, an opposition journal regaled its readers; with the statement that the arch foe of Masonry, Farinacci, was an opportunist who had himself been a Mason at one time and had only renounced the lodge when Fascism offered fairer prospects to his ambition.
Farinacci not only denied the imputation but asserted that far from ever having been affiliated with Masonry, he had always been a consistent, active opponent of the secret Craft. He was proud, he declared, to be the man who had repeatedly engineered the burning and demolition of Masonic lodges. He uttered vehement threats against his "calumniators." But the "base liars" did not permit themselves to be intimidated. To the great surprise of the whole peninsula the Voce Repubblicana published all the necessary documents to prove that in 1915 Farinacci had been initiated in the Masonic lodge in Cremona. It was also shown that later on, while a railroad employee, he did not stand well with his superiors on account of his rebellious tendencies. When he saw that the old regime was losing ground, with Fascism in the ascendancy, he not only turned his back on Masonry but became its most bitter foe.
This humiliating exposure poured oil on the flames of Farinacci's hatred. "Those twenty-four hours during which I have been a Mason I will expiate by energetic action against Freemasonry," he swore. As in reality he had belonged, not only twenty-four hours, but several years to the Masonic Order, he carried his threat with a correspondingly more intense ferocity into execution.
A nation-wide persecution was launched against the opposition parties, which consisted mostly of Masons and socialists. In a large number of cities bloody riots broke out. Masons, and men merely suspected of being Masons, were dragged from their offices and places of business and beaten up, their stores were demolished, lodge rooms and other property destroyed.
Particularly serious were these outrages in Florence. From Sept. 25 to 29 regular hunting parties against Masons were instituted in that city. Over fifty Masons were beaten, stores owned by Masons and socialists were pillaged, city and government officials belonging to either organization were removed from office. Scared by the wild threats uttered in the Fascist paper Le Battaglie Fasciste, a number of Masons left the city.
In organizing these riots, the Fascist leaders no doubt had a secondary object in view, namely, to furnish an excuse for the government to postpone the approaching unwelcome Matteotti trial "by reason of the reigning disorders."
On the evening of Oct. 3, 1925, a signore Luporini, vice-president of the (local) Fascist organization of Florence, together with three other Fascists, called on signore Brandelli, Worshipful Master of one of the Masonic lodges of Florence, and requested him to follow them to Fascist headquarters "to give them information concerning the Freemasons." Brandelli refused to accompany them, knowing that he would be illtreated. When they attempted to drag him along by force, his friend and neighbor, Bacciolini (not a Mason), came to his rescue. In the ensuing melee Bacciolini, presumably in self-defense, drew his revolver. A number of shots were exchanged with the result that Luporini, the Fascist leader, was killed by Bacciolini. The latter fled, but was captured and clubbed to death. Brandelli, the innocent cause of the tragedy, escaped. The Fascist assailants now broke into Bacciolini's house and set it on fire. An excited crowd gathered. The fire department appeared. Its efforts to extinguish the fire that menaced the adjoining buildings were hampered by rowdy bands of Fascist militia. The conflagration was the signal for incendiarism and bloody excesses all over the city. The police arrested a number of imperiled Masons for protective purposes, to detain them in police quarters until the storm had blown over. Several of these Masonic prisoners on the way to the stations were pulled from the hands of the overpowered policemen by the infuriated mobs and literally torn to pieces. Among those also killed were the socialist deputy, Pilati, who, during the war, had been decorated for conspicuous bravery, and the lawyer Console. The riots continued the following day, a Sunday. Fascist leaders issued a manifesto declaring that the day of revenge had arrived and that the members of the opposition should be killed. Proscription lists were produced containing the names and addresses of prominent Masons and socialists. Under the leadership of Fascist centurions the work of murder and destruction on a large scale was fairly on its way when a dispatch from Mussolini ordered a cessation of all "reprisals." Reprisals! Eighteen men killed and forty mortally wounded was the toll of these "reprisals."
The Board of Directors of the Florence Fascists was dissolved and General Balbo entrusted with the command. He published an appeal to his partisans, warning them that such arbitrary, unauthorized "reprisals" were liable to injure the good name of Fascism.
In comparison with Florence, the tumults in Rome, Brindisi and other cities were mild, though plenty of blood flowed and heavy damage was done to property. We may mention also that Giuseppe Meoni, the recently appointed Deputy Grand Master of the Masons, was with his family expelled from Rome. To lessen the tension, and the danger his brethren were exposed to, Grand Master Torrigiani issued an order that all lodge work be temporarily suspended.
That was in the beginning of October, 1925. Peace and quiet reigned now for a few weeks, when on Nov. 4 the attempt on Mussolini's life by Zaniboni, a temporarily unbalanced socialist, caused a new flare-up of anti-Masonic activity. This time it was the government which openly and officially instituted the "reprisals." They were of an unbloody but nevertheless very tragic nature. The worthy General Luigi Capello, one of Italy's popular heroes of the World War, was destined to become their principal victim.
THE PLOT OF ZANIBONI
Normally, Italian Masonry and Socialism were not on friendly terms. Already before the World War the Italian Socialists had voted the Masons out of the party. But politics make strange bed fellows. When in the great national upheaval immediately following the war, Fascism rose to power and clearly aimed at the establishment of a Fascist dictatorship, the Socialists and Masons, being adverse to the plan, became allies, united by a community of interests. For that reason the Fascist riots of September and early October, 1925, were directed not only against Masons, but also against Socialists, as we have seen.
Nobody took these atrocities more to heart than the ardent Socialist, Zaniboni. His disturbed mind conceived a strange plot. He wanted to raise an army of 200,000 anti-Fascists, march on Rome, storm the Palazzo Chigi, take the Duce captive and place the opposition in power. He figured that the sum of 150,000 lire ($3,000) would suffice to finance the enterprise. He approached his political ally, Senator Frassati, director of the Turin Stampa, for the amount. Of course, he was turned down by the journalist who pitied his state of mind.
Having been refused the loan also by other parties, Zaniboni at last went to Rome to try his luck at Masonic headquarters. Grand Master Torrigiani was absent on a trip to Switzerland. His friend, General Luigi Capello, was in charge of Masonic affairs during his absence, Deputy Grand Master Meoni having been banished from Rome. Zaniboni, not a Mason himself, was acquainted with Capello, having served with him on an election committee the preceding winter. He explained to him his contemplated coup d'etat by means of raising an army of 200,000 men to capture Rome and depose Mussolini. He added his request for a loan of 100,000 lire ($2,000) to finance the undertaking. The old general, a lifelong conservative who abhorred all revolutionary methods, recognized at once that the poor fellow's brain was not functioning normally. Needless to say, he flouted the fantastic idea, refused the loan and urged him to drop all thought of the silly plan. It may be mentioned here that Capello had already five months previously, in May, 1925, retired from active politics by reason of his failing health.
Zaniboni might have accepted the good general's advice to abandon the utterly senseless project, had he not been abetted in it by a pretending enthusiastic accomplice, a man named Quaglia, who was in reality a spy and agent provocateur of the police. This truly classical villain was by profession a lawyer and journalist, connected with the Popolo. The European papers, with the exception of the Fascist press of Italy, have unanimously voted him to be the very prince of scoundrels. In comparison with him, Judas Iscariot was a noble-minded gentleman. This Quaglia had been commissioned by the chief of police, Crispo-Moncada-as the trial later revealed-to "get the goods" on the leaders of the Italian Masonry, to furnish proof that they were plotting against Mussolini to establish a military dictatorship. This worthy cheerfully went to work to manufacture "proof."
He entered into Zaniboni's scheme of overthrowing the Duce with such apparent ardor and enthusiasm that the poor dupe even at the trial, after Quaglia had admitted his character as a police spy and agent provocateur, refused to believe it: Quaglia now called on Capello to obtain a loan for Zaniboni. The general flatly refused, declaring that he utterly disapproved of the absurd scheme. He requested Quaglia to try to bring Zaniboni back to his senses. Quaglia did not give up so easily. He kept on pestering the general for money. Finally on Nov. 2, 1925, Capello gave him, on the Cavour bridge, 300 lire ($6.00) as a personal loan to Zaniboni to get rid of him. This transfer of money was witnessed by another police spy, Giuseppe Alberto Mascioli, who had been conveniently stationed. Capello then took the train to Turin to arrange there for the legal disqualification (stultification) of a feebleminded son of his. He thought that Zaniboni had at last recognized the futility of his scheme and dropped it. This sum of 300 lire--Mascioli at the trial raised it to 1,000 lire ($20.00)--was the corpus delicti produced by the prosecution at the trial. This was deemed sufficient evidence to prove that the honest conservative minded old general, who had seen fifty years of military service and had been honored by his king with the highest military decorations for his important services during the war, had financed Zaniboni's plot against Mussolini. On the strength of this astounding piece of "evidence" the old general was sentenced to thirty years' imprisonment. But we are getting ahead of our narrative.
Realizing his inability to secure any substantial financial support, Zaniboni had meanwhile discarded his glorious plan of organizing an armed revolt. He was about to give up in despair, when the resourceful Quaglia suggested to him a more feasible plan: to assassinate the Duce! What could be more simple! The seething brain of Zaniboni eagerly seized upon the idea. It was decided to execute it without delay. The fourth of November was selected as the date and the Hotel Dragoni as the place for the deed. The handy Quaglia made the necessary arrangements. Under the direction of the Chief of Police he bought a rifle, rented rooms in the hotel, carefully measured the distance the bullet would have to travel and attended to all other details. When at last the critical moment arrived, the police swooped down on the pair. Zaniboni readily admitted his murderous designs while Quaglia, the agent provocateur, exchanged knowing smiles with the police officials. He now "laid bare" how Zaniboni had acted merely as the tool of Freemasonry, which had conceived the plot to get Mussolini out of the way, and intended to proclaim a military dictatorship headed by General Capello. It was the latter who, while acting chief of the Italian Grand Orient, had supplied Zaniboni with the necessary funds for the execution of the plot, the police spy asserted.
OFFICIAL RAID ON THE MASONIC LODGES
The "discovery of the Masonic conspiracy" to assassinate Mussolini on Nov. 4, 1925, furnished the government the desired pretext for summary action against the Craft. Orders were immediately issued for the arrest of Capello. It was not difficult to locate him, as he had made no secret of his trip to Turin in the affair of his afflicted son. The aged, ailing general was cast into prison and kept incarcerated until the trial seventeen months later. It was postponed thus long with malicious intent.
Simultaneously with the arrest of the old general, a raid on the Palazzo Giustiniani, the home of the Grand Orient, and on all the Masonic lodges throughout the entire peninsula was decreed. The residences of Grand Master Torrigiani and other Masonic dignitaries were also raided. All the archives were diligently searched, every document and letter was read, every nook and corner was carefully looked into. Never in the history of Italy had so extensive and thorough an inquisition been held. It lasted for several months. And what was the harvest? Nil ! Nothing incriminating was found, no trace of any disloyal activities, nothing that would justify even the shadow of a suspicion.
"The Masons had previously removed and hidden all dangerous documents." Thus the disappointed Fascist leaders explained this total absence of any incriminating evidence.
Mussolini, the indefatigable, had meanwhile rushed the anti-Masonic bill through the senate. It was now a law. This formality might have been dispensed with in the country in which the will of the Duce was the supreme law. L'etat c'est moi, being his motto. Once more Grand Master Torrigiani issued a statement to the public. Through the press he published the following declaration:
A Roman paper has accused Freemasonry whose head I am that it has paid directly, or through Br. General Capello, 500,000 lire to Zaniboni that he engineer a plot or an attempt on the life of Mussolini.
I shall request the authorities to subject me as soon as possible to an examination that this calumny may be placed in the proper light.
Today I only want to state that Masonry regards every human life as sacred, that this high conception is sworn to by every one of our Brethren, and that Masonry abhors nothing so strongly as the shedding of human blood.
This declaration was ignored and events took their course.
With the three "conspirators," Capello, Zaniboni and the journalistic Ducci, safely behind the bars, the Fascist government showed no hurry with the trial. It still hoped against hope to find some sort of real evidence, or at least some semblance of real evidence, to incriminate Capello and Ducci. At last, more than seventeen months after the unearthing of the "plot" against Mussolini's life, preparations were made for the trial, a special court was convoked to hear the case. General Sanna was designated to preside over it. However, when acquainted with the "evidence" on the strength of which Capello had been indicted, the honest old soldier, convinced of Capello's innocence, declined the "honor" of presiding over such a court. General Freri was now appointed president of this special court.
On April 11, 1927, the trial was opened. It was interrupted during Easter. It consumed altogether seven days. The accusation against Capello, presented by the Attorney General, Noseda, was based entirely on the testimony of the treacherous spy, Quaglia. He was the star witness for the prosecution. His very appearance, every grin and motion denoting the servile sycophant, made a most unfavorable impression on the journalists and the spectators present. He maintained that Capello had instigated the plot and had agreed to provide the necessary funds.
The second police spy, Mascioli, was called to the witness stand. He was well posted on Masonic activities. He testified that Grand Master Torrigiani himself had promised Zaniboni a large amount, but had later withdrawn his offer. Capello then, on Nov. 2, 1925, gave to Quaglia 1000 lire ($20.00) from his own pocket for Zaniboni to enable him to make his "get away" after the assassination. It was in the afternoon, and on the Cavour bridge, that the money was handed over. He, Mascioli, had seen it with his own eyes.
Capello was now cross-examined. Owing to his feeble health, he had not been placed in the defendant's cage with the other prisoners. (In Italy, it seems, the defendant is treated like a criminal, or rather, like a wild beast until his innocence is proven.) He denied indignantly the charge of complicity in the plot. He gave a brief account of his part in national politics. He had been a Fascist, but left the party when its incompatibility with Masonry had been officially proclaimed. He joined the opposition then, but always kept within the limits of the law. When in January, 1925, the opposition parties organized for the coming elections, he attended meetings of the political league Italia Libera at which, Zaniboni, the Socialist, was also present. This political campaign was conducted in the customary manner, on a strictly lawful basis. After May, 1925, he had abstained from all political activity on account of his poor health. In October, 1925, he took temporary charge of the Grand Orient during the absence of Grand Master Torrigiani. It was then that Zaniboni applied for an interview which he, Capello, as substitute Grand Master granted him. Zaniboni then asked him for 100,000 lire to concentrate 200,000 men at Rome to overthrow the Duce. The ridiculousness of the plan convinced him that Zaniboni's excited mind was not properly balanced. He tried to calm him. Afterwards Quaglia called repeatedly on him, Capello, to assist Zaniboni financially, for whom he simulated the sincerest friendship. He refused to advance any money, urging Quaglia to dissuade Zaniboni from his mad project. At last, tired of being pestered, he gave Quaglia 300 lire as a personal loan to Zaniboni. He thought that the wild plan had been abandoned. "I have," remarked the old general, "never been so crazy as to support such silly plans. At present, however, after nearly eighteen months of imprisonment, it may be possible that my mind has been somewhat impaired."
He added that as an old general who had seen fifty years of service he was sufficiently experienced to know that the army would not make common cause with revolutionaries. Nor had he ever solicited foreign help against his own country, as had been charged by the prosecution. At the convention of the Associatioa Masonique International at Geneva in 1925, he had by his earnest entreaties prevented the adoption of a resolution expressing sympathy for the persecuted Italian brethren.
Questioned by the Attorney General why he had not reported Zaniboni to the authorities, Capello replied that he was under the impression that Zaniboni had given up his foolish plan after having been refused the 100,000 lire. He knew nothing of Zaniboni's plot to assassinate the Duce. Of that Zaniboni had never breathed a word to him. (It was only after the interview with Capello that Zaniboni, inspired by Quaglia, made up his mind to assassinate the Duce.)
ZANIBONI IS QUESTIONED
He admitted his intention of assassinating Mussolini. He was still convinced that Quaglia had the same intention. He denied emphatically that General Capello had any knowledge of this plan.
This statement was contradicted by the spy Quaglia, who insisted that Capello knew of the plot and fomented and financed it. "Capello knew," he maintained, "that out of the general chaos a military dictatorship would emerge and that he as an old general and as one of the leaders of Masonry would seize the government."
These and other allegations made by Quaglia were indignantly denied both by Capello and by Zaniboni. The latter jumped furiously up from his seat in the cage and, his hands extended to the court, explained: "By the head of my daughter, the only thing that has remained sacred to me in life, I swear that on the morning of the fourth of November in the room in the Hotel Dragoni Quaglia requested it as an honor to be permitted to fire simultaneously with me at Mussolini!"
When Quaglia denied this, Zaniboni jumped up again: "If there was a God who punishes lies then you would drop dead to the floor now."
Counsel for the defense, Petroni, asked CrispoMoncada, the Director General of the Police, whether he had employed Quaglia as an agent provocateur. The Director General dared not deny it.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SUMS UP THE CASE AGAINST CAPELLO
Though forced to admit that the investigation had not produced the slightest evidence of the complicity of Grand Master Torrigiani in the plot, the Attorney General, Noseda, nevertheless insisted that Freemasonry had its hand in it. It encouraged Capello's aspirations to become military dictator. There could be no doubt about that, he averred. It was as the representative of Masonry that Capello conspired with Zaniboni and supplied him with funds. The mere fact that Capello, the general, the holder of the highest military honors, had anything at all to do with a Socialist like Zaniboni, was a proof of his subversive plans. The following points he, Noseda, considered as definitely established:
1. Capello did not sever his connections with Zaniboni after he had been made acquainted with his plans.
2. Capello contributed financially towards the execution of Zaniboni's plans.
3. Particularly incriminating is the amount of money Zaniboni received on Nov. 3, the eve before the attempt on Mussolini's life.
4. Finally, it is extremely strange that on the same evening Capello left Rome. From all this it was clear that Capello was Zaniboni's accomplice. For that reason he, the Attorney General, demanded the same punishment for both of them-thirty years' imprisonment.
SPEECH OF SIGNORE PETRONI, COUNSEL FOR THE DEFENSE
When Petroni arose, a hush fell over the crowded courtroom.
I have accepted the defense of Capello, he commenced, in a sad hour. I have done so, because I was fully convinced of the innocence of the General. And I declare today: Capello never had any designs on the life of Mussolini. He has never approved nor aided Zaniboni's plans for his assassination. He has never intended to establish a dictatorship, much less to become dictator himself. Even to consider the mere possibility of such a thing in October, 1925, would have been sheer madness. For even if the attempt on Mussolini's life had succeeded, it could not have produced any change in the political constellation. Capello could not help knowing that at that time the people would have taken it as a bloody signal to rise not against Fascism, but against the conspirators. What could have been the motive for such an attempt? It has been charged that Capello had acted in blind obedience to the orders of Grand Master Torrigiani. But that charge has been so thoroughly refuted that even the prosecution has dropped it.
If Capello, as has further been claimed, was a man of selfish ambition who aspired to a political career, he would have acted entirely differently when in 1923 he had the choice between Fascism and Freemasonry. For he decided in favor of the latter. He had become a Fascist in 1922 because he was then convinced of the necessity of that movement to restore order in Italy. When then in the following year the High Fascist Council announced that there existed an incompatibility between Fascism and Masonry, he turned his back on Fascism, though he had been marked for the highest honors. Fascism was then celebrating unprecedented triumphs, Rome was occupied and Mussolini the hero and victor. Whoever harbored any personal ambitions, could find their fullest gratification in the Fascist camp. But Capello renounced his chance of becoming secretary of war, leader of the militia. He preferred to adhere to Freemasonry, the cause so sacred to him. That was, if one wants to call it so, the crime of Capello.
It has been asserted that Capello has accepted, a remuneration for joining the opposition. That is a contemptible calumny. It is true-and he has never denied it--that Capello has been active in the opposition. But even from these activities he had already withdrawn in August. As will be remembered, early in 1925 there had been talk of spring elections, and Capello took a place in the campaign committee of the opposition. But there was absolutely no thought of a conspiracy. Such a thing existed only in the imagination of the spy Quaglia, who has played so despicable and sinister a part. But what happened between August, 1925, and the 4th of November, the day for which the assassination was planned? At the time when the plan for the assassination took place in the head of Zaniboni, all political connection between him and Capello had already been broken off. That was the reason why Zaniboni tried to obtain money from Senator Frassati, director of the Turin "stampa." Like Capello, Frassati refused to advance the 150,000 lire wanted by him. No charge has been raised against the Senator for having failed to report Zaniboni to the authorities. Then no charge should be raised against Capello for having failed to do so.
In his need of funds, Zaniboni then went into the Friauli district, where he had friends. When he failed to obtain anything there, he left Italy. Later on he returned to Rome, where on Oct. 21 he had the famous interview with Capello in which, it is alleged, the assassination was determined upon. Zaniboni made him acquainted with his ridiculous scheme of storming the palazzo Chigi and taking Mussolini captive. He did not say a word about murdering the Duce. When he then tried to lay before him other plans, Capello interrupted him at once and said: "Enough of it ! I do not want to hear another word ! If you have debts or need a little money, I will help you out. I can loan you 5,000 lire. There can be no thought of the 100,000 lire you ask for."
In this connection there is one point that deserves our particular attention. Capello has spoken about this interview which, the Attorney General now declares, is the decisive one [in which the assassination was decided on]. But Quaglia never made mention of it in his minute reports to the police, nor did the police mention it in its reports to the Minister of the Interior. Quaglia's silence on this point is the proof of the innocence of Capello.
This interview of Oct. 21 is the essential link of the whole case. If here the evidence is not produced that Capello knew of the plan of the assassination, then the entire accusation collapses. And I declare herewith that the Attorney General has not been able to produce the slightest trace of evidence. He has advanced a thesis with nothing to support it.
A few days after that interview Capello sent a letter to Zaniboni who had meanwhile gone to Urbignacco. That letter contained an absolute refusal [to have anything to do with the plot]. That Zaniboni understood it so, is proven by the fact that he now went with Quaglia to Milan to try to obtain money from Senator Albertini.
Capello now considered the whole matter disposed of. There, on the evening of the first of November, a young man knocks at his door: Quaglia! He brought a letter from Zaniboni in which he again begged for money. Then came the scene on the Cavour bridge that reminds one of a bandit story. There Capello gave Quaglia an envelope containing 300 lire ($6.00) for Zaniboni to get rid of him. This transaction was witnessed by Mascioli, a second police spy. An attempt has been made to puff up this envelope to the size of a huge package. But even Mascioli speaks only of about 1,000 lire ($20.00).
There is not a particle of an evidence that would point to the guilt of Capello, all depositions prove his innocence. If he is charged with conspiracy, with having worked out the strategic plans for a military revolt where in all the world are the men who should carry out his plans? Where are the arms? Quaglia has stated that it was planned to disarm the Fascist militia and thus to secure the necessary arms. But how can anybody credit Capello with so idiotic a design?
Already in summer 1925 Capello had recognized that in view of the popular sentiment it would not be worth while to spend money for an election campaign. And then that he should have gone and conceived such a childish plot? No! Never!
On the evening of Nov. 3 Capello set out from Rome for Turin to have a mentally defective son of his placed under legal guardianship. He gave his name when he purchased the ticket. He did not go away secretly. He had ample time to cross over to Switzerland, if he had wanted to do so, as his passport was perfectly in order.
Gentlemen of this high tribunal, beware of committing an awful judicial error! You are Fascists and men of honor. The Duce has appointed you to let justice prevail. Fascism is strong. It is the state. A state is only great when it accords justice also to the adversary. I demand justice for a man who in war and in peace has always had the welfare of his country at heart. I do not ask for clemency, I ask for an acquittal.
When the counsel for the defense had finished with this appeal, the unexpected happened: the public in the galleries, though Fascist, went wild with applause, which subsided only when the presiding judge, General Freri, energetically requested silence. On him and on his fellow judges these convincing words had, of course, made no impression.
It need not be mentioned that the verdict was waited for with more than ordinary suspense. When it was announced, it fell like a thunderbolt on the court room. It declared both Zaniboni and Capello guilty of having conspired against Mussolini's life. Both were given the same sentence: thirty years in the penitentiary, the first six of which were to be served in solitarily confinement!
Strange, the defendants had expected a different attitude on the part of the court. To quote the New Zurich Gazette:
When they were all led to the defendants' cage, tied to a long chain and guarded by ten carabinieri, to hear the sentence of the court, one could notice the air of confidence on their faces. Perhaps their lawyers had held out a ray of hope to them. That was soon extinguished when the presiding judge, with a hard, chilling expression on his face, read the sentence. Only one of the defendants found it difficult to suppress the tears. The others accepted their fate in silence, in particular Capello. The chances of the old general had seemed decidedly improved after the six hours of most eloquent pleadings by his masterful legal counsel. The hopeful smile he had exhibited before the reading of the verdict died on his pale lips.
There being no right of appeal, the sentence took effect at once.
GRAND MASTER TORRIGIANI IS ARRESTED
Hardly had this most astounding verdict been published when the Fascist press opened a carefully planned campaign of vilification against Grand Master Torrigiani. On the day following the announcement of the verdict, at five o'clock in the morning--the official record falsely stated that it was in the afternoon --a squad of secret service men descended upon the house where Torrigiani had for some time been staying with friends. After a thorough search of the premises, the Grand Master was taken in an auto to the prison Regina Coeli. Two hours later he was, without any court procedure, by an administrative measure, ordered deported to the bleak Liparian Isles to remain interned (in confino) there for a term of five years. This after the Fascist Attorney General, Noseda, had admitted in court that the inquest into the attempt on Mussolini's life had not produced the slightest evidence that would warrant an indictment of Torrigiani !
The servile Fascist papers hailed this latest outrage with the utmost satisfaction. Sneers one of them, the Popolo d'ltalia:
Now the Grand Master who has ruled Rome so long goes fettered like a low criminal into exile where the scum of the Italian society awaits him. With the arrest of the Grand Master a whole world collapses. For the rest, five years is too little for him. Torrigiani, this most powerful enemy of Fascist Italy must disappear forever from the light of the day!
FORTY-FIVE MASONS INTERNED
The "scum of the Italian society" whom, in the language of the Popolo, Torrigiani was to join on the dreary Liparian Isles, are forty-four Masons who were deported there for "administrative reasons" without even a semblance of a court procedure. Their families at home are struggling with bitter poverty.
PRESS COMMENT ON THE CAPELLO TRIAL
The Fascist press of Italy was jubilant over the outcome of the trial. Of non-Fascist papers there is, thanks to Mussolini's suppressive methods, little left outside of the Catholic or clerical papers. Though inveterate foes of Masonry, they do not permit their sense of justice to be clouded by blind partisanship. The Osservatore Romano, the official mouthpiece of the Vatican, does not hesitate to declare that no proof of the guilt of Capello was furnished. In this it concurs with the Unita Catolica. These two influential journals take great pains in putting Capello's innocence in the strongest light.
It would seem that the representatives of non-Italian papers encountered difficulties in getting by the censor. So at least the Roman correspondent of the Rhenish Westphalian Gazette, Catholic and anti-Masonic, intimates. We quote:
Fascism has a thousand times declared that it is wholly indifferent as to the opinion of the world. Nevertheless, once in a while it feels the need of making a demonstration to show that Fascist administration of justice is still functioning and then it conducts a trial in Fascist style. That requires a certain amount of preparation, and preparation requires time. Hence the Matteotti trial was commenced in Chieti twenty-two months after the deed, the trial of the "traitors" of Bozen (Bolzano) fourteen months after, in Verona. And so today the trial of Zaniboni and Capello takes place seventeen months after the deed before a Fascist special court in the palace of justice in Rome.
The German reader now expects a report of this trial like a thousand other such reports. He wants to be informed about public opinion in Italy and about the comment of the Italian press. He wants to know what impression the case, the court and the defendants made on the correspondent. I regret to say that I cannot serve with such news. Do not ask the reason why.
Presumably this correspondent was on the Fascist black list for excessive candor in the past and had to be on his guard. Significant in this stunted report is the allusion to the fact that in Fascist Italy court trials are unusual and are only staged occasionally to show to the outside world that there is still such a thing as an administration of justice and a court procedure in Italy, if only in name. The usual procedure is administrative, that is, a person inconvenient to the Fascist "bosses" is incarcerated without the formality of a court procedure and he remains incarcerated as long as it pleases these "bosses." Such an administrative procedure saves both time and money.
The Berlin Geimania, the leading organ of the Center (Catholic) party, is advised by its Roman correspondent:
From what people told each other in the corridors of the palace of justice, the decision could no longer surprise anybody. To an outsider Capello's complicity in the plot was not sufficiently established to justify a sentence of such severity. But Capello was arraigned before the court as the representative of Freemasonry and as Freemasonry was to be condemned, he had to be given the same sentence, as Zaniboni who had admitted his guilt.
Of the same opinion is also the Berlin Vossiche Zeitung, a conservative bourgeois paper.
The Berlin Boersen-Courier which, as the name indicates, is the organ of high finance, calls the sentence imposed on Capello a "monstrosity" which, it thinks, is the more revolting as the Attorney General had admitted at the trial that he had been unable to find any evidence against Capello.
Indignant at the glaring injustice is also the Berlin Vorwaerts, the leading Socialist paper of Germany. It exclaims:
In the trial of General Capello no evidence, positively none whatever, has been brought to light except the deposition of an agent provocateur.
It pronounces the whole Fascist agitation against Italian Masonry with its gruesome, revolting details a spectacle particularly "loathsome" by reason of the cowardly hypocrisy of the methods employed.
The conservative Hamburger Fremdenblatt also shakes its head at a verdict of guilty based exclusively on the testimony of so despicable a character as the traitor Quaglia "which every ordinary court would without fail have declined as inadmissible."
In the opinion of the Socialist vienna Arbeiter Zeitung the trial has shown that Capello was not implicated in the plot laid by Zaniboni and Quaglia under the eyes of the police. The old general was "railroaded" to the penitentiary to serve a thirty years' sentence not by a juridical, but by a political process.
The trial in Rome, it argues, has made it clear beyond all doubt that nobody in Italy can today escape his ruin, once that machinery is set in motion against him that has crushed the General Capello. Capello is an ailing old man, weighed down by family cares, poor at the end of a glorious military career, without ambition. Through chance, or probably through private vengeance, he was marked as the banner bearer of anti-Fascism to drag him down with the banner. Here is more than the tragedy of an individual. This is not a case merely of man sinning against man. Here the highest ideal of the state, its noblest symbol, Justice, has been made the tool of special interests, And thereby the very crime was committed that, it was pretended, was to be punished: the crime against the security of the state.
Edouard Peguillian writes in the La France of Nice:
The trial has nothing in common with Justice, that sacred social institution that stands forth as the supreme safeguard of men against oppression by the mighty and against the errors of those who govern. There is no longer any justice in Italy. There exists only a wild triumphant horde who blindly strike down all who refuse to kneel before them, but who, to preserve a facade of respectability, feel occasionally the need of staging an odious comedy, a shocking travesty of justice.
As the trial has shown, the plot was promoted by the Italian police with Italian money through the treacherous spy Quaglia who goaded Zaniboni, whose secretary he was, into a desperate and insane undertaking.... Through Zaniboni he was, in the person of Capello, to reach Freemasonry. This man (Capello) was accused of complicity in order to have a pretext to condemn him, and thus to strike at Masonry which Mussolini, either through fear or through hatred, wanted to compromise at any cost in order to justify his measures against it. . . A high Masonic dignitary was to be discredited, the General Capello, who by his character, his civic virtues and his popularity stood forth as one of the pillars of Italian democracy. To achieve that, Mussolini shrank from nothing. Police, agent provocateurs, everything was resorted to.
The Vatican itself has through its papers, the Osservatore Romano and the Unita Catoliea, exposed the lying accusations Fascism has raised against Freemasonry.... Fascist Italy has disgraced itself by the condemnation of General Capello whose noble personality will enter the annals of history as a martyr.
The Manchester Guardian finds that the speech of the counsel for the defense, Petroni, which even the Fascist audience in the galleries felt compelled to applaud, would have convinced any English court of the innocence of General Capello. The climax of the trial is reached by the arrest and deportation of Grand Master Torrigiani. The institution of the confino or internment, to which Mussolini frequently resorts in crushing his political adversaries, emphasizes the fact that the present situation in Italy is abnormal. The great English daily believes that Fascism would more easily gain recognition as a stable form of government, if it ceased to employ such unusual measures against its adversaries. In regard to the police spy, Quaglia, the Guardian is of the opinion that if the domicile of Quaglia was transferred across the sea, every Italian, be he Fascist or not, would welcome it as a hygienic measure.
With the exception of the Fascist papers of Italy, the whole European press is in accord that the murders and other outrages perpetrated by the Italian Fascists against the Masons and Socialists and, last but not least, the condemnation of General Capello and the deportation of Grand Master Torrigiani, are a slap in the face of decency and justice. Few of the papers that comment on the trial fail to express their nausea at the mention of the spy, Quaglia. This worthy has immortalized himself as one of the classic scoundrels in history. But what are we to think of the Director: General of the Roman police, Crispo-Moncada, who hired him and concocted with him the plot to entrap Capello? What of Noseda, the Attorney General, who admitted his testimony and on the strength of it demanded and secured the condemnation of the innocent Capello? What of Mussolini, the Duce, himself who superintended the whole performance? Are they less despicable than the scoundrel Quaglia?
THE TRANSLATOR'S COMMENT
We are all more or less agreed that in the capture and trial of Christ it was not Judas Iscariot who was the most contemptible figure, but the cowardly Pontius Pilate, the proud Roman governor who failed to protect the man whom he had publicly declared to be innocent. It would seem that in the trial of Capello there is one individual who degraded himself deeper than the villain Quaglia and that individual is General Freri the man who presided over the special court that condernne Capello. If the entire press of Europe is nauseated with the part the civilian Quaglia played in the drama, what are we to think of a high military man like General Freri who cooperated with, and solemnly crowns that nasty piece of treachery directed at a fellow-officer, a fellow-general? Can the despicability of such a person of high military rank be expressed in respectable language ?
It has frequently happened in the past that officers of the American army and navy were required at official or social functions to exchange the military salute with foreign officers. Such occasions will present themselves again. We may conceive the following situation: An American man-of-war calls at an Italian port and is given an official reception. Among the reception committee is present in uniform General Freri. The officers of the American vessel will be required to exchange the military salute with that strange specimen of a general. Will it not be a humiliation for them, an injury to their self-respect? The possibility of such a situation ever arising is perhaps remote, but it exists. It should be eliminated altogether. We owe that much to our officers. The matter ought to be brought to the attention of the American Legion and of the staff of the army and navy. Maybe at the next session of Congress some Congressman could request our government to notify the Mussolini government that if General Freri should ever participate in an official function in which American officers are required to participate, it will be interpreted as a deliberate insult to the American people. The matter in itself is trivial, but the principle involved is important. The self-respect and spirit of honor of our officers must be safeguarded at all costs.
[This suggestion is made entirely on the translator's own responsibility and we insert it at his especial request.--Ed.]
There are, or were, ill Italy two sovereign bodies controlling lodges of the symbolic degrees, the Grand Orient of which Bro. Torrigiani was Grand Master, and the National Grand Lodge which Bro. Raoul Palermi headed. The latter is also under the ban, in spite of attempts that seem to have been made by Bro. Palermi to convince the Fascists that none of the accusations made by them against Freemasonry in general were true of the Grand Lodge. Bro. Palermi is now in exile in Sicily.
There were, some time ago, disputes between these two bodies, and the differences between them do not seem easy to judge. The Grand Orient seems in reality to be the senior body, though the Grand Lodge claims to be, apparently by considering itself the successor of previous ruling bodies. The question is complicated by the fact that there are also two Supreme Councils, the one in connection with the Grand Lodge being regarded as regular and it would seem as if differences in the Scottish Rite has led to those in the symbolic lodges. It would not be possible to give any definite judgment on such a complicated question in a footnote. Of American Grand Lodges we believe some six or eight have recognized the Grand Lodge, and have judged the Grand Orient irregular. On the other hand the two Grand Lodges who have perhaps gone into the matter of foreign relations most thoroughly, Alabama and New York, have decided very strongly in favor of the Grand Orient. This body has also been recognized as regular by the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland and Ireland and others. From the European point of view generally, the lodges and brethren in the obedience of both bodies, would be regarded as equally regular and entitled to recognition.
Belief in God: A Historical Tenet of Freemasonry
By BRO. GILBERT W. DAYNES, Associate Editor, England
TODAY, Freemasons, in almost every Grand Lodge, recognize that an abiding belief in God--the Great Architect of the Universe--is the solid foundation upon which the Masonic edifice rests. These brethren regard all those who own allegiance to the isolated Grand Lodges that have broken away from this standpoint as renegade-beyond the pale; and rigorously exclude such backsliders from their Lodge Meetings, as being unworthy of the name of Freemason.
This belief in God is no new tenet of the Craft: records demonstrate that it is a Landmark in Masonry co-eval with its birth. Let us therefore dig into the past and, by means of such documents as have survived to the present day, establish the truth of this statement. The connection between Speculative Masonry and Operative Masonry of the Middle Ages having been largely verified, it is essential that the documents of the Mediaeval Masons should be considered before attempting those relating to Freemasonry under the Grand Lodge of England, the premier Grand Lodge of the world.
The earliest Masonic document to which we can thus refer is the Regius Poem of about A. D. 1390. In this MS. King Athelstan is said to have made "hye templus of gret honowre," in order to "worschepe hys God with alle hys mygth." We are also told, when dealing with the points to be observed by Masons:
That whose wol conne thys craft and com to astate,
He most love wel God, and holy churche algate.
The second document of importance is the Cooke MS., a document of a somewhat later date, but supposed by many Masonic students to be a copy of a MS. even older than the Regius Poem. The Cooke MS. commences thus:
Thonkyd be god our glorious ffadir and founder and former of heuen and of erthe, and of alle thyngis that in hym is that he wolde fochesaue of his glorious god hed for to make so mony thyngis of diuers vertu for mankynd.
Also, at line 835, where the points to be observed by Masons are set out, all Masons are exhorted to love "god and holy chyrche & alle halowis."
Throughout these two MSS. there are clear indications that it was the duty of every Mason to worship God in accordance with the doctrine of the then established church: and it would be difficult to imagine any deviation from this rule when we remember that these were the Craftsmen to whom we are indebted for those wonderful sacred edifices--those poems in stone -which still are the glory and veneration of the whole world.
The next documents in chronological order are those Masonic title deeds known to the brethren of today as the MS. Constitutions, or Old Charges. There are now about 100 texts in existence, all of them slightly varying, but nevertheless so similar as unquestionably to point to a derivation from one common original. These MSS., except when following the opening sentence of the Cooke MS., invariably commence with an invocation, or prayer, addressed to the Trinity. One of the earliest dated copies of the Old Charges is the Grand Lodge, No. 1, MS., of 25th December, 1583. In it the Invocation runs as follows:
The Mighte of the ffather of Heaven and the wysedome of the glorious soonne through the grace & the goodnes of the holly ghoste yt been three psons & one god be wth vs at or beginning And give vs grace so to gou'ne vs here in or lyving that wee maye come to his blisse that neu' shall have ending. Amen.
That this Invocation originally was, or in the 17th century became, the opening Prayer of the Lodge is supported by the evidence of the Buchanan MS. (1660 1680), and the Atcheson-Haven MS. (1666), in both of which the Invocation commences "O Lord God, Father of Heaven." The Aberdeen MS. (1670) goes even further, and this Invocation to the Trinity is expressly termed "A Prayer befor the Meeting." In the Freemasons' Pocket Companion, published by J.Scott, in 1754, this Invocation is given as "A Prayer to be used of Christian Masons at the empointing of a Brother: Used in the Reign of Edward IV." We may thus feel assured that the Speculative Mason of the 18th century had no doubt as to the character of the opening sentence of the Old Charges, and the use to which it was put at the making of their Operative Ancestors.
After setting out the Legendary History of the Craft of Masonry in some detail the Old Charges recited certain Articles and Points, or Charges, which were binding upon all Masons; and also some further Clauses which were binding on the Masters and Fellows. In the very forefront of these charges came a Charge concerning belief in God as a requisite for all Masons. This Clause, as given in the Grand Lodge, No. 1, MS., is as follows:
The fyrst Chardge ys this That ye shall bee trewe men to god and holly Churche and you vse no Errour nor heresye by yor vndrstanding or discreacon but be yee discreet men or wyse men in eache thing.
This Clause, with but trifling alterations, appears in all the copies of the Old Charges. It would, with the other Articles and Points, invariably be read to all who were made Masons; after which an Oath to observe the Articles, etc., would be administered.
Again, throughout the Middle Ages, there were in most towns of England and Scotland Gilds of Masons, and many of their Ordinances have been preserved. From these Rules and Regulations it is clear that the Mason was no Atheist but was required to profess the religion of the Established Church. For instance, in the Regulations for the Masons Company of the City of London, passed in 1481, attendance at Church to hear Mass was compulsory on certain Feast Days. Nor, with regard to this Company, must we forget that their Motto was "God is our Guide." Although disused for some centuries the substituted one--"In the Lord is all our Trust"--does not suggest any departure from the Masons' standard of belief.
Such was the condition of affairs when the Grand Lodge of England was brought into being, in London, in 1717. For how iong after this date the Christian Faith was requisite we cannot with certainty state. In 1722 the Roberts Print of the Old Charges was published, with its Invocation to the Trinity, and its clause concerning belief in God. It was not, however, an authorized production, under the aegis of the Grand Lodge of England. Concurrently with the issue of this work Dr. James Anderson was completing the first Edition of the Book of Constitutions, and the Grand Lodge was widening its portals by dropping the definite and distinctive Christian character of the Craft.
The Book of Constitutions was published in February, 1723, and in it, amongst other things, Anderson inserted "The Charges of a Free-Mason, extracted from the ancient Records of Lodges." The first is headed "Concerning God and Religion," and reads as follows:
A Mason is oblig'd, by hiS Tenure, to obey the moral Law and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charg'd in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet 'tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denomination or Persuasion they may be distinguish'd; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain'd at a perpetual Distance.
This Charge might certainly have been worded more clearly, and has led some people to believe that even a belief in God had ceased to be obligatory. But it should be recollected that the Charge was probably drawn up by Anderson, a Scottish Presbyterian Minister, and was approved by, amongst others, the Rev. J.T. Desaguliers, a French Protestant Divine. It is inconceivable that either of these Clergymen would have acquiesced in the removal of that Landmark-the belief in God--from the Constitutions of the Craft; but we must remember that both of them would desire to emphasize that the Craft was open to others than those whose religion was that of the Established Church of England. Anderson's accuracy in transcription has been found at fault on several occasions, and his wording of this Charge need not be construed with minute exactness. A careful perusal of contemporary evidence will aid in its true construction, and negative the assumption of atheistic principles. The correct interpretation seems to be that the phrase "Irreligious Libertine" was intended to designate the Freethinker of the present day; and that Anderson, in framing the clause, wanted to make it as wide as possible without including the man with no belief in God. It was not to admit the Atheist, but to enable brethren with different religious opinions to meet together in amity.
In the Second Edition of the Book of Constitutions Anderson alters the wording of the first Charge, and gives it in the following words:
A Mason is oblig'd by his Tenure to observe the Moral Law, as a true Noachilla; and if he rightly understands the Craft, he will never be a Stupid Atheist, nor an Irreligious Libertin, nor act against Conscience. In antient Times the Christian Masons were charged to comply with the Christian Usages of each Country where they travell'd or work'd: But Masonry being found in all Nations, even of divers Religions, they are now only charged to adhere to that Religion in which all Men agree (leaving each Brother to his own particular Opinions) that is, to be Good Men and True, Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Names, Religions or Persuasions they may be distinguish'd: For they all agree in the 3 great Articles of Noah, enough to preserve the Cement of the Lodge.
In the Third Edition of the Book of Constitutions, published in 1756, a return was made to the wording in the First Edition, irrespective of its precise meaning; but the so-called Exposures of that period show that a belief in God was requisite. The wording remained thus until after the Union of the premier Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge of the Antients in 1813.
If we turn to the Grand Lodge of the Antients we find that the First Edition of Ahiman Rezon was published in 1756. The Old Charges are given, and the first one "Concerning God and Religion" follows the wording in Anderson's Second Edition of the Book of Constitutions. But earlier, when dealing with the principles of the Craft, Laurence Dermott has no doubt as to the meaning of this First Charge, and states:
A Mason is obliged by his Tenure to believe firmly in the true Worship of the eternal God, as well as in all those sacred Records which the Dignitaries and Fathers of the Church have compiled and published for the Use of all good Men: So that no one who rightly understands the Art, can possibly tread in the irreligious Paths of the unhappy Libertine, or be induced to follow the arrogant Professors of Atheism or Deism; neither is he to be stained with the gross Errors of blind Superstition, but may have the Liberty of embracing what Faith he shall think proper, provided at all Times he pays a due Reverence to his Creator, and by the World deals with Honour and Honesty ever making that golden Precept the Standard-Rule of his Actions, which engages, To do unto all Man as he would they should do unto him: For the Craft, instead of entering into idle and unnecessary Disputes concerning the Different Opinions and Persuasions of Men, admits into the Fraternity all that are good and true.
Also, when dealing with the duties of a Mason, Laurence Dermott states:
At his leisure Hours he is required to study the Arts and Sciences with a diligent Mind, that he may not only perform his Duty to his Great Creator, but also to his Neighbour and himself: For to walk humbly in the Sight of God, to do Justice, and love Mercy, are the certain Characteristics of a Real Free and Accepted Ancient Mason.
With the Union of 1813 came an amalgamation of the Constitutions of the two Grand Bodies thus united. An Edition of the Book of Constitutions was published in 1815, and the wording of the first Charge, "Concerning God and Religion," assumed its present form, as follows:
A Mason is obliged, by his tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understand the art he will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine. He, of all men, should best understand that GOD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh at the outward appearance, but GOD looketh to the heart. A Mason is, therefore, particularly bound never to act against the dictates of his conscience. Let a man's religion or mode of worship be what it may, he is not excluded from the order provided he believe in the glorious architect of heaven and earth, and practise the sacred duties of morality.
Turning to the Grand Lodge of Ireland for a moment we know that John Pennell published The Constitutions of the Free-Masons in Dublin, in 1730. He copied very extensively from Anderson's earlier work, including the Charges. There is, however, a paragraph by Pennell, which is very illuminating. He says:
Let all Free Masons so behave themselves, as to be accepted of God, the Grand Architect of the Universe, and continue to be, as they have ever been, the Wonder of the World: And let the Cement of the Brotherhood be so well preserved that the whole Body may remain as a well-built Arch.
It is also in Pennell's Constitutions that we have the earliest dated Prayer, other than the Invocation to the Trinity which commenced the Old Charges. This Prayer is entitled "A Prayer to be said at the opening of a Lodge, or making of a Brother," and runs thus:
Most Holy and Glorious Lord God, thou great Architect of Heaven and Earth, who art the Giver of all good Gifts and Graces; and hast promis'd that where two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt be in the Midst of them; in thy Name we assembie and meet together, most humbly beseeching thee to bless us in all our Undertakings, to give us thy Holy Spirit, to enlighten our Minds with Wisdom and Understanding, that we may know and serve thee aright, that all our Doings may tend to thy Glory, and the Salvation of our Souls.
And we beseech thee, O LORD GOD, to bless this our present Undertaking, and grant that this, our new Brother, may dedicate his Life to thy Service, and be a true and faithful Brother among us. Endue him with Divine Wisdom, that he may, with the Secrets of Masonry, be able to unfold the Mysteries of Godliness and Christianity.
This we humbly beg in the Name and for the sake of JESUS CHRIST our LORD and SAVIOUR. AMEN.
There is a marginal note, that the second paragraph was "To be added when any man is made." This Prayer subsequently appeared in Scott's Pocket Companion for Freemasons of 1754.
Contemporary with the Prayer just quoted there are three others to be found in the Rawlinson MSS., at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Two of these are in script, and one in type print. These Prayers possess much similarity, and probably point to a common origin. The Printed Prayer commences thus:
O Most Glorious and Eternal God, who art the Chief Architect of the Created Universe! Grant unto us, thy Servants, who have already enter'd our selves into this most noble, antient, and honourable Fraternity, that we may be solid and thoughtful, and always have a Remembrance of those sacred and holy things we have taken on us, and endeavour to inform and instruct each other in Secrecy; and that this Person, who is now about to be made a Mason, may be a worthy Member; and may all of us live as Men, considering the great End for which thy goodness has created us; Etc.
Other Prayers of a somewhat later date are also preserved: they all refer to the Grand Architect of the Universe, and leave no doubt that throughout the whole period a belief in God was a prerequisite to entrance into Freemasonry.
Somewhat analogous to the Prayers -as being Ritualistic in character -the following Charge may be cited. It was printed by William Smith in his Freemasons' Pocket Companion, published both in Dublin and London, in 1735, and is headed "A Short Charge to be given to new admitted Brethren." In it the following occurs:
The World's great Architect is our Supreme Master, and the unerring Rule, he has given us, is that by which we work. Religious Disputes are never suffered in the Lodge; for as Masons, we only pursue the universal Religion or the Religion of Nature. This is the Cement which unites Men of the most different Principles in one sacred Band, and brings together those which were the most distant from one another. There are three general Heads of Duty which Masons ought always to inculcate, viz., to God, our Neighbours, and ourselves. To God, in never mentioning his Name but with that Reverential Awe which becomes a Creature to bear to his Creator, and to look upon him always as the Summum Bonum which we came into the World to enjoy; and according to that view to regulate all our Pursuits.
Let us now direct our attention to a further class of evidence, and see what individual brethren have to say concerning this fundamental belief in God. Francis Drake, in a speech to the Grand Lodge of all England, held at York on the 27th December, 1726, in concluding, states:
Let us so behave ourselves here and elsewhere, that the distinguishing Characteristicks of the whole Brotherhood may be to be called good Christians, Loyal Subjects, True Britons, as well as Free Masons.
Another early Freemason, Edward Oakley, in a Speech to the Lodge at The Carpenters Arms, Silver street, Golden Square, London, on the 31st December, 1728, said:
I therefore, according to my Duty, forwarn you to admit or even to recommend to be initiated Masons, such as are Wine-Bibbers or Drunkards, witty Punsters on sacred Religion or Politicks, Tale-Bearers, Bablers, or Lyars, litigious, quarrelsome, irreligious, or prophane Persons, lew'd Songsters, Persons illitterate and of mean Capacities; and especially beware of such who desire Admittance with a selfish View of gain to themselves; all which Principles and Practices tend to the Destruction of Morality, a Burden to Civil Government, notoriously scandalous, and entirely repugnant to the Sacred Order and Constitutions of Free and Accepted Masons.
Later on in his Speech, when dealing with false brethren, Bro. Oakley remarks that these,
not having the Fear of God before their Eyes, value no sacred Obligations, turn Rebels, and endeavour to defame the Craft.
These brethren have set out in unmistakable language their ideas as to the Character of the Craft and its vital tenets.
There still remains another class of evidence of varying value. I allude to certain early MSS., and the many so-called exposures, which have been written and published during the first half of the 18th century and even later. Some of these undoubtedly indicate Masonic customs with more or less truth. In the examination known as the Sloane MS. the following occurs:
Q. From whom do you derive your principall? A. From a greatr than you. Q. Who is that on earth that is greatr than a Freemason? A. He yt was caryed to the highest pinnicall of the Temple of Jerusalem.
In the same examination, a little further on, we have:
Q. How stood your Lodge? A. East and west as all holy Temples stand.
And yet again there is this Question and Answer:
Q. What were you sworne by ? A. By god and the square.
Next in chronological order comes A Mason's Examination, which first appeared in print in. 1723. In the course of this examination the following sentence occurs:
Then one of the Wardens will say--God's greeting be at this Meeting.
Shortly after this last named Exposure appeared The Grand Mystery of the Free Masons Discovered was published. In it we have the following:
Q. How many make a Lodge? A. God and the Square, with Five or Seven right and perfect Masons, on the highest Mountains, or the lowest Valleys in the World.
A little later comes the following:
Q. How many Lights? A. Three; a Right East, South, and West. Q. What do they represent? A. The Three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
At the close comes "The Free Masons' Oath," which runs thus:
You must serve God according to the best of your Knowledge and Institution, and be a true Liege Man to the King, and he'p and assist any Brother as far as your Ability will allow; By the contents of the Sacred Writ you will perform this Oath. So help you God.
There is also reference to God's greeting, and the position of holy temples, to which reference has already been made.
In 1730, two further so-called exposures made their appearance. The later one -Masonry Dissected, by Samuel Prichard -contains much that is germane to our inquiry. In the Entered Prentice's Part, when dealing with the Furniture of the Lodge, the following questions are asked and answered:
Q. What is the other Furniture of a Lodge? A. A Bible, Compass and Square. Q. Who do they properly belong to? A. A Bible to God, Compass to the Master, and Square to the Fellow Craft.
Then, in the Fellow-Craft's Degree, referring to the letter G, the under-mentioned questions and answers are given:
Q. What did that G denote7 A. One that's greater than you. Q. Who's greater than I, that am a Free and Accepted Mason, the Master of a Lodge? A. The Grand Architect and Contriver of the Universe, or he that was taken up to the Top of the Pinnacle of the Holy Temple.
Also, in the same Degree, reference is made to "God's good Greeting be to this our happy Meeting." Lastly, in the Master's Degree, there is the following:
Q. How came you to be passed Master? A. By the help of God, the Square, and my own Industry.
In many of the subsequent so-called Exposures we have still further proof of the necessity of a belief in God in every Mason. Thus we find, that the Lodge is opened "in the name of God"; the brethren pray "O Lord God, thou great and Universal Mason of the world, and first builder of man, as it were a temple"; the Initiate is required to put his trust "in God"; and the Bible is explained as one of the three great lights in Masonry "to rule and govern our faith." These references are by no means exhaustive, but they will suffice clearly to demonstrate that a Belief in God was recognized as a Masonic essential.
In conclusion, I think it may safely be affirmed that, although there was undoubtedly some ambiguity in the wording of the Charge "concerning God and Religion" in the First Edition of Anderson's Constitutions, yet the mass of contemporary evidence available indicates an adherence at all times, by the Craft in the British Isles and elsewhere, to a Belief in God as one of its inflexible, unquestionable and unalterable tenets. The redrafting of this Charge in the Constitutions of 1815 removed such ambiguity as may then have existed, and a faithful belief in God was once more clearly shown to be a fundamental, or Landmark, in English Craft Masonry. May it ever so continue.
Beyond the Limit
By BRO. JOSE D'ARIMATHEA, Mexico
THE theme of this article has been studied by Masonic writers from divers points of view; none of them, however, have arrived at definite conclusions that might guide our brothers to correctly discriminate the enormous, mass of contradictory opinions, ideas and interpretations that are prevalent in Masonic writings. The fear of hurting the religious feelings of most of our Anglo-Saxon brothers; the ideological chaos that exists in Masonry that has rendered it almost impossible to know what is what in Masonry; the lack of adequate scientific training of some writers who, it seems, believe that Masonry is a subject that can be treated calamo currente, and finally too much living in the dead past, have prevented the clarification of various questions that daily arise in the minds of Masons who earnestly endeavor to penetrate into the secrets of Freemasonry.
The misunderstanding and confusion have reached such proportions like these: a great majority of Anglo-Saxon Masons firmly believe that Freemasonry is a religion; others maintain that Freemasonry is a splendid preparation for religion, and others, the indifferents, think that religion blends perfectly well with the principles of Freemasonry, while our Latin brothers believe that Freemasonry is purposely and specifically directed against religion. Dangerous extremes that go beyond the limit of the jurisdiction of Freemasonry.
A free mind, not constrained by fear, prejudices or any other consideration, is necessary to study Masonry because it is founded on scientific principles and it is not, as it is generally believed, merely a literary subject. I believe that I possess such a mind, and I feel that I can think and write freely under my own inspiration, using clarity and precision of expression to the best of my ability, without sugar-coated words that are entirely out of place in the process of ratiocination.
THE TOLERANCE OF FREEMASONRY
Freemasonry has no point of contact with religion, politics and racial prejudices; had not the Old Charges, Landmarks and Masonic Constitutions said anything about these limitations of Masonic activities, they would nevertheless be natural limitations, considering the peculiar characteristic of Freemasonry of being an all-inclusive institution within which all men can get together without friction, no matter what their beliefs, opinions and ideas may be, and no matter to what race they may belong. If this assumption of inclusiveness and universality is generally accepted by all Masons as something fundamental of Freemasonry, as I believe it is, then it is a logical consequence to keep Freemasonry from any contact with those matters that divide men into groups of enemies. Religion, politics and racial prejudices are the three most efficient agents for promoting discord, bitterness and unhappiness in mankind. Just try to contradict your best and closest friend on any of those subjects and instantly he will take the shape and appearance of an enraged gorilla.
Notwithstanding any interpretation that might be given to the Old Charges, Landmarks and Masonic Constitutions in reference to religion, politics and racial prejudices, these emotional negative aspects of human life have no place within the great constructive conception of Freemasonry. They are emotional negative attitudes in relation to Universal Brotherhood; they constitute our inheritance from our primitive ancestors and they are a serious obstacle to the progress of mankind.
It does not make any difference what is your conception of the brotherhood of man; it may be a Utopian conception or just a dream; it may be so only in our historic moment, or it may be a reality now or in the future; the point of view of the observer does not matter in the least. The important thing is the inner knowledge that Universal Brotherhood, be it considered just as a Masonic dream or as a Masonic idea without contact with reality, is an ally of progress because, being as it is, a cardinal emotion that attracts and builds up, it is a process of elevation and of harmony and through this process humanity evolved from the cave man. As religion, politics and racial prejudices, three capital enemies of the unity of mankind, are opposed to the cardinal emotion of brotherhood of man, hence the necessity of placing religion, politics and the race beyond the limit of Freemasonry.
PREJUDICE AND PERSECUTION
The intolerant maxim, "He who is not with me is against me," is exactly applicable to religion as well as to politics and racial matters; it is a satanic anti-social maxim that engenders hatred and, therefore, it is contrary to brotherhood of man. It is not possible to uproot by a stroke of force religion, politics and racial prejudices from the soul and the mentality of mankind; should Freemasonry engage in this task it would mean war on humanity at large and the end of brotherhood of man. You cannot change the mental attitude of man, nor wipe out of his subconscious mind by violence, the stored impressions and superstitions of past experiences; on the contrary, you vigorize them in proportion to the intensity of the violence. For these reasons Freemasonry must be absolutely neutral on these matters; it does not either attack or defend the crumbling institutions of religion, politics and the race; it only attacks in self-defense by virtue of the law of self-preservation, when its fundamental principles are violated by any man, group of men or institution of any kind, and even in this case, it does not go beyond the limit, it does not invade prohibited ground; it stands within its own boundaries. The emotions capable of producing tremendous conflicts and horrible massacres like those produced by religion, politics and racial prejudices, have not, cannot, nor ought to have any point of contact with the soul of Freemasonry, which essentially is a force of attraction and union. When we succeed in uprooting from the subconscious mind the roots of religion, which are ignorance and fear, and the soul be free by the light of knowledge, transforming into a science what is still today an emotion of primitive man; when politics is no longer the instrument of oppression to satisfy personal ambitions and is transformed into the science of government; when the racial prejudices be blotted out from the conscience by means of brotherhood of man; when these three capital enemies be controlled and transformed by science into allies of progress, then, and only then, Freemasonry will extend its jurisdiction beyond the actual limit.
Science has never divided men into antagonistic groups for mutual destruction; science is the only means to conquer liberty; science is the liberation from ignorance, from prejudice, from the past, from fear. Science, united with the virtue of fraternal sentiment, Scientia et virtus, is the instrument of Freemasonry for the accomplishment of universal brotherhood of man; Utopia, dream or reality, Freemasonry lives only for this ideal; it is its life and its object and it shall continue to live powerful and fruitful only for the brotherhood of man. "Man standing by man, never man against man" is the motto of Freemasonry that elevates it to a higher plane than those of religion, politics and the race. Religion, politics and racial questions have plunged humanity into a fratricidal war since fear, engendered by ignorance, grasped the soul of man. You cannot dissipate ignorance by violence, therefore you cannot liberate man from fear by violence; the only means is knowledge, and knowledge cannot be acquired without the assistance of science, and science cannot help humanity without virtue. This is the great constructive task of Freemasonry.
THE FRATERNITY IDEAL.
It should be recognized by all means that it is an organic necessity of Freemasonry to safeguard this ideal of brotherhood of man in its purity and integrity, therefore, it is imperative to completely and absolutely separate the Masonic field from those of religion, politics and racial prejudices.
I say emphatically organic necessity, because I intend to convey the idea that brotherhood is the medulla of Freemasonry, therefore, Freemasonry can never perform any functions contrary to its very existence, and if it does, it commits suicide, its medulla becomes dead matter.
It does not matter what was the efficient cause of Masonry; it does not make any difference what is the Masonic tradition from 1717 up to these very days; it does not matter what is the historic interpretation of Masonic evolution; it has no bearing in the case whether or not Masonry was religious in certain stages of its evolution; at all events, it seems quite evident that it is not possible to use now the criterion of 1717 to appraise the values of ideas and things of 1927, nor is it possible to trace through the Masonic tradition what is the essential element, the true spirit of Freemasonry. We have created, developed and sublimated the sentiment of brotherhood and we have arrived at the corresponding mental conception by evolution; the sentiment and the conception of brotherhood today are not the sentiment and the conception of 1717; we find ourselves at an enormous distance from the starting point in that which relates to this sentiment and this conception; in other words, there is no relation whatsoever between the efficient cause and the teleological one, so that it is not necessary to know the efficient cause in order to determine the nature and the modus operandi of the teleological cause. Freemasonry knows now with scientific knowledge that which it did not know in 1717, that, by means of psychology, it has the power to develop within man the germ of brotherhood to the point of blossoming and fructification, and it even has the power to sow the seed to cause it to germinate in case man does not carry it within. Through this knowledge, Freemasonry has directed its life toward universal confraternity as the object of its existence.
Freemasonry is primarily interested in man individually as a spiritual unit to make him free in order to live the true life; secondly, it is interested in man as a social unit, to teach him how to live without conflicts within the social conglomeration of human beings. Freemasonry is not interested in man as a cosmic unit in his relations to Divinity, therefore, it does not intend to teach him the nature of Deity, nor the laws governing cosmic relationship. It is quite comprehensible why, in 1717, Masonry was interested in the cosmic tie that, it was supposed, united man to Divinity, for it was life in the eternal Orient that absorbed the whole interest of man, consequently, it was considered important and fundamental that a Mason should believe in the unique living anthropomorphic God that dwelled in the consciousness of man in those nefarious epochs; but it is inconceivable that in 1927, when the dynamic of liberty has transformed primitive Masonry into Freemasonry, Freemasonry should breath the spirit of religious intolerance that characterized the Middle Ages, endeavoring to impose upon its adepts the belief in a personal God that nobody has been able to define and the adoration of a book that a great many, especially the Latin brothers, do not know even by its binding.
The "Great Architect of the Universe" is a scientific formula discovered by a profound thinker as a conciliatory means of transition from the personal god of the dark ages to the various gods formed by the fear and the imagination of man; it is not a religious formula, it is strictly a scientific postulate of a philosophy that comprehends all and every conceivable forms of god that mankind can possibly imagine, thus enabling man to meet his brother on the level under a universal formula of brotherhood.
THE QUESTION OF RELIGION
There is no religious element in Freemasonry; there might have been some in primitive Masonry. (In making this emphatic statement I am perfectly aware of the protests and disapproval of my brethren, e pur si muove. When a Mason or group of Masons introduce this element in Masonic matters, liberty disappears, harmony ceases, passional disputes arise and the sect surges with all the characteristic of intolerance and ferocity of the primitive man. Precisely, in order to avoid the cruel reminiscences of the savage man, the formula of the "Great Architect of the Universe," which by itself defines nothing and explains nothing, thus leaving everybody free to find out the incognita, was wisely created.
It is true that the formula, "Great Architect of the Universe," seems to strongly appeal to the soul of men that suffer from the "fear of God complex" (timor Dei complexus); but it is equally true that the same formula appeals to the liberal mind of the free thinker as an expression of a broadminded philosophy that includes every possible conception of God; therefore, there is no compulsory meaning attached to the formula, on the contrary, it means absolute freedom of conscience in regard to the conception of Deity, be it religious, philosophical, purely scientific or otherwise.
We know that this broadmindedness of criterion is not acceptable to religious men who profess to be Freemasons; but we also know that broadmindedness and Freemasonry are synonymous, consequently, the man that cannot detach himself from the religious complex in regard to Masonic matters cannot be a Freemason; he may be a Mason of 1717, but never a Freemason. A true Freemason looks toward universal brotherhood unprejudiced and unhandicapped by the narrowness of the religious complex, no matter what it costs; to the Freemason no price is too high, even the sacrifice of life, to crystallize into a reality the highest ideal that a man can cherish in his heart, "Man standing by man, never man against man."
As an illustration of the consequences of the religious mental attitude applied to Masonic matters, I refer the reader to the articles, "The Basis of Masonic Unity," published by THE BUILDER June, 1924, and "Why the Grand Lodge of New York withdrew from the Masonic International Association," March, 1925.
In conclusion: Freemasonry is not a church, nor a political club, nor an organization for promoting racial hatred, nor something relating to or representing "VIOLENCE." Freemasonry is an institution where man tastes the flavor of liberty and once tasted he becomes a unit of the "Universal Society of Freemasons," notwithstanding any religious, political and racial prejudices. Free-masons means "free from the slavery of all kinds of prejudices, religious, political, racial or otherwise."
MAN STANDING BY MAN, NEVER MAN AGAINST MAN !
It has been found necessary and expedient for the preservation and good government of the Masonic family, in all countries where Masonry has existed, to form a Constitution and to frame laws and regulations, for the promotion of peace and harmony among the Fraternity to bind the several members, whether as individuals or lodges, in one bond of fellowship and to produce a concentration of all their exertions in one general endeavor to spread the divine principles of Masonry throughout their own native country, and throughout the world; for Masonic charity and benevolence are not confined within the narrow boundaries that limit Nations, Kingdoms or states, but rejoices in that universal philanthropy, which, spreading its broad pinions, soars over and around the terrestial globe, and: with a confiding eye, looks up to the celestial abodes for the consummation of all its hopes--the happiness of fellow-man. --Freemason's Magazine, December, 1841.
The Labyrinth and Its Legend
IN the Study Club article for July last year, a passing reference was made to mazes and labyrinths; since then we have received photographs of a very interesting labyrinth figure discovered at the Casa Grande National Monument in Arizona. For this (as for the photograph of the supposed "square and compass" ornament discussed in THE BUILDER two months ago) we are indebted to the kindness of Bro. Frank Pinckley, the Superintendent of Monuments in the Southwest, and Bro. George L. Boundey, Assistant Custodian, who actually took the photographs. Bro. Boundey, too, was the discoverer of the shell ornament, a fact that we inadvertently omitted to mention in the July number.
Bro. Pinckley informs us that this engraving is "on the north wall of the center room in the Casa Grande or Great House." The groove below it shows "that the design is a foot or more above the line of a floor which was destroyed some five hundred years or more ago." The suggestion of date is important in considering the origin of the figure. Bro. Pinckley has not given any of the evidence by which the age of the design is to be judged, but if it be anything like as old as the building, then it was there before the discovery of America by Columbus.
The third photograph was of a basket pattern showing a conventionalized form of the maze with straight spoke-like divisions but which nevertheless reproduces all the turns and meanders of the older design. This is also important by reason of the insertion of the human figure apparently approaching the entrance; which seems to imply some traditional memory of labyrinths large enough to be used. This basket pattern is also curiously reminiscent of a spider web, and if we may accept; the theory of compounding or amalgamating symbols advanced by the late eminent scholar, statesman and Freemason, Count Goblet d'Alviella of Belgium, there may be here a mingling of two things. The spider is a very important personage in the creation myths of the Southwest, and is represented as leading the first tribe of men from a dark underworld upto the light of day. This again may not be without significance.
THE LEGENDS OF THE LABYRINTH
Most people have at least heard of the Labyrinth of Crete and the Minotaur, and of Theseus the great hero of Athens, but in these days when the classics are little read it may be well to briefly relate the salient points of the story, or rather of the stories, for there are several. The first deals entirely with Crete, and King Minos, Queen Pasiphae and Daedalus, the great and cunning artificer. The latter, by the way, in one story is said to have killed his nephew and apprentice because he was jealous of his having invented the compass. The late version of the tale relates that Pasiphae was enamoured of a magnificent white bull that was the pride of the king's herds. Through the device of Daedalus she had a child that was half man and half bull. This monster (very naturally) so upset the king that he had Daedalus construct the Labyrinth in which it was shut up, and in order to feed it the city of Athens had to send every year a number of youths and maidens who were one by one sent into the Labyrinth, where after wandering round the Minotaur finally found them and killed and ate them. Which is all, in spite of its classical dress, a peculiarly savage tale. The Greeks themselves, however, knew that Pasiphae was the moon and the white bull the sun, but as to this more will be said later. Let us turn to the story of Theseus. He was the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, but was born at Troezen, the home of his mother Aethra. Just as in the case of some other heroes his father left his sword to be given to his unborn son. When he had grown to be a youth his mother sent him to Athens, and on the way he had a number of adventures, killing a number of unpleasant people, Periphetes the Clubman, Sinis the Pine Bender, Sciron, who liked to kick people over the cliffs, and Procrustes of the famous bed. When he got to Athens some masons repairing the temple of Apollo laughed at his effeminate appearance, as he is said to have had long hair and a robe reaching to his feet. They asked why such a pretty girl was allowed out alone. Theseus was angry and as the masons were out of reach, took the bullocks out of their cart and flung them over the temple roof. Here we have another curious allusion to bulls. Aegeus recognized his son by the sword, though his wife Medea in jealousy tried to have her step-son poisoned. Theseus' next adventure was to capture the fire-breathing bull of Marathon, which also killed people. This he brought to Athens and sacrificed to Apollo.
When the time came to send the next shipload of youths and maidens to Crete, Theseus insisted on going with them. Arrived at their destination Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, promptly fell in love with him (Ariadne is supposed to be the personification of Spring). She gave him a clue, or ball of thread that she had spun and also a sword. By fastening one end of the thread at the entrance he was able to find his way out again, after he had found the center, where he apparently dispatched the Minotaur with ease. The monster being dead, Theseus and the other young people, with Ariadne, started back for Athens. At the Island of Naxos, Ariadne was deserted while asleep. Dionysus found her there later and married her. Meanwhile the ungrateful Theseus sailed on to Delos, where they all landed again and "danced the crane dance" which is explicitly said to have represented the turnings and windings of the Labyrinth. Then they set sail for Athens, and with the characteristic inconsequence of heroes Theseus forgot all about a signal arranged with his father. Plutarch tells the story thus:
When their course brought them near to Attica both Theseus and the pilot were so overjoyed that they forgot to hoist the [white] sail which was to be the signal to Aegeus of their safe return [the sacrificial ship carried black sails], and he despairing of it threw himself from the rock and was killed. But Theseus, on landing, himself performed the sacrifices he had vowed to the gods at Phaleron when he set sail, and meantime dispatched a messenger to the city with news of his safe return. The messenger met with many who were lamenting the death of the king [Aegeus] and others who rejoiced as was meet and were ready to receive him with kindness and to crown him on his safe return. He received the crowns [garlands or wreaths] and wound them round his caduceus [herald's staff] and coming back to the shore, as Theseus had not yet finished his libations he stopped outside, being unwilling to disturb the sacrifice. When the libations were accomplished he announced the end of Aegeus, and they with weeping and lamentation hastened up to the city.
Now the details of this story were regarded as important by Plutarch (and probably long before his time, too), because they were supposed to account for the origin of the ritual of the Oschophoria, the harvest festival of Athens. Among other things the mingling of rejoicing and lamentation. Lamentation for the old king or hero, dead, rejoicing for the young one safely arrived.
Theseus is a hero of the same type as Hercules, and Rustam in Persia, and some others, who pass through a series of adventures which seem to be the basis of ritual, but are more likely based on ritual. If not connected with initiatory rites they are closely parallel to legends that were, and possibly they all spring from the same origin.
THE ORIGIN OF THE STORY
It must be remembered that the story of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth as it has come down to us is not a primitive version, it is late and thoroughly edited. That is, it is apparently composed of various legends from different localities put together in a more or less connected and coherent whole, though the duplications betray the process. First may be remarked the number of times a bull comes into the tale. There are the bullocks thrown over the temple. They were yoked to a cart--and the temple belonged to Apollo, who in Plutarch's time was equated with the sun god. In several creation myths the sun is said to have been thrown into the sky, and the sun was also regarded as a wheel, which makes a connection with the wagon or chariot. Then there is the Bull of Marathon, a beast that snorted flame and fire, and is sacrificed to Apollo. And finally the great bull of Minos (1), which equated with the sun is naturally the consort of the horned moon, Pasiphae. While their supposed monstrous offspring the bull-headed Minotaur seems to be a hypostasis of the chief character in a ritual dance, who was disguised in a bull-headed mask and perhaps a bull-hide for cloak. That a ritual dance there was is revealed by Plutarch himself, who distinctly implies its existence at Delos, and that it was in some way like or connected with the Labyrinth tale. Besides this we are definitely told elsewhere that after Theseus had slain the monster Daedalus made a dancing ground for Ariadne, and showed the young people who had come from Athens in the sacred Ship how to dance, "crowned with flowers," and that this dance also represented the turns and windings of the Labyrinth (2).
We do not have very much primitive Cretan evidence on the subject. It is taken for granted by most writers that the origin must be found in the early Cretan civilization, sometimes called Minoan, which preceded that of the Greeks and was contemporaneous with early Egyptian dynasties. This does not necessarily follow. The Greeks or Hellenes were immigrants from the north, and they might have brought the Labyrinth myth and rnaze dances with them, and later localized them in Crete. The fact that the maze (as we shall see) seems to have been indigenous in the north would be in favor of this. On the other hand the bull evidently played a great part in Minoan cult and ritual, and, so we may judge, in their myths also. And in their wall paintings the meander or key pattern, sometimes also called Greek fret, is common, some varieties being based on the Swastika. The two were closely connected.
THE LABYRINTH AND THE SWASTIKA
Mr. A. B. Cook in his great work Zeus, says that about 600 B. C. the swastika was taken to represent the Labyrinth. But there is also no doubt that in the Mediterranean countries of about the same age it also represented the sun, whatever it may have meant elsewhere. This simple swastika was elaborated alony, two lines, one towards patterns of the meander type, and the other into a formal Labyrinth consisting of a single involved path leading to the center. It will be noticed that in this typical form of Labyrinth the basic lines form a swastika-like figure, which though not regular is yet sometimes found as a variant form of this symbol, while many forms of the key pattern are obviously based on the repeated swastika. The form of the swastika is frequently elaborated as in Fig. 4, which is held specially sacred by the Buddhists (3)
There is a long series of coins struck in the Island of Crete through the late Greek period and the Roman Empire which show the Labyrinth in its typical form as an important part of the design, in many cases filling the whole space. In Fig. 5 five of these are illustrated. The three at the top shows the development of the swastika into a key pattern enclosing a square. In one of them a star (or possibly the sun) is placed, and in another a crescent moon. This square center tended to get larger and the arms of the cross to get smaller until at last it became merely a square surrounded by a meander border. In the space might appear the head of a deity, or the head or skull of a bull, or other devices.
The other line of development was into the Labyrinth proper, first square and later circular. In the square one shown is a spear head and a thunder bolt on each side. In another an owl perches on an amphora or vase laid down on its side while to the right a small Labyrinth appears. But a great many have the Labyrinth alone, with an inscription perhaps, as the KNO in the last example here given, which is a recognized abbreviation for Knossos.
During the Roman period it seems almost to have become a fashionable motif for the ornamentation or mosaic floors, a bare list of the number of examples that have been found, many still in existence, would take considerable space. It may have become a stock design for mosaic workers and decorators, just as in the Renaissance period no garden in England or France was complete without its maze. Many mosaic examples also include incidents of the story pictorially represented. In the one reproduced, Fig. 6, which was found in a Roman tomb discovered in Tunis, the ship bearing Theseus and his companions is shown headed for the entrance of the Labyrinth which is closed by double doors. This is a very elaborate and intricate form. The fret or key pattern at each end is also to be noted. Some form of this frequently appears as a border to the Labyrinth itself. The other Roman example here reproduced, Fig. 7, is a graffito or scribbled inscription found on a wall at Pompeii. The words are Labyrinthus hic habitat Minotaurus; that is, "The Labyrinth, here dwells the Minotaur." Whether this was the effort of a schoolboy anxious to air his newly-acquired knowledge of Greek fable, or whether it was a sly hit at the owner of the house can only be guessed people in the locality as "Troy," "Troy-town" or "Walls at. It is proof of the familiarity with the Labyrinth of Troy," while the stone labyrinths in Denmark and and the story of Theseus.
But the Labyrinth seems not only to have been connected with Crete, but also with Troy, and this is very puzzling. Fig. 8 is from an Etruscan vase, which shows a procesision of armed men, some mounted and some on foot, and with them a crudely drawn maze of typical form, in the outer ring of which is the word Truia in archaic letters--the word is spelled from right to left as in early writing there was no rule about this. There is another reference, which though not very explicit may be pertinent. Virgil in his great epic tells the story of Aeneas, who according to Roman legend escaped from Ilium when it was taken by the Hellenes and sailing westward settled in Italy, where his descendants later on founded Rome. Virgil pictures Aeneas leaving Troy burning behind him, carrying his aged father Anchises on his shoulders and leading his little son Iulus by the hand. In the fifth book of the poem Iulus is described as engaging with his companions in a "game of Troy," Ludus Troiae.
In this Virgil must not be supposed to have made any archeological researches as a basis for his description, he was doubtless picturing Iulus and his friends playing a game that was well known in his own time. Other writers also refer to it. It seems to have been more of a ritual than a game properly so-called, and was confined to boys or youths of patrician blood. The extraordinary thing is that the turf mazes in England are in many places traditionally known by the country people in the locality as "Troy," "Troy-town" or "Walls of Troy," while the stone labyrinths in Denmark and Scandinavia are known as "Troja," "Trojeborg" or "Troborg," which is the same thing; in Wales it is Caerdroia, which again is Troy-town. It is certainly very curious, especially when we remember that there is the town of Troyes in France, and Troytown in Cornwall. The name seems really to be a genuine Celtic one, but if so, how came the Latins and Etruscans to have a Troy festival or dance? While it might seem possible that the references in Virgil, Tacitus and others could have introduced the name into Western Europe in later times it must be remembered that the description is in no case definite enough to have led by itself to identifying it with "treading a maze," while the Etruscan vase, which links the Roman references together and explains them is of too recent discovery to have produced such a widespread effect.
(1) Daedalus is said to have killed his nephew at Athens by pushing him over the precipice of the Acropolis. This nephew, Talos, is credited with the invention of the compasses, the potter's wheel and the saw. He also is connected with Crete in other stories, and was said to have been a brazen man who ran round the Island three times a day and was killed by Jason and the other heroes of the Argonaut's crew. He is also said to have been transformed into a partridge and thereafter named Perdix.
In the former version, Daedalus after killing him fled to Crete seeking the protection of Minos. After the birth of the Minotaur the white bull (which came out of the sea, as a gift from Poseidon, equated with the Latin Neptune) is said to have gone mad and after doing much damage swam across the sea to Attica where it ran wild in Marathan. All these stories are obviously attempts to connect the myths of different localities connected with the sun regarded as a bull. The bronze man running from Crete also seems a variant of the bull-headed man in the Labyrinth.
(2)This is also mentioned by Homer in the lliad.
(3) According to Burnouf, Lotus de la Bonne Loi, this symbol has many significations. It represents,a temple or other sacred edifice, a "species of labyrinth," a "garden of diamonds," a chain and a waist or shoulder belt of gold.
Curiously Weisse in The Obelisk and Freemasonry gives almost the same figure which he says he took from Lord Kingsborough's Antiquities of Mexico. It has not been possible to verify this, and it may be that it was not Mexican, although the passage in which Weisse speaks of it (page 162) this certainly seems to be implied.
(To be continued)
Church and Schools in Quebec
By BRO. M. W. JOHNSTON, Canada
IT is probable that in this second decade of the twentieth century there is no part of the world where the Roman Church is in a position of greater power and influence than in the Province of Quebec, not even excepting the Irish Free state. The nominally Roman Catholic countries everywhere put restrictions on the Church to an extent scarcely realized in Protestant countries. It would seem that they have "had enough." The same process seems to be under way in Ireland, too, now that that distressful country possesses a government of its own, republican in everything but name and external form, and is discovering to its astonishment that many of the ills incident to a government were not due to heartless English tyranny. Thus it is that in Quebec the result of Church domination can be seen at its best, or as that word is ambiguous in this connection, in its completest development.
In order that the present position of affairs may be made clear to American readers of THE BUILDER a few words need to be said as to the history of the Province. In 1763 Canada was ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris, being already in its possession through the capture of Quebec in 1759 by Wolfe, and the surrender of Montreal in the following year. Before peace was signed, the British by Royal Proclamation had assured to the French colonists their law, religion and property rights. And all this was formally reaffirmed when peace was made. Contemporary documents prove the deep gratitude of the Canadians--then of course entirely French Canadians--for this generosity, which their leaders both clerical and lay repeatedly affirmed to be as great as it was, to them, unexpected. In fact, until after the War of Independence the change of ownership made no difference at all to the people; the only change was that the Governor was an Englishman instead of a Frenchman, and that the new governors were less autocratic than those sent out from France.
As a result of the War of Independence and the formation of the United States out of the old British Colonies there was a considerable immigration into Canada from south of the borderland. A very large number of families and individuals, known as Tories in American history books, but who are honored in Canada under the name of United Empire Loyalists, left their old homes and, in most cases with little but such belongings as they could bring with them, trekked into the unsettled wilderness of Canada to carve out new homes for themselves. Most of them settled in Upper Canada, now the Province of Ontario, but a considerable number came up through New Hampshire and Vermont, and crossed the border into the district known as the Eastern Townships in Quebec. They were followed by other immigrants from the Eastern states, largely from New Hampshire, so that this part of Canada, up until about twenty-five years ago, was almost as American as the Americans themselves, in everything but allegiance. Their customs, habits, manners, speech, methods of farming, houses and barns were practically identical. This community formed the only compact English speaking and Protestant group of the population of Quebec, of which more than 80 per cent is French. The local government of this community was from the very first different from that of the rest of the Province. The French had introduced the feudal system into Canada. The seigneurs and the Church both had rights and privileges, which the latter to all intents and purposes still retains. The new English speaking communities naturally improvised a government for themselves as it was required, on the basis of their past habits and customs, and this gradually became officially recognized, with on the whole remarkably little friction. One of the very first things done was to arrange for schools, at first on what might almost be called the subscription plan. A log cabin would be built by a "bee" for a schoolhouse, a teacher would be hired, every household chipping in to pay the bargained salary, and taking turns to board the teacher. It was a makeshift method, but not so inefficient as might be supposed. The teachers were generally young men, aiming to become either ministers, lawyers or physicians. Though the average scholar learned little more than to read and write and "cipher," yet those with more in them had sufficient opportunity to forge ahead, and go later on to some other town where there was an academy, and from there perhaps to college.
So far as the Townships near the border line were concerned it was quite usual for young men to go to one or other of the Colleges in the New England States, as communications were more natural and easy to the south. A great part of the people had relatives in the United States, which also was a pre-disposing cause for this state of affairs. But M'Gill University was founded in 1820 at Montreal, and Academies were started in most centers of population almost from the first. These Academies frequently had teachers competent to take students as far as what would now be second or third year Arts in a University, and often turned out more all-around educated graduates than the specialized College courses succeed in doing today in a great many cases.
In contrast to the early foundation, comparatively speaking, of a Protestant College in Montreal, Laval, the Roman Catholic institution, was not chartered until 1852, just a year before the foundation of a second Protestant University, this time in the Eastern Townships. But though the Roman Catholics had no university of their own until this time it must not be supposed that they had no educational arrangements at all. Just what, if anything, was done for the country people, the habitants, who then formed (as they still do) by far the larger part of the French population, is not easy-to discover. There was no system. Schools existed here and there where some exceptional cure or parish priest was interested; but judging by such indications as are available it is probable that a very large proportion of these people had no school education at all. Even today a very large proportion of them can neither read nor write. It simply was not considered necessary or advisable that they should be literate. They were born to cultivate the soil, pay tithes and taxes to the Church and service to their seigneurs, and produce another generation to take their place. The seignorial rights did not endure very long under British rule except for some annoying "servitudes," to use the legal phrase, attached to the land in many places in the "French country," such as liability to clear watercourses or repair roads, or pay a sort of tax or quit rent in lieu of such service. But the Roman Church has never let go anything she held under the old regime. Or rather she has let go with one hand while taking a firmer grasp with another. Though not in form established by law, she is so in effect so far as her own people are concerned, and even if one of them should become Protestant, as occasionally happens, he finds it most difficult to break out of the legal network that compels him to go on paying Church dues. This of course applies only to the habitant. The other classes, not being tied to the land, are not so much at the mercy of the ecclesiastical organization.
The professional and ruling classes up to the middle of the last century were edulcated in convents and monasteries. Girls of the same classes still go to Convent schools as a matter of course, and receive an excellent education. Perhaps rather old-fashioned now-adays, more calculated to make refined ladies capable of intelligent interest in many different things rather than young women able to make a living for themselves. But their schools are good, and many Protestant girls are sent to them. The proportion of such pupils who become Roman Catholics is negligible and there seems to be no attempt made to proselytize. For boys there are many similar schools conducted by various brotherhoods, and these, too, are excellent. Not infrequently unmanageable Protestant boys are sent to them for the sake of the discipline which is exceedingly strict; too much so to be of lasting benefit, in fact, if such cases as have come under the writer's notice are any criterion. Most French Canadian professional men are educated at Laval, which has splendid medical and legal schools. Engineers, however, frequently go to M'Gill, after taking an Arts course or its equivalent at Laval or one of the Brotherhood schools or colleges. While conversely many Protestant law students go to the French colleges, partly to perfect themselves in speaking French, which is absolutely necessary for a lawyer practicing in the Province of Quebec.
But of course higher education is always arranged for in every country under all types of government. When it comes to popular elementary instruction it is quite another thing. In a brief article it is impossible to give any account of the development of the present state of affairs, but the school question has always been a bone of contention in Canada. The trouble arises inevitably from the opposing ideals of two races intensified by religious questions. It is doing the Roman Church no injustice to say that it is only interested ill education as a means of attaching its children to the system. Looked at fairly it is impossible to condemn this. Every Church wants to do the same. But the Roman Church seems to prefer, or if that is too sweeping, is at least very willing to acquiesce in having the great majority of children left uneducated except so far as teaching them "their religion" is concerned. Literary education for the ruling and professional classes, for the rest no more is necessary than to learn to do their work in the station and class into which they are born. They are thus docile, submissive and content, and as the Church claims, far happier. There may be some truth in this, too. But it is a totally different ideal from that of the English Protestant people, and conflict is bound to arise until by some compromise a modus vivendi is arrived at.
There was first a school question in Ontario. The Roman Church won that round. Ontario and Quebec together were originally Canada; on that ground the claims that the French had by the original Royal Proclamations at the conquest and later embodied in the Treaty of Paris, were adjudged to hold for the whole of the original Canada; it did not affect the maritime Provinces which were British long before, nor Prince Rupert's Land, long known as Hudson Bay or Northwest Territories. So Ontario much against her will was saddled with separate schools. The battle then shifted to Manitoba, erected into a Province about 1870. After much political bickering and appeals to the courts, which were eventually taken to the final judicial authority of the Empire, the Privy Council, it was decided that Manitoba did not come under this rule. So round number two went to the Protestants. But the Church learned a lesson, and when in 1905 Alberta and Saskatchewan were made into Provinces the Dominion Government, then dominated by the French Liberals of Quebec and led by the devout Laurier, saw to it that the Constitutions of the new Provinces contained clauses requiring separate schools. These two Provinces would now like to have it otherwise, but it seems that this last bout also goes to the Church.
The question is not wholly religious, it is in large part political and racial. The Roman Church (quite naturally) would like to keep the French separate, a racial block with another language as well as another religion. By doing this they hope to eventually get control of the whole Dominion. The Western Provinces wish to break up this racial exclusiveness and make English speech and English traditions prevail. They are otherwise not specially interested in the purely religious side of the matter. This is how the matter stands generally, and though this has been something of a digression, it will help to make it easier to understand the position in Quebec. And that may be taken as an object lesson, an actual example of a Church controlled state. It is a little hard to say if the situation would remain so favorable to Protestants if Quebec were an independent Republic, as some French groups pretend to desire. Although perhaps the chief check on any open discrimination lies in the fact that in Ontario a very considerable French population is similarly at the mercy of a strong Protestant majority. Thus each dominating group has a hostage in the hands of the other, and it may be that the possibility of reprisals has helped to keep things fairly adjusted--possibly on both sides.
The organization of education in the Province is dual; that follows from the separate school system. There is a Provincial Council of Public Instruction which is divided into two permanent committees, really separate Boards, one Roman Catholic, the other Protestant. The Roman Bishops of the Province have a seat on their Board ex officio. But the powers of the two sides of this Council are really not very great. There is no compulsory education act, and the local School Commissioners or Trustees can do pretty much as they like. The Council suggests textbooks, curricula and is ready to advise. They also have inspectors, who, however, can do little more than advise and report. In certain cases the government by the advice of the Council will make grants in aid for new school buildings, but there does not seem to be much of the Provincial revenue allotted for this purpose. The real working part of the system is the machinery of the local School Commissioners. There is a difference hetween Commissioners and Trustees, though in function they are about the same thing.
In an unmixed community, all French or all English, a School Board is elected by the tax payers, that is the owners of real estate. The board consists of six members elected for a three-year period, two retiring every year. They have full power over the schools in the Township or Municipality. They decide on the school districts, the school year, where the buildings are to be, engaging teachers and paying them. For these purposes they have power to levy a tax on all real property. If, however, there is a dissenting group of families who want a separate school, a new machine is set up. The dissenters are empowered to elect a Board of Trustees instead of Commissioners, but their powers are the same, except that they are not empowered to collect their tax. This must be done by the Secretary Treasurer of the School Commissioners, who has to transfer it to the Treasurer of the Board. This, however, is a mere formality. Each body taxes its own people and sets its own rate. The taxes on neutral property, that belonging to corporations, railways and so on, are divided pro-rata, but the tax rate on such property is that set by the Commissioners.
In the description this sounds rather complicated, but it works very smoothly, and though of course there is often some friction when a new separation is made it is chiefly due to lack of knowledge of the respective rights and duties on each side. When got into running order it goes as smoothly as any such machinery can be expected to. The two groups are really independent and have only themselves to blame if things go wrong.
During the last ten or twelve years there have been many new separations in the district spoken of above, the Eastern Townships. During the war farmers were exempted from service. The French Canadians were very generally influenced by their priests against the idea.of participation in the conflict. Some of them said, even in the pulpit, that godless France deserved to be destroyed, and that the thing to do was to let the English go and fight the Germans and get killed and the French could take possession of Canada. This is not at all exaggerated, though it was all unofficial. However, the English speaking young men did go, while the young French Canadians, or their fathers for them, bought the homesteads of the English farmers so as to gain exemption. Prices went up, of course, to even three times normal value. However, there seems to be some way of financing this sort of thing, and the result was that French Canadians were moving in to districts where there had been very few before. The process, however, was not new, though the war accelerated it. The young English speaking Canadians are greatly drawn to the west, and thus leave the east for the French, who are always ready to buy them out. But until comparatively recently such French as were living in Protestant districts were content to send their children to the schools already in existence. Left to themselves they would have continued to do so, but so soon as there are enough to make it at all possible the priests insist on a separate school. The result is, of course, in a rural community, to diminish the efflciency all around. The Protestants are meeting this by amalgamated schools, and hiring transportation of the children. This being usually done by contract for the school year. By this means Protestant education is being definitely improved in the country, for the amalgamated schools are graded, better furnished, and have usually a college graduate as principal.
Perhaps an account of an actual case will serve as a useful example. It is a typical history, though of course the details vary in different places. During the war the influx of French families into this village was considerable, indeed in 1919 they outnumbered the Protestants by a hundred or more; but the Protestants still held three-quarters approximately of real estate. However, the Cure insisted on a separate school, and the various formalities were gone through and the dissenting Board of Trustees set up. The School Commissioners had united some years before with another village and had a combination school of very high quality. To this school the better class French people had been sending their children, the others went nowhere, though they might have gone to this school had their parents sent them. After the separate school was started, most of these better class children continued to go to the Protestant school, though their parents had to pay scholar fees. Some could not afford it. One man held out and refused to dissent as he had three children going to school. Pressure was put on him, however, with the result that he agreed to pay double taxes, which came cheaper than the scholar fees.
The Board of Trustees elected by the Roman Catholic dissentients had three members who could not sign their own names; their Secretary-Treasurer could scarcely write and had to get assistance from the Cure with his books. They appointed as teacher a girl of seventeen who had only an elementary school education -but she knew the Catechism by heart. She was a daughter of one of the Trustees and niece of another. This was the provision for a number of children considerably larger than the Protestants. The tax rate for the French is three times that of the English, but of course it is paid on a smaller valuation and so does not bring in as large a revenue. Still the Protestants sometimes wonder what is done with the money, as the girl teacher is paid very little -even though more than she is worth from an educational point of view. From the point of view of the Cure, and one must suppose of the Church, it is all right. The children are taught in French, and they are taught the Catechism, and they go to church on every Saint's day, and possibly the brighter ones may learn to read and write a little.
It is very curious, though. The Protestant children are taught French in school (every child should learn to speak another language) but they rarely learn French. The French children are not taught English, but in mixed communities they invariably learn it and most of them speak it among themselves by preference, in spite of all the efforts of the priest and sometimes of their parents.
Thus it is clear that there are two conflicting ideals, and it may be seen why Protestants view the situation with some concern. Not with alarm for the problem is an old one and they have grown up with it. But they are determined their own children shall be educated as well as possible, and the result is, that in spite of being such a small fraction of the total population, the Protestants hold a preponderance of wealth, and far more than their own share, numerically judged, of influence both social and political -though they have to work for it. But they naturally often wish that there could be a single system of education. However, under present conditions the separate school is really their safeguard. Without it they would either sink to the lower level or be forced to send their children to private schools and thus pay twice over for their education.
R.J. MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
E.E. Thiemeyer, Research Editor
BOARD OF EDITORS
LOUIS BLOCK, Iowa
ROBERT I. CLEGG, Illinois
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
RAY V. DENSLOW, Missouri
GEORGE H. DERN, Utah
N.W.J. HAYDON, Canada
R.V. HARRIS, Canada
C. C. HUNT, Iowa
CHARLES F. IRWIN, Pennsylvania
A. L. KRESS, Pennsylvania
F. H. LITTLEFIELD, Missouri
JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California
ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York
J. HUGO TATSCH, Iowa
JESSE M. WHITED, California
DAVID E. W WILLIAMSON Nevada
THE INVITED GUESTS
THE pages in THE BUILDER devoted to the Tuberculosis Campaign are not exactly exciting reading at any time; lately they have been very depressing. Still in spite of its being a duty rather than a pleasure we trust that all our members did read it last month, or so much of it at least as dealt with the inauguration of a Roman Catholic Sanatorium in El Paso.
This set of buildings, newly repaired, and ready furnished, a going concern, could have been purchased by the Masonic Fraternity for the same price as was paid for it by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The opportunity presented itself shortly after the general meeting of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatorium Association in Chicago last November, where so much interest and enthusiasm was aroused. At the meeting were present influential representatives of a large number of the strongest and wealthiest Grand Lodges in the country. The executives of the Association were directed to initiate plans for the erection of a Sanatorium, and had every reason to suppose that they would receive adequate support. When soon after the opportunity came to buy a Sanatorium already in existence, that was to be sold to liquidate the estate of its late owner, it seemed quite providential. It was a wonderful opportunity to take the initial experimental step at a cost far below any possible estimate of erecting new buildings. It seemed as if the problem was well on the way to solution, the seed had been sown and had sprung up, the buds were ready to burst and a fruitful harvest seemed assured. Then came a sudden chill; a killing frost, in fact. There is truly much mystery about what happened. Some things we know, other things we suspect, but the result was like that in the Parable of the Wedding Supper, those invited 44 with one accora began to make excuse." The excuses were good enough in themselves, it was the unanimity with which all excused themselves that was so noticeable. There was in the parable a sequel, however; after guests had been gathered in from the highways and byways the king sent his armies and destroyed those who had been invited and burned their city. The invitation in the present case is not from the Tuberculosis Association - that is only an agent, a messenger. The word comes not from them, not even from the Craft as a whole, but from the G.A.O.T.U. himself - for so we must hold if we are not to stultify all the teaching that is given in the lodge.
Let us consider it. This Sanatorium could have been purchased by the Craft for the same price as the Roman Sisterhood paid - we had the first offer. As much more was needed to run it for the first year; $150,000 in all. In round figures $3,000 was all that was needed from each of the forty-nine Grand Lodges of the country. Three thousand dollars! We venture to say that at least ten Masons could be found in every one of them who could have given that much out of his own pocket and never missed it. We are sure that in every one of those jurisdictions there are temples and halls being erected that will cost all told much more than $150,000. We know that in many states individual lodges are building temples or halls of their own that will cost more; it is not much of a building that can be put up for that sum now-a-days. What is the matter with Masonry?
Nothing so far as the Craft at large is concerned. It may be we have too many members who have gained an entrance inspired by mercenary and other unworthy motives, but the great majority of the brethren are Masons at heart. We know that the great majority would be ready to help if the matter was only set fairly before them; not ready only but anxious to help. It is the organization that is at fault. The bitter truth is forced upon us that Freemasonry in America is not organized to carry out its primal and essential functions, the exercise of brotherly love, relief and truth. It is organized for almost anything else but that.
* * *
THE PERSECUTION IN ITALY
MANY American Masons are wondering to what extent it may be proper and legitimate for them to sympathize with the persecuted Masons of Italy. The newspapers generally have not had very much to say on the subject. They have told us, in the words of press cables, the accusations made against them, and still more briefly the denials of the accused. But they have neither given any account of the evidence and arguments for or against, or any expression of opinion or judgment upon it, such as might be made by an impartial observer informed concerning this evidence.
On the top of this is an uncertainty as to the status of Italian Masonry, and whether it is recognized or recognizable, and this uncertainty is added to by statements that Italian Masonry "like that of France" is merely a political organization. Which being so, it would seem to the puzzled inquirer that perhaps the Italian government is justified in its severe measures. A typical example of the kind of thing referred to is a comment recently made by the London Freemason on an account of the situation in an English newspaper written by a correspondent in Italy. The Freemason remarks, justly, that this correspondent not being a Mason, is dependent entirely on external sources and that he was relating what had been told him by others - apparently by those hostile to the Italian Craft. So far, so good, but then curiously, and it would seem irrelevantly, The Freemason goes on to say, that assuming these accusations are true, it can be stated without reserve that such a condition does not exist in the British Isles, nor the British Empire, or Anglo-Saxon Masonry generally. But why say this? English speaking Masonry was not in the dock with the accused.
Unsympathetic outsiders might say that those who excuse themselves do, according to the proverb, also accuse themselves. What was the connection, the association, that led to this uncalled for disclaimer? It seems that in Italy, as in England, and also in America, many government officials, civil servants, professional men, and other influential people were also Masons. It is argued in Italy that this is proof that Freemasonry was in politics, that through these officials, who were also Masons, the Masonic authorities were informed of all government secrets, and also conversely exerted influence on government policy. It is obvious that on the same evidence the same accusation could be made against American Freemasonry. It actually was made a hundred years ago, and American Masonry suffered a similar persecution as that in Italy, and upon just as good grounds so far as any trustworthy information has come to our knowledge. So perhaps the London Freemason is right, and we should look to our own defense. If this sort of thing is sufficient for the condemnation of Italian Masonry it would or might be equally efficacious elsewhere.
There is much prejudice in our minds against all Latin Masonry. There is also much ignorance. As a rule those who speak most positively know least about it. One good brother, for example, got hold of a ritual of the Grand Orient of France, and in it he found that the candidate was asked a number of strange questions, such as what his idea might be of the marriage relationship, of the rights of parents over their children, of birth control, of suicide, or war, and a whole series covering the entire field of social relationship and duties. This brother was horrified, and the ground of his horror seemed to be that he assumed that these questions had to be answered yes or no, as the brief inquiries put to our candidates are, and that the answers required were that the would - be Mason believed in free love and abortion, and the duel and suicide and socialism, and so on, and that otherwise he would be rejected. It seems hardly necessary to say he was inconceivably mistaken. These questions are in a graduated series, and are intended to bring out what the candidate has thought about social duties, to bring out first of all that he has thought enough about them to have some opinion. In other words, to demonstrate that be is a sincere seeker for knowledge and is desirous of serving his fellowmen. After all very similar questions are asked in effect by every committee of investigation that performs its duty, not formally or of the applicant direct, but in substance and from such sources as are available.
Let us state at once, little as those who have dreams of universal Masonry may like it, that Latin Masonry as a whole, and English-speaking Masonry are quite incompatible. We may go further still if we like, in spite of certain logical difficulties it will raise, and deny them the name of Mason - in our sense of the term. The institution has followed divergent paths so far in the two groups that there seems no possible ground for any reconciliation. But all this being allowed and postulated, is it any reason why we should heap abuse upon them and eagerly believe every scrap of slander their enemies raise against them? Should not the elementary policy of self-defense, if nothing else give us pause? Their enemies are our enemies, the evidence against them is the evidence against us. That we know, as applied to ourselves, it is absolutely ridiculous does not in the least prevent its being devoutly believed in many quarters; why then should we believe it of others whom we refuse to hear in their own defense?
The essential difference between these two developments of Masonry seems to be that the Latin form takes itself very seriously indeed, and the English-speaking branches only play at being serious. This generalization is naturally only approximately and relatively true, but it indicates a real distinction. And the difference is without doubt due to difference in circumstances. We must bear in mind that so far as Freemasonry is more than a sort of social club plus an elaborate game played in solemn make-believe grown-up boys it is a serious institution; and many us take it and our obligations as seriously as we can. And we at least should be able to realize that Freemasonry and any kind of despotism or tyranny are as incompatible as the wolf and the lamb in Esop's fable. Unless the lamb can run away, or develop teeth and claws, or put on some kind of jacket full of projecting spikes like the protective collars sometimes worn by fighting dogs, there is just one fate in store for it, no matter what arguments it may offer in defense of its innocence, and without regard to their cogency a truth. Wolves act after their kind, and dictators and other despots are quite justified in seeking to extirpate Freemasonry wherever they find it; for Freemasonry is as incompatible with despotism (however it may strive to avoid giving offense) as Christianity was paganism. The Roman Emperors from their point of view were doing the right thing in seeking to extirpate the new religion, for they saw, and the event proved them right, that it would dissolve and overturn society as it was then organized. We do not compare Christianity with Freemasonry, which is a far lesser thing, but small and great the same law applies in this respect. Therefore we must admit, looking at all the facts dispassionately, that Mussolini is justified from his position as dictator in stamping out Italian Masonry, and self-preservation being nature's first law, he is (from his unenviable position) justified in using the most unjust and cruel means to do so. So also is the Roman Church right in opposing the Craft everywhere and combatting it with every weapon, open and secret, that it can employ. Much as we may regret it, so it is. There is no need for rancor or hate in recognizing it - we do not hate a tiger because we know it would kill and devour us if it could - but we either put it in a cage or keep out of its way, or otherwise defend ourselves in case of need. And whatever happens we should not let the accusations of enemies dull our sympathies for men who are enduring one of the cruelest and bitterest persecutions of modern times, almost one might say of any time. That such things should be possible in a civilized world in this year of grace, 1927, is food for very serious thought.
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PUTTING UP THE BARS
THE curious thing about the official attitude of the sovereign and independent organizations of Freemasonry in this country, with some notable exceptions, towards the tuberculosis problem is that it is not indifference, or neglect, either of which would be at least comprehensible, but an attitude of opposition, almost even of hostility. It is not open opposition, if it were the ordinary brother, who in spite of the democratic theory of the machine has very little to say in its operation, would know where his rulers and masters stood, and where he was being led, but actions speak louder than words.
Of words there have been enough; while such action as there has been, has on the whole been not only inconsistent with, but opposed to the professions made. One great jurisdiction offers as an objection to taking part in the work of the N.M.T.S.A. that it is not a Masonic organization. This sounds well. Technically it is not; but what of that? The question really involved is whether there is a Masonic obligation to be met. Another objection, which seems to be rather a favorite, is that the funds contributed by any particular Grand Lodge will be out of its control. Again what of that? Is it a Masonic function to control funds as an end in itself? In fact the objections that are voiced are well worth close examination, and we hope our readers will analyze them for themselves and see what they really amount to.
But not only do our rulers refuse to do anything themselves, they also go further and refuse to allow any direct approach to lodges in their jurisdictions. One Grand Master even seemed to think that he could forbid individual Masons from communicating with those active in the campaign, and passing on the information received to their brethren. This seems an amazing stretch of the powers of Grand Masters. If such a development should continue and be confirmed we would have to call them Grand Dictators. However, this seemed to be either ignorance on the part of this particular official, or else an attempt to trade on the presumed ignorance of the individual brother. But why such an attitude? Is the N.M.T.S.A. a conspiracy, a subversive, seditious movement? If so why not make charges openly? But then that would need the production of proof. The point of the situation, however is this, that by this formal red-tape attitude it is made impossible to effectively appeal to Masons as individuals. If the N.M.T.S.A. could have freely circularized lodges it is probable it would have had no difficulty in raising the sum required to purchase the El Paso Sanatorium through individual contributions. We seem to hear the echo of something said to the Pharisees long ago: "Ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers."
In some jurisdictions we gather that some effort has been made, not to get the facts of the existing need in the Southwest, but to find out how many members of their own lodges are in the Southwest suffering from tuberculosis. The reports have naturally been that the number was negligible. Naturally, because the investigations (so we judge) have been made in the usual official way. A committee appointed, questionnaires sent to the lodges, a certain number of which were sent back answered more or less off-hand by secretaries, and a report compiled based on these replies. Anyone familiar with the working of our large institutionalized lodges is aware how much, or rather how little, the officials know of the whereabouts and circumstances of absent members, and will not be inclined to lean very heavily on information thus collected.
Another thing that strikes the discerning eye is that most of the Grand Lodges who refuse to take action stress the point that none of their members are in the Southwest, or if none, so few that nothing need be done about it. But if this is to be the law and gospel of Masonry it applies equally to all Grand Lodges and all lodges. None of them will have any responsibility for anyone else. It might seem that the Southwestern Jurisdictions are beginning to "catch on." They have been rather slow and old-fashioned, many of them are still under the delusion that the old fallacy holds good, that every Mason has a claim on their help and sympathy when sick and in need. But they are learning. Texas has shown the way. A brother in New Mexico, speaking of the recommendation presented to the lodges in Texas, published in THE BUILDER last month, writes as follows:
They . . . recommend that Texas take care of its own. They are willing for us [the Masons of New Mexico] to take care of sojourners. It appears to us that they will profit by our experience. Seeing the Masons of the North and East are apparently little concerned about the fate of their sick brethren who wander to the Southwest and are unwilling to help care for them, Texas, although it also has the migratory T.B. problem in the country west of and including San Antonio, has decided to limit its activity to those of its own household and leave the sojourning brother within its boundaries to his own devices. In view of the lack in interest displayed in the problem by the North and East this apparently cold-blooded decision is justified and we do not criticize Texas. New Mexico and the other Southwestern States may be forced to take the same action.
Freemasonry we are solemnly told is not organized as a benevolent association, nor as a charitable society, and even calling it a fraternity has been deprecated in certain quarters. What then is it? And for what is it organized? Is it merely to see the wheels go round ?
THE NORTHEAST CORNER
Bulletin of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association
Incorporated by Authority of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, A.F.&A.M.
MASONIC TEMPLE, ALBUQUERQUE, N. M.
OFFICERS AND BOARD OF GOVERNORS
HERBERT B. HOLT, Past Grand Master, President
RICHARD H. HANNA, Vice-President
JAFFA MILLER, Vice-President
FRANCIS E. LESTER, Vice-President
WILBUR L. ELSER, Executive Secretary
ALPHEUS A. KEEN, Secretary
JOHN W. BOWMAN, Treasurer
ROBERT J. NEWTON, Editor, Manager N.M.T.S.A.. Las Cruces, New Mexico
The Tale of Proceedings
There is a great deal of importance and much of interest in the Proceedings of the various Grand Lodges of the U. S. A. Unfortunately comparatively few brethren are in a position to see copies of any but their own jurisdiction. It is true that the correspondence reports go a considerable distance in providing a general survey of what is being done elsewhere, but in the nature of the case these brief reviews cannot tell very much, and depend a great deal on the special interest of the reviewer. It will be instructive to read these extracts from the Proceedings of a considerable number of our Grand Lodges covering the past two or three years, dealing with the tuberculosis situation:
District of Columbia
From the Grand Master's Address; Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1924.
"Many of us are well aware of the growing desire on the part of the members of our Fraternity in all its branches to be engaged in real constructive work, something that will last, and to me the important problem for those charged with the direction of the affairs of Masonry today is not how they may increase its already large membership, but how they may direct into the proper channels and toward definite worthy ends its great latent power which up to this time has been so little utilized.
"There has been much accomplished along these lines. The call for it has been so urgent that it has everywhere been felt and it must be heeded. Some of its outlets have been along the lines of the Masonic Service Association, others along the lines of educational work, and in many instances it has been expressed by the erection of costly and magnificent temples, but with all that has been done, it is evident that only a beginning has been made and that our Fraternity is still like a sleeping giant, capable of great things, but through indolence, indifference or lack of competent guidance, accomplishing but a small part of what it should be doing.
"Times change and men change with them. Grand Masters come and go, with varying ideas of the relative values of matters in which our Fraternity is concerned. What appears important to me may not be so regarded by my successor, but we have the comforting assurance that the policies, principles and ultimate purposes of Freemasonry are fixed and that necessarily the efforts of all are directed towards the same worthy end. Under such conditions energetic cooperation in the larger things will always produce the desired results and, if we couple with fraternal unity of action a respect for a broad tolerance of the views of others, we shall reap the reward that follows upon conscientious effort."
Report of Committee on N.M.T.S.A.; Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1926.
"This association was incorporated at the instance and instigation of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, under the laws of that state. It is not under the control and direction of that Grand Lodge; but is to be controlled and directed by a Board of Governors consisting of members, one of whom is to be selected by, or be the Grand Master of each of the Masonic Grand Jurisdictions of the United States, and also a member selected by the governing head or body of each organization in the United States composed of Master Masons, and a member named by the Order of the Eastern Star."
The articles of incorporation are then recited in part to show the purpose of the N.M.T.S.A. and the means proposed carry it out.
"The immediate object of the promoters of this association appears to be the erection of sanatoria or hospitals for the treatment and cure of tuberculosis, and the president of the corporation has, in relation to the probable cost of such institutions, published the following statement:
" 'It is estimated that tuberculosis sanatoria can be built at an average cost of $2,500 per bed. Wherefore a 500-bed hospital would cost $1,250,000.
"'Six months to a year is required for "arrest" of early cases of tuberculosis, and a longer time for the more advanced. From $500 to $1,000 for the majority of cases, and more for a limited number of others.'
"After full investigation and careful consideration your committee has reached the conclusion that under all the conditions and circumstances it would be unwise for this Grand Lodge to become a member of, or in any manner obligate itself to contribute to the support and maintenance of this association, and it is therefore recommended that no action looking to that end be taken by it."
From the Grand Master's Address; Grand Lodge Proceedings 1927.
"I was strongly urged to become a member of this association [N.M.T.S.A.] or to appoint a representative to the official board. I declined to do either in the face of the report of our Committee on Audit and Accounts at the last session, which recommended that we do not participate in the affairs of the association until we were in a position to carry our share of the financial burden.
"I am since informed by your representatives to the meeting of the Masonic Service Association that the incorporation of the Sanatoria Association into a national body and the assessment which was laid by it for the erection of suitable buildings, was done through a misapprehension of the authority placed with them.
"In all cases of great disaster, such a call should have emanated from the Masonic Service Association itself, therefore that body refused to consider the proposed institution as a national body or to have the Grand Lodges assessed at the stated rate and decided that it must stand as a distinctly New Mexico measure supported by such subscriptions as were voluntarily made."
[The Grand Master was under an extraordinary misapprehension himself, and his informants too. The only meaning that can be read into his statement is that the N.M.T.S.A. was organized under the authority of some other body. This of course is simply grotesque. The Masons of the Southwest waited patiently for years hoping that existing organizations would at last cease to talk and begin to act, until in despair of this they, on their own motion and by their own authority, formed an association organized for this purpose, and for this purpose only.]
From the Grand Master's Address; Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1924.
"I dream of Masonry making the other decision to try the adventure of greater service, because of the need of the time is more pressing. I vision a tomorrow that shares a Masonic understanding possessed by every man who bears the Masonic title. . . . My thoughts lead me to a tomorrow whose glory is our ability to care fully for all whose hands have grown palsied with age or sickness and who, amid the competitions of life, have no refuge except within the fortress of real Masonic benevolence. The dream will come true if you brethren say it shall."
From the Grand Master's Address; Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1925.
"Among the matters brought before the Masonic Service Association was a report by M. W. Bro. F. E. Lester, Past Grand Master of New Mexico, on the situation in the Southwest involving Masons who are suffering with tuberculosis. This report contained a careful survey that was so startling in some of its revelations and conclusions that it should receive the attention of every Grand jurisdiction in the land. The situation among Masonic tuberculars has so developed that no longer is the question one to be handled by the jurisdictions in which it exists. These tubercular Masons come from all over the United States and therefore it is a national problem not only in its requirements of attention and assistance, but also by the nature of the disease, in its possibilities of danger. Very shortly this report of M. W. Bro. Lester's will be in the hands of our Masters here in Massachusetts. Study its conclusions and its implications. It is well worthy of your attention. For some time, I do not know just when, Massachusetts is going to be invited to assist with other jurisdictions in dealing with this menace as it affects our brethren, and when that time comes I want our assistance to be adequate and readily given."
From the Grand Master's Address; Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1926.
"In November, 1922, at the fourth annual meeting of the Masonic Service Association of the United States, there was brought to the attention of the association the question of needed relief for those of our Fraternity afflicted with tuberculosis. The subject was referred to the Relief Committee of the association, which committee instructed the Executive Committee to make an investigation and survey the situation. Similar action was taken at the annual meetings of the association held in 1923 and 1924. At the annual meeting of 1925, a report was submitted. A copy of that report, which deals exhaustively with the situation, has been forwarded to me by the Masonic Service Association as a basis of its appeal to this Grand Lodge for its moral support and financial assistance to the Masonic Tubercular Relief Association. I do not deem it proper to extend this message by incorporating this report in it, but much of the data and information contained in the report will be presented to you when the matter comes before you for action. The conditions presented by the report make .q compelling appeal to our sympathies and command our admiration for the magnificent spirit and courage of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico in undertaking this work of applied Masonry.
"The Masonic Service Association has requested us to present its appeal for our help, and I heartily recommend that we extend our support. I recommend that the sum of one thousand dollars be appropriated to be paid on the order of the Grand Master to the Masonic Service Association of the United States for the use of the Masonic Tubercular Relief Association."
(This recommendation also seems to have been made under a misapprehension that the N.M.T.S.A. was in some way a body subordinate to another organization.]
From the Grand Master's Address; Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1926.
"Out of the Southwest there comes a cry to this Grand Lodge. In a sense it is more than a Macedonian cry, for some of our own Mississippi brethren are among those who lift up their voices in a desperate plea, 'Come over and help us.' The more responsive our natures to the spirit of brotherhood, the more attuned are our hearts to this piteous plea. The heart-gripping wail of the infant, so soon to become an orphan; the muffled sobs of the wife, so soon to become a widow - unless help comes - lend emphasis to the cry that is borne to our ears, 'Come over and help us.' It is not enough to say that our stricken brethren should have remained at home where under more favorable conditions they could have battled with this dread white plague - which in many cases would have been true. True, we point with pride to Mississippi Masonry's material contribution to the battle against this dread disease that last year claimed forty-seven of our brethren. The fact remains that many of our brethren, nursing desperate hopes, have gone to the Southwest - some sent by lodges and other friends, some going by means of their last financial assets in the hope of securing employment, but almost invariably becoming a care upon our Southwestern brethren who for years have responded nobly to the ever-increasing calls. Statistics show an alarming increase of this migration each year. Realizing that something must be done, the Grand Lodge of New Mexico has created and chartered the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association to act as trustee of funds received from various Grand jurisdictions of America, in hospitalization, in supplying other needs of our stricken brethren."
From the Grand Master's Address; Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1924.
"What do we care about the antiquity of our Fraternity? What does it matter whether our ancestors did nor did not participate in the building of King Solomon's Temple? Neither pedigree nor ancestry can make any institution or individual great. Not what Freemasonry was yesterday, or a thousand years ago, but what it is today and what it shall be tomorrow, and likewise what is each of us today and what we shall be tomorrow, these are the all-important questions to the good Freemason and the true man everywhere.
"The tree is cut down when it ceases to bear good fruit, and so it will be with Freemasonry and all other human agencies. Progress, therefore, must be the guiding star of Freemasonry. Science tells us gold may be made from mercury, sugar from linen, and that shortly the rays of the sun will be transformed directly into sugar without going through the beet at all. Thus the world moves and so it must be with our brotherhood. While we must hold fast to the fundamentals of our Fraternity and never surrender the ideal for the material, yet to be a living, growing force in the world, we must make our ideals practicable and must teach and live, both within and without the lodge room, at home, in business, those eternal truths which constitute the bulwark of Freemasonry."
From the Grand Master's Address; Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1926.
"Some one has said that if you give the Masons of America a really big program they will adopt it. This is fully demonstrated in the George Washington Memorial and Shrine Hospitals for Crippled Children. Where could we find a bigger program or one more worthy of our attention than taking care of our brethren who are afflicted with tuberculosis? A study made of six western cities which have long been Meccas for the tubercular, shows that Missouri contributes more migrants than any ether state, except Illinois and New York. It is estimated that over one hundred and fifty of our brethren die annually from this disease and perhaps fourteen hundred more are suffering from the disease. In the language of President Wilson:
"'No repetition of figures, no emphasis of speech, nor words of warning can add to the horror and terror and responsibility which, in the public mind, attach to the gruesome devastation of this disease. People, public and private, who do not perform every act within their power to check this scourge, are almost guilty of negative murder.'
"I believe the Freemasons in America will unite in an effort to meet this vital, tragic problem and will provide sanatoria for the sick.
"The Modern Woodmen have already established a camp at Colorado Springs that is doing a great work and we can't afford to be behind in any great charitable movement.
"This country isn't half as much interested in our doctrines as it is in our deeds. I find that a great many Freemasons are greatly disturbed about the activities of certain national organizations. I am not afraid, however, of the standing of Freemasonry in the world or of the opposition of any organizations, religious or fraternal, so long as our Fraternity excels them in doing good. It would be a great help to the cause, if Missouri would take the lead in this movement and adopt a definite program at this time. I feel that this Grand Lodge is ready to act, because Freemasons from all sections of our Grand jurisdiction have called my attention to this movement and urged me to make a recommendation at this session of the Grand Lodge.
"The channel through which we can function has already been provided by the Grand Lodge of New Mexico."
From the Grand Master's Address; Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1925.
"I am convinced some of our lodges spend too much for entertainment and pleasure and too little for charity, thereby creating the thoughts in the minds of the profane that a Masonic lodge is simply a place for amusement. It is wrong, a grievous wrong, my brethren, that will work untold harm if we permit it to continue. One of the fundamental principles of our great Fraternity is charity, to help the needy and distressed. We should practice what we teach, for the greatest good that we can do in this world is the service we render to suffering humanity."
From an address given by the Executive Secretary of the M. S. A. to the Grand Lodge; Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1926.
"There is one thing I want to touch upon, to show you that the Masonic Service Association, which you have so ably supported since its organization, is reaching out on the basis of service. Heretofore, while we have been organized for relief we have never done anything along the line of relief except when we stepped out and helped our brethren at Tokio re-establish the American School for education there. There has been no particular occasion as far as calamity is concerned, for the association to function for relief. However, conditions have arisen, in fact, they have existed for some time, and now, under the leadership of this Association, the Craft at large will be given an opportunity to perform an obligation, to perform a duty, that should have been done years ago, the lack of provision for which has been a shame. I am sending out a bulletin on the subject which will give you all the facts. Doctor Braswell will probably also give you some of the facts during this session of the Grand Lodge. You have heard it referred to by Doctor Wicker. It would amaze you to know how many thousands of members of the Craft all over the United States are suffering from tuberculosis. It may amaze you to know that we lose 5000 members a year from death by tuberculosis. It may amaze you to know that all over the Southwestern part of the country where the climate is particularly suited for the cure of tuberculosis, there are thousands and thousands of the Craft who are practically helpless, who go down there with no means of support, or slight means of support, in the hope that they may be able to get a firmer grasp on life and come back into health and strength. The Masons there have found the situation and have surveyed it and we have gotten the facts together, using the Tuberculosis Association and every source of information. Now your Masonic Service Association is bringing to the attention of the Craft everywhere that situation, and we are developing a plan to report to the next meeting whereby there will be definite relief for the tubercular Masons all over the country. We are organized for two purposes, one for education and one for relief. I don't know which is more important but, generally, education I think is more important. However, in this particular instance, with a condition like this in the Southwest, that is more important for immediate action. In any event we are now reaching our stride and settling into the two phases of our work for which you organized us. We raised $20,000.00 from the Grand Lodges in the jurisdiction this year for relief in that part of the country, and we will develop a permanent plan of relief to take care of the situation, and I believe it will bring the Masonic Fraternity to an eminence it has not yet reached in its own estimation and in the mind of the people generally." [The italics are ours. We have no information how or through what channels this sum was expended.]
The books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which always include postage. These prices are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though occasion for this will very seldom arise. Occasionally it may happen where books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make inquiries for second-hand works and books out of print.
THE HARVEST OF THE YEARS. By Burbank and Hall. Published by Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. Cloth, illustrated, 296 pages. Price, $4.25.
THIS last work of the man who was styled the "plant wizard," must be read to be appreciated. Burbank as a man had a place in the heart of America occupied by few others, perhaps it was almost unique. He was an unusual type of man, and because he was different from the ordinary human being be found himself in a distinctive position.
The Harvest of the Years is hardly a biography, though it is one in a sense. He tells about his life, his work and his thoughts in a way that is thoroughly enjoyable. It is a book that commends itself; it should be read and then re-read.
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THE HUNG SOCIETY, VOL. 1. By J. S. M. Ward and W. G. Stirling. Published by the Baskerville Press, London. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, colored plates, appendices, 179 pages. Price, $16.00.
RESIDENTS in the Orient, missionaries, merchants and government officials, have long been aware of the existence of secret societies among the Chinese, not only in China, but wherever they migrated in numbers sufficient to form a community. Various accounts of these have been published at different times, but these accounts, owing to the character of the subject and the great difficulty in checking information, were all of a very partial and sketchy nature. In China itself, apparently, opposed to the government, they became in the East Indies organizations for the protection of those who sought wealth by criminal and other forbidden means. Generally the governors of European possessions in the East forbade their existence equally with the rulers of China, and with as much, or as little, success.
There has only been one previous work that has dealt with the Hung League at all exhaustively and that was published at Batavia in the Island of Java in 1866 by Gustave Schlegel. Like the present authors his information was derived from rituals seized by the police in raids on meetings of the Society. He was under the disadvantage of not having any other material to assist him in his task, whereas, owing to the fact that the Society was permitted for a time by the authorities in Singapore, it has been possible to get more accurate and detailed information. Bro. Stirling's predecessor in the office of Protector of Chinese, Mr. W. A. Pickering, had been received as a member of the Ghee Hin, and left, we are told, very careful notes of the ceremonies in the archives of his office. Bro. Stirling has also interrupted meetings during raids conducted by him, so that he has himself seen cross sections of the proceedings.
Bro. Ward in his preface gives the impression that in their opinion Schlegel's account left much to be desired owing to this lack of first hand knowledge. Unfortunately it has not been possible to compare the two versions; but from memory there does not seem to be any greater difference between the Java ritual in 1866 and the Singapore ritual in 1920 than exists between the rituals used in different Masonic jurisdictions. As Schlegel did not publish his text it would be hard to say whether differences were due to his misunderstanding the meaning of obscure words, or to variations in the ritual used.
One difficulty in dealing with the subject has always been the doubt whether one was dealing with one society with many ramifications, or many societies with strong resemblances. Indeed it May be most probable that it was both, that there have been similar societies each with many disguises. The present work does not help us very much to remove the uncertainty, though we are far from blaming the authors for this.
The Society described as the Hung League, or Heaven-and-Earth Society, or the Triad Society, may also be the same as the White Lily or the Golden Orchid. It may be that the Boxers of our own day belonged to it; the name ineptly, if conveniently, translated Boxer being literally "the hand (or fist) of righteous harmony," or it may have been the "Big Sword Society" that has also caused trouble.
The question of name indeed is not very clearly treated. The present designation, in British possessions at least, seems to be the Ghee Hin or the San Ghee Hin. Ghee Hin means Justice and Prosperity; San Ghee Hin means the New Justice and Prosperity Society. The older name is Thian Ti Hwui, or as the authors transliterate the Chinese words, T'in Tei Hui, which means Heaven and Earth Society. T'in also means man and Tei, woman; heaven and earth in Chinese mythology, as elsewhere, being regarded as husband and wife. In the ritual the candidates are told that the true name is the Hung Ha or Family of Hung. The name of the Society does not seem to enter into the ritual though the word Hung is very frequently brought in. But there is no difficulty really in this question of names. Freemasons speak of their Fraternity by a number of terms, which might puzzle an enquirer on the outside were Freemasonry still as secret as it used to be. On the other hand, some of these names of the Hung League are deliberate disguises, as the name Ghee Hin above mentioned. And where an organization goes under disguise it is hard to determine whether any given manifestation is or is not part of it. In an appendix there is a brief account of a thieves society, the admission ceremonies of which seem to be based on those of the Hung League.
Another point that might have been dealt with more fully in the introductory chapters is that of the history of the Society. Here again a legitimate analogy may be made to Freemasonry. We cannot possibly estimate fully the early history of the Craft unless we have some knowledge of the general history of the period. Ostensibly and by its own tradition the Hung League was formed after the downfall of the last Ming emperor and the advent of the Manchu conquerors. Bro. Ward thinks it is much older; that may be, but as Freemasonry emerges quite definitely into a historical period in 1717, so the Hung League emerges in Chinese history about 1670 or 1680. What is said in the first chapter, which deals with this subject, leaves us rather confused, although again this may be due to the difficulty of the subject itself. The last Ming ascended the imperial throne about 1640, but there were other claimants in the field. Defeated, or deserted, the emperor fled and in despair drowned himself. However, in the south, loyalists, who now became rebels, continued to fight against the Manchu interloper, notably the "pirate" whose name was Europeanized into Coxinga. He probably was no more piratical than the Dutch, English and French traders of the time. Anyway, finding China unhealthy he descended on Formosa (apparently with considerable forces) and drove the Dutch out and established himself there. The first Ta Ts'ing (or Manchu) Emperor died in 1661 and his son K'ang Hi took his place. According to what seems to be the predominant Hung legend it was in his reign the Society was started, but according to a variant version it was in his father's reign.
Bro. Ward, however, is not satisfied to take this legend or traditional history at its face value, but is inclined to believe that the Society is much older. Let us draw another illustration from Masonry. The Craft tradition of its origin takes us back to the building of King Solomon. The MS. Constitutions go further back still, almost to the garden of Eden. Conversely they bring us down by very long steps to the Anglo-Saxon period in England. Supposing instead of this we had an official legend basing the origin of the Fraternity in the exile of the Stuarts - we would then have almost an exact parallel. In such case, the period being so comparatively recent, it would be very hard to demonstrate a higher antiquity. Nevertheless, in spite of the force of the supposition that members of the Society in giving it such a comparatively recent origin should be supposed to know most about it Bro. Ward believes that
A careful study of the ritual shows quite clearly that it could not have originated "de novo" at that period, or solely for political purposes. Large portions of it have nothing to do with politics, on the contrary they are mystical and also appear to deal with what happens to a man after he is dead
There is force in the argument, but it is a point that it may be better to leave till the other volumes appear in which we gather it will be discussed at length. But a good deal depends on what is to be understood by "de novo" in considering origins. When a society is definitely and deliberately organized by a group of people for a given purpose it is certain that they will adopt and borrow, consciously or unconsciously, from any quarter where materials may be found. A new society in the United States, hardly thirty years old, has references to mythical heroes of ancient Greece. The legend is old, the society new. The existence of old material is never by itself proof positive of antiquity.
There is another thing with which we quarrel, and that is the apparent tendency in the translation to use words and phrases that give a Masonic flavor to the ritual. The two chief officials in the initiation are called the Master and the Vanguard. Now the Society is professedly an army, an army being raised and organized to attack and destroy the hated Ts'ing or Manchu dynasty. The Vanguard is the leader or commander of the front ranks, or advance parties, and also a recruiting officer. We are told in parenthesis that the Vanguard or Conductor is a Deacon. Now while it is well enough to draw the attention of the Masonic reader to the fact (obvious as it would be to him) that the Vanguard's function as a Conductor of the Candidates is analogous to the duties of the Senior Deacon in present day Masonry the two offices have otherwise almost nothing in common: The title of the other prominent officer is translated as Master. It may be that this is the nearest English equivalent, but we find there is also a President, whose title literally means Big Brother, and two Vice-Presidents or Second Brothers. Are they subordinate to or superior to the Masters? Grand Masters are also spoken of - are they really Masters or Elder Brothers or some such title? And is there really anything analogous to a Masonic Grand Lodge? It is described in such a way as to give that impression and yet on closer attention it is not at all clear. While seeking analogies to Masonry, the Instructor, whose real title seems to be "White Fan," might have been equated with that important officer in European Masonry, the Orator.
It would have been much more satisfactory if the Chinese titles could have been given, and their literal translation, and any analogy or resemblance to the officers of a Masonic Lodge left to the perspicacity of the instructed reader; or at most put in an explanatory parenthesis or note. But instead there seems a constant tendency to substitute Masonic terms for the Chinese ones. In one place the five provinces or executive divisions of the Society are called Provincial Grand Lodges. Why? It implies a supreme Grand Lodge - and why the term Grand Lodge anyway? Does it really correspond to or represent the Chinese terms? One or two such instances would have passed unnoticed, but they are too frequent not to cause some doubt. And as we have no text the matter cannot be determined by reference to the original.
Bro. Ward is such an enthusiast for his theory that Freemasonry is a modern representative of a primeval mystery religion, which has descended in some form or other in every continent and among every race, that his critical faculties are dulled. He knows, for in places he says so, that Freemasonry as it is today is widely different from that of two hundred years ago, that there is much in present day rituals that is without any claim to antiquity, yet he seizes on the slightest resemblance between the present ritual and any religious ceremony or folk custom from anywhere in the world. The method is not convincing for it is radically unsound.
It is a great pity, too, for this importation of the Masonic element injures the value of the work for the general student, and that value is very great. There is no doubt that from the anthropological point of view the facts about this society should be put on record and made accessible. It is, we must revert to it, a very great pity that the translation was not accompanied by the text. It is true that not many read Chinese, but the publication of the text is always both a guarantee of the translation and the permanent means of correcting or improving it. Is it too late to publish it? We suggest to the authors and publishers that a fourth volume with the texts would enormously increase the value of the work.
In spite of the things that we have reluctantly felt bound to criticize we must commend both the authors and the publishers for this venture. It was called for. Schlegel's work is scarce and inaccessible, at least so we have found. Doubtless there are some copies in this country, but we have been unable to hear of one. The cost of the production must have been very heavy. The paper, printing and illustrations deserve the highest praise, and though the price will inevitably limit the sale we believe that libraries at least should secure a copy while it is possible; public libraries as well as Masonic ones. There is little likelihood of a new edition for many years to come, and the present issue runs only to fifteen hundred copies. One might say it is worth buying as an investment alone.
* * *
A HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY. By H. L. Haywood and James E. Craig. Published by The John Day Company, New York. Cloth, table of contents, index, bibliography, 326 pages. Price, $3.20.
WHEN Bro. Robert Freke Gould published his monumental History of Freemasonry some thirty years ago, he gave to the Craft a work which contained the fruits of a lifetime spent in Masonic research. Of course, Bro. Gould was preceded in his work by the eminent American scholar, Dr. Albert G. Mackey, but where Bro. Mackey was a pioneer in the field of sound Masonic scholarship, Bro. Gould was what might be termed a finished product. Mackey did not have access to much information that was brought to light after his time and which Gould used to make his work more accurate. The time has arrived when we can safely say that much evidence has been unearthed which would change some of the conclusions reached by the English historian. In a field where conceptions are changed, and where new facts come to light with such rapidity as is the case in Masonic History, it seems that the time has come when another detailed history of the Craft such as those written by Mackey and Gould is needed.
But an even more urgent need of the Craft has been a short elementary history of the Fraternity which would be readable, accurate, and at the same time sufficiently interesting to appeal to the average Mason. The first such work given to Craft literature was doubtless Bro. Gould's Concise History of Freemasonry. This work was an outgrowth of the larger effort that preceded it, and has been, since its publication, the best short history of Freemasonry extant. There are many faults that could be found with Bro. Gould's work, few, if any, of which have to do with the accuracy of his statements, though it must be said that more recent research has done something to change some of the views he expressed. Many of these faults are eliminated by the present volume of Bros. Haywood and Craig, though in other respects their work does not compare with that of their eminent predecessor.
The style of Bro. Gould makes all of his writings rather difficult reading. He is not as lucid as is desirable when the elementary student or average Mason is taken into consideration, but even more unfortunate is the faculty he has of saying everything that bears on any particular point in more than one place. I do not mean by this that he repeats himself, but the arrangement of his material is faulty. This difficulty is overcome in the present work by the simple expedient of cross reference. Where it happens that specific material has more than one place in the development of Masonic history it is, generally speaking, included in the earliest chronological development of the subject and later events upon which such material has some bearing refer to it. Following such a plan makes it simple to complete the picture as the reading progresses and is a great help to the student as well. Each chapter of the book deals with a certain phase of Masonic history and everything that can be included is mentioned in that chapter. The subdivisions would almost make separate papers though there is a unity running through the work which hinds it into a harmonious whole.
In the eyes of the present writer there is at least one fault to be found with the work. The authors have devoted almost half of their scant space to a discussion of theories relating to the Comacines, Roman Collegia, and other possible sources of Freemasonry. Granted that the space given to these discussions is all too meagre, it does seem that the historical period of Masonry, meaning by this the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, should warrant more than ninety-five pages of letter press. This is the period about which we know most; it is also the period in which Craft customs are most clearly defined. For this reason it seems that a more detailed discussion of the period immediately preceding the formation of the Grand Lodge should be included in the work. If we take as a basis for calculation the amount of space given to the origins of Freemasonry, the book to be properly balanced should run to at least five, and possibly six hundred, pages.
There are one or two typographical errors in the work which seem to have escaped the proof readers. One of them is of little consequence, being merely the printing of 1919 in place of 1719 on page 224. The context would make it apparent to the most casual reader. Another is of more importance, and is one of those errors which is likely to be particularly misleading. The text on page 251 reads "Later the English and Irish bodies rescinded these actions and assumed a neutral attitude toward the contending English factions." It is evident that the first use of the term English is incorrect, but it would be somewhat difficult for an elementary student to make out precisely what was meant; of course, it is Scottish that is intended.
The work is written in a lucid and easily read style, which is a great advantage in any work intended primarily for beginners in the study of Masonic history, but it has another feature which recommends it even more highly. A thing too frequently missing from Masonic literature is accuracy; either facts are misinterpreted, undue weight is given to part of the evidence, or there is some other fault which makes it necessary to say that a certain work should be read with caution. There is no need for such statements in connection with the present work, though there are a few points where some questionable statements have been made. Only one of the inaccuracies, however, is of any great importance, and it is only because honest criticism is the sincerest form of flattery that mention is made of them.
The most important of the mistakes occurs on page 259, where the authors state that the Antients had a system of four degrees, of which the Royal Arch was the fourth. But it has always been supposed they worked seven. It is certain at least they laid great stress on the Past Master Degree, which with the Royal Arch makes at least five. The point to be criticised is that the authors make a positive statement that there were no more than four degrees where the evidence makes such a conclusion a bit uncertain to say the least. It seems likely also that the Ancients were responsible for the development of the Most Excellent Degree. While there is considerable doubt as to just what degrees were worked in Ancient Lodges besides the three Craft Degrees and the Royal Arch, there certainly were more than four.
The authors of the present work have accepted the conclusions of Dr. Mackey and his school relative to the Chevalier Ramsay and d'Harnouster. These may be as true as any other, but it does seem that some consideration should have been given to the opinion of Bro. Gould who held that Ramsay did not have sufficient interest in the Fraternity to have invented the degrees which have so frequently been attributed to him. It cannot be doubted that he was greatly interested in the Craft at a certain period, but that the interest was sufficiently sustained either to have given him the opportunity of making such inventions, or to warrant the supposition that he did formulate new degrees is very doubtful, and, so far as the present writer knows, no one has satisfactorily answered the arguments that Gould brought forward on this subject.
A rather interesting statement is to be found in the following paragraph:
Declining either to be out-done by the brethren of London or to join them, the Masons of York met on Dec. 27, 1725, and proclaimed themselves a Grand Lodge under the resounding title of "The Grand Lodge of All England." They themselves appear to have given to the London body the title "Grand Lodge of England," understanding by the word "all" a subtle distinction. Charles Bathurst was elected Grand Master and a full set of Grand Lodge officers was chosen. The new body boasted of itself as "the first Grand Lodge ever held in England" and harked back to the legendary assembly in Prince Edwin's time in support of that assumption.
It would seem that there was more than merely the desire to outdo the London brethren in the matter of inclusiveness in the title adopted by the York brethren. They had a precedent before them in adopting the title of the Grand Lodge of All England in that the Archbishop of Canterbury is the Bishop of all England and the Bishop of York is the Bishop of England. This situation seems to have come about when the North of England actually belonged to the Angles, and consequently was actually England. After the union of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms the present nomenclature came into being. May not something of the same idea prompting the York brethren, who claimed direct descent from the fabled Assembly of 926, have bad something to do with the name they adopted?
It is to be hoped that there will be a second edition of the work in the very near future and that the authors will take advantage of the reprinting to amplify certain portions of the work, and to eradicate the minor discrepancies that have crept in. The book is one that is sorely needed by the Craft, and because of its intentionally elementary character it should be as accurate as it is humanly possible to make it.
E. E. T.
* * *
ASK ME, BROTHER! Compiled by Bro. Chas. H. Merz. Published by the Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, New York. Cloth, 165 pages. Price, $1.75.
THE author's name is well known to that part of the Craft in America which reads Masonic literature. He has been a frequent contributor to the Masonic press, and is himself the Editor of the Sandusky Masonic Bulletin, a most excellent little magazine. He is probably best known by his work advocating the claims of Guild Masonry or the Modern Operatives.
The present work consists of a series of "tests" each made up of twenty-five questions, except test number forty, which has twenty-six, thus making in the whole series exactly one thousand and one questions.
The questions are in the first part of the book, the answers at the back. They are discursive and thoroughly miscellaneous in character and do for Masonry what the similar tests and questionnaires, now so frequently inserted in our newspapers, do for the whole field of general knowledge.
Naturally in such a work there will be deficiencies and errors. We do not know whether the author submitted his MSS. to other students for criticism and suggestions, but we are inclined to think he did not, which is a pity. Although not intended as a work of reference, it may very well be taken as authoritative by such readers who have no means of checking the answers from other sources. The danger perhaps is not great but there has been, and still is, so much error and mis-statement confidently advanced as authentic truth regarding Masonry that it is a moral obligation on every Masonic author to take every means possible to avoid strengthening old errors by repeating them or giving rise to new ones.
THE QUESTION BOX
PRIVILEGE OF THE OLDEST LODGE
In the regulations for processions in Mackey's "Ritualist" occurs the following paragraph:
When the Grand or Deputy Grand Master is present, the Book of Constitutions will be borne before him. The honor of carrying this book belongs of right to the Master of the oldest Lodge in the jurisdiction, whenever he is present, in allusion to the fact that the Constitutions of the Order were originally vested in that officer, and that on him the business of the Grand Lodge devolves, in case of the absence of all the Grand officers, and also because it was a custom adopted soon after the reorganization of the Grand Lodge of England, for the Master of the oldest Lodge to attend every Grand Installation, and taking precedence of all others, the Grand Master only excepted, to deliver the Book of Constitutions to the newly installed Grand Master, thereby to remind him of his obligation to preserve the ancient landmarks and constitutions inviolate.
This regulation would seem to place the Master of the oldest Lodge in the jurisdiction in the position of a virtual officer of the Grand Lodge.
Can you tell me (a) whether any jurisdiction so recognizes him apart from this regulation, (b) whether he is entitled to any rank or title such as "Very Worshipful" and (c) whether there is any special regalia provided by any Grand Lodge for him?
Possibly New York, Massachusetts, Iowa and other leading jurisdictions have some practice regarding the matter.
Reginald V. Harris, Canada.
* * *
THE DISTURBANCE IN VIENNA
The following is an extract from a letter received from an Austrian correspondent. For good reasons, both personal and for the sake of the Craft in his country, his name cannot be given:
It is more than likely that the riot which we have just overcome in Vienna will give rise to exaggerations from various sides. I believe it to be my duty as a Masonic correspondent to report to my friends from a point of view not party bound (in my unfortunate country everything and everybody is) and thereby to rectify probable wrong views.
To understand our situation, which I have described to you in some of my former communications, I will have to sum up: When the old monarchy was destroyed by the so-called treaties of peace, a torso of a state was left, unable to live or to die, either economically or politically. A lot of industry was left to us and at the same time we were deprived of provinces producing agricultural products and raw material, which hitherto had consumed our industrial articles. Unprepared for democracy, republicanism was forced upon a population rather retrograde, or at least ultra-conservative in the main. The prominent feature in our political constellation was the weakness of the bourgeois class. In fact, it is still nearly entirely devoid of political influence.
The result was the population falling asunder into three political parties: Social-Democracy, Christian Socialism and Pan-Germanism, fighting desperately with one another. Social-Democracy, unfortunately (confronted with the other parties), is the representative of progress, while Christian Socialism and Pan-Germanism are reactionary. Socialism is represented by the working classes (with the exception of a minority organized by the Christian Socialists) and by an influential group of intellectuals, among them the rising youth of the country.
Christian Socialism (which is clearly to be understood as neither Christian nor Social, but simply as a descriptive political sign board) allies employers with the peasants and their furnishers in the country. This party is allied with the third in strength, Pan-Germanism, which draws its forces from the intelligentsia of provincial towns, high school teachers and their students. These two retrograde parties have no common platform except fighting Socialism and joining in Anti-Semitism; in consequence of this latter point of their program the Jews are largely driven into the Socialistic camp, where an official anti-Jewish feeling does not exist, nor is admitted.
The Federal bodies show a majority composed of Christian Socialists and Pan-Germans, provincial towns are more or less socialistic, and Vienna especially, with its industrial population, forming a Federal State and counting one-third of the whole of Austrian inhabitants, is decidedly socialistic. It would lead us too far here to show the different means by which these majorities have been obtained, but it is worth mentioning that there is not a single political representative body offering a seat to the class of industrial or commercial employers - economically speaking - their representatives being elected on a political and in no way economical program, and thus dispersed among the various political clubs.
There is no effective power and authority, as no authority can exist without executive power. The three parties consequently have formed their own (clandestinely armed) forces: The Socialistic "Republikanische Schutzbund" (Union Protecting the Republic), the Christian Social "Heimwehr" (Home Defence) and the Pan-German "Frontkampferbund" (Union of former front fighters). Of course, their mere appearance in uniformed bodies provokes the other parties, and in the country even more or less innocent meetings may lead to conflagrations.
Such was the case a few months ago in Schattendorf, a village in Lower Austria, with the sad result of one Socialist and one boy shot by the Front-fighters. Three of these were brought before a jury, which, however, acquitted them. Such acquittals, having happened already in former cases, and various other apparently unjustified sentences (although in non-political cases) that had been pronounced recently by Viennese juries, had roused public excitement, especially among the Socialists. They demonstrated in masses before the Palace of Justice against what they call "Class-Justice." It must be stated that our Socialists as a rule show good discipline on such occasions, but they cannot control the irresponsible elements of a radical mob which intrude themselves.
A number of such extremists got the upper hand; they stormed the Palace of Justice, threatened the judges and set the edifice on fire; they prevented the fire brigade from approaching the fire, although the Socialist Burgomaster himself wanted to guide the fire engines through, and the House of Justice was nearly completely burned out. By the way, it has nothing to do with Punitive Justice and contained only the Highest Judicial Offices, Courts of Appeal, the Register of Landed Property, Commercial Courts and such like.
The police force was in consequence armed with rifles and they discharged volleys into the riotous crowd. In the further course of things police stations were attacked and a number of policemen were killed and wounded, the streets in various other quarters had to be cleared by the same means. The excitement was the greater as more than fifty dead and many hundreds of wounded are to be lamented, amongst them mere curious onlookers. The riots lasted two days, not generally, but locally; on the third day the town was quiet again as far as order in the street goes.
But of course this has economical and political consequences. Demonstrating against the government the Socialists proclaimed a general strike (excepting all business and traffic connected with victuals) for forty-eight hours; after that the strike continued only with railways, postal, telegraphic and telephone services until further notice. It must be noticed that the Socialistic leaders behave with remarkable calmness. They publish quieting bulletins and freely state that they abhor civil war with its dreadful consequences, openly admitting that they have no majority in the country, that their comrades would therefore be exposed to retaliation and that intervention on the part of foreign countries (especially intended are Hungary, Italy and Czecho-Slovakia) was to be dreaded.
A Municipal Guard of Security chosen from the ranks of the Republican Protectors and under the command of the Socialistic town authorities has been constituted. Calm now reigns but serious economical consequences are certain; as in regard to foreign visitors, who left Vienna by motor cars and air craft in a panic, and who will not be likely to encourage their compatriots to come to see Vienna.
"It is an ill wind that blows nobody good." If these deplorable events could remind the world that Austria, this Austria thrust into disaster by cunning diplomacy and political silliness cannot continue to exist as it is now limited, the poor victims of this outbreak will not have suffered in vain.
I cannot yet say anything on the political consequences mentioned above as we have to await the result of parliamentary negotiations, the Socialists of course doing their best to create difficulties for the other parties.
* * *
THE WARDEN'S COLUMNS
In one of the volumes of the Universal Masonic Library edited and published by Rob Morris in the middle of the last century (unfortunately I do not now remember which one it was) I read something about the columns or truncheons of the Wardens about which the brother from California asks for information in the last number of THE: BUILDER.
From this I understood that in the early existence of the Grand Lodge, there was an extra officer in the lodge known as Deputy Master. He had his station on the right of the Master in the East. The Senior Deacon's place was on the right of the Senior Warden in the West, and the Junior Deacon's place was on the right of the Junior Warden in the South. The two Deacons had their emblems on a little column at their places or stations, the emblem being a dove. When the office of Deputy Master was abolished the Master took the Senior Deacon to him near the East and the Senior Warden took the Junior Deacon to him in the West, but the Deacon's emblems remained in their old places. In the course of time the emblems were removed from the tops of the truncheons, but the truncheons or columns remain in their original places, and are therefore distinctly different from the columns at the entrance porch.
Please do not think that I give this as an authority. I have only jotted it down from memory and am not at all certain that my source of information is the best.
J. A. R., Texas.
The office of Deputy Master still exists in Scotland. The theory, which we do not remember to have seen before .. is interesting. Perhaps some of our members may be able to tell us who was originally responsible for it. We fear, however, that there are difficulties in the way of accepting it; the chief of which is the fact that the Wardens seem to have had columns before the office of Deacon (in our present sense of the title) came into being.
* * *
THE STUDY CLUB
You will recall that some time ago I wrote to the National Masonic Research Society requesting information to direct us in the organization of a Study Club. It was very kind of you to furnish the information desired and you have been of great assistance in enabling us to solve some of the difficulties that have arisen in connection with the early struggle for existence. Our club is now flourishing and it has occurred to the members that possibly our experiences would be of some value to the Craft at large.
If, before going into detail on this subject, I may trace the development of this idea it might be of some assistance to you in deciding the question which is the principal object of this letter. Many of us have felt for some time that the Study Club section of THE BUILDER would have more effect if it were devoted to assisting in the promulgation of Study Clubs rather than in helping clubs already in existence to pursue their studies along certain lines. This matter has been discussed in some detail and we have often thought of writing to ascertain whether or not such a plan would be practicable, but have always felt that it seemed like criticising those who were in a better position to judge the needs of Study Clubs than we, until we noticed the editorial in the July BUILDER. One of our members offered the suggestion at the last meeting that perhaps the re such a plan had not been followed in this department was there was not enough material coming in to make it practicable. This gave us an idea, and it seemed that if our plan were adopted it might be possible for us to repay in some small way the debt we feel we owe the N.M.R.S.
In accordance with the plan we had in mind, a new office was created and it was entitled "The Builder Correspondent." The duties of the office were not defined, and it was decided that if our suggestion were not adopted we would discontinue the office. I was chosen to occupy the new office and was instructed to write suggesting the plan we should like to follow.
Perhaps, for the time being, it will be necessary to carry out the old scheme for the Study Club Department of THE BUILDER until a sufficient number of clubs adopt the plan we have in mind to make it possible to fill two or three pages each month with reports from club representatives.
If it were possible to have a sufficient number of letters from correspondents reporting on the meetings and the various problems that come up for discussion and the way in which they are solved, it seems likely that there would be some tangible material brought forth that would be of infinite value to the newly organized group. This, I think, is the goal toward which we should work. I can speak for my own group in saying that we would be glad to furnish you with a short account of our meeting each month for such use as you care to make of it.
In the event this idea meets with your approval, if you will advise me I shall be glad to send you a report of our next meeting.
B. R. Johnson Arizona.
Our correspondent raises the precise question that has been under consideration for some time past as was intimated in THE BUILDER for July. One of the difficulties has been precisely the one suggested in this letter, that of securing sufficient material of the kind required.
We have had quite a good deal of correspondence on the subject and have decided to open the Study Club Department in October on new lines, or rather reverting more to the original ones. The object will be to make it of use to those who wish to organize Study Clubs, and those who have the responsibility of directing them. We will welcome letters and brief articles on the subject.
* * *
THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA
I would like to ask a question. What relation, if any, does the Order of Knights of Malta, that is operating in the United States that one hears of occasionally in the papers, have to the original order spoken of in the review of the Pilgrimage of 1926 in THE BUILDER for March?
F. J. K., Florida.
We are not quite certain to which organization you refer. There are three orders in the United States at the present time that are known by this name. There is first the Masonic Order. Secondly the recently introduced branch of the original order. The letter by Bro. Burton E. Bennett in THE BUILDER for March gives practically all the information at hand about this. However we presume that officially this will be known as the Order of St. John, its proper title. The third is designated Order of the Knights of Malta. It claims to be legitimately descended from the original order in Scotland, a branch of which was formed in Canada in 1870, from which it was introduced into this country. It is a Protestant and fraternal organization. If further information be required we suggest that you write to John G. Miles, P.O. Box 356, Wilkinsburg, Pa. Mr. Miles is Supreme Organizer of the Order, which we understand is engaged in an active campaign to increase its membership all over the country.
Last modified: March 22, 2014